Friday, May 18, 2012

Preparing for a Tough Mudder, 10 Tips for Chicks

On Sunday I completed a Tough Mudder, a 12-mile obstacle course designed by British Special Forces, with some awesome folks from Team Rubicon. We got wet, cold, hot, tired, bruised, scraped and bloodied (mildly) on our way to slaying nearly 12 miles of mud, barbed wire, fire, walls, rocks, hills and rope. When it was over, we were calling ourselves Team Badass (deservedly so, if I do say so myself).

Bill's Badass Inverted Ladder
This post is intended for all of the prospective Lady Mudders out there who would like a chick’s take on how to get ready for a testosterone-charged challenge. And kick ass doing it.

Focus on endurance running
Much to my delight, the course was full of rocks, sticks, mud, holes and hills (sometimes all at once). I considered this a good thing because I think sprinting sucks. I don’t even like running very fast. Makes me feel like I’m in a rush and I do not liked to be rushed. Yeah, I know, TM is a race. Still.

Even if you enjoy running fast (so happy for you), with terrain like that, it isn’t always going to be possible or advisable. So my advice is to focus on endurance. If you aren’t in very good shape I would start at least three months in advance, though four is probably more advisable. Otherwise, you’re liable to feel like your training is taking over your life and it’ll suck the fun right out of it.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Junior Seau: Another Concussion-Related Suicide?

This was supposed to be a column about the NFL’s punishment of New Orleans Saints’ coaches and players for their role in running a bounty program in which players were paid to level injurious hits on opponents. Specifically, I was going to applaud NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for taking an unprecedented stand against what would be considered criminal assault off the football field. And I was going to chastise current and former players who excuse such behavior as “part of the game.”

Then I got an email from a college friend who played football at my alma mater, the University of Southern California, telling me that his former teammate and our friend, Junior Seau, was dead from an apparent gunshot wound. The police suspect suicide.

Is this part of the game too?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

You Want a Publicist? Pay For Him Yourself, Senator

I recently received my Winter 2012 newsletter from my pseudo-representative in Congress, Eleanor Holmes Norton, who represents the District of Columbia. I say “pseudo” because Norton is merely a disenfranchised liaison between D.C. residents and the House of Representatives. (The Senate doesn’t even bother with such a charade.)

In fact, District residents are the only group of American citizens who pay federal taxes (and contribute national guard troops to Afghanistan) who are denied any say-so in how our government operates. All we can do is watch C-SPAN in disgust, thanks to all of the ninnies the rest of you have elected (well done).

But I digress. I’ve already written about the lack of democratic voting rights for D.C. residents. Today I want to talk about a Congressional perk known as the press office.

Monday, January 9, 2012

How To Hurt Yourself in Yoga (or Not)

The New York Times Sunday Magazine ran a story yesterday called, “How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body.” The article is woefully one-sided, all but guaranteeing physical distress to anyone who dares to set foot on a yoga mat. Nevertheless, bringing yoga-related injuries out of the closet is a welcome (if not long overdue) contribution toward shaping a more honest, less myth-driven, conversation about yoga.

Despite the doom and gloom scenario painted by the Times, the average Jane or Joe can practice yoga without having back surgery, popping a hamstring or making a trip to the emergency room (or even the drugstore) simply by following two simple guidelines.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Women's Empowerment Week: A Tale From the Front Lines

The first week of January is celebrated as Women's Empowerment Week. There may not be any parades or front page stories (although maybe there should be), but there are plenty of inspirational tales to tell. Here is my contribution–a war story from 1995, when I was junior officer working for the United Nations in Croatia. It was probably one of the more potentially dangerous moments of my life, but also one of my most empowered. 

Gunfire erupted as soon as my head hit the sleeping bag on the floor of my office. It was 3 a.m. and I was hoping to get two hours of sleep before having to wake and witness the interrogation of a suspected war criminal.

Please knock it off. Please. Enough already.

No such luck. The sound of gunfire intensified. Damn it.

BOOK LAUNCH: Secrets of An Accidental Yogi

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Monday, November 28, 2011

College Football Week 14: Barkley, Boise, the Pac-12 and Bruins 'Ugly' Loss

imgres.jpgLane Kiffin’s legendary recruiting skills will be put to the test in the coming weeks when his star quarterback, Matt Barkley, has to decide between returning for his senior year or declaring for the NFL draft. With the notable exception of Lou Holtz, the pundits have all but filled out Barkley’s NFL paperwork for him. But it is doubtful that the decision to leave a potential national championship and a Heisman on the Coliseum turf will be as easy as Bill Plaschke makes it sound.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Is Congress the Most Serious U.S. National Security Threat?

In today’s Washington Post, Ezra Klein reports that if Congress takes no action to reduce the federal deficit, existing legislation will trigger a mix of tax increases and spending cuts that will reduce the deficit by $6 trillion, beginning on January 1, 2013. Compare this to the (paltry) $1.2 trillion reduction the so-called Congressional “supercommittee” tried–and failed–to agree upon.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

What Should the NCAA Do About the Penn State Sex Abuse Scandal?

On Friday, the NCAA put a bull’s eye on the back of the Penn State football program.

In a letter to the president of the university, the NCAA said they were examining issues related to institutional control and ethical conduct stemming from the university’s handling of a child sex abuse scandal in which a former assistant football coach, Jerry Sandusky, is alleged to have sexually abused eight boys in 15 years.

Even if Sandusky is found not guilty of the sexual misconduct charges against him, there is already credible evidence that senior Penn State officials were engaged in a cover up of the allegations for nearly a decade. And that may be enough to put the football program out of business.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Get-Rich-Quick: Congress and Insider Trading

I have some good news and some bad news. First, the good: there is such a thing as a get-rich-quick scheme after all.

The bad news is that you’ll have to work side-by-side with members of Congress to take advantage of it.

If you’ve ever wondered how some members of Congress can enter office with meager financial resources and depart years later as millionaires–despite an annual salary of $174,000–it may have something to do with cashing in on insider information, according to a report by Steve Kroft on 60 Minutes.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Firing Paterno, Failing to Lead

All you need to know about the Penn State Board of Trustees is that they had an envelope delivered to Joe Paterno’s house last night approximately 15 minutes before their scheduled press conference to announce his firing. According to ESPN sources, there was a note inside the envelope with a phone number. When Paterno called the number he was told, "you are relieved of your duties."

Whether or not you believe Paterno got what he deserved for failing to more aggressively pursue the child sexual abuse allegations against one of his former coaches, there is little doubt about the right way to break up with someone you’ve been hitched to for 46 years: face-to-face. With your head held high and strength in your convictions. Not over the phone, by text message or by changing your Facebook status. Because if you want football coaches, administrators and janitors to have the courage to do the right thing when the situation warrants, then you have to set the example yourself.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

When Men Are Cowards: Sex, Crime and Cover-Up at Penn State

Let’s get one thing straight about the unfolding child sex abuse scandal at Penn State, where a former football coach is accused of molesting eight boys over 15 years: it happened because a group of men chose to be cowards. For a sport that thrives on testosterone it is tragically ironic.

Beginning in 1998 when reports of Jerry Sandusky’s habit of showering with young boys in the team’s locker room first surfaced, one man after another turned a blind eye to what was going on. Two of them, literally.