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Let's let Ronald live on


The author takes on the critics of good ol' Rnnald McDonald.

"I really admire you, Ron," I told him. "If I have a son one day, I will name him after you."

As happens 99% of the time when I try to be funny, no one gets the joke.

Eventually my children did come. When they were young, they routinely spent Saturday mornings at the Los Angeles Zoo with their dad. There we learned that the cassowary, a pretty innocuous-looking flightless bird from Australia, is the second most dangerous animal in the zoo (after polar bears). According to ornithologist and author E. Thomas Gilliard, "The inner or second of the three toes is fitted with a long, straight, murderous nail which can sever an arm or eviscerate an abdomen with ease. There are many records of natives being killed by this bird."1

Saturday memories

On the way home, we'd stop at McDonald's for a Happy Meal and the kids would play in a room where they would slide into an enormous collection of plastic balls. My kids loved the chicken nuggets and viewed this as a great treat (it takes a lot more to impress them nowadays). After eating, we got home in time for my three tired-and-contented kiddies to nap. For a little while, dad was a hero. These Saturday mornings are among my favorite memories-which is why I'm annoyed by the move afoot to kill off Ronald McDonald.

Seemingly equating Ronald to Joe Camel, the suave, cigarette-smoking dromedary, "more than 550 health professionals and organizations have signed a letter to McDonald's Corp. asking the maker of Happy Meals to stop marketing junk food to kids and retire Ronald McDonald . . . . 'Marketing can no longer be ignored as a significant part of this massive problem.' "

Among the signatories are "well-known nutritionists and doctors like Andrew Weil, a doctor" (isn't that redundant?) "and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine."2 According to the Center's Web site, "The Center defines integrative medicine as healing-oriented medicine that takes account of the whole person (body, mind, and spirit), including all aspects of lifestyle. It emphasizes the therapeutic relationship and makes use of all appropriate therapies, both conventional and alternative."3

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