Monthly Archives: September 2013

The Power of Snot

Every now and then, we see a baby and I hear a variation on the theme of “Isn’t he/she cute?”. More often than not, I nod my head mutely. What is going through my mind, however, is something along the lines of “Ew. It has snot coming out of its ears”.

Don’t misunderstand me; there is something about small people with big heads and even bigger eyes that brings out the protective instincts in us; that is one of the things that separate us mammals from reptiles, who eat their young without a second thought. That is normal and natural.

The ability for children to produce copious quantities of snot is a source of wonderment to me. But I am not immune; I suffer from a post-nasal drip which gives me horrible breath. The only cure that works is washing out my sinuses. The problem is, the more I do this, the more my sinuses step up their game to compensate. At some point I end up in a battle against something my body naturally wants to do – a battle I am destined to lose. So I have to pick my battles and only treat the problem when I have to, and just “live with it” for the rest of the time.

This made me think about how society solves social problems, such as the abuse of alcohol, drugs, tobacco and sugar (not yet, but watch this space). A century ago, some good and well-meaning people pressured the government into amending the constitution to ban Alcohol. And Prohibition was born. For fourteen years, we lived with Prohibition. The result? Alcoholism went up, and as an added bonus, small-time hoodlums, attracted by the money to be made from the lure of illicit booze grew into the organized crime industry that we know today. In one of the most spectacular legislative U-turns in history, Prohibition was repealed in 1935. We are still living with te consequences of this “mistake” today.

So here we are in the twenty-first century; Alcohol is legal. Drugs are illegal. Tobacco is legal. Firearms are legal, but “Assault Weapons” are illegal. It is illegal to sell a kidney – or sex – but quite legal to give them away – and it is even considered virtuous to do so. Yet the illegal things still happen, and in many cases are growing problems.

The real issue here is that you can’t use laws to prevent people from doing what they have already decided to do. Or, to put it another way…

There is no defense against the power of snot.

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I am my own Lab Rat

For the past few years I have been thinking more and more about the human condition; what out bodies are meant to do, how they work, and what makes them break down. I have watched too many men my age or younger dropping like flies from heart attacks, and I have seen too many fat kids wandering around supermarkets with carts full of chips, soda, cookies and candy. This is what I have learned:

Sugar is a Poison: In my younger days, I used to have three spoons of sugar in my tea, and four to six cups a day. These days I have none. A youtube video finally made me realize that sugar is a poison – a sweet-tasting poison, but a poison nonetheless. I still consume sugar, but only occasionally, and in miniscule quantities.

Fat does not make you fat: America has been on a low-fat diet since the 70s. It hasn’t worked. But the government won’t admit when they’re wrong (too much liability and loss of face/confidence, I suspect) – and the food lobbyists and trade organizations like things just the way they are. Yes, some fats are bad for you, but others are actually good. Full fat yogurt tastes better, and you eat much less of it (four ounces leaves me feeling full). Full-fat milk tastes creamier and you drink less of it.

It’s not Junk Food, it’s just junk:  I haven’t had a fast-food hamburger in about two years. I love burgers, fries, pizza and fried food. But they don’t love me.

Listen to your body. The ad-men say that you should pop a pill if you get indigestion. I say that Indigestion is God (or the universe) telling you that you shouldn’t have ate what you just ate. Or that you ate too fast. Or too much.

Exercise is important, but don’t go overboard. I flatten my belly with ten minutes of exercise a day. If I wanted six-pack abs, I could get them by putting in an extra couple of hours each day, but it’s not worth it for me. I do a lot of walking (but not enough!) but I love my knees too much to go running.

Trust the Government? There are over four hundred food additives approved by the FDA. Not one of them is there for your benefit. So who’s watching your back? You are.

Am I right? I don’t know – but I am in better physical shape now then I was ten years ago.

Want to get started? Watch the Video: Sugar: The Bitter Truth, then read any of the the following books:

  • “Food Rules” by Michael Pollan
  • “Fat Chance” by Robert Lustig
  • “Younger Next Year” by Chris Crowley and Dr. Harry Lodge

Thoughtless

Picture this: You’re in the shower and have run out of soap. You stumble out of the shower, dripping everywhere, and lay your hand on this:

image

Child-proof, adult-proof, bomb-proof.

Only one problem: how the heck are you supposed to open it? You turn it over in your hands, looking for a way in, but there is none.

I know that in-store theft is a problem, but seriously guys…

Put a easy-open tab on it.