07 September 2007
Rumble in the Jungle
Author: Giles Andreae
Illustrator: David Wojtowycz
I have to admit that I was somewhat disappointed when I read this book. Not for what the book is (a fun and colorful collection of jungle poetry), but for what the book is not. Because of the title, I was hoping that it was an illustrated account of THE Rumble in the Jungle, the epic 1974 boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman that took place in Zaire.
Alas, it was not to be. Which is a shame, because with his unique lyrical stylings and cocky sense of humor, Ali would be the perfect candidate to author a children's book. Unfortunately, since Ali hasn't picked up the pen, we'll have to settle for George Foreman's silly book: Let George Do It!
Author: George Foreman and Fran Manushkin
Illustrator: Whitney Martin
George Foreman has five sons and they are all named George. Not George Junior, George III, or even Curious George... just George. The story follows the crazy mishaps that result from the logistical nightmare of having an entire house of Georges. (Apparently, the original George was so blinded by his crippling megalomania that didn't foresee this being a problem.)
With this picture book, George Foreman's transformation is complete. If you remember him from his boxing days (or if you watch the documentary When We Were Kings), George Foreman was quite possibly the scariest man alive. His sheer size and grizzly scowl were enough to give me the willies even though 3 decades and a television screen separate me from his devastating ham-sized fists.
And now? He is the grinning goofball of George Foreman Grills and a children's book author. Talk about reinventing yourself. Ali may have won the fight on that balmy night in 1974, but give Foreman credit for picking himself up off the mat and infomercialing his way back into our hearts.
Conspiracy Theory Note: Have you ever noticed the eerie similarity between the design aesthetic of the George Foreman Grill...
...and Apple laptops?
Apple's departure from the standard small black laptop design to the refreshingly sleek look launched sales into the stratosphere as they became the hip choice for a generation that defines themselves by their computer use. It is now impossible to go into any coffeeshop or college campus without the ubiquitous glare of the glowing Apple logo. I had always assumed that the aesthetic similarity to the simple and clean design of the Foreman grill was just a coincidence... until I stumbled upon this:
The George Foreman iGrill
"The iGrill is an indoor/outdoor electric grill/roaster with a built-in dock to play your favorite grillin' tunes from your iPod or other MP3 player."
There is only one possible explanation for the release of this absurdity: Foreman was threatening to sue Apple CEO Steve Jobs for stealing his design and they agreed upon an out-of-court settlement. In exchange for dropping the lawsuit, Apple would outfit the Foreman grill for iPod compatibility... despite the fact that no one in their right minds would buy this ridiculous contraption. (Even Sharper Image, the Mecca of Craptastically Useless Gadgets, doesn't carry it.)
Now if they really wanted to make it a worthwhile product and take it to the next level, they could rig the iGrill so that the grease pan (a.k.a. reservoir of fat drippings) connects directly to some kind of biodiesel conversion devise so that you could charge your iPod using the discarded fat from your porkchops.
Now that, my friends, is a tangible step towards a better tomorrow. Who's going to fix the environment? Let George Do It!