Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Blame it on the Coronavirus

Throughout the history of mankind, men and women have found auditory solace in music and lyrics, sung from the heart and soul by professionals and amateurs alike, sharing a feeling, reflection and/or a sentiment about life lived, life living and life wanting to live.

It provides a time out from the burdens and toils of our now life that, at times, can be overwhelming.  Like the Coronavirus Pandemic gripping our nation and the world, and the media’s never-ending bombardment of one doom and gloom bad story after another.

There will one day be light at the end of our Coronavirus tunnel.  We will one day soon find our pot of gold at the end of a rainbow - a normalcy that we yearn to return to - waiting for us.  We’ll all be ready.

Until then, in moments of shelter in place fatigue, when we’re afflicted with a serious case of stir-crazy syndrome and despair, let’s listen to some music and blame it on the Coronavirus.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, March 30, 2020

Will the dog in me one day bite me?

Over 35 years ago when I was last an employee, I had a supervisor who many co-workers judged as a difficult person.  Fortunately for me, I didn’t share this judgement.  I got along with him reasonably well; although, at times, it wasn’t easy.  Perhaps the reason was  he treated me decent and different than how he treated others.


I’m not sure but his “different strokes for different folks” way of dealing with co-workers is common human behavior.  Regrettably, I engage in similar behavior and am sure if you’re honest, you do too.

Anyway, he had a certain notoriety and often came up during  work break conversations when he wasn’t present.  The chatter was typically dominated by those who judged they were always on the short end of his different strokes for different folks conduct.

One person among this crowd once said something about him that made me laugh.  He said that “So and so is so darn ornery that his dog regularly bites him.”  I don’t know if this was true that this man’s best friend did bite him or if it was merely a figure of speech to drive home a point.

Over the weekend, I talked to a friend who shared how he was suffering from stir crazy syndrome.  He’s been afflicted with it since being shelter in place homebound due to a Coronavirus Executive Order by our Governor.  I’ve had my stir-crazy moments too, although the work I do is considered “minimum essential” so I’m free to go to work.  Therefore, I’m “legally” more mobile than my friend and others.

Nonetheless, I still have mild stir-crazy moments even though I’m likely busier than my friend.


Is it because the chaotic vibrancy of living life in the fast lane is now an unfamiliar stillness of sorts?

When will it end?  Your guess is as good or bad as mine; as the saying goes, time will tell.

Maybe, yes maybe, this stir-crazy feeling is the result of being tired spending too much time with ourselves.

Maybe, yes maybe, we really don’t like spending too much time with ourselves.  

Maybe, yes maybe, by spending a lot of time with ourselves, we’re getting to know ourselves better.

And maybe, yes maybe, we’re learning there are things about us we really don’t like.  Maybe like my former supervisor who co-workers found difficult to get along with.  

I don’t own a dog, but if I did, would my dog bite me like, supposedly, my former supervisor’s dog did, according to the co-worker’s revelation?

There’s a good chance our stir-crazy symptoms will continue for a while.  We’ll have many opportunities to further explore and discover how well we get along when spending lots of time by ourselves.

Is there something about our behaviors making it unpleasant for others and ourselves to be around us?  

Will the dog in me one day bite me?    

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, March 27, 2020

Create a pandemic

Every which way you turn, look, listen or read; you can’t help but getting another serving of the Coronavirus Pandemic that’s globetrotting around the world scaring the daylights out of most people.

Perhaps the heighted concerns, fears and perceived risks so many have is the result of the way in which the latest and greatest Coronavirus grim reaper news is reported by the media.  Yellow journalism pioneers Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, in their fierce competition to outdo each other measured by newspapers sold, figured it out over 120 years ago.  

The modern media continues this yellow journalism legend with the news articles it delivers except now, the measure is the number of times an internet article is clicked by internet surfers rather than the number of newspapers sold on street corners more than one hundred years ago.

Doom and gloom news, written yellow journalism style, often has little or no legitimate research.  Instead, it’s delivered with eye-catching headlines, exaggerations and/or sensationalism because that type of news does a better job of enticing us to read or click.

And, our political leaders oftentimes join the yellow journalism-style club with their announcements.  

California Governor Gavin Newsom is a case in point when he recently said that up to 56 percent of Californians stood to be infected with the Coronavirus in the next two months, unnecessarily scaring the daylight out of a bazillion Californians.  He has made no mention, to my knowledge that up to 80 percent of those who have been confirmed having the Coronavirus experienced the mild symptoms version of it.

Elected official and yellow journalism media tag team effort

Fear has an amazing ability to turn masses of fiercely independent people into sheeple, people who are docile, compliant or easily influenced.  If we become sheeple, our elected leaders who believe more government is better government will race to claim the job of being the sheeple herders, guiding all during this "sheepledemic".

Sheepledemic – Mass panic of epidemic proportions resulting in herd behavior of people like a herd of sheep.  Used to describe mass voluntary acquiesce to a suggestion without critical analysis or research.  It's created by a fear-thriving media and political leaders who believe more government that results is control of a nation and world by those in charge is better government.  Good for promoting socialism and communism. 

This Coronavirus brings back memories from eleven years ago when my wife and I visited Mexico City to attend a one-week pro-life conference and retreat.  Much to our surprise, we arrived during week one of the Swine Flu Pandemic of 2009.

Prior to our departure, many people who had visited Mexico City, including my wife who has relatives living there, warned of what would be waiting to greet me when I arrived.  Unbelievable air pollution and traffic congestion is what they told me.  However, “thanks” to the Swine Flu Pandemic, I experienced none.  The Mexico City skies were blue, the air was fresh and jaywalking across a busy Avenida was something I did with ease.

Swine Flu week one 2009 in Mexico City with no traffic

This one-week visit gave me a rare firsthand chance to observe how the government and people of Mexico City, and outlying areas we visited, responded to this escalating pandemic.  The behaviors, sights and sounds I witnessed were not much different than what we’re now experiencing with Coronavirus.  Face masks were worn, churches and businesses were closed, and the people of Mexico City were not out and about living and thriving like their normal.  

For me, a visitor, it was a one-week surreal experience that I vividly remember to this day.

Mexico City mobile medical personnel 
during week one of the 2009 Swine Flu Pandemic

Mexico City mariachi business as usual during week
one  of 2009 Swine Flu Pandemic in Mexico City

At the end of the week, I remember collecting my observations and reflecting on what had been my experience.  What emerged was a defining reflection that if you want to control the people, create a pandemic.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Sunday, March 22, 2020

The courage to do so

To the best of my recollection, this is my first reflection composed, using my iPhone, from home where I’ve been secluded, and practicing social distancing, since last Tuesday.  Like many, I’m a little stir crazy at the moment having more time on my hands that I know what to do with.

And, like many, I’m following the latest Coronavirus Pandemic news trying to identify and collect my thoughts and feelings.  

Thinking about the economic challenges so many will face is hard to comprehend, even for someone like me with above-average financial literacy.

At this moment, our elected leaders are trying to put together a public safety net of economic solutions for those in economic distress.  What will evolve should help but maybe not enough.

Wouldn’t it be great if everyone of means reached into their private pockets, obviously according to their means, and helped someone financially who, because of this terrible crisis, becomes of less than means?

I pray that I’ll have the courage to do so.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Don't pick your nose

Almost eleven years ago, Pierini Fitness composed one, among many, of his favorite middle-age man reflections - Find something else to worry about – after observing many of his clients worrying unnecessarily about the economy at the time and its impact on their personal finances.  His takeaway message to clients from these observations was that all was well, and they’d have to find something else to worry about.

Time would prove that I was correct, although true to the statement, history does repeat itself and at this moment, a nation and a world is worried to death about the Chinese Coronavirus.  It’s understandable because fear is a pastime for so many people who have become comfortable worrying about this and that.  We all have fears because we’re human and Pierini Fitness would never say that he doesn’t suffer from occasional fears, it’s just that, perhaps, he does a better job of co-existing with them and being able to continue marching forward in the life he’s living.

God willing, he’ll continue to be able to do this because, like everyone else, there’s a risk of some degree that this virus could afflict him.

But, to all my fellow middle-age men around the world, I have an important press release that hopefully will provide you with some welcoming comfort.

Pierini Fitness has recently conducted cutting-edge research on the impact fear has on the risk of catching or avoiding the Chinese Coronavirus.  His findings are that fear has no impact so go find something else to worry about.

But do exercise caution in going about living your life to the fullest.  Follow the best practices possible regarding personal hygiene, being careful in meetings and travel, handling food carefully and staying home if you’re feeling sick.  Don’t put your fingers in your mouth and don’t pick your nose.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Busy at work early morning 2-minute office workout

This is the time of year I'm extra busy with work so getting my middle-age man fitness training workouts in is more challenging. 

Knowing that something is better than nothing, this morning I did a quick 2-minute workout at my office where I have a pull-up bar and bar dip unit. First minute was a single set of 14 pull-ups.

Second minute was a single set of 25 bar dips.

Two minutes later, my early morning workout was done; I was ready to begin working.

Viewing the video, I'll admit my bottom range of my pull-ups could have had better extension. I'll do better next time but am satisfied with my 14-rep performance done cold with no warm-up.

Honest disclosure, I had a performance-enhancing beverage before my quick 2-minute workout - a strong homemade cup of Italian Roast coffee with no crème or sugar added, just the way I like it.

Later today, God willing, I'll do 100 burpees for time. This will be my workout for today.

Again, something is better than nothing.

I’ll be busy for the next month so being creative and time efficient with my fitness training is how I’ll get my job done, like this busy at work early morning 2-minute office workout.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Saturday, March 7, 2020

As an older adult

Photo courtesy of the CDC website page about older adults

The recent coronavirus fear pandemic is exacerbated by the media’s constant stream of news coverage.  It seems they’ve discovered the reading public has an insatiable thirst for more news about it.  And, it’s likely that a recent news article posted on the internet will be a clickbait giant.  Where will it all end?

Fortunately, Pierini Fitness is rather busy right now with his work and, by necessity, spends less time surfing the internet for the latest and greatest news. Some news headlines, however, manage to grab his attention.

Like one from last week.  It had a clickbait title, “New CDC guidance says older adults should 'stay at home as much as possible' due to coronavirus”.  Always curious of who is “older”, I succumbed to the clickbait and power-read the article.

It reported that “early data suggests older people are twice as likely to have serious illness from the novel virus according to the CDC.”  Further into the article, I learn that older people are over 60 years of age.  

Yikes!  My “older people” ship departed five years ago according to the CDC.

This made me curious to learn what else the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) powers to be who are responsible for the health and safety of middle-aged men, and older adults, are saying about us.  Plenty and troubling are what I learned.

Recent content on the CDC website about “older adults” casts a blanket doubt on our health literacy skills.  Specifically, they warn health care professionals the following about the health literacy skills of older adults:

(1)  71 percent of adults older than age 60 have difficulty in using printed material,

(2)  80 percent have difficulty using documents such as forms or charts, and 

(3)  68 percent have difficulty interpreting numbers and doing calculations.

The CDC advises that “we can improve how we communicate with older adults and create materials and messages that match their health literacy skills.”

Who are “we” that are being advised?  Obviously, health care professionals but, undoubtedly, among them are older adult health care professionals.  

Does this mean the warning is also self-directed?  Are older adult health care professionals capable of advising us older adult ordinary average American citizens?  After all, the warning suggests we’re a crowd of bumbling Mr. Magoo-type health illiterates.

What about our President or the cast of characters parading across the country peddling their qualifications and asking for our votes to be our next President?  They’re all septuagenarians and a couple of the candidates will soon enter octogenarian land.

And, what about the head of the CDC, Dr. Robert Ray Redfield Jr.  He’s 68 years “old” and, by golly, an older adult according to the warning his CDC organization is giving us older adults.

Older adult, 68 year old  Dr. Robert Redfield, CDC Czar 
They're all card-carrying members of the Geritol Club.  Are they incapable of delivering the leadership necessary to win the war against this coronavirus?

Obviously, this blanket older adult warning fails to delineate how the general literacy and level of education older adults have may impact who is really at risk.  

Who wrote this website content?  Some older adult employee of the CDC?  I doubt it.  

Probably some millennial employee wanting to move up the CDC government bureaucracy ladder and frustrated that an older adult supervisor is getting is his or her way.

Pierini Fitness perceives there’s a new generation of discrimination on the horizon; actually, it’s already arrived, but will grow to new levels unless we middle-aged men of the older adult CDC variety, and all other older adults, call a “spade a spade” to those making such blanket nonsense aging-discrimination statements.

Pierini Fitness has always been proud being a middle-aged man and this CDC nonsense makes him equally proud identifying as an older adult.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, February 24, 2020

65th birthday burpees challenge

Last week Pierini Fitness had a birthday so he’s now a bona-fide 65-year young middle-aged man.  Thus far, I’ve been blessed with good health and wellness and for this, I’m most grateful.  I know it could all change in a heartbeat and take nothing for granted.

I’m quite proud of my current fitness level but must always be on guard that I’m also humble about it.  One way I keep my humbleness is by regularly stepping up to the plate and doing a quick burpees workout.  I find 100 burpees for time is one way to keep me very humble.

On my 65th birthday, I did just that with a birthday burpees challenge of 100 burpees for time.  My approach was to perform 5 burpees every 35 seconds for 17 rounds and then a final round of 15 burpees.  My time was 12:02; not great but good enough for a newly crowned 65-year old man.

I prefer doing 100 burpees for time this way – shorter rep rounds using a fixed time interval rather than going by my intuition gut.  Once I’m able to complete all rounds within this fixed time interval, I then drop the time interval by one second.  My mind and body are more likely to be willing to cooperate with this subtle change.  I call this method of progression “measured coaxing.”

My current 100 burpees for time journey has a Summer 2020 time destination of 10:00 or less.  It’ll take consistent and hard work for me to accomplish this goal.  First up is completing 100 burpees in 11:00 or less.  I hope to accomplish this by the first day of Spring 2020, about one month from now.

When I’m an old man sitting in a rocking chair crapping my pants, I’ll always remember my 65th birthday burpees challenge.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, February 14, 2020

Do 100 burpees

Good Friday greetings to all Pierini Fitness sports fans.  It’s been one week exactly since my last post.  This is the time of the year when I work more hours and am therefore challenged in other departments, such as fitness and adding new content here.

My workouts are still taking place but they’re shorter.  One way to take full advantage of a shortened workout is to make sure there’s intensity.  I’m doing this by doing burpees; they’re never easy.

Right now, I’m focused on trying to complete 100 burpees in 11 minutes or less.  I’m not quite there yet but am moving in the right direction.

A couple days ago, after a quick 100 burpees workout, I bumped into an acquaintance at the post office who deduced by my appearance and lingering panting for breathing that I had just finished a challenging workout.  I described the workout I had just completed.  He then asked me why I do burpees to which I replied is that they keep me humble.

Hopefully, soon I’ll have something to share and hopefully it’ll be that I met my short-term goal of completing 100 burpees in 11 minutes or less.  Despite how busy I currently am, I’ll always have enough time available to do 100 burpees.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, February 7, 2020

An aging elitist

How to live forever is a popular topic of interest as evidenced by the sheer volume of articles and research devoted to it.  On any given day, there’s no shortage of reading material to cherry-pick and read about this subject.

A recent article in the New York Times reported that American life expectancy increased for the first time in four years in 2018.  It finally rebounded after three successive years of decline as a result of an opioid abuse epidemic. 

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, lower mortality from cancer, accidents and unintentional injuries explained the average life expectancy uptick for 2018, now at 78.7 years at birth.  While considered good news, American life expectancy is still less than most European countries.  

Meanwhile, to the delight of those wanting to live longer than ever before imaginable, aging-longevity influencers are adding new reading and viewing content to their blogs and websites at a blistering pace.  

Dr. Peter Attia, M.D. is one influencer whose content focuses on the science of longevity.  Among his many works is The 5 tactics in the longevity toolkit.

Dr. Rhonda Patrick, Ph.D. is another influencer who’s always adding new aging-longevity content to her FoundMyFitness website.  From autophagy, caloric restriction, epigenetic aging clocks, fasting and more, she offers a “ton of content” for the Ponce de Leon wannabe’s chasing their eternal fountains of youth.  The link between Metformin use and longevity seems to be one of her current topics of interest.

There are countless others who are devoting significant energy to the aging-longevity agenda, in the research they conduct, articles they publish and speeches they deliver to a captive “preaching to the choir” audience of Centrum Silver folks, and younger people too.

Hollywood actor and entertainer George Burns was able to reach the centenarian mark without the benefit of these modern-day aging-longevity influencers.  He did it thanks to daily exercise of swimming, walking, sit-ups and push-ups.  He also enjoyed smoking cigars and buying a new Cadillac every year.  Of course, his genetics obviously helped.

Kirk Douglas, another Hollywood actor, who recently passed away at age 103 years, also reached and surpassed the centenarian entry age.  He was interviewed at age 100 years and attributed his longevity to a wonderful, six decades long at the time, marriage.  Although his parents didn't live as long as he did, his genetics obviously helped.

A couple psychology professors conducted eight decades of research known as The Longevity Project that’s also the title of a book they wrote.  Their study of over 1,500 Americans for over 80 years pinpointed why some people live longer than others.  Being physically active, working hard and accomplishing desired results, challenging yourself and surpassing the limits you’ve set.  Being socially active with family and friends, having a good marriage and staying friendly with healthy people were also identified.

Meanwhile, another recent article appearing in the Financial Post had a catchy title “Treating aging like a disease is the next big thing for science.  The article quotes another longevity influencer, Peter Diamandis, who has said “The average human health span will increase by 10+ years this decade.”  He points to a dozen game-changing biotech and pharmaceutical solutions, including stem cell supply restoration and others that are beyond my middle-aged man meathead pay grade to comprehend.

This aging-longevity fascination is unbelievable!

Pierini Fitness is not yet ready to join the crowd that considers aging a disease.  He believes it’s a blessing, the gracefully aging version, because there are positive benefits from experiencing it.  By embracing it, we’ll be less likely to experience death bed resentment of why all the things we did to appreciably prolong our lives didn’t work.

Some might suggest there’s no downside to the elixir of hope, even if it’s false hope and this point is well taken.  It’s hard for them not to be mesmerized and tantalized by hope, of any kind, that their eventual meeting with the Grim Reaper will be much further away from their now than previously contemplated.  

Ponce de Leon never figured it out over 500 years ago and I don’t think most of us will either.  The elixir from the Fountain of Youth will continue escaping both of us in that we’ll likely not live as long as we’d like. Obesity, brought on by an opulent and gluttonous lifestyle many Americans live, brings on many of the maladies shortening life expectancy. 

Perhaps the solution is something simple like using duct tape covering the food eaten point of entry immediately after a necessary and sensible amount of food has been eaten.

None of this considers a proven American reality that those occupying higher socioeconomic groups have a statistically greater chance of reaching age 100 years than other groups.  Simply stated:  For life expectancy, money matters.

This, according to an article titled the same appearing in the Harvard Gazette on April 11, 2016, deserves our attention:

A Harvard analysis of 1.4 billion Internal Revenue Service records on income and life expectancy that showed staggering differences in life expectancy between the richest and poorest also found evidence that low-income residents in wealthy areas, such as New York City and San Francisco, have life expectancies significantly longer than those in poorer regions.”

The article also notes that access to health care is less of a contributing factor.  

So, we need to spend time improving our financial prosperity and the quality of the social circles we frequent.  

We need to spend time pursuing and “training” to be an aging elitist.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum