Category: Popular Culture
This week's TIME magazine featured an execrable perspective on The GenoType Diet courtesy of columnist Andrea Sachs. In a column called Calorie Countdown she treats TIME readers to an array of her opinions on the various 'notable diets of 2008.'
The GenoType Diet gets short shrift from the pen of Ms. Sachs. In an analysis which appears to me no deeper than the back cover of the book's dust jacket (while also deriving substantial inspiration from The Fifth Dimension) she writes:
By Dr. Peter J. D'Adamo, with Catherine Whitney (Broadway; 317 pages). Naturopathic physician D'Adamo has identified six "GenoTypes"--the Hunter, the Gatherer, the Teacher, the Explorer, the Warrior and the Nomad--and gives food dos and don'ts for each. The book comes off about as scientific as telling Scorpios they should eat only food grown when Jupiter aligns with Mars.
Trying to learn more about who writes this type of article for America's most beloved weekly illustrated magazine, I retrieved this biography off the TIMES.com site:
Andrea Sachs is a former English major whose dreams were fulfilled when she became TIME's publishing reporter in 1995. What could be better than interviewing authors, reading fabulous new books, and going to publishing parties?
I guess Goethe was right. You do see what you know. Ms. Sachs never interviewed me, and seems to have not actually read my 'fabulous new book.' As far as the parties... well.
Some people seem to just get things wrong. One can only suppose that in world of Andrea Sachs I actually think that the universe splits up into Teachers and Nomads and that Teachers should teach stuff and Nomads should wander around. Those are just memes. Science writers often do this in an attempt to bring complex characterizations to life for laymen. That, as any good English major should know, is called a literary device. Read The Seven Daughters of Eve by Brian Sykes for a similar treatment. In the last third of the book Sykes writes narratives about fictional clan mothers ('Helena', 'Tara', etc.) which correspond to one (or more) human mitochondrial haplogroups.
A friend of mine was fond of saying that "You can always spot the pioneers. They are the folks with the arrows in their backs."
Now, that's real science.
*. The phrase 'file under futile' is from 'Back In Judy's Jungle' by Brian Eno
Had a few obligations to tie up last week in the EU, which allowed for a few days rest and relaxation in the south of Spain. The area is one of my favorites, with good food, sunshine and great culture. Revisited the famous Mezquita (mosque) in Cordoba, one of the true architectural delights of the world. At one time the second largest mosque in the world, the mosque was turned into a cathedral with the Christian capture of the city in the 12th century. Although there are numerous naves to various saints, these are all relatively underwhelming when compared to the intoxicating forest of columns, spandrels and arches that immediately confronts the visitor.
Here are a few pictures that don't do it justice:
The wonder of having two teenage daughters is that at the end of the day I'd calculated that we'd spent more time (45 minutes) at the local department store (El Corte Ingles) then at what is widely considered one of the greatest buildings in the world (35 minutes). Oh well, I have my video tapes.
Also took the time to reread James Mitchener's wonderful book Iberia which should be mandatory for all who visit the country. Although written in the 1950's and '60s, it is still a fresh and relevant look at the Spanish psyche, written by a true student and devotee.
During our all too brief time we stayed at a few of the government run hotels, called paradors. They are often in castles, palaces, fortresses, convents, monasteries and other historic buildings. Surprisingly from my last visit, in addition to the often ponderous local fare, which can vary from great to abysmal, there are now special menus for vegetarians and celiac diners, which are what we often chose from.
Although I have family in the north of Spain (near Barcelona) we were not in country long enough to travel the distance necessary to visit them, however hopefully in the fall we'll get a chance to shoot up there.
Returning back to New York's JFK airport we were assaulted by the aftereffects of a rather large ice storm, which blanketed the area with almost a foot of snow, which then compacted down to a blue stone-like ice, so I spent my first day back chiseling out our cars from the snowy depths.
IfHI 2007 has hit the magical 60 day mark, which traditionally ramps up my stress levels a bit. Personally, I feel more comfortable going into this conference that with either of the prior two, having perhaps a surplus of material for the first time.
Enjoying Rex Dwyer's wonderful book about programming bioinformatic computer code Genomic Perl. Not for the fainthearted, but gosh, what a treasure trove!
Decided to take a break from working on the final third of The Genotype Diet and post a little blog. I've been almost addicted to getting this manuscript as informational as possible, but also trying to skirt a thin line between being too technical as to off-put people who want to try it but are easily frustrated by complexity. To that effect I've be so indebted to many of the wonderful mathematical tools which have been so helpful in allowing these true genetic archetypes to emerge from the hue and cry of all the conflicting information that we hear of when we read about the risk factors or diseases linked to single genes.
Unlike most other diet books, including those that I have written in the past, this system is quite flexible. Over time, and with proper catalysts, it is actually possible to transition from one series of food recommendations into another, hopefully passing the improvements onto subsequent generations as well. I think this is probably the greatest breakthrough with the GTD concept: that genetics and environmental influences can point the way to a ever improving and evolving diet rather that just function as a simple deterministic tool with no beginning, middle and end.
It will be nice to get this book monkey off my back and get back to life as other people know it. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. It has been a wonderful process of discovery and I'll look back on this last year as one of the more fruitful and rewarding in recent memory. But deadlines are deadlines. I'm dreaming about putting a new ceiling in the laundry room and doing a bit of sheet rocking there as well. Anything other than something having to do with computers!
The Holidays were quiet and homespun â€“just the way I like them. Did a lot of group cooking and menu planning.
Tomorrow and Friday I do what are called "Satellite Radio Toursâ€? to mark the tenth anniversary of the publication of Eat Right for Your Type. What happens is they connect you by phone to various AM radio stations, one right after the other, during the morning drive time and you go on for about 5-10 minutes, after which they move you one to the next station. You do it for about four hours, starting first on the East Coast and working, as with the sun, westward. It grueling, but infinitely better than the dreaded "Author Toursâ€? of years gone by. Some people like that kind of stuff. Not me.
Martha gave me a fascinating book called "The Demon Under the Microscope" by Thomas Hager. It is the story of the discovery of the antibiotic properties of the Sulfa class drugs by the chemists a Bayer in the period between the wars. Great book if you like history with a bit of good science writing thrown in as well.
Was saddened to hear of the death the great Joseph Barbera who with William Hanna produced all those great Hanna-Barbera cartoons of the 1960's, friends to all kids of that age home from school with with measles, chicken pox and head colds. My favorite was "The Flintstones", a very droll paleo-suburban take on "The Honeymooners" which featured my favorite cartoon bit character, "Joe Rockhead."
Rockhead's entire role usually consisted of dancing an exhausted Wilma around the room as his feet created this almost electron cloud of activity ---all the time repeating "I'm telling you Wilma, Fred won't be back for at least an hour."
Perhaps the reason Joe Rockhead is not better known is that Hanna-Barbera drew him differently in every episode he appeared in. This is the only know picture of him on the internet:
Well, that's it for now. Stay warm and safe.