Monthly Archives: August 2009

Training 8/31/09

Not at all happy with that. Was shooting for 8, but just felt like I was griniding out the 4th and 5th reps. I’m way stronger than this, so I don’t know if my work capacity fell off (I do hate any reps higher than 5), or what.

leg press
2×8 @ 450

HS leg curl
5×10 @ 75

20 mins elliptical, 145 – 150 bpm.


Training, 8/30/09

Bench Press
Tied a PR, thought about getting another rep, but no spotter.

HS Incline
3×12 @ 65/side

3×15 @ 70

20 mins treadmill, 130 bpm.

Um. Wow.

Representative Dianne Watson (D) of California, gushing over, well, murderers.

Via the agitator

Training, 8/28/09

Just the minimum, today. Sleep deprived.

45 deg hypers

Incline situps

Training, 8/26/2009


5×5, 4, 1

Face Pull
3×15 @ 80

2×8 @ 80

25 mins treadmill, 130 bpm or so

Unusual investing strategy

CtW Investment Group calls for the the Board of Directors of Whole Foods to remove John Mackey after he dared suggest an alternativeto state run healthcare.

Their letter, in part, is concerned about business and, one would think, the value of WFMI stock.

“Mr. Mackey attempted to capitalize on the brand reputation of Whole Foods to champion his personal political views, but has instead deeply offended a key segment of Whole Foods consumer base,” said CtW Investment Group Executive Director Bill Patterson. “This is not the first time Mr. Mackey’s unsanctioned communications have damaged Whole Foods’ image with consumers and investors. At a time when shareholders are looking for Whole Foods’ management to focus on improving operations in an uncertain economy, we can not afford the risk to our Company’s brand reputation caused by Mr. Mackey’s indiscretion. He has become a liability and the board should begin the process of identifying a suitable replacement.”

What’s interesting, is that since the WSJ printed Mr. Mackey’s OpEd on august 12, their stock price has risen from $27.82 to $28.78.  Now, certainly, the fluctuations in the stock price probably have little to do with the personal opinions of the CEO, or with any impact of a boycott or increase in traffic due to a response to that boycott.  But it’s up, nonetheless.

Oh, also I’m sure, completely unrelated to the CtW call for his removal, is a the description of who they are from their letter.

The CtW Investment Group works with pension funds sponsored by unions affiliated with Change to Win, a federation of unions representing nearly 6 million members, to enhance long-term shareholder returns through active ownership. These funds are substantial long-term Whole Foods shareholders

So I’m sure this has nothing to do with their politics.  It’s just business.

(Note:  I’m all for activist ownership.  These folks are share owners, and have every right to try influence the board of directors of Whole Foods.  That freedom is one of the freedoms government run healthcare will take away.  You can’t boycott a government monopoly, and you can’t ‘invest’ somewhere else.)

Training, 8/24/2009

Easy, just did the minimum after a couple of weeks off.

Leg press
5×10 @ 230

HS leg curl
3×15 @ 45

20 mins treadmill @ 125 bpm.


Stutter Step

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned I was going to work on getting a little leaner.  As you may have noticed from my lack of training updates, I got busy.  Real busy, with work travel, work meetings, and catching up from work travel and work meetings.  And sleep deprivation.

I’m back to normal, now, and I’m getting back to it.

This morning, I’m 238 pounds, with a 40 inch waist at the navel.  That’s about 20% bodyfat.

I’m also resetting my squat poundages.  I screwed up at the start of using 5/3/1, and had my squat base set too high.  I thought it was my hatred for doing more than 3 reps, but my deadlift has taken off, so I think it more likely I messed up from the beginning.

Setting Yourself Up for Disappointment

Projections are that Social Security payments will not rise for the next two years, as the calculations for COLA are coming out negative.

Millions of older people face shrinking Social Security checks next year, the first time in a generation that payments would not rise. The trustees who oversee Social Security are projecting there won’t be a cost of living adjustment (COLA) for the next two years. That hasn’t happened since automatic increases were adopted in 1975.

By law, Social Security benefits cannot go down. Nevertheless, monthly payments would drop for millions of people in the Medicare prescription drug program because the premiums, which often are deducted from Social Security payments, are scheduled to go up slightly.

What surprised me a little were the huge numbers of people in the programs.  I guess I knew, but seeing the numbers is a little shocking.

About 50 million retired and disabled Americans receive Social Security benefits. The average monthly benefit for retirees is $1,153 this year. All beneficiaries received a 5.8 percent increase in January, the largest since 1982.

More than 32 million people are in the Medicare prescription drug program. Average monthly premiums are set to go from $28 this year to $30 next year, though they vary by plan. About 6 million people in the program have premiums deducted from their monthly Social Security payments, according to the Social Security Administration.

Millions of people with Medicare Part B coverage for doctors’ visits also have their premiums deducted from Social Security payments. Part B premiums are expected to rise as well. But under the law, the increase cannot be larger than the increase in Social Security benefits for most recipients.

There is no such hold-harmless provision for drug premiums.

Oh, and rules notwithstanding, they would like more money.

Kennelly’s group wants Congress to increase Social Security benefits next year, even though the formula doesn’t call for it. She would like to see either a 1 percent increase in monthly payments or a one-time payment of $150.

The cost of a one-time payment, a little less than $8 billion, could be covered by increasing the amount of income subjected to Social Security taxes, Kennelly said. Workers only pay Social Security taxes on the first $106,800 of income, a limit that rises each year with the average national wage.

But the limit only increases if monthly benefits increase.

And the money quote, and the theme of the post:

Consumer prices are down from 2008 levels, giving Social Security recipients more purchasing power, even if their benefits stay the same, said Andrew G. Biggs, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington think tank.

“Seniors may perceive that they are being hurt because there is no COLA, but they are in fact not getting hurt,” Biggs said. “Congress has to be able to tell people they are not getting everything they want.”

I don’t understand how so many people have missed the lessons of the past (and not to distant past, either).  If you are relying on the government to take care of you, expect to be disappointed.  How did we get to this place where so many people rely on the government?  What happened to the idea that it was embarrassing to have to take a handout?

Yeah, I know Social Security isn’t exactly a handout, that we’ve ‘paid in’ to a system and are due our money back.  But really, who expects that to be true any longer?  Now Social Security is simply a redistribution scheme that’s running out of money.  If you are under the age of 40, you better be planning on something else when you retire.

But maybe that’s not a bad thing.   Maybe we’d be better off with a little less entitlement to other people’s money; maybe we’d learn to rely on ourselves instead of our government to take care of us.

Capital Grille

The last dinner of restaurant week, we (Jamie and I, along with our friends D, R, J, D, M, and G) went to the Capitol Grille downtown Friday night.

We’d never been. The place is really inviting, with a classy but bustling bar area, and classic (but modern) decor. Service was very good, we never felt rushed, although one of us lingered over her salad throwing off the timing of our entrees.

When you order off the restaurant week menu, you have to expect a bit of the B game. The portions are smaller, and they are more mass produced, and this was no exception. Both the Kona sirloin and Filet were very good, though, and everything was cooked perfectly. The real win was the sides. Their restaurant week menu included a salad or soup, steak, chicken or fish, and dessert. No sides. So we ordered them for the table, and they were all hits. Big hits. Which tells me that ordering off the regular menu will be a good meal.

The wine list was comprehensive and pretty easy to navigate, although our server didn’t seem an expert. Prices were acceptable, with our wine running at about a 2x retail markup. It was worth it.

All in all, an outstanding experience, and we’ll put the Capitol Grille on our list of nice places to eat if you want to splurge a little; they are right behind Ruth’s Chris, and miles ahead of the Prime Rib (where service ruins the experience).

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