4 Strange Things You Never Knew About Your Favorite Breakfast Cereals

4 Strange Things You Never Knew About Your Favorite Breakfast Cereals

Part of a complete, balanced, horrifying breakfast.
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Christians have the Sabbath. Jewish have Shabbat. Kids have Saturday mornings.

As a child, waking up on a Saturday morning meant three things--no school, cartoons and enough sugary cereal to upset Michelle Obama on a personal level. Cereal became so synonymous with Saturday mornings, it was easy to indoctrinate the public into accepting it as a legitimate source of nourishment. Just add in the popularity of mascots and marketing to solidify cereal as a snack incapable of ever leaving.

In some cases, however, this part of a complete breakfast has done much more in killing childhood innocence rather than upholding it. The following list is dedicated to the examples in history of manufacturing companies, mascots, or the cereals themselves that have sparked a hilarious touch of discomfort or oddity on the iconic images they represent.

1. Frankenberry Is Responsible For A Strange Health Epidemic In The 70s

To leave a historic mark on the world is an achievement few are able to claim. The revolutionary thoughts and actions of these select few have inspired hopeful dreamers to carry on in improving our world since the dawn of time.

But for every Steve Jobs, dozens of just-as-important figures lie in the shadows, awaiting their significance to be discovered. Today, we finally shed light on the most significant figure in this bizarre cereal saga, Dr. John V Payne, because we here at Odyssey believe in making dreams come true. The following is the story of Payne's contribution to medicine--the very real medical condition "Franken Berry Stool"

Released in 1971, General Mills added Frankenberry to its line-up of cereal. Alongside Count Chocula, Frankenberry ushered in the start of a cereal-like Avengers style universe that would only grow later on with Boo Berry, Fruit Brute, and Fruity Yummy Mummy. What separated Frankenberry cereal from the others, however, was the use of Red Dye Number 2 and other digestible chemicals for its bright pink color, allowing for a...less than normal bathroom experience.

When parents began to notice their children were defecating the same color as the Barbie aisle in a Toys R Us, children everywhere were hospitalized out of the fear of internal bleeding. With the world on the brink of cataclysmic disaster, pediatrician Dr. John V. Payne was called upon to save the day. A 1972 case study titled “Benign Red Pigmentation of Stool Resulting from Food Coloring in a New Breakfast Cereal (The Franken Berry Stool)," recounts the events of the phenomenon as well as Dr. Payne's own personal observations.

According to the study, Dr. Payne had conducted an experiment on a hospitalized 12-year-old boy after a conversation with the boy's worried mother about her son's love for a brand new cereal he hadn't eaten before called Frankenberry. It was in this discussion a light bulb appeared over Payne's head to feed the boy Frankenberry cereal four times over the course of one day. When the boy passed the cereal, Dr. Payne began to experiment on the stool samplings, discovering that the boy was completely healthy, stating that,

"Physical examination upon admission revealed in no acute distress and with normal vital signs…Physical examination was otherwise unremarkable.”

Upon this discovery, Payne released his research to warn others of this harmless nature of Frankenberry while coining the medical term "Franken Berry Stool." The term is still used to this day in the practice of modern medicine and John V. Payne is to thank. So congratulations Dr. Payne! Your spot on an ironic online article written by a man-child is the high honor you probably imagined upon graduating med school.


2. "The Flintstones" Advertised Cigarettes Before Fruity Pebbles

To us 90s kids, "The Flintstones" is that classic cartoon you probably saw on Boomerang when you happened to randomly wake up a little too early in the morning for school one day. Centered around the goal of making literally every single conceivable rock pun imaginable, "The Flintstones" was a massive success resulting in years of syndication and numerous product mascot tie-ins including the hugely popular "Pebbles" line of cereal.

Even decades after the series concluded, both children around the world and 23-year-old Orlando-based Odyssey.com writers still wake up daily to the delicious taste of Fruity Pebbles as well as the wide smiles of Fred, Barney, Pebbles, and Bam-Bam located front and center on the packaging. But did you know that long before these lovable cartoon icons pushed Pebbles, Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble were pushing cigarettes?

Pretty rock-diculous, huh? The image of Fred Flintsone and Barney Rubble lighting up very realistic looking Winston cigarettes is borderline surreal. Released in 1954, Winston quickly became America's fastest selling cigarette, resulting in enough of a voice for solid promotional funding.

When "The Flintstones" aired to the public in September of 1960, Winston was the show's primary sponsor, ushering in the death of innocence. In 1963, however, Winston pulled out of sponsorship with the birth of Pebbles Flintstone, citing that Winston's presence was contradicting the family-friendly spirit of the series.

Just five years after Winston's departure, The Flintstone family finally came to its senses and began to promote the knowledge of the American Cancer Society. Either that or this is hyp-rock-ricy at its finest.


3. Cap'n Crunch's Backstory Is More Complex Than A "Game of Thrones" Novel

No cereal mascot on the planet could ever hope to compete with the detailed lore and complicated universe of decorated naval officer Cap'n Crunch. The legend of Cap'n Crunch dramatically surpasses the previously low standard of backstories to Saturday morning food-based heroes with a layer of complexity George R.R. Martin isn't even capable of.

Taken from the official website as well as commercials and official social media posts, Crunch Island , located in the Sea of Milk--a magical place with talking trees, crazy creatures and a whole mountain (Mt. Crunchmore) made out of Cap’n Crunch cereal--is the birthplace of Cap'n Horatio Magellan Crunch.

Destined to reign over all as the savior of the Sea of Milk, Cap'n Horatio Magellan Crunch--that is not a joke, that's really his name--discovered his life's purpose at an early age when the villainous Soggies attacked, trying desperately to steal the Cap'n's cereal. As Cap'n Crunch grew older, the rivalry of Horatio and The Soggies only grew increasingly hostile, culminating in frequent battles over possession of the cereal.

As the battles continued, Cap'n recruited a first mate named Sea Dog and fellow shipmate children Alfie, Carlyle, Dave, and Brumhilde to man his ship the S.S. Guppy and join in the fight to rid the sea of the dastardly Soggies once and for all.

Realizing the inevitable loss that would come with the Cap'n's new garrison of troops, The Snoggies enlisted the help of the less-than-hygienic Jean LaFoote to further the fight in a epic battle that still marches on to this very day.


And if all of that weren't enough, a PC game titled "Cap'n Crunch's Crunchling Adventures" furthers the cannon by depicting Cap'n Crunch's personal life as an animal behaviorist, training a pet-like species known as Crunchlings to stop the dreaded Crunchium Thief from wreaking havoc in Crunchium City, a trading post for the Sea of Milk.

The amount of information dedicated to the world of Cap'n Crunch is so overwhelming, it doesn't take too long to search the web for Cap'n Crunch fan fiction. Please don't search for it--you don't need to see Crunchling genitalia--but it is out there for the most sadistic to endure.


4. A Toy In Cap'n Crunch Boxes Led To Prison-Sentencing Fraud

Oh no, we're not done with Cap'n Crunch just yet. Ignoring how detailed his backstory is, Cap'n Crunch is also notable for his involvement in the imprisonment of John Draper.

But let's back up a bit.

Born in 1943, John Draper was born with a very high intelligence. After consistently outshining his own peers as well as those much older, Draper realized at a very young age his intelligence was unparalleled, resulting in his own personal emotional anguish. Due to his depression, Draper joined the Air Force in 1964 to escape the pain of the life he once knew. While stationed in Alaska, Draper helped his fellow servicemen make free phone calls home by devising access to a local telephone switchboard. This confidence in his ability to tap the system turned Draper into becoming a phone phreak--someone who breaks into the telephone network illegally, typically to make free long-distance phone calls or to tap phone lines.

What does this have to do with Cap'n Crunch?

Cap'n Crunch carries with him a bosun whistle on his person at all times. Its appearances are rare, but it can be seen or heard in various advertisements or promotional images. One of those instances can be found when the Cap'n goes full on Kool-Aid man by busting through the wall to save two children from a definitely possessed babysitter.

Hear that whistle? That same whistle was used as a toy prize in the bottom of Cap'n Crunch cereal boxes. Draper received that toy whistle and discovered it was capable of omitting a perfect 2600-cycle tone, the exact tone needed to make the phone operator place or receive free calls. When Draper was transferred to England with his Air Force unit, he used the whistle to receive calls from his friends, free of charge.

In 1972, Draper was caught and sentenced to five years imprisonment on the basis of communication fraud. The device was discontinued years later as "can allow one to commit toll fraud" could be construed as a negative factor to the public. Thank goodness it was only five years in prison, though. Some Cap'n Crunch fan fiction out there speaks quite harshly to the penal system of Crunch Island. It seems that the Cap'n's love of the lethal injection is as strong as his love for his cereal.

Cover Image Credit: Brian Stuckey

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Sorry Not Sorry, My Parents Paid For My Coachella Trip

No haters are going to bring me down.
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This piece is intended to be a satire of an experience at Coachella.

With Coachella officially over, lives can go back to normal and we can all relive Beyonce’s performance online for years to come. Or, if you were like me and actually there, you can replay the experience in your mind for the rest of your life, holding dear to the memories of an epic weekend and a cultural experience like no other on the planet.

And I want to be clear about the Beyonce show: it really was that good.

But with any big event beloved by many, there will always be the haters on the other side. The #nochella’s, the haters of all things ‘Chella fashion. And let me just say this, the flower headbands aren’t cultural appropriation, they’re simply items of clothing used to express the stylistic tendency of a fashion-forward event.

Because yes, the music, and sure, the art, but so much of what Coachella is, really, is about the fashion and what you and your friends are wearing. It's supposed to be fun, not political! Anyway, back to the main point of this.

One of the biggest things people love to hate on about Coachella is the fact that many of the attendees have their tickets bought for them by their parents.

Sorry? It’s not my fault that my parents have enough money to buy their daughter and her friends the gift of going to one of the most amazing melting pots of all things weird and beautiful. It’s not my fault about your life, and it’s none of your business about mine.

All my life, I’ve dealt with people commenting on me, mostly liking, but there are always a few that seem upset about the way I live my life.

One time, I was riding my dolphin out in Turks and Cacaos, (“riding” is the act of holding onto their fin as they swim and you sort of glide next to them. It’s a beautiful, transformative experience between human and animal and I really think, when I looked in my dolphin’s eye, that we made a connection that will last forever) and someone I knew threw shade my way for getting to do it.

Don’t make me be the bad guy.

I felt shame for years after my 16th birthday, where my parents got me an Escalade. People at school made fun of me (especially after I drove into a ditch...oops!) and said I didn’t deserve the things I got in life.

I can think of a lot of people who probably don't deserve the things in life that they get, but you don't hear me hating on them (that's why we vote, people). Well, I’m sick of being made to feel guilty about the luxuries I’m given, because they’ve made me who I am, and I love me.

I’m a good person.

I’m not going to let the Coachella haters bring me down anymore. Did my parents buy my ticket and VIP housing? Yes. Am I sorry about that? Absolutely not.

Sorry, not sorry!

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Harasta

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Burger King Surpasses Other Fast Food Establishments In Quality, But Not In Style

If Burger King tried just a little bit harder, they would crush the fast food game.
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I have many fond memories of Burger King from growing up. The paper crowns were adorable, the atmosphere was fun, and I did feel like a king surveying my fast food kingdom. Now, as a nutritionally deficient adult, I’d like to feel that way again. Alas, Burger King grew up along with me and it did not age well.

Before we begin, I should clarify that this is not a paid advertisement for Burger King, because I am willing to offer my services pro bono until the beloved restaurant chain gets back on its feet. While it may be bold of me to assume that the company is struggling financially, I don’t think it’s out of line considering the likelihood of witnessing a drug deal in any BK parking lot. That’s not a good look.

Speaking of which, maybe it’s time for Burger King to work on their presentation. The King himself is a horrendous mascot, but so is Ronald McDonald. Yet McDonald’s has no trouble maintaining a fresh and sexy image. How can this be? I believe that McDonald’s is very aware that their food is garbage and they know that we know that, so they can no longer market it that way. Instead, their commercials feature hip, young people breakdancing fueled by chicken McNuggets. Though it is but an elaborate ruse, it must be working. Burger King, on the other hand, has had the same platform since its inception in 1953. It’s essentially nothing more than “we have burgers; please eat them.” That might as well be the slogan. It’s not bad, but it must at least be said with conviction.

Here’s the thing: Burger King really does have fantastic burgers. Frame-grilling is truly the way to go. Sure, certain burgers on the menu are a little bit more expensive than at Mickey D’s or Wendy’s, but it’s worth it to get food that actually tastes like something. Plus, they have a veggie burger for those vegetarians who don’t mind being seen at Burger King. Their chicken nuggets are clear winners as well. They are far crispier and more flavorful than McNuggets, though it is disappointing they are no longer shaped like crowns. And if you want onion rings, Burger King is really your only option.

There is one department in which Burger King loses spectacularly: fries. McDonald’s fries may only be edible for about fifteen minutes, but they are a delicious fifteen minutes. Arby’s curly fries are on a whole other level that neither restaurant can ever hope to reach. But even Taco Bell’s limited edition nacho fries were better than BK’s soggy, sad potato sticks. They taste vaguely fishy and I don’t know if they’ve ever formally met America’s best friend, salt. If I want a full meal, I don’t want to go to Burger King for the entree and drive down the street for the side.

Listen, Burger King, you have a lot of wonderful qualities. You have a Coca-Cola Freestyle machine! If I need a raspberry ginger ale for whatever reason, I know I can count on you. Please hear me when I say that you have limitless potential and I believe in you. But you need to believe in yourself.

Cover Image Credit: James Sutton on Unsplash

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