Problem: School Lunches Are Complete Crap; Solution: Let’s Starve The Kids

Prepare for outrage, because that’s the unabashed reason behind this “guest post.” Actually, it’s a hybrid, because I’ll be adding plenty of follow up after her part of it. Sadie sue Saunders is a longtime reader, longtime supporter, and was actually the subject of a couple of other blog posts—one of which was included in version 2.0 of my book. See here, and here.

Sadie sue emailed me with some info the other day and I immediately replied: “Make it a guest post and I’ll toss it up.” She polished it, but kept it in the form of a letter to me. Then she emailed me some other stuff you are not going to believe (wait until the end of the post). …I’m also going to tell you single guys that Sadie sue is a single mom of three beautiful girls in the midwest and is looking for a suitable “caveman.” If I were single and 30s-40s-ish, I’d figure out how to get an email out to her and strike up a friendly conversation leading to friendship. Just sayin’. She told me it was OK to mention that when I asked if I could.

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Thanks for allowing me to rant about the new, despicable Michelle-Obama-inspired crime against our children. It is called the “improved” school lunch program. You can see the guidelines recipe for starving our children here. I am not nearly as articulate as the former teacher who wrote this very well-researched article, but I am going to give it a shot anyway and here is a quote from the other post so you know it’s worth looking at:

As a biologist and someone who taught anatomy and physiology as a part time job, I’m appalled. Apparently dietitians no longer take anatomy courses because the first thing you would learn about the nervous system and the brain in MY three credit college class is that the brain is fueled by protein and fat. And the USDA has all but eliminated protein and fat from the school lunch menu.

We cave people know a bit about portion sizes, but to illustrate the utter stupidity of the school lunch snack program, I would like to point out that for my daughters, the meat portion sizes equate to 1/4 of a hot dog, 3/4 cup of lettuce, and 1/2 cup of some canned HFCS drenched fruit and a carton of skim milk. That’s it. Nothing else… W.T.F.??? Oh, and breakfast may not have any protein at all. None; as in nada, zero, zip zilch…Elvis has left the building and he took Common Sense and all the bacon and eggs with him. This isn’t about my kids; it’s about everyone’s kids. This so diabolical that it seems like the goal is to stunt people’s growth and add to keeping them dumbed down. Like a bunch of evil geniuses sat around asking themselves, “How can we keep everyone weak and stupid?” None of us can really concentrate and learn while we are starving, not that it’s a scientific opinion, but that’s how it works with the little humans at my house and I am far too lazy and pissed off to find any of the gazillion scientific studies that prove I’m right.

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I used to pack the girls lunches about half the time, but now it will have to be every single day, and no, I don’t have a money tree in the back yard. Oh yes, I will bitch about the extra cost and the pain in the ass of getting up extra early to make breakfast and pack lunches and I will need to clock a little OT here and there to cover the expense, but ultimately, I can afford this. Sadly, many families count on their kids getting that free meal, so what the hell are they supposed to do? I’m all for thinning the herd, but the slow, weak and stupid generally do a great job of taking themselves out of the equation and I don’t think that it’s necessary to intentionally starve innocent children.

I have talked to several parents about the new “higher” supposedly “healthier” standards and, needless to say, even the non-paleo folks (if they are able to afford it) are packing their kids’ lunches from now on—including the head chef for our district—who is also fully prepared to resign over this outrage. On top of the portion sizes the schools are now forbidden from making anything from scratch. Nevermind that the school was never going to serve up meatza—but now they have to use highly processed nutrient-free frozen crap instead of allowing our talented food service folks to make the pizza dough and sauce themselves. (Seriously, I refer to the head lunch dude as “chef” because he and Mrs. Chef own the local bakery and they cater big events. It’s not paleo, but it is delicious!)

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Imagine how it would feel to be a growing child being given 1/2 of a hotdog as your “main” entree. Oh, wait, did I mention that meat is no longer the main dish? The school must now serve the veggie on the big part of the lunch tray. Meat, if you can even call a hotdog or canned ham-like-meat-flavored-product “meat,” is now a side dish and there is no requirement that meat be served at each meal. In contrast to the government dietician approved wisdom, this morning, the girls ate a big pile of bacon and each one had 2-3 eggs plus a couple handfuls of cherry tomatoes. That was at 6:30 this morning. At 7:05, they walked 1.2 miles to the school/bus stop. Zoe’s lunch was at 11:00 and then—sorry, no afternoon snacks allowed—at 3:55, when the bus dropped her off she and Mattie walked the 1.2 miles home. Zoe is having a growth spurt, so after that, I wouldn’t at all be surprised if she used her cavegirl stick to actually kill something and eat it on the way home. Even worse for Skyler, she is at the Jr. High now and she has volleyball until 6:30pm. Skyler went to volleyball practice for two and a half hours after having a “lunch” that consisted of two chicken nuggets, ½ cup of canned peaches and some mushy, disgusting green beans that she wouldn’t even eat. Yeah, that will freaking fuel an athlete and girl about to hit puberty…arrgh.

This concludes my bitch session. Richard, thank you so much for allowing me to vent my frustration on this topic. If your readers have any suggestions for lunches or tips for keeping things hot/cold, I would really appreciate it!

Think she’s alone? Here, see these comments on the USDA’s own blog (courtesy David Brown)

…I know that most, especially long timers, will always understand how my rage works. For others, it’s always and will always be about them—even as they waste their hours trying to convince all y’all that I’m a detriment to the community at large. But, unfortunately, sane and essentially caring heads like Sadie sue’s will always, always prevail (the ones I really care about)—and I have zero fear and much amusement over what an evil celebrity I’ve become. Let it roll, grils. And, kisses. You give me good laughs almost everyday…to the point I’m sorely disappointed and my morning coffee tastes bad if I don’t have something new and salacious about myself to read. Consider my ego, please!

…I exchanged a few emails with Sadie sue in the runnup to all of this. Like this.

Glad you liked the letter format that I sent you.  I tried to be brief and keep the language accessible, as I am obviously not qualified to have any sort of expert opinion other than having little kids.  We cooked all day yesterday trying to get some of the lunches made that the girls will take this week.  They “sampled” everything we decided on and I am pretty sure that they ate an entire week’s worth of Ms.-Obama-approved calories yesterday afternoon alone. (Take that, government control-freaks!)

BTW, pork chops marinated in raspberry vinaigrette and stuffed with cornbread and dried cherry stuffing are delicious!

I’ve always loathed the idea that a “First Lady” has any more than fuck all to say about your life—like, by virtue of a bigger mob of social masturbators (voters), they are somehow anointed in ways that diminish your on-the-ground efforts and reality in lieu of their political reality and promotion for the sake of adulation and power over you. For those who have the stomach for it, here, from 2007: Fuck Obama and His Stupid Bitch. Call me a misogynist if you like for the 100th time, but what do you wanna bet that Michelle’s innocent kids aren’t living the life of luxury and opulence at your expense (…just so you know: Fuck GWB and his stupid bitch, too; she ought to have stuck to honest work, like teaching kids). This ought not be taken as political in any sense. I don’t vote. Fuck ’em all.

Last. If you’re outraged about my characterization of “our leaders” (who the fuck needs one?) that was my intention because if you don’t find this even more outrageous, then I have nothing for you. From Sadie sue, yesterday afternoon. If you paid attention, she wrote how now she has to pack a lunch every day. Well….

Update on the lunch outrage: Salad chock full of homegrown veggies (beets, green beans, kohlrabi, carrots and broccoli on some store bought lettuce) topped with the meat from two  grilled chicken drumsticks. Lunch monitor (scratch that) Overbearing, Control Freak, Lunch Nazi told the middle child she had too much meat and that isn’t allowed.  Stay tuned.  This could get ugly. [emphasis added]

Now it’s your turn. Just go ahead and complain that I called dear dear Michelle a Stupid Bitch. Go right ahead, because I can’t wait for it.

Free the Animal, The Book, Now in Version 2.0

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It’s finally done and finally out. It’s a bit strange that this was a seemingly longer, more worky work project for me than the first version was.

I took a lot of time to go through it word by word, with one primary goal in mind: to get rid of a kinda Low-Carb bias that existed the first time around. Low-Carb is still recognized as beneficial for some or many, but I attempt to explain why it really works (increased satiation resulting in spontaneous caloric reduction) and why so many stall (they reach caloric stasis vis-a-vis body mass and caloric intake).

So carb it down if you like, just understand what’s going on. Calories really do count.

Here’s some other things new and improved in version 2.0.

  • Added sections and chapters, such as…
  • Ethics of eating meat for vegetarians and vegans
  • Total rework of the chapter on nutritional density including completely new charts (thanks Marie!). I blogged that here, took many suggestions from the comments and reworked it again. I’m really stoked about that chapter now, and I think it’s unique to all of the Paleo books
  • All carbs aren’t created equal; food reward, palatability, calories count
  • Kettlebell workouts
  • Cold Therapy
  • Paleo for kids (the woman who’s the inspiration for thathere too—will have a guest post here tomorrow)
  • Way more meal ideas and a bunch of recipes
  • Way more success stories, video interviews, and all that
  • It went from 112 pages to about 180 pages
  • Completely reformatted into a way more professional look

In a way, it’s only a “Paleo” book by name, now. Call it Paleo, Primal, Ancestral, Evolutionary but what it’s really all about is this: Quality Food, Real Food, High Nutritional Density. Then let your inner animal take care of the rest over time.

Some of my own experiments around here with eating plenty of liver, oysters, clams, mussels, eggs from fowl and fish are convincing me that the root problem is one of nutritional density. People are getting plenty of energy, actually in excess, and they exceed their energy requirements because they are essentially malnourished, which ironically goes all the bay back to a Taubsian idea in his descriptions of obese Pima Indians subsisting on nutritionally bankrupt but energy sufficient—to excess—white flour, sugar, and cooking oil.

I appreciate the many thousands who purchased it the first time around, making it Hyperink’s top seller amongst the 1,300 books they’ve published; and thanks also for giving away over 1,000 copies to friends and family (the buy 1, give 5 away deal). I really don’t expect anyone to have to go buy it again (those who purchased it at Hyperink have already received their free update—free lifetime updates being part of the deal). On the other hand, there is a singular purpose to this project, and that’s to be the best go-to source to introduce the people you love the most to an easy and sustainable lifestyle that will improve their body composition and health.

It’s not about gettiing ripped or maintaining “insanely” low body fat percentages. It’s about feeling good, comfortable in your own skin, then letting your body do the hard work naturally by nourishing it properly.

The Amazon reviews stand at 21 5-star, a number I’m happy with not overtly pimping for them at all, much. No sock puppeting on my part, either. You can find all the sources to get the book here.

Fifty Shades of bleak: Looking for love everywhere it isn’t.

Today’s post is a guest post about men, women, sex, even more sex, and orgasms. Greg Swann has been around here a few times and most recently, featured weekly, chapter-by-chapter for his book Man Alive! Last week, Greg and I presented back-to-back at The 21 Convention. Given what so many presume and assume that convention to be about (some is, much isn’t) you should find this an interesting read. I’ll have more to say personally about T21C and PUA in general in my own future post. As always with guests posts, views expressed are the views of the guest author and not necessarily my views.

[For an update, please see: Lemons to Lemonade Documentary – Ed]

Fifty shades of bleak: Looking for love everywhere it isn’t.

by Greg Swann

Another Ineradicable Regret

Here are two complementary facts about the ontology of adult genetic Homo sapiens:

Men are seed-sprayers.

Women are egg-layers.

Men and women are functionally equivalent, in the sense that, away from our sex differences, we can all do pretty much the same stuff. We are intellectually equivalent, even if the vestigial effects of poverty, religion and tradition have cost humanity the full benefits of female mental prowess over the centuries. We are politically equivalent, obviously. There are biological differences that result from our sex differences — men tend to have better upper-body strength, women have better blood circulation at the core but poorer circulation in the extremities — but apart from those sex differences, we are an awful lot alike.

That much is not surprising. We are the same species after all, and the XY model is just the one-off variation on the XX prototype. Even men’s sex hardware, of which they can be very proud, is just women’s junk turned inside out. This is true of male mammals in general — except for the pride part.

But because males — male mammals, not just male Homo sapiens — are seed-sprayers, their reproduction strategy will be different from that of the egg-laying females.

Human beings are thoughtful creatures. We have had the gift of mind cultivated within us, the graduation from an animal’s style of cognition and communication to the fully-human state, thinking and communicating in notation systems — in Fathertongue. For now I am am talking about thoughtless biological reproduction strategies, but in no way am I excusing human beings for behaving like thoughtless animals. Too much the contrary!

But the thoughtless reproductive objective of a seed-sprayer is to spray those seeds everywhere. This is what a Maple tree is doing with those cascades of whirling “helicopters,” and it it what an Agave plant is doing with its seed pod, one of the most inspiring phallic symbols to be found in nature. For seed-sprayers, reproduction is a numbers game. His supply of seeds is effectively infinite, and, plausibly, his best chance of reproducing himself is to spray seeds everywhere.

Egg-layers have the opposite problem. Eggs — and the conditions necessary for their proper gestation — are extremely scarce. Female sea turtles can lay their eggs and swim away, but female mammals have to stick around to nurse their young. That’s what those mammary glands that give our class of organisms its name are for, after all, their ornamental beauty in human females notwithstanding. Egg-layers nest, and, practically speaking, the most important manifestation of her reproductive strategy will be not reproducing — except with the right male.

Every species of mammal is different, but the only species of organisms that matters to us is us, Homo sapiens. Even then, we’re only really interested in human beings, genetic Homo sapiens who are fluent in Fathertongue. It is possible to argue that male human beings should pursue every possible mating opportunity, much as a male lizard should spray every egg it comes across. It is possible to argue that female human beings should deflect every male suitor who presents himself, since it’s unlikely that any of those slobbering jackasses is going to live up to the arduous role that is fatherhood for human beings. But I can think of at least two insuperable objections to those propositions:

First, both infinite-impregnation and zero-impregnation are very poor strategies for successfully reproducing human beings.

And second, for the most part human beings pursue sexual contact for reasons other than reproduction.

What do male human beings want from sex? Romantic intimacy leading to orgasm.

What do female human beings want? Orgasm — both of theirs or just his — leading to romantic intimacy.

That’s a currency-exchange issue, and I’ve talked about currency-exchange in the larger context of marriage: He promises her loving devotion in exchange for a lifetime of hot sex while she promises him hot sex in exchange for a lifetime of loving devotion. If they talk through this currency-exchange in open, explicit Fathertongue, they will have a great marriage — lots of love, lots of great sex, boundless devotion to each other and to the family they make together. If they do not talk things out, each partner will cheat the other with counterfeit currency from the outset of their marriage, and each will never tire of bitching about the other partner’s duplicity.

But the failed currency-exchange starts long before the wedding bells ring down at the chapel. If what he wants is an orgasm, it’s to his interest — he may tell himself — to pay out as little in romantic intimacy as he can get away with. Likewise, if she can get romantic intimacy without giving him many — or even any — orgasms, she may think she’s getting a great deal.

The latter scenario — all traction, no action — is the Victorian sexual ideal: Suitors court in courtly fashion and the blushing bride putatively comes to the marriage bed as a blushing virgin. But the first strategy — maximum action with minimal traction — is where we are now: Men do everything they can think of to get laid as often as possible, with as many different women as possible, while offering as little true romantic intimacy as possible in exchange.

Who is at fault here? The men are just doing what they say they intend to do, pursuing orgasms. The women are getting cheated out of most or all of the romantic intimacy they might hope to reap from their sexual encounters — but they are volunteers to their own repeated despoiling. They’re doing what they think they have to do to get men to pay attention to them at all, but the sad truth is that they have been scammed by a very clever con game.

Somewhere there is an evil genius of sex who came up with this idea: What if it were possible to get egg-layers to behave like seed-sprayers? Human beings can have sex for fun, not just for reproduction, so what if we could come up with words and ideas that would induce women to relinquish their very high sexual power — the power to withhold sex until the desired price in romantic intimacy has been met — and instead estimate their sexual value at or below the very low evaluation men hold for their own sexual power?

In other words, what if we could convince women that their best strategy for attracting lifelong love and devotion is not to behave like high-value ladies but instead to act like low-value skanks?

The Sexual Revolution did not start in the back seat of Daddy’s car. It was not caused by the birth-control pill or rock ‘n’ roll music. The Sexual Revolution was caused by a sheaf of very clever Fathertongue ideas devised to convince women that their own desired sexual currency — romantic intimacy — was worth less than that sought by men — orgasms — to the extent that they not only could not negotiate for romantic intimacy to be delivered “up front,” they might not be in a position to demand it at all.

So the girls put out, and the boys put the word out. Loving devotion? Romantic intimacy? Respect in the morning? The truth, never said out loud but obvious to everyone, is to be found in this expression: “Baby, I don’t even respect you now!”

So the girls dress like sluts, dance like sluts, drink like sluts, screw like sluts — and are nevertheless endlessly dismayed that the boys treat them like sluts, like self-maintaining pass-around sex-dolls.

So the girls twist themselves this way and that, striving desperately to find the interest or hobby or pose or costume that will somehow hold his attention — or even just his eye-contact — in the seconds after he is done coming. Some of them literally eat their hearts out, starving themselves, stuffing themselves, guiltily puking up anything they manage to eat.

And now comes the bleak world of Fifty Shades of Grey, in which women seek to fascinate men by volunteering to become objects of humiliation and degradation. The logic could not possibly be more wrong — “Of course he will love me after he has seen himself treating me like garbage!” — but the logic behind every one of these stupid dating strategies is inverted. That’s the point, to convince women that the only way they can win the game of love is to surrender every value they bring to the table.

This is a mistake.

It’s a horrible reproduction strategy, obviously. Men cultivate precisely those attributes of character that will make them the worst possible fathers. Women squander precisely those assets — loyalty, fidelity, probity, sobriety, chastity — that will make them most attractive to the best available fathers for their children. But it’s a mistake just as a dating strategy, as well.

Why? Because, in reality, women start with the better hand in the dating negotiation. The currency she holds — the power to grant or deny him orgasms with her — is far more valuable to him than the currency she is seeking — romantic intimacy — is to him. There are interesting Fathertongue reasons for this, but there is a purely biological factor in play as well: She feels no terrible bodily urgency either to fertilize or to dispose of her eggs, but he feels physical pain if he does not dispose of surplus seed on a regular basis. She may want to have an orgasm, but there is a a degree to which he needs to come.

That’s why he takes the risks of making the initial overtures, despite his tongue-tied fear of rejection. That’s why he takes on the awful burdens of making smalltalk, making time, making out. That’s why he buys the drinks, buys the dinners, buys the movie tickets, buys jewelry and clothing and cars and houses. That’s why he writes love poems and love songs and love stories — and deep, yearning lamentations over frustrated or unrequited love.

Boys discover girls at twelve years old or sixteen or twenty. Girls discover boys when they are still children, and, hence, they are adept at handling boys long before the boys even know they’re being handled. This is why men’s overt dating strategies seem so transparent to women. But it is also why this covert strategy — getting women to hold their own immense sexual value in contempt — has been so devastatingly successful. She thinks she is trading for stuff — for drinks, dinners, jewelry, cars and houses — and she does not see until it is too late that she has traded an infinitely valuable prize for useless trinkets.

Here is the blinding epiphany that occurs to teenage boys when they finally grow into their own sexual power: “Women want love and sex, too!”

Here is the countervailing epiphany, which men have successfully concealed from women for all of human history: “Men want love and sex more!”

Do you want proof of that claim? If what men want is orgasms, why don’t they just jack-off? They do. A lot. But it’s still not enough. They may say they disdain romantic intimacy, but they want it even so. Men make time with women they have no sexual interest in, just for the human contact. Men pay prostitutes for sex and then swear they are renting a girlfriend. He wants to achieve orgasm, and his body wants to throw away surplus seed, but he wants loving devotion, too.

She wants orgasms, too — and her orgasms can and should be much better than his — but not nearly as much as she wants romantic intimacy, ultimately leading to the loving devotion of marriage.

And that’s her bargaining power, her ransom from a sexual dystopia that is fifty shades of bleak. All women have to do to regain the upper hand in their currency-exchange with men is STOP PUTTING OUT!

When women raise the bar on sex, their men will rise to it. His body will insist most insistently that he do so, but his mind will rise to the challenge, too. He’ll be a better man for it, and he will love her that much more for making him become a better man.

Meanwhile, while masturbation for him is a second-best orgasm, a woman who has learned to masturbate proficiently has no need whatever to wake up next to a slobbering jackass just to get her rocks off. If she buys a Hitachi Magic Wand vibrator along with the Gee Whizzard attachment, her nights degrading herself with slobbering jackasses will be over for good. If all she’s going to get from him is an orgasm — maybe — she can cut out the middelman and at least get a good orgasm.

We are organisms, animals, mammals, and our urge to have sex is biological in origin. But we are reasoning animals, and hence we can discover and explore the pure, ecstatic, orgiastic joy of loving coupling. But we are rationalizing animals, too, so we can look for love and sex in all the wrong places, for all the wrong reasons. We can end up looking for love everywhere it isn’t, and never in the only place it truly is — in the mutual and enduring commitment of two people who like, lust for, honor and respect each other.

That’s the love that has a chance, at least, to turn into a marriage, to turn into a family. He wants her body — he wants those orgasms. But what he needs is more than just a mad, frenzied dance of masturbation-by-proxy. What he needs most, and what his children need most, are her virtues — her loyalty, her fidelity, her probity, her sobriety, her chastity — the virtues he dismissed when he was busy entreating women to shed their virtues with their clothes.

She needs his virtues, too, and not just his comfort or his affection or his doting devotion. Marriage is the means by which self-adoring adults cultivate the best attainable virtues within each other. The attraction and admiration and respect she felt for him when first they met should grow ever stronger, ever sturdier over the years. As they grow into each other — and grow with each other — their sex lives will be ever more loving, and their love lives ever sexier. Nothing worth having is easy, but this is what their marriage can be — and should be — if they work at it.

This is the love that provides the best chance for human children to grow up to be happy, healthy, responsible, productive adults. But this is also the love that most enriches, most ennobles and most enthralls each one of us. This is the love we were born to make, and this is the love that makes us most worthy to be loved in return.

Accept no substitutes…

Readers here know me as the author of Man Alive! I’ve also written a novel illustrating my ideal of love and devotion, The Unfallen. It’s a very sexy book about philosophy and a very philosophical book about love and longing written about and for smart, productive people who understand self-adoration the way I do. On a more practical level, I’ve written quite a bit about sex — especially orgasms, to which material I commend you. Life is short. Drink deep.

[For an update, please see: Lemons to Lemonade Documentary – Ed]

Sunday Morning Notes: Podcast Interview, Workouts and Vitamin D

~ I had a good time with relatively new Paleo blogger Brooks Rembert yesterday. Wasn’t sure if he wanted video or not, so I set up a table and computer in the grass in the backyard and had a great time. This is not a particularly work safe podcast, but all vitriol is reserved for Conventional Wisdom. Turns out it was audio only, but I stayed put and enjoyed the setting.

Here’s his post: Interview with Richard Nikoley. After he’d published it, he noted that there was a section where background noise was cutting me out in small sections. It’s not so much that you don’t know what’s going on (it’s the segment on Intermittent Fasting), but as someone new at this and getting his pro in order for future, he made available a version that takes that out. So you have two choices. A 30 minute and 40 minute. Fresh from backyard sunshine.

Here’s the Qs he asked and I answered and righteously ranted about everyplace I could.

  1. Tell us again how you first came to the Paleo diet and how long you’ve been eating naturally.
  2. You mentioned in your book that Intermittent Fasting really kickstarted your weight loss. How did you first learn about IF and is it something you think everyone should be doing to some degree?
  3. What is your advice for parents of toddlers to get their children on board with Paleo so it can be a true family affair?
  4. How do you convince people to get over their fear of fat, to put down the bagel, and eat eggs and bacon again for breakfast?
  5. You talk about cancer cells starving in a low glucose environment. Are there any doctors that you know of that actively promote low carb dieting prior to chemotherapy treatment?
  6. Were there any memorable moments at AHS this year?
  7. What advice to you have for anyone who is not quite sure if they should try a Paleo diet?
  8. Anything else you’d like our readers to know?

I’m super glad he didn’t flinch with a few righteous f-bombs, BSs and a few other things thrown in. Here’s the link to his blog again: JB Primal. Good luck Brooks and I hope it helps you get your voice out there for those you want to help.

~ Skyler Tanner, who has yet to learn to spell my last name correctly in every single instance, puts this up: 21 Convention, Strength Training, and Richard Nikoley. I did a post about the experience as well.

Richard, who in case you don’t know is a misogynist, was a damn hard worker. I didn’t tell him what I was going to do to everyone else, understanding that Richard is very perceptive and detail oriented in his observations. I explained just enough get him to understand what I was attempting to get everyone to do: maintain a conscious, voluntary effort from the start of a set to the finish while letting me narrate the subtle nuances of the set. If you’re going to get all that can be earned from their protocol, you have to be able to put yourself in someone’s hands. Your focus is on controlled effort; let me (or the trainer) narrate the set, anticipate where you might stumble, and guide you to fatigue. This is no “ra-ra” trainer bullshit: I am a benevolent dictator, aware of your inability to do this on your own, and I will drag you kicking and screaming to a level of physiological stimulation you’ve never experienced. If your goal is once every 5-7 days per workout, this is the only way it’s going to work. […]

Afterwards Richard, Doug, Keith, and Michelle came over to our home for a dinner of sous vide chuck roast, caramelized butternut squash, and a chocolate gateau (all paleo). Everyone talked for hours and had a great time. The depth of Doug’s knowledge astonishes me every time I talk with him, as does the depth of his care. Richard, for all of the internet bullhorn truth-telling persona is so friendly, engaging, and curious that it’s no surprise he can distill all of this paleo stuff into posts that motivate people to take the leap. I can learn a thing or two about how to do that on this blog. That and our wives get along great, having slogged through the public education shit storm that we’re currently engaged in.

Very unfortunately—except for dearly wanting to get back to me wife unit I’d not seen but a day in 3 weeks—I had a flight that necessitated my departure far ahead of what I’d have liked. While Skyler has an excellent collection of single malt scotch—even a Japanese one I’d never sampled—I didn’t, alas, get inebriated enough to make much of a typical splash. The taxi didn’t show and Skyler being the kind of guy he is, loaded me up and took the to the airport. Hope that didn’t kill the party too much.

If it made it better, without Skyler and I there, I haven’t heard about it.

~ Emily Deans. First, I want to make my apology to Dr. Emily Deans as public as possible. Second, it’s cool to see an MD (psychiatrist), practicing clinician, really delve into this suff in an “I can prescribe you any drugs I want” sense, but at the same time, is very concerned about what benefits the cheapest supplement on Earth has for the patients she cares about.

Take a look: Homeopathic Vitamin D Not Effective for Depression.

I’ll share my clinical experience, which, being anecdotal, may not be worth much.  I’ve been more aggressive about measuring vitamin D in the last few years (as have the internists I work with), and I would say roughly 1/3 of the folks I measure (or have had a D measured in the past year by the primary care doctor) are absolutely deficient.  Meaning below 20 ng/ml.  Levels between 10-15 are common, but I’ve seen 4s and 8s as well.  The super low folks have tended to have a “sick” look: pale, circles under the eyes, bloated, tired.  (Though not everyone who is pale and tired has a low D by any means!) If I had to guess from just looking at them, I would think they might be fighting a cold or were hypothyroid.  Most of the time, the thyroid function is absolutely normal.

Most of the folks I see have depression, and typically some sort of resistant depression, and I would say 99% of people come to me having already been put on psych meds of some kind.  It’s a bit hard to generalize, each patient has his or her own particular circumstances, character strengths, education, and external stressors… but I’ve figured out that some long-term patients with ultra-low vitamin D finally responded to all the psychiatry mucking around (bolstering supports, lifestyle interventions, therapy, medication adjustment) after the D was corrected.  Shorter term patients have looked better and done better since getting D out of the basement.  I’ve never attempted an isolated D intervention (which wouldn’t be standard of care by any means).

I love it. You know I’m a fan of self experimentation. Emily gets to “experiment” (practice medicine) on others, within the tight established limits she is well aware of. At the same time, she’s basically experimenting with “sunshine”.

And she is by no means bright eyed about it: Standing on the Sun Will Not Prevent Depression.

Bottom line, I’d trust her in a minute to experiment on me.


That’s all, folks. Next post up later today is about sex and all about sex.

The Definitive Guide to Melissa McEwen’s “Paleo Drama”

Total Shares 16

“To the man who only has a hammer, everything he encounters begins to look like a nail.” — Abraham H. Maslow

[For an update, please see: Lemons to Lemonade Documentary – Ed]

I had a couple of posts in draft to further delve into two aspects of what has come up recently in the latest series of Paleo controversies kicked off by Melissa McEwen of the well respected blog Hunt-Gather-Love, once she began a Mark I, Mod A, By-the-Book smear blog: Paleo Drama.* Instead of posting those, or continuing my tongue-in-cheek “Misogyny 10x” series, I want to do a final, single post on all of this and call it a day, week, month, year…and move onto more more productive and constructive endeavors.

(* A smear campaign is a purposefully dishonest, out-of-context attack whereby only information judged to further the smear is used. Mitigating circumstances, exculpatory evidence, clarifications or elaborations are never used—by design and on purpose—because they do not further the goals and aims of the smear campaign.)

For background, Friday evening I was sitting at a restaurant with Jolly (the camera guy at AHS11 & 12 and The 21 Convention) and Keith & Michelle Norris (Paleo fx) for dinner and we were talking about my AHS “Whining and Gnashing of Teeth” post, the volunteer behind it, etc. Jolly called up the cached version of the volunteer’s post, began reading the comments and asked how things were with Melissa. I said they were fine; that we’d had our issues, but have since exchanged a lot of friendly emails over the months on a number of topics and that she comments now and then on the blog.

He said, “are you sure?” and then showed me her comment on that cached post. [Unfortunately, the cache is no longer available either. If someone has it in some version, feel free to shoot me the link and I’ll insert it here.]

Later that night, or perhaps it was Saturday morning, I was alerted to “Paleo Drama” for the first time and had not the faintest thought of putting 2 and 2 together. There were only a few posts, a couple of them mentioning me and how awful I am. I assumed it was some troll and didn’t give it much thought. I replied to an inquiry on Twitter later that day or evening that it would never get a mention from me. It wasn’t until late Saturday night that all came together and low & behold, it was Melissa behind it.

Shocked was I. I decided to give it a while, think about it, see how the whole project was developing. I initially decided a “no comment” stance might be the best approach, and then realized that just wasn’t going to cut it. But rather than attack it or her, I decided to post this instead. It was a simple effort at reconciliation, or at least Détente. I took every measure I could think of in the post to keep it from being a so-called “hate circus” on Melissa, Evelyn, or any related parties in comments. Why escalate? Done it already.

[For an update, please see: Lemons to Lemonade Documentary – Ed]

What happens? Melissa immediately blasts me for taking those measures to not have happen this time what she was upset about having happened last time!?!? I even acknowledged and accepted her criticism of that last time in the post, and repeatedly in comments.

Heads I win, tales you lose.

Well, as always, you get to judge for yourselves. Most of my initial exchange with Melissa is near the top of the comment thread. I was going out of my usual way to be reasonable, conciliatory, magnanimous, and so on. In some cases I had to explain the same thing a number of times.

Goose egg. Complete purposeful unreasonableness and later, even an escalation of the Drama at Paleo Drama. In fact, unless I’m mistaken, the tagline for her blog was originally something along the lines of ‘some modicum of creating a civil non-anti-intellectual environment’, but as I noted yesterday, now reads:

Dispatches from the paleo cesspool. Why? Too much silence for too long, it’s catharsis, and for every post I put up, I’m more and more motivated to do something else besides sit in the cesspool.

One might hope she puts up a lot of posts then, so she might feel better and get out of the “cesspool” already, because after all, she’s been “silenced” for too long. Yes, she has resorted to using virtually every weasel word and phrase in the feminist handbook: “silenced, repressed, hated, excluded, discriminated, othered…” and the list goes on. All words basically designed to create the illusion that she’s at the point of some archetypical man’s gun, when she’s not. If she was silent, that was her choice. It’s. That. Simple. …Done.

[For an update, please see: Lemons to Lemonade Documentary – Ed]

What she really means is that with speaking up, there is accountability. She didn’t want to face it so it’s on you, those who would have held her accountable. Essentially, she just wants to be able to get away with shit and you might not have let her, so its your bad. And now that’s she’s freeeee of her self imposed chains, you better watch out, because you’re getting double barrels now. You just wait and see. It’s cathartic, after all.

In that comment exchange, I asked a direct question to Melissa that didn’t get answered directly.

OK, Melissa, here’s an honest query for you. In my post where I called you out after you called me out, here was your last comment:


“Melissa and I are exchanging emails. I never materially edit a post. That said, here’s the deal. Because it’s my post and if you think I’ve done Melissa wrong, feel free to go after me in comments. On the other hand, please, enough said on the negative side here, don’t pile on if you have an urge. Understand that I hate this. Hell, I’ve hugged Melissa and given her a ride in my car. I hate this. Let it rest. I said what I said, She said what she said.”

Heheh, don’t worry. I’m no delicate flower. I know what people think of me. Heck, I’ve gotten DEATH THREATS from animal rights activists. This stuff said about me on the paleosphere is pretty tame in comparison. So even if I am a bitch, wrong, yadda yadda, at least people aren’t threatening to firebomb my house.

If you are going to fight, do it with some pride at least. I may be tiny materially, but in words, I am a beast. One of the reasons is that I’ve been through a lot in my life, so there isn’t a lot that I’m afraid of.


[For an update, please see: Lemons to Lemonade Documentary – Ed]

Since that time, you’ve commented here on various posts nine times, not counting your comments here, and they were all constructive or participating in various ways.

In addition to that, since that comment on the post in question in April, we have had a total of 20 emails exchanged on the following topics:

– Kruse
– ItsTheWooo
– Lustig
– Masterjohn/Minger

All of those were friendly, constructive exchanges. Now all this, out of the blue.

So what happened? I’d sincerely like to know.

She answered indirectly on her new blog.

…what motivated me to start this was what happened to that AHS volunteer. I felt so sad for her. I felt somewhat responsible, both for being silent about things and for mis-guided defense of certain people. I don’t think everything she said was correct, but she didn’t deserve to be treated that way.

OK, I can understand she may have initially misunderstood my post and intentions (I don’t actually believe that anymore). The problem is, the idea that I called that volunteer a laundry list of names like “poor, fat, old, ugly, etc.” has already been debunked by at least a couple of commenters who aren’t exactly my fans on Evelyn’s blog. For example.

I stopped reading Richard some time ago because if his hopeless vulgarity and lack of compelling content. However, I made an exception to read his post against the criticism of an AHS volunteer. While his post is a typical two dimensional libertarian rant, fully lacking in style or wit, he does not attack this woman ad hominum. And this woman’s complaints about the AHS are themselves fine until she gets to the part about a ‘whiff of racial supremacy’, a claim so outrageous that, absent any compelling evidence to the contrary, are illegitimate and pointlessly destructive.

[For an update, please see: Lemons to Lemonade Documentary – Ed]

He or someone else goes on to explain exactly how I used those words: sarcastically. Exactly. Gold star for what ought to have been obvious on even a casual read. And in fact, I later went on to write this about the volunteer in the same post.

Yea, it’s laughable and that’s why I’m amplifying it to hyperbolic proportions.


I appreciate the volunteer service of that person and I hope her name was included in my wrap up because I endeavored to get the names of everyone who made it all look easy.

McEwen knows all this. She ignores it, persists on, and even escalates. Two things are telling.

  1. She has not addressed this debunking with a single word either in my comments or elsewhere.
  2. She is not demanding I apologize to the “victim” she pretends to champion, for effect. Rather, she demands I apologize to her.

The demand stems from a hasty, angry tweet I put out in the wake of Jack Kruse being kicked off the LC Cruse, owing to a satirical tweet about him planning a ‘major bio-hack involving some virus’. I’d been told previously by a few people I no longer recall that three women were behind the @ShitKruseSays Twitter account. I guess those three women got the same memos, as did others, because everyone seemed to know who I meant when I tweeted “the 3 [just words] will pay.”

[For an update, please see: Lemons to Lemonade Documentary – Ed]

The next day, thinking better of things and frankly, concerned far more about the accusation of their involvement than the [just words] I used to characterize it, I issued and apology.

That was a follow-up Tweet last evening, after I had learned the news and was angry. I’ve had time, space, and the council of a couple of prominent Paleo peeps I count as friends, such that I now regret it as a massive, dick-stepping fuck up.

I apologize, particularly to anyone who may have insinuated that I was accusing them. The fact is: I do not know who was behind it, but that Tweet makes it appear as though I do, and that is wrong. I was wrong, plain, simple, and easy. And I always hate to be wrong and stupid…but the only thing to do when you’re either, or both, is to stop being wrong and stupid moving forward. So that’s what I’m doing.

Not good enough. It was deconstructed to the extent I had to do a whole “Sticks & Stones” post.

Here’s a Sub-Definitive Guide on Apologies for you.

  1. If you want to leave open the possibility and opportunity for receiving an apology (and reconciliation), then never demand one. Instead, just state your grievances as objectively and calmly as possible.
  2. If instead, you want to have something to use and to hold against the aggrieving party at will, then demand one you know you’re unlikely to get.

I probably issued a few “I sowwy mommy” apologies on command as a child (and hundreds of unsolicited and preemptive apologies since), I have never, ever issued an apology on demand, and hell and earth will freeze over before I do. Fuck that to death. Two reasons.

  1. I don’t like being told what to do in any context by anyone, for any reason. I left home when I was 18. I know what I’m doing and I’ll take my lumps if I’m wrong. I’ll decide what I’m going to do and I’m not going to “should” you, or demand from you either.
  2. It’s such a lame and transparent domination tactic. People who demand apologies are looking to dominate you. I wasn’t born yesterday.

I have never in my life demanded an apology. Two reasons.

  1. I don’t like to be perceived as a weak pussy, a victim, in cathartic need of someone else’s bended knee and contrition to make me feel better.
  2. I simply never attempt to dominate people by telling them what they should or ought to do. If I don’t like what they did, I simply tell them. Sometimes I use [just words].

I always have two responses when offered an apology.

  1. Don’t worry about it or, depending on context…
  2. Don’t apologize, just don’t do it again, please.

Now here’s a Mini-Sub-Definitive Guide to Achieving Diversity (in Ancestry Ass. and Everywhere).

  1. Get off your lazy asses and energize the people you want to see included. Don’t sit around and bitch & moan that “the white guys” are seeing to their own tribes and comfort zones.
  2. Unless there’s explicit exclusion—which there is not in AHS, except the price of membership and event tickets—but even that’s not insurmountable with fund raisers and such, or outreach)—then #1 is assured…provided…the people who care the most get off their lazy asses.

[For an update, please see: Lemons to Lemonade Documentary – Ed]

Told you it was a mini guide.

I’ll tell you what; and I’ll put this part into a clean post with some elaboration tomorrow or Saturday. I want to help you achieve your values and goals. In fact, I not only accept a greater diversity at AHS, but welcome and celebrate it. It would be cool and fabulous to see more people “on their way,” along with the “already there” (my sense was more of those this year than last and I made note). It would especially be good to see more African and Hispanic involvement, as they seem to have genetic issues with SAD even more profound than for us Euros.

It’s just not my job necessarily, and it’s not the job of those already busting ass for the people already energized. On the other hand, my own blog is open to all, and I have documented success stories across the spectrum.

So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m inviting guests posts for all these diverse niches. I’ll elaborate on it when I do the follow on, “moving forward” post. Stefani Ruper of Paleo for Women will already be doing another guest post sometime in the future, seeing how successful her last was. At AHS12, there was a presentation on Paleo in the Hispanic community and I’ll be trying to get in touch with them to offer them a guest post (an introduction would be great).

Suggestions and direction and contacts are welcome. I’m not going to make it easy. I’m only going to do guests posts from people with established blogs or programs in the diverse niches in which they’re interested in promoting.

[For an update, please see: Lemons to Lemonade Documentary – Ed]

In closing, here’s what prompted me yesterday to delete the last post in the continuing drama I’d just put up, then set about to take a new direction, make this definitive and final, and move on to helping people that was the original purpose in the first place. (Click to open the full size for easier reading.)

Screen Shot 2012 08 23 at 3 17 21 PM

When I saw that, I almost immediately clicked here, scrolled all the way down, and just glanced at the images on that first of I don’t know how many pages. I resolved to set this all aside with my final and definitive statement on the whole thing.

It’s true I lose sight of my goal, at times. I’m getting right back to it.

You get to judge for yourself. If you judge that Melissa is going to help more people than I am going forward, then I welcome you to go support her efforts and her new cesspool inspired project.

[For an update, please see: Lemons to Lemonade Documentary – Ed]

My Response Regarding The Critics

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Edited from a comment posted on an unrelated thread after saying I had no comment and being admonished to comment anyway.



OK, I’ll throw you a bone in general—even though I suspect you’re just trying to (nicely and respectfully) bait and goad me into doing what both of those women might dearly love, and issue my “standard treatment” in a post.

Well, I’ve already done that way back and that’s done for good. As for Evelyn, she’s pretty much just rehashing everything over and over; and even in the new twist of my post on the AHS volunteer, one of her own supportive commenters (then another—both who don’t like me) grudgingly admitted that on a closer reading of my post, I wasn’t attacking that person individually, but some of her silly notions about what AHS was and should be in my opinion.

I do have a post in draft clarifying that.

As for Melissa, I’m unsure of her motivations. That blog, while much is about me, much is also about others; and increasingly, Paleo/AHS in general. She’s just getting it started and things like that tend to be hard to judge in initial stages. It may surprise you, but I’m open to the possibility that it might turn out to be more constructive, like her regular blog is. I find it hard to accept that Melissa is at base the sort of nasty, bitter person who only finds fault in others. She has done a great deal to advance this whole movement going all the way back to the NYT piece and then her blog, and I don’t easily toss earned capital aside.

Furthermore, not responding directly to critics is not the same as ignoring them completely. I suppose it’s different for different things (such as performance artists, etc.). I do read pretty much all the criticisms of me I’m aware of or made aware of, and I do try to be open minded about it after the initial surge of anger or indignation. I’m a huge fan of dialectic (thesis, antithesis, synthesis) and I believe it absurd to think that we’re not in some ways shaped by what others say about us, good and bad. It’s a long process, hopefully to the betterment of all.

I’m also a big fan of lemonade, if you know what I mean. I do want to do more good than harm out there, so when there are reasonable arguments that I’m doing real and not just perceived harm, I want to take note of those charges and consider them. And if I’m wrong, I’m wrong; and the only thing to do is to stop being wrong. Simple. Logic. Egos sometimes need to be put in check.

The Kruse thing was a very bad error in judgment on my part, and the c-word thing, an error in doubling down when I should have been folding (as Robb Wolf did in that same situation, the LC Cruse incident). Had I done that then, none of this would be happening now. I caused it and brought all this on my self. Oh, well. Live & learn. I was at least able to chat some cordial hellos with Emily Deans at AHS, and she even mentioned it—I think in comments on Evelyn’s blog—and that she’s not a grudge holder. Me either. So that’s good.

Bottom line: It’s absurd to think that I or anyone else can’t use some criticism. But, perhaps Melissa, et al, is out to see to my destruction in terms of Paleo/Health blogging. I’d suggest there’s probably better uses of her time, but I don’t tell people what they should or shouldn’t do. I’m still considering some of the criticism of me and how it might mold what I do going forward, but I can also say that at least some of the criticism of Paleo/AHS I’ve seen so far is very much worth paying attention to, y’know, for those who want to improve and do better.

So there you have it.


As an additional note, Stefani Ruper of Paleo For Women has unfortunately been drawn into this for her implied association with me in connection with the guest post she did here: No One’s Power but Our Own: Paleo Sexist Woes, and an Invitation to Rise Up and Roar. As of right now, that post has a remarkable 62 ReTweets and an astounding 747 Facebook Likes—the most ever for any post on this blog.

She’s under pressure from a number of women to publicly denounce me and request that I take the post down.

…It’s suggested that I sought out Stefani for that post for largely the same reason I married a Latina, roomed with black guys in the past, employed mostly female Hispanics in my company and have gay and lesbian friends: as a smokescreen to hide my true nature of sexism, white supremacy, domination and misogyny because, you know, words in blog posts over a short time speak louder than actions over a lifetime.


In fact, Stefani emailed me to tell me she was going to write a post for my blog and suggested I damn well post it if I know what’s good for me, because she will be heard. That’s how it’s done, folks. She knew how to deal with me.

For those who asked me why I didn’t go after her in that AHS post because she had done a post on the masculin focus at AHS (she’s taken it down in favor of more positive endeavors). Two reasons:

  1. It was not my intention to go after anyone personally—as those who’ve read my post more carefully now know—but to criticize some of the notions of what AHS lacks and should be in terms of “diversity.” So to the extent that what Stefani advocates falls into that category, you could consider that my post covers it in general.
  2. Stefani knows I don’t agree with her on some stuff, and I know she doesn’t agree with me on some stuff. We both know where we do agree and what’s most important. But here’s the essential difference. Stefani isn’t sitting around complaining that the women’s issues important to her in a Paleo context aren’t being emphasized enough by men so women can sit back and take them in. She went out and created a blog focussed on those issues and values important to her, and I’m quite delighted that her guest post on my blog helped her to advance those goals and values.

Stefani is a doer and in no way do I even remotely require that what she does meets all of my standards of what’s most important. Simple as that.

Incidentally, in case anyone is going to assume I’m putting this up here in order to “butter Stefani up” so she doesn’t fall under the pressure to denounce me and request taking down that post, the foregoing has already been discussed with Stefani personally in email exchanges. We were and remain cool with one another.

Dr. Doug McGuff’s The 21 Convention Presentation in 2 Words: You’re Fucked

Update 10/25/2012: Doug’s entire presentation, the subject and content for this post, is now online at YouTube:

…Well, you can quibble and call it three words since it’s a contraction, but you’ll get the point either way.

Two years ago, Doug presented at The 21 Convention along with Mark Sisson. Word is, his presentation has more views than any other from this event in any year. Over 163,000 views at this point. Here it is.

That was more about exercise and diet. This time, he took a big risk. He spoke to 20-something men about the health care crisis and how you’re so fucked. Say what? He’s gonna talk to people who see themselves as a cross between immortal and invincible, about something they see as having no application to either?

Yep. That’s Doug. Like me, it’s always my message that counts and if the message is real, they will come.

But I still winced, a little. That was short lived.

…As an emergency room physician of 23 years, Doug has presided over the deaths of over 10,000 people. That is, Doug’s is the last face they ever saw if they saw anything, and that’s why the last slide in his presentation suggested that people develop a good measure of face-to-face kindness. …He’s told hundreds, if not thousands of mothers and fathers that their child is gone—and as recently as last week: an 11-yr old who just begged his mom to ride the ATV. Doug had to tell his mom of the final outcome of her decision. …And don’t get me wrong. I’m not for nannys, and I doubt Doug is either. It’s the vehicle and context of situation.

Doug’s was not some run-of-the mill bashing of “Obamacare” you’d see at any Tea Party Rally intended for the consumption of confirming bias, God & Country morons who are generally beyond hope (I’m always a sucker for redemption though). Rather, it was designed with respect for the intelligence of young men looking to better their lives and take The Red Pill. Because Doug, as I, largely considers the general population over a certain age generally lost to persuasion of any kind (I’m always a sucker for redemption though). They’re already completely hooked in and connected into the Matrix and whether it’s their fault for being there or not, it doesn’t matter. It’s what they bargained for—at the expense of all these young people—and they’re gonna get what they bargained for no matter what burden it places on those young people Doug was talking to.

The young people generally have no awareness of it—just like the 60-70-80-somethings, now, had no idea when they were 20 that huge chunks of their lives and what they could do and accomplish and enjoy would instead go into the collective, to support the general morass, with the huge cut coming off the top for the marauding political class. But even that was modest by comparison to what those young men are up against now. Within a few decades, the young people will not be carrying a half person on their back as they do now, but 1 1/2 people. And don’t give me the line that “I paid in.” That would be valid if you got an account statement every month. You did not. What you paid went to people now dead or dying. That money is gone. It was stolen from you in that great Ponzi Scheme and your great argument is that since you were stolen from to pay for others, others should be stolen from to pay for you.

…But I digress.

The brilliance of Doug’s presentation was that he played history teacher. He took the time and effort to explain every single federal law concerning health care since the very first one, which I believe was in the 1920’s (Doug, please correct in comments or otherwise elaborate, if you like). His thesis was this: every single one served to separate the sacred doctor and patient fiduciary relationship—that sacred relationship that, at base, used to motivate the best and brightest to go into an enormously respected profession that was justly rewarded when accomplished competently, as well it should. But when each of these acts eventually had untenable untended consequences, nothing was ever rolled back. It was always doubled down.

He took an hour to go through about a dozen federal acts, where each in succession served to further collectivize, hostpitalize, and institutionalize medical care. Each served to further remove both doctor and patient from any awareness of the level, extent and cost of treatment—channelling more and more decision and payment to third parties, with tax breaks galore. But medical care is no more removed from economic reality than anything else. When you spend your own money on your own stuff, you care about price and quality. When you spend someone else’s money on someone else, you don’t really give much of a shit about either, unless you’re a dishonest activist or politician—who only lies when you open your mouth.

I can’t begin to go through all dozen, or however many acts—so I revert to my 2-word descriptive. There’s one that stands out a bit, however—signed into law by the most “conservative” Republican to hold presidential office in most people’s memory. That was 1986, and it’s called the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA). It mandates that, for any hospital that accepts money from government:

…to provide care to anyone needing emergency healthcare treatment regardless of citizenship, legal status or ability to pay. There are no reimbursement provisions. Participating hospitals may only transfer or discharge patients needing emergency treatment under their own informed consent, after stabilization, or when their condition requires transfer to a hospital better equipped to administer the treatment.

I dunno, but there’s your national health care right there (for anyone with even the most base understanding of economics—which, I admit, is in single digit percentages). As Doug pointed out, how long do you think it took the more clever, street-smart to realize that was a health care plan at your expense? Just go to the emergency room.

Doug also pointed out why: “regardless of […] ability to pay” really means regardless of willingness to pay. Here’s where this gets very ugly, thanks to that “freedom loving” Ronald Reagan. Based on Medicare billing limit schedules, Doug provides $350,000 worth of emergency room services each year he’s not compensated for. Not only that, but he’s an independent physician in a group that provides ER services to hospitals. His overhead, or cost of doing business at all as a doctor is about $40 per hour (ref: an old comment on my blog from him…maybe more now). So get this. He does $350,000 at Medicare rates worth of services, get’s paid zero, and pays out of pocket $40 per hour—for as many hours as it takes to bill $350K to Medicare—for the privilege of saying “I’m a doctor” at cocktail parties, and getting to practice emergency medicine and save lives—and they save far more on the spot than anyone else.

In the end, he takes home about 30% of what he actually works for. Oh, and that’s before taxes.

But that’s not all. You see, there’s a criminal provision to that law. Unless Doug attends to anyone in need in the emergency room, out to 250 yards from the entrance, he can be criminally prosecuted. Criminal statutes of this sort call for treble damages. That means whatever they come up with as a fine for not providing free services for those unable or unwilling to pay, it’s tripled. But that’s not all. The “victim” of not receiving unable-or-unwilling-to-pay services also gets treble damages. So to keep ass out of jail, the doctor is up for 6 times the amount of whatever fine gets negotiated (Doug, can you provide some sense of scale for such fines or otherwise elaborate on nuts & bolts of the thing?).

Now I ask you: with just that one law and downstream consequences, isn’t it amazing that doctors still pursue the profession at all? I think Doug is hugely frustrated and I’m quite confident it’s not about the money. I think it’s about having a real doctor-patient relationship foremost. Think about it. You spend 20 years in education to be trusted to make decisions about life & death situations, and just like an astronaut or an airline pilot, you want to make them. You want to be good.

But far more than that—and I firmly believe this is true for Doug, though I didn’t ask him—emergency room medicine means that if you don’t know what “seconds count” means, you’re not fit. Imagine the ability to save a life where 99.9% of the people on Earth would have to through up arms and cry. I don’t know what makes a man willing to go into the office every day when he’s being denied 70% of what he’s worth, and has to pay taxes on the 30% he actually gets, but I have a sneaking suspicion.

They use what you love against you.

Doug can save a life when seconds count, and I imagine he loves that, as any man of his character would.

What was his conclusion? Stay out of “The Belly of the Beast.” Don’t get sick. Eat Paleoish, exercise…all that stuff. He doesn’t want your business.

…Someone asked in one of my recent posts:

McGuff’s biceps are looking huge or is it his shirt?

Judge for yourselves.

IMG 1056
Life Saver

Alright, now it’s your turn. What do you think about all of that?

My Butt Hurts So Bad

Total Shares 13

Skyler Tanner is, to me, just like one of my brothers in many respects. That is, when together, there is pretty much never a moment of silence and each has a backlog of shit to talk about—more than half forgotten by the time either can get a word in.

…Oh, and while in Austin, my real brother, Stacy, came up from Houston and stayed a night. He saw my presentation and a few others, and was graciously invited by Anthony Johnson  to attend dinner with the presenters. He knows Austin pretty well, so took me to a place or two, Peché among them…which was great. Scotch and pork belly. Neither of us were ever at a moment of loss for words. That’s what I mean.

You know Skyler, don’t you? Now, unless you read that post I just linked, you won’t understand why it’s funny that as I was walking by in the hotel for The 21 Convention and didn’t see him, what I heard was, “Hey, Fuck You!.”

As I already blogged, Skyler gave an impressive, sciency, exercise/health physiology presentation, while Keith Norris gave an impressive exercise/power/efficiency practicality presentation—back-to-back. While Skyler is my “brother,” Keith is the epitome of Paleo in terms of soul, kindness, and example. He’s the poster boy. He’s the nicest guy in the paleosphere and any shame or embarassment I ever feel for myself over whatever anyone may say about me…it pales in comparison to the shame I feel at a peripheral glance at Keith Norris. In essence, he’s my PaleoTouchstone. When I grow up, I want to be like Keith Norris with an edge. It’s a lifelong pursuit I will never attain, but will keep trying anyway.

Back to the subject

That photo was taken yesterday morning after Skyler kicked the asses of, in order:

  1. Rachel, fiancee of Eric Daniels (at AHS and 21)
  2. Dr. Doug McGuff
  3. Eric
  4. Me
  5. Then Doug kicked Skyler’s ass

This all happened within the space of about an hour, 10 minutes or so per workout. It’s an epiphany for me. In general:

  • One single set
  • Three to six reps on average, depending
  • Four to five exercises
  • Completely safe (usually, dangerously high weight is needed)

In that second bullet, I said “depending.” While I’ve worked with a trainer, Skyler is not a regular cheerleading, encouraging trainer. He’s a cold, detached, …”and 3, 2, 1″…torture chamber master. Here, just look, the essential message, featuring Skyler, Keith, and even an appearance by Rob Wolf.

The thing is, it doesn’t even take two 30-minute sessions per week, and I’m sure Skyler and Keith would tell you that (though, perhaps at the beginning, to get people up to a reasonable performance level). I believe Skyler told me he’s at about 15 minutes once every 5 days.

Back to Skyler the torturer. It’s weird, and while I was chomping at the bit and initially dismayed to have to be last to come under his gauntlet; in retrospect, I’m glad I did. Skyler is a smart mutherfucker, though you’d never know it by looking at him. See, he’s of the same general exercise philosophy as exercise author and 23-year emergency room physician Dr. Doug McGuff: Body by Science: A Research Based Program to Get the Results You Want in 12 Minutes a Week. And Eric and his wife exercise at Doug’s own center. I had no idea I was the odd man out, into some weird incestuous affair, until I began taking cognizance of the inside banter.

So basically, Skyler—without telling me—wanted me to observe how it’s done. It’s a good thing, because the style of exercise was totally foreign to me. How can you possibly get an ass-kicking workout that gives you all the benefits you want for health and body composition—without atoning for your sins in the gym for hours per week…because you’re a lazy ass, and that’s your penance?

You do it efficiently. How do you do it efficiently? You have someone show you. Who shows you? Skyler the torture master does. But, see, he’s even smarter than the entire Catholic Church Monolith. While they put people on racks and burnt them at the  stake for one-off affairs, Skyler isn’t forcing anyone, and thus, needs people to come back for more. His genius is in getting you to accept the benefit of your torture. “….3,2,1…you’re done.”

“That’s all?” any given torture victim asks? “I was expecting a 5,4,3,2,1-torture countdown.” See, he  cleverly throws you bones, almost randomly. Mutherfucker. But you know what? If you’re literally torn asunder on the rack, or burnt to a crisp on the stake, there’s no repeat business, which of course is proof positive that free market capitalism harms people less. Skyler doesn’t have the power of taxation (or the purchase of indulgences towards early release from purgatory), and as such, has had to devise clever ways and means of torturing people to effect…just enough. And it goes to his mastery that he can get them to come back for more.

…If only. Imagine where we’d be had we skipped the 1,000 year Dark Ages and gone straight to enlightenment, featuring “Torture Lite.”

Alright, let me indulge myself in the serious for a moment. Skyler isn’t just a coach or cheerleader, he’s a mouth-on manager—because you have to do it yourself so his hands would work against the goal. Basically, he directs you through every single rep of every single set of every single exercise, until you’re done.

The result? Efficiency. Time saved for you, and probably more exercise benefit. Time saved for them…they can help more people in their limited existential time and physical space.

I was going to go over details about how Skyler does this, but in spite of a wonderful dinner afterwards, hosted at his home with his wife Sarah, he still owes me for the sore butt, even after a gracious lift to the airport. So ask him questions in comments and I’ll be sure he sees them.

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Blurry Sous-Vide Roast and the Most Amazing Butternut Squash Puree Ever.
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R-L: Skyler, Keith, Michelle, Sarah, Doug

OK, ask Skyler questions about efficient exercise in comments, but certainly not before making fun of his Ronald McDonald smile in the photo. You’re probably more likely to get a good and thorough answer from him if you do.

I would.

Misogyny 101

Total Shares 8

[For an update, please see: Lemons to Lemonade Documentary – Ed]

Watch this disgusting video of a bunch of men laughing it up about breast and vaginal mutilation.

….Oh, wait!

[For an update, please see: Lemons to Lemonade Documentary – Ed]

The 21 Convention, Austin, TX, 2012

Total Shares 6

Tomorrow evening when I fly home it’ll be a day or two shy of three full weeks since I began traveling. On August 1st I left for for a 5-day hang gliding trip to Hat Creek which, for the first time since the beginning about 15 years ago, Beatrice could not attend. Upon my return I had exactly 24 hours with Bea before I dropped her at the airport to attend to her brother on an hour or two sudden notice. Then I left for the Ancestral Health Symposium, came back, had a few days, and then left for The 21 Convention. She returned home yesterday.

Essentially, I’ve had a single day with my wife in three weeks, and that was two weeks ago. I miss her terribly. Anxious to get back. I’ve never been away from her form more than a few days since we began living together in about 1997.

Luckily, friends, family, and good people abound. For instance, my dad had some things to take care of in San Jose, so he was there for an evening before I headed off to Austin on Thursday morning. It’s been quite a time. Owing to my schedule when I spoke there last year and not being able to see many presentations from others, I didn’t get a chance to really get a bead on what this whole “pickup community” is all about. I basically decided to go when invited, because Sisson & McGuff had done so the year prior—and Keith Norris and Skyler Tanner were presenting last year as well.

This year is different. I’ve been in attendance for almost all presentations, including those from the “pickup artists,” and have some thoughts to share on it. In the meantime, some photos of good times over dinner tonight with friends.

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Bulletproof Exec Dave Asprey and Skyler Tanner
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Dr. Eric Daniels and Dr. Doug McGuff
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Keith Norris & wife Michelle…and Skyler’s wife Sarah
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The Ever Present Jolly

Skyler and Keith, along with their business partner at Efficient Exercise here in Austin, took up the whole afternoon with very good presentations and demonstrations. Tomorrow morning, Skyler is going to put me through a workout on their amazing machine. I’ll see what I can post about that.

Eric Daniels was at AHS and presented here on the topic of rational philosophy, on day one. Fabulous. Doug McGuff presents tomorrow. As does Dave Asprey. And in addition to doing the photography, Jolly is presenting tomorrow morning on Intermittent Fasting. Unfortunately, it’s when I’ll be at Skyler’s training center for the workout, so I’ll have to wait for the video.

…And in spite of being women, there’s been quite a few round and about here at this “pickup artist” convention. They all seem quite self assured, confident, vivacious—and seem also to actually have some real first hand knowledge of what “game” is really all about—at least as it’s portrayed by Anthony Johnson and his world class picker uppers. You know, when ignorance isn’t working or makes you look stupid, try knowledge. That’s what I always say. But more on that later.

Oh, yea, my longtime friend Greg Swann put on a very interesting presentation on “Ontologically Consistent Teleology” this morning to great enthusiasm. I’ve been doing the weekly gigs about his book, Man Alive!, and curiously enough, one of the reasons Anthony invited him is he loved Greg’s scathing critique of “pick up” in chapter 10 (oh, shit, there’s that pesky knowledge over ignorance thing again…ok, more later).

A final photo.

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The Regular Evening Nightcap

Jolly joined me last night, though not for the beer.

Tomorrow afternoon a bunch of us are headed over to Skyler and Sarah’s house to be treated to a sous-vide roast he’s had in for like a year or two so it’s gotta be tender. And then the flight home.

Until next time.

AHS12 Whining and Gnashing of Teeth

Update 8/14/2013: Well, one day short of a year since I originally published this. And wowzers did I catch a lot of heat for it. Someone even started a blog specifically to trash me about my “misogyny,” laf. Man, those were the days. I just read through it again for the first time since the couple of times right after publishing it and do you know what?

I. Stand. By. Every. Fucking. Word. Maggots. Now go fuck off for a second time.


When I wrote my wrap up the other day I hadn’t seen any other takes on the festivities by anyone who’d actually attended it. I assumed I was going to see pretty much the same enthusiasm I felt, expressed in different ways here and there. AHS11 received such a uniformly positive response and I didn’t see why this time would be any different.

Ah, but grasshopper, you were so dumb. AHS11 was a one-off affair conjured up by Aaron Blaisdell and Brent Pottenger (two white men, incidentally; and as such, how dare them) that against all odds was a smashing success not only in terms of the length, breadth and quality of the presenters, but in terms of attendance and plain solid work in pulling it all off competently. In my presentation there, I opened by mentioning how when they first contacted me about the idea, I basically humored them in support—not really believing it would come to pass.

But you see, now that it’s a bona fide success, it’s just a great target for attack and criticism—by people who did fuck all to make anything like that happen. Yea, there was a volunteer (who helped to make things happen) at this last one who wrote a scathing piece on the whole affair, and then there are posts elsewhere—and the commenters who love to pile on for the party.

I served as a last minute volunteer, and although I attended several of the presentations, of which one was the Moore panel, I mostly served as a gopher and registration assistant.  To that end, I took the opportunity to observe the behavior of attendees, the conference leaders and the vendors, and it was enlightening. I was already disturbed about the logo that AHS uses – it’s obvious that the two body outlines are of white northern Europeans – the male holding a spear, and the woman, a basket. The demographic at this event was almost all white, child bearing age, healthy, wealthy, highly educated, libertarian, racist, sexist and bigoted.  People were largely and obviously judged on their external appearances. Those who weren’t of the demographic were left alone – they were shunned.

Shame on Brent and Aaron for not bussing in uneducated, unhealthy, post-menopausal, fat people who could not pay…and who were also black, hispanic, asian, but comprised mostly of lots and lots of sexually undesirable women—all screened to make sure they they’re lefty democrats: racist while protesting to be not, sexist while protesting to be not, and bigoted—but the life of the party sort of bigot.

Was AHS12 by invitation only? Did one have to fill out a demographic questionnaire prior to purchasing a ticket?

I appreciate the volunteer service of that person and I hope her name was included in my wrap up because I endeavored to get the names of everyone who made it all look easy.

You see, I really don’t much like those who remind you always of how hard it is to do what they do. The ones I like are the ones who do the hard stuff and make it look easy. This is the true proof of their competence. That’s how I felt about the volunteer organizers and movers of both AHS11 and AHS12. For all her criticism of all the behind the scene conflagration and confusion, I didn’t notice a whiff of it ever. And it’s beyond me why someone as part of an organization that pulled off a success finds so much need in airing all the behind-scene dirty laundry publicly, when I believe the vast majority of paying customers were happy. Does every single thing that can be said, need to be said?

Oh, yea, I forgot: “The demographic at this event was almost all white, child bearing age, healthy, wealthy, highly educated, libertarian, racist, sexist and bigoted.”

Perhaps, at base, she wanted it to go off badly for all those awful folk.

As you’ve probably guessed by now, I could go on and on with that whole deal, but let me cut it off here with just one more “quibble.”

The male conference directors and chairs often made unilateral decisions with no leadership or management. I’ll call it intentional incompetence.

I’m not really sure whether she means that all that’d be fine if females did it, or that what needed to happen in every critical moment was to pull all volunteers off station, for a committee—ensuring to include equal representation amongst poor, unhealthy, fat, black, hispanic, asian, women, lesbian and a transvestite—to vote on it.

Yea, it’s laughable and that’s why I’m amplifying it to hyperbolic proportions.

I think at base, there’s a couple of types of folks in the world. For the most part, those attending the AHS events know that they’ll see 50% of the presentations at most, but that means they can pick and choose and what that means is: was there enough value for me, there? Yes? I’ll be back. No? Maybe not. Simple. That’s dealing with things as they really are, not as some ridiculous ideal fantasy. Then there’s the other sorts who look at it and conclude this isn’t how they would do it, and so they set about to attack and criticize those who do things that they have neither the ability or wherewithal to do themselves. And they’ve most likely never accomplished a notable thing in their lives…and so there’s an element of self loathing.

…The patriarchal criticism annoys me the most. Two guys created this. To my knowledge, they have never, ever excluded a single woman because she’s a woman. What they did was take all comers willing to help them make this real. That most of them were men is a criticism of women, and deserved praise of men. Did you hear me, laddies? Get off your asses and take what you think you can handle, or shut the fuck up and stop your whining.

It’s there for the taking. For you. I’ll be there to applaud every single success (of individuals, regardless of superficial skin color or genital arrangement).

But that’s not what some of you want, is it? Now that the really hard work is done, beginning almost 4 years ago, created by two white, privileged men, and it’s a success, some of you want it all just handed to you on the proverbial silver platter. Aren’t I right?

Last I noticed, the WAPF is pretty much dominated by women. You’ve got Sally Fallon who I believe heads the thing, and a couple of its chief cheerleaders and promoters are Ann Marie Michaels of CheeseSlave and Kelly the Kitchen Kop, both with hugely popular WAPF blogs. I’m gonna stick my neck out and guess that never in the history of the universe has a single white male ever protested the matriarchal bent to WAPF. Prove me wrong, or shut the fuck up.

…I don’t give a fuck about skin color or genital arrangements when it comes to merit or prestige. Sally Ride was the first time in my life that I really took cognizance of the harm the women’s “feminist” movement does to women. She was, to me, an astronaut, not “the first female astronaut.” It sorrows me to think she had to endure the notion that she got that gig because of how here genitals were arranged, and not because she was damn good at what she did being a physicist, and better than enough others at the time to get what she wanted.

Similarly, for Barak Obama. It’s sad for him that he’s going to go down in history as “the first black president,” and not the gig the white guys get: a skilled politician, more cunning in lying, deception, obfuscation, popularity, dynamism, money raising than everyone else at the time.


Full disclosure of conflicts of interest: I’m a white guy, northern European descent. I attended private school through HS. It was mostly white people like me. There were plenty of females, though none fat. They all believed in fairy tales, though. Lived in a co-ed dorm in college and boy did I love love love that! In the first true home I could call my own, I split rent with a black guy, Annapolis grad and football player. My wife is Hispanic, and when I met her, she made way more money than me. The company I eventually created employed 3/4 females to males and 3 of the 4 top management positions below me were manned by non-men. I have a lot of gay and lesbian friends. I remain chauvinistic, bigoted and racist…so they tell me.

The Ancestral Health Symposium 2012, Harvard Law School, Wrap-Up

It’s easier to criticize the good than it is the bad—because the bad ought to be obvious enough, needing not much elaboration.

And as easy as it is to criticize the good, It takes surprisingly little additional effort to praise it instead, to encourage it, to promote its continuous improvement process (thanks my old friend, Bud B., for that gem of an idea you gave me years ago).

…For me, the biggest difference between the inaugural AHS11 and the second round—AHS12—was that my wife Beatrice was not there with me this time. It was not to be anyway, because of commitments with her job (she and a team have been called in to fix a broken school). Then, about 14 hours before I was to fly out, she got an awful phone call about her one and only older brother she ever had, or ever will have. Within 2 hours, she, her younger brother, and the matriarch of the siblings were on a plane to SoCal (thanks, SWA). Upon my return from the drop off, I set about to make arrangements for the dogs (thanks, mom & dad), pack for AHS12, collect my thoughts as best I could, and summon my rational walnut.

It was assumed Sam Jr. was basically gone. Brain hemorrhage, or stroke; he’d last been seen Sunday, and was discovered Tuesday afternoon in his apartment by his dad. The medical authorities on scene initially speculated that there was likely no use for extra intervention. It’s always hopeless. Upon urging of the family, tests done to judge brain  function were highly positive, so they decided to operate to remove a clot and relieve the pressure on the brain, and to keep him under sedation. This process was going on the entire time I was there at AHS.

As I was leaving the Charles Hotel Sunday morning for the flight out, I got an email from Bea—after a conversation the night before that was very grim and depressing, to say the least—and everything had turned around on a dime…once Sam had gradually been weaned off the sedation. He could respond to commands, answer questions, etc. And by the time I got home last evening, he was changing channels on the remote, talking almost normal, and even joking.

Well, see, I love Sam too.

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Sam “JR” and Richard, 2008

He has that picture hanging in his apartment.

During the drive up to SFO a few hours later, after closing the door, leaving the doggies in the dark—in wait for my parents to show up later—with them having no idea why things were changing around them so fast, I felt very unwell. I had breached the subject with Beatrice immediately, of canning the whole affair and hitting the road with her and the doggies; but she urged me to continue on, and she continued to do so in texts over the course of the days of AHS.

But basically, I was in the position of no matter what I did, life was going to suck. And what sucked the most was hearing the deep sadness in my wife’s voice every time I spoke with her. That’s so not Bea…ever. And moreover, she was with her mom, dad, and her other brothers and sisters; and so the realization that I would be unable to cheer her up no matter what was a constant reminder of the gravity of the situation and was, well, depressing and very real.

Subsequent investigation suggests this was not an internal/structural hemorrhage or stroke at all, but the result of a fall. It appears his ankle may be broken or badly sprained. He has no recollection of what happened.

…OK, so now you know how, while I tried with as much gusto as I could summon to blog and tweet the whole thing blow by blow, I just didn’t have it in me like I did last year (here’s the list of posts about AHS11). Instead, here’s the 30,000 foot view from my perspective.


Got to the hotel in the late afternoon Wednesday, happy to see a couple single-serving scotch whiskeys in the mini bar. About time, I thought. Those didn’t take long at all, so I headed out and found the lobby bar decent enough—but I didn’t ultimately want to hang out by myself. Soon enough, I ran into Jan from Norway, the big guy who had me sign and comment in his The China Study book at AHS11 (and I was the first, and he now has quite a collection of signatures and comments from various names you know). We were out on the large square in front of the hotel for a long while, greeting those arriving to AHS and heading out (Aaron Blaisdell and Jimmy Moore sightings and greetings among them).

At a point, we went to dinner at Russel House Tavern upon the recommendation of a thoughtful tweeter. I had a dozen oysters, then steak tartare, then six more oysters. Couldn’t sleep worth a crap, later.

Festivities bagan around noon on Thursday and it was quite cool to be there, doing this, again. Everything went off just as I expected in terms of what I get from people: nods, handshakes, thanks, “I’ve read your blog for years,” can I get a picture with you, and now, this year: thanks for what you did [“there”]. And so thank all of you back. In fact, only one person said one negative thing to me the entire time, and he wasn’t even attending. I’ll get to that later.

The schedules and speakers are, at this point, somewhat of a blur in ways; partly because of the personal situation, and partly because I’m never truly at ease until mine is done—and that was two days away. But what I do recall is some measure of yawn Thursday afternoon. I suppose that owing to the venue and co-sponsorship—Harvard Law School and the Food Law Society—there was no way to get around having lawyers talk about how they’re smarter than the other guy who wants to tell you what to do, backed by the fining, seizing, imprisoning, murdering power of the state. So I din’t take much of any of that in, instead chatting here and there.

But perhaps I’m ignorant. Perhaps they just want to repeal all food laws and all food regulations and all food subsidies to growers of plants and animals…and replace all of it with nothing, such that they have nothing to agitate about anymore. If that’s the case, my sincerest apologies for implying anything to the contrary.

I headed back to the hotel mid-afternoon to work on my presentation a bit, nap…I don’t really remember…but be back at 6ish for Joel Salatin’s keynote address. It was good, kinda right up my alley in how something’s not right in society. Whenever I hear Joel (1st time in person) I’m reminded of how in the life of every fraudulent & scheming/scamming—but nonetheless dynamic—political, media, academic or religious personality, they could, at one point, have been a value to society like Joel—instead of a parasite, or a promoting host for parasites.

After Joel, we got bused over to someone’s house in Cambridge for the presenter & volunteer dinner. The caterers had started an entire pig in the smoker at 5am, and it was now about 8pm. How delicious and moist do you suppose it was? Alongside was yams, collard greens…and someone had brought a tub of fresh sauerkraut, and I’m gonna remember that (think coleslaw on a pulled pork sandwich). I contributed a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black, which had been entirely dispatched last time I noticed.

It was really cool to once again chat with the folks who are making this happen, and meet a few new ones. Finally met Sisson’s lovely wife Carrie…who’s tall, beautiful and has big, piercing eyes. And I’m also privileged to have a special friendship with Nora Gedgaudas and her partner Lisa—and both are looking better than ever. I molopolized them and they me for a good while; and if all comes together, Beatrice & I will be hosting them at our home for the Wise Traditions Conference in Santa Clara in November.

Finally I got some sleep. Crazy sleep, counting for missing the first couple of hours of Friday morning’s presentations.

My general perspective on the presentations for both Friday and Saturday: you’re on your own. This is highly varied. Figure out for yourself what works. I particularly liked Matt “The Kraken” Lalonde’s speech on nutritional density. He covered all the bases, including the organ meats I harp on about. In chatting with him afterward, letting him know some of the stuff I’ve done comparing liver to fruit, bread, etc., he said that his biggest shocker was realizing how nutritionally poor fruit is…and he added that he though about my liver vs. bread comparison but concluded it wasn’t fair because breads have eggs and fat added to the dough, often, and that’s probably where most of the nutrition comes from.

AHS12 proves to me that it, and everyone else, can handle the Taubes/Guyenet dustup from last year and be adult about it, accepting that people are split on the issue, or somewhere in the middle like me. The hand wringing is fucking boring. There were plenty of voices on both sides at #AHS12, and that’s the best possible situation. Fuck “settled.” I want to see Gary and Stephan presenting at every single one, as well as those who side with one, the other, or half & half. Debate often turns to dialectic: thesis, antithesis, and finally, synthesis. Or maybe not, but it doesn’t matter because you’re still on your own.

Gary Taubes
Gary Taubes

I snapped that photo just as Gary motioned me to come over so that he could scold me a bit on my Internet “charm,” as I believe he put it. This was during the catered lunch for everyone on the quad in front of the law school: bbq ribs, 2 kinds of chicken, and fixings. I visited with Keith Norris—the very nicest guy in the Paleosphere—and his dynamic-dynamo wife, Michelle (with enough energy for many). Also, some other very nice folks at the table whose names I unfortunately do not recall. I’ll be visiting with Keith & Michelle in Austin (and Skyler Tanner) at the end of the week.

After lunch, it was Taubes and the now Doktor PhD Masterjohn, and of course, I was torn. Gary has a new presentation and this was the unveiling. Chis is Chris. So, I ended up getting a piss poor take on both, trotting back & forth between rooms. I’m looking forward to the videos.

My take on the safe starch panel. First, Jimmy Moore was a professional moderator in my view and I think perhaps Chris Kresser and Paul Jaminet had more total time than the two exponents. For my money, Chris and Paul had the more rational, sensible take on the thing. And they didn’t engage in a whiff of condescension, as did Rosedale.

I might have left early, not sure, because all I was thinking about was how J. Stanton was going to do with his food reward presentation, the last of the day. He did great. Took him like a minute or two to relax, and that’s good. Stephan Guyenet did challenge him in the Q&A, J was gracious, et cetera. In a chat later with Stephan, I told him that J would have loved to say a lot more and that owing to our conversations when he was my guest, I think they have a lot more in common than might be apparent.

After the day’s events I headed back to the hotel in a wonderfully pouring, humid warm rain, barefoot. Having been topped off in sleep, I decided to head out. Stopped by the lobby bar and was soon approached by Kamal Patel, a mainstay on PaleoHacks and one of the guys I scuffled with in comments here a while back on the controversy everyone knows about. We’d already exchanged greetings at the conference, and he kindly invited me to his table, comprised of a few others who had read my blog here and there. Included was a woman who had commented back when, and her husband. A wee bit into the drink, he misunderstood that it was his wife I’d used the c-word on (thanks, Kamal).

Luckily, I was only a teensy bit into the devil’s water myself, was able to deflect, and ended up with a handshake instead of a bloodied nose. The next day, Kamal apologized,—which was totally unnecessary—and thanked me for handling it well and not blowing up his group that was on the verge of dinner reservations.

I was a bit dazed & confused because things could have gone awfully badly, so took a walk. The rain had ceased; it was nice out. I ended up at a seafood restaurant across the square and ran into my friend Frank Forencich with whom I’d chatted at the lobby bar on night one, late. He was at the bar having dinner with James O’Keefe, also a presenter.

Raw Clams Oysters
Raw Clams & Oysters

So 2 out of 3 nights, raw dinner for me.

The next day, up to 1:55pm, is a blur. I still was not fully prepared. Frankly, I don’t really like canned presentations—for me. I’ve never given the same one twice, and this goes back to doing speaking at business conventions way back. I actually like to do the brunt of my preparation beginning 4 hours in advance, do one dry run taking stock of the time I take to stop and ask myself what the fuck I’m saying, and then go give it. Right then.

It went well. I presented right after Ron Rosedale, MD and opposite Terry Wahls, the MD who has largely improved her MS with a Paleo diet and gained substantial notoriety, both from her TED talk, as well as the viral video of her son Zack—the articulate, artificially inseminated son of two women who love one-another romantically—testifying before people who believe themselves more competent to run your life than you. Nora and Lisa threw me a bone. Nora went to see Terry and Lisa came to mine. Nora b-lined it to mine when Terry’s was over, and I took note in those last few minutes of my presentation. How sweet is that? Here’s the most radical image I used in my Keynote.

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Least they have the decency to cover themselves

Soon, it was all over but the cryin’.

…Well, except for the Barefoot Ball. I didn’t get a ticket when I registered, deciding to think about it. It was held at The Charles Hotel, in a room bordering the square in front. I’d had a depressing call with Bea, decided I’m glad I didn’t go after all, but at the same time, didn’t want to do any more than the two scotch single servings in the minibar. I headed out and eventually met up with Jan from Norway again and a few others coming out of the event.*

I so much prefer the spontaneous. Shit, we musta been there shooting the shit to 1am or thereabouts. Fun. And it’s weird a bit…to speak with people you know absolutely nothing about but who know quite a bit about you.

OK, let me wrap this up with some random observations and thoughts.

  • Get off Stephan’s back, maybe? I talked with him enough privately to think that he’s under a lot of pressure…IF…he wants to be a force in helping people; and if you think that’s not his prime motivation, then why did he put so much into a blog long before he got his credentials?
  • I’m sorry I’m a lousy small talker and chatter. …Not that I think being so is a focus for any of the many who took the time and effort to say a word or two to me. But I’m always a little embarrassed, and really at a loss for what to say beyond ‘thank you’, and I hope, a show of gratitude and respect as best I can. I really, truly appreciate it, and I especially love those who tell me they hated me when they first came to the blog, but stuck around just long enough. Yep. That’s  what I want to be: Paleo-heroine.
  • Hot Chicks of AHS. Lindsay Stärke started it by being amused by me. I’ve now added Stefani Ruper and Ashley Tudor to my cadre of enviable hot chicks who tolerate me and smack me in the arm or make silly faces at me like a brother. Believe it or not, it’s a huge barometer. It’s not anything like adoration, and I doubt they are much impressed by me in any important way. I think I amuse them to some extent, they know I’m not hurting anyone, and it’s that that’s important. I pay attention to what they and the many other hot chicks think and how they behave towards me because…as go hot chicks, so goes the world. Lindsay and I made bad faces at each other on first sighting.
  • I vote Dallas and Melissa Hartwig the Homecoming King and Queen of AHS. So poised, such a beautiful, striking couple and a true showpiece for Paleo living. Plus, I got Melissa to drop an F-bomb for me in a whispered conversation, and I value that sort of thing. It was so cool mixing it up with them and especially, having Dallas give me shit about wearing a suit the day of my presentation.
  • I loved it all, in spite of having a large part of me wanting to be with those I get to love more often, my wife and her amazing family.
  • My favorite tweet about me during the affair: PaleoPeriodical Who does @rnikoley sleep with to get these gigs? #ahs12

The thing I truly hate about unqualified, wide criticism in this regard—perhaps especially from people who didn’t even attend—is that this is a huge effort and undertaking, and it’s a truly non-profit, “gift to society” sort of deal; which I applaud because I don’t believe in forcing people to cause, so why wouldn’t I? People have half their fucking money stolen from them every fucking year of their lives in terms of Fed, State, and Local/Sales taxes and they can’t fucking wait for the next fucking election. Got it? Oh, but spend $250, travel and hotel, have things go off 400% better than anything the government does, then blast them because it’s not 500%, or whatever.

In closing about what should perhaps rightly be at the very top, I’d emailed around to get a list of the people who gave multitudes more of their time than is worth the $250 attendance fee…and I’m sure in many cases, more than the cost of your flight and lodging.

  • Beth Mazur, a mainstay of organization, hits it: Lisa Gizzarelli, Larry Kotovets, Vicky Vissering, Tori Kean, Annie Kreider, Judith Chapman, Tamara De Moor, Brady Gelvin, Amy Kubal, Nick DeTar-Koch, Andreas Dietzel, Moira Sherry, Stephanie Soscia, Shirley McLean, David McGee, Dustin Jones, and Ben Greenfield. Please go read Beth’s post to get her on-the-scene take of these people who made what happen happen—or otherwise it wouldn’t have.
  • The folks who do the work to get things in motion: Carlos Andres Toro, Katherine Morrison, Joe Johnson, Beth Mazur, Sam Osterling, Michal Naisteter, and Nate Rosenberg.
  • And of course, Aaron Blaisdell and Brent Pottenger for coming up with the whole deal in the first place.

Thank you, all the above. Thank you. My praise is well deserved and my criticism only such that I get to heap more praise next time around. Well done, men and women. Salute!

Ok, please do add your own impressions, praise, constructive criticism…and feel free to link a post or more it you’re blogged any or all of it.

* Unfortunately, the Barefoot Ball seems to have been a big disappointment for many in terms of the skimpy food served (many went to restaurants to eat after paying $55). Chris Kresser echoed the same thing to me the next morning in the boarding lounge for the flight home (he got one $55 chocolate covered strawberry). A Nor-Cal Margarita  was $10.50. I’m sure that will go to the lessons learned category for the organizers. All the other catering was superb and plentiful in my view.

Update: As I knew I would in oversight, I neglected to mention that I had a nice exchange with longtime value-add commenter Ned Kock. Here’s his AHS impressions.

Livebloging #AHS12 When I Feel Like it

It’s 1:30 am.

Ran into to Sisson earlier,  on purpose, as he was checking in about an hour after I did.

Yan, a longtime reader and geek from Denmark (he was at #AHS11), bought me too many drinks and then I bought him dinner. I had about a dozen raw oysters and steak tartare. All raw. Settled well.

Got back to the Charles Hotel just in time to run into Frank Forencich, who is also presenting. We shot the shit for an hour at least.

He and I are the only guys in the paleosphere who will be focussing on the mind.

So stay tuned.

#AHS12 Arriving

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I’m on the way. Actually, just about an hour only out of Boston. 39,000 feet, though. Earlier, at 37,000 feet, I met someone who knows my blog. She’s 2 rows ahead of me and emailed when she saw me on my computer. Cool.

Virgin America VX350, San Francisco to Boston. First time on Virgin, and I suppose this is only a taste compared to their international flights—where even some of the true cattle car-airlines do a decent job. Well done, Richard Branson. It’s nice to feel like a customer again, on a domestic flight.

Not much to say.

Oh, here’s a photo for speculation purposes.

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What happened?

Still figuring out how to make a joke about it for my presentation at AHS. Alright. I’ll be reporting from the field. Most real time will be my Twitter feed.

Descent has begun (controlled, so far)…

Hang Gliding The Hat Creek Rim August 2012, Day 2 and Flying Video

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Great flying day yesterday. Overcast and hence, light—perfect conditions for buzzing launch a bit. Very smooth.

This was a fun video to toss together this morning, from 4 different cameras. There’s a bit during the drive up to launch from the iPhone, then the launch from my dad’s video camera, the landing from my video camera…and then the onboard GoPro in-between. iMovie made it such a cinch to gather that all together, slice, dice & mash it into about 11 minutes, all in an hour’s time. Longer hang gliding video than I usually like for entertainment purposes, but this one’s for introductory and instructional purposes—especially for those interested in the sport and have asked me numerous questions over the years in comments and email.

Here’s the time sequence for those who just want to see certain parts:

  • Start to 1:30 is clips of the (fast) drive up through the various wonderful volcanic scenery.
  • 1:30 Flight begins from the vantage of the spectator at launch.
  • 2:37 My onboard perspective begins from launch and through various sequences of “buzzing” the launch area.
  • 4:10 I notice my “VG” (variable geometry control) isn’t threaded through the cleat, so I fix it in flight and set to 2/3 for a “cleaner” wing.
  • 6:00 I head to the “LZ” (landing zone), which you can see right between the right tube and side wire.
  • 7:15 I release the VG to “dirty” up the wing a bit.
  • 9:35 I unzip the harness and begin my “DBF” (downwind, base & final) approach.
  • 10:00 I go to the fully upright position in the harness (as does my tray table and seat back).
  • 10:20 My landing from the ground spectator perspective.
  • 10:40 Landing from my onboard perspective.

A few things to take note of:

  • As soon as I launch, my feet and legs go into the boot of the harness. The string I then pull with my right hand is rigged through eyelets to the zipper and that zips it up. On the next pass by the launch, I then close the flaps on each side which are affixed with Velcro—second only to duct tape in its usefulness. At 9:35, just before landing, you’ll see me unzip the harness using the string on the opposite side. I’ll leave it to you to wonder how long before that (left zip-up / right unzip) becomes instinctive.
  • The references to “VG” are for variable geometry. Imagine an “A”, but wider and where the “A” is split vertically down the middle. So, the two sides of the “A” represent the glider’s leading edges, the imagined vertical member is the keel, and the cross member is actually split in two at the keel (with each segment being longer) and where’s there’s an attachment and pulley system in order to tension those leading edges against the sail. The pully system gives me a range of motion from maximum loose to maximum tight, adjustable in flight on higher performance wings. The tradeoff is ease of control (loose) vs. glide and sink performance (tight). You may notice in the video is that as I go to 2 of 3 pulls on the VG, I begin climbing a few hundred feet over launch for the first time.
  • It’s always of utmost importance to ensure that you have the LZ made in glide (no do-overs). Now this one’s a cinch if you’re 300 feet below launch level or higher, and I was well above launch level when I set out. The way to do that is with angles. Roughly, a 30 deg glide, but the way to make sure is to pick a spot on the LZ, glide towards it and if the angle is increasing, you’re good. If it’s decreasing (getting higher in your field of view), you’re in the shit and you look for alternatives fast—while at the same time, you adjust speed to “max glide” (VG tight, best glide speed) and make sure you’re as aerodynamic as possible. I get there, this time as always, with plenty of altitude and not much wind in the LZ; so I set up downwind (otherwise, in higher wind, set up upwind), do a few 360s as I watch the windsock to see how it behaves over time, and then—and this is where just seat of pants practice comes in—make my approach and landing. It’s all by angles and how fast those angles change. It’s never about how high you think you are—unless you’ve fucked up.

And so here you go. Hope you watch, enjoy, and learn a thing or two you never knew before today.

Looks like thunderstorms are in the forecast for tonight, this this may have been it for this year. Head back tomorrow morning (Monday). Departure for #AHS12 on Wednesday.

If you’re there, please do come say hi.


Man Alive! Chapter 10: A Mindful Catalog of Mindlessness

Here’s the post that kicked it all off. This is chapter 10 of 12, to give interested readers the chance to take on the free ebook chapter by chapter over the weekend, debate it amongst themselves, or even challenge the author who’s keeping tabs.


From: Man Alive! A survival manual for the human mind.

by Greg Swann

Chapter 10. A mindful catalog of mindlessness.

I told you how you came to be a self, but how did you go about failing so completely, so consistently, to be a defective, bungled and botched not-self? You worked at it, that’s how.

It really is a testament to your fundamental goodness that you have tried so hard, for all of your life, to conform to ideas of moral virtue that no one can live down to fully and yet still manage to remain alive as a human being. You were thoughtless – mindless – and so you did not know that the cause of your repeated failures at attaining those “virtues” was human nature itself. But you were damned if you didn’t try to be what you sincerely thought was “good,” and that much is all to your credit. You may have behaved mindlessly, but you gave your mindless pursuit of ethical perversion everything you had.

But how did anyone gull you into behaving so thoughtlessly so scrupulously and so relentlessly for so long?

Here’s one good way: Inclusion and exclusion. It worked great when you were five years old and it still works great today. Obviously, no one can indoctrinate you before you master Fathertongue. Before then, words are semaphores to you, ciphers, with no more conceptual content than the wagging of a dog’s tail. If someone had read the Bible to you while you were still a toddler, or the Koran or the The Federalist Papers or The Communist Manifesto, what you would have heard, absorbed and acted upon would have been nothing but incomprehensible sounds, less meaningful to you, and less interesting, than the dog’s barking. But as soon as you came to be able to think in Fathertongue, the human beings around you could undertake to reward you, physically or emotionally, for conforming to their dogmas, and to punish you for failing to.

[Read more…]

Hang Gliding the Hat Creek Rim August 2012, Day 1

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Headed up to the rim around 5pm, intending for a 6:30ish launch in the glass off (smooth rising air everywhere). Lo & behold, there sits Dave with his tandem wing, whom I’d not seen in a few years. That’s one cool thing about hang gliding: you’ll randomly run into people on mountain tops you haven’t seen in a long time.

Before long there were perhaps 15 pilots setting up their gliders and lots of spectators, including my family. Well, it was decided that my niece, Anna, would take a tandem flight—and her first flight in a hang glider—with Dave. Not only have I seen Dave safely complete lots of tandem instructional fights but he’s done somewhere around 10,000 of them without a single mishap. For instructional and introductory purposes, Dave wanted for the air to smooth out and lighten up a bit, so a later launch was called for. They launched and then I, right behind, just after 7pm. They flew about 30 minutes and I put in 40.

So here’s a bunch of photos of the festivities. You can click on them for the high resolution versions.

White sail tops for UV damage protection
Colorful undersides though
Rigging my Will’s Wing Sport 2 in the background
Ground School
Their launch
…And they’re off
My launch right behind
…And I’m off
…And away
The smile says it all, doesn’t it?

Tonight I’ll strap my GoPro to the keel and shoot some onboard video for tomorrow’s update on all the fun.

Travel, Fun & Lifestyle Update

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Headed out Wednesday shortly before noon for the 5-6 hour dive.

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Destination Hat Creek, CA for camping and hang gliding

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Wednesday evening was a simpler affair for dinner than is often the case for the 15 years my family and I have been camping here each August. You can click on images for the higher resolution versions.

Grilled fish tacos on corn tortillas
The camp kitchen, with two complete Camp Chef outfits

Thursday morning was a skip breakfast day, hitting the road about an hour north to the McCloud river falls, where we got in some jumps from the rocks and a bit of soaking in about 55 deg water (bet it was far colder in May).

Lower Falls
“Cold Therapy”

There are some folks who jump the much higher cliffs of the middle and upper falls.

Middle Falls
Upper Falls

Not quite in the shadow of Mt. Shasta, but pretty close.

Mt. Shasta

Dinner was courtesy of my other brother on site—Swiss Steak—but my photo turned out crappy, so no pic. Breakfast, however, turned out fine.

Hash browns, eggs & gluten free sausage gravy

So this afternoon will be about some flying. Took a trip up to the launch area last evening for some contemplation.

Perfect launch conditions last evening. Just like every evening.

So perhaps a post about flying hang gliders tomorrow. After this evening’s fun. As for food, I have about 6-8 pounds of beef roast in the crockpot.