Sunday, February 27, 2011

Eat it or don't, but you know what you're getting

From Facebook posts, to links on walls to tweets to op-ed pieces online, people have been recently talking about the McDonald's Oatmeal. Here's the shocking news... it's unhealthy. Shocked? Maybe a little because it's oatmeal. Then again... it isn't just oatmeal. It's McDonald's oatmeal. Maybe you're not surprised but many people are. Nothing at McDonald's is healthy. It's greasy, fatty, processed, disgusting food. Don't get me wrong. I love McDonald's. But I love it for what it is. Tasty, unhealthy, convenient food. I don't love it because it falls in line with healthy living or a conscious choice to eat well. The NY Times commentator mentioned that McDonald's pulls in $16.5 billion annually, which is just under the GDP of Afghanistan. They're not a small, new company that can pull the wool over your eyes.

This is not about McDonald's. This is not about oatmeal. This is about expectations and being realistic. If you think you can go to McD's every day and just get an oatmeal to be healthy, you're fooling yourself and, frankly, get what you deserve when you balloon up a whole bunch of pounds. We are all so entitled... in our minds. We deserve to know this. We shouldn't be fooled. We should this and shouldn't that and deserve this and are owed that. Grow up, people. You deserve to pay attention to what you buy, use, ingest and basically surround your life with. It's your life. As I've said a million times before - the business of business is business. You think McDonald's cares about your health? They care about the health of their share prices. You think Whole Foods cares about your health? No. They sell you healthy shit because they know you'll overpay for it so you can eat that and use your treadmill as a hat rack. They are there to make a buck. Is it cynicism that makes me this way? No. It's my inability to keep my head in the sand, only to pull it out when looking at the world through rose colored glasses (2-for-1 sale on cliches today).

I don't make great choices when it comes to food. But when I'm 900 pounds smoking through a hole in my throat praying the Cirrhosis goes away, I'll have a drink and say cheers to knowing I was making bad choices. The point is that, while I may not do what's right for my body, I know I'm doing it and I'll take full responsibility when the time comes or hopefully have an epiphany and commit to change before I need to take responsibility.

I won't sue Marlboro for the Emphysema. I won't require a new, larger "Warning: Coffee is hot" label when I spill it on my lap. If you buy coffee and don't expect it to be hot, just dump it on your head and save us all the trouble. Meanwhile, as an aside, if someone got coffee and spilled it and it was lukewarm, they'd go back for a new one and while they were there they'd say, "I spilled this and need another one and by the way, can you make this one hot? I didn't pay for room temperature coffee. Do your damn job." Damned if you do, damned if you don't, as they say.

Take a look a the minimum wage high schoolers (or high school dropouts, depending on the time of day) working at McDonald's. Do you think they're handcrafting your meals in the back. Are they using real rolled oats and sprinkling cinnamon and sugar with creative care and culinary pride? They sling a bowl in the microwave, pop a lid on it, pretend to smile and overcharge you.

You're paying too much for unhealthy food. You know it. I know it. They certainly know it. Yet we all keep doing it. Let McD's make even just $1 billion next year and see what happens. If I offer to sell you a punch in the nose for a buck and you take it, that's your bad for doing it, not mine for suggesting it. So until McDonald's starts detouring you into their parking lot and mugging you... realize it's a choice.

Oh... and for the folks that get on their case for their advertising, here's a thought. I know they say "100 percent natural whole-grain oats, plump raisins, sweet cranberries, and fresh crisp apples." Not a lie. That is exactly the product list in the oatmeal. At least that is what they purchased. They took those items and modified and preserved them in way that they are ready to be flung through a drive-through window into your car. The other ingredients that make it unhealthy do the same job.

Once again, buyer beware. If you want to hand over your hard earned money to someone, it's your job to make sure it's worthwhile. They just sell the stuff, that's their interest. Your health and finances should be yours.

Leave comments and I'll reply when I get back from the drive-through.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Top of the Hops Beerfest

So last night was the Top of the Hops Beerfest here in Biloxi. I was on a mission to have a 2 ounce shot from all 150 beers. I have to admit that after about a dozen of these shots I realized it may be harder than initially anticipated. The variety of types made it tough. Plus I only had 4 hours to do it in. Given the amount of shots to do and the amount of people walking around it was mathematically impossible to have them all. So here's the list of what I managed to get:


Abita Brewing Company-Turbodog
Abita Brewing Company-Restoration
Anchor Brewing-Anchor Steam
Anheuser-Busch-Budweiser American Ale
Atlanta Brewing Company-Red Brick Blonde
Beck's Brewery-Becks
Blue Moon Brewing Company-Belgian White
Blue Moon Brewing Company-Spring Blonde Wheat Ale
Carlesburg USA-Kronenbourg 1664
Covington Brewhouse-Ponchartrain Pilsner
Flying Dog Brewery-Doggie Style
Flying Dog Brewery-Tire Bite Golden Ale
Grolsch Brewery-Premium Lager
In Bev-Stell Artois
Jacob Leinenkugel's Brewing Company-Berry Weiss
Jacob Leinenkugel's Brewing Company-Sunset Wheat
JW Dundee-Honey Brown Lager
Kirin Brewery Co-Ichiban
McSorley's Brewery-Irish Pale Ale
McSorley's Brewery-Black Lager
Michelob Brewing Company-Pale Ale
Mike's Hard Lemonade-Margarita Lime
Mike's Hard Lemonade-Lemonade
Mike's Hard Lemonade-Black Cherry
Mike's Hard Lemonade-Cranberry Lemonade
Mike's Hard Lemonade-Strawberry Lemonade
Newcastle-Newcastle Brown
Pabst Brewing Company-Pabst Blue Ribbon
Peroni Brewery-Peroni
Pilsner Urquell Brewery-Pilsner Urquell
Rogue Ales-Dead Guy Ale
Rolling Rock Beer-Rolling Rock
Rolling Rock Beer-Rolling Rock Light
Samuel Adams-Boston Lager
Samuel Adams-Noble Pils
Smirnoff-Blueberry Lemonade
Smirnoff-Green Apple
Spoetzl Brewery-Brewery Bock
Spoetzl Brewery-Spring Ale Dortmunder
St. Pauli Brauerei-St. Pauli Girl
Woodchuck Draft Cider-Amber
Woodchuck Draft Cider-Granny Smith

Those are the 45 I tasted in about 2 hours. If there was less of a crowd I could have gotten through much more of the list. Many of what I got to taste were delicious and new. Tasting new beers is an excellent way to spend an evening.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

A lesson in language

I've spoken about this topic before but I think it needs to be said again. Chances are it will need to be said in the future again. And it'll never have an impact and nobody will change, but I'm going to feel it anyway. That's the magic of a blog. I can say whatever I want. You can not like it all you want. You can't dare shut  me up. You can make your own blog. You can leave me comments, but I can still say what I want. On with the show…

You may have noticed that last week my Facebook count went from about 1,000,000 to 0. The last post before my strike, break, hiatus, etc had said that I was going into Facebook hibernation because I could no longer take the stupidity and lack of education. It only lasted a week because regardless of that, there's a lot of information to be found there.

That, however, is not a free pass to idiocy. Let me make one thing clear. I understand mistakes. I'm not without my own flaws. I have just as many as the next guy, if not more. I'm also not infallible. Even things I know how to do, I sometimes get wrong. We all err. What I'm talking about is the inability to use knowledge that started getting poured into at age 5. I'm talking about foundational information about basic spelling, sentence structure, word usage and English mechanics. This is not taught only at college. This is not taught in first grade and left alone for the next 11 years. This is started early on and built on throughout your education and reiterated and reinforced. You're reminded of it constantly. Yet it seems to be of so little importance to so many people that I fear for where we are headed. If our generation cares so little; what will we pass on to the next?

I mentioned some of these the last time:

• too = also. "I'll be there too." Think of the extra person/item/etc as the extra O.
• you're = you are. the ' should clue you in that it used to be 2 words
• their = ownership. I'm going to there house is not correct - at all.

Then there's things like:

• i could of gone, but didn't. Could of. Think about that. Does it make any sense?  It's could've. Another ' there. What did we just learn that means? It was 2 words. Could have.
• Gone. Use gone… not went. I could have went. WRONG. I went. We went. He/she/it went. I/You/We/He/She/It could've gone.
• Then and than. Then is a timeline. This happened and then this happened. Than compares. This is better than that.

Forget slang in type. We speak in slang because it's faster and we're lazy. If you're making 1000 posts per day and still type slowly, work on it. Typing in this nonsense language makes you look like an idiot. Someone on Facebook made a post about not jumping off a bridge if his friends did. Rather he'd be at the bottom to catch them. Here is a friend's response (a friend who is an adult with a legitimate career type job):
"id b at tha bottom to catch em then answer my phone rite b4 dey landed lmao j/p"

There is a huge difference between using shorthand and sounding like an ignorant fool. I say things like "gonna" instead of "going to." I understand shorthand. It makes sense. The above quote is not shorthand. Tha and the are the same amount of letters.

The real issue at hand is not the typos. It's not even the lack of education or the mistakes in and of themselves. Our educational system has its flaws. English is said to be the most difficult language to learn because of all the exceptions to all the rules. This, however, is also not a free pass to idiocy.

I take issue with the lack of caring. People make mistakes and don't care. People make mistakes and are almost proud of them. If you correct someone, you're a spelling Nazi; you're an asshole. You get told "Who cares if I spell shit wrong?" Well…um… an employer might. Who cares if they meant to say "you're hired," but said, "you're not hired." By not caring, I'm also including the people who make light of it. This happens in 2 ways. The first is when people make excuses, "Oh I was typing and not paying attention and must have mis-hit a key," to which I reply "Really? The last 37 times in a row? No, you just don't know the usage." The other way is when people aren't sure if you're talking about them, but they know they're guilty and say, "Oh that bothers you? I can't imagine what you think of what I say then." So you know you do it, but you're going to be dismissive about it? That basically says, "I do it too. It annoys you. I'm not going to stop. I hope you don't tell me directly how it makes you feel."

I've also been told, "It's the Internet. It doesn't matter." Au contraire. It matters even more on the Internet. Why? Because the entire globe can see it. Because we are looked upon as lazy, self-indulgent Americans. Because we are no longer the world's greatest superpower. We're broke, we're are war, we're pushy with our politics and now… now we're stupid too. Yet, for caring about seeing people I know sound like intelligent, functioning members of society I'm the pedantic, pontificating, pretentious (anymore P words?) asshole.

So if you see me stop responding to you online; if I delete you; or if I disappear for chunks of time - it's because while you're saying things like "im goin to there house for dis party," I'm off bettering myself because I like being smart. I like making money. I like being respected. I've never been proud of mistakes and I've never understood why it was cool to sound dumb.

I'm sure in six months I'll be frustrated enough to do this all over again.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

The business of business is business

If you are a football fan or watch the news you may have heard about the seat debacle at the Super Bowl two days ago. Jerry Jones wanted to sell more tickets than any other Super Bowl. So they put in new, temporary seats - 1200 of them. Then the fire marshal came along and made most of them get removed. The folks left standing were given an apology and a ticket to next year's Super Bowl. The argument is that what if their teams are not in next year's big game? Then they still get to see a Super Bowl, which most people do not, or they sell the tickets for a ton of cash. Mistakes were made. I get that. Reparations were attempted. It's not like Jerry Jones screwed these people on purpose. Shit happens.

I read an article today by Sally Jenkins of The Washington Post that disgusted me. She rambled on and on about bloated prices and "Jerry World" and $19 margaritas, $12 wine, and $10 beer. She complained about the precedent that was set this year by having the Super Bowl at Dallas Stadium being that it's so extravagant and beautiful and fancy and expensive. She complained about the football being about the money and a multi-billion dollar industry (the NFL generates $9 billion annually itself). She actually called the NFL a "divorced-from-reality-debauch."

People are in business to make money, plain and simple. If I charged you a dollar to read this article, you MIGHT pay it. If I charged $3/month and ensured weekly postings, you MAY pay it. If I charged you $15 every time you clicked on this site, you absolutely would not pay it. So it's a simple case of supply and demand. People are buying the $19 margaritas. They are spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars on tickets. The first time a stadium has 6 people there for a game because fans can't afford to go, ticket prices will be adjusted.

Dallas Stadium was VERY expensive and taxpayers financed a part of it. That's the way it goes. Ever ask a Texan about football? It is the biggest thing in Texas; and everything in Texas is already pretty big. They love their football. They love their Cowboys. They go to the games and pay the prices and support the team. Do you think smaller market teams can afford a stadium like that? I don't see Kansas City looking for a replica of the stadium in Dallas any time soon. Even New York, as huge as it is, has its teams share a stadium - and the stadium is in New Jersey. Sure they got a huge tax break on the privately financed stadium. Yes, Ms. Jenkins, the deficit for New Jersey is $36 billion. Football is not a charity. The NFL doesn't owe anybody anything. It is entertainment. People are being entertained. Done. Are teams and the NFL skipping out their respective tabs and not paying taxes? Are they defrauding the government? If so, call the IRS. If not, then their debts are settled.

You had the nerve to actually say, "We've allowed league owners to cash in on American pride, and hunger for entertainment. We should insist they share American economic problems." This sentence is s poorly thought out. They cashed in on pride, sure but mostly it was fans who are proud of their local team and hometown heroes. They cashed in on our hunger for entertainment? THEY'RE ENTERTAINERS. If they didn't then you'd bitch they got paid for nothing. Insist they share our economic problems? You are a lunatic, plain and simple. What kind of crazy, socialist are you that thinks that the NFL should pay down our debt? Are you screaming for Apple to pay off California's debt because it's the richest company there? What about Microsoft in Washington? Since when is it the responsibility of a FOR PROFIT company to dip into those profits to help a state? If they want to, great. That's some nice goodwill, but to insist? I insist you quit your job immediately and stop poisoning America with your words. Am I going to get my way? No. Because you wrote that and someone agreed to print it. Just the way they charge $10 for a beer and someone agrees to pay.

I have had it with this hand holding, star wishing, rainbow shitting, s'more making, Kumbaya singing, let's help each other socialist society. Since when did the loony, lefty, liberals get so feisty anyway? They're not insistent usually. Anyway, I've had it. If I own a business to make a buck and I make a buck, then nobody else deserves my buck. And rest assured, nobody will get it. If I decide that my product that's worth a buck should be sold for 10 bucks and people flock to spend 10 times more than it's worth, then guess what? I'm gonna sell it for 10 bucks. It's called buyer beware.

Would you spend $80,000 on a Kia? No. But if someone says they have a Kia for sale at that price and stupid, uninformed people throw money at that guy... well who is he to say no? The business of business is business. The business of business is not social responsibility and caring for the feelings of people. I'm not saying to screw people intentionally.

Back to football for a minute. Fans want big plays. Nobody gets excited watching them run the ball up the gut for a yard. People want long runs, big passes, interceptions. This requires excellent players risking their bodies. Fans want a longer season. That's more injuries. That's more training. That's more of everything. Unless the center wants to get creamed by a 300-pound nose tackle and do it all pro bono, I'd say we better pay these men, these warriors, these modern day gladiators. When you're physically beaten so badly that you're career is over at an age when most industries are at their height, you need compensation. It's a game and you play it because you love it. Fans love it too and they pay to watch you play.

This is not just about football. This is about Apple selling a phone for $600 and a tablet for $800. This is about upscale bars with $30 martinis. This is about Samsung updating it's line of TVs twice a year in hopes people will keep putting out the shekels to pay for it. No company will intentionally go broke. So, talk to the people about overpaying. When the well runs dry, the companies will figure it out. Until then, leave it alone.

They charge, we pay. Such is the fiscal circle of life.