A majority of Americans on at least one prescription medication

April 27th, 2014

70% of Americans are taking at least one prescription medication, 1 in 5 are taking 4 or more prescription medications.

This does not count OTC (Over The counter) medications and I don’t think it includes vaccinations.

My response:



70 percent of Americans take at least one prescription medication



“Reward” meals or days

April 26th, 2014

I have heard of people saying that they are going to “reward” themselves with a reward meal or day after a period of time of eating healthy and exercising. Now these people are usually the types on Weight Watchers or some other flavor of conventional wisdom diet. Usually involving processed foods in small quantities all conforming to the USDA diet guidelines and recommendations of the various alphabet so called “health care” groups, American Heart Association, etc.

Now the whole paleo/caveman/primal way of eating is becoming very common and I’m not going to get into the specifics of it in this post. The information is out there and much better put than I could do but suffice to say that I follow the primal way of eating and living. I exercise in the functional fitness sort of way, etc.

Do I ever “reward” myself for eating clean and exercising? No, I do not but I do cheat at times.

What is the difference?

I’ll give you an example….

You have spent weeks or months eating clean. Lots of fresh and organic fruits and veggies, grass fed meat, etc. You have exercised and busted your ass to do the right thing.

Then one day you decide to eat that pizza or drink that beer or eat that fast-food meal.

Call it what it is, it is cheating.

Eating clean and living healthy then feeding your body processed foods full of chemicals is hardly a reward but it is cheating.


And if you want to cheat, fine, do so just be honest with yourself as to what you’re doing.

I love a decent beer or nice bit of Scotch whiskey. And I’m not telling myself that I’m rewarding myself when I do imbibe, I’m cheating.

Now if I want to reward myself, which would be in the form of a nice meal out in a paleo friendly restaurant. Or new clothes or piece of workout equipment. Those are rewards, they are positive. Beer is not a reward, as tasty as it might be, it is still not good for me and I realize it when I drink it.


If I do have a cheat meal, my body tells me about it. My body is not rewarding me by eating shit, it is rebelling against it.

And if you do fall a bit off the wagon, don’t let yourself be dragged behind until all your skin is peeled off, get back on. If you have a handful of M&Ms, get over it and move forward. Don’t tell yourself that “well, I blew that, there is no reason to put forth any effort the rest of the day”.

Yes, I know the fine looking lady was not needed to get that point across but, tough shit.

Eye bleach anyone?

Once you get into the habit of eating clean and exercising, the rewards are in the way you look and feel. Each time you go to the doctor and get a glowing bill of good health, that is a reward. Every time you drop a dress or pants size, that is a reward. Every time you hit a new exercise goal, that is a reward.

Stuffing your face with crap is punishment to your body.

Cheat if you must but call it what it is, cheating and cheating will punish your body, just the opposite of a reward.

Do something

April 8th, 2014

Do something today to improve yourself….anything!

Get up from your desk every hour and walk and stretch for 5-10 minutes.

Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

Park at the furthest part of the parking lot and walk to the store.

If you don’t have a huge amount of bags, hand carry them back and forget about the basket.

Unless you are a quadriplegic, you can do something today to improve your health and physical fitness.

Getup 15 minutes early, go for a short walk.

Just do something!

Walk your dog a bit further.

Walk around the block with your spouse and/or kids.

Move, stretch, get off the couch!

It isn’t about finishing, it is about starting.

Lift something heavy, push something big.

Learn a new skill, brush up on an old one.

Cut one crappy thing from your diet and replace it with something healthy…just one thing.


Put yourself out there in front. Commit, publically. Commit to changing yourself; let others help you be accountable to your commitment.

Don’t die at the end of a wasted life full of regrets, live a life full of adventure and risk. Let your life be remembered for generations to come.

Thinking outside of the box?

March 20th, 2014

A preacher at a church we went to once said to my wife that “Randy (that would be me) is the most unconventional thinker that I have ever known” and I consider this a compliment.

I have joked that I have thought outside of the box for so long that I have forgotten where the damn thing is!

Yea, like in the cartoon above.

But now I’m thinking that “Why is there a box? Where did it come from?”

I think this so-called box is a modern concept that comes with our modern world.

This “box” that we are told to think outside of is product of being civilized, not being truly part of the earth as our ancestors were.

Our “box” is our modern society. It is illustrated by things like the “Dilbert” cubicle above but the reality is much larger than 4 walls and a ceiling. The box is the walls of our concept of what we should be and what we should do. This concept is molded by the major corporations and the government through various media outlets. The TV is a box (well, used to be anyway, kind of flat now) that tells us, on a daily basis, how our “box” is defined. Fashion, electronics, processed food, etc. are all part of the “box” that has been constructed around a lot of people by themselves at the urging of the media.

Unfortunately, some people never get out of their “box” and one day, the lid is nailed shut and buried 6 feet underground.

Why would anyone choose to live their lives as defined by someone else? As defined by major corporations who want to define what we are and what we do, for their own profits?

I can honestly say that I have pretty much lived “outside of the box” all my life. Partly because, well, that just seems to be the way I was born. I hated school, had problems “conforming” and accepting what was taught at face value. I started working in EMS (Emergency Medical Services) shortly after I got out of high school and you had to think unconventionality because each day was different, each call was different. You had to take the few rules we had at that time and bend them to fit the call. If you didn’t adapt and overcome, people died (sometimes they died anyway).

I also did some volunteer firefighting during that time and it was pretty much the same. You adapted and overcame. There was no “box” except the one on fire in front of you.

Working international has been the same way, if not more so. I have bent the rules more than once in order to get supplies, to get the job done. Ok, maybe I shattered a few rules but I’m results oriented. Whatever needs to be done in order to get the job done is what I did.

Before we became civilized (what a mistake THAT was!), there were few rules, no walls, no boxes that people lived in for the most part, other than the simple ones they built themselves. We were more of a warrior class in some areas, very much hunter-gathers in a good part of the world. There are no “boxes” in the battlefield or nature to think outside of. There is only you and your family/teammates and the enemy be that enemy an opposing group of warriors or nature that is trying to kill you.

Survival was not something written in a book or something that you carried a kit for, it was daily life. You lived survival or you died an early death.

No doubt a tougher people back then.

And there are still pockets of hunter-gathers today but their numbers are dwindling.

And like this illustration says, somewhere something went terribly wrong.


So what is the answer? How does one “think outside of the box”?

You don’t think outside of the box because as long as the box is there, it will try and draw you back. Destroy the damn thing, burn it to the ground!

Get outside of the box, leave your comfort zone and don’t every look back. Get out of your neighborhood, city or country. See other cultures, not just a sterile hotel in some country’s capital but get out in the boonies, rub elbows with the locals.

In the words of Mark Twain:

The day will come when our days will end. I don’t intend to end my days inside a box before being finally put 6 foot under in another box. I don’t care if I ever find that “box” whatever it is.

I plan on going out in the spirit of what Hunter Thompson wrote:

And finally this picture, because…well, DAMN!

The way of men

March 9th, 2014

I just finished reading “The way of men” by Jack Donovan and must say that is was a well written book about how “manly men” have been pushed almost to extinction in the USA and what can be done to salvage what is left.

Jack Donovan

I wrote about this several years ago and I have seen the decline of real men throughout my life.

“Where have all the warriors gone?”

Sadly I don’t see the trend reversing on a large scale. We will continue to see the male species in the USA decline into a homogeneous Dilbert like species. Dwelling in their cubicles during the week and trying to live vicariously through the images from the TV and movie screen during the weekends. Content to cheer on the efforts of athletes from their couches rather than actually putting forth any effort, or, heaven forbid, taking any risk themselves.

Their “man card” severally lacking, they will die at an early age of a very non-glorious cause.

I’m counting 10 punches on my “Man card” substituting being bit by a rattlesnake with being bit by a poisonous spider in Yemen. And yes, I do consider myself 1/10 as manly as Steve McQueen. As to “drink Glenlivet 18, net”, is there any other way?

No songs will be sung of their exploits, memories of their existence essentially gone after a generation or two.

And it has gotten worse over the last 40+ years or so. When I got out of high school, me and my friends seemed to want to get out there and take risk, do “manly” things. For me it was getting into EMS which I did when I was 19. It seemed to fulfill the need to take risk and, at least to me, accomplish great things. That continued on to doing volunteer firefighting, reserve and paid deputy sheriff, working offshore as a medic and working international in 14 different countries. My desire to take risk, to try and make a difference, to give my descendants something to remember me by, is still strong albeit, tempered with age and sore joints.

As to my sons, there seems to be about a 50/50 split with a couple of them risk takers and wanting to do great things to a couple, well, not so much.

Yep, things have changed a lot over the last several decades and I don’t see it getting any better.

Use to men were pictured on TV and movies as harden individuals, not afraid to take risk, who made mistakes but owned up to those mistakes.

Then as the years progressed, they were portrayed as insensitive bigots, like Archie Bunker in “All in the family” and then as bumbling idiots who would have died except for the efforts of their wives, like in “Everybody loves Raymond”.

Even men that were not risk-averse are portrayed as morons that cannot saw a piece of wood without sawing off a finger, like in “Home improvements”.

When was the last time that you saw a positive role model, for young men, on TV or in the movies for that matter?

We have gone from this:

To this:

Part of this is due to the breakdown of the American family but a large part of this has been driven by our country attempting to right the wrongs against women. Rather than become equal, men have become the downtrodden sex.

Institutions that were once almost 100% men have become co-ed now with women becoming firefighters, police officers and soldiers in the field. These institutions used to be part of the rite of passage that young men went through. Now there are very few of those institutions left in the US. There are biological differences between men and women that have been ignored to the detriment of both sexes.

One common theme that I have found in several of the books that I have read recently is the need for young men, boys, to prove themselves as men.

At one time the opportunities for this were many. Most of the US was rural at one time. Working hard on the farm and the ranch was one way of proving yourself as a man.

For me it was doing various stunts when I was a teenager to prove my bravery and the things I did were fun. Painful at times but fun. Going into EMS was my big adventure. I (sometimes) saved lives. I got to crawl around through wrecked cars and respond to fires and shootings. I would like to think that I showed what I was made of while doing these things.

And to be honest, I still feel the need to prove myself at the age of 58. That was part of the reason why I just spent 3 weeks at the fire school in Texas. Part of it was because I needed the knowledge but part of it was to prove to myself that I still had what it takes.

But seems to me that this is something that is not as common today among young men. It just doesn’t seem like young men feel the need to prove themselves as they did before.

Or is that just my perception? Is that desire to prove one’s self still there in young men?

Men as a gender have always been the risk takers, the explorers, etc.

Women’s instincts used to be rooted in a desire to keep the family healthy and secure, the men, literally at times, “brought home the bacon”. It is how the genders are engineered.

Generally speaking, men have more upper body strength. Just a fact. That is why police and fire department physical agility test had to be modified when they started hiring women for the academies. Women, generally speaking, just don’t have as much upper body strength as men

Not that women are without strength. I can see men taking risk, exploring, hunting for food but pushing a baby out of a hole in their body? Not going to happen. The ability to do that is one unique aspect of women physically.

Being a man is being willing to take the plunge, to get on the ship and sail over the horizon. To fight the good fight and to “die a beautiful death”.

It is not to be cooped up under artificial lights in a cubical sending emails.

It is not to spend the weekends watching sports and swilling beer. It is about teaching your sons how to be men, to pass on your manhood.

Being a man is not about how many kids you father, how many tattoos you have, how much you can bully someone weaker, etc.

But at least in the USA, I fear those days are over for most men.

For me, I do hope to “die a beautiful death” or perhaps not really beautiful. I’m hoping for a closed casket because of the damage to my body that happened as I struggled, to the end with whatever foe or adventure I was into when I croaked. I hope that people, if they do see my body, recoil in horror on how used up I am. Then, I will have lived a complete life.

Keep Christ in Christmas?

November 29th, 2013

Tis the season for the annual “Keep Christ in Christmas” postings around the social networking sites. It is also the season for Black Friday stampedes and families going further into debt to pay for cheaply made techno-crap that is made in a country known for its’ persecution of Christians (and other religions), namely China.

Does nobody else see the irony here? Christians will endlessly spout feel-good platitudes like “Keep Christ in Christmas” while driving by the homeless on the way to Wal-Mart to buy some new technology that is made in China which will be obsolete within 6 months.

Black Friday shopper’s video

Where is “Keep Christ in Christmas” in those actions? If you look at videos of the zombie-like stampedes on Black Friday, you have to assume that a majority of the zombies, um, customers are Christians and that they will be going to church the following Sunday and will be posting their “Keep Christ in Christmas” memes around on the internet.

At some point, expressing love became commercialized to the point that the expressing of love is more dependent on the amount of money spent on the gift than the amount of time or effort.

Expressing love through the purchase of expense jewelry is but one example. I remember when the advertisement came out telling men that they should express their love through paying 2 months salary on an engagement ring.

Yep, nothing says “I love you” than a blood diamond dug out of the ground by 3rd world country slave children.

But getting back to Christmas, just think about the story of the birth of Christ. Remember the 3 wise men that came to pay their respects to Christ and they each bought a gift. Gold, frankincense and myrrh. However, was the true gift that they gave these trinkets or the effort they went through to pay homage to the Christ? Was it the good smelling and valuable gifts they gave or the time they spent traveling over the desert to be by the side of Christ?

It is easy enough to post stuff like this on Facebook:

And I would be willing to bet that some of the folks that crawled all over each other on Black Friday posted similar things on their Facebook page feeling good about themselves for publically professing their desire to keep Christmas Christian. But I would argue that their actions speak much louder than their Facebook posts.

If Christians truly wanted to honor Christ and keep “Christ in Christmas”, I would think their Christmas might look more like this:

Than this:


Their Christmas church service might look more like this:

And less like this:

Maybe their gifts would be purchased from charities like the Heifer Project (click on the picture to be taken to the Heifer Project website):


Rather than Wal-Mart:

If Christians truly want to keep “Christ in Christmas”, they first have to find him. And I think they are more likely to find him here:

Than here:

A new direction for this blog

November 24th, 2013


I have spent the last few years on this blog discussing, ranting and raving about everything from politics to the stupidity of people. I don’t think there is much else that I can add to what I have said in the past.

It is time for a new direction that will not only inspire myself and hold myself accountable for my physical fitness but will hopefully inspire others in some small way.

In today’s world, the term “Hardcore mind” fits this endevor very well because with all of the commercials, news stories, government recommendations, etc. it take a pretty hardcore person to go against all of that conventional wisdom (CW) and take a least traveled path.


For me it started when I found the Primal Blueprint by Mark Sessions. That started me into studying ancestral health, the hygiene hypothesis, etc. More on that later.

But I went from being close to 300 pounds to down around 220 now with a lower body fat ratio.

I don’t take medications (prescription or OTC/Over The Counter), I don’t go to doctors, I sleep well and I feel great.

Basically I started eating real food and shun processed crap.

Now I have gone from being a fat slob who grunted when trying to pick up a suitcase to a, well, less fat slob who gets a bit better every day. I’m getting where I enjoy the challenges now. I’m far from at my ideal weight and I won’t be winning any World’s Strongest Man contest anytime soon but I enjoy what I’m doing and I can see the progress.

More on this later but for now stay tuned for more from the new Hardcore Mind website.

Oh, here is a picture of me at work in Egypt.

Don’t make waves?

November 16th, 2013

Has anyone ever told you “don’t make waves” because it would upset the current status of any situation? People often prefer the status quo and don’t want any ripples that will disturb the situation. And perhaps there are times when you shouldn’t make waves, when the status quo is the preferred state of a given situation.

But I would argue that maintaining the status quo is usually the wrong thing to do. Our lives’ are a dynamic state; we are constantly changing as is everything around us. We have the power to influence that change, we also have the power to become static or stagnant in our lives.

If our lives are dynamic, you can compare our lives to flowing water. Constantly changing and influencing what it comes into contact with.

Flowing water will polish rocks or carve canyons.

Flowing water will put out fires, clean your body and quench your thirst.

But when water stops flowing, it becomes stagnant and, worse than useless; it becomes a toxin producing danger creating havens for pest and disease.

How true this is for our own lives. When we become stagnant, or static, physically, we essentially become a stagnant pool of humanity not improving ourselves and we become disease ridden. When we become stagnant mentally and spiritually, we become stagnant and disease ridden with mental and emotional disorders.

We were not designed by nature or some god to be stagnant; we were designed to be dynamic and continuously improving our lives and the lives of those around us.

There is nothing in Gandhi’s advice above that would involve sitting on your ass and doing nothing. They would all require action. And the final one, “grow and evolve” is a dynamic state that we should be in from cradle to grave.

Our lives are supposed to be filled with constant change and improvement to the end.

Our final years should look like this:

Or this:

Not this!

One of my favorite books is “The Gnolls Credo” by J. Stanton. It is about a mythical race of humanoids that are half hyena and half human called Gnolls. A true hunter-gather tribe. The main character, a human scholar, befriends one of the Gnolls named Gryka. He asks Gryka to write down what the Gnoll’s believe, she does and that is the Gnolls Credo. Excellent book.

One of the last points in the Credo is this:


The Gnoll’s in the book never died of old age. When their bodies started to fail them, they would do increasing risky activities until they died or were killed. It was unthinkable of them to end a dynamic life in a stagnant way. They would often literally die while “biting the throat”.

Now I’m not advocating that we end our lives by attacking other people and dying in the process but I do advocate that our lives should be full of adventure, action and pleasure until the very end. We should “die biting the throat” of the status quo.

Like Hunter S. Thompson said,

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

That is a life worth living. I don’t want someone looking down at my body in a casket saying, “He looks really good”. I want them to say, “Damn! He looks like shit! Even the mortician couldn’t fix all the abuse he has put his body through!”

Our lives should be lived to the point that we are completely used up by the end. Not because of wasting away, taking medicine and lying in a bed in some nursing home but because we lived, we loved, we had adventures, we took risk, we got hurt, we healed and we have the scars to prove that we lived a life well lived.

I full intend on going out of this life “thoroughly used up, totally worn out” and with my middle-finger sticking up in the air.


Embrace the suck

November 14th, 2013

“Embrace the suck” is one of my favorite military sayings. It basically means that whatever you are doing may suck but failure will suck a whole lot more so get on with it.

A military joke that illustrates the perception of how bad, or good, whatever you are going through is this joke:

Military Shit

An Army grunt stands in the rain with a 35-pound pack on his back; 15 lb. weapon in hand, after having marched 12 miles, and says, “This is shit!”

An Army Airborne Ranger stands in the rain with a 45 lb. pack on his back, weapon in hand, after having jumped from an airplane and marched 18 miles, and says with a smile, “This is good shit!”

A Navy SEAL lies in the mud, 55 LB pack on his back, weapon in hand, after swimming 10 miles to shore, crawling through a swamp and marching 25 miles at night past the enemy positions, says with a grin, “This really is great shit.”

A Marine, up to his nose in the stinking, bug infested mud of a swamp with a 65 lb. pack on his back and a weapon in both hands after jumping from an aircraft at high altitude, into the ocean, swimming 12 miles to the shore, killing several alligators to enter the swamp, then crawling 30 miles through the brush to assault an enemy camp, says, “I love this shit.”

The Air Force NCO sits in an easy chair in an air-conditioned office, and says, “My e-mail’s out? What kind of shit is this?”

I totally get the above. I used to be a paramedic and we would rather run an auto accident with multiple trauma patients in the worse thunderstorm on record, than almost anything else. It was the challenge, the bragging rights of having been the EMS unit first on the scene of an incident that would be talked about for years. We loved it. An ER doctor or nurse would have hated it, not the way they are trained nor do they want to be in that situation.

Being in the middle of an ice storm in the Texas Panhandle at 3 am trying to extricate a drunk from a wrecked car when the chill factors are double digit below zero, sucked.

Failing would have sucked a whole lot more.

We embraced the suck.

There is another military saying from the U.S. Navy SEALS (I think) is that “the more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in combat”. And this is dead-on. It holds true in other professions also like firefighting. The more you sweat in firefighting training, the less likely you are to get injured or killed in a real fire. You will react to an emergency situation based on the realism of your training.

I have also done some firefighting and I’m going to school at Texas A&M in January to get some up-to-date training. Last time I went to a fire school was back in the late 70s and here I am going again at just 2 years shy of being 60 years old. I’m working hard on getting myself in better shape because if I don’t, I’ll get my ass handed to me during this school.

Exercise at any age can suck, exercise at 58 after multiple knee surgeries on both knees, sucks worse.

I have being doing a lot of walking with a backpack weighted to about 45 pounds. Walking through the sand and up hills around my work is hard. Yesterday I fell and scrapped up my knee (also tore my pants in the knee area, knee will heal, the pants won’t). I limped a bit and continued my walk, about another 45 minutes worth. Today I’m still limping but I’m embracing the suck. I will be stronger and better because of my experiences and training.

Will I ever reach the heights of fitness as a Nave SEAL or Army Ranger? No, not likely to happen but I can reach my full potential (whatever that is) and will continue to do so until I die.

So yes, training sucks, exercise sucks, not eating handfuls of candy sucks. But you know what sucks worse?

  • Being fat sucks worse
  • Being sick sucks worse
  • Aching all the time when it is not exercise related, sucks worse
  • Taking handfuls of prescription and over-the-counter medications, sucks worse
  • Looking your age, or older, sucks worse
  • Dying a fat, sick and broken down human at an early age, sucks worse
  • Feeling like SHIT all the time, majorly sucks worse!

I have always loved this quote from Hunter S. Thompson:

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

I have my daily aches and pains and they are usually related to the abuse that I have put my body through. I embrace those aches and pains happily and with pride. I am stressing my body and making it stronger. If I have to strap on knee braces before I hump 45 lbs. of pack around, so be it. I’ll do so happily.

The day will come when I will die but I won’t go easy. I’ll die kicking and screaming, ranting and raving. Fingernails digging into the frame of death’s door.

I fully intend to be: “thoroughly used up, totally worn out,”.

Is this the defining moment for the USA?

October 14th, 2013

Government shutdowns. People ignoring “do not enter” signs. Veterans stacking barricades from war memorials in front of the White House.

Is this the beginning of a revolution I smell? I can only hope.

As most of you know, I have lived and worked in Egypt for almost 5 years now. I was here before the revolution and I’m still here now after the 2nd ouster of an Egyptian president.

Revolution, while painful, is often needed in order for the citizens to maintain control of the government.

In Egypt, during the last presidential ouster, estimates were that up to 33 million citizens protested and forced the ouster of a president that had been elected only the previous year.

The cries of “democracy destroyed” aside (you almost have to have been here to understand the full story), stop and think about that number for a moment. 33 million people protesting, that is just under half the population of the whole country.

The population of the USA is just over 313 million. How many people are willing to get off their asses and take to the streets to protest against what both political parties have done to our country?

What if almost half of the population of the USA took to the streets and demanded the removal of the current elected officials in Washington DC? Not just in Washington itself but across the country. Imagine hundreds of thousands of people clogging the streets of the major cities, shutting down traffic and voicing their inherited intent to overthrow the government if it does not return to the Constitution and obey the will of the people.

What a wonderful thing that would be!

Painful, yes but how much would the spirit of this country change if we went back to the founding principles of our Founding Fathers?

Is it possible? Yes. Is it likely? No.

And history will judge us as losing this possibility and sinking further and further into a country ruled by a 2 party dictatorship to the point that we will never recover.

Panem et circenses, Bread and Circuses.

Your choice America. American Idol or America the “Land of the free, home of the brave”.

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