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Web site recommendation of the day

3 November 2008

McSweeneys.net

Sort of like The Onion, but with dryer, more subtle (but still terrific) humor, I first discovered McSweeney’s nearly a decade ago, when a fellow Montreal Expos message board poster pointed me to McSweeney’s weekly NFL picks column. A sample:

Atlanta at Philadelphia — I am a new Extreme laxative/chewable antidepressant (over-the-counter) as well as a game. I did very well in Berlin, Bilbao, and Toronto. I am being tested in Mid-Atlantic states, and I suspect many of the people in Philly will devour me throughout the evening. Seventeen year-old boys who dabble in forensics, and wrestling enjoy my soothing effects. I come in raspberry, fig, bubble gum, hot nacho, nacho ice, nacho nacho ice, mint ice, ice fogg, ham fogg, ice ham, bacon/onion, bacon/bubble gum, dream swirl, floor mat tapioca, tapioca aspirin, chicken peanut, moist peanut, cashew holiday, pine ice, pine fig, marshmallow grape, candied ice, lemon donut, coconut screamer, porridge Benedict, porridge benefit, blueberry mist, cranberry steam, froot soot, cilantro hydra sport, tex mex molasses, sugar ice, nitro ice, peppermint sliver, tomato, and dairy. Prediction: Atlanta (against my better judgment).

I’ll let all that sink in for a second.

Anyway, whether because of the very plain look of its site, or the proliferation of other satire sites, or just the way-out style of its humor, McSweeney’s hasn’t caught on as much as I’d hope. On the flip side, that means reading the site still gives the impression that you belong to an exclusive club, one that appreciates completely esoteric ramblings about…well, whatever.

I’ll leave you with one of the site’s latest, a spoof of a Whole Foods cheese ad. Money quote:

Dear Customers,

At Whole Foods, we pride ourselves on offering the finest in fresh, finely made foods. We value you, our customers, because you come here and happily pay a slight premium (or a not so slight premium) to buy local vegetables, handmade breads, freshly butchered meats, and organic packaged foods. Today, we introduce a new product whose quality and pedigree are equal to those of our existing lines: Waziristani Cave-Aged Artisan Cheeses, from the frontier between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

…Using milk from the yaks that are indigenous to Waziristan, these cave-dwelling people have traditionally crafted handmade cheeses that age wonderfully in the Pakistani mountains. Recent events, though, have prompted one particular group of Waziristanis to turn its cheeses into a source of income. Whole Foods is more than happy to help, for this reason: because the milk is exposed to the harsh Pakistani climate before aging in the cool caves of Waziristan, the final cheeses are a masterful balance of hardscrabble life and cold, zealous flavor that will simply blow you away.

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