The Wages of Weights

Well, my back hasn’t bothered me as much and I can lift a very heavy carry-on up into and out of the overhead bin without help. I guess that’s progress…

I’ve been doing some form of resistance exercise, aka lifting weights, for twenty years now, with occasional interruptions for Life, injury, and travel. Part of it was to increase my G-tolerance when I was doing aerobatics and hauling airplanes in and out of hangars. Then I decided that I did not want to lose what little height I have, something all too common with women over a Certain Age in my family.

Last year I finally admitted that I really needed to start focusing more on my core – abdomen, back, lats – in part to see if I could fend off another round of back problems/sciatica. I knew Peter and Dorothy had enjoyed considerable success using the Starting Strength program developed by an orthopedic specialist and a weight lifter, so I got those books, and also looked at some other targeted exercises. Continue reading


Good Fences: Thoughts for July 4

“As soon as everyone had a title, owned their house, they built a fence.” Christopher gestured to the very nice fences, all different, separating the nicely kept houses and yards in the village we were driving through. “It is theirs.” He lives in an apartment in Krakow, but has relatives who live in a village.

Think on that for a moment. As soon as Poland was free of Communism, as soon as everyone knew what they owned and where their property lines were, they built a fence. Some are tall, some are at most waist high. A few rebels have hedges, mostly low. All different styles, materials, shapes. Some have gates, others have none. But every house in every relatively new* village in Poland has a fence around it. The fields don’t, not always, but the houses do.

“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of property,” as John Locke phrased it. Property and knowing that this is mine to use as I will and care for and improve, property led to happiness and safety. Jefferson modified it a little to “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness,” but his other writings make it clear that a man without property depends on someone else, and cannot be truly independent.

Thus, in 1989, the Wall came down and fences went up. Continue reading

Happy Canada Day!

Or Dominion Day, as some traditionalists still refer to it.

Or as Kipling said:

 A nation spoke to a Nation,
    A Queen sent word to a Throne:
    “Daughter am I in my mother’s house,
    But mistress in my own.
    The gates are mine to open,
    As the gates are mine to close,
    And I set my house in order,”
    Said our Lady of the Snows.



Watching the Monkey Dance

“The monkey dance” is Rory Miller’s term for the steps young men (and some women) go through leading up to a fight. Think bar fight, or two guys in high school being egged on by others. There’s a pattern of action-reaction that can lead to a serious fight if those involved, or their associates, don’t back down or defuse things. It is about dominance and rank in the social group.

I got to watch the end-result of that very early one weekend morning in Krakow, Poland. As in, five forty-five AM early. Or late, depending on when the bars closed. Continue reading

Managing vs. Leading

Having been sandbagged by weather in the past, Clan Red approaches long-distance air travel in stages. In this case, we flew to Dallas the night before the international flight, then spent the night at Dallas-Ft. Worth airport, before flying out the next day. This time we stayed at the Grand Hyatt, which happens to be in the international terminal used by Lufthansa. It is quiet, comfortable, and we don’t have to worry about lugging the luggage father than needed.

I got to watch a leader at work. It was impressive.

Continue reading

Towns that Time Forgets

Krakow, Poland is rather like Bruges, Belgium, in that a lot of history bypassed it. For those of us interested in seeing actual old things rather than reconstructions and museum dioramas of old things, this is wonderful. For the people who lived in the cities during those periods of neglect, it wasn’t so wonderful.

The good news is that, unlike Warsaw, the Nazis didn’t level things out of spite, with the Soviets following up just because they were Soviets. Krakow lost its status to Warsaw during the late Middle Ages, much like Bruges, and a lot of things bypassed it. Also unlike Lemberg/L’vov/L’wow/L’viv, it wasn’t in between two armies times three offensives.

Continue reading