Cannibalizing Workouts

So, I have recently started back into the arena of powerlifting, after a nearly twenty-year military-enforced hiatus.  No, the U.S. military doesn’t ban powerlifting; I am just not genetically gifted enough to train in powerlifting and do my daily military PT.

In trying to break back in (at the age of 45, now), I first turned to what had worked for me before.  In high school and college, I successfully trained to State-champion (in my then very-low weight class, at least) using Coach Shepard’s “Bigger, Faster, Stronger” system.  I like the concept quite a lot, but it is somewhat difficult in this age of “Planet Fitness” zombie “workouts” to find a gym outside of an academic setting which caters to things like “four-way neck machines”, “box squats”, and “towel bench presses”.  While none of those things are strictly mandatory, I thought I would look at other, more recent programs to see if I could find something better.

My next stop was Wendler’s “5/3/1” program.  I liked this for similar set-rep scheme to BFS, and in fact its four-a-week training is more similare to how BFS was done in the 80’s than the current version of BFS is.  However, as Wendler notes, his is not a program for beginners–nor 45 year-old rehabilitees.  However, his books regularly mention Mark Rippetoe and the “Starting Strength” program, so I was off to my next trial.

“Starting Strength” and its sequel, “Practical Programming for Strength Training”, really are phenomenal introductions to strength training.  Unfortunately for me, it assumes that strength training is all you are doing.  While it has sections for scalability to “special populations” (such as quatragenarians like myself), it is also made clear that if you are doing other training, or not doing exactly the training in the book, you are NOT doing “Starting Strength”.  And Starting Strength requires you to do, in addition to other exercises, eight sets of back squats every workout.  This would have wiped me out as a fifteen-year-old on summer break, let alone as a forty-five-year-old with military training requirements and a martial arts career.

Even in the Starting Strength fora, the usual response is, “Just drop your other activities for a few months and do Starting Strength.  You’ll come back even better because of your stronger body!”  Be that as it may, “Sorry, Sir, I can’t PT with the Company any more; I’m doing Starting Strength” is not an option.  So, I have taken a lesson from BFS and alternate days of regular back squatting (on my bench press days) with days of front squats.  This is an “acceptable squat variation” from BFS, and mixing it in allows me to train without destroying my body metabolically.  I also did two sets of ten of each exercise, as per the BFS “Readiness Program”, instead of three sets of five.

I have recently met all of the standards for graduation from the BFS “Readiness program”, and I consider this a good place to transition from a true novice program to an “advanced-novice” program.  I am using the Onus-Wunsler template from Starting Strength, including the three-sets-of-five scheme, but with two substitutions: I am still alternating back-squat and front-squat days, and I am doing stiff-legged deadlifts in place of back extensions.  This is another old favorite from BFS which is mechanically similar to back extensions.  It places greater stress on the gluteals and hamstrings rather than the lower back emphasis of back extensions, but more importantly it does not require a special piece of equipment to which I do not have access.

My warm-up for every weightlifting workout is five sets of strict push-ups; I finish with either wrestler’s bridges or a Captains of Crush grip trainer.  On off-days, I do sets of sit-ups and a thirty-minute treadmill run.


“So, how did you like the tuna salad sandwich at that new deli?”

“Well, it wasn’t tuna salad.”

“Yes, it was!  It said so right on the menu!”

“Well, it was made with ham.  That makes it ham salad, not tuna salad.”

“You’re just afraid of change!  You’re intimidated by things that challenge your tiny mind!”

“No, I understand ham salad quite well.  In particular,  I understand that it is substantively different from tuna salad.  That doesn’t mean that ham salad can’t work, just that calling it ‘tuna salad’ does a disservice to everyone involved.  In fact, there are a lot of places where eating a ham salad sandwich isn’t simply a matter of taste–it has serious moral repercussions.  Selling someone a ham salad sandwich which you disguised as tuna salad would a reprehensible act under those circumstances, and I fail to see why it wouldn’t represent fraud in any event.”

“I knew it!  You’re just a mean, stupid HAMOPHOBE!”

On Film Adaptation (Inspired by Tarzan)

Look, it’s very simple. If you don’t WANT to do a movie about Tarzan, don’t call your movie “Tarzan”. Say it was “inspired by” Tarzan.
Conversely, if you call your movie “Tarzan”, then make it a faithful adaptation of the source material. And since Hollywood has officially run out of people intelligent enough to write an original movie, this applies to EVERY adaptation of EVERYTHING. Make an original story, or make a faithful adaptation. This is just plagiarism.

Ludicrous Leftists

Just so that everyone understands:
1: When people of Western European descent adapt practices of other cultures, it is “appropriation”.
2: When people of Western European descent do NOT adapt practices of other cultures, it is racism.
3: When other cultures adapt practices from Western European traditions, it is imperialism by the Europeans.
All clear now?

Good-bye, Republican Party

I held my nose last election and voted for the “moderate” Republican to block Obama from another term, but voting for a Clinton-loving liberal to keep a Clinton out of office is an exercise in futility.  Republicans, you had the most principled conservative since Calvin Coolidge, and you threw him away.

Trump says he doesn’t want the whole Republican Party?  Fine with me.  Hello, Constitution Party.

As for those who say that a third-party vote is a vote for Clinton…  So is a vote for Trump.  If you had really wanted to keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House, you shouldn’t have made her long-time donor and friend the Republican candidate.  If you want to keep her out now, you’re welcome to join me in my new affiliation.

Conversations with Socialists 1NOV15


“There seems to be a consensus that giving to the poor is great, but “stealing” others’ money to do so isn’t.”

Me: That should be obvious to anyone with a brain.

Him: “So welfare for those in need is corrupt and anti-Christian,”
Me: If it is funded by money taken by force, yes. On the other hand, actual CHARITY–such as that performed by Christian Churches–is voluntary. Christian-run charities do more good than any government program ever has; they do it more efficiently, since assistance is given directly to those actually in need, rather than money being filtered through layers of leeching bureaucrats before finally being handed out to whomever applied for it; and they do it more ethically, since any money (or usually effort) is given voluntarily.

Him: “but somehow corporate subsidies—which total over 110 billion dollars, and are a staple of ring-wing economic policy—are perfectly acceptable?”

Me: It is the left which favors corporations. You should look again at who is handing out those subsidies. The right favors small businesses, which promote innovation and growth. Democratic politicians will try to garner populist appeal by creating new regulations which they say “punish” the corporations–in reality, all they do is ensure that their corporate allies succeed, by being the only ones with a large enough budget to pay for the new regulations. Small businesses always get destroyed, and corporate profits soar.

Him: “Similarly, assuming taxation is “theft” (which if you truly believe, there is a bigger argument to have),”

Me: Taxation is not theft. However, confiscating other peoples’ earnings and savings IS theft, even if you do it by force of government and call it a ‘tax’. Actual taxes are applied to economic activities–that is, purchases. When I buy something, I pay a tax on it. When the value of my own labor is taken from me by a third party… Theft is the nicest possible description of that. It used to be called “indentured servitude”– except that that was under contract, was VOLUNTARY, and was undertaken for a specific term. Compare to the so-called ‘income tax’, which is a compulsory penalty applied for the fault of SUCCEEDING, and which can never be paid off–earning more simply increases the penalty… And earning nothing is rewarded.

Him: “shouldn’t all government programs be anti-Christian?”

Me: It is not government spending which is, by definition, anti-Christian. It is the theft currently used as the primary means for funding such programs (there is a rule against it). However, the argument against SOCIAL spending is not that it is anti-Christian, but that it is un-Constitutional. That means it’s illegal, if you are unaware. The Congress is only given power to lay taxes to provide for the common welfare, not to confiscate some people’s earnings to hand them to other people to buy votes.

Him: “Like, oh I don’t know, the US military: one of the largest socialist programs in the world?”

Me: The U.S. military is not a Socialist program. U.S. military personnel are contracted employees who earn a salary in compensation for their labor, and the danger of labor, under a necessary and Constitutionally-specified function. Now, if you want to talk about all of the “benefits” for military FAMILIES that liberal politicians have dreamed up–again, not to benefit anyone, but to use as blackmail, as we have seen several times from the Obama administration–then the point is arguable. But “DOD spending” is, unfortunately, no longer the same MILITARY spending.

Him: “There also seems to be a consensus against giving welfare to addicts, or those who are lazy.”

Me: Giving them what has been taken illegally by force. YOU are welcome to give them whatever you wish. You are even welcome to start a charity and collect donations for them, if you like. You are not welcome to take other peoples’ earnings and savings under duress (which payroll deductions are), even if you use a politician as your proxy.

Him: ” I plainly disagree. Firstly, even if this were an area of contention, they constitute a vast minority of the welfare population. Welfare (and the other policies Tommy was referring to) focus on systemic poverty, disability, and cyclical unemployment. In other words, welfare most often helps those that cannot be helped by themselves.”

Me: Government handouts don’t help anyone except corrupt politicians. They keep people trapped in a cycle of poverty–if they actually try to work hard and improve themselves, they lose the government’s hand-outs, which destroys their economic base. They become dependent for life, in a way which never happens with actual charity.

Him: “Secondly, the studies simply do no indicate that our society would be better off by keeping any addicts or “lazy people” who get into the system poor. Liberals are for treatment and rehabilitation of these individuals in our society, rather than condemnation and criminalization (the former being a policy backed by all of the psychological and sociological literature).”

Me: Liberal politicians do not care about studies or society, except insofar as they can use those words to help their careers. What they care about is political power, which they get by buying votes with other people’s money–taken without consent, and given to people who will become permantly dependent upon their goodwill. After taking out a large chunk for themselves.

Him: “So Jason and Julie, stop making asinine arguments about taxation “theft,””

Me: I made no such argument. See above.

Him: ” and Aaron, read about who this money is actually going to and why.”

Me: That is good advice. Perhaps you should try it. You should also look at how that money is being taken.

Him:  “Other Jason and William, if you truly believed that, you would advocate for more welfare (like liberals have been doing for the past five decades). Shannon, Republicans contradict themselves by imposing harsher regulations on welfare and then claiming that welfare is a waste of spending because it doesn’t alleviate poverty. “

Me: There should be no regulations on welfare, because welfare should not exist. It is illegal and unethical on a multitude of levels. People get out of poverty by working hard and saving money, and by receiving ACTUAL assistance (charity) when necessary. Welfare is illegal, and locks people into economic strata which were never supposed to exist in the United States. Anyone should be free to rise or fall as far as their hard work, intelligence, and luck will take them.

Him: “Lastly, Julie, you do understand that Jesus was a socialist, right?”

Me: “Jesus” who? Someone you know from South America? The Christ certainly not only never advocated anything resembling socialism, he advocated exactly the opposite–charitable aid. Which is why Socialists from Marx on forward have always hated Christianity–seeking to destroy its institutions, and murdering its adherents by the millions whenever they have had the power to do so.
Bottom line: if you actually want to HELP people, stop trying to pay off your conscience with stolen money. Get off your ass and go HELP people.