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My Book Reading

Lou Reed: A Life by Anthony DeCurtis

   (in progress)

The Night Trade - Barry Eisler (revew published)

The Woman in the Window - A.J. Finn - (review published; just get your hands on this and read it!)

The Kremlin's Candidate by Jason Matthews - (review published)

Into the Black Nowhere - Meg Gardiner - (review just published; superb)

Agent in Place - Mark Greaney (Gray Man thriller, review up)

The Saboteur - Paul Kix (review up)

The Escape Artist by Brad Meltzer (review published)

Operator Down - Brad Taylor (done, great book)

Robicheaux - James Lee Burke (in progress - outstanding, of course)

Podcast Favorites

Joe Rogan Experience #1058 Dec. 28 2017 . Nina Teicholz


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, 


Food Prep IS Meal Planning

I spent quite a bit of time the last two days "making" food for the upcoming week at the gym. A pork loin spent a couple of hours on the grill, with only sea salt and pepper, until it was nearly done and I hit it with some glaze. (Forgive me for a few grams of sugar spread over an entire loin). While it was cooking I added a few chicken breasts to the grill. I hate to fire up the Weber without using all the space.

Today was the vegetable / rice portion of the prep. Most of you are very familiar with my vegetable technique. Buy a bunch of vegetables. Wash 'em. Cut them up with a sharp knife. Sautee in big frying pan with lard or coconut oil. If you get stuck on the vegetables, put the word "vegetables" into the search bar on the very blog you are reading, and several articles and sets of photos will appear before you.

I took nine meal containers and added a half cup of my vegetable mixture to each one. A few also received three ounces of white rice. One larger has no vegetables, more rice, and two cans of wild-caught tuna. Some of these from today have 6 ounces of chicken, some have six ounces of pork loin. Three have no rice, but four scrambled eggs added to the vegetables. I individually heated the serving of vegetables in a pan, added the scrambled four eggs, some seasoning (Chili Lime from Trader Joe's), and voila, a meal. So, three of the egg/veggie mixture. One big one that will serve as two meals during a day (with guacamole added to each meal), that's the tuna/rice container. The remainder are all either chicken or pork, with vegetables and a little bit of rice.

Every container is marked on the lid, simply done, with masking tape and a marker. No big deal, but it's much easier to weigh and measure while I'm in the kitchen, than it is when I'm earing. This way my food log entries are simple and correct.

In addition, I have a shake prepared, containing BCAA, two scoops of protein, and a handful of strawberries and raspberries. The shake is a meal in itself, to be utilized only if my schedule makes getting a real food meal in at any one point in the day. I'd rather have the shake than miss a meal, but I'd always go for the real food first, if I can.

This is what I'll take to work (the gym) each day. In addition, I carry more protein powder, carb powder, BCAA, and creatine for my immediate post-workout shake. I also always have a sleeve of rice cakes with me, to add to the carbs in my first real meal after my shake. At that point, the vegetables aren't enough.

During the week, this is what all my meals generally consist of. The mornings I don't get up at 4:30, often I'll enjoy a half cup of oatmeal and two scoops of protein powder for my first meal. If my workout comes after that first meal, I try to always have it be oatmeal and protein.

See how meal prep and meal planning are the same thing? Often some additions take place in early evening to bring my carb-protein-fat numbers up to my target macros. Any logical food is fair game at this point, but for me it's usually almond butter if I'm behind on fat, and Progenex Cocoon for protein and a little bit of carbs. If more carbs are needed, I may enjoy a couple of rice cakes, or some sweet potato, with my Cocoon.

Meal planning is the same as meal prep. Use spices liberally, create flavors, and make your food logging as simple as possible with consistency when packaging meals.