Category: humor

Top Ten Ice Cream Flavors

Look. Sometimes a topic comes up on a Facebook post, and there’s just not enough space there to give it the sort of attention it deserves. Yesterday, I tried to write a simple post about how you learn to handle rejection. Naturally, my sister ruthlessly hijacked the thread to turn it into how good vanilla ice cream is. Suddenly, I’ve got family members popping up to talk about how lobster is good, as well. All it’s missing is to have someone bring up Grape Nuts, and the thread’s downfall will be complete.

Brothers. Friends. Countrymen. There comes a time in every blogger’s life when he has to stand up and speak the truth to power. Even if that power is older than you by two years. And I might be fine with an analogy about how some people might–might–theoretically like vanilla ice cream, but when it comes time for a prolonged debate about the strengths of the ice cream ouvre, then the time for vanilla is well and truly done. Because what is vanilla but the blandest of the bland? You take cream. You add sugar. You throw in some vanilla extract.

The end.

That’s not a flavor. That’s a failure of effort. Vanilla isn’t ice cream. It’s a step to making ice cream. It would be like calling a cake “eggs,” because it has eggs in it. Come on, folks! This is grade school stuff.

So I decided to give this topic the attention it’s due. To set straight once and for all the true hierarchy of ice cream. Let it be known from now until forever that this is the One True Ice Cream Post. Anyone who says differently is selling something.

If an ice cream flavor doesn’t appear on this list, then I don’t need follow up questions wondering why, or trying to persuade me I’m wrong. It’s not on the list because it didn’t break the top ten. You might like it, but you probably also like vanilla, so I don’t have to listen to you. Fact.

Ready? Here we go.

10–Chocolate. All ice cream lists must start with chocolate, for it is the ur-flavor. The flavor from which all other flavors inevitably get judged. The darker the better, but we’ll go for anything chocolatey, really. If you’re at one of “those” ice cream places, and there are only like three flavors to choose from, one of which doesn’t count, and the other of which is strawberry, then you go with chocolate. (Note: strawberry is a fruit, not a flavor. If I want fruit, I’ll eat fruit, but keep your nasty fruitses away from my ice cream.)

9–Chocolate Chocolate Chip. How do you improve upon chocolate? By adding more chocolate, of course. Everyone knows that. ‘Nuff said.

8–I couldn’t think of a #8, so we’re going to go with nothing, instead of putting vanilla anywhere near this list. That’s the sort of dedication we need to keep vanilla at bay.

7–Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. What a world we live in! The wonders of cookie dough in ice cream have long been apparent, even if it’s typically fallen under the awful spell of vanilla’s siren song. But this is the 21st century, friends. We have the technology and the capability to cast off those vanilla chains and bring a true flavor to this pairing. There’s serious potential for this flavor to move up the ranks, but for now, it’s just too new for us to really know. Ice cream scientists must continue their studies and get those papers peer reviewed.

6–Cookies and Cream. No. I know what you’re going to say, and just stop right there. This is not vanilla. It’s right there in the name, calling it what it is. Cookies. Cream. Not vanilla. Cream. All ice cream is cream. This is cookie ice cream, and it’s a testament to the power of oreos that those wonderful cookies are able to combat the blandness that would otherwise be vanilla. Of course, they use the power of chocolate to get there, so I guess we could have all seen that coming.

5–Chocolate Brownie. Sure, you can (and should) eat ice cream with brownies, but this flavor recognizes that fact so much that it just brings the brownies with it, wherever it goes. It’s like that friend of yours you had in grade school who had a Super Nintendo and brought it over to your house to play. Who doesn’t like a friend like that?

4–Mint Chocolate Chip. Yes, it’s not chocolate based, but if there are enough chocolate chips in there, then that makes up for it somewhat. This doesn’t score higher, mainly because it’s typically neon green, and you don’t know where that ice cream has been. But then again, if it’s white, it might be vanilla, and you have to do everything you can to stay away from even the appearance of evil, right?

3–Rocky Road. How can you go wrong with this? It’s like a sundae in every scoop! You’ve got your cronchy nuts, you’ve got marshmallows, you’ve got chocolate. It’s the complete package deal, and it sits so close to the top.

2–Peppermint. This doesn’t score higher, because it’s really just a seasonal thing, and it is only to be consumed in winter, ideally between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. But for those months, it reigns supreme over the ice cream world, scoffing at all lesser flavors. Yes, you have some small pockets of vanilla when pie is involved, but in those cases, the ice cream is a plus one, essentially. It didn’t get the invite to the Dessert Ball. It just came in on the arm of Pumpkin or Apple.

1–Chocolate Peanut Butter. Not just peanut butter cup. (For one thing, sometimes you get peanut butter cup ice cream, and it turns out to be vanilla based. OH THE HUMANITY!!!) In this case, I’m talking about the ice cream with the ripples of peanut butter spread throughout each scoop. It really doesn’t get better than this.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking this PERFECT PLACE TO DIE Amazon link. It will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Your Daily Dose of Doofus

You would think, after more than 40 years of experience on this earth, that I would generally be with it when it comes to basic mechanical devices. I know my way around computers pretty well. I can tinker around with most things and get them to work. I’d like to think I’m capable of doing basic things like, say, replacing windshield wipers on my car. Right?

Due to an overzealous ice scraping incident, my old wipers were giving me trouble. The rubber had separated from the end of one of them, and it looked like a rat tail moving back and forth across my windshield. No problem! I ordered some replacements, and they came yesterday. When I took them out, I was surprised to see they were yellow, for some reason. “Maybe it’s supposed to look more high tech,” I thought to myself.

I followed the instructions and successfully had them on my Prius in about 2 minutes. I tried them out as soon as I drove off. Instead of really wiping, they generally just smeared the wiper fluid across my windshield. “Must be because it’s too cold out, and the . . . wiper fluid froze.” Sure. It made sense. Or maybe wipers need to soak in a bit of liquid before they really get going.

Well, this morning it was raining (boo!), so I had a new chance to try out the wipers. They . . . really did a poor job. I had a hard time seeing through the glass, it was so smeary. Needless to say, I was really dejected. I’d thrown out my old wipers, so now I had nothing and would have to make a trip to the store. Strangely, a yellow leaf had gotten stuck underneath one of them. Maybe that was what was . . .

That’s when I realized that it’s February in Maine, and any leaf that somehow managed to be anywhere right now, definitely wouldn’t be yellow. And actually, weren’t those wiper blades yellow? Could they be falling off somehow? Maybe they were defective.

I pulled over to the side of the road, got out, and inspected them.

After I removed the yellow protective covers from them, the wipers worked like a charm.

So here’s your helpful PSA for the day: wipers don’t work nearly as well if you try to use them with plastic over the actual blades.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking this PERFECT PLACE TO DIE Amazon link. It will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Good News/Bad News: Grape Nuts Edition

One of the first things I do each morning is check my email. Usually it happens before I even roll out of bed. Is that healthy? Probably not. But I’m hooked on staying connected, so it is what it is. Typically, not much has happened in my email world over night. I mean, who all emails people at midnight? So it’s more of a quick check to see if all is right with the world.

As an author, perhaps some of you are under the mistaken assumption that I just get flooded with fan mail every day. Pages upon pages of people lauding my praises. Or maybe you think I just field complaints from the hordes of readers who are upset that I did X in a book when I really should have done Y.

The truth, I’m sad to report, is much simpler. I almost never get contacted about my writing. Ever. I will occasionally get a nice message from a reader or a teacher, and I’ve gotten some great thank you notes from classes I’ve done in-person or Zoom visits with. Those are always lovely. But despite the fact that my email is right here on my webpage, ready for anyone to see, I pretty much never get any correspondence through it.

Until this morning. When I got some good news/bad news first thing when I woke up.

The good news? I proved to myself once again that people can, indeed, write to me when they want to. A stranger reached out to contact me. Huzzah!

The bad news? It was in defense of Grape Nuts.

That’s right, folks. I’ve spent countless hours working on my craft as an author, and approximately 20 minutes of my life poking fun at Grape Nuts over the years, and I’ve had more emails about Grape Nuts in the past five years than I’ve had about my writing.

Maybe I really should start writing fiction about Grape Nuts. Maybe I’ll make Grape Nuts the main villain in my next book. Or it could just be the method of murder. Death by Grape Nuts would make a fantastic title, wouldn’t it? I wonder if I’d get sued for trademark infringement . . .

Really, when I made my pithy little post about the horrors of that “cereal” known as Grape Nuts, I didn’t know what a devoted legion of followers that excuse-for-a-pleasant-breakfast actually had. And reading it over again now, I have to admit that I’m still inordinately proud of the post. If I have to pick a hill to die on when it comes to the debate over morning repasts, I will gladly pick up my sword and go lay siege at the gates of Grape Nut fandom.

Any. Day. Of the Week.

I will not be silenced. I will not be cowed. I will stand boldly, nobly, and independent to declare to the world that most of its current troubles can likely be traced directly to the consumption of Grape Nuts. (Or at the bare minimum, that Grape Nuts are exacerbating the current troubles. I mean, name one thing that doesn’t automatically become worse if you’re eating Grape Nuts. Being sick is bad. Being sick and eating Grape Nuts? Worse. Riding a roller coaster is fun. Riding a roller coaster and eating Grape Nuts? Not nearly as pleasurable. This is basic logic, people.)

And let’s face it. Usually my Grape Nuts posts perform so much better than my other blog topics. Maybe I really need to have a nemesis, and I found mine sort of by accident.

Evil, thy name is Grape Nuts.

(The good news is that, despite its throngs of adorers, Grape Nuts is not sentient. (We believe. Scientists are still investigating a few bowls that were poured back in the early 1900s. They haven’t been finished yet (naturally), and the addition of milk to the solution might have had some strange side effects.) And as a non-sentient object, Grape Nuts (most likely) doesn’t mind my personal vendetta against it. Grape Nuts don’t care. They’re like the honey badger of the processed food world. And so, while it is true (as the email I received this morning pointed out) that my original post was “mean,” “nasty,” and “disparaging” to Grape Nuts, I’m not overly concerned about its feelings . . .)

If making fun of Grape Nuts is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

To the Backhoe Loader that Woke Me Up at 4:30 This Morning

Dear Backhoe Loader,

I know times are tough out there for a backhoe. It’s the winter, and it’s not like you can just go around digging trenches and scooping up dirt left and right. I understand that a backhoe gotta eat, and so you have to pay the bills somehow. So I just wanted to say how thankful I was to hear you stay so chipper about your work this morning.

Really, there’s nothing I’d like more than to be woken up by your persistent “beep beep beep”ing as you drive around my entire house in reverse. I mean, reverse is a much more fun direction to drive. I get it. Boring people drive forward, and you’re anything but boring, right?

Right.

And I expected nothing less from you than to keep that beeping going. Mustn’t let any of the woodland creatures out there at 4:30 in the morning somehow wander beneath one of your tires. We all know how air headed those squirrels can get, and I’ve always had a soft heart for groundhogs. I’m sure your OSHA mandated alerts did their job. Well done.

But of course, how could I focus simply on your backup blares? You took such care to put your front loader to use as well, using all the skill of a drunken three year old to move snow around. I could tell you took extra pleasure in thumping it to the ground over and over.

And over.

It was so thoughtful of you to do all of this well before the sun rose. I know only too well that it could have been done, say, at 9 in the morning. Or even 8. But I overslept yesterday, and so you were only thinking of me. Sadly, waking me up at 4:30 somehow made it more difficult for me to get a full night’s rest, but I’m sure that’s a flaw on my end. Don’t let it trouble your little mechanical heart.

You do you, backhoe loader. You do you. Don’t mind me for a moment, and definitely don’t feel bad about the bags under my eyes this morning. I prefer them there. Who needs a full night’s rest when he can listen to you gettin’ it done in the early AM?

You should really charge admission next time.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Awful Cereal Hall of Fame: Grape Nuts

I don’t know if there’s a Hall of Fame for Awful Cereal. I get that typically halls of fame are reserved for honoring good things, not detracting from bad things. And I get that maybe it should be a Hall of Infamy, but at that point, we’re really overthinking this a bit too much, aren’t we?

Regardless of whether or not something like a Hall of Fame for Awful Cereal (HFAC) should exist or not, I would like to think we could all agree on the simple fact that the first entry in the HFAC would be Grape Nuts.

I have had the misfortune of eating Grape Nuts twice in my life. The first time was at my brother’s. I was crashing there for the night, and when the morning came, it was time for breakfast. His supply left a fair bit to be desired. I can’t remember exactly what was there (Cheerios? Shredded wheat?) but whatever it was, it was missing my usual go-to dependables. Cocoa Puffs or Cocoa Krispies. (If your cereal isn’t giving you chocolate milk when you’re through with it, it’s not pulling its weight.) There were, however, Grape Nuts.

“Aha!” I said to myself. “I’ve never tried those before. I like grapes. I like nuts. These are gonna be great.”

One bowlful later, I discovered it’s a miracle Grape Nuts haven’t been hit with a false advertisement suit years ago. They contain neither grapes nor nuts. In fact, they’re basically kitty litter, but I suppose “Kitty Litter” as a cereal name didn’t score as well in their consumer research tests, so they decided to lie instead.

Not that I’ve ever tasted kitty litter, in case you were beginning to have your doubts. I mean, I’ve tasted Grape Nuts now, which already makes me pretty suspect, so I wouldn’t blame you for being suspicious about my history with consuming kitty litter. But Grape Nuts look like kitty litter: small pellets. They smell pretty much odorless, which I believe is the point of kitty litter. And if you swapped them out with your cat’s kitty litter, I’m willing to bet Mr. Bigglesworth wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

Needless to say, I didn’t have a second bowl.

And yet somehow I was suckered into trying Grape Nuts again. Years had gone by, and I was having ice cream at a friend’s house. The flavor? Grape Nuts. I stared at the flavor name in confusion. It was like calling something “Dog Vomit Ice Cream” and hoping that would somehow sell more cartons. Except my friend wasn’t just eating the ice cream. He was enjoying it. He even said it was his favorite flavor.

I am not above admitting when I am wrong, and what did I know? Maybe when you added cream and sugar to Grape Nuts and then froze them for a while, they turned into some kind of awesome flavorfest. Did I want to miss out on a thing like that? Maybe the batch of Grape Nuts I’d had was stale, or maybe my brother had accidentally put kitty litter into his Grape Nuts back in the day.

Reader, I tried the ice cream.

Again, I’ve never put kitty litter on top of my ice cream before, but if I were ever try such a thing, I’m fairly confident I couldn’t have a worse experience with that flavor than with what I put in my mouth that day.

Friends don’t let friends eat Grape Nuts. Period.

There are other cereal brands that belong in the HFAC. Original Cap’n Crunch has cut my mouth more times than I’d like to admit. Rice Krispies are borderline, because if you don’t literally inhale them the moment you add milk to the mixture, you’re left with Rice Mush. I’m not honestly sure what Apple Jacks are trying to accomplish, but whatever it is, they’re failing.

But they all pale before the horror that is Grape Nuts.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

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