Archive for August, 2003

 

Smoking What???

Saturday, August 30th, 2003

You’ve probably heard of the Smoking Gun posting of that interview Arnold did with Oui magazine, where he talks about gangbanging and smoking pot and stuff. Strange to me what people choose to excerpt. Try this one on for size.

After Arnold points out that he’s the first non-American to win Mr. Universe, the magazine asks:

Oui: Why were the Americans so successful? Was it a question of having more money?

Schwarzenegger: No, it was because the Americans had all the confidence. Theirs was a mental superiority, the feeling that they owned the title. But in Austria, the mentality was the reverse; winning against the Americans was unthinkable. By the time I was 15, though, I had a vision of absolutely wiping everybody off the stage. I had no idea, really, of what a stage even looked like, but I say myself standing there, posing and winning.

Religious conservatives may decide not to vote for the guy, and that’s fine, given that they’re probably only 10% of the state. The rest of California will vote for the guy, and it’s because of that uniquely American attitude he talks about and expresses above.

 
 

Boston CHICKEN!

Friday, August 29th, 2003

So Stumpjumper writes about his love of Boston Market. Coming from Boston, as I do, I have quite a bit to say about Boston Market. It’s a tragic story of a marvelous food concept gone horribly awry. I hardly ever go anymore. Nothing would make me happier than if they were to fix the concept, and revive the chain.

I remember having my first Boston Chicken. I was a teenager, and my mother was away somewhere, and my father brought home a fully cooked whole chicken from the Boston Chicken across the street from where he worked, in the Prudential building in Boston. He opened up this tin foil lined bag and the most wonderous aroma came out, followed by a deep reddish-brown whole roasted bird that even today, thinking about makes my mouth water. We devoured the chicken that night, and I set about to investigate this new phenomenon.

After one visit with friends I was hooked. Going to Boston Chicken became an exciting event, and we eagerly anticipated the opening of each new restaurant. Moreover, Boston Chicken became a regular topic of conversation. I remember specifically having electric conversations with a friend of mine’s father in high-school, each of us speculating on just how they got their chicken so juicy. In a sense, much like for ZombyBoy and Stumpjumper, Boston Chicken became a religion.

My worship had to go on haitus when I went to college, as there were no Boston Chicken’s in Chicago at that time, but upon my return to Boston, the reverence recommenced. In particular, my friend McGyva and I would go out on quests for Boston Chicken, gorging ourselves on obnoxious amounts of chicken and heaping helpings of sides. McGyva in particular was enamoured of the way they’d just pile the side dishes on, leaving you no chance to go hungry. I remember one point in particular, eating at the Boston Chicken at Porter Sq., laughing our heads off about how we should go to Bosnia and open our own rip-off called “Bosnian Chicken,” because you know, after spending all day killing and waging war, sometimes you just need to take a break and eat some chicken…

In any event the original company was eventually bought out and outside management came in. I believe they were the guys that had made Blockbuster Video big. They IPO’d the company and it essentially became the first dot com, shooting way up on speculation, largely caused by people around the country hearing about how great Boston Chicken’s food was, certain that this was a company that would be good to own. It became a fiasco and most people lost their shirts. Nevertheless, Boston Chicken announced it was going to expand, and now, it would change it’s name. It would become, “Boston Market.”

Now, not only would they serve chicken, but they’d expand their offerings to include turkey breast, ham and meatloaf. And they’d have new lunch offerings to try and catch the business crowd, what were called Boston Carver sandwiches. I was skeptical at first, but came to acutally like the meatloaf and the sandwiches were ok I suppose. But soon, other things started changing. The heaping sides the used to give you started being carefully measured in the way they’d scoop it out and flatten off the top on your plate. This had McGyva especially upset.

But what was truly worse was that the chicken started coming out undercooked. When half of the rotisseries were being devoted to other crap, and everyone wanted chicken, the manager would just start taking the chicken off before it was ready, resulting in undercooked, slimy chicken. Even this didn’t wouldn’t stop them from running out of chicken, and on more than one occasion I walked into a Boston Market to find that they were completely out of their signature dish.

Well, it didn’t take long for competition to arrive, from the supermarkets and elsewhere. And while their chicken couldn’t hold a candle to Boston Chicken, Boston Chicken was in essence, gone. Maybe you could get quality chicken there on a slow day, but probably not. The game was over. And the company was expanding too fast, into markets like Hong Kong. It was only a matter of time before they toppled over. Desperate for come cash to sustain them, they even branded frozen foods and TV dinners using the Boston Market name and logo. Could anything be more antithetical to the whole idea of home-cooked Boston Market food than to put a cheap version of it, frozen, next to the Stouffers in the supermarket? Well, the inevitable happened, and they went bankrupt. Today, they’re owned by McDonald’s.

From what I’ve read, McDonald’s bought the franchise, intending to just use the real estate to open more McDonald’s and pizza joints (I guess they own a chain). But when they took a closer look at what they had, they grew intrigued, and they’re thinking of reviving the brand. Well, in the off-chance that someone over there isn’t asleep at the wheel and reads the samaBlog (or someone who links to me at least), here are my suggestions for what to do to fix the flagging brand.

1) Change the name back to Boston Chicken. There’s not better way to tell your old fans that you’re going to fix things to the way they used to be than by reviving the name that the chain started with.

2) Ditch the turkey, ham and meatloaf. Ditch the sandwiches. Seinfeld didn’t make an episode about your ham being so tasty, it was about the chicken. Couple this with an advertising campaign whose slogan is, “It’s all about the chicken.”

3) Set quality standards. Do NOT remove the chicken if the time isn’t yet right. Make people wait instead. Commitment to quality like that will create an allure about you and demonstrate that you’re not just another fast food chain.

4) If you must have more than one main course offering, then perhaps offer a variety of beer can chicken, facilities permitting. And don’t skimp on the sides!

5) End all supermarket branding. It dilutes the value of your stores. Take a loss on the deal if you have to, just get that awful frozen foods with your name on it out of the stores and into the trash.

6) Make new stores bigger, not smaller. Have ample bench seating where an entire family can sit down and devour that chicken in a big, open air environment. Don’t assume that your crowd is all take-out. Create a decent environment and you’ll attract an eat-in clinetele.

That’s it. Bet you’d never have figured I’d have that much to say on that topic…

 
 

Lunacy

Friday, August 29th, 2003

Calzone: wtf?
samaBlog: huh?
Calzone: your last post makes no sense
samaBlog: so what
samaBlog: do all my posts have to make sense?
Calzone: there is a minimum standard that must be respected
Calzone: in this case, submitting the form gives no more insight
samaBlog: I disagree. I can post bad inside jokes all I want
Calzone: and following the link at the bottom doesn’t help much either
samaBlog: well, I’ve posted a new entry already
Calzone: obviously you can do whatever you want with your blog
samaBlog: well, you should expect it to make less and less sense as time goes on.
samaBlog: Because I’m COMPLETELY LOSING MY MIND!!!!!
samaBlog: unga bunga bunga
Calzone: lovely
samaBlog: I insist you DEAL WITH MY LUNACY!!!
Calzone: ok
samaBlog: very good.

 
 

Look Out Laura!

Friday, August 29th, 2003

Glad I don’t live in the Chesepeake area, or (ahem) wear women’s underwear…

CHESAPEAKE — Police are searching for a person who they say has been breaking into Great Bridge homes and stealing women’s underwear.

Since early July, at least four homes on Southwood Drive, Amberline Drive and Waterfall Way have been hit by the burglar, who rings the doorbell before breaking in, police said. He strikes during the day, ignoring valuables in favor of women’s personal items.

You can read the warning here.

 
 

I’m a Monkey!

Friday, August 29th, 2003

What Is Your Battle Cry?

Stalking along the tarmac, swinging a jeweled meat hammer, cometh Rob Sama! And he gives an ominous bellow:

“Ares, God of War, be praised! I shall discombobulate the entire world!!!”

Find out!
Enter username:
Are you a girl, or a guy ?

created by beatings : powered by monkeys

 
 

Beer Please

Thursday, August 28th, 2003

I know I’ve heard of technology like this before, where your beer glass has a sensor and wireless transciever in it, notifying the waitstaff computers when you’re nearly out of beer. That way, you never get stuck trying to flag down a waitress when your beer is empty.

I don’t know if it’s being commercialized yet, but if it is, then I sure hope John Brewers installs the system, right away.

 
 

Free Speech Setback

Thursday, August 28th, 2003

DeCSS is evidently, illegal to publish.

In a case that pitted the U.S. and California constitutions against the state’s trade secret law, the California Supreme Court ruled Monday that it is not a violation of free speech rights to ban the publication of computer code that can be used to copy DVDs.

Read the story here.

The issue with all of this, and it started with the DMCA, is that encryption, even as a field of academic study, cannot progress if one is forbidden to discuss case studies, and bad implementations. Furthermore, bad encryption will continue to be used and sold and broken overseas, while legitimate practitioners of the craft are not allowed to tell customers in America, business or otherwise, about how bad the encryption really is.

Imagine for a moment you tried to apply the same logic to door locks. And some huckster comes up to you and says he has this magic tape, and if you place it across your door jam, it will stop criminals from entering. Under the current law, as a locksmith you’d be forbidden from showing a customer how the tape doesn’t really provide protection, because it can so easily be removed. This is not a helpful means of providing better data security. In the end, it makes us all weaker.

And that’s not even discussing the fact that the law is a blatant first amendment violation. Remember that phraseology, “Congress shall pass no law…”?

 
 

Fear and Loathing with MS Licensing

Thursday, August 28th, 2003

Ever wondered what it’d be like to have the software licensing gestapo show up on your doorstep? Ever wondered if a disgruntled employee can make your life a living hell? Ever wonder what sorts of things the Business Software Alliance can nail you for? Ever wonder if you really could switch your entire company over to Linux?

Well, here’s your answer.

Not sure I buy the notion that switching to Linux doesn’t cause problems, either compatibility problems with file formats, or with training and tech support. I am appalled, however, at the powers that congress gave the BSA. You have no hope of fighting them if they show up at your doorstep.

 
 

Foot Licker

Thursday, August 28th, 2003

So there’s this Foot Licker in Uxbridge, MA (not to be confused with Foot Locker), and he’s been sentenced to 18 months in jail, for an assault of sorts against women in a grocery store (he licked their feet). The story contains what may be some of the best understatements of the year:

“I don’t know what type of counseling someone could undergo for this kind of behavior,” he (foot licker’s attorney) said.

and

“This individual, this gentleman, has a significant sexual problem,” (prosecutor) Bolton said of (foot licker) Dublin.

Read the article here.

 
 

DY-NO-MITE!!!!!

Thursday, August 28th, 2003

Meant to point this out a while ago. Tony noticed that Jimmy J.J. Walker has his own blog. He’s a black conservative, and some of the things he says are interesting, and some are just bitter. Case in point, referring to himself in the 3rd person (a strange thing to do IMO), Walker writes:

At this stage of his life, Walker realizes he’ll never marry. He admits that he’s too self-centered, and selfish. While he admires people that have and raise children, he prefers not to have or date women with children.

He says rather than send troops to Iraq… we should send divorced women with children… they’re the angriest … meanest seqment…of american society…

Ouch! Still a fun read.