On its face, My Oldtime Strongman Training is exactly what it promises to be. But the sum of this book is greater than its parts.
When presented with the possibility of trying something new, it’s in my nature to read at least one book about it. This is certainly a nod to books—I recommend them as a mechanism for understanding the world!—but also a personal idiosyncrasy, a way for me to immerse myself in a new idea from a safe and relaxed state, which lays some foundation for engaging with the idea in the real world.
And so it was that I found myself picking up Robert “Eisenhans” Spindler’s My Oldtime Strongman Training: How to Build Old School Strength and Muscle, Master Classic Feats of Strength, and Perform Them.
To be clear: In the four years since I’ve updated this site, I have not become a professional or amateur strongwoman (though Amateur Strong Woman is a memoir title with potential). But I did recently seek out a new personal trainer, who floated the idea of peppering strongman-like exercises into our routines for fun. That sent me down a Wikipedia rabbit hole, which in turn sent me to the bookstore. And while there are many books about strength training and weightlifting, Spindler (whose YouTube page you can find here) makes a living as a performing “original strongman” (think: historical festivals, one-man shows, circuses…) Who could pass up that perspective?
Continue reading “My oldtime strongman inspiration”
Returning from vacation tends to engender three questions: How was it? Where did you go? What did you do? For me—freshly returned this week from a five-day sojourn to Vermont—the answer to No. 3 is almost always “I read all of the books.”
My vacay book binges aren’t just the byproduct of fast reading. They’re a result of devoting entire glorious days to the task—turning off the TV, hiding my phone, putting on my comfy pants, and settling into a cushy armchair, preferably one facing some sort of relaxing outdoor vista. In Vermont, it was the pillow-padded wicker deck chair of a cabin on Lake Champlain (at right). Here’s what I got done:
Continue reading “All the sweet books I read on vacation”
When you imagine a polar bear these days, two images spring to mind. One is the contended and playful bear of Coca-Cola commercials, a bear that dances with penguins and wears a scarf and enjoys an endless supply of glass-bottled soda. The other image is from the real world (or at least the TV series Planet Earth) and it is much sadder. This bear straddles a too-small ice floe that’s bobbing across vast swaths of melted ocean. This bear loses more of his natural habitat every day.
If polar bears could talk, I like to think they’d feel mildly insulted by this binary, and eager to expound upon the diverse array of experiences that truly embody being bear. I think Yoko Tawada likes to thinks that, too, because the ursine characters in her Memoirs of a Polar Bear can expound. They can also perform, live among humans, and write articulate analyses on everything from geopolitics to literature. They author books and speak at conferences and flirt shamelessly with arrogant sea lions.
Continue reading “Polar bears would write books about climate change”
If there’s one thing I love about today’s feminism, it’s the budding objectification of male brand mascots. Sure, the Brawny Paper Towel Man has been sexing it up in supermarket aisles since 1974, but it took another four decades before America was ready to ogle Mr. Clean’s butt. And Brawny bro was just replaced by a woman anyway.
This Mother’s Day brings with it a new addition to the sexy manscot canon (the sexy manscanon?)—a youthful and dashing Colonel Sanders. In honor of moms everywhere, KFC has released a romance novella called Tender Wings of Desire… because apparently Mother’s Day is big for fried-chicken sales.
Continue reading “I read KFC’s chick[en] lit so you don’t have to”
As mass-market paperbacks go, John Douglas’ Mind Hunter is a joy to behold. The cover features a soft-focus photo of Douglas, a benign middle-aged white man wearing a trench coat with a popped collar. Half of Douglas’ face is overlaid with thin red concentric circles that emanate from the red eyeball of what might be… a dog? Unclear. Bought used, my copy also has a much-broken spine and yellowing pages. It looks like it came from a supermarket aisle reached via time machine.
Continue reading “John Douglas is a murder whisperer, and David Fincher is a very smart man”