Return of the Topic of Pop-Tarts: Part Two

 Continued from part one.

  First, the market has moved, but keeps up the appearance that it is the same. Parents don’t want to feed their kids this crap any more, well at least the parents that truly love their children. A long pause as I look, thoroughly unimpressed, knowingly and directly into the camera of the mind’s eye. Do you hear a piano? I continue. It is the schmos that are keeping this party going. People whose parents didn’t love them enough to feed them Pillsbury Toaster Strudels. People who don’t love themselves enough to feed themselves Pillsbury Toaster Strudels. People with doe eyed memories of eating pop-tarts in the past who are about to find out that the pavement, of the road, to nostalgia is sometimes broken and covered in ash and blood. Oh my god, are those, dead bodies in the smoke filled distance?

  Second, the temperature of consumption has drifted over the last fifty years. Nobody has thirty minutes to put into preparing a pop-tart. Broken down it is one minute for the locating of the pop-tart, opening of the sack, and placing those tasty bastards in the toaster. Two minutes for toasting. The remaining twenty-seven are left for the cooling down to a temperature that is safe for human consumption. If one does have thirty minutes, I am sure they can spend it preparing something better. Seriously, watch a half-hour cooking show!

  Lastly, for those people that are going to nosh some pop-tart goodness at any time of day beside your manufacturer’s suggested time, why not throw that demographic a bone. How about a line of brunch pop-tarts or beer sponging late night pop-tarts. What about pizza, bacon, or Doritos! Why not a cheese covered and gravy filled poutine pop-tart for us Canadians. While you’re at it, why not add that chemical that warms up when you shake it, get rid of the toaster all together. People can warm it up precisely to their liking. Put a pin in it.

  Let’s stand that last paragraph on its head and get an organic line going. “Same great taste, less interpreted by the Food Babe as toxic waste!” Whole grains, scratch that, ancient grains and mostly real fruit. I can almost hear the market shifting from here. Carb counters and gluten free enthusiasts are already starting to line up at Whole Foods. Impatiently flinging their kale smoothies upon the glass doors. “These spelt and beet pop-tarts are like, really really so good for you, because they are like organic. They help with muscle recovery and this is my recovery day. I bought them instead of vaccinating my children.”

  See Kellogg’s there is a whole new generation of people who don’t love their children. It is all right there and ready for the taking. Eat a bowl of Frosted Flakes and do what Tony the Tiger would do. No, I don’t mean break out of Toon Town and dominate hungry children upon the playing field. I mean “Get out there and fuckin’ do it!” or whatever his catch phrase is.

 

Return of the Topic of Pop-Tarts: Part One

  I had a fellow blogger comment on a previous post about pop-tarts. This blogger said, “One should always eat a Pop-tart cold. They’re just better that way!” A sentiment I wholeheartedly agree with Austin on. I remember as a child having a few pop-tarts in the morning. In hindsight they were  usually the precursor to a terrible day to follow. As a child of pleasantly plump proportions, I really enjoyed eating. I was not a fan of the hot pop-tart mostly because the last thing I would be able taste for the next two days was the boringly sweet bread and a split second of metallic tasting white hot fruit flavored fury.

  The other day my wife mentioned that she always thought of pop-tarts as a snackfood, but they were marketed as breakfast fare. Another sentiment I wholeheartedly agree with. Apparently pop-tarts were invented in a time when kids didn’t have time to eat breakfast and parents didn’t have time to dump some sugar coated flakes and milk in a bowl between swigs of whiskey and puffs of smoke. That has been Kellogg’s marketing plan the entire time, it hasn’t changed in fifty years. Now, that I am a mostly sentient adult, I have cast off Kellogg’s recommendations. I eat pop-tarts at the temperature I want, when I want. I am certain I am not alone on this.

  Come on over here Kellogg’s. Let me dump some knowledge on you. A gesture of my hand conjures a bear rug covered room. Next, to the roaring fire are two squishy broken-in high backed chairs and their matching ottomans. The scent of mahogany has worked its way into everything. I hear your bones crack and creak as you settle in to your chair of choice. When was the last time you sat down? Too much Frosted Flakes will make you pace. No one can keep up with Tony. Now, on with the knowledge!

(To be concluded.)

Cynicism and The Atheist Squirrel

  If you would have asked me a few years ago whether I was a cynic or an optimist, I would have told you I was the latter. Then I would have proceeded to tell you how big of a buzzkill I thought cynics were. I was akin to a squirrel, bopping from tree to tree, looking for nuts. When those nuts wouldn’t show up though, I would become horribly disappointed.

  I’m complicated, I have layers. It isn’t that I am the atheist squirrel and think the nuts don’t exist, it is that I don’t think I will find any. However – this is the complicated part – that doesn’t stop me from looking. What it does do, is temper my expectations and prevents me from being soul crushingly disappointed when my expectations are not met.

  I am no longer an optimist, I am not sure if I ever was. Regardless, now I am covered by the great big blanket of cynicism. It keeps me nice and temperate. I am never too cold. Beads of sweat don’t dampen my worried brow. Hell, my brow isn’t even all that worried because on some level, I have already dealt with that shit.

  Optimism on the other hand is a blanket that looks like the fabric was produced in a Kopi Luwak like process. Instead of involving a coffee bean pooping cat, it involves a rainbow cotton candy ingesting unicorn. Unicorn’s digestive tracts are far more complex than ours and leave much to speculation, but you know what I am getting at. However, this great billowy blanket turns out to be made from the starched nether hairs of the rare and entirely made up Golden Yak of Hoboken.

  I scratch the incessant itch. There is a hole in in the middle of the blanket. One of those kind of holes that I keep hooking with my foot and making worse. Speaking of feet, the blanket is so short they or my shoulders stick out of their respective ends. I turn the volume up on the television due to all the huffing and puffing I have to do the keep the tassel along the border of the blanket out of my face.

  By the time I realize that I have scratched through my skin to the point that I am bleeding, it is too late. I can’t find the phone to call an ambulance. Even if I could it wouldn’t matter because I’ve lost the remote in the blanket and the television is yelling at me about painting my lawn and shrubs green. I am sure the dispatcher would hear something like, “Help I’m bleeding to death, call now and receive a second bottle absolutely free.”

  My survival instinct kicks into overdrive! I leap off the couch in a last ditch effort to locate both the phone and the remote. I get tangled in the blanket and on way down, hit my head on the bidet. Why is there a bidet in the middle of my living room I ponder as blackness takes me? “Because optimism disappoints,” an ethereal voice answers. I am disappointed because I thought having a bidet would be so much cooler.

  Meanwhile, cynicism looks like a worn out, busted ass blanket that no washed up forty six year old child actor wants to use. A variety of hair is visible on the pilling sky blue bodice. There is a brown stain on it. I’m pretty sure it is chocolate milk, but I cannot be certain. Upon closer inspection one would find that there is an intoxicatingly comfortable softness to the material. Is that a valeur, cotton, polyester mix? “It is whatever you want it to be,” the same ethereal voice answers albeit with a note of contentment. Better yet, there is enough material to cover myself and a friend and still remain in the friendzone. There is even a nifty pocket for the remote and the phone. The best part? No tassels!

  Why? Because cynics have already thought of almost everything. What could go wrong, what could go right, and what could go wrong with the stuff that went right. Check your hope before you’re wrecked like a dope and check your expectations before you’re screaming damnations. Namaste.

Good Will Spoiler Alert

  I know these two guys, Hairdevil Pennysworth and Hairdevil Norington. I know, I thought it was weird too that they had the same first name. A name that I am not entirely certain of the origins of. Nor am I truly confident that it isn’t hyphenated or doesn’t have an umlaut. The irony that both of these men have shaved pates while having the name Hairdevil is not lost on me. For the sake of avoiding confusion and rambling any further, I will refer to them as Pennysworth and Norington.

   It was morning, we were drinking coffee. The sad puppies debacle had given us something to talk about. When the conversation began to veer like a great drunken baby. Soon after the quippy quote “Best Old-Fashioned SF the Way It Used to Be,” Robert E. Howard and Michael Moorcock were topics of conversation. From there it was all a blur, at least for a moment. I remember there were several points about the representation of the racial divide in Howard’s works. Look, it was the early 1900’s when he wrote the bulk of his work, society was different then. Although, judging by the news, not much different. Maybe he would still be a jerk, I digress.

  Maybe Pennysworth coffee was irish, maybe he just has a blatant disregard for spoiler alerts. For in the blink of an eye, he spilled the beans about the ending of a Moorcock story. I looked at Norington and said, “Well I guess we won’t have to read that one. Thanks for saving us three hundred pages, Pennysworth.” I finished.

  Before I get into what Pennysworth did next I would like to offer you, the reader, a way out. Assuming you have come this far. If you, for some reason have not read To Kill a Mockingbird or if you chased the events of it out of your head with booze, this is your chance to stop. I won’t be offended if you stop, but you may be disappointed.

  Pennysworth laughed deep from his belly as he absent-mindedly tightened the lid on metal coffee mug to the point that I thought it would shatter. He hid the search for his rebuttal behind a veil of a normal ambiguously late twenties, early thirty-somethings man. Once he had decided his intent with his next phrase, his laughter transformed into a cackle. Spittle frothed at the corners of his mouth and insanity gleamed in his eyes. A drop of blood welled at the edge of the canal of his right ear, “Yes! The world basically ends and they kill Tom Robinson in To Kill a Mockingbird!”

  Cat’s out of the bag now, if you didn’t know and you didn’t stop reading, that is on you. The big coincidence here is, unknowingly to Pennysworth I am reading To Kill a Mockingbird. I – mostly – read when I was a kid for the big book report, skipping pages, skimming for the plot points. I’ve wanted to read it in its entirety for years. I know what happens. I know what is coming. As of the night before this conversation, I just happen to be on page two seventy eight. Atticus has just sent the kids home with Calpurnia. The jury is heading to deliberations. I am at the exact point where a spoiler like this is most damaging. I have put in the time only to have the reward ripped from my hands at the very end. I could imagine what it would be like if I didn’t know and gave Pennysworth the business about it.

  Pennysworth and I are on amicable terms. I am going to finish reading To Kill A Mockingbird. Perhaps everyone should read it, whether they have done so before or not. As I previously stated, society doesn’t seem to have changed that much. If it has, it still has a long way to go. There doesn’t seem to be enough Finches and far too many Ewells.

Introverts and the Extroverts Who Say They Are.

  I am not an introvert. I am okay with admitting that. Pretty sure people who have met me know that already. I am mostly outgoing, boisterous, and above all else, hilarious. Alright, the last one has a tendency to not always be true, but I try. Constantly. Much to my friend’s and captive co-worker’s chagrine. I talk a lot, I generally introduce myself to people, and I almost always have a story. Huge groups of people aren’t my thing. Meeting new people all the time wears me out. Generally I don’t get in situations where I have to do that. I may not be the most extroverted of extroverts, but I am one.

 In recent years I have noticed a trend on the rise. Many of my extroverted kind – when it comes up in conversation – are saying, “I’m an introvert.” Why? It is cool to be an introvert! As introverts are perceived as being thoughtful and artsy. The cool quiet people that have their shit together and get shit done. Although those perceptions aren’t always true. I’ve known a few wallflowers that have quietly imploded from not having their shit together. I am also aware of a few silent types that, given the right conditions, can go on like a parrot vaccinated with a victrola needle. Some of them may just be really tired after.

  Introverts seem to get shit done because they aren’t necessarily seen standing around flappin’ their gums, doing funny dances that include gyrating hips, fist pumps, and squawking. They probably aren’t pulling pranks and coming up with funny nicknames to replace the funny nicknames they made up the day before. However they can do all of these things, there isn’t a hard rule. This isn’t pre-third edition Dungeons & Dragons. Your dwarf can be paladin or a mage.

  After a day of work, I am tired. I have worked hard and have extroverted. As I have gotten older I have found it more draining. I have never felt like going down to the club or local meat market. I may feel like going out to the pub, but only to be around people I already know. Mostly, I prefer to stay at home and read and write. Be in the company of my wife and dogs. I have had enough of being an extrovert for the day. I need to recharge my batteries and I do it by going into hermit mode. This does not make me an introvert, I am sure there are some hermits in the woods that would throw the best parties. Which is probably why they have been exiled in the first place.

   Due to having two categories to fall under, it seems a bit too black and white and causes some confusion. Many seem to treat it as a true or false question. Where true is tied to extrovertism and if one does one thing associated with introverts, the answer is false. Meaning that said person is an introvert. Which may not be the correct prognosis. It isn’t necessarily the average of what one does. Energy is also a factor. Whether activities and actions are invigorating or exhausting. Both answers are fine and both may not always be true at all times for the same person. As one ages, they may find that they need to recharge more than before. Which may be why they are picking more energy conserving and energizing activities. The kind that are stereotypically associated with introverts. In the end, just because one goes home tired and chooses to stay in and read doesn’t make them an introvert. It may just mean they talk too damn much!

And While I’m On the Topic of Peach Pies: Pop Tarts

  I don’t know why, but for some reason I’ve been Jonesing for a poptart. Not for the somewhat passable after the fall of western society S’more variety, but a fruit one, in particular blueberry. It seems that for the past year or so I have wanted one at odd times, after a run, post coital bliss, while watching Perfect Strangers. However, it never occurs to me to buy the things when I am at the grocery store. Leaving this craving unanswered, meaning it is one craving. Not these cravings, which implies that I have satisfied the craving and have had others.

  For those of you sheltered enough to somehow not know what a poptart is, they are tarts for people who lost their taste buds in some horrific explosion or for people who thought fifty year old preserves would go great between communion wafers.

  Poptarts are made from a pie crust like product that started out as more paste than dough. In the middle of this, bread pocket, is this near dehydrated jam stuff. If one springs for the deluxe box, there will even be some completely unsatisfying frosting on top.

  As I’ve alluded to, they are dry. I swear to google that the recipe for these things had to be rejected from the U.S. space program back in the sixties for being ever so slightly too moist. Go ahead and wikipedia it, I am a little too close for such an off the cuff remark.

 Of course, one could actually opt to put the poptarts in a toaster until they – as their name clearly states – pop. At which point consumers of hot poptarts should exercise caution, as freshly toasted poptarts will almost certainly scorch the tongue. Leaving a trail of destruction and smoldering taste buds that are unable to taste anything. Which could be a boon since the consumer is about to eat a poptart. It may also make no difference to them as, they are about to eat a poptart. Which is a sign that they aren’t using their tongue’s taste capacitors for the power of good or anything other than going to Wendy’s for some high-falutin square patty burger eatin’. So the consumer’s taste is non-applicable in the first place.

   Go ahead, put the poptarts  in the toaster. They may give the impression of being moist upon exiting, but they may also singe facial hair. If these molten bastards existed more than six hundred years ago, they would have been flung over castle walls. Bursting grass shit huts into flames and covering poor peons with incredibly hot and painfully sticky poptart innards. Thankfully, we only have to eat these things. Fortunately, I don’t have any in the house.

Hostess Peach Pie

  My wife and I went out for dinner the other night. One of our favorite places. A place that was once visited by Seventhia. Thankfully, she nor her helicopter parents or their royal – pain in ass – entourage were there this time. We ate our meal and had great conversation. We didn’t get dessert. Although, my sweet tooth was acting up. We finished our tea, paid and left.

  On our way home we walked the damp sidewalk hand and hand. My sweet tooth still beckoned between loving murmurs. Outside the dollar store, I spied a wrapper on the ground. My heart was a flutter, yet my brain denied that I was seeing what I was seeing. Yet it allowed me to start processing a plan for an impromptu trip into the dollar store to purchase what came in said wrapper.

  What was it? Well for those of you who don’t like to read titles. It was a Hostess peach pie. One of my favorite treats as a child and as it just so happened, that for the past few days, I had been craving a fruit pie. No, not one of those things your grandma made. Not some circular tart that you, if you have self control, cut into wedges and eat off of a plate. I mean those things that you buy at 7-11 or for the rural folk, the gas station. They are kind of shaped like tacos, but are tightly fluted shut for lack of a better term. Their crust is dry and crumbly. The fruit was harvested back when Germany was one country, the first time and jam packed full of so much sugar that it will still taste fresh for years to come. As long as your definition of fresh is the coagulated syrupy sugar of a thousand soft drinks.

  They also don’t seem to exist. Sure maybe the cherry and apple are able to be found and other brand names at that. But the peach pie is a rare delicacy in this day and age of frowning upon gluten, trans fat, monosodium glutamate and everything else that makes eating wonderful.

 I have read, on the internet, that Hostess peach pies “are the best thing I have ever tasted,” and that “they are the closest thing to lambdas bread we have in our world.” To that I say, why aren’t elves fatter. Why aren’t there a bunch of fat fuck wood elves huffin and puffin in the forest, ripping their green tights and snapping tree branches?

  Anyway, it wasn’t a peach pie wrapper. I don’t know what it was. Once I was actually close enough to read, there were tears of disappointment filling my eyes and the pains of a breaking heart in my chest. Which is actually better than the chest pains I would have eventually gotten from the pie.