If asked to choose, I would pick the nuanced, thought-provoking dialogues of Mort Sahl over what I consider the nose picking, fart humor of Dave Barry. I’ve always preferred theater that makes me think with my own mind rather than the circus that tries to make me believe in an individual’s capacity to do (or say) strange things.
Sahl steeped politicians in an infusion of irony so that by the time he served his tea, its humor entered the marrow, and then traveled the blood stream to my brain where I was forced to consider whether politics is a profession or a circus.
When I talk to my general physician, I often get the feeling I am sitting with Sahl. The stuff I am told comes at me with quiet authority, but when I am out in the real world, I understand that the doctor may have been laughing on the inside at the irony of sounding so certain about what is, “up for grabs.”
When I read or hear journalists on the radio spout off the latest news about wine and health, I feel as if Barry bombards me. At best, the reports may be a lot to do about little; at worst, they tend to be mirrors, with a lot of smoke to go around them. The journalists seem to be purposely picking their noses while they absently read the press releases, instead of the other way round.
I’ve said that wine is not health food. I’ve said it, but deep down I’ve also believed that while it might not be health food, wine certainly is healthy. I got that impression from having followed about thirty separate studies that have been completed over about as many years. In an array of chemical names, the studies list those components found in wine that supposedly make it an anti-oxidant and a form of Draino for the arteries.
One of the major benefits of wine, we are told, is its ability to help lower cholesterol. Well, I’m here to tell you that if that’s what wine does, I haven’t a clue how much wine it takes to do it. I’m anywhere between half to a full bottle of wine a day. My total cholesterol has stayed at about 250 for years, no matter what I have done to try to lower it, including a few pounds a day of wall paste-tasting oatmeal.
I’m told that total cholesterol isn’t the whole thing about which to worry. There’s that relationship between LDL (good) and HDL (bad). In my case, each is high, so it’s good and bad.
Then there’s the fat storing of triglycerides. In my case, that goes up and down, but remains on the high side.
Then there’s a new marker being connected to heart disease and cholesterol levels: C-reactive protein (CRP). CRP rises when the body suffers inflammations caused by diseases or stress. According to the latest news, CRP was found to be the only marker of inflammation that independently predicts the risk of a heart attack.
Then there’s lifestyle. The obese, sedentary smokers of the world have a lot to worry about. Their cholesterol levels and CRP reflect the danger for them.
My physician recommended that I swallow daily statin pills, the stuff that lowers cholesterol. I refuse to do it for three reasons:
My lifestyle keeps me from being obese and sedentary, and I have never had a smoking habit.
I do not have high blood pressure (another bad marker).
I don’t trust a pill that may cause serious side effects. Statins do strange things to muscles, and they also can cause liver problems—couple that last one with my daily bottle of wine and I shudder to think how the cure can kill me.
One of my blog readers, Mitch, sent me an email with information concerning the relationship between ethanol and cholesterol. If I remember correctly, introducing ethanol and cholesterol together may cause build up of the latter by prohibiting bile release of it, or something to that effect.
Ethanol is the predominant alcohol in wine. So, the more wine one drinks to increase LDL, the more total cholesterol the wine might build in the body, which may be my problem—and yours, too.
As if to smack me in the face for my cynicism, at my semi-annual teeth cleaning last week I asked the dental hygienist why it is that no matter how much flossing, how much of those Stimudents I scrape between my teeth, and how many times a day I brush with a sonic boom producing instrument, the build up keeps on coming.
Her reply: “All that acidic wine you drink creates more saliva and that creates a kind of mouth wash that moves the sediment right between your teeth, where it sticks.”
With Fred Rose, Hank Williams, Sr. wrote a song titled I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive.
I have a feeling all of us will one day meet the same fate as Hank.
Wine certainly isn’t a health food, but it is among the things that make being in this world palatable.
My impression has been that the decision whether to lower, increase or abstain from wine consumption should be made after careful study of the data. But when the data conflicts, shooting at us both positive and negative signals, maybe what we should do is pick our noses, fart and try to laugh at the world.
In my previous entry about wine forum activity, I said, “…Wine Therapy, was started in reaction to the eRobertParker site.”
Two “Therapy” patients quickly made it known that I was wrong.
Wine Therapy was started after a blow up on the Wine Lover’s Page. The cause of the blow up happens to have been the same fellow who tried to persuade me that a subjective critique is objective. No wonder.
Copyright, Thomas Pellechia
December 2007. All Rights Reserved.