Friday This ‘n’ That – Truly Terrible Taglines

Taglines are nice, easy ways to sell your product. Properly handled, they say something complimentary about your product while hopefully being witty at the same time. On the other hand, a poor one can be a source of amusement.

We were driving back from Florida and I saw a restaurant I had never heard of. The name of the restaurant was Millhouse and their tagline was “not just a steakhouse”. My thought was of course “oh, they’re a steakhouse”. Sooo, not such a good tagline though it does convey that they are indeed a steakhouse.

We went cruising on the disappointing Norwegian line but, thanks to targeting, I saw ads for Carnival on the book of faces. “Not what you’d expect from cruise food” is their unfortunate tagline. As what one would hopefully expect from cruise food is really nice steaks and lobster, this is a rather scary tagline. This may be meant to challenge the current perception that cruise food has gone downhill (it has) but is more likely meant to combat the generally accepted maxim that Carnival has the worst cruise food (cheapest cruise = cheapest food?).

Double Impact

Bringing this back to my blog’s raison d’etre, one of my favorite movie taglines is from Double Impact. The movie is just a typical Jean Claude Van Damme vehicle but the plot involves Van Damme as twins separated as infants (a la the 1941 Douglas Fairbanks vehicle, The Corsican Brothers). The tagline is “Twice the Van Damage!”. I occasionally appropriate this line for other purposes.

Next of Kin

Getting back to unfortunate taglines, my best friend Patrick (miss you, bud) and I were seeing some movie back in the late 80s when a preview for Next of Kin came on. It’s a story of a family of hillbillies coming to Chicago to take on the mob. In spite of a game cast (check out a pre-Taken Irish Liam Neeson as a hillbilly or Ben Stiller in a non-comedic role), it is as bad as that sounds. Near the end of the preview, star Patrick Swayze intones “You ain’t seen bad yet but it’s comin'”. Thanks for the summation.

Happy Thanksgiving! A New Turkey Day Tradition!

Brazeiros

With our kids grown and (at the moment) moved out, we have started a new way of celebrating Thanksgiving. This being the third year, it now qualifies as tradition. We go to Knoxville and have a big Thanksgiving lunch at Brazeiros.

Brazeiros

Brazeiros is a very nice churrascaria. A churrascaria is a Brazilian steakhouse, with an endless supply of meats brought to the table. Sadly these have become rather popular in the last decade. I mention sadly because a good churrascaria is amazing but a bad one will put you right off the concept. The difference appears to be the quality of the meats used. Top quality meats such as at Brazeiros (Knoxville) and Chima (Charlotte) ensure a top quality experience. Unfortunately many churrascarias use bargain basement meats (filet mignon that tastes like sawdust for example). The churrascaria on Norwegian Cruise Lines has a $20 upcharge and is just awful as is my local churrascaria, Brasilia.

Mockingjay 2

Every Thanksgiving, my wife and I drive to Knoxville, eat picanha, drink a caipirinha, and have papaya cream with chambord for dessert. We go to the movies afterward (The Hunger Games Mockingjay this year I think) and a motel for the evening. We go to Mckay’s, do some Christmas shopping Friday morning, and return home.

I hope you are enjoying your Thanksgiving, with or without family.

Friday This ‘n’ That – Cruising!

Last Friday, I talked a bit about how annoying I found microtransactions and the old upcharge. I was glad that Epic finally dropped the ridiculous 3D upcharge and hope that other chains will follow suit. please pardon me but today is just a bit of a gripe session about cruising.

I was on a wonderful cruise with my wife and friends the other week. Microtransactions are ruining the traditional cruise experience. The entire idea of cruises was that you could pay one, admittedly large, price, bring your bags aboard, and everything was taken care of, from wonderfully fancy meals to entertainment to incredible destinations. Between the hefty cruise fee and the casino winnings, cruise ships made a bundle and proliferated.

Unfortunately, greed is both terrible and unavoidable. As cruise lines grew and destinations were snatched up, the industry not only widely expanded their line of shore excursions but began inventing their own beach parties and buying their own private islands. I did not find this disturbing as it meant that I got to see countries off the otherwise beaten path. In this last case, we got to visit Roatan in Honduras and Belize City, Belize.

In their relentless quest to suck every last dollar out of you, the cruise lines introduced specialty restaurants on board ship. You could still eat at the buffet or enjoy fine dining in the main dining room but now you had the ability to pay a $10-$50 per person surcharge to eat at a steakhouse or international restaurant (French, Italian, Japanese, Brazilian, etc.).

In itself, this doesn’t sound like a bad idea. You can pay extra for a premium experience or continue as you were. Sadly, the reality is that as resources were focused on these new money generators, the other food was left to, well, rot I suppose. The buffets rapidly declined to Shoney’s/Denny’s quality food.

This however was nothing compared to the beating that the main dining experience received. First off the main dining experience was lobster, a cruising tradition. It is now a $10-$20 surcharge even in the main dining rooms but also in some of the upscale restaurants, so you pay a surcharge on top of a surcharge. The next to go were decent steaks, especially actual filet mignon. If you could get a really good steak at the main dining room, why would you pay another $30 per person (Norwegian’s Cagney) to get one at the steakhouse? The super fancy desserts are now reserved for the upscale experiences as well.

I had an absolutely wonderful vacation but I have to say that at times it was in spite of Norwegian Cruise Lines instead of because of them. I’m not sure I would ever sail with them again (many many other problems other than what I talk about here) but the other cruise lines have also declined in quality (Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, etc.) because of the specialty restaurants.

/rantmodeoff