A note on methodology…

Vehicles: I rate on a scale from 0-100, with points given in 12 categories. Gas mileage, for example, is weighted with 10 possible points, calculated by averaging the EPA City/Highway estimates and multiplying by the fuel capacity. It’s then divided by 500 (a nice long trip without refueling), and multiplied by ten. Like the other categories, it’s possible to receive more points than the value possible if the car is truly exceptional in that area.

Because we lack the equipment necessary to evaluate the manufacturer’s numbers for acceleration and braking, I evaluate based on the seat of my pants. A great braking car that feels twitchy will receive lower marks than a car with average brakes that feel solid and communicate well with my size 14s. Confidence in one’s car is, in my opinion, more important than mere numbers.

The score, once calculated, is then converted into a letter grade, mainly because I feel like it.

The Generalissimo grades on a curve. I think he uses the Caracciola Karussell at the Nürburgring. He will only drive cars with manual transmissions. He likes wagons, trucks, SUVs, and puppies. He will drive sedans, usually under protest. As the leader of ARDVARC (the Advanced Rapid Deployment Verification Assault Retreat Command), he prefers vehicles that can carry him (and his band of lunatics) into and out of battle, along with adequate supplies to fend off villainy and fight injustice. Or, maybe something to get him to Costco so he can pick up a 36-roll pack of two-ply.

His rating system varies, much like his odor.

Boxed wine: I have the oenological abilities of a man who drinks cachaça from the bottle. As such, please do not take my ratings as anything more than the ramblings of someone trying to keep up with a true connoisseur: the Generalissimo.

Speaking of the sunglassed one, he knows boxed wines like I know the strip clubs within a ten-mile radius of my house: he’s on a first name basis with everything we test, he often gets to sample the goods for free, and he knows the good ones cost extra.

He also will not drink and drive. His counterpart, the Generalissima, often joins us during these binges and plays designated driver, unless we can con Zak the Intern into that thankless task.

Cheese Danishes: I may not know boxed wine, but baked goods are another matter. The Generalissimo and I agree on only one thing: that the cheese Danish is the highest form of our modern pastry.

Danishes have three parts, each of which we test: bread, filling, and frosting/glaze. The bread is evaluated for taste, texture, and moisture content, then scored out of 30. The filling is tested on taste, texture, tartness, and the amount contained in the Danish, out of 40 points. As the frosting is truly the icing on the cake, it is given 10 points. The final 20 points come from the interaction of the three parts. In the last category it is possible to get a negative number if the overall sensation is that bad. Also, I have a sensitive stomach; points will be deducted if I get indigestion, acid reflux, irritable bowel, or hives.

Flair gets you bonus points.

If you represent an automobile manufacturer, a boxed winery, or a cheese Danish bakery, and you would like us to test your product, please contact us at thegeneralissimo@thegeneralissimo.com.

If you disagree with anything we have to say about your car/wine/cheese Danish, please leave a comment. We reserve the right to moderate any comments that may be offensive, or that use the words “paradigm” or “synergy” or “Hannah Montana rules.” Punishment for these infractions will range from comment deletion to the Generalissimo showing up at your home with a stern look on his face. And maybe a gun of some sort.

Key players:

The Generalissimo is the leader of the Advanced Rapid Deployment Verification Assault Retreat Command (ARDVARC), an underfunded branch of the federal government tasked with fighting the forces of evil, whatever form they take. He should never be approached from behind, exposed to water, or fed after midnight. Also, attempting to touch his mustache is like signing your own death warrant. He enjoys antique bandoliers, fine boxed wine, mustaches (primarily his own), cars, fighting evil and villainy, soup, searching for the world’s finest cheese Danish, Jacuzzi-ing, mirrored sunglasses, unicorns, prophecies, and of course his beloved counterpart, the Generalissima.

Walter Thurman is a borderline alcoholic, raconteur, and a friend to small woodland creatures everywhere. He was the first person to successfully finish the full stack of pancakes at the Homestyle Café in Loma Linda, California, back in 1991. When he isn’t accompanying the Generalissimo on his merry adventures, he enjoys writing novels and sleeping.

Zak the Intern is an unpaid, underappreciated college student who only took the job at the insistence of his parole officer.

The Generalissima is the Generalissimo’s counterpart. She’s French, but we don’t hold that against her. An accomplished aviator, she can fly anything with wings (and a few things without). When she isn’t helping the Generalissimo conquer the forces of tyranny, she can be found cooking extravagant meals for no reason, adjusting the carburetor on her Citroën DS convertible, or quilting.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.