Oct 212016

bigmac1Last week there was a little hullabaloo about millennials and the McDonald’s Big Mac. It seems only one in five millennials has ever tasted one. To children of the ’70s and ’80s, that seems rather incredible.

The closest I get to eating a fast food burger anymore is Five Guys. I’ve pretty much stopped eating any burger that can be passed through a drive-through window. Consequently I have no idea when I last ate a Big Mac. It may have been ten years. It may have been longer.

Now I do remember a time in my life—high school, college—when I ate quite a few of them. McDonald’s periodically ran a 2 for $2 Big Mac special. When they did, some Friday and Saturday nights my friend Byron and I ate three Big Macs apiece.

Yes. We did. With fries, and sometimes even apple pie a la mode. And then we’d go home and go to bed less than two hours later. That would put me in the hospital today.

So what do we have here? That’s not difficult to answer, is it? As embedded in our souls by decades of relentless advertising: two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun. In its heyday it really wasn’t like any other burger, and there was that iconic third piece of bread in there. Today there are multiple similar offerings, but with the Big Mac as the obvious template.

Despite its name and reputation, it is not a particularly large burger, especially by today’s standards. The entire burger checks in at a little less than half a pound, and contains 550 calories. Demonstrably, I liked the Big Mac once upon a time. What do I think in 2016?


(Click either burger photo for a closer look.)

The presentation was robust, if not very neat. It stood up nicely instead of being squashed. It was warm, and I could believe it was prepared within the last ten minutes.

The taste is largely as I remember. The beef patties are unremarkable, but they taste good. The pickles and the sauce give it a tang I like. Sure does seem like there’s a lot of lettuce and bread, though—and the little lettuce shreds get everywhere. I also wish the Big Mac used the real onions like on the Quarter Pounder instead of the little dehydrated pellets like on the regular hamburger.


This review isn’t about the fries, but they were good. (Not as good as when they had beef fat in them, but they were fine.) I’m pleased the Big Mac still comes in a clamshell box so you can put your fries in the other side.

The Big Mac is a challenge to rate, because as I said, I don’t eat fast food burgers anymore. Nevertheless, that’s the fair arena in which to judge it, is it not? That I don’t eat a lot of fast food doesn’t mean there aren’t millions who do, and I certainly remember enough about when I did regularly as well to craft reasonable expectations. I’ll give it two ratings.

Given a typical town’s Fast Food Alley, if I were set on getting a burger, I don’t think this is what I would do with my $4.19. I think I would choose a Whopper or a Wendy’s burger over a Big Mac. Nevertheless, I think the Big Mac still gets points for originality. There are knockoffs out there now, but they all hew pretty closely to the progenitor. If you like the taste of a Big Mac, then get a Big Mac.

Oh, and you millennials? As you well know, none of this stuff is good for you. Furthermore, there are far more gustatorily satisfying ways to consume 550 calories and a similar amount of fat and sodium. If you’ve never tasted a Big Mac and have no particular drive to, my advice is to remain ignorant.

6/10 as a fast food item
2/10 as a life experience

 Posted by at 2:26 pm
Oct 172016

Several years ago I answered the door one Halloween night, and one of the accompanying adults was a wife/mom about my age, or maybe a year or two younger, from down our street. She was wearing a good Wonder Woman costume. And it fit her very well.

I don’t remember managing to get anything witty out. I think it was just mostly a look of admiration and exchanged smiles. I can visualize a wink from one or the other of us easily, but I’ve probably added that in the years since just because it would have been so cool. Door closed. Elapsed time: 10 seconds.

Now I think this sort of flirtation is not only harmless, but actually one of the things that genuinely enhance our quality of life. I liked her. She liked that I liked her. I liked that she liked that I liked her. What a marvelous little charge for she and I to enjoy, both at the moment and then for a little while after. Lea actually came home from trick-or-treating with the boys and wanted to make sure I’d seen her. Heh.

(And, oh, there’s this: we were both, you know, 40, with attendant maturity levels and sensibilities.)

A sexy Wonder Woman costume intended and sized for an adult woman is one thing. But folks, things have gotten way out of hand for much younger ladies. I started casually reading this piece half-expecting it to be a possibly overreacting mom of an older adolescent girl. Then I discovered that the mother was upset about a she-devil costume with a super-short skirt, red fishnet stockings, and knee-high boots—that her eight-year-old wanted.

I am sad and furious that there is a (clearly thriving) market for slutty Halloween costumes for prepubescent girls. This mom is even facing “all my friends are doing it” backlash from her daughter, which here’s hoping she’ll endure in the service of larger principles, but sheesh.

Do we really have significant numbers of parents now who genuinely don’t realize that there shouldn’t be any such thing as an eight-year-old “sexy nurse”?

There is a good discussion at the above link about how to healthily address what a sexy costume means and doesn’t mean, with good transition into why and how we seek approval and what it means to honor yourself. I’m pleased to see this good message in the Huffington Post, just as I’m appalled that it’s necessary.

 Posted by at 9:59 am
Oct 072016

I don’t often go picking on something beloved without a perceived greater purpose, but I’m going to today. I don’t like Bruce Springsteen’s “Thunder Road.” I never have, and I never will. Furthermore I don’t understand what is supposed to be so appealing about it. (There are lots of songs I don’t necessarily like but can appreciate.) […]

 Posted by at 8:04 am
Oct 032016

So there’s this film out there about the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. Eleven people died, with several more wounded. The resulting environmental and economic damage was catastrophic. The Gulf economy has largely recovered in many places, but a lot of livelihoods perished and never came back, too. I don’t want to watch a movie about […]

 Posted by at 8:06 am

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