The Tour de France

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on July 5, 2009 by mccoolio

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It’s here again. Once a year, over 3 weeks, a starting field of around 200 riders from all over the world, race almost 2000 miles across, up, and down the country of France. They do it in 21 stages:

10 flat stages,

7 mountain stages,

1 medium mountain stage,

2 individual time-trial stages,

1 team time-trial stage.

2 rest days

Plateau-de-Beille

I love the Tour. I’m not quite sure how I got interested. It was about 4 years ago. I think I got to reading about Lance one day in the sports page, watched a few stages, and I was hooked. I’m always asking people if they follow the Tour and most don’t. Here’s a few reasons why:

Reasons why people don’t care about the Tour:

* It’s in France

* The riders wear gay colors

* They wear skin-tight, gay gear

* Riding bicycles is not considered very manly

* They all use steroids,EPO,blood doping and/or other cheating schemes

* Their arms are skinnier than a super model’s

Reasons why people should care about the Tour:

* The riders are THE most fit athletes in the world

* France itself is incredibly beautiful with bountiful history which is expertly covered in the broadcasts

* There are tons of cool strategies, interesting sub-plots, and terminology

* Riding a bike down a 8000 ft mountain,traversing hairpin curves with sheer drops at speeds of 70 mph is pretty manly in my book.

* There are lots of crashes.

* The craziness of the fans (one of the top reasons I like the Tour) that you see nowhere else in sports. Can you imagine Lebron going in for a dunk with 5 or 6 idiots dressed in drag with no pants on running beside him cheering him on?

*All the different sub-races within the race – 6 different jerseys awarded per stage for winning different aspects of the race that day and for the whole race. Example: the Polka Dot jersey is awarded to the “King of the Mountain” or whoever is leading when the group hits the crest of a particular check-point on top of a mountain, they get so many points for that milestone. Whoever gets the most for that stage gets to wear the polka dot the next stage.Pretty cool.

* Lance is there again

*It’s a great way to bone up on how many miles are in a kilometer (.62)

So check it out. Here’s a couple of good sites to check out and learn a little more or follow the race: http://www.versus.com/tdf   and http://www.letour.fr/indexus.html    

  Its on the Versus channel, several times a day. If nothing else   check out the last few miles (or kilometers). Listening to the announcers describe the strategy, and seeing the crazy rush of 40 or 50 riders jockeying for position while hurtling forward inches from each other is pretty awesome. Nascar doesn’t have anything on this!!!!

MY LATEST ROCK MIX

Posted in Music with tags on June 28, 2009 by mccoolio

Copy of Metanoia slam.jpgI had a music file on my computer with a lot of older music that I hadn’t listened to in forever. As I wandered through the hefty files I imported a bunch of songs into ITunes and created a mix. This is it. It’s  rock stuff, before I got into heavier, growlier (?) hardcore fare (the latter mostly because of Raleigh’s influence). I’ve listed the songs pretty much in order, with a comment or two. Maybe if you like rock, and you haven’t heard that particular song, maybe my comments will influence you to give it a try. I’m not going to do the research to know whether a lot of these bands are still at it but I’ll speak of them in the present tense. One disclaimer. These songs are ones I was listening to before I just about went Christian Hardcore exclusively. So there’s some questionable lyrics here and there, maybe even a couple of explicit. I’ve got a sweet edit program that I used to use a lot back then. ( I remember a few songs, Mobscene by Marilyn Manson in particular, that after editing, there wasn’t much left.) of So if you like one and download off ITunes, get the clean version. Sorry about that.

1) Powerman 5000-Free, Matrix Theme

This band is fronted by Rob Zombie’s little brother, Spider. After I resurrected it the other day, I’ve listened to it about 1000 times, sung it my head ad nauseum, and just about perfected it on my guitar. Matrix Theme, don’t know where I got it but it’s sweet. Am not even positive it is PM5K but I think it is.

Hatebreed- Tear it Down The only really heavy song in the mix. I love the line “for once, stand the #?%* up and fight”. These guys sound a lot like Pantera without Dimebag.

Hed PE- Blackout. Don’t really like anything else I’ve heard by these guys. They’re pretty rough but I love this song. This was a pretty big hit for them back in 2003.

Deftones-My Own Summer (Shove It) This song really slams. Don’t exactly know what ther lyrics are about and prob don’t want to know.

Mudvayne-Digg.  Wow. Before MV went too commercial. Awesome video too.

AC/DC – Fly on the Wall       This one and Shake Your Foundations are among my favorite AC/DC songs.

Sum 41- The Hell Song & Little Know it All. I love these two songs as does Raleigh. The latter features rock legend Iggy Pop.

Fugazi- Waiting Room & Break. If you’ve never heard Waiting Room, it’s a classic, and classic Fugazi. Some long-forgotten DJ on 102.9 loved this song and played it often before he signed off at midnight (I was on night shift then)

Primus- Jerry Was a Race Car Driver. I’m not a huge Primus fan but I really like this one. From the sound of the big, hammering engine with sweet,open mufflers opening the song, to the goofy lyric delivery, to the crunching guitars, I can’t get enough. Too funny too.

Clutch- Texan Book of the Dead. Again, I’m not a big Clutch fan but this song is hilarious and really listenable (?). A little sacrilegious but truly hawhaw funny. Check out the lyric sheet. EiEiOh. Hahahahhaha.

Robert Palmer-Simply Irresistible. This one goes back to 1989. I can remember busting the left front speaker in my little Toyota truck jamming on this song a little bit TOO loud. Good video too.Whew!

Smile Empty Soul-Bottom of a Bottle. A message of hopelessness and addiction but the music smokes.

Soundgarden- Fell on Black Days, Room a 1000 Miles Wide, Rusty Cage FOBD alerted the world that Chris Cornell can BELT it man. I love the last two also. Johnny Cash’s cover of Rusty Cage is one reason I think he was so cool.

SQUATTING AND DOING PULLUPS

Posted in Sports with tags , , , on June 1, 2009 by mccoolio

Man, do I love doing legs and back.

I’ve been working out now for about 31 years. Whoa. That sounds  a long time, actually putting it out there on paper like that. That’s quite a while.

A few reasons I’ve always loved doing legs ; First of all, my good friend Preston Browning  let me borrow his copy of Herschel Walker’s autobiography. In it I read where  Herschel in his early teens starting doing 500 push ups, 500 sit ups, and wind sprints every day. I was pretty impressed with that. So I started doing a modified version of that, lets say a bit fewer per day than that. But because of that I fell in love with running sprints and the way my legs felt after running a ton of sprints.  I was also  influenced a lot by Arnold Schwarzenegger who, because his legs were really lacking early in his career, he really emphasized doing his legs to improve that weakness and he talked a lot about them in his books which I devoured like candy. Another influence was when I started working out at World Class gym. I was working out with and around a lot of power lifters, where doing legs wasn’t an afterthought. Those guys  really helped me improve my squat numbers. When I started  there, my squat max was a measly, pitiful 275. After about 2 years I was nearing the 500 lb mark . How? Some technique changes ; bar further down my back to change my center of gravity to keep me from leaning forward so much because I have a long abdomen, just a little dip (not a bounce) at the bottom to help transition momentum from down to up, some good examples and peer-pressure; 500-600 lb squats were not uncommon, no STEROIDS, and a lot of hard work.

The World Class Gym era was also when I really started doing pretty well with wide-grip pull ups. At the time  we had a workout group of about 4 of us, and everybody else was around 185 lbs and real strong. I was about 225 and moderately  strong. We always did shoulders and back on Thursdays, shoulders first. By the time we got around to pull ups, my arms were already about shot. I was getting about 4-5 pull ups the first set and the other guys were knocking out 10-20 reps per set. Needless to say, I was getting ragged out pretty hard about that. So, I started doing pull ups a second time a week at work during my break. That helped tremendously. I was able within a short time to get close to 10 my first set which pretty much shut em up.

The best I’ve ever done with pull ups is 19 full, wide grip reps at 225. That was during a pull up contest we had at our gym once. I did 19 the 1st set, 18 the second, and 17 the third. I came in second in the contest. My boy  Mark Smith beat me by one rep. I think he was weighing around 170-175 lbs.  I trained really hard for about 6 weeks leading up to the contest where I was doing pull ups twice a week. Day one, I would go for  reps, about 70-80 total. Then for the second workout that week, I would hang weight on and do about 40-50 reps weighted. The thing was, Mark never trained at all for the contest. He worked out regularly, but he didn’t even do pull ups. If he had trained like I had, he probably would have done about 75 the first set.

Pull ups and squats are a lot like push ups. Somebody will say; yeah, I can do 75 push ups. But then when you see them do them,  a lot of times they’re doing half reps, not touching at the bottom and not locking out at the top. The difference between doing a half rep or even a 3/4 rep and a full one can be huge in any exercise. That extra inch or two to actually touch your chin to the bar at the top of a pull up vs coming up shy of it is the place of least leverage, as is the bottom of a pull up. So achieving those points takes a lot of extra strength and effort, resulting in fewer reps. In squats, that extra 2 or 3 inches to achieve parallel is monstrous. It takes WAY more to do a legit parallel squat with say 405 lbs than a  half rep with 405.

There’s something hardly any little man will admit. That they have a huge advantage as far as pullups are concerned. I won’t get into it but I promise you that you’ll see very few big boys on the pull up bar at your local gym doing doing very many reps.

I have had a couple of notable pull up contest victories, among those a good friend that’s in a very elite Special Forces group whom I laid the smack down on a couple of times, winning a McDonald’s meal, and some O’Charley’s chicken wings as a result, sending him back to save the world a beaten and poorer man.

I always said if a person could only do one or two exercises, wide-grip pull ups and squats would be the best two. Wide grips work the back, biceps, forearms and hand grip primarily and shoulders and low back secondarily. Squats work the quads, glutes, low back and calves primarily and secondarily just about everything else!  Plus you get the advantage of working the two biggest muscle groups in the entire body. Just think how much muscle is in your quads and back. You could put 50 biceps in one monstrous quad. (only about 3-4 biceps in my friend Max’s quads) And what muscle group do you see most people putting so much time into? Tsk, tsk,. Biceps. In addition, as anyone who’s done legs hard, heavy, and fairly rapidly, working legs stresses every body system: muscular, circulatory, breathing,etc. The same can be said for back. After doing a good set of pull-ups, the pulse is pounding and breathing rapid.

Then there’s the endorphin rush. It’s the gym-rats equivalent of the runner’s high; after doing about 6 good, hard sets of squats, then heading to the leg press for about 4-5  heavy sets (don’t ever skip doing heavy leg presses, you can’t come close with any other exercise to using the kind of weight you can use on the leg press),  getting up between sets, waddling around with just about all the blood in your body rushing to engorge those giant slabs of muscle thirsty for oxygen and nutrition, then topping it off with several sets of  hammies and calves. Wow. The second I  wake the next morning I know I ‘ve worked legs. That feeling is still there!

Right now I’m getting these numbers: this morning I got 11 the first set at 239 body weight on pull ups, then 9,8,8 which isn’t great  but I’m going to get down under 230 and that will help the reps go up. I got 405 for 6 reps the other day on squats which is decent considering I don’t have a regular leg partner which is big for me. Legs are just too hard to do and it’s so easy to slough off if you don’t have a good partner to be accountable to.

DOG KILLIN’ VS PEOPLE KILLIN’

Posted in Sports with tags , , , on May 25, 2009 by mccoolio

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I heard a guy on a radio sports talk show make the point the other day that the Micheal Vick case has gotten way more publicity than the 3  ex UT players who were convicted of manslaughter while drinking and driving, Leonard Little, Donte Stallworth, and Dwayne Goodrich. I’ve included a brief account of each incident below.You know, he’s absolutely right. Living in Nashville, where the Vols are covered heavily, and being very interested in the stories, I noticed that there wasn’t that much at the time on any of the three  stories. But we know how much media attention the Vick case got. Good grief. Probably 1000-1 more coverage. At least.

Why? There are several possible reasons.Vick was definitely more widely known, more nationally recognized. Although the other three  played in big cities, most notably Goodrich who played for America’s team, the Cowboys at the time of his incident. Vick was definitely more famous and  he was the higher paid of the group.

But I don’t think any of the above  are the reasons for the constant  media obsession, and the villianization of Vick.

I believe it’s because he killed and hurt dogs  instead of people. It’s more politically incorrect to do what Vick did than what the other three did. That’s the state of the Union right now.

Here’s accounts of each guy’s exploits from different sources:

Vick was identified in April 2007 as “the key figure” of an extensive unlawful interstate dogfighting ring operating over a period of five years, leading to massive negative publicity and separate federal and state felony charges and convictions under plea agreements, as well as payment of approximately $1 million for care and rehabilitation of some of the dogs. He has been suspended from play by the NFL since August 2007. In December 2007, he was sentenced to serve a 23 month federal prison term; 3 years of prison time in Virginia on other charges was suspended upon condition of good behavior. With loss of his substantial NFL and product endorsement income, Vick filed for Chapter 11 reorganization bankruptcy protection in July 2008, with liabilities of $20.5 million and assets of $16 million. His bankruptcy case has yet to be resolved.

Vick was released from prison on May 20, 2009. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said he will consider lifting his suspension, though Falcons owner Arthur Blank has said he does not want Vick to return to his team. Vick has reportedly exercised while in prison and anticipates a return to the NFL.

Former Dallas Cowboys cornerback Dwayne Goodrich was recently sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison and fined $20,000 for a hit-and-run accident that killed two men in January of this year.

Goodrich, the MVP in University of Tennessee’s 1998 national championship victory, testified during the trial that he didn’t see the predawn accident scene because a sport utility vehicle in front of him blocked his view. He said he slammed on the brakes when he came upon a stalled vehicle in the road and was forced to swerve to the left, hitting Wood and Matthews and injuring another man.

He said he originally believed, or hoped, he hit debris and left the scene. He surrendered to law officers hours later after he contacted his mother and his attorney.

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte’ Stallworth was charged  with killing a pedestrian last month while driving drunk after a night out at a swank South Beach nightspot.

An arrest warrant charging Stallworth, 28, with DUI manslaughter was filed in the March 14 accident that killed 59-year-old Mario Reyes. If convicted, Stallworth would face up to 15 years in prison.

Stallworth’s blood-alcohol level after the crash was .126, well above Florida’s legal limit of .08, according to results of a blood test. Stallworth will also be charged with DUI, which carries a possible six-month sentence plus fines and community service for first offenders.

After leaving a birthday party drunk in 1998, Leonard Little crashed into and killed Susan Gutweiler in St. Louis, MO. When tested, his blood alcohol level measured 0.19 percent, a level that exceeds the statutory level of intoxication of 0.08 in the state of Missouri. Little received 90 days in jail, four years probation and 1000 hours of community service.

Six years later, in 2004, Little was again arrested for drunk driving and speeding. The probable cause statement filed by police said Little had bloodshot and watery eyes, smelled of alcohol and failed three sobriety tests. Because of Little’s 1999 guilty plea to involuntary manslaughter in his drunken-driving crash case, prosecutors charged him as a persistent offender. This made it a felony case. Little was acquitted of driving while intoxicated, but was convicted only of the misdemeanor speeding charge.

Pat Tillman,Hero

Posted in Books with tags , , , , on May 9, 2009 by mccoolio

Pat350I’ m a big fan of Pat Tillman. I have just finished the book:  Boots on the Ground By Dusk by  Mary Tillman and Narda Zacchino. Mary Tillman is Pat’s mom. I really wasn’t a fan and had never even really heard about him until I read in 1992 that he decided to give up his Pro Football career to enlist in the Army as a Ranger. Because of that I, along with a lot of others grew in admiration for him for his actions. Then, we were all shocked and saddened by his death in Afghanistan April 22, 2004. Then later, we were again shocked  to find out he was not killed by enemy fire as first reported but by friendly fire. Then, incredibly, it was uncovered that the Army big-whigs engineered the cover-up and giving of false information.

By all accounts Pat Tillman was a man who exemplified courage, loyalty, integrity, and love of country.  For instance, when his contract with the Arizona Cardinals was up, he turned down a $9 million per year to play for the Rams and took way less to stay with the Cardinals because he felt they had given him a shot to play where no one else had and he felt loyal to them.

Then, after 9-11,  since several of his relatives had served their country, he asked himself: what have I done? As a result he and his brother Kevin (pictured above with Pat) decided to enlist, Pat turning away from a 3 year, $3.6 million a year contract to make probably about $23,000 a year.

Mary Tillman’s book is a great read that I couldn’t put down. I  read  it all in one day. The book is primarily about Pat, about his life ,and his character. It’s brimming full of inside stories that only his mother would know. The bulk of the book describes the stories from several different memorial services. Stories that will make you weep,  that will make you proud to be an American, and that will make you feel good that integrity is still alive and well. These testimonies are told by  NFL and college coaches and players, Rangers, SEALS , Delta Force guys, and friends and family of Pat.

The book secondarily chronicles the Tillman families  search for the truth concerning his death,  the subsequent cover-up, and their push for accountability for what happened that day in the Middle East. I certainly don’t agree with Mrs. Tillman’s politics (for an alternative view read Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell). Her Bush bashing gets a little old.

The book really made me think because God is really not a  part of the Tillman family as far as I could tell. But can I as a Christian learn from Pat Tillman? Yes. His examples of integrity, loyalty, single-mindedness,hard work, thoughtfulness, and humility are amazing. Every Christian would do well to read the book just for lessons in the above. Google Pat Tillman and spend some time reading some of the hits.

Mrs Tillman is an educator and thus the book is extremely well written. I pray that through her relentlessness, the truth will be revealed, and justice will be meted out.

It’s a Beautiful Day

Posted in Seasonal with tags , , , on April 27, 2009 by mccoolio

sky2 This weekend .Wow. Awesome.

I spent Friday morning playing golf with my boy James Hayes. I told him a couple times how much I was enjoying the day ie., how brilliantly blue the sky was, low humidity, perfect temp., a cool breeze blowing. You know what I’m talking about. I told him how many times I’d stuck my head outside while at work and said to myself: this would be an awesome day to be out on the golf course. Well, here I was and I wasn’t going to  waste it or fail to savor it.

Then Sat afternoon. Man, what another beautiful day! Same as Friday. A little hotter but just as beautiful. I was sitting in my funky, back-killer of a  fold able ball park chair. The one that sweats you to death. Anyway, I was sitting there at Twitty City from about 1:00 Pm till about 4:30  watching Raleigh’s Goodpasture Jr High baseball team play. I was  there with our man-group down in the Amen corner (until Kellye tried to break the gender barrier and got me briefly ostracized) with my boys Danny Wiseman, Bill Moffitt, Mr. Wiseman, Roger Crocker, Brad  Bivens and Tommy Macelheny.

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U2  has a song called Beautiful Day. I was on a kick there for awhile where I’d play that song every morning as I’d get ready. Just to get in a positive mood. Here’s the words:

The heart is a bloom
Shoots up through the stony ground
There’s no room
No space to rent in this town

You’re out of luck
And the reason that you had to care
The traffic is stuck
And you’re not moving anywhere

You thought you’d found a friend
To take you out of this place
Someone you could lend a hand
In return for grace

It’s a beautiful day
Sky falls, you feel like
It’s a beautiful day
Don’t let it get away

You’re on the road
But you’ve got no destination
You’re in the mud
In the maze of her imagination

You love this town
Even if that doesn’t ring true
You’ve been all over
And it’s been all over you

It’s a beautiful day
Don’t let it get away
It’s a beautiful day

Touch me
Take me to that other place
Teach me
I know I’m not a hopeless case

See the world in green and blue
See China right in front of you
See the canyons broken by cloud
See the tuna fleets clearing the sea out
See the Bedouin fires at night
See the oil fields at first light
And see the bird with a leaf in her mouth
After the flood all the colors came out

It was a beautiful day
Don’t let it get away
Beautiful day

Touch me
Take me to that other place
Reach me
I know I’m not a hopeless case

What you don’t have you don’t need it now
What you don’t know you can feel it somehow
What you don’t have you don’t need it now
Don’t need it now
Was a beautiful day

I like the words:   Reach me, I’m not a hopeless case.

Jesus says in Matthew 5:45

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

Jesus was telling the truth you know. There were lots of  really evil, mean, ungrateful, atheistic people who enjoyed this weekend’s weather just as much as I did. But here’s what I said that they didn’t:

Praise You LORD for Your wonderful love for us, and for Your marvelous Creativity.

BIRTHDAY BOYS

Posted in family on April 18, 2009 by mccoolio

holiday-world2This is the season for Raleigh and Jordan’s birthdays. Jordan’s 4-15-91 and Raleigh’s 4-21-87. We had a combo party for them last night. I was thinking what they’ve meant to us since those eventful days that they made their grand entrance 18 and 22 years ago.

First of all, just who they are is a tremendous blessing. Raleigh is  smart, with an incredible personality. He can walk into a room full of strangers and come out with a new friend or two every time. He  also wants with all his heart to serve God and love people. If you’re really successful, popular, or on top of the heap you might not get as much attention from Raleigh than  if your at the other end, needing some encouragement, a helping hand , or just someone to talk about things with.

Jordan is also smart, with a quick mind. I believe he will be the greatest lawyer ever known. He’s got a heart as big as North America. He’s also full of love, overflowing with it. I know God has great plans for Jordan in His kingdom.

I believe both of them will be great men before their life is over.

My advice to them? Love Jesus with all your heart. Love  your family and friends with all you have. Don’t waste your talents or your time. Be men.

Happy Birthday guys.

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