Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 272
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 272
If you have been reading WW for a while, you know that this past weekend was a tough one for me. I love American football and we have that odd weekend with nothing going on before this Sunday’s Super Bowl.
I love the game and we are about to begin that long period without games. I like college football more than the professional game, but, after this Sunday, I will be missing all of it.
I’ve been doing some extra training with Mike Warren Brown. Twice a week now, I am doing a “double session.” Mike and I meet up and go for a ruck with our loaded vests and heavy hands. When we get back, we run through three sets of complexes to really heat the engine.
This is what I am talking about when I refer to complexes.
You can find my complexes here. Personally, I like Complex A and Complex C the best.
Then, I drive over to Epic Fitness and do my workout with my trainer. I’m amazed that more fitness professionals don’t have trainers for themselves. I always joke that if you coach yourself, you have an idiot for a client. Ben Fogel and the gang make me focus on my weaknesses.
My weaknesses are obvious: it’s all the stuff I don’t want to do.
As I review my coaching career, it is clear that you have to play with your strengths, but you must identify, acknowledge and improve your weaknesses. Oddly, others (usually your family) will have a clear insight on your weaknesses.
I think that’s what people miss about our “Intentional Community” workouts. Someone noted online that the people who show up and train with me aren’t very impressive. These are Mr. Great Midvale participants, we have DPTs, chiropractors, accountants, chemical engineers, firefighters and people who just show up.
We all have issues. We are all honest about it. We all strive to help each other out. We have guys with Super Bowl rings partnering up with a mom balancing careers and life.
If you want to improve your weaknesses, find a community. We all tend to soar together.
I have a LOT of workshops coming up.
I’ll be in Boston soon.
And I am returning to Sweden.
I will strive to share more of these as we go along.
My podcast with Pat Flynn this week went well. I enjoy our talks. I’m helping him out with his Fast-15 program, too.
This week on danjohnworkouts.com:
Here’s Episode 21 for the podcast. We’ve been getting loads of questions and downloads lately. Thank you! It’s been really exciting to see the podcast take off.
New essays posted in the member’s area this week:
Not Every Question Gets the Same Answer
Identity and Integrity
On Muscle Gain and Fat Loss
Dan and I have been working on a lot of new content for the site and will be launching a new lecture section within the next few weeks. These will be webinar-style video lectures that will give members a chance to glimpse what goes on in Dan’s workshops. I don’t want to say too much quite yet, but we think this will be a game changer. More coming soon…
Have a great week!
I enjoyed this book from Carl Sagan. This summary here really knits things well. The book, obviously, digs deeper but this is a great overview.
“Like all tools, the baloney detection kit can be misused, applied out of context, or even employed as a rote alternative to thinking. But applied judiciously, it can make all the difference in the world — not least in evaluating our own arguments before we present them to others.”
I really enjoyed reading this. As a note, Gentle Reader, just because I enjoy an article doesn’t mean that you need to do a five-year fast or agree with every point the author strives to make. I like things that challenge (me).
Third, culture. Works of art and entertainment, TV, movies, plays, novels, paintings and sport. Note how social it all is. Romeo and Juliet, about two kids in ill-fated love. The Sopranos, about a mob family. A Roy Lichtenstein faux-comic painting; a girl on the phone: ‘Oh, Jeff… I love you, too… but…’ England beating Australia at cricket. There are evolutionists who doubt that culture is so tightly bound to biology, and who are inclined to see it as a side-product of evolution, what Stephen Jay Gould in 1982 called an ‘exaptation’. This is surely true in part. But probably only in part. Darwin thought that culture might have something to do with sexual selection: protohumans using songs and melodies, say, to attract mates. Sherlock Holmes agreed; in A Study in Scarlet (1887), he tells Watson that musical ability predates speech, according to Darwin: ‘Perhaps that is why we are so subtly influenced by it. There are vague memories in our souls of those misty centuries when the world was in its childhood.’
Draw it together. I have had a full family life, a loving spouse and children. I even liked teenagers. I have been a college professor for 55 years. I have not always done the job as well as I could, but I am not lying when I say that Monday morning is my favourite time of the week. I’m not much of a creative artist, and I’m hopeless at sports. But I have done my scholarship and shared with others. Why else am I writing this? And I have enjoyed the work of fellow humans. A great performance of Mozart’s opera The Marriage of Figaro is heaven. I speak literally.
This is my meaning to life. When I meet my nonexistent God, I shall say to Him: ‘God, you gave me talents and it’s been a hell of a lot of fun using them. Thank you.’ I need no more. As George Meredith wrote in his poem ‘In the Woods’ (1870):
The lover of life knows his labour divine,
And therein is at peace.
I enjoyed this piece. Anything that has Robin Hood and Arthur is going to interest me, but the point of this article is worth your time.
In her book The Hard Facts of the Grimms’ Fairy Tales (1987), the American scholar Maria Tatar remarks on the way that Wilhelm Grimm would slip in, say, adages about the importance of keeping promises. She argued that: ‘Rather than coming to terms with the absence of a moral order … he persisted in adding moral pronouncements even where there was no moral.’ Such additions established the idea that it was values (not just dinner) at stake in the conflicts that these stories dramatised. No doubt the Grimms’ additions influenced Bettelheim, Campbell and other folklorists who argued for the inherent morality of folktales, even if they had not always been told as moral fables.
As part of this new nationalist consciousness, other authors started changing the old stories to make a moral distinction between, for example, Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham. Before Joseph Ritson’s 1795 retelling of these legends, earlier written stories about the outlaw mostly showed him carousing in the forest with his merry men. He didn’t rob from the rich to give to the poor until Ritson’s version – written to inspire a British populist uprising after the French Revolution. Ritson’s rendering was so popular that modern retellings of Robin Hood, such as Disney’s 1973 cartoon or the film Prince of Thieves (1991) are more centrally about outlaw moral obligations than outlaw hijinks. The Sheriff of Nottingham was transformed from a simple antagonist to someone who symbolised the abuses of power against the powerless. Even within a single nation (Robin Hood), or a single household (Cinderella), every scale of conflict was restaged as a conflict of values.
Or consider the legend of King Arthur. In the 12th century, poets writing about him were often French, like Chrétien de Troyes, because King Arthur wasn’t yet closely associated with the soul of Britain. What’s more, his adversaries were often, literally, monsters, rather than people who symbolised moral weaknesses. By the early 19th century, when Tennyson wrote Idylls of the King, King Arthur becomes an ideal of a specifically British manhood, and he battles human characters who represent moral frailties. By the 20th century, the word ‘Camelot’ came to mean a kingdom too idealistic to survive on Earth.
Steve Reeves was way ahead of his time. I love the synopsis.
Tip 1. Take cold showers
Steve Reeves started every day with a cold shower which he believed held manifold health benefits – and he was right!
Often referred to as a ‘Scottish Shower’, the practice of bathing in cold water is a proven way to improve energy, alertness and blood circulation, as the body, in response to the shock of cold water, deepens its breathing and increases its heart rate to warm you up by increasing oxygen intake.
Be sure to read this whole article. It’s all simple stuff, but true.
Life can be pretty simple.
Until next time, 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 125
At the edge of the forest the last follower joined up. He was a tall, distinguished-looking person dressed in green, and he carried a seven-foot bow.
“Good morning, Master,” he said pleasantly to Sir Ector.
“Ah, yes,” said Sir Ector. “Yes, yes, good mornin’, eh? Yes, good mornin’.”
He led the gentleman in green aside and said in a loud whisper that could be heard by everybody, “For heaven’s sake, my dear fellow, do be careful. This is the King’s own huntsman, and those two other chaps are King Pellinore and Sir Grummore. Now do be a good chap, my dear fellow, and don’t say anything controversial, will you, old boy, there’s a good chap?”
“Certainly I won’t,” said the green man reassuringly, “but I think you had better introduce me to them.”
Sir Ector blushed deeply and called out: “Ah, Grummore, come over here a minute, will you? I want to introduce a friend of mine, old chap, a chap called Wood, old chap—Wood with a W, you know, not an H. Yes, and this is King Pellinore. Master Wood—King Pellinore.”
“Hail,” said King Pellinore, who had not quite got out of the habit when nervous.
“How do?” said Sir Grummore. “No relation to Robin Hood I suppose?”
“Oh, not in the least,” interrupted Sir Ector hastily. “Double you, double owe, dee, you know, like the stuff they make furniture out of—furniture, you know, and spears, and—well—spears, you know, and furniture.”
“How do you do?” said Robin.
“Hail,” said King Pellinore.
“Well,” said Sir Grummore, “it is funny you should both wear green.”
“Yes, it is funny, isn’t it?” said Sir Ector anxiously. “He wears it in mournin’ for an aunt of his, who died by fallin’ out of a tree.”
“Beg pardon, I’m sure,” said Sir Grummore, grieved at having touched upon this tender subject—and all was well.
“Now, then, Mr. Wood,” said Sir Ector when he had recovered. “Where shall we go for our first draw?”
As soon as this question had been put, Master Twyti was fetched into the conversation, and a brief confabulation followed in which all sorts of technical terms like “lesses” were bandied about. Then there was a long walk in the wintry forest, and the fun began.
I think we have all been in some kind of awkward conversation where everyone will be more comfortable if something is not said. Ector, of course, is fine with Robin’s feasting in the forest, but Master Twyti works for the king who probably would frown on Ector’s largess.
It’s a death sentence, as I recall, to hunt the king’s forests.
Wood with a W.
After all these years, I still think this is one of White’s cleverest points.
Let’s start the fun.
DanWandering Weights is published each Wednesday by On Target Publications
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