Category: Daily Life

A Keto Failure

  • If you’ve been following along at home, several weeks ago I began the great reset. Calorie control, daily workouts, and going back to keto. So far it’s been going great. Down about seven pounds and solidly back in ketosis. And then I ran into a brick wall. Otherwise known as “regular life”. A few days ago we went out to dinner with some friends to a Puerto Rican restaurant. Great food. I did fine with calorie restriction… but a few deep fried plantains and some other taro root appetizer thingy snuck in, knocking me out of ketosis by the next morning. I did ok the next few days diet-wise and then we went to a hockey game last night. (the other day I went to a boxing match and a hockey game broke out. Bada boom. I’ll be here all night) I was smart with calories – I made and ate a huge pot of steamed broccoli before we went so I wouldn’t be tempted with food (you have no idea how much willpower it took to not dive into the pizza and wings). But everyone was having drinks (I haven’t had one for several weeks) and I caved. I had a vodka since it’s keto. And then I couldn’t resist having a beer. How do you not have a beer while watching hockey? Which brings me to my point. It’s so tough to “diet” and/or maintain keto and have a regular life. It’s so hard when everyone is ordering food and enjoying a few drinks and you’re that guy… not eating and drinking iced tea. Sigh. I desperately wish I could find the right balance that allows me to actually eat and maintain a healthy weight. Maybe I’ll just go crazy with the workouts. If I burn a 1,000 calories a day I can still eat nachos, right?

  • The events of Kenosha and the Rittenhouse shooting, and so many other events the last year, are a direct result of elected officials abdicating their responsibility. If you fail to enforce the law or offer basic policing services to your citizens, the outcome will be predictable. Like it or not, a much larger percentage of the population than you’d think are generally not good people – for a whole host of reasons. Given the opportunity they will lie, cheat, steal, and use violence and force to prey upon the weak. Those folks have always been a part of the human condition and always will. If you don’t keep them in check, they will take advantage in a heartbeat. America historically has, for the most part, managed the balance between police authoritarian/overreach and anarchy pretty well. Until now. The woke, progressive, lawyers, and cancel culture have cowed elected officials into being afraid to do their jobs. The end result is predictable. And the longer it goes on the harder it will be to wrest control back from the mob. I fear it may already be too late.

  • Directly related to the last point, I highly encourage you to read this post. I’m not going to try and restate it because I’m not articulate enough. I’m 75-80% 90% in agreement with it. The part I’m curious about… is there some George Soros type person or big tech cabal orchestrating this, or is it an organic thing fueled by people like AOC and Ilhan Omar who in pushing their day to day issues are inadvertently driving us closer to the outcomes stated in the post? Regardless, history reminds us that chaos will create a power vacuum. You may not like who steps in to captain the ship.

  • Speaking of chaos, I’m most of the way through a great book on the history of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. I hadn’t read much about the civil war, so there’s lots of details that I never knew. It’s hard to imagine what Lincoln faced as he took office. The south almost immediately seceded directly in response to his being elected. A number of the battles in that war had casualties of 20,000 – in a single day. That’s unfathomable. We just recently had 13 servicemembers killed in the bungled Afghanistan withdraw and we went apoplectic. Can you imagine thousands in a single day? The pressures Lincoln faced were truly remarkable. It’s a good to be reminded of how close this country came to not surviving.

  • We’ve had a bear circling our neighborhood for several years now. During the summer you’d have the occasional sighting, and then more frequently as we get closer to winter. The last month or so he’s been a pretty frequent visitor. We caught him on the security camera the other night going after our garbage can. He flipped it over a few times, pressed down on the side, and pop… it opened up like a ripe banana. So much for the “bearproof can”. The can is now in the garage. I’ve seen him on the camera several more times looking for it in the middle of the night. I’m worried for him. He’s clearly become accustomed to foraging for garbage in neighborhoods. Bears like that tend not to have a good outcome. Relocating them doesn’t tend to work. Time to hibernate Mr bear, before Fish and Game come looking for you!

  • We’re about to join the hordes of people off traveling to grandma’s house for Thanksgiving. Please give a quick prayer for my waistline. And folks, as Sergeant Phil Esterhaus in Hill Street Blues said at the end of every roll call… “Let’s be careful out there“. Whew, that’s dating myself.

Song of the day: The Ting Tings – Shut Up and Let Me Go

Bro, Do You Even Tweet?

I had an interesting experience yesterday that made me think about how truly toxic social media is. I am a low to medium use Twitter consumer. Meaning, I follow a bunch of people and scroll through the feed reading the various things posted. Mostly I’m looking for memes that make me laugh, the occasional inspirational post, and then lots of stupid shit politicians do that make me angry. I use it to keep up with the breaking news of the day since we no longer have actual news stations. That’s it.

I have six Twitter followers (probably all bots). I’ve posted maybe three or four original thoughts on Twitter in the last few years. I “like” someones Tweet maybe once every several months or so. I think I’ve commented on a post maybe twice. I think it’s fair to say that I have zero Twitter presence. I am an invisible gnat in the Twitter world.

So yesterday I’m scrolling through all the nonsense and saw a post from Dr Eric Topol. He’s a smart guy. He’s clearly one of the leading advocates for vaccines. His entire feed is nothing but post after post (sometimes dozens a day) of charts, graphs, and papers advocating for the effectiveness of the Covid vaccine. It’s an understatement to say he’s a fan of the jab. Anyway, yesterday he posted some chart showing that the original vaccine efficacy is clearing waning, but, he declared “Protection is fully restored (or even exceeded) by 3rd (booster) shots.” I have no idea why I felt the need to say something, but I posted a snarky comment to that tweet:

“Ok, ok, ok, ok… this time we’re absolutely positive this one will last a long time. Well, maybe just one more but that’s it. Pinky promise!”

Now, of the handful of comments I’ve ever posted to any Twitter feed, not one has ever been noticed, commented on, or probably even read. I’m not sure what the point of commenting is, especially on the bigger accounts with literally thousands of comments. The author is never going to actually read what you wrote. It’s shouting into the wind. Pointless, but I guess I felt better that I’d posted my incredibly smart and witty reply (that’s sarcasm, just in case you weren’t clear).

Almost instantly someone replied to my comment: “wow troutdog the 6 follower d-bag shitposter has so many thoughts about vaccines! tell us more oh esteemed man of science!”

D-bag shitposter? It continued with a bunch of people flaming with all kinds of charts and comments that this is how all vaccines work, I’ll trust scientists not you, bla bla bla. It was like a strange fanboy club that was just coiled and ready to strike back at anyone that dared disparage the official party line. I will admit that for about thirty seconds my blood boiled and I was ready to wade in an do battle with these folks.

And then I realized two things. First, Twitter is mostly a toxic dumpster fire mostly made up of keyboard warriors ready to savage anyone who questions their dogma. Never in the history of mankind has anyone ever had their mind changed by a comment on Twitter. There is zero point in reading or participating in any comment war on Twitter. Read someone’s original post, think to yourself I agree or disagree, and move on. That’s it. Anything else is a waste of brain cells. Lesson learned.

Second, it made me a little frightened for where we are as a society. I could feel how easy it was to be enraged and want to refute everything being thrown my way. The level of vitriol is crazy. How are people so angry that they feel the need to call folks names just because they disagree with a comment? The worrisome thing is that I think a larger and larger percentage of society gets their entire worldview from social media like this.

Just yesterday a member of the US House of Representatives was censured and lost all committee assignments over a tweet his staff posted on his account. I watched the video that was posted. It was some weird Asian anime thing that I didn’t entirely get. Somehow this was interpreted that he was advocating killing other politicians. Social media has truly become the public square for debate and discourse.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this. The impact of social media is so vast today. It’s the news medium of choice. In a world where the traditional media are official spokespeople for political parties, it’s the only place where you can hear independent thoughts if you search hard enough. Generally it’s a vapid waste of time, yet if you completely ignore it you’ll have little real grasp on what’s happening in the world. But tread lightly young grasshopper (anyone else old enough to get that reference?), one poorly thought out post or comment can cost you your job, friends, or land you on a police or government watch list.

It’s so powerful the tech titans spend 24×7 using it to actively curate, censor, and generally shape and change public opinion to fit their needs. When Parlor attempted to create an alternative voice, the tech world stepped in and squashed them like a bug. Facebook’s Zuckerburg spent nearly a half a billion dollars (that we know of) to sway the election. I don’t think people grasp how powerful and far reaching these tech empires have grown.

I think about the level of anger sitting out there in the ether over one silly comment I made. Remembering the violence that erupted all summer long in this country… it’s not hard to image the tech world actively curating an environment of mob rule. And the mob will be turned lose on anything that impacts the liberal/progressive agenda. Already the police are afraid to do their jobs. Politicians and government officials are petrified to do anything to stop crime, homelessness, or an invasion on our border. The real media, social media, will drive the narrative on any event that happens.

If any prominent person, politician, or government official criticizes anything that goes against the tech titans narrative – an avalanche of negative press will rain down upon them. Social media will instantly be flooded with the rallying cry of racism, white supremacism, sexism, xenophobia, hate, fascist, and of course… Nazi. All seemingly designed to stir up the angry keyboard warrior class. Few are willing to fight it. Most will cower and comply so as not be be cancelled. The smarter ones simply choose to withdraw and stop engaging, effectively conceding the public square to those shouting the loudest.

If we don’t find a way to achieve some sort of equilibrium in the new public square, I see a future we won’t recognize and outcomes we really don’t want. Mob rule is ugly.

All of that from one snarky comment on Twitter. My brain works in strange ways. I probably need more coffee.

A Proxy For The Future

If you haven’t been paying attention, the Kyle Rittenhouse trial appears to be going very badly for the prosecution. I’m not a lawyer and have little faith in our judicial system, so the outcome is anything but clear. But… as a casual observer it’s hard not to see what happened as anything other than a textbook case of self-defense. That is not my topic today. Instead, I’m interested in the point that several talking heads have made. What drove Kyle Rittenhouse to be there in the first place?

As someone with decades of life experience, and a whole lot to lose, would I have gone there? Hell no. I bet Mr. Rittenhouse wishes he’d made a better decision that day as well. But what drove him to insert himself in a scenario that had massive probabilities of going south in a hurry? His town was burning. Rocked by days of looting, rioting, vandalism, and sheer lawlessness. And the police did nothing. The mayor, governor, nobody charged with protecting the peace did anything to stop it. So a passionate young kid got fed up and decided he was going to go try to help out.

Young kids, especially males, can get very worked up over stuff. Remember WWI and WWII? I don’t – I’m old, but not that old. But I have read history. Tens of thousands of teenaged boys volunteered to go do their duty. 16 year olds lied about their age so they wouldn’t get left behind. We were going to go teach those dirty Germans a thing or two before they came to our shores. And off they went to war. Babes who had no idea what was actually facing them. No concept of the impacts those events would have on their lives. But they were fired up, passionate, and ready to go.

Such has been the nature of man from time beginning. So what’s my point? Probably the number one thing people crave is safety and security. That has also been true for all of human existence. And when our perceived safety disappears… people will do just about anything to bring it back. And for much of the US, that’s where if feels we’re headed.

Defund the police. Police reform. The media is complicit in whipping up an anti-police sentiment, further fueled by 24×7 chants of racism, racism, racism. The facts surrounding police shootings don’t matter. The only thing that matters is that the police are violent. Oh, and racist. If you’re not familiar with the term “The Ferguson Effect”, it’s a very real thing. After the Michael Brown shooting in 2014, officers were afraid to do much in the way of policing for fear of being charged. Since then it’s only gotten worse. Police departments and local politicians have refused to back their officers. The end result is that officers, especially in bigger cities, tend not to respond to calls other than to back up other officers. Why would they? Even the slightest whiff of being “too aggressive” and your career and life savings will be gone in an instant. It’s not worth it.

Police are quitting in droves. Those that remain won’t respond to anything other than critical events. And the predictable result? Crime is skyrocketing. In New York, thugs are now roaming the streets and randomly attacking strangers. There’s videos of it nearly every day now. Antifa operates with impunity and causes billions of dollars in damage. Brazen daytime robberies of restaurant patrons is now happening in affluent areas of Los Angeles. In San Francisco shoplifters happily walk out of stores with bags of stuff. Yesterday there was video of people who wheeled carts of grocery items out and calmly loaded it up in mini-vans. Why? Nobody’s going to stop them. Even if the police tried, the prosecutors probably wouldn’t charge them. This is not going to get better.

As an insulated, privileged society with narratives of non-stop racism driven by CNN, MSNBC, and Facebook, the progressive left wants you to believe that somehow crime and violence can somehow be solved with kind words, outreach programs, and roving teams of mental health experts. That is not how the world works, as much as the latte sipping crowd would like to believe. The reality of the street is not Hollywood.

Even in my hospital world that’s not reality. We have social workers and psychiatrists on the floor. When someone is having a mental health crisis we don’t call them. Why? Because folks in that scenario are violent and dangerous. We call security. And more often than not, it takes six security dudes and several nurses to wrestle the patient to the bed and get restraints placed. Even then the odds of someone getting hit, kicked, spit on, or bitten are high. I’m positive if family members saw that they’d be horrified. But you know what? I’m under no obligation to get hurt. I also don’t have four hours available to talk gently and pass them pudding in hopes they’ll see the error of their thinking. The real world doesn’t work that way.

Magnify that 100x on the street with actual criminals. And a single officer responding to that same potentially violent person. I know it’s shocking, but asking “pretty please with sugar on top” doesn’t work. But, we don’t want to see that. So our society has swung 180 degrees and we don’t want our police to actually, you know, do policing. It’s mean spirited. So the police have stopped. The results have been predictable to anyone who doesn’t have a liberal arts degree and a three thousand dollar espresso machine in their kitchen.

So what was my point? Somewhere down the road, people are going to get fed up. And that my friends, is when bad things happen. Vigilante groups form. Actual extremist groups form, not the pretend QAnon, Jan 6th insurrection groups… but people willing to commit real violence in the name of protecting the homeland. This is the inflection point where the population elects a real fascist in the name of safety and security. We don’t want to go down that road people.

I seriously fear for our country. We’re speeding down a road that ends in a bad place. The woke, 24×7 racist, progressive push the media hammers into our brains day in and day out is going to result in people taking matters into their own hands. We want safety and security. Without it we have Kyle Rittenhouse. A young kid heading into the fray because he felt like nobody else was. He was armed. He was attacked by a viscous mob out for blood and no police to be found. The outcome was predictable.

I’m not sure what the answer is. Maybe there isn’t one. We need a strong, charismatic, and benevolent leader who can use the bully pulpit to turn down the temperature. Get this ship turned around. I don’t see that happening. I suspect the political divides are too great at this point. Unfortunately, leaders who wield that level of power and charisma tend not to be benevolent if history holds to be true.

Oh great, now I’ve gone and depressed myself. Time to turn off social media and head outdoors for some recreation to clear my head. Amazing how well that works.

Bro, Do You Even Keto?

Crisis, noun

a stage in a sequence of events at which the trend of all future events, especially for better or for worse, is determined; turning point.

As I’ve mentioned before, my health has been in a downward spiral for a while now. I can’t point to any particular reason, other than general sloth. In September of ’20 I hit my goal weight and climbed Mount Whitney. I felt fantastic. All health markers were exceptional. I decided to take a “timeout” from the strict diet for a short period. Fast forward 14 months and I put all that weight back on, plus a few. While I’m generally physically active, as the weight increases my frequency and intensity of activity drops. Basically, I feel like crap. Tired all the time. Sore after every attempt at working out. Depressed because I can barely run a mile, when a little more than a year ago I was comfortably doing 8-10 mile trail runs at 7,000 feet. It’s truly frightening how fast you go backwards.

Some weeks prior I started trying to turn this ship around. Increased workouts, trying to run a bit again, and half-assed paying attention to my calories. And then a number of days ago the ship ran aground. I wasn’t making much progress. And then an event happened that hit me hard. In a nutshell, vanity and embarrassment at how I look prevented me from doing something fun. That was the proverbial straw that broke the camels back. I finally had the courage to step on the scale again and measure BP, HR, and blood sugar. [cue blaring klaxons and flashing red lights]

I don’t remember the exact statistic, but over a three year period, something like 95% of all diets fail. That’s why the experts generally don’t want you to “diet”, but rather make small, incremental healthy choices that are sustainable over the long term. Unfortunately, in crisis management you don’t have the luxury of long term planning. You need to make choices to solve the immediate, critical issues in front of you. When the crisis is over you can revisit plans and recalibrate your long term path forward. That’s where we’re at today… crisis management.

So, say hello to my old friend the ketogenic diet. I really didn’t want to go back to keto. I was on it for almost two years. I found it very restrictive and do have some concerns about long term heart health. Back in my peak health I was just about to do some advanced calcium tests to get the true picture of my heart, and then the pandemic hit and everything was shut down. So I really don’t know what the full impact of almost two years of keto was.

But, for me keto worked. I don’t think it has anything to do with ketogenesis – there are too many studies showing equal weight loss and health results with other diets. I don’t believe insulin/sugar/carbs/inflammation, etc… are the great drivers of fat loss/gain (note – when I started keto I went hard down that rabbit hole and was a rabid convert. Like the old joke, how do you know if someone is vegan/keto/paleo/Crossfit? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.) Don’t misunderstand – I think controlling blood sugar is massively important. But you can achieve the same blood sugar control with exercise and being lean in most cases. Keto is not a magic bullet for this… but it can jump start the process.

Keto worked (in my opinion) because it forces you to pay attention to macros which lends itself to being aware of calories. High protein and fat is much more satiating, which helps curb cravings. And when you really can’t eat/drink carbs, those in-between meal snacks tend go away. Keto, for those of you who haven’t gone down that road, has another benefit. When you first enter ketosis, for a while you tend to dump a ton of water weight. The result is seeing the number on the scale plummet rapidly. You see progress and that’s self-reinforcing to keep going with the diet/exercise. Positive feedback loops are a good thing.

So here we are. Crisis management. Keto. Officially day 4. Peeing like a racehorse. In ketosis (via blood test). Down 3.6 pounds (mostly water weight). As an interesting anecdote, I am a believer in teaching your body to be fat-adapted. We evolved cycling between high protein/fat and then long periods of plant based carbs and intermittent fasting. Our ancestors had to go long fasting periods, running down antelopes, fueled only by stored fats. When I first attempted keto it took several weeks to just edge into ketosis and several more weeks of dropping in and out before I was solidly in ketosis. Throughout the next year and a half I took three or four calculated one week breaks from keto (but maintained the same caloric intake). Each time I restarted, it took shorter and shorter amounts of time to get back into ketosis. Even after a 14 month break, I was (barely) back into ketosis after only a day and a half. No fasting, just high fat/protein. Your body remembers what to do. I find that fascinating.

  • Side note for those who don’t know. Generally “in ketosis” means blood ketone levels greater than 0.5 mmol/L. After a few days I’m hovering around 0.8. At my peak 14 months ago I was generally between 1.5 and 2.3 mmol/L daily.

I’m not sure what the long term eating plan is. I originally quit because of how strict keto is. Eventually, I want to be able to have a beer now and then. My favorite food is Mexican. I freaking love potatoes. Nachos are my kryptonite. None of those are compatible with keto or my current weight. When things are back in control, I’ll need to figure out a lifestyle plan that works. The weight cycles are so incredibly unhealthy, I can’t keep doing it. I’d love to hear what you diet experts feel is a sustainable eating plan?

Besides, when the supply chain / economic collapse / zombie apocalypse finally hits, anyone not fat adapted is going to struggle. As the movie Zombieland stated, there are 53 rules for surviving. Number one is cardio. And you can’t run from zombies if you’re feeling woozy from lack of carbs. But that’s a post for another day.

What To Do With All My Daylight Savings?

  • This morning we returned to standard time. Back in the days when we had actual clocks, that meant a week of discovering time pieces that you’d forgotten to set back. Now the only devices we have in our home to manually reset are the oven clock and my analog watch. Meanwhile, the twitters blow up every year declaring a national emergency and the congress needs to stop it’s important work to abolish the DST practice. Personally, I like it. We live in the northern latitudes so during the summer when the days are already longer, tacking on the extra hour DST gives you means it’s light until almost 10pm. I love having the extra time to do outdoor stuff. During the winter, the days are short anyway so why not have it light a bit earlier? Are you a pro or con DST person?

Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. And, weak men create hard times.

G. Michael Hopf
  • President Biden claimed the other day, in an incomprehensible babble, that the supply chain problem is because Covid shut down factories and if you asked people in restaurants they wouldn’t understand it because reporters aren’t explaining very well and “When your editor says, “Explain the supply chain.”  Okay?  “Lots of luck in your senior year,” as my coach used to say.” WTF? Meanwhile our Vice President, who happens to be the chair of the national space council (whatever that is?) interrupted a NASA presentation to ask if we can track the population of trees against race. WTAF? Because, you know, space activity is climate action. I want me some environmental justice, brother. Word! As Tucker Carlson says all the time, these are not serious people. From the quote above, I’d postulate that we’re currently in the transition from weak men to hard times. And don’t get your panties all in a bunch, “men” is a colloquialism for “the population” today. Relax people.
  • A 77 year old man was confronted by an armed robber and instead of handing his things over, the elderly man pulled out a gun and shot the robber in the head and chest, police said. He was pronounced dead at the scene. “Officer, where’s the victim? Oh, he’s DRT. DRT? He’s dead right there.” I love me a good DRT story.
  • Remember special council Durham? Turns out he’s still out there and released another indictment. Even if you’re a rabid anti-Trump person, you have to admit that your Russia collusion theory is getting pretty hard to defend. Whether you agree or disagree, in a normal world it would at least be considered newsworthy right? You’d think that CNN and MSNBC who devoted 90% of their time for several years on the story would at least be attempting to debunk his indictment right? Not a single mention of the story on either web site yet. Hmmm. The bad orange man was right – the media is the greatest enemy this country faces.
  • Speaking of the media and radio silence, the FBI raided Project Veritas offices and homes of a number of employees the other day. Why? They’re looking for Ashley Biden’s diary. Why? That’s very unclear. Why would the FBI suddenly be interested in a missing diary? We don’t know. What we do know is that in that diary she alleges that it probably wasn’t appropriate for her to take showers with her father as a child. The diary was stolen and the contents came out just before Biden’s first debate with Trump. Just the like the Hunter Biden laptop, the media collectively killed the story. Move along people, nothing to see here.
  • I’m most of the way through Molly Hemingway’s book “Rigged” about the 2020 election. I’d highly recommend it – even if you’re a massive lefty. Why? Even if you disagree with her assertions, she lays out how our election process really works. I had no idea how corrupt it really is. Us common people don’t have much to do with who actually gets elected, on either side of the aisle.
  • At a football game a dog scored the longest frisbee catch record – end zone to end zone. Dogs rule. Meanwhile, I’m headed out on a motorcycle ride with a friend who is a new rider and just got his first motorcycle. I think he’s a little nervous. Been there, done that. My job is to help build confidence, while pushing the envelop just enough to improve skills. It’s sort of a blind leading the blind scenario. What could possibly go wrong?

Song of the day: Lo Fidelity Allstars – Battleflag

I Like Pickles

  • This week Mrs Troutdog and I celebrated our 29th wedding anniversary. It’s still a mystery how she’s managed to put up with me for that long. An even greater mystery is how I managed to hide my love of pickles for this many years. As part of our anniversary celebration we flew down to Palm Springs to play some golf and see the in-laws. On day one of our visit I discovered a giant Costco tub of pickles in her mom’s fridge. I spent the next few days diligently working my way through the giant vat of pickles. At one point Mrs Troutdog declared, “all these years and I had no idea you liked pickles so much?”. My secret is out. I guess I have to confess. I’ve been hiding pickles to eat when she’s not there. I’ve been sneaking out of bed to visit late night pickle stores. If we can get through the shock and shame of my pickle secret, I’m pretty sure we can make it through another 29 years of marriage.
  • While looking stuff up for my pickle story, I discovered that there are a ton of pickle of the month clubs. Who knew? I never would have guessed that the pickle community was large enough to support monthly deliveries of pickles. So, if any of you are looking to buy me a gift… now you know.
  • If I ever become super-woke and feel compelled to list my pronouns, I’m going with… rib/eye. Stole that from twitter. Not sure why that amused me so much.
  • Speaking of Palm Springs, we played a couple of days of golf at some high-end courses. I tend to be a local muni-course type of player. I bring my own water, walk the course whenever possible, and expect to see the condition of the fairways and greens as… “variable”. These Palm Springs courses are not that. You pull up to the clubhouse and dudes run out and put your clubs in the cart. They supply tees, wet towels, water, and divot repair tools. The greens and fairways are perfectly manicured. You truly feel bad taking a divot on the fairway. It’s honestly intimidating if you’re not much of a golfer. I was a bit worried leading up to the trip. Spent a bunch of money on travel bags for the clubs, dealing with checking them in at the airline, and the super expensive green fees – last thing in the world I wanted to then play horribly. It got in my head leading up to the trip. This is why I could never turn pro. Well, that and that whole lack of coordination thing. But, I played really well (for me). It was a fun experience and I look forward to our taking more golf trips. Except how do I now go back to regular people courses where you have to load and unload your own clubs from the car?
  • There was a political bloodbath last night. Shockingly, it turns out that when the economy is tanking and crime is through the roof people stop caring about frivolous topics. First and foremost people want safety, security, jobs, and a working economy. In times of scarcity, climate change, race, race, race, race, race, race, and socialist spending are not high on peoples list of concerns. It will be interesting to see what the democrats do in response. At the moment the progressive wing is claiming the problem was that they didn’t go hard enough on progressive demands. We’ll see how that works out.
  • COP26 has wrapped up and the end result was… nothing. Zip. Zero. Nada. Not a single accomplishment. Oh, how will the climate survive? The two biggest greenhouse gas emitters chose not to attend. Too busy building out coal fired electrical power plants I suppose. The African countries did make it clear that they’re pissed though. Why? We’ve reneged again on the 2009 pledge to pay them 100 billion a year to “cope with climate change”. Clearly John Kerry wasn’t on top of his game this year. But hey, at least he got to take his private plane out for a spin again. Along with 400 others carbon spewing planes, 85 car caravans, and massive gala dinners (where I’m sure they at least used paper straws).
  • This trip we took was the first time I’ve traveled out of state since the pandemic started. My state is mostly anti-mask and I haven’t had to wear a mask anywhere (other than work) for a long time. Traveling to California is different… mask mandates everywhere, vaccine cards required to eat inside restaurants. Masks in the airport and on the plane. And all of it is just theater. Wearing a mask to walk twenty feet into a restaurant only to take it off at the table is absurd. Sigh… and the plane – both Mrs Troutdog and I were scolded by flight attendants several times for letting our masks drop. Until food and drink service arrived – then yay! Everyone can eat, drink, talk and cough. The ‘rona is smart enough not to spread while you’re eating and drinking. I still cannot grasp that our public officials continue to push this nonsense. If you had told me two years ago that the entire country would soon think it was normal to walk around outside with a mask on your face, I would have sworn you were smoking something.
  • Speaking of smoking something, California is one of the states who has legalized the ‘herb. It was odd to see marijuana dispensaries on every corner. I could care less. I do wish there was a test or definition for what “under the influence” was, but otherwise each to their own. It may or may not be true that the bottle of vitamin gummies that came back no longer contains “vitamins”. The challenge at our age is remembering to grab the right bottle when taking the morning vitamin regime.

Song of the day: Macka B Legalize the herb

Dodged A Bullet

One of the unique aspects of hospital work is the concept of being “floated”. I have my home floor where I was hired. But the hospital has the right to send me to any floor they choose in order to cover staff shortages. I guess the theory is that an RN is generic and doing nursing shit is the same on every type of floor right? Doesn’t matter that I have no idea who the providers are and many of the medications on that floor are something I’ve never seen. I have no idea what the policies are for that specialty or even how to find the supply room. Imagine being in marketing and working day after day on a particular product launch. You show up to work and your boss tells you to have to go work on a different product team today. After all, marketing is marketing, right?

Anyway, I showed up the other day and checked the schedule. The dreaded words… float to the covid floor. Sigh. Naturally nobody wants to work the covid floor, so everyone has to take a turn. Unfortunately due to the spike in cases in my area, coupled with huge staffing shortages, getting floated to the covid floor is becoming pretty common. So off I went to the hot zone.

Twelve hours of putting on a heavy plastic gown, gloves, N95, surgical mask, and face shield, going in the room to take care of business, then stripping it all off. Then doing the same in the next room. Then going back to the first room. Then the next room. Over and over and over again. These folks are sick. For the most part not much bothers me medically – but watching people struggling to breathe when there’s little I can do, is just hard. It makes for a long day.

Fast forward a few days and I woke up and just felt… off. I did a bunch of errands and then some yardwork. By early afternoon I had zero energy and a splitting headache had set in. The next morning, no change. No energy, fatigue, brain fog, and a dull headache. Classic covid symptoms. Crap! The China virus finally got me. How ironic that I’ve been writing about breakthrough cases in vaccinated people and now I’m going to be one of those statistics. In my mind I replayed all my patient encounters. Did I get sloppy with my PPE? Did I forget to wash my hands and then touched my face? I was adjusting my mask when that guy coughed on me, maybe that was it?

We have some people coming to visit and an upcoming trip, so I figured I better get tested just to confirm. Insurance will pay if you’re willing to wait 2-3 days for your results. If you need immediate results it’s out of pocket. So I plunked down my $142 and got the swab via a drive through testing center. I went home and started making a list of who I may have come in contact with so I can tell them they might have been exposed.

Negative. Negative for covid and influenza. Whew. And this morning I woke up and felt fine. I don’t know what it was. Maybe it was a cold? Too many days of poor sleep? Didn’t drink enough water? Too many nachos in one sitting? Weird.

Our world has certainly changed. I never used to think twice about feeling off for a few days. Now, the slightest sniffle and we all worry that the dreaded virus finally got us. We’ve been brainwashed into becoming a society that fears normal human interaction. Half the population endorses authoritarian/totalitarian measures of control. The other half is ready riot in protest.

I live in a weird dichotomy. I live my life as normal as possible, without fear. My odds of grave injury in a motor vehicle accident are higher than being struck down by covid. I’m going to eat in restaurants, enjoy time with friends, and see family. Yet, in the back of my mind are images that not everyone sees. A few days ago I watched a man be wheeled into his wife’s room for a few minutes to say goodbye – before we pulled her off oxygen support. Another covid statistic. That’s real. It’s not a meme on Facebook.

I miss normal.

Going To The Big House

A random round-up of random things that randomly caught my eye

  • Scrolling through my extensive sources of information (twitter) I saw this headline: “Michigan Nurse Arrested for Selling Fake COVID-19 Vaccine Cards”. My first thought was this is going to happen more and more often… bring on the electronic vaccine passports! Because, you know, security and all. My second thought was, how is a covid vaccine card even a legal document? How is it illegal to sell a randomly printed piece of paper? My vaccine card only has one of the lot numbers and no signature/site listed. Anybody could have filled it out. It’s a horrible “official” document. Naturally I had to put my mad search skills to work to see if it really is a legal document. Turns out there’s about a hundred obscure statutes that could be used to charge this person. The most likely one is:

    The unauthorized use of of the official seal of the CDC or DHHS is a violation of 18 U.S.C. 1017. This federal statute makes it a crime to wrongfully or fraudulently affix the seal of any federal department or agency to a certificate, document, or paper, and likewise makes it a crime to use, buy, sell, or transfer such a document knowing that it’s fraudulent. A violation of this statute is punishable by a fine or imprisonment of up to five years.

    So, that nurse is definitely going to the big house. (slang: A state or federal prison) And she should, if for no other reason than she was selling them via Facebook Messenger. Seriously? She’s not exactly a criminal mastermind.

  • I’ve gone to the golf driving range twice in the last week and hit really, really well. (for me that just means my shots mostly went up in the air and sorta straight) I’m convinced it’s the new shoes. I went with a natural toe box style to let my toes spread out more. They’re very wide. Plus, they’re very bright. They looked more subdued on the website pictures. There’s a definite clown shoe vibe going on. Oh well. If John Daily can dress the way he does, I can wear clown shoes.

  • Take a minute and watch this video titled “Every Sport a Bowling Ball“.

  • I just finished reading “Uncontrolled Spread: Why COVID-19 Crushed Us and How We Can Defeat the Next Pandemic” by Dr Scott Gottlieb, the former head of the FDA. Quite a bit of behind the scenes information related to the inner workings of various federal agencies. It’s a little dry, but worth the read. The sad revelation is that it’s really pitiful how inept the US government is at doing most anything. We’re the freaking technology center of the universe and for most of the pandemic hospitals had to resort to faxing case count data to the CDC. The size, scale, and budget of the United States government is so ginormous it boggles the mind, yet we can’t get the simplest, most basic things right. Sigh…

  • If you’re not already, you need to be following Alaska’s “Fat Bear Week” contest. A weekly bracket competition to find the fattest bear of 2021. The winner will be declared October 5th. My money’s on bear 480, Otis.

  • Tweet of the day: In response to a post about why General Milley didn’t jump across the table and murder Representative Gaetz during yesterdays hearing… “Milley is 5′ 8″ and obese. The only thing he’s murdering is a plate of nachos”. I did actually laugh out loud at that one. Take a look at the picture – definitely not the same regal image the media carefully cultivates. Meanwhile, I’m going to think about nachos all day.

  • I’ve decided to abandon my idea of being a retirement lifestyle coach. I’m stealing an idea from another site and creating a “Contrarian University”. You’ll be able to sign up for classes, listen to podcasts, and receive personal instruction on how to be a Contrarian. I’ll be raking in the Quan. Just as soon as I create some content.

Song of the day: Living Colour- “Cult of Personality” Live in Auburn 1988

I Don’t Know The Answer

  • The one thing that stands out for me about this moment in history is that nobody knows who to listen to. There’s approximately 1.27 million opinions, from experts to hucksters, on every single subject. How is the average person supposed to figure out the right answer about anything? For example, based upon some random crap I read on the internet I decided it wouldn’t be a bad thing to start adding vitamin D3 and Zinc to my system. But how much? The dosage on the bottle says 2,000 iu a day. One doctor I read says you need at least 20,000 a day. Another says start with 10,000 a day for two weeks and then 5,000 iu daily as maintenance. How are you supposed to know? I think this quote from Eric Weinstein says it all. He’s probably one of the smartest humans on the planet. PhD in mathematical physics, managing director of Thiel Capital, and founder of the intellectual dark web… “I have not been able to understand our experts explaining what is going on with either the virus, its origins, our masks, our vaccines, or vaccine alternatives. I admit it: I totally can’t grasp our experts on COVID.” If he can’t figure it out, how are the rest of us supposed to? What a mess.

  • Our supply chain is in crisis mode. I’m not sure people fully grasp how bad the current scenario is. Literally every product and component we consume is at risk. Car dealership lots are empty. Appliances can’t be found. Bike shops are out of bike tubes and tires. A local pizza shop owner is wrapping to-go pizza in foil because he can’t get cardboard boxes. He *thinks* he’ll survive the winter because he pre-purchased flour and other baking supplies. The LA and Long Beach ports are seeing record congestion. Currently there are 97 massive cargo ships anchored offshore, waiting for a slot to unload. Retailers are panicking about the Christmas shopping season, as they may have empty shelves. If manufacturing components aren’t available, layoffs start and businesses go under. Will things straighten themselves out eventually? Hopefully. But it wouldn’t take much to knock down this house of cards. Meanwhile, I went to Costco the other day. Every single cart I saw was loaded up with the ginormous package of toilet paper and paper towels. They are now back to limiting purchase to one per customer. I still don’t understand what it is about hoarding toilet paper… but better go get you some.

  • I have an acquaintance who knows I briefly contemplated buying a drone. He frequently sends me drone related info and shares stories of how much he enjoys his. I still don’t know that I could justify buying one. I worry that it will be one of those purchases that you use a bunch for a while and then it would never come out of the case again. I think I’d have to be seriously making videos before I’d consider it again. What struck me the other day is that it turns out he uses his drone for still photography, not the standard flying videos. Beautiful landscape photos, just from a much different angle/perspective. I like that sort of thinking out of the box. It shows that just when you think everything in photography (or any other art form) has been done, someone comes along and thinks about things differently.


  • Semi related to the supply chain crisis, but for different reasons… If you are not into shooting sports you may not realize this, but guns and ammo are currently non-existent. Ammo that I used to buy for $300 a case is now $1,500 a case in the rare occasion you can actually find it. I was at a large sporting goods store the other day and their gun cases were empty. The manager said that they get 5-7 guns in a day, and they sell them the same day. The population is worried. Gun and ammo sales spike with unrest and uncertainty. I’ve never seen this level of shortages before. I’m not entirely sure what it means… but it’s probably not a good sign.

  • I recently watched a MasterClass by Tom Morello, the guitarist for Rage Against the Machine. I’m not a guitar player, but I thoroughly enjoyed the behind the scenes look at how the songs were created, his influences, and what it’s like to be a performer. I’d encourage giving it watch, even if that sort of music isn’t your cup ‘o tea.

Song of the day: Knife Party & Tom Morello – Battle Sirens (Live Version)

Ivermectin Killed The Dinosaurs

The virus which shall not be named for fear of offending someone presented the United States with a unique inflection point. We were thrust into a position in which we could have fundamentally altered the health of this country. And rather than doing the right thing, the combined government and public health officials collectively shit the bed. Let me explain.

The US population is not generally healthy. We’re fat. We don’t exercise. We eat like crap and massively overconsume the crap that we do eat. Here’s a fun statistic – the United States ranks 46th in life expectancy. 46. Cuba ranks higher than the US. The number one cause of death in the US is heart disease – an almost completely self-induced problem that can be somewhat reversed with diet and exercise when discovered. 700,000 people died of heart disease in 2020. More than any other cause, including covid and cancer.

And what puts you at risk for dying of covid? Age, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and smoking. Way back at the beginnings of this pandemic it seems that the thing to do would be to scream from the rooftops that if you’re fat, out of shape, smoke, or have diabetes this disease is going to kill you. As Dean Vernon Wormer said, “Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son”. Wage an all out campaign to inform the population that changing your lifestyle is no longer optional if you want to survive long term. But we didn’t.

Oh sure, there were a few passing mentions of comorbidities putting you at higher risk but we certainly didn’t make a huge deal of it. Instead we opted for punishing everyone. What we should have done was quickly isolate the elderly, keep schools open and keep the economy running. We should have made the central message, broadcast daily, that if you are fat, have the diabetes, hypertension, or smoke you should isolate as much as possible if you want to survive this. Hammer home that folks who are overweight and hypertensive, should they wish to mingle with the public, need to be wearing a properly fitted N95 mask. Not the useless paper ones or that nasty bandana you’ve been wearing for a month without washing. No N95, no vaccination and you will get covid and will probably die. Why are we afraid to tell the truth?

But that’s not what we did. We cratered the economy. We isolated everyone including the young and healthy, prolonging herd immunity. Rather than keeping gyms open and telling people that you need to get outside, exercise, and improve your health if you want to survive… we kept everyone isolated inside. The result? 42% of adults reported gaining weight. How much? An average of 29 pounds.

We gambled on the holy grail of vaccination to magically protect everyone, including those most at risk. There’s no doubt its made a huge difference in moving us more quickly towards herd immunity (since we never let the young and healthy develop natural immunity). But mayors and governors had to start opening up to have any chance of saving their economies. And the vaccine has given those who have risk factors a false sense of security. And sure enough, a more virulent version of covid appeared and now even those who’ve been vaccinated are getting sick. The vaccine isn’t a magic shield. It’s doing what it’s supposed to do. It will dramatically lessen the chances of the infection turning worse. This is why everyone should get the shot, even if you’re “healthy”. It gives you a fighting chance of keeping any symptoms mild and not ending up hospitalized. But if you’re overweight and in poor health… it may not be enough. And that’s exactly what the data shows. The overwhelming majority of people hospitalized and/or dying of covid right now have the classic comorbidities, vaccinated or unvaccinated.

So why are our public health officials not screaming at the top of their lungs about this? Are we afraid of offending people? Are we more worried about “fat shaming” than we are of people dying? For those of us who have the risk factors (and I count myself as one of them), we know what we look like the mirror. I’d rather my self esteem take a hit if it’ll force me to go for a run, than die because someone was afraid of telling me I need to drop a few pounds.

It’s time for health care providers and public health officials to be brutally honest. Stop with the silly mask charade. Form a modern equivalent of the old Presidents Council on Physical Fitness. Since we’re already printing money, how about a tax write-off for gym memberships and exercise equipment? Government subsidies to insurance companies that offer deep discounts on health insurance premiums if you can keep your BMI, blood pressure, and A1C at or below healthy limits?

Crazy talk, I know. But sadly we’d rather pit citizens against each other and ostracize folks from participating in society if you don’t take the jab. We’re scolded like little children, being told that “patience is wearing thin” and “this isn’t about freedom”. Officials are afraid to talk about natural immunity from covid because it might detract from their only message – 100% of citizens must have the vaccine, no exceptions.

Covid is going to turn endemic at some point. I think you’re foolish not to get the vaccine, but that’s your personal choice to make. We are all going to get Covid eventually, that’s a certainty. The only question will be how many factors do you have going in your favor when you do get it? Personally, I want to have had the vaccine and I want my weight, blood pressure, and A1C to be the best I can get ’em given my age. I’m just as guilty as the next person of being lazy about that. Not anymore. I’m enjoying life too much right now to lose it because I couldn’t put down the nachos.

Clearly the government isn’t going to do the right thing for its citizens. It’s up to you. So as Inspector Harry Callahan famously said, “You’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do you, punk?”

P.S. The title has nothing to do with anything. I saw it on the internet and loved it, but couldn’t think of anything to relate it to.