Monthly Archives: September 2003

One ring to rule them all

This is worth reading:
Things Iraqis can't do under the occupation.

I really have no idea what's going to happen over the next two years.

Something bad is happening. I've mentioned this periodically, as it's happening more and more, but recently both the US (more) and Russia (more) have test fired their ICBMs. In the case of the US, these missiles could take out a number of targets, since they have so many enemies — most obviously radical Islamic terrorists that are currently in possession of nuclear weapons and delivery systsems (more) — but in the case of Russia they are the right weapon for literally one target: the continental United States. Which makes one have to ask, “Which side will Russia choose? Does Russia believe the US is the losing team at this point?”

Looking at events happening all over the world it's obvious that we're slowly teetering toward all-consuming world war. The US holds the decision making power on all of that though… I think its people feel powerless to stop it, but they could stop it all, or they could guarantee it… I worry doubly because even the Democrat candidates that are potentially going to replace Bush are saying that war funding must be increased (more) — after all, if America pulls out of Iraq, the region is totally destabilized, and America loses the security of that oil supply, forcing it into Africa to obtain it, which stands to become an even deeper quagmire (more) — do you really think American troops are going to be able to handle the psychological stress of combat with a cannibal army? The only solution, as I see it, is to make an incredibly intense push to a new type of consumption in the US coupled with “alternative energy” generation.

And unfortunately I just don't see mainstream America voting in a radical politician (more)… let alone being given the option to do so.

But like I said, it could all go any way… Things are chaotic. Rumsfeld is fighting with the Pentagon (more). Troops in Iraq continue getting their arms and legs blown off, coming home cripples (more). Reservists are being killed daily (more), and more attacks come constantly; things are going to get a lot worse before they get better (more). Ousted military are calling the plan in Iraq inadequate (more), and even the mainstream press is calling the war “lost” (more).

As mentioned yesterday, the big problem is that the US simply doesn't have the manpower for all of this. There are not enough troops — even though to be “successful” (ie. control the mess they've made), America would have to double the number of troops in Iraq, the US may have to in fact reduce the number of forces in Iraq in order to defend against the other threats (more)… There really are two solutions on the table: either the US must withdraw from it's current actions (which are 100 years into “the plan”) and in effect lose, or it must bring back the draft and go gung-ho on becoming the dominant military imperialist nation on this world, and fight one final battle for control of this world… Why do I feel like I'm living out Lord of the Rings or something (more, more)?

Deer Hunters

As has been pointed out by growing numbers of people, the US is running out of troops. Reservists in Iraq are being called upon to do consecutive one-year tours, and the US has little choice at this point but to double the forces in Iraq if there is to be a modicum of success. Coupled with looming conflicts in the oil-rich African nations, as well as the North Korean wildcard (which has a standing Army larger than the United States does), there simply are not enough people in the US military to defend its current unilateral goals.

This leaves the US in a very unpleasant situation; either lose all of those battles and face the potential horrendous problems it will cause both domestically and to US interests around the world. Assuming that the international community doesn't bail out and forgive the US (and fight its self-serving battles for it), there is no solution other than to bring back the draft. It's either bring back the draft, or lose. I don't know which will happen, but I've got my eyes open enough to see the preparatory steps that are being made for “what must be done”.

That illustration is based on one in Adbusters by the way. Theirs is more convincing and disturbing. Anyway, you know the lyrics…

Yeah you laugh till your motherfuckin ass gets drafted
While you're at band camp thinkin the crap can't happen
'Til you fuck around, get an anthrax napkin
Inside a package wrapped in Saran Wrap wrappin
Open the plastic and then you stand back gaspin
Fuckin assassins, hijackin Amtraks, crashin
All this terror, America demands action
Next thing you know, you've got Uncle Sam's ass askin
to join the Army or what you'll do for their Navy
You just a baby, gettin recruited at eighteen
You're on a plane now, eatin their food and their baked beans
I'm twenty-eight, they gon
take you 'fore they take me
Crazy insane, or insane crazy?

Favorite places…

When I met my father most recently, running into him by change, when he knew I'd probaly not see him again, his parting advice to me was “son, go out and see the world — travel — see everything in this world you can.”

I don't know what exactly his goals were in telling me this, but I have travelled this world more than most; many of you have travelled far more than me, but still, more than most I have travelled. And I have to say, of all the places I've been, I think I really love America the most… which is why I get so sad and upset to see what's happening to it.


Wow, some folks are having quite the freak-out that I suggested that there's something wrong with being obese. Let's take a look at a few numbers first:

  • As of December 2001, over 300,000 people die every year just in the United States of obesity related illnesses. The only thing that kills more people is smoking, and smoking deaths are dropping while obesity deaths are climbing, with national obesity levels rising by 5% or more yearly in most Western countries.
  • Obesity in children has doubled in the last decade. Type II diabetes has also approximately doubled in the same time period.
  • As much as 50% of all cases of cancer are directly related to obesity, 70% of all cardiovascular disease is related to obesity, and so on.
  • The average American eats 400% more fat than they need to be healthy (about as much as a whole stick of butter every single day). In addition, almost 50% of all food spending in the US is on fast food and junk snack food.
  • About 80% of Americans are not meeting basic activity level requirements to maintain a healthy body, with over a quarter being completely sedentary.
  • Obese people are at dramatically higher risk of osteoarthritis (ie. joint problems), hemorrhoids, varicose veins, strokes, kidney stones, high blood pressure, asthsma, and so on, to say nothing of the significant psychological impact leading to much higher rates of depression and related illnesses.

So, to put it simply, an obese lifestyle statistically results in dramatically reduced life expectancy as well as quality of life in regards to general health, both physically and mentally. Conservative studies show an average of six to seven years lost, with some studies indicating numbers as high as fifteen years of life lost — to put it another way, if obesity is chosen it's no different from committing suicide.

Now, I think it's also important to immediately rule out from this conversation those people who understand these risks and have consciously chosen it. It's also important to rule out those who have absolutely no medical recourse (which is extremely rare). Finally, I think it's also very very important to understand that this is a health issue, not a fashion issue. I'm specifically referring to people who are overweight enough for it to start negatively impacting their health, not people who've simply chosen to be slightly outside our ludicrously thin “ideal”.

Also, a few people have said that they don't want to be “judged”, that IAM is a place where people should be allowed to be whatever they want. To step back a little, usually when I kick off a neo-Nazi, they say something along the lines of, “I thought IAM was supposed to be non-judgmental! How can you support this freaky modification stuff that most people think is sick and kick me off for being a 'racist'? I'm not hurting anyone, it's just my beliefs!”

Sure, the average racist doesn't directly hurt anyone — but they do support a larger culture of racism that does hurt and kill many. And the corporate culture of obesity that pushes us to eat enormous quantities of processed sugar and never exercise (and then swallow huge quantities of anti-depressant drugs) is one that kills far, far more people than any of these racist former members could.

Obesity is a serious problem in our culture — it's killing good people for no good reason — and it's one that we need to tackle immediately. When you look at the numbers of children that are obese that should be obvious. If this was just a debate over beauty, I'd agree 100%, but the fact is that we're talking about an illness that's killing a lot of people.

So what can you do? The obvious answer is of course “eat better” and “exercise” but as someone who's struggled with both weight and fitness for their entire life I know that's not easy — especially when the thought of going to the gym brings back memories of being teased at your public school's swimming lessons, and sugar gives you solace. Here's some really simply stuff that I think works:

  • Cook as much of your own food as you can. Even if you eat just as much (or more) you'll become conscious of what you're eating which I think is one of the biggest steps. When you're eating prepared stuff from a store, be in microwaved form or be it at a fast food place, you tend to have no idea what you're actually consuming — and unfortunately it's almost always processed sugar and a lot of it.
  • Instead of eating out at McDonald's, try bringing a lunch from home or having a picnic in the park with friends. It'll get you moving, and shift you away from fast food (and it's more fun)… plus you'll save a lot of money.
  • When you're eating at a restaurant, try picking the items that aren't covered in cheese or sugar — still be sure to pick stuff you like. It's very important to enjoy eating healthy.
  • One day a week, turn off the TV. It'll shift you away from the couch and get you doing stuff. Hey, while you're at it, turn off the computer too!
  • Obvious little things like “take the stairs” or “walk a block instead of hailing a cab” of course work too, but just make sure you keep them fun — they're not a punishment. Learn to enjoy them. And remember, if you like eating (I know I do), the more you exercise, the more you can eat!
  • Find a workout buddy if you can and start going to the gym. Most people live in areas with community gyms that are inexpensive, and for parents, many gyms even have daycare, so it's a good excuse to get out with(out) the kids and have some fun. I should add that my experiences at the gym have been that the worse shape you're in, the nicer people are to you because they're happy to see you there making a positive change in your life.
  • Use the things you enjoy as an advantage — don't just try and change your life. Just try and take your life and integrate healthy living into it. Do you like nature? Go for walks in the biggest park you can find. Are you competitive? Make your exercise routine a contest. Hell, just make your sex life more vigorous. Anything! Cook healthy meals with your family as a bonding and learning experience. There are so many fun ways…

Whatever you do, exercise and healthy living should not be work — it should be fun! If it's not fun, then it'll probably be a mission that fails, so just learn to make it a good part of your life. If you enjoy being alive, then being healthy will allow you to enjoy that for longer and more positively (and if you don't enjoy being alive then you should deal with that ASAP). The benefits of being fit aren't just limited to eliminating the problems above; the other benefits include (among many others):

  • Your tattoos and piercings will heal much faster.
  • Depression and anxiety levels go down dramatically in most cases (although if you're making a radical body shift rather than just minor improvements you may have to “get your bearings”).
  • Improving your sex life both physically and mentally.
  • Helping stop smoking and cut back on drugs and alcohol.
  • Reduce headaches and improve sleeping.

Seriously, it's worth giving a try, and if you're anything like me you'll be kicking yourself later saying, “why didn't I do this years ago?”

And don't think that people who make derogatory statements about obesity hate or think less of you, any more than someone who thinks depression or cancer or drug-addiction is bad hates those who are afflicated by it — it means that you have a support structure on IAM. There are a number of forums you may find helpful as a starter (and many others too):

  • Bigwave's Fitness Forum
  • Kilean's Health and Fitness Forum
  • IAM Curvaceous
  • Depression Forum
  • IAM: Vegan Recipes

Anyway, the point is there's a support structure here for you. If you want to address your weight, there are lots of people who'd love to help, and do it with you. If you don't want to, that's cool, but please understand that it's very much a battle worth fighting.