CoasterBuzz Podcast #192 posted

Posted Monday, September 27, 2010 12:15 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Jeff, Mike and Carrie review this week's news in the amusement industry.

  • The Fall Affair at Holiday World is in the books for 2010, with about 130 people attending.
  • Mike did the water park, and loves the way the size handles the crowds.
  • Holiday World and Splashin' Safari announces new stuff for next year. [Ed. note: We forgot to mention the new family slides! -J]
  • The crew talks about the joys of road tripping. And rental cars.
  • Six Flags keeps adding Paramount Parks folk to its lineup. Cedar Fair loses.
  • Universal modifies Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey to accommodate larger people, and it's part of a trend around Orlando. Jeff gets on a pretty long rant about eating right and not being so damn lazy when it comes to convenience. Carrie makes the case that there's big cultural change that has to happen.
  • SeaWorld Orlando makes some temporary changes to minimize risk to trainers.
  • Owner of Geauga Lake's Big Dipper continues to make an ass out of himself with attention whoring and threats to tear down the ride.
  • Six Flags Great Adventure announces Chang, er, Green Lantern. It's new to them!
  • Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Tampa tease new stuff.
  • Luna Park at Coney Island has crazy good year. What's next?
  • Cedar Point's Mean Streak catches fire, but it's not serious, much to the dismay of enthusiasts everywhere.
  • New restaurants open at Epcot, Jeff says he'd like to get down there for the food and wine festival one of these years.
  • BooBuzz returns to Cedar Point on Friday, October 15.
  • You can get the latest headlines on CoasterBuzz from the Twitter. Follow us @coasterbuzz. You can also like us on Facebook.
  • CoasterBuzz Club is $25 per year. You can join or renew today. Enjoy CoasterBuzz with no ads.

Link: CoasterBuzz Podcast

Wednesday, September 29, 2010 11:30 AM
Tekwardo's avatar

Oh yeah, I know their premium salads aren't healthy. But the $1 salad is just lettuce, some spinach, carrots, and tomatoes (and I ask for onions on the rare occasion I'm at McDonalds and get a salad).


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Wednesday, September 29, 2010 11:37 AM
birdhombre's avatar

I kept trying to write a post and failing, so I actually parsed my lunch and did the math using actual prices. Two slices of whole wheat bread, peanut butter, baby carrots, veggie chips, applesauce, can of pop, and three sandwich bags adds up to $1.41. Preparation takes about 5 minutes, usually combined with making/eating breakfast.

Dinner would be more annoying to calculate, since it's different every night and involves a lot of partial ingredients.

A few things: I buy bread at a bakery outlet, I always buy Coke or Pepsi products on sale, and I get applesauce in a 36-pack at a wholesale club. I didn't factor in the cost of refrigerating the carrots or freezing the extra bread when I buy multiple loaves at once, but my fridge is going to be running regardless of how full it is. (Aside: Does a half-full fridge use more or less energy than an empty one?)

Now, I guess I never really tried to "bargain shop" at a fast food restaurant, with the exception of the occasional "three items off the 99-cent menu and pretend it's a meal" at Wendy's. But typically I'm paying $5-6 at Wendy's or McDonald's.

Or if you're my boss, you go to a sit-down restaurant and drop $15 on lunch every day even when you can't afford it.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010 11:41 AM
Carrie M.'s avatar

ApolloAndy said:


Re: "It's a choice, you either do it or you don't."
At face value, this statement is clearly true. However, there are a bajillion examples (and probably a trillion dollars worth of industry) where we make the wrong choice to take the short term gain even with the larger long term loss.

Smoking, Gambling, Credit Card debt, watching TV instead of exercising, going back to an abusive relationship, shopping, cutting yourself, drugs, cheating on spouse, extreme anger, riding an SLC... ;)

I mean every 12 step group in the world (and there have to be a million of them by now) exists because making the right choice isn't as easy as "You either do it or you don't."

How many times do we all wake up in the morning and say, "Today, I am going to ______." or "Today I am not going to _______." Only to find that in the heat of the moment, we did exactly the thing we said we weren't going to?

I'm quoting this entire post because I think it captures the best perspective thus far in this discussion. The reasons people do what they do aren't as simple as easier, cheaper, faster, or even healthier. There's a psychology involved to the choices that people make. Food choices are no different.


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010 11:47 AM

Re: Greg and planning.

The trick is, you have to plan *perfectly*, so that you only shop once every N days. Any "extra" trips count against you in time. Any spoiled food counts against you in costs. The planning itself also takes time.

Ultimately, you're facing an economy of scale problem, and economics says those are hard to win. An individual presumably makes more diverse items than McDonalds does (strike one) in smaller quantities (strike two). From first principles, it would be hard to win that battle, even if quality were equivalent. But, quality isn't equivalent---you are probably buying better stuff than McD's does, as well (strike three).

(Edited: this is ignoring the energy/water costs of preparation and cleanup, the rental costs of storage space, etc.)

Re: half full vs. full fridge.

I remember seeing this, and I think the answer is a full fridge is more efficient. Food/drink has higher thermal mass than air, so once you cool it, it takes more heat flow to warm it up again. Could be wrong though.

(Edited again: this presumes you only put in cold items. If you put in buckets of hot water, then in the short term the empty fridge is more efficient. Once the water is cooled, and stored for "long enough", there should be a crossing point---er, what DJ said below.)

Last edited by Brian Noble, Wednesday, September 29, 2010 11:56 AM
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Wednesday, September 29, 2010 11:54 AM

birdhombre said:
I didn't factor in the cost of refrigerating the carrots or freezing the extra bread when I buy multiple loaves at once, but my fridge is going to be running regardless...

Not exactly true. If the items you add to your fridge are already at fridge-temperature, then you're right, no extra energy is required.

However, if any of those items are at room temperature, it costs money when you add them, period. In order to bring these items down to fridge-temp, yes, your fridge will run more than it would otherwise.

Aside: Does a half-full fridge use more or less energy than an empty one?

There's no cut & dry answer, because it depends on the temperature of the items being added to the fridge, among other things, such as the thermal mass of individual items. But if your fridge is completely full and at a stabilized temperature, it will hold that temp for longer than an empty fridge if the power were to go out, due to having a higher thermal mass (air does not hold energy well (aka low thermal mass), compared to solids).


Brandon | Facebook

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010 11:59 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

I still say a big problem in this is comparing homemade cold sandwiches to hamburgers.

I'm sure one could make a simple turkey sandwich or peanut butter sandwich and have the situation compare favorably to buying a hamburger.

But...

What if I want a hamburger? Is it feasible to make my own for lunch? What are the costs of a DIY burger vs one I buy?

What if I don't want a hamburger? Can I get a cold sandwich for less than it'd cost at home?


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Wednesday, September 29, 2010 12:31 PM
Jeff's avatar

djDaemon said:
I mean, we live in a time where human life expectancy has never been higher, right?

Actually, no. The trend is reversing because of rampant heart disease and other problems arising from obesity. We've never had a population this fat, so we don't know for sure, but it should be pretty obvious that the impact will be shorter life.

All of these side conversations about energy costs and time spent preparing food are completely irrelevant in my mind. They're all lame excuses to distract from the real issue: Eating crap makes you fat, being fat is unhealthy. I've reached the point where I don't see a choice. Exercise takes time too, but if you don't do it, you don't do it.

I don't think Andy's psychology issues matter either, because I wasn't suggesting there weren't complicated underlying issues. The end game is simple though, that you either choose to do things in a healthy way or you don't. Believe me, I struggle with that all of the time, because I love me a giant Chipotle burrito with extra rice.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010 12:36 PM
Tekwardo's avatar

They're all lame excuses to distract from the real issue: Eating crap makes you fat, being fat is unhealthy.

That was only part of an arguement, and certainly not the whole arguement. And no one seems to disagree with it. The arguement in this thread was Greg said he didn't buy the arguements about it being cheaper or faster or healtier. Everyone here agrees it isn't healthy, but that doesn't detract from the fact that you can certainly eat fast food and it's cheaper and faster under many circumstances.

So the costs of energy, etc, is relevant to the overall discussion, which wasn't just one of it being a health issue.

What if I want a hamburger? Is it feasible to make my own for lunch? What are the costs of a DIY burger vs one I buy?

I'm glad you asked, as I do often eat hamburger at home. I personally buy the cheapest I can find, which ends up being prefrozen patties of about 10 or 12 in a pack, for about $9. That's usually cheaper than buying fresh ground chuck or whatever is cheapest at the meat sections.

Then I have to have bread, I vary on this, sometimes I just get wheat at about $1.28 a loaf, sometimes I get everything rolls which are around $3 for 6. Add in Mayo, cheese, and whatever else.

Is that cheaper than the $1 burger just for the actual cost of the product? It probably comes close, I'm not doing the math since ya'll like to do that ;). And my burger is better. But it also means I have to cook the meat, put it together, have something to store it in, etc., so that it isn't convienient nearly as much at that point.

Not saying I won't or don't do that, as I said, I often bring my lunch from home, but if you have a 30 minute lunch break like I used to, and have to be at work early, and have a family to take care of, that $1-$3 meal from fast food is probably going to win out. Especially if you're like Vater and don't like to cook.

Last edited by Tekwardo, Wednesday, September 29, 2010 12:42 PM

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010 12:38 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Jeff said:
The end game is simple though, that you either choose to do things in a healthy way or you don't.

So it's that black and white?

I think most people fall in the middle ground somewhere.

Eating McDonald's to some degree doesn't automatically make you unhealthy and eating a steady diet of fruits and vegetables doesn't automatically make you healthy.

And I'm with Brandon, I'll take some donut and potato chips in exchange for a few years at the end.

It's not about the length of the time, it's about the quality and enjoyment of that time. I'll take the 65 years sprinkled with goodies over the 75 without. :)


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Wednesday, September 29, 2010 12:43 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

Jeff said:
The end game is simple though, that you either choose to do things in a healthy way or you don't.

You don't ever choose to do things that you know you shouldn't and you know you'll pay for in the long term?


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010 12:43 PM
Tekwardo's avatar

^ That is if you don't get killed in an accident before you reach 65 ;).

Last edited by Tekwardo, Wednesday, September 29, 2010 12:44 PM

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010 12:47 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Exactly.

Plus, I like to believe there's a mental, psychological, internal benefit to not worrying about it and plopping my ass on the couch and eating a bag of chips that buys me back a little time in that aspect as opposed to sitting down and munching a pile of lettuce with no release...because, well, muching a pile of lettuce isn't very fun. :)

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Wednesday, September 29, 2010 12:57 PM
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Wednesday, September 29, 2010 12:50 PM

Lord Gonchar said:
What if I want a hamburger? Is it feasible to make my own for lunch? What are the costs of a DIY burger vs one I buy?

That's difficult to calculate, but I would guess if you include the "standard" accouterments - cheese, lettuce, onion, pickle, mayo, ketchup - in addition to the bun, and include the energy cost (both for cooking and storing - remember, every second your cheese, etc. is on the counter costs you money), it would be difficult to make a burger at home for the same cost as a, say, single with cheese at Wendy's, which is, I think, around $4.


Brandon | Facebook

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010 1:23 PM
birdhombre's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:
I still say a big problem in this is comparing homemade cold sandwiches to hamburgers.

I'm probably about to make a poor argument, but... I can have a lunch for $5, or one for $1.41. Either way, I ate lunch and I'm no longer hungry. But yeah, my math was based on my daily routine. If I'm craving Long John Silver's or Burger King, sure I'll make an exception and go buy it. I was more comparing meals as opposed to comparing similar foods, I guess.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010 2:37 PM
Jeff's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:
So it's that black and white?

Perhaps I should have qualified the statement... in any individual scenario, yes, it's black and white. If I choose to have tater tots at lunch today, I've chosen poorly. Obviously I have to live with the consequences of that. And yes, on the surface of that one instance, the consequences are not that big of a deal.

But there is certainly an aggregate effect as well, and positive outcome requires lifestyle change, not just replacing a burger with a salad now and then. I can tell you from experience, and I'm sure that any dietitian would back me up on this (including my former wife), that you can't half-ass lifestyle change. I mean that in a general sense. I'm sure some people can get away with it, just as some people can eat endless junk food stay thin. But generally, going half the distance in terms of lifestyle change gets you nowhere, and I suspect that's why it's so damn hard to get to a healthy weight.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010 3:04 PM
Tekwardo's avatar

But how does choosing to eat tater tots mean you've chose poorly? That can't be so black and white. That's like saying every time I eat junk food, even though I may have the best health possible, is a poor choice, but any Dr. will tell you that you need to be happy, and occasionally having tater tots or anything in moderation makes me happy, and thus doesn't equate to a poor choice every time.

If I live off of them, then that's going into different territory.


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Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010 3:57 PM
Jeff's avatar

If something is high in calories and high in fat, it's a poor choice. It's not like tots are better for you some days and not other days. If I have them, I've set myself back by that many calories for the day or week, which is counterproductive if I'm trying to lose weight.

There are two modes here, and maybe that's the disconnect. Weight loss doesn't work when you make exceptions. Some systems, like Weight Watchers, account for this by dictating that you simply get to eat less of other things, but even then the theory with that is that it teaches you to make better choices, the obvious choice being to not have those things in the first place. I suppose there's also a case to make that eating fatty fried stuff appeals to your addictive characteristics (particularly if you have an eating disorder), but I don't know enough about that to have an opinion.

The other mode is weight sustaining, and sure, the tots aren't going to kill you in moderation. Unless in moderation means tots, heaps of ice cream, quarter-pounders and a wide selection of naughtiness "in moderation" without anything that's good for you.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010 3:58 PM

If I choose to have tater tots at lunch today, I've chosen poorly.

Not necessarily. Alexia makes a "nugget" with 150 cals/serving, 60 from fat. Pretty close to that 3:1 ratio that all the health magazines make a big deal of (and, it's from relatively heart-healthy fats).

http://www.alexiafoods.com/alexia-products/alexia-potato-nuggets.jsp

Compare that to Ore-Ida's Tots, which comes in at 170/70 per 3oz, and a much higher fraction of saturated fat. Not *terrible*, but not great. Three ounces of McDonalds Fries, meanwhile, clocks in at a hefty 264/123---and the standard size is "Medium", which is over 4oz, not 3.

We really like Alexia's Yukon Gold oven fries; they are even better than the nuggets. 130/30 per 3oz serving, but somehow seems more filling; probably because the fries take up more room on the plate than the tots do. Sprinkle some Old Bay on those puppies, and you've got some good eatin' that is relatively healthy (ignoring the added sodium from the Old Bay).

The trick, even with these relatively healthy "fries", is taking one 3oz serving, not two or three.

Last edited by Brian Noble, Wednesday, September 29, 2010 4:01 PM
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Wednesday, September 29, 2010 3:59 PM
Carrie M.'s avatar

Suggesting that making baby steps to lifestyle change gets you nowhere is just silly. Of course every little bit matters. Doing something is better than doing nothing.


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010 4:00 PM
Jeff's avatar

I'm with you there. Alexia makes good stuff. Baking fries is also a much better plan. Heck, store brand fries are among the lowest in calories and fat (at the stores we have here, anyway), and cheapest. And if you can stay in line with the suggested serving sizes, even better.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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