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Friday, August 01, 2014

Odd Flavour Combos That Surprisingly Work



All right.  Who will admit to watching "Sharknado 2: The Second One" a couple of nights ago?

I'll admit it.  I'll raise my hand in shame.  I watched the film.  I really have no idea why, as I found the original "Sharknado" movie to be so bad it was quite amusing.  I suppose that you could say the same for the sequel.  The sequel - which starred Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Vivica A. Fox, Kari Wuhrer, and Mark "Sugar Ray" McGrath drew an impressive 3.9 million viewers on SyFy.  Not sure how well it was rated in Canada, as it aired on Space TV, but given the buzz that it received on Facebook and Twitter, I figured that it must have also done well here.

Sure, the film had a stupid concept.  Tornadoes that happen to be filled with sharks of all sizes come speeding towards the heart of New York City with the mission of destroying the entire city, and Fin (Ziering), the man who saved Los Angeles one year earlier from a deadly sharknado must do the same with New York.

And the movie is filled with a whole bunch of impossible situations.  For one, I have my doubts that any of us will see a sharknado any time soon (unless global warming really gets out of balance).  I'm also going to go on a whim and say that if a sharknado did materialize out of thin air that the majority of people would not be lollygagging on the city streets window shopping hoping that they won't get crushed by flaming sharks raining down on them.

But yet, the sequel to "Sharknado" is getting great reviews, despite the fact that many others thought that it would never work.  I mean, there is no way I can even picture sharks and tornadoes coming together to create a modern day pop culture phenomenon, but for some crazy reason, it worked out brilliantly.

Now, here's the question.  What exactly does Sharknado have to do with today's food topic?

Well, aside from the fact that I suppose that the people of New York City could have eaten barbecued shark at the end of the movie, there's not much that Sharknado would have in common with a
FOODIE FRIDAY theme.

But what about taking two or more foods that you would never think would blend together to create a surprisingly delicious flavour combination?  That's the topic of the day.

Certainly since the history of culinary arts began, people have been experimenting with ingredients to come up with food magic.  Some of the experiments turn out to be flavour disasters, but some of them have become the next taste sensation.  I mean, there was once a time in which people never expected sour cream and onions to go together, and yet those two things have been instrumental in one of the more popular potato chip flavours out there.

In this entry, I'll be posting a couple of well known dishes that combine ingredients that many don't see as being that great together, but are surprisingly delicious.  As well, I'll be talking about some of the flavour combos that I discovered when I was a kid (and adult).  Some of them may appear to be disgusting, but I can attest - they taste better than you might think - well, given that you like the ingredients, that is.

Let's begin with a combination that is truly Canadian.



See this dish up above?  It's a combination of french fries, gravy, and cheese curd.  Some may call it a heart attack on a plate, and well...I would agree that it's not the healthiest food choice out there.

But for us Canadians, the poutine is one of those things that sounds awful, but tastes incredibly good.  I don't know what it is about the poutine that makes it so irresistible, but to me, it is real comfort food.  Some people look at comfort food as something like fried chicken, or macaroni and cheese, or marshmallow fluff even.  Not me. 

(Coincidentally, you can oven bake the fries and substitute shredded mozzarella cheese in place of curd.  It's the same effect and the taste is no different.)

Now, here's another flavour combination that might make a lot of you gag in disgust.  But keep in mind that I was a young child when I was coming up with this mixture and I had no concept of food plating whatsoever.

Oh, hell...I'm 33, and I still don't know how to plate food.  Masterchef I am not.



When I was younger, I hated mashed potatoes.  I don't know what it was about them, but I always found them to be the most bland of all the side dishes that my mom ever made.  I could handle almost any other vegetables.  Green beans were okay.  Peas were okay.  Corn on the cob was always welcome.  But mashed potatoes were such that no amount of butter could mask the blandness. 



Now, on the other hand, I was (and still am) a fan of the condiment known as mustard.  I'm not sure what it was about that yellow stuff, but the taste of mustard was delicious.  I put that stuff on everything...

...including mashed potatoes.

Yeah, I know it sounds nasty to the general public, but mustard and mashed potatoes was absolutely delicious to me.  When I was a kid, it was really the only way that I could eat mashed potatoes.  And, well...I'll confess.  When I know that nobody else is looking, I'll still dip my mashed potatoes in a glob of French's mustard.

(Don't worry though.  If I am out to dinner with all of you, I won't ever do that.  I just won't order mashed potatoes.)

Okay.  What other food combo do I like that could be considered weird?



Oh, I know.  I used to dip chocolate chip cookies in a tub of Cool Whip.  But, that's not really weird.  Cool Whip and Chips Ahoy is a delicious combo.  If anything, I used to get in trouble doing that because I would always leave crumbs behind.



Ah, but dipping chocolate chip cookies in Coca-Cola?  That's a wilder flavour combo.  Surprisingly, it tasted not too bad - even though I only did it once in a blue moon.  There's nothing worse than a soggy cookie, whether you dip it in tea, coffee, water, or even Coca-Cola.

How about some of you?  What are some of your favourite but strange food combos?

Do you dip your pretzels in ketchup?

Do you put Cheetos in your ice cream?
Do you eat soy sauce on your hot dog?
Do you spread peanut butter on pickles?

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Apprentice

I'm going to be frank.  I make a lousy businessman.

I know that capitalism seems to be the way of the world these days.  I know that big business and corporations - like it or not - are here to stay, and I also completely understand that our economy is directly linked to capitalism.

However, I'll be the first one to admit that I have a hard time understanding big business.  Although I do work retail, I don't really consider myself to be that great of a salesperson.  In order to be successful in business, you have to have certain qualifications.  You have to be confident.  You have to know your product.  You have to believe in your product.  And, you also have to have a certain level of charm, charisma, and personality.

Do I have any of those things?  Honestly, that's debatable.

But as of right now, I have my doubts that I could work in the world of big business.  I don't even like wearing ties.  I honestly don't even know if I know how to even tie a tie!  Oh, why couldn't I have been an adult during the time period in which we all dressed up like Crockett and Tubbs from Miami Vice?

However, dress code aside, I think that there might be hope for me after all.  I am a fairly creative person, and I can brainstorm several ideas in quick succession.  I'd also like to think that I'm keen enough to know what is working, and what isn't working.

So, when it comes to a particular reality show that has aired on a semi-regular rotation since January 2004, I honestly don't know how I would fare.  Maybe I'd go far.  Maybe I'd win.  Maybe I'd be the first one fired. 

Or maybe I would be so intimidated by Donald Trump that I would run out of Trump Tower in absolute terror and get run over by one of the millions of yellow taxi cabs scattered all over New York City.



Whatever the case, we're going to be talking about "The Apprentice", which airs on NBC. 



These days, the show has been retooled into a celebrity format, in which a group of celebrities (mostly B-list actors, athletes, former child stars, or reality show cast-offs) play the game to raise money for their respective charities.  For instance, the upcoming season of "The Celebrity Apprentice" will feature Geraldo Rivera, Ian Ziering, Lorenzo Lamas, Gilbert Gottfried, Leeza Gibbons, Keshia Knight-Pulliam, and Kate Gosselin, among others. 

That's fine and dandy, but I preferred the show a lot better when Donald Trump hired non-celebrity people to work within his organization.  I liked it better when we saw sixteen successful Americans working towards a goal.  I liked it when George Ross and Carolyn Kepcher were judges. 

All in all, I think that while "Celebrity Apprentice" has breathed new life into the show, I miss the old-fashioned version.



Of the thirteen seasons of "The Apprentice" that have aired, seven have been civilian editions.  The first six seasons, as well as season 10 have featured anywhere from 16-18 candidates competing for a chance to earn a position within Donald Trump's massive business.  It's no secret that Trump is definitely one of the biggest forces in American business today, and like him or not, he does know the business world inside and out. 

The show - which was created by "Survivor" creator Mark Burnett - divides the candidates into two "corporations".  In most cases, the teams are divided up by gender (with one exception being season three, which had a team of high school graduates competing against a team of college graduates).  The teams are expected to come up with a name for their corporation.

TRIVIA:  Past team names included Versacorp, Apex, Net Worth, Capital Edge, Gold Rush, and Kinetic.

In each week, teams would be assigned the same task, and the tasks were all business oriented, and were often sponsored by a pre-existing corporation.  Believe it or not, the very first task that the candidates had to embark on was selling lemonade on the streets of New York City - the same way that a lot of kids get started in the world of business.

Other tasks included coming up with a promotional campaign for Burger King's newest sandwich, filming a commercial for a beauty product, selling products on QVC, creating a new line of action figures for Mattel, designing a line of swimsuits, or even selling carriage rides through Central Park.

Each task also involved the team selecting a "Project Manager" to lead the task and get everything organized.

Winners were determined by how much money the teams made, how clear the message was that was presented in ads, how good the quality was on the items made, and through focus groups and their opinions.  If a team won, they were spared from the boardroom, and in later seasons, the project manager was exempt from getting fired in the following task.  If a team lost, the Project Manager would pick two or three people to join them, in which Donald and crew would decide which one would be fired.

At the end of the show, the final two candidates would embark on a super task, with former contestants coming back to assist in the task. 



And the winners of the show went to work for Donald Trump for a one-year-contract.  In some cases, the contracts were extended.  In the case of first season winner Bill Rancic, he stayed on with the company for quite some time, even subbing in as a judge for George Ross on a few occasions.

Now, over the years, seven people have been hired.  Rancic, Kelly Perdew, Kendra Todd, Randal Pinkett, Sean Yazbeck, Stefani Schaeffer, and Brandy Kuentzel.  But so many more have been fired from the show.

In fact, for the rest of this blog, I thought that I would take a look at some of the most memorable contestants to be fired from "The Apprentice", as well as some of the stupid mistakes that they made to get them the axe.  Believe me, you'll feel better about your own job blunders!



OMAROSA (Season 1)

Would you believe that Omarosa is the only Apprentice candidate to appear on the show a total of three times (she was on season 1, as well as two celebrity editions).  And, would you believe that on all three occasions she was fired, she was fired on a task where she was selling artwork?  You'd have thought that she would have learned the first time.



But all joking aside, Omarosa could very well be considered the very first Apprentice villain to appear on the show.  She was a nightmare to work with.  She accused one contestant of being racist towards her for using the phrase "like the pot calling the kettle black".  She told the team that she had a concussion from a piece of falling drywall hitting her in the head one minute, and the next she was playing basketball with a group of kids.  She clashed with almost every single female on the show.  And when she was assigned to assist Kwame Jackson in his final task to plan a concert for Jessica Simpson, she was such a disaster that many viewers (including myself) believed that she was purposely sabotaging Kwame's chance to win the show.  Personally, I do think that Bill would have won regardless, but Kwame deserved to have a better chance.  Hell, Kwame should have fired Omarosa on the spot!



BRADFORD (Season 2)

Bradford was in a fairly good position at the beginning of the second episode of the second season.  He was asked to go to the women's team to lead them on the first task, and because their team won, he was
exempt from getting fired.  That means that no matter how badly the team did, he could not be fired.

As it happened, the team lost the second task, which was coming up with a new ice cream flavour and selling it on the streets of New York.  And Bradford was extremely confident.  He was so confident that he told Trump that he didn't need his stinking exemption because he had performed well enough on the task that he didn't feel that he was going to be fired.

Silly Bradford.  Trump canned him on the spot for being so foolish.



VERNA (Season 3) and MICHELLE (Season 6)

You want to know what Trump dislikes more than people who give up exemptions?  People who decide to quit the game.  In the cases of Verna and Michelle, they walked away from the game without knowing if they could have made it.  Verna mentally checked out of the game during the show's second task, and by the beginning of task #3, she told the team that she had enough and walked out.  In Michelle's case, she resigned after she lead the team to a colossal failure, and decided that the position she was competing for wasn't worth it.

While I don't believe that quitting is such the sin that Donald Trump makes out to be (sometimes quitting one opportunity can lead to better ones coming along), I can't say I disagree with Donald not having sympathy for them.  After all, they took a spot that thousands of people applied for, and walked away from it.



TANA (Season 3)

This one pains me, because as the third season of the Apprentice drew to a close, Tana was easily considered the favourite.  She was the last member of the Street Smarts team going against Kendra, the last member of the Book Smarts team.  Although Kendra did have more wins as Project Manager than Tana did, Tana took on the responsibility much earlier than Kendra.  And Tana had always been a star on any of the teams she was on.

On the final task, Kendra had to put on a promotion and video game tournament sponsored by Sony PlayStation and Best Buy, while Tana had to put together a presentation for the Olympic committee demonstrating why New York City should host the 2012 Olympics (the show aired in 2005).  And the teammates who came to help Kendra and Tana out were six of the most volatile, uncooperative, uncontrollable contestants to appear on that season.

To compare and contrast:

Kendra's team worked well together with very few disagreements.  They all came together to make the event a success.  Kendra made her teammates feel that they were valued and respected, and in turn, Kendra's team wanted to succeed so that Kendra would get noticed.  The event went off near perfectly, and Kendra developed a new found appreciation for all of them.

Tana immediately asked if she could switch team members with Kendra, and vented to one of the judges about them, calling them the Three Stooges.  She never gave the team any direction, and even made them feel like they were an annoyance.  The end result?  No American flag for the flag presentation, no schedules for any of the people involved, and a brochure that was a complete embarrassment filled with spelling errors and things that should never have been included in a brochure.

Can you see why Trump picked Kendra over Tana?



JOSH, JENNIFER, MARK, JAMES (Season 4)

Now, in most cases, Trump will only fire one person during each boardroom setting.  In a few rare opportunities, he'll get rid of two at once.  In this case, Trump pulled the ultimate Grand Slam and fired FOUR people at once.

All the teams had to do was generate an event to boost sales at Dick's Sporting Goods.  They could choose whatever sport they wanted to feature, and the main goal of the task was to
increase sales at the store.  Notice how I bolded increase sales in that last sentence?

Well, team Capital Edge did just that.  They created a mini golf course inside the store for children while their parents were looking around the store.  Every single team member focused on sales, and as a result, the sales increased by 74%.  A very decent number!



As for team Excel...well, they did anything but.  Sure, their event using a batting cage was a good idea to keep people entertained...but the team spent so much time on the batting cage that they neglected the fact that the task was measuring how much they were SELLING!  In the end, the team had a net LOSS of 34%!  Ouch.  And as a result, the four team members who didn't get a single sale were all given the pink slip.  It remains the most spectacular firing in the history of "The Apprentice".

So, do you have any more people to add to this list that I might have forgotten?  I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

They're Just Allergies

Okay, so I was thinking about possible topics for this week's edition of WHO AM I WEDNESDAY, and there's only one thing that I could think of that I could think of to talk about.  The thing is that the subject matter might seem a little bit dull and/or nerdy.  But if it helps, I have kind of a funny story to tell that will bring us into the topic.

The year was 1992.  I was eleven years old, and I was at an age in which everything around me made me sick.  No kidding.  My fifth grade year which was 1991/1992 was one of those years in which every possible childhood illness that I could have contracted (aside from the chicken pox, which I had gotten back in 1982 when I was a year old), I had.  I probably had half a dozen colds.  My throat was so sore, it's a wonder they didn't remove my tonsils.  I developed cold sores around my lips (no idea how), and on top of all that, I had a severe asthma attack and was kept home from school for almost a whole week as a result of it.

I don't know how much school I missed that year.  It wasn't enough to justify holding me back a year, but it was enough that I was out for quite a bit.

Needless to say, my chronic illnesses concerned my parents and they were trying to find out why I was always so sick.  It got to the point where they made an appointment with an allergy specialist, just to see what was happening.  They speculated that it was maybe a severe allergy to something either at our home or in the environment that kept causing me to get sick.  An appointment was made during the summer, and when I was eleven, I got the test done.



I have no idea how they do allergy tests in the year 2014, but back in the year 1992, allergy tests were done in this fashion.  The doctor giving the test inserted random needles in your arm.  Each needle tip was dipped in a liquid that simulated a particular allergen (grass, moss, pollen, etc).  Once the needles were poked into the arm, the doctor waited a few minutes, and examined the arm again.  Eventually some of the places that were poked with the needle would swell and become itchy.  The larger the swelling, the more potent the allergy.

This method confused me though.  In fact, I had thought that the doctor had made a huge mistake when he did the test because I thought he had inserted a needle right inside of a mosquito bite! 

Alas, that was not the case.  That particular needle made the area swell up so much that it really did look like a gigantic insect bite.  And boy oh boy did that sucker itch!  It was absolute torture because the doctor told me I couldn't scratch it at all!  That was not a fun experience.

So, what was the #1 allergy that caused such a reaction on my arm?



Well, it happened to be from pollen.  Tree pollen to be exact.  And soon my parents had the answer as to why I was so sick most of the time.  You see, most of the time that I was sick, it was always during the months of April through June - the time of year in which tree pollen is most active.  My asthma attack?  It was at the very end of April.  It all makes sense now, doesn't it?  The reason why I was so sick in the spring months was because the tree pollen was making it so. 

Suffice to say, after the allergy test, I had to take a small dose of Reactine or Claritin or some non-prescription allergy relief drug during the spring in order to manage my symptoms.  And for the record, while it wasn't a perfect solution, I certainly was sick a lot less after the test was given.

So, now you know that tree pollen is my top allergy and that the spring months are quite brutal for me.  But again, with allergy pills, I can now go outside and breathe easy!

But tree pollen wasn't the only allergy that I discovered I had.  Although the tree pollen allergy was the most severe, I discovered that I had at least four other allergies.  Three were discovered during the test - the other one was discovered strictly by accident.

So, what else am I allergic to?



STRAWBERRIES

This was the allergy that was not discovered from the test.  This was discovered when I was away at school.  There was a dessert that looked really good.  It was a brownie covered with ice cream and berries.  But after eating it, I developed hives.  Not a pleasant experience.  It took some time and process of elimination to discover that the culprit was strawberries.  Chocolate, cream, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries were all fine.  The last item was strawberries.  That told me that I couldn't eat them ever again.

For the most part, it's more of an annoying allergy.  You try finding a multipack of yogurt WITHOUT strawberry flavour.  It's quite difficult.



PET DANDER

Fortunately, this is an allergy that I kind of outgrew (or at the very least, the effects were lessened over time).  If I still had the allergy, I would have never have allowed my beloved Ol' Thum into my life (sadly he passed away four years ago this month).  But when I was younger, any animal that came close to me caused me to sneeze uncontrollably.  It was really a downer when I was a kid, as it seemed that every single kid in my class had a pet, but I could never have one because I was allergic.

Well, okay, I suppose that I could have had a goldfish, kimodo dragon, or a tarantula...but those weren't the same...



MOULD

I'm not exactly talking about the blue crusty stuff that grows on bread that you could figuratively transform into penicillin.  I can take penicillin just fine - it was one medicine from my childhood that I actually didn't mind taking as it kind of tasted like a banana milkshake. 

The stuff I mean is the black mould that can grow on the walls of a house or abandoned building.  The stuff that appears as a result of water damage left unsupervised.  That stuff is my second most serious allergy, and I'm pretty sure that if I was exposed to that stuff for an extended period of time, it would be my death warrant.  Nasty, nasty stuff.




DUST

Yes, believe it or not the doctor tested me for dust allergies.  And surprise, surprise, I have an allergy to dust.  So, basically whenever I have to do activities like dusting, I pretty much have to take an allergy pill.  Otherwise I sound as if someone crammed something up my nasal cavities.  It would be an interesting thing to see, but dust is certainly not my friend.

So, here's a question for you.  What are you allergic to?  If anything?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

July 29, 1981

I hereby proclaim this to be the final Tuesday Timeline for the month of July 2014.  And I hereby proclaim that this Tuesday Timeline will be an event that will be unlike any other.

(Or, at the very least, it will cover an event that was unlike any other.)

Of course, before we bring out the bubbly in celebration of the event and frolic in the jubilee of another jolly good Timeline entry, we must also take a look at the brilliant events that took place on this date.

So, let's proceed.

1567 - James VI is crowned King of Scotland at Stirling

1793 - John Graves Simcoe builds a fort and settlement at Toronto

1836 - Inauguration of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France

1858 - The Harris Treaty is signed by Japan and the United States

1864 - Confederate spy Belle Boyd is arrested by Union troops and is detained at Washington D.C.

1883 - Benito Mussolini (d. 1945), the 27th Prime Minister of Italy, is born

1900 - Italy's King Umberto I is assassinated by anarchist Gaetano Bresci

1905 - American actress Clara Bow (d. 1965) is born in Brooklyn, New York

1932 - Troops disperse the last of the "Bonus Army" of World War I veterans during the Great Depression

1933 - Wrestler Lou Albano (d. 2009) is born in Rome, Italy

1938 - Veteran journalist Peter Jennings (d. 2005) is born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

1948 - The 1948 Summer Olympic Games opens in London following a twelve year hiatus due to conflict caused by World War II

1967 - 134 people die when the USS Forrestal catches on fire

1973 - Race car driver Roger Williamson is killed in a car accident at the Dutch Grand Prix

1976 - The "Son of Sam" murders commence in New York City as one person is left dead and other critically injured in an attack

1987 - Plans for the construction of the Eurotunnel are given the go-ahead following the signing of the agreement by Margaret Thatcher and Francois Mitterrand

2005 - Astronomers announce the discover of dwarf planet Eris

2007 - British actor Mike Reid dies at the age of 67

2013 - Two passenger trains crash into each other near Lausanne, injuring 25

And I do want to wish the following celebrities a very happy birthday; Irwin Corey, Robert Horton, Robert Fuller, David Warner, Tony Sirico, Leslie Easterbrook, Mike Starr, Tim Gunn, Geddy Lee, Patti Scialfa, Cynthia Rowley, Alexandra Paul, Richard Steven Horvitz, Martina McBride, Timothy Omundsen, Monica Calhoun, Bryan Dattilo, Wil Wheaton, Stephen Dorff, Wanya Morris, Josh Radnor, Rachel Miner, Dominic Burgess, Allison Mack, and Todd Bosley.

All right.  Now it's time to take our time machine back to the event of a lifetime. 



The date of this event?  July 29, 1981.

Sadly, I do not remember July 29, 1981.  I was only two months old then and in all likelihood, I slept through the whole thing.  This was the point in my life where I slept sixteen hours a day and nobody looked at me strange for doing so.

However, this event did attract a lot of attention from other people.  Reportedly some 700 million people watched this event all over the world on their television sets.  Just to put it into perspective, this event was one of two huge weddings that were broadcast on television that year.  



The other wedding was the one between fictional characters Luke and Laura on "General Hospital" in November 1981.  That wedding only attracted 31 million people to their television sets.

But this wedding in July 1981 was no ordinary wedding.  This was an event that would be celebrated all over the world, especially in the United Kingdom - where the wedding was held. 

To be specific, the wedding was held that Wednesday morning at St. Paul's Cathedral, London, England, at exactly twenty minutes past eleven London time.

So, to put it into perspective, people in my area had to get up early to see the wedding - there is a five hour time difference between Ontario, Canada and London, meaning that the wedding began at 6:20am here. 

(Yep.  I was probably sleeping through it all.)



But the rest of my family were old enough to gather around the television set that hot summer morning and watch as Prince Charles of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer entered into holy matrimony in front of the British Royal Family, their guests, and oh...seven hundred million people around the world!

Their relationship began in the summer of 1980 (though Charles had known Diana years beforehand).  At the time of their first date, Charles was thirty-one years old.  Diana had just turned nineteen.  They had a courtship which lasted approximately six months before Charles proposed marriage in February 1981 at Windsor Castle.  Diana accepted Charles' proposal, though the two had kept their engagement a secret from the public for at least a few weeks.  In hindsight, it was probably a grand move for both people, as neither one of them were aware just how much attention the paparazzi would shower them both with.  Of course, more on that a little later.

For now, rather than get into a full-blown story about how the wedding went and what really happened, I thought I would summarize the event by the numbers.  For a very big day, there certainly seems to be a lot of numbers associated with it.



So here was Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer's wedding - by the numbers.

14 - The number of solitaire diamonds that could be found in Diana's engagement ring.

30,000 - The amount of money in British pounds that Diana's engagement ring cost.

3,500 - The number of people in the congregation at St. Paul's Cathedral the morning of the wedding

2,000,000 - The number of spectators lining the route of Diana's procession.

2,201 - The number of military officers hired to manage the crowds outside of the wedding venue.

6 - The number of Metropolitan Police Officers who accompanied Diana and her father John Spencer during her procession to the wedding.

25 - The length, in feet, of the train on Diana's wedding dress.

9,000 - The amount of money in British pounds that Diana's wedding dress cost.

10,000 - The number of pearls estimated to be sewn onto Diana's wedding dress.

1 - The number of bottles of perfume that Diana reportedly spilled on her dress accidentally.

7 - The number of bridal attendants that Diana had for her wedding.

120 - The number of dinner guests invited to join Charles and Diana after the wedding was over.

27 - The number of wedding cakes baked for the wedding reception.

11 - The number of days that their honeymoon cruise lasted.

15 - The number of years that Charles and Diana stayed legally married (they had separated in 1992, and the divorce was finalized in 1996).

So, as you can see, the marriage did not last.  Of course, there were dozens of factors behind why this was the case.  The obvious reason, of course, being that Charles and Diana had simply fallen out of love with each other.  But there was constant scrutiny of both parties in the British tabloids (which I've found to be much harsher than American tabloids), and the accusations that both Charles and Diana had extramarital affairs with each other probably didn't help much.  And of course, Diana's admission that she had suffered from bulimia during her marriage probably had an effect on the marriage as well, not to mention the fact that she fought the paparazzi every chance she got to protect her two sons, William and Harry from being subjected to the uncontrollable behaviour of some of the people who were getting paid a lot of money for a photo.

The aftermath of the wedding is such.  Charles remarried Camilla Parker Bowles, and is still known as the Prince of Wales.

As for Diana...well, she lost her title of Her Royal Highness, and she embarked on a new career as a humanitarian.  She had finally found happiness again with businessman Dodi Fayed.  But sadly her life came to an end at just thirty-six years of age following a deadly car accident in a Parisian tunnel after being pursued by the paparazzi.



But everyone will always remember the summer of 1981...a summer in which most of us watched the wedding of Charles and Diana - a time in which both were head over heels in love with each other.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Album Covers That Were Frightening

It's time for another edition of FUNNY MONDAY - which is a tentative name until I can come up with something better.  It's something that I came up with at the spur of the moment when I realized that MOTIVATION MONDAY was a done deal. 

But I think that this will be a positive change.  This is the day of the week where we will take a look at some of the funniest signs, pop culture tidbits, bloopers, and mistakes that people have made.  After all, there is nobody in this world that is immune to making mistakes.  Lord knows I've had my share over the years.

But in this blog entry, we're going to be taking a musical trip back in time to look at some of the most...ahem...interesting album covers ever printed.

And the inspiration behind this blog comes courtesy of a little bit of music trivia that I remember reading from a book that I checked out of the library a few years ago.

Have any of you ever heard of a band known as Mom's Apple Pie?  I imagine some of you probably had no idea.  It's okay if you haven't.  They're considered a zero-hit-wonder.  None of their singles really made an impression on the charts, and they only spent four years playing together before they went their separate ways in 1974.

Their album cover for their 1972 debut, on the other hand, was considered to be one of the most talked about album covers of the day.



Now, I know that this album cover seems quite innocent, and I know that you probably wouldn't think anything of it.  But take a closer look at the piece of pie that is missing.  Let's just say that if you look close enough...you might find that it resembles a certain female body part.  That's all I'm going to say.  Apparently it was so controversial that the first album cover was pulled from record stores and replaced with an updated, safer cover.  Still, anyone who has the original cover in their possession might very well be holding onto a gold mine.

But this piece of trivia had me wondering...what other album covers could be considered funny, tasteless, or just plain weird?  Well, I scourged the Internet to come up with some examples, and I think I've found some fantastic ones. 

I'd like to give credit to Pinterest, boredpanda.com, lolriot.com, bizarrerecords.com, and Huffington Post for the examples that I will be providing in this piece.

So, we're about to begin.  Are you nervous?

Well, let's begin with the group known as Orleans.  They had a couple of big hits in the 1970s with "Dance With Me" and "Still the One".



And, why in the hell are they not wearing any clothes on the album cover?  Well, okay, the bottom of the album is cut off.  They could be wearing jeans, or shorts, or cut offs.  At least they're having a bonding experience on the cover.  I guess I can't fault them for that.



Wowzers!  I knew shoulder pads were quite the fashion accessory for the modern gal of the 1980s...but those things could poke an eye out!!!



Okay, forget the fact that he goes by the name of Pooh-Man.  I mean, it could be because he had an obsession with the A.A. Milne literary character.  Why the heck is his head down there?  On second thought, maybe I don't want to know.



And you thought Leonard Cohen songs were depressing...



"Let Me Touch Him"?  Seriously?  In this day and age?  Um, next.



It's really bad enough that William "She Bangs" Hung received more than fifteen minutes of fame for his train wreck audition on American Idol.  It's incredibly bad that he used those fifteen minutes to record a Christmas album.  But to name the album "Hung for the Holidays"?!?  Can we really have a holiday album cheesier than that?



Okay.  I stand corrected.  At least they aren't dressed like the characters they portrayed in Grease three and a half decades ago.  I'll give them that much.



God Isn't Dead!  So this...I'm assuming she's a preacher of some form.  At least I can be reassured that she's telling me that God isn't dead...even if she happens to be standing in front of gigantic wine bottles while she's preaching.  I wonder if this album is trying to tell us something...



I remember my sixteenth birthday.  It was nothing like Julie's.  Thankfully.  They could have at least put up a couple of balloons, or decorated a Hostess cupcake or something.  At least make me believe that she's celebrating her sixteenth birthday with a man who is old enough to be her father.



Wow...I really am amazed by his guitar playing.  His fingers are so perfectly aligned that I've completely disregarded the fact that he ISN'T WEARING ANY PANTS.  Please let this guy be wearing underwear...



Oh...so this is where Pennywise the Clown was born...



You know...this album was remade in the year 2012.  It was retitled as "Believe" by Justin Bieber.



What do you get when you combine leisure suits, a cool looking mustache, and a Sears Portrait Studio session circa 1976?  Why, you get Ken.  By request only!  I wonder if he's still accepting requests?  I'd love for him to try a rousing chorus of Madonna's "Lucky Star".



Here's the latest scoop on ABC's newest Bachelorette.  Her name is Joyce.  She has astigmatism, but that doesn't stop her from dressing up in her favourite shades of red and purple and singing to her heart's content.  Will you accept Joyce's rose?



I am so thrilled to see someone love their life.  It makes me very happy to see someone who loves their life so much that he has to record an entire album all about it.  But please get out of that waterfall and put on some clothes.  You're scaring me.



After seeing this album cover, I can see why some people are genuinely fearful of Ted Nugent.



You know...when *NSync did the whole puppet on a string theme for one of their music videos circa 2000, it was interesting and very creative.  This is just creepy.



Yes.  Swing that gospel axe indeed.  And the guy who is holding that gospel axe seems to be looking to use it on the woman in front of him so that he can get top billing.  I wonder if there's an Alfred Hitchcock album playing in the background...



Okay.  I ask you.  Can there possibly be any album cover more disturbing than serving a human head as the main course at your Hawaiian luau?



On second though...maybe the luau head doesn't sound quite so disturbing...