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Monthly Archives: January 2014

What The Hell Am I Eating: Part 1 of 2

I spied (and purchased) this choice example of Marketing Mayhem during an evening Stop and Shop run. It’s a “rockin’ bag of [coffee] beans from Joey Kramer of Aerosmith.” Where do I begin? The whole concept is utterly ludicrous. I get using a leathery rock dude to brand certain things (music equipment, cheap bourbon, “chew”) — but organic coffee? Does Joey Kramer even drink coffee? Apparently so, at least according to the website, which describes him as “a coffee-lovin’ Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer [who] has pounded the skins since his early teens fueled by love for music and spirited beans.” Maybe this isn’t a weird celebrity endorsement…maybe Joey’s just a dude who really loves his coffee?

Despite the presence of a flaming dragon, the coffee was actually pretty good.

It WAS artisan micro brewed.

Design Assessment: Weird and a little “Planet Hollywood.” I think they should go all the way with the tackiness and include a temporary tattoo right in the bag.

What The Hell Am I [not] Eating: Part 2 of 2

I bought two bags of these tortillas at a health food store because they were out of the kind I usually buy. The graphic design style is what I refer to as “1970s-era health food.” Note the smiley sun graphic, the use of psychedelic primary colors, and the groovy religious imagery. Nowadays organic stuff tends to be all slick and hip, but back in the day everything looked like it was designed by a team of Unitarian Universalist volunteers armed with crayola markers and free love.

Mr. Max is an expert on pre-yuppified health food. As a tyke, he ate a lot of the kinds of things you needed to buy at weird-smelling bulk food stores, like Frookies (well-acknowledged to be disgusting) and Panda licorice chews.

He warned me that these would be bad. I didn’t listen.

For dinner, I made a delicious burrito filling with black beans, chipotle peppers, and roasted vegetables. Then I ruined it by putting it inside one of these completely inedible tortillas. We each choked one down and immediately chucked the rest. I still don’t understand how these could be so awful. Mr. Max thinks it’s because they’re “sprouted.” I think it’s because of the addition of millet AND spelt. Maybe. But whatever the reason, there’s no way they’re “New Mexico style.” Unless they love things that taste like fermented wheat grass and butt in the land of enchantment.

Design Assessment: Accurate. Beware anything that looks like it’s been designed by someone on a commune.

Disclaimer: I know, I know. Cormac McCarthy has achieved sainthood in certain literary circles (i.e., Brooklyn whiskey bars). My only brush with the author occurred in 9th grade, when an English teacher had us read All The Pretty Horses. I remember hating it and also hating that she said it was assigned because it was a good way “to get boys interested in reading” (because boys HAVE TO like cowboy stories (?) and also OMG what about the mens?!?). Anyway, this review is limited to the film. I’m sure the books are great or whatever and I’ll get around to reading them eventually. So don’t email me all like, “OMG CORMAAC MCCARTHYYY PULITZER PRIZE SDFKJHSDFKJ”

Last week we watched The Road on Netflix. You might think a movie about environmental and societal collapse would be a little bit of a downer — but you’re wrong! Here’s five reasons we couldn’t take this “serious” movie seriously.

#1: Starvation Mostly Makes You Bitchy

The lead characters in The Road – a man and his son – are struggling to survive after an unnamed apocalyptic event wipes out society and, along with it, most of the food. They head south on foot, searching abandoned houses for canned goods along the way. You would think starvation would bring out some deep character development, but most of the time our lead characters just bitch at each other like a couple trying to make dinner plans after 8 o’clock. It reminded me of that series of snickers ads:

I think someone should turn The Road into a campy midnight movie phenomenon where the audience shows up dressed in dirty post-apocalyptic rags and throws Snickers bars at the screen.

#2: Charlize Theron: She’s Pretty and That’s It

I feel bad for Charlize Theron. She’s in like 3 scenes in the whole movie and she barely talks. And then she dies. Oh, and she’s in #3…

#3: Awkward Sex Scene Flashback

Throughout the movie, Viggo Mortensen experiences helpful-to-the-audience flashbacks of his cushy life before the collapse. One is a series of memories of his wife (mostly looking pretty and not talking), including this TOTALLY GROSS scene of him giving said wife a lady handjob during a classical music concert.

Gross. At least it’s dark and they’re in the back, though. People wouldn’t see them, right?

OH NO WAIT IT’S WELL LIT AND THERE’S A BUNCH OF PEOPLE SITTING RIGHT THERE.

#4: The Dad’s a Jerk

Near the end of the movie, Viggo Mortensen starts cracking under the pressure of protecting his son from roving bands of cannibals and thieves. This culminates in him completely overreacting when a fellow starving wanderer steals their food (you know, the food they rightfully stole from that person’s underground bunker). Dad steals back their food and makes the thief hand over everything — including the clothes on his back. Even the kid is all, WTH is up with you dad?

You’re not you when you’re hungry.

#5: The Happy Ending

Given that this is a movie about the end of the world as we know it, I was expecting a relatively grim ending. It’s not like you can just “resolve” societal collapse. Well, color me impressed because they totally went for a corny happy ending. After (spoiler alert!) Viggo Mortensen dies, the kid is approached by a group of scary, but apparently benevolent, fellow travelers. They offer to “adopt” him and tell him there are other children in their group (insta-siblings!). Just when the kid’s grin couldn’t get any wider, the scary/benevolent travelers reveal that they also have a dog. That they’re feeding with magical food they somehow have or something!

That’s right. They ended a movie about a cannibalistic dystopia with… “You get a puppy!”

Behold the WikiPizza:

SNOOOOZE

Visual Assessment: With all honesty, I didn’t read a single word on this box until right now and am currently struggling to make it through a sentence. I’m getting tired. This pizza box is wearisome. In order to stay awake, I’m going to insert some more media because there’s certainly nothing fun to see on that tedious, tedious box unless you find a Wingdings crown at all stimulating.

A spot-on comparison by Attempted Blogger and, like Dr. B’s labels, this pizza box lid requires some parsing.

They start out by quoting themselves welcoming you to their/your pizza. Weird. Here you’ll also find the only exclamation point; the rest of the box drones on using oddly-placed ellipses about family pride, fresh ingredients and ends up sounding like a eulogy for St. Anthony Polcari: the hardest working man ever.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to hear about how great the pizza they used to make was. We spend an awful lot of time in the past on this pizza box, and even though they try to twist it around to say everything has been delicious and wonderful for 85 years, they can’t completely hide their wistfulness with the almost-morbid “Since those early days, the faces have changed.” The follow-up of “But the Polcari family still keeps a watchful eye over all” is weird and menacing and WHY ARE WE TALKING ABOUT THIS IT IS A PIZZA BOX NOT A NOVELLA. Oh, but it is.

Generic product claims: Despite this pizza box already being a big old windbag, they still slide in a few things that everyone already knows about pizza. Namely, that pride and hard work make the best pizzas, as does using the freshest, finest ingredients. Yawn city.

Overall:  Way too much lore, and it’s poorly-written and weird. Comic Sans, a QR code, and a shitty crown are the only visual jazz, and the actual name of the pizzeria is jammed down in the lower corner.  All visual content critiques aside, the pizza itself was very delicious and highly recommended. As the Polcari’s “special pride” warrants, I was “happily satisfied” indeed.