Dinosaur Dracula!

A Tribute to Charlie Brown’s ‘Cyclopedias!

If you’ve never heard of Charlie Brown’s ‘Cyclopedia, you have my sincere pity. I loved these books as a child, and still do today. Not exaggerating at all: I still read these things constantly.

Originally published in 1980, the fifteen book set covered many terrific things, from dinosaurs to foreign wardrobes to our own brains. Using Peanuts characters and comic strips to make every topic relatable to kids, they weren’t very similar to “normal” encyclopedias. It was more like the Cliffs Notes version of everything. All the fat was trimmed; we just got the interesting parts.

I don’t remember how I originally came upon them. It was probably through one of those “supermarket specials” where you got a free book by inadvertently promising to buy the rest. Through yard sales and thrift stores, I’d eventually end up with multiple copies of every volume, from both the original ‘80s run and the updated ‘90s printing.

These books were and remain my happy place. To this day, I’m never more at peace than I am with my face buried in Charlie Brown’s ‘Cyclopedia. If you only know the broad strokes about these books, you might assume that the entire appeal lied in the Peanuts comic strips. Not true at all! Those added a lot, but seeing Snoopy and Linus wasn’t even close to the best thing about them.

Here are six of the REAL reasons I loved Charlie Brown’s ‘Cyclopedia: Read More…

Freddy Krueger Popcorn Recipe!

I just published an enormous feature, listing ten reasons for you to watch A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. Even though 90% of you have seen it a thousand times. Oh well. Maybe the feature will inspire you to make it a thousand and one?

If it does, it’s important to do it right. You gotta set the mood, dude. Wait until it’s dark, dim the lights, and find some candles. If the candles smell like autumn, that’s even better.

You’re also going to need popcorn. If you’re looking to give the experience an extra spark, here’s how to make popcorn that looks like Freddy Krueger.

His clothes, at least.

Now, this lesson comes with the admission that I did it the hard way. The Super Super Hard Way, actually. If you can find red and green popcorn, I guess that’s all you really need.

But let’s assume that you can’t find it. Let’s also assume that you’re willing to spend more than ten bucks for gross popcorn that looks a tiny bit like Freddy’s sweater. If I may borrow a phrase from the incomparable Montell Jordan, this is how we do it: Read More…

Star Wars Presto Magix, from 1983!

It’s been ten years (literally) since my last tribute to Presto Magix, and I think we’re long overdue for Round 2.

Presto Magix was a series of “transfer sets” based on our favorite toons and movies. Think “Colorforms,” but more permanent. They’ve been out of production for a loooong time, but I used to get Presto Magix sets constantly as a kid – owing largely to the fact that the smallest ones cost only barely more than a dollar, and were so omnipresent that I used to find them even when tagging along on my mother’s trips to supermarkets.

Pretty much all of my Presto Magix experiences were with the Star Wars versions, or more accurately, the Return of the Jedi versions. I must’ve owned the set shown above at least twenty times. The reason I can remember so few coloring books is because I almost completely replaced those opportunities with Presto Magix. These kits were my go-to staple for cheap, easy art.

Other Return of the Jedi sets focused on the Death Star, the Ewok Village and the Sarlacc Pit. All were cool, but nothing trumped Jabba the Hutt’s throne room. Among other reasons, it was the only one that came with Max Rebo. You haven’t lived until you’ve scratched an ivory-tickling alien elephant onto a piece of colorful paper. Read More…

Song, Video, Plant, Candy, Book.

Hello, and welcome to Saturday. It’s a lazy one for me. I want to bury myself under ten blankets and do absolutely nothing. Instead I will attempt to write about a song, a video, a plant, a candy and a book. It may prove to be my undoing.

🙂 The Dino Drac Song!

My pal Brian Barnes surprised me with an incredible thing. Aside from being a great friend with a knack for throwing life preservers at just the right time, Brian is also a phenomenal musician. He put those talents to good use by creating the first and only Dinosaur Dracula song.

(If you can’t see the player, it’s because you’re viewing the site on something that won’t allow Flash.)

It’s a thousand times cooler than you’re imagining. No, it isn’t a song about a blogger and his old candy. It’s about Dinosaur Dracula himself, presented as a “seven ton terror” that eats people. Yes!So freakin’ good. It sounds like something that’d play over the end credits of a perfect ‘80s horror flick. Brian, you’re amazing, and you’ve motivated me to figure out why my iTouch hasn’t worked in seven months. Thank you thank you thank you. You’re in the will. Read More…

The Big League Chew Easter Egg!

This isn’t something I’d normally do a standalone post about, but it just tickled me too much to cover in any other fashion. It’s an egg, see. An egg filled with Big League Chew.

There are tons of similar Easter treats on sale, where oversized plastic eggs are filled with various candies of one specific “type.” Thing is, Big League Chew rarely gets this kind of play. We might love it, but it’s such a “quiet” phenomenon. It kind of just sits there, way in the back, with no big promotions and less than two bucks in its advertising budget.

I’m not saying that weren’t exceptions, but I’ve never seen Big League Chew get a holiday upgrade to this degree before. This is some real deal crazy good shit, here. I told the same to the stranger standing next to me at Target, in those exact words. It went over about as well as you’d expect. Read More…

Vintage Vending #10: Assorted Awesomeness.

Vintage Vending continues! I’m calling today’s batch “Assorted Awesomeness,” but the prizes really aren’t so hot. Actually, I would’ve skipped this one entirely… if not for one totally killer prize hiding among the weaklings. Take a look, and see if you can guess which it is.

(I’ll tell you later. Don’t worry.)

I’m not sure when this assortment came out. The only thing that gives us a sense of timing is the Hello Kitty button, and even then, it only means that this couldn’t have come out earlier than the late ‘70s. I’m sure the grime and dust could be age-evaluated, but I don’t have those types of connections.

Here are the highlights: Read More…