No Magic Pill

Knowledge + effort + time = success

Harleys, sports, and Idiocracy

Posted by Ben on Friday, August 8, 2008

How’s THAT for a potpourri of a title? So yes, here I am again, blogging on a Friday evening. I’m not even at work this time, but this just seems to be one of the few times I get some writing done. I started this morning, but I had to get to the gym before noon so as not to interrupt the ABZ class with my wallowing on the floor in a heap of sweat and tears after my workout. I got back, showered, and since it was less than 95F today, the girl and I jumped on the Harley to hit a couple dealers and see if I could straight-trade my ride for an older and/or more used touring model (no go: one dealer was out of stock—2009 models are coming in—and another wanted $1700 down, meaning they could’ve made the trade if they weren’t so concerned with a sizable profit, but hey, dems da berries, so I’ll just use what would’ve been a down payment to upgrade what I have). So, now I sit here on my couch putting this together while the daylight fades away. One very cool thing from today, though: not too long ago, my car became a self-contained rotisserie (follow-up here). Just for kicks, I decided to try out the Harley key-and-fob that the firefighters pulled out of the ashes, and wouldn’t you know that the sonuvabitch works, alarm remote control and all? Hilarious, but at least I have a back-up key-and-fob again, though the charred one is still a little gooey.

At any rate, today is the day (by the time I post and you read this, much of this will be old news… “olds”?): the Olympics are here, and it doesn’t look like the Chinese government’s extremist measures to reduce pollution have worked. Doesn’t it just suck when you find out you can’t bend Nature to your will and whim? At least there’s a chance we’ll get to see some unprecedented coverage angles, depending on the level of censorship in place. Maybe all the big explosions—the planned ones, at least—will make everyone forget all the environmental and human rights issues at play (more on a dumbed-down society in a few minutes).

Elsewhere in sports, Brett Favre will likely be playing again this season. For the New York Jets. Um, yeah… here’s some rambling I did on a frequented forum earlier today:

“I will always respect Favre as a great QB. There is no question there. Right up until a month or two ago, I would’ve had 110% respect for him as a person, too. I don’t doubt his retirement tears were sincere, but all this recent bullshit has really put him on an “annoying people” list. In previous seasons, even though he played it out up to training camp, he never said he was definitely gone. This last time, he said he was definitely gone, early enough so the Packers could move ahead without him, but when the season rolls back around, he has to pull on the jersey for one more? Please. I can sort of relate to the feeling since that happens to me every November with wrestling season, even though it’s been eleven years since I competed and five years since I last coached, but if your decision impacts an entire franchise’s personnel and gameplan, and you decide to reverse course at the risk of fucking all that up, I’m sorry, but you’re a dick. He’s going to pull a Montana or a Unitas and keep coming back long after his prime, and it’s going to be a sad decline, especially when he had the chance to go out on top of his game like Elway or Sanders. I hope but don’t expect that Green Bay has a great year, probably playoffs at best, and I hope the Jets flounder for a couple more years before realizing they paid a lot of money for a name.”

Isaac has a similar opinion. Love ya, Brett, but my opinion of you fell to just about the same level as my opinion of the other New York QB, recent Super Bowl championship notwithstanding (read: not good).

I watched Idiocracy for the first time last night. Yes, I realize how far behind I am on some of my movie watching, but then, I’m not a big movie watcher in the first place. At any rate, I couldn’t help but think about how Wall-E ripped off a LOT of the movie, from the mountains of garbage to dumbing down of society (obesity was conspicuously absent from much of Idiocracy, but then, Hollywood couldn’t show REAL people being fat, just cartoons, right?). Copyright infringement notwithstanding, this is another dark picture of mankind, albeit with an obligatory comedic twinge, set 500 years into the future. Wall-E is a cartoon set 700 years into the future with mankind in outer space and robots left to clean up the mess. People can watch and enjoy these movies—well, sort of—because the plot is set so far into the future as to not really matter to us today, or so it would seem. However, that future is now, or at least a lot closer than we think. Don’t believe me? In the context of Idiocracy and Wall-E, take a look at some recent headlines: “Paris Hilton enters election fray,” “Opposite sides weigh in on flying fat,” “Could a little indecency save network TV?”, “Ohio inmate says he’s too fat for execution” (and commentary from Michelle), “Prince Chunk the fat cat will be saved,” “Less talk and more pills from psychiatrists,” “Micro S’mores,” “We’ll all be fat in 40 years” (thanks to Andrew for that one), and Eric Cressey convinced a high school pitcher that the YMCA dance is good for shoulder health. Last time, I linked a New York Times article showing what and how much more we’re eating compared to thirty years ago, almost all of it in refined, processed carbs (Dr. Eades posted an intensely scientific—and all-around excellent—blog about issues related to that article). Need I say more?

This is why I like a lot of good, classic science-fiction. There are a lot of way-out-there technologies and life forms, a lot of darkness (funny or not), but also a lot of lessons to be taught and learned. Weird sexual relationships aside (I’m thinking specifically of Robert Heinlein’s work), there is hope, grounded hope, not pie-in-the-sky hope. Not so much with most recent stuff. Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower is a great read that I highly recommend if you’re into near-futurism—it paints a much darker picture of humanity without pulling any punches or trying to yuck it up from time to time. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a must-read for everyone (and yes, I do keep a towel with me most times). A mass order from Amazon just netted me Ender’s Game (no, I’ve never read it or Dune, for that matter), so I’m looking forward to that in a couple days as a get-away from all the CSCS-related reading I’ve been doing.

/completely random rambling

From before:
—Dr. Eades continues his series on the Israeli low-carb study I’ve reference here the past few posts.
—Did cavemen eat carbs? Perhaps, but nowhere near the amount we do now (see link to NYT article two paragraphs ago).
—Peter Donnally talks about common mistakes we make in interpreting numbers (think: scientific studies in mass media).
—Aging patients are seeing the doctor more, but they’re waiting in line just like almost everyone else—that is, unless they’re out completing Ironmans (embedded in Andrew’s post).

For now:
Bugs for breakfast? I’m all for it. The best line from this article comes at the end: “Why douse fields with pesticides if the bugs we kill are more nutritious than the crops they eat?” Absolutely. In other news, protein powder will kill you.
—Hey, guess what? “Cardio” alone is not going to give you the body you want (unless you like the Sta-Puft look), nor is it a precursor or foundation for strength or speed.
—Brad discovered kettlebells. It’s all over now.
—Mike gives another BOOYAH to self-myofascial release (soft tissue work). Are you doing yours? (*pssst* I’ve been slacking myself, and I can feel it.) And is stretching all it’s cracked up to be?
—Andrew gives props (kickstands?) to cyclists. A bicycle has been my next major purchase for awhile (just as soon as life’s necessities are well taken care of). What are you on? Andrew also sequels an old blog about presidential fitness, a topic Lou Schuler tackled at this year’s JP Fitness Summit (wow, who knew Lou had his own Wikipedia page?).
—We humans are Neanderthals no more. Oh look, another article with the same title (these latter ones are actually helpful; click through for all four parts of the series).
—I finally bought a metallic water bottle yesterday, and as much as I hate throwing away plastics, my old water bottles are gone now. This thing is great and will pay for itself pretty soon.
—If marathon video gaming doesn’t kill you, it can still create a need for some psychological help.
—Geek-out: the era of air rage (if you can’t afford a $14,000 ticket on a copycat, or even your own plane), speakers make hybrids sound like regular cars (mainly to save lives), a gas pedal that pushes back, weather insurance, happy birthday to the mimeograph, happy fifteenth anniversary to the Microsoft antitrust case, DNS was is could be so screwed, no lock is unpickable, never lose at rock-paper-scissors, get more from Google Reader (like this blog), Halligan bars for everyone!

For later:
—Lyle continues his look into the relationship of physiology and psychology, in which he touches on the idea of a biological set(tling) point, something I first heard about from Alan Aragon at this year’s JP Fitness Summit. Frankly, I’m living proof of the idea. Set aside some time for this one—it’s well worth it.
—You need to fail in order to truly succeed.
—Ross notes that Randy Pausch of “Last Lecture” fame did a lot more than just, well, the last lecture. Gary also invokes Pausch in a few words on staying the course.
—It’s not the size of the dog in the fight…
Variety is the key to success, but moderate that moderation, too.
—People who train only their mirror muscles are preparing for others to see them following. People who also train their hidden muscles are preparing for people to see them leading. (No, there’s no link—I came up with that myself while doing 400m sprints yesterday. Hey, even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then.)

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4 Responses to “Harleys, sports, and Idiocracy”

  1. Redlefty said

    I just finished the Hyperion quadrilogy and it ends up being beautifully hopeful. It starts out 700 years from now and the story takes another 300 years.

    Of course you know that great Sci-Fi isn’t really about the future at all — it’s about the cultural context around the time the book was written. That’s why those stories almost never end up being “true” in a forecasting sense, because that wasn’t their purpose.

  2. Ben said

    Right, but the population(s) being commented on in those stories easily dismisses the stories as fanciful, far-fetched fiction rather than a wake-up call. For all its evolved logical abilities, the human mind is unparalleled in rationalizing and deflecting in the face of hard evidence.

  3. I really enjoyed the Hyperion quadrilogy, actually. A lot of people don’t find it particularly accessable, but it’s worth the read.

  4. michelle said

    hey ben,
    thanks for including me in your blog. imagine that obesity shit? people never cease to amaze me.
    keep up the good work!

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