1 Reese's Peanut Butter Cup vs. 16 Zero. I'm sorry, but there is something really WRONG about a white candy bar. It's unnatural and weird and looks like Bunnicula got to it before I did. I could go on a whole white-chocolate rant, but I'm just going to give you the condensed-milk version: white chocolate is not real chocolate, and far as I'm concerned, Zero Bar is nothing more than an anemic Milky Way with the barest shards of nuts thrown in. (So wrong!) Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are simple, satisfying, perfect. The salty with the sweet satisfies all cravings.
(A question about that video: did Lisa Marie Presley and Michael Jackson spoof the Alpine White ending when they made that creeptastic video about how normal and not-at-all-weird their marriage was? Because Alpine White was probably MJ's preferred foundation tint.)
8 Mr. Goodbar vs. 9 Junior Mints. I might be one of Mr. Goodbar's only fans. ["I am the other." -- Bunting] I'll admit, as candy bars go, it's fairly boring. Composed of only two things, peanuts and chocolate, it's not sexy with nougat or crazy with caramel. It's just good ol' peanuts and chocolate. It's a bar version of my cherished peanut M&Ms. Dull as it may be, I do love Mr. G. On the other hand, Junior Mints have the Seinfeld bump going for them, and they are my preferred movie candy. I especially love when I think the box is empty, but at least two more Junior Mints rattle down when I give it a shake. I'm calling this one for Junior Mints, and I don't think it will be as close as the ranking suggests.
5 See's/Whitman's Sampler vs. 12 Oh Henry!. I'll admit that I don't see any real difference in taste or texture between Oh Henry! and Snickers, but that doesn't make Oh Henry! a bad candy, per se, just unoriginal. Oh Henry!'s biggest stumbling block is that it doesn't have a Snickers-sized media machine behind it, so it's not really in the public eye. It has fans, but I'm not sure if there's enough of them to beat the wide and varied selection of candies you get in a sampler box. Sure, you hate certain candies in a sampler (anything besmirched with "fruit" goes right in the trash. If I want fruit, I'll eat fruit. I don't want it messing up my chocolate), but you know you adore others (two words: Rum. Balls).
Plus, there's that whole element of mystery and anticipation surrounding a sampler box. You ignore the map provided just so you can bite into each chocolate to find out which are good and which are gross. ["Not until I've identified and chucked the chocolate-covered cherry." -- Bunting] My grandmother was sneakier. Using her long fingernails, she'd stab holes in the bottom of each chocolate to check their innards. Then, she'd eat what she wanted and leave the other perforated candies oozing in their pleated paper cups for someone else to find. The samplers aren't great, but people love them, so I'm afraid Oh Henry! won't progress any further.
4 Kinder vs. 13 Hershey's Symphony. I can't think of any bar more boring than either Symphony bar. I think Symphony was Hershey's attempt to class themselves up all Dove-style, but I don't get it. Kinder eggs are crazy-fun. It's forgettable chocolate, but, dude, THERE ARE TOYS INSIDE! Even as an adult, I can't resist that kind of candy. Kinder's a shoe-in.
6 York Peppermint Patties vs. 11 Nutrageous. I went through a short-lived Nutrageous phase when I was working as a half-starved Houghton-Mifflin editorial assistant in Boston, but now I find them too much of a good thing. Way too rich, way too peanut-buttery. They're Reese's Peanut Butter Cups on steroids, the Barry Bonds of the candy world, all juiced up with unnecessary bumps and fillings. Also, I do love me some York Peppermint Patties, and the fact that they are a "fat free" just helps me argue my way into eating an entire bag, leaving none for the trick-or-treaters. Peppermint Patties are the cool and clear winner here.
3 Peanut M&Ms vs. 14 Nut Goodies. As a native Minnesotan, I'm probably supposed to adore Nut Goodies and link them to some idyllic frozen lake memory, but I don't. As soon as I discovered they had maple in them, I never let them get anywhere near me. Nut Goodies had a recent resurgence when new owners took over Pearson's Candy Company. Even though new owners grubbed up the old, beloved recipe and wrapped them in their original wrappers, I don't think Nut Goodies are mainstream enough to beat classic Peanut M&Ms.
7 Whatchamacallit vs. 10 Take 5. I looked high and low for a Take 5 to sample, but came up dry. I know the basic composition: chocolate, peanuts, caramel, pretzels, and peanut butter. I know that some might find the pretzel inclusion to be genius in the same way they find the pretzels in Chubby Hubby genius, but no. Whatchamacallit is my favorite candy bar. It has THE BEST name and filled with caramel, crisp bits, and peanut butter that isn't too dry nor too much of a good thing. (I'm looking at you, Nutrageous.) Take 5 has a stupid, boring name and a stupid, boring wrapper. Whatchamacallit will win this but probably not go much further. (Sniff.)
2 Snickers vs. 15 Sky Bar. I don't think there's even a doubt who will take this. Even if I didn't find the Sky Bar's chocolate alone to be so completely repulsive, to say nothing of the grotesque fillings, I'd still put my money on Snickers. In fact, I'm betting on Snickers to win the whole damn thing.
The Conference on Baseball in Literature and Culture is Friday!
I'll be presenting "Casting Bullpen: The Next Great Baseball Biopic"; my fervent prayers willing, there will be visual aids. I'm on before lunch, if you want …
You guys are a work of art. Lookit!
From the lovely Katie B. at DC:
We just moved into new offices that we’re so excited about. We had partners donate construction supplies, furniture and…chalk artwork!
Attached is a …