Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

McDonald’s is Scary and Intoxicating

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Frightening photos, one per day, of a McDonald’s Happy Meal over the course of six months.

Artist Sally Davies tried a little experiment from the coffee table of her Manhattan apartment in April of this year. No mold or signs of life blemishing this food during the entire time-lapse project. Scary to watch. Makes you think twice before enjoying that addictive slab of factory-processed meat and genetically-modified potato.

Or does it?

 

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Filed under: food, health, pop culture, , , , ,

Depressing or Deliberate?

Well, probably both.

Aaron Jamison has terminal cancer and is expected to die within a few months. As a way to cover his family’s medical bills, he’s selling ad space on his burial urns.

I’m unsure whether Jamison is making a political statement about health care–or if he’s merely a pragmatist. After all, who would want to die and leave their loved ones with thousands of dollars to pay in medical expenses?

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Filed under: health

KFC’s Breaded, Heart-Attack-Inducing, Too-Over-the-Top-Not-to-Be-Real Nightmare

This product (and let’s call a spade a spade: there’s nothing natural here) reminds me of the first time I saw Tina Fey impersonating Sarah Palin. Too unbelievable, too satire-worthy to be true.

How wrong I was.

KFC’s Double Down sandwich: two breaded, recombined, deep-fried chicken patties (where the bread used to be) holding together two slices of bacon, melted processed cheese, and the Colonel’s “Special Sauce.” Being peddled in this commercial only by male actors (there’s nary a peckish female KFC patron in sight).

Mark Morford of The Huffington Post penned this hilarious ode:

Did you notice? How in one pseudo-food item, you are consuming not one, not two, but the mutated, chemically injected flesh/byproducts of fully three different distended, liquefied, industrially tortured creatures? Feel the love, pitiable animal kingdom.You got your chicken-like creature, your pig-like creature, your dairy cow-like creature, all wrapped in a $5 fistful of nausea, ready to strangle your heart and benumb your brain. God knows what’s in the “special sauce.” Maybe some sort of fish byproduct, just to round it all out. It’s like a wild kingdom in your mouth! It’s like a toxic zoo in your colon! It’s like a suicide note from what’s left of your brain! “If you eat this, you are a complete and total idiot, and we’re through. Signed, You.”

I kid you not. Drive through your nearby KFC and witness for yourself: this baby’s the real thing. Ready to send your cholesterol through the roof.

Filed under: food, health, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fighting for a Food Revolution

Huntington, West Virginia, is one of the most unhealthy cities in the United States (according to a 2006 CDC report). For the past couple weeks, I’ve been watching chef Jamie Oliver tackle the city’s health issues in Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. But why Huntington? According to the Associated Press:

Nearly half the adults in Huntington’s five-county metropolitan area are obese–an astounding percentage, far bigger than the national average in a country with a well-known weight problem.

Huntington leads in a half-dozen other illness measures, too, including heart disease and diabetes. It’s even tops in the percentage of elderly people who have lost all their teeth (half of them have).

On the show, many Huntington folks are underwhelmed with Oliver. He’s presented by the show’s producers as the interloper, often chided by the villain, a local radio DJ and self-appointed representative of the townspeople. Less than an unwillingness to eat better, the angry DJ seems to represent the community’s unwillingness to change and an immature defensiveness.

Despite vocal protests, the celebrity chef rallies–albeit over the course of several months–the elementary school cooks, the high school students who love their french fries, and the reluctant city officials. In exchange for processed chicken nuggets and sugar-loaded strawberry milk comes local produce and homemade dishes. In fact, Oliver is earnest, funny, and willing to wear a padded green pea costume.

Last Friday’s episode was especially heart-tugging (perhaps even manipulative?) in its presentation of high school kids cooking up a three-course meal for the city’s bigwigs. The cynic in me thought that the roster of student cooks looked a bit like “types,” ala Glee or The Real World (or even The Breakfast Club, for all of us who grew up in 80’s America): the football star, the pretty but damaged popular girl, the outcasts and rebels, all coming together and forgetting their comfortable cliques. Of course, the bleeding heart in me thought the cast of high school cooks was sincere and represented a real desire to grow. When one of the most troubled students joins his buddies in the kitchen after appearing in juvie, you can’t help but admire his headstrong will.

For several months now, I’ve been trying to eat more healthy. It’s a challenge. Trading in processed food for greens and soy milk is a definite change after nearly four decades of binging on greasy pizza, packaged frozen foods, and fried everything (I’m being honest now). Eating better, more local, is a little like learning a new language. Uphill at first, with a necessary commitment and willingness to change.

Let’s hope that, like me, other Americans will choose fresh food over fast food. Jaime Oliver’s fast-paced show–in addition to Michelle Obama’s new Let’s Move! campaign–may contribute to longer and healthier lives.

Filed under: food, health, television, , , , , , ,

President Obama: “Your Voice has Been Heard”

President Barack Obama addressed the nation after the House passed health care reform last night.

“We didn’t give in to mistrust or cynicism of fear,” the President said, looking directly into the camera. “Instead, we proved that we are still a people capable of big things.”

President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and senior staff, react in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, as the House passes the health care reform bill, March 21, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Good for small businesses, for the current uninsured, for Americans who have been denied health care for pre-existing conditions. The end game of political analyses, ramifications, and Twittering may come quickly, but the positive outcomes will have a long-lasting effect.

As the President says: “This is what change looks like.”

Filed under: health, obama, politics, , , ,

Publications

BIOGRAPHY

RECENT PUBLICATIONS
» "Pinays," AGNI, Spring 2016
» "Dandy," Post Road, Spring 2015
» "Wrestlers," Fifth Wednesday, Spring 2014
» "Babies," Joyland, August 2011
» "Nicolette and Maribel," BostonNow, May 2007
» "The Rice Bowl," Memorious, March 2005
» "The Rules of the Game," Screaming Monkeys: Critiques of Asian American Images (Coffee House Press, June 2003)
» "Deaf Mute," Growing Up Filipino (Philippine American Literary House, April 2003)
» "Good Men ," Genre, April 2003
» "The Foley Artist," Drunken Boat, April 2002
» "Squatters," Take Out: Queer Writing from Asian Pacific America (Asian Am. Writers' Workshop, 2001)
» "Deaf Mute," The North American Review, Jan 2001
» "The First Lady of Our Filipino Nation," The Boston Phoenix, 1999
» "Paper Route," Flyway Literary Review, 1996
» "Brainy Smurf and the Council Bluffs Pride Parade," Generation Q (Alyson, 1996)
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About Me

Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

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