Sunday, August 23, 2009

Anglican Poetry Contest!

Let me know if you have any questions about the contest!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

This Is How To Do It!

I absolutely love this. A U.S. Congressman gets schooled by one of his bosses (i.e., a voter in his district)! This is classic, and we will be seeing more and more of this. Obama and the left have, indeed, awaken a sleeping giant.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Natural Bodybuilder Amanda McDonald

I had the pleasure of seeing Amanda McDonald compete in the 2009 NPC Natural Michigan (drug-tested) bodybuilding contest, and was very impressed with her physique and conditioning. She agreed to be interviewed for this blog.

(All photographs © 2009 by CSI-PHOTO, and used by permission.)
Hot Rod Anglican: Hi Amanda. I saw you compete at the NPC Natural Michigan bodybuilding contest back in July. I thought you looked great! What year did you enter your first contest, and how many bodybuilding contests have you entered in all?

Amanda McDonald: I usually try to do 3 shows a year and I’ve been doing bodybuilding for 4 years. My first competition was in Grand Rapids as a Figure competitor. I came in last place - they told me I was too muscular. So, I switched to bodybuilding, did a show that following April in Kalamazoo and took 1st place.

HRA: What made you want to get onto a competitive bodybuilding stage? Also, what is your favorite aspect of bodybuilding? Do you like the training, or getting up on stage, or some other aspect?
AM: My husband passed away when our son was just 1 year old. After a few months of re-adjustment I needed to do something for myself. So, at age 45, I decided to really start working out and hired a trainer and lost a lot of weight and gained a lot of muscle, apparently too much muscle (for figure anyways), and I like how the diet and workouts made me feel, and having a goal to shoot for gave me a certain feeling of power and control. I became very focused and when I started winning it was even more of an incentive.

HRA: What is your training like? Do you follow any of the popular philosophies as to numbers of sets and reps?

AM: I train every day of the week either just cardio or weights and cardio - when I get closer to my show I do two workouts a day. I pretty much do my own thing - always changing up between machines, free weights, cables. The reps and sets usually stay the same, depending on my time, energy, or increases in weight.

I usually superset everything e.g. - Chest Flies 10 reps, chest press 10 reps, then I do 15 push ups - no rest. Then I’ll go do a Tricep routine. I do this sequence 3-4 times, then move on to my next chest exercise.

My workouts usually run 2 hours - includes 30-40 minutes of cardio. The evening workout usually consists of either more cardio machines or a Billy Blanks CD for 1 hour.

HRA: What has been the reaction of your family and colleagues to the changes in your physique?
AM: My family has been very supportive and encourage me in all my efforts.

My co-workers, at the Fire Dept., are supportive as well and admire the dedication that it takes - especially when they cook up such good meals everyday - including deserts.

HRA: As a female bodybuilder, do you find that comments from those outside of bodybuilding circles are largely positive, or not-so-positive?
AM: I personally have had only encouragement from my friends. I feel that my physique - even at contest times - is not overdone. I get a lot of people asking me what I eat, how long have you been working out or “I need to start working out with you” comments.

HRA: Do you allow yourself to gain much weight between contests (i.e., off-season), or do you stay somewhat close to contest weight all the time?

AM: I try not to gain to much weight between contests, 10-12 lbs. I’m learning with each show and off season that each of them are equally important.

HRA: Do you prefer to train alone or with a partner?

AM: I have trained alone for a long time - although it gets tough at times focusing. I do have a partner for the most part now, when we can coordinate our work schedules. She knows that I’m focused when I’m at the gym and I’m there to workout only. It sure makes cardio a little easier to have someone to talk to or know that they are working hard as well.

HRA: Do you have a hard time trying to squeeze in training between work and life's other demands?
AM: Sometimes my life seems to conflict more than work with my workouts. But, I plan close to everything around my workouts. If I have to go early to get it in I’m there 4:30/5:00 am.

HRA: I know that you are a natural bodybuilder. But because you have a great physique, John Q. Public is not necessarily going to believe that. Have you had people accuse you of taking anabolics and, if so, what is your response?

AM: I am a natural bodybuilder and anyone that knows me, or I care to know, knows that I do not use anabolics and that’s all I care about. However, I would just tell them that it isn’t necessary if you know how to perfect your diet and workouts and be consistent. I also feel that someone who uses is fairly easy to spot. I’m pretty feminine/curvy - not bulky, square jaw, or deep voice. I think my body fits me all around and someone who uses, usually does not.

HRA: If you had to give one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
AM: Make sure you are committed to see it through; no one truly knows what it takes until you actually decide to give it a go. I also think it scares a lot of people and they never try.

Keeping track of your diet, planning everyday for the next day - up to the next week never leaving anything to chance - too easy to cheat. Never miss a workout, even if you cut your reps or weights, STILL GO! Because you will make it through and you will be proud of yourself. Just keep telling yourself, as I have many times, “You can’t finish if you don’t get started”.

HRA: Do you have any other notable interests or hobbies outside of bodybuilding?

AM: My family is my hobby/interest. Most of my kids are older (3 daughters - 21,22,25). But I supported them at every one of their basketball games, track meets, softball games, band concerts, etc. My son (7) keeps me busy with football, basketball, softball, karate, boy scouts, destination imagination - oh yeah - all the other playtimes he comes up with. He is a lot of fun.

But I also love to rent movies, eat, go on walks, read, dance, sew.

HRA: What are your plans for the future? Do you have a "next contest" picked out?

AM: My next show that I’m working towards is in Buffalo New York: "2009 WNBF Pro Natural Ms. Supernatural Women’s Master Cup Bodybuilding & Figure Championship” on October 3rd (Wow, what a mouthful). I’m already starting to train and diet for it.

My last show was in VanCouver, Canada: the “Police and Fire World Games”. There were 8 women competing for the gold. Luckily I brought home both golds - one in my weight class and one for overall.

Thank you for asking me to respond and I hope someone gets inspired and enjoys my conversation. Anyone interested in seeing my pictures they can go to: or

Monday, August 10, 2009

Anglican Poetry Contest

Let me know if you have any questions about the contest!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Mercury XM-800 ... Redemption!!!

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I know of no clearer picture of the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ than the automotive restoration hobby. Exhibit A: One of the coolest concept cars ever to come out of Detroit - the 1954 Mercury Monterey XM-800.

The XM-800 had a long and chequered history, and had fallen upon hard times. It eventually wound up on eBay, where it had the good fortune to be "adopted" by Tom Maruska of Duluth, Minnesota. These photos illustrate that the XM-800 had undergone a "fall from grace" ...

But Tom acted as a "redeemer" for this rare, fine automobile, and has restored its former glory. Here is his YouTube video about the car:

Eliot and I had the great good fortune to have seen this car "in person" last weekend at the Concours d'Elegance at Meadowbrook. Here are a couple of pictures of the "redeemed" XM-800.

Here is Eliot with the XM-800:

Notice how freely the rear treatment was "borrowed" by the designers of the later Studebaker Hawk!

Friday, August 7, 2009

New IFBB Pro - Angela Salvagno

Congratulations to newly minted IFBB Pro Bodybuilder Angela Salvagno. Angie turned Pro by winning the overall title at the NPC USA bodybuilding contest.

Angie has long been one of my favourite competitors, and was the first bodybuilder to ever model one of my Hot Rod Anglican T-Shirts:

Complete Failure of Leadership

I agree with this.

It’s time for the Diocese of South Carolina to join the new North American Province: Anglican Communion North America. Anything short will mark a complete failure of leadership

From here.

Monday, August 3, 2009

How I Got This Way

By now you will have realized that I am essentially a low-brow individual and that I speak Sophistication only as a second language. I lay the blame for this squarely at the feet of Scholastic Book Services who, for the princely sum of 45¢, delivered to me the book you see below. Once a month or so, an order form was distributed to us at Kenwood Elementary School in Champaign, Illinois. We put little tick marks by the books we wanted to order, and then a few weeks later the books were delivered to the school and handed out to the students.

Of all the books I ever ordered from Scholastic, this is the only one I remember. It is not an overstatement to say that it has influenced me more than any books except the Bible and the 1928 Book of Common Prayer.

Here it is: Dragging and DRIVING, by TOM MacPHERSON!

That is a scan of my original copy (now in the collection of my son). The cracks in the cover were put there by yours truly, as I read and re-read this all the way through high school. Here are scans of the beginning sections of my 3 favourite chapters:

The rest is history. This book is what put the "Hot Rod" in "Hot Rod Anglican"!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Our First Trophy

We went to the 9th Annual "Bash at the Beach" at Detroit's "Metro Beach" today. This is a regional meet for the Fairlane Club of America. For the past several years, schedule conflicts or mechanical issues with the car had prevented us from attending.

Today was fabulous, from the perfect weather, to some great conversation with fellow Fairlaners. (The FCA allows Mercury equivalents of the Fairlanes to join, so our Meteor fits the bill.) And, lastly, Eliot's car received its first-ever car show trophy. It got 3rd place in the 1962-65 Fairlane/Meteor class.

Here is the cool trophy they gave out: