Friday, 10 August 2018

Inquiry into Australia's obesity epidemic - observations and a prediction

Unbeknownst to me, the Australian Senate has been holding an inquiry into the obesity epidemic and the Select Committee chosen to report, will do so in a few days time - 14 August.

145 submissions were received by the committee, comprised of a bunch of politicians, which is never a good thing. While it would be nice to read all of them, I have a life of sorts, so I picked out 20-30 and skimmed them to get the gist of what people are claiming are the problems.

Dot points are go: 
  • Advertising ‘unhealthy’ food to kids is not good.
  • A sugar tax is widely supported.
  • Except by the sugar industry and fast food businesses.
  • The Australian Sugar Alliance (ASA) think that their $2B contribution to the economy is clear evidence that obesity can’t be pinned on sugar.
  • Coca Cola contribute $3Billion to the Aust economy. Suck on that, ASA.
  • Haigh’s Chocolate want it known that they contribute to charities and are thinking about signing up to the idiotic Treatwise program.
  • Mars is a founding member of Treatwise and is working hard to adopt the woefully tragic Health Star Rating system.
  • KFC want the committee to know that, since 2012, they cook with canola oil and also remove the skin from their zinger burgers. I'm not kidding on that second one.
  • Diabetes Australia and the Heart Foundation think the Star Ratings system should be compulsory. Y'know, because it works so well
  • The Australian Medical Association think access to bariatric surgery should be easier.
  • Nestle pledge to take out even more saturated fat from their products.
  • The Grains and Legumes Council are sad that Aussies aren't following nutritional guidelines and eating enough grains and legumes.  And wholegrains aren't in the Star Ratings algorithm.
  • Rosemary Stanton, the grand old Dame of Australian nutrition, tells everyone to stop picking on the Dietary Guidelines “It is hard to see how dietary guidelines can be blamed when so few people follow them. It is not the guidelines that have failed, but rather people’s failure to follow them.”
  • Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA)…what Rosemary said.

A comedian named Robert Lowndes started his submission with this gem – “I speak with extensive knowledge of the sugar industry and nutrition having worked for CSR Limited (a sugar company) for over thirty years before leaving in 1995 to join the starch based food ingredient industry for a further seventeen years. I have no vested interest other than a desire for a balanced and science based approach to obesity and the role of sugar. I was the managing director of New Zealand Sugar Company Ltd for six years from 1987.”

Robbo should have left it at that, but it went all predictably downhill from there.

CHOICE’s submission, a consumer advocate group, was not too bad. They pointed out that a lot of research is funded by cunts at the ASA, Nestle, Kellogg and the Grains Council. Unlike a lot of ‘accredited practising dietitians’, CHOICE thought this was silly.

Name withheld (sub 33) kept it short and sharp, saying that her husband was provided all sorts of sugary wonderness in the Prince of Wales Cardiac Unit. She also thought LCHF was the reason she’d maintained a 30kg weight loss for over 10 years and dropped her diabetes meds. Poor na├»ve, name withheld, there is only one explanation for her results - she clearly has no concept of what she’s actually been eating and how much of a calorie deficit she’s been subconsciously maintaining.

Submission 9 from David Roberts was a little cringe-worthy in its appeal to low-carb celebrity, but it was one of the very few that pointed out the financial conflicts of the DAA. David’s was probably the one that Rosemary got so shitty and defensive about.  

I am naturally pessimistic, but in this case I truly believe that if you hold an inquiry and get a bunch of very well-paid clowns to run it and then you get 145 submissions from various groups all pushing their own agenda, change is unlikely.

Real solutions to a problem like national obesity require new thinking and this whole charade stinks of politicians doing something to be seen to be doing something. 

The loudest voices say we need a sugar tax and that Australians need to wake up to how truly wonderful the Dietary Guidelines are. These are bullshit solutions and won't work while we have nutritional authorities with a vested interest in pushing a diet based on carbohydrates and seed oils.

If the report comes out in a few day's time and has realistic goals and non-bullshit solutions, I will pash the nearest vegan.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Vegans doing it wrong

Back when I had stuff to say and time to say it, I took a pot shot at vegan parenting.

Clearly there are some vegans who just don't know how to save the planet properly, because children suffering neurological damage as a direct result of what you're not feeding them, is clearly a sign that you're reading the instructions wrong. 

I don't find this funny at all. 

And I certainly don't get any joy out of pointing out this abuse of innocent, helpless kiddies.

Why and how I stumbled upon more cases of child or self-abuse is a long and boring story, but basically it's Twitter's fault.

Yes, after making fun of Twitter for years, I got the shits with how hard it is to find decent news on the internet, so I looked a few people up on Twitter and now I'm aware that there are people who spend a great deal of their time telling other people that they're idiots.

These days I (publicly) call people stupid maybe once every few months. Doing it 20 times a day would just be exhausting.

Of course, this includes the spruikers of all things plant-based who, strangely enough, feel the need to tell non-herbivores (who haven't asked for their advice) to read the latest 'evidence-based' vego propaganda and repent. Because that's clearly a terribly convincing argument.

Anyway, vegans being vegans is nothing new but if I followed any more than a dozen people on this Twitter thing, I'd probably end up stabbing myself in the face, because the plant people are a lot harder to avoid.

Yes, I hate myself for giving in to one form of social media, and I can't see this experiment lasting, but on the flip side, it has exposed me to some interesting people who are worth listening to about all sorts of good shit.

OK, so I clearly decided the long and boring story was worth the effort, but before I get to the point, I need to say how fucking awesome sci-hub is. 

Looking for the full text of a research paper that some clown wants you to pay $35US for? Any of the links below not full text? 

Join the dots.

2018 - 2 year old paralysis (temporary) due to calcium deficiency. 

Low iron and enlarged heart in a 12 month old boy.

Coma and respiratory failure in a 10 month old boy with severe vitamin B12 deficiency. "The brain atrophy regressed, but linguistic and psychomotor delay persisted."

Jaundice in a 14 year old boy.

23 month old boy with iodine deficiency hypothyroidism.

16 year old with B12 deficiency and ascites (fluid build up in abdomen)

7 year old boy hospitalised with acute ataxia and failure to thriveAtaxia is a non-specific clinical manifestation implying dysfunction of the parts of the nervous system that coordinate movement, such as the cerebellum

5 month old boy being breastfed by vegan mother = poor weight gain, feeding difficulties, severe pallor, muscle hypotonia and somnolence. Upon admission, his weight, length and head circumference were below the third percentile, he had an enlarged liver and spleen, and showed a significant delay in developmental milestones and communicative reactions.

Subacute combined degeneration of spinal cord in 36 year old vegan.

Severe megaloblastic anemia and neurologic damage due to vitamin B12 deficiency in a6-month-old infant

Another breastfeeding vegan.

Irreversible subacute sclerotic combined degeneration of the spinal cord in a vegan subject.

A 22 year old vegan who poisoned himself accidentally because he was on a 'forest diet'.

Finding all of the above papers took me approximately 5 minutes on pubmed. I shit you not. My search term was "vegan cases". 

Add another hour to actually look at them all, sure, but it was a piece of piss and I have no doubt there are shitloads more where they came from.

Of course I expect any plant person who sees these papers to loudly proclaim there are many stupid people in this world, including the plant people tribe, and that they could have easily avoided the damage by supplementing with Vitamin B12.

My natural response to that theoretical response is that if there were any case reports of children suffering body or brain damage or 'failure to thrive' because their parents forced them into a paleo/keto/LCHF/carnivore diet, the vegan fury would be a sight to behold. 

I imagine there would be marching in the streets and shouting and throwing buckets of fake blood at Parliament House and petitions to make it a crime to feed humans under 18 animal flesh. A crime punishable by slow strangulation and death while watching Forks Over Knives.

I base this speculative prediction on the many clearly unstable people on the internet who regularly say they hope meat eaters die of colon cancer. Preferably today, so they can gloat about it.

That the nutritional authorities proclaim plant-based diets to be healthy, with tiny disclaimers about vitamin B12 supplementation is not surprising. These people are piss weak and can't add one more contradiction to their already ridiculously feeble guidelines.

If you want to avoid animal products, that's fine with me. I hope it helps make your life enjoyable and your body healthy. But pretending that plant-based eating is the solution to the world's problems and forcing your children, whose brains and bodies are developing, to miss out on vital nutrients because 'meat is murder' sad, delusional and has the potential to be tragic. 

That's not just my opinion, it's clearly evident 'in the litrachure'. Go on, educate yo' self and read it.

If there were a vegan instruction manual, I imagine it might go something like this:

Step 1 - put whatever you want into your mouth, but if you have children, feed them meat and eggs.
Step 2 - failure to follow step 1 means you are a dickhead and abusing your children.
Step 3 - don't be a dickhead.

I had some bizarre vegan tweets to stick at the end of the is post, but I figure this might be better and less depressing:
They are Zophobas morio -  aka larvae of the darkling beetle, aka superworms. I am a superworm farmer and I feed them to my chickens. Yes, while they're alive. In the event of a zombie apocalypse, I will have a fairly decent sustainable source of protein.

Chickens think that superworms are the most delicious thing going. If you've never seen chickens shoulder charge each other out of the way to score a superworm, I can assure you it is both impressive and amusing. 

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Riding dead horses

A 'proof of life' post made up of quotes I thought were cool or made me smile.

"The code of tribal wisdom says that when you discover you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount. In law firms, we often try other strategies with dead horses, including the following: buying a stronger whip; changing riders; saying things like, `This is the way we have always ridden this horse'; appointing a committee to study the horse; arranging to visit other firms to see how they ride dead horses; increasing the standards to ride dead horses; declaring that the horse is better, faster and cheaper dead; and finally, harnessing several dead horses together for increased speed."
Quote from an American judge, Thomas Jackson. The first part is apparently an Indigenous American saying. 

"Borrowing an identity from a group is no way to go through life." Someone called Stef in the Starting Strength forums. 

"People are strange. Chemical weapons melts skin before your eyes. Cruise missiles raise ambient temperature to 1700° in 3 seconds. One is totally fine, one is totally banned." My friend.

"A breath mint in a barrel of pig turds is still a barrel of pig turds." Caitlin Johnstone.

"It is true that my peers and I have been warning people for decades about the perils of consuming too much of the sweet stuff. Nevertheless, a single nutrient approach that blames one particular food or ingredient for all our health ailments is far too simplistic and loses sight of the bigger picture." A dietician/comedian whose satire is first rate.

Saw this while researching solar panels. It made me laugh. 
I bet you have some in your pantry. Throw it out, you fool.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Australia's leadership is perpetually weak and sycophantic and the image we have of ourselves is a lie.

The jingoistic wankers who like to loudly proclaim what it is to be Australian, will invariably put at the top of the list of stereotypical characteristics, the inherent sense of a 'fair go', 'mateship' and pitching in when others less fortunate are having a hard time.

That people actually think these traits are somehow unique to a particular country, and not just logical responses from those of any member of the human race, should tell you something about their intellect. Those that shout this the loudest are either so stupid they truly believe what they are saying, or are the cunning and manipulative parasites whose interests and wealth benefit most when the Australian masses think they are somehow exceptional and their way of life must be defended at all costs from those who come to our country uninvited. 

Australia's treatment of asylum seekers is abhorrent and sickening. Of that, there is no doubt. Unfortunately, this doesn't surprise me given the very long and ongoing record of despicable treatment handed out to our Indigenous peoples. 

But this post is not about our lack of collective compassion for those so downtrodden in their cultural homeland or those so desperate to avoid persecution or death, they will do all that it takes to reach our massive, and mostly empty, country. This is about the disgusting treatment we allow to occur of our own citizens by countries that are supposedly our friends.

The Australian Government allowed David Hicks  to be tortured by the US military and held captive for 6 years. No attempt was made by our leaders to intervene in the bullshit and illegal trial that eventually led to his release. That the feeble-minded among us felt his treatment was warranted, given his apparent lack of intelligence and poor choices in life, is beyond my comprehension. 

Now we have Julian Assange, having broken no law and having no charges laid against him, bogus or otherwise, undergoing 6 years of a totally different kind of torture. Again, our government has had ample opportunity to step in and help one of its citizens. Again, it has proven to be weak, flaccid, contemptible and entirely pathetic. Being seen to be friends with the United States and United Kingdom is of greater importance to our politicians than the health and well-being of an Australian.

That is not leadership. That is not morally defensible. That it happened more than once is fucking bullshit.

Whether you have made up your mind that Hicks and Assange are not very nice people, is irrelevant. They could be the biggest human turds on the planet, they could have actually broken a legitimate law, their treatment and the lack of action from the Australian Government would still contradict the very principles that we supposedly hold so dear.

No, the tribe of clowns who inhabit our Parliament, the conga-line of parasites that write for our newspapers, the clan of imbeciles who drape themselves in an Australian flag and proclaim themselves exceptional, and even the average Dazza and Shazza who don't really understand what is going on and don't care, are sad and deluded pawns in a fanciful game of world domination.

Whether you realise it or not, all Australians lose in our relationship with the US and UK. Just some more than others.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

It's Healthy Eating Week - but 53% of people apparently think that's bullshit

The Dietitians Association of Australia are a funny lot. Always cracking jokes that are subtle enough for me to wonder if they're taking the piss.

Healthy Eating Week is on this week and their marketing arm has decided that this stat is worth including in their promotional infographic:

I don't know about you, but if I was a member of a professional association whose primary role was to give advice on a serious matter, but less than half of people thought that advice was worth paying for, I'd reconsider the advice I was giving. Or my vocation.

Funny and insanely optimistic, perhaps.

The jokes only go so far, though, because being ridiculously inconsistent in your messaging is simply not funny.

For example, they devote a substantial amount of time telling anyone who'll listen that dietary methods such as paleo are not "evidence-based".

When a bunch of people repeatedly feel the need to tell you that their advice is evidence-based, the implication being that any other advice is bullshit, you have to wonder why they're so defensive and narrow-minded. I don't get it.

I guess it must be the 47% thing.

Anyway, back to paleo, the DAA are at great pains to have you believe it's utter stupidity.

"While the Australian Dietary Guidelines are based on strong evidence from more than 55,000 studies, a Palaeolithic diet has been studied in very few people and not over the long term."

"Excluding whole food groups is not wise, and strict followers may risk falling short on key nutrients.

Shit, even the Australian Medical Association President, Michael Gannon, thinks so - "exclusion diets never work"

But when's the last time you heard a dietitian saying that veganism or vegetarianism never works or hasn't been studied over the long term? 

The 47 per centers will have you believe that low carbers and paleo devotees are ignorant and will suffer serious health consequences for cutting out or reducing the only non-essential macronutrient, but yet vegans, for whom the word "extreme dietary practices" are a massive understatement, and whose eating patterns are potentially neurologically destructive, are given the touchy feely treatment.

It's so damn unfair! Ha ha. 

Which reminds me, back to the jokes...see if you can spot a couple here:

And...the most stable fats are? Well? Hee hee.

The DAA have a Healthy Eating Quiz which is too predictable to be funny. And I was stupid enough to waste 5 minutes of my life on it.

That last sentence is just weird.

0/12? Fuck you.

I can't remember where I saw this comment, but I had an unusually hard time figuring out whether she is serious or not. After looking at her website, I still can't tell. My hat is off to you, Ms Natoli. Bravo.

Thursday, 1 February 2018


It’s been more than 14 months since a certain person was elected as President of the US. If you regularly expose yourself to the mainstream media, that means you’ve been subjected to at least 20 months of daily news items along the lines of:

DT said this. Isn’t that awful.
TV host says DT is a knob.
Sports star says DT is a tool.
DT said that. How outrageous.
Evil sadistic witch lost election. Isn't that tragic.
DT causes cancer and eats baby seals for breakfast.
DT is a Russian spy.

The number of words typed and spoken on the subject is immeasurable. If you read or listen to one of these stories and your first reaction is to get angry and shout “yeah…right on. The world’s going to hell and he needs to go”, then it is my personal opinion that you are wasting your time and doing exactly what the people in power want you to do. This is not conducive to positive change.

I'm not saying that I think DT is a worthy head of state - I don't, but I don’t give a flying firetruck who is sitting in the white house because the people who have represent a long list of corrupt, demented sadistic arseholes whose achievements can be boiled down to one thing - ensuring rich people stay rich and everyone else can get forked. 
Google wants you to spend time reading this crap
I'm also not suggesting that people have no right to be aggrieved at who is running their country. Hell, my country is run by a pack of cnuts and the chief clown, our Prime Minister, is a former investment banker. How funny is that?  

Politicians are pricks. That should go without saying to a sane person, but the media will have you believe that the discussion of how big a prick the current leader is, is more important than our privacy, government-sanctioned murders, government policy that advocates physical and mental torture, and the fact that our every electronic move is being watched, recorded and sold to advertisers or spy agencies.

Call me extraordinarily paranoid if you will, but I imagine that these power-brokers, the faceless puppeteers that conspiracy theorists like me imagine are truly running our countries, are sitting around, pushing the buttons that control the media and the government and saying to each other “look at these dumb bastards, the country is drowning in debt, the farcical war on terror will never end because we don’t want it to, a lot of their people are starving and homeless and all we have to do is get one of our stooge ‘journalists’ to write a story about the president saying “shit hole” and that’s all they get angry about.”

'They' must be laughing their arses off constantly. The joke would never get old.

The propaganda machine is truly awesome in its reach and varied key players. Of course you'd be naive to think that it's just the news media that share an agenda with governments -  Hollywood and sources of celebrity get in on the act too. 

I love a good movie and there’s nothing much wrong with tuning out and watching 2 hours of a superhuman saving the earth and cracking witty one liners, but when you start to take seriously the biased mountain of exceptionalist bullshit that portrays the American war machine as an altruistic seeker of justice, I think you've got some seriously large blinkers on. 

No, I don't see myself as some wise, all-knowing intellectual. I am not the old fish in David Foster Wallace's parable. I just wish more people would turn off the screens that spew distracting crap and be a bit more discerning when it comes to their source of worldly news. 

It's really not that hard. 

Not news, but worth noting - pork belly is delicious

TLDRCGAF summary:

Politicians are scum.
Governments are not in the business of serving their people.
The media is a propaganda machine.
Hollywood is a cesspool of nonsense.
Celebrities are not more important than you.
If you want to know what’s going on in the world, make an effort to find the truth. Or at least an alternative view to the mainstream propaganda.
Pigs are delicious.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Goose stew and living with a racist

It's water fowl hunting season and the bird of choice, because they're by far the biggest and most numerous and therefore the easiest to shoot, is the magpie goose. Also known as Anseranas Semipalmata by bird geeks and Gurrumattji by certain Aboriginal tribal groups in Arnhem Land.
Prehistoric bird, apparently
Magpie Geese are an important food source for Aboriginal peoples of Northern Australia and also fill up the freezers of many non-Aboriginal people of Darwin and its surrounds. Traditionally, they are plucked, gutted and thrown on the coals and that's about as technical as it gets. The problem I have with this method is directly related to the fact that magpie geese are the leanest animals you are ever likely to eat. Tasty, sure, but invariably tough and chewy if you aren't a little inventive in terms of cooking method. The only thing you can conceivably do with the leanest part of the lean bird, the breast, is to slice it thinly across the grain and marinate it for flash frying. 

You may be thinking that you could cook it like like a duck breast, but you'd be forgetting that ducks have fat and these birds do not. None. Whatsoever. 

A box of geese...sleeping

a bag of giblets

My wife, an Aboriginal woman, grew up eating geese regularly and is more than a little set in her ways when it comes to preparing and eating them. They must be plucked, not skinned, and a goose stew is typically based on a soy and oyster sauce and vermicelli noodle concoction that tastes fine, but doesn't really float my boat.

While I would do many unpleasant things for my dearly beloved, plucking many large birds, when the skin is not something I consider a prize component, is not one of them. It's a shit job and I won't do it. Similarly, if I'm going to spend hours hunting and cleaning geese, I'll damn well cook them the way I want to. 

Well, not always, but I'm in the mood for exaggeration. 

On a recent Sunday afternoon, I retrieved a bag of geese limbs from the freezer and began preparing dinner. On observing me, the first and only question my wife asks is "are you cooking it white-man way or black-fella* way?" The inference, of course, being that 'white-man way' is clearly inferior.

It is so hard being a white man these days. The oppression and ridicule is barely bearable. But I pushed on, ignoring the racist remarks, and produced a meal that I was reasonably happy with. Sure, there is always room for improvement, but the meat was tender and the sauce had flavour. When you consider that magpie goose is often some of the toughest and most unforgiving protein you can attempt to use, I was more than a little pleased.

So, I was silly enough to ask my Black Queen - "what do you think, was it alright?"

Her reply "uh-huh, yeah, it was OK." The tone in her voice easily translated to "white-man cooking is shit". 

Ignore the racist** woman, if you've stumbled on to this page, looking for nothing more than a cooking method that will turn your lean goose limbs into edible food, here is the short answer:

Cook them in a pressure cooker for 75-85 minutes. 

75 minutes seems to be a sweet spot. I'll sometimes throw in some potatoes for an extra ten minutes. Whether you throw white-man or black-man ingredients in the pot is entirely up to you, but this is what I added:

Garlic, ginger, onions, carrots, chilli, anchovies, tomato paste, chicken stock, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, red wine (after reducing by at least half) and some frozen veggies at the end because veggies are compulsory, apparently.
spot the fat

onion, garlic, chilli, ginger, anchovies

I did take a picture of the final dish, but it looked about as appetising as a tofu burger. All that matters is my trustworthiness and that I give you my word that it tasted fairly good and the meat was falling off the bone.

Here's a photo I took of a rock, instead.

*in this part of the world, black-fella is often black-Asian-fella due to the history of Chinese and other Asians' interaction with Aboriginals over the years. Hence the soy and oyster sauce and vermicelli noodles. No, I have no idea how the noodles worked their way into the recipe.

**the fact that I have to confirm that I'm not being serious here is more than a little depressing. The term 'racist' is one of many words that has lost its meaning due to over-use. A bit like "hilarious" and "best ever" and "news". In all honesty, I'm more prejudice against white people than my wife. 

White people are no good. Don't trust any of them.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

The brevity of life and first world problems.

I have problems. 

Everyone has problems, but on a scale of one to ten, with one being "I hate my job and I can't seem to save money for a holiday" and ten being "I live in real and daily fear of having a bomb dropped on my head and have no access to clean water and food", then my problems are about zero point six. And even that's probably an exaggeration.

I don't love my job, sure, but it pays well and I'm not digging ditches in the sun or bored out of my mind. And yet small talk in the office kitchen or elevator inevitably involves a comment from someone about how close it is to the weekend. We're all either full of shit or wishing our lives away without acknowledging how truly fortunate we are to be functioning human beings without real problems.

Mornings in my house used to be stressful because it'd invariably end in me yelling at my kids to hurry the hell up and get ready for school. I'd be stressed, the kids would be sad and it was all for nothing - because I had this inexplicable 'need' to get to work earlier than necessary. What an idiot.

I'm trying to make a concerted effort to live more 'in the now'. It's a work in progress, I admit, but I think I might get there one day.

When it comes to what I put in my mouth, I know for a fact that my body runs efficiently on animal flesh and the fat that comes with it. If I regularly eat bread, pasta, grains, my body lets me know that it's not happy by adding a few kilos to my waist and letting colds and flu past my immune security system. It doesn't matter how careful I am with portion sizes or exercise, that's what happens and that's why I don't do it. 

Luckily enough, I'm healthy and I don't suffer serious adverse effects from eating particular foods. We also have access to a wide range of tasty animals. Eating good food is a priority in our house so, once in a while, it's nice to let loose and eat something that I wouldn't normally. Like pasta. 

But not any shitty pasta with shitty ingredients. 

Some of the ingredients. 

Prawn heads in boiling water = easy prawn stock

bacon, onion, garlic, chilli, white wine, stock
Hairy fish = umami

Drinks break
Cream and parmesan cheese
Another drinks break
and served, of course, with:

Life is short. I have no real problems. In fact, I'm exceptionally fortunate to be able to live a little and indulge, once in a while. Monday will come, I'll go to work, and I'll still have no real problems.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Leaving money to the Heart Foundation in your will - are you sure? Really?

What people plan to do with money after death is clearly none of my business, but I wonder if they've really put much thought into the value-for-money side of things when deciding to leave money to charities, as opposed to, I don’t know, leaving it to family, friends or their cat.

Maybe I'm just a selfish, self-absorbed pessimist, but my observations tell me that the number of people, businesses and charities asking for money is beyond a joke. It pains my perpetually-oppressed white man sensibilities that I can’t walk into the bloody supermarket without first avoiding eye contact with the smiley young person asking if they can “ask me a quick question”.

Of course that 'quick question', that follows the first question, is nothing of the sort. It’s a scripted monologue about how the kittens with leprosy in Barbados won’t last another brutal West Indian winter without my monthly automatic credit card debits. Or some other vague but altruistic cause for which I’d be a heartless prick to say no to.

The ‘quick question’ eventually comes and it is simply “what is your credit card number?”

Fuck that. Fuck the smiley young person and fuck the cats. Yes, as a matter of fact, I can hear the little kitties screaming and I’ll still sleep very well tonight, thank you very much.

Which brings me to the Heart Foundation. It's my favourite charity. The very name sounds so noble and heroic. So what if their Heart Foundation 'tick program' is a transparently ridiculous sham? They need to charge food companies for it, otherwise they won’t have the funds to conduct research to save our hearts.

Our hearts, damn you!

Heart disease is responsible for more deaths than the US military. You’d be a sociopath to say no to such a wonderful cause. There's just that unfortunate fact that almost everything the HF espouse, is based on a massive pile of stinky, necrotic nonsense. In my opinion.

The Heart Foundation is one of our more well-known charities, operating for many years and with a string of greatest hits including Fat Clogs Your Arteries Like Sludge in Your Sink, Vegetable Oils Make Squeaky Clean Arteries, Salt, Salt, it's all your Fault.

One of the Heart Foundation's converted faithful - who is quite proud to be poisoning their customers

The HF have also formed partnerships with altruistic food companies to spruik wonderful new food stuffs with plant sterols that are no doubt slowly saving the population.

throw away your statins and eat this

a very interesting question

And so people hand over their money and add the foundation to their list of beneficiaries in their will. They participate in HF events like Jump Rope for Heart and MyMarathon. Yes, they even torture themselves to raise money for the cause.

But I have this feeling in my gut that a lot of these people don't really know where that money will end up. Funnily enough, the HF are not shy in telling us.

Is that true? Well, according to the 2016 Annual Financial Statements:

The HF did quite nicely in 2016, with a $22.4 million surplus for the year. They pay no tax of course, and had just under $34 million cash in the bank - as at 31 December 2016.

Of the $64.7 million they received in fund-raising for the year, $44 million was from bequests. 68% of their fund-raising comes from people who leave money in their wills.

That would be a fantastic statistic if you thought the Heart Foundation was spending that money wisely (i.e. good research), but when you consider their consolidated revenue was $81.6 million and $12.33 million (15.1%) was spent on research - it doesn't sound so crash hot. Especially considering they spent $15.5 million on fund-raising. 

Yes, they spent more on fund-raising than they did on research - surely you saw that in the bar graph above? They haven't tried to hide it.

But it gets worse. They spent $27.9 million on health programs. This might be great news if their health programs made sense, and I certainly agree that encouraging people to quit smoking and exercise is a good thing, but their major push in the area of nutrition is a massive counter-productive mountain of bullshit. 

$27.9 million or 43% of fund-raising dollars (or 63% of bequests) goes to funding, in my personal opinion, shit. It's not just a waste of money, it's encouraging people to avoid animal products in favour of sugar (digested carbohydrates) and vegetable oils.

Personally, if I were so inclined to sideline my children in my will, in favour of a bunch of obtuse clowns, I'd like my money to be going into valuable research. I admit to being sceptical about any research the HF consider worthy of investigating, but I was impressed with the microbubble clot busting thing. What else they've contributed to the world of cardiac health, is not so clear.

Rounding this up - I'm not saying we should all hoard our cash and not give it to good causes or those in need. I'm just saying that we should think before handing it over to a massive marketing machine that spends a significant amount of your contribution on their self-interest.

This is the world we live in now, and the HF has a lot to do with it:

Surely life would be so much easier if we all just used butter