Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Team Beachbody COACH ... Really?

I have to admit, the subtle ways of business often elude me.  And so it is with the Team Beachbody brand ...

I mean, I understand the basic idea.  They want to sell as much product as possible (e.g., P90X® and Shakeology®), and they hope to put their customers to work as salesmen.  I get that.

But the folks I've seen so far who have presented themselves to me as Team Beachbody Coaches are ... well ... umm ... let's just say I don't picture them as ever (past, present, or future) having beach bodies.  They are, to be blunt, quite fat.

Is it just me, or wouldn't you think that the company would want to limit itself to spokespeople who actually made it seem like perhaps the products worked?  Because I sure don't get that impression from they guys I have seen hawking these products as Team Beachbody Coaches!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hot Rod Anglican's "Advent Tree"

Christmas ... You're doing it wrong!  At least, you're starting WAY too early.  December 25 is the BEGINNING of the Christmas season.  For 4 Sundays prior to that, you should be observing the season of Advent, which is a season of fasting, similar to Lent.  Advent has been observed in the Christian Church since the 4th Century.

But everyone wants to skip Advent, and go directly to Christmas.  I heard Christmas music on the radio this year, 4 days before Halloween.  That is ridiculous.  Trust me, Christmas is much more meaningful and profound if you observe the 4 weeks of Advent leading up to it.

To illustrate my point, I've taken a drag racing "Christmas Tree"  (which is what drag racers call the timing lights at the starting line) and turned it into an "Advent Tree".  The 3rd set of bulbs is rose-coloured for Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday.

Remembrances of Suze Rotolo

You'd think I would have picked up on the fact of her death, since it was all over the internet.  But it caught me by surprise today.  I was Googling for images of Bob Dylan's old girlfriend, Suze Rotolo, and every image I found ended up being linked to an obituary of hers.

I was impressed with her appearances in No Direction Home, for a variety of reasons.  But I had not thought a lot about her since first seeing that.  And now, she is gone.  Here are links to a handful of the obituary articles.

Rolling Stone

The Guardian




Sunday, November 27, 2011

Interview with Bodybuilder Gail Auerbach

I am very pleased to have the opportunity to interview bodybuilder Gail Auerbach.

Hi, Gail!  Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed!

Thanks for the opportunity! I am excited!

Can you recount for us how you first got involved with bodybuilding? 

During college their was a bodybuilding show called Greek Physique and I decided I wanted to compete in it.  I trained at the gym with many guys who offered to help me pose, diet and prepare. I loved the diet, loved putting on muscle, loved cardio, learning about supplements and loved competing! I competed in Greek Physique and won it 4 years in a row! When I left college I joined a gym back home where I was student teaching.  I started working out there daily and meeting people who competed in the NPC and who told me I should do a show.  I told everyone I wanted to focus on my first year teaching and just continued to train.  I hired a trainer and he trained me 3 times a week.  I started to see myself put on more and more muscle as time went on. I ate clean and started learning more about supplements.  I decided to start attending the local NPC contests to see what it was like. During the first show I went to I had made up my mind...I WANTED TO COMPETE AGAIN! So in 2007 I started my journey toward my first competition.  During the year I went to every show and met more and more people who competed.  I started lifting, training and spending time with competitors and by the end of 2007 with the help of Anita Nikovich, who dieted me,  I had won 1st place and the Overall at my first NPC Illinois show! 

Tell us some of the things which bodybuilding has done for you as a person.

It taught me resilience and to persevere when things are hard.  This has helped me get through contest prep, in the off season when bulking and in my professional life as a elementary and special education teacher.
I was struggling to find my "place" or "home" in this world.  Bodybuilding is where I began my first attempt to be understood for who I am and what I believe in. It has also helped me learn acceptance for people, others perspectives and what I can't control.

Would you say that you have a love/hate relationship with bodybuilding, or is it just an endless love affair?

Usually I love it, but I get into the hate side when things don't go my way or I am forced to accept things out of my control, like holding water or how my body responds to carbs.

I was a public school teacher for five years, so I am very interested in your teaching career.  Can you tell us a little about that?

It's the LOVE of my life! I have wanted to be a teacher since I was in elementary school myself and hated it! It was such a struggle for me and at the time special education students were treated much differently than they are today.  I wanted to make sure no child ever walked out of school hating it like I did and was turned off to learning. I have taught in the same district for 12 years and taught 1st grade for 7 years and kindergarten for 5. I obtained my Master's Degree in Educational Adminstration and my Ph.D in Special Education.  I also have a whole ton of endorsements in education. The kids I teach think bodybuilding is about who has the darkest tan onstage.  They see me lose weight and think I just started eating healthier.  Their comments are always funny!

What would you consider (to date) as the high point of your competitive bodybuilding career?

Winning 1st place and overall at the NPC Jr. USA's and being mentored and dieted by Dave Palumbo for all these years.

What is your favorite body part to train?  Least favorite?

I hate training legs, cause they drain me, but since I hired IFBB Pro Michael Liberatore to train me I have started liking them and learned a ton about training them.

I LOVE training sholders and arms!

You are Editor-in-Chief of "Rx Girl" for … how did you land that gig, and how do you like it?

I am extremely passionate about my job at RX Girl.  I am blessed to be able to get to know so many wonderful female athletes and promote them on so many levels.  When I got my minor in undergrad in PR, I really thought I would never use it, being a teacher, but I didn't want to graduate and leave college so I decided to get it. It's funny 11 years later to actually be using it!  I kept nagging my diet guru, Dave Palumbo about wanting to "give back" and do more for the industry, but being a full time career driven teacher, I just didn't know how.  He let me help behind the scenes at RX Muscle a bit and as the site started to grow he offered me the position.  I was SO excited, I didn't sleep for a week! Now it is a dream to work with and for him and share the same vision and goals for the site. I encourage any women who may be reading this to contact me for promotional opportunities.

Do you feel that the rigors of the bodybuilding lifestyle have kept you from having a normal social life?

For a while I felt like it was keeping me away from dating and that was why I was not married, but I know that finding Mr. Right is out of my control and will happen regardless of what journey I am on in my life. Other than that I have always done a good job of balancing my friends, family and bodybuilding lifestyle. Although, when prepping for a show sometimes my time for these things decrease! (just ask my mom...LOL!)

A lot of people still seem never to have heard of women's bodybuilding.  What sorts of reactions do you get from friends/family/strangers regarding your participation in this rather unusual sport?

My family was always very accepting, although for a while they were concerned I couldn't balance bodybuilding and a full time career.  I walked away from the friends who had preconceived notions about the sport and didn't support me pretty quickly.  I never looked back either, just accepted that they weren't true friends.  I get looks from strangers a lot and they whisper as I walk by.  I actually love being unique and it doesn't bother me at all!

You have a Ph.D. in Special Education.  Earning a Ph. D. in any field is no small feat!  What gave you the drive to pursue something so ambitious?

At the age of 6 I was diagnosed with ADD, ED, BD and LD.  I have attention, behavior, learning and emotional difficulties.  Talk about being hit hard.  EVERYTHING I did was a struggle and hard for me.  I knew I wanted to get a degree in Special Education all along, but wanted to also be a principal along the way.  When I graduated from undergrad I never thought I would have the money for more than a master's degree so I pursued Adminstration. The more I taught and worked with special education students the deeper in love I fell. They needed a teacher who understood them and having disabilities myself I could always relate to them well.  I knew I had to get a degree in Special Education and started to run the after school program at my school and work as a principal for summer school to earn the money to pursue it. The real "drive" came from the 8 hours a day I spend currently working with these students and the love I had in my heart each day as I leave the classroom.  I wanted to learn what was going on in their minds and started becoming interested in Brain Based Learning, which is what I did my doctoral dissertation in. 
Do you follow any particular type of bodybuilding protocol for your training (e.g., volume, DC, Max OT, etc.)?

I often try new training methods for periods of time to stay motivated and driven.  I would not say I have a particular one I love more than another. I more focus on contracting the muscle and feeling each rep and movement I do, no matter what training method I use.

What about diet?  Do you eat clean all year around?  Favorite "cheat" meal?

In the offseason I follow a clean diet during the week with cheats on the weekends.  When prepping for a show I am a keto girl. I have found my body responds the best to it and I ADORE the way I feel on it.  My favorite cheat meal is a petite filet, mashed potatos and aspargus at Outback Steakhouse! Oh...and I love pop tarts and trail mix!

Anything else you would like to say to the readers?

I want to thank all my friends (especially my incredible trainer, Michael Liberatore),  my family, and fans who support me, reach out to me and follow my competitive career. I also want to thank my RX Muscle and Species family for their encouragement, advice and endless love.  I could not continue to pursue my dreams in this sport without you!  Not to mention.....a GIGANTIC thank you to my boss, friend and diet guru Dave Palumbo, who has been my leading inspiration in life and enlightened me in numerous ways.

Thanks, so much, Gail for doing this interview!  And we wish you well in all your future endeavors, wherever they may take you!

Thanks again for this incredible opportunity! Feel free to contact me via email or Facebook!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Champaign, Illinois!

I never knew that a song had been written about my hometown.   I like it!  This was reportedly written in 1969, when I still lived in Champaign.  But I never heard it until today.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

"The Doors" perform the Reading Rainbow Theme Song

There are no words to express my complete delight with this:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Oh no! Not St. Paul's!

I could have guessed this would happen.

Wonderful: London “Occupy” Mob Now Defecating Inside St. Paul’s Cathedral

NASCAR Crowd Boos Michelle Obama and Jill Biden.

Am I the only NASCAR fan to find this completely disgraceful and disappointing?

A crowd that large ought to have been able to boo much louder than this!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Evangelism - UR Doin' it WRONG!

This is just horrible.  Great way to make an enemy of the Gospel for life!

Read it here ...

Michelle Cummings - New IFBB Pro!

Congratulations to Michelle Cummings, who won the Heavyweight Class and the Overall in  Women's Bodybuilding at the NPC Nationals this weekend.  Michelle is now an IFBB Pro!


Saturday, November 19, 2011

2011 NPC Nationals Bodybuilding Event ...

NPC Nationals are going on right now in Miami, Florida.  If anyone needs me for anything, I will be sitting at the computer, relentlessly hitting "refresh" on the RxMuscle contest coverage thread!

This is a fabulous LightWeight competitor by the name of Kimmie Morgan:

Friday, November 18, 2011

Occupy Wall Street - Now Terrorizing Children!

About the only thing good you can say about this is that the OWS terrorists are helping to build the next generation of Conservatives.  These people are not only brimming with hate, they are dumb, dumb, dumb.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sunday, November 13, 2011

St. Bartholomew's Anglican Church Choir - Ave Verum Corpus

This is the choir from my parish church, St. Bartholomew's Anglican Church of Swartz Creek, Michigan.  We are by no means perfect.  It is an amateur, all-volunteer choir, and some of us have little or no formal musical training.  But we get in there and try, and I pray that we may glorify God by our efforts.

This is from Mass this morning.

Ave, verum corpus natum de Maria Virgine,
Vere passum immolatum in Cruce pro homine,
Cujus latus perforatum unda fluxit et sanguine,
Esto nobis praegustatum in mortis examine.

Hail,true body born of the Virgin Mary,
Who truly suffered, sacrificed on the Cross for man,
Whose pierced side overflowed with water and blood,
Be for us a foretaste in the test of death.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Installation of a Fatman IFS into a 1963 Mercury Meteor

We did this installation in the Fall of 2008 and Spring of 2009, but I just now got the video done.  There is no excuse for having procrastinated so long, since it only took a few hours to put together.   Installation of this 1962-1965 Ford Fairlane strut front suspension from Fatman Fabrications was a lot of work, but well worth the effort.  Now the front suspension, brakes, and steering on Eliot's Meteor are just as capable as the Cobra IRS out back.

Note:  I had initially added a YouTube approved musical track (from my favourite surf band, the Volcanos!) over the first, silent 2:55 of the video.  But the YouTube audio replacement feature does not currently allow me to replace the audio on only part of the video while keeping the rest.  I thought it was more important to hear the suspension working during the under-car video segment than to have cool surf music during the first three minutes of the video.  So, be careful that your speakers are not turned up too high, or you will be in for a surprise at 2:55 into the video!

Friday, November 11, 2011

New Defroster for my Old Meteor.

I am kind of excited about this project.  When I switched jobs at work, I lost the use of a company lease car, and pressed this 1962 Mercury Meteor ("Merc-O-Saurus") into service.  My son and daughter drive to high school in it every day.  But we had to do some things to get it ready for the type of weather that Detroit experiences this time of year.

Specifically, we wanted to install a rear window defroster (de-fogger).  They didn't have those in 1962, in case you are too young to remember.  I bought a Clear View Defroster Kit from a website: ... and I am pleased with the results (see video).

It is a bit tricky to install ... you have to prep the glass just right, and make sure that you understand every part of the instructions before actually starting.  (If anyone is considering doing this, send me a message, and I can give you some hints.)

And here, just for kicks, are a few photos of this "work-in-progress" car:

Usurping Occupy Protesters

Here is a typical usurpation of someone else's rights (right to speak) by some typical Occupy reprobates.  What they don't get is this:  There is a reason that Congresswoman Michele Bachmann was given the microphone in this situation, and they were not.  She was given the mic, given the floor to speak, because based on her past accomplishments and her current status as someone who is running for election to the highest office in the land, it has been estimated that she may have something to say which is worth hearing.

Based on the non-accomplishments of those who disrupted her speech, it was (correctly) estimated that they have nothing to say that is worth hearing.  In situations like this, such people have a duty to shut up.

The Essential Desperation of the Occupy Movement

I have identified one of the central things that irritates me about the Occupy Wall StreetOccupy Oakland, and all the other Occupiers.

At first, I thought of this central point in terms of rudeness, of the cavalier attitude of unconcern with the property, well-being, and freedoms of others.  When you shut down all commerce in an area, as Occupy Oakland did, you are doing something selfish and illegal, and you deserve the punishment that comes your way.  I will not shed a single tear over the "ouchie" you get from the rubber bullet which the Oakland Police send your way.  Sorry.

When you forcibly camp out on someone else's private property, as OWS has been doing all along, you deserve whatever negative consequences come your way.  You are stealing private property, perverting it for your own demonic uses.  You deserve no sympathy.

But when I thought deeper about the Occupy movement, and why they do what they do, I realized that it was chiefly this:

Blocking the passage of innocent citizens, impeding traffic, shutting down commerce, and appropriating someone else's private property are chiefly acts of desperation.  They are done when it becomes obvious to the protesters that, based solely on the merits of their grievances, nobody at all will listen to them.  So, they find a way to be so obnoxious that people have to listen.

If the Occupy folks didn't block people's travel, stop their commerce, and steal their private property, no one would listen to them.  Because their arguments are ridiculous, and have no power to persuade.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

More Like America than America ...

When I was in elementary school, I had a friend named Alan. He had an older brother named Robert. My dad had seen Alan over at our house. But when he saw Robert, he made the statement, "Robert looks more like Alan than Alan does!" It is absurd, but you get the idea of what he meant. Whatever corporeal or facial features Alan possessed, Robert had similar ones, but at a great level of intensity.

That is how I feel about Australia. I don't know a lot about Australia, but from a distance, Australia seems more like America than America does.  It seems like a manly, "Wild West" place.  I base this largely, I have to admit, on the very healthy auto racing culture that is obviously present there.  Here are two examples of their Vintage Touring Car series.  I love the green-and-white Falcon Sprint, and ... well ... all the rest of these cars, too!  (Hat Tip to my son Eliot, who finds these things for me.  I love when he pronounces "Bathurst" with an Aussie accent!)