Archive for July, 2005

Via Don Watkins at Anger Management comes this article on people who have lost significant amounts of weight and kept it off for more than five years. I’ve been working on losing weight myself for about the past four months. As of today I’ve lost just under 20 pounds, which takes me to my first medium-term milestone. I haven’t been following any particular diet; I’ve just been using what I refer to as the ‘traditional method’, i.e. eating less and exercising more. (Pretty much every diet program I’ve ever heard of seems to ultimately reduce down to this. Losing weight is kind of like getting rich — the fundamental requirements are simple and obvious, but everybody wants to find a shortcut. To lose weight, eat less and exercise more. To get rich, earn more money and spend less. But I digress.)

The thing I find fascinating about this article is how many of the characteristics common to the “Successful Losers” I seem to have stumbled across on my own. Specifically:

  • No quick fixes. Losing weight is not a project with a completion date. It’s a lifestyle change. I’ve approached it not so much in terms of reducing my weight directly as altering my lifestyle in a way that results in my weighing less.
  • Exercise. It doesn’t even take that much. I’m just putting in about 90 minutes a week on treadmill and exercycle. It’s really just a matter of making the time, systematically and regularly.
  • Weight tracking. I check my weight every day. I consider this a concrete aspect of a larger issue — increasing body awareness. I was really surprised to discover how frequently I was eating when I didn’t need to, once I started paying attention. And now that I’ve stopped doing that, I don’t miss it. Habits can be sneaky little bastards once they’re automatized.

A couple of the other points in the article also map onto my own experience, such as being motivated to start losing weight by hitting an all-time high, and the experience of hitting weight-loss plateaus followed by rapid loss down to another plateau.

As with many things in life, I’ve found that simple focus and willpower is the key ingredient to success. Once the decision to act is made, the action itself is fairly straightforward.

(And speaking of decisions to act, I’ve been meaning to add Don’s blog to the blogroll for about a month. This seems like as good an excuse as any, so in he goes. And while I’m in there, since Eric Raymond has started blogging again he goes back in the blogroll too, along with Belmont Club’s new location and a new Ayn Rand forum I’ve started reading. Whee! Minor site maintenance is fun!)

Sweet. I hope they do justice to the graphic novel.

Then on to Watchmen.

Capitalism is a marvelous thing. Sometimes, however, market forces give rise to some truly peculiar products. Kyle and I encountered the following two Raid pesticide products at our local grocery store this past week. I can’t help but wonder what twisted mutation focus group studies led to the conclusion that these were a good idea.

Example No. 1: Raid Ant & Roach killer…in a Country Fresh scent. Keep in mind this is a product that has God’s own toxicity label on it and includes a caution not to inhale or have prolonged exposure to the fumes. Usually this isn’t an issue because pesticide spray smells, well, nasty. Considering the large numbers of people on the planet who have proven to be absent the day God handed out brains, putting a pleasant scent in this product is probably not a good idea.

Example No. 2: Raid Earth Options Ant & Roach killer…in a natural clove scent. The label also includes the banner, “Kills With Plant-Based Active Ingredients”.

Now this is taking the whole tree-hugging, earth-friendly thing too far. We’re still talking about insect murdering, but it’s plant-based insect murder. With a natural clove scent! It’s natural so it must be good! Oh wait, it still has that “Danger: Poison” warning on it. But it’s plant-based and has a natural clove scent!

What *&%$! whackjob decided that it would be easier to sell ant and roach poison to the hippie crowd if they made it clove-scented and slapped the words “earth”, “plant” and “natural” on it?

A genius whackjob, probably, because I bet it will work.

“We’re not the public service of Canada, we’re not just another department. We are the Canadian Forces, and our job is to be able to kill people.”

Best of luck to them.

I‘ve been trying to come up with something to say on this since I first learned about it this morning. I’ve decided I don’t have anything new or insightful. This is just another data point for the theses I’ve believed since 9/11. We are at war with an extensive Islamofascist terrorist network. They want to kill us, and they will do so if and when they can. We should take steps to prevent them from killing us, ideally by killing them first and then draining the swamps of totalitarianism and kleptocracy that give them support.

Great Britain stood with us after 9/11; we will stand with them now. Here’s hoping they decide to follow the spirit of Winston Churchill and not that of Neville Chamberlain.

Anne adds:

The thing I found interesting in looking at still pictures of Blair’s speech was that Bush looks intent (like he’s actually paying attention), and Chirac looks bored (like “Mon dieu, how early can I leave and not have it look bad?”)

Then again, Chirac seems to have quite the tin ear for appearances, so maybe he won’t wait too long before saying something incredibly gauche (such a useful French word, that).

Paris Hilton is not “American royalty”. She is not entitled to be married in Westminster, Windsor Castle or any other royal location in Britain (nor should any American desire to do so). She is not respected, and does not represent America in any way, shape, or form.

She is a spoiled, rude, trashy, skanky, no-class whore with absolutely no talent at anything, unworthy of emulation or admiration, and has no significant traits whatsoever aside from being the (undeserving) heir to the Hilton fortune.

Many Americans, such as myself, are baffled as to why she is considered a celebrity, or why anyone continues to pay any attention to her. We are insulted by her arrogance and ignorance, and really wish she would STFU and go away.

America has a history of disliking monarchs and royalty as a form of government, owing to abuses endured at the hands of British royalty in the 1700’s. While we have no hostility toward Britain now (and indeed view them as friends), the idea of our country adopting a monarchy is antithetical to the founding principles of our way of life. We do not accord any special privilege to people of royal birth, and do not recognize American royalty even informally. American Presidents do not have any special honorific title beyond “Mr. President” and “Sir”.

Thomas Jefferson said, “There is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds of this are virtue and talents.”

Sincerely,

The Majority of the American Public

Update [Kyle]: Although I initially agreed with Anne’s view (in the comments), after thinking about this a bit more I’ve concluded that there is a sense in which Ms. Hilton is correct. Consider the British royals. What purpose do they serve in British culture? As far as I can tell, their main function is to do idiotic things which get tabloid coverage to entertain the masses. In this sense, and this sense only, Paris Hilton is a kind of American royalty. She acts like an idiot, the tabloids cover her activities, and the masses are entertained. But this kind of “royalty” is not a status that any self-respecting person would want to claim for themselves.