RIGHTING THE WRONGS: McDonald’s Apple Pies

Have you ever seen misinformation being spread over the Internet? The same incorrect story gets repeated over and over again, and there’s little you can do about it. Oh sure, you can “reply to all” when someone sends you one of those “Bill Gates will give you $500 for forwarding this email!” emails… but when you see blogs and “reputable” websites repeat the same false story all the time, there’s not much you can do… other than get your own website and try to set the story straight. This is what I want to do with McDonalds’ apple pies. There’s so much misinformation out there about them, and the truth of it needs to be set free.

For years, McDonald’s sold fried apple pies in its restaurants. In fact, they still do in many overseas locations. However, in 1992 the company switched to a baked apple pie at all of its US locations.

The reason(s) for the switch have been fodder for “Internet conspiracy theorists” ever since.

Some claim that several people were burned by the hot filling, leading California (or Texas or New York, depending on who’s telling the story) to “ban” the pies. And so, because California (or Texas or New York) banned the pies, McDonalds opted to simply replace them nationwide for supply-chain reasons. After all, it wouldn’t make a lot of financial sense to make 1 type of pie for California (or Texas or New York) and another type for the other 49 states.

Others claim that California (or Texas or New York) banned them for health reasons. But why the company would be “banned” from selling fried apple pies, but not from selling Big Macs or Quarter Pounders remains unexplained.

The truth of the matter is that baked apple pies last much longer in the “holding oven” than their fried counterparts. The fried apple pies only lasted around 30 minutes in the holding oven, while the new baked pies can last for up to 2 hours. This leads to less waste, which has saved McDonald’s millions in the 15 years it’s been baking pies instead of frying them. And that’s what the switch was all about, really: saving money. That the new baked pies are perceived as healthier didn’t hurt the decision-making process at McDonald’s headquarters, either. In reality, though, the baked pies are not much healthier than the fried ones. When people want pie, they want a nice flaky crust. To get that crust, you need to mix shortening and flour. And in doing that, you get fat in the product. So they’re not much healthier than the fried pies, and to me they don’t taste as good… but they’re still pretty awesome!

Here’s what you need to take away from this article:

  1. McDonalds’ apple pies were never “banned” by any government agency anywhere in the United States.
  2. McDonalds switched to the baked pies because they last longer in the holding oven, thus reducing waste and saving the company money.
  3. The fact that the new baked pies were thought of as “healthier” probably influenced the decision to switch over, but it was not the sole factor in that decision.
  4. The baked pies aren’t that much better for you than the fried ones.

News for 01/15/2008

Let’s see just how fast I can crank out the news today!

Have you seen those UPS “whiteboard” commercials? You know, the ones with the smug lookin’ guy drawing stuff on a whiteboard? (If not, click here) Anyway, am I the only one that’s amused by the background music… which was done by a band called (wait for it…) The Postal Service??

Speaking of music, the Coachella Festival is rumored to be adding a second event this year… on the east coast! The festival – full name: The Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival – has been a fixture on the Left Coast for some time now, and it’s about time that people on the Right Coast got in on the goodness! According to rumors, the Coachella Festival will take place in April, while the east coast version will take place in New York or New Jersey in August or September. Cool!

You know who took the stage at last year’s Coachella Festival? Scarlett Johansson. She went onstage with The Jesus And Mary Chain to sing “Just Like Honey” (you know…’cos of the film Lost In Translation). By all accounts, she did pretty well… well enough for someone to let her record an album of Tom Waits covers, which is due to be released on May 6, 2008.

Four major Hollywood studios canceled dozens of writer’s contracts today. This is a sign that 20th Century Fox Television, CBS Paramount Network Television, NBC Universal and Warner Bros. Television think that the current TV season is over, so the earliest we’ll see new (non-reality) TV is next September. This move is also a bad sign for next season, however: normally at this time, the TV studios are looking at pilots for shows they want to run in September. With the strike on, nothing’s been produced… so the strike is now starting to cut into next season. And, for what it’s worth, the entire city of Los Angeles is beginning to feel the pinch: not only are the people involved in TV directly starting to feel the pinch, but so are caterers, party planners, florists, and more. The cancellation of the Golden Globe Awards alone meant that dozens of parties were canceled, and some people in those industries are facing layoffs.

Anthony Bourdain has a new blog.

Brain scans have proven that people enjoy wine more if they think it’s expensive.

Renting a car? Watch out: Dollar is now charging a $2 “top-off fee”, even if you bring the car back with a full tank!

A man dressed as a Brinks employee walked in to a Wachovia bank in Washington, DC. He was handed $100,000 by bank employees, then left. The real Brinks employee came in an hour later and was told that Brinks had already shown up. Rather that report it to his home office, the employee just went about his business and didn’t bother telling anyone until he’d gotten back to the office. By the time anyone figured out what had happened, 11 hours had passed.

Lastly… what’s with Wegman’s? The upscale grocery chain recently decided to stop selling all tobacco-related products… and now they’ve put in a policy where children that want to order sandwiches from the deli must have an adult present! Wegman’s says the move is to prevent children with food allergies from ordering something that can hurt them. I think Wegman’s lawyers simply don’t have any balls.


Have you ever seen misinformation being spread over the Internet? The same incorrect story gets repeated over and over again, and there’s little you can do about it. Oh sure, you can “reply to all” when someone sends you one of those “Bill Gates will give you $500 for forwarding this email!” emails… but when you see blogs and “reputable” websites repeat the same false story all the time, there’s not much you can do… other than get your own website and try to set the story straight. This is what I want to do with the song “Jet Boy, Jet Girl”. There’s so much misinformation out there about this song, and the truth of it needs to be set free.

“Jey Boy, Jet Girl” is a song about a 15 year-old boy who has a sexual relationship with an older  boy, who then rejects him for a girl. It was originally released in October 1977 by a “band” called Elton Motello. I put “band” in quotes because the “band” was actually a bunch of session musicians and singer and songwriter Alan Ward, who also used “Elton Motello” as his stage name. Anyway, the song was a minor hit in the UK, but became much more famous after it was covered by the punk band The Damned. If you are familiar with the song at all, it is probably The Damned’s version that you know and (perhaps) love.

Shortly after the song was released in the UK, Belgian songwriter Roger Marie Francois Jouret hired Ward’s session musicians and formed a “band” called Plastic Bertram (like Ward, Jouret used his band name as his stage name). The musicians from Ward’s single played the same song as Bertrand sang some nonsense lyrics written by fellow Belgian Lou Deprijck (the song was deemed “too controversial” by RKM Publishing, the song’s producer, hence the “nonsense lyrics”). The result was “Ça plane pour moi”, a song that became an international hit. In the United States, “Ça plane pour moi” has been used in countless movies, most notably Eurotrip and National Lampoon’s European Vacation, as well as commercials (most notably, a recent campaign for Pepsi).

Here’s what you need to take away from this article:

  1. The song was originally recorded by Elton Motello.
  2. Although “Jey Boy, Jet Girl” owes its popularity to The Damned’s cover version, The Damned didn’t write the song, nor did they “translate” Plastic Bertrand’s version.
  3. Plastic Bertrand’s version is basically a cover. The publishing company feared that the song might get banned if the lyrics were translated directly into French, so Bertrand had a friend write a bunch of gibberish instead.

Consider the wrongs to be righted. Tomorrow: McDonald’s apple pies!

Guess That Celebrity!

The teenage years are interesting in that, for most people, it is the time when they look either their best or their worst. Many people reach the pinnacle of their physical beauty between the ages of 14-19. Yours truly, for example, used to weigh 120lbs., had a head full of beautiful hair, and had eyes that still tolerated contact lenses. It’s been all downhill since age 20 for me. Others are what we might call late bloomers. Their teenage years are filled with the sorrow of acne breakouts, clumsiness caused by rapid growth, voice changes, and other embarrassing “phases”.

Below is a picture of three girls. The girl on the far right is a TV star that was obviously a late bloomer. Can you guess who she is? Click the “Read the rest…” link to find out who she is!

Guess Who?

Continue reading “Guess That Celebrity!”

Important Site Change

Effective at 8AM tomorrow (January 14, 2008), I will change the policy of this website. This change will allow non-registered visitors to post comments.

Now that I have the Akismet (anti-spam) plug-in installed and working beautifully, there’s a reduced need for requiring people to register to post comments.

If this policy is abused, I will re-enable the “only registered users may leave comments” option.



The New NFL Logo

This is one of those things I meant to post a long time ago, but just got around to now:

This past August, the NFL unveiled its “new” logo. I say “new” ‘cos it’s only an update to the existing logo, as opposed to a completely new design. Here it is:

NFL Logos

What do you think? I like it. It’s a nice update to the existing logo (which dates from 1980). I also like the darker shade of blue. In any case, the updated logo was unveiled before the current season, but won’t make its official debut until the 2008 draft in April. Read all about it from USA Today here.

HOW OLD is she?

Thursday night I was surfing the Internet and came across a still for the new chick-flick P.S. I Love You. The picture was shot in a kitchen and featured Lisa Kudrow, Kathy Bates and a couple of other women holding up posterboard signs that said “Happy Birthday”.

One of the women was an attractive brunette that had her face obscured by a noisemaker. I headed over to IMDB to find out who is was… and found out that it was none other than Gina Gershon. But then I got a shock: Gina Gershon will be 46 this year. 46! Here’s a picture of her taken in April, 2007:

Gina Gershon

Man, that woman just doesn’t age, does she?


OK, I’ll probably need to translate that headline for ya…

11 Episcopal churches in Virginia voted to leave the Episcopal Church in 2006 and 2007. The Diocese of Virginia initially sought to work with the churches over matters of property, salaries, pension, health insurance, etc. In fact, a commission appointed by the Diocese of Virginia even agreed to a “standstill agreement” with the leaders of the 11 churches, where all parties would cease any legal action against each other while these matters are being worked out.

Virginia has a law (dating back to the Civil War era, I believe) that allows churches that wish to separate from a national body to retain their property (e.g. the church building). If the church wants to follow this path, then they are required by the law to file some papers with their local court. The Diocese of Virginia recognized this, and put exceptions into the standstill agreement that allowed the 11 churches to continue with filings pursuant to this law.

When the “national office” of the Episcopal Church found out about all this, it went ballistic. They’ve filed lawsuits against seemingly everyone involved in this matter: priests, bishops, lawyers… even lay members! The matter was consolidated into a “class action suit” of sorts, and the case is now pending a judgment from Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Randy Bellows.

The news that broke today is that Virginia’s attorney general Bob McDonnell has filed 2 motions in favor of the “breakaway churches”, which have aligned with the Anglican District of Virginia (ADV).

BabyBlue has the complete scoop here.

News for 01/11/2008

OK, I’m having a bit of writer’s block… so let’s do some news!

New York City is going to clone 25 “historical trees”. Why? To save them, I guess. This article doesn’t mention anything about the trees being sick, or in danger of being cut down to build condos. The trees are historically significant, though: one of the trees is a 230 year-old St. Nicholas elm that George Washington is thought to have walked under, and “several” of the trees date back to the time of Frederick Law Olmsted, the designer and architect of Central Park.

Congress is asking drug maker Pfizer why they think that Dr. Robert Jarvik is qualified to pimp Lipitor. They’re even questioning whether Jarvik’s ad breaks the law (since the ads run nationwide, is he legally giving medical advice in states where he doesn’t have a medical license?). The most interesting thing in this article about the issue is the biographical information about Jarvik: he attended Syracuse University as an undergrad, where his grades were so subpar that he wasn’t even interviewed to go to a medical school in the US. So he attended the University of Bologna in Italy, then transferred to the University of Utah, where he graduated. He did not do an internship, nor has he practiced medicine, however. Far from being the “super doctor” I always thought him to be, NBC’s science expert Robert Bazell last year wrote that while Jarvik is an M.D., “he doesn’t have the strongest credentials”.

If you’re in Maryland and a customer of Allegheny Power: check your bill! It seems that the company is sending their customers boxes that contain 2 compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs… and charging you 96¢ a month for it! The company sent the bulbs to almost 220,000 customers, and is threatening to cut off their power if they don’t pay for the bulbs, even if they return them to Allegheny Power or refuse to accept them from their letter carrier. I don’t know whose idea this was at Allegheny Power, but I can tell you what it is in two words: mail fraud! Read the whole vile story here.

And lastly, from the “What Are The Odds?” Department… a pair of British fraternal twins that were separated at birth met later on in life… felt an unbelievable attraction to one another… and ended up getting married! This became news this week because of changes that some lawmakers are pushing with regards to birth data in the UK. Currently, only the mother has to be named on a birth certificate in the UK, and birth certificates also are not required to identify “births that result from IVF or to identify the sperm donor”. British lawmakers want to tighten up the laws, so things like this don’t happen in the future. As for the twins feeling an “unbelievable attraction” towards each other… well, if I remember my anthropology correctly, then this is actually quite common. And not only is it just “attraction”, people that experience this sort of thing report an almost unstoppable sexual attraction to their birth mates. In fact, all kinds of bizarre behavior has been reported by twins who were separated at birth at meet up later in life!

News for 01/10/2008

Wow – I’ve got a lot of stuff for today… so let’s just get right on it!

dakigokochiThe latest craze in Japan? “Dakigokochi”, or bags of rice shaped like babies. When a woman gives birth in Japan, it’s a big deal – much like it is here in the US. However, instead of just sending pictures of the newborn to family and friends that couldn’t be there for the birth, Japanese parents order a dakigokochi. It’s a bag filled with rice. The bag is carefully weighed to match the baby’s weight, and the newborn’s picture is printed on the front of the bag. Relatives can then “hold” the baby and love on “it” as if the baby were there with them. And when the relatives are done cuddling the baby, the bag is opened and the rice is eaten. That so typically Japanese: completely sensible on one hand, yet totally unsettling on the other.

Imagine how awkward it would be: your wife just isn’t “cutting it” anymore. You’re a man with needs. So you pay a little visit to the local brothel for a little “somethin’ somethin'”… and find your wife working there! It happened in Poland recently. The wife told the husband that she was working at a store in a nearby town for some spending money. He believed her… until he walked into the brothel and saw her there! The couple, which had been married for 14 years, is divorcing.

Former Talking Head David Byrne has written an excellent article at Wired.com about the future of the music industry. In short, Byrne envisions a world where record companies are far smaller, yet still exist. Because technology has reduced the cost of recording music to almost nothing, Byrne feels that musicians will have their choice between signing a “traditional” record contract and going it all alone – with several options in between. The article is all about finding a happy balance between “selling out” to the labels to take advantage of their mighty marketing machine or going it alone and having 7 people visit your website every month, only 1 of whom buys the CD (and that visitor is your Mom). It’s a really good read, especially considering that it’s written by a man that was in a band, owned his own record label, and looks forward to receiving publishing payments as a kind of “pension plan”. You should really read it!

The town of Peterborough, England offers trash bins to its citizens, much like many cities in the U.S. do. For some reason, however, people love stealing the ones from Peterborough. The city council recently announced that 2,351 of the bins have been stolen over the past couple of years at a cost of £70,000 ($137,585) to local taxpayers. From now on, residents will have to pay £30 ($60) for a new bin, or £20 for “a ‘pre-used’ bin that has been steam-cleaned”. Anyway, my point behind telling you all this is that this article about the bins notes that stolen bins have been spotted “as far afield as Bulgaria”. Who the hell steals a trash bin in the middle of England and ships it all the way to Bulgaria?

You’ve heard of the “No Fly List, right? It’s a giant database that contains the names of people that are suspected of various crimes, mostly terrorist activities. You’ve probably also heard stories about people that have the same name as someone on the list and all the hassles they have to go through to get this names off the list. But check this out: 5 year-old Matthew Gardner and his mother were flying out of SeaTac airport. Poor Matthew has the same name as someone wanted by ICE, so the family was stopped by TSA. The TSA agents, instead of realizing that this was just a silly coincidence, subjected the two to an extensive search. And during the brouhaha, Matthew started to cry, so his Mom went to pick him up… only to stopped by the TSA agent and told that doing so would be a “national security risk”. After putting him down, she was even searched again, to make sure that Matthew hadn’t “passed materials” to his Mom. This is why I don’t fly any more, people. Watch the local news clip about it here.

And lastly for today, you geeks out there might want to check out this article over at Engadget, which has the first pictures (that I’ve ever seen) of a USB 3.0 device. USB 3.0 is significantly faster than USB 2.0 (4.8 Gbit/s, as opposed to 480 Mbit/s for USB 2.0). USB 3.0 will also include intelligent power design that shuts off power to unused devices (which is neat) and will also sport plugs that have a slight depression on the top (so you’ll be able to tell which side is “up” by feel only – something looooonnng overdue in my book!). Sadly, we’ll have to wait until 2010 for this technology to be unleashed.