Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Fitness Master

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Invariably, it happens every school year. We read a newspaper editorial or a magazine article aloud together, and somewhere in the piece the word "and" is used to begin a sentence.

Immediately, hands rocket into the air. Some students coo, "Ooh, ooh!" like doves to get my attention. Others sit straighter and wave their entire arm side-to-side, like a soccer fan waving his country's flag at a World Cup game.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

On Monday, I begin what you might see as a daunting task. I will begin teaching seventh graders how to do legitimate, academic research that for most will culminate in the writing of a small research paper that follows the Modern Language Association guidelines the same style required in virtually all upper-level high school classes and colleges.

What can make the process daunting is that a few weeks from now some students will produce papers that give little indication that they attended class.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

If you take a cruise and see an iceberg of awe-inspiring size, keep this in mind: only about one ninth of its total mass projects above the ocean water.

That's why an iceberg is often used to explain the untapped potential of the human mind. That hidden eight ninths, researchers say, is the percentage of the human mind that the typical person never utilizes.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

You've heard the saying before: Just because something is simple doesn't make it easy which is the case with last week's surefire way to manage body weight.

On paper, eating more protein and complex carbohydrates and less simple carbohydrates looks to be a simple substitution. But if you don't control all the ingredients in your foods by preparing your own meals even if you eat only the "best" pre-made foods and meals found in the health-food aisle of your local grocery store the task goes from a swap meet to a scavenger hunt.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

You've seen the typical man-on-the-street survey on comedy shows, talk shows, and even documentaries. It's when a single question is asked of passersby while a camera is rolling.

Sometimes, the responses are humorous. Other times, they are downright ignorant.

Take the responses given in the well-known documentary, "Super Size Me." When Morgan Spurlock asks for the definition of a calorie, no one gets even remotely close to the correct answer. But there was no humor in the answers, just ignorance.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Plotinus, a Hellenistic philosopher who was influenced by both Plato and Hinduism, reportedly said, "It is a wise man that can learn one thing from another." While it is less than clear if the "another" refers to the word "thing" or an unnamed man (the rules of modern grammar suggest the former), both are accurate observations.

My hope is that by reading this column you'll learn from all of the aforementioned: the one thing, the other thing, and the man telling about them.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ask me my political affiliation and I will say, "Independent," since that is how I'm registered. Ask me my political philosophy and I will coin a term.

"Practical Libertarian."

While I believe the best government is a minimal one that allows for a maximal amount of individual freedom, I realize that's an ideal. What's real is that too often an unfettered pursuit of individual freedom shackles another's.

That's why we need laws. That's why I support a one-cent-per-ounce soda tax.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

When I do a typical, early-autumn bicycle ride with a small group of buddies from Berks County, the pace is far from breakneck. Which means there's time to ask all sorts of health-and-fitness related questions.

On one such ride, I asked about beet juice, the best workouts for preparing for a time trial, and today's topic, the recently suggested tax on soda. The guy who asked about the soda tax is hooked on the stuff, so I decided to have some fun with him.

"What'd you pay the last time you got gas?"

"Two forty-three."

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The most inspirational article I read this summer was written for the LA Times by Roy M. Wallack. Wallack, who is in his 50s, did something rather noteworthy.

In one day, he lifted weights for two hours, rode a mountain bike up a hill that ascended 2,200 feet in only four miles, paddled a paddle board on the ocean for an hour, and finished it all with 11 full-hang pull-ups. The entire workout took nearly five hours.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Years ago when I was distributing report cards to my homeroom students, I handed one filled with D's and F's to a boy. A friend seated nearby noticed the poor grades and that many teachers had selected the same word to assess the boy's performance in the comment section.

Unfamiliar with the word, the friend asked what apathetic meant. The recipient's response (and I kid you not): "I don't know and I don't care."

Talk about irony.