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My Book Reading

Lou Reed: A Life by Anthony DeCurtis

   (in progress)

Double Agent Celery: MI5's Crooked Hero by Carolinda Witt (pen-and-sword books) completed 12-4

The Take by Christopher Reich (Mulholland Books)

Tom Clancy Power & Empire by Marc Cameron

Fools and Mortals by Bernard Cornwell

Munich by Robert Harris

Dead on Arrival by Matt Richtel

Direct Fire by A.J. Tata (completed 12-5)

The Night Trade - Barry Eisler (12-10, review soon)

The Woman in the Window - A.J. Finn (12-11, amazing book, review shortly)

The Kremlin's Candidate by Jason Matthews (reading now, fabulous)

Podcast Favorites

Kara Swisher's Recode Decode this week is an interesting conversation with Tina Brown. Using the publication of her new Vanity Fair Diaries as a starting point, they examine Brown's publishing career, notably her wonderful runs with Vanity Fair and The New Yorker. Then they dive into the internet age, how it's changing the publishing world, Brown's start-up of The Daily Beast, followed by venting about Facebook today. Swisher puts together the best intervierw/talk with Brown I've heard since her book was published. Brown was consistently creating some of the best magazines in the world, at a time when that mattered.

Rich Roll's podcast is one I've discovered recently, and I'm working to catch up. Here are two don't-miss episodes:

Fogel is the star of, the producer of, the man behind Icarus. If you've not watched this documentary, exclusively streaming on Netflix, get to it! Of all the interviews I've read and heard with Fogel, Roll brings out the most interesting perspective. It's a fabulous listening experience.


Lance Armstrong needs no introduction. I don't care whether you admire or dislike him, his wealth of experience and new perspective on many matters is worth listening to. Me, I think he's one of the finest athletes ever.


Loving My King Kong Fuel Meal Prep Backpack

I’ve had my King Kong Fuel Meal Prep Backpack for a few weeks now, and have put it to some good use. Working some long hours as a personal trainer, always wanting control over what I put into my body, I make my own meals and carry the with me daily. Not just to the gym, but on day-trips, or to visit out-of-town family. When necessary it’s easy to walk out to the car for five minutes and down a protein shake or quickly eat a small meal. Each of the King Kong Fuel Meal Prep bags are wonderful for these purposes.

Some of my days are long, and I like my food to remain cold for 9-10 hours. King Kong bags do that. Using triply-later backed thermal polyester with high-density EVA foam, these babies are well insulated and do a hell of a good job.

Most days I use smaller meal containers than the rather large ones accompany the bag. No problem there, and the bigger ones come in handy for filling with rice or sweet potatoes or strawberries, that type of thing. Traditionally I’ll carry four meals, and a couple of other food containers with carb sources as I mentioned above. There’s always a Blender Bottle, too, in the insulated compartment seemingly made for those of us who live with cupboards full of the indispensable things. My giant Blender Bottle fits easily, too, no unimportant deal for me. 

In the top zipper pocket, where one of the ice packs live, I carry a fork and spoon, bottle of Green Dragon Sauce, and any other beverage of the day (Monster, FitAid, etc.). They are easy to get to without sorting through a half dozen meal boxes.

A design element I appreciate are the woven nets at various critical places in the refrigerated compartments. This way the ice packs can do their job without getting in the way. Often at the gym I’m in a hurry to grab and meal, in some brief interlude between clients, so I don’t need stuff rolling out onto the floor. King Kong Bags are organized.

I use the Meal Prep Backpack when I ride my bike to the gym. Here in Wisconsin the season for this is ending, but I was able to jam a hell of a lot into the bag and comfortably get to the gym and back (nearly a half hour each way at moderate city pace). Four meals and one Blender Bottle fit into the traditional places. I added the silverware and hot sauce to the big meal compartment, accessibly from the side. In the top refrigerated area I rolled my work shirt, slacks, socks and underwear and a towel, as I ride to the gym in my workout gear, train, then shower and change.

A side packet (there are several quite handy packets all over this Meal Prep Bag), held packets of protein, Vitargo, BCAA and pre-workout. My Bose headphones and a baseball cap, keys, wallet, and phone fit easily into another pocket. Everything was safe and organized and easy to find; no rummaging around.

Even seemingly overloaded, the King Kong Fuel Meal Prep Backpack was an easy fit on my shoulders, and rode comfortably with no weird adjustment needed or discomfort. I’ve ridden on hot, muggy Midwestern days, and have experienced no sweaty back or constantly shifting load. The only customization I did was to hang a reflective tape on the back zipper, as some of my bike commuting is in the dark. 

My impression is I could go backpacking with this thing, in a pinch, with no hassle.

I consider my King Kong Meal Prep Bags essential to my life; I’m happy I have both the Backpack and the Bag. Costing $159.95, complete with ice packs and six big, heavy-cute meal containers, I consider the money well spent. Day-to-day I live with the Bag, but for travel or on the bike, the Backpack rules!

@byKingKong, #controlyourfood



A Legacy of Spies - John Le Carre

The great Le Carre deserves more than a simple headline accompanying his new book, A Legacy of Spies. Publicity for the reappearance of George Smiley, his most popular character, after more than two decades has helped thrust the book into the headlines. John Le Carre is a thoughtful, insightful interviewee, one television and print media alike enjoy working with.

This time around, John Le Carre is pulling no punches when given an opportunity to discuss the Brexit situation in Europe, or Donald Trump. Unlike so many strident voices today, he’s measured and intelligent in his thoughts. To say he’s unhappy with current events surrounding these two issues would be a remarkable understatement.

To the book:  A Legacy of Spies is thrilling. Not in a high adventure, crashes and explosions type of way. No, that’s never been John Le Carre. I found each page wrapping itself around my brain a bit as I coordinated agent Peter Guillam’s past and present British Secret Service adventures. Much as his present-day interrogators gradually tease the truth from him in their investigation of past adventures biting them today, so does Le Carre only provide the real story at his own pace … slowly. 

Many of today’s reviewers are shining their spotlight on Tulip, introduced in Legacy of Spies and central to the story. She deserves the attention, but the big picture for readers should remain the clever, highly intelligent writing only John Le Carre provides. I was deeply engaged with Guillam, Tulip and Smiley as the pages seemingly turned themselves, while at the same time appreciating the clever, deep plot and immense detail Le Carre brings to storytelling.

Le Carre brings historical context and experience to his commentary on today’s political situations. Peter Guillam discovers and provides insightful, thought-provoking revelations about himself and relationships throughout the story. A Legacy of Spies is a great spy novel, a complex and worthy addition to the Le Carre body of work.

@lecarre_news,, #alegacyofspies, #johnlecarre


Chiropractors: Good or Evil?

The Joe Rogan Experience Episode 984 with Yvette d'Entremont aired July 6. Holy crap, has there been a firestorm of controversy about Rogan and guest D'Entremont's strong opinions about chiropractors and the entire practice and world of chiropractic medicine! In fact, Rogan and SciBabe, as Yvette is known, don't even feel the word "medicine" should be associated with the practice. This firestorm began with the recent publication of D'Entremont's feature article in The Outline, Chiropractors Are Bullshit. Needless to say, Rogan couldn't wait to jump on this topic.

I grew tired of guest d'Entremont over the course of the lengthy, 2 1/2 hour podcast, and felt she was a bit unprepared for the depth Rogan digs into on his podcast, and his relentless questioning of things she throws out there as if they are accepted facts. Overall, I find the topic endlessly fascinating and worthwhile, and am almost amused by the furor they have caused. 

Personally, I know and have experience with chiropractors who fit the definition of shysters and quacks. On the other hand, for years I've worked with and trusted and put myself in the care of a wonderful chiro/active release/sports medicine practicioner, Dr. Alex Tapplin. His philosphy and practice are nothing like what is portrayed on the Rogan podcast. 

Read Yvette d'Entremont's article, listen to her and Rogan on the podcast, and make your own decisions. If you are in central Wisconsin and need therapy or have questions that you would like to direct to a chiropractor, contact Dr. Tappline at Valley Spine & Sport. I trust him with my body and spine. 

But wait, there's more: Sal Di Stefano, Adam Schafter, Doug Egge and Justin Andrews, the guys who make up one of my favorite podcasts, Mind Pump, quickly recorded and released an episode today, #548 1/2, responding to many of the issues and data-points covered by d'Entremont on the Rogan podcast.

This is sheer genius, getting this done immediately and out into the world, and taking a stand for chiropractic practice. Sal, Adam and Justin have Drs. Jordan Shallow and Justin Brink in the studio with them for this broadcast. These doctors will be familiar to regular listeners to Mind Pump, and add a great deal of background, knowledgs and unvarnished opiinion to the proceedings. Every episode of Mind Pump is required listening, but get on this one right away after you invest 2 1;2 hours into the Rogan episode. Listen in the right order!

Both Joe Rogan and Mind Pump are invaluable podcasts. I cherry pick the Rogan feed, but listen to each and every episode of Mind Pump. So should you.

#mindpump, #joerogan, @mindpump, #yvetted'entremont, #chiropractorsarebullshit



Let’s talk about time. In the gym people constantly ask me how I became and remain so lean. Or perhaps they wonder what the secret is to thin skin or vascularity such as I have. Everyone wants to know “what diet are you on?”

Actually, all the answers have to do with time. My answers, and your answers. 

I’ve lifted weights for the better part of 45 years. How long have you worked out? Building muscle takes lots of time, and this time must include proper nutrition, some sleep, and a distinct lack of putting crap into your mouth! Sure, I have missed plenty of workouts, especially during the corporate office - raising kids years of my life. But I’ve shown up and worked hard thousands upon thousands of times.

In those years when I didn’t get to the gym regularly, I walked in the early mornings with my neighbor. I rode a bicycle to work and on my lunch hour. My kids and I were active outdoors. All this adds up. And for much of my life I’ve eaten like a bodybuilder, even though I never competed (trained a few for the stage, though). Consistency and time.

Over and over, one small decision after another, if you want to make positive change, you need to “win” those decisive moments. Every time you don’t drink alcohol, or decide not to hit the fridge late at night to spoon almond butter into your face like it’s Ben & Jerry’s, those are seminal events. Win these tipping points rather than lose. 

Currently, I’m working hard to lose a half to a full pound of body fat weekly. It’s relatively easy for me to lose scale weight, but all I want to lose is body fat (because I absolutely don’t want to burn off any lean tissue). My macronutrient numbers are set (protein, carbs, fat), but it’s taking plenty of discipline and proper mind-set to make this happen properly. Very little alcohol is the first big step (this means no nightly glass of wine!). No accidental eating. No binges.

Frankly, this is easier for me now, as I’ve gotten so deeply into the weighing and measuring mindset that I don’t even want to eat any food I’ve not planned for. Very little in the food world tempts me right now. But it’s still difficult. I’m writing this at 8:20 p.m. I had my last meal two hours ago, I’m not physically in need of food, but emotionally and through habit, I want to snack. This is tough. I’ll actually go to bed a little hungry, and you know what? That’s ok.

Tomorrow I’ll weigh in and have my body fat measured, and I’m excited. This is a week I’ve been 99% spot-on with my numbers for the entire seven days. 

It takes time. I’m hoping for a one pound change, and if it happens, it will be due to my making positive decisions one after the other. 

Time. It all takes time. You have time, don’t you? Are you making the best use of it?


Stages - Lance Armstrong's Tour de France podcast

It’s the time of year when Americans suddenly pay attention to professional cycling. The Tour de France began yesterday with a rainy, slippery, crash-filled time trial, providing immediate drama. One long-shot favorite ended up in the hospital, another rode either cautiously or doesn’t have the legs. Team Sky is now the prohibitive favorite to once more help Froome repeat as champion, but all the mountains and sprints and effort, the work, the blood and guts, remain ahead for all 199 riders. 

Watching the Tour online is easy now; highlights appear on YouTube almost as they happen, it seems. Lots of feeds from Europe are available. Plenty of commentary and opinion is online - everyone is a Tour de France expert (I listen to Bob Roll). 

In modern bike racing, who is better qualified to break down each day’s racing in podcast form than Lance Armstrong? Nobody. Whatever your feelings about Lance, put them aside and listen to Stages, his new daily Tour de France podcast.

Co-hosted by Armstrong’s old friend from Austin radio, JB Hager, Stages is compelling and refreshingly different than traditional cycling commentary. Armstrong is watching each stage on TV just like we do. He and Hager talk about what they saw, answer some listener questions, and note all the interesting insights Lance has that we’ll never notice. He knows the peleton and race strategy inside and out, and brings insight to his commentary unlike anyone else's. 

With the episode covering the first road stage, Armstrong clearly is relaxing and beginning to hit his stride. He pulls no punches in his opinion of VeloNews, and some race management personnel involved in this race. I love it.

Lance Armstrong knows all there is to know about professional cycling. His insights are unique, and he smoothly delivers them in a low-key, entertaining manner. If anyone is going to tell it like it is, it’ll be Armstrong. As he points out in the introductory episode, he's no longer working in the cycling industry and can afford to pull no punches.

Stages and Lance Armstrong is must listening for me. Search for Stages wherever you get podcasts, or go to their site. The podcast appears in my feed only an hour or so after the stage ends. Oh, and big bonus points to Lance, or whoever selects his intro and outro music; it rocks! Great guitar, '60s oriented instrumentals. Damn fine.


#stages #lancearmstrong, #tourdefrance,