Friday, April 16, 2010

Read Labels, check pricing, be aware of yourself.

I have received a few comments and e-mails on my experiments with phosphatidyl serine. There seem to be a lot of people excited about this subject and the results I, and others, have received.

When you are trying to do something that is best for you it is easy to jump on band wagons and get caught up into things that don't work best for you.

Your body is slightly different from everyone else's body. While it is true that all of us react similarly it is also true that we are all different. Our activity levels, the time we spend outside, the calories we eat, even how we think changes our body chemistry. When we take supplements the chemicals in those supplements will react differently in different people.

For example, back in my twenties I weighed about 220lbs with a body fat of about 8% and I experimented enough to know that I needed about 4000 calories with 2000 calories being protein and less than 500 calories being fat to maintain my weight at my normal activity level.

The other day I was in the fitness room at a hotel. Because I trashed my knee in a motorcycle accident I only do about 10 minutes on a treadmill or elliptical. If I do over 10 minutes my knee begins to hurt and I have problems the rest of the day, maybe even the next day. A guy who had just finished 30 minutes on the treadmill gave me a smirk and made a semi-condescending comment about exercise. He did about 30 sit ups so when he got up I sat down and did 50. He sat down for another set of 30 and I did another 50. He quit.

All of our bodies are different. We handle different things in different ways. A great example is this situation where I showed a guy that even at 260 lbs and a BMI (calculated by height, not measured) of 33.5 I could show him up doing sit-ups and he could show me up on the treadmill. Here is another issue. In this case the sit-up bench was inclined and I went from level with the floor to straight up. Had I been doing bent-knee sit-ups on the ground I would not have been able to do 20. I have arthritis in my back.

I am an older jock and for most of my adult life my weight ran from 210 to 220. At 6'2” that gives me a body index (calculated) from 26.7 to 28.5. However, at 20 years old and 210 pounds my body fat was under 8% and my calculated BMI was 26.7.

BMI is a great tool, but, they need to measure your body volume and weight to determine density and properly ESTIMATE BMI. The calculated measurement created by squaring your height is useful, but, does not tell the whole story. Most jocks will have a calculated (not measured) BMI between 25 and 30.

You are the only one who knows your body.

Because of my abs I will never have under a 34” waist, well, not until my abs dystrophy with age. Because of my pectorals and lats I will not have a chest under 48”. Currently I have a 42” waist and a 52” chest. This gives me a 10” drop between my chest and my waist. US average is around 5”, athletic is 7” to 9”. I have a hard time buying shirts that fit correctly.

All of these things translate into understanding your diet and how your system works.

Here I am, almost 50, used to eating 4000 calories a day and my body is changing. The death of my son caused my thinking to change, and my diet. I began eating less protein, more carbohydrates and fats. I found it easier to focus my mind on thinking tasks rather than exercising which I typically do “no mind”. Things like KATA, my numchucks, my bo, weight lifting, biking, I typically do focusing on my breathing without thinking about what I am doing. This became impossible for me after the death of my son. Every time I tried to empty my mind I.., well, I became upset.

A few years later I am 80 pounds over weight and I try addressing it. I tried going back to weight lifting, 30 minutes a day 6 days a week for a year. I cut my calorie intake down to 2000 to 2500 calories a day, half protein, 1/6 fat and the rest carbs (lots of fiber). I lost nothing. My body chemistry had changed significantly. I developed high blood pressure and type two diabetes.

I have always been a supplement junkie. Typically Protein shakes, Multi-Vitamins and B vitamins. I added E and Chromium pincolinate, selenium, fish oil, calcium (cut milk out of my diet), I started taking the meds my doctor prescribed. I switched to black tea and I drink metamucil. I believe that food cravings occur when you are not getting enough of something into your system. That something can be a nutrient or it can be emotional. If you know you are getting the proper nutrition then you can ignore the cravings safely.

My food choices have typically been good, skinless chicken, fish, lean meats, eggs, vegetables, fruits, high fiber breads. The South Beach diet is really easy for me because it is pretty much what I do any way.

I tried talking to my doctor. He pretty much ignored me. A fat guy is a fat guy, right? I had to move so I sold my weights (no room) and the rest of my equipment.

Nothing worked until I found PS, Phosphatidyl serine. I dropped weight quickly and then plateaued at 260. My blood sugar dropped like a rock. I quit taking the type 2 diabetes meds. I went off the PS for a while, my weight went up a few pounds and my blood sugar went up. I am back on PS again. I just started adding exercise a few weeks ago.

So I have proved to myself that PS works for me without any huge diet changes or adding exercise.

For me, a glass of ice water or metamucil (sugar free, 20 calories) cuts hunger cravings. I used to just do ice water, I added the metamucil and I recommend it to anyone who cares.

For meals I typically have Roll ups using high fiber FlatOut bread (I get mine from Costco). 100 calories each, 8 grams of fiber. I switch up between sliced turkey, sliced ham and roast beef. Mustard and some Romain lettuce. Quick, easy and healthy. I keep it around 250-300 calories total. I switch that up with two cans of tuna ( just dump 2 7oz cans of tuna in a bowl and eat it with a couple of drops of tobasco). I also eat Ramen noodle soup (400 calories, 15g fat, 56g carbs) regularly. I like Peanut butter with sugar free jelly (500 calories, 32g fat and 14g carbs)occasionally.

For aerobic exercise I am riding a recumbent bike when I am at home. I started at 10 minutes once a day. Now I am at 30 minutes twice a day. I am going to go back to weight lifting, I have to get a machine because of my knee and my back. It is just safer that way. I do some dumb bell stuff right now.

The point of this article is that I took the time to try different things until I found what worked for me and I am capitalizing on those items. Not everyone can cut their hunger cravings with a glass of water or metamucil. Not everyone can eat similar foods every day the way I do. Not everyone can eat tuna right out of the can.

On the other hand I like my Ramen noodles. I am not about to drop it from my diet. I like peanut butter and I am not giving it up. I watch my calories, my grams of protein, carbs, fiber and fats. I know what works for me because I read labels and kept trying different things.

What does not work for me? Anything more than 50g a day of zinc makes me sick as a dog. I can't megadose on zinc. High doses of Vitamin C. Echinacea. Lots of things don't work. I tried them.

The important thing to understand is that your body is a chemistry lab. Do one experiment at a time. Use pure substances or know exactly what the filler is.

Look at GABA. Great product, helps me sleep sometimes. They mix it with Silicon Dioxide. Look up the side effects for GABA, none. Look up the side effects for Silicon Dioxide, ahhh.

Read the labels, research and do careful experimentation on your body. What works for me may not work for you. What works for you may not work for me.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The complexity of individual choices in a capitalistic society

There is a mouthful. I am watching a totally hilarious 1990 movie called Mindwalk. It is essentially a huge propaganda discussion about the different views of political problems. A political viewpoint versus what some people would claim is the intellectual viewpoint.

The “intellectual” argument against “global warming”, the destruction of the rain forest, the costs of health care, the “mechanistic” ideology is provided by a woman who is playing a physicist.

In a totally ridiculous analogy the two viewpoints discuss a clock and how the mechanism of a mechanical clock are replaced by quartz and electronics. The physicist discusses how much things have changed and the politician is left speechless. Unfortunately the reality is that the underlying concepts of both the mechanical and the electronic mechanisms are the same. At the core there is no real difference. Both are calibrated mechanisms that display regulated changes. The core principles are the same. Hilarious.

The argument moves into discussions about how perception causes people to take actions and those actions are often bad for them resulting in negative consequences.

This is really a movie advocating mind control and that is a scary subject.

Mind control is actually relatively easy and it is commonly practiced by the advertising businesses as well as political organizations and movie makers. People make decisions based on their perceptions. When you change the perceptions people have you change the decisions they make.

There are times when people have core beliefs that they refuse to let go of no matter what happens. I can give a couple of examples.

I knew a really friendly, nice guy and his wife. Over time I realized that the guy was an abuser. I watched the behavior of the couple and when I could see that they were building themselves up to a conflict I told the woman that when her husband beat her she could come over to my place and he couldn't get at her there. He beat her. She showed up. She was a very nice person and if she hadn't been such a screwed up drunk when she started walking around naked I might have done something. I didn't and I think that offended her. I think she had expected my offer was more than safety and help.

When her husband showed up, as they always do, he accused us of sleeping together (which we weren't) and then made a sudden movement holding something shinny (a Zippo lighter) in his hand. Being trained the way I am, and with him knowing I had been trained in martial arts and in the Army, showing up at my door angry and making a sudden move with a metallic object should have been something he was smart enough not to do. Anyhow, he ended up on the ground. I didn't hurt him. I doubt if I even bruised him because I realized it was a lighter.

She left and went back with him. She ended up dead less than a year later. He died back in 2007.

People do not always make what we think of as good choices. Those choices always belong to the individual. Only screwed up control freaks want to force everyone to make what they consider as the “right” decision.

When I was a child my mother was pretty radical politically for a child of the 1920's. She and a friend of hers once explained to me that “right” wing people were people who wanted to force others to make the “right” choices.

Over the years I have learned that it is fascists who try to force people to make the "right" decisions. Not Republicans or Democrats or any specific political party or ideology. Fascist is derived from the Latin “To Make”. It is a term coined by Mussolini to describe one of the Marxist political steps necessary for the conversion to a Communist society. The proletariat will not act on their own. They must be guided into violent revolution. They must be forced to accept Communism by a benevolent dictatorship and then there will be a withering away of the State.

The terms Fascist, Fascism, is an attempt by Mussolini to describe the time period where Communism is forced on the proletariat.

Capitalism describes the open market idea. Capitalism is more related to democracy since it depends on individual decisions.

Capitalism only works properly in Open Markets where the playing field is level and everyone is equal. Advertising is a method of controlling perception and skewing the playing field. Politics and closing specific markets is another way of creating an un-level playing field. When something happens to give one person/group much more control of a specific resource than any other group Capitalism is no longer Democratic, it becomes Fascist.

Controlling the choices people can make through laws, advertising, hoarding, monopolizing, propagandizing is all fascism. It does not matter if the fascism is intended to “help” or “hurt”. The thought does not count. The intent does not count. What matters is the end result, "are you deliberately trying to control other people"?

My intent with my blogs is to educate people. I do not attempt to control, I constantly suggest that people should do their own research and make their own decisions.

Just like the decision Kelly made to go back into a situation that could only result with her eventual death your decisions are yours to make. My decisions are mine to make no matter how horrid you or anyone else may think they are. We need to be able to accept those decisions without judging people no matter how screwed up our individual perceptions make them seem to us.

Christ gave us the ultimate example of sacrifice when Christ allowed people to break the commandments of God by crucifying him. Christ could have forced people not to break that commandment. Christ offered salvation to us by showing us that even the worst we could do to each other could be forgiven by God. By the crucifixion and the shedding of blood and the relinquishing of control over us God gave us the ability to choose to follow the example of Christ. Through the resurrection God proved that the choices we made really don't matter because they can be easily overcome, even unto death.

The resurrection is awesome because it is the only way to prove that the actions of those who came against Christ were impotent without taking away the free will choice of those who committed the atrocity of the crucifixion.

Christ chose to educate. Christ chose not to control. I hope I always make the same choice in my life.

Mortgage Meltdown

It amazes me that everyone is trying to figure out what went wrong in the mortgage industry. I can tell you in a heart beat. Bad management.

Management means directing others to accomplish goals. If the goals are not accomplished the management is to blame. Management may have taken on a task that could not be accomplished with available resources. Management may have mis-managed those resources. It does not matter which, the problem is always bad management.

Management defines and directs the actions of the workers. Period.

The mortgage meltdown can be easily explained. People in the mortgage industry are rewarded based on the amount of money that they lend out. Mortgage Brokers receive a “commission” on each mortgage. Realtors receive a commission based on the sale price of a home. This provides an incentive to sell homes for more money, as much as they can possibly be sold for.

Every house that is sold is appraised by a real estate appraiser. Appraisers who do not appraise properties for what the real estate agent and mortgage broker think the property should be sold for will be complained about and fired or laid off.

The VA mortgage system is slightly different. VA appraisers work for the VA and answer only to the VA.

FHA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Banks, etc, appraisers typically work for appraisal companies, mortgage brokers or they freelance. They are answerable to their customers, mortgage brokers who are paid based on how much the house sells for.

Essentially Mortgage Management built a financial system that depended on the capabilities of the real estate appraisal system and then created a reward system to ensure that the real estate appraisal system would appraise houses for the maximum possible value.

So what happened?

As long as homes were appraising upward nothing happened.

When homes were appraising downward there was a HUGE response time lag based on the reluctance of the people involved to reduce their income.

W. Edward Demming used to say that a failure in quality was always a failure in management. This is true again in this situation. Management failed to properly manage the people actually doing the work that their system of checks and balances rested on.

Is the problem the fault of the appraisers, the real estate agents and the mortgage brokers? NO.

These people did not break the rules. These people learned how to maximize their incomes within the rules and ethics of the mortgage system.

It is not the place of the person doing the actual labor to determine the actions of their labor. It is the job of management to define and direct the actions of workers. Period.

Pure and simple the mortgage industry melt down was caused by a failure of management.

Congress mis-managed the situation by changing the mortgage laws in the 1990's without considering how those changes were going to influence the way the work was being done.

Financial Institution managers mis-managed the situation by not effectively identifying and managing the risks caused by the changes in mortgage rules.

President Clinton lobbied for mortgage reform. It was one of his major accomplishments during his presidency. Both houses were controlled by Republicans at the time.

How could the system have prevented the melt down?

Because the entire mortgage system is predicated on the value of the mortgaged property and the value of that mortgaged property is determined by a real estate appraiser all real estate appraisers should work for the government and be answerable only to government authority.

This will not fully solve the problem because there is a huge emphasis on increasing tax values when property taxes are based on the value of the property.

Property tax laws need to be re-written so that taxes are not based on the value of a property. This way appraisers are not influenced by the need of a community to increase taxes. The other potential solution is to have all property appraisers employees of the Federal Government, however, that creates a situation where the appraisal department has effective control over the entire real estate industry.

With absolute power comes absolute corruption. The best way to limit corruption is to limit power.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The mandatory memory lane trip....

I found some lost memories the other day. Cards and letters, stuff left over from flowers and balloons. Remember answering machines? When I got a particularly good message from a girl friend I tossed the tape in my drawer. One of those old tapes actually worked, a birthday message from a woman I dated named Brenda.

Other stuff I don't even remember what the woman looked like, what her last name was, anything. Some stuff I have vague disjointed memories about.

What amazed me was the flood of “sensory” memories that hit me as I read through things. Smell memories, taste memories, touch memories. Somethings I remember like yesterday. Other things I don't remember at all, not in the slightest.

The ones I do remember, four including my current wife (but not my ex :-), the memories are so real. If I close my eyes I can taste a particular kiss, I can feel my feet caressing an old girlfriends feet as we lay in bed, I can smell the perfume, the scents.

I compare those to the memories I have of my ex-wife. I pitched everything she ever gave me. Even memories of times that should have been good are painful.

It isn't like my ex is the only woman I ever argued with, had a tumultuous relationship with, have painful memories about. She and my father are the only people I just don't want to remember.

Take Brenda, we dated a short time while I was going through a very stressful and difficult time in my life. She dumped me. Good decision under the circumstances, looking back. At the time my life (everything but my career) was coming apart. My career was taking off. Still, even with my career taking off if she had asked me I would have dropped everything to be with her. Very painful memories. Important to me, probably nothing much to her. I can still remember the very last moment I saw her, looking forward to seeing her again and having this horrible, sinking feeling I never would. I remember yelling at her and hanging up on her after she stood me up to dump me.

In that same time period ('94) an old girl friend, Kathie, who used to come around a lot got angry with me and “dumped” me. She really just quit coming around to have sex. We had gotten into a kind of random sex relationship that wasn't very healthy anyway, but, because of the time frame it hurt a lot. She was either married to someone else, dating someone else, who knows. I couldn't keep track. I have great memories of her, and no they are not all sex. She was a great person in a lot of ways.

There was Patty, who I only dated a short time and who I remember so much about. She dumped me too.

These women I remember so much about and even the worst memories with them mean something important to me. Yet, I really don't even want to think about my ex.

Sure, I blame my ex for the death of my oldest. She wanted what she thought of as a “biker” life style and her life turned out like so many women into that kind of idea. She looks like a truck ran over her and dragged her through the woods. Her life is a constant mess of scamming and rip offs.

Patty and I talk and exchange e-mails occasionally. Knowing she is doing well makes me happy. I did an Internet search for Brenda and she looks happy. I didn't bother e-mailing her or trying to get in touch, it is just good to know she is happy. I couldn't track down Kathie (no last name :-), but, I think I found one of her sons on Facebook. He did not turn out any where near the way I thought he would! I hope she is doing well.

Life goes so quickly and I just can't believe how much time has passed. The memories we have of the past, the good things we romanticize and the bad things that cause us pain. It is funny how sometimes we can cherish even painful memories. I remember Patty calling to tell me she didn't want to see me any more, weird, painful. Something I don't want to forget because it has to do with her. I remember the last time I saw Kathie at a theater and how she shot me one of those “if looks could kill” looks that tells you not to walk up and say hi. I wouldn't want to forget even that.

Sure, I know they all don't feel the same way and that's okay. It isn't their lives or memories that I cherish it is my own. The good memories and the bad memories.

I met my wife in '97 and we have been together ever since. Nothing is perfect and I almost left her a couple of times. She has probably considered leaving me. These days that is just the way of things. I hope my wife and I are together for another 13 years. If we break up maybe I will be lucky enough to end up with someone as wonderful as Patty. Maybe I will find someone else to have important memories about.

In the mean time, life goes so fast that by the next time I take a trip down memory road another 16 years will have passed and I will be wondering where that time went.

In the world, not of the world. The world turns and good memories are but a moment away.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Today, tomorrow and yesterday

I met my lost rib, what Aristophanes calls our other half.

When I was young and just out of the Army I began studying ZEN. I meditated a lot and discovered many things about awareness, of those things that people are aware of and of those things that most people who are not aware ignore. Along the way I discovered the One true and Living God. I became a Christian.

During my meditations I had many visions of past lives which confused me as a Christian. Were these real past lives, were they just dreams or fantasies? I prayed and discovered something. It did not really matter and the most important aspect in understanding this was ZEN.

In ZEN there is the awareness of the now. These past memories only detract from awareness of the now. In many ways it is similar to the teaching of Christ in Matthew chapter 6 or in John Chapter 3. Each moment we are reborn into a new moment. This moment is now.

Yet the past does influence our present, our perception of the now, until we release our past.

Our concerns of the future influence our present until we release the future.

Releasing does not mean we are no longer aware of the past or the future.

I had many, many visions of past lives and like most lives they were very boring. Filled with soldiering and farming and being a slave and a sailor.

In one life, circa 600 A.D. I was a commander of a company of soldiers sent out to convert pagans. We came across a pagan temple of Diana and I found my other half, my lost rib. As a good Christian Soldier I worked to convert her and as a Priestess she worked on converting me. There was never any doubt about the outcome, people were either converted or their souls were released to the mercy of God. I helped burn her and the others to death as witches and when we finished I fell on my sword, unable to live without my lost rib.

This set in motion a common thread where my lost rib and I became estranged from each other. I was never really angry at her through the many lives that we did not share. Burning is not the worst you can do to someone, years of imprisonment and torture are, in my opinion, worse and I have visionary memories of both. I don't believe I was ever forgiven, as if I could have prevented or changed the outcome.

I often wonder if people who believe they were born into the wrong body are just people who are reincarnated and unable to accept the present, as if the materialism of their sexuality defines their lives. Can your other half be the born as the same sex? I doubt it, but, then it would not matter since true love transcends sexuality.

In this life we came together and like ships that crash and burn in the night we sank, as we have in so many lives before.

In the now there is my wife of 13 years whom, in spite of many problems, I will not leave easily. Like my other half I commit myself and stay committed. It is not the past or the future that really matters, it is the now and the greatest gift we can give ourselves and others is to be happy with the now and love each other as we love ourselves.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Who was Judas Iscariot and who became the 13th Apostle

Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Christ.

The New Testament tells us quite often that Judas Iscariot betrayed Christ. Did he? Or were the actions of Judas necessary to ensure the passover sacrifice of Christ?

Judas may have betrayed Christ, the writers of the New Testament books of scripture believed that he did.

Ignoring the conviction of Judas by the writers of the Gospels and looking at the words of Christ, the words of Judas and the actions of both it is possible to come to a different conclusion. That Christ recruited Judas to deliver him, knowing that he would be crucified.

At one time, on a Sabbath day, Christ came into the Temple of Jerusalem. Christ took a whip and attacked people, driving them out of the Temple. Christ was now in Jerusalem at Passover and the Sabbath was coming.

It is very important to understand what a big deal this is. Passover at the Temple in Jerusalem is the most important day in the Jewish Year. It is also the most profitable day of the year. It is important to understand these things because they place the rash actions of the Sanhedrin in context.

The idea of Christ being brought before a trial of the Sanhedrin on a Thursday night during Passover is incredible. Any Orthodox Jew will tell you that this cannot happen. The reality is that it did happen, and it happened because the circumstances were extraordinary, a crazy man was going to disrupt the Passover Sabbath at the Temple of Jerusalem. Even an Orthodox Jew will tell you that it is acceptable to break the rules under extraordinary circumstances.

Christ understood all of these things far more than the disciples did. Christ understood that the Sanhedrin of Herod's Temple in Jerusalem were driven by Greed and Power and that they would do anything to prevent Christ from disrupting the most profitable day of the year. Christ must die before the Sabbath. Christ must never be allowed to disrupt the proceedings at the Temple again.

Christ does not exactly promise that Judas will receive his place as a leader of one of the twelve tribes in Heaven, but, it is implied. In Matthew 19:28 Christ tells us: “...That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” In Luke 22:28-30 Christ tells us: “...28Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. 29And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; 30That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. “

Did Christ imply falsely? No, Christ does tell us that " which have followed me...". Does that include Judas? Only Christ knows.

There are those who believe that the eleven left after Christ rose from the grave chose the man known as the “13th Apostle”, Mathias. Christ appointed Paul as an Apostle. In my beliefs Christ is the one who appoints Apostles, not people.

Paul may very well be the one who rules over one of the twelve tribes after the regeneration. Paul may be a response to the eleven thinking they had the right to choose the 13th.

It may be that Judas was just obeying Christ and doing what Christ commanded, Let us look at this a little differently. In Matthew 26 Christ commands Judas that it is Judas who must betray him. In John 13 Christ commands Judas to go and betray him.

The Sanhedrin were not Prophets, they were not directed by God. For the crucifixion to happen God had to deliver Christ to them. Did Christ command Judas or did Christ just allow Judas the opportunity?

Christ told Judas that it would be better for the one who betrays him to have never been born. Can you imagine the enormity of being one of the most hated people on Earth for thousands of years? It is no wonder that when Judas realized what happened and how he was and would be rejected by his friends that he killed himself.

Christ knew that would happen.

So why do I consider this possibility and present it?

One reason and one reason only, because understanding can never be gained through study of the written word. Understanding can only be gained through the Holy Ghost and the Holy Ghost is only attracted to those with a sincere desire to understand Christ.

When we place faith in the teachings of people, the words of men, our faith cannot be in Christ. If this essay challenged what people have taught you and encouraged you to seek understanding through the Holy Ghost then it has achieved it's purpose.

Christ did the same thing with Parables. Parables force people to Consider, to think, to Pray and to seek understanding through the Holy Ghost.

If you seek understanding through the explanations of people, the words of people, you are not seeking Christ.