Mice and Men


As a coda, I guess, to yesterday’s post about the vagaries of losing or gaining weight, I read a New York Times article with a clickbaity headline, which I’ve forgotten. It was about food, though.

Food and diet, and mice, of course. Scientists gave a variety of mice a variety of diets over a three-month period (mimicking around 9 years in the human lifespan). High fat, low fat, high carb, low protein, you get it. What might be making us fat?

I just enjoyed it because one of the people interviewed summed up the study, I assume with his tongue stuck in his cheek, by saying, “Eating a moderately high-fat diet will make you obese. If you’re a mouse.”

(Not a direct quote, nor am I linking, because it’s the NYT and they’re paywalled and I just don’t feel like it, anyway.)

I just see a pattern, although that’s a dangerous instinct to trust. We see patterns. Still, this seems to be a crazy field to study, and we get all crazy about it here in the cheap seats. We know all about diets now. It’s been the story of my lifetime in a way, as obesity rates have gone wacko, now globally, over the past half-century or so. That’s right—in the lifetime of Will Smith, we’ve all gotten a lot fatter. I’m not pointing any fingers.

But the science always seems to circle back to what we like to call common sense, with the usual caveat about not being so common.

Nutrition 101: We can divvy up our diet into three macronutrients--protein, carbohydrates, and fat. We tend to react to these macros consistently. Protein is satiating; it fills us up. Carbs are for quick energy. Fat tastes good. Really, really good.

And there’s a reason, of course, for all of this. We like the taste of fat because it’s loaded with energy—it has twice the calories per gram as the other two macros. Our ancestors developed a fondness for the particular foods that tended to keep them alive.

So, yeah. Another study. It didn’t seem to matter what the other mice ate, or how different those diets were; only the mice that ate a moderately-high-fat diet got fat. Extremely high? Not so much, for whatever reason, probably just an inability to consume that much energy.

But eat a pretty high-fat diet, the study suggests, and you’ll want to eat more than you should. It just tastes good. I’m a guy who makes donuts. I know about this. I don’t need to wrestle with a paywall to understand.

I don’t want to write about politics, and it’s not because I’m not interested. I’m very interested. I just don’t feel like talking about it, most of the time. Occasionally I’ll pop into a thread to give my opinion, and from time to time I screw up, just can’t stand it and say something and regret it, later.

But mostly I just don’t want to. I would if I did. I don’t care what you think about my opinion, and I don’t know why you should care.

I mean. I’m right about everything. Still. Just a guy here.


But Brett Kavanaugh is such an interesting story. This is a man who has obviously been groomed for this moment, hoping for a convergence of political power and the calendar to put him—or another cookie-cutter candidate—on the Court with decades of life theoretically ahead. We’ve seen these guys before (and they’re always guys).

We just haven’t seen one quite so incompetent. Neil Gorsuch, as much of a theft as his seat was, came off in his hearings as articulate, brilliant, prepared. Kavanaugh came off as a big ummmm.

And he lied from the very beginning, when he didn’t have to, and apparently he’s still lying. He lied earlier, at another confirmation. It’s really remarkable how easy it is to see. You say something, it’s not true. Trump sets the bar pretty low but still.

I can’t predict, though. Maybe we’re stuck with this asshole, and he’s certainly an asshole. I have sympathy for him, tarred with incidents that might just be regrets, serious errors in judgment but made when we all make those kinds of errors. I think Clarence Thomas was a serial predator; I think it’s unlikely that Kavanaugh drinks heavily and assaults women at parties anymore. A simple statement of regret and apology for any harm, even if unremembered, might have worked. Now it’s part of his story, whatever happens, and forever.

Boy, I dunno. It’s a tense time.

I just think that in a week when we see something never expected, Bill Cosby in handcuffs, maybe calling women liars is a questionable strategy. What do I know, though. I don’t want to write about it anyway.


Chuck SigarsComment