Monday, April 30, 2012

The Great Starvation Experiment

The Great Starvation Experiment
by Todd Tucker


My body is (was) used to running 10 miles a day.  Ten miles a day at roughly 100 calories a mile (give or take) is 1000 calories a day (again, give or take.)  To fuel those 10 miles/1000 calories, I've been putting 1000 extra calories of yummy food in my yap each and every day.

Here's what happens when you tell Megan about it on the Staten Island Ferry (November 2010):


Allow me to paraphrase the conversation.

Rabid: "I prolly eat around 2500 to 3500 a day.  Depends on the training." This was said while Tina (on the left) nodded her head.

Megan: "You eat how much?"  Notice the face, then added, "Why doesn't everyone run?"

Here's the strange part about that extra 1000 calories a day business: when you quit running, your body still wants, still feels like it needs, those extra 1000 calories a day.  True story.  And that's why none of my clothes fit right now.  Even though I'm trying to keep the food intake to a minimum, and even though I feel like I'm STARVING all the time, I'm still gaining some extra cushion.  Bonus!

So, what do you do when you feel like you're starving all the time, even though you're sitting on your rump 24, nearly 7?  You read a book about starvation.  Totally puts things in perspective.

Cause, like, food is fuel and totally necessary, and who cares if I'm cozily plump?  (I do, dang it!)  So I read this book.  And I just now realized that I haven't applied a rating system to any of these books that I read.  Should I be providing a "star rating" when I do a book report?  If so, this one is 4.5 stars.  Super good.  Super interesting.  Super written.  It's a super star book!

The Great Starvation Experiment by Todd Tucker (double TT!) is a non-fiction recap of a starvation experiment that Dr. Ancel Keys of the University of Minnesota conducted towards the end of World War II.  Dr. Keys basically enlisted 36 men, locked 'em in a bunker under the football stadium, and controlled their caloric intake for six months.  These 36 men consumed an average of 1500 calories a day.  Which sounds like a lot, doesn't it?  Well it's not.  Man cannot sustain life on 1500 calories a day.  Each of the human guinea pigs would lose an alarming amount of weight on 1500 calories a day.

Sam Legg, after 6 months 
of the Starvation Experiment

It's important to mention how Dr. Keys got these 36 men to starve themselves.  During World War II there were some people called pacifists who refused to fight during the war.  Pacifists believed killing for any reason was against their religious persuasion.  When a pacifist was drafted, they were able to side-step actual combat by doing various tasks.  Some pacifists were sent to work in mental institutions while many others were sent to dig ditches somewhere.  Dr. Keys was given free license to recruit 36 of those pacifists for his starvation experiment. Dr. Keys distributed a flyer to all enlisted pacifists, asking for volunteers.  Believe it or not, more than 36 men were willing and volunteered.  Dr. Keys had his pick.

The point of this exercise was not to study or learn how to starve people, it was to discover efficient ways to rehabilitate those are starving.  As many of you might recall (from your history books, as most of you weren't even alive then) most of Europe was  living day to day with minimal amounts of food.  And if that wasn't tragic enough, there were millions of sick and starving people in concentration camps. The U.S. needed to figure out how to rehabilitate as efficiently as possible.

During the rehabilitation phase, Dr. Keys discovered that fancy additives, like protein and vitamins, do not speed up the recovery process at all.  The only thing that helps recovery is plain, old-fashioned calories.  And lots of them.

I learned a great deal from this book.  I learned a lot about pacifists and the laws that allowed them to escape combat.  I learned a great deal about World War II.  I learned about food supply as a weapon of war, and how cutting off this food supply is a great way to fight a war.  Hitler was able to accomplish much by controlling the supply of food to a particular area.

Finally, I learned that cutting calories makes people crazy.  Before I read this book, I thought it was just my deal... that cutting calories made me crazy.  Turns out everyone needs food to function.

Imagine that.


This being injured thing is so much fun!  So!  Fun!  Just yesterday I was thinking that this injured situation is not unlike having a best friend in a coma.  Dang, I miss her.  When will she wake up?

Will she wake up...?

When I start down that "will she wake up?" path – which usually follows four or more people saying stuff like, " never recover fully from that one do you..." – I think about Yahoo #1, and how he used to say that people in comas are "comatoast."

My running friend is comatoast.

(And my kids are super funny!)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Produce - Tuesday Tune, vol 110


 My favorite part of any grocery store is the produce section.  It's all so alive.  And colorful!  I love colors.  I could be gay and sport mega pride based on the colors alone.  Sometimes I go into a produce section just for kicks... don't need anything, don't even have any room in my fridge, I just want to see, and be one with, the produce.  And it if it's time to buy?  Oh my.  I salivate with glee just to think of a basket full of herbaceous herbs, cruciferous crunchies, glorious greens, radical roots, and all the many far-out fruits.

I am a partisan of produce.

The edibles in the produce section are not the only reason to visit, because the produce section also has produce people!   People who work the produce.  I'm here to tell you that produce people are the jolliest and jovial of any people around.  Think about it... have you ever met a grouchy produce person?  No!  You haven't it!  Its it because they're surrounded by all the colors?  Or is because they fondle and caress living things?  Who knows.

I'm pretty sure my love for produce comes from my dad Mikey.  A self proclaimed "Poor Farm Boy from Orem," he grows a magnificent garden.  Watching his garden grow and eating his produce has always been my favorite part of summer/fall.

The produce and the produce people need a playlist.  That's why today's Tuesday Tuesday tunes are for, and in honor of, the produce.

Green Onions Booker T. & The MG's
The King of Carrot Flowers, Pt. 1 Neutral Milk Hotel
The King of Carrot Flowers, Pts. 2 & 3 Neutral Milk Hotel
Higher Ground Red Hot Chili Peppers
Lemon Meringue Poe
One Bad Apple The Osmonds
Lemon Parade Tonic
Raspberry Swirl Tori Amos
Just Can’t Get Enough Black Eyed Peas
Tangerine Led Zeppelin
Pineapple Rag Scott Joplin
Milk and Mangoes Saravah Soul
Peaches & Diesel Eric Clapton
Strawberry Skies Games
Strawberry Fields Forever The Beatles
Mango Pickle Down River Feat. The Wilcannia Mob M.I.A.
Peach Prince
Orange Crush R.E.M.
Live High (From an Avocado Salad Session) Jason Mraz
(There's Not Enough Songs About) Squash Darren Hanlon
I Heard It Through The Grapevine Creedence Clearwater Revival
Cherry Pie Warrant
Meet You In Produce The Peekers
Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy Tchaikovsky
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band The Beatles
Broccoli Hands Hi Im Rawn
Potato Cheryl Wheeler
Orange Appled Cocteau Twins
Collard Greens & Cornbread Fantasia
Banana Puddin Southern Culture On The Skids
Kiwi Maroon 5
Cornfields Blake Wise
The Lemon Song Led Zeppelin
Apples Delhi 2 Dublin
Mango Sascha Funke
Sunbeams And Some Beans Kimya Dawson
Soul One Blind Melon
The Spinach Song Julia Lee And Her Boyfriends
Peaches & Cream Beck
Celery Stalks At Midnight Will Bradley
Lettuce Leaf Culann's Hounds
Snow Cherries From France Tori Amos
Banana's and Blow Ween
Orange The Dandy Warhols
Black Horse And The Cherry Tree KT Tunstall
Give It Away Red Hot Chili Peppers
Dusk: A Peach In The Orchard Eels
Operate Peaches
Lemon U2
Glass Onion The Beatles
Never Grow Old The Cranberries
Cherry, Cherry Neil Diamond
Orange Colored Sky Nat King Cole
Strawberry Swing Coldplay
Raspberry Beret Prince
Mushaboom Feist
Banana Republic The Boomtown Rats
Martha's Foolish Ginger Tori Amos

Notice how Tori Amos loves to write songs with produce?  And that more people write about fruits than veggies?  Why is that?   Huh.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

When Thinking Positive Gets You In Trouble... and Half Empty

We are currently in the age of thinking positive.  I think thinking positive is a good way to think.  I also think that what we think becomes what we are.  I think, therefore I are.  I've discovered, however, that thinking positive can get us in trouble.

To illustrate this theory, that thinking positive can get us in trouble, I shall use my recent discovery of a jacked-up extremity.   On March 1, 2012, I was thinking positive.  "It's fine!" and "I just need a little rest!" and "It's no big deal!" and "I'll be running in a week!"

No, Rabid, it was not fine.  You couldn't even run a quarter mile.  So, had I considered the worst case scenario on March 1, had I prepared a contingency, and had I gone to the doctor with a runner's worst (or second worst) fear, instead of the rest-a-week, injure-it-again, rest-a-week cycle, then I'd be all sorts of hunky dory now.

Hunky Dory... that's a great album... sigh...

Which brings me to today's book report...

Half Empty
By David Rackoff


Let's take a moment to ponder the cover, shall we.  First, notice the bright yellow "Warning!  No inspirational life lessons will be learned in this book!"  Don't you love it when book covers don't over promise?  Me too.  I hate to disappoint, my dear Mr. Rakoff, but I did learn some inspirational life lessons in this book!  I did!  Lots of 'em.  I want to send you some fan mail to tell you all about my life lessons!

But back to the cover... the cover is brilliant... we have the guy in the canoe, smiling and waving as he's about to drop off the edge of a waterfall, two rabbits who smile at us stupidly while a gun is ready to aim 'n fire.  We also have some volcanos.

Now, here's what I think is brilliant about this cover, it's not pessimism.  It's not thinking the worst will happen, it's that in this day and age, all of these things can be predicted and planned for.  What Mr. Rakoff is saying, in this hilariously entertaining and insightful collection of memoirs, is that sometimes positive thinking gets in the way of planning and making accommodations for the worst case scenario.

(Somebody turn Mr. Rakoff on to the Mormon way of Food Storage!)

I learned of this David Rakoff by reading a book report from Jessica.  Her book selections (which in this case was another one of Megan's book selections) never disappoint.  Rakoff's writing is so smart (like, need a dictionary all the time smart).  And witty (like, need to read some parts two times to take it all in.)  And respectful (like, he respects stuff he doesn't truly understand, like Mormons... like, he's Jewish and gay but still visited "God's Country" or Salt Lake City and, well, you just gotta read that chapter.)

So, to contradict the cover's promise that "no inspirational life lessons will be learned in this book," I shall document the life lessons I learned in this book.

Life Lesson #1: Gossip is oxygen deprived vitriol.  

In the chapter called, On Juicy, Rakoff describes how he can keep secrets better than a vault.  People have always confided in him and he has always held their secrets sacred.  He is a "practitioner of discretion" and drove a point straight through my heart with his interpretation of a Yiddish parable:

"An old woman is called out of her house to join her neighbors in the fun of watching the village idiot ranting in the square.  She goes, and there he is, a grown man, raving like a lunatic, spewing saliva-flecked curses at the crowd, who are all hugely amused, with the exception of the old woman, who doesn't crack a smile.  'If he wasn't my idiot, I'd laugh, too,' she tells them. This, then, is 'juicy's' toxic bit of transubstantiation:  secrets turned into gossip; your pain into someone else's pleasure.  Every hilarious town fool is someone's schizophrenic son.  So my answer to that question 'Want to hear something juice?' is almost always no." (page 103)

Life Lesson #2: Crappy childhoods do successful writers make.  

Rakoff says, "Nothing assails the writer's credibility more than the pleasant childhood.  I freely admit to having had one myself.  A happy fact reflected sadly in my book sales."  He also says he had "a golden upbringing, under the loving guidance and tutelage of two caring and adoring parents whose own path was illuminated by the sunlight they were convinced shone straight out of my ass." (page 29 then 30)

(I consider David Rakoff a successful writer, so perhaps life lesson #2 is more of a life funny.)

Life Lesson #3:  "I saw you eat a ham and cheese sandwich" is the worst accusation you can throw at a Jew.  

This I learned in chapter Dark Meat, where he relishes the beauty of pork products and other edible unmentionables of the Jewish religion.  I read this book around Easter.   On Good Friday I was shopping for groceries, and after witnessing the max exodus of hams, was hit between the eyes with some Jews-no-pork, Christians-lotsa-pork irony.

Life Lesson #4: All these years I've been doing mesearch.  

Rakoff is a journalist.  Whenever he researches stuff it always turns into research that will help him, or mesearch.  Me too!  I just didn't know that's what it is called.  We should totally be friends.

Life Lesson #5: Don't get offended.

Rakoff has had cancer twice.  The second time, a doctor had informed him that he would lose his entire arm.  And while friends would pay him a get-well visit, they'd say some stupid things.  Sometimes we say stupid things don't we?  We sure do.  Sometimes we even type them out loud.

Here's what Rakoff has to say about that: "Unless someone looks you in the eye and hisses. 'You [effing] a--hole, I can't wait until you die of this,' people are really trying their best.  Just like being happy and sad, you will find yourself on both sides of the equation many times over your lifetime, either saying or hearing the wrong thing.  Let's all give each other a pass, shall we?"

(Oh, and sorry about the censorship Mr. Rakoff, this here's a family blog and the in-laws have been known to read it.)

Life Lesson #6: Lachrymose is an awesome word!

Life Lesson #7: Sweating the small stuff is good preparation.

"Defensive pessimism is about sweating the small stuff, being prepared for contingencies like some neurotic Jewish Boy Scout, and in so doing, not letting oneself be crippled by fear.  Where a strategic optimist might approach a gathering rainstorm with a smile as his umbrella, the defensive pessimist, all too acquainted with this world of pitfall and precipitation, is far more likely to use, well, an umbrella." (page 9).

There's preparation, and then there's worry.  Worry has no function other than to produce anxiety.  Worry and fear go hand in hand; put 'em together and they cripple progress. Therefore, the true task (for me anyway) is to channel my worries into contingencies and the preparation therein.

Life Lesson #8: Bad times always sweeten and strengthen the good.

We all know this is true, don't we?  When we are bushwhacking our way through a rough patch of life, we all know that when it's over, and you're back in one of those dreamy sweet spots, they will taste all the better.  Rakoff, however, says it better than any one else.

"I keep flashing back to what it says in the Inferno: 'There is no greater pain than to remember happiness in the midst of one's misery.'  There will be peaks of great joy from which to crow and vales of tears out of which to climb.  When and why they will happen, no one can say, but they will happen. To all of us.  We will all go back and forth from one to the other countless times during a lifetime.  This is not some call to bipartisanship between inimical sides.  The Happy and the Sad are the same population." (page 15)

"Even the most charmed life is a veritable travelogue of disappointment.  There will always be an inevitable gulf between hope and reality.  It is how we traverse these Deserts of Letdown that shows us what we are made of." (page 25)

Perhaps I should print that last paragraph and post it largely in every room in my house.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Boooooooooooo ttttt

Okay, I guess I was just kidding.

Looks like I can't even hang it up for a whole week.  Please note that I was purposely vague when creating the duration for this hanging it up.  I said "a while," which could mean anything.  Like "a while" could mean a whole year, or "a while" could mean the amount of time it takes to do your taxes, or even "a while" could be the amount of time I can sit still... which is exactly five minutes.

Symantecs are genius, aren't they?  "A while" has options.  You can worm your way out of all sorts of responsibility by choosing words like, "a while" or "is."

Anyway, why the sudden(ish) switch?  Two reasons:

1) Jenn won't accept my facebook friend request.
2) BOOOOOOOOO0 tttt.

It's important that you say reason two out loud.  Say "BOOOOOOOOOO" like you're a Red Sox fan and the Yankees just won, or if your color is Blue, then say it like Red is winning.  Now say "ttttt" with your best Voldemort hiss.

Put it together... like this:

Baseball "BOOOOOOOOOO" – Voldemort "ttttttt."

Make sure you say it out loud then get a load of my new footwear (not feetwear):

Also get a load of the Mac mini named RabidMini

Baseball "BOOOOOOOOOO" – Voldemort "tttttt."

I've been couched.  Yesterday the Doc discovered a tiny tear in my achilles tendon.  Add that to the soleus and medial gastroc strains and the result is, well, a month in a Booooooooooooooo tttt.

This has been some rough going.  Not going to lie.  (As if I lie here.  As if!)  I had the mother of all meltdowns on Sunday, at 6:00am of all times. (Seriously, who wakes up pissed?  I do!)  A considerable amount of heat-induced frustration was released during this meltdown.  Hopefully the frustration won't be back for a week or two.  That's the great thing about the mother-meltdown... if it's a true mother-meltdown, you'll be too tired to have another for a while.

("A while."  There it is again!  So many dang options!)

Spouse recovered.  I think.  He could prolly use some flowers or something though. 

So, Rabid, what can you do?  Biking?  Nope.  Rowing?  Negative.  Elliptical?  Fughetaboutit. Swimming?  Nada, water resistance won't jive.   Rabid, what can you do?  Pretty much nothing.  Except... Except...!  I can post stuff on my blog!  

What was I thinking?  Hanging this up when it's the only thing I can do.

One thing though: You're all cool if I have this "runner" blog and there's no running for a while, right?  Thought so.  You are all way cool like that.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Hanging it up for a while...

It's been a great run!

Friday, April 13, 2012

voici l'orage


It's stormy here in the 'Tah. This weekend will undoubtedly be full of thunderous claps and electrifying lights of ning.  I'm gearing up for this storm –  a physical and metaphorical one – by putting my brain in a comfy haze, and watching Yahoo #1's very own l'orage.  Technically, this L'orage is  Burgmüller's L'orage, but what we have here today, is a L'orage a la interpretation d'Yahoo.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Who Wears the Pants?

Yesterday the Spouse and I were having this conversation.  He was saying some blah blah blah about some situation, then ended with, "I think she wears the pants in the family." 

The idiom pants in the family refers to women who run the show at home and is based on the etymology that men traditionally and historically have worn pants.  Well... except for some weird skirt-wearing years in ancient Egypt and the knickers that plagued the 16th century.  Knickers are not pants, right?  Right.  Glad we're on the same page with that one.  There's also the Scottish Kilt thing, but kilts on men are sexy and the sexy kilt thing just doesn't relate today.

Do you like that I used an idiom to explain and idiom?  Now wasn't that clever.  And wasn't it so not clever that I pointed out that I'm clever?

It just occurred to me that I don't know the difference between an idiom and a colloquialism.  I'm a fan of these types of things.  Mostly, I'm fan of discovering the origin and attached history.  Colloquialisms and idioms say much more than their nebulous, non-literal words display.  To me they say, "Wow!  How did that one come about?  Let's search the internet to know!"

I'd die without the internet.  For real.

So what's the difference between a colloquialism and an idiom?  The collaborative readers at Yahoo Answers say a colloquialism is slang, casual in directive, and limited by region, as in "Yo, what up?" and "pants on the ground!" while an idiom is a saying with a meaning that is not literal, as in "raining cats and dogs."  Funny how we choose a word like colloquialism to represent slang and the word idiom to represent something more formal, yes?  I do declare, that is irony of the finest!

Well, Yahoo Answers wasn't enough.  I needed more answers, because evidently, I had colloquialism and idioms all messed up. I pulled up colloquialisms at wikipedia and hoped for a colloquial-idiom corollary but came up dry on that.

After some search – whereby I found various pages to contradict – I can conclude one thing: the distinction between colloquialism and idiom is only necessary in formal writing.  And since this is anything but formal writing, we need not worry about it, right?

Right you are Rabid!

Love it when I'm right.  Also love it when I wear the pants.  Which brings me to the point of my conversation with Spouse and wearing the pants.

After his mention of "she wears the pants in the family."  I kinda back-tracked and did one of those whirly-bird neck thingies.

"What do people say about me and my pants and whether I wear the pants?"  

Think about that one folks... pause for some reflection.  This is, indeed, a loaded question.  For any answer makes someone look like a total pussy.  (Did I type that out load?  I did!  And I'm not going to delete it!) If I wear the pants, then Spouse looks like a dumbdoodle with no say.  If he wears the pants, then I'm a victimized, beaten wife of an alcoholic.

See?  Loaded.

Spouse understood the loaded capacity of my question and stared at me blankly.  The guy is a genius.  He knows when to say nothing.  He knows when he has been asked one of those lose-or-lose questions.

This is what I said: "Well.  I think I'm one of those I'm going to wear my own pants kind of people.  And if you want to wear pants too, that's just fine.  You just go over there and wear your own pants.  I'll stay over here and wear my pants.  Then we can get our pants together and make 'em dance."

Know what he said?  "Right you are Rabid."