Anyone who has the misfortune to spend much time around me knows that I have a pretty serious obsession with health.
Not just in an abstract fusion either, but I like to drill into what can practically be done to impact weight, longevity, quality of life, disease, all that crap. I’m not terribly big on so much of the “hey, heres some abstract concept on this obscure part of diet, but there’s nothing you can do about it” type research that seems popular. I like to focus on what we can do.
I just finished reading “Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease” By Dr. Robert Lustig, who if you don’t know is famous for his “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” Lecture on Youtube. This is a great resource on the biochemistry and politic side of obesity and the impacts of Metabolic Disorder.
I Have also been thumbing through “Testing Treatments: Better Research for Better Healthcare ” Which has a great discussion on how clinical trials are generally mishandled, and “Death by Prescription: The Shocking Truth Behind an Overmedicated Nation” Which gives a lot of data on taking personal action in your use of prescription drugs.
Much of this is interesting by itself.
I started caring about this because I hit a point in my personal life where I was tired of being fat. As a typical obsessive-compulsive nerd, I was drawn in as I dug deeper. Americans (followed by the rest of the world) live longer lives now. But the quality of those years has declined. We have had was was once the last five years of our life lived with “significant” quality impairments increased to the last “twenty” years of our lives. See the rise in those fucking scooters for the mobility impact.
Alzheimer’s and cognitive issues are on the rise. Cancer is on the rise. Fuck, the lack of fitness in Americans has impacted the military recruitment, and is becoming a National Security issue. Fuck, can we start taking this seriously yet?
I have some deep opinions on the best way to do things, but that’s no longer even the point. How about we simply stop doing the worst fucking things possible?
Eat less than 130 pounds of sugar per year.
Safe levels of sugar were once calculated back when the average was 40 pounds per person per year. now we eat 130. If you want to know why this is an issue war Dr. Lustig’s video above. Or of you think that only calories are the issue then just imagine the calories (hint: at this amount, the calories are overwhelmed but the impact on insulin and your liver)
Actually, I can stop advice right there. Just sugar alone is probably the worst of the worst of the worst. Just fixing that in anyone’s diet (stop drinking sodas and fruit juice, quit foods with added sugar, etc) would make a big impact.
Then, get off your ass and do something. Anything. (but not jogging, that shit’s useless) Do 50 pushups each day. Take the whole day, I don’t fucking care. do it. Add 20 sit-ups. get two empty gallon milk containers, fill them with water, and duck-tape them closed. carry one in each hand and walk around the block.
If all that’s too easy, go buy some Kettlebells. Show up at my house and I will personally show you how to use them. Lift more heavy shit.
Personally, I chose to do a lot more. I still eat a paleo diet, and have barbells, kettlebells, and bodyweight workouts that I mix. But not everyone needs to be as insane as me to make a difference. Just. Do. Something.
I have set myself a new goal this year of writing up an article on my Blog by each Friday. I haven’t gotten that down yet, but I’m doing much better than last year.
When I started writing, I felt that blogs were really useless, and pretty much a huge waste of time. I was right of course, but that doesn’t stop me from writing. For the most part I have been discouraged in the past from writing partially by the really crappy writing of others. Most people are really terrible writers, or at best just mostly pointless.
But that’s not really relevant. Despite the anti-motivation that a lot of folk offer, I have seen some really fine writers out there, and more importantly, I have seen in myself the impact of writing, even when it is largely about nothing. Being forced to sit down and collect thoughts about anything is a great exercise.
I have felt the benefits of this at work, where I need to write for business, and getting some warmup on the weekends or other random points really helps the mental focus when I need it.
Also I have purchased myself a new Kindle recently as a birthday present (from me to me). I have to admit that the “ereader” and “epaper” or whatever they call it is impressive, and I can read much faster on a Kindle than in normal books. Being able to carry a stack of books around doesn’t suck either. It has been another motivation to write as well. Good reading begets good writing.
I have several deeper writing projects that I simply haven’t had time to work on, but really need to take time to flesh out deeper once I get the chance. I’m starting to think that I should just hammer something out from one of my list of ideas, if for no other purpose than to get a stake in the ground to improve on for other projects.
Perhaps a collection of blog postings…
I have a bookshelf with several of my favorite authors. When I was more more organized, the top two shelves were dedicated to two writers exclusively. Hunter Thompson and Douglas Adams.
I have spent some time in collecting everything that they have written, at least within reason, as some books and editions are redundant or impossible to find. But for the most part, I have a complete collection. And now I fear it.
When you truly enjoy a great writer, you can just burrow through their pages, absorbing the words and prose, and burst out the other side of the book with a sweaty glow, soaking in the the feelings and emotions of the writing. Great works you can read over and over, but nothing replaces the thrill of picking up the next work. And I can now look at my shelf and not only see the next work, but the last work.
I have unread books from both Hunter and Douglas. And I will read them, but not yet. I have gone over the covers several times, feeling the spines, then sliding the books back into the gaps they leave in the shelf. Pulling one open and starting at the first page is carefully planned. These are influential works to me, even when they are just scribbled rantings, because there will be no more.
I met Douglas Adams when I had just graduated high school. He came to Seattle to the University Book Store for a book signing. I was thrilled to learn this, and was there right of the bat with my copies of hitchhikers guide to sign. Once I got to the front of the line, I had no idea what to say. I had been reading his books since Elementary school, and I didn’t know what to ask.
So I asked him one of the stock questions he always got, about getting the idea for the books lying in a field. I knew the answer, but hearing it from Douglas was worth it. He was my height, well over 6 feet, looking me in the eye. And he was sincere and happy to answer even the most basic question from one of his fans. I never forgot that moment.
I only read Hunter after becoming trapped in Las Vegas after Chuck’s wedding. We flew down on stand-by tickets into Las vegas, and by accident, the wedding was during March Madness. The wedding itself was fantastic, but Vegas was a zoo. By the last day of the long weekend we were ready to leave. But with stand by tickets, there was no space. So we waited another day. Nothing.
Yulia and I were trapped in Vegas with our daughter, and the estimate was that it would be at least 3 to 5 days before a clear flight would let us out.
At that point, I had The Fear.
To escape out of our desert gulag I worked a scheme with a car rental company, three airports, and getting put on the Terrorist Watch List that had us driving from Las Vegas to Seattle via San Francisco.
I knew of the book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and after that experience, bought it to relate to what just happened to us. I was immediately struck by the writing, and never looked back. I read The Curse of Lono just before our last trip to Hawaii, and have the rest of Hunter’s books on the shelf.
Both Douglas’s humor and Hunter’s brutality influence my writing today. I love peeking into what they have written, but am not sure that I want to hit the end just yet.
Perhaps, once my writing us matured, it will be what fills that gap for me. The same way their own writing filled the gap from their literary heroes.
I’m not there yet. But each time I pull another book off that shelf, just a bit remains in me afterwards, and lives in on in my eyes and fingers. And is inflicted upon you.
Well, it’s that time of year again. It has been an interesting year for HST fans, with a few books and a film, the TV thing on Starz, and work being done on the film The Rum Diary.
We all raise a glass….
Today July 18th is Hunter S. Thompson’s birthday. He would have been 71. Now everybody knows that Hunter liked to have a good time so lets just do that today and celebrate the man – he would have wanted to hear ice clinking in glasses and the sound of people having FUN!
I haven’t done a posting about Hunter in some time, so here is a clip from the Owl Farm Blog:
Today’s HST wisdom comes from The Gonzo Way: After Doug Brinkley’s introduction, the chapters go as follows:
Learning – That’s What It’s All About.
It’s Wrong When It Stops Being Fun.
Politics Is The Art of Controlling Your Environment.
We Is The Most Important Word in Politics.
Truth Is Easier.
Buy The Ticket, Take the Ride.
Never Apologize, Never Explain.
A young man in Seattle recently write to me:
The other day I was asked to do the now common act of taking off my shoes at the airport security screening. As I deposited my shoes in the tray, a sense of utter absurdity washed over me. I have to take my shoes off and have them scanned by an X-ray machine because some guy tried to blow up an airliner with his sneakers. And I thought, I feel like I’m in a world not even Kurt Vonnegut could have imagined. So now that I find I can ask you such questions, tell me, could you have imagined it? (We’re in real trouble if someone figures out how to make explosive pants.)
I wrote back:
The shoe thing at airports and Code Orange and so on are world-class practical jokes, all right. But my all-time favorite is one the holy, anti-war clown Abbie Hoffman (1945-1989) pulled of during the Vietnam War. He announced that the new high was banana peels taken rectally. So then FBI scientists stuffed banana peels up their asses to find out if this was true or not. Or so we hoped.
Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
Anita Thompson would like to invite you to please join from your own home the quiet bon fire she is having for her husband by lighting a fire or candle at 6pm Mountain Standard Time on February 20th and reading a HST passage. She will be doing the same at her Owl Farm home with family. Gonzostore.com will reopen in a few days.
He disappeared in the dead of winter:
The brooks were frozen, the airports almost deserted,
And snow disfigured the public statues;
The mercury sank in the mouth of the dying day.
What instruments we have agree
The day of his death was a dark cold day.
Far from his illness
The wolves ran on through the evergreen forests,
The peasant river was untempted by the fashionable quays;
By mourning tongues
The death of the poet was kept from his poems.
But for him it was his last afternoon as himself,
An afternoon of nurses and rumours;
The provinces of his body revolted,
The squares of his mind were empty,
Silence invaded the suburbs,
The current of his feeling failed; he became his admirers.
Now he is scattered among a hundred cities
And wholly given over to unfamiliar affections,
To find his happiness in another kind of wood
And be punished under a foreign code of conscience.
The words of a dead man
Are modified in the guts of the living.
But in the importance and noise of to-morrow
When the brokers are roaring like beasts on the floor of the Bourse,
And the poor have the sufferings to which they are fairly accustomed,
And each in the cell of himself is almost convinced of his freedom,
A few thousand will think of this day
As one thinks of a day when one did something slightly unusual.
What instruments we have agree
The day of his death was a dark cold day.
You were silly like us; your gift survived it all:
The parish of rich women, physical decay,
Yourself. Mad Ireland hurt you into poetry.
Now Ireland has her madness and her weather still,
For poetry makes nothing happen: it survives
In the valley of its making where executives
Would never want to tamper, flows on south
From ranches of isolation and the busy griefs,
Raw towns that we believe and die in; it survives,
A way of happening, a mouth.
Earth, receive an honoured guest:
William Yeats is laid to rest.
Let the Irish vessel lie
Emptied of its poetry.
In the nightmare of the dark
All the dogs of Europe bark,
And the living nations wait,
Each sequestered in its hate;
Stares from every human face,
And the seas of pity lie
Locked and frozen in each eye.
Follow, poet, follow right
To the bottom of the night,
With your unconstraining voice
Still persuade us to rejoice;
With the farming of a verse
Make a vineyard of the curse,
Sing of human unsuccess
In a rapture of distress;
In the deserts of the heart
Let the healing fountain start,
In the prison of his days
Teach the free man how to praise.
— In Memory of WB Yeats by WH Auden
Source: Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
I read in an article recently that Anita would be releasing several more volumes of HST’s work, including Polo is My Life, which is a title that I have seen for quite a while on amazon, with no indication as to what it was. Apparently it is an unfinished novel of sorts.
I have just moved my home office from the basement of my house to a smaller room upstairs, which is actually a better arrangement. However, as part of this faustian deal, I am boxing up some of my more unused items an they are not making it to the new shelves. I do however hav a shelf dedicated to my two favorites, HST, and Douglas Adams. It rather sucks th see so much writing that I enjoy, and knowing that it is now a limited supply.
Sometimes others seem to find the perfect words that I cannot.