4 Things to do This New Year

1413067_water_newThough it’s almost February, it’s never too late to get started on something new. It only takes one day to start becoming the person you want to be and today could be that day. There are a million things you can do, but my advice is this: Start simple. Don’t plan so much that you overwhelm yourself and fail, take baby steps.

It goes back to the old adage: How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.

  1. Spend More Time in the Sun

Too many of us rely on supplements and food for our Vitamin D needs. We also hear about skin cancer, and how we don’t want to tan. However, the sun has gotten a bad rap as of late. It is the original source of Vitamin D and studies show that being in the sun makes you less stressed, and feel more free. Take some time to lie out in the sun this summer.

  1. Fast

The best thing I did for my health in the past year was begin to skip breakfast. More and more studies show that those who eat their meals within and “eating window” (typically between 4 – 8 hours).  You don’t have to fast every day, but fasting can really be good for the body. Think of it as your reset button. It allows the body  a period of being able to regulate itself and get back in a form of ketogenesis.

  1. Read

Do this more often. It is better for you than almost any other hobby or activity. Even reading comic books actively engages the brain and makes you smarter and less likely to have brain disorders later in life.

  1. Learn a New Language

It’s not as hard as you think, and it can be done in a lot less time than you think. The benefits of learning new language are immeasurable, and will automatically make you look smarter (which is what everyone wants) you can go the route of something like Rosetta Stone, but it’s easier to learn other ways, as your developed brain is better at learning languages now than when you were a child.

Change is vital, improvement the logical form of change.
~ James Cash Penney

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The Books of 2012

CaptureThe Books of 2012

Every year, and I suggest every reader do this, I keep track of every book I read and the page number. Mostly for my own edification, but I like to try and beat my page count every year. I don’t count books with pictures. (I’m fond of graphic novels) 2012 was a decent year, I read 33 books for a total of 11,428 pages.  I’m glad to say I’m on track to easily beat that this year.  Without further introduction here is the list that was 2012.

  1. 77 Shadow Street Dean Koontz

 

I am pleased to say that Dean Koontz, one of my favorite authors (top 3 all time) is one author I can say I’ve read everything. Including his out of print paperbacks when he wrote some science fiction stuff.  He once said he would never reprint those, I hope he changes his mind.  Anyway,  this book, was entertaining, though it reminded me of Dragon Tears which is an amazing book.

  1. A Separate Peace  John Knowles

Classic number one this year. This book is perfect if you’re a guy. You can relate to the central character very well, and though a lot of the “war tones” are lost on kids who read it now, it remains relatable in context of boyhood to manhood.

  1. Bethany’s Sin Robert McCammon

 

Entertaining short read, a horror novel of mediocre proportion and entertainment.

  1. Boy’s Life  Robert McCammon

The best book I read this past year. An amazing adventure set in the time everyone yearns for:  That time where you’re not quite a child and not quite an adult. This book is beautiful and poignant.

  1. Burglars Can’t be Choosers Lawrence Block

 

I don’t take many trips into the realm of mystery. However Block makes it entertaining with his snarky burglar and easy writing. These books you can polish off in a day, and you know it was a day not wasted.

  1. Cold Days Jim Butcher

If you’ve never read The Dresden Files you’re really missing something special.

  1. Cowards Glenn Beck

 

Not the best political book I’ve read, but not the worst.

  1. Dreadful Tales Richard Laymon

If there is one author I wish was still alive it would be Richard Laymon. He didn’t live long enough and didn’t write enough. You’ll get a thrill with anything he’s written.  These short tales of horror are no different.

  1. The Great Gatspy F. Scott Fitzgerald

 

I was surprised how much I liked this book. Not only was the writing perfect and flowing like a jazz song, but the lessons to be learned from the characters can benefit a lot of people today, including the cast of Jersey Shore.

  1. Guide to The Presidents Steven Hayward

This past year I wanted to learn more about each president. So I did.

  1. Odd Apocalypse Dean Koontz

 

A great addition to the Odd series by Koontz.  Though I’m sure not intentional, when it comes to this series the odd ones in the series are better than the even numbered ones.

  1. Perks of Being a Wallflower Stephen Chbosky

I was surprised by this book too.  I try to read the book if I know I’m going to see the movie, and the book surprised me with poignant charm and wit.

  1. Power vs. Force David Hawkins

 

Interesting, though it almost seems like someone was trying to sell me a bridge with this one.

  1. Real Marriage Mark Driscoll

A great primer for a young couple just starting out or an older couple wanting to continue their journey in a Godly marriage.

  1. Room Emma Donoghue

 

The viewpoint of this book is the most interesting thing. Told from the perspective of a five year old boy everything that is threatening takes on an innocent quality, even when dealing with suffering in the book.

  1. Rose Madder Stephen King

Not the greatest King book, though the story kept you hooked the ending was horrible, making the rest of the book a muddled mess.

  1. Skulduggery Pleasant Derek Landy

 

A teen series about a girl who finds out her Uncle consorted with a detective who is also a skeleton.  I don’t think I will finish this one.

  1. Snow Country Yasunari Kawabata

A beautiful book of early 20th century Japan.  If nothing else read this book for the stunning visualizations and descriptions

  1. Stories for Nighttime and some for Day Ben Loory

 

Odd, but entertaining.

  1. Swan Song Robert McCammon

One of the best post-apocalyptic books I’ve read in a long time.

  1. The Burglar in the Closet Lawrence Block

 

The second in the aforementioned series. Rodenbarr continues his shenanigans and gets into more trouble just trying to be an innocent burglar.

  1. The Gunslinger Stephen King

This was a reread, but I’m still counting it because this is my list and I’m the boss. The first book to the greatest series of all time.

  1. The Light Between the Oceans M. L. Stedman

 

One of the best books on choices and redemption I’ve read.

  1. The Midnight Lair Richard Laymon

A fun spelunking adventure with caves and tourists…and cannibals.

  1. The Prisoner of Heaven Carlos Zafon

 

A sequel to Angels Game which is a sequel to Shadow of the Wind. Though all of these books can be read stand alone. Should have stuck with Shadow of the Wind, it doesn’t need sequels.

  1. The Shining Stephen King

Great book and such an entertaining read. After reading this book I can no longer stand the movie.  (Though is it now Okay to admit that no one actually likes Stanley Kubrick?)

  1. The Stepford Wives Ira Levin

 

Ira Levin is an author who gets to the point. All of his books are short and to the point. They are also thrilling.

  1. The Twelve Justin Cronin

The second in Cronins’ The Passage series, the book was entertaining enough, but as with most trilogies you need a second book to get to the third.

  1. The Weird Sisters Eleanor Brown

 

I would have enjoyed this book more if I were a girl and had a sister. The reason I wanted to read it was the Shakespeare angle. If you’re a woman or have a sister you’ll really enjoy this book.

  1. The Wind Through the Keyhole Stephen King

It’s in The Dark Tower series, how is this not a good book?

  1. Untitled Julie Kaewert

 

A fun mystery about books and murder.

  1. The Brief and Wonderful Life of Oscar Wao Junot Diaz

An amazing book. Not only will you admire the characters, but you’ll learn a lot of history in the process.

  1. Politically Incorrect Guide to the Civil War H. W. Crocker

 

A good primer for those who want to  know more about the battles and commanders.

“I was reading the dictionary, I thought it was a poem about everything”

~ Steven Wright

Championship Weekend Predictions (Updated)!

655092_football_5Everyone loves this time of year, when the winter is upon us, and great football teams battle for the top spot as “world champions” As it were here are my championship predictions, everyone else is wrong except me.

Championship Games:

49ers V Falcons

This is going to be the closest game of the week with both teams fighting hard for every point. It’s also going to be a game that offense decides, so expect it to be high scoring. In the end however, there is going to be a very disappointed Atlanta.

49ers: 35  Falcons: 30

Ravens V Patriots

The Ravens were unbelievable in Denver. The key word being Unbelievable*. That being said it won’t happen again, Not in New England. Not against Belicheck. Not with Brady’s arm. My dark horse prediction for that game is it’s not going to be that close as it has been in years’ past.

Ravens: 17 Patriots: 28

Which of course brings on the big game February 3rd.

49ers V Patriots Ravens

Expect this game to be very close. with the 49ers being as explosive as they have been, with a quarterback who can pass and run, expect the 49ers to narrowly pull this one out. If the defense for the Niners can keep pressure on Flacco they will win by more.

49ers: 28 Ravens: 25

“Guns, Guns, Guns” – Clarence Boddicker (Robocop)

bpA short primer for defending yourself in a gun control debate.

1.      Guns kill people…

This mantra (which is not as popular as it used to be) was one used to say why guns were bad. They were designed to kill people (or things) and this makes them inherently evil. Actually, this makes the perfect for defense and inherently neutral. Did you hear about the gun with a will of its own who broke into that ladies house and killed her? Neither did I. A gun, much like any other inanimate object is nothing more than a tool wieldy by a human with good or evil intentions. Guns are objects, they are not good or evil, they are tools.

2.      If we had more gun laws fewer people would die…

Guns are like shark attacks: There aren’t that many of them, but you hear about every single one. There is some inherent financial logic in gun control. If you reduce A you also reduce B. Though this makes work for your personal financial and fitness budgets this does not work for guns. The only thing gun laws do is make it harder for those who follow the law to get one. How many criminals have broken a law?  All of them. Will more gun laws make them think twice? Nope. We can also save lives by having fewer bathtubs, electrical outlets and ladders so people don’t have accidents. Also, if we had banned planes 9/11 wouldn’t have happened.

3.      No one needs to own an “assault weapon”…

No one needs to own a Ferrari either. Assault weapons are just bigger guns. There isn’t anything different about them. More crimes are committed with handguns anyway. We should be able to own assault weapons to protect ourselves, and our families. Whether that’s from criminals or an oppressive government does not matter. An armed society is a polite society.

4.      If “those people didn’t have access to guns those mass shootings wouldn’t have happened…

Ultimately it comes down this: where do we throw the blame?  Who is to be held accountable for this?  In a society where we have to be tolerant of everything it’s amazing what we become intolerant of. The beginning of a mass murder doesn’t start with picking up a gun; it starts with a person making a conscience choice to do something evil. We’re all capable of it, and we all fight our own temptations and sin. However, we can’t point that out in our society; another’s choice isn’t right or wrong it’s just “different”. That’s a good thing. We love being diverse and cultural. If we’re intolerant (gun owners excluded) we are sinful. We don’t dare say that there may be a moral standard that we are held to whether we like it or not.

Murder doesn’t come from the barrel of a gun, but the chambers of the human heart.

“After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn’t do it. I sure as hell wouldn’t want to live in a society where the only people allowed guns are the police and the military.”

~ William S. Burroughs