Taco Bell Has Gone Too Far

CNN – For years, Thanksgiving feasts have featured bland roast turkeys, canned cranberry sauce and boxed stuffing mix. Thanks to Taco Bell, these painfully generic holiday dishes will plague American families no longer.

Instead, the food chain wants you to serve blended Taco Bell Rolled Chicken Tacos at your traditional holiday dinner…

Taco Bell has taken your mother’s beloved bisque recipe and turned it into its Rolled Chicken Tacos Bisque.

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I love Taco Bell as much as anybody and part of what I love about them is their self-awareness. Taco Bell is not fine dining. It’s not even fast casual. It’s for when you’ve got $18 left in your checking account or are on your way home from the bars (or possibly both). They know that. You know that. They know that you know that, and they’re cool with it. That’s why this news is so disappointing.

Taco Bell is not fancy food for fancy people. So why are they trying to play to the stuffy, basic Friendsgiving crowd? Imagine bringing Taco Bell to Friendsgiving. Melissa would shade you so fast on Instagram your phone would die. Why is Taco Bell trying to play to this crowd? Do they actually think putting their product in a blender to make it more resemble vomit will win that crowd over?

Taco Bell has a long history of innovations with a couple of misses (like the Bell Beefer) but way more grand slams (like the Crunchwrap Supreme). So while I love that they’re willing try something so outrageous here, I can’t help but be amazed by how far off-brand it is.

Sure, White Castle has a similar vibe to Taco Bell and has had lots of success with it’s Thanksgiving stuffing, but that’s totally different. White Castle sliders are 75% bread and stuffing IS MADE OF BREAD. Also, the White Castle stuffing recipe gets points for not requiring a goddamn blender.

Sorry Taco Bell. I won’t be serving your bisque at my house next week.

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Jeopardy! Giving the People Exactly What They Want

USA TODAY – James Holzhauer just won the “Jeopardy!” Tournament of Champions, but you haven’t seen the last of him.

Holzhauer and the long-running quiz show’s two other biggest winners, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, will face off in a prime-time Greatest of All Time tournament on ABC in January…

But the GOAT tournament will be anything but typical: It consists of a series of two back-to-back games, airing weeknights (8 EST/PST) beginning Jan. 7. The player with the most combined winnings from the two games wins the “match,” and the play continues on successive nights (except Monday) until one of them has won three matches and takes home a $1 million prize. (The other finishers get $250,000 apiece). That means the tournament can last anywhere from three to seven days.

Sitting on the couch last Friday night after watching James Holzhauer win the 2019 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions, I couldn’t help but wonder how Holzhauer would fare against Ken Jennings. Thankfully, Jeopardy! big wig Harry Friedman had the same thought. This January we’ll get to see Holzhauer and Jennings on the Jeopardy! stage together, along with Brad Rutter, in the ultimate best-of-seven Jeopardy! showdown.

It should be fascinating to see Holzhauer go up against Jennings. While both men won about $2.5 million in regular-season play, Holzhauer did it in just 32 games compared to Jennings’ 74. While Jennings gets the check mark for longevity, Holzhauer gets the check mark for absolutely steamrolling opponents. Holzhauer holds the record for the highest single-game total, $131,127, as well as the next 15 spots on that list. In other words, half of the 32 games he won were better than any other game played by any other contestant in the prior 35 years.

But while James Holzhauer and Ken Jennings may be the bigger household names, don’t sleep on Brad Rutter. Rutter is 21-0 in regular season and tournament Jeopardy! matches, having never lost to a human opponent (IBM’s Watson topped both Rutter and Jennings in a 2011 match, but the show considers that match to be an exhibition). Rutter’s only mistake was trying out for Jeopardy! before it eliminated the five-day limit for returning champions.

Since retiring as a five-day champ in 2000, Rutter has returned to the show and won the 2001 Tournament of Champions, the 2002 Million Dollar Masters Tournament, the 2005 Ultimate Tournament of Champions and the 2014 Battle of the Decades tournament. Just for good measure, he also captained the winning team in the 2019 Jeopardy! All-Star Games. He is the Jeopardy Jordan and the king of American game shows.

While I’m looking forward to the Holzhauer/Jennings dynamic heading into the GOAT tourney, this could be a great grudge match for Jennings against Rutter. Rutter has topped Jennings in two tournaments and the 2019 team tournament. It’s hard to believe that the man who won 74 straight games in 2004 has never won a Jeopardy tournament.

Will the Greatest of All Time tournament be where Jennings takes back the ultimate Jeopardy! crown? Will Rutter continue to dominate and remain undefeated? Or will Holzhauer continue his torrid pace and assume the Jeopardy! throne? I’ll be tuning in every night,and rooting for what could now be the two greatest words in sports AND Jeopardy! GAME SEVEN

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Time to Text Our High School Girlfriends: The RAZR is Back!

Yahoo! Few phones were as iconic and as ubiquitous as the original Motorola RAZR. Celebs used them constantly, fashion houses cooked up designer mashups, and it wasn’t long before friends, family members and co-workers all started carrying them, too…..This new version, which will sell for $1,500 when it launches on Verizon next month, is Motorola’s first foldable smartphone, and unlike any other foldable we’ve played with this year. It doesn’t unfold into a small tablet. It doesn’t pack loads of cameras or flagship components. It is, by Motorola’s admission, a “design-first” kind of phone.

Be still my early-2000’s heart. What a headline for a slow, bleak late-fall week. The RAZR, the very phone you would text your girlfriend “7777-88-7 22-2-22-33?” on when you were 16 is making it’s triumphant return.

(Editor’s Note: We talked about this earlier in the year and the excitement has not waned.)

No phone had quite the following  of or was the subject of a craze such as that of the RAZR had. You can probably make a case for the Sidekick, the Nextel, and the first wave of Blackberries as well, but they weren’t RAZRs. The Motorola heavyweight champ was bought in droves and traded like currency. I had two over the course of my late-high school days and I bought neither straight from a T-Mobile (I paid for my own phone since day 1 shut the fuck up) store or otherwise reputed cell phone distributor. Both were lightly-used but in great condition and ready for me to install “Badfish” by Sublime as a kickass ringtone. My acquisition of one actually came within a hair of getting me kicked out of high school, true story (I truly did nothing wrong).

Smartphones ultimately doomed the RAZR as well as all the other cool flip phones of that era. I was actually one of the last adopters (2014-ish) and was sad to see the flips go. I guess I’m not too mad about it as I can do anything from play music (porn) to read (porn) to peruse IG (porn) on a smartphone. But thinking of the RAZR, it indeed bring me back to literally simpler times. You made a call or texted someone. That was it. Then, if you were cool enough, got berated by your parents for texting wayyyyyyyyyyy too much.

So I guess the question is what is the price of nostalgia? Because 15 hundo for a RAZR is a lotttt of cash for a phone I once traded a 20 bag for. But hey, the times are the times. Back then all I had was a 20 bag. Now I have an actual, full-time job – along with student debt, inflated housing costs, and questionable amounts of anxiety. Maybe the RAZR is all I need. Suddenly that price tag doesn’t sound so bad.

-Joey B.

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Paul Pierce Smoked Kyrie Irving While Discussing Celtics Leadership

Boston.com – Jackie MacMullan and Paul Pierce discussed the Celtics’ new leadership: After losing on opening night, the Celtics have embarked on an eight-game winning streak. The team appears to have a different “vibe” this season in comparison to the underachievement of last season.

During an episode of ESPN’s “The Jump” on Tuesday, former Celtic Paul Pierce and longtime NBA reporter Jackie MacMullan touched on the difference in the team’s leadership. Specifically, the departure of Kyrie Irving and the arrival of Kemba Walker.

“They got better leadership in there,” Pierce said. “Let’s just call it how it is.”

After ESPN reporter Rachel Nichols — the show’s host — offered a clarification that the leadership was simply “different,” Pierce jumped back in.

“It’s better,” reiterated Pierce. “Kemba, he’s known throughout the league as being a great leader. I mean, he played on losing teams, he stayed positive. He went out and played hard every night, and that can be infectious. That can be the difference between losing and winning and chemistry. That’s what he’s brought to the Celtics.”

If anyone knows the behind the scenes story of the Celtics, its Paul Pierce. The guy is a C’s legend, he’s tight with ownership, he’s someone the young players look up to, and is a media personality so he knows all the broadcasters. The man has an “in” in just about every area stories and rumors would pop up about his former team.

That exchange between Pierce and Rachel Nichols legit made me laugh out loud because Nichols is trying to smooth things over and say no no its not better its just different. To which Pierce channels his inner Stanley in response.

I don’t think its a personal thing because there has never been any story I can recall about Pierce and Kyrie not getting along. Its not like Shaq taking shots at a young Dwight Howard back in the day. This seems to be Pierce the Celtic or Pierce the fan genuinely psyched about how much better this team looks this year. Its quite literally the definition of addition by subtraction. Of course Hayward was playing great before his injury, but Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum were playing more freely, the ball was moving all over the court, and the team just seemed more relaxed. I don’t know if you’ve ever had a mercurial boss who was your best friend one day and a powder keg waiting to explode the next day, but that grinds on you. No wonder the team chemistry was shit last year, no one knew what version of their team leader they were getting, not to mention when they might get chewed out on national TV for missing a shot.

I liked Kyrie when he first got here, and while I don’t necessarily hate him now, I don’t really want him on my team. Over time it became clear that he was basically the best player on your high school team or better yet your college intramural teams. Just a guy that is a complete dickhead to teammates because they aren’t doing exactly what he wants.

Needless to say the Kemba Walker experience is off to a flawless start though.

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Who Was the Red Sox Prospect You Thought Couldn’t Miss But Flamed Out?

The Globe raised this question and I immediately shouted CRAIG HANSEN at my computer. I’ll never forget seeing a guy walking around in a legit stitched Hansen jersey one summer weeks before the kid even got called up. People, including myself, were that confident in the St. John’s closer. Welp, he never really panned out. Him and Manny Delcarmen were supposed to lock down the 8th and the 9th at Fenway for a decade but it just didn’t happen. Craig Hansen only played four seasons and finished with an 6.34 ERA and now is literally an insurance salesman. One of my old buddies always theorized Hansen didn’t work out because of the stitches on the baseball. Supposedly he was so dominant in college because college baseballs have stitches that are more raised so it was easier to throw wicked breaking balls. Whether thats true or not I have no idea, but it was interesting to ponder. Well what about you? Who were you CONVINCED was going to be a stud but never made it? Cla Meredith? Anderson Espinoza?

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Rumors Say the Chargers May Move to London and the Chargers Responded

Yahoo – After years of success with its games in London, the NFL might be considering taking its overseas relationship with the city one step further. Interest is picking up with the league, the Los Angeles Chargers and the rest of the NFL’s team owners in a possible move by the team to London, according to a report from The Athletic’s Vincent Bonsignore:

The Athletic has learned through NFL sources that the possibility of the Chargers moving to London has been broached among league personnel. The Athletic also has learned that, while the team is fully committed to Los Angeles where it will move into the new $4.5 billion stadium with the Rams next year, the Chargers would at least listen if the NFL approached them about about London as a possible option.

Finally, The Athletic has learned that NFL owners are concerned enough about the Chargers’ situation in L.A., where a crowded sports market and the presence of the more established Rams has resulted in a tepid embracement [sic] of the Chargers, that they would provide the necessary support for a relocation to London if the Chargers pursue it.

I guess a lot of this stems from the league just now starting to realize that LA can’t support two NFL teams. We all realize LA is one of the biggest media markets in the world, but that doesn’t change the fact that the NFL has put their head in the sand and ignored the fact that LA has never been a big sports town. Its a transient city so the majority of people in LA hail from somewhere else and already have a team. Not to mention its Hollywood so just about everyone out there is doing just about everything besides sitting at home watching sports. Thats what makes Boston a perfect sports town. Its cold and miserable like 8 months out of the year so you become a sports fan almost by default. In LA you can basically do whatever you want whenever you want. So trying to shoehorn not one, but two teams into LA after this same exact experiment failed in the 80s never made any sense. The Rams simply made it to market first and were better right off the bat so the Chargers were always going to be treated like a stepchild.

Now Philip Rivers would most likely be long retired before this move to London ever realistically happens, but its a pretty good example to take a look at. They moved from San Diego to LA, a gargantuan 2 hour and 43 minute drive north, and he refused to move his family. So the guy literally takes helicopters and buses to practice so he doesn’t have to uproot the Brady Bunch. Now imagine moving an entire franchise to London, which is a 10 and a half hour flight? Bananas. Granted I’ve seen stories in the past theorizing that for this to ever work logistically the team would likely have to be based on the East Coast as a sort of jumping off point. Otherwise you’re looking at 20+ international flights when you factor in pre-season as well as all the flights back to London. That doesn’t even take into account playoff games. Good luck signing big time free agents on that. My commute is an hour in traffic and I want to drive into the Charles every day because of it.

Welp, it seems like the Chargers agree because they have come out of the gates HOT to shoot these rumors down.

Sorry, London.

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The City of Boston Shut Down Roast Beast Last Week

Boston.com –  On the night of Halloween, D.J. Lawton — owner of Roast Beast, a roast beef sandwich destination — changed the profile photo on his restaurant’s Facebook page to announce the shop’s sudden closure. The photo, which showed a message written on cardboard and taped to Roast Beast’s door, was pointed and succinct.

Perhaps the greatest memory from my past summer was being introduced to Roast Beast. Red and Papa G had been going there for years but I had never had the pleasure. It was more than worth the wait.

For those not in the know, the North Shore of Massachusetts is well known for hot roast beef sandwiches. The hot version is basically the same thing as the cold version of the meat but cooked on a griddle a la something like pastrami with cheese, etc. on it and usually served on an onion roll. It’s fucking delicious.

Now Allston is obviously not the North Shore which geographically speaking made Roast Beast that much more delicious. We didn’t have to drive north of the city to enjoy this incredible delicacy. It was legit the best of both worlds.

Now the city has decided that, after ten years in business, without a $150k alteration to the kitchen they have to shut down. And the owner has understandably said “well then fuck you.” I guess they’ve (the city inspection department as well as the fire department) fucked with him before, and he’s quite sick of it.

Listen, fires are no joke. Those of us who worked in the Boston bar scene in the past ten years lost someone we knew last year to such a disaster. But those orgs are also filled with people with giant egos and a need to swing them around. The bottom line is we’ve been eating delicious sandwiches for ten years and suddenly there’s a complication now. Which is bullshit.

So thank you DJ and his crew for ten good years. Maybe he’ll open up in NH soon or something. Long live Roast Beast.

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