Who has time to keep up with all that weight loss research? After all, it’s so technical and confusing and often uses really big, difficult words like “measurement”. And if you don’t know what you are doing, you might end up trapped in a 1997 Plymouth Voyager, eating ketchup packets to stay alive while angry Iranian protestors bang on your windows demanding “Death to America”. Or speaking to a giant goiter that has sprung from your neck. Or mauled by polar bears.
It’s a cold, brutal world out there and it is often difficult for the average person to spend more than 12 seconds reading something before being so completely overcome with rage that they begin howling and drooling. Lucky for you, our team of Tyranny of Tradition weight loss researchers have spent hours of painstaking research researching the research done by other researchers. Surprisingly, we found that many of the dieting myths accepted as gospel by the mindless mob of cellulite obsessed Americans all desperately trying to think about anything but their own fragile mortality were actually just a bunch of lies concocted by narcissistic fools who would put a knife in their grandmother’s throat for a shot to get on Oprah.
Knowing what the actual truth is in this godforsaken, garbage heap of a world can be the difference between winning and losing The Battle of The Bulge. Here’s the skinny on some of the best-known diet myths around.
1. If I Stop Eating Entirely, I Will Die
False: The average human can survive for years without consuming a single calorie. In new research done by The National Society For The Prevention of Human Emotion, 93 percent of people just fool themselves into eating because they are weak. They have been coddled by our liberal schools and, as a result, believe they need to eat in order to “nourish their bodies”. They can never truly understand the feeling of pride that our forefathers experienced by ignoring their basic needs and suffering an entire lifetime for absolutely no reason in particular.
2. Being Overweight Can Lead To Diabetes, Heart Disease and Walking Corpse Disorder
True (but so what): Life is cruel and fleeting. Ever hear the one about the guy who won the lottery and got hit and killed by a milk truck the next day? Or the one about super athlete marathoner who dropped dead of a heart attack in his early 40s? According to a recent study done by The American Bureau of Obvious Statistics, 100 percent of Americans will die at some point in their lives. In most cases, it will be in a miserable, hideous way, unless you are lucky enough to die in your sleep or in the throws of passion. Sure, a proper diet may buy you a few years, but the end will be far more terrible than you can possibly imagine and there is a good chance that regardless of what you eat, something random and unspeakable will happen to you anyway.
3. Skinnier People Are Happier Than Fat People
False: No one is ever happy for very long. Many skinny people spend half of their time obsessing over not becoming fat. Many fat people spend half of their time obsessing over becoming skinny. If they manage to steer clear of that trap, there is a whole universe of possible maladies and unsightly embarrassments to be terrified of. From chronic halitosis, to acne, to worrying that their young children are acting like Bebe’s Kids at the local library, cruel judgments wait around every corner. The only relief most people get from constant feelings of inadequacy is the joy in noticing and quietly mocking the faults of others. On and on South of Heaven.
4. When You Lose Weight, More People Will Like You
False: People don’t avoid you because you are heavy. They steer clear of you because having interactions with other humans is often intolerably dull and painful. Don’t take it personally; most people hate everyone. They long for a day when the human race is wiped out, but they worry that Internet service and pizza delivery will be affected by global extinction, so they do not take action. Lose all the weight you want, it won’t change the fact that almost everyone who talks to you on a daily basis fantasizes about turning on the news and finding out you were swallowed up by a sinkhole during the night.
5. Weight Loss Happens Only When God Wills It
True: Let’s face it, the reason most people are fat is because the Western world has all but turned it’s back on God. You never see any pictures of fat Puritans, do you? The weight of the average American has nearly tripled since prayer has been taken out of schools by those meddlers over in Washington. Obesity is God’s punishment on America for its love affair with atheism, fast food and heavy metal music.
About six months ago, I had surgery done on my foot to remove a bone spur. During the surgery I was given a dose of anesthesia to knock me out and numb the pain. Since the surgery I have noticed many inconsistencies in the fabric of the universe. I have come to the conclusion that one of two things took place. The first possibility is that I am still under anesthesia and currently on the operating table. For this to be true, the anesthesia would have to have distorted my sense of time and what has felt to me to be two months is actually less than an hour. The other possibility is that I died on the operating table and this is either a very strange afterlife or I am experiencing an early stage of death in which the images and ideas in my head slowly become distorted as I lose my connection to what we know as reality.
I know this sounds a bit far fetched, but things have been really strange since the anesthesia went into me. When I was first injected I began to feel extremely sleepy. I tried to talk but it felt like my mouth was filled with peanut butter. My eyes closed and all I could hear were the doctor and one of the nurses talking and that dumb song “Life is a Highway” (the surgery center pumped bad pop music into all the operating rooms to “relax” the patients). I was completely conscious and totally immobile. The song was making me angry. Why couldn’t they have anesthetized my ears? It’s a preposterously stupid metaphor. What the heck does it mean? Life goes on for a long time? Life has exits? If you stay on life for thirty minutes you can get to the airport?
I’m not certain of how I got home. It was late in the day. For the next week I flowed in and out of awareness. Pain and pain medicine shaped my reality. I watched the entire first season of the TV show the old CBS show “Wiseguy” on DVD (mercifully, I only remember about ten minutes of it), I ate pizza, I stared at the painting of a woman on the wall and imagined another head growing out of her neck. I could not shake the feeling that something was wrong. I chalked the whole thing up to oxycodone-induced weirdness and figured I’d feel normal once I got the stuff out of my system.
Time passed. My foot began to heal, I started driving again, I went back to work, and I shed my crutches for a boot. Life resumed, but I could not shake the feeling that the things around me were somehow less real then they had been. It’s not something I can put accurately into words, but it feels quite real. The world seemed similar but not the same.
My first visit to the gym was when things started to get really weird. I slowly moved my way through a few machines and went into the locker room to get the stink off of me. As I walked past the lockers there was a guy in a speedo who looked almost exactly like the guy who played Father Damien Karass in the Exorcist films. I had never seen him at the gym before. He was staring into his open locker and shouting. Most of what was coming out of his mouth was impossible to understand. He was raving. I understood the occasional curse word, but most of it seemed like it was in some weird language that he was making up as he went along. I averted my eyes away from him and sprinted into the shower. When I had gotten out, he was quietly staring with this horrible empty expression on his face. Suddenly, I heard him say in a monotone, semi-possessed voice “Life isn’t a highway, is it Keith? Is it Keith? Is it Keith?”
I felt my stomach leap into my throat. “Excuse me?!?!?!”
He just continued staring blankly into the locker.
“What did you say???” I repeated in a panic.
He did not respond.
I did not tell the thing about “Life is a Highway” to anyone except my wife. I strongly doubt that my wife has launched into a criminal conspiracy with some lunatic at the YMCA to drive me crazy so she’ll be able to drive our Saturn more often, so I have to imagine there are strange forces at work here. But what? Why?
Every time I see this guy, he hums a bar from it and smiles at me. He has a sickly, menacing smile. The type that bankers usually reserve for customers with no hope of getting a loan. He jogs next to me on the treadmill sometimes. Humming. Smiling. Laughing to himself.
The other day, he walked out of the gym at the same time as me. He started repeating the phrase “Do you know where we are? Do you know where we are? Do YOU know WHERE we ARE?” in strange intonations about five feet away from me. At first, I sped up, but when he didn’t stop and continued to follow me I knew I had to take some kind of action. I turned to him and shouted “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? Why are you bothering me?!?!?!?!”
He looked perplexed. The man stared blankly into my eyes and began to speak with a voice that betrayed no emotion whatsoever, “Don’t you know where we are?” He reached slowly into his pocket. I was terrified. What was happening? He grabbed my wrist and shoved a piece of paper in my hand. With a coy smile, he turned on his heels and stumbled back towards the gym.
Maybe it was some explanation of everything. Maybe it was a threat. I needed something to make it all make sense. I swallowed deeply and looked at the piece of paper. This had to be the answer. It had to be. It was a ten percent off coupon for the frozen yogurt store about a mile from my house. The orange rain began to pour down from the sky, washing away the beautiful blue sunset. I sat down on the curb next to my car, put my head in my hands and wept.
Stage fright is a truly terrible feeling. Many people confront it, but usually they manifest their experience in different ways. Some people cry, some talk louder, some simply feel a vague sense of dread as they move through the speech. What I’ve noticed in talking to people about it over the years is that the experience of it changes dramatically from person to person, but it is always quite miserable if you feel it.
I have an awful fear of speaking on stage. As a teacher, I never feel nervous speaking to a roomful of high school students, but once a year in May I am asked to speak in front of a large audience on a stage with a microphone. The speech itself is something I’m honored to give, but the fear I feel starts around January and becomes nearly debilitating by the end of April. It is only a three-minute speech but my fear of it consumes months of my life.
People are always very supportive and try to be compassionate but usually the advice I get doesn’t help all that much. If you mention you have this fear you will get a lot of guidance, but often I’m not sure if the people who give it really understand the parts of it that make it so terrifying. It is an irrational feeling and most rational suggestions fail to address it in a way that is practical. You get advice like “Try to imagine them all naked”. If everyone in the audience were naked I’m sure I’d be even more terrified! How could the thought of hundreds of naked humans staring at you be even remotely comforting? Other people ask you “What’s the worst that can happen?” They have no idea of the circus that your brain becomes for three minutes. The worst that can happen is that you’ll be on stage giving the speech. People simply can’t comprehend why a relatively simple act like this can cause such suffering. I don’t really understand it myself.
The following is an attempt to describe the experience in real time. Some of this will sound silly, but every single thought written down has gone through my mind on stage. The goal of this piece is to create a running record of what stage fright actually feels like for me.
Alright, here we go. Need another sip of water. If you act confident, the fear won’t come. Okay, time to stand up. They just called me. Fix my jacket. Three buttons…how many should I button? I need to keep it buttoned cause my tie is too short. I look like Oliver Hardy. Someone once told me leave the bottom unbuttoned. Okay. Here we go. Don’t look up. Don’t look up. Just read. You should make some arm gestures. Just hold the podium. Don’t fall. Hands sweating. The podium is see through. Are the spots around my hand fogging up? Do they see me sweating? Act confident. Here it comes. Here it comes. I should have left them all unbuttoned. I should have acted more confident. Now IT is HERE.
Hot. What if I pass out? Falling, hitting my head. Would someone catch me? I’m too big. Where am I? Did I just miss a line…no, no, I’m okay….page one is over. Don’t look up. They are all looking at you. They are all looking at you. Is my fly zipped? Don’t look up. Fast. Dizzy when I look up. Falling, hitting my head. IT IS HERE.
Does what I’m saying make any sense? Do they hear me? I didn’t practice enough. I practiced wrong. Fast. I practiced too much. What if I forget how to read? Sweating. Pain in the top of my head. Antler pain. I feel like antlers are going to sprout out of the top of my head. Stay focused. Where am I? I am reading, but I don’t know how. There is another me reading. I don’t even know what the other me is saying. Why are they laughing? Did I say something funny? Did I do something embarrassing? I didn’t write that to be funny…what’s happening???
FOCUS!!!! Antlers. Sharp, sharp pain in the top of my head. Halfway done. Sweating. What if I can’t breathe? Slow down your breathing. What if I can’t? I don’t control my breathing. Long way to go in this speech. Lots of words left. What if I start saying weird things? What if I start shouting random nonsense? NO CONTROL. What if I burp? What if I start cursing? What if I lose control of my body? Sharp pain in my head. Antlers are growing inside. Will they pop out?
One page left. Downhill, downhill, breathe, another minute…..breathe. If I can just get one more page. What am I talking about? Where am I? DON’T LOOK UP!!!! THEY are watching you….breathe….breathe….you are going to fast…..no one understands….breathe….one paragraph now…..look up once…try it…..try it….dizzy….FOCUS….DON’T LOOK UP…..clapping…no more words….handshake….get to the chair….don’t fall….don’t pass out…get to the chair…..sit down…..breathe….
We, at The Tyranny of Tradition, are proud to present today’s guest writer, Jonathan Winthrop. Winthrop is a conservative columnist, syndicated talk radio host, all-around great American and a personal friend of mine. He is the founder of the The Conserva-zen Institute for Self-Enlightenment and Lower Taxes. He has published a series of New York Times best-sellers including “Visualize Liberty”, “Visualize a City On The Hill Without Liberals” and “Visualize, Then Fire”.
Visualize Reagan: Guided Meditation For Conservatives
By Jonathan Winthrop
Guided meditation is an important component on the path to spiritual enlightenment. Today, I present to you a short exercise to help you free your mind of some of its stress and strain. I recommend you sit down in a cool and comfortable place, dim the lights and play some soothing music. Close your eyes and let a feeling of safety wash over you. Have someone with a calming voice (preferably not someone with a foreign accent) read you the following words.
Envision Reagan. He stands straight and proud. Look closely at his face. It is a calm face. It projects strength. Liberty. Freedom. Look closely at his mouth. The confident smile. Like the Duke. Poised. Look into his eyes. Steel Blue. Knowing. Like a wise Grandfather.
Reagan is at the podium. He stands in front of a room full of proud Americans. Good Americans. People like you and me. They are singing. He raises his hands and they fall silent. He speaks of freedom. He speaks of joy. He promises to lower the marginal tax rates for earners making over 250,000 dollars a year to below ten percent. You gaze at him. He begins to glow.
You and Reagan are transported to a beautiful serene valley. Reagan stands in a meadow surrounded by happy animals. Playing. Sheep and lambs run around him in a circle. Reagan smiles. Angels dance around him. They lift him upward. Slowly. He levitates towards the clouds. Gentle white wings appear in his back. Reagan begins to soar faster until he disappears in a white blur.
You are in a nursery surrounded by beautiful newborn babies. All the babies gently coo. You see a beautiful boy. You pick him up and look closely at his face. The baby’s face morphs into the face of Reagan. He smiles. You feel warm. His eyes lock with yours and you feel a perfect inner peace. Those same knowing eyes look back at you. The eyes of Reagan.
Bad people appear. Communists, 60’s radicals, liberals, mass murderers. The baby Reagan becomes the strong, grandfatherly Reagan. His eyes grow red. A beam shoots out of them and kills all of the bad people. He stomps on each of their bad faces. He looks at you and smiles. The babies are safe. All of the babies are in Reagan’s arms. He comforts them. Like a Grandfather.
Reagan does not take. He gives to those who deserve and shows a firm hand to those who don’t. He is peace through strength. He sees the part of us that is rejected, that is lonely, that has been weakened by government programs like affirmative action and Planned Parenthood. He reaches out his glowing finger and he heals us. He heals us. He heals us.
Audio copies of this meditation read by Charlton Heston or Ann Coulter are available through City on The Hill Publishing for $19.99 plus shipping and handling.
In a move to reestablish itself as a force in the cigarette industry, tobacco giant Philip Morris today purchased exclusive naming rights to emphysema. They will pay the World Health Organization (WHO) 900 million dollars over the next 10 years in order to own the right to name the disease whatever they want to. Initially, Phillip Morris simply wanted the words “Philip Morris, Official Sponsor of Emphysema” to be spoken each time the crippling illness was mentioned, but for an additional 100 million per year they have been given the ability to give the disease an entirely new name. In order to get rid of the negative connotations people have with the word “emphysema” the disease will now be referred to by doctors and health care professionals as “Skippy”. “We felt that emphysema strikes a gloomy chord with the public and that there was no harm in brightening the name up a bit,” said Philip Morris Public Relations Director Henry Haldeman.
The corporate re-naming of diseases is part of a larger privatization trend that includes selling formerly public property to corporations. It started with the privatization of water supplies and other formerly public resources, but has now moved to more abstract concepts like disease names. The bidding war has already started for the rights to name rhumetoid arthritis and diabetes, the next two ailments that will be on the block. There have been rumors that the right to name several body parts is the next frontier. Last year, The Disney Corporation offered 400 million dollars for the rights to name the human pancreas, but a serious bidding war has yet to develop.
Part of Philip Morris’ deal with the WHO is to pledge 10 million dollars a year to emphysema research. According to “We are not trying to convince people that emphysema, uh, excuse me, Skippy, is a good disease. We are just trying to remind people that Philip Morris is an important member of the global community. Therefore, we will continue to maintain our commitment to eradicating Skippy from the planet,” said Philip Morris CEO James Erlichman in a press conference to announce the deal.
This thing that I think that I am, sometimes, I am not. Looking at an X-Ray of my right foot has twisted my mind into knots for the past few weeks. It’s not that they found anything that disturbing. My doctor discovered a bone spur, which I was pretty sure that I had. No surprise there. I am having surgery tomorrow. Again, not a surprise. The thing that got in my head was the X-ray itself. If I am what’s in that picture…what am i?
There was this picture of the bones in my foot staring at me. The doctor was pointing to things and saying a bunch of words, but I was transfixed on the picture. There I am? There I AM! There I am?!?!?!? This picture is of the inside of me. Underneath all of this skin and blood are a set of bones. These bones have been with me all of my life. They were at my high school graduation, they were there when I got married, they attended the births of my two beautiful children, they have seen me laugh, they have seen me cry, they have been there when I thought I was alone. I couldn’t process it. These bones are actually me!
The me that I think I am is the thing that experiences the world consciously. I am aware of feelings and ideas. I make plans and I remember experiences. I see, I smell, I touch, I taste, I hear. I have no problem associating these things with me. Then, there are these bones. They are in me, they are part of me, but I can’t believe that they are me. This picture wasn’t some random x-ray they keep in the back and show everybody. These were my bones! Seeing them really sucked the magic out of everything. I tend to think of myself as more than the sum of my parts, but maybe I am nothing more than my parts. Maybe, I am just bones and skin and blood with a few organs floating around.
There are parts of myself I have never seen. I don’t know what my hip bone looks like. I don’t know what my liver looks like. My heart, my brain, my lungs…all highly valuable parts, but I couldn’t tell mine from my neighbors. The me that I know seems so special, so unique. My memories seem so important, as if they are part of some great mystery that I have a lifetime to solve. My thoughts, my ideas, my identity all seem to be pieces in the great “who am I?” puzzle. They all conspire to make me believe that I am an enigmatic character whose mythology is terribly important. And then, there is this picture of the inside of my foot. It is not special. It is not unique. It is simply mineralized osseous tissue housed in a pile of skin that is called “foot”. There are somewhere in the range of 14 billion of them and they all pretty much look and act the same. Sure, there are minor subtleties and nuances, but for the most part, what is the difference?
My foot does not find itself unique. It pushes against surfaces over and over throughout a day. It works, it rests. It does not feel loneliness or claustrophobia if it is trapped in a shoe for too long. It does not become jealous that I am favoring my other foot. It does not make plans to meet with my spleen for coffee. It does not become romantically involved with my esophagus. It does not ponder the mysteries of the universe and wonder what will happen to it when it dies. It is material and material has no time for enchantment. It simply is. When it ceases to work, it will waste away along with the rest of this thing that is me.
There is a part of me that cannot imagine that this is possible. There must be something else, there must be something more. I am more than that picture. I am not just bones. I am not just flesh. I am something mystical. I am more than those parts. I am more than words on a page saying “healthy, well-developed 35 year old male suffering from Hallux rigidus“. Right? Right?!?!?!
Maybe this identity of mine that I find so fascinating is just a bunch of electrical impulses. Maybe we are just piles of material walking around among other piles of material, thinking that thoughts and memories and ideas make us more. These self-important piles of material spend much of their time avoiding damage so that they can one day be part of creating new piles of material. And on and on with no direction, no meaning and no end. Thousands of them are created each day and thousands disintegrate. It does not matter…it is only matter.
Last night, Paul Pierce put together a game that will certainly go down in the annals of the Boston Celtics as one of the most warrior-esque performances in that franchise’s history. After receiving numerous injuries, Pierce returned to the game against the Miami Heat and scored 37 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead the Celtics to a 121-119 overtime victory. What made the game special was not just Pierce’s fabulous numbers, but the amazing series of setbacks that Pierce overcame to lead his team to victory. In the postgame press conference Ray Allen called Pierce’s performance “amazing” and said that he was “a true warrior”
About 3 minutes into the game, Ray Allen stole the ball from LeBron James and threw the ball the length of the court to Pierce. Pierce went up for a layup and was hammered to the floor by Udonis Haslem. The team doctor brought Pierce back to the dressing room and after a series of x-rays determined that he had a fractured orbital bone in his face. Grasping the importance of the game, Pierce put on a plastic, Rip Hamilton mask and returned to action with 3 minutes left to go in the quarter.
Upon his return to the floor, Pierce scored 6 quick points. He threw in a great slashing layup to tie the game up at 27. Unfortunately for Pierce, he landed off balance on his right ankle causing a severe sprain. Pierce was carried off the floor to the locker room by several teammates and it looked like he would be lost for the game. Three minutes after Pierce went to the locker room he miraculously ran out of the tunnel and on to the court just in time for the beginning of the second quarter.
Pierce faced more suffering in the second quarter. While taking a jump shot, Pierce was shot in the back by a deranged Heat fan in the 8th row. The shooter, Karl Lee Wiley, was arrested immediately by security. Pierce, who was lying on the court in a pool of blood, was carried on a stretcher to an ambulance. As the ambulance was driving away, Pierce burst out of the back and ran towards the court. With 2 minutes left in the second quarter, Pierce checked back into the game. Coach Doc Rivers was truly impressed. “I’ve had players play through injuries before, but I’ve never seen a player overcome a gunshot wound and go back in the game. Paul is a true warrior.”
The second half was also quite difficult for Pierce. While drinking contaminated Gatorade before the half begun he contracted a severe case of dysentery. Pierce spent much of the next 10 minutes shaking and running to the bathroom. He became delirious when he was in the locker room and claimed that he saw Larry Bird, Robert Parrish and Kevin McHale walking through the door. Yet somehow, Pierce was able to get his symptoms under control and return with 6 minutes left in the third quarter.
Pierce continued to play an inspired game. He went up for a monstrous dunk to cut the Heat’s lead to 9 with 7:22 left in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, his fingers got hooked on the webbing of the net and he was stuck, hanging by one arm in the air. Doctors, worried that Pierce could die from being suspended in mid-air for too long, immediately amputated the arm allowing Pierce to be freed. Pierce was again rushed to the locker room by the medical staff. But, it a moment reminiscent of Willis Reed’s injured return to the court during the Knicks championship game in the 70s, Pierce came out of the tunnel with only one arm and checked back into the game with 2 minutes remaining. Showing no effects from the terrible, arm amputation surgery he had only moments earlier, Pierce quickly fired in two three pointers to tie the game at 107 and send it to overtime. “He’s simply a warrior,” said Celtics Forward Kevin Garnett, “and this was the most warrior-like performance I’ve ever seen.”
During overtime, Pierce suffered a severe concussion, a brain aneurysm, a broken leg, was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and a contracted a severe staph infection. With 3 minutes remaining, Pierce’s heart stopped and he collapsed on the court. Medics pronounced him dead on the scene and began to cart him off the floor, but somehow his heart began beating again and he returned to action. On a night where nothing could stop him, Pierce threw in a jumper from the corner with 2 seconds remaining giving the Celtics the victory. Shaquille O’Neal added 19 points and 12 rebounds as the Celtics pulled ahead of the Heat for the best record in the NBA’s Eastern Division. Pierce expects to play tomorrow night when the Celtics travel to Sacramento to face the Kings.