Saturday, July 21, 2018

Hoo, boyardee.

This caught me by surprise in the canned meat aisle:


Chef Boyardee throwback recipe for Beefaroni? What could this mean? Does this mean it's the original recipe? Was this how the cans looked then? Can you only eat it on Thursdays? So many questions.

So of course I had to buy it and eat it. Look at this:


That seems like a strange admission from parent company ConAgra. It's saying that the "regular Chef Boyardee Beefaroni" has less meat, less cheese, and less goodness.

Like all the best people, I love to shower contempt on canned food. Shower, shower, shower. But for you, my readers, I ate this thing, expecting that the big difference in the throwback recipe was sugar as opposed to the high-fructose corn syrup (what the cool kids call HFCS) in the modern Beefaroni. As it turns out, there is not a lot of sugar in Beefaroni, and as far as I can tell there never has been any HFCS. There may be more sugar per serving in "grown-up" brands like Classico.

But here's the stunner -- the new Beefaroni is actually better for you than the old one. A one-cup serving of the new recipe (one serving is half a can -- yeah, right) is 240 calories, with 9 g of fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 800 mg sodium, and 15 mg cholesterol. The throwback Beefaroni is 260 calories, 13 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 980 mg sodium, and 25 mg cholesterol.

!!!

I had kept it around for a few weeks until one night dinner plans fell through late, and it was Ettore Boiardi to the rescue!

Being that it's so full of death-dealing cholesterol you'd think it would be awesome. Well, it was okay. As far as I could tell, it tasted like Beefaroni the last time I had it, which was not 1950. It's got little bits of beef all throughout, and a sweet sauce, and you feel like you ate something when it's over (I mean, besides a lot of salt). Not bad for a buck or so a can.

Still, I'm not sure what the point of the throwback recipe was. Were baby boomers complaining about the current recipe? Most of them should be on a low-sodium diet now anyway, if you follow the killjoys at the American Heart Association. Besides, while I resisted the sacrifice of doing a head-to-head throwback vs. modern Boyardee-off, I'd still guess that there's not a ha'penny's difference between them by taste. Not like Miracle Whip.

Anyway, in truth, I really have nothing against canned goods. Some are better than others, but you can say that about anything. Beefaroni was never my favorite, though. As a kid I was more of a canned ravioli guy.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Bob the Mage, ch. 13.

[Author's note: Sorry, gang, but like it or not, it is Fiction Friday! again! And today we have chapter 13 of our fantasy novel, Bob the Mage. As I keep explaining, maybe as an excuse, I wrote Bob in my ill-spent youth years ago -- my one and only completed fantasy-world book -- and am editing and refreshing it and posting it here. At the end of chapter 12, incompetent wizard Bob and his friends Astercam the Academic and Bourbon the Barbarian had been arrested on a Tegoran ship, after escaping Big Evil Island and its master, the evil Mormor. Bob's enemies, Bugsby the (possibly reformed) pirate, Tegoran Mage Corps leader Karkill, and Tegoran army commander Chokolost, are on the ship and out for Bob's blood. For a moment it looked like Astercam had saved Bob's bacon, but the crowd turned on him. The crew is about to vote on whether Bob should live or die...

If you haven't been following along to this point and want to binge-read, here are the links: 
chapter 12chapter 11,
And remember, if you're enjoying the book, tell someone! Post a link! Tell your grandma on Facebook! Post a link with some cat videos! If you're hating the book, write me a letter! (frederick_key at yahoo) I'll apologize for wasting your time!]

Bob the Mage

by Frederick Key



Chapter 13


Then they killed me.

No, just joshing. There are four more chapters in this story to go; at least give me one more. That’s what Sanford did.
Just as Bugsby was about to call again for the vote to kill me, First Mate Sanford said, “Excuse me, Captain Bugsby! I request the chance to speak!”
“Don’t bother, matey; we’ve got enough to hang him now.”
“No, sir; if you please, I wish to defend the man.”
“DeFEND! DEFEND? This is MUTINY!” cried the captain.
“Hardly, sir. I can assure you that under the laws of Tegora, differing opinions of the captain and members of his crew in a criminal trial do not constitute mutiny.”
“Damn yer eyes, you rotten mother-suckin’ barnacle!”
“Such outbursts are unbecoming a captain of His Majesty’s fleet, if may say so, captain.”
“GAAAH!”
Bluster as he might, Bugsby was up against pure implacability and he hadn’t a clue as to how to get around it. Pirates could duel, or throw each other to the sharks, or randomly assault each other, but such things are not in keeping with a shiny new captain of the king, especially when your first mate is popular with the crew, as Sanford was. Defeated, Bugsby stepped aside, gallantly waving Sanford up with mock civility. As the first mate stepped up smartly, Bugsby muttered about the good old days.
“Captain, fellow officers, and sailors,” Sanford began, nodding to the captain, “none of you but Wrax, Wiggen, and the codefendants and I were present when this Bob told us of his love for the princess Suzette, held captive on a dangerous island where a sorcerer wields hellish powers against his prisoners. Bob and his companions barely escaped from the clutches of this madman, with the help of his princess, and now Bob lives only to seek the means to save her.
“Rubbish, you say? I see some of you scoffing. Puzzman, and you there, Grattie. Scoff if you will, but you know I am a good judge of men. A first mate must be loyal to his ship above all, and fearless, but he must also have a keen ear for truth. And while I suspect a few details may have been fudged, I say that this Bob’s fear of the evil wizard and his love of Suzette are truer than most of the pitiful emotions that most of us wander about with through our lives. He speaks truth! And we three officers, I, Wrax, and Wiggen, ask that you vote to spare his worthy life so that we may all aid him in his quest.
“I note that Bob’s esteemed accusers are looking at me as if I had lost my senses. With all due respect, I think they are mistaken, although I can understand it. For they must think I am asking to set this devil free, and not only that, but to salute him and follow his orders as well. After all, was it not the mission of this ship to hunt for the evil Bob? Is that not why we have the very artifact he was supposed to recover, activated by Hackles the Bold’s Hairy Wand?”
At this, my eyes and Astercam’s both bugged out. They had the Gallstone of the Gods here, on this ship? That useless hunk of rock? And yet it was obviously not useless anymore. It was sending out some kind of magical energy that I had detected over the waves; that must have been what I felt that had led me to steer our little boat toward this ship. I’d heard of the Hairy Wand, mainly as a joke, but if the Tegorans had it and had a wizard who was able to actually use it, that would explain some of what was going on. The Wand’s purpose was kind of as an enhancer and activator. Simon the Unsteady said it was a catalyst, but at the time I thought he meant it did something to cats. Not to get too “inside jousting” on you; I can say the Wand was not a fearsome magic weapon, but it could be used to activate other magical items or wake dormant magical creatures. So was the Gallstone now some magical protection against evil wizardry? Did that mean that this ship and its crew, although sent to kill me, were really the best hope to stop Mormor?
I wanted badly to hear what Astercam might think, but at the moment Sanford was still talking.
“Bob is no more a villain than any of us,” he said, “and in fact, probably less of a villain than many. Did he break our laws? Well, haven’t most of you? Did he really work magic on innocent men? Look at his pathetic form and tell me what you think. Did he disobey orders? He survived Karkill’s training, and did get Chokolost to the stone they were seeking. He may have disobeyed Captain Bugsby by meeting the princess, who was a, um, a guest on the Seaworthy, but it must be said that the Seaworthy was a pirate ship and Bob’s action could be construed as a service to the crown. And remember, he, like all the pirates on that ship, did get pardoned in exchange for fighting a sea monster.
“We believe that Bob’s actions were no credit to his service to Tegora, but we must temper justice with mercy. Most of all, we must believe the evidence of our association with him, that Bob is not a powerful mage, may be barely competent at best, and there is nothing to be gained by putting him to death. It would not serve justice and would be an insult to the hope for mercy in this world!”
You might imagine that I was stunned. You’d be right. Not only was Sanford suggesting mercy, but the crew was listening, and some were nodding.
“As for his quest,” said Sanford, “I submit that what Bob seeks, the freedom of his princess and the destruction of Morwor Mordun Mormor, is exactly what we are meant to do. Chokolost told us that the reason he was sent to find the Gallstone of the Gods was because the crown feared the growing power of the wizard Mormor, and was looking for a means of protection against dark magic. It has been a single-minded goal of King Maximo’s for a decade, and for good reason. I suspect that the reason we were commissioned to find Bob was mainly as a test to see if the Gallstone’s protection was really active against evil magic. Well, we cannot consider it a success or a failure yet. But then, look at it this way: We have the stone, we have three passengers who have been to the evil Mormor’s island and know the layout, and we know the legends that Mormor has tremendous piles of gold and gems and magical items hoarded in his castle. These men, these three brave men, these three brave men who know what kind of serious treasure may be found on Big Evil Island… perhaps even the legendary treasure of Gargothene the Odiferous… these three men can lead us to battle and plunder and the rescue of the Princess Suzette! Our man Bob can take us straight to the evil Mormor, and with the strength of our arms and the power of the stone, we shall destroy him! And get the gold! What say you now, men?”
They ate it up. Sanford could have told them to jump into the water and tow us to the island. I hoped he hadn’t oversold it, since I had not actually seen any mounds of gold on Big Evil Island, but it stood to reason that Mormor had them—and it served its purpose. Those Sanford could not sway by reason, he swayed by greed. Bugsby still was calling for the vote of death, but his voice was lost in the cheering. Karkill had softened, and he leaned on a barrel with a dreamy look in his eyes. Chokolost just glared.
Within minutes I was freed of my chains, as were Bourbon and Astercam (although they left the muzzles on Astercam). I was hoisted on the shoulders of sailors who demanded, “Speech! Speech!”
“No, it’s time for action!” I yelled.
“Speech! Speech!”
“Well, okay.”
They put me on the poop deck and I waited for them to quiet down.
“Thank you all,” I began, “for showing true honor. And thanks to Astercam and Sanford, who spoke so well on my behalf. I am not evil, as you know, and I am glad to be accepted among this fine crew, the crew of the finest ship I have ever seen!” This bit was true, but I had spent my life as a total landlubber and had seen exactly four ocean vessels up close, counting the catamaran; no use mentioning that now. “Let us sail on to Big Evil Island and take the battle of good upon our shoulders! For the king!”
“THE KING!”
“The princess!”
“THE PRINCESS!”
“The loot!”
“THE LOOOOOOOT!”
There was much shouting and laughing, backslapping and autographing. It seemed to take a while before anyone got back to work.
When they did, Astercam—finally de-muzzled—was taken with a grouchy Bugsby to chart a course for Mormor’s stronghold. Sanford got the men turning the ship in the generally correct direction. Chokolost went below, glowering as he passed. Karkill followed me around all afternoon, though, saying things like, “I knew you were a good sort, Bob” and “You do the warrior mages proud” and “Just how much gold is on this island, anyway?”
I said, “Imagine the biggest pile of gold you can.”
“All right.”
“Is it really big?”
“Oh, I have a strong imagination.”
“Double it.”
“Whoa,” he said.
“And all kinds of magic stuff just lying around by the sackful.”
“Whoaaaa.”
That got rid of him for a while, but it was still several hours before I could speak with Sanford alone. We stood on the bridge at sunset, while the sky was filling with heavy clouds and a nervous wind played through the ropes. From all quarters I could still hear snatches of shanties sung by sailors dreaming of heroism and riches and glory as they worked. Sanford gripped the wheel steadily, his eyes reflecting the reddening sun.
“So why’d you do it?” I asked.
“Do what, Bob?” he said, still looking to sea.
“Why’d you save my neck?”
“You don’t think I believed your story?”
“I’d like to think so, since it was true,” I said, “in its key aspects anyway. But most people don’t believe me, and no one’s ever trusted me, except Suzy, for some reason. Why you?”
“I did believe your story. And Astercam’s. They jibed with everything I’ve ever heard about Mormor. And the king really would like Mormor to be dead.”
Silence for a bit, broken only by the drifting songs, the odd slap of sail.
“And?” I asked.
“And the gold,” he said. “I’m a decent sort of chap, but I’m not stupid.”

💰💰💰💰

[Can the crew of the Badass take the fight to the evil wizard? Can they stand up against Mormor? Will Bob's enemies try to dispose of him again? Tune in next Friday for Chapter 14 and find out!]

Thursday, July 19, 2018

How to hurt a guy.

Hey, gang! It's Throwback Thursday, and here's a rerun from my old, defunct Blog.com blog. This post was about a hot news issue of the day, that day being 2013, but as you will see, it is still a matter of crushing national concern five years later. Be generous in your support.

----

This came out in March--- 

Perhaps I should rephrase that. 

This study popped up---

Start again.

Dr. Herman Bagga--

Hmm--no help.

Okay. A study in the British Journal of Urology International reports that, as Medical Daily put it, "more than 17,600 people in the United States, mostly men, visited the ER during the past 10 years after catching genitalia between the teeth of a zipper."

So during the past decade a group larger than the entire population of Beckley, West Virginia, got their business stuck in their fly so bad that they had to go to the ER!?

Hacheeeeemamma!!!!!

This is terrible stuff. Boys, you don't need me to illustrate. You may have had such an incident yourself, but I hope never so bad that you had to be rushed to the hospital. What are they making zippers out of these days? Samurai sword steel?

And the news from the BJUI only gets worse. Dr. Bagga (heh) also co-authored a study that is in the June 2013 issue entitled, "No small slam: increasing incidents of genitourinary injury from toilets and toilet seats." (I heard this story thanks to Michael Graham, who reported on it with gusto.)

You sure you want to read more? The abstract uses the phrase "crush injuries."

Here we go.

"The most common mechanism involved crush from accidental fall of toilet seat.... Most crush injuries were isolated to the penis (98.1%)."

Yikes!

Unlike the zipper-teeth chomps, these toilet seat traumas were pediatric injuries. Not that it hurts any less for the little shavers, of course. God knows how many more "crush injuries" occurred that were bad but not bad enough to rate a trip to the ER. Aside from big brothers with really stupid ideas of what constitutes a practical joke, what could be causing all these poor kids, who must be just learning the fine art of penile penmanship, to have the porcelain seat suddenly pull a guillotine on them, causing them to---to quote Dr. Bagga (heh) and Company---sustain "toilet- and toilet seat-related GU injuries"?

I can't speak to the zipper thing---one suspects alcohol or the sudden arrival of a husband may have something to do with these---but I think I know what's happening with the poor lads and the slammin' seats. I blame these:




Yes, those fuzzy carpet covers that women like to put on the lid. The fluff pushes the vertical lid out from the tank just a bit, but sometimes it's past the tipping point, especially if the wee tot flips the lid up in a hurry, and wham! 

Paging Dr. Bagga!

This is a terrible epidemic that is truly and literally threatening our manhood!

If you're a girl, you're sitting whatever you do, so it doesn't matter. If you're a man of average height, it's just a nuisance that the thing could fall down, interrupting your flow of consciousness, as it were, and getting you in trouble for peeing on the seat. But if you're a little guy using the big-boy can, your junior member is right on the chopping block, at the top of the bowl.

I have argued the point about these lid covers with the stunning Mrs. Key, who like most women, did not at first see the problem. Perhaps this study will open some lids... eyelids, that is. Yes, we all like to decorate the house so that it looks like the toilet is just another comfy chair---Why, we don't actually need toilets in this house! Ha-ha! But these seemingly harmless toilet toupees are a menace: "In all, 13,175 GU injuries related to toilets presented to ERs during 2002–2010." A population equivalent to that of Washington, Missouri, with penile crushment. And how many of these were caused by lid rugs? Oh the humanity!

Until now I thought the most inhuman thing in the typical bathroom was the lady doll toilet paper roll cover---you know the kind, with the knitted "hoop skirt" that covers the roll and the eyes that close when she falls over?




Little did I know that while Junior was being terrorized by Charmin O'Hara staring at him from the tank, the true horror was the carpeted toilet lid lurking just below.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Explaining ironing to the dog.

I was ironing a shirt the other day when junior varsity dog Nipper wandered in and gave me that dog look that says, "Huh?"

Most of the time he sees me doing something he's used to seeing me do -- looking at machines, annoying senior varsity dog Tralfaz, blabbing with Mrs. K, cooking FOOD, eating FOOD -- but this was something he couldn't grasp. Taking a hot thing and smooshing a fabric with it because... huh?

You couldn't explain it to him in a million years. He doesn't even know what's up with clothes. Fabrics are just something fun to rip up; he doesn't know why we use them. He does know that when it's cold and I'm putting extras on, he might be going outdoors. But it's not like he slips into a suit and tie to go there.

Ironing is a little weird anyway, I guess. After Nipper gave up on me I thought about it. I used to iron a lot more when I had to dress for the office, particularly twenty years ago, when people didn't go to work wearing the same thing they wore to bed. But here I was, pressing some summertime shirts. Why? I work from home. Whom am I trying to impress? Clearly not the dogs.

Iron Chef! Ha ha ha never mind
By this point in my ironing I was wondering why I was doing it at all. Seriously, what was the point? People should be glad I'm wearing anything. It's hot out there. Maybe just a big hat to protect my scalp. Otherwise, nekkid editor comin' through!

But I have to admit I like the look of a nice, crisp shirt, on me, or on someone else. Unless that's my shirt on someone else. Hey! Gimme back my shirt!

The question is, why do we like the look of ironed clothes? Dirty clothes are repellent because they might indicate disease or stink or vermin, but my shirts were perfectly clean, and looked it. Just wrinkled. Why iron?

Here's where your evolutionary psychologist takes over and proves that an ironed shirt acts on us the way a simple landscape would on our ancestors, who would be able to perceive threats that would be hidden in a more... wrinkled landscape. Or something. Maybe the ironed shirt acted like smooth skin, indicating someone more appropriate for mating with than someone with wrinkled skin. Sounds like nonsense to me, but if we can spread the idea around, maybe all the guys won't keep coming to work in what they woke up in.

I think we do have a natural preference for order over chaos, except when we are teenagers. It's why we have so many pieces of furniture devoted to having a place to put things, so many closets in our homes. It's why even if you like messy art, like Jackson Pollock or one of the other drips, you don't chuck it in a room with a bunch of other crap; you hang it on the wall where it is lighted properly and away from other objects. An ironed shirt shows a person who is willing to do a dumb job like ironing, or paying someone to do it, because he prefers order to disorder. Or something like that.

One thing I do not do and never have is iron jeans. That was not unusual in the pre-grunge days -- the eighties liked things slick and shiny -- but I find it as pointless as ironing sweatpants. No, I draw the line at jeans.

The dog still doesn't get it. He ate a recipe for pasta salad yesterday. Not the pasta salad, I mean he chewed up the paper it was written on. Ironing will have to be one of those weird people things he doesn't understand. And I'll never understand those weird dog things.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Expository themes.

The other day I was listening to the Gilbert Gottfried podcast interview with Sid and Marty Krofft, the puppeteers who made all those outlandish Saturday morning kids' shows in the 1970s. After hearing about them and their work I felt a little bad about giving them such a hard time. But I'm comforted by the fact that if they even knew, they most assuredly wouldn't care.

It did put me in mind of the fact that at least three of their high-concept shows -- Land of the LostLidsville, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, and the Freudian nightmare that was H.R. Pufnstuf -- used their theme songs to set up the shows. Because if you just turned on Lidsville and you saw the kid who played Eddie Munster running around with people dressed like hats, you would wonder what in hell had been in that coffee this morning. But if you heard the opening theme, you'd know that the problem was not with you.

I think the expository theme song a good idea for a show, especially one that has an abnormal setup. A show like Friends or The Courtship of Eddie's Father or The Gilmore Girls or The Golden Girls can have a theme song that just sings about how we are pals and pals are we and whatnot and you really know all you have to know. You don't have to have someone explain to you why these people are friends. In the early seasons of The Brady Bunch, when a lot of the plot lines came from the blending of the two families, it was helpful to have a theme song to tell you that the females were one family and the males another and now they all have to live in a house with three bedrooms, except for Alice's bedroom, which is under the stairs, like Harry Potter's.

I'll Greg to block, Peter.

Theme songs like that are of the "How It Happened" variety, giving you a background in the show, so you know how these characters got into the situation in which we find them. Probably the most famous of these is Gilligan's Island, or possibly The Beverly Hillbillies -- in both cases, without the theme song you would be baffled by the goings-on because you'd be too busy wondering how these people got into this preposterous situation. Fresh Prince of Bel Air follows the Hillbillies line, of course. Dusty's Trail, which was just the Gilligan's Island characters on a wagon train, also had a theme song that explained the show, although it was a lot harder on Dusty (also played by Bob Denver) than the Gilligan theme was on Gilligan. Maybe that's why it lasted just one season. The Patty Duke Show also explained that Patty was going to be playing herself and her identical cousin with a phony accent, although it didn't put it quite that way.

Other themes of this variety include those for Diff'rent Strokes (although it's circumspect, and the brothers' mom's death is not mentioned), F-Troop (although mostly about how the captain was posted there), and Branded (a rare drama entry that explains why Chuck Connors is being hassled all over the place). One I didn't think of but my wife did: The Partridge Family, and that's just because of one verse only played on season 1:

Five of us and Mom working all day
We knew we could help her if our music would pay
Danny got Reuben to sell our song
And it really came together when Mom sang along

The rest of the theme is just about traveling and singing and happiness.

Other theme songs set the situation but don't explain how the people got into it. The Flintstones introduces the family, but it would be completely bizarre if you didn't have the cartoon showing you the "modern stone-age family" in action. George of the Jungle tells you who George and his friends are, and that he is clumsy, but not how George got in the jungle in the first place.

A little further from a proper setup are songs for The Jetsons, which only gives you the names of the characters, and Batman, which gives you... well, Batman.

The Odd Couple opener gives you the setup for the show in speech, not in music. The music has no words. In this regard, and its being set in Manhattan, it is completely identical to Law & Order.

Other shows had songs that just set up the mood without telling you anything much about who the protagonists are or what they want. They include:

Laverne and Shirley (25)
Cheers (28)
Moonlighting (23)
Secret Agent (3)
Friends (1)
The Greatest American Hero (2)
Welcome Back, Kotter (1)
The Monkees

And you know what's interesting? All of these theme songs were hits. The number is where it charted on Billboard -- except the theme from The Monkees, which was not a hit in America because it was not apparently released as a single in the US. That, children, is irony.

But most TV shows, like the radio shows before them, just used music to set the mood with no words at all -- everything from I Love Lucy to The Dick Van Dyke Show to Bones to Get Smart! to Hawaii Five-O to Miami Heat follows that template.

There being an Internet, and I being on it, I was sure that this ground had been covered before, and I figured some site like TV Tropes had listed all the show themes that explained the premise of their show. And I was right! That very site has an article called "Expository Theme Tune," and I wondered whether they included any I missed. Indeed, the Live-Action TV subpage has a few I should have known, including "How It Happened" classics like Charles in Charge, The Nanny, Green Acres, and Mystery Science Theater 3000, and situation-setters like Mister Ed and The Addams Family, among others.

What surprises me about this topic was not that so many shows had expository songs but that more high-concept shows didn't. Shows like Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie used animation to tell you what they were about; The Munsters used a simple domestic scene with the characters. ALF showed scenes of the family videotaped by their alien friend. Mork & Mindy also just had scenes from the pilot and expected you to get the idea. It seems natural that visual cues would be used in a visual medium, but there's a lot of fun to be had, especially in comedies, with theme songs that tell a story. And it helped with syndication in the old days, where people would be less likely to have come in on a show from the beginning.

Now, with binge-watching and episodes available online as well as plot summaries all over the Web, it's much less necessary to sum up the show at the top of every episode. But it's a shame. Wouldn't our pop culture have been poorer with no Gilligan's Island theme? I think so. And if not for The Flintstones, what would we sing on the bus?

Sunday, July 15, 2018

What is Mr. Reese up to?

Maybe consumerism is a bad thing. Pope Francis says so, and defined as he does, emphasizing how it leads to the disposability of  everything, including one another, it makes sense. On the other hand, the dazzling array of choices available to the consumer makes consumerism more appealing than ever. It's like TV -- back in the 1960s and 1970s, when TV was limited but universal and the programming was mostly dumb and samey, the smart people saw it as the "idiot box" that would doom society. Now that TV is smarter, the same people think it's fine that we're glued to the screens all the time. I'm not sold that it's improved enough to justify this change on the hearts of the intelligentsia. Two words: "Real" "Housewives."

However, that was all a means of getting us to our topic for the day, which is related to the crazy choices for all kinds of consumer goods, including breakfast cereals and candy. And that leads us to this:



Reese's Puffs, a joint effort between Reese's home company Hershey's and food giant General Mills. Would we, in the dim past, have ever expected these two titans to join forces? No, of course not. Hershey's would not have had the means to bring a cereal to market, and General Mills would have come out with some dopey peanut butter mess that no one bothered to try. Truly this is an age of wonders.

So hell yeah, I bought a box and ate it. One of the best things about it was the back of the box, which gave us a tour of why on earth people might legitimately not love this cereal:


I'm not sure which one of these covers me, for I can't say I loved Reese's Puffs. I did like them quite a bit. One of the best things about them is that they are not super-sweet; unlike other cereals they were not like eating milk-drowned candy for breakfast. I think this is because they are at heart Kix, another General Mills cereal, famous for being "Kid-Tested / Mother Approved" (the slogan they've used since 1978, although you note that it doesn't say that it passed the kid test). Kix is notable for lower sugar than other kids' cereals, and in my experience, correspondingly lower enthusiasm. Still, it was better than old-folks' cereal like raisin bran or Grape-Nuts, so if that was all Mom would get, it would have to do. 

At my age Kix is about as sugary as cereal ought to get. The Reese's Puffs are the same way, but with the added bonus of genuine PB and chocolate taste. So I did like them -- it did not rise to love, though. As always, I turn to the Cereal Project and its suzerain, Mr. Breakfast, who tells us that the cereal has been around since at least 1999. Well, I didn't have this blog in 1999, so I didn't have the excuse to eat it as a service to my readers; also I did not have a coupon, which are suddenly available on Coupons.com, so I think they're making a push for the brand. Anyway, it was good, I liked it, but I don't think I'll bother with it again. 

My lack of enthusiasm may come from me being spoiled by the vast array of caloric Reese's comestibles out there. If you look on the Hershey's product site for Reese's, you'll see EIGHTY-SIX different things sold under the Reese's name. When I was kid there was exactly one (1) -- a package of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups with two cups in it. Reese's Pieces weren't even a glimmer in E.T.'s giant eye yet. We never imagined there would be such a thing as a white chocolate Reese's:



Weird, isn't it? It's like what Evil Kirk would eat in the Mirror Universe.



And how was White Reese's? Just okay. I think it was better in the idea than the execution. I like white chocolate all right, but it does not work with all flavors, and I think it just doesn't play that well with peanut butter. It seems to go better with fruit flavors, I think. But that's totally personal opinion, and others may find it works fine.

Anyway, that's the state of play right now in Reese Town, and God knows what they'll come up with next. Spumoni Reese's! Reese's Whiskey! Reese's Pizza! Who knows? It's the wild west out there.