Archive for September, 2008


On Fitness and Diet

It was my father who first got me into fitness when I was young. Little boys want to be like Dad, and my Dad would do some pretty weird fitness routines when I was young. He was usually training for a canoe race, or just burning off excess physical energy.

He was a welder at St. Regis mill in Maine, and the men he worked with called him the Three Million Dollar Man. I’m not sure if he was half of Steve Austin’s height, or capabilities, but it didn’t matter to me: He was cool. He’d walk on his hands around the living room, or hold onto one toe while jumping over his leg with his one planted foot. All of this from a guy who was over 40. He had virtually no body fat either, and looked young enough that people used to think he was my older brother.

When we were out to camp, I’d be sitting on the beach and he’d wake up to me. “Time to go for a run, Doug.” We’d run around the lake on the beach. People would look at us like we were nuts. I guess we were. Then we’d paddle the canoe around the lake or we may paddle to some remote location like “Thirty Nine Tannery,” at which lie the ruins of an old tanning facility. I’d help port the canoe, which built some pretty tremendous upper-body strength for a 10 year old.

Because of all this, I always did really well in my fitness tests in Junior High and High School. I was a little kid, but it didn’t hold me back.

I think I was blessed with a combination of good genes, and a father who knew how to make exercise fun. There was always some random physical challenge he’d come up with, and he never shorted me on praise.

I think that the attitudes he passed down to me are still of help, as I routinely max my physical tests and am told that I look much younger than I am. So, from Dad I learned that physical training should be fun and random. One day I may lift weights, another I may go for a run or just a walk. I rock-climb, do body-weight exercises, just about everything you can imagine.

In recent years, two types of training have been of considerable benefit. The Combat Conditioning routines advocated by the controversial Matt Furey (It’s an all body weight routine) and working with Russian Kettlebells. Kettlebells are iron balls with handles on them. You can do various swings and presses wih them, and they build an excellent balance of strength and endurance. One other form of exercise that I like and science has proved to be a great training protocol, is interval sprinting and hill sprinting.

I plan to begin training with kettlebells again as soon as I’m out of AIT.

As far as diet goes, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Some say 5 or 6 small meals a day is the way to go. Most experts agree, but from what I’ve noticed, these experts don’t appear to be in very good physical condition themselves.

Here’s what I’ve found to be effective, and what recent science is suggesting may be of great benefit. It’s called controlled fasting, and yes, it’s controversial. The person who got me onto this is named Ori Hofmekler, and his book–The Warrior Diet–has helped a lot of people with their energy levels. It’s premise is that the best diet is one large meal at the end of the day, with some nuts or small amounts of fruit during the earlier parts of the day. Coffee is advocated, which of course I like. The diet may not be for everyone, and I personally don’t agree with everything that Hofmekler says, but he does back his ideas with science, and my own experiences say there’s something to his ideas. Mice, subjected to a fast, then given the opportunity to eat as much as they pleased lived approx. 30% longer than mice who were fed a normal diet. This occured without the normal negative effects of reduced calorie diets (muscle loss, lowered labido, loss of strength).

To sum up my overall attitudes about fitness and diet:

1) Make exercise fun.

2) Don’t make exercise something that breaks you down. It should build you, and make you feel more energenic.

3) Eat instinctively and naturally. You know what you want to eat, but the easiest and quickest food available may be what you grab for. Resist the urge and eat natural food as much as you can.

4) Finally–don’t make your eating too Spartan. Treat yourself every-so-often and if you have a food you don’t believe you can live without, eat it. I like beer and wine. I also like ice cream. I eat them and drink them in moderation and my results are fine. And, actually beer and wine in moderation are probably a good thing. Here’s to Heineken and Merlot.


Jeff Jacoby article on the mortgage crisis

Jacoby explains that the roots of the mortgage crisis go back to the Carter administration, when liberal activists complained of racist lending practices, forcing the governement to pass regulation laws that required the companies to lend to people who simply couldn’t pay. Jacoby’s good, and one of my favorites.



This week I got to thinking about leadership, specifically US Army leadership, but also in general. The impetus to write this article occurred after reading a friend’s article, talking with another friend about my experience so far in the Army, and of course, my own experience with leadership.

Leadership to me, is doing what needs to be done, regardless of outside influences. The need to be liked, something we all have, is an impediment to true leadership, though as I will explain–people will eventually come to appreciate true leadership, even when it is momentarily unpopular. Abraham Lincoln is the best, and my favorite example. His decision to go to war to keep America together took incredible will. half of the country wanted him dead. His Emancipation Proclamation essentially destroyed the legality of the South’s economy–and only through massive bloodshed could the Confederate States be forced to do what was right.

So, first leadership takes courage. Without courage, a leader can’t hold a direction for long. His mind is constantly swayed by the need to be liked by everyone (Bill Clinton, anyone?), or perhaps the normal desire to hold onto one’s own life. Lincoln’s courage was indomitable–he put his own life in danger by going to war, because he knew what needed to be done and that slavery was a scourge.

Next, leadership takes wisdom. Knowing when and how to apply the proper amount of force and knowing how to deal with people. It’s been said that it takes great wisdom to know when to be brutal. And at times, a leader must be brutal.The wisdom comes from experience, and to a great extant, an imperceptible aspect of some people’s nature. Some people are magnetic and we just can’t put our finger on why that is.

When I was in Basic Combat Training, I was elected squad leader by my platoon sergeant. That same platoon sergeant said that a true leader must possess a special quality that makes people want to do what he requires. I agree. But the great leaders must go beyond that, making the moral choices that are also the tough choices.

I was also made squad leader here at Ft. Huachuca. My experiences as a student leader have taught me some interesting things about myself and others. My Friend told me before I went in the Army, that I possessed charisma. I didn’t really know what he meant, because to state the truth, I tend to avoid large crowds. This fact means I never got to see how my own personality effected large groups. However, once I got into the Army and was placed in leadership, I saw what he meant. People do what I ask of them, and the few times where I had to be brutal (with my words), there wasn’t the expected lasting resentment. People seemed disappointed to have disappointed me. I found that people, especially in the Army where Alpha-types abound, want to follow people who stand up for themselves and are physically capable. I’m 37 and hang with all the young guys. I don’t take garbage from anyone, but can also be a good listener and good judge. People come to me for advice. Recently, I resigned from squad leader to allow an 18 yr old to have a chance at leading the squad. He said he wanted to be squad leader so, while I was standing in formation, I simply handed him the paperwork I was filling out and said, “You’ve been promoted.” My squad members have not responded well to this. They come to me for accountability and for any problems they have. They tell me they want me to be leader again. I shake my head and point to the young man. I did this because this is a training environment, and I like the kid. He deserves a chance to find out what leadership is like, and he needs to toughen up a bit. I also did it because I’m lazy….

The quote by Xenophon at my blog’s header says a lot.

I’m not tooting my own horn here. I wasn’t always a leader. When I was young, I annoyed a lot of people. But the trials of life and my work as a police officer melded with whatever natural ability I had and made me a strong leader.

Hopefully this serves me well for the rest of my career.


Jeff Jacoby of Boston Globe examines Obama’s economics

And guess what True Believers: It’s all “Progressive” wealth redistribution. I’m not rich. Maybe I never will be. But I’ll fight with with my vote the right of people who earn a lot to keep more of it. Or maybe in five years if and when I leave the service, I’ll put my knowledge and Top Secret clearance to work making some big bucks–and that’s what’s so great about America, The Land of Choices. Here’s the article:

I’m grateful for everything that has been given to me, by willing and loving friends and family. However, I’d never want the government to force them to give me any more than they wanted. In Obama’s Bill O’Reilly interview, Obama equates over-taxing the wealthy with a giving heart. In mine and Jacoby’s book–it’s called unfair tax burden, and it’s simply wrong.


Fox News called, requesting I interview for a political analyst spot….

I’m kidding, but now that I have your attention, I’ll brag about my correct position.

McCain pulled ahead in the polls for the first time. See it here:



The Real clear Politics poll, as of Sunday evening, shows McCain less than one percentage point behind.



The Democrats shoot themselves in the foot once again

I’ve said it before. The Democrats had this thing in the bag. All they had to do was leave it alone, let the media pound George Bush, then they could take the queen to the prom.

But they just couldn’t leave it be–because Sarah Palin scared them. They were blind-sided by the Palin choice. Immediately, the trusty media went to work, and found “dirt”. Palin’s 17 years old daughter is pregnant. Wow.

The Democrats would applaud a stat-building abortion, but they can’t stand the thought of a family staying together under tough circumstances, a young man and woman trying to make things work while knuckle-headed journalists shove microphones in their faces.

They’ve hurt themselves. Their shipped shuddered in the water, run aground in seas they thought properly and completely mapped. They just didn’t see Palin. They lashed out like children–and this time the media hurt the Democrat cause. They look childish, and it’s irritating to the average mom. Palin seems too genuine and knowledgeable for this type of thing to work. She’s too sharp. I’m not engaging in wishful observations here. She’s a smart lady.

Predictive Analysis: Within one month, John McCain will move ahead of Barack Obama in the polls.


Anbar Province

Anbar Province, the most violent province in Iraq before David Patraeus took over the job as lead commander in Iraq, has now been handed back to the people of Iraq. American blood shed in Fallujah and Ramadi washed defeat away from victory– and revealed too that Barak Obama cannot lead this country–because he denies that blood the honor it deserves.

And where are the headlines? Instead, we hear about Sarah Palin’s personal issues, if they can even be called that.

Barack Obama and Joe Biden have already made astoundingly bad choices for America and the world, not to mention for millions of Iraqis, and the Democratic ticket hasn’t even reached the President’s office yet.

They both wanted out of Iraq when Patraeus spoke to Congress not too long ago. Hillary Clinton too. They’re all afraid of Iraq, because they know nothing of war’s purpose, so they just want to avoid things they know little of. It’s only human nature. And reading the polls told them they could get votes by avoiding tough choices.

 Biden and Obama, against all perceivable evidence, continued to deny that the surge would and did work. The event took place right in front of their eyes, and yet they could not cast aside they’re own beliefs, beliefs they got from their own adoring media-that success was not an option.

Why in the world should I vote for them? Say what you will about George Bush. Say he is clueless, dumb, a cowboy, incompetent, say all of it. But Obama’s conclusions on Iraq are even more stupid. He had the advantage of having Iraq develop right in front of him, where Bush had to make decisions as things developed from 9/11 on.

And still, Obama, Biden and virtually all of the pandering Democrats couldn’t make the right choice. And as long as their party lives and dies by the failures of George Bush, they will never understand. They took the unpopularity of Iraq and ran with it for purely political reasons. They selfishly placed the lives of millions at risk, so they could have power, and even now they deny their own spoken conclusions, uttered mere months ago.

Yet, Obama still maintains his image as a different kind of politician.

He simply doesn’t understand. He’s out of his league on force options. It doesn’t fit what he was taught at his liberal colleges, what he discussed with unshaven dissidents in Political Science class.

If only he knew that the child’s playground is as edifying as the classroom when it comes to dealing with bullies and tyrants alike.


Shopenhaur–A world of dreams.

My favorite philosopher? Many will be surprised, knowing my Christian beliefs. But for me it’s an easy choice. I have to go with German philosopher, Arthur Shopenhaur. A genius to be sure. But was he right in his assertions?

Shopenhaur lived from 1788 to 1860 in Germany, and penned his most famous book, The World as Will and ideas.

The book’s title perfectly sums Shopenhaur’s thesis. The world is naught but what is represented by both our conscious and unconscious minds. In many ways Shopenhaur mirrored Kant’s beliefs; the “thing-in-itself” is never truly perceived. Only our mind’s interpretation of it.

But Shopenhaur takes this one step further. He says there is one thing we can be sure of, and that he calls–Will. Will is us, and we are it.

According to the German philosopher, the universe is under the rule of a supreme–and dark–Will. We are manifestations of this Will, and are controlled by it to some extant.

Human will, it seems to me, is wholly unstudied by science. We can map the brains impulses during certain activities and thoughts. MRIs can show scientists what parts of the brain are activated during those activities and thoughts. But what caused the thought in the first place?  What was the impetus for me to pick up a cup of coffee, sip it, then resume typing? Why did I do it at a precise moment in time? There has to be a first cause–something which present science cannot understand, otherwise, all of our brains observable activity is random; chaotic bursts of firing synapses. And we know that this cannot be the case in reality, because we manage to be orderly beings.

So Shopenhaur diverges with Kant by stating that there is one thing we can be sure of: Our own will.

When we look at all of the great people throughout history, one thing must stand apart from all other things. One attribute far outstrips the importance of all the others in people who have left their stamp: Will. Not intelligence (At least as measured by the woefully inadequate IQ tests), not beauty, not riches, not physical prowess. But will, drive, want–whatever you want to call it.

In my life–I have been weakest when my will was weakest, and most powerful when it was strongest. My intellect did not change. How I look changes little form day to day.

Shopenhaur was on to something.

Another reason that I like Shopenhaur, is that his writing ability may have been without peer amongst philosophers. His ability to communicate ideas, with the intended emotions is undeniable. Only Friedrich Neitzsche comes close,  though their philosophies differ greatly. Ultimately, Shopenhaur came to believe that the only way to make it through this world was by leading an acedic life-style, while using art to express one’s inner reality. I concur.

Shopenhaur. He influenced both madman and genius–and few people now know it. From pacifists like Leo Tolstoy, to psychopathic war-mongers such as Adolph Hitler. From the orchestral juggernaut of Richard Wagner, to the frenetic madness of Friederich Neitszche.

So, I choose a relative dark horse amongst philosophers. I encourage others to check out Shopenhaur’s writings.



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