Why I now drink mi yerba like a Paraguayan

Tereré: Paraguay’s Social Tea | Good Sht | Ozymandias.

The Paraguayans know how to drink the yerba.

First of all, like in Paraguay, it’s HOT here in Houston. Most of the year I want cold drinks. In Paraguay they drink the yerba cold.

Which makes it quicker and more energy efficient to make.

I can also carry less “equipo.” I don’t necessarily need a thermos (termo) since there are many places that offer cold fresh water where I work.

And it’s safer for the lips and tongue. Near boiling water through a metal straw (called a bombilla, that’s bom-BEE-yah)… youch.

And it’s just more fun to say. Terere (pronounced teh-deh-DEH, with soft, flick-of-the-tongue d’s) has so much more flair than mate (MAH-tay).


Bad-ass: the stuff of racquetball addiction

It came to me on my drive back from LA Fitness today why I love racquetball so much. It’s the only source of bad-ass accessible to a guy like me.

You know bad-ass when you see it. When someone does something bad-ass, you hafta just look, shake your head and say, “Damn!”

If you know me, a plumpy-doughy forty-something father of four, you know there’s no way in which I could ever qualify as bad-ass. I will never execute a flying karate kick. I will never nail a three-and-a-half anything with or without a twist. I will never dunk. Or sack a quarterback. Or make a one-handed blind grab to save the game. My life is not set up for bad-ass.

With one exception:  in rare moments… on the racquetball court.

Once in a while, you get a sweeeeet shot. A lightning bolt blue blur from the back court that thunders on the front wall and just rolls away. The kind of shot that makes your opponent stop in his tracks, look at you,  and say, “Damn!”

I’m not that good a player yet, so I only get one of those every few games. But those rare bad-ass moments are the fuel that keeps me coming back. Racquetball is the only kind of exercise that I don’t have to summon will power to go do. And Racquetball is my only source of bad-ass.

And the great thing about racquetball, unlike other sports, is that the older you get, the more bad-ass you can become. Because experience, patience, and discipline mean more than agility and athletic ability in racquetball. I look forward to becoming more treacherous and wily like the older guys I play with. I look forward to more bad-ass, even if it is just within a big white box with a racquet and goggles.




Thank you Dr. Obvious, your work here is done.

This interview with a brain science author confirms that middle-aged brains are plain smarter than teen or even young adult brains. They have more and stronger connections, more perspective, and just plain more data in them from which to arrive at better decisions faster.

Less obvious and perhaps more interesting were some tips on how to maximize your brain power through middle age:
Exercise is hands-down the surest way to improve your brain and grow new brain cells.
Those Brain Age style puzzles don’t help that much. Unless your goal is to get really good at puzzles.
Social interaction helps keep your brain sharp.
And exposing yourself to diverse views and opinion strengthens your reasoning abilities and connections in your brain. Which confirms my hypothesis that talk radio and news commentary channels rot your brain.

It also makes me feel better about my aging strategy of becoming more eccentric — by acquiring odd hobbies and cultural interests — as I age. I just need to ramp up the excercise as well.

3 Most Effective Steps To Help Women

I completely agree with this NYT Op-Ed by Nicholas Kristof on International Women’s Day. He lists three things that would be most effective in helping women around the world. Not one of them calls on women to alter or deny their own fertility. Instead, educate them, provide the most basic nutrients, and help get them started in businesses. Brilliant. They are relatively simple, systemically effective, and are things a Catholic could love (and get directly involved in.)

You run wrong, too.

Turns out that running shoes are not only not better than wearing nothing — they could be even worse.

A new study shows that running shoes are a root cause of many running injuries. Apparently, shoes alter the mechanics of your gait so that you land with more impact than necessary, on the heel, so the impact goes in a more or less straight line right up to the spine.

Better to land on the balls of the feet and bend the joints to better absorb the shock. The Tarahumara indians in Mexico regularly run 150 miles at a time while barefoot and have way lower incidences of foot injury than Nike-shod runners. But they run differently, coming down on the balls of their feet in a softer more flexible landing that a running shoe makes rather awkward.

I’ve posted before about my Vibram FiveFingers and the joys of near-barefoot-ness. I cited the NY Mag article called “You Walk Wrong” to appeal to science and reason over the (admittedly) goofy aesthetics of my favorite footwear.

Biomechanics, baby. For this big guy, it’s more than just a trivial deal. I heart my Vibrams!