(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘exercise

“Any workout which does not involve a certain minimum of danger or responsibility does not improve the body – it just wears it out”*…

 

If you are one of the 51.8 million people in the U.S. who use a treadmill for exercise, you know there’s much pain for your muscle-and-fitness gain. On your next 30-minute jog, as you count down the final seconds, ponder whether the hard work made you a better person. Consider whether the workout would feel different if you had powered something, even a fan to cool yourself off.

Two hundred years ago, the treadmill was invented in England as a prison rehabilitation device. It was meant to cause the incarcerated to suffer and learn from their sweat. It would mill a bit of corn or pump some water as a bonus…

How an early-19th century penal innovation became the top selling piece of exercise equipment in the U.S.: “Treadmills were meant to be atonement machines.”

* (That well-known fitness expert) Norman Mailer

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As we try to find our rhythm, we might send well-constructed birthday greetings to Frank Hornby; he was born on this date in 1863.  A visionary toy designer, he created the Meccano construction set (in 1901), a toy that used perforated metal strips, wheels, rods, brackets, clips, and assembly nuts and bolts to allow kids to build unlimited numbers of models.  A huge success, it spawned a monthly magazine– and U.S. competition (e.g., the Erector Set).  He introduced Hornby model trains in 1920 (originally clockwork and eventually electrically powered with tracks and scale replicas of associated buildings); the “Dinky” range of miniature cars and other motor vehicles was added in 1933 (spawning such competitors as Corgi, Matchbox, and Mattel’s Hot Wheels).

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Written by LW

May 15, 2018 at 1:01 am

“I’m so unfamiliar with the gym, I call it James”*…

 

These wonderful photographs, which make such innovative use of multiple exposure, are from a 1913 German book titled Schwedische Haus-Gymnastik nach dem System P.H. Ling’s by Theodor Bergquist, Director of the Swedish Gymnastic Institute in the Bavarian spa town of Bad Wörishofen. As the title tells us, this style of “Swedish house-gymnastics” demonstrated by Bergquist (and his mysterious female colleague) is based on a system developed by Pehr Henrik Ling (1776–1839), a pioneer in the teaching of physical education in Sweden. Inventor of various physical education apparatus including the box horse, wall bars, and beams, Ling is also credited with establishing calisthenics as a distinct discipline and is considered by some as the father of Swedish massage.

* Ellen DeGeneres

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As we affirm our faithfulness to fitness, we might spare a thought for Wilhelm Weber; he died on this date in 1963.  A German gymnast, he medaled twice for his country at the 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis.

The 1904 German Olympic team

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Exercise for the rest of us…

Joanna Rohrback demonstrates the rudiments of Prancercise®:The Art of Physical and Spiritual Excellence:

email readers click here

A springy, rhythmic way of moving forward, similar to a horse’s gait and ideally induced by elation. It’s about Self-Expression. It’s about Non-violence. It’s about Conservation…

In any case, as a quick look at the video will show, it’ll revolutionize one’s image.

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As we Prance!, we might recall that it was on this date in 1913 that Georgia Ann Thompson “Tiny” Broadwick became the first woman to parachute from an airplane.  At age 15, Tiny (so named as she was 5 feet tall and weighed 85 pounds), visited a carnival at which the dramatic climax was a parachute jump from a balloon. Enthralled, Tiny joined the show and became a star attraction.  In 1913, the troupe was in Los Angeles, where Tiny met pilot Glenn L. Martin, who asked Tiny to test out an airplane trap seat he had designed… she did, and history was made.

Tiny and her clippings

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Written by LW

June 21, 2013 at 1:01 am

Now let us praise…

In 1961, four young public school friends put together the first issue of Private Eye with typescript (created on a couple of old Selectrics), Letra-set, and cow-gum– the pre-Punk template for the Eye ever since.  It was the sprouting of a thorn that has lodged firmly in the side of the British Establishment ever since… the birth of a British institution.

This new magazine chimed with the so-called satire boom, in which Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Alan Bennett and Jonathan Miller conquered the world with Beyond the Fringe, and producer Ned Sherrin made a star of David Frost (who Booker later described as a man with “..a peculiar ambition to be world-famous simply for the sake of being world-famous”) on the highly successful That Was The Week That Was—which proved so successful it was canceled after 2 series.

The Eye continued long after both these shows and the satire boom had run out of laughs, in part much aided by the backing of Peter Cook, who helped finance the magazine until his death in 1995.

What makes Private Eye essential is the ephemeral nature of its exceedingly good journalism. As Auberon Waugh once wrote (in the introduction to Another Voice—his essential collection of writing for The Spectator), “Timeless journalism is bad journalism”:

“The essence of journalism is that it should stimulate its readers for a moment, possibly open their minds to some alternative perception of events, and then be thrown away, with all its clever conundrums, its prophecies and comminations, in the great wastepaper basket of history.”

Read more of Private Eye‘s extraordinary story at Dangerous Minds.   And watch this wonderful short documentary:

email readers click here

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As we express our gratitude for Stewart and Colbert, we might recall that it was on this date in 1982 that full-fledged member of the Hollywood nobility (daughter of Henry, two-time Oscar-winning actress, model, and anti-war activist) Jane Fonda released her first exercise tape.

Building on the success of her workout book, published the prior year, the tape helped Fonda popularize workouts for women, workouts in groups, workout videos, and indeed aerobics in general (a family of trends on which Richard Simmons, Judi “Jazzercise” Missett and many others rode).  Fonda invested the proceeds of what became a fitness empire into the Campaign for Economic Democracy, an advocacy group founded by her then-husband Tom Hayden (of Chicago Eight renown).   Fonda and Hayden divorced in 1989, and Fonda retired from the spotlight (if not, given her entanglement with Ted Turner, the gossip rags)… though, of course, she has returned to the movie screen in recent years.

 The ur-tape

Written by LW

April 24, 2013 at 1:01 am

Fitness for the rest of us…

“All you need is a chair and two paper plates…”

[TotH to Everlasting Blort]

As we commit ourselves to continuous improvement, we might recall that it was on this date in 1878 that C.A. Parker (Harvard, Class of 1880) won the first American bicycle race, run at Beacon Trotting Park in Allston (Massachusetts), a half-mile course designed for sulky racing.  A Doubletree Hotel currently stands on the spot.

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Vaulting pole…

Facing the waist-line challenges that lie ahead on this day of calorie-soaked celebration, a reader’s thoughts might well turn to exercise…

Most Americans are aware of the craze-let that purports to turn pole dancing into a fitness routine.

But as reader MK points out, in India poles are a guy’s domain– and are the locus of some pretty extraordinary moves; here, a look at the traditional sport– it dates back at least as far as the Twelfth Century– they call “Mallakhamb“…

 

As we marvel at the mastery, we might recall that it was on this date in 1952 that Agatha Christie’s mystery play The Mousetrap opened in London’s West End– where it has run, without interruption, since.

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It takes one to know one…

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With the single exception of Homer, there is no eminent writer, not even Sir Walter Scott, whom I can despise so entirely as I despise Shakespeare….
– George Bernard Shaw

Am reading more of Oscar Wilde. What a tiresome, affected sod.
– Noel Coward

A hack writer who would not have been considered fourth rate in Europe, who tricked out a few of the old proven sure fire literary skeletons with sufficient local color to intrigue the superficial and the lazy.
– William Faulkner, on Mark Twain

The gifted can be so…  ungenerous to each other:  from Examiner.com, “The 50 best author vs. author put-downs of all time.”

As we consider that this may in any case be better than log-rolling, we might recall that it was on this date in 1982 that a member of the Hollywood nobility– two-time Oscar-winning actress, model, and anti-war activist Jane Fonda– released her first exercise tape.

Building on the success of her workout book, published the prior year, the tape helped Fonda popularize workouts for women, workouts in groups, workout videos, and indeed aerobics in general (a family of trends on which Richard Simmons, Judi “Jazzercise” Missett and many others have ridden).  Fonda invested the proceeds of what became a fitness empire into the Campaign for Economic Democracy, an advocacy group founded by her then-husband Tom Hayden (of Chicago Eight renown).   Fonda and Hayden divorced in 1989, and Fonda retired from the spotlight (though, of course, she has returned to the movie screen in the last few years).

The tape that started it all

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