Stalking Points Memo – Food for Thought Edition

by Al Pastor

1. Taking the Plunge

One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready...and four to go!

One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready…and four to go!

From ABC News:

First, the cold water chills the skin, which has three to four times as many cold   receptors as warm receptors, said Michael Tipton, a physiology professor at the University of Portsmouth in England.

“You get a very, very powerful drive to breathe and an inability to breath-hold,” said Tipton, who has completed two polar bear plunges himself.

The hyperventilation combines with a sudden increase in heart rate and blood pressure, but this response typically peaks about 30 seconds after someone enters the water.

“This is really quite potentially one of the most profound physical responses you can initiate,” Tipton said, adding that it can be lessened with repeated short exposure to cold water over time.”


Yes, indeed. The profound physical response to which the good doctor describes might, in other ancient traditions not solely reserved for special occasions, be best filed under the heading of “aliveness.” Nothing is more (safely) awakening, enlivening, more intensely focusing attention on the HERE and NOW than cold water immersion – and its prospect – be it fjord, natural spring or polar bear ocean plunge. See you at the Springs!

one of the most profound physical responses you can initiate,"

one of the most profound physical responses you can initiate,”

2. Tragic Truth in Advertising


Consumers should not use Mass Destruction, a dietary supplement used to stimulate muscle growth, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned Monday. The body-building product, available in retail stores, fitness gyms and online, contains potentially harmful synthetic steroids and anyone currently using it should stop immediately, the FDA said.

The warning was prompted by a report from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services involving a serious injury related to use of Mass Destruction. A healthy 28-year-old man who used the product for several weeks experienced liver failure, which required a transplant, according to the FDA.


Liver failure. In an otherwise healthy 28-year old. All for what, an edge? Ghastly. Perhaps a finger can be pointed beyond the individual, perhaps not, or perhaps there is something deeper at work.

3. “Self-centered, alienated, ‘narcissistic’ “?

From: Solitude by Anthony Storr (Balantine Books, 1988)

“It can be argued that some of the great thinkers listed above [Spinoza, Newton, Descartes, Kant, etc.] were self-centered, alienated, or ‘narcissistic’: more preoccupied with what went on in their own minds than with the welfare of other people. The same is true of many writers, composers, and painters. The creative person is constantly seeking to discover himself, to remodel his own identity, and to find meaning in the universe through what he creates. He finds this a valuable integrating process which, like meditation or prayer, has little to do with other people, but which has its own separate validity. His most significant moments are those in which he attains some new insight, or makes some new discovery; and these moments are chiefly, if not invariably, those in which he is alone.”

…No one even tangentially aware of or familiar with professional athletics can deny that such “selfish,” preoccupying qualities here recognized in artists are part of the make-up (if yes sometimes to excess) of the most successful athletes.

"His most significant moments...are chiefly, invariably, those in which he is alone."

“His most significant moments…are chiefly, invariably, those in which he is alone.”

Terrell Owens. "Self-centered, alienated or 'narcissistic?' "

Terrell Owens. “Self-centered, alienated or ‘narcissistic?’ “

Their creations are obviously different (and less enduring), yet I would suggest thatthey also seek to create what Storr calls their “own separate validity” from their fleeting accomplishments. They may have many motivations, not the least of which may be celebrity or riches.  They may be narcissistic in the extreme – any number of examples come to mind. Even in the team sports they must consider and establish themselves…alone. The great catch, the game-saving strike-out, the miraculous major championship hardly exist in a vacuum – the result of years of foundational dedication, coaching, teamwork, counsel. Still the act is individual.