It has been sometime since I have added an update to Higher Bar.  It was a very busy 2007 covering education and work.  Instead of continuing the potpourri of posts to this one site, I have started two additional blogs to separate health & fitness and personal rants from posts dedicated to research-based business and political observation.

Should you be interested in reading or subscribing to my other sites, I, as always, appreciate your continued support.  There will of course be new material as well as updated versions of some of the more popular posts from A Higher Bar.

Health & Fitness:  Strength Systems

Rants & Raves:  Mr. Horse – coming in February 2008


If you have been following my feed, you may have noticed a drop off in new posts this week. I finally had to come off the ropes swinging at my dissertation if there is hope to get a defense completed anytime this year. I am slowly converting one room of my house into a command center, wall covered in post-its, two hard drives backing up my work, charts, dry-erase boards, and so on.

I have been working on new material for the site as well. I will continue my Healthier You series this weekend with a post on How to Pick a Personal Trainer in addition I will attempt a less partisan article on the current Iraq War. Next week I will temporarily halt my normal business/HR writing (with exception to small news tidbits that may make it across my desk) to have a special full week report on Religion and Complex Society. I do encourage comments on these upcoming post and hope it will lead to some intelligent discourse on the matter.

As always, for those who have been regular readers thank you for your support and for the newly attending, welcome.

The weekend is closing in and time to work on some of my more opinionated pieces. This month has provided a great deal of outstanding material to speak on the topic of freedom. From banning Superbowl Commercials to expelling students, our country is slipping down the PC river without a padel. We seem to keep forgetting, everyone has the right to be an ass. That’s right, I said it.

Amendment I – Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Just take a look at some of the stories from the past few weeks:

(Incidentally I am currently formulating the most non-offensive Superbowl ad ever made, so marketing firms FYI.)

  • Tony Long’s recent article on violent video games, particularly Super Columbine Massacre RPG
  • NAACP probes Clemson college party (pictures available at The Smoking Gun)
  • Macalister College politically incorrect party under investigation
  • Find the illegal immigrant game at New York University draws protest
  • Satire of rape in Central Connecticut State University draws protests
  • San Diego skateboarder tazed after riding on sidewalk – Video here

Now because everyone has this right, doesn’t mean as a society they should be made to feel comfortable for their views, but they should not be fired, expelled, suspended, censored or forced into retirement. Despite not being a great movie, I’m reminded of the mayor of New York in the movie Ghostbusters II, “being miserable and treating other people like dirt is every New Yorker’s God given right.”

– Rant Alert –

NBC Nightly News has been running a series this week on the care and independence of senior citizens in the US. Tonight, Tim Russert’s father was the principle subject. We heard how he is an independent senior living in Buffalo, NY and refused to go to as assisted living center. The only thing is, his daughter comes over to replace batteries, take care of technical needs and bring groceries. Another woman in the neighborhood stops by to fix meals. Yet another neighbor takes care of minor repairs, checks in when weather is bad and with all the snow this past week clears the driveway and sidewalk. So my question is, how independent is he?

I’m reminded of a George Carlin special when he was speaking about Americas constant need for help.

“If you’re looking for self-help, why would you read a book written by somebody else? That’s not self-help, that’s help! There’s no such thing as self-help. If you did it yourself, you didn’t need help.”

There is a significant decline in senior care in the US and everyone is asking why. There are reasons ranging from the drop in family dining, the fall of employment for life and trust in the employer relationship, ironically, even the independent spirit of our culture has been blamed. One thing is clear, if you have other people do it for you, you’re not independent!

I didn’t get around to my Healthier You post last weekend, but as a Bears fan I was in mourning.

I wanted to branch out from the typical food and diet related articles, so for the next few weeks I will focus on the gym. These are not necessarily absolutes, nor is it an exhaustive list, but these are some of the rules I adhere to in the gym in no particular order.

  1. The Reps Don’t Go Down Unless the Weight Goes Up – This is a mental rule I use to keep driving through a set. If you don’t increase your weight on a successive set, the number of repetitions you do can’t go down.
  2. Never Sit – You’ll have plenty of time to sit around on your couch at home. Unless you are performing an exercise that requires you sit, or you are stretching, never sit and relax.
  3. Never “Max Out” – I’m constantly asked by family, friends, people at the store, etc. “how much do you lift?” This is a hard question since I have not lifted for a one-rep max (max out) in almost 7 years. The reason being, the stress it places on the joints. If you are a strength athlete or powerlifter, this rule doesn’t apply to you, if you are, on the other hand, a general exerciser or just getting started, don’t fall into this trap.
  4. No Brain, No Gain – A majority of newcomers to the gym are quick to give up. In fact, many healthclubs like Bally’s and 24 Hour Fitness base their business on people who sign up and then never come in after the first few weeks (if they did the club would be over capacity). One major reason for this is the awkward felling people get when they first start lifting weights, just like shooting a basketball for the first time or throwing a ball after several years. You need to give both your muscles and your brain time to adjust to the new activity. The reason for this has to do with the efficiency of our bodies, it tends to eliminate both muscle fibers and neurons that are not used or needed. You need to give yourself at least 3 months to allow your body and mind to adjust.
  5. Feel the Good Pain – Good pain is almost a contradiction of terms. Who would possibly enjoy pain? You are going to be sore after your first few workouts. You will be sore after changing your workout program after you’ve worked out for a while. What you don’t want to do is mistake muscle strain and joint damage for general soreness. If you have sharp shooting pains you’ve probably gone too far.
  6. No Cell Phones – Just like driving, a cell phone is an added distraction to your workout. During an afternoon workout, I witnessed a man walk into the gym talking on his cell. He started his first set and got another call; 5 minutes later he got through two sets and got another 10 minute call. How effective do you think his workout was? Don’t let cardio be an excuse to talk also. I’ve witnessed people on cardio equipment, that just like in a car; their speed is all over the place. You have to focus.
  7. Don’t Go to the Gym Pretty, Go to the Gym to Look Pretty After You’ve Been – I always found it fascinating when I was at Purdue during the beginning of each school year, the gym was always full of scantily clad freshmen girls, full make-up and perfume, come on girls. I still see the model wannabes in their $100 matching spandex suits. If your job is to pick someone up, by all means continue what you are doing, but if you want to work out, forget the makeover and lift some weight. Let’s face it, you’re going to sweat, you’re going to be disgusting by the end of the workout (if you are doing it right), so why dress up?
  8. Nix the Chatter – There are two people who violate this rule, those who come to the gym to have a conversation and those that scream. It’s time to channel that energy into some weight lifting.
  9. Balance – Once again there are two kinds of people: those who get energized by their workouts and those who are completely drained (see Rule 10). You should balance your workout with your lifestyle, if you are the energetic type, you probably don’t want to schedule your workout in the late evening. Conversely if you are seriously fatigued following your workout you shouldn’t train before work (unless work performance is not a concern then you probably want to read some of my other posts).
  10. Leave it on the floor – If you are one of those who are drained by your workouts, or are not faced with having to go to work, leave it all at the gym. Don’t walk out having only done half a workout, crawl out.


Next Week: How to Pick the Right Gym for You.

Thanks to, I came across the following site,

I don’t know if this will always qualify as intelligent, well-informed debate, but provides a central venue and as always a wide range of opinions.

My personal favorite:


I’m sure the city of Boston will weigh in. My vote is for the Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

I wanted to send out a special thank you to everyone who has helped make this my best week to date. To be honest I was beginning to work on a formula based on hits, comments, time and spam to determine when I should pull the plug. Apparently I’m not the only one.

Technology firm Gartner, which has been tracking blogging trends, found the following,

There were more than 56 million active blogs in October, according to Internet blog search engine Technorati, but the average lifespan is three months and declining.
Given the trend in the average lifespan of blogs and the current growth rate of them, there already are more than 200 million ex-bloggers. So the peak number of bloggers worldwide will be about 100 million at some point in the first half of 2007.
MySpace and Facebook lost visitors in September, according to Nielsen/ NetRatings, a Web-tracking service. The number of unique U.S. visitors at MySpace fell 4 percent, to 47.2 million from 49.2 million, in August, and the number of visitors to Facebook fell 12 percent, to 7.8 million from 8.9 million.
Today’s overexuberance will level off to a stasis of at least 30 million active bloggers and 30 million frequent community contributors worldwide.

This surge and leveling off is very similar to the concept, regression toward the mean. This information should not be that surprising as with many situations people are trying to find a more appropriate work, er blog, life balance. Blogging seems to follow the same rule as everything else, “only in moderation.” But if this trend keeps up, I doubt Time Magazine will make “Us” the person of the year for 2007.

Thanks again for reading.

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