I am always telling people that our superhero of New Jersey is Cory Booker. I have even probably written an article for one of my print publications with this same headline to that effect. But as much as I love Senator Booker, he can’t do the dirty work that real, super, superheros can do, by virtue of being unaffiliated politically, I suppose.

So, if you haven’t heard, I’m proud to present, New Jersey’s Original Superhero: The Toxic Avenger.

Born in Tromaville, New Jersey, Melvin Ferd III was a standard nerd. While working as a janitor at the local health club, he is literally bullied out a window, after being tricked into putting on a pink tutu. He falls out the window right into some toxic waste, of course. After running home, The Toxic Avenger is born, mutated from poor, bullied Melvin into a superstrong, supergood, superviolent Superhero.

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The Shaq Man is a complicated character in our current culture. Much of what is thought about him is untrue, and there is a lot that is not commonly known that is fascinating. In about one hundred and fifty years, it is guaranteed that he will be seen as a folk legend, a gentleman known for being preposterously large and gentle. First known as a sportsman, Mr. O’Neal has recently retired and is pursuing his destiny in other fields. Here are some facts (Shaqts), speculations, and mild exaggerations to help you get to know Newark, New Jersey’s tallest star.

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Recently, I was speaking with my friend about books we enjoyed as children. She spoke well of a book she had read so many years ago that was about a mighty, wild stallion who was captured by humans. They tried to break his fierce spirit every way they knew how, but he endured and managed to live the rest of his days carefree on the range once again, a symbol of spiritual freedom.

I realized while I was listening to her that I had read a similar book, although not that specific one. Not only that, but I had read quite a few books with that general plot! There was one set in the Pioneer Times about a Moonstone Stallion who rescued some little prairie girl who had gotten herself lost from the wagon train. And another story I dimly recall about another white stallion who pranced around, inspiring these children while vexing the austere and practical adults. Of course Walter Farley wrote a whole horrible series of books about the Black Stallion and his Island Stallion counterpart, Flame. Those were just a few I had read as a small child. But obviously, there have been others, possibly a thousand others!

Horse Fiction

Equine literature aimed at children is a very strange genre of fiction. Mostly meant to entertain “horse crazy” little girls. Some of the books were about young girls just like the reader who enjoy being around horses and learning about them, riding, laughing with each other, and friendship. Or they were about wild horses that resist taming, display perfect carriage and conformation, and are far above the intelligence of wily and sinister men who cruelly break horses for a living. These stallions (almost always stallions) refuse to be broken by all! Well, except for the little girl, or occasionally little boy, who manages to tame the horse just by being kind or particularly helpless.

When I was eight years old, I didn’t think twice about the improbability of these plots. For those of you who do not know anything about horses beyond being able to identify one in a photo of various creatures, I will explain a little about how silly these books actually are. You see, the story generally revolves around a wild stallion. A stallion is a guy horse that has not been neutered, or “gelded” as it is called in equine glossaries. They are not really friendly animals, typically. Usually concerned with procreation, protecting a “herd” from other guy horses, and eating grass when he has the time, a stallion has no interest in a little human girl who has twisted her ankle while hiking alone. He certainly wouldn’t express any maternal tenderness.

Horse Reality

Also, wild horses are not beautiful and perfect awe-inspiring specimens. Their manes and tales are full of brambles, they have scars from horse bites and horse kicks, they are often scrawny looking, and their hooves are cracked from not wearing shoes on the hard rock surroundings. It is true that mustang horses that have been made into pets are often pretty, but they have been brushed and fed well. Not even those tamed mustangs are quite what the stories try to describe. Fictional horses have silky manes blowing in the wind, glowing coats kept sleek and groomed by rain I guess, are tall and imposing, perfect in every conceivable way, able to later win shows and races, if the plot decides to go in that direction.

The most outrageous part is how the same book has been written and published probably as many as sixteen times every year. Stupid little girls read this same story many, many times, not even realizing it until one grey afternoon twenty-five years later. I am shocked. I am even a little angry. I could write a story that trite, ridiculous, and horrible! I WILL write it! I know horse-related words! I can occasionally write in an engaging manner! By God, I am going to write the most ordinary story and it is going to be a HIT. And what’s better, I can actually illustrate it.

Readers, read on:

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(You can read the first installment of Diary of an Ant Farm here.)

Day 11: It turns out they were all just hiding. What a pleas-ant surprise.

Day 12: The ants start freaking out again. Inaudible screams, frantic running, the whole shebang. We may have been breathing on them a little. Sorry, ants. They calm down after a while and go back to digging.

Worker Ants by Ant King Fran

 

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I’ve probably just concluded a record amount of backspacing and deleting in a single document as far as my writing career goes. It was brought up that I was more than welcomed, and in fact encouraged, to write up a few or as many words as I wanted on the subject of the passing of “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes. Yes, this is an article that involves a professional wrestler, and if that fact has caused you to scoff, roll your eyes, or do that annoying heavy sniff that people do, then I offer my sincere apologies. It’s very unfortunate that an accident or birth defect caused your head to be firmly planted so deeply into your ass. This is a write-up about a pro “wrassler,” but it’s also about a legend, a hero, and by all accounts an all around good man.

Now I said I had a lot typed up that I deleted, and that’s true. I purposefully waited a bit after the news broke to write anything on this subject, as I wanted to let it all sink in and approach the writing process with a calm head and at least my usual half-assed sort of organization. There have been a lot of matter-of-fact, respectful-yet-emotionless pieces written on Big Dust, and the more I read my “calm, cool-headed” draft, the more I realized I was writing just another fluff piece. While not disparaging in any way, it failed to express my true feelings over this legend and over our tremendous loss. So whatever follows after this sentence is simply one man spewing forth whatever comes to his mind as rapidly as it can possibly be expressed, without a care for whether or not it really makes any sense at all. In other words this is in a fashion befitting Dusty, a man who never experienced a moment of second guessing if something he said made any earthly sense.

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You know how there are words out there for highly specific emotions? Like adronitis, the frustration over how long it takes to get to know someone. Or liberosis, the desire to care less about things. Is there a word for that feeling you get when you believe that there must be alternate realities that exist closely in space to your own reality, so close that they are ALMOST your reality, and that reality is that your real dad is cartoon buffoon Hong Kong Phooey? Does that even make sense? Great.

Well, since I was a very small child, I have had this feeling occasionally. And as I’ve aged, the feeling has lessened a bit, but it’s still there inside of me, shaping my personality to some extent.

Unlike other forms of insanity I probably have, this one can be traced directly to my mother. For as long as I’ve lived, my mother has always told this story about how she and some of the rest of my extended family took my older brother, then an only child, to see a Hanna-Barbera Icecapades show. While there, Hong Kong Phooey apparently took a liking to her and showed his ardor by sitting on her lap and dragging her from the audience to dance with her in front of everyone. She concludes this oft-told story by saying, “And then, nine months later, Amanda was born.”  Everyone laughs. Everyone always laughs. But once upon a time, I believed her. I was too young to understand that my mom might be kidding, but apparently old enough to catch the implication that Hong Kong Phooey was my real dad.

It turns out that if you start life thinking that you are half-cartoon, it kind of sticks with you, there in the middle, for all of the rest of your life. I mean, I know I am not actually a half-cartoon! Don’t send me to the asylum yet. Anyway, it would clearly have been an actor dressed up like Hong Kong Phooey, not the real poorly-animated dog. It would be like thinking that Santa and Mall Santas are the same thing. No! Regardless, in my idle time, I start to wonder what my alternate reality life must be like, the one where HKP was not an absentee father. Let’s look at my art therapy session.

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Do you like Seinfeld, trivia, and board games? Chances are pretty good that you do.

Seinfeld Trivia Game by Dollissa

Now that Seinfeld is on Hulu (yes, all of it), here I am, providing you with information about a much-needed Seinfeld accessory. What good is loving it, if you can’t prove it to your friends?

This isn’t just a trivia game, it’s a board game, meaning it is the best of both worlds in nerdery. The game boasts more than 500 trivia questions. The questions come in two forms: easy and hard. However, the difficulty differences are indistinguishable and whether you know the answer will be due to a combination of chance, having even seen that episode (if you’re not a super fan), and memory skills.

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There are a lot of celebrities in the world. Thousands of them! And you can’t really always keep track of what they’re up to. Eddie Murphy is super-famous, right? He’s practically an icon: a symbol of a certain kind of popular comedy. But I had no idea that he had so many children. In today’s comic, this discovery takes AlexT and me on a journey of thought from horror to imaginative consideration to unrealistic demands to impatience. We must never forget that children are a burden and time is valuable. Click to enlarge.

alext, comics, celebrity facts, real chats, demanda, fathers day, eddie murphy, children, parenthood, horror, impatience, time