Archive for the “Random Musings” Category

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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I leave town on Friday for the low-carb cruise.  I’d planned to write one more full post this week, but as usual, I’ve got a lot to wrap up before leaving.

The Older Brother will be taking over the Fat Head chair while I’m gone.  I wasn’t sure he’d be available, since The Middle Son is getting married in a few weeks.  But The Older Brother assured me his main wedding responsibility is to show up on time.

I’ll check comments when I can.  Other than that, I plan to spend my time on the ship relaxing, socializing, reading and sleeping as late as I choose.

See y’all when I get back.  (I’ve lived in the South for six years now, so I believe I’m entitled to use “y’all” without feeling too self-conscious.)

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How’s this for perfect timing? The day after I wrote a post about weenies, Politico.com posted a news item that demonstrates the weenie mentality in action:

In a sign that the nutrition space is as defensive as ever, Nina Teicholz, an author who has publicly criticized the science behind the government’s low-fat dietary advice, was recently bumped from a nutrition science panel after being confirmed by the National Food Policy Conference. The panel instead will include Maureen Storey, president and CEO of the Alliance for Potato Research and Education. The event is set to take place in Washington next month.

Teicholz, of course, is the author of the terrific book The Big Fat Surprise, which presents a detailed history of how we ended up with our current dietary advice. So why the heck would she be disinvited from a panel on food policy?

Teicholz said she was disinvited after other panelists said they wouldn’t participate with her.

I see. And who are the other panelists?

Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, will speak on the panel, along with Barbara Millen, the former chairwoman of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, and Angie Tagtow, executive director of the USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. Wootan said that “concerns were raised about Teicholz’s credibility, given the significant inaccuracies in her work.”

Um … as opposed to CSPI’s dead-on-accurate description of trans fats as safe and coconut oil as dangerous back when they were harassing restaurants and movie theaters into switching to trans fats? Or the USDA’s dead-on-accurate description of cholesterol in eggs as a contributor to heart disease?  (Maybe my memory is getting faulty in my old age … didn’t both organizations have to reverse those positions?)

If Teicholz doesn’t present credible arguments, then the non-weenie approach would be to welcome her onto the panel and point out where she’s wrong. But of course, this isn’t about credibility. It’s about avoiding a debate against a woman who would kick their asses all over the stage.

But hey, that’s part of the weenie mentality: they hate having to debate people who don’t agree with them. That’s why they demand “safe spaces” where they can’t be challenged. That’s why they accuse people who disagree with them of creating a “hostile environment” as a strategy for stifling dissent.  That’s why they’d rather attack the messenger than debate what the messenger has to say.

The Big Question is: if they’re convinced they’re right, why are they so afraid of debate? Why don’t they just stand up and vigorously argue in favor of their positions instead of trying to silence the opposition?

That’s the topic of this post. We’ll be venturing into the political/cultural realm again, so consider this your trigger warning. If you haven’t retreated to your safe space by the beginning of the next paragraph, don’t complain to me if you read something here that annoys you.

Still here? Okay, then.

The brief answer to the “why do weenies hate debates?” question is: their beliefs aren’t based on facts or logic, so they’re scared @#$%less of being challenged by logical people armed with facts … not because we might change their minds (we won’t) but because we might change the minds of other people listening.

Now for the expanded answer.

You may have heard the saying you cannot reason people out of a position they did not reason themselves into. Sooner or later, logical people discover that for themselves – because they end up in debates with illogical people and are stunned to see indisputable facts bounce harmlessly off their brains like little rubber bullets. Apparently it’s always been that way. Even Aristotle explained that some people form their beliefs based on logic and facts, while others form their beliefs based on emotions.  Logic and facts have no effect on the emotional thinkers, Aristotle explained.

In a lovely little book titled Explaining Postmodernism, philosophy professor Stephen Hicks wrote about the intellectual heritage of objectivists vs. subjectivists — that is, logical types vs. emotional types.

Objectivism traces its modern roots to the Enlightenment thinkers, most of whom were British: Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, Rene Descartes (not British), John Locke and Adam Smith. Their works emphasized rationalism, the scientific method and individual freedom. Thomas Jefferson, to name one stellar example, was deeply influenced by Locke. To quote professor Hicks:

Individualism and science are thus consequences of an epistemology of reason. Individualism applied to politics yields liberal democracy … individualism applied to economics yields free markets and capitalism.

Subjectivism, by contrast, began as reaction against the Enlightenment thinkers — ironically, in part to save religious faith from the onslaught of rationality. Its proponents were mostly German: Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Nietzsche, Georg W.F. Hegel, Jean-Jacques Rousseau (not German), Martin Heidegger, and of course Karl Marx. They specifically rejected reason and logic in favor of subjectivism.

Simply put, an objectivist thinks like this: If it’s true, I’ll believe it. A subjectivist, however, thinks like this: If I believe it, it’s true. Or the flipside: If I don’t believe it, it’s not true.  If you’ve ever debated a nitwit subjectivist, you may have had the experience of offering some objectively true fact, only to be treated to a reply of “Well, I just don’t believe that.”  Oh, okay, that settles it, then.

As Hicks explains, objectivists and subjectivists also have very different ideas when it comes to the function of language. Objectivists view words, ideas, logic, debates, etc., as tools we use to discover the truth. But  subjectivists (a.k.a. post-modernists) view language as a weapon to be wielded in the battle for dominance. Therefore, what you say doesn’t have to be true. It merely has to be effective in battle. (There is no “true” after all, except what you believe.)  Or as Hicks summarizes the subjectivist strategy when it comes to words, if you can’t debate your opponent on the facts, change the argument by calling him a racist instead.

Hicks explains these differences in the two mindsets to answer a question he poses near the beginning of the book:

A related puzzle is explaining why postmodernists — particularly among those postmodernists most involved with the practical applications of postmodernist ideas, or putting postmodernist ideas into actual practice in their classrooms and in faculty meetings — are the most likely to be hostile to dissent and debate, the most likely to engage in ad hominem argument and name-calling, the most likely to enact politically-correct authoritarian measures, and the most likely to use anger and rage as argumentative tactics.

Whether it is Stanley Fish calling all opponents of affirmative action bigots and lumping them in with the Ku Klux Klan, or whether it is Andrea Dworkin’s male-bashing in the form of calling all heterosexual males rapists, the rhetoric is very often harsh and bitter. So the puzzling question is: Why is it that among the far Left — which has traditionally promoted itself as the only true champion of civility, tolerance, and fair play — that we find those habits least practiced and even denounced?

Hmmm, doesn’t that sound just like college administrators promoting the weenification of students by demanding triggers warnings, safe spaces and speech codes?

Hicks doesn’t claim subjectivists never attempt to cite facts or offer what they consider persuasive arguments.  Of course they will.  Those are verbal weapons they’re happy to wield in battle.  The difference is that they’re just as happy to ignore facts and logic when it suits them. That’s why they cherry-pick their evidence.  They’re not interested in weighing the evidence to reach a conclusion; they’re only interested in selecting the weapons that support their cause.

Look at the vegan zealots who show up here now and then.  They’ll happily post a link to some weak study showing an association between meat and this-or-that disease.  But if I reply with links to studies where the association is exactly the opposite, or point out all the confounding variables, facts and logic become little rubber bullets bouncing off their brains.  Then they’ll yell “murderer!” and (if we’re lucky) go away.

Another lovely little book I’d recommend to anyone who wants to understand the weenie mindset is Eric Hoffer’s The True Believer. (Sadly, it’s just as relevant now as when it was written in 1951.)  In a nutshell, here’s how Hoffer describes what he calls true believers:

  • They often have low self-esteem and are typically frustrated with their own lives or the world in general.
  • Fanaticism appeals to them because it provides a sense of idealism, identity and certainty.
  • They value the collective more than the individual and believe individuals should be willing to sacrifice themselves for the collective good.
  • They believe that by imposing their beliefs, they can bring about a better future.
  • They can ignore or rationalize away all contrary evidence, as well as logical inconsistencies in their own beliefs.
  • They consider anyone who doesn’t share their beliefs an enemy and want to silence those who disagree.

Here are some direct quotes from Hoffer:

They can feel free only by diminishing the freedom of others, self-confident only by spreading fear and dependence among others, and rich only by making others poor.

It is the true believer’s ability to shut his eyes and stop his ears to facts which in his own mind deserve never to be seen nor heard which is the source of his unequaled fortitude and constancy.

The explosive component in the contemporary scene is not the clamor of the masses but the self-righteous claims of a multitude of graduates from schools and universities. This army of scribes is clamoring for a society in which planning, regulation, and supervision are paramount and the prerogative of the educated.

Sounds just like The Anointed, doesn’t it? It also sounds eerily like the loony-left fringe on college campuses.

So of course the weenies want to stifle debate. In their weenified minds, words are not tools we use to discover the truth. Words are weapons, and if other people are allowed to wield those weapons freely, by gosh, the wrong side might win. People in the audience might be swayed to abandon the “correct” position. They might decide The Anointed got it all wrong about saturated fat and cholesterol and salt and red meat and whole grains.  Heck, they might decide The Anointed were wrong about all kinds of things.

That’s why Teicholz was disinvited. It’s also why so many colleges – the supposed centers of free and open inquiry — have become such a joke.

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More evidence that the weenification of America is continuing on schedule … check out this news item from Entrepreneur.com.

Perhaps an indication that gluten-free has reached peak cultural saturation, late last year Zara tried to capitalize on the trend. Via black capital letters on a white-crop top, the retailer inquired: “Are You Gluten Free?”

I wasn’t familiar with Zara before a co-worker alerted me to the article. Apparently it’s a company that produces t-shirts. Here’s the t-shirt in question:

I’ll bet your first thought when seeing that shirt was something along the lines of HOW DARE YOU MAKE LIGHT OF A SERIOUS CONDITION LIKE CELIAC DISEASE, YOU CALLOUS, INSENSITIVE BASTARDS!!

No? You mean you just figured it’s a shirt that promotes a gluten-free diet? Well, that’s because you’re not a weenie. But America is chock-full of weenies these days, so here’s what happened when the shirt was promoted:

The T-shirt, as many a T-shirt has done before, drew polarizing reactions. While some shoppers, a few of whom said they had celiac disease, embraced the shirt, others felt Zara was making light of a serious disorder.

If you’re a partial weenie, you might decide (illogically) that the shirt is making light of a serious disorder! and respond by not buying one. Here’s how a full-blown weenie responds:

One consumer was upset enough to start a change.org petition, which received 53,000 signatures. “The truth is that I just wanted Zara to reflect on the message, I was trying to explain that perhaps it wasn’t the best way to make people aware of the illness,” she told The Local.

Yup, that’s the full-blown weenie mindset in action:  I’m offended because I chose to interpret the message to mean something offensive. And now that I feel offended, I don’t want anyone else to buy that shirt – because it offends me. No message that I find offensive should ever be displayed in public.  So let’s start a petition to get this shirt off the market.

She got her wish. Zara’s parent company said the crop top would no longer be sold online or in stores. “We sincerely regret that this case might be interpreted as a trivialization of celiac disease, the absolute opposite of our intentions,” the company said in a statement.

Great. As so often happens these days, the company responded to a weenie attack by caving – thus acting like weenies themselves.

I’m about to go on a political/cultural rant here, so those of you who get all upset when I express such opinions might want to avert your eyes … although you should probably keep reading, because if you’re that easily upset, you’re a weenie and need some de-weenification. Either way, consider this your trigger warning. If you haven’t retreated to your safe space by the next paragraph, you have no one to blame but yourself.

Still here? Okay, then.

Let’s review the words printed on the shirt: ARE YOU GLUTEN FREE?

It’s a simple question. Lots of people avoid gluten these days whether they have celiac disease or not. It’s like asking ARE YOU SUGAR FREE? or ARE YOU PALEO?

So what’s offensive about it? Nothing. But that’s what makes weenies such weenies: they constantly feel offended and victimized – usually by people who had no intention of offending them. Thanks to the takeover of college faculties by the loony left, we even have an entire generation being trained to feel offended at every turn.

If I have a foreign accent and you ask where I’m from, you’ve committed a “microaggression,” according to campus guidelines written by loony-left administrators. You’ve “other-ized” me or something horrible like that. It’s perfectly okay for me to be proud of an ethnic heritage that makes me different, but if YOU notice I’m different, I’m entitled to be offended – like a good little weenie.

Here’s a hot-off-the-presses example of how weenified college students are becoming:

Students at Emory University claim they were frightened and ‘in pain’ after someone wrote ‘Trump 2016’ in chalk around campus.

Officials at the Atlanta school, which has an enrollment of more than 14,000, were forced to act after the youngsters claimed their ‘safe space’ was violated when the messages of ‘hate’ appeared on sidewalks and buildings.

One student even said she ‘feared for her life’ as she thought a ‘KKK rally’ was going on, while others were scared a mass shooting was going to take place and wouldn’t walk alone.

Someone scrawls a candidate’s name on a sidewalk, and college students — legal adults — think it’s a hate message and a violation of their safe space.  They want someone prosecuted.  Way to prepare those college kids for the real world, college administrators.  ISIS and other terrorist groups must be laughing their asses off and licking their chops.

The weenie takeover of college campuses is so complete, comedians like Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock refuse to perform at colleges anymore – because they can’t crack a joke about anything without all the weenies in the audience deciding they’re offended.

I remember a comedian I worked with in Chicago cracking a joke about his hair – or lack thereof, since he was rapidly balding:

I think your hairstyle should make a statement. Mine says “chemotherapy.”

That line got a laugh back then. Today there would probably be a stunned silence, followed by some weenie yelling, “Cancer isn’t funny, you insensitive bastard!”

Weenies like to think of themselves as sensitive, caring types. They’re not. What they actually are is profoundly self-centered.  The weenie attitude is the ultimate “it’s all about me-me-me!” attitude.  You have to be self-centered to believe you’re endowed with a divine right to go through life without being offended — even by people who intended no offense. You have to be self-centered to expect everyone else in the world to know what words or phrases you might find offensive (good luck with that, since the loony left keeps expanding the list) and then censor themselves accordingly.  You have to be self-centered to demand that a company stop selling a shirt others may want to buy because YOU interpret it as offensive.

The person who ran out and started a change.org petition because she decided ARE YOU GLUTEN FREE? is somehow making light of celiac disease is exactly that kind of weenie. So are the 53,000 people who signed the petition. Unfortunately, the loony left won’t be happy until nearly everyone in the country has been properly weenified. I say “nearly” because they’ll want to keep a few non-weenified people around to say things the weenies can find offensive. After all, being offended is what makes them feel important.

So with that rant out of the way, I’ll tie this in with diet, since this is a diet and health blog.

I’ve been going through interview footage for the film version of the book. Three people who work with kids – Dr. Ann Childers, Nora Gedgaudas, and Dr. Brad Hoopengarner – all talked about how diet affects mood and personality. Take a kid who’s overly anxious or easily upset, remove all the sugars, refined grains and industrial seed oils, start feeding him real foods with plenty of natural fats, and there’s a good chance you’ll see a personality change.

As Dr. Hoopengarner said in some footage I watched last night, the kids who switch to a real-food diet are happier and less anxious, they concentrate better in school, they get along better with other kids, and they don’t get upset over little things.

So perhaps part of the successful weenification of America is due to all the processed junk in the American diet.  Perhaps that’s part of the reason we have so many people in adult bodies exhibiting the emotional maturity of toddlers.

When people get upset and want to force a company to stop selling a t-shirt because they decide ARE YOU GLUTEN FREE? is offensive, something is seriously wrong … which means they probably need to go gluten free.

Gosh, I hope that suggestion doesn’t offend anyone.

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