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Don’t Let the FDA Change the Definition of “Chocolate”

Let me be honest here: I eat a lot of chocolate. More than I should, no doubt. But I love the stuff, and I’m not the only one. As umpteen-thousand brain studies have shown, real chocolate causes a wonderful cascading effect in the human brain…of joy and warmth and well-being and awesomeness.

If you agree on that point — the essential awesomeness of chocolate — I’d ask that you lend a hand. Take a second out of your day to tell the FDA not to water down the legal definition of “chocolate”.

As Cybele May writes in today’s LA Times and in her Candy Blog, a consortium of food industry groups is looking to widen the definition of chocolate to include products made from vegetable fats and oils…not just real cocoa butter.

You know what kind of “chocolate” that is. You’ve bitten into it and known immediately. It’s that fake, waxy, powdery “chocolate-flavored” stuff that sits there for weeks after the first bite…because it tastes like foot powder. It’s the weird-brand Easter bunny that no one wants. It’s the fake M&Ms that taste like pebbles. It’s the chocolate chip that tastes like a tooth filling gone wrong.

Giving food manufacturers the ability to label products under this expanded “chocolate” label doesn’t mean Nestle and Hershey and Cadbury will suddenly change their core recipes — they’d be fools to do it, in the worst tradition of Coke II. But it makes you wonder what future “chocolate” products will be coming down the line? Should we have to guess whether or not those products are actually chocolate? Of course not. So take a second, GO HERE and let the FDA know.

(Note: This being a bureaucratic process, the comment system is a bit impenetrable. So here’s a helpful guide to giving the FDA your comments.)

Upcoming Appearances: Texas & Maryland!

Two new dates have been added to the “Appearances” notepad on the left: Dallas’ “CAPE” show and Bethesda’s “SPX” convention. I’m excited for these shows, as I’ve heard nothing but praise for both.

Avast! Here there be links, matey:

CAPE, Dallas, Texas, May 5

SPX, Bethesda, Maryland, Oct. 12-13.

Also! A few hundred new Sheldon-by-Email readers signed up yesterday, so allow me to direct you to our helpful strip intro, and a recent guide to the site’s features. Welcome!

U.K. Sheldon Meet ‘n Greet!



This Friday, April 13th, we’re having a planned Sheldon meet ‘n greet in London, England. I’ll be working on two original Sheldon strips, signing books for folks, and giving out free sketches, from 12-3 PM:

The Green Man & French Horn

54 St. Martin’s Lane , WC2

(across the street from the “Avenue Q” theatre)

The Next Sheldon Book Cover

My buddy Katherine and I, in preparation for the next Sheldon book cover, have been poking around 1950’s advertising, looking for inspiration. And today, I’m quite sure that Katherine has uncovered the most disturbing advertisement that the 1950’s ever produced.

Without further ado, I present to you THE WEIRDEST 7-UP AD EVER:

Items of interest:

– That baby is not only drinking 7-Up, he is chugging that bottle whole hog.

– Closer examination of the 7-Up bottle in the foreground reveals a coagulated mass of green ooze floating in the center. (Original formula, perhaps?)

– There is, for reasons unknown, a tiny little lamb in the ad. Perhaps to underscore that down-home, lamb-shank flavor in every delicious bottle of 7-Up.

– Apparently, at one point, the tagline “Nothing does it like Seven-Up!” was considered fantastically persuasive.

– And finally — and most importantly — there can no longer be any doubt as to why we Americans are fat. OUR PARENTS WERE FEEDING US 7-UP AT TWELVE MONTHS, FOR THE LOVE OF PETE!

(If you’re interested in seeing more like this, head over to adclassix.com — they’ve got some great stuff.)

George Lucas

The Coffee Cup Challenge got in the way before I could finish off the Star Wars storyline. And so, strange though it may be to head back to that storyline on Easter, back we go!

(By the way, George Lucas was incredibly fun to draw.)

Your Favorite Easter Moment

Take a moment in the Sheldon archives, won’t you, and vote for your favorite Easter moment.

My vote is for #1. I love seeing 6’3″ dudes on Easter Sunday in powder blue suits with pink ties.

The Coffee Cup Lids Contest

When two comic strips compete to see who can get the most humor out of coffee cup lids, doesn’t everyone win?

A hearty handshake to the lads at Unshelved for the week of silly revelry. It was good fun. I honestly don’t think I ever would have ventured into 1950’s propaganda films without the desperate need to find something funny about lids.

If you haven’t done so already, bookmark Unshelved, or sign up for their free, daily, ad-free e-mail deliveryof the strip. I highly recommend it.

Crotchley Labs

I’m going back to the well and revisiting Crotchley Labs for a second day. I had too much fun to do it just once.

There’s something so wonderfully absurb about 1950’s short-film propaganda. They pretty much consisted of what I like to call the three “B’s”: “Build it! Buy It! And beat back the Reds!”


On a different note, a doff of the cap to Unshelved for Wednesday’s toon. That’s been my favorite of theirs thus far.

Today’s strip…

Working within the contest’s confines of “Create something funny about coffee cup lids”, today’s is my favorite strip so far.

Just for the sheer randomness of it.

(Plus, I’ve always thought that the line “Building a better tomorrow…today!” is the single greatest piece of cheesy copy ever written. The 1950’s copywriter who first thought of that phrase must have known, on that grand day, that their career would never, ever top that.)

Welcome, New Readers

Since the site launched in November, we’ve gained a few thousand new readers. And with all the new Unshelved readers dropping by these past few days (…you guys will like
this strip, by the way), now is a good time to review some of the cool site features:

For new readers, I’ve tried to put together a Welcome Page to introduce you to the strip. Check that out first.

Then, when you’re ready to start reading the archives, use the back/forward arrows in the blue box underneath the strip; or click the Archives button for a wider calendar selection; or click the Random button to jump randomly into the archives. (It’s pretty fun.)

The blue navigation bar also lets you purchase the original art for that day’s strip with one click. Any strip that doesn’t display the word “Purchased” is available for sale.

After you’ve read through some of the archives, you may want to check out the Extras page, with a bunch of fun, additional stuff to see.

And of course, at any time you can drop by the ol’ Sheldon forum to talk about the day’s strip or say hi to other readers from around the world.

If you’d like to sign up for free delivery of the strip to your e-mail, use the yellow post-it note underneath the strip, or click Here.

Prefer to get the strip by RSS? We have that, as well.

Want to send a particular strip to a friend? Just type in their e-mail address in the grey napkin underneath that strip…and off it goes!

And of course, down the line you’ll want to pick up the Sheldon book collections at the Store. They make every reader 36.5% better looking, which is awesome.

So welcome! Enjoy the strip! And help yourself to some lemonade!

And if you have any questions or comments, drop me drop me a line personally. Thanks!