The McRib Locator – A Slice of Heaven

Full disclosure.  I love McDonalds.  I also know McDonalds will cause my early exit from the earth.  I don’t care.  I was hooked on McD’s at an early age, and that love only intensified when I was able to make my own nutrition (or lack thereof) decision.  I think my love of McDonalds goes back to my even more intense love of ketchup.  So there we are, it’s awful and I know it, but I still do it.  I don’t think I’ll be giving it up anytime soon.

Two awesome stories about McDonalds recently that I wanted to share with you.  The first is a dude who should be up for a Nobel Prize for genius.  He built a “McRib Locator” where you can search for the stores that might be selling the McRib.  The coolest thing I learned here was that sometimes stores have the McRib not even in McRib season.

The second story I’ll be sharing with my doctor to explain my weight gain over time.  McDonalds hamburgers don’t decompose, they just sit.  Sally Davies, a photographer decide to let a Happy Meal sit over time and take pictures.  Horrifying results.

Before traveling to visit his parents in Nebraska last winter, Jeremy Duensing consulted what he always checks before a trip: the “McRib Locator” website.

To his delight, he found a McDonald’s (NYSE: MCDNews) restaurant near Omaha that, unlike most of the burger chain’s 14,000 U.S. restaurants, had the McRib on its menu. He bought six of the pork sandwiches, ate one right away at the restaurant, and carried the rest home to Burnsville, Minn., in an ice-packed cooler.

“Either you find places that have them or you’re out of luck for the rest of the year,” says Mr. Duensing, 34 years old.

The McRib actually has nothing to do with ribs. It’s a boneless pork patty molded into the shape of a rib slab and adorned with pickles, onions and barbecue sauce on a bun. The sandwich made its debut in 1981.

But McRibs are almost never available at all McDonald’s restaurants at the same time. Instead, the Oak Brook, Ill., company offers them in different cities at different times, rarely for longer than a few weeks.

[Burger Fans Have Beef With Biggest Chains]

The sandwich’s elusiveness has created a fan base of people who go to considerable lengths to munch on a McRib. Ryan Dixon of Burbank, Calif., once drove 10 hours to Medford, Ore., after hearing a McDonald’s there was selling the sandwich.

“It has a ghostly quality,” says Mr. Dixon, a 30-year-old graphic novelist. “You don’t know when it will appear. It’s the girl who you are in love with who has always been a tease to you.”

Alan Klein’s obsession with the McRib began when he was growing up on a hog farm in South Dakota. The 28-year-old meteorologist, who now lives in Minnesota, justified his craving by saying that eating McRibs supported the family business.

After moving to Minnesota for college, he had trouble finding McRibs. Five years ago, he visited South Dakota and saw the sandwich at a McDonald’s near his childhood home. “It rekindled my love of McRibs and made me start thinking it would be nice to know where they were,” he says.

Three years ago, he launched the McRib Locator at www.kleincast.com. Visitors can inquire about and report McRib sightings. Mr. Klein says he gets 300 to 400 hits a week. On Sunday, the site’s U.S. map showed a cluster of sightings in the Chicago and Detroit areas. The latest: New Baltimore, Mich.

Vladimir Lenin, King Tut and the McDonald’s Happy Meal: What do they all have in common? A shocking resistance to Mother Nature’s cycle of decomposition and biodegradability, apparently.

That’s the disturbing point brought home by the latest project of New York City-based artist and photographer Sally Davies, who bought a McDonald’s Happy Meal back in April and left it out in her kitchen to see how well it would hold up over time.

The results? “The only change that I can see is that it has become hard as a rock,” Davies told the U.K. Daily Mail.

She proceeded to photograph the Happy Meal each week and posted the pictures to Flickr to record the results of her experiment. Now, just over six months later, the Happy Meal has yet to even grow mold. She told the Daily Mail that “the food is plastic to the touch and has an acrylic sheen to it.”

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