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February 28, 2005

Chipotle and McDonald's: Are They Really that Different?

There was a curious article in the NY Times Magazine yesterday, the thrust of which suggested that Chipotle was a healthier alternative to the big fast food chain that happens to be its major investor.

To some people, it might seem like justice that a progenitor of trans fats would appear to be repenting for its supersize sins, but it's not. "Fast casual" restaurants like Chipotle, Qdoba Mexican Grill and Panera Bread have experienced steady growth over the past few years. McDonald's may be simply hedging its bets against its own seemingly bleak future.

The "bleak future" being the loss of profits due to people finally realizing how fat they are and trying to eat healthier. But is Chipotle really that healthy?

A Chipotle opened here in Lincoln over a year ago and we already had a similar locally-owned place called Oso Burrito. I still prefer Oso Burrito. Although the basic offerings are similar, Oso Burrito has fresh batter-dipped fish for Baja-style tacos.

Much of the Times article focused on the pork used for the carnitas at Chipotle which is naturally raised (no hormones or antibiotics) I guess that makes their pork as healthy as a heap of greasy shredded swine can get and it is a far cry from the McRib, but natural ingredients don't necessarily mean nutritionally healthy ingredients.

There's a well-known nutrition calculator for Chipotle that might shock some people. Say you order the three small soft-shell tacos at Chipotle with fajita vegetables, carnitas, red tomatillo salsa, sour cream and lettuce. You wind up with 770 calories (326 from fat), 37.5 g of fat, 2906 mg of sodium and 56 grams of carbs (if you're one of those people who cares about such things). Healthy it up as much as you can by ordering the bol (no tortilla), black beans, tomato salsa and lettuce and you get down to 193 calories, but who in the hell wants to eat that and who pays $5 for the privilege?

Many people prefer to load their burrito up when they go to a place like Chipotle that advertises huge burritos. Try the 13" burrito shell with rice, black beans, carnitas, corn salsa, cheese, sour cream and lettuce. That'll get you 1272 calories (only 438 from fat), 3411 mg of sodium, and 141 g of carbs (I've created a more fattening burrito on the calculator but I can't figure out the combination right now).

Compare that to a Big Mac and medium fries - 910 calories, 49 g of fat, 1230 mg of sodium and 89 g of carbs.

I know. I know. A lot of people only eat half their burrito and save the rest for later, but a lot of people don't. It's still an outrageous portion size driven by America's love of the buffet and the never-ending bowl of pasta.

Certainly you can put together a comparably healthy burrito there but a 13" burrito shell with black beans, cheese and salsa still gets you 638 calories, only 20 g of fat, but still 1898 mg of sodium and 99 g of carbs.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 10:55 PM | Comments (3)

February 27, 2005

March is approaching

And just in time, Yoni Cohen has upgraded his fabulous college hoops blog. There's a new url, www.yocohoops.com, and a great new design using Scoop,[1] the web community software designed by the guys who started Kuro5hin. I remember when Kuro5hin ("K5") was the place where disgruntled Slashdot users went. K5 has changed quite a bit since that time, and its probably a much more interesting site now than it was in 2000.

[1]Scoop has also been used with great success by DailyKos.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 02:33 AM | Comments (1)

February 25, 2005

Another One bites the e-dust

It looks like my classmate, Justin, is giving up blogging. Now if only I can get him to give up being a Yankees fan and a Lakers fan. I have a feeling the brutality of Trial Advocacy broke him.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 11:51 PM | Comments (1)

Starkweather and stark weather: Nebraska indie rock

In comments recently (a long time ago, actually) Ambimb asked about Bright Eyes and why Nebraska has such a fertile rock scene. It's a long story and I've been around it for over a decade so I have a little to say.[1]

Nebraska, especially Lincoln and Omaha, has a long history of rockin'. Zager, of 60's one-hit wonders Zager & Evans ("In the Year 2525"), used to live in the house immediately to the south of me. That's mostly unrelated to the current scene which really goes back to Charlie Burton and The Crap Detectors, an influential but obscure punk band from the late '70's.

Like most college towns, Lincoln has always had a pretty busy music scene and Omaha and Lincoln have always had a pretty symbiotic relationship, music-wise. A guy from Lincoln might play guitar in a band in Omaha while drumming for a band in Lincoln. I know at least one person who plays in 4 or 5 different bands. There's not a lot else to do.

I think Conor Oberst mentioned something about the extreme weather as an impetus for the urge of so many local kids to rock and he's probably right. The combination of 100° heat in the summer and subzero cold in the winter pisses people off. Either you fight each other or you beat on drums, wail on guitars and scream into microphones. And like I said, there's really nothing else to do. Plus, there's that Charlie Starkweather legacy that bleeds through Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska, an album which is a heavy influence on Conor's songwriting.

I worked in a local record store in the early 90's during a bloom in the local scene. Several Lincoln and Omaha bands made small splashes in the indie scene during that time. Later, I lived in a house with three other guys, one of whom is the current drummer for Bobby Conn, another is a member of berg sans nipple and the other is just a filthy lawyer although he also reviews records and rock shows at No Matter What you Heard.

The house in which I lived had a large basement with a concrete floor and it was in an area where it was hard to piss off the neighbors, so we had rock shows in the basement. At one of those shows was the first time I met Mr. Oberst. I can't remember if Commander Venus [2] played that night or not or if it was the second to last Frontier Trust show.

I do remember seeing Commander Venus around that time, though, and I was blown away. They were pretty Archers of Loaf-y but had an energy that couldn't be denied, led by a skinny, pasty bespectacled kid whose guitar was almost bigger than him. Conor was probably around 15 or 16 then and I was pretty sure he'd make it big, I just didn't realize how big. Commander Venus featured, besides Conor, Ben Armstrong who drums and strums for the excellent Head of Femur (Wow! HoF opened for Wilco at the House of Blues last Saturday it appears), Rob Nansel who now runs Saddle Creek Records(Conor's older brother founded Saddle Creek and is a 3L at my school) and Todd Baechle of The Faint.

Bright Eyes is huge now. The Faint is pretty big. They toured with No Doubt last year. Neva Dinova, another Omaha band, just released a terrific new album. There are a lot of hard working and talented musicians and songwriters around here.[3]

[Update]: A reader emailed to remind me that his old roommate and a friend of everyone is now the bass player for math rock wankers, Hella.

[1]One frequent reader and commenter, besides being a member of the excellent librariancore duo The Hornrimjobs and former guitarist for Mister Baby I believe also sang some backing vocals on previous Bright Eyes albums so that person might have some input as well. Another frequent commenter and my former roommate was the music director at KRNU for awhile and I invite his comments, too. Oh, and Thomas, who is way older than me and played in Lincoln bands for a long time might have some input too, as long as his 1L year at Case Western isn't taking all his time (He really needs to start a blog. Let him know that.).

[2] I have a copy of Commander Venus's impossible to find first album Do You Feel at Home. I've noticed that their second album is going for around $300 on the web. If anyone feels like offering me $500 or so for Do You Feel at Home, I might feel like parting with it.

[3] One more name-drop opportunity. Maroon 5 was just a crappy pop band called Kara's Flowers until my old next-door neighbor, James, started playing guitar for them.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 05:17 PM | Comments (23)

February 23, 2005

2L Blahs continue

It's a chore to get my ass to campus right now. I especially hate coming to Business Associations, where I'm sitting presently. I'm going to sit here for the next 30 minutes going over a redundant set of problems involving § 16(b) of the Securities Exchange Act. I'll know the rule, sure, but I knew the rule in the first 10 minutes of class. There are 8 episodes of MI-5 on the DVR at home. I could have watched at least one episode during the time I was sitting here.

16 days until Spring Break!

Posted by Half-Cocked at 01:07 PM | Comments (1)

February 19, 2005

T-Bone!

Maybe I shoulda waited for my relaunch of Fetish Friday for this, but the revelation that Koko likes female breasts just couldn't wait.

The handlers, Nancy Alperin and Kendra Keller, claim that last summer, Patterson told them their job status would suffer if they did not indulge Koko's "nipple fetish."

On several occasions in May through June of last year, Patterson told Alperin that "exposing one's breasts to Koko was a normal component to developing a personal bond with the gorilla," the suit alleges.

Patterson pitched the idea to Koko, who she thought was getting "bored" with seeing Patterson's bosom, the lawsuit claimed. "You need to see new nipples," Patterson allegedly said.

Or maybe the zookeeper just wanted to start a new website. Gorillas with nipple fetishes is a growth area on the internet.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 01:36 AM | Comments (2)

February 16, 2005

Valentine's Day exposed

Sarah and I decided to have a quiet Valentine's Day. I stopped at the Rolling Wok on the way home from class to pick up some Chinese takeout. It appeared that Chinese takeout was the official meal of V-Day 2005. There were at least 15 people, most of them couples waiting for their peanut butter chicken, Yam Bong, hot garlic pork and other assorted delicacies. I was able to put in my order, run to the grocery store around the corner to get beer and still wait for 10 minutes for my grub.

When I got home we gobbled our food and watched a romantic movie. Sarah had been wanting to see it for a long time because it was the subject of much discussion amongst her students. The movie was OK but I didn't really see what the big deal was until today, Sarah's birthday. When she came home she had two birthday cards from two of her students. Both of the cards featured primitive drawings of Sarah although the students had claimed they were pretty much the best drawing they'd ever done and claimed to have spent three hours on the shading of her upper lip. The cards also promised more "where this came from" in exchange for an A.

I laughed harder at the cards then I did at the movie but now I see why the movie was so funny.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 10:19 PM | Comments (2)

February 13, 2005

Future blogging

Deadwood one of the most excellent Teevee programs currently in production returns for a second season on March 6. Last season I usually blogged each episode (all on my old blog) and got a lot of TV googling traffic as a result.

I'm also thinking about bringing back the old Friday Fetish provided I can find enough work-safe fetishes.

Old Friday Fetishes:

Posted by Half-Cocked at 11:19 PM | Comments (4)

February 11, 2005

Churchill and the "Little Eichmanns"

Ambimb posted a bunch of links to items about CU professor Ward Churchill's suddenly newsworthy essay (don't forget to read the feedback) about the origins of 9/11. If you ignore the soundbites from Fox News and the like, his essay, save for some poor uses of Nazi metaphor, is pretty dead-on.

Basically, he says that U.S. imperialism over the last 20 years, and really Western Christian Crusaderism over the last millenium, including the Clinton administration's continuation of Bush I's policy towards Iraq, resulted in the death of 500,000 Iraqi children and increased suffering for the survivors. I don't think that can be disputed.

The blowback against Professor Churchill was to be expected but that it happened over three years after the fact is interesting, especially that erupted at Hamilton College in New York. In his essay he takes to task the American ingnorance of anything foreign that would distract them from their lives.

As a whole, the American public greeted these revelations with yawns.. There were, after all, far more pressing things than the unrelenting misery/death of a few hundred thousand Iraqi tikes to be concerned with. Getting "Jeremy" and "Ellington" to their weekly soccer game, for instance, or seeing to it that little "Tiffany" and "Ashley" had just the right roll-neck sweaters to go with their new cords. And, to be sure, there was the yuppie holy war against ashtrays for "our kids," no less as an all-absorbing point of political focus.

It's not so apparent how everyday Americans, if they care, can help to prevent a repeat of 9/11. If the voting booth doesn't work, then what?

Just to be straight. The Muslims don't "hate freedom." It could be argued that the people carrying out daily attacks in Iraq quite enjoy the freedom they didn't have under Saddam.

The opposition to the West by Muslims, while going back 1000 years, has some fairly contemporary roots. Winston Churchill, after the success of Mustard gas on the Western Front in World War I advocated gassing the Kurds and any other Iraqi rebels in the 1920's as a way of quelling the unrest in the former Ottoman Empire, and Saddam, then our ally, with our blessing, gassed the Kurds, and Iranians, again in the 1980's. And of course, there's the fact that the CIA put the Ba'ath party in power in Iraq in the first place.

That's a lot of meaty background to get to the point of this post. Churchill is a somewhat familiar figure around these parts. My Mass Communications professor knows him fairly well as an advocate for Indian affairs. A columnist for the local paper has an axe to grind with Churchill about his Indian bona fides and just put forth another column suggesting that his questionable Indian ancestry might draw his credibility into question.

My professor knows the columnist, too, and he said he just stood back and let them go at it when Professor Churchill was in Lincoln because he liked both of them.

I just listened to Churchill on the Mike Malloy show tonight. If you'd like to hear the interview, it's available for download at Whiterosesociety.org" (scroll all the way down to the Friday, 2/11 show).

Posted by Half-Cocked at 10:29 PM

Perjury?

At what point will someone actually charge Condi Rice with perjury? It was pretty clear to anyone who knew the facts that Condi lied her ass off during her confirmation hearings, but now a declassified memo shows she blatantly lied during sworn testimony in front of the 9/11 Commission.

From the 9/11 Commission hearings:

MS. RICE: The fact is that what we were presented on January the 25th was a set of ideas -- and a paper, most of which was about what the Clinton administration had done, and something called the Delenda plan, which had been considered in 1998 and never adopted.

...

We decided to take a different track. We decided to put together a strategic approach to this that would get the regional powers -- the problem wasn't that you didn't have ...

In the memorandum that Dick Clarke sent me on January 25th, he mentions sleeper cells. There is no mention or recommendation of anything that needs to be done about them.

From Richard Clarke's 1/25/01 memo to Ms. Rice (.pdf warning):

First, should we provide the Afghan Northern Alliance enough assistance to maintain it as a viable opposition force to the Taliban/al Qida? If we do not, I believe that the Northern Alliance may be effectively taken out of action this spring...The al Qida 55th Brigade, which has been a key fighting force for the Taliban, would then be freed to send its personnel elsewhere, where they would likely threaten US interests.
...
Three other issues awaiting addressal now are:

--First, what the new Administration says to the Taliban and Pakistan abouit the importance we attach to ending the al Qida sanctuary in Afghanistan...

clarkememo.gif


I've seen a few conservative websites with polls showing that Condi is their favorite for the 2008 Presidential eledtions. I sure hope so.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 06:51 PM

February 10, 2005

Just a few words on last night's rock show

Prof. Corps. has been rambling about Eisner and Ovitz for the last 20 minutes so I thought it would be a good time to post a quick review of the Secret Machines/Moving Units/Autolux show last night at the Ranch Bowl.

First, my impressions, especially of Autolux, were greatly colored by the inadeuqacies of the Ranch Bowl as a music venue. It's a big room attached to a bowling alley not a Hollywood Bowl type venue. The accoustics are terrible and the sound system isn't in very good shape either.

A derivate band like Autolux that relies heavily on dynamics in making their music interesting suffers when their sound is so muddled that a Hornrimjobs live performance be entertaining by comparison. It's too bad, too, because I really liked their record. That said, I am getting a little weary of the continuing offspring of Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine. Blonde Redhead was fine for awhile and And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead has developed beyond far beyond their beginnings. If you're going to continue mining this vein of alt-rock, give me some hooks.

Moving Units was probably the least hindered by the Ranch Bowl environment. They came off a little more New Order-y live, especially the bass line, but with more jagged guitar riffs. The drumming was stellar, almost to a Martin Atkins level of speed and intensity, but not quite. They were definitely danceable but this being an Omaha indie-rock crowd, nobody was dancing.

Secret Machines was impressively bombastic with a very well put together and immersive light show. The problem again, was with the sound. While SM depends on subtle changes in tone and chorus (the array of effects pedals at the front of the stage covered about 20 square feet), their sound isn't as reliant on feedback as Autolux so their set, while not as good as I expected, was still worth seeing.

The last show I saw at the Ranch Bowl was Buffalo Tom back in 1994 and I was reminded last night of why I haven't been back in so long.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 12:19 PM | Comments (2)

February 09, 2005

OOOOOO-klahoma!

After the last election I congratulated the state of Oklahoma for electing an out-and-out loon, Tom Coburn, to the United States Senate. It's nice to see being elected hasn't tempered his depraved insanity.

Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), a new member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was at last week's meeting on a bill restricting class-action suits. "You know," he said, "I immediately thought about silicone breast implants and the legal wrangling and the class-action suits off that. And I thought I would just share with you what science says today about slicone breast implants. If you have them, you're healthier than if you don't. That is what the ultimate science shows...In fact, there's no science that shows that silicone breast implants are detrimental and, in fact, they make you healthier."

I've already got my appointment with the plastic surgeon up 48th St. to make myself healthier. I can't wait to get my big titties.

Just in case you've forgotten, Tom Coburn was also the guy who proclaimed an epidemic of lesbianism in Oklahoma schools, stating that schools in the foothills of the Ozarks were only allowing girls to go to the bathroom one at a time due to their frantic muff-bumping.

Tom Coburn was an OB/GYN prior to being elected to the U.S. Senate by the drooling morons of Oklahoma. It's pretty obvious why he picked his career path.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 03:56 PM | Comments (3)

February 08, 2005

'sup?

I'm not really feelin' the blogging thing right now. It's probably tied to the SAD that hits me every winter I live on steppe. I originally started a Blawg in December of '03 but deleted it after I didn't feel like saying anything. I didn't get underway until March of last year which coincides with the spring thaw around these parts.

It's been snowing off and on for a couple of days now, but never enough at one time to provide an excuse for missing work and/or school. That means driving my 20 year old Corolla around in the snow and slush (I've never gotten stuck in it. I'm an excellent driver.) to places I really don't feel like going.

In order to kickstart this thing, like everyone else, I'm taking requests. Wanna know about my childhood? My high school? My hometown (pop. 69 - that's what the sign said from 1991 to 2001. It was never stolen. That's how lame it was.)? My cats? My lint collection? Email me or leave a comment.

In the meantime, I'm going to borrow a page from Fitzbarge and Mil-hume and just sort of recap everything.

  1. What's keeping me busy lawyer-wise - I'm working on two briefs right now, one for moot court competish and one for work. The moot court brief is typically moot and the work brief is actually quite interesting.

  2. What else is keeping me busy - Sarah and I had a Super Bowl party and had to do quite a bit of cleaning up beforehand. Now we're making a concerted effort to keep the house in the same condish it was in on Sunday afternoon.

  3. What I'm reading - Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, like a lot of people in the blawgburbs. It's really good. I just finished a supermarket sci-fi thriller, Decipher, which was actually quite amazing. It's full of facts about physics, astronomy, linquistics and buckyballs.

  4. What I'm listening to - I'm going to see The Secret Machines tomorrow night at The Ranch Bowl, so I've been listening to the opening bands Autolux and Moving Units. The Autolux album is very good, sort of My Bloody Valentine, Lush and Sonic Youth with better drums. Moving Units is OK. It's sorta Gang of Four-ish without the attitude with hints of New Order.

  5. What I did last weekend - Watched the Super Bowl and made some really good chili mostly thanks to the nice chunk of sirloin tip roast I picked up at the grocery store and the secret ingredients in the chili.

  6. What I'm thinking about politics - The Bush budget. Education cuts in Head Start and Talent Search while increasing funding for the abstinence-only program which had no effect on abstinence. Cuts in farm subsidies. My old high school classmates will still continue to vote Republican anyway, because Rod and Todd might wanna get married in Massachusetts. Increases in VA health care costs. Didn't governor Bush just dedicate the most expensive inauguration in history to our troops? Maybe that money should have gone to buying drugs from Canada. Oh, and Social Security, which is turning into an albatross around Bush's neck.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 09:55 PM | Comments (6)

February 05, 2005

A truly Amerkin Super Bowl deserves a truly Amerkin Bowl of Chili

Patriots vs. Eagles. What could be more American assuming the Eagle in question is a Bald Eagle and not one of those Eurotrash Imperial Eagles or Bonelli's Eagles. ["Eagle" is sort of a funny looking word, especially when you type it a bunch of times in a row.]

As I finalize my chili preparation for tomorrow, I thought I'd throw out my pick for the game. The Patriots are cemented as a 7 point favorite and I will take that seven points. Coach Bill can scheme like a mutha, they've been there before and know how to do it, and Corey Dillon's going to be tough for the Iggles to stop.

The Eagles, on the other hand, are kind of exhibiting a "just happy to be here" sort of vibe. I can't blame them. It took McNabb and some of the more veteran Eagles 4 tries to get to the Super Bowl. TO's going to do everything he can to play but cortizone shots only hide the pain. They don't magically heal an ankle full of metal.

I have Corey Dillon as MVP. Two of the Eagles linemen are dedicated pass-rushers and with the east-west running of Vick and Dunn two weeks ago they weren't exposed as weak against the run. Corey Dillon runs straight up and down the field. The Eagles linebackers are going to have to support the run defense more and they may need to bring a safety up as well. This will open up the deep passing game for Brady who is a dead-eye with the deep ball.

Patriots 31 Eagles 14

Posted by Half-Cocked at 10:46 PM | Comments (3)

I can breathe again-nuh

The phlegm-mass behind my eyes seems to have slithered away in the middle of the night. I'm a little sniffley now but I'll take that as a sign of improvement. Snot mobility is a good thing.

I was ravenous when I woke up this morning (luckily I ate before posting this), and was lucky enough to have leftovers from The Oven waiting for me in the fridge. Sarah went out for dinner with some out-of-town friends last night and she brought the leftovers home for me for when I was feeling better. Isn't she a sweetheart?

Anyway, there was a little bit of Goa Shrimp, pretty tasty although it's just another sign of the overuse of coconut in the preparation of shrimp, and some Malai Kofta, incredibly satisfying at this point even though the cheese dumplings lose a little after sitting in the icebox all night.

Happy Super Bowl!

Posted by Half-Cocked at 10:51 AM

February 04, 2005

Wanna know what really sucks?

Waking up in the middle of a NyQuil coma and not being able to get back to sleep.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 01:12 AM | Comments (3)

February 03, 2005

Man, I got nothin'

Nothin' but an exquisitely painful head cold focused densely (like neutron star-dense) in what Neutrogena calls the "T Zone" with the energy-draining power of a 12th level wight.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 03:00 PM

February 02, 2005

Lexis/Nexis Schmexis

For any law students out there or for anyone else who possesses Lexis points, a non-promoted option from Lexis allows you to donate your points to tsunami relief (converted to cash at a $1.60/1000 pts rate. Not exactly a lot but it's equal to the point totals for the other junk Lexis gives away). My Lexis rep didn't exactly promote this at all, but Jeremy Richey is pushing it.

Look at the crap you could get for your points. Itunes? Please. Has anyone ever heard of bittorrent? Study aids? Understanding Administrative Law isn't going to help you understand Administrative Law. Snorkeling gear? Golf clubs? The Washington Nationals? You'll never get enough points for any of that crap.

The cut-off is Feb. 4 so if you haven't already heard from Energy Spatula, Heidi or Jeremy Richey, dump your stupid Lexis points and feel good about it.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 02:58 PM | Comments (2)

February 01, 2005

A visual for the college hoops fans

Context: Ashley Judd is a big Kentucky Wildcats fan and goes to a lot of the games.

I'm pretty sure I heard this come out of Rick Majerus's mouth during the Kentucky-Tennessee game the other day: "I hope I see Ashley Judd so I won't have to rent adult videos when I get back to the hotel room."*

Shudder

*content of quote confirmed via other sources

Posted by Half-Cocked at 09:30 AM