Saturday, January 30, 2010

This Blogger Prefers Big Irv's Salmon Jerky

When I'm writing a man-sized blog post, I tend to work up a man-sized hunger.  In those moments, I know a handful of Goldfish crackers just won't cut it.  I need real fish, and I need it right now.  That's why I like to keep a tin of Big Irv's Shredded Smoked Salmon Jerky Chew on hand at all times.  One pinch of Big Irv's is all it takes to keep this salty dog a-bloggin'.

Big Irv's Shredded Smoked Salmon Jerky Chew--it's McBone's choice for pocket seafood. 

Also available in catfish, sturgeon and clam.


Friday, January 29, 2010

J.D. Salinger is Dead. What Happens Now?

Now come the moments JD Salinger fans have been waiting for--the days and weeks and months after his death when, just maybe, we learn what the hell was going on inside that compound in New Hampshire.  We've gotten a morsel or two, yes, a lot of it certainly fantastical, but the one burning question we all had--is he still writing?--was never adequately answered.  So, what now?  Will we be treated to a series of novels and stories that have been stashed away decades, out of the reach of grabbing hands?  Had he been hoarding great literary works as a way of getting back at us for bugging the bejeezus out of him when all he wanted was to not be bugged?  Are there crates filled with the lunatic ramblings of a man, who, by his own daughter's account, spent a good deal of time imbibing his own urine?  Or will the hunt for his body of works turn up the literary equivalent of Al Capone's vault?

Dunno.  My guess is that whatever he was doing in his exile will fall far short of the baloney we've been cooking up all this time.  I feel pretty certain we'll find some stuff out though.  If we couldn't quite manage to leave him alone in life, we're sure not going to in death.  Really it's pretty sad to think that a certain percentage of his fans have been waiting for him to die, but I'm sure that's the case.  I wonder how many years his obituary has been sitting in a computer file, ready to upload after a couple of tweaks.

What I do know is that the man who wrote arguably the quintessential American novel of the 20th century, the man who made an English major out of me, is dead.  I'm going to spend a few days with the 4 gifts that he was good enough give us.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

2010 State of the McBoniverse

Gentle McBoners,

As McBone enters its fourth year and nears its 500th post, all would appear well in the McBoniverse.  In summary, readership in Bahrain is up 100% from a year ago, the Cavs are winning and, according to McBone intelligence data, no vendettas appear to be in the works from our nemesis blogger.  We're also happy to report that the awesomeness surrounding us is currently at an all-time high.

Yes, the temptation is to stamp ourselves squarely on the noggin with the McBone Seal of Approval and call it a night.  Few would blame us if we did.

Alas, we at McBone strive for Truth (or some McBonified version thereof), and thus our address to you cannot be so blindly full of cheer.  Allow us to remove for a moment those rose-tinted glasses.  We ask you to gaze, for a moment only, into the heart of darkness.

For in our fridge there lurks an evil...

Can't see it yet?  Look closer...
Yes, yes, closer still...
Whoa!  Close enough!  Don't look directly at it!

As the internet's leading anti-mayonnaise blog, we understand what a betrayal this must seem.  We vow to do better.  Negotiations with Alex to excise this deadly blight are ongoing.  Progress has been made, but there remains a lot of work to be done.
McBone also pledges most ardently in 2010 to back any reform that seeks to:
-Install a single payer health care system.
-Legalize gay marriage, even in Kansas
-Replace dirty and arcane energy technology with a multitude of green sources--wind, hydro, solar, biomass, etc.
-Bring those degenerates at Calder's Gourmet to justice.
-Reverse the Supreme Court's recent and most abhorrent ruling.
But McBone can't do it alone, dear friends.  We desperately need your help, and so we ask you to forgive us our emulsified transgressions and join McBone in the name of Right.
Who's with us?



Wednesday, January 27, 2010

This, Sadly, Is the Soundtrack of My Youth

So here I am wondering, for no particular reason, what the soundtrack of my youth would be if I could narrow it down to a single musical archetype. After mulling over the various Michael Jackson songs that McBone Poet Laureate MPF and I used to breakdance to, it occurred to me that Weird Al was probably closer to the mark, but none of these answers, nor Beat It, nor Eat It, quite rang true.

A certain gathering of superstars (and Kenny Loggins) captured my imagination for a year or so, but was that song so pervasive that I was compelled to return to it again and again, deep into the night and sometimes against the will of my own sleep starved body?  No, definitely not.

God knows why, but I was really into the Commodores for a few years there.  Bruce Springsteen, Huey Lewis, a pre-adolescent boy they were all pretty awesome.  None can lay claim to this distinction.

The horrifying dreams I used to have (and, um, sometimes still do) of Darth Vader hunting me in the dark brought me closer to the bull's eye.  Certainly the Imperial March is a permanent brand on my subconscious, but even that obsession is a fairly distant second place finisher.

I don't know how or why it dawned on me suddenly, but at last the clouds parted and the answer struck me like some silver arrow shot from the bow of a diminutive, 8-bit hero.  This, sadly, and unequivocally, is the soundtrack of my youth:

And so here goes a little, mournful lament to my attention span, and what it might have been if not for that cursed Gannon.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Birds Spotted, 1/24/10

As I sit at my desk grappling with ideas, I often turn my gaze to our front window in search of inspiration.  Aside from breathtaking landscapes, we also have a bird feeder that usually gets a fair amount of action.

With the weather warming up and the sun showing its elusive face for the first time in weeks, it's been something of a banner bird day here at McBone outpost #1211.  Unlike in my last few bird-related posts, these birds were all very much alive.

Birds spotted

House finch
House sparrow
Tufted titmouse
White breasted nuthatch
Northern flicker
Downy woodpecker
Mourning dove
Carolina wren
Red bellied woodpecker (pictured below)

Of course as any avian enthusiast knows, the joy of attracting birds brings with it the concomitant aggravation of an undesirable rodent class of mammals.

Rodent mammals spotted


The sucky thing is that the rodents are bigger, smarter and more aggressive than the birds.  Occasionally a hawk will swoop in and snatch one up in its razor sharp talons, but at human devised deterrents they just laugh and feast and frolic in mockery of my rage.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Meet the McBonemobile

Behold the sleek lines and menacing stealth of the McBonemobile, AKA Serafina Pekkala.

She's a beauty, I know, but there's more to the McBonemobile than just looks.  Housing a souped up yet highly efficient 1.7 liter engine with 127 horses pulsating beneath the hood, Serafina frequently reaches velocities that would have demolished land speed records in the 1920s.

Should you hear a deafening roar and spy a mysterious vapor rising from the scorched asphalt, you'll know the McBonemobile has just blazed through your neighborhood, burning rubber in the name of justice.

The "EX" stands for "EXtremely disgusted by the continued legality of mayonnaise production, retail and consumption in this country."
Named for the goddam hottest witch ever to straddle a broomstick, Serafina Pekkala's sex appeal has often made her a target of thieves, all of them lusting to settle into her soft interior contours.
Happily, a state-of-the-art "car alarm," conceived and installed by the McBone engineering team, has thus far proved more than a match for a criminal class that would use this ultimate weapon in their sinister quest to bring the sandwich world to its knees.
The McBonemobile! You may not see her, hear her or even think about her, but isn't it nice to know she is there, ever vigilant and on the prowl?


Thursday, January 21, 2010

All Those Stomach Crunches Have Finally Paid Off

As a bookstore accountant, blogger, unpublished novelist and yet-to-be-paid ghostwriter, people often ask me how I afford the opulent lifestyle to which I've become accustomed. The answer is, of course, erotic dance. Please try to control your drooling as you watch this video starring the Foliglio family and myself.

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!


Mourning a Dove

Here at McBone Outpost #1211 we try to make things as accommodating as possible for birds.  Sunflower seeds, thistle and a delicious cake of suet are always available for anyone willing to flap over for snack.

Sadly, this free lunch means an occasional casualty.  Here is a mourning dove who tried, unsuccessfully, to navigate its way through our front door window.

By the time I found this poor dead dove, its eyes were but two empty sockets.  What remained was yet another grim reminder that life is short and glass panes are, to a four-ounce bird with hollow bones, deadly.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Killing Ted Kennedy Again

Is there a full moon tonight?  Massachusetts, what the hell is going through your mind?  Is this how you honor the legacy and service of one of your native sons, whose dedication to health care reform in part paved the way toward legislation that, for a fleeting moment, seemed on the verge of reality?  Do you squander the supreme advantage of having the presidency, a majority in the House AND a filibuster-proof Senate by, good god, VOTING FOR THE REPUBLICAN TO TAKE EDWARD KENNEDY'S STILL WARM SEAT?

OK, maybe Martha Coakley ran a lame campaign.  Maybe she's devoid of charisma.  Maybe she deserved to get trounced.  But for the love of all that's holy, why now?

For your betrayal, Massachussetts, you have earned the first ever McBone Seal of Disapproval: McBah!


Don't F*%# with Nina Simone

One could make the case that Nina Simone is the greatest singer of all time.  In the category of most terrifying person of all time, she has no competition.

The best part of the video is the very end, when the interviewer realizes he has made the possibly fatal mistake of not addressing her as "Dr. Simone."  Watch him flinch!  Nina, in all her graciousness, corrects him and refrains from violence. 


Monday, January 18, 2010

Worse than Diarrhea

You know folks, diarrhea is terrible.  I don't think I'm alone in that opinion.  At best, it makes you feel like hot coals and hand grenades are traveling through your digestive tract.  At worst, it will dehydrate and kill you.  Diarrhea is a sometimes hours-long meditation on acute pain and suffering.  The feeling is unmistakable and you know that, while it's happening, you'd sacrifice anything to stop it.  Still, for all the woes associated with diarrhea, there are worse things out there. The following is a nightmare list made up of things that, to my mind, are possibly more awful than even really bad diarrhea.

Glenn Beck's commentary is worse than diarrhea.

Sarah Palin's worldview is worse than diarrhea.

Glenn Beck interviewing Sarah Palin is worse than diarrhea.

Carbon emissions and climate change are worse than diarrhea.

Hence the energy industry, its lobbyists and all those who convoked at Copenhagen this year are worse than diarrhea.

War, nukes, preemptive invasion and the military industrial complex are all worse than diarrhea.

Poverty makes diarrhea sound fun.

Our health care system is defenseless against diarrhea.

Executive bonuses are giving us all diarrhea.

The minimum wage laughs in the face of diarrhea.

Wal-Mart is comparable to the worst kind of explosive diarrhea.

I don't know what mortgage-backed securities and credit default swaps are, but I have a strong feeling they're worse than diarrhea.

Nationalism and jingoism--Yuck!  I'll take the diarrhea.

Just thinking about religious fundamentalism gives me diarrhea.

I could go on and on, but you get the point.  Diarrhea is bad, but it's not forever.  All the stuff on this list are just big, nasty, borderline cataclysmic bouts of diarrhea.  They're ugly, they're wrong, they smell terrible, and they aren't very pleasant to be around, but they too don't have to be forever.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

More National Holidays Please

At almost every place I've ever worked one could hear a constant background drone of employee bitching and misery.  The laments are universal and generally delivered in one of two tones, the straightforward: God, I hate this place, or the ironic: God, I love this place.

Thus I find it a curious contradiction that Americans are among the most reluctant to either give or take a day off.  Our companies are as generous with vacation days as they are with wages--two weeks off and 8 dollars an hour is a pretty standard package.  Meanwhile, corporate executives spend their 7 figure bonuses on botox injections and monthlong rhino hunts in Botswana.  Then again, how many of you know someone who loves to boast about never taking a day off?  I suppose I should find that sort of work ethic commendable, but I can never help fantasizing about these people being devoured by piranhas.

Realistically, the immediate prospects for scoring another week or two off per year are pretty bleak.  That brings me to this Monday and Martin Luther King Day.  I've always found holiday weekends to be wonderfully restorative, a morale-boosting reprieve that comes with the twin benefit of shortening the work week and allowing us to reflect on the important people and events in our history.  What's more, we don't risk falling behind in our work if everyone is taking the day off.  In lieu of more vacation, I propose the following half-dozen days of rest and observation:

Walt Kowalski Day - A special day to gather with family and friends, eat traditional Hmong food and beef jerky, quaff a case of Pabst, chain smoke and watch Gran Torino.

Richard Nixon Day - Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, James Buchanan, Franklin Pierce...on RMN Day, we reflect on all of our terrible presidents, ponder the future of democracy and play badminton.

Maybelle and Sara Carter Day - Dedicated to pickin' and strummin' and the two coolest country musicians there ever were.

McBoneday - A day to put the lid back on the mayonnaise, and to put the mayonnaise into the garbage.

Genarlow Wilson Day - This day is devoted to the one time justice prevailed and a young black male was actually released from prison, albeit after a horrific initial miscarriage of justice.

Have Sex Day - On Have Sex Day, Americans stop whatever they're doing, forget the soul-crushing torment of their daily lives, lock the kids in the closet, light a candle, put a Marvin Gaye record on and get it done.

I am confident that a few more days like these would promote a healthier, happier workforce.  Agree with me?  Contact someone who has never minded taking a few extra days off--your local member of Congress.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pat Robertson: Still Stupid

Pat Robertson has always practiced a special brand of idiocy, like when he blamed 9/11 on homosexuals, or the time he publicly called for the assassination of Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez. Such rhetoric is so profoundly and embarrassingly and impossibly stupid that we can only assume he says this stuff to get attention, which makes it even worse.

Now he's blaming the Earthquake that struck Port-au-Prince on Tuesday on a pact the Haitians made with the Devil 200 years ago in exchange for freedom from the French.  I cannot fathom the delusions running wild in this man's mind, but I suppose he believes Haitians must spend their hours smearing chicken blood everywhere and sticking pins into dolls.  Just listen to this:

No one in their right mind would call this a blessing in disguise. No one with an atom of human compassion could look at this with such a deranged sense of optimism.  Clearly, a devastating natural disaster, after decades of brutal dictatorship, grinding poverty, malnutrition, starvation, flooding, disease and just an unrelenting torrent of human suffering in general, isn't enough to generate sympathy in one our country's most visible religious leaders.  With people buried alive in rubble and tens of thousands already dead, he doesn't weep or pray or pledge his support for this nation of fellow Christians.  He'd rather wag his fucking finger at the victims.

While Pat Robertson talks, people are mobilizing.  Haiti needs help.  Please donate disaster relief.


People I Supposedly Look Like

Ah, the internet--with unlimited information at our fingertips, many of us prefer to harness the interactive capabilities of this powerful tool not learn more about the world we inhabit, but to wax poetic about ourselves.  And there's nothing quite like a blog to summon our inner Narcissus.*  For no other reason than my own apparent fascination with myself, I decided to plumb the depths of my memory and catalog everyone with whom I have ever been said to share physical resemblance.  Here's what I came up with.

Balki Bartokomous

Because of my big nose, stupid hair and ambiguously flamboyant behavior in high school, I was often thought to resemble the obnoxious native of Mykos.  Similarity Quotient (on a scale of 0-5): 3

Novak Djokovic

The resemblance between me and the Serbian tennis sensation is so uncannily close, it is quite possible that the winner of the 2008 Australian open and the guy who once led the Firestone High JV tennis squad to victory over Cuyahoga Valley Christian Association are one and the same.  SQ: 4.5

Freddie Prinze Jr

With his vacuous stare and meticulously coiffed head of hair, Freddie Prinze Jr, star of Head Over Heels and Scooby Doo 2, exhibits the prepossessing air and sophistication of a French Poodle.  Many consider him to be, like me, strictly eye candy.  SQ: 3

Brad Paisley

A couple of people have told me that I could pass for country star Brad Paisley.  I was skeptical at first, but sometimes a resemblance can reflect behavior and attitude as much as physical looks.  Like Brad Paisley, I've never been afraid of doffing a big hat, undoing the top button of my shirt and letting my freak flag fly. SQ: 2

Denzel Washington

The devilishly handsome Denzel Washington and I have tons in common besides the obvious physical similarities, namely wealth, class and an all-around debonair style. SQ: 5

Manu Ginobili

More than one person has pointed out my resemblance to the wily Argentinian basketball star, and I can't deny it.  The similarities are only more striking when you see me in action.  Like Manu, I got mad game to go along with a pasty, vaguely jaundiced complexion.  SQ: 3.5

Jeff Bowler

I must concede a passing resemblance to the sometimes co-author of this blog, my idiot brother.  SQ: 4.5


*This post is dedicated to anyone who has ever Googled themselves.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Mice Prefer Ketchup

Most houses I know about have some sort of a junk drawer, a sort of swirling vortex where chaos reigns and the random, mostly worthless things in our lives end up--items not quite ready for the waste bin, yet not worth properly filing away.  The stuff has uses, but chances are you'll never use it.  Yes, the junk drawer is an all purpose repository for twist ties and odd-sized light bulbs.  You have your Allen wrenches and Bic lighters.  You'll find batteries, rubber bands and every manner of nut, bolt and screw.  A host of adhesives are there, including that superglue with the cap fused forever shut.  Magnets, old post cards, Susan B. Anthony name it.

Our junk drawer happens to be in the kitchen, and as the kitchen doubles as our dining room, and as we occasionally treat ourselves to takeout burgers, we usually have a surplus of napkins, straws and all those little condiment packets that get stuffed into the carryout bag by the handful.  I can never bring myself to toss them out.  Inevitably, they end up in the junk drawer.

We spotted the mouse in our house not long after the temperature took a nosedive.  Can't blame the little dude for wanting refuge from 1 degree weather, but ultimately, rodents are rodents.  Ordered to evacuate the premises immediately, the mouse insisted on playing games.  Fine by us.  The trap was set.

Game, set, match.  Hopefully our humane catch-and-release philosophy has our furry friend scampering around Happy Hollow Park, or someone else's house.  Anywhere but here.  Godspeed, little guy.

The story was over, or so I thought.  Not long after parting ways, I discovered that, during its brief time at McBone outpost #1211, our visitor had sniffed out the junk drawer and the bounty of condiment packets contained therein.  Who knew mice were so picky? 

Virtually every drop of ketchup is gone.  The mustard, sampled from exactly one packet, was roundly rejected. 

Clearly Restaurant's Pride mustard wasn't good enough for this mouse's discerning palate.  My bad.  Next time we'll be sure to have some Grey Poupon on hand. Or maybe some of that stone ground French shit?

Oh, and if you all are wondering about mayonnaise, don't bother.  Mice know better.  So should you.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Them Were the Good Old Days

Look at the newest member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Andre Dawson.  Isn't he beautiful?

Tall, sleek, agile and strong, this is what baseball players used to look like.  Sure there were always a few hulks around the league, but the real slabs of beef were mostly wearing helmets and shoulder pads.  Times were good back then, when an ERA over 4.00 sucked, 35 HR were enough to lead the league, players wore stirrups and the preferred thing to chew was chew.  In them days, nothing was better than finding an Andre Dawson card in a pack of Topps.  So what if a little sugary residue had stained the paper?  The Hawk, who graced the outfield and crushed the ball with that slender, powerful frame, was awesome.  Everyone knew it.

So how, I wonder, could we have let guys like that turn into guys like this?  Today's bicep is yesterday's thigh.

The Chemical Age made players like Dawson and Eddie Murray and Dave Winfield seem like banjo hitters by comparison.  Suddenly, 400 home runs was pedestrian.  Bloated stats fooled the baseball writers, who waited way, way too long to elect Andre Dawson to the Hall.  Here's hoping they leave Bonds and his Stay-Puft peers out forever.

By the way, here's hoping Dawson enters the Hall as an Expo.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Mangini Deserves Another Year

Waaay back at the start of the year, when the Browns gave the Minnesota Vikings a run for their money in the first game of the season, I predicted they had a shot at five wins.  That was only half a joke.  Five wins is lousy no matter how you slice it.  However, considering the Browns track record in the past ten seasons and the rudderless mess that head coach Eric Mangini inherited after four years of Romeo Crennel's ineptitude, five wins seemed almost optimistic.  It's hard to win games with bad players, but good coaching has a way of squeezing out a victory here and there.

I was ridiculed as delusional, and rightly so.  There was no water from rocks.  There were only rocks.  Really crappy rocks.  By the time the Browns were 1-11, it seemed that Mangini's doom was sealed.  With a team record for futility well within reach, no way would he be invited back for a second season.  Then something funny happened.  Suddenly, things clicked.  The Browns won out, finishing 5-11.  Mind you, my predictions are almost always wrong, and when it comes to intuiting Cleveland teams, it bears keeping in mind that crazy shit is the norm, and even the most educated guess is no more than a shot in the dark.  I was right this time, though, and Mangini deserves some praise for making me not look like a total idiot.

Is he the right coach for this team?  I don't know and I'm not sure newly hired team president Mike Homgren does either.  Much was written about how despised Mangini is by his players, but, teams that tune out their coach tend not to finish seasons with four consecutive wins, and they certainly don't congratulate him with a Gatorade shower in the season finale.  Holmgren will decide Mangini's fate as soon as tomorrow.  He will certainly consider these facts before meeting with the coach:

-A four game winning streak is the most for any Browns team since 1994.

-The Browns, after years of sloppy, undisciplined play, led the league in fewest penalties.

-The endless off-field distractions (Kellen Winslow's bitching, Braylon Edwards histrionics, Donte Stallworth killing a guy with his car) finally vanished when Edwards was banished to the Jets.

-The Browns won five games with no backfield, no linebackers, no receivers, no quarterback, a broken down running back and what may qualify as the least talented roster in the league.

-Two close losses against the Bengals and Lions could have gone either way.  The Browns were an eyelash from seven wins. 

-Mangini started winning by adapting to the team's strengths.  That meant ditching the passing game and running the hell out of the ball.

-He beat the Steelers, for crying out loud!

-Holmgren and the Browns really have nothing to lose by retaining Mangini for one more year.  If the coach fails, well, he was someone else's hire, after all.

Though too little and far too late, Mangini did turn the season around to some degree.  An unwatchable team had become tolerably watchable.  I, for one, would like to see what he can do with more talent.  I'm not sure how avidly Mike Holmgren reads McBone, but let this be our plea to him to put some players on the field and give coach the second season he has earned.


Monday, January 4, 2010

Three Reasons it's Good to Be Me

OK, McBoners, it's time for you to drop whatever you're doing and be very, very jealous of me.  That's because I have in my possession a bottle of 2001 Chateau Cantemerle:

Recognized in the legendary 1855 classification of Bordeaux wines, Chateau Cantemerle hails from the unparalleled Haut-Medoc, quite simply the most celebrated winemaking region in the galaxy.  Rich, earthy, and with pronounced notes of plum and bacon (yes, bacon! Glorious bacon), this vintage of Chateau Cantemerle well deserves it's nearly 160-year-old reputation.

Not jealous yet?  Ho ho! Well then behold this handsome two-volume edition of the Complete Far Side--250 pounds of single panel comic nirvana:

This is the holy grail of Christmas presents for nerds and proof positive that my foxy, popular Venezuelan wife digs the shit out of me.  Oh, and hey, there's another reason, in case you're still not convinced:

Bam!  It's good to be me.


Saturday, January 2, 2010

McBone, Saving the World from God-Awfulness

To those of us bent on self deception, January 1st brings with it a host of promises.  I'm going to exercise more or I'm going to work harder or I'm going to stop voting Republican.  Lofty and admirable goals, all.  One of my personal favorites is the vow to eat better.  In the wake of holiday binging, the need to moderate food and beverage intake is understandable.  Sadly, such resolutions almost invariably fail after a couple of weeks or even just a few days.  As such, it only makes sense that I scrap the whole idea and start the year off wrong, and what better way than with a piping hot bowl of Chef Boyardee beef ravioli in tomato and meat sauce?

Since McBone is concerned with All Things Cleveland, we'd like to offer a little backstory on America's favorite brand of canned pasta.

Unlike Uncle Ben, Aunt Jemima and Count Chocula, Chef Boyardee was a real person.  Ettore Boiardi was born in Italy in 1897 and migrated to New York where he found work in the kitchen of the Plaza Hotel.  In time and through his considerable talents, Boiardi rose to become head chef, and various stops at hotel restaurants brought him to Cleveland, where he opened Il Giordano d'Italia in Little Italy.  His spaghetti sauce was so beloved, customers would ask to take some home.  The obliging chef would send patrons off with milk jars filled with his special concoction.

In time, Boiardi sought to produce and sell his sauce commercially.  By the 1930s, he was peddling his spaghetti kits, complete with pasta, sauce and grated cheese, nationally under the easier to pronounce label, Chef Boyardee.  The product was popular due to its low cost, about 60-70 cents per unit, and proved a depression-proof enterprise that made Boiardi a wealthy and famous man.  His product, compact and convenient, was even used in military rations.

The ensuing decades brought television commercials, further expanding Boiardi's fame:

Ettore Boiardi died in Parma, Ohio in 1985, but his product lives on; even today a can of Chef Boyardee bears the image of its founder, smiling and sporting a proud, white moustache.  At the time of his death, the Chef Boyardee brand was raking in over 500 million dollars annually, and you can still find those red cans in most any grocery store.  I picked one out for the low, low cost of $2.25.

A can of Beef Ravioli claims, ludicrously, to provide a 'Full serving of vegetables.'  One can only  presume they are going by the Reagan era definition of vegetable.  On the back, the label cites the hopelessly obsolete food pyramid, which for years has been encouraging us to get fat by loading up on carbs.  No worries there; this ravioli's got plenty of 'em.  Perhaps the most ominous sign, however, is the ConAgra logo branded like some portend of woe and death.  For those of you out there, let this be message for you to abort, and abort now.  For me, alas, the mission, once begun, must be fulfilled.

Before we sample the chef's sumptuous meal, let's check some nutrition info.  A single 15 oz. can of beef ravioli delivers a whopping 70% of our daily recommended intake of sodium.  Saturated fat checks in at 30%.  This stuff ain't good for you, and it sure isn't organic, but hey, since when was ConAgra ever in the business of health and well being?  Sure enough, all the best ingredients are there: monosodium glutamate, textured vegetable protein, corn syrup.  Corn syrup?  In pasta sauce?  Heaven help us.

I open the can and plop its contents into a saucepan--strictly heat n' serve.  In a matter of minutes the orange-ish red sauce is bubbling up in a sort of stovetop cesspool.  Kidding myself, I want aromas of basil and oregano to fill the kitchen.  Instead I'm treated to the stench of death.  The closest I can approximate is chewing tobacco spit.  My stomach, previously growling, whimpers and trembles in a dark corner of my abdominal cavity.

From saucepan to bowl to spoon to mouth.  I think that the beef ravioli being an unmitigated atrocity was a foregone conclusion, but this can of glop constitutes nothing less than food murder.  The word 'pasta' shares the same etymology as the word 'paste,' and in this case the common link is particularly apropos.  The beef, grade D for sure, is encased in a sticky cocoon that could only satisfy the likes of Mark Osborne, a booger-encrusted classmate from King School who used to squirt Elmer's glue right into his mouth.  Coupled with a sauce that would be better suited as an sundae topping, this beef ravioli torments my tastebuds.  Though the wine in the photo was meant as a joke, I find myself reaching for the glass, but all the wine in the world couldn't save me from this perversion.

Hours later, I cling to life, typing away to deliver and urgent and perhaps final message: Do NOT eat Chef Boyardee products, and for god's sake, do NOT feed it to your children.  They are not healthy, not wholesome and surely not what old Ettore Boiardi was cooking up at Il Giordano back in the 1920s.

McBone salutes Chef Boiardi for his entrepreneurial spirit, but can't help but condemn whatever impulse led to Chef Boyardee as we know it today.