Dinosaur Dracula!
Dinosaur Dracula

Five Retro TV Commercials, Part 38!

Let’s ease out of the holidays and into 2021 with some random TV commercials from 30 years ago. (That line played better in my head, but since nobody reads intros, better to be clunky now than later.)

Rare TMNT PPV Promo! (1990)

Here’s an extremely rare promo that ran on preview channels for the Ninja Turtles’ Coming Out of Their Shells Tour, live on PPV!

Picture TMNT as an odd mash of NKOTB and Van Halen. The Turtles really did tour nationally, but this pay-per-view was for their kickoff show at Radio City Music Hall.

Given that this went down when the cartoon, toy line and live-action movie were all white hot, I’m guessing that the PPV did huge business. Pretty shocked that I didn’t order it myself, but then, I had an irrational fear of music before high school.

Maaaaan, I miss the hell out of PPV preview channels. Are they still a thing? Way back when, I’d let them play for hours on end, slowly memorizing every trailer, and even the order in which they appeared. It was like radio for the radio-averse.

Nestle Alpine White! (1986)

Wait, have I really never featured this spot on Dino Drac before? I know I covered the second version with the female vocalist, but this is the original — one of the definitive 1980s commercials, with a jingle so good it should’ve been released on vinyl.

God knows what compelled Nestle to be so “extra” about Alpine White candy bars, but I’m not complaining. Available with and without almonds, the bars were otherwise pure white chocolate.

White chocolate is still rare in the candy arena, but it was positively alien during the ‘80s. Which meant that Nestle could define it however they wanted. Hence, we got this batshit awesome commercial where winter models stood moody and mute, only ever opening their mouths when it was time for another bite. A+. Read More…

Merry Christmas, from Dino Drac!

It’s nearing 2AM as I write this — technically Christmas Eve, but only barely. I’m running on fumes and bourbon, shocked that our “simple” stay-at-home Christmas has required just as much prep as any regular one.

The gifts are wrapped. Everything except that weird bonsai tree I bought my S/O. How do you wrap a bonsai tree? I considered hiding it in my long-emptied Cheetos Popcorn tin, but I didn’t want to risk making the tree stink like fake cheese. She’s vegan, anyway.

Tomorrow I’ll wake up and cook for six hours straight. I’m making way too much food, in a sad attempt to replicate the feel of our normal Christmas Eve parties, which involve dozens of dishes for dozens of people. Somewhere along the way, I have to pick up sushi and that one last gift, because no matter how hard I try, there’s always that “one last gift” to get, every year.

Sleep would be the wisest move, but I wanted to leave you with a few last drops of holiday goodness. HI EVERYONE, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

I hope you’ve enjoyed Dino Drac’s holiday season, truncated as it was. (The nice thing about 2020 is that you can do very little and sell it as a lot.)

It’s not the booze talking when I say that I love you guys, and that even after two decades, I still love doing this. I feel extremely blessed that I’m in a position to do it, and that I have enough of an audience to justify it. If there ever comes a point where those things stop being true, I’ll look back at this as one the luckiest times of my life — no matter how weird and low-rent it may sometimes be!

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday, but given the times we’re in, I get that some of you won’t. Looking around, it’s plain to see that a lot of folks are just trying to survive the week. Which brings me to the point of this “article” — in quotes because I’m not sure it actually qualifies as one.

If you find yourself with too little to do over the next few days, I’ve uploaded a couple of holiday videos that’ll help you pass the time. Big swings, IMO. These were all pulled from my VHS collection, and I tried to make the picture and sound as clean as possible: Read More…

Ancient Holiday Appetizers, Part 8!

Time for my most important article of the year: Ancient Holiday Appetizers!

Every December, I dig through old cookbooks looking for edible holiday thrills, no matter how out of style. This has been my favorite Christmas tradition of the past decade, full stop. I couldn’t imagine letting a holiday season slip by without messing with clams and Cheez Wiz.

For this year’s edition of Ancient Holiday Appetizers, most of the recipes were plucked from 1980s lifestyle magazines. My mother kept a stack of similar mags in our least-used kitchen cabinet. Even as a kid, I was fascinated by all of the weird foods that already seemed antique by the late ‘80s.

Writing these articles is a way for me to feel better about those many hours spent studying hors d’oeuvres while the fitter kids were out playing tag. Enjoy!

Stove Top with Minced Clams!
(McCall’s, December 1980)

Gag all you want, this stuff is GOOD. I found the recipe in an old print ad, but you hardly need it to play along. Just make Stove Top as you normally would, but toss in a can of minced clams and the juice that comes with it.

If you can imagine a crab cake with less crab and more cake, that’s this stuffing. The clams are barely visible and don’t do much to the texture, but they add an oceanic kick that doesn’t sound like it’d work on Stove Top, but totally does.

The end results are surprisingly mild. I wouldn’t confuse this with “normal” Stove Top, but on a blind taste test, I’d never guess that there was an entire can of clams in there.

SCORE: 8 out of 10. I can’t say that I prefer it to unadulterated Stove Top, but on certain occasions, I’d definitely make this again. (Actually, if my family’s Christmas Eve party wasn’t canceled this year, clammy stuffing would’ve fit in perfectly with all of the traditional seafood.)

Cranberry Sauce in Orange Shells!
(McCall’s, December 1980)

If you make nothing else from this article, at least try this! (The zigzagged orange serving cups are optional, though I shudder to think that there’s even one person who wouldn’t create zigzagged orange serving cups when given that option.)

The recipe calls this a “sauce,” but it only barely qualifies as one. You just simmer four cups of cranberries in a simple syrup made from water and sugar, and though most of the berries will pop and ooze during that process, the goal is to leave them intact. In the end, it’ll look and taste like you tried to rehydrate Craisins with corn syrup.

There’s something wickedly “vintage” about this dish. Modern cranberry sauce recipes very often limit the sugar and strive for nutritional balance, but this one gives no shits. It tastes like straight-up candy, with a 80/20 sweet-to-tart ratio.

SCORE: 10 out of 10. Would make again, will make again! Read More…

Purple Stuff Podcast: Christmas Songs VI!

The Purple Stuff Podcast’s holiday tradition continues! For the sixth straight year, we’re ready to boost your playlists with another batch of our favorite Christmas songs!

With so many volumes under our belt, this was a tall order! Me and Jay from Sludge Central dug deep to come up with ten more picks for 2020, with artists ranging from Leona Lewis to, uh, Alpha 5.

This is one of our favorite shows to do each year, and we’re glad to give ya a little distraction during this highly unusual holiday season. Prime your ears for music from Garfield, Kylie Minogue and Scooby-Doo!

Click here to listen to this week’s show!

As a reminder, the Purple Stuff Podcast is also on Patreon, where you can grab an additional bonus show every month. Thanks so much for all of your support over there. December’s bonus episode is dropping soon! Read More…