September 25, 2006
Saving Micky D's
What happened to McDonald's?
McDonald's used to be the big daddy of fast food franchises. They had it ALL -- burgers, fries... larger burgers, larger fries. But while the competition innovated, the Golden Arches stagnated. Wendy's currently offers salads and baked potatoes, Hardee's provides fried chicken and biscuits. Burger King... well, they're doing straight up crazy shit. Remember the BK Stacker? And what does Mr. McDonald have to say about all this? "Hey guys, here's a new 'Premium' Chicken Sandwich... and, uh... we're thinking about offering breakfast all day along!"
McDonald's holds a special place in American culture. They are the fatteners of our asses, the bringers of diabetes to our children -- they are the reason why the terrorists hate us. Journalist Thomas Friedman once wrote that no country that has a McDonald's has ever gone to war against another country with a McDonald's. The decline of the McDonald's franchise doesn't just threaten the economy, it could eventually cause World War III!
Though war certainly makes for GREAT television, I can't in good conscience let this happen. For this reason, I offer the following humble suggestions for how McDonald's can once again claim its title as the premiere fast food restaurant in America -- and the world.
First and foremost, McDonald's needs more menu variety. When Ray Kroc founded the franchise in the late 50s, it was sufficient to serve nothing more than burgers, fries and shakes. You know, traditional drive-in fare. But in the modern fast food era, this is not enough. Customers crave variety, and though Micky D. has taken a few tentative steps toward expanding their menu, they need to start thinking outside the box. WAY outside the box! Let's brainstorm for a moment... what's the last thing you would expect to see on a McDonald's menu? Sushi? Herb encrusted lamb shanks? Baked bean sandwiches? Yes, these would be surprising... perhaps even surprisingly delicious! However, I've got an even better idea. McDonald's has never really capitalized on the uniquely Scottish nature of their franchise's name-identity. In the long history of the restaurant, they have never served any traditional Scottish cuisine. I say it's time for the company to embrace their ethnic heritage.
Mmm! Americans will love the taste of McHaggis just like they love the taste (metaphorically) of ignorance and violence! And McDonald's already has a classic slogan they can adapt when marketing this delicacy: "Two all-sheep lungs, liver, heart, onion, stock, oatmeal, spices in a boiled sheep's stomach!"
Speaking of edible viscera, I've always been a big fan of Chicken McNuggets. They are everything I like about chicken, but in convenient bite sized chunklets that may or may not be made of chicken. I wonder, why can't McDonald's make all of their menu items available in some kind of McNugget format? Cheeseburger McNuggets would be pretty awesome, as would Big MacNuggets. Who knows, in the future we might even be able to enjoy an icy cool Coca-Cola in the form of refreshing CokeNuggets.
Also, do you remember Ronald McDonald? That ass-clown has got to go. Clowns are freaky and unpleasant. They are not funny, they are not entertaining, and most people who dress up like clowns are actually child molesters. It's a fact. McDonald's needs a new mascot, and they don't have to look far to find one. They already have a wonderful character who would serve brilliantly in this role.
This is Grimace. He was named after the facial expression most McDonald's executives make when they first learn the terrible secret of "special sauce". Grimace is a spokeman, er... spokesthing we can trust. He's blobby, he's androgynous, he's purple. He looks like AMERICA. Except for the androgynous and purple part.
When lefty activists need a poignant symbol to deface at anti-globalization protests, they need look no further than the Golden Arches. And, if McDonalds makes the simple changes I've proposed, those arches will represent corporate greed and American gluttony for decades to come.
September 18, 2006
PSA: Spinach Recall
In order to claim this website as a tax write-off, I'm required to post "Public Service" messages a few times per month. Stupid government regulations... I HATE serving the public. Anyway, here's an important message that could SAVE YOUR LIFE (or at least affect your choice of salad ingredients).
September 13, 2006
Fun and Games on the iPod
I like to play games. I'm a gamer. And, since I don't really enjoy the company of "other people", I prefer games that I can play alone. Back in high school, many of my classmates commented on how much I like to play with myself. What can I say... guilty as charged!
And this is a great time to be a solitary gamer. Why? Because games are everywhere! I can play solitaire on my computer, my cell phone, my toaster and on several pairs of boxer shorts that I own. Yet... there is one device I own that has remained frustratingly gameless. My iPod. When I finally purchased my first iPod last month, I was SHOCKED to discover that it did nothing but play music. I couldn't score touchdowns on it, couldn't kill aliens or simulate ancient military campaigns. I couldn't even collect gold coins! I very nearly threw my iPod down the garbage disposal. Good thing I didn't! Yesterday, the iTunes Music Store started offering games. Games... FOR MY iPOD!!! Finally, I can stop listening to all this stupid music and start playing some stupid games!
However, looking through the available games, I'm a bit underwhelmed. Tetris and Pac-Man are classics, I guess, but I've already played those a MILLION times. Mahjong is boring and Texas Hold'em is only fun if you're drunk and playing for real money. Then there's the price. Each game costs $5. WTF! For $5 dollars I could buy a six pack of beer... or two six packs of really crappy beer! Can these iPod games really provide more entertainment than good old fashioned alcohol? I doubt it.
Though I can't bring myself to pay for these iPod games, I still feel I'm entitled to a quality gaming experience on my personal music player. Therefore, I have invented some SUPER FUN games that anyone can play on their iPod... and they are totally free! If you're a cheap bastard who loves games (like me!), I'm certain these games will provide you with hours of marginal entertainment:
iPod Karaoke: On my iPod, I keep a special playlist of songs I like to sing in the shower. There's lots of Journey, REO Speedwagon, Hilary Duff. I've discovered that the only thing more fun than singing these songs in the shower is singing them as loud as I can when I'm out with my iPod. I generally play this game when I'm shopping at Wal-Mart, and I score points every time someone shoots me a dirty look. I score LOTS of points.
John Mayer Russian Roulette: In order to play, you must upload one John Mayer song onto your iPod. To start the game, you will put your player into random "shuffle" mode. Then, you will hit play and press the Track Forward button 10 times. If the John Mayer track is randomly selected, you are required to destroy your iPod immediately with a sledgehammer. Either that or be forced to listen to it.
Dance! Dance! iPod-lution: This is the perfect game for those who listen to their iPod in public places. Again, you'll need to set your pod to Shuffle. This time you are going to load a few dozen RUMP SHAKIN' BOOTY ANTHEMS into your library. Personally, the best collection I've found is on a CD called Booty Jams.
If you wish to double up on the Booty, you might also enjoy Monster Booty, featuring Baby Got Back, Rump Shaker, and (one of my favorites): Wiggle It. The game is very simple: every time one of these special booty tracks comes up in the shuffle, you are required to SHAKE WHAT YO MAMA GAVE YOU! Doesn't matter where you are: at work, on the bus, enjoying a romantic meal at the Olive Garden -- you must jump up and shake that ass until the song is over or until you are asked to leave the Olive Garden (as I often am). If you don't know how to dance, you can pick up some Phat Moves from this classic video by Freak Nasty.
You don't need to pay $5 to enjoy games on your iPod. All you need is a little imagination and a total lack of dignity and self-control. Have fun!
September 10, 2006
Get Your Roster On: A Joey Headset Guide to Fantasy Football
You can't get away from it: Fantasy football is everywhere. You probably have friends who play... and if you don't have any friends, it's pretty likely you're already playing. Hell, I play in thirteen different leagues, and I don't even LIKE fantasy football. Yet, I do enjoy spending my Saturday nights obsessively checking injury reports and re-shuffling my rosters. Trust me, this is way better than getting drunk and talking to girls.
Touche, drunk bitches.
A lot of people ask, "where's the FANTASY in fantasy football?" This is a perfectly reasonable question. Personally, the only fantasy I have relating to football involves the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, a desert island and a giant tube of Astroglide. Sometimes, if I've been drinking, Tom Brady is also there. I'd rather not go into details about that. Anyway, this game is called Fantasy Football for the same reason Dungeons and Dragons is called a Fantasy Role Playing Game: because Fantasy Football is set in a thrilling fictional world of swords, magic and mystery! Dragons, wizards, elves, Norwegians -- they're all in the game, along with your favorite professional football players.
NFL fans who are new to fantasy football often have a hard time adjusting their strategy to the fantasy elements of the game. For example: most fans agree that the Chicago Bears have one of the strongest defensive lines in the league. But can Chicago's D-line withstand the awesome force of a Fireball cast by a 13th level Magic User? Certainly not! Well, not unless they had each equipped a +2 Jockstrap of Fire Resistance -- a very sensible choice, considering the prevalence of Pyromancy in the West Coast Offense.
If you are just getting started in fantasy football, here are some guidelines you should follow when drafting your team and setting your roster. Follow these tips and you'll not only dominate your league, but you might even secure access to the Mystical Power Crystal of Ul-goreth:
QB Charisma: Be sure to draft a quarterback with a high Charisma ranking. Obviously, many QBs use Charisma as their "dump stat" (most notably, Arizona's Kurt Warner). However, passers with a CHR score of 16+ get big bonuses in pass protection from their linemen, as well as increased performance from their receivers. Remember: no player wants to sacrifice their body for a quarterback who's a total dick.
Heal that Hammy: If you drafted Terrell Owens, Steve Smith or Hines Ward, make sure your team cleric has memorized several Cure Tweaked Hamstring spells. The same goes for your Healerback, if you're still playing with the old 2.5 rulebook. Also, if you drafted T.O. you might want to equip him with a Ring of Ego Suppression.
Smashmouth Defense: Members of the Barbarian character class are popular choices when drafting linebackers. However, most leagues do not allow Barbarian defenders to wear helmets or to bring their giant warhammers onto the field. Also, Barbarians tend to get penalized more than most character classes. Nothing brings out a shower of yellow flags faster than an inside linebacker devouring the entrails of a tight end he just disemboweled after a tackle. Smart fantasy players often select linebackers in the Rogue/Thief player class. They are great at "stealing" errant passes and do double damage when sacking quarterbacks from behind.
Home Team Advantage: When setting your roster, never underestimate the edge teams gain when playing on their home field. Road teams must contend with a variety of obstacles: everything from crowd noise and unfamiliar terrain to pit traps and magical runes that summon demons from the 5th Infernal Plane. Consider San Diego's season opener at Oakland. LaDainian Tomlinson is probably best running back in the league. But even he will have a hard time gaining yardage if he triggers the poison dart trap Oakland has set on the 50 yard line. Similarly, you won't see Chargers TE Antonio Gates hauling down many passes in the red zone if he gets dismembered by the Giant Spiders that live in the visiting team's locker room at McAfee Coliseum. (Rob Ryan, Oakland's defensive coordinator, is known for his masterful use of arachnoidal blitz packages.)
Fantasy football has been bringing together jocks and geeks almost as long as atomic wedgies and locker room swirlies. Join a league today, and experience the competition, the camaraderie and the lost productivity that's certain to undermine the American economy. After all, those 11 year old sweatshop workers in China don't have much time for fantasy football. Those crazy kids are just too busy -- too busy making EVERYTHING YOU OWN.