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A Delicious Trio of Magnificence:
Tacos. Movie Rentals. Ghostbusters.

Matt - 7.22.01

Well, the move is officially complete, so if I'm lax in updates, I've run out of excuses. Except for the 72-hour flu, I've still got a few of those cards left. Other than that, regrettably, moving into the new place hasn't brought with it the all-encompassing, exciting social life as advertised in my landlord's ad. No, I'm still here, writing about tacos, movie rentals, and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

Okay, now...tacos. Movie rentals. Ghostbusters. Three staples of society that go almost totally unappreciated and virtually unnoticed despite the fact that this triplicate of high taste brings zillions of people joy each day. Admit it - you're one of those people. You might not even realize it, but you'd be a wreck without these three dynasties to guide you through those tough times. I know I'd be. It's just that, sometimes, you need someone to help you realize these things. Under normal circumstances, that'd be my job. But this is way too important to handle on my own, so I called in for a little help. I needed someone who everyone trusts and who nobody would ever dare question. That wasn't too hard, but then I made the mistake of lumping in 'starred in a Trekkie movie' as part of the prerequisites. With that, there was only one man who could save the day....

Ricardo Montalban. I'd like to claim that I have connections, but anyone who watched Taco Bell commercials back in '99 (and I know there's thousands of you who watch TB ads religiously, like clockwork) probably recognizes the picture above from Montalban's campaign to bring together the three pillars of our nation: tacos, movies, and Slimer. I could go on and on about Ricardo's contributions to our glorious media, but we've got a more important message to get across today. We'll save the Khan gush for another article.

Here's how we're gonna do this: with Ricardo as our sensual visual guide, I'm going to explain to you, in no particular order, the merits of each of the three godly topics. This is the type of article that usually causes my e-mailbox to fill up with 'stop smoking pot' and 'you need sleep' messages, but trust me on this's all *very* important. You're gonna take what you learn here today out into the world and become a better person for it. If you don't, you're a lost cause with no soul and I don't want you reading my site anymore. Unless you're one of those soulless readers who clicks on ad banners...then you can stay.

Separately, tacos, movie rentals, and Ghostbusters provide us with a lot of surefire entertainment. When you mix them together, you're really treading into heaven-on-earth territory. And that's a good thing. Let's start explaining why...beginning with tacos - Mexico's greatest contribution to society since cheap labor and banana-shaped piņatas.

So what's so great about tacos? It's not the meat - you can eat chopped up cow in virtually any dish. It's not the cheese, for the same reason. It's not the lettuce, olives, tomatoes, or any other saucy topping you can cook up. It's none of that. Quite simply, it's that crazy shell. You know that feeling you get when you drop a glass on the kitchen floor, shattering it to pieces? For a brief moment, you're remorseful. You just broke a glass, and that's nothing to be proud about. But then it hits you: it made a really, really cool noise when it broke. After a while you start subconsciously giving yourself butterfingers just so you can hear that palatable crackle whenever it's needed. With the almighty taco shell, you can save your drinking ware, because each bite provides the exact same noise!

There's more to it than that, though. I have this theory that, in the same way fish is loaded with spices and salt to hide the flavor, food should be masked with hard shells to disguise the disgusting chewing sound it makes while you're eating it. I'm no vegetarian by any means, but I've never really enjoyed hearing meat being mashed between my teeth. It's all too barbaric, and we live in a place far too cultured to deal with that. The beautiful crunch of a taco shell hides that little nuance. And then it goes even further than that: ever partake in eating dinner with someone who keeps talking and talking about the stupidest shit? Drives me insane. I personally believe that there should be special one-person eating boxes in every household and restaurant to avoid plagues like this. Until that day, taco shells do wonders in drowning out unwanted conversation. Whenever you see your chatty dinner partner taking a deep breath, take several huge bites into a taco. Since it's so loud, they'll likely wait till your done. If you keep up the charade long enough, they'll forget what they wanted to say and go back to their salads.

Who knew tacos were so effective in a social capacity? Besides Ricardo Montalban, almost no one. Now you know, and believe me, it's powerful knowledge.

On a more personal level, I've always been drawn to tacos. Not the fast food kind...even with the crunch power and hot sauce, I can't in good faith take a liking to Grade Z meat, presumably ripped from the hides of dead camels and muskrats. But real, homemade tacos...I've always had this thing for them. Growing up, I became fascinated with the Tiki gods of Easter fascinated that I'd use every family event held at our household as an excuse to open a Tiki bar in the living room. Somehow I got this idea in my head that tacos were the official food of Easter Island. So I'd bring all this crap out of my bedroom...Tiki god statues and Christmas lights, throw them all on a big card table and whip up tacos. Almost no one in my family would give in to the urge of eating meat served by a ten-year-old, but the ordeal was certainly a photo op. Opening up taco Tiki bars at family parties at an early age was also a great method of social engineering. No matter how badly I fuck up nowadays, nobody in my family will ever notice. They'll always just take solace in the fact that I'm no longer obsessed with serving tacos on Christmas Eve. I could go outside right now, blow up buildings, murder cats, spray paint satanic symbols on churches....and my family will still think I'm improving socially.

So tacos taste great, put an end to unwanted conversations...and they provide you with a method to get away with a lot of bullshit in your future. A fabulous food by every right. Look up above at those two taco enthusiasts in the pic - in a literal trance over the power held in their hands. Now that's something worth the cooking time. By the way, the orgasmic look on the faces of those two wackjobs above isn't just over the tacos....

They're watching Ghostbusters while eating tacos!

I was one of the lucky ones who saw Ghostbusters in the theatre when it came out. This was back in the day when my parents left the house for reasons other than casinos. There was something about this movie that made it a must-see for kids...I'd say it was the cool ghosts, but the observant should know it's all about Rick Moranis. He's destined to be associated with movies meant to be seen by children. Maybe that's because, as a kid, we can't accept a face like Moranis as being something adults would ever pay money to see. He had to be for us. Whatever the case, we got our popcorn, went into the theatre, and once that library ghost turned into a lunatic monster, I cried my eyes out and hid my face in my mother's coat for a good fifteen minutes. I think my parents really enjoyed scaring the shit out of me. They took me to see Aliens claiming that that orange machine suit Ripley wore was from the Transformers. 'Look, she's an Autobot!' They conveniently forgot to mention that the movie was full of slimy monsters who killed and ate people, but whatever...they wanted to see Sigourney sweat, so they did what they had to do.

Ghostbusters was a unique movie in more ways than just the paranormal focus. Usually, with these type of spooky-but not scary-but kinda funny movies, the cast are either unknowns or really bad actors. When you get people like Bill Murray and Dan Akroyd, along with Weaver and Moranis together in this kinda movie, it's a special experience. You don't feel quite so foolish going along for the ride with all this name value attached to it. That said, there's three things about Ghostbusters that jump right out at me as stuff worth worshipping:

The Ecto-1: Fuck the Deloreans, this was the car of an era. You can't tell me you sat through this movie without wishing to death that you could drive along the city streets in a big station wagon with LED lights streaming across the side promoting your ghost business. Absolutely brilliant. By the time they got out of the car wearing big metal backpacks and brown jumpsuits, all eyes were already on 'em. They didn't even need to prove ghosts were out there to get attention. The rest of the team was lucky they had Bill Murray there to casually land the joke of the century everytime they exited the car. I'd presume the whole ordeal woulda fell flat if they just stood there trying to look unpsychotic. Mixing ghosts with comedy always works. Keep that train of thought, and a lot of bad ghost movies seem all the better. Next time you watch The Haunting, pretend it's supposed to be funny. Trust me, you won't switch channels half as fast.

The Mayor: The mayor is the unsung hero of the movie...the one guy bold enough to trust the busters' theory that New York is about to be engulfed by a high demon named Goza. Based on that alone, I'd say Moranis isn't the only honorary Ghostbuster. The mayor is a guy who managed to keep his cool while stuck in a room with the pope and Ernie Hudson. If anyone else was in that position, they'd crack. Why everyone overlooks the mayor as an integral part of the flick is beyond me...the guy just brought this amazing, almost-tangiable excitement to the screen. Maybe that's because he looked like a constipated prick and yelled a lot. Either way, next time you watch the movie, keep an eye out for the mayor. Soak in his few minutes of wisdom and crass dictatorship. If you've got some form of editing software, give him a little theme for whenever he walks into the room. He might only have gotten ninth billing on the cast, but as far as I'm concerned, he's the number one.

Stay Puft Marshmallow Man: I was young when we saw this flick. Real young. I should've been afraid of the Marshmallow Man. Real afraid. But try as I might to score some more pity points with my parents before we left the movie and hopefully to someplace where they could buy me toys, I couldn't keep my eyes off this thing. I wanted to hate him - I wanted to hate the movie because of him. But something about this monstrosity...a six story marshmallow glob who crushed cars and wore a little hat...something about him connected with me in ways I wouldn't experience again till I first heard New Order's Substance 1987. Maybe it was just a kid thing? Nahhh...come on, no marketing analysis would report that children under the age of 10 are naturally drawn to marshmallow monsters. I guess there's just a mystique about living, breathing, demon marshmallows. When people go to the zoo, they clamor to the panther and bat cages, cuz they're mysterious. At the aquarium, it's the moray eel, cuz they're mysterious. At the movies? Giant marshmallow monsters, cuz they're mysterious too.

Fuck that, I probably just watched that thing and had a gut instinct that a stuffed animal version tie-in was on the horizon. It wasn't the marshmallow man that made me happy. It was knowing that I'd soon own one myself.

Tacos and Ghostbusters. We're 66.66666% on our way to complete and total Nirvana here. One last slice, and we'll complete the mission. That last puzzle piece, folks, is movie rentals. And the fine folks above didn't buy Ghostbusters, believe me. Generally, the people who's dates consist of getting dressed up to eat Taco Bell in front of the television can't afford buying videos. Nope, they rented 'em.

The ability to rent movies is a power we have that we often take for granted. We just assume this to be our natural right, no big deal, nothing to really fawn or freak over. But it's so important when you think about it. I'd say, on average, people have around 5 or 6 movies total that they're mentally able to watch on a semi regular basis. The rest of the movies we own are doomed to sit on some godforsaken shelf collecting dust. More so than that, they embarrass us. Do you have any idea what it's like for me to have people over, and get questioned as to why I own The Ewok Adventure and Romy & Michelle's High School Reunion? It's damaging. We, the public, are judged by the videos we own. It's sad but true, and if we'd just realize how to work that little system, we'd be a lot better off. Instead of buying the movies you like, buy the movies everyone likes. This way, when they sneak a peek at your video wall when you're making sure you didn't leave any pornography or plates of meat out in your bedroom, they'll feel this incredible connection to your soul. 'Oh my god...he likes Fight Club too!' It's a great trick. You won't have to sit there with your dates acting interested in religion or politics or cars or whatever else to find common ground. Just show them your socially apt video collection, and the tale is told on it's own.

Renting movies is also a good way to avoid having to punch yourself in the face. Could you imagine the personal torment you'd put yourself through if you, on a whim, actually bought The Santa Clause? It's not just that the movie sucks, or that you paid more than you would've if you just rented it. It's the fact that, forever, your home would have a picture of Tim Allen dressed like Santa Claus in it. Now that's social suicide. A lot of us lose ourselves when we're looking at a lot of movies. We get so flustered with all the choices and the idea that we could leave empty handed that we'll often just grab anything and head for the register. At least, when you do this at a video store, the potential danger is only temporary. Unless you're like me and never return videos, ending up having to pay triple the retail in late charges. But for everyone else, this is really important stuff. Stay away from the FOR SALE section. It only brings trouble. If you've gotta actually buy a movie, do it over the net where the risk of being permeated with movie mania is at it's lowest. If you're doing the deed in person, always always always make sure you're in a rental facility. Otherwise you're gonna end up with a lot of Pauly Shore movies in perpetual stock, and a lot of personal grief.

There's even more strong points to movie renting. Generally, there's a lot of movies that nobody would bother wholesaling in to sell outright. So the only way you're gonna see some good schlocky horror flicks or otherwise charming bombs is at your local vide store. More so than anything else, nobody out there should ever purchase a VHS tape again. Just make copies. You know that little protective thing they put over videos so you can't do that? Here's a tip: put a piece of tape over it. Your VCR will be tricked, I promise you! In case you needed more reasons to opt for rental over purchase, consider this: most video stores sell those big bags of Twizzlers. Babylon, here we come.

Separately, they're all great things. Tacos have crunch power and shredded cheese, Ghostbusters has proton packs and Annie Potts, and video stores have Twizzlers. When you mix the three, you're in for a type of internal ecstasy you didn't think was possible without the aid of pills or free money. Next time you're looking for something fun and exciting to do with yourself, consult this little menu to absolute joy. You won't be sorry.

To conclude, I've sought to prove my points with a simple, mathematical equation:

If you can find a way to argue with that logic, you're just being cynical.

- Matt
I Want A New Girlfriend
AIM: xecharchar

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