THE ALMIGHTY LIST

THE MOMENT HAS ARRIVED!  I received input from a number of readers, friends, family members, and even the official medical consultant for Bobbing for Popcorn (okay, so it’s my doctor, but it makes us both sound way cooler) and the list of the FORTY THINGS I am challenged to complete by my FORTIETH BIRTHDAY has been compiled.  It equally pumps me up and terrifies me!  There are some really fun things that are going to be SO COOL and others that are scary as hell!  But that was the point, I guess.  So without further ado, in no particular order, here it is:

1. Eat a carolina reaper pepper

I’ve done hot challenges before, but never anything THIS hot!

2. Polar bear swim

I hate swimming.  I hate the cold.  This sounds perfect.

3. lose 40 pounds

This is probably the biggest challenge on the list but probably the most important one too.  Phew…this one is going to take some work!

4. go camping/Hiking

Believe it or not, there are a number of normal things on this list that I have never done.  This being one of them.

5. visit a legitimately haunted location

I’m not talking about local lore, or somebody’s uncle said he saw the curtains move once.  I’m talking a place one of those ghost hunter shows would go investigate.

6. finish writing a novel

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I know.  I started writing this a long time ago.  What better way to light a fire under me to get the job done?

7. run a 5k

Oh sweet baby Jesus give me strength.

8. flip & sell a house

My wife and I have had a rental property for quite a while.  Time to channel my inner Bob Villa and fix it up and sell it to another family.

9. try bulletproof coffee & “cat poop” coffee

I love coffee…these frighten me.

10.  paintball

What better way to shoot your friends without anyone pressing charges?!!

11.  target shooting

I have never fired a gun.  I don’t believe I’ve ever actually held a real one in my life.  Judging by the fact that I usually need supervision when using scissors and I whimper at loud noises, I can’t see how this could go wrong.

12.  hug a llama

This might be the greatest thing I do in my life.

13.  go caroling

Seems a bit easy.  Maybe we’ll sing 80s hip hop mash-ups instead.

14.  grill day

If it isn’t grilled, we don’t eat it.  All day long.

15.  take a painting class

This one should be a piece of cake – I can draw hand turkeys like there’s no tomorrow!

16.  ride a horse

The poor horse probably wants me to lose the 40 pounds first…

17.  sing karaoke

I was in choirs all my life and was lucky enough to be allowed to sing solos.  I was a vocal music major for a semester and performed numerous musical numbers on stage…but I’ve always been freaked out by karaoke!  I don’t know why!  Terrifies me!

18.  learn basic guitar

I’m not looking to be the next Prince, but I just always wanted to strum along to a Bob Dylan or Johnny Cash tune.

19.  milk a cow

Some days you have to grab the bull by the horns, other days you have to grab the cow by the teats.  This is one of those days.

20.  participate in a flash mob

One reader suggested a kazoo performance…it’s got potential.

21.  make a 1/2 court basketball shot

NOTE: I suck at basketball.  It is one thing I am the worst at!  This could take a long time!

22.  hold a tarantula

The person who suggested this is no longer a friend of mine.

23.  go skiing

Again, something most people have done.  Not me.  Not even once!  I’ve never even been to anywhere while other people skied while I watched from a chalet!

24.  beat the original “Super Mario bros.”

The game that started a revolution has always escaped my nimble thumbs.  It’s time I take down Bowser and save that princess once and for all.

25.  go ice skating

Nope.  I put on skates once, dragged myself along the wall for about 20 feet, threw a tantrum, quit, and went home…I was probably 17…not one of my prouder moments.

26.  Create an animated short film

This one was just too intriguing not to try!

27.  sing the national anthem at a public event

Dear God please let me remember the words.

28.  act like a professional announcer for a youth sports team

I think this one would be a riot if the kids didn’t know I was going to do it!

29.  hit a home run out of a local ball park

I never played sports as a kid (I was too busy trying to beat that damn Mario Bros. game) so this is one of those thrills I’ve never experienced.

30.  snow golf

Now THIS ONE I have participated in before a few times.  However, to keep it on my list I think we’re going to need to play a full 18 holes.

31.  do a police ride-along

I have already contacted the police and was given permission to ride shotgun (maybe literally this time).  I have also informed the officer who will be hosting me that I reserve the right to sing the theme to “Cops” as many times as I want.

32.  perform at an open mic comedy club

Again, it’s strange.  I write comedy.  I perform in front of audiences all the time.  But this scares the crap out of me!

33.  get ordained

Bonus points if someone wants me to marry them!

34.  donate blood

I have a terrible phobia of needles…this could get very entertaining for you guys.

35.  meet a childhood idol

Could be tricky since most of them were cartoons…

36.  catch a big fish

I used to go fishing with many different members of my family all the time growing up.  However, while the lake we fished out of is full of walleyes, muskies, and bass, I only ever walked away with a couple sunfish and perch.  I can’t even tell stories about “the one that got away” because he never gave me a chance.  I want to catch “the big one!”

37.  Get a reading from a psychic

I’m super skeptical.  It’s going to take quite the reading to convince me that I’m not wasting my time with this one.  But I promise to keep an open mind and not to get too snarky when the spirits are visiting.

38.  audition for a movie or television show

Oh, why not?  Find an open audition and send in a video.  Who knows, I might be Man In Hat 2 in the 18th Mission: Impossible movie.  Dare to dream!

39.  help a beekeeper

I’m guessing these little guys are harder to milk than cows, but I’ll do my best to get the honey out.

40.  take a whirlwind trip to anywhere new

I’ve never done a lot of traveling, so the whole spontaneous jet-setting lifestyle is foreign to me.  I’ve never been farther west than Indianapolis.  Florida once and very few places north of there until you hit Pennsylvania.  As far as other countries go, Canada is it and I haven’t even been back there in over a decade.  So where should I rush off to on a whim?  Vegas?  London?  Hollywood?  Nambia?!!!  I’m going to hop in a car or on a plane, plant my feet on new ground (for me), snap a couple photos, and then head back home.

* * * * * * *

So that’s it!  My challenges for this year.  I will try to give you updates as weekly as possible (I have 12 extra Fridays that I can play with).  I am also going to challenge myself to get you guys AT LEAST 40 new Top Ten Tuesdays AND 40 new posts that are not Top Ten or 40 By 40 list related.  At least 120 new posts in 2018 just cuz I like ya!

So PLEASE, like, share, retweet, comment, and invite your friends to join in all the popcorny goodness!  And buckle up, this is going to be a busy year!

“Who says nothing is impossible. I’ve been doing nothing for years.” ~ Henny Youngman

More Crappy Christmas Music!

I received a lot of feedback about Tuesday’s top 10 list of lame Christmas songs.  Apparently I had hit a lot of the crappy classics (“crappics”), but a couple readers threw in their two cents.  In fact, I had enough two cents to think I needed to follow up on my post (pretty much a dime if you add all the two cents up) – but I couldn’t have a TOP 5 list…that’s pretty lame.  And I couldn’t hate on enough other Christmas songs to create another full Top 10 list. So, being Sunday, I deemed it worthy of a NEW Bobbing for Popcorn feature that I could utilize in such cases as this – when you, my dear sweet little kernels (Lady Gaga has her “little monsters,” you guys are my “little kernels” – cuz of the popcorn thing…and I’m like the bowl…and you are unpopped and hurt people’s teeth…you know, never mind, this is stupid) have ideas of your own that you would like to add to my posts which…

*Ahem*

I WELCOME AND ENCOURAGE ALL THE TIME!!!

Please, please, please – like, share, comment, subscribe – on here, or Facebook, or Twitter, or the B4P email – GET INVOLVED AND SHARE THE POPCORNY GOODNESS!

But, without further ado, the first ever SUPPLEMENTAL SEVEN SUNDAY created by a combined effort of YOU and ME.

7.  Jingle Bells – Barbra Streisand

This might be the only Christmas song that would put you into an epileptic seizure.  Maybe it’s because she’s technically used to Hanukkah and Christmas was not in her upbringing but, Babs, calm the hell down.  The stores get their Christmas stuff out in October – we’ve got time.  Besides, it’s Jingle Bells.  Jingle freaking Bells.  The easiest and most common song in the Christmas cannon.  First graders are given this tune when their short-sighted music teachers give them each a recorder to bring home and practice – “Hot Cross Buns,” “Twinkle, Twinkle,” and “Jingle Bells.”  No need to reinvent the wheel here.

6. 12 Days of Christmas – every-freakin’-body

I’m talking about the original, but I’m posting the Straight No Chaser version for your enjoyment.  I love this version because it illustrates just how ridiculous the original song is.  What are these things?  Why is my true love buying me all this garbage?!  And PEOPLE?!!  Are we even allowed to buy people?!!  And you can count yourself among the very few if you can honestly remember all these lyrics without having to look them up.  I swear when they wrote this song, they had to fill a butt load of time at the end of a concert and decided to make one song and milk it for all it was worth.  Best stalling tactic song in history!  And it says something if a song has MULTIPLE parodies that are played during the holidays as much as the original!  If you can become a Christmas classic by making fun of ANOTHER Christmas classic, then that original definitely deserves to be on this list.  If you haven’t already, check out Bob Rivers’ “12 Pains of Christmas” and, of course, The Muppet cover of this tune.

5. Holiday Feeling – Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme

Though not as bad as “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” this dude is still pretty much only trying to “stuff the stocking,” if you know what I mean.  It’s also chockfull of lyrics that must have been put together by one of those Refrigerator Magnet Poetry sets.  “Look how the snow is snowing.”  Yup, what does snow do?  Snow snows.  Horses gallop, birds fly, and snow snows.  We will also turn mistletoe into a verb and decide we really want to use the word “party” and must logically work the word “smarty” into the lyrics later in this cavity-inducing, syrupy sweet attempt for a woman to feel the spirit of Christmas and her man’s desperate attempts to get said woman into bed.  Fa-la-la-la-la.

4. Feliz Navidad – Jose Feliciano

Did you know that, to win a bet, Dr. Seuss wrote Green, Eggs, and Ham using only 50 words?  He repeated them over and over adding a new twist here and there to keep the story moving, but for the most part “I will not eat,” “Would you try them on/in/with a,” and “Green eggs and ham” were the central words in the text and he supplemented them with “goat” and “tree” and “train” and so on.  But the fact is, these “goats” and “trees” and “trains” kept the cannon words from getting stale.  Jose Feliciano, however, did not.  He used 20 words (21 if you count “Ahaaa!”).  No change, no supplements, just Spanish verse, English chorus, same Spanish verse, same English chorus, ad nauseum.  Aye carumba.

3.  Donde esta Santa Claus? – Augie Rios

I have nothing against Spanish music!  I swear!  But this song sucks!!!  Who is this kid calling “Mamacita,” first of all?  The literal translation is “little mama.”  So either his mother is an elf, he’s using a pet name for his girlfriend (who I hope is also 7 years old like this kid sounds), or he’s doing his best to be the Latino prepubescent Elvis.  Secondly, could we shove any more stereotypes in here?!  Castinets?  The reindeers named Poncho and Pedro?!!  The backup singers mimicking mariachi horns?!!!  And does he really say “I know that I should be the sleeping”?  THE sleeping?!!  You might as well leave rice and beans out instead of milk and cookies!!  This sounds like someone asked the Texas Border Militia to write this song!  Ay dios mio!

2. Snoopy’s Christmas – The Royal Guardsmen

What do you get when you mix a beloved cartoon, a World War I fighter pilot with 80 confirmed kills, and drinking?  A Christmas song!  This might be the only Christmas song to feature canon fire and machine guns.  Sure the war claimed between 15 and 18 million lives BUT Snoopy (who was about to get gunned down which would effectively make this the only Christmas song to have a beloved cartoon character die in combat set to the cheery upbeat sound of bells) luckily was shown mercy, landed his plane with his sworn enemy, boozed it up a bit, and then took off in the hopes of murdering each other once again in aerial combat.  Again I say, Fa-la-la-la-la.

1. We Wish You the Merriest – Les Brown

How this one escaped my first list, I have no idea.  I think I just scrubbed it so hard from my memory that it snuck through the cracks.  In any case, here it is; it would definitely vie for one of the top spots on the original list, and I have no words to describe the ear gouging horror that this song emanates on the airwaves.  This song is proof that even Satan celebrates Christmas and has enjoyed writing a carol or two that will torment his trapped souls in the most festive way possible.

“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” ~ Elf

Top Ten Unsung Heroes of Invention

We remember Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell and, of course, Eli Whitney (most of us still have no idea what the hell a cotton gin is, but we will always remember good ol’ Eli was the dude who made it).  But if you look around you, almost everything you see was invented by someone.  So why don’t we remember them?!  They made some really cool stuff!  So I’d like to take this opportunity to tip my cap to ten of the overlooked greats.

10. Conrad Gaiser

One of the things that really makes my skin crawl is peeling apart laundry that is stuck together by static electricity.  That snappy, rippy, feeling really skeeves me out.  And that is why I love my buddy, Conrad.  He got sick of watching his lovely wife, Audrey (okay, not sure what she looks like, but I’m guessing Conrad thought she was pretty foxy and that he’s the kind of guy who used the word “foxy”), run up and down four flights of stairs to add fabric softener to the laundry.  So Connie (Audrey and I call him Connie – you probably shouldn’t, he doesn’t know you that well) invented the dryer sheets. Besides taking care of all that static – let’s talk about the smell!  Who doesn’t love walking by a house that’s doing laundry and smelling the dryer exhaust coming out on a spring day?!!  I mean it’s the one time a person can do something like that – if they stop in front of your house and sniff your drying laundry when it’s hung up outside, it’s creepy.  If they do it when the exhaust is blowing that dryer sheet smell in the air, it’s totally understandable.

9. Henry J. Brownstein

Ladies, this one is kind of for guys only.  Boys, you may not know Henry, but you know his work.  You’d think with a name like “Brownstein” he’d stay as far away from bathroom notoriety as possible – but, oh no, not our Henry.  He perfected the modern day urinal cake!  Ladies, if you’re not familiar with this little doodad, it is a minty fresh smelling circle of solid disinfectant that sits in the bottom of men’s room urinals that A) helps to keep things sanitary and B) helps us pretend we are playing a fun little carnival game whenever we have to go wee wee.  Henry was not the man who invented the original – that genius is still shrouded in mystery – but he is the one who perfected today’s design.  I also have no idea who came up with the idea of adorning them with images of politicians, team logos, or even your own personal photographs, but they definitely get an honorable mention, too.  Got a urinal?  Interested?  Go to PeePeeFace.Com.

8.  Whitcomb L. Judson

First of all, let’s pause and give this guy kudos for having the best name on this list! Seriously epic name, dude!  Whitcomb L. Judson (because with a name like that, I feel obligated to use it in its entirety every time) has been all over everyone’s crotch because Whitcomb L. Judson is the inventor of the zipper.  Where would we be without Whitcomb L. Judson?  We would all be stuck wearing sweatpants and other elastic waistbanded trousers and knickers every day and, as a boy who did that a few times in middle school, I can tell you that leads to a few different awkward situations that I (and Whitcomb L. Judson) would prefer not to get into right now.  So thank you Whitcomb L. Judson for helping keep our clothes fastened securely.  Whitcomb L. Judson.

7. Julius Sämann

Julius saves us when we least know he’s there, but when his influence is ab-scent you wish you had his little invention with you. Whenever you bring chili dogs home for dinner or whenever one of your passengers had too many chili dogs before they got into your car, Mr. Sämann has your back…and your rearview mirror.  This magnificent mind of our time put a whole bunch of good smelling juju in an adorable little tree shaped piece of hangable cardboard!  So, next time the Marlboro Man asks you for a ride or Fido gets a little carsick on the way to the vet – thank your lucky stars that Julius created a whole forest full of nice stinking evergreens to combine these noxious odors with more pleasant olfactory experiences.

6. Forest P. Gill

While Julius Sämann helps take care of odors in your car from passengers’ behinds, Forest P. Gill helps to beautify the behind of your car!  Forest P. Gill (whose name is way too close to Forest Gump for me not to giggle) is the inventor of the bumper sticker.  As I have said before, I am not a big fan of driving – but I do love me a good bumper sticker.  Classics like “Unless you’re a hemorrhoid, get off my ass” and “My other ride is your mom” probably aren’t what Mr. Gump…er…Gill had in mind but I’m sure even he would be surprised how many people out there want us to believe that they’ve run a marathon or vacationed in the Outer Banks (you know you can just buy those bumper stickers without doing those things, right?) but I believe there would be a special place in his heart for a bumper adorned with “Life is like a box of chocolates…” (I usually like to finish that phrase with “it’s usually full of nuts”).

5. Peter Talbot

Anyone who is a fan of A Christmas Story or Home Improvement or pushing the limits of your home’s fusebox knows the greatness of Peter Talbot’s legacy.  The almighty power strip. When shortsighted contractors thought that you only needed to plug in eight electronic devices in your living room, Pete said, “No way, José!”  How Peter knew your contractor’s name was José, I have no idea, but I looked it up and he’s right – weird.  Mr. Talbot made it so each of your outlets can be turned into an INFINITE supply of power!  Plug a power strip into a power strip that’s already plugged into a power strip and there is no end for the amount of electronic goodness you can get flashing and humming…except an electrical fire…that does put a damper on things.

4.  Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, & Jawed Karim

We would never have been blessed with the majesty of the cat video, or the inspirational wisdom of the double rainbow guy, or the dulcet tones of the “Ain’t Nobody Got Time for Dat” autotune remix if it weren’t for Chad, Steve, and Jawed.  They sat down one day and said something brilliant (I have no idea how this came to pass, I’m sure it’s a safe bet one of them said something really smart at some point) and YouTube was born.  Sure, they’re to blame for “Fred,” Justin Bieber, and that weird guy under his sheets crying about Britney Spears – but they also introduced us to a man in a leather kilt with flame-throwing bagpipes and a large Pacific Islander being used as a one-man drum corp, so they’re all good in my book.

3.  No Clue

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I researched for longer than I’d like to admit and could find nothing about the origin of the French Fried Onions, but, come on, whoever is responsible for this is a national hero! Although, if they were to be a national hero, we would have to change the name to Freedom Fried Onions, wouldn’t we?

2.  Miles Gilbert “Tim” Horton

Okay, so the guy doesn’t make the top ten list for role models given the whole drunk driving, high-speed crash way he left this planet, but I cannot speak ill of the dead when they are responsible for one of the tastiest cups of coffee ever to grace God’s green earth! If you are not from Canada or the Northeastern United States, you may not be familiar with this NHL Hall of Famer turned coffee/doughnut connoisseur.  We who do live around these parts are pretty sure the coffee is laced with some sort of highly addictive narcotic that keeps us needing to visit one of the 4.7 billion franchises (I’ve counted) multiple times a day – but we won’t complain because it’s RIDICULOUSLY good.  We are also grateful that he had the nickname “Tim” so we wouldn’t have to ask people if they want to meet us at Miles Gilbert Hortons for a cup of coffee.

1.  Raffaele Esposito

Though, like Henry Brownstein, he is most likely not the inventor of the original – he is credited for making his version the most popular.  Back in 1889, Raffaele, a restaurant owner, wanted to impress Queen Margherita of Savoy who was visiting his hometown of Naples, Italy.  So he took his specialty flatbread and topped it with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil – and the pizza was born.  C’mon folks – what could top pizza?  Why don’t we scrap Columbus Day and give it to this guy?

***Got something you think should be on the list?  Let me know!!!***

“The digital camera is a great invention because it allows us to reminisce. Instantly.” ~ Demetri Martin