The first part of this is a brief round up of the sad state of the world, but this is about chips. Promise!
Hi. Weird fucking week, huh? I don’t know if y’all remember this but literally 8 days ago, we were discussing whether or not people could safely sit in restaurants or fist bump or whatever the fuck. Now, the world is torn to shit. Beyond a pandemic, which was, in no uncertain terms, the most violent upheaval of civilized life as I’d ever known, we’re now dealing with a FUCKED UP situation in which people are literally fighting for their lives in every street in every city in this country. There are people fighting for other peoples’ lives. AND (and here’s the fucked up part) there are somehow people fighting against those people. HOW THE FUCK???
I have a very good friend who is a cop. I consider him to be one of the most upstanding human beings I’ve ever met. I cannot, in good conscience, condemn all police, but that’s literally because of one guy. I dunno, man.
When I was little there were two thoughts I had that I’ve maintained well into middle age and I find them to be kinda interesting in this context:
If you write a good song, it doesn’t matter how good you are at singing or playing the guitar or anything. A good song will always show itself to be a good song. (I said this to my mom in the car when I was young...we were listening to Poison or Skid Row on the radio, and she said “nah, you have to have some technical prowess too” and I said “I don’t actually think you do.”) I was very small then. I’m now a professional musician with a career longer than most people who dare enter this dumb industry, and I have NO technical proficiency whatsoever. I can’t sing, I can’t play. Take that, earth.
I bring this up for 2 reasons: the first is simply that it’s one of only two thoughts I can remember from when I was young that I maintain is still correct to this day, and also, because anything is possible. Even if it seems like you have nothing to work with, a good idea can surmount any challenges you may face. That seems relevant right now, but the second idea from when I was a kid is more obviously related to what’s happening now:
The police are an occupying army in OUR country and their enemy is us. I ALSO said this to my mom when I was a little kid and I don’t remember her reply. She’s pretty cool, so I bet it was right on, but that’s a thought that I had literally the SECOND I was old enough to see a cop: “Oh, that guy is in an enemy army and me and my mom are his enemies” is a thought that would cascade through my tiny dumbass head. It’s wild. Neither of these things have turned out to be wrong.
I’m SURE that what’s expected right now is for me to write some sort of spirited tearjerking diatribe about how much the world sucks. Maybe I’d attack trump? Maybe I’d just call for solidarity? Maybe I’d list ways to protest or send money? BUT I’m not gonna do that here. For one thing, beyond vocalizing this like I just have, this isn’t my box to stand on. As a human being with compassion for my fellow human beings, I’ve DEFINITELY got a duty to use my dipshit platform to raise and amplify the fist of revolution, but I’ve done that now. I’m a white guy. I don’t have a meaningful story. I am not a victim. I am a guy who is on the side of justice and the good of history, and I will put my body and soul in the way of whatever comes at me or you, but I am not gonna sit here and ramble like this is about me.
It’s about me only in that I share complicity with the people that share my skin tone and privilege and choose to be willfully ignorant of the reality of what’s going on. It’s about me in that I have family who somehow doesn’t understand why people are burning down Targets, even when the CEO of Target actually does seem to understand. But this is not my story.
Black Lives Matter. We let the hicks go “well, wait, but our lives matter too” for a while because yeah, hicks live in third world poverty too. But there’s no FUCKING way that any of those “all lives matter” motherfuckers would just trade and be black. Ain’t happening. It’s a shitty shell game, this all lives bullshit. Fuck all lives. Most of them are not in any danger. If you can smoke meth until all your teeth fall out and still find time to do donuts on your ATV in your yard and pass out in nothing but a pair of star wars underoos in the kicked up mud in front of your porch and wake up unmolested the next day and do all that bullshit again, you don’t know what it’s like to be black in America. Sorry, y’all. Life may be incredibly hard, but shit straight up ain’t the same.
And I have nothing against hicks. Really, truly. I’m from Missouri. My mom lives in the goddamned Ozarks and my dad is Ozarks adjacent. There are tons of AWESOME souls down there. My whole family on that side is from the Ozarks. I am an admitted citified elitist or whatever, but my soul is more in line with the hillbilly third world than probably any other spiritual homeland I could potentially claim. I am NOT trying to be dismissive of anyone. I’m saying that poor white America has bought into fighting poor black America and it’s ONLY because Rich White America doesn’t want those two marginalized groups getting along and turning their sites towards the golden towers.
“All lives matter” is a thing that sounds innocuous enough, but it’s dismissive of the very specific reality of black america. It’s been weaponized by the kings and dukes and handed to poor white americans to use to further demoralize the american black experience and it sucks. There is certainly a discussion this nation has to have about the 3rd world-ization and rusting out of our rural communities...I see that shit down in Versailles, in Laurie, in Gravois Mills...it’s no joke. It’s fucked up. Today is not the day for that discussion.
To be clear, I stand with any and all people fighting this shitty, racist regime and this occupying army in our streets. If you check out our Facebook page, the Lawrence Arms (the band I’m in) is about to announce a special merch item and a blackout period during which all proceeds from everything will go to a righteous organization that we all back. I’m here to fight, and I’m in solidarity, along with the dudes in my band, with all the people on the streets and all of you. But again, it’s my time to donate, protest, and listen, not talk, at least not about me or this beyond what I’ve said, and I feel like that’s already way too much.
So I’m gonna review potato chips today instead. Enough introductory mambo jumbo Let’s get into it.
These are better than you think. These are actually a lot like ‘plain lays’ in the sexual sense. When you think about em, your first response is probably “eh, kinda boring” but they’re still great, in much the same way that plain lays (like just plain old getting laid) are. You’re still eating chips/getting laid. Just as every sexual encounter doesn’t have to end with the police called and damage to the drywall, every chip doesn’t have to be quadrupole crunch extra ridged flavor blasted madness. A good stack of lays, man, crunching that shit is satisfying as hell and the buttery thinness of them is an oft overlooked delicacy in my humble opinion. Plain Lays are a good snack food. They aren’t tough enough for dip, but they’re not trying to be that kind of chip. They’re plain lays. They’re the “back with your ex from college missionary position in your highschool twin bed” and that’s all. They’re familiar. They’re fun. They’re not trying to freak you out. They’re not trying to blow your mind.They’re just chips, man.
I don’t think Pringles are actually chips. I’m not saying that to sound like a stoner. I really truly believe that due to the fact that they’re like, particilized potato shavings pressed into uniform hyperbolic parabaloids, they’re considered to be something else. But Pringles are dope. The tube is the most fun poorly designed conveyance in the history of snacks. I don’t know how, but every hand, no matter how dainty, is too small for the Pringles tube. Fucking up a big stack of Pringles in one bite is, much like eating a bunch of Lays, kind of the only way to go. The guy on the tube has a mustache. Is that guy supposed to be named Pringle? Hold on. I’m gonna google it.
His name is Julius Pringle. Julius Pringle looks like a jolly enough chap until you consider he’s white as paper with a curly mustache and an oval head and has his hair parted down the middle all while wearing a bow tie. Were he to become anthropomorphized, I think it’s safe to say he’d be terrifying looking, he’d sweat all the time and he’d watch the shit out of Tucker Carlson and almost definitely have problematic tastes in porn. Still though, his snacks, pretty good.
I’m talkin’ plain Ruffles here. These chips are good. They’re made about a zillion times better if they’re served on a paper plate alongside a hotdog or cheeseburger or something and these are the ONLY chips that anyone with any dignity would ever deign worthy of using with classic backyard cookout style dip. These chips are very addictive and I feel like they’re responsible for a lot of my post cookout discomfort, but I can’t be mad at them. It’s not the Ruffle’s fault I just housed a whole tub of sour cream and garlic powder while using them as the excuse to do so. That’s on me.
Ruffles Sour Cream N Cheddar
Um. These are fuuuuuucking insanely good. I don’t know if I’m right about this, but I feel like in the grand continuum of spacetime, these are kinda new. Am I nuts? Lemme look it up.
Okay, that was a very hard google search to do. All I learned is that there are a LOT of flavors of Ruffles out there I’ve never heard of nor seen before (fuckin STROGANOFF??? GTFO, Ruffles!). Anyway, it’s my memory that I never saw the Cheddar and sour cream Ruffles til at LEAST high school and maybe not until I was in college (I am old, so yes, that was still a long time ago). I can only marvel at how fucking pumped the person who came up with these must have been upon nailing the recipe. These chips are so good. They have the flavor of mac n cheese powder, and the consistency of a styrofoam plate and they completely kick ass anyway.
If someone just came up and put a gun to my head and made me name the best chip, this would be my answer. I’m sure there are better chips out there, and definitely sometimes you’re just in the mood for takis or whatever, but these are the ones I feel like we, as Americans, have all agreed are top tier chips. If you bring Ruffles to a cookout, good on ya. If you bring Cheddar Sour Cream Ruffles, you could be getting plain layed by the end of said cookout.
Any Sour Cream and Onion
As I was considering the flavors to run down here today, my thought was “it’s weird that sour cream and onion is such a go-to for chips when really that’s just kind of an odd flavor pairing that doesn’t REALLY seem to exist just as a dyad anywhere else in the universe. Then, just a few minutes ago I was writing about Ruffles up there and i suddenly realized “AAAAAAH, it’s french onion dip!” It took me over four decades to come to this realization. Very sad.
Anyway, I think of this as being one of the first flavor variants of chips (I’m just gonna go ahead and rewrite the history of chips in my own memory now after that last google failure). Back in my day, I only remember there being barbecue, plain and sour cream and onion and sour cream and onion was the best of the three by far (though, if you hated it, I definitely understood why. It’s got that old world rich-ass rye bread type of flavor that’s not for everyone. I feel gross for preferring that style of flavor pretty much across the board).
Here’s a funny thing: here in the states, we think of sour cream and onion as coming in the green bag, right? That’s not how it is in other countries, however. Nothing like being in France or something and hastily grabbing a bag of what you think is trusty old sour cream and onion only to find out that the green bag there means bolognese or beef or some other such weird ass shit. International chips are a whole other trip, man. Shit’s wild.
These aren’t even chips, they’re pretzels. But they’re so fucking good I don’t care. For those of you who don’t know Dots, they’re sturdy little helix-esque rods that have a vague dusting of mustardy kinda powder on them. They’re not exactly brimming with flavor, which is part of their charm. They’re more interesting than regular pretzels and they feel less gluttonous to eat a bunch of than, say, literally any other chip on this list. I love me some Dots. I like to dip em in a little Plotchmans mustard (the best yellow mustard on earth for sure), and feel like I’m at the ball game or a picnic or pretty much anywhere besides trapped in my house, hiding from fatal droplets and aggressive pigs.
I say Tostitos, but I guess I mean all tortilla chips, and I say that knowing that tortilla chips can be variant as shit. One thing all tortilla chips have in common is that the fact that they don’t taste particularly good will in no way impair your bloodlust desire to eat them until you’re bursting sick full. It’s weird. You can literally go to a Mexican restaurant and order like grilled shrimp or a steak, something that you KNOW is going to be excellent, and then you’ll literally sit there chugging boring ass tortilla chips until you’ve ruined your meal. Every time. It’s something else.
Tostitos specifically have innovated in the tortilla chip space with things like Hint Of LIme (good!) and Scoops! (scoops!) and I back both of those. Neither innovation makes tortilla chips suddenly remarkable or anything, but you gotta hand it to the heads at Tostitos for even pretending to give a shit.
Interesting thing about Tostitos, and maybe you’ve all noticed this and I’m just a moron, but the T-I and T in the brand name logo is actually an image of two dudes partying around a thing of dip. Check it out if you don’t believe me. Also, tit. Heh.
Barbecue chips stink. They’re so boring they make Tostitos look like actual tits. No chip tastes like what it says on the bag, but barbecue is a particularly egregious dissociation. I don’t even have the energy to hate these chips because they’re just so goddamned pathetic it’s like pushing someone who’s dead drunk down the stairs.
I don’t know what the world of chip fiefdom is like, but I imagine there’s some sniveling legacy choad in Frito Lay world HQ who talks like Foghorn Leghorn and wears a bolo tie who’s grandpappy invented the barbecue chip and he talks about it like it’s a revolution of the senses. “Ah, when-a my progenitor Theodore Wallace Pepperdine the fourth first emulsified thin sliced potato with his patented secret family recipe barbecue sauce it was an absolute conflagration of sensual delights.”
Huh. I guess I take it back. I do hate barbecue chips.
The weird fucked up “fully loaded” or “fully dressed wings” or whatever the fuck it is
So yeah. Again, I’m just kinda rewriting the history of chips based on the fact that I have no actual facts to base anything on and any google search just directs me to a place to purchase chips, but it’s my distinct impression that with the success of Cheddar and Sour Cream, the chip people kinda went crazy. There are a LOT of chip flavors out there now. You can pop into a gas station and see a bag with like a hotdog, a plate of waffles and a turducken on it and the flavor is like “BOLD AMERICA” or whatever. They’ve had All Dressed chips in Canada forever and they’re just now getting penetration here in the states, where we have no idea what that’s even supposed to mean.
The thing about all these mega mash up flavors is that they all taste the same. They all taste like Cheddar and Sour Cream chips with some chili powder in em. All of em. Doesn’t matter what they’re supposed to taste like. Way to really put forth the effort, chip magnates.
Those Ruffles with the big ridges and more powder
You know those guitars that are like, double guitars?
These are good. The puffs are awesome, and the regular nugs or whatever you want to call them are also awesome. Flamin’ hot cheetos are awesome. Cheetos are awesome. I have a situation with Cheetos where every single one of them is better than the last until I get to a point where I’m like, dizzy, and I have to stop eating them and I’m suddenly sick. It’s not the same way I get sick from eating too much of most things, which is just like, your stomach gets too full and you feel like shit. This is like the flavor gets into my brain and it makes me feel woozy or something. I don’t know. I also will never learn my lesson and stop eating Cheetos because this happens. It’s just the price of dancing with the orange angel, I suppose.
Regular Fritos are better than you think. They seem boring but they’re SO goddamned greasy that they always surprise and leave you wanting more. But if you wanna party, you’re gonna want some chili cheese fritos, which are so good it’s almost terrifying. I get sick from chili cheese fritos too, but for a very different reason. I don’t know if I’m crazy or what but it seems like a bag of chili cheese fritos has like 10x the amount of actual chip material of any other bag of chips. I mean, yes, I understand that fritos are small, but that bag of chili cheese fritos that’s in the $1-$2 range, that’s the most chip for your buck by far. Actually just writing about these is kind of making me sick, but please know that I am deeply deeply into chili cheese fritos. Fritos also tire out your jaw like a motherfucker. It’s a nice illusion to house a bag of fritos and convince yourself that you’re giving your jawline definition in the process, when in fact, you’re doing literally the opposite.
I’m not a huge fan of Doritos. I KNOW that’s some sacrilege shit, and I’m not saying this opinion is good, but Doritos aren’t totally for me. Now, don’t get me wrong, if I start eating Doritos, I like them just fine, it’s just that I never want to start eating Doritos.
Doritos are the secret to any great plate of nachos. Whenever we do like, nacho contests or whatever (I’m from the midwest, y’all), all I do is melt some cheese on Doritos. This leads to a funny little series of events in which everyone
A) makes fun of my lame ass uncreative hick-ass nachos and then
B) proceeds to eat the shit out of my lame ass uncreative hick-ass nachos because they’re so goddamned good and vastly smoke the competition.
I do NOT like cool ranch doritos at all. Again, I’m aware this is a bad take. I know people love em. I don’t, and I’m aware that puts me in a tiny minority. Doritos HAVE to be the most popular chip on the market, right? I mean, the combination of Mountain Dew and Doritos is up there with uh...I dunno, Flatts and Scruggs or whatever. Whether you’re skateboarding or hacking into the pentagon’s secret files, you’re chasing down doritos with mountain dew. Therefore, please know I’m not trying to say anything bad about doritos. I respect them as much as I respect the flag. Maybe more.
Okay. That’s it for today. Sorry about the delay in this coming out. It seems kinda frivolous to do this today, and it definitely seemed inappropriate at the beginning of the week. I hope this is a nice distraction from the horrors of the world and not just an annoyance. Y’all are the best. Love you all. Be safe.