Local science teacher loses weight eating McDonald’s, I struggle to stay awake


“Some men just want to watch your stomach turn.”

I have nothing against McDonald’s, nor its Juggalo-with-ambition mascot. I am rather libertarian when it comes to food, and although I try to live by Michael Pollan’s commandment, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants,” I admit that I head down to the Golden Arches once in awhile to wallow in the french-fry scented sadness of grease-soaked dreams.

Sometimes, a 10-piece Chicken McNuggets with hot mustard hits the spot.

McDonald’s has a hard time being itself, though. When I was a kid, McDonald’s was the garish red-and-yellow treat that my grandparents would sometimes give us. We’d eat limp hamburgers, barely tasting them, and then go crawl around inside the the empty head of a cheeseburger cop. It was a simpler time.

This was what passed for

This is what passed for “fun” before the internet.

These days, the company is working hard to reinvent itself, much like an aging movie star who thinks plastic surgery is the fountain of youth. Oh sure, there have been other identity crises over the years (seaweed-based McLean Deluxe, anyone?), but it’s gotten way out of hand lately. The last time I pulled into a Mickey D’s drive-thru, the signs were going on about something called “Chef Burgers” and talking about ground sirloin. It was a bit surreal. If I wanted pretentious fast food that pretends to be more than it is, I’d go across the parking lot to Chipotle to get a side of Jonathan Franzen with my gut busting slop. Just give me my quarter pounder and shut up.

And now that I’ve effectively buried my lede under a pile special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions, allow me to pull back the sesame seed bun and get to the point. I got an email today from McDonald’s of Central Arkansas, a local franchisee that always stiffs me one package of mustard when I order my nuggies. Apparently, “local science teacher” John Cisna ate nothing but McDonald’s for six months, and OMG lost 60 pounds! No word in the email if it was because of vomiting and dysentery, but one wonders.

Look, people. Supersize Me came out in 2004. Are we still doing this? Did Subway Jared teach us nothing? The only thing this proves is that humans are very adaptable creatures–but since we have managed to survive in basically every environment this planet has to offer, we already knew that. I once spent a semester of college living on little more than coffee and goldfish crackers. I lost so much weight that my mother was worried I might have a terminal illness. If representatives from Pepperidge Farm and Folger’s would like to feature me in an ad campaign, my contact information is over on our “About” page.

I do have to admit that the “Before” and “After” shots of Cisna that McDonald’s sent with this email are quite compelling. You judge for yourself the effectiveness of six months of nothing but McDonald’s:

On the left, Cisna's

On the left, Cisna’s “Before” picture. On the right, Cisna after eating nothing but McDonald’s for six months.

In any event, a reception and special dinner is being held to honor Cisna next Tuesday, October 20 at 6 p.m. But not at McDonald’s. Instead, the chefs at Forty Two, an actually good restaurant here in Little Rock, will be doing the cooking. No word yet if there will be groovy shakes or hot cakes on the menu, but a boy can dream.


Yum! Brands announces new Hunger Relief Effort, partnership with Christina Aguilera; still pays low wages and serves garbage food

world hunger

This is a family blog, so I’ve used the Yum! Brands to cover Ms. Aguilera’s naughty bits.

Yum! Brands, the company that brought us such culinary delights as the Doritos Locos Taco Supreme and the KFC Double Down announced a new hunger relief program this week. Grammy Award-winning assless chaps model Christina Aguilera is also on board to, like, totally stop hunger.

The program is called “Feed the World,” (or maybe “Hunger to Hope,” the website is not clear) and that’s something that Yum! doesn’t really know much about, despite their history of stuffing pizza crusts with hot dogs. Sure, a couple of questionable pieces of cod, battered and deep-fried to hell and back by a surly teenager might seem like a good idea after a night of binge-drinking your wife’s perfume, but I just can’t see it as the answer to a problem as large as world hunger.

Full disclosure: In my youth, I worked for Yum! Brands subsidiary Taco Bell, where despite long hours and low pay, I learned nothing at all about cooking. I did, however, learn a lot about how it feels to pour 5 pounds of reheated ground beef directly onto my groin, along with sage pieces of advice like “If you have time to lean, you have time to clean.” It was a magical time.

The Yum! Brands press release I received about the program was chock full of numbers. They tout their program as the “largest private sector hunger relief initiative,” claiming that it covers 125 countries. Neat. It may even be true. But it honestly doesn’t change the real fact of the matter: A Yum! Brands hunger relief program is basically so much lipstick on a pig. A greedy, disgusting pig that keeps employees impoverished and struggling to make the bills–including, you know, money for groceries. In addition, as purveyors of disgusting unhealthy garbage, it’s rather rich to hear Yum! Brands discuss ending world hunger. Perhaps they’re planning on doing it with root beer and neon orange nacho cheese.

You see, the real answer to world hunger must go far beyond one corporation’s PR campaign and into real, systemic change. Giving people jobs with good wages and benefits can do more to alleviate food insecurity in this country than any late-90s pop tart prancing about for photo ops in Ecuador. And here’s the great part: Yum! Brands could certainly do more to help decrease poverty and food security by actually paying their hourly employees more money. But that’s too much like right.

If Yum! Brands really wants to help people, they can can immediately empower an entire class of people all around the world–those 1.5 million associates they mention in their press release. Because if you’re a company that makes billions by poisoning people with terrible food, the people doing the grunt work should at least make a livable wage.