Saturday, March 11, 2006

Israeli Anti-Semitic Cartoons!

Entries into the Israeli Anti-Semitic Cartoon Contest have been flooding in. Some of them are pretty funny. Lampooning anti-Semitic cartoons does sort of take the sting out of the hatred directed at Jews by the illustrators of such trash. Many of the cartoons highlight the sheer idiocy of the message of the anti-Semitic cartoons. But despite laughing at the Jew-haters out there, the truth is it’s frightening such crude messages of Jew-hatred have such a wide audience.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Are we alone? Latest column

Here is a link to my latest column.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Training with the pros

I don’t follow football. I enjoy watching an important game—and I admit to being a fair-weather Packer fan—but generally I know about as much about college and pro-football as I do about NASCAR—i.e. nada.

So it was quite a shock to me the other day when I went to the bank to deposit some money and one of the bank employees who works out at my gym said, “So, how was it working out shoulders with Michael Bennett?”

“Oh, you mean those two built, strong dudes from last night? One of them was Michael Bennett?”

“Yeah, man.”


“Um, excuse my ignorance—but who exactly is Michael Bennett?”

“What?—you don’t know?! He used to play for the Minnesota Vikings; I think he’s a free agent now.”


But it gets more interesting. My brother—who follows football and most other sports (and poker)—informed me that Michael Bennett is related to “Uncle Dave.” Uncle Dave is my childhood friend’s uncle. Since I’ve known Dave all my life, I also call him, somewhat jokingly, Uncle Dave.

So today at the gym when I saw Bennett and his trainer/friend, I mentioned our tenuous link (we were already on a “Wuz up?” basis from having worked shoulders together). Then I went to practice my clean-and-jerk. Just as I set up my weight, Bennett and his trainer started doing the same exercise next to me. As I watched Bennett gracefully clean the weight to his collarbone, I could see his technique was differed from mine; i.e. his was correct and mine was incorrect. So, I asked him and his trainer if they could watch me do it and give me pointers, which they graciously did. Their pointers helped. Even though I’m still working on it (Bennett confided that it took him months to get the clean motion down perfect), I have a good mental picture and intellectual understanding of how to perform the motion.

Even though I did pick up off the floor and cleaned 133Ibs, followed by jerking it over my head, I didn’t have the technique down pat. So, I’m going to continue working on cleaning and jerking my bodyweight, but this time doing it just as Bennett and his trainer taught me. Once I have the form down perfect, then I’ll consider my feat accomplished.

I’m really tired now because I got a little obsessive about the exercise at the gym, and kept cleaning and cleaning and cleaning weight, hefting it to my collarbone. After that I did squats and some other exercises. Now I’m just beat. But I have that nice natural high I get from finishing an invigorating workout. As I type, I’m sipping on a glass of red wine and looking forward to another day of work at the West Bend Daily News. Tomorrow while I’m sitting at my desk, working away on an article, every time I get up or move in certain ways I’ll be reminded of my intense workout from the night before. The next-day-soreness is one of the things I like best about working out, other than the endorphin rush or nice resultant physique; it’s the soreness the next day, when you can really feel your muscles.

But another nice thing about meeting and working out with a professional athlete was that Bennett was totally unassuming. I would never have known he was a pro unless other people told me. I just figured he was an impressively built, very strong nice guy. We tend to put athletes and other famous people on pedestals, and as a result we sometimes act in a deferential manner towards them, and sometimes they expect it. It was refreshing to see that Michael Bennett was a friendly, normal guy you can meet at the gym. And, of course, it was even nicer that he gave me pointers on my technique!


I went to an orientation for my job today. I had to drive for an hour and a half just to get there. Once I arrived four people, also slated to be “oriented,” began trickling in. Everybody was nice, and so I feel a bit bad writing the following, but here it goes: They all had fucked up teeth—one was missing a couple—and they all reeked of stale tobacco. I suppose you could say I was the only one who had an office job; the rest did other stuff related to printing and publishing. Anyway, we had a choice of drinks and snacks. I chose a little coffee to give me a boost after the long trip; in fact it was still early, 8:45AM to be precise. The others all chose Mountain Dew and chocolate bars. Throughout the never-ending-orientation they continued to suck down sodas and eat chocolate bars. When I left the room to relieve myself and returned, the entire room stank like an ashtray. Two were also coughing, sneezing and one was blowing thick gobs of snot into a tissue; you could just hear the viscous stuff burbling out. Yuck!

The orientation was all about stuff that anybody who’s ever had a job should be know: don’t get drunk at work; don’t get high at work; don’t sexually harass people at work; don’t be a racist; don’t pee on the floor.

Drove all that way for that! Oy!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Goal Achieved

Well, I clean and jerked my goal, about 135Ibs.; three times out of five attempts today. There is no way that I could have significantly increased my strength within one week. I think I owe my “feat” to technique. So, I guess I’ll have to up my personal challenge to 150Ibs by May 24.

I must say it felt really good to clean and jerk my bodyweight over my head. It gave me a real rush; for the rest of the day I kept thinking about cleaning and jerking. The funny thing about the clean and jerk is that up until I tried it, I had previous always jerked and then cleaned up afterwards.

Israeli special forces in Iran?


Israeli special forces are working in Iran to locate the precise sites at which Iran continues to enrich uranium, a British newspaper reported Sunday.

According to the Sunday Times article, the Israeli team is based in northern Iraq and has the support of the United States.

Read the rest, here.

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