December 4, 2008

"Signs Point to... Oddness"

Yes, I sometimes find on-line user reviews of obscure products entertaining and thought-provoking. Not all of them; it’s usually the most vehement or adulatory reviews that make me crack a smile or scratch my head.

Enter the Magic 8 Ball. In the course of researching (don’t ask) the fortune-telling device, I was struck by these “one star” reviews on Amazon. Exhibit A: Arthur, a self-identified "skillful reviewer":
Although Arthur is Australian, there may be a second-language learning issue here. Nonetheless, following the train of thought in that last paragraph alone is sort of fun... until you get lost in the rough. Here's another Australian incensed by the 8 Ball.
This review is interesting because the reviewer seems to have the rare 8 Ball that asks questions. And that last sentence is awe-inspiring: "If a robotic company invented a talking 8 ball with no random questions and can be your pal as a lie detector, than that one I like."

Admittedly, it's possible these reviews are rigged... that is, knowingly written to be off-the-wall by some irony-drenched hipster. It's happened before; witness what happened to Tuscan whole milk on Amazon, e.g.:


Bart King said...

Kevin K. of Colorado writes:
Your review of Tuscan whole milk was thought provoking, and could be disturbing for those who are easily disturbed (which is just another way of saying "poorly balanced"). I note that you only consider half of the milk universe though. When you discussed nonfat milk, and reviewed the nonfat milk drinkers, you neglected to mention the fat that WAS in the milk. Where did it go? It went into the milk products at the other end of the spectrum: Extra rich, half and half, table cream, and of course, the holy of holies......... heavy whipping cream! Perhaps the nonfat milk drinkers take the milkfat home in a separate carton, and they use it for something.......else?

You also compare Tuscan's with "the sweet mother's milk of yesteryear". Of course, cows cannot give milk unless they periodically become mothers. However, you didn't specify mother cows, so I assume you must have meant human mothers. Personally, I do not remember the taste of my mother's milk. Here are the new questions though: 1) Does milk from different (human) mothers taste different? 2) Does (human) mother's milk of yesteryear really taste different from (human) mother's milk of today? Would human mother's milk be a big seller at Safeway?

I am sure that these are not even the most important questions, but the mind boggles.

Bart King said...

The fate of the fat has long perturbed me, and I see you've given it your consideration as well. As to the "sweet mother's milk of yesteryear," I am saddened to hear that you don't remember that taste. As I nursed until I was eight, it is still fresh in mind. Additionally, having grown up on one of the many hippie communes in Sebastopol, I can tell you that milk from a different mother (that is, a mother other than mine) has a different odor but the flavors all run about the same.

Sadly, I am unable to reference this with contemporary mother's milk.

As to the commercial possibilities of mother's milk, I am unsure of how well it would do at Safeway. Whole Foods would probably be a better bet?