Just when you think you might make it to kickoff with a Monday that is Guiteau-free the forces of Terrible say "not so fast." Via FOC TWM, news of Trader Joe's frozen poutine. Frozen french fries are terrible at home. Can't imagine that either gravy (or "Beef Sauce" for Trader Joe) or cheese curds take well to freezing. It's not so much that this is something to be avoided at all costs, as an item that discredits an entire grocery chain. If they allow this to happen, who knows what what else? Is the Trader Joe's store brand of pumpkin pie spice made entirely out of ground cicada corpses? No reason to be confident the answer is no. In any case, your fair warning to keep the entire fuck away from Trader Joe's, and to remember that you can only ever hope to contain Guiteau Monday.
What could be better than BBQ whipped up by a cable TV network?
It's not even a Food Network "personality," it's just the network, cooking you baby back ribs. For one, it's a cut that not many BBQ folks I respect take seriously, and for two, even in the picture, it looks more like spare ribs from a Chinese takeout place.
Granted, it's "clan" w/ a "c," not "klan" with a "k,"but still it does not seem like the very best word. "Family," "operation," "concern," "cabal," etc, all seem like better choices. It is, however, a reminder that unlike professors, Guiteau Monday does not get the summer off!
So, Pizza Hut Pizza Sliders. If you like playing tic-tac-toe with little tubs of cheese slurry, this is the pizza for you. Beyond the Taco Town-esque impulse to recombine disparate fast food concepts in defiance of logic, taste, and good common stense, the Big Pizza Slider makes it clear that American fast food is rapidly approaching its logical denoument in the form of compulsory ball gags filled with ranch dressing.
So, one thing that happened is that Dodge blew off the atheist truck market, and ran an advertisement using an old Paul Harvey monologue that begins:
"And on the 8th day God looked down on his planned paradise and said, "I need a caretaker!" So, God made a farmer! God said I need somebody to get up before dawn and milk cows and work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper and then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board. So, God made a farmer!
Two minutes of this over pictures of farms and farmers, and then a discreet Dodge Ram pickup at the and. It has been getting what they call buzz, in part b/c it's, urm, recycled. I am not that concerned about the originality of the advertisement, but I am interested in its premise. At the end of the commercial, we see the tagline "To the Farmer in All of Us." Doubtless, the farmer in some of us is at the Dodge dealership this morning, seeing about trading that minivan for a truck, now that the kids are grown. It's an expensive proposition, as they start north of twenty grand and get much more expensive very quickly.
We begin to arrive at a question, which is how do small farmers, of the sort valorized in the commercial, afford shiny new pickup trucks? Anecdotally, they answer is that the cannot afford to, or they prefer to spend their disposable incomes on things like mortgage payments and fixing holes in roofs. The last time I visited a farm, I happened to take a picture of a Dodge truck. It belongs to my Randy and Lisa Robar, neighbors in VT who run Kiss the Cow Farm (for some reason, they don't have a website, so no link). Here is a picture of their Dodge truck:
I was actually focused on the cows at the time, but you can see enough of the truck to notice that it is 1) old enough for an AARP card and 2) full of cow manure. You cannot see that it takes considerable tinkering and TLC to get it to start. When the farmer in all of us is at the dealer's, mulling over $395 for chrome steel bedrails, Randy and Lisa Robar, and others like them, are shoveling shit into vehicles that rolled off the assembly line when Ted Williams was still a fighter pilot, and spraying ether into air intakes in an effort to get them to start.
The farmer in all of us, 99+% of the time, is not a farmer. Farming is hard work, and it pays poorly. The Robars took over the farm from a farmer who died on his own farm in a farming accident. "The farmer in all of us" is a nice, truck-selling way to refer to an inclination that Americans have to like the idea of farming. The valorization of farmers by non-farmers goes back at least to Thomas Jefferson:
I'd suggest, just as a conversation starter, that the average American's deep-seated fondness for the idea of farming, coupled with a preference for easier, safer, and more lucrative work, creates exactly the kind of environment where terribile industrial farming can flourish. As a nation, we are seduced by pictures like the ones in the Dodge commercial, and meanwhile the heirs of Earl Butz are busy making anaerobic pigshit lagoons.