Reviews

FOOD: Popeyes – The Sandwich

Chicken is the most popular meat in the world. Its meteoric rise to the top has been compounded by a number of factors: a general desire to eat “healthier”, the growing pressure of climate change and the impact of the beef industry upon it, the plummeting prices of chicken meat as a commodity…. It goes on and on. Chicken is the king, and every restaurant is trying to get in on this action.

“This action” is, almost always, a kind of chicken sandwich based upon the kind offered by Chick-fil-A. If chicken is king, Chick-fil-A is its greatest kingdom; it is without a doubt the most popular restaurant in America. Its chicken sandwich is considered one of the finest among the fast food art form, and the service exhibited at its restaurant is said to be unparalleled.

Unfortunately, Chick-fil-A is incredibly homophobic.

Chick-fil-A- was founded by S. Truett Cathy, a devout Southern Baptist. It still holds on to its southern Christian heritage to this day by closing on Sunday, printing bible verses on its cups, and donating to Christian anti-LGBT hate groups. Despite these misgivings, Chick-fil-A maintains its top position in the fast food world with this winning combination: ardent homophobic supporters; people who simply do not care; and myopic poultryvores who apparently think the food really is just that good.

Popeyes, on the other hand, is not openly homophobic. It’s not the most popular chicken restaurant in America, either, but it’s got a loyal following for its unique ‘Louisiana-style’ chicken. Being a chicken restaurant, it was only natural that they would get in on the sandwich craze. But not even Popeyes could’ve expected the massive response when they released the sandwich back in August. It exploded in popularity, fermenting a sharp war between Chick-fil-A loyalists and Popeyes fans across the nation; it was so popular that every restaurant in the nation ran out of sandwiches before the promotion was even slated to end.

Now it’s back, as a permanent menu item. We tried and failed to get it when it was new, forcing us to suffer through lengthy waits at two different restaurants with advertisements still proudly posted in their windows, but now it’s up for grabs whenever. Does it live up to the incredible hype? Can it topple the Chick-fil-A throne? Find out after the cut.

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REVIEWS: Miss Cleo’s Tarot Power Deck

There are a wide number of names you can reference when discussing the great disciples of tarot: A.E. Waite, Éliphas Lévi, Ettellia, and so forth. Not many people would think to mention Youree Harris among those names, but there are few others who come close to what she did for the art of tarot reading. You’d know her better as Miss Cleo, and might remember her commercials for the Psychic Readers Network from the late 90s through the early 2000s. Miss Cleo herself was a complete construct, a character devised by Youree Harris for an original play transformed into a Jamaican shaman practicing a vague pastiche of Vodou mixed with New Age psychic thought. Most relevant was her supposed skill with the tarot; if you took her commercials at face value, she could tell you the name of your baby’s true father, forewarn terrible disaster, and find you true love with only a few (toll free!) minutes with the cards.

I do not know if Youree Harris herself ever read tarot seriously, or if she even performed her character for callers to the psychic hotline she advertised. Youree was an actress first and foremost, an amateur playwright whose self-produced plays left her running from debts and failing to pay her actors. In turn, the Psychic Readers Network left her high and dry after being indicted for one billion dollars in deceptive billing practices. After leaving the Network behind, Youree maintained her Miss Cleo character in various parodies of her famous commercials until 2015. On July 26th, 2016, Youree Harris died of colon cancer after a long battle. There has never been another TV psychic on the same level as Youree, and with the move of professional tarot reading from hotlines to independent online readers, it is extremely unlikely there will ever be another.

Miss Cleo may be one of the few tarot readers whose popularity allowed the production of an official licensed tarot deck. You’d think they’d be taking a bite out of their own customer base by doing this, but by the time the Psychic Readers Network published this deck they were already in serious legal troubles. This may have been their last effort to squeeze more money out of the Miss Cleo brand before the FTC finally came down on their heads. After the jump, we’ll get into the deck ourselves and see what Miss Cleo holds in store.

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FOOD: Samyang 2X Spicy Noodles

I mean this with greatest sincerity: Korea has some of the best instant noodles on the market right now. Invented in Japan by Momofuku Ando for Nissin, instant noodles have become the reliable and ultra-affordable quick calorie intake option for millions of people around the globe. But look past the Maruchan and Top Ramen you’ll find sitting on megamart shelves and you’ll find a wide variety of instant noodles with things like flavors and textures beyond bland and mushy. Samyang is one of these noodle brands, and the crown jewel in its collection of flavors is the Hot Chicken Flavor line.

In 2017, Samyang released a new level in the Hot Chicken Flavor lineup: haek-buldak-bokkeum-myeon. There’s a lot of different names for it in English: Nuclear Fire Spicy Noodles, Extreme Hot Chicken Flavor, but we like to name it after the big English words on the label: 2X Spicy Noodles. These are, supposedly, the hottest noodles you can buy on the market.

Are they as hot as they say there are? Click the jump and find out.

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REVIEWS: Twilight Sparkle’s Shapes

Princess Twilight Sparkle is one of the most magical ponies in the world of My Little Pony, and your best friend! And she wants to show you something – all the new shapes she can assume! Princess Twilight Sparkle has been working hard on her transmogrification abilities, and she’s now going to show you some of the best shapes she can take now! You don’t really have a choice in this. She will get very fussy if you refuse. Sit down and watch! Now!

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REVIEWS: Fantastic Pops and Why We Hate Them

For some horrid reason or another, we’ve decided to look at more Funko Pops! You might remember our previous article where we reviewed the toys of Ron Weasley and his nasty little rat, but we just watched FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM… nearly two years after its release… And you know what that means? Time for some Fantastic Beasts Funko Pops to review!

Fantastic Beasts was a pretty good movie, but we didn’t watch it for the shoehorned heterosexuality, or the non-acknowledgement of Dumbledore’s sexuality, or even because the noted horrible person Johnny Depp is in it. We watched it for those FANTASTIC BEASTS. So why not review the beasts, and only the beasts? Hit the jump to roll that beautiful beast footage!

Spoiler warning for the movie from this point forward!

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REVIEWS: The Housewives Tarot

The Housewives Tarot is a deck published by Quirk Books and designed by Paul Kepple and Jude Buffum of Headcase Design. It was first printed in 2004, and has since been followed by a semi-sequel, The Zombie Tarot. The deck is inspired by the aesthetics of 50s America, with martini-sipping housewife culture. The deck’s “backstory” involves the mystic Madame Marlena, an otherwise unassuming housewife who introduces the tarot to her group of friends as a way of life.

Here’s my thoughts on the deck of the so-called Marlena, under the cut.

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FOOD: Taco Bell – Nacho Fries


Nacho Fries! They’re back!

Then again, we didn’t really notice they were ever gone. And from the looks of it, they came back in July, so we dropped the ball on this one right through the floor. Whoops!

Nacho Fries first popped up back in January of 2018, filling a long-pondered-about hole in Taco Bell’s menu. Taco Bell, ostensibly being a Mexican-themed restaurant, has never before offered French fries in America. Their staple cheese-saturated side dish has always been their nachos (officially, ‘Chips and Nacho Cheese Sauce’). But we, as Americans, have a long and storied love of the fried potato that extends back generations; just about every other fast food restaurant has to serve french fries whether they want to or not.

Recognizing this, Taco Bell has added other potato-based dishes to their menu – first and most notably the home fries-esque “Fiesta potatoes”, as well as breakfast hash browns – but the addition of real French fries is a genuine first for the chain.

The real question is, should they have added fries at all? This “nacho” style is an interesting Taco Bell-themed twist on regular French fries, but was it the right choice to move further away from their already distorted view on Tex-Mex cuisine? Let’s find out how we feel about this.

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FOOD: Burger King – Surge

Surge…

Want to impress someone who was born in the 90s? Tell them you have an unopened can of Surge at home. Surge was a somewhat popular citrus soda released from 1997 to 2003 in the United States. Intended to be a competitor to Mountain Dew, it never managed to find a solid market and was eventually discontinued. Dedicated Surge fans didn’t take this sitting down and immediately launched a dedicated campaign to have the drink returned to store shelves.

The campaign has paid off with small victories in the past (namely the introduction of Vault, which was also quickly removed from stores) but their ultimate goal was accomplished in 2015. Surge was released as an internet exclusive on Amazon, and eventually returned to store shelves. It’s since been available pretty consistently since then as a total 90s nostalgia cash-grab. We don’t know if you can still get it in cans or bottles right now, but it’s openly available at any Burger King with a Coke Freestyle machine.

Should they have bothered to bring it back? Let’s find out.

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REVIEWS: The Rat-Ron-Ratings

In case you fell asleep from the years of 1997-2007 or were otherwise lucky enough to be spared from the onslaught, Harry Potter is a quasi-beloved fantasy book franchise about a little wizard boy and his little wizard friends.

One of those kids is named Ron Weasley, who briefly had a pet rat named Scabbers. Pet rats weren’t very well-regarded by the general populace at this point, but around the release of the film adaptations, quite a few people found the little rat man quite charming and it quite inexplicably became profitable to sell rat-themed merchandise* to wee ones.

Then Scabbers turned out to be an old man pretending to be a rat to deceive the children, but that’s not relevant to this article. What we’re talking about today: SCABBERS MERCHANDISE! And uh, Ron too, I guess.

*Incidentally, this is an extended advertisement for my upcoming zine, Rat Facts. It’s facts about rats.

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