Behold the last RVS post for 2017.  Unless, I suppose, I decide to drunk-blog tonight. It could happen.  In that event, this will be the last coherent post of 2017.

In case you’re wondering, I’m too old to go out for New Year’s Eve and I don’t feel like dealing with the madness.  Instead, I’ll take the family out for an early dinner at a nice restaurant.  Then we’ll come home and Mrs Thrill will make some snacks while we watch fun movies.  Usually I start drinking at around 5:00 PM and I try to pass out before midnight so I can wake up at around 3:00 AM and try to find the bed.  I have about a 50/50 chance of making it.  If I don’t, I can only hope that somebody throws a blanket over me. Hey, I didn’t say all of my traditions are good ones, but I must uphold them.

Tonight’s cocktail of choice will be the Kentucky Mule.  Yes, it’s like a Moscow Mule but with bourbon instead of vodka.  All one needs is 4 oz of ginger beer, 2 oz of bourbon, 0.5 oz of lime juice, and one of the drunken cherries my sister-in-law gave us in a big jar for Christmas.

On New Year’s Day, Mrs Thrill will make a beef brisket with black eyed peas (she assures me that this brings good luck).  On the 2nd, I’ll step onto the scale and curse my reckless stupidity.  Weight management was a big problem for me in 2017.  I did alright maintaining my weight loss from its all time high a couple of years ago after reversing a massive gain, but at no point this year did I make it back to my 2016 low.  I played it smart in December by dieting all the way up until December 21st, so I’ll mostly just have to work off about 5 pounds of bloat in the first week of 2018.  Maybe, just maybe, I can make it back to a new low by May.

Is losing weight among your own New Year’s Resolutions?  I had a conversation with JDPS about this topic a couple of months ago.  He shared a video featuring a lecture by an Owen Wilson impersonator who basically argues that calorie counting isn’t an effective way to lose fat.  Instead, people need to follow more of a low-carb diet like Atkins.

To a point, I agree with Taubes.  I do think he’s wrong to say that you won’t lose body fat simply by reducing calories.  The “Twinkie Diet” and other experiments provide ample proof of this, though I wouldn’t recommend trying them on yourself.  If you reduce calories below maintenance level, you will lose weight.  The only issue is whether or not you can go for several months carefully tracking your caloric intake.  It’s hard, as anyone who has tried it knows.

Where Taubes is right is that carbs from sugar really are making us fat.  I just don’t think that sugar itself is bad for us and should be avoided at all costs.  I think you should limit carbs as much as you can because they’re essentially “empty” and it’s really easy to eat too much of them.   My argument is that if you drastically reduce the sugar from your diet and instead focus on protein, fiber, and good fats you will reduce your intake of calories each day and lose weight while feeling more full. The problem with carbs is that we eat too many of them.  Fundamentally, I’m with Taubes on that.

I guarantee you that you can take a daily meal plan from Atkins, South Beach Diet, or any other fad diet and punch it into a calorie tracker like Lose It and find that you’d be running a caloric deficit.  Me personally, I do count calories, but I also follow Taubes’s advice on the types of foods to avoid because I find that it helps reduce my caloric intake without feeling hungry all day.

For those of you who are trying to lose weight this year, go for it!  I can’t tell you which diet is best.  It must be the one that is most comfortable for you.  Remember that it needs to be something you can follow for the rest of your life.  Unless you want to do the Twinkie thing.

Besides the yo-yo dieting, this was a fine year for me and my family.  Yeah, there were a couple of setbacks here and there, but I kept a good attitude and overcame.

2018 will be all about staying the course until WW3 finally starts.  Hard to say if I’ll be writing another post a year from now or trying to start a fire by banging rocks together in the radioactive glow of a former metropolitan area.

Surely that’s an exaggeration, isn’t it?  Not really.  North Korea is still threatening to attack us with nuclear-tipped ICBM’s while Russia and China quietly continue secret trade with the Kim regime.  Or, at least, individuals and companies from those countries are violating the sanctions.  History suggests that these great power bickerings over shithole territories in which one or more great powers has vested emotional and economic investments generally turn into large scale conflicts between each other.  I’m not optimistic that it can be avoided.

What’s less clear is whether Iran’s government can avoid being Shah’d in the very near future.  I fully agree with the president’s decision to voice support for the protesters.  It bothered me when Obama took a wait-and-see approach followed by a tepid too-late response to the Iranian protests on his watch, especially contrasted with his eagerness to support the removal of a pro-American government in Egpyt in 2011.  Knowing that there is strong international sympathy for their cause can motivate the protesters further.  It’s gives them moral resolve, similar to what Reagan did for Soviet-bloc dissidents.

The only question from there is whether the CIA can just stay the hell out of it and let it work.  Based on what I’ve been able to determine from following this story, I do think it’s an organic protest instead of an American or Israeli operation.  The more it’s left alone the better, lest we want blame for another Syrian Civil War/ISIS type of crisis pinned on the US by its enemies.

https://twitter.com/CStamper_/status/947231697531293696

The only other news story I’ve been following is less-significant in the grand scheme of things but sensational enough to watch.  Let’s talk about the SWAuTistic Tyler Barriss.

Twenty-eight-year-old Andrew Finch was shot and killed by police in Wichita late Thursday, after a fraudulent emergency call drew police to his family’s residence with their weapons drawn. The hoax call — an instance of what’s known as “swatting” — was placed after an argument in the online game Call of Duty.

It ties together a couple of worthy discussions to have.   First, it’s another example of how fucked American law enforcement tactics are.  Again and again we see that police place too high of a priority on “officer safety” and too little on public safety–the very reason for their existence.

The other discussion is whether or not our laws can (or maybe even should) be applied to address Internet-assisted crimes such as swatting.  The FBI estimates that about 400 swatting incidents happen each year, according to something I read somewhere.  The suspect, Barriss, already has criminal convictions for making hoax bomb threats but didn’t do very serious time.  Swatting is generally a misdemeanor offense and the perpetrators are rarely caught and punished despite the number of famous people who have been targeted by the tactic.

In that regard, it’s amazing that innocent homeowners don’t get killed more often, I guess, but this is an excellent case to discuss what needs to be done about swatting and police use of deadly force both.

With regard to this specific case, I say Barriss will likely be charged in Kansas for falsely reporting a violent crime using electronic methods to disguise the origin of the call.  That’s a felony offense in Kansas.  If this is actually him speaking in the interview below, it’s a slam dunk case for 2nd degree murder in Kansas as well, if not 1st degree felony murder.

He pretty much satisfied all of the elements of Murder Two right there as I see it, if death of another resulting from actions taken by one who was demonstrating a total indifference to human life is what you need.

I’m less sure about the other CoD player who put Barriss up to it, but given that the authorities completely fucked up by killing Finch, you can bet that they’re going to make sure that all responsibility is laid somewhere else.  Barriss isn’t a sympathetic figure and is going to have to face the full brunt of the law for Finch’s death, even if Finch’s family is (fairly) blaming the cops.

Sooooo.  What would you like to end the year off bitching about?

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Zurvan

I just don’t think that sugar itself is bad for us and should be avoided at all costs. Read his book, The Case Against Sugar. Some of the statistics around diabetes absolutely blew my mind. Of course…I still eat a lot of sugar. Despite having a father who died way too early from complications of Diabetes. I have tried to “lose weight” numerous times. And it works, at least temporarily. I’m trying to define a way that I can live the rest of my life, not dieting, not “losing weight”, just…living healthy. I figure if I live healthy, the weight… Read more »

First off, im surprised that the Trump administration has lasted out a the first 6 7 8 months or so it looked like a train wreck. Now not so much. Trump is still a ass, but it seems that allthe attention is on his public activities, while the media tends to miss the deal making and success in the background. The SWATing, oh it finally happened, trigger happy cops, shoot the guy at his door. No attempt to size up the situation no tempt to establish contact first, just go in blasting. The instigator of this killing should be transferred… Read more »

Judge Dredd, Peo Se

If you read into taubes a little more thrill, you’ll find that he and his acolytes don’t say to swear off sugar, they just believe for it to be healthy it should be consumed in a 2:1 ratio with dietary fiber. That would mean eating an orange instead of drinking orange juice, for example. Zurvan hit the nail on the head and even cited the same book I would have (here’s to 2018). Things like the Twinkie diet are reckless, and while a caloric deficit may have made the subjects lose weight they probably would all be at least hypoglycemic… Read more »

Zurvan

The prosecution doesn’t need to show intent or malice, just a reckless disregard for life by way of his actions. So he’s got the Clinton defense then – “Careless” instead of “reckless disregard”. The California judge gave Kansas until Feb. 2nd to pick him up for extradition – which he didn’t fight interestingly enough. So they’ve got 30 days to strengthen the case before officially charging him with anything beyond the “making a false alarm” that he’s been charged with. On another note – you would think our 911 systems would have the ability to tell when someone is calling… Read more »

Zurvan

On another topic…

My 401k closed the year with a 21.75% growth rate. Whether that’s due to Trump, or aliens, or whatever, that’s a damn good year.

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