Monday Meditations : 5/31/21

    We're about to go see the Saw spin-off, remake, prequel, sequel, what-have-you. I never really had any interest in the Saw franchise. I was more of a Final Destination girl and I'm not ashamed to admit this. But we're about to go to the movies. And choices are unremarkable and lame. Aside from the secure, private seclusion of our rented out theater experience in seeing The Wizard of Oz, it's been over a year since the last time. My stomach is in a knot with a thousand butterflies. I'm about to perform a ritual for all intents and purposes is the very essence of who I am. Who cares if this isn't scary or if the effects make me lol? I will cherish this moment for the rest of my life. A return, forward in motion, to being the person I once was.

- Babes

1. "Deanna" By Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

2. "Baby, Now That I've Found You" by The Foundations

3. "Suspirium" by Thom Yorke

4. "Carrie-Anne" by The Hollies

5. "Blackhole" by Beck

6. "Cupid" by Sam Cooke

7. "Green Onions" by Booker T. and the MGs

8. "Hole In My Shoe" by Traffic

9. "Sad Movies (Make Me Cry)" by Sue Thompson

10. "Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye" by Leonard Cohen



The deal is that you can eat whatever you want, and Summer will just sweat the extra pounds off.

I was sorta half-hoping to not do another installment of this - partly because I wasn't able to find any snacks worthy of my time & teeth. And then, in predictable Summer fashion, they found me. I don't know how but they found me. I mean, I wasn't even looking - that's how detached I was - but they say that's how you find what you want; and I mos def be wantin' some of these.

Let's look at some snacks.

- Paul

Reese's Ultimate Peanut Butter Lovers

Chocolate and peanut butter - now that's a winning combination! But now they're on trial separation, and peanut butter is living a sexy and slutty single life, and I couldn't be more aroused. I always felt there was a weakness in basic Reese's cups, and I always suspected it was the chocolate.

Dry, chalky Reese's peanut butter is its own unique thing, and for a limited time, it is no longer compromised by the weakness of its Hershey's chocolate shelter; it's a figurative peep show and we've all been invited to come.


Whatchamacallit is like God to Bennett Media, and its late 80s/early 90s ad campaign is the Lord's Prayer. And like the Son of God, 2009's Thingamajig died on the hill and has now resurrected as the divine Whozeewhatzit. Consisting of chocolate crisps and an excessive serving of peanut butter, this savior is all outta mercy and we're in for a delightfully sinful Summer.

Twizzlers Mystery Flavor

Look, I don't even necessarily like this goddamn candy to begin with. I mean, it's fine, but I'll never choose it if there's a choice. But, for the second year in a row they pulled some shit and now here we are... A "mystery flavor" - and we all love a good mystery in our mouth. As far as taste: it's that same sorta waxy, subtle sweetness you get from the traditional strawberry brand -- but better! The real trick is to stick your nose in the package and breathe deep - that's where the hint lies. It's fruity, that's for damn sure, and familiar as all hell. I might even suggest it's an attempt at a "fruit punch" medley (with heavy shades of grape). Whatever it is, it's pretty good.

Haribo Goldbears Summer Edition

I don't know what to tell you - fruit-flavored gummies with corresponding colors is a year-round experience. (Not to be picky but this is serious business.) I suppose peaches and mangoes are more seasonal than oranges and lemons (?), but what counts most is that they've tried; I just wish the bear was actually wearing those friggin' sunglasses.

But more notable than anything is the passion fruit - a true blessing to have a purple candy that isn't automatically assigned to grape. May this become a trend.

Chips Ahoy! S'mores

Ever since Nabisco's Suddenly S'mores came out back in 1990, my journey in life has been to seek out new s'more-themed snacks to fill the hole left by their departure (short of actually making real s'mores). So here's the latest: Chips Ahoy! with a chocolate center and petite marshmallows on top.

The package suggests that you microwave them for 9-10 seconds (somewhere in there), which is an extra step I was willing to take at least once to determine the reward of this effort. The result is a delightfully soft, freshly-baked cookie experience... but it ain't no s'more, and it sure as shit ain't no Suddenly S'more.

Pepsi Blue

I wasn't aware of any hype around this, but apparently it's quite sought-after in some circles -- me, I just stumbled upon it. The label is so subtle that I nearly passed it by; have you ever seen bottled soda in a convenience store cooler? It appears quite black. I suppose it's supposed to be an American flag aesthetic (?) - again, I don't really know what the campaign was, but I thought "Pepsi Blue" at least sounded cool (even if it does sound more like a fragrance). And then the label clued me in: "Berry Flavored Cola." I've talked before about my suspicion re. "berry" flavor - the spectrum is too broad for any psychological preparation, as well acting as a lazy device to deflect any criticism concerning its ability to resemble any specific fruit. I can tell you: it's appropriately sweet, but not too syrupy. But not quite bubbly or fizzy enough either. It doesn't taste like the 'blues' of my childhood (which were typically 'Blue Raspberry'), and so, predictably, I don't really know where to place it. I wish, at the very least, it was terrible so I'd have more to discuss, but the sad truth is that it's completely forgettable -- I didn't even finish the 20 oz. bottle. 

Do yourself a favor and spend the Summer with the recently renewed Pepsi Mango that made 2019 such a delight. Your tongue will thank me!


Monday Meditations : 5/24/2021

    The first hot days, after a millennia of subzero temperatures, require careful planning. Listening and viewing choices shan't be chosen lightly. Set the mood for the season. Will it be a twirly dress with wild unmanageable hair, paired with sweet white wines and cheese plates summer? A lot of daytime-set indie movies and Lana Del Rey? Or is it a bloody vacation? Campers getting picked off and butchered while Freddy tries to keep me from waking up? Pizza or chinese? Pizza and Chinese? It's hot today. It's been a long time. I'm gonna start with walking into The Dark Knight. And cranking these in the car...

- Babes

1. "Bringing On the Heartbreak" by Def Leppard

2. "Over Under Sideways Down" by The Yardbirds

3. "Perfect Way" by Scritti Politti

4. "Cruel to Be Kind" by Nick Lowe

5. "Magic Man" by Caravan

6. "Aqualung" by Jethro Tull

7. "Let's Live For Today" by The Grass Roots

8. "The Power" by SNAP!

9. "Wicked Game" by Chris Isaak

10. "Hurdy Gurdy Man" by Donovan


Summer Starter Pack 2021

It's Summer! Have we mentioned that?

Not to let this become mechanical, but we really needed it this year, so we're savoring every step of the way. In fact, we're so excited that we're expanding the Starter Pack into separate (but unified) parts -- y'know, like "The White Album." We're submitting to you two entirely different lists of Summer projects: some we'll do for a weekend, some we'll smoke down to the filter, but all are assuredly groove approved (and this is the time for our meatiest grooves). 

Help yourself, fucker!

The Paul List

The Herschell Gordon Lewis Feast

I received this gaudy monstrosity 3 Christmases ago, and I've barely scratched the surface. 14 movies from The Godfather of Gore (most of which I've never seen), various documentaries, some kinda crazy press kit full of cereal box/placemat activities -- all contained in a tome the size of a Taschen book.

I get it; I know what I'm in for, I get the vibe - enough to know that this is Summer Horror in its purest form: loud & red & nude. I'll engage in plenty of warm weather traditions this year (and every year), but I feel blessed when something clearly has the potential to begin a new chapter, and I revel in my freedom to consciously initiate things like that.

There's also much to be said about 'box sets': don't they make you feel rich? I mean, like, wealthy? And it's great to have some director- or genre-specific filmography compiled in a shiny box, but it's such an overwhelming thrill when it's full of stuff that's new to you.

Legend of Zelda Marathon

Yeah alright, I'm playing old video games all Summer long - big f'n deal, I know. But as true as that is, why exactly am I telling you? Because, to paraphrase Lt. Vincent Hanna of the LAPD, "When I think of Zelda... Legend of Zelda... somethin' comes outta me."

As you know, I don't do any games later than 1993, so this 'binge' will include only the first three Zelda games (the "Original Trilogy"), in order of their release. I realize that demonstrates a non-linear narrative, but I never really understood that part - and I used to read the shit outta those game manuals. And while the convoluted 'story' was always subtext for me, these games (and most of the other retro efforts as well) forge a fantastical frame of mind with their patterns and rhythms of shapes and sounds, and they very much transport me into these worlds of haunted forests and dangerous deserts. The gameplay is secondary to these 3 different (though somewhat similar) flavors of meditation, and bring enough Summertime energy to carry you through the season. 

Let's Get Some Shit!

We were swindled out of a great many discoveries and acquisitions in the year of our lord 2020, but now as stuff is lifted and things are immunized, we have every intention of making up for lost time -- because we get the shit. Not from stores necessarily because there aren't any (though we may pick up a snack or two), but we'll continue to take advantage of things like forthcoming sales from Vinegar Syndrome, Criterion, and probably all the others. We'll be sure to keep eBay and Etsy in business. Shops like Gutter Garbs, Local Boogeyman, and Redbubble will resume clothing us. But when all is said and done, it's the flea markets that land somewhere in the Top 5 of All Things Summer, and they're an important lubricant in our ongoing orgy of oddities. We've never not been proactive in sharing booty pics via social media (particularly our Instagram), so between that & our videos of Shit, there'll be a consistent, high volume of product placement in your various feeds. And like everything we do, we ask that you return the favor. 

The Babes List

The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs

   There really isn't much left that I get excited about in terms of media, and I don't mean drippy crotch wet. I mean full-on geekgasm nostalgia overload, sending vibrations through your whole body, and snapping your synapses into a swirling vortex of sweet, tender love. I crave that as much as addicts need their fix. And I get it so very little. With film and television in a fucking dump, you have to take your time holding your nose as you sift through the shit, to get to the real gold. And then, if you're lucky, a shiny red Texan jewel will appear. And for a while, everything is alright because you will have this man to explain the real important things to you - if you know what I mean (and I think you do). 

   I am made of fudgesicles, all-you-can-eat Wendy's salad bar, Def Leppard, and horror movies. It's what she watched, so it's what I heard in utero. I watched them with her as a baby and as I grew up. I've seen lots of them. And Joe Bob was essential to this. His earliest program introduced me to a lot of different  body counts that I wouldn't have even thought to rent from the video store. And having no one else to share a love of cinema with, he immediately became my first geek crush. He loved my favorite thing. 

  Now he's back and doing this thing all over again. Because what we need - specifically the spooky sort of folk - is a leader. Catch him with us when he goes live on Shudder at 9pm est. Make sure you are fully prepared with your Lone Star beer and high fat foods. You're won't be sorry. Welcome to the Mutant Family.

Black Summer

  A couple of years ago, I read a tweet by Stephen King that was hyping a new scary show on Netflix. Ordinarily I wouldn't care. It's not that I don't take the great nightmare maestro himself seriously. I just don't like homework. The moment someone tells me to watch something, I've checked out. And it's usually a total loss of interest. But it was how he phrased his recommendation that really grabbed my attention. 

"Just when you think there's no more scare left in zombies, THIS comes along. Existential hell in the suburbs, stripped to the bone." 

  So I took the bait. I decided to watch an episode on my own. I didn't think Paul would have any interest. He disliked the tropes even more than I did. I remember texting him during the show. I told him I was watching an episode of a series that was fucking killing it, and that we needed to watch it together. We pursued this nail-biter - watching the whole thing in one or two days. Now go sit and stare for a while and feel its anxiety. Bennett Media gives it 4 stars. Ignore the goofy blue filter though. I hate that too. Everything else works. And season 2 starts June 17th, so make sure you finish before then. 

Eerie, Indiana - The Complete Series

   Some things in this world were just made for us. This show was one of those things. And it was for me. And only me. It fell out of the sky at the height of my Joe Dante obsession. A kids show. Spooky and mysterious in nature. Produced by Dante, some episodes Directed by Dante, and all episodes containing repeat actors in Dante's films. This little gem aired between September 1991 and April 1992.  Long enough to suck me in deep. 

   And then it was cancelled like anything cool when you were a kid. I very seldom caught a rerun on television after that. People I grew up with didn't remember it. So it basically disappeared from my life. But my best friend Paul bought me an out-of-print tangible copy from eBay, likely for a million dollars, just so I can take a nostalgia trip. And with that, every Friday night I'm gonna sit cross-legged in front of my TV, and watch my little show, with some Oreo Cookies and milk. 



What's more Summery than a big splashy movie sequel? How about trading cards depicting that very concept...?

Sometimes a "Part 2" can feel like a callback for a job or a second date; we feel blessed with the opportunity to have some more of whatever the first one had. And in the case of some (or all) of these first movies, they pulled in enough cash to blow on decadent marketing and frivolous merchandise for their follow-up -- like these here cards.

I've pulled a single from each of these series - some are obvious choices, some are not, it really doesn't matter cuz I'm gonna talk about all of 'em and you're gonna hear about it. At the very least, these movies shape a very tight 'culture sphere' (1989-1992); a period that makes me think of trading cards. And sequels.

- Paul

GHOSTBUSTERS II (#31) "Spengler Means Business" -- Topps, 1989

Egon was my favorite. I could try and think of reasons here in this moment, but when I was a kid, he just was. I have a complicated, "happy to be stuck with you" relationship with this movie, but one of its weird strengths is that it is - for better or worse - a live action cartoon: legitimizing the array of candy and toys and trading cards it generated. It had a different tone than the first, and collectible ephemera like this helped me embrace it. 

BATMAN RETURNS (#43) -- Topps Stadium Club, 1992

This movie had two entirely different sets of cards: the cheap standard ones on faded cardboard, and then there was this glossy, gorgeous, expensive set that fully captured the shiny blackness of the film. I didn't exactly pick a card that best illustrates their luster, but I don't care - so rarely do I get a chance to talk about the Bat Missile! It's a fun surprise within the context of the scene, but more than that, it's the coolest gadget any Batman has given us in any iteration of the franchise. Take that, Bat Sled.

T2 (#40) "The T-1000 Dispatches Lewis the Guard" -- Impel, 1991

I'm sure the budget allowed for at least one more split screen gag, but why bother when we've got Don and Dean Stanton - the identical twin character actors of our collective youth (Good Morning, Vietnam, Gremlins 2, Mom & Dad Save the World). And just thinking of their scene in this helps me realize that this mainstream Action triumph was one of the most awesomely brutal Slasher pics ever marketed to an unsuspecting public. Were we ever so lucky?

BACK TO THE FUTURE PART II (#74) "More Good News!" -- Topps, 1989

Not the most graphically compelling card in the series, but it allows a longer look at a brief visual gag we might've otherwise missed; explicitly put, "Nixon to Seek Fifth Term - Vows End to Vietnam War by 1985." Who knows how many tiny details they threw in this and stuff like this (this movie should be championed just for its easter eggs alone), but one thing's for sure: don't allow the high school bully to rise to power, because the world will burn. 



 How you feelin'? Been doin' ok? Enjoying the weather? You catch the game last night? You get your shot? But most importantly... do you feel lucky?

That's okay, cuz we can get you some - through the courtesy of one Karen Duffy.

For the duration of Summer 2021, we may yearn for blu-rays, junk food, music, literature, posters, and all the other shit we like to look at, but really, we just want that human connection - a bond with an older woman who can make us feel mature and provide a feeling a self-worth more than any ill-gotten carte blanche could. 

So join us this season, because Bennett Media's Gettin' Lucky With Karen Duffy, and we like it more when people watch. 

You know we wait long & hard for this time of year, and we save most of what we like to do & say for a setting where everything is hot & alive. We've got new (to us) movies to see, new snacks to try, dark experiences to share, and old girlfriends to call. Without getting too specific, it'll be the same - just different. If it's been cancelled, we're rebooting it. If it has a commercial, we'll try it today. If it shows up on our radar, we're gonna put it on yours. Like us, follow us, touch us, heal us. This is the big moment, kids, so until you find that Zoltar machine, we're your blank check to unadulterated adulthood (without all the "adulting").

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