Smoking Hot Freedoms
This is one of those topics on which I harp on from time to time. And by “harp” I pretty much mean the instrument my family members must be playing up in Heaven. Right after they accidentally burned down the family tree with a carelessly discarded lit cigarette.
Apparently I’m the proverbial apple that fell far from the tree. Or, in Taker family terms, I’m a mutant. Ironically, at least in this context, I’m a dying breed. You see, I don’t smoke and I never have.
I grew up in the “typical” American family. Our core family unit consisted of mom, dad, a sister, myself and 2.3 cats. Assuming the smoking rate back then, the math is already amazing. For simplicity’s sake we’ll say the odds of an adult smoking were one-in-three back when I was a youngling. Based on that, the odds of me being the only non-smoker in a family of four was about 1 in 27.
But wait, the fun doesn’t stop there. My sister had some children. 4 out of 4 of them are smokers. I had a son. He’s a smoker. My wife had a son. He’s a smoker. My son just announced his pending nuptials on Facebook. Nearby was a picture of the lucky couple. Both were proudly holding cigarettes.
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I don’t have a family tree. The family systematically broke it down into small pieces. And smoked it. Now it’s all gone. So much for my roots.
Rich, smooth flavor. A tad barky and leafy, perhaps. But lungs has gots to be choked to the max. Our family motto is apparently “smoke whatever you can improvise.”
My entire family smokes its guts out and yet, perversely, I’m the black sheep. Oh, the irony. That’s rich. I’m also pretty much the only non-smoker around.
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Legally Obliged: Pepsi gets Coked
File this under Things That Make Me Feel So Good…
Where’s Eric Clapton when we need him? Cocaine! (Little known fact: Eric Clapton’s version of the song was a cover. The song was original written and recorded by JJ Cale in 1976.)
Coke used to contain cocaine but even today it still contains an extract of the coca leaf. The Stepan Company does the processing in New Jersey and is the only facility in the United States licensed by the DEA to import coca leaves from Peru.
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Mission Control and Karen Handel’s failure to launch
Today brought a bit of good news to the world. My favorite two-faced person, Karen Handel, resigned from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure charity. In other news the sun continued to shine, puppies remained cute and the cats knocked my iPod Touch to the floor.
Yes, Virginia, there can be good days. But don’t you dare ever tell anyone I said that.
In Handel’s resignation letter she proudly had on display the style, grace and dignity that has served her so well during all of her years of hating Planned Parenthood.
Of Komen’s decision to “change its granting strategy” which led to the decision to pull funding from Planned Parenthood, she says, “I openly acknowledge my role in the matter and continue to believe our decision was the best one for Komen’s future and the women we serve.”
Komen then went on to make the arguments that “I wasn’t the only one (neener neener)” and pointed a crony accusing finger at Planned Parenthood, saying their reaction was a “gross mischaracterization of strategy.”
Apparently Handel is not one to go quietly into that good night. Whatever. Just as long as she says goodbye.
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Hamburgler kicked me in my Fry Guy
When someone promises me a shot at being a “winner” naturally my ears perk up. I mean, after all, I’ve never tried that, so I’m understandably curious.
Call it the McCircle of McLife. What goes in one end eventually passes through. Like a hamburger milkshake squirted out of your Grimace.
Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it, so, in an attempt to be helpful, here I am to remind everyone of the not-so-distant past regarding the juicy marriage of McDonald’s and Monopoly.
In 2000, the US promotion was halted after fraud was uncovered. A subcontracting company called Simon Marketing (a then-subsidiary of Cyrk), which had been hired by McDonald’s to organize and promote the game, failed to recognize a flaw in its procedures, and the chief of security, Jerome P. Jacobson, was able to remove the “most expensive” game pieces, which he then passed to associates who would redeem them and share the proceeds. The associates “won” almost all of the top prizes between 1995 and 2000, including McDonald’s giveaways that did not have the Monopoly theme. The associates “netted” over $24 million. The scheme was uncovered when one of the participants informed the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Even though the fraud was perpetrated without McDonald’s knowledge, the McDonald’s Corporation voluntarily attempted to rectify the situation by issuing payouts to new (legitimate) winners, awarding five $1 million annuity prizes, and fifty $100,000 prizes over a five-day period.
While the fraud appeared to have been perpetrated by only one key employee of the promotion company, and not by the company’s management, eight people were originally arrested, leading to a total of 21 indicted individuals. The relationship between McDonald’s and Simon Marketing broke down in a pair of lawsuits over breach of contract, eventually settled out of court, with McDonald’s’ claim being thrown out and Simon receiving $16.6 million. Although McDonald’s was not involved in the fraud, it came under much criticism for what appeared to be lax oversight of the promotion company.
In 1995, St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee received an anonymous letter postmarked Dallas, Texas, containing a $1 million winning game piece. Although game rules prohibited the transfer of prizes, McDonald’s waived the rule and is making the $50,000 annual payments. Investigations later indicated, and Jacobson himself admitted, that he had sent the winning piece to the hospital.
You’re welcome! You know what they say. “There’s a McDonald’s customer born every minute.”
A study done by R.P. Clayton and K.E. Belk in 1998 concluded that a single 4-ounce ground beef patty was made from, on average, at least 55 different animals to, at most, an average of 1082 animals.
Source: Really Fast Food?
Schlosser says a fast food hamburger sold in 1965 and one made today might look the same, but 38 years ago the meat from the burger likely came from one cow or steer. In today’s burger, you’ll find pieces of a thousand or more cattle from as many as five different countries ground up into one little hamburger patty.
Source: DePauw University
Now that’s what I call eating globally! That sounds a lot better than taking second prize in a beauty contest!
Me make oops
Uh oh. Apparently I went and did something good. Dammit. Even the best of us can still make mistakes.
I think I’ve mentioned in the past that I used to be involved in Relay For Life, a fund raising arm of the American Cancer Society. I got into it after my dad died of cancer and I bumped into a friend who was running our local event.
My dad smoked his entire life. So did my mom. Fun childhood for me, yeah! My dad would also “breakfast” by swigging directly out of a bottle of Black Velvet to start the day. Cancer wasn’t exactly the biggest shocker ever in his case.
After his diagnosis my dad approached the American Cancer Society. Apparently whatever happened didn’t go well. My dad specifically told me, “I don’t want anything going to ACS in my memory.”
Still, I did go on to do the Relay For Life thing and my dad was a big part of the reason why. I figured he’ll just have to live with it.
Meanwhile, at work, while being forced to answer phones against my will, I happened to take a customer phone call the other day. This woman was untrusting. “How do I know if I give you my money you’ll send me anything?” LOL! Love it! Bottom line is you don’t. There are no guarantees. But even though this is a shithole the employees still care too damn much and actually do a good job. You are buying a piece of crap but at least you’ll actually receive it. We don’t lie, cheat and steal quite that much.
So in the end I convinced her to make the leap of faith and trust us with her $30 USD. 🙂
During the discussion she mentioned she had cancer. I talked to her about Relay For Life, which she had never heard about. So after I was off the phone, I took a minute to drop her a link to the official RFL web site which includes a function to locate her local event. I told her how RFL is an event where teams commit to walking around a track for 24 hours. The opening lap is for those fighting cancer and those who have survived cancer. It is very moving and I had tears in my eyes at the last one I attended. In the evening there is the Luminaria ceremony where people decorate bags for loved ones with cancer or in memoriam. These bags a lit and placed around the track while the names of everyone being honored are read out loud. My wife made a luminaria bag for my dad with little airplanes (he loved to fly) and it was pretty emotional.
I actually haven’t done RFL for a couple years now due to our local event getting all political and nasty, but that’s another story.
Anyway, so I talked this lady into a sale and thought it would be nice to turn her on to RFL. In my experience some people with cancer won’t go, and I try not to pressure, but I at least wanted her to know.
Here is the email I received in response:
When I opened this email it brought tears to my eyes. Above and beyond is all I can say. I’m going to attend the first one that I am able too, and will think of you as I am walking. Not to sound like your mother, but I must say she must be exceptionally proud of you. I know that we have never met, yet I felt a very special warmth in your tone yesterday.
Thank you again for caring.
With much respect,
Yikes! I hate answering phones and talking to customers. How in the hell did something like this happen? “Warmth” in my “tone?” That’s impossible!!!
We’re supposed to forward all “testimonial” style emails to the boss but I’m not giving this one up. No way no how. I do not want my boss knowing something like this no matter what. This could really damage my career!
Congratulations to FORCE!
I just wanted to take a quick moment and say congratulations to Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered aka FORCE.
In the recent Chase Community Giving on Facebook FORCE was came in 44th place in voting an earned $20,000 for the fight against breast and ovarian cancer!
I’d like to thank Teri Smieja from the blog Teri’s Blip in the Universe who was the Social Network Coordinator for this effort and did a fantastic job! Teri took on a huge job and a huge responsibility and come through with flying colors. Well done, Teri!
Even though this particular effort is now closed, there are still lots of great ways to make a difference. If you’d like to learn more you can start by checking out the official FORCE web site.
This is a fantastic charity that does so much more than just fight against cancer. They also fight to improve the lives of individuals and families affected by hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.
If you are a woman or even if you only know one I urge you to support this worthy cause. 🙂