"Finicky" means very hard to please. "Finick" means someone like me, who is very hard to please.

Monday, February 13, 2017

The best thing about February is candy, not holidays



Even though I'm writing this after a monster snowstorm, I know that spring is coming.


Each day we get a few more minutes of daylight. Five p.m. now comes during the day, not at night. The earth is warming. Crocuses will be popping up soon.

The best thing about this time of year can be found in chain drugstores like Rite Aid and CVS. That's where you can get JuJu Hearts, the magical chewy-gooey red cherry candies I've been addicted to since babyhood.

If I close my eyes when I open the package, the sweet aroma transports me to Cherry Blossom Time in Washington DCor at least to my grandmother's apartment in the Bronx.
When I was a kid, my Grandma 'Del' would buy pounds and pounds from Krum's—the pre-eminent candy store in the Bronx, or maybe in the world.

Some years she even arranged to buy the huge pile of hearts on display in the window, at a special price after Valentine's Day. We grandchildren would get a few pounds in February, and Grandma would stash the rest in her freezer, to be gradually defrosted and doled out throughout the year. (In later years, when Grandma Del moved to Florida, I provided JuJu Hearts for her.)

Krum's was famous for its candies and ice cream sodas, and used to be on the Grand Concourse between 188th Street and Fordham Road. In the front of the store was a huge display case of chocolates and other candies, and farther back you could sit and slurp. The landmark Loew's Paradise Theater was across the street, and before McDonalds and Taco Bell came to town, teenagers went to Krum's for a post-picture snack.


The Loew's Paradise was reincarnated as a mostly-Latino concert venue and then a mega-church, Grandma Del and Krum's are long gone, but JuJu Hearts have survived. The price has gone from 15 cents a pound to 99 cents for a 9 ounce bag in 2009, to $1.59 for 12 ounces in 2011 to 99 cents for 6 ounces at CVS in 2012 or $1.99 for 12 ounces at RiteAid for the past few years. Rite Aid often discounts the price by 50 cents. I got a full pound for $1.99 at CVS last week because I'm a good customer (i.e., registered drug addict). I even got a second bag for half-price.

Product names, prices, candy size, package size, flavor, retail availability, manufacturers and even the country of origin vary over time. 

This year, Rite-Aid and CVS are selling JuJus with the "Brach's"  brand—which now belongs to candy giant Farley's and Sathers. F&S now supplies such vital foods as Chuckles, Jujyfruits and Jujubes. 

The product name has morphed, too. It's now "Jube Jel Cherry Hearts." It gets an A minus. The A grade is reserved for Krum's, which theoretically will never be equaled.

The Brach's taste and texture are nearly perfecta bit chewier than the 2012 vintage and just a tad sweeter than the 2010 vintage, but not as sweet as 2011. (I have samples preserved in my freezer.) There was none of the weird smell I couldn't identify when I first opened the bag or waxy texture of 2012. 2017 is not a great year for JuJu Hearts, but is a pretty good year -- and it's much better than the dreadful 2009). 

Stop & Shop strangely had two very different offerings for 2013 but had none when I checked this year. I have not yet checked Walgreen, and found none at Wally's Mart.

Some basics:
JuJu/Jube Jel Hearts' taste and texture are unique: sweeter and softer than red hot dollars, but not as sweet or slimy as Gummi bears or worms.
Strangely, the JuJu/Jube Jel Heart formula doesn't seem to be used for anything else, at any other time of year -- not even for JuJubes or Jujyfruits. But that's OK. JuJu Heart season is only a little longer than the bloom of the Cherry Blossom. The rarity makes them more special, and less destructive to teeth and glucose levels... and freezers make it possible to prolong the pleasure.





JuJu Hearts are like pistachio nuts or sex. When they're great, they're fan-tastic. When they're pretty good, they're good enough; and when they're bad, they're terrible





JuJu history
  • The JuJu name apparently comes from the jujube, a red fruit first cultivated in China over 4,000 years ago, that can be used for tea, wine, and throat medication, or eaten as a snack.
  • A jujube tree in Israel is estimated to be over 300 years old.
  • The jujube's sweet smell is said to make teenagers fall in love, and in the Himalaya mountains, young men put jujube flowers on their hats to attract hot Sherpa babes.
  • In West Africa, a Juju refers to the supernatural power ascribed to objects or fetishes. Juju can be synonymous with witchcraft, and may be the origin of the American voodoo.
Some of the first JuJu Hearts were made by the Henry Heide Candy Company, founded in 1869 by Henry Heide, who immigrated to New York from Germany. Heide Candy became known for Jujubes, Jujyfruits, jelly beans, Red Hot Dollars, Gummi Bears and Mexican Hats, which have been perennial favorites in movie theaters and five-and-dime stores.
The business stayed in the Heide family through four generations, and was sold to Hershey Foods in 1995. In 2002, Farley's & Sathers Candy Co. acquired the Heide brand products from Hershey.

Although F&S owned Heide, they did not produce Heide's hearts.

Through the 2009 season, the hearts were distributed by Mayfair Candy, in Buffalo, NY.  Over the years, I've encountered some really crappy hearts. Mayfair made the real thing. My dog loves them, too -- but he never refuses anything that's remotely edible.

Strangely, there were two (maybe more) kinds of JuJu Hearts distributed by Mayfair. The "original" version was sold by Rite-Aid (and possibly others). I discovered another inferior version for the first time in 2007, at CVS. The individual candy pieces were smaller than the originals, and they had a second heart shape molded onto the front of each piece. They didn't taste nearly as good as the originals: they were too sweet and not as chewy. Strangely, the same packaging, with same ingredients and same stock number, was used for both.


You can get JuJu Hearts online at Candy FavoritesI have not tasted them. Amazon offers several varieties.



Special thanks to Philip Heide, and Roger McEldowney of Mayfair.
Loew's photo from www.agilitynut.com/ 
Krum's photo from bronxnostalgia.homestead.com 
Crocus photo from www.summitpost.org  

Friday, February 10, 2017

Cablevision is damaging the CBS network—and likely lying to viewers.


I am now about to endure my fourth consecutive weekend without Hawaii Five-0, Blue Bloods, Sunday Morning and 60 Minutes.

Recently there has been no NCIS, Bull, Criminal Minds or Elementary in my home. My own good wife doesn't get the see The Good Wife. 


Since January 13th I've been caught in a disruptive, destructive, despicable, infantile dispute between TV service provider Cablevision (recently bought by European media behemoth Altice—and using the "Optimum" brand for TV service) and Meredith Corporation.

Meredith publishes magazines and owns or operates multiple television stations, including CBS affiliate WFSB, based in Rocky Hill, CT near state capital Hartford.
  • Meredith says I am a pawn. 
  • Cablevision says I am a hostage.
  • I don't want to be either.
I live in Milford CT, about 40 miles from WFSB. Until recently I could choose among more than 800 TV channels—including two from NBC, two from ABC and two from CBS.

last month I lost both of my CBS channels—WFSB as well as WCBS from New York City. The same thing happened three years ago.
No thanks.
WFSB tells unhappy viewers: "You can watch us for free over the air with an antenna, or you may choose to subscribe to DirecTV (1-800-DIRECTV), Dish Network (1-888-825-2557) or AT&T U-verse (1-877-597-9067) which all carry WFSB and the other local television stations in our market."
  • No thanks. I am not going to change TV service providers because of a short-term problem. (If I switch to AT&T or Dish, they could have a blackout in the future.) I tried two over-the-air antennas and neither one will receive CBS programming.
  • No way. WFSB and Cablevision also point out that I can watch some CBS programming on my PC. Watching television programs on a 27-inch PC monitor while sitting on a desk chair is not like watching a 65-inch TV while lying on a couch.
According to the New Haven Register, "Lisa Anselmo, an Altice USA spokeswoman, said it was Meredith’s decision to remove WFSB from the Optimum lineup. The bulk of Optimum customers are in Fairfield County, Anselmo said, and will still be able to view CBS programming via the network’s New York City-based affiliate, WCBS."
  • Get serious, Lisa. I live in New Haven County—not Fairfield. Your wacky deal stops me from seeing WCBS!
So-called "blackouts" are an unfortunately common part of cable TV negotiating. The loss of programming can last for hours or months. Viewers and advertisers are the victims. But even networks and local stations get hurt as viewers sample previously ignored programming.
The blackouts are symptoms of a fundamental clash of interests.
  • Providers of programming want to maximize the income earned by their expensive productions.
  • Cable TV companies want to pay as little as possible to the program providers, both to maintain profitability and to avoid rate increases in a fragile economy where viewers can choose from a growing number of competing entertainment and information sources.
In an email, Meredith's VP for Corporate Communications and Government Relations Art Slusark told me, "We value your viewership and we are working hard to resolve this matter, but Cablevision refuses to negotiate, even though other cable companies have agreed to compensate WFSB."

I’m not sure that local channels should be paid by cable companies. Can’t WFSB charge more for advertising because of the extra audience the cablecos deliver? Maybe WFSB should pay Cablevision, or at least provide its program feed for free.

Throughout this annoying ordeal, one issue has been strangely ignored by Meredith, Cablevision, the media covering the situation and politicians: How can WFSB, a little broadcaster near Hartford, stop me from watching WCBS, a giant broadcaster based in New York City? Meredith does not own WCBS!
 

During the 2014 blackout U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy urged Cablevision and Meredith to end the blackout. They wrote that they “believe that the current impasse does a disservice to Connecticut families . . . .  The senators also want Cablevision to “commit to refund upon request any Litchfield or New Haven County subscribers who are no longer getting what they signed up for, a portion of their monthly bill commensurate with WFSB’s value.”

Senators, what about WCBS's value? WCBS is worth a lot to me. WFSB is worth nothing to me. It is one of hundreds of channels that I pay for and could watch—but never watch.

WFSB says it "is simply requesting that Cablevision acknowledge that our WFSB is a valuable source of programming for all of Cablevision's Connecticut customers, even those customers that also receive an out-of-state CBS station." Again, WFSB is worth nothing to me.

WFSB also says, "WFSB's vital local news, emergency information, and top-rated CBS sports and entertainment programming are important to Optimum customers." BULLSHIT! WFSB is absolutely worthless to me.


WFSB also says, "Our signals always have been and always will be free over-the-air." BULLSHIT. I can't receive WFSB over-the-air at my home.

 
On
Sept. 5, 2012 Cablevision and CBS Corporation announced the renewal of their content carriage agreements covering retransmission consent for CBS Owned Stations. A similar agreement was announced on 8/25/15:


Well, the "multi-year" agreement did not last two years! I want my CBS.


HOW CABLEVISION HURTS THE CBS NETWORK

CBS is the most popular network for prime-time programming. Probably 80% of the TV programs I watch are CBS programs. The rest are a mix of NBC, ABC, HBO, Amazon, CNN, MSNBC, History, Netflix, Velocity, HGTV and a few others. 


Lester and Scott are both welcome in my home. 
 I have no idea who does the ABC news.




For evening news I've been addicted to CBS since the days of Walter Cronkite. During the blackout I've been watching Lester Holt on NBC. He's just fine—and there's a good chance that I may never bother with Scott Pelley again. I've sampled other NBC programming, too. I watched the Today show for the first time in about 50 years. Gave Garroway and J. Fredd Muggs are gone and Al Roker has a beard.

For late-night comedy I usually watch Stephen Colbert. The blackout caused me to check on the two Jimmies. Kimmel and Fallon are fine and I will not likely be an exclusive watcher of CBS's Colbert again.

There's no better way to get viewers to sample non-CBS programming than to make CBS unavailable. If I was a conspiracy fan I might accuse Cablevision of getting paid by other networks to sabotage CBS.


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Three Jeers for Cablevision! (and how the company is damaging CBS)



JEER NUMBER ONE

Cablevision has supplied my home and business with TV, telephone and internet service in NY and CT since the mid-1970s. For most of that time I've been a satisfied customer, except for those times—like right now—when I've been an extremely pissed off customer.

When I've been pissed off it was not because of bad service, but because of STUPIDITY.

When I lived in NY I had 14 TV sets. Eight of them were connected to cable boxes which had monthly fees. Six of them were connected directly to the cable, and were not charged for.

Cablevision insisted that all TVs that were connected to its service—even those producing no revenue—had to be included in its records. They also had to appear on the monthly bills, even if nothing had to be paid.

The format for the monthly bill allowed just ten items, so Cablevision had to separate my TVs into two accounts. Each month the company sent one bill that included the eight cable boxes, plus another bill—with a different account number, different envelope and additional postage—for the six TVs that had no cable boxes and no monthly charges.


The second bill was based on monthly charges of six times nothing, with a total due of zero dollars and zero cents.

After several months, Cablevision's computer noticed that no payments were received to pay the zero balance, and turned the account over to a collection agency.

The collection agency's computer then started to threaten me, detailing the dire consequences if the payment of zero dollars and zero cents was not made promptly. Phone calls to the agency and Cablevision were fruitless. The customer service people at both companies blamed the computers, and had no way to intervene.

Ultimately I  presented a check to Cablevision for $0.00, and the account was credited for the "payment," and everything was fine... for a few months. Then the collection campaign began again.

When I moved from NT to CT in 2001 (still within Cablevision territory), connection of my new service was delayed because of nonpayment of my previous zero balance.



JEER NUMBER TWO 

I just endured my third consecutive weekend without Hawaii Five-0, Blue Bloods, Sunday Morning and 60 Minutes,

Recently there has been no NCIS, Bull, Criminal Minds or Elementary in my home. My own good wife doesn't get the see The Good Wife. 


I am caught in a disruptive, destructive despicable, infantile dispute between TV service provider Cablevision (recently bought by European media behemoth Altice) and Meredith Corporation. Meredith, now in its second century of operation, publishes such magazines as Better Homes & Gardens and owns or operates multiple television stations, including CBS affiliate WFSB in Hartford, CT.

(below) Meredith says I am a pawn.

(below) Cablevision says I am a hostage.

I live in Milford CT, about 50 miles from Hartford. Until recently I could choose among more than 800 TV channels—including two from NBC, two from ABC and two from CBS.

last month I lost both of my CBS channels—WFSB as well as WCBS from New York City. The same thing happened three years ago.
No thanks.
WFSB tells unhappy viewers: "You can watch us for free over the air with an antenna, or you may choose to subscribe to DirecTV (1-800-DIRECTV), Dish Network (1-888-825-2557) or AT&T U-verse (1-877-597-9067) which all carry WFSB and the other local television stations in our market."
  • No thanks. I am not going to change TV service providers because of a short-term problem. (If I switch to AT&T or Dish, they could have a blackout in the future.) I tried two over-the-air antennas and neither one will receive CBS programming. WFSB also points out that I can watch some CBS programming on my PC. Watching television programs on a 27-inch PC monitor while sitting on a desk chair is not like watching a 65-inch TV while lying on a couch.
So-called "blackouts" are an unfortunately common part of cable TV negotiating. The loss of programming can last for hours or months. Viewers and advertisers are the victims. Even networks and local stations get hurt.
  • In 2013 more than three million Time Warner Cable viewers in New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas and other parts of the country lost access to CBS shows for a month.
  • In 2010, Cablevision stopped providing Fox programming to 3 million customers for two weeks.
  • Also in 2010, HGTV and the Food Network were briefly lost to AT&T U-verse subscribers because of a dispute between Scripps Networks and AT&T. AT&T also stopped providing the Hallmark Channel for months.
These problems are symptoms of a fundamental clash of interests.
  • Providers of programming want to maximize the income earned by their expensive productions.
  • Cable TV companies want to pay as little as possible to the program providers, both to maintain profitability and to avoid rate increases in a fragile economy where viewers can choose from a growing number of competing entertainment and information sources.
In an email, Meredith's VP for Corporate Communications and Government Relations Art Slusark told me, "We value your viewership and we are working hard to resolve this matter, but Cablevision refuses to negotiate, even though other cable companies have agreed to compensate WFSB."

I’m not sure that local channels should be paid by cable companies. Can’t WFSB charge more for advertising because of the extra audience the cablecos deliver? Maybe WFSB should pay Cablevision, or at least provide its program feed for free.


Throughout this annoying ordeal, one issue has been strangely ignored by Meredith, Cablevision, the media covering the situation and politicians: How can WFSB, a little channel in Hartford, stop me from watching WCBS, a giant channel based in New York City? Meredith does not own WCBS!
 

During the 2014 blackout U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy urged Cablevision and Meredith to end the blackout. They wrote that they “believe that the current impasse does a disservice to Connecticut families . . . .  The senators also want Cablevision to “commit to refund upon request any Litchfield or New Haven County subscribers who are no longer getting what they signed up for, a portion of their monthly bill commensurate with WFSB’s value.”

Senators, what about WCBS's value? WFSB is worth a lot to me. WFSB is worth nothing to me. It is one of hundreds of channels that I pay for and could watch—but never watch.

WFSB says it "is simply requesting that Cablevision acknowledge that our WFSB is a valuable source of programming for all of Cablevision's Connecticut customers, even those customers that also receive an out-of-state CBS station." Again, WFSB is worth nothing to me.

WFSB also says, "WFSB's vital local news, emergency information, and top-rated CBS sports and entertainment programming are important to Optimum customers." BULLSHIT! WFSB is absolutely worthless to me.

WFSB also says, Our signals always have been and always will be free over-the-air. BULLSHIT. I can't receive WFSB over-the-air at my home.
 
On
Sept. 5, 2012 – Cablevision and CBS Corporation announced the renewal of their content carriage agreements covering retransmission consent for CBS Owned Stations. [including WCBS!] “Cablevision is a cornerstone partner in our flagship market.  By recognizing the value of our content, this agreement assures the audiences we share with Cablevision will continue to be able to enjoy programming . . . . ” said Martin Franks, Executive Vice President for Planning, Policy and Government Relations, CBS Corporation.

“This broad agreement will ensure that Cablevision customers will continue to have access to the CBS programming they already enjoy, across a range of networks, as well as new services Cablevision will launch in the coming months, including Showtime Anytime and CBS prime time shows on demand,” said Mac Budill, Cablevision’s executive vice president of programming.

A similar agreement was announced on 8/25/15:


Well, the "multi-year" agreement did not last two years!
I want my CBS.


JEER NUMBER THREE

I am trying to reduce my monthly $133.31 Cablevision TV bill.

It includes a $4.97 "Sports TV surcharge."

I never watch sports. It would take at least $100 and massive amounts of junk food and harmful beverages to entice me to watch football or baseball.

Why should I be forced to pay for something I never use?

This is not like paying taxes for schools and roads that benefit the entire community—not just drivers and school children.

Didn't we fight a war over taxation without representation?

Not only do I never watch sports, I never watch 90% of the approximately 800 channels available in my home.

I want à la carte pricing to allow me to pay for only what I want to watch.

Screw you, Cablevision—and your new European owner, Altice.


HOW CABLEVISION HURTS THE CBS NETWORK

CBS is the most popular network for prime-time programming. Probably 80% of the TV programs I watch are CBS programs. The rest are a mix of NBC, ABC, HBO, Amazon, CNN, MSNBC, History, Netflix, Velocity, HGTV and a few others. 

Lester and Scott are both welcome in my home. 
 I have no idea who does the ABC news.




For evening news I've been addicted to CBS since the days of Walter Cronkite. During the blackout I've been watching Lester Holt on NBC. He's just fine—and there's a good chance that I may never bother with Scott Pelley again. I've sampled other NBC programming, too. I watched the Today show for the first time in about 50 years. Gave Garroway and J. Fredd Muggs are gone and Al Roker has a beard.

For late-night comedy I usually watch Stephen Colbert. The blackout caused me to check on the two Jimmies. Kimmel and Fallon are fine and I will not likely be an exclusive watcher of CBS's Colbert again.

There's no better way to get viewers to sample non-CBS programming than to make CBS unavailable. If I was a conspiracy fan I might accuse Cablevision of getting paid by other networks to sabotage CBS.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Here's some important advice—from a pro—for all you amateur writers who want your FB posts and messages to be read.

I majored in journalism in college and have been writing professionally for 48 years. I have no intention of trying to teach you to become a pro and won't deal with grammar, sentence structure or plot development. I won't tell you how to publish a book or sell a movie script.

I want to pass on two very basic bits that relate to the _physical appearance_ of text ...that apply to everything from Facebook and Twitter posts to a 600-page novel.

(1) Break up your text into paragraphs of one to four sentences, separated with blank lines (online) on with blanks or indents (on paper).

Every day I see—and ignore—FB posts and personal messages with one loooooooooooong paragraph. This structure creates an uninviting, impenetrable gray wall. Human eyes and brains need occasional rest stops.

(2) DO NOT TYPE IN ALL-CAPS ("UPPERCASE"), for two important reasons:

(2a) In the online world, limited use of all-caps is good for emphasis, but LOTS OF IT IMPLIES SHOUTING. If you are not pissed off, use a normal mix of uppercase and lowercase letters.

(2b) ALL-CAPS are harder to read and take longer to read than a normal mix of letter heights. We read by recognizing the shapes of words, not just by analyzing the sequence of individual letters. A word with only UPPERCASE LETTERS looks like a block—not a word—barely distinguishable from another block.

Several people have stated that they have vision problems and all-caps are easier to read because the words are "bigger."

That's a lame excuse!

All-cap words are _not_ bigger. The letters have uniform height, but the maximum height is unchanged. The use of all-caps online is unnecessary, unproductive and antisocial.

Even if the process somehow does help you to read your own words, it does nothing to help you to read the billions of words written by others.

There is a simple and no-cost solution. Your computer, phone, tablet, e-reader and web browser should allow you to easily increase text size. I normally use 125% or 133%.
Try it—even if you are merely "of a certain age" and don't have vision trouble.

=====
If you find this useful, please share it.


Friday, January 27, 2017

Three Reasons Why I Hate Sprint

For several years, I had cellphone service from Sprint. There were some big gaps in their coverage, so I switched to another carrier. I'm not sure why, but at the end of my Sprint contract, they owed me $14.

Each month, for about a year, they paid a few bucks to generate and mail a statement to tell me they owed me $14. Each month I called and asked them to mail me a check. Each month they said they would. And each month they didn't. One Sprint customer service guy said he would send me a personal check for $14 just to get rid of me... but of course the money never came.

Eventually, Sprint opened a store in my neighborhood, and I called the manager and explained my situation. He offered to pay me the $14 from his petty cash account. When I got to the store 15 minutes later, he said he found out that he was not allowed to pay me the money, but Sprint would credit the $14 to my first bill if I became a Sprint customer again.

I didn't re-enlist, and I never got paid. Sprint stockholders, however, should be pleased to know that their company is no longer wasting money to mail me statements to remind me of the money they owe me.

I once went into a Sprint store to get a loose cellphone antenna fixed. The technician opened the phone, and said I was due for a firmware update, which would take about an hour. I went to lunch, and came back an hour later. The technician apologized that the phone wasn't ready, and said it would take another 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, he said it could take another 30 minutes.

I needed to take a leak, and asked where the men's room was. The technician said that the Sprint restrooms were for Sprint employees only; and if I need to pee, I should go back to the restaurant. I calmly explained that Sprint had already delayed me by over an hour, to do work I had not requested, and there was no end in sight, and they should let me use their facilities, and that I would not steal their toilet paper.

I spotted the john, and started walking toward it. At this point, a large man yelled at me to stop. He ran toward me, and stood in front of me with arms crossed, and said that if I tried to use the Sprint toilet, he would have me arrested for trespassing!

I calmly explained that there was no need to call the police, because if he did not want me to use their toilet, I was perfectly willing to drop my pants and piss on their carpeting; and I started to un-buckle my belt.

He moved out of my way and let me use the john.

 

A few years ago, I was rejected for a credit card, despite what I thought was a perfect credit record. I got copies of my reports, and found that Receivables Performance Management was trying to collect $1237 that I allegedly owed to Sprint.

After some digging, I learned that Sprint apparently merged my former cellphone account with the account of someone else with the same name, who lived in Arlington, Texas. They even caused the Trans Union credit bureau to change my address from Connecticut to Texas.

I called the collection agency, and explained that I did not respond to the dunning letters they mailed to Texas, because I lived in Connecticut. They wanted me to prove that I never lived in Texas (It is, of course, impossible to prove a negative), and they also said they would not cancel the collection effort or remove the derogatory credit report unless directed to do so by Sprint.

I called Sprint, and was told I had to fill out a "fraud kit." I explained that I thought there was merely a bookkeeping error, and I had no reason to suspect fraud. I asked if I could speak to someone in the Stupidity Dep't, but Sprint died not have one. The customer service (HAH!) rep said that I still had to complete a fraud kit, which I did. I actually did it three times, because they lost the first two. Ultimately, Sprint accepted the fact that I had never lived in Texas, but they said they would not remove the bad credit report because it was filed by the collection agency—not by Sprint.

Eventually, the collection agency removed the bad report, and then it came back, and then it was removed, and then it came back, and then it was removed, and then I stopped checking.

I'm not sure what the current status is. But one thing I am sure of, is that I would gladly use smoke signals or semaphore flags or yell really really LOUD, rather than use Sprint.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

More Delicious Reasons to Love Dunkin' Donuts


As some of you may remember, I celebrated the end of my 70-year coffee-free life with a birthday party happily hosted by my nearby Dunkin' Donuts last April. CLICK for the TV coverage.

Before the party I may have been the most loyal
Dunk customer who did not drink coffee, because I love Dunk's hot chocolate and baked goodies. I even liked Dunk's short lived knock-off of Pizza Hut's personal pizza—perfect for in-car meals.

One particular favorite was a beverage I invented before Dunk started selling it: Frozen Hot Chocolate.

One winter afternoon about five years ago I was driving home with a yummy hot chocolate from Dunk. When I got home, there was still lots in my large cup. I put it in the fridge to preserve it and forgot about it.

I discovered it a few days later—cold, slushy and delicious. I was quickly addicted and got in the habit of drinking part of my HotChoc in the car and putting about half of it in the freezer to thicken and chill (about 30-45 minutes is right, depending on how hot it was to start with).


In the summer of 2013 I was gobsmacked (a wonderful word from the Brits) to discover that Dunk was selling my invention.
I did not get pissed off. I did not sue. I bought and slurped and smiled. Repeatedly.

Sadly, I may have been
the only one in the world who bought the delicious cooler. The drink did not appear in the following summers, despite my persistent nagging on the Dunk Facebook page. I was reduced to making my own FHC. Mickey Dee's has nothing like it. Neither does Starbucks.

But wait!

Ixcacao, the chocolate goddess, is smiling again.

A few weeks ago, when the temperature here was just an itty-bit above zero, I discovered that my local Dunk was once again offering my glorious chilly treat.

I ordered the largest cup available, with whipped cream, of course. I asked the nice lady behind the counter if I was the only idiot drinking frozen beverages in near-zero weather. She smiled and said I was not alone. She also kindly slipped my thin plastic cup into a foam cup for insulation, so my hands would not freeze.

The Dunk website says, "NOW, HOT CHOCOLATE IS ALWAYS IN SEASON. Happiness is now served frozen! Try Dunkin’s decadent Hot Chocolate, Frozen in Original, Mint and Dunkaccino varieties." However, not every Dunk offers it. Check around, and complain if your local Dunk is out of touch. It is available at my personal/official Dunk, at 275 Boston Post Road in Milford, Ct.
 

While it's quite possible that Dunk's FHC contains everything necessary to sustain life, it is better with a chewy accompaniment. And I know of nothing better than an everything bagel from Dunk. Most people probably have cream cheese on their bagels, but not me. Plain is just perfect.

I'm a finick about many things. I'm Jewish and was born in the Bronx. I know how bagels are supposed to taste and am pleased to declare that the bagels from Dunkin' Donuts are the real thing. The soft dough rings from Mickey Dee's and most supermarkets don't even come close.



I told you that I invented the Frozen Hot Chocolate ahead of Dunkin' Donuts. I also invented the Whopper-with-cheese ahead of Burger King. 

Between semesters one summer in the late 60s I had a job working in a cheapo shoe store in Bethlehem, PA. Most meals came from a nearby BK. The menu offered regular-size burgers with and without cheese, but the giant-size Whopper was available only sans fromage (cheeseless).

This made no sense and I asked the friendly manager to make me what I called a "Cheese Whopper" and he did. 


I—and my friends—ordered it regularly. Eventually it was on the menu in this BK, and nationwide. The official name became "Whopper-with-cheese," but I always ordered it with the name I devised.

Whenever I went to Mickey Dee's in the 60s and 70s I'd order a "shitless cheeseburger." When questioned, I'd explain that I wanted a cheeseburger "without all the shit" they normally put on it.

In recent years I order it the normal way to save time, and remove the pickle slices. I like pickles—but not those pickles—and not on burgers.

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Goddess pic from https://cheflippe.files.wordpress.com. Thanks!