Subscribe to It Has Nothing to Do with Age by Email Follow Tusk95664 on Twitter It Has Nothing to Do with Age: February 2016
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.

Monday, February 29, 2016

What Does Your Brain Have To Do with It? Part 2

.. Back to the Montana of today. After retiring from the Kansas City Chiefs, Joe was a TV analyst. Joe’s NFL career lasted significantly longer than his TV analyst position. Joe simply was not an effective and smooth communicator for TV. Possibly, as a result of CTE damage, the left hemisphere of his brain accounted for his lackluster or inhibited performances as a TV analyst. Or, that side of his brain might have suffered significant impaired brain mutations and chemical changes while in the embryonic stage. Did his right damaged hemisphere then compensate for those deficiencies suffered in his left hemisphere? Thus, it would not matter when Joe took the WAIS as his Performance IQ score would be higher than his Verbal IQ score. Returning to the Wall Street Journal article, there were three hypotheses given explaining creativity and brain functioning. In the first hypothesis, involving the prefrontal cortex, suggests that when this region is damaged, this affects the ability of high-level analysis and planning. Further, individuals then seem to stop censoring or restricting their behavior and seem to let go or express many hidden inhibitions. And when this happens, perhaps a creative drive in the right hemisphere then emerges and results in creative behavior or actions that are not well rehearsed, blocked or even at the conscious level. It’s as if the superego is unable to set or provide limits. It can’t say “no, don’t do or say that because it’s not acceptable to the masses, since it may not be politically correct. The second hypothesis pertains to where the damage occurs. If most of the damage is on the left side of the brain, which is the more analytical calculating side compared to the right side or hemisphere which is better at interpreting visual spatial relationships, than significant behavioral differences occur. So when the dominant left hemisphere is damaged, the visual spatial faculties of the right hemisphere seem to rise to prominence or better expression. The third hypothesis suggests that the left hemisphere controls language. And if there’s failure of language that in and of itself could cause the enhanced creativity of expression for the verbal language left side loss. Evaluation of artists Leonardo da Vinci, Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol suggests that they were dyslexic. And many dyslexic children seem very artistic. Might Joe Montana have been dyslexic as well? This could account for his right hemisphere dominance. The authors conclude that perhaps one way to harness creative potential is by releasing inhibitions, not overthinking and engaging in free association. Also, the key to creativity might lie in the ability to suspend conscious thinking and allow the mind to wander. Sigmund Freud termed this Free Association. This was one major cornerstone of his psychoanalytic treatment. To Be Continued

Sunday, February 28, 2016

What Does Your Brain Have To Do with It?

While reading an article titled “Dementia and the Keys to Creativity,” in the February 20-21, 2016 edition of The Wall Street Journal, my thoughts turned to Joe Montana. Joe Montana is considered, by some, the greatest NFL quarterback ever to play the game. I then wondered how Montana might perform on the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale [WAIS]. This intelligence test, not only is a measure of intelligence, but also offers an extensive clinical assessment. For example, there is a set of 6 Verbal subtests and a set of 5 Performance subtests. The Verbal subtests are associated with cognitive ability or verbal efficiency located in the left hemisphere of the brain while the Performance subtests measure visual motor activities that are associated with cognitive ability in the right hemisphere of the brain. While Joe played quarterback for the Fighting Irish and the San Francisco 49ers, he was at the top of his game, winning all those Super Bowls. I hypothesized that if Joe Montana was administered the WAIS, he would have attained a significantly higher total Performance IQ score than a total Verbal IQ score. My reasoning is that the Performance IQ measures such things as planning, organization, concept formation, concentration, and attention along with visual motor functioning activities that favor action oriented individuals .These individuals often have a narcissistic character type diagnosis. In other words, Joe would do well with the tasks, on this portion of the test, that require external manipulation and action. And, as football skills require gross motor, v isual motor coordination, and anticipation of causal related events like throwing a football to a receiver. Joe’s football playing ability did not require exceptional verbal skills. The Verbal subtests, on the other hand, are associated with questions dealing with ideas requiring thought, concentration, and internal elaboration. Also, this test measures a breath of concepts, ideas and experience gained during one’s lifetime; measures of social conventionality and social judgment- or social interaction; verbal concept formation and immediate memory and recall; and, a memory task that’s not only extensive, but requires concentration and attention .An individual with a verbal fluency like President Obama would have an extremely high score on these sub tests. To be continued

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Parents Are the Problem

As we all know, our country has the biggest defense budget; the biggest, smartest and most weapons of mass destruction; and have been in numerous battles within the last 75 years. We have violent sports such as football, boxing and physically fighting in cages to name a few. Also, we have numerous electronic games that feature fighting, death and violence. Hollywood and TV feature much killing, torture and physical violence. Our police even get in the act by killing unarmed individuals over and over again. Even some presidential politicians, talk tough about carpet bombing and destroying our enemies. And not too long ago, we witnessed a meltdown of the Dow Jones Industrial averages that somewhat rivaled the great depression. Underneath the anger, bravado, tough talk and culture of violence exists fear and anxiety. It’s simply easier to talk about the anger, in our country, as opposed to the real issue of fear and anxiety. In other words, there are plenty of these symptoms expressed in our culture. Let’s not forget our schools. For example, last year at the West Windsor Plainsboro School District, located in New Jersey, the superintendent in that district recommended mental health assessments for more than 120 middle school and high school students. The students were exhibiting signs of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. This superintendent wrote a letter to the parents and wrote “I cannot help but think that we may be failing our students by reinforcing an educational system that perpetuates grades at the expense of deep and meaningful learning.” Further, the school district is located near Princeton University and includes about 9800 students. This superintendent abolished midterm and final exams and instituted a no homework policy during breaks and some weekends. Not surprisingly, not all parents are happy because they are worried that these changes will leave their children unprepared for elite colleges. Other schools systems Like Montgomery, County Public Schools in Rockville, Maryland, which has and is one of the highest ranking school districts in the United States followed suit. This district voted to eliminate high school final exams and to replace them starting next fall with in class projects and other tasks. Some schools have even eliminated the advanced placement classes, saying that they contribute to academic pressure. Once again, the underlying issue is fear and anxiety or fear of failure. Even though some schools are making these changes, they are dealing only with the symptom. The real issue can be found with the parents. These parents are unfulfilled in some aspect of their life and likely simply fearful too. They may or may not have achieved that nebulous idea of success or happiness with themselves. So they, put pressure and their expectations on their children, not only for academics, but also for sports. In our culture, the nebulous definition of success is loosely defined many ways. For some it might be being part of that 1/10 of 1%. For others, it might be attaining CEO status, having that special occupation, attaining the dream house job, winding up with that special ZIP Code or some other illusion. For many, the drive for success and the pursuit of happiness is simply an unfulfilled illusion. They would be smarter seeking mental and physical health in their health span. On top of all this, as world becomes smaller, our countries ranking in academics or education is nowhere near the top even though we spend the most money per student. Well, don’t worry because Donald Trump’s is going to make our country great again. Once again, it’s a symptom of being inadequate, common or not special. Also, don’t forget all the superheroes from Marvel Comics; Jack Reacher; Mission Impossible; James Bond, etc. that save the day from world catastrophes. We like our heroes to rescue us from our ego ideal. The world of sports is another example of the craziness in our culture. Coaches at all levels, get fired, even if they have a winning record. The unrealistic expectation is that you have to win clear and simple. The acronym of the NFL, which means “not for long” says it all. Guess what: an 8th grade quarterback was given a scholarship offer from the University of Miami? And, LeBron James 10 year old son has already received offers from schools. If this commentary bothers you, one option is to just take a pill. For additional information, check out the February 13-14 2016 edition of The Wall Street Journal.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Does Lance Armstrong Know the Secret?

Tony Brickel ,one of my current running partners, sent me an article from the April 15, 2015 edition of the New York Times titled” The Right Dose of Exercise for a Longer Life.” For brief background information, I first met Tony and Jeff at a Ride and Tie event on Mount Hamilton in San Jose, California in 1997. Tony and Jeff were competing in the Ride and Tie and I competed in the 25 mile limited distance endurance ride. My life changed at that point. For those unfamiliar, Ride and Tie is an event consisting of two individuals, and a horse. This team competes against other teams covering 25 – 100 of miles over various mountainous terrains. Each team begins with a runner on the ground and a rider mounted on his horse. Someone yells” go “and the horses and riders race off. After a certain distance, determined by the team, the mounted rider dismounts , ties his horse to a tree limb and then continues running down the trail. Meanwhile, the runner reaches the horse, unties it, mounts and begins chasing the runner ahead. This ride, run, and tie process goes on until the entire team crosses the finish line. The first team wins. At that San Jose competition, I learned more about the event and was set up with Russ Kiernan, my partner, for the next event at Quicksilver. This meant that I had to begin trail running. For additional information, I refer you to “It Has Nothing To Do With Age.” In my book, I give background to my running and riding along with profiling athletes at least 65 years or older competing in ultra-events. In 2002, I ran the Western States ultra-run that began at Squaw Valley, California and ended in Auburn, California. This was a one day 100 mile run. Back to the present as last Saturday, Tony, Chris and I ran in a Western States training run. Incidentally, we were joined by Lance Armstrong and Eric Byrnes. Eric, formerly played for the Oakland A’s . They passed us at No Hands Bridge. The next Western States training run will be on the Memorial Day holiday. In early March, Tony, Jonathan and I have entered the Way Too Cool 50 K. Tony and I, on average, run in the neighborhood of 50 miles per week. I started running that mileage in late 2001. The New York Times article, followed the exercise habits of 661,000 adults, most of them middle-aged. These adults were categorized from those who did not exercise in all, to those that worked out for 10 times the current recommendations. They then looked at 14 years of death records for these individuals. The conclusions were the following: 1. Those that did not exercise at all were at the highest risk of early death. 2. Those who exercised a little lowered their risk of premature death by 20%. 3. Those who met the guidelines by competing 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise increasing longevity and had a 31% less risk of dying during the 14 year period compared to those who never exercised. 4. Those who tripled the recommended level of exercise, mostly by walking for 450 minutes per week, were 39% less likely to die prematurely than those who never exercised. 5. Those individuals engaging in 10 times or more the recommended exercise dose gained about the same reduction in mortality risk as people that simply met the guidelines. But they also did not increase their risk of dying young. Tony’s conclusion “okay, Frank were going to live longer.”

Monday, February 15, 2016

Who was Bo Schembechler? Part 4

Schembechler reportedly had one fist fight in high school, with an ex-Marine. Bo sucker punched him while he was taking off his coat. Bo said “I wasn’t proud of what I did.” Bo felt guilty for not fighting fair. Bo said he wasn’t good with the girls, but at a party, he engaged in some kissing. He didn’t attend his junior prom, nor the senior prom. He said he didn’t study much in high school. He reported that he didn’t cheat, but “copied a few papers.” This sounds like cheating to me. Bo how could you rationalize that behavior? According to Betty, when OSU lost the game, no one could talk to her son after the game. She’d make his dinner, and he would take a nap after dinner. This happened when Bo was coaching at OSU. Woody Hayes took over for Sid Gilman at Miami of Ohio. Woody got rid of all of Gilman’s innovations and replaced them with old-fashioned blocking, tackling and physical torture. His motto was “You’re not trying hard enough,” “No mistakes,” “Harder, we will work harder.” He said that Hayes was the greatest teacher, the greatest motivator, and maybe the best coach in history. He would humble me, anger me, befriend me, and inspire me. I miss him. Back then I despised him. He was tough and nasty. Woody looked like a naval officer, perfect posture wit broad shoulders. This description of Woody Hayes sounds like the one and only Bo Schembechler. This suggests that Bo totally identified, incorporated and learned from his mentor Woody. Bo treated his players without respect. They hated him also. But these tactics worked for Woody and for Bo. Bo loved Woody and Bo’s players loved Bo. In summary, the following: 1. Bo’s competitiveness started with his older sisters 2. Bo was reared within a working-class blue-collar socioeconomic family. 3. Bo’s mother was there for him emotionally, and he attempted to please her while his father appeared emotionally unavailable. Bo’s temper, authoritarian personality and use of colorful language was learned in his upbringing. 4. Bo had significant sports disappointments and that likely fueled his fear of failure and propelled him to treat his players ruthlessly. 5. Woody Hayes, was his mentor. 6. Schembechler learned to fight and compete in his female oriented family. The word love was never mentioned. His father, modeled, not being there because he had to work. Hard work was okay and was the important model. Don’t forget that Bo was married three times 7. Although Bo had friends, their names were never mentioned. 8. On the playing field, one knew where they stood with Bo-they were fodder. Off the playing field, Bo treated his players humanly with warmth and respect. Bo’s been described by Don Canham, “I’ve never met a man who had a more single-purpose mind than Bo Schembechler.” It’s been reported that Bo spends 12 months a year on his job. He’s consumed by it. His life literally begins and ends with winning football games as little else seems to matter to him. This competitive man was driven to succeed and gain mastery, I believe by a fear of failure. References: Man in Motion by Joe falls and Bo by Mitch Albom

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Who was Bo Schembechler Part 3

Prior to entering high school and playing in a football pickup game, Bo attempted to tackle the ball carrier. However, the ball carrier would not go down and dragged him along. In the process, Schembechler tore up his leg-ripped open his knee. But he wouldn’t dare cry on that occasion in front of his friends. In high school as a sophomore, he saw that the incoming freshman were noticeably faster than him. The intelligent Schembechler went to his high school coach Carl Harter and asked him how he could help the team. The coach said he needed an offensive guard. The 5’10”, 190 pound, give or take Bo became an offensive guard. Bo listened to Notre Dame Football games on the radio and would’ve liked to have played football for them, but they were not interested in him. That was another severe narcissistic injury and disappointment, and perhaps added to his competitive drive to succeed. During one football game in high school he suffered a broken nose. His mother took him to a Dr. and the doctor said “no more football.” Bo gave his mom that special look. Bo played the rest of the season with an old facemask helmet. Notice the mom, even though Bo was injured, supported his decision to play football. In order to play high school football, Schembechler would travel 3 to 4 miles to the practice field by crossing a canal, and running to the practice. Football, became more and more important to him, because he liked the challenge. “I would respect the guy who would go in there and hit and I wanted to be that guy.” He was recruited by Michigan but didn’t think he would get in because of academics. He was also recruited by Ohio State. When Sid Gilman, coach of Miami of Ohio recruited him, Bo attended that school on a football scholarship. Incidentally, Sid Gilman is a coaching legend and considered one of the all-time best coaches. In Bo’s greatest football game in high school, he was playing offensive tackle. His team was in a real battle with Alliance. Both teams were undefeated. However, his team lost. 7-0. He became frustrated and mad during the process. After that game, Bo went to the locker room, was sick to his stomach and started crying. He said he didn’t care if anyone saw him cry. He said that football is an emotional game. If you don’t let your emotions show you can’t be much of a football player. It’s not okay to cry if you are hurt or injured. It’s okay to cry if you lost the game. Another disappointment and failure was experienced by Schembechler, this time in another sport. Likely, the fear of failure became more pronounced and added to his drive for mastery. Bo didn’t take losing very well. Bo would hang out with his friends and not always study. But he finally changed his ways and studied. Perhaps it was a school report that said “his chances weren’t very good.” And his mother kept that report. Carl Harter was also the basketball coach. During one basketball game, a technical foul was called. The coach ran after Bo, followed him to the locker room, grabbed him by the hair and said “don’t you ever do anything like that again.” Actually, the technical call was on another player, McCoskey who cussed out a referee. The coach hit Bo, but maybe it was more like a slap. Bo didn’t admit that he was abused. Bo, however confessed that he was afraid of that coach. That high school coach modeled the physical physicality in sports with the message that it was okay to be physical with the player. Bo at Michigan, exhibited the same physical and verbally abusive behavior with Jim Brandstatter. Bo believed that Jim missed the block and ran after him verbally and physically accosted him. Even though one of his coaches said that Jim made his block, Bo said “he needed it anyway.” To Be Continued

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Who was Bo Schembechler? Part 2

Bo perceived Betty very differently. She was described as a dynamo, a force and she also attended the Episcopalian church faithfully. He always knew where he stood with her because she unhesitatingly spoke her mind. Being a baseball fan, Betty listened to the Cleveland Indian games on the radio. He thought he got his temper, energy and stubbornness from his mother. According to Bo, she would say that Bo, in high school, never had a date and was never much of an athlete and would not give him praise. But he also said that his mother was a positive force and he was crazy about her. She worked at the bank and during World War 2 at a rubber factory. He praised her for her cooking as he was never hungry as she would cook chicken, beef and potato salad. She was the sports fan and on Ladies Day she would take the kids to the Indians game. Bo also received, from her, positive reinforcement for playing sports, and likely Bo attempted to please her, even though she didn’t verbally praise him. He never said that he loved her. Perhaps the word love was not part of the macho vocabulary. Schembechler was a stocky kid, with a crew cut, corduroy knickers and had lots of friends. However, I do not have any stories about the friends. His competitiveness, sibling rivalry and temper were expressed and nurtured with sibling rivalry as they fought over food, the radio and their one bicycle. He was a baseball, nut and immersed himself listening to Indian games on the radio. He memorized the Indian players name, their uniform numbers as well as their baseball statistics. His fantasy was to pitch in game seven of the World Series. In that fantasy he would strike out the last batter to win the game. Baseball was his first love. Bo worked at the Nye Rubber Factory as a teenager. The lye material, on one occasion, got into his eye and it burned. Bo realized at that point, working in a factory was not for him. In other words, one’s vocation was important as he understood what his father’s employment life was like. He wanted to accomplish more for himself. Bo described himself as a sports enthusiast-baseball, football, and basketball. Baseball at one point was his favorite sport, and first love. In high school, this southpaw pitcher entered the important State semifinals game with the score tied in the seventh inning. However, the bases were loaded when he took the mound. If they were victorious, they would compete in the championship game. The tension was fierce and the importance of the game was on the line. However, Bo allowed a bloop single down the right-field line, and his high school team lost, 3-0 and thus eliminated from participating in the championship game. That was a major disappointment and failure for the fierce competitor Bo. Bo described that day as one of the toughest days of his life. His pitching days were done and he never pitched again. Would that failure and fear of failure later propel and drive him for mastery and efficiency? A much later highlight was when his friend Hal Naragon of the Indians introduced him to Bob Feller. Bo said he didn’t get over that introduction for a very long time. To Be Continued

Friday, February 12, 2016

Who was Bo Schembechler?

Bo Schembechler Jr. was born on April’s fool’s day in 1929 in Barberton, Ohio. He described it as a tough, but typical industrial town with every ethnic group represented. It was a true melting pot. His parents were Glen E Schembechler and Betty Schembechler. Junior was the youngest of three children. Interestingly, he didn’t know his older sister’s birthdate. He thought Virginia was about five years older than him. He believed Margie, the next in line, was about 13 months older than him. Margie couldn’t say brother and said Bobo instead. Thus, Bo got his nickname. His father, a member of the working class, worked for the Babcock and Wilcox Boilermaker Company until the depression took his job. He then became a fireman and moonlighted on the side to make ends meet. This blue-collar family rented a home from a grocer where they bought their groceries. Bo thought that it might’ve been part of the rental agreement. Junior describes his father as being an honorable man yet frustrated with his career. Glenn senior was given an opportunity to take a civil service exam in order to become fire chief. However, he subsequently learned that his competitor had a sample of the exam in his possession prior, which resulted in him achieving a higher score on the exam. Apparently his father cried and blurted out to his family “I just can’t do it.” His father had had an opportunity to see the exam prior, but declined. His competitor with the higher score became the fire chief. Glenn chose not to work under the cheater -called him “a son of a bitch” and subsequently transferred to another job-a fire inspector’s position. Bo claimed he learned integrity from his father from that episode. Bo also that his father never achieved what he desired and was frustrated with his career. That also was a valuable lesson for Bo. Junior said that his father called that new fire chief, colorful words such as “Bastards”, “cheaters”, “A son of a bitch” for cheating. We now know where Bo learned his colorful language. Bo probably did not spend any significant time with his father until he went on a fishing trip to Canada with his father. Unfortunately, a year later, his father died at age 60, in 1962. Apparently his father never came to any of Bo’s high school football practices and Bo supposedly said, “It didn’t bother me.” On the other hand, perhaps a contradiction, when Bo became a coach, he stated that his father bragged about him at the Elks club and that he probably “laid it on pretty thick to those boys.” He claimed he didn’t really know his father very well. He added that his father never give him advice or encouraged him. Was his father indifferent to him? He didn’t consider his father, a hero. Bo’s father was not an athlete nor did he read the sports section in the daily paper. He did not complete high school but Bo still considered him smart. He described his father as being principled and taught never to lie. Bo also learned not to bend one’s principles-and that sticking to your guns is important, regardless. Some might call that stubborn. To Be Continued. Frank Lieberman

Friday, February 5, 2016

Losing Weight Suggestions

As you know, many are concerned about putting on excess weight or even being fat. That issue for some, has a tremendous emotional value. In our “youthful” culture looking good is supreme. We have a plethora of different diets that seem to work for some, but not for all. Perhaps, an Israeli study of personalized nutrition might assist those who are having difficulty keeping weight off in the wrong places. Briefly, this Israeli study used various devices to monitor constantly the blood sugar of 800 adults. They reported that blood sugar levels, after meals, vary among the participants in ways that couldn’t necessarily be explained by what they consumed. So, these researchers devised a computer-based algorithm taking into account such characteristics as bodyweight, blood sugar, type of bacteria found in the intestines in order to predict more accurately, what happened to blood sugar after an individual person, consumed a specific food. We know that blood sugar after eating is strongly associated with the risk of type II diabetes and heart disease. However, blood sugar is not the only way to predict an individual’s predisposition to an obesity related problem. For example, insulin may be an even more powerful predictor as the pancreas releases insulin after eating. This hormone then directs incoming calories into storage areas of the liver, muscle and fat tissue. Hours later, Insulin levels fall and calories re-enter the bloodstream for use by the body. This is why people with type I diabetes who receive excess insulin probably gain weight compared to those that receive less insulin as they invariably lose weight, regardless of how much they eat. In another study, researchers gave volunteers a bottle of glucose to drink and then measured their insulin levels some 30 minutes later after a meal. This is called the insulin 30 level test. Individuals were assigned human diets low in fat or low in processed fat digesting carbohydrates-low glycemic load diet. The study, published in 2007 found that individuals with high insulin – 30 did better on the low glycemic load diet compared to the low-fat diet. They concluded that cutting highly processed carbohydrates out of the diet should be considered in losing weight. A few examples on the low glycemic index found among various food groups include the following: coarse barley bread, 75- 80% kernels; pumpernickel bread; 100% whole grain bread; wheat tortilla; tomato juice canned; Raisin Bran-Kellogg’s; All Bran; Couscous; pearled barley; whole wheat kernels ; Rye crisps; shortbread; and soda crackers. For a list of 100+ foods I suggest consulting the Harvard Health Publications on Glycemic index and load. And now a few examples on the high glycemic index found on Harvard’s publications list include the following: baguette white plain; waffles, Aunt Jemima; Lucozade, original sparkling glucose; ; Gatorade; cornflakes; instant oatmeal; puffed wheat; white rice; quick cooking white basmati; rice cakes; vanilla wafers; Regular ice cream; Watermelon; bananas; macaroni and cheese ; Fruit roll ups; oven baked pretzels; baked russet potato; instant mashed potato ; and Pisa served with parmesan cheese and tomato sauce . For complete list of glycemic index of more than 1000 foods can be found in the article “International tables of Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Values: 2008” by Fiona S. Atkinson at all in the December 2008 issue of Diabetes Care. Article found in the New York Times, November 29, 2015