Saturday, March 07, 2009

Joey's Canned Meat Treats on Facebook

There's nothing like the cheery face on the can of Bullens
Pilsner Korv to keep you coming back for more


Ever since I was forced to join Facebook, a couple of weeks after my 40th birthday, I have become a minor addict of the site, dropping by for a few minutes once or twice each day. It’s become important to me to update my status and let everyone know crap they don’t care about. And it’s also become a place to showcase my canned meat collection.

Canned meat, you ask? But of course. It remains my fastest growing collection, both in terms of the size of the collection and the bacteria which seem to enjoy the Pork Brains in Milk Gravy. And for years, as I have been meticulously building my army of tin cans filled with sausage, luncheon loaf, ground meats, and animal parts, I have been trying to figure out the best way to display it. Currently, it resides on my bookcase at work, with all of the cans stuffed into a small shelf (and some overflow space on top of the bookcase). I had thought – and obsessed a little bit – of buying some acrylic molds and lots of liquid acrylic and making acrylic blocks of my canned meat collection, with each can in the middle of a solid, clear cube. It thought it would be a best strategy to protect the collection from rust and bacterial explosions. And then I would build a wall of them at home. The problem is that would not be attractive.

One explosion. I’ve only had one explosion. The can of Armour Pork Brains in Pork Gravy given to me by my former office manager, Richard Smith, and certainly one of the catalysts for the fast-growing collection – exploded last year, popping the top off the bulging tin of cholesterol-leaden hog thoughts. Astonished and fearful of a botulism-induced paralysis epidemic in my office, I carefully wrapped the deceased can in a pile of twenty plastic bags from Walgreen’s and carried it down the hallway to dispose of it in the kitchen garbage. Then I took the kitchen garbage bag and tied it in a knot.

I threw open all of the windows in my office. As my colleagues walked by and asked what was happening, I sheepishly reported the pork brains had exploded and I was trying to make sure everyone if the office wasn’t going to die.

A better idea. I thought it would be great to make a website dedicated to all of the cans. You know, maybe give each can its own web page and write witty remarks about the shape of the sausages in the can or the weird Chinese letters all over the can or what does “one whole chicken” look like when you take it out of the can. I would allow people to comment and share their experiences with Corn Crib Corned Beef and Prem. I looked for the right web domain, considering cansofgrossmeat.com and meatmuseum.com and other absurd things that would be a wonderful way to waste my time and channel my creative energies.

Then Facebook came along. And the opportunity to create an application.

Facebook is all about absurd gifts. Frank sent me Quaker gifts and crappy books. Robin sent me hatching eggs. Andrew sent me a mojito. And I sent them all canned meat.

Introducing Joeys’ Canned Meat Treats. Perhaps not one of the most popular applications yet, but it’s on its way up with nearly 700 cans from my collection “gifted” from one Facebook member to another. I only have seven fans, including myself, which is a bit shameful (so this is a plug to please become a fan of the little photos of the cans!) And then give everyone you a know a gnarly can of pig, sheep, cow, reindeer, chicken, turkey, snail, duck, rabbit, and the many other animals I cannot recall at the moment. Most of them have been chopped up and shaped, so you really don’t have to worry about the poor creatures. I hope I can honor them by not opening the cans and not eating them.

What’s the most popular can to date? Everyone really likes Goblin Meat Pudding. More of those have been given than any other meat. The other “top” gifts, as of this entry, are as follows in this order:

· Armour Pork Brains in Milk Gravy

· Rose Pork Brains in Milk Gravy

· Ye Old Oak Lunch Tongue

· Unpeeled Tongues

· Beverly Bulk Sausage

· Piggy Cocktail Sausage

· One Whole Chicken

· Hill Country Fare Luncheon Loaf

· Baldinger’s Chopped Liver

· And Piggy Wiggly Vienna Sausage

Really, really old SPAM (as displayed in the original collection on the bookshelf)

Some of the cans are special, like an original pre-1937 can of Hormel Spiced Ham, before it was renamed SPAM, which was found by my colleague Kara on a hike. And some of the cans are inconsequential, and I have accidentally purchased duplicates of some of the meat products. I’ve also been given duplicates as gifts. I have two cans of both SPAM with Cheese and SPAM Hawaii.

I will run out of cans eventually for upload to Facebook, but for now I have been uploading 12 cans each month. I still have several months of uploads left. And then I will rely on the kindness of other world travelers to help build the collection.

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