Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Buy our doctor a burger

About three months ago, a news article published by ProPublica reported how doctors who receive payments from the medical industry do indeed tend to prescribe drugs differently than their colleagues who don’t.  And the more money they receive, on average, the more brand-name medications they prescribe.

ProPublica describes itself as an independent, nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest.

Now, a recent article published last week by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported the results of a recent research study that aligns with what ProPublica previously reported. 

This JAMA-published study concluded that medical doctors who were “wined and dined” by a pharmaceutical industry company ended up subsequently prescribing a higher proportion of that company’s drugs than their peers who were not wined and dined.

Apparently, the more meals they received, the greater share of those drugs they tended to prescribe compared to other prescription drugs in the same category.

JAMA is a peer-reviewed medical journal published by the American Medical Association, the largest association of physicians and medical students in the United States.

So the ProPublica finding busts the doctor with his hand in the cookie jar while his big-brother named JAMA confirms that his little brother did it. 

Well for us middle-aged men trying to get quality medical care, we may sometimes walk away frustrated from a doctor’s office visit. 

Perhaps there’s some innovative and outside-the-box medicine that we want our doctor to give us but with his hands tied by health insurance-driven constraints, we’re sent our merry way with less-than-prime-time medical care and perhaps a generic prescription to help alleviate the pain. 

Or perhaps there's a new medical procedure we learn of that seems perfect for us based on our independent and responsible research; but our dear doctors says no because he may not personally know about it.    

Maybe we need to take a lesson from them rascals at the pharmaceutical industry. 

Maybe we need to buy our doctor a burger.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, June 27, 2016

A fitness frugalminimalist

Father of Pierini Fitness - a circa
 1957 fitness frugalminimalist
What’s the difference between being a fitness frugalist and a fitness minimalist?

A frugalist is someone who practices frugalism by being frugal.  Frugal may be defined as practicing economy such as in the spending of money or the use of material resources.  Frugal is that which is simple or costing little, meager or inexpensive. 

A fitness frugalist focuses on eliminating fitness expenses that are not necessary.

So a fitness frugalist may belong to a “no frills gyms” rather than one having many bells and whistles.  

In the case of a train-at-home fitness dude, the fitness frugalist may have anywhere from a simple to a vast inventory of fitness equipment and gadgets inexpensively self-constructed, or purchased second-hand at garage sales or thrift stores instead of from high-end bricks and mortar retail stores or internet websites.

A minimalist is someone who practices minimalism.  A minimalist focuses on eliminating complexity that comes from possessing many things and instead prefers to have no more than what is “needed”.  Of course what is needed is in the eyes of the beholder.

A fitness minimalist focuses on having simplicity in their fitness pursuits. 

So a fitness minimalist may not belong to a gym or own any fitness equipment.  A run in the neighborhood park and performing bodyweight-only exercises such as calisthenics is how they may do their fitness training. Or they may own a few items of fitness equipment and gadgets rather than many; they may or may not be expensive.

So what am I - a fitness frugalist or a fitness minimalist?

At this chapter in my middle-aged man life, I’m striving to be a fitness frugalminimist.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, June 24, 2016

Middle-aged man abstract mindset

Grandpa's middle-aged man mindset - by Pierini Fitness IV - May 2016
Composing original middle-aged man reflections appearing here at Pierini Fitness requires an ability to think deeply and reflectively with an abstract mindset.

One mindset commentator notes that as you develop your abstract mind, new horizons open with a bird’s eye view of life and the world.  You no longer remain stuck inside being a prisoner of your thoughts, feelings and environments.

This commentator claims that one in an abstract mindset will not sit on the fence watching others achieving their goals while doubting themselves but, instead, will soar like an eagle able to see the overall picture with clear vision and total understanding.

Sounds good to me which, by the way, has always been my cerebral paradigm.

How does this chief executive blogger cultivate his abstract mindset?  Well he now has a new tool in his toolbox to do so. 

It’s a little grandson’s first artistic creation recently painted by him last month at the ripe age of 22 months.  This artistic treasure is now framed and hanging on the wall at home available to help cultivate my middle-aged man abstract mindset.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Life is brief and precious

A first-grade class photo reminder that life is brief and precious
About one year ago I gave a copy of my book "Every man who looks in a mirror sees a 16-year-old kid" to my banker.  It was a token of friendship gift to a fellow middle-aged man.  I suggested he only read one reflection a day, put the book down after reading it, and then spend the rest of the day pondering what had just been read. 

He saved the book for a vacation, disregarded my one a day suggestion, and burned through it in a couple hours while catching up on his long-overdue suntan sitting at the beach in Santa Cruz, California.  I had a chance to chat with him upon his return and he gave me some feedback about my book.  One comment was one I had not heard before. 

He commented how my book had too much to say about death and dying.

To which I replied that was because at this chapter of my life, death and dying comes up more often than other life events.  “I’m more likely to attend a funeral than a baby shower”, or something like that, was my reply.

And isn’t that true for most of us at this middle-aged man point in our lives?

Well this year is not even half over yet and more evidence of this truth stares at me.  As I stare back in reflection, I fondly recall the pleasant memories I have of three people who recently passed away. Two were personal friends and the other was a very famous athlete who I did not personally know. 

Father Patrick Lee was a Catholic priest friend my wife and I got to know well from our pro-life activities.  He passed away earlier this year.

He was a gentle giant in our Sacramento pro-life community and could regularly be found at the sidewalk in front of local abortion centers praying in a peaceful and prayerful way for those women entering for an abortion; for them to choose life for their unborn child rather than an abortion.  

Only God knows how many more precious children are living today because of Father Lee’s peaceful prayerful ministry evangelizing and witnessing the sanctity of life.

I'm forever grateful to Father Lee for visiting my father during his last remaining days of life and delivering to him the sacraments of anointing of the sick, confession and holy communion.  He was also the priest for my father's requiem mass and funeral. 

Father Patrick Lee taught me much about how life is brief and precious.

Tommy Kono, America's greatest Olympic weightlifter, also recently passed away.  He became a good friend of mine coincidentally after my efforts about 9 years ago to reunite my Dad and him.  They were weightlifting buddies in the early 1950’s and trained at the Sacramento YMCA. 

Mr. Kono stayed as a guest in my home the first year we met.  Each year thereafter, we would also spend quality time together during his annual visits to Sacramento to visit his brother and attend an Olympic weightlifting competition named in his honor and held at the high school he attended while growing up in Sacramento.

One thing I remember about Mr. Kono was his humility and sage wise elder-perspective of having been there and done it.  He so graciously shared all that he had to offer and was never in a rush when talking to a young lifter or when asked to have a photo taken of him and the person asking for this favor. 

I witnessed his graceful aging and it actually crossed my mind when I saw him last August 2015 that it might be the last time.  I was right because he passed away about 8 months later.

Tommy Kono taught me much about how life is brief and precious.

All middle-aged men of my decade vintage will forever have many memories, while growing up, of Muhammad Ali who also recently passed away.    

I remember the first time I learned of him when he was the reigning heavyweight boxing champion and more commonly known as Cassius Clay.  I was at the Sacramento Judo Club about to begin an evening workout when someone shared that Ali had just knocked out Sonny Liston in the first round with a "mysterious karate" punch. 

This would be the beginning of my following his boxing career.  Ali defended his heavyweight boxing championship several times in matches that could often be viewed "for free" on television.  His post-fight interview encounters with Wide World of Sports' sportscaster Howard Cosell were fun to watch.

I remember Ali’s first fight with Joe Frazier when I was a high school student and then a few years later, his amazing victory over George Foreman during which he patented his famous “rope a dope” technique, using it to exhaust and then knock out the bigger, stronger and younger Foreman.

It was hard to view this great athlete's physical decline in his later years due to Parkinson's disease but he did so with dignity and witness to the beauty of life despite its challenges and imperfections.  

Muhammad Ali taught me much about how life is brief and precious.

I recently read an article on the business magazine Forbes’ website that inspired me to write today's blogflection.  This article was an interview of a physician who shared her perspective of death and dying.

Of the many wisdom points I got from reading it is how this physician, who has witnessed lots of deaths, shared “I’ve seen death done well. And I’ve seen it done poorly.”

She also shared about one lesson learned from her experiences which, coincidentally, is the same lesson I learned from Father Patrick Lee, Tommy Kono and Muhammad Ali.

What is this lesson she learned?  

How life is brief and precious.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Caro diario

Regularly-scheduled timeouts are good and necessary for those engaging in creative activities such as blogging.  All artisans and workers must eventually take a sabbatical or vacation to rest and rejuvenate from the toils of pursuing their passions.

This is what the chief executive blogger of Pierini Fitness did during a four month leave of absence from his cyberspace blog.  

What I discovered is that, while in rest, a real blogger in hibernation nonetheless has an omnipresent, growing and uncontrollable desire to get back on the blogging saddle.  

A real blogger must regularly practice their vocation of cyberspace expression regardless if anyone is reading.  A generation or two ago, and even now, people did this by regularly adding to their dear diary using paper and pen.    

I’m a made in America middle-aged man cyberspace version of Italian Nanni Moretti who directed the movie “Caro Diario” while playing himself in a dry and satirical look at life.  

Moretti used the experience of traveling on his motor-scooter while cruising with his friend around a set of remote islands in search of peace to finish his new film.  And along his way, he consulted doctor after doctor to cure his annoying rash.  The movie was a humorous look at his life and those around him.

And this is what Pierini Fitness is to me.  A place where I share my middle-aged man reflections about living and dying, gracefully aging and trying to live a good and honest life. 

This Pierini Fitness blog is my cyberspace motor-scooter, those few middle-age man brethren souls who sometimes frequent are my “friends” cruising with me around a set of cyberspace remote blogflection islands in search of peace to finish what will hopefully be a life well lived. 

And in my journey, I may consult with others by reading their take on life as posted in comments and in private e-mails to cure me of this annoying middle-aged man rash I have of being rebellious and rough around the edges.

Today is a new day of life for me and it feels good to be back on the blogging saddle with my caro diaro.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum