Monday, December 15, 2008

Water Cooler Buzz

OK, so it wasn't a water cooler exactly, adult beverages involved, but the story begins with my wondering why cereal boxes haven't been rushed into service to explain about OLPC around the breakfast table.

Kids would be excited about getting one (a laptop, whatever model), not right in the box necessarily, mixed in with the Trix, but eventually, through school maybe, as tools for democratic participation, a way of working for Uncle Sam.

What does the cereal box say?

That got me on a rant about high fructose corn syrup (HFCS -- yummy in Cocoa Krispies), which has an ad campaign going, big bucks for TV, wherein this girl offers this guy a Popsicle, and he balks, worried about HFCS. Is he thinking about diabetes, about morbid obesity? The ad doesn't say.

Some of these differences are cultural. Like when growing up in the Philippines, we'd see MSG commercials from Ajinomoto with kids just pouring the stuff on chicken legs, like some kind of salt. In North America on the other hand, MSG ranks with DDT in some circles (another three-letter devil at first welcomed with open arms).

If you look at the ingredients for ketchup, you might see HFCS as an ingredient, right ahead of regular corn syrup. They say a bottle of Heinz Ketchup contains more sugar than a bottle of Coca Cola, but then no one downs a bottle of ketchup in one sitting (or most people don't).

Ketchup and fries: that's the fast food emporium's signature "diet" -- a great way to super size (want a shake with that?).

One of our number mentioned Twinkies' woes, perhaps unrelated. Twinkies and Wonder Bread have a long history together, from Continental Bakeries, through IT&T, Ralston Purina, and now IBC.