Archive for category humorous stories

Fitness Fads Through The Decades

Here is an amusing article describing the various fads that have engulfed fitness nuts over the years. The video shows them all, and the article delves deeper.

The 10 described are: hoola hoops, vibrating belt, gym culture, jazzercise, aerobics, home equipment, tae bo, spinning, crossfit, wearable activity trackers.

Who’d have guessed these are merely fads that grab the popular mindsets…like invasion of the body snatchers!


Haha, good article/video. Funny to see all of the fads especially the older ones.
I haven’t done any of those (Except Gym culture, I guess?) but Crossfit is very popular these days. Its good that it gets people into full body lifting exercises like deadlift, bench, squats, etc. However often there’s little attention given to having good form and it’s all about slamming in as many reps as fast as you can no matter what, under the pretense of being “intense” and “getting cardio”… when you could do an actual cardio exercise instead (like tennis, or running) and avoid unnecessary injuries. A lot of beginners get hurt badly. And yes the mentality is cult-like for sure.

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Watch Out!

Oh well, kids will be kids, boys will be boys, but adults should not pretend they are kids. I give this guy credit for taking the risk and am sorry he suffered for being a little too big for the slide. Or just not holding on…if that was even possible.



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Jimmy Kimmel’s Glass Slide Adventure

This is a funny video about a glass slide in LA that allows you to look down through it 1000 feet to the street. Scary. It reminds me of the Sky Tower in Auckland, New Zealand (tallest man-made structure in southern hemisphere) I visited, that had a 1.5 inch glass floor at the top you could look through and see the ground almost 1100 feet below. Nerve-wracking to walk on, even though it was guaranteed not to break.

Although these experiences take no skill or athleticism, it’s a real confront to anyone, even if you are not generally afraid of height.

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Bongo Lady Workout

MEMPHIS — The fans who pack FedEx Forum for Grizzlies games never know when it will happen. It could be a timeout late in the second quarter, or a break in the action early in the fourth. It does not even occur every game.

But when it does, and the sweet beat of the Miami Sound Machine hit “Conga” fills the arena, everyone knows to look up toward the giant video board that looms over the court. A set of cartoon bongos appears, and as various fans pop up on the screen in their haphazard attempts to play them, Malenda Meacham, a longtime season-ticket holder, knows that they are merely the warm-up act.

The moment is about to belong to her.

“Bongo Lady,” the Grizzlies’ Tony Allen said, “is my home girl.”

Meacham, 45, might just be the world’s pre-eminent air-bongo impresario. She flails her arms and bobs her head as she plays the heck out of those cartoon bongos, her movements defying easy description.

“I like to think that I play enthusiastically,” she said, “and with aplomb.”

Meacham has become a minor celebrity in Memphis — people familiar with her work usually greet her by shouting something along the lines of “Hey, Bongo Lady!”

“It feels like a workout,” Meacham said. “It’s seriously like I’ve just run a marathon.”

People are generally surprised to learn that Meacham practices domestic law and works as a part-time judge. Yes, Bongo Lady is a judge.

It should be noted that Meacham has no formal musical training. Her bongo wizardry is self-taught. The key, she said, is to stay on the bongos. Too many fans let their hands drift away, which makes their playing look inexact. Meacham strives for authenticity.

“And I don’t even know when Bongo Cam is coming on,” she said, “so I can’t warm up for it.”

As is the case in most great showbiz acts, Meacham has a sidekick: her 18-year-old son, Hayden, who often accompanies her to home games. He did not choose the role. He said he was genuinely mortified by his mother’s behavior.

Hayden was with her the first time the Grizzlies broke out Bongo Cam, during the 2012-13 season. Malenda Meacham heard the music and felt the rhythm, and something compelled her to rise from her seat and start thrashing away. It was unscripted theater.

“Hayden starts going, ‘Dear God, please don’t let them see her,’ ” Meacham said. “He’s next to me, shrinking over, and then the camera catches us.”

In that moment, Bongo Lady was born. By his mother’s third appearance on Bongo Cam that season, Hayden had decided to come prepared. As soon as he heard those familiar lyrics pump through the arena’s speaker system — “Come on, shake your body, baby, do the conga / I know you can’t control yourself any longer” — he put a paper bag over his head.

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Running The New York City Marathon At Age 60

Here is a really funny article by JERÉ LONGMAN that was in the New York Times with some photos and a video:

Wilson Kipsang of Kenya won the New York City Marathon in 2 hours 10 minutes 59 seconds — or as I like to call it at my age, a good night’s sleep.

At 60, I also ran Sunday’s race, one of about 3,000 windblown geezers among the field, expected to be 50,000.

“You need a pacemaker?” German Silva asked the other day.

“Hopefully not installed,” I said.

In 1995, before German’s second consecutive victory in New York, I joined him at 13,000 feet to train on the side of a volcano in his native Mexico. By “joined,” I mean that he ran up the volcano while I rode in a car with his coach.

A few weeks later, German finished first in New York, and, well, I finished. Actually, it was the only time I broke four hours. But that was nearly 20 years ago. Whatever speed I possessed receded with my hairline.

In April, I ran my first Boston Marathon: 5 hours 20 minutes. That is less a time for a race than a time for a crockpot recipe.

Not that 60 is a regretful age. Not at all. I’m much healthier at 60 than I was at 20. Back then I was on my way to 240 pounds. When I backed up, I beeped.

You know it is time to lose weight when you go horseback riding and the stablehand says, “Wait a minute; you’ll have to ride Big Boy.” Read the rest of this entry »

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How To Pick Up Girls At The Gym

There are a lot of videos giving advice about how to pick up girls–and guys–at the gym. Very useful. Check out the first minute of this video to also learn something about the Strongman competition from champion Robert Oberst. He eats six times a day to ingest 20,000 calories. He needs the fuel to lift the weight. He also travels through the supermarket emptying out parts of the meat section.

He admits others have the abs…but he has the titles.

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Stephen Colbert’s Real Man Workout

This is pure silliness in the midst of an ongoing feud between Sean Hannity and Stephen Colbert. Sean has lost 30 pounds and explains how he did it with a program of street martial arts, including “blade and firearms training.” Stephen makes tremendous fun of it, including an image showing how using your trigger finger can give you a six pack! Go right to 1:49 to see the mockery begin.

six pack from trigger finger workouts

six pack from trigger finger workouts

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Too Much Discipline Cracks Up Palace Guard On Sentry Duty

One must admire the discipline required to be a soldier marching or standing at attention in front of places like The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier or Buckingham Palace. It’s amazing how a human can be so rigid, not smile as tourists taunt them, ignore the rain and snow and cold and heat, make their body perform repetitively and control their brains to not flip out. I don’t grasp it. Truthfully I would crack up within minutes. But obviously there are proud soldiers who volunteer for these honored posts.

Recently however, it appears that one guard who made the cut did have a modified breakdown on duty in England. Check out his antics worthy of a John Cleese comedy. Here are excerpts from an article that gives more details.

A source said that while the video may be entertaining, the incident is being taken ‘extremely seriously’ by army top brass. “It’s very serious,” the source said. “Those guards are there to guard the palace, not entertain tourists. I don’t want to downplay the gravitas of the situation.”

The three-minute video clip shows the soldier, wearing his his red tunic and bearskin, perform a series of stunts for onlooking tourists

The guard is first seen marching up and down the gravel forecourt, before breaking into pirouettes.

He can then seen picking up something from the floor and putting it in his pocket.

The soldier launches into a comical strut and pretends to polish his guard box with his knuckles.

Tourists can be heard laughing in the background, with one child saying: “Look at him spinning. That’s really silly. Do you think he will get told off for it by the policeman?”

His comical antics come to an end once the guard retreats to his box after giving his fellow guardsman a thumbs-up.

Orders for the duty which are read out before each two-hour shift and state: “You may not eat, sleep, smoke, stand easy, sit or lie down during your tour of duty.”

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How I Was Kidnapped For Ransom Money Because Of My One-Handed Tennis Backhand

Stan and his backhand

Stan and his backhand

I experienced a very discombobulating adventure the other day during my second visit ever to the US Open tennis tournament. I went with some tennis buddies who have gone annually for decades and knew their way around.

Prior to going, I had viewed an interactive graphic about the one-handed backhand (OHB) tennis swing that is a dying stroke. It’s what I do, although almost no one learns it anymore…the two-hander is easier to master. But world number 4, Stan Wawrinka, won the Aussie Open last year with one of the most beautiful OHB in the game. So imagine how excited I was to read that Stan was playing in Arthur Ashe stadium, and I could watch him live from my seat.

Surprise! There are maybe 18 courts at the Billie Jean Tennis Center with so much simultaneous action you are frustrated often about who to watch next. And you are right up close to the players in these outer courts and smaller stadiums, rather than practically touching clouds in the uppermost cheaper seats we had at Arthur Ashe. So my group watched Andy Murray, Jo Willie Tsonga, Juan Monaco, Angelique Kerber and many other top-ranked players everywhere except Arthur Ashe. I loved it.

But around 4:00, I left my fellow enthusiasts, said that I had to see Stan the Man and mentioned that my cell phone was running out of battery. No problem, just meet us at Parking lot “F” at 6:00. Easy.

Off I went to admire Stan’s graceful OHB and try to learn how I might do what he does. It’s so elegant and powerful. You never see it on TV the way you can live. A real highlight of the day. At 5:30 I headed alone to the parking lot, following a map and guidance from a policeman and many US Open staff members. Still no problem…until I didn’t remember all the grass and trees when I was walking that morning from Lot “F” to the tennis courts. Nor did I recognize the lot when I was taken there by the shuttle bus. It was totally under the highway, rather than open to the sky as I remembered. Sim the driver drove me all around it. But nothing looked familiar.

Was I in a dream? Had I lost my mind? Intense disorientation. With my phone dead by now, I asked the bus driver if he would call my buddy on his mobile. Sure, but Sim only reached voice mail. A second call to a different friend resulted in the driver being told that he had the wrong number. Very strange, because Sim said he dialed the number I gave him. When I dialed the second number, I reached my friend and told him I was “lost.” I’d gone to the lot, been looking for almost half an hour, but still couldn’t find him. Where was he?

Only when I handed the phone back to Sim did he realize that my friends were parked in a DIFFERENT Lot “F”!!! There are two of them, and my buddies never realized that during 25 years of attending the Open: I was directed to the lot that caters to the tennis center. They always parked in another lot nearby that serves Citi-Field, the home of the New York Mets baseball team. As Clint Eastwood’s character responded in one of his films, “What a clusterfuck!”

When I finally headed back to the US Open exit/entrance and walked a bit to the left out the gate instead of a partial right, I found my mates, and heard their version of what happened. My first friend Phil hadn’t recognized Sim’s phone number, so he didn’t take the call. My second friend Y heard the strange message and ethnic accent, so he thought it was a wrong number. Then the first said he heard the message and became very concerned and nervous. Here is what he heard: “Hello Phil, this is Sim, and I have Ira here in the car. We are driving around, and he wants to talk to you.” Phil thought I had been kidnapped, and when he spoke to Y, they were both disturbed by this total stranger with a foreign accent using their names and stating that “Ira” was in his car. My buddies were sure Sim was going to ask for a ransom!

When I asked them how much they thought the ransom would be, I imagined they’d say $5-10,000. But no such luck, they figured my life was only worth $200. That gave us another laugh. Phil said with a dying phone, I should have stuck to the group “like Velcro.” Friend Y never realized that I would go to the wrong Lot “F,” because he didn’t know it existed. So he never mentioned Citi-Field.

And that is how my desire to improve my OHB caused my friends to decide that I was kidnapped for a ransom.

An unexpected conclusion to a great day of tennis. And an hour later Sim called to make sure I’d found my friends. Unforgettably nice guy. I hope he never finds this story and learns how misunderstood he was and how confused some Connecticut tennis players can be, when they make it to Queens in New York…

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Bad News For Wingsuiter

Here is an unexpected accident that resulted from a daredevil wingsuiter flyby…

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Ping Pong Champion

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Father’s Day Dancetime

Pretty funny. Enjoy Jimmy Fallon bopping and boogieing with Chris Christie. Very clever…great that the gov can laugh at himself…good exercise too

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Contemporary Dance Mockery

A friend sent me this razzing video breaking down contemporary dance moves for better understanding and to help newbie choreographers. It’s all ridiculous and funny buffoonery, so you might enjoy this putdown and ribbing of modern dance. An unfortunate possible result is that you will see your next performance with a new brain that doesn’t take any of it seriously.

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You Have To Laugh At Life

hahahahahahaha. Ya got me!

So just ONE day after my last post about how fragile Life can be, I start having shooting pains in my abdomen—about 12 of them over the last three days. Like an ice pick stabbing in my right side. Of course it’s the weekend, so I don’t rush to the doctor. But should I go to the emergency ward?

And I had just had two really intense workouts, so I was admiring my abs and feeling strong and healthy. By yesterday I was reading about appendicitis, hernia, diverticulitis, colon cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, looking at pictures of human anatomy, changing my diet, wondering how I could have an ulcer, fearing I am bleeding internally, thinking maybe I tore muscles, also feeling slight tingling up my right side and extending to my triceps. I mean this is crazy. I am SO healthy.

Yet here I am worrying about illness and death. Terrible. Are all these fears just a few millimeters below the surface of my daily mental life? Are these the anxieties I and others live with all the time? Pathetic. But nerve wracking.

So I changed my diet immediately, because the pains often came on when I started eating. I gave up gas-producing carbohydrates. I threw out some prepared foods. I drank more water. I semi-fasted. I skipped a daily yogurt. Maybe I was having modest food-poisoning? Maybe I had caught an intestinal bug. I didn’t have fever, shakes, dizziness, etc.

For the moment I feel OK. But these kinds of extreme frights are ridiculous. How do I stop them?

…20 minutes after writing this, I read a column about trauma that started like this and just embarrasses my feeling any anxiety about a few stomach pains. Life is fragile and also totally relative.

Tragedy has twice visited the Woodiwiss family. In 2008, Anna Woodiwiss, then 27, was working for a service organization in Afghanistan. On April 1, she went horseback riding and was thrown, dying from her injuries. In 2013, her younger sister Catherine, then 26, was biking to work from her home in Washington. She was hit by a car and her face was severely smashed up. She has endured and will continue to endure a series of operations. For a time, she breathed and ate through a tube, unable to speak. The recovery is slow.

…two days after writing this, the nurse practitioner at the doctor’s office told me I had probably strained a muscle, and I should take it easy for a few days: fewer reps, less weight, if I insist on my daily exercising. Today is the 27th, and I seem to be healing…

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Rubik’s Cube Athletics

Looking through my Carnegie Mellon Alumni publication, I found a story about a junior who competes to solve the Rubik’s cube faster than anyone. His best is 6.23 seconds. But that is when he uses his hands. It takes him much longer, when he uses only his feet: about a minute, though his average for three attempts at the competition written about was 2 1/2 minutes. The world record is 28 seconds! He also competes in a blindfolded competition and a one-handed contest. And he practices solving the cube about 100 times a day. We humans sure have interesting pursuits and can do amazing accomplishments with out bodies. I just never thought of this kind of feet competition…did you? You can see all the different kinds and the world records right here. Above is a video of how it’s done with your feet:

When you solve the cube blindfolded, there are no tactile differences. The clock starts when you inspect the cube, memorize all the positions, and then solve it without looking. Check this out:

Staring intently at a scrambled Rubik’s Cube, Evan Liu (S’15) calculates the first move he will make. The CMU computational finance major is not alone in his concentration; he is among a group of competitors throughout the region who are vying to be the fastest at color-coordinating the cube’s six sides. But that’s only part of the challenge. For this particular event, the competitors have to do it with their feet. This could take all day.

The timer starts and Liu presses the puzzle against the ground. One foot holds the cube in place while the big toe of his other foot skillfully turns the colored squares. Amazingly, all the colors align in 91 seconds. His three-attempt average is less than two and a half minutes, about 30 seconds faster than the second-place finisher. Clearly, the Rubik’s Cube is no toy in the hands, or feet, of these competitors.

Liu can’t rest on his laurels; there are a total of nine events, everything from the one-handed challenge to the Rubik’s Clock. In addition, Liu organized the event for “speed cubers” like himself, so he has to make sure everything goes smoothly. Held in CMU’s University Center, the day’s contests are sanctioned by the World Cube Association, which unites all speed cubers and keeps records of the times at each event. Since his first competition in 2009, Liu has been solving the standard Rubik’s Cube about 100 times a day for practice. His personal record when using his hands is 6.23 seconds. Seriously!

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Two Ways To Be Thin

Millions of chubby, plump and overweight humans want to lose weight, but they can’t. I have always been impressed with how hard it is for most people. They need more powerful motivation. I read decades ago that most people can’t save money…until they want to buy a house and need a down payment. With that kind of goal, they are able to save. What does it really take to inspire an average person to eat less and exercise more? What will do it in a majority of cases.

I am constantly awed by movie stars who want to be hired for a particular role, and somehow have minimal problems dropping 20-50 pounds. Either money, ego or a great acting part can keep some actors from eating more than 600 calories a day! Below are some incredible examples of actor weight loss.

However the video above shows how anyone can look thinner…at least for some situations. Try it at home, and see if it works!

Matthew McConaughey lost 40 pounds

Matthew McConaughey lost 40 pounds

Matt Damon lost 40 pounds

Matt Damon lost 40 pounds

Tom Hanks had to first GAIN 50 pounds and then lose it all

Tom Hanks had to first GAIN 50 pounds and then lose it all

Christian Bale lost 63 pounds

Christian Bale lost 63 pounds

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Unbelievable Athletic Achievement

Been away for two weeks and just about caught up. But have to show you this astonishing achievement by a very avid horseback rider. Will wonders never cease? A fabulous Halloween week picture from Central Park, NY by Bill Cunningham:


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Mother’s Day Roundup

think you can stop one of these horses when it wants to run away?  How about three of them without halters?

think you can stop one of these horses when it wants to run away? How about three of them without halters?

There are times in my life, when I feel no one else in the world—or very few people—are doing what I am doing at that exact moment. I once assured my lawyer that I was his only client that day—or ever—cleaning the inside of a horse’s sheath (the tubular skin that houses the penis). He agreed. I often told myself that no other CEO’s were mucking horse manure, when I had to do that chore.

I was reminded four days ago of those rare and special moments. Strange how many of them involve horses. We left the house just in time to head for my mother-in-law’s Mother’s Day lunch at her nursing home. Well into her 80’s, she is easily unsettled if we are late to the dining room. Just as we were about to drive off, I heard that a pair of sunglasses was missing. “Grandma is going to be upset,” I announced. And I waited for my passenger to make the trip back inside to search for the needed opticals. Thank goodness for this few seconds delay.

When we finally set off, I looked to the left and saw three Cleveland Bay horses staring at us from the driveway. It took me a few seconds to realize they had escaped from their fenced-in pasture. The last time this happened, two of them were in open fields and took almost an hour to round up. They looked great cantering through the tall summer grass. But it’s no joke if they make it to the road and are hit by a car.

this gives you an idea how big  a Cleveland Bay horse is

this gives you an idea how big a Cleveland Bay horse is

Now we had three mares wondering how they got there and what they should do. I quickly made a sharp turn to block one stone-wall opening, hopped out of the car, and tried unsuccessfully to prevent the lead mare from going though the other opening of our circular driveway and head down toward the road. Did you ever try to stop a 16-hand-high frolicking horse with your bare hands? Helluva trick. Impossible. “Grandma is really going to be pissed,” I thought.

“How did they get out?” my daughter asked innocently. “Doesn’t matter now,” I blurted, “We have to get them back inside.” You can really see the pragmatist side of me in moments like this one.I raced the car to the barn, picked out some neck ropes and threw grain into a bucket.”This is going to be quite a trick,” I thought, running through the fields after “wild” horses in my loafers and dress-up clothes.

But miraculously, shaking the grain bucket worked like a snake charmer. Those horses heard that food 200 yards away and came right back toward the barn. My daughter blocked one other passageway by standing in it with both arms spread out asking, “What do I do if they charge me?” “Get out of the way,” I told her, as I put a neck rope around one horse chomping grain and led her into the stable. The other two followed automatically. All three horses were soon in their stalls, and we were driving towards Grandma’s luncheon.

The whole incident lasted less than 10 minutes. We couldn’t believe what had just happened, and it all seemed surreal. Now who do you know who started their Mother’s Day like that? A small adventure in a somewhat special day made even more special and unforgettable, because someone left open a gate and someone else wanted her sunglasses. The difference a few seconds can make. If we had left an instant earlier, no one would have been there to stop those horses from running free all over the farm and maybe into the road. Lucky break.

I was proud that I knew what to do, was unafraid to do it, and saw that it worked. A non-event if you are a rancher or handling horses every day. But I am not and don’t, and was pleased how far I’d come from a small house on Miami Beach, where I grew up with frogs and pollywogs.

What did you do on Mother’s Day? Chase any horses? Wrestle some alligators?

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Love This Doctor!

He gives great advice

He gives great advice

A friend sent me this advice from a doctor he met. I love the insights and contrarian views.

Q: Doctor, I’ve heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life. Is this true?
A: Heart only good for so many beats, and that it… Don’t waste on exercise. Everything wear out eventually. Speeding up heart not make you live longer; it like saying you extend life of car by driving faster. Want to live longer? Take nap.

Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?
A: Oh no. Wine made from fruit. Brandy distilled wine, that mean they take water out of fruity bit so you get even more of goodness that way. Beer also made of grain. Bottom up!

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?
A: Well, if you have body and you have fat, your ratio one to one. If you have two body, your ratio two to one.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?
A: Can’t think of single one, sorry. My philosophy: No pain…good!

Q: Aren’t fried foods bad for you?
A: YOU NOT LISTENING! Food fried in vegetable oil. How getting more vegetable be bad?

Q : Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?
A: Oh no! When you exercise muscle, it get bigger. You should only be doing sit-up if you want bigger stomach.

Q: Is chocolate bad for me?
A: You crazy?!? HEL-LO-O!! Cocoa bean! Another vegetable! It best feel-good food around!

Q: Is swimming good for your figure?
A: If swimming good for figure, explain whale to me.

Q: Is getting in shape important for my lifestyle?
A: Hey! ‘Round’ is shape!

Well… I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets.


Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways – Chardonnay in one hand – chocolate in the other – body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming “WOO-HOO, what a ride!!”


For those of you who watch what you eat, here’s the final word on nutrition and health. It’s a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting nutritional studies.

1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

4. The Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans…

5. The Germans drink a lot of beer and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

CONCLUSION: Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.

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From Obscurity To Celebrity Via A Gas Pump

Ahh life can be so great at times. Now I can’t call these moves dancing and there is very little that any objective person would call athletic. I could mention that she is a fitness trainer. But there is such joy and spontaneity and innovation here. Watch when the man starts dancing with a gas pump hose. Hilarious and upbeat as can be.

It’s an episode of Pumpcast News (I’d never heard of it) in which drivers filling their gas tanks are talked to live by the man on the tv screen above the pump. Their shock is videoed and broadcast later on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

This couple was so special that they were actually invited on to the real show, were introduced by Jay and sang there on national TV to a standing, clapping moving audience. All as entertaining as some athletes I watch on TV, and they really have the moves.

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Nailed It

Here are various athletic achievements people excel at…from flips over approaching cars to extinguishing candle flames with a flicked card:

I spend hours every week practicing tennis…but I love the competitive aspect of the points and the various unexpected shots I have to return successfully. Somehow devoting hours and hours to going down stairs by just sliding down the edges of the steps is not worthwhile to me…but it certainly looks cool. Some of these, however, are definitely sports achievements…

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Motivations to Lift Weights

gym inspiration

gym inspiration

Saw this and am lifting weights right now…with breaks to post this picture…

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Oh No! I Am Going To Die!

Went to the doctor for my annual physical today…he gave me an A+ and said of all his patients in their 70’s, I am in the best shape. Unimpressed, I asked him about his patients in their 60’s, and he said I am near the top of that group too. Everything looked good…as usual. All the exercise and healthy eating is still paying off.

I had just spent a week in Florida visiting my old high school classmates. One was lucky to be alive after serious health issues and weeks in the hospital. I hope I can hug all those guys again next visit in the fall and that none have passed on to loftier pastures. One said he doesn’t recognize his face in the mirror. I told him to start “youthing” the image by coloring his hair, so it isn’t all white. The guy who’d been hospitalized said he didn’t have any hair left to color!

On the way out of the doctor’s office, feeling pretty happy with the doctor’s comments, a staff member suddenly yelled back anxiously that I couldn’t go yet. The doctor needed to talk to me. Uh oh. This has never happened in 20 years.

So back to the examining room to wait impatiently. My blood pressure had tested 20 points higher than the year before: 130/70 up from 110/70. Maybe there was something wrong with my heart. Unlike previous visits, the doctor had been so prompt that the EKG was taken after he examined me, rather than before. So I guessed he had looked at it and seen a problem. Now he was going to give me the bad news. Ten minutes earlier I was talking about living to 90 or 100. Now I feared he was going to tell me to go to a specialist, a heart surgeon, who knows what.

Two weeks ago a friend went for her annual physical feeling fine. She had major surgery a week later. Tomorrow another friend will have surgery. I know of a number of people who feel fine, go to their physical and learn that they have terminal illnesses. WHY DOES MY DOCTOR NEED TO TALK TO ME AGAIN? WHAT THE HELL COULD BE WRONG? I am too agitated to sit, so I pace around heading towards a panic.

The medical assistant comes in and places the paper print out of my EKG on the table. I look at it, trying to decipher the peaks and valleys. Two lines look totally uniform. But two others have spikes in just two places. Another line has descendant drops in just two places. Has my heart failed? Are my tennis days over? Will I need surgery? Take a deep breath or three and calm down. But this has never happened before. Is this a panic attack? Where the hell is the doctor? Rehearsing his speech to tell me that I have a serious problem?

He comes in at last after maybe 10 lifetime minutes. He looks at the EKG. Three seconds later he casually announces that the paper copy confirms his earlier exam. ” You’re fine. See you in a year.” We shake hands, and he heads for the next room. He has no idea what I went through. A woman friend tells me this is what she goes through every time she has a mammogram.

Painful. Horrible. But I am relieved that my conscientiousness about health, diet and exercise—combined with good genes—keeps me going without grief and justified anxiety…

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Is Thin Better Than Fat If You Are The State Governor?

Today’s Gail Collins’ always-humorous essay, titled “Fitness for Office,” touches on the relationship between politicians’ weight, fitness and their governing record. Lots of smiles. Here are some of the best excerpts.

Governor Chris Christie (who is obese) says he’s very healthy and that “there is a plan” for losing weight. But there is also a plan for totally funding the state employee pension system. I wouldn’t hold your breath.

There’s a national accord that thin is generally better than fat. However, it’s hardly the biggest issue when you’re picking a governor. There are citizens all over the country who would trade their more compact leaders for Christie in a second. Just ask somebody in Pennsylvania. Or Illinois. The guy in Florida has the physique of a greyhound and the state is totally miserable.

In 2006, New Yorkers elected Eliot Spitzer, a man who could not possibly have looked fitter. We probably had the best B.M.I. in the National Governors Association. Just over a year later, he was gone in a sex scandal. You had to wonder if exceptional leanness might occasionally be accompanied by exceptional friskiness. As we all know, a governor in South Carolina once vanished for what his staff claimed were body-toning hikes on the Appalachian Trail when he was actually committing adultery in Argentina.

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Danger Lesson At The Squash Court

After my first squash clinic of the year, seven-year-old Alexander challenged me to a game. I have lost to a 10-year-old in the past, so I sized up this younger opponent and beat him 11-1. Then he told me it was the second game of his life and the first day he ever played. How did I lose a point!

A friend who had been talking with this aggressive youngster told me that the kid had volunteered his goal to become a Formula-1 race car driver. “That sounds pretty dangerous,” my friend had told him. “Not as dangerous,” Alexander answered, “as flying to the moon!”

Out of the mouths of babes come wonderful gems. They spit them out as effortlessly as a cough and a sneeze. Too funny.

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