24 Nov. 2007
SETI League
PriUPS Project

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Nutrition Facts

I don't generally do a lot of blessing.  Even when in the presence of a sneezer I rarely emit the traditional "God bless you," despite its almost exclusively secular connotation in that context.  Usually I punctuate the post-sternutational silence with the imperative "Don't be defective!"  So, when the Thanksgiving weekend rolls around, my first reaction is not to engage in the usual mawkish expressions of thanks for our "blessings."  And yet I am not  totally unsusceptible to the emotion.  Rather, though, I try to thank in my alleged mind if necessary and in person if possible those people and institutions responsible for the fact that I and most of "mine" are in reasonable fettle and have the opposite body mass index problem of our early settlers.  I won't do the whole thanks thing herethis is not an award ceremony after all, and I'm not drunk.  But let me nominate one institution, more often reviled than praised, for its contribution to our well-being.

Q:  I looked ahead.  Surely you aren't about to nominate McDonalds?
A:  Not exclusively.  Although I'm using a McDonalds product as an illustration, I would also include Burger King and others.

Q:  Yecch.
A:  Yecch me no disgust, or at least save it for the "closed for R&R" item later in this same blog.

The Value Menu

You may recall that the "evils" of fast food were exhibited in a movie called "Super Size Me" which came out in 2004.  I never saw the movie, but I just read a summary and was shocked (shocked!) to discover that a more-or-less standard size male human suffered ill effects and weight gain after eating 5,000 calories per day of McDonalds, and nothing but McDonalds victuals, for a full month.  I will admit to an admiration for his bravery and sagacity in parlaying this non-life-threatening albeit briefly unpleasant activity into fame and megabucks.  I'm sure others have similar diets and have also suffered ill effects but have made neither money nor movies.  These people are probably more accurately characterized as "stupid." 

None of which is really germane to the main point of this blogitem.  Neither is my own dalliance with the Fast Food Empire, which has devolved from frequent consumption during college days to a roughly seasonal outing in my present state of dotage.  I simply mention it for the record.  My actual point is this:

McDonalds (and the others, to an approximation) will sell you 440 calories of yummy, nourishing food for one dollar.  If you don't think that a double cheeseburger is yummy and nourishing, please get in touch with me at my SETI email address as you clearly haven't been living on our planet for long. 

That's pretty much it.  The caloric concept bears a bit of philosophizing.  For most of humanity's existence, scurrying and fighting for food has been an or even the priority.  Now, at least in the United States, with the minimum wage law dictating a lightly- or even un-taxed $5.85 an hour, any worker can supply at least his own caloric requirement with one hour of toil per day.  In two hours, he could choose to consume twice that and make his own movie.  It is true that eating only McDonalds food, even with the caloric balance implied by the single-hour toil, would not supply all his nutritional requirements.  But that is hardly the fault of McDonalds! They do what they do, and we can all be "thankful" that they offer the "value menu" and that their competitors offer an equivalent.  (Reciprocally, McDonalds, I'm sure, is thankful that many patrons purchase sodas, potatoes, and the other sandwiches whose markups permit the company to remain extant.  I personally view this excess as the equivalent of entering the RIKL Lottery.)

Nutrition  information for McDonlads beef products as supplied with their $1.00 Double Cheeseburger

McDonalds Double Cheeseburger before the No Cukes activists have at the embedded pickles At left, a $1.00 double cheeseburger on the hoof.  At right, it's separated to provide access to the pickles for the hazmat squad.  As a member of the No-Cukes movement, I am personally authorized to certify their destruction. Double Cheeseburger, pickles exposed for extermination.

...so, in closing, at this sober time of Thanksgiving, let me praise and render kudos to that most noble of American Enterprises, the fast food industry, without whose sacrifice one would have to work almost a half hour to earn two cheeseburger patties.

Closed for R&R

Speaking of food, Serendipity, my favorite dessert emporium, was closed by the New York City health department on account of R&R a couple of weeks ago.  That's R&R as in "rats and roaches."  I've been eating there for decades, albeit less frequently since I moved to New Jersey.  I guess R&R must agree with me in all its guises, since I've occasionally gone there before or after concerts, and neither has made me sick.

And speaking of blessings, one assumes that they will reopen if indeed they haven't already done so.  When they do, one further assumes that the lines to get in won't be so long.  While I don't wish the restaurant any loss of custom, waiting for hours to score a Frozen Hot Chocolate does get tedious.

NP:  "Change Partners" - Stephen Stills

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