ST. PAUL, MN—In a span of two minutes Monday, 33-year-old St. Paul resident Daniel Devore managed to criticize hazelnut coffee, Volvos, and the flag of New Mexico.
The 120-second rant took place at Caribou Coffee in the presence of longtime friend Meredith Caranza, 31.
"Hazelnut?" said Devore as he browsed the establishment's menu. "That's coffee for people that don't like coffee but want to pretend they do. It's like drinking a candy bar. Why not just drink a glass of Nestlé Quik instead?"
"I remember thinking 'Uh-oh,'" Caranza said. "We hadn't even placed our order yet, and he was already on a roll."
Devore's criticism of hazelnut coffee continued for another 35 seconds, at which point he mysteriously transitioned to the subject of Volvos.
"You know what I can't stand is Volvos. They're, like, the most selfish car to own, but the people who drive them act like they're being all earth-conscious and socially responsible," Devore said. "What's so responsible about owning some boxy tank that'll fuck up every other car in the accident while you don't get a scratch?"
Caranza said she was mystified by the Volvo tirade.
"I have no idea what brought that on," Caranza said. "I looked out the window, scanned the paper, checked the stuff on the table, and couldn't find a single thing related to Volvos. He was obviously following some bizarre train of thought in his head."
Seconds after his Volvo diatribe died down, Devore spotted a store patron with a New Mexico flag on his backpack. He quickly shifted gears to the iron-on patch.
"Of all the 50 state flags, that has to be the stupidest one," Devore said. "It's just this bright-yellow field with, like, this bright-red crosshairs target in the middle. I suppose it's fitting, though. Gives all those desert loners and crackpots something to take aim at."
Added Devore: "Pretty much all of the state flags are lame. The only decent one is Maryland."
Devore has a long history of adopting seemingly arbitrary stances on a wide variety of subjects. In the past, he has taken aim at such diverse targets as Terry And The Pirates creator Milton Caniff, box springs, Stevie Nicks, tip jars, the History Channel, and carbonated water.
Prior to Monday, however, Devore had never railed against three subjects in so condensed a period of time.
"I've seen him spend 15 minutes talking about how stupid daylight savings time is," Caranza said. "He takes major issue with things most people don't care about enough to think about, much less form an opinion on. But even by his standards, the hazelnut-Volvo-New Mexico-flag thing was pretty remarkable."
Despite Devore's penchant for hyper-criticism, his friends still enjoy his company much of the time.
"Sometimes, Dan will go on some hilarious 20-minute tirade about how much he hates Bob Costas, and you'll be in stitches," former roommate Ron Bleier said. "Those are the good times."
"He's really smart," Bleier continued, "and he'll occasionally have something interesting and illuminating to say on a subject you never really gave much thought. But mostly he just likes bitching."