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Saturday, November 27, 2004

In League with Santa

"I have the heart of a child. I keep it in a jar on my shelf."
Robert Bloch

" Of all the blessings of fatherhood, this may be the greatest: the license to act like a 5-year-old. I always believed that fatherhood would transform me in some profound way- make me wiser, more loving, more of a man. What it has really done is given me an excuse to play with toy cars. In the name of parenting, I now spend entire days in an orgy of second-childhood indulgence. I do 180-reverse slams on my son's adjustable baby-basketball hoop. I binge on Post Alpha-Bits. I spend hours watching the Cartoon Network.
In fact, now that I am a father, I act more like a child than I ever did as an actual child."
Andrew Santella, GQ- July 2004

There was a time in our lives when Santa wasn't just a senile old man in a suit. You'd line up for hours just for a chance to sit on the lap of this guy and try to pull off his beard. Then you'd have to bluff him, say you've been good all year and hope he wasn't watching you that time you threw that hamster in a deep fryer. He'd ask you what you wanted for Christmas. No matter what you said (' I want a robotic dog' or 'I want my dad to stop bringing home strange women when mummy is away') he'd Ho-Ho-Ho and you'd be blinded by a flash (another $20 spent on a crappy photo your parents would have to keep for years) then escorted away by a struggling actor dressed in a ridiculous elf outfit before 'Santa's' morphine wore off and he starts telling kids about his wonderfully eccentric anti-Semitic theories. Well, this week I got to return to that childhood for an hour or so.

It's called Santa's Kingdom and it's a massive world for children and adults alike to explore from now until...I dunno...December the 20-somethingth and I got to check out the dress rehearsal. "I'm just here because I have free tickets." I tell one of the girls working there who is dressed as a toy soldier.
"Dude, nobody cares." she assures me.

After going through the entrance of red curtains, sort of a 'Twin Peaks' Black Lodge-type deal, complete with a dwarf that speaks in backwards language you are greeted by a cute elf-chick and a penguin. So far just like any other ecstasy trip. But afterwards you get to walk in to (drum rolls) The Kingdom.

There's jugglers and clowns and a whopping big ice slide that you can hurtle down at massive speeds. There's a Post Office where you can write a postcard to Santa and an ice show that happens every half hour. If you have Peter Pan Syndrome like I do I certainly recommend a trip. Now to get back to hating everything.

I love children. They taste like chicken.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

A 'Super Size Me' Review that I wrote for Anacronymph that never got published cos Matt and Clark are lazy scumbags

"If they were drowning to death, I'd put a hose in their mouth."
Ray Kroc, former C.E.O. of McDonald's, on his competitors

It seems a strange world to live in these days where more kids seem to recognise the famous clown Ronald McDonald than history's most intense acupuncture victim, Jesus H. Christ. The America that exists today consists of bloated individuals, overweight and in need of extra big cup holders in the cars/ trucks/ vans to hold a half gallon cup of soft drink, and yet remain under nourished. We live in an era of litigation-upon-litigation. So, it is in this era in America that a couple of overweight girls have decided that they wish to sue the corporate giant, McDonald's for making burgers with the nutritional content of a moped that have ballooned them to several kilos shy of an oil tanker. The real question is, where does consumer responsibility end and corporate responsibility begin?

Morgan Spurlock- star, writer, director, choreographer and cholesterol guinea pig for Super Size Me has decided to tackle the obesity problem by showing how quickly one can go from fit to fat by dining on McDonald's meals, three times a day for a whole month. Along the way he talks to a variety of specialists ranging from nutritionists to medical health practitioners, legal experts, P.R. people and junk food enthusiasts. Done in a more professional way, the film could have been a sombre affair, but man, he is very watchable. His opinions of how to de-glorify the Golden Arches are innovative, and funny ('When I have a kid, I'm going to smack him over the head every time we pass a McDonald's.') Aaah, the Backhand of Love. Parents around the world may begin a spate of child beating in front of fast food chains/ strip joints/ packets of cigarettes so they subconsciously link them with pain.

But the journey isn't without its hitches. Morgan does put on a whole lot of pounds and other symptoms start to emerge...depression, a declining sex drive and general unhealthiness. So, bottom line; Will it change the Bacon and Egg McMuffin I had for breakfast? My predictions are 'Yes'...for awhile. Then the lure of grease, salt and sugar will draw people back at 5.a.m. on the way home from someplace.

Epilogue- Damage Control
McDonald's have never actually pointed a gun at their consumers' heads and forced them to buy their product. Skirting the issue that they may like to have a loaded .44 aimed at the customers (thankfully there are a few laws that are in place to stop corporations to do stuff like that) they have done everything in their power to make people eat stuff. Not so, says a new barrage of ads. Contradicting every other ad made by McDonald's since the dawn of commerce, in the new commercial some guy (it doesn't matter who) mentioning the absurdity of anyone eating their product for every meal of every day. Without mentioning this film by name (Super Size Me, for those who may have dozed off earlier) he says he doesn't advise it. He neglects to inform the public why then there exists a breakfast menu.

Biting off more than he can chew,