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« Propagatin' and Populatin' 1: To Have or Not To Have? | Main | Stones on YouTube »

July 17, 2007


Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* Cowtown Pattie reads a juvenile novel that strikes her as pretty darned good. Alexandra reads a sci-fi romance and thinks it's pretty good too.

* Philip Murphy recalls the '70s.

* Americans are consuming 23 percent more sugar than they were 25 years ago.

* Roissy remembers his first encounters with porn.

* It seems conclusive: Dieting will almost certainly make you put on, not lose, weight.

* Amity Shlaes thinks that it's time to reconsider FDR.

* John Powers praises Chris Marker, the one-of-a-kind French filmmaker I raved about here. (Link thanks to DarkoV.)

* Vince Keenan discovers Elvis' '68 Comeback Concert.

* Thanks to Bryan, who turned up this gorgeous clip of Cyd Charisse in Nicholas Ray's "Party Girl." Has any performer ever combined the elegant and the lewd in quite such nice ratios as Cyd Charisse?

* Mexico is drowning in its trash. (Link thanks to Rick Darby.)

* Colleen turns up a fascinating explanation of why pop CDs have been sounding crappier in recent years.

* Skeptical materialist Alan Little discovers his chakras.

* WhiskyPrajer tries and enjoys his first Tony Hillerman mystery.

* Mencius wonders when and how we might go about beginning to abolish the U.S.

* Marc Andreessen raves about William Grant Still's "Afro-American Symphony." Stuart Buck turns up some CDs of spirituals that sound awfully good.

* Thursday thinks that French Canadians and English Canadians might do well to split up.

* George Borjas buys an iPhone and likes it. "Despite all the hype," he writes, "it won't mow my lawn or bring my breakfast to bed. But it is truly an exquisite mix of hardware and software."

* Kevin Cure visits some Arab lands.

* Free market-fan Chris Dillow thinks that Karl Marx made some good points.

* Anne Thompson reports that a group of webshorts produced by Glamour magazine have been hits.

* Maclin Horton remembers unfiltered Kool cigarettes, and labels himself "a retired smoker, but one who keeps a hand in."

* Gawain rhapsodizes over and muses about the gorgeous, mysterious floors of the Basilica of St. Mark's in Venice. That's some gorgeous, mysterious writing too.

* Jim Kalb falls for Kieslowski's "The Decalogue."

* MBlowhard Rewind: I wrote an appreciation of James M. Cain's novel "Mildred Pierce" here.



posted by Michael at July 17, 2007


From Kevin Cure:

Being nominally Muslim, the prostitutes [in Dubai] asked me if I "wanted a good time"

They do that here too.

Posted by: Peter on July 17, 2007 3:13 PM

Mencius' blog is pretty interesting. Have you ever heard or read about Alain de Benoist? I think he might interest you as well.

Posted by: GB on July 17, 2007 4:44 PM

I don't agree with the article in Slate about diets. Diets do work. The fact that almost everyone who diets falls off his diet doesn't mean that the diet itself doesn't work.
Also there's a tremendous difference between being mildly (10 or even 20 pounds) overweight and being morbidly obese. It makes sense that taking off and putting back on 50 or more pounds several times in a lifetime would have adverse health affects. I don't think that's the case with shallow dieting. For me the signal is when I have to strain to get into my 34" waist pants. And when picking something up off the floor becomes an adventure. Then I diet, take off the 12 or 15 excess pounds, feel virtuous while I'm losing, and know that within three to six months I will fall off the diet, regain the pounds and have to start the whole process all over again. What's the alternative?

Posted by: ricpic on July 17, 2007 5:30 PM

Scifi romance. Now there you've got a limited audience. Maybe they can pitch it at the Society of Women Engineers...?

Posted by: SFG on July 17, 2007 6:13 PM


Around here, they're looking for directions.

One of the more entrepreneurial ladies hung out by a stop sign. When you stopped, she'd try to open the door.

Posted by: Ed from Florida on July 17, 2007 10:00 PM

Thank you, Michael. "Gorgeous and mysterious" really tickles me no end. I am glad you liked it.

Posted by: Gawain on July 18, 2007 3:07 AM

That CD of spirituals you link to is indeed very good. In fact, the entire Alan Lomax "Southern Journey" series is pretty terrific.


Posted by: Ron on July 18, 2007 8:04 AM

Can go one better with Cyd Charisse - here she is with Fred...
... from The Bandwagon (an absurd, yet sublime musical).

Posted by: Nigel on July 18, 2007 12:13 PM

Quibble: The diets don't make you gain weight. The studies where dieters gained didn't have control groups. All they say is that dieters, in the long run, continued to gain weight - they possibly would have gained weight faster had they not been dieting. People who need diets are typically not at maintenance level for calories, they are above it, and thus still gaining weight when they go on a diet. If you gained 10 pounds last year, you have to cut 100 calories per day just to get to equilibrium, where you stop gaining.

What the other studies do show is that the difference between dieters and non-dieters, long run, is about 2.5 lb.

The big issue with diets is that people view them as a temporary plan to lose weight. They aren't. They are a way of reaching an equilibrium weight - once you reach that weight, you must maintain the diet forever if you want to stay at that weight. At a given weight and activity level, you will burn X calories. If you take in X-100 calories, you will lose a pound a month at first, with your weight slowly 'approaching' the maintain weight below your current one, and weight loss slowing as you approach it.

The trick is to pick a diet with a level of calories and mix of foods you can live with long term. That means building in snacks, splurges, the holidays, etc. and not treating those things as 'breaking the diet' but rather as part of the diet. (It may take a couple of 'steps' to get there if you are seriously overweight - you can't eat more than about 10-20 lb. worth of calories less than your maintenance level without slowing your metabolism, which is seriously counterproductive. Once you've reached the first equilibrium, reset.) Then, actually lose weight by increasing activity - that is, exercise.

Or, just exercise. Exercise creates fitness. Fitness promotes good health. Good health improves attractiveness. You can be overweight but still attractive, at least to the mass of people who aren't anorexia-fetishists, if you have good muscle tone underlying the fat. Or you can be at your ideal weight or less but look sick, if your muscle tone is bad.

Posted by: rvman on July 18, 2007 2:57 PM

Thanks, Michael!

After stopping by Whiskey Prajer's place, I now have a hunkerin' for some new Hillerman stuff...

Posted by: Cowtown Pattie on July 18, 2007 9:06 PM

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