PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY, DEC. 2, 2013) — Getting caught on a plane with the talkative insurance salesman who wants to tell you all about the nuances of “whole life” — We’ve all been in these captive situations. Today, THE PLANET presents this guest column from Francois Arneau, who enjoyed Thanksgiving as a prisoner to the well-meaning forces of political correctness.


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Dear Mr. President,

I just wanted to thank you for your advice on talking about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) this Thanksgiving. It was wise and prudent thinking. First let me tell you a bit about how the day went.

Now color me crazy (no not a racist remark; I haven’t gotten either Al Sharpton’s, Jesse Jackson’s or any of the enlightened crowd’s permission to use the word “color”), but this year like many others I was under the impression Thanksgiving was a day to celebrate with family over a dinner at a communal table after saying a prayer and remembering Thanksgivings past.

It was during this dinner I learned what a lug I have been all my life. The “enlightened ones” at our table let me know all about it.

I got up that morning and had a cup of coffee. Much to my dismay, I was informed that coffee needs to be organic and grown in a way that is sustainable to the environment. It also must be picked in accordance with “fair trade” protocols. All I wanted was a splash of cream with the coffee, I didn’t realize I was supposed to get on the innerweb thingy find the spot the coffee bean was grown on, request a soil sample, run it through the NSA computers for “organicness,” then find who planted the bean and processed it and to interrogate them to see if they had been paid “fairly.”

Silly me. I assumed that the coffee company, wishing to remain in business, didn’t plant their coffee on the shores of Silver Lake, and — since they need people to plant, harvest, and process the coffee — paid them what each considered to be fair. Who knew we needed a delegation from the U.S. to verify all this to standards no one can find or knows about? I asked all the enlightened ones at the table what is the fair payment and working conditions that a company should live up to? No one knew. I hope the coffee planters and pickers are as concerned about my employment conditions as I am supposed to be about theirs.

I then gave my dog a biscuit. You know, the ones in the red box. Well, I’ve since learned that the company that has been around since I was a kid is somehow interested in poisoning dogs, and those damn biscuits were in fact the cause of all of the dog deaths in the U.S., except those that are performed at shelters that do not have a no-kill policy. Funny how the “enlightened crowd” will picket and boycott an animal shelter that doesn’t have a no-kill policy but demands we have an abortion clinic to act as a form of convenient, retroactive birth control. Please help me with that one at a future time.

I learned it’s a kin to genocide to feed the dog those things in the red box. Thank God the enlightened crowd knows of a company that sells organic dog biscuits at $4.99 apiece.

It’s amazing: I learned all this about coffee and dog biscuits before 6 a.m.!

It’s now 7:30, and I’m so unenlightened I pour myself a bowl of Cheerios. Gosh. I’m putting that crap in my mouth, and all these years I thought, “Hey, these taste good.” Now the enlightened crowd is telling me the Wizard of Oz has a TV show, and I should be starting my day with 342 pills, 56 potions, warm water, and an herbal tea. Yup, solid food is evidently bad for you and I have been eating all wrong for the past 50 years.

Little did I know, but now I’m wondering if I’ve eaten all wrong, how the hell do you eat right? Mankind has survived — some would say thrived — by chewing with their teeth and swallowing food since the beginning of time. Now we do that wrong, too?  See I’m simple. I want to get up in the morning, have a cup of coffee, throw the dog a biscuit, have my Cheerios and get to work.

I never realized how wrong I’ve been my entire life. I’m thankful that I have people, including people in the federal government, to tell me how truly miserable I am. And to think just yesterday, as I was driving home from work out in Buffalo some 350 miles away, eight hours to think, and I was thinking that I have a damn good life. I am employed at a good job. I have a healthy happy daughter who talks to me all the time, a dog who is so happy to see me come home even if it is to poison him further, food on the table, and sometime upcoming to spend with family. Wow, what the hell was I thinking?

Now it’s time to talk turkey, and, yup, you guessed it, the first point made by one of the enlightened crowd is “please tell me no one here is interested in praying to God to bless this meal.” I responded that I was hoping that someone would say at the least a few words that capture what the holiday means to each of us and collectively as a group. Somehow, this request has to be answered with a wager, of all things. A member of the enlightened crowd throws this humdinger at me” “I bet you watch FOX news. Admit it. You do!”

Before I can answer (if it matters, I do watch Fox) another of the enlightened crowd blurts out,  “Why are we having turkey we should all have a vegan Thanksgiving?”

This superior woman informed me that it would be “better for everyone’s health if we skipped the bird and ate only vegetables and gave the turkey away.” I questioned her. Why would she would give away the “bad stuff” and keep the vegetables, presumably the “healthy stuff”?

“You’re a Neanderthal,” she screeched. I’m secretly hoping she works for the NSA, because they will keep my interwebby things private unless and until I either run for office or submit paperwork to the IRS to be treated like any other right-wing group.

The next logical question in the onslaught was, “Does anyone know where this turkey came from and was it free range?” Not being a member of the enlightened crowd but somewhat versed in biology, I spit out “From an egg, probably that of a turkey. Another member of the enlightened crowd then mentioned it came from a farm in Great Barrington and cost like $150.00 I still think it came from an egg and am thinking, “Hell, if a turkey costs $150 down in Barrington, I just scored a gold mine cause I have a dozen eggs in the fridge. What do they get for a chicken and is it possible to hatch those suckers?”

After learning of the Turkey’s linage and that it came from a nice home in Barrington as opposed to being raised on the streets somewhere, it was determined OK to eat the turkey if one wanted to but it was still best to be vegan. Another of the enlightened crowd now mentions that for $150, we could feed the entire Herkenny tribe in New Guinea for a year.

I’m sitting there thinking: “Someone ,cut into the damn bird already. Let’s eat.”

Finally someone cuts into the bird and now another of the enlightened crowd mentions something about the gluttony of the holiday and how each of us will consume like three trillion calories more than we need and two billion times the sugar and fat. After getting the dietary lesson and always the one to want to learn, I simply ask if gravy is a condiment or a beverage and please pass it because I plan on having a large glass, hold the ice.

I think this might cut the tension a bit,  but boy am I wrong. My remark leads to discussing Uncle Bob’s health issues and his lack of exercise. Uncle Bob is being told he needs to go to yoga class three times a week and should really consider joining a gym for $49.99 a month.

I ask the vegan portion of the enlightened crowd which vegetable is best for your hearing? I get no reply to this question but am asked how that question is relevant. I reply that earlier in the day Uncle Bob, who is 82, told us how he cut, split, and stacked by himself some six cord sof wood for heat this winter. I’m guessing he might be OK without the yoga class and gym membership.

Uncle Bob is now informed by the enlightened crowd that he should not heat his house the way he wants but he should apply for heating assistance, which would also lead to his ability to collect food stamps because the two are somehow linked. Yes, it’s true. If you qualify for one you can get the other. Uncle Bob has never heard of such a thing and asks, “Where do I put my self-respect,” to mention nothing what would he do with his spare time. Once again he is pointed towards yoga class and a gym.

Now Mr. President on to the ACA discussion.

This is where you saved the day. Everyone could agree on this subject. We concluded: Give it up. Stick to something you know about.  Might I recommend a round of golf at the Pontoosuc Country Club?


Francois Arneau

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THE PLANET thanks Arneau for his franco insights.


“We said our goodbyes long ago, never thinking we’d miss each other so. All the memories we had to leave behind. Oh, we must have been out of our minds. — George Jones & Melba Montgomery, “We Must Have Been Out of Our Minds.”





  1. Mad Trapper
    December 2, 2013 at 7:04 am #

    Barry Sotero should have been impeached years ago, but then we would be LEFT, with a worse option, foul mouth Joe Biden

  2. Teecha teecha
    December 2, 2013 at 7:11 am #

    Love it! Goddamn, hypocritical liberals

  3. MrG1188
    December 2, 2013 at 8:26 am #

    If one does not, can not grasp, why organic food, vegetarianism and compensating workers fairly for a day’s work are all good things…I feel profoundly sorry for them.

    • Teecha teecha
      December 2, 2013 at 8:29 am #

      I think the point was satire, to show how people go out of their way to ruin things for those who don’t follow their views and impose their political correctness on others.

      With that said, if you can explain a purpose chickens have other than food, ill convert to veganism tomorrow.

      • danvalenti
        December 2, 2013 at 7:13 pm #

        Well explained, TEECH. You have saintly patience, the mark of all good instructors.

      • Thomas More
        December 3, 2013 at 6:49 am #

        Google Francois – I did and could find nothing

      • scott
        December 3, 2013 at 10:29 am #

        Theyre multi purpossed theyre good at pest control fertilzation and go great with a squash and a side of salad greens once theyre roasted covered with herbs and garlic. Plus id never give up eggs!

    • levitan
      December 2, 2013 at 8:28 pm #

      Well, for one thing, organic food is kind of a clever marketing trick. Judging by the A+ quality ‘organic’ produce, I wager either 40% is tossed out or the production is the same as the non-organic varieties.

      Equality brings some down, and others it raises. So, as a zero sum consideration, it has no faults. But, MrG – there is no such thing as fair, just right.

    • scott
      December 3, 2013 at 10:33 am #

      Vegetarianism is a petsonal choice. Thetes nothing wrong with red meat in modetation and lean chicken and fish. I go back and forth I love veggies and do a lot of vegetarian dishes but meat has held a place throughout history. Its the large corporate meat producers that are the enemy. The same cam be said about large corporate vegetable producers.

  4. MrG1188
    December 2, 2013 at 9:19 am #

    First thing; I love to laugh, and am very good at self-deprecating humor. What I read above did not come off as satire, but rather as a pretty mean-spirited denigration of things the writer either doesn’t agree with or doesn’t understand. I am a vegetarian, not a vegan, as are 2 of my 3 kids. We are very often subject to toe very same “satire” characterized above, and honestly, it doesn’t feel good. We are very reasoned, well-thought out people who have chosen to be vegetarian for what we think are sound reasons. We do not talk about it unless asked, nor do we try to inflict our vegetarianism on others. We do not do it to save the chickens, pigs or any other animal. We choose to be vegetarians because we WANT to eat lower on the food chain for environmental/sustainability reasons. It takes about 12 pounds of grains and about 2500 gallons of water to “produce” a pound of beef. A pound of beef feeds…2? maybe? 12 pounds of grain and 2500 gallons of water can feed a family of 5 for… a week? maybe more? That’s the primary trade off. The health benefits are, I think, obvious.

    • danvalenti
      December 2, 2013 at 7:13 pm #

      Thanks, MRG

    • levitan
      December 2, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

      Sorry, MrG, but the real problem in agriculture is in the ethanol fueled environmental destruction. The stuff ruins our engines, we can’t eat the raw material, and they won’t even let us drink it.

      So, the way I see it, cows are the new Green.

    • scott
      December 3, 2013 at 10:25 am #

      I dont know how much validity thete is to your statment but I agree and choose not to eat mass produced meat. Theres a small farm in new lebenon that raises forge fed pork and is ethical and sustainable. The problem is every is so concerned with growth rather than sustaining.

  5. joetaxpayer
    December 2, 2013 at 9:56 am #

    To each there own. My daughter is a vegetarian, I think that’s great her choice. Myself, I like to eat meat. I figure the more of those farting and belching cows I eat the less methane in the air.I’m saving the planet one cow at a time! Mooooooooooo

    • danvalenti
      December 2, 2013 at 7:12 pm #

      When the cow jumped over the moon, the little dog laughed and the rest of us ended up with burgers.

  6. pat
    December 2, 2013 at 10:06 am #

    I could never be a vegetarian. I would miss juicy hamburgers way too much not to mention an occasional steak. I do eat healthy, however, with plenty of vegetables and fruit. I only weigh 98 lbs. and am 5 feet 2 inches tall. My health at 53 is very good.

    People should be able to eat what they want and not be influenced or forced into doing so which I think is the point of the above article. Government takeover of healthcare could begin to force people to do what government wants because government believes that its a way to keep down heath costs. Then we would have the government police which should be a real concern for people.

  7. Jonathan Melle
    December 2, 2013 at 11:58 am #

    Pittsfield politics forever! There will always be death and taxes, along with Pittsfield politics. Pittsfield politics raised taxes again this year. Soon, only the rich will be able to live in Pittsfield. I am not thankful for Pittsfield politics. But I am amused!

    • danvalenti
      December 2, 2013 at 7:11 pm #

      We are bemused, the first step of a mensch after amusement!

  8. Thomas More
    December 2, 2013 at 11:58 am #

    Sounds like he had a very unhappy Thanksgiving. That holiday is customarily enjoyed with family. Apparently Francois has a very unusual family who all think the same way except him. They do join him however in disliking the president. Even Uncle Bob. Thursday some of the contributors here were thankful for this site. Fran should be too because no legitimate news outlet will ever publish what he has to say.

    • Evian
      December 2, 2013 at 5:13 pm #

      Yeah “legitimate news outlet” like the asleep BB, which had Dalton dateline /headline for the Hinsdale police chief story…legitimate news outlet” sadly means only the Planet!!! That’s why people like Mr. Moore get all “how dare he” with Dan’s publishing.

      • danvalenti
        December 2, 2013 at 7:10 pm #

        If the BB could charge by the error, the sad rag would be in the black, and area it has now left for regions of scarlet.

  9. joetaxpayer
    December 2, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

    “legitimate news outlet” now that’s funny.

  10. Russell Moody
    December 2, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

    I am a ‘vegetarian.’ In the sense that I don’t eat meat or fish purchased from any store or farm. I am also ‘vegan’ in the sense that I don’t eat dairy.

    I maintain my omnivorous status by eating only meat which I harvest under the privileges of the 2nd amendment.

    The vegetables I eat I grow myself during the summer.

    I supplement with vegetables from the market during winter months.

    My cholesterol went from 249 to 112. I am no longer on blood pressure medication or cholesterol medication. My blood pressure is a constant 120/70 down from 145/90. I lost 30 pounds in 10 months.

    My dietary rule is “If it is a whole food, I eat it. If it is processed, l choose not to eat it.”

    I didn’t shoot a turkey this Fall, so my Thanksgiving did not include a bird. Life is good.

    • danvalenti
      December 2, 2013 at 7:10 pm #

      Sounds like a healthy and wise lifestyle.

    • levitan
      December 2, 2013 at 8:32 pm #

      Sorry if this is tart.

      The Second Amendment is not a privilege, no more than the First Amendment which gives some comfort writing public statements. It is a statement of one of our natural rights.

      • scott
        December 3, 2013 at 9:19 am #

        Spot on Levitan! And to Russell I agree I try to do the same but I get off track once in a while because I dont want to be the type of person in the “enlightened crowd” as refetrnced by the letter writer its rude and I have been guilty of it in the past. I will however gently give my opinon in the form of educational healthy debate and those who wish to recieve it can and I have changed and made more people at least aware that way rather than coming off as stuck up. Trans fats would be long gone with my incentive based approach now you have legislation banning them by force which causes a bigger financial burden on food producers who are employers first if you catch my drift.

  11. outfox
    December 2, 2013 at 4:09 pm #

    Everyone was down on Walmart for asking employees to make money in a crap economy on Thanksgiving evening, well after the games and feast had been devoured, but nobody brought up the fact that when your turkey explodes in the oven, and you call the turkey hotline the turkey producers have their employees working Thanksgiving day. Where are the protesters outside Butterball?

    • danvalenti
      December 2, 2013 at 7:10 pm #

      They’re in turkey comas.

    • levitan
      December 2, 2013 at 8:34 pm #


      How do you detonate a turkey in an oven?

      • outfox
        December 3, 2013 at 10:24 am #


        Very carefully, of course!

      • scott
        December 3, 2013 at 10:37 am #

        A couple pounds of feryalizer and some amonia should do the trick! Now butterball thetes a disgusting exaple of unsavory large scale corporate practices. My sister turned vegetarian after working there and now buys farm fresh.

  12. Scott
    December 2, 2013 at 6:35 pm #

    ” Funny how the “enlightened crowd” will picket and boycott an animal shelter that doesn’t have a no-kill policy but demands we have an abortion clinic to act as a form of convenient, retroactive birth control.”
    Amen brother it gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling don’t it? People should eat more local fresh “organic” vegetables, meat and dairy, if they want to!

    • danvalenti
      December 2, 2013 at 7:07 pm #

      With repast, to each and all their own

      • Scott
        December 2, 2013 at 8:13 pm #

        Exactly that’s why I was happy today when I heard on the radio about green energy and tax breaks. We should be using incentive based approaches to our issues not brute force. Like say you can prove a certain amount of your food or other merchandise was purchased locally there should be a tax incentive. Think about it, it can be applied to almost anything.

        • joetaxpayer
          December 3, 2013 at 4:26 am #

          Scott, respectfully disagree. I do not want my tax dollars to subsidies Dick and Janes solar panels or Skylars electric car.

          • Scott
            December 3, 2013 at 5:06 am #

            Well its either that or a gov’t uses force and “your tax dollars” get used anyways. Its way more American to let people decide for themselves. So what do you want a capitalist society that runs on incentive making the earth a better place or a police state where the DHS comes in guns blazing with a warrant shutting people down?

    • levitan
      December 2, 2013 at 8:36 pm #

      Scott, forgive me I’m late on the conversation. Surely picketing and demonstrating the no-kill policy of an animal shelter is an indication of the utter depravity of Pittsfielders.

      First it’s animals, then they move on to people.

      • Scott
        December 3, 2013 at 5:15 am #

        I don’t know but the author makes a valid point at the absurdity and lengths people go to with out even realizing their own immorality and hypocrisy. It knows no bounds. I support local farms and part of the reason I like free range raised meat products is because not only does it give you (in my opinion) Superior nutrition but the animals themselves are treated ethically (at least that’s the hope and you can ask the person when it’s local.) But that’s just my own spiritual connection to my food. Tax incentives for supporting local farms? There’s a fine line though because the politicians NEED to be necessary they won’t legislate away their own jobs and profits. “your tax dollars” are already subsidizing huge waste so we’re at the point where we need to think about the direction of humanity and how we interact with the earth if we want to continue to sustain life here. There’s a better to put it and people stuck in their ways will receive it better and be more open to change if you use incentive as opposed to force. No one likes being told what to do. We all like making decisions for ourselves and to take that away is anti American.