Back from the Mini-Break, and Back in the Saddle

“Those who love deeply never grow old; they may die of old age, but they die young.” – Sir Arthur Wing Pinero

Ahh, and what a nice break it was.  After flying-in and spending the night in downtown Houston, Meesus TTP and I drove out her to father’s place in Chappell Hill.  A scene right from the pages of City Mouse, Country Mouse — 60-odd miles and a world away; what a juxtaposition.

It’s in Chappell Hill that Meesus TTP’s father, Mort Curtis — along with his wife, Val — own and operate the the Magic Gypsy Ranch, where they are keepers, breeders, and absolutely passionate connoisseurs, of the  Gypsy Vanner horse breed.  And so it was that I traded my fixie saddle for one of a horse riding kind this past weekend, and loved every minute of it.  The only thing I didn’t get a chance to do that I’d wished I’d done is to huck the ol’ fix around downtown Houston.

Next time.  And maybe both in the same day?

Seeing these majestic animals, though, up-close and personal, reminds one of just how powerful a force proper environmental stimulus is to exquisite phenotypical expression.  These animals — in addition to being bred for certain, genetic particulars (and the exclusion of “imperfection”) — are raised under what could be considered ideal conditions (i.e., stimulus) from a horse’s point of view.  Plenty of grass/hay to eat, plenty of exercise, top-of-the-line “health care”, the works.  And lo and behold they grow to be incredibly fit, strong (and muscular!), healthy and lean.  The more I consider this, the more I realize that the true impediment to human health and fitness is the one-two punch of a faulty ego and misguided “intelligence”, and that these disconnects operate on an individual, as well as societal, level.  I’m not otherwise a Chairman Mao fan, however, he did drive home the profundity nail with his “civilize the mind, make savage the body” , quote.  So very true.

And having a vast financial tie associated with an organism’s (be it athlete or animal) prevailing health has the effect of illuminating that organism’s health/fitness in a very bright light.  Hmmmmm…….maybe John Q Public should consider this?  Just a thought…

Long flights and extended layovers eventually exhausted my brought-along reading material, and so on the return to NC, I was forced to wonder Nashville International in search of intellectual nourishment.  I came away with the April issue of the Atlantic and, in particular, found this article concerning the “edibility” of kangaroo and camel to be especially thought-provoking.  Having just spent the weekend surrounded by miles and miles (literally) of open pastureland, my mind automatically went into overdrive with the possibility of putting kangaroo and camel into “crop rotation” along with chickens, goats, cattle, and the (pick your own) favorite veggie/berry crop-of-the-month.  Now, as a natural-born carnivore, I’d have no problem at all cutting into a nice, medium rare, camel sirloin, or Qin’-up some tasty ‘roo — but I wonder if that’s just me.  The culinary dictates of a culture are peculiar things to be sure.  I wonder what it is about the Paleo crowd that enables us to be more tolerant of out-of-the-box (pun intended) cuisine?  What causes us to bypass the “eeeww, yuck, ick” factor, and head straight right for a nutritional value, and taste-test break-down?  “A superior intelligence” would be my reflexive response — but really, is that it?  The ability to reason, to parse facts and to squelch the idiot “noise”?  Just attempting to connect the dots, here, attempting to formulate a “theory of everything” that prevents the general public’s Paleo buy-in.  I refuse to believe this is a dead-end road  🙂

And speaking of “dead-end roads”, how about the NSCA’s decision to shun Mike Boyle at this summer’s NSCA National Conference?  My comment on Mike’s blog, in reference to the shun, was…

…Stick to your guns, Mike. Any organization that acts to stifle the innovativeness of its members is looking to go the way of the dinosaur. These organizations ought to act as incubators of cutting-edge ideas; not that all of these ideas will necessarily wind-up panning out — but some, undoubtedly, will. Evolve or die, NSCA; nothing remains in homeostasis forever…

I realize these organizations are under a good deal of pressure to project solid, standardized “group think” — yet, there has to be provisions made for innovation.  This lack of an “innovative branch” within the fitness/S & C certification organizations is the primary reason behind my refusal to become “certified” by any of them.  “Certified”, it seems, is tantamount to “obligated to yesterday’s thought”.  Food pyramid, anyone?  USDA?  I refuse to be willfully dumbed-down.

Not very epistemocratic, and in no way is this exemplary of an n=1 mindset; and, therefore, not at all for me.

In health,

12 responses to “Back from the Mini-Break, and Back in the Saddle

  1. Hey Keith sux you didn’t get to ‘huck around in your fixie’ but at least you HAVE one. I’ve been waiting 8 weeks for my 2010 Jamis Beatnik and its been frustrating waking up to ANOTHER beautiful spring day in NYC w/o a bike.

    Also, how exactly do I develop greater proprioceptive sense in the lumbar//pelvic area? I noticed most people have no idea what’s going on back there, and also as a result, usually hinge in that area when exercising- b* wink or over-extension…

    • Focused awareness and box squats. Placing the box so that one really has to really “reach back” (and thereby engaging the glutes and hams), ought to help.

  2. Being an Australian I love to eat Kangaroo on a regular basis. I can get it at local supermarkets here in Sydney. It can be very strong in terms of smell and taste.


  3. vanners are cool horses. That is all I can contribue to this discussion. Wait – Houston has AWESOME tex-mex.

    There. 🙂 Welcome back. Sorry you couldn’t stay.

    • True on both counts. And you’ve truly earned your Paleo chops if you can successfully navigate the potential minefield that is the tex-mex experience. I’m here to say, though, that it is possible — minus a couple of mighty fine tortillas 🙂

      Sorry I couldn’t stay, too. When the time is right, though, the opportunity will appear.

      • Have not mastered anything – but HAVE figured out that the corn tortillas are better for me than flour. And Fajitas sans tortillas are still pretty freakin good. So I splurge every couple of weeks and eat Tex-Mex to make me happy. I don’t eat rice, and very very very few beans, if any. My weakness are the chips. But once in a blue moon is not killing the weight loss, and like I said – I opt out of lots of the tempting things. (sopapillas how I miss you so…)

        • And remember, guacamole is *very* Paleo. Thank God. 🙂 Also, if a native child of south Texas can modify his tex-mex consumption so as to be considered Paleo, then *anyone* can Paleo-up 🙂 I will say though that sugar Jones was never my nemesis — tex-mex Jones, however, was an entirely different story.

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