Wednesday, July 29, 2009
This is seriously misleading. If Weisman were to pick one denomination, (say, million, since that is the most common) and be consistant, these numbers would be a much more revealing: $2,000,000 million, $100 million, $52 million, $0.18 million, $0.47 million, $2 million, $3.8 million, and $40,000 million. The difference between $2 trillion and $100 million may not sound like much, but the difference between 2,000,000 and 100 is clear.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
But the hard thing is just how does one go about losing the weight. I'm not sure physicians are all that good at telling us how to shed the excess pounds. A year and a half ago I read ("slogged my way through" may be more accurate) Gary Taubes book Good Calories, Bad Calories which makes a very persuasive case for the fact that the basis for most nutrition advice in this country is wrong, i.e., we should be eating a heart-healthy low-fat diet and should be exercising and controlling the amount of calories we consume. Taubes says the science and the medical research prove that a low-fat diet, which by its nature is a high carbohydrate diet, is precisely the thing that is making us all fatter.
The Good Calories book is a very difficult read. It goes deeply into the physiology of obesity and diet, but I think the results are worth the effort. For someone who doesn't want to invest the couple of weeks of free-time reading the book takes, it is probably worthwhile to listen to Taubes lecture on the subject. He recently did so at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock School of Medicine, available here.
The entire lecture is about an hour long, but if you don't want to spent that much time, forward to the conclusion (click on the "Thumbs" tab in the player window and then click (or double-click) on the antepenultimate slide (third from the last) and listen to the six minute summary at the end of the lecture.
Taubes' research makes a lot of sense. One questioner calls this "the biggest public health disaster in modern history--the epidemic of obesity and diabetes". Most physicians still believe what they learned in school in the past 40 years--that low fat is healthy because everyone knows it's true. Physicians who are not aware of the latest science and research may be killing us with bad advice.
In the 18 months since I read Taubes book I've been following a low-carb lifestyle, and though I haven't lost much weight, I haven't gained any either even though I've paid virtually no attention to the number of calories I've eaten. However, I am influenced by that fat-is-bad image in the back of my head. For example, at lunch I've given up Vienna sausages (0 grams of carbs) and will have a whole wheat sandwich (20 grams of carbs) instead because everyone says the sandwich is healthier. Maybe soon more doctors will realize low-carb is healthier than low-fat and it will become easier to eat a healthy low-carb diet.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
I've been a fan of golfer Tom Watson ever since he came out on the PGA tour in 1971. I had a good friend in the Army named Tom Watson, and though they was no connection between the two I still always was a Tom-Watson-the-golfer fan. When TWTG came to the 1993 GGO my friend Wade Peoples got the above autograph for me.
About the only resemblance between my golf game and Tom's was that we generally carried the same number of clubs in our bags. I did, however, once make a stroke that Tom would have given a lot of money for. In 1984 I took a golfing trip to Ireland and Scotland with my buddy Roy Johnston. We played one round at Carnoustie in Scotland and it was very memorable.
We had two old guys, John and Charlie, for caddies. Both were life-long Carnoustie residents. John was 67 and retired and had been caddying since his retirement. John was 76 and had been caddying all his life. Both had followed Ben Hogan when he came to Scotland for the 1953 (British) Open tournament at Carnoustie and had several stories about Ben's exploits. After hitting our tee shots on the first hole, I asked Charlie if they played "mulligans" in Scotland. His reply: "Aye, lad, we do. We call them 'three'.".
Roy, John, Preston, and Charlie
Tom Watson won his first Open Championship in 1975 at Carnoustie. He needed five rounds to win that year since he and Jack Newton were tied after 72 holes. In all five rounds, Tom boggied the 16th hole, a 235-yd par three he has described as the toughest par 3 in golf. For Tom, maybe, but not for me. Against Charlie's advice (he thought it was too much club) I rifled a 3-wood shot to about 5 feet from the hole. Of course, I missed the birdie putt, but I know Tom Watson would have loved to have that 3 in any of his five tries in 1975. I even have photo evidence of the shot.:
Does Tom have a chance to win the Open Tournament tomorrow? I don't think so. The USA Olympic Hockey team had no chance against the Russians in 1980, The Jets had no chance against the Colts and the Mets couldn't win the World Series in 1969. NC State stood no chance against Phi Slama Jamma in 1983.
On second thought, maybe Tom can win.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
In the Wall Street Journal today Allen Barra has a review of the up-coming HBO Special “Ted Williams—There Goes the Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived”. I don't have HBO and I hope that some of my friends who do will tape the show for me. (Do you think anyone still knows how to tape tv shows?)
This morning, the right-center field of Bloggerstan was all atwitter with stories about President Obama's throwing out the first pitch at last night's All-Star Game. See here, here, or here. Locally, even Dr. Joe couldn't help piling on. Joe certainly had the cruelest critique: "Obama throws like a girl". Joe also included a YouTube video of pitcher Steve Hamilton throwing his "floater folly" pitch, but Joe doesn't mention one of the early "floater" pitchers, Rip Sewell, and his Eephus pitch.
Ted Williams probably did more than anyone else to make the Eephus famous. In the 1946 All-Star Game, held at Fenway Park, Sewell faced Ted in the bottom of the 8th inning with the National League already behind by nine runs and with two men on base. Rip threw Ted a first Eephus pitch and Ted missed badly, but Rip couldn't stand prosperity. He tried again. On the second Eephus, Rip always said Ted popped it up. Rip said at first he thought he could catch it, and then he thought the second baseman would catch it. Finally, he thought the right fielder would surely get it. Reportedly, the ball landed many rows deep in the right field bleachers, others say it was the bullpen. The final score was 12-zip, the first All-Star shut-out, and the Eefus was legendary.
One of my other favorite Ted Williams stories involves the All-Star Game a decade later. At mid-century, two of the best players in baseball both played in Boston, but they rarely faced each other. Ted's Red Sox were in the American League, and Warren Spahn, a Hall-of-Fame left-handed pitcher was with the Boston Braves in the National League. The Red Sox and Braves did play an exhibition game each spring, and in one of those games, Spahn faced Williams and struck him out with a very tough pitch. After the game, Ted was effusive with his praise of the pitch and told Warren it was one of the toughest pitches he had ever seen. It was almost unhittable. In the 1956 All-Star Game, in Washington, DC, Spahn faced Williams in the 6th inning with the NL leading 6-0. Nellie Fox had singled ahead of Ted, so Warren badly needed to get Ted out. He decided to try his "unhittable" pitch, and Ted parked it over the big right field fence in Grifith Stadium. Rounding second base, Ted looked at Spahn and grinned, and Warren knew he'd been had! He must have lost a little concentration, as Mickey Mantle, following Ted, went back-to-back and Warren was finished for the day. The NL won the game 7-3 but Spahn had learned a valuable lesson about Ted Williams devotion to hitting.