I'm amazed at how many people are paranoid about not using their credit card
online (where is is very safe if used on a secure server) but have no qualms
about using it over the phone (very, very insecure) or handing it to a
perfect stranger at a restaurant and letting it out of their sight (insecure
in the sense that jumping in front of a moving train is insecure).|
I'm also amazed at how many people don't even think about protecting themselves against a major threat to their standard of living. That threat is your local city council. What do you know about how much they spend, what they spend it on, and why? For most people, the answer is "nothing."
My own city council recently wasted $123,000 on a wind chime sculpture that sits by a road; nobody driving by ever hears it. They could have used that money to buy a decent house for a homeless family, put a kid through college, or buy cars for several veterans who have served their country but now can't find a job. Or they could have just not spent the money at all. This last option was actually their duty. It is their job to steward taxpayer money, not dream up ways to waste it.
It is an economic fact that government spending = taxes. It doesn't matter what form of tax, it's still a tax. And yes, when they "borrow" (con people into buying bonds, which always lose buying power against inflation), that's also a form of taxation. Debt isn't free money, it's debt. In short, they spend and you lose.
Many people think of "the government" as that monster bureaucracy known as the federal government that has its locus in the District of Corruption.
But we also have state, county, and municipal governments; these are typically incompetent and expensive, with cronyism, stupidity, and a very low level of accountability as common features. The municipal is probably the least transparent. Nobody pays attention to the money they take from citizens, and consequently, they take enormous sums.
Few of us have time to attend city council meetings. But there are people who do attend; go onto nextdoor.com if you have a local chapter and float the question "Do you go to City Council meetings?"
See what you can do to help out those who do, even if your help is an unrelated favor. Plenty of retired people probably live in your community. On a fixed income. They have a huge interest in seeing how their sales taxes and/or property taxes will go up, something city councils are infamous for inflicting on the poor and middle class alike. Ask them to attend those meetings and report back on the debauchery.
I was originally going to write this as a finance tip. But the root issue is robbery. Does it really matter if someone steals your $600 lawnmower from your driveway or if someone steals $600 several times over a year from you via higher sales taxes and other taxes resulting from insanely immoral misuse of public money? Well, yes it does. The mower theft happens just once. The tax theft goes on and on and on.
So find out what those people are up to. Most likely, they are up to no good. My city has many monuments to bad government and abuse of the public trust. Yours probably does, too. Look around. Ask around.
To stop the stealing, start a conversation. Start a nextdoor.com chapter if you don't have one. If you do have one, identify some act of wasteful spending and ask people if they would rather have that silly project completed or have more money in their own pocket.
Once a conversation is going, you as a group will figure out how to take action and stop the stealing. This will be necessary to prevent a decrease in your standard of living, at least from stealing done by your city. You may become so good at this that you can stop the stealing by your county, too.
The phrase "bad government" is almost a redundancy, and "good government" is typically an oxymoron. But that doesn't mean we can't have good government if we make a strong enough effort to get it. One city and one county at a time. Go for it.
Let's talk about abs.
From my photo, you can see the results of good abs training. Note that I don't do sit-ups, don't do cardio, and don't do long, grueling workouts.
Neglecting abs training is a serious mistake. Think about their important role in posture, for one thing. Strong abs hold the core in its proper position. This orients the hips for proper back alignment.
The abs hold your organs from slopping forward; weak abs allow the
connective tissue to stretch out of shape. This means strong abs prevent
your center of gravity from shifting forward, and that also helps prevent
poor posture with its resulting back pain.
The act of working your abs also makes for a fantastic colon massage,
moving all that nasty stuff toward the exit .
Several good exercises exist, but I use only three.
Mine is not the ultimate abs training program (there's no such thing), nor is it for everyone.
But if you want abs like mine then this is for you. Below is what I do to have those thick, powerful abs:
Many people who do these exercises don't feel what's going on in the muscles. Consequently, they don't get much from these exercises. You really need to be mindful and feel what's going on. If you aren't familiar with actually doing these, work first on getting your form right.
One reason many people get suboptimal training is their mind focuses on counting reps rather than on what the target muscles are actually doing. One reason people count reps is they use them as a scorecard. If I can squeeze out one more (poorly done) rep, that means I'm improving! No, it actually means you are mindlessly doing reps and managed to cheat out an additional one.
So don't count reps with the idea that more reps means you're improving. More reps probably means you're cheating. Go slowly and focus on feeling those abs contract. It's the contraction of the abs, not the movement of your legs or torso, that produces the desired response.
Your muscles don't count reps. Your body has no idea that you are doing X number of reps. What will register is the amount of tension and the time under tension. Multiply these, and you get "work" or load. That's what the body adapts to.
All body weight and free weight exercises have a limitation: gravity pulls in only one direction. So tension in the muscle changes with the angle of the extended body part(s). Several really good cable exercises get you past this. Don't do the cable exercises without first learning the proper form. I've seen some ineffective and very dangerous use.
Another way to build great abs is to modify your front squats. But this requires a kinetic sense and precision out of the reach of beginner to intermediate lifters. Most people don't do their squats in good form, so adding another dimension to this exercise is probably not going to help.
For those of you who "get it" with squats, here's the modification. Do a vacuum as you come up, and squeeze really hard while exhaling. Try to drive your squat up from your pelvic floor. Try this first with an empty bar, until you feel how it works. Else, you could injure your back.
Some sports naturally build the abs, because they so heavily load the core. Competitive rowing is one of those, but this sport is out of reach of most people. A fairly accessible sport is indoor bouldering (one form of gym climbing). We climbers are noted for our abs. Climbing takes very strong abs once you are at the intermediate level, and the demand tends to be heavier as you move up in the difficulty of your climbing problems and routes.
I am tempted to say that if you can focus on only one area of your body, make it your abs. But the reality is your whole body needs training if you want to look and feel good. What you want is for your great abs to be an indication of your overall fitness, rather than have an unfit body except for those abs.
Abs are possibly the most neglected body part. That neglect is costly in old age and ugliness well before then. There's a huge body of literature about ab training. Some of the literature is extremely helpful and instructive; for example, anything by Shawn Phillips. There's no "secret" to great abs. You get them by hard work and consistency.
If my particular training method doesn't appeal to you, find something that does. If you aren't gung-ho about great abs, that's your choice. But at least make the choice to have adequate abs, something the vast majority of people neglect to do. They pay for that neglect, and it's costly.
A final note on abs training. If done correctly, you need an adequate recovery time. Notice that mine is a full week. If yours is something significantly shorter, your training is probably not what it needs to be. There's a reason people can do 2,000 sit-ups every day, and it's not because they are getting effective abs training.
www.supplecity.com, you'll find plenty of informative, authoritative
articles on maintaining a lean, strong physique. It has nothing to
do with long workouts or impossible to maintain diets. In fact:|
|Blondes have more hair than dark-haired people have.|
|Seeking to understand usually leads to greater reward than looking for what's wrong.|
Please forward this eNL to others.
Except where noted, this e-newsletter is entirely the work of Mark Lamendola. Anything presented as fact can be independently verified. Often, sources are given; but where not given, they are readily available to anyone who makes the effort.
Mark provides information from either research or his own areas of established expertise. Sometimes, what appears to be a personal opinion is the only possibility when applying sound logic--reason it out before judging! (That said, some personal opinions do appear on occasion).
The purpose of this publication is to inform and empower its readers (and save you money!).
Personal note from Mark: I value each and every one of you, and I hope that shows in the diligent effort I put into writing this e-newsletter. Thank you for being a faithful reader. Please pass this newsletter along to others.