Monthly Archives: April 2011

Marketing meat reality

What I expected

What I got

I’m not mad, but it looks to me like half the filling is missing…

Funny place to put a coffee bar

Unleaded for me, thanks.


Not long ago I stumbled across an interesting article in The New York Times, and this accompanying Youtube video.

Our bodies run on Glucose, which is burned in the cells. Fructose, however, is burned in the liver and stored — and that is what is causing the twin pandemics of obesity and Diabetes. Table Sugar — the stuff we buy from the store — is half glucose, half fructose.

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), which is used as a sweetener just about everywhere, is two-thirds Fructose and one-third Glucose. This is the stuff that is vilified by everyone except the Corn Farmers and their Trade associations. They insist that HFCS is “natural” — so are strychnine, cyanide and Deadly Nightshade, says I. But I digress…

Dr. Robert Lustig tells us that it is not Fat or Sugar that is the problem — Fructose is. This, he postulates, explains why HFCS is dangerous… but so is sugar. He calls it “Poison”.

I don’t know whether what he says has any scientific validity; it makes sense — but then so do the pronouncements of other Doctors who all seem to blame different things. However, there are a few factors in his favor:

  • A century ago, the average American consumed two pounds of sugar a year. Now, the figure is more like a hundred.
  • HFCS has been popular in the US for about thirty years. During that time people here have been getting fatter and fatter.
  • People in other countries where HFCS is not used are thinner.

I am not going to make any authoritative comments on the merits or evils of sugar. Instead, I am going to do something expected.

I’m giving up sugar.

Of course, since it is ubiquitous in our sugar-laden culture, it is impossible to avoid sugar entirely — a website like sugarstacks certainly brings that into perspective — but I will avoid gratuitous sugar whenever possible. I will not be looking for substitutes; it is my opinion that those substitutes are an unacceptable trade-off.

Those who know me know that my sweet tooth is the subject of legend; as a boy I routinely had three teaspoons of sugar in a cup of tea, and even though I have reduced that to one, all those teas and coffees add up to 5-10 teaspoons of sugar a day.

I don’t know how long this will continue; I’ll keep you posted.

Tax Facts

Here in the US, it is Tax Day — the day when taxpayers have to file their state and Federal Taxes. I filed my taxes some time ago, but procrastinators up and down the nation are lining up at the nearest Post Office to mail in their returns.

I stumbled across this interesting screed, which yielded some fascinating information.

  • Nearly half of US Households pay no Federal Income Tax.
  • The top 10% of earners pay 75% of Federal Income Tax. This is something that the “Tax-the-rich” mob never tell us.
  • The bottom 40% of earners actually make a profit from the Federal income tax. That’s right — thanks to all of those credits and schemes they actually get money back from Uncle Sam.
  • I would venture that they pay the lion’s share of Cigarette, Alcohol and Lottery Ticket Taxes.
  • Here’s another interesting little piece of information. About half of taxpayers think that the Income Tax is a bad idea.

Think about it.


Went online to pay my electric bill today. The website had changed, and they wanted me to agree to a new set of terms and conditions. being the suspicious chap that I am, I actually read them. Most of the terms were fair and reasonable, but at the very end of over 700 lines of prose, I found the following:

By enrolling in the Service, you instruct us to stop sending you a paper bill in the mail and agree to accept for all purposes the electronic bill notification described herein…

A-Ha! Sneaky. Very very sneaky.

Most businesses would love for us to “go paperless”. There is a good reason: they save millions of dollars in stationery, printing and postage costs, while we get a vague green feeling and inherit the costs of printing hard copies. But burying the “go paperless” request at the bottom of over 700 lines of terms and conditions is downright low.

So, here are my terms and conditions

  • If you want me to go paperless, offer me something in return – $10 per year or $20 up front.
  • Storage is cheap: I expect you to store copies of ALL previous paperwork online.
  • You will NEVER charge me for paper copies.

Epilogue: I phoned them up and asked for paper statements, and they were good enough to oblige.


.Somebody recently asked me what I despised most of all, what made me angry more than anything else. My reply, to my own surprise, was “freeloaders”.

After thinking about this for a while, I realized that freeloaders come in many different shapes and sizes.

  • If you take something that belongs to someone else, you are a freeloader. You have taken a shortcut to stuff at someone else’s expense.
  • If you expect someone else to make sacrifices so you can realize gains, you are a freeloader.
  • If you are receiving royalties for someone else’s work, or for something you did decades ago, you are a freeloader. Copyright and Patent laws were designed to allow progress. This is done by rewarding creative folks sufficiently to make them create and invent more stuff. This also applies to publishers and people who have stopped creating because they make too much money… but that is another story.
  • If you are unwilling to work, but expect others to feed, clothe and shelter you, you are a freeloader.
  • If you expect someone else to pay for your health care, you are a freeloader. Health care is not a human right.
  • If your business expects the government to enact laws to help you destroy the competition, you are  a freeloader.
  • If your business expects the government to bail you out, you are a freeloader.

That’s all for now.