Stupidest Idea of all Time?

Stupidest Ides of all Time?

I took a class last semester called “Wilderness and the American Mind”. It was about our attitude towards nature and how it has changed since the days of the original settlers. I ran across a reference to something called Operation Chariot. So I googled a little further and wow! All I can say is wow.

Apparently, just after WW2 we were sitting around with this new nuclear technology. And in order to justify keeping it around, we pondered what possible uses we could have for this enormous power. So a few individuals settled on using nuclear bombs to blow out a deep water harbor/port somewhere on the U.S. coast. They finally settle on Alaska. The resulting fight over the project resulted in the birth of the environmental movement.

Wanting to know more about what I could only imagine as one of the stupidest ideas….ever…I bought this book called “The Firecracker Boys”. Its interesting and worth a read. Hard to imagine that we actually pondered doing something like this. How blazingly naive we were.

The actual discussion of racism….

First the background

This George Zimmerman trial has brought a lot of feelings to the surface for a lot of people. I only had a passing interest in this case initially. As a gun owner and supporter of the second amendment, I was interested form the stand your ground aspect. How would it play out in its first real public test? I read some of the evidence, tried really, really hard to not listen to Nancy Grace and all of the other talking heads as they weighed in on the subject without really bothering to read the evidence.

Now it has somehow become a “race thing” and I am pretty certain I know how we got here. And I am pretty sure you are too. Let’s forget about guilt or innocence for a second and just have that “honest conversation” about racism that the media keeps talking about.

Even though most of us have any idea how to start it, what it should be about, and what the end result should be.

First, let’s all put slavery behind us. I think we have for the most part, but I know there are a few that just can’t get past it. Even though those few probably cannot even relate their ancestry directly to an actual slave. And for any of us white folks, we are immigrants or descended from immigrants ourselves, most of us early in the twentieth century so we were not part of the institution of slavery. Or do those aforementioned people want to lump us in with the descendants of the plantation owners simply because we are white. That would be racist.

I am not in any way suggesting that racism does not exist. There are a few narrow minded individuals out there, and maybe a few pockets of the old guard left who still value it. But you have to logically admit that it is gone and will never be back to America. I am sure if you polled 99.9999%of the white population they would agree that it was wrong. No matter what you will never get 100% of anything, so let’s call it good enough on that topic.

On to discrimination. Obviously you will get varying definitions of this depending on who you ask. And most likely you will find bigger numbers here. The civil rights movement did a lot to end racism and discrimination in America from the standpoint of getting us to believe that black people were equal to white, in fact that all colors are equal in the end. Except for the same percentage of people who believe racism is o.k. who else would really disagree? More than you might think.

I said it, but it’s not for reasons you would think. It’s a matter of perception, honesty and human nature. I will leave you to figure out why. Your homework assignment is to figure out why those three things play a part.

On to the good stuff

I will just say it to get the ball rolling, if you call me a “cracker” and say it with a derogatory tone it’s the same as me a calling black person “nigger”. It is exactly the same because they have the same intention behind the word. And it is the intention and context, not the word itself that is discriminatory.  (it has to be otherwise how can black people say it?). We can’t sit here and let the Sharpton’s of the world tell us it’s o.k. to discriminate, or be a racist bigot as long as it’s a black person doing it. Then try to justify it because of something that happened in the past.  That doesn’t pass the straight face test.  If you were a woman who was a victim of domestic violence at the hands of a man, then decide to declare yourself a lesbian and marry a woman, does that give you the right to beat the snot out of your new partner? Why not? Al Sharpton and company say racism and discrimination are o.k. as long as it’s a black person on the giving end. Well, they have never technically come out and actually said it (maybe they have, I just haven’t heard it). But through their inaction they have said it loudly. “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it”…Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. You don’t get to pick when to apply your concept. It’s her wrong when everyone does it, or it’s o.k. for everyone.

Thoroughly riled up yet? No? Good I will continue. Every time something happens between the black and white community, Sharpton, Jackson, and somehow that new jackass from Global Grind have to get involved and attempt to get the entire black community up in arms at the injustice of it. What if the next time a black person killed a white person, white people did that? Holy shit that would be racism! Outrage would abound. It would be compared to lynching and all the bad crap from back in the pre-civil rights days. Do Sharpton and company really believe in a world where there is no discrimination? Or just no discrimination against black people? I would say the latter. Let’s say racism and discrimination magically disappeared overnight, what would they do then? They have a vested interest in keeping the fight going. It makes them relevant and important and keeps people dependent upon them.

I believe in taking humans as they come. One at a time. I may, as we all do make generalizations. But generally, you have to prove to me you’re an ignorant ass. I will not grant you the title automatically based on the color of your skin. You can’t people are too surprising to do that. I am just sick of this victim mentality being literally force fed into the black community by those who use it as an excuse for everything. He or she must be racist. He didn’t get the job because he was black……you assume she’s black because of the way she talks….It’s such a convenient excuse for not trying, or failing.

Equality means that we have the same potential. It doesn’t mean we start in the same place. It doesn’t mean we will have all of the same opportunities. It means we have to make our own opportunities. Equality means that we have the potential to all succeed. It doesn’t mean you will be given what others have. It means you have the same chance to succeed as others do. Equality doesn’t excuse you from working hard, from getting an education, from making the right choices. Equality doesn’t automatically grant you respect. That must be earned in any case.

If the black community wants to end racism they can. White people can’t do it on their own. It’s a two way street. Cracker, honky, peckerwood, white boy…those words and any I may have missed need to die a death right alongside nigger, spade, and spook. It can’t be okay for blacks to say shit if whites can’t. That’s not equality. If you don’t want equality, then keep saying it. It’s not okay for a black person to say nigger. It’s a derogatory word no matter who says it. How is white America supposed to take it seriously when hip-hop culture glorifies the use of the word? If a black comedian gets on stage and uses it to get some applause? The only way the word  will dies is from lack of use.

I would love to see complete equality. That means we not only treat each other as equals, it means that we act equally. That we are equally accountable for our actions. We are equally accountable for our potential. First, we need to have a national dialogue about what equality is, because I don’t think we can all agree on that at the moment. And we all need to stop making excuses for our conduct, and the conduct of others.

I leave you with this final though….

An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity”.

                                                                                Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Motivation

Motivation

I watch this video a lot whenever I need that pre-workout motivation, or that post workout  validation. Like those days where you worked out but you weren’t really feeling it afterwards….you feel like you could have done better. I watch this and I remind myself that even though I didn’t set any new personal records today, sometimes its those days where you don’t want to work out but do anyway that are the most rewarding. Not because you got stronger, but because you built discipline.

Last though for the day…

I will leave you with this quote from Shakespeare, MacBeth, Act 5.It’s not one of my favorite plays, but it is one of my favorite quotes.

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

It’s such a poetic way to say that life itself is trivial, and doesn’t mean half as much as you think. I like to look at it as saying “don’t take shit too seriously. Have fun because in the end we all die.” Of course I could never say it as fluidly and interestingly as the bard…

The Not So Secret Garden

It started several years ago. I noticed that several of the neighbors in my building had planted some flowers around the building. Upon further investigation, I discovered that some of them were actually growing vegetables and the property managers did not seem to mind.

So I thought that if they can do it, so can I. So I staked out my claim a few springs ago, tilled, fertilized and planted. I had moderate success that year. At the end of the summer a squirrel somehow managed to die behind my peppers against the wall of the building. I left the carcass there until insects, animals and decay picked it clean. The bleached skull I set on the window ledge for reasons I really can’t explain other than it kinda looked cool. And I took to calling my garden “Dead Squirrel Farm”. Pardon my sick humor.

The next season, I tilled and fertilized, weeded and planted and boy did I have a bumper crop of stuff. I made jokes about the power of the squirrel’s spirit giving life to the plants and such. I had a ton of cherry tomatoes, buckets of green beans, and enough jalapeno peppers to supply a Mexican restaurant. even planted some herbs that did fairly well. The remaining rose bush that I planted the first year had grown simply huge. I had planted some decorative annuals, but decided they just weren’t worth it in the end.

So this year I decided to go for broke. I have done fairly well growing stuff. Having a degree in horticulture does help. So I kept track of everything I spent, and I planted and tilled and by early May I had it all in. It was dicey a few nights and I had some die back on my cucumbers and cantaloupe, but we are in full swing now.

It cost me $58 for the seeds, plants, manure, peat moss, fertilizer and topsoil. My goal is to make that back in vegetables. I am basing the costs I am recouping on harvested vegetables based on what it would cost me if I purchased them. I will ignore the fact that everything I grow is completely organic, because organic vegetables cost more. Historically, even for organic produce, I can manage to pull some big-ass vegetables out of there. So if I keep that up, I only have to worry about quantity.

Allow me to digress for a moment before I wrap things up. When Thoreau was living in the woods, prior to writing Walden, he attempted to grow most of his own food and be self sufficient. He did fairly well, using less than a half-acre and producing a great quantity of food. My goal is not to be self-sufficient. I don’t have near enough land, time or resources to start that endeavor. However, I will prove that with a minimal amount of knowledge, space and time with just some motivation and will that anyone can grow organic, fresh produce for themselves. My goal is to more than break even, it is to profit from it. Not by selling the excess. I will most likely give some of it away. I just want to grow more than I could buy with $58 at Wegmans.

Right now, I have cherry tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, green beans, cucumbers, cantaloupe, romaine lettuce, Boston lettuce, basil, oregano, spearmint, rosemary and something called a lemon cucumber (not sure but it is supposed to be a round, yellow, cucumber like thing). My tomato plants are doing great, same for the peppers, cucumbers, and cantaloupe. The beans are coming along and I have staggered the planting, throwing a few more in each week. My hope is to have a steady supply of beans rolling in.  Things are good so far. I will track and post my progress in short periodic updates.

Now I am off to weed.

Oh my F%^%kin god, they did not!

Yup, they did. The AMA went and made Obesity a disease. I don’t think America really realizes the consequences. I am no string bean, but I am pretty healthy all things considered and on the path of getting better each day thanks to hard work, discipline, and educating myself. But that is another category in here. I am referring to those who are truly obese. Those whom sweat when they eat…….

Let’s start with the announcement. Last week the American Medical Association made the announcement officially classifying obesity as a disease. A move they said would help doctors take obesity seriously. That makes me wonder why they were not before. Also, why weren’t we? Keep in mind that the there are several factors here. First, there is no universally accepted definition of what constitutes a disease. So when we think of things like cancer, the flu, and meningitis, you know things you  can’t really prevent, when we think of a disease.

Second, and most important, the AMA is a lobby group. They are not the government. So their decision cannot be influenced by law. This lobby group did so against the opinion of a committee they had formed to study the matter. So why would this group of doctors go against the words and wishes of their own internal committee appointed to study the matter?

Money. See many obesity treatments and drugs are not really covered by traditional insurance. By having the AMA legitimize it, insurance companies will be more inclined to pay. Who makes out from that? Clinics, drug companies, doctors, hospitals, you know the health care industry. Let’s not forget they are a business, and business is good. Think doctors won’t get rewarded for prescribing many of the new obesity drugs hitting the market this year? Oh you bet they will.  Also, someone has to make the “lap band” and all the crap they use to sew your stomach shut instead of your mouth. This is a con job from the get go. This whole thing is so the legions of pharma companies, and health care companies can make money by giving obese people an easy out. They even found a way to make you feel not so bad about being fat.

They also said they did it to help raise awareness of type 2 diabetes. his is the stupidest part of the argument. Remember when the American Heart Association and all the other groups like the AMA all got on board with saying low-fat was bad? They did that in the hopes that if you avoided all fat, you would avoid the bad ones. Then they had us replace the fats (even the good ones) with processed carbohydrates. Boom, epidemic. So now it really still isn’t their fault. They weren’t wrong! Holy shit, why didn’t we think of it before? It’s not our bad advice that made you fat, it’s a disease.

If at this point you actually trust your doctor when it comes to nutrition, I am sorry but you’re stupid. The information they have to work off of is mostly based on junk science and stuff fed to them by lobby groups. Sure they are taught nutritional basics in Med School, but do they really understand it? They can make some generalizations but it stops there. The best and most generic advice they can give you is eat less, eat better and exercise.

I am sorry, but I will just say it. Obesity is not a disease. There may be some things that predispose you to be fat, genetics, thyroid, side affects of medication, laid up with a debilitating injury. These are symptoms, contributors only. They are not why you are obese. You can argue with me all day, but 99.9% of the obese population does not have an affliction that is completely uncontrollable and making them gain weight.

Your body does not gain weight simply by existing. Your weight is a direct result of what you put in your mouth, how your body reacts to it, and your genetic makeup. Thyroid problems causing weight gain? They can treat that, so stop blaming it. Mom had big hips, well you will too if you eat and live like she did. You got that same belly as your uncle Frank, I bet you and he have a few “tastes” in common.

The biggest influence of all of this is you. Your attitude, what you eat, how much exercise you get. That’s what bugs me about weight loss surgery. I have seen a few people do it. And in each case they gain the weight back eventually. Why? Because they do not fundamentally change their lifestyle. They do at first because the alteration to their body leaves no choice. But eventually they overcome that and little by little the fat creeps back in then ….booom. Fat again. Gastric bypass, lap band and all that other crap is the easy way out. That’s why it sometimes doesn’t work. Do the work, get the results. The mental transformation you go through will stick with you much longer than any quick fix surgery, or pill.

Now back to the announcement. They day it came out how many American’s were thinking of doing something about their weight loss, but were wavering on the fence? Ten thousand?Twenty? More most likely. How many do you think are still willing to make the fundamental lifestyle changes necessary now that the AMA gave them the easy way out? I would say less than a third. Why should they? They can go to the doctor and get a pill. The drug companies will even give you a brochure of things to say to your doctor to steer them into prescribing you their new pill. They educated the Doctor’s on what to listen for.

Nice job AMA. I bet if you take an obesity snapshot of America right now and another one in ten years you will see it has gotten worse. All the AMA did is give obese people an excuse. You won’t convince me, ever. And now how much is it going to cost all of us? How many BILLIONS more in health care costs to treat this “disease”?

I will write you a prescription to Planet Fitness right now. Twenty dollar monthly co-pay. Stop whining about your circumstances between bites of Oreo and slurps of chocolate milk. I sometimes pant when I get to the top of the stairs, but that’s because I run up them. What’s your excuse? Cheeseburger addiction?

In my world you can legally chase fat people with a car……AT A MODERATE SPEED OF COURSE. I have no sympathy for you. There are people that I work out with that are trying to lose weight and I respect the fact they are trying. I will never begrudge them that. The rest of you…..remember, it’s called a “pie hole” for a reason. Shut it.

I gotta stop now before I get really nasty. But I feel a little better having ranted all of that out of my system. Until I see the next fat person wheeling around WalMart in an electric cart, with a box of Rice Krispy Squares and a jug of Hawaiian punch in the basket.  Then I will probably start up again.

Here is a link to the story if you want to read it for yourself:

http://bismarcktribune.com/lifestyles/health-med-fit/ama-makes-controversial-pronouncement-obesity-is-a-disease/article_c9e2bba4-dd54-11e2-b602-001a4bcf887a.html

Oh my aching shins..

So I have decided to keep a category on my heath and fitness.Or rather my quest for a healthier and fitter me. My family on my Father’s side left me many gifts. Among those gifts are genetic pre-disposition to heart disease and obesity. So health for me is more than just wanting to be thin, muscular and look good naked….

I don’t want to look like a melting candle when I get older. I don’t want that big round belly gushing out from the bottom of my t-shirt when I reach over my head.  I don’t want an aneurysm while lugging in the groceries when a bacon clot busts loose and lodges in my heart.

In December I decided to shock my body and start CrossFit. So I did my “on-ramp”and started in. It was expensive, it was tough and it was frustrating. I kept getting hurt and I didn’t feel I was getting all I could out of it. So after getting hurt one last time, I left that place for greener pastures. Maybe it wasn’t CrossFit, but rather my gym, or “box” as we say.

So I went to this new place a few weeks ago called CrossFit Webster, a sister-box of Flower City CrossFit. They had a grand-opening special for boot-camp classes, so I signed up. I went through boot camp (for real) back in ’89, so I kind of thought my body would remember…..yeah, that’s a load of crap. My body didn’t remember.  So after two weeks of boot camp, my shoulder is actually healing good, and my cardio is getting up there. I have made the decision to try out their “on-ramp” fundamentals program. If I think my  problem was bad introductory training at the last place, this is my shot to undo the damage.Besides, I really like the place and the instructors are great. Constantly encouraging, pushing and critiquing your technique. Motivating you to do more. Not standing around in the corner shooting the shit with their friends while you blow out your rotator cuff doing kipping pull-ups.

By blogging not only will I get to track my progress, but I will hold myself accountable by putting myself out there. I am not counting on others to post motivational comments, or offer words of encouragement. I have to do this on my own. What I offer you is a chance to learn from my mistakes and my victories. I might just get something right.

And, I know it will make me feel guilty if I start to slack off from my goals. Psychologically, knowing that you know about all this  will help hold me accountable. So I will be doing CrossFit and continuing with sticking to eating Paleo. I am not really charting my weight loss, as much as going by how I look and feel. My other goal is to compete i the CrossFit Open Games next spring…..I don’t expect to be #1 in the region and go to the games. But I am competitive and I do expect to give it my all and see how many I can take down along the way. I will be the catfish in the tank that make the other fish swim faster.

I will hold myself accountable to all of you. So lets go. Right now my shins hurt from a double-under clinic. But I managed to improve a little. Tomorrow I have a boot-camp class after work and I am signing up for the CrossFit fundamentals class to transition into the faster paced CrossFit classes.

I would say wish me luck…….but that’s not my style.