Tag Archives: diabetes

The Bob Dylan Challenge (or The Search for Fat Joke Number Three)

dylanfat
Gentle Readers,
All the bluster about (and coming from) NJ Governor Chris Christie may seem like bad news for the nation but it is a gift for comedians, many of whom had cut the use of fat jokes, leaving them to rest on a shelf in retirement until the big goon pissed them off.
Even Christie makes jokes about weight, ignoring the diabetes epidemic that is slowly overtaking the USA, as it overtook India when citizens there could afford to eat the same foods as us and we were kind enough to send our fast food restaurants to grace their soil.
In the old days, being fat showed wealth, prosperity. The larger a man became, the more success evidenced itself in blubber.
We prefer not to blubber but to reckon things out.
When in a thinking mood, we often slip on some music by Bob Dylan and let our minds wander to it. Even Dylan says he cannot put a meaning to any of his songs but they have an individual meaning to all of us. One song which makes the mind wander a mite more than others is Visions of Johanna, which we always want to see him perform in concert and somehow always manage to buy tickets for the night he plays Desolation Row in the same slot of his setlist.
In the masterful working of VOJ, we are presented by many characters, like the Nightwatchmen, Mona Lisa, Johanna, Louise and her Lover, a Madonna, the Peddler, the Countess…but then a lot of attention is paid to the fat ladies. He told us he was a ‘song and dance man’ and a lot of people took it as a joke but the fat joke is stock-in-trade for the song and dance man. So, in the landscape of the miracle of beauty that is the song VOJ, the artist ties it up at the end with a joke and sort of blames it on the ‘fishtruck of his mind’ unloading. Nonetheless, we yank ourselves from the mystical, ethereal quality of the song when we hear about the delicate wallflower, who will freeze
“…when the jelly-faced women all sneeze.
Hear the one with the moustache say,
Jeeze, I can’t find my knees.”
When we manage to catch this song live, that line cracks us up everytime.
We usually do not think much past that but recently we needed some upbeat music to ease the drive over the icy ridges into town, so we put on Bringing It All Back Home. This was his fifth LP and the one where he quit leaving the ‘G’ off of words ending in ‘ING.’…hhmmm, was that a ‘sell-out’? You’d have to ask a fan who can explain his songs.
In Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream, again, we hear him use a rhyme which demeans the unproportionate, too…he gets lost upon disembarking from a ship. He meets a variety of characters and, again, near the end mentions that the last he heard of the missing captain,
“He was stuck on a whale
That was married to the
Deputy Sheriff of the jail…”
In later years, we heard about The Clean Cut Kid. He is well-fed and eats at Burger King. That would certainly lead to fat but the implication is not made. It is the closest Dylan came to addressing the war in VietNam in an outright fashion, however, even though his songs were used as anthems when people were trying to stop such injustices here.

In the second movie he penned, Masked and Anonymous, there is a scene (near the end, of course) where he is confronted by Jessica Lange, playing a demented, evil woman. She tries to wound him with words but he replies, “You heard about cellulose? Cows can digest it but you can’t.” It can also be digested by a moose. Either way, insult or not, it brings to mind the ass-lumping scourge of cellulite and, actually, sometimes an insult that is not understood gets you a lot more mileage…

chris2

Anyway, back to the challenge…the man has recorded a commercial disc for each year of his life and we think he reaches seventy-three years of age this May. Did he give up the fat jokes after LP number seven? Was he forced to drop them when he had to add the ‘G’s?

WE don’t know! We are not experts. We do not even think the people who take the class at Columbia Unversity in Dylanology (or is that at NYU?…some NY College) have any idea, either, since the artist himself refuses to explain. However, with all the wondering, the pondering, the supposing, the guessing, the plotting-it-all out, we hope that some Dylan scholar will step forth with the necessary information. A few years back, we saw the Dylan/Paul Simon tour, which Dylan highlighted every evening by telling a stupid joke. Perhaps Number Three lies in there…but we would like to know if it exists in song?

Anybody?

This is a free blog so if you see any typos, live with it.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under essays, fiction, news, Uncategorized

The First Thanksgiving and Diabetes For All

     Readers of All Faiths,

     Today is the day that americans celebrate the first Thanksgiving, where we shared our food with the Native Americans, they shared their food with us, then we gave them blankets which were infested with disease, robbed them off all their land and made them a minority in their own country.  We call this The American Dream, Chapter One.

     Karma can be a bitch and it could be some old Spirit in the Sky that has wrought vengeance upon our country for the treacherous way the British in our blood caused us to decimate the native race of North America, the same way it will smite us in 20 years when the last of the wild tigers have vanished from the earth. Tiger population in the wild is calculated to be about 3,200 tigers, or tygers, compared with 100,000 a century ago. I am sure the big cats had nothing to do with it. Thanks, Mankind.

     We will still see them lolling in stinking cages in our local zoos but even they may disappear after so many years. Mankind, as Tom Waits noted, is anything but kind to the Earth and the creatures that dwell upon it. Mankind is better suited to war than to the love of animals and preservation of his it’s own habitat.

     This is a consumer’s holiday in all respects ~ we consume all we possibly can, we follow this by the biggest moneyspending day of the year, Black Friday. This leads into a frenzy of consumption that lasts six weeks and empties wallets and bank accounts, leads to mountains of unpaid credit and results in an average of 20 pounds gained by eating crap we don’t bother with the rest of the year.

     I bet that, if not for the holiday season, americans would not be overweight to the extent that they are. An open refrigerator-door policy during these weeks leaves most carrying pounds which will never come off and which lay the foundation for a few more pounds the year after that…and the year after that. Ever notice how much older someone else your own age looks when they are carrying an extra 50 pounds. A lot older.

     Then you have to deal with the issue of weight related brain damage. The brain of an obese person, when subjected to imaging, shows a startling resemblance to that of an active crack addict. Both suffer from serious lapses in judgement. When you look in the mirror, at what point do you finally say ‘these scars all over my face and the missing teeth…maybe it’s the crack’ or ‘gee. I seem to have gained a bit of weight. I appear to be 200 pounds bigger than I was in school’.  Didn’t the mirror work at 175 pounds? What is the magic formulae of realization?

     In India these days, realization comes in the form of diabetes, which is spreading quicker than it is in the USA, even. The Indian people, from centuries of poor diet or lack of diet, have genes which are used to ‘starving’. When the Western diet was introduced, the whole country became a nation of porkers. They cannot handle all the sugar and other crapola which is processed into seemingly good foods. It is called the ‘disease of affluence’ due to its source in ample food supplies and the high percentage of processed foods. India, with 15 diabetics per 100 people is the world leader in diabetes 2. I guess they were emulating what they saw on TV. Forty million diabetics reside in India.

     In the US, 23.6 million people have diabetes, close to eight per cent of the population. While 17.9 million of these cases are diagnosed, there are 5.7 per cent which remain undiagnosed and (hold on to your hats) 57 million americans with ‘pre-diabetes’. We are about to double, nay, almost triple our rate of this illness at the pace of 1,600,000 new cases a year.  These figures come from the American Diabetes Association.

     To look at it another way, on average, 32,ooo people in your home state will be diagnosed with the disease in 2011 and the numbers will slowly rise.  If you reside in Pennsylvania, that is 477 new cases in your county alone, slightly over seven new cases a month, or more simply –  a new neighbour with diabetes about once week…for now – these figures are expected to increase. Wait until those 57 million get symptomatic.

     HIV/AIDS? piff-paff, Diabetes kills scores more people and has replaced the immuno-deficiency diseases as the world’s most dangerous killer. No sex, no needles required; all  we need is a Big Mac.

     There is hope, though slim…you could exercise or eat properly but it is so much work.

     You could start today and just eat some lean turkey and say ‘no’ to all that other stuff on the table. You also do not need to eat unless you are hungry, a fact that escapes many.

     How nice! The snowflakes are falling on suburbia and inside the warm houses in my neighborhood, kids are sucking down hot chocolate and eating Count Chocula and waiting for the big meal. Future patients.

     The smart people are the ones marching in the parades.

Leave a comment

Filed under essays, news, Uncategorized