Saturday, May 27, 2006

Leg Pressing Overrated...

We’ve been hearing a lot about leg pressing in the news lately. Earlier this month Madeline Albright, former Secretary of State, made the news with the assertion that she can “leg press” 400 pounds.
Today we are informed that TV Evangelist Pat Robertson has “leg pressed” 2000 pounds. Persons who have seen the image evidence of Robertson’s feat say the weight he is working with only adds up to 1000 pounds. some are clearly working with different definitions.
I used to do leg presses as part of my fitness workout in the mid eighties. The most I ever did was 800 pounds, but that was doing 8 to 12 reps, 3 sets. I never actually tried to see what the max I could do was.
You see leg presses are done in a levered piece of equipment. You are not setting 400 pounds on your shoulders and doing knee bends like Olympic weightlifters.
You sit at between a 35 to 55 degree angle (it varies by machine) and support, then draw down and push away the weight which is on a greased track. There is a mechanical advantage involved here where you are able to push more weight for a short distance. The machine is designed to safely support the weight when you aren’t doing the reps and probably absorbs some of the weight in its structure.
I see 110 lb women every day at the club I belong to leg pressing 400 - 600 pounds repeatedly.
It's not as difficult as it sounds!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Residential Housing...

The big story in Western Pennsylvania today is that the "Capitol Police" have come to the Pittsburgh Suburb of Penn Hills to investigate "threatened harm allegations" involving
tresspassing on US Senator Rick Santorum's "home state residence house".
Some in the Pittsburgh area claim that Santorum's house is a sham, that it has only two bedrooms (the Santorums have six children), that the Senator hasn't lived in it since he was elected to the Senate and that Santorum's real residence is a million dollar home he owns in Leesburg, Virginia.
To some locals the house has always been a point of contention, Democrat Party activists have always made this complaint although I'm certain that many Dem Senators and Congressmen own residences in Virginia or Maryland where they really reside. My mom asserts that the Santorum "in laws" live in a large home on an adjacent Penn Hills property.
The property was also prominent in the news this past year when it was learned that 5 of the Santorum children were enrolled in a Pennsylvania Cyber School at Penn Hills School District taxpayer expense. Senator Santorum has since withdrawn his children from the cyber school.
Why "The Capitol Police"?
Created by Congress in 1828, the original duty of the United States Capitol Police was to provide security for the United States Capitol Building. Today their mission has expanded to provide the Congressional community and its visitors with the highest quality of a full range of police services. These services are provided through the use of a variety of specialty support units, a network of foot and vehicular patrols, and fixed posts.

Today's United States Capitol Police Officer has the primary responsibility for protecting life and property; preventing, detecting, and investigating criminal acts; and enforcing traffic regulations throughout a large complex of congressional buildings, parks, and thoroughfares. Additionally, the protection of Members of Congress, Officers of Congress, and their families is expanded by statute to the entire United States, its territories and possessions, and the District of Columbia.

So the Capitol Police serve a similar function for members of both houses of Congress as the Secret Service does for the President and visiting foreign leaders.
A local news report recently stated that a "Casey operative" had peered in the windows of the "residence" (and reported there were no curtains and no furniture) and that allegation is the basis of the investigation.
Bob Casey is the Democrat Candidate who will be opposing Santorum for the Senate in November. He has denied that any member of his campaign is involved in this matter.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Silver Sneakers...

Many of you are aware that one of the things I do for exercise is swim. For the past few years I have done most of my swimming at a well known fitness club located near my home. I’ve not been totally satisfied with this arrangement primarily because of the condition of that particular pool. To be blunt the pool area has been rather dark, the water has a green tint to it and there has been “mustard algae” growing on the pool wall all this time. Now I understand the darkness was caused by the lack of lighting and the green tint is caused by the presence of manganese in the water, but having worked around pools I know the algae is the result of neglect on the part of the club‘s staff.
Recently because I have a medicare health advantage plan called “Highmark Freedom Blue” I was invited to participate in a program called “silver sneakers”. The program is essentially a free health club membership for people who have this particular insurance. Since I already have a paid up lifetime membership at this other club this membership is a bonus for me.
About 30 different clubs in Western Pennsylvania have “silver sneaker” arrangements in one form or another. My own club participates but on a limited basis. The silver sneaker membership there is restricted to certain hours on certain days (e.g. Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday between 9 am and 4 pm).
The only other facility reasonably near to me with a pool is the JCC of the South Hills located in Scott Township. I had heard it had a really nice pool so I went there with my silver sneaker’s invitation. What they offered me was a full membership with no restrictions as long as I use the facility at least 3 times a month!
The pool is beautiful, about twice as wide as the one at my club, well lit, clean and the water is blue. There are four lanes set aside for lap swimming at all times and these are each about 30 % wider than you would normally find in an indoor short course pool so two people can comfortably swim parallel in each at the same time.
When I started swimming there I increased my workout from 40 lengths (1000 yards) to 44 lengths ( 1000 meters). 44 lengths actually works out to 1100 yards which is about 7 yards further than 1000 meters or a little less than the distance I go when I “push off the wall”.
So now I’m measuring my swimming distance in meters… thus far I’ve swam 9000 meters since I joined at the end of last month.
Since I joined the JCC my regular club improved its pool area lighting about 300% (not because of my complaints).
One other advantage I’ve yet to attempt is to combine the swim with a bike ride. This facility is on the way to one of my favorite bike rides, the seven mile panhandle trail from Walkers Mills to MacDonald in Washington County. I’ll probably try that next week when it’s a little warmer

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Since I haven’t posted much lately I thought I might give a general update on things I have previously discussed.
Art Buchwald is still alive and writing in a Washington Area Hospice long after his hospice benefits have run out.
A prominent renal specialist predicted in early March that 3 months was the longest a dialysis patient could live without treatment. Art stopped his dialysis on February 6.
Sean Casey who is making $ 8.5 million this year played in only 9 games for the Pirates this season before injuring his back in a fluke accident at first base. He was hitting .313 at the time. He is not expected back on the field until July.
No one has spotted an “ivory billed woodpecker” in
Arkansas since I wrote about the search last November 26. Since that excitement however the Georgia Department of Natural Resources has suggested one might be seen in their Okefenokee Swamp if one searched there. The last time a ivory billed was seen in Georgia was 1942.
Also the Government of Cuba is asserting that there might still be ivory billed woodpeckers on their island where they were observed in the last century.Exxon Mobil and Sunoco continue in their profit making ways. That subject is my number 1 hit reference followed still by Coach Cowher’s infidelities, the “snap on smile”, and Tiger Woods.
My laptop came back safely yesterday. The repair summary said it had a “defective hard drive” which was replaced. The whole process didn’t cost me a dime and the computer is working like new and better than it ever did. Of course I lost “everything”, but was prudent enough to save anything important to me before I sent it off. I don’t recommend this for anyone else but I saved my series of important links by posting them on this site using the “draft” instead of “publish” option.
Hang in there Art..

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Louis Rukeyser: 1933 - 2006...

Louis Rukeyser has died.
If that name isn’t familiar to you it is understandable. Rukeyser made his life’s greatest successes in the niche area of television financial reporting, a world in which he was an unquestioned pioneer.
I remember when Louis was a national financial correspondent for ABC News in the late 60’s. I wasn’t aware of a parallel career he had as a financial writer for Tribune Media Services.
In early 1970 Rukeyser was approached by Maryland Public Television (MPT) to develop and host a financial show for PBS. The result was the show “Wall Street Week with Louis Rukeyser” which ran for 32 years on Friday evenings with him as its host. The only show ever running longer on national TV was CBS’s 60 minutes.
Like for many others my current interest in financial investments was kindled by watching Louis’s show in the mid 90’s. Rukeyser reportedly cautioned his guests to talk about “money” not economics. That formula worked for both the show and PBS which for many years relied on the strong contributions received from the show’s followers.
In 2002 Louis was dismissed by upstart management who thought he was too old. Two years after Rukeyser’s dismissal Wall Street Week was cancelled because its loyal watchers no longer tuned in.
Louis died of multiple myeloma, a rare cancer of the bone marrow, yesterday in Greenwich, Connecticut. He was 73.

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