Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the tag “Ronald McDonald”

McDonald’s: Diet for a Bankrupt America

Jon Stewart and the Daily Show couldn’t resist a dig at San Francisco in their first show of the year (Monday, 03. January 2011).

I can rarely resist a dig at McDonald’s. I didn’t here, or here, and couldn’t help mentioning this about San Francisco legislation to force McDonald’s to raise the nutritional value of their children-directed Happy Meals or face a ban on toys being included to induce children to pressure their parents to eat at the Golden Arches.

Hans Bader takes an opposite stance in this article attacking the legislation and sharing his disdain about the Californiazation of America. I will leave it to you to read my post and Hans’ perspective.

What I want to focus this blog on is the feeling that there are probably three main areas where we can pull ourselves out of the recession and into a competitive 21st Century economy.

The first concerns the war machine – the need to be constantly subsidizing a war somewhere. This feels the most complicated and I am going to skip it for this post at least. The second regards sustainable energy and possibly will help solve the first as a not-so-fringe benefit.

However what is relevant for this blog post is the feeling that we simply cannot afford bad health and this will always begin with nutrition. There is a $1 trillion-dollar health (or rather sickness) industry and it is, for the main part, possible to tackle.

We can do this by focusing on the lifestyle and diet we adopt. Now I don’t want to change this great country to a bunch of Tai-Chi loving vegans (actually, to be perfectly honest, I do), but it just seems that food that is nutritionally devoid of anything of worth might be cheap in the short run, but is bankrupting us in the long run.

Not only is this a sick nation, but sickness leads to a lack of productivity and creativity, and these are the resources we need to rebuild America. For a great overview of the sickness industry and an optimistic look into the future, try Paul Zane Pilzer’s The Next Trillion.

There is hope. There is always hope – if not for us, then for our children, but not if they learn about health and values from Ronald McDonald.

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Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at www.alonshalev.com

 

Birthdays – A Retrospective View of the Future

Too many bloggers fall foul of introspection. Who, apart from their mothers are interested in what they had for dinner last night and the epiphany digested with that Big Mac? Not Ronald McDonald anymore, he’s vegetarian. Probably not their mothers either, through I wouldn’t want to make them feel guilty by asking.

But once a year, I figure it’s okay. Today is my birthday. I am thirty years old for the sixteenth consecutive year. I am excited: the stars have aligned. Today is the second day of the World Cup (I’m talking soccer – a once-every-four-years’ extravaganza – you really didn’t know?). England, yes I become patriotic once every four years, open their campaign against … the United States of America.

Now, since I still lack my citizenship, I will of course remain neutral. I will only wear that sleek England T-shirt (and every day during the next month until The Three Lions lose) out of obligation to Mrs. Blogger’s generosity.

Friends are being coerced to come round, drink warm beer, and watch a game that they have no interest in. Friendship counts.

Watching the endless TV programs about prior World Cups is a remarkable journey into one’s past. There is something about following a sport passionately that gives you an anchor in life, almost like leafing through a photo album (remember those?).

Here’s a quick plug for a book that truly illustrates the intensity of supporting your soccer team. Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby is a hilarious memoir of one young mans’ year, as seen through his passion for our team, Arsenal, in a remarkable year. If you are a soccer fan or an Anglophile, it is a must-read lazing in a hammock during the summer. And yes, given that it is my birthday and I feel magnanimous, I forgive you America for rewriting the book about an American baseball fan. But how could you…

While I am promoting other authors, Alan Black is a Scotsman living in this neck of the woods. He tends bar at The Castle on Geary and is the author of Kick The Balls, a side splitting and irreverent look at how we parent our children, gleaned through the eyes of a Little League soccer coach in the US. He also has a new book out for the World Cup – The Glorious World Cup.

Now to the future. For my birthday, the family pooled together and has bought me a Kindle eReader. I’m stoked. Thank you Mrs. Blogger, boys, UK and US Mum and Dad.

I have wanted to enter the technological 21st Century ever since Ebooks surfaced. Honestly, I love my bookshelves, holding a book, the smell when entering the bookstore (quite a sacrifice for one who is allergic to dust), and passing books that mean something to me along to others. I am also apprehensive about reading an E-reader while nodding off in the bathtub.

But I also love this planet, those disappearing tall things – trees, hate the pollution and wasted energy of transportation and storage. And I remain mortified at the archaic and unjust system of publishers over-printing, while bookstores can order large quantities recklessly and then return books to the publisher to pulp or dump in the $5 bin. Never forget: the reader is paying for this wastage, reflected in the ever-rising price of books.

So onward into the digital age. I may not hold any desire for an iPhone, but I can’t wait to get tech with the new Christopher Moore book.

Now where is that on switch?

Good Writing,
Alon
http://www.alonshalev.com/

Making a clown out of Ronald McDonald

April 1st, 2010

I came across the following post yesterday:
April Fools? Group Calls for Ronald McDonald’s Retirement
Written by Free Audio Books – Free audiobooks on March 31, 2010 – 11:13 pm –

A nonprofit consumer rights group argues that Ronald McDonald is hardly a good example to children and, in fact, has played a leading role in the country’s current epidemic of obesity and diet-related diseases, says Corporate Accountability for International.

Now the group says it’s time — long-past time, perhaps — the clown packed up his over-sized shoes and messy red wig and retired.

“McDonald’s, and its iconic clown, is not only the face of the epidemic: it is the engine behind it. No corporation has done more to hook kids on unhealthy food,” said Stacey Folsom, spokeswoman for Corporate Accountability International. SF Gate

Truth is, Ronald McDonald is no stranger to controversy. In the McLibel trial (rumored to be the real story behind my latest novel, Oilspill dotcom), one of the defendants shared his rage at the clown appearing at a birthday party and at a public school event. When the verdict came down, McDonalds lost the point that claimed they advertise to children.

However, my favorite anecdote was when the original Ronald McDonald went vegetarian. Of course, McDonalds took him to court and attempted to force him to eat his words. They did succeed in preventing him from ever donning his McMakeup again.

Thank you to all who congratulated me on reaching the final 250 entries of the 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Please do click on the link and leave a comment, review etc.

Good Writing,
Alon
http://www.alonshalev.com/

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