KISS this, Gene

When I was three years old, my father and I had matching KISS t-shirts with slick ’80s glittery iron-on transfers on black backgrounds, shiny odes to the band. I picked Ace Frehley for both of us.

In the light of KISS bass player Gene Simmons’ recent comments on depression, I’m so glad I didn’t pick him for my T-shirt icon.

For those of you who might not have read his statements to SongFacts.com, here they are:

Drug addicts and alcoholics are always, “The world is a harsh place.” My mother was in a concentration camp in Nazi Germany. I don’t want to hear fuck all about “the world as a harsh place.” She gets up every day, smells the roses and loves life. And for a putz, 20-year-old kid to say, “I’m depressed, I live in Seattle.” Fuck you, then kill yourself.

I never understand, because I always call them on their bluff. I’m the guy who says “Jump!” when there’s a guy on top of a building who says, “That’s it, I can’t take it anymore, I’m going to jump.” Are you kidding? Why are you announcing it? Shut the fuck up, have some dignity and jump! You’ve got the crowd.

Huh. How blithe. How dismissive.

Here’s the thing, though, Gene: People are listening to you. And they might take your advice.

In 1985, two young men made a suicide pact, smoked weed and drank beer and killed themselves. Metal band Judas Priest was sued, along the record label that released their albums, CBS. The families of the young men alleged that Judas Priest’s music contained subliminal messages encouraging listeners to kill themselves. 

And let’s not forget Ozzy Osbourne, whose “Suicide Solution” was blamed for three suicides around the country.

Breaking laws, knocking doors
But there’s no one at home
Made your bed, rest your head
But you lie there and moan
Where to hide, suicide is the only way out
Don’t you know what it’s really about

Wine is fine, but whiskey’s quicker
Suicide is slow with liqueur
Take a bottle, drown your sorrows
Then it floods away tomorrows

The lawsuits against Osbourne’s record label, also CBS, were also dismissed.

I might be wrong, and I have admittedly not listened to a ton of Judas Priest or Ozzy Osbourne, but I do not think that either of these bands directly told anyone to off themselves. Yet their music was blamed. I’m sure this has something to do with the social climate of the time, when parental warning labels were slapped on every album you wanted, when song lyrics were blamed for people’s desire to die.

In 2014, in the wake of the suicide death of a beloved actor, we have a metal musician bypassing the song format and directly telling people, depressed people, to kill themselves. And that they lack dignity.

I can think of other things that lack dignity.

Gene has backpedaled, but the comments are out there. I hope no one takes him up on his comments. Because, Gene, people are listening. They are listening to your music and they are listening to your comments. And maybe some of them are vulnerable enough to take you at your word.

In the U.S. in 2011, 28,103 white males committed suicide — more than three times the amount of white women (7,672); more than black men (1,828) and black women (413).

I have never been to a KISS show, but there’s a tour coming up and all the of people I know heading to the show are lily white men.

You will never read this, Gene Simmons, but let me tell you: You are blaming the victims of depression for their own illness.  And you are urging your demographic — one which is already proven itself quite willing to take the plunge into the abyss — to kill themselves.

If bands such as Judas Priest or singers such as Ozzy Osbourne could be blamed for suicides because of their songs, what do we say to another metal musician who now, some 30 years later, could not be clearer or more cruel in his message about depression and suicide?

Gene, how will you feel when someone pulls the trigger in your name?

 

What they deserve

In the past few days, I’ve heard a lot about what people do and do not deserve.

Case in point: Christy Mack.

On Friday, Aug. 8, porn star Christy Mack’s ex-boyfriend, Mixed Martial Arts fighter War Machine (real name: Jon Paul Koppenhaver), showed up at her house with an engagement ring. He found her there with another guy — according to her, a platonic friend, but it doesn’t really matter — and then proceeded — allegedly — to beat the living shit out of both of them. War Machine fled the scene, leaving Columbus, Indiana, native Christy Mack with 18 broken bones in her face, a ruptured liver, loose teeth and a body full of bruises.

The fight and the fallout played out on Twitter, with War Machine lamenting that he is cursed, that all he wanted to do was get engaged to Mack. And, I’m sure, live happily ever after. Mack spat out details of the fight, along with, probably, fragments of her teeth. This wasn’t the first time War Machine beaten her, but it was the worst.

Then the Internet erupted, replete with people’s judgments of an event at which they were absolutely not present: curt statements about Christy, 120 characters that damned her as a whore, and someone deserving of such a terrible beating because she was a cheater and she was a sex worker.

She had it coming to her because she is a “whore.”

News broke on Monday of actor/comic Robin Williams’ death by suicide. Following a struggle with depression, Williams slipped a belt around his neck and hanged himself on the closet door of his San Francisco Bay Area home.

Suddenly, Facebook showed his death as trending, with most mourning a beloved actor. Until the negative posts came, including comments that implied Williams had no right to be depressed. After all, the man was worth some $50 million when he decided to take his own life. How on earth could someone so rich be so sad?

He was not entitled to his depression.

And then there was Michael Brown, another one who didn’t deserve it — or did he? Brown, who was walking along the streets of Ferguson, a suburb north of St. Louis, was shot by an unnamed police officer after an altercation. Regardless of whether he did or did not steal candy, as the officer alleged, Michael, who was to head off to college less than a week after the day that ended up being his last, was an unarmed black man.

As the media lay forth testimonials regarding Michael Brown’s short life, the sentiment is echoed: He was a good kid. He didn’t deserve this.

There are many elements of Michael Brown’s story that mirror Trayvon Martin’s death. Although Trayvon’s shooter was a vigilante, and the state was Florida, both Trayvon and Michael were teenagers. Both were unarmed. During the George Zimmerman trial, when news came forth that Trayvon maybe had stolen some things, maybe had run into some other legal troubles during his acute time on this earth then some people quietly made up their minds that Zimmerman had a reason to be scared of this black boy walking through their shared neighborhood. Maybe this teenage deserved to have a hole blown through his chest, just feet away from the AriZona fruit drink and Skittles he dropped before the skirmish that he didn’t ask to engage in.

For people with such inflated senses of entitlement — have you seen the houses we think we deserve? The luxe food and clothing? — we are quick to judge what people deserve and don’t deserve. If you take nothing away from this screed, know that none of these people deserved it.

Christy Mack can do whatever she wishes with her body; she does not deserve to be beaten because she’s a porn star.

Robin Williams did not deserve his depression, but he was certainly allowed to have it.

Michael Brown did not deserve to be shot — by anyone, anywhere, including in the street by an officer. And also, he was a good kid.

Trayvon Martin did not deserve to be shot. He was also a good kid, whether or not the police once found a bowl on him, or some stolen jewelry, or he got suspended from school twice. He did not deserve it.

Believe me: There are very few people in this world who get what they deserve. There are very few people in this world who deserve what they get. Before we bandy about the word “deserve” with regard to someone else’s tragedies, we should look at our own tragedies — large and small. How many of them do we deserve?

Hooray. Everyone clap for me. I joined a gym today.

In the interest of my general health and well-being, I joined a gym. Again.

Back in 2006, after I’d gained a bunch of weight in moving up here and having a cat die on me, I first joined the Y. Then I quit that bitch at some point. Then I joined LA Fitness but the people there were just a little too stank for me. You know, girls in full makeup working out in clusters and dudes who look slightly shitty and slightly ‘roided up. I just wanted to watch “South Park” on my iPod and not make eye contact with anyone. So I quit that bitch, too. That was in 2009, I believe. 

In the years since, I gained and lost weight. Most recently, I lost a decent amount of weight following The Whole30 (strict Paleo) which I started again on January 5. Now it’s time to take it further. 

The Y has been calling out to me. My avoidance these days has been about time and money. I’m sure — I’m positive — that there is some place in my budget where I drop extra cash I shouldn’t so…I’ll cut that when I come to it. As for time…well, I do spend some time staring at the ceiling re-watching episodes of “American Horror Story.” 

Pros of Working Out                                                                            Cons of Working Out

*Might lose weight                                                 *Loss of money I would blow on something stupid anyway

*Toning of jiggly spots                                             *Loss of time spend staring at the walls

*Stress reduction                                                      *Won’t impress Mina

*Should be able to work up to climbing those 

fake rocks at Indy Climb Time

*More positive outlook on life

*Could possibly impress potential boyfriends

*Will impress my parents and maybe some of my platonic friends

So today…today I joined the gym. And I worked out in it for a goodly while this evening. Hooray. I will take links to workout primers, approaches, etc., in the comments below. 

Carnivorous thoughts

The Donner Party set out from Springfield, Ill., in 1846, intending to reach Californey and the lavish rewards of a West Coast lifestyle. The westbound wagon party was snowbound in Sierra Nevada during the winter of 1846-47.

Here in the Midwest circa 2014, we are, like the Donner Party, also snowbound. Roughly a foot (a foot, right?) of snow fell on us, and I have not been to work or worn makeup since Sunday morning. Unlike the Donner Party, most of us are not in wagons, we do not typically hunt our own food, and some of us do start strict Paleo diets (my third Whole30) on days when we should be holed up drinking.

Hair of the dog that bit me, Lloyd.

This Whole30 and allllll this time alone and all of this snow got me thinking … what meat would I eat, anyway? That’s not a euphemism, you dirty-minded little critters. As many of you know, I was vegetarian for a long time (10 years-ish), and when I broke down and started eating meat again, I decided to have an open mind.

For example, the general public has, for the past couple of years, been freaking out about horse meat masquerading as beef. I had to ask someone what the big deal was; where do we draw the lines of what we will eat, other than just our personal preferences?What makes one species — other than pets, let’s keep them out of this for the time being — more charismatic than others?

So there’s my first. I would eat horse. I know, they are intelligent and sensitive and I have ridden on them, but I would eat some horse. Not a whole one. Ideally braised so it’s nice and tender.

My mom seems to take umbrage when I consume “cuter” animals, animals that populated the children’s stories she liked to read to me.

Yes, I’ve had duck.

No, I haven’t had rabbit, but I would

Just delicious, had lamb in Cairo.

When I ordered the duck at a German restaurant were we had our Xmas dinner at the end of 2012, my mom’s lips pursed up so hardcore I thought they’d disappear.

Ruminants seem like good eating, with the exception of llamas, which might just be too gamey, and giraffes. I can’t quite articulate why I wouldn’t eat a giraffe — maybe it’s because they just seem too quiet.

You are safe.

I would not eat bugs, nor could I even bring myself to post a photo of cooked bugs on a plate.

Reptiles I’m sort of lukewarm on. Gator looks a little rubbery, but my dad says it’s dry. Snake is probably just fine.

Most things from the ocean sound great. I would like to have whale — I’ve heard that eating the blubber raises one’s core temperature very quickly, making for a meal that’s a full-body experience.

Artist's rendition of Leviathan melvillei attacking a medium-size baleen whale

Om nom nom

Now. I am a pet lover. You all know this. I think I will go out with my cats eating me, not the other way around. Dogs seem too gamy and although I’ve heard stories of MANY (no particular side-eye to the East here; Germans do it, too, alright?) cultures chowing down on some hound, dog just seems unappealing. Like, like dogs don’t smell so great — how awesome could they taste?

I know guinea pigs are still eaten in various parts of South America. I had pet guinea pigs and I do find their squeals charming. I would probably eat their much larger cousin, the capybara.

Oh, fuck, maybe not.

And finally, I definitely totally completely would not eat most primates. The idea of bush meat is extremely disgusting and distressing, and let’s pour a 40 out for my homey, Dian Fossey, whose birthday is rapidly approaching. Chimps do not make good pets or meat; gorillas have to be to muscular to be tasty; orangutans are too much like something from “Star Wars” to be destroyed, and our smaller primates just wouldn’t be worth the effort to prepare  and eat, for the same reason I have never been into chicken wings (where’s the return on chicken wings, really?).

File:Saimiri sciureus-1 Luc Viatour.jpg

Too much prep time, not enough return.

There is one primate I would eat.

People. I would totally eat people. Writer Paul Theroux once claimed that certain cultures with histories of cannibalism really like to eat SPAM because SPAM reminds them of consuming long pig. Theroux was joking, but I’m not so sure. If people were prepared correctly, I might be induced to eat them. Can you see how my language is becoming less strong? I’m thinking about how I don’t like to eat regular swine. And people are so dirty. And it gives a whole other meaning to the idea of knowing your meat. And I know how people eat themselves. I started this entry fulling intending to make my case for eating people; now I have a whole new sympathy for the Donner Party.

Think of it. You’ve eaten all your oxen, your horses, you’ve run out of options and a few members of your group have expired. Maybe you have a strong emotional tie to that person; at the very least, you know just how little care they took of their colon and intestines and the rest of their bodies. …

I hope this snow melts soon, is all I’m saying.

Things I adore

Yay! It’s 2014! My folks bought me a nifty new laptop, so I decided to resurrect this blog (it’s way easier than trying to tap out messages on a computer that’s clogged with cat hair.

Also for 2014, I have decided to focus on the positive and find tiny escapes — mini vacations — little bits of lovely that lower the blood pressure. Without further preamble:

1. Sunken Living Rooms

Image

Having a sunken living room in 2014 would kind of be like owning a pet dodo. But they just give me such design boners.

Image

2. Poutine

Image

That’s real poutine, really in Montreal, FYI. I ❤ poutine so much, I even have a T-shirt that proclaims it.

Image

3. The hair in “American Hustle”

Image

Bradley Cooper’s “American Hustle” hair is too sublime to picture here; my blog entry would implode.

4. Mina

Image

Do not mistake this shout out to my baby girl as a declaration that she’s my favorite cat. I just adore her.

5. Wallpaper

Image

Not any specific wallpaper, although I do have a weakness for photo wallpaper.

Image

And that will be one of two references to “Let the Right One In” in this entry, the second one being

6. Indoor pools, in video or film

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nXGPZaTKik

If you need to, skip ahead to 1:52.

Those indoor pools just look really tidy, especially in the ’80s. C’mon. I know I’m being a little esoteric here. Blood pressure lower-er. Except that  Wordpress won’t let me embed these videos…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3Li5dLDfmY

7. Lazy Oaf

Image

Some day some Lazy Oaf clothing will be mine.

The rest of the Whole30: Goodbye, Gunt

You know what a FUPA is, yes? Or perhaps you know it as a gunt. It’s that fleshy extra belly that can potentially hang over the pelvic area, hence the name: Fat Upper Pussy Area. Gunt is, of course, a pastiche of gut and…yeah.

Oh, words. Mmmm. But I had a point. My FUPA is gone. And I was glad to see her go.

I left you all hanging at Day 3. I had intended to keep updating you all daily, but my brain fell apart for a little bit with all the shifting hormones and sugars fleeing my body and just being busy. One morning when my sanity was really hanging in the balance, my friend Annie dropped by. Annie is a genius, and she’d done a Whole30 herself. She told me about Paleo pancakes. Now, the Whole30 folks tell you, quite reasonably, not to make your old junk foods out of Paleo-approved ingredients (viz, Paleo Pizza, Whole30 donuts), but these pancakes are quite benign. Annie’s kind words and fantastic pancake suggestion helped me pull through. Recipe at the end.

But by the mid to end of week 2, I noticed something: I was sleeping reeeeeally well. And still waking up before the alarm. Most days I woke up before the alarm. This all on eating fresh scallops, shrimp, steak, kale (oh, kale. I love you), and incredibly sweet fruit. (A note on fruit: When I was a kid, my mom tried to get me to like fruit. I was not allowed to have refined sugars or honey for the most part. She always said fruit was as sweet as candy. She was a LIAR then. Now I concede that she had a point.)

By week 3, people noticed the difference in me physically. My waist shrank back down. My cheekbones came back. Women in their 20s were mistaking me for a women in my 20s because my skin has a little bit of glow. But that was kind of a side note to my increased energy. The way I felt was…very good. Better than I’d felt in a long time. My body was — and still is — repairing itself.

The Hartwigs (the Whole30 creators) advise against weighing yourself or taking any comparative measurements. I took measurements at week 3 and I’d lost 10 inches. At day 28, I couldn’t take the suspense anymore. I had read some people’s thoughts on their Whole30s, and they were a little…sad…that they’d done 30 days of Paleo eating and not lost any weight. Sure, sure, for as great as I was feeling, not losing any weight would have been…um, OK. I’m kidding. I would totally have cried. I wanted some bragging rights.

I got on the scale. I held my breath.

I’d lost 20 pounds.

In one month.

Now, please understand, that was not a guarantee; everyone is different. And I really, really needed to lose that weight; my body was crying for discipline and a healthy diet. I still need to lose about 30 pounds.

But still…20 pounds.

Now, you’ve heard all of the good things. I’m going to tell you the bad things, and there are two, off the top of my head.

Whole30 made me a little anti-social. When you can’t go out and swill down some booze, life is slightly less fun. And you might not ever believe this, but I’m kind of shy. Alcohol can break the ice for me a lot; hard liquor makes me a little high. Without it, I’m sedate. Reserved. Introverted. Whole30 made me revert to 14-year-old-Jenny. Plus, there’s only so much club soda I want to drink whilst sitting at a bar. Even if drinking wasn’t involved, I have to stop at home to cook food, eat food, then wash dishes. I can’t just bounce from work to a party.

Whole30 is, in my experience, expensive. My groceries were averaging about $90 a week — just for me. Yes, I can over-shop. I finally started hitting Trader Joe’s for the canned tuna. It’s not much cheaper, although their coconut oil and milk is a few bucks less than that at Kroger. Kroger, with its decent selection of organic foods and fair amount of fresh seafood, is also not a bad place to hit up.

My Whole30 ended on May 28. I did not go crazy after that. I still haven’t had Taco Bell. I am kind of afraid to. I had some chocolate the day after. It was delicious and very dark, but it made me shaky. I had wine (Misty will tell you I had a lot of wine) and it made me feel absolutely terrible, even while I was drinking it.

I can’t say I’m going to be 100 percent strict Paleo all of the time, but this is the way I’m going to eat for now.

Annie’s Paleo Pancakes

Serves 1

1 banana mashed up really well

2 eggs

Coconut oil (for frying)

Combine your mashed banana and eggs. Whip them up really well. Pour, like pancake batter, into the coconut oil. Brown on both sides, as you would a pancake. Top with coconut butter, if you have it.

I’m Bananas for This Shake

Serves 1

Small handful of walnuts

1/3 cup of coffee

2 frozen bananas, broken up

Put the walnuts and the coffee in a blender or food processor. I use a Magic Bullet blender; I always add “blender” to the end of Magic Bullet, lest you think I am talking about a sex toy. Not that there’s anything wrong with sex toys at all, but I don’t think they would be effective as blenders. Blend your walnuts and coffee until the mixture is frothy and milky brown. Add in your bananas. Blend/frappe/whatever until mixture is the consistency of a Wendy’s Frosty (Frostie?) — this will be much better. Eat with a spoon.

xoxo

Whole 30, Day 3 — The crying game

I’m into Day 3 of The Whole 30. So far, I’ve eaten more eggs than I ever thought I would eat in a week (and I did Atkins as a vegetarian). I’ve slept incredibly well, falling asleep when I lay down and waking up both days before my alarm. 

Yes, I have been a little hungry. Mainly because I can’t quite hit the recommended time frames for eating — I end up with a big eight hour gap between Meal 2 and Meal 3 (the Hartwigs recommend that you ditch the “breakfast/lunch/dinner” nomenclature in lieu of a more scientific Meal 1, 2, and 3). And snacking is not recommended (I did have a lot of kale chips the first evening. Oh well.). 

But yeah, I’ve felt lighter already. My stomach is shrinking down. The aforementioned FUPA is already reduced. I feel more nimble.

Except I’ve been crying. I cried on Tuesday and again on Wednesday. In front of my salon’s manager (poor dear).

I honestly think this is a response to being left without a major coping mechanism — sugar. Also, no artificial sweetener. But I take it as evidence that, yes, my hormones are shifting.

When I committed to doing the Whole 30, I also committed to not weighing myself, not measuring myself, and not trying to do the sneak-around-Paleo tricks (like Paleo pancakes or pizza make with all kinds of Paleo-approved ingredients that ultimately result in junk food. So every trick — and every milemarker — is sort of…gone. No wonder there are some tears.