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Regarding "flexitarians," AKA part-time vegetarians, we got a number of emails.

MNB user Stuart Silverman wrote:

My college-age daughter has been a part time vegetarian for several years now. (Problem is that we never know which days she is not eating meat until she gets to the dinner table.) Her rational has been much more economic/ecologic. It is much more efficient in the food chain for us to be eating non-meat products. By the time you grow and process the foods to feed and farm the animals, the cost per calorie that we consume is much higher for meat products than for vegetarian products. (By the way, she also tells me that the overall level of methane gases that the cows of the world emit are more harmful to the environment than the car pollutants.) So, since it is not a purely health regimen, she feels good that with a mixed diet she is being a responsible citizen of our planet. Ahh, to be young...

Another member of the MNB community wrote:

This is the first I have heard of Flexitarians. It actually sounds vaguely like a diet that my Doctor suggested after my cholesterol test came back high. Cut back on meat, especially red meat, and exercise. For me I started eating veggie wraps or other meatless sandwiches for lunch so I could have meat with my evening meal. I guess that makes me a Flexitarian.

Another resident of the MNB village offered:

"Flexitarian" - first known citation was in the Austin American-Statesman, 10/17/92. How and why do I know this? The 'why' is probably because I have WAY too much time on my hands. The 'how' is from a super website, which, if one is intrigued by the continual reshaping of language, is worth a visit.

And MNB user Rosemary Fifield wrote:

I love the Flexitarian thing. When I read the headline, I had an immediate mental picture of elderly people in nursing homes waving their elbows in unison in an effort to keep their joints moving (my in-laws are both in eldercare so maybe I'm just spending too much time there).

I'm always amused when people make a big deal about eating vegetarian meals "sometimes." Whether they realize it or not, most people eat vegetarian meals. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich is a vegetarian meal. So is macaroni and cheese (not vegan, but vegetarian). I realize what you're talking about is people who actually go through a whole day without eating meat, substituting a veggie burger or a frozen vegetarian entree, but now they have a name? Doesn't that strike you as weird?

More about the efficacy and wisdom of low-carb diets, as one MNB user wrote:

While I agree about the Low Carb frenzy, I feel for the Diabetic community who has been looking for products like this for quite some time.

All of the diabetic educational nurses that I have ever talked with DO NOT want their patients eating "low carb" foods. Instead, they want them eating reasonable portions of a variety of food. In general, the last thing that you want is for a diabetic patient, especially on insulin or drugs, is to eliminate carbohydrates as it will lead to hypoglycemia which could be fatal. Instead, they want to see them control their portions.

One other thing. There is so much fraud with this "low carb" labeling. I tried one of those "no carb" bars at Sam's Club last month. It tasted pretty good ... too good. I looked at the label and they were filled with SUGAR ALCOHOLS which do the same thing as regular sugar -they raise the blood sugar.

And MNB user Bob McMath wrote:

Had a long conversation with a guy this morning that told me an ex combat pilot buddy of his had gone on the Atkins Diet several years ago, and was very, very pleased with the loss of weight. So, he stayed on it strictly.

Recently when he went to the doctor with some "feeling badly" problems while his weight was down, the doctor discovered kidney problems, and heart problems -- rather serious ones. When he heard the guy had gone on the Atkins diet, (without asking his opinion) and stayed on it rather strictly, apparently he remarked "I am not surprised!"

The reports like this should really serve as a wake-up call to some.

Everything in moderation?? But Americans have always gone overboard. "If one liquid meal replacement would be good for me, then one for breakfast, lunch and dinner each, would be three times as good!" That killed people some years ago until the Government stepped in.

In response to Kroger's decision, in the wake of the four-month strike/lockout, to close 15 Ralphs stores in Southern California that it has deemed underperforming, MNB user David Livingston wrote:

Kroger always closes a few stores after a strike. This is a message that is suppose to tell the union - you did not win. When has Kroger suffered a strike and not closed stores? Can remember. Can you?

And MNB user Dean Parker offered:

The union wins again for its members!!!!!!!

We think we sense some sarcasm there…

Regarding the challenges being faced by the c-store business, MNB user Ted Wakabayashi wrote:

Rather than offering mediocre coffee drinks, why can't C-stores open a Starbucks kiosk? I surely stop there if available.

We also continue to get email about the Stew Leonard's vs. Imus issue. For those of you who missed it, a feud broke out this week between the Connecticut retailer and the famously curmudgeonly radio personality. Imus was annoyed because Stew Leonard's had refused to carry the line of food products that are sold to support his ranch for children with cancer, ostensibly because Imus had called Stew Leonard Sr. a "crook." While Stew Leonard Jr. says this isn’t the case, Imus spent an entire morning this week reiterating all the tax charges that sent Stew Leonard Sr. to prison.

One MNB user responded:

I don't know who one would choose to back here, but it really doesn't matter. In a world where 55% or more of the products in a grocery store routinely fail, it is still the grocer's sole decision on product selection.

It seems highly unlikely that if I called one of my buyers a crook, or read a decade old unfriendly story about them over the air, that I would gain a favorable decision upon presentation of a new product.

Another MNB user wrote:

Imus has always been rude, and obnoxious. I solute Stew Leonard's for their position and response. These are the kind of people I can respect. Most of us have a skeleton in the closet.

Yet another MNB user wrote:

Grow up and get over it. If the customers want the product - sell it. If it helps kids with cancer, sell it. Its shock radio - expect comments like that. Its entertainment. Overreacting to a disc jockeys comments is immature. I used to work for a company and it was discovered the management did a few things wrong. The paper reported the facts. The company pulled the advertising. Was that a smart business decision or a panic attack sore loser reaction?

Yet another MNB user wrote:

What I find interesting is Imus‚ decision to call the broker (who was not exactly an unbiased source of information) instead of calling Stew Jr. directly, and then not to check the information before launching his tirade. If his real object was to find the reason for the decision not to carry the products, wouldn't it make sense to ask the people who made the decision? More importantly, wouldn't an even more important objective be to get that decision reversed and get Stew's to sell the products? Given the prior history described in that internal memo, I can easily imagine a conversation that would lead not only to Leonard's introducing the product line but also using Imus‚ airtime and the awesome marketing talent of the Stew Leonard organization to use that event to publicize the products and the cause they benefit. What a shame that this simple decision about who to call turned an opportunity for a very positive outcome that could have benefited all concerned (especially the kids on the ranch) into a negative one that benefits no one at all.

And finally, MNB user David Staverman wrote:

So, the lesson here is that all food manufactures should give a penny of profit to a non profit organization, and retailers should be guilted into carrying it even if the product sucks. Thanks for clearing that up for me.

Yes and no.

Yeah, we think that major manufacturers would be well-served to give some of their profits to deserving non-profit organizations (and many of them do). But no, we don't think that retailers should carry the items if they aren't any good. Happily, in the Imus case, the products are pretty good.

We had a story yesterday about how Sears Canada is ready to unveil a new line of Martha Stewart Everyday patio furniture, featuring five design themes (named after resort areas) and including patio chairs, tables, umbrellas, and accent pieces.

Our headline was Don't They Get Newspapers In Toronto?, and we commented, "Better 'Cape May' and 'Santa Barbara' than, say, 'Sing Sing,' 'Alcatraz,' or 'Leavenworth.'" We also joked that MNB "couldn't confirm reports that a line of prison cots is on the agenda for 2005. Next thing you know, Sears Canada will be hiring Dennis Kozlowski to run its financial services division."

MNB user J. Ramsey responded:

Sure they get newspapers in Toronto, but Canadians may not care that Martha Stewart was convicted here in the States. My Canadian family and friends have commented that they don't see what all the fuss is about, and they plan to continue to buy her products. Come to think of it, my family and friends here in the States have said the EXACT same thing! Hmmm ... maybe Martha will still win because the big jury of consumers will cast their vote by continuing to buy her magazines, books, and household products.

We're dubious…but we'll see.

By the way, in our original copy yesterday we wrote, "Next thing you know, Sears Canada will be hiring Dennis Kozlowski to run its financial services division and Michael Jackson to run its day care centers."

We got one - only one - angry email from an MNB user who said that we had crossed the good taste line by comparing Martha Stewart to a child molester. Our response to that email was that the Michael Jackson crack had seemed a lot funnier at one in the morning than it did at 8:30 am…and we went in and edited out the line.

If we offended any of you, we're sorry. Though we have to admit to having had second thoughts about making the change - based only on the fact that Martha Stewart actually has been convicted by a jury of her peers, and Michael Jackson has only been convicted in the court of public opinion. Maybe, in retrospect, we were unfair to Jacko….


At least someone thought we were funny, as one MNB user who asked not to be identified wrote:

Don't know if you drank double extra-special, premium, high octane coffee this morning but this was one of the funniest editions of MNB I have seen yet... Kudos!

Between the "Spring Collection of Martha Stewart Prison Cots" to (re: Hardees' new "healthy" low carb breakfasts "Our arteries hardened just reading the ingredients" to Dennis Koslowski running the financial services group and Michael Jackson running the daycare center...

Your email (replies) must be hoppin' today...

It's been a while since I've responded but I read MNB everyday... You provide a valued service; one by the way that I would be willing to pay a monthly fee for.

Just a bit of feedback...
KC's View: