Thoughts on Trainspotting, Alice in Chains, and Heroin

I have to start this post with a disclaimer: I have never done heroin, nor do I intend to. I also do not personally know anyone who has ever done heroin (to my knowledge). This post is comprised only of second-hand knowledge gathered from such unreliable sources as Wikipedia. Also, this post contains foul language and disturbing subject matter. You should probably just not read it.

A couple of weeks ago, I read Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh. In case you’ve never read or heard of this book, I will give you a brief summary of it here: The story follows a group of young heroin users in Edinburgh, Scotland, and their adventures and misadventures in drug use and petty crime. Some of them get AIDS, some of them witness the death of a baby (probably due to neglect), and some of them just use a lot of heroin. It talks about their withdrawal symptoms, the lengths they go to to salvage some opium suppositories from the grossest toilet in the history of the world, and the feeling of a heroin high. Overall, it’s a pretty depressing book (though it does have a couple of humorous moments), but if you want some insight into the mind of a user, I recommend it. It was also turned into a movie in 1996, which I have never seen (aside from the creepy “baby on the ceiling” hallucination scene), but I found the book on my bookshelf and decided to read it. Unfortunately, I have a tendency to get drawn into the books I’m reading (which is why I don’t read very much fiction) and books that center around a disturbing topic (like heroin use) really get to me. I walked around at work all week depressed & suppressing the urge to speak in a near-incomprehensible Scottish accent, complete with ridiculous Scottish slang. I also kept thinking about heroin use (not as it applies to me, obviously, but just in general). I knew very little about it, since, like I said, I’ve never done it and I don’t know anyone that’s done it. All I knew was that it is injected, you can get the HIV from sharing needles, it’s killed a lot of good musicians, and it’s bad (mmkay?). So, I went to the world’s most reliable source for information on everything: Wikipedia. As I was perusing Wiki for answers to my heroin-related questions, my iTunes (in its creepily-sentient manner ) decided to play “Junkhead” by Alice in Chains, which I have posted for you here (unfortunately no one on YouTube has a version of this song that doesn’t skip):

Alice in Chains is one of my all-time favorite bands (despite my ill-fated concert adventure ), and I remember hearing about Layne Staley’s death back in 2002 when I was 15 or 16. All accounts of the incident stated that he ODed on a speedball (heroin-cocaine combo), which was really not all that shocking, given his history of drug use & addiction. What was somewhat shocking (to me, anyway) was that he had apparently holed himself up in his condo for 3 days straight and did nothing but shoot up almost continuously. According to the other members of the band & and Layne’s family members, he would go days or weeks at a time and not talk to or see anyone, so perhaps this wasn’t a surprise for those who knew him. Everyone who listens to Alice in Chains knows that they used heroin – hell, they named an album after it. Layne particularly struggled with this addiction, and as his life progressed, he seemed to rely more and more on the skag to get him through the day. His fiance died of drug-related problems, and I’m sure that this, ironically enough, fueled his own addiction to the drug that took her away from him. This reminds me very much of the scene in Trainspotting where they discover baby Dawn dead in her crib. Dawn’s tearful mother, Lesley, deals with the situation by asking Mark Renton (the main character) to cook her a shot of heroin. The very drug that caused her to neglect her child to the point of death is the very thing she turns to for comfort after finding the baby’s body. I actually noticed one major parallel between Trainspotting & “Junkhead” – the attitude held by the junkie that “outsiders” or non-users don’t understand the lifestyle or the reasoning behind using drugs, and the resentment felt by users when society tries to “fix” them. In Trainspotting, Renton talks about how society can’t stand to have people who don’t want the typical milestones of life (a job, a car, a home, a family, etc), so they work to try and fit them back into the mold with rehab and government services aimed at getting them jobs & getting them off the smack. Compare that sentiment with Layne Staley’s lyrics in “Junkhead:” First he says, “Seems so sick to the hypocrite norm, Running their boring drills, But we are an elite race of our own, The stoners, junkies, and freaks,” and then “You can’t understand a user’s mind, But try, with your books and degrees. If you let yourself go and opened your mind, I’ll bet you’d be doing like me, And it ain’t so bad.” Clearly, “Junkhead” was written in that very short period of time where heroin was having a “positive” effect on Layne. He tried to get clean a few times, but always to no avail. In a 1996 interview with Rolling Stone, he said “Drugs worked for me for years, and now they’re turning against me, now I’m walking through hell.” By 2002, it was clear to him that he was nearing the end of his life. In an interview that year, he said, “I’m not using drugs to get high like many people think. I know I made a big mistake when I started using this shit. It’s a very difficult thing to explain. My liver is not functioning, and I’m throwing up all the time and shitting my pants. The pain is more than you can handle. It’s the worst pain in the world. Dope sick hurts the entire body.” In Trainspotting, several of the characters try to kick the habit on and off, but they almost always relapse because the withdrawal is so intense. Renton often describes the feeling by saying that his skin was crawling and his bones felt like they were grinding together. While none of the characters in Trainspotting die from an overdose, they do suffer some pretty terrible consequences from using. Johnny Swan loses a leg, several characters end up with HIV or AIDS, and all the male characters, with the exception of Sick Boy, have sexual problems related to heroin use at some point in the novel. They are all pale, covered in scabs & abscesses, and generally unhealthy. None of them get to the point where Layne Staley was when he died, but it seems that they are in the minority there. From what I can tell, most people don’t make it out of a heroin addiction alive. Despite the fact that the book ends a little happier for Renton than real life does for Layne, I think that “Junkhead” could be the theme song for Trainspotting.

Summation & final point? Heroin is probably a bad idea.


Slaughtered by the Internet

I will warn you: This post is long. It also contains topics that some (most?) will find disturbing. There is some language, references to videos, & subject matter that is not suitable for some readers. Proceed with caution.

Okay, so by now, I’m sure you have probably heard the tale of Jessi Slaughter, but in case you haven’t, I will give you a brief overview here. A rumor starts on the teen gossip website StickyDrama that an 11-year-old girl who goes by the name Jessi Slaughter is rumored to be in a relationship with the leader singer (Dahvie Vanity) from a scene band called Blood on the Dance Floor. Jessi posts a video on YouTube entitled “Haters, Piercings, Stickydrama” to address these rumors, but in it she uses more profanity than most sailors, tells her “haters” that she’s going to put a Glock in their mouth & make a brain slushie, tells everyone that she is better than them because she has more fans, more friends, is prettier, etc, and generally says every inappropriate thing imaginable. Someone finds this video and posts it on the infamous /b/ board on 4chan, where the trolls & Anons research her to find out her real last name, her phone number, & her address. They then begin prank calling her house, sending her family death threats, & ordering pizzas, strippers, & police to be sent to her house. In response to this, Jessi posts yet another video, in which her father (who clearly doesn’t use the internet much) tells the harassers that “they dun goofed up” because knows who’s doing it because he “backtraced it”, and has reported them to the “cyber police” & the state police. Jessi & her family are now under police protection because of this situation.

Now I want you to Google these videos (“haters, piercings, stickydrama” and “you dun goofed”) & watch them. Go ahead… I’ll wait.

Back? Great. Let’s continue. I need to add a few details to this story that you don’t get from watching the videos. First, Jessi had at least one semi-nude photo of herself on the web (remember – she’s ELEVEN) and several others that showed her in some fairly suggestive poses. Second, before she deleted all of her online accounts, her Tumblr had very graphic descriptions of her sexual exploits with her girlfriend (ELEVEN!!!). I would like to directly address Ms. Jessi here, because I was just so disturbed by these videos & this whole story in general that I feel I need to say something to her.

Dear Jessi,
I would first like to let you know that I am only writing this because I am deeply concerned about you and your future. I am not writing it because I hate you or because I think I’m better than you. I’m writing it because I think I see you for what you really are: A misguided, attention-starved little girl who desperately needs help. You clearly have been provided with no guidance or supervision in real life or on the internet. There are a few points I want to address with you, and I hope you’ll take these into consideration.
1) YOU ARE ELEVEN YEARS OLD. Most 11-year-olds play video games, play outside, play with Barbies, & have sleepovers with their friends where they watch movies (PG or G only!), paint their nails, and talk about which boys in their class they think are cute. Maybe you should give this a try, instead of spending all your time on the internet talking to creepy people who are much older than you.
2) My husband is in the Army, and you use more profanity than him & his closest 5 friends COMBINED. Lay off the language, kiddo. It doesn’t make you look cool – it makes you look desperate for attention.
3) Have you ever shot a Glock? Have you ever shot any kind of gun at all? My guess here is going to be “no” because if you had, you would know that guns create something called “recoil,” and the recoil from a Glock would knock you on your skinny butt faster than you can say “cyberpolice.” Saying something like, “I’ll pop a Glock in your mouth and make a brain slushie,” sounds way cooler than going to jail for first-degree murder really is. What’s that? You say you didn’t really mean it? Doesn’t matter. You made a threat, and that is also against the law.
4) You are never going to be able to find a respectable job. People are going to Google your name when you’re 25 & just out of college looking for work, and these are the videos they’re going to find. Because your real last name got attached to these videos, it won’t matter that you’re not really Jessi “Slaughter.” You are probably going to have to hire one of those companies that fixes your Google search results to get rid of all the bad stuff, and who knows if they’ll really be successful at eliminating all traces of this incident.
5) I looked up the lyrics to some Blood on the Dance Floor songs. Wow. Not only is it the most sexually explicit garbage I’ve ever heard, it’s just bad music all around. I know that since you consider yourself “scene” you won’t listen to any genre of music that doesn’t end in “-core” so might I suggest some genres for you? I recommend “classic rock-core,” “oldies-core,” maybe a little “country-core,” and I think probably what you REALLY need is some “Christ-core.” At the very least, get some Led Zeppelin – at least their sexual innuendos were KIND OF subtle.
6) On your Tumblr, you posted some pretty graphic stuff about you and your “girlfriend.” A) As we’ve already established, YOU’RE ELEVEN. How can you possibly know your sexual orientation? Aren’t you too busy being worried about boys having cooties to even think about getting into someone’s pants, regardless of gender? B) No 11 year old should know about the things you described on your Tumblr. It is wildly inappropriate for you to be talking about that kind of stuff, let alone be involved in it. I don’t know if it’s something you made up for attention or if it’s real, but if it’s legit, you need to stop it.
7) You are rumored to have been in a relationship with Dahvie Vanity. Again, I don’t know if it’s real or made-up, but if it is real, it needs to stop, and here’s why: A) At one point, someone said to you “I bet you don’t even have your period yet,” to which you responded, “No, I don’t, which means I can **** my boyfriend anytime I want.” If you don’t have your period yet, you are not physically ready for sex. You cannot have children until you get your period. Since the natural & expected end result of sex is babies, a lack of menstruation means that you are not sexually mature yet. In other words, your body is unprepared to have sex. You are not developed enough yet. I don’t know if anyone has ever explained to you how these things work, but my guess is that they haven’t. B) Whether you can make babies yet or not, you can still catch diseases. These diseases, if left untreated, can evolve into much more serious and deadly conditions. Syphilis can literally cause you to go insane, because the virus infects your brain. HPV can cause cervical cancer. Obviously, everyone knows you die from AIDS (clearly you know this much, as evidenced by your video). If you do in fact have any of these diseases, most doctors are not going to think to check you for them because of your extremely young age. They could go untreated for years, and by that time you could have infected thousands of other people (either directly or indirectly) or you could be dead from AIDS. How does that sound? C) Dahvie Vanity is older than you… significantly older than you, if I’m not mistaken. In fact, he’s a legal adult who is over twice your age. Every state has laws that declare it illegal to have sex with someone who has not reached the age of consent. In Florida (your home state), the age of consent is 18 years of age – 16 or 17 if the two people involved are close in age. Note that all 3 of these ages are older than 11, which means that no one can legally have sex with you. It is a felony for someone to have sex with people your age because you are still a child. You are not physically, mentally, or emotionally developed enough to handle sex or its consequences. D) There is a word to describe the people who want to have sex with you – pedophiles. It does not matter their age, their physical condition, or their gender. If they want to get into an 11-year-old’s pants, they are a pedophile, and they are mentally ill people who need to be locked away (castrated? tarred & feathered? thrown into a tank of hungry sharks?) to protect the children in the areas where they live. By posting suggestive photos of yourself, you are only encouraging these monsters. Children are not supposed to be viewed in a sexual manner, and children who intentionally try to publicly portray themselves sexually need help too. E) You posted suggestive photos of yourself. I don’t know if there were any that actually showed things that should be covered by a bikini (and I don’t WANT to know), but if there were, you can be prosecuted for posting child pornography. It doesn’t matter that you posted the photos – it’s still child pornography and it is sick & illegal.
Please get some help for yourself. Stay off the computer, make some better friends. Stop hanging around with scene kids, and stop listening to bad music.
A concerned Sheep

Now that I have that out of the way, I would like to direct your attention to this article . It discusses the Jessi Slaughter situation & then states that the internet needs to be censored by the government to prevent things like this from happening (this article is from Australia, by the way). I’m going to have to go ahead and disagree wholeheartedly with this idea. Maybe this is just my silly Libertarian/classic liberal American way of thinking, but the government does not need to protect people from the interwebs. Does it need to prosecute people who do things like post and/or download child pornography? Yes. Does it need to censor everyone’s contact information and freedom of speech? No. What Jessi needed was not government intervention – it was parental supervision. Clearly, this child had none of that. She wore suggestive clothing that was too old for her, she listened to outrageously sexual music, hung out with people that were much older than her, cursed enough to make a sailor blush, and showed no signs of ever having been disciplined in her whole life. If her parents had been more involved in her life, both on and off the internet, this whole thing could have been avoided. Are the /b/tards completely innocent in this situation? Absolutely not. And before someone accuses me of “blaming the rape on the victim” here, let me say this: People are going to be jerks on the internet – it’s the nature of the beast, and we can’t change that. Anonymity is an important part of the internet, not just for ugly trolls to hide behind, but for regular people (like your woolly correspondent) to protect their privacy while online. If Jessi had not posted all of these unseemly videos & photos of herself, she never would have been targeted. And if she had not posted her phone number, address, and other personal info online, the harassment would not have gotten to the level that it did. YouTube and Facebook both state in their terms of use that no one under the age of 13 is allowed to have an account. Since Jessi is 11, she should not have had accounts in either of these places. Most other online social networking sites also require you to be at least 13. If her parents had been supervising her internet use, all of this could have been avoided. Parental controls make it easy to what your child can and cannot see online, and sweet Joseph & Mary, why does an 11 year old need a webcam?! Despite all that has happened surrounding her daughter’s videos on the internet, Jessi’s mother still claims to have never watched any of them. She is either totally ignorant of her daughter’s activities & genuinely believes her to be an innocent victim in this situation, or she is lying her face off to avoid legal consequences that may stem from this debacle, including child neglect, child endangerment, and (potentially, depending on whether or not Jessi posted nude photos of herself) possession of child pornography. I hope it doesn’t come to that. I hope the whole situation ends very soon for this family and that the experience will act as a wake-up call to all parties involved. Hopefully her parents will pay more attention to her daily activities, and hopefully she will learn that not all publicity is good publicity, despite what Hollywood (and Jessi herself) says.

This whole Jessi Slaughter fiasco contains a number of lessons, and some pretty tragic insight into American culture (or lack thereof?). It has taught us not to post personal information on the web. It has taught parents to monitor their children, both in real life and on the internet. It has taught young girls to act their age, and to consider the consequences (long & short term) of their actions, and it has taught people not to respond to trolls, as it only encourages them. Cultural insights: American music really is getting worse. Kids really are getting worse. Parents really are getting worse. 4chan really is getting worse. It’s not your imagination: we really are in a decline – the Pax Americana, if you want to call it that. If we don’t do something to change our culture, situations like this are going to become more and more common, complete with a crappy soundtrack.

The Abysmal Summer Concert Situation

As I mentioned in a previous post, concerts are one of my favorite things about summer. Starting the summer between my sophomore & junior year of college, a friend & I had a tradition of going to see a show together every summer. She lived in the Outer Banks in North Carolina, and I lived in Richmond, so we would meet in Virginia Beach and go to a concert at the Virginia Beach Amphitheater. That first summer (2007) we saw Ratt & Poison together (with a group of our other friends from school), and then we saw Styx, Foreigner, & Def Leppard together. The next summer (2008) we saw Cheap Trick, Heart, and Journey together. (If you’re noticing a trend of bands from the 1980’s, congratulations – you’re very observant). We positioned ourselves out on the lawn, where we would be able to enjoy the concert and still have our eardrums in tact when we left, and where we could watch washed-up women in their 40s still acting like they were 15. That was half the entertainment. Last year, in June 2009, me, my husband, his best friend, and my concert buddy went to Bristow, VA the day after our wedding to see Aerosmith & ZZ Top together. I thought my yearly concert dates had ended, but in August of 2009 I decided to drive to Virginia to see Incubus in Virginia Beach, and my friend went with me. This, I was sure, would be our last concert date, since I now lived in Tennessee & she was preparing to go into the Army. Earlier this month, she and one of our other friends came out to visit me on their way to Fort Riley, KS. I was hoping we would be able to catch a concert while they were in town, since, after all, I live one hour from the state capitol – Nashville, AKA “Music City, USA.” My hopes were unceremoniously dashed when I looked up information on the line-ups for the summer. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers were coming, but NOSEBLEED seats were $100. Front-row seats were $400. We paid $30-$40 to see those ’80s bands together. Two or 3 really good bands who all put on a great show, for $40. I was NOT about to pay $100 for crappy seats to see one band. Heart was also coming, but again the cheapest seats were $100. Since I had already seen them for $30, I just couldn’t see paying that. That was the way that it went, all the way down the line – any bands that I would even REMOTELY want to see were WAAAAY too expensive.

To be fair, I think this is a national problem, not just a Tennessee problem. TN has had some good shows in the past year. I’ve seen Metallica & Alice in Chains since I moved out here, and those were both awesome shows. But it seems like this year, a lot of bands are taking a hiatus from touring, including most of the ’80s bands I usually go for. Incubus is also taking a break. Those bands and singers that ARE touring are seeing a decline in ticket sales because of the recession. Some are even canceling shows due to lack of interest & low ticket sales. And then of course there is the issue of location, location, location. Nashville is known for country, not rock, so many bands figure they don’t have much of an audience out here (since most of them are from California), even though there is a HUGE military base an hour away. You know – a military base with lots of male soldiers who like to rock out to stuff other than patriotic Toby Keith songs. Not that I have anything against Toby Keith, I just prefer other stuff. All of these combined factors – high ticket prices, vacationing rock stars, & being located in the South have combined to create a dreary concert landscape for this summer. I can only hope next summer will bring better shows.

Like crack, but for your ears

Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE Incubus. They are, without a doubt, my favorite band. Last summer, I drove 10 hours back to Virginia to see them in concert for the first time. On occasion, I get into moods where I listen to nothing but Incubus for about a week. I seem to be in one of those moods right now. As I was browsing around the endless cavern of videos that is YouTube, I came across this AMAZING version of “Are You In?” performed live at Rock am Ring in Germany in 2008. I have listened to this version approximately 45,834,596 times in the last 24 hours. I CANNOT GET ENOUGH OF IT. The beginning is what really has my attention. That is the coolest bass intro, and I love how it just sort of turns into “Are You In?” even though it’s not originally part of the song. I love the chemistry the band has together, and, of course, I think Brandon Boyd is the most gorgeous man on Earth (next to my husband, of course. Love you honey!). So, for your listening and grooving pleasure, I (and the excellent film crew at RAR) bring you “Are You In?”.

Edit: The song they’re playing at the beginning that sort of turns into “Are You In” is “Teardrop” by Massive Attack (better known as the theme from the TV show “House”) – a song Brandon Boyd once said “we wish we had written,” and one that they have played live a few times.

Dear Jesse Jackson: Shut up.

Sometimes people say things that are so utterly outlandish that, once I manage to close my mouth and register that yes, they really did just say that, I want to scream and/or take a baseball bat to my TV. As I was making my dinner and listening to the news (yes, I was watching Fox – what of it?), I heard the anchor doing a snippet on Jesse Jackson’s commentary about LeBron James’ move to the Miami Heat. Before I continue this story, allow me to say this: I do not watch basketball, nor do I intend to start. My outrage at this story is based on historical facts and my distaste for RIDICULOUSLY STUPID comments. Now then… having said that, apparently Jesse Jackson compared Cleveland Cavaliers owner Daniel Gilbert to a “slavemaster” because he chewed out LeBron James for leaving the Cavaliers in a written statement. He says Gilbert views LeBron as a “runaway slave” and acts like he owns LeBron instead of the Cavaliers. Aside from the general absurdity of this statement, I have two problems with Jackson’s diatribe.

1) This analogy demeans and belittles the tragedy that real slaves endured. Slaves were torn away from their families, beaten mercilessly, and forced to work long hours under grueling conditions. Their lives were painful, miserable, and often very short. Contrast that situation with how LeBron James lives – nice cars, nice houses, doing something he loves for a living and getting paid obscene amounts of money for it. Yeah – sounds like slavery to me. In addition, many slavemasters severely mistreated their slaves (you know, aside from the “holding them in bondage against their will” thing) – they beat/tortured them for trying to escape or for rebelling in other ways. They forced their slaves to live in tiny, poorly-furnished shacks and separated mothers from children and husbands from wives by selling them off. All Gilbert did was publicly complain about King James moving to another team, which I’m sure any owner would have done in this situation – it sucks losing one of your best, most popular players to another team, but doing a little public bitching and moaning hardly makes you a slavemaster, at least in my eyes. “Slavery” is not an analogy to be thrown around lightly, especially by people who have never experienced the horrors of forced labor (in other words – most people living in the US, including Jesse Jackson). In addition to cheapening the hardships endured by black American slaves in the past, statements like the ones made by Jesse Jackson also minimize the horrors of modern-day slavery, which often involve women and children trafficked into the US and other countries illegally for use as sex workers – but maybe in Mr. Jackson’s eyes, pimping stolen children and complaining about losing a good player are on the same level.
2) Jesse Jackson is a race-baiting attention whore who says things like this as a failed attempt to remain relevant in a post-civil rights era where we have a black president. He needs to hang it up.

Keep Your Laws Off My Cereal

Today, the WordPress homepage featured this blog entry: about proposed federal regulations on what foods can be marketed to children. The guidelines listed (in case you don’t want to read the article) are as follows, copied & pasted directly from the blog:

Food must contain at least 50% by weight of one or more of the following: fruit; vegetable; whole grain; fat-free or low-fat milk or yogurt; fish; extra lean meat or poultry; eggs; nuts and seeds; or beans.

Food must contain one of more of the following per RACC (Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed Per Eating Occasion):

* 0.5 cups fruit or fruit juice
* 0.6 cups vegetables or vegetable juice
* 0.75 oz. equivalent of 100% whole grain
* 0.75 cups milk or yogurt; 1 oz. natural cheese; 1.5 oz. processed cheese
* 1.4 oz. meat equivalent of fish or extra lean meat or poultry
* 0.3 cups cooked dry beans
* 0.7 oz. nuts or seeds
* 1 egg or egg equivalent

Foods marketed to children must not contain more than the following amounts of saturated fat, trans fat, sugar and sodium.

* Saturated Fat: 1 g or less per RACC and not more than 15% of calories
* Trans Fat: 0 g per RACC (<0.5 g)
* Sugar: No more than 13 g of added sugars per RACC
* Sodium: No more than 200 mg per portion

I have to say, I take issue with these guidelines, for a couple of reasons.
1) Most kids are picky eaters. If you were to offer a child a bowl of plain Corn Flakes and a bowl of Lucky Charms, and did not show the child the cereal boxes or any advertisements containing Lucky the Leprechaun, they're going to choose the Lucky Charms over the Corn Flakes. Why? Because Lucky Charms are sugary and delicious, while Corn Flakes are not. Even if you took the color out of the marshmallows & made them all one "boring" shape (circle, square, etc), Lucky Charms just taste better – they are more pleasing to the palette of a 5-year-old because they are loaded with sugar. Heck, I'm 23 years old, and I STILL prefer Lucky Charms to Corn Flakes. Does this make them healthy or a better choice than Corn Flakes? No. But if your child won't EAT the Corn Flakes, then they're getting even less nutrition than they would if they were eating the Lucky Charms. It's better that they at least eat something than for them to scrape it all into the dog's dish or the garbage disposal when you're not looking.
2) On the other hand, most kids do not purchase their own food. Parents are not FORCED to buy unhealthy food marketed at children, just because the kid wants it. Will your 5-year-old throw a fit in the grocery store because you won't buy them the cereal with Hannah Montana on the box? Probably. Does that mean you HAVE to buy it? No. You can tell your child "no," stand your ground, and pick out a different cereal.

Are children in the US getting fatter? Absolutely. But the solution to this is not government regulation of food advertisements. I don't understand why the government feels the need to insert itself into our most basic daily decisions. It is not their business what I feed my children. It is the parents' responsibility to strike a balance between food that is healthy and food that kids like. There are loads of healthy, kid-friendly recipes on the web at sites like It is also important that parents encourage their children to exercise and to set a good example by being active themselves. If the government feels that it MUST insert itself into the childhood obesity situation, it should work on improving school lunches (already underway in many locations) and extending (or, in some cases, reinstating) recess. I would encourage states to consider providing recess into middle and high school, in addition to gym class. These are the solutions for combating childhood obesity. They start in the home, with the parents & children – not with government, advertising agencies, and food corporations.