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Monday, April 21, 2014

Candy Rocks & Micronauts

While in elementary school, I attended a friend's birthday party. As he enjoyed riding a motorbike, his mother decorated his cake with rocks and a toy motorbike. He was surprised when I asked for a piece with a rock on it, but his jaw dropped when I popped the rock in my mouth and chewed. You see, I recognized the rocks as Pebble Candy, my favorite kind of candy while growing up.

During our visit to Haworth, England, we visited Mrs. Beighton's Sweet Shop. On its shelf-lined walls were stacked glass jars filled with every kind of candy imaginable. Mrs. Beighton, or one of her associates, introduced us to several different types of toffees. Then my eyes were drawn to another kind of Pebble Candy. They came in different shapes, but only two colors: white and black. Regardless of their shape or size, they were all equal in taste. Inside the delicious candy coating awaited a treasure truly worth savoring: smooth, rich English chocolate.

Last week's blog entries on Kim Stanley Robinson's novel Shaman, E. F. Benson's novel The Blotting Book, and English rocks, archeology, and paleontology, made me long for my beloved American-style Pebble Candy. So I wrote down several reasons to visit the mall (aside from procuring the palatable pebbles), and presented my wife with a proposal for a pleasant and productive pilgrimage.

Unlike their English counterparts, American Candy Pebbles come in five different colors, and each one boasts its own unique flavor. Black rocks (No, not the raised beach in Brighton) taste like the best black jelly beans you've ever eaten. Brown rocks warm up the taste buds with rich cinnamon, not as sharp as Red Hots, but a richer taste. The Yellow and Red ones offer different fruit flavors, and the blue ones…you know, after all this time, I'm still not sure what the blue ones taste like. On a previous visit to the candy store, a young saleswoman told me she thought they tasted like soap. (I guess we're talking quality soap here, nothing cheap). To me, they're closer to root beer, but not exactly that either. In any case, the white ones are like swallowing a mouthful of Pina Colada. None of the candies will make you unsafe to drive a motor vehicle, but the flavors (and the sugar) may make your head spin if you eat too many at one time. So enjoy responsibly.

Our outing took us to a mall we don't frequent, as it's fairly far from home. So we took the opportunity to visit some shops not listed on my proposed program. One of these offered some Doctor Who T-shirts, including the one above. I didn't realize that Leonardo da Vinci designed the Daleks' protective outer shell, did you? I guess I should have, as the fourth Doctor visited him in the story "City Of Death." Clearly, da Vinci was a man ahead of his time.

We also stopped by a comic book shop we had visited once before, where we found a few back issues of comics that we were missing. I've enjoyed reading the adventures of "The Micronauts" this year, and was excited to find Issue 8. The story finishes off the Micronauts' adventures with young Steve Coffin on Earth, and marks the first time Captain Universe appears in Marvel Comics. (In this incarnation, Steve's father, ex-astronaut Ray Coffin, is transformed into Captain Universe). Remember the toy motorbike that adorned my friend's birthday cake? This series was written by Bill Mantlo, a writer for Marvel, who noticed how much his son enjoyed playing with the Micronauts toys. This inspired him to convince Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Jim Shooter to procure the story rights to Mego Corporation's characters and vehicles. He built some complex ideas into these stories, created a history and culture for the Micronauts' home planet, and…

You know, I may have to blog some more about "The Micronauts" sometime. Right now I'm starting to have trouble thinking clearly, and my head is spinning. Can't think why.

Dragon Dave

P.S. Please, no remarks about having rocks in my head. Be kind.

Related Internet Links
Leonardo da Vinci at Tardis Wikia
Bill Mantlo at Wikipedia

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