Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 224

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 224

New from OTPbooks.com: The story of the origin and evolution of Dan’s Hip Displacement Continuum will give you the understanding you need to move powerfully in a much simpler, safer and sounder way.

I have flown well over 30,000 miles this year and I think it is still fairly early in 2019. I’m on track to match last year’s numbers of a quarter of a million.
That’s a lot. Part of what keeps me sane is this “packing game” I play. The rules, and I am the only follower, are simple:
One bag, no matter what.
I need to be able to go to a beach and deal with a snowstorm.
I need to be ready for any minor health issue.
I need to have everything for any workshop I might give (cords, connectors, mini-bands and Bret Contreras’s Glute Loops.
I get better every time. I wear the same black polos, as all of you know, one pair of Barbell Brand Jeans that I can squat in, a light pair of shorts for semi-casual, training pants,  a mini-backpack, sink washable underwear, gloves, knit hat, small travel jacket (also a waterproof poncho the size of a cell phone), swimwear, sandals, quick dry towel and assorted odds and ends. I have traveled for 17 days like this and I find it so nice as both a thought experiment and realistic travel experiences.
I used to collect things as I traveled until I realized that stuff I buy on the road still has “Made in China” on the back. I can buy the same crap online if I just have to have that kilt pin with the dragon on it.
Occasionally, I will find something that is just amazing. I got a chess set from Galway that is based on the pieces found on the Isle of Lewis and I met the artist. That’s special.
When I was young, I dreamed of all of this travel. Just as I recovered from Hawaii and Okinawa…poof!…off to Poland.
Be careful what you want…you might get it!
My ability to work on the internet on the net wasn’t perfect this week, but thanks to our friends and readers, I found a lot of amazing things.
Patrick Riedl sent in the great article that basically summarizes how you get better in anything in life.

“Imagine the amount of space required to get a shot off from that low,” Dell Curry told me over the phone in early February. “Middle school, he was fine. JV, he was fine. The competition was getting tougher. It was time for a change.”
So the Currys entered the offseason with a mission: raise Steph’s shooting release to make his shot more difficult to block or alter. That meant repeating the same motion for hours and hours, each day, for three months. “It was the worst summer of my life, basketball-speaking,” Curry told me last month.
Curry said he spent the summer shooting mostly from the paint; he couldn’t shoot from any farther out because he hadn’t developed the requisite strength with his new form. Before the fix, Curry generated the power for his shot from his shoulders. A higher release, with the ball brought to his forehead, would allow him to flow kinetic energy from his legs through the flick of his wrist. “I used to call it the catapult method,” Curry said. “If you look at my shot now, it’s the exact same starting motion as it was when I was young. But I’m not stopping the ball [at my chin]. I just kept on going to where I couldn’t go anymore, and use my wrist a lot more as opposed to my shoulder.”

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The author, Dan Christensen, is a regular contributor at the Q and A forum. I’m amazed at how many smart people add brilliance to our conversations. This article sums probably the most important thing in understanding the role of science in life. I can’t honestly tell you how often I have people ask me, worried to death, about whether or not, this or that causes this or that as they “heard” it from somewhere. More often than not, we can blame Nicholas Cage. Maybe I missed something.


Science has a problem with causality.
Maybe not the experimental scientists, but the ones with who deal with observational data. And that’s where a lot of the juicy problems are. Does smoking cause cancer? Does lead exposure harm children’s IQs? Does this government or educational program work or not?
The causal implications of research are also where so many of us get our hackles up. Another study telling me that red wine causes cancer/ doesn’t cause cancer, or that coffee expands lifespan by x years (1)???
The problem is pretty simple. Science is about causation (I’ll argue this below), but inferring causation in observational studies is really difficult, and scientists get stuck having a bet each way.
Nicholas Cage helps us understand why — observation alone can throw up associations just by chance. When we look at the association between the number of people who drowned by falling into a pool and the number of films Nicholas Cage appeared in (2), we recognise that association, the basis of much current social and health research, is ridiculous because somewhere in our minds we know there is no logical connection between the two. In other words, we are saying it’s implausible that Nicholas Cage movies caused drownings. Despite the impressive correlation (r = 0.67)*, we recognise this is just due to chance.

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I was introduced to Office Space the same way most people “discovered” the film: Ben Thuma just wouldn’t shut up about it! We would be training and he would reference a stapler or flair and laugh out loud. So, we all gathered and watched the film. At the time the film came out, I literally lived in a cubicle; my boss took my beautiful massive office (wood everywhere) and subdivided it into a monstrosity of beige and white. The idea is that we would house two other people in my office. They were “part-time” which meant they never used them.
I worked with every character in the movies. I knew every issue. For me, it was a documentary. So, with great enthusiasm, I share this article.


Root: There have been movies about offices—go to The Apartment—but not the drudgery, not the sameness, not the mind-numbing condition of the ’50s. That’s where everybody was supposed to be conforming, looking the same, and that continued to go throughout the century. Nobody had done an in-depth study of the drudgery and sameness of what office life can be. That was the true precursor.
Naidu: That particular Office Space style is a part of our landscape in terms of storytelling. It’s the window in which you look at it, not just what the characters are up to. The camera has to frame it as “Oh shit, there’s no escape.”
Panitch: The Office as a TV show—why does that work as a British TV show, converted into an American show, which is now still one of the biggest shows on Netflix? There’s an odd thing about office environments being hugely relatable to the world. I think that’s the thing about this movie. It’s utterly true in its own absurdity. How is it possible 20 years later people are still quoting this little movie? I think that’s why.

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Let me add this additional quote from the article; I find it “uplifting” in an odd way:


Livingston: The movie, at its heart, is about a guy who is miserable doing all the things he’s told he’s supposed to be doing. And really, the only thing that happens in the movie is he gives himself permission to do those things and to try to figure out what does make him happy. There’s something about that that’s timeless. It goes against everything we’re taught. “Don’t quit.” “Make the best of bad situation.” It’s something that really resonated and still resonates. It makes people feel empowered about their lives.

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Finally, this article on the Mona Lisa reminds me of how most traditions have happened at the schools I have worked at: We did something twice. This is a fun read and video:


“Before its theft,” notes NPR, “the ‘Mona Lisa’ was not widely known outside the art world. Leonardo da Vinci painted it in 1507, but it wasn’t until the 1860s that critics began to hail it as a masterwork of Renaissance painting. And that judgment didn’t filter outside a thin slice of French intelligentsia.”
Though the painting once hung in the bedroom of Napoleon, in the 19th century, it “wasn’t even the most famous painting in its gallery, let alone in the Louvre,” historian James Zug tells All Things Considered. Writing at Vox, Phil Edwards describes how an essay by Victorian art critic Walter Pater elevated the Mona Lisa among art critics and intellectuals like Oscar Wilde. His overwrought prose “popped up in guidebooks to the Louvre and reading clubs in Paducah.” Yet it was not art criticism that sold the painting to the general public. It was the intrigue of an art heist.
In 1911, an Italian construction worker, Vincenzo Perugia, was working for the firm Cobier, engaged in putting several paintings, including the Mona Lisa, under glass. While at the Louvre, he hatched a plan to steal the painting with two accomplices, brothers Vincenzo and Michele Lancelotti. The crime was literally notorious overnight. The theft occurred on Monday morning, August 21. By late Tuesday, the story had been picked up by major newspapers all over the world.

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Well, until next week, let’s keep lifting and learning.

And dealing with jet lag.

How can you balance the strength gains of traditional training with the mobility that comes with functional training? Chuck Wolf works through the layers of blending traditional training with integrated training.

The Sword in the Stone, Part 80

The twilight fell mistily—it was the first of the autumn mists—and in the dimity the undispersed families of the tawny owl called to each other, the young with keewick and the old with the proper hooroo, hooroo. The noise called Tu-Whit, Tu-Whoo, which is wished by poets on the owl, is really a family noise, made by separate birds. Proportionally as the brambles and obstacles became harder to see, so did they become easier to feel. It was odd, but in the deepening silence the Wart found himself able to move more silently, instead of less. Being reduced to touch and sound, he found himself in better sympathy with these, and could go quietly and quick.
It was about compline, or, as we should call it, at nine o’clock at night—and they had covered at least seven miles of the toilsome forest—when Marian touched Kay on the shoulder and pointed into the blue darkness. They could see in the dark now, as well as human beings can see in it and much better than townspeople will ever manage to, and there in front of them, struck through seven miles of trackless forest by Marian’s wood-craft, was the smitten oak. They decided with one accord, without even a whisper, to creep up to it so silently that even the members of their own army, who might already be waiting there, would not know of their arrival.
But a motionless man has the advantage of a man in motion, and they had hardly reached the outskirts of the roots when friendly hands took hold of them, patted their backs with pats as light as thistledown, and guided them to seats. The roots were crowded. It was like being a member of a band of starlings, or of roosting rooks. In the night mystery a hundred men breathed on every side of Wart, like the surge of our own blood which we can hear when we are writing or reading in the late and lonely hours. They were in the dark and stilly womb of night.
Presently the Wart noticed that the grasshoppers were creaking their shrill note, so tiny as to be almost extra-audible, like the creak of the bat. They creaked one after another. They creaked, when Marian had creaked three times to account for Kay and Wart as well as for herself, one hundred times. All the outlaws were present, and it was time to go.
There was a rustle, as if the wind had moved in the last few leaves of the nine-hundred-year-old oak. Then an owl hooted softly, a field mouse screamed, a rabbit thumped, a dog-fox barked his deep, single lion’s cough, and a bat twittered above their heads. The leaves rustled again more lengthily while you could count a hundred, and then Maid Marian, who had done the rabbit’s thump, was surrounded by her band of twenty plus two. The Wart felt a man on either side of him take his hand, as they stood in a circle, and then he noticed that the stridulation of the grasshoppers had begun again. It was going round in a circle, towards him, and, as the last grasshopper rubbed its legs together, the man on his right squeezed his hand. Wart stridulated. Instantly the man on his left did the same, and pressed his hand also. There were twenty-two grasshoppers before Maid Marian’s band was ready for its last stalk through the silence.

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There is very little to be said about this particular section, save to tell you to read it again! This is Special Forces material; I love the shows about the SAS and the like, but this is “old school.”
Marian’s wood-craft. Again, T. H. White is reminding us of what a warrior we are dealing with here. Wart’s realization that it is easier to get around without sight is something I have felt a few times in my life.
Next week, things will explode, but “its last stalk through the silence” really sets the bar here. I love this section: enjoy it.
Until next time.


The principles of periodization need not be confined to programming an athlete’s training. Periodization can also be applied to the various stages of rehabilitation as Sue Falsone explains in this commentary.


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