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Grocery Shopping at Menard's

  • Blog Post by: James Lileks
  • June 10, 2013 - 12:44 PM

Waiting for all the Apple news to roll out of the developer’s conference. Interesting stuff so far, but if they don’t announce a watch that gives you the power of invisibility the stock will probably drop. How happy will I be if the interface is flattened and the leather-stitching on the apps is dropped? This happy.

 

 

Of course, if everything is flattened and adjusted to Ives’ exquisite sensibilities, that means that every other app on the phone will look old and garish. Every app developer’s probably been working on new icons, anyway. Joy: you have 127 new updates.

See? We can complain about anything.

 

BEGUN THE CHIP WARS HAVE Sorry; I’m as tired of that Yoda-trope as everyone else.

Yesterday I went to Menard’s for some peanuts and a door lock. They didn’t have the lock. It was a custom door, apparently, and that meant a custom lock/. The clerk showed me where I could find the model number of the door, so they could order the lock. Great! Thanks. But I had a basket with a jar of peanuts and some Special K bars: nice price. You feel stupid checking out of Menard’s with just food.

Anyway, that’s all to explain why I have a picture of this.

 

 

 

First of all, Menard’s would be your sweet spot-demographic for this, no? Don’t think they’re showing up at Byerly’s.

But more to the point, Tater Salad?

 

 

Larry’s right there in the video. It’s Ron White’s website’s address, for heaven’s sake. 

That said, who makes them? Why, Minnesotans. They’re made by Barrel of Fun - which also makes Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s line . . . which competes with Jeff Foxworthy’s line of chips, Grit Chips.

There seems to be a point in one’s career where branded potato chip is the next logical step, but it only happens to a select few. I’ll bet someone approached Ron White with an offer to endorse a line of Tater Salad. You can imagine the expression. Until recently I’d only known his work from listening to the Comedy Channel on satellite radio, and I could still imagine his expression.

MOVIES Summer means a new Pixar movie, which now means we have to sniff at them and make disappointment faces. Here’s something that’s poorly conceived AND executed:

In the early days of Pixar, the company's use of computer-generated animation was ahead of its time. When that novelty wore off, it became progressive in other ways. With the thematic depth and layered humor that carried it through an unprecedented run of universally beloved hits, Pixar supplanted Steven Spielberg as the preeminent source of smart popular cinema, even coming close to outdoing Disney's decade-spanning animated legacy with its complex range of characters. Then Disney bought Pixar, and the distinctly post-modern Pixar touch slowly turned into a modern Disney one.

Do you get the sense you’re reading a college paper? It has that ring - the earnestness, the solemn truths, the Olympian tone of knowledge and wisdom won at great cost. We continue:

Once upon a time, in a land that now looks so magical it could have been dreamed up, Pixar carried the virtues of an independent studio that delivered brainy alternatives to simplistic studio-produced animation. Whether exploring the end of humanity in "Wall-E" or the frustrations of the nuclear family in "The Incredibles," Pixar assailed society's mythologies and fears within a pop culture context in a fashion that at times almost felt subversive.

This is what you say before you set yourself apart by ripping that which everyone previously lauded. The Apple Effect. They’re too good! Everyone loved their groundbreaking work, but they’ve ceased to innovate. We continue:

As it has devolved into less of a disruptive force, the company got safe. Two years ago, "Cars 2" could have been written off as an anomaly (because "Cars" was a weak Pixar effort anyway), but then came last year's "Brave," an innocuous children's fairy tale that carried plenty of wholesome value in its unconventionally assertive princess but lacked the searing wit and complex subtext associated with most previous efforts.

Like “Bug’s Life” and “Nemo,” eh? Searing wit. Searing. I gave up on the piece with the swipe at “Cars,” which may require more suspension of disbelief than any other animated product in the history of the genre, simply because a civilization populated entirely by vehicles is beyond preposterous. The illogic sears. And the subtext! It’s insufficiently complex! 

It’s a love-letter to the bygone days of the American highway. Everyone said Pixar had lost it after that one, too. As for why we’re getting a Monsters Inc. sequel, why not? You can say that it lacks the deep subtext and searing commentary of the first one, which tackled resource depletion and corporate skullduggery, but that’s why anyone loved the move.

BTW, there’s nothing wrong with a “modern Disney touch.” Let’s look at some recent Disney movies:”Tangled” was arguably better than “Brave.” “Wreck-It “Ralph” contained searing subtext on obsolescence and social anxieties. It was also funny. Neither, however, gave the company “street cred,” which meant they resonated with the codes of the urban dispossessed, which is what the term used to be. When I used to watch cop shows there was always an informant who would tell the hero cops about the word on the street, which was invariably true, as it pertained to low-lifes. No one ever said “Word on the street says they’re close to finding the Higgs Boson.” Unless he was a sailor who jumped ship, and the story was set in a 19th century whaling town, or something.

 

OBITS One of the greatest comic novelists of the 20th century died last week. Sorry, forgot; this is the internet. One of the Greatest Comic Novelists You Probably Never Heard of Died. There. One man remembers Tom Sharpe:

When I was an undergraduate at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge in the early 1970s, an otherwise blissful life of indolence was occasionally blighted by the college's head porter, a pocket sergeant major of a man named Albert Jaggard. The 1960s had swept away most college rules. Those that were left – mostly relating to sex, drugs and alcohol – the authorities were too squeamish to enforce. So Jaggard, as head porter, made this his business. Like many bullies, he was a complex character, ferocious yet strangely loveable.

Those of us who nurtured secret aspirations for the literary life, would occasionally share the view that Jaggard was a figure "from fiction" or "should be in a novel". Then we discovered that this ambition had already been realised in a novel called Porterhouse Blue, in the immortal character of Skullion, by a savagely comic writer named Tom Sharpe, who died this week.

Sharpe was a bit too “contrary,” as the article gently puts it, and a tad too ridiculous, if memory serves. But his novels were hilarious. American publishers tried to get us to like them in the early 80s, but I think they fell flat; people were just baffled.

And then there was this:

Mott Green, who emerged from a hermitlike existence in a bamboo hut in the jungle of Grenada to produce a coveted Caribbean delicacy — rich, dark chocolate bars that he exported around the world with the help of sailboats, bicycles and solar-powered refrigeration — died on June 1 in Grenada. He was 47.
He was electrocuted while working on solar-powered machinery for cooling chocolate during overseas transport.

RIP. Back to watching the Apple news. Ah!  Just saw that the Calendar is FLAT. I'd make sarcastic noises about how happy I am, but really . . . I am. More tomorrow. 

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