Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mo-Vember Closing Comments

As I close out MoVember 2011, I want to thank all of my supporters and friends who have joined me in the cause. New pics in the photo gallery of my MoSpace show my Dad, brothers, nephews, and best friend who all helped us change the face of men's health.

Check it out here: 

Our $125 in collected contributions ranked us in the top 22,000 of all participants nationwide. Every bit helps! I am personally so grateful for good health and the opportunity to help Mo Bros and Mo Sistas everywhere promote early detection and effective prevention and treatment for men's health issues!

Here's to a healthy and happy year ahead, until MoVember 2012. 


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Stanford happiness class proves popular, helpful

I found this article interesting and useful. I have posted many entries having to do with measuring happiness on different scales. This article highlights activities we can do as individuals to manage stress and improve our happiness levels. Here is a snippet:

Fred Luskin, instructor of the Stanford happiness class, said that the simplest definition of happiness is "wanting what you have." Conversely, the simplest definition of stress is "wanting something to be different."

Below are five techniques Luskin teaches for reducing stress and increasing happiness.
-- Keep a daily gratitude journal, listing items for which you feel grateful.
-- Perform a meditation practice, or simply a few minutes of deep breathing and quiet reflection on something that made you happy. Consider what you can do to achieve that happiness again.
-- Make a habit of sharing the highlights of your day with someone close to you.
-- Practice forgiveness routinely.
-- Construct a list of all activities and experiences that relax and rejuvenate you. Use items from this list to manage your daily stress.

To your happiness!

Read more: SFGate

Beltway Brewery: This beer’s for you!

I enjoyed this article from a recent WaPo All We Can Eat blog post: Beltway Brewery: This beer’s for you. Hobby brewer Sten Sellier has an innovative business plan for turning his passion into a vocation. He wants to open the first ever "Brewery for Hire."

What’s unique about his business plan, however, is that he has no intention of marketing his own beer brands. No Sten’s Stout, no Loudoun County Lager. Sellier’s Beltway Brewing Co. will be strictly a brewery for hire. If you’re a restaurateur who wants a unique house label, or a microbrewery that’s maxed out on tank space or a would-be beer baron who wants to test the market, Sellier will happily rent out his brew kettle and fermenters so you can mix your barley and hops.

Great idea! Good luck, Sten.  

Lessons Learned While Challenging the Iron Butt Association Qualifications

I made three attempts at Iron Butt Association qualification and came up empty. I did pick up some tips worth sharing, however. I also made some incredible memories. In this post I will lay out some lessons learned for riders and a few other tidbits for the curious.

Stuff to Start (+), Stop (-), or Sustain (0)

  • (+) I will get a throttle boss. After 3000 miles in the saddle, the only part of me that's sore is my throttle wrist.
  • (+) I will go ahead and install the accessory fuse rather than plugging my phone or vest directly into the battery.
  • (+) A center stand will make it easier to check tire pressure
  • (-) I packed too many clothes. What was I thinking!?
  • (-) I didn't pack enough snacks like almond trail mix and protein bars.
  • (-) I drank too much coffee and not enough water
  • (0) I reviewed the IBA tip sheet, which was invaluable
  • (0) I brought lots of plastic bags of various sizes to keep things together and mostly dry.
  • (0) I reviewed the route and marked off 250 mile increments. By breaking the 1000 miles into 4 such increments of 5 hours each, I figured I would cover the ground with 4 hours to spare.

Recap of the attempts

  • Set out to Greer's Ferry, Arkansas, 1010 miles from my door, with the idea of arriving within 24 hours and earning the Saddle Sore award. Arrived 4 hours late owning to strong rains. Went on to Dallas and regrouped.
  • I realized I could still get the 1000 mile Saddle Sore in conjunction with the 1500 mile Bun Burner if I had a witness at the 1000 mile point on the return trip. The weather was clear and mild the entire time I was in Dallas. I rested and relaxed for the holiday and got all my gear dried out and repacked.  
  • Set out for home from Dallas along a 1550 mile route in light rain. The rains got heavier as I moved east. Then I got a flat tire near the small town of Van, TX. After 18 hours on the road, I only made it as far as Jackson, MS: A mere 400 miles from Dallas. I had consumed half the time and only about a fourth of the distance. 
  • I realized the Bun Burner 1500 was not going to happen, however, I stilll had over 1000 miles to go. So I decided to restart the IBA / SS for the third time
  • Hard rains continued all the way to Atlanta, forcing frequent stops. The weather broke at Atlanta, and I made the 400 miles from Atlanta to Raleigh faster than the 800 miles from Dallas to Atlanta.
  • I rested in Raleigh and rode home the next day: 2994 miles and 10 states later.

Words of wisdom and encouragement

  • As my cousin said, November is a rough month to ride, unless you're in Arizona.
  • As my brother said, I may not have an Iron Butt (yet), but I have an Iron Will and my motorcycle and I are up to the challenge. Not if, but when!
  • My neighbor Steve was encouraging me, and I do feel that the only reason I did not get the award was weather.
  • I actually feel very good about having toughed out the course in horrible weather. When it was clear and dry, I was able to cruise easily. I was able to deal with hours upon hours of slow-going in the cold and wet conditions. There is no IBA award for it, but I take it as a point of pride.
  • Army: "If it ain't raining, it ain't training!"
  • Man at a Waffle House in Tennessee: "We don't get too many all-weather riders around these parts." Translation: "Son, you are either a Yankee or an idiot, or possibly both." 

Pictures I would have taken, had I brought a waterproof camera:

  • Business marquee says, "Harps: Employee Owned." Sign in front says, "For Sale By Owner." Irony.
  • Sign on the off ramp: Welcome to Mississippi. Sign on the Visitor's Center door: Closed. The Mississippi (Un)welcome Center?
  • "Welcome to Alabama!" I wish I had a photo of CERUS and me in front of that sign at midnight, illuminated by a flash of lightning which highlights the horizontal rain and the tidal wave splash from a passing Freightliner.  
  • Howell's Cycles of Van, TX. Eric Howell is a fine man and a great mechanic.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hyperbole and a Half: Adventures in Depression

Image: Hyperbole and a Half

Today's post is part of a Movember series in Men's Health Issues. A recap of a dozen issues I recently highlighted appears at the end of this post. Today's focus: depression

Did you know that a veteran takes his or her own life every 80 minutes? Suicide is on the rise among active duty and veteran service members. The military is disproportionately male, and men are more at risk for suicide.

Everyone feels down from time to time. This is part of the normal ebb and flow of life--of living as emotional beings. Depression is a very different thing from having the blues. If you have ever suffered from depression, or if you know anyone who is, or has ever been, clinically depressed, please take a minute and follow the link to this gut-wrenchingly poignant and deeply personal account of depression: Hyperbole and a Half: Adventures in Depression.

I have been a fan of Allie Brosh's humor and insights since I started blogging. I have listed her brilliant blog, "Hyperbole and a Half" on my Blog List since day one. This particular post of hers is just achingly accurate. Please have a read, and then try to be of some help to someone who is suffering.

If you feel that Allie was writing about you, help is available. Part of the point of Men's Health Month is dealing with the fact that dudes don't ask for help. Depression is real, and real men identify it and deal with it head on. Early diagnosis and treatment is essential. So is willingness to talk about issues and get help.

Another point: some Christians feel guilty about getting depressed. Again, I am referring to clinical depression, which is a medical condition, not a bad attitude. In the Our Daily Bread entry for Nov 25, David McCasland wrote, "No follower of Christ should feel reluctant to seek counsel for depression. Nor should we feel that faith and prayer are too simplistic to help. There is always hope in God!"

As Movember winds to a close, I offer this recap of a dozen men's health issues, in no particular order, along with the encouragement to prevent illness, or failing that, improve the odds of successful treatment through early detection and open communication. Life = Good

  • stress
  • obesity 
  • prostate cancer 
  • testicular cancer
  • lung cancer
  • thyroid cancer
  • breast cancer
  • skin cancer
  • diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • mental illness
  • reluctance to go to the doctor

  • Saturday, November 26, 2011

    The bright side of a flat tire

    In the middle of a 3000 mile ride, I pulled into a truck stop to escape the rain with a cup of coffee and realized I had a flat rear tire. Getting a flat in unfamiliar territory and in bad weather could have been a disaster. A fellow at the truck stop sent me to Howell's.

    I am not sure how I got a flat but I am so glad that it happened at low speed and near Howell's Cycle shop. I really lucked out.

    Eric Howell was willing to open his shop for me on the holiday weekend. I couldn't have asked for better service. In fact, I half expected to get the Yankee Special: pay some inflated prices on the tire and labor, been forced to sit for hours in a waiting area, and been treated like a fool for being out in a hurricane in the first place. Already wet from the storm, I was afraid I was about to get soaked.

    Instead, in Mr. Howell's care, I got a fair price on a tire, a great price on the value of his time and expertise, a front-row seat in the shop where he treated me like family: showed me the tire-changing process; explained the ceramic balancing beads; and told me stories about riding with his Dad. It was like Saturday morning with an old friend.

    If I had to have a flat at all, I couldn't have dreamed up a faster, more friendly, and more fair deal. Personally, I think everyone should have a flat tire near Howell's Cycle shop, just so they can meet the owner!

    Thank you, Eric!

    Howell's Cycle
    8142 FM 16
    Van, Texas
    USA 75790

    Check out their website: Howell's Cycle Online

    Sent from Yahoo! Mail on Android

    A New Adventure: Iron Butt, Take 2

    After an inauspicious and somewhat humorous launch, my return trip to DC is underway. I am currently pressing east toward Shreveport. I have been on the road for two hours, 30 minutes of which was quite literally "on" the road...

    I have time to post this entry only because it's raining to beat the band. And I am wet because I refused to don my wet weather gear  and I refused to wear the gear because I had determined to get out ahead of the storm.

    Mother Nature is "rewarding" me for my hubris.

    Sent from Yahoo! Mail on Android

    Thursday, November 24, 2011

    Giving Thanks (Mo News = Good News)

    HAPPY THANKSGIVING from me and all my Mo Bros and Mo Sistas!

    Official Thanksgiving greetings from MoVember USA

    My MoSpace

    Watch this space for more photos with me and my MoFamily: Dad and Brothers

    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    Bruce Lee's ping pong clinic

    The incomparable Bruce Lee takes on all comers in a ping pong match. The only catch: the martial arts master is using nunchuku.

    I have tried my hand and "nunchucks" and I still have the knots on the back of my head to prove it! This video is phenomenal!

    Hat tip: Dave Pell, Next Draft

    Einstein vs Stephen Hawking Epic Rap Battle

    My nephew's favorite video!

    There are 10 million million million million particles in the observable universe
    Your mama took all the ugly ones and put them into one nerd...

    Hat tip: Brayden

    He said beer, She said wine

    This post goes out to firechick with my compliments.

    Monday, November 21, 2011

    The adventure continues...

    Until it doesn't. I am not sure where I am at the moment. All I know is the thunder, lightning, and driving rain kicked up hard soon after I left the Waffle House. I found shelter under the carport of an old, abandoned rancher off the highway. It was providence! I laid out my bed roll and caught a nap, lulled to sleep by the sound of the rain beating on the roof and rushing down the gutter.
    This attempt at the IBA is over, but not for lackawanna. Perhaps i'll have better weather on the return trip.
    Thanks for following this special feature mini-series. We now return you to the regularly scheduled blog posts.

    Sent from Yahoo! Mail on Android


    As of right now, 6 am Central, I have 6 hours to go (323 miles) and less than 6 hours in which to do it and qualify for the Iron Butt Association.
    It's raining so hard that I couldn't see the overpass until I was past it. So I pulled over and parked at a Waffle House (they are as ever-present here as are 7-11s in Virginia).
    Rain is okay. I can deal with light rain, cross-winds, slick bridges, clueless woodland creatures, and even lightning. But when it's coming down so hard you can't see the shelter, it's time to have a cuppa and soak up some of that famous Waffle House ambience.
    Forecast: more of the same. All day. Bad timing I guess. Oh well, the coffee's good...

    Sent from Yahoo! Mail on Android


    Made it to the west side of Nashville and ready for a nap. Rode through thick fog, light rain, slick bridges, and along side dazed woodland creatures, smiling all the way.
    Nearby, Waffle House. First, a little rest...

    Sent from Yahoo! Mail on Android

    Sunday, November 20, 2011

    Knoxville, TN

    Stopped in Knoxville for a brew with Blue Lou (brewed java, that is!).
    Sent from Yahoo! Mail on Android


    Pulled over to don the wet weather gear. Looks like it might be a long night. I'll be ready for a brewed beverage with Blue Lou here in a couple hours and by brewed I mean coffee!

    Sent from Yahoo! Mail on Android

    Lexington, VA

    Great ride so far, past Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Wilderness, Charlottesville, and across the Blue Ridge mountains. Stopped here at George Marshall's house for a snack, a stretch, and a quick report. All ok! Pressing on.

    Sent from Yahoo! Mail on Android

    The adventure begins!

    At 1 pm Eastern today, I am heading off on a grand adventure: my first long distance motorcycle trip. The goal is to put my knees in the breeze and ride! More specific objectives include covering 3000 miles and 10 states in the next 8 days. Even more specific: to Dallas for Thanksgiving, and back to DC.

    I will be taking advantage of the opportunity to challenge the requirements for entry into the Iron Butt Association. I know, it's cold and it might rain (or snow). At my age, days of all-nighters are mostly behind me now. Perhaps the timing is off, but then again, there is no time like the present! The first 1000 miles in 24 hours gets me the Saddle Sore award and entry into the IBA: the world's toughest motorcycle riders!

    The bike is in great shape.  I had a good night's sleep. I am packed and ready to load up. The cats are cared for and the house is fine till I get back. My neighbors and friends along the way are tracking me on Latitude. All systems go.

    Watch this space for updates and wish me luck.

    Keep the shiny side up!

    Friday, November 18, 2011


    funny pictures of cats with captions

    These two remind me of Mira and Chessie, in appearance and behavior!

    see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out the Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

    Hat tip: Karen

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    American Beer Blogger

    Lew Bryson, author of "Pennsylvania Breweries."

    I want to plug a great project featuring noted Pennsylvania beer expert and DC-Beerian, Lew Bryson. The concept is for a series of 30-minute TV shows about craft-brewed beer. The project is in the funding stage now, and you can view a promotional video on "Kickstarter" the world's largest funding platform for creative projects.

    Watch the video. Consider backing the project so it can get off the ground. I have enjoyed corresponding with Lew via DC Beer and I think he is perfect for this type of program.

    Check it out: American Beer Blogger


    This being a recap of my Veteran's Day Weekend activities.

    Veteran's Day Weekend began Thursday with Tom's arrival from Raleigh. Tom is my Notre Dame Architecture and Army ROTC classmate and fellow veteran. Thursday night was all about tasting a variety of great beers, and getting caught up.

    Add to this assortment a second Two-Hearted Ale
    and you'll have a good idea of the damage done...

    Friday Tom and I cruised to Arlington National Cemetery aboard CERUS, my trusty Harley-Davidson Road King. There, we heard the President speak after placing a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

    Afterwards, we visited LTG Maude's grave as well as the Eternal Flame at JFK's resting place.

    The next major event was a visit to the newly dedicated Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial.


    We then moved around the Tidal Basin to the Mall for the Notre Dame pep rally. The band was there and put on a great show, accompanied by the cheerleaders, the Irish Guard, and of course the Fightin" Irish Leprechaun.

    Feeling fully pepped-up and somewhat hungry, we headed for Clyde's of Georgetown. As if to confirm that this venue was pre-ordained, the one and only parking space available on the entire length of M Street was the one exactly in front to Clyde's. Dinner capped a Friday very well spent.

    Saturday's activities included a fun dinner for 6 at Tunnacliff Tavern in the East Market and then the Notre Dame vs. Maryland football game at FedEx Field. Yes, the right team won!

    Reflecting back on the weekend I am grateful for the service of so many veterans over the years whose sacrifices have won our freedom, preserved our union, stopped tyrants, contained Communism, and enabled democracy around the world while supporting and defending the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Tom and I listened to the Commander-in-Chief honor the service of warriors, we paid tribute to fallen heroes, we admired a civil rights leader who advocated non-violence, and finally we cheered for gridiron warriors.

    It's a good life; life is good. I am aware that this freedom came at a terrible cost.

    More information about the Veteran's Day activities in the Nation's Capital is here: Veterans Day 2011 Events in Washington, DC

    Monday, November 14, 2011

    Movember Week Two Update

    14 November 2011

    The Mo-tivation to participate in Mo-Vember is to raise awareness of men's health issues. The 'stache is filling in, and of course people are starting to point out that I could use a moustache on the top of my head.

    Ha ha.

    I can take a joke as long as people are getting their checkups and chipping in a few bucks to the cause as they feel able.

    As far as the donations go, we crossed above the $100 donation level today and I was awarded a ticket to the Washington, DC Movember Parte.  Woot! For $200 I can earn a second ticket and take a lucky someone with me!  Please visit my site at

    Status on my Checkups:

    • Vaccinations (still need a flu shot)--Done!
    • Complete physical for retirement--Scheduled
    • Behavioral health check-up--Scheduled
    • Annual dental screening--Scheduled
    • Annual eye exam--Scheduled
    • Annual health and wellness screening--Scheduled
    • Periodic blood lab--Scheduled

    Check out this perfect Movember t-shirt, from my favorite moustachioed brewery, DC Brau. A portion of the proceeds goes to the Movember Foundation.

    Diabetes Risk Test - American Diabetes Association

    Today, 14 November 2011, is World Diabetes Day. Here is some information with citations if you'd like to learn more about the disease and its effects.

    Diabetes Risk Test

    Over 45? Family history of diabetes? You could be at risk. Fill out this short, interactive questionnaire from the American Diabetes Association and learn more about your diabetes risk.

    What is diabetes?

    Diabetes is a huge health problem. Many people suffer from diabetes and the medical side effects it causes. An early diagnosis of diabetes can help a person to avoid serious related diseases.

    Diabetes is when the pancreas does not function properly and glucose levels fall outside the normal range. A normal glucose reading is lower than 110 mg/dL upon waking in the morning and lower than 140 mg/dL two hours after eating.

    There are simple blood tests that are used to diagnose diabetes. Once diagnosed a person will work with their doctor to determine a treatment. Treatments can include diet changes, pills, or injections. Any history, family history and people in certain ethnic groups may be at elevated risk for developing diabetes.

    There are different types of diabetes. Some start in childhood, some start in adulthood and another form occurs during pregnancy. All can cause harmful effects on the body if not taken care of. 
    Long term effects of diabetes are usually due to a patient letting their glucose levels remain elevated for long periods of time. That is why early detection is important. Excess blood sugar levels have a horrible effect on the body. Some common effects from diabetes include vision problems, kidney damage, nerve damage, heart and circulation problems. A person with diabetes is at a higher risk for these types of conditions, but a person who does not control their diabetes is even more likely to develop one of these conditions.
    Diabetes is a disease that does not have a cure. Diagnosing and treating diabetes have evolved into easier processes. A person with diabetes can normally live life as they did before their diagnosis. Living with diabetes is a matter of taking control over the disease and preventing complications.

    Article Source: Jeanette Pollock is a freelance author and website owner of Visit Jeanette's site to learn more about the effects of diabetes.

    How does diabetes kill?

    Diabetes can kill in different ways. The elevation of blood glucose levels damages arteries, veins and capillaries. This can lead to a stroke, heart attack, blindness, peripheral vascular disease, muscle wasting or embolism. Diabetes is also the main cause of kidney failure.

    Hypoglycemia which is low blood glucose levels can result in diabetic coma, and if left untreated organ failure.

    Diabetic kedoacidosis is when the lack of insulin causes the liver to turn fat into ketone bodies. this causes the blood pH to drop. in severe cases it can lead to hypotension, shock and death.

    Read more:

    Where can I get more information?

    KarmaTube: Amazing Grace, by Wintley Phipps

    I was blown away by this video! KarmaTube: Amazing Grace, by Wintley Phipps

    At Carnegie Hall, gospel singer Wintley Phipps delivers perhaps the most powerful rendition of Amazing Grace ever recorded. He says, "A lot of people don't realize that just about all Negro spirituals are written on the black notes of the piano. Probably the most famous on this slave scale was written by John Newton, who used to be the captain of a slave ship, and many believe he heard this melody that sounds very much like a West African sorrow chant. And it has a haunting, haunting plaintive quality to it that reaches past your arrogance, past your pride, and it speaks to that part of you that's in bondage. And we feel it. We feel it. It's just one of the most amazing melodies in all of human history." After sharing the noteworthy history of the song, Mr. Phipps delivers a stirring performance that brings the audience to its feet!

    Hat tip: MCRWS

    Sunday, November 13, 2011

    Pixel Pancho's DC Brau Mural

    Pixel Pancho has a unique style of painting that is clearly all his own. And of course, creativity is the spark that drives our own local brewers, including DC Brau. So naturally, DC Brau invited Pixel Pancho to come and adorn the brewery with a new mural

    This short but mesmerizing time lapse video on YouTube tracks the creative process. Time Lapse Video

    Check out the video, and then go to the brewery so you can appreciate the mural in person while sampling some great local beer!

    Friday, November 11, 2011

    The New Relationship Scale

    Let's assume two otherwise unattached people are searching for a companionable significant other. They meet, some impressions are formed, and it seems all is going well. The issue then comes down to this:

    How does the pair clearly and concisely describe the status of their new relationship in terms of its potential for lasting happiness?

    • How was the date or encounter? Sparks or flat?
    • What do I tell my friends about whether the other person and I seem to "fit"? 
    • Where is the relationship going? Onward and Upward? Wait and See? or Hit the Road, Jack!?
    • How do I safely tell the other person how I honestly feel about our prospects? Honesty is the best policy? Or, Discretion is better part of valor?

    Regardless of age or experience, these are hard questions, non-trivial questions, serious freaking questions! These questions require both careful thought and crystal communication.  Language can be wonderfully nuanced, which means it can also be frustratingly unclear. For example, one person's 5 might be another's 8, so we need a way to return emotional data to a normative scale which can be read consistently across various experience levels and communication abilities.

    To help, I propose a clear and unambiguous scale along the lines of the famous Pain Scale we've all seen at the doctor's office, to wit: 

    The New Relationship Scale, aka the PhilosFX  Bliss-O-Meter, is a semi-scientific attempt to describe and score the interactions of potential mates upon meeting and getting to know each other--say, for example, on a first date.

    And so, without further ado, we humbly present:

                       PhilosFX Bliss-O-Meter                  

    On a scale of 0 to 10, rate the relationship in terms of the likelihood for bliss

    0. Not just zero bliss, but the opposite of bliss--the Anti-bliss. Human poison.

    1.  Yikes! Polar opposites, hopelessly incompatible, physically repulsive to one another. Thou dost emit an odor most foul.

    2. No stinking way! RUN! Don't hide, it takes too long. Just RUN!

    3. What we have here is a failure to communicate. On any level. At all. Buh-bye!

    4. This is good. Just not good enough. I thank you kindly for your time and interest. Happy trails to you, until we meet again. Breath-holding is not advised. Peace, out!

    5. This is good enough--for now. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?  May I have your number? Translation: if you give me your number, I will probably call you (unless something else comes up first)! Let's see where it goes! 

    6.  OK, I'll bite. What's not to like? You know, this just might work... Mutual attraction, check! Good chemistry, check! No dead bodies hidden in the closet (or, none that I have found yet), check! Second date is ON! 

    7.  I feel really, really good about this (but a pre-nup is probably a good idea). Time to retire the ol' Black Book! And by retire, I mean put it in a safe place.

    8. This is it! The search is over! Hallelujah. We fit, we click, we are pulling in the same direction. When we fight, it is rare and respectful. When we love, it is frequent and boundless. Black Book? Burn it!

    9. Pinch me! I must be dreaming! Have I died and gone to heaven? I am bathed in the pure light and warmth of endless love. We were made for each other, and together we shall be till death do us part.

    10. Do NOT pinch me! If I am dreaming I do not want to wake up! I am one with the Divine and am currently floating in 10 points of everlasting bliss.


    Does anyone know an artist who would want to draw the graphics to accompany the words and numbers of the Bliss-O-Meter? Allie Brosh, I'm looking at you!

    From now on, if you meet someone you simply do not like, you can still ask for his / her number to be polite. Why not? We all want to be nice and get along. However, if he /she wants to know your true impressions and your honest intentions, the two of you can pull out this scale and, using the common language of numbers (and pictures, someday!), have a conversation about subjective and qualitative assessments.

    Earlier, I said we need a way to return data to scale consistently. Here's an illustration using the phrase, "May I have your number?" There is a big difference between, "May I have your number? (with a 3),"  "May I have your number? (with a 5)," and "May I have your number? (with a 7)."

    Life is too short to make bad choices. Don't settle. Whether it's good news or bad news. being clear and honest with each other is actually the nicest and most respectful way to communicate.

    The truth will set you (both) free.

    Thursday, November 10, 2011

    Men's Health

    Photo: 123 Royalty Free

    Have you made your Doctor's appointment(s) yet?  I have these on my Cosa da fare List:

    • Vaccinations (still need a flu shot)
    • Complete physical for retirement--this is very, um, "comprehensive" 
    • Behavioral health check-up (why not?)
    • Annual dental screening--actually, I am overdue
    • Annual eye exam--also late
    • Annual health and wellness screening
    • Periodic blood lab because my oncologist is a data freak

    I will post my status updates here, and on my "Mo Space" at MoBro.Co/FoamFan. Practice what you preach, right?

    Recently I highlighted a dozen men's health issues with statistics published by Movember USA and Remember?

    • stress
    • obesity 
    • prostate cancer 
    • testicular cancer
    • lung cancer
    • thyroid cancer
    • breast cancer
    • skin cancer
    • diabetes
    • high blood pressure
    • mental illness
    • reluctance to go to the doctor

    Now I want to encourage all my Mo Bros and Mo Sistas to "harass" the men in your lives to get a checkup and pay attention to the results! The earlier you find a problem, the more likely you can deal with it and extend your life expectancy.

    I am especially interested in two topics:

    • early detection to identify and treat various forms of cancer, and 
    • physical activity to reduce stress, manage weight, and maintain good mental health 

    So here are three things men can do in Movember to change the face of Men's Health

    • Put down the razor and give your face a frickin' break already!
    • Grab the phone and get an appointment for a physical exam. Just do it!
    • Go for a brisk walk: burn off a few calories and generate some FREE serotonin!   

    And, if you are so inclined:

    • Link to this post and share it with others
    • Cruise over to MoBro.Co/FoamFan and make a donation 
    • Post a comment to let me know you support the Movember cause

    Live long and prosper!

    Motorcycle Maintenance Made Easy

    Lately I am on a bit of a flow-charting jag. This one illustrates my approach to home repairs. Despite the name of this post I am quite a bit more particular when it comes to maintaining the Road King! That said, I do keep a can of WD-40 and a roll of duct tape in the saddle bags at all times!

    Of course, there is also room in my saddle bags for my ever-present Gerber MP600 US Military Issue Multi Tool as well!

    Hat tip: Professor PJ

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011

    Movember Week One Update

    Questions are shifting from "Do you need to wash your face?" to "Are you thinking about growing a moustache?"

    Movember - Changing the Face of Men's Health

    Download this poster full of timely Men's Health tips!

    Hey, Mo Bros! Movember is time to put the razors down and think about Men's Health!  The levels of awareness, understanding, and funding regarding male health issues like prostate and testicular cancer lag significantly behind causes such as breast cancer. Why is that?

    "Movember's primary campaign objective is to raise awareness of men's health issues, specifically cancers affecting men. We want everyone to know that most cancers are highly curable if caught in the early stages - including prostate and testicular cancer. Movember aims to increase early detection, diagnosis and effective treatment, as this will ultimately reduce the number of deaths from cancer. It’s time men face the startling health facts." -- Movember United States


    • The average life expectancy for men is five years less than women (presently 77 years old compared to 82). The biggest killers are stress- and diet-induced heart disease and various forms of cancer. 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, compared to 1 in 3 women.
    • Evidence suggests that about a third of the 571,950 cancer deaths expected to occur will be related to obesity, physical inactivity, or poor nutrition and thus could be prevented.
    • 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. 240,890 new cases of the disease will be diagnosed and 33,720 men will die.
    • Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in American males between the ages of 15 and 34. 8,290 men will be diagnosed with the disease and 350 will die.
    • Smoking accounts for at least 30% of all cancer deaths and 87% of lung cancer deaths. An estimated 115,060 men will be diagnosed with lung cancer and 85,600 men will die from the disease.
    • There are about 37,000 new cases of thyroid cancer each year in the US, according to the National Cancer Institute. Females are more likely to have thyroid cancer at a ratio of three to one.
    • While not as common, men can get breast cancer. About 2,140 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed among men and about 450 men will die from the disease
    • The most common cancer in the US, skin cancer strikes 1 in 5 Americans. An estimated 43,890 men will be diagnosed with skin cancer and 8,080 men will die from the disease.
    • An estimated 13 million adult men over the age of 20 in the US have diabetes- and a third do not know it.
    • Approximately 50 million men and women in the US have high blood pressure- almost 30 per cent of them do not know it. About 1 in 3 adults has high blood pressure, and blood pressure tends to rise with age.
    • 1 in 8 men who suffer from mental illness such as depression actually seek help ( Four times as many men commit suicide compared with women.
    • Men are 24% less likely than women to go to the doctor when there is a problem.

    The moustache is just a catalyst for the real discussion! When people ask me why I am flashing my facial follicles, I tell them there are two embarrassingly simple keys to much better Men's Health:

    • Early detection through frequent checkups; and 
    • A willingness to discuss issues and seek help

    I know these truths from personal experience. I was asymptomatic when I was diagnosed with cancer. Doctors found the disease while looking at something else. Now, after a 3 year battle, I am enjoying remission and working on getting better every day, in every way. Participating in Movember is not just fun: it's my little way of giving back.

    So Hey, Mo Bros, it's not too late to join the cause. And hey, Mo Sistas! And Brothers who are not participating follicularly! You don't have to grow a moustache to enjoy Movember.  Help a Mo Bro out! I am asking for lots of small donations to Movember via my webpage

    • A dime a day for the 30 days of Movember is only $3. Every bit helps! 
    • A dollar a day is $30 bucks toward better Men's Health 
    • A quarter a day, or $7.50, from 10 supporters is $75 for the cause.
    • $10 is such a small price to pay (33 cents a day) to watch my facial fuzz form 

    Grow a moustache for a month; play with it for a lifetime

    • Grow a moustache because it's fun. 
    • Grow a moustache because you can. 
    • Grow a moustache because it's Movember
    • Grow a moustache to help change the face of Men's Health.

    Learn more: Movember United States - Men's Health

    Monday, November 7, 2011

    Differences Between Social Media Explained

    Remarkably accurate! 

    Hat tip: Scott via Facebook (Scott likes "Likes").

    Sunday, November 6, 2011

    5 million terabytes of data weighs 0.2 millionths of an ounce

    Fascinating video answers the question: How much does the Internet weigh?

    Hat tip: MCRWS

    Friday, November 4, 2011

    Cheaper than therapy

    I was on my way to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center before sun-up this morning. I had an early appointment. I decided to take the Geo Washington Parkway, because usually traffic moves faster than the beltway and oh-by-the-way, the view across the Potomac to Georgetown is spectacular. Well, I was driving / gawking and suddenly felt compelled to pull over at one of the scenic overlooks. The photo doesn't do the moment justice. A feeling of peace washed over me. It's not as if I haven't seen the sun come up before, but this was special. Cars whizzing by on the Parkway behind me, and the simple, ageless glory of the sunrise before me. A moment of Zen. 

    No-shave-ember Update

    No-shave-ember is in full swing. Guys: grow a moustache to increase awareness of men's health issues! OK, grow a moustache for FUN, and use Mo-Vember (or No-shave-ember, if you prefer) as your excuse.

    Support the cause!

    Thursday, November 3, 2011

    Happy International Stout Day!

    Celebrating with a Victory Storm King Stout. Cheers!

    Occupy This!

    You wanna actually do something for your country? 
    Be a real American and OCCUPY THIS!

    This post is my tribute to SGT Jon "Doc" Kromer, a forward-deployed Arrmy medic, a biker buddy and comrade in arms stationed in Korea. Rock on, brother. We're going for a ride when you come home!


    Mo Bros! Put down those razors. Let's get our 'staches on!

    It's No-vember, aka No-shave-ember, aka Mo-vember, as in Moustache Month.

    Details are here at the Movember US homepage. Get info, watch a video, register, and donate.

    I just found out about this annual fundraiser / awareness campaign for men's health issues such as prostate and testicular cancer.  It's already the 3rd day of the month so if you have not signed up yet, we have a bit of a late start. But really, who cares?  By the end of Movember, a couple days' difference won't matter much. That fuzz hovering over our upper lip is for a good cause.

    According to the Wiki, Movember got its start in 1999. Conceived by a group of Australian men, it was originally known as "Novembeard." In the beginning, it was all about a month off from scraping your face.

    Since 2004, the Movember Foundation charity has run Movember events to raise awareness and funds for men's health issues, such as prostate cancer and depression, in Australia and New Zealand. In 2007, events were launched in Ireland, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Spain, the United Kingdom, Israel, South Africa, and the United States. In 2010, Movember merged with the testicular cancer event Tacheback.

    In 2010, over 64,500 US Mo Bros and Mo Sistas got on board, raising $7.5 million USD for men's health.

    Fortunately for me, Movember is all about the 'stache.  I am still in uniform, and beards are frowned upon (actually, beards are verboten and moustaches are discouraged--but what the heck, it's for a good cause!). Readers and friends know I like to mess around with facial hair anyway, so this will be fun as well as helpful.

    The craft. The Pride. Face grown and hand brushed.

    Wednesday, November 2, 2011

    Go forward, move ahead - it's not too late

    ARTIST: Devo
    TITLE: Whip It
    Crack that whip
    Give the past the slip
    Step on a crack
    Break your momma's back
    / E - D A / / / / 
    When a problem comes along you must whip it
    Before the cream sits out too long you must whip it
    When something's going wrong you must whip it
    Now whip it - into shape
    Shape it up, get straight
    Go forward, move ahead
    Try to detect it - it's not too late
    To whip it, whip it good
    / C - G - / D - C - / : / C - - - /
    When a good time turns around you must whip it
    You will never live it down unless you whip it
    No one gets their way until they whip it
    I say whip it
    Whip it good
    I say whip it
    Whip it good
    / E G C - / E G D - / :
    {Repeat first two verses}
    Now whip it - into shape
    Shape it up, get straight
    Go forward, move ahead
    Try to detect it - it's not too late
    To whip it - into shape
    Shape it up, get straight
    Go forward, move ahead
    Try to detect it - it's not too late
    To whip it, whip it good
    Red energy dome via Polyvore
    Lyrics and Chords Courtesy of
    Hat tip: rainman
    This is November 2, 2011, the second day of NaBloPoMo 2011. So far, so good. Two days down and only 28 days to go.

    Tuesday, November 1, 2011

    Hoka Hey Hot Wash

    The wrap-up seminar poster

    "Whether you want to learn more about the crazy 15,000 mile, 48 state, 2 country Harley adventure that was Hoka Hey from a rider who did it or just pick up some good road trip tips check out our latest Patriot University seminar!  If you are an experienced H-D road tripper or someone who is considering an epic trip, this will be a great seminar to attend!"

    The call went out recently to all interested Patriot H-D newsletter subscribers announcing a "hot wash" seminar about the Hoka Hey long distance ride. The poster attracted the curious, like me, as well as several other more experienced long distance riders who are eager to compete next year. The seminar featured lessons-learned from Patriot's sponsored rider, Keith DeNinno. Linden Able, G-M at Patriot, set out a great display of gear, tools, and equipment for long rides. In the crowd was Laura, one of the two additional riders from the Fairfax  HOG chapter. I found out I was not the only person who watched Keith, Laura, and Amy via Fleet Tracker as they wended their way over the 15,000 mile course. Maria had done me one better, keeping a detailed journal of Keith's progress.

    Some comments and lessons learned, as shared by Keith and Laura

    There were 173 registered riders. Not all intended to ride the entire course but paid the $1000 entry fee for the privilege of riding a part of the trail. Not all had enough time to finish. Many planned for a 10,000 mile, 16-day ride as advertised and simply ran out of vacation time before they could finish. Some experienced mechanical problems and there were some crashes.

    In all, 75 made it across the finish line. Keith was 43rd. Only eleven made it within the allotted time. So far, no prize money has been awarded. The organizers claim that all eleven had exceeded the speed limit at one point, but this is under dispute.

    Keith's mantra: "Ride for tomorrow." Can't do it all in one day!

    The first person to cross the finish line (the as yet undeclared winner, Will Barclay) burned through 4 sets of tires. He never bought any food but packed all he would need: 30K calories of protein bars. He changed oil 4 times. He slept about 2 hours a day.

    Prepare for extremes in weather. It was 38 degrees on Bear Tooth Pass. In August.  It was over 120 in Death Valley. Hurricane Irene soaked some riders.

    Stay in shape

    Eat protein and complex carbs. Avoid simple sugars and caffeine.

    Laura got some great pics without stopping too often. She used a digital camera which she kept on a lanyard and operated with her left hand. No messing with focus or zoom and there were some really great pics.

    Lots of complaints about the route instructions. Keith showed us the collection of directions and I do not know if I could follow them when I was wide awake, let alone wet, tired, and hungry at midnight on day 19.

    There was a helicopter following the riders with a camera. and lots of ground camera crews. Watch for Hoka Hey, the movie!

    Rumor has it that Hoka Hey 2012 will be about 7,000 miles in the Mid-West.

    Tips and Tricks

    • Full-face helmet with bluetooth to phone, radio, and Internet
    • Tank bag with map case
    • Flashlight on a lanyard to read maps in the dark
    • Painter's tape under the tank bag to protect the gas tank
    • Camera on a lanyard or a helmet cam. 
    • Wet weather gear doubles as an extra layer in the cold
    • Motorcycle cover makes a good tent
    • Carry emergency tire repair kit and two means of inflation
    • Check tire pressure at every stop

    Keith with his well-worn Hoka Hey shirt

    This summer--before, during, and after the big ride--I posted a lot about Hoka Hey 2011. I am not sure how many of my readers are contemplating a long distance ride but, rider or not, something about this particular journey captures one's imagination. What a great adventure! In addition to the two-wheeled travel and camaraderie with other bikers on an epic journey, I like the connection to native American issues, the challenge of pushing riders and bikes to the limit, and the promotion of the Warrior spirit. I have not yet done my first long ride but this speaks to me and I cannot stop dreaming about it. 

    Hoka Hey! 

    This is November 1, 2011, the first day of NaBloPoMo 2011. So far, so good. One day down and only 29 days to go.