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The French drink wine, the Brazilians drink cachaça, and the Irish drink Guinness. Of course they all drink other things as well, but in the case of Ireland, Guinness is — as it has long been — the country's best-selling alcoholic beverage by far. More than that, though, it is a cultural symbol of Ireland, an icon, a ubiquitous marker of national identity. A big pub glass of the stuff, deep brown in color with a creamy head on top, is as much an emblem of the place as the shamrock or the Celtic cross. It is impossible to imagine Ireland without it. Unless, apparently, you're Travel Channel.
In 1759, one Arthur Guinness took over an unused brewery, which he named after himself, at St. James’s Gate in the heart of Dublin — having negotiated a 9,000-year lease for a rent of £45 a year (roughly $3,000 in today's money). A tour of this still-thriving, massive facility is practically essential for any beer-loving visitor to the Irish capital, and it seems like it would have been a no-brainer for celebrated tosspot Anthony Bourdain when he ate and drank and wisecracked his way through Dublin on the most recent episode of his Travel Channel show The Layover. But somehow he missed it. More to the point, as he wandered the streets of the city and settled in at some of its pubs, Guinness was strangely absent. Bar taps that surely bore the name of this world-famous stout were blank when the program's cameras panned past them (Smithwick wasn't affected); restaurant placards that I'm pretty sure read "Guinness and Oysters" the last time I was in Dublin had lost the "Guinness" in a fuzzy haze. Though he surely appeared to be drinking the stuff on more than one occasion, Bourdain didn't even mention it by name. Travel Channel brought us something truly extraordinary: A Dublin without Guinness. Talk about crypto-geography.
What on earth could explain this curious lacuna? More cynical observers have suggested that perhaps the channel — sibling to Food Network — had sought commercial sponsorship, or at least a "product placement" fee, from Guinness, and, when they were turned down, decided to banish the brewery from its own version of the city. How very ridiculous that would be if it were true. When it comes to Dublin, Guinness isn't a "product" — it's part of the landscape.
Bourdain obviously knows this very well. When one of his followers on Twitter noted that the program was "the first time I have seen a Guinness logo blurred out on TV," Bourdain replied "Dumbest [expletive] ever, right?" Right.
Come-hither lions and sleazy owls: when Disney classics are difficult
I remember, right at the start of the coronavirus lockdown, thinking that Disney+ would be a godsend. Finally, I thought, some quality. I could spend all this newfound time with my children soaking up Disney’s huge archive of old animated features. We could watch some of the most important movies ever made, and we could do it together. The first film I saw at the cinema was The Jungle Book, with my dad. It was a gift from my father, and now Disney+ was letting me give it to my children in turn. It was beautiful.
Except last week we watched The Jungle Book, and it turns out that my memory of the film was much better than the film itself. I’d forgotten the end, where Mowgli is essentially led back to his village by his own boner after catching a glimpse of an absurdly sexualised 10-year-old girl.
A similar thing happens in Bambi. Now, Bambi is a film with plenty of problems – it’s painfully slow, and the famous scene of his mum getting killed is brushed off within seconds – but I’d forgotten the bit where Bambi returns to the forest as an adolescent and a creepy owl basically tells him: “Well, you’re probably going to want to start humping things now.”
Pinocchio loses its nostalgic sheen almost immediately, when you realise that Geppetto’s clocks variously depict a man trying to murder a bird, a man attempting to decapitate a turkey, an alcoholic person and a woman beating her own child. Even The Lion King has a shot of Nala lying on her back and giving Simba a saucy look. Say what you like about Jon Favreau’s remake, but it’s probably quite a good thing that photorealistic lions aren’t able to contort their faces into expressions of total sexual availability.
I’m mentioning this because the results of a survey commissioned by OnBuy.com suggest that other parents are also starting to notice how dated some of the Disney classics are. Inspired by the news that a casting couch gag had been removed from Toy Story 2 in the wake of #MeToo, it quizzed parents about which Disney films they now deem inappropriate.
The survey has some interesting results. Beauty and the Beast makes the list, possibly because it’s a textbook manual for coercive control. So does The Aristocats and Peter Pan, probably thanks to the respective depiction of Asians and Native Americans. But the winner, with almost a full third of respondents deeming its themes to be inappropriate, was Dumbo.
And of course it is, because there is no way anyone today could make Dumbo in its original form. The crows are racial stereotypes (one of them is called Jim Crow). There’s a song where the only black people in the entire film hammer pegs into the ground while happily proclaiming: “We slave until we’re almost dead.” There’s the “pink elephants on parade” segment, where Dumbo gets drunk and hallucinates a menacing Technicolor human made of 17 disembodied elephant heads. And, don’t forget, the happy ending of the entire film – the moral payoff to a story of enforced parental abandonment – comes in the form of the US government licensing Dumbo’s likeness in order to produce a fleet of heavily armoured bombers in his image.
Of course, these films are products of their time, and judging things from the past by today’s standards is a fool’s errand. And my children have accidentally watched much more immediately distressing things under lockdown – an innocent YouTube search for “Lego Avengers” brought up a homemade video of Captain America getting stabbed by a burglar, for example. But Disney+ isn’t exactly the easy-peasy quarantine solver I thought it would be. I guess it’s time for plan B: watching the Sonic the Hedgehog movie 20 times a day until my brain explodes.
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12 Homemade Lotion Bar Recipes to Make Your Skin Heavenly Soft
To be completely honest, I am not the biggest fan of going to a spa. Many women gasp and are taken aback when I admit this to them, as their idea of heaven is a massage followed by a facial and an afternoon in the sauna.
I do not share this love, however, and it is for this reason that it excites me when I find new and exciting ways to give myself a little pampering at home. I don’t even want to think about how much money I must have spent over the years on bath bombs, fancy sprays and multiple other lotions and potions, so recently I have turned to making my own.
I recently saw some vanilla scented lotion bars in a store and fell in love. I was on my way to the checkout with them before I stopped and realized I could probably make some myself at home. A quick internet search later and it was confirmed that I was right, so I turned myself around and rushed home to start making my very own homemade lotion bars.
1. Nourishing Lotion Bar
This Nourishing Lotion Bar contains my two favorite ingredients when it comes to body care products cocoa butter and coconut oil. Both components are things I always find myself going back to after trying something new, and I haven’t found anything that makes my skin feel quite as smooth as these do.
The bars themselves will be relatively scentless, but there is the option to add some essential oils which I would be doing. Some delicious scent suggestions come along with this simple recipe, from the more traditional lavender to the fun idea of a creamsicle, with sweet orange and vanilla.
2. Bronzing Lotion Bars
Even as someone who isn’t an avid user of fake tans, I prefer to let the real sun do the job instead, I am highly intrigued by these Bronzing Lotion Bars. I probably shouldn’t show this DIY to my sister, as she would immediately become entirely obsessed.
I like the idea of a more luxurious way of giving your skin a sun-kissed tint, and a more natural one too when opposed to fake tan in a bottle. You could add however much or little mineral makeup, the product that gives the bronze effect, as you wanted, personalizing the recipe to suit your preferences. It’s a genius idea to add a few drops of bug repellent oil in there too to keep those pests at bay.
3. Peppermint Lotion Bars
These Peppermint Lotion Bars are in a square shape which I find to be a good choice. Of course, you could make them in any mold you like, from elaborate shapes to simple ones, though I can’t help but think that the corner of these squares would feel incredibly good properly digging into places of muscular tension. One of my favorite things about lotion bars is that they are for more than just moisturizing your skin, they are also the perfect massage tool. Even better if you can get someone to do it for you.
By choosing a peppermint scent for your lotion bars, you are bound to feel fresh and revitalized whenever you use it, especially with that matcha thrown in there too.
4. Vanilla Bean Winter Lotion Bars
Aren’t these lotion bars just the cutest? They are made by using ice cube trays as molds, which is a genius idea I had never thought of, meaning you can make a large batch of smaller bars all at once, perfect for handing out as gifts, or to have on hand 24/7.
Vanilla is by far my favorite scent for anything beauty or skincare related. Shower gels, perfumes, you name it I’ve had it, so you can imagine my glee when I came across these Vanilla Bean Winter Lotion Bars. To emphasize that vanilla scent even further I would be tempted to scrape the inside of a vanilla pod into the mixture along with the essential oil.
5. Floral Lotion Bars
When I was younger, I would steer clear of floral scents, but now that I am getting older I am growing to love them. I especially love it when skin care products like these Floral Lotion Bars contain actual dried flowers or herbs, as this ensures a fresh scent and also an aesthetically pleasing appearance.
These particular bars contain the essential oils of different flowers such as lavender and rose, and you can feel free to add or substitute in your own too. The heart shape makes these look incredibly pretty, and they would make the perfect gift for a special someone who needs a little bit of TLC.
6. Chocolate Lotion Bars
I am an absolute sucker for chocolate I can’t resist, so the idea of lathering something that smells just like it all over my skin sounds utterly heavenly to me.
You could add different essential oils into these Chocolate Lotion Bars I am fond of the idea of adding orange so that they smell like chocolate oranges, or leave them as they are to benefit from that natural cocoa scent. The method is incredibly simple, so these will take only minutes to make which is magic compared to the days of soft skin you will experience as a result of using them.
7. Three Ingredient Lotion Bars
Any skin or beauty related DIYs which involve only three ingredients are worth having up your sleeve at all times, and you would be a fool not to give these Three Ingredient Lotion Bars a try.
For me, it is crucial for products I use on my skin to have as few ingredients as possible. That way I can keep track of exactly what I am putting on my body and avoid any nasty chemicals. You can spice these bars up a bit by adding essential oils, or even dried herbs if you wanted to, or just as easily leave them plain and simple.
8. Multicolored Lotion Bars
It would be difficult to find a lotion bar more fun and funky than these Multicolored Lotion Bars. Putting the lotion bars into a push tub is an absolutely genius idea. Not only does this remove the annoyance of product being wasted by it melting all over your hands, but it’s also a great way to store and travel with the bar.
The different colored layers make this lotion bar fun for all ages, and would probably make it easier to get kids to stay still for a little bit of moisturizing after a bath.
9. Lavender Lotion Bar
The thought of having a long hot bubble bath then hopping out and lathering this Lavender Lotion Bar all over my skin before bed makes me feel incredibly relaxed and sleepy just thinking about it.
Lavender is not only soothing to the senses but also on the skin, so I have no doubts that these bars would leave you feeling silky smooth. Again this recipe contains that all-important coconut oil along with cocoa butter, so I am instantly sold, and my skin is calling out for it already.
10. Sunscreen Lotion Bars
Aside from the fact that I would most probably forget about these Sunscreen Lotion Bars and leave them out in the sun to melt, I think they might just be my new summer best friend. That being said, them melting wouldn’t even be too great of an issue, considering how easy they are to make I could whip up another batch in minutes.
These bars would suit the whole family and are incredibly easy to apply compared to usual bottles of sunscreen which can get incredibly messy when the kids get their hands on them. Of course, because of my love of vanilla, I love the idea of popping a couple of drops of essential oil in there too.
11. Orange Honey Lotion Bars
I am a huge fan of sweet scents but, although I thought it would never happen, as I have gotten older I cannot cope with those that are too sickly sweet. Which is why I am drawn to these Orange Honey Lotion Bars. Here, you have the deliciously sweet honey scent mellowed out by the hit of citrusy orange. They sound almost good enough to eat, but I will restrain myself.
These lotion bars are shaped by cupcake liners in a muffin tray, which I think is fantastic. You will have no molds to wash up afterward and all the mess will be contained within the cases if you pour the mixture carefully.
12. Matcha Lotion Bars
This DIY suggests using lotion bars for a couple of things other than those you might immediately assume, such as a bug bite balm or a shaving cream. Multi-use products are always winners for me, the less cupboard space I fill with wasteful bottles and packaging the better.
These Matcha Lotion Bars include a hint of sweet orange essential oil, which I believe will give them that little scent lifts that they need. Matcha itself, filled with antioxidants, has been shown to slow the signs of aging, so along with the dry skin soothing effects of the cocoa butter, your skin will look good as new.
I am glad I didn’t buy those lotion bars in the store because it helped me to discover a whole range of lotion bars I could make for myself at home in a matter of minutes. There is a recipe for everyone, whether you want something relatively scentless, sweet, or even to protect you from the sun.
Those Orange Honey Lotion Bars sound too good not to try, so they are next on my list. I am determined to make some of those Bronzing Lotion Bars for my younger sister too, as I can just tell she would fall in love with them.
Have you ever tried lotion bars? Do you fancy treating yourself to a little at home massage using one of these recipes?
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Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Keeps Hitting New Highs -- Time to Sell or Buy?
Source: Wikimedia Commons
It is not that often that a credible restaurant company provides as much detailed guidance to the extent that Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen (NASDAQ:PLKI) has. This makes it much easier to make a calculated guess on long-term value, and help you determine if it's a buy or a sell, particularly when measured against Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) , the company that owns KFC.
What's so special about fried chicken?
Just like hamburgers, the concept itself is vastly widespread. It's the way it's prepared and the recipe that makes all the difference. Yum! Brands boasts that KFC uses "an Original Recipe of 11 herbs and spices." The marketing effectiveness of that phrase alone is quite valuable but the value is hard to pin a number on.
For Cheryl Bachelder, CEO of Popeyes, it's a much easier task. She recently stated in a press release, "Popeyes is already known for the best food in the industry." She then put the company's money where her mouth is, and shelled out $43 million to the recipe founder's family just for the now-permanent right to the recipes, instead of licensing them. That's a lot of money for chicken seasoning!
In the U.S., Yum! Brands reports there are around 4,500 KFCs, down from more than 5,000 from a few years ago. It would seem, at least for now, that Yum! Brands feels it has tapped out of the potential market. Popeyes, meanwhile, has only around 1,600 locations.
Seventy percent of Popeyes' locations are concentrated within just 10 states. Despite this concentration, the average Popeyes generates 30% more in per-unit sales -- and climbing -- than the average Yum! Brands-owned KFC. This suggests there is still wide open opportunity for Popeyes, and possibly at the expense of Yum! Brands.
In fact, with the last earnings report, Bachelder stated about the new Popeyes that are popping up: "These new units are averaging volumes higher than the system average, and are delivering record franchisee profitability. These unit economics are fueling the growth of the brand." It sounds like the brand is feeding on itself, and is possibly opening more opportunities rather than anything resembling the saturation that Yum! Brands may be feeling a bit domestically.
First, for 2014, Popeyes is currently guiding for adjusted earnings per share of between $1.58 and $1.63. Let's use $1.60 in the middle for easier math. The $1.60 can be the base for guessing where earnings may be heading.
Next, Popeyes guided for the next five years to have same-store sales between 1% and 3%, along with unit growth of 4% and 6%. While both of these seem to be a bit on the conservative side, considering, for example, 4.5% same-store sales growth last quarter, conservative is good. It just means that the longer-term potential within and beyond five years might be even better, especially because total units in five years will still be a fraction of that of Yum! Brands' KFC.
Even easier, Popeyes also guided for earnings per diluted-share growth of between 13% and 15% over the next five years. Using the middle number of 14%, that puts this year's $1.60 guidance at $3.08 per share in five years. Next, take another peak at Yum! Brands.
Well, is the valuation too crispy or not?
Based on the current share price of around $82.00 for Yum! Brands at the time of this writing, and analyst estimates of $3.69 for the year ending December 2014, Yum! Brands P/E is around 22. If Popeyes successfully earns $3.08 per share, and trades at a similar P/E as Yum! Brands now trades, then Popeyes would be at around $68, or around 50% higher than the current share price.
I'll spare you the math, but it's roughly an 8.5% compounded annual return during the next five years. Not terrible, but nothing to write home about, either, especially for a restaurant stock that is potentially vulnerable to economic, execution, and competitive risks. However, 8.5% isn't bad as a base if you're confident that there's much more upside beyond the midpoint of management's guidance.
Popeyes already raised guidance for this year alone, so it's quite possible that the company is sandbagging, too, what it really expects long term. Conclusion: For Fools who can shoulder the wait and take on some speculation, I think there's a good chance of above-average returns during the next five, 10, and more years.
Regional Road Trips From Atlanta
Discover culinary treats, history, quirky art and natural wonders along the road to these popular destinations from Atlanta.
Hilton Head, SC
Hilton Head Island welcomes golf enthusiasts and beachcombers alike. Its close proximity to other popular destinations makes it easy to enjoy a day trip to Charleston Bluffton, SC Savannah and Tybee Island, GA.
About a third of the way to Hilton Head from Atlanta, Macon, GA, is an ideal place to explore and stretch your legs. If you are traveling with Fido, be sure to head to Macon Dog Park, a 6-acre off-leash enclosure complete with a stream and agility area. Once home to legends such as James Brown, Macon is also steeped in music history. You can visit the Big House, where the Allman Brothers Band lived in the early 1970s it’s now a museum displaying memorabilia from the group’s past. Macon also has one of the most unusual museums in Georgia, the Museum of Arts and Science, which houses science exhibits as well as fine art and more than 70 native and exotic animals.
Make your trip home an adventure all to itself. Detour off the highway about 30 minutes before Macon to Fort Valley, GA. From mid-May through August, you can’t miss a trip to Lane Southern Orchards for fresh, right-from-the-tree peaches. If you are lucky enough to be there on a harvest day, you can watch the harvest-to-packing process while perched atop the viewing catwalk. Be careful, though: Store-bought peaches may never again be acceptable.
Which route to take to reach the azure waters of the aptly named Emerald Coast is a widely contested topic in Atlanta. Choosing to drive toward Columbus, GA, allows for a stop in Pine Mountain, where you can steer right on into Wild Animal Safari, a drive-through animal park. Unexpected rolling mountains present a scenic overlook at F.D. Roosevelt State Park, Georgia’s largest state park, where you can get a photo sitting next to a life-size sculpture of its presidential namesake. On the other end of the park is the town of Warm Springs, GA. Visit FDR’s home, the Little White House, or take a tour of the mineral springs complex where he sought relief in the constantly 88-degree waters.
Myrtle Beach, SC
As you make your way to the boardwalk and beaches of Myrtle, Augusta, GA, is a must-do. Stroll along the Savannah River as the Augusta Riverwalk meanders through gardens and even a children’s playground. Find unique artwork while exploring the galleries and art studios of the creative community known as Artists Row. If you are lucky enough to find yourself there during dinner hours or Sunday brunch time, then head to the Bee’s Knees. The pup-friendly outdoor seating of this tapas restaurant makes it a perfect choice for those traveling with dogs. Don’t miss the pan-seared scallops, garlicky shrimp and smoked Gouda nachos.
Known as the “Gateway to the Smokies,” Gatlinburg, TN, is a popular destination for fall leaf-viewing pilgrimages, as well as for those seeking a cooler respite from the heat of the Southern summer. The scenic route along Highway 441 demands a stop in Tiger, GA, at the eclectic Southern souvenir complex of Goats on the Roof. Yes, there are actually goats on the roof. You can feed them via one of the cable-delivery systems using a stationary bike or hand pulley.
The alternate route is less scenic but has a time advantage, as it runs mainly along Interstate 75N. A 30-minute detour at Adairsville will lead you to the town of Summerville, GA. Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden is a homage to the roadside rock gardens and tourist attractions popular in early-20th-century rural America. The maze of magically created folk-art sculpture and architecture is a one-of-a-kind place that he created from a vision he claims to have received from God.
Chattanooga, TN, is a convenient place to stop for lunch before hanging an eastward turn toward Knoxville. Don’t let the paper plates at Champy's Famous Fried Chicken fool you. Its fried chicken and tamales are memorable. Then, a trip to Lookout Mountain will take you right by Ruby Falls, a waterfall once unknown to almost everyone, as it is located 1,120 feet underground. Ride the glass elevator down to the constantly 60-degree caverns as your guide shares history and geological facts on the nation’s deepest and largest underground waterfall that is open to the public.
True to Mission, Comedy Central Still Strong at 20
On television, the laughter is coming from every direction.
The networks are looking for the next “Modern Family.” Adult Swim is expanding. TBS is betting on Conan O’Brien. IFC is being praised for “Portlandia.” Even the USA Network says it wants to add sitcoms to its schedule. Everybody, it seems, wants to be in the comedy business.
Yet Comedy Central, which turned 20 years old on April Fool’s Day, has arguably never been more relevant. The late-night tag team of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert makes news almost every week, the creators of “South Park” are cracking up Broadway and the channel’s newest star, Daniel Tosh, is drawing more than four million viewers some nights.
Now the channel is patting itself and its competitors on the back with the Comedy Awards, which were televised on Sunday on Comedy Central and several other channels owned by Viacom.
Comedy Central’s endurance is the result of talent-spotting and demographic marketing. “We have never wanted to be all comedy to all people,” said the channel’s president, Michele Ganeless. Doug Herzog, who oversees Comedy Central and two other channels owned by Viacom, said, “Everybody’s doing some comedy, but nobody’s doing exactly what we’re doing.”
The bull’s-eye for Comedy Central is the audience of males ages 18 to 34. Any younger, and the beer and car advertisers would be off target. Any older, and there are a dozen other channels advertisers could choose.
Sitting in her corner office in the TriBeCa neighborhood of Manhattan, Ms. Ganeless said the celebrations for the 20th anniversary were subdued. “Next year, we’ll be 21, we’ll be legal, maybe we’ll have a party then,” she said. “That’s more in the spirit of Comedy Central.”
Besides, the channel is still savoring its last big party, Mr. Stewart and Mr. Colbert’s “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear” in Washington last fall. An aerial photo of the hundreds of thousands of attendees hangs above Ms. Ganeless’s desk. Of that day, she said, “I’ve never been prouder.”
To date, almost every one of the channel’s successes has been the equivalent of a stand-up act: what Ms. Ganeless calls “singular point-of-view comedy.”
“It’s taking a talent like Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert or Daniel Tosh or Sarah Silverman, and giving them a platform to do their thing,” she said. The animated show “South Park” is similar, she said, because it comes from two best friends, Matt Stone and Trey Parker. (Comedy Central is a small investor in their Broadway show “The Book of Mormon,” which opened last month.) Even “Onion SportsDome,” the new satiric sports newscast from The Onion, “comes from a very specific point of view,” she said.
Comedy Central’s forays into other formats, like sitcoms and reality shows, have mostly failed, with the notable exceptions of “Reno 911!,” a satire of “COPS” that ended in 2009, and “The Sarah Silverman Program,” a scripted take on the comedian’s life, which ended last year. Ms. Ganeless said, “We’ll continue to try to find the right narrative shows for us, and if we find a reality show that’s the right fit, we’ll do that.”
Last week, the channel introduced “Workaholics,” a scripted narrative about three twenty-something men who work at a telemarketing company. This week “Sports Show With Norm MacDonald,” begins and Ms. Ganeless likens it to “Weekend Update” for sports, recorded just two days before each air date.
Mr. Herzog has his eye on the midnight time slot, which directly follows the one-two current events punch of “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report.” But first, he said, “we’d like a couple more keepers in prime time.” Last week, the channel ordered another full season of one such prime-time show, “Futurama,” which had been canceled by Fox in 2003 only to find a new life in reruns on Adult Swim, the nighttime version of Cartoon Network.
By far the channel’s most important prime-time show right now is “Tosh.0,” a collection of Internet video clips stitched together by Mr. Tosh, a 35-year-old comedian who attracted as many as 4.7 million viewers to new episodes of his show last winter. To date this year, he is responsible for all 10 of the channel’s top-rated telecasts.
A slide in a recent PowerPoint presentation for Viacom executives called “Tosh.0” “the template for future success stories” for two reasons. First, Mr. Tosh is a product of Comedy Central’s development pipeline. He appeared on the channel’s stand-up specials as early as 1999, and last fall its live events division helped to produce his nationwide tour, complete with $3 million in advertising.
Second, Mr. Tosh’s audience flocks to his Web site and his Twitter feed between episodes, making “Tosh.0” “our first truly multiplatform show,” said Erik Flannigan, the channel’s head of digital media. Perhaps most important, Mr. Tosh talks back, thanks to Twitter. “The millennials that are our audience now fully expect to be able to interact with talent,” Mr. Flannigan said.
For Comedy Central, “Tosh.0” is now the fourth wall of the house, alongside “The Daily Show,” “The Colbert Report” and “South Park.” And that’s critical because both “The Daily Show” and “South Park” were conceived in the 1990s, making them almost as old as some of the channel’s viewers. Mr. Stewart is signed through mid-2013, but Comedy Central executives already dread the day that he decides to step down.
“If I were the guy who owned the Chicago Bulls, I’d be dreading the day Michael Jordan decided to retire, too,” Mr. Herzog said.
That may be where the development pipeline proves itself again. The pipeline starts with stand-up acts, like the ones that are now being featured on “John Oliver’s New York Stand-Up Show,” a six-episode spotlight on young comedians. From there, the channel sometimes signs talent deals, books half-hour and one-hour specials with comedians, and contemplates possible stand-alone shows.
“You can never have enough,” Mr. Herzog said. “You can never be funny enough.”
Q&A: Bizarre Foods' Andrew Zimmern
A: In the last 10 years, it's been acknowledged as one of the leading food cities in the world, but I think that's been the case for longer. Any time you have cities of this size with pockets of ethnic and immigrant enthusiasm, you have a more honest and authentic cuisine taking root. Minneapolis, where I live, has not been a great food city for more than the last year or two. It had to reach a critical mass to be more than about fancy restaurants and dives. And now thanks to immigration, and thanks to the economic downturn of 2008 — which helped Chicago out immensely as well — big restaurants closed downtown and really great chefs moved out to where people lived and spread the diversity of good restaurants over a larger geographic range. Access is what makes a great food town as well.
Q: What's one city with a more robust food scene than people expect?
A: Pittsburgh. Working class cities that have been reinvented itself the last 20 years are fascinating to me. The Czech, Polish, German foods are beyond great. You go to a bar in east Pittsburgh and there's five ladies in nice hats and all order these massive stuffed cabbage. I sit there and think, "I'm in a beautiful place." I love, love Pittsburgh.
Q: In my opinion, there are three people on television hosting food shows that won't rot your brain: Anthony Bourdain, Alton Brown and you. I sense you have greater cross-cultural motives for your show than just eating weird foods on camera.
A: I hear that a lot about Tony, Alton and me. What we all have in common is we've been on TV long enough that we can leverage to do the type of television we want to do. These days, TV is so expensive and so many shows fail. There are people more talented than all three of us put together, but they never get to show their stuff. We're grandfathered in. But you know, I didn't set out to do a food show. What I tried to do is a show about culture using food as the lens. It's the most viable lens you can use. We can look at a bowl of soup and tell the history of the people, what makes them great, where their struggles are. I wanted to do a show that reflected that. Food is good, food with a story is better, food with a story people haven't heard about is what I want to do with my craft. But food with a story people haven't heard of but can relate to is best of all. We're at a time and place in human history where we celebrate and fetishize food and food culture more than any other time in civilization, and yet we have more conversations that's divisive about things we disagree about: Politics, skin color, sexuality, religion. Why not have conversations about things we have in common, like a family meal? I made the show because I wanted to make a difference in the world. The real problem isn't how much bad stuff is on television, it's how many people have success in their programs and do nothing to further a conversation.
Q: How has your worldview change since beginning the show seven years ago?
A: I'm way more accepting. The last couple of words in the introduction to my book is a chopped quote attributed to philosopher Herbert Spencer (but actually written by William Paley), about how one of the world's great ills is practicing contempt prior to investigation. that's how I described my whole life 22 years ago before I became sober. I was very selfish. By the time I started doing the show, I realized that would be a great legacy if I can teach patience and tolerance and understanding is something worth working hard for, especially in young people. The best version of me isn't me ignoring my family when I'm watching hockey at home. I'm the best version of me when I'm traveling. When I'm on the road, I'm getting on rickety buses with no expectations of rest stops, meals or star treatments. I'm all in on sleeping on the jungle floor getting bit by bugs.
Q: Do you feel an obligation to not be the "ugly American"?
Why You Should Listen
Vogt and Goldman ran a show called TLDR – a podcast from WNYC’s On The Media that took listeners on a tour of internet culture – but they thought they might be able to do more with the concept.
“We were both fans of radio journalism and internet culture and you didn’t get to see radio talk about the internet at the level of familiarity that we liked,” said Vogt. “When it did cover a topic we were interested in it felt like there was a lot of explaining it and not a lot of going into it. We thought there might actually be enough people as nerdy as us that we could do it and it would work.” They created Reply All, a show aimed squarely at “people as nerdy” as the hosts, featuring great stories, solid reporting, and a sense of humor.
While Vogt and Goldman don’t want to turn the show into an internet explainer, they do take pity on their less-internet adroit listeners and take the time to break down some of the more complex stories in the news, like the implosion of Reddit that took place a few months back. They also have a helpful series called Yes Yes No, where they explain quirky internet stories, like Weird Twitter, to Gimlet Media co-founder Alex Blumberg (and the rest of us) with only light-to-moderate shaming involved.
Their very first story revealed how challenging it can be to report on the internet: “There was a YouTube channel and the whole conceit of it was that they would pronounce words so if you were not a native English speaker it would tell you how to pronounce it. But the YouTube channel was doing something very weird and the sentences it was using got very dark and apocalyptic, and at the end of the video they would have a countdown,” said Vogt.
Goldman finished the story, “They would say a sentence and then they would say: ‘Something’s going to happen. 78 Days.’ It was counting down and counting down and the story was about that and trying to figure out what was going on.”
“We were totally wrong about it,” laughed Vogt. “We didn’t say this is definitely what’s going to happen, but we pushed a theory that we believed in. Our first episode was, ‘We’re pretty sure this is what’s happening’ and our second episode was, ‘Here’s how we got hoodwinked so bad.’”
“That was a pretty good introduction to internet reporting,” added Goldman. From there the team has covered stories from every corner of the internet from the secret gruesome Instagram for doctors to a French precursor to the world wide web to the strange world of domain name sales. While the stories are ostensibly about the internet, their scope is quite broad. One of the most compelling stories they have featured started online with a misdirected email, but soon spread to tell the tale of a group of Girl Guides that was to a concentration camp in China during the second world war.
Reporting on the internet does have certain challenges, though, which have made covering some stories more difficult. “The internet is a haven for ambiguity,” explained Goldman. “In order to actually do stories on the internet, you need to be able to fact check, you need to be able to verify people’s identities, and very few people who live their lives anonymously are interested in giving up their anonymity to some guy who calls them up from out of the blue. It’s really difficult to convince people that their story is worth telling at the expense of their anonymity.”
So far the only way they’ve found to work around the internet’s love of anonymity is to appeal to the greater good, the power of a good story, and their own body of work. “It’s gotten a little easier as there is more work that we can point to,” said Goldman. “Lately more people have been willing to talk because they’ve heard a story we’ve done and they trust us.”
They have had to shelve many stories because they couldn’t verify details. “It happens all the time,” said Vogt. Despite the challenges, they have managed to get people to open up, like an online dominatrix who has a predilection for techie prank calls or students who ended up at the bottom of a pile of hate speech on an anonymous online message board called Yik Yak, which was used by college students.
“When I got up there, it was so much more complex than I thought, the racial aspects were so complex and insidious, this app just enabled people to be monsters,” said Goldman. “When people are given the opportunity to behave badly, they really take incredible advantage of that.”
As the show grows, so has the scope of the stories they cover. “Our goal is to make sure this show can be as expansive as possible,” said Vogt. To that end, they spent one episode traveling to Coney Island, which is not known for its internet connectivity, and teamed up with Song Exploder for an auditory exploration of their theme song. “We want to do new things that put us in places where we’re not exactly comfortable,” said Goldman. “We want to keep trying to find ways to surprise ourselves and our listeners.”
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Is TLC Extreme Couponing Fake? The Truth About Extreme Couponing
Much like the rest of America who watches TLC’s Extreme Couponing, I was hooked. I’ve been a couponer for a long time so watching someone else be able to get those incredible deals was … almost addicting.
There’s no doubt that taking home $2000 worth of groceries for only $35.00 is a dream come true, and watching it on the show makes it an obtainable reality for some. But let’s take a closer look at what TLC’s Extreme Couponing is not showing and not telling you.
How long did it take?
It was immediately obvious from the first few episodes that they glossed over the amount of time these people spend on couponing.
In order to garner these kind of savings, couponing would need to become a part time job with over 20+ hours a week being spent.
Most of these people make it their full time job. There’s a lot involved. Cutting the actual coupons is NOT all that it takes.
What about the milk?
Did you notice during any of the episodes anyone actually purchasing “normal” groceries with the exception of Joyce, who was probably the smallest shopping trip of all the episodes.
The people on this show are not purchasing milk, produce, deli meats, etc. You can not live on extreme couponing alone.
They aren’t showing these items being purchased because rarely are there coupons for these things and they would make the total higher, making people less likely to gasp in surprise at a HUGE price reduction via coupons. You cannot live on processed foods and candy.
Are these groceries really that cheap?
Well, if you watch the show, you’re seeing them scan those coupons and you are watching the price drop. But what aren’t seeing is how much money these people spent on coupons. What? Coupons are free!
That’s true, but in order to practice the techniques show cased on the show Extreme Couponing, you are also watching them stockpile. In order to stockpile, you have to obtain mass quantities of particular coupons.
You have to order them from a coupon clipping service. Coupon clipping services offer coupons for as much as .50 all the way down to .03. Even if they paid .10 per coupon, and they only bought 100 of them so they could get 100 of those items for free mixed with deals, etc.
That’s still going to cost about $10.00. You don’t see this part, because if you did, you would then have to add that total to their total balance due at the end.
They are spending a lot of money to get these mass quantities of coupons.
Yes, they are saving, yes that is still totally worth it, but it’s deceiving if you don’t realize this is what they are doing.
Where are these stores?
Yep, that question went through my head a number of times while viewing the episodes. I live in the St. Louis area, and extreme couponing in this area is extremely difficult. The store I shop at will double coupons up to .40 but only 15 of them.
This makes stockpiling pretty difficult unless I’m content with 15 items and with a family of 7, 15 of the same item goes a lot faster than you think. And that means I can’t buy anything else.
Sure, I suppose I could come back in the afternoon and then again tomorrow, and then the next day and just keep doing it using 15 coupons at a time… yes.
But would you do me a favor? Go back and read my very first point up there…. you know, the one about time. Go ahead, we’ll wait. Not to mention gas expense. Just saying.
Right… so are you seeing the problem here? Do you actually have time for anything else?
Make sure and check your stores coupon policies because many have strict rules and while there are some that are as awesome as you saw on the show, I will assure you that since the birth of the show, most of the stores are changing their coupon policies now. * sigh * so yeah.
While doing research for this article, I learned some really interesting information.
Here are a few things you must know about what TLC Extreme Couponing looks for when interviewing someone to be on the show. In order to be on the show:
- You must already have an enormous stockpile. They want it to have taken over at least a room of your house. This of course makes the “wow” factor more obvious.
- You must plan your largest shopping trip ever. (because you know it has to be worth it)
- You must be the best savings at the end of the day. (this was an interesting twist of events… apparently I know someone who was selected to be on the show. Camera crew arrived, everything was ago and then at the end of the day – her savings weren’t as good as a few others, so she got nixed…. no idea whether she will get a shot at next season… niiiiiiiiiiice.
- You must be extreme. Not just with the couponing, but in how you obtain the couponing, in your stockpile, in what you buy, etc. You must be willing to do just about anything.
Made me think twice about the actual act of extreme couponing. There has to be a better way.
Live from ‘The Simpsons’ town of Springfield at Universal Studios Hollywood
The scene opens on Channel 6 News anchor Kent Brockman broadcasting from the new Springfield-themed land that is set for a late April grand opening at Universal Studios Hollywood.
The arrogant, oblivious and often misinformed Brockman stands with a microphone in his hand and “Springfield” spelled out in 40-foot-tall letters over his shoulder.
Kent Brockman: Welcome to a special edition of “Eye on Springfield.” I’m Kent Brockman reporting live from Universal Studios, where the Southern California theme park is busy putting the finishing touches on an exact replica of our fair town of Springfield.
The camera pans to a view of Springfield’s main thoroughfare brimming with familiar town landmarks. In the distance, a neon sign glows above the Duff Beer brewery and the iconic mascot of Lard Lad Donuts towers over the street.
Kent Brockman: Today I’ll be taking you on a behind-the-scenes tour of the nearly-complete knockoff and talking to some of the town’s citizenry about the cultural and penal institutions represented in this authentically fake version of our fine town.
A video montage of shots preview the three restaurants, three food stands and two bars in the new themed land.
Kent Brockman: The place looks like Springfield’s own Fast Food Boulevard. It’s all here: Krusty Burger, Cletus’ Chicken Shack, Luigi’s Pizza, Bumblebee Man’s Taco Truck, Lard Lad Donuts, Phineas Q. Butterfat’s Ice Cream Parlor, Moe’s Tavern and Duff Brewery. And every order comes with a side of liposuction.
The camera cuts to Brockman in front of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. Homer Simpson pushes a series of buttons that cause havoc at the facility, triggering warning lights and sounds. An explosive blast is followed by steam pouring from the twin 15-foot-tall reactors.
Kent Brockman: I’m here with safety inspector Homer Simpson at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, the town’s largest employer and the site of a recent safety inspection that revealed 342 violations.
Homer Simpson: We’re proud of our reputation as the most radioactive city in the United States. We’re extremely lucky that the plant was built during a particularly lax period in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s history.
Brockman walks up to a student in front of Springfield Elementary School and shoves the microphone in his face.
Kent Brockman: And what’s your name, young man?
Bart Simpson: I’m Bart Simpson. Who the hell are you?
Kent Brockman: I’m Kent Brockman with Channel 6 News and you’re live on the air. Tell me what you think of this artificial Springfield that Universal Studios is trying to fool the public with.
Bart Simpson: You want me to tell you what I think of the city that proudly proclaims itself the Meanest Town in America? The place that Time magazine dubbed America’s Worst City? That Newsweek called America’s Crud Bucket?
Kent Brockman: I guess that proves we’re broadcasting live. We’ll be right back after this message from our sponsor.
Commercial break: Duff Beer for me, Duff Beer for you, I’ll have a Duff, you’ll have one too. Welcome aboard the Little Land of Duff, a delightful new children’s boat ride at Duff Gardens. Take your family on a whimsical tour around the globe as you float on a river of recycled beer. Only at Duff Gardens, nowhere near as good as Disneyland but far better than Universal Studios Hollywood.
Out in front of Moe’s Tavern, Brockman and Moe Szyslak each hold cocktail glasses billowing smoke.
Kent Brockman: Well, I could certainly use a drink at this point. Oh, **bleep**, are we on the air again?
Moe Szyslak: Unfortunately, the Flaming Moe is nonalcoholic.
Kent Brockman: What’s the point of that?
Moe Szyslak: I guess Universal wants to be able to sell the drink to kids and alcoholics.
Town drunk Barney Gumble stumbles out of Duff Brewery with a frosty mug of beer in his hand.
Kent Brockman: It appears they serve beer in the brewery.
Barney Gumble: They’ve got Duff, Duff Lite and Duff Dry. Burrrrrrppp.
Kent Brockman: Well, clearly the beer has alcohol in it. I imagine they’ve got a barstool in there with your name on it.
Moe Szyslak: Actually we have a life-size sculpture of Barney in Moe’s Tavern, suitable for photos with the tourist types.
Commercial break: When you want nothing but the booze! Introducing Duff 200, made of pure 200-proof grain alcohol. Duff Beer. You can’t get enough of the wonderful Duff.
Brockman steps inside the Android’s Dungeon comic book store and approaches Jeffrey Albertson, better known around Springfield as the Comic Book Guy.
Kent Brockman: I’m now with a man who needs no introduction. A prominent pop culture critic and frequent guest on Smartline, a late-night panel discussion show hosted by yours truly, right here on Channel 6. As an expert, is there anything good you can say about this blatant money grab by Universal?
Comic Book Guy: As you might have guessed, Universal has jumped on the latest bandwagon in theme park design with an entire land devoted to a single franchise. Of course, Disney started it with Cars Land and then Avatarland. The trouble is when the intellectual property falls out of favor with the public. I mean, how long has “The Simpsons” even been on TV?
Kent Brockman: I believe 26 seasons.
Comic Book Guy: My point exactly. This Springfield land is nothing more than a way to hide the backside of Wizarding World of Harry Potter, another franchise without any staying power.
Kent Brockman: What would you rather see here instead?
Comic Book Guy: Bring back “E.T.” or “Back to the Future.” One of the classics rather than all this trendy flash-in-the-pan stuff.
Commercial break: Back by popular demand! Blow your mind with the all-syrup Super Squishee! Never chunky! Always funky! It’s psychedeli-cious! Available for a limited time at your local Kwik-E-Mart. Caution: May cause hallucinations. The surgeon general of Springfield has declared that consuming Squishee syrup in excessive amounts can make you “crazy in the head.” Please drink responsibly.
Brockman and his cameraman rush up to Apu Nahasapeemapetilon ambush-style in front of the Kwik-E-Mart.
Kent Brockman: Isn’t it true that Kwik-E-Mart sells faulty, dirty and expired merchandise?
Apu Nahasapeemapetilon: We won’t be selling anything as soon as this counterfeit Springfield is finished.
Kent Brockman: So you don’t deny the allegations?
Apu Nahasapeemapetilon: We’ve been here since the Simpsons ride opened in 2008 as the sole proprietor of all Simpsons promotional merchandise. Now they’ve got a cart selling Squishees, Lard Lad selling giant pink D’Oh-Nuts and Moe’s selling Duff beer. What am I left with? Buzz Cola.
Commercial break: They’ve done it! They combined Buzz cola with the smooth, rich taste of lemon! The same great Buzz Cola now with artificial lemon flavoring. And be sure to try Buzz Lemon 2XUB with twice the sugar and twice the caffeine. Now available anywhere soft drinks are sold (except Kwik-E-Mart).
The camera pulls back from a smug Brockman to reveal the facade of the Channel 6 Studios, home of KBBL-TV, the “Krusty the Clown” show, the “Itchy & Scratchy” show, “Eye on Springfield” and “Smartline.”
Kent Brockman: Let’s go to our eye-in-the-sky guy Arnie Pye high above this gleaming tribute to journalistic excellence for a look at Universal’s pirated copy of Springfield. What do you see, Arnie?
Arnie Pye (via helicopter cockpit camera): I have to tell you, Kent, it doesn’t look good. A number of natural disasters are simultaneously forming all around Universal’s Springfield. Avalanches, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions.
Kent Brockman: That’s great, Arnie.
Arnie Pye: No! A tornado! Mayday, mayday! I’m going down. Tell my wife I love…
Kent Brockman: Thanks for your report, Arnie.
Commercial break: Ah, that sweet Carolina smoke. I’m celebrity endorser Eddie “Rochester” Anderson here to tell you about Laramie Jr. cigarettes, perfect for the first-time smoker and the cigarette of choice of Itchy and Scratchy. I just know I can’t stop smoking them. Laramie Jr. cigarettes. Pure enjoyment.
Jaded twin sisters Patty and Selma Bouvier chain-smoke behind the counter at the Springfield Department of Motor Vehicles.
Patty Bouvier: What I want to know is why Universal’s got an entire land dedicated to that good-for-nothing Homer Simpson and not even a single ride for “MacGyver.”
Kent Brockman: I don’t know. I’ll have to ask the park.
Selma Bouvier: You do that. We watch “MacGyver” religiously.
High above Springfield looms Burns Manor, the sprawling mansion of reclusive and nefarious billionaire Montgomery Burns, Springfield’s richest and most powerful citizen. Brockman creeps up to the imposing iron entry gate and buzzes an intercom.
Kent Brockman: May we speak to Mr. Burns?
Montgomery Burns (via intercom): Release the hounds.
Krusty the Clown bounds out of Krusty Burgers with his trademark laugh, barreling toward the camera before his face eventually fills the full frame.
Kent Brockman: I’m here with the star of the “Krusty the Clown” show, broadcast right here on our own Channel 6.
Krusty the Clown: Hey, hey kids. It’s your old pal Krusty.
Kent Brockman: Now Krusty, some have called Krusty Burger the unhealthiest restaurant in the world. How do you respond to that charge?
Krusty the Clown: We’re just doing our part to help Springfield maintain its crown as America’s Fattest Town in Duff’s Book of World Records.
Kent Brockman: Some accuse you of using zoo animals, road kill and insects in your burgers.
Krusty the Clown: We’ve got something even better now. We call it the Clogger. I suffered my first on-the-air heart attack after eating one of those behemoths.
Commercial break: Hey, hey. It’s your old pal Krusty for my new sandwich, the Clogger, now with real meat flavor. Make it a combo with our delicious Bacon Balls and a frosty 128-ounce beverage.
Sideshow Bob escapes from the window of the Springfield Penitentiary and leaps in front of the Channel 6 cameraman, who has been filming the jail break.
Kent Brockman: I understand Universal will have Sideshow Bob and Krusty the Clown characters strolling around Springfield when the new land finally opens.
Sideshow Bob: The meet-and-greet characters were deemed more cost effective than the Kang & Kodos Twirl ‘n’ Hurl ride Universal Orlando introduced when they opened their version of Springfield in 2013. It’s really disappointing since this park could use more outdoor attractions to give the place greater kinetic energy. All they really added here were revenue-generating restaurants and bars.
Holding a cup of coffee and a donut, Police Chief Clancy Wiggum inspects a damaged squad car that has crashed into a lamp post near the Springfield Police Station, where a criminal is escaping right behind his back.
Chief Wiggum: I was responding to a prison break when the perpetrator ran right in front of my car.
Kent Brockman: Can you describe the suspect?
Chief Wiggum: It’s Sideshow Bob.
Kent Brockman: What does he look like?
Chief Wiggum: Wild red hair. Maniacal eyes. Insane grin. Have you seen him?
Kent Brockman: Can’t say I have.
The camera frames Brockman with a mother and her two daughters in front of the Simpsons Ride next to a row of boardwalk games.
Kent Brockman: I’m standing before the only ride in this new themed land with the Springfield family that lent its name to the attraction.
Marge Simpson: It’s so nice that Universal has a ride for the whole family.
Lisa Simpson: I would hardly call this a family ride, mom. Maggie gets irradiated inside a nuclear reactor, we repeatedly cheat death at Krusty’s demented amusement park and a psychopathic Sideshow Bob tries to kill our entire family.
Marge Simpson: That doesn’t sound very good. At least there’s some games for the kids.
Lisa Simpson: You mean these traveling carnival midway games designed to separate helpless suckers from their money?
Marge Simpson: Well, when you put it that way.
Kent Brockman: And there you have it folks. You can find all this and more at the new Springfield-themed land expected to begin “sneak peek” previews starting this weekend at Universal Studios Hollywood. So until next time, I’m Kent Brockman from Channel 6 News and don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Note: A special thanks to Simpsons Wiki for providing extensive character biographies, business descriptions and Springfield history.