FOOD: McDonald’s – McChicken Biscuit and Chicken McGriddle

From where we are in 2020, it’s hard to imagine McDonald’s was once a major innovator in the world of fast food. The McDonald brothers and Ray Kroc were the inventors of the fast food concept, after all! The modern-day craze for chicken can even be traced back to the Chicken McNugget, which solidified the idea of molded ground chicken products into the consciousness of America. Now, it is lonely at the top, and McDonald’s is looking more and more decrepit in the face of fresher competitors. Without a doubt the biggest thorn in their side is Chick-fil-A, the notoriously homophobic fried chicken sandwich business that is the most beloved fast food chain in America.

McDonald’s has been desperate for a decent chicken offering to keep up with modern tastes, but nothing has really landed. They’ve tried chicken wings, chicken tenders, all kinds of new chicken sandwiches, but none of them have compared to the juggernaut power of established chicken chains. But there’s another front to the fast food war going on: breakfast. Taco Bell introduced a new breakfast menu in 2014, and Wendy’s is planning to bring back breakfast this year – so why not, McDonalds thinks, combine the two hot new things?

And here we are, with McDonald’s adding the new McChicken Biscuits and Chicken McGriddles to their menu. If there’s anything McDonald’s has been solidly entrenched in, it’s breakfast. Their Egg McMuffins are still the byword for “fast food breakfast”. What could go wrong? 

Well, a lot.

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MINECRAFT: Nether Aquarium

Hello! I’m Warden – you might know me from this very website – and this is my new ongoing project where I try to build stuff in Minecraft featuring the latest blocks.

Quite recently (as of the time of me writing this) Mojang has released their ‘snapshot’ preview builds for the upcoming 1.16 Nether Update, which is quite exciting, as they’re finally adding new biomes to the Nether! And boy, does it come with a lot of new blocks!

To keep things simple for you but challenging for me, I’m sticking to ‘one-chunk’ builds, which means they have to fit in a 16×16 square.

And today, I’m making an aquarium!

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RETRO: Fluppy Dogs, or, “They Can’t All Be Winners”

Why do some cartoon franchises fail? There are a lot of vectors a potential new marketable property can take before it inevitably dies. Most of them never get off the ground, dying an ignoble death well before they see the first light. Some franchises find their feet and get off a shaky season of television or two before being killed off. The lucky few that last may become mega-franchises and, eventually, cultural touchstones.

Fluppy Dogs is a franchise that seemed like it could make it. It had a toyline already in stores, a promising pilot, and the studio producing it was already riding off a fantastic success with Adventures of the Gummi Bears. What went wrong? Why did Fluppy Dogs flop?

Well, it failed because it wasn’t any good. 

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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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QUIZ: Which Stupid Hogwets House Are You?

Welcome To Stupid Hogwets!

Congratulations! You’ve been enrolled in STUPID HOGWETS, the most “prestigious” “school” of “magic” and “learning” in the known multiverse! But before you can attend the classes or even legally step foot on the campus, you’ve got to be sorted! Stupid Hogwets is home to four houses: King St. Bee House, Sparkle House, We’re The Evil Ones House, and Minecraft Dirt House. Which one do you belong to? Fill out the official sorting quiz and find out!

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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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