In the Sharknado movies, which I will remind everyone is a over-the-top disaster movie about a tornado made up of sharks, battled by a man with “Fin” for a first name. Tara Reid plays April Wexler, a character who is saved by Fin (her ex-husband), looses her hand and gets it replaced with a removable buzzsaw. Also, between the first and second film, she authors a book. And people have read said book, and it’s a deeply-insightful first-person account of fighting a shark tornado. Other characters say, “I read your book” in a careless, tossed-aside manner. I repeat, Tara Reid has written a book.

The movies never address if its a picture book. Perhaps it’s full of text written by a ghost-writer? We rarely see the book, so it’s also possible that maybe the whole story is being retold by her, and it’s a case of unreliable narration? Anyway.

Not to say women can’t write a book. This series isn’t meant to be taken seriously, and often isn’t. Still, I can’t help but think of “Tara Reid: Book Author” as a major misstep. When I saw that, it took me out of the film, made me examine my whole life to that point, and then pick up the pieces. It’s a bridge too far.

Maybe if they had her as a podcaster? Or maybe she wrote an article for Time Magazine? Even better: she sold the life-rights for her story and Hollywood made a movie based on it. What if she was giving a speech at a commencement, or high school graduation, or bar mitzvah? Or turned her entire experience into a pop song. Perhaps she just gave a lot of TV interviews, and someone made a meme of her…

These competing thoughts run through my mind, and all of them are more acceptable to me than the “I’m Tara Reid, traumatic survivor-turned-bestselling author” plot. No personal offense to the actress, this is totally just a screenplay gripe. Perhaps it’s a problem with Hollywood as a whole: the idea that anyone can be a bestselling writer.

I mean, countless atypical actors have been cajoled into portraying a writer. Leonardo DiCaprio, Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, etc. Clearly, in recent cinema history, only one portrayal of a writer has come through the Hollywood distortion machine with a half-way descent results:

I’d pay to see Barton Fink escape a headfirst-flying shark.



“In addition to chocolate (the original flavor), Tootsie Pops come in cherry, orange, caramel, grape, raspberry, strawberry, watermelon, blue raspberry, candy cane (seasonal), and now, pomegranate, banana, blueberry, lemon, and green apple flavors.” – Mother-F***ing Wikipedia

Here’s the deal, gang: I love me a good Tootsie product. The original Rolls are a Halloween staple, while Frooties are just that: whoop-assingly fruity. Tootsie Pops might be the best thing the company produces. It has also spawned a true testament to the power of beaming advertising directly into the heads of children everywhere: to find out how many licks it takes to get to the center of a pop. Sore tongues can be linked back to those 1969 Owl, Turtle, and Cow characters. Unless you are too impatient to get to that chocolatey center, that is.

As far as candies go, one of my other favorites is the Root Beer Barrel. Now I’m not sure how this started for me, but as a child, I have fond memories of getting the tasty cylinders at the end of a meal at fancy restaurants, in lieu of an after-dinner mint. Perhaps that’s why I associate it with the finer things in life?

However, for me in much of my adult life, I have always wondered what a Root Beer Barrel merged with a Tootsie Pop would be like. Pure euphoria, perhaps? For all I know, it would skew too close to the original Chocolate flavor, but I am convinced that it would be unique. But could Rootbeer and chocolate combined would become a flavor all of it’s own?

To test this theory, I melted took two Root Beer Barrel candies, and sandwiched them between a Tootsie Roll. This is my unscientific, DIY-approach to filling this void in my life. Much to my unsurprised system of core beliefs, I was completely right. These flavors merge in a way that’s sweet and satisfying.

While I don’t have a palate of an official Tootsie Sommelier, and I have little to no mass market research done in this regard, I can tell you that this is a delight. To rob consumers of this taste explosion, would be criminal. Until Tootsie desires to make my dreams come true, by rolling the Root Beer Tootsie Pop out world-wide, I shall have to resort to my own sandwich version.

After all, someone had confidence in “Strawberry-Watermelon” with a chocolate center.



For over five years, I lived in Orlando, Florida. Here’s some things I miss about that experience.

  1. Driving Ettiqute: Orlando has a lot of foreign visitors from far-off places, like Europe, South America, and New Jersey. There is a reason why car insurance is so expensive in Orlando, and that is the number of rental cars driving around, missing their exit for SeaWorld. Protip: there are several exits for each theme park, so no need to slam in your brakes in the middle of I-4 rush hour traffic due to missing the first well-market exit.
  2. Highways and Turnpikes: Jumping on the Turnpike with your SunPass is the local way to avoid traffic and road closures. Also: thanks to the way Florida tourism sprawl has taken over the Interstate, paid toll roads are essential to cutting your commute in half. Although, this doesn’t solve every problem; just ask anyone who’s had to take I4 to the 408, and they will recount their story with horror in their eyes.
  3. Monuments to Failed Ideas: When I lived in Orlando, I toyed with coming up with a bus sightseeing tour that would show some of the worst of human ingenuity. Sure, the “I4 Eyesore” (pictured right) would be on the tour, along with Holy Land Experience, several hotels on the 192 tourist corridor, and the entirety of the Orange Blossom Trail.
  4. AMSCOT, 7-11, and Walgreens, Everywhere: I never really used these stores, aside from giving tourists directions. “Turn at the Walgreens,” I would say, “Past the Amscot. If you see the 7-11, you went too far.” With that sentence, I just described 80% of Orlando intersections.
  5. Publix Produce Section: Really, why is it so small? If not for the deli subs, I would have stopped going there years ago.
  6. Disney Skywriters: You may get the wrong impression from that label, thinking maybe they’d draw three concentric circles to form corporate big cheese Mickey Mouse in the ski, or something. But in reality, these are paid pilots who fly over Disney property and write things like “JESUS LOVES U,” “U + GOD,” smiley faces, and the like.
  7. Public Records of Health Inspections: Yeah, this list exists with that place you at at yesterday. This list got me to stop eating Hungry Howies, true story.
  8. Sweet Tea, Everywhere: With as many Northerners that have invaded Central Florida, you might find yourself forgetting this is the South. Until you have to ask for unsweet tea, that is.
  9. Iced-Over Windshields: It does happen, and usually once or twice a year for the time I lived in Orlando. And naturally, people would freak out and not know how to get the ice off. Not being a huge market for ice scrapers, once a year you hear about some poor soul who pours hot water on their windshield to melt the ice, and the story always ends with “…and it cracked on me!”
  10. Working on Holidays: It’s funny, but I spent years working all the major holidays, choosing to do alternative “staycations” in the generally slower times of the year. This isn’t really normal, unless you work for a service-oriented hospitality behemoth.