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Jersey Shore: The Vending Machine Analogues

Jersey Shore: The Vending Machine Analogues


The Jersey Shore phenomenon continues unabated.  I’ve been asked to weigh in on its cultural significance, ie whether it reinforces negative stereotypes or gives our impressionable youth poor body images and such.  That would be all well and good if I had a sociological background or gave a shit about the youth.  Subjectively speaking, there is very little I feel qualified to weigh in on.  However, if an omniscient, objective being  – such as Google – were to categorize me as an expert (like, say, in candy or chips) then I might have something to say about this shit.


I’ve watched the show, I’ve eaten the food, let’s see who is like what.

Angelina / Microwave popcorn

Both come with plastic bags

Pros:  Convenient and quick (perfect for married guy on the go)

Cons:  Somewhat combustible and will be more impressed with itself than you’ll be, everyone will be happy when it’s over

Vinny / M&Ms

They are both adorable. Admit it

Pros:  Modest outward appearance belies the good times that lie ahead

Cons:  Lowered expectations might artificially enhance perception of delightfulness somewhat

Sammi / Dental Floss

Pretty lame

Pros:  Provides a basic utility

Cons:  Difficult to deal with, often results in bleeding, boring

Ronnie /  3 Musketeers

Truth in advertising

Pros:  Simple yet satisfying; you know what you’re gonna get

Cons:  Stumpy, and, at the center, whipped

J-WOWW /  Strawberry Pop-tarts

Two-sided tape companies are revising estimates upward

Pros:  Unexpectedly tasty, always a slightly better experience than you expected

Cons:  May contain artificial ingredients

Pauly D /  Funyuns

Just because they are ring-shaped doesn't mean you should fake propose to a crazy chick with them, Pauly D

Pros:  Literally bring the fun wherever they go, distinctive appearance announces the party is in full effect

Cons:  Surfaces of both funyuns and Pauly D’s noggin may cause abrasions or other damage

Snooki /  Cheetos Puffs

Not Snookie, but you know it easily could be. She'd probably make the cheetos oranger

Pros:  Strangely satisfying and comfortable once you get over your initial contempt

Cons:  Orange residue hard to scrub off

Mike /  TGIF Potato Skins

Great in concept, horrible in execution

Pros:  Elaborate product name/marketing suggests a winking self awareness; who doesn’t fucking love potato skins?

Cons:  Causes extremely bad breath and a slow realization that it was nowhere near as good as the hype (or the double red striped bag)

Jeebus, I swear to God a buddy of mine texted me while I was doing this and asked if I want to go to Foxwoods and drink with these guys this weekend.  After having successfully avoided a tempting AC trip with XMASHANGOVER this weekend.  How much strength can one man have?

And what the hell is wrong with this template?  The spacing keeps changing and is seriously pissing me off.  May have to change the look of this place a bit, can’t be wasting time with all this spacing nonsense.  Work, dammit!

Wasting potentially,


The Case for: Funyuns

The Case for: Funyuns






I may take some flack for this post, but I’ve recently reconnected with a childhood love.  Something so delicious, so special, yet so misunderstood – like the “ugly” girl with glasses in a high school comedy (before she puts on a slutty dress, ditches the glasses and wears her hair down).  I’m talking, of course, about the delicious snack food pictured above: Funyuns.  Funyuns get little respect these days, despite a well-established history of satiating little kids and stoners through five different decades (introduced 1969).  They’ve even been immortalized by the Onion (no relation).  And yet, Funyuns are rarely mentioned in the same breath as Doritos, Cheetos or other flavored snack chips (Funyuns sit more on the Bugles tier of the chip hierarchy).   Funyuns have sadly never worn the sluttly dress of public approval.

I however, have always recognized their greatness.  When I was a kid, sometimes I’d be able to finagle a bag into the week’s groceries.  Then I would set about mentally rationing them so they’d last seven days.  They usually lasted 1.5 days – Funyuns just went too perfectly with huge glasses of Pepsi during Atari 2600 marathons.  In my teens, Funyuns and Mountain Dew were two cornerstones of my food pyramid (the rest of the pyramid was comprised solely of the various permutations of the Taco Bell menu, leading to a pyramidal body shape).   

There is some irony here because, as even slight acquaintances of mine know, I friggin hate onions.  I would like to remove them from the universe.  I cannot stand the sight, the texture.  Blugh.  I would like to see all the world’s onions smashed into a fine powder.  Good riddance.  That’s a lot of powder, though – why don’t we mix it up with some corn meal and fry it in ring shapes?

Ha-ha!  See, the geniuses at Frito Lay have fooled the average consumer into believing these are actually fried onions.  They are circular like onion rings (well, in theory – by the time you open the bag they are generally only 10 million c-shaped Funyun fragments in the bag.  A still-intact Funyun is a rare snack food artifact), but they are actually just some onion powder-infused dough fried up like o-rings.  Read the fine print: “Onion Flavored Rings.”  That’s brilliant marketing.

I find Funyuns to be best paired with a turkey + American cheese wrap (you know, in a tortilla).  Add a nice Merlot and you’re all set.  Side benefit: Funyuns pack fewer calories than peer snack foods, so the deliciousness/calories ratio is off the charts.  Also, the “Funyun powder” residue can be used to chalk youth soccer fields, crime scenes, etc.

Although Funyuns are rarely seen as anything but punch-lines in pot-related comedies, there have been a couple of spinoffs – the true mark of a great product.  Like Twix, there’s a wasabi flavored variant (seems a better fit here):




And there’s a Flamin’ Hot offshoot:



Sadly, I haven’t been able to try either of the sequels yet.  But I will purchase on sight.  If the Flamin’ Hots are anywhere near as delish as the FH Cheetos then they are probably a perfect complement to a double bottle of Yellow Tail Shiraz.

The cons of Funyuns?  I can really only think of one: damn they hurt the roof of your mouth!  I thought Scoops were bad!  But it’s the kind of pain that’s worth it, and I think in 2-3 weeks I will have a full upper palate again.

So get off your high horse and grab a bag of Funyuns….I guarantee enjoyment, with only a modicum of damage to the the roof of your mouth.

Well done, Frito Lay, well done….