Why do we have to get healthy RIGHT NOW? It’s not about looks.

Why do I blather on so?

I didn’t have to share my weight loss journal with you. I do these weight drops routinely.  It’s very trendy these days to cry “narcissism” at anyone sharing anything personal on social media, but that’s cheap.  At this point, this blog is only read by a percentage of my Facebook friends, so I really am writing to friends and I want to help people understand my alarmist view. Stuff is going to get expensive really soon and if I can convince you of the urgency you need getting out from under it, maybe I can help you accomplish getting out from under it as well.

As I have stated, I have an interest in the science, but I also have civic-mindedness that grows from this; from inner city food deserts to helpless children who can’t yet read but need insulin shots owing to no other reason than diet. What a world we’ve created, where 3rd world countries that formerly called pathogen-carrying insects its biggest killer now succumb mostly to metabolic diseases. We’re exporting the sickness.

Ask the World Health Organization

Hopefully by now I have given you the impression that my concern with the obesity epidemic is not “looksist”. I don’t care what you look like naked (we have alcohol for that, baby) and all of the information I give you is to get you healthy, not make you look like an underwear model.

Obesity is a normal part of the human condition.  But jump from ~12% to ~33% in one generation is not in our genetics. This is indicative of exposure-the effect of an outside influence, not nature. Our workforce is sluggish and useless at a public a cost of millions. Our military is in a panic. Every industry has been re-tooling for morbidly obese clients, from giant wheelchairs to plane, car and theater seats (with costs passed on to you). All occupancy signs must be changed.  A boat sank because it was loaded to occupancy but everyone on it was as big as two people. Most of us just laugh at this.

OK, we enjoy the misery of our fellow man and our own in a cynical way. If you warned me of the dangers of fat when I were a 19-year-old, I would have said, “Good, I hope I’m dead before I’m 30.” or “Well, something’s going to kill me.” We’re all just too cool.  But what about the epidemic of obese and Type-2 diabetic two-year-olds? They aren’t on the diet & exercise program. We don’t know how to feed our children. There are those out there who are of the politic that says children should be taken away from parents for child abuse like that. Sound ridiculous? Have you never seen Governments do ridiculous things?

Complications from metabolic syndrome account for a large percentage of healthcare costs.  Think it doesn’t affect you? Most bankruptcies are attributed to healthcare bills. When someone has to give up their home in your neighborhood, it lowers your property value. Every company you interact with passes along the cost of its productivity losses to its customers.  And these sick people are chewing through healthcare costs at an unbelievable clip. No one can afford it. We expect the other guy to pay because “it’s our right”.  That’s a Faustian bargain, my friend. And you’ve already signed with blood.

Obesity compounds almost every disease out there and every disease research entity has had to add a new wing called “Our Disease + Morbid Obesity”.  In fact, Big Pharma has moved is resources away from investigating drugs that can knock out a disease in one treatment or drugs that have small population targets, Orphan Drug Act be damned. They are much more interested in drugs like statins that they can keep large populations on for decades. I wonder why. We have not increased our lifespans, we have increased our dying spans. You can now founder along for decades as a diabetic with chronic liver dysfunction who can have heart surgery every 7 years. Hooray!

As Doug McGuff says, “Nature is a hanging judge.”  There is no room for this in nature. And the baby boomers set up a Government Ponzi Scheme and fully expect all 37 of us Gen Xers to pay for their entire boom generation to go through this. And everyone younger than us expects us to pay for college tuition.  Prepare for clock tower snipers.

Now lets talk about this menace of a healthcare system. My right-winger and libertarian friends need to understand that the Libertarian Dream is dead. Also, The personal responsibility argument has scattered to the four winds as will be explained over several posts. We all live in the same healthcare bubble all of a sudden.

You didn’t stop Obamacare (not that you had a chance, you would have had to start the fight 90 years ago). The horse is out of the barn and we’re headed for a single-payer health system faster than Rosie headed for the pie table. Gub’mint regulations and compliance orders have already effectively destroyed private practice. Those doctors begged to become hospital employees because they couldn’t afford the regulatory burden.  The next step is for small and local hospitals to beg to be bought up by Mega Hospitals.  Begin the count-down to Lake Hospital System becoming the Cleveland Clinic now.

The same will happen with insurance. You will eventually drop your private insurance and employer plans and pay the relatively smaller price or tax penalty through the exchanges. That or your employer will do it for you. Then when private healthcare collapses (if the medical loss ratio provision doesn’t do it first ) and it’s just you and the government looking at each other, the sky will be the limit on cost. There are thousands of pages out there explaining how and why this will happen. If you haven’t dug it up by now, you won’t.  And you’re likely one of the ones who think you have a nice free ride coming.  Just in case you would like to review current supposedly non-partisan projections, here’s the Congressional Budget Office Outlook for 2015 that claims this will cost $50,000 per person (NOT counting your premiums or out-of-pocket spending) and Trillions (a figure to which you’re numb) in taxes.

Just keep in mind that the United Kingdom’s NHS is one of the top 5 largest employers on the planet. Like, world-wide Walmart-sized.  The UK has the population of California + Texas and land mass a bit smaller than Texas. The cost of something like this on a scale the size of America’s is insurmountable.  And we plan oversight and enforcement and data mining and regulatory costs at unprecedented levels (for taxes, silly, not for quality).

What is “insurance”?

You are insuring against unforeseen future events.  This is why people say “no one buys insurance for a house that is already on fire”.  This is meant to define “pre-existing conditions”.  Pre-existing conditions are the difference between insurance and charity. If you were born with Phenylketoneuria and suffer life-long cripplingly-expensive complications, there is nothing to insure against. They knew it was there at birth. You need charity, not insurance. If you are indigent, you need charity. But our modern “healthcare system” rolls them together. Add to that the ability for larger groups of people to have greater buying power for supplies and services. Your insurance group is a buying group, which replaces our old-time systems of Fraternal Orders (Eagles, Oddfellows, Etc.).

Add to that the use of premiums to pay for low-level office visits, exams and procedures so you have the comfort of no out-of pocket expense all trying to ride in the front seat of a massive technology curve which makes this a multi-headed hydra of money-suck with no accounting, accountability and vague or hidden prices all removed from your paycheck before you have a chance to review. And politicians love to conflate these functions and dance around their definitions and re-characterize the goals of healthcare to achieve political ends.

And now buy-in is law. Criticize and beg for accountability of your money all you want, sucker!

What does this have to do with being overweight?  As we head toward single-payerdom, obesity, dietarily-induced metabolic dysfunction, tobacco use and maybe alcohol consumption will head toward heavy penalization in the name of personal responsibility. And they don’t care if BMI is not an accurate marker for health. They don’t care if subcutaneous fat has a different health profile from visceral fat. And they don’t care if inner city children are being fed sugar water called “Juice” on the WIC program because the USDA thinks that’s health food.  They don’t care if inner city children have insanely high blood glucose levels 20 hours a day because they are fed nothing but boxed food. We’ll just give them all gastric by-pass surgery and guess what – you’re going to pay for that, too! Then they’ll be old enough to move to Gatorade.

What do you expect to happen when the government runs the healthcare system? Your ill health is costing everyone else money. And right now, societies believe that it is the fault and personal responsibility of the obese person to correct this. Yep, hold those 2-year-old diabetics responsible for their gluttony! Where could this all go? To what could it lead?

Japan has a state-prescribed waistline measurement. The Japanese who do not comport are given guidelines for health. If improvement isn’t shown within 90 days, they are sent for “re-education”, whatever that means.

Now this conjures expeditionary enforcement of citizen behavior by its Government but things don’t work like that in America. We were founded by people who don’t like being told what to do.  But it’s just not very hard to outwit us, especially if Football is on or if we have a sparkly gadget. Or a cheeseburger (guilty).

The government knows that all they have to do is bungle things up until you just beg them to take the whole thing over and make life easier for you.  This is why law enforcement is shrugging their shoulders over gun crime. They are waiting for you to beg them to take them all away after you see enough senseless death.  This is a lesson in all collectivism.

First off, keep in mind incrementalism and “mission creep”.  That 50-employee cut-off will eventually become 35, then 10, then 2, then 1.

What you see up top is coming your way.

If you work for a large entity (say, CWRU or Progessive)- you may have available to you a Wellness Program.

Perhaps you work for a smaller company and a “wellness consultant” has mysteriously shown up in the past year.

This is a nice perk if you need it.

The next step is “incentivizement”. Whole Foods will give you a better employee discount based on your blood pressure, cholesterol and BMI.

Here is an Email that went out 16 days ago from CWRU:

Dear CWRU employee, 

Welcome to the first wellness newsletter of the new year! The 54% of benefits eligible employees who completed the three wellness activities last fall will receive this newsletter and the $25 monthly Wellness Premium Incentive this year.  If you are a new wellness participant, welcome.  Please look for the $25 in the “earnings” section of each paycheck.
A full schedule of programs has been planned for 2015. Each of these will be offered throughout the year so that as many people as possible may participate. New stress management programs will be offered. In addition, a new program to support Healthy Backs & Bodies will occur. 
A Weight Watchers Subsidy Program began on January 1st for all benefits-eligible faculty and staff.  Details of this new offering are below.
Finally, 121 Fitness Center is launching new versions of the popular Get Fit series. Registration is now available for all of the programs below.

Great! More crap to keep track of in your paycheck and uses of your time that may or may not be beneficial, but covers your employer’s ass.

The “programs” you are coerced to take part in are things like “Stress Management & Resilience Training (S.M.A.R.T.)”, “Meditation”, “Mindfulness” and “Smoking Cessation”.

The next step is: Participate in these programs, or pay higher insurance

The step after that is: Participate in these programs, or pay insanely higher insurance.

The next step after that may be: Participate in these programs in order to have a job.

And the Employer or the Insurance company gets to look like the bad guy. Remember when CVS forced employees to report weight, glucose levels, and body fat to their insurer, or pay a penalty of $600?  They were called everything but white women, but this is the same situation. They just brought in WebMD Health Services Group to provide health management programs as coerced by federal guidelines.

Here is the kick in the ass: It’s almost all because of what you eat and the Government is making sure (with your tax money) you get garbage at a discount. But we’ll get into that later. For now we need to keep discussing the urgency with which you need to lose weight and probably quit smoking unless you make a lot of money.

In a 2012 Talk entitled Fitness, Health, and Liberty at the 21Convention, Doug McGuff, an Emergency Room MD from South Carolina explains exactly how this is already irrevocably around your neck and only going to tighten by giving a history of our healthcare system over the past 100 years. There is something in it for the liberals because he’s going to beat up on the Big Business. There is something in it for the conservatives because he is going to indict the Government. He will undeniably show how everyone involved, including 100 years worth of stupid voters are at fault for this mess and why you really only have one job now which is to

Stay Out of The Belly of This Beast.

Which I have painstakingly transcribed for you for review of and comment upon.

Please follow the link in the large text just above in order to watch or read it.


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The Definitive Photographic Guide to Making Souse

updated 03Mar17

Many of you know it as head cheese or Brawn if you’re British. Some confuse it with Scrapple (Head cheese + corn meal) which is similar to Goetta (with oats) if you live in Cincinatti. It can be made into a loaf and sliced for sandwiches, but I prefer to prepare it the way my grandmother did, which is canned in mason jars.

My particular Hillbilly heritage hails from the Big Savage Mountain area of the Alleghenies. We’re from Frostburg & Cumberland, MD and Salisbury, PA. We’re mountain folk who tended to be Methodists, whose preachers had no church hall, but rode a circuit on horseback with little more than a blanket- traveling to the isolated hillfolk to spread the Gospel. We are also the type of hillfolk that call headcheese,”souse”, which is also how we describe being drunk.  Getting “soused” and staying “soused” is all my people had to do when snowed in from harvest-time to spring thaw.

Heh, “My people”.

Whenever my schedule allows, I pick up a pig head from New Creation Farm. I understand that in some parts of the country, Walmart carries frozen pig heads.  God Bless. But I try to source local meats from places where I am fairly certain I am aware of their husbandry practices. There is much to read about New Creation Farm (and pictures) as well as philosophizing about meat-sourcing in the post entitled “On Buying meat for food“.

This is how you sneak a pig head into the house. This is all your wife should see until the canning is done. Even then, it’s best to have a hiding spot in the basement (not for the canning jars, for you). Take a spoon.

Prepare your work-space out of doors, if you can. Especially if your wife has locked you out.

Here’s how it looks when you first unwrap it. It needs a little shave. Some people have a (hopefully) dedicated straight razor just for this job.

I, however, just use a torch. Don’t forget to get deep into the ears.

The Foxfire Book‘s second chapter concerns a couple of young guys who are helping an elderly lady named “Aunt Arie”  butcher a pig head.  There is a humorous moment when she digs one of the eyes out with a butcher knife and flings it outside, onto a near-by tin roof and it rolls off and hangs “bobbing on a clothes line”. They ask her if it bothers her and she replies, “I don’t care fer’t bit more’n spit’n’th’fire”.

That is not a great way to accomplish this job.  I now pull on the eye with a pair of needle-nose pliers and cut the optic nerve with a pair of kitchen shears.

There is a Department of Agriculture stamp. I don’t know if it’s edible. I cut it off just to be safe.

I also remove the ears.  Some people don’t, they add it to the Souse.  But some complain that the ears are too gristley. I don’t know because I don’t want to risk making a whole batch that is not to my liking, so I remove them just in case. There are recipes out there for just the ears, so maybe I will try one of those one day but it hardly seems worth it for two ears. I throw these into the woods for the animals and let the thought of one of the neighbor dogs running home with these or a skull entertain me.

Next I cut them down to stock pot size with a Sawzall fitted with a long wood blade. You see here in the cross section the hog jowels- pretty much the most delectable meat on the planet. Like a butt roast, it is strong, well-used muscle that must be cooked slow and low into a mouth-watering thing of beauty.

If you can get a hold of some trotters, they add a lot of gelatin (aspic) to the mixture and help a lot when trying to get this to set up if you choose to make a loaf instead of canning it.

You can throw anything you like in at this point. Use spices, trotters, herbs (traditionally Sage), vegetables-whatever suits your fancy. This is your time to make a personal recipe they will be begging for at the company pot lucks. If you are uninspired or not handy with spices, search for bone broth / soup stock recipes and use those spice mixtures. Here’s a simple one that I enjoy. Start here and let your imagination run wild.

Next boil it forever. The longer you boil it, the more you will cook out of the bones.  I suggest 6-8 hours at minimum.  I often simmer it overnight and if I can stand it, 18 hours. This would be a good project on a wood stove.

I was visiting my cajun-country friend not long ago and he had recently taken his kids on a pig hunt. Feral animals of the Porcine persuasion are BIG TROUBLE in the South and they are heading north.  They are super-aggressive, a threat to children, property (I’ve seen full-sized pig roadkill – imagine THAT crash!) and the environment. If you go on a feral pig hunt, you are a hero to society. Them Cajuns trap wild piglets and raise them in pens for a season or two.

This is “Rooty”.

So my cajun-country friend and I decide to make some souse in a a Crawfish boiler.   Taking a cue from the bone broth recipes, I had been adding vinegar early on in the water to leach calcium out of the bones.  I said, “OK, add a bunch of vinegar”. I meant a few good splashes. After I heard about the 10th, “glub-glub-glub” I looked over to see that he had added about 1/3 of a gallon of apple cider vinegar.

“Whoa! Dude! That’s a lot!”

Here I am coveting. I need one of these crawfish pots SO BAD!!

I was worried, and for a moment assumed we had ruined it.  But the end result was delicious. He set it up as a loaf-style terrine. And the skull was so soft I could crush it with my hands (but I left it for his kids to play with).  That bony goodness was now bio-available, set in aspic. For the love of Ted Nugent.  So don’t be afraid of vinegar.

Next, remove the head from the water. Be careful because it is pig-fat slippery and will fall apart and splash into the boiling water if you’re not careful. It is easy to pick the bones out at this point.

A quick hammer whack will get you to the brain. Be sure to keep yelling “BRAAAAAINNNNNN…MORE BRAINN!!” to the annoyance of those around you.

(no one will be around you)

I try to grind it as fast as possible so that I can hot-pack into the Mason jars. Or I keep it hot in an electric skillet, either loose or in unsealed jars. Try not to think about The Wall. Damn You, Roger Waters! Or if you’ve ever been to a GWAR show…

The stock that is left behind will settle into 3 layers: a snow-white mild lard that can be used for baking, a dark, flavorful lard that is similar to bacon grease, and a thick, rich bone broth that can be used for soup stocks, making rice or drinking, etc…

If you cook a long time or add a trotter or two, the bone broth will be so thick and gelatinous, you can stand a heavy spoon in it once it chills. Lovely for your hair and nails.

If you are on a budget, this is the way to feed your family.  A $15 head will give you several quarts of stock and many pounds of meat. One day I will figure out the calorie price. You can’t beat this anywhere and it’s such nourishing meat.

I’ve been experimenting with smoking the head instead of boiling. I was VERY happy with this. And the big pressure canner is big enough to accommodate a whole head. I don’t need to use the sawzall.

Since I don’t have a great smoker, I finish it in a pressure cooker with very little water – you can still the Stock spices if you like. When you do it this way, you don’t lose the fats into the broth. It gets mixed in with the meat canning. The smoked head is hard as shoe leather. Once again, I was convinced I had ruined it, but it softened beautifully in the pressure cooker.

This is what a smoked head looks like after pressure cooking. Spooky, no?

Here’s a jar of smoked souse in front of “regular”. It has a very rich, dark color and visibly more fat- great for us ketosis junkies.

Here we’re packed and ready for the canner. Use your canner’s instructions.

I’ve even tried a dry brine. I like what “Meathead Goldwyn” has to say about dry brining as opposed to bath brining over at Amazing Ribs. I also find this science of brining article helpful not only for meats but Lactofermentation of vegetables.

My favorite preparation is just nested within (or next to) a bed of Collard or Mustard greens. Here, served with the bone broth and pink salt. I also love to toss the greens in flavored vinegar.

Another is rolled into steamed or blanched Chard leaves which are crisp and bitter enough to mitigate the high-fat mouthfeel of the souse which is salted and cooked to just a little crisp. I just need to come up with a sauce now. I’m thinking Sage-based. I may add a filler (more greens?)

And at the end of the day you have a new toy! Play ‘Lord of the Flies’ or make a scarecrow or marionette. Give it to the kids for crafts. Or just hope one of the neighbor dogs picks it up. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. I usually chase my wife around with it, making it yell, “Sucks to your ass-mar, Piggy!”

I will keep updating this post as the experiments continue.

Lastly, the number of youtube videos about this this are finally growing but here is my favorite. Dude just cuts it off the skull and rolls it into a loaf. Forgive his hairstyle.  I will definitely be trying this technique one day. I think I need a better knife first.

More info on the Feral Hog problem:

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On Buying Meat for Food

 As opposed to for art & entertainment.

This was originally an introduction to another post I’m writing called “The Definitive Photographic Guide to Making Souse“. But it got a little big and I want to be able to share this with those whose sensibilities are too delicate to enjoy the Souse post. Or as one great blogger (I will credit as soon as I remember) wrote: “Those who can not handle that strange alchemy by which animals become food.”

Do we need meat? I think so. I think you require animal meat and fats. Very little, though.  I subscribe to the gram of protein per kilogram of body weight theory, and subtract out the protein you get from plants. To me, the ideal diet would be to eat an allotment of meat as described above with all of the fat that comes with it, being 100 calories or 1000 calories of fat. There is no reason to eschew fatty meats for lean (especially if the lean has added nitrites & nitrates).  Then the balance of your caloric need should be nutrient-dense vegetables. Go easy on the fruit, especially when not in season and go easy on the root vegetables that are just under-ground carbohydrate bombs. But I’ve been known to hurt myself on roasted beets.  I try to eat more organ meats and offal than skeletal meat. I’ll get into the science and nutrition of all this in other posts.

Not that I stick to that eating plan worth a damn. But that is my goal. Only my social life throws me off.

“Meatless Monday” is about the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen.  What we need is “Carbless Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays” and 24 hour fasts 2-4 times a month before our pancreases go down like the runner at Marathon, as they have been left and right. Carbon tax on meat?  Well, the Gub’mint will never pass up an opportunity to regulate, but I’m more concerned about the fertilizers used in those Government-subsidized monocrop fields that feed those CAFOs washing down into the Gulf of Mexico.  I don’t even let myself think about the Government-approved meat now coming from China or what is really in those breaded and boxed frozen packages.  I’ve never eaten those as an adult.

 I no longer have to wander into the grocery and see that acre of red meat and just wonder what conditions produced it or what strange compounds they carry. I am fortunate to live moments way from New Creation Farm, a wonderful family that provides Scottish Highland Cattle, Free-range pigs, chicken and eggs.  Please read the article written about them in Edible Cleveland.

At New Creation Farm, I can meet & pet my food before I eat it, see where they live and ask Scott or Kristen all the questions I like about feed & preventative medicine.

Is it “expensive”?  Yes and no. You may pay more than you are used to paying, but what is the real cost of food?

Since you require so very little protein-you can take the time to source “expensive” ethically produced and chemically unmolested meats. In truth, you probably need a whole lot less than you’ve been buying. “Value prices” in meat are subsidized by animal misery, counterproductive medication and questionable shipping and storage practices, not to mention use of abused illegal immigrants that you subsidize 100 different ways through taxes.  Choose respectfully. Not that I’m proselytizing.

When we are so disconnected from our food- when we pay people to do our dirty work, this ultimately fosters more and worse animal abuse.  This is also why I think those of us who can hunt and fish really should. When you watch that thing die, you may develop a sense of what it really means to take a life to continue yours.  The deli doesn’t inspire much introspection toward that end.  I have a big post brewing on that topic, but that will be for  another day.

Here are some pictures from New Creation’s open house. If you live within 90 minutes of something like this, it may be worth considering making infrequent, large meat purchases instead of traipsing through the  grocery store and seeing what hits your whim.

Oh, Mommy! Can I eat it NOW??”

I bet know who’s getting a meat locker for Christmas.

Not Exactly a CAFO.

Scott entertains questions during the Open House.

“Oh, Yeah- MOO and stuff!”

“Hi, I’m Checkers. I’m a dog! I watch the chickens. Pleased to meet you. Don’t come come over the fence or I’ll have to kill ya. Thanks, now!”

And now! What to do with it once you get it home:

The Definitive Photographic Guide to Making Souse“-NOT for the faint of heart.

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2015 Weight-loss Journal

Instead of multiple posts, I’ll just edit this one daily, all Morgan Spurlock-style.


Like most people, I tend to start “diets” or implement lifestyle changes around the first of the year. I have no philosophical “new year/new me” feelings. It just happens to be the time when holiday / social activity dies and the weather pushes me inside and forces me to be more sedentary. For some crazy reason, when I am alone and suicidal and freezing through bleak winter months, no one wants to hang out unless it’s at a restaurant. Then all summer long, every Saturday I have to make a choice between three or five different invitations. Clearly my friends are just trying to give me ulcers and drive me to an early grave. So I hang out at the gym when I can.

This is an Ohio problem. In New Orleans, Carnival starts on epiphany and runs until our livers explode on Mardi Gras. They start baking King Cakes on Jan 6th. Truth be told I never really get involved with Mardi Gras stuff. It was awesome when I were a college-age neophyte. It was a hindrance when I lived in New Orleans and had to fight the crowds to live my life. Then, last year, at 40, I got to thoroughly enjoy it as an adult. I attended parades and marched in parades and met wonderful people and many artists with only one earth-shattering, humiliating, can’t-live-it-down drunken episode. Still, I gained 40 lbs in 5 months. Can’t do that year after year, either!

This year, I have no work-related pot-lucks or bar outings to attend, so my last scheduled bacchanal was today. I got to enjoy lots of Champagne, several refills of Scotch, at least four beers (though I tend to set them down while talking and lose track of them) and fist-fulls of food, including stuff I don’t even like, like mini-eclairs. And we’re going to call that a season!

My personal choice for fat loss is a Ketogenic diet with intermittent fasting which I induce with a multi-day fast.

This may seem harsh and restrictive to some, but I thrive on it. I am fully keto-adapted (explained later) and have tons of energy on this diet once I get through the carb flu. Insulin apparently makes me sluggish and miserable (this is conjecture based on experience-I have no way to know). This isn’t for everyone and it takes a long time to become keto-adapted so don’t expect similar results if you do what I do. I can get to ketosis in a couple of days.  It may take you over a week the first few times you try this. But you can become as keto-adapted as I am if you would like to be. Just keep doing it and your genes will make the enzymes.

4Jan15 Sun

Time to get on the scale. I normally don’t get on the scale until a week into this, but for the sake of writing this for you…HOLY JESUS CRAP! 207 pounds! And 40% Body fat! 1: 40% fat is not possible. 2: I was just telling someone at the party last night that I was under 200lbs. At least I was before the party started! My yearly weight swing in my 20s was between 205-235 lbs. The past 10 years, it’s been it’s 175-205lbs. OK. I am focused now.

I am not hungry today, still quite bloated from the party, so it will be easy to fast. Whenever I say fast- that means water + coffee + heavy cream. I will die before I give up the coffee.

Today’s Food: Coffee + Heavy cream, 2 Tbsp Psyllium husk, for an awesome bowel movement. Remember “The Cleaner” from Labyrinth?

5Jan15 Mon

203.6 lbs! Must have been an awesome bowel movement! The scale lies and don’t forget that a cup of water weighs over 8 ounces. This is why you want to shoot for a target fat%, not a target weight. Part of the weight you lose may be loss of muscle mass when your body turns your protein into sugar via gluconeogenesis. Ignore the scale for at least a week when you start a diet.

Today’s food: Coffee + Heavy cream. I made a second pot, shared some with the wiff.

6Jan15 Tue

200.4 lbs. 21% body fat

The biometric scale was absolutely off for body fat. I changed the batteries, reprogrammed my age, sex, height, etc. and got a more realistic reading of 21%. That’s still 40lbs of fat. I have arbitrarily decided that I don’t need more than 20lbs of fat in my body and that’s only if I can add significant amounts of muscle. My target fat% is 11-15%. My target weight is still 180lbs (still arbitrary), but I don’t actually have enough muscle mass, which is a whole separate problem.I only have about 150lbs of lean weight.

I woke up with headache which is normal. This could be for several reasons, most likely mineral loss. I was OK after coffee
Coffee + Whipping cream. I also had some Bone Broth with a big pinch of pink salt and took two Potassium Glutamate pills. One thing I suffer from while ketotic is charlie horses. So I have to supplement. At least I know things are happening metabolically.

7Jan15 Wed

198.4 lbs. 20% fat

To quote Sleazy P. Martini:”We’re rockin’ now!” Right? No.

Again, weight is deceiving. There is no way that I have lost nine pounds since Sunday. How many times have you seen a friend make an announcement on Facebook similar to: “Wow! I ran a 5K and lost 7 pounds!” or “I’ve lost 8 pounds since joining the gym last week! I must be doing something right!” Then 3 days later, they don’t want to talk about it.

This is because water is heavy, and your stored glucose is stored “hydrated”. Each molecule of glucose is stored with several molecules of water. All your friend did was burn up his or her glucose stores which was replaced as soon as they ate. This is “water weight”. They lost no fat and neither have I at this point. But wait- I have!

Today is a good day to check for ketones. I like ketosis because you can test for it. No other weight loss program can be tested for at home that I know of. If you are pissing beta-Hydroxybuterate and your breath smells like acetone, it can only come from fat, scale reading be damned. The fat is going away, verified.

This is just a journal, so I’m not going to explain Ketosis Biochem right now, but I need you to know that Ketosis is a normal part of your metabolism, as is fat-burning through metabolism of fatty acids, as is dietary glucose & fructose and even ethanol. The Atkins Diet simply tries to induce Ketosis and argue it’s safety and normalcy. When you see someone call Atkins a “fad diet” or disregard it as “ultimately, a calorie-restricting diet” or claim “all you lose is water weight” -that person knows nothing about metabolic biochemistry. And I can show you M.D.s who think this way. In the absence of dietary glucose, your body will use up its stores. Then, for a brief time it tears down muscle (proteolysis) and turns it into glucose (gluconeogenesis) while your Ketosis metabolism is ramping up.
Ketones are just fat made water-soluble, since your brain needs ~600 calories a day and can only use Glucose or Ketones because fatty acids can not cross the blood/brain barrier. Once your ketosis metabolism is going strong (when your body senses high circulating ketone levels) your body stops “calling” for glucose (and stops ripping apart your muscles) and burns ketones preferentially.

But not until your hormone system makes you pay Hell for it. Insulin does not go away quietly. It can take days to over a week to get your ketotic metabolism up and running and one muffin can make you start over. You may experience headaches, extreme cravings and other miseries. This is known science, not a fad. Atkins can’t not work. If it failed you, unless you have a metabolic disease, you just didn’t do it correctly.

So I peed on one of those Ketostix (very affordable from your pharmacist) and I was at the top of the chart.


So then I tested my blood Glucose & Ketones with a meter used by diabetics (Precision Xtra by Abbot labs). My circulating blood glucose is 43mg/dl (quite low) and Ketones are 2.6 mmol/L (quite high). Those ketones came from body fat, nowhere else.

These meters are cheap to buy but quite expensive to use, so I don’t do it every day. It is really cool because you can actually watch your blood glucose drop, then rise and stabilize without dietary glucose. This is the proteolysis. Life sciences are freaking beautiful to see! We are poetry in chemistry. Mammals, and even more so, Humans are really the most incredible thing on the planet. Why we gotta screw it up?

Philosophical musings are inevitable, but more importantly I am free to start eating now. But I’m really not hungry, even now. Why?

The hormone Leptin was only discovered in the 90’s. 1996, I think. It is released by your fat cells and tells your hypothalamus that you don’t need food. The more fat you have, the stronger the signal to your brain. However, insulin receptors co-localize with Leptin receptors and insulin blocks leptin. Make this your mantra: INSULIN BLOCKS LEPTIN. This is why, even if you have 60lbs of fat and just took in 300 calories of sugary beverage, your brain thinks you are starving. You are not leptin deficient, you are leptin resistant.

When you are starving (or your brain thinks you’re starving), your hormonal system wants you to take in energy and conserve energy (eat and don’t move). As Robert Lustig will tell you: Yes, you are fat and a glutton and a sloth, but being a glutton and a sloth did not make you fat. Insulin from your carb-based diet made you a glutton and a sloth which made you fat. So please stop beating yourself up and blaming yourself for not getting enough exercise and eating too much. You just ate the wrong stuff (based on USDA guidelines).

Michelle Obama thinks you just need to do some jumping jacks and grow a garden. She’s says, “It’s your fault. You conservatives like personal responsibility, right? By the way, my husband is going to keep subsidizing sugar, corn and wheat. Good luck with that insulin!”

So with insulin out of the way, my 40lbs of fat is freely telling my brain, “Don’t worry, we have months of food on board. Where’s the coffee?” And lack of sluggishness dictated by my parasympathetic nervous system  triggered by lack of insulin is perceived as “extra energy”.  I haven’t been to the gym since the big party. I just may go today if I can dig the car out of the snow.

Small headache again this morning and threats of charlie horses.

Evening note

So I did go to the gym, but decided to eat first.  I’m not going to do a full food journal, but I will share a lot of food detail this first week or two and highlight things of note.

Today’s food: Coffee this morning and Collard greens and Souse (head cheese) with red pepper, pink salt and bone broth Pretty much my favorite meal, right now.

That's P-I-G, Hog!

That’s P-I-G, Hog!

8Jan15 Thurs

196.4 lbs. 20% fat

Same food as yesterday + 2 eggs & cheese
No headache or charlie horse. Feel good all day.

9Jan15 Fri

196.8 lbs. 20% fat

OK, so now we see the slow-down. Ketone level is still up so there is no need to worry. Depending on how much I eat, my weight may even go up. No worries.
The glucose stores are depleted. The, uh, intestinal contents are depleted.  Water weight is gone. Now it’s just me vs. the fat. I predict a lull for a few days, then another precipitous drop next week as the brain figures out over the weekend that it has no other choice but to tear down fat for fuel now.

Food: Coffee + Heavy cream, 3 eggs + cheese

Notice that up to this point, we have moved the scale over 10 lbs but the fat weight is constant.

Slope of Fat Weight vs. Total Weight

Slope of Fat Weight vs. Total Weight

10Jan15 Sat

194.2  lbs   20% Fat

The fact that the scale can only do whole percent numbers make for a jagged graph.  But as I keep saying, you can’t obsess over day-to-day numbers. Watch the trendline.

Food: Coffee + Heavy cream, 2 eggs + cheese, Tuna salad with home-made mayo. I skipped the capers because I went over to mom’s house earlier and she was cooking down a killer corn chowder to which I could not say no. I just ate around the potatoes. but the sauce was full of flour. Social activity can scuttle this diet so quickly.

11Jan15 Sun

193.6lbs 20%

Today for food I was cooking down a bone broth (pork) and ended up just picking out of that for food. Meat that has been boiled for 24 hours is not necessarily delectable, but once you fry it up in a skillet and add some spices, it’s pretty tasty.
Went to bed feeling like I ate an entire pig.

broth pork

12Jan15 Mon

193.0 lbs 21%

Today I made a dish that was foisted upon me by the Interweb. It’s avocado baked with egg.  I was pretty underwhelmed. I love the taste of ripe raw avocado. Baking it does not make it better.

Drowned my sorrows in Coffee with Heavy cream.

I weighed in at 195.2 when I first woke up- yep, too much pork!

13Jan15 Tue
191.6lbs 21%

Almost time to start digging out old trousers!

Tried to re-jigger the avocado recipe by whisking the egg with cream & thyme. It helped but didn’t knock my jock off.

Starting to lose track of the food. I also had some eggs, souse, cheese…

14Jan15 Wed

190 lbs! 21%

Had some social activity today.

Tommy’s has a sandwich called the T.N.T. It’s a giant sub full of uncountable types of hot lunch meat, slathered in cheese and topped with tomatoes & pickles. If you order it without a bun, they make a really nice presentation on lettuce or baby greens.  I usually skip the tomato if trying to stay ketotic but not today.  Then I shared a bottle and a half of red wine.  Still ketotic according to the Ketostix when I got home. But as I have explained elsewhere, Ethanol screws up metabolism hormonally. The ethanol is metabolized first and accompanying calories are turned into fat.

15Jan15 Thurs

192.6lbs 21%

I regret nothing!

But I still feel like I ate a cow yesterday. Today might be a good day for intermittent fasting.  It’s called intermittent fasting because you really want to randomize it. If you fast on a schedule, your brain will  figure it out and protect your fat accordingly hormonally.

16Jan15 Fri

191.8 lbs 20%

Kept busy today, I got a cup  of coffee while picking my wife up at the airport then ate a couple of pieces of cheese when I got home, so my fast was 48 hours, after all.

17Jan15 Sat

190.0 lbs 20%  Fat

After the dairy last night, I wake up feeling kind of full, but not quite bloated. I certainly don’t feel like I’ve only eaten ~300 calories in the past 56 hours, but that is the case.  2 eggs for breakfast.

I’ve been snacking on anchovies wrapped around giant capers.
Oh and some crappy pseudo-cheese my wife bought for grilled cheese sandwiches.


18Jan15 Sun

191.2 lbs 19%  Fat

Again, it’s hard not to panic if you live by the scale.  How could I eat so little, yet weigh more than yesterday? Especially after a kick-ass gym session? It doesn’t matter.  If you are spilling ketones into your urine-the fat is going away.

Something special has happened, though- my first fat % reading under 20%.  I awarded myself a little glass (or two) of Vermouth.

Instead of the gym today, I shoveled the driveway and moved a rick of firewood.

19Jan15 Mon

191.4 lbs 19%  Fat

Beginning to look like a stall.

20Jan15 Tue

191.2 lbs 19%  Fat

Yeah, I think I’ve stalled. But that didn’t prevent me from engaging in a little social activity. Tonight I met up with some old CWRU friends and had a very lovely time reconnecting. I had 2 glasses of wine and part of a charcuterie plate, but with that little food I got just drunk enough to forget I am not drinking beer presently and ordered two giant beers at the bar a few doors down after the party mostly broke up. Whoops. It happens. Didn’t lose the ketosis, though.

21Jan15 Wed

185.8 lbs, Too early for Fat%

Well this is a pleasant surprise. I highly doubt that I lost 5 pounds since yesterday, but I’ll take it! Perhaps the scale wasn’t level (though it usually tells me if that’s the case).  Perhaps I was standing on it incorrectly (for 3 days in a row?).  Who knows.  As I keep saying, the scale and it’s wily ways is merely a tool for following a larger trend. So I retrieved the “target trousers”!  Sure enough, I can get them on.  I can button them and zip them but not much else. So things have happened. 3 weeks ago, I couldn’t get my thigh through. Being squarely in the 180’s after reaching over 200lbs this year has a tremendous psychological effect.  You get reinforcement and pep to keep going forward. Someone-anyone tell me this was water weight. And please share this with your friends who poo-poo ketogenic diets.

You may have ascertained that I’m not exactly a gym rat.  I have so many injuries that I only do few basic machines and spend a lot of time on an elliptical.  Then I go splash around in the pool for 25 minutes because I’m not yet a talented-enough swimmer or have the stamina to swim true laps. Body composition is 80% (at least) dietarily controlled, though exercise is compulsory.

Results are half of the game, here.  I’mma a go eat a mess o’ greens.

28Jan15 Wed

I’m still here!  I took a week off of the journal to tend to some stuff. I have had a bit of social / family activity and stayed pretty well on the diet, but not losing. I was conned into drinking a whole bunch of booze. They held me down and poured it in, I swear!  Hovering around the 186-8 range.  Back at it!

 01Feb15 Sun

184.8 lbs / 19% fat

Today’s comments became a post:
In Which Jimm Becomes Trendy and Puts Butter into Coffee.

 03Feb15 Tue

180.4 lbs / 19% fat


Well this should be a momentous occasion as this is my target weight, but celebration is brief. The caveat being: the fat/lean ratio is still off. At the 19-21% body fat, whatever it is, means I am still carrying way over 20 lbs. of fat, which I think is unnecessary.  And I just checked my phone – American Apparel has not called for a photo shoot.  So forward and onward.

Seriously, the butter in the coffee thing has had a profound affect on me. I’m killing it at the gym. I bought food after leaving the gym but couldn’t bring myself to eat it. I had a couple of pieces of cheese and that was enough.  Last night, however, I had the charlie horse of the century. I knew it was coming after depleting myself at the gym yesterday. But like an idiot I didn’t take any supplement before bed.  I haven’t had one since the last time I mentioned it in this journal, but holy cow!  This was the killer-diller. I almost couldn’t get down the stairs.

Target trousers are wearable, but still a little attention-getting if you would like to make guesses as to my religion.

Today’s feast: a mess o’ smelt fried in butter!


 04Feb15 Wed

178.6 lbs /% fat

Still moving at a good clip. I’m actually a little weak and have a minor background headache today so I’m going to take a day off from the gym. I made the butter coffee again but just couldn’t drink it. In my weak state it’s just too rich. I’m going to have to stop for a bit, though I cannot believe this weight loss. I need to get some vitamins & minerals into my body.

I ate a lot of collard greens and souse and a good scoop of Sauerkraut that I’ve had aging in the basement. It was DELICIOUS. I could have eaten the whole quart.

In the evening I went to a restaurant and had a chicken Caesar (no croutons) and 2 glasses of wine.  Then I shared another bottle of wine with a friend. So this should slow me down a little.

 04Feb15 Wed

178.0 lbs /% fat

29 lbs, kids! I’ll make another big hoopla on Facebook when I reach 177. That will be 30lbs since Jan 3rd and maybe time to return to a normalish diet.

09Mar15 Mon

Today’s entry is so awesome it had to be its own post.
You have to read the instructions. And obey them, by the way.

11Apr15 Sat

168.8 lbs / 12% fat

I’ve been in New Orleans since the end of February and made the decision to leave the scale at home. I lost enough weight by the end of February that it’s pointless to watch the scale daily. I haven’t been in need of a large, rapid drop in weight.   The trousers all fit correctly and it’s now a fight to get rid of the spare tire, which really can’t be done with ketosis easily.  You end up losing muscle, too. Subcutaneous fat is not mobilized as readily as inguinal fat. So you have to fight it off by lifting weights and sprinting. But my interest in sharing this journal with you only extends to helping you get to a healthy weight range.  If you want to look like an underwear model, you’re on your own.  Then you come back and tell me how to do it.

But in the mean time, I lost another ten pounds. I haven’t been to the gym since the 3rd week of February and my exercise now is comprised of walking around a New Orleans neighborhood with a cup of coffee for a couple of hours each morning or evening and a daily quick power walk around Audubon Park which takes me about half an hour.  If I feel spritely, I try to run a little, but this usually doesn’t last more than several yards. As you have known all along, I’m a lousy gym rat.

I have, however been without the Spousal Unit since February, so I have been free to do wild and crazy and experimental dietary things without gentle persuasion (nagging) or cautionary advisement (bitching) one would expect to hear from one with whom you share your life (from the ball & chain).  If you know my wife, you know that’s a joke, but she can talk me into going out for bruschetta, cheese nibblers and boozin’ faster than anyone, so she is ruinous nonetheless.

Experiments in calorie restriction

So I’ve basically been living on coffee and a fine selection of herbal teas down at the local coffee shop where I write this drivel. Remember the coconut oil & grass-fed butter in the coffee?  I recently went for two or three 7-10 day jags eating only this once a day:  2 Tbsp Coconut Oil + 1 Tbsp Butter + 2 Tbsp Nutritional yeast all mixed together then rolled into kind of a power bar, washed down with a 20oz coffee & chicory (I actually really love this!). It has not only sustained me, but I have been very active these two months- even attempting to run a bit, which I really can’t do owing to my back problem and zero history running. I have had abundant energy to burn and no insulin-mediated false cravings.


I am fed by the sun – your red sun gives me strength.

When not on these strict jags, I fit in a second meal- I go to Rouse’s Grocery and get some crack & peel shrimp and collard greens or green beans or I hit the Whole Foods salad bar.  I can not really pack in lots of food if I’m being active in warm weather. Those second meals were almost too much.  My social life didn’t suffer.  I went out for a few beers with friends and I went to a pig smoke (we made hog’s head cheese) and a crawfish boil.  I ate many things, drank many beers, then usually fasted 24 hours afterward and returned to form.  No problem or guilt or stress.

Last weekend I met up with my wife in Nashville and had her bring me the Biometric scale from home which has been giving me a range of 12-16% body fat and weight range from 168-174lbs.   16% of 174 is 27.84lbs of body fat.  12% of 168.8 is 20.25lbs.   Since my stated arbitrary 1st goal of this diet was to have no more than 20lbs of body fat as indicated by body fat percentage, it would be nice to know if I still want to lose 8lbs or only 1/2lb. So I will have to do a couple of weeks of carefully-timed readings to see if I can reign in some accuracy. I have been getting some very interesting results that I will share when I am able to graph them.

Once I get a consistent reading of 10-15% body fat range with a maximum of 20lbs of fat, I will consider this project really done.  Then on to the horrible task of attempting to add muscle mass.

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In which Doug explains, ‘Cardio’ Does Not Exist

…and High Intensity Training overview.

Weight training is the hardest thing in the world for me. I hate it. I’m not motivated. It takes me away form my creative hobbies and even at my personal peak fitness and long-held routine, I was never energized and eager to work out. I know that once puberty is over, if you’re not gaining muscle mass, you’re losing it. And muscle mass sets your resting metabolism rate. Muscle mass determines how well you handle sickness. If someone is 70 years old and faces multiple months of chronic wasting cachexia from a sickness, or has to face chemo, which body type do you think will fare better going in- one that is thin and frail or one with more muscle than he/she had at age 20?

You have to build muscle mass one way or another or you essentially spend your life slowly wasting away and gathering pains. Many pains from getting older could be allayed by increased musculature to hold everything in place. I would like to add 10 or more pounds of muscle mass. But then I buy a package of meat that weighs 2 lbs and think of what kind of effort it must take to synthesize that, molecule by molecule, workout after workout and become completely demoralized.

Doug McGuff is an emergency room doctor (and Philosopher King, as far as I’m concerned) in South Carolina and runs a gym called “Dr. Doug McGuff“, where he teaches a modern version of a weight training method called High Intensity Training (HIT) that is very different from the explosive push / controlled return methods that are so popular.

Funnily enough, this “modern method” was actually invented 100 years ago by a Swedish physician named Gustav Zander. Though he won a gold medal at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition for his exercise machines, exercise wasn’t quite mainstream yet and he faded into history with  his machines. Arthur Jones (I know, I said he was a dead dinosaur) resurrected it in the 70s, ignorant of Zander and it enjoys a growing following today. Doug’s book is called ‘Body By Science‘.

The core concept is that you are working out to get your body to build muscle, right? To take the evolutionary view; you want your DNA to signal to build muscle, as an adaptive response. To take the Paleo/Primal view: You want to trick your body into thinking a Sabre Tooth Tiger almost killed you and when he comes back you had better be bigger and stronger. The common weight training method tears down muscle by working to the point of failure in an effort to get it to rebuild bigger in response to the tear-down.

If you don’t work to failure, you can’t be sure how well you are triggering an adaptive response.

This works just fine, eventually, but it has great risk for injury. If you do a work-out too soon, when your body needs rest because it is still re-building muscle, you can do counter-productive tear-down of muscle or even create chronic systemic inflammation.  And you will stall. And most people who stall in the gym respond to that stall with increased effort. They hit it harder. This only makes things worse.

And it takes SO MUCH TIME. Who wants to be a gym rat, really? Endorphin-addicted weirdos, that’s who. What if you could trigger that adaptive response and build muscle with minutes of training instead of hours? And once or twice a week instead of living at the gym. Go home. Be with your family.

In high intensity training, you don’t wear workout clothes, you wear loose, comfortable street clothes and flat shoes- NO Running shoes!

There is no sweating. They say that by the time you sweat, you are already counter-productive (not sure on the science of that yet).

There is no stretching or warm up. Each workout puts the muscles through a full range of motions and you actually avoid aerobic exercise, doing a slow, intense, mostly anaerobic workout. Though anaerobic metabolism creates far less energy than aerobic metabolism, it is a faster cycle and you can quickly overwhelm the system with Pyruvate that would normally enter your aerobic metabolism cycle. The excess Pyruvate is then converted to lactic acid (which may make you cramp).

After muscle fatigue (not failure) the excess lactic acid created (don’t worry about it now) gets turned back into Pyruvate while you rest then goes through your aerobic metabolism cycle, theoretically giving you the equivalent of a massive aerobic workout while you are laying on the floor crying after a HIT workout. As you continue working out, your ability to buffer lactic acid increases by 12-50% and cramping is not such a problem.

Doug dismisses Yoga and Pilates as a waste of time. Also I recommend investigating (1980 Olympic-qualifying runner) Mark Sisson’s view on “Chronic Cardio”. He asks what the quality of family life is when dad’s gone half of Saturday on a bike ride then has to spend the rest of the day on the couch. Though if you want to train for a race, go for it. But it may not be wise as a lifestyle.

And I thank Doug for introducing me to the term “cardio bunnies”.

You don’t want your fitness to undermine your health. I think most of us work out in order to be healthy and not be sickly and stay out of the hospital, which is right where an injury can put you. The HIT method is through muscular fatigue in a controlled, injury-free environment. When you fatigue, you are moving in slow motion, too weak to hurt yourself and not sitting there with a barbell over your throat while your spotter is looking at chick on the treadmill. You’re not going to have a kettle ball flying through the air when you suddenly lose all of your strength. You are not given the opportunity to be sloppy in form from exhaustion, eliminating that counter-productiveness.

Doug is also very cautious about Crossfit (Doug LOVES Crossfit) and things like P90X or Insanity. You really need to be an athlete, preferably young with strong bones before attempting this, not to mention unfailingly coordinated. Skill-based exercise can certainly undermine your health if you don’t have the skills. When you have moderate athletic ability and you dive in and try to do a back flip off of a truck tire that’s rolling along the top of a climbing wall and land incorrectly, you end up in the E.R., where unhealthy people go. HIT is effort-based, not technique. “Insanity” has that name for a reason. Perhaps a more reliable, sustainable method is in order. But while you feel young and invincible go for it.

Lastly, HIT is perfect for morbidly obese, very out of shape or geriatric people. The fatigue level is the fatigue level, and you’re already moving slowly with little chance of injury. The explosive, rip-tearing muscle carnage of common weight training is usually what causes people to freak out and give up in agony or exhaustion very shortly after beginning a new routine.

If you are local to NE Ohio, our Doug McGuff-approved gym is called Overload Fitness in Beachwood. I checked them out. It is a wonderful operation. I loved my introduction but ultimately it was prohibitively expensive. Like, 40% of my take-home pay expensive. Other gyms can be found at his website, Body by science.

Here’s Doug’s workout:

I’m going to share A LOT from Doug, but I think this is enough for an introduction. Here is a short video in which he explains that none of us understand what “cardio” or “aerobics” means. Respiratory control happens in your cells, mostly muscle, not in your cardiovascular system. HIT builds your aerobic capacity just fine without blowing out your joints or heart and forcing you on a mouse-wheel of carb consumption.

This does not to say that you should not run or bike or train to be an endurance athlete. You may have your own goals with them. This does, however show that strength training will also help endurance sports.  But if you hate cardio but do it because you believe it is improving cardiovascular health, this is your free pass out.
Tsis is in no way an effort by me to dissuade you from Yoga, Pilates, P90X, Insanity or Crossfit and does not reflect my opinion of them. This is an exchange of ideas that I have found enlightening and very helpful. I am much better in any situation when I know the nuts & bolts behind the…uh, curtain…of the…man in the mirror.

Or something.


6Jan15 Edit:

Just got to reading this. Doug has published a paper on this with James Steele II (and a few others):

Resistance Training to Momentary Muscular Failure Improves Cardiovascular Fitness in Humans: A Review of Acute Physiological Responses and Chronic Physiological Adaptations” (PDF)

Here’s James giving it a little more depth

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We’re from the Gub’mint and we’re here to help (ourselves)…


The sixth meeting of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has recently drawn to a close. The Gub’mint is about to re-discover that you should not eat what you ate for the last 2.5 million years, and will suggest that you eat more of what the Gub’mint subsidizes (Wheat, Soy, Corn, Sugar…just in balanced portions like they instruct). This graph shows what eating by Gub’mint guidelines has done for us.

I want you to investigate the following:
It now looks like (thanks to new science): Bacon will not give you a heart attack and meat is not “rotting in your colon”. Heart attacks are caused by inflammation from chronic obesity and inflammatory foods. The true threat to arteries are not cholesterol blockage, but hardening caused by the Maillard reaction from chronic high blood glucose, though you were told that the threat from chronic high blood sugar is just insulin resistance and diabetes.

But Jimm! You can SEE blocked arteries! It happens.

Yes. Arteries get blocked. But If you eat more cholesterol, you will up-regulate the machinery that metabolizes cholesterol and it will not clog up your arteries-it will be metabolized. Compare this to up-regulating the machinery that darkens your skin when you spend more time in the sun.Spend all winter inside then go to Florida and get a sun burn and die. Spend all of your time avoiding fat & cholesterol because the Gub’mint/AMA told you to, then eat a pound of bacon, you get a blockage and die. Gradual increased exposure can get your body to a state to deal with sunlight or cholesterol and fat. Avoid them chronically and you will die. Fat, Cholesterol and sunlight are healthy and required.

Also, since you have down-regulated your fat-metabolizing machinery in favor of a high-carb diet GOOD LUCK losing fat. You will kill yourself trying to exercise it away, when all you have to do is train your body to burn fat preferentially. If I stop eating, I start burning fat. When someone with a carb-based diet stops eating, his or her body will turn muscle into sugar before touching the fat.

It looks like (thanks to Freedom of Information Act requests): The Lipid Hypothesis and all of the science of Ancel Keys was bunk. As was The China Study and most of the work that defines your ideas of health. You are fat because of a Nixon election policy scheme & the evolution of corn to an industrial commodity, which happened to coincide nicely with Cuban politics, resulting in loss of their sugar cane which happened to coincide nicely with the invention of High Fructose Corn syrup.

I can explain all of this in obscene biochemical detail for you if you like. But for now, I will just put some links in for reading below.

You are not comfortable being overweight. It is NOT a vanity or social image acceptance/standards issue. And you voted for (or failed to stop) Governmental policy that is going to make it very expensive to not be lean very soon. You demanded the Government chew your food & wipe your ass. It is coming and there is no longer an opt-out.

links of interest:

USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015 Meetings

Change Coming to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans?

Mark’s Daily Apple 20Nov14

A Brief History of U.S. Dietary Guidelines

Mark’s Daily Apple 22Oct14

Graph adapted from For a Healthy Nation (data sources there)

The Last Anti-Fat Crusaders

~Opinion By Nina Teicholzfrom WSJ Oct 2014


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We’re fat. We F’ing LOVE science.

So why is everyone’s diet & exercise knowledge stuck in 1977?

This is the time of year we all try to get fit, right? I’m still trying to lose 1/2 of the weight I gained in NOLA last year, so in an effort to keep myself invigorated I am going to review the core material from which I work over the next several weeks and share it with you while I do. I hope it inspires you as it does me. It’s all stuff I’ve posted to Facebook before.

Most of you are trying to get healthy using very out-dated science. If you are using the cardio training/resistance training/salad-eating method, you are 30-40 years out of date and probably very resentful. Ken Cooper, Adelle Davis, Arthur Jones, Dean Ornish and Robert Atkins are dead dinosaurs who wrote your current protocols in the 1970s. It’s time to get public understanding of health science into the information age.

Food scientists have changed your diet radically in the past 30-40 years and now you have to be a scientist to eat and feed your children properly. But being lean is not enough. A giant number of thin people also have metabolic disorders that shorten lives and cost us lots of money which brings us to:

Very importantly, we’ll also talk about why this is more urgent than ever before and it may be more grave an issue than any other problem in the world. NOTHING kills more people than dumb eating and/or being sedentary. Not famine, not war not even disease-bearing insects or that little Amazonian catfish that crawls into your urethra, but not before it costs us a crap-ton of money.

Why do we still think this is an image issue? Why is a backlash against so-called “pressuring societal expectations of image” a justification to be unhealthy? Especially when we now expect someone else to pay for our healthcare? EVERYTHING YOU DO now falls within the purview of healthcare and is subject to be regulated in its name-and will be-as “Healthcare Coverage” approaches single-payerdom. Good job, educated voter. You just signed us all up for cradle-to-grave, sunrise to sunrise regulation.

One of my first jobs involved explaining aquarium chemistry and fish biology to consumers. Soon I was explaining veterinary medicine to pet owners whose eyes crossed when the Doctor spoke. Since then, I have deluded myself with the idea that I have a gift for making sciencey/medical stuff accessible to non-sciencey/medical people. Please let me know if this is true.

As I am no longer employed in a scientific field, and energy homeostasis and metabolic biochemistry are still very important to me, this is my only outlet for study. I might as well beat you over the head with it as I go. Are you in?

At my heaviest (1998) /Leanest (2010)

At my heaviest (1998)       /       Leanest (2010)

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Happy Saturn Day in your season of Saturnalia!


I took this picture at the Museo Nacional del Prado in Spain. It is Goya’s “Saturn Devouring His Son” one of his “black paintings” that filled his “la Quinta del Sordo”. This was taken before one of the photography professors at Lakeland Community College taught me: “Don’t take pictures of famous things; if you want a record of your visit to the Washington Monument, buy the postcard. Otherwise, put grandma in front of it then take a picture. I am not so much a photographer as a record-keeper, though I think I have composition skillZzz. Just not here.

Every once in a while on Facebook, I have the saddening experience of watching some stooge who can’t intellectualize his way out of a paper bag try to discredit 10,000 years of all of the religions of the world because he saw a post on the Richard Dawkins feed. You know the type- they get all of their info from John Stewart’s demagogeury and Pop Culture T.V. Scientists.

I’ve seen religion dismissed as fairy tales wherein people try to explain things in nature they don’t understand. Superstitious fools who think thunder is Zeus throwing lightening bolts. I (foolishly, egotistically maybe) try to explain to them that no one ever really thought that. No one actually thought the sun was a guy in a chariot. No one thought the world was encircled by a snake. I explain that these are exoteric symbols that communicate profound esoteric philosophies that actually still shape our lives today.

Most people are not religious scholars. They don’t understand religions any better than they did in 3rd grade when they may have read a couple stories from Bullfinch’s Mythology. And they are arguing with people who fancy themselves Christians, who also do not understand their own religion any better than they did in 3rd grade.  Watching one side come down to the others level and argue in complete ignorance is pretty maddening to watch.  Then like an idiot, I jump in.

Here is the bad news for Christians- this will actually be the death of your religion. Since about AD 300 Christianity has accepted the trappings of the very religions, occultism and idols your Bible says to hate and mixed them with your theology, then smugly declare yourself saved. I will remind you that it’s not “the serpent who fooled the whole world except the good ‘fill in your denomination here‘.”

It’s “the serpent who fooled the whole world”.

The serpent, you’ll find is symbolic of knowledge that comes with ego and hubris that causes you to disregard your creator. For about 130 years, the notion has been floating around that Christianity is just another iteration of the Sun religion that seems to be the root of every other religion. And with modern Western popular religion-this is true. Modern Mary is Ishtar. She is Aphrodite, Inanna, Demeter, and Isis.  Jesus is thought to be merely an avatar of the Piscean age and a copy of Horus, Mithras, Krishna and Dionysus. And when the intellectuals come to shut you down, you will be too ignorant to fight their argument or may become convinced yourself. Watch the first 3rd of the movie Zeitgeist. That movie was written in 1880 by Helena Blavatsky (it’s actually a book available free on Archive.org).

In the 1920’s Manly Hall started lecturing on ancient as well as Blavatsky’s modern occultism and everything in between. Though he died in 1990, he is still probably the best source on this subject.  If you are a Christian, Hall can prove your religion a sham for 8 hours straight.  Can you refute him intellectually?  It is possible but you have to admit that your God of Christmas and Easter is not legitimate.  And you would have to actually read a Bible.

As an aside, Ronald Reagan wrote most of his own speeches and spent the years between Governorship and Presidency producing little audio essays to broadcast on radio. In his writing/speeches, he occasionally quoted Manly Hall without credit. Now, Hall was a 33rd Degree Freemason and so was Reagan (possibly only Honorarily). We are talking about religion here, not conspiracies. Once Napoleon shit-canned the Pope in 1798, the Masons no longer had to be underground and started writing books. “We now know that Freemasonry viewed doctrinally is Theosophy,” W. Hoste wrote in 1921. All I’m saying is: Reagan’s little star-gazing habit may be bigger than we thought, especially when one considers his penchant for mentioning alien invasion.

Following is a portion of Manly Hall’s lecture entitled “Astrotheology” which I have painstakingly transcribed for you from a Youtube video. If you know of an existing transcript, PLEASE let me know about it before I do something stupid like finish the series. It gives a little insight into the ideas behind Saturn (and his analogues throughout the religions of history) and does NOT involve the throwing of thunderbolts (well, except for a little poetic murder). But you will hear a lot of ideas that permeate modern New Age thinking including that of so-called atheists, whom I find to embrace a lot of New Age concepts that are based in that old Sun religion.

Or listen to it on Youtube

Or listen along to it on Youtube as you read. Turn the page when you hear the tone.

Begin transcript:

…It is curious that in the evolutionary process it is not the personal life of man but the psychic life which must be saved. It is not the individuality but the universality in man which is important. This must be brought ultimately and finally to its total liberation. So we have these orders of ancient planets. And we go back to our Greek system and we find several things that are of great interest to us.

In the Greek theology, for example, we find that originally the great god was called ‘Heaven’. And this god was called The Great Father God. And he was Uranus, the sky deity. And this sky deity rules supreme or a great period of time. And then his kingdom was taken from him by Saturn. And Saturn in turn, lost his kingdom to Zeus. And Zeus, in order to save his kingdom and to make possible its ultimate regeneration, fashioned in a Mystery and carried in a golden thigh bone the mysterious infant child Zagreus or Dionysus who was to be the radiant personification of the God himself. This deity Dionysus was for the salvation of the world. Now let us see what this all means when we start to develop it.

“We see then that Heaven, Uranus, losing his kingdom to Saturn is the beginning of Generation. This means the first orbit within the great mystery of the sky itself. Saturn was the ancient one- the old god, Chronos. And for some mysterious reason, the ancient named the outer orbit of the Solar System in honor of this deity, placed the symbol of Saturn as the sign of The Ancient One, Chronos or Time and made this god the devourer of his own children. And Saturn, in order to preserve his kingdom, destroyed his children by eating them as rapidly as they were born.  But finally the wife of Saturn substituted a stone for one of the children and thus deceiving the god,  Zeus was permitted to live. And Zeus in due time, took over the kingdom of his father and fulfilled the ancient prophecy that was written in space. The legend here is rather obvious. Saturn is Time.

Time devours its own children. It devours everything which is engendered within it. Nothing that is born in time or of Time can survive Time. Therefore we have here a problem in substitution.  By a subterfuge, something that is timeless was introduced into the pattern of time.  And in this way, Saturn was outwitted to produce out of itself or from itself the deity Zeus, or Jupiter.

Now let us go for a moment and remember our ancients were not concerned with mere physical phenomena. What did Saturn represent? Saturn represented to the ancients supreme wisdom. Saturn was the ancient power that must ultimately also devour everything left in itself. Therefore all things that are born from wisdom must ultimately be devoured again by wisdom. This was the strange, abstract, contemplative wisdom of meditation. This was meditation from which things are born but to which all things must return again. This was a kind of consciousness which engenders, by holding and possessing all this forces and things which it has created to return to itself again and be dissolved. So Saturn representing the beginning of creation also becomes the symbol of death. For everything that is created must die and everything that is born of the race of the Völsung in the Nordic mysteries is destined to the tragedy of the Götterdämmerung. All the heroes of the world must die because they are the progeny of death. So anciently, Saturn or Chronos was represented carrying the scythe of death. Sometimes represented as The Reaper. And often as an aged person, often as a skeleton. Saturn was then the devourer-the Ultimate. Saturn was the beginning of motions which in themselves must end. Saturn was the beginning of separation which is itself a supreme illusion and must lead ultimately to the end of its own existence. So Saturn plays many parts, often apparently in complete conflict with themselves.

But always there is one underlying principal underneath. And that principal is that Saturn is strangely both beginning and end. Saturn is the hope and the end of hope. Saturn is death and Saturn is everlasting life depending upon the direction of the motions. For the ancients believed that from the rings of Saturn, souls were cast back into the Empyrean, or space.  Saturn is the graveyard of all things. But it is destined according to the Chinese that one day all the Earth shall one day be a graveyard. Everything that is mortal comes under the power of The Saturnian Principle. That is the absolute tyrant.

And yet by another mystery, one child escaped the destruction. One child could not be devoured by the god. And what was the symbol of this child? Why did Zeus survive? This is a very interesting and knotty problem in Greek philosophy and Greek Metaphysics. But it seems that Saturn gave birth out of himself to one principle that could defeat himself. And the nature of this principle we have to find in the very processes of contemplation. For in the meditational Mystery, there is in the state of illumination that power which can escape death-the power that is born of death but comes to eternal life. There is in the composition of all things that which is born but can not die. This mystery is the mystery of the soul itself.  For the soul is the only thing that has a beginning in Time but an eternity of continuance. So it was the Greek concept inasmuch as the soul outgrowing the mystery of life was alone capable of the experience of immortality.

Zeus survived the strategy to destroy him and in time became the master of the kingdom. Now Zeus at this stage represents the infantile aspect of the soul. The soul in its, we will say, in its potential, not in its potency. And Zeus becomes a kind of autocrat. Zeus becomes a very tyrannical thing because he is the symbol of imagination and because he has to do with the dream of creation. And from Zeus in his dreaming and his Mystery, there come forth certain principles and powers. And one of these principles or powers is the horned Zagreus which is carried within his father’s thigh, the mother being summarily having been destroyed by thunder bolts. And this horned deity is Mars. Now Mars, therefore, is the next in our order of descending planetary orbits from the sphere of Saturn. And Zagreus in turn is Mars or the dynamic energy of the Titans or the Titanic powers which forced the world into existence. And the power of Mars is the power of will. Therefore out of the experience, out of the Mystery of imagination, out of the creative potency of Zeus, comes the symbol of will. Will as the directing force by means of which worlds are brought into manifestation and by which the objective life of man is maintained.”

End Transcript.~Jimm
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Random and disjointed thoughts about the impending release of Godzilla 2014

I just wanted a few thoughts out before the movie release Friday.

There is apparently a new Godzilla movie about to be released. I’m one of those fan-boys who is just sick about it.  Why, I don’t know. No other fictional character has been so sloppily treated, abused for money or had his/her story continuity disrespected more than Godzilla has.  I’ve been a fan since approximately before I had long-term memory. I guess that after all of the silly manipulations and transformations over the years, I still hope for a respectable release that honors the name. I am prepared for disappointment, though.

Rubber Suits and Monkey Suits and all Them Godzilla Movies

I’m not super educated about the creator, TOHO.  My understanding is that there was one Godzilla movie released in 1954. The subsequent multi-monster movies we all know and love were a different monster entirely called “Gigantis the Fire Monster” which was geared toward children and was sold to America as Godzilla. The second true Godzilla movie was released in 1984. At least this is the lore from which I presume.

I once read that Charlton Heston declined the opportunity to make a second Planet of the Apes movie because “everything that needed to be said was said in the first film. Anything after that is just a movie with actors in monkey suits”. With that in mind, while I have fond childhood memories of “Godzilla Vs. Megalon,” there only needs to be one Godzilla movie. Everything else is just a movie with people in rubber monster suits (now CGI).

TOHO were happy to jump that shark WAY before anyone was jumping sharks and Godzilla was re-invented 100 times much to the consternation of Sci Fi purists everywhere. Money must be made and now Godzilla, Planet of the Apes, Alien, Star Wars and Star Trek and many more once great adventure stories or valid philosophical statements made via the relatively new genre called Science Fiction are now just embarrassing.

This was not new in the 1960s.  Science Fiction started in Victorian times and pulp editors were forcing the authors to compromise their own creations for money well before 1900. Soon, pulp magazine editors were refusing long, slow-moving ambient stories and insisting on serials with cliff-hangers at the end of each segment to keep people coming back to the newsstand.   If you had a character of your own creation, it had better morph into Flash Gordon or Tarzan pretty quickly if you want to get published.   However, pulp authors were dirt poor and exploitable. George Lucas was a Bajillionaire, THEN he sold out and ate his young.

Godzilla is a metaphor for (acutely) Atomic war and (obtusely) “abusing/meddling with Mother Nature”. Supposedly, Godzilla was created or awakened and possibly mutated by the atomic bomb testing at the Bikini Atoll that occurred starting in 1946.  Godzilla’s skin texture is the same as the raised keloid scars on survivors burned by the Hiroshima/Nagasaki blasts.

In any real Godzilla movie, Godzilla can never be truly killed. It must always regenerate someway, somehow until we stop creating Godzilla metaphorically. The surer we are that we have destroyed it, the surer it will reappear to our astonishment and incredulity.  Godzilla is not good or evil, but instead is pure irresponsible destruction; nature out of control as a result of man’s hubris. This is, in my opinion, a valid modern theme and worthy of at least a few minutes of contemplation.  Godzilla is innocent.  We are not.

I tell people that I married my wife because she knew to cry at the end of Godzilla. You should cry at the end of Godzilla. The whole damn mess, our destruction and this animal’s creation and messy physical death is our fault. This is a very real, terrifying and and heavy existential consideration for Japan (the validation of their victim status not considered here).  I stopped attending Godzilla 1954 in public viewings because I want to murder the guy 3 rows away guffawing at the 1954 special effects while I’m having heavy thoughts. Have a moment of introspection as a member of a civilization, you slug, of course it’s a model helicopter.

Speaking of primitive movie special effects and bargain-basement costuming, the earliest Godzilla had a long, dead, vacant frog stare. I prefer this.  It doesn’t see its feet, only the horizon.  Godzilla doesn’t notice the people or buildings in his path any more than an alligator notices the anthill he slides through while slipping into the water. A hurricane doesn’t see trees uproot.  We don’t bother him much more than the apoplectic bees swarming a bear while she casually eats their honey.

My fear is that this movie will attempt to make Godzilla menacing. It looks pretty angry in the stills I’ve seen and I don’t think he should. I appreciate Godzilla depicted as a frustrated animal in a confusing environment lashing out and therefore elevating destructive power (vis–à–vis Kong), but I will not be surprised if they make Godzilla “angry” in some anthropomorphic SNAFU. Having to fight other monsters can only further this. If I learned anything from the latest King Kong, no emotional manipulation is beyond Hollywood.

For the reasons stated above, I do not agree with this being a multi-monster movie. Any added monster is a cash-in.  I could be persuaded into being lenient here, but only if the other monster’s origin story is as relevant or cool as Godzilla’s.  I just know (I just know) that this “Muto” thing they intend to introduce is going to be just plain stupid (starting with the name). The pictures I am now seeing of the Muto toys being released before the movie look like typical Hedorah-era TOHO cheese. But, just like in the Jazz Age, the (anti) hero’s many travails = serial publishing = $$$.

Sorry to make up my mind before I go in, but I am convinced that modern movie makers are incapable of creating interesting original material. I suggest they just keep re-hashing old material and try to be respectful.  I will try to keep an open mind but I demand respect as an old fan. I’m also not too sure about the music in the commercials that sounds like it was written by the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey, while I’m complaining.

Godzilla and Greenpeace

I’m all for the “Re-balancing nature” theme.   “History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of man” and all that.

Of course this theme is totally ripe to be highjacked by people who have decided they own the subject of the “environment” as a political issue (we know who they are). These people with a political agenda who have decided that the “environment” is their issue often forget that we all drink the same water and breathe the same air.

Their “opponents” are not actually trying to destroy nature or sell it out.  We all want our nature to be pure. We’ll just argue about what is within normal limits of our affect and how to control that. Of course concern for “the environment” belongs to no single group of people more than another any more than, say, “family values” does. It’s just another thing we’ve been taught to fight about and look to the Government to fix for us.   I certainly hope pop culture partisan politics will not pollute this awesome piece of cinema that also belongs to us all now. Think Hollywood can do that?

"I didn't see you playing with your dolls, Sir!"

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The Gentle Philosophy of Dave Brockie and GWAR

gwar shirt

“Ghost in the Machine” is a phrase philosopher Gilbert Ryle coined to colorfully describe René Descartes’ mind-body dualism. Descartes didn’t just use the his coordinates for math. To him, mind and body were clearly on opposite sides of his plane, which was really just a re-work of Aristotle & Plato’s hierarchical spheres. The metaphysical can still transcend the corporeal, just with different math, possibly allowing for better co-mingling of the two.

You are probably familiar with The Police album or “Ghost in the Shell”, who borrowed this.


In 1967, when Dave Brockie was about 4 years old, Arthur Koestler released a philosophical psychology book called Ghost in the Machine, full title- The Ghost in the Machine: The Urge to Self-Destruction. Koestler argued that the mind was an independent entity from the body just visiting temporarily and didn’t always jive with the body. If this sounds a little religious, he took it one step further and created a model of a Triune brain (think: Father, Son, Holy Ghost). In the book, Koestler does a full review of modern psychology, then applies his thesis to explain why man’s entertainment and needs tend toward self-destruction, from drinking and smoking to atomic war.

By coincidence, 20 Years later, 43-Billion-year-old alien gods from the planet Scumdogia – banished to Earth for eating too many chili cheese burritos and making a mess of things – thaw awake in Antarctica. They see the state of the world (from a Sony Trinitron on Channel 5) and note human tendencies toward self-destruction and decide to help out (since they loathe humans anyway) as a rock band. Dave Brockie is the human slave/counterpart to lead throat-thing Oderus Urungus.

On the second album, during the first song, “The Salaminizer” (a wonderful partial re-work of N.W.A.’s “Gangsta, Gangsta”), when Oderus bellows, “Back on the Road, It’s no lie- stupid fucking humans pay money to die!” this is pure ‘Ghost in the Machine’. Or as Oderus told Joan Rivers in 1990, GWAR are merely “Satisfying a consumer need.” Beefcake the Mighty then told Joan that “killing” fans who gleefully throw themselves to GWAR’s death machines is a “microcosm of the Human condition.”

Of course this is way over Joan’s head, “What in the Hell are you talking about? Are you concerned about kids seeing fake blood and fake sex acts?”

Remember that GWAR were born right in the middle of Tipper Gore & The Washington Wives’ PMRC mess. The government sorry, Gub’mint was making moves to tell Americans what they could or could not sing about, hauling rock stars in to testify before congress-

Senator: “Mr. Zappa, are you against labels on toys that say “for ages 3 and up?”
Mr. Zappa: “Well, yes. As the parent I can make that decision myself.”

Senator: “Mr. Denver, won’t “Rocky Mountain High” convince children to take drugs?”
John Denver: “Are you out of your Goddamned minds??”

OK, I’m paraphrasing but the testimony is out there and it’s freaking awesome entertainment, if you don’t consider the constant threat of overreach our Government always wants.

The congressional hearing had tremendous impact: 1000 bands immediately sprang up to test this bullshit as far as they could. Many of them used the subtle literary device called parody- and they loved nothing more than the fact that people didn’t get it.

As you would guess by their band name, Nomeanso have an interest in sexual politics (‘No Means No’ is the anti date-rape slogan). They sing gruesomely about it sometimes. This doesn’t mean they are celebrating the acts about which they sing. They do pre-date the PMRC.

Sargeant D., the character created by the Stormtroopers of Death, was their idea of a fascist to be mocked. To them he was a conservative (people forget that Tipper was not, and as usual, the liberals somehow get a pass on sharing the totalitarian culpability).  The Stormtroopers of Death wrote songs in the personage of Sargeant D. called “Fuck the Middle East” and “Speak English or Die” and your idiot press and politicians (and parents) were only too happy to assume that these were the views of the band members. They also thought that we, The Great Unwashed Fans were so stupid that we would be influenced by the overt messages. Performers were often arrested for obscenity for depicting these messages.  It was a little more intellectually sophisticated than Jim Morrison pulling out his dick, though not much.

The art world really had to fight for its life. It said, “Hey, we find your politics and business practices to be obscene. Don’t worry about a photograph of a guy with a bullwhip shoved into his ass. Why don’t we let parents police their kids and we’ll all police you!”

I never met Dave Brockie, but I can tell he was a sensitive, intelligent artist. He hated war, but was fascinated by it. He truly acknowledged and appreciated that he could live this life because his fans supported it. He was fighting against what he saw as societal ills. I wasn’t a giant, committed fan of GWAR, but I liked Dave as a person based on his anecdotal writing. I don’t use my Facebook page to follow musicians, really, but I always followed Dave, even before Myspace, because I loved his spirit, even when I disagreed with him. I love the spirit of “stupid and ridiculous” and “ridiculous to absurdity” which is exactly where GWAR took their conversation.

I really wish he had not died. I don’t think this death was on purpose. He has clearly been despondent since GWAR guitarist Cory Smoot died. After this, GWAR held concerts where you could bring a box of diapers for Cory’s newly-born baby and they would haul them back in a tour truck. Heavy Metal (and often Punk) people are the most loving, familial, and committed people you will meet. We have a special fidelity to each other that you don’t see in passing-fad music genre fan bases, especially since we were pushed back underground.

When only a few news agencies were reporting this and we still hoped it was a hoax, a friend of mine immediately noticed that we were a little too close to April 1, but I don’t think Dave could manipulate people that way after going through that with Cory. Now that the police, GWAR’s manager and major news outlets have reported, I guess it’s time to accept.

Dave offered commissioned art and for years I have dreamed of asking for a wall plaque “Cuttlefish of Cthulhu” (complete with brain testicles). I wanted to put it in my bathroom in a position that made you move to avoid it and prevent it from slapping you in the face. Dave claimed to be very poor at following up on stuff that was paid for and even posted that he is no longer taking commissions until he catches up. I don’t know if he just forgot to take the posting down or never caught up. So I never got to request it.

I also don’t even know if Dave made his own suits or Cuttlefish in recent years. GWAR is a consortium of sorts. They have a production company with many artists and sculptors. They could theoretically sell stuff in his name forever. I would never truly know if I have “his art” if I found some now.

Because of this consortium aspect, I hope GWAR go on. If I remember my interweb stories correctly, Dave wasn’t going to be the singer originally. The GWAR  slave we know as Hunter was. But Dave was fantastically charismatic and creative, and possibly (if you could imagine) a better singer. Then one day he suddenly owned the GWAR name because someone knew a lawyer (there are many stories on the interwebs- I read them passively, I promise).

It’s not time to think about this yet, but I think they could find another great spirit like Dave, whether he uses the Odorus character or not. There is no reason to throw away this great big beautiful world he helped create. There has to be someone in that mess of people  that can fill the giant foam shoes. If they can pull it off, GWAR will last forever, this will just have been the first dynasty. You can’t accuse them of keeping the characters alive to make money. Bands like this don’t make money. They performed the important task of pushing limits – not cheaply, but with humorous (if incredibly vulgar) absurdity, and we need them now as much as we ever did.

Here are some of my favorite Dave Brockie Moments:

His entire “Stupid” page on his website, which features my favorite photo:


Effectively, Dave’s autobiography:

GWAR, Me, and the Onrushing Grip of Death

It’s about the people and the city that gave GWAR life. How a bunch of pot-addled art-skool rejects rose from the rubble of an abandoned milk-bottling plant on a mission to make the world a filthier place and put Richmond metal on the map in the process. It’s the story of my life, and nobody is more qualified to tell that story than me.



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