williamallenpepper

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Archive for the tag “diabetes”

THE WAY WE BUY STUFF NOW

When I was a kid, my Christmas list was culled partly from Saturday morning cartoon commercials. You see, kids, back in the dark ages, you couldn’t just willy nilly watch cartoons whenever you wanted. (Though, being the 1970’s, many other variations of willy-nilliness were allowed. To wit: disco. And corduroy.) You got three channels and watched whatever they gave you – whether it was the Superfriends with Gleek or without.

Cartoons were basically confined to an early Saturday morning block on the three networks that existed back then. Time for the kids! Thanks, network executives!

But…they had money to make. So, interspersed with The Superfriends and Bugs Bunny and Scooby-Doo were cereal adds and toy commercials. Many a year my Christmas dreams – perhaps a Hot Wheels track or Six Million Dollar Man play set – were fed to me along with bowl after bowl of Cocoa Puffs.

Mostly, though, my Christmas list came from the toy section of the Sears Christmas Wishbook. This was back in the day when Sears was THE department store and the Wishbook was the pinnacle of catalogs – and not just because you could see Cheryl Tiegs (SPELLING) in her underwear.

There were pages and pages and pages of kid stuff. Action figures. Race tracks. Licensed character apparel and bedding. I even got a Moe (as in the Three Stooges) ventriloquist dummy one year. Another year, it was a talking Grover. I never got the Fonzie action figure though. Always kind of regretted that.

So, back then, if you wanted a toy that wasn’t available in the toy department of the local department store (probably Sears. There was no Wal-Mart then.), you ordered it out of the Wishbook and waited for the mailman (or Santa) to deliver it in four-to-six agonizing weeks, punctuated only by daily whinings to Mom and Dad “Is my toy here yet….?”.

And now, my kids are the ones reading the Wishbook. Well, the Sunday toy ads anyway. Do they even make the Wishbook anymore?

And it won’t be long before we can order something and thirty minutes later a flying death machine an Amazon drone will plunk your new Nerf Prostate Exam Fun Kit on your front lawn. Sorry about Fido, though. Hell of a way to go. But, hey, free shipping!

And we can’t even enjoy a bowl of Cocoa Puffs while we wait. Because, you know, sugar and obesity and diabetes and stuff. Being more of aware of things is no fun at all.

*Sigh*

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HEY, KID, BE CAREFUL. BROKEN GLASS.

There’s a commercial for BMW running on TV right now featuring, as most car commercials do, a gorgeous vehicle taking hairpin turns down a mountain pass. In the car is a young boy with his arm out the window, feeling the wind rush by. A disclaimer runs across the bottom of the screen warning something to effect of: “Sticking your arm out the window is dangerous. Don’t do it.”

One end of a Hershey candy bar wrapper has the words “Open Here” printed on it.

Back in the early days of “Saturday Night Live”, there was a sketch with Dan Aykroyd as the sleezy CEO of “Mainway Toys”, a company that sold extremely dangerous toys to children: action figures with knives in them, Doggie Dentist, bag o’ spiders, and, also in the bag-o line, “Bag O’ Broken Glass” which was just a big plastic bag of, well, broken glass. When called on the safety issue, Mainway points out the disclaimer on the bag’s label: “Hey, Kid. Be careful. Broken glass.”

We’ve all read warning labels on products that sound to us like Mainway wrote them. McDonald’s coffee is hot. Don’t stick your hand in the power saw. That floor over there? Slippery when wet.

We can laugh. We DO laugh. But the fact is, warnings like this (okay, maybe not Mainway’s) get written by lawyers because some dumbass, somewhere, tried it once. The Hershey’s wrapper thing surely originated with some bizarre tale of events spiralling downward from unwrapping some candy to, I don’t know, leveling an entire city block.

Meanwhile, things we really do need protection from, we ignore. Guns. Fatty food. The more warnings the professionals level at us, the more we push back. Bigger clips for assault rifles. A restaurant in Las Vegas that serves a burger called “The Heart Attack”.

Save your money BMW and Hershey. We know what’s bad for us. We just want to hear it from the Mainway guy.

TWINKIE’S TWINKLE SNUFFED

Invoking the nuclear option, Hostess has announced it will shut its doors rather than continue negotiations with employees. As devastating as this is for employees, its a pop culture blow to the expanding waistlines of the world as well.

Now that Hostess has taken its sugary ball of dough and gone home to the demonic, diabetic hell that spawned Twinkie the Kid, what are we to do? How will we get our Snowball fix? Can you really call a life fulfilled without Ho-Hos? And who doesn’t enjoy a good ho now and then? Amirite? *Ahem*

Anyway, this is a crisis of epic proportions. Hostess is a venerated institution. True, in recent years the leader of the junk food industry has been pummelled under the weight of epidemic diabetes and obesity. But by this point in its long history, the name “Twinkie” has built a place in popular culture far more solid than its creamy center. Twinkies remind us of an earlier, innocent time in our nation’s history like “Leave it to Beaver” and Republicans.  The loss of Twinkie the Kid, that admiral dude from the Ding-Dong box and, uh, Helen the Ho-Ho (or whatever) will be felt even in the corners of society that had purged the high fat foods from their diets.

Like most other kids of the early seventies, my diet was constructed for me without much concern about whether I would get fat. (We could get into a whole thing about how that was because kids back in my day ran around more rather than staring at TV and computer screens, but that’s not nearly as much fun as talking about Ho-Hos.) A typical summertime lunch at home consisted of: a cheddar cheese sandwich on Wonderbread (just cheese, nothing else; usually a flat, round disc that came from a small, barrel-shaped brand our family simply referred to as “Daddy’s cheese”.), Cheetos, whatever flavor Kool-Aid packet Mom chose to mix from the rainbow of colors in the cabinet. For dessert, naturally, a Twinkie, Ho Ho or Ding Dong. (I liked cupcakes, Snowballs, fruit pies, but not as much as the Big Three.) Thanks, Mom, for making me the champion of quality eating I am today!

I don’t really remember the Hostess commercials from TV, but I liked seeing the images of Twinkie the Kid and other characters in the stores. Hostess seemed like it would be a fixture in grocery stores forever for my kids and their kids to enjoy – like Heinz Ketchup, Vlasic pickles, and Marlboro Lights.

Once Hostess liquidates, I know another company might buy up the “Twinkie” and “Ho Ho” names, maybe even the recipes, but it won’t be the same.  “Bewitched” wasn’t the same without the original Darren. “M*A*S*H” wasn’t the same without Colonel Blake. Some things can’t be replaced. The era of Hostess goodness is all over now. Now I’ll have to find something else to get my kids addicted to.

*Sigh* It’s tough being a parent.

THE BEST HALLOWEEN CANDY. PERIOD. AND ANOTHER PERIOD.

Okay, first things first.

Don’t eat too much candy. Too much candy is bad for you. Sugar buzzes aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. It rots your teeth. Makes you fat. And, of course, there’s our friend King Diabetes.

But…

A little candy is a very good thing. Science is even with me on this. Remember all those studies that say a little chocolate every day is good for your heart> A Hershey’s Kiss. A morsel of this. A nugget of that…and you’re living to be three-hundred.

So…

By extension, the industrial drum of candy you can haul in on Halloween with a little plan should pretty much make you immortal, shouldn’t it? Everywhere you turn during the Halloween season, people are shoving their sugary wares in your face. Why not dive in?

Well, because being choosy can pay off. Anyone can shove any random pixie stick and peanut log into their food holes. But what if you fill up on that crap before you get to the good stuff? We can only eat so much, people. Make it count. I say, be discriminating. Scrutinize what the Webbers are offering. And the Petersons. And that creepy old dude at the end of the block. Turn your nose up at fake peanut butter and hard candies with “fruit” goo in the middle. And if the old man offers you pencils or pennies instead, egg his house*. He’s old! He totally can’t catch you!

*NOTE: The blog does not endorse vandalism of any kind. Except flaming poo. That’s always awesome.

“But, Bill,” you say, “there are so many kinds of candy out there. How do I know which candy is worth my daily allotted masticating time?”

Hey, look, what you do in the privacy of your home is – wait! MASTICATING! Like, chewing, right? Sorry, thought you meant something else, entirely. In that case, yours is an excellent question. And I’m here to help.

*Trumpet fanfare*

THE BEST HALLOWEEN CANDY EVER*

1. Hershey bars. Alone, awesome. With almonds…MEGA-AWESOME!

2.Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Chocolate meets peanut butter. No greater unions were ever forged that didn’t involve a Kardashian.

3. Snickers. Packed with flavor, Snickers really KICKS ASS!

4. Milky Way. Sure, it’s Snickers poor cousin, but there’s something about a Milky Way bar and a glass of milk that is just…*sigh*

5. Pack of gum. Any kind, except sugarless. I always liked getting gum for Halloween. Sometimes, let’s be honest, you want to take a break from all that chocolate and caramel. Chewing some gum in the off times is like letting your jaw idle while you tend to other things.

6. Smarties Sweet Tarts. Accept no substitutes. These are the little round ones that look like aspirin tables wrapped in a cellophane tube. They taste good and you can eat them all in one sitting and pretend you’re over-dosing on narcotics, just like your heroes!

7. Anything that a neighbor offers you in the full-sized package rather than the fun sized. Bigger is ALWAYS better. Except punches to the face.

8. M&Ms. Plain are okay. Peanut are better. Peanut butter are….omgiomg! NOM NOM NOM!

9. York Peppermint Patty. As with the Smarties, accept no substitutes. There’s just something about that one, round chocolate disk…what makes it think it’s so good it can come in its own package alone. Cool, refreshing mint? Oh, yeah, I forgot. Yum.

10.  Twix candy bar. Smooth chocolate. Creamy caramel. Crunchy cookie. Perfect. The caveat here is IT HAS TO BE A FULL SIZE CANDY. I find the fun sized Twix somehow unsatisfying. It’s probably Freudian. I’ve been afraid to look under that rock.

*Candy manufacturers who are reading this blog, and I know you all do, should, in no way, feel obligated to reciprocate my generous endorsement of your products with massive quantities of free treats. Really, don’t sweat it. Hello? Hello?

So who wants to fight me on this? Pixie sticks at ten paces.

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