September window

This amazing, fleeting lightshow comes through every evening. This week, I shot a series based on these three frames. These are all raw photos shot in natural light, and the objects and variables were not manipulated in any way. Can't decide on one to represent the image. Any thoughts?

Gene Flynn strengthens youth thru Olympic lifting

Coach Gene Flynn has youth going international through the Olympic lifting program he started in 2004 - OBX Weightlifting team.

Flynn's protege Jimmy Grier has just made the news. This NC high school senior is invited to lift in the Pan American Under 17 Championships in Ecuador.

From the quotes below from Heavy Lifting by Owen A. Hassell, Flynn is a fine ambassador to the sport and an asset to local youth.

Outer Banks Sentinel -- “When people ask about being a weightlifter, they say, ‘Oh, what do you bench?'” Flynn said. “Well, we don't bench, we do snatch and clean and jerk, and they think ‘What's that?' It's a shame because it's an Olympic sport, most people should know what the heck it is.

As far as what both can bench? Neither one can really remember. They bench maybe once a month. For competition, the snatch and clean and jerk is what counts. A lifter gets three attempts at each lift, and must increase weight after each one. It is a better account of sport, Flynn added.

“It's not good for your shoulders actually (to bench), and the lifts we do will actually increase mobility,” Flynn said. “When you're doing this you're moving the hips, moving the arms and that's more dynamic for sport.”

About the program

“What we're hoping to do is build character in the youth of Dare County, and they need to work hard to achieve things in life,” Flynn said. “By building healthy bodies we're also building healthy minds, and it gives them something to do.”

The non-profit club had gone from one member to more than 40, male and female, and put on fundraisers to attend national championships from Michigan, Alabama, Florida and other points.

Kelly Bornemeier first female on Virginia football team

Senior Kelly Bornemeier is the first female on Massaponax Virginia's high shool varsity football team.

"The coach thought about sitting the other players down to tell them a girl would be joining the team. But he soon realized that was not necessary. "They look out for her like she's their sister," Ludden said.

Bornemeier says she can kick field goals from 35 yards, and would like to stretch her limit to 40 by the end of the season. In the Panthers' 51-8 victory over Spotsylvania last Friday, Bornemeier made six of seven extra-point tries and the 25-yard field goal."

Continue reading She's no pink Panther: Female kicker one of the guys, by Adam Himmelsbach at The Free Lance Star's site.

Brenda Bloechl, first female on her HS football team

Brenda Bloechl, a junior, is the first female on the varsity football team of Normal West High School in Bloechl, Illinois.

From Pantagraph columnist Randy Kindred's piece, a quote from Bloechl:

"Whenever they ask me, ‘Why are you doing it?’ I’m like, ‘Why are you on the football team? Can’t it be the same reason for me?’ Just because I’m a girl doesn’t mean anything."

Read: West's first female player 'just part of the team'

elevated testosterone kills nerve cells

press release from Yale University in New Haven, Conn.

A Yale School of Medicine study shows for the first time that a high level of testosterone, such as that caused by the use of steroids to increase muscle mass or for replacement therapy, can lead to a catastrophic loss of brain cells.

Taking large doses of androgens, or steroids, is known to cause hyperexcitability, a highly aggressive nature, and suicidal tendencies. These behavioral changes could be evidence of alterations in neuronal function caused by the steroids, said the senior author, Barbara Ehrlich, professor of pharmacology and physiology.

“Next time a muscle-bound guy in a sports car cuts you off on the highway, don’t get mad, just take a deep breath and realize that it might not be his fault,” said Ehrlich.

Testosterone is the main male hormone and it plays fundamental roles in development, differentiation, and cellular growth. In neurons, testosterone acts as a neurosteroid and can induce changes at the cellular level, which in turn lead to changes in behavior, mood and memory. Both neuroprotective and neurodegenerative effects of androgens have been reported.

The researchers showed that high levels of testosterone triggered programmed cell death in nerve cells in culture. Cell death, or apoptosis, is critical in many life processes, including development and disease. It is characterized by membrane instability, activation of caspases, which are the executioner proteins in apoptosis, change in membrane potential, and DNA fragmentation.

“In the present study we have demonstrated for the first time that the treatment of neuroblastoma cells with elevated concentrations of testosterone for relatively short periods, six to 12 hours, induces a decrease in cell viability by activation of a cell death program,” Ehrlich said. “Low concentrations of testosterone had no effects on cell viability, whereas at high concentrations the cell viability decreased with incremental increases in hormone concentration.”

The testosterone-induced apoptosis described in this study occurs through overactivation of intracellular Ca2+ signaling pathways. Overstimulation of the apoptotic program in neurons has been associated with several neurological illnesses, such as Alzheimer disease and Huntington disease.

Co-authors include Manuel Estrada, now continuing his work at the University of Chile in Santiago, and Anurag Varshney, now working at Ranbaxy, a drug discovery company in New Delhi, India.

Journal of Biological Chemistry 281: 25492-25501 (September 2006)
Press contact Jacqueline Weaver 203-432-8555

Boxer battles bulimia

Eating disorders get most of their media spotlight on young females - the too-typical skinny high school girl squirreling away her lunches, or eating several and then secretly purging in the bathroom. But like osteoporosis, this insidious disease group also takes down males every day, while dodging the mainstream radar. I applaud Kirk Lang for writing a fascinating story on a recent boxer who battled bulimia.

Many physical fitness disciplines are breeding grounds for eating disorders, from anorexia to "bigorexia". Bodybuilders injure themselves and die under unhealthy regiments (see for more information); wrestlers, boxers and weightlifters commonly diet and do outlandish things to "make weight".

On the other hand, extreme disciplines can have just the opposite effect as well. Within an environment with good information, training, guidance and encouragement, people battling these demons have found their cure.

For instance, ex-anorexics make excellent bodybuilders. With the right guidance, bodybuilding can be a life-changing experience that can actually help anorexics recover, because it doesn't try to change them. It gives them the lifestyle they crave but in a healthy structure, bringing it out into the open as a badge of honor.
It's a natural progression for them, calling on their unrelenting diet micomanagement, scrupulous discipline that militants dream of, and demanding exhausting, organized exercise. Their efforts are rewarded with social and physical acceptance, health, beauty, and public adoration. Now they look good, are healthy and proud. Mind you, it all hinges on being in the right hands - trainer, dietician, coach, etc.

Anyhow, here is the lead to Lang's article.

Former Fighter’s Toughest Battle was his Bout with Bulimia

By Krik Lang, for -- Peter Joseph Alindato was a promising contender in the early 1980s. He was a frequent face on ESPN and had a boyish smile that belied his killer instinct in the ring. Great things were expected of the bantamweight with the flying fists. In the prime of his career, he was trained by Tommy Parks and Oscar Suarez and later spent time training at legendary manger Cus D’Amato’s training facility in Catskill, New York, where a young Mike Tyson was transformed from a raw young teenager into a world-class fighter.

Alindato, however, never lived up to his potential. He never achieved his dream of becoming a champion. What the viewers who saw him on television never knew, and what his trainers didn’t even know for years, was that Alindato, also known as the Durango Kid, was battling a far more dangerous opponent than any man he ever met in the ring – bulimia.

Read full story at East Side Boxing

All-American Fall Equinox chowdown

Here's to the passing of another beautiful summer. I'm celebrating the equinox with my own delicious buffalo chili and apple crisp, kicking back with a Jon Krakauer book and Bob Dylan's new album Modern Times. Here's to a great fall.

Buffalo Chili

  • 2 pounds ground buffalo
  • 2 cans organic chili beans (pinto)
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 small cans tomato sauce
  • 1 onion
  • cumin
  • sage
  • chili powder
  • dash of black pepper
  • spoonful of salt
  • spoonful of sugar
Combine all canned ingredients in large pot over medium heat. Add spices. Brown meat and onions in skillet with sage, over medium high burner. When meat just barely begins to brown, stir into pot. Taste; add spice until perfect. If you taste too much tomato, add more sugar or salt. Turn to low and simmer until ready.

Apple Crisp
(For best results, double the topping.)
  • 3 pounds tart organic apples
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 4 tablespoons cold butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Peel, core and chop apples, toss in a bowl with lemon juice to prevent darkening. In a separate bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg; stir into apples. Set aside.

In another bowl combine flour, sugar and oats.

Cut butter into 8 pieces, and cut butter into flour until mixture looks like crumbs. Stir in nuts. Butter a 10 X 10-inch baking dish. Spread apples in bottom of baking dish then sprinkle with flour mixture. Bake at 375° for 30 to 45 minutes, or until apples are tender and topping is lightly browned. Serve warm or at room temperature.

bodybuilding & figure show coming to Corvallis

It's getting close!

The Pacific Northwest States Bodybuilding & Figure Championships is the first OCB show in Oregon. If you're Out West and want to get involved, please drop us a line at

all-female international boxing tournament coming in Nairobi

This Jab Jab outfit is really heating up the female boxing scene in Africa...

People's Daily Online - An all-women international boxing tournament will be held in Nairobi in December, local promoters confirmed on Wednesday.

Jab Jab Promotions publicity manager Emma Christine said in a statement that the bouts to be staged on December 1 will feature five Americans, one Uganda, a Zimbabwean, a Zambian and a Kenyan.

The main fight will be the 10-round women's International Boxing Federation (IBF) title contest between World Boxing Council middleweight Yvonne Reiss of America and compatriot Leticia Robinson.

"This will be the biggest all-women fight this year in Africa and Jab Jab plans to broadcast proceedings of the event on Weppv will broadcast to hand-held devices on a pay-per-view basis," said Christine.

Reiss will be coming to Kenya for the second time after visiting the east African nation in April and defeated Kenya's boxing star and former World Boxing Federation (WBF) middleweight champion, Congestina Achieng.

The 10 boxers will earn handsome price money (How much?) according to Jab Jab Promotions, a newly formed promotions company.

Source: Xinhua

Something Familiar mentioned on Talk of the Nation

Today on the NPR show Talk of the Nation, the discussion was on improving one's writing by reading good writing. Listeners were asked to submit the first line of their book. I was pulling out of the parking lot at work but turned back in and ran inside and got on someone's computer and emailed. Near the end of the show, host Neal Conan read mine, identified the book as Something Familiar by Kat Ricker and even said the book is available for pre-order on! Suh-wheet! Here's the link to listen - at 30:34.

And the first line is:
As soon as we pulled that mermaid up,
I knew I was in for it.

My book was a perfect candidate for this discussion because The Rebecca Review says "If you are a writer, this is one of the top ten books you should read in your lifetime. It teaches you more about writing than a book on writing ever could." Oooh - gives me shivers, every time.

Book update: Rebecca Johnson is allowing me to use her blurb "One of the top 10 books you should read in your lifetime" on the cover. And the book ships to the printer today - Cheers!

Hey trainer, how can I lose this stomach fat?

As a fitness authority, I get asked for advice - A LOT. Getting asked questions is great on one hand, since it reflects favorably that someone would come to me seeking knowledge, and it gives me opportunity to teach and to promote myself.

Let me be clear: I don't mind specific questions seeking science-based answers; that is, something which anyone could look up in the right book or web site. But when someone wants me to apply this knowledge to their unique situation - connect the dots and prescribe a customized solution - that person is asking me to work for free.

And there's the rub: it's not fair when people expect me to work for free. You wouldn't ask a brick layer to build a wall for free in your home, would you? Well, my skill set is knowledge-based. I've made a livelihood of applying this knowledge to various custom needs - by writing articles and personal training. It's a trade, folks, even if the goods are intangible (the results are physical, BTW). Besides, I'm putting work into offering my goods for free already, through and this blog.

Furthermore, while I love discussing fitness matters, that's a different animal. Wanna talk lifting? Great! Let's talk lifting. But I can tell you on behalf of my peers everywhere that getting asked for free advice everywhere we go - from the online chatter to the friendly neighbor to the guy in the next seat at the airport - can be a pain. Yet some folks don't see the difference, and will get turned off when we resist getting into a personal consultation session under the guise of socializing.

Then there's the issue of how general or specific a question is, which we'll get to in a moment.

The point of my little diatribe today is not to vent, however; it's to set up this wonderful response that I want to record here so I can absorb it and share with the fitness community. Renowned book marketer John Kremer runs into a similar situation with questions on marketing advice. He crafted the following response - useful, diplomatic, clear, and so right-on.

(in response to a question on marketing)

When you send me a question like this, I have only one answer. Read my book. While the subject ... could use some specific answers, the question “Do you have any ideas on how I can ...” is way too general to give a decent answer for free (which this questioner wanted).

In most cases, I'm willing to give a free answer to a specific question, but any general question really requires a lot of time to answer fairly. I simply can't do that except in a consulting (training) session where I get paid for my time to apply my extensive knowledge to your specific situation, even when you ask general questions.

If you ever want me to answer a question for free, make it specific ... The more specific the question, the more likely that I will answer it quickly and freely.

Thanks, John!
John Kremer is author of 1001 Ways to Market Your Books

another september walk

Another gorgeous end-of-summer day. Trying to get all I can out of them.

Happened upon this nearly trite scene. How could I not take a picture?
Guess what the book was? Driver test manual.

And another good reason to go off the trail:

World's first ban on skinny models

YEAH! This is awesome!

Skinny models banned from catwalk

Madrid, Spain (Reuters) -- The world's first ban on overly thin models at a top-level fashion show in Madrid has caused outrage among modeling agencies and raised the prospect of restrictions at other venues.
Madrid's fashion week has turned away underweight models after protests that girls and young women were trying to copy their rail-thin looks and developing eating disorders.

Full story here

Cupcake Man appears in tree rootball!

Practically religious sighting in the wild today.
The Venerable Cupcake Man.

Uncanny, isn't it?

So much to do with getting the site designated, consecrated, etc. Contact me to get involved. Will need signage, brochures, much media fanfare, t-shirts. Velvet rope.

So...What else is gnu?

Junk culture killing childhood

You know, as wired as I am now, I am so glad that I was lucky enough to grow up before the age of "the computer" - and, of course, standardized testing.

By Kate Kelland for Reuters, London - Britain's children are being poisoned by a "junk culture" of processed food, computer games and over-competitive education, an influential group of children's authors and experts warned on Tuesday.

In an open letter to the Daily Telegraph, 110 teachers, psychologists and children's authors--including the internationally acclaimed author Philip Pullman and Penelope Leach, a leading childcare expert--called on the government to act now to prevent childhood being killed off altogether.

Forced "to act and dress like mini-adults," children are becoming increasingly depressed and experiencing escalating levels of behavioral and developmental problems, they said.

"Since children's brains are still developing, they cannot adjust as full-grown adults can, to the effects of ever more rapid technological and cultural change," the letter said.

"They need what developing human beings have always needed, including real food (as opposed to processed "junk"), real play (as opposed to sedentary, screen based entertainment), first hand experience of the world they live in and regular interaction with the real-life significant adults in their lives."

Zimbabwe's first pro fem boxer: Monalisa Sibana

Another country yields its first female (pro) boxer. I like how loving the PR statement sounds, albeit she's still a product they're marketing. Monalisa - stage name? Good one, if so. Note the discrepancy between the spellings tho, between the paper and the PR quote - I'd guess "Mana" is a typo; this looks like a straight press release. Couldn't track down a pic.

Zimbabwe female boxer ready for fighting Kenyan featherweight champion

People's Daily Online - Zimbabwe's first professional female boxer Monalisa Sibana's preparations for her upcoming non-title fight against Fatuma Zerica, the Kenyan featherweight champion, got a timely boost after a local bus company offered her free transportation for all international bouts.

"Manalisa is a rare talent and we feel that it is part of our social responsibility to assist her realize her full potential. In line with this we are offering her free transportations to and from all international assignments within the region," the company's public relations manager Webster Mapuranga said on Sunday.

Last month the same company also extended a helping hand to the Zimbabwe karate team which participated in a tournament in South Africa.

Sibanda is the number one contender for a shot at the African Boxing Union belt, which is held by another Kenyan, Conjestina Achiening, but a number of professional hiccups have seen the fight dates shifted on numerous occasions.

"This time all the paperwork is in order and the Zimbabwe Boxing Board has given us the green light to go ahead with the bouts. She will definitely be in the ring next week in Nairobi," said her spokesman Nyasha Manhau.

The fight is being held under the Kenyan-based Jab-Jab Promotions.

a walk in the woods

There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden,
but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~Minnie Aumonier

If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.
~Henry David Thoreau

A seed hidden in the heart of an apple is an orchard invisible.
~Welsh Proverb

Elena Reid world champ flyweight

photo from a ring of their own press page
'Baby Doll' a Champion at Last
After two failed attempts, Reid wins flyweight title
By David A. Avila - The Press-Enterprise

Elena "Baby Doll" Reid finally captured the flyweight world title with a unanimous decision over Mary "The Heat" Ortega.

"I hope this opens doors," Reid said. "I don't want to just be a world champion nobody knows. I want people to know I'm a world champion." --Okay, Elena, here's my contribution.

Reid had twice before fought for the flyweight world title, both times in Germany. But the Las Vegas resident fell just short each time and returned home without the title belt. Not this time.

"It was one of the greatest fights in female boxing history," said Ken Weiss, one of the promoters of the event that took place Aug. 31 in Lake Tahoe. "The crowd went crazy."

Reid used an aggressive attack to wear down Ortega. After 10 rounds, the judges scored it 98-92 twice and 97-93 for Reid.

Read the rest at The Press-Enterprise

Here's an Elena quote from her page at Wikipedia.

"Boxing taught me discipline, determination and the importance of my body. Those three things have given me the inspiration to lead a healthy and goal-oriented life. It's bettered my education and raised the quality of my relationships with my friends and family. My teachers, family and peers always treat me with respect and admire my aspirations and hard work."

zen of lifting

I do not understand anger in lifting.
There is no room for emotion in my work.

There is form, fiber direction, aligning the angle of resistance to the fibers. There is blood and oxygen filling the muscle. Core. Nerve activation, full muscular contraction...

Full range of motion, partial range, full contraction. Core. Eccentric work, the weight of the load as the muscle belly stretches out. Core. Soft knees, core stability, neutral spine, spinal stability - head, chest up, spinal alignment. Breathing. More air.

My awareness is inside, coursing through my blood like nutrients. If there is someone beside me, I do not know it. No other thoughts can survive. Emotion is out of the equation.

I release. Blood and lactic acid swell my limbs. My muscles thrum electric. Rush of elation, taste of bliss, sure fire of victory. Over and over.

As I leave the floor, the warm flood of victory envelopes me, peaked with the pump of my muscles. I am who I want to be. I am my best. My muscles reflect my hard-earned pride. I am not concerned whether anyone else sees my body, engorged and glowing. I am whole again.

movie bliss

O-MG. I just had one of the best times at the movies! Little Miss Sunshine is unbelievably great. Family of dysfunctionals road trip an unlikely girl to a beauty contest. SLAYED me. I could not even consider getting up during the credits, I was undone with laughter.

And on the way, the previews - oh, the previews! Fast Food frigging Nation has been made into a movie! Wwwwwwwoooooowwwwww! Words fail me.

Then there's The Hoax , a book publishing scam story, looks terrific. Scammer finds the bigger he tells 'em, the more the execs buy it. This book will sell more copies than the bible, Richard Gere can feel the snowballing...

anniversary of the Gulf Coast hurricanes

We're listening to voices on the radio talk about class warfare erasing the working poor from New Orleans today, bleaching Bourbon Street into a souless tourist trap with new knick-knacks ready to be swept away in the next storms...

One year ago, I sat at this computer and transcribed the following passage from This American Life. This is the kind of poetic moment that makes me freeze and focus on absorbing it completely.

New Orleans Convention Center, Row H
In the aftermath of Katrina

Then the story became, “They left us here to die. The National Guard is here to kill us.”

Talk about - there were men, just kind of like, roaming with guns, packs of men …

They were securing the area. Criminals, these guys were criminals, they were.
But somehow they got together, figured out who had guns, and decided they were going to make sure that no women were getting raped,
because we did hear about the women getting raped in the Superdome, that no one was hurting babies, and nobody was hurting these old people.

They were the ones getting juice for the babies.

They were the ones getting clothes for people who had walked through that water.

They were the ones fanning the old people.

Because that’s what moved the gangster guys the most, the plight of the old people. That’s what haunted me the most, seeing those old people sitting in them chairs and not being able to get up and walk around or nothing.

They started looting on St. Charles and there was a Rite Aid there,
and you know, you would think that they’d be stealing fun stuff or whatever because it’s a free city or whatever according to them, right?

But they were taking Juice for the babies,
Beer for the older people,
Raincoats, so that so they could all be seen, you know, by each other and stuff.

I thought it was very cool and very well organized.

… exactly like Robin Hood. And that’s why I got so mad, because they’re calling these guys animals. These guys. That’s what got to me. Because I know what they did.

I saw what they did.

You know, I never had a real high opinion of thugs myself, but I tell you one thing: I’ll never look at them the same way again.

* *
Denise Moore being interviewed by Ira Glass for This American Life, WBEZ Chicago, distributed by PRI Public Radio International. Aired 9-11-05
image from gov site