Monday Morning Burn

1. I think if you enjoyed HBO’s True Detective and if you have a 45 minute or more commute, then you may want to give the Serial podcast a listen. Much like True Detective it has only a few episodes so it is not too big of a commitment (True Detective has 10 episodes, Serial has 12). Good story telling about a reporter trying to figure out the murder of a high school student 15 years ago.  Last episode coming up this Thursday.

2. I think I am still annoyed at Beth’s death in the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead. Beth’s character really developed over the past two years and I guess everyone has to die sometime in this series.  Just an unfortunate way to go.

3. I think the song Feliz Navidid is overrated. I think I used to like this song but now, it really hurts my ears. Almost as much as the lady with squawk box on the radio.  Hmmm, which is worse the lady singing Wheels on the Bus or Feliz Navidid?

miners4. I think I am happy that the Skylands finally found a baseball team to play ball in Northern NJ. The Sussex County Miners start play in May 2015 in the CanAm league. Name is a good fit (pays homage to local tradition), logo is lame (basic font with some stars). A full write-up once all identity standards are made available.

5. I think I made my mark on the uniform watching public. Little shout out from the Uni-watch blog.  You have to scroll to the bottom in the Grab Bag section, but hey, I’ll take it.

6. I think if you have to drive into NYC on a weekday morning it’s best to leave before 5:30 am. Second trip in in less than two weeks was much quicker. About one hour door to park.

elderly7. I think there have been some great and unusual crossing signs sighted in the past several days. Peacock, more NJ cattle crossing signs, etc. Gotta love the yield for elderly sign, good find by our friend Katie. Never knew that even existed.

8. I think the Black River Barn may be overrated. Good atmosphere, just merely okay food.

9. I think enough is too much with these I can’t breathe t-shirts. I’m all for freedom of speech and I give it up for the early adopters here, but those in the past two days or so are just band wagon jumpers.

10. I think the Cubs are serious contenders for the first time, in about 12 years.

11. I think I have seen some interesting Christmas card photos this year.

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Call the Crossing Guard

I have been fortunate to travel across most of the continental 48 states. Along my journeys I have noticed some very interesting things, many of them located along the miles upon miles of highway that I have driven. One of the things I find very unique is the variety of animal crossing signs that I have come across.

We in the northeast expect to see deer crossing, turkey crossing or even the occasional bear crossing signs. I wanted to share some of the interesting animal crossing signs that I have stumbled upon.  My favorite to date include the gator and panther signs found in Florida and armadillo crossing sign found in Texas. I hear there is a Sasquatch crossing sign in Washington state.

I hope to find a lot more on future travels.

armadillobear cow deer duck gator goose panther turkey turtlecool

Match Game ’76: Holiday Special Edition

TV Announcer: “The Grinch was so mean”
Audience: “How mean was he?”
TV Announcer: “The Grinch was so mean that he once very nimbley stuffed all the Who’s presents up the chimbley”

The Holidays are a time for family and friends, and of course binge watching on classic Christmas movies and TV specials.

So come and test your movie and TV special knowledge by playing a very special version of Match Game ’76.  Simply match the movie or TV special. to the correct quote.

movie image

movie quote

Answers: 1I, 2E, 3B, 4H, 5A, 6G, 7C, 8J, 9F, 10D

Tale of the Tape: Talking Snowmen

Another Tuesday, another Tale of the Tape. For today’s TofT we have a guest blogger, Nunu the Orange Bird loving boy who helps opine on who is the best talking snowman.

Talking snowmen is an odd sight, especially if you live south of the Mason Dixon line or bask in the glow of La La Land. However, with success of Frozen, Olaf the snowman has put this chilly cohort back on the Siberian map.

Let’s go to the tape to see who has the biggest carrot nose in this week’s Tale of the Tape: Frosty v. Olaf.

frost v olaf pic

frosty v olaf graph

Heroes in a Half Shell – Tortuga Power

Everyone knows that I am a long suffering Cubs fan. Don’t ask me why, it’s a long story. Anyway, I am writing this post as 1) I love sport team logos and branding identities and 2) I enjoyed watching the Cubs play ball in the high-humidity of a Florida summer.

The Cubs minor league that played in Daytona for 22 years recently announced that they were moving north to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It is believed the team will still be called the Pelicans, which by the way is one of the best team names out there.

So with the Cubs leaving Daytona it left a void in the market. In stepped the Cincinnati Reds. A rebranding effort was necessary since as you can imagine you can’t have a minor league affiliate of the Reds called the Cubs.

cubsFirst some thoughts on the Daytona Cubs identity:
It’s hard for me to be bias here, so I won’t even try. I liked the feisty looking, surfer type, Cubbie bear that “bears” (no pun intended) resemblance to the parent clubs logo.

 

 

 

What is a Tortuga?
It’s Spanish for turtle. The Dry Tortugas are also a series of islands off of the Florida Keys, but that’s not what we are going for here.

My initial impression was that the changes did a decent job conveying the locale of eastern Florida where sea turtles swim aplenty. I always enjoy seeing a professional sports team play to the local market conditions. Examples: Miami Dolphins, Houston Astros, Phoenix Suns, etc. And hey, since there are not many turtles in sports, sans the Maryland Terrapins, then I am even more for it.

snappersHowever, it got me thinking, isn’t there a similar type of minor league baseball logo that already exists? So I reached back, deep into my mess of a filing cabinet mind and recall that why yes there is. They are the Beloit Snappers, a minor league affiliate of the Oakland Athletics.

Ok, so my second initial reaction was mixed, this is not necessary an original use of a turtle in sports, but I do credit for not them for calling them turtles or snappers or terrapins. And extra credit for being multilingual and using Tortugas as the team’s moniker.  Remember Tortuga = Spanish for turtle.
Let’s break it down.

Name
B-. I think I like the name Tortugas. However, it just doesn’t roll of off the tongue as other minor league nicknames, such as Buffalo Bisons, Lansing Lugnuts or Peoria Chiefs.

logo

Logo

C+. Nothing creative here. I would speculate that if you asked 100 people to conceptualize their version of what a Tortugas (turtle) logo would look like, that 99% would have a similar looking design. Additionally, the color schematic works with the blue and sea green, however no major creativity.

As you can see the turtle is swinging a bat, under sea mind you, but so is the Benoit Snappers turtle.

hat

Hats

C-. The on-field green cap doesn’t really do it for me. Rarely do you ever see anyone wearing a green hat on the street the way that you do with a blue or black hat. Perhaps you may notice a Seattle Mariners green cap around town, but Daytona’s version is really disappointing. The Tortugas also have a batting practice hat that I had some hope for, but they failed here as well. The baby blue cap simply reminds one of a childs cap one would find in the souvenir stand.

 

shirtMisc. Merchandise

C-. Limited to only three offerings, a blue t-shirt, a green t-shirt and a white novelty hat. With the holiday season here, the Tortugas missed a great opportunity to get their brand noticed. Click here to view their full selection.

 

 

 

Overall

C. I understand that there was an accelerated time frame in which to conceptualize the team name, branding efforts, color and logo treatment and then implement on jersey and hat prototypes. Not to mention produce actual goods for their merchandise sales. But I do feel that this is not an excuse. You very rarely have an opportunity to rebrand, and when you do you need to make it count. Very disappointing indeed as this is a far, far cry from the strong Cubs brand identity that had been present for over 20 years in Daytona.

Salvation Army Donation Etiquette

Jingle, Jangle, Jingle for the po’
And once you get your welfare check
Yo kiss my mistletoe
Ho Ho Ho
Ho Ho Ho

-Xmas Rap, by Treacherous Three

redkettle
The Holidays are a time for giving. I truly believe this. Help those in need to make their holiday season a little better. I hope we can all agree on this.

There are times when you may be thinking, “Enough is too much” (thanks to Father Owl from the I Love to Singa cartoon for that phrase), as there are simply more needy charitable organizations than paper bills in your wallet.

Today’s post will try to help save some sanity when it comes to donating for one very noticeable holiday charitable organization, the Salvation Army.

Salvation Army volunteers and their recognizable red kettles stand outside retail stores during November and December ringing bells, sometimes playing recorded carols on an outdated and shoddy radio, to passerbys to spur up donations. These red kettles seem to be at multiple stores in your town and when you’re running numerous holiday errands they just seem to be everywhere.

On your first approach seeing the Salvation Army kettle you hand a dollar or some loose change, but by the 186th time seeing the bell ringer and having no change in your pocket your entry/exit strategy does change.

Here are some tips to help you navigate the red kettle blues that you may experience this holiday season.

I’ve Got a Little Change in My Pocket Going Jingle Lingle Ling
Feeling generous? Use these tips to maximize your donation appeal.

Generous Jackson– if by chance you have a $20 note burning a hole in your pocket, wait until one or two days before Christmas to donate. This will give you full holiday happiness to both you and the volunteer. (Called the Generous Jackson since the $20 features President Jackson on the front of the bill.)

Tip: Act like George Costanza and make sure that the volunteer clearly sees that you are donating large to the cause. Anything less may leave you with a big ‘ole cherry pit in your stomach.

High Five – identify how many $5 that you are willing to cough up by the first week of December, then use this formula: one five for every week before Christmas. So for example, you feel like donating $15 (that would be 3 five dollar bills), you would begin to donate one $5 bill starting the week of December 8th.

Tip: it is advisable to avoid the $5 strategy. Either go large with the $20 donation or the several singe technique.

Several Singles – never throw a wad of singles into the kettle, instead maximize their length by donating one single at a time. This will ensure maximum happiness as you will be donating as long as the singles allow.

Tip: to avoid bankruptcy be sure to carry less than $10 in singles. If you have over $50 in singles, 1) you are crazy and 2) it becomes way to easy to donate your life savings.

Loosey Goosey Change – throw your change into the kettle liberally.

Tip: be sure to make a wish as if you were throwing pennies into a wishing well. Santa is always watching and listening and you may just end up with the giant red bow wrapped around a Lexus come the morn of December 25th.

Empty Pockets
If you have no money and you don’t want to have that awkward moment when you feel the Salvation Army volunteer judging you for not donating use these tips to feel guilt free.

Store with only one door in and one door out – this is the most dreaded scenario, but no worries, remain calm and remember your lesson young Padawan.

  • Entering: simply accelerate your walking pace to something short of a light jog, eyes on the ground to avoid all eye contact.
  • Exiting: maintain the same fast pace but this time, place your line of sight in between the volunteer’s eyes and the ground and above the sound of a soft whisper wish the volunteer a Happy Holiday.

Tip: don’t ever think that throwing coupons or used candy wrappers in the kettle is acceptable.

Store with two separate entryways – scope out which door the volunteer is working and simply use the other door. No need to increase your pace or have a hanging head. Do your business as usual.

Tip: be sure to glance at the other entry way and judge those that you notice are not donating to the red kettle.
So there you have it, a quick holiday donation guide to help you avoid bankruptcy this season!

Need more Holiday Etiquette? Check out this post on Christmas Card Etiquette.

I Am Not Just a Misfit

Renown Phycologist Abraham Maslow identified 5 basic human needs, called the Heirarchy of Needs, that we all need to develop into complex individuals. Belonging is the third need identified on the Heirarchy and is situated between 1) water, air, food, 2) security and 4) self-esteem and 5) self-actualization. Here at Squirrels we don’t get too caught up in the details of human psychology, but I thought it was an important point to reference as we talk about a group of our favorite holiday toys that have not yet developed the feeling of belonging.

“A toy is never truly happy until it is loved by a child.” – King Moonracer

The Island of Misfit Toys is an island sanctuary, featured in the Rankin-Bass TV special Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, where unwanted toys are sent. King Moonracer, a flying lion who rules the island, scours the earth looking for unwanted toys and bringing them back in hopes of one day having Santa find them a loving home.

Though Rudolph and Herme try to join the ranks of the misfits, they are denied by King Moonracer as they are not toys. Said Yukon Cornelius, “even among misfits you’re a misfit.” How true.

Leaving Rudolph & Herme aside, let’s take a look at who is the most misfit among the misfits.

Our Favorites
jellyWater Gun that Shoots Jelly – wait, why is this a misfit toy? What little boy wouldn’t want such as devious gift?

charlieCharlie in the Box – Charlie is on the island because all of his relatives are Jack in the boxes. I say be different, you still are a freighting toy any name you call it. Just ask Buddy the Elf.

dollyDolly – no seemingly misfit problems here. According to the show’s producer Arthur Rankin, Dolly’s problem was psychological as she was abandoned and felt unloved. Isn’t that a little too much for a holiday special? Dolly, you’re a winner in my book.

elephantSpotted Elephant – King Moonracer’s footman, he works hard and would be a great addition to any child’s plush pal collection.

scooterScooter – two wheels in front, one in back make this Island Misfit seem out of whack.

Odd But Still Lovable
misfit-cowboyCowboy that Rides an Ostrich – both horse and ostrich can get you to where you are going.

trainTrain with Square Wheels – a little difficult to play with. Not such much an issue with children loving this toy, I think it was more of a matter that adult’s didn’t want the train to scratch the floor.

Boat that Cannot Stay Afloat – yeah, I don’t see this working out too well.
airplanePlane that Doesn’t Fly – see boat that doesn’t float above.

Mr. Misfit
clownClown Nesting Dolls – clowns are creepy. Clown nesting dolls are still unwanted to this day. Very creepy indeed.

So there you have it. Several of the misfit toys are easily loved thus fulfilling their sense of belonging. But still to this day nobody loves a clown.

Tale of the Tape: Holiday Hide-N-Seek

Do you wanna hide a snowman?
Or perhaps a tiny elf?
I can’t find you anymore
Look on top the door
It’s like you hid and gone away
You used to hide in my bedroom
And then sweeping with the broom
I wish you would tell me where!
Do you wanna hide a snowman?
It doesn’t have to be a snowman. It can be an Elf of the Shelf.

Thanks to Princess Anna of Arendelle (from Frozen) for that little introduction to today’s tale of the tape.

With the success of Elf on the Shelf, the hide-and-seek game with a holiday Elf that acts as a spy for Santa Claus, there has also been a release of a similar product featuring Olaf from Frozen called Hide and Hug Olaf. At first, one can easily ascertain that the Olaf product was merely a way to catch the wave of Elf on the Shelf’s success. But after some in depth product analysis the analytics team at Squirrels got to the bottom of this hide-and-seek trend.

Let’s go to the tape to see which of these tiny plush pals you should hide.

elf v olaf picture

Elf v Olaf

Monday Morning Burn

1. I think Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever movie was an interesting holiday movie. A mashup of Paul Blart Mall Cop + Home Alone + Toonces the Driving Cat. Lesson learned: flying cats and British Grumpy Cats are funny. The rest of the movie, not so much.

2. I think this was a great week for movie trailers. We were treated first to the Jurassic World trailer and then the Star Wars VII trailer. Where is life’s fast forward button? I can’t wait for either movie. Though one whole year to wait for Star Wars is simply too long.

3. I think these are my takes from the Jurassic World trailers.

3a. I think the Disneyland / Sea World concept of Jurassic World is cool. What is even cooler, kayaking with the dinosaurs. What is even cooler than cool is the great white shark eating Mosasaurus on display in a Shamu type arena.

3b. I think it’s nice to see Judy Greer in Jurassic World. She doesn’t get enough credit for her roles. She will with upcoming roles in Tomorrowland and Ant Man. her Sprint commercials are pretty bad though.

4. I think these are my thoughts for the Star Wars trailer.

4a. I think Star Wars Episode VII looks pretty damn cool. Looks like a similar product as the original trilogy. Can’t wait.

4b. I think I like the new light saber, we’ll call it the tri-saber, a triple bladed light saber, looks badass. Darth Maul’s dual bladed light saber still reigns supreme.

4c. I think the roll-a-droid looks pretty cool. R2-D2 is still #1, but this droid could easily beat C3PO.

4d. I think it’s great to see the Millennium Falcon again.

5. I think speaking of trailers, the Game of Thrones Season 5 teaser trailer was interesting. What’s more interesting is the launch of the show’s new web site http://www.ThreeEyedRaven.com.

6. I think Natalie Dormer is making her way up to the A List. Queen Margery in game of Thrones and Cressida in Hunger Games. She sure likes games doesn’t she? Not too shabby.

7. I think Winter beer season officially kicked off this week. Sam Adams Winterfest is always reliable; a good find was Leinenkugel’s Snowdrift Vanilla Porter. Sam Adams Merry Maker Gingerbread Stout was good but loses points for tasting very similar to its pumpkin beer Fat Jack. Looking forward to tasting many a festive beers this season.

pilsbury_doughboy_balloon8. I think my favorite balloon in this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was that of the Pillsbury Doughboy aka Poppin’ Fresh. I think the Doughboy balloon is an all-time second place balloon next to woody Woodpecker.

9. I think the radio didn’t play enough of Adam Sandler’s Thanksgiving Song. I think I missed a career opportunity in song writing.

10. I think Jimmy Fallon did a good job summarizing Thanksgiving : “Thank you, Thanksgiving, for being a time for family.” And thank you, football and alcohol, for making that tolerable.”

11. I think Black Friday is overrated. I think impulsive purchases on TVs are not.

12. I think it’s never too early to put up your Christmas decorations.

13. I think I want to meet just one person who ever received a brand new Lexus with a giant red ribbon on it as a holiday gift.

blooms

14. I think it was a great time seeing Bloomsburg University win it’s second round playoff football game versus Virginia State. Congrats #90! Nothing like sitting for 3 hours in 22 degree temps. Burrrr. Nice showing by the 7 band members and 9 cheerleaders. Huskies, Huskies, Woo, Woo, Woo.

15. I think it was nice to celebrate the victory with a Pack Dog Peanut Butter Ale at Marley’s Brewery. That was one delicious drink.

The Leftovers

Yes, this name of the rather odd television series on HBO. However, since it’s the holiday season we’re talking about the leftover turkey and trimmings that are currently clogging up your refrigerator. (We will save some editorial for another day as to my thoughts on the Sudden Departure).

Though we all feast then gorge then feast some more, there always seems to be numerous Ziploc bags filled with sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and that dish that auntie Hilda brought. What was in the dish anyway? A concoction of rhubarb, mixed with worcestershire sauce and celery? Anyway, not to digress on unsavory side dishes, that was for another post, we will be providing you with some great ideas to finish those leftovers and free up space in your refrigerator (you are going to need it, what with the Winter Beer suggestions coming soon).

What to do with your leftover Thanksgiving meal

leftovers

Hot Turkey Sandwich with the Moist Maker – had to lead with this suggestion as it quite simply the best leftover meal you can chow on. Most people currently enjoy a hot turkey sandwich, but what they are lacking is the Moist Maker, the slice of gravy soaked bread that slides into the middle of the turkey, cheese, cranberry and other two slices of bread. Once you have tried a Moist Maker, you will quickly become addicted desiring this treasure daily.

Pumpkin Pie Milkshake – my pumpkin pie milkshakes brings all the gals to the yard, and they’re like, it’s better than yours, damn right it’s better than yours. I can teach you but I have to charge. Delicious.

Cranberry Pancakes – is there anything better than waking to the smell of hot cranberry pancakes filling the kitchen with its delicious aroma on a cold winters morn? Top that with some Cool Whip and you will have a great start to your day.

Mashed Stuffing Potatoes – Mmmmm, a mixture of mashed potatoes and Stove Top stuffing, mixed, blended, stirred or whatever. These are two great tastes that taste great together.

Fresh Corn Mix – this is another favorite. Simply combine the leftover corn niblets, mix with a fresh diced tomato and stir in some Italian salad dressing. This is a delicious treat in the summer and it tastes just as good in November.

The Dirty Diaper – simply fill your plate with every leftover and layer it three deeps. Nuke on high for 3 minutes, top with gravy and you have a gut buster that lead to this dish’s moniker.

Feed a Squirrel – hey, tis the season.