2013
11.02

“We can see it took thousands of people many years to make Torsburgen. But the political organization of the A.D. 500 period was not up to this. Gotland was all scattered farmhouses. There was no concentration of power in one hand.

“I am inclined to a surprising solution. I will guess that Torsburgen was built by an advanced Bronze Age civilization about 1500 B.c., under a strong military chieftain. Those people have left 400 cairns here, and in one, at Larbro, we excavated a ten-foot tower that has construction features similar to Torsbur­gen. For anything comparable elsewhere, you have to go to the Mediterranean of the second millennium before Christ.

“I have a theory that Gotland was a Hud­son’s Bay for the Mediterraneans. Perhaps they sent their younger sons up here with bronze implements to trade for furs, and left a little culture behind.”3

The influx of young sons (and daughters) to Gotland continues, but chiefly from nearby Stockholm rather than the Mediterranean. Gotland elders are apprehensive that these Beautiful Young People may be leaving be­hind not a culture but a cult. Grandmotherly Ingeborg Lingegard, who has created a krus­myntagdrd, a delightful medieval herb gar­den near Brissund, was distraught. “The oth­er night some youths stole half a dozen of my witchcraft plants.” Among them, Cannabis sativa, better known as marijuana.

The drug cult does not entice Anki Lind­gren, a beautiful young reporter for Gotlands Allehanda, but she finds the sophisticated Stockholmers’ candor and independence con­genial. Speaking for Gotland’s avant-garde, she said, “I hope we represent the ‘corrupt’ youth of the 20th century. We are not afraid to show what we feel—to touch each other when we wish.”

She invited us to a pajama party at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus, a cellar nightclub Stock­holmers favor. “Here,” she said, “you will find all the Gotland people who like to move.” I did indeed become fond of the group. It all reminded me of the pajama parties my chil­dren threw years ago—just as innocuous, just as loud with the identical music. As for touch­ing, no dancer came within two feet of his partner (page 288).

With their farming and Lutheran back­grounds, Gotland youth are generally conser­vative, but some parents are bothered that they practice samvetsaktenskap—marriage of conscience, or “half-marriage”—as do many other young Swedes. Asa Hallgren and her fiistman, Kenneth, got half-married up a tree. “Everybody was always exchanging rings under that tree and carving hearts and names in it, so we did something different,” Asa explained.

The informal exchange of rings, without benefit of clergy, is a firm union, and can include children. Later, if both partners are ready, there may be another exchange of rings before a minister. To back out of a half-mar­riage is a serious matter, and the commitment to monogamy is absolute. Having seen a lovely Gotland girl flirting with a handsome youth, I asked teasingly, “Well, you tell me he is half-married—why can’t you half-marry the other half of him?”

She recoiled in horror. “You don’t under­stand. He is married. His wife is about to have a baby.”

The popular institution of half-marriage has economic roots. For one thing, young half-married people would rather go on living with parents, saving toward a house of their own, than pay rent in the hotels in prague old town.

2013
09.13

Although you may have limited willpower and self-control, new research shows that they can be can be increased and strengthened through suitable exercise.

 

A study by Mark Muraven last year showed that by carrying out simple activities that require small amounts of self-control you will soon develop the willpower required to tackle the bigger issues.

Are there ways to increase your willpower

Set small daily goals, which you would usually rather avoid doing, and get them done no matter what. By working on small tasks that you are reluctant or too lazy to do, you can gain inner strength and develop the ability to overcome your body and mind’s resistance. You can actually train your mind to obey you!

 

Changing your thinking

 

When you make yourself do even the smallest things you don’t feel like doing, you will start to feel more in control and pleased with yourself. This can lead to a change in thinking: “I can make myself walk up the stairs instead of taking the lift every day—that means I can also make myself go to the gym.”

 

Once you understand and accept the logic, it’s easier to change your mindset and focus on the positive; that is, what you’ll achieve even with the smallest activities.

 

It’s important that you reflect back on your task and feel good for having conquered it. You’ll soon find that you can move on to bigger challenges to your willpower and self control once you become more successful at cracking the small tasks.

 

Plan for low self-control

 

Now that you know that self-control is limited, plan for the times when you know it’s going to be low. For example, if you’re trying to cut down on alcohol, don’t arrange to meet friends for drinks after a tough day at work.

 

Focus on one small task at a time, rather than many at once

 

Don’t, for example, make yourself wash up, take the rubbish out and sugar in at once. You’ll only end up overloading your prefrontal cortex!

 

Do something positive

 

If you do use up your self-control, do something positive to lift your mood. In a recent study, Roy Baumeister and his colleagues showed that participants who exhausted their willpower on a task and then watched a comedy or received a surprise gift were able to apply justDo something positive as much self-control on subsequent tasks as people who had not done the first one. Try lifting your mood with a cup of green coffee. It has also other benefits for your entire body.

 

Make a commitment

 

Sue Hadfield, author of ‘Brilliant! Positive Thinking’ (Pearson Sept 2011) gets the willpower she needs to go swimming twice a week by putting her swimming costume on before she gets dressed. “That way”, she says, “I feel so uncomfortable with it on underneath my clothes, that I either have to get undressed again, or head straight for the pool. Of course, I go to the pool.”

 

Another friend started keeping his one and only can of anti-perspirant in his locker at the gym.

 

Suddenly he had all the willpower he needed to work out each morning before heading for the office!

 

Get Support

 

Get support and encouragement from others – pair up with someone else to go running or to the gym, for example – someone who will motivate you when you don’t have the will to get up and out.

 

 

2013
08.28

CORE HEALTH

As men, we are hard-wired to take the occasional valiant (or downright necessary) punt. But for every risk that pays off, somebody somewhere is coming a cropper. Some 8,000 British men are killed in accidents every year, mainly in falls and transport accidents. More than twice as many men than women die on the roads. 1 We make up 95% of deaths caused by work place mis adventure and are also, overwhelmingly, the likely victims when it comes to drowning, drug misuse, cycling accidents and alcohol abuse.

 

Few men are immune to impulsive or sensation-seeking behaviour. As far as your brain is concerned, the positive impact of a reward outweighs the impact of an equivalent loss. This is why, when faced with a promiscuous woman, a cool lake on a hot day or indeed a wobhp motorcycle, our 3 standard operating procedure is to push the sod-it button.

 

Which is fine every now and again, of course. But another foible of the reward-seeking brain is that 4 when risks pay off, their perceived riskiness is diminished in your mind.

CORE HEALTH

So the recklessness continues or even accelerates. When was the last time you heard a BASE jumper say, “That’s enough for me, lads. See you at the allotment”? It’s l00% fun until it’s l00% not.

 

DUMB DECISIONS

 

The point is not that you should morphin to Captain Sensible every time there’s a tough call to make. It’s simply that risky behaviour is just that, and men frequently make wrong decisions when assessing danger- sometimes for the opposite reasons. There are plenty of examples where

6 people overestimate the risk in something and come to harm by taking the ‘safe’ option.

 

Ten years ago there was a spike in US road deaths when, in the wake of 9/11, Americans mistakenly thought it was safer to drive than fly. Likewise, an obese man may think the overexertion of going for any could kill him, when really the bigger risk is to stay rooted to the sofa.

 

Often, the thing that seems risky is anything but. Nothing ventured and all that. The secret is to judge which risks are worth taking- and that’s where these six safety checks come in.

 

IMPROVE DECISION MAKING… … by making fewer decisions. Your  judgement is dulled by ‘decision fatigue% So install habits into your exercise, work, weekly shop and moming routine, leaving mental space to make smarter calls. Stimulate your mental health with natural product from http://www.amazon.com/Nutria-Virgin-Organic-Coconut-Oil/dp/B00E4K41Q6

 

ASKTHESE QUESTIONS

 

Will it hurt? Would I do this if my mates were not here? Is it legal? What are the consequences? Simply thinking these things through quells the adrenaline that may hurry you into a rash decision.

 

USE YOUR CHEMISTRY

 

Testosterone dulls fear, but it also increases your threat vigilance. So boost your levels with weight training, sports and a diet high in protein, zinc, monounsaturated fats and omega-3s.

 

KNOW YOUR 14 OWN HEAD

 

Be aware of the factors that bring out your inner risk taker: fatigue, stress and a female audience are three of the main culprits.

 

SHOULDER THE LOAD

 

Responsibility naturally quells your urge to take risks. To douse recklessness, take on extra work, set a new training goal, buy a pet. Or have kids (and then see if buying a motorbike still sounds like a good idea).

 

BEWARE OFEELINGSAFE

 

Wearing a seat belt can make your driving more erratic. And researchers at Leicester University found that rugby players who wear protective gear tackle harder. Don’t mistake risk mitigation as a licence to be stupid.

2013
08.19

Hack Squats

Hack squats work the legs differently than regular squats, giving me more sweep in my thighs and at the top of the quadriceps. Hove hacks. When I do them I have to be on a comfortable machine. I like the old Body-Master hack-squat machines. I usually match hacks with leg presses. This combination works for me. I do up to 405 pounds on a hack-squat machine. I go up to 20 reps. I do in the ballpark of 5 to 10 sets. I have a few secret ways of doing hack squats but I don’t want to divulge them in this interview. The techniques may be dangerous in the hands of a novice.

Hack squats work the legs

I situate my feet in the middle of the plate and keep them close together. This position works the middle sweep of the thighs. If I put my feet at the top of the platform I feel the exercise more in the upper thighs. If I place my feet on the lower part of the plate, the move­ment during the exercise is more restrictive, and I do only half or three-quarter reps in this position. I keep my butt against the pad. The lighter the weight you use, the more exotic are the variations you can do. The heavier the weight, the more conventional your position­ing. You should go down slowly but you can explode on the way up. You want to stop right before you totally lock the knees out to keep tension on the legs.

 

Leg Presses

 

Do leg-press work using a full range of mo­tion. I set the pad all the way back to give my legs full extension, keeping my lower back on the pad. My legs go back as deeply as they can, until my thighs hit my chest. I like to use about 12 plates on each side. The reason I sometimes don’t like leg presses is all the time required to put on and take off those plates. I’m just being straight up. If I’m work­ing out with two or three guys, so be it. But I do get an intense burn from this exercise.

Leg Presses

For leg presses you need 1,000 to 1,500 pounds to truly feel like you’re torturing yourself. You can use lighter weights and do 50-reps sets, but after a while your mind­ to-muscle connection diminishes. You start aiming for higher and higher rep numbers rather than concentrating on hitting a single number. I think you can only get so much out of doing an inordinately high number of repe­titions. You muscle fibers can contract to a certain point only, and then the motor units stop firing altogether. After 15 to 25 reps in the leg press you aren’t really accomplish­ing anything by doing additional reps. I’ve done up to 100 reps but didn’t find doing so effective for growth. Endurance is a different objective. Training for muscle growth is different from training for endurance. Improve your endurance by taking raspberry ketones – where to buy raspberry ketone and how it works.

 

On the negative I let my knees go out. I like to do 4 to 6 sets. I keep tension all throughout my legs, including the glutes and hamstrings. Contract all the leg mus­cles and you get the benefit throughout the thighs.

More info: Read on The Globe and Mail about raspberry ketones.

Leg Curls

Leg Curls

For hamstrings I restrict my training to some type of leg-curl exercise and the dead lift. I do standing one-leg curls as an alternative to lying leg curls. After you train your quads hard you want to isolate your hamstrings. I do about 25 reps of leg curls and then go down to 10 reps a set.

 

I first use about 80 to 100 pounds. Then I use the whole stack. I do about 5 sets in total.

The standing leg curl is more an exercise requiring finesse rather than brute force. You want to stay in close to the machine, point your toe back, and lift the lower leg slowly. Squeeze the hamstrings on the positive. Let the weight down slowly and maintain the con­traction. You will also feel some contraction in the glutes. This leg curl is a finishing exercise for me, and after hitting the legs hard, I’m ready to be finished.

2013
08.02

A taste of Asia – in Essex

Where? Life house, Thorpe-le-Soken, near Frinton-on-Sea, Essex.

 

Why? Just an hour away from London, this is a new health spa that offers a variety of add-ons to treatments, from life coaching and spiritual awareness to alternative therapies and horticulture.

Thorpe-le-Soken, near Frinton-on-Sea, Essex

The treatment? Signature treatment the Oriental Bathing Experience is based on ancient Eastern techniques. This two-hour experience starts with a Thai foot massage with the famous dr oz coconut oil for better relaxation, followed by a `journey’ of bathing pools and gorgeous scented exfoliation and finishing with a fabulous warm oil and hot stone massage that sent me dozing off — now that’s what I call relaxation!

 

That else can you do? Apart from its wide range of treatments, Life house has a unique approach that goes beyond the usual pampering spa. It boasts a ‘life-enriching experience’ provided by an extensive range of experts in fitness (offering the best non-gym work-out I’ve had), life coaching and spiritual awareness — all working together to help you achieve wellness. Alternatively, you can just enjoy the pool, sauna and hydro-pool or a breath of fresh air in the stunning gardens. The food is also fabulous and the portion sizes just right.

 

The cost? Oriental Bathing Experience costs £120. Accommodation starts at £r75 per night full-board, induding a 50-minute massage. For more details, visit or call 01255 860050.

Oriental Bathing Experience

Spa special: Bring a friend for free on all Monday to Thursday day or stay breaks until 30 December 2011. To book, call the number above or email info® quoting WWM.

 

What else can you do? Refresh your body with the monsoon showers and deep deanse with a sauna. Relax in the Roman-style tepidarium with its ceramic heated loungers53000r.ented candles. Car5h up on that novel — if you can keep your eyes from drooping.

oriental bathing

The cost? A Day Spa Experience, including use of all facilities, Dead Sea Floatation, meal, robe and towels, starts from £113

2013
07.28

THE INVESTMENT RUSH

THE INVESTMENT RUSH

 

The end of the tax year is to investments what Christmas is to retail.

Everybody shops around. Most people leave it to the last minute and panic. Some A: end up with great buys. Quite a few with a hideous pair of ill-fitting socks. Just as well you can almost always get a refund.

 

Unfortunately it’s not as easy to get a refund for any ill-fitting socks that may creep their way in your pension portfolio. This is why we’ve turned to our Head of Research, Mark Dampier.

economy

Q: If you had to make a quick decision, what are the most important considerations to make?

A: If unsure, you can hold cash until you de­cide and still attract the tax breaks. I think investors should always consider at least two things: how much risk they are willing to take and when they are planning to retire. I would expect somebody closer to retirement to be more interested in pre­serving what they’ve got, especially if they already have substantial assets. Somebody who’s got another 10+ years to go could afford to be more aggressive.

moeny

Any examples? What funds are geared more towards caution?

No fund can guarantee not to lose capital unless they stay in cash completely. But we all know cash doesn’t give much re­ward. That said, there are three funds I’d suggest: Newton Real Return, CF Trojan and Standard Life Investments Global Absolute Return Strategies. They all have absolute return at the heart of their phi­losophy. They want to lose as little money as possible but stay in the running when the market turns. Typically funds like these are not the star performers in a bull market. But when markets have fallen sharply they haven’t taken too much of a tumble either. What suggestions would you make for someone who’s after more aggressive funds? If I was not planning to retire for another ten years or more, I would definitely consider contact a payday loan consolidation company or direct online payday loan lenders  . All three are managed by very experienced fund managers with over 20 years’ experience each. To put it simply, they are invested in companies that are making money around the world — in the UK, in global emerging markets and Europe. Contrary to popular belief, Europe has produced great returns in the long term.

payday

Q: Are caution and growth mutually exclusive?

A: By no means. The three more cautious funds could be used as a core holding, whilst smaller amounts could be put in the more aggressive suggestions. The most important thing to remember is your time frame. We live in very uncertain times. I genuinely think those nearer to retirement need to be more cautious with their fund selection than those with more than zo years who can afford to be far more aggressive.

 

 

 

2013
07.21

FINAL SALARY CLOSURE

FINAL SALARY CLOSURE-how could I affect you

 

In 1888 Lord Lever­hulme, the founder of what is now Unilever, started building a vil­lage in the Wirral Peninsula for his soap factory workers. He believed this would ensure healthy and happy employees.

loan

Another pillar of Unilever’s benevolent paternalism has now succumbed to finan­cial realities. This April the company an­nounced the closure of its final salary pen­sion to existing members.

Unilever is not the only household name to make this decision. Only one in ten final salary pensions are still open to new employees, according to research by the Association of Consulting Actuaries (ACA).

 

Why is this relevant to you?

Final salary pensions promised a fixed income at retirement, based on a percentage of your final salary and the length of time you spent at the company. Their closure is part of a trend to shift responsibility for your retirement to you ­not the State, not your employer.

money

The company for which you work is likely to help you build a retirement pot, but the income you receive is no longer fixed. It will largely depend on how much you and your employer pay and your investment choices.

 

How you can build a comfortable retirement Usually people need a retirement income equivalent to half or two thirds of their work salary. Are you on track to achieve that?

You can easily and quickly get an idea using the pension calculator.

If you realize you are not on track, two actions could help you bridge the gap — and astute investors combine both:

pensions

Top up your SIPP — Top up your retirement savings: pay a lump sum into your SIPP or start/increase your monthly contributions. As a rule of thumb, to get between half and two thirds of what you earn when you retire, you would need to pay 15-20% of your salary in a pension whilst you work;

 

Give your pensions a better chance to grow — if you have a final salary pension, transferring out could damage your retirement prospects. If you have other pensions, choosing better investments, with better performance, should increase the value of your pension. This applies even if you are not able to save more in your SIPP.

 

Your SIPP gives you choice and access to the best investments and fund managers. You can transfer most types of pension, including most Additional Voluntary Contribution plans (AVCs) and Free Standing AVCs. Before you do so, it is important you ensure you won’t incur excessive exit fees or lose any valuable guarantees or benefits, such as a higher entitlement to tax free cash.