Crooked blue Chevy

new poem

Could be your ball joint is about to go.
Peeled the apples before they went bad,
cored them and getting out the pie tin.
The sight of your Chevy bouncing crooked
down our road
just keeps playing in my head.

Did the dishes, got two plates out
just in case.
Got work tomorrow,
hope cicadas will let me sleep.

Your job sounds good,
hope they like you there.
Hope they have phones
at your next hotel.

Now you got me sitting here
listening to all my Art Gilliam
on a rainy Saturday night in Georgia,
wishing I could get just one minute back
to check those wheels.

* * *

I wrote this on Saturday. I was emailing back and forth with a fellow old jazz lover when he wrote to me, "Now you got me sitting here listening to all my Art Gilliam on a rainy Saturday night in Georgia." I felt a poem bloom immediately. I'm still tinkering with it.

on the road photo by me, not sure where this was

Beautiful music

I've been sorting out what I consider to be some of the most beautiful music in the world. I selected these as being beautiful, important in music history (some), coming to mind quickly and being pieces I like to hear often. Hence, it is a practical list, not pretentious. I post it in an effort to keep this music circulating, especially with the younger generations.

Song Title - Length - Album - Artist

The Mission soundtrack by Ennio Morricone
Ladies Of The Canyon 3:41 No More "I Love You's" Annie Lennox
The Rainbow Connection 3:45 Muppet Movie Kermit
I'm going to go back there someday 2:52 Muppet Movie Muppets - Gonzo
Lover Come Back To Me 3:05 The Girl Next Door (TT408CD) Annette Hanshaw
Blue Moon - a good version 3:17 Pennies From Heaven II Greta Keller
What'll I Do 3:13 Album 454 Georgia Gibbs
Always 3:08 Deanna Durbin
Body and Soul 3:08 Annette Hanshaw
Mean To Me 3:24 From CD - orig. Columbia 1762 Ruth Etting
Dream A Little Dream Of Me 3:09 The Nelson Touch Ozzie & Harriet Nelson
Leaning On The Lamp Post 3:03 The Window Cleaner - Go 3804 George Formby
You Sweet So And So 2:56 Pennies From Heaven (Disc 2) Jack Buchanan, Debroy Somers Band
In A Little Rocky Valley 3:10 We'll Smile Again Flanagan & Allen
Barbara Allen 4:41 Songs Our Daddy Taught Us (P) 1958 The Everly Brothers
Your Cheatin' Heart 2:40 Hank Williams
Cold, Cold Heart 2:45 Legendary Country Singers Hank Williams
I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry 2:48 Hank Williams
Blue Eyes Cryin In The Rain 2:39 Hank Williams
Dream A Little Dream Of Me 3:21 Sentimental Journey 36 Wayne King
A Kiss To Build A Dream On 3:04 All-Time Greatest Hits Louis Armstrong
Chances Are 3:04 The Ultimate Hits Collection Johnny Mathis
Since I Fell For You 2:55 1988-Greatest Hits The Righteous Brothers
Unchained Melody 3:40 1988-Greatest Hits The Righteous Brothers
What'll I Do 2:57 Johnny Mathis
Edelweiss 2:16 Now the day is over The Innocence Mission (except for the title, 100% pure English words)
Silent Night 3:09 A Christmas Together John Denver & The Muppets (includes narration on how this song came to be)
Delirium 5:02 Euphoria Euphoria
Love Song For A Vampire 4:20 Annie Lennox (words by Bram Stoker)
Cavalleria Rusticana, for a classical piece
and an unlikely candidate I'm toying with: Your untouchable face by Ani Defranco.

Photo from the Columbia River Gorge, by me

Top 10 grrlish advantages

Top Ten advantages to being a grrl who lifts rather than a guy

10. Guys tend to be more considerate of me in the gym. They wipe down equipment, invite me to work in, and are happy to spot me.

9. People are more easily impressed by my lifting achievements. Heck, they're impressed that I'm lifting at all.

8. There's less competition.

7. The locker rooms are better.

6. Fewer people understand me. :-)

5. Since people expect less of me, it's easier to slack (hey, I'm being truthful here).

4. I laugh with the regulars when a newbie says, "Hey babe, it's all yours."

3. Food and supplements are cheaper; I don't take as much.

2. My home gym set-up is cheaper; I don't need as much weight.

1. And the number one advantage to being a grrl who lifts:
I'm always going to look better than a guy.

Carefree - seagulls photo

Doubt is not a pleasant state of mind, but certainty is absurd. ~Voltaire, 1767

Great shot in Florence, OR by "Kara" - her blog is at - lots of astronomy stuff there, pretty cool.

Spring cracking through

What a welcome sight. This little stand of yellow pipes 'spring' in my yard.

female bodybuilders in pop culture

Terry Spivey's very readable article Cartoons and Accomplishments looking back over the years at female bodybuilder-types in movies, cartoons and the like belies his serious, longstanding, reverent devotion to Amazons. I'm happy to direct more readers to it. I consider myself pretty knowledgeable on the subject, but was delightedly surprised to discover more must-see films and books through this piece. Terry and I both have articles posted on, one of my all-time favorite female bodybuilders sites. I tip my hat to you, Terry~

excerpt from Cartoons and Accomplishments

"Over the years I’ve been on a quest to see as many Hollywood films as possible in which women bodybuilders have had cameos, supporting or occasionally a leading role. Just last week, I had some friends sit me down to watch the DVD of “Napoleon Dynamite”. Half way through the film I recognized pro bodybuilder Virginia Brady in a short scene. Her acting skills left much to be desired but her physique was outstanding. The scene was basically farcical in its depiction. Ms. Brady was practically portrayed as a “woman of extreme proportions”. Like Barrymore, Virginia Brady was a caricature of herself with the upshot being that she was one more, strange person in this dysfunctional Idaho small town. My friends laughed out loud and speculated that she was really a man but I was quick to correct their crass misjudgment. Nothing more was said about her after I corrected them.

My point in this little illustration is to draw your attention to a travesty of exploiting women who have accomplished a unique and exceptional achievement. Women bodybuilders had, at one time, a great deal of respect from filmmakers. I want to take a little time travel back to an era when that level of respect was high."

natural, enhanced, & making the choice

Every strength and hypertrophy-based discipline is facing the issue of natural vs. enhanced performance. Bodybuilding, Olympic lifting, strongman, powerlifting, even fitness and figure athletes eventually have to explore the issue and make a choice. While it may seem like a simple one, the deeper a person's identity is rooted in his or her discipline, the murkier the decision can become. Lines are drawn through each sport's community, and even though a person may elect not to give mind to the controversy, he or she is still passively mired.

I have walked through the jungle and made my choice. From my settled position, I do not choose to beat the drum of "the right choice" though; instead, what I concentrate on is the issue of information. Every person who walks into the gym is going to be faced with making the choice of using substances - whatever substances, at whatever level, and the area is infinitely complex - or staying natural, and the demand for that decision can come at any time, especially before the person is educated.

Every day, people live, change and die by this choice. Boys and girls, novices of any age, people converting to a different discipline...each person needs to be informed early on. Finding good informational resources is not easy. Sure, medical information on the effects of substances is readily available, but that scarcely begins the topic. First off, these studies generally consider people who are using large, regular dosages of sophisticated chemicals of great purity; this doesn't typically resemble the experimenter in the gym. But this issue extends far beyond the black-and-white "take this, and this happens" biology factoids. It may be helpful to look at it through a substance abuse/addiction lens; like alcohol, it changes the user's psychology, perspective on life, philosophy, spirituality, personality...his relationships, her, survival, and potentially every choice in life. Information on these effects is what is so rare and elusive.

The excellent few I have found, at great effort, are on my website here (even though they address bodybuilding, they would translate for any discipline to some degree). If there were only a way to require people entering the gym for the first time to read certain books, or if at least some effort would be made by gyms to educate new members on this vast, critical and unavoidable issue. But this would require a complete shift in thinking by those running the "gym" industry.

Related links

Lone souls - advocacy art project: troubled-teen industry

Here's a dubious American distinction - the troubled-teen industry. Sorry for the downer, as I strive to uplift at the Mighty Mix, but this issue deeply disturbs me, and there just isn't enough noise about it. These programs violate basic human rights, which means they are inherently wrong. Teen Advocates USA counts 71 deaths since 1980. With the recent release of the Florida teen IMO obviously beaten to death, I'm linking to Lone souls:

"This site is dedicated to the victims of involuntary behavior modification programs - wilderness therapy, boot camps, residential treatment facilities - programs based on persuading parents to pay for the kidnapping and captivation of juveniles in order to reform them through "tough love" measures. Survivors and anyone so moved are welcome to submit creative work - poems, essays, drawings, photos, whatever." Lone souls

Maia Szalavitz is about to release her investigative expose on this criminal industry, a book concept long overdue. You can preorder it from Amazon. Here's a bit from her, from Newcastle News.

"Some 10,000 to 20,000 teenagers are enrolled each year. A patchwork of lax and ineffective state regulations — no federal rules apply — is all that protects these young people from institutions that are regulated like ordinary boarding schools but that sometimes use more severe methods of restraint and isolation than psychiatric centers. There are no special qualifications required of the people who oversee such facilities. Nor is any diagnosis required before enrollment. If a parent thinks a child needs help and can pay the $3,000- to $5,000-a-month fees, any teen-ager can be held in a private program, with infrequent contact with the outside world, until he or she turns 18." - Maia Szalavitz.

Okaton photo

Okaton, SD

I took this photo of the "ghost town" Okaton, South Dakota with my 35 mm on my first cross-country camping exploration years ago. I really like this photo, and Okaton has come to mean a lot to me as well. It's my goal this week to get the negative made into a good print for my office space.

Link to my nonfiction narrative essay Ghost town whispers

The moustache by Gary Barwin

I really like this. It came from an online exhibit of writing on hair-related themes from the Art Institute of Chicago.

For A Number of Years
by Gary Barwin

I found a moustache by the side of the road, kept it in a jar on my desk. I punched holes in the jar's lid, provided it adequate food. All afternoon I watched as the hairs of the moustache swayed like a miniature field of dark wheat, but then just before supper a stillness came over the jar as if a grim frost had passed through. After several days, I buried the jar beneath the roots of a tree by a barbershop.

Though I looked for hours in the roadside grass, I could not find another moustache. Instead, I attempted to will a moustache to appear on the face of my younger brother. I would stare at him through dinner as he ate his potatoes, boiled chicken or jello. At night I'd throw bottles of Aqua Velva into the river, watch them bob then splinter on the rocks. Though my brother was only nine and already as tall as me, I tried to hasten his growth, adding the appropriate substances to his breakfast. But nothing it seemed would make a moustache appear -- not bedrest, not a stay in the hospital overnight.

At school, moustaches began to appear on the faces of boys in my class. I did not feel that I was responsible for these unnecessary growths. I had desired but a single moustache, which I felt was reasonable, not so immodest as an entire eighth-grade crop.

I decided in secret to try cultivating a moustache upon my own lip. I prayed for it to grow. I stole my father's razor, mixed his hairspray with milk. I spent time with my grandad, walked by bars. I felt certain that when spring came, my moustache would grow.

By February, I noticed a certain growth on my lip, one that wouldn't wash off. I was unable to harvest this pale corn. It grew all summer, until it began to curl. I was given a shaving kit and with this was finally able to collect and store this more robust growth in a jar, where it lead a happy, though fairly quiet life, for a number of years.

Blue butterfly

A moment of beauty, from the Columbia U site of Edward Ishak

Where my writing is appearing this month

International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship
Volume 7, Issue 2
Academic study on how marketing bodybuilding to females must change in order to attract more competitors
* *
PanGaia Volume 43, Jan-Mar, pg. 24.
Poem: The Land
* *
Fitness & Physique Feb. issue
The anti-steroid perspective in the bookshelves - overview of themed narrative books;
Buffo, the world's strongest clown
* *
OSU press release on bilingual aquatic study program for youth
* *
Natural Bodybuilding & Fitness
Another article on Buffo
Rescheduled for August issue, out in May

Olympic champion appeals for Darfur

Kudos to new gold medalist Joey Cheek for keeping perspective and priorities in order in a lifestyle not condusive to thinking outside oneself.

Cheek used his accomplishment to pinpoint visibility to Darfur and similar travesty-ridden areas. He's donating his entire gold-medal bonus from the U.S. Olympic Committee to Right to Play, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of children in disadvantaged parts of the world, and appealled to sponsors to match it.

"In the Darfur region of Sudan, there have been tens of thousands of people killed," Cheek said. "My government has labeled it a genocide. I will be donating it specifically to a program to help refugees in Chad, where there are over 60,000 children who have been displaced from their homes," Cheek said.

He said what he does is pretty ridiculous, skating on ice in tights, but if he could use it to position himself for two seconds at the microphone for this cause, then great. I don't want to post much on the Olympics; they're just too big and out-of-touch with commonfolk reality, but this is a REAL champion IMO. I am wretched by the blind eye toward the Darfur genocide, a dire repeat of the outside world's blithe ignoring of the Jewish Holocaust during WWII, and others since and now.

And I loved his mother's quote, "It was absolutely amazing. All this time of watching him go round in circles."

Sources: NPR Morning Edition and Detroit Free Press

Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Image

wrestler Michaela Hutchison makes US history

Michaela Hutchinson is the first girl in the U.S. to win a state title against boys

Full story by Van Williams at Anchorage Daily News
Photos by Bob Hallinen, Anchorage Daily News

Armed with cameras and video camcorders, nearly 2,000 people packed Chugiak High on Saturday night to watch Skyview's Michaela Hutchison make history. Flash bulbs popped when Hutchison took the mat in the 103-pound final of Alaska's big school wrestling championships. When the wrestlers were introduced, Hutchison received a roaring applause. But the best was yet to come. Led by chants of "C'mon Michaela" and "Girl Power," Hutchison blew the roof off the place when she earned a thrilling 1-0 victory over Colony's Aaron Boss to become the first girl wrestler in the nation to win a state title against boys. Hutchison, a sophomore who entered the state tournament ranked No. 1 in her weight class, completed her historic run by scoring an escape with 16 seconds left in the match to beat Boss for the second time in as many weeks.

Kent Bailo, director of the U.S. Girls Wresting Association, believes Hutchison's victory will help girls wrestling become a varsity sport. He estimates 4,000 to 5,000 girls wrestle in high schools nationwide. Yet, only Hawaii and Texas currently offer it as a girls sport. But Alaska might be next.

No. 1-ranked at 103# all season. Hutchison finished the season with a 45-4 record that included 33 pins, one shy of the state single-season record. She's one of 10 children and the third in her family to win a state title, joining brothers Zeb and Eli.

Anchorage Daily News

one dozen green eggs

How often do you come across a full dozen green eggs? Here's a remarkable fresh batch of big organic beauties. We spent a lovely afternoon with Carolyn & Tom and shared the riches. These delicate hues are very elusive when it comes to capturing them on camera.

evocative images of Maxfield Parrish

One way of relating to these gorgeous images by Golden Age of Illustration master Maxwell Parrish is through lifting: in Ecstasy, the girl in blue just executed a perfect snatch or clean, and in the second, she has finished an epic work out. Satiated, empowered, exhausted and happy, she lets her lover dote on her in her private reverie in Daybreak.

Barbie torture movement

It's official! Barbie dolls become 'hate' figure - BBC News

"Barbie dolls are sometimes "tortured" by youngsters - who even confess to placing the toy in the microwave.Researchers at Bath university found many girls aged seven to 11 subjected dolls to "maiming and decapitation".
"When we asked the groups of junior school children about Barbie, the doll provoked rejection, hatred and violence," said Dr Agnes Nairn."

This comes as delightful validation to most of us. Marketers are shocked and mystified. How could Barbie provoke such violence? Barbie is... a physical monstrosity so engineered to perpetuate Western fetish fantasy that it is a literal impossibility; the icon of mascara, big blonde hair, pointy boobies, high heels and complete lack of muscular development; the talisman of cosmetic and fashion industries burned into our collective unconsciousness.

Shove off, marketers! It is only in tuning out such messages of how we should be that we can begin to find out who we really are.

Know thyself.

Image from

Make your own protein bars

Lifting diva Krista Smash has a typically razor-sharp commentary on the state of engineered nutrition food products and her own alternative recipe for homemade bars at the monolithic

found inspiration

I can't get enough of the website Found Magazine, which posts submitted scraps of things that are found - love letters, birthday cards, kids' homework, to-do lists, ticket stubs, poetry on napkins, doodles - anything that gives a glimpse into someone else's life. It's the ultimate voyeur smoregusboard of appetizers.

Here is a note found three days after the Boston Marathon. Of all the emotional bits on the site, this one really hit me.

On a more pedestrian level, I also liked the note Bring porn for Ron and this note stuck in a book on serial killer Ted Bundy.

My gym

Moving into the new space. Next steps are building lifting platform and getting rubber flooring.

Painted Hills

Awesome pictures of one of my favorite places. Central Oregon. Photos by Ray Hendricks - his blog is full of his excellent photography of the PNW plus Photoshop tips.

Portland today

Great photo by Rob Finch, for The Oregonian.

Winning isn't everything...What really matters, what changes your life, is the passionate pursuit of something that matters.

- from the poignant essay a big ballgame for a small town by John Ydstie, NPR Weekend Edition Saturday, Jan. 21