Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Nostalgia is overrated

Since I'm already breaking promises, I just want to post one more teensy little rant before I go on vacation.

I re-read THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH last night and, man, what a preachy book! I remember loving this as a kid, and I still think the movie would hold up if I could get it on DVD, but the book's just so pointed and moralistic, frankly I'm surprised that kids ate it up the way they did. It's so message-y: Don't waste time, don't misuse the English language, listen only to beautiful music (Beethoven, presumably) and not that "awful din" blah blah blah. It's so ennervating! Shut up!

The only things I still liked were marketplace and banquet in Dictionopolis, Tock and the Humbug, and when Milo conducts the sunrise (finally, some spirit, you little milquetoast! No wonder you're so boring!) ... and I have to admit I still kind of like the princesses, Sweet Rhyme and Pure Reason, because they have kind of cool names. But the "Mountains of Ignorance"? Honestly, we get it, learning is fun, now bugger off. This book is just so well-intentioned it gives me a headache.

Also, I had a very disappointing ice cream last night: Ben and Jerry's S'mores. I thought it was weird that they had it in the freezer at my local deli, since the flavour is officially in their flavour graveyard, but there it was. Reading the description, it seemed exactly like their Marsha Marsha Marshmallow, which I tried about a year and a half ago and was really disappointed with. So why buy an ice cream that already disappointed you once? Well, I figured maybe they retooled it and it would be better this time. Last time, the graham cracker swirl was this really gritty, flavourless mess, almost like someone accidentally got sand in my chocolate ice cream. And the marshmallow was forgettable.

This time they improved the graham cracker's texture slightly, making for something that was discernible as cookie-like chunks. But the marshmallow was barely noticeable again -- I like to see my marshmallow. Here is was just a swirl of light brown goo that was hard to tell apart, visually speaking, from the graham cracker. I didn't realize I was eating it at first. I was expecting marshmallow chunks, dammit. Utterly disappointing, and I don't know why they changed the name -- maybe just to retool the flavour without dredging up bad old memories -- but anyway, I don't recommend it at all.

So I guess the lesson here is that some things are worse than you remember them and some things are just as bad as you remember them, but everything is awful.

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