Friday, April 28, 2017

Fake Founders

Place: Hardee's
Lunch: 1/3 lb Baby Back Rib Thickburger, ice water

Smiling Counter Girl greets me and does the whole "for here or to go" thing.

Me: "1/3 pound Baby Back Rib Thickburger."

Smiling Counter Girl: "In a combo?"

Me: "No, just the sandwich."

She fiddles with the cash register a bit, looks confused, and grabs a pile of coupons for the sandwich.  "Like this?" pointing at the burger image.

Me: "Yes, the 1/3 pound Baby Back Rib Thickburger."

She fiddles with the register some more.  "I'm going to give you the coupon for a dollar off if I can figure it out."

Me: "Don't worry about it.  No big deal."

She's determined.  "Hey!  How do I input the coupon?" she asks another employee walking by.  He looks at the screen.  "That's only good on combos," he says, and walks off.  "Oh!" she exclaims.  Then she looks at me and starts to explain I can't use the coupon before realizing I didn't ask to use the coupon at all and am clearly getting fed up with this nonsense and she just says "I'm sorry."

The Baby Back Rib Thickburger is another Hardee's/Carl's Jr Frankenstein concoction of unnatural burger meat bybrids.  They top the burger patty with rib meat, add barbecue sauce, pickles, and crispy onion strings.  I liked it WAY more than I thought I would.  The rib meat appears to be real pulled rib meat, not a pressed patty like a McRib.  It's smoky and tender and works really well here.

Speaking of Frankenstein, over the past couple of years KFC has bombarded the airwaves with ads featuring various actors portraying their dead founder Colonel Harlan Sanders.  Every "Colonel" has had unique personality traits and quirks they bring to the role.  It's sort of like they stole the idea of regeneration from Doctor Who.  And the various Colonels seem to get quirkier as time goes by.

Hardee's is borrowing from this approach with a fictional founder by the name of Carl Hardee Sr.

Yeah, have a look...

Carl Hardee Sr

For those not familiar, the Hardee's chain (founded by Wilbur Hardee, also dead) was purchased by the parent company of Carl's Jr (founded by Carl Karcher, he's dead too) in the mid-1990's.  The original plan was to marry the brands by rebranding all the restaurants as Carl's Jr with the classic Carl's Jr lunch/dinner menu, but adopt the Hardee's breakfast menu.  The whole thing went horribly, horribly wrong and it's a miracle the company still exists today at all.  But it does, and both brands are now successful, focusing on premium burgers largely promoted in the ads by sexy well-endowed women who can't possibly be eating these burger beasts they're promoting on any regular basis.

The campaign has been controversial, and apparently, it's time for change.  And that's what Carl Hardee Sr is here to do, laying the blame for the allegedly sexist campaign at the foot of Carl Hardee Jr.  Senior comes off as a rednecky version of the Dos Equis "Most Interesting Man in the World" guy.

The focus on the ads is going to be on the food and quality ingredients going forward.  That's fine, I guess.

I suppose in the era of Ronald McDonald, the creepy Burger King (who I miss dearly, he needs to come back) and Jack Box, this is all perfectly normal.

As for the unemployed models, maybe they can milk up a campaign for Dairy Queen.

(Sorry...not sorry.)

Monday, April 24, 2017


Place: Subway in a Walmart
Lunch: Italian Hero (provolone, mayo, chipotle southwest, pickles, onions, black olives), ice water

The ad had me at Capicola ham.  It's not all that great.  But I had some shopping to do so it was convenient.

Notice lately that more and more people are posting pictures of their pets on Twitter with a comment that says something like "every RT this gets I'll give her a very soft pet and tell her I love her", then they get hundreds if not thousands of retweets?

This drives me nuts.  What are you going to do if you don't get any?  Hold your affection for your pet hostage?  "Sorry, Fluffy.  Nobody on Twitter loves you, therefore I don't either."

And what are you going to do if you get hundreds?  How long do you take to spread out that affection?  Or are you just going to wear your arm out going nonstop for a few days?  Is it just one pat per retweet?  What if the pet tires of this and tries to escape?  Do you tie them down?

My cats don't need retweets to get pets, scritches, scratches, or praise.

And neither should yours.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Spring TV

Place: Chicago Dog
Lunch: Jumbo chili dog, potato salad, pickle spear, kettle chips, soda water

I can't speak to the authenticity of the actual Chicago dog at this joint as I'm not really into them, but I can say they have the best chili dog in town I know of.  A perfectly (and I mean PERFECTLY) cooked jumbo Vienna Beef hot dog sits in a poppy seed bun abundantly topped with chili, cheese, and onion (and peppers if you want).  It's even a bean chili, which is chili dog sacrilege, but it's still the best.  It looks impossible to hold as opposed to going in with a knife and fork, but it holds together in your hands.  The bun absorbs some of the chili juice (sort of runny chili) which only makes the bun better.  It's SO great.  Their Italian beef sandwiches are pretty good too.  I also really love their ice.  I fill my drink cup with it when departing so I have super awesome ice water at work the rest of the day.

The one thing I don't like about Chicago Dog is Rachael Ray.  Her show is always on the TV during my lunch hour.  She has the most annoying studio audience ever.  They applaud EVERYTHING.  Rachael starts a guest interview.  They applaud.  The guest responds.  They applaud.  Rachel references their TV show.  They applaud.  Guest acknowledges.  They applaud.  A stray cat off-camera meows.  They applaud.  Shut up, already.

The regular TV season is winding down.  "Legends of Tomorrow" had their finale last week.  That show was SO much fun this season.  I was kind of iffy on its first season but this year, all in.  It's sister DC shows will wind down over the next month or so.  I'm watching all of them.  In fact, aside from the original NCIS, all of my shows since September have been CW shows.  "Arrow", "The Flash", "Supergirl" "Legends of Tomorrow", "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend", and "Riverdale".  That's my complete list of shows.

But I'm far from running out of television.  Traditionally, Americans have gotten new TV in the fall, it ends mid-Spring, and they spend Summer at the swimming pool, state fair, or the Dairy Queen parking lot.  But that's changed.  Nobody goes outside anymore because of skin cancer dangers, the irrational fear of running into a transgender person in the bathroom, and the threat of violent rogue deer attacks, so shows launch all year now.  And the list of shows launching this Spring is outright amazing.  A couple of them started last week, and the debuts keep coming into May.  Two of them are revivals of my all-time favorites that we haven't seen in years.  This could be the best new TV season of any part of the year in history.

So here's what I'm really excited for...

iZombie (CW Mondays) - Liv and the gang are back for their third season.  Liv is a zombie who uses her day job at the county morgue to access brains for food.  There's a side effect...she temporarily takes on personality traits of the deceased (often with hilarious results) and sees visions that help her and her police detective partner solve the deceased's murder.  The first two episodes have aired and everything is great so far.

Archer (FXX Wednesdays) - An animated satire of James Bond-style spy agents and one of the funniest, vulgar, most ridiculous shows in television history.  Archer starts the season in a coma and dreams himself into a 1940's noir world where he's a private detective.  The regular supporting cast differing roles than the regular version of the show, just like people you know do in your dreams.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 (Netflix starting April 14)  Series creator Joel Hodgson is behind this revival of the cult classic where a guy is trapped on a satellite and forced to watch bad movies with two wisecracking robots.  The season is the result of the most successful crowdfunding campaign in history.  Unlike the original show, which was taped in Minneapolis by a bunch of unknowns, this has a name cast and some name writers.  Jonah Ray, Felicia Day, and Patton Oswalt are in this for crying out loud.  Which makes me wonder if it will keep the charm of the original show.  We'll see.

Doctor Who (BBC America Saturdays starting April 15) - This is apparently Peter Capaldi's farewell season as The Doctor, because everybody who takes on this role and says it's their dream role and that they're longtime fans of the show abandon it after three seasons.  Jerks.  There's a new companion this year, and she's apparently a lesbian, which has actually proved controversial with some people.  Have said people ever actually watched Doctor Who?  I still need to catch up on last season now that I think about it.

Fargo (FX Wednesdays starting April 19) - FX's take on the Coen brothers classic builds each season around a standalone story of crime in the upper Midwest very much in the spirit of the original film, and the first two seasons were amazing.  Ewan McGregor stars in two roles in the third season.

Bosch (Amazon Prime starting April 21) - Amazon's gritty cop drama doesn't get a lot of water cooler talk, but you should be watching it anyway.  Probably start with Season 1 now just to prepare.  The first two seasons are only like ten episodes each.  You'll need at least the first season to get the explanation of how he came to own that spectacular house on a cop's salary.

Twin Peaks (Showtime starting May 21) - If any show could top the excitement for the "Mystery Science Theater 3000" revival, it's this revival.  There was nothing like Twin Peaks back when it debuted in 1990.  If you haven't seen it before, catch up on it and realize the number of shows it's since inspired.  TV Guide says you need to watch "Fire: Walk With Me", the prequel film, to get ready for the new season, which was completely written and directed by David Lynch as essentially a single 18-hour movie.  The cast, which numbers in excess of 200 people, includes "most" of the original.