Welcome Home, My Wife, the Bookie

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FLASH: Good News of Epic Proportions!

The Legends of the Iron Game: Reflections on the History of Strength Training by Bill Pearl (and contributors) is now available to you and me, the hungry ironheads who wonder who and what we are and where and when we came from.

I shall pour over the pages and finally learn something about the sport in which I’ve dabbled for the past 55 years. What an adventure. My focus in life is such that I see the bench behind me, the rack before and the dumbbells to my left and to my right. Good for building muscle, I guess, but not so much for discovering the historic details who, when, where, what, how and how much

The incomparable collection of pictures, pictures and pictures and the compilation of fascinating stories, details and events are fun and entertaining, inspiring and educational. Moreover, they are a grand statement of Bill’s devotion and affection for the sport, his perseverance and hard work in the exhaustive research (ugh), and the willingness to invest years for the great cause-- the complete, living history of the mankind’s physical prowess.

I skimmed, as kids do, and now it’s time to memorize... study...


I picked up Laree at the airport in San Jose last night after her return from a three-day Functional Training Summit in LA presented by Perform Better. She was exhausted and wired and filled to the brim with exciting experiences and recollections of newly gained friendships.

Stooped and bearing my cane (he’s so… brave), I listened intently as we made our way from the terminal to the car in the parking garage. Yes, dear… Oh, my… Is that so… Mike told who… Dan said what… Gray where… Thom… Wow!

Actually, I shoulda brought a cane… (he… lied)

Three times a year the Perform Better group gathers beneath one roof the most significant physical therapy and functional movement innovators, coaches and educators in the world for a series of seminars to advance the good cause. Some 650 to 700 professionals in the industry attend the affair to study the latest teachings from these experts and elites.

Advances in ‘functional movement’ are dramatic, and injury prevention and repair and therapy are undergoing significant and curious transformations. The basics are enhanced with innovation, investigation and uncommon commonsense. Active thinkers are moving to the physical therapy foreground like plow-masters to the field.
Laree, my secret admirer, has published an outstanding book for each of the three most outstanding attending experts: Never Let Go by Dan John, Advances in Functional Training by Michael Boyle and Movement by Gray Cook.  Very cool! The awesome foursome: Dan, Michael, Gray and Laree.

When I say published, I mean the lady squeezed the books from the gifted gentlemen who had them carefully stacked in the halls of their brilliant minds, but kept inaccessible by daily busyness, demanding schedules and hectic travel, teaching and  learning, hands-on applications and the general discombobulations attending genius.

The ability to urge, coax and draw treasured material from these wildly busy authors is Laree’s genius. She’s the book-maker, and they the unmade book.

What one would do as a pro bodybuilder with their provocative and preemptive material is uncertain. I suspect the care and attention they suggest in proper exercise would be trumped, or trounced, by the bodybuilders’ need, desire and madness to get huge and ripped. However, once the deed was done -- or not -- and they hobbled about in a lump of pain, the ingenious practices of Dan, Mike and Gray would be sought and diligently applied.

Give me muscles or give me death. Revive me when it’s over.

No biggee, but one last note, as I seem to be irrelevant in this saga: Were it not for me, Laree -- a cute kid, but -- would still be overseeing the distribution and positioning of the See ‘n Pee Topless Porta Potties in the quaint downtown Santa Cruz mall, sponsored by the local Spare Change Projects. A good cause, but a limited future. I said, “Cast aside your potties, girl, and join me. I’ll make you a star.”

The rest is history.

I must admit, I’m one of the abused, beaten and broken hard-heads who is happy with benches and blocks and dumbbells and pulleys. Therapy for me is a tourniquet or a splint, a wrap or Tylenol Plus. Curls and presses and I’m all smiles.

Rather than worry, I go to the gym and contend with the iron. When my mood is low, I go to the gym and contend with the iron. When life sucks, I go to the gym and contend with the iron. It works every time, all the time. Happy days are here again -- one step beyond the gym door.

Not Exactly!

Someone broke into the Weight Room for the third time this month. That means shattered entry-door glass everywhere, busted cash register, a few hundred much-needed, hard-earned bucks gone and wasted; violation, indignation, disgust and broken hearts. Dave’s Tuna down the street got the same treatment, Goodwill, twice, and two construction companies around the corner.

Santa Cruz, a tolerant community, welcomes the homeless and hapless. How sweet. And those same lovable characters sleep on the stairs of City Hall in piles to proclaim their right to be free. Asked if they’d help pick up trash at the city’s beaches and parks in exchange for meals and a place to sleep at night, they argue, ”Why? We get that for free.” They sit in the city’s quaint outdoor mall and stand on innocent street corners, begging amid billows of smoke from packs of Camels at five bucks a pop.

And then there’s Washington, DC, the liars and the crooks, the crooks and the liars, the porous borders, the drug cartels, the brave soldier under fire in the dirt of God-awful North Korekastan, the nuts, the nukes and the human condition -- no respect, no responsibility, no guts.

Gee, this stuff would get me down if it wasn’t for the gym and God and Laree and you folks, though not necessarily in that order. But wait, the best gym in town has been pillaged and abused by creeps and crawlies!

Marie and Mark, the faithful owners, picked up the pieces for the third time. They are the most decent folks I know, hard-working and generous. You reap what you sow? I want to find the creep who did this, stick his head in a reaper and sew his mouth shut.

Instead, I shall do what Jesus might do: The whole body in 75 minutes with goodness, perfect form, a pleasant pace, high spirits and unshakable faith. A whole body workout is especially satisfying when you feel fat, sloppy and disorganized, and it doesn’t require a specific exercise for every isolated muscle group. A body-smart concoction does the trick.

And remember, a non-stop, energetic thrust of well-balanced exercises accomplishes all the aerobic input you need today. Tomorrow you can run the hills and the stairs.

Ready or not, here we go:

I know what you’re saying -- Get a job! Well, I’m working on it like every responsible citizen. Maybe if the bums extend the tax cuts and stop feeding us baloney and phony American cheese sandwiches on processed white bread, we’d be happy, dinky dory.

Not. Throw the bums out and then … Oops. Just kidding... Har har… Laree’s frowning at me, or is that a glare?

We lift ourselves up, by God… The D


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Soak yourself in a taste of bodybuilding’s Golden Era with Dick Tyler’s on-the-scene record, written in his easy-going, one-of-a-kind style, West Coast Bodybuilding Scene.

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