Last post provided some interesting, and I use that word advisedly, information in comments, which in turn provided more fodder for internet diet rabbit hole exploration. It was dark and humid down there. There was also some actually-cool info that was not about horrifying diets; I definitely recommend reading the comments if you missed them. Includes a discussion of cooking with cricket flour. I would try it. Seriously.

Here are a few highlights, by which I mean lowlights:

I was introduced to the monomeal. I propose it as the villain for the next Godzilla movie. Monomeal Stomps Tokyo!

Some diet freaks think fruit is bad. Others claim that fruit is the One True Way and each One True Fruit should not be contaminated by eating it with anything else, including other fruits.

Meet Freelee the Banana Girl, a vlogger who is scarily thin despite devouring 50 bananas every day and who once dated another vlog personality by the you-can't-make-this-shit-up name of DurianRider. You will be unsurprised to hear that she thinks chemotherapy rather than, you know, cancer kills people with cancer. And also that periods are a sign that you have toxins in your body, so if your period stops when you go on an all-banana diet, that proves that it's good for you.

My conclusion is that any time anyone says cavemen did anything and follows that with diet advice, their knowledge of cavemen consists of The Flintstones.

And also that anyone can get rich or at least Instagram-famous quick by coming up with an idiotic diet with a catchy name and a scientifically illiterate caveman justification.

I propose Monkey Meals (TM). You can eat anything you like as long as you eat five bananas first. Guaranteed weight loss! (Because bananas don't have many calories, but if you eat five of them before you eat anything else, you'll be too full and/or nauseated to eat much else. Seriously, I think this would work. For as long as you can stand it.) Like the monkeys they evolved from, cavemen ate lots of bananas. So as long as you eat enough bananas, you will be as healthy and skinny as a caveman!
For reasons that really don't bear rehashing, I spent the last two years getting told to go on diets. Every kind of diet. No "nightshades." No acid. No gluten. No dairy. Low-FODMAP (bans dairy, gluten, soy, legumes, and half of all fruits and vegetables.) Low-fat. "Eat nothing but bone broth that you made yourself, and if you don't simmer it for six hours, it's no good." "Microwaving food destroys its nutrients." At one point I had successive doctors tell me to go on a low-fiber diet and a high-fiber diet.

Every single diet-pusher, whether doctor or rando, said or implied (usually explicitly said), "If you don't do this, you'll never get better. Don't you want to get better?"

This was especially infuriating given that I was so underweight that I had symptoms of malnutrition. And also that in two years of dieting, there had never once been any indication whatsoever that my illness was caused by diet or that changing my diet was helpful. I eventually came to the conclusion that Americans are fucking insane about food and that a primary manifestation of sexism is controlling women by controlling what they eat.

Anyway, I am not dieting now. But now that I am slightly less likely to hit NEON RAGE APOCALYPSE at the word "diet," I clicked on a link and fell into an internet rabbit hole of diet advice. Like the evolved forager that I am, I bring you my findings for amusement, analysis, and mockery:

- A comparison of wild fruits and vegetables with cultivated ones, concluding that eating fruits and vegetables is unhealthy because they are unnatural and not what the cavemen ate.

By that reasoning there is literally nothing we can eat unless we get air-dropped into some untouched stretch of rainforest to forage for wild bananas.

- Eating fruit makes you fat.

- Humans did not evolve to eat fruit.

We're PRIMATES. Monkeys love bananas.

- Corn causes Oppositional Defiant Disorder.

- Corn causes ADHD.

- Corn causes autism.

- Corn causes cancer.

- Broccoli causes cancer.

- Hot water causes cancer.

The last one, from a study saying that drinking hot beverages can cause cancer, had the best response: David Spiegelhalter, a professor of the Public Understanding of Risk at Britain's University of Cambridge, said: "In the case of very hot drinks, the IARC concludes they are probably hazardous, but can't say how big the risk might be," according to the Australian Financial Review. "This may be interesting science, but makes it difficult to construct a sensible response."

- A Breatharian – as defined in the book A Year Without Food – is a person who chooses to live mostly, or completely, from Pranic nourishment. Israeli author Ray Maor claims that once Breatharians have trained their body to absorb this energy from the air and sunlight, they are no longer dependent on food. Many of them continue to taste food for enjoyment, but do not need it for survival, he says.

Umm.

- Brian J. Ford has suggested that ketosis, possibly caused by alcoholism or low-carb dieting, produces acetone, which is highly flammable and could therefore lead to apparently spontaneous combustion.

The Atkins diet will make you burst into flame!

- Our ancestors NEVER ate a carb. They ate meat and fat and that was it. On that diet, they grew, improved their lot, invented the wheel, survived in caves and hinted in groups.

Bad history aside (even in the Arctic, people ate seaweed and lichen), anyone who's ever lived in a small town or attended school knows that a major human activity is indeed hinting in groups.
I just got tipped off that the Wikipedia edit war over whether or not my book should be mentioned in the extremely worshipful entry on Meher Baba, which is fiercely policed by Baba-lovers, has re-ignited. Page down to "Rachel Brown's book":

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Meher_Baba
I just got tipped off that the Wikipedia edit war over whether or not my book should be mentioned in the extremely worshipful entry on Meher Baba, which is fiercely policed by Baba-lovers, has re-ignited. Page down to "Rachel Brown's book":

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Meher_Baba
I realize that there are very serious issues going on here. But the sight of William Sanders digging himself in deeper and deeper has reached the point now, with his attempt at extorting money for the privelege of getting stories off his website, that it's also quite hilarious. He doesn't seem to have hit fandom wank yet, but he really should. Fandom wank was made for William Sanders.

PS. For the benefit of those not following the story, William Sanders edits an sf magazine called "Helix." He recently rejected a story in a letter which fulminated against Muslims in a crazy, offensive, bigoted, and totally unprofessional and also rabidly nutty manner. The author posted it. Outraged ensued. Several writers asked to remove their stories from the website. Sanders responded by writing them crazy, offensive, bigoted, and totally unprofessional and also rabidly nutty letters. (Paraphrase: "Your story sucked! I only published it because you're Asian-American! Neener neener dumpling!")

Then he demanded that they all pay him $ 40 if they wanted their stories gone. Context can be found via [livejournal.com profile] yhlee, [livejournal.com profile] ktempest, [livejournal.com profile] coffeeandink, and many more.

PPS. I shouldn't even have to say this, but don't even bother saying that Sanders was referring to terrorists, not Muslims in general. "Sheetheads" is an offensive religious and/or racial epithet even if he was referring specifically to terrorists (a defense which Nick Mamatas neatly debunks somewhere which I've lost.) For example, if you refer to Jews as "kikes," it is not a defense to say, "But I only meant that one Jew who held up a bank!" Even in that context, it is still a bigoted slur.
I realize that there are very serious issues going on here. But the sight of William Sanders digging himself in deeper and deeper has reached the point now, with his attempt at extorting money for the privelege of getting stories off his website, that it's also quite hilarious. He doesn't seem to have hit fandom wank yet, but he really should. Fandom wank was made for William Sanders.

PS. For the benefit of those not following the story, William Sanders edits an sf magazine called "Helix." He recently rejected a story in a letter which fulminated against Muslims in a crazy, offensive, bigoted, and totally unprofessional and also rabidly nutty manner. The author posted it. Outraged ensued. Several writers asked to remove their stories from the website. Sanders responded by writing them crazy, offensive, bigoted, and totally unprofessional and also rabidly nutty letters. (Paraphrase: "Your story sucked! I only published it because you're Asian-American! Neener neener dumpling!")

Then he demanded that they all pay him $ 40 if they wanted their stories gone. Context can be found via [livejournal.com profile] yhlee, [livejournal.com profile] ktempest, [livejournal.com profile] coffeeandink, and many more.

PPS. I shouldn't even have to say this, but don't even bother saying that Sanders was referring to terrorists, not Muslims in general. "Sheetheads" is an offensive religious and/or racial epithet even if he was referring specifically to terrorists (a defense which Nick Mamatas neatly debunks somewhere which I've lost.) For example, if you refer to Jews as "kikes," it is not a defense to say, "But I only meant that one Jew who held up a bank!" Even in that context, it is still a bigoted slur.
I’ve been meaning to write this up for a while, ever since I pulled it off a dusty Little Tokyo shelf and bought it for a quarter, but it’s hard to do it justice.

The cover features an embossed black-clad ninja against a black background, with only his (rather Caucasian-looking, and light brown) eyes and katana visible. The title is in red. Above the title, in white underlined caps, it says The incredible true story! Below the title, also in white caps: In the quiet of a whisper, come the deadly soldiers of the dark.

Here’s the back cover: The amazing true story! From the ancient world of the Shogun to the modern terrors of Shibumi, here are the ninja and their arts of sudden death!

The overleaf claims that modern ninja are even better fighters than the old ones, because they have access to a wider range of techniques.

The book begins at a modern seminar on ninjutsu, taught by modern ninjutsu master Stephen K. Hayes. Hayes asks everyone what would make them willing to kill someone. Most give idealistic reasons; one says he’d do it for profit.

What we had seen impressed us. What we had heard in those last moments from those who attended from all parts of the country (we have no idea how many of them were truly ninja) was an introduction to the diversity of ninja thought—a microcosm of ninja philosophy.

Weiss and Philbin backtrack to do a decent, albeit totally lacking in citations, history of the ninja. Having cunningly laid down their four-page groundwork of history mixed with historical speculation, they promptly begin erecting an edifice of crazy (albeit rather touchingly enthusiastic) fantasy.

During World War II, for example, the Japanese high command had ninja-trained troops deployed to assassinate General Douglas MacArthur if and when the opportunity arose.

I confess, I would love to see a movie or manga about that.

But the ninja did not fail very often. Information on their specific World War II activities is scant, but according to Ron Duncan, a ninja practitioner living in New York, there were many strange incidents which had a ninjaesque quality…

But do not think that the ninja are a thing of the past!

In 1948, some ninja switched sides, or at least became employed by the CIA, says Duncan. … “As far as I know, there are still ninja in the CIA.”

He recounts the assault on the Iranian embassy by the SAS to rescue hostages: …the core members are in black, only their eyes showing through the hoods covering their heads. In short, they were in the uniform of the ninja.

“They were ninja,” says Duncan. “Absolutely.”


But wait! There is even more compelling evidence for the existence of modern ninja!

Someone told us that he was in Kyushu two summers ago and went into a room where there were five or six businessmen standing around talking. “It was only later,” he says, “That I learned they were all ninja.”

The rest of the book recounts ninja folklore, stories about ninja, and ninja techniques, interspersed with photos of black-clad guys sneaking around and climbing trees. The jaw-dropping chapter “I Am Ninja!” is about a boy ninja who gets revenge on an enemy by having sex with an insane prostitute and so infecting himself with a fatal venereal disease, and then presenting himself to his enemy as a catamite. But he rejoices at the success of his plan, even though it gets him tortured to death.

After all… he is ninja!
I’ve been meaning to write this up for a while, ever since I pulled it off a dusty Little Tokyo shelf and bought it for a quarter, but it’s hard to do it justice.

The cover features an embossed black-clad ninja against a black background, with only his (rather Caucasian-looking, and light brown) eyes and katana visible. The title is in red. Above the title, in white underlined caps, it says The incredible true story! Below the title, also in white caps: In the quiet of a whisper, come the deadly soldiers of the dark.

Here’s the back cover: The amazing true story! From the ancient world of the Shogun to the modern terrors of Shibumi, here are the ninja and their arts of sudden death!

The overleaf claims that modern ninja are even better fighters than the old ones, because they have access to a wider range of techniques.

The book begins at a modern seminar on ninjutsu, taught by modern ninjutsu master Stephen K. Hayes. Hayes asks everyone what would make them willing to kill someone. Most give idealistic reasons; one says he’d do it for profit.

What we had seen impressed us. What we had heard in those last moments from those who attended from all parts of the country (we have no idea how many of them were truly ninja) was an introduction to the diversity of ninja thought—a microcosm of ninja philosophy.

Weiss and Philbin backtrack to do a decent, albeit totally lacking in citations, history of the ninja. Having cunningly laid down their four-page groundwork of history mixed with historical speculation, they promptly begin erecting an edifice of crazy (albeit rather touchingly enthusiastic) fantasy.

During World War II, for example, the Japanese high command had ninja-trained troops deployed to assassinate General Douglas MacArthur if and when the opportunity arose.

I confess, I would love to see a movie or manga about that.

But the ninja did not fail very often. Information on their specific World War II activities is scant, but according to Ron Duncan, a ninja practitioner living in New York, there were many strange incidents which had a ninjaesque quality…

But do not think that the ninja are a thing of the past!

In 1948, some ninja switched sides, or at least became employed by the CIA, says Duncan. … “As far as I know, there are still ninja in the CIA.”

He recounts the assault on the Iranian embassy by the SAS to rescue hostages: …the core members are in black, only their eyes showing through the hoods covering their heads. In short, they were in the uniform of the ninja.

“They were ninja,” says Duncan. “Absolutely.”


But wait! There is even more compelling evidence for the existence of modern ninja!

Someone told us that he was in Kyushu two summers ago and went into a room where there were five or six businessmen standing around talking. “It was only later,” he says, “That I learned they were all ninja.”

The rest of the book recounts ninja folklore, stories about ninja, and ninja techniques, interspersed with photos of black-clad guys sneaking around and climbing trees. The jaw-dropping chapter “I Am Ninja!” is about a boy ninja who gets revenge on an enemy by having sex with an insane prostitute and so infecting himself with a fatal venereal disease, and then presenting himself to his enemy as a catamite. But he rejoices at the success of his plan, even though it gets him tortured to death.

After all… he is ninja!
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