Friday, April 11, 2014

Book: ReFuel with Dr. John LaPuma

Back in February, I saw Dr. John LaPuma speak at the Dad 2.0 Summit.  He was talking about men's health and nutrition.  I thought he was a great speaker, and saying some things I hadn't heard before about Low T, about men vs. women dieting, and about the importance of knowing your numbers.

I filed his name away, and wanted to find out more abou this work. This past month, I got the opportunity to talk with him as part of the Modern Dad's podcast (Listen to the episode here:  Modern Dad's Podcast with Dr. John LaPuma, and then follow the links to listen to some of our other great episodes as well)

He was a great guest and chockful of all kinds of information about the fallacies and tribulations of Low T, and about the nutritional part of dieting.

As part of the interview process, I got sent his latest book ReFuel: A 24 Day Eating Plan to Shed Fat, Boost Testosterone, and Pump Up Strength and Stamina.  I've been reading it, and thought I'd let you know about it.

Eric Cartman
Eric Cartman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
First, some background:  Although I don't talk about it much online, I have always struggled with my weight.  As our South Park friend Cartman might say "I'm not fat, I'm big-boned!" I've been up and down, between a low of around 220 and a high of (gulp) 340.  Last May, I realized I needed to do something about it, and decided to diet, using a  modified version of the slow carb plan recommended in the book the 4 Hour Body

 Since May I've done pretty well ( lost nearly 50 lbs) but I have another 60 or 70 to go before my goal-weight of 199, which might not be achievable, as I don't think I've been under 200 since I was 16.

However, over the last 3 months I've plateaued, and I recently had some surgery, so I haven't been exercising-- and well, I'm starting to move in the wrong direction again.  I need to move the needle in the other direction. So this book is coming at the perfect time for me.

Dr. John LaPuma
Dr. LaPuma's basic idea is pretty easy to grasp--Here are the 4 ideas at the heart of his plan.

  • Know your numbers (if you listen to the podcast or buy the book, he'll tell you what numbers are the important ones.)  This is about setting both a baseline, and achievable goals.  One example is that your waist size should be half of your height in inches, but be careful-- your pants size and your waist size are not the same!
  • Set 24 day goals (you can repeat the 24 day cycle ad infinitum.  but having a specific goal that's less than a month keeps you on track.)
  • Eat better food.  He says to avoid anything that you can crush or crumble.  It's a modified low carb diet (2 days a week you are under 50g, the rest of the time you are eating healthy unprocessed foods. He has lots of great and delicious recipes in the book.)
  • Get support.  one of the most important things you can do is to get your spouse or significant other to support you.  It's humbling a little, and it's difficult, but you are going to need that support to reinforce new habits, and to let your bad habits hit the road. If you can't get your wife or partner to support you (or don't want to) there is an online "VIP" community that Dr. LaPuma promotes, but it does cost money to join ($10 a month). It does also include (I think) a quarterly conference call with Dr. LaPuma, so it may be worth it to you.
My plan is to follow this plan during the month of May (I'm traveling a lot during April) and check back in about my progress.

You can find out more about the book at or

Friday, April 4, 2014

This Is Wholesome- Hooray for Honey Maid!

Honey Maid Graham Crackers got a bunch of hate mail for their recent "This Is Wholesome" Commercial, which featured non-traditional (gay, lesbian, military, single parent, mixed race, etc) families eating graham crackers.  Basically saying that all families are wholesome, and everybody should be eating graham crackers.

Predictably, a bunch of people took issue with this message.  Honey Maid did something wonderful with the hate mail, which makes me want to go out and buy a whole bunch of graham crackers.  Kudos to Honey Maid, which shows itself off as a company that walks the walk and talks the talk.

Here's the video explaining what they did:

Hooray for Honey Maid!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Podcast: Interview with Adam Mansbach.

As you probably know, I'm one of the co-hosts of the Modern Dad's Podcast. Our latest episode was recently released, and it's a lot of fun.

We talk with the author of this  viral best selling book (Buy on Amazon)
In it, my co-host Matt Schneider and I have a great conversation with Adam Mansbach about his now famous children's book for adults (Go The F*ck To Sleep)  and why it has struck such a chord with parents, teachers, and even therapists.

We also talk about some of his other books and projects, including his upcoming film adaptation of one of my favorite books, The Pushcart War

Give it a listen, and afterwards, please subscribe and review us on Itunes!

And since I've just read a bunch of his books, I can highly recommend them.  This guy can really write!  The three books I've read (The End of the Jews, Rage Is Back, and Angry Black White Boy) all center on outsider experiences-- being Jewish but not feeling Jewish, being white but feeling black, jazz music, hip hop, and graffiti writing.

Find his books on Amazon:

Adam Mansbach on Amazon

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Your Infant's First Theatre show. This [Baby] Life at the New Victory

The New Victory Theater, New York’s theater devoted to kids and families, has a show specifically designed for kids ages four to 18 months.
Bring your baby along for a fascinating first-time theater experience!
Hailing from Adelaide, Australia, and created by dance artist Sally Chance, this contemporary dance piece celebrates babies’ capacities to participate in the exciting world around them. Accompanied by melodies and rhythms both gentle and soaring, the performers of This [Baby] Life meet the children within the safe environment of a carefully created performance space and inspire awe and interaction from the very young audience through sound and movement. 
During a two-year fellowship from the Australia Council’s Dance Board, Sally Chance explored the cultural lives of babies and very young children through movement; as a result of this research, Ms. Chance developed This [Baby] Life, Australia’s first performance work for audiences in this age group. The performers of this production include composer and musician Heather Frahn and dancers Stephen Noonan and Felecia Hick. Learn more about This [Baby] Life  (and purchase tickets) on the New Victory website.HERE
I had organized an outing with my Dad's group to see this show, but sadly it was the same day that dumped over a foot of snow, and only one intrepid dad was able to make it to the show.  We are re-scheduling it for next week!

Performance Schedule: 18 performances 
Wednesday 2/12 10am
Thursday 2/13 10am
Friday 2/14 10am
Saturday 2/15 10am, 12pm, 2pm
Sunday 2/16 10am, 12pm, 2pm
Wednesday 2/19 11am
Thursday 2/20 11am
Friday 2/21 11am
Saturday 2/22 11am, 1pm, 3pm
Sunday 2/23 11am, 1pm, 3pm 
This [Baby] Life has a running time of 40 minutes with no intermission, and is created especially for ages 4-18 months. 
See a sample video of the show here 

About Sally Chance 
Sally Chance has been working in dance for over 20 years in Australia and the UK, and is recognized as a leader in the field of community-based arts practice. She trained at the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance in London and joined UK Dance in Education company Ludus after her graduation; with Ludus, she toured to South Australia for the Come Out ’89 Festival where she organized a suite of community-based participatory dance activities. Many years later, Ms. Chance became the artistic director of three successive Come Out Festivals, strengthening the festival’s status as the most extensive arts event for children and young people in the southern hemisphere. Ms. Chance also founded Restless Dance Theatre – South Australia’s leading youth dance company for dancers with and without disabilities. As artistic director between 1991-2001, Ms. Chance was responsible for the artistic leadership to the company and choreographing works for its repertoire. 
About The New Victory Theater The New Victory Theater introduces extraordinary performing artists from around the world to extraordinary audiences in New York City, bringing kids to the arts and arts to kids. Created in 1995 for young New Yorkers, their families and schoolmates, The New Victory Theater presents a diverse season of international companies at low ticket prices year after year. Through the theater’s award-winning education programs, The New Victory continues to provide access to schools and communities of New York City who seek to experience and engage with the work on our stages, often for the very first time. The theater’s contributions to the cultural landscape of the city were celebrated by the prestigious New York critics’ organization, The Drama Desk, which presented The New Victory Theater with a 2012 Special Award for “providing enchanting, sophisticated children’s theater that appeals to the child in all of us, and for nurturing a love of theater in young people.” 
About The New 42nd Street Building on the foundation of seven historic theaters, The New 42nd Street leads the dynamic evolution of the reinvented 42nd Street, cultivating a unique New York City cultural and entertainment destination through its three projects: The New Victory Theater, a performing arts theater devoted to kids and families; the New 42nd Street Studios, a state-of-the-art, 10-story performing arts complex for rehearsal, performance and arts administration; and The Duke on 42nd Street, an intimate black-box theater. An independent, nonprofit organization, The New 42nd Street is committed to the transformational power of the arts

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Everyday Olympics

The Winter Olympics have just started, and my son is completely obsessed with them.  So far, we've watched a lot of snowboarding, the entire opening ceremonies (pretty tired, but he made it
Cropped transparent version of Image:Olympic f...
Cropped transparent version of Image:Olympic flag.svg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
 all the way through) and a few other interesting sports.  He's very interested in the figure skating. (He's currently taking skating at our local ice rink, and he already takes tap...  Easy to imagine the two together.

He's an imaginative only child, so he spends a fair amount of time pretending stuff.  Lately he's built both a bobsled and a luge out of cardboard, and he practices time trials in the living room  (Weirdly, he's included some Ninjago mythology into the Olympic stuff, so there's a weird butt-kicking evil killing vibe to his Olympic practice, which if you think about it, is eerily similar to Sochi.

The boy with his bobsled and luge.  Notice the cool Olympic style shades
("Every athlete needs shades, Dad! The snow is bright!")
He's always been a bit of a slowpoke at getting ready, so I had kind of an ingenious idea (that should have occurred to me a long time ago)  I'm timing his everyday "events"  (getting dressed, brushing teeth, etc.) to see if he "qualifies" for the team.   At some point, I suppose we'll have to further it along to the Olympics, and he can set some "world records" and win some medals. More importantly, he's getting used to the idea that changing from pajamas to clothes can take under 20 minutes.  So it's a win/win.

What kind of "Olympics" are you going to enter your kids into? Any ideas for cool prizes?  I'm all ears in the comments!
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Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Courage To Face Your Fears- Lorne Jaffe and Dad 2.0 Summit

I'll have more to say about the conference I'm sure, but I wanted to make sure to both shout out and publicly admire Lorne Jaffe's great reading on Friday morning.

Lorne makes no secret on his blog about his ongoing battle with depression and anxiety.

And it was clear from the moment that he got here that he was nervous/anxious/terrified about the reading he was doing (of one of his past posts Do I Really Like What I Like? )  A very good read

The thing about Lorne is that in the 10 or so minutes that he spoke, he displayed more courage, bravery, honesty, vulnerability and gumption, then I may have ever seen before. And certainly then I think I have ever done.

I have no problems speaking in front of people, and of telling my personal stories.  It's my stock in trade as a clown, actor, and performer.  But my personal stories are edited, and vetted, and are what I'm willing to let people see. I let people see the stuff that won't hurt me.  The real me is somebody that I keep hidden, so he doesn't get hurt.  I've been assuming that most people operate in this same way- at least until I met Lorne.

As I remarked to several people afterwards, Lorne was more truthful and open and vulnerable than any actor could be-- primarily because exposing that much of your raw nerve and self is terrifying and brutal and hard, and no actor could do that 8 times a week.  In fact, that's why actors have technique, so you don't go crazy when your son Tiny Tim dies 8 times a week (twice on Wednesdays and Sundays) for 80 performances.  If you don't have technique, it's too much to bear.

Lorne Jaffe speaking at Dad 2.0.
It takes great amounts of courage to face down your fears and still do the thing that terrifies you. At the end of his speech, Lorne received a standing ovation. As we all stood, it was clear to me that Lorne thought that people were standing out of pity, or a sense of duty, or loyalty. I could see it in his confused eyes.   We weren't standing for any of those things.

 We weren't even standing for his specific speech (although it was a great essay, and I recommend reading it)   We were standing for Lorne and the incredible vulnerability and courage that standing on that stage represented, and that we recognized. And maybe envied a little.

I don't envy Lorne his problems-- but I wish I had a little bit more of his courage.  Maybe my writing would be more filled with essential truths and less with half witty observations.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

"We are seahorses"

Male seahorsees are pouch brooders
Male seahorsees are pouch brooders (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
My son is 5 and loves to take the stuff he is learning in kindergarten and apply it to the everday world around him.  He's creating a worldview, figuring it out, and loves to show off his thinking.

The other day we had a conversation sort of like this:

AA:  Hey Dad, did you know that daddy seahorses can have babies?

ME: Really?

AA: Yes, they get a baby in their tummy.  They are the only animals where boys can have babies.

ME: And what happens after they have  a baby?

AA: The daddy takes care of the baby seahorse.

ME: And what does the mommy do?

AA: She goes out and hunts for food.

[short silence, then excited]

AA:  Hey Dad!

ME: What?

AA: We are Seahorses!
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