Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 319

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 319

In a time of pandemic, with a daughter who is a schoolteacher exposed to the virus daily and another daughter who is pregnant, during the Holiday Season, after a year that rivals 1968 for pure “are you kidding me?,” I find myself:
Nearly unable to write.
My family and my friends are scrambling to make our traditions fit into the reality of the pandemic. I am 63 and when I say: “I have older friends,” I am serious. A number of my close friends are close to 92.
For reference about that age:
“And so I’m offering this simple phrase
To kids from one to ninety-two
Although it’s been said many times,
Many ways: “Merry Christmas to you””
And maybe that is enough. Merry Christmas to you. Happy Holidays.
My daughters make me laugh; they keep telling me: “Let’s bury 2020.” Not yet.
I’m a big believer in celebrations. As my friend, Bill Witt, has told me at each of my daughter’s wedding:
“Take a moment to enjoy the day.”
So, there you go.
Take a moment to enjoy the day.
Take a moment to enjoy every day.
My best to you during this Holiday Season.
This week on danjohnuniversity.com:
Here’s a link to Episode 72 of the podcast.
This week I just want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. I know it has been an incredibly difficult year for everyone around the world, but I’m eternally grateful to have the support of so many of you on the site. Having this project to work on and being able to share what Dan and I created with you has been a blessing. Thank you.
Have a great week!
Pat and I had technical difficulties, but you might find a fun ad at the bottom of this page.
Eric and I had a fun talk…just scroll down to find the podcast.
I enjoyed hanging around the internet this week. Let’s go.
Our understanding of the human family tree (better to think of a bush) continues to change.

“This is telling us, ‘Oh, this is not a weird one-off,’” Hawks said. “It’s a continuing interaction.”
What is curious is that the only migration that seems to have left modern human descendants in Europe and Asia was the one from 60,000 years ago. The groups that migrated earlier apparently all died out or got absorbed into Neanderthal or other ancient populations. “If there were earlier events,” Scally said, “they left essentially no ancestry or negligible ancestry in us today.”
This could mean, he said, that “this Neanderthal legacy could be the only descendants that those people had.” Furthermore, when the Neanderthals then interbred with modern humans during later migrations, perhaps some of that DNA got mixed back into the modern human genome, embedding older signals of Homo sapiens history into the genetic material of individuals alive today.
According to Siepel’s analysis, that sort of nested mixing seems to have been exactly what happened with the Denisovans. When the team looked at the Denisovan genome, they found fragments of DNA in it from an even earlier hominin, vestiges of some population whose own genome has not been found or sequenced. It might have been Homo erectus, which split off from the ancestors of modern humans and spread across Eurasia about 1 million years ago. The contribution from this unidentified group “was at the limits of our detection power,” according to Siepel, because it constituted only about 1% of the Denisovan genome. During later interbreeding events, tiny pieces of that 1% got passed on to modern humans in Southeast Asia, Papua New Guinea and some parts of East Asia. “A small set of extremely divergent DNA sequences present in modern humans, if our analysis is correct, would have been passed through two interbreeding events,” Siepel said.

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Phil Maffetone has a nice article on stretching…and a good solution instead of touching your toes.

Dr. Phil Maffetone has been questioning stretching for decades, going back to the 1970s.
“As I gained more experience treating and training athletes, I developed an even better clinical perspective. By that time I had many hundreds of athletes to compare,” he says. “The results were that in those who were injured a significant number were regular stretchers. Meanwhile, among athletes who did not stretch, injury rates were significantly lower.”
Likewise, in the Sports Medicine article, the author concluded that flexibility has little predictive or concurrent validity with health and performance outcomes in apparently healthy individuals, and that stretching is not the best way to improve flexibility for sports activities anyway – movement is! The author urges that stretching be de-emphasized as a component of physical fitness and that eliminating it allows programs to better utilize time for more effective activities. (Note that for some activities, such as ballet dancing and hurdling, flexibility beyond the natural range of motion may be helpful.)
One activity suggested to replace stretching is strength training.

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I like this article on wisdom. It’s odd to think we don’t have classes on this topic, that I know of, because it is so important…to me.

Like Aristotle millennia before, the psychologists and social scientists who came after Clayton agreed that wisdom was oriented toward the pursuit of a good life. Yet, what does such pursuit entail? The meaning of the good life and ways to achieve it vary by philosophical school. Because of the long and diverse intellectual history of wisdom, scientists could pick and choose definitions. Whereas some scientists followed Platonic and Aristotelian ideas, others borrowed from Buddhism, Hinduism or Taoism – promoting worldviews that relate to the environment in quite different if not opposite ways. Some researchers sidestepped philosophy altogether, reserving the label ‘wisdom’ for the mature level of adult development. And some embarked on a Quixote-like quest to find wisdom in old age without a clear definition of either wisdom or ‘old age’. After all, the meaning of ‘old’ has changed dramatically in the past few centuries, with lengthening average human lifespans.
The scientific approach to wisdom has started to gain momentum only in the past few decades, around the time the world started to face rising social and climatic instabilities. Some worried that this momentum was leading to an abyss. Picking and choosing different philosophical traditions and developing theories without serious debate between them placed wisdom scientists at the beginning of the 21st century at loggerheads: a field full of words didn’t yet share the same language. A recent handbook of wisdom included as many definitions of the concept as there were chapters. Like in a tower of Babylon, scholars were risking a collapse of a slowly emerging scientific field.

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This article reflects how we used to teach courage in Ethics class.

    Wisdom: Allowing yourself to be open to and shaped by experience. Not being scared of change; and not being scared to change.

    Real toughness: Composure, clear-headedness, and stability in the midst of uncertainty. Not to be confused with machismo acts of strength.

    Vulnerability: Putting yourself out there. All of it. Even, and perhaps especially, the imperfections and flaws that make you human.

    Humility: Knowing what you don’t know, which for almost all of us is the vast majority of everything. Understanding that your view of the world is merely one of billions. Being curious instead of narrow. Open instead of closed.

    Authentic self-security: Not feeling the need to intimidate, one-up, or make others feel bad in order to feel okay with yourself. And knowing that when you aren’t feeling okay with yourself that’s fine too — what you should do is ask for help.
    Strength isn’t yelling and shouting. It’s having the inner resources to navigate storms.

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Marty’s blog continues to be some of the best reading in our field.

To obtain functional longevity, to extend life and improve the quality of that extended life, the serious trainee needs to implement and adhere to a hardcore resistance training program, one centered around the near-exclusive use of free-weights such as barbells, dumbbells and kettlebells. Combine high-intensity resistance training with near-daily cardiovascular exercise. Sync up this two-pronged training approach with a nutrient-dense nutritional approach, one that compliments and augments the training effort.
Nutrition either amplifies or undercuts training. There are many acceptable dietary approaches; regardless if you are vegetarian or a keto advocate, regardless if you have religious restrictions or strong personal preferences – above all else, stress food quality. Seek out seasonally appropriate, locally sourced, organic, proteins and produce. The fresher the better.
Powerhouse natural foods eaten in ample amounts amplifies results derived from consistent training. Nutrient-dense foods heal and repair muscles battered and traumatized by hardcore training. The perfect balance needs to be struck between precision nutrition and intense exercise.
It is never too late to start. The more out of shape an individual is, the faster and more dramatic their rate of progress – assuming they train right and eat right. Nutrition can be your best friend or worst enemy. A steady diet of pizza, beer, chips, ice cream and empty-calorie fast food will undo and undermine the finest training effort. Clean up the quality of your food-fuel.

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I thought this was an interesting article. I offer this without comment.


With ex-husband Greg Glassman, Jenai grew CrossFit from a few high-intensity gyms to one of the most popular fitness brands in the world, worth an estimated $4 billion. The couple’s messy, much-publicized divorce in 2013 — she sold her half of the company at the time for $20 million — culminated in a disaster for the brand earlier this year, when Glassman was forced to sell the company after racist tweets and a #MeToo scandal. (Glassman denied allegations of sexual harassment.)
Jenai was “single and loving it” when she first learned via Facebook that Tucker had been arrested. She wasn’t looking for love or to “pick up someone else’s dirty socks.” But she admits to crushing on Tucker as a teen.
“I quickly contacted Ty,” Jenai said. “He was shocked. He said, ‘I knew one of my friends would come looking for me, but not in a million years did I think it would be you.’ ”
Jenai discovered that after months in jail, Tucker still didn’t have an attorney and was in desperate need of help.
“It felt like something shady was going on,” said Jenai, who began working with attorneys and investigators to learn more about the case. “And sure enough, the more I looked into the case, the shadier it got.”
Jenai was initially skeptical of Tucker but felt that he deserved a fair shake, regardless of guilt. Injustice, she said, doesn’t sit easily with her.
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We tend to watch a lot of the Harry Potter movies during the Holidays. The first is twenty years old now and, yes, that ages me, too. If you are a fan, this is worth your time: 20 tiny Harry Potter details that make so much more sense after reading all the books.
In case you want to IMPROVE your diet during this season, this is the best advice I have seen. You might want to bookmark this article.


Load up on vegetables
Just like Mom always told you: Eat your vegetables. But unique to the MIND diet, researchers found that green leafy ones like kale, collards, spinach or lettuce were specifically shown to lower the risk of dementia and cognitive decline.
Greens are packed with nutrients linked to better brain health like folate, vitamin E, carotenoids and flavonoids. And one serving a day has been shown to slow brain aging.
To max out your veggie score, aim to eat at least six servings a week of greens. Then round it out with at least one serving of other vegetables a day.
Make berries your sweet treat
Nothing against the apple a day, but when scientists reviewed the research on diet and brain health, one type of fruit soared above the rest: berries.
In a 20-year study of over 16,000 older adults, those who ate the most blueberries and strawberries had the slowest rates of cognitive decline. Researchers credit the high levels of flavonoids in berries with the benefit.
Treat yourself to two or more berry servings a week for peak brain health.

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Well, that should keep you busy for a few days. I hope the very best for you and yours. 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 173

While he was explaining, the noise had come nearer and now was clamouring just outside the dungeon door, behind the giant. It was a pack of hounds.
“Wouff!” cried the door, while the giant and all his victims stood transfixed.
“Wouff! cried the door again, and the hinges creaked.
“Wow!” cried the giant Galapas, as the door crashed to the stone flags with a tremendous slap, and the Beast Glatisant bounded into the corridor.
“Let go of me, you awful animal,” cried the giant, as the Questing Beast fixed its teeth into the seat of his pants.
“Help! help!” squealed the giant, as the monster ran him out of the broken door.
“Good old Beast!” yelled King Pellinore, from behind his bars. “Look at that, Ay ask you! Good old Beast. Leu, leau, leu, leu! Fetch him along then, old lady; bring him on then, bring him on. Good old girl, bring him on: bring him on then, bring him on.
“Dead, dead,” added King Pellinore rather prematurely. “Bring him on dead, then: bring him on dead. There you are then, good old girl. Hie lost! Hie lost! Leu, leu, leu, leu! What do you know about that, for a retriever entirely self-trained?”
Hourouff,” barged the Questing Beast in the far distance. “Hourouff, hourouff.” And they could just hear the giant Galapas running round and round the circular stairs towards the highest turret in his castle.
Merlyn and Wart hurriedly opened all the cell doors with the keys which the giant had dropped-though the Beast would no doubt have been able to break them down if he had not-and the pathetic prisoners came out blinking in the torchlight. They were thin and bleached like mushrooms, but their spirits were not broken.
“Well,” they said. “Isn’t this a bit of all right?”
“No more thumbscrews for supper.”
“No more dungeons, no more stench,” said the inventor. “No more sitting on this hard bench.”
“Ay wonder where he can have put my tooth-brush?”
“That’s a splendid animal of yours, Pellinore. We owe her all our lives.”
“Three cheers for Galisant!”
“And the brachet must be somewhere about.”
“Oh, come along, my dear fellow. You can clean your teeth some other time, with a stick or something, when we get out. The thing to do is to set free all the slaves and to run away before the Beast lets him out of the Tower.”
“As far as that goes, we can pinch the epergnes on the way out.”
“Lordy, I shan’t be sorry to see a nice fire again. That place fair gives me the rheumatics.”
“Let’s burn all his truncheons, and write what we think of him on the walls.”
“Good old Glatisant!”
“Three cheers for Pellinore!”
“Three cheers for everybody else!”

“Huzza! Huzza! Huzza!

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A “leu,” meaning “lion,” is the monetary unit of Romania, so I am sure the king must be saying something else. He plays with language a bit…so…
I dunno.
In the later editions, both the Galapas story and the Madam Mim adventure are dropped. One of the prisoner’s etched on the wall:
“Beastly old Galapas loves Madame Mim, the dirty hound,”
I think these two stories intertwine quite a bit. The witch and the giant are classic western bad guys and show up in fairy tales and the Brothers Grimm works. Both are major parts of Celtic stories and show up the Odyssey.
I’m not sure why these two stories were edited out. As I look over both…again…, I see that both stories have action-packed finales and, overall, a lot of fun.
Now, in almost an instant, we will return to the solar. Our time with Galapas may have been more exciting than the religious reading.

DanWandering Weights is published each Wednesday by On Target Publications


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