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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Paying For Attention

What if your wildest dream came true and it was a heartbreaking experience?

We tend to believe that the fulfillment of our fantasies will be satisfying, but I think that’s because so few of us ever realize our most imaginative goals.  This isn’t to say that we haven’t actually had wishes come true, in fact if you think about it, “wishes coming true” is a pretty accurate description of Christmas for most children.  Parents are generally able to accommodate “Dear Santa” requests because kids tend to dream small and talk big.  Fulfilling a Christmas wish list is easy because kids don’t usually ask for something huge like a record deal and a music video.

It used to take a ruthless corporate machine to foist something like Rebecca Black’s absolutely ridiculous “Friday” on the general public.  An industry was responsible for creating the Godzilla grade monsters we call Lindsay Lohan and Chris Brown, but the digital revolution has eased the major media companies’ stranglehold on the celebrity spotlight.  With the advent of reasonably priced, professional grade, digital media processing the formerly ludicrous claims of Andy Warhol became eerily prophetic.  15 minutes of fame is now eminently accessible to the “average” American.

An “average” American became a worldwide sensation last week because her mother had the resources to finance her fantasy.  While it only took $2000 to both fulfill Rebecca Black’s dreams and crush her heart, the sad part isn’t that she got torn apart by the rabid beast of suburban consumption.  What’s sad is that she dreamed too small and sang too big.

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