Friday, October 22, 2004

Moronic Conversation 

First of all, today's Almanac went up hours and hours ago: bad calendar information, northeastern sports mojo, a headache bleg, the first parachuter, and so very much more.

Second of all, I've given up on trying to integrate a message board onto my site and have instead outsourced it to a crew of highly intelligent koalas operating out of a sweatshop in one of those countries where koalas are paid a nickel a day to do things no self-respecting American would do for less than $35 an hour.

It's right here. I look forward to your wrath!

Thursday, October 21, 2004


Yes, Joy! in Mudville. Today's Almanac: Sox win. What else is there?

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Simmer Down, Now... 

Today's Almanac: not getting suckered by the Bosox, and Franklin's guidance on not getting suckered by suckers.

Neglected in the Almanac, a Reader Question: "Packaged foods list the nutritional content, or lack of... Does this include all the broth, juice, or other packing materials? If so, by not eating, drinking, etc, the juice, gravy or whatever, would you be cutting down on fat, calories, etc, and/or missing some of the valuable nutrients?"

Ah! Nutrition Labels! To answer your question, try this helpful page from the FDA. Here's a simple rule of thumb: you can't get calories from food you don't eat. If I give you an 8-oz. hunk of beef, for example, with 320 total calories and 240 of them from fat, your net caloric intake should you neglect to eat it would be approximately 0.

But that's not why I decided to address this question. I decide to address it because they don't have standard labels in Denmark. Or rather, they do, but they're not very helpful. What they tell you is the nutritional content per 100 grams (about 4 ounces). That's very helpful if the package weight is easily divisible by 100 and you have a fair idea of how much you'll be eating. But say you've got a package with a net weight of 350 grams and will be dividing it between two people. Now you've got to take those nutrition numbers, multiply by 3.5, then divide by two. If you're like me, that's as good as not having a nutrition label at all.

I actually miss those friendly nutritional labels. Until they showed up, who knew that a single 12-oz bag of Doritoes contained 36 servings of 150 calories each? (Okay, that's an exaggeration, but this is truth: every single Dorito has nearly one full gram of fat.)

I was wondering why it was that the free-market-favoring US would have stricter nutrition disclosure laws than the controlled-market-favoring Europe, until I remembered we're also class-action-lawsuit favoring America. It's not about the health of Americans, but the cupidity of American lawyers. Big Tobacco went down because people could say, with a straight face, "I didn't know barbecuing my lungs 20 times a day was bad for me!"

Try telling the court that you didn't realize a bag of chips containing 20 grams of fat wasn't healthy!

(Actually, if you're old enough to have consumed enough of that crap before the labels came out, you may still have a case...)

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Heads Up 

Today's Almanac: an uplifting experience, Ye Olde Simpsons, meddling Brits, homage to the donut, and more.

An interesting aside from yesterday's Studieskolen: the Danish noun for poison, gift, is also the danish verb for marrying. Meaning it's possible to say in Danish: "Drink poison, die quickly; get married, die slowly," as a fantastic play on words.

Sometimes it's not such a horrible language after all.

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