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Hey Fat Heads,

Happy New Year!

Thought I’d sneak into the Big Chair for a couple of quick items.

The big news is that the Fat Head Kids book is getting close enough that Tom sent a script to The Middle Son and The Youngest Son so they can start prepping to help with voice work for the DVD version. He included a preview copy of the book so they can relate to what they’ll be voice acting.

Naturally, I had to sneak a peek and I can say that it’s more than worth the wait. Just terrific.

In my completely unbiased opinion, of course.

Next, this isn’t in the breaking news category, but I thought my fellow Fat Heads might enjoy it. We’ve got a good-natured banter going with The Youngest Son’s fiancée about what grandson 2 will be eating as he starts the move from formula to people food. (This guy:)

I keep saying he’s going to be eating only eggs, chicken livers and steak (with some lard and bacon fat) before he’s one; future DIL threatens to feed him tofu.

Anyway, after being impressed with Jason Fung’s Obesity Code and his follow up book (with Jimmy Moore) The Complete Guide to Fasting, I got interested in fasting, especially after my annual Thanksgiving through New Year’s gluttony. I’ve done a couple of 24-hour fasts, a 36-hour last week, and am 36 hours into a two-day (maybe 60 hours) fast right now.

So last night, I was putting a coffee mug in the microwave, prompting the following:

DIL:   What’s that – are you having some tea?

Older Brother:   No, I’m having a cup of beef broth.

Youngest Son (to DIL):   See that? – even Dad’s water has meat in it!

Cheers!

The Older Brother

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Hey there, Fat Heads!

Long time. Tom asked last week if I’d like to man The Big Chair while he and Jimmy have their Thanksgiving Disc Golf Death Match, to which I replied “About time! …um, I mean, sure, I could probably do that.”

It just so happened that last Friday, The Wife and I got to do our annual “Grandparents’ Breakfast” at The Granddaughters’ school.

[Previously known as The Grandkids, they’ve been assigned a new moniker as The Wife and I have been blessed with THREE grandsons since the last time I filled in here.

Grandson number one came as part of a package deal when The Middle Son got married on Dauphin Island this last May.

Yeah, I ended up back on Dauphin Island again. I’ve stopped saying I’m never going back, because Karma just loves a good practical joke. A co-worker suggested I just go ahead and buy a burial plot down there since that seems to be where I‘m going to end up!

Grandson number two was born in August to The Youngest Son and his fiancée, and numero tres showed up in September a week ahead of schedule for The Middle Son and his new bride.]

We were down to one grandkid as the older sister was home sick, but it was still a good time. Despite all of the changes we’re seeing as the Wisdom of Crowds starts to seep in to the culture regarding nutrition, I’m sorry to report that not much seems to have changed on the school menu front compared to the first time we did this a couple of years ago (see here). Bottom line is carbs are still cheap when you’re feeding a village.

I didn’t see the MyPlate poster this year, but this one was still on the wall:

Yep, remember when we were kids and constantly had to be watching out for our schoolmates keeling over from hypoglycemia?

Yeah, me neither. We didn’t really have to deal with it back in the day because one of the main causes, as stated on the poster, is from “too much insulin or diabetes medicine,” and kids didn’t have really have Type II diabetes back in the day. It was called “Adult Onset” because that’s when you got it.

So the Granddaughter picked out her breakfast, and we sat down to visit. We passed on the food offerings and just went for the coffee. Here she is with her plate:

So, a donut (obviously known not to be health food), a healthy box of orange juice, a healthy zero fat carton of chocolate milk, and a healthy wrapper of apple slices.

After leaving (and getting a McMuffin sans muffin top for breakfast), I went ahead and did a little research on the nutritional breakdown of our darling’s meal (sorry about the spacing!):

Calories            Carbs (g)             Fat (g)          Protein (g)
Donut                          260                       31                     14                          3
Choc Milk                    110                       20                      0                          8
OJ                                  60                       14                       0                          1
Apple Slices                  35                         9                       0                         0
TOTAL                         465                       74                     14                        12
est calories                                             296                    126                       48
% of total cal                                         64%                      27%                    11%

So WOW. Two things — the donut could just be the healthiest thing on The Granddaughter’s plate(!) as it’s at least got some fat for her brain. But not the good kind, I’m guessing. The other thing is that the composition of carbs, fat, and protein are pretty much right in line with the SAD nutritional guidelines. WINNING! Or, to put it in perspective, the public schools think this much sugar is about the right amount for a grade school kid’s breakfast:

(74 grams of sugar)

Sure, she could’ve skipped the donut, but the alternative would’ve been a bowl of cereal. No bacon and eggs on the menu.

I’m hoping maybe with the seismic political upheaval we’ve had that maybe we can start getting the Michelle Obama/The Anointed effect out of school menus. I don’t expect the kids are going to start getting meals like the Obama’s kids did at Sidwell, but it’s kind of sad to think that if we went back to when the Reagan administration got blasted for counting ketchup as a vegetable, it would be a yuuge improvement! I’m not hopeful, but after November 9th, who knows what the heck can happen, no?

Good to be back — see you in the comments.

Cheers,

The Older Brother

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Hiya Fatheads,

Well, this Saturday I made a slight shift from being a Fathead, and instead became a Fat Ass. As in Fat Ass 5k.

The Fat Ass is a 5k run/street party that a few folks dreamed up nine years ago while sitting in a local pub. The gist of the idea was, “what kind of race could you do that even people who hate running would like?” Since then, it’s grown to around 3,000 runners and over 1,000 other “Friends of Fat Ass” entries. It’s a huge party that starts Friday night with bands, food, beer, cigars, etc. Not exactly the standard pre-race protocol.

I figured signing up would be a motivator to knock the cobwebs off the running gear from last year, as the Abe’s Army starts in a couple of weeks. I did a couple of short neighborhood runs to prep, so I’m ahead of last year’s efforts.

All the profits go to charity (hence the “Friends of Fat Ass” entries), and they’re hoping the cumulative take for the last nine years is going to tip over $1 million after they total up this year’s numbers!

It starts in front of the old Illinois state capitol, and winds around several blocks of the downtown area. It’s two laps to complete the 5k (that’s 3.1 miles in ‘merican). The streets are closed down for a couple of hours for the event. It looked like this as people started showing up a little after 9 for the 10:00am start.

As things get moving, it’s a pretty good crowd. This is about 3/4 through the first lap, so the crowd is already spread out. The real runners are long gone.

I managed to run (jog) most of the first lap, except for stopping to snap some pictures; then did run/walk splits the second lap. Besides the competitive runners, the not-so-competitive runners, and the walkers, this event has tons of people who are just there to have fun. You see all kinds of costumes, but these were some of my favorites, especially given this event’s moniker!:

Besides a lot of non-traditional running gear and runners, you see lots of other things not normally found in a race. Here’s one of the very first “aid stations”:

i

If you’re going to be pounding granola with marshmallows and chocolate chips to keep your energy up, you’re not going to want to wash it down with some nasty, chemical-laden sports drink, so Rolling Meadows, a local microbrewery, staffed another aid station:

I passed it up for actual water the first lap, then had a taste on the second. There were also giant marshmallows, ice cream, and people throwing donut holes available along the route. Oh yeah, and entertainment. There were probably 8 or 10 music groups playing at various spots around the circuit.

Plus, if you forgot to get a haircut before the big race, there was a station where you could pull over and take care of that!

Guess who else showed up — Elvis Himselvis! The 1975 version. Looks like maybe The King should’ve been lacing up and doing a little running himself.

There was a major traffic backup of runners in front of the shaved ice concession. You just had to run around the lines that formed in front of the various concessions on the route. There were tacos and corn dogs at other stands.

I was surprised to see that contrary to media reports, it turned out that the Illinois legislature actually was in session during the race:

Still no budget, though. Oh well.

Once you’re at the finish, there’s food, beer, munchies, fruit, etc. The one thing of which you don’t want to get between and an other runner is this:

At the end of a good run, the only thing you enjoy more than stopping running is that big bottle of cold water. After that, you hit the other tents. The meal for the participants was pretty good given the pork theme of the event. The chips and bun went in the trash, but the rest was very tasty.

As the run finishes and things move into the afternoon, the crowd starts to grow and the party is on.

The band is just starting to set up, but I’m not sticking around. The Wife and I have other activities for afternoon and evening.

I do stop by to get a picture with the mascot before the long walk back to the car.

Not a bad way to start your Saturday morning.

Cheers!

The Older Brother

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Greetings Fatheads,

Well, it’s sure been an eventful year in Illinois politics, what with the veto-proof Democratic legislature and the Republican governor putting together a surprise last-minute deal for an honest-to-goodness balanced budget that will get the 100+ billion pension debt paid down over the next ten years, AND address the unfunded state retiree health benefit obligations ($56 B), while knocking down the $5+ billion backlog of bills to vendors dating back over a year now, and simultaneously restoring state services to the indigent, and even finally opening our state museum and public parks again.

PSYCH!

HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!

Man, if you could see the look on your face! Sometimes, I just crack myself up.

Actually the unfunded pension liability rose over $6 billion last year to over $111 billion (in a record up market), retiree health beneficiaries are one year closer to insolvency, and state vendors (including social service NFP’s) are still registering red on the “How Screwed Are We?” meter, but at least according to the budget — …

Oh wait, there is no budget.

I don’t mean a budget for this year. I mean the fiscal year 2015 budget, that started July 1, 2015 and is ending in less than two months. They haven’t finished passing a budget for that. It’s not looking so good for 2016 either.

Not to worry — welfare checks and state worker checks (including the legislators who haven’t passed a law to pay anything) are still going out. Just not the ones for if you, say, sold the state some office supplies; or rent a building to them; or provide care to the mentally disabled. Little stuff like that.

You would be forgiven for thinking that our elected officials, who are demonstrably incapable of discharging even their most basic, simple tasks, are just absolutely useless. You couldn’t be more wrong — they’re much worse than useless.

They may not be able to do things like pass a budget and allocate funds for things like taking care of poor people, funding schools, building roads, and sundry other basics that even libertarians like me understand people now want government to do (not agree, of course, but understand); but that doesn’t mean they aren’t busy.

Sorry. I know I didn’t give you a “Politics!” trigger warning, but that’s not the real point of this post. Here’s the point:

As I confidently predicted here and reiterated here, the bureaucrats have completed their inevitable march to addressing one of the most dangerous health scourges facing our nation…

… yes, after three years, the $100,000 a year, state-employed lick-spittle turds who are being funded by the USDA to get raw milk out of the market apparently wore down the mom-and-pop operators who had to take time off (lose income) every time they (re-)proposed new regulations.

Remember kids — regulators never get you with brains, competence, or results. They always win by exhaustion.

As elaborated in my prior posts, they can’t just make raw milk illegal. When they want to take away something the Bigs (Ag, Pharma, Banking, or in this case Milk) don’t want to have to compete with, they just regulate you to death.

[Here’s the short version if you didn’t read those previous posts:

“after over a hundred people showed up to politely but loudly protest the state’s heavy-handed actions, I noted:

‘I’ve heard from a couple of folks who think the regulators got an education on raw milk… Maybe the bureaucrats would change things up substantially.  Maybe even remove impediments to raw milk while setting a few common-sense protocols, as it fits in with the buy local/real foods programs the state and others talk up.’

Feeling I had a better understanding of bureaucratic sausage-making than those good, honest people, I ended with…

‘I’m guessing they’ll lay low for a few months or more, and then pass pretty much all of those rules as is, maybe without the 100 gallon limit.  Or maybe they’ll bump the limit to 500 gallons.  But they didn’t learn anything, and they’re there to pass those rules.’

It’s what they do.]

The first posts were after a 2013 hearing. The followup was from 2014. Our betters had to lay in the weeds for over another year, but then they did exactly what I said they’d do. It’s like Gravity.

Right again. Dammit.

So starting in July, when I go to Linda’s farm — where I can always walk around and see the cows my milk comes from, and see the operation, and walk through the barn she milks in, there will be a few other things in place.

For my protection, of course.

Like, she’ll have to get a permit from the insolvent Illinois government. But first,she’ll have to complete an inspection by the incompetent Illinois government. She’ll have to take samples and pay for a lab to test the milk for a few weeks to get the permit, then do regular ongoing tests. Any day anyone buys milk, she’ll have to store a sample of the milk for two weeks. If the department doesn’t like the way her barn looks, they can shut her down until she makes it look nice to them and they re-inspect her. Getting an inspection rescheduled could be difficult as the state doesn’t have a budget, so they can’t hire more inspectors, and even if it did they don’t have any money to pay for more inspectors.

[They can also shut her down if one of her free-ranging egg chickens walks through the milk barn. Hey, it sounds harsh, but you have to be cautious about  the whole “avian flu” thing that used to wipe out whole geographic areas of birds and spread disease until we started safely housing hundreds of thousands of chickens in legal, government approved and inspected warehouses; cutting their beaks off; and force feeding them antibiotics. Hmmm, I may have that backwards.]

Every time I buy a gallon of her delicious “creamy milk” (as The Grandkids call it), she’ll have to write my name, address, and phone number in a log that she has to keep for six months and make available to the egregiously misnamed Department of Public Health. She’ll have to have a placard up (in letters at least 2 inches high) that states:

“”Warning: Milk that is not pasteurized is sold or distributed here. This dairy farm is not inspected routinely by the Illinois Department of Public Health”

Wooooooo. Scary. It’s supposed to be, anyway.

Also, she’ll have to provide me with “Department-approved consumer awareness information.” It will say things like:

“”WARNING: This product has not been pasteurized and, therefore, may contain pathogens that cause serious illness, especially in children, the elderly, women who are pregnant and persons with weakened immune systems.”

Plus, it’s now illegal for any raw milk producer to sell yogurt or cheese made with their raw milk, even if they pasteurize it as part of the process. Wouldn’t want any of these folks being able to earn a value-added premium for their products.

One of the last items in the new reg states that the Department can suspend or revoke the dairy farm permit whenever:

“the Department has reason to believe that a public hazard exists”

So since “the Department” is being funded by the USDA, and the USDA’s position is that there is absolutely no such thing as a safe glass of raw milk, somewhere down the line, you can bet “the Department” will determine that they have reason to believe that anyone producing and selling raw milk constitutes a public hazard.

I’ll say it again,

“It’s what they do.”

I feel so much safer.

Tom should be back next week, hopefully with highlights of the Low Carb Cruise. Thanks for stopping by.

Cheers!

The Older Brother

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Hiya, Fat Heads!

Been awhile since I’ve got to sit in The Big Chair — trying to remember what all these buttons do.

As Tom mentioned, The Middle Son and his amazing girlfriend told The Wife and me a couple of months ago that they where going to get married. We were thrilled. Then they told us where they wanted to get married. Here’s a hint from this post from about a year ago:

I’d been adamant for the last several years that I wasn’t coming back. Don’t get me wrong, I love it here. House facing the Gulf (we actually have two houses this time to accommodate all 15 people), The Wife and I doing most of the cooking, everyone else doing most of the cleaning, hanging out on the beach, watching the shrimp boats go out with the dolphins trolling behind them for the freebies that fall out of the nets.

It’s just that we’ve done it several times and I was done. I kept arguing that I didn’t want to have a one destination bucket list. This year, The Wife pointed out that this would be the first time The Grandkids would be able to come, too, and wouldn’t it be great to see them at the ocean for the first time.

n.b., folks — there’s no actual defense against that one.

Yep. Back to Dauphin Island. Turns out there are other things besides “The Grandkids first time” that there’s no defense against. It’s becoming a family joke. One of the folks I work with suggested maybe I should look in to buying a burial plot down there, since that seems to be where I always end up anyway.

It will be a great and joyous time, and it’s coming up fast — the end of this month. Tom and Chareva and their girls are coming, lots of the rest of the family, a few good friends — around forty people or so at last count.

And I’m never going back. This time I mean it (Ha!).

As Tom also mentioned, my responsibilities in preparing for the occasion essentially consist of showing up. This is an approach I mastered early on, and every semester urge the young men in the Economics class where I am a guest speaker to adopt. The key, as I serendipitously discovered with The Wife (who was at the time The Fiancee), is to take a job about 700 miles away shortly after you’ve bamboozled your betrothed into accepting your proposal. So then you essentially can’t be involved in any of the decision-making for the wedding – photographer, venue, dresses, tuxes, food, entertainment, etc., etc., etc.

But, as I explain to them, “guess what — YOU DON’T GET TO MAKE ANY OF THOSE DECISIONS, ANYWAY, because it’s not your day. It’s hers!”

You get the exact same amount of decision-making power, but you don’t get dragged all over to various vendors, shops, and venues, and then have to give your opinion before being told the correct answer. You just have to fly in a couple of days ahead of the wedding, get your tux fitted, do the bachelor party, then show up for the wedding.

It’s a beautiful system. Pass it on.

Anyway, it’s to the point where Spring looks like it may stick around now, and I took a trip out to Linda’s farm last week and thought I’d share some pics. I’ve been dropping in once in awhile to get some eggs, but things just seemed to pop into full season this past week. Here’s the front pasture, really greening up now.

Linda and her sister Kim took the “pick up the old grocery store produce once in awhile and compost it” approach we were doing and really got serious about it. Here’s the current work area, which should be next year’s compost…

… and here’s part of this year’s compost from their efforts last season. There’s another three or four mounds this size off to the side. Black Gold!

Linda’s hedge trimmers/weed eaters have had their annual maintenance and are all primed up for the season.

Here’s Tartar, our cow who’s now given us our third calf after getting out of the “freezer” and into the “breeder” column by surprising us with her first calf a couple of winter ago.

Here’s this year’s calf. It’s a heifer and Linda named her “Tofu.” She got a name because I think we’re planning on keeping her as a breeder also. The Oldest Son has been wanting to get in on a share of a cow, and this will give us two breeders for four families (1/2 a cow each per year, hopefully) instead of three families splitting one cow a year.

Here’s last year’s bull, who will be heading to the freezer in late fall after getting to spend the Spring and Summer on pasture.

Linda’s second set of “bacon” is also coming along nicely.

After three months of maybe being able to get a couple of dozen eggs every other week or so, Linda’s egg layers are in full production mode. I’ve been getting 6 or more dozen a week, and she’s got other customers.

Our next batch of 100 day-old Freedom Ranger chicks arrived via Post Office the first week of April, so these guys have about another week in the coop/brooder until they get moved into the “tractors” on the pasture, where Linda moves them daily and they can get sunshine, organic feed, bugs, new grass and fresh water every day, and generally “express their chicken-ness” until mid-summer. Then The Oldest Son and I show up, bring the Whiz-Bang Chicken Plucker out of the barn, and start re-stocking the freezer.

Finally, we’re on the verge of being able to get real milk again. A couple of Linda’s milk cows calved recently, and will have “extra” pretty soon. This one should be having her calf any minute!

So, Spring is finally here and we’re looking forward to this year’s supply of beef, pork, chicken, eggs, and milk — knowing and respecting where every bite and drop came from.

Cheers!

The Older Brother

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Hiya, FatHeads!

Thought I’d post a followup report and let Tom focus on the book over the holiday weekend.

As I reported here, after reading “Born to Run” last year, I got interested in the idea of people being designed to run. Even old, fat people. So, with the encouragement of a couple of my coworkers,

(these ladies:)

I signed up for this year’s Abe’s Army training program, which consists of weekly organized small group runs with experienced runners, along with some personal miles logged, culminating 13 weeks later in participation in the 10k Abe’s Amble, which is run the last Sunday of the Illinois State Fair.  The race starts inside the fairgrounds at 7:30 am, heads out of the fair, through  nearby Lincoln Park, out the back of the park, through the (hilly) cemetery where Lincoln is buried, then back. BTW, for us non-metric types, 10k is 6.2 miles.

I missed a couple of the long group runs the last couple of weeks, but did running on my own, and I’d also starting pedaling the 2 miles to the office every day, so I felt like I was ready.

As an added bonus, it turned out that whoever organized the race this year must have some MAJOR contacts somewhere, because Saturday night Central Illinois broke out of a weeks-long string of 90-100 degree weather and we ended up with 65 degrees and overcast for the start of the race.

Here’s most of our group (Blue 2) just before the race started.

I’m the bright yellow one in the back with the funny “running shoes.”

About those — I’d been doing my personal runs in the Huaraches all along, but had been doing the group runs in a pair of Lems shoes that are zero-drop, barefoot shoes but look like running shoes — just to blend in a bit (the ones in the pic at the top of this post). I wore the Huaraches to the last practice run (3 miles), and when I walked up the trainers looked at my feet, then up at me, and said “so you’re not running tonight?” I explained to them that they were structurally no different than the ones I’d been wearing to the group runs. They were interested, asked about injuries, etc., but very cool about it.

When we got to one of the water stops that are set up around the training course runs, someone from another group who’d seen my footgear came up asked “how are your feet feeling in those?” I said “great – I’ve been running this way all along.” She said she hadn’t thought people could run like that. I replied that “really, we spent thousands of years being designed to run like this.” She said yes, that made sense, but “I see too many people with foot and knees problems” (I believe she’s in the medical arena); to which I replied, “and I bet they all wear running shoes, right?” She smiled a bit at that.

Anyway, my goal all along had been to run the race in the Huaraches, and the last practice run showed me that it wouldn’t be a problem.

So off we all went — the Abe’s Army program had around 150 people, but there were nearly 650 participants for the Amble. I ran with a buddy from my group (they guy on the left in the group pic), and we decided to keep using our training protocol of 5:1 intervals for the race — run 5 minutes, walk 1 minute, repeat, until you cross the finish line.

We moved towards the back third of the pack at the starting line so we wouldn’t be in the way of the real competitors, but be ahead of the walkers and dedicated slowpokes. Here’s me as I get past the starting gate…

(I don’t really have to go to the bathroom — that’s just the way my shorts bunched up!)

At any rate, I was able to maintain a blistering 13:10 min/mile pace (1:21:41.4 final time). I even had a bit of gas left in the tank for the finish and sprinted the last 100 yards. Of course, many people would mistake my sprinting for “strenuous jog,” but I still felt really good about it — way better than it looks like I felt:

 

In the final standings, I whipped 84 of the other folks’ butts (including most, but not all of the Olympic walkers and almost everyone over 70), and had the other 559 in front of me looking over their shoulders.

Well, maybe not all of them. The mutant who won, for instance. (This guy, Bryan Glass:)

 

 

He averaged 5:21 min/mile, with a final time of 33:09.4 MINUTES. He blasted past my buddy and me going the other way when we were approaching the 2 mile mark, so he’d already covered over 4 miles. He didn’t have to look over his shoulder — he could’ve seen me coming from two miles away!

Actually, calling Mr. Glass a mutant is a disservice.  I’m sure he’s got a good set of genes for running, but nobody can do that without training and focus beyond my imagination. He probably could catch his dinner ala “Born to Run.”

Me, I’m not selling my guns yet.

Four minutes behind him (and 44 minutes in front of me) was the first woman over the line. One of the interesting points in “Born to Run” was that the longer the distance, the closer women are to matching men.

 

 

It was a great experience, and it’s fired up my motivation to keep my activity level elevated. My running buddy and I are going to keep doing weekly runs; we’ve signed up for a 2 mile moonlight fun run/4 mile trail bike race in a couple of weeks; I ran 5k last weekend on vacation in Apple Canyon , IL (ALL hills!); I’m back doing resistance training once a week for the first time since my knee surgery last year; I’m biking to work; and I’m thinking of trying some swimming in the mornings at the local public indoor pool.

And besides all that, I got one of those “thanks for taking part” ribbons like Tom mentioned in his last Farm Report!

 

Icing on the cake, baby. Icing on the cake.

Cheers!

The Older Brother

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