Serious stuff

Is there poo in a Big Mac and other burning issues

The 26500+ McDonalds fast food burger-muck "restaurants" and their ilk do have something of a dubious reputation, including issues regarding food quality, unhealthiness, environmental concerns, employee exploitation and so on, despite many a corporatey ad-campaign to try and persuade us that all that happens on a typical day in a restaurant is that pretty girls go in for a salad - and probably not the McD's chicken salad that was actually more fattening than their cheeseburger.

Of course McDonalds likes to claim that this is mostly undeserved. To show their deep, deep love for you, the consumer, they have taken the - in many ways admirable - step of setting up an interactive website so you can "so that you can find out anything you'd like to know about McDonald's food, business, people and practices." Send in your questions, and McDonalds will answer them. All the answers are pointless corporate schmooze of course, but the Poorhouse had literal LOLs occurring simply be reading some of the ones that made it to be published.

Is milk really too harmful to be advertised?

Whilst in no way a fan of an over-riding nanny state (and in apparent contrast to much of the political blogosphere) the Poorhouse is far from averse to seeing a bit of regulation thrust upon greedy, harmful and otherwise unaccountable businesses from those that are supposed to represent our societal interests.

The recent ban on TV junk food adverts aimed at young children therefore seems to be plausibly sensible in principle. In fact a total advertising ban would be nice in many ways but the Poorhouse realises that's not going to happen. However with obesity et al. reaching record heights, why not stop marketers of foods that add to the health problem from trying to brainwash 5-year-olds? Nevertheless, it was with rather some surprise that the Poorhouse heard that these foods-of-evil would include milk.

Cheerleaders are baaaad

Regular readers of this web-monstrosity will be aware that the Poorhouse is a little sceptical as to the reasoning and benefit behind the increasingly ridiculous drug laws in the UK. To summarise for anyone not from around here, in common with much of the rest of the world, a fairly arbitrary set of substances that people like to use recreationally are banned. If you possess them you get to face jailtime. If you possess other, often more harmful, recreational mind-benders such as alcohol you're just fine.

Again, beware what you publish

Living in the cyberworld, as we all do these days, has its mega-pluses, but also creates new problems - for instance the trail of indelible stains on your character you might be exhibiting for the world at large to see. The Poorhouse has seen a few surveys now reporting that your prospective masters are researching your electronic records, even if you're not a wayward Tory-boy public figure.

Name blame

Isabella: probably not her nameIsabella: probably not her nameThe Poorhouse is never one to be over-quick on the uptake, whether this be in reality or in the strange webworld your brain is currently hooked into. To prove the point, then here is a story from a month ago designed to commemorate an event not so different in duration ago - namely the blissful birth of faux-niece baby Susie. For the 99.9% of readers for whom the shout-out means nothing, read on anyway. What do you have to lose?

Everyone knows the best thing about having a baby is you get to choose its name. For sure they can go on to legally change it, but you have at least a few years to laugh hysterically about how your baby's initials spell out a rude word, or that their name is Cockney slang for a toilet and so on. Even those parents who aren't out to give their kids hell need to be a spot careful though in name-selection according to research from Professor Figlio. Especially if you have a career in mind for your darling offspring.

Cups of magic

Amazing new coffee makes you thin...apparently. The appallingly named "CoffeeSLENDER" has recently hit UK shores. It's a simple diet plan whereby after each meal you eat you ensure you have a cup of this magical coffee, and sit back watch the weight drop off.

It sounds a bit unlikely for sure, but to be fair the makers do give a bit of hardcore science as evidence. Certainly "normal" coffee is associated with weightloss, especially in the anecdotal world - although there seems some disagreement between ye olde wives as to whether drinking it helps or hinders weightloss. One obvious potential explanation is that as it is a proven diuretic you do lose weight, but only because you need to go urinate that extra bit more than usual. Less internal water = less weight.

Belated 2007 election results and the rest...

Well it's a week late coming, but the Poorhouse finally managed to look up the election results for the recent UK local elections. To be fair, hardly any of the rest of the country seemed that interested either. Luckily the Poorhouse did remember to vote, but really only because of the magic of Internet voting and repeated self-created electronic reminders rather than general electoral excitement and promotion of the democratic process by the parties involved. Would a leaflet or two - or even a handshake - be too much to ask?

In good news, New Labour got a slight kicking, losing 505 councillors and 9 councils - although some were predicting a greater loss than that for them. In bad news, the Tories did rather better than last time gaining 911 new councillors and 39 councils.

The effectiveness of abstinence counselling

The Poorhouse previously ranted about the failures of the US-led Silver Ring Thing abstinence-only sex "education". Now it seems some more results are in regarding the $176,000,000 Federally-funded abstinence programmes that George "it's worked when it's tried" Bush et al. so favour.

Mathematica Policy Research Ltd have recently published a survey study carried out under instructions from the US Congress. Whilst the study itself runs to a rather humoungous 164 pages, in summary they split a bunch of the US kids that these abstinence programmes target in two and gave one of the halves a pile of abstinence counselling a la the Ring Thing, and left the other half to get on with it as they see fit.

Upon review, the 16 year old respondents who had not been given the abstinence treatment lost their virginity at a rather low - and rather illegal - age of 14.9. So is the Poorhouse going to have to swallow the anti-ring words previously spat out and learn to love the wisdom of President Bush?

Sex does not always sell

More in the world of wild 'n' wacky experiments...first we learned how to make the world's finest bacon sandwich. Now it's time to concoct an experiment that involves making "volunteers" sit down and watch an especially filthy episode of one of the few TV programmes so bad the Poorhouse doesn't avidly watch it - Sex in the City.

More free(ish) stuff - food and bags

A couple of righteous bargain-creating things to tell today, surfacing from the awesome MoneySavingExpert site. One will fill your belly, the other will give you both more room in your cupboards and a warm satisfaction at having tried to do something to save the planet a bit. Maybe.

Food first. There are 27 HA! HA! Bars around the country, which in the Poorhouse's limited experience do some rather tasty food. Find your local here, although if you don't live in a large-sized urban area you might be disappointed. Then print this voucher off and as long as you can persuade a friend to go eat with you before the end of April this year you can get a £5 discount, you cheap date you.

Moving on to planet-time now...

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