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Musclebuilding -- Past, Present and Future


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Am I the only one to notice a stray from the usual world calm: lingering energy problems in Japan, vague disagreements among the Arab nations, a minor political contest shaping up in the States, subtle financial setbacks in Greece, Spain and Portugal and rumblings of drug and gun unrest in Mexico? Just the other day one of my casually unemployed friends, a bleary-eyed father of two, exhausted from job hunting for 18 months, said he heard a rumor the price of gas at the pump was going to increase.

Laree opened the mail this morning to discover her medical insurance premium went up $77 a month. She wasn’t sick yesterday but she’s sick now.

Just when we were getting it all together.

It is times like these that I’m particularly grateful I train with the metallic articles of pleasure and pain and have built a reserve of character, energy and might. If only all of mankind regularly nudged the steel and prodded the iron, we would less likely be facing these challenges today. Our enhanced attitude, common sense and will to live would have directed us more correctly. Certainly, we’d be better prepared to meet the circumstances.

Lifting weights makes us smarter, simple as that.

But, alas, we watch ESPN on TV, we play Soldiers of Anarchy on the computer, and we tweet, text, email and call compulsively on our cellular devices. Those same devices can be improvised to detonate bombs. Gee! There’s less and less physical activity and exercise, unless you’re one of the lean and mean, strong and courageous five percent swinging, kicking and jumping, causing commotion and counting sets and reps.

Get this… I’m excited. I intend to be true to my heritage and put to work my all-American entrepreneurial spirit (i.e. to envision, invent, engineer, manufacture and market anything). I have plans for a Gym-in-the-Pocket apparatus swirling in my head. It consists of a pair of metallic cylindrical metallic grips no bigger than the handle of an ordinary dumbbell. I call them smartbells. The gravitational force of the bells can be adjusted in pounds (and, hopefully, ounces) by keying in the desired numbers on your palm pad.

Newton first toyed with gravitation 450 years ago and look how far we’ve come since: airplanes, parachutes, bombers, rockets, missiles. Forty years ago we landed a man on the moon, for Pete’s sake (actually, it was July, 1969 and his name was Neil). Uncontained progress!

Today we have PCs, laptops, iPods, iPads, facebook and Google. Surely we can adjust and localize gravitational forces to advance man. It simply takes that one-more-rep, I-can-do-it spirit of bombers and blasters. Kinda like the hope and change phenomena of 2008. I’ll call it the redistribution of gravity for a stronger, healthier world.

Yesterday music lovers collected LPs and 45s. In a sneeze and a hiccup those were replaced by 8-tracks, then cassettes, then CDs, then digital conveyance. Books on paper have given way to electronic books, digital books on a handy dandy reader.  

Imagine, a pocketful of curls and presses, rows and laterals wherever you go, whenever you get the notion, desire or need. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

Here’s a tough one for all of us.

Serge Nubret was born on the 6th of October 1938 in Anse Bertrand, Guadeloupe. He died last week. He was great, incomparable, apart from the rest. Large and ripped, graceful and symmetric. I think of a leopard or liquid mercury when I consider his physique… from another planet, dimension or time. As a guy, he was my friend. Spent three weeks traveling throughout Europe with him at his invitation in the ‘70s.

Dark and mysterious reports about Serge were circulating the internet a year ago. Here’s a clip from my own record, dated 6-13-2010: Serge Nubret is in a Paris hospital, admitted some six weeks ago for a sudden life-threatening illness. He’s been in and out of a coma since, heavily sedated and curiously refused access by his closest friends.
 
There’s a frantic exchange of emails and phone calls by his friends and advocates determined to assure his safety and optimum medical care. Weird and convoluted testimonies suggest foul play. They are both hard to believe and hard to dismiss. The consequences of the unsubstantiated accounts are too great.

Similar interactions crisscrossed the bodybuilding world seeking the truth; muscle-magazine publishers and important leaders dug around. Time went by and the mystery faded with scant assurances passed around like cold coffee. That’s all I know today. As, or if, I gather more facts, I’ll pass them on to you. In the meantime, I mourn the passing of a hero and legend and once-dynamic sculpture… a buddy. God rest his soul.

My gym bag is packed with the usual indispensables -- wraps, lifting belt, chalk, water, handheld microwave, fanny-pack refrigerator, iPod II, Glock 45 -- and I’m off to the gym before it’s reduced to a row of benches and while I still have an arrhythmic heartbeat. Gee, I miss the good old days, my Superman comic books, LPs, 45s and my friends.

I shall press crude, old-fashioned dumbbells like they were going out of style. I shall superset those odd rascals with side-arm lateral raises before they’re obsolete. My shoulders will pump and burn big-time though they are no longer big -- neither bowling balls nor cannonballs, watermelons nor cantaloupes. Possibly artichokes. I shall leap (the last time I leaped they called 911) upon the seated lat row and let ’er rip (the last time I let-r-rip gas was $1.49 a gallon). These shall be supersetted with my favorite dumbbell pullovers to totally stimulate and dynamatize all muscles between the ears and the navel. I shall not leave here without rope tucks and hanging leg raises. Legs? I shall try to walk to my vehicle without holding onto the walls, benches and racks and passers-by.

Life’s amazing. You gotta hang on to what you got…

Ze Boom

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