Archive for treehouse of horror

Thrift Store Halloweekends – Barney Gumble, The Simpsons Spooky Light-Ups (Burger King)

Posted in halloween with tags , , , , , , , on October 11, 2014 by Christopher Pearce

TSHW

This week, we’re going to be looking at Barney Gumble from Burger King’s line of Simpsons Spooky Light-Ups from 2001. These toys were a premium given away with the purchase of a Burger King Kids Meal but I bought mine for $3 bucks at a garage sale.

The Simpsons and Halloween have been something of a package pair ever since the second season of the long-running animated sit-com. The Simpsons Halloween Specials (later renamed Treehouse of Horror) have, over the last 25 years, presented viewers with parodies and pastiches of classic and modern scary stories using the assorted citizens of Springfield. It’s something that gets forgotten in this day and age where adult-oriented cartoons are a dime a dozen… but the Simpsons take on Halloween was, in its’ beginnings, pretty damn subversive. These brutal “out of continuity” tales really messed with viewer’s expectations and I can remember some (Season 6’s Nightmare Cafeteria) genuinely putting some scares in me.

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odds and ends

Posted in odds and ends with tags , , , , , , , on September 23, 2011 by Christopher Pearce

I must be honest and tell you folks this has not been the most illuminating week of teaching I’ve ever executed. I spent three of the last five work days administering a standardized test… and the last two days were my classes playing catch up. I don’t hold out great hope for next week either, which features a day given to taking the 9th grade for hearing and vision screenings, to say nothing of the craziness of Homecoming. Hopefully I can squeeze in a lesson or two at some point before October.

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I thought this was interesting. FOX is trying to figure out a way to make an all Simpsons cable channel, somewhere down the line.

I don’t know if something like this is likely, or just an idea that FOX executives are kicking around. I will say it make me think about the current state of Simpsons syndication, which absolutely annoys the hell out of me. I don’t know what the syndication package looks like when it’s offered around, but there are over 400 episodes of The Simpsons right now. That’s more than enough to air one Simpsons episode a night for a year and never have any repeats. Yet, for some reason, our local FOX affiliate seems dedicated to airing only episodes from the last two or three seasons.

I understand the reasons why this might be done… the older episodes probably don’t look as good on HD TVs, they’ve already been aired a million times, DVD sales and whatnot… I get all that.¬†Still, it seems like SUCH a wasted opportunity… especially going into October. At this point, you could air almost a full MONTH of Treehouse of Horror episodes for Halloween!

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I was excited to read that Hard Case Crime, the beautifully presented crime paperback series, will be returning to stores this week with four new books. HCC’s book designs are top shelf, featuring¬† all the hyperbolic copy and lurid artwork that defined the genre for many years.

Although crime fiction has gone somewhat upscale, these books are fondly fashioned to resemble the genre’s paperback heyday. I was a little concerned when I began to see some of the Hard Case paperbacks show up remaindered in our local Big Lots, but it looks as though this was just a temporary setback on the part of publisher Charles Ardai.

I am guessing the most popular (or at least, the most well known) Hard Case Crime paperback was a one-off that Stephen King did called The Colorado Kid.

I wasn’t a tremendous fan of that book, but Hard Case has gone out of its’ way to publish a ton of new authors as well as some genuine classics from Donald E. Westlake, Lawrence Block, and Mickey Spillaine. If I had to pick a favorite book out of the series though… if I had to pick just one of these for you to sample… I would choose The Last Quarry by Max Allan Collins.

Quarry (the protagonist’s nom de plume) is sort of a blue collar hitman. Collins fashions him as a no-nonsense guy who just wants to do his job and get paid… and in The Last Quarry, he doesn’t even really want to do that. He’s semi-retired. I imagine that the Quarry series found some new life through Hard Case Crime; Collins had penned several stories featuring the character over the years, but did several full-length books through HCC with the character, working backwards from The Last Quarry to The First Quarry onto Quarry in the Middle… and now HCC’s releasing Quarry’s Ex this month!

Worth reading. They’re great, trashy fun.

foolish earthling!

Posted in chalkboard drawings with tags , , , on October 21, 2010 by Christopher Pearce

This has been a doozy of a week. I won’t get into it now, but I will mention that today and tomorrow, my classes are hard at work in our school’s computer lab. I usually post a picture on the door to our classroom to remind forgetful students that we’re meeting somewhere else. Here it is: I decided to keep up the theme of “Halloween monsters”, after a fashion.

The Coraline magnets were an awesome find at an FYE in New York- I got them for like 90% off and I’ve been using ’em like crazy in my classroom this year.