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Updated: 01/22/03

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brrrrr - really

Wednesday, 22 January, 2003

Ask Jessica would say, it is *wicked* cold out there today. The Strawbridges' billboard temp gauge says 19 degrees. And this isn't the coldest day of the week yet.


Good news on the frequent flyer front today. I have been trying - for FOUR months now - to get Virgin Airlines to credit my account with 15 missing car rentals from Avis. Maybe not that big a deal with most frequent flyer programs that normally award 50 miles per rental, but Virgin gives 1,000 miles per rental, so I figured that 15,000 free miles was worth a little e-mail effort. I have been dealing with Steve - some poor guy in Massachusetts that I like to think of as my Virgin Airlines caseworker - and he has been working with their London headquarters to get this situation resolved. Of course, they missed one, so he's not off the hook yet.

This just cracked me up. From Scrappleface.com:

It's Eagles v. Titans as NFL Reverses Playoff Results

The National Football League has reversed the results of yesterday's conference playoffs, clearing the way for a Super Bowl between the Tennessee Titans and the Philadelphia Eagles.

NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said the game outcomes were reversed based on the same principal that the University of Michigan uses in admissions, granting extra "points" for black applicants.

Although the Oakland Raiders trounced the Titans 41-24 and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Eagles 27-10, the quarterbacks of both conference-winning teams are white, and the QBs of both losing teams are black. Therefore, each team led by a black quarterback was granted 20 additional points, retroactively reversing the outcomes of both games.

Philadelphia won the NFC title 30-27 over Tampa Bay and the Titans upset the favored Oakland team 44-41.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell will perform the coin toss at the Super Bowl.

[Go Eagles!]

As I wrote back in November, there have been several lawsuits filed claiming fast food made people fat. Hat tip to Jon for this:

Obesity Suit Against McDonald's Dismissed

NEW YORK (Reuters) - McDonald's Corp.(NYSE:MCD - news) won a major victory for the fast-food industry on Wednesday when a federal judge threw out a widely watched lawsuit that blamed Big Macs, fries and Chicken McNuggets for obesity in children.

U.S. District Judge Robert Sweet said the plaintiffs -- including a 400-pound teenager who said he eats at McDonald's every day -- failed to show that customers of the world's largest fast-food chain were unaware that eating too much McDonald's fare could be unhealthy.

However, the judge did not let McDonald's off the hook completely. Referring to Chicken McNuggets as a "McFrankenstein creation" of elements not used by home cooks, he said the plaintiffs could refile their case with information backing their claim that diners have no idea what is really in their food or that the products have allegedly become more harmful because of processing.

I wondered what exactly he meant by "elements not used by home cooks." So I went to the Mickey D website and looked up the ingredients of a Chicken McNugget. Not that I am a fan of them, but there wasn't anything that I could see that was not an element that might be used by a home cook. I mean I'm sure that the "chicken" in a McNugget is not exactly pure chunks of breast meat, but the ingredient list does not read, "Chicken, water, salt, eyes of newt, hospital waste, dead lizard skin and modified corn starch."

My concern is this: that the plaintiffs may refile with a complaint that the "products have allegedly become more harmful because of processing." Processing, hmm. A rather broad term, methinks. I suppose that could imply that any food product that isn't in its natural, raw state could be claimed to be more harmful than its un-processed form. So are those french fries (ingredients: potatoes, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, natural flavor (beef source), dextrose, sodium acid pyrophosphate) which have been processed (i.e., cooked in oil) worse for you than eating raw potatoes? How about the Chicken McNuggets, dipped in batter which soaks up oil and thus increases the calories, carbs and fat content?

[Yup, it's more harmful - Sue them!]

I can envision the day when we go to a fast food restaurant and are handed a tray with all of our raw ingredients and asked to select which ones we want to have cooked for our meal, having read the warning labels and signed a waiver.

Those nasty fast food restaurants aren't out of the woods yet, though. University of North Carolina researchers have discovered that - shock and surprise - when people eat bigger portions of food, they gain more weight!

CHICAGO (Reuters) - One reason why more Americans are obese is that the food portions served at restaurants and even at home keep getting bigger, researchers said on Tuesday.

"Clearly the problem is that Americans are eating too much food," Popkin said, adding that food choices are critical.

"Sometimes a conflict even exists between good nutrition and economics such as when you can get a significantly larger-size portion of French fries or soft drink for a very small extra cost," Nielsen said, referring to the "super-size" promotions.

May I just put on my swami hat and make a prediction here?

Lawsuit Brought Against McDonald's: Large Portion Size Caused Obesity

NEW YORK (Rooters) - A class action lawsuit was filed in New York today alleging that fast food giant and Evil Empire McDonald's caused obesity in the plaintiffs by offering them larger than nutritionally optimal portion sizes of french fries and sugar-based sodas.

"Clearly the problem is that McDonald's did not take a proactive and personal interest in each of their customers, and offer free nutritional counseling prior to their arrival at the counter," said Susan M. Blind, attorney for the plaintiffs.

"They were conflicted between the size of the french fries and economic value of paying just a little bit more money to 'super-size' their order. It's just wrong for McDonald's to encourage people to buy their products, without any sort of guidence as to whether or not stuffing their faces with fried foods and sugar could have any serious long-term effects on their health and well-being."

[Ya know, that sounded pretty good. Maybe I should sue them.]

~ ~ ~

Quote du jour:

"It requires a very unusual mind to make an analysis of the obvious."

-- Alfred North Whitehead (1861 - 1947) English mathematician, philosopher

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