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It Has Nothing To Do With Age provides self-help principles. The inspirational stories give concrete illustrations of overcoming many of life's challenges. Difficulties pertaining to depression, grief, divorce, and death are presented and worked through by the participants. Physical impairments, injuries, overcoming issues with weight, alcohol, and nicotine are also dealt with and resolved by the athletes.

This book provides a model on how to overcome some of the difficulties that confront all of us . Further, this read sheds a beacon of light on preventive measures for good physical and mental health. Research demonstrates that exercise is an important component in treating such ailments and debilitating illness such as depression, stroke, heart disease, brain or cognitive malfunction,and Alzheimer's disease.

I suggest that proper exercise can be used as a preventive measure for psychological, cognitive, and physical health as well. Follow my prescription and lead a better, more fulfilling, and healthier life.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

What Is Well-Being? Part 2

Other avenues that distort our reality include alcohol, drugs or opioids, movies, books, newspapers TV, and The News. A study in 2008 by Bomlitz and Brezis looked at media reports and their health risks. Included in the list of health risk were such topics as SARS, AIDS, Cancer, West Nile Virus, Bioterrorism, Plane Crashes, Heart Disease, Car Crashes, Physical Inactivity, and Smoking. The researchers then correlated the number of media reports on a given health threat with the number of deaths in the US actually related to that threat. Their correlation was- 0.93. One conclusion taken was that our media in 2008 hyped a number of health evils beyond the actual death reality. It’s certainly difficult to remain happy watching or listening to so called news in our current culture with their fear driven messages. More recently, on a trail run with my friend Tony, we talked about our half marathon experience this past Father’s Day. I didn’t report, on a previous post, about the beginning or start of that run held in the Sierra- Nevada’s. From the start, we began our run with a significant grade of trail. I was quickly out of breath, thinking to myself, “this is going to be a long day and why is Tony still behind me? “ Tony told me that he too was quickly gasping for air and wondered about his ability to finish this event. I might add that there were many places that had snow covering our trail making running difficult. Did we require more challenges? I asked him if he experienced happiness at the beginning of our race; happiness during the race; or happiness at the end of the race. What most of us do is to rely on our thinking when talking about our feelings. I told him that was not going to do it. With thinking, we employ defense mechanisms such as rationalization, denial and isolation of affect, etc. We can logically convince ourselves of almost anything that we want. However, that doesn’t make it true. On other hand, feelings are fleeting emotions that we experience as physical sensations or discomforts found in various parts of our body, like in our chest, stomach, mouth, etc. that we can learn to identify. I must not have done a good job, as Tony didn’t get it. We laughed and acknowledged that we currently felt better in this moment than we did when we ran that half marathon since our bodies were not displaying significant discomfort at the moment. To Be Continued

Monday, June 26, 2017

What Is Well-Being? Part 1

The June 11, 2017 edition of the New York Times had the following articles on their front page: “Shrinking Turf, Wider , Reach: The Isis Plan;” “Liberals Fighting for Their Faith;” “Drug Trade Rises In the Dark Corners of the Internet;” “Strings Take to Venezuela Streets After Violinist Is Killed at Protest;” and Political Feud Eclipses Warning On Russia: They Will Be Back.” How was that for a glimpse or snapshot in today’s chaotic world? If you ask me, these are just a few of the dangers that exist in our world. Our world, it’s a scary place. Moreover, what does this say about the nature of man; and how can man cope with these man-made uncertainties? Sigmund Freud, developed a psychoanalytic theory of man. Freud depicted man as having an irrational nature, driven by his biological drives or instincts. He also wrote about hysteria, psychopathology, and, another psychic elements or illness developed within man while within in a troubled society. Following Freud was Henry A. Murray. Murray’s model illustrated a number of man’s needs. According to Murray, the majority of these secondary or psychogenic needs were largely determined from within, as a result of something within the person rather than something coming from the environment. He added that there are mechanisms that will either facilitate or impede the efforts of the individual’s efforts to reach a given goal. Man, therefore, may or may not have the means or the ability to satisfy his need strivings. Turning to man’s emotional state, or feelings, Paul Ekman studied the following: happiness, sadness, surprise, fear, anger, disgust. Notice that these primary feelings have a skewed ratio of negative or painful feelings to positive or good feelings. Per these learned men, man has an inner difficulty functioning within an unforgiven society. Religion was developed in part to help men cope with his troubled existence. Catholicism, for example suggested that man was unlikely to find peace and comfort here on earth, but would find relief from his internal life, in this life depending upon how he lived, acted, treated other people, etc. He might find relief from his current difficulties in the next world. Do not forget about the early games when men fought and slayed other men in the Coliseum for the entertainment of the witnessing crowd. Today we have more civilized examples of diversions to help the masses. These escapes are found in football, boxing, and caged fighting. This too is entertainment and is an escape from day to day reality To Be Continued

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Happiness or Effectance Part 4

In summary, Kevin Durant makes millions of dollars playing NBA basketball. When listening to him, he stated that he left the Thunder to play for the Warriors for the pursuit of winning the championship period. Also in Oakland, we have another team called the Oakland Raiders. Their motto is the “Commitment to Excellence.” Professional sports has it right, in that it is not about a transitory or intermittent feeling of happiness. Effectance, achievement, mastery, competition and submitting to pain or abasement are primary needs that motivate behavior. Feelings come and go like the pursuit of pleasure and avoidance of pain. Hedonism can lead to unsatisfactory and self-defeating behaviors resulting in a non-fulfilling life -- drug use, gambling addictions, sexual promiscuity etc. . Mastery leads to goalsetting, expectancies and planning for the future which is paramount for a self-fulfilling and meaningful existence. PS Tony and I completed on Father’s Day, the Burton Creek half marathon trail run near Tahoe City, at Lake Tahoe. We’re still practicing. I haven’t mastered running just yet. I’m still working at it. However, I came in first in my age division 75 through 79 and Tony came in second in his age division 65 through 69. Do I accept the fact that at some point I’m going to be injured? Yes! Do I know when or where it will happen? No, all I know is that from my running history, that either an overuse injury, or an Achilles, or sciatica discomfort, a meniscus surgery, etc. will happen as it has happened in the past. One can argue whether or not Effectance, achievement or mastery are psychological needs. They might be biologically-based, learned or combination of the two. One cannot argue, however, that they are not motives that drive behavior. As NFL great Ed Budde said, “Keep moving.”

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Happiness or Effectance Part 3

Turning to the present, another example of mastery motivation was illustrated by the Golden State Warriors with their victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers this year. Last year, Cleveland beat Golden State in seven games. I remembered seeing one interview with the series most valuable player {MVP} Kevin Durant. That interview got my attention and subsequent thinking. In that interview Kevin, with his mother, commented on the memory he experienced when he was about eight years old. He wanted to be a basketball champion. He was also asked whether he would now take time off from his basketball. No, he replied. He planned to return to his home in Virginia and play basketball with his friends. In other words, for the past 20 years or so, Kevin Durant practiced his basketball, in an attempt to attain mastery. Has he yet mastered it? No, he still practices, and talked about making himself a better player. What was once play has become his profession? It still remains play. However, it is play with a purpose. His mastery and achievement drive have become his passion and illustrate that competing in basketball at the professional level gives his life meaning. Did he accept his basketball injury this past season? Yes! Did he receive criticism when he left the Oklahoma Thunder last season to play for the Warriors this past season? Yes! To be continued

Monday, June 19, 2017

Happiness or Effectance Part 2

Then we reach school age, where we learn the 3Rs and develop the potential for interpersonal relations, master electronic devices, and other play activities like, sports. Take Fritz Seyferth as an example. When Fritz was in the primary grades, he had a learning disability, which made his school academic life miserable. The school wanted to hold him back, and he didn’t want to attend school. His mother Corrie would have none of that. After many meetings, Fritz was allowed to remain at the same grade level with the other kids. Fortunately, for Fritz, he was a large boy for his age, and he had terrific well-coordinated motor skills. He could kick and throw the ball farther than any of the other kids, and thus he became a popular leader in the class, regardless of his academic difficulties. Fritz was a walk on for the University of Michigan football team in 1968. He worked very hard and competitive Fritz mastered the fullback position for Coach Bo Schembechler. In fact, as a junior, playing against the University of Minnesota for the little Brown Jug, Fritz scored four touchdowns in that game and in fact gave the credit to All-American tackle Dan Dierdorf for his devastating blocking and opening up holes for him to run through . By the way, Fritz attained a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University Michigan and an MBA conferred by the University of Connecticut. One will find Fritz today, in Ann Arbor, consulting with CEOs and COO’s that hope to improve their focus, goalsetting and interpersonal relationships. Yes, the key here is mastery, abasement and achievement. To learn more, about life story, and Fritz’s ability to accept injury, criticism, errors, to seek and enjoy pain, and punishment, I refer the reader to Bo’s Warriors-Bo Schembechler and the Transformation of Michigan Football. To be continued

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Happiness or Effectance Part 1

Once upon a time, a student of Socrates named Aristippus of Cyerene maintained that pleasure was the highest good. The idea that pleasure and happiness were the most important and most significant goal of human life, was called hedonism. In that belief system, the person seeked to maximize pleasure and minimize, eliminate or avoid pain. Thomas Jefferson in our Declaration of Independence wrote “that all men are created equal … among them are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” I take issue with the pursuit of happiness. Per psychology, happiness is just one of the feelings that we experience. Not only that, it’s transitory. In other words, it comes and goes. It’s only an emotional state, and not a long-lasting mood. Other significant emotions include sadness, surprise, fear, anger, disgust, and contempt. Notice the majority are negative emotions, although important for our survival. Let’s turn back to happiness. There are a number of assessments that attempt to measure the feeling of happiness. On the test, individuals are asked to characterize themselves in the moment; for the past few days; for the past week; for the past few weeks; and for the past year. In my opinion, the various tools are primitive and unreliable and inaccurate since most people have difficulty labeling their feelings accurately. Recently, individuals have claimed they were happy when they made at least $75,000 per year. After that numerical amount, however the happiness scale did not move very much as far as their happiness was considered. Other findings from Happiness Research are summarized as follows: 1. You control about half your happiness level 2. Lottery winnings create only temporary, short-term happiness. 3. Relationships are key factor in long-term happiness 4. Focus on experiences, not stuff. Moreover, to understand more about happiness attend the University of California at Berkeley, and attend a class on the Science of Happiness. Perhaps Jefferson was barrowing an idea from the Greeks when he wrote about the pursuit of happiness. Unknown to Jefferson at that time were more modern and relevant aspects of human motivation. For example, let’s take a look at the idea of Effectance Motivation described and labeled as such by R. W. White. According to White, the development of competence is an important attribute of personality. Moreover, it is linked and associated with other motives, such as curiosity, mastery and achievement. Nothing may be more important than the ability to navigate the environment as we begin our lifespan. We learn to use our hands to eat, grab and hold onto things. We learn to navigate by crawling, walking, skipping, and running. The development of our gross motor skills are very important as we’ll see later. By the time we reach preschool, we are likely scribbling, drawing, increasing language, reading, and perhaps even writing. Mastery is so very important and necessary in our ability to master our world. To be continued

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

We Are What We Eat Part 4

In conclusion, not many in our population want to believe the foods that we eat and the hazardous pesticides related to production of such are severely toxic to our health. Pesticides are used indiscriminately in the growing of our food. Take arsenic for example, used in the planting of rice, apples, etc. Although even if discontinued, the poisons of arsenic remain in some form in the soil for about 80 years. Dow Chemical’s CEO salary was $19.4 million in 2016. And then, some form of sugar, sodium, etc. are mixed with a variety or combination of chemicals resulting in what we call food. The CEO of Pepsi made 25.2 million in 2016. Some say that we have the best food production in the world. Just ask any CEO in the industry. The food and pharmaceutical industries played a part in the creation of diet innovations; diet pills; gyms, spas, personal trainers, aerobic events, apps, etc. to reduce or hold in abeyance the number of calories ingested. In the battle within the pleasure centers of our brain, our addictions to sugar, salt, etc. usually win out for a variety of psychological reasons. It’s simply not calories in and calories out. Different individuals can consume the same number of calories with different results. We have different metabolic rates that also play a role. Counting calories is not the sole answer. And then we have this insurance system that also plays its part in the man-made epidemic. They influence and place limits on the amount of revenue that doctors, hospitals earn during their treatment. These insurance giants enhance their profits by their creative and ingenious use of restricting coverage. The CEO of Aetna made $18.7 million in 2016. Some say that we have the best health care system in the world. Just ask any CEO in the industry .Source, May 28, 2017 The New York Times. Some say that freedom, democracy and capitalism are the best systems in the world. Yet, don’t forget that we have the highest rate of cardiac disease and obesity on the planet, but our life expectancy numbers are not going up, but are actually decreasing. Remember, the ingestion of food affects everything that goes on in our body. And greed within our economic system, allows these conglomerates to feed everyone in our country, regardless of the price.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

We Are What We Eat Part 3

Another factor to consider is that the major players in the food industry like Coca-Cola actually funded obesity research. It had paid for a published paper by the NWCR think tank. The food industry learned from the tobacco industry in that they funded research that downplayed the relationship between nicotine and disease. We remember that the tobacco industry claimed that” Cigarette smoking may be hazardous to your health.” No one believes that anymore. I also remember meeting my brother at one luxurious medical conference held in San Francisco that was sponsored by a pharmaceutical company. Just ask your doctor for samples of meds and you’ll know what I am suggesting. Prescription medication is heavily used by the medical doctors in their patient treatment. The Pharmaceutical companies are immensely profiting from the obesity and its related diseases. Do you believe that a pill can fix everything? This brings us to health insurance. These companies are making record profits as a result of outrageous premiums, limiting coverage to low income individuals as well as other restrictive options at their disposal. Per a May 21, 2017 article in The New York Times, it was reported that Anthem, one of the nation’s largest insurers, planned to increase their rates 24 to 38% in Connecticut market. They rationalized their decision, claiming it was based on the assumption that the Trump administration would continue paying the subsidies through 2018. They said that if that assumption was wrong, the company’s insurance rate increases would be much higher. They also added that they expected to serve a smaller, sicker group of people next year. Healthcare insurance companies are in the business of making a profit first and foremost. They are powerful and have a dramatic influence on the government and the lobbyist’s write the legislation that protects them, and only them. Over and over, we hear again and again that people are denied coverage. For example, as far as mental health coverage goes, the plan may say 20 psychotherapy visits per year, but that number is misleading. The plan does not spell out or in fact cover the vast majority of complaints or situations that would bring someone or a family to seek counseling or psychotherapy. For example, marital or relationship counseling; employment problems; learning disability; alcohol, drug or gambling addictions; parent-child difficulties are not considered serious enough and as a result are not covered in one’s policy. Is insurance for the benefit of the insured or the benefit of the company? to be continued

Monday, June 12, 2017

We Are What We Eat Part 2

I believe that diet, drugs, chemicals, are the main culprits for the poor health in our country. Our foods are genetically engineered, and we can’t trust the labeling or marketing on our food containers. For example, I selected a Nabisco product called belvita. On the box, this product had the word breakfast above the word belvita. It had the following marketing: 1. 4 hours of nutritious steady energy. 2. 230 cal, 0.5 g saturated fat, 220 mg of sodium and 10 g of sugars per pack. 3. 19 g of delicious whole-grain per 50 g of serving [4 biscuits). And now for the ingredients: whole-grain blend [ rolled oats, rye flakes enriched flour] flour [wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron ,thiamin mononitrate [vitamin B1],riboflavin B 2, folic acid, canola oil, sugar, whole-grain wheat flour, brown sugar, malt syrup from corn and barley, invert sugar, baking soda, salt, soy lecithin, disodium pyrophosphate, cinnamon, datem, natural flavor, ferric, orthophosphate , iron, niacinamide, molasses, pyridoxine hydrochloride [vitamin B6], riboflavin [vitamin B 2] thiamin mononitrate [vitamin B 1]. This product contains: wheat, soy. Made in Mexico. Do not for one minute forget that the vitamins were listed on the package before the ingredients of this product was baked, After you open up the wrapper, how many vitamins do you think you’re really getting? What are the health implications of consuming this product? A recent article in the May 21, 2017 edition of the New York Times told the story of an animal endocrine clinic in Manhattan. In this particular clinic, Dr. Peterson treated felines suffering from hyperthyroidism. Current research linked this strange disease to a common class of flame retardants found in the home. By the way, flame retardants are found in most mattresses. Further, a 100% organic mattress may help by removing the mercury and cadmium buildup in your thyroid. Once again, is there better living through chemistry? After we have epigenetic research to tell us what foods are good for us, I doubt belvita will be on that list regardless of the claims made. I don’t know what I ate despite a listing of the ingredients. What kind and type of chemicals and pesticides were used in concocting this breakfast food choice? I’m not a chemist and I know very little about the interplay and interaction of all these chemicals. The labeling of this product was not helpful. I do know that this product contains a significant level of salt, sugar and calories. I’m guessing that this product illustrates the problem we have in the selection of choosing healthy foods. I believe this product and other food products contribute to the disease of overweight. To Be Continued

Sunday, June 11, 2017

We Are What We Eat Part 1

The food, pharmaceutical, insurance, health conglomerates have a symbiotic union and as result, have fueled our nation into ill health. With greed being there modus operandi, they are the major players of this problem. The representatives of our government have been complicit players with the above. In fact, lobbyists from these industries are known to have written legislation in their own interests. According to an article in the June 5, 2017 edition of Time, regarding the reality TV show The Biggest Loser, it was stated: 1. The contestants lost an average of 127 pounds each and about 64% of their body fat. 2. These contestants had a motivational trainer, telegenic doctors, strict meal plans and killer workouts. 3. Sometime following the show, 13 of the 14 contestants gained an average 66% of the weight they lost on the show. 4. Four of the contestants were heavier than they were before the show’s competition. 5. Education and knowledge about losing weight was not the reason for weight gain. Also in the article, seven in ten of American adults are overweight and 4 in 10 are clinically obese. In fact, the weight loss industry of [Diet, pills, meal plans and gym memberships etc.] generated $66.3 billion yearly. Moreover, there are roughly 155 million Americans overweight, according to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We know that excess body fat increases the risk of type II diabetes, heart disease, depression, respiratory problems, major cancers and even fertility problems. Some believe that this epidemic of overweight individuals was simply lack of will. I believe there are other factors. Of course, motivation plays a part in this man-made epidemic. About 80% of the foods that are consumed have been genetically engineered-modified or called GMO. We also know that in the US we do not have strict labeling laws pertaining to the foods we eat. We also know that that our genes or heredity account for 20 to 30% of who we are. This means that our environment which includes diet, lifestyle, drugs, chemicals, temperature, light, stress, etc. make up the rest of who we really are. In 1990 adults with obesity made up less than 15% of our population. We now have 40% of the adults in our population with obesity and for kids and teens that number is 17%. Part 2 To Be Continued

Monday, June 5, 2017

Better Health

Recently, I attended a continuing education class titled “Cardiovascular Health, Inflammation, and Nutrition” sponsored by Institute for Brain Potential. The following are a few excerpts from that class. According to the instructor, about 80% of the foods that are consumed today have been modified. There are serious questions and concerns pertaining to the organic labeling. USDA organic is the preferred choice. Hopefully, the FDA entity that certifies food has the necessary police force with actual consequences for the cheaters. It was stated that heredity likely accounts for about 20 to 30% of who we are with the environment, drugs, chemicals, diet, temperature, light, stress, and lifestyle, determining the rest. In the future, epigenetic research will likely suggest just what foods are the best for us. Because of the GMO’s and drugs produced by the food and drug industries, it’s no wonder why we have such a high cardiac mortality rate. Roughly, 25% of teens and 25% of individuals over 65 have prediabetes. This means that someone born today, more than likely will have a shorter life span. With the GMO’s, faulty labeling, and numerous drugs, it’s obvious why we have a problem with obesity in our country. When I was a teen, I did not recall that we had this obesity issue. Remember, genetically engineered foods began somewhere in the 60s. It’s simply not better living through chemistry. Only exercise is not enough for good health. Cortisol receptors are located throughout our central nervous system and are found in abundance in the hippocampus- limbic system structure. This receptor is involved in learning, memory, mood as well as our critical thinking. Cortisol affects our body’s ability to regulate our thyroid, mood, blood sugar, digestion, immunity, sleep, exercise and recovery. It is our body’s own anti-inflammatory. However, inflammation leads to metabolic issues. High levels of the hormone cortisol, accompanied by stress is associated with the dramatic increase in death from cardiovascular disease years later. We are born with stress. We experience stress throughout our lives. To defend against heart disease, grow your own food. Only then will you know what you are consuming .if you are out there tilling the soil, picking your fruit along with the other farming functions, you are receiving enough sun [Vitamin D], and movement. More than likely after a hard day of physical work, you’ll sleep like a well fed baby. If you’re not going to grow your own food, consume like a vegan, or work at becoming a well-conditioned runner, consider adding 100% organic soy products, curcumin, iron, magnesium, CoQ10, flaxseeds, 100% organic cinnamon and green tea to your diet. To evaluate supplements, Google consumer lab.com. Hope to see you around.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

A Day in May

On a bright and sunny May Day, Linda and I headed for the trail. She was riding her Mustang Patch and I was on foot with our Border Collie, Sherry. We took a familiar trail that we actually had done a day or two earlier and one of her favorites. It was a beautiful clear day and not too cold. After some 4 miles or so, we headed down an extremely steep hill. Sherry and I were in front, followed by Linda and Patch. All of a sudden I heard Linda cry out, and quickly turned around. To my horror, I saw a bucking and rearing Patch with all fours off the ground and Linda leaning forward. Gravity took over as she hurled to the ground. She screamed in pain. I asked her to move all her extremities and she did. However, Linda had trouble breathing and couldn’t catch her breath. With her cell phone. I called 911. They said they knew our location and would arrive shortly. In the meantime, Patch took off with his reins hanging down. I attended to Linda and thought about retrieving Patch sometime later. After what seemed like a long time, I heard the familiar sound of a siren, going past, and our location. I did not want to leave her while she was in pain, but I traversed the hill going to the road. When I got to the top of that hill, I began yelling, attempting to signal the driver. At first I was whistling in the wind, but then I saw the truck heading toward me. It was one truck with two paramedics. Two other trucks with paramedics followed. Linda was evaluated and was in excruciating pain during the process. They determined that they could drive her to the trauma center at Sutter Health in Roseville. Lo and behold, I looked down the trail and saw a neighbor leading Patch behind. He said he was taking our equine to his barn and I could retrieve him when able. That was super as I didn’t have to retrieve Linda’s runaway horse. Six paramedics then carried Linda on a stretcher up that steep grade and then placed her in one of the trucks of the paramedics. Sherry and I rode home in another truck as Patch walked to the neighbor’s barn. Once home, I took care and fed Sherry and our Wired Hair Terrier and then left for the hospital. The next time I saw Linda. She was in a bed in the Trauma/Neuro ICU with her nurse standing by. Eventually, I received her diagnosis. She fractured five ribs, her clavicle, punctured her lung and had a fractured hip. Luckily, at this point, she didn’t require surgery. She had a tube to drain fluid from her lungs, was given medication along with physical and, occupational therapy. After eight painful hospital days, she was discharged. Linda, at this juncture, has decided to quit her trail activities. She’s heartbroken and struggling with that decision. It’s too difficult to predict the future, let alone the next day. Time will tell, as she has months of recovery time ahead. I quit competing in Ride and Tie events in 2009 as a result of my horse related injury. I know how difficult these decisions are, and hopefully Linda will stay firm with her thinking. PS Patch’s trail behavior performance was baffling as he had never bucked and reared before with Linda on his back.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

It's Character Part 3

More than likely, non-college degree males from the Rust Belt states didn’t require a college degree after high school graduation for employment in the 1960s. For this working-class group, white-collar employment and working with one’s hands in blue-collar skilled positions were plentiful. There were a plethora of job opportunities, lack of female and foreign competition, and limited technology without contending robots. Their education was adequate for the times. Then came the changing job market, monopolistic capital, stagnant wages, worldwide competition, closing of factories, etc. Do not forget debt, divorce, drug, and alcohol abuse as other 20 and 21st century socioeconomic factors. Then came 2015 with its presidential primaries. One candidate was rude, spoke in platitudes and presented an authortarian masculine character image using strong ,spiteful and aggressive words {implying strength} like “make America great [prior ,there were liberal immigration laws and Protestant America was a white majority]; coupled with television promotion as in WWF wrestling “I will be the best by far in fighting terror.” He talked about his achievement, and his special social status” “I’m a billionaire, I am the best builder, just look at what I have built. ” He spoke about his terrific, dominant and skillful negotiating skills “We are going to build a wall [keep out the undesirables] and Mexico’s going to pay for it.” Further, words and tweets implying strength, aggressiveness, assertiveness and power regarding restricting media disdain, etc. with comments like “lock her up,” “you’re fired ““ NAFTA is the worst economic deal in US history,” “Mitt Romney doesn’t have a clue,” “ Charles Krauthammer, one of the worst, most boring political pundits on television … totally overrated clown” were repeated. Then there were examples of hegemonic masculinity expression with inappropriate sexual contact and verbal flippant trash talk on a taped TV segment interview. Thus, we had this image of a Machismo, a disregarding sexual intimacy character “big as life” on a huge platform with electronic media giving so much attention. Along with this candidate’s masculine, authoritarian character configuration image, the older non degree white voters were bitter, with feelings of insignificance, resentfulness and powerlessness. They likely experienced loss, shame, guilt, had low self-esteem, with worry, depression, fear about the changing demographic future of our country and a weakened sense of masculinity. Then came the candidate’s projection of strength, dominance and control. The timing was perfect as the voters also had feelings of resignation and distrust in the traditional political system. This was capped by a spirit of obedience to and hatred against racial minorities. This craving for a submissive identification process resulted in their looking for a male, authoritarian leader in which their imagination, inadequacies and uncertainties would be magically addressed. And of course, a masculinity model supersedes any female leader. Patriarchy remains King and is supreme .Just ask him. Sources: Erik H Erickson“Childhood and Society ;” James Hillman, “The Force of Character And the Lasting Life;” Vince Giulliano “Reputation of Aging In ancient And Current Mythology;” Dr. Ronald Klatz and Dr. Robert Goldman “Stopping the Clock.”

Saturday, May 13, 2017

It's Character, Part 2

Old Proverbs also speak to ideas regarding aging. For example, “all people can dye their hair, but can’t change their backs;” “age is poverty;”” age is sickness from which everyone must die;” and “if the devil can’t come himself, he sends an old woman.” Another Greek myth had Tithonus being granted immortality by the God’s. He was, however, not given youth. Unfortunately for him, that was his curse as he remained in grief forever. Psychosocially, masculinity, in boys, is valued from a young age. In our culture, playing soldiers, shooting guns, engaging in sports, and participating in aggressive video games is applauded. Major traits associated with masculinity include power, disregarding fear, having courage, independence, and exhibiting assertiveness. Other significant characteristics of masculinity include avoidance of femininity characteristics, restricted emotion, and sex, removed from intimacy are also valued. Psychologically, Eric Erikson hypothesized, that in the final stage of the lifecycle, the individual’s or egos task has to deal with all of lives various triumphs and disappointments. The Individual has to and find meaning and be able to develop integrity and dignity within one’s own life, despite all the various past and current physical and economic threats to that individual. If not successful, then the psychological disability of despair and disgust rear its head and play a significant part in the remaining years. It becomes apparent that it is much too late for a do over, regardless of all the rethinking, manipulating or worrying one can do. James Hillman argued, in part, employing ideas and stories from mythology that although mental and physical vitality may decline in the lifespan, the force of character development does not. In other words, irritability and grumpy old men, are not just a function of aging, but are of character. Character traits during longevity, whether good or bad, such as helpless, useless, or sadistic cruelty become even more pronounced as the individual can become more tyrannical. These individuals more than likely exhibited impulsive, argumentative, controlling, irritable, frustrated and unhappy behaviors for many years prior. The quarreling and anxiety about the future continues as their character development becomes more clear and more dominant To Be Continued

Friday, May 12, 2017

It's Character

We have learned that the most recent presidential election was decided by roughly 80,000 votes in three rust belt states; and by a 67 to 28 percentage vote over all by white males 65 years of age and older. Most might argue that age or gender were the more important factors. However, let’s argue that character or personality of the voting individual to be the more significant. Yes, there are many physical and chemical-hormonal changes that take place during lifespan. Briefly, Human growth hormone production, DHEA production, and testosterone production for instance, all peak near 20 years of age, and then steadily decline by the time one reaches 60 years of age. These necessary hormones help and expand bone structure; promote growth; create muscles; build thicker skin; fight bacterial and viral infection; assist against arteriosclerosis, coronary heart disease, diabetes, and stress reduction; promote libido, aggressiveness and sexual desire; stimulate sperm production and nourish all tissues of the male urinary reproductive system. Yes, these hormonal changes are detrimental and play a major part in one’s health during the process of aging. Not to be left out, the Greeks, although not the first people, thought, wrote, and employed mythology about the idea of age and aging. In fact, the Greeks personified the figure of old age with a God called Geras. He was seen at the entrance to the underworld, which was associated with grief, anxiety and disease. In the underworld, we further find fear, hunger, death, agony, along with the clinging to false dreams. And the mythological struggle was depicted on a Greek vase between Hercules, the slayer of monsters, and his meeting with Geras drawn as a tiny, shriveled up old man, bent over and supporting himself upon a staff. The Classic mythological confrontation was between youthful physical prowesses against the harsh reality of the failing body during the process of aging. To Be Continued

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Dwindling Sleep Part 2

As of 2012, this sleep disorder business was a $32 billion industry. This brought numerous entrepreneurs into the playing field. The quest was to find the Holy Grail. A few illustrations of more recent techniques and sleep aids are as follows: 1. Weighted blankets to induce a swaddling sensation 2. Direct current stimulation. 3. Polycarbonate globe that measures are quality 4. Soundwaves 5. A gadget that uses sound to startle the sleeper every three minutes for an hour, just before going to sleep. 6. An online sleep coach 7. A soft spoken word album 8. A podcast 9. The ghost pillow 10. A good night light LED sleep bulb 11. A meditation class in Manhattan. 12 Arianne Huffington’s book “The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life One Night at a Time.” For a much more detailed account of ideas pertaining to sleep and dreams in ancient times, consult, James Hillman’s “the Force of Character and the Lasting Life”; and the latest apps, gadgets classes, can be found in the Penelope Green’s article in the April 9, 2017 edition of the New York Times. PS Nyx for me, along with my dreams protects my sleep. After a morning trail run with Chris, Tony and Sherry or Tony and Sherry or just Sherry, I have lunch. Then I have a brief weight work out and then take a wonderful and refreshing nap. I look forward to acknowledging the creative dream distortions of my demons. Remember, repressed demons are found in our dreams. In the evening, I can’t wait to discover more of the demons as I look forward to revealing the next figures of the night.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Dwindling Sleep

For many centuries, there have been inquiry and interest about dreams and sleep. Some believed, like pious Christian monks, that pagan powers invaded their dreams. If they banished sleep, that process would somehow protect their souls from temptation. In Revelation, it was stated “there shall be no night there.” Found in the Bible was Lilith the night monster “roaming with her retinue in the darkest hours of night.” The Greeks had their NYX, which was the night Goddess. They believed that the night allows the invisible world to appear in man. This is a world in which we find spirits, fatalistic foreboding, faultfinding, punishers and avengers, angry persecutors, miserable, distressed and lustful longings. Today, our thinking acknowledges that small children sleeping through the night can wet their beds. Parents are not too happy about bed wetter’s, but maybe, just maybe the child sleeps to protect his sleep from waking in the night, with its fearful intruders. However, for older folks, have prostate issues, with the frequent urge to urinate. They also have a disruption of circadian rhythms that interfere with sleep. The aging to not have sleep protection because of their interrupted sleep patterns. As a consequence of lost sleep, they purchase earplugs, temperature control devices, melatonin supplements and warm their milk. These are a few of the old school sleep protectors or remedies. Because of this significant sleep disorder issue, we have research centers on both coasts. We have MIT on the East Coast and the University of California, Berkeley on the West Coast, offering their latest insights into this complex problem. This problem-disorder is associated with the Army and its concern for impaired fighting man performance; Jeff Bezos too is worried about worker performance and the fear that it will lower Amazon stock; weakened immune systems; impaired learning and depression; diabetes; cancer, and early death are concerns. In a more recent research study with Danish and Japanese males, these researchers found that older males are retaining too much salt and water during the night. In fact, they were excreting more sodium at night and as a result voided more frequently. To be continued

Friday, April 21, 2017

17,000 Steps

“Heart of the Amazon” was the title of an article found in the April 9, 2017 edition of the New York Times. According to the article, anthropologists have studied over 15 years, a group of subsistence farmers and hunters called the Tsimane. These people reside in Bolivia along a tributary of the Amazon River. These men spend about seven hours a day hunting, fishing, and transporting by canoe to various towns to sell and purchase food. Women on the other hand, gather nuts and farm rice, corn, and plantains. Their work translates by walking, or covering about 8 miles per day or 17,000 steps. Their diet is about 72% carbohydrates-processed starches, 14% from saturated and unsaturated fats and 14% protein. They do have frequent infections and have chronically elevated levels of inflammation. These anthropologist teamed up with cardiologists. Then, these doctors drew blood from 705 men and women between the ages of 40 and 94. Their scans enabled the researchers to score the presence of atherosclerosis which is disease characterized by the buildup of plaque inside one’s cardiac arteries. Employing a zero score meant essentially no detectable disease; 1 to 99, low levels and 400 or greater were classified as being a lot. The findings: 85% scored zero; 3% exceeded 99; and a single person scored higher than 399. By comparison, this group of 705 scored less than 1/5 of the people in the United States and Europe. What can we generalize from this data? Can we conclude that diet had something to do with their healthy arteries? Can we conclude that daily activity had something to do with their healthy arteries? It would seem to me, that genetics, how the subject sample was obtained, the character or personality , BMI index, mortality rate of the subjects were just a few variables not addressed. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time might be another variable to consider. For instance, a young man in his mid-60s, exercises, physically active and eats healthy. However, he served our country in Vietnam. Because of that mistake, in which our military used Agent Orange, our government will pay him in dollars, because he had a diagnosis of cancer. In other words, employing a healthy lifestyle was no contest against being exposed to a lethal dose of a vegetation killer. In essence, because we are mortal beings, I believe it matters more how one lives compared to the length one lives. Quality and well-being is more important than quantity. And, more importantly, do not allow you your thinking to get in your way. Per James Hillman, “the main pathology of later years is our idea of later years.” That idea can be applied over and over again in different ways. PS I don’t know about you, Dr. Hillman, but my Border Collie, Sherry and I are going on an 8 mile trail run today.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Aging Outcomes Part 2

Perhaps, many aging individuals in industrial states like Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, are neither as fortunate, nor as blessed as I am. We heard much about job loss, frustration, poor health, opiate use and anger among the blue-collar working individuals. Certainly, losing lifelong employment has devastating social-economic consequences. Let’s face it, job insecurity; work becoming more technological; global workforce competition; political unrest and advanced health compound that reality. Not having a positive future outlook has devastating psychological implications. Significant frustration and constant stress leads to aggression, depression, and poor physical and mental health. To make matters worse, today’s workers do not have the skills to compete in current tech jobs. An article titled “Plenty of Tech Jobs, but…. Few Workers Who Have the Chops” in the March 31, 2017, USA Today gave a number of startling statistics. For example, The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted there’ll be a 1.4 million more software development jobs than applicants who can fill them by 2020. Further, according to research by The Career Advisory Board, only 11% of employers believed that today’s higher education was very effective in preparing graduates to have the necessary skills needed for their organizations. In a survey of 501 US hiring managers. 62% of them said the students were simply unprepared. Jobs are there, but there are not enough qualified individuals to fill them. If college graduates are not totally competent, then it is, safe to say that a blue-collar workers losing a past or current job, are also not likely to have the necessary skill requirements in the tech world of today. It’s no wonder that we have a culture of grumpy old men. Moreover, these people do not present good character models for the young as they are displaying psychological characteristics of doom, gloom and despair. Yes, the potential for positive and terrific, later years is possible. However, one has to be smart and make proper decisions and take advantage of opportunities presented. One has to be able to seek them, and as the saying goes, “strike while the iron is hot.” For instance, in “It Has Nothing To Do with Age” each individual was 65 years of age and older. Each overcame or worked through some obstacle or personal tragedy and then made good life decisions, persevered and bettered their state of being. They are terrific role models.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Aging Outcomes

Employing a Jungian viewpoint, James Hillman’s book “The Force of Character” addressed aging within a positive perspective. Per Hillman, “the older we become, the more our true nature emerges.” In other words, wisdom is embraced during the aging process. in fact, when we reach 60 or so we know so much more and have so much more to offer others, as opposed when we were in our” know it all “ invincible teens. This means that life actually can get better, even though there is a transformation that affects our body, strength, short and long-term memory, sleep patterns, etc. I agree with Hillman. My story significantly changed for the better when I was reaching 60 years of age. I terminated an unsatisfactory union; I was professionally retiring; and I discovered a true passion in a horseback and running event called Ride and Tie. As a result of this competitive team event, I enhanced, trained, met models and that set the stage for three goals, which allowed me to compete in three different 100 mile one day events. These events were “The Tevis Cup”, an equine race in the mountains; “Western States” an ultra-run in the mountains; and the “Swanton Pacific” a Ride and Tie in the mountains. Since I was competing in running ultras, endurance riding and in ride and tie, I was exercising, evolving and was becoming more mentally and physically healthy. I then wrote two books, one “It Has Nothing To Do with Age” dealt with stories of driven athletes who competed in extraordinary sports. The second book, “Bo’s Warriors” addressed and told the story of Bo Schembechler and the Transformation of Michigan Football. In researching these books. I met a number of accomplished individuals and as a result, this search enhanced my life. Furthermore, my associates are currently interviewing with ESPN regarding making a documentary based on Bo and his warriors. To Be Continued

Monday, March 27, 2017

Aggression Part 2

Believing that aggression was learned, gives rise to the notion that aggression is commonplace and normal within our culture. Blockbuster or popular TV and films such as Mission Impossible, Wolverine, and Game of Thrones demonstrate the public’s interest. We loudly cheer when the good guy wins or slaughters his antagonist. Video games also depict destructiveness as well. Aggressive sporting events such as football, boxing, and car racing are also big revenue industries with plenty of fans witnessing brutality and death. The media over and over shows the gory details of death and destruction. Aggression is a major component in our society with plenty of rewards. There is no shortage of killing or incarceration. We lead the world in both. What is the ratio of aggression versus love as seen on our screens? Don’t forget the amount of verbal nastiness on today’s social media. Another explanation regarding aggression was that it was a response to anxiety; and that it often happened when an individual’s goal seeking behavior was blocked by some barrier. When man is threatened or afraid he becomes anxious as well. He can either fight or flee. Man is striving, seeking, desiring, willing, and has numerous goal driven behaviors. On man’s locomotion to complete the goals, he encounters various obstacles that can interfere and get in the way and block goal attainment. One emotional response to non-goal attainment is frustration. And when frustrated, man often acts out aggressively either verbally, physically or both. I remembered watching Indiana basketball coach Bobby Knight, yelling and throwing chairs on the court during a basketball game. His inappropriate behavior was pretty consistent when things didn’t go his way. Superego, conscience, ethics, moral code and guilt are few of the internal mechanisms that can influence control over our impulses. Religion, laws, police, despots and the military are a few of the external devices devised by society in an effort to control behavior. Even though we have more “jails” and spend outrageous amounts of money on our criminal justice system, and have many weapons of mass destruction, we are like Sisyphus in that the problems of human aggression and atrocities just continue as we repeat the same old, not so effective, solutions. In essence, we are threatened by a world in which we created. If there is a God, now’s a good time to intervene. Depending on one’s theoretical framework and belief regarding the origin of aggression and anger, influences man’s attempt to deal with this component in our society. Better and more psychotherapy; a buildup of more police and laws actually following the various religious teachings are some strategies. “Thou shall not kill” etc. etc. would be a prudent start. In any event, we need to make better choices for change. The mood toward violence, malignant aggression, inhumanity towards man is toxic and contrary to the love of life. Man must make better decisions and choices if things are to change.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Aggression

The expression of aggression, at times, seems very commonplace especially within our news cycle. For example, there has been a recent incident-car and bridge killing in London; bomb threats against Jewish community centers; stabbing in New York; kidnapping, political rhetoric regarding building walls, expelling nonresidents, limiting immigrants, a significant addition to the military budget, North Korea’s missile threat, NBA’s Matt Barnes “I want to kill the King’s”, along with comments last year like “lock her up etc. etc. Thus we have verbal and physical aggression. The following are a few viewpoints regarding aggression, anger, hostility and destruction. Darwin’s theory of evolution pointed to “survival of the fittest.” Thus, he suggested that man was hardwired. Prehistoric man had to be competitive, in order to live and survive. Freud’s psychoanalytic theory built on that idea and it evolved when he later postulated the notion of a destructive instinct-drive in order to better and more fully explain man’s cruelty toward himself and toward others. Henry Murray postulated the idea that a need was hypothetical process .He believed that man’s aggression was a need and physiological. He then labeled aggression as a human need. He briefly described aggression as: “to overcome opposition forcefully; to fight; to revenge; to injure; to attack, injure or kill another; to oppose forcefully or to punish another. The above ideas viewed aggression as built-in within man’s nature. Employing his hypothesis, we find that it is a human characteristic with motivational and emotional qualities which described interpersonal interactions. Another view of aggression was presented by American psychologists with a behavioristic orientation. They discounted the biological aspect in understanding aggression. They believed that aggression was learned and the behavior was the result of the ratio of positive and negative consequences of rewards and punishments. Newborn infants cry as they do not have another way of communicating with the caregiver. The caregiver can respond to crying behavior by ignoring, constantly attempting to comfort, yelling, or even spanking. Often, sleepless caregivers have difficulty using sound judgment. And there is no sure manual for the correct caregiver response. Thus, rewards and punishments begin early. Later on, the young child misbehaves, according to some caretaker notion. Does that caretaker ignore the behavior; yell or say unkind words to the child; or, does the caretaker use physical techniques such as spanking or pinching some body part of the child? Once again, positive and negative consequences are employed by the adult along with modeling and/or imitating aggressive or nonaggressive behavior. In an attempt to stop aggressive behavior, some caretakers employed aggressive behavior. As a consequence, aggressive behavior can be learned by the child. To Be Continued

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Jobs Part 2

A recent study by Ball State University found that 9 out of 10 jobs that had disappeared since the year 2000 were lost to automation and not to workers from other countries. Further, a 2015 report from the Manufacturing Institute found that seven in ten manufacturing executives said they faced a shortage of workers with adequate tech skills. To confront this problem, the Department of Labor, listed, 21,000 programs with about 500,000 apprentices. However, this represented only 1.5% of 18 to 24-year-olds. In the last two years, our government has allocated $265 million that enlarged these programs. Thomas Perez, President Obama’s Secretary of Labor established partnerships between registered community colleges and sponsors. Mr. Perez hoped there would be a doubling of the number of apprenticeships by the year 2018. At another level, a grant, created a creative experimental program in downtown Manhattan for youths with a high aptitude for math. This program was called Beam 6. In fact 76 students were drawn from the New York City public schools from low income populations. This program was founded in 2011, with the help from Sandor Lehoczky a senior trader at Jane Street. One can even look overseas to find a significantly different educational model than ours. Switzerland, for one, has compulsory education up through the ninth grade. Then their students choose either an academic or vocational curriculum. Beginning in the 10th grade, the vocational student pathway rotated among employers, industry organizations and school academics for the next 3 to 4 years of training and mentoring. For these students, learning is hands-on. In fact Switzerland’s unemployment rate for the youngest is the lowest in Europe and about a quarter that of the United States. it’s clear that federal and local government, major business , corporations, labor unions , interested citizens, and the educational school systems have worked together to establish creative pathways into the world of work. It’s significantly important that parents play a major part in the solution because there continue to be negative attitudes in some quarters about blue-collar work. It’s obvious there are models to solve this significant problem. It’s also true that conditions change, so solutions need to be fluid as well. Change is difficult, as well, as some are not willing to relinquish power and control. Remember, it’s about the young teens and young adults. When they succeed, we all succeed. And we need them to succeed.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Jobs

Back in the 1950s, I remembered that Aunt Eva and Aunt Sarah talked about college in the context of “they can’t take that away from you.” As both sets of grandparents came from Russia and World War II completed, their statement made complete sense. It was expected that I attend the University and so I did even though I did not, at that time, have a clear sense of a career choice. Later on I read that college graduates earned, over a life time, more than high school graduates. That’s still generally true today. Dave, one of my high school buddies, took a white-collar job at General Motors. He married, reared a family, purchased a house and, now comfortably retired in Florida. The big three automobile companies were doing well, and so did he. Attending college, at that time, was reasonable as well. In fact, in the 1950s, employment was booming, the standard of living was comfortable, so it didn’t matter if one attended college or not. Today, things have changed dramatically for employment opportunities for high school graduates. It’s clear that many do not have skills to compete in this information driven economy. On the other hand, attending the University has become extremely expensive and many students and their families have gone into massive school debt. A recent article in the February 5, 2017 edition of the New York Times addressed the issue confronting today’s high school graduates. For example, there was a job fair, in North Carolina. 10,000 people, or so showed up for 800 job positions. Siemens Energy opened a gas turbine production plant there and administered a reading, writing and math screening test geared for a ninth grade level of education for their job openings. Unfortunately fewer than 15% of those job applicants were able to pass their test. For this employer as well as John Deere, a high school diploma was no longer sufficient for these entry level jobs. These employers relied heavily on computers. These factory floor workers were expected to have advanced math comprehension skills with ability to solve problems when confronted. A typical high school diploma was insufficient for their jobs. Solution, these two companies became partners with the local community college and set up an appropriate curriculum. They also offered internships that allowed the students to be employed with these companies. To Be Continued

Monday, March 6, 2017

Masculinity Gone Sour Part 2

Moreover, testosterone levels after rapid production increased reaching its peak around the age of 20, then also significantly declined. Changes in libido, aggressiveness, sexual desire, muscle building, bone and urinary issues came into play. In essence, prescriptions for prostate related issues and sexual function becomes a pharmaceutical delight for that industry. Men became cognizant of the fact that they had shorter lifespans than women. That translated into more female centenarians as well as more feminine in nature assisted-living facilities. And of course, aging men’s top fears seemed to be and rightly so with physical weakness, loss of purpose, impotence, dependence on others, and developing dementia as brain atrophy becomes more pronounced in men. Men also experienced more heart attacks earlier than women as well. Many men became what Alfred Adler called the masculine protest. According to Adler, man was motivated more by his expectations of the future than he is by the experiences of his past. These strivings are ideals that affected and influenced present behavior. Masculine protest becomes the desire for superiority or competence, which arises out of feeling a sense of inferiority and/or incompetence. This makes sense when we take a look at the typical older, overweight, muscle less, fragile, impotent and lack of purpose and control freak male. It’s not surprising that these aged men overcompensated when they felt inadequate and inferior. One clear example is related to their verbal expression. Words and language becomes more aggressive with sadistic putdowns, coupled with other mental games, doubletalk and mixed messages. Another example of a sense of weakness is when they attempted to control and dominate others with passive aggressive interactions. According to Adler, the final goal of man was to be aggressive, to be powerful and to be superior. He called this a striving for superiority. However, biology might be saying something otherwise. Biology equals destiny.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Masculinity Gone Sour

It started, in the beginning, by playing soldiers, cowboys and Indians and other roughhousing games and activities. In school, they were bigger, faster, stronger, louder, and aggressive, kicked and threw the ball harder, and had more difficulty staying in their seats. They noticed that the other sex read better, had an easier time with math, and seemed more prim and proper. Then came adolescence. Some demonstrated more highly masculine interests like playing sports, getting into verbal and physical fights, being more rebellious, engaging in sexual promiscuity, being independent, smoking, drinking, and even engaging in drug use. Fitting in with that boisterous peer group was rewarding. Some even developed a rural frontier mentality. Unfortunately, having a masculine identification did necessarily guarantee a stable sense of well-being for their future. Cliché’s like “being king of the castle,” “the one with the biggest toys wins,” “driving muscle cars,” “being a big wheel,” “men don’t cry,” “ real men don’t eat quiche” etc. did not necessarily translate well , during their later years. By the time these men reached their midlife crisis, their masculine identity, or sex specific social behaviors were well-established. Divorce, economic hardship, loss of employment showed its ugly head. Unfortunately, these crises became more pronounced and had a more significant impact as they aged. On a biological level, various changes, without exception, occurred through the passage of time. For example, human GH [h GH] or human growth hormone production peaked before the age of 20, then declined steadily. Its primary function helped bones lengthen and expand. Its amino acids were found in proteins that were used in their body and created more muscle mass. When young, they were able to eat a high-protein diet without terrible consequences. But as they aged, their body produced fats. They were building flabby bodies, not muscles. They even lost flexibility and became more rigid. Their bones became brittle. Further, D H E A produced by their adrenaline glands is called the mother of all hormones. This important and necessary hormone also declined during aging. Unfortunately, fallen DHEA levels are associated with the number of age related diseases and disabilities. Infection, cancer, coronary artery disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, etc. along with a decrease in muscle mass come to mind. To Be Continued

Friday, February 24, 2017

Ultrarunning

Congratulations for 20 years of serious running. Back in 1997, when 57, I was introduced, firsthand, to a Ride and Tie event, when I competed in a limited distance endurance ride of 25 miles at Mount Hamilton in San Jose, California. Parked next to me, at the campsite, were partners Tony Brickel and Jeff Windenhausen. They had just completed the Mustang Classic Ride and Tie event. One thing led to another and I too soon started competing in the Ride and Tie events. For those of you that do not know what is a Ride and Tie, I’ll tell you. Ride and tie is composed of a team. The team consisted of two individuals, and a horse. One person rode while the teammate runs. They take turns alternately running and riding. The team began the race together and then completed the race together over distances that ranged from 25 to 100 miles of mountain trails. Thus, serious running began. Since that momentous time, I completed over 1800 trail miles of ride and tie. Within the 1800 miles, I also completed a 75 mile event and was victorious in a 100 mile event with partner Jonathan Jordan and with my equine Gypsy. Further, I began competing and running in trail events that ranged from 5K’s to 100 miles. However, many of those events have been 50 K’s. In fact, this coming Saturday, the 25th, Tony, Jonathan and I are running the Salmon Falls 50 K. Jonathan, Georgia born, is a defense attorney practicing in the San Diego area. He has been running 50 K’s in my neck of the woods for the past 12 years or so. Tony, assisted me on my first Tevis endurance ride. This was also a 100 mile one day event. Tony and his wife, Debbie, were there at the vet check in Forest Hill, on that day, some 60 miles into the ride and again at the finish in Auburn, California. Tony, also met me at Robie Point some 97 miles, give or take, when I completed the Western States 100 mile endurance run. Since his retirement, we’ve been running together roughly 3 times a week and have competed in many events together. Tony my technical support friend; a co-producer on our TV show; had created a video that accompanied book signings and presentations for my first book “It Has Nothing To Do with Age.” He has also provided a multitude of assistance in many numerous venues. Many things have been stated on the trail that stay on the trail. Some might question compulsive running, averaging 50 miles per week since 2001. I am simply running away from illness, and running toward health. If you doubt my simplicity, take a good look at me, view pictures of others my age, consult with Dan Merck my physician, read “It Has Nothing To Do with Age,” or accompany me on a trail run. Then we can seriously talk. Those that still have doubts, about running toward health, consider reading the article, “Keep It Moving, in the 12-11-16 edition of the New York Times. This article evaluated male volunteers. They were active four days in a row and then had four sedentary days in a row. When active, these individuals walked as often as they could. In contrast, when sedentary, they sat for about 14 hours a day. On the evening of the fourth day, the men ran for an hour. The next morning they ate a high-fat sugary breakfast. The men were then evaluated for the amount of triglycerides, which are the fats associated with heart disease that enter the bloodstream after meals. In summary, the researchers found that the men who sat for 14 hours a day and even though they ran the next morning, their triglycerides level in their blood remained high. Too much sitting seemed to have made their bodies resistant to the benefits of exercise. In essence, keep moving, so that you can have more of an opportunity for healthy triglyceride reduction in your bloodstream. PS In writing this post, I wrote this brief testimonial with my computer, which lies raised on a platform so that I stand. I continue to talk the talk and walk the walk. No one, to my knowledge, said doing what’s good for your mind and body was easy, because it’s not.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Brady's Drive Part 3

Brady has accomplished, in his football career, what others dream about. He’s mastered his position as a quarterback. He was once 6th string and a sixth round NFL draft choice. Now he’s being talked about as being the greatest. He has overcome obstacles, attained a high standard and surpassed others playing at his position. His Achievement is unsurpassed at the moment. Tom Is currently playing at the highest standard possible. Brady’s competitiveness {Aggression} was also expressed by his strong desire to win. For him, the opposition was like the enemy that one has to oppose. He used all his skills in a forceful manner. When he threw the ball for a completion, he did it with high velocity. In that overtime victory in the Super Bowl, Brady was on the attack and was played aggressively. Although in control, his passes hit their target repeatedly. Briefly, I have inferred the existence of a few of Tom Brady’s secondary needs .This was based on his overt behavior, which typically expressed itself in motor activity. I have linked these needs primarily to his current employment. However, Tom’s secondary needs are not limited to playing football. His need structure was largely determined and came from within, as opposed to being a reaction from the environment. Brady’s needs lead to a desired state in which there was gratification or the fulfillment of feelings or emotions. These need structures drove his behavior and those strivings gave his life meaning. Being a Patriot quarterback, is Tom’s identity. That’s Tom Brady! Some speculated that with that Super Bowl LI victory, he could retire because now he has nothing more to prove. Setting records was not his primary motivational drive. Instead, he has to meet needs of abasement, achievement, affiliation, and aggression through game performance. If so, he shall continue to compete in this brutal game of professional football. If these secondary needs can’t be met through outstanding play as a result of injury or a significant decrease in skill set, then he is likely to retire. Reality is not always possible as in our dreams .Tom Brady is mortal and although his mind with its defense mechanisms may say yes, his body may say no. Our body doesn’t lie. It will speak to him and tell him when it’s the end. Go Blue!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Brady's Drive Part 2

It’s believed that the preceding 10 facts regarding Tom Brady suggest the following. We know that he possessed mental and physical toughness {Abasement}. Tom Brady knew that he has put his brain and body in harm’s way every time he received the ball from center. Something hurtful can happen like being stepped on by his own player; having a finger jammed or dislocated like Derek Carr of the Oakland Raiders; or being thrown to the ground by some 300 pound giant. Further, an overused injury can be sustained while working out or conditioning himself. And, he maintained a strict diet with a personal trainer in order to further his career in the brutal game called football. Being the quarterback, Tom accepted the criticism or blame of the press when plays don’t go as planned. He was accused and punished by the NFL for being associated with deflating of footballs in order to win a playoff game two years ago. He fought the charges in court, but did not wine about the situation. Asked, by the press, if revenge played a part in his motivation to succeed this year. Coach Belichick, to his defense, called that question nonsense and insulting. Did Brady accept all the praise and glory in his team’s Super Bowl victories? No, he praised his teammates, coaches and the organization {Affiliation} for their success. He reciprocated, remained loyal and applied it to the concept that this was a team game. He learned about the importance of the team playing for the Wolverines. Coach Carr was part of Michigan legend Schembechler’s coaching tree. Beginning in 1969, Scembechler’s players incorporated the concept that players win as a team and lose as a team. It’s nothing more, nothing less. Records and victories can’t be accomplished if everyone doesn’t do their part or do their job. To Be Continued

Friday, February 10, 2017

Brady's Drive

With the historic New England Patriot’s comeback win in Super Bowl LI, many called quarterback Tom Brady the greatest quarterback ever. If the criteria was based on number of Super Bowl victories, the number of Super Bowl MVPs, Tom Brady would be the greatest quarterback ever to play the game. If other criteria were used, then we are not measuring apples to apples. One cannot fairly compare a player from one era to a player from another era. For example, Ed Budde was a number one draft pick of the Kansas City Chiefs, and played in the first Super Bowl. He played for 14 seasons with the Chiefs. He also had two sons that played football. His oldest was also the number one draft pick by the Kansas City Chiefs. His youngest son had a tryout with the Chicago Bears, but didn’t make the team. In private conversation, Ed told me that his youngest son was bigger, faster and stronger than him. The physical characteristics of players, and the skill level then and now are significantly different. Let’s asses Brady’s behavior, football related statistics, TV interviews , personal communication with a former University of Michigan Wolverine and current radio announcer for both the Wolverines and the Detroit Lions. These components provided insight into Tom Brady’s motivational dynamics. Ideas employed are based on Henry A. Murray’s personology theory. 1. Tom started out as a 6th string quarterback for the University of Michigan. He was also a sixth round draft pick by the New England Patriots. 2. Tom, in TV interviews, talked about his teammates Mental Toughness. 3. Even though Tom was awarded the MVP in Super Bowl LI, he said the award should’ve gone to teammate James White. 4. Tom didn’t play in the Patriots first four games this season because of a league suspension. With very limited team practice time, he started as quarterback in the Patriots fifth season game .In that victory, he attained over 300 passing yards. 5. Tom talked about his teammates favorably after games and stressed their importance in their victories. He also talked about himself playing better. 6. After a New England Patriot and Detroit Lions exhibition game, he warmly greeted the Detroit Lions radio announcer, Jim Brandstatter a former Wolverine. Fellow Wolverines are bonded 7. At the start of the past Michigan Wolverine football season, Tom attended the game, was made honorary captain and was seen throwing a football to his son on the Big House field as well as playing catch with football head Coach Jim Harbaugh. 8. Jim Harbaugh called Tom Brady, the greatest football player ever; said Brady could coach his Wolverines; and Jim would be his quarterback coach. 9. Patriot head coach Bill Belichick said that the season was difficult for Tom. He didn’t believe that Brady’s four-game suspension, motivated him. In fact, Belichick said. “I think it’s really inappropriate to suggest that in Tom’s career, he’s been anything other than a great teammate, a great worker and he has given us every single ounce of effort, blood, sweat and tears that he has in him. To insinuate that somehow this year was different, that this season, he competed harder or did anything to higher degree than he did in the past is insulting. I think to the tremendous effort and leadership and competitiveness that he’s shown for the 17 years that I’ve coached him. ….Tom Brady gives us his best every time he steps onto the field.” 10. At the University of Michigan and with the New England Patriots, Brady employed a personal trainer. To Be Continued

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Attachment Part 2

Two other examples of anxiety and safety seem parallel and are associated with the infant’s attachment level to adults. The first is called Stranger Anxiety. This anxiety response is to a strange face and is generally seen in American children about six months of age, and then gradually disappeared by the time the child is 12 to 15 months. It takes longer for the fear to disappear generally with Infants reared in isolated rural areas and with infants with retarded cognitive development. Separation Anxiety, a second example, appeared in American infants at about 10 to 12 months of age and begins to disappear at about 20 to 24 months of age. A number of studies, have been implemented, studying this dynamic. A glaring example was with the institutionalized infant, when reared in a monotonous and impersonal environment. These infants are often cognitively and emotionally deficient; and have difficulty in reaction to human beings in a socialized way compared to a family reared children or those reared in responsive institutions. However, even a one-year-old child who may have been a victim of neglect seemed to possess a substantial capacity for recovery. Importantly, the environment after that first year loss, must provide the freedom for him to explore his world and establish positive relations with adults and children. Four different attachment classifications have been hypothesized for children based on early caregiving experience. 1. Secure attachment 2. Anxious-ambivalent attachment 3. Anxious-avoidant attachment 4.Disorganized/disoriented attachment. More recent research incorporated the attachment styles for children and developed new categories for adults. The categories include: 1. Secure 2. Anxious-preoccupied. 3. Dismissive-avoidant 4. Fearful- avoidant. The interaction between mother and infant has consequences throughout the lifespan. There are “many” complex variables at work during parenting. Unfortunately, models of parenting are often based upon one’s own upbringing. It may also be incorrectly interpreted. The high divorce rate, the vast number of unsatisfactory marriages, numerous poor interpersonal relationships and work related issues with the supervisor suggest impaired caretaking, beginning with the age of the infant. Individual therapy, family therapy, couples therapy with presenting problems of interpersonal difficulty keep therapists busy as issues. Critical difficulties with relationships beginning with the infant and child become replayed over and over again with different players throughout one’s lifetime.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Attachment

For additional insight into your relationship style, consult the article “Yes, It’s Your Parents’ Fault” in the January 8, 2017 New York Times as it dealt with the “ Attachment Theory” based on the work of Drs. John Bowlby and Mary S. Ainsworth. Their findings may trigger your curiosity. This theory dealt with the complex interactions between the infant and the caretaker. The result of their research, provide clues into the psychological development-attachment style of the child, adolescent and adult. This interaction between caretaker and child focused on infant behaviors such as crying, sucking, smiling, clinging, and the responses that followed between the dyad. The mother’s psychological condition obviously affected her ability to respond to her child appropriately and by the same token, the newborns temperament and cognitive development affected his ability to respond-looking, vocalizing, smiling, and distress. Some other clues to the child’s emotional adjustment is depicted by its ability to feed well, sleep well and ease of its bowel movements. It’s the idea that the caretaker not only talks and stimulates the baby to babble, etc. but the mother also alleviated the child’s hunger, cold, and pain while performing caretaking acts as well. The quality and the ability of the mother to meet the infant’s needs and become a positive reinforcement value is a must for healthy development. Hopefully, the mother doesn’t become associated as a negative reinforcement value. Research by Dr. Harry Harlow provided some insight into the feeding dynamic between mother and infant. This dynamic was associated with the infant’s ability to develop trust and well-being during the process. Dr. Harlow conducted a series of studies that employed “mother” monkeys that were constructed with wire mesh to other mother monkeys that were covered by Terry cloth. Both “mother” monkeys had a bottle attached to their chest. Briefly, and in a variety of experiments, these infant monkeys characteristically chose the terry cloth mother, and spent more time, clinging to her than to the plain wire mesh mother. Even when a fear provoking stimulus was placed in the cage, the infant monkeys ran to the terry cloth mother rather than to the wire mesh mother. The terry cloth mother was also more effective in reducing the monkeys fear compared with the wire mesh mother. These experiments suggested the importance of closely holding the infant near while feeding instead of being preoccupied or by propping a bottle during feeding. A sense of safety for the infant is paramount. To Be Continued

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Mental Toughness Revisited Part 3

What about the average athletic individual? This individual might be overweight, or might be a couch potato. The individual might be older .The weather conditions might include rain, snow or triple digits. The individual might have awakened late and felt tired and sluggish. This individual might have remembered that on previous workouts, he experienced soreness, tired legs, oxygen deprivation, high heart rate, pain in the side etc. Mental toughness for these individuals is putting on workout clothes and beginning to exercise. For me, it’s not uncommon to feel lousy in the morning within the comfort of my home. However, when I initiate my trail run, I feel better and am happy that I did start. I know about physical and psychological pain because I ran and was a division winner In the 100 Mile Western States trail run at age 62. I also experienced physical and psychological pain, when I completed with my horse and partner the 100 mile one day Swanton Pacific Ride and Tie. We won that race when I was 68, at the time. More recently, at age 76, in 2016, I experienced discomfort when I ran 20 miles or more. After completing the 50 K “Way Too Cool,” I was evaluated by my physician and he referred me to the surgeon and he surgically repaired my two hernias. It’s clear that there are a myriad of ways to inflict pain upon oneself. I plan to continue with my running. What enables me to get off the couch in the morning is that I have set up a future goal. That goal is related to some competitive running event. I know that if I don’t condition myself properly, I might not complete the event or might even hurt or stress myself even more. If I didn’t have a future event to look forward to, it might be more difficult for me to be as compulsive as I am about my running. In conclusion, Mental Toughness, per Psychological Principle 12 is the acknowledgment and acceptance of Murray’s n Abasement- to accept injury, punishment; to seek and enjoy pain or discomfort. We know, and we accept what can happen when we lace up our running shoes and go for a run. We also know that we are driven by more than this one particular need and further, that we will be fulfilling additional needs that have a multitude of benefits. Moreover, mental toughness is one component within the big picture of the Abasement need and helps explain the motivation of inflicting discomfort directed toward oneself. Obviously, some go to greater extremes than others.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Mental Toughness Revisited Part 2

The Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run is an ultra-marathon that takes place on trails in the California Sierra Nevada Mountains. Runners run up a cumulative total of over 18,000 feet and descend a total close to 23,000 feet, before reaching the finish in Auburn, California. The Swanton Pacific 100 mile Ride and Tie with the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean and magnificent redwood forest, is an event that has teams consisting of one equine and 2 runners. The entire team begins at the start line together. One teammate rides a certain distance, dismounts and ties the horses’ reins to a tree and then continues running. The initial runner locates the horse on the trail, unties the horse’s reins, mounts and rides toward the direction of the other runner. The teammates, leapfrogs, so to speak, and continue this process for 100 miles. To finish, the entire team has to cross the finish line together for a completion within a 24 hour day. The Barkley Marathon is an ultramarathon trail race held near Wartburg, Tennessee. The race distance is approximate and limited to a 60 hour time limit. This event is limited to 40 runners who pay $1.60 application fee. The entry application is a secret. No details and the entrant must complete an essay of “Why I Should Be Allowed to run in the Barkley?” This race has five full loops {24 miles + or -per loop} and this event been completed 17 times by only 14 runners, all of whom are male. One woman has run as far as 66 miles. Not only that, this quirky run has as a bugler that plays Taps for those runners unable to finish. The Quintuple Anvil Triathlon held in Spotsylvania, Virginia covers over 703 miles and is essentially five Ironman length races over a five day period. This is a full triathlon of swimming, biking and running. One finisher said “I know this is not good for my body, but it is good for my soul.” These four events in no way exhaust the limits or number of amateur events that are examples of inflicting punishment on oneself or what is called mental toughness. To Be Continued

Friday, January 27, 2017

Mental Toughness Revisited

Mental Toughness is a term frequently applied to athletes. I previously had written about this term and postulated 11 psychological principles, that enhanced an individual’s ability to withstand pain and suffering while training. An article titled, in the December 6, 2016 edition of the New York Times, “How Much Suffering Can You Take?” spurred additional thought about this phenomena. Mental Toughness is one aspect of man’s behavior or motivation that causes him to inflict pain and discomfort upon himself. Freud, influenced by World War I, hypothesized a second drive called the death instinct to explain man’s aggressive nature toward man. Within this framework, the term sadism and masochism, explained man motivation for inflicting pain on self and toward others. Later, Dr. Henry Murray, within his Personology Theory identified a need that helped to explain man’s hurtful behavior. Murray called this n Abasement. Abasement he briefly defined as: to accept injury, blame, criticism, punishment. To admit inferiority, error, wrongdoing or defeat. To blame, belittle or mutilate the self. To seek and enjoy pain, punishment, illness and misfortune. We can now see that mental toughness includes both mental, and physical within this human need. The idea of inflicting pain, although not always conscious, toward oneself is universal and part of the human condition [not eating properly, excessive prescription and nonprescription drug use, excessive alcohol use, excessive smoking, lack of exercise, etc.]. I speculate that there are degrees of mental toughness. Further, male-female, young-old, and socioeconomic status may also play a part, as far as differences are concerned. A professional athlete; a college athlete; an Olympic athlete; a Navy seal are examples of individuals that have possessed and have exhibited mental toughness. Other primary and secondary motivations, needs and/or requirements operate as well. Some examples of these include economic benefits, affiliation, dominance, aggression, fame, glory etc. that are variables that pertain and associated with behavior. Man being complex is more than fulfilling just one variable at a time. However, let’s not eliminate all man’s needs, but hold the economic advantages constant. We can do that by focusing on extreme amateur sports that do not have a major economic value. The 100 mile Western States, a one day running event; the 100 mile Swanton Pacific Ride and Tie, one day event; the Barkley Marathon and the Quintuple Anvil Triathlon come to mind. To Be Continued

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Run For Your Brain Part 2

In this study, lab rodents were used as subjects. The researchers made three groups 1.The running group allowed the rodents to run at will on their running wheels.2. Resistant training group involved having them climb a wall with tiny weights attached to their tails. 3. High intensity interval training group had the animals sprint on a treadmill with a rapid and strenuous pace for three minutes, followed by two minutes at a slower pace. This entire sequence was repeated twice more, for a total of 15 minutes of running. Each group was subjected to over seven weeks in the experiment. Then the researchers examined the brain tissue in the hippocampus for each group. The findings showed that distance running, stimulated more release of B. D. N. F. than the other two groups. The resistance or weight training group however, demonstrated more muscular health benefits. One can argue about the research methodology in each of these studies. Remember, using animals for research has been long-standing. Thank you, Charles Darwin. What struck me was the fact that nutrition, vitamins, and supplements were not variables at all. The one variable that got my attention was movement or exercise. For these studies, we still don’t know or have clear definitions of vigorous or strenuous exercise per age or age group. At this juncture, each individual must create their own regimen of movement and/or physical exercise program. These research findings suggested that physical exercise is a significant key for memory, attention and hippocampus growth. I would be surprised if I developed Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia. Since my late 50s, or for the past 20 years or so, I have been, on average, running at least 50 miles per week. Also included have been some form of free weight training and/or doing chin-ups and push-ups. To know if my regime is working, I need to be tested for memory and attention, and my level of neurogenesis growth in my hippocampus. There might or might not be appropriate norms to compare me with others. For example, in my most recent competitive 10 mile trail run, there were only 4 other participants in my age group. That suggests that there are many non-trail runners in my age group. In signing off, remember this motto “keep moving.”

Friday, January 20, 2017

Run for Your Brain

Two articles in the January 1, 2017 edition of the New York Times pertained to healthy aging. The first article, “How to Become a Superager” was a study that compared, using functional magnetic resonance imaging, the brains of 17 superagers to those brains of similarly aged people. The superager is one whose memory and attention is above average for their age. Their brain compared favorably to the brain of a healthy active 25-year-old. These researchers found that the regions of the cortex that are associated with memory and attention were in fact thicker for the superagers. In other words, there was less age-related atrophy in the brains of the -superager’s. And of course the superager’s had better performance scores on tests of memory and attention. These researchers hypothesized that one can keep these cortex regions of the brain healthy through vigorous exercise and strenuous mental effort. Although physical exercise wasn’t clearly defined, they pointed to discomfort as a result of exertion, which means building muscle and discipline by using a Marine Corps motto “pain is weakness leaving the body.” They added that deciphering puzzles like Sudoku and other brain games are not enough to strengthen those cortex regions in the brain. The second article, “For a Happy Hippocampus, Keep Running” focused on the relationship of physical exercise on the development of new neurons found in the hippocampus. The primary function of the hippocampus is learning and memory formation. This study measured brain- derived neurotrophic factor B. D. N. F .production. To Be Continued

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Harbaugh and Schembechler Part 3

Under coach Harbaugh, the Wolverines attained a 20-6 overall record; a 13-4 Big Ten conference record; and a 1-1 postseason with a win in the Citrus Bowl; and loss in the Orange Bowl. The University of Michigan was ranked numbers 11 and 10 in the AP polls, respectively. Coach Schembechler achieved in his first two years, a 17-4 overall record; a 12-2 Big Ten conference record; and a loss in the Rose Bowl. His Wolverines were ranked number 9 in the AP poll for both 1969 and 1970. Bo didn’t find the cupboard bare when he inherited Bump Elliott’s team. In fact, many of Bumps recruits were college all Americans; and drafted into the pros. All Pro Dan Dierdorf was elected into the NFL Hall of Fame; All Pro Thom Darden, was elected into the Cleveland Browns Hall of Fame, and All Pro, Reggie McKenzie was inducted into the Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame. Thus, Bo had a solid foundation from which to begin his quest, starting in his first season in 1969. Likewise, Jim Harbaugh’s cupboard wasn’t strictly bare of talent either. Jake Ryan is having a stellar season with the playoff bound Green Bay Packers. All-Americans, Jabrill Peppers, Jake Butt, and Jourdan Lewis are likely to have solid careers at the next level. However, in Bo’s third year, his Wolverines attained an 11-1 overall record; an 8-0 Big Ten conference, and a loss in the Rose Bowl. Also, he beat the Buckeyes, two out of three games they played. Let’s see what Harbaugh’s Wolverines can muster in the 2017 season? He’s going to lose a significant number of his seniors in 2016, so 2017 will be a good test. Jim Harbaugh has a long way to go. He’s already lost twice to the Buckeyes-42-13 in 2015 and 27-24 in 2016. Don’t forget that Bump was fired, when he lost to Ohio State 50 to 14. So much for the numbers and statistics as there is more that goes in the definition of what makes a great coach. What about the coach’s significant impact on his players lives and their psychological development? Bo Schembechler’s, greatest teaching, amid the racial divide in the 60s, was when he taught his young athletes about the meaning of “the team.” His players learned not to lose their identity, but to hold their narcissism in check even with unorthodox conditioning and brutal practice conditions. They learned they could accomplish the unfathomable by coalescing as “one” with a seemingly unbreakable bond. They came together in 1969 like a non-severed Gordian knot. In fact, the bond between these men still remain. In this process, Bo taught them, and he in turn learned from them, creating a unity of brotherhood along with a sense of integrity, honesty, trustworthiness and love. They never forgot him and he never forgot them. Good luck, Coach Harbaugh because now it’s your turn- Go Blue

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Harbaugh and Schembechler Part 2

First year Michigan Coach Jim Harbaugh has a more comprehensive and impressive resume than his mentor Bo. For example, the All-American and Heisman candidate Harbaugh was Bo’s quarterback. Quarterback Harbaugh’s was a first round NFL draft pick in 1987, and played 14 years in the NFL. He was also an assistant football coach at Western Kentucky and an assistant NFL coach with the Oakland Raiders. He then became head coach at the University of San Diego; Stanford; and the San Francisco 49ers. Unlike Schembechler, Jim Harbaugh was in high demand by the NFL before he accepted the U of M coaching position by interim athletic director, Jim Hackett. The Michigan Wolverines did not fare well after head coach Lloyd Carr’s retirement. Head coaches Rich Rodriguez and Brady Hoke did not stop the beatings by Ohio State; nor was Michigan a football powerhouse by any stretch of the imagination. The attendance was still good at the Big House, but Bo Schembechler was turning over in his grave because of the less than stellar football, played during those years. Wolverine football was at its crossroads hoping for the Messiah. Then, coach Harbaugh became available and was immediately hired; given an enormous salary; with the keys to the Big House. Although, it’s much too early to give the crown to Jim Harbaugh, we can compare his first few years in Ann Arbor to his mentor.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Harbaugh and Schembechler

Jim Harbaugh, the current University of Michigan football coach, arrived in Ann Arbor on December of 2014, at age 51, with tremendous enthusiasm by all. Can he become the greatest football coach in the “ modern era” in Wolverine history? Currently, that title belongs to none other than Bo Schembechler. Bo Schembechler, age 39, was seen in Ann Arbor in December over 49 years ago, in 1968. He was not greeted with an overabundance of adoring enthusiasm. In fact, the new athletic director Don Canham fired All American, Rose Bowl player and Rose Bowl winning coach Bump Elliott, beloved by all. This icon, in fact, led the Wolverines to an 8-2 won loss record in 1968. However, the mortal wound that led to his dismissal was the unmerciful beating by Woody Hayes and his Ohio State Buckeyes that season by a score of 50 to 14 in Columbus. Other factors that played a part in Bump’s dismissal, was the lack of interest in Michigan Football. There were many diversions for the students and alumni during those tumultuous years - political assassinations, race riots, Vietnam War and changes in social and sexual mores. That 1969 football season didn’t start off well for coach Schembechler, as Bumps, former players severely didn’t like Bo. They were neither buying into his coaching nor conditioning methods nor his offensive and defensive football philosophy. The team, that season, was struggling with a 3-2 record during their first five games, and were behind in the first half of their sixth game against the University of Minnesota. Bo, with a soft-spoken voice, told the warriors at halftime “We are the better team and do not to waste this opportunity.” Bo’s players united as they became “the team.” They then demolished the Gophers, followed by thrashing Illinois and Iowa, in that order. They were now ready for the revenge and showdown against Woody’s Buckeyes on that wintry November 22, 1969 game in front of 103,588 fans. Thus, Bo Schembechler, on that infamous Saturday, in Ann Arbor, began his quest, his identity and eventually he became the legend. Bo led his Wolverines for the next 21 years, with sellouts in the Big House; 234 victories and 65 losses and eight ties; winning or sharing 13 Big Ten conference titles during his realm. While leading the Wolverines during this glorious time, he was the winningest football coach in the nation. And he alone has a statue in front of Schembechler Hall. To Be Continued

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Mass Killings

We have many acts of violence, mass killings in our country! The American College Dictionary, defines violence as “rough or injurious action or treatment.” The following are a few brief examples of influences that contribute, correlate with the personality and character development of individuals that commit acts of hate. 1. Implicit bias is rooted and a human tendency-maybe in the DNA that divide and discriminate against others in our social world. In other words, “It’s us versus them.” Early on, we differentiate acceptance of others like us versus fear or threat of others not like us. Groups are often divided among race, religion, sex, socioeconomic status, political parties, etc. Even a football team has its own followers and haters- the enemy. We perceive, have feelings for and treat our own groups, significantly differently from “the other.” 2. Our culture, dating back to the Monroe doctrine of 1823 and the idea of Manifest Destiny, followed by two centuries of American exceptionalism painted a picture of glorified acts of violence. There was justified killing of Native Americans by settlers and soldiers in taming the West. Our movies and TV Westerns were about the good guys and the Indians as the bad villains. Even today, theater and home audiences clap, cheer in delight when a bad hombre gets killed. 3. Our video games are mostly about violence. For example, the Grand Theft Auto series of videos has resulted in more than $2.5 billion in sales. Is there a difference between killing in the video and killing in our communities? Do we become numb and desensitized to images of death? 4. The media and their daily news cycles tend to give lots of information about the perpetrator, compared to the victims. We see their names and faces along with their history. We may even hear from their mother, father and the neighbor in the process. The killer is covered with a 24-7 blitz. The murderers have instant notoriety during that exuberance of TV coverage. If one wants a claim to fame, - go destroy a group of unprotected, unarmed and peaceful civilians. Back in the day, we had trusted and trustworthy journalists like Walter Cronkite and Edward R Murrow. They objectively, without regard to political party, reported the news. Today, we are not presented with TV or radio, rational-objective news. Instead, we are presented with cable, personalities and social media sites that provide us with noise, entertainment, misinformation, glorification and countless interviews with repeated talking points. TV and the Internet have changed our world-in some ways for the detriment of all. 5. Child abuse, maltreatment and other restrictive and negative parenting practices also contribute to the development of the violent personality. These factors affect the highly suggestible, who have not developed a firm sense of self. Further, many are paranoid and blame others for what they see as disappointments in their life time of failures. It’s easy to blame injustice on others, and then distort and justify one’s acts. They have developed a sadomasochistic character style. They do not place a high value on life. They simply treat others inhumanely. There also depressed, socially isolated, and are unable to perceive an optimistic future. There being, is about taking life, not giving it. Sources: The National Psychologist, September/October 2016 and the New York Times, December 11, 2016.