· I wrote in last week's column that the state Legislature is taking up the matter of dual-flush toilets (which save water). This guy writes me this ultra-serious e-mail that begins, "Obviously, you do not know what a dual-flush toilet is, or you wouldn't have made fun of them."
Dude, I'll make fun of the pope, my mama and Nelson Mandela--all in the same sentence--if it'll get me a laugh. I have my limits, of course. I won't ever make fun of handicapped people, and ... well, that's it. Everything else is a target.
He writes that more dual-flush toilets are sold worldwide than "syphonic toilets that Americans are used to." I originally misread that as "symphonic," which set off a 20-minute laugh session in my head.
He claims that his company's toilets can flush a baseball and then launches into a detailed discussion of how much waste the average man produces in one session. I showed the e-mail to my son, who, not that long ago, was sitting around with his knucklehead friend Alan, and they were planning to start a Web site named, "I Had a Poop So Big ... ." People would write in and complete the sentence: "I had a poop so big, the Colorado River started flowing backward." Ah, young people.
The guy closed the e-mail with, "Let me know if you want to try one in your house, then you can decide if they still deserve ribbing."
I'm sorry, but toilets, like vegetarians, are, by definition, funny.
· Which brings me to the guy who keeps bringing up studies of Seventh-day Adventists to try to prove that vegetarians live longer ("More on Danehy, Vegetarianism, Etc., Etc.," Mailbag, Jan. 17). All such studies are flawed, because they don't take into account the fact that those people don't smoke, drink or use drugs--factors that have far more influence on longevity than food intake. Please stop making that lame-ass argument.
As for environmental damage: On a plane trip once, I read a story about how overpopulation had pushed the Earth to the brink. The solution was to hold a worldwide death lottery in which everybody would take a pill at the same time. Half would be poison; the other half would be placebos. Right before the lottery, someone realized that the dead would have to be dealt with quickly, and the resulting smoke from the funeral pyres all over the world would probably cause a change in the climate that would kill all of the lottery "winners."
Which brings me to this question: What would happen if everybody on Earth just magically stopped eating animal products tomorrow? How many hundreds of millions or billions of people would die in a short period of time? We have people starving to death all over the world now. How could we possibly grow enough food to feed everybody? The food riots would get ugly in a hurry.
Then there's the fact that lot of people (like me) are allergic to a wide variety of vegetables and fruits, so their choices would be limited. And it would also put a huge premium on certain items, because I don't know about y'all, but over the years, I've developed a certain fondness for protein, which is in short supply in the plant world. Food for thought, so to speak.
It is, indeed, possible that the average vegetarian might outlive his meat-eating counterpart. If I were to go to bed every night at 9 p.m. instead of staying up to watch The Daily Show and SportsCenter, I might add a little bit of time to the end of my life. But it's not a trade-off I'm willing to make. Those things enrich my life now. As does bacon.
I have no doubt that people can subsist on a vegetarian diet, but as for his claim regarding "a plethora of studies that show vegetarians have more robust health than meat-eaters," I'm just not buying it. There are super-healthy omnivores and sickly vegetarians and all kinds of people in between. That's just how it is.
He closes with a quote from one Dr. Neal Barnard, who zooms into Never-Never Land with, "The beef industry has contributed to more American deaths than all the wars of this century, all natural disasters and all automobile accidents combined."
That's the stupidest crap I've ever read. And I've read Ann Coulter.
Barnard closes with, "If beef is your idea of 'real food for real people,' you'd better live real close to a real hospital."
Yeah, maybe there, we could find a real doctor.
· Finally, I've been getting some sports-related e-mails recently, including some novels by a guy who goes by Sir Donald. Some other unnamed person asked me if it's OK to be a Wildcats fan and still appreciate and sorta root for Arizona State basketball now that the Sun Devils no longer stink.
The answer is no. Never. From the moment I first set foot in Arizona, I learned that it's one or the other. You can be a Cat and also root for Northern Arizona, but never ASU.
If ASU was playing the Hitler Youth, I'd root for the Really White Guys, whose mascot looks like a young Newt Gingrich (who was not a Nazi, but could easily have infiltrated the Jugend).
Boy, I'll bet it would be hard to dribble while goose-stepping.