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Random Ruminations on Week 2 of the New Year

by Kirsten Andersen
kirsten@politicalusa.com

1/17/2002

 
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Resolutions - Week 2

Well, here we are, two weeks into the New Year.  Are you all doing well at keeping your resolutions so far?

Don’t worry, I’m not either.

As I wrote last year around this time, I am not fond of January.  The month that is touted as a new, fresh start has always seemed to me more like one massive guilt trip.

I, like many Americans, gained about five pounds over the course of the Holiday Season.  Of course, when you add that to the five pounds I gained the year before that, and the year before that....well, it starts to add up.

Luckily for me, last November a local health club (made infamous by Chandra Levy last May) offered a large discount on membership.  With incredible foresight, I beat the January rush and joined.  Unfortunately for my waistline, I didn’t darken the doorway again until January 2nd.

Since then, I have biked approximately 834.2 miles and gone absolutely nowhere thanks to the modern art of ‘spinning.’  I have also done about 2,359 strange-looking sit-ups involving a large, round, rubber ball which I have christened “Ouch.”  Only a creature as sadistic as a personal trainer could have dreamed up a torture as painful as the one Ouch can provide.

The net gain of my efforts so far is three pounds.  Please note, if you will, that I said “gain.”  Somehow, for all my recent frenetic activity, I have added three pounds to the five I put on eating my mom’s Christmas turkey.  It’s enough to make me want to climb in bed, rest my tormented-by-Ouch muscles, and not rise again until February.

Thinking that maybe my initial failure had something to do with my eating habits, for lunch today, I chose the healthiest-looking thing in the office vending machine – a tiny package of Wheat Thins.

Wheat Thins.  The name implies both wholesomeness and lightness.  I naively believed that by consuming this boring treat, I would not only nourish my body, but contribute to its eventual thinness.  I looked at the nutrition information too late – would you believe this seemingly innocent snack contains 240 calories and ten grams of fat?

Weight loss isn’t the only resolution I’ve failed at so far this year.  At 11:57 PM on December 31st, 2001, a friend asked me what my resolutions for 2002 were.  Not wanting to seem completely unoriginal in my quest to shed my extra flab, I racked my brain for an additional (and less shallow) resolution. 

Slightly (only slightly!) inebriated, I replied, “To lose 15 pounds by April 1st and write a column AT LEAST once a week!”  It was a stroke of genius, I decided, and scribbled it hastily in my Palm Pilot, where it glares back at me each and every day.  Sadly, as evidenced by the absence of any such writing up to this date in 2002, in this I have also, so far, failed. 

I resolve to keep trying!

Princeton, the black sheep of the Ivy League

According to the Harvard Crimson, intellectual luminary and Harvard University professor Dr. Cornel West may be defecting to Princeton soon.

West, who gained some notoriety last year when he released a (horrible) rap album after a year-long “medical leave,” is considering the move after a 2001 tiff with Harvard University President Lawrence Summers.

Summers offended West during an October meeting when he reportedly criticized West for gross grade inflation and political activism (West spends a lot of time with radical leftist Al Sharpton), among other things.  Now, West – and amazingly, several colleagues - are threatening to pack their bags and move to Jersey.

Cornel West calls the leadership at Princeton “positive and visionary.”  But this is the same university that employs as a department chair Peter Singer, renowned bio-ethicist and stark-raving lunatic.  Singer, for those of you unaware, is the man who (among other crazy but much-lauded rantings) suggests that killing retarded children before the age of two will make the world’s “happiness level” increase and that sex with chickens is only wrong if the chicken doesn’t consent.

Desperate as they probably are for compliments, Princeton’s leadership can probably do without them from the likes of Cornel West.   West, after all, describes himself on his website as “one of the most preeminent minds of our time.”  He also claims to possess an “ego-deflating humility.”

How is that for self-complimentary...or self-contradictory? 

More Harvard Weirdness

The Shelby (Tenn.) County Coroner has ruled Harvard biologist Don Wiley’s mysterious death an accident.

Wiley’s body was found last month about 300 miles down river from the bridge where his car was found abandoned with the keys in the ignition in November.  Wiley’s case drew national attention during the anthrax mailing attacks because of his work researching the deadly germs used in biological warfare and terrorism.

Coroner O.C. Smith says he based his decision on the assurances of Wiley’s family that the biologist was not depressed or suicidal. 

He says that there were yellow paint marks and a missing hubcap on the side of Wiley’s rental car.  Based on that information, Smith says Wiley “may have” hit a construction sign, pulled over at the side of the Hernando DeSoto Bridge, and fallen into the Mississippi when the draft from an 18-wheeler truck that “might have” passed by “may have” caused him to lose his balance.

But that’s just a guess.

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