Feeling Sorry for President Trump

Feeling Sorry for President TrumpThe Die is Cast

I am so reluctant to admit this out loud, but I’m a big reality TV fan. I was first hooked by Temptation Island. I know, I know, but I couldn’t help it, I loved the show. I always thought that it was too easy though. They should have had longtime married couples on, instead of couple that were just dating. Now that would have had some serious emotional equity to challenge! I have no time for the loud housewives from any city but I still enjoy The Bachelor & Bachelorette shows. I stopped watching American Idol, in favour of The Voice. I thought the judges on The Voice were generally nicer to their contestants. For the past couple of years though, American politics is where it’s at.

Prior to Donald Trump getting into politics, I had such a low level of interest that I had to look up the party platforms, here in Canada, before going to the polling booth to vote. Regardless of your political leanings, you have to admit that Mr. Trump brings a high degree of entertainment to political proceedings. I wasn’t a fan of The Apprentice. Insensitive, overly loud & egocentric characters tend to turn me off. And he was all that. In the political arena though, it became far more interesting. It wasn’t Mr. Trump beating up on some subservient contestant, he was going up against a bunch of big, beefy professionals in the space. Far more interesting!

That didn’t stop him, of course, & he proceeded to run the White House pretty much the same way he probably runs his own businesses. The same way he ran his TV show. And he’s gotten away with it! Or at least ’til now. It’s taken ’til this week for the push-back to be significant enough for him to have to back off on anything. He brushed past a couple of faux pas in Europe, en route to Helsinki, for his meeting with the Russian President. And it’s from this that he’s had to backtrack on a number of his positions.

While I thought that racking up the hours watching CNN & Fox News were educating me, I’ve hit a wall of ignorance again. The big questions I now have surround US foreign policy. And the systems of checks & balances. For example, it looks like the President can have a differing foreign policy from the house & senate, despite them being of the same party. Is that possible? And what can the other branches of government do if they don’t like the President’s position? Is there an equivalent to the Vote of No Confidence that’s sometimes employed in many parliamentary democracies?

Though mostly Trump appointees now, it looks like the President doesn’t take his senior staff into his confidence. Nor does he seek their advice as he wanders the globe meeting foreign leaders. The clip of DNI Dan Coats at the Aspen Security conference yesterday was so funny. I felt the same kind of slight “wrongness” by laughing along, as I might feel laughing at a contestant’s predicament on a reality TV show. But it was still funny.

But that is also quite sad. Mr. Coats learned of the invitation for the Russian President to visit the White House during a televised interview. Mr. Trump doesn’t seem to discuss such things with his senior staff. He’s running the world’s leading superpower country. Alone.

I’ll leave it to others to comment on what policies are, & are not, right. But the sadness comes from the fact that a 72 year old man, powerful & successful by most measures & metrics, does not have a common-sense confidant that he can discuss his daily grind with. He has his own staff on board & he doesn’t seem to feel that he can speak with them. Or ask for their advice on such matters. And I think that’s both lonely & sad.

I hope I’ll be as healthy as he is at that age. Actually, I’m just hoping I’ll make it to that age one day! While I’d like to think I’ll still be motivated & inspired to do great things things as I grow older, running a country won’t be on my to-do list. In between blogging (I’ll probably still be trying to lose weight!), maybe I’ll golf a little. And probably with a cart. I hope I’ll have grandchildren to visit. And I’ll likely be making plans to spike them, just before I leave to go home, with a pocketful of red candies!

 

Lay Off the Fat Guy in NJ!

Lay Off the Fat Guy in NJ!Coffee & Stainless Steel

I listened silently as Canada & Montenegro were identified as potentially threatening warring nations. I felt like all the NATO leaders could, themselves, push back against outbursts that might undermine the solidarity of the alliance. I can almost see why Vlad the Lad might have some appeal to some people. Perhaps if you imagine him as a bad boy villain in a Hollywood movie script. But … I draw the line when you blame hacking on the 400 lb fat guy in a basement in New Jersey. Why wasn’t it the skinny, nerdy guy? Maybe with glasses? It could have been a totally buff athlete! That was also smart. Equally, it might have been a woman. In any of those guises.

Why did you pick on the fat guy?

That was just …. well …. wrong!

Nobody is more critical of our being fat than we, our own fat selves, are. We know exactly what we look like. And what we feel like. We also know what we look like on the inside. And that isn’t always the person we see looking back at us from the mirror. We don’t need to be told by anyone else. Those that love us hurt us sometimes too. Many overweight people probably know more about diet, nutrition and health than most folk who have never had to worry about such things. The kind exhortations to get in a little walk, and to try portion control, are worthless. Skinny people … go pet a puppy instead. Please!

I get the modern movement to get us fat people healthy. Even if we are to remain fat. I totally understand that it would be nice if we could all accept each other as we are. It would be even better if we could love ourselves, regardless, added fat & all. It just doesn’t work for me! Despite how nice some people are about it, I don’t think it really works for them either. There is no slim person I know who looks at me & wishes they had my shape. And personally, even on a day where I’m at one with myself & the Universe, I would still rather be slim too.

Or is that … I wouldn’t rather still not be slim too. That’s your double negative, right there! 🙂

There are so many challenges. So many failed dieters. Is it even possible?

Down 6.2

Let Them Eat Plastic!

Steel Water Bottle

Let Them Eat Plastic!

I watched a CBC Marketplace show the other day. It might have been a rerun of an older one, but it was all about plastic water bottles. We’ve all heard the horrible stories about plastic in the ocean impacting fish, whales, and so on but this one was about their potential impact on us. The show folk ran around buying brand name water from four cities across Canada and they brought them all to McGill University, in Montreal. Here, they ran tests on them to see if there were tiny plastic particles in the water we like to drink.

There were! It turned out these particles, though to a lesser extent, were in some glass bottled waters too.

For the most part, I choose to drink tap water. It runs through the filter on my fridge. Though I often hit the reset button on the change light when it comes up, rather than change the filter right away. As it turns out, some of these commercial water bottles are filled with tap water too. Sure, it’s filtered while being bottle but, sometimes, we’re just paying a silly price for tap water. And the environmentally unfriendly plastic bottle comes along for the ride. Who knew!

It seems that there’s so much of this stuff going around these days, & not just from water bottles, that it shows up in our oceans, lakes and rivers. And they can detect them in the fish we eat. So are we now eating and drinking micro-plastic particles?

Now nobody really knew if these plastic particles were doing us any harm. But that’s sometimes the case with such things, often for years, and then all hell breaks lose. While they figure all that out, we might be better off not drinking water coming in plastic bottles. It’s not that I have 100% faith in the water quality coming from our municipalities either. But if the bottled water is coming from the same source, but with added plastic particles, I think I’ll stick with the regular tap water for the most part.

I guess I’m a bit of a closet tree-hugger. I’m far too macho to be going around openly trying to save the planet. I want to pillage it and get rich! But while I do that, I’m going to dig out my stainless steel water bottle to remain hydrated! 🙂

Now I’m worried about the poor folk at the water bottling plant being out of work. Modern living is way too complex sometimes.

Note from yesterday’s post … the debreceni sausage wasn’t to my taste. I’ve had really good debreceni before, it’s just this one that I didn’t like. The recipe, however, was good so I’ll try it again with another sausage. Regardless, and in retribution, I behaved really badly afterwards. I ate lots of sea salt & caramel chocolate bark with my cherry ice cream. Twice! Oops!!!

Black & White

B & WIn today’s political climate it seems like nothing is black & white. I find myself constantly having to dig for background information to try to get a picture of something resembling reality. And even then, I am unsure that I have a clear picture. Perhaps there is no perfect picture for many complex situations. With the sheer volume of information, & misinformation, that is available nowadays, maybe we have to tolerate a level of mental chaos in trying to form an opinion.

This is surprisingly similar to the world of nutrition! There is long standing debate between those who believe a plant based diet is best for us, and those who believe we are genetically programmed omnivores. There are diets that support a dizzying variety of macro-nutrient ratio bias. Low carb, keteogenic & paleo programs push us in one set of directions. Elsewhere, there are proponents of a wide variety of high fat & low fat regimens. You should eat this much & that much protein. There is probably some general consensus that a diet, regardless of macro-nutrient rations, which promotes a more natural, whole food, wild, pasture-raised and grass-fed bias is better for us. Phew! Somewhat chaotic still, but an almost tacit agreement in at least one area.

That doesn’t mean I want to give up my French fries though!

Another emerging trend that only mimics ancient practice is that of fasting. Fasting is a part of all the major religions. We were supposed to fast on Friday as kids. Then we got to eat fish on Fridays. Then that became fish ‘n’ chips. And since cookies & candy were’t meat, they were okay too! These days, fasting is being investigated more thoroughly. Both as a weigh-loss strategy, & a way of improving our overall health. And those that are delving deepest into this area of research are producing some results that might suggest that occasional fasting could have value in all our lives. I was doing intermittent fasting way before it became a thing. Much to the horror of friends & family at the time. In the past, a low carb diet with an occasional day of “starvation” worked pretty well. It helped me shed a lot of weight. And I kept it off for a significant number of years following that. Still haven’t figured out what finally went wrong again but that’s a story for another day. Meantime …

Now that I’m older … I wonder if it’ll work again?

Down 5.2 lbs.

Weight Loss & Immigration Policy

Omelette

A friend of mine recently shared a post suggesting that we take care of our homeless & veterans before adding to the country’s immigrant burden. I had an immediate negative reaction to it. Of course, I would like our homeless & our veterans taken care of, but does that have to be at the expense of immigrants fleeing persecution & tyranny? Is it different if they are just fleeing from poverty? And even if not extreme poverty, is it okay to just want a better life for your family?

Both my friend & I are immigrants. We came to Canada under the Economic Class. In other words, we had a skill set that was in demand at the time of our application. People with money, business plans, & the gifted would all qualify in this category. What country wouldn’t want the rich & the extraordinary? But even those of us mere mortals who are simply capable of fitting in, & filling a skills shortage, were welcome. Most immigrants to Canada come in under this classification. The next largest group are those that qualify under the Family Reunification category. Here, we can sponsor a parent to come to Canada, for example. And there are financial obligations for the sponsor under this category, so it’s not a free for all. The final, & smallest, category are refugees & those accepted for humanitarian reasons.

To the best of my knowledge, there are no overt racial or religious biases in the system. Other than those bestowed on all of us, for good & bad, by accident of the place of our birth. While it’s easy for a white English speaking person to not see racism or bigotry in Canada, I’m still guessing that it’s not the worst place on earth for anyone to live, regardless of race & religion. Diversity does seem to have value in the psyche of most Canadians.

Comforting myself with all this Canadian niceness, it bothered me that my friend would think to share something contrary to my somewhat smug position. But I haven’t been able to stop thinking on the topic since. Does he have a point?

Who gets what benefit in this equation? For those who want to come here, & those who need to escape circumstances in their homeland, it’s of benefit to the immigrants. For companies in search of skilled workers, there are benefits to having an enlarged pool of talent. Indeed, there are advantages to some business sectors to have a larger, more affordable, unskilled labour pool. In theory, & in general, I’m of the belief that something that benefits business should benefit the country. And all of us living here. The goal is that everyone is better off in the long run.

That said, there are likely mathematical limits on this benefit equation. Is there such a thing as too many immigrants? The too many scenario has the potential to breed discontent. In today’s troubled world, we can see the rancour that is possible when people feel that these limits are being exceeded. Is my friend’s take on the situation an early warning sign that we are approaching those limits for some? Very often the counter to anyone expressing this argument is an emotional, rather than mathematical, one. It seems that there are some very bright people lending support to both sides of the equation & I am committed to trying to learn more. It doesn’t look like there is one, clear, definitive answer yet but, while I search for something approaching that, I should probably try to contain my gut reaction to such messages in future. Exploring both sides of these dilemmas, & asking more questions of those with opinions contrary to mine, would probably be a more useful approach for me.

Now what does all this have to do with weight loss?

There are an increasing number of societal challenges before us. The answers are not easy to come by. Could the worries generated by the political antics of our time be elevating our stress levels? Can we add those daily stresses to the weight gain challenges we already face?

I think it adds to my stress burden. And I probably do need to take a break from my news addiction. Maybe I need to listen to music more often. Perhaps an occasional run to lake for some water therapy would help. A morning walk through a morning misted forest? A glass of beer with friends might even be an acceptable dietary strategy in the modern world.

Okay, that’s pushing it … I’ll be good & just have a glass of red wine, or three, instead!