Fanny, Chris, and Ted

August 7th, 2005

Fannie Barrios has died. No word on the cause, but on the GeneX Forum they say it was not unexpected.

Chris Jalali remains in intensive care in a Las Vegas hospital a week after the USA Championships. The talk on various forums is that diuretics is the cause.

On a happier note, Ted Karnezis has sent me photocopies of contest rank sheet of all the major AAU contests from the 1990s. I’ll be able to fill in many gaps in the database. It just may take a while, as I’ve started a new job.

Gordon Wong, Paul DeMayo

June 3rd, 2005

Gordon Wong died on May 24, 2005. He was 63. More information at Graphic Muscle

Paul DeMayo died yesterday. He was 37.

New Muscle Memory Wiki

May 31st, 2005

I’ve added a new feature to MuscleMemory: Wiki .

A wiki is a community document, where everyone can contribute. You can create new pages, or edit already existing pages. Perhaps the most popular wiki is Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia where anyone can write about any topic. Here are the bodybuilding topics already covered there. Hardly anything at all.

The MuscleMemory Wiki will be about bodybuilding, of course. The goal is to have biographical articles about all the major figures, historical and current. But other topics can be covered, nutrition, training methods, politics, etc. Its up to you. If you have a favorite bodybuilder, feel free to create a wiki page about him or her, or add to an existing page.

The wiki will also allow you to write about yourself. If you are already in the MuscleMemory database, you can create a wiki page to tell about yourself, list other contests not covered by the database, even about your achievements in other sports. Once you’ve created a wiki page, email me, and I will link it to your name in the database so that a Wiki icon appears on your contest page.

To create a new page, you just append the topic name to the URL in your browser, for example

http://www.musclememory.com/wiki/index.php?pagename=TopicName

Capitalize each word, but don’t add spaces. For example

http://www.musclememory.com/wiki/index.php?pagename=ArnoldSchwarzenegger

If that page does not exist, a new one will be created.

Note that you must register and log in to edit a page. To create a new account, just enter a name and password (at least six characters) in the login form.

This wiki will be successful only if everyone contributes.

Charles Durr, Don Youngblood

May 9th, 2005

Two recent deaths:

Charles Durr Jr died on May 2, 2005. He had won the 1996 AAU Mr America contest, but was then disqualified for failing the drug test. He then sued the AAU. Some believe this is why the AAU decided to wash its hands of bodybuilding.

Don Youngblood died of a heart attack yesterday.

Arnold Classic

March 5th, 2005

Dexter Jackson wins the Arnold Classic, Chris Cormier second, Gustavo Badell third. Complete results here.

Yaxeni Oriquen and Branda Raganot won the heavy and lightweight classes for the Ms International. Jenny Lynn took the figure over Monica Brant. Complete results here.

Since steroids have been in the news of late, the Arnold Classic has received more than the normal amount of press. The article, Schwarzenegger Urges Steroid Crackdown is a good example of the mis- and dis- information. For example,

Experts on bodybuilding and steroids say steroid use is common among elite bodybuilders. Athletes are not tested at events, and experts say the IFBB’s random testing is inadequate and ineffective.

No, steroid use is common among bodybuilder who’ve never competed. They’re mandatory to compete at the local amateur level. National level amateurs today use more performance enhancing drugs than any of the pro bodybuilders did in the 1970s and into the 1980s.

The IFBB’s random drug testing is for diuretics, not anabolic steroids, growth hormone, insulin, or any of the other drugs and chemicals that pro bodybuilders use. When the press reports that the IFBB does perform drug tests without mentioning what test they do, they imply that the IFBB is really trying to prevent their athletes from using performance enhancing drugs. That is not the case.

Now if I were a reporter in the MSM, the question I would ask Governor Schwarzenegger:

“You say that you used steroids during your bodybuilding career, which ended in 1980, but that steroids were not controlled substances at that time. This implies that you haven’t used steroids since. Yet you continued to have a bodybuilder’s physique in all your Conan movies, in all your Terminator movies, in any movie where you took off your shirt. Did you use anabolic steroids to prepare for these movie roles?”

Ironman Pro

February 19th, 2005

The 2005 Ironman Pro Invitational was held today in rainy Pasadena, California. (Our rainy season is November through March, averaging 11 to 15 inches a year. This year we’re three times above normal. Today it rained almost 3 inches in downtown, probably much more in Pasadena which is against the mountains.)

Gustavo Badell won, barely beating out Lee Priest and Troy Alves. (I would have given it to Troy.) Melvin Anthony was fourth, King Kamali fifth, and Craig Titus a very generous sixth. Complete results here.

I had not planned to attend the event, as I’m still unemployed and need to save money. But at the last minute Jim Morris was asked to judge a side award and he brought me along as his guest. We both were given badges that got us in for free. The way it was first explained to him, the additional prize was to be for who presents the best image of bodybuilding to the public. Not following pro bodybuilding for 20 or so, Jim wanted me near by to answer any questions he may have of who is who. He had thought he’d be meeting with the athletes. We attended the morning judging without having anyone tell us what the judging criteria was. Then in the evening, the contest was explained as simply “best poser”. I think Jim was a bit annoyed as there was no reason for him to attend the morning show, and his Saturdays are usually quite full with personal training. Also, anyone could have judged best poser.

In fact, while there were five routines that were slightly out of the ordinary, only Melvin Anthony‘s stood out. And he did win the $1000 prize. Melvin’s routine had lots of dance movements. Frank Roberson wore a cowboy hat, boots and belt, and had the second best posing routine. Frank has a gregarious personality that is fun to watch…the first half dozen times. Then you wish he’d kind of tone it down. Eduardo Van Amsterdam had an interesting routine, marred by the offensive lyrics in his song. Cop killer lyrics with selected words barely bleeped out did not go over well. Kamali’s routine is your standard robot shtick. Hidetada Yamagishi wore a Japanese demon mask and played with a samurai sword.

I saw Hidetada when I was in Tokyo a few years ago. In my opinion, he had a much more aesthetically pleasing physique then than he does now. Pics on his website are much better than he looked today. I suppose he could have just had an off day, perhaps jet-lag took its toll. Or it could be that he thinks he needs a lot more mass to compete at the pro level. But big is not always better. Symmetrical with wide shoulders and narrow hips should win out over more massive but blocky. But I know it doesn’t.

Francesco Mazzotta had the best posing musc, but I couldn’t tell you what it was, other than it was along the lines of Carmina Burana. (While I love O Fortuna, it is one song that should not be played at a bodybuilding show ever again, along with Bad To The Bone, which I don’t love.)

The six months pregnant award goes to Heiko Kallbach, second place goes to Massimo Valli. These two reverse their order for bad skin. Is it the 3% bodyfat or the dehydration that makes the skin look so granular? like rough sandpaper.

And Jocelyn Pelletier once again wins the “what kind of self image must you have” award. Jocelyn got his pro card by winning the 1976 IFBB Mr International. He’s 57 years old and could not win a local NPC Grand Masters contest. Yet he continues to enter pro bodybuilding contests.

The most aesthetically pleasing physiques, physiques that I would like to aspire to, were in order, David Henry, Jojo Ntiforo, Melvin Anthony, and then Troy Alves. They were thick, yet still had symmetry.

Neither the morning or evening show was sold out. The morning show was less than a third full, perhaps because of the heavy rain. The evening show was maybe three-fourths full.

Below the theater was a fitness expo. I attended it on Friday night, paying the $13 myself, thinking I wouldn’t have time to attend on Saturday. Friday was quite empty. A few of the booths didn’t even bother setting up for Friday, and no one was really giving out free samples. Saturday the prejudging was over by noon and we had to be back for the finals at 6, (although they didn’t start until 7), and my badge go me in for free, so I walked through it again. This time it was quite crowded, and I did collected lots of free samples. At 1 pm in the expo was the amateur Figure prejudging. They had about 20 contestants total in three classes.

In the booths in the expo were your normal supplement companies, a few gym clothing resellers, the LAPD, LAFD, and Army Reserves, and an Amend for Arnold booth (I declined to sign their petition). In one booth was Lifewave, which I wrote about in a previous blog entry, promoting the multi level marketing of their little plastic disks. I showed great restraint and did not get into a conversation with them. But I did listen in: “I really don’t understand it, but it has something to do with nanotechnology.” I bit my lip. And the sad thing is that the people doing all the work promoting this product really believe that all this pseudo-science really means something. It doesn’t.

In the expo, I talked to a few top amateurs who were working at various booths. Amateurs who really have no expectations of becoming a pro in the IFBB. [in the old days, that would be an oxymoron, as an amateur working a booth at a fitness expo would no longer be an amateur] I asked them to consider entering the NABBA Universe, the real “Mr. Universe”. Today, the top athletes in the NPC really have no place to compete at the international amateur level. The IFBB World Amateur Championships are suppose to be natural, so that pretty much rules out anyone who’s made it to the NPC Nationals or USA. Americans use to dominate the NABBA Universe, but it’s been years since we’ve sent a top contender. I think I planted a few seeds. We’ll see what grows.

The only old-time bodybuilder that I saw at the expo was Frank Zane, who was signing autographs at the Ironman booth. Many of the current pros were signing autographs at other booths. I tried to go up and introduce myself when I could.

When I go up to someone and I introduce myself and my website, I always get one of two reactions: a blank stare, (it could either be “what’s a website”, or “so you have a website, big deal, everyone does”), or I get “MuscleMemory!!! I love that site. I visit it all the time. That’s you???”

The funny thing is, that I can never predict what reaction I’m going to get. Old timers, you might not think spend much time on a computer. But many of them do know about my site, and they’re very glad that I’m preserving the history. While people in the industry, people with their own websites, people who you’d think would use my site on a regular basis, they’re the ones I have the hardest time explaining it to. (I’ve explained my website to one contest promoter on three separate occasions. Each time all I’ve gotten was a blank stare.)

Today, I saw a pro bodybuilder that I’ve been wanting to meet. The thing is, I know he’s gay. While he may not be openly gay, it is rather common knowledge. And as you probably know, I’m quite openly gay, especially on web forums such as getbig.com, and long before that on Usenet’s misc.fitness.weights. I’m always willing to take on the clueless straight boys who think its acceptable to bash gays on these forums. Now I’m almost certain that this pro bodybuilder has also participated on these web forums. You’d think that a gay guy would notice another gay guy (quite deftly, I may say) putting these homophobic kids in their place. And you’d think that someone who participates on web forums would recognize the names of others who post regularly on these forums. But I went up to him tonight in the lobby of the theater, and introduced myself and my website. Got nothing but a blank stare. He had never heard of me or my website, and while he occasionally posts to a specific web forum, he didn’t recognize my name from that either.

Since Jim Morris was a judge, we got to sit in the first row for both performances. At the finals, in the row behind me there were two older gentlemen behind me. A few times they asked me who was who on stage. Before the show ended, one of the gentlemen left. Only afterward did I find out that it was Reg Park!

Not as popular as I thought

January 17th, 2005

So for my second interactive survey, I was going to ask how many of you use RSS to be notified when something new gets posted to the MuscleMemory blog. But anyone using RSS would have answered last week’s survey question within a day or two. In one week, only 15 people have answered the survey!

Now, the webstats that I get from my service provider shows that I receive 9000 unique visitors this past week. But the blog is not being visited. The rss feed was downloaded 1327 times, but for services like bloglines which download it once an hour, 1300 downloads is only 7 aggregators.

This week, I created a new website for NABBA Mexico. They had been at geocities. I created the layout and the php scripts. Since I don’t speak spanish, I’m waiting for them to write the text. I will still be adding a blog and a forum. Now if I could just get IFBB Mexico to hire me to create a website for them….

Survey: Bodybuilding Asthetics

January 9th, 2005

Here is a quick two question survey for you. Right now I have it limited to one vote per IP address, so if you’re behind a firewall at work, you may be out of luck.

A new year!

January 2nd, 2005

2004 is over, and not a minute too soon. It was a tough year for me, being unemployed for most of it. Fortunately, I saw it coming, so my financial house was in pretty good order. But I’ve got to find a job soon. I do get calls from headhunters for jobs in other cities, especially New York, but very little in Los Angeles. I would really prefer not to move again.

The response to my donation page has been a bit of a disappointment. In three months, through the paypay and amazon buttons, seven individuals (one anonymous) and two businesses (I think the one from Europe was from a business) have donated $385, which just about covers the yearly fee of hosting the site. One person also sent a very generous check. Thanks to all.

In the eight years that MuscleMemory has been on the web, I’ve put in a minimum of 10 hours a week on the site, sometimes much more. Most of that time was spent scanning the 2000+ magazine covers and typing in the magazine Table Of Contents index. (See the What’s New page for more details.) Still working on the 1970s for the table of contents. Hopefully I’ll get to the 1980s in 2005.

I’m way behind in typing in the list of upcoming contests for 2005. Last year I decided to do it in XML and use jsp to fetch the info. That’s fine, but it requires that I use a GUI to enter the info. Also my ISP doesn’t support jsp, so I was using a third site to do the fetching. An awkward system, so I thought I’d do it all in php this year. Easier said than done. Turns out php is pretty slow parsing xml and has a real memory problem processing 300+ complex objects. I should have stuck with a flat file. (If you understood that, you qualify as a computer geek.)

In the coming weeks, I hope to make this blog a bit more interactive with a few surveys about the state of bodybuilding. If nothing else, it will give me an idea of how many people actually read this thing.

Shawn Ray resigns as IFBB Athletic Rep

January 2nd, 2005

As posted on the getbig forum

January 2nd, 2005

Dear IFBB Pro Men,

First I want to say, “Happy New Year” to each and everyone of you and may all your dreams and goals come true in the coming year!

As you all know, I had to get 98 Signatures (Majority Vote) of the Registered Athletes in 2003 to become the Athlete Representative for 2004 to 2006. That being said, there are 3 Official Meetings per/ yr. where the Issues, Concerns, Problems and Changes can be dealt with. I have personally spoken with those of you who had serious problems and concerns, as they related directly or indirectly with matters of:

Prize Money, Judges, Pay Per View, Promoters Failure to Pay, Contest Entry Deadlines, Score Sheets and other issues that needed the attention of the the federation or issues that needed a response by the federation.

Well, some Athletes responded with feedback for me to place on the table with the federation, while others didn’t respond to any issues or complaints that related to them.

This year, most of you were expecting a response from me following the Mr. Olympia regarding the final “Issues & Concerns” that were to be placed before the other Officials and the federation Vice President. I forwarded the detailed items to Jim Manion, the IFBB Vice President 8 weeks prior to the Olympia Weekend and we were to go over them at the Mr. Olympia Meeting prior to the contest with other Representives and Officials. I received an Email from an IFBB Official Representative that had the “Formal Representative Meeting” starting at 9pm Wendsday evening after the Athletes Meeting.

However, when I showed up for the Men’s Meeting starting at 7:30pm, I was told the Official & Representative Meeting began at 4:30pm and was over. I was also told I should have received and Email stating the “Change of Time” on my computer. Sadly, I never did receive an email and or a phone call stating the change.

I was told I would receive the “Minutes” regarding the meeting, however I have yet to hear or see anything that happend or was addressed regarding the issues you guys wanted me to address?

It is for this reason, I feel the position of “Athlete Representative” for me does not carry equal balance for you the Athletes in regard to the federation and promoters.

Therefore, I removing myself from the position of “Athlete Representative” effective immediatly. I feel I am not able to effectively have the issues that need immediate attention addressed by the federation to aide and assist you in your professional careers.

I wish you all continued success and best wishes!

Respectfully,

Shawn Ray