Thursday, May 18, 2017

Book Review with Sweepstakes: Surrounded by Idiots

A Fair Trade Book

Title: Surrounded by Idiots

Author: Mike Gallagher

Author's web page:

Date: 2005

Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0-06-973798-0
Length: 222 pages

Quote: “Liberal lunatics have surrounded us with their agenda-driven ideology. It’s time to fight back.”

Thus spake the Fox and Newsmax super-moderate-Republican pundit…who may have wished before now that he could retract this book.

Why? “Not every Democrat is a lost cause,” he wrote, introducing Barack Obama as “the kind of Democrat who represents the best in his party’s future.”

Of course, that was on the basis of that one great speech the future President made in 2004, when he was still saying that “the people I meet…don’t expect government to solve all of their problems. They know they have to work hard to get ahead…They know that parents have to teach…and eradicate the slander that says a Black youth with a book is acting White.” Gallagher, and others of us who appreciated President Obama’s clean lifestyle and gentlemanly manners, can still say that, well, that was 2004, and President Obama’s awareness of those “people he met” in 2004 made his failure to represent them in the White House all the worse.

But where does that leave Surrounded by Idiots, now? It’s a collection of news magazine editorials and talk show pieces. It’s not tear-inducing inspirational. It’s not laugh-out-loud funny. Do you still want or need to read this book? To whom can I honestly recommend it, and why? 

Or: to whom is Amazon still actively marketing this as a new book, especially in its "Audible (trademark) audio edition"? 

I say: to all overweight people. Y’see, Gallagher was one of those Big Losers. The healthy-looking body you see on the front cover had been seventy pounds heavier a year before that photo was taken. Although “Fighting Fat—Another War Worth Winning” is only chapter 14 and takes up only 13 pages, it’s still a solid, sensible, reliable story a lot of people still need to read.

Gallagher’s weight loss story helps point up the difference between Wide Loads and those of us who may put on a few unwanted pounds, but, when we are fatter than we want to be, we shed a few pounds quickly and continue wearing the same size clothes… “Do around thirty minutes of some kind of exercise daily,” Gallagher lists as one of his “unbreakable guidelines” on page 179.

Yes, Wide Loads of America. What he said. If it's physically possible for fat people to become thin people, regular exercise is the key.

If you want to hear it from the other side…regular readers may remember that my mother and I share a genetic quirk that actually produces contradictory effects under the influence of other genes and conditions. If we ingest wheat (or glyphosate residues, or products from plants that were genetically modified to be glyphosate-resistant) our thyroid glands falter at a certain point in the metabolic cycle. This same faltering can produce fat hypothyroid celiacs who can actually gain weight while fasting, who need capsules if not injections of some other creature’s thyroid hormones in order to be able to exercise, and also skinny hyperthyroid celiacs who can eat like hogs and remain skinny, sickly, and nutrient-deficient. Mother was a fat celiac; I was a skinny celiac, able to gain unwanted pounds only after going gluten-free. Exercise, even if it takes thyroid supplements for patients to be able to do the exercise, is what keeps fat celiacs within the “noticeably overweight, slow-moving, slow-thinking, ditzy but competent” range rather than the “Wide Load, sluggish, incompetent” range. Exercise is also what makes it possible for skinny celiacs to sleep at night. I miss exercise at least as much as I miss food, if I have to get through a day without one or the other; if anything, I miss exercise more.

I read that line, “Do around thirty minutes of some kind of exercise daily,” and my immediate reaction was “Only thirty minutes?!” Oh Gallagher, Gallagher…I don’t monitor my pulse or do repetitious gym exercise daily, or yearly if I can avoid it, but my ideal day starts with a brisk five-mile walk before breakfast. (I can skip the walk if it’s raining and spend an hour or two puttering around the house instead, but I prefer the walk.) And that’s why, enjoying food as much as I do, and having acquired the ability to gain weight when I went gluten-free, I’ve never been medically obese. I’ve never thrown away a good pair of fat pants, but neither have I had to buy bigger shirts, since grade nine.

If you’re overweight, this web site has a dare bet for you. Buy Surrounded by Idiots (as a Fair Trade Book, with a percentage going to Gallagher or a charity of his choice). Follow the guidelines on page 179.  Post, to this web site and to any web site you may maintain on your own, notes and photos about how and where you’re exercising and about how much weight you’re losing. That’s the dare. The bet is that within a year you’ll find that you, too, actually enjoy exercise…but just to make it interesting, let’s throw in a sweepstakes: Those who succeed in losing 50 pounds or more will be eligible to win a free hiking, camping, and boating weekend in scenic Natural Tunnel, Virginia. (Available to legal residents of the United States and Canada only, this offer can include as many slimmed-down family members as fit into your camper and/or tent.)

Secondhand copies of Surrounded by Idiots are available cheaper from other sources, but if you buy it as a Fair Trade Book, $5 per copy + $5 per package + $1 per online payment, we'll send $1 to Gallagher or a charity of his choice. You can throw in 50 Things Liberals Love to Hate, too, for a total of $15 (via postal order to P.O. Box 322) or $16 (via Paypal to the address Salolianigodagewi will send you), from which we'll send Gallagher or his charity $2.