Cults

Episode 8 – Cults

Cults are SUCH A CROCK

Monday, August 13th…

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Michael and Katherine explore the crock of Cults with a variety of insights. K kicks it off with the Merriam Webster definition and both agree it’s too vague to be helpful.

So, what would be helpful? Katherine has asked herself, “Am I in a cult?” at least a few times… and not just in spinning class. She offers a list of ways to use as a guide when faced with that crucial question.

Many are drawn from a CBS News online article which interviews cult expert, Steve Echoil, head of the International Cultic Studies Association. As Katherine ponders the list, the duo discuss examples of each item as it applies to their own experiences.

In fact, Michael joins the cult discussion with a fond memory from childhood – the world of Dungeons and Dragons. Turns out it was Such a Crock when propaganda pamphlets in his small town pointed to his beloved D&D as a training ground for occult practices.

Check out this cartoon at Chick Publications

But as Katherine and Michael point out, the 80s were rife with accusations of cult practices and devil worship. Such fears were as common in 80s pop culture as parachute pants and Annie perms.

Speaking of the 80s, Katherine just finished watching the wondrous TV show The Americans, a 1980s period piece about Russian spies in the USA. She mentions it because the organization EST, oft called a cult, plays a major role in the show. Turns out EST actually helped lots of people and doesn’t really qualify as a cult.

Michael then brings the cult talk to the finish line with an actual real life cult currently in the news.  Nxivm, pronounced (Nex-ee-um) has been around for about a decade and makes headlines on the reg. That’s not just because they brand their members but also because they have some celebrities all up in there. In fact, that’s exactly what piqued Michael’s interest – a certain Smallville actress who is currently out on bail for Nxivm naughtiness.

Learn lots more with a listen to our podcast this week. It’s a crock that’s chock full of silliness and cult-like experiences. You might learn something but it’s fun to listen along either way.

As always, we’d love you to subscribe at Such a Crock – Apple Podcasts or followed us on Instagram. Thanks for listening!

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Milk

Episode 7 – Milk

Didn’t we all grow up drinking milk? Well, we grew up doing LOTS of things that are a crock! Indeed, the list is infinite…

Monday, August 6th

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Milk is SUCH A CROCK! (or at least lots of stuff around it is)

Eating only chicken nuggets is SUCH A CROCK

Michael starts this episode off in kind of a weird way. In the UK, Stacey Irvine collapsed back in 2012 due to eating — reportedly — a diet of only chicken nuggets.

Wait a minute… Shouldn’t this be a story for back in Episode 3?

It turns out that a diet of only chicken nuggets isn’t so unique in its lack of nourishment. There’s almost no food you can subsist entirely on… Almost!

Mother’s milk sustains little babies, and can theoretically keep an adult human being alive, too. Good luck finding a woman to supply a sufficient amount, though.

Katherine is incredulous about the existence of a girl who ate nothing but chicken nuggets for fifteen years, but Irvine’s story has been widely reported, including by CBS News: British teen Stacey Irvine hospitalized after eating nothing but chicken nuggets for 15 years

Plus: What If I Ate Only One Type of Food? at LiveScience.

Raw Milk is SUCH A CROCK

Wondering what it is? Namely, it’s not pasteurized.

Today, it’s more difficult to get raw milk than conventional pasteurized, but it still sells due to health claims not necessarily supported by federal regulators.

While raw advocates claim that it helps with lactose intolerance or allergies, Katherine’s research indicates that this is not the case… And anyway, the societal benefits of pasteurization (i.e. the prevention of widespread disease) outweigh such claims.

Interested in learning more? Check out these links to raw milk studies.

NCBI Study   CDC Food Safety Report  FDA Weighs In

Reducing Milk Fat is SUCH A CROCK

Michael starts his second segment out with a 2007 press release from Starbucks. You might not know this, but Starbucks defaults to 2% for espresso drinks if customers don’t specify a type of milk in their order.

Starbucks Moves to Reduced Fat Milk

It turns out that whatever kind you’re drinking — whole, 2%, or skim — milk is likely contributing to weight gain.

That’s because, while milk ranks low in glycemic index, your body probably treats it like eating white bread. So why does Michael — crazy over carbs as Katherine is wont to claim — drink whole milk? Maybe he should stick to his goofy nut milk alternatives.

Further on glycemic index: Glycemic index for 60+ foods at Harvard Medical School

Milking “everything” is SUCH A CROCK

Katherine closes out our milk melee with a list of the BEST milk alternatives from Food & Wine magazine: Non-Dairy Milk, Taste-Tested and Ranked

First she tries to trick Michael into drinking “pea” milk (NOT ‘pee’). Katherine then shares her thoughts on the many flavors and consistencies of the various milk alternatives. At last, she wraps up the ranking to the horror, and eventually winner’s circle of her podcast partner in the end.

Find out why in the podcast!

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Auto Updates

Episode 6 – Computer & Phone Updates

Automatic updates are such a crock! In today’s podcast, Michael and Katherine discuss how computer and phone updates bedevil on a near-biblical basis.

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Computer & Phone Updates

Automatic Windows Updates are SUCH A CROCK

Michael shares the story of his “$1,500 paperweight” … aka Alienware PC.

An automatic Windows update knocked out his computer. That was bad enough. But then the good people at Microsoft sent him a link to fix it. Things got even worse from there. Turns out, Microsoft Help sent him a broken link. You can’t make this up.

Thus, an automatic Windows update killed our hero’s computer. He brought it to the local Microsoft Store. There, Michael learned that automatic update knockouts are common killers. The Microsoft Store volunteered to fix the computer “for free”. But even after that, it’s still pretty darn dead. Had the update been a choice, he might still have a working PC. But like many computer and phone updates these days, it was automatic. The kiss of death.

What you THINK about these updates is SUCH A CROCK

Katherine shares the truth behind automatic updates… And it’s fascinating.

“A common perception is that updates merely fix defects. However, one study indicates over 80% of maintenance effort is used for non-corrective actions. This perception is perpetuated by users submitting problem reports that in reality are functionality enhancements to the system. More recent studies put the bug-fixing proportion closer to 21%.

“Sometimes called a patch, an update is a set of changes to a computer program or its supporting data designed to update, fix, or improve it. This includes fixing security vulnerabilities and other bugs, with such patches usually being called bug fixes, and improving the usability or performance. Although meant to fix problems, poorly designed patches can sometimes introduce new problems sometimes called software regressions. In some cases updates even break the functionality or disable a device.”

Learn more at The Balance: The Difference Between Software Updates and Upgrades

Planned Obsolescence with Computer and Phone Updates is SUCH A CROCK

Michael finds Apple just as annoying for computer and phone updates.

For instance, in a different new laptop tribulation, he rants and raves about the new MacBook Pro’s lack of USB ports.

USB ports are universal necessities for most people. Do you charge your phone? How about record with a mic? Pulling these ports deprives you of access to these common computer needs.

We wrapped up the podcast with an ode to last week’s serving size discussion. Specifically, Michael tried a 100 calorie serving size packet of tasty cashews. Turns out that’s about a handful of yummy.

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Serving Size

Episode 5 – Serving Size

Today Michael and Katherine tackle the not-only-food topic of:

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Serving size? Like “suggested” serving size? Because he often has food on the brain, Michael jumped, mentally, to calories. To get a baseline, Michael consulted Google about just how many calories someone should eat per day. This is what he “learned”:

The 2,000 calorie per day guideline is SUCH A CROCK

The Google guideline — which to be fair isn’t so much “from” Google as “reported by” Google — is such a crock!

Unfortunately, many people live and eat believing that 2,000 calories is the proper baseline number of calories they should be eating. This thinking is problematic in multiple ways, but can most easily be summed up by the idea that all calories are not created equal, or “beef calories do not equal bourbon calories”.

Michael quotes The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss, or rather, a study by Kekwick and Pawan comparing three groups put “on calorically equal semistarvation diets”:

  • 1,000 calories at 90% fat: lose 0.9 lbs. per day,
  • 1,000 calories at 90% protein: lose 0.6 lbs. per day,
  • But 1,000 calories at 90% carbohydrate? GAIN — motherloving gain — 0.24 lbs. per day!

Even if we consider “a calorie a calorie” (which, based on Kekwick and Pawan’s work, above, we shouldn’t), and the 2,000 calorie per day guideline…

Well, MichaelJ has some fun with the nutritional guidelines from one of America’s favorite chain restaurants. We’ll let you listen and draw your own conclusions there around Serving Size.

But “serving size” isn’t just about food. For instance, many things have a regulated or at least advertised time frames. Just like people who are obsessed with getting their money’s worth, Katherine personally seeks a life where she gets the most out her time.

A “week” of camp might just be SUCH A CROCK

One might think sending your child to the alleged “#1, World’s Best Computer Camp” would be worth… something. But one would be wrong. What makes it less than the alleged best? Time spent is falsely advertised! When you’re paying for “a week” of camp you are not expecting a half-day Friday, and certainly not expecting to spend it yourself looking a pictures of other kids in front of computer screens.

Further, you may have heard that there are 24 hours in each day. Some might even call that a fact! Fine. But don’t layer on the info that Beyonce’s 24 hours are the same 24 hours as anybody else’s. Some people have resources that can boost what they accomplish during that supposedly same 24 hours. If you’re Mariah Carey, and thus somebody holds your straw while you sip, that frees up both hands to multitask in ways the rest of us can only imagine.

Should travel time be included in a charitable work time sheet? It’s time you gave… But is it worthy of record keeping and thus credit toward time-served?

The Soda Ban was SUCH A CROCK

Back in 2013 then-NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg attempted what was colloquially called the “soda ban”.

It didn’t ban soda so much as try to limit serving sizes. Under Bloomberg’s attempt, you could not buy drinks larger than 16 ounces at “food-service establishments” in New York City. Michael thinks the soda ban came from a good place, but its implementation was horrendously flawed.

  • 7-Eleven was excluded, so you could still get a Big Gulp
  • You might not be able to buy a drink of greater than 16 ounces, but you could just buy another drink
  • Fruit juice was excluded. Michael maintains there is no conceptual difference between fruit juice and soda for the purposes of this ban
  • Diet soda was excluded; how would that have even worked?
  • Milk drinks, including milkshakes, were exempt. No one knew what to do about Starbucks Frappucinos

Such. A. Crock.

Read more at The Washington Post: The New York City soda ban explained

We finish the episode with a wonderful sweet treat inspired by Somebody Feed Phil on Netflix. Here’s a preview:

As always, we’d love it if you subscribed at Apple Podcasts!

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The Most Important Meal

Episode 4 – The Most Important Meal

The most important meal… What is it? Is breakfast the most important meal? What about one’s last meal? And are folks who Instagram every bespoke artisanal gluten-free waffle mentally ill? Such a Crock investigates:

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Breakfast is Such a Crock!

Okay, okay… Breakfast is probably okay.

But the idea that breakfast is the “most important meal” of the day is a crock.

It turns out a talented PR man by the name of Edward Bernays working for the Beech-Nut company used a combination of preacher-style moralization and marketing to create the idea of the American breakfast… To sell product! Bernays got about 5,000 doctors to co-sign his very un-scientific letter pushing breakfast food, and our culture today is largely an extension of that. I mean… balls?

Read more in The Guardian: How lobbyists made breakfast ‘the most important meal of the day’

Is the Notion of a Last Meal Becoming a Crock?

The “last meal” is a tradition among condemned prisoners. It’s thought to have started in 1924 in Texas.

In some places, a prison warden will share the last meal with a prisoner. In others there are strict limitations on how much can be spent on a last meal.

Michael shares some famous last meals, from a single communion wafer to a surprising amount of KFC.

But it’s the lavish request of Laurence Russell Brewer that gets last meals knocked off the Texas tradition list… And Michael thinks that is a crock. Brewer ordered a ton of food, but didn’t eat any of it. His bad behavior has had lasting impact for condemned Texans.

My San Antonio: Last-meal requests off death row menu

Food Porn is Such a Crock!

Is documenting all your food on Instagram a sign of mental illness?

Some folks at the CBC seem to think so: Posting pictures of meals online? You may have health problems

… But Michael certainly hopes not!

That doesn’t mean that every meal you eat is worthy of Instagram commemoration. That said, Katherine comes up with some [hopefully] reasonable reasons to document your dinner.

Was Eating the Ortolan Such a Crock?

Michael was curious about Bobby Axelrod’s quasi-last meal on Billions this past season. The Ortolan bunting is illegal to eat; but it’s supposedly the most sublime dining experience possible.

So heavy was the language around the forbidden ortolan, from celebrity chef Wylie Dufresne to the now-departed Tony Bourdain that Michael just had to follow up.

Is the ortolan real? Yes.

Do you really wear a napkin over your head to hide your shame while eating it? Apparently.

But is crunching on songbird bones whole, and scalding your mouth and throat with hot fat possibly the apex of meals? Give us a listen and judge for yourself!

More from CNBC: The illegal delicacy Axe ate on ‘Billions’ is a real thing — here’s the story behind it

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chicken

Episode 3 – Chicken

Can it be, intrepid listeners?

Can the unifying crock-topic of our third episode be that beloved bird…

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Michael begins with fightin’ words for a big chunk of the chicken-eating populace:

Weight Watchers is Such a Crock

Weight Watchers is an American company that offers various products and services meant to assist customers in losing and maintaining their weight. Since at least 1997, it has used a points-based system. It is essentially a simplified calorie counting / calorie deficit system.

However, the new Freestyle program (“Count less and enjoy more”) adds chicken and some 200+ new foods to the so-called “zero point” list.

In Michael’s opinion, this makes Weight Watchers a crock.

The point system, which once had ketchup as zero point (but no longer, as it includes sugar) BUT adds chicken, turkey, and tons of seafood to zero points seems tantamount to surrender. This “count less and enjoy more” philosophy flies in the face of the company’s long-standing value-add for what looks and smells much more like the low carb / keto / Atkins family of dieting.

Read more at Business Inisder: Weight Watchers’ new program has 200 ‘zero-point’ foods you can eat as much as you want — including eggs

Fried Chicken is Such a Crock

If someone asked you “who” invented fried chicken… Who might you guess?

If you — like many — default to The Colonel… Katherine says that branding is kind of a crock.

Katherine digs into the origins of fried chicken in the United States and the ex-slave entrepreneurs of Gordonsville, VA.

Bonus: Michael never really understood cultural appropriation… Until now! While most of Katherine’s crock is about the Colonel and nostalgic Southern cooking, it’s Korean fried chicken that tells the tale for MichaelJ.

Katherine’s sources are many, but we suggest As American As Fried Chicken at The Atlantic.

Our CONCEPT of a Chicken is a Crock!

While we typically use the word “chicken”, today’s farms raise effectively two distinct birds: Broilers and layers. They’re quite different!

One lays eggs. One is prized for its breast meat.

Since about 1946 and the quest for “the chicken of tomorrow” chickens raised for food have become quite different from root stock. They live less than two months but produce many times the historic amount of breast meat… On a fraction of the feed and vitamins.

The genetics of such birds extends even to organic free-range chickens! Such birds live only a little bit longer than now-conventional factory farm chickens, and are themselves also descendants of the chicken of tomorrow.

Much of this comes from Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

A Little Kid’s Opinion of Chicken Nuggets is a Crock

Katherine shares a story from celebrity chef Jamie Oliver teaching children where their beloved nuggets come from.

Oh… Just watch it:

… But not until after you listen to Episode 3:

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Living a Lie

Episode 2 – Living a Lie

Welcome to Episode 2: Living a Lie for our podcast Such a Crock! this week.

In this episode we discuss the troubling, ever present phenomenon of…

Because Living a Lie is Such a Crock 🔪🎼🍼🍔

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We kick off with a shocking story, then shift into a bit buzzing in recent news outlets. Living a Lie is SUCH A CROCK!

l. Living a Lie Hardcore Style

Almost every day, Katherine sees men in fancy suits snoring on park benches.

One of the sleeping suits I’ve seen on the piers… overcoat and all

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Recalling a similar story, she rockets this week balls-to-the-wall in our first segment. The Adversary: A True Story of Monstrous Deception by Emmanuel Carrere serves as inspiration for our first “living a lie”. And it’s a doozy. This particular crock might just be a shock to some because it escalates from a bench nap to a much darker place.

L’Adversaire (The Adversary), Emmanuel Carrère book, 2000

ll. Living a Lie Bad Girlfriend Style

Michael’s story tells of rising clarinet superstar Eric Abramovitz. Abramovitz met then-girlfriend Jennifer Lee while they were students at McGill University. Apparently Jennifer didn’t want him to move away, so when Eric won a prestigious scholarship… She prevented him from taking it. This brilliant young artist did not live a lie of his own making. Lee compromised Eric’s email account. Then she deleted his acceptance letter, and forged multiple replacements… All on the way to costing him a prestigious scholarship worth over $50,000 per year.

The Abramovitz story was widely reported. Here’s a version from the Paper of Record:
The NY Times: A Clarinetist’s Girlfriend Didn’t Want Him to Leave. So She Crushed His Dreams.

lll. Living a Lie Baby-Making Style

Katherine’s childhood heroes Janet Jackson (50) and Bridgitte Nielsen (54) are having babies… And they’re not the only mid life ladies doing this. Gorgeous Rachel Weisz also joins the baby-making party at 48 and so are tons of not-so-famous women. In fact, it’s a trend, and not just in the USA.

Turns out advice from your doc may be the crock in this case. For many years doctors have told women to “hurry up and have kids!” They’ve characterized fertility as a ticking time bomb. But meanwhile, recent relevant data doesn’t back up this claim. Thus, many women have made major life decisions based on recommendations that aren’t timely or relevant to their actual lives. That’s such a crock! Don’t you think?

Further Reading:

Listen now!

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Forbidden Sex

Episode 1 – Forbidden Sex

Welcome to the first episode of our new podcast!

We all encounter things every day that we look at and think, “That’s such a crock!” (you know, of shit or whatever)

This is a podcast about those kinds of things. We hope you find it a little hit heartwarming, a little bit close to home, and a lot funny. This week we tackle the topic of…

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I. Forbidden Sex with Man’s Best Friend

Michael starts out the podcast with a pretty understandably forbidden kind of sex… But that isn’t what he thinks is a crock.

Numerous news outlets have reported on Joseph Hattey, a Michigan State University Health Physicist, being charged with a “crime against nature” … While no one is saying that this is any kind of normal, Michael thinks the guy getting fifteen years is such a crock. What do you think?

USA Today: Michigan State University physicist charged with bestiality

II. Forbidden Sex at the World Cup

As we write this, the World Cup is going strong in Russia.

… But Katherine thinks what the Russian government has asked its women to do — or not to do as the case may be — is such a crock. While Russia is theoretically welcoming athletes from around the world, Russian women have been warned to avoid sex with foreign men. If urges prove too difficult, they should “at least choose a man from the same race.”

The New York Times: Russia Wants to Play Nice With Foreigners. Just Not Too Nice.

III. Forbidden Sex[ual Language] at the World Cup

At the World Cup, Mexico fans have been accused of chanting homophobic slurs. While not a fan of such slurs in general, Michael thinks fining the team (who presumably have no direct control over the actions of the fans) is such a crock.

The Telegraph: Mexico facing punishment over homophobic chants during win over Germany

IV. Porn

Despite its ubiquity, pornography is its own kind of forbidden sex. “Ask any mom,” says Katherine (a mom). But the negative impacts of pornography, she argues, have been exaggerated to the point of being such a crock.

Psychology Today: Common Sense about the Effects of Pornography

We’re still getting all our links in place, and our ducks in a row. You can’t subscribe on iTunes just yet, but please give us a try right here:

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Katherine

Michael