Monday, September 21, 2009

Popcorn eaters are only slightly less at risk than coal miners... (Cool Things I Never Learned In School.)

When we went to the movies over the weekend, I exercised a little judgment in the selection of my snacks. "Just a little butter," I told the kid there, who made the whole snack-purchasing episode kind of tedious through his almost-obsequious politeness, asking me if I wanted butter on my popcorn, then whether I wanted salt on the popcorn, then whether I wanted butter midway through the popcorn, and whether I wanted to salt the popcorn, too, to the point where, as polite as he was, I was about to say I don't even want the popcorn, anymore.

I got the just a little butter knowing full well that it's not butter on there, and also knowing full well that a large popcorn with "butter" is equivalent, in fat content, to 8 Big Macs.

I am not one ordinarily to care about "fat content," since I worry only about calories, not fat, and I've always believed that popcorn has very few calories. (Note the word believed...) But I figured, being 40 and having suffered a Possible Spleen Attack just that week I could at least try, so I went with Just A Little Butter, in effect reducing the amount of fat I was cramming into my arteries to a slightly-lower amount.

The 8-Big-Macs-In-A-Bucket isn't the Cool Thing I Never Learned In School, though. It's just the lead-in to the cool thing. See, I read about that 8-Big-Macs on, and I read it in an article about scary things we didn't know about our food. The article didn't stop there. Instead, it went on to link to another article about Wayne Watson, who ate two bags of microwave popcorn a day, on average, for years and years and years, until one day he was kidnapped by Russian spies, who told him that Vladimir Putin believed he was the only living descendant of the Czars and therefore had challenged him to a duel for the right to rule Russia.

No, wait. I got that confused with a dream I had last night.

Instead, Wayne Watson developed "popcorn lung," a condition that ordinarily afflicts people who work in popcorn factories, but which nearly took out Wayne Watson, also. It's a condition caused by inhaling "diacetyl," which is the natural... natural compound that makes butter taste like butter, and makes microwave popcorn taste almost like butter.

Inhaling diacetyl, apparently, can cause significant lung damage. And it's found in butter, which is yet another reason why you shouldn't smoke butter.

I switched over to popcorn as a snack of choice way, way, back when I first got in shape, because popcorn, I believed, was supposed to be a healthier snack than my former snack of choice, which was "Piles and Piles of Butterfinger Candy Bars." Now, I find out that instead of being a healthy and delicious snack, popcorn is effectively just a bucket of little deliciously-buttered, light 'n' crunchy terrorists.

I learned about this reading, which is the website started by Cracked Magazine, which I used to read as a kid instead of doing my schoolwork. School never tried to save my life, but Cracked Magazine did. So:

School: 0.

Cracked Magazine: 1.


Petri Dish said...

#41 on 1001 Ways To Tune Up The World should be Have Cracked Writers Take Over The Whole Molding Minds Thing. I love all things mad science-y but didn't know who the hell Nikola Tesla was until a Cracked article. Cracked simplifies things without talking downing to the reader and gives funny relate-able examples.
"When you sleep, your brain is constantly processing information that you couldn't have processed with everything going on up there during the day. This works to strengthen your neurological bonds in the brain. Think of it like downloading something on a computer. When you go to download something while your porn is up, it takes longer, right? Close up any applications that are running and you have a smoother, quicker download. Yeah, kind of like that... maybe."
Not that I relate to the porn downloading. It never occurred to me the close the other apps to get my Hustlers Har-

lisapepin said...

Oh my God. Is that part about the eight Big Macs true? Level with me here, because I'm trying to plan two weeks worth of Stateside junkfood binges and need the truth.

Briane P said...

Lisa: Yes, it's true, provided that Cracked has reliable scientific writers, and why wouldn't they? Most humor sites probably blow the majority of their budget on scientific research - as opposed to most universities, which don't bother to research anything anymore.

Petri: I agree wholeheartedly. Reading Cracked is like going to school, only with more jokes and less social humiliation.