February 11, 2010

Revisiting The Talking Heads (And Breakfast)

I don't like to go back and talk about past posts. To me it's a little like explaining a joke or watching a rerun of a lame sit-com. It wasn't all that good to begin with but its even less appealing with all the shiny novelty worn off. But I got a lot of email and comments about the Talking Heads post a couple days back. I'm not sure I explained my points of view all that well.

The truth is, agree or disagree with their motivations and philosophies, most of the folks I mentioned are damn good at what they do. And they're well qualified to do it because they have a true gift for communicating. It's not easy for me to say anything positive about Rush Limbaugh but you have to admire what he's done, going from a rock and roll radio DJ to one of the single most influential conservative political figures in the country in a matter of a few decades. Its easy to see why - he's eloquent and thought provoking.

What I explicitly stated day before yesterday was that few of these talking heads have formal political experience on which their opinions are based. I agree that degrees aren't everything. I have a history degree which in no way prepared me for a career in information technology. But I've since gone to great lengths and accumulated certifications and practical on-the-job experience to make me as knowledgeable in the field as anyone with an IT degree. So, throwing the higher education argument out for a second, how many of these people have worked in politics and gotten that on-the-job training? None. This in no way precludes them from having an opinion nor should it prevent them from sharing it or broadcasting it all over the world. I never said it should.

We're all consumers. We all consume food, whether we're vegetarians or carnivores. We all consume liquids, be it juice or water or beer. We consume things to keep us healthy and looking good - vitamins, prescription medications, hair gel, deodorant (which I can never spell correctly) and makeup. We consume books, music, art - things that stimulate our brains. But more than anything else, we consume information. Information is everywhere. Some might argue that there's just too much of it since we're bombarded with it from televisions, newspapers, radio, our computer screens and the devices we stick in our pockets and take with us everywhere we go. That's why we need to choose our sources carefully.

The talking heads I mentioned are fonts of information. They've got it - and hand it out - in spades. But what is that information based on? That's what I was trying to talk about. The simple fact is most of these folks are entertainers. Some, like Beck and Stewart, readily admit that. Others might just want you to believe that they're something more than that. Regardless, whether your information is coming from Stewart, O'Reilly or the President himself, we all need to investigate the facts for ourselves and come up with what we think to be right.

The fact that I mentioned folks in the post doesn't mean I don't like them. I absolutely loathe Limbaugh (that shouldn't be a shock) and I think Beck is less-than-reliable and a bit too drama-prone. But I consider John Stewart to be one of the most brilliant people on television, have a great deal of respect for Rachel Maddow and I would give my left nut for Olberman's ranting skills.

That's what I meant.

On a completely different note, what do you eat for breakfast? I can't seem to find one thing I can eat consistently that's quick, satisfies me and doesn't make me fat and clog my arteries. Help!

Posted by Chris at February 11, 2010 7:54 AM

For a while, I was eating yogurt, the low-fat kind. Then, when I got sick of that, I switched to a bagel with a very minimal portion of cream cheese and then tomato. I find these two things I can rotate and still feel pretty happy about breakfast.

Posted by: Claire at February 11, 2010 8:15 AM

Thanks for the backtrack on Keith and Rachel. My day wouldn't be complete without them. As for the rest of them, I know that when Beck, Limbaugh, et al lips are moving, they're lying.

The comedy bunch are funny but I can pick up excerpts on line.

Breakfast? We're not terribly consistent. Usually some kind of fruit, healthy cereal, and/or a half bagel with low fat cream cheese or English muffin. Oatmeal on cold mornings. I make enough for 2 or 3 days and we nuke it. You wouldn't do it of course but I cook low fat bacon and eggs, pancakes, or French toast once a week. If I do it as a brunch, we skip lunch and have an early dinner. We're both retired so we can be flexible.

Sometimes we skip the whole thing and have an early lunch instead.

Posted by: ann adams at February 11, 2010 8:18 AM

Because I understood what you were trying to say before and don't disagree with you now, I'll just move on to the breakfast question.

Breakfast: My favorite that I keep coming back to is whole grain toast with almond butter. omg. I love it. And almonds are very good for you. During the spring/summer I do alot of yogurt with granola and fruit. Since I've starting baking more (trying to perfect homemade bread) I've made some whole grain breakfast breads with fruits and nuts that I'm very happy with. Especially since they are not too sweet. I think the key for me is to keep it from being too heavy so it doesn't sit like a brick in my stomach. Especially if I'm going to the gym. Bricks and workouts are not a good combo.

Posted by: varinia at February 11, 2010 8:42 AM

I can't imagine what anyone had to gripe about. You were so dead on in your observations. Its all about ratings, people!! That's why these guys say the salacious things they do - and they don't have to care about being truthful. As long as they rope in the listeners, then their networks are happy.

I have totally into scrambled eggs with fresh spinach (you can wrap into a tortilla if you want) or yogurt with a little granola and maybe some sunflower seeds on top.

Posted by: Debbie at February 11, 2010 8:44 AM

A bowl of Cheerios and a cup of tea is my breakfast 95% of the time.

Posted by: COD at February 11, 2010 8:47 AM

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, so I have plenty of ideas, but the healthiest, stick-to-your-ribs and keep you going breakfast (and my personal favorite) is a bowl of oatmeal made with raisins and a tablespoon of peanut butter stirred in. Delicious and satisfying!

My other regular breakfast is not as healthy, but delcious nonetheless and keeps me full for the moroning - a fried egg (just a little butter in a nonstick pan) with a slice of cheese on a sourdough english muffin. Mmmm.....

Posted by: Jessie at February 11, 2010 9:01 AM

Oatmeal for breakfast most days. 1/2 cup oats, 1cup water in the microwave for 3 minutes (I do it in the measuring cup so there are fewer dishes to wash. Then I cut up a banana and stir it in. It is easy. Either that or a banana with peanut butter.

Posted by: bethanne at February 11, 2010 9:02 AM

Breakfast is always a bagel with cream cheese and french vanilla cappuccino. I eat it around 8am and am usually full until noon or one. However, if I eat a big meal (like "they" say is good for you), I'm STARVING an hour later and can't stop eating all day long.

Posted by: js at February 11, 2010 9:04 AM

Really? People got offended? People griped?

I think this is funny: You ask your readers to investigate where/whom they consume their news from, and then you ask them to make suggestions for you to consume a morning a meal.

I am not helping you...Do your own research.


Posted by: William at February 11, 2010 9:11 AM

i eat brinta. a dutch cereal. i order online. (i live in the usa)

my husband thinks it is absolutely disgusting and tastes like newspaper, thus his name for it: printa

Posted by: tineke at February 11, 2010 9:12 AM

Well I do not like any of them and thought you hit the nail on the head the other day when you mentioned the word "entertainer" I think it was. These people are paid to make waves and give harsh and crass opinions to keep us all stirred up and pitted against each other. The networks they work for are paid by people who influence the type of information we get from what we are watching and how They would like us to process it.

Information everywhere, in my opinion, is not helping anyone. Modern technology makes it easier for people to feed the masses a number of things that may not be in our best interest.

What I am trying to say is that why should I get my information from any one source, and why would I hang on every word that any one person says? It doesn’t matter to me what credentials you may or may not have or if you are on TV or if you are on a news channel on the TV. To me, if I want to be informed I will seek information in all forms, from all sides and forums, research things I feel are important to me and make my own opinions.

So Chris, I liked the first post and no explanation was needed!

Posted by: Kelly M. at February 11, 2010 9:30 AM

I just started eating this yummy oat bran cereal. It's called Mother's 100% Natural Oat Bran Creamy Hot Cereal. It's just actual oat bran ground down to tiny particles that I mix with boiling hot water and then add a bit of sugar and a teensy bit of half and half. Yummy. If you like Cream of Wheat this is very similar but tastes more like oatmeal. YMMV. :) Also do you guys eat eggs? I saw some suggestions for egg based brekkies but since you are vegetarians I didn't think you went that route.

Posted by: tulip at February 11, 2010 9:58 AM

You totally didn't have to explain. Well, not to the people who are going to care anyway. I care where my information comes from and it's funny, because 10 years ago I never thought about it. I think it comes with age. These days, when a news anchor deviates a bit from fact and into opinion and I catch it right away. I have a broad history of knowledge about whether it's true or not. My experience is a filter now. However, if I didn't have a filter, I'd want to know that theirs was solid.

I think Jon Stewart spends a big majority of his time showing everyone the same thing you are trying to explain... that all of these people are talking heads and nothing more. It is their JOB to get you emotionally involved so you'll consume more. And it's also why the Daily Show is so popular, because we can all laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. ... well except for those who don't get it: fans of Fox News.

Posted by: Brad at February 11, 2010 10:02 AM

I have this fancy microcomputerized rice cooker that I fill with steel-cut oats, brown rice, barley and water at night, set it to finish cooking at 6:50am, and when I wake up I have fresh porridge. When I'm ready to eat, I add in cinnamon, brown sugar or maple syrup, dried fruit, some slivered almonds or wheat germ and serve it up for myself, my husband, and my kids (who are just a bit older than yours: 6 and 2.5). They love it, it keeps us all full through the morning, and it's whole-grain healthy.

Posted by: Heather @Critter Chronicles at February 11, 2010 10:02 AM

Frosted mini-wheats, a scrambled egg, and a cup o' joe piled high with whipped cream. Every morning. The protein and carbs keep me full and satisfied until lunch, the coffee helps me somewhat able to handle the morning, and the whipped cream just makes me happy.

Posted by: Jenn at February 11, 2010 10:40 AM

greek yogurt (the full fat kind, so what? it's delicious and plenty healthy) with granola or fried eggs and toast or a bowl of cereal or

a starbucks.

love john stewart and rachel maddow.

Posted by: kati at February 11, 2010 10:51 AM

It's not the talking heads that are the problem; it's the legion of people unwilling or unable to think for themselves, who then swallow whatever the talking heads say and convert it into their personal religion. They're the problem.

I throw blueberries, a banana, some protein powder, and a bunch of milk into a Magic Bullet, then suck it down every weekday morning. On the weekends, all health bets are off, because Saturday is breakfast burritos laced with sausage and Sundays are waffles coated with peanut butter.

Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' at February 11, 2010 10:56 AM

I usually eat oatmeal for breakfast. Sometimes I buy the low sugar instant kind, but usually I do a hand made mix that involves rolled oats, a scoop of brown sugar, raisins, and whatever nuts I have on hand (usually walnuts). I make up little baggies of these that I can grab in the morning and throw in a bowl. This makes the hand made kind, which tastes better, just as easy as the instant. I still make the kind with rolled oats in the microwave. It takes about 3.5 minutes. With either kind I mix in milk when they are done cooking. Oatmeal is really good for you, keeps you full until lunch and is inexpensive. It is also really easy to change the flavors from day to day just by mixing in different things (jam, vanilla, maple syrup, etc.)

Posted by: Ashley K at February 11, 2010 10:57 AM

Cereal and a banana. Oatmeal with lots of brown sugar. Or a smoothie with milk, strawberries, almond butter and flaxseed. Now THAT would give you a reason to go into your creepy work bathroom right about 10.

Posted by: k8 at February 11, 2010 12:03 PM

Cereal with milk and a 12 oz glass of OJ. Pretty much every day.

Posted by: Brooke at February 11, 2010 12:12 PM

I eat a chocolate Snickers Marathon Nutrition bar. That sounds like a candy bar, but it's actually the absolute best bar I've found in terms of overall fat content, fiber, calories, and vitamins/minerals.

Posted by: heels at February 11, 2010 12:23 PM

Work mornings- 1 Thomas' Whole Wheat mini bagel and a granny smith apple, eaten in the car on my 60 minute commute. Water in the car, then coffee as soon as I can brew it at the office.

Weekends, either scrambled eggs or Special K Vanilla Almond.

Posted by: Judy at February 11, 2010 12:38 PM

Totally off topic but I read the title of this blog post as I was trying to decide what to listen to on my iPod. Guess what I chose? Go on guess.

Posted by: Kevin Spencer at February 11, 2010 1:01 PM

I love Stewart. And a lot of his interviews are actually pretty serious and good hah. I think the guests he gets speak a lot to the caliber that he maintains.
And, I'm eating cereal with banana. Which has no protein so is less than ideal. Sometimes I eat the "meal replacement" type cereal, Vector, which has some protein in it, and then I feel a little better about myself :P

Posted by: Heather at February 11, 2010 1:11 PM

Talking Heads? Music people. Geesh. (ha!) Breakfast? Small curd cottage cheese with either canned peaches packed in juice or unsweetened applesauce. Mmmmmm!

Oh, and Chris? The font on your blog is really tough on my 41 year old eyes. I suppose I could try to adjust the computer, but that would require too much thought!

Posted by: Christy at February 11, 2010 1:17 PM

They discontinued the McSkillet Burrito at McDonalds, so I skipped breakfast. :(

Posted by: Nosmo King at February 11, 2010 1:52 PM

Plain oatmeal (I hate the flavored kind) to which I add: cinnamon, sliced banana, scoop of natural peanut butter or almond butter, and occasionally raisins or craisins, and/or a little brown sugar/honey/agave nectar, .

I also adore a green smoothie - make a regular smoothie with your fruits, yogurts, whathaveyous, and add vegetables (spinach, kale, swiss chard, etc.). I know, I know - but if you start with a small handful of baby spinach and maybe a squirt of lemon juice for balance I swear you will hardly notice it (save for the color). I started doing this a few years ago and have experimented with allll kinds of veggie smoothies. I'm happy to discuss further if you are interested!

Posted by: Caitlin at February 11, 2010 4:52 PM

For lactation purposes, which of course does not apply to you, I have been eating oatmeal every. single. morning. Fortunately, I've discovered that I actually love it with brown sugar, skim milk, and banana. Good for your heart. Good potassium, calcium, and who knows what else.

Posted by: Lemon Gloria at February 11, 2010 5:28 PM

I eat a toasted whole grain English muffin every morning. However, I slather it with butter (at least a Tablespoon) and sprinkle it with coarse sea salt so that may not help in the whole "don't want to clog my arteries thing."

Posted by: rougeneck at February 11, 2010 6:21 PM

I was doing yogurt and an low fat high fiber english muffin, lately I have been into Quaker Instant oatmeal, (low sugar) and I like the apples and cinnamon one best!

Posted by: Maribeth at February 11, 2010 8:52 PM

Breakfast for me during the week is normally a 3/4 cup of muesli (with fruit & nuts) + 1 cup of milk. Hubby usually goes for 2 slices of toast - 1 with cheese and 1 with PB. On Weekends we normally have a more substantial breakfast on the Saturday of a fried egg on toast with cheese and chutney (don't knock it until you've tried it - it is very yummy!) and then on Sunday I make either pancakes or waffles.

Posted by: Delia at February 12, 2010 2:13 AM

I love Jon Steward in the same way I love Rick Mercer. Just damn fine commentators on what's going on the world around us.

Breakfast: The Boy loves scrambled eggs. Every morning. I can usually talk him into Honey nut cheerios though...

Me: Depends. Sometimes I have eggs. In a hurry I usually grab a granola bar. Also love my smoothies. Exciting eh?

Posted by: Nat at February 12, 2010 8:23 AM

Don't know how I missed this last week. I LOVE talking about food. I love food.

Common breakfast in our house...
Cold cereal with sliced strawberries or bananas
Slice of wheat toast with peanut butter and sliced banana
Microwaved oatmeal (real stuff, not the packets)
[and I am inspired by how many of your readers stir peanut butter into their oatmeal! I have never done this. Have no idea why.]

Painfully thin children:
Waffle with syrup ("Mommy way waffle")
Waffle smothered in butter and powdered sugar ("Daddy way waffle", it's like a freaking funnel cake for breakfast)
Toasted pancake or french toast (frozen weekend leftovers)

Posted by: Sabrina at February 15, 2010 2:26 PM

Rush has annointed himself as the voice of the Christian Conservative party. Stewart, (while Liberal) just intelligently rips their side up using thier arguments. In other words, (my hero) Stewart redicules them in their own words.
And my favorite breakfast is one I don't hve to make nor clean up after. (and nothing resembling gruel)

Posted by: joss is boss at February 19, 2010 12:27 AM