Friday, July 23, 2010

Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Hockey Mom

New favorite annoying-ex-Governor related product.
I've come to the conclusion that resistance is futile.

Sure, Flic and I have vowed time and again that we were not going to feed into the crazed, publicity-hungry media frenzy that She Who Will Not Be Named has cultivated. We've tried, but one can't stay abreast of the news without running into some kind of headline, some cringingly embarassingly story, or quote, or description of the latest occurance in the family feud between her grandbaby daddy's family and her own faux-regular middle class

Palin Palin Palin!  There, I've said it.  No more not naming that which ails us.  No more hoping against hope that this will all just go away.  Now, all that's left to do is to document this strange time.  I'm hoping I can find the car sporting that bumper sticker that I saw last week.  It read, "Palin = quitter."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cold (50) Stone(s)* Fatty

They could use a PB&C (TM), or several: Ethiopian famine victims**

Call me old fashioned - but I am still back in the day where being fat, even obese, meant being oh say somewhere north of 250 but south of 500. Anything above that was left to the carny, the Guinness World Book, or that rare individual who went reclusive and ate him/herself to the point where they had to be moved by crane.

I haven't cognitively updated for the PB&C(TM) factor. True, its been banging at my consciousness that more and more, I no longer get my own airplane seat (silly old-fashioned me). Being a person of normal weight, it has now become implicit airline courtesy that I am expected to give up my unused seat portion to the billows of elbow, waist and thigh fat that flow over from the seat of my aisle mate into my unused seat space.

You would think since I am (in) voluntarily giving up my extra space, and thereby saving them having to hork over the price of two seats to accommodate their girth, that at least sometimes there would be an offer of token compensation. Maybe an offer to buy me an on-board burger bomb, or a share in their box o' 12 Cinnabons that they brought on for a snack during take off, but sad to say, I spend my flights squished and wreathed in chemically contrived food smells that waft from the goodie bags jammed all around. Alas, to score a bag of peanuts and obscured by rolls of fat, I am left to wild gesticulations to gain the attention of the flight attendant.

So sure, I have noticed that bigger is well a lot bigger now in the US of Ay. But I didn't fully comprehend how far the scale has tipped up there to the elephantine, until this morning when I was browsing ByrlaneHome Catalog, and encountered its "plus+sizeliving" pages (where I can find "more comfort and convenience"). Here is a sampling of products offered:
  • A talking scale (for those whose belly obscures the read-out) that has a 500# capacity, and if that is not enough for all those baby elephants out there,
  • A 1000# scale with a remote digital readout.
And since maintaining all that weight undoubtedly means more waste removal, why suffer discomfort and concern about accurate aim when there is
  • The "Big John Toilet Seat (TM)": 19" wide from lip to lip with a 1200# capacity (offers 75% more area than a regular toilet seat!), which accessorizes nicely with the
  • Ergonomic Easywipe: a personal 15 & 3/4 inch "wand" that holds toilet paper on its soft silicone end, and which ejects used toilet paper with the click of a button (unfortunately, this item is available only through another catalog).
Then there's all the super-sized camp chairs, benches, step stools and other furniture that have been beefed up substantially to support the members of the 1/4 to 1/2 ton crowd.

Wow, so 500# is the new 200, and 1000 is the new 500. What does define obese these days, if furniture and hardware to support 1000 pounds is commonplace, and scarier still, in demand? Meanwhile, more and more populations in Africa are starving, with African nations poorer now than they were 20 years ago.

This is not an embarrassment of riches, this is criminal robbing of the grainaries by corporate rats, aided and abetted by sheeple drugged by 24/7 reality TV, fast crap food and sugar.

I think I am going to go for a run.

* 50 stones is roughly equivalent to 800 pounds
**Since 1990, coffee retail sales have jumped from $30 billion annually to $80 billion. Four multinationals control the coffee market, with the New York commodity market setting the price. Ethiopia is the biggest producer of coffee in Africa, with Starbucks buying most (if not all) of its African coffee from the Sidama region, Ethiopia. In 2006, the Sidama region experienced prolonged famine. Ever since the commodification of coffee, Ethiopian farmers cannot make enough to feed their families and are dependent on US aid to survive (mostly in the form of cheap wheat).

Photo downloaded from:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Holy Heart Failure, Batman!

Here is what I have been wondering for the past two days: how many pounds do 68 slices of bacon make?

A little research reveals that the answer really depends on how thick the bacon is sliced, but for regular bacon, 16 to 20 slices.

Thus, 68 slices is a little over three pounds of bacon.

68 slices is also the equivalent of the amount of fat contained in one 24-ounce serving of a PB&C shake* from Cold Stone Creamery. That same serving packs a walloping 2,010 calories too: basically the full daily caloric intake for a healthy, active individual (and that is active as in old school active, not like nowadays where people sit around all day watching TV, engaging in social media, and well, uh, blogging).

What are the odds that the people who slurp down a PB&C shake eat nothing else throughout the course of their day? Not so good, I would imagine. And would those same individuals also sit down and consume at one sitting three packages of bacon? Not likely. Because while Americans are getting huger and fatter and more unhealthy with every passing day, most are not, in all likelihood, setting out to eat to become large enough to be buried in a grand piano-sized casket.

But if this shameless, irresponsible marketing of fatty, sugary crap continues, that is where a majority of Americans will end up.

Now, I should note that I am among the first in line to say that people are responsible for their choices, and to recognize that in a capitalist society, markets are driven by consumers. If people werent sucking down those PB&C shakes, well more than likely Cold Stone Creamery wouldnt be making them.

But....wait a minute. Ice cream milkshakes have been around forever. There is nothing wrong with having a sweet, cold treat once in awhile. But at 2,010 calories a pop, this type of drink is not a treat, its a threat. Old fashioned milk shakes, even ice cream made from pure heavy cream, don't pack that sort of caloric punch. So clearly, Cold Stone is adding a lot of something else to its products.

On its website, the company is not entirely forthcoming about what that something else might be. In fact, rather obviously the information about its products (all of which, including PB&C, are trademarked) appears to imply that these milkshakes are leaner and more nutritional than milkshakes of yore. According to the company's ice cream FAQ's, the PB&C (TM) is nothing more than peanut butter, chocolate ice cream and skim milk (there is that masterful stroke to lull those itchy dieters).

And while the company likes to blat about how its ice cream is "made fresh daily" (not obviously trademarked), with only the freshest ingredients, it is darn hard to find out just exactly what those ingredients are - let alone what their nutritional value is.

In fact, it takes following about four links on their web site to finally drill down to the table that reveals the dietary horror that its products truly are. Personally I have never stepped foot in a Cold Stone Creamery but I am willing to bet its even harder to get nutrition information from a server at one of the franchises.

Besides which, that is not the point. The point is that this corporation, like McDonald's and so many other processed, fast food corporations that try to pass as responsible corporate citizens, is packing its products with an excess of sugar and fat, while simultaneously using copy that appears to promote health, responsiblity**, slimness and in some extreme cases, weight loss (even though in reality, their products results in its antithesis).

If this was America in the days before there was a Starbucks on every corner and a Lowe's in every strip mall, this wouldn't be so bad. Sure, there have always been eateries that have promoted severely unhealthy eating. But they were local businesses that had impact only within their own regional reach.

Nowadays, where Anywhere USA clones Olive Gardens, Chilli's, Cold Stone Creamerys in every hamlet, burg and city in this nation (and beyond), their menus reach us all. Their dietary influence is ubiquitous and pernicious, especially as the new breed of fast crap food is re-packaged in ways that lull people into thinking its safer and healthier.

Case in point: Cold Stone Creamery's architecture, internal decor, marketing and packaging plays on people's nostalgia and memories of days when ice cream was ice cream: sweet and a bit fatty, but certainly not three-pounds- of- bacon fatty!

*Named "Worst Beverage in America" by the authors of "Drink This, Not That!", a timely expose of the hidden calories in common and popular beverages like bottled, flavored water, ice teas, energy drinks and coffee and ice cream specialty drinks. Rather than just list calories and grams of sugar and fat, the book does a nice job of putting the #s into equivalents that people can immediately relate to - such as 68 slices of bacon.

** From the company web site comes this gem of meaningless marketing babble: " Despite the general perception that ice cream isn’t as good for you as it tastes, at Cold Stone, we’re all about making people happy – for the long haul! – which requires a balanced and sensible approach to eating fun treats like ice cream. We therefore obsess, far more than most companies, about the nutritional aspects of our products as much as we do their taste. For some people, Cold Stone is a ritualized special treat, for others, a daily must-have."