Diets Don’t Work


Diets don’t work.  Yeah, I said it.  Okay, I’ll admit that in some parts of the world, diets do work, but they’re mostly involuntary.  (Yeah, I said that, too.)  Here’s the deal.  Western society is awash in food, and for the last 50 years, we’ve been fighting a tremendous battle to keep it out of our mouths – and — we’re losing.  The problem is, like most contemporary situations, we want a quick fix, and we’re willing to lie to ourselves (and others) to get it.  So, when we say, “I’m going to change my life, burn my fat clothes, join a gym and start eating healthy from now on,” what we actually mean is, “God, I hope if I stop eating all the stuff I really like for a while and take the stairs at work, I’m going to be able to fit into my underwear again.”  Folks, that’s not the way to do it – because:

Food is everywhere. – Walk down any High Street in Europe or drive down any highway in North America, and you’re going to find food.  Fast food, slow food, food you can eat right now, food you can save for later, food from a farmer, food from a factory, food from a chemistry set, and even food that started life as something completely different.  My point is it’s easier to avoid heroin if you’re an addict than it is to avoid food if you’re on a diet.  Spend a day out in the big, wide world and you’ll come home so pissed off about all the stuff you CAN’T have, you’ll eat the sofa.

Our culture is built on food. – You have to look far and wide to find any social interaction that doesn’t involve food — breakfast meetings, dinner parties, potluck, barbeque, cake and coffee, tea and biscuits and it goes on and on and on.  Even our mating rituals revolve around food.  Want to get to know somebody?  Go out to lunch.  Want to really get to know somebody?  Go out to dinner.  Want to get laid, married or engaged?  Go out to an expensive dinner.  Nobody ever says, “Hey, I think you’re an interesting person.  Let’s get together and drink some water.”

Snacks – The harsh reality is snacks are the food we eat in between the time we’ve finished eating (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and the time we start eating again.  Nobody west of the Vistula is actually hungry.  It’s just a contemporary twitch — and good luck trying to break that habit.

Most people are like me.  — I have a car, a microwave, a dishwasher, a Roomba, a thing that cuts up my vegetables and two guys who show up every once in a while to work in the garden.  I also have a television, a computer and a flat screen thingy that reads to me.  On ordinary days, I don’t get enough exercise to fill a mouse’s ear: on lazy days, I could be in a coma.  In the 21st century, we simply don’t move enough.  So it really doesn’t matter how many calories you’re not eating; if you work at a desk all day and spend your evenings cultivating your ass groove in front of a TV or computer – you’re pretty much screwed.

So, what’s the solution?

The Mediterranean was the first Eden, and by all accounts, Adam and Eve were pretty hot property owners, so it makes sense to eat the way the Mediterraneans do.  What’s not to like?  Fish, chicken, and the occasional cow, 50 kinds of pasta, 100 different sauces, who knows how many cheeses, olives, avocados, enough garlic to scare your friends, bread that doesn’t taste like sawdust, all the salad, fruit and veg you can get your mitts on, red wine, white wine and — at the end of it all — coffee and tiramisu.

No fuss!  No muss!  And it beats the hell out of kale and quinoa on a cracker!

Some Guy vs McDonald’s


As I wrote on Tuesday, our world is going crazy.  And the sad thing is we’re not even “slouching towards Bethlehem” in a dignified, poetic journey to the apocalypse.  No, not us!  We’re twittering around Wonderland in a Johnny Depp-esque rendition of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party – utterly convinced we’re on the road to salvation.  Let me give you yet another example.

Some guy in Quebec, Canada is suing McDonald’s because, he alleges, they are breaking Quebec law by advertising their Happy Meals™ directly at children.  Whoa!  I’m no expert on marketing, but I’m fairly certain that when a restaurant gives away toys with its food and has a clown as its spokesperson, children are involved somewhere.  Anyway, Monsieur Bramante, a father of three kids under 13, came to the same conclusion and decided somebody should do something about this – and that he was just the boy.  He hired a lawyer (on spec, probably) and launched a Class Action Suit.  M. Bramante maintains that he, his family and anybody else who’s ever bought a Happy Meal™ are being victimized by McDonald’s flagrant flaunting of the law.  According to court documents, he says he “eats at McDonald’s about once every two weeks on the urging of his children.”  Plus, he estimates that he has spent hundreds of dollars on Happy Meals™ over the years.

So, what’s wrong with this picture?  Sounds pretty typical, for the 21st century — find some corporate Goliath and go David on their ass for media attention, fun and, perhaps, profit.  Unfortunately, there are a couple of flies in the ointment.

First of all, suing somebody just because they suggest you buy their product is ludicrous.  Unlike death and taxes, McDonald’s is not inevitable.  You don’t have to go there.  Like drugs, you can tell your kids to “Just say no!”

Secondly, you’re the dad!  No matter how much they “urge” you, taking nutritional directions from your kids is not a good idea.  There’s a reason we don’t allow children to vote, drive or operate heavy machinery.  Duh!  Counting on them to decide what (and where) the family eats is exactly ass-backwards.

Finally, and here’s the WTF moment: YOU’RE THE DAD!  Your kids may very well have motivation to go to McDonald’s but if they end up there, you’re the one providing them with the means and opportunity.  What’s wrong with you?  Downloading the responsibility onto Ronald McDonald doesn’t cut it.  Honestly, you need to spend a little less time dicking around in the legal system and a lot more time being the parent.

No wonder half the people on this planet want to blow us up!

Let’s Fix The World — Part 2

As I said on Tuesday, the world is a mess (“Let’s Fix The World”) but here are three more things that would fix the problem — if only we’d start thinking outside the box.

fix the world

Bring Back Bullies! — When we eliminated bullies from the classroom and the playground, we unintentionally created a bigger problem.  We produced an entire generation who a) don’t understand the world is full of nasty, evil bastards and b) don’t know how to handle them when they show up.  I’m lookin’ at you, Vladimir — or Donald ( whatever your pleasure.)  So, every time some pipsqueak Kim Jong-Un dick-tator starts waving his nuclear weapons around, the entire world has to come to a screaming halt while we try to figure out what to do with the guy.  This is a waste of time.  It would be far better to have the bullies show up in the first grade (like they used to) and we could learn how to deal with them long before it gets to nuclear-warfare-scary.  That way, we’re not playing around with these nutbars for years when we should be concentrating on serious things.

Build Some Useless Stuff — This isn’t my idea, but it’s brilliant.  What we do is take all the students coming out of university with worthless degrees (art history, media studies, leadership, philosophy etc., etc., etc.) and put them to work building a bunch of massive, useless monuments.  Things like Stonehenge or the Great Pyramid or the Great Wall of … uh — well — maybe a wall isn’t such a good idea — but, anyway, stuff like that.  This would keep these half-educated cretins so busy they wouldn’t have time to sit around bitchin’ about their lot in life, blaming the 1% and causing trouble on Facebook and Twitter.  And they’ll be too tired to be constantly yipping about “safe zones” and “cultural appropriation” and why we have to change the he/she pronoun to some made up “ze” bullshit.  The result would be the rest of us could quit wasting a ton of time, trying to placate these malcontents — and we can get on with trying to solve the world’s real problems.  Plus, we’d get a pile of new roadside attractions for selfies and such.

Buy Things — It’s pretty obvious that our world is crap at solving problems.  Just take a look!  When we tried to feed Africa, we ended up with Sir Bob Geldof, stumbling around like a tramp looking for a hot meal.  When we tried to halt Global Warming, we ended up with Al Gore whose personal carbon footprint is the size of Milwaukee.  And now that we’re trying to solve the refugee crisis, who do we find on the front line? George Clooney and Susan Sarandon!  (Why don’t we just ask Sean Penn to run the UN and get it over with?)  However, there is one thing our consumer society does extremely well: we know how to buy stuff.  We need to use this ability to our advantage.  For example, if we’re serious about saving the African White Rhinoceros, why don’t we just buy them all?  (There can’t be that many left.)  We buy them all, stamp them with “Property of …” and hire a bunch of Los Angeles policemen to look after them.  Poachers might be mean and ruthless, but there’s nothing on this planet meaner than the LAPD!  And, honestly, how much would it cost?  The EU spends 100 billion Euros every year on foreign aid: a few rhinos would be a drop in the bucket.  Another example.  Want to end poverty in Mali?  Buy it!  Then send a couple of boatloads of  liberal arts graduates (from item #2) over there to build pyramids, and you’d probably get your initial investment back in a couple of years from tourism alone.  This could work for everything from saving the rain forest to stopping the cocaine trade.  Plus, if we just use the money Western politicians waste every year, nobody’s going to feel the financial pinch.  So this year we buy all the whales and tell the Japanese and Norwegians to go hang; two years from now, we buy all the heroin in the world and burn it in the Libyan desert — because we bought that the year before.

Actually, the sky’s the limit.  All we have to do is quit wasting our time and think about it.