Wag The Squirrel

Trigonometry Squirrel's got your sine.

Trigonometry Squirrel’s got your sine.

This certainly isn’t the greatest quality squirrel photo I’ve ever taken, but I’ll bet you can quickly spot what caught my eye and kept this image from being tossed like so many others into the virtual recycling bin so that hard drive memory can be better used for more porn artwork.  Look at that tail go!  Not only is it sqturday squirrel logoclearly in motion, but it looks to be moving in a wave formation!  The frayed end of the tail whipping around to form the next ridge looks neat, but not as cool as the wicked curvature that can be seen in the first peak!

No doubt you’ve seen squirrels rather vigorously wag their tails before… a practice which is generally used as a way to communicate with other squirrels much in the same way we might extend another human the finger.  The message I read in this furry fella’s flickering rear mudflap was a statement of his worthiness to be this week’s Saturday Squirrel.  Ten-four, good buddy… you’ve indeed earned some waves of your own from my appreciative audience!

Have a great weekend… and shake a tailfeather!

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It’s A Long Way To Tipperary

Oh, don't act like you aren't going to need a tissue for this post.

Oh, don’t act like you aren’t going to need a tissue for this post.

Turn out the lights, the party’s over.  What began with a “oh fuck, why not?” phone call turned into a once in a lifetime journey that spanned three months, yet somehow took up seven months of blog time.  Look at the date on that first post in this series… April 11th.  Not even I knew on that early Spring day that it would be three seasons and 32 weeks later when I would finally type up the final entry in this crazy storytelling project I undertook only because I ran out of Flashback Friday ideas.  How in the hell did I milk this game show tale for over 50,000 words and even more pathetic attempts at humor?

I couldn't have done it without you, Dishwasher Dog!

I couldn’t have done it without you, Dishwasher Dog!

I did not extend this story one final chapter to brag pontificate over how long it ran… but to merely serve as an epilogue to the main plot, while also tying up a few loose ends and including some cool things I forgot.  Like the fact that I was an unwitting pawn in an online contest…

No really… I made thousands of people (besides all of you reading this) boo and jeer me!

You suck, Squirrel!  Get your sorry ass back to the minors!

You suck, Squirrel! Get your sorry ass back to the minors!

During the first few months of 2001, ABC ran an online contest based on a similar game that was a hit on their sporty sister ESPN’s website.  It was called Hot Seat Draw 3, and each night the show aired, you could log in and get a random draw of three of the finalists (the carryover was also thrown into the mix) along with three ways each of those contestants could score points for you.  Since all of the ways to score points involved at the very least making it to the Hot Seat, anyone who drew my card had no chance of winning the valuable prize of a TiVo for accumulating the highest nightly score.  To make it up to those people who still curse my name to this day, here’s a potential draw of my card that would have given them much better odds:

hsd3

They even took special photos of us in the Ring prior to the taping to use for their HSD3 profiles.  Do I still have the image of that HSD3 photo?  Yep, thanks to a kind message board buddy to emailed it to me long, long ago.  Am I gonna share it with you…. not a chance.  It looks even worse than my on air intro still does.  Given the number of unfortunate looking people that were on my show, I’m surprised our group’s foray into the world of fantasy game show leagues didn’t kill off the franchise…

Where does Regis find all these ugly people?  I think I'll watch Big Brother instead.

Where does Regis find all these ugly people? I think I’ll watch Big Brother instead.

Probably the most intriguing loose end that dangles over my prolonged tale of woe is whether or not Amy Turner’s incessant stalling in the Hot Seat, as well as the show’s unwillingness to edit the majority of it out, cost me a chance to fuck up a third fastest finger question.  Despite only seeing eleven questions, Amy took up almost 25 minutes of the show’s 42 minutes and change of airtime…. or about 60% of the show was dedicated to her.

What can I say?  I'm the Queen of your Millionaire Journey!

What can I say? I’m the Queen of your Millionaire Journey!

The key to unlocking this mystery lies in the fate of Kevin O’Neill, who finished off my show by making quick work of his first nine questions.  If we could have squeezed another five, or perhaps even ten minutes of time into his run that was instead used to listen to Amy babble over fingernails and petty officers, would he have vacated the Hot Seat before the final horn sounded?

Ain't happening.

Ain’t happening.

The answer is most likely no… because Kevin wound up seeing four more questions when he carried over to the next show, and not a single one of them went as quickly or smoothly as the nine we got to see him breeze through in the waning moments of my taping.  He used his three lifelines, one a piece, on each of the next three questions before finally deciding he had 125,000 reasons to walk away from his $250,000 question that asked who the then poet laureate of the United States was.  While I never saw that show to get an idea of the time it took Kevin to finish off his stack, I sincerely doubt it could have been crammed onto my show even if Amy had played a bit more smoothly.  And after all, we got a huge break anyway in the way carryover Ed Toutant got prematurely ejected from the Hot Seat… so in a way, everything balanced out in the end.  It just wasn’t meant to be…

I wish Don Pardo would have been there to call me a complete loser.

I wish Don Pardo would have been there to call me a complete loser.

Coming from a message board that was full of Millionaire wannabes at the time, I’ve seen many, many others walk the same path I did of making it all the way to New York only to leave with the Turtle Wax.  To say that the experience didn’t sit all that well with a good number of those people would be an understatement.  And I can certainly understand why it could cause bitterness… after all, I am positive I’d have won at least $32,000 had I not managed to brain fart on either of those two fastest finger questions.  Though it’s no million bucks, that’s a lot of money to have so temptingly close only to see it vanish in a puff of smoke at the sound of a horn.  And if I say I don’t still think about how that may have changed my life 13 years ago, it would be the biggest lie I’ve ever told on this blog.

burning rodent

And that would be saying something since I’m always catching on fire.

But being one of the most self depreciating squirrels you’ll find has its benefits, and rather than be bitter and depressed over a once in a lifetime opportunity squandered, I have instead chosen to embrace what happened and just marvel over the fact that some insignificant moron like me was even a blip on the radar of one of the most highly rated game shows at the peak of its popularity.  The entertaining tale that’s been told here every Friday for as long as you can remember could have never been spun by someone who only looked back on the misfortune through piss and vinegar glasses.  Right off the bat, I decided to just let it go.

The cold never bothered me anyway.

The cold never bothered me anyway.

Besides, even coming home a loser still managed to turn me into somewhat of a local star.  My co-workers at Mecca who were around when this all happened still tell the newer people that the dictator guru of the paper goods and chemicals department was once on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.  I can’t tell you how many times in the months after the show aired that customers after chewing me out over an out of stock recognized me and stopped to ask if I was the local guy they saw on Millionaire.  I experienced deja vu of the celebrity phenomenon in 2004 when The Game Show Network (Now just GSN) picked up the original primetime episodes of Millionaire to add to its lineup.  I’ll admit it was fun to have people pick me out in public as someone they saw on TV for the brief time that it lasted… but I’m extremely happy I don’t have to go through it every day like real celebrities do…

Though I do wish I'd have been famous enough to get my own groupies.

Though I do wish I’d have been famous enough to get my own groupies.

So could there ever be a repeat of the Millionaire Journey (Assuming there’d be enough time left in the universe to chronicle it, that is)?  Well, despite the fact that I’m still not a fan of whoring myself out at an audition, I did attend two more local tryouts for the show… one in August 2001, and the other for the watered down syndicated version of Meredith Vieira Millionaire in October 2010.  Given the quick brush off I got from both experiences, I gained an even greater appreciation for how lucky I was to slide through the original audition.  And I also picked up this cool GTFO souvenir from the latter of those two complete wastes of time…

Cats will tolerate even a loser, so long as that loser feeds them.

Cats will tolerate even a loser, so long as that loser feeds them.

And….. well, there you have it folks.  I promised you a recap of my experience on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, and I gave you an epic novel that spanned over half of the year instead.  I do hope you enjoyed it though, and were able to find joy in even the obscure tangents, pretty pictures, and totally predictable 168 hour cliffhangers I provided.  For hanging in there with me for so long, I think you all deserve a special badge to commemorate making it all the way to the end of this cybermarathon without keeling over from old age….

Display it with pride!

Display it with pride!

And so there will be no more talk of lunulas or glowing potatoes.  No more gagging over mystery meat and continental breakfasts.  No more condemning shitty airlines and fleabag hotels that have since rightly gone out of business.  No more caterpillars, curses, T-shirts or scary limo rides.  No more babbling, stalling, show tune singing, or waiting until next Friday.  And absolutely no more unsightly visuals of Regis trying to pronounce “Wynema” while taking a dump….

This is the end, my friends.  The end of The Millionaire Journey.

Time to take that snowglobe away from you, Evil Squirrel....

Time to take that snowglobe away from you, Evil Squirrel….

Thanks for reading!

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Evil Squirrel’s Nest Comic #134 — 11/20/14

comic112014

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It’s Not Easy Being Cheesy

Why cheetahs nearly became extinct.

Why cheetahs nearly became extinct.

tuesday tvHere in America, we hold these three rights to be self evident… life, liberty, and the pursuit of salty snacks.  Sure we love our potato chips, pretzels, and corn chips big enough to scoop the wax out of an elephant’s ear… but find a way to throw a bunch of goopy, gloppy cheese onto a partially hydrogenated snack, and you’ll have us licking our fingers in dried-on orange colored crap anticipation!

Cheese popcorn?  Hell yeah!  We don’t even care if we’re paying $3 a bag for 30 cents worth of fluffy, cheese-caked goodness!

Orville Redenbacher never came up with this idea..,

Orville Redenbacher never came up with this idea..,

Nacho cheese Doritos?  Yes please!

They're finger lickin' good!

They’re finger lickin’ good!

Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a snack that was essentially nothing but slathered on cheesy yumminess?  In 1948, Charles Elmer Doolin became an American hero when he invented the snack we call Cheetos.  In later years, as television advertising became more and more necessary to maintain brand awareness, the makers of Cheetos decided that they needed a good anthropomorphic mascot to appeal to the unhealthy habits of both kids and adults alike.  Considering the brand’s name, it was pretty obvious what kind of animal the cheesy advertising geniuses came up with to pitch Cheetos…

Yeah, a fucking mouse.  That's either way outside of the box thinking, or just a bunch of morons trying to make a commercial.

Yeah, a fucking mouse. That’s either way outside of the box thinking, or just a bunch of morons trying to make a commercial.

OK, yeah, mice are always connected to cheese thanks to all those old, inaccurate Tom & Jerry cartoons we used to watch.  But a bunch of ad execs who actually passed their classes came along in the 80′s and gave the rodent a pink slip laced with D-con so that they could introduce one of the coolest commercial mascots to ever grace the boob tube…

Look out for the cheetah!

Look out for the cheetah!

My crummy research I do for these pathetic humorous articles I write for this blog tells me that Chester Cheetah debuted in 1983… but that seems way too early to me.  I first remember seeing him in the late 80′s, when he was dissing that knockoff Any Old Cheese Puffs* and getting himself into all kinds of trouble trying to steal other people’s food.

*True story: In a cartoon series I created over two decades ago, I borrowed the “Any Old” brand name from the Cheetos commercials as that comic universe’s answer to Wile E. Coyote’s Acme products.  Much like all consumer goods in the world of Evil Squirrel are Mecca themed, everything was Any Old ____ in that previous series.  Sadly, all traces of references to Any Old Cheese Puffs in the early Chester Cheetah ads seem to have been lost to the ages...

thinking

Or it could have just been a product of my overactive imagination… who knows?

Anyhow, let’s watch one of Chester’s finer moments of advertising glory:

Like all good commercial mascots, Chester relied on a strict formula of cartoon craziness in all of his late 80′s ads.  First, we would always see the laid back hipster feline partaking in some activity that should have come with a warning not to attempt due to its potentially dangerous coolness factor.  He would rattle off some nonsense about how awesome he was, but his babbling only sounded cool because it rhymed.  In fact, Chester was so otherworldly cool, that he spoke exclusively in whyme… a trait he ripped straight off the radical skates of fellow cartoon feline Wordsworth.

I've got to say that I can not grouse Because I myself stole from Muffy Mouse!

I’ve got to say that I can not grouse
Because I myself stole from Muffy Mouse!

Once Chester has established his catty coolness, he spies some poor, hapless human enjoying a bag of Cheetos.  Because Chester has a crippling addiction to the cheesy snack, the only course of action for Chester is to pontificate on the greatness of his artificially flavored holy grail while he evilly plots how to take the bag right out of some stranger’s orange-colored fingers.  If there was an advertising mascot rehab, Chester would be sharing a padded cell with this guy

These will stain your fingers just as well as those Cheetos... and keep you away from my Fruity Pebbles!

These will stain your fingers just as well as those Cheetos… and keep you away from my Fruity Pebbles!

Unlike Barney, though, Chester doesn’t have the patience or quite possibly the brainpower to come up with some silly disguise or trick to get the deliciously cheesy crunch he craves.  No, once this cheetah’s done acting like a cartoon spaz, he plunges headlong at the perpetrator who dared to eat a snack within his presence and tries his best smash and grab routine…

Why it's never wise to eat alone in a city park.

Why it’s never wise to eat alone in a city park.

Chester’s bad karma always catches up to him, however, and he not only doesn’t get the cheeselike bounty he seeks, but he usually ends up seriously harming himself in the process.  In fact, in the commercial I embedded here… Chester is so desperate for a cheese fix that he’s chasing after an empty bag that’s being thrown away just so he can lick the loose cheesy goop off the bottom.  Dude, it’s seriously time to get you some help when you’re dumpster diving for Cheetos remnants.

Hey!!!  Get out of that bag, you dirty possum!  Those are my Cheetos!

Hey!!! Get out of that bag, you dirty possum! Those are my Cheetos!

Then again, maybe this lady who plays the potential victim needs to have a Cheetos intervention of her own.  After all, she’s seen throwing away an empty bag right before Chester strikes, yet here’s what she looked like at the beginning of the commercial:

Holy shit!  She ate the whole bag in less than 30 seconds!  She's going to be vomiting orange for weeks.

Holy shit! She ate the whole bag in less than 30 seconds! She’s going to be vomiting orange for weeks.

As Chester deals with his body deforming punishment for the deadly sin of cheesy gluttony, he utters his trademark line, “It’s not easy being cheesy” before doing that odd shaking maneuver that’s been magically bringing misshapen cartoon characters back to their regular form for almost a century now…

If you hit the lid hard enough to make your face take its shape, that's probably gonna require plastic surgery to fix.

If you hit the lid hard enough to make your face take its shape, that’s probably gonna require plastic surgery to fix.

Remarkably, Chester Cheetah is still around shilling for cheese covered turds three decades after he was first spotted (See what did there?) on TV.  Sadly, he doesn’t appear to have aged very well

What do you get when you mix a cheetah with Col. Sanders and Dr. Wily?

What do you get when you mix a cheetah with Col. Sanders and Dr. Wily?

Apparently, all of the stress of not being able to quite reach the sour Cheetos turned our beloved cheetah prematurely grey.  Not to mention, all those years of having to painfully perform his old stunts has reduced him to being an inactive bystander in ads these days supervising others doing his dirty work.  But at least Chester made it around long enough to prove the old advertising maxim that the best way to sell unhealthy food to your young audience is to act like a fucked up mess.  And for his contributions to the art of commercial chicanery, we at The Nest would like to salute Chester Cheetah, a cool cat living among a world of sick puppies.  We perfectly understand that the addictive goodness of the snack you pitched would drive anyone to attempt mugging strangers in the park just to get a taste of the cheesy goodness that they are so selfishly keeping stuck to their own fingers…

Here kitty.... now go away!

Here kitty…. now go away!

 

Posted in TV Commercials | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Cover Me

There are only six blogs separating The Nest from Kevin Bacon.

There are only six blogs separating The Nest from Kevin Bacon.

meccamuzakmondaysIt’s time to start your week off on the right paw hoof foot, and me and DJ Scratchy are here as always to ensure that happens with another sick groove from the CD that’s straight outta Bentonville on Mecca Muzak Monday.  Today we’re going to present a song that copied off someone else’s paper, but rather than get an F for plagiarism, it instead gets an A+ for earning both Mecca’s and The Nest’s official Listening Pleasure Seal of Approval.

Translation:  Get ready... the squirrel's about ready to feed us another shitty piece of music.

Translation: Get ready… the squirrel’s about ready to feed us another shitty piece of music.

There probably isn’t a more unoriginal artistic genre out there than the music industry.  Whether it be sampling, borrowing chord progressions, or just outright doing a song someone else had already recorded before you… it’s always easier to become rich and famous by piggybacking off of someone else’s hard work.  Music history is rife with covers of songs originally performed by other artists… some of which have achieved popular and chart success that their predecessor didn’t.  These are generally not the covers that interest me too much…

With a few notable exceptions...

With a few notable exceptions…

I’m more of a fan of the covers of songs where the original was extremely popular and/or revered as a classic.  Give me Devo’s version of “Satisfaction” over The Stones any day.  Pseudo Echo (Fair dinkum!) took us to a Funkytown that was 100 times better than where Lipps Inc. wanted to go.  And honestly, almost anyone’s version of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is preferable to me than Nirvana’s…. even Paul Anka’s!!!!

Hey, hey, Courtney!

Hey, hey, Courtney!

The likelihood that I’ll favor a way different cover version of an iconic song that I think is just “meh” is something I call the Tori Amos Rule… named after the fact that I first realized this tendency after I first heard her version of the aforementioned Nirvana song.  People think I’m nuts for dissing the classic in favor of some lesser known, often extremely redone version of the same song… but that’s just how I roll.  And I’d like to thank the Mecca mixmasters for introducing me to another song that fits the Tori Amos Rule to a T…

I know how to make the ending credits sound totally awesome.

I know how to make the ending credits sound totally awesome.

In the 80′s, Kenny Loggins was the go-to songwriter for Hollywood.  He wrote chart-topping songs for both “Caddyshack” movies, “Top Gun”, and of course the 1984 dancing movie “Footloose.”  Footloose is a bonafide 80′s anthem that I think is OK, but it never really was one of my favorites.  Last summer, Mecca showed me just what that song needed to make me love it….

What else?  My least favorite genre of music, that's what!

What else? My least favorite genre of music, that’s what!

Like every other movie that was ever put on film, “Footloose” was remade for a new generation in 2011.  Since the new version had a country theme to it, they asked Nashville star Blake Shelton to cover Kenny Loggins’ legendary theme song for the movie… and despite the fact that the song barely even cracked the country charts, Mecca picked it up for the Summer 2013 CD…

I can’t listen to Loggins’ version of the song anymore without thinking “Footloose” was MEANT to be a country song…

See!  Even Kevin Bacon agrees...

I can’t believe it’s not Kevin Bacon.

Well, there you go.  It’d been a while since I threw some country on the MMM turntable, so I thought it was time to get our twang on again.  But for those out there who dislike boot scootin’ music, just relax!  We’re only two weeks from taking MMM into the holiday season!  That’s right…. enjoy the contemporary stuff while you can, because somepony’s getting into the Christmas spirit….

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Ho! Ho! Ho!

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