Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 266

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 266

As often happens, I am sitting in a Sky Club putting the finishing touches on this week’s Wandering Weights. I did a talk here in Washington, DC and really enjoyed my time. As always, the moment someone posted a photo from the talk, I got emails and messages about how, somehow, I failed to alert everyone when I come to town.
Unlike Santa, Danny doesn’t have elves doing the hard work. I post my schedule, as best I can, here in the weekly WW. Some events are not open to the public and you can get a sense of these when the pictures come out and everyone is wearing either camo or olive drab, save for me. I used to think that camo made me look fat.
It turns out my fat makes me look fat.
I asked Mike if I could practice my new workshop, Bounce. The feedback and insights from the crowd were excellent and I realized that THIS is the reason I do these road trips.
You see, when everybody speaks the same language and has the same experiences, you find that it is easy to go off in a new direction. When you try to explain something new to a person who doesn’t share this language and experience, I find myself discovering the issue humanity has had since we first popped down and started walking tall:
“What do YOU mean by this?”
This audience did a great job helping me with a number of things. If this, and I hope it does, becomes a book, the section on smoking, the insights on “getting up” and my new ideas about community were shaped by the audience. And, I applaud it. I’m always happy to say that I was wrong, misinformed or “I’m a jackass.”
Actually, I am a human. On the Q and A, we had a great discussion about this free PDF. It’s well worth your time and you will appreciate drummers far more than you used to appreciate them…they keep the cats at bay!
I’m still reading this and sliding up and down in the document, reading and rereading insights. It’s amazing.
This week, I get a chance to train and hang out and play Bingo and read. I have a very quiet week and I think I need it.
This week’s podcast with Pat Flynn really brought out some strong feeling. I really enjoy how the listeners follow up our questions and bring depth and breadth to our talks. It’s becoming one of the keys to my week. 
Brian sent this over:

This week on danjohnworkouts.com:
Episode 15 is live! Lots of great questions this week, and Dan starts the episode by addressing the controversy started with last week’s comments on Turkish getups.
New essays posted in the member’s area this week:
Doing Things the Right Way
Reclaiming the Bars from Those — Dirty Apes
Lessons from the Greats
I’ve been making several improvements to the site this week. If all goes according to plan, you won’t notice most of them, but they should make the site run a bit faster. I did, however, add the trap bar and ab wheel to the park bench generator, so be sure to update your workout settings if you have access to those pieces of equipment. As always, if you ever have any trouble on the site, please feel free to email me directly at support@danjohnworkouts.com.
Have a great week!
I think the internet was solid this week. I found some interesting things and I may be reposting this first article, but I love it. Be sure to click all of Phil’s insights on coffee (as I am drinking an Americano…whatever that is).

The health benefits of coffee are many, including:
    Increased fat-burning (help improve endurance, reduce body fat and increase energy).
    Of particularly interest is coffee’s effect on genes helping to convert stored white fat to brown, further amplify fat-burning.
    Promotes brain function (improving many, perhaps all, aspects of brain activity).
    Raises ketones (as an additional energy source for the brain, and important for ketosis).
    Contains a variety of antioxidants, including caffeine (improving immunity, aging, disease prevention and reducing oxidative stress).
    Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, liver and neurological conditions, cancer, and overall mortality; improved blood sugar control (and may help prevent diabetes).

End quote
Obviously, I think this is true. I have noticed in my life an ability to deal with lots of “noise,” in the Political Science sense, and stay true to the task. Maybe this idea, that sports help the brain, is more true than I ever imagined.


Now it appears that playing sports may play a role in the brain’s ability to hear properly.

In a new study published Monday in the journal Sports Health, Kraus and her team discovered elite athletes have less static in their brains than non-athletes.

“Compared to non-athletes, elite athletes can better process external sounds, such as a teammate yelling a play or a coach calling to them from the sidelines, by tamping down background electrical noise in their brain,” she said.

“I’m intrigued by the findings,” said neurologist Dr. Richard Isaacson, who directs the Neurology Residency Training Program and the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medical College.

“I don’t think it’s just physical and cardiovascular fitness, it’s mental fitness as well,” said Isaacson who was not involved in the study. “It’s likely multimodal. I would like to see if can repeat this across multiple different universities and then segregate out the non-contact versus contact sports, such as soccer versus badminton.”

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I have a number of friends who will like this article; they are ugly. This is just brilliant.


Whereas in almost every century philosophers and artists have written down their ideas on beauty, important texts on the concept of ugliness amount to only a handful, one being Karl Rosenkrantz’s 1853 Aesthetic of Ugliness. Ugliness, however, has always been present as the foil to beauty—Beauty and the Beast has taken many forms. This is to say, once you set a criterion for beauty, a corresponding criterion for ugliness always seems to present itself pretty much automatically: “Only beauty orders symmetry,” Iamblichus tells us in Life of Pythagoras, and “conversely, ugliness disorders symmetry.” Thomas Aquinas teaches that three qualities are required for beauty—first among them wholeness or perfection— so that incomplete things, precisely because they are incomplete, “are ugly.” William of Auvergne adds: “We would call a man with three eyes or one eye ugly.”
Like beauty, therefore, ugliness is a relative concept.
Ugliness was defined very well by Marx in his Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 as something that was only meaningful in the absence of money or, as we might understand his words, of power. Marx wrote:
I am ugly, but I can buy for myself the most beautiful of women. Therefore I am not ugly, for the effect of ugliness—its deterrent power—is nullified by money. I, according to my individual characteristics, am lame, but money furnishes me with twenty-four feet. Therefore I am not lame. I am bad, dishonest, unscrupulous, stupid; but money is honored, and hence its possessor. . . . I am brainless, but money is the real brain of all things and how then should its possessor be brainless? Besides, he can buy clever people for himself, and is he who has power over the clever not more clever than the clever?

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Aussieluke from over at the forum shared this article with us and…well, I like it. I’ve tried variations of Delorme for a long-time. I think that I used this method in the 1970s. If you read any of my work, you will know the Southwood program and 8-6-4.
I think we played around with three sets of eight when the barbells were too easy. I have my journals from the period, but it isn’t clear, but my memory tells me we did.


The Double-Eight Program is a basic and brief strength-training protocol that features a low-effort preparatory set with 50 percent of the 8RM weightload, followed by a high-effort stimulus set with the 8RM weightload. We recommend a 60-second recovery period between the successive sets, as well as between the different exercises. We have had excellent results with this structured and supervised 30-minute high-intensity training program. Our participants’ favorable response to the Double-Eight Program may be related to the following factors:

l. A limited number of exercises, each of which involve several major muscle groups.

2. An alternating sequence of pushing and pulling exercises.

3. Neuromuscular facilitation of the prime-mover muscles, resulting from the preparatory, low-effort exercise set.

4. A focus on one high-effort set of each exercise.

5. One-one-one training sessions with encouraging instructors.

If your clients are currently encountering a strength plateau, give the Double-Eight Program a try for the next few weeks. Like us, you may find that this simple modification of the DeLorme-Watkins and Jones training protocols provides a productive stimulus for further strength development.

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This article is worth a read. I’m 62 and I can outperform most people when someone wants to move into a new house. What is “old?”

We are all able to instinctively label people as ‘young’, ‘middle-aged’ or ‘old’ based on appearance and the situations in which we encounter them. Similarly, biological anthropologists use the skeleton rather than, say, hair and wrinkles. We term this ‘biological age’ as our judgment is based on the physical (and mental) conditions that we see before us, which relate to the biological realities of that person. These will not always correlate with an accurate calendar age, as people are all, well, different. Their appearance and abilities will be related to their genetics, lifestyle, health, attitudes, activity, diet, wealth and a multitude of other factors. These differences will accumulate as the years increase, meaning that once a person reaches the age of about 40 or 50, the differences are too great to allow any one-size-fits-all accuracy in the determination of the calendar age, whether it is done by eye on a living person or by the peer-preferred method of skeletal ageing. The result of this is that those older than middle age are frequently given an open-ended age estimation, like 40+ or 50+ years, meaning that they could be anywhere between forty and a hundred and four, or thereabouts.
The very term ‘average age at death’ also contributes to the myth. High infant mortality brings down the average at one end of the age spectrum, and open-ended categories such as ‘40+’ or ‘50+ years’ keep it low at the other. We know that in 2015 the average life expectancy at birth ranged from 50 years in Sierra Leone to 84 years in Japan, and these differences are related to early deaths rather than differences in total lifespan. A better method of estimating lifespan is to look at life expectancy only at adulthood, which takes infant mortality out of the equation; however, the inability to estimate age beyond about 50 years still keeps the average lower than it should be.
Archaeologists’ age estimates, therefore, have been squeezed at both ends of the age spectrum, with the result that individuals who have lived their full lifespan are rendered ‘invisible’. This means that we have been unable to fully understand societies in the distant past. In the literate past, functioning older individuals were mostly not treated much differently from the general adult population, but without archaeological identification of the invisible elderly, we cannot say whether this was the case in non-literate societies.

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That should hold you over for a week. I sure enjoy doing this and I really appreciate the feedback I get from people about how they “savor” (I’m quoting here!) reading this every week. I’ve never missed a week, I think. Through funerals, weddings and surgeries, I always make sure I put this together.
I hope I keep doing it for a long time. But:
I’m only human.


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 119

William Twyti was called for, who had arrived on the previous evening, and the famous huntsman stood up with a perfectly straight face, and his crooked eye fixed upon Sir Ector, to sing:
D’ye ken William Twyti
    With his jerkin so dagged?
D’ye ken William Twyti
    Who never yet lagged?
Yes, I ken William Twyti,
    And he ought to be gagged
With his hounds and his horn in the morning.
“Bravo!” cried Sir Ector. “Did you hear that, eh? Said he ought to be gagged, my dear feller. Blest if I didn’t think he was going to boast when he began. Splendid chaps, these huntsmen, eh? Pass Master Twyti the malmsey, with my compliments.”
The boys lay curled up under the benches near the fire, Wart with Cavall in his arms. Cavall did not like the heat and the shouting and the smell of mead, and wanted to go away, but Wart held him tightly because he needed something to hug, and Cavall had to stay with him perforce, panting over a long pink tongue.
“Now Ralph Passelewe.” “Good wold Ralph.” “Who killed the cow, Ralph?” “Pray silence for Master Passelewe that couldn’t help it.”
At this the most lovely old man got up at the furthest and humblest end of the hall, as he had got up on all similar occasions for the past half-century. He was no less than eighty-five years of age, almost blind, almost deaf, but still able and willing and happy to quaver out the same song which he had sung for the pleasure of the Forest Sauvage since before Sir Ector was bound up in a kind of tight linen puttee in his cradle. They could not hear him at the high table—he was too far away in Time to be able to reach across the room—but everybody knew what the cracked voice was singing, and everybody loved it. This is what he sang:
Whe-an /Wold King-Cole /was a /wakkin doon-t’street,
H-e /saw a-lovely laid-y a /steppin-in-a-puddle. /
She-a /lifted hup-er-skeat /
For to /
    Hop acrorst ter middle, /
An ee /saw her /an-kel.
Wasn’t that a fuddle?/
Ee could’ernt elp it, /ee Ad to.
 There were about twenty verses of this song, in which Wold King Cole helplessly saw more and more things that he ought not to have seen, and everybody cheered at the end of each verse until, at the conclusion, old Ralph was overwhelmed with congratulations and sat down smiling dimly to a replenished mug of mead.

End quote
I am pretty sure that Horatio Hornblower drinks malmsey in his epic Naval stories. It’s a sweet wine varietal and one of the four grapes in Madeira. And, with a nod to Crazy Jerry from my University days, I offer this version of Old King Cole from George Carlin:
Old King Cole was a merry old soul
     And a merry old soul was he;
He called for his pipe, and he called for his bowl –
     I guess we all know about Old King Cole…
The Old King Cole ditty is much older than its first appearances in print. Some argue it goes back to Roman Britain…which would bring us right into Arthur’s Court.
Well, maybe.
I was reviewing my work (so far) on this book. I’m up to an eighth of a million words so far and…
Well over 125,000 words.
My financial rewards: zero.

The amount of feedback: limited.
My need to continue: boundless.

As we move into this story, let’s look back on the basic BIG stories so far:
Wart’s “quest:” He finds Merlyn (After Meeting King Pellinore chasing the Beast Glatisant)
Fish (Perch) Transformation
Madam Mim
Tilting Lesson (King Pellinore and Sir Grummore)
Hawk Transformation
The “Middle of the Book:” Robin Wood and the Adventure with the Fairy People
Snake Transformation
Boar Hunt (King Pellinore finds the Beast Glatisant…again)
Owl Transformation
Galapas the Giant (King Pellinore is among the captured…all are saved by the Beast)
Badger Transformation
I keep hinting about Pellinore, but his days of feather beds are coming to a close soon. It’s a question worth asking:
What’s Pellinore’s role? Is he a side-show clown White uses for an occasional laugh? Is he an example for Wart about the pitfalls of questing?
I’m working with a young man who wants to understand Scripture better. I have him reading the Gospel of Mark and I told him to highlight and note every mention of clothes. In addition, I asked him to note the use of the “Son of God.”
You see, those are landmarks in the story. These help us understand the chiasmic structure of Mark. I’ve wondered for a while if Pellinore provides the same thing here in this story. He is the guidepost, the signpost, for our adventures.
He is the “You are Here” in our story.
And, for the record, we all need Old Ralphs in our world.
Maybe I am one of yours.

DanWandering Weights is published each Wednesday by On Target Publications


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