Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Summer (Crazy) Crash Diet Imperative

Seems like there are two times of the year when we make the decision to try to lose some weight...New Years; because we are supposed to make resolutions that will change our lives and the beginning of summer; because we look like whales in our bathing suits.

Although New Years spawns diets, they tend to be more sensible and many times are tied to health club memberships and that sort of thing such that weight loss is more gradual and healthy. Of course most of these efforts fail which leads to “The Summer Crash Diet Imperative”, a panic caused by the need to go from whale-like to Jennifer Anniston-like in a very short period of time.

This annual rite of summer has spurned some bizarre diet schemes ranging from the ingestion of drug laced candy, to the use of fat burning soaps, a partnership with parasites and even a drug induced weight shedding coma. A wonderful history of some of these complete with step by step instructions is available courtesy of Elle Magazine, a purveyor of unattainable female body role models for over 50 years.

A few of my favorites include the "Candy Diet", which was driven by “Ayds Reducing Plan Chocolate Candy”. In this 70’s diet, you hammered chocolate fudge all day long which had been laced with an appetite suppressant called PPA that was later found to cause strokes in young women.

When I was a kid, Ayds was “the desert of last resort” when the Oreos and Twinkies had run out. My mother kept her Ayds stash on top of the fridge where the box would accumulate a layer of really nasty dust. In a desert panic, I would quaff a couple of these drug-laced chocolately treats and then go chase cars with the dog...which would have been a good way to lose weight if I was fifty...not five.

The AIDs epidemic ended the long running candy diet because people evidently confused unsafe sex with massive chocolate consumption, (no kidding) and Ayds drug candy went away.

Another diet of last resort required the symbiotic partnership between man and parasitic flatworms. The so called “Tapeworm Diet” was popular in the 1920’s among race horse jockeys where they would pop a pill containing a live tapeworm egg. Maria Callas, the famous opera singer was the poster child for this diet. She lost 60 pounds with the help of her pet worm but she blamed her love for raw liver as the cause instead of a purposeful ingestion of tapeworm eggs. Whatever.

Of course you can’t talk about anything crazy involving eating, gaining and losing weight, and drugs without mentioning Elvis. He spent most of his last years either ballooning 50 pounds on the bacon cheeseburger diet or crash dieting using the “Sleeping Beauty Diet”. The theory here is that if you are heavily sedated for days and never leave the bed, then you will not eat and you’ll “sleep off” the weight. There is a question as to whether Elvis actually knew about this diet or just inadvertently practiced it.

Elvis and Maria Callas are just a few of the celebrities who are known for wacked out weight lose schemes. Reese Witherspoon, (The Baby Food Diet), Guy Richie (The Cookie Diet), Beyonce, (The Master Cleanse) and Sarah Michelle Gellar, (The Cabbage Soup Diet) are just a few luminaries whose hot bodies are attributed to upside down nutrition.

Speaking of luminaries, Kitty Kinnin has her own diet scheme that my wife and I tried with some success. It’s called “Kitty’s Head Banging Rock and Roll Diet” and its based on the mostly healthy idea that losing weight should involve both draconian dietary restrictions and some exercise. And like most things “Kitty”, the diet should be fun and increase ratings.

Nutritionally the diet consists of thick, black “Bad Kitty Blend” coffee and unglazed donuts (from the donut shop of your choice). You just turn on her radio show at 100.7 The River, crank the volume and start hammering coffee and donuts in tandem. She will be playing head banging rock and roll (Boston, Journey, Aerosmith, etc.) in 15 minute increments. Stand in front of the speakers (so that you can get the best stereo effect) and play air guitar vigorously while simultaneously moving your head and upper torso up and down in the “head banging” mode.

Do this until she goes to commercial when you can rest and write down the name and address of all her sponsors. Repeat the process when she goes back to the ear splitting music. I am told by Kitty’s personal chiropractor and herbalist that if you do this diet every morning its good for your lutes, glutes and poots and you WILL lose weight.

Remember, tapeworms are nasty (they actually have six rows of teeth) and sleeping to lose weight denies you some great television. If you have to lose weight in a hurry, do something sensible and healthy.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dumb Down for Love

Birds do it, bees do it...even the lowly earthworm does it. It appears to be naturally easy finding a mate and reproduce cause most bugs and animals are experts at it. But according to some recent research, really smart humans might be the most clueless creatures on Earth when it comes to this basic biological function. And if you assume brilliant humans are the very top of the food chain, then this research apparently contradicts of the Darwinian notion of “survival of the fittest”.

In fact, the research seems to point towards the need to “dumb down for love”. Smart people tend to spend more time on achievements than relationships and tend to be bored by common folk. They view all of their achievements as “mental jewelry” versus the gold chains of common folk. What they don’t get is that “mental jewelry” is completely invisible and irrelevant when trying to garner sexual interest at a loud single’s bar.

Even worse smart folks “over think” the whole dating thing causing these people to “shoot themselves in the foot” on dates. (if they ever get to go on one) In short the study concludes "the smarter you are, the more clueless you will be, and the more problems you're going to have in your dating life. When all of your personal energy is concentrated in the head, it never gets a chance to trickle down to the heart, or, god forbid, the groin"

I won’t spend much time here paraphrasing the should click the link and go read it. (Ironically, if you believe the research, being able to read might interfere with your sex life, so if you are reading this you need to read the article....get it?)

I do offer some of the following suggestions to the parents of smart kids that could help correct the problem.

Assumption: Smart kids usually come from smart families.

Correction: If we are so smart, how did we successfully reproduce?

Assumption: Smart families are usually achievement-oriented.

Correction: Hey kid, if you are so smart, go find a girlfriend.

Assumption: Bring home those straight As and awards, son.

Correction: ...and a hot blonde.

Assumption: Get into those top colleges, daughter.

Correction: ...and pledge a sorority that is known for its airheads.

Assumption: Take piano, violin, tennis, swimming and gymnastics.

Correction: ..and don’t forget the Tantric Sex lessons.

And hey, smarty pants, let’s do some math. If you are in the top 5% of intelligence, (which you achieve by having a 125 IQ or higher) and are looking for someone in the same category for hot dates discussing quantum mechanics, monoclonal antibodies or the Uncertainty Principle, you have a numbers problem. You've just eliminated 95% of the world's population as a potential date. And given your probable high level of pickiness, at the end of the day only 1 in 5 of those remaining Mensas (a society of really smart people who have no sex life) will meet your criteria.

When you do the rest of the math, (and I’m sure you will), you will discover there is just a handful of folks who would/could go to “The Melting Pot” with you and discuss whether Karl Marx or Adam Smith was right, whilst ignoring the melted cheese hanging from your stringy Shakespearian beard.

Listen geek boy! “All the way back Australopithecus even further back to monkeys, to lizards, to the first amphibian that crawled out of the slime, the fish that preceded that amphibian, the worm before the fish and the amoeba that preceded the worm.

And you, YOU, in the year 2009 C.E., the culmination of that miraculously unbroken line of succession, you, Homo sapiens sapiens, not just thinking man but thinking thinking man (or woman), are the only one smart enough to screw the whole thing up.”

Luckily, my wife and I don’t have to worry about any of this. We entertain ourselves watching and re-watching romantic comedies on TV (usually starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, or Vince Vaughn). We like “Iron Chef”, Katie Couric, and The Weather Channel. My goal in life is to surf more...her’s is to get a great tan.

I finally learned my lesson about “smarty pants talk” when I brought up with my wife the possibility that the Large Hadron Collider was going to create a black hole that would swallow the Earth, whilst we were nibbling fried cheese at The Olive Garden. She reminded me that end of the world theories are not proper dinner conversation, even if they are concocted by hacks. She was right...I wasn’t going to let my concern about capturing the elusive Higgs boson get in the way of a great dinner (with unlimited salad) and how stupid could this guy be to think that The Standard Model would allow such limited creatures like us (at least sexually) be the creators of our own demise?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Recession Squeezing Men’s Underwear

So this nasty recession/depression keeps dragging on, and it continues to be amazing all the different ways that people are learning to cope. We already covered the drop in toilet paper sales, and now the word is that men’s underwear has dropped...sales wise that is.

And according to the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, (who some blame for this mess) it is a leading indicator “that people are feeling pinched” (and not just because they are wearing squeezers).

"If you look at sales of male underpants it's just pretty much a flat line, it hardly ever changes," writes Greenspan. "But on those few occasions where it dips that means that men are so pinched that they are deciding not to replace underpants. And [Greenspan] said 'that is almost always a prescient, forward impression that here comes trouble.'"

Well, here comes trouble.

A revised survey shows relatively large drops in the sales of men's underwear in the United States. The study projects a 2.3 percent drop in sales of all men's underwear products in 2009. Underscoring just how quickly the market has gone south, in November 2008, forecast sales were to grow by 2.6 percent in 2009. A serious downturn led to a serious revision.

Greenspan says that if you think about all the garments in the household, the garment that is most private is the male underpant, because nobody sees it except people in the locker room, but who cares," (I don’t) "Your children need clothes, your wife needs clothes that have to change, your children grow, you need clothes on the outside. But the last purchase that you don't have to make is underpants.... [men wear them until they are in] total tatters."

This was the way I operated even before the recession. I only get new underwear when my wife buys them for me, usually because she is disgusted with my old worn out undies, or when my mom gives them to me for Christmas, which she does every year assuming that I have worn out what she gave me last year (she also gives me socks, handkerchiefs, electric nose hair clippers and unique condiments...I have never had to buy any of those items in my life thanks to her).

It appears, that as per usual, men are making a sacrifice for the common good by putting their underwear purchases behind everyone else's needs, but guys, lets admit it, all underwear is more comfortable when threadbare. In fact, NOTHING is more uncomfortable than a crisp new pair of boxers or set of new briefs or squeezers with fresh elastic...its raising my voice an octave just thinking about those horrid things. In the case of the squeezers, they almost have to be old and stretched out to be wearable.

So I took a look at the women’s underwear market for signs of a downturn focusing on the Victoria’s Secret catalog. I can tell you nothing was turning down in that research source, in fact most of their items were looking up quite nicely. And the prices...jeez.

Could it be that women might be upgrading their underwear in bad times?

Not only are they upgrading, they are introducing new technology at the same time. “There is a a new, ‘smart’ bra that boosts a woman’s cleavage when she feels sexy.

The bra “detects changes in body temperature brought on by sexual arousal and squeezes breasts together to create bigger cleavage. expanding foam in the cups will loosen or tighten to adapt to the size of the wearer's breasts as they get hotter.”

Some advice girls from Mr. Science; when wearing this miracle garment outside, make sure you are either facing the sun or have your back to it, never sit with it to either side, otherwise you will develop an embarrassing symmetry problem.

"It's healthier than an ordinary bra because it will always provide the perfect fit," said a company spokesman. Oh...its for their health. Of course, men don’t need this kind of thing in their underwear because Mother Nature has provided a remarkable temperature control system down there which is both useful and potentially embarrassing at the same time.

So in the Great Recession of 2009, the men are walking around in underwear that’s barely holding together while the women are sporting new bras that change the apparent size and shape of their breasts based on their moods. I guess I’m OK with that...whatever it takes to get through this mess. Apparently, for women, feeling sexy is the antidote for feeling poor. I’m just glad I have an excuse for still wearing my 4 year old green boxers with little martini glasses on them. Bottoms up!