John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Dieting – a Progress Update

Here a photo someone took of me today leaving my workout –after just three weeks of training.

I am as surprised as you. But it really is me.

Seriously. It is.

What? Don’t believe me?

The water in the background? Oh, that’s, um, that’s the Ohio River. I go to a gym in front of the Ohio River.

The tattoo? Oh, easy. That’s a washable I put on just joking around this morning…that’s all that is.

The bracelet? It….It…is a family heirloom, or something, I just wear sometimes and happened to put it on today before heading to the gym.That’s all.

The necklace? Um….That…the necklace. I wear that to work out in….for, um, just because it is important to for reasons that are hard to explain precisely to people who don’t work out a lot.

But, yeah, that is definitely me….

It is…really.

Um, OK, Ok. Fine!

Maybe not entirely me—just yet.

I mean, not me, really, per se.

Um, OK. I’m lying.

You happy now!?

It’s some picture I got off the internet.

But could be a picture of me in the future.

Maybe in another lifetime, if nothing else.


jyb_musingsI started a new workout regiment today. And it lasted only 3 minutes.

Say what you want to about my light and low-stress exercise routine, but at least I am steroid free.


Exciting Diet Conversations.

Friend: “Well, John, what are you doing right now?”

Me: “Just sitting here, patiently, doing nothing, waiting to lose more weight… ”


69282_10153785535690515_619496106_n“Diet Face”

This is me after making a healthy order at Vietnam Kitchen (great restaurant, by the way).

I am not happy. And making my order begrudgingly. But it is working.

Down 9 llbs in 3 weeks.


Score after 3 weeks:

John Brown: 6 6 7

Apple Fritters: 1 1 0

Game. Set. Match.

Lost 10 lbs


A side benefit of successfully staying on a diet:

No longer viewing a haircut, clipping my nails or shaving as activities that will reduce my weight.


I have been informed facetiously by a friend that there is bodybuilding competition for men ages 50-59.

I let my friend know that I believed I could put together a compelling posing routine –but the muscle mass, body tone, muscular definition, vascularity and ripped abs parts just weren’t there for me and never would be.


1489019_10153794798340515_332316837_nThis is my scale.

After it gives me my weight, it calculates my BMI category –“Fat”

Lovely way to start the day. At least it doesn’t say or shout “Fat!” out loud or make sarcastic remarks to me or sigh with disgust.

On the positive side, if I can lose another pound and a half, I move from the BMI category of “Fat” to just being “Overweight.”

Take that! You dreadful, silently mocking scales!


Now that I have thinned down from “Fat” to bordering on merely “Overweight” according to the BMI chart, my taste in music has changed.

I find that now I can only listen to bands with really skinny lead singers like Chris Robinson of Black Crowes or Mick Jagger and all of the Rolling Stones.

I guess we skinny and soon-to-be-merely-“Overweight” guys just need to stick together.

Saul Kaplan: Ideas Worth Scaling

BIF-Logo1If TED is about Ideas Worth Spreading then BIF is about Ideas Worth Scaling. I may have stumbled on to BIF’s new positioning. I blurted it out in my last post Biotech Disruption Part Deux. It has stuck with me all week. What do you think?  I love TED and what it is doing.  I am biased due to my friendship with Richard Saul Wurman (RSW) who founded it.   RSW has been a BIF advisor from the beginning and as a BIF-5 storyteller on October 7-8th, he will share the story of his new book about an old fable.  The BIF community was proud this week being named by Mashable in the same company as TED as one of the “Top 7 Places to Watch Great Minds in Action“.

I think spreading ideas is critical but the end goal is solving a problem or creating a new opportunity.  I don’t know about you but over the course of my day I hear a lot of great ideas.  I even occasionally contribute a few. The question is can the ideas translate into action and can they scale?  I think a lot about how to enable R&D at the business model and systems level. The BIF community is passionate about scaling new ideas in health care, education, and energy.

Saul KaplanReal world experimentation is imperative to solve the big social issues of our day.  These systems all need to be transformed not tweaked. We have the technology available to enable system changes.  It is not technology that is getting in the way it is humans and the organizations we live in, both stubbornly resistant to change.  We need to try more stuff. We need to experiment with new system approaches designed around the patient, student, and citizen.

Many good ideas spread and catalyze important conversations but far too few translate into action and even fewer scale to deliver value to a meaningful percentage of those that can benefit from the idea.  The promise of technology is to deliver value at lower prices to more people.  We are not taking full advantage of technology because we are stuck in old systems.

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Saul Kaplan: Ideas Worth Scaling

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Dieting and Aging

Dieting and aging.

I am in week three of my diet and have lost 7 1/2 lbs. But just had a stark realization about dieting and aging.

When a man loses weight as a youth he goes from being “stout” to being “tone.”

jyb_musingsWhen he loses weight as an adult he goes from being “heavy” to being “fit.”

And when he loses weight in middle age he goes from being “fat” to being “paltry.”

Western Kentucky University President Gary Ransdell Denounces Anti-Israel Boycott

Last week,  The Recovering Politician was proud to break the news that University of Louisville President Jim Ramsey and University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto each joined the growing list of college and university leaders (192 and counting) who have denounced the American Studies Association’s pernicious academic boycott of Israel. (Read about it here.)

Here’s Ramsey’s statement; and here’s Capilouto’s statement.

Today, we are proud to share a letter written by Western Kentucky University President Gary Ransdell — to a proud WKU graduate studying in Israel — joining the anti-boycott chorus.

Thank you President Ransdell!

Gary RansdellCongratulations on your move to Israel and your acceptance to Tel Aviv University’s MBA program. What an outstanding achievement for you! You are a wonderful example of why it is so important that WKU students have a global context to their education and why we strive to ensure that our graduates have the confidence to travel, live and work in other nations and cultures.   I appreciate your thoughtful message regarding the American Studies Association’s boycott of Israeli universities. Your note prompted me to look deeper into this issue. As a University President I cannot condone or support a boycott of Israel or any nation’s higher education enterprise. Academic freedom is a core value of higher education and must be sustained. At WKU we have opened our doors to all nationalities and continually work to encourage our students and faculty to study in other nations. Such a boycott is counterproductive and impedes the very thing that must occur to create peace among nations – conversation, understanding and respect. So indeed, I will join the nearly 200 college and university presidents who have rejected the idea of this boycott.  Thank you for your note. I’m so glad to know that your WKU experience was a great one and prepared you well. I wish you much success. Continue to spread that WKU Spirit wherever you go!  Go Big Red! Gary

Julie Rath: Wedding Ties: What to Tie on When Tying the Knot

I always say a groom should look dashing at his wedding, and choosing the right accessories is key to the result. In selecting neckwear for your nuptials, remember that you’re not choosing a power tie or a work tie — you’re choosing a wedding tie, and it should be celebratory. After all, that’s what the whole day is about. So give yourself permission to think outside the box and go with something you might not normally wear. You’ll still look like you, only a cool and sharp groom version of you. Below are several different categories of ties that are just right for those that are altar-bound..


Solids: Wearing a solid tie is a nice way to let your bride, no doubt gorgeous in her wedding dress, take center stage. I recommend using a shade from the wedding color scheme and/or the bridesmaid dresses. I like the three below (left to right): from Drake’s London (£95), Turnbull & Asser ($175), and to go with a more casual look — perhaps a khaki suit — this linen tie from Faconnable ($115). All three are available in a range of colors for easy coordination.



If a solid doesn’t have enough flavor, but you still want to keep it simple, try one that’s tone-on-tone like those below from Jil Sander ($165; also comes in tan) and Brioni ($195).



Another easy principle to follow is matching metals to metals. So if your bride’s jewelry and your belt buckle, watch, cuff links, etc. are silver-toned, you might incorporate a corresponding metallic shade into your tie. This rule works particularly well if your metals are silver and you happen to have cool skin tone, or if your metals are gold, and your skin tone is warm. For silvers, I like this diamond-patterned tie from Sam Hober ($80) and this silk stripe from Giorgio Armani ($145). Keep in mind that the Sam Hober is on the dressy side because the pattern is small.

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Julie Rath: Wedding Ties: What to Tie on When Tying the Knot

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Fitness Fail

An example of an inauspicious start.

I bought an “ab bench” at Dick’s Sporting Goods tonight. It was on sale and they let me have the floor display.

They had one that was boxed that would require assembly by me when we got home—but Rebecca said, “Uh uh” and asked the sales clerk, “How hard is it to assemble? Harder than screwing in a light bulb? Would any tools be required?”

The sales clerk looked at me bemused waiting for a response. I glumly said, “Yeah, I’m not very good with light bulbs. Or assembling things. My wife is right. If you can sell us the floor display, that would make it a lot more likely I’d actually ever use the ab bench.”

The sales clerk was terrific and said, “No problem,” and retrieved the display model to the front of the store and checked us out.

jyb_musingsI thanked him and the other sales staff standing around and said to them, “I really do appreciate this. I’ll actually use this. And in a few months, you are not going to recognize my abs. I’m serious. I’m going to be shredded!”

They laughed politely and asked if I was going to carry the ab bench to the car myself or have one of them carry it for me. It did weigh about 10 lbs. I told them, “Normally, I’d be too proud to ask for help. But since I haven’t started my workout regimen yet and there aren’t many people here this late who are looking, I’d really appreciate it if one of them would take it to the car for me.” I then turned to my wife Rebecca and added, “Unless Rebecca doesn’t mind carrying it.”

I was joking, of course, and started laughing myself. I grabbed the “ab bench,” thanked the nice sales clerks, and strode confidently to the car.

Geez, though. I gotta tell you, carrying a 10 lb bench several hundred feet to the car is a lot more draining than it sounds.


1501704_10153748119460515_885378246_nI was going to get this exercise outfit at Dick’s tonight…. and believed it would fit me…but didn’t buy it.

Unfortunately, the mannequin is taller than me.

And I didn’t want to risk it not fitting me.

Josh Bowen: The Cancer Fight






A word that strikes utter fear in people. And with good reason. As you see above the statistics are staggering. Every year, cancer becomes more and more prominent. In comes in all faces and types, packaged differently to wreak havoc on the human body. This post is not so much about the stats or what causes cancer but what can we do to prevent or slow the progress of this problem. This post is not to show you how smart or not smart I am as it relates to the disease. This about my grandfather, who is 88 years old and is putting up the fight of his life against several types of cancer. Over the past several months, I have seen the personal struggle he has gone under and the downward spiral of an independent country boy. It took hold of him and it will not let go. It is tough to watch but it shows how tough he is to continue to put up a fight against insurmountable odds.

This is also about my beliefs. Something that I often catch strange looks for and snide remarks about. However, I firmly believe in my heart of hearts that all things are possible through fitness. It is our fountain of youth, protector of disease and an absolute must for the human body. My motto is all things through fitness, it is the name of my website and is etched on my skin. I believe it because I have seen it.

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Josh Bowen: The Cancer Fight

Jeff Smith: a Few Quick Lessons of what Christie Could Learn from McDonnell

1) ‎In case you didn’t remember this from your own prosecuting days, the Feds want high-value scalps. And when they get one in their sights, they don’t let go. They’ll figure out a way to make a case.

Is there clear-cut evidence that McDonnell took state action to help his wealthy and generous pal? No. But there’s enough there to load up a ton of charges, scare the sh*t out of McDonnell, and potentially get a guilty plea.

2) These cases are labyrinthine: where they start may be very, very far from where they finish. ‎Quick synopsis of my case. 2004: my campaign illegally coordinated with a guy who spent about $10K to put out a flyer on my opponent. 2006: FEC investigates. 2007: FEC clears us. 2008: dude who put out the flyer decides to car-bomb his ex-wife’s divorce atty. 2009: evidence recovered from dude’s condo includes a convo with my best friend, which prosecutors connect to the already closed FEC investigation. Best friend wears wire for two months of our conversations during which I incriminate self.

Bob McDonnell’s case began with a tip to a state fraud hotline regarding possible theft of food from the gubernatorial mansion by the kitchen staff. And it is likely to end in federal prison, since 90+ percent of federal defendants plead guilty or are convicted.

3) The third lesson? Stop. Using. Email. Don’t even text. BlackBerry PINs and Snapchats are likely to be the new communication tools of choice for high-level politicos.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: What Would Kanye West Have Done


Most of these wristbands are proactive and preventive in that they urge us to ask ourselves What would a certain person do “before” action is taken.

But let’s be real. We don’t always remember to ask ourselves before we do something and sometimes still make mistakes.

jyb_musingsThen what?

I have a solution. I also wear a second wristband for just such instances. When I screw up, I look at my wrist and ask myself “What Would Kayne West Have Done?”

The question is past tense. And what Kayne would have done is always something much worse and crazier than what I did. And that makes me feel better.

And will make you feel better too!

Lauren Mayer: How to Appeal to Women 101


No, this isn’t dating advice (although if the title piqued your interest, at least maybe you’ll read the article . . . much along the same lines as my advice to a friend writing a dissertation she hoped she’d eventually publish as a book, to whom I suggested the title “Heroic Themes In 18th Century French Literature, or Thinner Thighs In Thirty Days.”  But I digress . . . )

The Republican Party is trying to reach out to women in order to overcome a growing gender gap.  Which is admirable – some of my best friends are Republicans, and they are saddened by their party’s recent tilt to the far right.  There are plenty of women who want fiscally conservative candidates but also don’t want the government interfering in reproductive rights, who want small government but also want strong public education and a compassionate safety net, who believe same-sex marriage is not just morally right but pro-business (more weddings!).  So they were looking forward to the so-called ‘rebranding’ efforts the GOP leaders have been trumpeting lately.

But apparently that rebranding was simply advising candidates to temper their tone, not to change any policies, where politicians were advised to show women their ‘sensitivity.’  You know, like the experiment my kids devised to see whether our dog responded more to tone of voice or actual words – you could say anything insulting or confusing in a sweet voice and the dog just wagged her taill happily.  Not that I am claiming the GOP is treating us like dogs (well, actually I sort of am . . .  which reminds me of that climactic argument scene in “When Harry Met Sally,” when Harry compares their differing views of the length of time since their ill-fated tryst to dog years, infuriating Sally who yells, “So which one of us is the dog?”)  Republican leaders do seem to think that it’s enough to pat us on the heads and speak soothingly, and we won’t notice that they are continuing to promote the kinds of policies and views that have driven women voters away in droves.

And there seems to be a new plague of ‘Akinitis,’ ridiculous comments by male politicians about women and sex.  (Remember “the female body has ways to shut that thing down”?)  The latest offenders aren’t even political outliers like Todd Akin – the chair of the House Judiciary Committee has claimed that a bill banning funding for abortion is a ‘jobs creation bill’ because of all the goods & services that will be required for the future unborn children.  (None of which the GOP plans to help pay for – to paraphrase Barney Frank, sometimes it feels like the current House believes the value of life begins at conception and ends at birth . . . . )  And there’s a state senator in Virginia who was quoted saying there really wasn’t any such thing as marital rape, since “she’s in a nightie.”  (What about those of us who sleep in t-shirts or pj’s – does that exempt us?)

So in the interest of bipartisan cooperation, here’s a little musical advice for the current House leadership in how to appeal to women voters . . .

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