1101: Reptilicus

by Sean Marten

Nothing says “International” like a picture of the U.S. Capitol Building.
The United States Capitol, also called the Capitol Building, was built in 1800 atop Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. It is the seat of the legislative branch of the U.S. federal government and home of the United States Congress.

Poor Sid Pink. He got blacklisted, obviously.
In the late 1940s through the late ‘50s, government entities such as the House Un-American Activities Committee aggressively tried to root out people in the entertainment industry who had ties to or sympathies for the Communist Party. People who were found to have such ties, or were strongly suspected of having them, or who refused to testify, were denied employment, which was called being “blacklisted.” An admitted Communist was called a “red”; someone who had or was suspected of having communist sympathies was called “pink” or a “pinko.”

Pole Dancing 101. First, get familiar with the pole. Make friends with it. Shake its hand.
Pole dancing combines dancing and acrobatics, using a vertical pole that is mounted on a stage or platform, usually extending from the floor to the ceiling. Traditionally associated with strip clubs, in the early 2000s pole dancing went a bit more mainstream as a form of exercise.

[Sung.] “The Munsters Theme.”
The brassy, twangy instrumental opening theme song to The Munsters TV show was composed by Jack Marshall, who also did the music for Show 402, The Giant Gila Monster. The show’s title features a dripping-blood font. The Munsters is a sitcom that aired on CBS from 1964-1966 about a wacky but good-natured family of famous monster types (vampire, wolf man, Frankenstein’s monster). It was a parody of both monster movies and the wholesome family sitcoms of the era; in fact, it was created by the same people who produced Leave It to Beaver.

“There’s blood on the drill.” [Sung.] And an aching in my heart …
A possible riff on the 1971 song “Going to California” by Led Zeppelin. Sample lyrics: “Made up my mind to make a new start/Going to California with an aching in my heart.”

Building a wicker man?
The Wicker Man is a 1973 British horror film starring Edward Woodward about a remote island community where the residents engage in all manner of strange pagan rituals. Building a wicker man statue and then setting it ablaze is one of them. The film was remade in 2006 with Nicolas Cage in the Woodward role.

Hold on to your hardhats, fellas, we’ve hit a vein of Stretch Armstrongs.
Stretch Armstrong is a toy—a 15-inch action figure in the shape of a blond muscular man wearing trunks. Made of latex rubber filled with gelled corn syrup, it can be stretched to four or five feet while still returning to its original shape. Manufactured by Kenner between 1976 and 1980 (a remodeled version came out in the 1990s), mint-condition Stretch Armstrongs (which have been stored at the proper temperature so they still stretch) can command thousands of dollars as collectibles.

It’s more man than machine now, twisted and goofy.
A parody of a line from the 1983 film Return of the Jedi, when Obi-Wan Kenobi is talking about Darth Vader: “He’s more machine now than man. Twisted and evil.”

“Bones.” Jim! “Fossil bones.” Fossil Jim!
Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy and Captain James T. “Jim” Kirk are main characters in the Star Trek franchise of TV series and feature films, which began with Star Trek: The Original Series in 1966.

[Imitating.] With a name like Smuckers …
The J.M. Smucker Co. was a small, family-owned purveyor of jams and jellies when, in the late 1950s, advertising executive Lois Wyse coined the slogan “With a name like Smucker’s, it has to be good,” which transformed them into an international brand and is still used today. Jonah is imitating character actor Mason Adams, who delivered the line in countless commercials.

Nummy nummy, steak tartare, num num num num num …
Steak tartare is finely chopped raw beef garnished with chopped onions, capers, or other seasonings. It is often topped with a raw egg yolk and served with crisp bread. The dish originated in French restaurants in the early 20th century, where it was called steack à l’Americaine; steak tartare was a variation made without the egg yolk that came with tartar sauce on the side.

“But the piece we found in the core sample wasn’t frozen.” It’s DiGiorno!
DiGiorno is a brand of frozen pizza, a subsidiary of Nestle. The brand began selling pasta and sauce in 1991 and branched out to pizza in 1995. Their slogan, used since shortly after the pizza line launched, is “It’s not delivery. It’s DiGiorno.”

Schwing!
This is one of the many catchphrases to come out of Wayne’s World, a fictional public-access TV program supposedly broadcast from the Aurora, Illinois, basement of sardonic, heavy-metal-loving teen Wayne Campbell (played by Mike Myers), who hosted the show with his best friend Garth Algar (Dana Carvey). The show originated in recurring sketches on Saturday Night Live (NBC, 1975-present) and then went on to make two Wayne’s World feature films. “Schwing!”, accompanied by a pelvic thrust, was Wayne and Garth’s reaction to seeing an attractive woman—it was supposedly the sound of a sword being drawn from its sheath.

Hitchcock’s North by Northwest from the plane’s point of view.
North by Northwest is a 1959 Alfred Hitchcock thriller starring Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint. It was nominated for three Academy Awards but won none of them. Its most iconic scene—featured on posters and other advertising for the film—had Grant being chased through a field by a crop duster.

Just got funded on Kickstarter.
Kickstarter is an online crowdfunding platform; its stated mission is to “bring creative projects to life.” Founded in 2009 and based in New York, its most successful Film & Video project as of 2017 is Bring Back MST3K.

SAS Airlines. Where your in-flight movie is I Don’t Care.
Scandinavian Airlines is usually shortened to SAS, which is also the name of its parent company (the initials stand for Scandinavian Airlines System). The airline serves Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, with its main hub at Copenhagen-Kastrup Airport, and offers flights to ninety destinations. It is the eighth-largest airline in Europe. “I Don’t Care” might be a callback to Show 306, Time of the Apes, which was several episodes of a Japanese TV series/Planet of the Apes pastiche edited together. At one point, the annoying small boy Johnny (there’s always at least one) is warned that it’s too dangerous to investigate an earthquake, to which he replies cheerfully, “I don’t care!” The line became the subject of a host segment (“Why Doesn’t Johnny Care?”), the stinger for that episode, and a frequently repeated catchphrase on the original series.

[Sung.] Wonderful, wonderful, Super Dragon …
A parody of the song “Wonderful Copenhagen,” written by Frank Loesser and performed by Danny Kaye in the 1952 musical film Hans Christian Andersen. Sample lyrics: “To wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen/Salty old queen of the sea/Once I sailed away/But I’m home today/Singing Copenhagen, wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen for me.” Also a nod to Show 504, Secret Agent Super Dragon, which was a film about a super-suave secret agent (code name Super Dragon) seducing women all over Amsterdam.

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. And it’s this movie.
The famous line “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” is spoken by Marcellus in Act I, Scene 4, of William Shakespeare’s 1603 tragedy Hamlet.

[Sung.] I guess I should’ve known by the way she parked her car sideways …
An imitation of Minneapolis musician Prince, and a paraphrase of the opening line of his 1983 song “Little Red Corvette.” Actual lyrics: “I guess I should’ve known by the way you parked your car sideways/That it wouldn’t last/See, you’re the kinda person that believes in makin’ out once/Love ‘em and leave ‘em fast.”

Hi, Bob!
The TV sitcom The Bob Newhart Show (CBS, 1972-1978) starred comedian Bob Newhart as Robert Hartley, a Chicago psychologist interacting with various patients, co-workers, and his level-headed but sarcastic spouse (played by Suzanne Pleshette). Characters in the show said “Hi, Bob” so often that a popular drinking game resulted: whenever someone in the show says the magic phrase, everyone takes a drink. Play at your own risk.

[Gurgling fish voice.] Good morning, Professor.
Among the many animated and puppet characters on the children’s show Pee-wee’s Playhouse (CBS, 1986-1991) were puppet fish in a fish tank, who would greet Pee-wee in a bubbling voice.

Hey, brah, you find Nemo yet?
An imitation of Crush the sea turtle in the 2003 computer-animated movie Finding Nemo and its 2016 sequel Finding Dory. Crush has a distinctly stoner surfer-dude way of speaking.

“I am.” Not an animal.
“I am not an animal. I am a human being” is a line from the 1980 David Lynch film The Elephant Man, about Joseph Merrick (called John Merrick in the film, for some reason), a horrifically deformed man who lived in Victorian England.

I’m squishy.
A possible reference to the short Young Man’s Fancy that preceded Show 610, The Violent Years, in which a teenage girl, talking about the object of her crush, says, “When he looks at me I get … you know … squishy!”

“Well, what’s so unusual about the bones?” They have a Twitter feed.
The news and social media service Twitter, which restricted posts to 140 characters (although in 2017 it rolled out a 280-character limit), got its name because the developers liked a dictionary definition of that word: “a short burst of inconsequential information.”

This is where we keep our Carvel ice cream cake prototypes. Did you sign the NDA? It’s a new character using Fudgie the Whale.
Carvel is an ice cream brand and chain of stores founded by Tom Carvel in 1929. The brand rose to prominence in the 1970s when novelty ice cream confections were introduced, including the famous whale-shaped ice cream cake Fudgie the Whale. Other characters were later brought out, some of which (cough the Santa cake) obviously used the same Fudgie mold, reoriented and redecorated. An NDA is a non-disclosure agreement, a legal document in which a signer agrees not to disclose any information covered by the agreement to any third parties. Bring Back MST3K Kickstarter backers who were shown special previews of Reptilicus all signed NDAs.

We’re really pushing the ice cream cake envelope. Do you realize how many characters you can create just by turning the Fudgie mold?
See previous note.

“A perfectly preserved specimen of a reptile.” Dysfunction.
Erectile dysfunction (ED), more commonly known as impotence, is a condition in which a man is unable to sustain an erection during sex—or, in the worst cases, achieve one at all.

Al Capp’s “Li’l Abner”?
Al Capp (b. Alfred Gerald Caplin, 1909-1979) was a cartoonist, creator of the satirical comic strip “Li’l Abner,” about a bunch of hillbillies. It first appeared in 1934 and ran for 43 years.

Ah, I should have asked if they offer a 401(k).
A 401(k)—named after a subsection of the Internal Revenue Code dating to 1978—is a retirement account that allows pre-tax contributions from an employee’s paycheck (often matched by the employer); the money is thus tax-deferred until the person retires and starts taking money out of the account.

Even Denmark has an Andy Griffith.
Andy Griffith (1926-2012) was an American actor, singer, comedian, and TV producer. He was best known as the star of The Andy Griffith Show (CBS, 1960-1968), in which he played small-town sheriff Andy Taylor, who dispensed homespun advice tinged with the humor and common sense of the American South. Later he starred in the legal drama Matlock (NBC/ABC, 1986-1995), in which he played folksy, Southern criminal defense attorney Ben Matlock.

[Sung.] Xanaduuu …
“Xanadu” is the title song of the 1980 film musical Xanadu, about a Greek muse who helps a struggling artist open a roller rink/nightclub. Written by Jeff Lynne of ELO, the song was performed by ELO and Olivia Newton-John and hit number one in several countries, including the U.K. (Another song from the film, “Magic,” reached number one in the U.S.) The movie, which starred Olivia Newton-John, Michael Beck, and Gene Kelly, didn’t fare as well. In fact, it helped inspire the creation of the Golden Raspberry Awards (the Razzies), which annually “dishonor” the worst movies made that year. A 2007 Broadway musical based on the film did better, running for 500 performances. Xanadu was also the name of the giant estate owned by Charles Foster Kane in the 1941 movie Citizen Kane. In that film, a shot of the mansion was accompanied by an announcer dramatically intoning: “Xanadu!” (The original Xanadu, or Shangdu, was Kublai Khan’s capital in China during the Yuan Dynasty; Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s 1816 poem “Kubla Khan” describes Xanadu as “a stately pleasure-dome” surrounded by decadent gardens.)

It’s only 7 p.m. and he’s already eaten the contents of three Petri dishes.
A Petri dish is a shallow cylindrical glass or plastic dish, with a close-fitting lid, that is used in laboratories to culture cells such as bacteria. They are named for their inventor, the 19th-century German bacteriologist Julius Richard Petri.

Petersen to Häagen-Dazs. I’m in. About to bust this Carvel cake thing wide open.
Häagen-Dazs is an American brand of premium ice cream that was founded in 1961 and became popular in the 1980s. Founder Reuben Mattus made up the name, which he thought was “Danish-sounding,” to honor the good treatment Jews received in Denmark during World War II. (Denmark was occupied by Germany in World War II, and in 1943 when Germany announced plans to round up and deport all Danish Jews to almost-certain death, Danish civilians rapidly organized a rescue boat operation and ferried nearly all of them to safety in Sweden.) In fact, the name is not remotely Danish: the Danish language has neither an umlaut “ä” nor any words that end in “zs.” See above note on Carvel.

Stan Lee’s in this?
Stan Lee is an American comic book writer, publisher, and film producer. A former editor-in-chief at Marvel Comics, he co-created such classic characters as Spider-Man, the Hulk, and Iron Man. Lee has made many cameo appearances in TV shows and films over the years, particularly in the successful live-action Marvel film adaptations, which fans delight in spotting.

Hello, my Sea-Monkeys, time to dance for your overlords.
“Sea-Monkeys” are in fact brine shrimp, a tiny crustacean that can undergo cryptobiosis—a kind of suspended animation in which an organism can live indefinitely in the absence of water or oxygen and then return to an animated state once environmental conditions have been restored. Following the success of rival Milton Levine’s Ant Farms in the 1950s, Harold von Braunhut introduced a mail-order product called “Instant Life” in 1957. In 1962 he changed the name to “Sea-Monkeys” and heavily advertised them in comic books, marketing them as pets similar to tropical fish. Many children were disappointed when their new “Sea-Monkeys,” which were illustrated as little humanoid animals, turned out to be nearly microscopic shrimp.

Wow. That guy’s got a great Yankee Candle collection.
The Yankee Candle Company makes scented candles, accessories, and dinnerware, which are sold through retail outlets and gift shops and through the mail.

[Sung.] It’s a quarter to three … no one in the place … except Reptilicus and me … So set ‘em up, Joe.
“One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)” is a song written by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer that was first performed by Fred Astaire in the 1943 movie musical The Sky’s the Limit, and was later popularized by Frank Sinatra, who recorded it several times over the course of his career. (Sinatra’s version can be heard in the 2017 film Blade Runner 2049.) Sample lyrics: “It’s quarter to three/There’s no one in the place except you and me/So set ‘em up, Joe/I got a little story you oughta know.”

[Sung.] The weather started getting rough …
A line from “The Ballad of Gilligan’s Isle,” the theme song to the TV sitcom Gilligan’s Island (CBS, 1964-1967). Written by show creator Sherwood Schwartz and George Wyle, the song is a prime example of the era when TV theme songs did a bang-up job explaining the show’s premise. Sample lyrics: “The weather started getting rough/The tiny ship was tossed/If not for the courage of the fearless crew/The Minnow would be lost, the Minnow would be lost.”

Okay, map one more genome and then it’s off to bed.
Gene mapping (also called genome mapping or genome sequencing) is the process of identifying genetic markers (such as the genes that carry diseases) and placing them on the genome (the DNA sequence, in humans). The first organism to have its genome completely mapped was Drosophila melanogaster, the humble fruit fly much loved by biologists for experiments. The Human Genome Project was an international collaborative research project to do the same for the human genome; it was launched in 1990 and completed in 2003.

We’ve still got that hibachi out back from the company picnic. We’ve got all the fixins’ for a real fine meal!
In America, small rectangular charcoal grills are called hibachi. In their native Japan, hibachi can be used for cooking or even just heating and have been produced in various shapes, sizes, and styles. Some may call the large metal griddles in Japanese steakhouses hibachi cooking, but these are properly called “teppan,” meaning “iron plate.” “Hibachi” means “fire bowl,” and they’ve been used for more than a thousand years.

Maybe we’re supposed to put our 3D glasses on?
The first 3D viewer was invented by Charles Wheatstone back in 1838, called the stereoscope. It was streamlined and made portable in 1851, and the lenticular stereoscope became a huge seller. When it came to film, the first 3D film, using cardboard glasses with red and green lenses, came out in 1922 (it was a melodrama called The Power of Love). However, 3D movies didn’t take off until the 1950s, with films like House of Wax and Creature from the Black Lagoon. There was a brief revival in the 1980s (Jaws 3-D, Amityville 3-D) and a much more successful one after 2003, thanks to advances in 3D technology. Avatar (2009) was particularly praised for its 3D effects. Current 3D glasses don’t much resemble the 1950s-era ones; instead they look like ordinary sunglasses.

Maybe I should pursue that dream of mine, selling ready-to-assemble furniture with a strong Scandinavian flair! Who am I kidding? It’ll never work.
IKEA is the world’s largest furniture retailer, selling ready-to-assemble furniture, home accessories, and kitchen appliances. Now based in the Netherlands, the company was founded in Sweden in 1943 by a teenage Ingvar Kamprad; he is now worth more than $40 billion.

[Sung.] “The Pink Panther Theme.”
The instrumental song “The Pink Panther Theme” was written by Henry Mancini for the 1963 film The Pink Panther, which starred comedian Peter Sellers as the bumbling Inspector Clouseau. It became a top-ten single in 1964, won three Grammy Awards, and was nominated for an Academy Award. The tune was also used as the theme for the many Pink Panther animated shorts, which found their way onto television as The Pink Panther Show in the late 1960s and ‘70s.

Hmmm. Fruity Pebbles.
Fruity Pebbles is a brand of breakfast cereal introduced by Post in 1971, along with Cocoa Pebbles, as a commercial tie-in to the successful Flintstones animated TV series. Fruity Pebbles, as the name implies, is a rice cereal in a variety of fruit flavors, while Cocoa Pebbles are chocolate flavored.

[Sung.] I was slicing up some tail, late one night, when my eyes beheld a dangerous sight, as the kaiju from the slab began to rise, now stay with me as I improvise … –Reptilicus! –It was Reptilicus.
Riffing on the novelty song “Monster Mash,” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers. The song was a number-one hit in the week before Halloween in 1962, and became an annual Halloween favorite thereafter. Pickett went on to release a few more singles but never again attained the popularity of his first outing. Sample lyrics: “I was working in the lab late one night/When my eyes beheld an eerie sight/For my monster from his slab began to rise/And suddenly to my surprise/He did the mash/He did the monster mash.” Punk band the Misfits have covered the song several times. Kaiju, meaning “strange beast” in Japanese, is the name of the film genre involving giant monsters smashing cities, which include Godzilla, Gamera, and Mothra.

He’s working on his steamy Marie Curie/Niels Bohr fan fiction.
Marie Curie (1867-1934) was a Polish/French chemist and physicist who did groundbreaking research on radioactivity. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person to win the Nobel Prize twice, and the only person (as of 2017) who has won a Nobel Prize in two different sciences. Niels Bohr (1885-1962) was a Danish physicist who also won a Nobel Prize for his work on determining the structure of atoms and the behavior of electrons.

I guess that tail had some tryptophan in it.
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid, meaning your body can’t make it, so it must be ingested in the diet. An often-repeated myth every Thanksgiving holds that high levels of tryptophan in turkey is what causes post-feast sleepiness. In fact, turkey doesn’t contain much tryptophan (Parmesan cheese, soybeans, and egg white all have much more), and tryptophan by itself doesn’t make you sleepy, though it is a component of serotonin, which later gets converted to the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. Most experts agree it’s the carbohydrates and alcohol served up with the turkey that send you to the couch.

Dreezle, drazzle, drozzle, drome, time for this one to come home.
The cartoon “Tooter Turtle” aired as a recurring segment on the show King Leonardo & His Short Subjects (1960-1963). In the show, Mr. Wizard the Lizard used the incantation “Dreezle, drazzle, drozzle, drome, time for this one to come home” to magically rescue Tooter, whom he had previously sent on an adventure into time to be something other than a slow-witted turtle. The line also appears in the Replacements song “Hold My Life,” off their 1985 album Tim (although most online lyrics sites render the line as “Razzle, dazzle, drazzle, drone/Time for this one to come home”).

It’s amazing to think this kind of thing (sic) Fred Flintstone used to eat all day.
Fred Flintstone is the caveman patriarch of The Flintstones, an animated TV sitcom that aired from 1960 to 1966, the first animated TV series in primetime. The opening credits show Fred and his family at a drive-in restaurant being served a rack of ribs so huge it tips their car over. Loosely based on The Honeymooners, a sitcom starring Jackie Gleason, the initial Flintstones series was followed by TV movies, multiple short-lived Saturday-morning cartoon shows, a number of TV specials, a 1994 live-action film starring John Goodman, and a 2000 sequel with Mark Addy (Robert Baratheon on Game of Thrones) replacing Goodman.

Door is ajar.
In the mid-1980s, there was a brief fad for voice warning systems in cars. If you drove a Nissan, a cool female voice would pipe up to tell you “Lights are on” or “Right door is open.” GM went for a more authoritative male voice. And if you left your door open, Chrysler cars would beep at you and say, “A door is ajar.” Unfortunately, customers hated all this nifty new technology. Drivers referred to the Nissan voice as Bitchin’ Betty and rapidly figured out how to disable the feature. Voice warnings were history within about ten years.

Door is ajar.
See previous note.

Someone left the cake out in the rain.
A line from the 1968 song “MacArthur Park,” written by Jimmy Webb and first recorded by British actor and singer Richard Harris; Donna Summer’s 1978 disco version became a number-one hit. It is widely considered the stupidest song ever written. Sample lyrics: “Someone left the cake out in the rain/I don’t think that I can take it/’Cause it took so long to bake it/And I’ll never have that recipe again/Oh no!”

Oh, he got into the ether again.
Diethyl ether was used as an anesthetic in the 19th century, replacing chloroform. However, it was succeeded by more reliable anesthetics in the 20th century. Some recreational drug users praise ether for its intoxicating effects; there is a memorable passage in Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas about the effects of sniffing ether: “This is the main advantage of ether: it makes you behave like the village drunkard in some early Irish novel ... total loss of all basic motor skills: blurred vision, no balance, numb tongue—severance of all connection between the body and the brain. Which is interesting, because the brain continues to function more or less normally ... you can actually watch yourself behaving in this terrible way, but you can’t control it.”

“Peter?” Pumpkin eater? “Peter!” Pumpkin eater!
“Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater” is a nursery rhyme that dates back to at least 1797. Sample lyrics: “Peter, Peter pumpkin eater/Had a wife but couldn’t keep her/He put her in a pumpkin shell/And there he kept her very well.”

The dark truth behind the Red Robin restaurants.
Red Robin—full name: Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews—is a chain of casual dining restaurants with more than 530 locations. It was founded in 1969 in Seattle, Washington.

Get the crash cart, doctor. I’ll begin CPR. Danish style.
A crash cart is a set of drawers on wheels containing medical equipment and supplies needed for emergency medical care, such as defibrillators and cardiac drugs, medicine and equipment for intubation, and so on. CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, an emergency medical procedure for reviving a person who has stopped breathing, and/or whose heart has stopped beating.

And Thanksgiving is still weeks away.
Thanksgiving was celebrated in America since the days of the Founding Fathers, but it did not become a national holiday until President Lincoln declared it one in 1863. He did so after a determined, years-long effort by Sarah Josepha Hale, the influential editor of the magazine Godey’s Lady’s Book (she pestered five presidents until Lincoln gave in). It was originally celebrated on the last Thursday in November; in 1941 President Franklin Roosevelt signed a joint declaration of Congress moving it to the fourth Thursday of the month, in hopes of stimulating the economy by making the holiday shopping season longer.

“It isn’t Petersen’s fault, Otto.” Slugworth?
Arthur (not Otto) Slugworth is a character from the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, played by Günter Meisner. Different versions of the Slugworth character appear in the original 1964 novel by Roald Dahl, and the 2005 film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. In the 1971 film he tempts the children going on the factory tour by offering them a reward for stealing an Everlasting Gobstopper. In the book, Slugworth’s industrial espionage is stated as the reason Wonka almost went out of business, which is why Wonka fired all his workers and hired the Oompa-Loompas. He only makes a very brief appearance in the 2005 film (played by Phillip Philmar), where he receives a secret recipe from one of Wonka’s other rivals.

Excuse me, um, Sailor Moon?
Sailor Moon is a manga/anime franchise about a young girl who uses her superpowers in defense of the Earth. All while wearing a kicky schoolgirl outfit.

“Do you realize what this means?” We’re going on Oprah!
Oprah Winfrey hosted an eponymous syndicated talk show from 1986 to 2011 that made her one of the most influential women in the country; her show focused on issues central to women’s lives.

Uff da!
“Uff da” is a Norwegian exclamation expressing surprise, bafflement, or resignation—similar to the Yiddish phrase “oy vey.” It was embraced by Scandinavian Americans in the Upper Midwest beginning in the 19th century and introduced to the rest of the country by the homespun public radio show A Prairie Home Companion during the 1980s.

Elly May?
Elly May is the voluptuous tomboy daughter of hillbilly patriarch Jed Clampett in the TV sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies (CBS, 1962-1971). The role was played by Donna Douglas; Jed was played by Buddy Ebsen.

I crap countries bigger than yours.
In the wildly successful 1991 film comedy City Slickers, Jack Palance said to the (much shorter) Billy Crystal: “I crap bigger than you.” (Palance was 6’4”; Crystal is 5’7”.) When Palance received his Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for the role in 1992, from Oscar host Billy Crystal, he revised the line to: “Billy Crystal … I crap bigger than him.”

And then a pitch at DreamWorks.
In the movie and TV business, story ideas for new movies or shows, or for episodes of existing shows, are presented to executives at “pitch meetings.” DreamWorks Pictures, also known as DreamWorks SKG and often just called DreamWorks, is an American film production company. It is a label of Amblin Entertainment; their movies are distributed by Universal Pictures. The company was created in 1994 by Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and David Geffen—the “SKG” in DreamWorks SKG.

Brigadier General Military-Industrial Complex, this is Miss Doctor Woman.
The military-industrial complex is the alliance between a nation’s military and the arms manufacturers who supply it with weaponry, which together come to influence public policy and drive a nation toward a more warlike stance. In his farewell speech in 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a former five-star Army general, warned against allowing the military-industrial complex to grow unchecked, thus popularizing the phrase. His warning didn’t take: in 2011, the United States spent more money arming its military than the next thirteen industrialized nations combined. “Miss Doctor Woman” may be a callback to a riff from Show 820, Space Mutiny, in which the elderly hot babe Lea bristles at being addressed as “Lady”: “Listen, lady!” “Doctor!” Crow: “Doctor Lady!”

“… but I believe the shorter the stay, the happier for me.” I have adult ADD.
Attention deficit disorder, or ADD, is a behavioral disorder characterized by restlessness, inability to sit still, and trouble concentrating. (ADD is an older term for the disorder, which has been known as ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, since 1987.) ADHD is most commonly diagnosed in children, although since it was first classed as a disorder in 1980 it has increasingly been seen in adults. There are those who think the disease is overdiagnosed, especially in children.

Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test!
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test is a 1968 nonfiction book by Tom Wolfe. Considered an early example of New Journalism, in which the author is personally immersed in the story being covered (or, in Wolfe’s case, pretends to be), the book describes the misadventures of author Ken Kesey and his troupe of Merry Pranksters as they travel the United States in a wildly painted school bus. Many psychedelic drugs were consumed. The actual “Acid Tests” were big parties in which LSD, legal at the time, was made readily available by way of drug-laced Kool-Aid, and taken by large groups of people simultaneously.

“There’s no doubt, it is alive.” With the sound of music?
 “The Sound of Music” is the title song of the 1959 musical of the same name, and its 1965 film adaptation; it was written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein. Sample lyrics: “The hills are alive with the sound of music/With songs they have sung for a thousand years/The hills fill my heart with the sound of music/My heart wants to sing every song it hears.”

“A starfish.” And coffee.
“Starfish and Coffee” is a song written by Prince and Susannah Melvoin that appears on Prince’s 1987 album Sign ‘o the Times. Sample lyrics “Starfish and coffee/Maple syrup and jam/Butterscotch clouds, a tangerine/And a side order of ham.” Inspired by the song’s title, a rock band from Atlanta, Georgia named themselves Starfish and Coffee; they were active from 2006-2009. (Thanks to Sara Lipowitz for this reference.)

They’re just showing how Capri Sun is made.
Capri Sun is a brand of fruit juice concentrate drink that is packaged in foil pouches, which you puncture with a straw in order to drink. Named after the Italian island of Capri, the brand is owned by the German company Rudolf Wild & Co. and is licensed to Kraft Foods in North America.

I’m conducting my own experiment to see if Pop-Tarts are indeed delicious.
Pop-Tarts are a brand of ready-made pastries that you heat in the toaster. Manufactured by Kellogg’s, they were created after competitor Post unveiled their premade pastries, called Country Squares, in 1963. Post wasn’t ready to mass-produce theirs, but Kellogg’s managed to develop and crank out Pop-Tarts just six months later in 1964.

Oh man, Chipotle just can’t catch a break.
Chipotle Mexican Grill is a chain of fast food/casual dining restaurants specializing in large “Mission-style” burritos and tacos. Founded in 1993, they have more than 2,250 locations in five countries. Beginning in 2008, there have been numerous outbreaks of food poisoning and other disease traced to Chipotle restaurants, involving norovirus, E. coli, salmonella, hepatitis, and campylobacter. Some theorized these were the result of Chipotle’s efforts to use fresh ingredients and avoid automated cooking methods; the more conspiracy-minded suggested corporate terrorism on the part of Chipotle’s competitors.

And Jethro discovers that he is the half-brother of a piece of cheese.
Another character on The Beverly Hillbillies (see above note on Elly May), Jethro Bodine is the young, dimwitted nephew of patriarch Jed Clampett, who moved with the family to Beverly Hills and lives with them in their mansion. The role was played by Max Baer, Jr.

Wait till he finds out about the water bear community living in his thermos.
“Water bears” is a nickname for tardigrades, a microscopic, eight-legged, water-dwelling little critter that is considered one of the most resilient creatures on the planet. Tardigrades can survive in the vacuum of space, and can go without food or water for 30 years or more. A thermos is an insulated container that can keep liquids or foods hot or cold for extended periods; Thermos LLC is also a major manufacturer of said containers. The word has become a generic term for any such container, despite the company’s efforts to protect their trademark.

This is like a two-hour improv they cut down to two minutes.
Improvisational theater, often shortened to “improv,” is a kind of theater, usually comedy, that is performed unscripted, with situations made up by the performers or suggested by audience members.

This is what I was worried aboutthe Slush Puppie machine is broken.
Slush Puppie is a brand of non-carbonated frozen beverage, pretty much the same thing as a Slurpee, that was introduced in 1970 in Cincinnati, Ohio, and is now owned by J&J Snack Foods, which also happens to license Icee machines. Slush Puppie machines are installed in more than 50,000 locations worldwide.

Five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, I have OCD!
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental disorder that causes sufferers to obsessively do things like count their steps, wash their hands, turn lights on and off repeatedly in a specific pattern, check things like door locks, and have certain thoughts cycle through their minds repetitively. Not fun.

Petersen only pawn in game of life.
“Mongo only pawn in game of life” is a line from the 1974 comedy western Blazing Saddles, spoken by football player turned actor Alex Karras, who played bad guy turned good guy Mongo.

The first iPad.
Apple Inc.’s line of tablet computers, the iPad, was introduced on April 3, 2010, and ruled the tablet landscape until 2013, when they were surpassed in sales by Android tablets.

I love books on tape.
Spoken-word recordings have been available, especially in schools and libraries, since the 1930s; in fact, one of the first recordings ever made was Thomas Edison reciting “Mary Had a Little Lamb” in 1877. The Talking Books Program for the blind began in 1931, but it was the wide availability of cassette tapes in the 1970s that brought audiobooks into the mainstream. The Internet and digital audiobooks increased their popularity even further. Books on Tape is also a brand name, the audiobook imprint of Random House publishers, which was founded in 1975.

Breaker, breaker, what’s your 20?
Before cell phones made mobile communication cheap and readily available, the public could use shared radio frequencies on the newly unlicensed citizens band (27 MHz). Originally, many CB users were truck drivers, who invented and spoke their own slanguage: “breaker” or “break” meant the speaker wanted to start a conversation on a certain channel, “20” is short for one of the 10-codes (10-20), meaning someone’s location. The oil shortages of the early 1970s and the imposition of a nationwide 55 mph speed limit led to an explosion of CB use by independent truckers. CB radio and its lingo then captured the popular imagination in the late 1970s; C.W. McCall’s 1975 hit novelty song “Convoy” led to CB-drenched movies such as Smokey and the Bandit (1977) and Convoy (1978).

You know, Jonah, diarrhea is like a storm raging inside you.
A riff on an old Pepto-Bismol commercial: “Sometimes, diarrhea can feel like a storm raging in your body.”

[Sung.] Xanaduuu …
See above note.

He tampered in God’s domain.
A full-fledged MST3K catchphrase, this line was first uttered by a character at the end of Show 423, Bride of the Monster, tsking at yet another scientist (this one played by Bela Lugosi) brought down by unwonted hubris.

I’m never gonna finish this drinking bird.
A drinking bird, also called a dipping bird, is a novelty item, a toy bird made of two glass bulbs joined by a glass tube. The inside is filled with a colored liquid, usually methylene chloride, and the entire setup is balanced on a crosspiece that allows the bird to pivot. The device is a heat engine: evaporation alternately raises and lowers the temperature of the bird’s head and bottom parts, causing it to continually dip forward and back. The Chinese had a similar gadget around the turn of the 20th century, but the desktop toy familiar today was patented in 1946 by Miles Sullivan, a scientist at Bell Labs.

Man, even the Pixar lamp is getting cranky.
Pixar Animation Studios’ 1986 two-minute film Luxo, Jr. features a desk lamp and a smaller, “younger” desk lamp interacting like a parent and child. The hopping “child” desk lamp later became Pixar’s corporate logo, seen at the beginning of all their films. Pixar, now a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, was founded in 1979 as part of Lucasfilm’s computer division before becoming a separate company in 1986. Their computer-animated feature films are among the highest-grossing animated films of all time, and include the Toy Story films and Finding Nemo.

Homemade sangria. So good.
Sangria is an alcoholic beverage with origins in Spain and Portugal. It’s basically a punch made with red wine, fruit juices, chopped and/or sliced fruit, and maybe a little brandy. Salud!

Only God may play God. And sometimes Morgan Freeman.
American actor Morgan Freeman played the role of God in two films: Bruce Almighty (2003) and its sequel, Evan Almighty (2007). He also gave an interview in 2012 in which he said, “I think we invented God. So if I believe in God, and I do, it’s because I think I’m God.” So there you go: not only has he played God, he is God. Who’s surprised?

Squirmle?
A Squirmles is a toy that was popular in the 1970s: a small, furry, worm-like little guy with googly eyes that is animated by pulling a string.

All right, Reptilicus, once you’re done with this keratin treatment we can talk about highlights. Maybe a dramatic blonde? How about it?
A keratin treatment, also called Brazilian hair straightening, is a semi-permanent hair treatment that straightens curly hair using various nasty chemicals, which are sealed into the hair with a hot iron. The chemicals used in the treatment—which can include formaldehyde and methylene glycol, both known carcinogens—have led to criticism and increased regulation.

Dalby, creator of noise reduction technology.
Ray Milton Dolby (1933-2013) was an American engineer who in 1965 invented the Dolby Sound System, which processes audio to reduce tape hiss. After decades of being known as the best way to make cassette tapes sound better, Dolby systems are now found in both movie and home theaters.

[Sung.] Ahhhhhhh!
A callback to a running gag in Show 904, Werewolf, where Mike and the bots would cut loose with an operatic burst of singing every time there was a shot of the werewolf skeleton, with its gaping maw, lying on the lab table.

Did he invent a Kool-Aid hookah?
Kool-Aid is a flavored, brightly colored drink mix that has been popular with kids for decades. Invented by Nebraskan Edwin Perkins in 1927, six flavors were initially available: cherry, grape, lemon-lime, orange, raspberry, and strawberry. In 1953, the brand was sold to General Foods. The name became associated with a bad bit of business in 1978 when 918 people (including a congressional delegation led by California Congressman Leo Ryan) committed suicide or were killed in Jonestown, Guyana, the site of a cult led by Jim Jones. The phrase “drank the Kool-Aid” has come to mean a person has bought into a line of thinking or dogma, when in fact most of the victims drank poison mixed with Kool-Aid competitor Flavor Aid. A hookah is a water pipe with origins in either India or Persia. Used for smoking tobacco or marijuana/hashish, the smoke is passed through water before being inhaled from a tube.

Reptilicus 6-5000! –[Sung.] Melody from “Pennsylvania 6-5000.” –Reptilicus 6-5000!
The 1940 swing jazz and pop classic “Pennsylvania 6-5000” was written by Jerry Gray and Carl Sigman and made famous by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra. The actual phone number referenced in the song (PE 6-5000, in old style, or 736-5000 in current nomenclature) belongs to the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City; Glenn Miller played at the Café Rouge there.

What in the OshKosh B’gosh is it?
OshKosh B’gosh is an American maker of children’s clothing, best known for their cute little bib overalls. They are based in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Oh, this is a Jacques Tati bit.
Jacques Tati (1907-1982) was a French filmmaker known for his broad comedies. His first major feature, Jour de fête (The Big Day, 1949), featured an inept and distractible mailman who makes his rounds on a bicycle. In most of his subsequent films, Tati starred as well as directed, playing the bumbling, pipe-smoking Monsieur Hulot.

[Imitating.] Yeah, you’re coming with me, Reptilicus, see? I’m a big shot now, yeah. I’m the Danish Edward G. Robinson, yeah.
An imitation of Edward G. Robinson (b. Emanuel Goldenberg, 1893-1973), an American actor who earned his chops playing gangsters and other tough guys during the 1930s and ‘40s. He had a particularly distinctive nasal and staccato speaking style. Some of his best-known films include Little Caesar (1931), Double Indemnity (1944), Key Largo (1948), and The Ten Commandments (1956). (In that last film, he played a bad guy, naturally: an Israelite who works as an overseer for the Egyptians, betrays Moses, and ultimately gets swallowed up in a crevice by the wrath of God.)

Bingo! Yahtzee! King me! I don’t really know how to play backgammon.
Bingo is a game played with a small card on which are printed numbers in a grid arrangement; an announcer calls off numbers, and if a player has that number on his card, he covers it with a small marker. When he has covered a whole row vertically, horizontally, or diagonally, he calls out “Bingo!” The game has traditionally been the domain of little old ladies, who routinely play several cards at a time. Yahtzee is a popular dice game from Milton Bradley/Hasbro. A Yahtzee is achieved when all five dice rolled come up the same number. Checkers (called draughts in Great Britain) is a board game similar to chess, but involving uniform game pieces and only diagonal moves. When a piece reaches the farthest row forward it becomes a “king,” and another playing piece is placed on top of it. Backgammon is another board game, one of the oldest known. Playing pieces are moved according to dice rolls; the winner is the player who moves all their pieces off the board first.

Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber playing chess with Tim Rice?
Andrew Lloyd Webber is a British composer and musical theater impresario. Tim Rice is a British lyricist. Their many collaborations include Jesus Christ Superstar (1970) and Evita (1976 album, 1978 musical); the two shared an Academy Award for Best Original Song for “You Must Love Me,” written for the 1996 film version of Evita, among many other accolades. Tim Rice also wrote the lyrics for the musical Chess (1984 album, 1986 musical), but Webber was not involved in that outing; the music was written by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus of ABBA. Both Webber and Rice have been knighted, so either one could have “Sir” placed in front of their name.

[Sung—mumbled.] One night in Denmark makes a hard man humble …
“One Night in Bangkok” is a song from the musical Chess (see previous note), first performed by Murray Head (who performed on the album and starred in the original London stage production) and Swedish singer Anders Glenmark. It was released as a single in 1984 and did very well, hitting number three in the U.S. and number one in several other countries. Sample lyrics: “One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble/Not much between despair and ecstasy/One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble/Can’t be too careful with your company/I can feel the devil walking next to me.”

“Why don’t you go and tell Dr. Dalby about it?” Third base!
A reference to a vaudeville wordplay routine titled “Who’s on First?”, which is derived from an earlier one titled “Who’s the Boss?” The baseball-referencing version first appeared in the 1930s and was made famous by Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. The comedy team first performed it for a national audience in 1938 on the radio and copyrighted it in 1944.

Now, what was that? Reptilicus 6-5000?
See above note on “Pennsylvania 6-5000.”

It says “LensCrackers. Glasses destroyed in about an hour.”
LensCrafters is a chain of eyeglass stores founded in 1983; it promises its clients that their glasses will be ready in “about an hour.”

I had all the time in the world.
In the 1959 Twilight Zone episode “Time Enough at Last,” a meek, book-loving bank clerk (played by Burgess Meredith) is berated by his wife and boss for only being interested in reading. He takes his lunch break in the bank vault and emerges to find himself the only survivor of a nuclear holocaust. He realizes that at last he has all the time he could ever want to read, until (spoiler alert) he ironically breaks his glasses. The episode ends with him saying, “That’s not fair. That’s not fair at all. There was time now. There was … was all the time I needed. It’s not fair! It’s not fair!”

Maybe autism-filled vaccinations? –Maybe chemtrails? –Maybe mercury in our dental fillings?
A collection of popular conspiracy theories. Though it’s been disproven by decades of scientific research, many parents have taken the advice of celebrities and other non-medical personalities who insist there is a link between childhood vaccinations and autism. (The link was originally based on a study of twelve children that was later proved fraudulent; the author of the study lost his medical license.) Unvaccinated children have, in turn, led to outbreaks of childhood diseases that were formerly rare, such as measles. The chemtrail conspiracy theory holds that the condensed water trails (or contrails) left behind high-flying jet aircraft are actually chemical or biological agents that are being sprayed on the population for some dark, sinister reason. Since the 1840s, some have claimed that the small amounts of mercury used in dental amalgam—the stuff used to fill cavities—are poisoning people. The World Health Organization, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and many other groups maintain that dental amalgam is safe.

Maybe I’m amazed at the way I really need you?
“Maybe I’m Amazed” is a song by Paul McCartney, dedicated to his wife Linda. It was originally released on his 1970 solo album McCartney; a live version recorded with his band Wings was released in 1977 and became a top-ten hit. Sample lyrics: “Maybe I’m amazed at the way you pulled me out of time/And hung me on a line/Maybe I’m amazed at the way I really need you.”

Mein Führer.
“My leader” or “my guide” in German, the phrase “mein Führer” is now so closely associated with Nazi dictator and failed painter Adolf Hitler that the word “leiter” (conductor, manager) is instead commonly used in modern-day Germany to indicate a leader. It is, however, still used in many compound words, as in Bergführer (mountain guide), Geschäftsführer (CEO), and Oppositionsführer (the leader of the opposition party in parliament).

“They lead down to the water.” And drop me in the river.
A paraphrase of lyrics from the 1974 song “Take Me to the River” by Al Green. Green’s original version was named one of Rolling Stone magazine’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time,” and a 1978 cover by the Talking Heads became an FM radio staple. Sample lyrics: “Take me to the river, drop me in the water/Take me to the river, dip me in the water/Washing me down, washing me down.”

“Where do you suggest?” Applebee’s is nice.
Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar is a chain of casual dining restaurants with more than 2,000 locations worldwide. It was founded in 1980.

Whatever its name is, it won at Scrabble.
Scrabble is a classic board game produced by Hasbro, in which players draw seven letters apiece and then attempt to spell words on the game board, crossword puzzle-style. It was introduced in 1949 and became a huge hit three years later. As of 2017 approximately 150 million sets have been sold.

Keep calm and Ostre Landsdelskommando.
In 1939, as World War II raged across Europe, and as England was facing the prospect of massive bombing raids from Nazi Germany, the British government produced nearly 2.5 million motivational posters to boost public morale: on a simple red background, and underneath an illustration of a crown, were the words “Keep Calm and Carry On.” The poster was rarely displayed, and after the war, it was forgotten until a copy surfaced at a bookstore in 2000; more copies were found later, and the poster has since been reproduced and altered in numerous ways. Ostre Landsdelkommando (in English, Eastern Provincial Command) was the part of the Danish military based in Zealand, the easternmost and largest island in Denmark (and the island where Copenhagen is located). In 1990 it was replaced by the Haerens Operative Kommando (Army Operative Command).

They’ve got a really epic game of D&D going on over here. –I cast magic missile! –I attack the darkness! –Fine, I’ll be the healer.
Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) is a fantasy role-playing game designed by Gary Gygax and first published in 1974, in which players pretend to be elves, wizards, and other creatures out of legend as they battle monsters and collect treasure. In D&D, “magic missile” refers to a spell that creates magical “darts,” which you can direct to attack your enemies. The spell was not in the original 1974 version, but was added the following year. Both “I cast magic missile” and “I attack the darkness” are lines from the 1996 “Dungeons and Dragons” skit by Milwaukee improv comedy troupe Dead Alewives, in which a narrator plays a fly on the wall of a “Satanic Panic” gaming session to prove it’s evil, only to reveal it’s a bunch of harmless nerds having fun. The sketch was written by Dan Harmon, who went on to create the TV shows Community and Rick and Morty. “I’ll be the healer” isn’t specific to D&D, as there are many fantasy role-playing games that involve a “healer.”

[Imitating.] Eee-yeeeessss?
An imitation of American character actor Frank Nelson’s (1911-1986) famous catchphrase. Nelson got his start in radio, first gaining fame on The Jack Benny Program, usually playing a long-suffering and deeply sarcastic sales clerk. He carried that persona—and his catchphrase—onto television, appearing in sitcoms ranging from I Love Lucy in the 1950s to Sanford and Son in the 1970s.

Ugh, I bet it’s Rand McNally again.
Rand McNally is a Chicago-based publishing house that produces maps, globes, and atlases for schools, businesses, and transportation companies. It was founded in 1856 by William Rand and Andrew McNally.

[Sung.] We’ve got a great big convoy, running through Reptilicus’ night, we’ve got a great big convoy, ain’t she a Reptilicus sight …
A parody of the 1975 novelty song “Convoy,” written by Bill Fries and Chip Davis and performed by C.W. McCall (Fries’ pseudonym), which capitalized on the mid-‘70s CB radio craze (see above note) and led to the 1978 Sam Peckinpah movie Convoy. The tune spent six weeks at the top of the country charts and one week at number one on the pop charts. Sample lyrics: “’Cause we got a little convoy/Rockin’ through the night/Yeah, we got a little convoy/Ain’t she a beautiful sight?”

That cow had a month to go before retirement, too.
In the world of movie and TV tropes, nothing spells certain doom quite like a veteran cop who is days away from retirement (or a young soldier going on one last mission before being shipped home). This one is so well established it has a name: “retirony,” a mashup of “retirement” and “irony.”

You’re under military arrest for dressing like a newsie. I’m sorry, sir.
Newsies is a 1992 movie musical about a newsboys’ strike at the turn of the 20th century. Starring a teenage Christian Bale and Bill Pullman, the movie was a flop, but it gained a cult following on home video. In 2012 Newsies: The Musical debuted on Broadway, ran for 1,000 performances, and won two Tony Awards. The casual cap, similar to a flat cap, worn by pretty much every boy in Newsies, is known by many names, including “newsboy cap” and “newsie cap.”

Oh, Ferdinand, no.
The Story of Ferdinand is a 1936 children’s book by Munro Leaf, with illustrations by Robert Lawson; it’s the story of a mighty bull who would rather smell flowers than take part in bullfights.

I’m impressed, they’ve rolled out the entire Danish Army.
The Royal Danish Army consists of 12,500 active troops and 63,000 reserve troops.

Okay, screeching sounds on a dirt road? That Jeep’s got its own Foley artist.
Named for Universal Studios employee Jack Donovan Foley, who developed the basic techniques in the early sound era, Foley artists are sound technicians who specialize in recording sounds created using physical objects, in sync with the action in a movie, to make the film seem more realistic. Typical effects include walking on various surfaces to simulate the sound of footsteps and hitting or smashing various objects, such as melons or a cut of beef, to simulate the sound of blows in a fight scene.

I gotta call my friend at TMZ.
TMZ, a news website that focuses on celebrities, has faced criticism for their willingness to pay for “tips” on stories, and for the aggressive paparazzi tactics it uses to obtain photos and videos of celebrities. It is currently owned by Time-Warner. But the site has also broken legitimate news stories, including a Chicago bank wasting government bailout money and the racist rants of LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who was later banned for life by the NBA. The name derives from the “30-mile zone,” also known as the “studio zone,” a 30-mile radius that covers about half of Los Angeles County, which is used by entertainment unions to determine rates and work rules.

Hands are not for hitting, sir.
“Hands are not for hitting” is a phrase used by parents and early childhood educators when trying to teach children not to pound on each other. It is also the title of a book by Martine Agassi, which is often used when attempting desperately to reinforce this lesson.

Wait. If we just hang back, we’ll get all the XP after Reptilicus dies.
In the world of fantasy role-playing games (see above note on D&D), XP stands for experience points. Players who gain experience points can go up a level, thus increasing their abilities and making it possible to kill bigger monsters and get more treasure, thus earning more XP …

I’m so glad we held on to all this stuff from the Nazi occupation.
Nazi Germany’s invasion of Denmark on April 9, 1940, was the shortest military operation of World War II; six hours after the ground campaign began, Denmark was under Nazi occupation. The occupation ended in May 1945.

Is Reptilicus driving a Lark?
The Lark was a popular brand of mobility scooter in the 1980s, a battery-powered wheelchair-like device controlled by a simple joystick or handlebars, that helps elderly persons or others with mobility issues get around. Mobility scooters can really spin, once you get the hang of it. The company that made the Lark, Ortho-Kinetics, went bankrupt in 2003, although you can still find the occasional used Lark for sale.

Sven—for Members Only.
Members Only is a clothing brand; their line of poly/cotton windbreaker jackets with distinctive collar straps and epaulettes was very popular in the 1980s.

Operation Beach Blanket Bingo is on the march!
Beach Blanket Bingo is a 1965 movie, the best known of the teen-centric “beach party” movies of the era, starring Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon and featuring Paul Lynde, Don Rickles, and silent-movie veteran Buster Keaton.

You don’t want to be a duck. On the new season of Duck Dynasty, on A&E.
Duck Dynasty (A&E, 2012-2017) was a reality TV series that followed the lives of the heavily bearded Robertson family of West Monroe, Louisiana, as they ran a duck-hunting supply business and espoused conservative Christian viewpoints. The show garnered both controversy and record ratings. The lyrics to the infamous “Chicken Dance” (whose name in the original Swiss version translates as “The Duck Dance”) go “I don’t wanna be a chicken/I don’t wanna be a duck/So I shake my butt.”

Dear Lord, thank you for this Danish modern furniture.
Danish modern is a style of furniture marked by simple, clean lines and minimalist designs. It began in the 1920s and peaked in popularity in the 1960s. Leading Danish modern designers included Arne Jacobsen (creator of the famous Egg chair) and Hans Wegner.

Our meth lab!
Methamphetamine first became a scourge in the United States in the 1980s, when biker gangs discovered that adding ephedrine—the key ingredient in cold medicine—to amphetamine produced a much more potent drug, one that could be whipped up in sheds, trailers, or rental homes. Home meth labs are a real environmental problem—if the drug manufacturers manage not to blow themselves up, they leave behind a wildly toxic residue of chemicals with effects ranging from respiratory problems to cancer to death.

Oh, he’s purging. –Bulimicus.
Bulimia nervosa, often called simply bulimia, is an eating disorder; sufferers binge eat and then “purge” the food by either forcing themselves to vomit or taking laxatives. People with bulimia tend to be of normal weight, as opposed to the dangerously low weight characteristic of anorexics, but the condition brings on a host of other physical health risks, including tooth erosion from exposure to stomach acid. It is also associated with other mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety.

Oh, so that’s where Monster Energy comes from.
Monster Energy is an energy drink introduced in 2002 by Hansen Natural Company, which has since changed its name to Monster Beverage Corporation. Monster Energy contains 160 milligrams of caffeine per 16-ounce can (that’s about as much as 16 ounces of coffee), and carries a warning to consume no more than three cans per day (lowered to one can in Australia). One 14-year-old girl with a heart condition died in 2011 after drinking two 24-ounce cans.

Don’t cross the streams, Venkman!
In the 1984 comedy movie Ghostbusters, when parapsychologist Dr. Peter Venkman (played by Bill Murray) is getting some quick training on using the unlicensed nuclear accelerator on his back, Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) warns him not to cross the stream of particles it emits with streams from the other proton packs, saying, “It would be bad.”

We were at Ann Taylor when we heard all the screaming.
Ann Taylor is a chain of women’s clothing stores that target upscale career women. Founded in 1954, they also offer lines of accessories, shoes, handbags, fragrances, and bath products. There is no such person, by the way; “Ann Taylor” was the name of a popular dress style at a store owned by the founder’s father.

Duck, duck, duck, duck, duck … goose.
Duck, Duck, Goose (a.k.a. “Daisy in the Dell,” “Drip, Drip, Drop,” a Minnesota variant called “Duck, Duck, Gray Duck,” etc.) is a game played by young children. It is a version of tag: participants sit in a circle as one child walks around them, touching their heads while saying, “Duck, duck ...” until s/he picks one child and says “Goose!” while touching his/her head. The goose must then chase the picker around the perimeter of the circle. If the picker manages to sit in the empty space before the goose tags him/her, then the goose becomes the picker and the game begins again.

What do you think we should do, Dr. Pee-wee Kissinger? –[Imitating Pee-wee Herman.] The word of the day is “carpet-bomb.” Ahhhh!
Pee-wee Herman is a character created and performed by comedian Paul Reubens. A hyperactive man-child in a too-tight grey suit with a red bowtie, Pee-wee began as a somewhat adult-oriented stage act involving many of Reubens’ fellow performers in The Groundlings improv comedy troupe in Los Angeles; the show was filmed for a very popular 1981 HBO special. Reubens later toned down the adult humor of the character and brought Pee-wee to the big screen with Pee-wee’s Big Adventure in 1985, with Tim Burton directing (it was his first feature film). The movie was a hit and led to an Emmy Award-winning children’s television series, Pee-wee’s Playhouse, which ran on CBS from 1986-1991. Another feature film, Big Top Pee-wee, was released in 1988. Following a scandal in 1991 (Reubens was arrested for masturbating in an adult movie theater), the show was taken off the air and Reubens put the Pee-wee character on ice until 2007. Dr. Henry Kissinger was the secretary of state under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford and was one of the major architects of Nixon’s Vietnam War policy, including the infamous and horrific bombing of Cambodia, which led to the Khmer Rouge overthrowing the Cambodian government and the subsequent genocide of roughly two million people. A regular feature on Pee-wee’s Playhouse was a “secret word” that was revealed at the beginning of each episode. Viewers were instructed to “scream real loud” if any of the characters said the secret word in the course of the show.

“Regeneration?” [Sung.] T-t-talkin’ ‘bout regeneration!
A riff on the 1965 song “My Generation” by British rock band The Who, which became a sort of youth anthem, and one of The Who’s signature songs. Lead singer Roger Daltrey delivered many of Pete Townshend’s lyrics with a pronounced stutter. Sample lyrics: “I’m not trying to ‘cause a big s-s-sensation (Talkin’ ‘bout my generation)/I’m just talkin’ ‘bout my g-g-g-generation (Talkin’ ‘bout my generation).”

Ew, what, did you make a vow not to wash your hair until Reptilicus was dead? Ew, greasy kid’s stuff.
Though there are now at least three songs, three albums, a band, and a radio program titled Greasy Kid Stuff, the origin of the phrase is a late 1950s TV ad campaign for Vitalis Hair Tonic, in which various athletes, such as Green Bay Packers quarterback Bart Starr, hectored other men about their hair product choices, asking, “You still using that greasy kid’s stuff on your hair?” In 1962 a couple of enterprising fellows even marketed a hair tonic called Greasy Kid Stuff. Comedian Bill Cosby did a standup routine parodying the ad, which appeared on his 1963 album Bill Cosby Is a Very Funny Fellow … Right!

B-5. You sunk my battleship!
An imitation of TV commercials for Battleship, a popular game manufactured by Milton Bradley. There were several earlier, similar versions of the game produced in the 1930s and ‘40s, including Salvo and Broadsides. At this point, the game was paper-and-pencil–based, featuring four 10 x 10 grids (two for each player). Players laid out ships on one grid and used the other for plotting attacks on their opponent. Attacks were launched by calling out grid coordinates (“B-5,” for example); the opposing player would respond with “hit” or “miss.” In 1967, Milton Bradley produced the now-famous version of the game, designed by Ed Hutchins. Two cases (one red, one blue) contained plastic grids in which plastic ships were placed. Hits were marked with red pegs, misses with white pegs. In 1977, Electronic Battleship was released, which included an onboard computer that tracked hits and misses. In 1989, this was followed by Electronic Talking Battleship. Several other variations have been released over the years, including computer games and apps.

With this ham radio, I don’t need the kids at school to be my friends.
“Ham radio” refers to amateur radio, which was licensed and assigned specific radio frequencies on which to transmit. Amateur radio operators frequently communicate with other operators around the world and sometimes attempt to amass a collection of call signs. “Ham” was originally a pejorative for the amateurs, used by professional radio and telegraph operators at the turn of the 20th century, but was quickly adopted by the amateurs themselves.

[Sung.] Theme from McHale’s Navy.
This is the theme song from McHale’s Navy (ABC, 1962-1966), a TV sitcom about a group of bumbling misfits aboard a PT boat in World War II, starring Ernest Borgnine as Lt. Commander Quinton McHale. The theme was composed by Axel Stordahl (1913-1963), better known for his work as an arranger for Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, and others.

Oh, I love Tempest.
Tempest is an arcade video game by Atari, originally released in 1981. The player, flying a spaceship, zaps enemies that appear at the far end of a geometric playing field. The game was very popular in the early 1980s. In the 1984 film Night of the Comet, the main character is saved from mass extinction by staying late at a movie theater to beat the high score on Tempest.

It’s the kill screen for Galaga.
In a video game or arcade game, a kill screen occurs when the gameplay suddenly comes to a halt and the player dies. They can be the result of a glitch in the game’s programming or a crash caused by overly long gameplay. Pac-Man and Donkey Kong both have predictable kill screens due to programming glitches, as does Galaga, which depending on the difficulty level can actually force you to reset the entire machine on Level 256.

“This is Nielsen calling.” Leslie Nielsen.
Leslie Nielsen (1926-2010) was an actor who started his career playing serious roles in such films as Forbidden Planet (1956) and The Poseidon Adventure (1972). A deadpan turn as a physician in the 1981 film spoof Airplane! launched a career renaissance as a comedian, in the 1982 TV series Police Squad! and its spinoff series of Naked Gun movies.

Al Molinaro?
Al Molinaro (1919-2015) was an actor best known for playing Murray the cop on the TV sitcom The Odd Couple (ABC, 1970-1975), and restaurateur Al Delvecchio on the sitcom Happy Days (ABC, 1974-1984).

Dean, I was sleeping on a depth charge, whoooah! –Jerry!
Imitations of Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin, respectively, who (as Martin & Lewis) were a phenomenally successful comedy team during the 1950s, tearing up attendance and ratings records in nightclubs, radio, and TV, and starring in a string of movies that included Sailor Beware (1952) and Living It Up (1954).

This is my favorite ride at Six Flags Hurricane Harbor.
Six Flags is a chain of amusement parks that includes Six Flags over Texas, Six Flags Magic Mountain, and Six Flags Great America, among others. Within many Six Flags parks are water park attractions called Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, which include the usual twisty water slides, wave pools, and lazy rivers.

My scientist sense is tingl-ink! Professor away!
Marvel Comics superhero Spider-Man boasts a “spider-sense,” a tingling feeling at the base of his skull that alerts him to danger. It has failed him on occasion (with supervillain Venom, for instance), but usually it gives him a distinct advantage in combat.

Candygram for Mongo!
A line from the 1974 western comedy classic Blazing Saddles (see above note). In the scene, Mongo (Alex Karras) has been sent to kill the new sheriff of Rock Ridge (Cleavon Little). The bomb-laden Candygram is a Looney Tunes-esque deception to stop Mongo; the Looney Tunes theme even plays at the end of the scene. As for Candygram itself, it was a telegram service started by Western Union in 1960 that delivered packages of chocolates along with a message. Telegrams are long extinct, but sending candy with a message is still a thing: one operator in that field is a company called Candygram.com.

Aw, this claw machine is rigged.
A claw machine (also called a claw crane or skill crane) is an arcade game also found in supermarkets, movie theaters, bowling alleys, etc. It’s a glass or acrylic box filled with prizes, usually small plush toys and/or jewelry; the player inserts coins and is given a set amount of time to control a claw suspended on a crane and attempt to grab a prize before the time runs out. The games originated as toy steam shovels grabbing candy in the early 20th century, at a time when the construction of the Panama Canal had brought steam shovels into the popular consciousness.

[Sung to the tune of “In the Navy.”] Danish Navy! You can hunt Reptilicus! Danish Navy!
“In the Navy” is a 1979 song by disco group Village People; it was their last song to reach the Top 10. Sample lyrics: “In the navy/Yes, you can sail the seven seas/In the navy/Yes, you can put your mind at ease/In the navy …”

Eee-yeeeessss?
See above note on Frank Nelson.

Speaking of returning to port, where’s that bottle?
Port is a sweet red wine, usually fortified (with a distilled spirit called aguardente added to it to make it stronger), with its origins in Portugal.

Yes, I am happy with my long distance service.
One of the unfortunate side effects of the mid-1980s antitrust breakup of the Bell System was aggressive marketing of long distance services from many different providers. Dinner-interrupting telemarketing calls—which usually began with the question “Are you happy with your long distance service?”—in an era before the do-not-call list became a part of life.

The calls are coming from inside the aquarium! Get out! Get out!
A classic urban legend dating back to the early 1960s tells of a teenage babysitter taunted by repeated calls from a madman; when she reports the calls to the phone company, the operator traces the call and tells her frantically to get out of the house: “The calls are coming from inside the house!” The 1979 movie When a Stranger Calls (and its 2006 remake) is based on this tale.

But first, let’s stop at Long John Silver’s, they got that real fish sandwich, it’s so good.
Long John Silver’s is a chain of fast-food fish restaurants founded in 1969, with more than 1,100 locations worldwide. Their fish sandwich features a standard-issue, previously frozen hunk of battered and deep-fried cod. In 2016, for a limited time and to mixed reviews, they introduced the “Coastal Cod Sandwich,” a thick filet of cod breaded with panko crumbs and fried.

Just a second, I’ve got it, right over here, it’s right behind this map … wait, that’s a dry mark board, okay, here it is, on the back of this Adventure Time poster, check this out.
Adventure Time (Cartoon Network, 2010-present) is an award-winning animated TV series that follows the adventures of a boy named Finn and his dog/brother Jake, who happens to be a shapeshifter.

So let me get this straight, you’re saying Reptilicus is responsible for blockading the Suez Canal?
The Suez Canal is a man-made waterway in Egypt, constructed between 1859 and 1869, that connects the Red Sea with the Mediterranean. Its name comes from the 75-mile-wide Isthmus of Suez, through which it runs. Although the treaty governing its usage mandates that it be regarded as neutral territory during war (and peacetime), Egypt has imposed blockades numerous times, including a blockade following the 1967 Six Day War that kept fifteen cargo ships trapped in the canal for more than eight years.

[Sung.] There’s got to be a morning after …
“The Morning After” is the love theme from the disaster movie The Poseidon Adventure (1972); in the film’s credits, the song is titled “The Song from The Poseidon Adventure.” Written in one night by 20th Century Fox songwriters Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn, the song was performed by actress Carol Lynley in the movie (with a voice double, Renee Armand, actually doing the singing) and won an Academy Award for Best Original Song. Following the film’s success, a 1973 version by singer Maureen McGovern became a worldwide hit. Sample lyrics: “There’s got to be a morning after/If we can hold on through the night/We have a chance to find the sunshine/Let’s keep on looking for the light.”

“There. Right there, he ducked into the sea again.” He’s such a Miranda.
The HBO series Sex and the City, which aired from 1998-2004, featured a group of four women as its central characters: Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall), Charlotte York (Kristin Davis), and Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon). For a while it was a “thing” for people to take Internet quizzes and such to decide which of the four they most resembled. If you were the Carrie, you were the interesting, creative one; the Samantha was the tactless one who loved to party; the Charlottes were the classy ones who had their lives together. But Miranda was the cynical workaholic who hid under the bed from her ex’s new girlfriend and ate cake out of the garbage. No one wanted to be the Miranda.

Has anyone told you that you look exactly like the guy from Coldplay?
Which guy? Why, founding member and lead singer Chris Martin, of course. Coldplay was formed at University College London in 1996 and has gone on to win multiple Grammy Awards, Brit Awards, and MTV Music Video Awards. Martin has gone on to marry, have two kids with, and subsequently divorce actress Gwyneth Paltrow.

“What next?” The Red Lobster?
Red Lobster is a chain of casual seafood restaurants with more than 700 locations worldwide. It was founded in 1968 by Bill Darden.

“Sometimes I …” Eat a whole thing of Nilla Wafers in one sitting.
Nabisco’s Nilla Wafers—small, round, thin, vanilla wafer cookies—were originally sold as Vanilla Wafers back in 1929; their name was changed in 1967.

Next on AMC, How to Regenerate a Wild Bikini.
The AMC cable channel (which originally stood for American Movie Classics) started out showing classic films such as John Wayne oaters and Marx Brothers comedies. Along with fellow classics network Turner Classic Movies, it was active in helping to preserve older films, particularly silver nitrate prints made before 1950. Starting in 2002, the network began airing more recent films and also started offering original programming, some of which (Mad MenBreaking Bad) has enjoyed high critical and popular acclaim. How to Stuff a Wild Bikini is another 1965 teen beach party movie (see note on Beach Blanket Bingo, above), this one starring Annette Funicello and Mickey Rooney (Frankie Avalon and Buster Keaton put in fleeting appearances).

Photobomb!
Messing with a photo at the moment it’s being taken, which was first referred to as “photobombing” in the early 21st century, dates back to the earliest days of photography. All early photographs were basically time-lapse photos, since it took a few seconds for an image to be burned onto the chemical-coated glass plates used in old cameras. So, for portraits, subjects were told to hold perfectly still while the picture was being taken (which is also why people in old-timey pictures tend to look so serious). Children quickly figured out that in a group photo setting, they could hold still for a moment, then run to the other end of the group, hold still again, and appear twice in the same picture. Proto-photobomb!

You can’t do that on television!
You Can’t Do That on Television was a variety show aimed at and starring preteens and teenagers that began on Canadian television and moved to the Nickelodeon network, airing between 1979 and 1990. Patterned after Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In (NBC, 1968-1973), the show featured comedy skits and music videos, and introduced the green slime that became a Nickelodeon trademark, which was dumped on the head of anyone who said the words “I don’t know.”

You know, the waiting is the hardest part, right?
The 1981 song “The Waiting” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (from their album Hard Promises) contains the lyrics: “The waiting is the hardest part/Every day you see one more card/You take it on faith, you take it to the heart/The waiting is the hardest part.”

Pink Floyd. Animals.
The cover of British rock band Pink Floyd’s 1977 album Animals features a giant inflatable pig floating between the smokestacks of the Battersea Power Station in Nine Elms, a district in southwestern London. They look very much like the smokestacks Tom is hovering in front of in this scene.

What’s in your heart, Aaron?
Possibly a reference to the 1997 Aaron Neville song “Say What’s in My Heart,” from his album To Make Me Who I Am. Sample lyrics: “Didn’t you hold me last night/Didn’t you look in my eyes/Didn’t I, didn’t I say what’s in my heart/Didn’t my heart tell you true, that I could only love you/Didn’t I, didn’t I say what’s in my heart.”

Protect the Lego factory at all costs!
Lego is a children’s building toy consisting of colorful interlocking plastic rectangles and squares and other detailed parts that can be used to construct anything from simple shapes to elaborate and realistic vehicles, buildings, robots, landscapes, and such. Introduced in 1949 by the Danish family-owned company The Lego Group (based in Billund, Denmark), Legos have gained an almost iconic popularity with children and adults, making The Lego Group the world’s largest toy company and leading to Legoland amusement parks in Denmark, Germany, England, and the U.S., among other countries.

But what about Duplo?
Duplo is a double-sized version of Lego construction toy pieces (see previous note), meant for children aged 18 months to 5 years. They were introduced in 1969 and are manufactured in Hungary.

Oh no, he’s reached Doll Town.
A possible reference to the small town of Nagoro, Japan (population less than 40), where artist Tsukimi Ayano has created “Scarecrow Village”: hundreds of life-sized dolls that are positioned around the town. There are children in a classroom, workers repairing a road, and a man fishing in the river, among many others. The town has become a tourist attraction.

[Sung to the tune of “A Hard Day’s Night.”] It’s been a hard day’s Reptilicus …
“A Hard Day’s Night” is a 1964 song by the Beatles and the title song of their first movie, which featured many scenes of the Fab Four being chased through the streets by mobs of adoring fans. Sample lyrics: “It's been a hard day’s night, and I’ve been working like a dog/It’s been a hard day’s night, I should be sleeping like a log.”

[Sung.] I feel like green slime tonight, like green slime tonight …
In 1990 Ragu launched Chicken Tonight in the U.S. (it followed in the U.K. and Australia three years later). Chicken Tonight is a line of sauces to be added to sautéed chicken, featuring such flavors as honey mustard and Thai green curry. The jingle for the brand went like this: “I feel like chicken tonight, like chicken tonight!”, while the actors in the commercial performed a facsimile of the Chicken Dance (see above note). In The Simpsons season five episode “Lady Bouvier’s Lover,” the entire family danced and sang the jingle.

He’s listening to Brian Eno.
Brian Eno is a British keyboardist and composer known as the father of ambient music, labeling it “as ignorable as it is interesting.” As a producer, he’s helped craft top-selling albums by Talking Heads, U2, Coldplay, and many others.

I hate mini shuffleboard.
Shuffleboard is a low-intensity sport played with discs and long cues. Players use the cues to propel the discs into marked scoring sections on the triangular playing area. The game is of European origin and dates to at least 1532, in the reign of Henry VIII. A full-size shuffleboard court is 6 feet wide by 40 feet long. An indoor, tabletop version of the game, ranging from 9 to 22 feet long, is called table shuffleboard, and an even smaller version of that, perhaps 3 feet long, is called mini shuffleboard.

[Sung to the tune of “Can’t Buy Me Love.”] Can’t buy me Reptilicus, everybody tells me so, can’t buy me Reptilicus, no no no … no!
Another riff on the Beatles being chased by mobs of fans in A Hard Day’s Night (see above note), this time to another song in the film, “Can’t Buy Me Love.” Sample lyrics: “I don’t care too much for money, money can’t buy me love/Can’t buy me love, everybody tells me so/Can’t buy me love, no no no … no.”

What are you shooting at, Ernie? –The Pinkberry manager who fired me last week.
Pinkberry is a chain of frozen yogurt stores with more than 260 locations worldwide and a fiercely loyal customer base. The first store opened in West Hollywood, California, in 2005; the chain is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The Island of Sodor, no!
Sodor is the fictional British island that is the setting of The Railway Series books by the Reverend W. Awdry and the Thomas & Friends children’s TV series based on those books.

Well, we decimated that Costco, good job, men. What’s next?
Costco Wholesale is the largest membership-based warehouse club in America, and the world’s second-largest retailer, after Walmart. Founded in 1976, Costco is based in Issaquah, Washington, and has more than 700 warehouse stores in the United States and multiple other countries.

I see a CVS and a Walgreens.
CVS Health is a chain of retail pharmacy stores with 9,700 locations in the United States and Puerto Rico. Founded in 1963, the name originally stood for “Consumer Value Stores,” but former CEO Tom Ryan later said he considered CVS to stand for “Convenience, Value, and Service.” Walgreens is the second-largest chain of retail pharmacy stores in the U.S., after CVS, with more than 8,000 locations. It was founded in 1901 in Chicago by Charles R. Walgreen Sr.

This is how real wars got won: with tents full of soldiers, blogging.
The term “blog,” usually used to describe a site with regularly posted, dated entries ranging from editorials to rants to recipes to confessionals, derives from the word “weblog.” Weblog was coined in the late 1990s by Jorn Barger, who wrote the early blog Robot Wisdom. In early 1997 there were only about 25 blogs in existence. Eight months later, after the free blogging tools Pitas, Groksoup, and Blogger launched, there were thousands. Today there are hundreds of millions, and their numbers continue to grow.

Longu Bridge? Right by Blig Blen and Bluckingham Blalance?
There have been many bridges spanning the River Thames which were or could be called “London Bridge,” probably beginning with a Roman military pontoon bridge, which was replaced by a permanent timber bridge around 55 C.E., up to the current span, a concrete and steel box girder bridge that opened in 1973. The clock and the clock tower at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London are referred to as Big Ben, although technically it is the name for the Great Bell in the clock tower; it’s such an iconic symbol of London that it’s the go-to establishing shot for most movies set there. Completed in 1859, Big Ben began a four-year restoration in August 2017, during which it will be silent. Buckingham Palace is the London residence and headquarters for the British monarchy; it began as a townhouse for the Duke of Buckingham in 1703, and has been greatly expanded over the centuries since. Big Ben is quite close to Buckingham Palace, but it is located at the end of Westminster Bridge, not London Bridge; London Bridge is about two miles away.

[Sung to the tune of “L.A. Woman.”] Reptilicus rising …
The title track of the Doors’ 1971 album L.A. Woman contains the lyrics “Mr. Mojo Risin’, Mr. Mojo Risin’/Got to keep on risin’ …” “Mr. Mojo Risin’” is an anagram of lead singer Jim Morrison’s name. A set of handwritten lyrics to the song, in Morrison’s surprisingly tidy cursive, sold at a Christie’s auction in 2015 for nearly $95,500.

In Denmark, the Beatles chase you.
Yet another riff on the Beatles movie A Hard Day’s Night (see above note), and an imitation of comedian Yakov Smirnoff, a Ukrainian-born comedian whose heavily accented standup act was popular in the 1980s, in the waning years of the Cold War. Though he didn’t invent it and rarely used it, he did help popularize the “Russian Reversal” joke form. For an example, take his 1985 Miller Lite beer commercial: “In America, there’s plenty of light beer, and you can always find a party. In Russia, Party always finds you.” Smirnoff frequently appeared on the NBC sitcom Night Court before starring in a syndicated show, What a Country! (1986-1987), so named after one of his trademark catchphrases. In 1992, he moved to Missouri and bought his own theater in Branson, where he performed until 2015, and teaches at both Missouri State and Drury Universities, offering a course called “The Business of Laughter” at both schools.

Think I’d look good in a Van Dyke?
A Van Dyke is a combination of beard and moustache named after 17th-century Flemish painter Anthony van Dyck, who sported one of his own. Though there are many variations, the basic elements of a Van Dyke are a moustache and goatee, with all the facial hair under the chin and on the cheeks shaved off.

Rraah! Taste my rainbow!
“Taste the Rainbow” is a longtime slogan for Skittles brand fruit-flavored candies, which were first introduced in the U.S. in 1979 and are made by the Wrigley Company.

It’s Black Friday!
Although the name “Black Friday” has been ascribed to dozens of nasty events over the decades, from financial collapses to storms to terrorist attacks, since the 1960s in the United States it has come to mean the day following Thanksgiving, the official beginning of the Christmas shopping season. (One explanation for the name is that this is when the stores finally turn a profit for the year, going from “in the red” to “in the black.”) Major retailers open early (sometimes even on Thanksgiving) and offer big sales, which has led to increasingly riotous behavior among shoppers. USA!

There’s a sale on everything minimalist and functional!
See previous note, and see above note on Danish Modern furniture.

Booyah!
“Booyah!” was an expression of triumph popular in the 1990s. It was a trademark of ESPN sportscaster Stuart Scott, who made it his catchphrase in the mid-1990s after most home runs, touchdowns, and slam dunks.

I hope they’re gonna put a card at the end that says “No Danes were hurt in the making of this film,” ‘cause this is dangerous.
The American Humane Association holds a copyright on the famous movie credit line “No animals were harmed in the making of this film.” The practice of the AHA evaluating films for their treatment of animals began thanks to the 1939 film Jesse James: during the filming a horse was blindfolded and ridden off a cliff to its death.

Oh, I’ve been a bad boy.
An imitation of Lou Costello of the comedy team Abbott and Costello; he and partner Bud Abbott got their start in 1930s vaudeville and soon made the leap to radio, TV, and film. They were known for snappy routines like their world-famous “Who’s on First?” (see above note). Costello’s character was a frequently hysterical man-child, who relied on the long-suffering and level-headed Abbott for guidance to get out of trouble. When Costello had made a mess of things, he’d quietly say, “I’m a bad boy.”

Xavier Cugat?
Xavier Cugat (1900-1990) was a Spanish-American bandleader, cartoonist, and restaurateur who helped popularize Latin music in the United States. He often appeared with his band in films in the 1940s, including Week-End at the Waldorf (1945) and a number of Esther Williams’ movies. He helmed the house band at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel for years, conducting with one hand while cradling a Chihuahua with the other.

For a movie that uses papier-mâché, they sure have a lot of extras.
Papier-mâché, which means “chewed paper” in French, is paper strips, paper pulp, and sometimes fabric, bound with some kind of glue or adhesive to form a composite material that is used to create lightweight sculptures, which can be anything from crude masks to elaborate Mardi Gras parade floats.

[Sung.] Chariots of Fire theme.
The famous instrumental theme to the 1981 film Chariots of Fire, written and performed by Greek composer Vangelis, hit number one in the U.S. in 1982. It has frequently been used at sporting events since then, including at several Olympic Games. In the film’s opening scene, the music plays over shots of a group of young men running on the beach.

Eee-yeeeessss?
See above note on Frank Nelson.

This map is outdated. It’s Istanbul, not Constantinople. –Why did Constantinople get the works? –That’s nobody’s business but the Turks. Now out of my way.
Riffs on the 1953 novelty song “Istanbul (Not Constantinople),” written by Jimmy Kennedy and Nat Simon. The lyrics mock the 1930 renaming of the Turkish capital city of Constantinople to Istanbul. The song has been covered by numerous artists; one of the better-known covers is a 1990 version by alternative rock band They Might Be Giants. Sample lyrics: “Take me back to Constantinople/No, you can’t go back to Constantinople/Now it’s Istanbul, not Constantinople/Why did Constantinople get the works?/That’s nobody’s business but the Turks’.” Constantinople was originally called Byzantium; it was renamed Constantinople after the Roman Emperor Constantine, who moved the capital of the Roman Empire there in 330 C.E. During the Ottoman Empire, which ruled Turkey from the 13th century to the early 20th century, the city was still known as Constantinople, particularly by Westerners, but the native Turks called it Istanbul. After the Turkish war of independence ended in 1923, the country began a “Turkification” movement of nationalist pride, which included pressuring other countries to acknowledge their native city names—including Istanbul.

We’ll feed him some information, then nail him for insider trading.
Insider trading is a crime in which someone who has inside information on something a company is about to do—a merger, a new product announcement, revealing higher-than-expected profits, etc.—uses that information to buy or sell stock, thereby gaining an unfair advantage in the market. One famous insider trading case involved Ivan Boesky, who paid people working in mergers and acquisitions at large banks to tip him off when mergers were about to occur; he then bought stock right before a takeover bid was announced and sold after the stock shot up. He was worth $200 million by the time the SEC caught up with him in 1986; they fined him $100 million and sentenced him to 3 1/2 years in prison.

Time to break up the big banks. Literally.
Calls to break up the largest financial institutions emerged during the 2008 financial crisis, when Congress created the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), authorizing $700 billion to buy up failed bank assets such as mortgage foreclosures. There were enormous protests across the country, as people were furious that banks were being bailed out for their own mistakes and bad judgment while individuals continued to lose their jobs and homeowners their houses. Part of the rationale was that the banks had simply grown “too big to fail”—that if the banks collapsed, they would take the entire financial system down with them. One solution frequently offered—and adamantly rejected by conservatives—was to break up the largest banks so that they would no longer be too big to fail. This has not happened: since the financial meltdown of 2008, the five largest banks have actually increased their share of total bank industry assets. In 2007 they held 35 percent of all banking assets; in 2016 they held 44 percent—a whopping $6.9 trillion.

This movie’s got more slime than the Kids’ Choice Awards, babe.
An imitation of pop-culture-simile-loving comedian Dennis Miller, doing his imitation of Sammy Davis Jr. The Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards is an annual awards show that honors movies, TV shows, and musical acts, as selected by Nickelodeon’s young audience. Celebrities appearing on the show are often covered with the network’s trademark green slime (see above note), which is considered an honor. Past slimed celebrities include Johnny Depp, Harrison Ford, Will Smith, and Neil Patrick Harris.

You knocked over our Jenga tower.
Jenga is a skill game sold by Hasbro. A tower is constructed using 54 rectangular wooden blocks; the blocks are then removed one at a time and replaced at the top of the tower, making it taller and more unstable as the game progresses. The player who makes the tower collapse loses. The name comes from the Swahili word for “to build”: kujenga.

[Sung to the tune of “I Got You (I Feel Good).”] I feel good. Da na na na na na. Reptilicus good …
A parody of the classic R&B song “I Got You (I Feel Good),” written and recorded by James Brown in 1963. It became Brown’s highest-charting song, hitting number three in 1964. Sample lyrics: “Whoa! I feel good, I knew that I would now/I feel good, I knew that I would now/So good, so good, I got you.”

They’ve been unloading that truck for like an hour. It’s like a clown car.
The clown car is a classic circus routine: a seemingly endless string of clowns emerging from an implausibly small car. The clown car gag was first performed in the 1950s by the Cole Bros. Circus. There is no trick to the clown car, by the way: it’s just that everything in the car’s interior has been stripped out to provide maximum clown-packing space.

Frank Gehry buildings are so avant-garde.
Frank Gehry is an American architect, “the most important architect of our age,” according to Vanity Fair magazine. His designs often involve corrugated steel, unpainted plywood, and other “everyday” materials. Many of his buildings, including his home in Santa Monica, California, have become tourist attractions.

Santa Claus was in that chimney, no!
Santa Claus is a fairly recent synthesis of various Christmas traditions of a being who delivers gifts the night before Christmas. Claus is based primarily on the Dutch gift-bringer Sinterklaas, who was in turn derived from the 4th-century historical figure Saint Nicholas of Myra. (Sinterklaas, rather than elves, has “Black Pete” to assist him, which leads to the [unfortunate, to American eyes] tradition of dressing up in blackface, a tradition that is becoming somewhat controversial in the Netherlands as well.) In the 1770s, the name “Santa Claus” was first published as an Americanized version of Sinterklaas. The commonly known attributes of Santa Claus’s legend (his North Pole residence, elven helpers, reindeer-powered sleigh, etc.) became widespread after the 1821 publication of Clement Clarke Moore’s poem “Old Santeclaus” and the 1823 publication of “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (a.k.a. “The Night Before Christmas,” also probably written by Moore). The famous image of Santa Claus as a jolly, chubby man with a full white beard and red clothing with white trim comes from the mid-1800s art of famed cartoonist Thomas Nast. Nast’s illustrations later influenced depictions of Sinterklaas and England’s Father Christmas. 

Especially during Pride.
Pride parades, marches, festivals, etc. are events that celebrate LGBT culture. In many cities, pride events take place annually in June, to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City, considered a key event in the modern fight for LGBT rights.

Rat Patrol, in color.
The Rat Patrol (ABC, 1966-1968) was a TV drama set in North Africa during World War II, following the exploits of four Allied soldiers whose mission was “to attack, harass, and wreak havoc on Field Marshal Rommel’s vaunted Afrika Korps.” Many rugged Jeep-like vehicles were involved. Rat Patrol aired at a time when color television programming was beginning to replace black and white, so its introduction proudly proclaimed, “In Color!”

The Mortensen boys have an ack-ack up in their room.
“Ack-ack” is an abbreviation for anti-aircraft artillery. It derives from the British military spelling alphabet used for clear voice transmission in the early 20th century.

Wait, he’s getting all this listening to a Sears DieHard battery?
DieHard is a brand of car batteries marketed by Sears and also sold at Kmart stores.

The snack bar will be closing in five minutes.
A typical announcement made at a drive-in movie theater, which provided small, metal speakers hung on short poles that motorists would remove and hook onto the side windows of their cars. The first drive-in theater opened in 1915 in Las Cruces, New Mexico. At their peak in the early 1960s, there were around 4,000 drive-in theaters across the United States; however, a steep decline in popularity over the next couple of decades led to their near-extinction. Following a nostalgia-fueled revival starting in the early 1990s, the number of drive-ins now hovers around 300, and “pop-up” drive-ins, featuring a mobile, inflatable screen and food-truck concession stands, have become a thing.

Ommmmmm …
“Om” is a “sacred sound” in Hinduism and a mantra used during meditation in that religion, as well as in Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. It has many shades of meaning; one is that it represents the creative power of the universe.

Namaste.
Namaste is a respectful greeting in the Hindu custom, usually said with a slight bow and the palms of both hands pressed together, fingers pointed up. It has migrated into Western culture through the popularity of yoga.

I’m comin’, Elizabeth! I’m comin’ for ya!
An imitation of Redd Foxx, in his role as Fred Sanford in the TV sitcom Sanford and Son (NBC, 1972-1977). When Fred wanted to manipulate his son, he would fake a heart attack and call out to his dead wife, “It’s the big one! I’m comin’, Lizabeth!”

No one leaves this room. One of you is a murderer.
Possibly a reference to “The Agatha Christie Sketch” on the Monty Python’s Flying Circus season 2 episode “How Not to Be Seen.” John Cleese, playing Inspector Tiger, barges into a room where everyone is sitting peacefully drinking tea and begins uttering Spoonerisms by the bucketload. Sample dialogue: “Allow me to introduce myself. I’m afraid I must ask that no one leave the room. … Somebody. In this room. Must the murderer be. The murderer of the body is somebody in this room, which nobody must leave … leave the body in the room not to be left by anybody. Nobody leaves anybody or the body with somebody. Everybody who is anybody shall leave the body in the room body.”

Wait. Who’s on that roof? –Must be a Kickstarter backer.
See above note.

“Is there a drug powerful enough to knock out a reptile as big as he is?” We could feed him Keith Richards.
Keith Richards is the lead guitarist for the Rolling Stones. He has had widely publicized problems with drug addiction, particularly heroin. His drug habits began earning him high rankings on “Most Likely to Die” lists as far back as the late 1960s. Having remained an unrepentant partier (though free from heroin addiction since 1978) yet surviving into his 70s, outliving countless contemporaries, Richards now holds a place of honor as a strangely indestructible freak of nature.

“… but you’d need at least a gallon of it.” How many liters is that?
There are 3.79 liters in a U.S. liquid gallon. The gallon is part of the imperial system of measurement, conceived in Britain and once used widely around the world. The liter is part of the metric system, which has largely replaced the imperial system. In fact, only three countries still use the imperial system: Liberia, Myanmar, and the United States (and Myanmar is in the process of converting to metric).

“Right now, get hold of someone who knows about those drugs. Have them meet us there at once.” I’ll call Walter White.
Walter White was the protagonist in the phenomenally popular and critically acclaimed TV series Breaking Bad (AMC, 2008-2013). Played by Bryan Cranston, White was a high school chemistry teacher struggling to make ends meet. He turned to a life of crime after a terminal cancer diagnosis, becoming a masterful manufacturer of methamphetamine and adopting the alias “Heisenberg.” Cranston won four Primetime Emmy Awards for his portrayal of Walter White.

So it’s settled, we’re going to Ibiza.
Ibiza is an island off the east coast of Spain, in the Mediterranean Sea. Known as a nightlife hotspot for young tourists to dance to techno and get roaringly drunk, the Spanish Tourist Office and the island’s government have occasionally tried to scale back the nightclub scene and promote Ibiza as a family vacation destination, but with little success.

It’s my Panda Express order.
Panda Express is a chain of fast food/casual dining restaurants that offer “gourmet Chinese food.” An offshoot of the table service restaurant chain Panda Inn, Panda Express began with locations in shopping mall food courts before expanding to stand-alone restaurants and outlets in airports, casinos, amusement parks, etc. There are more than 1,900 Panda Express locations worldwide.

People used to run through the streets screaming a long time before the Beatles, you know, and this is what it used to look like.
See above note.

Every year in Denmark, the crowds come for the running of the blondes.
Starting on July 7 of every year and continuing every morning for a week, residents and tourists in the Spanish town of Pamplona let a bunch of bulls loose in the streets and try to outrun them. The “running of the bulls” is a traditional part of the Festival of San Fermin; although other towns in Spain, Portugal, Mexico, and France hold similar events, Pamplona’s is the most famous. It is fairly dangerous; at least 15 people have been killed since 1910, and about 50 to 100 are injured each year.

It’s Bob and Connie Dobbs. –Denmark is sponsored by the Church of the SubGenius.
References to the parody religion the Church of the SubGenius and its “founder,” J.R. “Bob” Dobbs and his level-headed and liberated wife, Connie. According to its mythology, Dobbs was a well-coiffed, pipe-smoking salesman who saw a vision of God (an angry alien) in a television in 1953. In actuality, the “church” was founded in 1979 in Dallas, Texas, and took on a life of its own over the next couple of decades, thanks in large part to the rise of the Internet.

Yeah, but the Danish don’t express true terror like the Japanese do when running from their giant monsters.
See above note on kaiju. Due to Godzilla/Rodan/Mothra’s habits of smashing cities, Japanese monster movies tended to include a lot of shots of people fleeing in terror. These scenes have been parodied in Western films ranging from The Lost World: Jurassic Park (a group of Japanese guys being chased by a T. Rex, screaming, “We left Japan to get away from this!”) to Austin Powers in Goldmember (“Run! It’s Godzilla!” “It looks like Godzilla, but due to international copyright laws, it’s not!”).

[Sung to the tune of “Movin’ Right Along.”] Movin’ right along … footloose and fancy free …
“Movin’ Right Along” is a song written by Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher that appears in the 1979 film The Muppet Movie and on its soundtrack album; it is performed by Kermit the Frog and Fozzie Bear (voiced by Jim Henson and Frank Oz). Sample lyrics: “Movin’ right along/Footloose and fancy free/Getting there is half the fun, come share it with me.”

I’m making a time capsule so we’ll remember the best summer of our lives.
Time capsules, caches of contemporary artifacts preserved with the intention that they be opened sometime in the distant future, date back to the turn of the 20th century. The Detroit Century Box, containing photos and letters from the city’s citizens, was sealed up on New Year’s Eve, 1900, and kept in the city treasurer’s vault for a hundred years before being opened on New Year’s Eve, 2000. The term “time capsule” was coined by George Edward Pendray, who created one for the 1939 New York World’s Fair; it is buried below Flushing Meadows Park, scheduled to be opened in 6939.

And I’m building a Super Soaker. No reason.
The Super Soaker is a high-powered, large-capacity toy water gun. Now made by Hasbro (under the Nerf brand), it was invented by engineer Lonnie Johnson in 1982 using PVC pipe and plastic soda bottles, and introduced commercially in 1990 under the name Power Drencher.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes at the ColourPop laboratory …
Variations of this phrase originated with cards inserted in silent films of the early 20th century. In westerns, this was often “Meanwhile, back at the ranch ...” The phrase was later used by narrators in films and on radio and TV shows. ColourPop is a Los Angeles-based cosmetics company. Founded in 2014, ColourPop prides itself on being “wallet friendly and bunny approved,” meaning they don’t test any of their products on animals.

Wait, is that a Saint George? This city is anti-dragon!
The legend of Saint George and the Dragon dates back to the 10th or 11th century, although George himself was venerated as early as the 7th century. The story: Roman soldier and Christian martyr Saint George happens upon a princess about to be sacrificed to a plague-bearing dragon. George subdues the dragon, then offers to kill it if the townspeople convert to Christianity. They do, he does, and the plague is banished.

I need a safe space.
Safe spaces were originally associated with the LGBT movement: a safe space is considered a place where people are protected from homophobia, violence, and harassment. They have been extended to cover all marginalized individuals, and have sometimes been misused to shut down free speech, as in a 2015 incident at the University of Missouri where protestors cited their “safe space” to intimidate and drive away an ESPN photographer.

Hans Christian Andersen is signing his book at Barnes & Noble, ahhhh!
Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) was a Danish author, playwright, and poet, best known for his many fairy tales, such as “The Little Mermaid,” “The Ugly Duckling,” and “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Barnes & Noble, founded in 1886, is the largest retail bookseller in the U.S., with more than 700 stores as of 2017.

[Sung to the tune of “Movin’ Right Along.”] Movin’ right along … footloose and fancy free …
See above note.

“We’re going to take a crack at Reptilicus.” With crack.
Crack cocaine, or simply crack, is a form of cocaine that can be smoked. It is highly addictive and delivers a brief but intense high, followed immediately by an intense craving for more of the drug. Its widespread use in poor neighborhoods in major U.S. cities in the 1980s was called the “crack epidemic.”

How much Copenhagen is there left to destroy? It’s the size of New Haven.
New Haven, Connecticut, is the second-largest city in that state (behind Bridgeport), with a population of about 130,000. It is the home of Yale University and the birthplace of former President George W. Bush. Copenhagen, by contrast, is Denmark’s largest city, with a population of 600,000. If we’re talking physical land area, Copenhagen still wins, with 33 square miles to New Haven’s 20.

[Beatboxing.] Look. If you got one shot. One opportunity to kill every single Reptilicus. Would you capture it?
Riffing on the 2002 rap song “Lose Yourself” by Eminem, from the soundtrack to the movie 8 Mile. The song topped the Hot 100 chart, amid universal acclaim from critics; it was the first rap song to win an Academy Award for Best Original Song; it also won two Grammy Awards and was deemed one of the top 50 hip-hop songs of all time by Rolling Stone magazine. Sample lyrics: “Look/If you had/One shot/Or one opportunity/To seize everything you ever wanted/In one moment/Would you capture it/Or just let it slip?”

Fifteen minutes could save you 15 percent on car insurance, which you could use right now.
A longtime advertising slogan for Geico auto insurance goes: “Fifteen minutes could save you 15 percent or more on car insurance.”

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. I’m gonna fight Joe Frazier.
“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” was a longtime slogan used by boxer Muhammad Ali (1942-2016) to describe his boxing style, which was indeed marked by constantly circling his opponents in the ring, and very fast punches. After a 1970 match against Oscar Bonaventura, Ali famously shouted to the crowd, “I want Joe Frazier!” He fought Frazier, the current heavyweight champion, four months later in “The Fight of the Century” and lost for the first time in his professional career. They would fight twice more, in 1974 and 1975; Ali won both times.

Micro Machines!
Micro Machines is a toy line originally produced by Galoob from 1987 until 2008. As the name implies, they are very small, (mostly) plastic replicas of cars, trucks, planes, and other vehicles. Galoob was acquired by Hasbro in 1999, which reintroduced a Star Wars-themed set of Micro Machines with the 2015 release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Wow, they’re into it. Usually I eat wild blueberries or krill, but when in Rome …
The proverb “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” is attributed to the 4th-century bishop of Milan, Saint Ambrose.

That’s gnarly.
“Gnarly” comes from the c. 1600 word “gnarled,” meaning a knotty growth on a tree. In the late 1960s, it became surfer slang to describe a particularly dangerous wave. By the ‘80s, the slang had evolved to mean “disgusting and yet somehow also cool.”

Well, now Brandt’s ambergris.
Ambergris is a foul-smelling, waxy substance produced in the digestive systems of sperm whales that used to be a key ingredient in the making of perfume; it’s since been replaced by synthetic substitutes.

Maybe a couple of souvenir T-shirts will make him think twice.
Bazooka-like “T-shirt cannons” are air cannons that use compressed air to launch T-shirts or other items, such as wrapped food, into the audience at sporting or other events. They were invented in the 1990s by Tim Derk, who was working as the mascot for the San Antonio Spurs at the time.

[Sung to the tune of “All I Do Is Dream of You.”] All I do is dream of you … the whole night through … ba dum bum bum …
“All I Do Is Dream of You” is a song written by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed for the 1934 Joan Crawford movie Sadie McKee. It’s been recorded many times by many artists over the decades, with a well-known version performed by Debbie Reynolds in the 1952 musical film Singin’ in the Rain.

Who fired a phaser at him?
Phasers are the fictional weapon of choice in the Star Trek universe, first seen on the original Star Trek TV series in 1966. Phasers are “phased array pulsed energy projectile” weapons that can range from small handguns to giant, starship-mounted cannons.

I can’t believe I’m dying and I never got around to befriending a little kid.
Probably a reference to the many Gamera movies (five of which were riffed on the original MST3K TV series), in which the titular flaming, flying giant turtle would occasionally pause in his stomping of apartment buildings full of families to befriend a shrill and small-panted Japanese child. Or it might be a reference to the 1977 movie (and its 2016 remake) Pete’s Dragon, in which a giant dragon befriends a … well, you know.

You like my Oliver Hardy tie?
Oliver Hardy (b. Norvell Hardy, 1892-1957) was half of the comedy team Laurel and Hardy, which made a string of movies from the 1920s through the ’40s. Hardy, a stout man, played a childish, bossy, fussy character opposite Stan Laurel’s thin, gentle incompetent. Hardy usually wore a dark tie with polka dots; Laurel wore a bow tie.

[Sung.] “Dance of the Cuckoos.”
The song that became known as the “Laurel and Hardy Theme” (see previous note), “Dance of the Cuckoos,” was composed by Marvin Hatley, musical director of Hal Roach Studios, around 1930. It was originally used as the on-the-hour chime of the Roach Studios radio station.

A lot of punk rock is gonna come out of this town.
There have been about half a dozen punk rock bands from Denmark, including the Electric Deads, Iceage, and HorrorPops.

And remember, the movie doesn’t kill you, it only makes you stronger.
The aphorism “What does not kill me makes me stronger” was coined by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and first appeared in his 1888 book Twilight of the Idols. Nietzsche’s original wording: “Was mich nicht umbringt macht mich starker.”

Reptilicus returns in Reptilicus 2: 2 Fast 2 Danish.
The 2003 sequel to the 2001 action movie The Fast and the Furious is titled 2 Fast 2 Furious. Both films starred Paul Walker as Brian O’Conner, this time hunting down a drug lord. The sequel is the only one in the franchise not to feature Vin Diesel, who was off filming the spy flick xXx.

[Name in end credits: Sidney Pink.] Are you now or have you ever been a producer and director of Reptilicus?
See above note on HUAC.

[Name in end credits: Johann Zalabery.] The schnozberries taste like schnozberries, and the zalaberries taste like zalaberries. Johann.
In the 1971 movie Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Wonka (played by Gene Wilder) says, “The snozzberries taste like snozzberries.” Little Veruca Salt sneers, “Snozzberries? Who ever heard of a snozzberry?” Incidentally, in his 1979 grownup novel My Uncle Oswald, Dahl used the word again, in a much different context: “I grabbed hold of his snozzberry and hung onto it like grim death and gave it a twist or two to make him hold still. … You can lead them around anywhere you want like that. It’s like putting a twitch on a horse.” And yes, they are talking about the bit of anatomy you think they’re talking about. The dangly bit.

Oh, Dirch Passer played Petersen? He’s the Danish Roberto Benigni.
Roberto Benigni is an Italian comedian, actor, director, and screenwriter. His best-known work is Life Is Beautiful (1997), a comedy-drama about a father and son imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp, which won Academy Awards for Best Actor and Best Foreign Language Film; he also collaborated on three movies with filmmaker Jim Jarmusch.