This blog covers everything except sports and gardening, unless we find a really good link about using dead professional bowlers for mulch. The author is a StarTribune columnist, has been passing off fiction and hyperbole as insight since 1997, has run his own website since the Jurassic era of AOL, and was online when today’s college sophomores were a year away from being born. So get off his lawn.

Japanese Cat Wine

Posted by: James Lileks under Gripes, Praise Updated: October 18, 2013 - 12:15 PM

That snagged your attention, didn’t it? You didn’t know if it’s wine for cats or wine made from cats. The former is more likely, but the “Japanese” part made cat-extract wine plausible, since they’d not only invent something that peculiar but sell it in vending machines next to Tentacle Romance manga.

Here’s the LA Times headline:

No Really, they’re making wine for cats in Japan

It suggests you’re in the middle of a conversation with the writer, who’s responding to your inability to accept the writer’s assertion. Because conversational-sounding flip-snark with some YOU GUYS added means writers can use the containers we associate with enthusiasm to connote enthusiasm without appearing to be genuinely enthusiastic, even though this form of exaggerated enthusiasm is actually a means of expressing actual enthusiasm, if everyone else is. No one wants to be genuinely enthusiastic by themselves, of course,  or be the first one to be genuinely enthusiastic, but someone else says it’s okay you guys this is awesome / cute / adorbs /  then everyone is like totes enthusiastic xoxo.

Which is why the headlines of major newspaper feature sections sound like the conversation of teenaged girls. We continue:

Anyone who owns a cat, or has ever come within five feet of one, knows they are entitled creatures. And frankly, they do whatever they want. So it only seems fitting that such an animal have a wine product made especially for them.
A company in Japan called B&H Life is making wine for felines, and it goes on sale Tuesday, reported Kotaku.com. But before you get your cat-loving paws waving in disapproval, the wine doesn't actually have any alcohol in it. 

So it’s juice. Okay. Wouldn’t have seen the story if this one hadn’t popped up in my Zite feed. This was yesterday’s BS story, and everyone ran it:

Oreos as addictive as cocaine: How to kick your addiction

The story begins: “It should come as no surprise to anyone that Oreo cookies were found to be as addictive as cocaine in a recent study.” The sentence has two subjective assertions - that no one should be surprised, and Oreos were found to be addictive like coke. But there’s a link to a study, so it must be true. It isn’t. It’s obviously not true. the article concludes:

So the next time you get a mad craving to eat an entire bag of Oreos in one sitting, just blame it on your brain chemistry.

Because it overrides free will, so you’re not responsible.

PSL I now present for your consideration a sentence that may possibly split the culture right down the middle. There are those who will find this instantly compelling - and those who find it a perfect distillation of modern life’s less necessary obsessions. From :

The pumpkin spice latte, Starbucks’ most iconic and popular seasonal drink, almost didn’t happen.

I’m fascinated by that sentence. No, it’s not the use of “iconic,” a word that has been diluted to uselessness by trend writers who want to sound like Serious Cultural Observers. It’s not the assertion that the Pumpkin Spice Latte is the most popular seasonal drink. Says who? Starbucks? Anyone check the numbers? Well, it’s probably true.

It’s not the subject of Pumpkin flavor, which touches everything possible in October - you can get a great deal on Pumpkin-scented 10-40 weight motor oil down at the corner station this week, you know. It’s not the story’s artwork, which consists of tweets from Pumpkin Spice Latte enthusiasts. That’s how you know this is an important thing: people are tweeting about it and it even has a hashtag. No, it’s this: the drink almost didn’t happen.

Obviously, it did. But it almost didn’t! We were that close to disaster! Headline for the story: “THE UNTOLD HISTORY OF STARBUCK’S PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE.” Never before revealed to mortals! For years this tale has languished in the silence-shrouded shadows, unrelated by human tongue - but now the silence has been broken! Let the heralds raise high their trumpets and command all to gather for the news!

But hold on. What if we’re not supposed to know the history? I’m not saying it’s one of those “secrets” the “Wall Street fat cats don’t want you to know,” but might there be a reason the history was untold?

Yes. The reason we’re hearing the “history” now is simple: the PSL is ten years old, and that means someone had to write a feature story about teh stuff. As it turns out, initial attempts to make a palatable pumpkin drink were underwhelming. They could have stopped trying. But they didn’t. For a while there some people were thinking “this isn’t very good.” If anyone had listened to them, there’d be no PSL, and that means there’d be no hipster whining:

”My world almost ended this morning when the local Starbucks told me they were out of Pumpkin Spice Latte,” tweeted Jason Sizemore, 38 years old, of Lexington, Ky.

This is where you wish Bogart would just materialize out of thin air and give some folks the Ugarte fast-slap treatment. You’ll take it and you’ll like it.

That quote is from the WSJ article on the same subject, which used this headline:

Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte, the drink that heralds the arrival of fall for its many fans, almost never happened.

Much better. It’s not iconic. It does indeed herald the arrival of fall, but only for its fans.

There, I’m done. I’d go order a PSL to see what it’s like, but could taste so good I’d be addicted. Don’t blame me! It’s science.

Here ends the grumpiest blog entry in months.

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