Hey kids. It has been some time since I last wrote about the quintessential American existential gripe, right? So today’s post offers two short bits of recent news about little victories I enjoyed, and yes, one of them is about driving.
Celebrate the little victories in life because if you wait for the big ones, it may be a long, long wait.
–Tom B. Taker
Offered herein are a pair of true stories where yours truly came out on top, no matter how thinly sliced the margin may have been. And both stories feature some small element of chance and odd elements of coincidence, enough so that my mind couldn’t help but notice.
So strap yourself in for this strange and peculiar journey to the winner’s lane. Don’t worry, I promise I handle it like everything else in life, in a very calm and mature manner.
Our first story finds me driving down the street as innocent as Bambi playing in the pure driven snow…
Continue reading →
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!
The other day the boss’s daughter came into work after school, like she does most days. On her walk from school she had stopped at Jack In The Box. She asked me, “Do you want two tacos?”
I didn’t hesitate. “Oh yeah.” I can’t help it. I love those things. And, if memory serves, they’ve been two for 99 cents since the 80’s.
In my cubby at work I eagerly found my packets of taco sauce. I joined her at the table and was just about to rip into one of those suckers when I had a very disturbing thought.
“Wait a minute. These damn things aren’t vegetarian.” Aw, shit.
Oh moment of joy had once again turned to dispair in 6.5 seconds. I’m nothing if not consistent.
So I reluctantly handed the tacos to my boss who made short work of them by reenacting a scene from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. (Look away!)
The episode left me shaken but curious. What is vegetarian on the Jack In The Box menu? An internet search revealed stuff like hamburger bun (how un-citing), curly fries, potato wedges, and salad.
But wait? What’s this? Something about the tacos being vegetarian, too? Swoooon!
One website I found claimed the tacos contained soy and no meat. Could it possibly be true? Here’s a hint: No.
A search for the phrase “jack in the box tacos vegetarian” turns 112,000 results. According to one:
There is a widespread rumor in the vegetarian community that the famous tacos at Jack in the Box are not filled with meat but rather soy imitation meat and thus are a good vegetarian option. This is not true, the beef filling in the tacos are a mixture of both soy and beef. (Source: Examiner.com)
Denied by the universe. Again!
Still, it got me to thinking. What isn’t there any fast food in the known universe featuring tofu rather than meat? I bet the geniuses at McDonalds, Burger King and Jack In The Box could think of something. So why haven’t they?
Why does it always have to be about the meat?
To me this seems like a huge opportunity in the world fast food tofu for some forward thinker. The internet is sure abuzz about vegetarian choices at food food restaurants. Someone should cash in on that.
It’s true, Taco Bell tried with their alleged “ground beef” but, alas, it still contained 35 percent meat. Their scientists need to get back in the test kitchen and lower than number. There is simply no excuse for that amount of meat being in there!
Get your tofu on! I already know what I’ll call my chain of restaurants, too. Tofu Mofo.
BUN Transcript – Tuesday, July 12, 2010
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT
OFFICER BIG MAC, CHIEF OF POLICE, McDONALDLAND PLAYGROUND: Mr. McDonald is a fugitive of justice right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDROID COOPER: BUN has obtained this police sting footage, recently released by Mayor McCheese, of celebrity fast food motivational speaker and spokesperson Ronald McDonald:
RONALD McDONALD: What you need man? Fries? I can get ’em. Burgers? Fuck that chick, Wendy, bro. Her shit is square. Trust me. You don’t want that. I got the round patties you want.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about your little criminal friend? I don’t want no problems, man.
RONALD McDONALD: Hamburgler? Ah shit, man. I barely know the motherfucker. Listen, I’m a busy man. How many keys of fries you want? I can get ’em.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(END AUDIO CLIP)
That’s just my way of sayin’ I’ve got some happy funland news from the world of McDonalds.
First, did you know that there is an alternative to french fries in a Happy Meal? They are apple slices, or what McDonalds likes to call Apple Dippers. They did a study and it turns out that 93% of the time researchers who ordered a Happy Meal were simply given french fries and not informed about the apple slice option.
Not content to simply serve apple slices, the Apple Dippers product comes with a “low fat caramel sauce.” Nutrition information is 99 calories for a three ounce serving.
Meanwhile a group known as the Center for Science in the Public Interest said it will sue McDonalds for “unfairly and deceptively” marketing toys to children. The group gave McDonalds 30 days to voluntarily stop selling toys. McDonalds, of course, signaled they’ll do no such thing and responded that they “couldn’t disagree more” that they were not guilty of violating any laws and demanded an apology from the group.
Offering a different perspective, Mike Huckabee offered up a “heap of praise and admiration” for McDonalds and called the group’s threatened lawsuit “pin-headed pressure.”
Also involving food and toys, the Santa Clara County board of supervisors recently voted to ban fast food restaurants from giving away toys with “children’s meals that exceed set levels of calories, fat, salt and sugar.”
Poor Ronald McDonald. Even his dog Sundae isn’t on speaking terms with him anymore and the fry guys no longer come over to hang out at his house. If he’s not careful he may end up in the slammer with his known associate the Griddler who is serving hard time for stealing McGriddles.
Please enjoy the musical selection that our chef has paired with this article.
Tonight’s dinner will mark 72 hours since I’ve had meat. Yes, I’m on a vegetarian diet. No special reason, really. It’s just something me and Mrs. Abyss decided to do. We’ve been vaguely uneasy about some types of food for some time, namely the process that brings beef to fast food restaurants. (More about that later.) And I’m planning to watch the movie Earthlings soon (narrated by Joaquin Phoenix) which is about how humans treat animals. Something tells me that is going to be a very important movie to see.
Saturday night we hit a local Mexican restaurant and I had the veggie burrito. Man, that thing was delicious. It had plenty of onions and green bell peppers, which I always love, plus beans and mushrooms. The flavors were the bomb.
Sunday was also vegetarian, I forget the specifics, but for dinner Mrs. Abyss made lentil soup with mushrooms. Oh man that was good. I had leftovers for lunch on Monday, again for dinner on Monday night, and for lunch again right now. It’s just that good.
Another good thing is we’re eating bread much more often. I’m really liking that. A loaf of nice crusty sourdough bread is hard to beat.
So far so good on the vegetarian thing. I don’t have the shakes or headaches or anything like that. We plan to go at least a week as an experiment, but I do know she wants turkey for Thanksgiving, so we’ll be off the wagon by then for sure.
Who knows what Christmas will bring this year? No Hickory Farms products, I guess. I’m thinking after Thanksgiving we might as well get back on it and try it a little longer. I’m wondering: What are some good dishes for a vegetarian Christmas? Sugarplums? 🙂
What about you? Are you carnivorous or vegetarian or even vegan? And whatever it is, what are your thoughts on this topic and how’s it working out for ya?
I wish to add a few more thoughts regarding my black taco post from yesterday.
First, while checking out the “taco bell” tag on WordPress, I came across a taco bell scam on someone else’s blog. It seems Taco Bell displayed a photo of a “box” deal but that all items in the photo were not necessarily included because of some fine print.
From the blog’s original post “Taco Bell is the Epitome of False Advertising” (which has since been taken down):
I didn’t get any Cinnamon Twists, and when I politely reminded my server that they were missing from my order she went on to point out a size 12 font line below the picture of my Lunch in which it says “Cinnamon Twist’s are not available at this location.” WHAT?!?!
Lets think this through, Did Taco Bell want me to read that point of interest? or did they want me to buy the food and then assume it was no big deal. I would like to think that I have good vision, but I couldn’t read the line even after she pointed it out.
The guy makes a damn good point. Are you fricking kidding me? If you are not going to include the item in the deal, do something more than mention it in the fine print. One idea that comes to mind: Don’t use that fucking sign!
Secondly, I think Taco Bell should offer a special on their black tacos the day after Thanksgiving. Go shopping in style. “Black Friday? Black taco!” What a brilliant way to proclaim to the world that you are a consumer whore while you shop till you drop.
I’ve never shopped on so-called “Black Friday” and I never will.
More importantly, which hand will hold your black taco? The one use for pushing and/or punching other shoppers out of the way or the one used for grabbing consumer goods? You make the call!
Perhaps Taco Bell could introduce a line of black taco fanny packs so people could munch and shop at the very same time. For those who are truly desperate they could simply wear a taco on each ear as shown in this image taken from the official Taco Bell web site a couple years ago.
Thirdly, just what the hell is a black taco shell made out of, anyway? I went to the Taco Bell web site and can’t find the ingredients. A Google search also came up dry. Don’t fast food restaurants have to divulge their ingredients? They have nutrition information on their web site (the black taco has 210 calories) and what allergens it contains (milk, eggs and soybean) but they don’t mention the ingredients. Just how in the hell do they make that shell black?
I’ve never had a black taco and I don’t think I ever will until I know just what the hell they are doing with their fast food chemistry set. Why hide it? Makes me wonder.
I did find this tidbit on the Taco Bell Ingredient Statement web page (but there is absolutely no mention of black taco shell):
Corn, Vegetable Oil (May Contain One Or All Of The Following: Soybean, Corn, Or Cottonseed Oil), Oat Fiber, TBHQ (Used As A Preservative).
Find out more about TBHQ on this Wikipedia page.
Mmm. That sounds good!
The new “black taco” at Taco Bell with … jack sauce?
First of all, let’s get this messy little bit of business out of the way right off the bat. We all know where that “jack sauce” comes from, right?
Now I don’t normally watch too much TV, but the commercial for this new food item got me thinking. A black taco shell? This from the same company that had taco shells in grocery stores with genetically engineered corn that was “not for human consumption.”
That particular cluster fuck was brought to us by Kraft Foods using their Taco Bell license. And, as well all know, Kraft is the food division of Philip Morris Co., with more than 70 brands and $17.5 billiion in sales.
Philip Morris, the tobacco company, has since changed its name to the more devious Altria, but we all still know what their primary product is, right?
Wait. Now I get it. I guess a black taco shell is a great idea after all. Now I get the connection. The new black taco at Taco Bell. Be the first on your block to smoke one!