Friday, March 31, 2017

No gas in my blog tank

Long time ago, occasionally and sometimes more, my friends and I would “cut” school.  This was also known as “playing hooky” or “being truant.”

Years later when I was an employee, it became “cutting out early”, something you did when you left work a few minutes before official quitting time.

In the fitness world, it’s sometimes called “skipping a workout”.  In my Catholic world, it’s sometimes called “missing Mass.”

Where’s all this leading?

This chief executive blogger of Pierini Fitness is tired from working too hard and too long, so he’s skipping today’s blogflection because there’s “no gas in my blog tank.”

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Something no robot can do

Have you heard the latest news?  Robots delivering pizza are right around the corner.

Domino’s Pizza will be working with a European company to develop a cutting-edge method of delivering pizza to you in the future using robots.  They’ll start doing this in Germany.

The company said this will be necessary in the future because their demand for deliverers will exceed those willing to do the work.  This trend is taking place elsewhere in the business world with driverless cars, drones and other whimsical high-tech inventions soon to be part of our futuristic utopia.

Which might have some wondering and, perhaps, worrying a bit if their future jobs are at risk.  Some may but only for those who have a horse and buggy mindset, who are unwilling to adapt and learn new things to keep up with the times.  

This is turning out as was prophesized over 50 years ago by the television cartoon series, The Jetsons.

But fear not my fellow middle-aged men for we are safe, because who we are is something no robot can do.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Now and forever, Amen

The media, creator of what President Trump calls fake news, has recently come up with an updated style manual urging journalists to avoid making references in news stories suggesting there are only two sexes in humans.

Their manual states the following:

“Not all people fall under one of two categories for sex or gender, according to leading medical organizations, so avoid references to both, either or opposite sexes or genders as a way to encompass all people.  When needed for clarity or in certain stories about scientific studies, alternatives include men and women, boys and girls, males and females.”

This new media reference manual suggests pronouns such as “they, them or their” should be used as they are preferred by some people known as “gender fluid” who are not comfortable with traditional male or female personal pronouns.

What does Pierini Fitness think about this?

Pierini Fitness is a cyberspace where middle-aged men are middle-aged men; they always have been and always will now, now and forever, Amen.

 Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Cyberspace sanctuary

A hot topic these days is how the federal government wants to put an end to disobeying cities across the nation known as sanctuary cities.  A sanctuary city is a place where illegal immigrants may reside without fear that local authorities will aid in their deportation.

Today’s blogflection is not political but one of reflective advocacy for middle-aged men across our country who are overburdened by the toils of life, and who don’t get sufficient time to enjoy and be proud of their middle-aged man coveted status.

Those middle-aged men who reside in a purgatory abyss being regularly yanked in both directions.   On one side being told they’re no longer the youthful person they once were and are all washed up, and on the other side being told they should work harder because they’re not old enough to yet enjoy senior perks.

It can be overwhelming, robbing them of a safeness they deserve to be at their utopian ground zero of middle-aged manhood.

They need a place where they can safely reside to bask in their middle-aged man sunshine and stew in their middle-aged man juices; even if for only a few minutes a day.  For lack of a better term, they need a middle-aged man sanctuary.

And, here it is right before their eyes each time they pay a visit to Pierini Fitness, their always-safe middle-aged man cyberspace sanctuary.

 Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, March 27, 2017

This wisdom stuff is great

Over the weekend, I had an opportunity to give a happy birthday greeting to a friend who turned the big 6-0.   It was something I had looked forward to doing because I remember when I crossed this new decade line in the sand two years earlier.

Here’s an excerpt of my greeting: 

“Happy birthday and welcome to septuagenarian land, a place where every middle-aged man is oozing with wisdom yet still sees a 16-year old kid when looking in a mirror.”

With two year under my belt living the decade my friend is now beginning, my post-birthday greeting reflection has been how this wisdom stuff is great.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, March 24, 2017

A struggling middle-aged man

Today I was reminded of something I’ve read before that’s very troubling.  About two years ago, researchers discovered that American white middle-aged men were dying younger.  What was concerning to me about their early mortality is how it’s occurring during an era where America’s overall life expectancy is increasing.

As the self-proclaimed ambassador of all middle-aged men around the world, this closer-to-home discovery knocks the wind of out me.

Follow-up work by the same researchers attribute the lack of steady and well-paying jobs for white middle-aged men lacking higher education.  This early mortality phenomenon has had a steady uptick to it for the past one and one-half decades.

It’s not just the lack of good paying jobs but also reduced marriage rates and poor health.  So, which comes first?  Does the lack of good-paying jobs contribute to reduced marriage rates and poor health, or is it the other way around?

Regardless, our middle-aged men brothers from different mothers are checking out way too early in life.  It begs a question of what can you and I can do to help in some small way.

It may simply be being aware of others whose paths we cross in our hurried day-to-day lives.  For us to take the time to stop, smell our roses, look a stranger in the eye with a smile, and extend an inviting small-talk greeting.  To ask someone how their day is going or pay them a compliment.

We’ll never know how the little things we do might make all the difference in the life of someone who may be struggling for reasons unbeknownst to us, like the white middle-aged men included in these researchers’ studies.

You and I may not be able to solve world hunger or other large-scale problems, but we surely can, in some small way, bring momentary joy to a struggling middle-age man.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Thursday, March 23, 2017

RIP Uncle Sonny

Today the Pierini Fitness flag flies at half-mast as I join my aunt and cousins in mourning the passing of their dear husband and father, Mr. Zenon Jaime.  My cousins called him Dad but I called him my Uncle Sonny.  He passed away yesterday.

He was a gentle giant who spoke with the most amazing gentle and soft voice, a man’s man who preferred to do the listening rather than talking. 

Right now, I’m collecting my thoughts and feelings about what it feels like to lose a dear uncle and including my aunt and cousins in my prayers and well wishes as they begin their grieving and mourning journeys. 

So, today’s Pierini Fitness blogflection will be no more than this as I spend my day reflecting on the great many memories I have of him.

RIP Uncle Sonny.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

How to lie with statistics

Being very busy with work, I’ve fallen behind on my reading of health-related news.  Yesterday late afternoon, however, I spent a few minutes seeing what’s the latest.  I had lots to choose from but settled on what I’m about to share.

The headline was a clever one, “A Warming Planet Might Mean More Diabetes”, and it seduced me to read more.  This clever title would be inviting to both the global warming crazy-types and diabetic crowd.  While I’m in neither camp, and will do my best to never join, I was nonetheless intrigued.

Early in the article, I read the following: “The effects of climate change are far reaching, but new research suggests a surprising linkage to a warming Earth - - more cases of type 2 diabetes.”

Apparently, according to this research, for every 1.8 degrees’ Fahrenheit rise in environmental temperature, researchers calculated that there would be an increase of more than 100,000 new cases of type 2 diabetes in the United States.

Still curious, I read more.

Until I read this: Before you start packing for colder climates, it's important to note that this study cannot prove a direct cause-and-effect relationship between warmer temperatures and the development of type 2 diabetes.”

Come on now, it either does or it doesn’t. Don't waste my time!

I suppose it depends on who’s paying for the research.  Anything is possible.  Many of these researchers are equals with actuaries, economists, expert witnesses and other paid liars.

Yes, anything is possible as my college statistics professor once told us on the first day of class, by referring to a book written on the subject, “How to Lie with Statistics”.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The question not asked

I recently read about how better questions lead to better results.  A series of examples were given of how a good question oftentimes results in a good answer but, perhaps, a better question would have yielded a better answer.

It’s a good reminder the next time I’m engaging in manic-like self-talk repeatedly asking myself a rapid-fire series of good questions that may only give me, at best, a good answer.

Maybe all I really need is one better question.  Might it be the simple and time-tested classic, “Should I, or shouldn’t I?”

Yet maybe what’s best, because of the answer it oftentimes yields, is the question not asked.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, March 20, 2017

Stung by a bee

Recently I shared how getting less sleep the next month was something on my to do list as a way of meeting the challenging hours of work required of my job.  I shared how four to five hours a night is how I plan on doing this following the little-sleep practices of President Trump and St. Teresa of Calcutta for the next month.

This is my first progress report of how this challenging experiment is going; I did mention I’d let you know.

Well Saturday night I slept a little more than this average goal and it was very, very deep sleep.  When I woke up on Sunday morning, it took me some time to know where I was.  I had deep sleep fog in my brain and my eyelids appeared to be still shut by sleep glue. 

When I looked at myself in my bathroom mirror, my face looked like it had been stung by a bee.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, March 17, 2017

Can’t do corn beef and cabbage!

When I think of St. Patrick’s Day, I think of a Catholic priest I’ve known for a long time.  He’s a legend in my part of the world, known to all and the priest who baptized my son long ago.

He served a parish in my neighborhood for over 60 consecutive years which is generally unheard of among priests.  Priests generally rotate to a different parish every three to five years but for some reason, Monsignor Kavanaugh came to Sacramento in 1948, was assigned to St. Rose Catholic Church, and never left until he unfortunately had to retire from active ministry due to health reasons.

When I think of Monsignor Kavanaugh, I think if a proud Irishman immigrant who came to America and who made life better for all those who knew him.  Though he lived most of his life in Sacramento, he never lost his Irish pride nor completely lost his mother tongue.  St. Patrick’s Day has always been for him an important day of Irish pride celebration, and I’m sure today is the same.

It’s also an important day for others, regardless of whether their roots are near the Blarney Stone or if they believe in leprechauns.

They’ll celebrate St. Patrick’s Day today centered around Irish food and spirits.  For some, the spirits consumed will be greater than food at various bars, pubs and restaurants across American and around the world.  Green will be the color of choice in celebration attire worn.

Traditional Irish food this day is a plate of classic corn beef and cabbage, a meal I was never exposed to during the formative years of developing my food preferences. Therefore, this Irish celebration cuisine isn’t one of my favorite meals.  In fact, I don’t know if I have ever eaten this two-item combo.     

Since, like many middle-aged men, I’m set in my ways and not open to trying something new, I’ll find some way to honor Monsignor Kavanaugh and his Irish pride today but it won’t be with this standard Irish St. Patrick’s Day grub because, I can’t do corn beef and cabbage!

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Thursday, March 16, 2017

I'll let you know

Sleep is something we can’t do without but how much we need varies from person to person. It also depends on whether we’re talking about short-term or long-term because all of us can burn the midnight oil when it’s necessary.  My “world record” is being up about 36 hours one time long ago when I had a serious work deadline.

I don’t know about you but I grew up learning that everyone needed eight hours of sleep a night, just like I also learned I was supposed to drink eight glasses of water a day.  I’m not sure where these eight mandates came from.  Perhaps they were invented by the same person who coined the popular pool hall announcement of “eight ball in the corner pocket.”

Some people need more than eight hours of sleep a night and they get it.  We all know at least one sleepy-head person.  He or she may be a sibling, or someone we once knew long ago.

Chances are we also know someone who gets by on far less sleep, someone who is legendary of regularly burning their candle from both ends.

I found myself wondering a time or two about the sleep practices of then Presidential-candidate Donald Trump during last year’s election.  He had a very hectic campaign schedule every day that took him to several cities across the country.  No matter how far he was from home, he still managed to return each day, sometimes I’m sure not until the wee hours of the following morning.  He would rinse, repeat and do it again the next day and then the next day, over and over.

My curiosity was tamed when he once shared that he averages four to five hours of sleep a night. 

Someone less popular in the secular world, the late Mother Teresa of Calcutta (now Saint Teresa of Calcutta) also averaged the same amount of sleep each night.  She was a Missionaries of Charity nun who spent most of her life serving the poorest of the poor surviving on the streets in the worst slums of Calcutta.  Even at an advanced age, when most of us would be sitting in a rocking chair preparing for a midday nap, Mother Teresa was out and about tending to the abandoned, hungry and poorest of the poor.  No matter how long her day was and regardless of how late she got to bed, she’d be up at 4:00 a.m. to begin another day.

While nowhere near the stature of either President Trump or St. Teresa of Calcutta, I find myself having something in common with them lately in that I’ve been averaging four to five hours of sleep due to a very demanding work schedule.  It’ll be this way for another month.

So, how long can this middle-aged man last burning his midnight oil and getting only four to five hours of sleep a night, over and over?  

I'll let you know.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

My message to a novice blogger

At some point in our lives we become seasoned at what we do whether it’s work, play, travel, a hobby or all the above.  I’ve concluded that I’m a seasoned blogger with almost nine years of blogging under my belt and nearly 1,000 original and unique blogflections bearing my name.

I’ve known this for a while and internalized it but this is the first time I’ve “announced” it, using Pierini Fitness to make it a matter of cyberspace record.

What was my defining moment enabling me to this conclusion?  It was something I recently shared with a person who’s beginning his blogging journey.  I remember when I did so long ago.

The following are slightly condensed and enhanced words of wisdom I gave this young blogger.  My intent was to inspire him in his new pursuit.  What I found, however, was that the inspiration I sought to give him ricocheted back, landing on my lap and inspiring me in my continuing blogging journey. 

Congratulations on entering the fascinating world of blogging.  I've been a blogger for almost 9 years and it has been one of the best things I've ever done.

The self-discovery fruits of your labor may take some time to discover.  For me, the archival benefit of what I've written has been tremendous.  I recycle some of my works and use them in a monthly e-newsletter for my clients, who enjoy my compositions almost as much as I do.

Sometimes I’ll go back to my early compositions and, when I do, I’m surprised that I wrote what I did.  I’ve learned that my thoughts, opinions and feelings about what I’ve written oftentimes remain the same.  From this I learn how set I am in my ways, and that I’m a creature of habit; rigid some might say.

It’s typical for a novice blogger to have newbie zeal only later to discover that lethargy arrives.  This is something that shouldn’t cause excessive concern or frustration.  It should be welcomed since it’s part of the ebb and flow of life.

Creative dryness is something most bloggers eventually experience.  This is natural for creative people, and bloggers are creative people just like artists and musicians.  We happen to use a different medium - a cyberspace landscape - being creative and expressing ourselves.

I hope many fruits from your labor unfold and that you become a better person from your efforts.”  

This was my message to a novice blogger.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Me and my hamburger

Yesterday I stumbled across another news article catching my attention about protein which appears to be in vogue these days but only the non-meat version.  Have you heard the latest?

It’s called The Protein Challenge 2040, described by its promoters as “the first global coalition exploring how we feed nine billion people enough protein in a way which is affordable, healthy and good for the environment.”  There’s even a fancy website to peddle this grand idea to anyone interested.   I’m not but maybe you are.  Suggestion:  put on your “follow the money reading glasses if you decide to learn more.

Organizers are calling for others to join and bring their resources (translation:  we need your money) and expertise to help their “worthy” cause.  Initially, their focus will be on increasing plant-based protein consumption, developing sustainable animal feed and closing the protein nutrient loop. 

Isn’t it nice someone cares about this for you and me?

Organizations who are members reads like a who’s who list of international companies.  Ones you and I would recognize include Coca-Cola, Pepsico, and The Hershey Company as in chocolate bars, big names that don’t ring a protein bell to me. A noted non-member is McDonald’s - wonder why?

Who came up with this grandiose idea, who’s paying their salaries and where will a follow-the-money inquiry lead us?

I don’t have the time or energy to answer my questions but lately it feels like there’s a conspiracy out there with a goal of separating me and my hamburger.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, March 13, 2017

Taking Monday off

I’ve worn myself out over the weekend with a second opinion article I wrote appearing in my hometown newspaper yesterday.  I really tried my best to write a winner and believe I did. 

I also spent part of yesterday afternoon replying to various e-mails received about what I had written.   The two thumbs up e-mails outpaced the negative ones by almost a two-to-one margin.  It was fun replying to each one with a courteous and polite message, something that isn't always easy for me. 

It’s nice to know that some people think I have good things to say.  And, it’s also nice knowing that I may have hit a nerve with others, making them think about stuff that might make them feel uncomfortable.

In any event, this all has worn me out, leaving my creative writing abilities bone-dry.

Therefore, here at Pierini Fitness, I’m taking Monday off.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, March 10, 2017

Believe it when I see it

Rumor has it that meat may be on its way out according to a news article I read yesterday.  

Since “fake news” is a popular term used lately to describe what we’re fed by the media, let’s hope what I read falls into this category.

What I read had an inviting headline of “Food’s future is meatless, largest meat processing CEO says”.  He was quoted saying how statistics show that worldwide protein consumption is growing but from sources that are outpacing meat.

It didn’t take me long into this article to detect the spin fueling this news, thanks to my middle-aged man “follow the money” investigative procedures.  Apparently, this CEO’s company is investing $150 million to fund startup companies developing meat substitutes.

And, this company also has a small ownership stake in a company hoping to pedal engineered food that is both protein-rich and non-meat. 

Yup, this news is another case of a company’s self-promotion dressed in a newsworthy costume that would make the PETA militants delighted.

Maybe some middle-aged men might play around and give this “coming to a neighborhood store near you” non-meat engineered food a try.  

Expect there’ll be a vast selection of ready-made and easy to heat engineered food tasting like real meat, thanks to clever taste engineers who have learned how to sauce these products with their secret flavor-enhancing ingredients, capable of fooling our middle-aged man discriminating taste buds.

Some middle-aged men may be fooled but not many is my prediction.  We know our greatness has its origin in the countless hamburgers, steaks, BBQ ribs and other meat delicacies consumed year after year.

I don’t buy this news and will believe it when I see it.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The unforgettable Nat King Cole

I’ve generally preferred listening to the stillness of silence is golden when working at my job rather than having music in my background.  

The same is true when I’m driving in my car.  It’s been my experience that the peak concentration required of my job is best achieved in an auditory soundscape of extreme silence.  If I can hear a pin drop, all the better.

Other middle-aged men are just the opposite and do best with some barely-audible “mood music” close by helping them with improved focus and productivity.  

Neither of us are like the younger folks, many of whom only seem to thrive in the focus and productivity departments when there’s loud garage band hard rock music blasting.  We’re all different, and we all use different props and tricks to bring out the best in our work efforts.

Lately, to my surprise, I’ve tried something different.  For about the last week, I’ve had music playing in my background when working.  This is something I'm developing a newfound joy.

What I’m listening to varies from day to day depending on my mood.  I’ve listened to classical music, waltzes, and even some Mexican mariachi music.  A couple days ago, I had a marathon session listening to classics sung by the late and great Dean Martin.  This is something my RIP dear father would have highly approved.

Yesterday was more of the same, music that is, but a different artist who was at his peak in the 1950’s and 1960’s until he passed at a too-young age from cancer.  I listened to his greatest hits more than once, twice or thrice until I had had enough.

It was fun while it lasted, listening to the unforgettable Nat King Cole.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

"A Day Without a Middle-aged Man"

There’s a trend brewing nowadays with national protests popping up with increasing frequency.  They’re described as a day without a (insert your favorite oppressed class).  Last month we had “A Day Without Immigrants” and today we have “A Day Without a Woman”.

These national protests make good news and the media loves to report them.  They also allow certain photogenic and vocal participants to perhaps make the national network evening news, and enjoy a brief 30 seconds of fame before returning to the real world, where the rest of us reside, being a nobody.

Well if one national protest is good and two is better, then three is best.

Pierini Fitness will soon be organizing another national protest by mobilizing all the middle-aged men in our country to join arms for a day and shout to all Americans who take us for granted.

It’s time for our own “A Day Without a Middle-aged Man”.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum