Numbers: 179 and 300

Yesterday morning (and Sunday morning, and THIS morning) I weighed in at a recent-record-low 179 pounds. That’s down 13.5 lbs from my holiday high of 192.5, and having done it three days in a row (each morning following an entire day of fairly normal eating), I’m pretty confident I’ve hit a new “fat equilibrium” point.

In short, the low-carb dieting has been working. Granted, I’m not taking my usual “eat whatever you want, just keep carbs below 30g per day” approach. I decided to actually COUNT CALORIES for the first time in my life, and that’s afforded me worlds more control. The low-carb dieting keeps my appetite under control, and the calorie counting helps me decide when to and when not to eat, regardless of how hungry I’m not.

My rest caloric burn is probably about 2200, maybe 2400. I’m assuming that even with what little exercising I’m doing, I’m effectively “sedentary.” So for calorie counting I keep it under about 1800 per day, which isn’t actually that hard. Small portions, four times per day, and I’m usually only around 1500 or 1600 calories. Oh, and lots of water (and faux Crystal Light drink mix.)

Anyway, to celebrate I took myself to a movie Monday morning. I saw 300, and I had popcorn (there’s 400 calories right there, mmmm butter-flavor). This film was a very curious blend of comic-book stylization, politics, and patriotism. I enjoyed it thoroughly. From a historical standpoint there were obviously some glaring errors — most notably, the spartans probably never broke ranks to rush forward and play “solo berserker careening through Persian fodder.” That’s just poor discipline. The reason 300 spartans held the pass at Thermopylae for as long as they did was because they maintained that shield wall, conserving their strength and forcing the enemy to rush THEM. Superior tactics, superior training, and superior discipline won the day — not a few impossibly acrobatic warriors.

Still, I enjoyed the film. Historical inaccuracies aside, there is little doubt that Leonidas and his small army prevented Xerxes from absorbing and enslaving Greece. Democracy and Western Civilization were pioneered in Greece, which means that without Leonidas the world would have ended up looking a lot different. Anywhere freedom flourishes, it is in large measure because rough men stand ready to defend it to the death.

We probably didn’t need comic-book style heroes in a hollywood gore-fest to remind us of this, but we do still need to be reminded.

16 thoughts on “Numbers: 179 and 300”

  1. Don’t forget the outnumbered Athenian navy that kept Persian reinforcements from arriving, then destroyed the Persian fleet at Salamis. Or the 700 Thesipeans who were there with the Spartans (but apparently had inferior press agents.)

    1. As far as I can tell (limited research, after all), the Thesipeans were not professional soldiers, and served more as a supply train and moral support for the Spartans, who held the line and did the majority of the pointy-end stuff.

      In the film at least, most of the Thesipeans headed home when it became obvious that Xerxes would take the pass from both sides.

      Press agents? Maybe. But if history is written by the victors (and by those who survive it) it could be argued that the Thesipeans themselves praised the Spartan’s role over their own.

      1. According to this Live Science article there were around 700 who stayed and died with the Spartans. But I don’t see any point in getting into dueling references. I haven’t seen the movie, but I hear it is a great action flick, but should not be used for teaching history.

        1. Oh, it definitely shouldn’t be used for teaching history any more than the comic 300 should be. But it’s fairly close to accurate (as these things go), and it’s a damn good story.

    1. They are wonderful.

      One of the best, or at least most impressive to me, is the scene of the 300 marching down into the past. That particular parade of rippling pecs and taut six-packs was impressive by virtue of the fact that you can’t do that with CGI (yet, anyway.) THAT was the result of some very, very hard working actors training to look the part.

  2. Well, technically, the superior tactics, training and discipline didin’t win the day… 😉

    And it was indeed a stunning movie for visuals… Even the gore was “comic-booked”…

    And the digital backgrounds were freaking amazing…

    1. What, you mean delaying the Persians for a year, until Greece could amass a proper army doesn’t count as “winning?”

      It sure doesn’t count as LOSING.

      1. Not this argument again…

        The battle itself was a lose for the Spartans. They all died, and I’ve never really counted that in the ‘win’ catagory…

        While their deaths served the intended purpose of delaying the Persians long enough that Greece could mount a true army (with 10,000 Spartans? Oh Xerxes is so screwed), they lost the battle…

        The war? Oh a definate win…

        1. Dieing does not discount winning.

          Once they got outflanked they decided to hold off the Persians for as long as possible. Sure once that happened they lost the “pie in the sky” objective (stop a huge army in its tracks) but they still hadn’t died. They could have tried a full retreat in which case dieing would be a loss.

          However, they decided on the hold them off for a while approach (which I suspect was really the original objective – they had to be a little realistic). And they did hold them off for a while and hence that’s a success.

          A suicide bomber can chalk up a “win” even though they die.

          Of course Xerxes did go on to burn Athens to the ground so he succeeded in his goal too…

    2. Victory in war is achieving one’s strategic objectives. The Spartans unquestionably did that, as did a bunch of Texicans a couple of thousand years later in a little adobe church just outside San Antonio.

      1. Exactly. If your strategic objective allows for the sacrifice of 100% of the troops present, then you can be victorious and still be dead.

        You can also LOSE and all be dead.

        And of course you can win and NOT be dead, which is the preferable course, and the one that most of us are conditioned to push for.

  3. “To spit on your hands and lower the pike; to stand fast over the body of Leonidas the King; to be rear guard at Kunu-Ri; to stand and be still to the Birkenhead Drill; these are not rational acts. They are often merely necessary.”
    — Jerry Pournelle

  4. Completely non-300 related: I was just browsing the Schlock site looking for the link for the air filter you were telling me about, but I’m not sure you still have it up. Is it still there? If you get a cut for me clicking through your link if I buy something, I want to be sure to do that. 🙂

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