Brainiac On Banjo #041: It’s Not Easy Drinking Green

Brainiac On Banjo #041: It’s Not Easy Drinking Green

If you’re from the Midwest or you’ve spent some serious time there, you are about to understand why I am expanding the meaning of the phrase “pop culture.”

I had just turned 11. I know this because my Uncle Irv took me to Normie’s deli for lunch, and it was next door to Weiner’s Drug Store where I purchased Superman #149, “The Death of Superman.” Yup, that’s the way fanboys organize our personal histories.

I told Uncle Irv I wasn’t very hungry and he suggested I just order a plate of french fries. I didn’t know you could do that, so I was thrilled I didn’t have to waste stomach-space on stuff that inadvertently might be healthy. He then asked me if I ever had a Green River. I didn’t know what that was, so he ordered me a glass. Green River was – and remains – what we in the Midwest call “pop.” Some southerners call it “co-cola” (even if it’s Pepsi), and folks out east call it soda. That annoys me – in my world, “soda” has ice cream in it. Seeing that New Yorkers look down their nose at all things non-New York, I refer to the substance as “soda pop.” They scowl, but they don’t complain. Not if they know me. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #041: It’s Not Easy Drinking Green”

Brainiac On Banjo #023: How Much Stuf Is Too Much Stuf??? By Mike Gold

Brainiac On Banjo #023: How Much Stuf Is Too Much Stuf??? By Mike Gold

If you need further evidence that the big money people are banking on wide-spread legalization of marijuana, you need not look further than the folks at Mondelēz International, current owners of Nabisco. They manufacture the all-time favorite food of stoners, Oreo cookies. And it seems the folks who make Oreos have a keen eye on the bounding weed market.

A couple days ago my editor texted me about this new product called “MOST Stuf Oreos.” More than Mega Stuf, more than Double Stuf, this stuff has enough Stuf to put your average American into a diabetic coma. She alerted me that it just came out, is a “limited-edition,” and is presently available at places such as Target, Walmart, and Rite-Aid. Well, there’s a Rite-Aid near me, and it is a drug store so it must be healthy, and I inferred my editor was making an assignment.

So the next day I labored out to the drug store where I secured the last package of Most Stuf Oreos they had.  Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #023: How Much Stuf Is Too Much Stuf??? By Mike Gold”

With Further Ado #017: When Steve Rude Almost Saved Christmas

With Further Ado #017: When Steve Rude Almost Saved Christmas

Back in the early 90s, we needed to save Christmas and I almost got Steve Rude to do it.

I was in brand management when I was starting out my marketing career. I had the great fortune to be assigned to Nabisco’s OREO brand.  It was a lot of fun.  I worked on the launch of Mini OREO, introduced the Halloween OREO and a Christmas variant with red crème.  In those days, changing anything about Nabisco’s brand was a serious exercise only undertaken with the most serious thought and planning.   This is in stark contrast today, when every season there are several more flavor variants to the brand.

Christmas and cookies always go together, and one of the annual traditions for the brand was to create a collectible OREO tin. These were tins with a wistful, family-focused Rockewellian painting that would be sold with a 16 oz.  package of OREO inside it.  From a marketing perspective it served many purposes: it was one more reason for someone to buy OREO, the retailers had an excuse to build a display and we even had fans who collected them each year.

We typically hired a commercial illustrator to provide the painting of a family eating OREO cookies by the Christmas Tree. They were perfectly fine, but I had the idea that I wanted to step it up with one of my favorite artists.

Steve Rude had burst onto the scene the decade before with his brilliant Nexus series and other comics work.  His work was always exciting and fun to look at fun to look at, but one couldn’t help but be struck by both his brilliant design sense, and his ability to render expressive figures.  Many of the covers would be painted, while the interiors would showcase his impressive traditional comics work.  His paintings are what sparked my idea.  Continue reading “With Further Ado #017: When Steve Rude Almost Saved Christmas”

Star Wars Sunday Funday: Club Starkiller Base

Star Wars Sunday Funday: Club Starkiller Base

If you’re looking for family fun, look no further.


The Galaxy’s hottest club is Starkiller Base.

Located in the upper lower west side of space, this hollowed-out ice planet is the creation of some hardcore Empire fanboys who wanted their own Death Star and figured “Hey, third time’s the charm.” This place has everything: stormtroopers, wookiees, angry Darth Vader impersonators, giant Sith lords in loungewear. And look who’s at the bar. Is that Emperor Palpatine? No, it’s three ewoks in a trenchcoat.

If the bar’s not your scene, head down to the garbage compactor where DJ Phasma is spinning remixes of C-3PO’s Top 100 complaints.

And this Friday, the first hundred people through the door get to see a plucky band of rebels destroy the whole thing with a single critical flaw and the power of friendship.

(Also, droids drink free before 10pm)