Fast Food Nation – The Movie

I just discovered that one of my favorite books, Eric Schlosser’s “Fast Food Nation” is being made into a movie! Schlosser’s exposé on the fast food industry is less about what you already know — that fast food is really bad for you — and more about how the fast food industry has fundamentally changed the economic and cultural landscape of not just America, but the world. The book reveals disturbing secrets about how the fast food industry both feeds and feeds off of the young, uses and discards workers, and contorts the government against its own people for the sake of ever-increasing profits.

One of the many nuggets (pun intended) of info revealed in “Fast Food Nation” is that the meat produced at packing plants for shipment to fast food restaurants in other countries has 3 times better the quality control than that of the meat that feeds our military personnel or public-school children. So there’s a good chance that the burgers at the McDonald’s in Kuwait (there are actually 42 there) is of better quality than the food provided to our armed forces.

The film by Texas director Richard Linklater (whose previous films include “Before Sunrise” and “School of Rock“) will be a star-studded character study adaptation of Schlosser’s nonfiction best-seller book. The film’s ensemble cast includes Ethan Hawke, Greg Kinnear, Kris Kristofferson, Patricia Arquette, Luis Guzman, Avril Lavigne, & Esai Morales.

Linklater’s other highly-anticipated new project, the rotoscope-animated retelling of Phillip K. Dick’s “A Scanner Darkly” is due out this summer.

More Love For Schlosser

I’ve blogged a number of times about this in the past and there’s just no end in sight to the Schlosser love-fest over here. “Fast Food Nation” by Eric Schlosser is definitely one of my favorite books and just earlier this week, I blogged about the newly-released trailer for the upcoming movie based upon the book.

Just this morning there was a post at ParentHacks about Schlosser’s new book, “Chew On This: Everything You Don’t Want to Know About Fast Food” that was just released this month. Continuing on the theme of his earlier works, this is aimed at educating kids on the fast food & soda industries, the realities of meat production, junk food additives, and the poor treatment of fast food restaurant employees. His goal is to provide kids an inside look at the history of the fast food industry, and enough information to start making wiser food choices.

The arrival of this new book sharply struck a nerve with the fast food industry. More than a dozen trade groups representing producers of beef, potatoes, dairy, and snacks, along with restaurant groups, are fighting back with websites, PR campaigns, and coordinated attacks unleashed on Schlosser earlier this month. Lobbyists even protested at some of his book signings spouting baseless and absurd claims about the author such as:

“[Schlosser is] tricking young people […] to lead them away from capitalism into his failed socialist ideology.”

Oh, I’m just loving this — rather than silence the ruckus, the fast food industry’s overt attacks are more likely to concentrate attention on their bad practises. And while the fast food flacks refuted Morgan Spurlock’s great documentary “Super Size Me” as sensationalistic, Schlosser’s books are based on hard data rather than observations, so they’re not nearly so easily dismissed.

By the way, I also came across an interesting interview with Eric Schlosser over at in which the author revealed that he’s working on another investigative book — this time focusing on the federal prison system.

Jinx Gets T-Boned

Jinx (aka Mom) said goodbye to her Toyota Rav4 today. Her love affair with her spunky little car came to an abrupt end about 2 weeks ago when she was t-boned. Luckily, she came out of it with a minor cut on her elbow and a bruised side. The Rav4, with its now banana-shaped frame didn’t fare nearly so well but it did its job in protecting Mom. The insurance company “totaled” the car and we hope to have the check in hand to go shopping for her new Rav4 by the weekend.

Mom and her former ride

Dolphins & Humans – Fishing Buddies

In the resort town of Laguna in southern Brazil: a pod of bottlenose dolphins has developed a cooperative technique to herd mullet towards local fishermen.   The dolphins drive a school of fish towards the men, who cannot see the fish in the muddy, shallow water.   Relying on the dolphins’ cue, a conspicuous roll just out of net range, the fishermen cast their nets.   Those mullet missed by the fishing nets are momentarily disoriented, making them easy food for the well-positioned dolphins.

The dolphins were not trained for this behavior — in fact, the activity is initiated and led by the dolphins.   The fishermen don’t cast their nets until signaled to do so by their aquatic partners.   Town records indicate that this almost-daily collaborative partnership dates back to at least 1847.

As cited in the interesting paper, “Dolphins and the Question of Personhood”, marine researchers consider this further evidence that dolphins make conscious choices and thus should be considered sentient persons.

Tuesday Utility Twofer

Sometimes you really need a simple, straightforward tool to get a tedious task done. Well, here are a couple of indispensable goodies from my toolbox to make your day a little easier:

  • 1-4a Rename is an excellent freeware utility makes light work of renaming large collections of files. Great for series of digital camera photos or MP3 music files.
  • Mp3tag by Florian Heidenreich is a free, powerful, fast, & easy-to-use tool to edit MP3 music file metadata tags. Essential for managing a large digital music collection

And in keeping with the whole "two for Tuesday" theme, here’s a second twofer set:

  • mpTrim is a great little free app for removing silent or unwanted parts from MP3 files. Could be really useful when you want to clean up those rambling podcasts.
  • emailStripper is a fantastic free program for cleaning the ">" and other junk formatting characters out of forwarded emails so they’re much easier to read.

Rapper Rant & Gangsta Poses

Brad with guns in a gangsta poseTrey & I recently pondered why it is that the vast majority of the Hip-Hop "musicians" like 50 Cent, P. Diddy, et al. seem so pissed off, miserable, or just plain constipated?   I mean, c’mon, how unhappy can you justify being if the most challenging part of your day is hauling around $2mil of platinum & diamond jewelry while "bustin’ a rhyme?"   Not sure what I mean?   Click here, here, or here, for a few perfect examples of this.   I’m thinking maybe if they’d pawn off some "bling" and snag a Happy Meal, some of these thugs might just be able to crack a smile…

After all, if we’ve gotta tolerate these jokers bilking most of the Gen Y population out of every last dime on degrading stuff that’s (generally) about as sophisticated as Mother Goose nursery rhymes, can’t we at least demand that they smile big all the way to the bank?

At any rate, it seemed only fitting (fo’ shizzle!) to show Trey proudly assuming the "gangsta" pose that works so well ($$) for rappers & Hip-Hop tough-guy wannabes.