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Columns > Andy Miller - Real True Confessions With Padre Pienbique

Published: 2003/02/24
by Andrew Miller

Heroes and the Punishment Due…

When I was a kid I used to get up around 6:30 every Saturday morning for
cartoons. It wouldn’t have been unusual to see me and my brother sitting in
front of the TV, heads cocked over our shoulders as if we had no neck
muscles, methodically spooning Malt-O-Meal cereal into our draped open
mouths, utterly transfixed. Cartoons! Fuck yeah! Superman or Loony Toons, I
would stare at the boob tube until the programming slipped into the boring
and useless realm of adult shows.
Although all children universally know that cartoons are good, the great
Mother/Father/Teacher/Lover known as the TV is the symptom of sibling
rivalries. You see, we had but one television and Dad made my brother and I
take turns choosing cartoons.
This clear-cut and fair system was an attempt to curb the inevitable
eruption of fraternal violence that would break out over the merits of
Animated Small Blue Singing Dipshits on channel 9 vs. channel 11’s Muscle
Bound Caped Chump With A Magnetic Colon and Friends. Whichever one of us was
suffering the indignity of the other’s program would wait for the other to
grab another bowl of that fantastic Malt-O-Meal, then run to the TV and
change the channel once the living room was vacant. Upon the return of the
wronged party, the blatant offender would play the old "Stop whining
Butt-Face, your dummy-dumb channel is showing a commercial" card. This was
effective as the insanity plea: could be true, probably not, better issue
the full penalty of law- Wedgie!!!!
I don’t mean to sound like a nervous mother, but I think these fights were
inspired by what we were watching on the TV. We all know that singing
(small, blue, animated, or not) never solved anything, so to battle we must
go. But for all the blood lost, sweat smeared, and rug burns endured, these
battles were in vain. Not because "childhood is precious" or any of that
crap. It’s because the majority of the cartoon sucked. They stank. Except
for Loony Toons, they were worthless and I can’t remember a damn thing about
them. Aside from trying to determine whether my brother’s colon was any more
magnetic than usual with Dad’s pitching wedge, they did nothing to help me
blossom into the sober and productive member of society that I am today.
Oh well, childhood may very well be precious, but Saturdays are tailor-made
for wasting it. And so I did.
Sundays, on the other hand, function as society’s adult-training program. If
your youth was anything like mine, you might recall the subtle change in
attitude between Saturday and Sunday: Saturday is closer to the beginning of
the weekend, school is farther away and you don’t have a care in the world.
You can sleep late or get up early for cartoons; it just doesn’t matter.
Sundays, on the other hand, are different. From the very moment you’re woken
up, the regimen and deadlines of the adult world loom above like an
impending flu. Church, (or worse, church school) inflict the stress and
tension of the work-a-day world parents live in, while the remainder of the
day draws closer to finishing homework, tooth brushing, and bedtime.
I’m sure my pro-Saturday bias resonates well with most of you. I don’t think
most readers would willingly choose homework and church school
over sleeping late and cartoons. Just doesn’t fit the demographic profile
that you’re being subtlety, yet cleverly marketed to.
And I don’t mean to dump all over Sundays. It does have its redeeming
qualities. Watching Vikings football and The Simpson’s, drinking twelve Old
Styles and eating two dinners can fill a Sunday to the brim with Joy A-Hoy
in my old age. But I think it was Sunday, with its built-in time crunches
that gave me my first heroes.
Unlike Saturday mornings, I slept in as late as the Lutheran Church’s youth
indoctrination program would allow. By this I mean to say that Dad would
wake my brother and I up a couple of hours before church school, make
pancakes, (no Malt-O-Meal on Sunday!) and let us fart around until it was
time to get dressed for the big trip across town to St. John’s. Those of you
who grew up before the magic of cable TV may remember that there were no
cartoons on Sunday morning. Instead, I found something far more
splendiferous: All Star Wrestling- Good vs. Evil! Cage Matches! Drama and
Vendetta! Hot Damn!
Let me state for the record that I do not watch Monday Nitro, nor have I
been to a monster truck rally. I don’t give a fuck if the Rock wrote a book
or if Minnesota native Brock Lesner is taking the squared circle by storm.
This doesn’t appeal to me now and I don’t think it would have when I was
ten. And quite frankly, that goof with "John 1:15" or whatever silk screened
across his ass would have single-handedly ruined my Sunday morning by
reminding me that I’m due at church in twenty minutes.
That said about the value of wrestling as a spectator sport, I loved the
characters on All-Star Wrestling the most. Most of the wrestlers were
milquetoast personas for the main players to abuse in the ring. Nobody was
going to root for Jay "Sod Buster" Kenny or "The Junkyard Dog". No, the WWF,
with its pre-politically correct swagger would sport such sheer
embarrassments as "Sheik Adenon El Casey" and the "Baron Von Raschke".
Complete with jack boots and a goose stepping/semi-Sieg Heilesque finishing
move known as "The Claw", the Baron would crush the skull of his former Axis
Power ally (and now sworn enemy) Mr. Fuji. No end to the trills!
For reasons unknown, everyone had a strange attraction to a flamboyant,
boa-wrapped wrestler named Jesse "The Body" Ventura. (Ventura later had a
little recognized political career in a little recognized state somewhere
along the Canadian border.) Neither a good or evil character, I can remember
that my friends and I thought he and Hulk Hogan might be the same person.
One of my friends even went so far as to sketch their faces, noting that
with out the sunglasses they looked identical. Not to mention that they had
never been seen together in the same room. My bet is that the Ventura/Hogan
duplicity was holding the umbrella at Dealy Plaza.
Whatever these stars of squared circle were up to, I thought they were cool
for doing what they wanted with their lives: Steroids? Rednecks? Dental
Tragedy Groupies? Who cares? To me, they were heroes. It had never occurred
to me that they were businessmen with agents, contracts, endorsements and
all the other golden trappings of show biz. And now that I’m getting my ass
beaten as the Junkyard Dog of the golden wrestling ring known as the music
business, I look to my heroes. Whenever another bloodsucking, leisure suit
wearing, talent-less chunk of crap comes around to ruin my fun onstage for
the benefit of his "music business", I close my eyes and mentally give him
the Baron’s Claw until his "interest" spills upon the floor for all to see.
I would be remiss if I didn’t embrace a conflict of interest and let you all
know the First Cousin tickets for the Sixth Annual Big Wu Family Reunion are
going on sale in early March. Confirmed bands include Particle, The All
Mighty Senators, Cabaret Diosa, Olospo, and many more to be announced soon!
First Cousin tickets are discounted for your pleasure ($60!) and are
available at and
The recipe for the month is none other than Northfield’s own Malt-O-Meal hot
breakfast cereal. Available in vanilla and chocolate, this staple of frozen
Midwest children fed me before school for years. For those of you outside of
Malt-O-Meal’s commercial grip, imagine Cream of Wheat or if you’re Southern,
Yankee Grits. The recipe is for two because Malt-O-Meal is for lovers.
Malt-O-Meal for two:
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1/3 cup Malt-O-Meal
Heat water until boiling
Stir in Malt-o-Meal, sugar, salt gradually (the instructions on the box
Cook 2 1/2 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly.
Serve with milk, and your very own choice toppings.
This month’s Old Style Zealot is Minnesota native and Chicago stock market
fixer Potzy Porter. However, in this photo we can truly call him Mr. Las
Vegas: Every time he lays a bet at the black jack table, the pit boss starts
singing "Danke Schon". And yes, much to my shame this photo is the kind of
thing I make fine and honorable people do in hotel rooms for my amusement.

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