Sugar In My Meat?

Fed Up Movie

Last night, my wife and I watched Fed Up which was produced by Katie Couric. I didn’t really want to watch it as I’ve seen numerous health documentaries on Netflix, but I have to admit it was a simplified answer to the obesity epidemic–sugar. No matter it’s form or how it’s called, we have too much of it in our daily food intake. The question is, why does it have to be in my meat?

I’m not naive about sugar and I own up to it when I have it. I had to eliminate soda a year back with few exceptions because carbonated drinks can upset my stomach, but I do confess to drinking one noncarbonated energy drink a day. Originally my favorite energy drink was the carbonated Monster Khaos which was hard to find until I gave it up–seems like I can find everywhere now? I switched to Rockstar Recovery which is the equivalent of Tang with caffeine. It is a guilty pleasure much like a morning cigarette (and I don’t smoke so caffeine and sugar are my vices). I don’t pretend it’s healthy. I also don’t pretend that my favorite snack at night, a bowl of Cap’n Crunch, is healthy either. When I aim to eat something sugary, it’s on me.

However, going through my fridge, why does the turkey bacon have to have sugar in it? Why does the sandwich meat? This is what is frustrating because I shouldn’t have to look for sugar in meat products unless it’s Thanksgiving ham with honey and brown sugar glaze.

According to the documentary Fed Up, part of the reason are government subsidies for agriculture. We grow a LOT of corn and that corn gets turned into sugar. It is the equivalent of a drug we lace our food with. The other part of the problem is the strength of the sugar lobby who has both Democrats and Republicans in their pocket. When Republicans say they want to get rid of big government, I tend to roll my eyes because they are always catering to big business with government hand outs and perks. Democrats are guilty too, you just don’t hear that same mantra of get rid of big government. Also, any time any one suggests regulation on the obesity issue you hear republicans cry out that they’re taking away their food choices. I was especially appalled when I heard all the whining concerning the criticism of taking soda out of the public schools. I’m all for individuals and their vices, but if the focus is on public schools I do have a say on what your kids eat. My property taxes just went up increasing the escrow requirement in my monthly mortgage bill this month. So if my taxes are subsidizing public schools (and I don’t even have kids!), I don’t want to pay for any place of learning where kids go to get fat (and stupid, but that’s another discussion). Private schools can fatten up their students all they want.

On healthcare, whether you agree with Obamacare or not, it looks like it’s here to stay. Which means the government is both subsidizing health costs and catering to the food companies that cause health issues. I think it’s fair for the government to come out and at least condemn the high use of sugar in products that don’t need it and even run ads that say so. The only regulation that is needed is honestly to kick fast food, soda and junk food out of public schools. Kids aren’t free to do as they please? They make stupid decisions. Offer a kid the choice of a banana or a bag of M&Ms? Gee, what do you think they will choose? It’s like having a mandatory literature class and then offering the kids a choice of either studying Shakespeare or Twilight or Hunger Games or whatever tops the teen fiction list. Public schools shouldn’t be about lazy choices. The point of it is to fund and turn out good citizens who can take care of themselves, not burden society with their health issues and poor learning.

This year I started an exercise regiment with weights and have kept at it for 6 months now, about an hour a day. No, I do not look like Schwarzenegger. Muscle does not come easily and weight does not just fall off because you lift a dumbbell. I have definitely added muscle and trimmed down a bit though. And it’s good for my back. I still look like a cartoonist though (insert any geeky stereotype image you want)!

Considering that any time spent exercising cuts in to my creative efforts drawing cartoons and comic books it is a sacrifice. It’s not hard to understand why people say they don’t have time to exercise. And I can tell you that every time my hour comes I’m in a mental battle not to skip it. In the prior 4 years I mainly walked for exercise after giving up jogging due to some hip and back pain. I figured diet would come next to lose more weight, but I think all I’m going to do is simply look for sugar in foods where I don’t think they should be and eliminate them from our shopping list. Meat, bread, condiments, convenience meals, etc. As I have already had to cut out dairy to being lactose intolerant this shouldn’t be too difficult. I still love my daily energy drink and will keep that indulgence, but I doubt I will miss sugar in my meat.

Popular Science Magazine Accepts Water Hoax Ad

Ever hear of John Ellis Water? I have to admit my ignorance, but when I was reading through my latest edition of Popular Science I came across a full page ad announcing “John Ellis Water Discovery.” It was made to look like an article, but your bullshit sensors immediately go off when you look at the large print at the bottom: “The Flood Revisited; watercuresanything.com.”

Why the mention of a flood with a water discovery? Because apparently the water that John Ellis makes using his machines changes the bond angle (?) so that humans live as long as people did before the Great Flood, as in the biblical flood story. Per the ad, “…inspired me to increase water properties back to what it was before ‘The Flood’ (living to Biblical ages). After ‘The Flood’ they didn’t live as long!”

I sent Popular Science my objection to the ad by email at: letters@popsci.com. I’m sure they get tons of emails so mine will most likely be tossed. Apparently, they’ve ran the ads before per chem1.com, which actually debunks the nonsense. As I said in my email to the magazine editor, I can tolerate the smoking ads and Viagra ads as I know they have to sell advertising, but this was too much. How can a scientific magazine keep its integrity when accepting full page ads for scientific hoaxes?

Update 11/12/2014: I have since decided there are enough science magazines and websites available that I will not be renewing my subscription to Popular Science. I know, a drop in the bucket for PS, but any reader who is a science enthusiast with ethics may want to consider the same action. I don’t think I’m asking much for a science magazine to abstain from running ads for magic water masked as science. I really don’t even mind the religious ads I sometimes see in the back as they are not making any scientific claims. Show some integrity Popular Science. Don’t we get enough pseudoscience from the media as it is?

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‘Scooby-Doo And The Goblin King,’ Worst Scooby Cartoon Movie Ever

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I am an unapologetic Scooby-Doo fan from childhood so I have a high tolerance for some of the poorer episodes and movies featuring the gang. Scooby-Doo and The Goblin King, though, was excruciatingly painful to watch. And it featured an all star cast from our favorite Shaggy and Scoob voice actors Casey Kasem and Frank Welker to celebrities such as Tim Curry, Wayne Knight and Jay Leno. You would think that something good would have come out of that kind of talent for the voices? And for Christ’s sake, they even had Lauren Bacall voicing a witch!

It’s from 2008 and is part of the line up of newer straight to video releases. The plot is convoluted and as with some of the other releases such as Zombie Island, it breaks from the original premise of the Scooby gang investigating fraudulent claims of the paranormal because now the paranormal is not fake. Zombie Island, which was promoted with “real monsters,” was a good release despite the supernatural gimmick, but Goblin King ventures into an abstract dimension of monsters and magic and fairies. It’s also not endearing, the character humor is lacking and my wife who is also a Scooby fan started tuning it out  after the first half hour because of how obnoxious it was including the god awful musical numbers.

What I’m really disappointed about is that I bought it based on the Amazon reviews. When you scroll through the recent ones they are all 4-5 stars with rave reviews. I went back today and finally found a  one star review. I can’t believe so many idiots liked this release. It is absolute animated shit.

Robin Williams, Humor’s Personal Demons

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I’ve never exactly been a huge fan of Robin Williams, though I always recognized his talent and his humanitarianism. The one movie that I loved, of course, was Good Morning, Vietnam. It’s one of the R-rated movies my mom took me to as a kid. And if there’s any connection, my mom has her own depression issues. Thankfully, she was never successful in her attempts.

It is true, though, about humor being tragic and many humorists are trying to exorcise their personal demons. Fact is, some of the best humor comes from the most horrific circumstances, even suicide. But tonight, we’ll leave that alone as losing Robin Williams has left a void for many people who grew up with his antics on the small screen and the big screen.

Pool Party Office

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This office humor cartoon is from 2008. Some of my favorite gags are the simplest, and yes, I was working in an office when I came up with this drawing. Really, what happens with an office administration is work avoidance by all means possible. Otherwise, you’ll end up going stir crazy.

I Want to Support Theater Releases, But the Movie Going Experience is Poor

I just watched Kick-Ass 2 on HBO and I know it didn’t do well in the theaters which means that Kick-Ass 3 probably won’t be made. It’s a shame because it would make a nice trilogy. According to Wikipedia, Chloë Grace Moretz is quoted as saying it was the second most pirated movie for the year 2013. However, in that same article we get: The film was a box office success grossing more than double of its budget but failed to gross more than the first movie.

So it made back it’s investment and then some, but for producers it’s not worth the risk or time to double the budget. Most likely, when the money is split among the various parties it doesn’t amount to a lot. After all, a million here, a million there doesn’t go as far as it used to.

I would love to support theater releases of movies I want to see and promote with my hard earned cash, but it seems like every time I go to the theater there’s some assholes ruining the experience or a mom has brought their entire clan of 5 year olds who run and scream through the aisles. I essentially gave up. Why ruin my first time watching a movie when I can wait for it to come out on HBO or Netflix and watch it on my big screen TV? It may not be the big “big” screen with ultra fancy surround sound, but that doesn’t matter when I can relax and not have to listen to people talking behind me, teenagers yelling sarcastic comments, or screaming kids.

I’m not sure what the answer is? My second job when I was in my early twenties was at a cinema so I know about all the audience conflicts that happen. I once had to tell a rather large mom with 3 kids to quiet down due to another patron’s complaint. She didn’t even acknowledge my presence or say sorry, she just stared straight ahead like I was a dick for even asking. Then there were  two guys who got into a yelling match over who the hell knows and neither of them would move from their seats to another location to avoid further arguing. We eventually had to call the police to sort it out. And of course, we had the teenagers and college students sneaking in beer which only prompted them to be louder than usual.

I suppose if I ran a movie theater I would end up like the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld which is not good for business. It’s not that you have to be quiet in a theater, but your noise should be related to what’s on the screen. If it’s a funny movie, by all means laugh–just don’t try to take over the entertainment by making your own cracks. And for the record, you assholes who think you have talent by cracking jokes and making stupid comments? You don’t have talent! That’s why you’re not on the screen and someone else is.

BTW: In Kick-Ass 2, Jim Carrey really transforms himself into Colonel Stars and Stripes. I wish he wouldn’t have pulled his support for the film because it had nothing to do with school shootings. Kick-Ass is a parody of hero idealism and even as the comic books and films are fantasies, they throw in plenty of plot points with reality checks. You can get really fuckin’ hurt trying to be a hero. On the other hand, with the trend in superhero patrols around the United States, as technology advances and makes the idea of powers into reality I don’t expect this idealism to go away. I think it is going to become a reality. Imagine if you can write apps for an exoskeleton? Or surround yourself with drones that are controlled by your brain?  The only thing stopping a wave of new superheroes is federal and local law enforcement. But then Batman never played by the rules…

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‘Death Wish Club’ Movie, Brilliantly Bad

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That’s the only way I can describe it! Brilliantly bad! I was mesmerized at how bad it was and yet, whoever made it must have known it because they kept putting in brilliant little jokes here and there and the most bizarre plot twists this side of a David Lynch film. Death Wish Club has to be part of your collection if you truly love bad films or even just eighties suspense films.

DWC starts out with narration by a rich asshole who wants to love someone, but not be loved. So he goes to the local carnival and tosses one hundred bills down a young female’s shirt selling popcorn. Her name is Gretta. Then the popcorn is tossed aside and she goes home with him. Apparently selling popcorn or living with a sugar daddy is not enough for Gretta so she makes softcore films which captures the eye of a pre-med student named Glen. He becomes infatuated with her film presence and has to find her.

And he does, playing keyboard at the Manhattan Club, a drinking establishment with a band in the back–owned, of course, by the sugar daddy. From there, our pre-med student Glen becomes romantically entangled with Greta as Greta exhibits a personality disorder where she changes into a man named Charlie White (following this so far?). To add to the fun, the sugar daddy and Gretta are part of an exclusive death wish club and invite Glen to join. The club meets to experience the thrill of someone potentially dying amongst the members. They devise methods such as releasing a deadly insect in the room or a machine that sends out random electric shocks, one of which is deadly.

The film is absolutely ridiculous and hilarious! I enjoyed every bit of it and I wasn’t even disappointed by the ending that went nowhere. That’s because by the time you get half way through you realize the producers must have blended two scripts together: one about a woman with a personality disorder and one about a club that jerks off to death.

If you don’t already know, this is the full film that was edited into a short story for Night Train to Terror, another really bad film. In Night Train to Terror, Satan and God meet up and Satan tells stories while some teenagers breakdance in the next car down. All of the stories are fast edits of films that were never released except for Death Wish Club and the only reason you continue to watch the hacking up of footage is because it highlights nudity, violence and gore. Pardon the pun, but the reason you can’t turn it off is it is a “train wreck” (ha! I kill me.).

Unfortunately, Death Wish Club is out of print. It was one of those releases you found in the video store on VHS in the late eighties and later on as a DVD in the nineties before video rental shops went extinct. I was able to buy a former rental copy at Amazon and it appears that there are about 8 more copies listed at the time of this writing. HOWEVER, Night Train to Terror has been rereleased and as a bonus they include the entire film for Death Wish Club, AKA Gretta. So you can get two pieces of cheeze for the price of one.

Sharknado? Meet Whoricane

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My answer to Sharknado is Whoricane. This actually came out of a stupid conversation with a friend and quite by accident the word “Whoricane” popped out. It would make for a great movie. Thousands of whores in a swirling mass devastate a small town. And one whore even swallows the hero…um…take that where your imagination will lead it.

Sharknado 2 is premiering tonight on the SyFy Channel. It is the shining “cheeze” of this channel’s output of bad B-movies. Sharknado, the original, was good enough, but what I don’t understand is why they let Tara Reid, er, her character survive? If any actress deserves to be eaten and digested by a flying shark it’s her.

Are You Snarky or Just a Bitch?

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I tend to get along with most personality types, but I’m realizing more and more there’s a fine line between snarky and bitchy–and this doesn’t just relate to women. I’ve met some bitchy, judgmental men too. Today I found myself annoyed by a snarky attitude that crossed the line into “bitchy mean.”  Instead of a clever, witty reply to a comment I made that maybe would have added to the humor, the reaction was mocking and seemed to miss the point of the jokey atmosphere. This person was not the only one involved and the joking regarding the resemblance of a certain food item to a certain anatomical part started much earlier in the day before this person was even aware of the intended humor. My comment was simply to include them which is what I do with all people I like to hang out with. However, they seemed to be the only one who found the joking immature and lashed out with fake, sarcastic laughter aimed to demean me for having a smile on my face. And it’s not because they were offended by such humor; they have inconsistently laughed at inappropriate jokes some of the time and other times made value judgments on such jokes (“You’re so immature. You’re such a perv”).

Have you ever been in a familiar crowd where you assume it’s safe to use innuendo or tell an off color joke because it’s been used before time and time again? And then someone who’s not always there calls you out on it by rolling their eyes, acting like you’re the only pervert in the room and exclaiming, “Oh good one! You must be real proud of yourself.” It makes you feel like an idiot and it’s a huge mood killer. I do my best to only use innuendo or wink-wink, nudge-nudge comments with friends–people I like and trust–who use the same humor. I know risque humor makes some people feel uncomfortable and I try to avoid that for the sake of sensitivity at work or places where there may be families, etc. Unfortunately, I misjudged this person’s ability to joke around and this wasn’t the first miscalculation as it has happened before. They’re off my list! In the future I will avoid any further comments in their presence as their snarky, borderline bitchy response was uncalled for.

Maybe I’m overreacting, but I grew up in a conservative, repressively religious household where such humor was frowned upon. Considering I had an attraction to humor and cartooning, it was the worst sort of atmosphere to deal with: always having to watch my tongue or keep jokes to myself or not get caught watching movies or TV shows that made any references to sexual humor. Maybe that’s why I feel if you can’t handle adult jokes about sex, you’re the immature one. It means everyone has to treat you like you’re the kid in the room who is only allowed to hear G-rated material. So when someone snarks back at me that I’m immature for laughing at adult humor I really just want to say, “Grow the fuck up.”

And if you’re reputation is to be snarky, at least be good at it. A snarky attitude fails if you don’t have the wit to back it up. Otherwise, you just come off as a mean bitch.

All in all, the way to enjoy humor is to roll with it and not be uptight.