Mightier Than The Pen

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Posts Tagged ‘diet

Study: Too Late To Make Resolutions For 2015

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resolutionsBethesda, MD, January 5 – Scientists at the nation’s leading institute for chronological studies have concluded that as of today, there is no point in resolving to make a positive lifestyle or behavioral change to mark the new year.

Researchers at the University of Maryland analyzed data from each year over the last 50, and determined that the temporal deadline for making a New Year’s resolution never occurs later than the fourth of January. Any resolution voiced or otherwise accepted after that date sill simply not take force, and the would-be resolver will have no choice but to wait until the following January 1 to make a valid commitment.

The study carries important implications for commitment studies, especially as they affect diets and relationships, says researcher Indyan Giver. “For many people, the onset of January activates their resolutions, but that only works when a person has a resolution lined up that can kick in the moment midnight arrives to usher in the new year,” she said. “But the calendar has some flexibility, meaning that as many as three more days can pass before it’s simply too late to make a resolution, and that person will remain unable to make any lasting positive changes for nearly 365 more days.”

To some, notes Giver, missing that tiny window of opportunity is a blessing in disguise. “Our study also found that up to 75% of Americans are physiologically incapable of sustaining a resolution beyond the third week of January, and 95% beyond the first week of February,” explained. “So this study is good news for most people, who shouldn’t bother anyway.”

The consequences of missing the resolution deadline generally involve becoming stuck in a rut of weight gain, bad habits, dysfunctional relationships, and undesirable work situations, with no hope of personal, professional, or any other sort of positive transformation. Which is just a well, says Giver.

“Imagine the deteriorating self-esteem that would result from all these losers being forced to confront their own inability to stick to anything positive,” she said. “The realization can be crushing, and send a person into an even more acute downward spiral of binging, guilt, inadequacy, shame, and a bevy of other unpleasant emotions. This way, they’re better off, knowing that it makes no difference most of the time anyway.”

Written by Thag

January 5, 2015 at 8:24 pm

Sewer-Dwelling Slugs Ask What The Hell You’ve Been Eating

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slugsHoboken, NJ – Mlug and Glorph, gastropods that inhabit the municipal sewage system, expressed concern today over the disturbing contents of your fecal outputs.

The pair, which are part of a larger group of sewer slugs subsisting on decaying human excretions and other liquid waste, were nonplussed by changes in the composition and texture of their environment where your residential plumbing feeds into the city system. They remarked that nowhere else had they encountered such a dismaying indication of a diet gone wrong.

“We’ve been around the block a few times,” said Glorph, with an unusual literalism, “and both of us have seen some nasty [expletive]. But neither of us has ever seen anything like this,” he said, gesturing toward what appeared to be the remains of barbecue-flavor Doritos eaten simultaneously with overripe bananas and vinaigrette.

“That’s nothing compared to Wednesday,” added Mlug, who described the scene at the same location not two days ago. “What was it, toothpaste? With hedge trimmings? And maraschino cherries, like fifty of them?” Glorph nodded his confirmation.

The slugs also expressed concern for your welfare, noting that it was not healthy for a human digestive system to handle so much butter at once, and certainly not in conjunction with cream cheese eaten straight from the container. They also distanced themselves from association with what could only be what was left of a peanut-butter-and-bacon sandwich on spelt bread, and garlic-mushroom ice cream.

“We don’t really want to know what’s going on outside those pipes,” said Mlug, “but at the same time we’ve developed this morbid fascination that won’t let us stop thinking about it,” he confessed.

“I guess that’s not surprising,” noted Glorph. “If you are what you eat, well, how can we [expletive]-for brains be expected to ponder anything else?”

Written by Thag

January 24, 2014 at 10:20 am

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Agency Surprised By Backlash Against Ads Mocking Fat Kids

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fat kid ad

The ad reads, “When your child gets fat, his smile gets smaller.” Not shown: the McDonald’s ad on the sign’s opposite side, touting the array of “SuperSize” offerings.

Tel Aviv (AP) – Publicity firm JCDecaux was taken aback by the completely unforeseen reaction to an advertising campaign that distorted the images of children to make them look excessively overweight. The company found itself unexpectedly on the defensive after large swaths of the public expressed disgust at a campaign intended to draw attention to the growing problem of obesity in children, a campaign that revolved around mocking images of fat kids, a development no one in the organization foresaw.

In a statement, JCDecaux apologized for its strategy, saying it had no idea anyone could find offense in the notion that fat children should be mocked. It attempted to explain its actions by noting that no one had ever thought overweight children might suffer disparagement of their girth, so naturally the firm could not expect the public to object to such a series of depictions.

The campaign, plastered on billboards throughout the Tel Aviv metropolitan area, was scheduled to end next week, but the company removed the ads yesterday, replacing them with a self-congratulatory statement about having succeeded in raising awareness of the issue, as if only a small portion of public was aware of children who take up more space, and thus are more visible, than other children. The statement also called on the viewers to make the next move, as if JCDecaux’s job were done, without an indication as to what any “next move” might be.

JCDecaux-Israel’s spokeswoman Mor Bidlio-Beese said the campaign targeted the parents of overweight children, emphasizing the social pitfalls of obesity related to appearance and gait, and the disparagement that such awkwardness would attract. What the firm did not count on, she said, was that people would defend their fellow humans from just that sort of disparagement, pointing out that the last thing an obese child, who already suffers from low self image and motivation problems, needs is more negative input that only serves to make the underlying issues more severe.

“We were dumbfounded,” admitted Bidlio-Beese. “Since when does anyone care about fat people?”

Her remarks to reporters were the source of a second round of opprobrium from all corners, including a Facebook campaign to have Ms. Bidlio-Beese dismissed. Company executives have declined to comment, merely issuing a second press release accusing the media of focusing wrongly focusing on JCDecaux as the story instead of the tens of thousands of obese children in the country who require constant browbeating so they will finally get off their ample derrieres and do something to shed that weight.

Written by Thag

January 9, 2014 at 6:42 pm

Texas To Offer Gluten-Free Lethal Injections

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Texas sealAustin, TX (AP) – The Lone Star State was the first US state to perform an execution by lethal injection, and aims to retain its leadership in the administration of the death penalty by offering health-conscious alternatives for Death Row convicts. The certified gluten-free alternative will be made available for all executions taking place after July 2014.

Governor Rick Perry signed the new legislation into law on Wednesday, touting it as an important demonstration of his administration’s dedication to balancing an uncompromising attitude toward crime with a compassion for the rights and needs of those accused, a continuation of his predecessor George W. Bush’s “compassionate conservatism” policy.

Currently, 32 states practice capital punishment, and each of them uses lethal injection, though some also offer alternative methods such as hanging or firing squad. Texas has the largest number of convicts on Death Row among all states, and the state accounts for 40% of all executions in the United States. It was only natural, says Perry, that Texas should leverage its status as the capital punishment leader to institute a more enlightened, healthful method of lethal injection, one that would not put such a strain on the digestive system.

“More and more people are showing sensitivity or allergies to gluten, unfortunately,” acknowledged Perry, “and our current methods do not adequately account for those awaiting execution who nevertheless still benefit from the right to have the state take their dietary needs into account.” The new bill, he promised, will make a gluten-free chemical or combination of chemicals available to executioners upon the request of the inmate. He pointed out that Texas is the first, and for now the only, state that shows concern for convicts’ dietary sensibilities as it kills them, and he hopes other states follow Texas’s lead in providing healtheir options for those executed.

Lethal injection methods vary among the states, but the most common method involves a three-drug combination that anesthetizes, paralyzes, and stops the heartbeat of the convict. Various degrees of controversy surround some of the drugs, as do difficulties in securing an adequate supply of the necessary chemicals. The new law does not specify what drugs will be procured or synthesized for the gluten-free executions, nor how the state will ensure that the chemicals will be certified as gluten-free. Given some recent shortages of some of the drugs commonly used for lethal injections, it remains unclear how Texas will fare in having a steady supply on hand, especially if the state is to maintain its position as the most prolific performer of capital punishment.

Governor Perry, however, remains confident that the law will be carried out with little trouble. “We had some of the same difficulties when we expanded the available menu for a prisoner’s last meal back in 1985,” he recalled. “People doubted we’d be able to secure both beef AND turkey. Well, we had no problem then.”

Currently, a prisoner’s last meal in Texas automatically comes with wheat rolls, and cake for dessert.

Written by Thag

December 25, 2013 at 4:27 pm

Study: Apparently, Cookie Dough Can Be Baked Before Eating

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NantucketCambridge, MA (AP) – Food scientists at Harvard University shocked the culinary world this week when they released research results suggesting that cookie dough could be eaten even after baking it. They said, however, that this should is no way be construed as a recommended method of preparation.

A team of physicists and chemists subjected tablespoonfuls of cookie dough to temperatures of 375° F (190°C) for up to 15 minutes at a time and reported on the outcome. The scientists discovered that although the baking time altered the consistency, shape, and color of the dough, it remained edible, even tasty. The team intends to continue extensively researching this phenomenon, and scientists at many other institutions have expressed their own intention to attempt to replicate the research as soon and as frequently as possible.

Dr. Nestle Toll-House of Harvard and his fellow researchers used a standard formula to prepare cookie dough, a popular snack food, dessert item, or main course, depending on one’s mood. They combined butter, brown sugar, white sugar, eggs, salt, baking soda, flour, and chocolate chips in a specialized piece of laboratory equipment. Whereas at this point traditional procedure would call the dish complete, Dr. Toll-House’s team had decided to perform a “baking” procedure, which until now has been used on cookie dough only in certain obscure circles.

They obtained flat sheets of aluminum and evenly spaced lumps of the dough several inches apart, and placed the sheets in a preheated oven. After several minutes the lumps of dough could be seen to melt somewhat, and after about 10, their final shapes had stabilized. According to the report, when the sheets were removed from the oven, the cookie dough lumps were crisp, with slight browning, and the chocolate chips were soft enough to leave streaks on the lips, cheeks, and chin.

The study’s publication prompted a harsh response from proponents of traditional methods. “It’s a shame Harvard wasted precious ingredients and power just to destroy perfectly good cookie dough,” said Piya Mess, Professor of Gynecology at Yale. Dr. Theo Bromine of Texas A & M concurred: “…Why…why would you do that?”

Others, however, have not been as swift in their judgment. “We have seen the study and do not question its scientific integrity. We do, however, reserve judgment on the conclusions until we have tasted, er, seen enough cumulative evidence from similar studies that support them,” read a statement from the Food Science Institute of America, based in Atlanta.

“This method represents a potential radical shift in kitchen behavior,” noted Dr. Ginger Snaap of Johns Hopkins University, a chemist who was not involved in the study. “Currently there are few practical applications for this theoretical knowledge, since cookie dough has a half-life of six seconds, meaning it disappears completely within a few minutes in the presence of humans. But this study means that a cook who wishes to prepare a tremendous quantity, perhaps in anticipation of close friends stopping by later, might be able to ‘bake’ lumps of the dough to make it easier to store.” She cautioned that the quantity that would need to be prepared to ensure its survival would far surpass the capacity of most domestic kitchens.

Dr. Toll-House has ambitions to explore what happens when the baked cookie dough is given a chance to cool to room temperature before it is eaten, but acknowledges that such data would be merely theoretical.

Written by Thag

December 9, 2013 at 2:33 pm

God Admits Creation Of Celery A Joke

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celery cross-sectionJerusalem (AP) – The Almighty convened a press conference this afternoon to admit that He created celery in a fit of silliness, but found that the way humans treated it as food was so entertaining that only when the joke got old could He bring Himself to reveal it.

Initially the family of celery plants were relegated to the countryside with myriad other rejects from the Lord’s experimental phase; many such species died out eons before humans developed. But as early as the second millennium BCE, humans were already treating celery – at least celery seeds – as either medicine or as food, and God was so tickled He decided to see how long people would keep falling for it. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Thag

December 7, 2013 at 8:42 pm

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CDC: Nothing Wrong With Gluten; ‘Man Up’

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CDCAtlanta (AP) – Urging Americans to grow a pair, the Centers for Disease Control has issued new dietary recommendations yesterday that dismiss widespread concern over gluten in grains.

A two-decade study of dietary components and human physiology have led the CDC to conclude that, “the all-too-common assumption that the human body is somehow incapable of properly processing gluten – principally wheat gluten – has no scientific basis and rests solely on the documented increasing wussiness of Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Thag

November 28, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Scientists Discover Wrong Way To Eat A Reese’s

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pb cupsHershey, PA (AP) – Researchers studying the properties of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup have apparently concluded that, contrary to claims made in the 1990’s, more reliable, recent data demonstrate that one can in fact directly commit a moral offense by the manner in which he goes about consuming one such candy unit.

In an article to be published in the upcoming issue of the Food journal, an industry periodical, a team of food scientists and philosophers tested diverse scenarios and assigned them a moral score based on the number of fatalities, the amount of suffering inflicted, the extent or property theft or deprivation, and the scale of rights violations that took place as a direct, unequivocal result of eating a Reese’s. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Thag

October 16, 2013 at 3:23 pm

Man On Day 2 Of Diet Disappointed With Results So Far

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evolutionary dietDecatur, Georgia (AP) – Local resident Glen Woods has been restricting his intake of fatty and sugary foods since Monday morning, and asserts that he remains unimpressed by his weight loss to date.

Woods, 38, had noticed in recent months that his waistline, belly, and backside regions had grown more ample than he remembered, and resolved to undertake a diet and exercise routine to help him drop the excess mass and volume. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Thag

October 8, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Correspondent On Diet Repeatedly Lapses Into Food Reverie While Reporting

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cheesecakeCoral Gables, FL (AP) – Ever since she began a restrictive diet last month, Michelle Cowan, a correspondent for the Associated Press, has been unable to complete a sentence in her article submissions without lapsing into fantasies involving luscious chocolate desserts and other decadent gustatory experiences.

The reporter, 38, finally resolved over the summer to do something about the unsightly extra adipose tissue accumulating around her midsection, resembling in texture a brioche before it has been placed in the oven and baked to fluffy, buttery perfection. So she embarked on a strict regimen limiting her caloric intake to no more than 1500 calories in any 24-hour period, hoping to shed the extra weight within a reasonable amount of time and not be constantly consumed by unfulfilled thoughts of creamy, sumptuous cheesecake with a subtle but cinnamony graham cracker crust.

pb cupsInitially, Cowan’s resolve and the novelty of the effort combined to keep her appetite and imagination in check, but within three days of lower caloric intake, her cravings for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or fresh, crisp french fries became overpowering. Her editor and coworkers noticed that every statement, irrespective of its relevance to the subject at hand, included an unnecessarily lengthy exploration of a memorable baked macaroni and cheese dish or homemade schnitzel right from the skillet, for example.

Within a week, the phenomenon had crept into Cowan’s written work, as well, at first manifesting as out-of-place analogies to chocolate-covered pretzels or a croissant. Her editors quickly noticed that the analogies to comfort food slipped into Cowan’s sentences as smoothly as warm butterscotch pudding down a waiting throat. The obsession began affecting others in the newsroom, spreading so quickly that virtually the entire staff of writers found themselves employing metaphors of toll house cookies, garlic-roasted potatoes, and, in the case of the sportswriters, wine-and-herb tilapia sizzling in the pan.

gnocchiManaging Editor Mark Mywords attempted to address the problem directly by sending out a group e-mail with a reminder of certain style policies, but was drowned out as reporters and interns shared recipes for teriyaki beef and gnocchi with tomato cream sauce. He followed up with a disciplinary meeting for several egregious offenders, at which Cowan and fellow correspondent Samantha Drakes continued to turn every line of conversation into a discussion of Entenmann’s crumb-topped donuts.

This is not the first time a journalism outfit has been compromised by thoughts of garlicky chicken soup with fluffy dumplings. A similar development occurred at the Washington Post in 1994, the year this reporter discovered a deli with a stacked corned-beef-on-rye to make even the most die-hard vegan salivate. The New York Times suffered the same fate in 1971 and 1973, when editor A. M. Rosenthal brought in leftovers from a family member’s Bar Mitzva celebration, and reporters were stuffing themselves on cream cheese rugelach for weeks.

At press time, this reporter was still ravenously desirous of a pastrami burger.

Written by Thag

September 30, 2013 at 9:24 pm

Supreme Court: Obamacare Actually A Kind Of Cheese

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Washington, DC (AP) – In a move surprising to both supporters and opponents of President Obama’s landmark universal health care law, the Supreme Court ruled this morning that the far-reaching piece of legislation, affecting hundreds of millions of Americans, is actually a variety of cheese similar to cheddar.

Democratic supporters and Republican opponents have waged a public conflict over the constitutionality, feasibility, and costs of the health care package, with Congressional Republicans threatening to withhold funding for the program. The Court ruling at once forces the administration to reconsider the application of the law and deprives Republicans of ammunition in the fight against it.

In a split decision, the Court decided 5-4 that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), as the package is formally known, is not a piece of legislation at all, but a semi-hard cheese with the pungency of of young Gouda and a texture evocative of Pecorino.

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts praised the PPACA’s strong flavor and creaminess, noting how unusual it is for a cheese made from cow’s milk to achieve the particular balance of flavor and texture normally associated with sheep cheeses such as Pecorino.

“We find the PPACA a sumptuous feast of the senses,” Roberts wrote. “The unmistakable aroma of a fine Pecorino gives way to the not-quite al dente feel of a sensuous, creamy Gruyère.”


Pecorino Romano

In a spirited dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia vigorously denounced that characterization, asserting that in fact Obamacare bears only a passing resemblance to cheese. Scalia minced no words in putting forth the argument that if anything, the PPACA calls to mind and palate a delicate veal carpaccio.

“Far be it from this judge to weigh in on matters of taste, but since the majority has already done so, let it be known that the majority would not know a mozzarella from a matza,” wrote Scalia, referring to a type of crispy, unleavened bread eaten by Jews on Passover. “In fact Obamacare would be best served with a nice Rosé, or better yet, an apéritif of some sort, but you won’t hear such things from the stodgy confines of the rest of the bench.”

In practice, the ruling leaves the PPACA out of the realm of direct influence from Congress, as regulation of cheeses and other dairy products falls under the aegis of the Department of Agriculture. While calling into question the medical application of the health care package, the Supreme Court has nevertheless granted the President effective carte blanche to apply it as the agency that answers to him sees fit.

“We certainly see this as a victory,” said White House Chief of Staff Jacob Lew. “A victory to be savored, perhaps on a rye cracker with nigella or caraway seeds.” Lew himself noted that he could not necessarily partake of the cheese, as he follows Jewish dietary law; the vast majority of cheeses available in the United States are not kosher, as they use rennet, an enzyme from animal sources that is considered a meat substance under Jewish law, and may not be mixed with dairy.

Congressional Republicans were quick to voice their disappointment. “Not what I expected at all, to tell you the truth,” conceded Mitch McConnell (R-KY). “We had been near certain the Court would see things our way, considering the Chief Justice’s own conservative tastes.” McConnell said he had yet to decide whether he would purchase any of the PPACA.

“My tastes run more toward Brie and Camembert,” he confessed, referring to softer cheeses.

Written by Thag

September 29, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Parent Scientists Isolate Ideal Bedtime

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Either a health risk or a manifest demonstration of  life lived correctly.

Either a health risk or a manifest demonstration of life lived correctly.

Cambridge, MA (AP) – Physicists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have announced the results of a multi-year effort to define the ideal hour at which children should be put to bed, including confirmation of a long-held assumption that a “golden window” exists during which children who cooperate with parental bedtime directives will enjoy happier, healthier lives.

A team consisting of thirty-five researchers across the country who are also parents of young children examined data regarding a cohort of 70 youths from the ages of six months to eleven years. They found that the best time for children to be tucked into bed was in the range of 6:45 pm and 7:30 pm, and even earlier if Mom or Dad had something special planned just for the two of them. The researchers published their findings in this week’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

According to the article, the benefits of adhering to this bedtime scheme include, but are not limited to: more frequent and more plentiful desserts; fewer occasions for parent-administered discipline; an easier time getting ready for school in the morning; more generous allowance; and a significantly decreased likelihood of getting grounded.

“This study essentially corroborates everything we’ve been saying for a long time,” said Dr. I. Sedso, a Columbia University professor of physics and father of three who was not involved in the research. “Our experience,” she said, referring to the informal studies undertaken by colleagues with small children at home, “bears out that the household functions at peak efficiency when children have dinner at about 5:15, have a bath or shower, change into pajamas, brush teeth, and are ready for maybe a bedtime story and to be tucked in by 7 pm, 7:15 if a lice-combing is necessary,” she said in a telephone interview.

The study is the most recent in a series of MIT efforts to define and quantify various aspects of the parent-child dynamic. A report released in February noted the character-building benefits of taking out the garbage even when one has already removed one’s shoes, and the myriad positive effects on one’s long-term satisfaction inherent in keeping that racket down.

The research is not without its detractors. “We believe studies of this nature are a priori biased,” claims Houston-area ten-year-old Greg Niedermeyer. “They fail to account for the negative social impact that adhering to, for example, an early bedtime, exerts on the life of a typical schoolchild.” Niedermeyer also criticized an earlier study that found only positive outcomes for children who finished their vegetables, noting that only losers ate Brussels sprouts or beets in any form.

Niedermeyer pointed to a conflicting set of studies conducted over the last year by children at various elementary schools in Texas, Vermont, Indiana, and Florida, which found a significant correlation between later bedtimes and freer access to candy. “It’s clear that from a happiness point of view, liberal parental attitudes are key. The studies indicating otherwise suffer from a prejudiced set of assumptions, among them that whatever a parent wants is ipso facto desirable.”

Adult researchers, in turn, have assailed the schoolchildren’s research as agenda-driven, and noted that it was all underwritten by manufacturers of unnecessarily sweet breakfast cereals and of violent video games masquerading as educational tools.

Written by Thag

September 17, 2013 at 11:45 pm

Hansel & Gretel Witch Criticized For High-Fructose Corn Syrup

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Yaga, in an undated portrait.

Yaga, in an undated portrait.

Bonn, Germany (AP) – German health authorities are investigating allegations that, in contravention of European Union health guidelines, the witch who lures children into her candy-and-cake house in order to cook and eat them uses high-fructose corn syrup to prepare the sweets and confections. High-fructose corn syrup is banned in the EU.

Yaga, the witch, lives in the Black Forest, and has for centuries practiced cannibalism of wandering children, whom she attracts by means of the candies and cakes that compose much of her cottage. Ministry of Health inspectors made a visit to Yaga’s residence yesterday and took samples of the candy roof tiles, candy cane window frames, cookie doorknobs and swabbings of various other foodstuffs used in the construction of the house and its furnishings.

The samples have been transferred to a laboratory in Baden-Baden, and investigators expect results by the middle of next week. A portion of the samples have also been sent to the central EU Health Directorate investigative division in Maastricht, the Netherlands, where parallel analysis will take place, according to Directorate spokesman Jüve Gottebekidding.

“Technically this matter is still under the jurisdiction of the German internal authorities, but as a courtesy they customarily collect enough material in their investigations to share with us so we can double-check their findings,” said Gottebekidding. “Since in this case it’s a small-scale operation, not a major pan-European enterprise, the Directorate sees no need to get directly involved.” Punitive measures against the witch, if they prove warranted, will be a matter for the German authorities to determine.

Yaga herself was unavailable for comment, but her attorney, Jan Derwindobreks, says his client denies any wrongdoing. “Yaga has been using the same locally available ingredients since she began luring children to their deaths hundreds of years ago,” he insisted. Derwindobreks says he and his client are confident the investigation will exonerate Yaga, and she will be able to return to her practice of attracting helpless children into her lair, fattening them up, and cooking them.

While the investigation is in progress, Yaga is barred from further production of sweets. As the candies are an integral part of the witch’s roof and other building elements, Derwindobreks laments that his client must resort to standard building materials in order to replace the pieces that children eat before they are lured inside, and she lacks the experience to properly install each item. As a result, the structural integrity of the house is in peril.

Health Ministry spokesman Willy Kwitchergreipen said the injunction was temporary, pending the outcome of the investigation, and that it is standard practice. “We make no exceptions when it comes to our regular procedure – as soon as Ms. Yaga is cleared of malfeasance in this regard we will rescind the injunction and she may return to her customary production of sweets – provided they contain no high-fructose corn syrup.”

The ingredient, a modified form of glucose syrup derived from corn, has been associated with diabetes and other ills, and was banned by EU authorities two years ago. Most European confection manufacturers have readily complied, though the added expense and logistical hurdles inherent in switching to other forms of sugar have proved troublesome. According to Kwitchergreipen, it remains unclear where Yaga may have obtained the syrup, as imports of it have been barred since the ban went into effect and it has only been available from major industrial suppliers. None of those suppliers has had any of the syrup in stock since then, he said.

“It remains possible that, if in fact we find evidence that Ms. Yaga used high-fructose corn syrup, she synthesized it herself.” Investigators did document the presence in the house of several types of equipment that could be used in the production of high-fructose corn syrup, such as cauldrons, stirring implements, and brooms, the bottoms of which are often made of broom corn.

If found in violation of the regulations, Yaga faces a fine of up to 50,000 Euros and will be prohibited from manufacturing confections. Derwindobreks is confident that she will be found to have complied all along, but worries that if the investigation concludes she used the banned substance, she will be left with no other means to sustain herself.

“She could starve,” he warned.

Written by Thag

August 1, 2013 at 12:04 pm

NIH: Children’s Allergies Mean You Are a Failure As A Parent

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Don't sneeze.

Don’t sneeze.

Bethesda, MD (AP) – The National Institutes of Health has released a new study linking parenting failures with children who suffer from allergies.

Covering research spanning more than two decades, the most recent study reviews and analyzes more than 600 surveys and clinical initiatives involving children living with at least one parent. It catalogs the steep documented rise in the incidence of allergies among children and correlates it with the manifest decline in parenting competence since the Baby Boomer generation’s children began having children themselves.

To ensure that the correlation actually indicated causation and that the link was not the result of third factor, the researchers investigated the prevalence of bad parenting before and after the documented increase in children’s allergies. They found that bad parenting practices increased by a significant margin several years before the spike in allergies.

NixonCertain environmental allergies had always been relatively common, such as hay fever and, to a lesser extent, some dietary allergies, such as dairy or nuts. But in the seventies, eighties and nineties, as exposure to disco, cable television, George Steinbrenner, bell-bottoms, the British royal family, platform shoes, Prince, My Little Pony, the 1972 Presidential campaign, Mike Tyson, the acting in the MacGyver series, and myriad other evils increased and parents failed to adequately shield their children from those malignant influences, the incidence of allergies began to rise. It increased steadily through the nineties and into the first decade of the twenty-first century as parent continued to knowingly allow their children prolonged encounters with such harmful forces as Lindsay Lohan, Dubstep, a New York Rangers Stanley Cup, George W. Bush, Rush Limbaugh, and Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey flavor ice cream.

Today, nearly one in four children suffers from an allergy of some kind. According to the NIH report, “this phenomenon can only be attributed to the atrocious parenting exhibited over the last several decades.” The report noted that outside the US, where the aforementioned pernicious influences are much less intense or prevalent, allergy rates are much lower. “In other developed countries, such as Israel or most of Western Europe, the frequency of life-threatening allergic reaction to peanut butter is close to nonexistent,” the researchers noted, pointing out that, for example, Keanu Reeves films and anchovy pizza remain only mildly popular in those locations.

The NIH has yet to formulate public policy guidelines as a result of these findings. Harvard University Professor of Public Policy Barkeen Guptha Wrongtree explains that a good number of the officials who would have to approve, implement, or oversee such a policy are themselves part of the problem, not least because of their own demonstrated failings as parents.

Written by Thag

July 31, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Study: Evidently, Many People Think Quinoa Is Food

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Either quinoa or earthworm-and-centipede salad.

Either quinoa or earthworm-and-centipede salad.

Washington, DC (AP) – Scientists are struggling to explain why otherwise seemingly rational people eat the manifestly inedible seeds of the Chenopodium quinoa plant, according to an article in the upcoming issue of a monthly report by the US Department of Agriculture.

A twelve-year research project by faculty and doctoral candidates at three universities – Case Western, the University of California at Berkeley, and Texas A&M – sought to determine the origins and continued growth of the quinoa consumption trend. They looked at social and market developments over the last several decades to discover what might explain the sudden decision by increasing numbers of Americans to eat the seeds, which cannot even be fermented to make a proper whiskey, let alone ground into flour to make a passable pizza crust or hamburger bun. To their chagrin, the researchers were unable to find an adequate explanation for the culinary popularity of the weed.

Quinoa was domesticated as long as 7,000 years ago by South American herders, to provide feed for their animals. According to University of Virginia Botany Professor Kit Niott, who was not involved in the study, only recently have Americans begun to consume quinoa seeds in appreciable numbers, driving up demand and prices for the crop. He compares the phenomenon to shag carpets, which no one in his right mind would ever buy, but which almost every household had in the early-mid-1970’s.

“People have demonstrated a tendency to just do what everyone else is doing, regardless of the actual merit or wisdom of the behavior,” explained Niott. “Quinoa, while it might provide any number of nutritional benefits, has no demonstrated qualities that make it an acceptable foodstuff, in contrast, to, for example, pizza.”

Pizza, he noted, is like sex: when it’s good, it’s very, very good; when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good. Whereas quinoa, “falls somewhere between sofa cushion stuffing and ball bearings in its culinary appeal.”

The Spanish conquistadors actively discouraged quinoa cultivation among the enslaved South American natives, seeing the plant as a relic of pagan society; in fact quinoa was often used in agricultural rituals. While the physical enslavement, extermination policies, exploitation and destruction wrought by the Spanish and other European invaders of the New World attract justified opprobrium, Dr. Ann Jiospurm, the study’s lead author, asserts that the Spaniards got the quinoa part right.

“This weed has nothing to recommend it; if there’s one thing one could wish that the conquistadors did more thoroughly, it would the suppression and elimination of quinoa cultivation,” she writes.

Reached by telephone, Jiospurm elaborated on the study’s findings. “Mere nutritional benefit is not enough to explain why something becomes an accepted part of the diet,” she noted. “Dogs are also full of protein, but you don’t see us eating more and more of them every year. The same goes for various essential minerals – humans generally have standards when it comes to what they consume, and for good reason, you don’t see granite breakfast cereals or topsoil cake frosting.”

Jiospurm repeated the words with which she concluded the article, stating the scientific community remains “at a loss to account for the growing collective insanity that characterizes the popularity of quinoa as a food – something that it most clearly is not.”

Written by Thag

July 24, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Bloomberg Administration to Regulate Birthday Party Goody Bag Contents

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lootNew York, NY (AP) – Continuing his efforts to employ mayoral authority to stem the rising tide of obesity, New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg launched another initiative today aimed at curtailing children’s consumption of fatty, sugary foods, this time as part of the treats traditionally distributed by the birthday celebrant to his or her departing guests.

The goody bag, or loot bag, as it is known in some quarters, traditionally contains several sweets and greasy or salty snacks, and sometimes cake or cookies. Some versions also include a small game or toy, but the focus of the new initiative – and of the kids who receive the bags – remains on the food portion of the contents.

Pending approval by the City Council, the measure would limit such bags to a single “fun size” sweet or salty treat, with the remainder of the contents comprising unprocessed fruits or vegetables and no more than 2 ounces of starchy, unsweetened material such as crackers or pretzels. Non-food items are not subject to the new legislation, and no limits would be placed on the quantity or type.

Earlier versions of the measure had a proposed mandatory inclusion of information on the importance of healthful eating habits, but according mayoral aides, Mr. Bloomberg quickly realized that such a requirement would be cumbersome and would necessitate further bureaucratic involvement to produce or approve such material and provide for its adequate distribution throughout the five boroughs.

The mayor’s previous anti-obesity initiative sought to ban the sale of large-size soft drinks. Though that measure passed the City Council, a subsequent lawsuit and opposition by the soft drink industry resulted in its cancellation. The goody bag industry does not enjoy the same financial and political clout as the soft drink companies, and experts expect the measure to remain on the books if it passes.

“Odds are this one will do well,” said N. Annie State, a political analyst for the journal Welfare Mom’s Day. “The snack food industry is too fragmented to put up much of a fight, and parents everywhere are getting more and more health-conscious.”

Other experts disagreed. “The demographic that actually puts together goody bags is not the demographic that suffers most from childhood obesity,” noted Ray Syst, who writes about diet and class issues for Time Magazine. “The people who buy the junk food in quantity are the ones who don’t have time to prepare a wholesome birthday party to begin with – they’ll just take the kid out to Burger King or some pizza place. This legislation misses the point entirely, and inconveniences people without accomplishing its goal.”

Syst said a better initiative would be to institute a minimum age for fast food items such as most states already have for tobacco products and alcoholic beverages, but acknowledges that would be an uphill fight even in regulation-friendly sates such as New York. Alternatively, he suggested, bag manufacturers could be required to print warnings regarding the dangers of overconsumption of unhealthy foods, much in the way cigarette packages must feature such a prominent label.

At press time, a crowd of several hundred parents from Park Slope, Brooklyn, were protesting the overuse of Dora the Explorer themes at birthday parties.

Written by Thag

May 29, 2013 at 9:12 pm

Congress Specifically Excludes Fat People from Antidiscrimination Protection

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A moving target, say the marketers, but not very far.

A moving target, say the marketers, but not very far.

Washington, DC (AP) – Today the House of Representatives passed a measure already ratified in the Senate last week specifically removing the overweight from the classes of people that federal law protects against discrimination. The vote passed both houses by large margins.

The Americans Demand Immediate Pillorying Of Sizes Excessive (ADIPOSE) Act, sponsored by Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), initially got stuck in committee, but eventually lawmakers found a way to force its passage in that forum. The bill’s momentum ensured that it would roll right through the remaining legislative hurdles. President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law this week, in keeping with First Lady Michelle Obama’s recent devotion to promoting physical fitness and proper nutrition among American youth.

“It’s a big day for Americans,” said Schumer. “No longer will we be forced to squeeze ourselves into the confines of political correctness run amok. From now on, employers in every sector of the economy and society can reject applicants because they are slovenly, obese creatures.”

Heavy opposition initially blocked the bill in its early stages, as fast food giants threw their weight around. The industry fears that open discrimination against the overweight will adversely affect its cash cow market. In the end, however, Senate Democrats managed to force a vote by threatening to bring in Richard Simmons to address Congress, and last-minute holdouts relented when a life-size poster of a shirtless William Howard Taft was unveiled.

Fast-food industry spokesmen said the companies they represent are considering their next steps, but concede that their advertising already insults the intelligence of their biggest customers, and that outright, in-your-face discrimination constitutes only a small shift from the current marketing strategy. “Like our largest market segment, our strategy doesn’t need to move very much,” noted Martin Biggs, an attorney for Taco Bell, Denny’s and several other national fast-food chains.

“In fact the new law might solve more problems for my clients than it causes,” mused Biggs. “They can continue to serve fattening food to their clientele till the cows come home, all while hiring only svelte staff to maintain employee morale – because, let’s face it, there’s not much more to hope for from a McJob.”

Already, several McDonald’s franchises in the DC area have rolled out policies in keeping with the new, looser regulations. A branch in the Market Square neighborhood had a seven-foot-tall, five-foot-wide cardboard cutout of the Happy Meal character Grimace, holding a sign that said: To Eat Here You May Not Be As Fat As This Sign.

The National Association for Overweight Americans did not return calls requesting a response. Their outgoing voice mail message said, “We are currently evaluating our options: either fight this thing all the way to the supreme court, or – you know, let’s get real. There’s no way we can get into the Supreme Court. Do you have any idea how far it is from the parking lot to the front entrance?”

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Written by Thag

March 3, 2013 at 2:38 pm

I Before E, Except After Weird

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January 29, 2013 at 3:31 pm

NRA, Health Dept. Advocate New Public Health Policy: Hunt Fat People

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fat target

Some of the preliminary work has already been done.

Washington, DC (AP) – The incoming Obama administration has already put forward an ambitious new plan, developed with the National Rifle Association, to combat worrisome obesity trends, and it also signals a breakthrough on gun control legislation.

Long a public health issue, obesity in America has never been more prevalent; a CDC study released in August found that not a single US state had less than a 20% obesity rate, with Southern states averaging more than 35%. Many of those states support lax gun control measures, a fact that signaled opportunity to outgoing Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sibelius.

“It became clear to me, especially after the Newtown massacre, that we need to find a way to work with the gun lobby,” she said at a press conference. “Guns are a public health issue, no question – and we need to engage the gun industry in our efforts to keep America living well.” They key, said Sibelius, was getting the NRA’s agreement on strict gun control measures in exchange for open season on obese people, of which there are now more than 78 million across the country, according to CDC statistics.

“It’s a win-win situation,” said NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre. “Everyone understands the value of free access to firearms – it’s one of our basic rights as Americans. But we at the NRA also understand that our future as a free nation is just as threatened by the lumbering, flabby dweebs who put such a strain on public resources,” he remarked.

“We believe law-abiding American gun owners and users will welcome this minor inconvenience,” he continued. The new policy “puts paid the notion that the firearms industry and its allies are incapable of compromise.”

Under the program, a pilot will first be conducted in several suburban areas with a high concentration of fast food establishments. State and local health authorities will be tasked with tagging the obese with identifying markers. Tranquilizer guns will be made available for this phase, but Sebelius expects them not be necessary in most cases. “What are they going to do, run away?” she asked with a chuckle, noting the tens of millions of dollars that would be saved in diabetes-related treatments alone.

LaPierre found particular virtue in a provision of the legislation allowing the use of armor-piercing bullets on the obese. “It’s very important that we secured that right,” he stated, and said that the NRA found any restrictions on the bullets problematic, but was willing to go along with limitations on their use in other contexts. “There will be plenty of opportunity to exercise our Second Amendment rights with whatever ammunition we desire, as long as we target only the legitimately obese – and let’s face it, they make sweet targets.”

The proposal is not without administrative and legislative hurdles. The food and beverage industry may be loath to see its prime customer base drastically reduced, but lobbyists have said they might be willing to accept some population reduction, given that obesity is a growth industry. The extent of the industry’s flexibility on the issue has yet to be tested.

Of similar concern is the number of obese Americans in possession of guns, a statistic that might complicate implementation of the policy. LaPierre has suggested giving hunters an advantage via a return to the NRA’s original core endeavor, training Americans in marksmanship and the proper use of firearms, with emphasis on tactics that require mobility and a capacity to hide behind objects smaller than a standard golf cart.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie did not return several phone calls requesting comment.

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Written by Thag

January 13, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Domino’s Perplexed By Poor Sales of Pizza Suppositories

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Domino's logoAnn Arbor, MI (AP) – Fast-food giant Domino’s Pizza, confronted with anemic sales of its new pizza suppositories, has put further marketing efforts for the product on hold, according to a statement from the company’s corporate headquarters.

Following a lengthy promotional campaign, the Italian food chain finally released its line of “Up Yours” pizza suppositories, hoping to tap into the growing need for ever-more-efficient food delivery in a busy era. With Up Yours, Domino’s hoped to appeal to rushed parents and hurried workers who lack the time to properly ingest and digest even typical fast food. Its “Taste is waste” slogan leveraged the company’s reputation for providing a less-than-stellar culinary experience; a 2009 survey of consumer taste preferences among national chains by Brand Keys, Domino’s tied with Chuck E. Cheese’s for last place.

The advertising push followed an intensive program to get buy-in from the chain’s more than 5,000 franchise holders, but that stage of the program took several months longer than expected because headquarters found it difficult to convince the franchisees to get behind the initiative, according to Seymour Butz, an analyst at Sphincter Industries who studies the fast food industry.

“The franchisees were worried about bottlenecks in supply and production,” said Butz, who also noted that trial runs of that production exposed lax adherence to quality standards. Although the company addressed those concerns, problems continued to emerge even as the release date approached.

Any resemblance to the actual product is entirely, outrageously funny.

Any resemblance to the actual product is entirely, outrageously funny.

Domino’s was forced to push back the start of the promotional campaign to fix those emerging issues, and the executives were apparently satisfied that they had managed to wipe away the sticky problems by softening its position on franchisee contribution. Advertising began in January, and the first Up Yours suppositories were offered in Kansas, Texas and Arkansas. Hopeful initial data from the “In Testin'” phase prompted the further roll-out of the products up and down the eastern seaboard and Illinois.

But sales logs, initially positive, proved disappointing, and continued to contract through the spring and summer, skidding almost entirely to a halt by August. The board pinned its hopes on the September “Backside to School” advertising blitz, aiming to appeal to more regular customers, but decided that if October sales showed no major improvement they would be forced to cancel production. Despite an $18 million investment in equipment, materials and marketing, the company’s bottom line has suffered, limiting Domino’s to a second-quarter profit only slightly higher than the same period last year.

Hopes had been high until then, as a program in the same spirit by a different fast food player had shown its potential. In 2009 White Castle announced that it was “eliminating the middle man” by liquefying its burgers and spraying them directly on the insides of toilet bowls. White Castle sales figures had not appreciably suffered as a result, and Domino’s executives apparently felt that their marketing acumen could make such an approach profitable.

This is not the first abortive Domino’s marketing program. In 1992 and 1993, high-profile lawsuits charged the company with recklessness in guaranteeing home delivery within 30 minutes of an order’s placement; two fatalities had resulted from Domino’s delivery men’s driving. Of particular interest to the plaintiff was a provision calling for the public beheading of drivers who failed to reach their destinations within the allotted time. The company settled both cases, but agreed to eliminate the punitive measures for late deliveries, which had garnered initial popularity and a contract to televise the beheadings.

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December 27, 2012 at 3:46 pm

USDA Declares Cheese Danish a Vegetable

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Washington, DC (AP) – United States Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon announced today that the Department had issued new guidelines to institutions under its jurisdiction that reclassify cheese danish as a vegetable.

Under its MyPlate system, the USDA uses a plate and cup logo to illustrate that about half a person’s daily caloric intake should consist of fruits and vegetables, with the remainder consisting of grains, proteins and dairy, in descending order. The reclassification of cheese danish removes it primarily from the grain portion of the diagram into the largest section, vegetables.

“This is an important step in making our dietary recommendations effective,” said Concannon. “The effect of this measure, we believe, is that Americans can now use the calories freed up by the reclassification to consume healthier grains,” he continued. A typical cheese danish provides about 400 calories.

The Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, a USDA agency, approved the redesignation of cheese danish after its executive director, Dr. Rajen Anand, reviewed several studies in which the scientists conducted field research at bakeries in New York, Vienna and Copenhagen. The researchers unanimously recommended the danish, though some controversy occurred when two teams disagreed over the benefits of cheese filling vs. pecan-maple. A subsequent meta-analysis confirmed the superiority of cheese filling.

CNPP Deputy Director Dr. Robert C. Post cautioned that the change may take some time to get used to. Dr. Post guided two of the agency’s divisions in formulating the new set of recommendations, the Nutrition Guidance and Analysis Division and the Nutrition Marketing and Communication Division. “Changing the way people think about nutrition and diet is part of our mission,” he proclaimed.

Under the previous Food Pyramid system that the USDA used for nineteen years, until 2011, the cheese danish was similarly considered for reclassification, but the research was not yet conclusive. Eileen Kennedy, CNPP head from 1994-1997, resisted the research efforts because celiac disease disrupted the agency’s data collection procedure, and subsequent directors preferred to emphasize the study of chocolate or confections.

The next step, said Post, is the implementation of the new guidelines in school cafeterias, health education and other programs. The food stamps program will be reconfigured to emphasize the importance of including sufficient quantities of cheese danish in one’s daily intake, in a bid to combat inner-city obesity.

“This thing is big,” said Post. “And now I think I’m going to have a cup of coffee and some vegetables.”

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Written by Thag

November 13, 2012 at 7:15 pm

The Great Kindergarten Contraband Intrigue Caper

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You thought you could trust your little children, didn’t you? I’m here to tell you you’re a fool.

You’re a fool.

With that out of the way, let us examine what happens when one makes unwarranted assumptions about one’s child’s behavior. Especially when those assumptions make one’s life easier. But in fact are so untrue as to make one wonder what the hell one was thinking. If at all.

Here is Figure A, which lays out the typical morning ritual of attempting to prepare a sandwich for our dear daughter to take with her to kindergarten.

The figure does not show the histrionics that accompany each refusal, which no two-dimensional medium can adequately convey. It is left to the reader’s imagination. Considering the reader’s online habits, he or she should have no problem conjuring up vivid images, if you catch my drift. Sicko.

All well and good, or as well and good as could be expected. Until last week, when the complaints suddenly ceased. Thus Figure B:

Notice the complete absence of complaints or histrionics. This being our third child, we should immediately have listened to the powerful alarms sounding in our brains – much in the way the silence emanating from several children can only indicate something catastrophic in the works – but this being before seven o’clock in the morning, our brains much preferred to leave those alarms in abeyance. SO much more civilized at that hour.

In fact, a chance conversation with another parent at drop-off revealed that Figure C more closely represents reality:

Key line from one of the parents whose child had eaten the white bread: “Could you buy whole wheat instead?”

At the very least, we have now settled into the familiar, if less than ideal, status quo ante, with the added bonus of an almost daily whine: why don’t we send our kid with chocolate spread sandwiches?

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October 26, 2012 at 2:38 pm

Study: Everyone Who Eats Vegetables Dies

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Atlanta, GA (AP) – The Centers for Disease Control have completed a one-hundred-thirty-year study on diet and mortality, and have concluded that people who consume fruits or vegetables in any form, at any time, will die.

The study examined the lives and habits of forty million Americans as young as two months old and as old as one-hundred-sixteen years of age. The researchers checked for the presence of even the slightest amount of vegetable matter in the subjects’ diets, including leafy greens, root vegetables, and fruit.

The CDC will publish its findings in the December issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The study is expected to wreak havoc with government dietary and nutrition recommendations.

“It’s like a bucket of cold water in the face,” said Beth Hirschhorn, New York nutritionist and author of Seven Servings a Day. “With the data in our face for literally decades, the entire healthcare and dietary industries have dropped the ball, big-time.”

Wallace Lehmann, a physician at the Cleveland Clinic, agrees. “The field of medicine has focused so much in recent years on treating specific symptoms that we’ve lost sight of the larger picture. And in that picture, tens of millions of people are dying every year.”

Although the study authors urge caution, they acknowledge the overwhelming evidence will prompt a radical reevaluation of prevailing dietary sensibilities. “I’d recommend waiting for further study, but the fact is, no one has found anything that would sever the vegetable-death link,” noted Mort Ality, the lead researcher.

Ality noted that, ironically, scientists had long disparaged one of the oldest indications of fruit as a killer: the Bible itself identifies the consumption of fruit as the very source of human death. “We’re still scratching our heads at that one,” he said.

This is not the first such research of its kind, but the CDC study is by far the most wide-ranging and comprehensive. A 1949 Canadian analysis found a strong link between Brussels sprouts and death before the age of 124, but no follow-up was conducted until 1966, when the research was expanded to include carrots in both raw and cooked forms, with statistically identical results. That study found no difference in death rates between eaters of raw vs. cooked greens.

Health food.

Already, soft drink manufacturers and animal product marketers have seized upon these results to their advantage. The American Pork Farmers Association and The Beef Council released a statement today that their new publicity strategies will stress the relative health benefits of bacon, ham, beef and other forms of mammal meat, noting that the carnivorous diet has never looked like a better choice, considering the alternatives.

The Coca Cola company is expected to tout its roster of artificial ingredients, and fast food outlets such as McDonalds, experts anticipate, will likely remove the token tomatoes, lettuce and other vegetables from its standard burger toppings, instead only including them upon request.

Animal rights advocates and promoters of vegan or vegetarian lifestyles will have to reassess the merits of their health-based arguments, admitted Carrie Ohn, President of Meat Is Murder. “Our position has not changed,” she said when reached by telephone. “We will simply have to appeal to other sensibilities than health.” She conceded she did not know what she would eat, considering that nuts, seeds and other fruit were also shown by the study to be associated with every manner of human demise, including asphyxiation, car accidents, cancer and immune disorders.

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October 21, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Classic Thag, November 2011: You Kant Resist the Chocolate Imperative

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Originally posted November 14, 2011

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October 2, 2012 at 10:14 pm

Report: Package of Cookies Still Unopened

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Concord, NH (AP) – Witnesses in the kitchen area report that the Pepperidge Farm Nantucket cookies in the pantry are not yet open as of this morning.

The cookies were first observed late last week after Mom and Dad returned from a late-night shopping trip. A reconnaissance mission undertaken by the eleven-year-old confirmed the existence and variety of the cookies, dark chocolate chunk. The scout was unable to locate other new sources of chocolate, but the children agreed not to rule out the possibility, as the scouting mission focused solely on the pantry, and not on the other three cabinets where junk food has been observed in the past.

A further reconnaissance mission took place Saturday morning, under the guise of checking to see whether there were enough Cheerios for all the kids. The eight-year-old determined that the Nantuckets were undisturbed, prompting the rumor that Mom and Dad had uncharacteristically forgotten about the cookies, and that it would be feasible to obtain them and repair to the kids’ bedroom for a binge. Discussion was terminated when Dad entered the dining room, and did not resume for the rest of the day.

The eleven-year-old performed further reconnoitering on Sunday, and informed his siblings that the package remained unopened.

Experts are divided on how to proceed, with the eleven-year-old advocating indirect interrogation of Mom and Dad to determine whether the cookies have, by some unprecedented miracle, disappeared from their consciousness. This conservative approach, says the eleven-year-old, would forestall any negative consequences of absconding with the Nantuckets and having the parents subsequently discover them missing.

On the other hand, the eight-year-old contends that the very persistence of the Nantuckets in the pantry for several days ipso facto demonstrates that Mom and Dad are unaware of them anymore, since there has not been a recorded case of Nantuckets lasting more than twenty minutes in the same house as the parents. The time to act is therefore immediately, lest by their overcautiousness the children allow Mom and Dad to rediscover the cookies and devour them before the children can do so.

A conference to develop an action plan came to halt earlier today when the three-year-old, hearing the discussion, made for the pantry and pulled a step stool over before a successful interception involving both older boys and a loud conversation about Grandma and Grampa visiting soon.

As of press time, the package of cookies was empty on Dad’s desk.

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September 23, 2012 at 3:02 pm