And HAPPY HOLIDAYS to all of you who have to inclination to read this blog.
Here's a slection of Christmas music for your listening enjoyment.
See you next year!
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It's easy to miss here
But December 13th is St Lucia's feast day. It's one of the events that makes a Swedish winter a bit more bearable.
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 9:18 AM
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Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 11:26 AM
It has come to my attention that there are some people who do not know of Yasmin Levy.
Winter is coming on and I have been listening to music from Al-Andalus.
Lots of people are familiar with Flamenco, and some are familiar with the Moorish tradition in Spanish music but fewer have encountered the Judaeo-Spanish Ladino tradition. Ladino is a language based in old Castilian, with elements of Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic, Turkish and even a touch of Greek, spoken by the Spanish Jews. This Musical tradition is as rich as any found in Spain.
So allow me to offer you a piece by Yasmin Levy one of the young musicians helping to keep this tradition alive and vital.
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 5:01 PM
On the Diamond Hour Internet radio show.
My buddy Steve Barnes invited me on his show to talk about intermittent fasting and other such such things yesterday.
You can listen to it here on this page
Ore you can go to the Diamond Hour Page and listen to all of his broadcasts there.
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 8:38 AM
Of course it's given by a comedian.
It's a sad state of affairs when the only person making any sense runes a fake news show on Comedy Central.
But the Republicans have spent most of the last 40 years destroying this country. Almost everything that is going wrong today in America has it's roots in Right Wing ideology (Or perhaps I should say fantasy), They should not be allowed to administer the affairs of this country for us.
The Democrats have proven themselves to be incompetent and corrupt by turns. Even when given more power than any political party deserves they have managed to fail miserably at raining in the excesses of Republican power grabbing. They Don't deserve to administer this country for us either.
And the militant arm of the Republican party the Tea Baggers, what to turn this country into a Religious Moronocracy.*
So let's hope that this video goes viral.
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I had not seen anything from Mick "The Barefoot Sensei" Dodge for a while and had been wondering what he was up to.
It seems that he is still going strong. There are a good number of people now who have embraced the minimalist/barefoot/nature oriented approach to fitness but Mick Dodge was one of the first.
He was the guy who turned me on to the idea of using an old tow strap as a portable gym. I have come to value that piece of equipment a great deal over the last couple of years.
So enjoy (and perhaps grab a little inspiration from) the adventures of the Barefoot Sensei.
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And Tomahawk Tameshigiri
Sundays are the day that I usually reserve for myself. I get together with my close friends and train most Sunday mornings. This is a lot different than working with people during the week because I'm not teaching. On Sundays I get to experiment with new and interesting things with people who are teachers in their own right, which allows me to further my own training.
This last Sunday we got out the sharp, pointy things and attacked a bunch of helpless plastic bottles yet again.
It was pretty much par for the course, with flayed plastic flying all over the yard. But I did try one thing new. I have never test cut with a tomahawk before, so I tried it out.
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 8:20 PM
I have been meaning to post this video for a while
and just got reminded of it by the Barefoot Runners NYC blog.
Even though this was put out by a shoe company,Terra Plana (Extremely good if very expensive shoes) it uses the "barefoot" methodology to teach proper running form.
If you are interested in exploring a more natural stride and one that seems to have a lot less injury associated with it, this is a very good instructional video.
"Most illness and pathology in the body results from training our bodies to be really, really good at the wrong things."
I don't know if it is actually "most illness and pathology" or not, but I suspect that if one were to take this idea seriously and train accordingly, the effects would be profound.
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 11:58 AM
I ran across this yesterday.
It is a site that takes the words of our
home-grown Taliban Christian "conservative" tea-baggers and puts them in the mouth of Jesus of Nazareth.
It's rather reveling.
Go take a look at
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 12:18 PM
On the use of livestock to help reclaim land.
I ran across this on one of the Paleo blogs I read. (this one)
It offers some interesting food for thought, and though I would need to see some hard data before I accepted some of his premises, the talk is interesting enough to make me think there might be something useful here.
OK, I've been very caught up in the actual living of live and enjoying of good weather, and have let the blog lie fallow for too long.
But I am back (more or less) and am going to have a few things to say.
First, I am rather disappointed in Obama's response to the Gulf spill, though it is, I think, still better than what The Shrub would have done.
This is the speech he should have given, though I don't think there is a politician alive today with the cojones to stand up to the multinationals (more's the pity).
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 9:23 AM
and words to live by from my friend Scott Sonnon
"HE won't do that." - CST Head Coach Mike Locke screaming at me today after two solid hours of anguish in the midst of my 3rd round of BW+50lbs dips, referring to my opponent.
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 10:27 AM
By going back to the days of yore
Here we have Bernard Lagat (USA) winning a one mile race (at the Melrose games).
Interestingly, everyone running is using a forefoot strike and everyone is using racing flats that are a throwback to the thin leather slippers runners used back before Nike came along.
When the Olympic class athletes start going back to the "barefoot" style of running we can be assured that there is something useful going on.
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 9:56 AM
And the Spin put on it.
I have been appalled to see the usual suspects using the death and destruction to try and garner political points. While the thugs on the Right have been most egregious, the Left hasn't been all that far behind.
I am pretty sure there will be a special place in Hell for people like Pat Robertson, who used the suffering and misery to manipulate his minions into giving him more money.
As usual, Jon Stewart sums it up more honestly than any "real" newscast.
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Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 1:11 PM
Then the sun comes out.
It Doesn't get much better than this.
The temperature on Saturday morning was around 10 degreed F, and the snow was just about perfect.
So I grabbed my skis and hit the trail for the best day of gliding over the snow yet this season.
Once we were off the main trail the snow was mostly completely fresh. There were remarkably few skiers out for some reason, I think we saw only three other people on the trails all day.
We did however share the trail with all manner of wildlife, most notably ducks who didn't bother going south for the winter. (I guess they heard about the temperatures in Florida)
While the Grand River is still flowing, all the ponds and small lakes in the area are frozen over.
Making for the spectacular winter scenery you get here in West Michigan.
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 12:37 PM
With death threats against cartoonists no less.
It turns out that Mark Fiore, a political cartoonist and animator has been getting death threats from the Tea Baggers over a little piece he did a little while back.
Here it is...
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 4:01 PM
Sabi Honom mentioned jump rope as a way to keep in shape over the winter, so this post is for her and others who might want something by way of exercise that takes up small space but gives good result.
Back in the last century, when I was young, I, like so many of the boys where I grew up, studied some boxing. Of course, along with the speed bag, heavy bag, road work and sparring, we had to jump rope.
We all wanted to master the speed bag, as it had the greatest kewl factor (Think Joe Palooka, opening titles) and I think we all hated jumping rope (it was viewed as being just a bit "girlie". Hey I was about 10 at the time, wadaya expect)
Over the years I had kept up with my rope jumping somewhat intermittently, but it would tend to get a little on the boring side for me.
This all changed about three years ago when I got a call from my friend Steve Barnes. Steve keeps an eye out for anything interesting in the area of fitness and he often finds some real gems.
He asked me if I had ever heard of Buddy Lee. I hadn't.
Lee was an Olympic wrestler who had developed an interesting approach to his conditioning based on jumping rope, after retiring from competition he began teaching his method.
I was intrigued enough by Steve's description that I looked into what Lee was doing.
Here's a taste.
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 1:51 PM
But we could use some more snow.
Temperatures have been down in the single digits, but the sun has been out and there has been very little snow.
The trails are quite rough.
There's lots of lumpy ice just under the surface, as well as ruts and such.
But the river is quite lovely.
And the sunset is as well.
So the only thing to do is grab the skis and get outside.
So with my friend Janet, who is one of the few people crazy enough to be out int this weather with me, we tackled the trail.
It was worth the effort, and we pretty much had the trail to ourselves.
Personally, I think cross country skiing is the best winter exercise to keep you in shape for running in the other three seasons. So here's hoping for more snow.
For today's theme music here's one of the very best renditions of "Baby it's cold outside" done by Margaret Whiting & Johnny Mercer in 1949
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 10:22 PM
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