Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Streeeeeetch Your Life

Before I take my daily walk, I do something that has helped me avoid injury, remain fit, and extend my lifetime warranty.


I perform a series of quick and simple stretching exercises that work all the muscles of my legs, from calf to hamstring. Watch this video to see my complete stretching routine.


I have been on a steady exercise and walking program for decades and during that time I have not had one leg cramp or pulled muscle or any number of the injuries associated with the wear and tear of persistent pavement-pounding. Why? Because stretching works. Stretching warms up and loosens muscles and joints, better preparing you for the task at hand.

But don’t stop with merely stretching your legs or other body parts. Stretch the rest of your TRIAD (Mind, Body, Spirit).

I’ve demonstrated several ways how to stretch the BODY, now lets:


I often stress the importance of feeding your brain as much intelligent food (data) as possible. All too often, the mind is consuming too much junk food, or bad data. We all know what happens, physically, when you eat too much junk food: you gain weight, consuming too much sodium, cholesterol, saturated fats and sugars, which causes heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, and other health problems.

Instead, stretch your mind, feeding it good, healthy foods (data):

* Read, every day (“A Book a Week is All I Ask“). Stretch your mind by reading diverse topics, explore your weak areas that need developing, spanning all genres, utilizing every media available: newspapers, magazines, novels, non-fiction, self-help, how-to, blogs, and websites.

* Learn a musical instrument or a foreign language. This exercises different parts of your brain, stretching you further.

* Continue your formal education. Full-time or part-time, go for that AA, or BA, or BS, or MBA, or PhD. This will not only stretch your mind, but it’s also a valuable career asset.

* Pursue your autodidactic education.
An autodidact is a self-taught person, someone who continues his or her education through methods other than formal schooling. Never in history has there been more opportunity or information at your fingertips than today.

Stretch your mind, read every day, learn something new, explore the oceans of data available only a mouse-click away, while avoiding all the negative, unproductive junk food (data) that same mouse-click away. Your brain with benefit, just like your body, in the long run.


Spiritual fulfillment, or happiness, or just contentment, especially during challenging times like these, is as difficult to attain as it is essential in becoming he complete person we all strive to be.

If you possess great physical strengths and an exceptional intellect, yet remain unhappy, your Triad of Balance is lacking, incomplete. Besides feeling the pain of being out of balance, your are also spiritually bereft.

Stretch yourself spiritually:

* Give to charities, volunteer your time to worthy causes. By helping those less fortunate than yourself, you help yourself.

* Join local clubs or groups where you can interact with like-minded thinkers. Sharing thoughts, mingling, talking and laughing in a community setting go a long way toward improving your mental, happy health.

* Meditate, practice yoga. Relax the soul, and the body and mind will follow.

* Be positive, all the time. Easier said than done, but well worth the conscious effort.

*Perform random acts of kindness. Sometimes just a smile can make someone’s day.

* Believe in the goodness in yourself, and the basic goodness in the world.

* Keep the faith.

Stretching is good for you. On those days when I do not feel like taking my walk or exercising, I still put on my shorts or sweats and slowly ease my body into my stretches…and soon I begin to feel the soothing, comfortable healthy ache that motivates me into action.

Make stretching your Mind and Spirit as much of an everyday activity as stretching your Body.

The benefits will far outweigh the effort.

Until next time…



Friday, September 26, 2008

My Mom Makes One Mean Lasagna

During my recent visit Back East to, among other things, attend my brother‘s wedding, I also stumbled upon a serendipitous epiphany of gourmet delectability.


Big words (just showing off) that merely mean: My Mom Makes One Mean Lasagna!

One Mean Vegetable Lasagna, that is.

I grew up in a half-Italian household, by that I mean an Italian household. If you know Italians, then you understand that they have a tendency to dominate a room…or a home. Gastronomically speaking, this is a good thing! The funny thing is, my mom is not the Italian in the family, she’s French. But by marrying an Italian man, she was bound by Sicilian and old Francis Ford Coppola Films tradition to learn, from a genuine Nana, how to make a
tomato sauce from scratch. And also how to please the garlic- and olive oil-loving palate of a gentleman with a vowel at the end of this last name. The good news: she more than passed the test; she excelled.

Have I mentioned: My Mom Makes One Mean Lasagna!

So, when I informed my mother that I would be taking that big (not that big, actually) jumbo jet in the sky back to her neck of the woods to be among family and friends to celebrate her youngest child’s nuptials, she naturally asked if she could cook something special for me. And I naturally requested her World Famous Lasagna…but with one catch.

Mike: Can you make me a vegetable lasagna?
Mom: Oh…I’ve never made one of those.
Mike: I know, that’s why I’m asking you. No meatballs.
Mom: Oh…you used to love my meatballs.
Mike: Yes, Ma, I did, but I’m a vegetarian now. Remember?
Mom: Oh…right. You can’t eat meatballs?
Mike: No meat, Ma. None. So, can you make a meatless lasagna?
Mom: Oh…I suppose. What kind of vegetables do you want?
Mike: Anything, surprise me.
Mom: Oh…
Mike: And no pork fat, please, in the sauce.
Mom: Oh…dear…what?
Mike: Mom?
Mom: Oh…but I always use pork fat.
Mike: Yes, I know. Can you use something else?
Mom: Oh…I suppose…
Mike: Mom?
Mom: Oh…
Mike: Mom?
Mom: Oh…

On and on it went until we agreed that olive oil would be a healthy and tasty alternative to the pork fat my mother usually adds to the saucepan in which to sauté the onions and garlic and whatever else she uses to start her World Famous Tomato Sauce.

During the weeks and days leading up to my trip Back East, my mother would call often, grilling me on my vegetable preferences.

Mike: Hello?
Mom: Michael, do you like mushrooms?
Mike: Huh?
Mom: For the lasagna.
Mike: Oh. Yeah, sure, love ‘em.
Mom: How about your brother?
Mike: Huh?
Mom: Do you think he’s allergic to them?
Mike: Huh?
Mom: Or his fiancée?
Mike: Huh?
Mom: How about eggplant?
Mike: Huh?
Mom: Cauliflower?
Mike: …

After numerous calls and some serious consideration of adding my mother’s phone number to my “no-call” list, we settled on what will from this point on be known as “The Masterpiece.”

I landed in my old state on a Monday and sat down to a small gathering of family and friends at mom’s house on a Tuesday. My salivary glands the only part of my body not suffering from jet lag, I watched with utter amazement as my tiny mother removed from the oven a tray of vegetable lasagna, slightly larger than some of the carry-on luggage I saw my fellow air passengers unsuccessfully trying to cram into the overhead bin.

Heaped upon a plate before me was a wedge of lasagna, roughly the size of my head while wearing a large hat. I dug in. It melted in my mouth. The veggies were cooked just right; not too crunchy or too limp. And the tomato sauce was the best ever: savory and vibrant. Without the overpowering (sorry meat-eaters) presence of the meatballs and pork fat, I could taste more of the tomato and garlic, which also brought out the succulent olio of flavor from the broccoli, mushrooms, cauliflower, and eggplant.

It was delicious!

It was “The Masterpiece.”

When I stated that my mom made one mean lasagna, I wasn’t kidding. Now I can emphatically add that:

My Mom Makes One Mean Vegetable Lasagna!

The moral of this story: For a healthier, tastier life, go veggie and hold the meatballs.

Until next time…



Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Day of Fiber

Video Thursday

For the second Thursday in a row, I am featuring a video from my videography of over hundreds offered at my vid site, livelife365.com.

You may have heard me talk about the wonders of a high-fiber diet, and how I lost over 40 pounds in only 6 month using this method.

This video, "A DAY OF FIBER," shows what I eat during a typical weekday (I cheat a little on weekends, just to stay sane [and for the sake of my marriage]).



Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ask Mike

Got a question for me? An observation about something I’ve written or a topic you felt needed more of an explanation? Or maybe you just need to vent or rant or release some hot air?
Bring it on! Go ahead, ask me anything you want. I will take on all questions, relating to any topic, and respond to them in upcoming posts.

Here are a few that have been hanging around for way too long, like a clueless relative in your guest bedroom.

Q: Hi Mike! Has your blog received any awards lately?

A: Wow, funny you should ask that. In fact, I have gotten a few awards, but have not had the chance to publicly give my thanks or mention them. I think I will right now.

Recently I got a Brillante Weblog Premio-2008
award from Confessions of a Fitness Diva. Thanks, Diva! I really enjoy this blog, it offers great information and advice dealing with health and fitness, written by a fitness instructor, trainer, and boxing champ. You won’t wanna mess with this diva, but will want to read her blog.

Q: Any others?

A: Keep your shirt on, I’m getting to them.

Polly over at Random Ramblings gave me an Awesome Site Award.
Pretty cool, huh? I mean, awesome! Thanks, Polly, you made my day! If you have not visited Polly’s site, I highly recommend you do so. This is an eclectic mix of interesting observations ranging from (in Polly’s words) “…a mixture of posts from wild life observations, occasional items of general interest, country recipes and my cat.” Check it out, you’ll be glad you did.

I also received a BFF Gold Card from Rayne at Thoughts. Thanks, Rayne, much appreciated.
This is an inspirational and thoughtfully written blog that offers a nice, kind, refreshing word whenever I visit.

Q: I really like your blog, Mike, but recently discovered that you also have a video site. Can you give me an update on what‘s going on there?

A: First, thanks for your kind words. My video site, livelife365.com, has new videos added all the time. In fact, this link will take you to the most recent videos page.

Q: What came first, the video site or the blog?

A: Good question. livelife365.com was originally created as a video-driven website, or vlog, designed as a format for me to discuss my views and thoughts about health, personal development, and entertainment, using videos. But while promoting and networking my video site, I soon discovered the amazing world of blogs and bloggers. Since I have been a writer for years, I decided to join the club and write a blog, in addition to creating videos. I have found, since I love performing in front of the camera and still enjoy writing, that I have the best of both worlds. Please enjoy this video to hear more about my feelings on this topic.

Q: What blogs do you enjoy?

A: Now, that is one tough question, given that I read dozens of blogs each week. I have written and talked about several of my favorite blogs in past posts and previous videos, and here are a few more:

GLCzone is the place to visit if you are seeking a complete directory of Health related blogs. There are literally hundreds of blogs here that cover fitness, nutrition, self improvement, motivation, addiction, any topic you can imagine.

Here are two great health blogs that are kind of a package deal:
Paul‘s Health Blog and A Junk-foodaholic‘s Journey to a Healthy Lifestyle. This husband and wife team both offer outstanding health and fitness advice, written with a down to earth voice that you will enjoy. And, they are two of the nicest bloggers you will ever meet.

For thought-provoking and humorous writing, visit Thinking Out Loud Blog and The Junk Drawer. I read these blogs all the time.

And if you enjoy following the fun antics of interesting cats, check out Daisy the Curly Cat and Luxor A White Cat. I always leave these blogs with a smile on my face, and that’s a good thing.

Q: I really enjoyed this “Ask Mike” segment. Where did this idea come from?

A: Actually, my video site. There are several “Ask Mike” videos that address all kinds of questions that I have been receiving over the past several months. Drop by livelife365.com and watch a few. And if you have a question for me, leave a comment at the end of this blog post or, if you prefer a video response, you can go to “contact us” or “messages” on my vid site and ask me there.

Q: Hey, are you about done? I have other things to do, you know.

A: Me too. Until next time…



Friday, September 19, 2008

Viva Avocado!

As much as I love eating avocados today, it's hard to imagine that I didn't taste my first one until I was well into my twenties. I grew up in a small town in a small New England state. Our foods of choice leaned more toward clam cakes and chowder than tacos and enchiladas. Avocado? I hadn't a clue what one was.
And don't even get me going about guacomole. Guaca...huh?

I understand that the avocado existed when I was growing up Back East, and they may even have been available at the local grocery store where my mother shopped. But mom never purchased one, never brought one of those green-skinned babies home. Believe it or not, I did not know WHAT an avocado WAS until I relocated to sunny California in the mid-80's. And even then, I wasn't sure what to do with one or how to eat it.

Today, avocados seem more popular and prevalent in everyday cuisine. In most restaurants you can find them chopped atop salads, sliced in between sandwiches, and, in its most popular form, as guacamole, that amazing green nacho-chip-dipping-taste-sensation.

While your mouth is watering, consider these interesting facts about the avocado:

* a member of the berry family, avocado is a fruit, not vegetable
* the Aztecs named it after the word, ahuacatl, which meant "testicle," because of its shape
* they have been around since 900 A.D.
* they have been grown in North America since 1856
* also known as the alligator pear, Jamaicans call them pears

(for more fascinating information about the avocado, visit this site)

Most of you by now have tasted avocados, but if you still are like I was, back in the day, you should give them a try. You don't know what you are missing. But do you know the best way to cut one open? Here's a video that will help:

Hey, next time you have that chip loaded with guac, happily remind yourself that besides enjoying a delicious snack, you are also getting:

* 10 grams of dietary fiber
* more potassium than one banana
* vitamins E and B
* 10 grams of the good fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated)


While very healthy for you, avocados are also high in calories and fats. The good news: these are the good fats--monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. These are heart-healthy fats and help lower LDL (bad cholesterol).

The bad news, for those counting calories or watching their weight, is that an average size avocado has around 300 calories--so tread carefully. I know that I can eat one all by myself, diced, with a sprinkle of sea salt.
Try it! In moderation.

It's hard to imagine that I spent half my life deprived of the succulent taste of avocado. Maybe that's why I've spent the last twenty-five years eating more than my share, trying to make up for lost time.

You should too!

Always remember that you can watch hundreds of self-help videos about health and nutrition, and any number of other topics, at livelife365.com.

Until next time...



Thursday, September 18, 2008

How To...Save a Million Bucks!

For a simple and easier way to deal with these rocky financial times, watch this video:



Tuesday, September 16, 2008

How To Survive an Election Year Financial Meltdown

I know what some of you are saying, "Why should I listen to what you have to say about the economy? You're a self-help guy, who specializes in healthy lifestyle and personal development, as well as makes funny (goofy) videos and goofy (funny) parody songs."

Why? Because in dire times like these (seen the Business headlines recently?), during the most important presidential election of our lifetime, it takes a commonsense and practical approach to combat all the craziness going on out there.

Q: But, Mike, you write and make videos about diet and nutrition, motivation and how-to, what do you know about finances?

A: As much as the next guy, and more than enough to help you.



Wall Street seems to feed on panic--panic buying and panic selling. While others overreact and sell off their stocks and put their cash in safer investments, you don't need to follow suit. Unless you need the money from those investments right now, standing pat is still the best option. Why? Because stocks eventually ALWAYS come back up--this is a historical fact. And if they don't, then we're all in trouble. This too shall pass.


Rarely, as a self-help, fitness guru, do I suggest sitting back and doing nothing. But, in this case, go right ahead! Pass the popcorn and park it on the couch. Okay, you still need your daily exercise, but with regards to your money--LEAVE IT ALONE. Sit on it. In fact, the best advice that I hear the most from those that get paid to know this sort of thing is: DO NOT stop contributing to your 401k or IRA. Why? Right now stocks are cheap. When the market goes down, prices go down. The more stock you purchase NOW, at lower prices, the more you will have LATER, when the market stabilizes and goes back up. Think about it.


Simplify your life. Cut back, spend less. Analyze what you NEED versus what you WANT. If you dine out 3-4 times a week, cut that in half. Do you really need satellite TV and radio? The recent trend now is stay-at-home vacations--you spend less on gas and airfare, while discovering local attractions you may have been missing, or avoiding, for years.

Bottom line: Simplify your life and save money.


How much do you spend a year on that health club membership? Figure out a way to stay in shape at home, and cancel that costly membership. Walking is one of the least expensive, but most effective, ways to stay in shape. Plus, it gets you outside, and is good for the mind and spirit. In times like these, that's a good thing.

If you desire a more strenuous workout, look into purchasing dumbbells, a stationary bike or other equipment; whatever fits your specific needs. The initial investment may smart a little at first, but will more than pay for itself for years and years.


While exercise and keeping fit are vital aspects of personal growth, don't stop there. Continue working on self-improvement and personal development all the time. livelife365.com offers hundreds of self-help videos that can change your life for the better, all free of charge and just a mouse-click away.


There is no place continued growth is more important right now than in the job market. Now is not the time to take your job for granted. Nor is it the time to mess up the job you have. Yes, keep that resume handy and continue networking and sharpening your skills so that you are more marketable. But you also need to keep your boss happy with your work. Work harder. Do the best job you can to make yourself indispensable. Most companies will have cutbacks and layoffs--YOU cannot control this. But you CAN control your effort, productivity, and attitude.

ALWAYS be in the TOP ranked twenty percent of good performers, not the bottom twenty.

Why? GOOD companies seldom layoff GOOD employees.

Be good, listen to your boss!


Enjoy yourself. Enjoy each day. Live life 365. This simply means to live your life every day in every way. Yes, times are tough, the economy is a mess, the world is a bigger mess, but you can still find a way to enjoy the little things in life that have nothing to do with the bigger things that are out of your control.

Every Day Every Way


Now is the time to roll up those sleeves and get to work. But you're already working on self and your job; what next? Go outside, dig up the garden. If you don't have a garden, start one. Landscape. Mow the lawn. Do house repairs, spring or fall cleaning. Learn a new (inexpensive) hobby. Do it yourself. Besides saving you a ton of money, DIY is good for the mind, body, and spirit. A sense of self-accomplishment goes a long way. And if you're picking ripe tomatoes off the vine, you're not worrying about Wall Street. Besides, growing your own will save you more money in the long run (and they taste so much better, too!). Can, bottle, preserve, or freeze whatever you can't consume now, and have a winter of homegrown, inexpensive veggies.


And your portfolio. The only movement you should be doing with your portfolio is rebalancing it. This simply means you need to take a look at your asset allocations. When there are sharp fluctuations in the stock market, your assets will also shift. But do me a favor, check with your financial consultant before you do anything.

As for you and YOUR balance: you should always be working on managing your Triad of Balance, the harmonic balance between Mind, Body, and Spirit.


Now, more than ever, we need some major changes in Washington. If YOU do not like what is happening in YOUR life due to decisions made by our political leaders, YOU have the power to CHANGE it.

The current financial meltdown we are witnessing needs to be fixed. Fixed fast! We have the choice to keep on making the same mistakes that have led us here.

Or opt for CHANGE.

For the better.

I hope these tips help make dealing with these turbulent times a bit easier. And always remember that YOU have more power than you think to CHANGE your LIFE.



Friday, September 12, 2008

Is It Just Me?

Picture this peaceful scenario:

I'm relaxing upon my sofa (or couch), in my serene living room, TV on, muted (as always), watching my beloved Red Sox as they battle for the pennant, my faithful laptop warming my lap (and transmitting God-knows-what variety of electrons and microwaves and unspeakable potential doom into my nether regions), enjoying the fruits of my (and my lovely wife's) labor. Ahh, nothing like living the American Drea--


A car. Moving very fast. Speeding along my street. A street, by the way, that has a speed limit of 25 mph. A street, I might add, that stretches not much longer than the size of five house lots. (This being California, the Golden State, otherwise known as the state-with-postage-stamp-sized-lots, those lots are not large.) A street, if you will allow me to continue, that is situated between two stop signs, with my house smack-dab (I have never used this expression before, but it sounds so good here, doesn't it?)...ahem...smack-dab in the middle of those two stop signs.

My point being (and I DO have one, you know), is that one (and when I say "one," I'm talking about dozens of [add your favorite expletive here]) would have to really, really WANT to seriously exceed the 25 mph speed limit to buzz so fast past my house--AFTER STOPPING (sometimes) at one stop sign, and then seeing (and knowing) that they need to stop again (rarely) at the next sign, a mere 100 feet (give or take; I've not measured it...yet) away.


Or are these people (using the term very loosely) who are speeding through my neighborhood, to get to their neighborhood, not really people at all? But some as-yet-named (or discovered) species of animal (apologies to the Animal Kingdom) that feel it is okay to disrupt (and possibly endanger) my quietude (and solitude and, more importantly, my RED SOX GAME!) so they can practice their Indy maneuvers just so they don't miss a minute of Wheel of Fortune.

I am confused. (Guess I should be used to it by now.)


I've talked about this before, and still have not come up with a solution that would keep me out of federal prison, so I shall move on to the next scenario.

You're sitting beside your lovely spouse, inside a swanky restaurant, maybe holding hands (or a shrimp, recently dipped in tangy cocktail sauce; me: a limp carrot stick), enjoying the ambiance. The background music is perfect, just loud enough so that you barely notice it, while not too much that it becomes a distraction. The service has been stellar, your beverages chilled just right and working their magic (hers, an appletini; mine: bottle spring water...with a twist). Your salads arrive..."oh, yes, please, some fresh ground pepper would be wonderful, thank you--"


No, it's not.


Or should people (call them what you want) who loudly yak on their cell phones in pubic places (especially restaurants!) be:

a) tarred and feathered
b) placed in stocks and be publicly humiliated

c) hog-tied and forced to watch as you delete the memory from their iPhone
d) dragged into the restaurant's kitchen and stuffed inside a:

1) dishwasher
2) deep fryer
3) Turducken
4) all of the above

Where was I?

Right, enjoying a very complicated, yet incredibly rewarding, daydream fantasy.

My point is:


The utter gall and deluded imagination involved in thinking that ANYONE other than your mother (and she's vacillating a bit, too, I might add), wants to listen to YOUR conversation while they are trying to enjoy a nice dining experience is beyond comprehensible, well past ludicrous, and speeding right past ridiculous.


I mean, really? Is it--

Hold on, I gotta take this.



Until next time...



Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Just Do It? Ten Tips to Get You Started

We've all heard those three words before, right? Just do it. And while I encourage taking personal accountability for your actions, and further support the notion that we DO, indeed, control a lot of our life, getting from the WANTING to do it to the DO of doing it is a different story.

And it isn't about the HOW of just doing it. I have an entire videography filled with tips and proven methods and programs that explain, in detail, HOW to lose weight, battle addictions, get in shape, balance your life, and much more. I have written countless blog posts about the same topics.

Google "weight loss" and you will get 93 million responses offering ways to lose as much weight in as short a time as you want, need, desire, or dream. The HOW, while at times different and debatable, is not always the issue.

Of course, I'd like to think that my methods for weight loss, eating a high-fiber diet and making your calories count, are more effective than what all those other sites are offering (they are), but if you are not READY and WILLING to just DO it, no diet or exercise program will work. NONE.

But I have good news for you: helpful tips to motivate you from WANTING to do it to just DOING it.



Let's say you're trying to lose weight. Try taping an inspiring photo on your fridge or workstation of you in that nice bathing suit you would love to fit in again. See your future! This works for anything: new car, flat screen TV, house! If you stare at your dreams every day, something may just "click" in your brain, and help motivate you to take that first step.


You have the power to do more than you think. Start thinking differently about the way your mind looks at:

*Food (if you're trying to loss weight or eat better)
*Exercise (if you're working on getting back in shape)
*Finances (balancing your budget, trying to get out of debt)

Change your mind and you can change your life.


Oft times failure is good. Why? Because it means you're at least trying, attempting something. My video, Failing = Feedback, will help you see that the only people who never fail are the ones who never try to do anything.


By reading this post, you already have a good start toward this, but read more. Read, research, watch, listen. Knowledge is power. If you want to loss weight or eat healthier or quit smoking or balance your life, livelife365.com and this blog are great starting points, but don't stop here.


During your self-education, besides discovering sites like livelife365.com, you will also find lots of other wonderful support groups of like-minded thinkers. For health and fitness, with the support of hundreds of bloggers and certified nutritionists, there's no better place than Iowa Avenue and its sister site, Healthy Lifestyle Bloggers.

And don't limit your support groups to just online ones: investigate local and community groups and clubs. Remember, they call them "support" groups for a reason.


A little at a time goes a long way. If you're trying to quit smoking, cutting down from three packs a day to only ten cigarettes is progress. Don't take on more than you can handle; this leads to discouragement, which can lead to giving up. Like that toddler learning to walk, you may fall on your bottom a few times, but, just like a kid, you need to get right back up and keep going...taking one baby step at a time.


Hey, it's your life, right? If it is your desire to drop a few (or a lot) of pounds or stop drinking or smoking, then why allow anyone (or anything) to get in the way of your goals. It is imperative that your significant other, family, and friends are all on board; if not, at least don't allow them to deter you from your desires. If they care about you, they will understand.


If your six-year-old asks why you smoke after their teacher told the class that smoking is bad for you, what do you say to that child? If you don't care about your health, think about how your sudden death or lengthy illness would affect your loved ones.


Sadly, sometimes it takes a life-changing event before we finally take life-changing actions. Believe me, I know. I was divorced twice, addicted to nicotine and alcohol, bankrupt and depressed before I finally hit bottom and decided to do something about it. I strongly suggest not waiting for the bottom--start now!


You may never hit bottom, never take action. If this is the case, what's left? Obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer are the leading causes of death in the world today. The sad fact is that most of those deaths can be prevented by taking action NOW by changing your lifestyle from harmful to healthy.

When someone tells you to JUST DO IT, they are trying to help you, trying to motivate you into changing yourself into living a long, happy, healthy, productive life.

This blog and livelife365.com are here to help you DO just that.

I sincerely hope this post has motivated you to try to...




Friday, September 5, 2008


No, this is not a post about an all-girl, British rock band from the '80s. But it would be a cruel summer if I didn't mention that my lovely wife is a huge '80s music aficionado and becomes exceptionally elated whenever Bananarama plays on the radio.

But enough about decades-old girl groups. Today, I honor not the music group but the amazing health (and taste) benefits of the most popular fruit in the world.


Bananas have been around a long time, having been mentioned in Buddhist Pali workings dating back to 6th century BC. Alexander the Great is credited with bringing the banana from India (via slave routes) to the Western World, and then eventually the banana migrated into Africa. It wasn't until 1876 that bananas found their way into North America as part of our country's Centennial celebration in Pennsylvania.

And, just think, after all that arduous travel and storied history, I get to eat one just about everyday. Guess what? You should too!

Bananas are loaded with all sorts of healthy good stuff, mostly: potassium. One large banana has around 600 mg, while only carrying 140 calories. One of the misconceptions about the banana is that it is fattening. This is far from the case. 140 calories, 4.0 grams of fiber, with virtually zero sodium or fat. Bananas are good for you, not fattening! Why not toss your little monkey (I mean child) a banana next time the cute chimp...er, I mean, little darling, asks for a snack. Hey, they taste good too!

Considered one of the healthiest fruits around, bananas are loaded with vitamins A and B, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, and a decent source of calcium and magnesium.

I eat a banana as part of my daily fiber ritual. I like to peel, use a knife and slice (while searching for and cutting out bruises), and consume. But bananas also go great with cereal, oatmeal, in yogurt and desserts (from banana breads and cakes to ice cream and Bananas Foster). Also, in many countries, bananas are eaten daily in savory dishes.


Bananas grow...?

(a) in a tree
(b) under ground
(c) in a herb
(d) in water
(e) none of the above
(f) stop goofing off, Mike, and get back to work!

Did you know that daily consumption of bananas can:

* stimulate production of hemoglobin in the blood to help with anemia
* cure hangovers and morning sickness
* sooth heartburn
* calm the nervous system
* help lower blood pressure
* boost brain activity
* combat constipation, reduce stress, strokes, ulcers!
* lower gas prices!! (just seeing if you were paying attention)

Wow, no wonder I eat one everyday, and why you should too.

The old adage--"Never put bananas in the refrigerator"--is said for a reason. Don't do it. If you do, they will not ripen because the cold interferes with the ripening process. Conversely, during the warm summer days they seem to ripen overnight. You CAN refrigerate them AFTER they ripen, but don't keep them in there for more than a week or two. Me? I buy them as green as I can find during the summer and leave them out, never refrigerating them. In the winter, I try to find the brightest yellowest ones and leave them on the counter. I've found that this method works the best for me.

Okay, for all of you who made it to the end of this post, I have a treat for you. A Banana...rama treat! No, it's not as healthy for you as eating a banana is, but it's got a catchy tune and you can dance to it. And, besides, my wife made me do it.

Oh, and the answer to the pop quiz is: (c). That thing that looks like a tree that bananas grow on is actually a herb. Go figure.

Until next time...



Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A Potpourri of Fun and Prizes

I write this post with a disclaimer right up front--I am not feeling well. I have been slugging it out with the dreaded late summer allergies that make living in this area of the world, while most of the time a wonderful experience, a sneezing, phlegm-filled, runny nose of a miserable way to exist. Oh, and don't forget the heavy headedness, the askew equilibrium and dizziness...mix them all together in a pot and you have my present condition. So, you have been forewarned! There is a very good chance that what follows is nothing but a jumble of nonsense...and I'm not talking about my regular serving of nonsense--this has the potential of being much more nonsensical. Still with me, brave soldier? Wonderful, carry on...

First off: this blog has been the recipient of more awards! I guess some people like my brand of nonsense.

Karen over at My Funny Dad, Harry and Uncle Che from AZ Blogging both, it appears, love livelife365--and that's a good thing. They have awarded this blog the:

With these awards there are rules, and they are:

1. The winner can put the logo on his/her blog;
2. Link the person you received your award from;
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs;
4. Put links of those blogs on yours; and
5. Leave a message on the blogs that you’ve nominated.

But, for now, I'm going to mix things up a bit (this is the potpourri part) and return to this award stuff later...

Now, where was I? Right, blowing my nose and wishing I were on Maui sipping an ice-cold beverage with the surf pounding in my ears.

Dick Cheney in a Dress?

Is it just me who is not that enamoured with Republican Vice President Nominee Sarah Palin's looks?

Every other post or article I read mention her beauty queen looks and how hot she is. Huh? What am I not seeing?
Okay, she IS better looking than the Veep we currently have in office, I'll give her that. But, to me at least, she's not much better looking than Joe Biden.

And, again, for me at least, I'll take Biden's politics over hers any day.

On that note, here is a music video I made a few months ago, when the Dems couldn't decide who to pick--Hillary or Barack.

It's called "Pick One."

Techno...no ping!

Has anyone else not been getting their pings returned from Technorati? Or is this just "pick on Mike week"? Sniff, sniff. I know it's not just me, given the hundreds of other poor souls pleading for resolution of this issue in the Technorati Support Forums.

For those of us interested in blog ranking on these sites, this becomes a major issue if left unresolved. Read a few posts and you get a good idea how upsetting this is. But what can you do, besides post a question and wait? Call them up? Sure, right after I finish speaking to Google and Yahoo. Grin and bear it, I guess. If anyone has any suggestions that can help with this issue, I'm all ears. In the meantime, here's a video that should ease your (my) misery. If you like it, don't forget to vote "Funny."

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

Hold on, gotta blow my nose. Wow, did you hear that? Okay, next...oh, wait a minute, gotta...snee...snee...snee...


Here, watch this while I go get more Kleenex:

For those of you still with me, thanks--I know that last video was difficult to watch. (told you I wasn't feeling well!)

Lastly, for you Entrecarders out there. I have added my video site, livelife365.com, to Entrecard, but since both this blog and my vid site go by the same name, confusion is bound to rear its ugly head and, well, confuse us. So, to avoid as much of that as possible, here, side by side,

are the two different ads for both sites. The one on the left is the one you've been using to drop on my blog. The new one, on the right, is for the video site. They both share one frightening similarity: mug shots of my face while holding objects of my affection.

That's about it for today. What? Where are the prizes? And the blogs I need to list to go along with the awards? Do I need to sneeze all over this laptop again to remind you all that I'm not well?

Tell you what--I will announce my nominees for the I Love Your Blog awards (unless anyone wants to volunteer, and if you are STILL reading this, I will give you an award...but not a prize) later on this week.

Yes, prizes. I know, the title lured you in with the hope of a prize, and for that, all I can say is...ahhhh...ahhhh...ahhhhh....AAAAHHHHHH....