Fascinating courtly intrigue and bloody power games set on a generation ship full of secrets―Medusa Uploaded is an imaginative, intense mystery about family dramas and ancient technologies whose influence reverberates across the stars. Disturbing, exciting, and frankly kind of mind-blowing.” ―Annalee Newitz, author of Autonomous

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Michel's Chronicle: The Whacko Ice Cream Flavor Invasion


Michael Thiele is a woodsmith who makes musical instruments and playable furniture. He spends most of his life either in the shop or out on the road buying wood and selling his work at craft shows. In recent years, his travels have begun to inspire his own writing, so he sends me his thoughts.

Feb 2
Small town, central Florida
The Whacko Ice Cream Flavor Invasion

It’s been four ice cream stores since I’ve encountered the two most basic flavors available at the same time. Four. Plain old chocolate and plain old vanilla. Those two. I can’t express in the English language the strength of my disbelief at this fact. Two of the four were Baskin Robbin’s stores. Yeah, they of the thirty some odd flavors. This fact alone is bald face heresy. 

At the first BR I was told that they simply put out what their distributor delivers. This week? No vanilla. The second BR was perhaps stranger. Their manager commented that they had run out of chocolate two days after it arrived. There would be more tomorrow. Come then. Yeah, that’s right. Chocolate, a basic and historically popular flavor, was in fact so typically popular that one wonders if it wouldn’t be a reasonable idea to stock more than one three gallon container. Did they run out of Oreo or Moose Tracks? I wondered. The answer was no.

Things went downhill from there. The third place had neither, but lots of stuff like Sodium of Unborn Octopus and Broccoli Spumoni. Anyone interested in Chocolate Chip Pomegranate? Cute, huh? The last place had Vanilla Bean, which is Okay but no garden variety chocolate. Instead, there was Chocolate Peanut Butter and Chocolate Caramel and one other item too strange to mention.

I blame Ben and Jerry’s. They, I think it can be legitimately argued, ushered in the onslaught of whacko ice cream flavors. To compete, everyone else jumped in. The Whacko Ice Cream Invasion had commenced. Apparently people eat this stuff or at minimum expect to see a healthy array of it at any ice cream shop. No chocolate or vanilla - the classic type - or at least no combination of the two in the same place at the same time.

Is there any equivalent at, say, the local car dealership? Can you imagine walking around the new car lot with the salesman, doing his thing describing all the beautiful new models, when you happen to notice all of them sitting on their hubs with no tires? Would you appreciate hearing, “Sorry, sir. They didn’t send any with tires on them this time. Come back next week. Perhaps then. We’ll see.”

Maybe this much ado about nothing. Am I just living in the dark ages? Could someone just give me a scoop of plain chocolate and another of plain vanilla in the same cup? I don’t even care who’s on top. They’re not gonna mate anyway, but guess what. Something classically sweet will come of it if they do. Geeze……….

I’m at the Mount Dora Art Festival this weekend.


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