Mind, Body, Spirit, Hip Hop

When is the writing on the wall?

Written By: Doc.D - Jan• 17•12

I don’t like drugs.  Most of the people I like and who like me don’t like drugs.  I think the vast majority of drugs are unneccessary, misused, or overutilized.  Let’s not focus in execptions here (my great friend in New York who, I proudly say is one of the oldest surviving people with Cystic Fibrosis, was just granted a life saving lung transplant.  He will probably be on a host of antirejection medicines and other things for the rest of his life).  I feel that I have a good idea who needs drugs and who does not, and I firmly believe most drug use prescription and otherwise are the result of life choices we make every day.   If we take a long look at our health outcomes in the developed world, we see the figures bear it out. I know hundreds of people who have NEVER taken a single drug or have not taken one in years.  The difference between them and many others: attitude/perspective/expectation of health.

How do millions if not billions of people worldwide take care of their body, in countries where ther isn’t a CVS on every other corner, and a drug sales person peppering their lives with TV commercials and free lunches for the Medical Doctors?   At what point does the rational person decide if this is working for them on a personal level?  Symptoms are merely your body showing you warning signs that it is not happy, and is despirately trying to heal itself.  Symptoms are not created because the body is somehow stupid, or is unsure of what to do next.  Symptoms are created by the body as agents of change; healing agents to help you clean up your act.  Do you know why, you have high blood pressure, or a fat belly, or repetitive headaches, or fill in your own blank?  Because you are supposed to based on the way you are treating your body.  Let us use a current celebrity example:

I really do not like judging people, but I am going to judge the public and for profit decision made by celebrity chef Paula Dean.  She was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 3 years ago and now is formally announcing her finacial relationship with a drug company.  She is pimping drugs to “manage” her  Type 2 Diabetes.  She is making a very public and dare I say profitable choice to push drugs.  She has the forum to say anything she wants and she is choosing to ignore the writing on the wall in exchange for profit.  Every day there are hundreds of people who are given the same “diagnosis” as Paula and choose to see the writing on the wall and change.  Paula Dean is publically choosing not to change and instead mitigate her poor lifestyle choices with medicine, and in my opinion continue a slow unceremonious decent.  She is choosing to delay death, and “manage” disease, instead of educating and empowering herself toward increased LIFE.  I give Paula Dean’s choice a thumbs down.  Judge for yourself…..

Playlist: Guitar Heroes

Written By: DJ.Alamo.Freeze - Jan• 11•12

Alamo Freeze here.  Wednesday is Playlist Day.

Today we’re paying homage to the electric gee-tar, and how it has been used and abused in our lifetime.  This playlist is pretty much in chronological order, so you’ll go from the made-for-MTV excess of Whitesnake to the wall of sound from Them Crooked Vultures.  Go forth and build some muscle tone, people.

  1. Whitesnake, “Here I Go Again”
  2. Bon Jovi, “Livin’ On a Prayer”
  3. Journey, “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)”
  4. Faith No More, “Epic”
  5. Nirvana, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
  6. Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Give It Away”
  7. Seven Mary Three, “Cumbersome”
  8. The Hives, “Tick Tick Boom”
  9. Them Crooked Vultures, “New Fang”

This playlist is longer than usual – about 40 minutes.  A big part of that is that ’80s arena rock meant dragging out the song.  The first serious guitar lick in “Here I Go Again” doesn’t show up until 1:15 into the song.  By that point the Hives are starting into their second verse.

You have to pay for songs on iTunes, but you can listen to the playlist on Grooveshark for free.

Ask your doctor if listening to music is right for you.  In a clinical trial, some music listeners experienced foot-tapping, hair loss, and dry mouth.

Body: The 27 Rules of Going to the Gym

Written By: DJ.Alamo.Freeze - Jan• 09•12

DJ Alamo Freeze here.  This article had me falling out of my gold leaf inlaid DJ console. (It’s very Robin Leach up in here.)  This one hit a little close to home for your DJ:

“No one in the history of gyms has ever lost a pound while reading ‘The New Yorker’ and slowly pedaling a recumbent bicycle. No one.”


The Journey: Hip-Hop Hands Across America

Written By: DJ.Alamo.Freeze - Jan• 05•12

Freeze here.  Dr. D is gonna start posting about the wellness journey he wants to take this year.  Mine is simple:

Hip-Hop Hands Across America.

I like walking, and I love hip-hop.  I’m looking to unload 50 pounds of weight this year.  Expressed in calories, that’s 180,000 more than what I am burning off from just living and breathing.  I can get it done through a combination of eating less and exercising more – no magic answers, right?  But the most fun way to think about it is like I’m walking across this great country of ours, taking in hip-hop history along the way.

So that’s what I’m gonna do this year.  I am starting out on the West Coast and coming east – that way the wind is at your back.  We need all the help we can get.

Based on my metabolic rate and stuff, I’d only need to walk 1,825 miles to cook off these calories.  But it’s much more fun if we go coast to coast.  So I’ll be doing some math and breaking down the trip like I’ve gotta go the whole way.  And I’ll be doing my progress based on, well, my progress.

Hip-Hop Friday this week will be in Los Angeles, and from there we start the long march up over the mountains and across the desert.  This jawn ends with a skinny me in Philly, just the way I want it to be.

Playlist Day: Bhangra

Written By: DJ.Alamo.Freeze - Jan• 04•12

DJ Alamo Freeze here.  Namaste.  This is the first Playlist Day of 2012.

We’re doing a lot of talking around here about journeys in the new year.  This playlist will take you on a musical journey to modern India.  If your lookin’ for a night out in New Delhi, this is the music they’re rocking in the club.

NEW for 2012: You can jump on Grooveshark and listen to the whole playlist.  That’s because your DJ loves you.

  1. Panjabi MC, “Jogi” (album: Bar Bhangra)
  2. Shamur, “Gonna Make It” (album: Shardana)
  3. Nivla, “Be Easy (Koi Naa)” (album: Be Easy)
  4. Kailash Kher, “Tauba Tauba” (album: Kailasa)
  5. Midival Punditz, “Mundeya De Dil Hil Gaye” (album: Let’s Enjoy)
  6. Arash, “Boro Boro” (album: Arash)
  7. Malkit Singh, “Jind Mahi” (album: Bend It Like Beckham)

“Mundeya” is not on the US iTunes store, but it’s worth visiting Grooveshark for a listen.  You may fall out of your chair when you hear it.  No lie.

Your DJ went to India twice in his younger days for consciousness raising sessions.  Didn’t work.  I’m still unconscious.

Hip-Hop History: Jay-Z Decoded

Written By: DJ.Alamo.Freeze - Dec• 23•11

DJ Alamo Freeze here.  Looking for a last-minute gift idea?  You might want to take a look at Decoded, Jay-Z’s autobiography, which came out recently in paperback.  His life story is remarkable, and stands out even in the larger-than-life world of hip-hop:

“A teenager growing up with an absent father in a tough New York housing estate in the 1980s, Shawn Carter, as he was born, became a crack dealer and continued selling even as he tried to get his music career off the ground in the early 1990s. … Jay-Z’s personal brand has been extended to clothes, shoes, cologne, Manhattan’s Spotted Pig restaurant and the New Jersey Nets basketball team, through licensing deals and shareholdings.”

Jay-Z sat down for an interview on Fresh Air last year; the interview ran again last month.  He’s a brilliant guy – his work makes it obvious – and one of his subtler gifts is the way he calls on themes and memories from childhood to craft songs with universal appeal.  An example:

“‘When the TV version [of Annie] came on, I was drawn to it,” he says. “It was the struggle of this poor kid in this environment and how her life changed. … It immediately resonated.’

“Twenty years later, Jay-Z was on a Puff Daddy tour in the late ’90s, when he heard a DJ play an instrumental version of ‘It’s the Hard Knock Life’ from Annie.

“‘It immediately brought me back to my childhood and that feeling,’ he says. ‘I knew right then and there that I had to make that record, and people would relate to the struggle and the aspiration in it, as well.’

“To get the rights for ‘Hard Knock Life,’ Jay-Z says he ‘exaggerated a touch’ in his letter to the original songwriters, Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin. He told them how much Annie meant to him growing up, because he won an essay contest as a child and got to see the musical on Broadway, cementing his love for the show. But, he says with a laugh, that actually never happened.

“‘I wrote a letter about how much Annie meant to me growing up and how I went to a Broadway play — which was an exaggeration,’ he says. ‘I saw it on TV. It was a bad lie … for a good reason.’

You don’t think of Jay-Z as a kids’ artist, right?  But he’s making records for the kid in you.  That kid has hopes and dreams and memories and fears.  Jay-Z can decode them all.

Wednesday: Swerve

Written By: DJ.Alamo.Freeze - Dec• 21•11

Yo, this is your DJ on the heads up display.  Wednesday is Playlist Day on the HJ.

I try not to drive anywhere during the last 10 days before Christmas.  Way too many angry birds on the road.  But if you are out there doing the shopping mall shuffle, these songs will get you drumming on the steering wheel.

Playlist runs about 20 minutes.  It’s short and sweet.

  1. Joel Plaskett Emergency, “Nowhere With You”
  2. Brett Dennen, “Sydney (I’ll Come Running)”
  3. Wir sind Helden, “Nur ein Wort” (yep, it’s in German)
  4. Joshua Radin, “The Ones with the Light”
  5. Bird and the Bee, “My Love”
  6. Ingrid Michaelson, “Everybody”

Now, when you’ve got this playlist running and some angry bird steals your parking spot, just smile and let it go.  We’re celebrating thousands of years’ worth of tradition, people.  Takes more than a fool with a car to knock us off our game.

What kind of Body do you want? Then do those things

Written By: Doc.D - Dec• 20•11

I haven’t thought about this much lately, but back in college (when I was far more consumed with physical appearance), I always observed physiques.  I read ‘Sports Illustrated’   , Muscle and Fitness, and several other fitness magazines.  I also started hitting the gym on a consistent basis.  After you start piling up hours, you notice a few things.  One of which is that people tend to gravitate to similar exercises.  I would see the cross country runner types, running endlessly on tread mills, the meat heads doing heavy bench press and arm curls to hopefully impress some girls at spring break, the crunchy hippy types would sit in the corner and stretch or do some isometric exercise, and so on.  The funny part was it sort of worked for them.  The cross country runners would have thin frames that were lean with little muscle, and the meatheads would have well developed pecs and biceps (and usually puny leg muscles by comparison), the hippy folks would be really flexible, and on down the line.

Maybe the same is true today, and maybe it is that simple.  The old New years resolution is coming up.  Maybe we need to watch some sports on TV, and see who has the most attractive body to OUR eye, and start doing what they are doing.  My favorite venue for doing this is watching the Olympics.  It is a world stage where you can view all ethnicities at once,  and every athlete male or female is at the top of their game, and there is some drug testing so the bodies are not too outlandish.  See who looks good, and look into the types of exercises that they do, and then most importantly go do them.

Here is an example: anyone who knows me, knows that I hate running.   I think it is a miserable way to spend time and the folks who I watch doing it, always seem so beat up an miserable to me (sorry Forrest Gumps of the world, just my opinion).  But look at two types of runners, the distance runner and the sprinter.  Both men run for a living, but their training methodologies vary greatly….

Here is Usain Bolt (the fastest sprinter on Earth)

Here is Samuel Wanjiri the Bejing Olympic Champion in the Marathon


This summer London will host the Olympic games.  Don’t wait until then for inspiration!  Research over this next week and in the new year challenge yourself to design the type of body you want.

Just for good measure here are some other Olympic Athletes.   Who do you want to look like…..

The New York Times did a great pictorial a few years ago showing some different Olympic Athlete bodies.


Stat of the Day: Oxycodone

Written By: DJ.Alamo.Freeze - Dec• 19•11

Alamo Freeze here.  Saw a remarkable stat today:

“Of all the oxycodone prescribed in America in the first half of last year, 98 percent was dispensed in Florida.”

That’s a lot of pain – physical and emotional – for one state.

Read the whole story.  It’s worth your time.  (h/t Longform.)

Mind: Why the chocolate cake wins

Written By: DJ.Alamo.Freeze - Dec• 19•11

DJ Alamo Freeze on the line, sending you warm vibes on a cold Monday morning.  (If you’re reading this from Aruba, nevermind.  Also, please invite us to come visit.)

We’re a week away from Christmas.  Many of us are reaching way back into the cluttered attics of our minds, hunting for some self control to get through the holidays.  Maybe it’s the cookies for you.  Your DJ has a weakness for egg nog.  Can’t even stand the thought of it in August.  Any drink that leaves a film behind on the glass is clearly not good for you.  Get me in the Christmas red zone, though, and… mmm, delicious.

I’m gonna tell you something about this.  I’m not sharing it to let you or me off the hook.  But you should know there’s a psychological theory called ego depletion that basically tells us self-control is a finite resource.  You do a ton of difficult math for half an hour, or you spend Christmas Eve trying not to bring down the punchbowl on Uncle Gilbert’s head for insulting everybody in the family.  Then comes yummy cake.  Your defenses are lowered from the other work your brain was doing.  In that moment your brain is in the same state that your legs would be if you just sprinted a mile.  It needs a chance to recover.

It might help just to recognize that your brain is working hard.  I’m also trying to be realistic with myself about how much I can ask my brain to do in a single day.  Again, this is not a license to go crazy.  It’s just a different way of thinking about self control.

Hat tip to the awesome book Thinking, Fast and Slow for the full rundown.