Taking a Shot at the Gun Debate
I recently made the point that unbalanced power, control and influence is a bad thing. That kind of inequity leads to extreme positions, injustice and unfairness. This opinion is based on the principle that power corrupts.
The NRA is the most influential lobbying group in the United States. Wikipedia says the NRA has 4.3 million members. But what groups exist to counter the NRA? To offer opposing points of view? To provide a little balance? I found one called the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Wikipedia says they have less than 28,000 members.
It’s my opinion that when it comes to gun control there are many statements thrown about that sound like truisms at face value but are actually logical fallacies. Groups like the NRA use this to create confusion and misunderstanding to their advantage.
In this post I’ll ponder some of these nuggets of debate and offer my take. It’ll be a pistol-whippin’ good time.
Continue reading →
Sweetie, I Wish I Knew How To Quit You
I just heard yesterday that “sugary drinks” are now the #1 source of calories in the American diet.
Yeah, baby! We’re #1! We’re #1! We’re #1!
Something I can graph? Excuse me while I sprint to the spreadsheets. I get to graph something!
Lately I’ve been a wagon-follow-offerer. Vegetarian? Check! Granulated sugar? Check! Coke and/or Pepsi? Check! Alcohol? Now wait just a damn minute. I never went on that wagon. Ah. I see what you did there. Well played.
For some damn strange reason I seem to get off on attempting to test my willpower. This is invariably followed by a period of extreme humiliation. Try it! It’s good fun.
I blame my mother for my lifelong love affair with sugar. Some of my earliest memories of life involve the morning bowl of breakfast cereal. Like Cheerios. And it just wasn’t a bowl of soggies unless there was a gooey thick mess of partially disolved granulated sugar remaining in the bottom of the bowl.
To this day I wonder why she deliberately went out of her way to teach me that. I mean, I was only a child. I wouldn’t have known the difference if I was served Cheerios in the raw, right? Continue reading →
A big appetite for sharing dessert
Hey. Who’s hungry? And who likes math?
I’m always hungry for math. Thanks to Mars Snackfood US, LLC, I just came across another opportunity to feature some math on my blog. Thank you, Mars. Woot!
Today we will undertake a sweet tutorial of solving a math problem. Grab your calculators and play along as we attempt to divide the rational number 3.27 by 2. Sound like fun? Keep reading!
In my grubby little fingers I’m holding a bag of Peanut M&M Chocolate Candies. The bag proudly says “Sharing Size – 2 Servings” with a quite colorful design featured prominently on the bag.
If you are clever perhaps you’ve already guessed that the bag contains delicious product in the amount of 3.27 ounces. Thar she blows!
Let’s say I want to share this awesomely sharable bag with my friend Cher. (It could happen.) How much will each of us get? Hmm. That’s 3.27 divided by two or …
1.635 ounces each!
Let’s be generous and round that up 1.64 ounces. Oh yes, that sounds like a lot more now.
You better bring your hungry man appetite for this substantial desert. 1.64 ounces? Wow. Can a human eat that much in one sitting?
Brace yourself: Those 1.64 ounces pack a punch. That’s a whopping 240 calories per serving size. Or, in terms most Americans will probably understand, that’s 480 calories per bag. For most of us the concept of “serving size” doesn’t mean a whole hell of a lot. How many of us ever eat one-half of a bag of M&M’s and then stop?
As if that isn’t enough, for added bonus there is also 20mg of sodium, or about 1% of DV. (Daily Value.) Don’t worry. It won’t fill you up too much. Probably.
Raise your hand if you feel full? Oh, I feel full alright. But not of M&M candies. What else can you be full of, I wonder? 🙂
Now that you’ve solved a math problem grab one of these small bags of M&M candies and find a friend to share half. You’ll be glad you did!
Sodium won’t catch up
Ketchup or catsup? At least as far as my browser’s built-in spellchecker is concerned, it’s definitely the former. It chokes on the latter.
I went to Wal-Mart last night to get a good deal on cat food. I normally avoid Wal-Mart like the plague. I hate that place. While there, however, I remembered we were out of ketchup, so I attempted to traverse my way to the grocery section – without the aid of a map.
I found ketchup and began scanning the various shapes and sizes focusing on cost per ounce. A mysterious empty section of the shelf caught my eye. It was completely empty. A little label said “Heinz Ketchup, 40 ounce, $1.00.” Whoa! What the heck was that all about? At my local grocery store this would have been $3 or more. I bent down and saw four bottles way in the back. They were mine! I watched like a hawk at checkout and sure enough, those bottles were $1 each with no coupon. Wow.
I love ketchup. A lot. It’s by far my favorite condiment. It goes on fries (of course), hash browns, scrambled eggs, macaroni and cheese, meat loaf (pre-veggie days) and probably a few other things I’m forgetting. My wife the expert cook doesn’t use it quite as much as me and many times I’ve tried to use it on her cooking and have received the Stare of Death.
The ingredients in Heinz ketchup (per the label) are:
- Tomato concentrate from red ripe tomatoes
- Distilled vinegar
- High fructose corn syrup
- Corn syrup
- Onion powder
- Natural flavoring
Wow. High fructose corn syrup! The label says a “serving” of ketchup is 1 tablespoon and contains 15 calories. A tablespoon is three teaspoons and a teaspoon of sugar has 15 calories. So I guess that means that ketchup is made of about the equivalent of one-third sugar. Yikes.
On a 2,000 calorie per day diet those calories represent about 3.3% of your “daily values” or DV (even though the label doesn’t actually do the DV math on calories).
Then the word “sodium” on the label caught my eye. A serving contains 190mg or 8% of DV. Eight percent of your daily salt limit in a single tablespoon of ketchup? Yikes, that seems high. That must have something to do with the fact that “salt” is the fifth ingredient (by volume). I can only imagine what happens when I use ketchup on my heavily over-salted french fries.
Earlier this month Heinz quietly changed their formula for ketchup. It was the first “significant” change to their recipe in nearly 40 years. A company spokesperson said that the change will not be noted on product packaging except, presumably, in the Nutrition Facts box. The amount of sodium reduction will be about 15 percent or 160mg per serving.
This recipe change pertains to the United States version of Heinz ketchup. In Canada the recipe is already only 140mg of sodium per serving and “tends to have a sweeter taste than the U.S. version.”
The politics of ketchup? We heard a bit about Heinz when John Kerry was running for president. This sodium change, however, is at least in part to the “National Salt Reduction Initiative” spearheaded by New York City and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “Heinz is one of 16 major food manufacturers that has voluntarily joined the program.”
So, naturally, web sites like the aptly named Hot Air decry Heinz ketchup a “casualty of the liberal doctrine.” Yeah, whatever.
I personally believe the average American diet contains way too much salt. I salt very few things like steak (which I don’t eat any more) and corn on the cob. I believe that most processed foods we eat already contain so much salt it would be nuts to add more.