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February 11th, 2002:

Would you like fries with that?

Got this off a mailing list I’m on:

Heinz launches chocolate french fries

Beginning in May, H.J. Heinz Co. will ship a new line of Ore-Ida frozen potato products called Funky Fries featuring five new shapes, colors and flavors, all intended to give kids even more say over their parents’ grocery store lists.

The new products include French fries flavored with sour cream and chives, or cinnamon and sugar, and a new product called Crunchy Rings – basically Tater Tots with a hole in the middle.

Then there’s Kool Blue – a sky blue seasoned French fry, and Cocoa Crispers — a brown chocolate fry designed “for kids with a sweet tooth.”

“We asked the kids what would make them want to eat more French fries,” said John Carroll, managing director of North American potatoes and snacks for Heinz’ frozen food division.

Man. No one ever had to do anything funky to get me to want to eat french fries. I always thought they were their own reward. That’s great when you’re a kid, not so great when you’re an almost-36-year-old grownup with a desk job and a fondness for the couch. Even as I write this, I’m trying not to think about the excellent fries at Fuddruckers, which I regularly crave and am barely able to resist most of the time.

So I have a hard time understanding why anyone needs funky flavors as an enticement to eat french fries. I remember a frozen-french-fry-like product from my childhood called “I Hate X”, where X was a vegetable. They made french-fry-like things out of the vegetable, on the theory that they would then be more palatable to finicky children since they looked and (sort of) tasted like french fries. It actually worked pretty well, though I still refused to touch the “I Hate Broccoli” ones. Haven’t seen them in years now.

My old college roommate Greg used to dip his fries in mayonnaise. I once thought that was the best example of taking a basically unhealthy food and making it even worse for you. Then I was introduced to chili cheese fries. That sound you hear is my arteries hardening at the very thought.

I mentioned that to the other list members, and found that lots of people like dipping their fries in nontraditional condiments. The most popular, which I found moderately appalling, was Wendy’s chocolate Frosties. Others voted for tartar sauce, and vinegar. Personally, when I go to Fudd’s, I like to use their barbecue sauce. It’s zippier than regular ketchup without being, you know, gross.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen someone dip french fries into? Let me know, and I’ll print any interesting replies I get.

Getting Googled

Perusing my referral log (have I mentioned how addicting it is to look at one’s referral log?), I see that a few people have found there way here via Google searches. So far, one person found me via a search for Rick Majerus and Temple, one by looking for “Arthur Anderson joke” (no doubt it helps to spell “Arthur Andersen” correctly), and two people have found me by searching for Angel Boris, one of whom also included “Fear Factor” in his criteria.

Dunno if these folks found what they were looking for, but the lesson is clear: Mention a Playmate, and the hits will come.

By the way, if you have some time to kill and a good vocabulary, give Googlewhacking a try.

Rany on the Royals

Rany Jazayerli does a reality check on KC sportswriter Joe Posnanski, who is brimming with optimism about the Royals’ chances in the upcoming season. Rany regularly writes about the foibles of his accursed favorite team, which centers around the fact that they have never figured out that scoring runs is a good thing, and to score runs you must get on base. The Royals are almost always near the bottom of the league in runs scored, walks, and on-base percentage, and their management shows no indication that they understand that these are Bad Things.

Rany bemoans the blind spot that the 1985 World Series victory has given the Royals:

The shadow of 1985 still hovers over this franchise like a giant albatross, brainwashing the Royals into thinking that offense is strictly optional for World Championship teams. The Royals won a World Series with George Brett and seven defensive specialists…In some ways, winning a World Championship with Buddy Biancalana as the starting shortstop was the worst thing that happened to the Royals.

The irony is that Buddy Biancalana had 15 minutes of fame immediately after the World Series when David Letterman invited him on the Late Night show. Part of Dave’s schtick was showing highlights of Biancalana’s World Series performance. What clips did Dave show? The five times that Biancalana walked. (In dramatic slow-mo, of course.)

Admittedly, a couple (two, I think) of these were intentional, as Buddy batted before the pitcher. But still, rather than lament his role on the last Royal World Series winner, I think Rany should celebrate him and hold him up as the model of the next World Series winner, whenever that may be.