The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom. - Wm. Blake

Thursday, January 14, 2010


In some crucial way, then, Playboy gave what was previously considered pornography a kind of dignity. It was a deeply limiting, dingbat dignity, to be sure, but to allow the mid-century American woman any identity beyond that of mother, virgin, or whore increased her available social options by 25 percent.
Or, you know, 33%.


From an otherwise decent review of a new book about Playboy and its role in America's postwar cultural shifts.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Caloric Information on Menus

Ezra Klein has written a lot about various initiatives to introduce calorie info on menus - generally on menus for chains, so that every hole in the wall in the country doesn't have to send off samples to labs. There's all sorts of accusation of nanny-statism and such, but the bottom line is that, when eating out, we don't have a crucial piece of decision-making information.

So, just as an anecdata point, I was at a Steak n Shake yesterday (I was out beyond the suburbs and had to get lunch), and was trying to decide whether to get a shake (IMO the burgers are meh, but the shakes are pretty good). At first I thought I'd save some money and just get a soda*, but the sodas there are crazy expensive ($1.79!), so I figured, "Well, for an extra buck...". Then I started to think about calories (especially in winter, when I hardly get to ride my bike, I try to ease up on intake). I would have loved to know exactly what the hit was on the milkshake, since it's not like a 20 oz. soda is low-cal, but the menu didn't tell me, and so I just went with the Coke. But I wished I could have made an informed decision.

* I really don't enjoy that kind of food without a highly caloric beverage; that's just how it is



The recent cold snap in the American southeast seems to be abating with significant, but not catastrophic, results for agriculture. But, for the record, if another cold snap follows and Florida faces a lost year of crops, I think it will be known as the Ice Bowl, to match the Great Recession.