3/26 - bench, chins, pushups
Thursday, March 26, 2015
And Jesse L. Martin has some serious pipes.
Jesse L. Martin releases beautiful gospel cover of the Firefly theme song - Boing Boing: "How do you thank writer/director Joss Whedon for donating to your Kickstarter campaign? With a gospel cover of the theme song to his cult TV show, apparently. At least that’s what former Law & Order star and current Flash star Jesse L. Martin (who, more importantly, is also a Broadway musical veteran) did after Whedon donated “an outstanding amount” to the Kickstarter for his new musical short film, The Letter Carrier. The Letter Carrier tells the story of a black family hiding from slavery in secluded mountains in 1860, and Martin is working on the project with his Flash co-stars Rick Cosnett and Carlos Valdes. The trio came together to lend some gorgeous harmonies to “The Ballad Of Serenity,” which Whedon wrote for Firefly. The director tweeted a link to the cover, exclaiming “OMG.”"
What could go wrong? Via Hit & Run : Reason.com: "For the uninitiated, microaggressions are "are statements by a person from a privileged group that belittles or isolates a member of an unprivileged group, as it relates to race, class, gender, sexual orientation, ability and more." The really innovative thing about microaggressions is that they are often meant in a spirit of inclusion by the speaker. For instance, depending on who's speaking and who's listening, complimeting someone on their hair, clothing, or whatever might count as a covert way of putting him in his place. "That's a really fancy jacket" may really be code for WTF are you doing in clothes that are above your station?
I'll risk microaggressing you to note that the student government at Ithaca College in upstate New York has just passed a mind-blowing bill that will allow students to anonymously report offensive statements such as "Where are you really from?" and "You don't look disabled." The system will include "demographics" about the aggressor and the aggressee and tag location info too, according to one of the sponsors of the bill. The Ithaca College Student Government Association passed a bill March 16 to create an online system to report microaggressions, which sponsors of the bill said will create a more conducive environment for victims to speak about microaggressions. You got that? A system to report microaggressions will lead to more reports of microaggressions. Pretty sure that's what happened in Salem during the witch-trial days...
So remember, kids, you don't go to college to learn new things and feed your head. You go to college to be subjected to an anonymous system of collecting information about the bad thoughts you have and the misstatements you make, some of which you might not even have intended to be hurtful. But rest easy, because if you are in fact accused of microaggressing, your accuser "would likely have to reveal their identity" if any charges are pressed (emphasis added). Because we know how well colleges do at handling legal-style proceedings...
I would like to believe that awfulness of imposing such a system is self-evident, especially at a university, which is supposed to be about the free and open exchange of ideas and the production of knowledge (at least in the few spare moments between football games and re-education seminars). In an astonishingly short half-century, we have cycled from a demand for "free speech" on college campuses to the condemnation of speech via anonymous, online, geo-tagged systems that may or may not accord the accused any ability to speak up in their own defense. Unless your goal is to chill or control speech and thought, this sort of program is a complete anathema to everything that higher education is supposed to promote and cherish."
I'm not saying she should have done it, but I understand. VIA - Boing Boing: "The Grand Rapids, Michigan jury deciding her case took just one hour to conclude that Torres was guilty of charges resulting from her shooting into a McDonald's after employees there failed--two times--to put bacon on her burger as requested."
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Wrapped in the patina of religious dogma and belief. Lengthy, at the link, worth reading in full.
The Irrationality of Alcoholics Anonymous - The Atlantic: "The debate over the efficacy of 12-step programs has been quietly bubbling for decades among addiction specialists. But it has taken on new urgency with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which requires all insurers and state Medicaid programs to pay for alcohol- and substance-abuse treatment, extending coverage to 32 million Americans who did not previously have it and providing a higher level of coverage for an additional 30 million. Nowhere in the field of medicine is treatment less grounded in modern science...
In his recent book, The Sober Truth: Debunking the Bad Science Behind 12-Step Programs and the Rehab Industry, Lance Dodes, a retired psychiatry professor from Harvard Medical School, looked at Alcoholics Anonymous’s retention rates along with studies on sobriety and rates of active involvement (attending meetings regularly and working the program) among AA members. Based on these data, he put AA’s actual success rate somewhere between 5 and 8 percent. That is just a rough estimate, but it’s the most precise one I’ve been able to find...
I spent three years researching a book about women and alcohol, Her Best-Kept Secret: Why Women Drink—And How They Can Regain Control, which was published in 2013. During that time, I encountered disbelief from doctors and psychiatrists every time I mentioned that the Alcoholics Anonymous success rate appears to hover in the single digits. We’ve grown so accustomed to testimonials from those who say AA saved their life that we take the program’s efficacy as an article of faith. Rarely do we hear from those for whom 12-step treatment doesn’t work. But think about it: How many celebrities can you name who bounced in and out of rehab without ever getting better? Why do we assume they failed the program, rather than that the program failed them? When my book came out, dozens of Alcoholics Anonymous members said that because I had challenged AA’s claim of a 75 percent success rate, I would hurt or even kill people by discouraging attendance at meetings. A few insisted that I must be an “alcoholic in denial.” But most of the people I heard from were desperate to tell me about their experiences in the American treatment industry. Amy Lee Coy, the author of the memoir From Death Do I Part: How I Freed Myself From Addiction, told me about her eight trips to rehab, starting at age 13. “It’s like getting the same antibiotic for a resistant infection—eight times,” she told me. “Does that make sense?”
...A meticulous analysis of treatments, published more than a decade ago in The Handbook of Alcoholism Treatment Approaches but still considered one of the most comprehensive comparisons, ranks AA 38th out of 48 methods. At the top of the list are brief interventions by a medical professional; motivational enhancement, a form of counseling that aims to help people see the need to change; and acamprosate, a drug that eases cravings...
AA truisms have so infiltrated our culture that many people believe heavy drinkers cannot recover before they “hit bottom.” Researchers I’ve talked with say that’s akin to offering antidepressants only to those who have attempted suicide, or prescribing insulin only after a patient has lapsed into a diabetic coma. “You might as well tell a guy who weighs 250 pounds and has untreated hypertension and cholesterol of 300, ‘Don’t exercise, keep eating fast food, and we’ll give you a triple bypass when you have a heart attack,’ ” Mark Willenbring, a psychiatrist in St. Paul and a former director of treatment and recovery research at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, told me. He threw up his hands. “Absurd.”
...Part of the problem is our one-size-fits-all approach. Alcoholics Anonymous was originally intended for chronic, severe drinkers—those who may, indeed, be powerless over alcohol—but its program has since been applied much more broadly. Today, for instance, judges routinely require people to attend meetings after a DUI arrest; fully 12 percent of AA members are there by court order. Whereas AA teaches that alcoholism is a progressive disease that follows an inevitable trajectory, data from a federally funded survey called the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions show that nearly one-fifth of those who have had alcohol dependence go on to drink at low-risk levels with no symptoms of abuse. And a recent survey of nearly 140,000 adults by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that nine out of 10 heavy drinkers are not dependent on alcohol and, with the help of a medical professional’s brief intervention, can change unhealthy habits...
The Finns are famously private, so I had to go early in the morning, before any patients arrived, to meet Jukka Keski-Pukkila, the CEO. He poured coffee and showed me around the clinic, in downtown Helsinki. The most common course of treatment involves six months of cognitive behavioral therapy, a goal-oriented form of therapy, with a clinical psychologist. Treatment typically also includes a physical exam, blood work, and a prescription for naltrexone or nalmefene, a newer opioid antagonist approved in more than two dozen countries. When I asked how much all of this cost, Keski-Pukkila looked uneasy. “Well,” he told me, “it’s 2,000 euros.” That’s about $2,500—a fraction of the cost of inpatient rehab in the United States, which routinely runs in the tens of thousands of dollars for a 28-day stay."
When you treat the entire world as a threat you lose the ability to do cogent and effective threat analysis.
College Students: Stop Acting Like You're Made of Sugar Candy - Hit & Run : Reason.com: "What happens when a generation grows up being told that nothing is safe enough, not even a walk home from the park? Or that they should never encounter a bad grade, or mean remark—these things are too wounding? Or that they didn’t lose the game, they are the “8th place winners!?" Here's what happens: At least a portion of them become convinced that they are extremely fragile. They need—they demand—the kind of life-buffers they’ve had since childhood.
Which brings us to this remarkable essay by Judith Shulevitz in Sunday’s New York Times. She details the demands students are making to feel "safe" on campus. But she's not talking about physical safety; students want to be safe from debates. Safe from jarring ideas. Safely situated in a "safe place" (terminology previously associated with hurricanes and nuclear war) when some speaker somewhere on campus is even suggesting the possibility that we don't live in a "rape culture."
...let's start using a term Shulevitz employs, “self infantilizing," to describe what has happened to our young adults when they behave as if they are as helpless and vulnerable as babies, and apparently just as easily entertained. The "safe place" Brown University provided for its students during the rape culture debate in another building was outfitted with coloring books, bubbles, and Play Doh...
I blame a whole culture bent on protecting kids from almost everything: from Pop Tart guns, to red ink on homework, to a spat with their best friend. (Parenting magazine famously told parents to remain close at hand when even their school-age children have playdates because, “You want to make sure that no one’s feelings get too hurt if there’s a squabble.”) When you have a culture devoted to seeing danger in what used to just be everyday life, it actually becomes illegal to distinguish between real risks (letting your 5-year-old swim alone, in a quarry, in the dark) and negligible ones (letting your 10-year-old wait in the car, in a safe neighborhood, while you run a short errand). No wonder kids end up at college equally scared of rapists and a discussion of rape culture! They have grown up under the mantra: Everything is dangerous. Now we just have to figure out how to help them realize: Nope. It's not. College students don't need coloring books. They don't need puppy videos. They need to stop equating umbrage with courage. As Winston Churchill said: "We have not journeyed all this way across the centuries, across the oceans, across the mountains, across the prairies, because we are made of sugar candy.""
In College and Hiding From Scary Ideas - NYTimes.com: "The safe space, Ms. Byron explained, was intended to give people who might find comments “troubling” or “triggering,” a place to recuperate. The room was equipped with cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as students and staff members trained to deal with trauma. Emma Hall, a junior, rape survivor and “sexual assault peer educator” who helped set up the room and worked in it during the debate, estimates that a couple of dozen people used it. At one point she went to the lecture hall — it was packed — but after a while, she had to return to the safe space. “I was feeling bombarded by a lot of viewpoints that really go against my dearly and closely held beliefs,” Ms. Hall said. Safe spaces are an expression of the conviction, increasingly prevalent among college students, that their schools should keep them from being “bombarded” by discomfiting or distressing viewpoints. Think of the safe space as the live-action version of the better-known trigger warning, a notice put on top of a syllabus or an assigned reading to alert students to the presence of potentially disturbing material...
“Kindness alone won’t allow us to gain more insight into truth,” he wrote. In an interview, Mr. Shapiro said, “If the point of a safe space is therapy for people who feel victimized by traumatization, that sounds like a great mission.” But a safe-space mentality has begun infiltrating classrooms, he said, making both professors and students loath to say anything that might hurt someone’s feelings. “I don’t see how you can have a therapeutic space that’s also an intellectual space,” he said...
But why are students so eager to self-infantilize? Their parents should probably share the blame. Eric Posner, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School, wrote on Slate last month that although universities cosset students more than they used to, that’s what they have to do, because today’s undergraduates are more puerile than their predecessors. “Perhaps overprogrammed children engineered to the specifications of college admissions offices no longer experience the risks and challenges that breed maturity,”"
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Doug Stanhope too. "The only true freedom you find is when you realize and come to terms with the fact that you are completely and unapologetically fucked, and then you are free to float around the system."
Monday, March 23, 2015
3/23 - press, chins, pike pushups
LIFT-RUN-BANG: The chemical and social castration of the modern male: "Personally, I think it's hard to deny that there is a decline in masculinity in today's male. I mean, physiologically speaking, it's not even an argument. Men today have lower testosterone on average, regardless of age, than they did 20 years. By a pretty significant margin. Two studies done both showed that men these days have significantly less testosterone now. One study was done in the US, and the other on Danish men. In both cases it was found that the average male had about 22% less testosterone now than men did, at that SAME AGE back in the 80's...
I don't think it helps that men these days already struggle to maintain healthy levels of testosterone and are then told to embrace their feminine qualities and ideals. Men embracing feminism/femininity is like Christians embracing Satanism. It makes no sense at all. If you're a male, embrace your masculinity. That is, unless you have low test and don't feel very masculine. Then yes, of course embrace feminism so those of us with high testosterone levels can laugh and make fun of you. It's quality entertainment for us.
I've caught shit about writing about masculinity before but honestly, I really don't care. There IS a problem in regards to men being less masculine. I mean, it wasn't me wearing some tin foil hat, studies have proven men are less masculine now (have less testosterone) than they were 20, 30, 40+ years ago.
Not only that, traits associated with masculinity are now seen as evil, outdated, horrible, horrific, unwanted, and neanderthalesque. That is unless a woman embraces them. Then she's empowered, self assured, confident, and strong minded. Men who have those traits are seen as bullies or self centered assholes."
This is fantastic. Bro Has An Embarrassing, Demoralizing Day At The Gym -- Until Arnold Schwarzenegger Chimes In To Pump Him Up: "Redditor GnashBrowns recently explained a no good, terrible day at the gym in the fitness sub r/gainit. He went to the gym by himself for the first time and left the gym completely demoralized and embarrassed.
"So today I went to the gym for the first time by myself, feeling pretty nervous. Headed to the locker room and reviewed the proper forms for squatting, deadlifts, and overhead press. First exercise was squatting. I warmed up with 55 then started 65 for the 5×5. Everything went pretty well until the last rep on the fourth set. Took a nasty spill and landed on my right knee to prevent myself from falling backwards. A couple people laughed. That hurt more than falling down. I got back on the horse and finished up the last set at 60. Next exercise was deadlift. I never really got the hang of the form for a proper deadlift so I practiced it while looking in the mirror. Started my first set at 55 but couldn’t get the form down, my right knee kept buckling and gave out on the fourth rep, causing me to fall once more. Same people laughed and got many looks in my direction because of the loud noise. Feeling completely embarrassed at this point, I put the bar and the weights in their places, and left with my head hanging low. I know everyone experiences failure once in a while, but having it served to me firsthand coupled with people laughing just destroyed my confidence."
...then Arnold Schwarzenegger — a King amongst the Bros and a very active Redditor — discovered the thread and chimed in. Here’s the pep talk Schwarzenegger gave GnashBrowns to pump him up: Someone told me about this. I hope I’m not too late here, I’m traveling, but I wanted to chime in. I always say don’t be afraid of failure, because how far can you really fall? You found out – to the ground. It’s right there. Now you know it isn’t anything that should scare you. You should be proud that you weren’t afraid – not embarrassed that you failed. You could have made excuses not to walk into the door, but you didn’t. You knew it would be hard, and it would be uncomfortable, and it might be awkward – and you did it anyway. That’s courage. I’m proud of you. The last guy I rooted for broke a world record in the deadlift. You have more in common with him than you think. First, he started out lifting just the bar, too (when you look at him, he may have been 3 months old at that point). Second, imagine his courage. He walked up to that bar in front of a big audience and television cameras, knowing that not only had he never lifted that much before – NO ONE on earth had – and it was highly likely he would completely fail. You may not think about it this way, but you showed that courage, on a smaller level. Finally, I’m rooting for you, too. You took the first step and you fell, but at least you fell in the right direction, so get back up and take the next step. Keep moving forward."
"If you are in a conversation with someone who unexpectedly asks “Why are you attacking me?” … run away. Don’t even explain."
"Getting married because you are in love is sort of like drowning yourself because you like beverages.
I wish I were dumber so I could be more certain about my opinions. It looks fun.
The presence of the word “deserve” is a sure sign a conversation won’t go well.
Tip: If you are in a conversation with someone who unexpectedly asks “Why are you attacking me?” … run away. Don’t even explain.
World’s shortest IQ test: “What percentage of your reality do you understand?” Grading: The higher the percentage the lower the IQ.
If you can’t construct a coherent argument for the other side, you probably don’t understand your own opinion.
If you think God wants people to suffer in the last month of their illness, that’s a mental problem not a religious point of view."
Thursday, March 19, 2015
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
3/18 - kb swings, chins, sledge/shovelglove/mace, stretch
oohiwantthis: It’s amazing what a little effort &...: "It’s amazing what a little effort & determination can do. Today I’m officially 20kgs less than my highest weight, I don’t think I’ve been this tiny since I was about 15, and I’ve sure as hell never had abs like this!! "
"...how can you justify spending perhaps $160 billion over the course of your tenure on marijuana prohibition? Isn't it the federal government, not us young people, that has irrationally prioritized marijuana policy?"
Obama Says Legalizing Marijuana Would Be 'Progress,' but Why the Rush? - Hit & Run : Reason.com: "Unlike other occasions when he was confronted by this subject, Obama does not laugh, but he does take the opportunity to lecture "young people" about their priorities. "I understand this is important to you," he says, "but, you know, you should be thinking about climate change, the economy, jobs, war and peace. Maybe, way at the bottom, you should be thinking about marijuana."
As Conor Friedersdorf suggests at The Atlantic, there are sound reasons why people might disagree with the ordering Obama suggests, starting with the fact that marijuana prohibition is an obvious injustice with an obvious solution. Speaking as someone who is too old to qualify for Obama's age-based condescension, I think the chance that he and I will agree about marijuana legalization is much greater than the chance that we we will ever see eye to eye on the right approach to climate change, the government's proper role in promoting employment, or the justification for going to war...
The president is more comfortable criticizing "disproportionate prison sentences." He says "our criminal justice system" is "skewed towards cracking down on nonviolent drug offenders," which has "a terrible effect on many communities, particularly communities of color, rendering a lot of folks unemployable, because they [have] felony records." While "substance abuse...is a problem," Obama says, "locking someone up for 20 years is probably not the best strategy." He adds that he is "encouraged" that "you're starting to see not just liberal Democrats but also some very conservative Republicans recognize this doesn't make sense, including the libertarian wing of the Republican Party." But here, too, Obama does not seem to think there is an urgent need for action, as reflected in his lackadaisical approach to clemency."
Vice News Editor Shane Smith Interviews President Barack Obama — The Atlantic: "Obama's skepticism of their priorities is ironic for the following reason: Implicit in the legalization movement is the notion that the president, the executive branch he presides over, and law enforcement all over America spend far too much time and far too many resources waging a doomed campaign against marijuana use.
The young people to whom Obama addressed himself would be fully justified in reversing the criticism: "Given challenges like climate change, an uncertain economy, joblessness, and war, how can you justify spending perhaps $160 billion over the course of your tenure on marijuana prohibition? Isn't it the federal government, not us young people, that has irrationally prioritized marijuana policy? We're fighting for a more rational allotment of resources, where government funds are directed away from weed and toward challenges you listed as more pressing."
Obama went on to speak as if he himself understands marijuana prohibition to be a policy with lots of awful consequences. "There is no doubt that our criminal justice system generally is so skewed toward cracking down on nonviolent drug offenders that it has not just had a terrible effect on many communities, particularly communities of color, rendering a lot of folks unemployable because they got felony records," he declared. "Disproportionate prison sentences. It costs a huge amount of money to states. And a lot of states are starting to figure that out." "