Friday, October 28, 2016

Books review: Ken Cooper

As I hinted earlier, I've had the privilege to re-read some books I read earlier of Ken Cooper's--they were in my mother's library, written in the late 1960s/early 1970s (showing every day of their age with acid paper), and they had a great deal of responsibility in starting the "Aerobics" craze of the 1970s.  Knowing their age, how do they hold up?

Answer: very well, just like another old book I've reviewed, The Boy's Book of StrengthAnd of course, it was also my step-father's basement.  Cooper does wonderful work in noting that strength is not equal to fitness, and moreover that it matters how intense the workout is.  More or less, if you can keep a six minute mile pace--ten miles per hour--you can get your 30 "points" in the Cooper system by running five miles in half an hour.  For the "mere mortals" among us, of course, a bit more time, not to mention distance, is required.

Calisthenics and isometrics?  Yes, they're fun, and yes, they develop strength, but they're not fitness--just ask those huge guys throwing out their backs playing in a "beer league" softball game.  No?  I noted a long time ago that the guys who got hurt most in that "sport" were....sorry...the bodybuilders.

Two things that come across as very strange to modern ears, in my view, are that even the Armed Forces (especially the Air Force that Cooper served) did not do a good job keeping people fit for service, and that he addresses smoking in terms of "lack of lung power" instead of as a cause for lung cancer.

But that's not too bad, really, as losing a lung to cancer (like John Wayne) does impact lung power, and I'd have to guess that a lot of names appear on the Vietnam Memorial due to a lack of fitness.  Scary, really. 

What's scarier yet, though, is that according to this article, Cooper has had to struggle through life to be heard, and as late as 1986, the power of preventative medicine was still debated.  Forty years after The Boys' Book of Strength, and decades after our sad lessons in World War Two and Korea, and after sad lessons in Vietnam, people still didn't clue in that aerobic fitness was a good deal.  Very strange, really.

So take a look at "squaring the curve" of aging a la our brother in Christ Ken Cooper.  Just like someone you know who delayed his need to take drugs for blood pressure by a decade with fitness, you can increase your odds of vigorous health to within a short period of when God takes you home.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Real fixes for the Health Insurance Deform Act

Again, let's call Obamacare by what it really does; there is nothing "affordable" about the Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Deform Act.  Now given that the chickens have come home to roost, what can be done to rescue healthcare?  And no, it won't be nationalized healthcare, at least if we want to avoid even more death panels than we've already got.  Some humble suggestions:

1.  Equalize the tax treatment of employer paid and self paid health care expenses--either it's all taxable, or it's all tax free, including FICA.  No reason the self-employed or contractor ought to be subsidizing those with employer paid insurance--and yes, this means most Obamacare subsidies need to be repealed, along with the federalization of student loans (which funds the subsidies).   This could be done very simply by enlarging the scope of current healthcare spending accounts.

2.  Allow preexisting conditions clauses.  One of the huge reasons the system is imploding--16 of 23 state exchanges have collapsed--is that people know they don't need to get insurance until they get very sick.  Not surprisingly, they don't, and even less surprisingly, this blows up the actuarial tables.

3.  Stop forcing the young to subsidize insurance for the old; the natural cost ratio is 5:1 to 8:1 for the old versus the young.  Ending the unnatural 3:1 ratio will incentivize health insurance among the young and rescue actuarial tables.

4.  Roll back the Obama regulations that add a lot of coverages that many insures do not want or flat out cannot use, starting with mandatory contraceptive coverage.  There is something morally horrific about the notion "You have the fun, we bill a nun".

Now I don't believe this is terribly practical--too many people love their goodies--but if we want a system that will cover stage 4 cancers with surgery and chemo instead of with morphine and cyanide, this is what we've got to do.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Why we are liberal and fat

Walter Williams writes about a study that found that most people aged 18-24 could not find Ohio or New York on a map, and that a full 75% could not find Iran or Israel on a world map.  Another study referenced by Dr. Williams indicates that only 30% of college graduates are capable of interpreting a basic food label. 

Now maybe I'm biased here--having subscribed to National Geographic for thirty years, and being the son of a dietician--but these are things that people used to learn in elementary school.  Certainly as much was presented on The Andy Griffith Show and such.  And if we wonder why people vote for politicians who have no sane grasp of history or geography, and why so many of us are so fat, we've got our answer.  About 2/3 of us literally have no coherent knowledge of where we are and where we came from, and a similar proportion could not describe what would differ in the nutritional information for an apple and a Big Mac.

We could be, really, too stupid for self-government, and the hope for a benevolent despot fades as we realize who the most likely candidates are--people with not only a lack of knowledge, but also a lack of morals. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Interesting correlation

Now there are a bunch of things convolved here--age, culture, obesity, birthrates, rates of breastfeeding, and the like--but here's an interesting graphic that indicates that the incidence of breast cancer, if not its lethality, tends to increase as a state becomes politically more liberal. Of the bottom 25 states for incidence, about 20 are "red", and of the top 25 states for incidence, about 20 are blue.  Go figure.  If politics reflects other risk factors in lifestyle, we would suggest that one's worldview does in fact impact one's health significantly. 

A hat tip

To Art of Manliness for presenting 101 style tips for men.  Within the limitation "make sure you don't get more clothing than your closet will comfortably hold", it's good tips that will make you look good in a timeless way. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Better than lojack

The "third pedal car theft prevention system" once again prevents a carjacker from stealing a young man's vehicle.   Sadly, the attempted theft was not caught on camera, or else I'd post that too. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Environmentalism produces the vanguard of technology

Only millennia after the Egyptians harnessed the sun-driven wind to sail upstream on the Nile, environmentalists now have a vessel that uses the same power source and will go, occasionally, almost as fast as a well designed sailboat.

Just, as you'll see, without any of the grace or lines that characterize a well designed sailboat, but with the need to replace batteries every so often, and costing at least three times as much.   Even better, consider the possibility of needing to get somewhere at night, or on a cloudy day, without the auxiliary diesel. 

You will, however, get all the pollution associated with making a large solar array and a 60kW-H lithium ion battery pack.  Honestly, it seems that environmentalists are not about preserving the environment at all, but are rather about replacing well known, beautiful, useful technologies with ugliness. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The fruit of "evidence based" sex ed apparently pretty rotten, as the CDC admits that STD infections are, once again, up.    Worse yet, some bacterial infections once treated with antibiotics are....becoming untreatable.  Seems like something we're doing isn't working, and by the way, abstinence based sex ed ended close to a decade ago.  At least it was measured--in my opinion wrongly, but nonetheless measured--as merely "ineffective".  What we're doing today is downright harmful. 

Maybe a great place to start would be to start teaching young people that if they choose to sleep around, the odds are close to 100% that they will be sleeping with people who have, or have had, an STD.  Go further and note that while condoms reduce HIV transmission, and Gardasil reduces HPV transmission and infection, there isn't a whole lot science can do to reduce other STDs if a person chooses to sleep around.

A trip back in time

Those who know me well know that I'm a friend of that which has been before; I ride a 39 year old bicycle (and another that is a mere 20 years old), drive a 19 year old pickup, use century old cast iron skillets, and eat two meals each day at a table my father sat at for his first birthday party (yes, I have the pictures). 

More recently, I found a few old safety razors of my grandfather, and decided to give it a try a la The Art of Manliness' Shave like your grandpa article.  Found blades and shaving soap at the store, repurposed a custard bowl and a brush originally intended for applying shoe polish, and gave it a try.

The verdict?  Despite the "dark ages" construction with no DLC (diamond like carbon) to keep the edge sharp, it does give a better shave once you get the "feel" for how to do it--and that only took a couple of cuts.  I would even dare say that my skin is healthier as a result, and I'm getting months of shaves for the same $5 that would have bought me a single modern shaving cartridge that lasts a week or so.

Why so?  I think the major issue is simply that the old safety razors had a natural "curve" which allows them to follow the contours of my face better than the modern ones, which are built on a "flat" model. 

I'm hooked.....but I don't know whether I'll give my great grandfather's straight razor a try anytime soon. :^)

An apt picture of Hilliary Clinton

Her campaign bus was caught dumping raw sewage onto the street, likely contaminating local bodies of water.  The excuse?  They "didn't know" that it was wrong.

My take?  Nonsense.  (and yes, a stronger term from our ranching traditions might be appropriate here) Proper handling of hazardous waste is something that is drilled into the mind of every commercial drivers' license holder, and we are to believe that the "environmentally minded" Clinton campaign was unaware that dumping raw sewage into storm drains is a hazard?   Certainly not.  They were rather "saving time" and thinking no one was watching, just like truck drivers leaving milk jugs full of urine at truck stops and elsewhere.

This is simply a picture for how Mrs. Clinton and her staff minions view the country; as something they can quite literally dump raw sewage on without consequence.  Watch out if this criminal is elected.

Monday, October 17, 2016

More apt than I thought

Back in college, my roommate facetiously put Papa John's phone number on our list of "emergency" numbers.  Turns out he knew more than he thought he did.  How so?  Well, when Omaha resident Eric Olsen needed to get a hold of his grandmother, Claire Olsen, but she'd lost phone service due to Hurricane Matthew.

Thinking quickly, he ordered a pizza from Papa John's for his grandmother, with the request (and I presume a tip) that the delivery person call him when the pizza was delivered, and, if possible, let him talk to his grandmother.

End of story; grandmother was fine, and the pizza was fantastic.  Well done, Eric.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

What then shall we do?

It is a depressing time in this country.  The official national debt is nearly twenty trillion dollars--over sixty thousand dollars per man, woman, and child--and the chief candidates are two sleazy people, at least one of whom belongs in prison.  Our medical insurance system is, thanks in great deal to the Affordable Care Act Obamacare Health Insurance Deform Act, starting to collapse, and nations and movements we thought we'd vanquished are coming back with a vengeance due to a horrifically bad foreign policy, including idiotic moves like telling our enemies when we'd be leaving (sit tight and have fun when the Marines are gone, boys!). 

So what shall we do?  Well, for the believer, we ought to pray--what we ought to have been doing anyways--and for the superstitious, it's clearly time to start listening to country music played backwards.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Who thought this was a good idea?

Apparently there is a "Soylent" food bar company.  For the uninitiated, here's the movie that "inspired" this company.  And yes, as it contains algae, you might just call it "Soylent Green".

And they're wondering why people are feeling sick after eating them.  I know I'm feeling woozy just thinking about it.  Somehow I'm also reminded of Pink Floyd's The Wall--If you don't eat yer meat, you can't have any pudding.  How can you have any pudding if you don't eat yer meat?

Stretching the text just a bit....

A Texas church has tried to use Acts 2:13 as an argument that "new wine" was non-alcoholic, as if the hearers of the Apostles were accusing them of having a sugar high.  There are great reasons that many Christians choose not to drink, starting with the difficulties that our "optimized for drinkability" culture has caused, but the notion that new wine did not contain alcohol is not among them. 

Really, I've got to wonder at times about a pastor who doesn't get the obvious dig at the apostles, accusing them more or less of being like (to use a picture from my college days) sorority girls after too many wine coolers.  You have to wonder what methods of exegesis and hermeneutics were taught at their seminary, if in fact they attended one at all.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Thankfulness for the Drumpf "debacle"

Now there are a lot of people out there who are apoplectic about the current "disaster" facing Donald J. Drumpf, as apparently there is a video out there that proves even to the brain dead that he is a horny teenager with wrinkles.  Well, that's nice, but for those of us who have read a newspaper in the past 30 years, this isn't exactly a surprise.  He's a guy who owns casinos and strip clubs, has written at length about his sexual conquests in his own autobiography, and his divorces were not exactly "no fault."  One may as well be shocked that water is wet.

But what's good about this?  Well, it's shining a light on "fundagelicalism", showing us some things that we desperately need to see.  For starters, there's a whole list of our "leaders"--predominantly the pastors of megachurches and large ministries--who failed to warn their followers about who Mr. Trump really is, and even gave legitimacy to his campaign by signing on. 

Why is this?  Well, my hunch is that too many leaders, and far too many congregants, are simply way too infatuated with bigness.  They simply want to hang out with the cool people and be recognized by the crowds.  Yes, it's an American tradition, but at a certain point, we also should understand that big is not necessarily good--ask any family that decided to give a Toyota or Datsun a try during the 1970s.  

Those leaders who are now bailing on Drumpf, moreover, are also revealing that they really aren't paying attention until....the controversy is too obvious to ignore.  In other words, these guys are not leaders at all, but followers.  In other words, if you want an actual pastor, a shepherd that will warn you of might want to look elsewhere.  After all, love of bigness, and sticking with flawed ideas and people until the evidence is obvious even to the brain dead, do not appear as qualifications for pastors and elders in 1 Timothy and Titus. 

We have, therefore, a great opportunity to do something of a "purge" of un-Biblical attitudes in our movement.   Let's use it, whether that purge is manifested as repentance by these leaders, or outright replacement. 

Keys to long life?

Those who know me well know that I am, as I strive to live well and keep my health for various reasons, a huge fan of the work of Ken Cooper and the Cooper Institute.   I am convinced that a great portion of the solution to our problems with medical care, and the cost thereof, lies on our plates and in our schedules. 

But that said, those who have read Cooper's Aerobics books, or have interacted otherwise with his guidance, ought not be able to help noticing something very important; those who do the best on his programs are those who make the whole thing a community.  In Cooper's own family, his wife started on his journey to health when....her husband put the kids in the stroller and slowed down to jog with her.

And that is, in a nutshell, what we see in the lives of people who more or less "forget to die" until they get past a century, especially in places like Okinawa or Ikaria (Greece).  When one sorts out the variables, meaningful work and social time is more important than diet and exercise. 

Want great health?  Maybe sit down with a friend over a glass of wine and some snacks for a while, or head out to the garden.  It'll do you good.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Something of a bummer, actually

I am no fan of gambling--if you want to throw away a bunch of money, you can just write me a check, and I'll even send you a thank you note--but somehow it's a bit sad that the "Trump Taj Mahal" is closing.  Now there are all kinds of reasons from the closing, most notably a horrible casino market in Atlantic City and a union that apparently chose unemployment for its members instead of pay and benefit cuts, but the closing is still sad because the name "Taj Mahal" is a perfect picture of casino gambling.

The Taj, of course, is a mausoleum.  And in a casino, the hopes and dreams of customers are buried in the proverb "The house always wins."  What a great picture of gambling!

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

And in other good news

Prius sales are down 26% despite heavy incentives from Toyota.  Smug pollution will drop with this!

Seriously, what's to like about an overpriced two-seater (*) without storage space, carrying capacity, or towing capacity?  There are some very real compromises in design needed to get to President Obama's 55mpg pipe dream, and the Prius is illustrating it very well.  The government gets to set the laws of the land, but not the laws of physics.

Now if only we could stop taxing the poor and middle class to fund cars for the upper middle class and rich.  Sigh.

(*) yes, I know that it officially seats "five", but with 37" headroom and 33" legroom, the back seat really is just for kids at best.

Not that I'm proud or anything

But here's my daughters' cross country meet on TV. 

Monday, October 03, 2016

Federal Bureau of what?

Part of immunity deals granted to Clinton staffers in the State Department includes destruction of their electronic devices.  Because by no means is it possible that these people would have incriminating information about their former boss there, it being completely impossible that they would have any communication from her.

If you doubt that the Obama administration in particular, and Democrats in general, do a great job covering up for the crimes they commit, see above.  It is as if the FBI needs to be renamed the "Federal Bureau of Obstruction of Justice".