About That Carl’s Jr. Ad

We’re going back to the basics—that’s essentially the message of the redefined Carl’s Jr. fast-food chain. So long to those scantily clad models sinking their teeth into big, juicy burgers.

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Ghost in the Shell Podcast, Featuring ScarJo Rankings (New Substandard!)

Ghost in the Shell podcast

In the latest episode of the Substandard—which climbed to number ten on iTune’s TV & Film Podcasts sub-chart last week; download now and/or leave a review to help us maintain this dominance of what has to be iTunes’ least-popular subsection—JVL, Vic, and I discussed Ghost in the Shell and its star Scarlett Johansson. Vic and JVL also spent five minutes discussing something called “Star Blazers” or “Blazed Stars” or some such, I dunno. Damn Gen Xers. Give it a listen!

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The Grand Mac Is Not a Double Quarter Pounder in Disguise

McDonald’s most recent promotion was a curious one: three sizes of Big Mac, the largest of which was called the Grand Mac. The Big Mac wasn’t all that big to begin with (a mere 1/5 of a pound of beef). So why even waste your time with the single-patty Mac Jr.? But the Grand Mac? Here’s something I’d been waiting for.

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No, Pepsi Is Not ‘Okay.’ Pepsi Is NEVER ‘Okay.’

Apparently Pepsi is in trouble because it tried to be “woke” and was in fact “broke.” Or something, I dunno, insert some dumb millennial slang above. Point is, everyone’s mad at Pepsi.

This makes me happy.

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A Brief Glimpse Into the Future

Two business men having an informal meeting

It’s July of 2020. Donald Trump’s prospects for reelection aren’t particularly hot, given his approval rating has hovered near 40 percent for the last three-and-a-half years. Despite this, gloom is on the faces of two Democratic consultants—Ted and Fred—meeting for coffee at the Starbucks on K Street, NW, in Washington, D.C.

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Of ICEEs, on their 50th and 59th Anniversaries

An ICEE is, among other things, high fructose corn syrup, water, citric acid, quillaia and yucca extracts, artificial flavor, sodium benzoate, and FD&C Red #40 or FD&C Red Blue #1 or FD&C Yellows #5 and #6, sometimes plus glyceryl abietate, brominated soybean oil (refined), begging at approximately 24-26° F; it is cherry, white cherry, or cherry …

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At Mar-a-Lago, Focus on North Korea

Donald Trump, Xi Jinping

The Trump administration is dealing with a lot. Just consider the agenda this week: a nuclear war for its Supreme Court nominee on Capitol Hill, dueling investigations and political fights over contacts with Russia and the previous administration’s handling of intelligence, a renewed push on health care, a visit of the President of Egypt and the King of Jordan to discuss peace in the Middle East, and of course the two-day visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Mar-a-Lago.

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March Madness Hits the Substandard: NCAAs, Hoyas, and the Last Curse

What better way to get ready for tonight’s NCAA men’s final than to listen to a rare Substandard micro-episode on sports!

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Foragers Versus Property Owners: Who Ya Got?

So here’s an interesting story in the Wall Street Journal about a conflict between foragers and landowners in Maine. The short version is deceptively simple: some property owners in Maine want mooching foragers to stop raiding their land for the wild bounty that grows there, natural vegetables like ramps and fiddleheads (an edible fern, basically), the seaweed rockweed, and mushrooms. The foragers are not only impinging upon the landowner’s privacy, they are, in certain cases, depriving him of income:

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Not Even ‘Get Out’ Gets It Right

I haven’t seen Get Out. I’ve tried to stay far away from anything close to the horror genre since I saw the Strangers in 2008.

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Russian Vodka to Remain on New Hampshire Shelves

An attempt by the New Hampshire state legislature to ban the selling of Russian vodka in the Granite State failed to win approval.

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Vanity Fair Is Right: Hillary Clinton’s Style Is Getting Bolder and Edgier

Tough. Fearless. Defiant. Zany. Uncompromising. Inspired. These are among the many adjectives that come to mind when we try to describe Hillary Clinton’s fashion sense over the years. As Vanity Fair puts it in a great piece about her new post-presidential look: In the months since the election, Clinton has emerged anew from the woods and is …

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What’s the Point of a Podcast? (New (Pointless!) Substandard!)

In the latest episode of the Substandard (subscribe or leave a review! We blew past 100 reviews last week so, as promised, Bill Kristol’s intro this week is extra hateful!) JVL, Vic, and myself pay tribute to the Gong Show and discuss reboots and remakes of all stripes: Power RangersCHiPS, some other stuff. If you want to hang out with some dorks who enjoy hanging out with each other, give it a listen, you’ll love it.

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Mike Pence’s Efforts to Protect His Marriage Are Absurd

When news broke that Mike Pence, apparently, doesn’t like eating meals alone with members of the opposite sex for business or pleasure because it creates an opportunity for unfaithfulness to his wife, I have to say that I was, honestly, pretty damn outraged. What are the Pences worried about?

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The Italian Job

Police in Italy were able to stop the theft of a Ferrari. No, I’m not talking about the new F12berlinetta (MSRP $379,866). Nor am I talking about the 1961 Ferrari 250GT California (“Che bella”). I’m referring to the one and only Enzo Ferrari, the founder of the sportscar empire who died in 1988.

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