Monday, March 31, 2008

Divergent Tastes

I've picked up two new CD's (and by picked up, of course I mean downloaded) over the last two weeks. While I feel they are both amazing, and destined to be among my favorites of the year, they are quite different. I have what could best be described as erratic taste in just about everything, which may arise as much from my need to be contrary as it does from a wide and varied palate. Since I began DJing at my alma mater's radio station again, I've been reminded of how genre specific people can get, enveloping themselves in one scene and rejecting everything that falls outside the boundaries of their chosen niche. That state of mind, as we age, usually gives way to a desire to see it all, hear it all and do it all, which to be fair is the mind set of more than a few college age kids.

That desire to sample from the buffet table of life is my default setting these days. It's with that mind set as a back drop that I am happily bouncing back and forth between the works of a teen DIY punk band and a indie movie star, turned indie music artist. I am speaking of "Get Awkward" by Nashville punks Be Your Own Pet and "Volume One" by She & Him, which is composed of actress Zooey Deschanel and iconic indie guitar player M. Ward.

I fell hard for BYOP back in 2006, when I played their freshman effort over and over during my third shift jam sessions. The second disc features all of the breakneck pace of that first record, but also features a bit more sophistication. I mean that not as a slight to a group who may wish to submerse themselves in their rough around the edges presentation. If I were being over simplistic, I may draw comparisons to Green Day, who's first recordings were great to bop your head to, but at the start, the subject matter wasn't always of a serious nature. As time passed Green Day began to write fantastic songs with more poignant lyrics culminating in "American Idiot" which I think is a modern day masterpiece. Jemina and the boys are well ahead of the curve with this record, and would be more so if their Label hadn't censored the.

The US release of "Get Awkward" includes only 12 tracks because Universal pulled the songs "Becky" "Black Hole" and "Blow Yr Mind" because they perceived them to be too violent. The first two are amazing tracks, that do make illusions to stabbing and boredom induced murder, but are not in anyway close to some of the other violence glorifying acts Universal has distributed in the past. Even without them, the record is a tremendous step forward for a group with boundless potential, and years ahead of them to fulfil it.

After the fist pumping listen that is "Get Awkward" my transition is about as smooth as one of those college DJ's going from New Order to Lynard Skynard - don't laugh, I've heard it. I wait a moment to cleanse my palate, then I put on She and Him. For those of you who think you don't know Zooey Deschanel, you do. She was the big sister in Cameron Crow's "Almost Famous" and first tipped her hand to her talent as a singer as Buddy's love interest in "Elf."

Deschanel has a versatile voice that ranges from cool and smokey to sweet and perky. The She & Him release features a number of her own songs that show real tallent in both arrangement and lyrical content. She also takes on the Beatles and Smokey Robinson, covering "I Should Have Known Better" and "You Realy Got a Hold on Me" and she does a masterful job with each. M. Ward (who needs to knock off this whole whole "m" thing, your name is Matt, deal with it) is beyond reproach with a six string in his hand, and makes the whole record a multi layered pleasure. But, it's Dechanel's vocals that steal the show, making you all at once fall in love with her and hate her for being able to be both a singer and an actress.

I highly recommend both records to anyone who wants to hear some of the best music out there right now.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Six Weeks Till Oz

I don't know what you're doing in six weeks, but I know that Inky and I will be winging our way over the Pacific toward the shores of the lucky land. Six weeks really isn't a long time, and Inky and I are doing everything we have to do each day, but our focus is 42 days away. I think about it like the last few weeks of senior year of high school, when you've already been accepted into college and all you have to do is avoid being arrested, manage to not knock anyone up and not colossally fuck up your grades causing you not to graduate. Come to think of it, senior year of college was much the same.

At any rate, we just need to keep punching the time clock, avoid debilitating injury and play out the string for six more weeks and well be looking down upon the Jamison valley (pictured above) in the Blue Mountains. The mountains are a two hour train ride west of Sydney, and are one of our first destinations once we are in country. Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick... the countdown continues.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Craig is a Douche

XL and I were talking about Craig's List yesterday (please note, when I say "talking" I mean emailing back and forth when we should be working, which we have been doing for years) and our conversation got me thinking about this web classified section. It was in the news twice yesterday, first because someone listed a baby for sale, and then when a guy had all his shit stolen after someone put an ad on Craigs List saying it was all free for the taking. Oddly enough both of these stories came out of that hotbed of news: Oregon.

So I let my fingers do the clicking, and headed over to Craigs List, only to be horrified and amused by what I found. These are real Craigs List ads, appearing in the Casual Encounters section:

From Tyler Texas: "I am lactating and horny for a man to suck on my breast. My husband does not want to do it but said I could find somebody to do it for me as long as I returned to him."

Wow. Wait, you are just looking to have one sucked? The left or the right? Because that should be in the ad.

From Lincoln Nebraska: "I'm here to get the love-making I deserve. I'd love to pull down your boxers to your knees. I am caucasian, and medium length hair. I am a size 8, medium build, nice rack, all my teeth, and nice skin. I'm looking for some warmth, compassion and someone in the sack that isn't going to bore me because I love to try new things sexually. I'm ready to have a good night."

Ok, were to start. Why be coy by saying 'love making' and then go into the whole pull your boxers down thing. Does that mean no guys who sport the Y fronts? Lastly, how sad is it when you have to add "all my teeth" to "nice rack." Yikes.

From Maryland's Eastern Shore: "Okay so this is suppost to tell u bout me? well im a little quarky and a unique and crazy but its not that bad? well i hope not ,if u wanna know the real me get to know me, an ad is not gonna tell u what u really need to know"

This one is from XL's hood, I'll have one more from there later. I couldn't get over this one because who would admit that they look like Quark when they are trying to get laid?

York Pennsylvania: "PDTElizabeth here, searching for for a risque man for some clandestine and loose moments as well as taboo. I am lbs very long auburn hair with green eyes D you know what he he. A bit debauched and fancy immoral with a normal man not crazy. I am a professor and I cherish nsa. love mischievous haha.x.o.x.o Elizabeth"

Um? What? I do like how she begins like Champ from Anchorman, but it goes really down hill from there. I normally wouldn't criticize sentence structure in one of these ads, but she does say that she is a professor, so why wouldn't you use taboo to modify moments, eg: Searching for a risque man for some clandestine, taboo and loose moments. Just a thought, I just can't go on with this ad, you see it, make your own observations and jokes now.

From New York City: "Anybody here who wants to slip and slide in side a good-searching white girl? Well, I've been searching for a new "friend" for a while and haven't found one yet. What I'm searching for is someone who's not boring, drug, disease and drama free, and randy."

Again, not to pick on sentence structure, but this person just said that they are looking for someone who is not boring and who is NOT drug, disease and drama free. I think what they wanted to say is: I'm searching for someone who is not boring, and who is drug, disease and dram a free but is also randy. God, how did this turn into a syntax lesson? I didn't even focus on the whole slip and slide part.

From San Fransisco: "I am a Beautiful Woman, inside and out, and this I know! I like a man who knows what he wants out of life but knows br chemistry happens while you least expect it. I have a G cup with a 34 waist, 5'6, blonde, blue eyes, tattoos and a cat..."

Wait? Like, a real cat, or... Never mind.

Back to the Eastern Shore for a bit of realizm and maybe some sainity: "Do you seek NSA affairs & encounters? Ever notice how many of the "women" posting here never say what town they're in or near? Know why? Because they're not local at all. All they want is your e-mail addr. to spam your brains out. They may not even be women at all. You'd think by now they'd get a clue --- Eastern Shore is an area, a region covering parts of 2 states-- it isn't a city or town, but then how would they know that, since they aren't from here. So any ad that uses the phrase "in Eastern Shore" is guaranteed to be phony. Chances are better that its real if they say WHERE on the Shore they live. A number of us are keeping an eye out for this, so the game's up, spammers. We aren't going away until you do. CL is going to start cracking down. If you're going to place an ad, BE WHO YOU SAY YOU ARE, AND WHERE YOU SAY YOU ARE, or don't bother."

I don't have a problem with people hooking up, and I not so much of a prude that I can't understand that some people are just looking for NSA, or no strings attached encounters. That said, surely this isn't the best way to go about it. I know it can be hard to find someone, and I haven't had to deal with that since I was 20, but come on.


Monday, March 24, 2008

Bachelor Party?

Inky and I started dating when we were 20, and were married right after college. So, all of my notions about what being a man alone without her are informed by my late teen years, not by any true adult experiences. Moreover, I've never lived alone, coming close only once when I was doing my internship in Boston in 1997, and I spent 10 days of that time in my uncles house alone.

Even though I have precious little experience in the area, I can safely say I don't like living alone. Inky is going to be spending the next few weeks working for her family bid'nes and so I am left to my own devices. I've spent time away from the house while on business trips, but then I am out of my paradigm and take the backdrop change as a reinvigorating change. Faced with a week or two alone in my own home I quite frankly don't know how to proceed. I'll be cooking for one, eating alone, and challenged with remembering that there is no one around to hear my Witty remarks or finish my thoughts. When I answer Jeopardy questions right, I won't have anyone to be amazed with my massive intellect, -OK, so I didn't have that even when Inky was in the house- and perhaps worst of all, I'll be missing my ibi.

In Latin the phrase "ubi ibi" roughly translates to "where one is, there is the other." And for the last 12 years that's how Inky and I have been. So if you see me in the next few weeks and I don't seam quite right to you, understand that I'm a bit out of sorts and I'm new at this 'man alone in the house' thing.


Saturday, March 22, 2008


This little fella is Petrogale Xanthopus, or a Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby. Take a moment to appreciate just how amazingly cute he is, what with those yellow feet and ears, and the striped tail. Done? Great. This guy has fur that looks like a Pooh Skin Blanket, and loves to climb around on rocks and other terrain that most kangas and wallaby's would avoid. Fucking adorable!

Inky and I have been antipodean aficionados for years now, and we just came across the Yellow foot about a week ago. How could that be, that two people who read everything they can get their hands on, or watch everything they can find about one country can go this long without hearing about a great animal like this?

Australia is an amazing place, filled with surprises like the yellow foot, not to mention about a million other plants and animals that don't exist anywhere else. As of right now, we don't plan on going to the part of the country where the yellow foot lives in a spot where Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales all meet, but maybe we'll see one in a zoo.

We leave for Oz in 50 days and now things are starting to get serious. I'm starting to do some more checking into hotel/hostel options and I've booked cars in Melbourne and at Uluru. We've decided to go to the Blue Mountains while in Sydney and we're all booked for our first night at the Footy.

Now all that's left to do is pull pages off the calender each day, and pray that the ole Yankee dollar gets a bit stronger or that the Aussie buck takes a bit of a dive so we can get a more favorable exchange rate. Till then, I'm going to go find a pair of golden socks and start hopping up and down the stairs.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Greazy Tony: Just Chillin'

I took the day off today, and boy was it a good idea. My day started with my Aussie Rules Football team winning in the season opener, and it's been all gravy since then. After the footy wrapped up, I had some breakie: two toasted english muffins with butter and strawberry jelly, a big ole cup of tea on the side. Then I watched basketball with Inky till lunch time, at which time I cooked up some quesadillas for us to chow down on.

As the day wore on, and Inky and I followed the brackets for our challenge with XL, we got the chance to just chill together and work on our mental telepathy. It's scary how many times I answer a question she hasn't asked yet, or she and I both say the same thing at the same time. Days like today go a long way in cementing that connection.

After a quick jaunt to the office to print off XL's bracket, we headed home for a dinner of my balls... on a roll. There's nothing like a meatball parmigiana sub while you watch basketball, this you can believe. Now, we are sitting back and watching as Belmont temporarily hangs with Duke, and waiting for the festivities to wind down. But, wait! Lost is on tonight too! I must say it was a good day.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

It's Not TV, It's Educational, er, HBO

Let's face it, there's a lot of crap on TV these days. To put it mildly. So when a show of substance comes along, and it's well done and well acted I feel it necessary to tell everyone about it. If you are not watching "John Adams" on HBO then you need to get on it right away. They have only aired two episodes, so it should be easy for you to catch up. Why should you watch a mini series about our second President you ask? Well, let me ask you this, is it any dumber than watching a show about a chick who is famous for having a big ass and a sex tape? No.

Paul Giamatti has been excellent so far as Adams in the 1770's. The series, which is based on the book by David Mcullough, will take us all the way through Adams' life, and will keep us in touch with the other founding fathers as they endeavour to make a new nation free from the oppression of King George III. While Adams, Franklin, Washington et al may be in the forefront of our minds when it comes to this period in history, McCullough read hundreds of letters between Adams and his wife Abigail, skillfully played by Laura Linney, and the show brings the importance of their relationship to the fore.

Far from patriotic drivel, this is an honest and frank examination of a few men who took actions that not only changed America, but also changed the world. These men are played by a few actors that you will recognize, but by in large their performances are as large as the characters they portray. Tom Wilkinson gives a performance for the ages as Ben Franklin, and so far I haven't been too distracted by David Morse's fake nose in his role as Washington. The nice part about the prosthetic nose is that I don't see Brutal from The Green Mile every time I look at him. I still think they should have gotten Dave Chappelle as Samuel L. Jackson to play Samuel Adams. I can see it now, Samuel turns to John after the Boston Massacre and says "Yes I'm glad they're dead and I hope they rot in hell."

It's not TV, it's HBO.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Show Review: Missy Higgins at Fletchers

I know I just saw Missy Higgins play live a few days ago, but when you live betwixt a few major cities you have a few opportunities to see shows without having to drive too far. Plus, Inky wasn't at the show on Tuesday because I was traveling for work, so we headed down to Baltimore to see her in the last show of this tour.

As venues go, Fletchers isn't good. At least not for someone like Missy, who you want to watch while she sings. I can see that it may be good from some thrash metal band where everyone just wants to listen while they slam into one another, but I digress. I'm starting to think a lot less of the people in Baltimore, since Inky and I keep having bad experiences down there with really rude people who don't know how to A) hold their liquor or B) hold their tongue. If you want to get drunk and act stupid on St. Patricks day weekend, then why not just go to the bar and save your self the $17 for the ticket to the show. Also, if you want to hear the one song that was on Grey's Anatomy and then just talk the rest of the time then check youtube the day after the show and don't show up.

As for the show it self, what can I say? Missy is the consummate musician, and even after seeing her for the 5th time I enjoy every second of her performance. Whether it be with the full band, or just her and a guitar she can grab ahold of your attention and keep you transfixed, even whey you know the songs backwards and forwards. The play list included the songs that are "must plays" but as always peppered in a few that I hadn't heard since the first or second show. Here's how the show went:

1. The Battle
2. Secret
3. Angela
4. Dusty Road
5. Ten Days
6. Going North
7. This is How it Goes
8. Where I Stood
9. Forgive Me
10. Any Day Now
11. Don't Ever
12. Wrong Girl
13. Hold Me Tight
14. Warm Whispers
15. 100 Round the Bends
16. Peachy
17. Scar
18. Steer

The energy in the room (all the nonsense aside) was the best of any Missy show Inky and I have seen. There were far more people who knew the songs than didn't and a fair amount of the crowd who even sung along from time to time. While I think Missy is a complete enough artist to appeal to a wide audience, the crowd was decidedly female, and with a large contingent of the young Baltimore Lesbian on the town, not that there's anything wrong with that. I mean, the last time I saw that much girl on girl kissing (other than on the L Word) I had to pay $9.99 and the title didn't appear on my bill at check out. I'm just telling you what I saw.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Eight and a Half Weeks

You Didn't think I'd let more than a few days pass without mentioning the Oz '08 extravaganza did you? Well, Inky and now have less than two months until our trip, with today marking 59 days until we head south. Even for a guy who always has the antipodes on the brain, I've been thinking about Oz a lot over the last few days. I finally took the leap and signed up for Directv so I can watch Aussie Rules on TV rather than listening on Internet radio. Then I went and saw my favorite Aussie singer, Missy Higgins the other day, and over the last week I've been reading Jer, from's tails of his Sydney adventure.

Today is the 13th of March, and on the 13th of May Inky and I will be in Sydney, most likely on our way to the Blue Mountains. I love knowing that all that stands between us and the Lucky Land is 20 hours on a plane and two months. We planned this trip 10 months ago, booked it 4 months ago, and each day we get closer to it, I get more excited.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Show Review: Missy Higgins at World Cafe' Live

As fate would have it, my work took me to the city that loves you back yesterday, and low and behold Missy Higgins was also there. Now, I've seen Missy Higgins in Philly, I've seen her in NYC and I've seen her in Atlantic City, but I couldn't pass up the chance to see her again. Even though that meant standing for the whole show, jostling for position with some of the "new fans" who were hipped to Missy by Grey's Anatomy and getting home after midnight. Missy Higgins is just that good.

She does an honest hardworking musician's set, and pours herself out into the mic. She's also impossibly upbeat while talking between songs, interacting with the crow and telling anecdotes about being an Aussie in the states, or where her songs came from. On this evening, it was her Bass player Dave's birthday so she gave him lipstick a hair band and made him strip his shirt of and wear a smoking jacket.

The set it self was a mix of tunes from her first album, which didn't make waves here, and her new Record "On a Clear Night" which was an '07 release in Oz but just came out stateside. She also sang a Cy Coleman song called "I'm in Love Again" that she has recorded for a tribute covers record which will come out early next year. As I mentioned, Missy seemed to be painfully aware that many in the crowd weren't there to hear "Scar" "Steer" or any of her other previously best known songs. Many of them wanted to hear "Where I Stood" which is her first US single, and which was made popular by TV placement on shows like Grey's. "If I become famous in America, I don't want it to be because of Grey's Anatomy" she joked, but I would have to think there was more than a bit of truth to that statement. Such is the life of a pro musician, you need exposure, but you don't want to be over exposed.

The set list was:

1. Secret
2. Katie
3. Angela
4. Dusty Road
5. Ten Days
6. Going North
7. This is How it Goes
8. Don't Ever
9. Forgive Me
10. The Sound of White
11. I'm In Love Again
12. Where I Stood
13. Warm Whispers
14. 100 Round The Bends
15. Peachy
16. Bad to the Bone (to celebrate Dave's Birthday)
17. Scar
18. Steer

Inky and I will be seeing Missy again in 3 days down in Baltimore and then who knows when she'll blow into town again.


Monday, March 10, 2008

So Let It Be Said, the Deed is Done

Sometimes we do things against our better judgment and outside the realm or our comfort level out of need, friendship or duty. Sometimes the Sargent Slaughter LP is $16 bucks, and try as you might to resist buying it, you can't help your self. Sometimes... sometimes but not often, all of these variables come together and you drop $16 so you, your wife and your best friend can dance to the "Cobra Clutch Dance Remix" in a few weekends.

That's right bitches, I did it. And I dare any of you to say that you would have been man enough to resist the sirens as they called to you from the rocks. Their melodious song drew me so close that I entered my user name and password into paypal without even realizing what I was doing. Now, the deed is done, and the record shall arrive within 5 to 10 days. And there will by much rejoicing, dancing and merry making. There will also be sidesplitting laughter and mockery of "Happy Birthday Miss Liberty." Yes. Yes, my friends, there shall be all these things for, I, Greazy Tony, have purchased Sargent Slaughter and Camouflage Rocks America this very evening! And I shall be going halfsies with XL!!!!


Sunday, March 09, 2008

Nine Weeks Till Oz

With Inky out of town for the weekend, I spent my time researching hotels, train schedules and trying to find more options for things to do on our second trip to Australia. We leave in 9 weeks, or 63 days, and it's all starting to become more real now rather than just being something that will happen "down the road." To that end I booked our rental car for our week in Melbourne, so we can put right what once went wrong.

This photo is from our last trip, and our attempt to make it all the way down the Great Ocean Road, which runs along the southern coast of the continent. On this day we encountered rainy conditions which, when added to my first time driving on the left, slowed our pace quite a bit. We made it as far as Apollo Bay, about half way, before we called it quits and headed back to our hotel in Melbourne. This time, we are going to tackle the road with our bags in tow and no hotel reservations so we are not forced to turn around if nature, or my tentative negotiation of the many hair pin curves along the road, slow our pace.

The drive along the Great Ocean Road is just one in a long list of things that I'm looking forward to on this trip. Be it a hike through the Blue Mountains, exploring Cataract Gorge in Tasmania, Beholding Uluru for the first time or just relaxing at a cafe' I can't wait for the trip to start. Nine weeks!


Friday, March 07, 2008

Should I Go Halfsies on This With XL?

This ebay auction was brought to my attention today, and after calming myself down and wiping away the tears of laughter, I set about telling everyone I knew about it. The very idea of this record is funny to me, let alone what it must sound like. I have this thought in my mind of the cheesy 80's commercial advertising this record, where the announcer says: "Listen as your favorite wrestler/GI Joe star sings songs which are bound to become classics. There's "The Cobra Clutch" "Happy Birthday Miss Liberty" "Long Distance Love Affair" "The Hurt is Gone" and as an added bonus you get the Sarge's version of Neil Diamond's "America" and the dance remix of "The Cobra Clutch." It's just $19.99 plus $5 shipping and handling. Kids, ask your parents before you call."

The worst part is, both XL and I would probably have been saving our money to buy this record in 1985. But, should we drop $8 each to buy this record in 2008? XL has said that he will go halfsies, but I don't know if I can lay down 20 minutes worth of pay for this. My desire to hear these songs is strongly being challenged by my need to not buy more wretched crap. I went so far as to look for online versions of this record, but sadly, emusic and iTunes don't carry it. Luckily for us, if we miss out on the one I linked to above, we can always bid on this one even though it is more expensive.

What do you think?

XL has posted his take on the subject over on the crapper, take a look.


Thursday, March 06, 2008

Heaven on an English Muffin

From time to time on this blog I like to draw attention to some of my favorite food. It can be things you can go out and get at a restaurant, but I much prefer to hip you to the stuff I whip up in my kitchen. So now in addition to my Old Man's sub, my meatballs, and Greazy Tony's famous boneless chicken wings you can make a Taylor ham sandwich.

First things first, what is taylor ham? Well, it goes by a it's product name pork roll, or by it's brand Taylor Ham which becomes bastardized in to taylor's ham from time to time. I guess it's made out of pork, but for all I know it could be made of ears, noses and assholes. What I do know is that it's tasty as hell. Back in the Garden State it is served mostly at breakfast, usually on an english muffin with eggs and/or cheese. I always called it a PEC, a pork roll, egg and cheese.

I, however, think pork roll is not just for breakfast anymore. So with Inky out of town I decided to make my favorite dinner sandwich. Here's what you'll need (see the photo above): One pack thin sliced Taylor brand pork roll (8 slices), one package english muffins, american cheese, tomato slices and ketchup. Start by cutting the pork roll from the center to the edge to allow it to stay flat during cooking. Toss the discs into a frying pan and flip once brown on one side. The finished product will look like Pac Man after a tremendous house fire, once out of the frying pan place them on a paper towel to remove the excess grease.

While you are frying the pork roll, toast up your english muffins and now you're ready for assembly. I like to put the slice of cheese between two pieces of pork roll, so the heat will melt it. Then I place that fused patty of meat and cheese on the toasted muffin, topping it off with a tomato slice and a dollop of ketchup. Words can't express how great this sandwich is. I beg you to go out to the store and lay in the appropriate supplies and make this for yourself. You wont be sorry that you did, I mean not right away, but after a decade of them you may need plavix.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

My Bed is a Battlefield

It shouldn't be a hard thing to do, hell we've all been doing it since we were born, but there you are. I can't fall asleep anymore. I haven't gotten more than 5 hours for 5 straight days, and let me tell you, it's beginning to get old real quick. I'll trudge up to the bedroom at a decent hour, and nothing happens. Even when I employ all my old third shift tricks, like playing soft music, reciting lines to a poem over and over in my head, or even reading right before I lay down, nothing! On more than one try this week, I had to get up and restart the whole ritual, which is just counter productive.

I've got a lot going on in my life right now, and for some reason my brain just wont shut off when bedtime comes. The more I try and stop thinking about meetings I need to set up or tasks I need to accomplish, the more of them occur to me. You know that feeling you get when you realize you haven't paid your mortgage on the day it's due, well, I'm having that for an hour or two at a time each night. The worst part is that it's in my head now, and I am even stressing about stressing too much to be able to sleep.

I won't take sleeping pills, and I don't drink, so I have to slay this demon on my own. So tonight at, oh I don't know, let's say 10:00, I'll take the long walk up my steps and stare down my adversary, the Captain, and the battle will be joined. I pray that I'll be successful, and that I'll fall asleep on the job.


Monday, March 03, 2008

Cookie Controversy

Ask anyone who knows me and they'll tell you I have a huge penis. They will also tell you that I love cookies. My older brother's weakness is candy, and my younger brother's weakness is porn (both also weakness of mine, just not my GREATEST weakness) but for me nothing does me in like cookies. That's why this time of year is big for me, because this is when the Central PA Girl Scouts are selling those hot little boxes of crack most of us call Girl Scout Cookies. While we all have our favorites, I can't see how anyone can choose any GSC over the Tagalong. I greedily snatch up two or three boxes each year knowing that it will be 11 months before I can again enjoy their goodness. But now I no longer have to wait, because those crafty little elves at Keebler (I prefer Keibler) have basically ripped the Tagalong off.

So here are the contenders: The reigning champ, The Tagalong and the challenger the Keebler Peanut Butter Fudge Shoppe Cookie. The Tagalong has been with us for years, and is an original but the KPBFSC is trying to win your heart with it's availability. Let's take a look at the match up:

The Girl Scouts call them Peanut Butter Patties, but we know them as Tagalongs. Described as "crispy vanilla cookies layered with peanut butter and covered with a chocolate coating" they come 15 to a box which will set you back $3.50. Looking at the cross section on the left, you see the vanilla cookie on the bottom takes up a large amount of the total cookie height, which is then topped with peanut butter.

Keebler needs to come up with a better name for these things because Peanut Butter filled Fudge Shoppe Cookies is just a mouthful. Fortunately, so to are the cookies themselves. One look at the Keebler cross section and you will notice that these cookies are made with a chocolate cookie base, rather than the vanilla the the Girl Scouts use. They also stand taller then the Tagalong (see the line up below) thanks to a more generous slab of peanut butter. The MSRP of the Keebler cookies is $3.99 for a box of 18 but the only times I have ever bought them I got a supermarket sale at two for $6.

(Tagalong on left, Keebler on right) In a double-blind taste test, Inky and I both were able to tell the difference between the two cookies straight away. We both found the difference in the chocolate to be negligible and therefore a push. Inky said that she liked the Tagalong peanut butter better, calling Keebler's "to sweet" and noting that the Tagalong possessed "more peanut buttery peanut butter." I found that I rather liked the Keebler's chocolate cookie base, and gave it the nod in that category as well as in the "availability" "height" and Cookie per box categories.

Verdict: In the end I think the Girl Scouts have a lawsuit for Taste Infringement if they would choose to pursue it. They can use the valuable precedent set in the landmark case of Coke vs Coke Zero to take it to the court. The basis of their suit would be that the Keebler cookie is not only just as good at the Tagalong, but that you don't have to wait a full year to get your fat little fingers on them. The only defence Keebler could use would be the "They've got the big Mac, we've got the Big Mc" line from the McDowell's v McDonald's case in "Coming to America."

Given the choice between the cookies I suppose I would take the Tagalong due in no small part to my long time slavish devotion to them. Oh yeah, and it helps the kids, blah blah blah. However, due to the coquettish nature of the Tagalong's availability I am forced to proclaim that the Keebler Peanut Butter filled Fudge Shoppe Cookie as the champion. Likewise, on the under card, I have to crown the Keebler Grashopper over the Girl Scout Thin Mint for all the same reasons.


Sunday, March 02, 2008

Ten Weeks Till Oz

When I was a kid, I always felt like the 4 weeks between the Thanksgiving parade and Christmas were the longest days of the year. To make them pass more quickly, I often made one of those chains out of little strips of paper, tearing one off for each day that passed. These blog posts are my paper chain, and today we hit a big number.

Inky and I leave for Australia in 70 days, or 10 weeks. Think of how fast ten weeks can fly by in your life without you really even realizing it. Hell, we'll be at the month-to-go mark before you know it. I'm putting a lot of stock in this trip, so the lead up has been excruciatingly painful. Everyday tasks, like meetings and paperwork, seem like just one more hurdle to jump until I board that Qantas widebody and head south.

This weekend, Inky and I got a bit of a 10 week appetiser in advance of our trip. One of the couples we are friends with had a friend in town from Down Under, and we went out with them on Saturday for drinks. She is from Queensland, which we visited on the last trip but won't be going to this time around, and it was great to be able to talk with someone who knew what we were talking about.

See, none of our friends are interested in general Aussie culture, let alone more specific details like Inky and I are. It was nice to sit there and talk with her about Missy Higgins, Cat Empire, Aussie Rules vs Rugby League or even the Chaser's War on Everything. Hell, it was just nice to hear the accent, knowing that in 10 weeks we'd be submerged in all things Aussie. Sadly, with each twist of Ben Bernanke's pen the Aussie Dollar gets stronger and stronger against the greenback, and so rather then getting a A$100 room for $75 we'll have to pay $95 or so. Just one more reason to hate politicians and economists.
(the above photo is St. Paul's Cathedral in Melbourne. I felt like I was using too many Sydney pictures for these countdown posts.)