Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 257

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 257

I’m still cleaning up after Practice Thanksgiving. I wrote about this over on the workouts website:
I love celebrations and parties and everything that goes with them. I put up Christmas decorations early and love the various pageants and parades that go with holidays. We take the family up to Yuletide train ride, with hot chocolate, every year and we look for every opportunity to find fun.
With the pressures of the holidays, we learned years ago an important lesson: we don’t have to celebrate on the designated day. We have married family members whose holidays consist of gathering at this grandma’s house at this time, the other one there, then off to someone else’s and on and on. The same caravan drives from place to place to place always late and always behind. What joy.
The stress of typing that bothered me. We excused ourselves from the major dates years ago. We love Thanksgiving and the wonderful LACK of a lot of stresses that go only with other events. So, multiple times a year, we call in family and friends to a “Practice Thanksgiving.” It can be any day or time of year and we roast our turkey and bring out plenty of veggies and good cheer.
If we forget something, it’s fine: it’s just practice.
If you can’t make it, no one minds as we all know it is just practice.
We are especially thankful that no one has to pick up and leave to go somewhere else. It seems, I have discovered this with dismay, no one else practices Practice Thanksgiving. Madness!
With all the married couples in the family, our Christmas traditions were quickly muddled with other traditions for the in-laws. So, we invented a Christmas Holiday of our own:
Christmas Adam.
It’s the day before Christmas Eve. Get it? Adam before Eve?
The upside? Nobody has anything scheduled that night. It’s an open night and no one has this tradition. No conflicts with schedules leads to no conflicts with the party participants.
I find every reason to celebrate that I can. Life can be miserable at times… we all experience those rough patches of life. Yet, no matter how things turn, the thought of a happy gathering keeps me going.
I just don’t wait for the traditional holidays, along with the traditional holiday clutter, to bring my loved ones together.
We invent gatherings as often as we can. It’s good practice.
End article
But now I clean up. Wednesday, I head to Europe for a month, so I have a lot to do.
I enjoyed my conversation with Pat Flynn this week. Here you go.
Sadly, we recently lost my junior college coach, Robert “Bob” Lualhati. This is a nice article and I’m the guy carrying coach after winning the Coast Conference Championships. I was one of his All-Americans, too.

Under his direction, Skyline College won two Division II state championships in track and field (1977 and 1984) and Coast Conference Championships six times in track and field (1973,1976,1977,1981,1984 and 1986) and twice in cross country (1975 and 1976). Bob was recognized as Coast Conference Coach of the Year on six separate occasions.
These are my upcoming workshops in Europe. With Emma, I have this.
Also, my friend, Niall, will be hosting me for a fun evening in Belfast.
I will also be teaming up with Ole and the gang at Strong4Life in Denmark in October.
This week on DanJohnWorkouts.com:
A quick reminder that every episode of The Dan John Podcast is also up on YouTube and I’ve been breaking them down into clips for whenever you want a quick dose of Dan. Here’s the link to the video for Episode 6.
We posted three new essays this week:
Fast Mimicking Diet Materials
DIEting from a Foods Approach
Level Training
We also made a few updates to the site itself this week. First off, for members, we’ve brought the essays, downloads, and podcast pages into a Resources tab to make things a little cleaner.
For non-members, we’ve added a free articles section that can be accessed without logging in. We now have over 36 essays on the site and wanted everyone to get a sample of the content we’re adding regularly. If you want a taste of what’s inside, be sure to visit the essay section.
As always, thank you. I read and appreciate every email. Dan and I are really happy so many of you are enjoying and getting value from the site.
~ Brian
I didn’t find much this week on the web. I really enjoyed this little article about The Office. This opening on parkour is one of TV’s finest moments.
10. “Gossip”
Season 6 kicked off in 2009 with the “internet sensation of 2004.” Michael, Dwight, and Andy have recently discovered parkour, or at least their version of it, which includes slightly opening the refrigerator, kicking the women’s bathroom door, riding each other, and jumping 20-feet down into an empty box. “They are doing parkour,” comments Jim, “As long as point A is delusion and point B is the hospital.”

End quote

This is a very interesting article on forensics. I found it just fascinating.


The oldest use of Forensic science I’ve found was three thousand years ago, and the detective in our story was a magistrate in a small village in China who happened upon the body of a woman hacked to death, near a field where some men were working. When he questioned them, they all denied any knowledge regarding her death, so he had them line up and lay their sickles on a table in front of them, instructing each man to stand beside his tool.
Imagine the scene now. It must have been a warm day for them to be out harvesting, and the sweat on their brow could have been from exertion… or the fear of being found out. After a few minutes a familiar buzzing was heard, and slowly more and more flies appeared and settled on one blade, and one blade only. The dried blood, invisible to the naked eye, drew the flies nonetheless, who served as witnesses for the prosecution.

End quote

This article brings up some interesting ideas on aging.


One possible explanation is that there has not been a big medical or health game-changer in the past couple of decades.
As people stop dying from one thing, another disease takes its place.
With greater numbers surviving heart attacks and strokes and cancer, the death rate from dementia has started to rise.
And with the medical community struggling to find ways to slow the disease – never mind cure it – life expectancy has been curbed.
The PHE report also looked at the impact of austerity – something former World Health Organization adviser Prof Michael Marmot has already suggested is playing a role.
The evidence shows that poorer people have seen the biggest decline in improvements – and the fact they would be more affected by a squeeze on care, health and welfare spending “could indicate” government spending has played a role, PHE said.
But the report was far from being conclusive.
What is sure, however, is that the longer this trend goes on, the more pressing it will become to find an answer.

End quote
I’ll be writing from Denmark or Ireland next week. Until then, let’s all keep on lifting and learning.


For your quick access link, here’s Dan’s full OTP page, including all of his articles, books, lectures and videos, all in one place.

The Sword in the Stone, Part 110
In the autumn everybody was preparing for the winter. At night they spent the time rescuing Daddy-long-legs from their candles and rushlights. In the daytime the cows were turned into the high stubble and weeds which had been left by the harvest sickles. The pigs were driven into the purlieus of the forest, where boys beat the trees to supply them with acorns. Everybody was at a different job. From the granary there proceeded an invariable thumping of flails; in the strip fields the slow and enormously heavy wooden ploughs sailed up and down for the rye and the wheat, while the sowers swung rhythmically along, with their hoffers round their necks, casting right hand for left foot and vice versa. Foraging parties came lumbering in with their spike-wheeled carts full of bracken, remarking wisely that they must:
Get whome with ee breakes ere all summer be gone
For tethered up cattle to sit down upon,
while others dragged in timber for the castle fires. The forest rang in the sharp air with the sound of beetle and wedge.
Everybody was happy. The Saxons were slaves to their Norman masters if you chose to look at it in one way—but, if you chose to look at it in another, they were the same farm labourers who get along on too few shillings a week today. Only neither the villein nor the farm labourer starved, when the master was a man like Sir Ector. It has never been an economic proposition for an owner of cattle to starve his cows, so why should an owner of slaves starve them? The truth is that even nowadays the farm labourer accepts so little money because he does not have to throw his soul in with the bargain—as he would have to do in a town—and the same freedom of spirit has obtained in the country since the earliest times. The villeins were labourers. They lived in the same one-roomed hut with their families, few chickens, litter of pigs, or with a cow possibly called Crumbocke—most dreadful and insanitary! But they liked it. They were healthy, free of an air with no factory smoke in it, and, which was most of all to them, their heart’s interest was bound up with their skill in labour. They knew that Sir Ector was proud of them. They were more valuable to him than his cattle even, and, as he valued his cattle more than anything else except his children, this was saying a good deal. He walked and worked among his villagers, thought of their welfare, and could tell the good workman from the bad. He was the eternal farmer, in fact—one of those people who seem to be employing labour at so many shillings a week, but who are actually paying half as much again in voluntary overtime, providing a cottage free, and possibly making an extra present of milk and eggs and home-brewed beer into the bargain.

End quote
Young writers can learn a lot from White. He is never afraid of painting a picture. I know most of the terms in this selection from our studies of the Domesday Book of the late eleventh century (and, yes, I spelled it correctly). There were so many names connected to the farmers and their relationship to the Lords, a term that should probably be dropped when referring to people.
White does a wonderful job describing the final work of the growing season. Like our friends in The Game of Thrones, these people know that “Winter is Coming.” They need food for both people and livestock, as well as enough for the animals to lay down on…and eliminate on.
White does a nice job explaining the complicated relationship between the classes. Sometimes, like in Braveheart, the lines are far too distinct. In Quinten Tarantino’s Django Unchained, we get some images of this complex relationship. One of things I learned in an exhaustive year-long study of World War II offered at Utah State University: History is “messy.”
After the more philosophical chapter with T. natrix, we are entering into another adventure. We will be revisiting with some old friends here, and there will be an interesting blend of fun and sadness. We will also learn to respect the rabbit more.

Until then.

DanWandering Weights is published each Wednesday by On Target Publications


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