How Comezit? Why is There No Banana Soda?

It’s a question that has boggled the minds of humankind for years:

Why is there no banana soda??

“It’s a PLOT, I tells ya! A CON-spiracy concocted by ‘The Man’ to keep us primates down! ‘They’ want to keep the formula for banana soda under wraps just to keep my species from taking our rightful place as the true rulers of Earth! THE BANANAS ARE NOT WHAT THEY SEEM!!”

“Ah, no, actually. The reason is very simple: the reason that you don’t see banana flavored sodas and juices in wide circulation is simply because a banana doesn’t contain enough liquid to be made into a beverage. Any banana flavored beverage would/will have to be artificially flavored.”

There are, in fact, some banana flavored beverages, all artificially flavored, of course. Among the most notable being Filbert’s Old-Timey Banana Soda…

…And Banana Wave, a soy-based, plant-based banana drink which combines artificial banana flavor with other tantalizing flavors.

Such as Mango, Strawberry and Chocolate.
“Gotta try ’em all!”

There is (or was at one time) even a banana flavored Fanta!

Hope that clears things up.

-Say, while we’ve got you here, Professor, maybe you could fill us in on something semi-related: why is it you never see grape flavored ice cream?

“GRAPE APE! GRAPE APE! That had no relevance to anything, I just didn’t want to be left out of the discussion!”

Oh, that’s a good one. Well, the common belief running around on the internet is that the absence of grape ice cream can be blamed on the Food and Drug Administration, which banned the flavor because of pet-related hazards.

The legend goes that Ben & Jerry’s created a delectable grape ice cream which was then served to a lucky customer who loved it so much that they fed a bit of it to their beloved dog, who immediately died of anthocyanin poisoning. (Anthocyanin is a chemical found in grape skins, and it’s poisonous to dogs and cats.)

After the incident, the FDA ruled that no ice cream manufacturer may sell grape flavored ice cream.

However….

The FDA would never intervene on grape ice cream. After all, chocolate is also poisonous to pets, and you can still buy it practically anywhere.

The actual reason is that when making ice cream at home, you can get fruit like grapes pretty close to a puree, but when you are using fruit as a base on a large scale, that’s when you run into problems. Basically, grapes have high water content, and when manufactured on a large scale, will leave you with unappetizing ice chunks in your ice cream.

It’s also simple supply and demand: there is simply not a huge demand for grape ice cream like there is for, say, chocolate or strawberry or vanilla or even cookie dough.

-So there you have it. Some literal food for thought. That was very informative.

“Say, if you’re interested, I also know a way that Mac Davis’ ‘Baby, Don’t Get Hooked on Me’ can be broken down into an equational algorithm which when applied correctly can control peoples’ minds!”

-Uh, stick a pin in that. Maybe next time.

Player Two Start!: The Jellyfish Pirates

To say that Guilty Gear is a very strange fighting game series with very strange lore and very strange characters with very strange moves in a very strange setting is like pointing out that there’s sand at the beach, but as weird and wacky as the Guilty Gear games are, some of its’ various elements, music, gameplay, moves and characters are odd but also oddly beautiful and fascinating. One such group that falls into the latter category for me are the Jellyfish Pirates.

Smile in the face of danger. Yo-Ho!

This wild ‘n’ woolly band of air pirates (’cause sailing the sea is sooooo last year!), led by the charming and charismatic pirate king Johnny

“Lemme be yer Johnny-bear!”

Traverse the skies in their fish-shaped airship, doing the Robin Hood thing: robbing from the rich, giving to the poor…

…And occasionally stopping for bitchin’ beach barbecues.

There are two interesting things to note about the Jellyfish Pirates: One, that each crew member is named after the month of the year that they joined (that plus the name ‘Jellyfish Pirates’ is very Japanese, and I love it), and two, aside from their captain Johnny…

…Nearly all of them are attractive young women! Rawr-Rawr!

But who are all of these not-so-irate pirates, anyway?

“Jellyfish Roll Call!”

Janus – She’s a cat. A black cat, in a red pirate’s hat, who’s a member of a pirate crew. I told you this game was weird.

Febby – Wears a pink hat and does the laundry.

March – The youngest member of the crew, with pink hair covering one eye. She’s kind of an adorable li’l hot mess: when she first joined the crew, she couldn’t even speak, and loves to see people getting tortured. She goes around barefooted and is rarely seen without her penguin plushie. Her role is Communications, somehow.

April – May’s adoptive sister and best friend. Acts as the ship’s Navigator. Now with glasses!

May – The spunky First Mate and the only Jellyfish Pirate who’s a playable character (technically 1 of 2, but we’ll get to that). She’s young looking and never seems to age, despite the game series spanning across years. Utterly devoted to her captain Johnny, and she’d like to get closer to him in more ways than one. (It’s just a crush. Clean up your minds!) She fights with an anchor and can summon dolphins!

June – Purple hair, pink hat. In charge of Deck Management.

July – Combatant. Rocks an eye-patch. She’s also very well-endowed, wears short-shorts and a top which exposes her stomach. (Bom-Chicka-Wow-Wow!)

Augus – Another Combatant. Brown skin, white hair, purple hat, white top, gold rings. Along with July, rocks the sexy.

September – Medic. Blue hat, brown hair, white shirt, but with an apron in front. We only ever see her smiling with her eyes shut, so her eye color is anyone’s guess.

Octy – The Lookout. Has excellent eyesight, despite her eyes perpetually being covered by her green bangs.

Novel – Mechanic. Red hat, white shirt, yellow tie. Sports goggles on her hat.

Leap – The Chef and Administrative Director. Unlike the other Jellyfish Pirates members, she is much older than the rest of the crew. She is the chef of the group and a maternal figure to them, with them referring to her as “Auntie Leap”. While she isn’t named after a specific month like the other Jellyfish Pirate members, her name comes from a leap year.

Side Bar: This is weird to admit, but I freaking love Leap’s design. Her plump, round, dumpling shape contrasts beautifully with the more svelte and slender looks of the younger pirates. Like the other Jellyfish Pirates members, she joins May in her in-game battle pose and her Instant Kill. She is also featured alongside May in her outro in Guilty Gear Xrd and -Strive-. She is the one who causes the final blow due her weight and size, and I love that. Apart from Leap and Granny of the Looney Tunes from Space Jam: A New Legacy, I seem to be bombarded and mesmerized by little old lady characters lately. Is that weird?

“Hey, don’t knock older women ’til you’ve tried ’em, homie!”

End Side Bar.

Now you may have noticed that I didn’t list a December Pirate; well, they had one for a time, but she’s…not around much these days. No longer with the crew is their Administrative Coordinator Dizzy, the only other playable Jellyfish Pirate character.

Dizzy’s been…elsewhere occupied after her momentary stint with the Pirates, and given that she’s an insanely powerful half-Gear with a tail and sapient shapeshifting wings, Necro and Undine, and has more baggage than L.A. Airport, that’s probably for the best.

Did I mention that Guilty Gear is weird??

Brain Candy: Turn to the Nerds!

So recently, I learned that NBC’s new streaming service Peacock (seriously, that name. I get that the peacock has been NBC’s logo for decades, but they might as well just name their service “Penis”!) plans to launch a follow-up series based on the original Saved By the Bell, the famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view) teencom that ran on the network from 1989 to 1993.

Saved_by_the_Bell_logo

The early 90s is strong in this one…

Now, I was admittedly never a Saved By the Bell fan. I was aware of the show, and I’ve seen several episodes, and I know that SBTB was basically a live action cartoon and therefore I shouldn’t be looking for a realistic depiction of anything on this series, but I NEVER liked how the nerds on SBTB were portrayed.

Saved By the Bell Nerds 2

On SBTB, nerds were practically a separate sub-species. They all fell firmly into the “Poindexter” archetype; thick glasses, collared shirts buttoned all the way to the top, pocket protectors and high water pants. And they existed for no other purpose than to be a source of ridicule for the other students and for us the audience. If you possessed a genius level of intelligence, then you were a dweeby loser who only existed for our amusement and degradation. Heaven forbid they’d ever have a kid with above average intelligence who was allowed to hang with the cool kids!

Screech

And I’m not counting Screech. He was the comic relief among the comic relief!

Now I’m not saying that Poindexters and Melvins don’t exist. I know that they do, but my complaint is how so-called normal society tends to put us all in a box, as if we’re all the same. As far as they’re concerned…

Dilton Doiley

…It’s just Dilton Doiley and nothing else.

I state this as one of the geekiest geeks out there. I was never a cool kid. Incidentally, I generally prefer the terms “geek” or “brain” over “nerd”, but I’m going to use the term “nerd” for the rest of this monologue just to avoid excess verbiage.

Bethany_Walker

“What a nerdy thing to say.”

Yes, many nerds are socially awkward dweebs. Some are, but a lot aren’t. I’m going to quote something that ESPN reporter Bomani Jones once said on the show that he co-hosts, High Noon:

“Parents: just because your kids are smart doesn’t mean that they have dress like dorks. Smart kids like to wear cool sneakers too!”

I actually have to give the film Revenge of the Nerds more credit. They at least acknowledge that there’s more than one type of nerd.

revenge-nerds

Gilbert: Yesterday I got into a fight with 1, 3, 5 and 7. The odds were against me!

Louis: You should call 2, 4, 6 and 8 to get even! Haaaaa-ha-ha-ha!

Yeah, the two main nerds were Poindexters, but that was necessary for the purpose of the story; they proved their worth as human being in the film’s climax. My point is that there are some nerds/geeks who like to dress cool; we don’t all have thick taped glasses, and wear hi-water pants with penny loafers and collared shirts and ties to school (unless that’s the school’s uniform where such things are mandated).

Everyone is a geek about something. Being geeky is simply possessing an extraordinary level of knowledge on a particular subject, hobby or interest. Excelling at STEM is obvious (and if you don’t know what STEM is, you’re not a nerd!), but there are also TV geeks, history geeks, sci-fi geeks, comic book geeks, toy/collectible geeks, etc. If someone knows everything that there is to know about Disney princess movies than that person is a geek, just geeky about something other than STEM. And who says that a person is only allowed to be geeky on a single subject or interest? Like Cooper said in the 2020 film Trolls: World Tour:

Cooper

“You can be more than one thing. I’m pop and funk!”

Did I just quote a line from Trolls: World Tour? Why, yes, I did.

Case in point, Mr. Andre Meadows, a well known YouTuber.

Andre Meadows

When Mr. Meadows first began making internet videos, he gave himself the title “Black Nerd”, as if a black nerd was a rarity, and that may have been the belief at that time, but anyone who’s been on the internet in the last two decades can assess that black nerds (myself included) have been around for a long time; we just didn’t have an outlet to express our geekiness. Black nerds have existed long before the emergence of Steve Urkel.

Steve Urkel

Do not get me started on Steve Urkel….

Brain Candy: Aw, Nutz!

Back in 2008, Tom Ruegger (producer of such Warner Brothers hit series as Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs!) pitched an idea for a potential new series that would feature the Looney Tunes characters interacting with classic characters from the Hanna Barbera studio (this became possible due to WB absorbing H-B studios in 1999). The series, had it happened, would have been called Mixed Nutz.

Incidentally, the pictures shown below are all cut-and-paste clip art. since Warner Brothers never greenlit the series, no actual footage was ever made.

mixed nutz 1

This is just a sample of the fun that might have been.

Mixed Nutz - scooby and daffy haunted house lighter bg

This idea is certainly an interesting one, and it’s almost a shame that WB ultimately passed on it. However, despite the novelty of seeing the Looney Tunes interacting with H-B’s stars, I can’t get too excited about such a prospect. While I wouldn’t turn my nose up at this particular idea, I’m not sad that it didn’t happen.

The both of us are HUGE Looney Tunes fans, and unless you’re visiting this site for the very first time, you already know that. And while I like Hanna-Barbera cartoons OK, for the most part, I’ve never felt like H-B was ever on par with Looney Tunes. When I initially read about this series prospect, all it did was make me think about how much more awesome a Looney Tunes/Disney syngery would have been.

WB logo with Bugs

The_Walt_Disney_Studios_logo

This is the cartoon collaboration that everyone wants to see! You want a WB/Disney show. I want a WB/Disney show. He wants a WB/Disney show. She wants a WB/Disney show. They want a WB/Disney show. EVERYONE wants to see a WB/Disney collabo!

TV Executive: We’re making a cartoon where Bugs teams up with Yogi Bear.

meh emoji-38-512

Oh? Eh, that could be good, I guess.

TV Executive: We’re making a cartoon where Bugs Bunny teams up with Mickey Mouse.

Yeah, baby!

Bugs, Daffy and Porky teaming up with Mickey, Donald and Goofy? You’ve got my attention! Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck hanging out with Lola Bunny? Yes, please! Pete teaming up with Yosemite Sam? When and where? Chip ‘n’ Dale and Humphrey the Bear fleeing from Taz? I’m listening! Daffy Duck hanging out in Duckberg? Sign me up!

Imagine an entire series (or series of shorts like this):

 

Oh Hell Yeah

Listen, I’m OK with Hanna-Barbera. Some of their cartoons have been entertaining. I won’t deny that. But Looney Tunes are in a different class entirely. It’s like the video game Mortal Kombat Vs DC Universe.

Mortal Kombat Vs DC Universe

Sure, it was a cool idea, and the game at least had the potential to be awesome (DC putting unnecessary restrictions on their heroes aside), but the game mostly just made me long for the fighting game team-ups that fans really want: Marvel VS DC, or Mortal Kombat VS Street Fighter, neither of which will likely ever happen outside of M.U.G.E.N.

The only thing that the prospect of Mixed Nutz did for me was make me want to see WB team up with Disney for a comedy cartoon series. I’d watch the heck out of that. Unfortunately, getting rival companies to work together is like pulling teeth: very hard. Such a series would likely be stuck in development hell for several years.

angry-almond-nut-character-cartoon-vector-18728354

“Aaaaaww, NUTS!”

Brain Candy: Mousse Family Values

Recently I found myself musing about Dragon Ball.

Dragon Ball

Specifically, a small handful of episodes in which our hero Son Goku has a brief meet-and-greet with a friendly farmer dude named Mousse

Mousse1

“‘Sup, mah peeps!”

…His wife Eclair

Eclair2

…Who, no offense, looks like she’s had her share of ’em!

Hiyoooo

…And their nine children, all of whom are also named after desserts.

Moussekids

Cocoa&Cookie&Crepe

From eldest to youngest, there’s Crepe, Cookie, Cocoa

Conan O'Brien

No, not him.

Puff

Creme Puff (not the most macho name, but in his first appearance he informs us that his friends just call him ‘Puff’)…

Meh Emoji

“Mmmmmm, that’s not much better, kid.”

Jelly&Jam

…The twins, Jelly & Jam

Jelly & Jam 2

I don’t have a joke for this, I just think it’s really cute.

Donuts

Donuts

Lee_Kanker

Separated at birth??

Cupcake&Pudding

Cupcake and Pudding.

Chowder

“A whole family named after desserts? You’re makin’ me hungry!”

silence-of-the-lambs-hannibal-28976

“Me too!”

I remember being oddly intrigued by these characters and kind of wishing we could’ve gotten a side episode focusing on them or something. The potential was definitely there.

Hotshot Auteur Director

“OK, it’s not perfect. Eleven characters is a pretty big number, and we’re on a budget, I personally would prefer the twins to be the youngest, ’cause that’s my vision, and I wouldn’t have so many boys, as girls are ‘in’ now…but it can be fixed. Have your people contact my people and we’ll discuss it over lunch. Ciao!”

This got me thinking about today’s Brain Candy, which also doubles as an Unpopular Opinion: my favorite moments from shows like Dragon Ball/Z

Dragon Ball Title Card

…Or Dinosaur King

dinosaur-king-tv

…Or super sentai shows like Kamen Rider OOO

Kamen Rider OOO

…Or movies like Our Friend Power 5

Our Friend Power 5

…Tend not to be the action/battle/fight scenes, but rather the silly comedy moments where the characters are just doing silly stuff at home with the zany slapstick, bizarro sound effects and musical stings, wild takes and all. In fact, I’d like to see a show like those that’s a pure comedy. In other words, a Dragon Ball/Kamen Rider/Dinosaur King/Hero: 108 type show, set in that kind of universe, but consisting of just the funny parts.

Dragon Ball Title Card

DRAGON BALL LOL. Rock the chuckles!

It would be set in the same type of universe as these shows, with the same literal nomenclature, futuristic architecture…

eastcity

…The same mix of unique looking and dressing humans and weird animal creatures…

Ryme_City_artwork

Female Pokemon Trainers

Who wears short-shorts?

…And the same kinds of way-out sci-fi tech and crazy powers…

ClickRemote

Spike_and_Aki_in_costume

…But the goofy stuff involving teenage boys obsessed with underwear, kawaii schoolgirls who are freakishly strong for no reason, soda cans that can transform into motorcycles, characters getting stuffed into suitcases and hung up on clotheslines and wives who reprimand their husbands by throwing their shoes at them would be the entire stories, not just filler material between the fight scenes. Why doesn’t some studio make a show like that? I’d watch the heck out of that!

Dr. Slump

Unless it’s been done.