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Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton

Thornton's Life of Livingston: New Weight Training Ideas

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I realize that Leslie "the Fortress" Livingston is a much beloved--no, make that a most beloved--swimmer in the pantheon of USMS greats.

By contrast, I am something of a minor non-entity/known irritant who uses his skills in the latter to win attention, be this mildly positive (yeah, right!) or somewhat negative ("The only thing worse than being talked about," suggested Oscar Wilde, "is not being talked about.")

To this end, one of the most successful strategies I have discovered over the years has been to Boswell myself to Leslie's Dr. Johnson by which I mean a relationship not entirely unlike the one enjoyed by a helminth in the digestive tract of his human host, only in a literary sense.



Might Necatur Americanus prove as similarly ameliorative to Leslie's gluten allergy as biographer James Thornton has proven to be in the documentation of her life? The answer in a future vlog (but here is a hint: Yes!)

As Wikipedia puts it about the exceptional Boswell-Johnson relationship:

Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. (1791) is a biography of Dr. Samuel Johnson written by James Boswell. It is regarded as an important stage in the development of the modern genre of biography; many have claimed it as the greatest biography written in English. While Boswell's personal acquaintance with his subject only began in 1763, when Johnson was 54 years old, Boswell covered the entirety of Johnson's life by means of additional research. The biography takes many critical liberties with Johnson's life, as Boswell makes various changes to Johnson's quotations and even censors many comments. Regardless of these actions, modern biographers have found Boswell's biography as an important source of information.

As even a casual review of my vlog entries will convince you, Thornton's Life of Livingston is, in so many ways, my life's great project and metaphorical case of intestinal parasitism.

It is, I suspect, no accident that both Mr.'s Boswell and Thornton share the name James.

But why, one might reasonably ask, would we need to read Thornton's Life of Livingston when Leslie, through her own daily scribblings, is providing a perfectly detailed Livingston's Life of Livingston in her own right?

And while it is true that you can count on Leslie's own incredibly well-read blog, The FAF AFAP Digest, for the minutiae of her life as a swimmer--the yards doing this, the meters doing that, the equipment used here, the other equipment used there, the dry lands, the wet lands, the pilatic yogic positions, the cornu copiae of physical, psychological, hormonal, geo-political-spiritual miseries racked up as a consequence, and so forth--I maintain that to see the Big Picture of the Life Leslie (or La Vie de Livingston, as Proust might have put it), you really need to start reading Thornton's Life of Livingston much more carefully, more often, and with many, many, many more comments left in the comments section.

At the risk of seeming impertinent, Leslie is much too close to her subject to see the forest for the trees. Not so I!

Furthermore, like James Boswell, James Thornton has no impediment with "taking liberties" with the "facts" in order to better capture of the truth of Leslie's life, a truth, I might add, is likely to elude the dear girl herself.

For who among us can truly claim to know ourselves better than I know you, even those I have barely met?

With all this as preamble, let me cut to the chase here before I lose too many more of you dear readers, for I do sense a certain restlessness in the ether, a shuffling of papers, a clearing of phlegm from the throat, as if in preparation for saying the likes of, "Okay, well..." or "Gotta nuther call..." or "Shut the **** up, I can't stand to hear any more of this lunatic prattle!"

To wit:

Some of you may recall that one of my earliest "chapters" in Thornton's Life of Livingston was the classicly controversial vlog entry, Love Leslie, Hate Jim http://forums.usms.org/blog.php?b=8731.

This simply recapitulated the fan reaction to our ***-for-tat argument on the subject of the putative "benefits" of weight-lifting for swimmers that ran in Swimmer Magazine.

Leslie argued it is essential to do this in order to swim fast.

I argued that the literature said quite the opposite and that, moreover, it was dangerous.

I told you so: on the nature of an obnoxious, but not altogether unfactual, saying.

It appears that I have been correct, at least in the latter declaration, all the while, proving yet again that Thornton knows Livingston better than Livingston knows Livingston--yet another reason why Thornton's Life of Livingston should remain the number one literary destination for anybody with even a passing interest in Leslie, including most of all Leslie herself.

For this is what happened to the lass:

While once again attempting heavy weight lifting last week, Leslie heard something elastic snap in her elbow, triggering instant pain. In a text message, she wrote to me that perhaps she would stop heavy lifting forever, that she had, indeed, come around to my way of thinking: i.e., that it is a dangerous waste of time for swimmers!

Oh dear, further chase cutting, I now believe, has become a matter of survival. The audience for today's musings, I greatly fear, is dwindling faster than the Donner party!

Absolutely no more preamble then. For those intrepid few who have remained with us so far, there is a payoff--and a sizable one at that.

Thanks to Bill White's eagle eye, I am happy to propose a much safer couple of alternatives to classic heavy weight lifting that Leslie can take up instead.

Please check out these two regimens, one of which is great for the arms, and the other which will give even the flimsiest of us specimens the abs and core of Mr. Ryan Lochte himself (who will be appearing soon in an upcoming episode of the Vlog the Inhaler, AKA, Thornton's Life of Livingston and Lochte.)

(Note: many of you may be familiar with the first exercise regimen. The second one, however, which Bill brought to my attention yesterday, is likely to be completely novel to anyone who has not spent time incarcerated in North Korea. Don't miss it!)

Safe approach to arm strength training:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/0..._n_541956.html

Safe approach to torso strength training:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/daves4/korea...rse-than-the-s

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Comments

  1. Kurt Dickson's Avatar
    Are there cliff notes to your new biography? BTW I already own two of each (shake weights and ace power)...one for upstairs and downstairs...probably need another for work when I get the urge...
  2. jim thornton's Avatar
    From what I understand, these training methods work much better in the hands of women, while the menfolk simply observe and enjoy a more passive approach to exercise. I should add, Dr. Duxson, that this is an observational analysis only, as I have never participated in trial of the aforementioned apparatus in any meaningful way.

    Disclosure: Jim Thornton has no financial ties to either the Shake Weight or Korean Horse Riding Simulator technologies and their respective manufacturers and marketing departments.
    '
  3. rodent's Avatar
    Jim, Congratulations, you have have the fastest time for any US man, age 60-64, in the 200 meter free this year. It might end up as the fastest in the world (I haven't checked). Your alma mater, Univ. of Michigan has a great tradition in the Men's 200 free w/ the Vanderkay's, Thornton, Phelps, etc. 25% of the US Olympic Swimming Team has a Michigan connection. Do you attribute the Michigan swimming success to the fact that they have applied the training techniques described in your Vlog?
  4. jim thornton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by rodent
    Jim, Congratulations, you have have the fastest time for any US man, age 60-64, in the 200 meter free this year. It might end up as the fastest in the world (I haven't checked). Your alma mater, Univ. of Michigan has a great tradition in the Men's 200 free w/ the Vanderkay's, Thornton, Phelps, etc. 25% of the US Olympic Swimming Team has a Michigan connection. Do you attribute the Michigan swimming success to the fact that they have applied the training techniques described in your Vlog?

    Jack, the idea of Michael Phelps on the horse riding simulator, with twin Shake Weights in both hands, going hog wild...well, it's enough to make me want to poke my eyes out with shishkebab skewers.

    Thanks for the nice mention of my event ranking. However, there are still some LCM meets left, and Rick Colella and Jim McConica and who knows who else could still swim the 200, making my dream of a No. 1 time only that.

    Is a dream a swimming glory a wet dream?
  5. Water Rat's Avatar
    I always enjoy reading your vlog Jim provided I have my dictionary, thesaurus and encyclopedia in hand.

    I think I'll call you Oedipus from now own
  6. jim thornton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Water Rat
    I always enjoy reading your vlog Jim provided I have my dictionary, thesaurus and encyclopedia in hand.

    I think I'll call you Oedipus from now own
    I am honored, Mark, that you see me as a beloved father figure/King you'd like to blind, castrate, and cuckold with your mother.

    But I am also a little concerned.
  7. jim thornton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Water Rat
    I always enjoy reading your vlog Jim provided I have my dictionary, thesaurus and encyclopedia in hand.

    I think I'll call you Oedipus from now own
    I am honored, Mark, that you see me as a beloved father figure/King you'd like to blind, castrate, and cuckold with your mother.

    But I am also a little concerned.
  8. swimshark's Avatar
    I'm with Mark this time, Jim. I come armed to decode your blogs. This one especially.
  9. jim thornton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by swimshark
    I'm with Mark this time, Jim. I come armed to decode your blogs. This one especially.
    Would you be able to make a short list of the words that were not household words for you?

    I think it is important that we teach them to Matthew so he will not suffer the social awkwardness that so very often stems from a, shall we say, rural vocabulary.
  10. swimshark's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by jim thornton
    Would you be able to make a short list of the words that were not household words for you?

    I think it is important that we teach them to Matthew so he will not suffer the social awkwardness that so very often stems from a, shall we say, rural vocabulary.
    Rural? I'm not that far away from the house you have claimed squatters rights to.
  11. jim thornton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by swimshark
    Rural? I'm not that far away from the house you have claimed squatters rights to.
    I didn't mean that as an insult. It's just that the time you spend huntin' varmints and cookin' up possum stew is time you cain't spend on book learnin'!
  12. bsherm81's Avatar
    Hi Jim...been a while! Looks like our beloved Ocean city is about to take a direct hit. Hoping for the best.