Reluctant Townie: I've got a few chips on my shoulder ...

Reluctant Townie: I've got a few chips on my shoulder ...

I had an awesome Labor Day weekend. My employers (not this newspaper) apparently never heard of Labor Day — or remain ignorant of its significance — and scheduled me to work 32 hours in a 48-hour period.

Not that I'm complaining: Money is money, and time and a half is better.

But actually, I am kind of complaining. If I cannot complain about stuff in this column, then what am I doing it all for?

Reminiscing over the year, I realized I also worked New Year's Day, Valentine's Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day and July 4, as well as any number of holidays that I do not observe, such as Ramadan, Secretary's Day and Academy Awards night. Although, to be fair, I don't observe Easter or Valentine's Day, either.

Anyway, all this working over the Labor Day weekend has really turned up my crotchety dial — which is located right next to the "doing" dial Home Depot installed while the young, fun version of me was sleeping. Which is to say I'm in the mood this week to complain. So let's complain about some stuff, shall we?


Lay's has recently begun producing a line of chicken-and-waffle-flavored chips. Let the record show that the first time I saw these chips on store shelves, my stomach did an Olympic-worthy backflip. I can chalk that up to survival instinct.

(The record may also show that I find fried chicken and waffles, on their own terms, to be a delightful, if unexpected, combination of contrasting flavors. But even my lizard brain knows to be wary of anyone who has claimed to condense such a complex set of ingredients into a "delicious" powdered form.)

However, curiosity being what it is, the second time I passed a bag of the chips at the grocery — this time sporting an attractive $2 sale price — I couldn't help but be suckered in by its tantalizing promise.

Chips make flavors easy and accessible. Could I really skip over all the steps required to make fried chicken and waffles and go straight to the end result of nom nom nom?

As it turns out, the answer wasn't immediately clear. It took my wife only one chip to come to the conclusion that chicken and waffles is not a flavor profile that should be sandblasted onto fried potato slices, but it took me half of the bag. Why? Because the flavor was so elusive — dare I say, subtle — that I could not instantly come to a consensus on my feelings.

At first bite, Lay's Chicken and Waffle chips taste a bit like chicken but very little like waffles. So I began to shovel handfuls in my mouth, in hopes that the waffle flavor would reveal itself given a larger sample size.

Alas, I never discovered the waffle beneath the salty chicken buillon, but I did confront Chicken and Waffle chips' hidden danger: the maple syrup aftertaste.

Oh lord, did ever I discover that maple syrup aftertaste!

One of the reasons I gave up smoking cigarettes six years ago was because I grew tired of waking up to find the taste of dog park in my mouth.

Lay's Chicken and Waffle chips had a similar effect ... only the morning after, my mouth tasted as if a dog park cooked chicken ramen in a pot of cheap maple syrup and left it out to dry.

The half-finished bag sits on my kitchen table, a testament to its inedible nature, waiting for a moment of great desperation or greater self-loathing.


A couple of weeks ago, the Internet imploded under the weight of geek fury when Warner Bros. announced that ex-pretty boy turned Oscar winner Ben Affleck had been cast as Batman in the upcoming "Batman vs. Superman" film.

The Facebooks, the Twitters and the Movie News websites were inundated with angry nerd posts about the utter display of idiocy involved in the decision.

But I'm here now to say what needs to be said: Nerds, get over it.

Of course Affleck is not going to make as good of a Batman as Christian Bale. But do you know what? Nobody actually cares.

Do you think that Warner Bros. is going to change its mind and tell Affleck to shove it because you wrote a 50,000-word dissertation on why David Boreanaz would make a better caped crusader? Dream on.

Do you think they even care that you're upset?

They already have your money, nerds. They know you would have gone to see a "Batman vs. Superman" movie even if it starred a Swiffer mop and the members of One Direction. Your opening weekend money is guaranteed; it's already factored into the budget.

What the studios want — what they need to really make a profit — is to bring in a larger female audience, say, the kind of folks who are going to make the "Fifty Shades of Grey" adaptation one of the most profitable movies of all time.

That's whose opinion they care about in this matter, not you nerds.

And don't get me wrong. I speak as a nerd, too: The Mulder and Scully action figures on my writing desk can provide ample evidence. I'm just the kind of nerd who got over it, and I'm sick of hearing the rest of you moan your terrible nerd moans.

It's time to turn your vast powers of intellect toward a more worthy cause, like making the Holodeck from "Star Trek: The Next Generation" a reality in my lifetime.

Ryan Jackson thinks Affleck's chin will do a great job as Batman, and he can be reached at

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