Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Wednesday, March 31, 2004 8:36 pm

Yay, me!

Filed under: Housekeeping — Lex @ 8:36 pm

I just now saw that Blog on the Run turned over 20,000 hits today. That’s not much compared with Glenn Reynolds, but it’s a milestone nonetheless.

The 20,000th hit came at 3:20 p.m. Eastern and was referred from the American Press Institute’s list of journalism-related blogs.

I’d like to thank the literally threes of people who help keep this blog one of the danker locations on the Internet. Oh, and the academy. God bless you all, and God bless America. Did I forget anything? No? OK, I’m going then.

Question of the day

J. writes: My spellchecker wants to replace “g********” with Gouda. Are they the same thing?

I answer: No. Gouda tastes much better.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2004 8:32 pm

If this is true, my son will live forever

Filed under: Ew. — Lex @ 8:32 pm

I have no idea whether this is true — a quick check of the usual legend-busting suspects turned up nothing — but in this article, a doctor claims that sinus mining is good and good for you.

Innsbruck-based lung specialist Prof Dr Friedrich Bischinger said people who pick their noses with their fingers were healthy, happier and probably better in tune with their bodies.He says society should adopt a new approach to nose-picking and encourage children to take it up. …

“And eating the dry remains of what you pull out is a great way of strengthening the body’s immune system. … “

Wasn’t it Nietzsche who said, “What doesn’t kill* me makes me stronger”? I guess I’d better get to pickin’, because after reading this I’m about to die.

*Actually, it’s “What does not DESTROY me … “

Monday, March 29, 2004 5:42 pm

Really bad Jesus movies and how to avoid them

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 5:42 pm

Some really timely advice, courtesy of Big Arm Woman. My personal favorite:

7. Lots of eyeliner = visual shorthand for morally compromised. See: Mary Magdalene and Judas. It makes you want to yell at the screen: “No, Jesus! Don’t trust him! Don’t you see he’s just a shill for Mary Kay? This can only end badly!”

Life on Mars?

Filed under: Salute! — Lex @ 12:55 pm

Not only have enough traces of water been found on Mars to suggest that the planet might once have held life, enough methane has been found in its atmosphere to suggest that there might be life there right now:

Methane is not a stable molecule in the Martian atmosphere. If it was not replenished in some way, it would only last a few hundred years before it vanished.Scientists see two possibilities, both of them scientifically important, but one of them is sensational. …

It is possible that the methane is being produced by volcanic activity. … So far, no active volcanic hotspots have been detected on the planet by the many spacecraft currently in orbit.

[But] if active volcanism were responsible then it would be a major discovery with important implications. The heat released by any volcanism would melt the vast quantities of sub-surface ice discovered on the planet, producing an environment suitable for life.

On Earth, there are organisms called methanogens – microbes that produce methane from hydrogen and carbon dioxide. These organisms do not need oxygen to thrive, and they are thought to be the type of microbes that could possibly live on Mars.

The twin US space agency rovers that landed on the Red Planet in January will be unable to answer the question of the methane’s origin as they are designed for geological work.
But future missions could include sensors to analyse the methane to determine where it came from.

Methanogens are better known by their vernacular name: politicians.

Sunday, March 28, 2004 8:29 pm

Getting tigered up

Filed under: Tigers — Lex @ 8:29 pm

Big soccer weekend for V — her team not only had to play its regular game Saturday, it also had to make up a game on Sunday that had been snowed out in the season’s first weekend. Yeah, you read that right. Snowed out. In North Carolina.

Saturday’s game was against the Dominoes, who were bigger, stronger, faster and rougher. They led by as much as 4-1 before the Tigers got tigered up late in the second half. Victoria scored the tying goal with 1 minute left on a spectacular play (well, spectacular for a 5-year-old who only started playing the game in September), outdribbling a pair of defenders and launching a perfectly angled kick from far to the right of the goal that just kissed the far post before hitting the net.

Unfortunately, the Dominoes got two breakaway goals in the last minute to account for the final margin.

This afternoon’s game was against the team with the best name in the league, the Mini Mias. And there was nothing mini about them, particularly the two Amazonian blondes who took the field in the second and fourth quarters (the third member of that trio was Victoria’s friend A. from church choir). Another Tiger’s dad joked about asking to see their birth certificates. At least I think he was joking. He wasn’t smiling.

They, too, were bigger, stronger, faster and rougher (one girl cleared out with her left arm in a way that would’ve gotten five fouls in a hurry in an ACC basketball game), and they ran to a 5-2 lead.

But they also made the mistake of bringing the Tigers up to their level of play. Well, not quite, but darned close: The Tigers made up in speed what they lacked in dribbling and passing skill, and Victoria and her teammate O. each scored twice in route to a tied 5-5 final. (One of the Tigers’ goals came an own-goal from one of the Mini Mias, but still.) The coach’s daughter didn’t score but made at least two goal-saving defensive plays, as did another Tiger, A. Coach and I both shook our heads at the outcome; I’d figured they were going to beat us by at least four.

Victoria, who can have very tender feelings sometimes, told me afterward, “Daddy, one of those girls kicked me in the leg and it hurt and it made me sad and I wanted to come out of the game, but I just kept playing because I wanted to win.” I’m going to count that as a lesson learned.

Here’s the funny part: Neither regular coach can be here next week because of a Boy Scout camping trip and a new baby, respectively. So I, who last played soccer more than 30 years ago, will be coaching Friday’s practice and next Saturday’s game. Any and all tips appreciated.

Stay tuned; this ought to be entertaining.

Getting tigered up

Filed under: Tigers — Lex @ 8:29 pm

Big soccer weekend for V — her team not only had to play its regular game Saturday, it also had to make up a game on Sunday that had been snowed out in the season’s first weekend. Yeah, you read that right. Snowed out. In North Carolina.

Saturday’s game was against the Dominoes, who were bigger, stronger, faster and rougher. They led by as much as 4-1 before the Tigers got tigered up late in the second half. Victoria scored the tying goal with 1 minute left on a spectacular play (well, spectacular for a 5-year-old who only started playing the game in September), outdribbling a pair of defenders and launching a perfectly angled kick from far to the right of the goal that just kissed the far post before hitting the net.

Unfortunately, the Dominoes got two breakaway goals in the last minute to account for the final margin.

This afternoon’s game was against the team with the best name in the league, the Mini Mias. And there was nothing mini about them, particularly the two Amazonian blondes who took the field in the second and fourth quarters (the third member of that trio was Victoria’s friend A. from church choir). Another Tiger’s dad joked about asking to see their birth certificates. At least I think he was joking. He wasn’t smiling.

They, too, were bigger, stronger, faster and rougher (one girl cleared out with her left arm in a way that would’ve gotten five fouls in a hurry in an ACC basketball game), and they ran to a 5-2 lead.

But they also made the mistake of bringing the Tigers up to their level of play. Well, not quite, but darned close: The Tigers made up in speed what they lacked in dribbling and passing skill, and Victoria and her teammate O. each scored twice in route to a tied 5-5 final. (One of the Tigers’ goals came an own-goal from one of the Mini Mias, but still.) The coach’s daughter didn’t score but made at least two goal-saving defensive plays, as did another Tiger, A. Coach and I both shook our heads at the outcome; I’d figured they were going to beat us by at least four.

Victoria, who can have very tender feelings sometimes, told me afterward, “Daddy, one of those girls kicked me in the leg and it hurt and it made me sad and I wanted to come out of the game, but I just kept playing because I wanted to win.” I’m going to count that as a lesson learned.

Here’s the funny part: Neither regular coach can be here next week because of a Boy Scout camping trip and a new baby, respectively. So I, who last played soccer more than 30 years ago, will be coaching Friday’s practice and next Saturday’s game. Any and all tips appreciated.

Stay tuned; this ought to be entertaining.

‘Til death did them part

Filed under: Sad — Lex @ 8:14 pm

They swore to spend the rest of their lives together. And so they did.

Saturday, March 27, 2004 11:40 am

“Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?”

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 11:40 am

Susan Madrak at The American Street compares the administration to “Animal House,” and you don’t have to be a liberal to enjoy it.

But of course

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 11:12 am

Of course I did. I was a freakin’ disc jockey for five years.

This is a particularly tough quiz in that spelling counts. With that taken into account, the only ones I missed were from a Chicago song and some from some songs I always changed stations on or turned the volume down on because they were so annoying, like “Died In Your Arms Tonight.”

Also: Not so much with the leg warmers, but around the time of “Purple Rain,” I was all about the parachute pants.

(Thanks to Jaden for the link.)

Friday, March 26, 2004 8:12 pm

Separated at birth?

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 8:12 pm

Sheikh Ahmed Yassin

Fidel Castro

(Phred had this idea.)

Thursday, March 25, 2004 8:12 pm

At least they’re not publishing racist T-shirts …

Filed under: Weird — Lex @ 8:12 pm

Two Detroit City Council members threaten to turn off the TV cameras and take their disagreement outside.

Two female members.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004 8:04 pm

Overheard today at work

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 8:04 pm

Co-worker 1: I almost went for the pork rinds.

Co-worker 2: You and George Bush.

Co-worker 1: Huh?

Co-worker 2: The first one.

Co-worker 1: Oh, yeah, I’d forgotten about that.

Co-worker 2: I can’t decide. On the one hand, there’s the Little Debbie Double Decker Oatmeal Crème Pie. But that probably has about 50 gazillion grams of fat.

Co-worker 1: In addition to being chemically impervious.

Co-worker 2: To what?

Co-worker 1: Pretty much everything, I think.

Co-worker 2: I guess I’ll just get the plain M&Ms. They don’t have any fat.*

Co-worker 1: Just carbohydrates.

Co-worker 2: Right.

Co-worker 1: But if you don’t burn those off, they turn into fat.**

Co-worker 2: No, they don’t.

Co-worker 1: Yes, they do.

Co-worker 2: No, they really don’t. Because of entropy, the Second Law of Thermodynamics, that stuff.

Co-worker 1: Ah.

Co-worker 2: Carbohydrate molecules are smaller than fat molecules. So fat molecules break down into carbohydrates. Carbohydrate molecules don’t build up into fats.**

Co-worker 1: Ah.

Co-worker 2: Entropy.

Co-worker 3: You guys have the most interesting conversations.

Co-worker 1: But it’s all in code.

Co-worker 2: Yeah, we’re really talking about what a [jerk] you are.

Co-worker 3: Oh. Well, at least I’ve got that going for me, then. Now gimme some M&Ms.

*Actually, one 1.69-ounce pack contains 10g of fat, 6g of that saturated. Which is only one of many reasons why our vending machines ought to offer SweeTarts, which are fat- and cholesterol-free, if not exactly Atkins-friendly. But I digress.

**DISCLAIMER: This might not actually be completely accurate.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004 9:08 pm

Everybody wants to rule the world. Here’s how.

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 9:08 pm

The Top 100 Things I’d Do If I Ever Became An Evil Overlord.

My personal favorite would probably be No. 34: “I will not turn into a snake. It never helps.”


Monday, March 22, 2004 6:05 pm

Must. Destroy. Lipids.

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 6:05 pm

It just occurred to me, apropos of absolutely nothing, that Lipitor sounds like the title character in a Japanese monster movie.

Sunday, March 21, 2004 8:44 pm

I always thought it’d be a few more years before we had dialogue like this:

Filed under: Hooper,Victoria — Lex @ 8:44 pm

Victoria: Hooper, get out!Hooper: No!

Victoria: Mommy! Daddy! Hooper is in the bathroom!

Daddy: So?

Victoria: He’s right in the middle of my privacy!

Hooper: Mommy said brush my teef and wash my face!

Victoria: Not while I’m using the potty!

Hooper: No! I! Don’t! Like that!

Victoria: OK, I’m going to stink up the room, then.

Upset

Filed under: Salute! — Lex @ 8:34 pm

I’ve had no use for the University of Alabama at Birmingham ever since it joined UNCC in the old Sun Belt Conference. But right this minute, UAB is my favorite school that’s not my alma mater and not in the ACC.

Saturday, March 20, 2004 5:40 pm

Antispecificity

Filed under: Hooper — Lex @ 5:40 pm

The good news: Hooper has decided that peeing or pooping in his pants is a bad thing.

The bad news: He has decided that it is such a bad thing that any alternative will do.

Friday afternoon, Ann took him with her to a consignment sale at an area church that I will not name because I presume Ann might like to go back to their consignment sale again sometime in her life. Hooper was being “good as gold,” she reported later, sitting quietly on the floor and playing with one of his toys. Next thing she knows, he’s announcing, “Mommy! I’ve gotta poop!” Which wouldn’t have been so bad except that he had dropped trou and was perched atop one of the clean potties being offered for sale.

Disaster was averted there, but later in the day she was not quite so lucky. As she and Hooper pull up to the house, she encounters a friend of ours. The two of them get to talking, so Hooper goes on inside the gate to play basketball … or so Ann assumes. Next thing she knows, he has peed and pooped … on our back deck. But, you know, she hadn’t unlocked the back door yet, and what’s a little guy to do?

He repeated that Saturday morning while I was doing laundry and he was — I thought — out playing on the swing set. He heard nature’s call and tried to heed it but ran out of time, he said.

Sigh.

I think it was Rita Rudner who said that the problem with guys and bathrooms is that they’re just not very … specific. And she was talking about grown-ups.

Friday, March 19, 2004 8:45 pm

Overheard in the office, or, Affirmation from colleagues

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 8:45 pm

Co-worker 1: Dude — what happened to your head? It’s bleeding! Oh … looks like a zit.

Co-worker 2:
No, actually, it’s where I tried to blow my brains out just now.

Co-worker 1: Hmm. (pause) You’re going to need a bigger gun.

Scary

Filed under: Why, yes, I AM a bad parent. Why do you ask? — Lex @ 8:44 pm

I had a couple of fun years in Boy Scouts. My brother stuck it out even longer than I did and eventually made Eagle Scout.

So why do I not want my son to join when he gets old enough?

Here’s why:

June 26, 1995, was not a typical day. Ask Dottie Pease. As she turned down Pinto Drive, Pease saw eleven men swarming across her carefully manicured lawn. Their attention seemed to be focused on the back yard of the house next door, specifically on a large wooden potting shed that abutted the chain-link fence dividing her property from her neighbor’s. Three of the men had donned ventilated moon suits and were proceeding to dismantle the potting shed with electric saws, stuffing the pieces of wood into large steel drums emblazoned with radioactive warning signs. Pease had never noticed anything out of the ordinary at the house next door.

A middle-aged couple, Michael Polasek and Patty Hahn, lived there. On some weekends, they were joined by Patty’s teenage son, David. As she huddled with a group of nervous neighbors, though, Pease heard one resident claim to have awoken late one night to see the potting shed emitting an eerie glow. “I was pretty disturbed,” Pease recalls. “I went inside and called my husband. I said, `Da-a-ve, there are men in funny suits walking around out here. You’ve got to do something.’”

What the men in the funny suits found was that the potting shed was dangerously irradiated and that the area’s 40,000 residents could be at risk. Publicly, the men in white promised the residents of Golf Manor that they had nothing to fear, and to this day neither Pease nor any of the dozen or so people I interviewed knows the real reason that the Environmental Protection Agency briefly invaded their neighborhood. When asked, most mumble something about a chemical spill. The truth is far more bizarre: the Golf Manor Superfund cleanup was provoked by the boy next door, David Hahn, who attempted to build a nuclear breeder reactor in his mother’s potting shed as part of a Boy Scout merit-badge project.

That’s why. Because the way Hooper’s going right now, he’d find a way to top this.

“Voyeurs never miss a trick … ”

Filed under: Salute! — Lex @ 8:43 pm

… and in all of television there’s no better voyeur than C-SPAN, which turned 25 this week. William Powers of the National Journal celebrates. You can dismiss what he says about John Kerry — it’s just an example — but what he says about C-SPAN, particularly in this era of media consolidation and news-as-entertainment, is dead on.

For anyone who has ever kept the toddlers during church, or, Strong contender for Funniest. Post. Ever.

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 8:42 pm

“Welcome, Ladies and gentlemen, to the first annual Ultimate Fighting Championship, toddler division! The Hayes Barton Methodist Church Doves class, in cooperation with Everlast and Chuck Norris, are pleased to present a one hour cage match free-for-all in which the top contenders, representing the elite toddler fighting schools in Raleigh, will duke it out for a cup of juice and some goldfish! I’m Nick Diamond…”

“And I’m Johnny Gomez, and we’ll be bringing the action to you LIVE!”

Monday, March 15, 2004 9:23 pm

She’d never make it in politics

Daddy?

Yeah, sweetie?

I’m sad.

How come?

Cuz all my friends at school are picking on me except C. and A.

Really? What are they saying?

They’re making fun of me because I’ve had tubes in my ears three times.

No kidding. How do they even know that?

I don’t know. They just do.

Hmm. Well, you could just ignore them.

But it makes me sad.

OK, how ’bout this: You tell ‘em [affecting Sam Kinison voice], “Well at least I don’t have GREEN GOO COMING OUT OF MY EARS ALL THE TIME!!”

Are you kidding?

Nope.

But wouldn’t that be like making fun of them?

Sure. But that’s part of the fun. Besides, then maybe they’d leave you alone.

But I don’t want to make fun of them. It’s not nice. I just want them to stop making fun of me.

Corrupt AND inept

Filed under: Why, yes, I AM a bad parent. Why do you ask? — Lex @ 9:18 pm

Daddy?

Yeah, sweetie?

Can I play a computer game tonight?

No, sweetie. You lost that privilege last night when you kept playing after I told you to stop.

Daddy! You are evil!

Unfortunately, that’s quite true, sweetie.

You haven’t learned how to be a good daddy!

Quite right, sweetie. I’m pretty much making it up as I go along.

I’m going to tell Memie that she needs to put you in time out.

Sweetie, you do what you think you have to do and I’ll do what I think I have to do. No hard feelings.

OK, then.

OK, then.

Sunday, March 14, 2004 7:36 pm

Hooper’s life of crime …

Filed under: Hooper — Lex @ 7:36 pm

… is off to an inauspicious start.

Hooper!

What, Daddy?

Did you get into Daddy’s Doritos?

No, Daddy!

C’mere. [sniffs] You did, too. You smell like Doritos.

No, I don’t! My tummy smells like cookies!

So you were in the cookies, too?

Um …

Kid, I catch people lying for a living. Don’t lie to Daddy again.

I won’t.

Good. Now who got into the grated cheese in the fridge?

Sissy.

Uh, no, buddy, Sissy couldn’t because Sissy’s over at [a friend]‘s house.

No treat tonight.

Daddy!

Look, you’ve already had — how many cookies?

One. Two. Fee. Four. ‘nother. ‘nother. ‘nother …

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Taking it out of her

Filed under: Tigers — Lex @ 11:53 am

The Tigers lost 4-3 to the Groovy Girls Saturday, and given how much faster the GGs were, the Tigers did well to keep the score so close.

We got there just as the game was starting, so V. sat for the first quarter. As the teams lined up for kickoff, she said, “They’re small.” And so they were, but boy, could they run. They scored almost immediately.

Victoria scored a goal in the third quarter. A teammate had sent the ball well into GG territory, and the entire pack loped off in pursuit. V. started toward the back of the pack, but by the time the pack got to the ball, it was her little orange-clad leg in front, kicking it straight in from about 10 feet out.

She played the second, third and most of the fourth quarter because the Tigers were short one player (who was at Disney World, so don’t feel bad for her). Afterward, rather than asking if I’d seen her score, she said, “Boy, scoring that goal took a lot out of me.”

It must have. She pretty much passed out as I read to her at bedtime from “The Phantom Tollbooth,” not the most soporific of novels.

Friday, March 12, 2004 10:03 pm

Sorrow

Filed under: Sad — Lex @ 10:03 pm

Hoy todos somos Españoles.

If you want to send condolences to the Spanish embassy, the address is 2375 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037.

The Embassy phone number, which you’ll need to enter for Internet flower orders, is 202.452.0100.

If you live in a large city, you might have a Spanish consulate nearby. A list of their locations is here.

(Thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the links.)

Warning: The Surgeon General has determined that cigarettes cheeseburgers are hazardous to your health

Lots of news recently on the fat front.

On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that by next year, obesity is expected to become America’s No. 1 killer, overtaking cigarette smoking. (For those interested, here are the top 10 causes of deaths in the U.S. in 2000, a link I stumbled across while searching for the previous link.)

On Wednesday, the House passed a bill banning lawsuits against restaurants for health problems caused by eating.

Kevin “Calpundit” Drum suggests we’ve got ourselves something of a, you’ll pardon the term, Mexican standoff:

On the one hand, I don’t think much of using civil damage suits aimed at a specific industry as a way of changing social policy. Down that road lies madness.

But at the same time, I also don’t think much of Congress exempting specific industries from the civil justice system. That can lead to some madness of its own.

Unfortunately, these two principles seem pretty well balanced, so I can’t figure out which one is more important. Tentatively, I think I’m opposed to Congress fiddling in such a specific manner with the civil justice system. I’d rather have them propose general reforms that would broadly affect the ability to bring lawsuits like this. Once that’s done, let the system work equally for every industry.

Unfortunately, I think the dilemma in which we find ourselves is a bit more complicated than just that. And that’s pretty complicated to start.

First, I think the responsibility for maintaining one’s own health lies primarily with oneself. I see the government’s role as more limited: protecting us from the things we cannot protect ourselves from and the market will not protect us from, such as dirty air and water and contaminated food.

Moreover, like Drum, I oppose using civil litigation against a specific industry to change social policy.

But, also like Drum, I oppose exempting specific industries from civil justice, particularly when there may be no other curb, public or private, on the industry’s behavior and particularly when such legislation comes before the industry’s responsibility, or lack thereof, is determined. An example would be Congress’ granting retroactive immunity to Eli Lilly against lawsuits alleging its vaccine preservative Thimerosal had caused autism in children. If Thimerosal caused the autism (still an open scientific question as far as the government is concerned) and the company knew or should have known, it ought to be as vulnerable to lawsuits as any company whose immediate past North American head was not the White House budget director.

Where I’m going with this is three years into the past, when Malcolm Gladwell published an article in the March 5, 2001, New Yorker about the nation’s love affair with fast food. It points out that after animal fats were linked to health problems, a lot of fast-food makers switched to vegetable oils. But many of them were hydrogenated, or trans unsaturated, fats — the now-infamous “trans fats” — which are much worse for you:

According to a recent study involving some eighty thousand women, for every five-per-cent increase in the amount of saturated fats that a woman consumes, her risk of heart disease increases by seventeen per cent. But only a two-per-cent increase in trans fats will increase her heart-disease risk by ninety-three per cent.

Put another way, french fries fried in saturated fat are bad for you. But french fries fried in trans fat are little salty death sticks.

But, Gladwell points out, there are other options, such as Olestra, the “fake fat” that carries little of the health risk of traditional fats. It is, he says, “entirely possible, right now, to make a delicious French fry that does not carry with it a death sentence.” Moreover, scientists at Auburn University used a seaweed derivative called carageenan to develop a variety of beef for hamburgers that not only contained only 5 percent fat (vs. 20 percent for “regular” ground beef), it also beat regular hamburgers in blind taste testing and in such characteristics as “likability,” “tenderness,” “flavorfulness,” and “juiciness.”

McDonald’s actually marketed burgers made with this new, healthier beef: Perhaps you remember the McLean Deluxe sandwich. No? Yeah, well, it lasted less than four years before being pulled because of poor sales. Why? Because it was marketed as healthy. People only preferred it in blind taste tests, when they didn’t know that what they were eating was better for them, Gladwell says:

For years, the nutrition movement in this country … has assumed that the best way to help people improve their diets is to tell them precisely what’s in their food, to label certain foods good and certain foods bad. But transparency can backfire, because sometimes nothing is more deadly for our taste buds than the knowledge that what we are eating is good for us. McDonald’s should never have called its new [sandwich] the McLean Deluxe, in other words. They should have called it the Burger Supreme or the Monster Burger, and then buried the news about reduced calories and fat in the tiniest type on the remotest corner of their Web site. And if we were to cook fries in some high-tech, healthful cooking oil — whether Olestrized beef tallow or something else with a minimum of trans and saturated fats — the worst thing we could do would be to market them as healthy fries. They will not taste nearly as good if we do. They have to be marketed as better fries, as Classic Fries, as fries that bring back the rich tallowy taste of the original McDonald’s.

It is interesting to ponder what might have happened to McDonalds’ sales, and the nation’s health, if the chain had done what Gladwell would later recommend. The blind taste tests suggest consumers would never have been the wiser and might even have liked the new burgers better, boosting Mickey D’s sales.
Moreover — and this is where we get back to the lawsuits and the role of government — I’ve got to wonder: In the absence of an overwhelming market preference to the contrary (or, in this case, any preference to the contrary at all), what is a company’s legal, moral and ethical responsibility to use a safer ingredient, to make a safer product? It hardly seems fair for me to sue McDonald’s because I love cheeseburgers. But it also hardly seems fair for McDonald’s to serve me cheeseburgers that are so lethal when a safer, equally “effective” (i.e., in this case, tasty) alternative is available.

Could McDonalds’ current recipes be construed as the kind of “contamination” from which, many people believe, the government has a legitimate role to play in protecting us?

I’m just askin’.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004 9:17 pm

Rants

Filed under: Salute! — Lex @ 9:17 pm

I used to think I was pretty good at rants, back in the day. In fact, if you looked hard, you could probably find a few people who knew me back in the day who would tell you I was pretty good at rants. Hell, for all I know, I might even have been pretty good at rants.

But one thing’s for sure: Where ranting is concerned, I am no Sour Bob.

For which fact my wife probably is grateful.

An alternative to offshoring?

A guy in Massachusetts decided to try something different: offering overseas wages to domestic workers.

It “worked,” in the sense that he got employees and employees got jobs — even if it was for half of what they used to make, they still get to do what they enjoy and/or are trained to do.

It doesn’t address the long-term problem of how to keep U.S. wages from dropping to Third World levels — a phenomenon that a lot of CEOs and stock analysts, frankly, don’t give a damn about — but at least it’s helping keep jobs here in the U.S.

Me, I’m just waiting for investment banks to start offshoring their analyst jobs … because there’s no economic reason why they shouldn’t. Then maybe we’ll see if analysts think offshoring is such a hot idea.

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