The Centre for Strategic Centrism


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A Happy Meal Just Got Happier

I’m a big enough man to admit when I’m wrong. Evidently China is now being struck by an economic slowdown as a result of Warren Kinsella’s joke about the cost of food at an Ottawa eatery and now Canada will suffer as a result. Alice Wong was right! What else can we take from the news that McDonald’s is slashing the prices of its sandwiches in China by up to 30 per cent? Way to go, Warren!

And In Other News…

Starbucks is taking a run at the golden arches by introducing a breakfast value meal. For only $3.95, Starbucks customers will have the option of a tall latte with oatmeal or coffee cake, or a tall coffee with a breakfast sandwich. I’ve tried the Starbucks sandwiches and they’re pretty good. But I’d rather eat a Sausage and Egg McMuffin than any breakfast sandwich I’ve ever tried (with the exception of a Western Omelette Bagel that McDonalds has discontinued to the great delight of every cardiologist in the world).

As someone with a great affinity for both McDonalds and Starbucks, it’s not easy for me to see the two compete. While my parents have been happily married for more than thirty years, but I imagine that this is how children of divorce feel.


Filed under: Apolitical

A Revolutionary Product

One of the finalists in the Greener Gadget Design Competition, this printer uses discarded coffee grounds instead of toner. The notion that a person would run the cartridge back and forth by hand rather than having it powered by electricity is rather absurd. But the idea of being able to recycle my morning coffee grounds and fill my printer cartridge with them is brilliant!!

Filed under: Apolitical

The Jokes Are Just Too Obvious

This article courtesy of NewScientist:

Men might want to remember a new rhyme: a drink a day keeps erectile dysfunction away.

Despite traditional views about the effects of booze on male performance, new research suggests that moderate drinking actually protects against impotence in the long term – perhaps for the same reason a glass or two of wine a day cuts the odds of suffering from heart disease.

There is good evidence that excessive drinking can hinder sexual performance after a night out – a phenomenon sometimes called “brewer’s droop”. The effect has been noted for many years: “[Drink] provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance,” Shakespeare reminds us in Macbeth.

But over longer periods, moderate drinking doesn’t seem to be linked to erectile dysfunction, says Kew-Kim Chew, an epidemiologist at the University of West Australia in Nedlands, whose team conducted an anonymous postal survey of 1770 West Australian men.

After accounting for differences due to age, smoking and heart disease – all risk factors for ED – Chew and colleagues found that drinkers experienced rates of impotence 25% to 30% below those of teetotallers.

Heart link

The study did not examine how alcohol seems to protect against ED, but he thinks antioxidants in some kinds of alcohol play a role. Other studies suggest that both red and white wine protect against heart disease via a similar mechanism.

One theory holds that ED and heart disease are both manifestations of the same disease. Indeed, Chew found that men who suffer from ED are more likely to go onto develop heart disease.

Chew calls for further research on the connection between alcohol, impotence and heart disease. And he says his team’s study should not give men a new reason to hit the bottle. “It would be socially irresponsible to say that even a binge drinker can get some benefits.”

As I said, the jokes are just too easy on this one.

Filed under: Apolitical

Good Riddance!

Until about a year ago, I was an addict. I’m not proud to admit it, but I had a monkey on my back and for the life of me I couldn’t get it off. That monkey had a name: java. Nine cups a day. Between my coffee habit, a lack of physical activity (at the time) eating habits that consisted mostly of fast food and buckets of salt and a high-stress job that kept me in the office an average of twelve hours a day, my body began to beg for mercy. One day, we had the good folks from the Heart and Stroke Foundation stop by to offer free blood pressure checks. After checking my blood pressure three times to ensure that they were administering it correctly, I was informed that at the tender age of 25 my blood pressure was in hypertension range.

So I made some changes. I eliminated almost all the salt from my diet, switched from beer to red wine and gave up my coffee habit cold turkey, opting instead for green tea which helps to lower blood pressure (this led to a great deal of ridicule when I visited my family back home on the prairies). Any way, in the last year my coffee consumption has been limited to a single cup. 

Nevertheless, my disdain for decaf coffee has not waned. I would prefer to give up the stuff altogether than drink decaf. Which is why I was delighted to hear that Starbucks is cutting back on the swill. It seems that in an effort to cut costs, the Mother Corp. will only be brewing decaf to order after noon. Now at first blush, I would think that orders of decaf coffee would increase after lunch rather than decrease. But then again I’m not going to pretend to understand those people.

Filed under: Apolitical

About The Boss, Not Politics

Those of you that know me know how big a fan of Bruce Springsteen I am. There’s a reason they call him The Boss, after all. Springsteen has the ability to encapsulate the optimism, pain and desperation that compose he American experience like so few others do. His voice, in so many ways, is the voice of a generation and maybe more.

So the news that Springsteen will be releasing a new album in January – only a little over a year after his last album, Magic – is quite exciting for me and the millions of Springsteeniacs around the world. For those of you that only know him for the megahits (Born In the USA, Glory DaysDancing in the Dark) there’s just so much more to discover. And I’m not by any means a music snob!

But take some time over vacation to sit back and soak up some Springsteen. I’d start with Born to Run, Thunder Road, Radio Nowhere (off of his last album, Magic), The Rising, Local Hero, and maybe Jungleland. Those are just some of my personal favorites.

You can also stop by YouTube and listen to the title track off of Working On a Dream here.

Filed under: Apolitical