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Things I Love About America

Eat fast food to save time and money

BK adFast food is a wonderful, all-American thing.

Not only is delicious, ubiquitous and available from drive-thru windows, but it is also a tremendous value.

In the spirit of New Year’s weight loss resolutions, the folks over at Ecoslaon took a look at the calorie counts of a few delicious fast food items. First on their list was the latest cheese burger from Burger King. Of course the authors saw the 2.2 hours of swimming that it would take to burn off the 680 calories in a BK Double Cheese Burger as a stroke against the sandwich.

But what they didn’t consider is that BK is selling this mountain of goodness for only $1. You read that correctly, you can buy an entire BK Double Cheese Burger and the 680 calories of energy it packs for the cost of an apple. That is one hell of a value.

Eating nothing but these burgers, the average American could meet most of their daily energy needs for only $3 per day! (If you follow this diet, I might suggest also taking a daily vitamin. I recommend Flintstones Complete).

And chowing down on fast food can save time as well. To get the energy contained in just one BK Double Cheese Burger, you would need to eat 5-6 apples. Not only would that cost you around $4-5 dollars at the typical farmers’ market, but it would take you the better part of an hour to eat them all. Fast food burgers, on the other hand, are conveniently designed to be shoved into the mouth and eaten in two or three large bites–allowing us to ingest hundreds of calories in just a few seconds.

When it comes to saving time and money, fast food wins every time.

God Bless Fast Food and God Bless America!

Domino’s Pizza is doing some trash talking [video]

Domino’s might have been founded by someone with rather strict religious beliefs, but Tom Monaghan invented modern delivery pizza, and for that we all owe him a debt of gratitude.  Even after his departure, Ann Arbor based Domino’s Pizza is continuing to innovate in the pizza delivery market by introducing the kind of taunting negative ads usually confined to political campaigns.

Negative ads in general is great, but this one is really delightful as it involves a attorney’s letter and in-house polling. Check it out.

(RSS subscribers may need to click through to watch the video)

Ads that sell products and restore faith [commercials]

With all of the bad economic news these days it’s easy to lose faith in the American economy and start questioning our system. I find myself doing it sometimes. But just when I’m about ready to give up and start waving a red flag, I invariably see some ad on TV that not only convinces me to buy the product it is touting but also renews my faith in American Capitalism itself. Such is the skill of Madison Ave.

Here are a few ads that always leave me feeling warm and fuzzy (and wanting a Coke). Enjoy!

(RSS subscribers may need to click though to see the videos).

NASDAQ Visionaries

Coca-Cola & WalMart

Texting-while-driving now possible for cyclists as well [American Innovation]

gallery-handlebarAlmost every American (except for technophobic old people) can chat on a cell phone or even text while driving with ease.

But what happens if you ride a bike to work? How are you supposed to text-while-biking?

An accomplished cyclist would have no trouble riding with one or even no hands of course. But for the rest of us there is a handy new gadget called the The Text Hook which can mount a smart phone on just about anything, including bike handlebars and strollers.

Finally the All-American habit of texting-while-driving is available to bikers as well. The only question is how long will it take for the self-proclaimed “safety experts” to try and ban it?

God Bless America

P.S. This really should have been on the Free Refills & Why I Love America gift guide.

The last minute Christmas gift guide

With all of the distractions this time of year, it is easy to forget what Christmas is really about.

But when all is said and done, the office parties, the charitable contributions, the Christmas Pageants, the Salvation Army Bell Ringers, the Rockettes, the family parties and the traveling are all mere distractions. What Christmas is really about is consumerism.

It is the time of year when we all get a chance to go out to the stores and restaurants and give a little something back to Corporate America. Think of your Christmas shopping as a chance to say “THANK YOU” for all of the little things—like free refills—that American Corporations give us every day.

With the true spirit of Christmas in mind—and assuming that if you’re like me, you haven’t even thought about Christmas shopping yet (there’s still about 6 hours until Christmas, I’ve got time)—I’ve pulled together the first annual “FREE REFILLS & WHY I LOVE AMERICA HOLIDAY CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE.”

I’ve ranked them from worst-to-best because it is not really the thought that counts.

5. Luggable Loo–portable toiletLuggable Loo

We should all be thankful that free restrooms are ubiquitous in America these days, but if you have a traveler (or New Yorker) in your life, considering buying them the Luggable Loo. It is an easy-to-use 5 gallon toilet. Best of all, it’s only $19—that’s less than you’d pay in toilet-tolls on your next European vacation.

4: Soup and Spaghetti Os

Spaghettio's - 347 Campbell’s is caving in to the nutrition zealots and slashing the salt content in many of their soups and SpaghettiOs. But thanks to the nature if canned food, there is still time to stock up. Give the canned-food fan in your life a 1-year supply of the good high-salt version of all their Campbell’s favorites. They’ll be particularly thankful next March with the new reduced-sodium versions hit the market.

3. The steering-wheel deskSteering Wheel Desk

You can get a lot done when you’re on the road if you just master the art of driving with your knees. But sometimes you have tasks—like letter writing—that really require a desk. So for the power-commuter in your life, make sure to pick up a laptop steering-wheel desk. It’s the one gift that will help them transform that useless drive-time into productive billable hours.

2. Extra cup holders

Cup Holder
Cup holders are one of the things that make America great. Without them it would be dreadfully difficult for Americans to eat full meals while driving. But sometimes the 4-6 cup holders that modern cars come equipped with aren’t enough. Thankfully there is a robust selection of aftermarket cup holders you can buy for the driver in your life. Some of them even come with extra room to hold fries or particularly large Big Gulps.

1: Gift cardsARCH_CARD

Christmas is about giving back to corporate America and there is no better way to do that than with a gift card. These little pieces of plastic take perfectly good cash and tie it to a retailer. More likely than not, the gift card recipient will lose or never use the card. Those unused cards are not a waste; they’re just a gift to corporate America. Last year American’s gave an estimated $8 billion back to big business this way. Let’s see if we can make it $10 billion this year! The best gift card to give is of course on to McDonald’s, they very company who first popularized them.

Merry Christmas!

(Hat tip: John)

Free parking in NYC? There’s an app for that.

broken parking meterWhat better example of the American entrepreneurial spirit than the iPhone app store.  In the year or so that it has been open, tens of thousands of Americans have have come up clever programs to solve almost all of life’s little problems.

Many of these apps—particularly the navigation ones— have been literally life changing for their owners. For instance, I use the New York Times app every day to avoid supporting print journalism (stupid NYT, I would gladly pay for your free app).

But the best app I have seen thus far came out of a civic experiment that New York City embarked on a few months ago. Confident that apps and open data had the potential to improve city life, the Bloomberg administration opened scores of city databases to app developers.

Creative types came up with all kinds of great apps, ranging from ones that let you check the health inspection records of whatever restaurant you’re dining at to apps that allow you to report bad cab drivers from the back seat.

But the best app was one called NYC Broken Meters. It uses city data on broken parking meters in order to help urban drivers find that elusive free parking space.

What could be more American than that?

Wireless internet while driving [GM is not dead]

IMG_6325The proliferation of the smart phone has dramatically increased our behind-the-wheel productivity. Now we can not only make phone calls while driving, but also text, check stock quotes and email as well.

But despite their utility, smart phones are not computers. Things like word processing, data entry and true web surfing still require the full-size screen of a laptop to accomplish effectively.

In an age when internet connectivity is everything, using a laptop while driving is just not practical because it is hard to get and keep a wireless signal while zooming down the highway at 70 mph. That is, until now. General Motors announced that it is offering a wireless internet option in 7 new models. The $199 dollar package will provide high-speed internet access in and around the car. What’s more, GM is using some of that government bailout money to promote its new Wi-Fi with full mail-in rebates.

Turns out GM has not been emasculated after all.

Of course, to make full use of your new in-car internet, you’ll probably want to invest in a steering-wheel desk as well

God Bless America and God Bless General Motors.

Cash or credit: The Salvation Army bell ringers now accept credit cards [progress]

Salvation Army Charity Bucket security seal, Oxford Street, London, UK.JPGFirst it was McDonald’s, then NYC taxi cabs, and now even the Salvation Army Bell Ringers are going to begin accepting credit cards.

The charity announced it will be rolling out new card processing Red Kettles in New York and 120 other cities next week. During a three-city pilot program last year, the average credit card donation was $15 compared with only $2 for cash contributors.

The program is also good news for donors, who can now earn cash-back on their contributions and even institute a charge-back if they have second thoughts about it.

The Salvation Army’s announcement means that basically everyone is on board with accepting credit cards, except for that whiny merchant coalition and the horrible pizza place across the street from me.

God Bless America and God Bless Credit Cards!

[Daily News via Gothamist]

I beat Facebook in court [class action lawsuits]

judge hand with gavelClass action lawsuits are wonderful. They allow our hyper-litigious yet lazy culture to sue big companies without actually doing any work ourselves.

Just today I received word that I was the victim of some horrible scheme perpetrated by some of my least-favorite companies and that a settlement has been proposed.

It seems that Facebook, Blockbuster, STA Travel , Fandango, Overstock.com, Zappos, Hotwire and Gamyfly colluded to violate my privacy by publishing stories about my web actions to my Facebook wall. (Except that they didn’t since I am usually pretty good about clicking the “DON’T PUBLISH” button.)

I didn’t know about this nor do I particularly care about it in hindsight. But what is great about American class action lawsuits is that these scoundrels have been brought to justice on my behalf.

Of course it seems like most of the $9.5 million settlement will be eaten up by attorneys’ fees and what little is left will go towards some lame internet privacy foundation so there will likely be no money for me. But no matter. What makes me happy is that companies like Blockbuster and Fandango that I dislike are being hurt by the lawsuit. That is all the settlement I need.

God Bless American and God Bless Class Action lawsuits.

The Microwaveable Teddy Bear [American innovation]

teddy-bearDid you think that the all-American teddy bear needed any improvement?

Neither did I.

At least, that’s until the other night when I was walking through the Columbus Circle Holiday Market and came across a stall selling microwaveable teddy bears.

Apparently these new–and-improved teddy bears have some sort of heating element inside them that will keep you warm all night long (or approximately 30 minutes). All you have to do is put the cuddly little creature into the kitchen microwave for a few minutes (make sure to scrape out the crud first).

After seeing this amazing teddy bear, I can’t help but feel that all other stuffed animals are somehow deficient. Why would you rely on an old teddy bear that only offers emotional warmth when you can get one that emits actual heat?

You wouldn’t.

I guess its time to drag out the dumpster and get rid of all those old and busted stuffed animals to make way for the new warming ones.

If you’re looking for for an awesome Hot Hugs stuffed anmial, you can buy one here.

God Bless America!

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