Meatheads of the Week (or so)
Michael Vick, Tim Donaghy, Michael Rasmussen, and Barry Bonds for good measure. For Dogs, Gambling, Lying, and Doping. The Wonderful World of Sports!
Genius of the Week
Kyle Smith. For his brilliant review of The Simpsons movie as a Simpsons script. You must go read it.
Fat people are very politically correct.
(Shouldn’t we start calling it socially correct since politicians routinely say the worst things?) Anyways as I’m sure you’re all aware, there was a study in NEJM that showed that you were more likely to be fat if your friends were fat. It’s findings lead to the conclusions that personal choices are primary and that stigma actually helps keep people thin. Is that what the news stories said? No way. They, almost invariably, used the virus metaphore – it just spreads. As if those doing the spreading had nothing to do with it. Almost all of the papers set this problem as one of an influence you just can’t do anything about. The LAT went as far to say that “treatment programs should move away from their emphasis on individual will power“. First, that’s crap and not supported at all by the study. Second, if you did that what would the treatment program look like? Cordoning off a 150 ft space around the person that overweight people couldn’t enter?
There are a lot of cultural issues that promote obesity in the US, the disincentive to walk, the cheapness of bad-for-you-food,…ETC. This makes it very hard to stay in shape for sure. However, what this study showed was that obesity was caused mainly by cultural associations. It was effected by friends and couldn’t be impacted by the types of food you eat (spouses were unimportant), where you live (friends living accross the country had an effect as did those nearby), or genetics (weight of sibilings didn’t explain it). So what we’re left with is what people think is culturally acceptable. You can either try to fight it or ditch your fat friends and find some fit ones.
That’s really nasty. Which is exactly why all the papers screw it up. We don’t want to hear that stigmatization works (because it probably wreaks havoc on your self-esteem, unless of course you become thin). In fact all the experts are careful to tell you that you shouldn’t chuck your overweight friends without much reason why. This flys directly in the face of what the study found. We don’t want to be nasty. We want to be nice “I’m OK, you’re OK” everyone. Maybe that’s part of the problem; we haven’t figured out how to promote a healthy body self-image while exhorting people to get in shape at the same time.
Like it or hate it, there it is. Frankly I find it somewhat disturbing but it makes sense. As harsh as this sounds, I don’t think it’s that harmful to say. I was a bit chubby myself once upon a time. You know what fixed me up? Dating. I wanted to look good to get more/better dates. Also, in college almost all my friends were in good shape 1) It worked (both getting in shape and getting more dates. Woo Hoo!) 2) I realized how much better I feel being fit and also how much I liked to cook ‘real’ food so now I keep in shape both for my spouse and for me. For the time that I was overweight there was no one to blame but myself. I excersized but I was also known to be able to put away a whole large bag of Cheetos in one sitting (Cheetos are still a weakness). That’s a problem with me, not Frito-Lay.
What’s up with Cheetos and Fritos?
Fritos are made of “corn, oil, and salt”. That’s it. For all the processed stuff we have around it’s nice to know that even some really tasty, bad for you, commercial stuff can be simple (no preservatives, corn syrup,…etc). Also, Cheetos are made with real cheese. No kidding. That neon orange stuff is just a mixture of cheese that has totally dried out (I think they get it in to a liquid and then spray it on in a heated tumbler). Who knew?
Assult Blower Ban
The CPSC released the following this week “The Toro Company Recalls Electric Blowers Due to Projectile Hazards”
Apparently the impeller breaks apart and then it gets shot out of the blower at high speed. This is moderate on the cringe factor but high on the 6th grade cool factor (a shooting leaf blower? Awesome!). The highest cringe factor was on one last year that said something like “Handle breaks on chainsaws create laceration risk”. The handles were breaking while the saw was in use. Ewww…
Weekly Aural Pleasure.
The latest offering from The Heavy, ‘That Kind of Man’, is fantastic. It reminds me of what would happen if the O’Jays and Led Zepplin got together. And that’s a very good thing. Up till 1:30, it’s a pretty good video. The booze and bimbos thing at the end is just tired. Not tired enough to be retro, just tired (and not a small bit male chauvinist). It’s the video version of phoning it in. It makes me think that the directors thought, “well, we can’t have them in the truck the whole time, that’s boring” and they’re out of ideas. “Hey, how about we have a bunch of floozies jump in truck?” Note to The Heavy: this ain’t a beer commercial; get a new director. They should have recorded it in the backs of different trucks and cars stopping to pick up the band members and spliced it together. Not brilliant but better. See, how hard was that? Enjoy the music.
Happy Friday! (and yes, I’m munching on a doughnut right now. All things in moderation.)