May 03, 2001

Okay, so I tried to do a "rant" on May 1st, and actually got complaints that I wasn't really ranting. And they're right. I picked a subject about which I know plenty, and about which my opinion is a likeable sort of politically-correct-yet-still-in-the-majority cream-of-wheat for the brain. There was no bone there to pick, and even if I did manage to dig up a bone, it was hardly a bone of contention. It was a bone without a metaphor.

Scott Kurtz came out and said things about what make a webcomic successful, but some of those things upset cartoonists who were not successful by his standard. Tycho and Gabe posted a fantastically funny rebuttal whose initial purpose was to make me laugh, and they succeeded in spite of (because of?) their use of language I'd never put in my strip. And then I read Boxjam's rant which was a truly biting parody, forcing me not only to laugh, but to look at myself in the process ("Hmmmm... short, bald, pasty white-guy --better get to the gym.") I could find some grounds to disagree with all of them, but not enough for a proper rant. All in all, this discussion of the future of Webcomics in an era of heightened electronic communication and crumbling ebusiness revenues is GOOD. It makes us think.

By comparison, my "rant" was nothing more than another feel-good statement of intent. I let my readers down. Well, today I'm picking a new subject, and I hope to do better.

Nestlé: Oh, how they have betrayed me. Their delicious "Nestlé Quik" product has long been the cornerstone (or keystone, take your pick) of my beverage architecture. And then, a couple of years ago, they changed the name from "Quik" to "Nesquik." Why? They never said. But I was paralyzed with fear! How could this unchanging source of chocolatey joy be improved with a new label? Was this the harbinger of dire things to come?

Yes, it was. Just this year the label changed again, touting Nesquik as being a good source of vitamins and calcium. Horsepucky! I say. It's a good source of sugar, theobromine, and maybe trace quantities of some other methylxanthine alkaloids that whack the happy factor. I don't care if you think it's got vitamins in it--that's not why I drink it.

Well, guess what. It wasn't just a label change. I had some original formula and new formula in my cupboard at the same time, and I could tell the difference! They'd gone and ADDED calcium carbonate and other trace vitamins and minerals to my tub of powdered joy! Not only could I see the color change, but in a blind taste test of the straight powder, I could tell the difference between the new and the old every time (until my tongue turned all chocolatey-saturated, and my head started to go a little happy-factor-whacky.)

And now, today, what do I find? the 3lb 8oz tub ("73 servings my pasty white hiney--you're not mixing it strong enough") has been discontinued in favor of a short, squat 4lb 3oz tub ("NOW maybe it's more than 60 servings, but you have the gall to claim 85!"). The only bright spot in all of this is that they haven't raised the price... yet.

With all that is inconstant in the world today I should have expected as much. That doesn't make me any less suspicious, though. I'm mad, let me tell you. So mad I can hardly see straight, much less sit still. I'm going to go have a nice glass of Nesquik... maybe that will settle me down.

(Okay, there... I ranted against getting healthy stuff in my food, and getting more for the same price. Is that controversial enough? Are you happy now?)