Thursday, December 31, 2015

Christmas Dinner at Grandma's--2016-2017

In this now 21st Century, healthy eating has morphed into food fanaticism and/or food snobbery.
A popular post which I will put up each year at this time.
Has anyone experienced something like the following at a family event?

Written by Grandma's daughter Daphne--
Christmas at Grandma's--2016
It has been a hard 5 years for Grandma since her husband of 55 years died. Before Grandpa passed on, it was a family tradition for everyone to get together for Christmas dinner at their home. It was a joyous time, kids opening presents, the wonderful smells of foods cooking and baking, a chance to get together with family and relatives we only saw but once a year.
So you can imagine the happiness I felt when Grandma announced that after 5 long years she wanted to resume the tradition of having Christmas dinner at her house.
My joy was short lived when my dear Grandma called with a somewhat panicked tone in her voice. She said that in the 2 weeks before Christmas she had received several calls, mostly from Grandsons and Grandaughters with special requests as to what they could eat. Grandma was confused, what did this all mean? So she wrote it down in the hope I could explain it to her.What follows is my Grandma's list--
Grandaughter Mary eats nothing that is white.
Grandson Ted, his wife and children are vegetarians.

Jenny and Lisa say they are raw fooders.
Granddaughters Jill, Edith, Marcy, Molly, Lucretia and Daisy are vegans.
Grandaughter Joan and her Mom and Dad are Gluten Free.
Grandson John and his Mom will eat only organic foods.
Granddaughter Hayley and her boyfriend say they are Lacto/Ovo vegetarians who will eat dairy and fish but absolutely no meat or poultry!
Grandson Phillip is a Lacto/Ovo vegetarian who will eat NO fish!
Grandson's Paul and "Junior" can not eat dairy because they are lactose intolerant.
And finally, there is Grandma's favorite Grandson, 'Little Brucie', well, 'Brucie' is all grown up now, all 6'2'' and 135 lbs of him, he told Grandma that he didn't eat anything "that casts a shadow".
After reading the list Grandma paused and asked---"What in the world can I cook?"

Message from the author--get over yourself, consider others.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A Grown-up Runner's Christmas List

What follows is a recently revised version of an article I did in 2011---
Christmas is a special time of year for many reasons and gift giving and receiving, as well as getting together with friends and family have alot to do with why it is so special.
For me, every Christmas brings back memories from years ago when it was a simpler, less complicated time.
What follows is my Christmas wish list, emphasis here is on wish.

 1.How 'bout an English language version of Yiannis Kouros' book he wrote years ago that chronicles his remarkable 6 Day Race in New York City. Against all odds and at one point in the race,horrible weather,Yiannis set a record for that distance. Are there still some hardcore runners out there who don't know he is? He is in my opinion one of the greatest runners who has ever lived. He owns every point to point ultra record as well as every one from 24 hours to 6 days. Consider 303km for 24 hours for starters. Break it down and see how many miles that is in a day. Go to Wikipedia and take a moment to read over the records he has set and the prestigious Ultra races he has won. Google Yiannis and read some of the accounts of his races. Yet this man can't get his book published? They've published Dean K's books, why not Yiannis'?  As an aside, if you have not seen the documentary on Yiannis entitled, 'Forever Running', you really need to buy it, today! This man is one of a kind, unlike any runner you have ever read about or seen. Last time I looked the site Zombierunner was selling the DVD.
2.I'm showing my age here but how about more marathons with fewer entrants, say in the 200 or 300 range? I'm tired of the congestion and confusion that comes with the thousands+ marathons.Making your way through a sea of people every which way you turn and go, waiting in lines for most everything and running for several minutes before you pass the starting line gets old quick.You younger runners may have never experienced the calm and lack of confusion that accompanies the smaller marathons.Now I know for race directors small entrance marathons are probably not financially feasible but I did say this is a 'wish' list.
3.I'd like cheaper running shoes. I think I may finally be a believer in the recommendation that you need a new pair every four or five months, but come on,100 plus dollars for new ones? Despite marketing research to the contrary, I still don't believe the majority of runners can easily afford the cost of  changing out shoes every 4 months or so.
4.I want a running magazine that is like the way Runner's World and Running Times were in the 70's.They were performance oriented, maximum performance oriented magazines. They had quality interviews with great runners,people like Lydiard,Clayton and Sheehan were doing monthly columns.Yeah,I understand that magazines have to reach the biggest audience to survive, but again, this is a wish list isn't it?
5.I want a charismatic American runner like Steve Prefontaine to arrive on the scene,someone to get this country interested in distance running again,especially the young kids. As Dick Kendall of Buffalo once told me,if the sport doesn't involve hiting,catching,dribbling or throwing a ball, the people aren't going to be much interested in it.
5a. I want 'Big Time' distance running to become drug free. Probably every world distance record has been tainted by drug use. Think about that for a moment. The records are all fraudulent, what a tragedy!
6.An injury free year. What athlete doesn't want that?
7. I want more athletes like Herb Elliott, John Landy, Jim Ryun, Ron Clarke, etc. Men who are not only great athletically, but men who possess intelligence,sportsmanship, integrity and dignity.Who hasn't read enough of the boorish,self-centered athletes from different sports that seem to predominate the athletic world these days?

So there you have it, my Christmas list,what's yours look like?

Thursday, December 17, 2015

10 Lessons You Can Learn From Bruce Lee

As said here previously, Lee was so much more than a martial artist who made movies and died young There are a lot of insights and useable info in the following. Like Cerutty, he thought "outside the box" in regards to his training and given sport. He and Cerutty also taught the necessity of being self-reliant as well as having the integrity to stand up for your views and beliefs no matter what the cost or consequences. They believed that life is in the living today, not in a concern for tomorrows and 'hereafters'.The following was written by J.D. Meier

10 Lessons Learned from Bruce Lee

In this post, I share my lessons from Bruce Lee.
These are my top 10 lessons from Bruce Lee:

1. Be YOUR best. 

It’s not about following in someone else’s footsteps or trying to be somebody you’re not.  It’s about unleashing your best version of yourself.  According to Bruce, “Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.”

2. Absorb what is useful. 

It’s not about blindly adopting patterns and practices.  It’s about taking the best of the best and tailoring it.  It’s also about throwing away what doesn’t work.  Bruce borrowed concepts and techniques from everybody and every art in a relentless pursuit of the best of the best.  According to Bruce, “Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, Add what is uniquely your own."

3. Keep an open mind. 

You have to be willing to throw out what you already know and have a curiosity to explore new paths.  If you’re cup is already full, you can’t learn new things.  According to Bruce, “First empty your cup.”

4. Aim past your target.

Aim past your target, so when you fall short, you still land in the ballpark of success.  Bruce Lee was famous for his one-inch punch, but in reality he was aiming past the one-inch.  According to Bruce, “Don’t fear failure.  Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.”

5. Stay flexible. 

Be flexible in your approach.  Learn from everybody and everything and don’t get locked into a particular style.  According to Bruce, “Expose yourself to various conditions and learn.”

6. Focus on growth.  

Push past your limits.  According to Bruce, “There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”

7. Know yourself.

Your blind spots and ignorance can be your biggest weakness.  According to Bruce, “After all, all knowledge simply means self-knowledge.”

8. Master your mind and body.  

It’s not enough just to be smart.  It’s not enough just to master your body.  Your body and mind support each other.  Your body helps turn what you think or dream up into results.  According to Bruce, “As you think, so shall you become.”

9. Apply what you know. 

Life is not about watching from the sidelines.  Use what you know and put knowledge into practice.  Test yourself.  According to Bruce, “Knowing is not enough, we must do.  Willing is not enough, we must apply.”

10. Make things happen. 

When there is no wave, make one.  According to Bruce, “To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.”
I think it really boils down to making the most of what you’ve got, including your mind and body, pushing past your limits and following a path of continuous learning and growth.

Bruce Lee’s Physical Feats

While we don’t know whether the following stretch the truth, we do know you don’t look the way Bruce did by default.  It was by design and he pushed his physical limits.
These are some of the physical feats attributed to Bruce based on various demonstrations, his friends and associates, and interviews:
  • Bruce performed one-hand push-ups using only the thumb and index finger.
  • Bruce performed 50 reps of one-arm chin-ups.
  • Bruce performed a sidekick while training with James Coburn and broke a 150 lb (68 kg) punching bag.
  • Bruce could cause a 200-lb bag to fly towards and thump the ceiling with a sidekick.
  • Bruce could snatch a dime off a person’s open palm before they could close it, and leave a penny behind.
  • Bruce’s striking speed from three feet with his hands down by his side reached five hundredths of a second.

Bruce Lee Quotes

I’ve included some of my favorite Bruce Lee quotes below.  I’ve organized them using the following categories:
Art / Artistry, General, Goals, Growth / Learning, Life, Mistakes, Positive Thinking, Personal Development, Power / Speed / Flexiblity, Self-Awareness, Simplicity, Time, and Truth.

Bruce Lee on General Philosophy

  • It’s not what you give, it’s the way you give it.
  • Know the difference between a catastrophe and an inconvenience. — To realize that it’s just an inconvenience, that it is not a catastrophe, but just an unpleasantness, is part of coming into your own, part of waking up.
  • Love is like a friendship caught on fire. In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable.
  • Obey the principles without being bound by them.
  • Showing off is the fool’s idea of glory.
  • Take no thought of who is right or wrong or who is better than. Be not for or against.
  • Take things as they are. Punch when you have to punch. Kick when you have to kick.
  • “What is” is more important than “what should be.” Too many people are looking at "what is" from a position of thinking "what should be."

Bruce Lee on Art / Artistry

  • Art calls for complete mastery of techniques, developed by reflection within the soul.
  • Art is the way to the absolute and to the essence of human life. The aim of art is not the one-sided promotion of spirit, soul and senses, but the opening of all human capacities – thought, feeling, will – to the life rhythm of the world of nature. So will the voiceless voice be heard and the self be brought into harmony with it.
  • The second-hand artist blindly following his sensei or sifu accepts his pattern. As a result, his action is and , more importantly, his thinking become mechanical. His responses become automatic, according to set patterns, making him narrow and limited.

Bruce Lee on Goals

  • A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.
  • If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.
    Make at least one definite move daily toward your goal.

Bruce Lee on Growth / Learning

  • A quick temper will make a fool of you soon enough.
  • As you think, so shall you become.
  • A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.
  • Don’t fear failure.  Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.
  • Empty your mind; be formless, shapeless – like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup, you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.
  • Ever since I was a child I have had this instinctive urge for expansion and growth. To me, the function and duty of a quality human being is the sincere and honest development of one’s potential.
  • I am not teaching you anything. I just help you to explore yourself.
  • If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.
  • If you want to learn to swim jump into the water. On dry land no frame of mind is ever going to help you.
  • In order to taste my cup of water you must first empty your cup.
  • Knowing is not enough, you must apply; willing is not enough, you must do.
  • The knowledge and skills you have achieved are meant to be forgotten so you can float comfortably in emptiness, without obstruction.

Bruce Lee on Life

  • Life is better lived than conceptualized. — This writing can be less demanding should I allow myself to indulge in the usual manipulating game of role creation. Fortunately for me, my self-knowledge has transcended that and I’ve come to understand that life is best to be lived — not to be conceptualized. If you have to think, you still do not understand.
  • Life is never stagnation. It is constant movement, unrhythmic movement, as we as constant change. Things live by moving and gain strength as they go.
  • Life is wide, limitless. There is no border, no frontier.
  • Life itself is your teacher, and you are in a state of constant learning.
  • Man, the living creature, the creating individual, is always more important than any established style or system.
  • Real living is living for others.
  • Reality is apparent when one ceases to compare. — There is "what is" only when there is no comparison at all, and to live with what is, is to be peaceful.
  • The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering.

Bruce Lee on Mistakes

  • Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.
  • The great mistake is to anticipate the outcome of the engagement; you ought not to be thinking of whether it ends in victory or defeat. Let nature take its course, and your tools will strike at the right moment.

Bruce Lee on Positive Thinking

  • Choose the positive. You have choice, you are master of your attitude, choose the positive, the constructive. Optimism is a faith that leads to success.
  • If you think a thing is impossible, you’ll make it impossible.
  • To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.

Bruce Lee on Personal Development

  • Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, Add what is uniquely your own.
  • Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.
  • I am learning to understand rather than immediately judge or to be judged. I cannot blindly follow the crowd and accept their approach. I will not allow myself to indulge in the usual manipulating game of role creation. Fortunately for me, my self-knowledge has transcended that and I have come to understand that life is best to be lived and not to be conceptualized. I am happy because I am growing daily and I am honestly not knowing where the limit lies. To be certain, every day there can be a revelation or a new discovery. I treasure the memory of the past misfortunes. It has added more to my bank of fortitude.
  • I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.
  • The spirit of the individual is determined by his dominating thought habits.
  • What you habitually think largely determines what you will ultimately become.

Bruce Lee on Power / Speed / Flexibility

  • A powerful athlete is not a strong athlete, but one who can exert his strength quickly. Since power equals force times speed, if the athlete learns to make faster movements he increases his power, even though the contractile pulling strength of his muscles remains unchanged. Thus, a smaller man who can swing faster may hit as hard or as far as the heavier man who swings slowly.
  • Do not be tense, just be ready, not thinking but not dreaming, not being set but being flexible. It is being "wholly" and quietly alive, aware and alert, ready for whatever may come.
  • Endurance is lost rapidly if one ceases to work at its maximum.
  • I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.
  • Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.
  • One should be in harmony with, not in opposition to, the strength and force of the opposition. This means that one should do nothing that is not natural or spontaneous; the important thing is not to strain in any way
  • The athlete who is building muscles though weight training should be very sure to work adequately on speed and flexibility at the same time. In combat, without the prior attributes, a strong man will be like the bull with its colossal strength futilely pursuing the matador or like a low-geared truck chasing a rabbit.
  • The less effort, the faster and more powerful you will be.
  • When one has reached maturity in the art, one will have a formless form. It is like ice dissolving in water. When one has no form, one can be all forms; when one has no style, he can fit in with any style.

Bruce Lee on Self-Awareness

  • After all, all knowledge simply means self-knowledge.
  • Fear comes from uncertainty; we can eliminate the fear within us when we know ourselves better. As the great Sun Tzu said: “When you know yourself and your opponent, you will win every time. When you know yourself but not your opponent, you will win one and lose one. However, when you do not know yourself or your opponent, you will be imperiled every time.”
  • Knowledge will give you power, but character respect.
  • The biggest adversary in our life is ourselves. We are what we are, in a sense, because of the dominating thoughts we allow to gather in our head. All concepts of self-improvement, all actions and paths we take, relate solely to our abstract image of ourselves. Life is limited only by how we really see ourselves and feel about our being. A great deal of pure self-knowledge and inner understanding allows us to lay an all-important foundation for the structure of our life from which we can perceive and take the right avenues.
  • To become different from what we are, we must have some awareness of what we are.
  • To know oneself is to study oneself in action with another person.
  • Understanding comes about through feeling, from moment to moment in the mirror of relationship.
  • When we hold to the core, the opposite sides are the same if they are seen from the center of the moving circle. I do not experience; I am experience. I am not the subject of experience; I am that experience. I am awareness. Nothing else can be I or can exist.

Bruce Lee on Simplicity

  • It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.
  • Simplicity is the key to brilliance.
  • To spend time is to pass it in a specified manner. To waste time is to expend it thoughtlessly or carelessly. We all have time to spend or waste, and it is our decision what to do with it. But once passed, it is gone forever.
  • When there is freedom from mechanical conditioning, there is simplicity. The classical man is just a bundle of routine, ideas and tradition. If you follow the classical pattern, you are understanding the routine, the tradition, the shadow – you are not understanding yourself.

Bruce Lee on Time

  • Flow in the living moment. — We are always in a process of becoming and nothing is fixed. Have no rigid system in you, and you’ll be flexible to change with the ever changing. Open yourself and flow, my friend. Flow in the total openness of the living moment. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. Moving, be like water. Still, be like a mirror. Respond like an echo.
  • If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.
  • The moment is freedom. — I couldn’t live by a rigid schedule. I try to live freely from moment to moment, letting things happen and adjusting to them.
  • The timeless moment. — The "moment" has no yesterday or tomorrow. It is not the result of thought and therefore has no time.

Bruce Lee on Truth

  • All fixed set patterns are incapable of adaptability or pliability. The truth is outside of all fixed patterns.
  • Truth has no path. Truth is living and, therefore, changing. Awareness is without choice, without demand, without anxiety; in that state of mind, there is perception. To know oneself is to study oneself in action with another person. Awareness has no frontier; it is giving of your whole being, without exclusion.
Timeless wisdom from Bruce.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Don't Be A Cellphone Zombie

Recently, while I was considering all things Stotan, cellphone use again came to mind. Now I realize I have written on this subject before but it is my belief that the cellphone and its addictive properties are so pervasive that this topic must be addressed again.

I should begin with this disclaimer--I don't mean to offend anyone but like the friend who is drinking a fifth of vodka a day---there comes a time when someone who cares needs to step in and point out the error of his friend's ways. Today--for some of you---I am that friend. If what follows pisses you off or makes you feel defensive, perhaps I am speaking to you.

 You see people on cellphones everywhere --on the street--in the stores--on the beaches--in the parks-- and quite unbelieveably--in their cars. People staring blankly at the screens--texting or talking. Just today I saw a number of people looking at their phones while driving--forget the number who were actually talking on them. At the retail store where I work, people are looking at them as they shop while others are carrying on conversations. On television you will see the cameras scan a crowd and there will be people staring into their phones. Why? Do people forget that there was once a time when you missed calls but still got the message on your machine when you got home? Remember when people actually went out and were observant and engaged in their surroundings and not staring at a phone? To me, this is the potential BIG loss in excessive cellphone use, not being engaged in your surroundings, this includes the people who are right next to you.

Cellphones are addictive, and for the most part, unnecessary.Cellphones have become more addictive as they have gained more special features and things you can do with them.

Questions regarding health concerns and cellphone use, to me, are valid ones. U.S. officials dismiss reports that come out periodically from Europe critical of their use,but, it's not very reassuring when these same U.S. health agencies recommend that we text more and not let children actually talk on them too much. Mmmm--follow the money on this one--cellphones are a billion dollar+ business in America.
I could go on but here's the bottom line--ditch the cellphone--don't be afraid to be alone with your thoughts--you don't need to be talked to or at or have something to look at throughout the day anytime you desire. Cellphones are mind numbing ---they will make you addicts and less intelligent and interesting people.