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Grasping at Straws: The Lion King

Welcome to Grasping at Straws, the weekly blog where the unheralded, the underappreciated, and the long forgotten get their time to shine! Each week, I will “make the case” for an unpopular opinion regarding any topic or category of culture and life. Suggestions for future topics will be taken and considered at any of Sour Power’s social media channels, but please, keep it classy.

Brought to you by Sour Cat 

Image result for the lion king

This may possibly be the Grasping at Straws that draws the most backlash I’ve ever received, but the grasping can not be denied. Someone has to make these unpopular points, and I have never shied away form a challenge.

This past weekend I saw Avengers: Endgame, and one of the previews before the film started was for the upcoming CGI remake of The Lion King. Right then, the seed was planted for a new Grasping at Straws.

No, I will not be arguing that The Lion King is overrated or you shouldn’t see this remake. The Disney classic is unassailable and an essential part of a whole generation’s childhood. As a result, I am thrilled to see the new version and am eagerly awaiting its July release.

That being said, there’s just no way it can come close to matching the wonder and immersion that the original produces.

It’s an extremely daunting task to begin with, simply on account of it being a remake. You can count on one hand the amount of remakes in film, music, and TV history that were better than the original. It’s too difficult to overcome nostalgia. Once something becomes beloved and timeless to the extent that The Lion King is, it usually gets put on such a tall pedestal that no remake, no matter how good, can quite match it.

And I think this new version has a lot going for it too! The voice cast is elite, with Donald Glover, Beyoncé, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, and countless other talented individuals headlining the film. Jon Favreau is directing, which is also very encouraging for its prospects of being a good movie.

But when you remake THE LION KING, “good” is miles away from where you have to be. Expectations are already sky-high, and often times when hype is this great it can tend to dominate the narrative of a new product, even after its release. A prime example of this is Drake’s divisive album Views. It had been primed to fans for almost 2 years as the culmination of Drake’s career to that point, the crowning achievement and legacy-defining project. While the album set basically all the streaming records at the time, fans and critics alike generally agreed that it underwhelmed. It was nearly impossible for the final product to deliver on the massive anticipation, and this precisely became its legacy instead.

For this new The Lion King to be genuinely praised as a worthy generational successor, it has to not only match the visual spectacle and emotional power that the original created, but it also has to somehow possess a slight twist to the story that sets it apart. If every story beat plays out exactly like the original, the new one will be absolutely unable to hold up in comparison. First always wins when it comes to things like this. Ghostbusters, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and many other beloved films with much-maligned reboots can attest to this.

All of the previous reasons for my dubiousness toward The Lion King remake pales in comparison to this: the nature of the photorealistic CGI they use for the remake almost certainly won’t allow the characters to be as vibrant and expressive as they were in the original. I mean, just look at the header photo I used for this blog. Will they be able to prop Pumbaa up on his hind legs, one hoof over his chest, head thrown back, eyes closed, and just locked in to “Hakuna Matata.”

It’s one of the most important moments in the entire story, a make-or-break sequence that truly kicks off Simba’s redemption. If I can’t really feel that song, and the conviction with which those characters put behind the song, then it’s going to fall short. There’s no other way around it; that song has to hit a certain benchmark. I have to be grinning like an idiot and getting the warm-and-fuzzies in the theater.

Of course, that’s not the only part I’m concerned about. Scar holding Mufasa at the edge of the cliff has to be filled with a fraught uncertainty. I don’t know if that will be possible if both of them are just making regular-old lion faces. You know what real animals can’t do? Smile, and arch their eyebrows, and dance, and perform all the human movements that we can relate to. If the CGI is as realistic as it seems in the trailer, then the characters won’t be able to properly emote what is necessary to captivate the audience.

Will organic tears truly fall from my eyes if Simba is looking at his father’s still body with nothing more than this face as opposed to this one?

This is the stuff that matters most when strapping yourself in for The Lion King. We love this story so much because it levels our emotions like a Category 5 hurricane and makes us wonder why we’re not all jungle animals. The resonance of the moments that get us there have to land in such a specific way that every little facial tic matters. It’s an extremely delicate balance that I’m worried the filmmakers won’t be able to nail.

There’s so much more great details from the original that are unlikely to be carried over correctly to the photorealistic remake. The juice from the fruits that Timon and Pumbaa bite into, the effervescent colors of the jungle, the majestic volume of Mustafa’s and adult Simba’s manes. This all contributes to the excellence of the original, and if it is inferior or absent in the remake, it’s going to be a crucial detriment to its overall quality as a film.

The original The Lion King is among the most masterful of all of Disney’s masterpieces, and the reverence it holds from the generation that grew up with it is unparalleled. I’m not mad at all that they remade it. I certainly understand the decision from a financial perspective and, despite what I’ve written in this blog, I am also looking forward to seeing it. I truly want to have faith in everyone involved in making this, and I’m confident that they all put their best efforts into it.

Sure, I’ll be skeptical as I walk into the theater come July. I’ll probably be quick to point out a flaw that I notice compared to the original. That doesn’t mean I don’t want this thing to be great. I’d rather be proven wrong and have this whole blog thrown back in my face. That would mean one of my all-time favorite childhood stories has been done justice in a remake. There’s nothing more I can ask for than the opportunity to experience the power of The Lion King for the first time twice in my life. I’m hoping this could happen, I’m just not expecting it.

I could be definitely grasping at straws. Or I could be not grasping at all. I suppose we’ll find out soon.

Grasping at Straws: Hawkeye

Welcome to Grasping at Straws, the weekly blog where the unheralded, the underappreciated, and the long forgotten get their time to shine! Each week, I will “make the case” for an unpopular opinion regarding any topic or category of culture and life. Suggestions for future topics will be taken and considered at any of Sour Power’s social media channels, but please, keep it classy.

Brought to you by Sour Cat 

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Here at Grasping at Straws, we’re usually all about having a little bit of innocent fun. We’ve recounted dramatic experiences at the airport baggage claim, dedicated poems to breakfast sandwiches, and outlined the key components to singing in your car. Each blog has taken commonplace items, events, and activities and gave it a wacky spin that you hadn’t seen coming. Often times, even, the topics we cover (especially Wikipedia or John Hancock) aren’t about anything you ever think about on a daily basis.

Today, however, I have a serious point I want to make. With Avengers: Endgame hitting theaters everywhere tomorrow, and these films becoming so mainstream that I assume you’re aware of what will be going on in this blog, I would like to officially declare Hawkeye as an underrated choice for the title of most heroic Avenger. There it is. The hot take. The clickbait. The thing that’s supposed to make you read the rest of this (that is, if you don’t exit out at this point) with a ceaseless disapproving shake of your head.

Except there is a legitimate argument to make here. Not that Hawkeye is the most powerful. Or most compelling. Or most essential. Just that he is the most heroic. The one most aware of the stakes in each movie and willing to do what is necessary each time.

Let’s begin with some character background. Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye (played by the great Jeremy Renner), is a farmer and arguably the character with the least amount of “superpowers” among any that have appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or MCU. He’s insanely talented with a bow and arrow, sure, but the abilities of the rest of the Avengers make Hawkeye look like a a regular old hawk that can’t even fly. He doesn’t have a cool suit of armor, doesn’t possess superhuman strength, and can’t do any of the quasi-magical things that the Scarlet Witch or Dr. Strange can do. Again, definitely not the most powerful.

In the first Avengers film, Hawkeye was brainwashed by the main antagonist, Loki, near the beginning of the film and spends a good portion of the movie doing his bidding. Tough break for my guy Hawkeye. However, once he was eventually freed from this mind control, he eventually joined the fight against Loki and put on an absolute clinic of marksmanship against extraterrestrial invaders. There was zero hesitation there despite facing a horde of terrifying aliens. He even makes sure to save a bus full of civilians (although I don’t know how far those poor people made it within that calamitous war zone).

Later in the fight, after he’s fired his last arrow, Hawkeye bests one of the aliens in hand-to-bow combat and executes a daring survival jump to perfection all on the fly. Oh yeah, at one point he also takes down a flying alien without even looking. Just another day at the office for Hawk. This guy has no business being this brave and effective in these sorts of battles, yet he consistently comes away with some of the coolest looking kills as well as generally seeming like absolutely nothing phases him.

Heroism extends beyond the action sequences, though, and in Avengers: Age of Ultron is where Hawkeye separates himself as an elite Avenger. As the newly introduced Scarlet Witch cowers in fear of the chaos around her in Sokovia, Hawkeye delivers one of the best 2-minute stretches any Avenger has ever had in a major battle. He demonstrates excellent motivational skills, inspiring courage, and is downright hilarious all while, as he says, the city is flying. None of this may make sense, but every aspect of Hawkeye’s heroic nature is on display during that sequence.

Also during Ultron, Hawkeye goes way beyond what is expected of an Avenger by opening his home to the entire squad just to keep them safe. Remember, this dude lives on a farm. He’s not a billionaire like Tony Stark. Still, he does what is necessary based on what the situation demands. Plus, we get to see some heartwarming, humanizing stuff with Hawkeye just being Clint, the regular family man.

As for the final Avengers film that has to this very moment actually been wide-released, well…Hawkeye never shows up. In Avengers: Infinity War, the only mention of him is to say that he isn’t coming. Unsurprisingly, I have a defense for his absence: it’s the smart play. He had the foresight to know that the good guys would lose the initial battle to Thanos and decided he would hang back with his lovely family until the remaining group truly needed him. Now that he’s all rested up and ready to come off the bench, Hawkeye is going to be a key component in the struggle to defeat the purple Titan.

Hawkeye’s exact role in Endgame is not likely to be anywhere near the most crucial, but I can guarantee that he’s going to be right in the thick of all the action, making every right decision possible to give the Avengers the best chance to succeed. Just like in any workplace, someone you can depend on is often among the most important and respected people there. Combine that with his standing as an original Avenger (meaning no one has more experience), and Hawkeye is truly the consummate pro.

A pro is an expert at their job. And what is Hawkeye’s job? Being a hero.

Go ahead and laugh at how Hawkeye stacks up to the rest of the Avengers. You wouldn’t be the first. You won’t be laughing, however, when Hawkeye places an arrow right between the eyes of an enemy who has your favorite Avenger on the ropes. The man is as clutch as it gets, and he’s going to be eager to prove his doubters wrong in the upcoming final showdown against Thanos. As you’re walking out of the theater following the end of the film this weekend, I’d be shocked if you don’t come away thinking that the team couldn’t have (presumably) saved the universe without the help of the trustworthy, brave, and heroic Hawkeye.

Or maybe, I’m just grasping at straws.

Grasping at Straws: Wikipedia

Welcome to Grasping at Straws, the weekly blog where the unheralded, the underappreciated, and the long forgotten get their time to shine! Each week, I will “make the case” for an unpopular opinion regarding any topic or category of culture and life. Suggestions for future topics will be taken and considered at any of Sour Power’s social media channels, but please, keep it classy.

Brought to you by Sour Cat 

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We’re all taught that if you read plenty of books, you’ll undoubtedly increase your intelligence. Simple enough, right?

Acquiring knowledge from great works of literature has been the way of the world for, well, however long people have been writing and reading stories. Whether it’s fiction on non-fiction, with each flip of a page you’re enhancing your understanding of the world and life itself, until you eventually end up looking like Super Brain Sheen from Jimmy Neutron.

That’s how it has gone throughout all of human history. Read books, get smarter. That is, until the 21st century rolled around. Along with the explosion of millions of websites that contain varying degrees of knowledge, Wikipedia entered all our lives and changed the whole game. Wikipedia is so ubiquitous at this point that I’m confident I don’t need to establish any background for you on what it is. In fact, you almost certainly are more familiar with Wikipedia than you are with the word “ubiquitous.” Fear not, here is its Wikipedia page.

Of course, encyclopedia existed for centuries before Wikipedia arrived. I’m not saying that the mass collection of information had never existed before Wikipedia. My grand Straw that I’m Grasping at is that the most efficient way to gather untold amounts of knowledge is by diving down a Wikipedia rabbit hole. Given the organization of each Wikipedia page and the presence of countless links to other pages, hours spent on the website consuming information can provide more value than reading anything else.

Did you know that you could go from reading about candy to learning everything there is to know about Pearl Jam in the matter of 5 clicks? Your hand doesn’t even have to leave the mouse to type anything in to take yourself from the caramelization process to Eddie Vedder’s process in creating “Alive.” The breadth of topics you can cover, in unparalleled detail, in such a short amount of time is unrivaled anywhere else on the Internet and in print.

Wikipedia pages can also get extremely specific too, if that’s what you’re into. The “List of coffee drinks” page alone contains 5,000 words, and that’s certainly not including the gargantuan main “Coffee” page as well as all the other off-shoot pages related to everyone’s favorite morning beverage. In the matter of hours, you can become an expert on all things coffee without laying a single finger on your keyboard.

I know I’m most likely not breaking new ground here. Pretty much everyone is aware of what Wikipedia offers and how it works by now. Unfortunately, users’ ability to edit almost any page they want slightly complicates my whole point. But as long as you can verify any information you find on Wikipedia that you’re not 100% sure about someone else, you’re unlikely to really run into any problems. Spotting a user edit is often fairly easy and usually only occur for the purpose of a joke to be shared around the Internet.

Once you’re past all of that, Wikipedia becomes a straight-up magnificent tool to objectively learn about just about anything or anyone you want. The ease with which you can choose what you wish to learn about within a specific topic only further streamlines the entire process. Nowhere else can you consume the literary analysis of The Joker’s personality and behavioral traits with the thoroughness and thoughtfulness of Wikipedia. But oh, wait! You’re intrigued by this incredibly German-looking name that appears in this section: Friedrich Nietzsche. Boom, just like that you’re on your way to educating yourself about inherent morality and inconsistencies of nihilism. Who needs college anyway?

If you’re not looking to get that philosophical in your Wikipedia deep dives, I completely understand. So does Wikipedia. That’s why she offers countless pages dedicated to hundreds of years of celebrities, if that’s more your cup of tea. I can’t tell you the amount of times I have checked Wikipedia to look up where a certain famous person was born, or who they’re related to, or what high school they attended. It’s all there, waiting for you to go and find it.

As long as you’re willing to carefully read and consider as much text as possible in order to truly educate yourself on the topics you’re interested in, Wikipedia is a one-stop shop for legitimate enlightenment. Attention spans are shorter than ever nowadays, and skimming is a way of life among young scholars. Sure, Wikipedia can be useful in that regard, but that is absolutely not the way to optimize the information the website offers.

The real beauty of Wikipedia is only revealed when you realize you have no clue what time it is and your eyes forget what it’s like to look at anything but that black text on white background. Only when you spend the better part of an afternoon voraciously learning about a Civil War battle you saw get mentioned on Jeopardy! does it sink in how valuable Wikipedia can be. It’s a wondrous place full of potentially useless knowledge. That is, unless you find a use for all that knowledge.

Figuring out the correct way to channel your Wikipedia brain into a profitable venture is certainly a tall task, but not an impossible one. The trivia game show route is an unlikely one. But the YouTube personality route has become more and more viable, so perhaps that’s where your energy should be focused. I don’t know, I’m just a history and pop culture Wikipedia veteran who possesses a deep passion for deep dives. Simply knowing the information is often good enough for me. It’s up to you to decide where you want to take your Wikipedia expertise.

Any more words you read here takes away from words you could be reading on Wikipedia, so I now encourage you to head on over there and dive on in. There’s a whole section of the world that’s waiting for you to read about, and it’s a maximum of 5 clicks away. Allow yourself to be fully immersed in the rabbit hole. Embrace it. One day you just might emerge with the knowledge to alter the course of your life.

Or maybe, I’m just grasping at straws.

Grasping at Straws: Mythical Creatures

Welcome to Grasping at Straws, the weekly blog where the unheralded, the underappreciated, and the long forgotten get their time to shine! Each week, I will “make the case” for an unpopular opinion regarding any topic or category of culture and life. Suggestions for future topics will be taken and considered at any of Sour Power’s social media channels, but please, keep it classy.

Brought to you by Sour Cat 

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We are often drawn to things we can’t understand. Phenomena that test the limits of what our brains can comprehend. This is why true crime and sociopath/serial killer documentaries are becoming increasingly popular. We love to at least attempt to approach something that is so beyond what we encounter in our everyday lives. There’s an inherent thrill in it.

This can also explain why the tales of legendary creatures have endured over centuries of storytelling and grand mythologizing. Just the faintest thought that something like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster could be true is enough to send anyone with a taste for mystery down an all-encompassing Internet rabbit hole. Amateur sleuths can become obsessed with piecing together clues and images to form their own narrative or theory. The quest for discovery and a higher level of knowledge extends to all facets of life, but is strongest in those interested in fabled monsters.

All rational thought points to these creatures absolutely not being real, but believing in something that can’t be explained can still provide valuable lessons in life. Seeing something that isn’t there is the definition of faith, and if you can have the sort of faith in the existence of a hairy, 8-foot gorilla-man, you could easily possess the tools to achieve other unlikely dreams you might have.


As a young Sour Kitten, I lived for History Channel and SyFy specials about the unexplained and fantastical elements of our planet. Ancient Aliens (featuring struck-by-lightning-fashion trailblazer Giorgio Tsoukalos) was for sure a personal favorite.

I was enthralled by the “evidence” presented that led me to question all the possible logical explanations for structures and technology that I thought couldn’t have been possible centuries and centuries ago without alien intervention. Programs like this and others allowed me to begin considering that things in our world can simply be “unexplainable.” Not everything will have an air-tight reason for its existence, and that is completely acceptable.

Nothing fascinated and challenged my brain more, however, than shows about all the legendary Earth-based creatures that we all grow up hearing about. The chance that we can share the same planet as a massive killer squid, or a snow bear-man, or the many great beasts of Greek mythology led me to consume any information I could find that could lead me to the truth. I would scour message boards and Wikipedia pages, as well as YouTube videos with varying levels of production quality. That iconic photo of Bigfoot that I used on the promotional image for this blog post on social media became my Holy Grail.

Any skeptic or cynic would easily be able to dismiss the content I was finding as nonsense, but it didn’t matter to me. I was feeding a part of my brain that craved an understanding of the extraordinary and otherworldly. To a certain extent, my brain still craves it. But back then I couldn’t be swayed from my convictions, and my deep dives into all sorts of far-flung mysteries that only bolstered my arguments when confronted with opposition.

Eventually these thorough searches, as well as with the passing of time, led me straight to the conclusion that none of these monsters were as advertised; either they never existed at all or they were greatly exaggerated (though the newest Assassin’s Creed game didn’t help to solidify those conclusions).


Fortunately, this sobering end to my monster-hunting phase was not met with disappointment. Rather, I embraced the emotions and ideals that the chase stirred up in me. The desire to feel something when it’s not tangible, the ardent belief in something that a part of you says can’t be real. These platitudes became ingrained in me as I began to focus on more sensible aspirations in my life.

We’re all told to dream big when we’re young. Then gradually we dream smaller and smaller as we grow older until our “dream” is something that we can grab with one hand without moving. Truly believing that dinosaurs fled to the bottom of Loch Ness in Scotland after the Ice Age and adapted to aquatic conditions to become dinosaur-fish hybrids requires a suspension of reality that is only found in “real life” when someone pursues a dream that is not easily attainable. Sure, this mostly manifests itself with professional athletes, musicians, or actors, which are careers that are reserved for the hardest working, most talented, and luckiest .001% of us, but they still had to dream.

My point is: whatever your Bigfoot is in life, why can’t you wholeheartedly believe it to be true? I’m not advocating for accepting un-researched opinion or blatant lies as truth just because you want to, especially given today’s political climate. I’m saying the ability to defy conventional wisdom is an underrated skill. Countless innovations throughout human history were created by people who went against the grain and paved their own lane.

It doesn’t matter if the Loch Ness Monster is truly at the bottom of that lake. If your fascination with it compels you to travel to Scotland and investigate the area, then where’s the harm in that? Even once you (very likely) come up empty-handed in the proof department, you at least still come away with a great experience visiting a new place in addition to gaining the satisfaction of seeing a dream through. You don’t know if you never try.

I enjoy finding useful lessons in these obscure facets of life. I hope you do too. When there are as much things in our world that we can’t explain as there are, fear of the unknown can begin to settle in. It’s extremely easy to become overwhelmed by all that we can’t comprehend. Even if you find it easy to explain away mythical creatures as nothing more than pure myth, there’s still plenty more that I’m sure you find plenty unsettling.

I will almost certainly never encounter Bigfoot. I’m OK with that. I’m also forever grateful that my lifelong curiosity in him and other bizarre and wondrous elements of this world have molded me into someone who is exceptionally comfortable thinking outside the limits of my experiences. It greatly benefits me when considering other people’s perspectives. It may be odd to say I’ve become a more empathetic person because of Bigfoot, but that’s what I’m willing to claim. So, moral of the story: believe in Bigfoot and you’ll be a better person. It’s officially indisputable.

Or maybe, I’m just grasping at straws.

Grasping at Straws: The Lunch Table

Welcome to Grasping at Straws, the weekly blog where the unheralded, the underappreciated, and the long forgotten get their time to shine! Each week, I will “make the case” for an unpopular opinion regarding any topic or category of culture and life. Suggestions for future topics will be taken and considered at any of Sour Power’s social media channels, but please, keep it classy.

Brought to you by Sour Cat 

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The school lunch table is the ultimate breeding ground for the expression of one’s character and ambition. There’s nothing like it anywhere else in child or adult life.

A bar might be the closest parallel for adults, but even a bar can’t match the lunch table’s powers to promote near-free reign of imagination and juvenility. And while being a kid basically means you’re exhibiting juvenile behavior at all times, it is never more pure and bombastic than it is at the lunch table.

Despite the practice of eating at lunch tables is present throughout every level of grade school, for the purpose of this blog I’m going to only focus on high school. These are the years where the lunch table dealings are most fully formed, most likely to reveal information about the type of person you are and will become. The lunch table may appear to be simply a table top and connecting benches, but the activity it inspires elevates it to be so much more.

I’m aware it’s not revolutionary to claim that lunch was perhaps every student’s favorite part of the school day. It wasn’t class, for one. That fact alone made it appealing to just about everyone. But lunch was really the adults’ acknowledgement that kids must be given the ability to, within reason, do as they please for a period of time during a school day. Lunch was the jungle, and each lunch table was home to a unique habitat.

I’m not going to run through the classic stereotypes of high school cliques that are segregated throughout a school cafeteria. Mean Girls does it way better than I ever could in writing. It also does a great job of highlighting the inherit importance of the lunch table. Who you sit with helps define your identity in high school, for better or worse. Remember, it’s a movie, so most high schools don’t contain cliques with clearly defined characteristics such as those. However, your lunch table companions are often still a broad reflection of the type of person you’re aspiring to be in that moment of your life.

Even where you sat at the table went a long way towards explaining your personality. The alpha male/female often sat in the middle, where he/she can be an authority in conversations at both ends of the table. Those on the aisles were sometimes loners who weren’t even really friends with the other people at the table, possibly just friendly enough with them to be saved from the very-real terror of sitting alone. “Assigned” seats were common, as were readily apparent interpersonal dynamics and delicate balances of power. Disrupt any of that, and things could get very messy. Like food fight-level messy.

Also, food fights were a thing. They were every kid’s dream, and I’m extremely jealous if you participated in a food fight in high school. Consequences aside, they really seem like the absolute most chaotic, I-don’t-care-what-happens-to-me type of fun you could ever have. Being a kid is great…now back to the blog.

Step down from a macro, pseudo-philosophical viewpoint, though, and the lunch table is really just the spot for you and your friends to say and do a bunch of dumb stuff while you’re all together and not in class. The simplicity of that is what makes it so great. When you’re in high school, BS-ing with your friends is just about the most fun you could have. The lunch table was the town square where anything and everything could be discussed and acted out.

It could be normal things like trading some Green Apple Sour Power Straws for a Reese’s (that’s a steal for the kid getting the Sour Power!) or gossiping about fellow classmates or arguing over sports. It could also be just about anything you could think of too. A lunch table could easily erupt into a months-long, extremely competitive series of Charades. Or a two-table-spanning paper football tournament. Or an epic battle rap scene. It’s all on the table (you had to have known a lunch table pun was coming eventually).

However, none of these activities compare to the hallmark of every lunch table: trash talking. The art of trying to one-up your friend or fellow classmate by making better jokes and trying to make them look foolish so you feel superior. It’s a tried-and-true staple of every high school, and I believe it is essential to growing up and developing thick skin before you encounter the rest of the world.

Now, I’m not advocating for bullying. Please don’t get this misunderstood. Consistently tormenting another person for the sole purpose of being malicious is despicable and should never be encouraged. The trash talking I was referring to implies everyone at the lunch table being aware of the spirit of trash talking. When it’s among willing participants, everyone understands the stakes and what will be involved.

The lunch table is like a UFC octagon for trash talking. There’s no means to escape once you’re seated among the other combatants, and besides only a few truly reprehensible things, everything is permitted. This is where you learn how to verbally defend yourself, how to stare down your insecurities, how to think on your feet, and how to fortify your self-confidence. These lessons and opportunities for growth occur at the lunch table through trash talking. Generations of people have learned how to overcome adversity while sitting on old, brown benches with dried gum underneath them.

All this is to say that the lunch table is just as important to a kid’s high school experience as nearly anything else. Cherished memories are often made there, as well as potentially scarring incidents that become infamous through graduation. As unfortunate as the latter may be, the lunch table is home to both extremes and everything in between. It is an essential component of the journey through adolescence, yet is often overlooked as such.

I suppose this is understandable when you take into account that I’m talking about a table. It doesn’t actually hold any of the value that books and relationships and sports and many other things that your time in school provides. But as you read the 1000+ words I wrote about a simple lunch table, I’m extremely confident that a wave of nostalgia rushed over you at some point. An unexpected rush of emotions from your own personal experiences tied to a lunch table. Positive or negative, though I’m sincerely hoping they were positive.

That’s the thing about the lunch table, though. It does not discriminate. It does not favor one way or the other. It simply offers a space for the natural interactions of grade school students to unfold. The lunch table will forever be the home to our most substantive and personality-defining moments as a young person just beginning to figure out who he/she is.

Or maybe, I’m just grasping at straws.

Grasping at Straws: McGriddles

Welcome to Grasping at Straws, the weekly blog where the unheralded, the underappreciated, and the long forgotten get their time to shine! Each week, I will “make the case” for an unpopular opinion regarding any topic or category of culture and life. Suggestions for future topics will be taken and considered at any of Sour Power’s social media channels, but please, keep it classy.

Brought to you by Sour Cat 

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Pancakes we love, pancakes we trust

But what about pancakes as buns?

Smaller and round, founded with love

What if we sandwich’d it up?


“But pancakes are warm, with syrup adorned

You’ll have to hold it with a glove.”

Except it’s like syrup was already poured

So holding it’s never a chore.


The pancakes are great, they’re surely the bait

But you got some choices to make.

Sausage or bacon whichever you please

Unless you go no egg or cheese.


You’ve heard of golden arches, well this is golden dairy

The egg and the cheese are so complimentary.

Choosing plain sausage is so honestly scary

I can’t ever trust you if you get it regu-lair-y.


When you get it with a hash brown, wow what a pair.

Here, take my cash now, I don’t even care.

The taste is so pure, the taste is so true

I’m not ashamed to say that when I go I get two.


Even how it’s wrapped, so precise, a delight.

In between the buns, so packed, always right.

I can even taste it as I type these words.

After I eat two I often dream about a third.


In the past it was only on the menu in the morning

If you showed up late, you would surely be in mourning.

As a kid, grandparents could be downright boring

Until their early habits had them oh so adoring.


It’s already 10:20, “Grandpa, hurry up!

The line is so long, this is such bad luck!”

But when we finally got to the front of the line

We were greeted with a smile, “You’re just in time.”


No longer do you see that situation playing out

Hallelujah, breakfast is served all day now.

Pancakes, bacon-egg-and-cheese, get ’em when you want.

It’s 10:20 and I’m strolling in super nonchalant.


Don’t get me wrong now, it’s best as a treat.

It’s certainly not the healthiest thing you could eat.

“You’ll be better off without ’em, it’s not even worth it.”

Everyone has a weakness, and mine is so perfect.


You can clown me if you want, by now I know the drill.

It won’t stop me from loving these tasty sandwiches still.

As long as Mickey D’s has ’em cooking on their grills

I’ll claim that they’re the best, and I probably always will.


To the inventor of McGriddles, I don’t know where to start

“Thank you” doesn’t cover how I feel inside my heart.

Such a special creation, it truly has no flaws.

Or maybe, just maybe…I’m grasping at straws.

Grasping at Straws: The Slinky

Welcome to Grasping at Straws, the weekly blog where the unheralded, the underappreciated, and the long forgotten get their time to shine! Each week, I will “make the case” for an unpopular opinion regarding any topic or category of culture and life. Suggestions for future topics will be taken and considered at any of Sour Power’s social media channels, but please, keep it classy.

Brought to you by Sour Cat 

Image result for slinky

Today at 5:58 PM ET, the Northern Hemisphere will welcome the Spring Equinox and officially enter the season in which it is named after. Following the harsh weather of winter, there can easily be a case made for spring as the most highly anticipated and overall best liked season among the four. That certainly sounds like something I would do in this column, right? Right, but I’m going to head in a different direction with this one.

To celebrate the beginning of spring, I plan on diving into the never-ending joys and unheralded cultural significance of the greatest of all springs: the Slinky. Whether your like yours in vintage shiny steel, plastic rainbow, or shimmering 14K gold (oh they’re out there alright, and they’re even sold by Target), the Slinky is among the most classic of all children’s toys, with a storied history that exceeds 70 years at this point. That being said, in order to truly appreciate the Slinky, we must journey back to its humble roots and track its progression from a product of an accident to its current status as an unquestioned icon.

Richard James, a naval mechanical engineer stationed at the William Cramp & Sons shipyards in Philadelphia, had no plans to break into the toy business. He desired to be a toy inventor as much as Jon Snow desired to be the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch as Samwell Tarly nominated Jon against his wishes (final season of Game of Thrones starts April 14!!!). But sometimes in life, fate intervenes. This is what occurred one day in in 1943 when Richard James accidentally knocked a spring from a shelf and watched as the spring “stepped” in a series of arcs to a stack of books, to a tabletop, and to the floor, where it re-coiled itself and stood upright.

I imagine it must’ve been like witnessing Thomas Edison’s first light bulb illuminate, or being present for Beethoven playing the opening notes of his legendary Fifth Symphony for the very first time. I truly don’t believe I’m being hyperbolic, either. Try to picture seeing an infant experience the wizardry of a Slinky for the very first time (or remember your own first encounter, if you are able to). The mix of wonder and disbelief on his/her face has to be comparable to what the people in Edison or Beethoven’s company displayed. Different level of global impact, sure, but the same amount of I’m-witnessing-something-incredible.

Anyway, James ran with this mini-miracle he stumbled upon and, along with his wife Betty, formed James Industries. The couple started with 400 Slinky units priced at $1 each. At first, the Jameses had difficulty selling Slinky to toy stores. Richard knew, however, that if others were able to experience what he saw that fateful day when he knocked over the spring, the Slinky would take off. Alas, in November 1945, they were granted permission to set up an inclined plane in the toy section of Gimbels department store in Philadelphia to demonstrate the toy. Slinky was a hit, and the first 400 units were sold within ninety minutes. The next year, the Slinky was introduced at the American Toy Fair.

The rest is history.

The Slinky has since developed into one of the most easily recognizable and popular toys ever. It was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2000. High school teachers and college professors have used the Slinky in the classroom to simulate the properties of waves. United States troops in the Vietnam War used them as mobile radio antennas. Even NASA has used them in zero-gravity physics experiments in the Space Shuttle.

All of this from an accident. A lucky swipe of the hand that knocked a spring off of a shelf and launched Richard James, Betty James, and the Slinky into eternity. This begs the question, how does it stack up against some of the other notorious examples of products being invented by mistake? The Slinky was certainly not the only one of note; in fact, the list of accidental strokes of genius may surprise you. Let’s break them down:

The Potato Chip

All the way back in 1853, a New York chef named George Crum invented potato chips solely out of spite. Yes, you read correctly. After a patron of his restaurant kept sending back his French fried potatoes for being too soggy, Crum decided to slice them extra thin, fry them to a crisp, and drown them in salt. To Crum’s surprise, the customer enjoyed his salty chip of disdain. Soon enough, these “Saratoga Chips” became a staple on his Crum’s menu and were later sold by the bag until they evolved into what potato chips are today.

A strong contender right out of the gate due to it having 90 years on the Slinky and being just as ubiquitous, I’m honestly going to have to give the potato chip a slight edge over the Slinky.

Post-It Notes

Imagine accomplishing the exact opposite of what you’re attempting to do, yet being way better off for failing in this manner.

This is the situation Spencer Silver found himself in when he was trying to create a strong adhesive for the aerospace industry as a chemist working for 3M in 1968. Instead, he stumbled across a “low-tack” adhesive that he found was just strong enough to hold paper to a surface but weak enough that it wouldn’t tear upon removal. Unfortunately for Silver, it was very difficult to figure out a marketable application for his invention. After many unsuccessful attempts, it was actually one of Silver’s colleagues, Art Fry, who realized that it would be perfect as a no-slip bookmark and the Post-It note was created, although it wasn’t launched nationwide until the 1980’s.

Even though your desk is probably littered with Post-It Notes at this very moment, I can’t see one person out there who would prefer a Post-it Note to a Slinky. Challenger defeated.


With this being such a monumental brand, you may or may not know this story already, but it certainly still qualifies.

Civil War veteran and pharmacist John Pemberton was addicted to morphine for pain and wanted to find an alternative for the dangerous opiate. He went on to create a syrup made of wine and coca extract he called “Pemberton’s French Wine Coca,” which was touted as a cure for headaches and nervous disorders. However, Atlanta banned the sale of alcohol in 1885, so Pemberton created a purely coca-based version of the syrup to be mixed with carbonated water and consumed as a soda. As enticing as an alcohol-infused Coke may sound, I think it’s safe to say that Pemberton’s forced switch-up turned out to be the right move.

Unfortunately, there’s no argument I can conjure up for the Slinky against Coke without sounding like a fool. The Slinky falls to 1-2.


In 1905, 11-year-old Frank Epperson decided he wanted to try saving some money by making his own lemonade at home. Using a combination of powder and water he got pretty close but then absentmindedly left the concoction out on the porch all night. Temperatures ended up dropping severely, and when he came out in the morning he found his mixture frozen with the stirring stick still in it. 18 years later Epperson patented the product and the Popsicle was born.

This may be slightly controversial but I’m giving the nod to the Slinky. Someone would’ve figured out that freezing sugar water would result in a tasty treat soon enough if young Frank Epperson didn’t accidentally do it that day in 1905. Meanwhile, how likely is it that anyone would’ve realized what a specially-configured spring was capable of if not for Richard James’ life-altering clumsiness? Think on that, and I’m confident you’ll agree with me. The Slinky ties it up at 2-2.

Artificial Sweetener

Constantin Fahlberg, a chemist working on coal tar derivatives at Johns Hopkins University, noticed his wife’s biscuits were conspicuously sweeter than usual one evening in 1879. He eventually connected this with the compound benzoic sulfimide on which he had been working that day. Fahlberg realized he might have something special on his hands (which he literally did, that’s what made the biscuits so sweet), so by 1884 he applied for patents in several countries for the artificial sweetener he named saccharin. Fast forward to present day and Fahlberg’s accidental discovery is sitting in pink Sweet N’ Low packets in every home and restaurant.

I’m siding with the Slinky solely because of Fahlberg’s blatant neglect of hygiene. After working with coal tar all day, you come home and eat the biscuits your wife worked hard to make without washing your hands??? That type of behavior would never fly when I was growing up. If I so much as stepped outside the house that day, I was required to undergo a full-body cleanse before sitting down at the dinner table. Fahlberg got lucky, which I suppose is the spirit of all these inventions, but it allows for the Slinky to come out on top 3-2.


There you have it. The Slinky proves its superiority over other accidental inventions in an absolutely objective and not-at-all skewed determination of its merits and impressiveness. An unrelenting beacon of fun, The Slinky will stand the test of time no matter how far technology advances, no matter how short our attention spans get. When you’re a kid, there is simply nothing like seeing that wondrous spring go end-over-end without you laying a finger on it. It’s the simplest of all man-made joys.

Or maybe, I’m just grasping at straws.

Grasping at Straws: Movie Theaters

Welcome to Grasping at Straws, the weekly blog where the unheralded, the underappreciated, and the long forgotten get their time to shine! Each week, I will “make the case” for an unpopular opinion regarding any topic or category of culture and life. Suggestions for future topics will be taken and considered at any of Sour Power’s social media channels, but please, keep it classy.

Brought to you by Sour Cat 

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The Internet and the Age of Convenience has produced countless benefits for us as a society. An unprecedented level of convenience in our day-to-day lives, unsurprisingly, is one of those benefits. Instant inter-connectivity via social media has also been an often wonderful (and sometimes frightening) byproduct of technological advancements.

Our ability to watch virtually any movie or TV show we desire at the click of a mouse or touch of your finger is a miracle that surely all of us have taken advantage of at one point or another. The days of having to go to a movie theater to see a new film are long gone. The option to not leave our homes to catch the latest blockbuster has proven extremely tantalizing to many moviegoers, especially those who belong to the younger generations.

There are even plenty of people who grew up and lived most of their lives knowing only of the movie theater that have now been seduced by the ways of the stream. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and others have been undoubtedly dominant in their efforts to divert our eyeballs away from the giant screens in the theaters to the ones in our hands. It certainly seems as if the future of film-making is going to be dictated by these new viewing habits, which involve never leaving the comfort of one’s own home. Very understandably, people have come to prefer it being this way after considering the pros and cons of home-streaming vs. movie theater viewing.

As it is, the Golden State Warriors-level argument in favor of home-streaming is, “Why would I physically go somewhere else and pay exorbitant amounts of money to see a new rom-com when I can simply open the Netflix app and press ‘Play’ right now?” The latter option is going to win out much more often than not. There is almost no way to construct a rebuttal that can hold up against that.


Alas, we have reached the point in these weekly columns where I begin to unveil my case against the popular sentiment I usually spend 300 or so words building up. This one is going to be tricky, though, so grab some popcorn, sit back, and enjoy the show.

Seeing a film in a theater, surrounded by fellow eager moviegoers, who have all planned their evenings around the trip to the theater, is a special experience. One far superior to the isolating, sensory-underwhelming experience of watching a movie on your laptop at home. There’s a reason “going to the movies” is such a popular type of date; it has always been and still is an event. Similar to attending an amusement park or professional sporting event, setting time aside to participate in everything that goes along with seeing a movie in the theater is guaranteed jolt of excitement.

Especially with the rise of streaming, choosing to see a movie in the theater provides an opportunity to break from the norm. The idea of going to a movie theater may not be as glamorous and self-important as it was once made out to be, but “different” is more valued than ever before. With the ease in which entertainment is available to us all, treating the viewing of a film as a night-out is becoming one of the best ways to make people feel like they’re doing something significant.

None of that even includes the experience inside the auditorium when the lights go down and everyone is seated. Sure, the psychological aspects of movie-going are fascinating, but the experience would be all for naught if it wasn’t for the grand presentation of the film itself. When you’re facing that giant screen, with your feet up on the reclining seats that many theaters now offer, and the sound begins to blare through the system, it is truly an extraordinary feeling. You simply can’t get those sort of tingles up your arms and down your spine from a tablet speaker.

For instance, two of the best movies that have come out in the past couple years, Get Out and A Star is Born, were amplified immeasurably by seeing them in the theaters. One a thriller, one a musical drama, both propped up by exceptional sound design and cinematography. The chilling African tribal music that serves as Get Out’s de facto theme song was so much more effective in the theater setting.

Go ahead and click the link in the previous sentence. Listen to it with headphones, whether they’re the generic Apple earbuds or the most expensive pair of Beats by Dre you can find. The harmonies and rhythm are undeniably super haunting no matter how they hit your ears, but receiving them through a cinema sound system rattles your whole body down to your bones. You can feel the impending dread in your soul. Also, the introduction of Childish Gambino’s “Redbone” during the opening credits as well as all the various sound cues throughout the movie were expertly crafted by Jordan Peele and his team to strike a more powerful chord with the theater watcher as opposed to the streamer. He even admitted as much when discussing his preference for how people should watch his movie.

Bradley Cooper’s A Star is Born is a more obvious beneficiary of the theater viewing due to its numerous musical scenes. Perhaps it was the uplifting nature of most of the film’s songs, but the sheer power of the guitars and drums and, most notably, Lady Gaga’s monumental vocals were all I could think about while watching this film in the theater. The much-beloved concert scene where Cooper’s Jackson Maine brings Gaga’s Ally on stage to perform “Shallow” is among the greatest sequences I have ever seen.

Once again, if you listen to that scene through whatever device you’re reading this on, it will simply not do it justice. Not only because of the magnitude of the theater’s audio capabilities, but more so due to the unmistakably celestial feeling of a crowded theater all taking it in together. This is why seeing a movie in a theater will always be better than any alternative. The collective, intangible euphoria that comes with sharing a moment like that with 200 or so other people can not be understated. It’s something that undoubtedly exists without any of us knowing exactly why or how. Try getting any of that from watching A Star is Born alone on your couch.

Streaming’s gradual takeover of the movie industry may be inevitable, but that doesn’t mean theaters will die out completely. Nor should they. In fact, the affection and reverence people have for them should only grow as this shift continues to occur. The theater will always provide the more superior movie-viewing experience, even as its ability to attract the masses becomes weaker and weaker.

I don’t expect people to attend the theater to watch movies more often as technology makes it all too easy to catch the same film at home. I watch way more movies on my laptop then I do at a theater. What I do ask is to think about your most memorable experiences watching a movie. Consider all that goes into what makes those experiences so vivid in your mind. Chances are, almost all of the experiences you’re playing back took place in a movie theater. It’s the hands-down most exhilarating, fulfilling way to watch a movie, and no amount of success by the streaming industry will ever change that.

Or maybe, I’m just grasping at straws.

Grasping at Straws: Singing in the Car

Welcome to Grasping at Straws, the weekly blog where the unheralded, the underappreciated, and the long forgotten get their time to shine! Each week, I will “make the case” for an unpopular opinion regarding any topic or category of culture and life. Suggestions for future topics will be taken and considered at any of Sour Power’s social media channels, but please, keep it classy.

Brought to you by Sour Cat 

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Driving can be a stressful and potentially hazardous undertaking, and the roads are often filled with less-than-stellar drivers who are very displeased about their position behind the wheel among other less-than-stellar and displeased drivers. It can always be considered a success when an outing in your car results in you getting to your destination safely and in no worse of a mood. Plenty of things can happen while driving that can throw off your day, whether it be in a minor or major way.

However, there is one thing that can undoubtedly improve your day. It’s possibly the most cathartic activity that has ever been known to humans. It’s the ultimate no-judgment, no-holding-back action you can ever perform in your life. And that something is singing in the car, preferably when you’re driving alone.

Unfortunately, if you’ve read the title of this blog then that wasn’t much of a surprise reveal. Still, it felt very triumphant when you read it, didn’t it? That’s because everyone has positive emotions attached to singing in the car. Everyone does it, and everyone is the greatest singer ever when they’re belting out their favorite songs in an otherwise empty moving vehicle.

There are several different aspects of a fulfilling car concert. They are all very essential and perfectly ridiculous. You are probably already doing it without even realizing but, in order to consider yourself an expert car-singer, you must execute each of these with the precision of the singer of a-ha hitting the high note in “Take On Me” (a Hall of Fame singing-in-the-car track). Let’s run through some of them:

Automate Your Music

Safety is our #1 concern, so I cannot start this any other way than to say you should absolutely make sure your music will continuously play while you’re driving without the need for you to manually play something. Whether you have a playlist set up or you’re listening to the radio or anything else like that, under no circumstances do I advocate for fiddling with your phone while driving to find a particular song.

Volume Sweet Spot

Discovering the right volume for your music while singing in the car is paramount. You want it to be loud enough that your voice doesn’t overpower the actual artist, but not all the way up as to completely drown yourself out. Ideally, you want to create that perfect balance where it almost sounds like you’re a background singer to the lead vocalist. You want to be able to hear yourself just enough so that, in your mind, you’re hitting every single note perfectly and you sound exactly like the artist.

The bass setting is very important as well. Especially if you’re a hip-hop fan, you need that car to be knocking. I recommend 2 clicks above halfway, give or take 1 click. Do not be overly ambitious with the bass, trust me. The worst thing you can do is turn the bass up too much. If the vibration from the bass is approaching the volume of the vocals, you’ve gone too far.

Facial Expressions Are Your Friend

You know how I said turning the bass up too much is the worst thing you can do? I was wrong. The actual worst thing you can do is not make a bunch of dumb facial expressions that correspond with the words/feeling of the song. No one is looking at you. No one is around to ridicule you. This is your time to act like you’re starring in your own music video. Your face should be twisting and contorting and emoting like you’re in a soap opera.

If the song is getting super romantic and the singer is being very charismatic, don’t be afraid to shoot a wink along with a seductive grin. If it’s an aggressive/boastful type of song, get a snarl going, open your eyes wide, and work the eyebrows. If it’s a very mellow, introspective song, consider curling up your bottom lip and putting on that pre-cry sort of face but without the tears (you know exactly what I’m talking about). Drake songs seem to bring this out fairly often.

One thing I advise against is looking in the rear-view mirror while making your faces. It tends to shatter the illusion you’re creating in your head about how you look, which is about 124% cooler than how it actually appears. Making grandiose facial expressions is mostly about further placing yourself inside the song, so a disconnect from your rational self really helps accomplish that. Unless you want to just give yourself a good laugh. Then by all means, go ahead and look at yourself making those stupid facial expressions.

There’s No Note You Can’t Hit

The whole fun of singing in the car stems from its indifference to how good of a singer you actually are. As long as you’re jamming along and enjoying yourself, you shouldn’t care how you sound. This is why I strongly encourage reaching for a note that is absolutely out of your range every so often. I’m talking John Legend about 3:00 in on “Ordinary People” or Frank Ocean leading into the 2nd chorus on “Sweet Life.” Not only is it fun to make a fool of yourself from time to time (especially when no one else is around), but also it serves as a great bravery test in the moment. If you’re aware that a big note is coming up in a song, your brain will automatically start going back and forth on whether or not you’re going to go for it. Your vocal chords might be saying no, but your heart is always saying yes. And when you do reach back and let out that note with everything you got, it’s going to feel great, no matter how disastrously off-key you were.

A similar thing to this idea is attempting to recite an extremely difficult rap verse. Something I’m very proud of is my ability to nail Chance the Rapper’s verse on “Miracle” by Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment, and I primarily accomplished this by practicing many times while driving alone. It’s really fun to try to rattle off a verse like that, whether you succeed or not. Take advantage of the freedom that comes with singing in the car.


There’s plenty of other ways to capitalize on your car-singing experience, such as briefly turning the volume WAY up at a big moment in a song, such as a heavy drop in an EDM song, or a huge crescendo in an Adele song. Another fun thing is to spot someone else singing in their car and make glorious eye contact. Real recognize real.

Above all else, singing in the car is a sacred activity, one that you should never hesitate to do. Anytime you’re having a rough day, hopping in your car and driving to absolutely nowhere while cranking your favorite put-me-in-a-better-mood music is some of the best self-therapy you can ever perform. It’s also a great way to amplify the times you’re already feeling really good about yourself.

Whether you’re a great singer or not, something about knowing that no one can penetrate your little world in your car is unbelievably comforting. We all know that music is incredible in its ability to move us to emotions of all kinds, and singing along is the best way to let those emotions out and really feel whatever it is that’s going on with you at that moment. Singing in the car is almost like a cheat code we’ve found that allows us to strip down to our truest selves and behave exactly how we want without any inhibitions. It’s truly a miraculous phenomenon and it should be cherished at all times.

Or maybe, I’m just grasping at straws.

Grasping at Straws: Leap Day

Welcome to Grasping at Straws, the weekly blog where the unheralded, the underappreciated, and the long forgotten get their time to shine! Each week, I will “make the case” for an unpopular opinion regarding any topic or category of culture and life. Suggestions for future topics will be taken and considered at any of Sour Power’s social media channels, but please, keep it classy.

Brought to you by Sour Cat 

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Everyone loves holidays. We should have more holidays. I’ve written about this before.

There’s one holiday that we have the opportunity to create that would be the most anticipated and potentially most fervently celebrated. I am, of course, referring to Leap Day, a phenomenon that we allow to simply come and go every four years. Guys, this is literally a day that DOES NOT OCCUR for 3/4 of our lives! Every street in the world should resemble a championship parade for the entire 24 hours each leap year between February 28 and March 1. Leap Day should be the reason every household owns calendars for the next 4 years just so we can circle the date.

Before I officially make the case for why Leap Day deserves to be one of our culture’s most significant days, I’d like to present a little background. The existence of Leap Day is entirely tied to the Earth’s revolution cycle around the Sun. It takes 365 days and just under 6 hours for our planet to complete one revolution, which means that an extra day must be added every four years in order to keep our calendars synced up with nature (24 hours in a day divided by 6 extra hours each year = extra day every 4 years). Since it’s not exactly 365.25 days, Leap Day is skipped every 100 years, except years which are perfectly divisible by 400. This means that the years 1600, 2000, and 2400 are leap years, while the years 1700, 1800, 1900, 2100, 2200, 2300, and 2500 are “common” years. Everyone following?

Leap Day’s built-in connection with Earth and the Sun basically predetermines it to have an extra level of importance. If you think about it, Leap Day is basically the day in which our man-made construction of time realigns with nature. That sounds like a cause for celebration to me. Halloween only came about because some ancient Celtics (not Bill Russell) believed that spirits roamed the Earth on October 31 and offerings must be made for their protection. Gradually, this evolved into the enormously popular and commercialized holiday it is today. If Halloween can become what it is off of pure folklore, what’s stopping Leap Day, a day grounded in scientific significance, from developing into an all-out bonanza?

Obviously, I’m not suggesting we just devolve into anarchy every four years on February 29. Leap Day should be closer to a Super New Year, the day to celebrate making it through another year, only multiplied by 4. However, there still needs to be some sort of structure. For our Leap Day festivities, I’m not willing to settle for blue-and-yellow decor and a mascot that lives in the Mariana Trench and emerges to trade children’s tears for candy like in 30 Rock. No, we need to dream bigger.

For starters, each person who was legitimately born on a Leap Day should be treated like Freddie Mercury at one of his famous house parties. Those patient, patient people deserve royal treatment on their day that we are all co-opting. In fact, they should be allowed to live above the law, Purge-style. Maybe. I could be getting carried away already. Possibly.

As far as what the day looks like for the rest of us, my first idea revolves around bacon. And a lot of it. A bacon-centric breakfast would be a cornerstone of the Leap Day festivities, and it is up to each person to decide how creative they will be. You could go with a boring bacon-on-a-plain-bagel setup if you want. A level or two up would be to roll up bacon and substitute it with the mini hot dogs in piggies-in-a-blanket. Perhaps you want to experiment with bacon-infused waffles. It’s all on the table for the Leap Day Bacon Breakfast. Remember, this only happens once every four years. Don’t be afraid to get wild.

Next, there should be large communal games that take place in each town. Multiple games stations in larger cities. I’m thinking giant hopscotch, with trampolines needed to get from one square to the next. I’m thinking 2-story cornhole. I’m thinking charades, which is such a perfect game on its own that it doesn’t need to be amplified. I just know charades needs to be involved. People being brought together for simple, juvenile fun in a way most don’t usually make time for. Leap Day is all about cherishing the most overlooked and underappreciated aspects of life that can bring us more joy. Sort of like this weekly column. Except way less reading.

Leap Day proceedings can even change depending on the location. Chicago could recreate the Ferris Bueller parade scene. New York could hold a massive pizza scavenger hunt. San Francisco could cover all those steep streets with snow and hold sledding competitions. Who knows? The wackier the activity, the more you’re getting out of Leap Day.

Not everyone is interested in participating with the masses on a holiday, though. Plenty of people would much rather a small family gathering. Leap Day doesn’t ignore those people. In fact, the family party is encouraged as day turns to night and people grow tired of the public antics. A more intimate setting is the perfect way to end the holiday. This could hit all the same beats of a normal holiday party if that’s what you choose: lots of food, cocktails, uncomfortable political banter, unnecessary drama, and that one uncle passed out in the large armchair in the corner. All basic stuff, all acceptable.

Of course, you could keep the dial turned all the way toward “Absolutely Insane” if you wanted to as well. Remember, Leap Day occurs for only 24 hours every 4 years. Might as well take advantage of every minute. Entirely up to you. That’s the beauty of Leap Day.

Above all else, Leap Day is should be our escape from reality. So much of our daily lives are plagued with division, stress, anxiety, boredom, frustration, and pain quite frankly. Life can seem overwhelming and unrelenting at times, as if you’re just helplessly watching yourself proceed through your typical routine. Leap Day is all about seizing an opportunity to break from the monotony in a way that other holidays fail to do. Even other holidays have established traditions that we seem to collectively follow without a second thought.

An injection of spontaneity and variation into our lives once every four years could go a long way, and the occasion being that rare certainly makes it seem reasonable. Our presence here on Earth can feel extremely random and burdensome when you think too hard about it. But if you don’t think hard enough, you might not realize that it becomes necessary to seek fulfillment and pleasure from time to time.

As a great man once said, life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it. I love a good callback, and Ferris Bueller knows what he’s talking about. Maybe that entire movie was actually a precursor to the official creation of the Leap Day holiday.

Or maybe, I’m just grasping at straws.