Saturday, March 03, 2007

Chia Pet revival gone wrong.

Chia Pet Revival

By Ryn Gargulinski
Imagine your surprise if you opened a gift mailed from your mom and found inside a Chia Pet.

What a blast from the past. What a cute, funny gift. What a fine, kitschy find.

What a hunk of junk.

This is not to say that Chia Pets in general are hunk of junk. Well, the head that grows hair and the hippo are somewhat stupid, but the idea itself is quite adorable.

Millions of others thought so when the Chia Pet craze hit like a wave soon after it was marketed by Joseph Enterprises in 1982. This is the same company that brought us the infinitely amusing – and effective – Clapper, although it took lots of convincing to get my boss to buy one for his inaccessible lamp in the corner.

For the Chia Pet, the best selling point, by far, was not the promise of fresh herbs sprouting on your kitchen windowsill. Nor was it the adobe molded ram that could have very well come from the wiles of old town Mexico.

The selling point was the jingle.

Catchy and cute, the stuttering ch-ch-ch-chia song can still make one dance and sing with significant glee.

With that stuttering song strumming in my head, I promptly opened my mom-sent Chia Pet expecting a long-lasting relationship with an adorable chunk of adobe.

Instead I found a mangy something encrusted in at least 20 years of dust, crust and blacked herbs. Herbs evidently don’t like it when you stuff them in a box in mom’s basement for a couple of decades.

After dutifully scrubbing the adobe with a vegetable brush I’ve since thrown away, I mixed the exact three tablespoons of herbs with the exact three tablespoons of water and slathered my newly-clean Chia with the mixture.

It promised to grow in five days.
Five days later, it did grow.
It grew mold.

Perhaps I should have been tipped off when the seeds had a test date of 1988.

I left it there for a few days, hoping the mold was not really mold and just the way Chia seeds are supposed to sprout.

But once white stuff started breaking off the ram’s butt and floating around the kitchen, I figured it was time to let it go.

After my dog and I stopped choking on floating mold spores long enough to tell mom what happened, she promised to send a new gift to make up for our pain and suffering.

I opened the mail yesterday to find a pet rock.
Another fine blast from the past.
With green, fuzzy spots where the eyes should be.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Folks near Brooklyn's Chinatown.
Yes, Brooklyn has a Chinatown.

Rental Review: Chinatown

By Ryn Gargulinski
Since most of the movie is set in a Los Angeles desert, we sit around wondering why it’s called Chinatown.

Therefore, much of the plot, point and anything else that could remotely redeem this floppy film is lost.

Highlight: Faye Dunaway is always a highlight.
Lowlight: Not being set in Chinatown.
Rating (1-10): 1.5

Thursday, March 01, 2007

RYN-art in honor of dead poets and their society.

Rental Review: Dead Poets Society

By Ryn Gargulinski
Any movie that depicts poetry as a deep-seated human need should theoretically get high ranks in my book, although I was nearly bored enough to rip my eyes out.

The flick starts slow and languid, not unlike Wordsworthian verse, but then draws us into a land of molasses-like ennui, like some of that wishy washy Victorian poetry.

The main set of characters, too, are in the wishy washy vein, enough that one feels like kicking them in the shins.

Yes, the movie gets better. We get specks of passion a la Whitman, love Shakespearean style and even some hip, beat poetry tones.

The ending comes quick, abrupt and screaming with agony, the same agony one finds with Sylvia Plath.

Highlight: Ending scene, which is hokey, but brings one to tears nonetheless.
Lowlight: The cliché of blaming death, destruction and all evils of the world on the new guy with new ideas.
Rating (1-10): 6.42