John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Church

jyb_musingsAwkward whispered conversations with my wife at church during service after driving separately and arriving at same time.

Me: (under my breath) “Did you have your cell phone on?”

Rebecca: (Under her breath) “My phone died. Why?”

Me: “I texted ‘L-O-V-E’ and didn’t get a response from you.”

Rebecca: “Oh.”

Me: “Not even a “L.”

Rebecca: “Shh”

Me: “Is something wrong?”

Rebecca: (Shakes her head exasperated)

Me: “If your phone hadn’t died would you have written back ‘L-O-V-E’ or at least ‘L’?

Rebecca: “Shhh”

Me: “Because if your answer is ‘No,’ I’m retracting my earlier ‘L-O-V-E’ text to you. I’m serious. I’ll do it.”

Rebecca: (trying not to laugh and still talking under her breath) “No.”

Me: “It’s retracted then. Officially.”

Rebecca: “I mean, ‘No. I would have written back L-O-V-E.’ Now be quiet.”

Me: “OK then. I will reinstate my ‘L-O-V-E’ text. It’s officially reinstated now. Are we good?”

Rebecca: (Smiles and rolls her eyes)

Me: “Good. I’m glad we cleared that up.”

===

FYI —

I just talked to God while praying this morning and, although He didn’t come right put and say it, I got the distinct impression He was bringing His A – game today.

Just a feeling I got and wanted to relay if you are going to church today. You may want to reach for that new sports coat or dress. Just a heads up out there.

(P.S. It also could be that I feel this way because Ann Fleming is leading our Sunday school class this morning. After God, Ann is one of the people I try hardest to act good around when she is present. They both bring put the best in me, but still make me nervous.)

Carlton Weddington: ODRC’s Escape Goat

carlton weddingtonOn September 12, 2014 the headline news in Ohio and trending nationally was that the Chardon High School shooter had escaped prison along with two other Ohio prison inmates. The best dissertation that most of the mainstream media in Ohio could come up with was that T.J. Lane struggled to adjust to prison after being convicted for killing three students and receiving three consecutive life sentences.

Depending on whom you ask, Lane’s short lived escape success was no big feat. Inmates will tell you that Allen Oakwood Correctional Institution is so laxed it is “sweet” here. This was in fact the second attempt from Ohio’s Protective Control Unit which houses Ohio’s notorious and high-profile inmates. An inmate from E-2 block made it over the first perimeter fence but got caught up on the second perimeter fence. This same inmate was put in segregation under investigation for being in possession of potential escape paraphernalia while in the W-2 block before being transferred across the hall to E-2.

Why weren’t more security measures implemented then? What if other inmates who were more mature, violent, willful, and wanton made the trek along with Lane and the others? A far greater shock and awe would have occurred. The bankrupt narratives that have followed this major story to date have yet to answer the question of how this happened and who is responsible for this breach of security.

The past two years, I have been incarcerated at AOCI in the Protective Control Unit both E-2 and W-2 Block currently, with a very unique perspective. I served on the Correctional Institution Inspection Committee as a former House member of the Ohio General Assembly from 2009 – 2012, inspecting and evaluating facilities statewide and addressing issues of personal safety, conditions of confinement, institutional programming and general problems and concerns. I feel like the “Undercover Boss” in unfortunate circumstances.

The issue of security management was noted and bought to the attention of AOCI and the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections through a CIIC report conducted in April 2014, five months before the September 11, 2014 escape. The report also spoke to the safety concerns of the inmates in the P.C. unit, poor healthcare responsiveness, poor service and quality of food, less than adequate programming and lack of morale among correctional officers. The survey conducted among inmates also suggested minimal leadership and oversight by local and central office administration. Yet still six months later many of these issues have not been addressed.  Why?

The Administration and staff at AOCI had intel in advance about the September 11th escape plot that used thousands of dollars in law enforcement man power and resources, put Lima residents on alert, families of the victims into a frenzy and finally brings attention to the lack of leadership and management of Ohio’s PC unit and the re-tooling of Director Mohr’s three tier system. It hurts the head less to say that this was an isolated incident rather than admit that maybe a change is warranted of the institution’s leadership and ODRC’s policies.

The noble thing for the current AOCI administration and Unit Staff to do is resign amid the security gaffes that have occurred rather than to “lock the barn door after the horse has already run out.” How do inmates get locked on the recreation area, without present supervision to obtain a ladder, man-made or existing, to scale a single fence, and jump off a roof to freedom. A similar escape was made in a Mansfield, Ohio prison when an inmate got a hold of a maintenance ladder to scale the prison wall. Here at AOCI, the window dressing during the investigation and then returning back to business as usual should be unacceptable by both Director Gary Mohr and Governor Kasich. It is the culture of the current facility administration and some staff to conduct business in a lackadaisical manner.

Lazy analysis of this matter is a microcosm of the vicious idiocy that attempts to provide dog and pony shows for Columbus suits when they visit, rather than address the entrenched bureaucratic school of thought that I have found, has created better spin-masters than my former colleagues at the Statehouse. Let’s get real, down and dirty about what happened here in Lima: Somebody dropped the ball. Stop ducking the truth, using security and ongoing investigation claims as to why the public has not received answers to how, why, and who is responsible? After all, it is the taxpayers of Ohio who carry the burden. Few dare venture into these uncomfortable but necessary conversations, but I hope I’m wrong. Bad inmates are easier to blame than the real structural, economic, and political issues that still need attention. We need to get into a solutions-based discussion about the institutional ills afflicting ODRC and facilities like Allen-Oakwood. If not, we will see another escape, and maybe worse, a killing at AOCI. The writing is on the wall, but who will read it?

Josh Bowen: 3 Reasons Why Soreness Doesn’t Mean Results

joshBack when I first started working out, I loved the feeling. When I first started working with clients, I loved hearing them tell me about it.

Soreness.

One of the first questions, in the old days, we use to ask clients who had been working out on their own, “are you getting sore still.” With little to no scientific research to back up our clams, we obliterated body parts into submission, thinking that everyone need to be sore to get results.

I was wrong.

To this day, I have attracted a client base that loves to be pushed and I love to push them. At times I can be relentless and somewhat domineering. However, I don’t believe the old school “Arnold rules” that says in order to achieve maximum results you must be so sore you cannot walk or move your arms. To be that sore every time you workout seems silly and counterproductive. Every once in a while is OK :) I look to a segment of our population for proof that get paid to workout, professional bodybuilders. Ask any athlete, especially physique athletes and they will tell you the last thing they want to be is sore. It messes with their routine and training. It will happen from time to time but it doesn’t define their progress.

For research to back up my claim, here is a popular research article from the National Strength and Conditioning Journal by a couple of guys I have met and have heard speak several times.

Shifting through all the research jargon I took the following statement to heart, “the applicability of DOMS in assessing workout quality is inherently limited, and it therefore should not be used as a definitive gauge of results.” OK moving right along. Let us get out of the research world (secretly I dislike it) and move to the practical side of things.

You want to be sore? That is great but it does not actually mean you are progressing. It does mean you either broke down your muscle tissue down significantly to create DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness) or you introduce a new workout, exercise or rep scheme that your body was not ready for, thus causing soreness. Again, I love to be sore but the point is not to workout every time until you are are so sore you cannot move. This is counterproductive.

So here are my 3 reasons:

1. Soreness can interrupt to today’s workout: Recovery is important, being able to recover after a workout is even more important. If I am training a client full body 2-3 days per week and their legs are so sore they can barely lunge, squat or kettlebell swing this impedes my ability to program correctly for that day. Sure, if your legs are really sore, you can always do arms. However, I love when clients are pushed hard and have the ability to recover (because of adequate protein and rest) fast enough to workout at the same intensity or higher. How you recover workout to workout is more important than how sore you get workout to workout.  *Reminder…this applies to people who push themselves. If you are not pushing yourself, there is no need for recovery, you are already recovered.

2. Intense soreness could mean a lack of quality nutrition and rest A little soreness hear and there is great. Not being able to move (unless you first started working out) is not so good. This could be an indication of improper rest and inadequate nutrition, in particular a lack of high quality protein intake. Protein’s job is to help build and repair muscle tissue. Without it, the muscle will break down and will continue to break down to the point of injury. Same thing goes for recovery. If your muscles never recover you can never get to your full potential.

3. Your body can only take so much I have to tell myself this all the time, “you can only workout so much.” I don’t get as much sleep as I would like and there are some days where I have to rely on protein shakes as my main food source. There is no way I could handle soreness that would prevent me from training myself day to day. Your neuromuscular system is not designed to take a pounding every single day. It needs rest and needs food. 3-4 days of vigorous workouts, coupled with some active rest or complete rest days is enough for most people to get where they want to be. Less is more in this case.

The point I am trying to prove is that you do not need to continuously push your body to point where how sore you get should be a concern. A little tenderness is OK, outright muscle pain, after every workout does not mean your muscles are growing and you are getting better. Do not use this as an indicator of such. Rant over.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Ebola

jyb_musingsOk. For what it’s worth….and I’m not a doctor or anything ….but I am very intuitive about things like pandemics and mass diseases. And I am starting to get a much better feeling about this whole Ebola thing and how it is going to play out.

I’m predicting in a few days we can all go back outside again.

Probably.

Just a feeling. But it’s a pretty strong one.

The exact same feeling I got with Avian Flu and SARS just before we found out they weren’t going to cause our extinction. So there’s even a track record here for me with these sorts of things.

===

My wife and I are on our laptops and I peered over to see what she is reading. It is –again–an article about Ebola.

I have tried to reassure her that she won’t catch it and even if she does to try to look on the bright side: She looks really great in yellow and will rock that Hazmat suit.

Unfortunately, I don’t look good in Hazmat. They make me look bloated and I have really worked hard to slim down. One more reason I hope I don’t get Ebola.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Fundraising Emails

jyb_musingsThey say death and taxes are the only two things you can rely on. But that was before Democratic Party fundraising emails. I am beginning to think these are even more reliable than the two long established standbys. And certainly more constant.

I am a proud and life-long Democrat and intend to remain that way.

And hope my party feels the same way about me. Right now — a little over a week from Election Day — I average receiving about 40 desperate to exciting fundraising emails a day from the national party. I love that they are keeping me so informed by the half-hour and giving me so many opportunities to contribute money. And it is the only thing that happens to me 40 times a day. Which is interesting too. And I think a good thing.

I just wonder if they will keep emailing me this often after November…

I hope I at least get a Christmas card. And an update about the family and how everyone is doing in school and personally and in Congress.

Erica and Matt Chua: He Said/She Said: Budget Travel Gripes

After spending nearly three years on the road, we look back on all that we put up with to save a dollar. Were all the long bus rides and sleeping at airports worth it to keep the expenses in check?

HE SAID…

You’ll never hear me claim that there is a better way to travel than budget travel.  Getting as close to the locals’ spending as possible is the best way to understand how their life is…and isn’t that why to travel?  Not only the experiences, but also the differences between experiences in different places are enlightening. Exposing yourself to where the locals eat, stay and play will teach you more about a place than a tour ever would.

If I wanted something easy and comfortable I’d try to have that at home, not in some distant land.  Why would I put my money towards temporary comfort instead of investing in permanent comfort?  At home I want the most comfortable things possible, but on the road I want the most locally authentic experiences possible.

This does create some problems though.  It’s caused us to end up in some places where I was deathly allergic to things.  It’s led us to some pretty dirty places.  It’s made us terribly sick.  The romantic idea of living like a local is much better than it is in reality.

Here is one great example.  We thought we had scored a great deal on a place to stay in Seoul, in a student building, on AirBnB.  The listing made it clear that it could sleep two, evenings were quiet times, and there was free rice.  They had me at the price, but I fell in love with the idea of free rice.  See the photo above?  That’s how we slept for three nights.  On the fourth day I ran into the building manager, the same person who had checked us in, and he asked how we were sleeping.  I responded that we were doing fine.  Then he asked the key question, “would you like another mattress?”  Why yes we would!  How had he failed to mention this earlier, such as when the two of us checked in?

The funny situations like this one are the good, bad and learning of budget travel.  I would never experience this at the Ritz…

.

SHE SAID…

Budget travel is not for everyone.  It is not a vacation complete with private beach bungalows and drinks with little umbrellas.  It is hard work, long bus rides, cold showers and beds with no pillows.  It is the path we chose for many reasons, first and foremost to save money and travel longer, but also to live a little bit more like the locals.

This trip was never about just seeing the world, it was about experiencing it.  Which meant dining where the locals did, taking the long bus rides and lower class transport.  Some of my most fond memories are from the crazy things we did to save a few bucks.  But, there are a few things that I just didn’t like about budget travel:

Ordering food from right to left, when price is your main concern I often found myself reading the menu from right to left- look at price first.  Several times I passed up the item I really wanted for something more affordable.

Cold showers, I got pretty tired of trying to get the soap to lather while showering with the glacial water on offer at many of our budget hostels and hotels.  Hot water is a luxury when your trying to stay on budget.  Along those same lines I hated that space was also a luxury, bathrooms in most places we stayed would have the shower right over the toilet and everything in the bathroom would be soaked.

Overnight buses were the bane of my existence, especially in South America where averaged one overnight bus every 10 days.  Not only did you get a terrible nights sleep, but you had to worry about your stuff getting stolen, which happened to us on an overnight bus in Bolivia.

These three things may have saved us a considerable amount of cash, but I’m glad that there is no overnight bus in my future or terrible two dollar meal around the corner.  Ultimately these were small sacrifices to fund our 37 country tour and I would do them again in a heartbeat, but life is better with hot showers!

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Game on, Hawking!!

jyb_musings

Smarty pants astrophysicist Stephen Hawking has joined Facebook and said in his first post “I have always wondered what makes the universe exist. Time and space may forever be a mystery, but that has not stopped my pursuit.”

Oh brother. Whatever.

Well, you know Mr Hawking, you may be the smartest man alive but a lot of us on Facebook have some pretty brilliant moments ourselves. I am upping my scientific and intellectual Facebook game. Be forewarned. And remember, it’s OK to hate the player but don’t hate the game? Feel me? You are no longer in the ivory tower on Facebook. You are now on the street. And it’s about to get real.

So, for starters, you aren’t the only one on Facebook who wonders about what makes the universe exist and about space and time and stuff like that. I think about them too. Not all at the same time. But I think about them sometimes. And think about many other complicated sciencey things too.

When I am on an airplane I like to look out the window at the clouds and think to myself, “Let’s see. There are three kinds of clouds. Stratus, cumulus, and one other.” See? You are probably already realizing we are a lot more alike than you originally thought. That’s OK. That will happen to you a lot on here. Keep an open mind on Facebook. Ok? That’s important for everybody — but especially for guys like us.

10580031_10154805192810515_2724657550179636568_nOh…and after I think about the different types of clouds, I’m not done. I keep going. I saw this one recently (see below) I keep staring at the cloud formations until it comes to me, using my vast imagination (again like you) and I figure out what the cloud shape reminds me of. This one reminds me of a puppy dog.

I am interested, Mr Hawking, to find out if your mind works this way too and if you agree the cloud looks a lot like a little puppy dog? Cutie, huh?!

Anyway, congrats for joining Facebook. This may be the most exciting and surprising intellectual journey of your life. And I suspect — if you give it a chance–you will finally get some answers to all your questions about the universe.

Saul Kaplan: On the Internet, What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

Saul KaplanThis is the fourth of a series of conversations published on the Time website, authored by myself and Nicha Ratana, with transformational leaders who will be storytellers at the BIF10 Collaborative Innovation Summit in Providence, RI.

Ethan Zuckerman’s job is to see the Internet for what it is.

As the director of the MIT Center for Civic Media and the author of Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection, Zuckerman studies civic engagement within digital infrastructures. He has made the case that we are not as connected as we appear to be.

Zuckerman’s research explodes what he calls the “myth of connectivity.” As he claims, “The world is more global. Our problems and economics are global. And though we are inundated with content, the media is getting less global.”

He believes it is important to expose and rectify this fallacy; after all, “this leads not only to shocking ignorance about the world, but also to missed opportunities for marketing and collaboration.”

As it turns out, Zuckerman says, “What you don’t know can hurt you.”

“Atoms are more accessible than bits in many occasions,” Zuckerman says. “Fijian water is easy to access, but Fijian culture is not.”

He attributes the myth of connectivity to a lack of demand rather than too much supply. With the explosion of personal publishing and the “read-write web,” the issue isn’t so much the lack of stories told from other parts of the world, but rather, that these stories have been filtered out by the American attention span.

One of the problems of “free market journalism,” Zuckerman says, is that it relies on user behavior to recommend content. This filtering mechanism is deeply susceptible to what he calls “homophily.” Meaning “love of the same,” the concept is also known by the truism “birds of a feather flock together.”

Homophily explains the tendency of news coverage to cater to the lowest common denominator, or, speaking within the realms of Zuckerman’s research, of the disappearance of international or investigative reporting.

“What we need are new systems to help us stumble over things, to jog us out of ordinary reality,” Zuckerman says.

Zuckerman claims the key to integrating international or hard-hitting perspectives into domestic discourse is to provide relevant context. Fundamentally, he says, “What’s most important to you, is ‘you’ and ‘yours.’ If we’re not giving people some way in which they can interact with content, we’ll be missing giant opportunities.”

He forecasts that content recommendations of the future will be able to determine an audience’s interest and the “information rut” that they’re stuck in, before bridging that gap by suggesting novel, yet unexpectedly useful content. For instance, “following your interest in US mobile phones, you might find yourself reading about Chinese phone technologies, or about how much disposable income the mobile market captures in East Africa,” he explains.

“I was never in love with the narrative of the Internet startup,” Zuckerman says.

“Dot com” entrepreneurism did not excite him as much as the question of the Internet’s potential to transform the world.

Yet, for all his reluctance to view enterprises as one-stop fix-its for society’s ills, Zuckerman looks forward to returning to speak at the Collaborative Innovation Summit hosted annually by the nonprofit Business Innovation Factory (BIF) in Providence, RI.

At the Summit, Zuckerman intends to engage the BIF community — which he knows to be composed of unconventional tinkerers and seasoned social entrepreneurs — with a critical question he has been wrestling with: how to innovate journalism.

The BIF Summit has been a site of meaningful connections for Zuckerman in the past. He recalls meeting his MIT colleague Neri Oxman there, and marveling, from her talk about her first encounter with snow, Oxman’s intuitive thought process as a materials scientist.

“What I value so much about BIF is this notion that you’re not there to give a presentation, but to tell a story,” Zuckerman says, “With stories, the interesting motivations are never completely rational. That irrationality, that underlying passion, is to me what’s fascinating about anybody who’s trying to change the world.”

He believes that in BIF’s passionate community, he will find a receptive audience. “Storytelling is hugely underrated as a form of human communication,” he says, “It’s really hard to make money while doing good, investigative journalism, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing.”

“Ultimately, I think we need to be having a deeper conversation about what public goods we should be willing to pay for, that the market isn’t good at provisioning,” Zuckerman says. He recognizes, “Those tend to be fighting words in the United States, but I think this notion of having really high-quality information is something that we’re not talking seriously enough about.”

The BIF Collaborative Innovation Summit combines 30 brilliant storytellers with more than 400 innovation junkies in a two-day storytelling jam, featuring tales of personal discovery and transformation that spark real connection and “random collisions of unusual suspects.”

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Fridays at 51

jyb_musingsWhat makes Fridays nice at age 51 is the vague but pleasant recollection that 15 or 20 years ago something really fun –maybe even edgy and exciting– used to happen on Friday nights.

Even though you can’t quite remember what it was.

You realize that was a long time ago and isn’t going to happen tonight. Because you are too tired and have to pick up the kids later.

But the fuzzy memory that something fun used to happen to you on Friday nights still sustains you.

And is enough to still make you “thank God it is Friday.”

Just with a lowercase “T.”

Julie Rath: That’s What She Said, Vol. 2: Ms. Williams and the ONE Accessory to Avoid at All Costs

In today’s edition of That’s What She Said, I interview recording artist Ms. Williams on men’s style.

Click here or on the image below to watch our interview. You’ll hear her take on the matter, including the ONE accessory that makes her run the other way when a guy wears it.

Men's Style: What to Wear on a Date

 

After you’re done watching the interview, make sure you take my style quiz to see how you rate on a scale of 1 to 10.

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