Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 216

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 216

From OTPbooks.com: The young autism population will age. Continuing to provide appropriate Autism Fitness programs for the ASD population opens the gateway to a higher quality of life in adulthood.

 

Well, Happy New Year to you and yours. I’m looking forward to this year as I am hoping to be pain-free. I have been struggling with these hips since probably 2004 (actually…birth)  and, well, that is taken care of now.

Somebody asked me the other day if I still need to take arthritis medicine for my hip(s). Well, no..as Doctor Gibbs explained to me, my arthritis is now in a hazmat bin. That’s the upside of this kind of surgery. These are referred to as “God Surgeries:” the doctor can make the lame walk or the blind see. I’m amazed at the advances in the past seven years in what is considered the simplest of the joint replacements and I can only marvel at what happens next.

Ideally, I will read about it and not experience it.

This is the time of year for resolutions. Few people survive the first week of January with their new-found enthusiasm for life change intact. I’m still a believer in the role of pirate maps, that daily list of “Do this.” Here is my foundational list:

Sleep Ritual: Make coffee for the morning. Supplements. Make tomorrow’s To Do List (From Robb Wolf)

Wake up and be grateful. (Pat Flynn)

One Minute Meditation (App on iPhone)

Daily work on Original Strength and Easy Strength (Tim Anderson); Ruck once a week (Mike Provost); Hypertrophy and 30/30 as often as appropriate.

Eat eight different veggies a day. (Josh Hillis)

Live, Laugh, Love

Preparing for last year’s Record Breakers, I did this:

Sleep Ritual: Make coffee for the morning. Blue-blocking glasses after 8 o’clock. Hot tub and ice shower AFTER taking supplements (esp Mg and fish oil) and medications. (From Robb Wolf)

Wake up and be grateful. Resets from Tim Anderson

One Minute Meditation (App on iPhone)

Three days a week Olympic lift: Two front squat plus O lift days, One total. (From Dave Turner)

Three days a week work on Original Strength (Tim)

Eat eight different veggies a day. (Josh Hillis)

I have some other examples from friends, but I don’t want to bother them during the holidays for permission to share. To me, sticking to something basic day in and day out is far better than trying to change a lot of behaviors overnight (or “over-month”).

It’s not “either-or,” resolutions OR pirate maps, and one of this week’s articles will illuminate this a bit more. But, from my experience, few people truly have the tool kit to stick to a list of brand-new life changes. Years ago, I wrote an article for a men’s magazine on having the goal of weighing one pound less the FOLLOWING January first. Obviously, I got blasted in the comment section as every internet reader is the pillar of discipline and self-control.

I would love to meet these people in real life.

My vision of things is to look at my pirate map and make each one of these daily steps a wee bit better. For example, I have invested heavily in sleepwear this year, those magic undies that people make fun of online, but help me sleep deeper and sounder. I now have added an additional daily meditation (eighteen minutes) that I try to do “often,” but I’m okay if I can’t always fit it in (I usually fall asleep). I bought a cheap bluetooth speaker to listen to audiobooks while I sauna so I can get my flexibility work done. We are also, as a family, dedicating ourselves to experimenting with lots of new vegetable recipes.

I think that is the great lesson I picked up since I first picked up a barbell in 1965: I strive to make things a wee bit better. I buy equipment I think makes my training a little better; I don’t throw everything else in the trash bin…I just try to do a bit better.

Maybe that is my resolution: continue to strive for a bit better.

I didn’t spend a lot of time on the net this week, but my wife, Tiffini, sent me this article with a note: “You’re right!” (I know):

Instead of trying to jog every day or do whatever, I think this idea, plogging, might not only get you in great shape, but make the world a little better. I have done this a few times and I am so sore the next day from picking stuff up.

Quoting:

“On any of my runs during the week, I’m out there with a pair of gloves and a plastic bag picking up garbage and recycling,” Lindberg said. The 36-year-old from Hoboken, New Jersey, is one of the latest runners across the globe to join the plogging movement, which essentially combines fitness with saving the Earth one piece of trash at a time.

The form of exercise is said to be an import from Sweden, where the term was first coined: “Plogging” comes from the Swedish phrase “plocka upp,” which means to pick up. And though it’s only March, it’s already been hailed as “the most 2018 fitness trend” in the U.S. and abroad—from Turkey to China to Australia. (To be fair, plogging has existed here and there around the U.S. under the label of “trash running,” but more on that later.)

End quote

Some of my friends shared this article on Facebook. I think the diet information is worth a read.

Quoting:

Paleoscatologists determined that the human who deposited this now-renowned, seven-inch specimen had a diet of meat and bread. Unfortunately for that poor, long-dead soul, they also had a handful of intestinal issues. The scat was scattered with Whipworm and Maw-worm eggs, which would have caused stomach aches and other more unfortunate gastrointestinal symptoms.

End quote

“Maw Worms” are basically the widespread “round worms” that plague humans all over the planet. “Whipworms” are another form of round worm that lives in the large intestine.

I don’t necessarily agree with all of this, but I know it is “true” in many fields. Nothing worse than working with a guy with a Ph.D. in exercise whatever who doesn’t know how to squat…or hinge…or…

Quoting:

“I never really expected to find myself giving advice to people graduating from an establishment of higher education. I never graduated from any such establishment. I never even started at one. I escaped from school as soon as I could, when the prospect of four more years of enforced learning before I’d become the writer I wanted to be was stifling.

I got out into the world, I wrote, and I became a better writer the more I wrote, and I wrote some more, and nobody ever seemed to mind that I was making it up as I went along, they just read what I wrote and they paid for it, or they didn’t, and often they commissioned me to write something else for them.

Which has left me with a healthy respect and fondness for higher education that those of my friends and family, who attended Universities, were cured of long ago.”  –Neil Gaiman, in his commencement address to the University of the Arts class of 2012

End quote

I think this article is simply brilliant. This really helped me appreciate my professors and the directions I have taken as an adult learner. “And” is the ultimate game changer in logic.

Quoting:

McCulloch explained to Pitts that he was trying to model the brain with a Leibnizian logical calculus. He had been inspired by the Principia, in which Russell and Whitehead tried to show that all of mathematics could be built from the ground up using basic, indisputable logic. Their building block was the proposition—the simplest possible statement, either true or false. From there, they employed the fundamental operations of logic, like the conjunction (“and”), disjunction (“or”), and negation (“not”), to link propositions into increasingly complicated networks. From these simple propositions, they derived the full complexity of modern mathematics.

Which got McCulloch thinking about neurons. He knew that each of the brain’s nerve cells only fires after a minimum threshold has been reached: Enough of its neighboring nerve cells must send signals across the neuron’s synapses before it will fire off its own electrical spike. It occurred to McCulloch that this set-up was binary—either the neuron fires or it doesn’t. A neuron’s signal, he realized, is a proposition, and neurons seemed to work like logic gates, taking in multiple inputs and producing a single output. By varying a neuron’s firing threshold, it could be made to perform “and,” “or,” and “not” functions.

End quote

As I settle in for a few days of watching football, I have my eye on Thursday when I am cleared to start lifting weights again. Until next week, let’s all keep on lifting and learning.

Dan
DanJohn.net

Here’s Dan’s full archive on the site (scroll down for a collection of articles you may not have seen before).

The Sword in the Stone, Part 72

Quoting:

Robin,” said Marian, sharply, “you can’t take children into danger. Send them home to their father.”

“That I won’t,” he said, “unless they wish to go. It is their quarrel as much as mine.”

“What is the quarrel?” asked Kay.

The outlaw threw down his bow and sat cross-legged on the ground, drawing Maid Marian to sit beside him. His face was puzzled.

“It is Morgan le Fay,” he said. “It is difficult to explain her.”

“I should not try.”

Robin turned on his mistress angrily. “Marian,” he said. “Either we must have their help, or else we have to leave the other three without help. I don’t want to ask the boys to go there, but it is either that or leaving Tuck to her.”

The Wart thought it was time to ask a tactful question, so he made a polite cough and said: “Please, who is Morgan the Fay?”

All three answered at once.

“She’m a bad ‘un,” said Little John.

“She is a fairy,” said Robin.

“No, she is not,” said Marian. “She is an enchantress.”

“The fact of the matter is,” said Robin, “that nobody knows exactly what she is. In my opinion, she is a fairy.

“And that opinion,” he added, staring at his wife, “I still hold.”

Kay asked: “Do you mean she is one of those people with bluebells for hats, who spend the time sitting on toadstools?”

There was a shout of laughter.

“Certainly not. There are no such creatures. The Queen is a real one, and one of the worst of them.”

“If the boys have got to be in it,” said Marian, “you had better explain from the beginning.”

The outlaw took a deep breath, uncrossed his legs, and the puzzled look came back to his face.

“Well,” he said, “suppose that Morgan is the queen of the fairies, or at any rate has to do with them, and that fairies are not the kind of creatures your nurse has told you about. Some people say they are the Oldest Ones of All, who lived in England before the Romans came here—before us Saxons, before the Old Ones themselves—and that they have been driven underground. Some say they look like humans, like dwarfs, and others that they look ordinary, and others that they don’t look like anything at all, but put on various shapes as the fancy takes them. Whatever they look like, they have the knowledge of the ancient Gaels. They know things down there in their burrows which the human race has forgotten about, and quite a lot of these things are not good to hear.”

“Whisper,” said the golden lady, with a strange look, and the boys noticed that the little circle had drawn closer together.

End quote

This small part of the discussion is key here:

“She’m a bad ‘un,” said Little John.

“She is a fairy,” said Robin.

“No, she is not,” said Marian. “She is an enchantress.”

“The fact of the matter is,” said Robin, “that nobody knows exactly what she is. In my opinion, she is a fairy.

Morgan, from the old Welsh meaning “Sea Born,” is sometimes referred to as Morgana, Morganna, Morgain, Morgaine, Morgane, Morgen, Morgne, or Morgue. Many of us will hear “Morgue” here, the place where we keep the deceased, but that term is not very old at all: it is the name of the building that housed the dead in Paris.

Adding “Fay” changes everything: it is an old word for fairy. Now, this leads us back to the discussion of the adults here: what does that mean? The oldest accounts of Morgan tell us she came from Avalon (“The Island of Apples,” a phrase I love) and remains a major character in those other Arthurian Cycles with the Lady of the Lake.

I’ve never been a fan of those stories. “Excalibur” literally means “freed from the stone” (“Exit-Calcium-Liberty” is how I explain this to my students) and some scholars note that the troubadours were masters of taking bits of this legend here and combining it with this legend there.

“Whisper” is an important line.  “Knock on wood” or “Break a leg” are remnants of this belief: the “others” are close and listening. So, we say these things to either dull the senses of the others or confuse them with what we actually want. My mom, a devout Catholic, certainly held on to these ancient beliefs. Some, like “The John Ghost” that mysteriously closed doors and made sounds when no one was around, were more “for fun.” But, if you said something negative, especially when the boys were fighting in Vietnam, you would certainly get hushed, often slapped, for saying it “out loud.”

I was never sure what audience was in our kitchen on Ramona Avenue, but there was no question that my mom was worried about ancient evil. This part sums it well:

“Well,” he said, “suppose that Morgan is the queen of the fairies, or at any rate has to do with them, and that fairies are not the kind of creatures your nurse has told you about. Some people say they are the Oldest Ones of All, who lived in England before the Romans came here—before us Saxons, before the Old Ones themselves—and that they have been driven underground. Some say they look like humans, like dwarfs, and others that they look ordinary, and others that they don’t look like anything at all, but put on various shapes as the fancy takes them. Whatever they look like, they have the knowledge of the ancient Gaels. They know things down there in their burrows which the human race has forgotten about, and quite a lot of these things are not good to hear.”

I am taking The History of the Celts from Great Courses and White really does a nice job here summing several of our class sessions in a few lines.

The “Old Ones.” They are still near and listening.

Be sure to whisper.

Dan

As we look at Coaches Johnny Parker, Al Miller and Rob Panariello’s ideas of systematic program design, we first consider their training cycle principles. Here, have a look.

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