Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Abandoned Puppet

Much has been said, most recently over at Dakota Today, about President Bush's increasing cluelessness (even for him) about almost anything. I thought I'd re-post some of my comment here, along with my thoughts on a post Dale had at Faith in Honest Doubt speculating on Bush's post-presidency.

It's been said that he's one of those people who was born on third base but goes through life thinking he hit a triple. He's the lamest lame-duck president I've seen since LBJ decided not to run and got completely written off. He's flopping around like a puppet whose puppeteers have stopped paying attention, which is exactly what has happened. They're busy getting ready to set fire to the sack of crap they'll leave on the White House doorstep for the next President.

As for what he'll do when he's out of office, I think it'll be pretty much what he did before: as Dale put it.......

....Cuttin' brush, cashin' checks, sittin' in luxury boxes of major league baseball games.........

The only thing in his adult life he didn't screw up was serving as a puppet for others. Now that he's of no more use to them, he can do what I've suspected (based on his recent appearance in the ESPN booth at a baseball game) he'd rather do anyway: sit around drinking beer and shooting the breeze with the boys while watching sports. Really, would you want him trying to do anything else?

Decline and Fall of the SUV

I've read a lot about how gas prices and fashion changes have sent SUV sales off a cliff. I saw what I think is a metaphor for that decline at the mall here. A raffle was set up with the grand prize of a choice of $25,000 in cash or a brand-new GMC Yukon with a dealer sticker in the window showing a price of $53,000. That disparity struck me, along with the fact that in the past, were I to win that drawing, I might have been tempted to take the GMC with the expectation of selling it for more than $25,000. Today I'm not too sure. The fact that the dealer offered it up as a prize instead of a smaller,cheaper vehicle says something about his sales expectations as well.

That said, I have also heard that pickup sales haven't been doing too badly here due to higher commodity prices helping farmers. Of course, pickups have a working-truck use (although frequently it's a matter of buying a new one for personal/road use and turning the old one into a field pickup) that SUVs lack.

Drifting the Web for Demotivation

Ah, the pleasures of wandering web links...... Lisa Cullen at linked to a producer of wonderfully snide posters, t-shirts,etc., which in turn linked to another source of similiar material. Some have a zing.......

No single raindrop believes it is to blame for the flood.

What lies behind us and lies before us are small matters compared to what lies right to our faces.

Just because you're necessary doesn't mean you're important.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Changing Sex and Marital Status

Obsidian Wings has a discussion going on this New York Times story on the uncertain legal status of married couples when one changes sex. Obviously, taking sex out of the equation would solve the problem, but that's apparently going to have to be done state by state.

As it stands, I would think that a federal law defining how sex is legally determined would be feasible. DNA would probably be the better choice, given the abilities of plastic surgery. It would create some silly situations, but at least it would be consistently measurable and would eliminate one legal variable.

One general thought occurred to me: assuming the couple continues to have a sex life, the woman involved would have had to change her sexual preference. This could bring up a decision if the transgendered partner dies first: switch back or not? I know this would be an individual decision, but it does demonstrate the complications.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Lab-grown Meat

This post at Slate and a subsequent chat with Dale at Faith in Honest Doubt brought to mind some thoughts about lab-grown meat that I suspect only time (and maybe a little more googling) will clarify.

Dale mentioned the likelihood that lab meat would have the same nutritional downsides as current meat. I would guess that they would be able to control the nutrients more precisely and thus perhaps make a more nutritional meat, although some fat is needed.

Or is it? The characteristics of current meat are largely defined by it's primary function as part of an animal. If meat doesn't need to function as muscle and flesh, would it be necessary to grow it with the same characteristics? Even if it's not necessary, would such basic changes produce a desireable product?

Jeremy Clarkson

A couple of gems from Jeremy Clarkson, from Top Gear and the Sunday Times. The man may be certifiable, which makes him fun to read.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Head Scratcher

Chris Wilson's blog post at Slate saying that Obama should drop out read like something Clinton herself would say (in fact,if I were more cynical, I'd think he was hired by the Clintons). "You've got me beat, but I'm willing to wreck the party, so you should quit to prevent it". What kind of logic is that? Imagine Hitler in 1945 saying "you've beaten me, but I'm going never going to surrender, so to prevent more bloodshed you should surrender to me".

The line that shoots down the whole premise is "His followers will be furious". They would be so furious that they would never trust him again, and they wouldn't be the only ones. If you were a Senator, would you agree to partner with him on any remotely controversial legislation? I'd bet he'd have a tough time getting re-elected to the Senate. The opposing campaign slogan would be simple: "He quit on you before."

Saying it was for the good of the party would mean nothing. The party machine was behind Clinton from the beginning; people who supported Obama did so to oppose the party. Those people would see him as another party hack, and would never support him for anything.

Wilson is correct that the Democratic Party would be wrecked, but no one would trust Obama to fix it.

@#$%& Snow

This is getting annoying. It appears we have a couple of inches on the ground and it's still coming down, although not heavily. At least it's melting off the streets and sidewalks. Once again, it's worse east of here. Schools are closing early.
The Sioux Falls area appears to be getting it pretty good, which gets the media all excited and makes me glad I have the day off. We dispatch the Highway Patrol for Sioux Falls, and any snow/sleet/heavy frost/newspaper-sized patch of ice there sends vehicles careening into the ditch and/or other vehicles. Sioux Falls is unique in this regard. We handle a fair chunk of the state in addition to Sioux falls, and it can be storming like a scene from Dr. Zhivago everywhere else, but if Sioux Falls isn't getting it, we don't get much more action.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Arby's and Wendy's

The parent company of Arby's is buying Wendy's. We don't have either chain here. I enjoy Arby's as a change of pace, but I adore Wendy's. If there was a Wendy's here I would never darken the doors of McDonald's or Burger King again. The company says each will remain a separate chain, but the concept of a combo restaurant is intriguing, although I must say I've never been to a Taco Bell/KFC combo place that was as good as the single version of Taco Bell(the KFC part is of no interest to me, except as the possible source of the problem).

Lingering Medication

James Lileks, fresh from a dentist's appointment involving heavy medication, commenting on a 1914 frog infestation that had been compared to a biblical plague.....

Biblical plague! You can even sing it to the Addams Family song if you substitute “biblical plague” for the opening harpsicord riff.

Biblical plague! (snap snap) Biblical plague! (snap snap) Biblical plague! Biblical plague! Biblical plague! (snap snap) It’s Moses-style Old-timey / the rain of things all slimy / They’ve pointed spotty hineys / the overrunning frogs / The town was known as Melrose / the creatures’ feet had four toes / the reason? Who the hell knows / the overrunning frogs!”

Okay, obviously the drugs are still working.

Almost makes me want to visit the dentist,if I can get the same drugs.

Wrong Target

A large group of truckers is coming here to protest high fuel prices. I certainly agree it's a growing problem that's going to cascade through the economy in many ways. But there are plenty of better places to hold a protest (as usual, the oil companies would be a good start). The South Dakota state government ranks with your local Cub Scout pack in terms of influence.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

An Odd Sighting

I was at a gas station in Watertown, South Dakota last Sunday when a large RV adorned with Ron Paul for President banners pulled in. I didn't get to talk to the man who got out, but it was somewhat startling to actually see such an extravagant show of support for him in a state barely acknowledged by most national candidates, even marginal ones.

UPDATE..... says Ron Paul was in Montana Monday. Maybe I blew a chance to say hello.

British Religion

An interesting poll. The U.S. and U.K. do have some real differences. It's almost impossible to imagine those results in the U.S.

Initiatives Redux

I see that we may be voting on anther ballot issue restricting abortions. This seems to come up every election cycle. I haven't heard anything about another traditional measure, to eliminate video lottery games. This is a drawback to living in a sparsely populated state. It doesn't take that many signatures to get something on the ballot, and certain issues will always have a core group. So we have to vote on the things time after time no matter how often or how decisively they are defeated. If a measure passes the other side will bring it back. I suppose the voter-motivation they cause is a positive side-effect, but people here tend to turn out anyway.

All for Nothing

So after all the hooey, the Pennsylvania primary turned out more or less exactly as predicted weeks ago. Further more, it actually lessened Clinton's mathematical chance of winning. I really wouldn't care about this except that it makes TV news almost unwatchable as they hash over old ground. At least now the remaining primaries aren't that far off. The six-week gap between major primaries was ludicrous.

I think the way to do this would be to have three groups of primaries. The first group would allocate 25% of the delegates. This should be big enough to shake out at least some of the field. The next group would be a month later and would allocate 30%, which should whittle the field to the real contenders. The last group a month later would allocate the remaining 45%. This should be sufficient to make them important enough to eliminate the ridiculous rush to be early. The whole process would be over in two months (not counting however far in advance candidates start campaigning). I realize that this would require a great deal of cat herding and/or strong-arming by the national party to implement, but a guy can dream.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Jimmy Carter

Whatever you may think about this, at least the man is actually trying. What's more, his past efforts give him some credibility with Palestinians. If you were them, would you believe anything Condoleezza Rice said?

The Onion, as usual, got there first. It's far too profane for Jimmy, but it's not hard to imagine him sitting somewhere watching events play out on TV and thinking along those lines.

Last Weekend

My wife and I spent last weekend celebrating our anniversary in Watertown, which for those of you who don't know, is the fourth largest city in South Dakota (pop. 20,000!) . You may ask why; many here did. The main motivator was my wife's desire to visit the Terry Redlin museum, which I didn't mind, although I'm not a big art enthusiast in general and in particular can only look at so many paintings of wildlife/rural scenes before they blur into a giant mass of deer/birds/farms/fish/small towns.

Looking at the paintings inspired by rural images of Redlin's youth after driving 190 miles through the same area did offer an interesting contrast. There are still many echoes of that time in the current countryside. Some are rundown or rusting, others haven't changed much at all. I've noticed the same thing at other South Dakota museums, sometimes coming across "museum pieces" that my wife and I recall seeing in daily use (cue here for old age comments) . It's a reminder that South Dakota is a a young state.

It also occurred to me when we planned this trip that Watertown was the only major South Dakota city (meaning population of 10,000+) that I had never visited. I had driven by it on I-29, but hadn't actually been in town since 1977, when my church youth group saw the Star Wars premiere (more old age comments). It's big enough to have attractions such as a small zoo, decent waterpark,etc. but small enough that these attractions are relatively cheap and accessible. It's also a commercial center for that area.

The trip pointed out the evolving demographics of South Dakota; a few cities prospering while much of the countryside is depopulating. The railroads had created towns every 10 miles or so. Now many of these towns are slowly withering away (some not so slowly). In a way things are reverting to the past. As schools close or consolidate, the distances rural children have to travel increases, and busing becomes more scarce. My mother stayed with a family in town when she went to high school. I can imagine this coming back.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

BBC notes

I've been pretty drunk in my life, but never like this.

End of an internet legend. I never thought anyone would get these guys.

So the Olympic torch relay has come to this. Considering the modern torch relay started with Berlin in 1936, maybe this year would be an appropriate time to end it.

Liberal Iran

Not only does Iran have hookers, they also have druggies and HIV, and they took action that would give the Bush adminstration the vapors.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Shoes, Clothes, Forensics

An unlikely owner/operator of a crime lab.

Spitzer Loves Company

Somehow I think this guy is in bigger trouble.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Random Items for Tax Day

As every news outlet has mentioned, today is the deadline for Federal tax return filing. Dave Barry has some tips.I don't know anyone who hasn't already done this and spent the refund. I've always assumed that people who put this off are the ones who have to pay in. I've never found doing my taxes to be that difficult, mostly because I don't have much for deductions.

It looks like Northwest Airlines and Delta Airlines are going to get their merger done. Northwest has two flights a day out of Pierre Airport (now boarding at gate 1 and only), so this is of some local interest. Hopefully something good will come of it. The airline industry seems to be in a constant state of chaos, of operating on the edge. It goes through these occasional spasms of consolidation but never seems to settle. I am one of of a truly rare breed in that I have never flown commercially. I've never had the need, and frankly it doesn't sound like it's anything I want to do unless I have no choice.

MSNBC is showing oil at over $113 a barrel. I really do wonder how long that can go on before the economy grinds down. Oil is in just about everything. Of course, oil company stocks are up.
I have always wanted someone to explain to me why, if oil companies aren't gouging, their profits go up when oil goes up. I always thought that if your expenses rise and you raise your prices just enough to compensate, your profits should remain steady. I'm sure there's some accounting explanation for it, but it still doesn't seem right.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Face Dances

While I was at the L.A. Times website I came across this article on plastic surgery getting out of hand. I know I've seen some people become almost unrecognizable. One non-actor who comes to mind is Axl Rose. The last time I saw him on TV, he'd had some face work done, and if they hadn't said who he was I'd never have guessed. All his prior distinguishing features were gone, and I didn't see any compensating improvement in his looks.

High-definition TV may be partially behind this, and is only going to exacerbate it. After seeing a prototype HD TV years ago, I remember marvelling at the clarity and thinking that makeup artists will have hard work ahead of them. It looks like the plastic surgeons will get their business boosted as well.

Failed Campaign Financing

Via Brijit, Joel Stein has a cute column about Bill Richardson's leftover campaign debt and his efforts to pay it off. I must say I hadn't heard of someone doing this. In case you're wondering, if he'd had money left over, he couldn't just blow it; there are rules.

Catholic Delusions

A number of thoughts went through my mind as I read this NY Times article about the Pope coming to America. One was sadness, not because I have any particular sympathy for the Catholic Church, but because of the sense of loss by some of the people involved. Quoting.....

“It’s frustrating because you start to see the bishop as the enemy, and it puts you where you’re conflicted,” said Leah Vassallo, a lawyer whose parish in Malaga, N.J., is among those to be closed. “Obviously you don’t want to give up your faith or go to a different religion, or not go to church at all. But it does disenfranchise you. We’re going to be a lot more hesitant before we give money to the church.”

“They’ve totally abandoned our community,” said Mr. Thiel, who is now president of United Parishes, a group that is fighting parish closings in Toledo. “They took the buildings, they took the money, and said, ‘You guys can go somewhere else.’ ”

You can tell that these people lost something that has meant a lot to them, even if it had been a fairy tale version of the Catholic Church, and that's sad.

I also got the urge to say "well, of course!" to this....

The number of priests ordained in 2007 fell to 456, less than half the number of new priests in 1965.

Becoming a priest is roughly as long and arduous a process as becoming a lawyer, doctor, or accountant, and those professions don't require the attendant personal sacrifices. Besides, what single young man (and ONLY single men, which is another problem) would want to join an organization with the ongoing problems of the priesthood?

These statements dropped my jaw a little.....

“These are really the loyal Catholics speaking out for change,” Mr. D’Antonio said. “They are the ones who have been the Eucharistic ministers, they went to Catholic parochial schools and colleges, got a terrific education, and now they want to change the church.”

As Catholics they are devoted to their church, but don’t necessarily agree with all of its decisions. As Americans, accustomed to life in a democracy, they think they have a right to say so.

Where did they get these ideas? If there's one thing the Catholic Church has always been clear about, it's that it is NOT a democracy. I'm inclined to think that this disconnect comes from the middle management (priests, bishops,etc) dancing around the fact that parishioners have no say in order to keep from losing even more people.

And finally, this......

“There are so many people that want to be active in this church, that want to know more about their faith, and now they’re so offended,” Mr. Thiel said. “I tell people all the time, ‘Don’t leave your church. It’s not the pope. It’s not the bishop. It’s your community.’ "

Sorry Mr. Thiel, but the Pope would strongly disagree with you, and that may be the biggest problem of all.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Piracy Update

The Somali piracy incident turned out OK.

On the other hand, there is this from the UK. The commenters are rightly aghast. Suppose a British ship stops a vessel that has been taken by pirates. Now what? They can't detain the pirates, and they can't let them take the stolen boat. They would have to call for a naval vessel from another country. I can partially understand not turning them over to the barely-existing Somali government, but why not try them for piracy in the UK? The UN document on this says:

On the high seas, or in any other place outside the jurisdiction of any State, every State may seize a pirate ship or aircraft, or a ship or aircraft taken by piracy and under the control of pirates, and arrest the persons and seize the property on board. The courts of the State which carried out the seizure may decide upon the penalties to be imposed, and may also determine the action to be taken with regard to the ships, aircraft or property, subject to the rights of third parties acting in good faith.

I also have a wild thought regarding unintended consequences. The alleged basis for this is human rights. But, regarding the above scenario, suppose there are no other ships around? Wouldn't the British sailors technically be obligated to throw the pirates overboard? That strikes me as a bigger human rights violation, although it does seem more in keeping with High Seas tradition. I'm guessing this will be changed before they have to start making people walk the plank.

Grandpa Mixup

Another gem from the Onion.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Future Music

Jillian Cohan has an article in The American that notes that the biggest touring acts are all aging, and wonders where the music industry is going to get it's future cash cows. I think they're going to have to realize that those 60s-70's bands carved followings from a Boomer population that was a freak of demographics. Not only is the music business fragmenting, but the sheer size of the consumer market isn't going to be what it was. Music as a big financial business is a relatively recent phenomenon, and it just isn't going to be a license to print money anymore.
I think Disney is showing one model by developing acts through their various enterprises.

It's also worth noting that those old acts are exceptional, the ones who managed to keep it together long enough for their fans to accumulate the money to spend on those tours. There will be others: it'll just take time.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Preservation Takes Many Forms

From his column,the lovely and talented Jon Carroll of the San Francisco Chronicle addressing a group advocating the preservation of a local building.......

"I'd like to thank you all for this opportunity to address this fine gathering of preservationists. I am a lifelong fan of jams and jellies, and to meet the people who make it possible, the very pillars of the home-canning community, makes me humble. Please keep making those wonderful preserves and, you know, more raspberry!"

For some reason that just tickles me.

A Good List

Lirone at Words That Sing has an excellent list of things to remember when starting a new job. I think it's a good list to keep in mind for the people already working there. I've had to do a fair amount of training at the law enforcement dispatch center where I work, and it's not pleasant. I always think back to when I was new and a bit scared. There are so many seldom-used bits of information that it's impossible to cover them all in a reasonable amount of time. We operate on the Just Ask philosophy. Our goal is to make sure the main tasks are covered to where they're almost reflexes. This makes it easier to deal with the less common occurrences. I know many workplaces operate in a similiar fashion.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Olympics

There's lots of debate over what, if any action to take regarding the Olympics i.e. boycott the whole thing, boycott parts of it, use it as a protest vehicle, etc. I don't think anything done there would change Chinese policies (did past Olympic boycotts really change anything?). To me that creates a certain freedom to go ahead and piss them off if you feel like it, and let the diplomats wring their hands and sort it out. That seems to be what's happening with these protests, and good for them. I do wonder what kind of ivory-tower thinking led the IOC to award China the Olympics in the first place. I know they did it quite a few years ago,but how could they not see this coming?

I see this as an opportunity for a western leader with the guts to use it; to inform the Chinese that,unlike them, you are accountable to your citizens for your actions. Unlike them, you must not only tolerate but seriously consider what is being said by those citizens, which is that the Chinese government is a barbaric totalitarian state. That if the Chinese can offer any rebuttal beyond "No we're not, and it's none of your business. How dare you!" you would be happy to hear it. Unfortunately, I don't see than happening. The Chinese have money, and it's money that matters.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Becoming vs. Being

Via Andrew Sullivan, I came across this article on the difficulty with becoming an atheist vs. "being" one; that is, atheism as a way of life. I may have missed his point, but it made me think that the level of difficulty of being an atheist,or a theist for that matter, depends of your starting point. This article seems to confine itself to the idea of conversion,as it were, from one to another. If a person is born and raised in a certain belief structure, then becoming and being are almost simultaneous; by the time the person is old enough to think about such matters, he will see himself as already "being" something. In other words, if a person was raised as an atheist, that person would likely see himself as "being" an atheist, and being one wouldn't be as difficult as having to contemplate the changes necessary to become one if one were raised as a theist. I admit that the fact that so few people are raised as atheists makes this hard to investigate, but it seems to be a reasonable extrapolation from the idea of converting from one religion to another.

3.2 Flu

Michael D. at Balloon Juice notes that 75 years ago today prohibition was modified to allow beer with up to 3.2.% alcohol. (Further research finds that to get around the Constitution they classified it as "non-intoxicating"; they should have seen the college parties that I saw.)
I remember 3.2 beer; until the mid 80's, when the feds blackmailed the states into raising drinking ages, 18-year-olds could purchase it here. There were a number of 3.2 joints in South Dakota, particularly in college towns. In a lot of small towns, where both levels of beer were served, bars only kept a small amount of 3.2 on hand. I don't recall ever being served one in my hometown bar. It's still made and sold in some areas.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Heston R.I.P.

Charlton Heston died. I was no fan of his politics, but the phrase "epic actor" is certainly appropriate. Maybe I'm just getting old, but it's hard to picture any of today's "movie stars" being able to carry a long, sweeping motion picture the way he and others of his time did, and also have the ability to lift a so-so movie above it's anticipated level. He caught a lot of flak for Planet of the Apes, but does anyone think that concept would have had the shelf life it did without him to give it what little gravitas it had?

Old Buddies

Putin and Bush are having a last get-together. I picture this. ---->

But at least Bush will be gone soon,even if his horrid legacy will live on; I fear Putin will be pulling the strings in Russia for a long time.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Out of the Past

Somali pirates have seized a large luxury yacht. Apparently this isn't an unusual occurrence.....

Somali coastal waters are among the world's most hazardous, with more than 25 ships seized by pirates in 2007.

I wondered how this sort of thing is handled by the international community. I found this from the UN......

On the high seas, or in any other place outside the jurisdiction of any State, every State may seize a pirate ship or aircraft, or a ship or aircraft taken by piracy and under the control of pirates, and arrest the persons and seize the property on board. The courts of the State which carried out the seizure may decide upon the penalties to be imposed, and may also determine the action to be taken with regard to the ships, aircraft or property, subject to the rights of third parties acting in good faith.

But not just anyone can chase down pirates.....

A seizure on account of piracy may be carried out only by warships or military aircraft, or other ships or aircraft clearly marked and identifiable as being on government service and authorized to that effect.

Frankly, I'm a bit surprised it doesn't happen more often. Those gigantic cruise ships would be fat targets.

Revisiting an Old Flame

I've gotten away from watching much basketball, but I saw an old favorite team, the Utah Jazz, beat the San Antonio Spurs last night. The Jazz and I go way back; not quite to their days in New Orleans, but close. I think one reason is the overall odd vibe of the organization. Even the name is off, a remnant of it's original incarnation. They've had the same coach, Jerry Sloan, for 20 years, unheard-of in modern professional sports. They tend to have an odd mix of players; obscure small-schoolers, iconoclasts from other countries, players with skills that don't go with their physical attributes (Adrian Dantley always comes to mind; a 6"5" low-post scorer). But their consistently offbeat philosophy manages to produce decent teams from year to year, as opposed to other organizations with greater resources that muddle along at bad-to-horrid.

And the name.......imagine Brooklyn Lumberjacks, or Miami Blizzard.

Friday, April 4, 2008


So Maliki has called off his offensive. I have to congratulate John Quiggin over at Crooked Timber, who posted the following on March 27th......

On past performance, the likely pattern will be one of initial success, followed by a lot of tough talk, and then a bloody stalemate, ending in a patched-up compromise.

I'd say he called it just about perfectly.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Fish Heads

I apologize for this.....the tune has been stuck in my head lately for reasons best explained by abnormal psychology.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


I see that President Bush supports allowing Ukraine to join NATO, which currently has 26 members. I remember NATO's "glory days" when it faced off against the Warsaw Pact nations in the Cold War,with the US providing the muscle because Europe was in ruins. Now the Warsaw Pact is gone, Putin has figured out how to use oil instead of armies, and the European Union has assumed the non-military duties. I really don't see the point of NATO anymore, especially since Afghanistan has shown that it's not really a unified fighting force. I think the resources devoted to NATO could be put to better use.

Taking Enjoyment out of Eating

ESPN is interviewing Kevin Conti, a "professional competitive eater". They're treating it pretty lightly, which seems appropriate. It does lead to some questions, though. How does one become a professional eater? At what point in your life do you decide that professional eating is a career choice? What would you say to your family? I'm going to make an unsupported assumption that none of these people gave up high-paying jobs to take up gluttony for a living.

I recently read an article by Jay Leno discussing why he turned down an opportunity to make a US version of the British car-buff show Top Gear. He felt that making something he enj0yed into a job would diminish the pleasure. Do you suppose these eaters have problems enjoying a good meal when they have to treat food as something to be swallowed as quickly as possible, with the attendant physical complications? I know they could just eat other foods when they're not competing or training (yes,training). But I would think that the physical adjustments needed to consume food in massive quantities would create reflexes that would compromise a nice sit-down dinner.