Just in the Nick of Time: A History of Interesting Idioms and Colloquial Phrases – Part 6

Today’s journey into the heart of idiom country will find us in the South. And by South, I do mean the deep South. Most of the colloquial phrases that we will discuss today are phrases that we associate with people from the South. You will hear these exaggerated phrases in movies and TV shows where the person portrayed is from the South. You’ll also hear these colloquial sayings if you hang around your Southern grandmother for any extended period of time. Today we will explore the origins of: Close but no cigar, Break the ice, Finer than frog hair, Lord willing and/As long as the creek don’t rise, Bleed like a stuck pig, and Slicker than whale snot/slicker than snot on a door knob.



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Close but no cigar” – 

Origin: You’ve probably heard someone say ‘close but no cigar’ or its variant ‘nice try, but no cigar’ from your Uncle if you’re from the American South or perhaps from anyone else from around the world after the popularization of the phrase. The origin of the phrase is not defined to one specific place and time but in the mid-20th century; fairgrounds, bars, and stores had nickle games that gave out cigars as prizes. The phrase was put in print in Sayre and Twist’s script of the 1935 film of Annie Oakley: “Close, Colonel, but no cigar!” After this it appeared more and more in US newspapers and other publications; causing an increase in popularity throughout the world.

Meaning: Not reaching the successful outcome and thus will get nothing for your efforts.



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“Break the ice” – 

Origin: The earliest meaning of the idiom “break the ice” was ‘to forge a path for others to follow’, but the significance of the idiom lies on the water. Well water covered in ice to be more precise. In polar expeditions, there would be a lead boat that was equipped with strengthened hulls and more powerful engines that were used to ‘break the ice’ so that the other boats could follow behind. The term ‘ice-breaker’ began to be a socially used term in regards to initiating conversations with strangers and was even used by Mark Twain in Life on Mississippi: “They closed up the inundation with a few words – having used it, evidently, as a mere ice-breaker and acquaintanceship-breeder – then they dropped into business.” Thank God that Sir Thomas North ‘broke the ice’ in 1579 when he (the first known person to use the term in writing) says in his translation of Plutarch’s Lives on the noble Grecians and Romanes, “To be the first to break the Ice of the Enterprize.” Better yet when Samual Butler used it in Hudibras (1678), “…(a)t last broke silence, and the ice” and popularized the term as it used now.

Meaning: To remove the tension at the opening of a party, once first entering a room, etc.



Finer than frog hair” –

Origin: The idiom ‘finer than/fine as frog hair’ is about as country as you can get. It was one of my late grandfather’s favorite sayings. The idiom dates back to before the mid 19th century and was first in print in C. Davis’s Diary of 1865 in an entry where it is said, “I have a better flow of spirits this morning, and, in fact, feel as fine as frog’s hair, as Potso used to say.” Of course this is merely an ironic reference because…frog’s don’t have hair.

Meaning: Something that is extremely fine; delicate, slender.



“Lord willing and the creek don’t rise” – 

Origins: The origin for the idiom “as long as the creek don’t rise” or “Lord willing and the creek don’t rise” seems like it should be an open and shut case but like most things, we’ll need to let the proverbial wheel roll around a couple more turns until we find the leak. You would think that it is a simplistic reference to the fact that you will be able to do something as long as the water doesn’t rise up and block the bridge that you would have to travel back through; but we would be wrong in thinking this. The idiom has two possible origins. One more complicated than the other. The more complicated is in reference to a quote from Benjamin Hawkins (a Georgia native that lived in the United States during the American Revolution). Hawkins response to the President’s plea for him to return to the capitol was supposedly that he would return “Lord willing and the creek don’t rise”. The significance of this supposed statement is that he was supposedly not referencing a specific body of water but was referencing the Creek Indian nation participating in an uprising in that specific part of the country in which he was acting as Superintendent of the Tribes of the Ohio River. There is no proof that he actually said this but it sounds like a spectacularly exciting explanation of the idiom but more than likely the origin is relatively simplistic. The idiom gained popularity in the Appalachian mountains of the United States where occasional and unpredictably rainfall could leave one rural neighborhood or home inaccessible on many occasions.  I’m guessing that the saying was meant to sound something like “I’ll see you next week; as long as the good Lord is willing, and as long as we don’t have an immense amount of rainfall that washes away the bridge or path that connects these two areas” but by dialects ended up sounding something like “Lort willin’ an’ th’ crick don’ rise”.

Meaning: An expression in reference to something happening as long as unforeseen events don’t take place.



“Bleed like a stuck pig” – 

Origin: The idiom “bleed like a stuck pig” has one of the most cut and dry (no pun intended) origins of all. It is literally a reference to the fact that when you cut the throat of a pig set for slaughter with an extremely sharp knife, the cut severs the main arteries (the jugular vein) that disperse blood throughout the body; thus causing the pig to bleed out rapidly.

Meaning: To bleed heavily.



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“Slicker than whale snot/slicker than snot on a door knob” – 

Origin: This is another one of those colloquial idioms that do not have a definite origin but is immensely popular in the South of the United States. The two variations are both used but have different, equally disturbing meanings. The first variation “slicker than whale snot” is more than likely in reference to the greasy consistency of whale blubber oil (which was used to make oil for lamps, soap and margarine before the banning of whaling). The second variation, “slicker than snot on a door knob” is literally a quite nauseating way of comparing how ‘slick’ something is to ‘human snot’ being on a solid object. I uh….I am not to fond of that one. Blah.

Meaning: Comparison between a slick surface and that of snot/whale oil to express the extent of the slickness.



Images:

Feautred Image – Square Deal Dice Popper Cigar Vintage Gaming machine image courtesy of ChadsCoinOp.com – http://www.chadscoinop.com/picgallery/Square%20Deal%20Dice%20Popper.html
Pilot Boat near Helsinki image by and accredited to Sean Biehle from Cincinnati, OH, USA – Ice Breaker, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4646130
Bottle of Whale Oil photo by and accredited to Chris Linardos – http://www.flickr.com/photos/chris-linardos/5386324261/, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23623619

 

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I knew it was only a matter of “Time”

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600px-SDCC_2014_-_Masters_of_the_Universe_(7752978172)Sometimes the only thing it takes is just time for all of the things that you dreamed of getting as a child, to be available to you when you are older. Unless you dreamed of owning a dragon or wanted to become a super hero, then you can pretty much fulfill your childhood dreams. GI Joe fans can join the Marines. Masters of the Universe fanatics can purchase He-Man’s power sword or Star Trek’s Trekkies can learn Klyngon while wielding the infamous Bat’leth. We can cosplay as Deadpool all day long while visiting our favorite Con. If we have the money can rock a mustache and black cowboy hat while driving 100 MPH in a black 1977 Smokey and the Bandit style Pontiac Firebird or sit back playing an Atari in a 1986 KITT Pontiac Trans Am. Carpentry ready fans can build a TARDIS in their backyard. Or those of us with a big imagination can travel back in time after they hit 88 MPH in their own Delorean. Is it exactly the same as we dreamed? Definitely not. But things usually are different than they seemed when we were little. Reality usually sits in but that doesn’t mean that we can’t have fun a little!

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For those of us born in the 80s, the realization of fulfilling our dreams is a little bit closer thanks to O’Reilly Auto Parts. Well….kind of. Anyways, go to the O’Reilly Auto Part’s website and search for Part #121G. Trust me!!! You won’t be upset that you did.

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Featured Image: He-Man is a TimeLord image by Chris Favero from USA – He-Man is a TimeLord?, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34364586
Smokey and the Bandit Trans Am image by and accredited to Pat Loika – LBCC-1, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42451758
He-Man, She-Ra and Teela cosplay image by and accredited to Ryan Quick from Greenbelt, MD, USA – Masters of the Universe, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42384853
Knight Rider KITT car image by and accredited to Thomas R Machnitzki (thomas@machnitzki.com) – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19551841
Delorean image by and accredited to Spanish Coches – DMC Delorean, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38114628

Top Cat’s Tuesday Top 10: The New Doctor Who?

480px-wpdwUnless you have been living under two rocks in the middle of the Sahara Desert for the last 50 years, you’ve seen a blue Police Box and its two hearted occupant; “The Doctor”. Yes, I am talking about the world’s favorite time traveler, Doctor Who and his blue TARDIS.

I was introduced to Doctor Who in the early 80s while watching PBS (one of the few channels that we had on our old turn knob television set) one Sunday afternoon; when all of a sudden I came across a silly man wearing a long colorful scarf, a brown suede fedora, and having grand adventures. Throughout the 80s incarnations of this altruistic humanoid alien, I watched Doctor Whotom_baker_as_dr_who on PBS (from Tom Baker to Sylvester McCoy) until my parents got one of those huge satellite dishes and we had more than 5 channels to peruse. Fast forward to 2006…I had graduated from college in 2005 and had a place of my own.  I also had broken down and paid the extra money for a satellite TV. Late one night that first week of having more channels to watch, I come across a beautiful blonde running around with the guy from one of my favorite movies, Gone in Sixty Seconds, now clad in a leather jacket. Needless to say I checked the show’s information and realized that this was a new Doctor Who show. After a few searches on the internet, I realized that I had missed a whole season of this reincarnation by not having satellite and that this new Doctor had already been replaced with another Doctor. So…I binged watched all of the 9th Doctor’s episodes and got caught up with the 10th Doctor’s episodes and continued along the way. This new incarnation would quickly become one of my favorite things.

tardis2As any Doctor Who fan knows, the Doctor changes. If your not familiar with Doctor Who, he is similar to James Bond and multiple characters have played the same person; except with The Doctor, a plot device was created for the show thusly allowing the Time Lords (the race of alien’s that The Doctor belongs to) to have the biological ability to regenerate their cellular structure and completely change their appearance. On the show this regeneration is how The Doctor ‘recovers’ from death but in reality it is how the originators of the show wanted the ability to continue the show, Patrick Troughton took over for William Hartnell after he became deathly ill in real life and had to leave the show. The Doctor character’s regenerations happen on screen when an actor leaves (or is fired from) the position. So far we have had 13 on screen regenerations and it would appear that when Season 10 with our current Doctor (portrayed by Peter Capaldi) is over, we need to prepare for another Doctor to take his place. Capaldi announced in January of this year 640px-2014_august_22_peter_capaldithat it was time to move on to other things despite loving Doctor Who. Since we are left with yet again ANOTHER regeneration to look forward to, that leaves me wondering who is going to be the next Doctor? I have compiled my list of my top ten potential choices based on the input and speculation over the years and the ones that I think would bring the most to the table by taking the helm and huge pop culture responsibility of becoming The Doctor.

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So here are the Top Cat’s Top 10: Who’s the New Doctor Who?:

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10. Hugh Laurie – He’s already played a Doctor on TV but just imagine the line delivery and performance from English actor, writer, singer, musician, comedian, and director Hugh Laurie. I mean…it would be Doctor House becoming Doctor Who. He’s a Golden Globe and Screen Actor’s Guild winning actor who was in the Guinness World Book of Records as the most watched leading man on TV! I think that his acting prominence will keep him from becoming The Doctor but it is fun to imagine.

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9. Robert Carlyle – During the speculation period between Doctor’s 10 and 11, we didn’t know that Matt Smith would be our next Doctor. After we found out that David Tennant was leaving the show, there was much speculation that Robert Carlyle was going to be the next Doctor. I had only seen Carlyle in Trainspotting and 28 Weeks Later; and I hadn’t seen either of those in a long time. But as things go, he was not cast as our next Doctor but who is to say that his prominence and being the front runner in the past would put him at the top of the pick-list.

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8. Russell Tovey – If you’re familiar with other BBC shows, you’ve probably seen my number 9 choice. You may have seen Tovey as the werewolf, George Sands, on the BBC show Being Human or if your keen eye isn’t fooling you; you may recognize him from his current stint on ABC’s series Quantico. Oh. I forgot to mention that he’s been on Doctor Who before. Twice actually. He starred in the 2007 Christmas Special as Alonso Frame and he reprised his role again in the 2009-2010 Christmas special, “The End of Time”. My speculation is high on Tovey being cast as the Doctor (despite his low placement) because in 2007, Russell T. Davies, Doctor Who’s executive producer and head writer suggested that Tovey could be the replacement for then Doctor, David Tennant. Despite currently being cast in an on-going show, the history of Doctor Who reusing ‘old faces’ and the huge recommendation a couple of years ago by the show’s executive producer….I’d say that odd’s are forever in his favor. And no that wasn’t a slight homage to the Hunger Games.

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7. Jason Isaacs – Do you not recognize the name? Well, this seasoned actor has usually played a protagonist on film (everything from voicing Ra’s al Ghul in a Batman animated film to his portrayal of the cold-blooded British commander Colonel William Tavington in Mel Gibson’s Revolutionary War action-drama The Patriot to his most famous role as Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter movie series). That’s right. I’m suggesting that Lucius Malfoy be The Doctor! How can I make such an audacious claim? Basically…he’s a seasoned British actor whom I think could bring a darker side to the Doctor that I think we all need. A darker, edgier side that we were promised to receive with Peter Capaldi, but alas never did.

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6. Bill Nighy – Not Bill Nye the Science Guy. I’m referring to British theater, television, and film actor Bill Nighy. If you’re still clueless, he was the elder Vampire Viktor in the Underworld movies. Still not clear who he is? Well, he also starred in one of my favorite movies of all time as the Magrathean planet designer Slartibartfast in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. You still don’t remember? Jeez. Okay….last hint! He was Davy ‘friggin’ Jones from the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise! Yeah…that guy! The thing that excites me about including Nighy in our list is the fact that he starred as Dr. Black in what could arguably be one of the greatest Doctor Who episodes and by far one of my favorite episodes, “Vincent and the Doctor”. Dr. Black is a curator at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. Oh did that ring some bells for you? Maybe Matt Smith’s Doctor saying that he would love to be a curator at a museum in “The Day of the Doctor” (which is another one of my other favorite episodes by the way) where at the end of the episode are joined by none other than the 4th Doctor Tom Baker who is….a curator at a museum! That’s a spiderweb of confusing back and forths but by George you have to see how that all works together beautifully. Oh I just got goose bumps writing it all down. The conspiracy works and even though the actor is in his 60s, I think that just hearing his voice retorting “I’m the Doctor” would make me squeal with girlish delight.

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5. James Norton – Speaking of girlish delight. I’m not going to talk about this guy too much because I don’t want you to get too excited about seeing this heart throb becoming the new Doctor. The reason why is because Norton and Michael Fassbender (X-Men‘s new Magneto) are in the running to become the next James Bond. I say regretfully in the running because I really enjoy Daniel Craig as 007 and Norton would bring a lot to the table if he were cast as Doctor Who. An actor of his caliber, at his age, with his sex appeal…I imagine that, even though he’s a ginger, he would probably be our next James Bond before he would be our next Doctor Who.

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4. Richard Ayoade – My cousin introduced me to The IT Crowd a short while ago and I binge watched every episode within a 3 day period. I have since re-watched every episode again because I enjoyed it immensely. Richard Ayoade and Chris O’Dowd’s on screen charisma and the show’s hilarious antics still have me cracking up to this day. In The IT Crowd, Ayoade’s character Maurice Moss quirky genius made the show. I would love to see the quick responses and quirky genius that Moss has shown in his many on screen characters and representations on Doctor Who. I think that his intelligence and quirkiness would be just what we and the Doctor needs.

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3. Chris O’Dowd – Okay. So its not coincidental that these guys are together side by side on the list. They are both amazing choices but if I had to choose, I would want to see O’Dowd because Ayoade’s Moss character is AMAZINGLY FUNNY and I don’t know if I want to see him diverting too much from that character. I am sure that Ayoade could pull off the serious bits because he is a great actor but between O’Dowd’s stint on The IT Crowd, his time on the HBO show Girls, or his heart warming role in Christopher Guest’s series Family Tree; O’Dowd has the charisma and charm that would allow him to make a great Doctor.

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2. Ben Whishaw – Ben Whishaw and our current but soon to be out the door Doctor, Peter Capaldi, have already starred together in the 2014 film, Paddington. Despite the fact that Whishaw only voiced the character, there is an existing connection. Besides this very obscure and completely unrelated connection, Whishaw is one of the top choices to be the next Doctor.

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1. Rupert Grint – Rupert Grint, or as you may commonly know him Ron Weasley, has remained relatively out of the limelight since his multi-movie appearance as the goofy best friend of Harry Potter in the Harry Potter film series. Besides the Doctor finally becoming a ginger, Grint is bringing with him a career that has spanned since he was 11 years-old. At 28, he may be young but a fresh, yet extremely well known, face may be just we Whovians need. Bringing in the Harry Potter fan base to the Doctor Who universe would also be beneficial. As stated before, he would be one of the youngest actors to ever play the Doctor…but most of all, he would finally be a ginger. I’m not a Harry Potter ‘fan’, so to speak; so my pick isn’t all that fan oriented. I mainly pick him because I think that it would bring something to the show that we haven’t had in a long time.

Honorable mentions: Chris Barrie, David Harewood, Andrew Buchan and Rory Kinnear.

Noteworthy: Here comes the part that is going to make me unpopular. You might notice that my top 10 list was void of any potential female Doctors. My reasoning behind that is that I do not think that there should be a female Doctor. Before you get all bent out of shape and think less of me, let me explain. As I stated earlier, I have been a fan of Doctor Who since I was a child and I do not think that it will be for the betterment of the character to change ‘him’ into a woman. Do I think that the actresses that have been slated to potentially take the Doctor’s place are terrible choices? By no means do I think that Olivia Coleman or Tilda Swinton would make amazing choices if it were the right time. Why not have the Doctor die and allow his daughter to pilot the TARDIS; if we’re dying have a woman take the lead in the show. In Marvel comics, Iron Man has passed his mantle over to a young black woman named Riri Williams. Was I upset? No. Because after reading the story, the move seemed right. It was written beautifully. The mantle was handed over and the characters cohesively existed in the same universe. I just think that a decision to make the Doctor a woman would be politically charged and be done for shock value, more-so than to truly be a character development for the show. That is all. I’m not a racist bigot who doesn’t allow change. I just don’t want to see something tampered with for a politically motivated reason.  So….don’t hate me for having a differing opinion; even if three of the former Doctor’s have agreed that the new Doctor needs to be a woman. 🙂

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1. Doctor Who Logo by and accredited to Manbemel – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22447638
2. Tardis and logo photo by and accredited to Edjoerv – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32937870
3. Tom Baker by and accredited to CathyL007 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20584802
4. Tardis prop photo by and accredited to the original uploader was Zir at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2747260
5. Peter Capaldi in crowd photo by and accredited to Priya Deonarain – SAM_0953, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36685357
6. Hugh Laurie photo by and accredited to Flickr user Xside. User account: http://www.flickr.com/people/estmed/derivative work: RanZag (talk) – LaurieJacobsShore.jpg, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7697330
7. Robert Carlyle photo by and accredited to vagueonthehow from Tadcaster, York, England – Robert Carlyle, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34824751
8. Russell Tovey photo by and accredited to Charlotte Pritchard – Russell Tovey, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41524611
9. Jason Isaacs photo by and accredited to Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America – Jason IsaacsUploaded by maybeMaybeMaybe, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22896327
10. Bill Nighy photo by and accredited to alotofmillion – Bill Nighy, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3172889
11. James Norton photo by and accredited to Punting Cambridge: Website – Scudamore’s Punting Cambridge – https://www.flickr.com/photos/punting/21216646535/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45096040
12. Richard Ayoade photo by and accredited to Yusuf Laher (dudephotography) – http://flickr.com/photos/dudephotography/5510600348, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16872309
13. Chris O’Dowd photo by and accredited to Christopher William Adach from London, UK – WiPe – random_, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32538560
14. Ben Whishaw photo by and accredited to Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK – Judy and BenUploaded by tm, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27909421
15. Rupert Grint photo by and accredited to Joella Marano, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14961976
16. David Tennant photo by and accredited to vagueonthehow from Tadcaster, York, England – Russell T Davies & David Tennant, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36733382

Top Cat’s Top 10: Best of 2016 and Most Anticipated of 2017

As I looked glanced to the bottom of my MacBook screen the other day at work, it occurred to me that we are almost through the first month of 2017. SO much has already happened within the first 24 days of 2017 but this doesn’t take away from the memory of the most memorable events of 2016. From North Korea conducting missile/nuclear tests to the Donald quite controversially being elected our 45th President to the Chicago Cubs winning a World Series after a 108 year drought. (Glad the curse of Murphy the Goat was finally lifted.) We had a lot of ups and quite equal amount of downs, so I think its important to now look back at the Top 10 Most Memorable Moments in Pop Culture that happened in 2016. These lists are completely based on my opinion….so, here we go. 🙂

Top Cat’s Top 10 Most Memorable Moments of 2016: Pop Culture edition

10. Carpool Karaoke – It doesn’t seem like that long ago that James Corden was the reluctant flat mate of Matt Smith’s Doctor in the fifth series Doctor Who episode “The Lodger”. As we not only have a new Doctor Who, it seems that James Corden has done very well for himself since his short stint on one of my favorite TV shows of all time: Doctor Who. Corden succeeded Craig Ferguson as host of the Late Late Show. Corden’s Late Late Show’s popular segment Carpool Karaoke tipped the scales of popularity in 2016 when the sketch with pop singer Adele became the biggest YouTube viral video of 2016. The segment which aired in January of 2016 was viewed over a staggering 135 million times! I say that the reluctant companion of Doctor Who has done well for himself and doesn’t look like he shows any signs of stopping.

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By Siebbi – ipernity.com, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14740864 

9. Leonardo DiCaprio gets an Oscar – Dare I ask if there is a more versatile actor in Hollywood than Leonardo DiCaprio. I didn’t think so. Leo has been everything from a booger eating mentally challenged boy in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape to the reluctant lover boy in the Titanic to a broken father in the movie that would bring him his Oscar: the Revenant. The movie which gives us a glance inside of the dark window that is our nation’s past. Besides the amazingly written script, the spectacular cast, the breathtaking scenery or even a completely terrifying showcase of what it would be like to be attacked by a bear; the movie allowed us to see just how dedicated to his craft that Leo was and is. Leo deserved his award and his Oscar win most definitely deserves a spot on the top 10 memorable events of 2016.

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By Ethan Doyle White at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50463988

8. Ghostbusters – The Cultural icon that is the Ghostbusters brand was rebooted with an almost exclusive Saturday Night Live, all-female lead cast. Leslie Jones, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Kristen Wiig did their respective nod to the original Ghostbusters movies while cementing their own legacy as the ‘new’ Ghostbusters. I’m still not sure how I feel about the movie it was definitely memorable.

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By Gage Skidmore – →This file has been extracted from another file: Cast of Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them.jpg, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53413122

6. Fantastic Beasts and where to find more Harry PotterHarry Potter fans around the world rejoiced with the release of the first companion (or prequel if you will) book to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them allowed Harry Potter fans to delve deeper into the wizarding world. The movie which showcased a world that took place almost a century before Harry Potter was even born, allowed us to fall in love with new characters and fill the void that has been in fan’s hearts since 2011’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.

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By Lowtrucks – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50284157

5. Stranger Things and the year of the Woman – 2016, could possibly go down as the year of the woman. From Hillary Clinton to both DC and Marvel Comics putting a woman in the forefront of their own show (both Jessica Jones and Supergirl) to the almost all female ghost killing ensemble in Ghostbusters (who are helping to redefine what it means to be a leading lady) has help solidify the influence of women in the world and Pop Culture. We are seeing women discussing Hollywood wage gaps based on sex and seeing more and more parts being written for women. In the case of Millie Bobby Brown’s character Eleven from Netflix‘s Stranger Things, the psychokinetic preteen impressed us more and more with each episode. The 80s sci-fi series truly set itself apart from anything else out at the time. Thankfully for us, Netflix renewed the show for a second season so we can witness the strange story unfold even further.

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By Pierregagne98 – Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10879401  

4. Civil War – To we ‘geek types’ the term Civil war doesn’t refer to the Boko Haram conflict in northeastern Nigeria or even the American Civil War fought from 1861 to 1865..no no…to we geek types Civil War is Team Captain America or Team Iron Man. A decision that is harder to make than trying to figure out what to put on  your Subway footlong. I, of course, followed blindly to whatever side that Scarlett Johansson would meander but it did cause quite the stir to movie goers and serious fans. The controversial ‘ownership’ of certain characters caused the original Marvel Comics storyline  to be altered but despite the set backs, the movie was a box office success.

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By Incry – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=202115

3. “Where have all the cowboys gone?” – After losing the lead singer Lemmy Kilmister ,of one of the most iconic rock bands of all time, it would seem like losing the singer of Motorhead was the hardest thing for us to handle but it was not the end…it was merely just a break until the beginning of 2016. 2016 was not an easier pill to swallow in regards to losing some of our most loved celebrities. I don’t know whether we had a lot of celebrities die, or if we just have a lot people famous for a lot of different things. But most notably we lost some musical icons that have shaped the face of music for decades: Prince, George Michael and David Bowie. In their respective fields, each of these entertainers have been and will continue to be innovators. As the pantheon of celebrities gone too soon would be done due to the end of the year coming soon; we lost Carrie Fisher and her mother, Hollywood icon Debbie Reynolds.

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By vagueonthehow from Tadcaster, York, England – Suicide Squad, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49480910

2. Suicide Squad – Much like 2014 was the year of the Guardians of the Galaxy for my family, 2016 was definitely the year for Harley Quinn. I mean the year of Batman’s bad guys. I mean Suicide Squad. The now Oscar nominated film (despite any and all negative reviews) dominated the box office, DVD sales, digital downloads and merchandise throughout the pop culture world. This antihero team not only unveiled a new Joker, but this blockbuster hit gave us our first glimpse at the big screen version of everyone’s lovable yet psychotic hottie: Harley Quinn. Suicide Squad was not only one of the highest grossing movies of 2016 but it has made DC comics A LOT of money in merchandise. I’m pretty sure that my family has watched it 6 times since it was released for Digital download and that was after the initial time at the theaters. As a matter of fact, just talking about it makes me want to watch it again this weekend. 🙂

1. Pokemon Go – Okay, so I won’t deny the fact that I am a grown man that has chased digital Pokemon down the street. I’ve ridden in the passenger side seat while my wife drove Daniel and myself to Pokemon gyms or to catch another Dratini. It seemed like everyone in the world became completely engrossed in Pokemon Go. It seemed like everyone you saw walking down the street had their phone in their hand. People who had had nothing to do with Pokemon in their whole entire life suddenly knew Bulbasaur and wanted the illusive Pikachu. Alas it seemed that Pokemon Go faded just as quickly as its popularity skyrocketed. People got tired of not being able to find 25 Squirtles much less a Pikachu. I still pull it up every now and then for nostalgia purposes but its short lived. I’ll see a Weedle or maybe even a Rattata on a good night. I don’t think I can ever delete the app from my phone based on how awesome the memories were and how much time was put into it but 2016 will be remembered as the year of Pokemon Go. Just thank God its 2017.

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By Flirtey – Flirtey, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=54823032

Wonder what fad I’ll get into next. From a new President to Amazon delivering food via drone; we’ll have a really entertaining year.

I mean look what we have to look forward to: Lego Batman: The Movie, Logan, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Taboo (TV Show), Ghost in the Shell, Fast and Furious 8, Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Game of Thrones (TV Show) – Season 7, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Legion (TV Show), Wonder Woman, Cars 3, Despicable Me 3, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok, Justice League, and Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi.

The Obligatory Thanksgiving Blog

Thanksgiving is a time of mixed bag of emotions for most Americans. There are those of us who are privy to the ugly truth of the original Thanksgiving dinner wasn’t that pretty for the Native Americans. Then you have the sadness of loved ones that aren’t with you this year. Ultimately Thanksgiving time should be a time of giving Thanks. A time to realize the blessings that have been bestowed upon us and spend time with those that we love.

This year, I make a choice to say some of the things that I am truly grateful for…since we know that I love to make a list of things. 🙂

I am thankful for my salvation and for God. Whether you are a Christian and believe in the Judeo-Christian God as I do, a Pastafarianism who worships the Flying Spaghetti monster, or if you are an atheist; I respect your belief in something (or nothing at all) and I hope that you respect mine. God has blessed me beyond belief and I would be remiss to not include God in this list.

I am very blessed to have a lovely family (both immediate and by marriage). I am very thankful for them and the beauty that they bring to my life. I am thankful for a beautiful and supportive wife who has blessed me with a son that no one could have ever told me would bring so much pride and happiness. I am thankful to have parents who are not only wonderful, supporting people but they are my biggest fans. They are proud of everything that we do and support the decisions that we make.

I am thankful to have a small yet amazing group of friends and acquaintances that bring a joy to my life that is inexplicable. Their presence in my life brings balance to anything else that might lack. Over the years, we may not always see one another like we want to but know that I love you all and do thank God for you.

I am thankful to be an American. I am thankful to be an American despite any embarrassment that I am might feel due to the negative political climate in this country. I feel that I am blessed to be able to enjoy these particular set of freedoms that I think that we sometimes take for granted.

I am thankful for relatively good health and sanity. I may not have the perfect body but I am so blessed and so glad to have my health and sanity. I never look down on anyone with a disability but it makes you realize just how lucky we are…..just being able to wake up and walk around. These little things are taken for granted and it is a blessing and a privilege.

Along with being thankful for sanity, I am thankful and oh so blessed to have had an education. My parents worked extra hard to send me to college and I am so thankful for that. I am thankful for the education that I received which fueled a lifetime love for reading and writing. For the education which led to a degree that allowed me to work in a job that stresses me to no end….but I do love it.

I am thankful for entertainment. As corny as that may sound; I am thankful for the things that I have in my that make me happy. Without He-Man,  Washington Redskins football, music, comic books, Doctor Who, Wrestling (aka Sports entertainment), and any other random fandom or part of pop culture that entertains me; just imagine how boring life would be. These forms of entertainment help keep me sane and gives a welcome break from the mundanity of our every day lives.

I am thankful for you. The select few that chose to read these blogs. No matter how few of you that there are….I am thankful you. I am thankful that you search for knowledge and entertainment in other places. I am thankful that you believe in me. Thank you for allowing my voice to be heard!

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Top Cat’s Top Ten: Video Games (Chris edition)

If you were a kid that grew up in the 80s then you were able to experience some amazing things. I mean we had: MTV, amazing toys (MASK, He-Man, GI Joes, Star Wars, Transformers), ground breaking clothing styles (black high top Vans, cutoff half shirts, light up LA Gears, tight acid wash jeans and The Pump Reeboks), the movies (The Karate Kid, Back to the Future, The Goonies, Star Wars, The Neverending Story), TV shows (Perfect Strangers, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Alf, Who’s the Boss?, Saved by the Bell), your mom’s mini van, and who could forget the mullet. Most important of all, the 80s and into the 90s brought something that would literally change the world forever: video games.

Now I know what you’re thinking, ‘but Chris, video games were made as far back as the 50s and Pong was made which was the most popular video game of its day was made by Atari in 1972’. I know all of this. I know about OXO that was created by Alexander Douglas in 1952. I know about William Higinbotham’s Tennis for Two. I know about Pong. I know about Space Invaders and the Atari 2600 but I’m referring to the home and handheld video game systems/games that has caused the zombification of kids around the world. All the eyes bloodshot for hours, fingers riddled with carpal tunnel, bellies full of hot pockets and Doritos…..just to get in more time with your favorite game. Everyone had their favorite. Kids today have their favorite. Daniel (and other kids his age)’s list will be VERY different from my generations because the generation that I grew up in had the pleasure of seeing and playing everything from the NES and the Sega Genesis to the current Xbox 1 and Playstation 4. So since I have had the pleasure of playing video games since I was old enough to hold a joystick at the arcade, corded or wireless controller or handheld device; I am going to list my favorite games of all time.

Chris’s Top Ten Favorite and Most Influential Video Games of all Time

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10. Tetris – The 1984 time sensitive puzzle game had me hooked as a kid. I had just got a Nintendo Game Boy in 1989 and Tetris was my favorite game. I remember the times that I wanted to throw my Game Boy out the window because of the complexity of the falling shape variations; but all in all it was and still is as simple and addictive as it was 30 years ago.

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9. Killer Instinct -By 1996, the video game industry had completely revolutionized gaming and changed the landscape for the better. Killer Instinct followed a lineage of fighting games, which at that time had failed in comparison to Killer Instinct. The arcade style fighting game had a huge push from Nintendo and I even purchased one of the limited edition black cartridge with remixed game soundtrack CD that was included. I would turn on my black-light in my bedroom, turn on my fan and blast the game’s soundtrack while playing the game. The game was pushed by Nintendo enough that it got my attention and was able to keep it for years to come.

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8. WWE All-Stars – I have been a wrestling fan for as long as I can remember {I even blogged about my love for wrestling here} and by the time 2011 rolled around, I had had many years experience with wrestling related video games. I remember wrestling video games all the way from Wrestlemania for the NES system back in 1989 to one of my favorite video games of all time (this would have made the list at around 12) WCW vs nWo World Tour for the Nintendo 64 to the current WWE 2k?? games. There was just something special about WWE All-Stars though. The larger than life, muscular characters could throw their opponents higher, hit harder and almost possessed super human abilities. It was a perfect blend of a great wrestling game and Mortal Kombat. What could go wrong there?

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7. Batman: Arkham City – As a comic book lover, I have also been intrigued to play comic book related games so I had no doubt that one of my favorite superheroes would have an amazing video game. After the immense popularity of the first two movies in the Dark Knight trilogy and the award winning Batman: Arkham Asylum game, it only made sense that DC Comics would continue spewing out action-adventure video games for our favorite caped crusader. The graphics and storyline of Batman: Arkham City are as spell-bounding as the Dark Knight himself.

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6. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 – After Sega asked their creative team to create a mascot for their company (like Nintendo has Mario, Disney has Mickey Mouse, etc); the creative team created Sonic: an anthropomorphic blue hedgehog with super fast speed. Sonic allowed Sega and their Sega Genesis to lead the way through the early 16-bit era. Sonic the Hedgehog had his own cartoon voiced by 90s icon Steve Urkel (yes I know his real name is Jaleel White). The coin grabbing hedgehog’s was joined by a double tailed friend and this second game was by far my favorite at the time.

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5. Super Mario Kart – Oh the hours…oh the hours spent playing the 3rd best selling Super Nintendo game of all time. In single mode, Super Mario Kart allows you and seven other computer-controlled Mario series characters to race around tracks on your souped up go-kart. In a multi-player mode, you and a friend can simultaneously take part in the cups and race one another while the third multiplayer mode is Battle Mode. The Guinness World Records has chosen Super Mario Kart as the top console game ever and my 10 year old self can reassure you that it is deserving of that title.

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4. Super Mario World aka Super Mario 4 – By the time Christmas of 1988 rolled around, I had been playing video games for more than half of my life, thanks to a hand-me-down Atari 2600. When I tore open the wrapping paper to reveal my “Action Set” NES which included the normal game controllers, NES Zapper and a game containing Super Mario Bros and Duck Hunt; I think I shed a tear. I plugged in the appropriate cords and begin to journey on my quest to save the Princess. Well years went by and Super Mario Bros 2 and Super Mario Bros 3 came and went. Also the Nintendo NES became obsolete because the new “Super” Nintendo had been released in a bundle package with the new Super Mario World aka Super Mario Bros 4. This game brought about all the things that you loved about the original three games and jumped them into the 16 bit landscape. The  joy of riding Mario’s newly found dinosaur friend Yoshi was reason enough to have this game Spin Attack itself into my 3rd slot.

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3. X-Men – I have always loved comic books and the X-Men have always been some of my favorites but when the X-Men video game was released around the same time that my second favorite cartoon of all time was released……both had me hooked immediately. F0x’s X-Men cartoon was a huge hit and the X-Men video game followed suit. The side scrolling video game allowed you to take out Mutant frustration on all sorts of evil villains and live our your X-Men related dreams. From the Optic blasts of Cyclops to the claws of Wolverine…your favorite X-Men was available at your finger tips.

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2. Mortal Kombat 3 – Mortal Kombat was a phenomena. First beginning as one of my favorite arcade games, the Mortal Kombat fighting games came spinning wheel kicking its way onto the Nintendo Entertainment Systems. By the time the fanfare of the release of Mortal Kombat 3 had ceased, I was enjoying the new Fatality finishing moves and all of the new characters. The fighting seemed smoother and I got better at it the long that the game stayed inside my Nintendo; which was a really long time.

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1. Injustice: God’s Among Us – To say that a game is your ‘favorite of all time’ is saying a lot but DC Comics released a video game in 2o13 that completely blew my mind. There had been games where you could play as your favorite comic book super hero before but this game brought the DC Comics legends to a Mortal Kombat style arena. In the Injustice storyline where Superman from an alternate universe goes a little crazy after the Joker tricks him into killing Lois Lane and destroying Metropolis. In an effort to stop Superman, Batman comes to our reality and enlist the help of our superheroes. Of course you can follow the storyline or you can just go straight up and fight. You really want to find out who would in an all out, battle to death between the Joker and Batman? Well…now you can live out your fantasy. You want to find out who can punch faster: Flash or Superman? Well now you can. The game and the storyline are intriguing and I am definitely looking forward to the sequel which will be released next year.

Honorable mentions: Shadow of the Colossus (2005), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (arcade game), Street Fighter II: The World Warrior 

Geek Fuel: Exclusives

I have been a Geek Fuel subscriber for a couple of months now and have been pleased with all the items thus far. If you’re into Pop Culture, movies, comic books, TV shows or whatever then Geek Fuel is for you. If you decide to get Geek Fuel use this address and we’ll both get something great. Rainbows will light up in the sky. Unicorns will start stampeding in your living room. Batman will be your dinner guest.

Okay, so none of that is true but just go to:  http://www.geekfuel.com/PUYyNy

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Pokémon GO tips from my son; the Pokémon Master: Part 1

025pikachu_xy_anime_3.pngHello guys it’s me, Daniel. Well recently I have been out a lot, like for months. Let me simply say… Sorry. So that is all behind us and now lets talk about what is coming up. Yes, this is a Pokémon blog! With Pokémon GO already being a big hit and the new Pokémon Sun and Moon games coming out November 18, 2016 a few months from now; Pokémon is getting a lot of attention. And what better time to do a Pokémon blog than RIGHT NOW!

Lets talk about Pokémon GO’s hidden things. Hidden things are what we are doing first and are pretty self-explanatory. So one is how to get Pikachu as a starter Pokémon. So what you have to do is when Professor says “look some wild Pokémon already, go catch one.” And it will show you the three first/main Starter Pokemon. By first, I mean in the first games that Game Freak and Nintendo made (Pokémon Red and Blue); Charmander, Bulbasaur, and Squirtle were your choices. pokemon-go-smartphone-aplicacion.jpg{IGNORE OTHER POKÉMON IF YOU WANT PIKACHU. DO NOT TAP.} So what you have to do is simple, walk away and let the Pokémon Re-spawn 5 times. Disappear then Reappear 5 times. Then you get Pikachu when he pops up. So I have a lot to say, so it will be in a couple of parts.

Sadly you have to wait for Part 2 before you can read more, so.

Until part 2, Goodbye fellow Pokémon Fans. 🙂

BYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYEEEEE!!!

 

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Pokemon Go 

Since Daniel has been a HUGE Pokemon fan for many years, I receive the Pokémon letter to my email. I opened up the newsletter earlier last month to read about this new Pokémon Go app. I didn’t think that I would download it because I…..don’t like playing Pokemon. I know, blasphemy right? Pokemon started as I was entering adulthood and I was interested in two things at that time: pretty girls and working out. BUT now my work out time comes before I go to work, I have a beautiful wife at home and I have an amazing kid ; I guess I can accept Pokémon into my life. (Not just in the form of buying Pokémon cards and video games for Daniel.)

I downloaded the Pokémon Go app for Daniel (since we don’t allow him to have a cell phone yet) and I figured it would be fun for us both to play around with. Well little did I know that I would end up spending more time finding Pokémon than Daniel would. Best place that we found Pokémon was in the Hooters in Wilmington, NC. Conveniently we were already there eating supper. 🙂 

The moral of the story is that people are doing things together. People are going out and exercising. We’re getting together as a populous (whether in person or via Social media) and communicating about a common thing. So is a somewhat nerdy thing like Pokémon bringing people together? It would sure seem so. And with as much drama that we have going on in this world; a little comradery could be a great thing.