That's Just the Way I See It
Monday, November 15, 2004
  I spoke too soon...
Well, as has been the case the last couple of weeks, I've made a statement before verifying it.

It's not a huge deal, just that Blogspot/Blogger allows commenting on free blogs now. Since I haven't posted in 10 months (give or take), and they've changed ownership in that time, I'm not surprised to see the change. I just wish I knew about it ahead of time.

Comments are a good thing. Use them. Tell me what you think. Tell me to go to hell. Tell me to stab a screwdriver into my keyboard (but don't expect to be the first to do so). Tell me to keep writing. Just don't attack other comment posters. And try to keep the bickering to a minimum.

Thanks, and now back to your regularly scheduled evening. 
  The future looks bleak...
As someone posted (in someone else's blog... There's no comment system here!) in response to the "Morning After" letter I referenced in my last post, "We cannot fight the super villain that is Bush. Our powers are too feeble....."

I would reassure them (and Craigslist) to fear the worst:

By this time next year, Bush will have passed the 28th Amendment, banishing all homosexuals to Canada. Right after that, with nobody but "Teh Christian Right" left to complain, he'll pass the 29th Amendment, which will repeal the 22nd Amendment. Americans will rejoice in voctory. It will also include a provision for Bush to finally reach his lifelong goal, being named "Emperor for Life" over the hapless plebes of the United States.

In early 2006, to appease his buddy Ah-nold, he'll pass Amendment 30 (or XXX, for the nostalgic), allowing all humans to be nominated for election to Presidency. Not just citizens, of course, but EVERYone. Age won't matter, neither will IQ (since IQ hasn't mattered yet). Arnold will love it just as much as Bush's good buddy Tony Blair, but they'll both be too giddy to realise that the 29th Amendment makes it all a moot point anyway.

With the opposition out of the way, Emperor Bush will nuke France, Germany, and any other complaining members of the United Nations. Owners of Citroens will weep quietly, but Bush will spare the Audi, Porsche, BMW, and Mercedes plants. His buddies still need to drive, after all.

With the appointment of "good ol' boy" Alberto "Ol Bert" Gonzales to the position of Attorney General, and "Candi" Condoleeza Rice to the position of Secretary of State, Bush will also realise his goal of turning the Middle-East into a sheet of glass. Tempered glass, mind you, not plate glass. That wouldn't pass OSHA inspection.

The Glassification of Mesopotamia(tm) will be scheduled around 9 AM Eastern Time on Sept 11, 2006, and will be set to music and fireworks commemorating the 5th anniversary of Bush approving the "first strike" of the War on Terrah. Shortly after, Halliburton will reveal new technology for oil derricks specially built to drill through 10 feet of tempered glass. The patents for the derricks will reveal stamps of approval dated September 3, 2001.

Sometime around 2010, while Bush swims in the diamond-studded pool he bought with his latest personal tax cut, the Earth's crust will open up along the San Andreas Fault. Satan will emerge and immediately head for Camp David to confront Bush. Upset that Bush is stealing his gig, Satan will take a swipe at "Dubya". With a wave of his hand and a patented smirk, Chimperor Bush will have Satan liquidated.

With his greatest opposition out of the way, Bush will snicker evilly (he just can't laugh, that's all). The rest of the world will watch as lava pours from the crevasse in California, slowly engulfing the Earth's surface. Helpless to do anything, the former People of Earth will sit in Heaven shaking their heads, mouths open. "See?" one of them will say. "I told you he'd send the world to Hell. The Idiot seems to have forgotten the handbasket, though."

Copyright 2004, John Breen III

Note: Not that I usually have to worry about such things, but if you decide to quote this, you should at least have the decency to credit me for it, thus the "Copyright".
  I'm Baa-aack!!!
Well, after a long, long hiatus (5 weeks, 10 months, who's counting?), I've come back to this blog. I haven't even written in my personal blog all that much in the last 10 months, but I haven't had much relevant commentary on the world in that time, either.

Among the myriad observations I COULD make, I've tried to make a conscious decision to stay out of the political arena. Why? Because plenty of other people have already taken it upon themselves do talk about politics, and I don't have much else to add. Plus, I can't stand arguing about politics. There's too much whining and posturing on both sides of the political issues without me getting in the way.

That said, I've had this evening's post bubbling up in me for quite some time now. I just didn't have anyone come along to provoke me in the right way to get it all down in writing.

Today, I found this letter posted on someone else's blog. Of course, the copywright was somehow "misplaced" along the way, as it seems to be making its way through the inboxes of the world. In any case, it didn't take long to find the original source, and give the author proper credit, as I've done here.

That aside, the fact that people are echoing the sentiment in this letter finally gave me the push I needed to get over my writer's block, get off my ass, and blog again.

I'll ignore the obvious errors in the letter (most pertinent, that we were supposed to be looking for Bin Laden 4 years ago, even though Clinton was still getting his "winkie whacked" in the Oval Office 4 years ago), and let it stand or fall on its own. 48% (or less) of the country will agree with it, 51% (or less) of the country will disagree with it, and at least 1% (if not vastly more) of the country won't give two shakes of a stick, because the election is done, and they're already "over it".

Either way, I'm hoping my reader(s) will understand why I had to do what I did when I post later this evening. It just had to be done, because That's Just the Way I See It.
Thursday, January 29, 2004
  No Free Ice Cream
No free ice cream for a while. Taking a hiatus from writing and publishing for a week or 5. In the mean time, check out Transterrestrial Musings for space policy blogging, A Voyage to Arcturus for space-related blogging, and GeekPress for random "geek" news. 
Saturday, January 24, 2004
  Gilded or Golden?

That's the question my US History teacher posed to us my sophomore year in high school. It's one of those things that, because it was repeated so often, just kind of stays with you. "When we look at the American Dream, we have to ask ourselves, is it gilded, or golden?" Some people might ask the same question about the Golden Arches. Are they really Golden, or are they Gilded, and inherently evil?

Morgan Spurlock seems apt to promote the latter opinion. According to the article, Spurlock decided to do an "experiment" wherein he would eat 3 meals a day for 30 days at McDonald's, and see how he felt afterwards. He would also document the entire thing and release it as a film, now titled "Super Size Me".

Spurlock, a film producer who grew up in West Virginia and studied ballet for eight years, was spurred to make his first feature film while watching TV on Thanksgiving Day, 2002.

"I was feeling like a typical American on Thanksgiving - very bloated and happy on the couch - and at some point on the news they were talking about two women who were suing McDonald's.

"People from the food industry were saying, 'You can't link kids being fat to our food - our food is nutritious.'

"I said, 'How nutritious is it really? Let's find out."

Miles O'Brien, anchor for CNN, compares him to Michael Moore in this article. Spurlock is grateful for the comparison.

And, after all, why shouldn't he be? He took a wholly ridiculous premise - eating 3 meals a day at McDonald's - and further perverted it to promote his own agenda. Just by reading the passage above, it's obvious that he went into the "experiment" with a closed mind, determined to prove that McDonald's food is unhealthy. He bases this on the fact that some parents are going for the "deep pockets" by suing McDonald's because they let their kids play video games all day and lay around the house, rather than forcing them to play outside and trying to help their children make healthy meal choices. If I was McDonald's, I'd counter-sue based on the parents' lack of ability to properly educate their children about eating healthy.

I have yet to find any mention of the "control" in this "experiment". Nothing is said about what Spurlock used to eat, what his exercise regiment was before and during the experiment, or any other factors that might mitigate and explain the 30 pounds he gained. In fact, the NY Post article mentioned that his girlfriend is a vegan chef. Presumably with such a "health conscious" girlfriend, he is used to eating a lot less protein than he got during this one-month trial.

Also suspect is the fact that the majority of the meals he ate were "super-sized". Now, while McDonald's and other fast-food companies promote and advertise their increased-portion meals, I have never had one of their employees FORCE me to order more food than I asked for. And it also appears from all account that he made little if any effort to try to stick to McDonald's salads; he opted for super-sized burger-based meals instead.

Now, I'll admit that while I was in high school, and regularly active, any time I'd go out to eat, I'd opt for the larger meal. But back then, my metabolism was a lot higher, and there was also a sense of "machismo" associated with ordering a "super size" when you were out with your buddies. Coupled with a part-time job and no bills to pay, it was a lot easier to afford and justify eating more on the rare occasions I went out to eat. Nowadays, I have realised that I don't necessarily need that much extra food, either fries or soda, and it's not worth the additional 40 cents just to do it. I'll have a more detailed analysis of the economics of eating out versus cooking for yourself in another segment.

Back to the story at hand, it brings to mind a few issues in my head. First, I'm surprised that there was no mention or comparison made to the "Subway Diet" where the now famous Jared Fogle lost gobs of weight by only eating low-fat, condiment-free subs from Subway. It's famous enough that a search on "Jared Subway" on Google turns up quite a number of returns referring specifically to "the Subway Diet", and I'm sure that a search on "subway diet" would be just as, if not more, popular. Subway could, if they really wanted, capitalize on this "experiment", and run with it to the point of advertising it openly. After all, if a Subway Diet can help you lose 245 pounds, and a McDonald's Diet adds 30 pounds in as many days, wouldn't that be worth capitalizing on? Hopefully, though, they will see this "experiment" as what it really is - a publicity stunt, plain and simple.

The basis for the entire "experiment", while not only tainted by an agenda, is completely flawed. It is based on the ridiculous notion of eating all of your meals, every day of the week, at McDonald's. For as much as I like McDonald's food (even after working there for 4 months in college), I could not conceive of wanting to eat 3 full meals a day there. Nor do I know anyone who does.

Now, some people eat lunch and dinner at McDonald's (or other fast food restaurants), and some people grab a cup of coffee and a muffin on the way to work. But the choice of food items is not such that you could eat 21 meals a week there and not simply get tired of it. I also can't see someone taking the time on a Saturday or Sunday morning to go to McDonald's to get breakfast, rather than sleeping in or just eating some cold pizza. Given that Mr. Spurlock was feeling completely worn down after only a week or two of this "experiment", one can only speculate where he found the motivation to get up on a weekend to make the effort to get an Egg McMuffin. Of course, we don't have to speculate, because it's obvious that his motivation came from his agenda to "out" McDonald's. Most people in his emotional and physical condition are more likely to sleep in and never get motivated to get out of bed to work out, much less get to McDonald's before 10:30 on a weekend. I'm not saying "all fat people are lazy," or even "all lazy people are fat," but there is a correlation between the two at times, and motivation is generally linked to self-image.

Hopefully more people will see this story as just another publicity stunt to get viewership for his movie and sell it to a major studio. It's a flawed experiment lacking serious scientific data and controls, and based on an agenda-driven premise.

But, that's just the way I see it.

(article found via GeekPress

John Breen III  3:13 PM (0) comments

Thursday, January 22, 2004
  A Short Introduction
Welcome to my first post on my new little home on the Web, "That's just the way I see it". I chose this name because I find myself using that phrase an awful lot when I post on other blogs and on some mailing lists I subscribe to. Hopefully you will find this blog entertaining, in a no-nonsense, no-holds-barred sort of way. Now, on with the show! 
The observations of a young Chicagoan transplanted into Iowa.

01/18/2004 - 01/25/2004 / 01/25/2004 - 02/01/2004 / 11/14/2004 - 11/21/2004 /

Powered by Blogger