Category Archives: Games

The New Holiday Game Sweeping the Globe: Santa, Wilford Brimley or ZZ Top… NAME… THAT… BEARD!

By Andrew Blumetti

WARNING The following game may cause you to shout, cry, and pout.  Your standing on Santa’s list may be in jeopardy.  Proceed with the utmost caution.

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Those feathery turkey decorations are stored away in the dusty attic for another 11 months, your third helping of thrice-reheated leftovers has caused you to punch an embarassing homemade extra “fat hole” in your belt with a Phillips-head screwdriver, and the swelling from that Black Friday “grab at flatscreen TV” bruise on your upper arm has finally started to subside.  There may have been lots of commercials on TV for a month now, but it’s time for the rest of us to catch up– Christmastime is here, and it’s here with the animalistic force of Miley Cyrus’s slimy tongue itching to bust out of her pot smoke-filled piehole.

You can kick your eggnog and wreaths to the curb, cause really, when you think about it, what spells out the holiday season more than blog posts?  In a short answer:  Nothing.

So join me in pouring yourself a bowl of Christmas Crunch…  (This was my actual meal while typing this)

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turn up some Yuletide tunes as you read (feel free to play it while reading to complete the full holiday mood)…  

…and grab a front seat on the Polar Express as it derails stops through Nonsenseville, because it’s time to spend the holidays the way your grandparents did… guessing men’s facial hair. 

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‘DA RULES:  A series of ten closeup white and wispy whiskers will be presented.  Simply grab a piece of paper and a pen, jot down your choice if said beard/mustache grew out of the chubby face of Santa Claus, Wilford Brimley or one of the members of ZZ Top.  Below the tenth beard will be the answer key including links to the full pictures.  Match up your answers, and see how you scored!

But first, here’s a crash refresher course of our fully-folically-faced festive fellas:

SANTA CLAUS

ALSO KNOWN AS:  Kris Kringle, St. Nicholas, Sandy Claws (according to Jack Skellington)

NOTABLE WORKS:  Flying around the planet in one evening with gravity-defying caribou, that cherub-faced Cabbage Patch Kid under your tree back in ’86, inadvertently cleaning the soot from your chimney with his big round rump on a yearly basis

GUILTY PLEASURE FILMS: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Hostel Part III, Shakes the Clown

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WILFORD BRIMLEY

ALSO KNOWN AS:  The guy with that obnoxiously bushy mustache from the Diabetes commercials who may or may not have a mouth underneath that enormous thing.

NOTABLE WORKS:  Cocoon, The Thing, that one episode of Seinfeld

FAVORITE DANCES:  twerking, the Harlem Shake, crumping, the Lindy Hop

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ZZ TOP

ALSO KNOWN AS:  Two guys with the Yosemite Sam-ish beards and the other guy who owns a razor. They’re the reason you gotta scroll all the way down to the bottom of your artist list on your iPod.

NOTABLE WORKS:  “Legs”, “Sharp Dressed Man”, the soundtrack from Alvin and the Chipmunks:  The Squeakquel

STRANGEST THINGS FOUND IN BEARDS:  Golden Grahams, the GEICO lizard, the fourth member of ZZ Top

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… And hair we go!

 

BEARD #1

On Christmas Eve, maybe these snowy hued bristles will bring you a shiny new bicycle…  or rip a killer guitar solo… or lecture you about DI-A-BEE-TUS.

santa 1

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BEARD #2

There’s a fine line between scary pigeon-eating bum and beloved holiday icon, and this hairy dude lives smack on it…

santa 2

BEARD # 3

This is a bigger beard than George Clooney’s girlfriend!

santa 3

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BEARD #4

Word on the snowy street has it that the owner of this killer soup-strainer has been known to do an emergency darkening-by-soy-sauce to impress the waitresses at Benihana.

santa 4

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BEARD #5

Holiday Season PSA:  Don’t randomly go sitting on the lap of any guy with a big white beard.  That is quite uncomfortable for all parties involved.

santa 5

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BEARD #6

This guy celebrates “No Shave November”.  If by “November”, you mean the last 40 years…

santa 6

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BEARD #7

Boy Scout hint: With facial hair this mammoth, just add a little toothpaste and you’ve always got a permanent toothbrush on your face!

Man, that was gross.

santa 7

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BEARD #8

♪ “I’m dreaming of a white mustache!”  ♪

santa 8

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BEARD #9

The Dos Equis “Most Interesting Man in the World” guy has a lawsuit against this man.  It’s going to get U-G-L-Y in court.

santa 9

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BEARD #10

This beard is whiter than an R.E.M. concert!

santa 10

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ANSWER KEY

1.  Don’t get too comfortable just yet, this starter question was a gift from the rolly-polly round man himself, Santa Claus.

2.  It’s a freezing December 24th evening, the flickering candlelights are dimmed and the powdery snow is falling making the front lawn look like Lindsay Lohan’s car dashboard…  you wait impatiently, tucked under the cozy wool covers, with the anticipation of what’s to come.  Then suddenly, wait… what’s that?!?  It’s the sound of merry jingle bells, the pitter-patter of dancing reindeer hooves on the roof, and the familiar sounds of… blues rock??  Better hope Dusty Hill of ZZ Top left some receipts for you to return the awkward presents he left under the tree.  Seriously?  Old Hooters calendars from 1988? Get outta here.

3.  Sure there’s plenty of fat guys hanging around the mall, but at least this one isn’t awkwardly oogling the cute girl who works at Cinnabon… well at least when Mrs. Claus isn’t looking.  Santa’s the man here.

4.  You’re too smart to fall for this clever ruse… they don’t serve oatmeal at Benihana!  Brimley it is!

5.  Bad news:  If you get more than three questions wrong here, you have to eat your dinner off of ZZ Top’s beard.

6.  You know what The Thing actually was, right?  Wilford Brimley’s broom-worthy ‘stache. 

7.  No, no, I thought it was Pauly Shore too, but it’s actually the jolly ‘ol man himselfI just don’t know what to believe anymore either.

8.  With winter right around the corner, it may be a bit too chilly to visit the zoo, but right here, you can always view the human walrus himself, Wilford Brimley

9.  He spends half his day scraping Rudolph poop off the bottom of his boots, yes it’s Kris Kringle!

10. Wait, are Kim Kardashian, Miley Cyrus and Paris Hilton standing together in a row?  Cause Santa is saying Ho Ho Ho!

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Share your score in the comments below.   Also, here is the contact information for Hasbro, let’s get this on the shelves next to Monopoly next year!  Or even one shelf, I’m not greedy!

“Hey, I have an old white mustache too ya jerk!”

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Filed under Christmas, Comedy, Entertainment, Games, Holiday, Humor

The Definitive Interview with Moira Quirk (Mo From GUTS)

By Andrew Blumetti

“Do You Have It?!?”

If you grew up a fan of 90’s golden-era Nickelodeon, that tagline should be no stranger to you.

… but bad news, if it is, man, you’re getting old.

1. Take one part American Gladiators…

2. Eliminate the ‘roids, awkwardly patriotic spandex, and truckloads of greasy body oil…

3. Insert helmet-wearin’, cherub-face kiddies…

Voila!  You now have Nickelodeon GUTS, the action sports competition that ran for four sweaty seasons on the kiddies’ cable network.  Hosted by jolly comedic actor Mike O’ Malley, GUTS pitted three tween contestants against one another in several sporting events to win colored ranking medals.

The grand prize was a “glowing” trophy– a piece of the “Aggro Crag”, the giant fabricated mountain that served as the game’s final obstacle race.  This prize apparently was so mesmerizing, it made the contestants forget Nickelodeon wasn’t giving them any actual money.

The kids were mildly adorable and goofball O’ Malley monopolized a majority of the screen time, but the real hidden GUTS-y gem was officiator/referee Moira “Mo” Quirk, owner of the most fun-to-impersonate accent to ever grace the channel.

For all of us Yanks who grew up only knowing Moira as “Mo the Ref”, you’d best know that black and white-striped ref jersey is just the tip of the iceberg for this talented British comedian/actress.

Moira has kept herself busy since the show’s ending in 1996.  An established stand-up comedian who has also done extensive acting and voice-over work for shows such as Nickelodeon’s animated My Life as a Teenage Robot, the podcast series The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd, Johnny Bravo, Happy Feet Two, and several video games.

You can currently catch Mo as the live-action host of the animated series Angelina Ballerina: The Next Steps and a number of upcoming projects.

I was lucky enough to have Moira as my first-ever interview, and I couldn’t have asked for a better choice.  Friendly, insightful, and always funny, we discussed that catchy-as-a-cold GUTS theme, conquering the rocky Crag, terrible British impressions, and what it’s like to be a Halloween costume.


Please check out Mo’s official site, and follow her on Twitter at @moiraquirkable.  Your funny-bone will send you a Hickory Farms sausage and cheese gift basket as a thank you. 

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BLUMES:  After seeing Nickelodeon revive their classic 90’s programming with their The 90’s Are All That!, do you ever take a moment to sit back and think that you were one of the most memorable faces from an era of television so many hold dear?
MO:  Maybe it’s because I’m English, but no!  I’m completely incapable of thinking that way!  But I do encounter many, many people who watched GUTS and are happy to meet me, and yes, that is nice to feel I was a happy part of their childhood.

I once bumped into Billy Connelly and all I could do was say “Oh!” as I looked up at him, but I felt a rush of remembering my best friend and myself sneaking his albums from her father’s collection and listening to his quite naughty comedy and just laughing and giggling away secretly in her room.  Of course, GUTS was not naughty or blue, but if I can elicit that same kind of “Oh!”, I’d say that’s quite nice.

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Do you ever get the GUTS theme song stuck in your head out of nowhere?  Seriously, sometimes I get that thing in my head and it’s harder to get out than peanut butter from the roof of your mouth.



Like an adventure hero who has inured himself to poison, it has no effect on me.

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Have you kept in touch with Mike ‘O Malley over the years?   Ever caught any of his television shows?



We do keep in touch.  He’s busy with work and family.  I’m busy with work and family, but we keep up with each other and I’m always happy to hear what he’s up to.  I did watch the first season of Glee and thought he was amazing.  A really touching performance- and Emmy nominated, I might add!

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If you Google “Nickelodeon GUTS Halloween costume”, there’s many a photo of a group dressed as contestants, complete with a “Mo” ref.  Now, I don’t know what it’s like to be a Halloween costume, unless “dorky white guy” becomes a popular costume next year.  Is it as cool as I’m thinking it is?



Yes, it is just that cool.  Also, as a practical person, I like how easy it is to assemble: a ref shirt, some ’90s spandex bike shorts and if you have a short, British woman to put in there, all the better.

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In the years since GUTS, you’ve certainly amassed quite the impressive resume, including stand-up comedy, cartoon voice-over work, and acting in film, television and theater amongst other endeavors.  Which has been your favorite to work on?



I did once get to say “if it hadn’t been for you meddling kids!” as the villain on a Scooby Doo episode, and I walked on air for a week or two after that!

Lately I have been performing in and recording a fair number of plays for radio and that is wonderful.  When I was a teen listening to plays on BBC Radio 4, I thought life would be pretty magnificent if I could do that.  Now, I do.  I get to do all sorts of plays from Restoration to Angry Young Man for LA Theatreworks/NPR and for the BBC.  It’s lovely.  But, whether it’s a game or a cartoon or a sitcom or web series, I really love my job!

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Doing voice-over work for animation seems like a barrel of monkeys… are there any personal favorite cartoons you’d like to work on one day?



I don’t even know if they are still in production, but Phineas and Ferb.  I love that show!  It is built on a foundation of kindness and silliness and it really makes me laugh.  My pal Dee Baker (also a Nickelodeon alum) voices Perry.

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Who were your comedic inspirations growing up?  Do you follow any current comedians?



I have been lucky enough to see Zach Galifianakis when he was doing open mics years and years ago.  I’ve seen Eddie Izzard.  I would have loved to see Mitch Hedberg.  I love Maria Bamford and Jackie Kashian.  I think Catherine Tate is wonderful.

There are all sorts of comedians I love.  Eddie Pepitone and Frank Conniff always make me laugh.  Wow, this is turning into a long- and obviously disjointed- list.  When I was growing up we would always put in a Jasper Carrott tape in if we were going on a drive.  He’s British and did story based comedy.  Or some Monty Python.

Coming to America and going through my husband and uncle’s record collections introduced me to Bob Newhart and Bill Cosby among others.  Currently, I’m watching Louie (Louie C.K.) on Netflix.  I think he’s pretty amazing.

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Funniest movie of all time???  GO!



Nope.  Not fair!  But, off the top of my head, here’s a list of movies I like to see about once a year:

Withnail and I
Some Like it Hot
Hot Fuzz
The In-Laws- the original
Born Yesterday
40 Year-Old Virgin
Funny Bones
Bowfinger
Jeeves and Wooster (The Hugh Laurie/Stephen Fry version)

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On your official site, you have a clip of your stand-up routine about Americans oddly imitating British accents.   I am guilty of a pretty terrible one myself.  Are we all that bad?  Does every fake British accent mention tea? Cause that’s pretty much our go-to move.



For ‘go to’ moves it’s not a bad one.  I believe my husband wins the prize for best worst English accent.  It makes me cry… laughing.

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Now, a couple questions about the “Aggro Crag” on GUTS, did you ever get a chance to climb that thing?  Due to my petrifying fear of heights, I’d make it about 10 feet up and freeze.  I would’ve been shown in GUTS blooper reels.   Did they ever give you one of the glowing green prize trophy pieces to keep?

I did conquer the Crag.  I do own a “piece of it.”  It’s in the garage.

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Since you are a professional comic, I’ll ask your opinion- I love to tell terrible jokes… Please rate this joke on a scale of 1-10 (1 being awful, 10 being a “better” awful):  


Why did Dracula take cough medicine?

To stop his coffin.
Oh, that’s awfully good.

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If we started a campaign to get you on Dancing With the Stars in a future season, how do you think you’d fare?

Um, not well.

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What’s going on in Mo-Land these days?  What are your current projects where we can see/hear/laugh along?

There’s a few actually.  I’m in a new web series called “Dirty Work” .  Check out this LA Times article.

I’m in the third season of the web series “Pretty”.
I recorded “Look Back in Anger” for LA Theatreworks, that has aired on various NPR stations nationwide.
“Dracula” will air on various NPR stations again this Halloween
I’m currently recording an X-Com game playing a cold and clinical scientist.


Star Wars: The Old Republic,  The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim – I’ve been getting some nice feedback on those.
I have big intentions with regard to social media! Maybe actually pay attention to Facebook, and updating my woefully outdated website and YouTube channel, and, oh, I don’t know, actually starting tweeting (@moiraquirkable).



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A big thank you to Moira Quirk for her time and for being a fantastic first interview on A Blumes With A View

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Filed under Comedy, Entertainment, Games, Humor, Interview, Pop Culture, Retro, Television

PERFECTION: The Most Terrifying 60 Seconds of Your Life

By Andrew Blumetti

And now, a play-by-play of every time I’d play the classic Milton Bradley board game, Perfection.

You know the drill of this heart-attack in the making- twist, timer, tick, tock, trouble, and KA-BLOOM!  A yellow mess on the rug that the dog isn’t responsible for this time.

Please enjoy, relate, and relive the hair-raising madness of the most nerve-racking minute you’ll ever come to experience in your lifetime.  It’s cheaper than a shrink afterall…

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Tick tick tick tick

– Strap in for one minute of pure geometrical mayhem!  In your face math!

I’ve just turned the cheap plastic round timer on my Perfection game, and that stupid thing is spinning faster than Amanda Bynes’ vision when she slunks behind the wheel on a Friday night.  Gotta make sure not to over-tighten it though, that “Made in China” Smurf-blue knob looks like it’ll break if the wind blows too hard.

– Reaching over to that pile of golden plastic pieces, and fumbling around, there goes about five of them off the coffee table, and I’ve realized this godforsaken game would’ve been better played on the rug instead.

– Quick!  Grab that triangle or square one or anything that looks like a simple Sesame Street-level shape, and try to fit it in game board holes while the gettin’s good.  Basically, just avoid getting held up on those tricky looking ones from the island of misfit shapes, they’ll just gum everything up.  Squeeze those in like a champ in the final precious seconds instead.

– The gravity of the situation hits like a splash of cold water:  this game is for “ages 5+”, so at my current anemic pace,  basically I’m handling this as badly as a kindergartener.  After more nervous laughter than a first date, time to look at the timer on the game for some piece of mind.

– Phew!  All that self-doubt was a mere overreaction… still have 35 seconds left.  This thing’s money in the bank…

– Oops, spoke too soon- the faded numbers are impossible to read, it’s actually only 25 seconds left…

– And to top it all off, that nonstop ticking, which is the soundtrack to my obvious board game failure, is starting to make the hairs on my arm stand up straight.  It’s like watching that scene in Paranormal Activity, when possessed Katie awakens, gets up and just stares at… wait, this isn’t the time for that!

…and is it me, or does the ticking seem to be somehow speeding up as time goes on?  Is that physically possible?   Is Milton Bradley practicing some sort of voodoo?   Cause I don’t think they should be.

– Geez, why did I waste time thinking about the ticking?  That was another precious ten seconds down the crapper…

– OK, down to just a few left, time’s running short, but it’s time to dominate this ticking time bomb like Tom Brady marching the troops down the gridiron with two minutes left.  These back-against-the-wall heroics are what separates the men from the boys.

but big time folly:  those annoying shapes from before are still staring me in the face, laughing.

– Maybe I should just stop the timer for a couple seconds, you know, just to fit a few extra pieces in… nah, that’s cheating.  I guess, right?   …and I am an adult.   …Stupid adults.

– …and to top it all off, I can’t believe they made me apply the stickers onto this thing myself.  Cheapskates…

– Let’s see… nailed the diamond, star shape and the pentagon…  can’t wait to push that switch that stops the game!  No messy cleanup, no heart-stopping plastic explosion that I know is coming, yet still makes me jump.  (I mean, who wants to go through that?  Look at how those Caucasian kids are being thrown around on the box, I’m too delicate for that fate.)  I’ll tell ya, if they gave out medals for Perfection playing, I’d pull in gold, silver and bronze.  That’s right… all three platform levels. 

Five seconds left!  Better hurry!

– Crap on a stick!  That stupid S-shaped piece that looks like Pac Man if Picasso got a hold of him then threw him in a blender.  This awful thing always haunts me.  I always fumble it the way an arena football player fumbles pretty much every play.

– This feels like watching one of those poor sap victims in a Saw movie watching the timer tick down till their arms and legs get yanked out.

3… (gettin’ hairy…)

2… (man up Andrew- it’s time for a last minute board game miracle…)

1… (hmmm…)

uh ohhh…

DING!!

– Ahhh, stupid piece of plastic crap.  It wasn’t me, the timer must be busted.  Maybe they should call it Imperfection.

(That line was gold!   I wish someone was here to hear that…)

– Ehhh, this Commie game’s for kids.  I’ll clean it up later.  I’m gonna go have some Fruit Roll-Ups.

THE END.

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Filed under Comedy, Entertainment, Games, Humor, Retro

The Pringles Logo and the Monopoly Guy…Separated at Birth?

By Andrew Blumetti

Tom Selleck.  Super Mario.  Rollie Fingers.  Ron Swanson.

Just a sampling of some of the most killer mustaches of our generation.  Who doesn’t love an impressive growth of whiskers smack on the upper lip?  Whether it’s a sinister handlebarred villain tying a doomed damsel to the train tracks, or a lanky 1970’s pitcher spitting out his chew on the mound, the hairy gamut is fully covered.

Oddly enough, two well-known soup strainers are continually criminally overlooked on our favorite ‘stache list… but why?  What’s being covered up in Mascot Land?

In the biggest conspiracy theory since the Kennedy assassination, I plan to unearth the mysterious truth of two beloved logos:  The Pringles face and the old Monopoly mascot.  Eat your hearts out Mulder and Scully…

But before this gets hairy, let’s look a little bit closer at the backs of the baseball cards of these two fellas:

Full Name:  Julius Pringles

Business:  The lucrative potato chip game

First Appearance:  1968

Favorite Saying:  “Once you pop, you can’t stop”

Net Worth:  $1 billion per year

Full Name:  Milburn “Uncle” Pennybags, AKA “Mr. Monopoly”

Business:  Worldwide-known board game icon

First Appearance:  1936

Favorite Saying: “Get out of jail, free”

Net Worth:  $7.1 billion

Can’t deny it, the similarities are striking.  Both are billionaires with bushy mustaches, seldom-scene mouths, expressive eyebrows and eyes as black as Darth Vader’s soul. When you get to the bottom of it, what is it with these two that the public has been missing over the past 43 years?  Are they just one character?  Long lost twins?  An eerie kowinkedink?

Well, I’ll give you a minute to get your bookies on the phone, cause like a Kentucky Derby pre-race special, we’re gonna break down our odds here…

Are they just the same person?:  Pennybags ditches that out-of-style top hat, throws on a cheap toupee, and buys some brown hair dye, and BAM!, we’ve got ourselves a secret identity that even Bruce Wayne would envy.  On the other hand, it would seem unnecessary and strange that Uncle Pennybags, a man with a money bin larger than Scrooge McDuck’s, would need to add on a second job in the often-turbulent snack food world.  Odds:  3:1

Separated at birth?:  Well, sure, it’s a valid idea, but the biggest flaw in this reasoning lies in their ages and appearances.  Much like any young attractive Hollywood starlet who dates Wilmer Valderrama, something just doesn’t add up here.  Pringles has a relatively more youthful look that would land him the job of a burnout roadie for Steppenwolf if he’d ever take a minute to get off that tennis ball can.  Mr. Monopoly, on the other hand, looks like a crotchety, rich old man sitting in a lifeboat, watching the poor immigrants slowly sink on the Titanic.  Odds:  9:1

Just a big coincidence?:  In theory, this bland one seems to be the most likely.  It’s not hard to swallow the idea that two big companies just chose similar-looking ‘stachy mascots for their products.  But where’s the fun in that?  C’mon people, live a little.  Odds:  12:1

They are actually both Wilfred Brimley?:  Well, if you’re like me, you’re always a sucker for a dark horse.  This one is like picking the Pittsburgh Pirates back in April to win the World Series this October.   When Halloween rolls around, it’s looking pretty good you’re going to be happy as a clam that you made that bet.  Now, I don’t know much about diabetes, but I think Pringles are safe, and that curmudgeon Brimley would be sitting there getting the last laugh when all that lucrative oat money runs out.  Here’s your golden longshot folks.  Odds:  50:1

So, where does that bring us?  I guess ultimately, we will never know.  It seems more likely we will find out who shot Nice Guy Eddie in Reservoir Dogs before we settle this mettlesome mustachioed mascot mystery.  (For the record, I still think it was the ghost of freshly one-eared dead cop who shot him, but that’s just a stab in the dark.)

Perhaps deep down, that’s the fun of it.  Maybe the next time you’re in the middle of “not stopping” once you’ve popped, or forking hundreds of pastel play dollars over for landing on Park Place, you can throw your own theory into the logo ring too.

Now, I’ve gotta go trademark this whole thing, before sweaty Michael Moore makes a sweaty movie out of it.

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Filed under Comedy, Food, Games, Humor