Archive - March, 2011

Do Over

The University of Oregon needs to change their mascot.

Full disclosure:  My favorite college football team is the UCLA Bruins.  That’s correct, my football team is from a school that’s known for basketball, math, and violating the rights of the handicapped.

I’m a Bruin fan because I’m from SoCal, and I’m not a USC Trojan fan because I’m from North Los Angeles County, not Frontrunner County.  That being said, The University of Oregon failed miserably during the School Mascot Draft of nineteen thirty whenever.

For those unfamiliar with the legend surrounding the Oregon mascot, here it is in 3 sentences:  In 1876 the university began competing under the name “Webfoots”.  Sometime in the 1930’s a duckling named “Puddles” began making appearances as the schools mascot.  Eventually someone appropriated Donald Duck’s likeness, Walt Disney thought it was cute, and now an entire state is stuck with a mascot that even Denny Crane can’t defend in court.

I’m not saying the Ducks aren’t the best college football program west of Texas, I’m saying that their mascot ranks just slightly above the Stanford Tree but below the Irvine Anteater in terms of intimidating flora and fauna.

Duck fans can’t argue this point; they know their mascot is the culmination of a historical comedy of errors that cascades towards the present day like a green and yellow domino rally:  “Webfoots” is grammatically inferior to “Webfeet”, Puddles is the kind of name you give to a cowardly puppy, and choosing any one of Disney’s seven dwarves would have produced better results than choosing an incoherent and impotent oceangoing nincompoop.


Mascot Madness

With the NCAA Final Four upon us, we’ve been treated to a cavalcade of college mascots, some of them silly and some of them superlative.

Some of us get to go to a school with an awesome mascot.  A mascot that evokes the mystery of a super villain or does something awesome like riding a horse while brandishing a weapon.  Sometimes it does both, like the angry church clergyman who burns into Wake Forest stadium riding a custom chopper.

Some of us get a mascot that looks like a rabid gerbil wearing a scarf.  Still others get something that appears to be a love interest for Grimace.  Sometimes your mascot is terrible because it’s just patently offensive.

In 1991, just 2 years before the politically correct revolution, I attended Antelope Valley College and our mascot was a marauding, bloodthirsty Sheik.  I’m not going to lie to you, the marauder was as awesome as he was offensive to the arab student population.  While he no longer menaces the cheerleaders,  the athletic teams are still called “the Marauders”, and today they are represented only by a gleaming scimitar… because blood thirst is evidently acceptable when a racial slur is merely implied.

Whatever the situation occurring at your Alma Mater, the truth is that a great mascot inspires the crowd and unites a community in the same way that sticking with a terrible mascot insults your fan base and makes you the butt of a million jokes.

I’d love to hear a school mascot you hate and why.  It can be silly or serious but I want to know what would you’d change it to and why?

I’ll tell you mine tomorrow.


The Ghosts of Candies Past

The 1920’s were a decade of decadence for Americans, an era when we refined frivolity from indulgence to art form.  The post war economic boom meant that people with ideas could find capital to finance them; professional sports, comic books, and trading cards became thriving industries. It was during this era that America said goodbye to “Little House on the Prairie” era candies and confections, gone were the days of sucking on peppermint sticks or chewing on anise roots and only a hayseed would be caught dead with marzipan.

Many of the candies of the interwar period have survived to both pleasure and torment us almost 100 years later.  Here are five that are worth their weight in sugar and five that never should have survived beyond the Korean War.

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