Holiday Cheer: Diverse & Off-The-Wall Odds & Ends

I had no intention of leaving the blog destitute since last Thursday. But the Internet was just too sucky where I’ve been since Friday and so I just just checked things every monrning, let it be, and took a few days off from the blog.

This next week will be about Resistant Starch and pretty much all about Resistant Starch. Part 1 will be about the enormous number of studies (thanks to tatertot) not funded by corp interests, that I believe spell: this really is something to look at. Part 2 will be the plusses & minuses of the various anecdotes I’ve been collecting over the last few weeks. Plus, my own experience.

So in the meantime, odds & ends—very diverse odds & ends…

~ Mitchell & Webb: Slightly Less Than Two Drinks

~ I really don’t get Memorial Day, and I don’t think I ever did. It seems to me that…

  1. You’re forced; i.e., drafted, conscripted. So that must render Memorial Day as some sort of Soviet-eque holiday that merely celebrates the idea of taking young men at the prime of their lives to go off and “die for their country” involuntarily. No honor in that, in my lighthouse.
  2. If voluntary, it’s no more meaningful than is any other risk of life or limb, such as for your own family and friends if you voluntarily undertake such risks according to your own values. Or, any other job that involves real risks. No national holiday required.
  3. It’s a job. That’s what it was for me. I knew the risks but it paid off. I was better off for it in a number of ways (8 years living and travelling abroad) that are all practical and none flag waving. No national holiday required.

It just strikes me as nothing more than a big hullabaloo over something that’s either unimportant (when undertaking the risk is voluntary) or actually evil (conscription).

~ Of course, this is mostly what modern litigation over workplace “sexual harassment” is all about.


  • Be Handsome
  • Be Attractive
  • Don’t Be Unattractive

~ College has jumped the shark. It’s now solidly in scam territory and fast approaching outright fraud. Dear Class of ’13: You’ve been scammed.

No one else is going to tell you this, so I might as well.

You sit here today, $30,000 or $40,000 in debt, as the latest victims of what may well be the biggest conspiracy in U.S. history. It is a conspiracy so big and powerful that Dan Brown won’t even touch it. It’s a conspiracy so insidious that you will rarely hear its name.

Move over, Illuminati. Stand down, Wall Street. Area 51? Pah. It’s nothing.

The biggest conspiracy of all? The College-Industrial Complex.

Consider this: You have just paid about three times as much for your degree as did someone graduating 30 years ago. That’s in constant dollars — in other words, after accounting for inflation. There is no evidence that you have received a degree three times as good. Some would wonder if you have received a degree even one times as good.

There’s more. Student Loan Problems: One Third Of Millennials Regret Going To College

Here’s an indication of how burdensome student loans have become: About one-third of millennials say they would have been better off working, instead of going to college and paying tuition.

That’s a according to a new Wells Fargo study which surveyed 1,414 millennials between the ages of 22 and 32. More than half of them financed their education through student loans, and many say the if they had $10,000 the “first thing” they’d do is pay down their student loan or credit card debt.

That’s no surprise when you consider student borrowing topped the $100 billion threshold for the first time in 2010, and total outstanding loans exceeded $1 trillion for the first time in 2011. Student loan debt now exceeds credit card debt in the U.S. which stands at about $798 billion.

I graduated in 1984 with somewhere around $9,000 in student loan debt, at 9% interest. Because I went into the Navy, I got an automatic deferment for 3 years. When I did start paying it off, it was no burden at all; got done, it was all reasonable. Heard a deal on NPR some months ago about the sorts of student loan debt many law school graduates have ($200-300K seemed about the norm). Not one single caller had anything but regrets.

Don’t go to college. Get a job or start a business. Learn what you need dynamically via the Internet, either just Googling or more formally, Khan Academy—Learn Almost Anything For Free. Four years later you should be debt free and way ahead of everyone getting into debt and basically doing not much of anything worth a shit.

~ 14-yr-old girl can do Eddie Van Halen, and you can’t tell the difference.

She almost looks bored at times. On the other hand, he created that “eruption” and drove it to where everyone recognizes it and she didn’t.

~ Art De Vany was probably always right about chronic running all along: The Exercise Equivalent of a Cheeseburger? New Research Says Endurance Running May Damage Health

~ This all has yet to be reconciled, but trust me, it will be (I can predict the results, too, which is why I dumped that stupid shit 20 years ago).


~ Someone finally started activating over what I’ve been telling both my gay friends and gun-nut friends for years and years. Activism over anti-guns and anti-gays comes from the same fundamental place: ignorance and its consequent fear (which becomes self-fulfilling). Go shoot some guns, have a gay friend or two or three or about 20 or so (I only have about 6 guns)—and all this stupid shit will ment away.

So, this is what’s bunching pink and blue panties.

Multi faceted love
Multi faceted-love

I just picked that link at random, not finding the original one I saw—but clearly, Andrew Belonskyi doesn’t quite get it:

Is gun control the same as discriminating against gays? Would buying guns end homophobia? Is this the greatest example of hyperbole ever in history?

No, it’s not hyperbole at all. That’s because, dear Andrew, you are not thinking in fundamentals, root causes and motivations of things. Is an apple the same as an orange? Would buying apples end buying oranges? What we are dealing with is a group ignorant of, and thus, afraid of apples; and another group, just as ignorant of and consequently afraid of oranges. One is just as irrational as the other. So, you have something in common. There’s that.

~ My friend Ed keeps sending me these. I love them.

tumblr mjrzafVqnX1s3zigbo1 400
by Dr. Seuss

~ Last. This was cool. Anyone can start a blog and put up a post like that. But any blogger can also read any other blogs they want to inspire or motivate their writing. I was humbled to be in such great company.

…Alright, I could do more but that looks about right.

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. Chrsitian on May 27, 2013 at 19:16

    I agree with your observations on education. The push to get everyone a bachelors degree through loans, only devalues the degree. What value does a BA have when everyone has one? Zero! ‘ The Masters is the new Bachelors’ is the saying I’m hearing from kids these days. And add another 50-75 grand to your debt. And let’s face it…..most liberal arts degrees are completely worthless these days. You may like history, but a history degree isn’t going to get you shit.

  2. […] The Animal / Posted on: May 27, 2013 Free The Animal – I had no intention of leaving the blog destitute since last Thursday. But the Internet was […]

  3. 100% Vegan on May 27, 2013 at 20:16

    Best of Holiday cheer to you. Odds and ends are owned by the Crack Emcee. Not an insult to you, but your post was almost plagiarism… (Just kidding) Ever checked his vitriol? Keep up the good work Richard. You are plenty entertaining.

    “Raising his Pimp Hand to the Lunatic Fringe. Yeah, I list him three times. You need to read his blog. Danger: You might not get it at first but I assure you that when you do, you will slap yourself in the head like the idiot you once were. Read it. Love it. Learn it. And that pile of smelly goo at yer’ feet? That’s just the entrails of your stinking idols baking in the hot sand of the Crack Emcee’s arena.”

    — Panda Bear, M.D.

  4. Wade on May 27, 2013 at 22:22

    I really enjoy following your blog. It’s the last post on this one that inspired me to finally comment. I too found your site through the primal/paleo web, braised bone in short ribs yum, but was pleased to find philosophical similarities as well. Your writings on anarchy begins at home really resonated. It’s a relief that someone else in this diet/lifestyle realm gets the whole picture. Thank you for sharing, freedom begins between the ears.

  5. Ash Simmonds on May 28, 2013 at 04:54

    Ha – a month ago I got a barrage by the edumacated folk when I was telling someone how pointless measuring cholesterol is – things like “what doctorate do you have?”, “which prestigious establishment did you study at?”, etc etc.

    These aren’t run-o-the-mill college folk, this is on an exotic car owner’s board. Thankfully there’s only a few silly enough to think being told what to think is worthy of recognition.

    Discussion sorta starts here – – it goes for several pages, but for biochem nerds it’s interesting to see how otherwise highly intelligent AND edumacated people can be so stupid simply because the person presenting the information isn’t holding up some pointless “achievement”. (I also call them out on this later – wow watch out when people’s decade of being told what to think isn’t worshipped… :p )

  6. Humunculous on May 28, 2013 at 06:24

    Khan academy is decent but has nothing on,, (and other MOOC’s) where you can take actual classes from top universities from professors teaching you exactly what they want to teach for free. Your grade your the other students’ assignments and they grade yours. It’s just about the best thing that has happened to the internet.

  7. John on May 28, 2013 at 07:24

    I think you’re dead on about college. I went for four years myself, and it was fun, sure, but looking back, didn’t really learn anything that I needed for my life. I would have been better off just buying a copy of “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill, reading that a few times, and then just spending the rest of the time drinking and partying. I didn’t take out any student loans, so I didn’t start off in the hole, and for that, I am thankful, but, I could have saved that money or made more money, and have been better off in my early twenties.

    Of course, when you come out against college, people think you are coming out against knowledge, or education. But you’re not, and I’m not. With a few exceptions (like maybe colleges of medicine), the knowledge that colleges and univeristies offer just isn’t worth the price of admission. And guess what? If you are interested in that sort of knowledge, you can find it much cheaper, both in dollars and time spent.

    And if you need to be formally enrolled for anything (like a very helpful intership), there’s community colleges everywhere. You could even take a class or two on the cheap to see if this is something that you want to plunk down many thousands of dollars and a few years time on.

  8. Nigel Kinbrum on May 28, 2013 at 09:16

    RE 14-yr-old girl can do Eddie Van Halen, and you can’t tell the difference:- I think it’s great that some young people are dedicated enough to practise an extremely complicated task over & over until they can do it really well without having to concentrate what they’re doing.

    I found a video of a young lad (~11) who learned to play the lead guitar part in “She sells sanctuary” by The Cult really well, amongst others. See

    I posted that video for a reason. Here’s me performing that song at Bandaoke. See

  9. Richard Nikoley on May 28, 2013 at 10:25


    Looks like you’re having a blast. Good on ya.

  10. Nigel Kinbrum on May 28, 2013 at 11:37

    Thanks Richard. I’m having lots of blasts. I’ve been asking bands that gig at various pubs if I can “have a go”. In the last month, three of them said “Yes.” A fourth (punk) band said that they would definitely fit me in the next time that they gigged there.

    Last night, a saxophonist (also called Nigel) asked me if I would like to attend his band rehearsal this coming Saturday to do some harmonies. Oh, yes!

  11. Jenni on May 28, 2013 at 13:09

    Thanks for your service Richard. I understand you made the voluntary choice to join the Navy but I still think you deserve thanks. My husband served in the infantry in the Marine Corps for five years. He lost a close friend so that makes Memorial Day a bit more difficult than any other day. I enjoy the humor in your blog and I will keep checking back for more updates.

  12. Jack on May 28, 2013 at 17:00

    Hey Rich – totally agree with you about college. Getting a BA is overrated! It has become a huge farce.

    I tell all teenagers to go travel, get laid as much as possible and study what you want online.

  13. Alex on May 28, 2013 at 20:40

    I’d avoid too much hyperbolic damnation of endurance sports just yet; the sorts of articles being published now are no more scientifically rigorous than the “eggs explode your arteries” pieces of yesteryear. They should be treated with similar skepticism, in most cases. There are, as with eggs, hyper-responders, of sorts, and individual cases where different rules apply. And even then, I think it’s important to note that we’re talking about high levels of exertion over long distances – racing marathons, several times a year – that’s possibly damaging. 99.9% of people don’t have the desire to obsession to undertake that volume of training, nor to race at that high an intensity. And for that .1%, the goal is to a heightened sense of life within that specific time frame, not longevity.

    Full disclosure: I’m a tolerable distance runner, so my bias is clear. I think I train intelligently and in a way that promotes overall health. But I can also say that there is nothing – for me, of course – so acutely life affirming as racing. And I’d trade those moments for a few years off the end of my life, if I had to. (Although I should stress, I don’t think that’s a likely scenario.)

  14. Joanne Horsefall on May 30, 2013 at 03:52

    Definitely agree with you about education. I got a BA which has no put me in over 3ok of debt and a dead end job haha not the best start I’ll admit. Looking back on it I think if entrepreneurial skills were taught in schools instead of the classic read it, remember it and repeat it in exams system then we would be much better off.

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