peskyblubber

That pesky blubber. If it wasn't for that, he'd be Superman.

Month: June, 2012

Jackal of the Week: Nikki Haley

by dougiedigital

Fear not cervical cancer, for slippery slopes are our greatest threat!

South Carolina governor Nikki Haley – no stranger to the sometimes unpleasant consequences of [alleged] sexual activity – is at it again, yesterday vetoing legislation that would have provided a free, optional HPV vaccine to every seventh-grade girl in the state. Someone should explain to her that pappillomavirii can’t vote.

According to the CDC, the HPV vaccine not only prevents genital warts and the spread of the most prevalent sexually transmitted infection; it also protects against cervical cancer, which afflicts 12,000 and kills 4,000 women per year in the United States. The National Cancer Institute of the NIH, which recommends that the vaccine be administered to women between the ages of 13 and 26 who have not already been vaccinated, estimates that HPV vaccination can reduce the incidence of lethal cervical cancer by as much as two-thirds.

Seizing on the opportunity to significantly reduce cancer deaths for the relatively modest cost of a vaccination would seem like a no-brainer. South Carolina’s House of Representatives agreed, approving the bill by a 63-40 vote with bipartisan support, and the state Senate was even more emphatic, passing the initiative by a whopping 40-2 margin. Not so fast, said Haley, who must figure that cervical cancer is another thing women don’t care about. Defending the move in her veto message, Haley explained that providing seventh-graders with an HPV vaccine is a precursor to “another taxpayer funded healthcare mandate.”  There are so many fallacies in this remark, it’s hard to pick a place to start.

It’s not really clear what Haley means by “another taxpayer funded healthcare mandate,” but let’s assume she’s referring to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  That legislation isn’t a taxpayer funded mandate, or really a taxpayer funded anything for that matter.  It’s a law that, in exchange for prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions, will require individuals not already covered by insurance plans to purchase minimal, essential health insurance coverage or to face a civil penalty.  Such insurance coverage is only “taxpayer funded” in the tautological sense, in that since we are all “taxpayers,” anything that any of us purchases is “taxpayer funded.”  But in that sense, even the nice shoes on Governor Haley’s feet were “taxpayer funded,” let alone the over $127,000 of public money she spent during a week in Europe looking for “jobs, jobs, jobs,” so she mustn’t have meant it that way.

Whatever Haley meant, it’s self-evident that a taxpayer funded mandate of any kind is an oxymoron.  A mandate by itself doesn’t require funding; it is merely a command that its subjects act a certain way.  For instance, who “funds” the mandate Nikki Haley signed requiring South Carolina voters to show photo ID at the polls?  That’s a rhetorical question, so you needn’t respond – the answer is that Haley’s comments weren’t about a “mandate,” they were a cheap swipe at the healthcare reform bill now pending before the Supreme Court and a tired attempt to portray that bill’s most significant feature as “socialism.”  Real socialists hate the individual mandate because forcing the public to buy private insurance is, obviously, the very opposite of socialism.  But today’s republicans couldn’t care less what real socialists think, since labeling something as “socialist” is one of many conservative clichés they can hide behind to avoid meaningful policy discussion.  Such is the prerogative of a political party whose base has become so unhinged that it resides in an ideological hall of mirrors.

And even if the Affordable Care Act did impose some sort of a government-run, single-payer healthcare system – which it doesn’t and is a long way from coming to fruition even if the democrats wanted it to – how could there be “another” one, as Haley seems to fear?  Is it possible to impose socialism on top of socialism?  Haley has trapped herself with her own vacuous rhetoric.  She can’t, out of one side of her mouth, miscast Obamacare as having imposed socialized medicine on America, while simultaneously, out of the other, striking down new legislation on the grounds it could lead us to socialized medicine.

But I digress.  The biggest problem with Haley’s comment is that the only thing providing seventh grade students with a free HPV shot is a “precursor” for is preventing the spread of HPV and its associated lethal cancers.  Haley’s faulty slippery slope reasoning captures exactly what is wrong with the conservative movement in America today—it manifests a slavish devotion to the notion that if you give a liberal a cookie, he’s going to want a glass of milk, where “liberal” is defined to include anyone falling to the left of Glenn Beck on the political spectrum.  Bipartisan cooperation or compromise be damned!

So, to protect glasses of milk across the Palmetto State, today we sacrifice womens’ (and little girls’) health.  Well done, Nikki, and good luck with those national political aspirations… you filthy, shallow jackal.

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Announcing Pesky Blubber’s inaugural poll of #peskybachelors

by dougiedigital

Chimpanzee Community

It’s OK, Kalon. I’m sure you’ll get a rose next time.

When I committed to writing for this blog, I figured mosts of my posts would be about ABC’s reality clusterwank, The Bachelorette.  In all seriousness, The Bachelor(ette) franchise significantly motivated this blog.  The thinking was that I could offer a semi-regular dose of semi-humorous, semi-insightful commentary from a voice outside of the show’s target audience of 18-34 year old women.  Then I got sidetracked trying to track down a password, the season got a couple episodes ahead of me, and a blog inspired by a television dating show became one dedicated to jackals and obese sea mammals.

Now five weeks after the season debut, a lot has happened in Bachelorette-land.  What was once a pack of 25 suit-wearing suitors teeming with testosterone is down to a shadow of its former self.  Gone are the days of choppering in to make an intro, rocking boomboxes and shamrock green dress shirts at cocktail parties, and promising to protect proxy ostrich eggs.  Television’s single mother of the moment, Emily Maynard, has whittled away those who were too young, too old, too stylish, too honest, too neurotictoo handicapped, too gypsy, too inspirationaltoo black, and too obsessed with their own abdominal muscles to play the role of surrogate father.   The set of contestants is now down to eight veritable Adonis clones, all of them of course white, athletic, and between 25 and 33 years old.

With the fun and games out of the way, it’s time to get serious: it’s time to bring you Pesky Blubber’s poll of #peskybachelors.  I should note that this list doesn’t strive to present who should “win,” but rather who will.  In order from next-to-go to Emily’s go-to-bro, feast your eyes.  Then cast your own vote at the bottom.

8.  Ryan “Big Dumb Animal” Bowers.  We here at Pesky Blubber haven’t been shy about our love for Ryan, or the “Big Dumb Animal” as we affectionately call him.  Whether he’s breaking down Emily’s kiss with Arie or breaking down Shakespeare’s prose after kissing Emily himself, Ryan brings the wisdom, and he does it with a flair that is as mesmerizing as it sometimes is stunning.  The fashionable scarves Ryan donned in London would have been enough to melt our hearts if we hadn’t already melted from the way Ryan and Emily both ham up the Southern accents when they’re together.  To be sure, Ryan’s relationship with Emily doesn’t want for a spark or suffer at all for lack of attraction—she wants to take his pants off this instant, though being the gentleman he is, we expect him to make her work for it.  Ryan’s problem is two-fold: his charm is so intoxicating that Emily won’t trust him, and his smarmy satire is so subtle that it goes over Emily’s head.  It’s going to be tragic when it happens, but she’s going to pull the cord on the parachute soon.  It was still fun while it lasted, and we’ll always have the memory of him palling up with Doug in their matching black muscle v-necks.  Bring on The Bachelor Augusta; Ryan’s probably done with Emily anyway.

7.  Travis “The Egg” Pope.  Maybe it’s his striking resemblance to South Park’s Big Gay Al, or maybe it’s his subtly effeminate diction, but I’m unconvinced that Travis is actually straight.  Don’t get me wrong – he seems like a great catch, and gay men can be “bachelors” too.  From his ceremonious egg smash with Emily to his time joshing around with the boys, Travis makes the people around him laugh and seems like a fun guy.   And unlike most Bachelor(ette) contestants, he isn’t wildly self-obsessed.  Whether he’s gay or straight, Travis deserves the right to marry whatever consenting adult he chooses.  It’s just that five episodes in, we’ve yet to see anything suggesting that person is a woman, let alone Emily Maynard.

6.  Doug “The Hulk” Clerget.  “The Hulk” is a fitting nickname for Doug, not only because the man clearly takes pride in his [ostensibly] steroid-enhanced physique, but also because he’s just as clearly a rageaholic.  Being a 33 year-old Doug myself, I wanted to like this guy, but he lost me from the first episode when he presented Emily with a handwritten letter that he no doubt forced his 11-year old son to write.  How poor Austin was supposed to pen a touching note to a women he’d never met, let alone how Emily could credibly claim she found the note touching, is beyond me.  What isn’t beyond me is that Doug is a rat fink bastard whose first order of business on The Bachelor was to exploit his son – who he left behind in Tacoma for two months to compete on a reality show – as a cheap gimmick to connect with ABC’s first single mom bachelorette.  It also hasn’t escaped my attention that Doug is conniving, uptight, and recreant (and enjoys cross-dressing).  Just two weeks after engineering Tony’s exit, he sold Kalon down the river.  Doug probably thought he hit the jackpot when Emily not only sent the “luxury brand consultant” packing but also expressed disappointment at everyone else who didn’t share Doug’s willingness to stab a bro in the back.  Unfortunately for Mr. Perfect, as much as Emily talks a big game about “baggage” and demands that her suitors pay lip service to playing the part of Ricki’s daddy, her step-parent requirements are a one-way street.  There’s no way Ms. Maynard will be mom to another man’s moppet.  She’ll string Doug  along a while longer before she ruthlessly yanks the plug.  Thankfully, Doug is wound up so tight we might just get a good blow-up on his way down the drain.

5.  John “Wolf” Wolfner.  It’s fitting that Wolf’s first date with Emily was in a cave because he’s the stalactite of contestants: he keeps hanging around, slowly dripping in the dark, but otherwise leaving no proof that he exists.  Never doing enough to draw the ire of Emily or the envy of the other guys, Wolf also never does enough to seem interesting or reveal who this “data destruction specialist” really is.  After five two-hour episodes, almost all we know about “Wolf” we learned during that one date, which was a two-on-one date at that—and that is really all we need to know about him.  Emily picked Wolf as one of the two guys to subject to the hell that is a two-on-one date, knowing she had to send one of the two home at the end.  That is hardly a signal that she senses a deep bond with either.  When Nate, Wolf’s co-date, proudly mispronounced “quinoa” and then broke down in tears during his alone time with Ms. Maynard, Wolf back-doored his way into a rose.  This is the essence of Wolf – that he doesn’t screw up – and compared against a lot littered with screw ups, it’s not a bad strategy.  Constantine Tzortzis played it into the penultimate episode a year ago, while Lindzi Cox rode the do-nothing pony all the way to the final episode with Ben Flajnik.  “Wolf” will get by with it another round or two, but not likely look enough to reach the Final Four and earn a prestigious home visit.  That’s okay.  We still love him for calling out Kalon’s designer luggage.  And for the red pants.

4.  Chris “Young Buck” Bukowski.  I’m not a fan of Chris.  Maybe it was the way he kicked things off by presenting Emily with a grotesque bobble-head doll in her likeness.  Perhaps it was the way he over-aggressively, and shamelessly, moved in on Emily for his first kiss.  Or it could have been his attempt to “confront” Doug over a perceived beef that consisted entirely of his own insecurity about his age.  Whatever the reason, Chris comes off like a weasel.  Whether Emily realizes this or not is ultimately irrelevant because, whether Chris thinks he’s mature for his age or not, she is not going to get engaged to someone younger than she is.  Chris gets points for being the first to steal a kiss, regardless of how awkwardly he pulled it off, and he’ll likely survive another couple weeks simply by staying off Emily’s naughty list.  We can hope for another good tussle with Doug along the way, but Chris should be sufficiently deterred from his last dust-up to dare going there.  The sooner “Young Buck” is gone, the happier I’ll be.

3.  Arie “Daze of Thunder” Luyendyk, Jr.  With the ever-critical home visits still on the horizon, it may seem premature to start making predictions as to the cuts that will go down after Emily meets the parents (and after the parents meet Emily).  This season, there are three contestants that stand out so prominently that we’re still willing to go there.  Chief among them at this point is Arie, who established himself in week three as the clear frontrunner.  Like Emily’s ex-fiance and the father of her child, Arie is a race care driver.  Check.   He is a very strong kisser.  Check.  He knows how to romance a lady during a beach rendezvous.  Check.   He dresses up like a very pretty nurse and even freshens up alright for a mugshot.  Check.  It also doesn’t hurt that he benefits from the positive association of Dolly Parton, Emily’s favorite entertainer, gracing their first date with her presence.  There’s still a lot of time left for Arie to slide out of the poll position, and he probably will.  It’s hard to run the entire race in front – as Arie should know being the son of a two-time Indianapolis 500 champion and an Indy car driver himself – and rumor has it that Emily’s delicate ego can’t handle his allegedly shady past.  Arie nonetheless remains firmly in the top-three, and for now, he narrowly holds the lead.

2.  Sean “Daddy’s Boy” Lowe.  Sean is a bit of Rorschach blot.  On the one hand, he’s a handsome, wholesome former D-I football player with a charming smile, a strong Christian upbringing, and a willingness to make Emily a whole gaggle of beautiful babies.  On the other, he’s a boring  insurance agent who is not likely to have a lot of money and who the whole world now knows to be a consistently lame kisser.  Emily seems to see him more for the former, which I suppose is to her credit, though pardon me for noting that they interact more like siblings than they do like passionate lovers.  Like Arie, Sean’s a fixture in the final three at this point.  My money says he fails to seal the deal once Emily gets sick at the thought of making out with her brother and realizes Sean won’t have the financial means to subsidize her appreciation for the finer things in life.  Who knows, though… maybe that will change once she sees him in the fantasy suite with his clothes (and all his body hair) off.  Gross.

1.  Jef “The Quaff” Holm.  It’s hard not to feel like Jef has it all: a quaffgreat socks, and across-the board fashion sense that extends to designer bags.  He was cool as a cucumber when he greeted Emily for the first time while tossing the skateboard he rode in on to the bushes.  And, importantly, he has money.  Aside from what he’s got, Jef has also played his cards well.  While it’s easy to sit on the sidelines and criticize Bachelorette contestants for their over-the-top aggressive moves, things are probably a lot more difficult when you’re one of twenty-five narcissists, all unaccustomed to hearing the word “no,” with only fleeting opportunities to make the stand-out impression you need to avoid the ever-present guillotine of rose denial from  dropping on your exposed neck, all the while the other piranhas circle your prospective carcass waiting for their own chance to dine on the pond’s solitary piece of meat.  It’s in light of this challenging dynamic that I’m all the more impressed by Jef’s brilliant slow play and the discipline he exhibited in denying Emily the kiss she so badly and so obviously craved for weeks.  If there’s a wild card here, it’s that Jef’s parents are allegedly Mormon, so he may be, too.  With Emily’s public pronouncements about her faith, it’s difficult to see her plunging into the Church of Latter-Day Saints.  Barring such a spiritual snarl, look for Jef to draft his way into the final weeks and suddenly get interested in Emily when it’s time to claim her in the end.  He’s got things figured out like that.

Big Dumb Animal’s Little Red Book

by rickblaineusa

Mr. Potatohead thinks BDA has an oversized head and tiny face.

Pesky Blubber saw Ryan Bowers on Emily’s Bachelorette and immediately glossed him Big Dumb Animal. It’s unfortunate that the name stuck, because B.D.A. has proven to be a brilliant wordsmith. (Incidentally, he’s also mastered a fake Southern good-ole-boy accent that exists only when he’s talking to Emily.)

Week 4 saw B.D.A. going Ben Franklin on all sorts of topics, and Pesky Blubber was there to collect them*—and will be there during Week 5 to do it again.

On age.

How old is Nate? 25? How old is John? 30? Five year difference. It makes a difference in a man’s life.

On greatness.

I’ve had coaches tell me that the enemy of great is good. But just being good is, uh, not enough.

On genetics.

Me and you would have some pretty children. Some pretty kids.

On intelligent design.

God designed you to be a beautiful woman. So be a beautiful woman. You know what I mean?

On relationships.

There’s a lot of depth here. You know. To who I am. I have a very, I guess, mature approach to relationships.

You don’t establish a relationship built on physical…. You know, I used to think that way, for sure.

On being a superhero.

Isn’t it great whenever you’re able to use a position like this?

Coming into this, I was praying not only for myself but for you. That you would use this opportunity to really impact tons and tons of people.

To whom much is given much is required.

On the Protestant work ethic.

I think that God smiles on a man who recognizes his passions and chases his dreams.

On predestination.

I personally feel like God has blessed me. In a lot of ways. I’m romantic and I’m athletic and I’m a charming guy and all those things.

Emily: I like what I see in her. I see that there’s great potential. But, then again, to be very honest with you, I feel like I’m called to something bigger. You know.

On empathy.

I don’t know. I guess guys do see me at the head of the pack. A guy they’ll have to beat out. As they begin to feel a little bit less secure about where they stand with Emily, they’ll begin to lash out. Sometimes I even feel sorry for them.

On confidence.

I’m not really worried about Emily and Arie. She says that every time we’re around each other she’s more and more impressed by me. So I just don’t see Arie as a threat to be honest with you. I’m very sure that I am a really good catch. You know. And I think the other guys see that.

On courtship.

I know she’s attracted to me and I’m attracted to her. Tonight I want to flirt with her a little bit. And build up some excitement.

Being flirtatious is a good thing. If you can’t flirt, what can you do?

There you go touching my leg again. Golly. That’s fine.

On clever witticisms.

I’m not here to impress you, but to make an impression upon you. You know?

On mergers and acquisitions.

I’m really evaluating Emily. I’m just doing my due diligence I guess you could say at this point.

To a beautiful trophy … possible wife.

On earning it.

I think it’s very admirable of you that you recognize that even though you are the center of attention, it doesn’t automatically make you worthy. So, tell me why you are.

On the future.

When this whole thing is done, if it doesn’t work out for me, I’m involved with the media back home, I’m going to say, Let’s do Bachelor Ryan or Bachelor Augusta. You know what I mean?

I’m a good man. I know that. I’m confident in my own [indecipherable], the reason I make the choices that I make. If I was the Bachelor, I would be ready to open my heart up. And it would be neat for everybody to see.

-RB

*For those of you wondering if a human being really said all these things, here’s some evidence [our apologies for having to slog through a minute-long ad for a minute-long clip]: http://www.hulu.com/embed/DwuEJY_apoGOH5nyN79mGw/3508/3585/i3524


Living life in the third person

by dougiedigital

Is this the image of self-awareness?

In his latest mental fart for ESPN entitled “LeBron being Lebron,” Rick Reilly got one thing right: America hates LeBron James, and we don’t just hate him a little.  As of September 2010, the only athletes Americans hated more were a convicted dog fighter, an [alleged] rapist, a philandering golfer that compulsively cheated on his supermodel wife, a man who legally changed his last name to his jersey number in Spanish, and perhaps the biggest prima donna in NFL history.  Surprisingly, we hate the self-proclaimed “King” even more than we hate another well-known [alleged] rapist.  But that might just be because most American sports fans hold an especially hateful place in their hearts for athletes with dark complexion, so we can’t knock LBJ too much with that comparison.  And lest you think LeBron’s bad Q Score in the fall of 2010 was a short-term byproduct of his all-around ill-conceived “Decision” a few months earlier, rest assured that although his popularity has modestly recovered, most of us still dislike him very much.  Even some within the hip-hop community that once adored him have taken to clowning the guy.

With so much hate for “The King,” it was only a matter of time before Rick Reilly – the widely derided frontrunner that he is – decided to get in on the fun.  And oh boy, did he:

You hate him — still! — for the way he botched the announcement of his free-agent move from Cleveland to Miami.

Forget that hundreds of people move from Cleveland to Miami every year.

Forget that dozens of NBA players change teams every year.

No, Rick, that’s not it.

It was only one mistake. Has he showed up in any police reports since? Has he cheated on his fiancée ? Has he left his children stranded in the pick-up circle at school?

Has he refused to speak to reporters after a single game this season? Has he called out his teammates for their poor play, as Kobe Bryant did twice this postseason? Has he gotten his coach fired? Been fined for criticizing refs? Asked to be traded, released or named general manager?

Has he punched anybody? Choked anybody? Screamed at any parking valets? (Mom doesn’t count.)

Ummm, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, and no.  And no, Rick, you’re not getting any warmer.

You despise him because he passes too much. Imagine that. You hate a modern NBA player for not being selfish.

This just takes the cake.  C’mon, Rick, who would hate an NBA player for passing too much?!

When a columnist suggests something as absurd as hating a basketball player for passing too much, it’s hard to tell whether he really believes what he’s writing or is just setting up an elaborate straw man to demolish in a blaze of self-pleasing glory.  Since this is Rick Reilly we’re talking about, we can’t really be sure, especially when he underscores his message with the gravitas of so many gratuitous one-sentence paragraphs and rhetorical questions.  So let’s give Mr. Reilly the benefit of the doubt and assume he’s being honest—in which case the man needs an education.

We don’t hate LeBron because he prefers the warm beaches of South Florida to the frozen hell that is Cleveland, or because in cajoling us into “The Decision” he subjected us to the worst television show of 2010.  We don’t hate LeBron because he rides around on the back of a golf cart with his superpal flashing a jacket that looks like he borrowed it from Craig Sager or struts around in a parking garage, along with same said superpal, carrying a luxurious leather murse.  Shoot, we don’t even hate LeBron because, despite being from Akron, he’s somehow glommed on as a fan of the New York Wankees and the Dallas Cowsluts.

We hate LeBron because, in doing those things and everything else that he does, he refuses to ever exhibit even the slightest hint of self-awareness.  By choosing to join forces with his rival over competing against him, LeBron not only told us a lot about his own sense of competitiveness, or lack thereof; he also transformed the NBA landscape by creating the league’s most feared “Super Team,” which many believe motivated the owners’ hardline stance during the recent collective bargaining showdown.   Yet while sports writers and fans marvel in disbelief at LeBron’s nonchalance to all of this, LeBron just goes on: attributing the backlash against him to a “race factor,” surrounding himself with an impenetrable entourage, sarcastically inviting the public to participate in his very own “Hater Day,” encouraging parents who watch cartoons with their kids and don’t like it to “Blame it on LeBron,” and likening himself to Tim Tebow.

Almost a year after the fact, LeBron finally issued an apology of sorts to the people of Cleveland for “the way it happened.”  But because his mea culpa revealed nothing about himself, only that he knew people were upset with him, it utterly missed the point.  We all have favorite athletes that don’t belong to our favorite teams, and we all realize people make mistakes in life.  We don’t expect perfection, on the court or off.  But we do demand that our heroes act human – whether they have superhuman talents or not – and that they possess a basic level of self-awareness such that we know, that they also know, that they are human.   We demand that our champions be more than just a brand, and that they not be so terrified of diminishing their personal brands that they lose sight of their own humanity.  As GrantLand staff writer Carles put it:

I want to root for an athlete who accepts that he has a genetic gift that enabled him to make more money than me, even though I potentially do something that is more valuable to my city’s local economy. I need an athlete to remind me that it is “just a game” every now and then without making me cry about an off-the-field issue that is “too real.” I want to sort out levels of “greatness” later, and enjoy the personalities of the game.

In short, we hate LeBron because he doesn’t get it.  It wasn’t that he strung six cities along for months to read tea leaves as to where he would be “taking his talents;” the reality of modern sports is that any superstar athlete will disappoint the fans of most cities when he signs elsewhere as a free agent.  It’s that LeBron exercised his prerogative to make a purely selfish decision all the while coaxing us along with a two year cocktease as if his decision would be about more than that.  It wasn’t that “The Decision” itself was a wretched idea; it was probably Jim Gray’s idea anyway.  It’s that LeBron didn’t realize how self-serving and off-putting it was to everyone watching, and still can’t squarely acknowledge this.  It wasn’t that he disappeared after Game Two of the 2011 NBA Finals and watched his team fall to an undertalented Dallas Mavericks squad; the postseason is cruel in that way and no athlete is capable of winning them all.  It’s that after losing, instead of capitalizing on the opportunity to express a little humility, LeBron took to the air  to chastise the haters and gloat that “they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today.”

You know the way it sticks out as strange and a little narcissistic when people speak about themselves in the third person?  LeBron James lives his entire public persona in the third person – and still seems oblivious to the fact he’s doing it.   And that, Rick Reilly, is why “King James” is absolutely not the kind of person I would want my [unborn] children to have as their hero.  He just doesn’t get it.

Rick Reilly apparently doesn’t get it either.  Who knew he and LeBlivious had so much in common.

Pesky Blubber tweets the Bachelorette (Week 3)

by rickblaineusa

And one more, just for fun:

“The Big Dumb Animal didn’t think he’d have to compete with someone who can speak complete sentences & write above a 2nd-grade level.”

It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside a Wendy’s triple baconator

by rickblaineusa

He’s on the case.

A friend of Pesky Blubber sent us this story about NY Jets’ head coach Rex Ryan. In the five months since his team lost to the Dolphins on New Years Day, he has dropped 90 lbs—for a stunning (and either stellar or egregious, depending on your perspective) 0.6-pound-per-day loss. That’s over 4 lbs a week for everyone dutifully adhering to the conventional wisdom of 1-2 lbs per week for healthy and sustainable weight loss.* What’s his secret? He’s not telling:

Ryan had gastric bypass surgery two years ago. Ryan declined an interview request to discuss exactly how he’s dropped the weight.

So it wasn’t your first guess. What else could it be? Here’s one clue:

Ryan said players are getting on him about how skinny he looks. “They push me to wear [long sleeves] because of the weight loss,” Ryan said. “My arms look like twigs and things. They’re like, ‘Please put some sleeves on.’ I’m like, ‘all right.

I don’t know what ‘twigs and things’ are. I know what a twig is, and I know what it means as a metaphor for an arm. What would the universal object-referencer ‘thing’ mean in this context? Did he get misquoted? Perhaps he really said ‘My arms look like twigs and things that no-one wants to look at because they induce revoltion in the viewer.’ We’ll never know. But we do know that whatever his weight-loss secret, it has made his arms look small and disgusting—which tells us that he has lost massive amounts of muscle on his crash diet.

That should eliminate the paleo (or even low carb) diet as a possibility. A paleo diet would include enough protein to spare muscle, and it should improve hormones that do the same. My guess is that he hired a personal chef and embarked on the tried-and-true low-fat, low-calorie route, replete with lots and lots of chronic cardio. It’s a well-worn path to weight loss and regain in 99% of participants. Good luck, Rex! You’re already in the 1% in another area of life. Make it two-for-two!**

But why is Rex being mum anyway? Is losing weight shameful? Or is it a trade secret that warrants protection [like how Disney convinced film critics to treat The Avengers like it wasn’t a huge pile of shit on par with Daredevil]? I understand that what exactly causes obesity remains a mystery (sort of), and how to get rid of fat mass without down-regulating your metabolism is damn-near, if not entirely, impossible. And those two facts lead to ridiculous and dangerous means of shedding fat and to inevitably regaining it. Still, it’s strange that a feat that inspires so much applause—losing 25% of your body weight—would lead to silence. It makes us wonder about his technique, of course. But it also makes us wonder about the perception of weight loss as a whole. Is it now not only embarrassing*** to have put on weight, but also embarrassing to have lost it? It’s a fascinating development, if we may extrapolate one person’s silence to the entire world.

Or does it just indicate how brutal it is for someone who is generally considered overweight to discuss how he or she lost (or is trying to lose) that weight? Everyone has an opinion—particularly, I hear, lifetime skinny people who are on horrible diets themselves and can’t grasp that it is their genes and not their brilliance that has kept them that way. From that perspective, we think Rex is right on track refusing to divulge his secrets. Who wants every Giants fan in the country talking about your diet and ripping you apart for it? Other health issues are considered private, and maybe weight loss should be too.

-RB

*To be perfectly fair, the article says that his weight loss started during the season. But we’re all well-conditioned on how hard NFL coaches grind preparing for games each week. It’s seems safe to bet that his real strategy wasn’t in full force until after the season. It also makes the numbers work much better.

**Maybe not. The friend who shared this story with us predicted: ‘One thing is for sure. He will be fat as s**t by the end of the season.’

***That’s a descriptive, not a normative, judgment. I do not personally think that anyone should be embarrassed by weight gain. But I do think that, as a general matter, most people who gain weight are somewhat embarrassed by it, at least from my discussions with friends and having sat through ‘Weight of the Nation.’