Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Strength Training Article

Nice article on strength training in Men's Journal. First thing I have read in MJ in years.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Meditation Improves Your Health

Nice to see some science backing up something that feels right. We'll see if more studies can support the real impact meditation can have on our health. I like meditation just to get myself centered after a rough day or hectic moment. There is a mind-body connection, and we barely know anything about it.

Kid Fight Club

As I come to the conclusion that organized sports are insane, I'm researching different martial arts for the bambino to participate in for some fun, some healthy activity, and some basics of self defense. There is so much mumbo jumbo with organized group sports nowadays that I loathe the idea of my boy playing team sports. My father is coaching baseball for what feels like the 40th year (close), and he says the ability is great but kids don't practice as much to refine their skills and there are more injuries from overuse. He talks about neverending seasons and people offering to pay him $100 for a 2 hour hitting 1 on 1 tutorial. Sounds like baby boomer late parents have found another child activity to kill. It's just as bad with other sports, but I'm willing to let the little guy try whatever he wants. Despite all of that, I'd like him to do a martial art just to see if he'll like it. It's just him, however hard he wants to push it.

Back in the '80s, my mom signed me up for a introductory boxing class at the organization that I believe became the Portland Boxing Club. In the 1980s with the Karate Kid and Rocky 3 and 4 movies, kids either wanted to box or do karate. Most of the kids in my neighborhood did karate at Villari's and some of us did boxing. After 3 months of beating each other up in the neighborhood (Kid Fight Club), my mom (and other moms) pulled me out of it for fear I was becoming too violent. The memory of this period went down the rabbit hole, but I forever remember the basics of punching, avoiding a punch and 'what you put in is what you get out'. I liked watching boxing matches but stopped after Don King rigged the first Holyfield-Lewis fight. I have drifted to MMA even if it feels like prison fights. I remember getting in a couple group fights in college and remember being amped up more than scared. How bad can Ivy League frat fights get? Fighting is wrong, but it is good to know you can defend yourself.

Enough with my '80s nostalgia! Here are the 3 disciplines I have researched that have gyms in the area:
1. Krav Maga - A big positive is that classes start as young as 3 years old just to learn coordinated moves and get a feel for movement. Downside is that most folks who know martial arts say that once you get past the 'mystique' of it being the Israeli Defense Forces combat training, it basically really good street fighting. The two gyms are very close by, so that gets a thumbs up.
2. Muay Thai - The classes start at age 7, and while one place is close the other gym far away. Lots of cool stuff that I think a kid would like, and it looks fun. It also seems like an intense work out, and if the boy wonder's energy levels now are any indicator of the teen years, he's going to need an outlet.
3. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu - Classes start at age 7, but I swear I saw a studio that started at age 5. Multiple studios in the area, and just about the best grappling technique I have read about on forums and websites. I also have memories of the Royce Gracie destroying opponents in the original UFC despite being much smaller than the other guys.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Gay Male Deaths from AIDS vs. Bully Inspired Gay Suicide

Gay men account for over half of the US HIV infections. Since 17,000 Americans died from AIDS in 2009, one could safely estimate that at least 3000 gay men died from AIDS related causes (most likely much higher). How many gay 'youth' suicides were there last year? 3 or 5.

Which was considered an epidemic?
Which got airtime on Ellen?
Which got an "It gets Better" video?

I'm straight, but I still care about HIV-AIDS. It is a lot higher on my medical priority list than gay teen suicides. It is like the media forgot how to cover big, long term stories. The media will guilt people over a few gay suicides like it is an epidemic (they can blame straighties), but will remain silent over the continuous death toll from HIV-AIDS. It's now just another statistic for them to report. It is a death sentence. Even with the great drug cocktails and antiretroviral drugs, infected people still die and god forbid they lose their insurance and have to go back on the 'old' drugs. Did they make the AIDS quilt for nothing?

So I Bumped into Gov. Daniels of Indiana

I ran into Gov. Mitch Daniels last night and was really struck by a few things. I think there are some other reasons he did not run that no one has mentioned. Of course, he probably did private polling, evaluated campaign donation potential and then said "Nope", but I think there are a few reasons that other politicans will probably heed in the future. I'm not shy, and I gave him crap for not running and mentioned we're looking for a good governor to ride in compared to our current candidates. He gave me the 'there are a lot of reasons for not running' to which I answered "of course of course, plus you have to have the personality to go after that office". He couldn't look me in the eye when he gave his excuses. I think he'd make a good president, but I think he'd make a terrible presidential candidate.

1. He's soft spoken. Sadly, I don't think we can have that anymore in 24-7 media.
2. He's short. Any report of him being 5'8" is generous. I'm 6'1", my dad is 5'4" and no way is Daniels 5'8". He is 5'6"+/-.
3. His combover is terrible.
4. He'd look awful in HD. HD TV will probably prevent dumb Americans from ever voting for a candidate over 65 again. This might be why last year Obama was dying his hair, to slow down the aging process so he doesn't look like a tired, old man so soon. Daniels would look bad with his 62 year old skin (63 in 2012) and combover. HD TV will impact who runs. I now think Hillary will not run in 2016 because by then she is going to look awful in HD nearing 70.

We need to adjust our expectations of who will run, why they can run and the realistic chances in our modern technological age.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Red Wine for Good Health

A lot of healthy eating and living advice sounds like a drag and no fun. One item I have warmed to over time is red win consumption. If you are a low carb person or paleo eater, red wine packs a lot of positives without a lot of carbs. Futurepundit has a lot of links to studies that point out the anti-aginganti-cancer, anti-obesity and good health boosting power of red wine. Wine drinking is also a part of that Mediterranean diet that scientists are high on, and red wine tastes good. It can help you 'feel' good, too. From my "Young American" years, I know very well how alcohol can make one feel good.

In different articles I have read, red wine is one of those good items for men's cardiovascular health. The blood thinning that comes with red wine drinking helps ease things for our hearts. I have seen a wide range of advice on daily drinking units. One of the above links says that less than a glass of red wine a day extends a man's life by 3.8 years, but I have read that 2 glasses a day can benefit a man's health. I average about half a glass of red wine a day (some days are dry). Some weekends I drink some hard alcohol, but hard alcohol is becoming a special event drink. My goal is to keep a nice balance in my diet and to add a touch of red wine a day. Like many others, I can get red wine migraines, so I have to make sure my red consumption is not all super dry reds. We can make a grown up version of the apple a day saying. A glass of red a day to keep the doctor away.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

New Age Girl - Embedding Enabled

I have typed my love for this song before, and now the record company has enabled embedding. Let's listen and enjoy.

The Anti-Incumbency Cycle

It is going to happen again, and it will repeat 2 years later, and then again in 2016. The voters of America will throw out incumbents to replace them with other puppets of their donors (big money). This started in 2006. Dems replaced the GOP in Congress. They didn't do much of anything. Voters then replaced the party in power of the White House in 2008. 'Stuff' was done, which did not change much. The Dems were jerks about things, using a bit of procedural trickery to pass a health care bill no one knew the contents of, and were epicly booted out of office in 2010. The losses in Congress do not paint the full story as the Dems had 'retirements' of famous names (Dodd and Bayh) that were forced. Not much is getting done again because of gridlock and a President not smart enough to follow the Clinton-Reagan playbook and work with the other party in an effort to coopt their moves. I predict an Obama defeat in 2012. Don't worry Dems, I predict that POTUS to lose in 2016 unless he takes on the big banks (fat chance). We have entered the anti-incumbency cycle and will not break it until we recognize the problem of the system.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Overkill: Going After Smokers Some More

It is not enough to have TV ads against smoking. It was not enough to educate people for decades on the health risks associated with smoking. It was not enough to raise taxes upon taxes on smoking. It was not enough to shake the cigarette companies down for billions, which did not bankrupt them as they just raised prices. Now they have to gross us all out with weird warning labels.

We lowered smoking % from 40% to 20%. It has stalled there. Maybe that is the lower bound. Maybe 1 in 5 adults will still be addicted to nicotine no matter what you say to them.

I'll be waiting for them to put labels like this on alcohol bottles.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Dads, Part 2

Try reading this and not feel a lump in your throat. This one had me thinking of my grandfather; multiple jobs, sunrise to sunset, work hard, lots of kids, and his dad was a cop.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Bastard Children in 2011

of course, the news would throw a bucket on celebrating fathers' dya with sad stats about our present society. This study reveals a whole lot of common sense. Having a kid when married might lead to a more involved dad? Younger dads more likely to have kids out of wedlock? Guys who go to college are less likely to have kids out of wedlock? White men less likely to have kids out of wedlock? Go figure to all of this. It is still shocking that 41% of all children are born out of wedlock now compared to 5% in 1960. That is only 50 years. This will create problems. While I do not agree with this writer's policy ideas, he points out the dangers of 'fragile families'. The comments are great, and changes will ultimately come when we as a society stop looking the other way or staying silent when the family jackass says, "Jenny can raise Billy just as good as Mike and Jan could raise their kid".

While my fellow men have much to work on, there is a really glaring missing item from this article.

"Compared to women of previous generations, women are making poor choices by not using contraceptives nor in choosing sexual partners who might make good long term mates, creating environments that lead more often than not to future criminals.”

Governments enjoy rising tides and go broke, economies expand and contract, but people remain.

Dads

While recently discussing politicians, athletes, criminals and every combination of those three, a friend and I were discussing how fathers are involved so importantly in shaping how these men act as adults. I boiled it down to a simple binary input model to explain the success of the individuals we were discussing.

1. A dad instills a belief in their son that they have the ability to put in the effort and the natural ability to overcome obstacles and achieve what they seek.

or

2. A dad tears down and constantly rips their child so that the child has a massive chip on their shoulder and works forever on becoming the best.

Simplistic, yes, but we ran through example after example and found the same two input models. Many people we discussed had achieved similar success and int he same field, but they might have a different dad input.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Final Statement of the NH Man who Burned Himself

Sad story of how the family court system works. The system pushed the wrong Army veteran who did quite a bit of research into his 'final statement'. Watching friends & family go throught he family court system, there is no doubt in my mind that reform needs to be made there. I hope to never find myself in the family courts. Sad.

I do love that this NH man cited the history behind "Live free or die". It's my favorite state motto.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Brazilian Blogger Destroys Self Righteous Black American Female

So on tumblr, they have an 'ask' feature where you can ask a tumblr blogger a question. On the tumblr that is devoted to posting photos of the beautiful women of Brazil, one of those self righteous bloggers left a comment that was not a question but an ivory tower, multicultural, mini-rant full of lies. The blogger said they receive comments like this and decided to respond to this one. It is awesome. I had to click on the commenter's tumblr. Lame.

That blog is not safe for work. It is full of barely clothed or naked women of all stripes.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Grass Fed Butter

Is there really a difference in the taste of grass fed cow butter vs. grain fed cow butter? This page has the benefits of grass fed butter, but come on, the real bit is the taste test. I'm going to look for some, and I hear very good things about Anchor. While I dislike the air of moral superiority that people put on when they talk about organic food (you mean the farming that seems to be the source of all e.coli outbreaks?) and shopping at Whole Foods, I am always in search of healthy food that tastes great. If anyone knows of American grass fed butter brands, let me know.

I'll get it salted too as yes, salt doesn't kill you; you're more likely to die if you don't eat enough of it.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Movie Review: Less Than Zero

Totally '80s! That is "Less Than Zero" in 2 words. Another title could have been "Just Say No", as this movie was a huge anti-cocaine movie at the end of the '80s. The movie hits you over the head with it. Is the movie fun? Yes. is the movie an awesome time capsule fo the '80s? Yes. Does it feel like an MTV made movie? Yes. "Less Than Zero" is entertaining & memorable, and that is what films aim for, right? It is popcorn fun, but let's discuss a few things.

1. The Christmas dinner scene needs to be saved as a time capsule for the '80s. The clothes, hair, decorations, paint, and make up all scream the '80s. It was like the '80s exploded in that room. That horrible toast with the awkward blended family dinner was unintentionally funny. What were we thinking in the '80s? The shoulder pads are atrocious. They not only pop shoulders up an inch or two but they jut them out beyond the normal shoulder curve.

2. James Spader plays the jerk, Robert Downey Jr. is the wild card and Andrew McCarthy is the good boy. This was an '80s formula. Spader played a jerk in multiple '80s films, and really sells his gay drug dealer character well. I enjoy his work (great work on one ep of Seinfeld), and wish he had a bigger career. McCarthy has the same face in everything and is a horrible actor. "But I love her", might have been his most repeated line in all of his movies. Wooden acting could not extend his career once his looks started to change. Downey does a great job and is incredibly charismatic. I loved the little scene he had with McCarhty's sister. I always liked Downey but considered him the Scott Weiland of acting in the '90s where he had a lot of talent but loved heroin. I am glad he cleaned up. Prison can change some people.

3. Their smiles are all off except Spader, including Gertz. Hollywood before widespread use of veneers is interesting to see. Same goes for Gertz and Downey's old noses.

4. Why did Gertz not have a bigger career? She was in "The Lost Boys", "Square Pegs" and this... and then did nothing. She plays the coke party girl well, and all of her dialogue when high seems pretty authentic. She turned down the role of Monica on "Friends". I bet she wishes she had that one back.

5. The apartment McCarthy has as a frosh 'back east' in college has the biggest bedroom I have seen an 18 year old have. That could be in a movie in 1987, but not now. Too many people know about how college works and how expensive an apartment is in NYC.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Movie Idea: Gypsy Fire

This is a vigilante movie, but because you can't make vigilante movies anymore in America (why is there no Death Wish remake???) as the criminals would have to be made politically correct (multicultural gangs that don't exist in real life), I will set it in France.


Opening credit sequence is American living in French suburb gets dressed for the day and kisses wife and toddler good-bye. Car driving sequence into Paris, with an obvious showing of how his neighborhood is kind of a deserted suburb with some odd gypsy families occupying some of the homes. In Paris, American discusses his latest, completed manuscript and mentions some uncertainty concerning where he wants to take his writing in the future. He gets a cell text stating emergency. He ends meeting and calls wife, frantic call and he needs to go to police station, child is missing. At police station, wife recount tale. They did have a chip implant in their boy when he was a baby. Call is made to that company and police/that company locate child, maybe have a middle of the night, sleeping in the police station moment. Child is located in some gypsy child stealing network location. Police are thankful as a lot of people don't have that child tracking bit, and this might help others by locating some of these child snatchers. Couple uhhh, prods the police about their neighbors who are gypsies, and the police say they will investigate. On drive home ending as they pass by gypsy occupied homes, husband acts naive and expects some resolution, French wife informs him it will go nowhere.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

What Happened to My "Liberal" Friends?

It seems as if my old liberal friends and family members are selling out, morphing or becoming pure statists. I find out old ex-gfs that said they'd save the world are now selling real estate. I see my friends who said they would be journalists to uncover truths or professors to educate students go to law school and become corporate lawyers and consultants. Even worse, my super liberal family members are part of those 'word' crusades. You know the ones where they say using a word is not cool, unacceptable or "makes you the worst person since Hitler". These are the same family members who embraced socially liberal things before everyone else. Now.... don't dare call someone 'queer', 'slut' or 'retarded' in front of them. I guess freedom of speech went out the window with their sense of humor. I miss the old friends and family I used to have.

Voting for Democrats and supporting gay marriage does not make you liberal.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

The American Tar 'n Feathers Resistance: For Profit Educators: Pigs at the Trough

The American Tar 'n Feathers Resistance: For Profit Educators: Pigs at the Trough: "James Chanos is one of the best out of the box thinkers in the investment world. He predicted the Enron house of cards -- I highly recommend..."


- Please read this as it discusses shenanigans of the for profit college racket. This scratches the surface of problems, and hopefully, you might see more work on these schools. Kaplan Colleges are part of this racket, and they are owned by the Washington Post, generating much needed revenue for the Wapo family. This is why they will not take this racket on int he media; they make too much money as a part of it.

Saving Money: Make Your Own Baby Food

In the current climate of food inflation, people are looking to save money wherever they can. People also are getting the guilt trip to eat organic (I don't care and slightly dislike organic). Organic food usually costs more. Baby food costs big bucks because it is for babies and anything with a baby or wedding label has an automatic 30% mark up. You see the conundrum. What is a person to do with a baby?

Make your own baby food.

It is pretty easy. Buy the produce you wish to feed your child. Cook it, skin it, whatever it. Puree it to the recommended consistency. Chill in an ice cube tray for longer term storage. Feed child. Cackle with laughter at your savings over organic baby food. My wife recently made 18 oz of baby banana food with a bunch of bananas that cost $1.59. Compared to the baby food at that Amazon link, my wife's per oz cost was around .09 vs. the packaged cost of .22 (excluding shipping). Huge savings, same organic feel good vibe, except you know no preservatives or additives are in the food.

I am reminded of a previous argument I had with how easy it is to eat well or a prepared meal, with of course whining by a bleeding heart lib in the comments section, and this is no different. This takes very little time and investment. Buy a blender or one of those hand power mixers, which are useful in general in the kitchen. For banana preparation, all it takes it a fork to mash the bananas properly. It takes time. Spend 15 minutes prepping your kid's food rather than watching TV, surfing the Internet or being an ass, and save some money. It really is easy. It just takes a small bit of effort. In the end, it's a benefit for your kid and your wallet.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Odd Background Star Wars Characters: Salacious Crumb

When I look back at the Star Wars original trilogy, I am constantly amazed how well done the puppet characters were. The puppets are of course fake, but they look much better than the CGI creatures of the prequels. The cantina scene from a New Hope might be the finest collection of puppets in a scene ever. Consider how the movie going public easily accepted a scene that was mostly men in alien costumes and puppets. Just 6 years later, that scene was considered superior to the scene in Jabba the Hutt's palace. Until CGI can properly capture grime and filth, I'll take puppets and make up over CGI every day and twice on Sunday.

There is one puppet I was repulsed by as a child but enjoyed: Salacious Crumb. He was the upright rat looking creature next to Jabba. He cackled and was a jerk. He was so gross looking. He mouth was a different color, and not a red or pink, but a brownish-black. Look at the photo! He's gross. He has turkey neck wrinkles and mangy hair. Even worse, he kind of eyes Princess Leia when she's chained to Jabba. That would not stand with 3 year old me! While a small, background character, Crumb is a wonderful little detail. It is the care that makes a film a classic and beloved. It's why the prequels will never be a match for the original trilogy.