Julescosby's Blog

Archive for September, 2009

Everything in Moderation (especially moderation)

Posted by julescosby on September 27, 2009

Eggs are bad for you.

This will be the first (out of doubtless many) health-related posts.  From the start I want to make one thing clear, I don’t consider myself an expert on health.  I consider myself an expert on my health.

We have to drop the idea that there is such thing as ‘health’ that applies generally.  I’m not necessarily talking about medicinal or clinical health here – I’m sure we’re all glad there are cancer doctors out there.  No, my subject is more along the lines of nutrition.  But since the word ‘health’ is tossed around so readily, it’s there that I will keep my focus set.

If there is an ‘objective’ health, it is obviously socially and historically determined.  Even if one could be proved, or some Idea could be found floating around the ether, how would someone then prove that the good for one is the good for another? Also, in health matters we typically rely on oversimplified quantitative measurements masquerading as qualitative ones.  If your BMI is too high, then you are unhealthy, simple as that.

Eggs are good for you.  Eat more eggs!

Once I joined a gym and I was told, as a vegetarian, how unhealthy my diet was (Trust me kids, it’s not).  I asked the trainer what he ate, and he told me ‘skinless chicken breast’ for just about every meal – seventeen times a day or something ridiculous like that.  For him, the protein content was the only adequate measure of health.  When I mentioned the amount of chemicals that are pumped into chickens to give him his ready supply of muscle chow, I might as well have been speaking Klingon to him; he quickly changed the subject to push-ups.

I’m sure his reaction would have been similar if I would have mentioned the deplorable conditions his protein source par excellence is raised in.  But I digress.

Now, I don’t want to make this post a vegetarian polemic.  I’m about as militantly vegetarian as I am militantly pro-Nickelback.  However, having been a vegetarian for years, I have had to deal with two dubious health-related statements:

1)      Vegetarians are more healthy than carnivores.

2)      Vegetarians are less healthy than carnivores.

Obviously, each argument hinges on a definition of healthy.  My grandpa was healthy and lived a long healthy life – he ate meat every day (except for ‘ethic’ night where he would try that exotic collation known as ‘pasta’).  My father is also a healthy man who also eats meat every day.  On the other side of the aisle, I’m sure we all know vegetarians who survive on poutine and Pepsi.

Eggs should be eaten…but only moderately.

And of course in our society, healthy is synonymous with ‘skinny’.  This is not only an historical anachronism; it is also patently absurd.  Being skinny does not mean you are healthier; it means you are skinnier.  In our culture obesity is a grievous offence, and yet just about every part of supersized and sedentary society makes us fat.  Somewhere between the Second and Third Day, God created Absurdity.

It’s true, people look at me and see a skinny guy with tanned skin and say “you are so healthy”.  Well let me tell you something kids: I’ve smoked more cigarettes in the past 10 years than many people will see in a lifetime.  I swizzle the booze like Prohibition’s lurking right around the corner.  And since I still haven’t ruled out a political future, I’ll keep the other substances in which I occasionally partake to myself.

Obviously all of the above are bad for body, despite being soooooooo good for the soul.  So I ask you, am I still healthy?

Eggs are good for you, but only EggCo Brand Organic Eggs with Alpha-7 Enzyme Action! Try some today!

A good starting definition of healthy should be that which is good for the individual or organism.  It’s problematic to be sure, but it’s a start.  It should be up to the individual to decide what is healthy – for them.    But as in so many other matters, individuals are quite content to let others think for them.  I don’t remember the source for the life of me, but I do recall reading that Kant once said part of being enlightened is knowing that a doctor shouldn’t tell you what health is.

You are what you eat, kids.  Of course, you are also what you smoke, drink, and generally just do.  Meditate on what healthy means to you.  If you’re old and have great skin, that’s really wonderful and we’re all happy for you.  It’s just too bad to get there you had to avoid smiling for 60 years.  Ask yourself, is being puritanical about health worth the opportunity cost of life?

My advice – unsolicited though it may be – is to eat what you want, to do what you want.  Just don’t be surprised at the end of the day when you look like you do.



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“Cheers!”: Where Everybody Knows You’re Lame

Posted by julescosby on September 17, 2009

There is a malicious movement which oozes ever upward from the bowels of society, one that threatens the freedom of those who occasionally leave behind the daily grind to imbibe with friends.  I am speaking, of course, about the Cheersnazi.

You all know at least one.  The Cheersnazi lives to impose their fascistic will upon the drinkers of the world.

The setting is a familiar one (perhaps for some of us, a little too familiar).  You are with friends at a tavern.  The server, getting cuter and cuter with every round, brings out the drinks, and as each receives their glass, friends prepare to raise them.  But then, before you can enjoy the first sip, you can almost hear the boots marching into Paris.

“You didn’t do x! You must do x!

Now, X could be any number of things, depending on the particular strain of Cheers Nazism.  There is a range.

  1. There is the linguo-Cheersnazi: she who insists that the actual word ‘Cheers’ is uttered.  It is not the act of speaking; it is the word which is important.  This of course varies by region.
  2. There is the accountant Cheersnazi: he who ensures that everyone clinks everyone elses glass exactly once.  No more, no less.
  3. There is the opto-Cheersnazi: she who ensures you look each person in the eye for a predetermined amount of time.
  4. Then there is the linear Cheersnazi: he who ensures the ordering of the cheers (first clink, then immediately sip).  Any deviance is unacceptable.

These are just a few of the examples.  I’m sure you can think of your own.

Now, everyone knows that society has customs at all of its levels, eating and drinking being no exception.  There is something quite metaphysical about the bond that can be forged through the simple clink of a glass.

But there are limits to social conventions.  Everyone should hold the door for another person right behind them: I think most people can agree on that.  But if the person is so far away that they would have to change what they are doing in order to get to the door you are holding in time, then its bad for everyone.  I’d hate to be Ayn Rand here, but sometimes a little too much altruism is bad for everybody.

Personally, I prefer direct linguistic communication.  I would rather use to words to express the feeling of friendship.  I would rather say “Hey man, great to be hanging out with you”.

But because I know we’re all different, I don’t want to impose my will onto anybody else, unlike those goddamn Cheersnazis.

If I am out with friends, it is because I choose to be a part of their company.  I will raise my glass to you, but will never conform to your fascistic standards.  If you need constant affirmation of ‘cheers’, then perhaps you aren’t a very cheerful person deep down.  I’m no expert on the psychological structure of fascism, but perhaps this may prove to be a fruitful line of research.

I know it’s bad form to paint people with a broad fascistic brush.  But sometimes such a polemical stance is required to maintain our ever-ephemeral freedom.  I want the liberty to drink my damn beer any way I so choose.

So to all of our friends who are Cheersnazis: leave the imbibing imperatives, and the boots, at home.  Live and let live, sip and let sip.


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