Idle Thoughts About Blogging: Relevance is Irrelevant

…But first, some idle food porn. My youngest brother is accomplished as well, though I chastised him for not using a white plate for contrast.

Flank Steak
Flank Steak

Click on the image for the hi-res. He describes:

Tagliata of Flank Steak with Arugula and Shaved Parmesan and Grilled Glazed Sweet Potatoes.

So there you go. A very edible dish, I would say. I’d also say that Mike is a great cook. He’s also an accomplished brewmeister of many years, and he cures his own bacon, even.


What’s weird about blogging is that with the technology nowadays, one often connects with people from the way back, like decades ago…from college and shit, or even before. I often wonder how the rebuilding of bridges long burt is ultimately going to shape society. I’m pretty much a bridge burner. Out with the old, in with the new is what I always say. But…

It’s interesting to me because, way back when, people died only steps away from where they were born, often enough. And then, we migrated — that would be hunter-gatherers — and then we invented ships, plains and trains, and spread like flies over a continental ocean of shit. Perhaps there were letters, but face it, people had nearly no connection to “the old country” and, when Hans retired from the steel mill at 65, and he and the misses went back to the “old country” for a visit, it was, to him, a foreign land.

He had satisfied an urgent curiosity, but he never went back. And he still only talked about what he had always talked about: how much better was the country that he left, than the one he left it for. It’s almost like lovers. And that was always his schtick.

This is merely a couple paras written in contemplation of my own experience over the last couple of years as this blog has gained some attention. A very nice comment, from yesterday; Jasen:

Richard, I discovered your blog in my quest for weightloss and better health. Your site has literaly changed my life. I have enjoyed reading your blog for the past 4 or 5 months now. You are such a natural writer I always wonder why you haven’t written a novel before. We have similar backgrounds. I too was raised fundamental Baptist. I was forced to attend church and Baptist shcools. My parents wanted me to go to Bob Jones University and Study to be a pastor or a missionary. So right out of high school I ran off and joined the U.S. Navy. While I still consider myself a Christian I do not go to church and am not religious. I don’t think God gives a shit if one goes to church or not or even what church. Any way I enjoy your blog and am looking forward to purchasing your book. Because of this site I have lost 30 lbs , I have more energy and I feel like a teenager. Thank you Richard and keep on doing what you do!

But mention this blog to anyone in the “old country” — that’s a metaphor, for you literals out there — and it’s basically a yawn. Absolute and total disinterest. Number of readership doesn’t matter, success stories don’t matter. Relevance is irrelevant.

If you’re not on Good Morning America, Oprah (good riddance), Dr. Phil or whomever other captures unimaginative, canned thought nowadays…toward an analog of common recognition of acceptable discourse or, a death not far from birth (another metaphor, literalists), you don’t matter.

…Unless, you’re Jasen or any of the other increasing numbers of youth and aged who will, and should, let their preceding generations die the death they deserve.

Good riddance.

If there is an unpardonable sin, it surely must be incuriosity.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Grok on June 15, 2011 at 00:23

    Maybe we can get you on “The View” Richard. That would be a good show for you 😉

    • Aaron Curl on June 23, 2011 at 05:57

      I would miss work and pay money to watch this show. Would they bleep or just not air it is the question?

  2. Sean on June 15, 2011 at 00:24

    I know you mean ‘old country’ metaphorically (cause you actually wrote that), but as a longtime ex-pat this is a subject which is obviously dear to my heart. I used to be a big fan of Milan Kundera, then I decided he was overly pretentious. But he does have some interesting things to say on the subject of being an émigré:

    Emigration is hard from the purely personal standpoint as well: people generally think of the pain of nostalgia; but what is worse is the pain of estrangement:the process whereby what was intimate becomes foreign. We experience that estrangement not vis-a-vis the new country: there the process is the inverse: what was foreign becomes, little by little, familiar and beloved. The shocking, stupefying form of strangeness occurs not with an unknown woman we are trying to pick up but with a woman who used to belong to us. Only returning to the native land after a long absence can reveal the substantial strangeness of the world and of existence. (Testaments Betrayed, pp 94-95)

    He talks more about the “you can’t go home again” phenomena in the context of himself, and artists such as Stravinsky, Chopin and Nabakov and I think its pretty bang-on-target.

  3. J. Stanton on June 15, 2011 at 05:17

    There’s a simple reason paleo doesn’t receive anything but dismissive baloney from the traditional media: it’s not profitable for them. Kellogg’s, Con-Agra, Kraft, and Pepsico buy a lot of advertisements.

    We’re past the point where we can be ignored or successfully mocked. It’s going to get a lot worse. Be ready.


    • Sean on June 15, 2011 at 05:58

      I’m going to have to seriously object to this JS, much as I love your blog.

      It’s not a conspiracy.

      OK, it is sort of a conspiracy in the sense of regulatory capture and crony capitalism. But it is not a conspiracy in the sense that these journalists are all actively trying to deceive people to appease their sponsors. Occam’s razor would point to the fact the journalists are, by and large, simply shallow idiots.

    • J. Stanton on June 15, 2011 at 07:33

      As I explain at length in the article, the profit motive is not a conspiracy, nor does it require the support of one.

      I have an actual print article from the Wall Street Journal, dated 1997, in which editors of major “news” magazines (e.g. Time, Newsweek) blithely inform the author that all of their articles are vetted by their major advertisers before the magazine goes to print.

      I agree that there are most likely a small number of people rationally pursuing maximal profits, enabled by a much larger population that actually believes the propaganda. Most journalists are probably motivated by guilt over their own meat consumption, which they feel they can expiate by pushing the vegan or vegan-lite agendas (e.g. Michael Pollan’s “mostly plants”) in their articles.


    • Sean on June 15, 2011 at 08:52

      Oh, did you already explain away at length all my objections before I made them? And do you really have an actual article from a 1997 WSJ that proves that journalists are facilely beholdened to evil corporashuns!/b>. Amazing!

      I agree that there are most likely a small number of people rationally pursuing maximal profits, enabled by a much larger population that actually believes the propaganda.

      Where the fuck did I ever write this?

    • AndrewS on June 15, 2011 at 12:44

      (I’m going to stick to your first point here. One thing at a time.)

      This is not a conspiracy theory. Did you READ the article J wrote? Right there in the conclusion he says “this is not a conspiracy theory.” I would say that J and I are in agreement with some of what you said: “journalists are, by and large, simply shallow idiots.”

      And the people at the “evil” corporations are probably the same. They don’t know they’re lying; they’re just repeating the party mantra, “eat more grain! Grains are healthy!” They believe their own lies; they have strong financial and ego-based reasons to do so.

      Yet that means that they’ll hate us – they think that WE are the ones that are evil. Now that they can no longer ignore the Paleo movement, they’ll fight it. I think that’s all J was trying to say. It doesn’t take a secret cabal; it’s more like implicit collusion.

    • Sean on June 16, 2011 at 02:35

      All conspiracy theorists say it’s not a conspiracy 😉

      No I haven’t read the article yet, I just get these alarm bells going off in my head and all I hear is ‘teh evul coporashuns!!!!’, even when that’s not really what is being said. The thing is, this “grains are healthy” mantra comes from the government, it is the official government policy and the government funds most of the research.

      But I object to the idea that this stupid anti-fat party line is somehow being propagated because of “profit motive”. So it is the greedy media outlets that are feeding us the party line because they want to please their sponsors? I don’t buy that. I’ve seen plenty of media outlets be critical of their sponsors. I remember the Economist ripping on Larry Ellison even though there was a long-running backpage ad for Oracle on it. That’s just one specific example that comes to mind.

      I agree they believe their own lies, yes. People in the media, people in Big Pharma and Big Ag, etc. But the problem is not “greedy” corporations, media or otherwise. The problem is government intervention into the food and health sectors.

    • J. Stanton on June 16, 2011 at 04:41

      When I left my previous reply (03:42), I didn’t know you hadn’t read my article yet 🙂 so you should probably ignore it until you do. Based on its content and the reactions, I suspect the article isn’t what you fear it is.


    • J. Stanton on June 16, 2011 at 03:42


      I realize you’re a big John Stossel fan, and you get very touchy any time the subject of his anti-grass-fed jeremiad comes up. We disagree on that, which I accept, and I won’t try to convince you otherwise.

      Moving on: I think the fact that advertisers exercise explicit veto power over what are considered credible mainstream sources of news is germane to my point. Once again, this doesn’t demand anything but reasonably smart people acting to protect the interests of their business. Companies can choose to advertise through different media outlets, which compete for their advertising dollars…and it would be silly to reward media that neutralizes your advertising budget.

      You said “Occam’s razor would point to the fact the journalists are, by and large, simply shallow idiots.” I thought my interpretation was compatible with that, but apparently not. I’ll await your clarification.


    • Sean on June 16, 2011 at 05:56

      Don’t mind me, JS, I was just spouting off 😉 I tend to hyperventilate when I think someone is getting all anti-corporashunny and stuff. I’ll read your article and maybe make some better informed comments there, hopefully when we are on vacation next week.

    • rob on June 15, 2011 at 10:37

      It’s profitable to some companies, Vibram being the most obvious, but the beef industry must love it.

      I think the bigger problem is “What the hell is it?”

      Depends who you ask. To some it’s VLC, to others it’s the shoes, to some it’s about carrying a huge freaking log through the forest, eating internal organs that generally aren’t eaten, eating only grass fed animals, avoiding supplements, consuming supplements, thumbing your nose at vegetables, eating big ass salads, doing only bodyweight exercises, doing squats deadlifts at the gym …

      If something can’t be summed up in 25 words or less it’s not going to get much play in the media … compare “Paleo” to “The Cookie Diet” … of course The Cookie Diet is going to get more play in the media, you can sum it up in 3 words “Eat the cookies.”

    • Aaron Blaisdell on June 16, 2011 at 22:11

      I tried the cookie diet as a kid. It was really hard to stick to. I kept wanting to eat a Pop Tart, or a donut, and then I caved to the sugary breakfast cereals. I saw a gleam of hope with the release of Cookie Crisp, and thought I could finally get back on the cookie diet. But then I discovered Coco Crispies and Count Chocula and there I was off the cookie diet again. I gave up on the cookie diet in college when I discovered my new salvation: the pint-of-Ben-and-Jerry’s-ice-cream after my daily dinner of pasta. Oh, I added beer then, too, so there was no turning back. I do miss the cookies, though.

    • Aaron Curl on June 23, 2011 at 06:03

      Fucking hillarious….lol…thanks.

  4. Patrick on June 15, 2011 at 05:55

    Indeed. Let them eat cake, says I.

  5. Robert on June 15, 2011 at 09:07

    I only wish they would get sick and die before they get children. That way evolution can do it’s work and eliminate this idiocy.

  6. Dave, RN on June 15, 2011 at 11:03

    So Richard, if Dr. Oz invited you on his show, would you go?

    • Richard Nikoley on June 15, 2011 at 11:40

      Sure, why not?

      My contention is not that _everything_ on any of those shows is BS because it’s on those shows but that so many people will not take serious notice of anything unless it is.

    • Dave, RN on June 15, 2011 at 11:59

      True… but I’d sure be wary, being he’s so “plant based, low fat blah blah blah”… It’d be tough getting a fair forum. And with the Great Oz always having the last word, all your dietary advice would probably be suffixed with “be sure to see your doctor before going on any diet” (you know because he wouldn’t stand up for anything that’s not CW).
      I’d be willing to be you or anyone else (Sisson, Naughton who’d be great) would end up just defending themselves.

      Ha. At least I’m not bitter, right. I just see so much crap in the medical industry, dietary wise. Suffice it to say the system is broken and will never be fixed. Ever. And lots of people die because of it.

      Our church has a congregatinal nurse to do blood pressures etc every Sunday. I’ve toyed with the idea of joining that and teaching nutrition. Then I found out that you have to pass through the larges local hospital first. And they’d never approve me teaching Real Food, increasing fat and eliminating grains. And the Registed Dieticians would revolt…
      Maybe someday I’ll try to do it anyway. It might be fun to see if I can get past the big loacal hospital and watch the reactions of the dieticians.

    • rob on June 20, 2011 at 04:35

      Re the “be sure to see your doctor before” I ran across that when I was doing some research on fish oil, along with warnings not to take more than 3 g of it per day … the thing is it’s FREAKING FISH OIL, it’s a naturally occurring fat, what do they think is going to happen if you take 10g per day, you might spontaneously combust?

      The medical/media establishment simply does not want you to make your own health care decisions.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 20, 2011 at 07:26

      I think the issue is two fold. First, as with other added fats like OO, butter, lard, CO and suck, it is a processed and concentrated food. Real, yes, but still quite processed and concentrated (one could say the same about fruit juice). The other issue is the added risk of oxidation with unstable PUFA.

      Precaution tells me to limit fish oil caps to 2-3 g per day. I don’t really go the added step of not taking it days I eat seafood, I just don’t take it on some days. I try not to do anything the same all the time.

    • rob on June 20, 2011 at 15:07

      I’ve been trying higher dose to see how it goes.

      Turning 49 next month, spent fifteen years doing
      everything I possibly could to destroy my health, I figure
      if the fish oil does me in it would be a miracle.

  7. Ron on June 15, 2011 at 16:49

    Richard – I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how people are when it comes to nutrition and fitness. At first, I thought people were simply being defensive. Instead, I just figured they are merely treating this subject as a lot of people do with politics. They simply aren’t interested in talking about it. A lot of folks have a deeply ingrained thought process about nutrition and fitness. They’ll stick with something, even if it really doesn’t work. When you try to talk to them about it, they simply shrug and rely on all the bad information they’ve learned over the years. “But my doctor told me to cut down on fat consumption,” or, “but I am eating whole grains,” or, “I really hate doing cardio, but I know it will help me lose weight.” You know the drill. I think most people are rather deliberate about new things, whether it’s the latest smartphone , flat screen or new computer operating system. But when they finally take the plunge, they almost can’t stop talking about it. Nutrition, for some odd reason, is treated almost as a deeply personal subject. I don’t mean to paint with a broad brush here, because I readily acknowledge that many people can’t stop talking about their new diet, fitness regimen or new doctor. I’ve gotten to the point where I never initiate conversations about it, and whenever people ask about my appearance or “diet,” I just shrug and change the subject. Because if I end up engaging them about it, I know that eventually I’ll be met with glazed eyes. What I should probably do is make copies of my before & after blood tests and carry them around with me. If the subject ever comes up, I’ll just hand the test results over, and wait for a response. If the person is really serious about learning about it, I would gladly oblige. While I’m at it, I would also point them to your blog and a few other ones. Frankly, I’m very disgusted with the “old country.”

    • Dave RN on June 15, 2011 at 17:35

      I can identify. It’s like talking politics. The simpley are not interested in new ideas. Besides that, sugar and grains are addictive in the truest sense of the word. Trying to get someone to get off grains and sugar and eat Real Food is like breaking a heroine addict of thier habit. It can only be done when they’re ready. You can’t talk them in to it unless THEY realize it’s time for help. So yeah, initiating a nutrition oriented conversatiosn is generally useless. And the justification “but I can’t give ujp my donuts”… and it’s really bad in churches. Donuts are a staple. Just once I’d like to bring some of my calves liver squares on little toothpicks…
      And it gets really frustrating when I see all the fat out of shape medical professionsals, who should know better. But the addiction is strong there as well. And we are very indoctrinated in CW.

  8. bob r on June 15, 2011 at 21:11

    “If there is an unpardonable sin, it surely must be incuriosity.”

    Hell: The impossibility of reason.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 16, 2011 at 02:53

      It along the same lines, eh, bob?

      If I recall correctly, it was Beck who said that or, he was quoting “THAT woman.”

  9. Al on June 16, 2011 at 15:29

    @J stanton

    The blogosphere is full of folks who have located methods for earning a few bucks from the paleo schtick. And that’s fine. They’re just not somehow “morally superior” to ConAgra….. just less successful.


    Having read I no longer believe that we evolved in, themn spread out of, Africa.

  10. noah on June 16, 2011 at 15:50

    The blogosphere is full of gullible folks who confuse revenue with virtue and are easily hoodwinked by cherry picking psuedoscientists with Aryan agendas. Fortunately, they lack any significant influence whatsoever.

    Keep reading

    • Michael on June 18, 2011 at 18:49

      The blogosphere is full of gullible folks who confuse revenue with virtue and are easily hoodwinked by cherry picking pseudoscientists with Aryan agendas. Fortunately, they lack any significant influence whatsoever.


      Though I noticed that the author in the above link lives in upstate NY. It was there that I was approached by a man in the library of the town I was visiting who told me, with a smile on his face and stone cold seriousness, that he thought black people would have been better off remaining slaves.

      He would have been shocked to know that I have been guilty of bestiality…err…miscegenation. 😉

  11. noah on June 16, 2011 at 16:08

    “Thus, a normal, healthy person will be dismayed and angry when a person of his race mates with a person of different race, especially a black.”

    Quote from Al’s new evolutionary biology guru.

  12. Karen on June 17, 2011 at 18:28

    I too find incuriosity hard to fathom, but you said it right-it’s a sin. Of all the things you say in this post, I find this the most profound.

    • Jane on July 6, 2011 at 09:43

      Indeed, “A closed mind is like a closed book; just a block of wood”.

  13. Al on June 19, 2011 at 00:30

    what i wrote, is what i believe: that his adduced physical evidence supports his contention that homo sapiens sapiens didn’t “come out of Africa”. The balance of his racial agenda is not my concern.

    By the way, he’s a retired full-fellow actuary. Those are the folks who understand probability & statistics evidence well enough to consistently make money making predictions about human lifecycle events. What’s your accomplishment in the field?

    • noah on June 19, 2011 at 10:09

      I have no accomplishment in the field. But if I did, I wouldn’t begin my opus with” I will not endlessly repeat, “according to the author,” and the reader should realize that deductions and explanations are the author’s opinion”, as Mr. Fuerle did. I’d just say I’m gonna make a bunch of shit up. I mean, why mince words.

      And, someone’s agenda should be your concern when analyzing their interpretation of data.

    • Al on June 19, 2011 at 19:19

      well, Noah, do you think that homo sapiens sapiens originated in Africa, and spread out of there only 65,000 years ago? And which particular footnoted facts of Mr Fuerle’s, are you claiming that he “made up”? Please be as specific as the original author was careful to be.

      Perhaps you should be careful of linking scientific discussions of physical fact, to the believe system of any particular discussant. Otherwise, you would probably have to throw away everything that Newton gave to the world.

      More recently, Nobel-Prize-winner Dr James Watson also got in a lot of hot water for his racial views. Perhaps you’d like to ignore his discoveries also, Noah? After all, Political Correctness does not allow for shades of gray.

      One is reminded of the good old days of Stalin, when once-highly-lauded individuals would later disappear from Soviet history books and even get air-brushed out of photographs.

      You’re in great company, Noah!

  14. noah on June 20, 2011 at 07:57

    Fuerle may well be right re concurrent evolution at various locations. He is not the only one promoting this interpretation. His conjecture about one race’s superiority over another because of this makes him an interesting choice for you to reference, however.

  15. Jeff on June 20, 2011 at 10:03

    Apparently, Tolstoy understood how to control ones weight. Take a look at this quote from Anna Karenina. I admit I had to look up the definition of farina (flour or meal made of cereal grains) and was quite suprised by its definition. The quote sounds rather very paleoish don’t you think?

    On the day of the races at Krasnoe Selo, Vronsky had come earlier than usual to eat beefsteak in the common messroom of the regiment. He had no need to be strict with himself, as he had very quickly been brought down to the required light weight; but still he had to avoid gaining flesh, and so he eschewed farinaceous and sweet dishes.

    graf Leo Tolstoy. Anna Karenina (Kindle Locations 2881-2884).

  16. Al on June 20, 2011 at 14:23


    I wish you had actually cited to those other students of evolution, as I would like to read them. I cited Fuerle because I stumbled across his page. That was the first time I ever saw anyone disputing the “out of Africa” paradigm. And he does make his anthropological case in a very rigorous presentation, which is more than we can say about kneejerk Stalinists like you.

    What we ought to be busy discussing, is what are the conclusions (vis-a-vis an “evolutionarily correct” diet) to be drawn from the (to me) clearly demonstrated fact that we didn’t all originate in African savannahs.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 20, 2011 at 14:54

      Al, first of all, I tolerate your repeated links to that book you seem so enthusiastic people check out. Fine. I’ll let folks decide as they will.

      Michael Miles, a black man friend of mine — and I might add I roomed with black guys along the way in my life — seems to be looking at it. I’ll just count on those interested to give their views.

      I’m not interested because, even if it turned out that “racism is paleo,” I’d still be happy to rub shoulders with my black, gay, lesbian, Asian friends and all sorts of others, including remaining married to my Hispanic wife.

      Getting along may not be paleo, but it suits me fine. I have a functioning brain.

      My one curiosity is whether you were led to racism on the evidence of whether, as a racist, you searched out something to go by.

  17. Noah on June 20, 2011 at 15:01

    Kneejerk Stalinist? Cute. Look, I realize you got all excited by Fuerle’s paper. And you probably hadn’t read the whole thing when you linked to him. And, it was surely embarrassing for you when I pointed out you were hand holding with a racist. I agree that we should move on.

    Here ya go:

  18. John Shaft on June 21, 2011 at 04:41

    Nicely said Richard.

  19. Al on June 26, 2011 at 10:31

    >>> My one curiosity is whether you were led to racism on the evidence of whether, as a racist, you searched out something to go by.

    Exactly as mentioned, I stumbled across the website in the middle of searching for other stuff. Don’t even remember the original search at this point.

    This fellow Fuerle certainly is a racist, which I am not.

    And we can furthermore state that his cited facts don’t support his racialist feelings.

    But the cited physical-anthropology facts do seem to be not to have been negatived by anyone, anywhere.

    And while my original post didn’t mention his citations of social-science stastistical facts – those also don’t seemed to have been negatived by anyone, anywhere.

    I’m a businessman. As such, I possibly am following current events in Africa closer than anyone else here. I wonder how many people here are aware that places like Uganda and Rwanda have an (albeit, slowly) emerging middle class which has perceptible spending power? How many are aware that a major political movement in South Africa is calling for outright confiscation of white-owned farms, notwithstanding that whites have been in South Africa for almost 600 years?

    But enough of that. We’re here to discuss ancestral diets. It truly is the only subject-matter that can change my future health.

  20. Jasen on June 30, 2011 at 12:14

    I just got home from 2 weeks on San Clemente Island, w/no internet access. So I have missed my daily FTA fix. When I got on to your site today I noticed you had re-posted my quote and mentioned me by name. I am deeply flattered. It means alot to me to be noticed by someone I admire. I know you don’t like the word guru so I’ll just say that As I make my way on the Paleo path I often ask myself WWRD! Thank s again!

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