Tag Archives: McDonalds

169. Supersize

What is the point? No, really. What is the point of ever doing anything even remotely exciting or pleasurable? Why waste your time doing what you want to make yourself happy? The end result is always going to be the same; eternal darkness. Hmmm… perhaps one of the darker introductions to UAE Uncut, totally devoid of levity, but an accurate appraisal of how I felt when I was spooling through the papers this week.

Sad news for those with a desire to develop diabetes and for those who aspire to be obese: the Supersize drinking vessel is now banned. Gone the way of the unlicensed firearm, phone hacking, and the right to ride a horse, nude, through downtown Dubai. It is now illegal, and no more will the charming lady behind the counter at Hardees be allowed to ask you to “up-size”.

However, this being UAE Uncut, we have been ceaselessly picking our brains to try and work out how you might get around such legislation. And after a great deal of thought and practical experiments we think we may have found a loophole. If you wake up in the morning with an insatiable craving for a Supersize Diet Pepsi, because you’re watching your weight, but the catering personnel are bound by law not to provide you with your desired size, buy two large size drinks instead.

There, problem solved.

I spent 11 years of my life growing up in Blair’s Miserable Britain, 13 if you include that charlatan Brown too. One of New Labour’s party pieces was the incessant banning of everything; fox hunting, smoking, community sports centre lights being on past 10pm, smacking your children’s bottoms, hoodies, the banning of gold from British soil, truthful dossiers, putting food stuff in the paper bin, the right for a weapons inspector to carry on with his life and not be killed… the list is endless. For all the hundred reasons why not, it was always the one or two reasons why.

So, in essence, the news of the banning of Supersize should have been water off a duck’s back to me, but it grated, because it is such a tedious effort to curb the diabetes issues. Why stop at only the Supersize cup? If you can still legally buy two large size drinks then why not simply throw the machine away and sell only water? Better yet, to really make a dent in the public’s sugar levels why not simply replace all the Big Mac’s and Mega Buckets with celery and cabbage?

While we’re at it, why not deal with the fattiest food of them all; hotel food. It doesn’t matter if you go for a bowl of gruel at an underwhelming 2-Star hotel, or if you spend AED 45,000 on dinner at Chamas or some stupid pretentious restaurant in Dubai, hotel food expands your waistline as quickly as injecting your bottom full of lard. Anyone who thinks hotel food is good for you is deluded.

Mr. McDonald, it is the decree of this court that you be taken from this place and hanged for crime of class-A sugar abuse.

Mr. McDonald, it is the decree of this court that you be taken from this place and hanged for the crime of class-A sugar abuse.

I too am victim of weight gain. My favourite food in the whole wide world is a nice spicy curry. But it is loaded with so much ghee that there is every chance that each breath could very well be my last.

I have witnessed parents over here feed their offspring with so much sugar that it is a miracle that they don’t just spontaneously combust. Everything is dealt with in sweets. You barter for peace with sweets, you barter for order with sweets, you barter for bed time with sweets, and you barter for sweets with sweets. A UAE Uncut made-up study suggests that in the average class of 30 children there is a total of only 16 teeth.

Sadly, none of what I have said can come true. You can’t walk around the city banning McHardees and Kentucky Fried Gristle. First, business is business, and the point of a business is to make money, no other. Take the fast food establishments away and the treasury will be left with some very empty coffers. Secondly, if people want to inject their veins with lard and feast on an indeterminate puck of gristle sandwiched between two prosthetic pieces of so-called bread, then that is their God-given right, and who are we to stop them? If a parent wants to replace his or her child’s blood with sugar then go ahead, I’m sure they will thank you for it when they attempt to squeeze their 78 inch waist into a plane’s seat while hobbling with only one foot. Thirdly, you can’t stop globalisation. If you try and oppress people’s freedom then you end up with communism.

This is not the UAE’s fault. They are just another country to join a long list of those wishing to improve their nations’ health. But the ban culture is not the way to go. It starts with education in the classroom, and no cutesy crap either, and certainly no tip-toeing around the issue at hand. They need graphic imagery of someone having their foot amputated or a diseased kidney being fed to a dog to give them nightmares. Blood, gore, and the violent truth are the best medicines. Watch how much sugar they eat then. It’s not propaganda if it’s true.

So in summary, the banning of the Supersize cup is totally and utterly pointless. Solutions? None. But do what you want, trek to a pole, do a sky-dive, and live life to the fullest. The end result will be the same as someone who has spent their life gorging on deep fried chicken, but at least you’ll go through the pearly gates with a smile, and both feet.

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138. Profanity

The human body is fundamentally flawed, and if put into the arena with a cheeseburger would likely lose, badly. Take food as a case in point. In the olden days when everything was black and white, people ate food as they do today. But they didn’t have to worry about E numbers, obesity or anything like that. They would eat whatever they wanted and then eventually die of dysentery. They would be none the wiser until they were given eight minutes to live. Today we are constantly warned, mainly by The Daily Mail, that everything we ingest will kill us and that there is nothing we can do. From toothpaste to home-grown cabbage, the poison of nature will make our hearts fall out and our bottoms fall off. There is no hope.

We enjoy a good beer, a burger, a doner kebab and some chicken nuggets, but all they are is a one way ticket to the bone-yard. Why are all the good things so bad for us? Even the stuff that is apparently good for you is bad for you. Apples rot your teeth, bananas make you explosive and a prime fillet steak upsets the cow community. But put our daily intakes aside for just one minute, what about the stuff that comes out? No, I’m not being lavatorial, I’m talking about profanity.

The human body is very susceptible to reflex actions. When the doctor taps your knee with a hammer, it twitches. If you decide to dip your finger into a pot of boiling hot tea then the common reflex is to remove it post haste and yell profanities until the pain goes away. Even the Pope, especially since he has tendered his resignation, would forgive you if you hit your thumb with a hammer and shouted “f*** it.” And that’s just it; to swear is to be human. Anyone who says that they don’t use curse words on reflex is either a liar or a giraffe.

I am notorious for such things. With me it’s effing this and effing that constantly. Whether its traffic lights being difficult by insisting on remaining red or someone whose face I don’t particularly like, they will be on the receiving end of some f-word fun. It’s nothing personal; it’s just what I am accustomed to. I can’t even describe something as innocently cute as a bunny rabbit without adding an f-inspired prefix.

Of course being from the barely-United Kingdom I am used to such language. It is just something that is done. From Johnny Builders-bum to the Archbishop of Canterbury it is as risqué as it is accepted. But, as was established many moons ago, things in the UAE are quite different.

Swearing, it would seem, is unacceptable. To the do-gooders and Liberal Democrats this may be the sweet sound of music that they have been campaigning for; a land where swearing is not just socially inappropriate, but is also an offence punishable by prison. Of all the crimes; theft, blackmail, kidnapping, murder, how narked would you be if you were sent to jail for saying the f-word? You’d be notably f****d off.

No really, you can get your collar felt for overly-liberal prose. The other day I witnessed a person using the most colourful array of adjectives, nouns and metaphors that you have ever heard. It was fascinating to behold. Clearly unaware of their surroundings, the person sounded off as if they were in soft-touch Britain with an expression that implied that they “didn’t see the f*****g problem.” And why should they of? After all words are words, who decides their meaning?

Sadly, there are some words that are considered taboo and you have to be careful. If you utter the wrong word to the wrong person then they are within their legal right to make a complaint to the police. The police, hot off the roundabout, will put on a bit of blues and twos and lock down the immediate environment. Johnny Wordsmith will ask “what the f*** is happening” as he spends a night in the cells, bemused as to his crime.

You may very well be lucky and indulge in a spot of profanity with someone who doesn’t care too much. But don’t be fooled because that is where the problem lies. If you get too trigger happy with Mr. F then you become more and more accustomed to it. All may be well for a while but one day you will accidentally cross paths with a Sheikh, and when you indecorously tell him to “do one”, your time in the UAE will be over quicker than you can say “err no, wait.”

It is all too easy to forget that we are guests over here in the UAE, not hosts. If swearing can get you put inside for one month then you have no one to blame but yourself if you get caught. It may be a bitter pill to swallow but in the grand scheme of things the law won’t make any exceptions for you. Sometimes I wish that the UK would follow the no-nonsense UAE example.

Of course it’s not really your fault for blurting out the f-word or other such choice phrases, as I said; the human body is fundamentally flawed. Science has proven that human evolution has dictated that our reflexes occur quicker than our brains can transmit brain things. If someone cuts you up on the road then they will get a good effing. If someone has run off with your wife, they too will be barraged with a maelstrom of Vitamin F and if someone thinks that they can rival UAE Uncut’s obvious brilliance then they can f*** right off, too.

I love you now but I know you'll be the end of me.

I love you now but I know you’ll be the end of me.

But there is a fundamental problem: swearing is healthy. I know that Polly Toynbee will cover her ears and “la” loudly and repeatedly, but it is true. I was in the most horrific of traffic jams in all of human history this week and the car ahead of me at the traffic lights failed to move off when they turned green. Had I not vented my thoughts the way I did then I would have very likely exploded. When I poke my finger into a live plug socket I need to let off steam via expletive gibberish to make the frizzing go away. If I didn’t I would just be lying there looking bored.

Swearing is good for you in the sense that it serves short term satisfaction, like a Big Mac or a Meatball Marinara on Italian bread. But too much of a good thing can be bad for you. It will catch up with you in the end, and by then there will be little that you can do about it.

Live by the word, die by the word. See you next Tuesday.

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135. Overreaction

Unless you have been living in the news-censored environments of China or Iran, or you have been dwelling in a cave, you may have heard about the meat scandal currently taking the British press by storm. Beneath the banner headlines of copious horse puns, you may have also noticed that MI5 busted three not-so-wise men for their mischievous intentions. It would seem that the three “British” men who were recently sentenced for planning a series of terrorist acts need not have bothered to waste their pointless time on such things. The British public have, unknowingly, been chowing down on Princess Anne’s stable residents, licking their lips and unbuckling their belts as they slowly poison themselves with contaminated lasagnes. Obviously it has caused quite a stir, but beyond a case of false advertising I really do not see what all the fuss is about.

Horse is as common a meat across the world as any other. The reason why we don’t eat it in Britain dates back to the Napoleonic wars of the early 19th century. The French loved a good Grand National winner garnished in a little garlic with a side of potatoes, but the Brits, simply to differentiate themselves from the enemy at the time, vetoed them as a main course. We ate rabbits and wolves instead. Mmmm. Horses were also a valuable commodity and were required for the battlefield as transportation. Sir Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, would have looked a bit daft had he turned up at the battle of Waterloo on the back of a sheep because he had eaten Silver for tea the night before.

Since that time the Brits have not eaten horse meat. Not for health reasons, but purely because it would be like eating a car today. There is nothing wrong with horse meat, nothing at all. Think what the Hindu’s must think of us when they see us scoffing down a beef burger, we’re eating their God! Ultimately, and inevitably, everyone is over-reacting and now we can expect meaningless legislation that dictates that we are not allowed to eat anything that can run five furlongs in under three minutes. It is, then, of over-reactions of which I wish to speak about today.

Nothing confuses the world and muddies public perception quite like an over-reactive knee jerk reaction. This week in the UAE it was reported that an 11 year old British boy was “taken to a police station” after the parents of an Emirati boy filed a complaint against him. At first it was to be assumed that the British boy had been indulging in a spot of bullying or general horse play, but the truth turned out to be far more alarming. The incident in question happened during a PE lesson. During a game of football the British boy went in for a tackle that caused the Emirati boy to tumble to the ground. This is a common occurrence in football as tackling is a fundamental part of the game.

If there was no tackling allowed then they would just be playing cricket instead and would probably end up dying of boredom. But still, the boy was alleged to have been arrested. I went to an all boys school in south west London and, being of a weedy frame, I was floored on more than one occasion. I weighed 55kg and had a 26inch waist, how do you think I faired when we played rugby during PE? I would fly for miles. By the logic adopted in this case, I could have had 20-30 of my classmates arrested for grievous bodily harm. But through it all I got up each time, only to be floored time and time again.

Hey ma! Look what I gone caught for dinner! It wasn't as big as what the other guys got but I sure did try!

Hey ma! Look what I gone caught for dinner! It wasn’t as big as what the other guys got but I sure did try!

Anyway, it was rumoured that the British boy spent a night in the cells, and that his incarceration was covered up. Whatever, this doesn’t detract from the main point: the boys were playing football in a PE lesson, one got hurt. Big deal, this happens in every school all over the world on a daily basis. Do we pick ourselves up and move on? No, what we do instead is come up with a mad set of rules and regulations that govern the activity so that all competitive and risk elements are eliminated. This includes the introduction of a code of conduct that insists on fair play – duh – and parental consent forms that will give parents the right to ban their offspring from taking to the field in the first place. That will help the diabetes levels over here. Super, just what we need to toughen people up.

The UAE cannot be singled out as the only perpetrator; the US, the UK and the rest of Europe are also notorious for such crimes against reality. Mediocrity cannot be considered an acceptable goal. Kids need to learn from a young age that they can be good at a thing that others are not, whether that is sport, music, art, writing or even making fart sounds with their armpits. This improves self esteem and creates determination, something the people of the future are going to need to survive the uncertainty that looms on the horizon. Risk and competitiveness is what makes us human and makes us smart. It teaches us limits, self control, and so many other valuable assets that I cannot be bothered to mention. Stupid, over-reactive measures irritate us, neuter the young and leave no hope for the future.

If you stop the kids being able to take part in sport and learning the limits for themselves then all we will have is a future generation that is overweight, ignorant and who enjoy nothing more than tucking into a big, fat, greasy McBlack Beauty.

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60. Weight

Fatty Arbuckle why?

Beanpole.  Lanky.  Skinny.  Scrawny.  These are just a selection of colloquial monikers that I used to get called between the ages of 0 and 23.  I am 6 foot tall and rather under-muscled.  At 23 my waist measured to a desirable 28 inches.  I could eat an extra large pizza glazed with Big Mac’s and sprinkled with lard and still my slender frame cut through the air like Thrust II.  Ah yes, the thin years.  I look back with fondness in the same way that parents of raucous teenagers look back at pictures of their offspring when they were innocent babies; before the rebellion.

I used to walk, run for the school athletics team, play football with a keen but incompetent flare and I used to race karts with 30kg of lead bolted to them.  My skinny stature was my trademark, that and my Gary Lineker ears and Ronald McDonald feet of course.  Then one day I found myself living in the UAE and all of a sudden bending down to pull on my socks started to become a sweat-breaking chore.  The bulging continued over the course of the next few years and now, as I sit here on a stressed and creaking chair I look back and wonder where it all went wrong.

I am, according to a recent poll, one of the worst cooks in the entire world.  No salad goes un-burnt and no meal is free of cheese.  Cooking is something I have had to learn by myself, in the same way that a monkey learns to write bestseller novels.  The best way to get around the whole cooking business is to order out.  The high street names are frequently called upon to provide me with fatty sustenance.  If I don’t fancy high street gluttony I will opt for the expensive, ghee drenched hotel food instead.  I think it is fair to assume then that my diet over the last 4 or so years has been abysmal.  How I have not succumbed to scurvy thus far remains a mystery.

Another cause of this equatorial waist line can be pinned on the absence of exercise.  Back in the glorious towns of Kinston-upon-Thames and Surbiton I would walk to, from, and between pubs.  It was fabulous.  I would leave the house, walk for 9 minutes to the Victoria for a pint, then on to the Coronation Hall for another few.  After that my friends and I would walk towards Kingston via the Grove Tavern, and then on to the Slug and Lettuce before going to the Bishop out of Residence and then onto the now fallen giant; Oceana, and then walk home again.  That was a total of about 8 miles, 12 if you include all the zig-zagging across the pavement and 56 if you were running from a knife wielding drug addict.

Here the concept of walking between bars is absurd.  First of all it’s too hot.  It serves no purpose going into a bar reeking of foul body odour and drenched in sweat.  The bars are also too far apart.  Thirdly if you are caught lurching drunkenly down the street then you’ll be locked up in the cells quicker than an Iranian scotch merchant.  Lastly, taxis are jolly cheap and are usually in vast abundance, so it makes sense to use the service.

Since the turn of the year as I have continued my struggle to find my toes, I have started to make some changes.  I no longer take comfort from the much discussed “Dubai stone”, which is about 6 kg and apparently happens to everyone over here.  I have caught Dubai stone 4 times so I have now said enough is enough.

The first change is the diet.  By the grace of God my girlfriend is a tremendous cook and is very savvy on what can make you look like Mark Wahlberg, and what can make you look like Fatty Arbuckle.  So the white bread is in the bin, the brown bread is served in elegant portions.  Eggs are now poached and not fried.  The cheese has been replaced with lettuce and the Big Mac replaced by Shepherds pie.  Just having eaten well for 2 weeks the difference is amazing.  I have been able to spot my toes, which I previously believed to be as well hidden a myth as Higgs Boson…

I have also, and queue the canned laughter, finally paid to join a gym.  What’s more interesting is that I am actually going there regularly.  What’s even more interesting is that I am still alive.  The blubber in my cheeks is disappearing, my toes and feet have now been rediscovered and I feel the best I have felt in years.  It’s only been a month but already the results are plain to see.  I work hours that don’t really give me the opportunity to get into a set routine and I am always rushing around all over the place.  In the past this would have been a perfect excuse to “miss one day” and eat a pizza instead.  But no, through the packed schedule I find myself making time.

It was reported this week that the UAE has the 5th highest level of obesity in the entire world.  And this is something I spotted a while ago.  But how can that be so?  People over here, well, the offenders, have so much free time on their hands.  At what cost is 1 hour in the gym 5 days a week?

…More expensive than a Big Mac ok, but if you insist on going to McDonalds at least order a Diet Coke instead…

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