Monday, June 28, 2010


When we forgive evil we do not excuse it, we do not tolerate it, we do not smother it. We look the evil full in the face, call it what it is, let its horror shock and stun and enrage us, and only then do we forgive it.

Nick Sowell

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Heard From Oak Cliff

Last night I attended a hearing in Oak Cliff on the Dallas Housing Authority’s proposal to house one hundred formerly homeless people at its Cliff Manor property. I haven’t seen such a frightening crowd since 1972. Here are some comments to the Dallas Morning News’ story on the hearing to give you a little flavor of the discussion—and my take on some of the opinions expressed.

Sharon Boyd

7:27 AM on June 22, 2010

A community's first priority is to the people who are law-abiding and pay their taxes. The druggers/alcoholics stepped outside the lines, but want everyone to pay their way back into society. I sympathize with the mentals, but they should be in institutions where they can be safe, fed and treated. They can never live completely on their own because they are not equipped for life's anxieties.

All the do gooder programs have caused incredible damage to Lake Highlands, Vickery Meadow and Oak Cliff. The Cedars is just now crawling out of the pit that decades of dumping on them created. The Sec 8 apts in NW Dallas are a disaster for my area.

Senior housing is one thing -- but the DHA always screws up and winds up ruining entire communities to help a handful of losers.

Fight on, Oak Cliff. This is Councilman Neumann's finest hour. He has never been more right on any issue

1 reply

The funny thing is, I live in Lake Highlands and I think it is pretty nice. JG.


11:13 AM on June 22, 2010

"I sympathize with the mentals..."

The "mentals"? I guess this is your new shorthand for the homeless? Like Mexicans are now called "illegals", you folks are Apathetic Pigeonholers, or "A-holers" for short.

This brings to light one of the overriding themes of last night. The homeless aren’t really people.


7:46 AM on June 22, 2010

Sharon Boyd, where are the impoverished and people without homes suppose to live? Do we just leave them all on the streets?

I can't wait to hear your answer.

3 replies

This is the question that I’d like some of the people who oppose permanent supportive housing to answer some day. Do they think we are better off with people sleeping in the streets? JG.


8:36 AM on June 22, 2010

Anyone who doesn't have a job would be "impoverished" and "without homes." Me, you, everyone. Gosh...let's see....let me about getting a job

No doubt a Bruce Hornsby fan. “Get a job!” JG.


9:08 AM on June 22, 2010

They should live with you

A helpful anwer—not. The person below actually has housed homeless people in his home. I’m moving into citywalk@akard where we are housing homeless people, but not everyone can do that sort of thing.

Karl Dennahan Tx

10:00 AM on June 22, 2010

bumrapper: TOUCHE!

John P. Greenan

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Summer fun starts for CityWalk kids


The Rainbow Days Kids' University camp started yesterday and several of our kids at CityWalk were able to attend. The camp will be held at the University of Texas at Dallas through this Thursday and our kids and their parents are super-excited about it.

The purpose of Kids’ University is "to promote literacy, higher education, develop social competency and build self-esteem." Some of the activities include courses in science and computers, as well as cooking, painting, arts and crafts and more. There will also be a graduation ceremony on the last day of camp where kids will walk across a stage and receive diplomas.

We're so happy that our kids at CityWalk are getting this opportunity to go to a free camp, where meals are provided at no cost to the parents.

Thanks so much to Rainbow Days and for all this organization is doing in the community.

Getting ready to go to camp

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Nick Sowell

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I would rather walk with God in the dark than go alone in the light.

When life knocks you on your knees, your in the perfect position to pray

Nick Sowell

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Funny Stuff

Cross country skiing is great if you live in a small country.

Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.

Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday.

Nick Sowell

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Death for Watching Soccer

Death for Watching Soccer

The following article caught my attention. Among other things, it shows just how differently some people see the world than I do:

World Cup 2010: Somali football fans executed for watching matches

Two Somali football fans have been killed by Islamic militants after being caught watching World Cup matches.

By Aislinn Laing, Southern Africa correspondent
Published: 5:59PM BST 14 Jun 2010

A Somali football fan adjusts the Television set for the group D game between Ghana and Serbia Photo: EPA

The deaths happened on Saturday near the capital Mogadishu when members of the Hizbul Islam group stormed a house where people were watching Nigeria play Argentina.

A further 10 people were arrested by the group, which has imposed a strict version of Islam in the areas they control in southern and central Somalia.

The following night, another 30 people including a 15-year-old boy were arrested as the watched the Germany-Australia game in two private homes in the town of Afgoye.

A spokesman for the group, Sheikh Mohamed Abdi Aros, said the rest of Somalia should respect their ban on the World Cup – the first to be hosted in Africa – and focus instead on "pursuing holy jihad".

"We are warning all the youth of Somalia not to dare watch these World Cup matches. It is a waste of money and time and they will not benefit anything or get any experience by watching mad men jumping up and down," he said.

The ban, which has seen radio stations around the city taken off air for playing music, has resulted in people flocking to public cinemas in the few Government-controlled areas of the country.

Ahmed Santos used to live in an area of Somalia run by militants, but now is in a government-controlled area.

"I can now freely watch the matches," he said. "I am so sorry that some of my friends who are now living where I was once don't have that chance to watch the World Cup. I really feel sorry for them."

Others are risking the wrath of the militants, such is their love of the beautiful game.

One man, who lives in the militant-controlled livestock market area of the city said he watched Algeria-Slovenia at home with his family.

"I have one eye on the TV and the other on the door, and the sound turned down," he said.

I know I shouldn’t joke about such tragedies. It is an unspeakable horror to put people to death for such an innocent action, but there is something quite surreal about all this. I just, very literally, cannot believe that this is happening in the same world in which I live.

John Greenan

Monday, June 14, 2010

Dallas's 500 Most Powerful People

Dallas’s 500 Most Powerful People

Do you like lists? Here’s one of Dallas’s 500 most powerful people: The highest names on the list I’ve met are numbers 14 and 15. I’ve met seven out of the top 100, and know two of that seven well enough so that they know my name and would probably take my calls—on a good day.

After that, I go rapidly downhill. I’ve only met 16 of the remaining 400 people, and I know only two more of those that I have met well enough to even call them acquaintances.

It isn’t too clear who prepared the list, and it has some errors—like at least dead person. There are also some puzzling omissions. Where is T.D. Jakes? So if you didn’t make it, then I think you’ve still got room to argue.

I have to admit I’m fascinated by lists. The top ten this or the fifty best that always get my attention, no matter whether I know anything about the topic or not. There is something about a list that seems to restore order to the world. I’d be happy enough as Dallas’s 3 millionth most powerful person, just to know my place in the world.

I also find it interesting that I’m almost twice as likely to have met someone in the top 100 as in the next 400. Perhaps the reason those first 100 people are so powerful is because they know everybody? Even me.

John Greenan


Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men.

Nick Sowell

Democracy or Disease?

Democracy or Disease?

This is the title of an essay by Aaron Renn, the author of the Urbanophile blog (, although this essay appears instead on New Geography and you can find it here:

The essay is about how California-style government through referendum and initiative has spread to other states, especially in the Midwest. Mr. Renn sees this as a problem. For example, in California the combination of tax cuts and required spending passed by the voters has made it almost impossible for the state to pass a workable budget. One of the most amazing misuses of this system took place in Ohio:

The last and most incredible example is Ohio, where a group of developers wanted to open casinos. Led by Rock Ventures, the investment vehicle of Quicken Loans owner Dan Gilbert of Detroit, the group spent $47 million to draft, put on the ballot, and pass a constitutional amendment permitting casino gambling in Ohio. But this initiative did much, much more than that. It only permitted casinos on four specific properties — properties controlled by the referendum backers — and thus granted them exclusive rights to open casinos. It exempted their casinos from zoning or most other types of local control, authorized them to operate 24 hours a day, and specified a very low license fee of only $50 million per casino to the state. It also permitted them not only to run any game currently allowed by any surrounding state, but also any game those states might approve in the future. It's undoubtedly one of the most incredible constitutional amendments in the history of the United States.

This strikes me as a terrible idea for the State of Ohio (but a very good one for the people who sponsored the referendum). I’m sure of us all feel that voters should have the final say in how we are governed, but there seems to be a problem with a too convenient system of initiative and referendum.

I know we should all be educated on everything we vote on, but I can’t quit my job to study the candidates and issues full time. I normally know what’s going on in the big races (President, Governor, Senator, Mayor and congressional candidates), but it’s hard to keep up with all the amendments to the Texas constitution, the races for judge (here in Texas we vote on all judges—sometimes as many as thirty races in Dallas County), all the local contests (County Clerk, Constable, City Auditor, etc.). Then we have multiple elections, Federal, State, City and School Board. That’s made more complicated by the fact that while I live in the City of Dallas, I also reside in the Richardson School District—and my kids (who went to private schools anyway) are long since grown. When am I going to find time to keep up with Richardson Schools?

By the way, there is also a Dallas County School Board, which is entirely separate from the Dallas Independent School District School Board. I lived here for a decade before I finally figured out that the job of the Dallas County School Board was mostly to run the school buses.

I read the local newspaper every day; follow the national news; check out a half dozen blogs and most of the local commentary on the web. It’s not that I’m not trying, but there are too many issues and too many candidates for me to follow them all.

In short, I agree with the Urbanophile that we’ve got to find a way to restrict initiative and referendum (and probably all votes) to the kinds of things that are important enough for most of the voters to spend their time learning about. At the same time, I think the voters ought to have the right to step in directly to set things right when necessary. I wish we had initiative and referendum in Texas.

There has to be some middle ground between no right for voters to directly speak on important issues and the opportunity for every rich person with a cause or a scheme to make voters decide whether it’s a good idea.

Maybe initiatives and referenda ought to be limited—perhaps to the three or five issues that have the highest number of signatures on their petition. Maybe there is a better idea out there. I do know that while I want my vote to count, I don’t want to vote on what I don’t understand.

John Greenan

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Donations are always appreciated at CityWalk


I received an unexpected call this week from Ann Yindrick who works in Lincoln Plaza, which is located across the street from CityWalk at Akard. Ann and her office team compiled a heap of toiletry donations to be given to our residents. I dashed over to her office the next morning with our resident assistant Marcus Harris and a dolly to find loads of soap, shampoo, shower gel and other items.

These essentials will be put into our welcome bags that we give to new residents when they move in. A “welcome bag” also includes paper goods, a CityWalk t-shirt, coffee, a can opener and a list of things to do in Dallas.

You, too, can donate goods or even sponsor one or more of our activities at CityWalk by providing refreshments, lunch or dinner for our residents. Contact me at 214.573.2570 ext. 2133 with donations or for more information on how you can help.

To Ann Yindrick and her team – thanks so much!

Ann Yindrick

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Oak Cliff

North Oak Cliff: “We’ll Take a Few Homeless People if Preston Hollow Does.”

Part II

Here is the link to the Google Map I put together:

I hope it works because this is the first time I’ve tried to make a Google Map.

Well, it sort of works. If you open the hyperlink, then click on My Maps, and then click on Dallas PSH, then you will get a map of the dozen existing or proposed projects that I am aware of. Out of the twelve projects, four are operating (blue placemarkers), five projects are still under some stage of development (red placemarkers) and three have been abandoned (yellow markers). I have been extremely generous in counting projects as still under development—if they haven’t been completely and irrevocably abandoned, then I’ve counted them.

I haven’t tried to locate projects smaller than 40 units on the map, even when I happen to know about them.

The locations are really pretty well spread around Dallas. One in Vickery Meadows, one in Lake Highlands, two in Oak Cliff, one in Expo Park, two downtown, one in East Dallas, one in the Cedars, one in the design district, and two in South Dallas. With the exception of three outliers, which we will discuss in a moment, every project is in or near to downtown.

That makes sense because permanent supportive housing usually works best in dense inner city areas. Most people coming out of homelessness have limited means and no automobile. People need to be in walkable areas if possible and conveniently located for mass transit. That usually means in or near downtown.

The three exceptions are all developments where a property was available at little or no cost. Two are properties already owned by the Dallas Housing Authority and the third is the Jules Muchert Army Reserve Base, which was supposed to be used for a homeless project under federal law (a long story, but it wasn’t).

But, sorry North Oak Cliff, nobody has proposed a project for Preston Hollow. The minute somebody donates five acres of land there to me, I’ll start work on it though.

John Greenan

North Oak Cliff

North Oak Cliff: “We’ll Take a Few Homeless People if Preston Hollow Does.”

Part I

Once again another proposal to create permanent, supportive housing has run into a buzz saw of opposition from the local neighbors. Check out the comments to Roy Appleton’s blog for the Dallas Morning News here: The proposed location for permanent supportive housing this time is Cliff Manor, a property owned by the Dallas Housing Authority.

(appearing here in a photo taken for Channel 11)

Along with all the usual arguments (it’ll hurt land values; what about crime?; the children!; we’ve already done our share; etc.), a new favorite argument seems to be appearing: ”We’ll allow permanent supportive housing, but only if everyone else does as well.” It seems that no matter where someone proposes to locate a permanent supportive housing project that the neighborhood feels they are getting more than their share of projects.

I became curious whether that might not be true, there are several groups working on permanent supportive housing projects and we don’t really coordinate. Everybody develops their project independently for the most part. So I began putting together a Google Map of all the existing, proposed and abandoned permanent supportive housing projects that I knew about.

I hope to have it ready for tomorrow’s blog, and if it looks useful to other people, then perhaps it could be maintained as a tool for all of us to use.

John Greenan

A Proposed New Holiday

A Proposed New Holiday

On March 28, 2010, Dan L. Duncan died at age 77. Mr. Duncan did many admirable things in his life. He was a self-made billionaire, raised a family, gave $100 million to Baylor to fund a cancer center in Houston and seems to have been well regarded in Houston where he lived and died.

So it is rather unfortunate that Mr. Duncan will probably be best remembered for an entirely accidental event—he was the first (and so far only) American Billionaire to die without incurring one single cent in estate taxes. We aren’t talking about someone who just scraped into the billionaire category. Mr. Duncan’s wealth was estimated at $9 billion by Forbes Magazine, making him the 74th wealthiest person in the world and the wealthiest in Houston.

That $9 billion dollars will pass intact to his heirs—four children and four grand children. This is a first in American history. When America’s first billionaire, John D. Rockefeller, died in the 1930s, his estate was taxed at a 70% rate. Since then the estate tax has gone up and down, different thresholds to be subject to the tax have existed, but no billionaire has ever escaped it entirely, and unless another billionaire dies this year, no other billionaire may ever again escape the estate tax.

This rare occasion was caused by the Bush Administration’s gradual repeal of the estate tax. Philosophically opposed to what was characterized as the “death tax”, the estate tax was repealed in full in 2010 after a series of gradual deductions, but in one of those amazing Washington budget deals, the entire Bush tax cuts expire at the end of this year. If Mr. Duncan has survived into 2011, then his estate would have been taxed at 55%, or $4.95 billion.

For the heirs of billionaires, this is a very good year to inherit. While there is no indication whatsoever that Mr. Duncan’s death was due to anything but natural causes, if I were a very rich person, especially one who didn’t get along very well with my relatives, then I would be careful as the end of the year approaches. There is an incredible financial incentive to die this year.

Finally, I think would only be appropriate to celebrate this unique event by some sort of holiday. Maybe Congress could make March 28 “No Death Tax Day” giving anybody who dies on that one day an exemption from Estate Taxes.

John Greenan

Words of Wisdom

All who call on God in true faith; earnestly from the heart, will certainly be heard, and will receive what they have asked and desired.

Nick Sowell

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Living Below Your Means

Living Below Your Means
I read an article today entitled 5 billionaires who live below their means. The five wealthy people who were briefly profiled (see included some of the people you might expect like Warren Buffet, along with some people that you probably haven’t heard of like Carlos Slim Helu who is the richest person in Mexico and possibly the richest person in the world.
The group shared some commonalities. They seem to have made their own money, rather than have inherited it. Many of them are old enough to remember tough economic times. Most strikingly to me, however, the common characteristic seemed to be that they lived modestly not because they were depriving themselves, but because they had all they wanted.
This attitude was exemplified by Warren Buffet:
“When asked why he doesn't own a yacht, he responded, "Most toys are just a pain in the neck."

These are serious people and their pursuits are serious (unlike the celebrities we see on television and the tabloids). Now that he’s reached his 80s, how is T. Boone Pickens having fun? He is trying to solve the energy crisis.

That’s an attitude I appreciate. The most satisfaction in life (outside of your family) is going to come from what you can achieve. Andrew Carnegie started as a factory worker, built U.S. Steel—and did own a yacht—but he spent much more money building over 2,500 libraries. You can’t do that if you are spending all your money on private jets and vacation.

Now I doubt any of you that are reading this are billionaires (and if you are, please send me a check!), but I think we can all learn a lesson and we should all think about the opportunities that living below our means could afford us. It would mean we could afford to help a relative who needed it; afford to take a lower paying but more satisfying job; afford to start a new business; take time off to travel, educate ourselves or volunteer.

If you spend all you can, buy all you can and borrow all that you can—like too many of us do—then you remove yourself from a world of possibilities. In many ways that means that no matter how much you have, you are poor.

John Greenan

Thoughts For The Day

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.
C.S. Lewis

To be satisfied with little, is the greatest wisdom; and he that increaseth his riches, inreaseth his cares; but a contended mind is a hidden treasure, and trouble findeth it not.

Nick Sowell

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Weekend

I was shocked with hot hot it was this past weekend! We just jumped right into summer with temps around 103% this past weekend, which is why I made this last weekend an in-door movie watching weekend. Was able to catch up on a lot of good movies, if you would like to know, the new "Robin Hood" and "Iron Man 2" movies are great action-packed films that really got my heart pumping. Also, I've been put in charge of posting all new blogs while Naquanna is out of the office for the week, a new and interesting job I have had to learn quickly as computers are not my friend.

Nick Sowell

Bill Maher on Global Warming

Bill Maher on Global Warming

I’m usually pretty “meh” on Bill Maher. There is something about his “I’m smarter than you” style of satire that puts me off. But his recent essay on Global Warming hits one of my buttons:

That's the problem with our obsession with always seeing two sides of every issue equally -- especially when one side has a lot of money. It means we have to pretend there are always two truths, and the side that doesn't know anything has something to say. On this side of the debate: Every scientist in the world. On the other: Mr. Potato Head.

You can read the rest of the essay here:

I think one of the reasons that progress comes so slowly is that we (and by “we” I mean all of us in the human race) can’t seem to give up on old arguments. As Maher puts it, “For progress to happen, certain things have to become not an issue anymore, so we can go on to the next issue.”

It isn’t that we don’t progress at all. The Flat Earth Society still exists (, but I don’t think they’re serious. In 1992, the Catholic Church finally apologized to Galileo for his conviction in 1633 of heresy for holding that the Earth orbited the Sun, rather than the converse. Interestingly enough, the work that got Galileo into trouble, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, was actually approved for publication by the Inquisition. The book was supposed to present a balanced view of the arguments favoring a heliocentric and geocentric universe. Galileo got in trouble because his arguments for a heliocentric universe were so much stronger. See,

So the problem began almost at the very beginnings of modern science. The whole basis of science is that all theories are not equally valid and, in fact, while always keeping in mind the possibility that new facts might alter our view, once a theory becomes generally accepted by the scientific community, then it is a fact on which we can base our life.

We can reach India either by traveling east or by traveling west because the Earth is round, not flat. We can send astronauts into orbit because the Earth orbits the Sun, not vice versa. These are facts, not debating points.

It’s important to remember that what is true isn’t determined by who can best argue the point. If you don’t believe me, get into an argument with one of the professional debaters at the Flat Earth Society. You’ll likely come away either believing the Earth is flat or with a new appreciation of the difference between facts and arguments.


Can you remember the last time you saw a praying mantis? Yesterday afternoon I was watching my kids play in the backyard when I discovered a baby praying mantis – such a fascinating creature! I snapped a couple of great shots of the kids observing this tiny, green, baby that seemed to love hanging out with us and running up and down are hands and arms. Below is a little information about the insect (

What Is a Praying Mantis?

A praying mantis is a carnivorous insect. The mantis family includes about 2,000 different species, which range in size from about a centimeter to about 12 inches long. It's these bigger ones that most people think of when they think of praying mantises.

About 20 mantis species are native to the United States, but the European and Chinese versions of the insects have also been introduced in the states, mostly in an effort to control pests on farmlands.

The insects range in color, usually looking pea green or brown, but there are also mantises in various shades of green and even pink. They are named praying mantis because of the folding of their front legs, which looks like the posture of prayer. Some people mistakenly call them preying mantises, which is also somewhat accurate, given their skill as hunters.

Fun Praying Mantis Facts

Praying mantises have triangular-shaped heads and a compound eye on each side of their heads. They are the only insects that can turn their heads a full 180 degrees, and some species can turn almost 300 degrees without moving the rest of their bodies. They're also very sensitive to movement and can see something move up to 60 feet away.

The praying mantis is exclusively predatory – it only eats other animals, usually other insects such as flies. The larger members of the mantis species have been known to eat lizards, snakes, frogs, birds and even small rodents.

They tend to ambush their prey and are very fast when they attack. The forelegs are spiked, which helps the mantis hold on to its victims. They also have very powerful jaws, making it easy for them to kill their prey.

The praying mantis is considered diurnal, meaning that most of their activity takes place during the day, though sometimes you will see them flying around at night. They need the use of their keen eyesight to hunt, which is great news for us because we can often see them out and about in our gardens.

Downtown Dallas, Inc.

Downtown Dallas, Inc.

A major part of the effort to revitalize Downtown Dallas is spearheaded by (if you can’t guess the name already), Downtown Dallas, Inc. Its website is certainly worth knowing: In addition, Kourtny Garrett writes a lively blog that appears here:

Today seems a good day to mention Downtown Dallas, Inc., because the blog has a mention of one of Dallas’s most interesting people, my friend Brent Brown. Here’s a sample:

BE BOLD! (or “Don’t be timid” to steal a quote from my urban hero, Brent Brown) In contrast to previous sessions when feedback was consistently based on setting “realistic” goals and prioritizing – the tone seemed to shift, stressing that the creation of 360 is our opportunity to aim high. Perhaps an indicator that the frugality of the last 24 months is shifting? Do I dare say we are becoming more hopeful? The specific reference in this case was discussion regarding potential deck parks over I-30, ala The Park (Woodall Rodgers Park). Can we fund and sustain another project like Woodall? Tell me what you think. (As a Cedars resident, personally, I say yes! The connection is critical…)

It’s also a good time to think of Downtown Dallas, Inc. because later this month we will be hosting one of Downtown Dallas’s monthly meetings. I’m hoping there will be time for me to show off what we’ve done here at CityWalk. Downtown Dallas’s support will be important for the creation of more affordable housing downtown.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

How Much Does Permanent Supportive Housing Save?

I received some Dallas-specific numbers today on the savings that come from permanent supportive housing. The total ranges between $27,000 and $37,000 per year for each person moved from the street to permanent supportive housing.

Dallas has, according to the official count, about 650 chronically homeless persons (that’s someone who has been on the street at least one year or four times during the last three years). Let’s do some simple math:

$32,000 (the midpoint of the range of estimates) times 650 = $20,800,000

If it costs $100,000 to build a unit of permanent supportive housing, then that cost will pay for itself in slightly over three years.

Think about the return over thirty years! The savings come to $602,400,000 in savings—or an average of over 92% per year. Try to make that return in the stock market!

Think about the people! A total of 650 people would no longer sleep on the street, or in camps or in shelters but in their own safe and secure home.

Think about our city! How much safer and cleaner and more beautiful would Dallas be without long-term homeless people? How much better would the world think of us if we solved the problem of homelessness? How many corporations would move their headquarters to Dallas? How much more investment would pour into our downtown?

Permanent supportive housing is probably the most effective investment we can make in our city.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Lunch at Burger King

Sometimes you have to experience something in order to begin to understand it. On my recent road trip to visit my Dad in Traverse City, Michigan that happened when my wife and I stopped at Burger King for lunch. We ordered a Whopper, onion rings and a soft drink. When I went and looked at the nutritional chart posted on the wall, I was horrified at what I had just eaten. The meal totaled 1330 calories and included copious amounts of fat, sugar and salt.

How bad was the meal nutritionally? Well, here’s a comparison of eating that meal as opposed to drinking your dinner:

Burger King Meal
Calories - 1330
Sugars(grams) - 73
Sodium(mg) - 1730
Saturated Fat - 15 grams
Carbs (grams) - 159
Protein (grams)- 35

Bottle of Red Wine
Calories - 711
Sugars(grams) - 0
Sodium(mg) - 0
Saturated Fat - 0
Carbs(grams) - 31
Protein(grams) - 1

6-pack of beer
Calories - 918
Sugars(grams) - 0
Sodium(mg) - 84
Saturated Fat - 0
Carbs(grams)- 76
Protein(grams)- 10

12-pack of light beer
Calories - 1224
Sugars(grams) - 0
Sodium(mg)- 156
Saturated Fat - 0
Carbs(grams)- 60
Protein(grams)- 8

I’m not trying to suggest that you ought to start drinking your meals—especially if you are going to be driving—but just to provide some kind of context of just how unhealthy fast food meals are.

First, look at calories. The generally accepted standard for weight maintenance is 13 calories per day for each pound that you weigh. So, if you weigh 102 lbs., then this one meal has used up all the calories you need for a day. It’s half the daily calorie allowance for a 200 lbs person. It also uses up more than 75% of your daily sodium (salt) intake and 75% of your intake of saturated fat.

In short, except for its protein content, the fast food meal is much less healthy, from a nutritional standpoint, than drinking a bottle of red wine, drinking a six-pack of beer, or even drinking an entire twelve-pack of light beer. Taking everything into consideration, the healthiest of these four meals is probably the six-pack of beer because it has a more appropriate carbohydrate and protein content for its number of calories than the wine or light beer and avoids the excessive fat and sodium of the fast food meal.

I suppose my surprise mainly shows how seldom I eat fast food. I know many people eat regularly at fast food places and I also know that it’s easy to put on weight and eat poorly even if you never eat out. But when fast food meals compare poorly in nutritional value even as opposed to the least healthy alternative I could think of—then it gives me pause.

And makes me want to sit down to a big plate of vegetables. It would take more than thirteen pounds of asparagus or eighteen heads of lettuce or 684 servings to make up as many calories—and you wouldn’t need to worry about the fat or sodium.

I don’t know about you, but if I ate 684 servings of salad, I wouldn’t have time to do anything else in a day.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A long, restful weekend

by Nick Sowell

The long weekend was nice to have. I hope everyone did something fun and enjoyed themselves. I just watched movies with my little sister all weekend before she left for camp to be a counselor for the summer. Other than that, it was a very restful weekend.