Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How Being A Big Burly BRUTE Almost Landed Me In The Emergency Room

So there I was at the gym today, doing Mucho Macho Mojo. For the uninitiated, this is my workout routine in the summer --heavy lifting three days a week, lighter lifting two days a week, and 45 minutes minimum of moderate-to-strenous cardio on each of those days (plus bike rides at home when the weather permits). It has been doing a decent job of enhancing my health and making me just brutally Hulk-like, but it does have its hazards. Over-confidence is one of them.

I was doing chest and upper back today. My first routine involved a Hammer wide-grip bench press machine. I work out alone, so plate-based free-form machines like those made by Hammer are ideal. I loaded four 45lb plates on each side, and then a 25lb plate on each side, and did my first set of eight. Wow! I am strong!!! Let's go for the gusto! I replaced the 25lb plates with 45lb plates, for a total of five 45lb plates on each side. Total combined weight: 450 lbs. And I did a set of six. HE-MAN! HE-MAN! I got so excited that I took a picture of the rack to prove it to Mrs. Mojo (who is skeptical that I do all these Manly Feats).

And then I did a third set. I did with gusto! I did it with speed! I did it with an abandonment of common sense and let the machine bounce at the end of rep #2, whereupon the outermost plate on the left-hand side slid off the machine and bounced on the gym floor inches from my foot. A plate that size really ought to have crushed most of my metatarsals from that height, but I was lucky. Only then did I turn to the nearest gym attendant and asked, "Well, a day late and a dollar short, but do we have any pins for these machines?" He shook his head no.

I think I may have to find another movement...

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Why Do Students Regard Reading as Torture? - Neil Tokar - Mises Daily

Why Do Students Regard Reading as Torture? - Neil Tokar - Mises Daily: this is today's required reading, although most younger teachers would use "whole language" instead of "whole word." Pain is watching middle-school students reading aloud and completely screwing up words and never even realizing it.

This is pure money:

...[L]earning to read independently was supposed to be the first goal of primary education; hence, reading seemed to be the most natural place to start. When I was in grade one, I had a red phonics textbook and had lessons that taught sounds, for example, the "ch" sound accompanied by examples such as "child" or "church."

But the whole-word method taught students to guess at words, not to actually read them. This paralyzed the rest of their primary and secondary educations. Primary and secondary schools failed to build vocabulary and content-knowledge levels. Then, when high schools sent these graduates off to university, the recent graduates were unable to engage in critical thinking

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