William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

Page 146 of 559

Obesity Is Now A “Disease”

No surprise that diseases are political. What are we marching “against” this week?

Never mind. What you might not have known is that how the word is applied is decided by politics. Stubbed toes are not a disease, but self-inflicted drunkenness is. And don’t let’s get started on mental “diseases.” “Johnny is not acting like a girl. This pill will cure him.”

Never mind! The AMA decided to call obesity a “disease.” Here’s the key quote: “being overweight or obese increases the risk of health conditions and diseases including”, well, everything.

I want you to repeat the logical truth with me “‘Increases the risk of’ does not mean has.” Chant that twice or thrice and then memorize this example. If you have a risk of 0.0000000001 of contracting a malady, and if you engage in a behavior which triples that risk, you now have a risk of 0.0000000003. Call the EPA.

Next comes figures in dollars. Obesity costs X dollars, heart disease Y. Everything human reduced to money. How depressing.

The AMA and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists have concluded

that the disease of obesity must be addressed using a robust medical model for treatment and prevention that includes lifestyle modifications, medications, and surgery together with interventions targeted to public education, behavioral change, and the built environment.

Bioedge rightly says this decision will “medicalise a condition which affects one-third of all Americans.” Yes, soon everybody will have a disease, and since diseases require intervention, everybody will have to be looked after. And because diseases cost money, as we are endlessly reminded, the more people classified as having a disease, the greater the costs will be, therefore the louder the call for more “investment” into prevention and “cures.”

That in course means a larger bureaucracy, which will recognize the problem is ever “growing worse.”

At least we can be cheerful with the implication that, since obesity is now a disease, it isn’t the fault of those that catch it. That is, it’s not your doing. But since everything has to have a cause, and the disease wasn’t caused by those who have it, it must be somebody’s fault. Probably somebody with money. Say food companies and restaurants.



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Gentlemen, Don’t Do It

Did he?

Did he?

Don’t have “a little work done.” The only time you should be under the knife is when the surgeon is cutting out the round you took Defending the Innocent. And then your anesthetic should be Psalm 13, a stout leather strop on which to bite, and a fifth of Jack Daniels. Tequila works if you’re in Texas.

This was on my mind as I walked passed the magazine stand and Toby Keith caught my eye on the cover of Forbes. Looked like something caught Keith’s eye, too. Either a mouse or the scalpel of a vanity doc.

Could be—I hope to God it was—an overzealous Photoshopper. It brings great pain to these skittish computer jockeys (I won’t say “artists”) that somebody might notice what they consider an imperfection. So click to the soften tool (or whatever), a few swipes here and there, and everybody comes out looking like a plastic doll made in a Chinese factory with shaky quality control standards. Faces which have been Photoshopped for magazines look like that startled Nazi in Indiana Jones whose face was melted.

But it could have been a blade. Keith is, after all, at “that age”. These are the years just past fifty, when everything starts heading south. This is when vigor nostalgia strikes and if it’s not evaded it can lead to bad news, poor choices, and an entry on the new liver waiting list. Or an appointment with a med school graduate who uses his healing skills to cure his overdraft.

Contrast, if you will, Kenny Rogers who surrendered to Johnny Cash who did not. Country singers both, about the same age in these pictures. Heartache, grief, the travails of the Common Man their business. Who’s more believable?

A nip and a tuck

A nip and a tuck

He held the line

He held the line

Maybe we could have guessed The Gambler would have gone this route. Too many pop tunes in his oeuvre, including an album with the Bee Gees. Cash never really succumbed to that temptation; but then he led a harder life.

I can’t look at Rogers without cringing. I can’t see the man, just those cat-like eyes. Look at pictures from when his fame was at its peak, and seeing him now, I feel let down. Not that I ever listened to him, or cared about his career, but you hate to see any many feminize himself like this.

Makeup is for the stage, and the only excuse for it. Sean Connery, the Duke, and, yes, even Bing Crosby, the coolest of cool customers, all wore rugs for cinematic purposes. But they got them off their skulls as quick as possible when the lens caps went back on the cameras. Crosby hated his so much that he tried, and got away with, wearing hats on the set to disguise his bare pate.

There’s a story told of John Wayne. He was talking to a bunch of college kids—the least knowledgeable, but most passionate of people—about Vietnam. Some brat yelled out that Wayne shouldn’t be listened to because his hair wasn’t real, whereupon the Duke lifted off his toupe and said, “Sure my hair is real. It’s not mine, but it’s real.” But you don’t need lessons on John Wayne’s manliness.

Anyway, none of these men, as far as we know, womaned-up and had a “procedure.” Maybe because they didn’t feel they had to. But lesser fellows increasingly figure a little stretching here, a little gouging there to set their faces into a leering rictus will make them look younger. It doesn’t. It makes them look like old men who were rescued from chemical spills.

Age gracefully, guys. Bald with grace. Leave ponytails for those with hair. Trade in your shorts for pants. Leave youth to the young. Nobody takes a man seriously who is pretending to be a boy.



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Sharks. Tornadoes. SHARKNADOES!

Looks like the Vatican picked the right week to announce the upcoming canonizations of Saints-to-be John Paul II and John XXIII. All their holiness and more will be required to handle the latest calamity.

No, I don’t mean a weakened populace demanding government do “just one more thing” for them. Nor do I hint at how our police became a military force with us at its enemies (all militaries have enemies).

It will take more than a blessing to stop the unrelenting force of ravenous, sharp-toothed beasts from the sea riding on the wings of tornadoes!

SHARKNADO! A new documentary by the studio that brought you the classics Frankenfish, Chupacabra vs. The Alamo and the terrifying Shark Swarm, Sharktopus, Swamp Shark, Hammerhead: Shark Frenzy, Jersey Shore Shark Attack, Malibu Shark Attack, and the haunting Dinoshark comes SHARKNADO!

A movie which asks, “What would happen if a chain of tornadoes sucked up hundreds of sharks and flung them at B and C actors in Los Angeles?”

I’ll tell you what: horror!



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Same-Sex Marriage, The Happy Solution For All!

Would you gmarry me?

Lot of turmoil, bellyaching, frustration, unhappiness, sterile triumphalism, whining, especially whining, about so-called same-sex marriage. A nation torn asunder, with hints of greater asunderings (yes, asunderings) to come. But old Briggs has hit upon the Solution to Satisfy All, a happy compromise which will thrill and delight and which cannot fail—if people have been earnest in their demands.

We have all heard the glorious shouts of “Equality!” and angry screams of “Bigot!”, with those singing them blissfully unaware that they beg the question. (The argument is whether SSMs should be equal or is right, therefore equality and bigotry cannot be used as premises; but logic has never been a prerequisite for political agitation.) The other side, traditionalists appealing to thousands of years of custom about the very fabric and foundation of society, beg “Leave us alone!” “Submit!” comes the reply. “What was shall not be. You must submit.”

The tension, as the saying goes, is palpable. Lordly decisions handed down from on high à la the Supreme Court do not and will not satisfy. The fix must needs comes from us. Here it is:

     Let government marriage be called gmarriage and those that partake in these civil ceremonies be called gmarried.

Isn’t that great! The “g” can stand for “government” or “gay” as you like; the “g” is silent, like in gnocchi and gnat, which is its brilliance. You say gmarriage, but people hear marriage. It sounds like married, but it’s really gmarried!

The “Silent G Solution” acknowledges the “tide of pride”, the open and gleeful displays of sexuality that so fascinates a growing proportion of citizens. How can entire (literal and figurative) parades of non-dressed people displaying with whom or what they would seek their physical pleasure be stayed? Answer: they cannot. Traditionalists must retreat on this point. Retreat, I say: not surrender. But the “orientations” crowd must compromise, too. Good manners alone dictates acknowledging that the concerns of the other side are important.

In one camp we have the notion of free contracts, living arrangements set down on paper and agreed to by (the line goes) “consenting adults.” In the other, lovers of freedom who don’t want to be forced to call marriage what it isn’t, folks who don’t want to lose their liberty and livelihoods just because they won’t compromise their faith or reason.

Gmarriage satisfies both. If a group of five men want to call themselves gmarried, and they can agree to a contract which specifies the limitations and responsibilities of that arrangement, let them! If a church insists on performing only marriages and not gmarriages, let them be! If two or more ladies want to elevate their coffee klatch to the highest (or lowest) levels, fine! If a florist beholden to her conscience would cater solely marriages, say “Live free or die!”

Let the Silent Gs negotiate with the government for the monies and services they desire. It is, after all, these monies and services which we are told form the basis for their demands of same-sex “marriage.” Far be it from us to deny anybody anything they can squeeze out of government (slogan: “Taking From Others To Give To You“™). Therefore let people who are gmarried petition the government for whatever they want. The government is certain to acquiesce.

I don’t know how the government will split an individual’s social security benefits among his (say) four gmarriage survivors, but that is a mere bureaucratic detail. Bureaucracies have proven themselves infinitely creative in dispersing other people’s money. They’ll work this out.

SSM proponents should accept the Silent G Solution eagerly and gratefully. It gets them the money they wanted, it allows the government to “bless” their living arrangements, it sets up the mechanism to grant them every social right except one; it denies them just one very small thing. They may gmarry at will, but they must agree not to harass or to demand resignation from those who say that marriage is only between one man and one woman.

Is this not fair? Should we not allow a full half of the population some scrapings from the table? Should we not heed at least a whisper from thousands of years of tradition? The only complaint will be that gmarriage is not marriage. Yet Omnipotence itself cannot make the two equivalent. The scientifically natural man-woman mating for life for the purposes of procreation and rearing of children just isn’t the same as other living arrangements. If it were we’d never have had this argument in the first place.

Permission is given to repost this article as long as a link to the original is included.


Update

Update

Jodi Rose, Australian Artist, Marries 600-Year-Old French Bridge Le Pont du Diable. Gmarriage for everybody! Shall I translate the French for us? (Thanks to Gary Boden for link.)

Update

Priest says, “I would also advocate a change in terminology. From now on I will refer to a Catholic marriage as ‘Holy Matrimony’.” Link.


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