Daily Archives: April 2nd, 2011

Blue Bayou Bobble Bubbles

Blue Bayou from Caribbean Ride

The Blue Bayou Restaurant at Disneyland

B is for Blog. That’s what Big Bird over at Sesame Street told me. (That’s the PBS solution to programming for children.) Barney the Friendly Dinosaur told me that B is for Best Buy. (That’s the for-profit free market solution to programming for children.) Boldly brainwash our babies the benefit of business. Bravo!

Behold any bent in this blog broadcast yet?

But “B is for Blog” is the easy way out. I’ll bet there are billions of “B is for Blog” posts today for the “A-Z Blogging Challenge.”

Not me, baby. I’m boldly and bravely being bodacious.

Bah! That’s enough balderdash with the bold.

Do I take things too far? I sure hope not. I don’t mean to babble. Enough with the befuddling bafflegab!

Blue Bayou

Ever been to Disneyland? Near the entrance to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride is a restaurant known as the Blue Bayou. Here diners can eat inside a building in a simulated outdoor restaurant next to a simulated Louisiana bayou.

This effect is achieved through the use of a dark and distant ceiling, air conditioning, and carefully coordinated lighting. The theming is intensified by the sounds of crickets and frogs, the meandering glow of fireflies, and projection effects above that imitate the night sky. (Wikipedia.)

Diners can watch park patrons depart and return from the exciting theme ride while they nosh on authentic Cajun cuisine like head cheese, ham hocks, alligator, frogs legs and nutria. (I’ve never eaten there but I’ve floated by a few times, so these menu choices are merely assumptions on my part.)

Crayola art in Newark, NJ, June 2008

An excellent use of a Crayola product (besides eating)

Bubble Bobble

Who doesn’t feel all goofy at the sight of a glowing child engaging in the time-honored practice of blowing bubbles?  Me, actually. I hate the bloody activity. (Another “B” word bonus.)

Crayola “after years of research” has finally achieved bubbles in color. Ooooh. Unciting. Apparently, before now, they were always black and white, although they appeared fairly colorful to me.

Reportedly it took Crayola almost two decades to develop the winning formula. Can you sense the palpable desperation here? “We have got to break out of the edible color wax genre, people! Dammit, we need new revenue streams!”

Lauded as the “holy grail” of bubbles, Crayola brand “Washable Colored Bubbles” allow mischievous youngsters who are easily amused to “create bubbles in bright, bold vibrant colors!” (So says the official Crayola website.)

Choose your colorful poison: Purple Pizzazz, Sunset Orange, Screamin’ Green, Wild Blue Yonder, or Pink Flamingo.

I always wondered if I had the “right stuff.” Now, for only $3.99 for a 4 oz. bottle, I can slip the surly bonds of Earth and touch the Wild Blue Yonder. Yeah! (That’s only $127.68 per gallon.)

Alas, there’s a downside. It’s that always the way?!?!?

A story in on the front page of the Wall Street Journal this week breaks down the bad news. Even though Crayola prominently features the word “washable” on the bottle and in the product’s name, it seems there is a bit of a sticky wicket.

The product has spawned a bit of a backlash from angry parents who are quibbling over the definition of “washable.” Critics allege that the product can leave behind a colorful “permanent” mess. One woman blogged about it, calling it “the worst product I ever bought.” Another said the Wild Blue Yonder turned her children into “smurfs.”

The blogger added, “Washable?…It practically requires scrubbing the top layer of your skin off to get the color out.”

Damn, I take it all back. This sounds like my kind of product after all. Crayola just tricked parents into making kids graffiti artists in their own home. Bravissimo!

Crayola was clearly sensitive and understanding of the threat to their coffers:

Crayola, which is owned by Hallmark Cards Inc., of Kansas City, Mo., says that the product should wash off when used properly.

But consumers ought not to expect the new product “to perform like regular soapy bubbles,” says Leena Vadaketh, Crayola’s head of research and development.

Allow me to parse this. In other words, “It’s not our problem. You’re doing it wrong.”

Crayola is a trusted brand. I know that when I think of freaky chemicalized shit, I think, “Crayola!” Now I see why!

Scouring the Crayola official website, I learned the following verbatim factoids. Enjoy!

  • Crayola Dough contains wheat and therefore is not Gluten Free.
  • It is possible that latex gloves may have been worn during the manufacture and distribution of raw materials, components or finished goods.

Additionally, when attempting to glean what compounds are in their products, I found a statement on Crayola’s website that they won’t list ingredients due to “proprietary” concerns. They will, however, list some of the things not found in their products. Things like “peanuts & legumes.” I have to admit, this gets me a bit confused. We’re not talking about a food company, right? I mean, where do they list the calories in their products?

I salute Crayola for the beautiful bubble bobble!

AZ Awkwords
A poem in tribute of the A-Z Blogging Challenge
by Tom B. Taker

Bone chilling democratic
Freely gone hyper intergalactic

Kept languishing madly
Overtly playing quintessentially

Radiant sunshine
Teaming underground
Verdantly washing
Xenophobic yearning


This is my “B” post for the April 2011 “A to Z Blogging Challenge.”

For the brave-hearted few who read the bottom, here’s a bonus video:

An Alphabetic Assassination Attempt

the blank page waits

It's stare down time. Who will blink first?

If there is one thing we bloggers seemingly can’t get enough of, it’s this: A good challenge.

It’s not enough to say, “I will blog every day.” Which, by the way, is no small effort.

For some of us, blogging every day isn’t enough. We need more. So we came up with the idea of challenges to push us creatively in directions we might not have otherwise gone.

Challenges are popular in photographic groups. I have to admit, these can open your eyes and help you see the world in new ways that would otherwise have never occurred to you. For example, if I wasn’t part of a photo group I may never have found myself pointing my camera at a roll of toilet paper in a quest to capture the word “white.”

In the blogging world there is a group called NaBloPoMo. That stands for “National Blog Posting Month.” The purpose of this group is to encourage bloggers to to “post something every day.” I accepted that challenge for the first time in November 2009 and I haven’t missed a day since.

To keep things interesting, they’ll issue different challenges on top of posting every day. For example, in December 2009, the NaBloPoMo challenge was to “give” something every day and then “blog it out.” I managed to blog every day that month, but wow, talk about crash and burn on the “giving” thing. That was hard.

A to Z Blogging Challenge

That brings me to the A to Z Blogging Challenge. A friend challenged me to this challenge, and I accepted. After, of course, congratulating her on it being a fiendishly clever assassination attempt.

The idea is simple. Starting on April first blog every day (skipping Sundays) using each letter of the alphabet for inspiration.

So hang on for 26 days of alphabetic blogging as I attempt to layer that on top of everything else I’ve got going on. Did I happen to mention this challenge is actually an assassination attempt?

When a writer would sit down to a typewriter (back when those things used to exist) they’d find a blank page staring right back at them. So it is for us bloggers. We click the “New Post” button and there it is: A blank form. The blogging equivalent of a blank sheet of white paper.

That’s intimidating enough. Now, for the rest of this month, there will be a 1/26th challenge layered on top of that per day. Let’s see how I do.

This is my “A” post for the April 2011 “A to Z Blogging Challenge.” Hopefully the blog title made that clear.

Never the Twain shall meet

Never the Twain Shall Meet Wear

Mark Twain. I admit, I don’t know too much about him. Most of what I do know is gleaned from Star Trek when Picard, Data and Guinan went back in time and bumped into him. He seemed like a decent sort.

Recently I heard about someone getting hassled by the estate of Mark Twain for using a few of his words on a greeting card.

Mark Twain, sadly, has died. It was a little over 100 years ago when he passed on.

Yes, that is sad. But, it also means that copyrights on his intellectual property have expired. In the United States, works published or registered prior to 1923 are in the “public domain” due to “copyright expiration.”

Mark Twain died in 1910. So, by default, all works he ever published or registered are in the public domain.

So I decided to avail myself of the opportunity to profit from Mark Twain’s wisdom. I dipped into the pool of his writings and found an excerpt and made it into a clever t-shirt. I feel confident Twain would fully support my enterprising spirit.

The quote came from something he wrote called A Humane Word from Satan. You can probably guess why it caught my eye. Writing a letter to the editor and signing it as “Satan?” Now that’s style!

Okay. I’ve published my derivative work based on Twain’s public domain material. Bring on the riches! I look forward to living on Easy Street from now on.

Note: If anyone over at The Official Web Site of Mark Twain wants in on this, please remember that my derivative work is protected by copyright. I am willing to offer quantity discounts to the estate, though.