Sunday, November 18, 2007

Audio-input for life!

I have spent the evening exploring how to increase the links on this oh-so-popular blog, and the keywords, so that even more viewers would be drawn, like so many moths, to the beacon of my blog. I have uploaded the site to; and hope that that will bring in many more of you, dear reader.

But, I was thinking how, of all technological advances, what has helped me the very most, is that of audio podcasts.

Each day, as I carry my route, or work out, or just drive on my commute or... anywhere at all!- I listen to my ipod.

That's right,
although my vehicles might be from ages past, I also have little speakers that, with my trusty ipod plugged into: give me universal, worldwide, internet/radio coverage.

I rejoice in listening again to Steve Dahl! I started listening to Steve as I started my postal career, 30 years ago.... he was also starting his career, in Chicago on the LOOP station.

He was funny then, and still is now. He's on for 5 hours daily, on JACK FM in Chicago... I recommend just going to itunes- and subscribing to the (free) Steve Dahl podcast.

You will be so glad you did.

And you'll enjoy Buzz, and PETE, too!)

The other audio enhancement to your life would be...


AM RADIO- he is REALLY easy to find.

And essential... Rush is the Will Rogers of our time.
You can't even understand our times without factoring in RUSH!
The similarities between these two talk radio guys- Rush Limbaugh and Steve Dahl, are very telling:

Both were attracted to radio in their early teens. Both had weight problems... and both developed mesmerizing abilities to relay their lives and ideas via their radio voices.
Kind of an overcompensation type of response to certain shortcomings, they built up an invisible voice that they instinctively knew was what they needed...

A radio voice that channeled their strengths, and eliminated the source of their self-perceived failings.

Rush Limbaugh=Steve Dahl

Too bad, I know they think they are antithetical-
Each would HATE the other...

But, that is only because.. Steve Dahl and Rush Limbaugh are almost identical!

Separated at birth...?

I think Steve would benefit from taking up cigar smoking...

It's a legal vice,
that he could enjoy without exploiting his other, forbidden diversions.

It would be like a taco bell moment, without calories!

I think Buzz and Chef Hans would also fall into line, and love Steve's diversion into Vintage pleasures!


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

the Classical diet

Making jerky!

As part of the "Paleo/ancient Greek-Roman" diet, which I recommend, jerky is about #1 in the "Classical Diet!

In the classical diet, which I think is correct as a "pre-industrial" diet, jerky would have been a mainstay. When you slow cook already lean cuts of meat, in this case beef, your cook off the fat, and wind up with a really lean source of protein.

Also, what a great way to have portable (lunch) protein!

Each Sunday, I enjoy firing up the smoker, putting in some good hardwoods, and letting the smoker "do it's thing". You wind up with the ultimate nutrition source- portable, available, and right there for the upcoming week.

I would recommend making jerky, or, if you must, buying jerky for food "on the go".

It's a natural!

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Here is my truck- a Ford F100. 1962...

I've been wondering lately, just why I enjoy driving it so much. Just what is so great about driving an old truck around? Some people "get it", and think it is so cool... others think it makes about as much sense as heating your house with charcoal.

An old vehicle is kind of like a theme park ride.

That's the answer. Every time I get into that old truck, it's like I'm at Walt Disney World, on the Amazing 1962 Truck Ride.

Really. I climb up (you have to hoist yourself into these old trucks!), slam the (all steel) door shut, pull the choke (you have to know exactly how much, according to current weather conditions), and then...turn the key.

It's never a given that it will start... it'll turn over, but:

Did I choke it right?
Did I push the choke in, just after it caught??
Is it my lucky day, punk?

You get the picture: it's not just a drive to work- it's an adventure!

And the ride to work, in this case on a sunny, chilly November morning in Wisconsin, was wonderful. Each of the four gear shifts, as I accelerated, was a joy. The view out the windshield, which wraps around like a 3D movie from the 60's, was spectacular of the bluffs and coulees hereabouts, and the radio (which only took about 2 minutes to "warm up" and play) made me, from anticipation, appreciate all the more the "Buy and Trade" show that eventually came on.

In the back of my mind, all day, I "kind of " thought of the ride home. I mean, if I was going to ride home in a 2007 Toyota, to think of my ride would have been like thinking about my refrigerator...they are both just appliances.

My truck is my "Steed";
not merely a conveyance, but much more- almost a time machine...

When I drove home, I played songs through a small portable speaker I keep in the truck. Sam Cooke... pre-1965 music. "You Send Me", "Chain Gang"...and Elvis.

In the darkness, the other vehicle's headlights could have been from Thunderbirds and Cheyenne pickups... at least, that's how I imagined it. And those old country roads haven't changed a bit.

See what I mean? A theme park ride.

I know what you're thinking...

"How about GAS MILEAGE???"

And you're right...

But, that's why I also have the 1971 Theme Park Ride,featuring my CJ5 JEEP!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Forward shoulder raise, low position
Side shoulder raise, middle position
Front shoulder raise, high position

A couple of months ago, I was standing up on a ladder while working on my house. Suddenly, the ladder began to fall and, in desperation, I maneuvered my body in such as way so as to prevent myself from severe injury. Well, I survived, but my shoulder took the brunt of the accident (partial dislocation) and I thought I might have even torn my rotator cuff. For a good month, I experimented with the proper solution to bring it back to 100%; and this is what I discovered: Isometrics were the best prescription.

I hope the above photos are adequate illustration. I got the exercises from two books by John E. Peterson, Pushing Yourself to Power and Isometric Power Revolution, both by Bronze Bow Publishing. Both are treasure troves of useful exercises, with dozens of exercises that you can perform with self-resistance, and no equipment whatsoever!

The exercises are VERY effective!

Isometrics can be performed either at the beginning of a movement(Low position), the middle position, or near the completion, or High position of any movement.

In each exercise, one hand is RESISTING the motion of the "working" arm, resulting in the working hand being rendered immovable by the opposing hand.
When, gradually, the working hand is stopped entirely in its motion, the muscles (in this case, of the shoulder) should be gradually forced to work AS HARD AS POSSIBLE
for perhaps 7-12 seconds.

As you PRESS against the resisting hand, don't hold your breath! Either let your breath out in a long "SSSssss" sound, or else "pant", as I do- holding your breath could cause you to pass out!

(That's how hard you want to work- push quite hard- about 80% of what your all-out effort would be is safe).

What the above photos illustrate is the 3 positions, in 3 different resistant movements:

Pushing forward position
To the side
To the back

To do each one, you would--

PULL to the side, low, medium, and high positions
PULL to the rear, all three positions
Push to the front all three

To get better illustrations of these, and many, many other exercises, I recommend you purchase John e. Peterson's excellent books, as mentioned above- they are literally the Rosetta Stone of Vintage Exercise and Fitness!!

John takes the wisdom of previous generations and even eras, and makes it ring true in our own time!

Things, ideas, and fashions come and go... but the truth of ideas is eternal.

We are dealing here with eternal truths of exercise and fitness!

Check it out: www.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Financial Fitness!

The importance of another kind of fitness, "financial fitness", cannot be underestimated. After all, we can't live without money, as we well know. Money is not all important, as too many seem to think; but... important!

Think of Ebeneezer Scrooge in "A Christmas Carol"- now, he should have concentrated more on isometric neck exercises, and hindu push-ups- less on his portfolio of investments...

But "moderation in all things": So, set up an IRA. And a 401K. Contribute, at least for the FIRST 20 years! (Ironically, the contributions become much less important as time goes on, since the investments start making more than anything you can put in!!) And that is a GOOD thing!

So, you have a 401 K. Fine, put the assets into stocks, for now. NOT A MONEY MARKET, lame-o no earning fund!!

But, how about your Roth IRA?

This is where your NEW hobby can start to shine.

What new hobby? Why, your new investment hobby! With your computer, and, if you have LESS than a million dollars, there is no reason that you can't start making some serious money for your retirement- after all Warren Buffet says that, with "small money" i.e. less than a million, he could always earn over 50% on his money, year after year!

You know what? He's right! I'm not Warren Buffet, but I am currently earning 54% year to date on MY IRA!

It's not all that difficult, although some research is necessary, as is some luck...
(And a bull market in stocks)

Here's what I do:

1. I listen to Bob Brinker's Marketimer on AM radio. (Saturdays and Sundays) I also subscribe to his newsletter- (he is that good)-Bob is unsurpassed at predicting major market moves- telling you when you should be either IN, or OUT, of the stock market. It sounds fantastic, but believe me, he really has this figured out!

2. I research stocks online, Yahoo finance is great for the basics.

3. I read some of the financial magazines- Fortune, Forbes, Barron's, Investor's Business get ideas, but with a grain of salt. And, I check all of their ideas and suggestions Against the stock grader at www.navallier
Trust me- this stock grader feature will help you to evaluate stock ideas with great effectiveness.

The Motley Fool at

This site is also helpful. Their CAPS featured on is also neat-o-keen, since reader/posters rate the stocks THEY prefer. When regular, normal investors (hobbyists) give you guidance, you can rest assured they will give you the "real deal"!

Sunday, November 4, 2007


Have you ever been invited to take money OUT of a church offering plate? I didn't think so. Well, that actually happened at our church today. The plates, filled with dollar bills, were passed down the rows and we were all encouraged to take a dollar! Our Pastor, Jenny, had supplied this "treasure", as she put it, from her own "Kingdom Account". She explained that this is an account she adds to gradually yet continually which she earmarks to help the church and others less fortunate. She encouraged all of us to take our new dollar and start a similar fund of our own. I think it was a masterful illustration in this sense:
When you give forth, either money, talent, or sheer effort:
You reap so much more than you sow!

This is true whether you have a church you want to grow and inspire, an acappella singing group, or in this case, is especially true of your own health and fitness. The more knowledge and application you put into your effort, the more, exponentially, you will reap the benefits of this effort in your end results. In exercise, this can be even more readily apparent than in other endeavors: When you exercise, put your whole concentration, laser-like, into the muscles being worked. Don't half-heartedly "go through the motions"- ever! If you merely dance about, Richard Simmons-like, waving your arms in "aerobic dance", you will achieve... almost nothing.

BUT, if you can focus on the muscle being worked, and work to a high level of intensity, the results you achieve, in a very short period of time, will literally astound you.

And with that in mind, let's start with one of the most important, and universally ignored body body parts around- the neck.

In the photos shown here, I am doing neck isometric exercises, as I do each day. The neck is crucial for a healthy, fit body. Aesthetically, it is always visible, like your face...(unless you love turtlenecks, like Ilya Kuryakin of Man From Uncle).

In each exercise, I am showing two positions. You resist against your hands in each, gradually increasing intensity, and pressing against your hands until you reach an extreme of intensity, concentrating on the neck muscles being worked.

You must remember to BREATHE throughout every exercise!

This is crucial. You don't want to pass out!

And so, there are 3 positions:

Back to front

Front to back

Side to side

Do these exercises in two positions: at the beginning of the range of motion, and then again at the end or the range or motion. So, that is back to front, two positions; Front to back; two positions, and side to side; two positions right, and then two positions left.

There we have it- a strong neck. It takes a long time to describe how to do these exercises, but not very long at all to DO! So DO them... daily!

This is the ideal way to start your daily Vintage Health & Fitness regimen!

Saturday, November 3, 2007


This may be a brief detour from the "Wonderful World of Fitness" for a moment but a worthwhile one at that-

As the son of two professional musicians and an amateur musician myself, what kind of music, (similar to what kind of exercise) do I consider to be the very best?

Answer: vocal only music, usually in 3 to 5 parts!


The answer is very simple.


Because it is the most pure, elemental, and basic form of music. All musical instruments are just approximations of the human voice; with the ability to amplify it, alter it, and otherwise mess with and to try to enhance the human voice.

Usually, though, the effect is more like when you attend a concert and the volume is up WAY TOO HIGH.... (Sound familiar?) The whole performance is wrecked.

When you hear a good performance of pure acapella vocal music sans musical instrumental accompaniment, you are hearing music in it's purest, most elemental form.

Real music. Ancient music. Music without additives.

Here is a sample I think you'll like from the Isaacs, a family group consisting of the mother, two daughters and son. Pure and simple.

No trans fats. No refined, bleached flour. No sugar.

Pure Music!

Friday, November 2, 2007


Here is what I did yesterday... all afternoon!

I've got a few acres of woods, and many of the trees are now in need of being culled- dead trees, scrubby ugly troll-trees, lots of dead limbs, and... well, you get the picture: too many BAD trees!

I got out the old John Deere chainsaw, and fired 'er up! I enjoy cutting trees, limbing them, and then "bucking up" the logs into sections. What I don't particularly like is picking up all the limbs, and transporting them into brush piles, and then loading all the logs into a trailer, and conveying them into my log pile by the campfire...but it's got to be done.

I'm still sore! All over, since loading, dragging, and then again unloading whole trees is heavy, daunting work. But, as I see it, one reason we exercise is to have strong, functional, full-body fitness. And work like this is "the proof of the pudding"- you can either do it, or you can't. The wood could care less if you can run a "sub-2 hr. marathon", or bench press 400 pounds...
either way, the wood is not intimidated or impressed. It just lies there, and waits to see if you have "got what it takes".

I did what I needed to do, and then some. It was a beautiful, sunny, Wisconsin Autumn day and I spent it as it should be spent: cutting and hauling wood!

Simultaneously, I enjoyed the development of my mind: via my ever-present companion, "Jay's iPod", I was listening to "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" by Edward Gibbon!

"But Jay!" I hear you saying, "How can that be??"

Well, Grasshopper, I will tell thee...

I went to, and downloaded it for free!

"But Jay!" I hear again... "How can that be..."

It's easy, little one. Librivox is a volunteer organization, devoted to preserving public domain works of literature, which includes most works published previous to 1923, in an audio format.
If I, say, were to volunteer, I would read a chapter, say of Decline and Fall, and then, let's say, John e. Peterson could download the book from Librivoxaudio, and listen to it via his iPod while he did multiple sets of chins, followed by handstand push-ups! (Although he might have trouble with his earbuds staying in on the latter).

I recommend Librivoxaudio, wholeheartedly! It is the best that the Internet has to offer- the best of the best literature of all time, delivered to you freely, (and for free!), by individuals donating their time and talents for the good of ALL!

And if you hear MY voice on some classic piece of literature in your near future, I promise I'll turn the background chain saw volume way down...


Thursday, November 1, 2007


What a great old farmhouse. Nearly 30 years of living in it has given us an appreciation of its personality and history. We know it was built at the turn of the century: 1905 was the date engraved in the barn's wall. Though the barn no longer stands, the house has stood the test of time. Strong stone foundation, sturdy plaster walls, original woodwork surrounding the windows and doors. A century later, it's as sturdy as a rock!

As we age, we can choose to emulate a house like this or we can crumble like the barn. It's largely a matter of the choices we make concerning nutrition, exercise, and even our attitude. Regardless of where we live or what we do, day in and day out, we can enhance our existence and even cross over into the territory of exhilaration. Want to try?

My greatest discovery this past year has been the purchase of a Vitamix blender and the amazing concoctions I can create with it. Each morning I awake and add various ingredients to my blender: about 1/2 cup orange juice, 1/4 cup milk, a peeled orange or grapefruit, banana, frozen broccoli, berries, sometimes peaches, either yogurt or cottage cheese and ice.

Then I turn on the Vitamix, and run for, oh, 4 minutes...

The result: the most nutritious breakfast on the PLANET!!

OR, I sometimes pour into a thermos and take to work for lunch.

What I want to convey in this post, is the importance of nutrition!

all know to eat enough protein... but, we have been told to eat:

1. No fats
2. LOTS of carbohydrates!

I am here to tell you:

1. Natural fats such as butter or olive oil are fine in moderation. Just watch out for the margarine, corn oil, trans fats, etc.
2. Limit carbohydrates- except as in natural fruits and vegetables.

Strive to eat the way primitive people ate. The PALEO diet... or CAVEMAN diet. At any rate, the NATURAL diet would consist mainly of fish or game,"greens" or easily harvested vegetables and fruits.

Flour and sugar are virtually one and the same. Your body converts flour into pure sugar. So go easy on either one and stick to the above recommendations. It is surprising how satiated you will feel if you eat meat, fruit or vegetables when you're hungry. And just eat until you're satisfied, not full.

NEXT, I will tell you my usual morning that will prepare, and energize you for the upcoming day, rather than deplete you!

It's all in the choice of exercises.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


One of MY favorite exercises, the hanging leg raise, really does the job! I think I'm talking mostly men here, as women typically don't have the upper body strength for this, but some do I'm sure.

Start out by just grasping the bar and then lifting your knees to your chest. (I always finish up this way after doing the straight-legged version). Then, when you've progressed for awhile, do them like John e. Peterson (aged 55 years- just like me! ) does in this video- straight up and over your head! Although I would recommend doing fewer and slower... (more intense that way).

But hey, that's just me.

Do these maybe once or at most twice per week. Very intense! Just like chin ups, pull-ups, and other full range, isotonic-style exercises- you need to rest and rebuild.

But the beauty of isometrics is... you can do them every day. They actually rejuvenate, and energize you-I'm not kidding here- and the inroad they incur into the muscle group exercised is minimal enough, that daily training is no problem.

I've got to get some pictures of isometrics you can do daily here, online. But the best versions I've seen so far are in the book by John e. Peterson called Pushing Yourself to Power.

it's even spiral bound for easy reference while exercising.

Highly recommended!


Tuesday, October 30, 2007


What a glorious fall day today! This is the kind of day everyone wants to be a mailman. Sunny and warm with a light breeze carrying the earthy scent of fallen leaves. A time of the season that comes and goes all too quickly. Living in the country has its definite advantages. At least for those who just let the leaves fall, like me, and don't worry too much about getting them raked up. What's the hurry? They'll be gone all too soon anyway. Might as well just let the dog enjoy rolling in them while he still can, and maybe take a roll or two myself.

I've been listening to one of the best audio books I've heard in a long time: Books that Made History: Books That Can Change Lives. Put out by the Teaching Company, I request that my local library buy these books, and they usually do.

The professor who delivers the lectures, in all of the Teaching Company offerings, is the best teacher they can find in that particular subject. They cover every subject imaginable, but this particular book review, from the Bible to Winston Churchill to 1984 by George Orwell, is one of the best I've heard to date. For instance, the professor compares in one series of lectures, Abe Lincoln to Pericles of 5th century BC Athens... illuminating!

We exercise so that our mind and body can better enjoy and cope with the beauties and challenges of life. After all, I am virtually certain that both Pericles and Socrates practiced isometrics as part of their training as "citizen soldiers"!

Monday, October 29, 2007


If you read my post yesterday, you'd think:

"Jay! If aerobics are not the way to go, I guess I should lift weights. Right?"

Well... kind of, but not really...

I started out with weight training. You get real results all right. But you also really strain your joints and connective tissues, and you have to be really careful; especially as you age. And the stronger you get, the MORE dangerous your training becomes since you start dealing with really heavy poundage!

You need to start working out less, and still less frequently, since the overload on your body is progressively more intense as you get stronger. Personally, I progressed from the standard multi- set training day after day(with injuries getting more and more frequent)- to HIT (High Intensity Training) done every 3 days at first... then 5... then once per week.

When even this was too much, I went to Superslow training, once per week. Ken Hutchins is the brain behind this protocol of training: Very grueling, yet effective as can be! 10 seconds up, 10 down, on each and every rep.
I still like superslow protocol on chins and dips.

Next, I slowed it down even more by going to static contraction training as prescribed by Sisco and Little. I'd press into the pins (on my power rack, natch!) with the bar maxed out to my ultimate poundage and only move the bar through my strongest range of motion and then push into the immovable pins for about 5 seconds.

Sisco and Little recommend you only do this workout about as often as you'd get a haircut to
assure adequate recovery time. And it does work! You get remarkably stronger... at holding a maximum poundage in your strongest range of motion.

this is truly a "one trick pony" type of accomplishment:
There is very little carry-over of either full-range strength or in the improvement of your physique!

I report this after having done the "Static Contraction Workout" for well over a full year.

And so I've gone from doing a conventional, fast-paced rep, multi- weight training exercise program, multiple times per week, to high- intensity weight workouts, 2X per week, to Superslow workouts, 1X per week, to partial lifts, once every two weeks....

So, where am I now? What really works?

I've come to a complete STOP!

Isometrics. Almost daily. And "Power calisthenics": pushups, situps, chinups, & dips. And "Dynamic Visualized Resistance", as described by Charles Atlas in the 1930's (and the Greeks in 500 B.C.!)

As I said previously: Our future is in our past.

I'm sure you didn't expect it to be so far in the past

Don't worry: I'll give you some real exercises soon. For now, just try to do pushups, as many as you can, in sets; until you reach 100 for the day. Then take a day or two off. Then, do it again, with fewer sets. (Instead of 20 sets of 5 pushups, try for 10 sets of 10... throughout the day...)

This will really improve you "aerobically", strength-wise, and also aesthetically.

Back to the future!


Sunday, October 28, 2007


You Too can be a Runt!

This should have been the motto of the aerobics movement. The only thing SURE to occur from running "LSD", or "long slow distance" as was advocated way back then in the early 1970's was:
  1. A huge reduction in muscle mass
  2. Injured joints and connective tissue
  3. A mistaken penchant for refined carbohydrates as "the ideal food" for health
As time has shown us, these prescriptions for health have been disastrous!

Since those halcyon days of the 1970's:

  1. heart disease has increased immensely
  2. joint problems are endemic
  3. nutritional ideas of health are disastrous

Before the 1970's, in America at least, and Europe, the ultimate goal of "health and fitness" would have been, in this order:
  1. strength
  2. health
  3. aesthetics, i.e. "how you look"
  4. "wind", i.e. "aerobics"
After the "Aerobics mania" the order would be:

  1. "wind/Aerobics"
  2. skinniness
  3. "wind"
  4. the goal of looking like an anorexic starvation victim/fashion model

If we were to return (as I believe we will, since we must!) to the time-honored paradigm of health, we would be far better off! Since the classical times of Greece and Rome, STRENGTH was the goal. And, if you achieve strength, (in the classical/vintage sense of achievement as was done in the pre-steroid/drug era), you automatically gain the other three legs of the fitness "stool"!

Work hard enough at strength using bodyweight style exercises such as push-ups, leg raises, "hindu" squats and push-ups, along with self-resisted isometrics, and you will automatically
also gain
the end results of health, aesthetics or beauty, and "wind"!

Aerobics threw the "baby out with the bath water". Aerobics are important, but probably the most automatic, and therefore the LEAST important aspect of fitness.

Do you want to be healthy, look good, and be truly fit?? Incidentally, you'll also have "good wind"....

If so, check back tomorrow. I will start you on your fitness journey:



I live a vintage life. From the 100 year old farm house my wife and I live in, to my 45 year old Ford F100 green pick-up truck, the past is my day to day reality. Even the dog, Charlie, at fourteen and a half years, is nearly an antique! (Please note I spared my wife a similar comparison.) Seriously though, there's a lot of work and maintenance that goes into the upkeep of our farmhouse and various vehicles, including a JeepCJ5 and an old John Deere tractor. But it's satisfying work and it recaptures an era that should never have ended in the first place! Here in our valley in Wisconsin, we manage to hang on to that time when the pace was slower and life was simpler. At 55, I'm only a week away from my official retirement date as a mailman, but I plan to keep working for a few more years. Hey, I want my daughter to get the best education she can at the best college I can afford!

In a sense, I think of myself as already retired... but working! Let me explain:
No longer a union officer, no longer actively engaged in constructive change... I carry my route, greeting all my patrons who have become my friends as I've been on the same route for over 16 years. I'm also able to enjoy listening to my many podcasts as I walk my appointed rounds.

So now I find myself on the threshold of baby-boomer morphing into Senior citizen. It's inevitable: but not only am I ready for this change, I'm thankful for it as well. My plan and goal is to live a long, healthy, fulfilling and self-actualized life. To live up to my God given potential. Who wouldn't agree with that? But how to accomplish it is another matter!

I've got more than a few passions where health and fitness are concerned. I started out in my teens with long distance running- Ken Cooper's Aerobics book was a big influence for lots of us. Unfortunately, instead of preserving the nation's hearts and fitness, it mainly achieved the destruction of the nation's joints...

Anyway, I've progressed, never losing sight of my fitness goals over the long years. I've tried LOTS of things, and I plan to tell you what I've learned within my future blogs. I also plan to insert other things of interest I have gathered up over the years; things that hopefully will help you as well. My daily life, and that of those around me will also be a part of what you see here, and I'm sure my wife's photos will help brighten these pages.

I think you'll enjoy my "vintage lifestyle", and what I've learned along the way. This is my own humble answer to Whole Health. As is the case in most of life:

Our future is in our past!