Saturday, May 17, 2008

Harbingers of the Apocalypse


Look if you dare upon the new four horsewomen of the apocalypse who have been loosed upon the land. They are no mere mortals. Gluttony wears a black bikini and has the power to make us overeat at every turn. Sloth wears the green bikini, and causes us to remain motionless on couches while the mere thought of exercise is pondered only fleetingly and with abhorence. In the red bikini is Heavy Foods, whose wonderous cakes, delectible chocolates and candies overloaded with calories call ever bewitchingly to our ears. And last comes "Does My Ass Look Fat In This." She is the great deceiver who makes us lie to others and ourselves. Her siren song allows us to keep thinking that we can wait til the morrow to begin our diets and her discordant notes cause us to believe the claims of snake oil salesman who offer, for a heavy price, the latest placebo that they tell us will allow us to lose weight even as we settle in to eat the entire breakfast bar at Shoneys. Together they form the four horsewomen of the apolcalypse and their coming together is a harbinger of the end of days due to . . . . global warming? Er, yes, at least according to scientists in Britain who now count obesity as one of the primary causes of global warming.

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This from the Telegraph:

As if they didn’t already have enough problems on their hands fat people are now being blamed for global warming.

Mr Edwards and his colleague Ian Roberts argue that because thinner people eat less and are more likely to walk than rely on cars, a slimmer population would lower demand for fuel and food.

Because 20 percent of greenhouse gas stems from agriculture any reduction in food consumption would help cut emissions.

Edwards and Roberts found that obese people need 1,680 daily calories to sustain normal energy and another 1,280 calories to maintain daily activities, 18 percent more than someone with a healthy body mass index.

At least 400 million adults worldwide are obese. The World Health Organization (WHO) projects by 2015, 2.3 billion adults will be overweight and more than 700 million will be obese.

In their model, the researchers estimate 40 percent of the global population is obese, with a body mass index of 30 or over.

The normal range is usually considered to be 18 to 25, with more than 25 considered overweight and above 30 obese.

"Promotion of a normal distribution of BMI would reduce the global demand for, and thus the price of, food," Edwards and Roberts wrote in the latest edition of The Lancet. . . .

Read the entire article. I wonder how the Goracle is going to take this as he looks as if he has been filling out a lot lately. And let's not even get to Michael Moore and Rob Reiner. If this theory has any validity, than those two alone are likely responsible for the melting of the polar ice sheet.

At any rate, this turn of events marks a major departure from Britain's historically appreciative view of increasing waistlines. One imagines that the works of the great Ben Johnson's will soon fall out of favor. In anticipation of that tragedy, let's look at least one last time at Johnson's famous ode to obesity, composed near four centuries ago:

Hymn to the belly

Oom! room! make room for the bouncing Belly,
First father of sauce and deviser of jelly;
Prime master of arts and the giver of wit,
That found out the excellent engine, the spit,

The plough and the flail, the mill and the hopper,
The hutch and the boulter, the furnace and copper,
The oven, the bavin, the mawkin, the peel,
The hearth and the range, the dog and the wheel.

He, he first invented the hogshead and tun,
The gimlet and vice too, and taught 'em to run;
And since, with the funnel and hippocras bag,
He's made of himself that now he cries swag;

Which shows, though the pleasure be but of four inches,
Yet he is a weasel, the gullet that pinches
Of any delight, and not spares from his back
Whatever to make of the belly a sack.

Hail, hail, plump paunch! O the founder of taste,
For fresh meats or powdered, or pickle or paste!
Devourer of broiled, baked, roasted or sod!
And emptier of cups, be they even or odd!

All which have now made thee so wide i' the waist,
As scarce with no pudding thou art to be laced;
But eating and drinking until thou dost nod,
Thou break'st all thy girdles . . .
. . . . . and break'st forth a god.

From: Pleasure Reconciled to Virtue,
Ben Johnson, 1618.


6 comments:

suek said...

It only requires 100 calories above your maintenance requirement - the equivalent of 1 tablespoon of butter - to gain ten pounds a year. Ten pounds per year accumulates at a rate of 100 lbs per decade. Since metabolism begins to slow down at about age 30, that leaves us the 4 decades between 30 and 70 to gain some excess of 400 lbs.

Your "four horsemen" don't appear to have reached age 30 yet - I have no idea what their excuse is!

Fighting, kicking and screaming all the way...!

GW said...

Thanks for the comments as always, Suek.

Possibly the only upside to this insanity is that it will now create a major schism amongst the far left as they must ponder whether to continue to support such large far left luminaries as Rob Reiner, Michael Moore, and indeed, the Goracle himself who now leaves not only an amazing large carbon footprint, but a pretty big adipose one also.

As to "their excuse," knowing none of these individuals personally, I cannot say. But clearly an inability to push away from the table, figuaratively and, for that matter literally, would seem to be a likely probable cause.

suek said...

I do wonder about their diets.... We were watching a rather inane TV show one evening (reason too long and unimportant), called "Honey, We're killing the Kids". I don't especially recommend it. It's primarily about families with bad eating habits, low exercise etc. The purpose of the show is to help the parents change their diets, shopping habits etc. On this particular show, the cameral followed the Mom around at the local grocery store. Her task was to buy vegetables. I don't remember what the script was, but she was looking over fairly common fresh vegetables, and commented that she hoped these were the right ones - she'd never been in this section before! I was amazed. She'd never been in the fresh vegetable section before???? And in that case, the kids always had snacks in their hands. Always. Chips, mostly. Soft drinks.
When I shop, it amazes me how many of our foods are prepared and prepackaged. Does anybody cook anymore? And yet, the Food Network is one of the more popular channels...
I think age is creeping up on me...I'm beginning to get into the "I remember when..." age...!
You know...as in "I remember when there were't _any_ fast food restaurants." None. Really. Now after a renovation building project, our local grocery center also sports 8 - count 'em - 8 fast food places! I'd guess the entire acreage for the center is 75 acres or less. My kids don't take _their_ kids on road trips - even if the trip is less than an hour away - without food and drinks of some kind. I think that's where it starts...

GW said...

Suek, I could not agree with you more. It is not simply fast food outlets, but its fast food from the grocery store. For example, it takes 5 minutes to make just about any salad dressing from scratch using the healthiest ingredients - i.e., olive oil, etc. Buying them is simple, but between the additives, sugar, etc., they are far less healthy and far more caloric. That is but one example. I think the "fast food" culture that sees our waist lines expanding goes far beyond just McDonalds and the 57 ingredients it takes to make a strawberry shake, none of which includes strawberries. Its pretty much the entire food industry in America - and which we are exporting throughout the world. Unfortunately, we are in this case a victim of our own commericial culture, constantly bombarded for quick, dense foods. I do not know the solution, unfortunately.

MK said...

Good heavens, i'm surprised they can stand. They need help those four.

suek said...

>>57 ingredients>>

57? Really? Wow. I didn't know. And no strawberries? Really?* I don't eat at the fast food joints very often - too cheap. You can buy a pound of hamburger for what you have to pay for a prepared 4 oz one. I do like Sourdough Jacks, but then I get fries ... so you _know_ the calories add up! I only allow myself about one of those a month...Max.

* I live in a prime strawberry growing area. We like _real_ strawberries! It's interesting, though...this area was settled and planted with Walnuts. Then lemons. Then strawberries. The latest change has been acres and acres of land in plastic "quonset" huts, and raspberries. They get about 3 harvests per year from them. You wouldn't believe the amount of plastic they use to raise these crops.