Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Buck -- the talking, singing robot deer head

If you no longer get excited about animated singing lobsters, hamsters and fish, and you have a big empty space on your wall, Buck should make you smile, and scare others.

Buck is wall-mounted deer trophy, hand-detailed to look remarkably realistic, complete with whiskers, eyelashes and tufts of ear hair. He has lifelike movements, makes wise-ass remarks, and sings six songs (Sweet Home Alabama, La Grange, Friends in Low Places, Rawhide, On the Road Again, Suspicious Minds) with perfectly synced mouth movements.

Buck also comes with a wireless microphone, so you can speak or sing through his mouth, and he moves his head and ears along with the voice. An auxiliary input lets you feed in a recorded soundtrack. I put Buck on my front door for Halloween, and had him singing Monster Mash and Purple People Eater.

A wireless remote control operates his movement, voice, and songs... great for scaring the crap out of unsuspecting passers-by. Buck can also be motion-activated.  Buck may have been discontinued by the manufacturer, but you should still be able to find one on eBay. Prices range from about $100 to $200.  Maybe I'll sell mine before I die.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Throw this hash in the trash

Corned beef hash has long been a special breakfast treat. As a kid, my mother occasionally burned some of Libby's hash and scrambled eggs for me; and later, as an independent adult, I switched to the Broadcast brand when Libby's apparently disappeared. I recently found Libby's again. It's fine.

Since I got married, I've seldom had hash at home, because my beloved wife hates the smell, and the left-over reminds her of canned dog food (which our beloved dog never eats).

I sometimes order hash in diners, but half the time it has some weird flavor that I can't stand, and the other half, it's too mushy, even when I order "crisp".

Recently I felt the urge to indulge myself in some comfort food. I explored the shelves in search of the elusive Libby's, or even an acceptable substitute can of Broadcast, but the store had none.

After asking for help from three different people (one of whom had never heard of corned beef hash), I was directed to the bottom shelf of the far end of Aisle Five -- where they keep Spam and Manwich and Dinty Moore's beef stew and other gastronomic delights of ill repute, and I spied several cans of Hormel 50% reduced fat homestyle corned beef hash.

Wow. I was excited. Imagine getting something that I love, that might actually be relatively harmless to my body!

I grabbed a couple of cans, raced to the checkout, and drove home in eager anticipation.

Alas, my excitement and anticipation were unjustified and unfulfilled. Even though I grilled the hash to absolute perfection, it had absolutely no flavor. It was like eating a glob of potato and cardboard with salt.

After I trashed my hash, I read the label on the surviving can. It said "water added to reduce fat." Yeah, the flavor in corned beef hash comes from its fat; and water is not nearly as flavorful as fat.

Even with its diluted formula, a serving of this tasteless poison provides 25% of my daily recommended dose of saturated fat, 20% of my cholesterol, and 45% of my sodium! I'm amazed that something that's this harmful, could taste so bad.

Fortunately, there's other bad stuff that tastes good. For lunch, I got some pizza and an ice cream soda to take my mind off Hormel.