Sunday, May 31, 2009

top 10 Breakfast Cereals

Yum breakfast. Who doesn't like the sound of crackling bacon and eggs. The pop of toast out of the toaster, the fresh squeezed OJ, a short stack of flapjacks or french toast. Yeah, right. You get this breakfast on very few occasions. Most breakfasts are based on the good old American breakfast cereal. Whole grain presweetened goodness. Over the course of my lifetime I've had several favorite breakfast cereals. They have all been good and they have all had a spot on my pantry shelf. This top ten like my others only counts to ten because then I know where to stop not because I am ranking them by any preferential means. There are so many in fact that i'm thinking of making this a 2 part-er because the other cereals I'm leaving out are really just as important. We'll see how this one takes.

10. King Vitamin - King vitamin makes the list for me because I sent away for a King vitamin magic kit. It looked like it would be really cool. That 4-6 weeks that you need for anything to be sent to you is really more of a guideline than anything else. If you don't know King Vitamin, he's a clever guy at first he was a real actor in a white and purple furry mantle and crown. Then he changed into a goofy cartoon character. His cereal tastes like every other golden grain cereal out there, which tastes like Captain Crunch.

9. Coco Roos - coco for coco-puffs? The devil you say. The fine people at Malt-O-Meal got it right. Sell twice as much cereal in large bags with goofy nondescript mascots and a LOT cheaper than the Post/GeneralMills/Kellogg/Quaker folks and you'll have yourself a winner. Coco Roos was one of these winners. Lots more chocolaty goodness and sugar than it's card board clad counterpart, Coco Roos had many repeat appearances in my breakfast bowl before I moved on. It was good and cheap and good (yes I did mention good twice). The milk at the end was every bit as chocolaty as the milk at the resolution of the coco-puffs, but I didn't have to pay for that miserable sonny and his coo coo antics. Runners up in this department would be Count Chocula as well as Chocolate Donutz

8. CrunchBerry Crunch - All crunchberrys. I remember getting a box or two of Captain Crunch with crunchberry and once it was opened it was more like having a bowl of regular Captain Crunch. Because someone (me or my brother) started picking all of those luscious crunch berries out of the cereal. ARRRRR! So to alleviate the sibling desire to eat all the crunchberries Quaker came out with a crunch berry only cereal to RAVE reviews (at least mine anyway). It was an answer to our epicurean prayers. All Crunch Berries All the time...YUM! Before I leave the Cap'n, let me bow to his other flavors. Peanut butter crunch, Lafoote Cinnamon crunch among others. There are an amazing amount of variants in the crunch world.

7. Frosted Flakes - My first sugared cereal. And sugared it WAS! But this cereal had a few tricks up it's sleeves. Once you sloshed the milk on this first of firsts, you really only had about 2 minutes to eat the cereal or the flakes would become wallpaper paste. If you left a few errant flakes to dry on the edge of the cereal bowl when you were done, it would take a blasting crew to remove that organic super glue. But it was great because not only was it a great cereal, but it has one of the most memorable mascots in cereal history. Tony the Tiger. 'They're GREAT' he would say and rightly so. People ate them so much that the boxes for them started getting bigger and bigger until finally you would often mistake them for the box of Borax bleach it was standing next to (20 mule team). There were many knock offs of Frosted Flakes. My own favorite was the strawberry flavored Pink Panther flakes. Just the same as the frosted flakes, but made of pink frosting. I remember a vicious rumor that circulated around that the red in pink panther flakes would make lab rats blind. I still loved the pink panther flakes, but they only lasted a year. Ahh, pink panther...we hardly knew ye.

6. Quisp - No, the cereal wasn't really that great, it tasted like bowl shaped Captain crunch, or king vitamin or any number of golden spun honey flavored cereals. It was great because of it's mascot! What a great guy! that little quisp dude was my first exposure to aliens and I found that I liked them. Quisp also had some great prizes that were all UFO themed. Mostly little mini frisbees that I believe were later converted to Pringles can lids, but still it was other worldly. In fact, I'm not all together convinced that quisp wasn't aliens trying to gauge a response to their presence...hmmm.

5 Frosted Mini Wheats - What a weird cereal. Shredded wheat had been around for ever as one of the first breakfast cereals. These large pillows of shredded wheat that you would break up in milk and chow down on. Lots of crunch and nearly no flavor, so it MUST be good for you. So how do we get the kids to eat this stuff? Force em? nah, Like Mary Poppins said, Just a spoon full of sugar, or in this case, a bowlful of sugar helps the shredded wheat go down. This cereal had several different frosting options in it's heyday. Regular, cinnamon, or strawberry. Regular or strawberry was really my favorites.

4. Lucky Charms - This is the ONLY cereal that I know of that continually got upgraded with new marshmallow shapes as the cereal matured. Pink Hearts, yellow moons, orange stars and green clovers! it went on like this for over 10 years but in 1975 the interloper blue diamonds were introduced to lucky's irresistible temptation to the masses. Once they saw the bump in sales, they would buy a new extrusion die for the cereals every few years (between 10 and 4) consisting of purple horseshoes, red balloons, rainbows, pots o gold, leprechaun hats, shooting stars and hour glasses. I LOVED the little marshmallows but hated the actual cereal. I would pick out the marshmallows on a more frequent basis than I did the crunch berries. Mom stopped buying this one because we would end up with a 1/4 box of sweetened cat food. That's right, Cat food. Look at it, without those little tasty bits of puff sugar, the regular cereal part consisted of what looked like sugared kibble. It tasted like sugar glazed Cheereo's. Cheereo's will not make my list. I can't stand Cheereo's, it tastes fair initially, but those burpeeo's that you get about 1/2 hour later are VILE.

3. The horror cereals - These all get a nod because they were all kind of fun in their own way. It was the first time that a series of cereals would be basically the same but capitalize on different characters. Count Chocula, Franken Berry (my favorite), Boo Berry, Fruit Brute which was the ostensibly gay were wolf, and the yummy mummy, also fruit flavored but covered in ace bandages. Pick your favorite monster, they all had the now signature General Mills marshmallows in them and they were all fun in their own way. If you were to close your eyes, and eat them. the fruity ones and lucky charms were virtually indistinguishable. The specific fruit ones of course had their own flavor and Count Chocula was the coolest of the characters with the Boo berry ghost running a close second unless you really like Peter Lorrie in which case he was first. The characters were so popular that they spawned all kinds of other kinck knacks that you could buy. They even went disco, but then again, who didn't?

2. Cookie Crisp! - This was an altogether forgettable cereal except in one department. This was the first time that cereal manufacturers dropped all pretense that cereal was at all good for you and nothing more than a morning sugar rush. I mean really... selling you little cookies that you put in milk? They were making fun of themselves at best. Of course since then there are many other cereals that drop all pretense of being healthy Golden Grahms, Cinimon Toast Crunch, French Toast crunch among others. I'm sure Golden Grahms are supposed to be healthy or something, but still, if you're just eating grahm crackers is that really that good for you? I have no idea.

1. Life Cereal - This cereal was first just little cereal squares. Nothing special. But the commercial was one of those cultural moments that doesn't quit. Possibly the most successful cereal commercial to date. Later on we got Cinnamon Life and it was good, Raisin Life was for raisin lovers and then we got the best flavor of all, Maple and Brown sugar life. I liked the vanilla yogurt life too. But all of these are really Life cereal dressed up. The original still deserves the kudos.

I'm still pretty sure that If I were a bachelor, I would probably spend most meals eating cereal and soy milk. Yeah, you heard me, soy milk. Vanilla to be exact. It is AWESOME with cereal. Before you yak, give it a try. It's worth the experiment.

See ya in a fortnight! Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, May 15, 2009

top 10 ways to count to 1 TRILLION or things that get caught in your teeth

Ever since I was involved in a news story that I had first hand knowledge of, I have realized that the news/press are just vague entertainment more than they are information. Who ever is writing the story will insert their own bias and view of the events judiciously (?) editing information and fact where they see fit. To that end, I keep hearing how our fine Government is going to spend over a trillion dollars and how this is supposed to be good for the economy. Of course nothing could be further from the truth, but I'm sure we will learn that later.

And if you are reading this thinking "Well Mark must really be a Red State flag bearer" think again, I had no love for King Bush spending this kind of money and I blame him and all of our elected representatives on both sides of the aisle for this fiasco.

So in order to help the public (or at least my reading public) understand just how much a trillion is. Remember, 1 Million dollars is the kind of money you would retire on quite nicely. 1 Billion is the amount of money the motion picture industry (the WHOLE INDUSTRY) made last year (2007) , and 1 Trillion 10 times less than the National Debt will be.

Also, don't blow on my math, I don't care the exact amounts I just care that the scale is right.

As far as things that get stuck in my teeth, man is that annoying. Why are teeth so hard? they cause us pain, they break over time, they are costly to fix. Yuck, it's like they are an instant test from God.

Lets get to it!

10. Corn - Wow, you eat that cob of corn and you are just itching to have those little yellow kernels all shades of stuck in your teeth. You are sucking on your teeth for the rest of the evening after a good corn boil. Popcorn is even worse. You will find those little husks hanging around under your gum line through several tooth brushings if you aren't a good flosser.

9. the simple time method - This involves counting seconds. Should be pretty easy. One count per second in 12 short days you will reach 1 Million. WHEW that took some time. so after a nap you decide that you'll go to a Billion. That billion will take you 32 YEARS of counting the same way every second of every day. SWEET! that was 1 billion. now lets go to 1 trillion. 32,000 years later you will have made it to 1 trillion. Good Job! (recorded history really only covers about the last 4000 years (very generously)).

8. Hair - Ok, this one isn't for everyone. But If you have ever grown facial hair, or long hair in the wind, you will find that every once in a while you will get one of those facial bristles stuck between your pearly whites pretty easy. They are nearly as obnoxious as the corn kernels but they will stab your tongue every so often so that you have to get in there with a chunck of floss just to lever that thing out. Sure I could say a LOT more about this hair in mouth subject, but this is all I'll say on the matter.

7. Local distance using dollars - If you took 1 trillion dollars and laid them end to end you could reach the moon and back 200 times. But that is bordering on the absurd again. lets cook that down to 1 mile first. so if you laid dollar bills end to end, how many would fit in a mile? 10,560 dollars fit in 1 mile, 100 miles is 1 Million 56 thousand dollars. 1 Billion dollars is about 100,000 miles. That is roughly around the earth 4 times. 1 TRILLION dollars equals a supersonic jet streaming out a giant toilet paper roll of dollar bills end to end 14 YEARS of circling the globe. That's 100,000,000 (one hundred million) miles. The moon seems so much closer than that.

6. Floss - If you are a good flosser (and I am) you just can't stand to go to bed without running that piece of string between your pearly whites. Once in a while you will be caught somewhere without your trusty gortex floss so you have to ask your hosts for floss if they have any. Sure they do because they don't floss so they have a fresh box of floss that they got from their Dentist about 17 years ago which, coincidentally, was when they had their last root canal. if you're lucky it's that tapered box of red waxed string, but sometimes all they have is that little dental sampler that is really literally just a piece of string. The chances that that will break and leave a thread in your mouth are surprisingly good, and unless you floss some more to get it out ( and risk wedging another piece of yarn in there) it won't come out until you are eating something else and then you spit out that string and wonder 'Where did THAT come from...'

5. Your doormat - In this square footage example lets start with 1 being the size of your average doormat. 1000 times that is equal to your house (give or take). 1000 times that (which equals 1 million) equals the square footage of a good size park (60 acres). 1000 times that (1 billion) equals the square footage of a major city. 1000 times that (1 trillion) is roughly the size of the state of Maine.

4. Meat - There is no better after dinner mint from a good steak than a toothpick. Regular meat in your teeth after a good meal is more of a pleasant reminder of the meal just eaten. Funny thing is, you always get that meat stuck in your teeth at the same places. I guess they call them food traps for a reason. I could go for a good steak.

3. post it notes - I love them little sticky squares of paper. you can draw one of those flip books on one of them and still use the rest for business. My personal favorite is the motorcycle guy crashing into a wall. It's a classic. So if 1 dollar was one post it note. you would have 3000 dollars with a foot tall stack of post it notes. 1 million stack of 'stickies' will be the size of a 30 story building. If you live in a metropolitan area, there are a few of those hanging around so that's pretty easy to see. 1 Billion Sticky notes is a stack roughly 63 miles tall, bear in mind that earths atmosphere really only extends out to just under 24 miles so we are sticking out far enough to look like a rude gesture to any passing aliens. 1 trillion sticky notes 63 thousand miles tall or just about 1/4 way to the moon. That's a lot of post it notes.

2. Nuts to you - Whenever I have any nuts (or legumes in the case of the peanut) it seems that nature will carve it into a shape that will perfectly fit between two teeth such that no amount of sucking on my teeth will be able to dislodge it. It becomes a game. you refuse to acquiesce to this persnickety piece of protein. Using only your mouth, you will spend long minutes wrangling your tongue in ways it hasn't experienced since Prom to get that bit'o nut out from between your teeth. Finally when you wrest that sliver of fiber from your teeth, you will immediately dice it into oblivion with your front teeth relishing it's demise and showing the rest of the nut world what it can expect if it deems to take on your masticular prowess.

1. Calories - A Calorie is something we become increasingly aware of as we grow older. The average human needs 2000 calories a day. This of course varies widely from average human to average human, but 2000 calories is 1 days worth of average food. A Big Mac from your favorite MacDonalds will run you just over 500 calories or 4 big Macs a day as long as there is only 1 all beef patty instead of 2. So lets make the assumption that Big Macs are your favorite food (not really mine, but the 500 is a nice number and we have all partaken of the Sacrament of Ronald McDonald at least a few times in our lives) That being said, you can eat 4 Big Macs a day for just over 1 and 1/2 years to eat your way to the 1 Million calorie mark. How you liking those big macs now? Well I hope you really like them because pushing this to the Billion mark takes it to a bit of a new level. At this level of calories, you can fed 21 people 4 big macs from the day they are born to the day they retire at 65. After that, they can buy their own big mac. at 1 Trillion you are now offering every man woman and child in Nebraska 4 big macs a day for 1 year. Now who's the worlds biggest loser?

So the next time you hear the news talk about the 10 TRILLION dollars that we are trying to spend ourselves into prosperity with. Now you have some idea of what that is. Where will it come from? well 10 trillion dollars divided by every man woman and child in the USA comes out to 32 thousand dollars per person. You've got that, right? SHEESH!!!!