15 posts

Why Does God Allow Things Like This To Happen

I’m not currently a believer, but I was a committed and serious Christian growing up, as was my family. As such, I still see a lot of religiously themed comments and posts on my Facebook wall. Today, my sister-in-law posted the following in response to the school shooting in Connecticut:

I think I just failed a test. Neighbor asked in passing, “I’m a Christian and all that, but why does God allow things like this to happen?” Told him I’d be happy to talk with him about it when he has time. But I was stumped for a short answer. What is a short answer?!?! Continue reading

Album Review: Mumford & Sons’ Babel

Mumford & Sons - Babel

I was introduced to Mumford & Sons during the summer of 2010 while working as a defense contractor in Afghanistan. Stateside, Sigh No More was already a viral hit, but being overseas I hadn’t heard anything of the band until the economics podcast Planet Money used the single Little Lion Man as the intro music to one of their podcasts; I was instantly intrigued.  Continue reading

The Only Weight Training Supplements You Need

Have you ever been to a GNC or The Vitamin Store?  It is bewildering the volume and variety of weight training nutritional supplements available.  Ditto if you’ve ever read a fitness or weight training magazine.  Everyone has this product or that product they insist will give you amazing gains, deep cuts, and noticeable results in just (insert unrealistic time frame).

I’m here to tell you that, after 20 years of weight training, I’ve come to a conclusion:  there’s not very much out there that’s worth spending your hard earned money on. The majority of it is just bunk.  Some of it might work, but the effect is so minor as to not be worth it for the amateur weight trainer or fitness enthusiast.  If you were an Olympic athlete competing in events where fractions of a second can mean the difference between a Wheaties contract or four more years of anonymous high altitude training in Denver, then sure, go spend the money on anything that will give you even the slightest edge.  I’m pretty sure Michael Phelps doesn’t have an Intense Debate account, so I’m not going there.

For the rest of us who just want to be a little stronger, a little bigger, maybe a little more lean, here’s the supplements I recommend, because they’ve produced tangible, noticeable results for me. Continue reading

How To Add 70 Pounds of Cargo Capacity to Your Bicycle

After three years working overseas with no opportunity for biking or other healthier forms of commuting, I was looking forward to breaking out my old Trek bicycle and using it to get around town this summer. The Trek was originally purchased in the mid-nineties following my move into condo-style housing built by my college several miles off main campus. Winters can be brutal in rural upstate New York – walking back and forth was clearly not an option, and public transportation was non-existent in a town without so much as a stop light. I asked for a car, but got a bike. Continue reading

Family Christmas Traditions

What are your annual family Christmas traditions? If you don’t have a family, have you created your own Christmas traditions?

My family is not one to invest a lot of energy into “doing things”, if you know what I mean.   It didn’t bother me so much as a child, but as an adult I’m frequently exasperated at how much cajoling and convincing it takes to get my family to expend energy on anything that’s outside their expected routine.  This year, for instance, will be the first time that everybody will be present – to include me! – in the same house, at the same time, in several years due to my recent multi-year tour through Southwest Asia. As we were planning the get together this year I suggested we should do a White Elephant gift exchange instead of a more traditional gift exchange, owing to the shitty economy and the fact we’re all (blessedly) employed adults who frankly don’t need more stuff.  No money spent and you get rid of crap laying around your house!  What’s not to like?  But oh my lord the anxiety at discussing trying something new . . . Continue reading

Of Splinters and Glass Houses: Religion and Marriage Equality

So I hear New York State passed some law or something? I woke up this morning to find Crasstalk excitedly celebrating the passage of marriage equality in New York, and deservedly so. (Don’t get too excited though, New York gays. The associated taxes and fees that Albany will inevitably add to applying for a marriage license may cause you to reconsider your feelings on getting married there. You might be able to be legally married now, but it’s still New York after all. Everything is treated as an opportunity to generate new tax revenues.) Continue reading