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.

Goldstar’s Top 9 Favorite Characters

Both Damon and myself have seen Doug Walker’s list of Top 10 Favorite Characters and we were each inspired to come up with our own. These are the characters that you just love. You enjoy every moment that they’re on screen and you look forward to whatever they’re going to say or do next. These are the characters that, when you’re watching them on TV or in a movie or in a book, you see them in action and think, “That is so what I would do/say!”. As it happens, I was only able to come up with 9, but there’s no harm in that. Like Doug’s list, I’m going to include both live action and animated characters on my list, and I’m won’t be judging the shows themselves, only the characters. Also, my list includes both male and female characters because mentally, I relate to both genders. Having said that, without further ado, I present:

Goldstar’s Top 9 Favorite Characters

9. JUDGE HARRY STONE (Night Court)

 

When Night Court made it’s debut on NBC in 1984, It’s central character, Judge Harold T. Stone (played by the brilliant Harry Anderson) was playful, friendly, unconventional, but a nice guy. I thought that the character was amusing. After the 1st couple of seasons, Harry went from being friendly and playful to this flaky, wild, crazy practical joking clown, and he immediately rose up to being my favorite character on the show. So while John Larrouquette won a couple of Emmy’s for his role as Assistant D.A. Dan Fielding, I primarily watched Night Court for Harry. Harry was like a live action Looney Tunes character (which was fitting that Night Court was produced by Warner Brothers Television). Harry pulled some wacky stunts, such sending a giant 8-ball careening down the court’s hallway and rigging a rival judge’s robe to inflate into a giant multicolored balloon (and both in the same episode, no less!). Unfortunately, around the shows’ 5th season, the shows’ writers calmed the character down and he a boring nice guy type, but during the time when the character was a nutty maverick jokester, Harry was the man.
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8. BUTTERCUP (The Powerpuff Girls)
While I generally think of the PPGs as a group character, Buttercup was always my favorite among the Powerpuffs. While Blossom is the smart one and Bubbles is largely considered to be the fan favorite, I always preferred the 1 of the group who added a touch of lemon to the sweetness. Buttercup is how I would be if I were a Powerpuff. She’s tough, aggressive, quick with a jab, and has a temper. She has attitude and the super powers to back it up. But despite this, she remains a cute little girl, albeit one who can lift a bus and throw it at you. Buttercup may not hog the limelight like Bubbles, but I think that she usually got the best lines and scenes in the PPG episodes.
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7. SKIPS (Regular Show)
Regular Show Skips
Whenever Mordecai and Rigby get in over their heads (which is invariably), the first person they come to is this guy. Skips is a yeti who seems to have answer or a solution for everything, which is largely because he’s actually hundreds of years old. Skips has the most interesting history of all the RS cast. He’s done battles in space for a group of intergalactic beings who look like giant babies who in return have granted him immortality. Skips is the shows’ resident wise man with a ton of solutions and secrets about his past. I also love how he remains indifferent to almost everything. While Benson, Muscle Man and others are going through their own idosyncrasies, Skips just sits back observing it all, while making the occasional smart alecky remark. I relate to Skips because like him, my family and friends often come to me for help with things, and though I’m rarely sunny and cheerful about it, they know that they can always count on me. Too bad my battle skills aren’t as polished as Skips’ are.
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6. MABEL PINES (Gravity Falls)
 
Initially, I was hesitant to put this character on my list because Gravity Falls is a relatively new show, still only in it’s 1st season, but nonetheless, Mabel is easily my favorite character on GF, with Stan coming in at a close second. Mabel has a twin brother, Dipper, whom I like also but I also feel is too much of a “regular guy” character to be very enjoyable on his own. He reacts to characters that are funnier than he is. Mabel is a much more fascinating and colorful character. Her likable goofiness, her playfulness, her constantly changing colorful sweaters and her unwavering exuberance over whatever she’s obsessing over this week make the character a hoot to watch. There’s no way that I could ever be as bright and bubbly as Mabel is, but I do at least try to look on the bright side of life.
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5. DEXTER (Dexter’s Laboratory)
 
During the course of my life, I’ve discovered that being “cool” is merely an illusion and that being smart is what’s hot. Since that epiphany, I’ve learned to embrace my inner geek, and Dexter personifies the expression “Nerds Rule!” This kid is a child prodigy to the max, is a know-it-all and has an ego that’s 10 times bigger than he is. Not that he doesn’t have reason to be a little full of himself; he has managed to construct an impossibly high-tech and futuristic laboratory just below his parents’ otherwise ordinary suburban home, seemingly from scratch, and without a job, no less! The Blue Falcon came to him first when his sidekick Dynomutt was in need of repair! How’s that for street cred? And even though the show is designed to make him look like a fool half of the time, Dexter remains king of precocious prigs.
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4. SHELDON COOPER (The Big Bang Theory)
 
Continuing with the “Nerds Rule” philosophy, I’d be remiss not to mention one of the biggest nerds of all, Sheldon Lee Cooper. I sometimes feel sorry for actor Johnny Galecki because his character on TBBT Leonard doesn’t get the attention and the accolades that Jim Parsons’ Sheldon does, but I have to say (and I don’t know if this is a good thing or not) that while I like Leonard, I find myself relating much more with Sheldon. Leonard is among the group of oddball misfits, but he longs to be among the “cool” people. Sheldon, on the other hand, knows that he’s different and he doesn’t care because he believes that he is the one that everyone else should aspire to be like. Sheldon has a giant brain and an equally giant ego. He’s obsessive compulsive and is the ultimate comic book super hero and Star Trek fan. Like myself, Sheldon is funny and weird and socially retarded. He’s also like myself, an aromantic asexual, which is a nice change of pace from the usual sex obsessed characters which are usually seen on TV shows.. I’m more like Sheldon than I’d like to admit, but I’m not crazy, my mother had me tested…
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3. YAKKO WARNER/SLAPPY SQUIRREL (Animaniacs) (tie)
I like both of these characters for similar reasons and I couldn’t decide which one to put over the other, so I decided to cheat and put them both together. I like both Yakko and Slappy because they’re both wise guy characters (despite Slappy being a female), their canny and are usually 2 steps of whichever nemesis makes the mistake of imposing their will on them. But while Yakko is a wild, youthful fast-talker, Slappy is bitter, cranky and acerbic (again, these are traits that I’m too familiar with). And Slappy has been around long enough to know every trick in the book. You want to see wise guy toons cut up and do it really well? Look no further.
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2. TONY STARK, aka IRON MAN
Interestingly, Tony is the only comic book super hero to make this list. I’m a huge fan of Superman, but Supes is more of an ideal. Superman is a character whom I aspire to be, while Tony Stark is a character whom I relate to. This guy is everything that I want to be and also everything that I fear I am. He’s super rich. He’s like catnip to the ladies. He’s brilliant. He’s arrogant. He doesn’t work well with others. He has a talent for getting on people’s nerves. You’re either going to immediately love this guy or you’re going to instantly hate him. I choose the former. In the Avengers movie, when Captain America asks Tony ‘Take away your suit, and what are you?” Tony calmly and smugly responds with “Genius playboy billionaire philanthropist.” How can you not love that line? And he has many in that movie alone.
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And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. My number 1 favorite character is……………
1. DAFFY DUCK (Looney Tunes)
Everyone who’s been following me online already knows that I’m a huge Daffy fan. In fact, Daffy is interestingly the only Loony Tunes character to make this list, Don’t get me wrong. I love Bugs Bunny, but Bugs didn’t make my list for the same reason that Superman didn’t make my list; Bugs is great, but he’s more of an ideal. I love Bugs, but I can relate far more to Daffy. Daffy was once described as “An unleashed id”, and that’s basically how I see him. At the start of his film career, Daffy was just insane, and now…well he’s still insane, but he’s been more dimensions thanks to the different attitudes and approaches of the Warner’s directors who worked on the character over the decades. Daffy became greedy, self centered, self promoting, but also self conscious, neurotic and insecure. On many, many occasions, I’ve found myself echoing Daffy’s feelings in a given situation. And I’m too smart to not know that I’m a little “off”. Daffy has a dark side, yes, but he’s hilarious when he fails, falters or just plain goes off the deep end. I’ll always be a Daffy Duck fan.

Silverstar’s Top 9 Favorite Characters

Inspired by Doug Walker’s Top 10 Favorite Characters, I began thinking about which fictional characters from TV shows and movies particularly resonate with me. Which characters I’ve always admired and enjoyed, and which ones I’ve always related to; the ones where you watch them in action and think, “That’s me”. It took me a bit of time to narrow them down, but I do now have a list. And since we’re presently trying to make this blog more fun, I figure it would be fun for me to share with you my fave characters. Keep in mind that I’m considering both animated as well as live-action characters, and that I’m not counting the shows and/or movies themselves, just the characters in said movies and shows. So without further delay, here are Silverstar’s Top 9 Favorite Fictional Characters of All Time. (I couldn’t think of an even 10.)

9. SHELDON COOPER (The Big Bang Theory)
sheldon-cooper,-bazinga,-the-big-bang-theory-162790
I don’t know whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, but this uber-geek is easily my favorite character on The Big Bang Theory, and the one I identify with the most. Like Sheldon, I’m the geek among geeks in my social group, I’m super-smart and rarely pass up an opportunity to drop my vast knowledge and useless trivia upon the world, I have something of an ego (“No, not you!”), I have a decidedly bent sense of humor, I’d rather geek out on my favorite activities than hang out with the gang, I tend to obsess over what others consider to be minor details and like Shelly, I’m asexual and am cool with that. Sheldon has even inspired my latest hobby: collecting superhero, science fiction, video game and general geek-themed novelty T-shirts. Though I want to stress that I’m not crazy like Sheldon, I’m just a little…off.
8) SKIPPER (Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse)
For a while I wasn’t sure whether I should put this character on the list at all, since Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse is a web based series, not a TV show or a movie, but for many people the internet has replaced TV as their primary means of entertainment, and I do enjoy this series (yeah, I enjoy a Barbie show–don’t judge me!) and I really like this show’s take on Skipper. Skipper is easily my favorite Barbie sister and favorite Dreamhouse character. I love the other characters’ antics as well, but Skipper’s fondness for the latest high-tech toys, laid-back laziness, semi-tomboyish demeanor (“Does everything have to be so pink??”) and general “Yeah, whatever” flippancy instantly struck a chord with me. Plus, I really like Skipper’s appearance and fashion style: the brunette hair with that flashy hipster lavender streak and the star-studded outfits (I really like stars, as is evident by my online handle).
7) SAM AND MAX
I’m going to cheat a little and list these 2 together, since it was impossible for me to think of them in isolation from one another and because I like and can identify with both of them equally. Sam and Max are my favorite anarchic, devil-may-care adventure-seeking nutjobs. Nothing seems to rattle these guys, they seem incapable of taking anything (including themselves) seriously, beneath their simple goofball appearances lie big, big, BIG guns capable of a ton of damage (just don’t ask where Max keeps his) their jokes and wordplay are as layered as a haiku and are twice as funny and they always come on top despite overwhelming odds and their own utter insanity. My behavior and demeanor is reminiscent of both Sam and Max, depending on the situation. Generally I possess Sam’s sense of general morality (and habit of spinning bizarre homilies), but get a little booze in my system and my inner Max comes forward.
6) TOPH BEI FONG (Avatar, The Last Airbender)
Toph_Beifong
I thought Avatar, The Last Airbender was an OK show, though not an all-time favorite of mine, as I’m generally indifferent to action cartoons, particularly saga-heavy action cartoons, since my attention span is only about 20 minutes max; if a story can’t be resolved in 2 or 3 episodes, I usually lose interest, but what kept me glued to this show was Toph, the blind Eartbender, who is without question my favorite character in the franchise. I relate to Toph more than any other Avatar character, and am the most fond of her for various reasons: she’s short (I’m only about 5’6”) but scrappy, she’s filthy rich and ridiculously sheltered but still capable of kicking butt, she’s funny and not all virtue, nobility, sweetness and light as the other members of the party tended to be, she’s brutally honest and frank (it’s a blessing and a curse for me), she has a handicap (hers is blindness, mine is allergies to dust and pollen and basically being a chick in a dude’s body) which she deals with but isn’t self-loathing, mopey, whiny or emo about it. Another reason I like Toph is because she’s as cute as a button, from her squat body down to her bare feet (I admit to having kind of a fondness for girls who don’t wear shoes. Hey, it’s my list, my qualifications!).
5) TONY STARK/IRON MAN
The only comic book superhero to make my list. There are superheroes whom I admire like Wonder Woman or Superman, but Tony is the kind of superhero I imagine I’d actually be like if I were in that profession. He’s a wise-cracker, he doesn’t like having to call people “Boss”, he questions authority, he doesn’t give 2 squats about a secret identity, he loves the ladies, he toots his own horn, but he’s got the smarts and the awesome gear to back up his braggadocio. Plus, again, he’s got more money than the mint–my kind of superhero. Tony Stark is Bruce Wayne minus the angst and thirst for vengeance. He’s a super-geek, a hero that computer nerds and technofiles can look up to.
4) SLAPPY SQUIRREL (Animaniacs)
Easily my second favorite character from Animaniacs. (Who’s my first? Wait and see.) Slappy is one of those fictional characters whom I swear is my alter ego: funny, a little slower in her advanced years but still sharp as a tack, a tad cynical, jaded, never at a loss for a joke or a wisecrack, has seen it all and done it all, knows every trick in the book and has a fondness for good old fashioned pitiful puns and cartoon chaos. Even now, 20 years later I find myself channeling Slappy by droning things like “This…is sad” in my daily life. Missed opportunity, Warner Brothers: Pinky and the Brain were good and all, but why didn’t you give Slappy her own spinoff? I’d have watched the heck out of that.
3) KIMIKO TOHOMIKO (Xiaolin Showdown)
As with #6, we have a character that I really like who’s from an action show that I could take or leave. I was never really crazy about Xiaolin Showdown, but I loved Kimiko. She’s pretty, smart, kind of snotty, rich and tech-savvy. (Kimi’s almost a J-Pop Tony Stark.) Plus, I love her multiple hairstyles and outfits. (I thought about uploading a few of my favorite Kimiko looks, but we’d be here a while.) If it weren’t for this darn Y chromosone, I’d probably dress like her. the girl has style.
2) DOT WARNER (Animaniacs)
My other favorite character from Animanaics, The Warner Sister has always struck a chord with me, though she may not have to big-time breakout personalities of a Yakko or a Wakko. The reason I think it was easier for the writers to pin down Yakko and Wakko’s characters is because they each had a clear model: Yakko was basically Groucho Marx and Wakko was more or less Harpo Marx (albeit a verbal Harpo). Since there was no Marx Sister in the act, Dot didn’t have a Marx equivalent to be based on like her bros (and just giving her a fake Italian accent like Chico Marx would’ve just been odd); the writers more or less had to build Dot from scratch. And they did a pretty good job, all things considered.
One reason Dot has always been my favorite of the three is because she’s not as powerfully over-the-top as Yakko and Wakko; Dot can be wacky and nutty too, but her near-normality provides a nice oasis of calm between her brothers’ anarchic insanity (which I can sort of relate to). But despite that, she’s not bland or boringly sensible; she has this attitude and a bit of an ego. (I can definitely relate to this.) That’s not an easy combination to pull off, but the A! writers did a great job bringing all that together and making it work.
The ‘cute’ shtick I see as sort of a way of poking fun at the Smurfette Syndrome: often the token girl in the group has to by default be the embodiment of beauty and grace within said group. Dot was both an embracing and a parody of this trope. One episode likens Dot to Fanny Brice, and I can definitely see the correlation. Anyone old enough to know of Fanny Brice can definitely see traces of Brice in Dot. I like to imagine that if there had been a Marx Sister, she would’ve been a Fanny Brice/Dot archetype.
And now we come to…(Drum roll, please)………………..
1) DAFFY DUCK (Looney Tunes)
Anybody who knows me intimately already knew who was going to make #1. My favorite Looney Tune is now, has always been and always will be the little black duck. I’ve always felt I’m half-human, half-cartoon, and my cartoon half definitely channels Daffy. The fast-talking, the energy, the ego, the raw determination, the inability to just sit still and shut up, the cleverness, the desire to be a star, no wait, a super, duper nova-star; if it’s true that everybody has a doppelganger, I have a strong feeling that mine is Daffy Duck.