October 9, 2014

Printed Pizza Menu Hacked By Competition...Somehow.

I believe I said years ago on this blog that I didn't think it was a major deal if people occasionally made minor grammatical errors or misspellings in public forums. That's why I don't want to make a huge deal out of the fact that this new menu I received has two on their front page. ""Delivery Fee May Applay" is just a simple mistake. And the bold proclamation "WE DELIVERY" is either an error, or an inside joke for stoners. In either case, any average person knows what Pizza Express is trying to communicate and it's not likely to cause any debilitating confusion for a customer.

But there is a third, very subtle mistake on this menu. (OK, a fourth if you think "NJ,07306" looks a bit cramped.) No, it's not the fax number, the business hours, the credit cards accepted, or the URL. And sure, those are all likely stock photos of Italian restaurant offerings, but I'm sure what Pizza Express cooks up isn't that far off.

I'm talking about the computer with the little Italian flag-colored logo and the pleasant slice of cheese pizza stretched across its screen. That's a great touch and shows me that they're technologically current, but what it doesn't show me is Pizza Express' website. Not only is not Pizza Express' website, it's a rival pizza company's website.

Villa Pizza is a NYC-based pizza franchise that also has a location in Jersey City, less than a mile away from Pizza Express. I can't imagine giving a competitor free ad space is good for business. If this happened on The Apprentice, Donald Trump would most certainly be firing whoever red white & green-lit this choice.

I'm so curious as to how this made it to print that I did some investigating (though not that much because it turns out I'm not really that curious). Pizza Express' menu is made by Menus For Less, which prints menus and other things for businesses. They do custom designs and also have lots of templates. I checked out the Pizza Menu and Italian Menu templates and saw a lot of similar designs, but no exact matches, so it was either a custom job, or a template that is now discontinued because of the computer graphic goof.

I wanted to check Villa Pizza's menu out to see if maybe Pizza Express just copied it and forgot to clean up that detail. I don't think that's the case though. The scan of Villa Pizza's menu that I found online is six years old and it's made by a completely different menu printing company called Menu Mo'n.

Menu Mo'n's website has many typos and grammatical errors on their website. I don't say this to make fun of them, I say this because this sort of supports the idea that maybe the printers aren't any more qualified to proofread than the customers that hire them. Menus For Less' website is in much better shape. I can't deny I saw a couple tiny mistakes, but nothing nearly as glaring as the mistakes on the cover of Pizza Express' menu. Maybe printers simply waive all accountability and say "Hey, we just print what you give us."

What I do know is that on Pizza Express' website, they display every page of their full-color menu--except the front page. Not that there aren't mistakes on the other pages ("Vegeatables"--I'm lookin' at you), but I'm guessing someone pointed out the Villa Pizza computer takeover and it was deemed important enough to take action. I feel bad if it was not their mistake, and if that's the case I hope they got a discount. If it was their mistake, I think they may have learned their lesson. Either way I'll probably give them a try sometime, and as a bonus, I won't proofread this post so they can point out my mistakes.

September 21, 2014

Rockin' with the Power of Cheerios

Another cereal company has stumbled onto that current Rock 'n' Roll trend that the damn kids these days love so damn much. If you flip over the current box of Naturally Flavored Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch with Whole Grain Oats, you'll be bombarded with music-themed images and copy designed to get you thinking about the benefits of whole grain oats vis a vis rock n roll.

Over on the General Mills Stage, you'll find the hard-rockin' Buzz. I'm not talking about the guitarist from the Melvins... I mean the cartoon honey bee that is always spiking your plain old Cheerios with mind-altering honey.

And in the center of it all is a hexagonal electronic drum pad. It's a very clever honeycomb reference, to be honest, and if they ever make a commercial out of this, I hope they pay homage to the milk-filled snare of the J. Geils Band. Personally, I love this cereal and eat a box of it every few weeks, so I think it's time to abandon the kid-targeted advertising and aim directly for folks my age and up who can't look at "Rockin' with the POWER of OATS" without filling in the blanks:

A heart healthy diet? John Oates can go for that.

August 19, 2014

Cap'n Communist

So, Cap'n Crunch is not only guilty of impersonating a United States Naval Officer, but now he is flaunting his socialist agenda RIGHT IN FRONT OF OUR CHILDREN?!?!

Helping the shoeless? Telling everyone they're a winner?? Letting pink-haired Feminazis train with men??? Consorting with the Japanese, Canadians, and worst of all, people from FR-ANTS when there are able-bodied out of work Veterans all around us???? WAKE UP AMERICA...THIS LIBERAL QUAKER FREAK IS POISONING YOUR BREAKFAST AND YOUR MINDS.

Look at the kid on the left with the Hitler mustache... that will be YOUR CHILD if this Leftist rainbow Crunchberry curriculum flourishes any longer. Write to your Senators NOW and get this cock-eyed Commie deported back to Russia!

July 29, 2014

U Can't See John Cena. His Time is Meow

This is the image change that John Cena desperately needs. As a bonus, it will come with a RoBeast Rollie-designed wraparound T-shirt graphic. WWE, you can send the merch checks directly here. My time is MEOW.

July 18, 2014

No Title

In yet another sign of the Blogpocalpyse, I decided not to renew BeautyAndTheRoBeast.com 's domain. Blogger/Blogspot is still here, obviously, but I figured it wasn't worth paying $omemon.ey for an easy-to-forget launchpad that redirects you to another year of dwindling posts.

I'll still post here whenever I see something ridiculous at the grocery store or... I don't know what else, that's about all I do here now. Here's other stuff I do:









Actually, I don't really alternate side park anymore. That will be my next stop on the disappointment train. 

June 23, 2014

The Taste New England Loves, (No Homophone)

Vermont Maid Syrup, The Taste New England Loves is made in neither Vermont nor New England...

...it's made in Parsippany, NJ. 

Vermont Maid is owned by B&G Foods, which also happens to own Maple Grove Farms of Vermont. Maple Grove Farms of Vermont makes salad dressing, pancake and waffle mixes, candy, and of course, syrup. While they actually do have facilities located in Vermont, they curiously shorten their name to just Maple Grove Farms on the labels of all their syrup products. 

After B&G acquired Maple Grove Farms of Vermont, they pulled the classic Corporate move--saving money by changing the recipe. They started manufacturing their syrup products with syrups from outside of Vermont. Then, the state of Vermont, which has some very strict labeling laws when it comes to syrup, fined them for continuing to represent themselves as Vermont syrup. For B&G, this was a sticky situation and a pun that was so intended, it hurts my teeth. They decided to drop the "Vermont" part of Maple Grove Farms of Vermont on their syrup labels. And rather than just call it Maple Grove Farms of, they dropped the "of" part for no extra charge.

So how does B&G get away with Vermont Maid syrup being from my great state of New Jersey? I'm just going to assume that it's all in the spelling. As it stands, Vermont Maid labeling merely implies that their product is enjoyed by New Englanders, some of whom may actually be Vermont residents, and that their syrup is created by crushing female housekeepers with large mechanical presses until they drip enough high fructose corn syrup into the plastic bottle. The fine print does not explain whether the maids used in the process are born in Vermont, conceived in Vermont, reside in Vermont, or simply work in Vermont on a full-time or part-time basis. This is a gray area that the state of Vermont has yet to rule on, so B&G Inc is able to exploit the loop hole for the time being. To assume that Vermont Maid is actually Vermont Made would be an unfortunate mistake.

B&G also has products under the name Old London and New York Style. New York Style's new logo is a giant bold NEW YORK with a tiny STYLE beneath it. You know, because they don't want to confuse people into just reading the part of their name that exploits a city they aren't in. 

May 5, 2014

Good News, Bad News, and a Bunch of Cheesecake

First the bad news...

April 2014 represented an unfortunate milestone in BeautyAndTheRoBeast history. It was the first time since its inception December 2007 that a month went by with no post. There are a number of reasons--computer problems, original content being too spread thin over Facebook/Twitter/YouTube, too many trips to the Cheesecake Factory--but they're all just excuses. It's no secret that there's been a steady decline in content here over the years (a quick view of the stats over on the right shows that), but this full month lapse was something I thought would never happen. Sorry, faithful readers.

Now the good news...

All those trips to the Cheesecake Factory are generating the first post here in over a month.

I really had no intention of going to that restaurant so many times, but the RoBeastress and I just happened to be hungry and in the same mall three weeks in a row. There was also no wait which appeals to my deepest dining emotions.

I'm not sure that I'd ever been to one before and was shocked by the size of the menu. Sure, half of it is advertisements (ridiculous), but there's also a lot on it. The portions are also gigantic so it wasn't until the third trip that I actually had enough room in my body to fit a slice of cheesecake. The first time we shared an appetizer and each had an entree. The second time, just an entree. On the third trip we realized the only way we could get our intesteyes on the prize was to split a small appetizer and go right to the cheesecake page.

There are quite a few cheesecakes to choose from, but most amazing to me are the cheesecakes that feature multiple ingredients. It's not interesting because of the potentially delicious combinations--it's because there's a cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory that has two products from competing corporations all on the same slice.

Sure, there are a plenty of solo works--the Oreo® Dream Extreme Cheesecake, the Hershey®'s Chocolate Bar Cheesecake, the Godiva® Chocolate Cheesecake, and of course the Reese's® Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Cheesecake which features the word "cake" twice in its name--but take a look at this:

Adam's Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Ripple
Creamy Cheesecake Swirled with Caramel, Peanut Butter, Butterfingers® and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups®

Butterfinger is owned by Nestlé and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are owned by Hershey's. This is probably mindblowing only to me, but I think it's fascinating that these two competing companies are able to co-exist on a single menu item.

I know what you're saying--"Uhh...you can go into any ice cream shop and get whatever toppings you want even if they are from competing companies." Yes, that's true. But those companies don't exactly want you choosing their competitors. Sure, Mars will let you throw some Reese's Pieces next to their M&M's on your banana split because it's a free country, but they would much prefer those Reese's Pieces to rot a mile underground in a New Mexico desert. They will do what they can to make sure you choose them over the other. But on the Adam's slice of Cheesecake, a Butterfinger and a Reese's Cup are a package deal. They're advertised together and you're giving money to both companies.

I can't imagine Nestlé andHershey's got together one day and said "Let's form an alliance over at Cheesecake Factory." It's more likely that some dude at Cheesecake Factory named Adam was all "People seem to be into this peanut butter and chocolate mess" and then had to call up Nestlé and Hershey's to see if it was OK with them. Nestlé didn't care because they don't have anything else on the menu, but Hershey's decided to make a power play: "Fine, but you have to put something with Hershey's higher on the menu than something with Oreos or Godiva in it."

Godiva was just happy to be on the menu in the US, so Adam didn't even call them. The call to Nabisco was going to be dreadful though. He waited all week to make it. Adam finally got on the horn and said "Listen, I'm in a real pickle. I gotta bump your Oreo® Dream Extreme Cheesecake down below Hershey's on the Cheesecake page."

Nabisco said "Hold up, lemme make a quick call" then looked up the phone number for Cadbury in its Mondelēz International internal phone directory. "Why do I have Hershey starting shit with us over at the Cheesecake Factory?"

Cadbury said "WTF? I thought we were pals with Hershey. They make all our chocolate in the United States."

"It must be an ego thing. Two can play that game," said Nabisco, then called Adam back. "Fuck no. Oreo will not be below Hershey's."

Adam knew this would be a possibility so he said "How about this... I'll let you put your whole logo on there instead of just the word 'Oreo.'"

Nabisco said "You're god damned right you are, but that's just for bothering us at the end of the fucking day on a Friday. We will still not allow the Oreo® Dream Extreme Cheesecake to be below that Hershey®'s Chocolate Cake bullshit," then hung up.

Adam was at a loss. He was already in trouble for screwing around on the Factory floor and this Peanut Butter Fudge Cheesecake was going to save his job. People were eating it up, but he knew he'd get so much more attention with some registered trademark symbols in the description. He had to come up with something.

On Monday he called Nabisco. "Listen, I've figured out a loophole." Silence, but no dial tone. This was progress. "You get the logo."

"Keep going..."

"Oreo® Dream Extreme Cheesecake will be above Hershey®'s Chocolate Bar Cheesecake."


"And you guys own Honey Maid graham crackers, right?"


"I'll make something a S'mores thing with your crackers and Hershey's chocolate and put it at the top of the menu just below our original cheesecakes. Hershey's name will be in the description, but not in the name of the cheesecake. And I'll throw in a line about 25 cents from each sale goes to starving kids or something--people won't even notice the word 'Hershey.'"


And? What did they mean 'And?' Adam thought to himself. Was all that not enough? 

"And... uh... we won't sell it anywhere outside the country. The Oreo logo will always be first in the Middle East and anywhere we expand!"

"It's a deal."

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the leopard got its spots.

March 20, 2014

Star Wars Product Asks You To Search Your Feelings

I spotted this Star Wars product in Target the other day. I'm not totally sure what it is, but it was in the Bath section near shower caddies, so I'm guessing it's used to tote around the cleaning products that wash off your rebel scum.

I was drawn to it not just because of its enigmatic function, but because of the unusual choices for the artwork panels. All four sides feature familiar Star Wars' moments, but they're seen through the rare perspective of the villain. Han appears at both ends of his character spectrum--vulnerable and frozen in carbonite, and cocky in the Cantina. But is Boba Fett simply admiring his handiwork, or is the bounty hunter entranced by Han's inescapable sadness? Are Greedo's wide eyes a hint that he's about to act out of rage, or is he just reacting to a unexpected attack from the scheming scoundrel?

The Darth Vader/Luke Skywalker is pretty much the centerpiece of the entire series, so there's nothing new to explore there, but the Stormtrooper likely about to be gunned down by a pile of blaster-toting members of the rebel alliance? I feel for him. Just look at his frown!

This is truly the saddest basket or tote or whatever it is I've ever seen. I wonder how many tears it can carry.

March 12, 2014

Snow is Cumming...

Do u have the right tool for the blow job?

(Ribbed for Mother Nature's pleasure.)

March 11, 2014

Daniel Bryan Serpico T-Shirts

Daniel Bryan's anti-authority angle has made him vaguely resemble Frank Serpico more and more over the past 9 months in both look and attitude, but his new t-shirt is more on the nose than ever. The typography of the "YES Movement" certainly borrows from Shepard Fairey's Andre the Giant "OBEY" design (which is sort of meta in and of itself), and Bryan's off-camera gaze is reminiscent of both Fairey's Obama "HOPE" poster and the iconic image Che Guevara, but my brain always goes directly to how much it looks like Al Pacino from the Serpico movie poster. In reality, Bryan has dirty blonde hair, but the image on the shirt has super dark hair. It makes me wonder how many of the visual references are intentional choices by the WWE designers and how much are just coincidences. 

I suppose we'll find out at Wrestlemania XXX when Triple H is scheduled to shoot Bryan in the face and ruin his chance for a Main Event title shot. 

March 10, 2014

Totino's Pizza Fella

I'm sure most professional wrestlers these days stay away from carbs, but I still love that they chose Sheamus to promote this--he's the same color scheme as a pizza.

February 27, 2014

EXTREME MOTT'S!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


January 31, 2014

The $cales of Justice

In an effort to reuse the ten thousand paper and plastic bags we have sitting around, I recently filled one up from a place called White House Black Market. I grabbed the rope handle to pick up the bag and discovered that the full length of the handle combined with the full length of my arm was a wash--the bag sat motionless on the floor.

Now I've never been accused of being a tall guy, but I'm at least the height of the average woman, which I would presume is the target demographic of that store. Maybe they expect you to carry the bag on your arm/shoulder, but I would guess that most people buying something from that store already have a bag slung over their shoulder. I had a backpack on that day, so putting this bag over my shoulder wasn't a comfortable option.

I ended up looping the rope around my hand a few times just to keep the bag from dragging on the ground. Look at the ridiculous size of that rope! If it were a little shorter, I think all problems would be solved.


January 21, 2014

8 in One, 2/3 of a Dozen in the Other...

...and both at different prices!

At Home Depot, you can buy 8 furniture skates for $8.27.

Or, you can buy 4 and get 4 bonus skates for even more money!

The choice is yours.

January 3, 2014

If You Suspect It, Report It...

Less poetic, but still more efficient than "If You See Something, Say Something."

(Also, if you suspect this photo is sideways, report it to The Blogger mobile app team. I have rotated it in every direction, and that's the only way this thing will publish it.)

December 1, 2013

The RoBeast Wrestling Book Reviews: Vince Russo - Forgiven / Linda Hogan - Wrestling the Hulk

This past summer, I decided it was finally time to get a NYC library card. I don't think there was a specific book I wanted to read, but I knew that I wanted to consume more about the wrestling industry than television and video were able to feed me. Over the last year I'd gotten deep into wrestling again (I guess this afflicts me every twenty years) and, like every other wrestling mark, thought about what it would be like to work for a wrestling company in some capacity.

"Make sure you get the cross in the shot."
Depending on whose book you pick up, it can either inspire or discourage that path. Vince Russo's Forgiven was a good introduction into the world of both. I didn't watch much wrestling during Russo's tenures at the top of WWF and WCW (the mid-90s to the early 00s), but those days and his polarizing impact have become infamous in wrestling history. Forgiven covers Russo's life from birth through the WWF Attitude Era and his departure from the company as the Monday Night Wars are heating up.
I was most interested Russo's route from superfan to WWF employee, and he was very clear about how he managed to make that happen--he simply wrote a letter to Linda McMahon. It's mind-boggling that in 1992, writing a letter to the CEO of a company was a legitimate way to get a foot in their door, but Vince Russo's gamble paid off. I only wish a copy of it was published in the book.

From there he finds himself getting promotion after promotion, amassing huge paychecks and interesting anecdotes about various wrestlers, while becoming completely overwhelmed by his workload. If Russo's story is to be believed (and for the most part, I see no reason not to believe it), he was basically writing Raw and Smackdown by himself every week. This was an era where scripted promos were becoming the norm, so that was certainly a lot of content to produce for television. Combined with the travel, he was guaranteed to see his family as much as the talent--almost never. Vince McMahon seems to have no interest in work-life balance (a theme that reoccurs in many of these wrestling books) which is a wake-up call to Russo. The book ends as Russo quits the company in '99 and jumps ship to WCW, which is addressed in a second book.
The biggest problem I had with the book was Russo's "commentary track." The manuscript was written in 2000, but between then and its publishing in 2005, Russo had a spiritual reawakening. This resulted in a dramatic revision of the book, and the content that did remain is subject to renewed moral insight every few pages. It's a unique device, but unlike on a DVD, you can't turn it off. I eventually found myself skipping any italicized paragraphed he added because they came off like broken records. Most amounted to either "I was a real idiot when I wrote that" or "I shouldn't have taken credit for that because it was actually God's handiwork." I'm personally not religious and don't believe in a God being behind everything that happens, so it felt like a distraction. Even for a reader that is religious, wouldn't they have recognized "God's work" without being prompted? I respect what Russo wanted to do with this writing technique, but it would have been more effective as a disclaimer in the prologue or as a final chapter with an interesting twist that makes you want to reread the book a second time.

The other section I found annoying was his odd tirade against affirmative action. Russo has effectively established his voice by this point in the narrative, but this waste of space seems like an attempt at emulating Howard Stern. (And I have no problem with Howard Stern, but let his shtick stay in his books.) It also seemed particularly hypocritical for Russo to act like he can't understand the impact of racial discrimination/favoritism in the workplace when in several other places throughout the book, he points out examples of Italian employees sticking together.
Despite these problems, I did enjoy the book because it gave great insight on the inner workings of a process that a biography from a wrestler may not have uncovered. It definitely made me interested in reading his second book, Rope Opera (2010), where the industry lines between backstage and on-screen become completely blurred. Still, I can't help but think of what this book may have looked like in its original form. My guess is a train wreck with even more Stern worship, so Russo likely made the right decision in overhauling it. He also wisely decided to change the original title Welcome to Bizarroland, though isn't it a bit arrogant to assume that he's already been Forgiven?

Against the boxing ring ropes, I guess.
The next book I read was Linda Hogan's autobiography Wrestling the Hulk. Actually, it's hard to even call this a Linda Hogan autobiography because 95% of it is about Hulk Hogan. I mean, the book opens with "Terry Gene Bollea, AKA Wrestler Hulk Hogan--born in Tampa, Florida...". You can't really turn back once you're on that path, can you?

Wrestling the Hulk is basically a description of Linda and Hulk's marital problems bookended by Linda's early life and her post-divorce relationship. The writing is very simple and has lots of exclamation points! There are even some recipes thrown in as filler. My guess is that writing this was a rushed experiment in personal therapy for Linda that someone convinced her could make a few bucks if it was published. And that's good for her, but I just don't think any wrestling fans were dying for this book.
I'll admit that I'm curious to hear about what it's like to be a wrestler's wife--having to deal with the physical separation, the financial ups and down, competing with fans and groupies--but I'm not positive that this alone is enough to fill an entire book. There are plenty of women married to wrestlers that have been in the business themselves who would make interesting biographical subjects, and I'm sure there are many women married to wrestlers that have compelling lives independent of their husbands, but Linda does not seem to fit into either of those categories. She started a family with Hulk Hogan, and then had a reality show about being in a family with Hulk Hogan. It sounds harsh, but there doesn't seem to be much more to it.
Honestly I was never much of a fan of Hulk's, so I have no problem with seeing him skewered in the ring or in print, but nobody can deny that he was the first superstar to be the face of mainstream wrestling in the 80s. He had a unique and controversial career, yet the majority of Linda's insights revolve around cheating and lawyers. Maybe that was a huge part of their lives, but it's just not colorful enough to sustain a compelling story. Yes, The Real American comes across as a shady jerk, but that should come as a surprise to no one who occasionally reads gossip headlines or wrestling insider papers.
That said, I'm not positive who the audience is here. Hulk Hogan fans probably won't believe Linda's claims. Hulk Hogan haters will be disappointed by the lack of major revelations (if there were any, I didn't really notice). Linda Hogan probably has friends that will pick it up, but I can't imagine she has many fans of her own. So who is left? Celebrity divorcees looking for someone to relate to and wrestling completists with a library card, I guess. I'll likely read a book by the Hulkster at some point too and I'm sayin' my prayers that it focuses on his wrestling career and not the breakup of his marriage.