The left’s “hamburger problem”


Go to lunch with a progressive and you may well be badgered about how your hamburger contributes to global warming.  Also that you are oppressing animals.  Also that your unhealthy eating is contributing to the nation’s health care problems.  Also that the burger joint isn’t paying its workers enough.

Now a Democrat is complaining that his party’s image is due to what he calls its “hamburger problem.”  That is, progressives tend to politicize EVERYTHING and to annoy ordinary people by judging their everyday choices about how they live their lives.

Kyle Smith, after the jump, discusses the syndrome.  He says that Republicans used to be the ones accused of interfering with people’s personal lives.  But now Democrats have become “the annoying party.” [Read more…]

Lawsuit for under-filled candy boxes


Someone is suing Hershey candies for underfilling boxes of Whoppers and Reese’s Pieces.  The package of malt balls, claims the victim, was only 59% full, while the package of chocolate-peanut butter treats was only 71%.  This amounts, he says, to deceptive advertising.

This follows other suits over underfilled bags of potato chips and packages of pasta.

Judges are allowing all of these suits to go forward.

First of all, aren’t these foods all sold by weight, not volume?  No one is being short-changed as long as 5 oz. of candy are in packages that promise 5 oz.

Second of all, Mr. Plaintiff, you have not been injured!  You have no basis for suing the company whose product you bought of your own free will.  (If you are annoyed that the 5 oz. of Whoppers are in too big of a box, buy the malt balls they sell in the gas stations that come in the clear cellophane bags.  That way you can see exactly how much you are getting.)

Third of all, the courts have far more important cases they need to attend to than the size of your candy boxes.  To the judges who aren’t throwing these cases out of court, what is the matter with you?

Fourth of all, find someone with a real problem and see if you could help.

[Read more…]

The invention of breakfast cereal and other wacky church history


You need to know about Luke T. Harrington, a Missouri Synod Lutheran who like me lives in Oklahoma.  He writes, among other places, at Christ and Pop Culture.  He has a series D-List Saints on “the many less-than-impressive moments in Christian history.”  For example, the time the Catholics had three popes; the story of Oliver Cromwell’s severed head; and how those little communion cups were invented.

Mr. Harrington is a very funny writer, but his pieces are also informative and often strangely inspiring.  (For example, Cromwell as an example of becoming what we hate.)

I have always thought that Lutheranism can be a good foundation for humor: a strong view of sin yielding a healthy cynicism about human pretensions; a Reformation-bred skepticism of man-made religiosity; an openness to pleasure that makes it OK to laugh.

After the jump, the opening and the link to Mr. Harrington’s latest piece on the invention of breakfast cereal, with a digression on why Baby Boomers eat it and Millennials don’t. . . . [Read more…]

Eating, sacrifice, and the Gospel

640px-Good_Food_Display_-_NCI_Visuals_OnlineWhen a thale cress plant is being eaten by a caterpillar, it responds by sending out mustard oil, which is toxic to caterpillars.  Other stimuli doesn’t trigger this reaction.  Somehow the plant knows when it is being eaten.

Read about the research and watch a video about it after the jump.  One of the scientists who discovered this effect observes that plants have “behavior” just like animals do.  And they must have, in some sense, a kind of awareness.

Which speaks to us about the Gospel.  And Maundy Thursday.  As I have pointed out before, there can be no life without sacrifice of another life.  Another living being must die in order for us to live.  We call this eating.

We cannot be nourished by inorganic chemicals, minerals, rocks, or other objects.  We have to eat other living things.  It doesn’t matter whether we eat an animal or a plant.  A plant is just as alive as an animal is.  Even “fruititarians,” who will not destroy whole plants, are eating the living cells of their fruit.  No one can escape the reality that our life is sustained by death.  Or, rather, that death allows us to live.  And that life comes from death.

What is true in nature is a sign of what is supremely true spiritually.  Our spiritual life depends on God the Son’s self-sacrifice for us.  If we refuse His death for us, we die spiritually.  But His death gives us life and continues to nourish us.  Eventually, we will die physically, but, as with another natural sign that we see in plants, life comes from death.  We will be raised, just as Christ was raised.

And to sustain us with His sacrifice, on the night that He was betrayed,

Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”  And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the  covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (Matthew 26:26-28) 


[Read more…]

The liquid bread fast

In the 17th century, a strict order of monks gave up all solid foods for Lent.  So to sustain themselves, they developed a particularly rich version of what they called “liquid bread.”  That is to say, beer.

This was the origin of the Paulaner brewery, which still makes its acclaimed beer.

A few years ago, a Christian  journalist went on an all-beer fast.  Intoxication faded.  Hunger subsided.  And he developed a remarkable “clarity of focus” and devotional intensity.

I suspect that any kind of long-term fasting can have that affect.  (Can anyone speak to this?)

I should add, don’t try this at home!  Most beers today lack the nutritional substance of the old brews.  (The journalist found a special doppelbock.)  And there can be other unintended consequences. [Read more…]

$12 coffee and the positional economy

16091786152_cb28be709e_mStarbucks is opening some exclusive “Reserve Roasteries and Tasting Rooms,” which will offer high-end coffee experiences at around $12 per cup.  George Will discusses the phenomena, drawing on an economist who distinguishes between the “material” and the “positional” economy.

First we have to meet our basic “material” needs (food, shelter, clothing).  After that, what once were luxuries (automobiles, air conditioning, computers) are turned into necessities.  After that, we spend money on high-status goods that enhance our social “position.”

Read this analysis and my questions about it after the jump.

Would you buy a $12 cup of coffee?  If you like coffee enough, I suspect you would, if only once, even if no one saw you do it. [Read more…]