We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Wednesday, July 22. 2015
Tuesday, July 21. 2015
Reposted by popular request. If the reader is strong, fit for most physical challenges in life, and in good shape, then this is all irrelevant and should be ignored.
- Weight loss is mostly a separate subject from physical fitness training. Adipose tissue (fat, the revolting yellow lard that burdens your body and heart especially, and drives surgeons nuts by makes their scalpels greasy and slippery) is very easy to accumulate and difficult to burn off. It's like the opposite of money.
- Your energy storage consists mainly of carbs stored as sugar (glycogen - the petty cash drawer of energy) and carbs converted into sugar and then into fat if the sugar isn't burned right away (the long-term investment which is more difficult to access and burn). It's been calculated that the average Western citizen has enough stored energy to walk 600-1000 miles. A gift of evolution.
- To burn fat as fuel, you have to restrict sugar (ie, carbs). The resulting condition is known as ketosis, and can make your breath smell funny. It is thought that your body can speed up its ability to mobilize fat as an energy source, when carb-limited.
- There is a myth about good carbs and bad carbs. This really only applies to diabetics. All dietary carbs are converted to sugar, even potatoes. That's why all the talk about dietary sugar itself is nonsense. We've all seen people have a Splenda in their coffee with their whole wheat bagel. Are you kidding me? A little sugar is 10 calories and the bagel is 300 calories. Many people do not understand that all carbs become sugar during digestion. Yes, even brown rice and whole wheat bread. If you need the microscopic amount of protein in them you are in real trouble.
-To attain a target weight, you have to restrict but not totally eliminate carbs from the diet. One or two slices of bread and one apple is plenty of daily carbs for a weight loss program, along with the relatively small amount of carbs in vegetables.
- As I have posted in the past, exercise, especially intense exertion, has numerous health and life benefits but is an ineffective way to try lose fat without the primary dietary component. The reason is that the body burns carbs preferentially. It's easier for it to do. The body is set up to protect its long-term investment in case of starvation conditions and it is happy to store as much as you will offer it. It's a sponge.
- In middle age, metabolism slows for both men and women. Menopause, especially. Caloric needs drop substantially regardless of activity level. Accumulating fat becomes easier, and getting rid of it becomes more difficult. Best just not to accumulate it.
- It is true that, the minute your feeling of hunger goes away, you have probably had enough to eat. Also true that, in the prosperous Western world, feeding has become a recreation, an event, or a self-soothing therapy or a cure for boredom, and a clockwork routine, and both hunger and satiety signals are thrown to the winds. For example, many sedentary people will eat a lunch simply "because it's lunchtime."
- It is also true that intense daily exercise reduces appetite in most people. It has to be intense, though.
- The less you eat, the more your stomach shrinks and thus the quicker you are satisfied. If you pay attention to it, that is.
Now to fitness, not weight loss
- As for physical conditioning (but not for weight loss), it is true that anything beyond full-day sedentary is good. Maintaining mobility and ordinary functionality is a good thing. Use it or lose it. The more activity demands you put on yourself during the day, of any sort, the better off you will be.
- To maintain good conditioning in middle age and later age requires either day-long physical labor or a more compact, more intense, daily or every other day effort and commitment for those whose lives are basically sedentary. That is most of us in our luxurious, decadent era. (Walking around counts as sedentary as does weekend sports or yard work.) Otherwise, there will be more physical deterioration than we want.
- I agree with all who say that serious weight training is the best way to do that. I agree that intense weight training and high-intensity aerobics are the most efficient ways to improve or maintain physical conditioning at any age.
- a physically-stressful weight training program requires some protein for muscle repair and construction. It doesn't require very much, but it requires some small amounts during the day. A whole steak or fish filet is not necessary, but an egg or one slice of meat 3 or 4 times daily is plenty sufficient protein for a demanding program. Adult humans do not need much protein - except for pleasure.
- It is true that light, high-rep workouts and non-intense aerobics (meaning if you can breathe relatively comfortably) have minimal benefits, but they do make people feel good, reduce anxiety, and help with sleep. That counts for something. Better than nothing.
- Being fit will likely not extend your life, but could make it more pleasant, energetic, and functional. It will make you more attractive too.
- It has become clear to me that fitness and fatness is a class- and culture-related topic. In the US, poor people tend to be fatter and less active. I don't know why that is. For what's it is worth, Pres. Obama does a tough workout for an hour each morning with a trainer before he does anything else. So did Bush. Good examples for those of us who sit on our behinds most of the day to earn a living.
- Gluttony is a sin, deadly spiritually and literally like lust. Prosperous Romans ate until over-full, puked in the vomitorium, then went at it again. For fun. Their slaves were healthier than the patricians. Adult people do not need much food to be healthy and strong. On the other hand, fitness is a secular, esthetic, and practical virtue. I have never been able to think of my body as a temple but it sure comes in handy.
- Why are Americans overweight? Cheap food, habit, hedonism, TV, internet, prosperity, machines, minimal hard work to be done. It's no mystery.
A fairly good piece on the physiology: Fat Metabolism During Exercise: New Concepts
Friday, July 17. 2015
Yes, Cialis can help many women, especially post-menopausal women, experience more sexual enthusiasm and more pleasure.
If there's a problem, it is worth a try. You can buy it online. Sometimes it is labelled "Female Cialis," but I think it's the same thing men take. Check with your doctor, of course, but it's not a dangerous drug. Start with a low dose, and work up if needed.
I prescribe it often to women, and I'd guess that most find it helpful. A better sex life can improve a relationship in surprising ways, regardless of age.
Thursday, July 16. 2015
Tuesday, July 14. 2015
And it is driving doctors crazy and wasting their time: Death By Documentation
Nobody goes into medicine to do paperwork, to be bossed, or to be a rule-follower. Quite the opposite historically, but the new breed seems more submissive and less defiant.
Friday, July 10. 2015
There are many common words which, if you drill down into them, you just find turtles all the way down. What are those two things? Are they emotions, instincts, behaviors (ie adjectives turned into nouns), effortful behaviors, or just vague and ambiguous words?
We know that courage, for example, is a word for doing something we feel fearful or anxious about. But what is that?
Your thoughts, please. (And Gwynnie, please do not answer with a simple "Yes.")
Wednesday, July 8. 2015
People grow best in relationship with others. Ideally, a Virgil, or lesser ordinary amateur virgils.
It's difficult to grow religiously without a confessor, a director, or an intimate small group. It's difficult to explore one's own neurotic hang-ups without a therapist. It's difficult to grow in strength and endurance without a trainer or a group. You can read Bertrand Russell's book, but you can learn western philosophy better with a good prof as a human guide. In business, a mentor can be essential. And so forth. Self-protective isolation, which I term insulation, is deadly but feels safe.
A post we had earlier about placebo effect (morphine administered by a gentle nurse can be twice as pain-relieving as morphine machine-administered) showed how much the umbrella of relationship can help people by providing a human umbrella, a human container, which makes it easier to push the envelope of life. All things can be done alone, but far less effectively because that's the way humans are. Alone, we are limited, self-limited. Others with whom we are in relationship can push us, confront us, challenge us, correct us, and that helps us grow.
I like doing group therapy. It doesn't cure any mental illness, but it helps people grow in life regardless of their limits or emotional problems. AA the same.
A problem I have with the modern, bureaucratic idea of the commodification of technical medical care is that it ignores, or negates, the historical and, I believe, essential component of the personal relationship. Cookbook medical care is terrible.
The human connection provides the lift. Of course, that's why we need parents and siblings when we are kids.
Tuesday, July 7. 2015
A generation or two ago, many or most middle-aged people acted and looked old, stodgy, and even weary. This Youtube is good, re fitness for the over-50 set. It's not an ad for Crossfit but it does show what the middle-aged can do to keep on truckin'. I think the group experience adds something extra to it all, besides lowering the cost of the training:
Monday, July 6. 2015
Sunday, July 5. 2015
He talks about business people, but neglects the frequency of psychopathy in politicians. I think it's more common in the latter.
Over the years, I have told some number of people that psychopathy is their problem. They are good at "feeling your pain," in all senses of the term. Empathy? Sociopaths are experts at expressing that. Manipulation. Leave a trail of self-interest and damage during their lives. Much of it is not jail-worthy. Dumb sociopaths are more likely to go to jail.
Is it a mental disorder? Not really. Just rotten people who might exploit you or hurt you, with strong, minimally-governed predatory instincts.
Thursday, July 2. 2015
Fit, strong, and sexy yet? At this point, I have offered enough advice. Take it, or do not. Take it, or donut. It's your life, as I say all day long to people regarding all sorts of things. Brief as that of a butterfly, from God's view.
Sunday, June 28. 2015
Shrinks: The Untold Story of Psychiatry,by Jeffrey A. Lieberman, M.D., with Ogi Ogas: A Critical Discussion
Dr. Friedman's discussion is excellent and interesting. One quote:
Thursday, June 25. 2015
He: The country seems to be going nuts. I've never heard so many stupid things lately.
Me: Well, bear in mind that 50% of Americans have IQs under 100.
He: Is it that high? Gee, well that explains a lot.
Tuesday, June 23. 2015
Sunday, June 21. 2015
I believe that gender surgery is, or is close to, medical malpractice. Psychotherapy is not likely to change these people either. Same with effeminate gays. Like it or not, we must all just accept that there is a lot of strangeness and discontent in the human species. Blame our hypertrophied cortex.
Saturday, June 20. 2015
In England, they call it "garden croquet" as opposed to formal croquet on a graded, manicured court.
We have neither a backyard pool nor a backyard tennis court, but we have an outdoor ping-pong table in the barn and, of course, a good English croquet set.
In time for Fathers' Day,your Quick Reference Guide for Backyard Croquet Rules
Friday, June 19. 2015
It seems to me that decent, spirited people always aspire to improve their souls, their brains and knowledge, their fitness, their appearance, their skills, their morals, their relationships, etc. etc. Giving up is not cool and shows no respect for God's gifts - and surely nobody wants their teeth to indicate that they might be from England or Bosnia.
Orthodontia in America: America’s obsession with perfecting its teeth.
Thursday, June 18. 2015
I'll confess that I do not greatly enjoy wedding events, and this season has been, and will be, heavy with these weekend social duties. Of course, I am always pleased when people find life partners, though.
In youth, attending friends' weddings was great fun. Drinking, smoking pot behind the church, getting dressed up, guys meeting new gals and vice versa, making out on the club porch with a new person after too many champagnes. Many youth meet their future mates at weddings, for good reason: they have been socio-culturally vetted.
I also understand that parents like to throw lavish weddings to entertain their friends, families, and business associates. An excuse to check that box. But only the youth really enjoy these things because it's new to them. As an adult, I do not really enjoy attending (although I feel hurt if not invited). They interfere with your whole day and go on too long.
An inconvenience, in fact, but showing up is an obligation to people you care about. It's important to them that you show up. A brief ceremony with sandwiches and drinks after would be fine with me, same as a funeral. Two hours, max, go through the receiving line, leave your gift on the pile, and then get to your tennis game. I've been to enough weddings (and enough funerals too). Throwing a wedding need not be a major imposition on your guests' lives.
- People do not realize that your wedding is not the only one they are obligated to go to this year. For them, it seems like a Big Deal.
- You get seated with people you have to make small talk with. Dull, usually. You keep wondering "Can we leave yet?"
- You have to pretend to have 'fun," and to be grateful for the abundant food, drink, loud music, and the opportunity to dance like a teenager. I do not need any of those things but the youngsters might.
- Old Yankee Rules: Excess and display are tacky. Old Puritan Rules: weddings are not religious matters. Marriage is not a Protestant sacrament but is a solemn, witnessed vow, and a secular contract.
- 67% of American marriages end in grisly divorce
- Weddings without children attending are just no darn good.
- Weddings are an industry today. $10,000 for flowers? For one afternoon?
I don't mean to sound like a curmudgeon (or do I?). Marriage is an essential institution and God bless all who partake and whose vows are deadly serious.
My idea of a wedding event for my kids would be old-time, slightly post-Puritan New England. Bring a fiddler and an accordionist to the town green with a pig roast, with kids crying and running around. Don't even get me started on beach weddings, mountaintop weddings, black tie weddings, and golf destination weddings. But we have boys so I will be mercifully out of the loop.
The "Honored Mother of the Bride"? Gag me.
Here's a traditional New England wedding:
The percentage of pregnant brides is said to have been quite high amongst the puritan Congregationalists, maybe 50% or more.
Wednesday, June 17. 2015
Indeed: After trans fat ban, what else should be removed from food?
Tuesday, June 16. 2015
Effortful physical exertion has many benefits (not walking or slow jogging, but heavy exertion) and should be pursued by anybody who desires to stay fit, but weight loss can only be achieved via diet. That means no carbs. It is settled science...
We take it for granted today, but it is an astonishing fact that, at least in the Western world, one of our challenges is dealing with too much cheap good high-caloric food. For regular folks, that's a first in human history.
Saturday, June 13. 2015
Sociopathy is common, ranging from violent to simply exploitative users (More). Don't be paranoid, but always make sure of people before welcoming them into your life. Superficial charm and pseudo-intimacy are clues. If they feel your pain, watch out.
Friday, June 12. 2015
Wednesday, June 10. 2015
Tuesday, June 9. 2015
Your Boss Wants You to Be Happier. This Is Not a Good Thing.
Right. Your happiness is not your boss' concern.