Today Was Interesting

March 29th, 2005

While eating breakfast, I am watching Today on NBC. This’s actually a crappy, fluffy morning show that I don’t care for. Usually, I turn on channel 11 to watch the news updates and sort of zone out the rest of the broadcast because I just haven’t gotten it through my head yet that I’m old enough that NPR is *really* what I want to be listening to. Still, Today ended up having two segments that caught my attention.

Episode One
The first one is about fast food. I’m sure we’re all aware how terribly awful this food is for us and the bad ingredients used. But fast food sells well and there are new products released regularly. Burger King has a new product called the Enormous Omlette Sandwich. Here’s the description from the BK site:

Wake up to a mouthful of breakfast with the Enormous Omelet Sandwich. Two slices of melted, American cheese, two fluffy eggs stuffed with three crispy strips of bacon, and a sizzling sausage patty, piled high on a toasted bun. The Enormous Omelet Sandwich from BURGER KING®. So big, breakfast will never be the same.

Ah, yes! Such a wise, mouth-watering breakfast choice! This sandwich has 730 calories, 420 of which are from fat. What percentage is that? That’s just about 58% fat. So big, your waste will never be the same.

Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr. has released a product called the Monster Thickburger. Honestly, that name is just really scary. But the nutritional facts are even more scary. Ready? I’m not sure you are, but here you go: 1417 calories, 965 of which are from fat. That’s 68% fat in that huge thing.

The recommended daily allowance of calories is anywhere from 1600 to 2800 calories per day, with the RDA for fat weighing in at less than 30%. I haven’t bothered to add fries, a coke, and any dessert items to the total meal calorie count of either of those two sandwiches. Those calories are just from the sandwich. I don’t know many people who only order a sandwich when they go to a fast food joint. It’s entirely possible and probable that some are getting an entire day’s worth (or more!) of calories and fat in a single meal.

Burger King’s and Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr.’s Web sites have interactive menus and you can create a meal online to look at the nutritional information for the whole meal. But, c’mon, you’re in a rush for your dinner and you’re going to go online and type in everything in order to get all the nutritional facts? I don’t think so.

Here’s what I propose: print the nutritional information on the wrappers of the sandwiches. Post that nutritional information on the walls of the restaurant. When this information is hard to find and inconvenient to get to, it’s easier to simply claim ignorance. But when that 1417 calorie count is staring you in the face, it’s easier to say, “Weeeeeell, I’ll just have a bowl of oatmeal.”

All You Need Is Drugs
The second segment that caught my attention is about drugs. Of course, that regularly catches my attention; drug culture fascinates me. The segment is called “Easing Your Pain.” This woman had an accident where she ended up with a few slipped disks, forced to live with pain everyday. Eventually, OxyContin stumbled her way (street term is “Hillbilly Heroin”; I thought that was funny) and she began to enjoy life a bit more. However, the drive and money added a bit of difficulty to her experience. Her doctor is 120 miles away, for some odd reason. Also, the cost was up to $1800 per month for the medication.

Another woman in this segment battles arthritis in her knees. While she used to walk and run all over her city, arthritis keeps her from that. She began taking a COX-2 inhibitor, but the Vioxx recall made her think twice. After consulting her doctor, since she is at low risk for heart disease, she kept on taking her drugs. Her pain is so bad that she’s willing to risk taking this medication to get some relief.

My New Bracelet: SmokeStrong
I have two words for both of these people: smoke weed. I’m a firm supporter of medical marijuana and the general legalization of all drugs. If I had chronic pain, I’d treat it chronically. The fact that there are no ongoing studies of how marijuana can be used as medicine is sickening. Because of old stereotypes and assumptions, marijuana is illegal. We needlessly spend millions of dollars prosecuting and imprisoning marijuana growers/sellers, while needlessly spending millions more to line the pockets of drug company CEOs. As a result, the drug companies rake in the money at an insanely high cost per pill and marijuana users are sent to jail for a manditory minimum sentencing term typically longer than rape earns (a quick Google for “rape prison sentence” turns up 3- or 4-year sentences; marijuana sale within 100 blocks of a school require a 5-year minimum sentence for a nonviolent crime).

Marijuana could be cultivated by just about anyone. It’s in the drug companies’ best interests to keep marijuana illegal; they don’t stand to benefit from putting the power to heal in the hands of the common citizen. Of course, the Today show segment merely praised the power of those legal drugs, despite the fact that one (OxyContin) is incredibly expensive and the other (the COX-2 inhibitor the arthritis sufferer is taking) is a risky drug.

One comment on “Today Was Interesting”

  1. Smokestrong Says:

    You mentioned the “SMOKESTRONG” bracelet as if it doesn’t exist!

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