November 1st, 2007

Sea dragon

A day brightener, my Halloween review.

Oh, Jesus, is it really November?

Into every day, a little beam of sunshine must shine, I think.

Last night's gettogether Chez booklectic was quite nice - it really felt like family. We watched Carry On Screaming, which was, I don't know, like Benny Hill meets The Three Stooges. We also ate bacon and a special Halloween themed meal prepared by adjectivemarcus.

I slept like a rock again thanks to some melatonin and judicious use of the Very Quiet Back Bedroom. Aaah. And this morning I had a nice surprise on the way in: the Metro had printed a picture of the Seattle skyline all dolled up for Halloween. When I realized I'd worked in about 10 of the buildings in the picture it made me feel quite nostalgic! (shadowdaddy, who worked in the tallest, green-capped building and watched the WTO protests, with rolling tear-gas clouds from its windows, may be somewhat less nostalgic ...)

Death by bacon

Well, all the papers are overwhelmed with the news today that BACON KILLS! Well, really the article is saying that fatty foods cause cancer, and that bacon causes colon cancer.

I have a couple of problems with this.

First, I think part of the reason people GET cancer is because they're living longer than they ever did. This isn't addressed. I mean, if we're all going to die, there has to be some cause eventually, right?

Second, I feel this tack very much leans toward "blaming" people for getting cancer, as if the crap in our environment these days isn't a problem all on its own. But I really don't like the idea of people seeing cancer victims as "bringing it on themselves." If you've rotted your liver through drinking or your teeth have fallen out from using meth, that's one thing, but I don't think for cancer people should be working so hard to figure out something like what you eat as "the cause" unless you're eating mercury-laden fish.

Third, I feel all of this dates back to the original mistaken pronouncements that fat is bad for you. Seriously, read this article. "The notion that fatty foods shorten your life began as a hypothesis based on dubious assumptions and data; when scientists tried to confirm it they failed repeatedly. The evidence against Häagen-Dazs was nothing like the evidence against Marlboros." I feel that so frequently the things that vary in people's diet serve as markers to lifestyles and other things that it's impossible to get really good stats on the effect of food on your health, and the whole question of genetic predisposition for cancer just knocks the food issue right down in terms of the strength of its causation. Look at this other article: "obese and very obese patients were only half as likely as those of normal weight to die in the three years after the attack." This, however, isn't stigmatizing "those indulgent disgusting fat people" so it didn't get very much coverage.

Overall, I feel like it's also a sign of the obsession with "nutritionism" as discussed by Micahel Pollan in his great article "Unhappy Meals." Let's recite his mantra: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." The more nuanced version is at the end of the article: "People who eat according to the rules of a traditional food culture are generally healthier than we are. Any traditional diet will do: if it weren’t a healthy diet, the people who follow it wouldn’t still be around." So I'll have a little lamb chop and some fresh vegetables and yummy pasta and NOT feel bad about adding the pancetta to the kale, because it's not going to kill me, and I'll have a bit of red wine to go with it, too. Now, who's coming over for dinner?

And finally: can we please have more people worring about how narrow their minds are instead of how narrow their butts aren't? That's a self-help movement I'd like to see taking over the world - on the cover of Cosmo, pictures of celebrities in the papers, debated in the media and on the talkshows. It might not help reduce cancer but I think it would make the world a much better place to live.
I Miss America

Meanwhile the monkey in power is once again trying to avoid the facts of the matter

President Bush, seeking to salvage the nomination of Michael Mukasey as attorney general, on Thursday defended the former judge's refusal to say whether he considers waterboarding as illegal torture.

Bush said it was unfair to ask Mukasey about interrogation techniques on which he has not been briefed. "He doesn't know whether we use that technique or not," the president told a group of reporters invited into the Oval Office.

(I'm sorry, why does he have to be "briefed" about waterboarding in order to say whether or not it's illegal, or, to be more clear, torture? That's not a hard question to answer. "Burning people with cigarettes, is this right or wrong? Holding people in secret detention and ignoring habeus corpus, right or wrong?")

Further, Bush said, "It doesn't make any sense to tell the enemy whether we use those techniques or not."

(Uh ... isn't he really saying he doesn't want to admit it to the American people?)

Asked whether he considers waterboarding legal, Bush replied, "I'm not going to talk about techniques. There's an enemy out there."

(Yep, that's right, there's an enemy ... the American people who should rightfully be outraged by having a government that tortures people. The article continues ...)

[Bush] said he was concerned that some people "have lost sight of the fact that we are at war with extremists and radicals." (end article quote)

Wow, he got one thing right! But what he MISSED is that the extremists and radicals we are at war with are the nutty freaking NeoCons that are running the White House! JESUS!

Did you know when I was back home I was afraid to publish this stuff not friends locked for fear it would make it more difficult for me to travel internationally?