Tuesday, January 31, 2017


6 Sets, 3 reps of Push Press (increase weight every other round)
Run 1/4 mile (roughly) downhill  to Soccer Field for:
10 Tire Flips
21 Push Ups (feet on tire)
8 Tire Flips
15 Push-ups (f.o.t.)
6 Tire Flips
9 Push-ups (f.o.t.)
Run 1/4 mile (roughly) uphill  to Fitness Center

 (about 20 minutes total)

Freedom, In A Blue Sky

A beautiful moment: free-flying birds, dreamy clouds and Luna

photocredit: Leslie

Monday, January 30, 2017

Wishlist: Rower

I enjoy the rower because I can put on my music (loud) and just go until I feel "mighty."
2.4 miles in 20 minutes. Hey, at least it's something.
How did you play hard today?

Highly Recommended Book

Thinking back over all the books I've read (and I'm confident I've forgotten most of them), this one book stands out as perhaps my all-time favorite because it contains just about everything that makes an epic. "Undaunted Courage," by Stephen Ambrose.

It was the title that grabbed me.
"Undaunted" -- not intimidated or discouraged by difficulty, danger, or disappointment.
"Courage" -- ability to "do" in the face of danger; strength in the face of pain or grief.

Ambrose is my favorite historian, for he writes like a novelist (I've already shared one of his books in a previous blog). My understanding is that when he was still teaching, Ambrose took one of his college classes along portions of the Lewis and Clarke trail, so he knows what he is talking about. Perhaps you've not read Ambrose, but most are familiar with his work as he served as consultant for the movie, "Saving Private Ryan."

Another factor that contributed to my intrigue is that my first exposure to this work was via Dick Estell's "Radio Reader" on NPR. Every weekday, I arrived early enough at work to get lost somewhere in the warehouse for a half hour as Dick read. I was spellbound.

I appreciate the work Ambrose put into this work, for he gives us a close look at Meriwether Lewis from the expedition that opened the American West to the personal life of the man at home. Ambrose paints a detailed portrait of a man who, once he had his heart set on a prize, accomplished his missions with bravery, tenacity and diplomacy.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Please Make This Movie!

"Rendevous With Rama" by Arthur C. Clarke

And would you please give Frank Herbert's "Dune" a re-boot?
Thank you very much.
Have a Nice Day. 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Making Chalk Outlines For Dead Weakness

The Book That Made A Lasting Impression

Much to learn about our country in this book, many unexpected lessons about the relationship between Native American peoples, the U.S. Government, it's officers, American ideals and the American Dream. The title of this work points to the uncanny relationship shared between these historical figures--their similitude and differences.

I highly recommend "Crazy Horse and Custer: Parallel Lives Of Two American Warriors" (1975) by Steven Ambrose.

Be sure to pick up other works by Ambrose as well, namely, "Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West" (1996)

Friday, January 27, 2017

Great WOD to End The Week

For Time:
  • 100 Upright Row (45#)
  • 50 abmat sit-ups
  • 1000m run
  • 50 abmat sit-ups
  • 100 Upright Row (45#)
Including warm-up, finished in 30'14". 
How did you play hard today? 

Strangest Book Title

"Through Missouri On A Mule. Worse Than Arkansas" by Thomas W. Jackson (1904)

What's the strangest title you've seen?

Leave mention in the "comments" (below)

Thursday, January 26, 2017

That "Mighty" Feeling

Finally able to get back in the gym this week. With the arrival of our new grand baby, fitness took an extended rest for a couple days there.

Knocked out 5 Rounds in 8'30" of

  • 10 alt DB snatch (5 each arm @40#) 
  • 10 box jump overs
After a short break we did a 3'26" Push-up challenge to Moby's song, "Flower". Haven't done that in a while. It was fun doing earth-downs, feeling the "mighty" flow back in to the veins. 

Enjoy The Champ (Rich Froning) doing a Snatch Complex:

A Book With A Surprising Twist . . .

 . . . in a place one would not expect to find it. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

A Book I've Been Wanting To Read For A Long Time And Still Haven't But It's Sitting On My Bedside Table In Case I Get A Chance

"An unconventional history of the United States traces crime in America from the Puritans through Watergate and considers the special-interest groups who have at one time or another defined what is legal and what is not."

Monday, January 23, 2017

Fitness Inspiration and Motivation

For those moments when you need to dig deeper to make the change you want to see. Even when you rest (and rest can be just as difficult as training), remember it's all part of what you are trying to achieve. Play Hard!


Poppa WOD today

While grandbaby #5 enters the world, I'm watching my gran'daughters, doing as many rounds as possible of:

Go outside, go inside, make a snack, go potty, Finias and Ferb, Zootopia, Minions, karaoke and who knows what else.

One of us needs a nap.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Favorite Romance Novel

While I don't have a favorite romance novel per se there are two romantic stories penned by the same author that do come to mind that I am not ashamed to admit. While both tales are written by J.R.R. Tolkien, the stories occur at two different time periods in the history of the world and, interestingly, contain the same elements--the love of a mortal man for an Elvin princess.

Beren is a war hero of sorts, and Luthien is the daughter of King Thingol. Beren fell in love the moment he saw Luthien dancing in a glade. Enraptured with her grace and beauty, he called out to his "Nightingale" and she in turn, fell in love with him. King Thingol disapproved of the matter and sent Beren on an errand to prove his worth--retrieve three Simirils, jewels once stolen from the elves. Beren does not complete the errands but his dedication causes King Thingol to change his mind and permits Luthien's marriage to Beren.

Not long after, Beren is killed and Luthien mourns her lover with a grief so deep that her immortality breaks and she too dies. Mandar (keeper of the house of the dead) is so greatly moved that he returns life to the lovers who both live a long life and die natural deaths.

The second tale (much like the first) is most well-known thanks to The Lord Of The Rings movies--being the love story of Aragorn and Arwen. Some critics say the story of Beren and Luthien was the model for Aragorn and Arwen's story but one might consider the evidence that shows such a fantastic love story occuring twice in Tolkien's long history. After all, it is fantasy.

My understanding is that a stand-alone book telling the tale of Beren and Luthien will be released May of 2017.

Friday, January 20, 2017


This was a fun team WOD. We did (in relay fashion):

  • 12 Upright rows (45# bare bar)
  • 12 Kettle bell Swings (mine was 40#)
  • 12 Wall Ball (that basketball is 20# of dirt)
  • 12 Knee to Elbows. Workin' them abs!
With four of us taking turns, we managed to squeeze out 4 rounds. 
Feeling Mighty! 

A Good Book Turned A Good Movie

Thursday, January 19, 2017

USMC Mud Run

Received an invitation to participate in what will be my third USMC Mud Run this May!
You bet I'm going!

This fellow did an awesome job shooting some of the obstacles in this 6 1/2 mile course. Enjoy!


Happy Birthday, Edgar Allan Poe!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

"It'll Be A Light Week" They Said

Ok, so I get this message from my buddy saying we will be having a "light" week. After today's WOD, I determined he must have been referring to those periods when the sun was out or something. Today we did:

  • 20 hanging knee raises 
  • 10 L-arm overhead walking lunge steps (45/30#) 
  • 10 R-arm overhead walking lunge steps 
It was fun, actually! But not "light"!
Managed to squeeze out 4 rounds. 

Favorite Quote From A Book

"Into The Wild" by John Krakauer

Monday, January 16, 2017

Rest Day?

How about a "low impact" day. 30 minutes on the elliptical again. CrossFit the rest of the week, to keep up that "mighty" feeling!

Favorite Literary Female Character

"The Lady Of Shalott" is my favorite female literary character.

Published in 1832 by Alfred Lord Tennyson, "The Lady of Shalott" is based on a figure that pre-dates the thirteenth century and is found in Arthurian legends. Dreamboat Annie (of Green Gables fame) gives us a wonderfully heartfelt and pleasantly comedic re-enactment of the Lady's story.

"The fairy Lady of Shalott" lives under an unknown curse in one of four towers overlooking a river flowing along the roadside leading to Camelot. She is locked away and out of touch with the outside world for reasons unknown.

As she weaves at her loom, her gaze of what lies outside is limited to what she can see over her shoulder by way of a mirror reflection through her window. One day she sees the colorful and decorated knight Lancelot ride by with bells on, singing. As he "flashe'd into the crystal mirror," she is smitten. Taking the unknown curse on herself the Lady abandons her loom, leaves her tower and sets off to find the man who captured her heart.

Finding a boat, she carves her name in the side and sets herself adrift to Camelot to find her knight--or die trying. Her body is found adrift with a note on her chest--the curse is broken at last.

Speculation and discussion is high over the meaning of this simple four stanza ballad. Whatever the meaning, the scenes are beautifully inspiring as artists have dedicated years of their lives painting their interpretations. And as if under an unknown curse, few died before finishing their work, just as the Lady passes before landing in Camelot.

Yes, "The Lady Of Shalott" is not a book, but "Anne of Green Gables" is and Anne played The Lady once. And I highly favor "Dreamboat Annie" too. So there. 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Favorite Literary Male Character

Samwise Gamgee is my favorite literary male character. He is the true Ring Bearer and hero of Tolkien's story. He may not have carried the ring personally, but he did carry the ring in a manner of speaking--for without Sam, Frodo would never have survived the journey.

His humility and purity of heart enabled him to be the hero nobody expected, which is why Sauron never saw him coming. And it was that same purity that allowed him to survive that brief encounter with the ring, when he saw all the world at his feet.

In the end, his reward was almost heavenly for once returning home he inherits all the treasures acquired by Bilbo, becomes mayor of the Shire and enjoys years peaceful prosperity.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Make It Work!

Console doesn't work but that doesn't mean I can't. A solid half hour of sweat and loud music--burned it up!

Book Turned Into A Bad Movie

Vogons may have the worst poetry in the universe, but somehow we Earthlings managed to make the worst book-to-movies in the universe. Did you notice the plural "movies"?

Yeah. We didn't make just one. There are too many bad book-to-movie movies. A simple Google search will provide one with a good (or bad) list of titles.

I've tried to select one or three to discuss here, but why bother? They were bad. I'm sure you've been disappointed as well--why not leave titles of your favorite picks here in the comments?

Friday, January 13, 2017

Brownie and Ice Cream

I did yoga twice today. TWICE!
I deserve this!

Favorite Authors

(in no particular order)

John Steinbeck
Edgar Allen Poe
Samuel Beckett
Ray Bradbury
J.R.R. Tolkien
Piers Anthony
Isaac Asimov
Arthur C. Clarke
Louis L'Amour
William Shakespeare
John Krakauer
Alfred Lord Tennyson
Richard Wright
Howard Pyle (his illustrations are amazing)
Steven Ambrose
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

I just know I'm forgetting someone . . .

Thursday, January 12, 2017


One fellow just getting started with our CrossFit group made mention that training was like being in Purgatory. I never thought of our sessions as a ski resort, but ok . . .

Today we killed it with 7x5 Bench Presses followed by a WOD of 5 rounds of 12 burpees and 70 Single Jump Ropes. Finished the main WOD in 13:36.

Beautiful Full Moon

The Book I Love To Hate

"1984" by George Orwell is the book I love to hate.

Orwell gave us a masterpiece, pure genius as a kind of interpretation and commentary of where we were headed as a society--and we did arrive . . . not exactly a prophetic work, but we've been holding our breath since it's publication because many images are startling.

No matter how many times I've read it, I always root for Winston. I have to. For all that he symbolizes for "any man," I ache for him to win. But he never wins, and I hate that.

I'll probably read it again some day.
And perhaps I'll be hoping things change for Winston.
But they won't. And I know that.

And I hate that.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

How Does This Happen?

Yeah, so that happened yesterday. Never done that before. What's more embarrassing is that I lead our noon group, so no backing out.

Box jumps in socks is no fun.
Knees told me about it later.
But that was mostly due the walking lunges.

Anyway, here was today's dog food (finished in 16:03):

4x10 Sumo Deadlifts then "Jackie" for time:
  • 1000m row (sub with 100 UR Rows @ 45#)
  • 50 Thrusters (45#)
  • 30 pullups

Wasn't Wild About This One, But It's Still Classic

Nathaniel Hawthorne's "House Of The Seven Gables" is not one of my favorites. It's a Gothic classic, but not one of those books that "dropped my anchor" personally (so to speak).

Suggested by a very real house in Salem, Massachusetts the first chapter of Hawthorne's fiction published in 1851 lays the foundation of the dark story, delivering through a kind of twisted excitement the mystery and the curse on the family that resided therein, who in the end find their freedom by abandoning the house. This work is perhaps simultaneously both unknown and most well known influences of idea of "the haunted house." Edgar Allen Poe and H.P. Lovecraft are among those inspired by Hawthorne's novel.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow called the book, "weird" and "wild." Another critic called the book "an affliction . . . [that] affects one like a passage through the wards of an insane asylum." Though a friend of Hawthorne, Herman Melville offered what is perhaps the most accurate review of Hawthorne's work stating, "There is a certain tragic phase of humanity which, in our opinion, was never more powerfully embodied than by Hawthorne. We mean the tragicalness [sic] of human thought in its own unbiased, native, and profounder workings. We think that into no recorded mind has the intense feeling of the visible truth ever entered more deeply than into this man's."

If one desires to be exposed to good literature, this work should not be overlooked, but be prepared for the journey. Read it in daylight, with the windows open.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


I love it when my shake does not mix well and you get that tasty lump of protein in your mouth.

My favorite.

Anyway . . . here's WOD was for lunch:

Strength Training: 5x4 Overhead squats
then AMRAP 20
  • 5 Hang Power Clean to Overhead (95 to 110#)
  • 10 box jump overs
  • 20 walking lunge steps

A Book With Surprising Lessons

At first, I was not sure what to think. Many books in the box were written by the same author, which got me wondering if that was a good sign or a bad sign for this book sale. I realized the person selling the books was a former professor, well past retirement age, and I reasoned that this man does not read garbage and was "cleaning house." So I bought up every book he being sold authored by Richard Wright. And I devoured every book by Richard Wright.

"Uncle Tom's Children" stands out as the work that was most educational. I did not what to expect or think from the outset. This collection of fictional short stories are as brutally honest as his non-fiction. I read this after reading Wright's biographical work, "Black Boy" and was stunned by what Wright delivered. I have been educated.

My appreciation for a time, people and culture has been significantly and positively impacted by Wright's descriptive writing. He takes the reader by the hand and shows us the dirt, the blood, the smell of sweat in houses and kitchens, the feel of the heat of the day and the oppressive darkness of night. Wright introduces us to men and women who live, thrive or die trying.

My opinion is that students of literature and/or American history should read one or more of Richard Wright's works. Especially these generations so far removed from the source material.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Welcome to Monday WOD

6x3 Back Squat then

200 Single Jump Rope
21 Dead Lift (135#)
42 push-ups
15 Dead Lift (135#)
30 push-ups
9 Dead Lift (135#)
18 push-ups
200 Single Jump Rope

Finished in 15:03. 

And The Award For The Most Overrated Book Goes To . . .

Anything supposedly written by James Patterson.

Carry on.
Nothing more to see here.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

My Laughing Book

"Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy" by Douglas Adams.

How could anyone not love this book? This avid Pink Floyd fan who wrote three Doctor Who episodes and helped springboard many computer games is a force to be considered! This man understood things!

Consider Adams' keen skill of observation. "The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don’t."

Or his "theory of the Universe" theory: "There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened."

Or his definition of "space" which is "big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.”

Or his simple philosophy on life, "how just when you think life can’t possibly get any worse it suddenly does.”

Or his description of reality. "Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?"

Perhaps the most meaningful statement in all that Adams offers is this: "There is a moment in every dawn when light floats, there is the possibility of magic. Creation holds its breath."

Saturday, January 07, 2017

My Sad Book

"The Good Earth" by Pearl S. Buck stands out as my sad book. Mine is not a sorrowful depressive kind of sadness expressed in tearfulness, but is rather the sadness of a kind of empathy.

No matter what happens to a man, the earth will always produce. The earth is good, but life is hard. The story centers on Wang Lung, a man who rises and falls. He struggles to prosper and struggles in his prosperity. Wang Lung's story begins in the country and moves to the city--but Wang Lung's heart remains in the country. He wants the simplicity of what he once had, the wealth of the land--the wide open spaces, peace and safety.

Births, deaths, weddings, funerals, poverty, wealth, fidelity, betrayal--Wang Lung experiences a very full life--but what does it take to make a man happy? What brings satisfaction? The conclusion is reminiscent of Tolstoy, who answered the question in his short story of how much land a man really needs.

Friday, January 06, 2017

My Happy Book

No, it's not a book by or about Bob Ross.

My "Happy Book" is "Piggle" by Crosby Bonsall. Homer wants to play but nobody else does, so he falls asleep. Bear finds Homer and they play the best game ever: Piggle.

My grandparents gave me this book when I was very small and I was happy to pass it along to my children.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Favorite Book Of The Series

Yesterday I posted a brief overview of my favorite series of books. Today, I would like to highlight one of those books, which is perhaps my favorite from the list: "Moby Dick" by Herman Melville. This may be one of the greatest books ever written in all time, in any language.

I recall when first reading this book and how it kept me on the edge of my seat. As a father and home educator at the time, it seemed important that my children also experience this great work, for in it lies not only a good story but beautiful imagery, excellent writing style, humor, science, and of course, adventure. Reading the book to them out loud exposed passages and tones that I completely missed the first time and together we bit our nails, laughed and fell asleep in the boring parts.

I did not realize until much later that "Moby Dick" is far more than a story. It is a tale of a way of life, of a mindset, of a sub-culture that existed in but a spot of time in history. Certainly it was inspired by true events, but like a fantastic mural it portrays more than the eye at first glance can behold.

Melville tells the reader something of the whale in one paragraph that if the reader will pay attention, finds that the story is more than a tale of an albino mammal battling a scarred and obsessed sea captain. The symbol is rich and deep, describing the real-life struggle of any man. Of every man.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Favorite Series

My favorite book series is not a typical series. I was going to write how my favorite series is "Lord Of The Rings" and about all things "Tolkien"--but those books stand out as overly popular.

Next, I was going to describe how much I enjoyed Piers Anthony's "Apprentice Adept" series and imaginative blending of two worlds existing in the same place but in different dimensions--a truly fantastic series.

Instead I would like the highlight as my favorite series of books, "The Great Works of the Western World." Everything is here: religion, politics, poetry, science, ethics, philosophy, economics, mathematics, history, drama and more. A bible, if you will--books of books. In the Great Works one will experience a wide range of writings, from the Bible to Shakespeare, from Greeks to Germans, from tyrants to democrats, from the faithful to skeptics.

“This is more than a set of books, and more than a liberal education. Great Books of the Western World is an act of piety. Here are the sources of our being. Here is our heritage. This is the West. This is its meaning for mankind.” -Robert Hutchins

"In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but how many can get through to you." - Mortimer Adler

There is some debate as to which books should be included in the canon of Great Works, but one list of available free e-books can be found here.

If I had it to do all over again, I would attend St. John's College or Gutenberg College where the Great Books are the curriculum for life-long learners who seek to make a significant contribution to their world. 

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Another Look

Ever had one of those experiences that made such an impact that you just had to go back and do it again, and each time the experience was just as exhilarating as the first? Like going to the State Fair and riding that one ride that just had to be ridden again and again (to the dismay of the wallet)?

I've read books that have called me back again and again. No matter how many times I've read them, despite how much I know what's going to happen when I turn the page, these books have called out to me over the years and will never grow old.

"A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens is the first book to which I refer and one primary reason the book intrigues me is because I hold the opinion that Charles Dickens is the father of science fiction. Despite its' brief and simple story, the tale is packed with imagery that deserve another look. For example, why does a man who clings to his riches live in the servant quarters of the mansion? Dickens does not tell us this outright, but rather shows us in the early scene when the old miser arrives home and settles down for the night--and bells begin to ring.

The second book is Ray Bradbury's book, "The Illustrated Man". One may not realize at first but the two books discussed here have a few points of interest, namely that one very well could not have happened without the other. What I mean to say is that Dickens is more than the father of science fiction, he is specifically the father of time travel.

Bradbury gave us an amazing collection of short stories all hanging within the framework of another short story. And each story takes place in a different setting, in a different time--my most favorite being "Kaleidoscope".

In the comments below, take moment to mention the books you like--namely, the one you just can't put down! 

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