sweet tarts?

Here’s something else I wanted to share that I came across in Brazil: this package of little snack cakes. Not so much the snack cakes, but the packaging:

A package of Bauducco Gulosos, Bolinhos Sabor Morango (Strawberry-flavored little cakes)

Recognize the the cartoon characters?

Bubbles, is that you?

In case you are not familiar with the Powerpuff Girls, a animated TV series from Cartoon Network, this is what they usually look like.

The Powerpuff Girls looking more like sweet-looking little girls. (image source)

However, it would seem that in Brazil, the little kindergarteners are not quite sexy enough to sell snack cakes. So they have been tarted up a bit.¹

This is, of course, not the first time the little superheroines have been given a more grown-up makeover. In Japan, they were transformed into leggy anime teenagers:

The girls from Powerpuff Girls Z: not in kindergarten anymore. (image source)

Anyhow, my package of snack cakes unabashedly displays both the Cartoon Network and Powerpuff Girls logos. The transformation of the characters is somewhat mysterious to me, and is possibly only snack-cake-related. I haven’t been able to find any other similar images of them. Even on the Bauducco website itself, the same product is shown this way:

¹Anyone else reminded of Xuxa, the scandalous sexpot hostess of a kids’ show?

(By the way, this post title is in part inspired by a recent post I read involving a whole hell of a lot of Sweetarts.)

squirreling away

squirrel_nutkin.jpgInspired by yesterday’s squirreliness, this week’s Themed Things Thursday is brought to you by squirrels.¹

A Stash of Squirrely Things

  • The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin. A book by Beatrix Potter.

    This is a Tale about a tail–a tail that belonged to a little red
    squirrel, and his name was Nutkin.

  • Squirrel Nut Zippers a band. Takes its name from a candy.
  • For Squirrels. A band. Has a song entitled “Mighty K.C.”²
  • “Secret Squirrel,” a song by Marcy Playground

    Tune in next week and see
    Secret squirrel save you and me

  • The Flying Squirrel from The Tick (The animated series.) A superhero whose battlecry is “I like squirrels!”
  • rocky.jpg

  • Rocket J. Squirrel, aka Rocky, of The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. The clever one of the “moose and squirrel” pair.
  • Bubbles, the Powerpuff Girl, can talk to squirrels [clip on YouTube]
  • “Squirrel Boy” (2006-??) A Cartoon Network cartoon about a boy and his pesky squirrel friend.
  • Azqueeral. In a 2002 Daily Show episode, a man who has invented a birdfeeding hat describes a harrowing attack by a squirrel. Or by an azqueeral, as the subtitles show. It sounded a bit like “shquiddle” to us.
  • “I kicked Thumper’s ass” A t-shirt worn by a tough squirrel in Gary Larson’s book There’s a Hair in My Dirt
  • Squirrels have also been featured in American Hovel Magazine, the magazine dedicated to lowering acceptable neatness standards in the American home. See our featured interview, and the front cover of the April 2007 edition, below.
  • —–
    ¹ With apologies to KC.

    ² KC, I kid you not. Here’s YouTube proof, even.)

    ³ This footnote doesn’t match up with anything, but I felt I should toss out there that this marks my first official NaBloPoMo post. 1 down, 29 to go!

    bats in the belfry

    We borrowed Phoebe’s air conditioner today, to bring downstairs for a bit, and when John removed it from the window, he was surprised to see that a bat was curled up on the windowsill. It had apparently set up house in the cave formed under the air conditioner. (It can’t have lived there long, though, since the air conditioner was out of the window when the house got painted about 6 weeks ago.) Anyhow, the bat huddled there shivering for several minutes before it got up and flew away. It was terribly cute. But, seeing as they can carry rabies, not terribly cuddly-looking.

    So, inspired by the little bat we had as a pet without knowing it, I bring you a list of bats for this week’s Themed Things Thursday. This list will be short, and light on the links. Because I only have a couple of minutes before people come over for dinner.

    1. Batman. The superhero. Comics, TV show, movies. Dresses up in a bat-like costume. Has a bat cave. And a bat signal.
    2. Batboy. Half boy, half bat. A regular of Weekly World News.
    3. Vampires. In some tales about them, they can turn into bats.
    4. Bat out of hell. An expression meaning very fast, usually when someone is leaving somewhere. As in “I ran out of there like a bat out of hell.” Also an album by Meat Loaf.
    5. batty. An expression meaning crazy. (A bit milder than the related term batshit. As in “they are batshit insane.”) As in going batty. As in “I am going batty.” As in “I am going batty, because we leave for the trip in less than 48 hours. And have lots to do. Planning. Packing. Printing. People coming over for dinner. I’m sleep deprived, and have had to give up on the damn abstract that is the source of my sleep deprivation.”

    That’s all I got. I bet there are more bats. Anyone else have any?

    I asked for it

    There’s a thing going around whereby folks ask each other questions, and then write some answers. In response to an offer to spread this thing, I requested questions, and The Amazing KC from Where’s My Cape? answered with some questions. Below I’ve answered the questions. Perhaps you will question my answers.

    1. How did you get to live in rural Massachusetts? Is there anywhere else in the country you’d like to live?

    We moved up to Massachusetts from Providence once we’d both finished college. John had been working in Massachusetts for several years already while in school, and during time off from school. We started off in a somewhat more suburban area, in a town next to the one where John worked. Then, when it was time to buy a house, we couldn’t find anything we liked in our price range close to Boston. (Things were run-down, on very busy streets with no yards, or hideous 70s split levels with flood-damaged basements.) We kept looking further and farther out. Our realtor was from this town, and tolds us of the charms and history of the small town. He encouraged us to look at houses here. When we did, we suddenly could afford nice houses. With yards and trees. It was the trees that got me. We live in the woods. It’s quiet. The air is clean. The snow stays white as snow until it melts.

    I love the physical location of our house, but I wish we could be closer to civilization. Most of my friends live closer to Boston, and I love the city. I love the culture, the food, the activities. Museums, restaurants, indie movie theaters, concerts. I love the mixture of cultures and ethnicities. I’d love for Phoebe to go to school in a city. And I know that I could do more in the city. I would love to do away with this commute, which eats up time and energy, and keeps me from doing things I’d like to do.

    My sister is always trying to get me to move back to California, but I’m resistant. For one thing, I’ve become attached to this area, have a lot of friends around. For another, I like seasons. I actually like winter. Plus it’s so crowded out in the Bay Area, where she lives. And so expensive. (I know, Boston is crowded and expensive, too.) Then again, my mother lives out in California now, too…it would be nice to be close to family.

    2. You’ve graced the cover of American Hovel Magazine. What’s another magazine you would like to be on the cover on and what would be story about?

    So you’ve seen the latest AHM? That’s right, you probably have a subscription.

    You know, I don’t really know too many magazines. I don’t really read them. So I’d have to go for something generic or fictitious. Maybe a general news magazine. Time or Newsweek or some such. Or maybe Amazing Stuff Quarterly. I’d like it to be for some accomplishment I’ve done. Some unspecified achievement. Definitely for an intellectual achievement. Maybe something language oriented, or for some ingenious solution I’ve come up with that will address social issues or improve the quality of life of some group of people. I’d like it to be about “the woman who revolutionized X” or “who initiated Y” or “who solved Z.” (I’d really rather not be the person “who slept with X” or “who survived Y disaster.” I wouldn’t even care to be the one “who dazzled Z audience.”)

    3. What are the top 3 things you want to accomplish over the next 10 years?

    1. Get the PhD.
    2. hmm…
    3. well….

    Um…It’s hard for me to come up with a list beyond that. Continued family development will be involved. There will need to be some sort of job at the end of grad school. I have lots of activities I’d like to get back to and/or develop further, but I don’t have specific goals. I mean, take the violin. I want to keep learning, but there is no specific target for how much or how good I’d like to get. I’d like to get back to painting, jewelry-making, martial arts. I’d like to get back to some sort of volunteer work. I’d like to travel. How odd to realize that my goals are overall somewhat vague right now. Hmm…

    4. You seem to like pants. If you were a pair of pants, what kind would you be (details please)?

    Ah, yes. Pants. I am actually fairly ambivalent about pants. I like pants. The word, more than the article of clothing. I like to say “pants.” Pants are functional, and more practical to wear than dresses. (I do like dresses and skirts. My tastes can be quite girly in spite of my tendencies to wear men’s clothing.) I actually hate shopping for pants. I shop the sale racks, and buy what fits, as long as it’s fairly plain. Jeans are comfy, but I wouldn’t consider myself to be denim. So, if I were to be a pair of pants, I’d probably be made of some sort of woven cotton blend, durable yet soft. I’d need to have pockets, because it’s important to have a place to put stuff. (I’m not a purse person.) Deep pockets. I’d have simple lines, and hopefully wouldn’t be falling down, tripping the wearer, or exposing the butt crack. I’d be fairly fitted, not actually tight, not really baggy, hopefully flattering to the butt, even for butts of varying sizes or shapes. I’d be loose enough or stretchy enough that the wearer could sit cross-legged comfortably on the floor.

    I’d be of a style that wouldn’t reflect the latest fashions, whatever they may be, so I wouldn’t look too dated when you’d wear me years after you bought me. I’d be machine washable, tumble dry low. But if you wanted to line-dry me, I’d be okay with that. I’d be made in a dark color like black or charcoal gray, in part so I’d be stain-resistant, or at least forgiving of stains. (I know things can get messy.) I’d be fairly wrinkle-resistant, so that I’d be good to pack or wear on a trip. I probably wouldn’t be totally wrinkle-free, but you certainly wouldn’t need to iron me. I would be moderately priced, accessible, so that any who wanted to wear me could.

    5. You are a superhero. What are your superpowers? What is your Kryptonite? Who is your arch villian?

    You’re trying to trick me! You’ve discovered my secret identity!

    This is actually a question that I’ve enjoyed playing with since childhood. (I remember daydreaming about being a superhero in kindergarden.) I’d definitely have the power of flight. Telekinesis would be handy. I’d also like to be skillful at some martial art. A showy one. Plus I would have the power to befuddle my enemies with my superior wit. Or perhaps render them helpless with laughter. (Laughing due to my wit, not my clumsiness…But hey, whatever works.)

    My Kryptonite? Uncomfortable shoes? No stilettos or pointy toes for me. Or some sort of dissonant or excessive noise. I can’t stand hearing more than one form of music at the same time.

    My arch villain? That’s a tricky one. I don’t really like having enemies. They’d have to be bizarre. Absurd. I like Casanova Frankenstein from Mystery Men.


    Okay, there are my answers. So I guess I should continue this thing by offering to give questions to anyone who’s up for being asked. Answer, and you shall be asked.

    [Note: jenny of baggage carousel 4 and ericalee of something bookish and bluegrass in my pocket have both requested questions. You can see jenny’s answers, and follow along with those who in turn asked her for questions. Stay tuned for ericalee’s answers…]

    creepy new airport security technology can look under your pants

    I saw a NYT article this morning describing new airport security technology: passenger x-ray machines.

    X-ray vision has come to the airport checkpoint here, courtesy of federal aviation security officials who have installed a new device that peeks underneath passengers’ clothing to search for guns, bombs or liquid explosives.

    This creepy new technology can let TSA employees do a virtual strip-search. It actually looks very impressive, giving an outline of the passenger’s skin. And I guess I find it fascinating. But, and I repeat. I also find it creepy. And unsettling.

    Anyhow, this news story reminds me of a number of things. So here. Have a list:

    1. Superman (eg. 1978). He had x-ray vision. Could look through Lois Lane’s clothes to see her undies.
    2. Total Recall (1990). Shows security screening of the future with people walking along through full-body x-rays. We get to see skeletal structure in this movie, though. Not skin.
    3. The image the article shows looks a little like a 3D ultrasound. (Though the technology is totally different.)
    4. And I’m reminded of the airport security game (Hat-tip to Schneier, who has lots of interesting things to say about the games we play relating to “security.”) This game lets you play an airport security employee, screening passengers and their bags as they try to pass through security. Your task is to keep up with the ever-changing, and frequently random, restrictions on items that passengers may have on their person or in their carry-on bags as they pass through. For example, sometimes passengers are not allowed to wear their shoes as go through the security gate. And sometimes they are not allowed to be wearing pants.

    My ability to talk with fish is of no help, Wonder Woman!

    I’m not sure what recently reminded me of this Cartoon Network interstitial (new word for me, by the way) featuring Aquaman, Wonder Woman and the Powerpuff Girls. I hadn’t seen it in ages. (We don’t actually get Cartoon Network now, sadly. Just bottom of the barrel basic cable. which means no Comedy Central or SciFi, either. Sigh.) But thanks to the marvels of YouTube, I was able to watch it once more. (Actually more than once.) And since it’s late and I don’t have much time to write, I thought I’d share it. Because it is just so damn funny.

    I particularly like the way Wonder Woman rolls her eyes in response to Aquaman’s statement.

    Interestingly, this clip seems to contain an oft misquoted line. (Actually, it’s one I remembered wrong.) Searching Google for the misquote (“my ability to talk to fish”) gets more hits (26) than the right version (“my ability to talk with fish”), which gets only 8 hits. Different pages on Wikipedia feature two versions of the misquote:

    “My ability to talk to fish is of no use to us, Wonder Woman!”


    “My ability to talk to fish is of no help, Wonder Woman!”