POP HAZMAT … CANDY WE LOVED AS KIDS: BUBBLE YUM posted by Jonathan Kieran

GOODREADS MEMBERS Click Here for a Chance to Win a Giveaway Copy of Rowan Blaize and the Hand of Djin Rummy by Jonathan Kieran. The Contest runs until June 10!

Watch the Rowan Blaize Book Trailer HERE.
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HAZMAT-RETRO HALL OF FAME: CANDY WE LOVED AS KIDS! by JONATHAN KIERAN

TODAY’S DUBIOUS HONOREE: BUBBLE YUM BUBBLE GUM

All Hail the Holy Grail of Childhood Chewing Gum!

All Hail the Holy Grail of Childhood Chewing Gum!

RUDIMENTARY ANALYSIS: Bubble Yum Bubble Gum was the gum that children of my generation had only ever dreamed of encountering. It was the Messiah of chewing gums. The Wad that came down from Heaven. Flimsy, pathetic slices of Wrigley’s and chalky squares of Bazooka burned to ash, like vampires exposed to sunlight, when Bubble Yum came along. When we discovered Bubble Yum’s glory, we sang hymns of praise and fell writhing to the ground in thanksgiving, slain in the spirit. Every brightly colored pack of boffo-flavored Bubble Yum was like a trove of pirate’s treasure. You hoarded your Bubble Yum like a dragon hoards gold, or like an old lady with Borderline Personality Disorder hoards cats — by the dozens, even until your Bubble-Yum (like the old lady’s cats) grew stale, dry and forgotten in some dark closet, never to be seen again until city inspectors and news-crews arrived to take you off to the Booby Hatch. You gnashed your teeth and tried to bite people who threatened to take your Bubble Yum away from you, and you could do some damage, too, because your jaw muscles were so ripped from constant chewing! You never shared your pieces of Bubble Yum or, if you did, it was only within the context of a high-security schoolyard transaction on par with NYSE mergers & acquisitions or the transfer of millions in untraceable funds to the Cayman Islands. Bubble Yum was clout. Bubble Yum was POWER. Bubble Yum was CHILDHOOD.

Bubble-Blowing: The Most Character Building Experience of Innocent Youth

Bubble-Blowing: The Most Character Building Experience of Innocent Youth! Photo courtesy of businessinsider.com

DEFINITIVE QUALITY: More than just a flavorful means of making your mouth tough enough to gnaw tree-trunks faster than the baddest beaver in any dam, Bubble Yum was a multi-purpose candy! For example, you could upgrade your backyard clubhouse to meet earthquake-reinforced structural guidelines with just one summer’s worth of masticated Bubble Yum wads. You could also blow a huge bubble, take it out of your mouth and let it sit on the bedpost overnight until it hardened into something durable enough to kick-around the soccer field the next day. Or, you could blow two big Bubble Yum bubbles, stretch out some holes in the dangling wad-portions, put your arms through them and spend all day conquering a turbulent ocean with your awesome new flotation devices. If little Susie next door made you mad, you could just creep up behind her when she wasn’t looking and stick a mouthful of Bubble Yum in her hair, up near the base of the scalp. Susie’s mother would be forced to dunk her daughter’s locks in turpentine or else shave her head entirely, thereby ensuring Susie’s immediate preparation for a future in the nunnery, far away from your Hot Wheels collection and your G.I. Joe action-figures, which she shouldn’t have been messing-around with in the first place. Bubble Yum took no prisoners, suffered no fools, and it never, EVER let a kid down in a moment of need.

Bubble Yum ... Epoxy a Kid Could Really Get into Trouble With!

Bubble Yum … Epoxy a Kid Could Really Get into Trouble With!

LAMENTABLE LEGACY: Although Bubble Yum is akin to the Holy Grail and worthy of all veneration, it’s never a good idea to fall asleep with some in your mouth. When you’re nine. I’m pretty sure I still have a baseball-sized wad of grape-flavor lodged somewhere in my lower intestine. It’s a burden I am never the less proud to bear.

Layin' Some of that Sweet Bubble Yum Filler!

Layin’ Some of that Sweet Bubble Yum Filler!

BRUSH WITH SCANDAL: Even the very youngest among us is not likely to have forgotten the Great Spider-Egg Scandal of 1977. I believe it is currently being taught in public school history-books alongside Watergate and the Iran-Contra Affair. That seems appropriate, given that the Great Spider-Egg Scandal of 1977 was a an earth-shattering cultural crisis of colossal proportions. It seems that a rumor was started to the effect that Bubble Yum chewing gum was so delectably soft to the palates of innocent little children because Life Savers (maker of Bubble Yum) was putting spider-eggs into the mix down at the ol’ Bubble Yum Factory! Upon hearing of this, mothers across the nation ran screaming into the streets, pulling their curlers out of their hair, flagellating themselves with bedroom slippers or Harlequin Romance “novels” and, of course, yanking tons of Bubble Yum wads from the reluctant lips of their little darlings. Life-Savers actually had to launch a nationwide campaign with full-page ads in major newspapers like the New York Times, reassuring parents that their beloved offspring were not chomping-down on mouthfuls of spew from the ass-end of a Black Widow. The irony is that kids would have bought or begged for TWICE as much Bubble Yum if we knew beyond a shadow of doubt that it was being made with spider eggs. Corporate Candy Executives. They never understand anything.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?: Still Keeping Children Happy and Afloat on the Tempestuous Torrent of Time … with a diversified portfolio of Bubble Yum Soda and Breyers Bubble Yum Ice Cream products. There IS a God.

And He clearly wants you to be a toothless diabetic.
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Escape the Imminent Collapse of Civilization, Friends, if only for a few hours. A sweeping modern fairy-tale is born with the Rowan Blaize series of books. Click on the book covers to the right or have a look below …

Book One = The magical cornerstone – a lavishly illustrated epic narrative poem … a genuine “spell” for the young and young-at-heart to treasure for a lifetime, telling the story of sorcerer Rowan Blaize’s battle to regain his magic powers. (Think Beowulf-meets-Dr.Seuss or an epic story-in-verse of a scope similar to Tolkien’s soon-to-be-released The Fall of Arthur, only contemporary.)

Book Two = The rip-roaring novel that continues the adventures of Rowan Blaize and introduces the three hilarious witches of the Ancient City, along with its dysfunctional werewolves, wraiths, ghosts, vampires, dryads, banshees and a beauty pageant brat that might just destroy the world.

Book Three = The next novel that finds Rowan trapped by a spell in another world, caught between a faery-squashing sorceress who’ll stop at nothing to conquer the kingdom … and a feisty teenage prince who’s determined to get it back.

Click here to purchase the Kindle e-books and watch a video of Jonathan discussing his work.
__________________________________________
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound
Books-A-Million
Rowan Blaize Official Website
Goodreads

POP HAZMAT QUESTIONABLE CHILDHOOD CANDY HALL OF FAME: “STARBURST” by Jonathan Kieran

GOODREADS MEMBERS Click Here for a Chance to Win a Giveaway Copy of Rowan Blaize and the Hand of Djin Rummy by Jonathan Kieran. The Contest runs until June 10!

Watch the Rowan Blaize Book Trailer HERE.
__________________________________

HAZMAT-RETRO HALL OF LAME: LOVABLY QUESTIONABLE CANDY FROM CHILDHOOD! by JONATHAN KIERAN

TODAY’S DUBIOUS HONOREE: STARBURST FRUIT CHEWS!

starburst

RUDIMENTARY ANALYSIS: What follows is a (verbatim) “flashback scene” from one of my elementary school classes.

During this class, our halitosis-stricken teacher, Miss Marion “Spaghetti Legs” McGrady, was attempting to gauge local nutritional values from an informal survey of our confused and disenchanted brains. During the course of the lesson, she asked various students questions about their own “healthy food choices and experiences” at home. Unfortunately, she chose to petition our obese and somewhat oily classmate, Ronald Frakey, in this regard. Ronald’s mother, Lurlene Frakey, was well-known for spending entire mornings and afternoons sitting on her dilapidated front porch in curlers, a bathrobe and tatty pink bedroom slippers, sipping regularly from a bottle of Jack Daniels and often complaining to her deaf, one-eyed cat, Boogers, about the rising cost of menthol cigarettes.

crazed teacher

Spaghetti Legs McGrady, however, was apparently unaware that the Frakey household was a less-than-ideal source from which to extract useful information about the Four Food Groups. On this particular day, Spaghetti Legs was fixated on the importance of fruit in the human diet. The rest of us were breathless with anticipation as she focused her powers of inquisition upon Ronald.

MISS McGRADY: “Ronald Frakey. You look like a well-fed little boy. Why, I can tell by your complexion that Crisco is used rather frequently around your house. That means your mother must be a gifted chef de cuisine!”

RONALD FRAKEY: “A what?”

MISS McGRADY: “A good cook.”

RONALD FRAKEY: “Well, she can microwave a plate of Twinkies real good, if that’s what you mean. She’s got it timed real perfect, too, so the creamy fillin’ doesn’t even burn the skin off our tongues anymore!”

MISS McGRADY: “Never mind that, Frakey. Today’s discussion is about the importance of fresh fruit in any balanced diet, especially for growing children like yourself. What role does fruit play in your family’s nutritional infrastructure, Ronald?”

RONALD FRAKEY: “Role? Well, we have rolls every Thanksgiving. Mama hits my sister, Vicki, over the head with one o’ them Pillsbury canisters. See, Vicki’s got sort of a pointed head, like the peak of a roof or somethin’, and the doctors don’t know why, but they say her skull is prolly gonna be thick like that until she turns sixteen. Maybe. Maybe not. We just have to wait and see, you know? I sure dunno why Vicki’s head is shaped like that, but one time I overheard my Aunt Betty say it was ’cause Vicki’s real daddy is some fella what goes by the name of ‘Jack Daniels.’ Now, I dunno if I ever met nobody named ‘Jack Daniels.’ Maybe. Maybe not. But Mama says, ‘Hell, if the girl’s head is gonna be thick as a butcher-block until she’s thirty she might as well make herself useful.” So she clubs her with that Pillsbury can every Thanksgiving and Vicki doesn’t even feel a thing on account of the bone thickness and out pops them rolls, like it was magic. They go real good with our pork chop, too. Uh … does that answer your question ’bout rolls, Mizz McGrady?”

MISS McGRADY: “No, Ronald Frakey. It certainly does not. Excuse me for a moment, class, while I get the small silver flask of homeopathic medicinal liquid that I keep in the bottom drawer of my desk. Don’t be alarmed. You have all seen me utilize this crucial and massage therapist-prescribed treatment on numerous occasions as I guide you to ever-greater heights of scholastic achievement. One day, many of you will also find yourselves taking advantage of cutting-edge herbal remedies to shield yourselves from the relentless horrors and unendingly dark, harrowing terrors of adult life. [Gulp. GULP.] Ah. There. That’s much better. Now, Mr. Frakey, I was not speaking of rolls that one consumes in the manner of puffed pastries and what-not. I was speaking of the role of fruit. The part that it plays in the fortifying bosom of your family’s nutritional regimen. Can you tell us the part that fruit plays in the Frakey domicile? Tell us about fruit, Ronald!”

RONALD FRAKEY: “Aw, heck, Mizz McGrady. I can tell you all ’bout that! Why didn’tcha just come right out and ask me the first time? Fruit’s great and wonderful.”

MIZZ McGRADY: “Now we’re getting somewhere. What is your favorite kind of fruit, Ronald?”

RONALD FRAKEY: “Starburst! Them pink ones. But I suppose I like the other colors just as much, too. Maybe. Maybe not. Why, I can sit down and eat a whole pack in ten minutes, I reckon.”

MIZZ McGRADY: “Mr. Frakey! Starburst is categorically not a fruit.”

RONALD FRAKEY: “Well, now. I dunno ’bout that, Mizz McGrady. It says on the TV in that fun little commercial they do: ‘Starburst fruit chews. A burst o’ refreshin’ fruit flavor for you.’ Now, if that ain’t fruit, then I’d like to know what a galldurned fruit is. I mean, they say the word ‘fruit’ twice in one song. Seems simple to me. You chew it and it bursts with flavor. Fruit flavor. TV don’t lie. They couldn’t say it twice if it weren’t true. And it ain’t just any fruit, it’s fruit for YOU.”

MIZZ McGRADY: “Ronald Frakey! I fear that your nutritional education has been sorely neglected when you consider a processed, tooth-rotting, wax-covered square of solidified corn-syrup to be a member of the FRUIT FAMILY! I can see now that I am going to have to arrange an immediate emergency conference with your mother and father!”

ma frakey

RONALD FRAKEY: “Oh, you can’t do that, Mizz McGrady. See, Daddy fell into that grinder down there to the Potted Meat factory eight years ago, and they still don’t figure they got all the pieces of him to toss in the casket, so he ain’t gonna be much help to anybody. And Mama … well, Mama don’t like to leave Boogers all by hisself in the house. He’s deaf and he’s only got one eye, see, so he tends to get confused and piss all over Mama’s National Enquirer magazines if she ain’t watchin’ him every minute, you know? Mama believes in the importance of readin’ and, you bein’ a teacher and all, Mizz McGrady, I’m sure you wouldn’t want to take my Mama away from literature. Not for one single solitary minute. Not for fruit. Maybe. Maybe not. Besides, Mama hands us all a brand new packet of the Starburst every time she makes a beer-run to the Handy-Grab, and she says to me and Vicki, she says: ‘Here now, you kids take this. This here’s a little packet of good healthy fruit. You both need some vitamins in your system this week and I’ll be damned if I’m wastin’ a food stamp on a bag o’ them overpriced oranges. Let those fools in Florida eat ’em, seein’ as they grow ’em like weeds down there! You won’t catch me peelin’ one of them things. Plus, in this Starburst pack, you get more’n one kind of fruit! See? Look here, it’s got watermelon, strawberry, orange, lemon and mango. I read somewhere in the Enquirer that mangoes is supposed to be extra good for you. Make your bowels spin like a waterwheel durin’ flood-time, mangoes will.’ So, Mizz McGrady, you can call Mama to talk about fruit all you want, but she already knows all about that sort of thing. Why, I bet she can prolly teach you a thing or two. You might even want have the Principal Hickens hire her to replace that Home Economics lady who up and quit to marry the undertaker last month. I don’t expect Mama’s lookin’ for a job, but can it hurt to ask? Maybe. Maybe not.”

MIZZ McGRADY: Class. Uh … please open your history books to the … to the … oh, well … to any chapter you want, really. I don’t care. Just read silently amongst yourselves for about half an hour. I … I need to go to the teacher’s lounge for some important … for some … for a little lie-down. Now … hey. Has anyone seen my small silver receptacle of homeopathic medication? Class? This is not amusing! CLASS! Who in Hell’s Bells swiped that flask of gin?”

desks

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DEFINITIVE QUALITY: You heard it from Ronald Frakey and rest assured that millions of satisfied children around the world sing the joyous refrain even today: “Starburst fruit chews! A burst of refreshing fruit flavor for YOU!”

BRUSH WITH GREATNESS: The glory of Starburst is exceeded only by its illustrious progeny … it’s not every candy that can give birth to a SKITTLE.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?: Starburst is still mesmerizing children from its place of honor atop 7-11 candy displays everywhere. Ronald Frakey has been in and out of jail since murdering Boogers the cat with a can of Pillsbury Thanksgiving rolls. Mrs. Frakey’s liver (which is all that remains of her) is preserved in a jar on a shelf at the Institute of Cirrhosis Research & Prevention in Ottawa, Ontario. Miss Marion McGrady never came back from the teacher’s lounge. Her whereabouts are unknown.

SPRUCE IT UP WITH A COCKTAIL!: Pop one of those beguiling little squares into your next Mango Margarita. It’s good, healthy fruit … and your bowels will move like a waterwheel. Trust Mama Frakey.

_______________________________________

Escape the Imminent Collapse of Civilization, Friends, if only for a few hours. A sweeping modern fairy-tale is born with the Rowan Blaize series of books …

Book One = The magical cornerstone – a lavishly illustrated epic narrative poem … a genuine “spell” for the young and young-at-heart to treasure for a lifetime, telling the story of sorcerer Rowan Blaize’s battle to regain his magic powers. (Think Beowulf-meets-Dr.Seuss or an epic story-in-verse of a scope similar to Tolkien’s soon-to-be-released The Fall of Arthur, only contemporary.)

Book Two = The rip-roaring novel that continues the adventures of Rowan Blaize and introduces the three hilarious witches of the Ancient City, along with its dysfunctional werewolves, wraiths, ghosts, vampires, dryads, banshees and a beauty pageant brat that might just destroy the world.

Book Three = The next novel that finds Rowan trapped by a spell in another world, caught between a faery-squashing sorceress who’ll stop at nothing to conquer the kingdom … and a feisty teenage prince who’s determined to get it back.

Click here to purchase the Kindle e-books and watch a video of Jonathan discussing his work.
__________________________________________

Barnes and Noble
IndieBound
Books-A-Million
Rowan Blaize Official Website
Goodreads