Put Another Chum on the Memorial Day Barbee

I guess all the papers waited until Saturday for the interesting articles. Here’s some chum for your Memorial Day weekend. Stay safe, whether you be at home or on vacation.

  • From the “Well, I Guess Jack Does Know Shit” Department: Remember those Jack in the Box commercials where Jack sings about “…cattle the size of schnauzers…”. Turns out, he wasn’t far off. According to the LA Times, farmers are starting to use smaller cattle. No, not schnauzer-sized, but collies can see eye-to-eye with them. These miniature Herefords consume about half that of a full-sized cow yet produce 50% to 75% of the rib-eyes and fillets. Ranchers across the country have been snapping up mini Hereford and Angus calves that fit in a person’s lap. Farmers who raise mini-Jerseys brag how each animal provides 2 to 3 gallons of milk a day, though they complain about having to crouch down on their knees to reach the udders. No word about any contracts with Mr. Box.
  • From the “We Answer to a Higher Power” Department: Turning from cows to dogs, it appears that there is a battle a’brewin’ in the hot dog department. According to the San Diego Union Tribune (AP), there is a battle going on between Sara Lee (the maker of “Ballpark Franks”), and Kraft (maker of “Oscar Meyer”). Sara Lee alleges that Oscar Mayer’s claims that its Jumbo Beef Franks are “100 percent pure beef” are false and hurting sales of Ball Park franks and the brand’s reputation, according to the suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Sara Lee also questions ads claiming that Oscar Mayer wieners outperform Ball Park and Hebrew National hot dogs, made by ConAgra Foods Inc., in taste tests. Oscar Meyer spokesman counter that “”Clearly, Ball Park does wish it was an Oscar Mayer wiener, since we are America’s avorite hot dog brand”. He continued, “That is what they truly want to be. For if they were an Oscar Mayer wiener…”. Expect to see a battle in the hot dog wars this summer. Oscar Mayer is holding a promotion to give away $1 million worth of hot dogs. Sara Lee is emphasizing its new low-fat angus franks, with in-store promotions this weekend offering a free package of buns with the purchase of two packages of Ball Park franks. Hebrew National, answering to a higher power, is giving away 45,000 hot dogs on Monday in Times Square in New York, as well as handing out 30,000 coupons for $3 off a pack of Hebrew Nationals.
  • From the “Shayna Punim” Department: Speaking of Hebrew National and New York, the NY Times is reporting that Mattel’s American Girl division is introducing a Jewish historical doll. The doll, Rebecca Rubin, is the newest historical character doll to be released by American Girl. She is a 9-year-old girl living on the Lower East Side in 1914 with her Russian-Jewish immigrant parents, siblings and a grandmother known only as Bubbie. They’ve actually done their research, and supposedly the accompanying book get things close to right, with no offensive stereotypes.
  • From the “Skating on Thin Ice” Department: Speaking of stereotypes, one of the most stereotyped pieces of sports equiptment is the Zamboni. The NY Times has an article today on the manufacturer of Zambonis. Turns out they are made in SoCal’s San Gabriel Valley the LA County city of Paramount, and tested on Colorado Blvd Ave. The article notes that on the television sitcom “Cheers,” Carla’s hockey-playing husband, Eddie LeBec, died when he was run over by a Zamboni; that Sarah Palin said last year that she always wanted to name a son Zamboni; and that Car and Driver recently test-drove one, finding that “the vague steering is totally ’70s Cadillac.”
  • From the “Call Now, Operators Are Waiting” Department: One place you won’t find a Zamboni is on an informercial. But you will be seeing more of them. Infomercials, that is. They are currently working well. The SD Union Tribune had an interesting article on Infomercials, given that there is an informercial convention going on down there. Yes, it does talk about Billy Mays. No mention of Ron Popeil. I think he retired.
  • From the “Is There Anyway To Stop Them” Department: Lastly, the NY Times has an article about a product making its return to the pharmacy shelves: the Today Contraceptive Sponge. There were days this was a really popular product, even making Seinfeld. But today, there’s such a variety of contraceptive products out there, who knows if it will succeed.