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Showing posts from January, 2015

10-MINUTE TRAINING

Find yourself pressed for time? In the space the size of a coffin, and with a couple pieces of equipment, you can get a day's worth of training in, in the time it takes you to get out of bed. 10 sets of 10 reps in 10 minutes. See the video below.

The exercises I chose.

1. pull-up: the single-best lat (back) builder, and all that is required is your bodyweight (and a bar)

2. dip: same can be said about this exercise, which is for the chest. use the power tower to combine exercises 1 and 2.

3. deadlift: nothing better to strengthen the core while working the hamstrings and spine.

4. bench press: on a fitness ball, with dumbbells to work each pec separately.

5. bent-over row: another great lat builder

6. dumbbell curl-press: to target the biceps and the shoulders in the same exercise.

7. upright row: to further nail those deltoids!

8. kettlebell swing: the single-best exercise (in the estimation of some), combining a power lift with cardiovascular benefits

9. dumbbell squat/press: gr…

LET LIFE BE LIVED

Traditionally those of a mystical persuasion (including the authors of ancient texts, modern sages, and me) refer to all action that takes place in the Universe as the result of interplay of the 3 qualities, or gunas, and the 5 elements (earth, air, water, fire, and ether).

Depending on the combination of these elements, and their interplay, specific actions arise. It is easy to witness this at the chemical level. Combine oxygen and hydrogen and they will invariably form water. If you or I could have a conversation with these elements - that is, if they could talk - and they were to tell us that it wasn't necessary at all but rather they had decided, on their own and entirely of their own accord, to combine to form water, we would laugh. They had no choice in the matter. It is in the very nature for water to be formed from these atmospheric elements. Tell that to the rainy day!

But at the human level, an individual is not so easily convinced. Imagine telling someone that they do…

JUST DANCE

Yesterday I heard on the radio that the UK crooner Sam Smith has been ordered to pay royalties to singer/songwriter Tom Petty. It seems the former's hit song "Stay With Me" bears too strong a resemblance to the Heartbreaker's 1989 classic "I Won't Back Down." The settlement also included a writing credit. Of course if Smith wins a Grammy Petty won't share the award since he didn't contribute anything new to the song. The DJ who reported news of the settlement mentioned other artists who had borrowed from classic hits. Vanilla Ice, for example, in his 1990 hit "Ice, Ice Baby" took the riff from "Under Pressure" by Queen and David Bowie and made it his own. In a deft legal maneuver, Ice's lawyers were able to prove that because the beat differed by one note it was not technically the same. Ice won the suit.

It got me thinking about other songs I've heard that sounded familiar, some vaguely so, others downright obviously…

THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED

I remember the night as though it happened only last week. Halloween 2003. I was at a warehouse party with a few friends. Drinks flowed. Ecstasy got passed around. Music blared. Dancing. Laughing. Good times.

But if you have ever taken ecstasy you are probably familiar with the drug's tendency to bring out the softer, reflective side in your personality. And so it happened with me and my high school friend and to this day best pal, Pete, that night way back when. Which was funny, considering how macho and manly my dear beer-swilling, jiu-jitsu grappling, Bronco-driving, power-lifting buddy Pete prides himself to be. In the midst of all the laughing and dancing, the general ballyhoo, we found ourselves immersed in a deep conversation of the meaning of life, and the possibilities for the future.

Pete was in a serious relationship with his girlfriend of nearly 7 years, Eva. She is now his wife. He told me of his plans to marry her. I myself was in a rather long-term (for me) relati…

THE ONE BEHIND THE MANY

Here I'd like to quote a passage from the book "Unity is Divinity," which is a compilation of the teachings of the holy man Sai Baba. Discussing God, he says:
"The One (God) is comprehensive of all that is. It has no wants, no desires, and no activity to realize anything. God created the world as His sport. He laid down that every deed must have its consequence. He is the dispenser of the consequences but He is not involved in the deeds.

"Therefore, it becomes plain that neither the personalized God (Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, etc.), nor the individualized selves (you and me), nor the objective world can ever succeed in discovering the beginning of the cosmic illusion which brought them into existence and started the chain of cause and effect. Nevertheless, one can succeed in knowing when this illusion, this cosmic dream, will end.

"When will it end? When the objective world is ignored or set aside or denied or discovered to be the same as the Divine, the in…

ON LIFE AFTER DEATH

Scientists are currently grappling with a question that has haunted humanity for eons. It is this: Is consciousness annihilated immediately after death, or does it continue to exist? In other words, is there an afterlife?

One of my favorite books, What Dreams May Come, says there most definitely is. If I remember, the author, Richard Matheson, posits a spirit realm in which we exist with infinite capabilities before and after bodily incarnation, and earth is where we come to test our strengths within the confines that limitations (like the human body, and a finite lifespan) impose.


But who really knows what comes after death? Science has for a long time studied near death experiences, or NDEs, but they only give a glimpse as to what happens when the brain is temporarily offline, not when it has gone completely caput. As some experts argue, when the brain is dead, irrevocably so, as in past resuscitation, it flatlines, and since nobody has come back from such a state, no one can accur…

THE NEW ONE PERCENT

I am a member of the one percent. Not that one percent, not the richest one percent whose average annual income is $500,000 or more. I am not a billionaire farmer, major food corporation, pharmaceutical company or university hospital who in addition to the investment bankers, consulting firms, and petroleum manufacturers control the world’s wealth. Truth be told, I am a member of the poorest one percent, those who make $2,500 or less. Some years my income has been as low as zero. Not every year, mind you. There have been good years and bad years. But this year, despite writing magazine articles, essays, novels, blog posts, even a couple screenplays, I have made practically no money. My total income of $500 resulted from the sale of a book on nutrition I published two years ago. Lean times, these.
I bring up the whole percentage thing because I intend to become a member of another “percent” group. I hope to join you, the ones with the real power, the power to change a flawed and corrup…

LAST DAY ON EARTH

We were instant friends. I had come home to pick up a few things when I heard a barking coming from what had been my brother’s bedroom. I entered the room to find what looked to be a playpen arranged on the floor and in the center of it the littlest thing, all black and furry.

I picked him up - he couldn’t have weighed more than a couple pounds – amazed that my mother had said nothing about getting a dog. I promptly introduced myself. I know that sounds odd, but it didn’t feel odd at the time. I carried him around the house, stroking him soothingly. I was to meet my father later that day, and since my mom wasn’t home and I didn’t know when she’d be back, I put myself in the little pooch’s place – I didn’t know his name – and felt how freaked out I’d be if as a baby I was taken from my biological mother and deposited in a dark room of an empty house, alone. So I took him with me to my dad’s. He nestled into my lap as though it were the most natural place in the world to be. From that mo…