Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 317

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 317

Saturday, I weighed in, slipped into my singlet, chalked up and stepped on the platform. It’s been a few years since I lifted in an Olympic lifting meet and there is no kind of nervous like weightlifting platform nervous.
Everybody knows if the weight won. The bar bounces away and gravity flips you “head over tea kettle,” as my old high school coach used to say.
I have no idea what that phrase meant. Coach Dejong used it a lot and I’m sure it had some meaning to him!
I missed my second snatch. My goal was to go six for six but I will take five for six. I matched the lifts I made in my first meet in 1975 and that was kind of cool. The floor was rubber and my lifting boots couldn’t move so I had to stumble around a bit.
I didn’t have a pre-meet total. That is a training session where you go heavy and test things out. Generally, about two weeks out, I make a special effort to do this but I had that ear infection.
This is all important. Let’s review:
            Travel stuff
            Ear infection
            Bodyweight issues (due to the ear infection)
            No pre-meet total
            Start time change
            Rubber floor
            Haven’t been on a platform in years
And? None of it matters. That’s the great lesson I picked up in 2004. Excuses? Everybody has them. No one cares. Step up and compete.
You’re tired? Overworked? Stress? Great. You still might have hungry kids, a leaky roof and a car that needs care. Step up.
I think this is why I love competing…performing…after all these years. It’s my great life lesson: Step up and do it.
Yes, bad things happen. I certainly know that. But we still need to step up and take care of business.
This week on danjohnuniversity.com:
I know I haven’t mentioned any big content updates recently, but it’s only because I’ve been working on a total site redesign inside and out. All the of function will be there in a, hopefully, cleaner and easier to use format. It should be finished in a week or two if I made the proper sacrifices to the programming gods.
In the meantime, don’t forget we have gift certificates on the site now! If you need a socially distanced holiday gift, you can visit here and purchase a gift certificate for someone you care about.
Have a great week!
As always, I enjoyed my visit with Pat. He had to take off early, but we still discussed a few things.
I wandered around the internet this week and I found some interesting thing. I know that many of you don’t use the links but there are some things worth visiting.
First, this is just cool. It’s pictures of sleeping whales. I have no commentary save to say…this is cool.

One of my favorite holiday films is discussed here. It might be a bit “high brow” for many of our readers, but Christmas Vacation is just a delight.


Flynn: Randy and I always said that all you have to do is put those clothes on us and we were ready to go. Once I remember the costume person said to me, “Randy thinks it’d be funny to have his underwear show through his white pants. What if you did that too?” And I went, “Um, no. That will be just Randy.”
Chase: I loved working with Randy on all of the Vacation movies. I never even got a hint there was anything going on emotionally or physiologically with him. He just gets right into it. When we’re in the grocery store and he gets that huge 100 pound bag of dog food and slams it down. I don’t think anybody wrote that. That was just Randy reaching out and grabbing it.

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This is a great article on the work of Tolkien. This small section is worth a read for any fan of literature.


Jacke Wilson: One of the poems he found when he was studying Old English Studies was called “Crist” by Cynewulf. The poem had a somewhat cryptic couplet. This is the translation. It said, “Hail Earendel, brightest of angels / above the middle-earth sent unto men.” That word stopped him—Midgard is the word. It means Middle Earth. It stopped Tolkien in his tracks. Midgard was the everyday world between heaven above and hell below. Middle Earth. Middle Earth, of course. More grist for the fantasy mill.
Like I said, you can see all kinds of influences from his youth and young adulthood and life in these books. You can go see castles he lived near that turned into castles in the book, and the landscape of the shire is right there in the landscape of his childhood, and so on. The trip to Switzerland with the mountains. The words, too. The words that came his way and the myths that he was exposed to and that he sought out and studied and everything else.
Harry Potter works like this as well. You can go to Cambridge and Oxford and Edinburgh in London and see the kinds of train stations and alleys and roads and Hogwarts buildings right there. The world is invented, but there’s a grounding in reality, as if the fantasy author goes to see something that truly inspires them, or hears something, a myth or a word, that inspires them to think, what if? What if? What if this is a place where you might pull a sword out of a stone or encounter a creature: a fairy, an elf, a dwarf—a whole field of them, in fact? Or a race of creatures that only comes out of my mind that I’m putting together with what I know from other things. I can see that here. I can see a village. I can dream up such things as hobbits. Here’s what they look like, here’s how they talk. And here’s the giant quest for our hero to go on.

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Pass me the pot! Of coffee. This article is right…because I agree with it.

Altschmied and Haendeler, both University of Dusseldorf biologists, say that four cups a day can actually help heart cells function more efficiently, as that amount of caffeine will “push” a protein called p27 into the mitochondria of heart cells.
It’s not the only health benefit. “It’s known that four cups or more of coffee lowers the risk for heart attack, stroke, and diabetes,” says Altschmied. So the next time you’re worried about grabbing that late afternoon cuppa, remember these health benefits that come with four cups of coffee.

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I’m a huge fan of Murder Mysteries. This article suggests the value for children. As a kid, Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie were just part of the curriculum. I would argue it should still be! Try The Westing Game or City Spies to test your sleuthing skills.

#1: Sleuthing 101
A sneaky pastime of my childhood was to crouch next to the air vent in the bathroom on the second floor and listen to the adult conversation in the kitchen. Admittedly, it was often pretty dull stuff, but occasionally I struck gold, (like when my brother’s girlfriend ran away from home and hid in our basement for four days). Part of the appeal of a kid sleuth is that she gets to do exactly what the reader wishes for himself—to eavesdrop, to creep outside after dark, to follow a character deemed worthy of following… In general, to see and hear what is not meant to be witnessed or overheard. It may not be a quality generally praised, but being nosy is shorthand for curiosity and independence. In a mystery book for young readers, these are necessary tools to crack the case. The reader sees the advantage of not just following a suspect, but of jumping nimbly ahead, challenged to be creative, even devious, in order to outwit the villain.
From a writer’s perspective, it used to be that removing parents from a story was the first step to showcasing the main character’s quick wits. Now, it’s the cell phone that must be broken or lost. How boring a book would be if all the answers were found using GPS and Google! So much better for the plot—and to prove it can be done—to have our hero and heroine figure things out for themselves. A chance for those who are inquisitive and resourceful to succeed without necessarily being cute or cool or even athletic. Stuart Gibbs, author of the Spy School series, among many other titles, says that “A mystery is a story where the smartest person wins.”  Smart, resourceful, and with a liberal dash of mischief.

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Rob spent some time with me while I was at Juan Diego and I have been impressed by his work and insights. This study is limited, of course, but worth a moment of your time.

Two 3.5-week, 3 or 5 day/week cycles were designed to test the study progressions above, and MTI advertised for Lab Rats via our weekly newsletter, Beta, which has 35,000+ weekly subscribers.
Lab Rat volunteers were randomly assigned into groups: Group A (Density) and Group B (Grease the Groove).
Group A completed MTI’s Density progression for Hand Release Push Ups and Pull Ups, three days/week.
Group B will completed MTI’s take on a “Grease the Groove” progression 5 days/week. “Grease the Groove” is made popular by kettlebell guru Pavel Tsatsouline, and involves completing multiple sets of both Hand Release Push Ups and Pull Ups each day, but far below max effort. More HERE on the general theory.
The Study was completed in March 2020, and the study subjects self-reported their pre and post cycle Max Rep Hand Release Push Up and Pull Up assessment results.
The Mini-Study was designed to complement the athletes’ regular training. We asked participants to avoid other push up and pull up work during the study duration.

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I’m working with Pavel (and Laree) on the new edition of Easy Strength. It will be a complete re-do as we go over things. I’m wondering out loud if this should be a series of books as we really have far too much to keep in one volume.
I will keep you informed.
And, until next week, let’s 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 171

“A visible magician,” remarked the giant, “this time. But only a small one. We shall see whether the sword goes in with a slide.”
“Catch hold, you idiot,” cried Merlyn frantically, and with several fumblings they were hand in hand.
“Gone again,” said Galapas, and swiped with his sword towards where they had been. It struck blue sparks from the stones.
Merlyn put his invisible mouth right up to the Wart’s invisible ear, and whispered. “Lie flat in the passage. We will press ourselves one to each side, and hope that he will go beyond us.”
This worked; but the Wart, in wriggling along the floor, lost contact with his protector once again. He groped everywhere but could not find him, and of course he was now visible again, like any other person.
“Ha!” cried Galapas. “The same small one, equally visible.”
He made a swipe into the darkness, but Merlyn had snatched his pupil’s hand again, and just dragged him out of danger.
“Mysterious chaps,” said the giant. “The best thing would be to go snip-snap along the floor.”
“That’s the way they cut up spinach, you know,” added the giant, “or anything you have to chip small.
Merlyn and the Wart crouched hand in hand at the furthest corner of the corridor, while the horrible giant Galapas slowly minced his way towards them, laughing from the bottom of his thunderous belly, and not sparing a single inch of the ground. Click, click, went his razor sword upon the brutal stones, and there seemed to be no hope of rescue. He was behind them now and cut them off.
“Good-bye,” whispered the Wart. “It was worth it.”

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Good-bye. It was worth it.
Maybe this will be on my tombstone.
If this were a black and white serial film from my youth (usually westerns or science fiction), I would cut the episode right here. Will Wart and Merlyn survive? Is this truly The End?
Come back next week: Same Bat Time…Same Bat Channel.
That just aged me, I think.
Gentle reader, don’t worry…I think our heroes might make it out.

DanWandering Weights is published each Wednesday by On Target Publications


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