Fat Bacon Eater States of America – The 300 Million Little Biggies

I saw an article this morning that said fat Americans are giving up on trying to lose weight. Large numbers of them are simply getting rid of their bathroom scales, buying larger clothes through Amazon, and continuing to proudly wear their ‘BACON’ trucker hats and t-shirts – which, frankly, have a completely unintended irony when … Continue reading “Fat Bacon Eater States of America – The 300 Million Little Biggies”

I saw an article this morning that said fat Americans are giving up on trying to lose weight. Large numbers of them are simply getting rid of their bathroom scales, buying larger clothes through Amazon, and continuing to proudly wear their ‘BACON’ trucker hats and t-shirts – which, frankly, have a completely unintended irony when they are worn by human pigs. Is that fat shaming? I’m not sure – it seems to be true but none the less, probably does make an extremely overweight person who reads it feel a sense of shame – so yeah, I have to own that – it’s fat shaming. Another headline said that American biggies are eating too much bacon and not enough nuts – and yet another headline talks about how Americans are having far less sex than they were twenty years ago – all of this, is no surprise.

When we arrived in the US back in 2013 (my wife and daughter for the first time and me after having been away for five years), one of the first things I noticed was the bacon obsession that Americans were gripped by – when I left in 2008, bacon was still a breakfast food – albeit one that foodies had discovered and been singing the glories of for some time – frankly, I blame it all on Anthony Bourdain and Top Chef – Bourdain’s lyrical praise of smoked, fried, pork took bacon from a truck stop and wagon train staple to high cuisine and then, Top Chef with its pretentious focus on ingredients and the celebretization of good cooks merged with the ‘maker movements’ of the late 2000s to glorify foods that had always been good. I used to have to find a butcher and ask them to save the bacon ends for me – and they were cheap – but in 2013, I found them being sold at farmer’s market’s as premium product. The roommates we lived with for several months in Sacramento had a bacon fetish that bordered on being creepy – and which I later discovered was a mild form of it. So, the obesity thing and the overeating of bacon are not surprising…and as far as nuts – the prices for them are outrageous…and the cheap ones are low quality and high in salt and additives.

I have sympathy for the obese because I too have weight that I can’t get rid of. This despite exercising almost daily and generally eating healthy foods (my wife and daughter don’t eat pork so when I eat bacon, it is usually Turkey bacon) I’ve put on 20 pounds since getting to the USA that I can’t seem to shake – I’m sure a part of that is a slowing metabolism and certainly my sugar addiction plays a big role in it – which is something else that is killing us and which I’m struggling to gain control over in my life – but really it comes down to day to day living. We sit in front of computers, sit in front of televisions, sit in our cars, sit at our desks when we work, and all that sitting is only broken up as we move between places we sit and places we sleep.

And then there is the acceptance of the biggies – even if you haven’t consciously said to yourself ‘It’s okay for people to be overweight, obese, fat, large, extra large, etc” that message has been bouncing around in your head for a while now. Remember when there was no such thing as a plus size model? Here’s a thing to think about – back when I was in kindergarten – there was one boy that was overweight. All the way through grade school, I can only remember a handful of fat kids – I remember them because they were the oddities, it was strange to be overweight. Currently, one out of three kids in the USA are considered overweight! And when I see the overweight kids in my daughter’s elementary school, they are far bigger than the ‘fat kids’ I remember from my school days – in fact, the kids that look as big as the ‘fat kids’ of my time, aren’t even considered fat anymore – they are considered average!

We all know it’s a problem. The obese folks that are giving up, they know it’s a problem. The airline people that are having to make seats bigger, they know it is a problem, everyone is aware of it. What can we do about it? Nothing.

That’s right. I just said that there is nothing we can do about it. Nothing. Nada. Zip.

It’s a symptom of a larger problem, of a sick society that cannot be fixed. We have shown that as a people, as a nation, as – to some extent – a world , that we are not willing to address the real systemic problems we are faced with – we are not willing to address the sick values of capitalism gone bad, we are not willing to reset our fucked up priorities – which can be summed up with profits over people but which run far deeper and far more ugly – and if we do not address the system which created the conditions that allowed for a culture of bacon fetishism and glamourized foodies who probably have secret millionaire parties where they eat long pork (aka human flesh) and delight in the flavor and texture of their guest of honor/main course – than we cannot address the symptoms – one of which is a sharp increase in obesity and an acceptance of obesity and as follows a decrease in sex drive.

So go on you 300 million little biggies – fry up some more bacon and get yourself ready to be slaughtered because somebody out there is going to eat you and there is nothing you can do about it until you recognize that the system has already consumed you.

What should I do?

It’s not an existential question (not this time) – it’s a question I’m increasingly asking myself these days and it is great. It’s been close to a month since I deleted my Facebook, Linkedin, and even my old Myspace accounts – they are deleted, gone, not recoverable (but probably stored somewhere for government intelligence agencies – along with every other piece of data that has ever been on the internet). The amount of time I spend looking at my phone has been reduced dramatically – I would guess it was at least cut in half. The amount of time I can spend mindlessly staring at my computer screen has been cut even further. And it’s amazing to me that almost daily, I find myself looking at my computer screen and saying “What should I do?” and without the mindless voyeurism of Facebook as an option – my answer is usually to close the computer and do something in the real world. It’s astounding – this happens every day – and when Facebook was there – it didn’t happen. And, get this, I’m pretty sure that it happened before there was Facebook too – and (and I have no evidence to back this up, but it makes sense) I’m sure that it is not just me that Facebook changed that way. Here’s the thing – I never noticed that shift in behavior. I wasn’t aware of it. When I opted to delete my Facebook account, I had a vague idea about it- but I didn’t expect this change.

So, without Facebook as a go-to, What should I do? The answer is usually much more satisfying than anything I ever did on Facebook – reading a book, taking a walk, playing my ukulele, spending time with my family, learning something, cooking a meal, going to the gym – and of course, I still have my online time sucks but they take up no time in comparison to what Facebook was eating – I play a couple of turn based games that take up about 15 minutes each day if I want them to – I check email, look at craigslist, and look at the news. All told, an hour is usually plenty of time to do all of that. On my phone, I have to admit to a minor addiction that I am surprisingly ashamed of – Pokemon Go. I started playing it with my 5-year-old and we still play together, but after I walk her to school, on the walk home, I’m the only one throwing pokeballs – and yeah, this confession feels a little bit like coming out of the closet. It’s a strange addiction that I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to give up – but not until I evolve all my pocket monsters and catch em all….ugh, this problem may be worse than I thought. Anyway, that’s it. I’m finding more time to write, more time to read, more time to do other things – and that is very good because time was something I was feeling very short of while I was logged onto Facebook.

I don’t miss Facebook – and because I know how Facebook works when you are on it – I am pretty certain that my friends who I was connected with on that platform don’t have the time to miss me. I hope to see them in the real world again someday.

Writing Online

I’ve been writing online for a while now – mainly because Microsoft made their office products online products that you have to pay for, Google documents are free, and open office doesn’t work for me how it once did. So, I write online – at the very least, I’m connected when I’m writing and in general – I’ve decided I don’t like that. Also, my laptop a Gateway touchscreen thing I bought a few years ago for way too much money is the worst writing computer I’ve ever owned. The point of all of this – if there is one – is that technology has become less useful for me as it has (I’m told) progressed – I did more writing on my bricklike laptop back in 1997 and my 1995 boat anchor desktop actually functioned as a better word processor, than this amazing advanced machine I use now…in fact, a typewriter in a room with no connection to the outside world might have been the machine that allowed the most creative writing productivity – all of this stuff we call technology is a distraction. My next computer is going to be a word processor first and foremost with an ergonomic keyboard and an internet off switch. I’m not sure they make such a thing any longer so maybe it will be a Commodore 64 or a Remington typewriter.

Jesus and his rainbow pooping Unicorn

I am working on a book of stories for my daughter about Jesus who rides through the universe on a rainbow pooping Unicorn called Love. They will have many adventures and meet many different historical and spiritual figures. I’ve posted the first picture we have drawn on my instagram account. At the moment, no one else has written anything on the internet about Jesus and his rainbow pooping unicorn called Love – so this is my proof of concept invention. Remember, Jesus is waiting for you – and he is going to give you exactly what you deserve.

The Science of Change in the Antiques and Collectibles Business

It’s no secret that what is collectible and valuable today, may well be worthless and unwanted tomorrow – but it is the other side of that coin which makes or breaks an antique dealer. I’ve written it before but it bears saying again – you don’t make money selling, you make money buying. Or, you lose money buying – which is more often the case for most people. We conducted an estate sale this weekend where that was very apparent – the lady had amassed a sizable collection of milk-glass and while I don’t know how much she paid for it, I know what the public was willing to pay for it – nothing. A few pieces sold when we dropped the prices by 75%, but most of it was boxed up and given to charity. Just a few years ago milk glass was red hot – any piece would sell for $5-$20, but now, if it isn’t a complete set or a figural piece – you are lucky to get anything for it. And I see it in antique shops all the time – the dealers are holding on, waiting for it to come back, taking it to auctions or flea markets and displaying it hopefully – and then packing it up again. Not me – that ship has sailed and I don’t expect it to return any time soon.

The business is in a funny place right now – everyone knows it. The elders had more disposable income than any generation before or since and they did what you do when you have extra money – they bought bigger houses and filled them with all kinds of things. Now they are dying and their kids, the baby boomers, are inheriting their collections and combining them with their own in their own big houses filled with nostalgic collections that always include some Kennedy newspapers, a bunch of ‘collectible’ Harley Davidson or Budweiser or Coke crap and then realizing they are getting too old to enjoy five acres of lawn or a three story house – and so they are telling themselves that they are downsizing as they put everything in storage, try to foist their crap on their Gen X or Millennial kids, and then move into an RV or cottage – it’s a great time to be in the storage business. The baby boomer stuff is among the most worthless – a generation that saved things showing how important their generation was but didn’t save anything that was actually worth a damn. They all have grandma’s steamer trunk or treadle sewing machines or grandpa’s huge radio which they think are priceless but which are actually hardly worth the weight of moving them. They generally have thrown out the valuable stuff – the old motorcycle odometers, the Rookwood pottery they thought was ugly, the folk paintings by outsider artists, grandpa’s levis, or the ultra-rare buttons that were in grandma’s sewing machine but seemed worthless. Oh, but they saved those Bob Dylan albums, they saved Elvis records by the tons, and they saved those Kennedy death books, and they saved the most worthless parts of their parent’s collections too. And the younger generations – not interested in that crap. My wife and my generations (Gen X and Millennial) like the stuff that went in the garbage – or, prefer to have nothing at all.

It’s a hard time to be an antique dealer – but a very good time to be an estate liquidator, storage provider, or professional declutterer. Of course, at some point, today’s trash is going to be tomorrow’s treasure – the hard part is that there has never been so much shit to sieve. What is going to be the most valuable thing selling in a year? It’s probably going to be whatever has been thrown away as garbage the most, what has current cultural context (for example, what shows and movies are popular), and manages to evoke feelings of hope and happiness to the generation with the most disposable income. Dora the Explorer and Spongebob Squarepants are looking pretty good – what do you think is going to turn into gold?

My Thoughts on Immigration

Border walls don’t make a country – a country is defined by people who share a common ideal, a common purpose, a shared sense of identity and a dependency upon one another for a better future. We do not have countries – we have prisons. I do not believe movement should be restricted in any way regardless of national borders. Humans should be allowed to migrate at will with virtually no paperwork, no bureaucracy, and no regulation. Once they arrive on the soil of a nation, they should be subject to the laws of that nation but allowed to freely exist regardless of past behavior, past nationality, or past anything else.

“Hello Mr. Jones. Welcome to America. As an American, you will be subject to American laws and taxation. You will need to get an identity card and establish a permanent residence if you wish to stay. We are going to search your baggage now because certain items are illegal or controlled in these united states and you can not bring them with you. In addition, if this is your first time coming into this country, you will need to watch our orientation film which details the most important of our laws, rights, and responsibilities including the protection of children, equality of men and women, our bill of rights, and your responsibilities while you are here. We hope that you choose to stay in this country and contribute to it’s greatness. If you choose to damage our country through ignoring our rules, you will be subject to deportation, imprisonment, and being barred from entry for life. Let us know if we can help you get settled in – if you are only visiting, we hope that you will consider staying. Have a nice day.”

That’s the immigration officer’s speech in the country I want to live in. I’ll write more about the country I’d like to call home in future posts.