Archive for April 2015

Language: The word “diet”

I want to look at how people use the word “diet”.

When I was younger, people would use the word “diet” to refer to something temporary. The word was mostly used as a noun. They would “go on a diet”, usually before some event, such as a wedding or a reunion. The main idea was to reduce the amount they ate, or to radically change what they ate. This would be done temporarily. After the big event and they impressed their old friends, people would go back to their old patterns of eating behavior.

Today we call this behavior a “fad diet”: A short-term change or reduction. This is why some people say “diets don’t work; you just go back to your old way of doing things.” Many of the screenshots on the fatlogic subreddit are from people in the fat acceptance/health at every size movements who use the word “diet” in this way.

The word “diet” was used to refer to the short-term change. But the normal, regular eating habits and patterns were never given a label.

If you talk to a biologist who studies another species, they will talk about the diet of that species. The biologist uses it to mean that species’ patterns of eating behavior: what they eat, when they eay, in some cases where and/or how they eat. They do not use the word “diet” to refer to a temporary change or restriction.

Over the past decade, people’s use of the word has been changing. More and more people are starting to use it in the second sense of the word. People talk about “low carb diets”, or “the paleo diet”, or the “Mediterranean diet”. I read and hear people talk about changing their diet, not “going on a diet”.

Now, people use the word “diet” to refer to their normal, common, consistent eating behaviors.

This is a good change. The fact is, everybody is always “on a diet”. Even Elvis was on a diet. It seemed to be fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches, with lots and lots of pills. It was a terrible diet, but it was still a diet.

Maybe this is why many of the people in the screenshots on fatlogic can’t lost weight, and why they think “diets don’t work.” They are using the word to refer to something temporary, something that will get them towards some distant goal, and once they reach that goal, they will go of the “diet”. Stop using the definite and indefinite articles when using the word “diet”. Use pronouns. Do not go on “a diet”. Think about “your diet”.

As I get older, I am finding out that intense exercise is not as helpful to keeping in good shape and preventing myself from getting fat as it used to be. Now I need to pay attention to my diet.

I don’t need to go on a diet. But I do need to change my diet.

Image from My World, assumed allowed under Fair Use.

Language: Big Words

As someone with a degree in exercise physiology, spends more time than I should in the bowels of Reddit and Craig’s Lust, and a guy who tries in general to pay attention, I have noticed a few things about the use of language by some of the larger members of our society.

It is interesting that a lot of fat people like to say they have “a lot of meat on my bones”. You might have some meat, but frankly you also have a lot of fat on your bones, and that’s the turn-off.

Fit women never call themselves “curvy”, yet they themselves are not rectangular.

A lot of fat women describe themselves as “sassy”, and say they are a “queen” or a “goddess”. I don’t hear these words from fit women.

Fat people think they are “normal”, and everybody smaller than they are is “skinny”, as if being “skinny” is some sort of condition. Thin people seem to describe themselves as “thin”. As far as fat people calling themselves “normal”, it implies that fit people are abnormal. Then again, maybe few fat people have friends that exercise.

Usually when a woman calls herself or another woman “a real woman”, it is someone who is fat. Has any women pointed to a women who runs marathons and called those women “real women”?

Another observation: How can you tell if you are fat? Here is a little test. If you have no problems saying you would not date a fat person, but you get upset if you hear a fit person say they would not date a fat person, then you are fat.

Image from University Of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, assumed allowed under Fair Use.

Thoughts On Illinois and Voter Turnout

I saw an article recently stating the new governor in Illinois has a very low approval rating.

I wonder why this guy was elected in the first place.

Part of me thinks I know why: Most people do not vote. So I guess the real question is: Why don’t more people vote? Why do they let snakes like Rauner into office? I know people would rather vote for someone they like than vote against someone they do not like, but some people deserve being voted against.

He seems like a typical conservative: It seems the answer to the world’s problems is to give the wealthy free reign, and trust me, the crumbs for the rest of you will be wonderful.

From what I could tell, his campaign’s main message was that Illinois is not very friendly to business. He made about $50 million in 2013, and his net worth is about $900 million. He owns serveral homes. In one year he paid more in property tax on one home than most people in Illinois earn. He spent about $24 million on his own campaign. If Illinois is so bad for business, how did he get so rich? And why did people fall for it?

He is engaging in some short-sighted job poaching targeting Indiana. As Richard C. Longworth writes, American states need to realize that their competition is not each other, but Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Now he wants to decrease the minimum wage, and pay highway construction workers less money. Why is it that rich people think that a prosperous society requires everybody else to be poor? And why do people fall for it? I paid some attention to the campaign from here in Texas. I wonder if he tried to paint himself as a different kind of conservative, or saying that he has new, fresh ideas. It sounds like the same old conservative feudalism to me.

According to Wikipedia, 3,627,690 people in Illinois voted in the 2014 election. According to the US census, in 2014 the population of Illinois was 12,880,580. 23.5% were under the age of 18. So there are about 9,853,643 eligible voters in Illinois. So only about 36% of the eligible voters took part in this last election. What the heckflame and darnation is wrong with people?

In all seriousness, why don’t people vote? Non-voters that I talk to seem think they are too smart to vote, they are not fooled by the system, that the two parties are the same. It is hard to take these people seriously. They think they are beyond the two party system, they are smarter than the general electorate, yet I think they are the ones being taken for a ride. If you are not willing to press a button once a year, is it rational to expect society to be something that you approve of?

If voting did not matter, why is the GOP trying to limit people’s access to voting? If voting did not matter, why are the Koch brothers planning on spending almost $1 billion to influence the 2016 election? A few hedge fund billionaires in Chicago gave a LOT of money to Bruce Rauner. I am guessing they voted.

Over time, as turnout decreases, distrust in government increases (I know this shows the numbers for federal government, but I think the point is valid).  So many people are cynical about government and think that government will try to restrict our freedoms. Perhaps people need to realize that the real threat is some parts of the private sector encroaching on other parts of the private sector.

What we are stuck with is more bitterness, and more people souring on “both sides”. I was happy to see some pushback on Little Green Footballs against the “both sides” fallacy: “Both parties not measuring up to desired standards doesn’t mean that both parties are the same.” Another commenter pushed back on some “both sides” nonsense to tell someone that if they REALLY did not like the two main parties, then look into third parties.

Every election, turnout decreases, people are more unhappy with government, and nobody makes the connection.

Someone on Little Green Footballs wrote We get the government we deserve.

I am NOT getting the government I deserve. I am stuck with the government other people deserve.

Image from Wikimedia,  assumed allowed under Fair Use.

2015-03 Dividend Income Report

Here is the dividend income report for March, 2015.

The monthly dividend income came out to $612.48. The yearly income total for 2015 through the end of the month was $1179.82.

The income for March, 2014 was $437.87, and the yearly income for 2014 through the end of March was $934.15.

For the first time, the monthly income was over $600 without any special dividends. The moving averages are almost at $400. Granted, most of this money is in a traditional IRA, so I will have to pay taxes when I take it out. But still, $400/month would pay quite a few bills.

There were a few stocks that increased their dividends. I also bought more JNJ. I might buy even more soon to get up to 100 shares. I also bought more ADM, so in June there will be another increase. So the Mar/Jun/Sep/Dec haul will get even bigger than the other months.

I think the drop in oil prices has not hurt my portfolio too much. As much as we need to do something about climate change, the fact is that people will not stop using oil for transportation any time soon. I don’t think the major oil companies will have too many issues. It seems like most of the drama is in smaller companies. The big oil stocks that I own have gone down in price, but I am still higher than my cost basis. I think that using the dividends to re-invest in more shares has actually lowered my cost basis. At least, that what I gather from my broker’s web site. Maybe I don’t need to worry too much about basis; the plan is to live off the dividends and not sell the shares.

Here is a table with the year-to-date amounts, the monthly amounts, and the three- and twelve-month moving averages for each March from 2012 through 2015:

Month YTD Amount 3MMA 12MMA
Mar 2015 1179.82 612.48 393.27 390.27
Mar 2014 934.15 437.87 311.38 301.75
Mar 2013 719.36 360.85 239.79 292.68
Mar 2012 792.26 294.68 264.09 269.92


Here are the stocks and the income amounts for March, 2015:

  • AFLAC Inc: $40.95
  • American States Water Co: $23.56
  • Black Hills Corp: $14.32
  • Bemis Co Inc: $28.48
  • ConocoPhillips: $79.11
  • Vectren Corp: $21.87
  • Archer-Daniels-Midland Co: $18.16
  • Chevron: $24.68
  • Emerson Electric Co: $25.55
  • Johnson & Johnson: $45.10
  • Sonoco Products Co: $21.60
  • Exxon Mobil Corp: $76.62
  • 3M Co: $13.64
  • Walgreen Co: $19.33
  • Valspar Corp: $17.53
  • Dover Corp: $9.13
  • Consolidated Edison Inc: $19.64
  • Questar Corp: $11.66
  • Kellogg Company: $50.08
  • RLI Corp: $21.81
  • Eaton Corporation: $29.66

Image from Wikimedia,  assumed allowed under Fair Use.

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