Seeking joy and meaning in a joyless mind and meaningless existence

Monday, July 23, 2012

In the Wake of Tragedy

I thought about writing about gun control in the wake of the horrific public shooting in Colorado, but I didn't want to look as if I were trying to politicize a national tragedy.  I would like to put in my two cents, however, after I read about the pushback Jason Alexander of Seinfeld fame received when he tweeted in support of gun control.  If it is anything like the Yahoo! story comments, I'm sure he's received some tough criticism.  One guy on Yahoo! actually called him a “communist.”   Forget the fact that it’s grossly inaccurate…How passé can you get?

Another guy echoed my thoughts on the situation, though. What exactly is the point of military-styled weapons in the hands of non-military personnel?  You can’t argue personal protection or hunting. I’m not suggesting a complete ban on all firearms.   But I just don’t understand the mentality in believing that unfettered access to any kind of weapon is covered under the Second Amendment or is even a good idea.  I mean, what about bombs?   What exactly is the difference?  After all, their intended purpose is the wounding, maiming and killing of living creatures, just like guns.  Should bombs be cheap and easy to purchase so that we can have some jackass bombing a building every other week?  Just because you wouldn’t do such a thing doesn’t mean the plentiful crop of crazies out there wouldn’t make that scenario a reality.   And what about nuclear bombs?   After all, they’re also just another type of weapon, and the mantra of the pro-gun crowd is essentially “Weapons don’t kill people. People kill people.”   If we all could legally get our hands on a nuclear device, how long before there wasn’t a city standing in the world?   You may believe that comparing guns to nuclear weapons is absurd, but it proves my point that there should be limits in the access to tools of destruction.

I understand the pro-gun crowd's opposition to any kind of gun regulation.  It's the slippery slope argument.  They're afraid that regulating one kind of gun will eventually lead the way to complete ban on all guns.  I'd be willing to bet that most of them don't actually have any use for these assault weapons, and I know none of them support the outrage of public shootings.  So I would put it to them that supporting sensible regulation while keeping guns themselves legal would bring a lot more, not less, support to their underlying issue.

Time to Pay the Piper, Fat Boy!

Well, my years of self-abuse have finally caught up with me.  (And no, I don't mean masturbation, which is my only consistent form of aerobic activity.)  I went to the doctor this morning to discuss the results of my blood tests a few weeks ago, and the results were not good.  To be honest, I'm not as upset as I might have been because I was expecting a lot worse, so I was relieved there's still hope for me to turn things around.  ("I know worry works.  90% of what I worry about never comes true.)
The upshot is that my numbers are pre-diabetic, and my cholesterol, lipids, triglycerides, etc. are too high.  Here are some highlights of my bloodwork: 
  • "Bad" (LDL) Cholesterol 122 (Borderline 100-160)
  • sdLDL Cholesterol 45 (High Risk >40)
  • "Good" (HDL) Cholesterol 42 (Borderline 40-50)
  • Triglycerides 194 (Borderline 150-200)
  • Insulin 37 (High Risk >15)

I've got a recheck in six weeks to see how well I've improved.  I spent a long time with the nurse practitioner going over the changes I need to make in my diet.  I'm reasonably knowledgeable about nutrition, but I was working under some false assumptions:
  • When I was following my previous diet, I would eat a banana every day for breakfast.  I don't even particularly like bananas, but I did it because I thought they were good for me.  As it turns out, they along with grapes, pineapples and cranberries have a high glycemic index, which is not good for people with my blood sugar problems. 
  • I was also eating a couple of bowls of cereal each night, but it was the really healthy Kashi cereals.  However, I need to cut out all of those carbohydrates.
  • I was also eating healthy, fat-free Greek yogurt as an afternoon snack.  What I didn't realize is that the fruit-flavored ones have almost 20 grams of sugar in them.  So now I've moved to the plain yogurts, which still have about 7 grams of sugar.
It's not going to be easy to completely overhaul my habits, but I'm an extremely goal-oriented individual.  It will be interesting as to how dramatic a change in my numbers I can manage in six weeks.

Giving My Father Credit

In addition to the bad news about my health, I also received a rejection slip for the short story I submitted to The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.  It was polite, if terse, but they really must've hated it, considering how quickly they rejected it.

recently criticized my father for his alleged dismissive attitude towards my writing aspirations.  However, I called him today to tell him about my doctor's appointment this morning, and I mentioned that my story was rejected.  The first thing he said is "Why didn't you send me a copy of the story?"  I was touched that he was interested enough to tell me that he wanted to read what I had written.  The next thing he said was "Well, keep at it!"  So he was offering hearty support, which refutes my claim that he had failed to be supportive of my efforts to write.  I won't delete what I wrote before, but I feel honor bound to share this generous and nurturing aspect of his character.