Female boxers from India

No. 1-ranked team India squares off against 4th-best Canada Jim Parker, Windsor Star

"In less than a decade, India has climbed to the top of the world ladder in women's boxing. *

Over the next two nights, area boxing fans can get a glimpse at what the world has been watching as 15 of India's top women fighters square off in an international match against Canada.

"They're the No. 1 team in the world and it's a great experience for anyone who gets to fight," said Windsor's Mary Spencer, who will fight Kavita Goyat in the 66kg division. "For those who don't realize what a big deal this is, you've got No. 1 in the world against No. 4 (Canada).""

Also see Sudbury Star

* For some perspective, here's a BBC article from 2001 talking about how the year-old fledgling sport of female boxing is taking off in India. It gives this amazing insight: The best boxers could benefit from the "sports quota", an Indian government scheme that allocates public-sector jobs to outstanding athletes.

M. C. Merrykom of Manipur, the first woman boxer of India to win a medal in the World Championship. Tribune India photo by Mukesh Aggarwal

big OHS day

Full bottom squat, 45#, 46 reps in 13 continuous sets - at the end of a work out ;-)

Pic from Total Physique Online

Heavy Athletics: lifting with at-risk youth

Changing lives one rep at a time

Heavy Athletics helps incarcerated youth fulfill their potential, both physically and mentally, through Olympic weightlifting. Volunteer coaches work with incarcerated 12 to 18-year-olds six days a week, 52 weeks a year, in Oregon. They train, have meets, and sometimes take competitors to the next level of competition on the outside and then back in again as mentors.

Heavy Athletics is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) Olympic Weightlifting training program at the John Serbu Juvenile Justice Center in Eugene, Oregon. The program was founded in 2001 by two-time National Olympic Weightlifting Champion and American Record Holder, Tom Hirtz.

"Each member of the Heavy Athletics program believes that heartfelt positive reinforcement from a trusted coach can make difference in thriving and surviving in the juvenile justice system."

What a great and unique thing. This strikes me as pure altruism borne of deep thought and personal philosophy. The fact that they have six coaches who do this year-round on a volunteer basis is impressive.

Records are for glory, lifting is for life

You can read the stats to see how people perform in their sports, but I'm more taken by deeper contexts that show who a person is through his sport. That's a complicated concept to explain, but this site has a lovely example; check out the deep moments from jail... my kind of poetry in the rough.

"We have found that Olympic style weightlifting, which requires timing, coordination and courage, is about a lot more than just how much weight we can get a kid to lift; it's about what a kid becomes as a result of lifting that weight," (presumably a Tom Hirtz quote).

Every little bit helps this kind of specialized program. To make a donation, visit the site or contact Heavy Athletics at (541) 953-7946.

training article in Fitness & Physique mag

My article on rigging hanging handles and training similar to basic ring work is in the spring issue of Fitness & Physique magazine. You can also read a version of it at Straight to the Bar.

This is the magazine of the Organization of Competitive Bodybuilders, or OCB, a steroid-free non-profit.

Fitness & Physique is sold at Borders, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Hastings, International News, Meijer's, QFC, Kroger, Supervalu, Winco Foods and other retail outlets, or can be ordered online.

Mother's Day wishlist at Straight to the Bar

On Mother’s Day, it’s time to return the favour. She helped out by bringing you up; now help her become strong enough to deal with, well, you.

Straight to the Bar features my article Grrls Mother's Day Fitness Wishlist.

Mother’s Day should be about the woman - not Hallmark, not sugar, and definitely not the floral industry. If she was tough enough to survive raising you, give her something to complement her indomitable strength.

(Pictured is mother of four and 2007 OCB Yorton Cup Nationals champion Cheryl Szarmach. Photo by Matt Shepley)

FLDS info resources *bump

Like with Batman, I was into the FLDS cult before it was cool. Since Chip mentioned it, I am hip-deep in media consumption on America's favorite Mormon fundamentalist polygamy cult.

I've been toying with the idea of writing a blog post on this since April 3, but have been overthinking the question: what do I have to add? I don't feel like grandstanding. There are horrors too dark for my literary working-over. But what I do have to contribute, in my familiar role as information conduit, is information resources, and I can see that most of America is sorely lacking for these.

The facts about this cult can begin to cut through the hijacked concept of tolerance blinding the majority of the public - the unquestionable righteousness and dehabilitating comfort of religious pluralism. It's so seductive that cult leaders count on it for mind control of the general public, to keep the outside at bay. So here's a strong starter list.


Under the Banner of Heaven by journalistic god Jon Krakauer - Here's the book, the big book, the main book, the definitive and exhaustive expose chronicling not only the development of the FLDS, but the entire history of Mormonism and how it sets the context for this splitter cult. The research, gripping writing, and scrutable detail all deservedly elevated this majestic piece of journalism to the bestseller list. I have been fascinated by this cult ever since I read this book, a few years ago. The lack of its mention in all this media coverage bewilders me. The systemic evil of this cult is laid out clearly, all its shocks delivered matter-of-factly. This is the one to read.

When Men Became Gods by Stephen Singular chronicles the life of FLDS Leader Warren Jeffs and his reign. Enticing review in the Rocky Mountain Times, with round-up of basic tenements of the cult.

Colorado City: An inside look for the outsider and The Polygamists: a history of Colorado City, both by Benjamin Bistline. He is a historian from the inside. I think these are the same book.

FLDS survivor biographies

Escape - Escapee Carolyn Jessop's story. She was forced into polygamous marriage and bore eight children. In Banking on Heaven, she talks about the abuse, and how her children held her down while her husband beat her. Her story is being made into a movie by the same name, produced by and starring Katherine Heigl (Knocked Up) .

Stolen Innocence - Escapee Elissa Wall's story. She was forced into marriage with her cousin when she was 14, and was rescued as she had her fourth miscarriage while hiding from her husband. Details at ABC's 20/20 Her story will be made into a movie by producers Jeffrey Sharp and Christine Vachon (Boys Don't Cry) see brief at Cinematical.


Banking on Heaven DVD - If you want a quick crash course, this documentary is a good pick. Made in 2007 by a woman who escaped a similar cult, it is the only filmcrew to get inside the compound and conduct interviews. Powerful, disturbing. View trailer

Secret lives of women: polygamy cult - new documentary aired on women's cable network WE 4/29. This Chicago Tribune column includes a clip. Focuses on escapees-turned-activists Flora and Carol Jessop.
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Lifting the Veil of Polygamy - Both expose and historical documentary chronicling polygamy's roots in Mormonism, and its current doctrine and practice by both "new Mormons" and fundamentalists. Escapees interviews. By Living Hope Ministries. Warning: ends with sell to be saved. Watch online for free. Order DVD for four dollars.


Out of - Site devoted to helping victims of FLDS leave and recover. Run by Kathy Jo Nicholson, who left.

Lost boys and girls of polygamy
- an article including information on what's involved in becoming a host family for a rejected child.

Texas DFPS - Updates from the agency


Court/public documents related to the Eldorado case at San Angelo Standard-Times, with ongoing news updates

The startling Bishop's List, listing men's wives, children, and ages.

Letter to LDS-PR-machine senator Harry Reid from Utah attorney general Mark Shurtleff and Arizona attorney general Terry Goddard, defending what the states have done over the years to combat the cult in Colorado City/Hilldale.


Mormonism: A Racket Becomes a Religion - Slate ran excerpts from the new book by incisive commonsense sage Christopher Hitchens God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.

The Texas Polygamist Sect: Uncoupled and Unchartered - Well-written commentary from TIME summarizing the situation, and finally - a piece that mentions Jon Krakauer and Under the Banner of Heaven.

When the polygamists came to town - Nice angle shows what it's been like for the small town next door since their weird neighbors moved in on a lie and a prayer. TIME

Cult beliefs - Some gems rounded up by Sun Herald, from Carol Jessop's book Escape


A few words from the heroic Flora Jessop - directly responsible for the rescue of 84 women and children who wanted to escape.

And finally, a recording of actual preaching from Warren Jeffs to girls in 5th to 10th grade, on "celestial marriage" (polygamy) - Section 132 in Mormon scripture. Very straightforward on what these girls were born for, and what they must do to achieve happiness and eternal life.

tire flipping

new toy! My beautiful dumptruck tire. Wheatie immediately embraced it.

home run everyone can cheer

You know the story... It brought tears to my eyes! Take that "attitude is everything."

Good commentary CWU softball players show compassion beyond sportsmanship by George Vecsey of the New York Times (nevermind he had to bring gender into it - bloggers are a'bashing).

""Mallory didn't know it was my first home run," said Tucholsky, whose college career will end with a .153 batting average and exactly one home run. "It just says a lot about them."

Tucholsky was too immobile to join the handshake line at the end of the game Saturday, but her family has been in touch with Holtman, photographs have been exchanged, the two teams are wrapped in a bond of good feeling we can only wish did not seem so singular, so remarkable."

Central Washington's Liz Wallace, left, and Mallory Holtman carry Sara Tucholsky after the Western Oregon player hurt her knee on a home run. AP Photo