Josh Bowen: 10 Fitness Must-Knows

When starting or continuing a fitness program, it is vital to know the “insider information” from the pros. The following is a satire, a joke and a ruse designed to make you laugh and or cry while evaluating your fitness knowledge. Be mindful that some of us believe in these principles. Proceed with caution.

1. The proper amount of protein intake each day

proteingrams All of them…duh.

2. Monday is International Chest-Day

chest day

Nothing is scheduled…nothing.

3. Posting your workout on Facebook.


You didn’t know? It scientifically proven.

4. Leg days are not to be skipped.

leg day

Its a must. And…

5. If you do squat, you must squat low


Not like this…

Commentary is worth it.

More like this…

6. Toning and muscle are the same thing.


7. This is what happens when you take too much pre-workout


Great hair.

8. Priorities, Priorities, Priorities


Get your behind to the gym!

9. You can’t out train a bad diet

fantasy land

10. This is not good gym behavior

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Random Thoughts

I propose a single day each year to celebrate Hallmark Card Day—-recognizing our former predilection to buy an over-sized schmaltzy card multiple times each year with a sentiment designed and written by other people that we claim to have ourselves and then give to someone else.

But not commemorate it with a Hallmark card. Just an electronic message we post.

Happy Hallmark Card Day!


If you find you are looking down on someone right now, find someone instead to look up to.

And if you can’t think of anyone, just look up. It’s easier to find such a person that way than when looking down.


It is hard coming to grips with the fact that you are an old dog with old tricks….and that learning any new tricks now really is a pain in the ass.


jyb_musingsI am so mad at someone right now who has wronged me that I am thinking about talking behind their back!!

Oh wait! The person I am mad it is actually myself.

This is going to be awkward.

I am going to need a two-way mirror at a minimum

Lauren Mayer: Music For Hard Times

When Shirley Temple Black passed away last week, it reminded us how important entertainment had been to American during the Depression.  It’s easy to mock statements about that impact – “Gosh, I have no job, no food, and I’m about to get evicted from my tenement, but I don’t care as long as I can watch a curly-haired moppet sing & dance!” – but good songwriting does have the power to connect with our emotions.  (Which are not always positive – after my boyfriend dumped me on my 22nd birthday, I wrote a country revenge ballad titled “You Broke My Heart, So Now I Want To Break Your Legs” . . . but I digress.)

There does seem to be a correlation between economic woes and music.  The Depression was the heyday of big silly musicals, but it also led to classic songs like “Brother Can You Spare A Dime,” and even the dippy cheerfulness of “We’re In The Money” starts with an incredibly ironic celebration of finding – gasp – a quarter!  During the uproar of the 60s, the folk revival turned to protest songs (as embodied by Pete Seeger, another recent loss to the music world).  That was also the birth of tongue-in-cheek comedy, including The Smothers Brothers.  (If you haven’t heard their rendition of “John Henry” or “Streets of Laredo,” you’re in for a treat!, thanks to youTube.)

So with partisanship and income inequality at all-time highs today, you’d think we’d see yet another form of hard-times-inspired entertainment.  Of course, trends are hard to see from within, so it will be a few years before we know whether this era is defined by bubbly escapism (“Gangnam Style,” anyone?), innocuous boy bands like One Direction, or a series of revenge songs penned by Taylor Swift about her various celebrity breakups.  However, in the meantime I’ll offer my own contribution to protest songs, 2014-style . . . “The $10.10 Blues.”

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Diet Update

Entering week 7 of my diet/fitness plan.

Holding steady at loss of 13 lbs. Actually 12.6 lbs. But we round up here in KY.

Workout I would describe as like “Across Fit” –something you might find opposite a “Cross Fit” workout. But it is happening.

Finally, still no steroids or other PEDs. Although I am taking one Garcinia Cambogia tablet each day. But still don’t know how to pronounce it.


Diet tip for calorie counting.

Just knowing how many calories are in a serving of food is helpful but not enough to cause us to make the best dietary decisions.

I have found that multiplying the calories by a factor of 5 for foods I want to eat, and dividing calories by a factor of 5 in healthy foods I don’t want to eat, makes it more likely I will make better choices than just knowing the actual calories.

For example, a single pecan braid from Panera Bread has, according to my system, 2,350 calories (instead of 470)

And a serving of has just 6.2 calories (instead of 31)

So, do I eat the food choice with 2350 calories or 6.2 calories?

See how that works? Now it isn’t so obvious that the pecan braid is the better choice–and could really go either way.


How to eat your way to good health –without changing what you eat.

Just leaving Japanese restaurant and have decided the Japanese, as a population, are thinner and healthier than Americans NOT because of their diet (fish, rice, etc) but rather because they have to try to eat with chopsticks instead of a fork, spoon and knife.

jyb_musingsIf I had to eat with chopsticks my whole life, I’d be at least 50 pounds lighter. You just plain old give up before you are halfway through any meal.

Chopsticks, not diet, is the key!!


An ad I would like to see…

“Want to get in shape?

It’s really not all about the shoes.”

Erica & Matt Chua: Tibet

Tibet is the highest region on earth, with an average elevation of 4,900 meters (16,000 ft) and one of the most fascinating places we have visited on our trip. The incredible spirituality and devotion of the Tibetan Buddhists just add to the intrigue of this region. Nestled among the Himalayas the location is stunning and a place you have to see to believe.


DON’T MISS: Potala Palace, one of the most spectacular palaces on earth.
MUST SEE: Mt. EverestLhasa, Gyantse and Shigatse
MUST TASTE: Yak butter tea, though you may not like the taste.  It’s a staple of the Tibetan diet, but is definitely an acquired taste.


TRIP PLANNING: Traveling to Tibet is strictly controlled, foreign visitors must arrange a tour through a licensed company.  Read this to learn how to visit Tibet.
GETTING AROUND: We recommend using a full service tour agency for visiting the key sights in Lhasa and getting from city to city, this will save a lot of headache and time lost setting up guides, drivers and permits.

Read the rest of…
Erica & Matt Chua: Tibet

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: People Watching and Perspective

People watching from the parking lot of the Holiday Manor Starbucks reminds me of people watching from the parking lot of Ballard High School–35 years ago.

I think patrons of this Starbucks try harder to project a certain “image” –in a high school-esque way–than other Starbucks in town.

People watching from the parking lot of the Heine Bros on Frankfort Ave reminds me of people watching from the parking lot at Central High School –35 years ago.

jyb_musingsI think the patrons of this Heine Bros try harder to project a certain “anti-image” —in a high school-esque way–than other Heine Bros in town.

And people watching from the parking lot of Panera Bread off Brownsboro road reminds me of where the parents of the kids from Ballard and Central would have gone for coffee after dropping their kids off at school in the morning—35 years ago–and is just creepy to even think about doing. But where I find myself going this morning.

Saul Kaplan: Innovation Hot Spot

I was invited by Boston Globe innovation columnist Scott Kirsner to participate in a brainstorming session to answer the question: how do we better communicate New England’s innovative, creative, entrepreneurial spirit to the rest of the world?  The meeting took place at Flybridge Capital Partners in a conference room with a great panoramic view of Boston and was attended by an eclectic group of twenty five leaders from across New England all with a passion for strengthening our region’s innovation story and voice.  It was an energizing session and I left with many ideas and a refreshed enthusiasm for New England’s potential as a national innovation hot spot.

Here are a few observations from the session:

New England cynicism left at the door. New Englanders take cynicism to entirely new heights.  One characteristic of innovators, which was true for those assembled, is that they remain optimistic even in the midst of a severe recession.  It is a pleasure to be around innovators because they always see the silver lining and look for ways to take advantage of these disruptive times.  Our discussion had a positive tone and there was a collective sense of optimism in the room.

More than a slogan. I shared a story about once filling a war room with the economic development ads from all fifty states.  I covered the name of each state with masking tape and brought people in to the room challenging them to match the ad with the state it came from.   All of the slogans were similar like “A Great Place to Start and Grow a Business” and no one could connect the ads with the right states.  The reaction to my story was immediate and strong.  This group was not interested in creating a new advertising slogan or catchy logo.  Slogans come and go and telling the New England innovation story has to be a genuine narrative backed up with real proof points of our region’s innovation capacity.

Saul KaplanAct as a region. The northeast knowledge corridor has an amazing collection of innovation stories, assets, and institutions.   As a region we have an opportunity to become a national innovation hot spot.  Collectively our story would be compelling and genuine.  While labor, knowledge, and capital move freely across state borders, political boundaries have caused us to fragment our economic development effort. We sub-optimize our efforts and our story and must develop a regional communication platform. Our brainstorming session had voices from NH, CT, MA, and RI.  It was a start.

Purposeful networks.    Many participants talked about the importance of networks and leveraging social media platforms to strengthen connections throughout the region and to share our innovation story.  Dave McLaughlin of Boston World Partnerships talked about the work they are doing focused on creating and enabling “connectors”.   I raised the idea of creating purposeful networks focused on solving the big issues of our time including health care, education, and climate change.  We are blessed in New England with an incredible concentration of the inputs for innovation. Within our region we have many of the world’s best colleges and universities and a hard-wired spirit for discovery and entrepreneurship.  I proposed that we develop an innovation story that is about better outputs and solutions.  Why don’t we create a regional innovation hot spot that delivers real transformation in our health care, education, and energy systems?  If we did it would deliver on the promise of technology for patients, students, and citizens and we would create a more prosperous regional economy.

You can find Scott’s blog post on the discussion, a list of attendees, and the audio from our brainstorming session here.

New Second Act Strategies Promotional Video

John Y. Brown, III: Why I Was Disappointed by Episode 1 of House of Cards

After reading my RP colleagues, Jonathan Miller (Why I Hated Episode 1) and Jeff Smith (Why I Enjoyed Episode 1) reviews on House of Cards first episode of season two, I couldn’t resist saying “Deal me in, too”

For starters, I am a fan. And after season one, a devoted and complete fan.

I love the series’ metaphoric title almost as much as the brazenly brilliant first season. Our government’s structure, the series seems to be saying, is at once both as fragile as a figurative “house of cards” while also being carefully upheld by unnerving stratagems on par with a figurative card game of brutal skill and exacting chance.

But if Season 2 had a subtitle, it might be “Still Not Collapsed—Yet.” Of course, my opinion is only based on one episode and may change. I hope it does. And to keep disappointment minimized to the reader of this post, I will not include any spoiler revelations beyond letdown.

I can’t recall if I first heard of the “Most Improved Player Award” being offered in Major League Baseball or in the NBA. But I do recall thinking it is a worthy recognition to bestow on the deserving recipient who progresses the most from the season before. And that noteworthy distinction is true in every field of endeavor.

Awarding the opposite credential (we’ll call it “Most Diminished Player of the Year”), for falling the farthest from the prior year’s loftier perch, would seem mean-spirited and unhelpful. But if such an award existed in the the intensely competitive industry of television, House of Cards, season two, seems to be a strong favorite to win based on the second season’s initial episode.

jyb_musingsWhy do I say this? The first episode of season two reminds me of so many original breakthrough series that start off taking our breath away but eventually cashing in by lazily falling back on easy formulaic routines. It may be season two or three or four before there is an episode when we realize the series is trying to recreate surprise and unique drama more by clever camera angles and pounding background music than by a refreshingly original story line that seems to be writing itself.

Sometimes the series recovers after a single episode lapse. But the lapse is usually a sign of creative fatigue. Or at least lassitude. And signals we should start to lower our expectations of what’s to come.

Tonight at dinner a song came on in the restaurant and my daughter said, “I am so sick of this song. This band started off so great and now all their songs sound alike.” Without knowing the band, I offered, “Yeah, I suspect the band either got lazy or played it safe instead of staying true to themselves.” I got the same feeling later tonight as I watched the opening show of season two House of Cards.

The cover for season one had no tag line. Just the protagonist, Kevin Spacey, sitting cockily and inexplicably in place of President Lincoln in a faux Lincoln Memorial. How could you not wonder what it was about? Season two has the protagonist sitting with a confused but plotting look on his face with his wife’s back to him and has the tagline, “There are two kinds of pain.” How could you not assume that one of them is disappointment?

Does it mean the series isn’t worth watching in season two? Not at all. Especially if a series was as spectacularly well-written and crafted a show previously as was House of Cards first season. The series first episode is still catchy and clever. But not much else. I’m still going to watch all of season two. But not because episode one of season two laid out such a suspenseful and promising narrative. But rather because season one was so good I have to believe their will be some inspired nuggets to be found in season two, even if it ends up as the most diminished series of the year.


Follow up: After watching episodes 2, 3 and 4, I have become a re-convert to House of Cards. Not a series grounded in the realm of the possible  But one grounded in brilliant dramatic writing and suspenseful theater. And that’s good enough for me.

Jeff Smith: Why I Enjoyed Episode 1 of House of Cards, Season 2: MAJOR SPOILER ALERT

(Check out Jonathan Miller’s “Why I Hated the Episode 1 of House of Cards.”)

I’m only one episode into Season 2 of House of Cards – unlike Jonathan, whose daughters are nearly grown, I don’t have any six hour chunks of time these days.

Also unlike Jonathan, I didn’t hate the first episode. Maybe I’ll change my mind after more episodes, but I quite enjoyed Episode 1. Sure, the Frank-Zoe (Kevin Spacey-Kata Mara) storyline infused Season 1 with some sexy tension – not to mention a scene that will forever haunt every father with an adult daughter who calls to wish him a Happy Father’s Day. But Mara is not irreplaceable on the show; I fully expect the emergence of another character who bring an erotic charge to the show. And frankly, I didn’t find Mara’s frequent coital disinterest – be it with Spacey or boyfriend Sebastian Arcelus (playing journalist Lucas Goodwin) – to be particularly sexy.

Jeff SmithJonathan’s other critique – that Frank’s murder of Zoe was gratuitous and unbelievable – strikes me as more legitimate. But still, it’s understandable. As someone who compounded a ticky-tack crime (approving a meeting between two former campaign aides and a consultant who planned to send out a postcard about one of my opponents) with a much more serious one (lying to the feds about whether I was aware of said meeting), I totally get how things can escalate as one’s grip on power is threatened, whether by a federal investigation or a sharp, ambitious young journalist whose knowledge of your MO has become more intimate than you originally planned.

Did Frank set out to be a murderer? Of course not. At first he just wanted to put Peter Russo in a position of power where he could leverage him for his own use. However, when Russo became a serious threat to Frank’s ambition, he had to be dealt with. Perhaps not so brutally, but once it became clear that Russo had no interest in playing ball, Frank needed a solution. Was the murder of Zoe – in a crowded subway station –riskier than Russo’s murder? Undoubtedly. But once you get away with something once, it becomes much easier to believe you can get away with it again. (That said, Frank really should’ve worn gloves.)

Aside from the Mara debate, Episode 1’s final scene left me confident that showrunner Beau Willimon’s writing chops are intact. “Every kitten grows up to be a cat,” intones Frank, after greeting the viewer for one of the show’s trademark soliloquys.

They seem so harmless at first – small, quiet, lapping up their saucer of milk.  But once their claws get long enough, they draw blood….sometimes from the hand that feeds them. For those of us climbing to the top of the food chain, there can be no mercy. There is but one rule: hunt, or be hunted.

And he is right. For most real-life politicians, this mercilessness takes a different form – cutting off a preacher who has made incendiary comments, or a prison-bound friend and colleague – but hey, this is television, and so to some degree we suspend reality. But the thought processes that cause Frank to desperately cling to power by any means necessary are as real as they get. Trust me.

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