August 12

Home again…briefly

28  comments

We finally made it home after the long, tedious drive from Napa. We have to make the same trip in a few days when we head up to Tahoe, and I can tell you that I’m not looking forward to it. We would have been there now except that MD has to sing in a performance of Mahler’s Third Symphony on August 16. Early on the morning of the 17th we’re out of here.
Years ago when our youngest son, Scott, was in kindergarten or the first grade, he came home from school in a huff. When we asked him what was wrong, he told us that he had had a very rude day. We thought the expression was hilarious, and it’s become part of our family lingo since. We don’t have bad days – we have rude days. And I’ve had a few rude days in a row that I feel compelled to tell everyone about.
It started last Thursday. I got a call on my cellphone from a Colorado area code. When I answered, it was a real good news/bad news call. Back in 2003 our house in Boulder was burglarized. The crooks went through every drawer, every closet, every everything. All our drawers were dumped, all the clothes in the closets were on the floor, and the house was trashed. We had all of our computers and electronic items (TVs, DVD players, stereo system, etc.) taken as well as a lot of artifacts we had collected over the years. They got a couple of guns that I had owned since I was a teenager and a bunch of casts of various hominid skulls that I had collected over the years. And they took my Gibson guitar (the best guitar I’ve ever had – it was custom made) and the 100 plus year-old, sweet-toned violin on which I had learned to play. All in all, they got about $75,000 worth of stuff, much of which was irreplaceable. The detectives from Boulder came out and fingerprinted everything and collected some cigarette butts from which they hoped to be able to extract DNA. But they told us that the testing would take forever because we were behind all the murders and rapes in the system. There was a lot of sturm and drang from the police for a bit, but in the end, no one was fingered for the crime.
The call I got last Thursday was from a detective in the Boulder County Sheriff’s office telling me that they had finally gotten a hit on the DNA from the cigarette butts. The good news was that they had found the thief (at least one of them). He had been incarcerated in the state of Washington, and upon his release had moved to Montana. The bad news was that the statute of limitations had passed, so there was apparently nothing that could be done to him. Nor could any attempts be made to find and/or collect any of our stuff that he might still have. The call just sort of rubbed salt into an old wound.
Things got worse. That same Thursday night MD and I went to a concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl. MD is a big Steve Miller Band fan and a long-time Joe Cocker fan (as well as a dedicated and devoted concert goer), and when she found out that they were both going to be performing on the same night at the SB Bowl, she sat poised with her finger on the button to get tickets as soon as they were made available. At the time it seemed so distant that I (foolishly) agreed to go with her.
The Santa Barbara Bowl is a great venue for concerts and Santa Barbara is a great venue for anything out of doors. The weather is mild, even in the middle of summer (and in the middle of winter, for that matter) and there are no bugs, so you can watch a concert outside without dripping sweat and swatting mosquitoes. I’ve been to too many of those kinds of concerts during my days in the South.
We got there and found our seats, drank a little champagne and watched the crowd shuffle in as we waited for the show to start. An interesting and diverse crowd it was. There were a lot more young people there than I would have expected along with a lot of people who were on the leading edge of the baby boom. A lot of young women scantily clad (miniskirts and short shorts, it appeared, were de rigeur) and a lot of mutton dressed as lamb. And there was a guy whom I couldn’t quit staring at who could have come in first in a Fred West look alike contest.  It was eerie. I was settling in for at worst a good time simply people watching.
When Joe Cocker took the stage and the music started, however, I realized that I had made a huge mistake in agreeing to attend. First, the sound was at deafening decibel levels, and, second, Joe Cocker could barely be understood. One of his first songs was The Letter, which is my favorite Joe Cocker song, and he was at least a third of the way through the tune before I recognized it. In his best days, Joe kind of croaked and screamed out his songs, but the words were at least recognizable. Now, his voice is…I don’t want to be unkind, so let’s just say, he’s no Freddie Mercury.
And, like the rest of the population, Joe has added some weight since his youth. He’s not of Orson Welles proportions yet, but he’s well on his way. And he’s lost his hair. All changes which are kind of for the better, at least in terms of his watchability (by me, at any rate). When he was younger, all of his choreaform movements and the thing he did with his hands kind of gave me the creeps. As an older, bald, obese guy they didn’t seem nearly so bad. In fact, they somehow seemed more appropriate.
Even worse than the Cockeresque unintelligible croaking and screaming were the throngs of hemorrhoids (I call them hemorrhoids because they are a pain in the you-know-what) who all insisted on standing and swaying, totally oblivious to those behind them who didn’t particularly want to stand and sway to the croaking, yet wanted to see the stage. And, just like Joe Cocker, the hemorrhoids have aged and followed the trend of all Americans in adding avoirdupois to their frames, making them even more difficult to see around. Here is a picture of my view of the Joe Cocker portion of the concert.

Now, you may tell me that all people stand and sway to the music at concerts. Not so. Not so at all. At some concerts the ratio of hemorrhoids to others is small, at others – Gordon Lightfoot concerts, for example – the ratio is so small that it’s infinitesimal. MD and I went to the SB Bowl a few days before the Cocker/SMB concert and saw James Taylor. As you can see from the photo below (which you can click to enlarge), there was nary a hemorrhoid in sight, at least not one in front of us, which, as far as I’m concerned, is all that really matters.

James Taylor concert.  August 1, 2008 SB Bowl
James Taylor concert. August 1, 2008 SB Bowl

The hemorrhoids to others ratio is huge at some concerts. Jimmy Buffet comes to mind. I’ve seen him a couple of times, and at the first chord of each song, all the Parrotheads jump to their feet and start to jerk and twitch. Annoying to the max. I can’t even imagine what it must be like to be at a Hank Williams, Jr. concert. All I know is that I couldn’t be dragged to one with a team of horses. Other concerts are a crap shoot. MD and I saw Paul McCartney in Michigan years ago, and everyone stood the whole time, making it virtually impossible to see. Had everyone remained seated, everyone could have seen. As it was the hemorrhoids in the front, prevented people in the back from seeing the concert. We saw McCartney two more times over the years – both the later times in the South – and most of the people sat. The latter two concerts were the same music but much more civilized in terms of concert goers. So, you never know. I guess you pays your money and you takes your chances.
At least we lucked out in one category at the concert. We had good seats on the end of the row, and no one, not one single person, went in and out during the performance. I can never understand why people pay good money to go to a concert or a sporting event, then spend all their time going back and forth to the concession stand. Go to the concert or the game and sit and watch it, for God’s sake. You can eat and drink at home or during intermission or halftime. That’s my opinion, at least.
The Steve Miller Band was kind of a disappointment on a couple of fronts. First, the sound was way too loud. Don’t the people that put these things on realize that sounds in excess of a certain decibel level can damage hearing permanently. And the damage is cumulative. I don’t know what the sound level was during the SMB performance, but it was earsplitting.
Second, the band has added a new member, who is a lead singer and backup singer. He sang four or five new songs that the band has recorded, none of which sound anything like the SMB is supposed to sound. The guy has a good voice, but with him singing, it’s a different band. And, worst of all, the guy is on stage for the entire concert, and when he’s not singing, which is most of the time, he gambols around the stage doing some kind of dance that makes him look like the village idiot or worse. It is annoyingly distracting. And not just to curmudgeonly me – I heard others make the same comment.
As the concert mercifully ended and we trudged out and down the hill (the SB bowl is way up on a big hill) and the drunken chavs stumbled along (many were literally falling-down drunk), I couldn’t help but wonder how people can think it’s fun to go to a concert, have their eardrums blown out, and get knee-walking drunk. It’s a mystery to me, but God knows, a lot of people must enjoy it.
I left the concert with my ears ringing and damn glad it was over. MD left wishing she had come with anyone but me. We both dreaded that we had to get up the next morning at 4 AM to leave for Napa in order to get there in time for our meeting.
I’ll post about Napa next and the heart stopping $1400 dinner bill. I’m sorry to bore you all with my trials and tribulations of the past few days, but I’ve faithfully posted on nothing but nutritional topics for the past year. No political ruminations, no weird things I’ve found in my daily slog through the web, no nothing other than pure nutrition. So, you’ve got to indulge me on these couple of soul-cleansing blogs. It’s how I regenerate and restore my good humor.


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  1. Joe Cocker he from Sheff…not a good sign.It’s or was a steel city with resultant vocals !
    Go see young Jarvis Cocker (ask yr lads) he will give good value.
    The one and same Joe Cocker nee Vance Arnold. I’ll wait until the memory of Joe fades a little before trying another Cocker.
    Cheers–
    MRE

  2. Sir on yr photo/post of last homemade meal i asked a question vis fave fats.
    When you are back and settled..whenever could you at least ponder it please or give a link to somewhere where you’ve posted but i’ve missed.
    Thanks muchly
    Will do.

  3. I totally commiserate with you. Concerts are hit or miss — and the outdoor variety — while seemingly appealing — bring their own set of problems. It takes very little to make it a miserable (not to mention expensive) experience. Nothing wrong with listening to music at home, say I!
    Now I have an unrelated nutritional question: every time I do serious low-carb, my legs cramp badly. I know I need to take potassium, but my question is this: Does this phase pass or is the potassium needed as long as you stay low-carb? There’s nothing about this in the literature. Thx.
    Love your blog & look forward to hearing about the $1,400 meal!
    –Mary
    Hi Mary–
    One typically needs potassium during the insulin resensitization phase only. But it doesn’t hurt to take it daily. Most of us don’t get enough potassium in our diets, so a little extra comes in handy. When we start our own patients on a diet, we give them a prescription for 10 mEq per day of potassium, which equates to about 5 of the over-the-counter 99 mg versions. It’s something you ought to check with your doc on though, especially if you’re taking blood pressure medicines.
    Cheers–
    MRE

  4. Dear Dr. Eades,
    I hope you’re feeling better now that you’ve gotten THAT off your chest!! 🙂
    I’m sorry that I had a chuckle at your expense (re: the concert, NOT the burglary of your home), but thanks for this post. I hate to take sides, but honest to goodness, I would not have gone to that concert either. When SM was in his heydey, the radio station I listened to seemed to play SM every half hour and I got SICK of it. I do like Joe Cocker but I wouldn’t have gone to see him perform either. Also, when I used to go to concerts I would be one of those down front but even in my younger days I used to smoosh a little tissue into each ear. It was amazing how I could still hear the music but after the show my hearing was perfectly fine and I didn’t have ringing in my ears like my friends did. And I’m with you on the drunk/falling down drunk business – STUPID.

  5. Too bad about Joe Cocker, I saw him back in 90 or 91, on a show with Stevie Ray Vaughan. Expected to merely put up with Cocker, and to enjoy Vaughn, but it turned out the other way round. Vaughan was boring and too loud, Cocker put on a great show.
    Went to a few stones concerts last tour ’round, enjoyed myself immensely, however, I will NEVER go to see ANYONE again in a big stadium show. Too many people, you get shoe-horned in worse than cattle in a feedlot. A real drag, man. I don’t mind standing the whole show, but I hate having to stand in the same two foot square area for two hours, ugh… Madison Square Garden, yes, Giants Stadium, fahgeddaboutit….
    I agree with you about Madison Square Garden as a concert venue. I saw a great Simon & Garfunkel concert there a couple of years ago. It was pretty mellow with few hemorrhoids. As an unexpected bonus, the Everly Brothers came out and played a few of their hits. Great concert all the way around.

  6. I live in “hearing distance” of the Santa Barbara Bowl (and have lived in SB since 1970). I heard what you saw. I just had to write you because I have bought your original first book “Protein Power” about five times for myself and then given it to someone because I just love everything about it. And with that, I just bought another copy for ME last weekend…this time in the large print since I am now 59 and can appreciate it. I am praying that I read it once again and get excited and do it. For health reason as well as weight (I have about 80 lbs to loose darn it). I hope you get this message and read it and know that someone in Santa Barbara would have loved to have run into you while you were here. (I live a half a block from the Courthouse)…I would have been so excited to meet you. I hope I can eventually write you again and tell you that I am losing weight and getting healthier. Bless you both….
    I wish you success. Maybe our paths will cross here in town. You know what I look like. Come up and say hi if you see me.
    Cheers–
    MRE

  7. You’ve described in perfectly why I don’t do concerts anymore. That and the pall of pot smoke that hung over me when I last attended a concert many, many years ago. It just isn’t worth it. As a hearing-impaired person who finds the loudness unbearable (and that’s without my hearing aids!), I don’t know how normal hearing people can stand it.
    I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been through the ordeal of having your home burglarized. Having been through it myself, I know that it just plain sucks.
    I’m looking forward to the post about your dinner at French Laundry.
    At least there is no smoking – pot or otherwise – at the Santa Barbara Bowl, so at least I didn’t have to endure that as well.

  8. Off-topic I know, but couldn’t help it. I stumbled across a great article that just about had me convince that a plant-based diet is the way to go….yeah, right. Here’s the link for a few laughs.
    http://www.NaturalNews.com/023837.html
    My favorites are:
    “Virtually all plant food provides protein, in addition to their other health benefits. In his essential book The China Study, T. Colin Campbell, PhD. discloses undisputed evidence that plant protein is the healthiest source of this nutrient.”
    Undisputed ehh…
    “The original human diet seems likely to have been one consisting solely of fruits, and this concept is the basis of the fruitarian philosophy….however, existing solely on fruit for the long-term may be difficult and detrimental to health as some practitioners eventually experience severe food cravings and unpleasant symptoms signaling nutritional deficiencies.”
    Wow…where can I sign up for the fruitarian philosophy? I guess all of the “original humans” on this diet have gone extinct.
    “Fats on the other hand take twelve to twenty-four hours to finally reach the cells. An excess consumption causes the bloodstream to remain congested with fat which in turn slows sugar from reaching the cells. The resultant elevated blood sugar contributes to candida, diabetes and many other illnesses. Excess dietary fat (more than 10% of total caloric intake), not natural sugar, is the offender as it holds up digestion and adversely affects blood sugar levels. According to Graham [Dr. Douglas Graham], high fat intake “contributes not peripherally, but directly and causally to all the misleadingly named ‘blood-sugar metabolic disorders.'”
    Say what? What you talkin’ bout Willis? I think Dr. Graham may have been brainwashed by fairies. Low-fat, vegetarian fairies that is.
    Enjoy the rest of the laughs from the article.
    Ned
    Thanks for sending. The article was good for a few laughs. Especially the author’s bio:

    Mary Laredo is an artist, educator and gallery curator who lives and works in Detroit, MI.

    Just the person I would want to get my nutritional info from.
    Cheers–
    MRE

  9. I really hate to admit that I laughed at someone else’s misfortune, but I found myself chuckling throughout your post (except for the part about the burglary, that just made me steaming mad, especially that the perpetrators got away with it.)
    Your son has enriched my vocabulary. A rude day – how appropriate! I love that description!
    I can’t wait to hear the story behind the $1400 dinner bill – I sure hope it was delicious.

  10. Hi, Dr Eades,
    Seems I can’t resist commenting at this site (help me!) but here is a fascinating read: a paper that concludes that humans became smart when we started cooking our food.
    http://genomebiology.com/2008/9/8/R124
    This is the actual paper (which I confess to not having read yet, only skimmed), not a journalistic rehash.
    I just stumbled upon this at Slashdot.
    Michael Richards
    Thanks for the paper. I’ll give it a read once I’m caught up from being gone.

  11. I’d be interested in hearing your comments on Phelps’ nutrition choices.
    Obviously it is working, for him. But wouldn’t far less carbs actually enhance his “energy”?
    http://www.nypost.com/seven/08132008/news/nationalnews/phelps_pig_secret__hes_boy_gorge_124248.htm
    John
    It simply shows that youth and a huge amount of energy expenditure can make up for a lot. Let’s see him follow this diet when he’s 50 and no longer swimming competitively.

  12. Christ.
    Old People. You are now the people you swore you’d never become back when you were young. The Hems are the opposite. They are the people who are keeping their youthful promises but not growing up (or at least regressing for 3 hours on the occasional concert).
    Sorry about the theft. That made me sympathetic. But the description of the concert (saw the Joker and Cocker in Chicago July 4th weekend… was able to buy them the week before the show… $9/ticket + $10 in fees/ticket… Jesus weeps) was like watching Dana Carvey do the Grumpy Old Man bit. People stand for Cocker and Miller because they’re into the music. People don’t stand for Gordon Lightfoot because you can relax sitting down.
    Quick tip: http://earplugstore.stores.yahoo.net/profmusearpl1.html
    Love my pair. I was five rows back for Styx and Boston last month (very good show, Boston was great, Styx was loud and didn’t play any of their ballads) and no ear ringing.
    Last thing: If Steve Miller wants to add a new singer to the band, explore his musical influences and change the sound from what the band sounded like from 1974-1978, why not? Was there a great SMB song that wasn’t played? Let’s see. When I saw them, they played everything off the Greatest Hits 74-78, plus Abracadabra (he’s gonna reach out and grab ya!) and The Joker and some stuff from before the 74-78, a few from after, and some B stuff from 74-78 (I harp on 74-78, because that’s when the SMB sound was the SMB sound, clearly his best period, when he was woodshedding at his farm in Wisconsin). Yeah, there were 4 blues tracks with the dancing man (wife found him completely entertaining) and they are different like that, but they were in no way bad with him fronting the band.
    I lied. one more thing: People get up and get down to get stuff and bathroom mostly during the new stuff. Here’s another hint for you: If you only want your 70’s album rock band to sound like a 70’s album rock band, when you hear the phrase “New Album”, get up and go look at T-shirts and mixed drinks.
    100% with MD on this one. You’d probably be not much fun to see a modern concert by a legacy group.
    Hmm. Max, methinks there is a strong possibility that you might be a hem yourself. Hope I don’t ever end up at a concert sitting behind you.
    I’ve been going to concerts for years – long before I doddled off into my dotage. And even way back then it pissed me off when people jumped up in front of me because they were “into the music.” It’s not a recent phenomenon with me; I’ve despised it since my first concert. And I’ve hated it since I went to the ballpark as a little kid. I could never figure out why people had to jump up when they could see perfectly well sitting down.
    I think hemorrhoids are rude and self-centered because they obviously feel that their need to get up and get down is more important than the need of the person behind them to see the show unobstructed. People don’t jump to their feet during movies – why should they at a concert.
    If I had my way, there would be hemorrhoid and non-hemorrhoid sections at all concerts just like there are (or used to be) smoking and no smoking sections in restaurants. Then all the hems could leap to their feet and all the rest of us could watch in peace.
    I suspect that in the years to come, especially given the weight I saw on a lot of the people at the Cocker/SMB concert, that the hems won’t be able to leap to their feet and sway. Too many bad hips and knees. But, by that time the performers will probably be in the same boat.
    Thanks for the tip on the earphones. One wonders why if it were perfectly comfortable for you with the earphones that they have to have the speakers turned so high?
    Cheers–
    MRE

  13. I forgot. Joe Cocker sounds not entirely unlike the Cookie Monster now. I kept expecting him to do a soulful rendition of “C is for Cookie”.

  14. I came across this post a few days ago. I don’t remember “PP lifeplan” recommending so many carbs:
    http://robbwolf.com/?p=110
    The PPLP doesn’t really recommend that many carbs. It recommends fewer in many cases than the 50 and would recommend 150 only for maintenance in those people who could maintain their lower weight on 150 grams.

  15. It simply shows that youth and a huge amount of energy expenditure can make up for a lot. Let’s see him follow this diet when he’s 50 and no longer swimming competitively.
    Sorry. I didn’t make my question clear. My bad. I’m not interested in why Phelps isn’t gaining weight, or why he won’t get away with that type of eating when he is no longer active. I was interested in your thoughts as to how so many carbs/cals might be positively or negatively impacting his athletic performance. For instance, is he doing well because of the carb loading, or in spite of it?
    Thanks!
    John
    He’s obviously burning it all off. He’s using all the carbs for energy. I don’t know that a major change in his diet would make a big difference in his performance. Elite athletes are simply different than the rest of us – they operate at such a highly skilled level that it probably doesn’t matter much what they do as long as they have youth on their side. I’m sure that athletes who are right on the cusp of being elite athletes may gain a little advantage from going on the perfect diet, but those already at the top are so much better than the rest that they can coast. Babe Ruth was famous for all his overindulgences in food and drink, yet it didn’t slow him down. Until later. He died young. Same with Mickey Mantle. Died at 65 or so. Do you think Manny Ramirez worries about his diet today? I doubt it. But he will at some point.

  16. You mentioned volume levels at concerts. I am in complete agreement. Most of the soundmen at rock shows suffer from serious hearing impairment. They are routinely subjected to dangerous sound pressure levels for hours on end and quickly lose a good deal of their hearing. Here’s a little trick I use to get me through concerts: bring earplugs. The cost almost nothing, can be found in drug stores and hardware stores, and cut around 30 db. You lose a bit of treble when you wear them, but this usually is not a problem. In most cases, the sound is slightly improved. Best of all, you walk out of the concert feeling just as good as when you walked in. No ringing ears, no noise fatigue. Ear plugs are the only way to fly. You may want to bring a couple of pairs because people around you might ask if you have any extras.
    I will bring them from here on. I’ve actually used them at other concerts, but I didn’t think to bring a pair for this one. I rushed home and threw back a ton of magnesium, vitamin C, circumin and every other antioxidant I could get my hands on.

  17. Sounds like the time we went to see Johnny Winters in Denver at the Fillmore Auditorium back in 99/00. They wheeled him out on a furniture hand cart. It’s really sad to see them get old.
    I wish someone had wheeled me out of the SB Bowl on a furniture hand cart last Thursday night befiore the concert had started. 🙂

  18. Interesting topic. I’m one of those deaf soundmen. Not deaf though, oddly enough. After 2700+ concerts of every type of music known to mankind, (and some that thankfully never will be), many of them quite loud, my hearing recently checked out as perfectly normal. I quit that business in 1990 (shortly after mixing a Johnny Winters concert, though it wasn’t related to that).
    But my ears check out fine now, and I’m in my late 40’s. The hearing specialist asked me why I was there bothering him. I explained. He looked at me dumbfounded. I really don’t understand why I can still hear as well as everyone my age. Maybe cumulative hearing loss is stored in adipose tissue for release sometime later in life. Hmm… I know… Reducing carbohydrates reverses hearing loss. You heard it here first (pun intended).
    And by the way, Johnny’s problems are not necessarily age related. All the antioxidants in the world would be too little – too late for that fellow. Man I could tell you stories… 🙂
    ..Todd
    I don’t know why it is, but MD is the same way. She’s attended a zillion concerts, never worn earplugs, and has extremely acute hearing. I damaged my hearing by doing a lot of handgun shooting in my youth – without hearing protection. And I know that each time I go to one of these ear-splitting concerts, that I lose a little more.

  19. I recall reading a report in the 80’s that suggested hearing loss may be psychosomatic. If you’re enjoying the loud sound, its adverse affects may be lessened to a great degree. That would explain my own, MD’s, and even your recent experience.
    Caveat: I’m not suggesting anyone assumes that to be fact and acts accordingly.
    ..Todd

  20. Hi Dr. Eades: I’ve always wanted to ask someone who is intelligent, articulate and cultivated what they see in popular hard rock music. I find it just a lot of harsh noise. I was surprised to read of your wife’s reaction to the SB concert and would love to get her input on this.
    I’ll pass it on to her. I think she plans to put up a blog herself about the concert that is a counterpoint to mine. As to hard rock music, I don’t know what constitutes hard rock from regular rock, and I don’t know if the group Queen falls into the hard rock category, but I can tell you that I love Queen. Especially the songs written by lead singer Freddie Mercury. What a talent! I even like the hard guitar riffs. And, sad to say, were Freddie still alive, and were the group still together, I would probably be willing to stand for hours in a stadium to see then perform.
    Cheers–
    MRE

  21. Dr. Mike,
    You can vent anytime you wish as far as I’m concerned. That was a great post and found myself laughing out loud several times. I feel the same way as you about concerts. I could never understand why someone would pay lots of money and deal with all the aggravation of a concert to get so bleepin drunk they not only miss the whole concert, they probably forget their name for a few days. I always hated the idea of having to wait in line for 15 minutes just to use a trough that was well… Never been much of a SMB fan, I was about 5 during their heyday. But don’t understand the lead singer thing, isn’t HE the lead singer?
    Seeing JT must have been a great time. What an amazing man and performer. I saw him recently on a PBS special ( http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/shows/jttribute/index.html ) and it was awesome. To see all those great musicians just being like little kids in front of the king still gives me chills and he stood and cheered for each one of them. What a humble wonderful man it seemed.
    Karma has to be swinging your way now, good karma I mean. Football season’s starting so that’s step in the right direction. Should be an interesting season. I’ll take that big ole rib eye you showed with a nice salad , Belgian or German beer and my Steelers over most any concert.
    It really was an enjoyable post, not cause we take pleasure in another’s misfortune but we totally empathize to some degree. The comments are pretty darn funny too. “Joe Cocker sounds not entirely unlike the Cookie Monster now. I kept expecting him to do a soulful rendition of “C is for Cookie”. Now THAT was funny!
    Oh, yeah, I had almost forgotten. NFL time is approaching. I’ll start honing in on those lines in just a few weeks. I nver bet the pre-season because no one is really trying.
    Cheers–
    MRE

  22. I was also at the James Taylor concert at the SB Bowl the other nite but unlike you I was situated very high up near the back. A woman who was probably not on a low carb diet stood and danced every song. I was so exasperated that I left early. My wife and daughter were on the stage floor where you were and had a great time. I did enjoy the SB Bowl it was quite a beautiful site. I am from Fort Worth, TX and have been on the low carb diet since I read your book in 2000. I am a pediatrician and I try very hard to motivate my parents and teenagers to change their eating habits without success. It is very frustrating to see such degree of obesity in families and be helpless. I’ll keep trying as you do and maybe one day the medical community will come around.
    I believe that if we (those of us in the medical community) keep working, ultimately we’ll prevail. But, sadly, it may take a while. Sorry you had a bad time at the JT concert; hemorrhoids can really be spoilers.
    Cheers–
    MRE

  23. The annoying behaviour of other audience members is why I am more and more reluctant to go to see live music. We are jazz fans and have one small jazz club in our city. Everytime we go, there is at least one table of folks who insist on carrying on chatting. I don’t understand folks who pay a cover charge to get into the club but then pay no attention to what is happening on stage! They could go to any number of bars around town and pay no fee to listen to canned music. They are not listening anyway. After a while of this annoyance, I usually have no problem telling the chatterers to shut up and that I paid to hear the band and not them! It does usually shut them up but still my evening has been disrupted. And in the end, there are less people willing to go live music because the evening is ruined by folks who are not listening!

  24. Don’t get me wrong: I love the post. It reminded my wife of her father, who we dub the grumpiest man alive.
    Hemorrhoidism is really a contagious disease. You stand because the people in front of you stand. They are standing because the people in front of them are standing. And so forth, all the way to the front rows, where the people stand because they put the front seats too close to the stage or the stage too high off the ground for them to see anything but spandex or denim covered crotches and given that a lot of these concerts are featuring older artists who continue on, I don’t know that anyone really wants to see Joe Cocker’s or Steve Miller’s crotch up close. So, they stand, so they can see instruments. The cascade continues.
    simple solutions: deeper bowls and steeper stadiums (like il Colliseo in Rome) or put the front row people about where the 5th row is.
    The Etymotics headphones I recommended are better than the drugstore ones for reuse and for noise cancellation. They tend to block sound evenly across the spectrum, so you don’t lose the treble unevenly. If you like the guitar played by someone who ranges wide on it (like Tom Scholtz of Boston or Edward Van Halen of Van Halen), you don’t want to lose the treble. It is not an improvement (my wife might disagree, but she likes the words, I like the music).
    Hey Max–
    I much prefer the word ‘sensible’ as opposed to ‘grumpy.’
    I’m not the only one. Below is a letter to the editor that appeared in today’s paper about the same concert. In case you were wondering, I didn’t write it under a pseudonym.

    Drunks at bowl rude, dangerous
    P. Blanchard, Santa Maria
    August 15, 2008 12:00 AM
    The Santa Barbara County Bowl sells alcohol during concerts. How about limiting the amount of alcohol one can buy, or not offer it at all?
    How many people there at a recent concert were drunk? How many of them got behind the wheel of a car and drove home? Do any of them realize their lives could have ended that night or they could have injured or killed someone by driving drunk? Do they even care?
    Where was security? They were highly visible at the beginning but disappeared once the concert started, leaving the ushers to watch the crowd.
    How many concert patrons were able to actually enjoy the Steve Miller Band and Joe Cocker? Readers, were there people in front of you who stood up the whole time chatting or dancing?
    Our observation: Two people were asked to sit down; their reply was offensive. Two were groping each other — get a room. Two were standing and talking; they could have sat down to talk. Two were smoking a joint. One was yelling at the crowd for not dancing. All were drunk and making fools of themselves.
    Disruptive, shameless, inappropriate, rude, disrespectful.

    Cheers–
    MRE

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