We Do Live In Interesting Times!

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[‘The times they are a’changin’ – These well-worn words of our folk hero muse have taken on brand new meanings today.   The troubling changes are mounting ecologically, politically, economically and socially for the entire globe.  Perhaps only the tribal remnants, quietly occupying traditional locales at the forest’s edge or river inlet in remote spots of the planet will survive.  Certainly, with global climate change many species and human communities will perish; never to be heard from again.  There are diverse voices we hear from that describe in detail elements of these changes, this series of collapses.  Our own Marlena Petrov has summarily given us a snapshot of the spectacle as seen through her very unique lens. – kC]

We Do Live In Interesting Times!

by Marlena Petrov

Sandy Krolick: “Seems like mother nature is taking care of carrying capacity all by herself. Although, my heart breaks for the children.”

Marlena Petrov : “I fear it’s only going to get worse. A lot worse. Humans have pushed the planet beyond any chance of repair.”

Spencer Day: “I remember one of the first things I posted, after meeting Sandy online; asserting that humans are an infestation of an otherwise perfectly well-balanced Earth. I stand by that view”

Marlena Petrov:” There are still a few tribes of people who realize that breeding nonstop, and infesting the planet, will kill most of us. If any humans are around in 1000 years, it will be those people”

And off my thoughts went.

Having spent time with a number of people around the world who do not see the planet as an infinite source of plunder, and themselves just another creature sharing the space, even as the Curriculum of the West seeks to crush them under the treads of the insatiable machine. To be able to step aside, even while walking down a street in a crowded megalopolis, is the path of survival. People talk about “end games” as if there is a time to win, while still doing more and more of the same things that got us to this place. Thing is, the game is over, humanity has lost, most just don’t realize it yet.

The jubilant blathering about the US stock market being over 15,000, while not facing the fact that the stock market has been total fantasy for decades shows how deeply fractured from reality our “leaders” are. Same with the fracked energy. Sixty years ago one could drill a well and get 5,000 barrels a day of lite sweet crude with little effort which would flow for years. Today a fracked well requires a lot of effort, and you maybe get 50 barrrels a day of sludge that then requires more energy to refine, while the output steadily declines. But this is going to save the Curriculum of the West, and allow us to keep breeding and infesting? *eye roll*

And, how are we all to be fed? Soylent Green? How apropos, we survive by consuming ourselves. That is until the changing climate kills us. Already massive amounts of food stuffs are being used as fuel. Yet few see the desperation in that fact. I can remember being out in the fields after harvest, and asking why some crop was left at the edges and corners of each field, and being told “Oh that’s for the birds and creatures to get through the winter on, always leave something for them, humans aren’t the only life on earth.” Now it’s take everything, and don’t rotate crops, and only grow one type that requires massive amounts of chemicals, and don’t ever leave a field fallow, and don’t save seeds, because Monsanto will sue you and destroy you.

What I find hilarious, in a nourishing way, is that weeds have now become Round Up resistant. Gives one a bit of hope that life will go on; but will we? Some of us will survive; those who are looked down upon by The-Powers-That-Be, those who are not totally fractured from life itself, those of us who leave something for other creatures will survive. Music, dance, art, stories will also survive, all those ‘things’ which the PTB think of as having little or no value. Guess what.. It’s exactly those things which they cannot financialize that have real value. Conversely, it is the PTB who have no real, intrinsic value ultimately. They are parasites, and parasites do not care if they kill their host, they cannot conceive that they will die too. We do live in interesting times!

60 Responses to We Do Live In Interesting Times!

  1. Great post. It will be the PTB who will become the new endangered species. Neither their money, power, or politics will save them, as they burn out. The PTB are the new dinosaurs as they fight each other for whatever little resources they can steal from the rest of us. However, it’s sad that this is causing collateral damage among the rest of Earth’s children-human, animal and vegetable.

    It will be the “meaningless” people who will survive: the spiritual (not religious), the creative, the intuitive…those who have an interest in the human and long-term side of things. They will inherit a different Earth that what we have now. They will have the childlike wonder that has sustained them, yet the maturity of having to grow up quickly due to a changed Earth.

    I imagine my (presently) five-year-old son as an old man in the future, telling stories to the young in that time about what happened to the world of his youth and what changes he experienced.

    Yes, these are interesting times.

    Peace!

  2. Disaffected says:

    Great post and a real change of pace. Even the artwork is vibrant and colorful. Myself, I’m finally over obsessing about timelines and dates for extinction or whatever’s coming. As this line accurately states, all of that’s irrelevant now anyway:

    Thing is, the game is over, humanity has lost, most just don’t realize it yet.

    And we’ve lost because we’ve lost all connection to the earth and our natural surroundings. Full of arrogance and hubris, we swagger around like the medieval apes that we still are, thumping our chests and bloviating about our technologies, our command of the maths and higher understanding, our weapons of mass destruction and our ability to command and control just about anything and anyone, and yet… We don’t even understand something as basic as… our own basic motivations and desires. Ask any typical hard working westerner why they even get up in the morning and they’ll tell you, to hustle and make money to survive and to hopefully get rich one day, so they can quit all that and retire with their riches to enjoy “the good life.” “The goodlife” being defined by the number of toys one owns to provide distraction from one’s basic impoverishment due to one’s belief in a system and way of life which is at its core simply bankrupt. That’s the reason for the hustle right there in a nutshell: to escape the realization that one’s way of life is simply bankrupt at its core. And the mass ecocide of global warming, which we’re evidently hellbound and determined to commit – facts be damned – is just the unconscious death wish of our spiritually impoverished souls that we’re bringing into physical being to end all of this madness.

  3. the Heretick says:

    oh ye of little faith, take heart, survey all the fine young savages, it ain’t over till the fat lady sings, and she is just tuning up.
    why do i see all this separation? a parasite? come on, all is at it should be, the cosmos is simply reacting to an irritant, natural processes at work.
    as the lady says, let’s get clinical, clinical……………

    “I’m sure you’ll understand my point of view
    We know each other mentally
    You gotta know that you’re bringin’ out
    The animal in me”
    PHYSICAL LYRICS – OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN

    any healthy organism seeks to reproduce, it’s been that way since the Proterozoic, it’s the way it will always be, methinks that all of this gettin’ down on the human race for simply doing what we evolved to do is just that bit harsh. sure, we have our capitalist overlords, sure our minds have kind of run away with ourselves, it’s natures way. how do you separate nature and what we have done? i am quite serious here, as Pollock stated, we are a part of nature.

    this discussion kind of reminds me of the question of free will and it’s relation to determinism in the Christian cosmology, when the real question is, does she? or doesn’t she? only her hairdresser knows for sure.

    judo, that’s the stuff, purely defensive, use your opponent’s strength against them.

    “Guns, bottles, fists, knives, clubs – all the same to me. All the same to you?
    At first you don’t think you can stand to get hit, then you realize you can take it ’cause the blood don’t matter, and you know you’re gonna live. It’s a great gift I’m goin’ to give you – to know it don’t hurt to fight!” – Kid Sheleen

    My Hero

  4. The “fat lady” sang decades ago, though too few grasp that. And “faith” as well as “religion” is an illusion to keep us from dealing with reality.

    • the Heretick says:

      foil
      a : to prevent from attaining an end : defeat

      as they say, “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”
      we’re fresh out of it around here, hopum too, down in the semi-ghetto. what we do have is an abundant supply of aggressive young people, mine included.
      it seems that my promotion of the peace and love philosophy gained about as much purchase here as out in Compton, imports of which we got some.

      the lessons of global warming have not been lost on their young minds, they can give you a rundown, chapter and verse. in our species greatest weakness may lie our only strength, there are just so damn many of us, it will be hard to wipe out every last one of us; the planet may return to Precambrian conditions, but that remains to be seen, exactly how bad it will get, I can tell you this though, the kid’s, they’ve got their minds right.

      • Disaffected says:

        I think of the line “and the living shall envy the dead.” I think that’s where we’re headed quite soon, and thus I wonder about all the preoccupation with survivalism. Survival for what? To revert to savagery for what’s left? I think not.

        • the Heretick says:

          i check out xraymike’s on a daily basis, so i am always up on the latest. maybe it’s something about living in a harsh land my entire life, struggle becomes a way of life, or, a person gets so tired of the lies that you yearn for something genuine, even if it is trouble comin’ every day.

          we have been fed a steady diet of lies, this breeds a deep sort of nihilism, which turns to fatalism, if you remember our conversation from last week. when and if this ecological collapse happens so many people will die that some of the stressors will be immediately removed.

          yo, here’s the deal, this book
          JEAN BAUDRILLARD – SYMBOLIC EXCHANGE AND DEATH
          http://www.egs.edu/faculty/jean-baudrillard/articles/symbolic-exchange-and-death-excerpts/
          it’s been out since 1976, it has had time to filter down to the sticks even, “we’re evidently hellbound and determined to commit – facts be damned – is just the unconscious death wish of our spiritually impoverished souls that we’re bringing into physical being to end all of this madness.” yup, i’ve posted plenty of places about Capitalism being a death cult, marx alluded to it, it all gets a big ho-hum, so, nothing we can do about it. i do agree with your statement though.

          people will go down fighting and struggling because that’s just the way we are made, that’s my take, it’s habit, ingrained. it’s the nuclear waste that is the long term problem, if we are going to create that sort of thing we should be rocketing it into the Sun instead of using up fuel on these friggin’ ignorant space probes to explore planets that will never be habitable; or we could use rail guns (mass-drivers). yeah, it does seem pretty hopeless, but i’ll never surrender.

          • Disaffected says:

            Actually, I think you overestimate “people,” especially those in the west. I think they’ll/we’ll actually go down rather quickly and meekly, victims of their/our own soft lifestyles, dependence on industrial infrastructure, and culturally induced belief in their/our own omnipotence. But that’s a subject for another day.

            • Disaffected says:

              Just to add, and not too bleakly I hope, people in the end are just animals like all the rest, and thus we go down like all the rest as well. We want to believe it isn’t so, but alas, it just is. Ask anyone who’s watched people die and they’ll tell you as much. We live, we die, and the universe goes on with nary a peep.

        • the Heretick says:

          “To revert to savagery for what’s left?” that’s what we have right now, just to be honest about it.

          Requiem for a Dying Planet

          • Disaffected says:

            Good stuff Heretick! Just as an exercise in free association, I was gonna say previously that this week’s artwork reminded me of the AMC series Mad Men (for it’s vibrant colors mostly and cardboard cutout type character depictions), which I’ve been following pretty closely. Which was a series loosely about the madness that we called the 60’s, a part of which was Bob Dylan, and the brief kerfuffle his “electrification” shortly after he became a legend caused. I myself was born a little too late to buy into the whole Dylan hysteria and never bought into it later, but I was quite open to all of the “experimentations” that came along since, whatever the form, electronic or otherwise. All of which means mostly nothing I guess, other than to say (yet again!) that the current mass-produced homogenized shit that passes for pop culture/music these days leaves me, like a hell of a lot of other people I guess, just baffled as to why anyone in their right mind is paying attention to any of it for in the first place. But of course I’m old now (or so I’ve been told!), and so I always try to remember that.

            Regardless! I REALLY enjoyed that video as I was writing this! THANK YOU for posting it!

            • the Heretick says:

              you might like Einstürzende Neubauten
              http://www.allmusic.com/artist/einst%C3%BCrzende-neubauten-mn0000926091#discography
              very eclectic, “Silence is Sexy” is their most listenable, music for the end of the world.
              Dylan can’t play, can’t sing, but the man was still a friggin’ genius, his songwriting is unbeatable, “From a Buick 6”, “Highway 61”, the hits just go on and on.
              Search Johnny Winter, “Second Winter”.
              As for electronica, Tangerine Dream’s second lineup “Rubycon”, “Stratosfear”, did music that they and no one else has caught up with, waaaay ahead of their time; but the first album with Schmoelling?

              that’s just sick IMHO. we will now resume your regularly scheduled broadcast.

          • Disaffected says:

            Cello played as bass guitar? Nice!

    • Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

      Marlena,

      Yes, I remember hearing her back then. What is even less well understood is how long ago the first singer hit the stage. It has been a very long opera. This video briefly highlights what may have been the opening noise. Yes indeed, I’m not an opera fan.
      It seems our neolithic ancestors stand accused of letting their taste buds launch the flight from reality and now, with the fat lady screeching away in the background, the agriculture ministries (minifood) and agribusiness criminals are busy delivering God’s Own Punishment (GOP) in the form of imitation edibles.

      So the phytonutrients are going missing. Not to worry, their place is being taken by greater quantities of increasingly dangerous lectins. And there’s no relief for the wicked. Most of our tastiest animals are being fed the same crap.

      • “Pasteurized processed cheese food” silly naked apes! *side eeys*

      • Disaffected says:

        Excellent summary of the insidious effects of capitalist-based decisions on the food supply. Not surprising at all either. What sells? Taste. What gets left behind? Nutrition. Duhh!

        • Disaffected says:

          Although, I guess I have to add, the more I read of this site:

          Why Grains are Unhealthy

          and

          The Lowdown on Lectins

          the more I had to ask myself, does this not sound like just so much more purist bullshit I’ve read countless times before?

          You know, at some point these days you’ve just got to man up and eat what you eat and quit whimpering about it. I’ve ate a lot of shit in this life, not the least of which was other people’s straight from the point of origin, but at some point you’ve got to just suck it up and be a man/woman about it. LIFE will kill you soon enough without worrying about all this bullshit on top of it. Industrial culture ain’t the one we wished for (well, some of us anyway), but it’s damn sure the one we’ve got. When it comes to the food you eat, wise up, try to make good choices, don’t obsess about it, and GOD DAMN IT, ENJOY THE FUCKING SHIT! It’s what you’ve got!

          • Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

            DA, that’s easy for you to say. Believe me I would love to embrace it. Problem is, some of those lectins trigger one or more damned inconvenient autoimmune responses in me. Even heavy doses of a powerful immunosuppressant drug cannot completely control it. I succumbed to the temptation last year and got my just reward.

            • Disaffected says:

              PAdB,

              Beware the power of autosuggestion is all I can say. I suggest here that most of the current food allergy bullshit is just that: hysteria generated by the health food industry to sell you just another “cure” for just another “ailment” that you ain’t got. Case in point: the current “gluten” hysteria. I didn’t even know I had to “worry” about it until I visited a Santa Fe NM bullshit shop that informed me that they no longer carried bread unless it was gluten free. At which point I told the stupid bitch behind the counter in no uncertain terms that she was CLEARLY FUCKING INSANE and walked the fuck out!

              As for me, I shove just about anything I want down my gut 5-6 times a day, exercise like there’s NO TOMORROW (cause there’s very possibly not), and sleep VERY WELL at night EVERY NIGHT. And I continue to ask: JUST WHAT IN THE FUCK IS UP WITH ALL THIS FOOD ALLERGY SHIT? PUSSIES DYING OFF of imaginary illnesses is all I can figure.

              • kulturcritic says:

                DA – I see you are in FINE FORM today!! LOL

              • the Heretick says:

                JUST WHAT IN THE FUCK IS UP WITH ALL THIS FOOD ALLERGY SHIT?
                genetic predisposition? i read where some people just cannot digest milk, their ancestors didn’t eat it, something like that. or, lack of exposure to natural stimulants, take pollen for example, if we were constantly in nature we would build up a tolerance.
                living in the city ain’t where it’s at.

              • Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

                Sorry DA but I gotta ask. Is climate change the only science you believe in?

                • Disaffected says:

                  Sorry for the rant the other night, but hey, I’m officially elderly now at 55, so I’m excused, right? I’ll reply down post, as this one is rapidly wearing out the right hand margin, on my browser at least.

      • Disaffected says:

        The God’s Own Punishment (GOP) I’m gonna have to remember the next time I get into a shittin’ match with one of my redneck relatives. Nice! Describes ’em perfectly!

        • Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

          Contributing to better understanding seems like the least I can do for humanity. 🙂

      • the Heretick says:

        no wonder the tomatoes look and feel like plastic, i like my tomatoes firm, but these things have this kind of woody center to them. well, it’s still probably better to eat plastic tomatoes than no tomatoes.
        what i like is Celestial Seasonings Tangerine/Orange Zinger, by the gallon, 15 bags per, 3 boxes makes 4 gallons (gallons and cups, how archaic), put one bag of Tension tamer in there for a little extra body, yum, yum, try it you’ll like it. couple tablespoons of sugar and it’s almost too sweet. yes, SUGAR! still better than Coke
        http://www.sugarstacks.com/beverages.htm
        and no caffeine. how i hate to agree with the food Nazi’s, but these sugary drinks are killers, worse than cigarettes.

        some vegetables is still gonna be better than no vegetables. and the beef/ i love a grilled burger, but chicken, as nasty as it is, still better for you.

        don’t even talk about free range, have you seen the prices?

        • kulturcritic says:

          Celestial Seasonings is a killer… suger refined is a killer… life is short, then you die

        • Disaffected says:

          Agreed. The ONE THING we can all agree on is that refined sugar (and secondarily, refined wheat flour) are killers.

          DA’s sure fire antidote for sugar addiction (even, perhaps especially for, marginal alcoholics): Real Lemon juice and hot water to replace coffee in the morning (use 5 Hour Energy Shots as well if you’re REALLY caffeine addicted), then either lemon juice and water (hot or cold) with or without Emergen-C added for an extra vitamin boost thereafter throughout the morning. I myself have ingested 10-15+ GRAMS of vitamin C through various sources every day for the past 20 years or so, and it hasn’t affected me “negatively none.” Lemon juice and water is a natural body de-acidifier (odd as it sounds, it promotes a natural alkaline reaction), as well as retraining your taste buds to a more natural – non-sweet – state. Believe me when I say, after a week your sense of sweet and sour will be completely retrained. And without all the bitter nose twitching that you might expect. Hot lemon water is no more bitter than coffee, without all the need for milk/cream as a palliative and sugar as an enticement. AND, it “flushes” nicely.

  5. kulturcritic says:

    Here is the best song ever recorded, recorded by Grigori Leps:

    And here ar the lyrics in translation, written by Vladimir Vitsotsky:

    The air is stale with thunder what will happen now
    my throat contracting and my zest for life is spinning
    downwards – as I look for omens, can I trust the vows
    those prophetic birds of fairytales are singing
    I hear Sirin, bird of gladness, and her song of lure
    has trills that drills my faith out of its ease
    Alkonost, a bird whose brooding sorrow and pain
    has a message that’s splitting my peace
    Grief and joy have now begun
    reverberating what’s in store
    little bird of hope named Gamajun
    it’s me she’s singing for

    All over the universe there are bells that chime
    a belfry sky lined copper sign
    is it sadness, is it madness, is it joy
    cupolas of the Russians are decked with gold
    that our Maker should watch us more often
    In the middle of the fairytale of this eternal land
    an enigma beyond the means of man
    land of mine where people live in poverty and sham

    under big blue skies with ample gifts from nature’s hand
    My precious horses sink down belly-deep
    stuck in the mud of fat and yellow falseness
    and yet they carry on so I can see
    the oozing, stinking realm arise from slumber
    The lunar sickle baptized me
    but it makes a tricky mate
    Gamajun, can I trust you hopefully
    to give me comfort, boost my faith
    I shall keep on polishing my weary soul
    until it’s reeking, until it bleeds
    until it’s shining out of fury, out of joy
    and I shall mend my ragged clothes with gold
    that my Maker shall watch me more often

    • the Heretick says:

      that’s a good tune, a bit “poppy” but i like that, more and more i like music that has a backbeat. besides, pop has a bad rap, music that has a broad appeal is fine, contemporary music lost its zest there for a bit. “Waterfall” is a good tune also.
      Leps work does not come across as synthetic like the current American crapola of the pop genre.

      Russian music has such charm, what is it? Pathos that comes from suffering?
      I used to think that Beethoven had it all over Tchaikovsky, no more, Ludwig has no soul, though Mr. Peter does seem to wander about a bit, get lost in his composition, but when he is “on” the majesty of his music blows Ludwig van away. heresy, pure heresy, dissing old beetle-brow like that, hence the Heretick.

      • kulturcritic says:

        Here is an earlier, perhaps better recording by Leps…

        And an original version by Vysotsky…

        You need to understand that Vysotsky was the Bob Dylan of Russia. A voice of dissent, disguised in his music. When he died in the mid-1980’s millions of people cam to his funeral procession at the Kremlin. He was the RUSSIAN BARD, par excellence.

        Leps is probably the best cover artist for Vysotsky. Leps is principally a Russian Chanson composer and singer. He has a broad following. Somo of his work lately has been more poppy, but this is not seen as one of them. Though our American sensibilities are atuned to hear things more monotone, because we never listen to anything but ENGLISH SINGERS!!! Russians listen to everything from India to Italy, and anything else.

        The pathos you refer to is absolutely real, and it comes through in much of the Russian compositions, none more so than in chanson, typically referred to as ‘prison’ or ‘gulag’ music. It is not just “losin’ yer gal, yer dog and yer chevy truck” they’re talkin ’bout. LOL And, suffice it to say, I think this expresses quite well the mood of this post and the character of the world today!

        • the Heretick says:

          tasty, very tasty. i looked up the sprites, the Sirin, Alkonost, and Gamajun, it’s very interesting. The US has the old early blues, but then the players who did that stuff got into who was the greatest virtuoso, and lost the feeling.
          there are still a few musicians around here who do it the old way, JJ Cale for one, he couldn’t care less about the money, it’s about the music. Bob Marley was great, but he’s gone now.

          the US has two big oceans on either side, has been the bully on the block, i think this has gone hand in glove with the cultural isolation, the jingoism, xenophobia? is that the word?
          all that being said, our prejudices are overplayed, there are some really bad actors, but most people are live and yet live, the extremism taints the entire dialogue.

        • Disaffected says:

          Good stuff! And something I’ve increasingly paid attention to. As in, would the shit that I just adore coming out of English speaking musical mouths sound NEARLY so good if I couldn’t understand the words/ideas behind the lyrics? And I must admit, they wouldn’t. NOT BY A LONG SHOT I’m afraid! And that’s a problem, because we’re now all inherently English-centric. And so, not only are we missing out on the first, most obvious language blush, but what are we also missing out on the second, third, and fourth cultural reference blushes as well.

          For example:

          Yes, Russians probably understand this, since it was the ubiquitous American media that brought it to them in the first place. Absent that? Better question, could even 50% of the American young people who this song was directed at the time accurately tell you what this song was even about, within a “grenades blast” or so? I’m guessing not.

  6. Disaffected says:

    Ok, to expound on my food allergy rant above to PAdB. Sorry for getting so worked up. I think I’m rapidly becoming George Wilson from Dennis the Menace in my old age.

    So, the whole food thing in general: as many of you may remember, I was diagnosed as a fat-ass last year (my doctors words: at 5’10”, 240, you damned well better be a MLB in the NFL, or you’re just plain fat!). What can I say? I was guilty as charged. A little bit less exercise (my saving grace was that I always exercised intensely, even as I was turning into a hippo), a sedentary desk job, a WHOLE LOT more beer (much of it consumed while typing away at this very blog!), and just enough more food to go along with it had gradually popped me up 30 lbs from my fighting weight of 5’10”, 210 (which I carry pretty damn well, if I do say so myself) to a rather portly/”gentlemanly” 240.

    No problem I replied, I’ll drop the beers for a few weeks/months, up the exercise, start paying some attention to what I eat again, and I’ll drop that shit just like I’ve always done so many times before (I’ve always had a proclivity for weight gain, even back when I was at 180 pounds and running marathons and shit). So I did, but lo and behold, the weight didn’t magically melt off this time like it used too. Back to the doc and he says “Well, what the fuck did you expect? You’re a 55 year old geezer now you old motherfucker!” So I went back at it again. Cold turkey on the booze for several months, calorie counters, scales to weigh my food, scales to weigh my ass 2-3 times a day, research every diet plan in existence on the internet, MEGA exercise (canyon walks of 1-3 hours TWO-THREE times a day during the workweek, with 4-6 hour mountain hikes both days on the weekend!), the whole fucking shootin’ match!

    Long story short, I GOT the weight off over the course of about 6 months, but it was EXCRUCIATING to do so this time. Lesson learned. Watch the scales and keep that shit at bay or pay the price in spades as you get older and older.

    So, just what in the fuck has all of that got to do with anything you might ask, and me having a senior moment might typically reply, “Well HELL, how the fuck should I know?” But seeing as I’m still relatively lucid, I’ll connect the dots and continue my story…

    While researching all the various and sundry crackpot and otherwise diets out there on the internet claiming to “miraculously melt those extra pounds off effort and willpower free,” I gradually realized that diet nutrition in particular, and nutrition in general, had gradually, just like everything else, succumbed to capitalist marketing pressures, and turned into a virtual bizarre bazaar (I’m claiming 1st use on that combination!) of every manner of crackpot dietary insanity? Wanna eat grain all of the time? Fine, got one for that. Wanna eat meat and cheese 24/7? Got ya covered. Wanna fast 24/7 and then pour pure saturated fat through your intestines just for fun? Yep. Wanna eat unlimited calories all of the time and NEVER exercise and STILL watch the weight fall off? Uh-huh. You get my drift.

    But the real aha! moments came only gradually, as I continued to struggle over an issue which had previously always been so easy for me: so THIS IS WHAT IT REALLY FEELS LIKE TO BE FAT AND HOPELESS OF EVER DOING ANYTHING ABOUT IT! No, I certainly wasn’t hopeless, but for the first time in my life I experienced those moments of doubt that those TRUE FATTIES like most of my mom’s side of the family live with every day, and I FINALLY realized what they are up against.

    Not only are they living with an industrialized food system that conspires to make money off of making them fat, but they are then thrown up against the follow-on evils of a medical system that prescribes every sort of quackery (in many cases simply referring them to the commercial diet industry jackals post haste) to help them take the weight off (hint: the old tried and true calories ingested < calories expended = weight loss formula simply does not work in many if not most cases), a heavily marketed and incredibly lucrative commercial diet industry, and a likewise burgeoning health food industry, which is increasingly dominated by the same cranks that dominate the diet industry.

    But anyway, where was I? I’m back at 5’10, 210 lb, exercising like a motherfucker (walk and weights before work, 1’30”; heavy weights and steps/stationary bike with weights at lunch, ’30; freeform whatever after work; 4-6 hour mountain hikes on the weekends with anything else optional), all after dealing with a corporate job that will kill me LONG before my other lifestyle choices will. I’ve found that simply FLUSHING all the dietary advice out there is the best advice. If you’ve ever found a “set point” in your weight before and you felt healthy and vigorous at that weight too, chances are your body was trying to tell you something. My suggestion, even if a “medical professional” tells you otherwise, listen to your body first! My recent experiences have only reinforced what I knew all along: we are all natural self-healers if we are only smart enough to listen to what our own bodies (nature) is trying to tell us, all along!

    By the way Sandy, I want full credit for a blog post on this one. I think I’ve fulfilled my content obligation. But it was fun all the same. I’ve MUCH more waiting in the wings.

    • the Heretick says:

      juicing, that’s the ticket, carrot, apple, all sorts of things, flush it all out.

    • Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

      Only 55, hell you’re still a young pup and a pretty healthy one at that. There hasn’t been a day in my life when I could have done that kind of exercise. But as nutrition blogger Denise Minger pointed out, we are all unique snowflakes.

      listen to your body first! My recent experiences have only reinforced what I knew all along: we are all natural self-healers if we are only smart enough to listen to what our own bodies (nature) is trying to tell us, all along!

      I too am a fatty and at 69 it’s unlikely I’ll ever be svelte again. But, I do not write about things like gluten and other lectins out of any concern over weight or lifestyle issues. It does seem to be true that the sudden popularity of gluten free arose out of widespread concern over such things. I was quite oblivious to it until I happened to read a blog post by Stephan Guyenet running down some of the known health problems gluten can cause and suggesting his readers undertake a self-trial by going gluten free for a month and then see how they felt. I probably would have ignored him, because I seriously love baked goods, but I did it because I had a serious health problem.

      One day soon after throwing enough bales into a semi trailer to bring myself to a state of exhaustion I realized as I followed the rig out onto the road that I couldn’t see right. Exercising great caution I made it back to the farm and after resting awhile back to my house. I thought I’d be alright in the morning, but I wasn’t. Nor any day after that. I was experiencing double vision (known in the trade as diplopia) and sometimes a droopy eyelid (known as ptosis). Sometimes it completely closed, which took care of the double vision. On a few occasions, both eyes closed, which as you may have guessed meant NO vision. So, you wrap one arm over the top of your head and use a finger to pull one lid open. I had tried listening to my body, but it was speaking a foreign language.

      Time to break down and see a quack. Since it was eye related, I chose an opthamologist. Turned out to have been a good choice. After a perfunctory exam, he handed me an order for a blood draw to be sent to Mayo Clinic. It did not come back saying “autosuggestion”. It said acetylcholine receptor antibody. That translates as the neuromuscular autoimmune disease myasthenia gravis, cause – unknown, cure – none.

      The good doctor referred me to a neurologist (since nerves are involved they get to work these cases) who put me on an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. This can improve muscle strength a little, but nothing to inhibit the antibodies. About 9 months later, I just as suddenly as the initial onset, lost the ability to swallow food, could barely chew and a significant change in my voice. The muscles in my head and throat were going dead on me. I was taken to the University Hospital where they hooked me up to a plasmapheresis machine to filter out all my antibodies. In the middle of it I nearly died. I woke up the next morning in Cardiac ICU, where I spent the next seven days bemoaning the fact they wouldn’t let me out. After two or three days in the neurology ward, they let me go with a prescription for 60mg/day of prednisone, a powerful steroid. With prednisone keeping a heavy clamp on antibody production, I lost the ptosis and got to where I only saw double when looking leftward. I could live with that, but I didn’t want to and that was when I read Dr. Guyenet’s blog post.

      A few days after banning wheat bearing foods from my menu, the eyes were working normally again and I did indeed feel better overall. Just about a year ago, with even more restrictions being imposed on my diet, I got a little rebellious and began to once again indulge in donuts, cookies, sandwiches, etc. At the same time, my new neurologist had me trying to taper down my prednisone dosage. Shortly after dropping to 7.5mg, the eyes went wonky again. I wasn’t sure if the wheat was responsible, but I wasn’t taking any chances. I had travel plans. After several weeks at quadruple the prednisone dosage and no wheat, things were good again. In addition, based on info in a paper published in the 50’s, I started supplementing with manganese. Currently, I feel better than I have in many years. I’m tapering again and am back down to where it failed last year. So far, so good.

      Now, mounting his soapbox. Gluten and and most lectins (they are ubiquitous in the plant kingdom) are very resistant to digestion. That seems to be the main reason plants invented them. Plants don’t actually want to be eaten and they especially don’t appreciate having their babies eaten. So, they pack a little lectin in every one. It’s meant to discourage grazers. Humans, unfortunately, just grin and bear it, as DA suggests. All the favorite grains have a gluten type lectin. The ones in corn and oats are not so bad except that they are often contaminated by other grains having passed through the same equipment and facilities. Rice confines its lectin to the hull, so eat white rice, which is unfortunately almost pure starch. Corn has something else that is problematic called lipid-transfer protein. These are also, if I understand correctly, quite common among nefarious plants. The milk protein casein is also considered to be similar to gluten. Also, thanks to a cattle mutation a thousand or so years ago, there are two types of casein, which the antipodean researchers have labeled type A1 and A2. A1, which is the mutant is thought to be less good than A2. Naturally, A1 is said to be by far the most common in the USofA.

      In case anyone is thinking, indigestible, big deal. It is kind of a big deal. Some of the unique snowflakes can digest them. Lucky bastards! For those who cannot, there are dangers. The stomach is supposed to break proteins down into amino acids, which are small and are welcome to pass through the vili of the small intestine into the blood stream. Proteins are not welcome and the vili refuse them. But, like a drunk in a bar, those proteins just wanna fight. Vili are tiny little things. It’s kind of like tyson vs paquiao. With enough damage inflicted, proteins slip thru into your blood. Not a good thing. Worse yet, if proteins can get thru, so can bacteria. It’s called leaky gut syndrome.

      So, what am I trying to suggest here? And remember I am not a doctor or anything else duly licensed to dispense advice that could affect your health, happiness or pocketbook. I’m just an old man with a health problem and a fair degree of intelligence (you may, of course, think otherwise). My advice to myself is to focus on eating things I think I can digest. You are on your own.

  7. the Heretick says:

    a serious response to marlena,
    don’t know where you live, but if you turn on the US news the whole south side of my town is being wiped off the map right now. 80 years ago tress were planted on every section line to cut the wind, the farmers pulled them to get another cutting. i believe in global warming, it was 97 this afternoon, as soon as evening came the twisters started popping, won’t take long this country will be scoured. it’s started, i’ve been watching the skies here for 50 years, it’s bad.

    • Disaffected says:

      HT,
      It appears that OK is not OK to reside in these days, doesn’t it? I’ll resist the urge to claim “just desserts” to the good citizens for electing such infamous climate deniers as Coburn and Inhofe to represent them, but you must admit the connections seem quite “queer,” to borrow/reappropriate a term of old. One might almost draw the conclusion that it’s some sort of “biblical retribution,” although that would be certainly premature and ill-advised as well. What to make of it all? Perhaps the good sirs Coburn and Inhofe will elucidate as they go hat in hand to the US Congress for disaster relief? Think anyone will honestly challenge them on their bullshit? Nah, I thought not as well.
      DA

      • the Heretick says:

        yeah well, money talks here as well as there. besides it’s all real swell for city folk to drive smart cars, can’t haul much hay in them though. but you know, i read lots of blogs with lots of opinions, and with all modesty, i don’t find many people as sophisticated as myself, and i’m an Okie. well, actually, from KCMO originally, i came down from the upper class to mend their rotten ways around here.
        besides DA, it’s the big cities that suck up the most resources, so what does it matter who denies what? plus, what ideas have your typical libs had? carbon futures markets? so the price of diesel can skyrocket? so wall street speculators can make piles of money? while farmers go broke trying to feed the cattle bound for steakhouses in NYC?
        nah, you won’t get much out of me, it’s much more complicated than most people realize. the rain falls on the just and unjust alike.

        • the Heretick says:

          there go the sirens again.

        • Disaffected says:

          Good stuff and agreed. Just PLEASE don’t associate me with the libs. I’m definitely NOT one of them.

          And yes, we’re about to ALL enter a period of SHIT that ain’t ANY of us gonna like.

          Or WILL we? I’m still not quite sure. I still think some of us might come out OK, relatively at least. Silly me.

          • the Heretick says:

            not bragging, really, but back during the Arab Oil Embargo in the early seventies, when i really paid attention, i belonged to Natural History Book Club, i was already figuring out the oil situation. remember i was ground zero during the 80’s drilling boom, have a cousin who’s a petroleum geologist, had a talk with him about known reserves back then, at the time all the rigs started going after gas, because believe me ain’t been much awl round these parts for awhile.
            years back i advocated burning it all up, getting done with it, seriously, that’s what we’re gonna do anyway. being idealistic, and seeing how it wasn’t going to change, i said fine, sooner it all falls down, at least the class system might get smashed; however, after so long thinking that? you just move beyond it to the stage people on this blog are at, trying to just take care of ones-self.
            i don’t think of our good senators as evil, don’t really look at the world that way, it is what it is, almost as if it’s supposed to be just right as it is. now of course, i’m not some sort of robot with no feelings, i have thoughts, but i think it’s a runaway train, people will be people, they will grow like any organism, and we have this huge exoskeleton (you could call it) it’s impossible to wind it down.
            we’ll see, JHK is right about one thing, if anyone survives? and start increasing in numbers again/ there will be a lot of hand work. but here’s the deal, we aren’t gonna do it till we have to, so there you are, not gonna happen, tell me i’m wrong.

            so anyhow, haven’t seen any pictures yet, maybe it won’t be that bad. at least the lakes are filling up so we won’t run out of water this summer, but then that depends on how hot it gets. you know right before the dust bowl they had several years of really good rains. back in about 2005 i started telling people this would be a desert in 10 years, we’ll see about that.

  8. bmiller says:

    Marlena,
    Nice post (I’m a few weeks behind). Perhaps what will be required is for those surviving tribes to be “round up” resistant as well?
    Brian

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