Yellow flowers & Osho

Look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the clouds, look at the stars... and if you have eyes you will be able to see that the whole existence is joyful. Everything is simply happy. Trees are happy for no reason; they are not going to become prime ministers or presidents and they are not going to become rich and they will never have any bank balance. Look at the flowers - for no reason. It is simply unbelievable how happy flowers are. ~Osho

New Film: Self-Medicated

Monty Lapica is winning major award after major award for his debut film Self-Medicated. This could become the flagship film of the troubled-teen industry, a Coolhand Luke for children of the '90s. After his father died, his mother hired a company to abduct him and place him in a lockdown psychiatric treatment center for troubled youth. The staff was corrupt, the ordeal horrible - but he orchestrated an escape. That's all I know, all from the many raving reviews on the film, which is currently touring this country and abroad, attracting awards like a magnet. If you're in a major city, check the site - you may get to see it before the rest of us waiting for the DVD to be released. The website for the film is powerful and enigmatic in itself, and probably gives you a real good idea of what you're in for. I can't wait to see it.

Lone Souls has a new home -

From the site:

The lone souls web site is an advocacy art project devoted to victims of the troubled-teen industry — residential treatment programs such as wilderness therapy, boot camps, etc. Lone souls collects and showcases related artwork and writing by survivors and anyone moved by this disturbing issue.

Submissions are welcome from any genre — poems, essays, song lyrics, drawings, paintings, photos, whatever. Email submissions to submissions @ (Close the spaces; they're there to deter spam). Paste text works into the body of the email if possible; otherwise, PDF, JPEG and Word formats are preferred. Please include your name as you wish it to appear and a few words about yourself in relation to the troubled-teen industry; or, if you wish your work to appear anonymously, just let us know.

Far from the Madding Gerund - new book on Language Log

Language Log is a blogzine I've been recommending since the beginning of my own blogging life. Now I am delighted to tell you that a book has been published on it. Yours truly worked on it, as a matter of fact. It's really, really funny and smart.


William, James & Co. presents Far from the Madding Gerund and Other Dispatches from Language Log, a book based on the popular online magazine Language Log. The 276-page paperback trade book has just been released.

Although written by professional linguists on topics like syntax and phonetics, Far from the Madding Gerund appeals to a general audience with its “exuberant, tart, and totally addictive” style (The Boston Globe).

The authors examine language-related items in the news, evolving patterns of everyday speech, and language choices of everyone from major political figures and celebrities to people having audible cell phone conversations in shopping malls. Often the authors’ musings on language meander through warm stories from their lives, such as learning the value of political pluralism among fiery young GI’s in 1969 Vietnam, and being moved at hearing Ray Charles sing America the Beautiful in Santa Cruz County just a month before he died. As the Chicago Tribune explained about Language Log, “What you won't find are rants about the sorry state of proper standard English in America. Linguists tend to be more interested in observing how words are used than in complaining about what they hear.” The book champions linguistic descriptivism for readers who needn’t know the term.

Far from the Madding Gerund contains 139 of the best posts from Language Log (, a popular online magazine written in Weblog format by professional linguists. Web and book content is mostly written by Geoffrey Pullum and Mark Liberman. Pullum is Professor of Linguistics and Distinguished Professor of Humanities at the University of California (The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, 2002); The Great Eskimo Vocabulary Hoax and Other Irreverent Essays on the Study of Language, 1990. Mark Liberman is Trustees Professor of Phonetics in Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania (The intonational system of English (Outstandings dissertations in linguistics). Additional contributors to the site include 14 other linguistics professors.

From the introduction of Far from the Madding Gerund:“As you read this book, you may (we hope) find yourself thinking, “I never knew that!” or “I always thought that was bad grammar!” or “Was that really the origin?” or “Did they really write that?”. And while these thoughts are occurring to you, it may be that you will come to see the English language somewhat differently on some points. You will have fun, but your opinions about language will shift. You might even begin to think you’d like to know a bit more about linguistics than you know right now” (–Mark Liberman and Geoffrey Pullum).

poem by Bobby at Skullbolt

Skullbolt: screams from a mutilated voicebox is a remarkable blog I just discovered. Bobby, the blogger, has a distinct character that resonates through his tight, evocative poetry as well as his prose and photography. Another sensitive, cynical artistic type trying to stay afloat in a society not set up to embrace such gems...What's not to like?

I am proud to post a poem and a photo by Bobby at Mighty Mix.

The cat is not giving me CPR
when I realize what
shot out of the howling lawnmower
I wake up on a hammock
the cat is softening up a comfort spot in
the sad hole in my chest
lonely Saturdays I do nothing with
I could have remained at my desk
Friday evening and closed my
eyes until Monday morning

Smiling, I order from a catalogue
warming up the copier
the coffee machine accumulated
one drop all weekend
hanging there, finally falling
I miss lemonade
too late to get my head straight
I didn’t care about payday
I haven’t flipped pages on my calendar

Watch NOW tonite - Peter Gabriel's human rights abuses project

NOW is on at PBS at 9:00 p.m. Fridays on the West Coast. Check local listings here.

This week on NOW, possibly the best investigative journalism program left:

In Your Eyes

Musician and human rights activist Peter Gabriel is empowering people to document human rights abuses in their own backyards and bring them to the world's attention. His organization, Witness, is based in Brooklyn, but has electronic eyes all over the world, acting under the motto "see it, film it, change it." Gabriel opens up to David Brancaccio about his horror at abuses as far away as Burma and as close as California, and how his efforts have led to real change.

"I think it appalls you at first when you start seeing what people actually do in the world. But I find some of the people you meet, that are fighting the abuses, extraordinary," says Gabriel.

it all comes out in the wash

I'm looking for a few good laundry-obsessed testers. I endorse a select few products carried by Better Fitness Products - the Shoulderhorn, The weighted X-vest and the Full Strength Shake by Phillips Performance Nutrition. Now they're all hopped up about a new laundry detergent especially for people who sweat in their clothes. I like the oxygenated-type detergents for other items, so this has potential IMO, but I'd really like to have some people test it out and tell me what they think. I am extremely selective about what products I will endorse.

So, if you want to give it a try, get a bottle here - 6.99 for a 21 oz. bottle, with a money-back guarantee - then let me know what you think, either by way of blog posting here or drop me an email. I'll be testing it myself. It sounds good. Oh, and it's made in the U.S., which always makes me happy.

Here's what they say:

WIN DetergentWIN Detergent is scientifically formulated to remove bacteria, sweat residue, and odors from high-performance sportswear.

"We were very skeptical when WIN's manufacturer first approached us with this product. After all, we didn't think we had a "problem" with our regular detergent. Our workout clothes looked clean enough, and we didn't see any reason to change. However, our first test changed our minds about this product. We had a few favorite pieces of workout clothing that smelled pungent as soon as we began to sweat, despite prior repeated washings. After one washing with WIN, however, these items were noticeably cleaner and odor-free. WIN outperforms all conventional detergents, because it completely destroys the source of sweaty odors."

You look fabulous

On the subject of all things gym life, one of the best mental shifts I ever executed for myself was accepting that physically, I am the best I will ever be. This I coupled with the line "in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked." It's from Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich's 1999 phenomenon Everyone's Free to Wear Sunscreen, commonly known as The Sunscreen Song.

A gym membership salesman once told me, "Every person here is unhappy with himself. That's why they're here." And to a great extent, that's true. Take bodybuilding, since changing one's body composition is the number one goal of gymgoers. Bodybuilding is a cosmetic pursuit. The axioms in bodybuilding are that you are constantly improving, never as good as you will be, and in need of improvement; and physically, your muscles are always in a state of damage, because they're about to grow. But the latter is true of the former as well; examine the first three points and you'll realize that thinking this way is putting your psyche into a state of damage as well. Casting oneself into a perpetual state of unhappiness with one's present body image is not healthy. I lived this way for years, as do anorexics, bigorexics (of which I was one), and a whole lot of people in America who don't need labeling of such specific categories.

When I heard that song, that line jumped out at me. Perhaps I would look back at photos of myself and regret living under the regime of unappreciation. Perhaps my own lens was not the best choice I could make. And years of meticulous, intense training with slow progress that had seemingly plateaued led me to try on the idea that "this is the best I will ever be." Dangerous? Yes. That might have propelled me into bleakness all on its own; by the rules of bodybuilding, after all, it meant I had failed.

But something else happened. This idea was a trigger releasing freedom. I began to relax. I still trained consistently and hard, but the grinding judgment of self-examination dissipated. And I began to realize that if this is the best I'll ever be, it's not too bad. At all. Now I could cater to how I actually looked, instead of ignoring the body of the moment while waiting to cater to what I would develop into. I began to dress myself for my body, and see myself in a new light. My mind was quieted and my head stood higher. I'd freed myself from a ruthless tyrant.

Then, unconsciously, I began to develop physically again. This perspective had opened the gates for me to explore new avenues in working out, and they gave me a lot of benefits. This is how it played out - Since this was the best I'd ever be, now was the time to try out bodybuilding competition; I had nothing to lose, and the sport could take me or leave me, I had no expectations or pressure. The competition experience is a whole chapter unto itself, so allow me to fast forward. Next, that same freedom opened the gates for me into Olympic lifting, having nothing to lose, and lo and behold, my body changed again. And so did the rest of me. By accepting my condition, I'd allowed progress. And more than breaking a physical plateau, I'd broken a fundamental plateau in my evolution as a person, and continued physical development was just one side benefit.

Part of the freedom was releasing my strength where I had oppressed it before; if you are unhappy with your present state, you are vulnerable to the influences and messages of others, and today's world is bloated with messages of how you should be, what you should be doing, what you should be buying, etc. By reaching satisfaction, my mind grew quieter because I became more impervious to these pressures, and more deaf to their noise. (This is an actual selling tool - find the pain point and sell to it.) I've come to believe that the progression of maturity is to accept one's body, and then to appreciate it, and by extension, to appreciate the natural beauty in everyone else's healthy bodies. Life is just richer when this happens.

A lot of people move forward in their gym lives out of dissatisfaction with their bodies, and plunge into depression when they feel they've plateaued. And there's plenty of support for that way of being. To an extent, it's useful; after all, if you're very underweight, overweight, or weak, you should be unhappy with your body and driven to change it. But if you've done that, and you've put in the time, and worked, and your body did change under your efforts - try on the "this is the best I'll ever be" idea. It just might give you wings of freedom.

Kitties in springtime

Our beloved furchildren, as the vets say, "twice the size of normal cats," each around 25#, tall, fast and strong like bull.

Easter poem by Cupcake Man

Freedom is a Cupcake is one of my favorite blogs. Cupcake Man is a compulsive creative writer who truly revels in words, inspiration and the flow of creativity. This is a poem he posted recently, and it is with pride that I present here, by his permission, for Easter. I think it is beautiful.


In that field
where your body will mix with dirt
and women in black
wipe mud off their skirts
you will lie, after seven years without
your man because
he died
but now the sweet divide
erases the dying and
moments when you cried

I saw blue skies above your tomb
cruelest month? No.
this mystery of Easter
in springtime I
envy the dead

And I’ve been dead too
but I saw blue skies and tulips
today at your funeral

cherry blossoms, by me

poem appearing in apt magazine

I'm pleased to report that apt magazine: an online literary journal has published my poem Estate Sale - Dallas, Oregon for its 4th issue, online now. It's out of NYC and full of good stuff - verse, stories, oil paintings, photography... I especially enjoy the contributor bio's, which include mention of each writer's favorite pie.

Some words from the editor, Randolph Pfaff -

"I'm sure we're all aware that there are many talented writers and artists striving to create new and interesting work on a daily basis (just browse the pages of apt for evidence) and countless others open to viewing and reading their work. Sadly, it seems that traditional media have forgotten their mandate to reach out to the public with a product that is both unique and accessible. I hope that newspaper and magazine publishers find a way to reinvigorate both their staffs and their audience. I also hope that we are doing our part in presenting interesting, high-quality work for a receptive and appreciative audience." (posted at apt 2.18.2006)

How to choose a martial art

Some guidance from Chuck Norris
The Secret of Inner Strength page 173

"The first thing I suggest to anyone interested in studying karate is that he or she take stock of his or her physical condition and limitations. A person who is short and powerfully built with a low center of gravity would do well to investigate judo. Males or females who are already limber or want to become more flexible might find one of the Korean styles - such as taekwondo or hapkido - of interest. Someone with fast hands and good coordination who is not adverse to a hard workout should look into Japanese karate styles, such as gojo-ryu or shotokan karate. A slightly built person who is not very strong may find jujitsu or aikido appealing because these styles turn an opponent's strength against him. An older person would do well (this phrasing cracks me up) to consider tai chi, one of the most ancient of the martial arts, which is still practiced daily by millions of elderly people in China."

From the UFS webpage of quotes

Spotting stories

I thought it would be fun to share some of my most memorable spotting stories.

What did you say?
Be careful when you ask a deaf person to spot you. Once while bench pressing, I had a deaf guy spot me, and he was all there for the first few reps, then I closed my eyes and went into hyperdrive and ... started ... to ... lose it...and opened my eyes to find him looking off somewhere else; and I started to laugh as I realized there was just no possible way to get his attention...

Balls up
So this guy is spotting me, once again, on a bench press, and he's really serious about it, and really there with me for every increment, and he's real close in, and then - I got balls to the forehead. Well, he was so shocked and humiliated that he shot off to the other side of the gym and I never saw him again. And yes, that means I had to finish the set myself...

Coffee breath
Oh, he was a terrific spotter, but he drank coffee before a lift, and it would almost knock me out during a bench press...

Worst spot ever
Guy volunteers his invaluable aid to lady sure-to-be-in-distress during her Smith Machine squat, and put his hands on my rigcage and rushed my slow ascent, taking the pace to be a signal I was flagging. Obviously, this clown was completely clueless...

Best spot ever
I was in an intense trance on the best pec dek machine I've ever used, and the reverie went deeper and deeper, every fiber electrified for the final squeezing, last, long, slow, amazing moments...Then I opened my eyes and realized a guy had been spotting me. WOW!

Here's an article I wrote on spotting and what makes a good spotter. It ran in one of Chelo's magazines, but they never got around to telling me which one, so alas, I have no clip (nor payment). These things happen. But you can enjoy it now, for free.

OCB PNW States Championships

Email me at to get involved.
Visit for entry form, tickets, details.

boxing breakthrough

Today: breakthrough in understanding combat. Focusing on pushing through on punches (instead of just landing them) yielded the notion of pushing the opponent around, directing the path of the opponent's movement. Like most epiphanies, this sounds so simple, yet the difference between knowing and truly understanding is what true learning is, and true knowledge. This strategy arises on the spot and is flexible and organic, choosing from combinations and so on, which is different from the intellectual's idea of slowly plotted, premeditated strategic planning. This is a big breakthrough.

Another good reason to work out. You know the saying - you have to be going somewhere to stumble into something.

obviously, this shot of Lucia is from

How to rip a phonebook

From Clay Edgin - March 2004 Athlete of the Month on - come legitimate instructions for how to perform one of the classic feats of strength in American fringe culture - tearing a phonebook in half. He even includes sources of phonebooks for additional supplies and recycling info. He also has instructions for how to tear a deck of cards in half, and a video online of himself rolling up a frying pan. Who says there's no point to being strong?

Eileen Olszewski - boxing champ

Here's a grrl worth noticing. She represents a tough fact in America: You can be the most deserving champion of your field, but it doesn't mean you'll "make it." That doesn't reflect at all on your abilities or achievements. It's just life, and life is easier if you define success differently from market-driven societal systems.

Check her out, the grrl's a champ.

By Benn Schulberg,from The Sweet Science website:

Eileen Olszewski dominated the amateur competition in the 112-pound division, was undefeated in United States competition, and for three consecutive years won the most prestigious titles around the country. After being crowned U.S. national champion for the third straight time in 2003, culminating a remarkable amateur career, Eileen seemed destined to take the professional ranks by storm. Yet, we fast-forward to 2006 and the woman considered one of the best prospects to ever come out of New York is still waiting for her opportunity to make her mark on the sport.

note: no photo credit was given at

Announcing the OCB PNW Bodybuilding & Figure Championship

You read it here first. The Mighty Kat is promoting the OCB's first show in Oregon. If you'd like to be involved - volunteering, competing, sponsoring, advertising - please contact me at Details to unfold soon at

OCB PNW Bodybuilding & Figure Championship
October 21, 2006
Female and Male natural bodybuilding, plus figure
Austin Auditorium in the LaSells Stewart Center of
Oregon State University, Corvallis

The OCB's stunning Karly Green in the ballet pose, a chest pose particularly flattering to females

The OCB is a great organization that is mushrooming because of its emphasis on fair, friendly, honest drugfree competitions - and because advertisers are drawn to its high quality promotional materials, including Fitness & Physique magazine. The OCB is also particularly dedicated to celebrating its female athletes. I have competed with the OCB several times, write for its magazine, did some marketing work for them in grad school, and am now proud to bring them to the great Northwest.