I see how people get addicted to sleeping pills. It’s one reason i won’t take them. The price I pay is an occasional night of insomnia, followed by a terrible-feeling day, but it’s worth it not to be one of those people who can’t cope without Ambien.
Which is why I didn’t update yesterday. I was staring at my laptop at 8:30, the screen swimming in my vision, the tank utterly empty. And now I find myself overwhelmed by current events, an abundance of material.
Boy, Twitter was something early on in this disaster. I don’t think I’ve seen my own feelings tracked quite so closely without actually joining in. The gist of what I saw boiled down to fuck your thoughts and prayers.
As this story is, as they say, developing, let’s hash it out in comments hours from now, which is when you all will be reading this.
Two days off, and I have a million links, most of them good, to share. So here goes. Tuesday’s health coverage in the NYT led with the startling news that after years of increase, the number of new diabetes cases is finally starting to fall. And why? Well…
There is growing evidence that eating habits, after decades of deterioration, have finally begun to improve. The amount of soda Americans drink has declined by about a quarter since the late 1990s, and the average number of daily calories children and adults consume also has fallen. Physical activity has started to rise, and once-surging rates of obesity, a major driver of Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease, have flattened. Type 1 diabetes, often diagnosed in childhood and adolescence and not usually associated with excess body weight, was also included in the data.
In other words, a problem once seen as well-nigh impossible turned out to be possible after all. It gives me hope for sensible gun laws. Of course, soda taxes of the sort public-health advocates would like is unlikely here, but when Mexico enacted them in 2013, guess what happened?
Preliminary data from the Mexican government and public health researchers in the United States finds that the tax prompted a substantial increase in prices and a resulting drop in the sales of drinks sweetened with sugar, particularly among the country’s poorest consumers. The long-term effects of the policy remain uncertain, but the tax is being heralded by advocates, who say it could translate to the United States.
“It’s exactly what we thought the tax would do,” said Barry Popkin, a professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina, whose team conducted the research.
OK, so with the health news out of the way, let’s get into the rest.
Sumner Redstone, head of Viacom and CBS and 92 years old, with some truly alarming cheek implants, is having his competency questioned. I wonder how often the reporters on this story get to write passages like this:
In an excruciating list of details, the petition said Mr. Redstone is incontinent, requires suctioning to remove phlegm up to 20 times a day, “has lately been susceptible to prurient urges and fixations that he is unable to control” and has lost interest in his prized collection of tropical fish.
The petition added that Mr. Redstone was “obsessed with eating steak,” even while on a feeding tube, and “demands, to the extent he can be understood, to engage in sexual activity every day.”
It was the part about the tropical fish that made me laugh out loud.
Remember Miss South Carolina Teen USA and her rambling, brain-farty answer to some pageant question? She was really, really hurt by your reaction. She and nine other internet-famous people – the leave-Britney-alone guy, Charlie who bit his brother’s finger, et al – talk about life these days.
The Upper Peninsula has one strip club. It is deep in the woods, and during deer season, it is jumping.
Here are all the lines spoken by female characters who are not Princess Leia in the first three Star Wars films. Don’t worry, it doesn’t take long to watch.
Ted Williams, one of my favorite outdoors writers, in an interview with Forbes. He’s old-school, a sportsman who hunts and fishes and prizes the outdoors accordingly. Alas, nature itself is like red and blue America:
…it doesn’t follow that most sportsmen are environmentalists. As a group they tend to be politically naïve and easily manipulated by their worst enemies. Because he fished and hunted and whooped it up for gun ownership, sportsmen ensured the election of George W. Bush—the most anti-fish-and-wildlife president we’ve ever had with the possible exception of Ronald Reagan, also propelled into office by sportsmen.
PETA-type purists may love fish and wildlife but not enough to learn about it. That’s why they oppose use of rotenone to save endangered fish from being hybridized and outcompeted off the planet, and that’s why they oppose culling of overpopulated deer and alien wildlife (feral horses, burros, cats, rats, hogs, goats, etc.) that destroy our native ecosystems.
There’s also a great walk-off story about sharing a name with a famous athlete.
Finally, an interview with the great Jon Carroll, who used to be linked all the time here, but hasn’t been since the San Francisco Chronicle put him behind a paywall. He’s still one of my faves. Now retired. The story has a link to a piece he wrote about depression; oh hell, I’ll just put it right here. Worth reading, if you’ve ever had the big D, or know someone who has, which is to say: Everyone.
I’m sure more will be revealed tomorrow about the California shooting. Now it’s looking like it came out of a fight at a holiday party? I can’t stand this. Talk later, all.