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Posts Tagged ‘Superheroes’

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I was reminded today that I meant to post something about Popeye by the fact that a new blogger-friend actually has a category called ‘Popeye and Sailors’ on her blog, Months of Edible Celebrations.

Yes, it’s true. Superheroes do keep popping up in my life (as I noted in an earlier post), and though Popeye is kind of an old guy, apparently Mental Floss magazine thinks well enough of him to give him Superhero status.

But how did he get his powers? From spinach.

But was it really the spinach that did it? Or was it only in his mind?

While Popeye should be applauded for persuading a nation to eat its greens, he did mislead people a bit. The government’s enthusiasm for spinach was based in part on the calculations of German scientist Dr. E von Wolf, who’d discovered in 1870 that spinach contains iron. When calculating the results, he misplaced a decimal point, thereby making it “official” that spinach had 10 times more iron than it actually did. Not until years later were these figures rechecked. But by then, everyone was downing their spinach, hoping to be as tough as Popeye.

(See link to article at Mental Floss for full story.)

Math is not my strong point either.

What a great mistake, though. What would Popeye have done without it!

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Three Wise Cats

Three Wise Cats

Three Wise-Yet-Still-Searching Meercats

Three Wise-Yet-Still-Searching Meercats

For more on meercats (who are not cats), read this bit of  ‘Who Can Save Us Now?’ where Owen King creates a meercat superhero . . . (named Meerkat, of course!)

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Superheroes seem to keep popping up in my world.

They are appearing in more forms than I’d ever imagined on the pages of the book I’m reading right now – ‘Who Can Save Us Now – Brand New Superheroes and Their Amazing (Short) Stories’ . They’re on the pages of  ‘Mental Floss‘ magazine this month in the article ‘5 Comic Superheroes Who Made a Real World Difference’. They showed up in great form at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. And last month they took to the runways at The  New York Chocolate Show, capering and mincing along in astonishing costumes – no longer made of strange stretchy materials – but constructed instead of the fruits of the cocoa bean, warped by knowledgable chocolate-focused culinary materialists and reimaged to be stylin’.

(More images here on telegraph.co.uk.)

While reading the ‘Superheroes’ book I wondered what sort of superhero I’d be (if only I could be one). I’d have to be something to do with food, I thought. These new superheroes can take many different forms. Some are described in this review from bookgasm:

One of my favorites was “The Pentecostal Home for Flying Children,” in which Will Clarke examines the aftereffects of a promiscuous costumed crimefighter and a town full of easily seduced Baptist women. The result is a slew of snotty kids who can fly and wreak havoc on their neighbors’ privacy and well-being. It takes a rather dark, disturbing turn.

Another highlight is the heartbreaking “The Horses Are Loose” by Cary Holladay. Its little-girl protagonist is born with the knowledge that she has the power to fly, but can only use this power once. She’s saving it for a grand plan that she hopes will save her single, clinically depressed mother from a lifetime of misery. If it doesn’t move you even a little, read it again.

Some pieces are straight humor, like the Sea Monkeys-oriented “The Snipper,” from Noria Jablonski, and Sam Weller’s “The Quick Stop 5®,” in which a chemical accidental transforms a quintet of convenience-store employees into mutants with the powers of beef jerky, a Slushee, condoms and the like. It’s one of the better stories in the entire volume, marred only by an over-reliance on pot humor.

At first I thought of fruits and vegetables, but my mind became a curious blank slush. No, ‘Banana Woman’ – who would stroll through the most luxurious shopping areas of major cities of the world trying to make the universe a better place by finding the most perfect outfit to buy that ever existed! (while saving cats and dogs and old ladies from ugly-faced muggers who were trying to steal their sardines, bones, and handbags by hitting the muggers over the head with a huge banana that would grow in an instant before your eyes from the end of her right middle finger, leaving the malefactors covered in a pool of disintegrating banana mush rapidly turning brown and attracting flies) would not do.

Besides, it seemed to hint at penis envy.

Forget the fruits and vegetables. On to meat.  Fish were not something I considered – though actually something could be done with a giant clam. Or with a jellyfish. Ever get stung by a jellyfish?

After sifting through various ideas for becoming a meat-based superhero, the decision was made. It was perfect. I would be ‘Caul-Fat Girl’.

I haven’t exactly worked out all the details yet, but basically somehow I would extrude a huge net of caul-fat whenever and wherever trouble arose in the world. I could then wing it through the air to cover and entangle in its fatty folds every single person who was causing all that trouble.

(Actually I thought of honeycomb tripe first, but caul fat is easier to work with. And besides, I’m not crazy about anything along the lines of the name ‘Tripe Sistuh’.)

But what do real Superheroes actually eat? This is important to know. I looked to the BBC for answers, and as always, the BBC came up with some.

Some superheroes need various foodstuffs to give them their strange but wonderful powers. Eric is just a normal schoolboy but if he eats a banana he becomes Banana-Man. When Olive Oyl is in trouble, Popeye opens up a can of spinach and becomes a regular pillar of strength, and all that is needed to give Scooby Doo a little encouragement is a Scooby Snack – a rather delicious dog biscuit. The Flash burns calories in a flash, and in order to re-energise has to eat copious amounts of burgers, fries and power-shakes without any affect on his fabulous skin, and Roger Ramjet would never find the strength to beat up the bad guys without his Proton Energy Pills. Superheroes who get their powers this way all suffer from the same problem – those powers wear off without a constant supply of their magic food.

The first time I read this I scanned it too fast and got a bit worried, for I thought Roger Ramjet was eating Protose Energy Pills and it shrunk my image of him. Protons – now there’s something fine to eat. Protose I still have my doubts about.

It’s good to live in a world filled with Superheroes. I hope the chocolate doesn’t melt too soon.

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