Olympic Weightlifting: Gauging Energy Level & Program Variance, A Masters Perspective

Boston Walkabout: The Seaport, Financial & Custom House Districts

I’ve lived in Greater Boston for 15 years and yet I still can go on a downtown walkabout and discover new sights. The Boston metro is an amazing area that is still growing.

Yesterday I saw part of the inside of the Custom House Tower for the first time: The first inner dome with the original mercantile house flags. In normal times the observatory at the top of the tower is open to the public, but it has yet to return given the pandemic. That’s definitely on my summer to-do list; I can’t wait to see the rest of what seems like a fascinating interior, made of Vermont marble and Quincy granite. It’s a Marriott hotel now, which seems odd, but it’s great the building is very much active and in use.

Other sites could use a bit of help in keeping them alive, like the Old Central Wharf and the International Trust Co. Building. As I walked around the Custom House District and Milk Street, one of Boston’s first thoroughfares, I noticed quite a few spaces for rent. There’s a lot of turnover due to the pandemic and what have been previously untouchable historical spaces are now up for grabs. A couple of the above shots are from inside the Old Central Wharf — I got an impromptu tour from a couple who own a chunk of the building and have a family law firm, Pappas & Pappas. (They’re looking to rent out three separate floors of their section of 77 Central St. commercially, by the way.) The wharf used to stretch out 52 bays to where the aquarium is. It’s now 9 bays. It has some really interesting original features including iron safes that look like they could survive indefinitely.

It’s amazing to see how far the city and even humanity has come by seeing these original historical sites. There’s a lot of potential for further preservation by different small companies, start-ups and individuals moving in to these spaces. What came to mind as I photographed Milk Street and had my tour was that a combination of history, artsy and some high tech would work well, updating the historical quirks tastefully.

I consider the Lion and the Unicorn on the Old State House to be exemplary of historical quirks. Yes, they are symbols of the British monarchy. Nowadays though, they have the unattached symbolism of strength and uniqueness!

The other part of my walkabout was the Seaport, an undeniably high tech complete transformation. It’s become a prominent district in a short time, and indeed every time I go over there I discover something new. This photogenic city continues to yield moments to capture.

And this is a great time to plug my book “Bostonia: A Photographic Tribute To Greater Boston!” I’ve taken hundreds of photographs of this area, and this is the first volume that includes inspiring famous quotations.

Here’s the link: https://www.amazon.com/BOSTONIA-Photographic-Tribute-Greater-Boston/dp/B08QSFNXPY

OCTAVES Music: New Single Release – Artemis Amenti “Soul Satisfaction” on album New Normal

The next single from the 2021 New Normal album

itunes / apple music: https://music.apple.com/us/album/soul-satisfaction-single/1561405926

spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/1TuCLkCPHYKTt72xSOXGJB?si=tkXNpr3MRSG5hhnQNEVS4Q

youtube: https://youtu.be/IqWvQJ1mVWI

The Sunday Investor: General Electric & Green Energy Gains

Low share price, ambitious plans

For a solid famed American company, the current share price of General Electric is quite low, especially given it’s on the verge of ambitious green energy plans backed by the Biden administration.

In my estimation this is a good time to ride the first major green energy wave. And what a wonderful, innovative new branch of industry to invest in.

This moment fits the classic profile of when to buy a stock. The price is low, the potential is highly anticipated, and so it’s low risk with forecasted gains.

Of course there are always different opinions floating around. Personally I feel great about investing in GE because of the combined positive factors, including my enthusiasm about their new direction.

Examining Biological Immortality In Nature

Rose of Jericho — Just add water

We don’t have to look far for examples of biological immortality. Upon closer examination, it’s clear we’re inspired and influenced by nature, in which we take part and are not separate from.

The first spectacular specimen comes from the world of flora, The Rose Of Jericho, also known as the “resurrection plant.” This desert moss repeatedly survives long periods of desiccation, reanimating upon hydration. One way it lasts is by producing a protective sugar called “trehalose” which preserves cell membranes. Trehalose is common to cocoons, and in the human realm, cryopreservation of cells.¹ Some dietary sources of the disaccharide include sunflowers seeds and shiitake mushrooms.

Perhaps the ancient Egyptians sought to emulate the behavior of desert plants when developing the mummification process, although inexactly because they did it after death instead of before. (The common ingredient in embalming fluid is the Trehalose in Acacia.) Plants in arid climates have developed advanced and fascinating methods for survival. They predate us by a long shot, and we have a lot to keep learning from them.

The Bristlecone Pine — how to live for thousands of years

A larger example from the plant kingdom is the Bristlecone Pine, a gnarly tree native to North America in high altitudes. What’s the secret to living thousands of years? A powerful stash of stem cells that functions as an ongoing back-up genome! The cells only divide when they need to, a process regulated by stress response proteins.²

Let’s translate this back to the human condition for a moment. For starters, stem cell treatments are becoming more common. And controlled stressors can be tools for longevity, such as: exercise, intermittent fasting, and sitting in the sauna — to name a few practical options. These types of activities are known to stimulate the FOXO (Forkhead box O, for the shape) protective genes, common amongst the animal kingdom, from the 30mm sea creature the Hydra to the human.³ Here are some dietary sources connected to FOXO: Green tea (ECGC), Apples (Quercetin) and Turmeric (Curcumin).⁴

Regenerative Axolotl looking cheerful

The Hydra and the Axolotl salamander are animals that definitely have us outFOXed. Both of them are able to regenerate limbs by using a remarkable on board healing process in which, upon trauma, cells begin rapidly dividing to create new complete structures. If this isn’t intelligence I don’t know what is. Exactly how they achieve this is still up for speculation — clearly though, a highly advanced immune system at work. Perhaps more answers lie in the emergent field of quantum biology, with concepts like transdifferentiation, resonance and transmutation.

The next curious specimen comes from tropical seas, the internet biology sensation: The “immortal jellyfish” or Turritopsis dohrnii. This creature reproduces asexually and is indeed biologically immortal, able to renew its life cycle.

Immortal Jellyfish, the OG – original guru

Jellyfish have been around for 500-700 million years, the oldest of the [known] old in addition to microorganisms. What may seem like primitive body structure at first glance is the product of the amazing evolutionary choice of simplicity in order to survive in their lane. That is, their bodies are nerve networks with no need for organs. Nutrients freely pass through their gelatinous membranes.⁵ In a way, a jellyfish is a floating brain.

Personally I have no desire to exist as a gelatinous membrane, but with the advent of nanotechnology, it’s possible for our cells and systems to learn new tricks. And this is a good moment to mention that I’m against animal testing beyond cultures or tissue samples. Given current developments and understanding, there’s no need for it.

Tardigrade aka “Water Bear” may have already colonized the Moon

Speaking of tricks, that brings me to the final example of biological immortality, although there are actually many more: The Tardigrade.

It should be no surprise that microorganisms like the Tardigrade are so advanced — they’ve been around 3.5 billion years on Earth. Like the Rose of Jericho, Tardigrade can survive desiccation, and then also radiation and the vacuum of space, to name a few. It was discovered by humans interestingly enough in 1773 and dubbed Tardigrada, or “slow stepper” in Italian, for its ability to slow down its metabolism to a state of “cryptobiosis.”⁶

Tardigrades are definitely advanced survivalists. In addition to producing the aforementioned sugar Trehalose in preserving themselves, they put several other techniques to use in extreme conditions. These include: transforming or “vitrifying” their cytoplasm into glass, producing large quantities of antioxidants, mechanizing proteins that protect their DNA from damage, and both sexually and asexually reproducing. In short, they’re at a relatively higher level in their evolution than we are.

There’s much for us to look forward to though, and look at in the present in amazement. Biology is an exciting field that continues to show us there’s more to be discovered; on Earth, cosmically and beyond. Life as a voyage of discovery is unending. On that note, I’m going to go have some green tea and sauté up some shiitakes.


¹ Trehalose: an intriguing disaccharide with potential for medical application in ophthalmology / Jacques Luyckx and Christophe Baudouin / https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3102588/

² The animals and plants that can live forever / Colin Barry 2015 / http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20150622-can-anything-live-forever

³ Long live FOXO: unraveling the role of FOXO proteins in aging and longevity / Rute Martins, Gordon J. Lithgow, and Wolfgang Link 2015 / https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4783344/#__ffn_sectitle

⁴ FOXO / Dr. Rhonda Patrick / https://www.foundmyfitness.com/topics/

⁵ JELLYFISH AND COMB JELLIES Cnidaria and Ctenophora / K. Raskoff, Monterey Peninsula College, Arctic Exploration 2002, NOAA / https://ocean.si.edu/ocean-life/invertebrates/jellyfish-and-comb-jellies

⁶ Facts About Tardigardes / Alina Bradford 2017 / https://www.livescience.com/57985-tardigrade-facts.html

Advice Column: Lifters, Take Care Of Your Feet!

At the beach spa

Lifters and athletes especially – but anyone — take care of your feet! They’re the workhorse heroes of the body that are often unsung.

For an Olympic lifter the muscles of the feet are especially busy, launching up and then impacting down. Nobody told me when I first started out the importance of foot care, mostly because it wasn’t yet en vogue to talk about.

I’ve found that foot health is crucial to my personal lifting. And that’s making sure the muscles don’t get too tight, like the rest of the body.

Yesterday, my feet told me to go the beach for a therapeutic walk on the sand! It was the best. The sand and sea are at the top of my list of ways to recover your feet. Here’s the full list:

* Walking in the sand & sea water

* CBD Oil massage / Reflexology massage

* Jacuzzi / hot tub

* Vibration massage, such as a small platform or Theragun

* Barefoot yoga or just spending time barefoot

* Legs ups the wall / inversion

* And of course SLEEP, which is the best recovery tool

Lastly I should point out that it’s very important for Olympic lifters to select comfortable footwear, especially when it comes to the fit of your lifting shoes. If you keep your feet and ankles happy, that’s a tremendous advantage – you’re less likely to see problems in the whole chain of joints and muscles.

Personal Olympic Weightlifting Log: Coming Off Deload Week

Photo of TPS Malden

I’m looking forward to getting back to some serious workload next week. I definitely say that with happiness. However, I do completely realize the importance of backing off and respecting one’s physiology during a deload week or recovery period.

This past week was definitely that, coming off two weeks of work pushing some numbers. I’ve given up looking behind me at what I was doing before quarantine and I am looking solely ahead at this point. In order to hit qualifying numbers I want I have some (smart) work to do. Fortunately, it’s work that I’m quite willing to do.

It’s a dance — of making the strength progress without doing too much. For this past deload week I let my body guide things. I did a fair amount of yoga and some cardio alongside lighter and more minimal lifting, as well as even a CrossFit class. That was hilarious — I hadn’t done one in a while and one of the exercises on the WOD was a rope climb! I made a valiant effort, although I got gassed pretty quickly. Bit of thigh chafing there.

That may sound like a lot but I made sure not to push myself too hard on length of time and intensity. After all, I want my energy to be on point for the main event, which is the Olympic lifting. I also got plenty of sleep and so tomorrow should be a good Monday Funday at the gym.

Each person is on a different track with lifting — I would call my own masters weightlifting plan to be somewhat moderate. I have competition goals as a weightlifter, yet it’s also important to me to keep myself in great health for life in general. I’ve been injured before and it’s the absolute worst. I’ve also had complete nervous system fatigue before and that was just as rough. Rough as it was though, I learned a lot.

These days I try to work more efficiently and respect my physical self, the signals I receive and overall energy level. With planned and expected easy weeks I expect to achieve more across the season and have more fun doing the hard stuff.