Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 289

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 289

I’m continuing on a journey I began in 1965. Ever since I attempted my first lift with that Sears Ted Williams Barbell, I have loved lifting.
Honestly, anything that is progressive has always appealed to me. I like things that get better as I put the work into it. I know, I know, that sounds like everything should be like this but, in my real world (House Husbands of Murray), that doesn’t always happen.
The teams I cheer for should always be getting better as they solve problems and address shortcomings. They don’t. People should figure out that poor dental hygiene leads to later issues or massive consumption of carbs leads to others.
They don’t.
But, in the weightroom, the truth remains: progressive resistance exercise seems to allow you more load, reps or sets. Or…all three.
I’ve been doing this a long time. I probably do more rucking and walking than most lifters, but I am still Olympic snatching twice a week. I still love pressing. I like all the other stuff that supports these two also.
Lifting is pretty simple. I had a reader tell me than an internet guy is selling a program with the one exercise that you need to do. I have nothing to sell. If I have a secret, I share it. Usually my secrets are as complex as “buy low, sell high.” It’s pretty obvious stuff.
My favorite part of Dave Draper’s new book is this:
I asked Zabo, “What is the best exercise for biceps?”

We were buds for a long time, and went on various adventures near and far. The man was known for his simple wisdom, keen wit and adversity toward the ruins of ambition. He answered my provocative query in detail, “Curls.”

I was not surprised.

I continued. “What is the best exercise for triceps…shoulders…chest…back… thighs…calves?”

He answered each question generously, patiently and in order: dips…front presses…incline presses…deadlifts…squats…donkeys.

“Anything to add?”

I was riveted.

“Yeah, train hard, don’t miss, keep it basic and eat lots of chicken, fish, red meat and salads. Red wine won’t hurt ya.”
There. There you go. I just saved you a lot of money with Zabo and Dave’s secrets. If you want my Supersecrets, that will cost you more.
I’m training my way through this weird period just like I trained through my folk’s deaths, my surgeries and life’s heartbreaks.
It’s what I do.
This week on danjohnuniversity.com:
Dan sent me another workshop this week and this one is near and dear to his heart. It’s about some lesser-known pioneers in the strength field and it’s amazing to hear Dan’s take on everything we’ve learned from the past and often forgotten.
Dardik, Maffetone, and DeVany Workshop
Here’s the link to Episode 44 of the podcast.
I have another big update to announce this week. At the suggestion of one of our members, I did a big redesign to the Dashboard on the site. It now displays a calendar that shows all of your completed workouts and lets you record notes on days you don’t workout if you’d like to track food or other activities. I’ve also implemented a way to change the dates of completed workouts so they are easier to organize or record if you forget to hit save right after a workout. The response has been great so far. I hope you check it out.
Have a great week!
I enjoyed my conversation with Pat this week. I am doing tons of podcasts but I don’t get the links to share with you. I will make sure I am clearer on that in the future.
I had a strange week scrolling through the internet. Everything health and fitness related was Covid 19 related and I decided…enough. So, I found some stuff that might make you (me!!!) happy.
As you know, I love the original first two Star Wars shows. I still think they are appropriate for discussions in my college course. It’s hard not to quote Yoda when coaching, to be honest.
If you enjoy Star Wars, this might be something fun for you to enjoy. I BOUGHT these, I think, on cassettes and drove around and walk around listening to them. There is a lot of extra materials here, too. These retain the ORIGINAL opening from the first movie.
This one little point, about the toys, explains why I hate almost everything in the SW’s universe after this GREAT film.


7. The Empire Strikes Back marked the end of Gary Kurtz and George Lucas’s partnership.
Though it’s George Lucas’s name that’s most synonymous with the Star Wars universe, producer Gary Kurtz—who came up with the title for The Empire Strikes Back and also served as an uncredited assistant director—was an essential contributor to the first two films. Yet the pair ended their partnership following The Empire Strikes Back.
“I could see where things were headed,” Kurtz told the Los Angeles Times in 2010 of his reasons for stepping far, far away from Lucas’s film galaxy. “The toy business began to drive the [Lucasfilm] empire. It’s a shame. They make three times as much on toys as they do on films. It’s natural to make decisions that protect the toy business but that’s not the best thing for making quality films.”

End quote
No surprise who is Number One, but I was impressed by one of my favorites being in second place.


2. Sally Kimball
Works with: Encyclopedia Brown
From: The Encyclopedia Brown Books
Encyclopedia Brown may have an incredible memory and impressive deductive skills, but he would be nothing without his best friend, bodyguard, and manager Sally. The best part about her is that she’s the muscle in their team, while he’s the thoughtful, analytical one—she flips the script entirely on the expectation of what girls (and little girls! she’s 10!) can do. And her strength and courage are not given to her at the expense of her looks or “girliness”, either (she’s super pretty, if I remember correctly). She is what she wants to be, and doesn’t have to sacrifice anything to be it.

End quote
I saw a documentary on this back in 2002 and I loved the story.


The Vemork plant clung to a steep hillside. Upon arriving at the ravine that served as a kind of protective moat, the soldiers could see that attempting to cross the heavily guarded bridge would be futile. So under the cover of darkness they descended to the bottom of the ravine, crossed the frozen stream, and climbed up the steep cliffs to the plant, thus completely bypassing the bridge. The Germans had thought the ravine impassible, so hadn’t guarded against such an approach.
The Norwegians were then able to sneak past sentries and find their way to the heavy water production room, relying on maps of the plant provided by Norwegian resistance workers. Upon entering the heavy water room, they quickly set their timed explosives and left. They escaped the scene during the chaotic aftermath of the explosion. No lives were lost, and not a single shot was fired by either side.
Outside the plant, the men backtracked through the ravine and then split into small groups that independently skied eastward toward the safety of neutral Sweden. Eventually, each made his way back to their Norwegian unit stationed in Britain.

End quote
This sums things up pretty well. Maybe not as fun as Star Wars but worth a read.


All of this undermines what should have been an American success story. We became an agricultural powerhouse because of the nation’s abundance of fertile grasslands, ideal for growing grain, and the industrial infrastructure that refines that grain into starch. But the processed carbs that became our main food source have also proved to be a missing link between obesity and metabolic dysfunction. That story has largely gone untold. Despite all the research on nutrition and disease in recent years, the effects of inundating our bodies with a constant stream of rapidly absorbable glucose—a poison hiding in plain sight—has not been well examined.
Modern processing techniques involve intense heat and mechanical forces that destroy the structure of food. In addition, food manufacturers add fat and salt to highly processed carbs to increase their palatability, making them much softer and easier to chew and swallow. We thus eat more and we eat it faster. Because the nutrients never reach the lower part of the gastrointestinal tract, hormones that should trigger signals of fullness don’t get stimulated. (By contrast, less-processed foods retain their tight structure so that enzymes don’t break them down completely; we can still digest the food, but may not absorb all of its calories.)
Fast carbs elevate blood glucose, and with it, insulin levels. When this happens repeatedly, especially in people who are overweight, metabolic pathways can become dysfunctional: Insulin stops working effectively, leading to insulin resistance, and eventually, diabetes and other disorders. Our bodies become intolerant to fast carbs, and by continuing to eat them, we further accelerate metabolic dysfunction.

End quote
I can’t believe it has been this long! Best ending ever!


While at a Christmas party with his wife, Virginia, he confessed that he was seriously considering ending the show. “Ginny knew I was unhappy with CBS,” Newhart tells Yahoo Entertainment now. “She told me, ‘You know what the final show should be? You wake up in bed with Suzie and you describe this dream you had about owning an inn in Vermont.’ I said, ‘Honey, that’s a great idea!’ Suzanne was actually at the same party, and we told her about it when we saw her. She said, ‘I’ll be there in a New York minute.’”
Ultimately, Newhart made peace with CBS and Newhart continued on for two more seasons. But when the time came to write the actual series finale, he had the perfect ending ready to go. “I gave the idea to the writers, and they filled out the rest,” he says of the surprise “It was all a dream!” reveal on “The Last Newhart,” which premiered 30 years ago on May 21, 1990. What started as a casual Christmas conversation between husband and wife immediately entered TV history as one of the all-time great finales.

End quote
Here: Feel OLD.


Phones used to have two parts to them, a base and a receiver. In order to end a call, the receiver had to be placed or “hung” on the base.
To call someone on an old phone, you had to stick your finger in a rotating dial at number positions that would turn the dial for various lengths of time when released. You had to do the entire number every time.
Now phones and alarm clocks can make any kind of sound to catch your attention, but a long time ago, phones and alarm clocks had little bells inside them for this purpose.

End quote
Well, that was a bit more fun than a lot of what I read this week. I am reading Why Die? about Percy Cerutty, the Kindle version is an excellent bargain as long as listening to the Harry Potter audios from Pottermore.com. I’m rereading a few things here and there and tending to my garden, too.
And, until next week, 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 142


“How curious everything looks,” observed the boy with some wonder, now that he had time to look about him.
And, indeed, the world did look curious. In some ways the best description of it would be to say that it looked like a photographer’s negative, for he was seeing one ray beyond the spectrum which is visible to human beings. An infra-red camera will take photographs in the dark, when we cannot see, and it will also take photographs in daylight. The owls are the same, for it is untrue that they can only see at night. They see in the day just as well, only they happen to possess the advantage of seeing pretty well at night also. So naturally they prefer to do their hunting then, when other creatures are more at their mercy. To the Wart the green trees would have looked whitish in the daytime, as if they were covered with apple blossom, and now, at night, everything had the same kind of different look. It was like flying in a twilight which had reduced everything to shades of the same colour, and, as in the twilight, there was a considerable amount of gloom.
“Do you like it?” asked the owl.
“I like it very much. Do you know, when I was a fish there were parts of the water which were colder or warmer than the other parts, and now it is the same in the air.”
“The temperature,” said Archimedes, “depends on the vegetation of the bottom. Woods or weeds, they make it warm above them.”
“Well,” said the Wart, “I can see why the reptiles who had given up being fishes decided to become birds. It certainly is fun.”
“You are beginning to fit things together,” remarked Archimedes. “Do you mind if we sit down?”

End quote
In the 1958 version, this discussion about the ground and the bird’s eye view moves into a broader discussion (Wart is a goose) about nation-states. Here, though, we get a chance to revisit some lessons about locomotion and how other animals use their “tools.” Later, when we meet Badger, we will get an interesting back story on how animals choose their tools.
If you ever snorkel, I am not sure you notice it as much swimming or using SCUBA equipment, you will begin to feel those temperature changes. I enjoy floating in tropical waters and having some of the fish come up to my shade. Not long ago, I had a platoon of Sergeant Majors following my slow movements in the Caribbean Sea.
I’m not sure if I change the temperature, give them a sense of protection or simply act as a novelty, but it is sure amazing.
I think it is also interesting that White describes night vision with a much more modern insight about the high-tech equipment we use today. Truly things appear “white” in our modern night vision goggles.
Wart loves to fly. If I had a superpower, it would be flying. I envy him a bit.

DanWandering Weights is published each Wednesday by On Target Publications


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