And So It Begins – News From My Inbox

I received this email from Midway USA today, one of the country’s largest online dealers of everything related to firearms, and of whom I am a customer:

Connecticut Public Act 13-220

Dear Lars,
On April 4, 2013, Connecticut Public Act 13-220 was signed into law by Governor Malloy. Among other things, this law implements licensing requirements for the sale of all magazines and ammunition beginning October 1, 2013. In order to be compliant with the new law on its effective date, we will be restricting the sale of all ammunition and magazines to Connecticut beginning September 17, 2013. This allows for all in transit products to arrive in Connecticut by the law’s effective date.
In order for any existing backorders to release and to continue purchasing magazines or ammunition after this date, you must be the holder of one of the following permits/certificates: CT Carry Permit, Eligibility Certificate, Long Gun Eligibility Certificate or Ammunition Certificate. Additionally, one of these must be on file with your MidwayUSA account.
The Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) is responsible for the administration of the permits and certificates listed above. Please visit the DESPP website for instructions and many of the necessary forms to apply:
If you have already submitted one of these documents to MidwayUSA, no further action is necessary.
If you have not obtained one of these documents, we encourage you to do so. Once obtained, please email ( or fax (1-800-992-8312) a copy to us along with a government-issued photo ID and we will update your account to prevent any disruption in our ability to serve you.
We are very sorry for the inconvenience and sincerely appreciate your business.
Customer Service

I’m including this pop song from 1970s Scottish heart-throbs pop band Bay City Rollers as a sarcastic post script. Figure it out if you can. If not, no biggie. And yes, I’m embarrassed to admit that I have this album in original vinyl

Rock Truth #1

Most of the best and most legendary songs in rock history weren’t made by wunderkind instrumentalist wizards and divinely gifted singers, but rather by average-to-good musicians whose sum of combined parts (unsure about grammar/syntax here) where greater their individual talents. That’s when magic happens. There are exceptions.

I’ll admit, though, that this solo by Zakk Wylde is pretty hairy.

Edit: On second thought it is pretty much just noise. While he certainly can play guitar I find his repertoire to be limited. Definitely not top tier. But he does have the sound that Ozzy needs.

Black Sabbath 13 Revisited

In my previous BS 13 post I used the words trite, boring, uninspired, stereotyped, stock, off-the-shelf, copycat and bad forgery to describe the album. I would like to add painful, embarrassing, awkward, geriatric, disturbing, uncomfortable, distressing, humiliating, shameful, graceless, fiasco, blundering and inept to their live performance. Somebody is really trying to squeeze blood from a stone on this one.

Sometimes it’s best to let sleeping dogs lie and live on the memories. I’m surprised Ozzy is able to stand upright without assistance. Sad. How very, very sad. On his best day Simon Cowell would have dismissed him on the spot with an appropriate insult on American Idol. There is no joy here. All the guys seem to have lost their edge and are playing on autopilot.

Judge for yourself. But remember, once you’ve seen it it can’t be unseen or unheard. Watch at your own peril. Old Heroes will die.

EDIT: The video has been taken down, and for good reason. It was that terrible.

Bodybuilding For Beginners

My wife’s nephew contacted me today for some advice regarding weight training and nutritional supplements for the young, novice trainee who aspires to put on some clean weight without necessarily pursuing a career as a competitive bodybuilder. Rather than write him a long private message in reply, I’ve decided to make a post of it here on my Old Man Blog since I know a lot of younger guys are interested and it’s easy to get confused by all the advice and info out there from self-proclaimed experts, friends, coaches, magazines and advertisements for the latest wonder supplement. I also have some experience on the subject, am a recognized expert and an established Internet personality, and I also have a blog with a Bodybuilding & Fitness category in need of content, so it’s a win-win-win.

I’ll answer my wife’s nephew’s (let’s call him “Martin”, no, his name really is Martin) Martin’s questions specifically, but the answers are pretty universal and should apply to most anybody unless you suffer from a medical condition that would dictate otherwise, in which case consult with your doctor (for those of you lucky enough to have decent health care coverage) before getting into any kind of training/dietary regimen.

Martin is about 20 y/o I think and on the tall and gangly side (the last time I saw him he was short and chubby). He hasn’t given me any details about his training regimen, but claims to have put on 15 lbs. in the 2 weeks he’s been into it. I don’t know anything about his diet, but he supplements it with something called Horsepower X which a Google search revealed is a pre-workout concoction comprised of creatine monohydrate, beta-alanine, l-citronella, torabolic and caffeine. Basically your run-of-the-mill pre-workout pump- and energy booster. He also takes creatine monohydrate, BCAAs (Branch Chain Amino Acids) and a protein supplement separately.

Creatine, in all its forms is IMO a worthless product. All it does is force water into the muscle cells, bloating them up. No actual muscle tissue is added. As soon as you stop taking the creatine, the water, the weight, and the illusion of muscle gain disappears, literally pissing it down the toilet. A lot of people also get serious gastrointestinal discomfort from creatine.

The components in Horsepower X overlap the creatine you are already taking; the other ingredients are meant to give energy (caffeine) and improve your “pump“, that feeling of fullness and distendedness you have in a muscle after you’ve trained it due to increased nitric oxide retention in your blood. These ingredients might also cause gastrointestinal discomfort in some sensitive individuals. While a good pump is certainly a very satisfactory and desirable feeling, it is in no way necessarily an indicator of muscle growth, or the muscle growth inducing effect of a workout. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Horsepower X (and other similar products) should be more aptly named Horseshit X, but for the novice trainee I see little value in them. If you’ve got the spare change and it makes you feel good, by all means go for it, but don’t expect any particular benefits from it, and certainly nothing remotely like the ad claims. A real tight pump feels good, but it’s temporary, and, like I said, not necessarily indicative of permanent growth in size or gain in strength.

Arnold Schwarzenegger enjoying multiple orgasms while pumping iron.

I do believe BCAAs (Branch Chain Amino Acids), more specifically leucine, isoleucine and valine have some value for the advanced trainee, but for the novice such as Martin there is so much to be gained by simpler methods, I wouldn’t recommend it. Remember, you are starting from scratch and can only go one way – up – and whatever marginal effect you might get from BCAAs wouldn’t be worth the money.

Now a good quality protein powder supplement is another story altogether. Don’t worry too much about what kind of protein it is (so long as it’s not just soy and a lot of sugar; caveat emptor; read the labels), whey, casein, egg, whatever; it’s all good and you should aim at getting 250-300 grams/day (including what you get from food). It’s a good rule of thumb to have a shake shortly after your workout (combined with some carb source) when your body is most in need of repair and receptive to the value of good supplementation and nutrition.

So in a nutshell, the only supplementation I would recommend for a newbie is a quality protein powder. Not even vitamin pills. If your diet is otherwise sound you just don’t need it. As for your 15 lbs weight gain in only 2 weeks, I’m sorry to disappoint you; I would almost with 100% certainty attribute that to water retention from the creatine. It is humanly impossible to put on that much muscle weight in that short amount of time (unless you have a friend who works at a pharmacy).

As far as training goes, the biggest mistake most beginners make is training too much and not getting enough rest. Remember, when you train, you are “breaking down” muscle tissue. The actual growth occurs in between workouts when you rest and eat. So keep your workouts brief, intense and infrequent. Three, max four, workouts/week not lasting more than one hour each. If you still feel like training after an hour you haven’t trained hard enough. Stick with compound exercises rather than isolation exercises. Lots of squats, deadlifts, shoulder presses and heavy rows. Five sets each, 8-12 reps/set. Two exercises for large muscle groups, one or none at all for smaller muscles since they assist in the larger, compound exercises anyway. Save the concentration curls and side laterals and other detail work for a year or two down the road. If you have a coach/trainer who knows his business, the power clean is IMO one of the best all-round exercises to pack on the beef. There’s a learning curve for most people, but it’s worth it.

Regarding diet I’m gonna keep this very short so as not to turn this into a novel. Stay away from the junk food and eat healthy, normal food supplemented with a good protein powder. Make every calorie count. Many small meals spread out over the day is better (much better!) than a few large meals. The principle of junk in, junk out applies here. You can have the best training regimen in the world, a personal trainer (would advise against it) and state of the art supplementation, even illegal performance enhancing drugs, but if you do most of your eating at McDonald’s, it won’t do shit for you.

Markus Ruhl before

Markus Ruh after.

German über champ Markus Ruhl before and after. No shit! It’s amazing what 20 years of dedicated training and lots and lots of testosterone, anabolic steroids and human growth hormone can do!

Yesterday A Royal Baby Was Born In England

For those of you who were passed out in a drug induced coma yesterday, or were otherwise mentally incapacitated and unable to follow the news, a royal baby was born in England to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, otherwise known as Prince William and the former commoner, now his wife, Duchess Catherine (commonly known as Kate Middleton or just Kate from the block). The baby is apparently healthy and is possibly the most privileged child in the world. If everything goes according to plan he will ascend the British throne to reign over his subjects in 40-50 years’ time. “Reign” and “subjects” are not used flippantly; this is actually how it works in England.

The world went completely, certifiably apeshit over the event. I, personally, am totally and utterly flabbergasted with the obsession people have for the barbaric, archaic, positively medieval institution of monarchy, particularly the British variety, which is hereditary (duh!) in nature and a person, thus, by virtue of the arbitrariness of his/her parents becomes England’s official head of state, armed forces and the Anglican church. The child also inherits vast fortunes in money as well as real estate. Below is a video of the Town Crier(!) outside St. Mary’s Hospital in London announcing the birth to the public. It is comical and nonsensical beyond belief. These people act as if they still have an empire.

EDIT: Turns out this guy wasn’t for real after all. He just showed up on his own initiative at the hospital doing his spiel as the town crier. He makes a living entertaining at weddings, birthdays, Bar Mitzvahs and such.

Also, but not in the news, yesterday, roughly 370,000 children were born worldwide, most of them into lives of poverty and misery. Approximately 21,000 children died, many from easily preventable diseases, malnutrition or as victims of war, terrorism and other forms of abuse. God save the Queen. Thoughts and prayers, anyone?

7 Dirty Words Policy For .US Domains

The registry for .us domains, NuLevel, has a policy that forbids seven specific “dirty” words in a domain name. I found out the hard way (not really that much of a hardship, but it pissed me off that my domain got cancelled without explenation) and will list them here in no particular order of importance for your enlightenment.

WARNING: Adult language – Reader Discretion Cautioned!

  • Shit
  • Piss
  • Fuck
  • Cunt
  • Cocksucker
  • Motherfucker, and
  • Tits (really, tits?!?)

Brings to mind the classic George Carlin routine where he lists the dirty words you can’t use on broadcast TV. Oddly enough the words are identical. Coincidence? Me thinks not. Be advised this is NOT a joke.

To Serve And Protect – And Kill Pooches For No Good Reason

Of all the possible ways this could have been handled by the cops, I can’t think of a anything worse than what actually happened. At no point was the dog aggressive or the police in danger. And they say regular people (citizens) have no need to be armed. With cops like this, who needs enemies? We’re edging closer to a police state by the day. WARNING: Disturbing content. Read the whole story at The Huffington Post.

In A Cosmic Bubble Far, Far Away…

…I may be the guitar hero of my teenage dreams.

The foam universe theory is the theory that our universe is just a bubble in a foam of countless (I hesitate to use the word “infinite” even though it’s practically a synonym, for the simple reason that I have a hard time wrapping my mind around it, be it numerically, temporally and spatially) other universes (I’m reading Lawrence Krauss on and off at the moment, and he knows this stuff). Some of these universes may differ greatly from the one we inhabit, others only slightly or imperceptibly. Another term for this theory is the multi-verse theory.

Lars Dahl winning the inaugural Harald’s Gym club contest in Oslo, 1980. What a cocky little bastard he was!

Some of you may or may not know that I played guitar (not very well) in a band in my teenage years and dreamed of becoming a rock star. My first guitar was a Wilson copy of a Gibson SG stained deep mauve that I nagged my mother to sign off on for a payment plan. All of you should by now know that that dream didn’t turn out very well for me and I pursued other avenues in life (still searching, by the way). I discovered girls for one thing (ironically enough through my meager fame as a guitar player in a band), sold off all my music gear and bought a car, a Vauxhall Viva ca late 1960s with plenty of rust (which also proved very reliable as a pussy magnet), but it ran even though I didn’t have my license yet and by the time I was 20 all dreams of rock stardom were gone and I was hellbent on becoming the biggest, baddest bodybuilding motherfucker the world had ever seen (this didn’t come to fruition either, but that’s a different bag of spoiled shrimp.)

Most people have solidly established their preferences in music, art, food, literature, movies etc. in the formative teen years of their lives, hence, e.g., my love for classic 1970s rock music. There are very few new bands/musicians that I’ve really latched on to in a big way in later years. For me it’s always going to be Black Sabbath, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper, Jethro Tull, AC/DC and so on and so forth. (I was also going to mention KISS, but I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I still like them. Quite a lot, actually.) With two very noticeable exceptions.

Steve Vai

Steve Vai

Around 1990 (I would have been 30-or-so years old), I discovered Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, and got hooked. I mean really hooked. Not a bad word about Jimi Hendrix (true and tragic trailblazer as he was), but these guys could have played circles around him, blindfolded and with one hand tied behind their backs, and it wasn’t just showing off either, guitar masturbation if you will. They create and play real music, wonderful music, unbelievable music where the guitar is the centerpiece and not just a tool that produces mind-numbing riffs for traditional heavy rock (still not taking anything away from the classics, understand; I mean, who can get the opening riffs of Rock & Roll, Smoke On The Water, School’s Out and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath out of their minds, even if they tried?). But if you really want to have your mind blown away and your socks knocked off at the same time, watch Steve Vai: Where the Wild Things Are in a live recording from Minneapolis in 2009. Like it or be square!

Joe Satriani

Joe Satriani

Imagine my surprise, then, as I surfed Wikipedia (as I often do when I’m bored; I find it to be a wonderful and surprisingly accurate source of all kinds of information (and I even recently made an edit to an article that got accepted)), and found out that there was very little that separated Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and yours truly, both temporally and spatially in our early years. Joe Satriani was born 1956 in Westbury, NY; Steve Vai in Carl Place, NY 1960; and myself in Oyster Bay, New York, 1959. Three small towns all located in Nassau County on Long Island. We were practically within pissing distance from each other; Steve Vai even took guitar lessons from Joe Satriani around 1970. Of course, by that time and in this universe, due to circumstance beyond my control, I had moved to Norway where I would spend the next 30 years of my life.

In a different bubble in the foam-verse it is entirely possible (or so Lawrence Krauss insists) that I might have hooked up with Joe and Steve and formed the most awesomest guitar based band in rock history, no matter which bubble we’re comparing with.

I still have a Fender Stratocaster and a small Marshall combo amp gathering dust somewhere in the house; haven’t touched it for years and I am just as untalented a guitarist as I was when I was 16. So I didn’t get to be a guitar hero in this life or universe, but I am still very happy that i discovered Joe and Steve. I even got to see Steve Vai in concert in Oslo, Norway, in the early 1990s; a small, but not insignificant experience in my life. I am forever grateful for their musical genius. Music is one of a very few things that bring joy to my life, and these guys deliver. Domo arigato, mio amigos!

And I can always dream that I’m performing with my could’ve-been–buddies Joe and Steve in any number of bubble-verses out there. Maybe I’ll even dust off my guitar some day and annoy the neighbors just for the heck of it.

Finally I’m not saying that good music isn’t made today (Shinedown would be a good example of a departure from my 1970s rule), and it would be unfair to contemporary bands anyway, to compare them to the legends of the 60s and 70s. First of all there is much more competition these days, and it’s my firm belief that the pool of truly inspired music and musicians making it bigtime (earning it through talent, hard work and sheer practice, rather than through corporate sponsorship and promotion) is very small. At the risk of sounding like my Mother, “it all sounds like they’re skinning a live cat”. I also doubt very strongly that 50 years from now people will be standing in line for days for tickets to a Justin Bieber or Britney Spears concert

I Support PETA

I’m not a tree hugger by any means, but I’m also not a barbaric sadist who tortures animals for personal gain. (I also think beauty pageants are stupid and breast implants are a turnoff.)