Or whatever holiday you prefer!
I ran across this while checking my email this morning and thought it was rather nicely done.
The Advent Conspiracy
It's a sad statement when the only real, thoughtful, discourse is on the Daily Show.
The lady known to so many as Mama Africa collapsed onstage during a concert and died of a heart attack, she was 76.
Back in the early Sixties she was the introduction to indigenous Africa for so many of us.
She will be Missed.
Do you ever wonder why it's always the Republicans who are trying to "purge" the voter rolls?
Well take a read of this Rolling Stone Article, then go here and grab the comic book. While you're at Steal back your vote, take a look around, read a few things, then pass on the article and information to EVERYONE you know, and ask them to do the same.
My dear friend Carey Rockland went to Santa Cruz to play.
There was a BJJ tournament, the 13th US Open, there this last Sunday and Carey wanted to test her skill.
Aside form being one of the most delightful people I know (I'd call her vivacious, but she might punch me) she is a superb fighter, and is getting better daily.
We have trained together some, and she is one of the easiest people to teach I have ever encountered, and she's dead game. (Hey Carey, I want you to drink this quart of whiskey and then wrassle (as opposed to wrestle) a Grisly bear, "OK sure thing, bring him on, but make sure that the Whiskey is 18 year old single malt")
Here is a shot of her waiting for her match
I absolutely love this picture. You just know that the next words out of her mouth will be "Are you Sarah Connor?"
And this last pic tell it all! Yeah Carey! (If I'm not mistaken, I think she made her opponent cry)
If the racial and religious bigotry of this woman doesn't scare you, as well as her ignorance appall you, then you have missed something somewhere.
This is where the Republicans and John McCain want our country to go, this is the future under Republican rule.
The amount of hate generated by the McCain champaign and the GOP is really over the top.
So let me introduce you to John McCain's base. The man sold his soul for a shot at the White House, it's hard to believe that I ever thought well of the man. In 2000 I would have voted for him if he had gotten the nomination, today I wouldn't piss on him to put him out if he were on fire.
Take a look at what is really destroying the fabric of our democracy.
It turns out that "Joe the Plumber" was most likely a Republican shill.
I just picked this up from Crooks and Liars
From Martin Eisenstadt:
So "Joe the Plumber" was not just any old shill he is, it seems, directly connected to McCain's BFF Charles Keating.
Turns out that Joe Wurzelbacher from the Toledo event is a close relative of Robert Wurzelbacher of Milford, Ohio. Who’s Robert Wurzelbacher? Only Charles Keating’s son-in-law and the former senior vice president of American Continental, the parent company of the infamous Lincoln Savings and Loan. The now retired elder Wurzelbacher is also a major contributor to Republican causes giving well over $10,000 in the last few years.
After 30 years of republican control people are starting to realize the danger if imbibing right wing ideology and are doing something to help those who are at risk.
I think they were scared out of their holes by Republican rhetoric.
On my bike ride yesterday I saw more snakes crawling about than I have seen since I moved here. They were all garter snakes and most of them were pretty small. I think I saw maybe thirty of them all told.
I suspect that it was something like them getting ready to den up for the winter, but it could have been politics.
We knew it was going to get ugly, but I didn't think it was going to get this over the top. Obama seems to have known though.
And it's about time too!
John McCain was right in the middle of the last big finantial melt down, and I suspect had a lot to do with it since Charles Keating was his BFF
William Ayers endorses John McCain
(yes, this is a joke)
According to sources close to the issue, William Ayers, formerly a member of the Weather Underground, has endorsed John McCain for President of the United States.
Ayers was quoted as saying "Hey, when I was young I thought that blowing things up could make the world a better place. When I heard John McCain singing 'bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran' I knew that he had never grown out of his youthful zest for explosions as a means for social change."
Ayers said that he will be actively champaigning for McCain until the election.
While the bankers are getting their billions so that they (and perhaps we) won't have to suffer the consequences of their actions, this is going on in the real world.
Ohio woman, 90, attempts suicide after foreclosureRead the rest of the story at Reuters
CINCINNATI (Reuters) - A 90-year-old Ohio woman, facing eviction from the home she has lived in for 38 years, shot and wounded herself this week, becoming a grim symbol of the U.S. home mortgage crisis.
Addie Polk was found lying on the floor of her home with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to her shoulder when police came to the home on Wednesday to serve an eviction notice, Akron police spokesman Lt. Rick Edwards said on Friday.
Polk survived the shooting and is being treated in a hospital.
It was the latest attempt by sheriff's deputies to evict Polk from her modest single-family home because she could not keep up with her mortgage.
This is what everyone in the USA needs to be asking!
I found this over at AmericaBlog, and usually I would just link to it, but I wanted to reprint it in full because it asks the questions that are being ignored.
AmericaBlog Reader John writes:
How many times do we have to hear:Someone observed yesterday:
We don't have ENOUGH MONEY to fix Social Security.
We don't have ENOUGH MONEY to fix Medicare.
We don't have ENOUGH MONEY to provide health care to ALL Americans.
We don't have ENOUGH MONEY to help out Americans losing their homes.
We don't have ENOUGH MONEY to help all our veterans returning from war.
We don't have ENOUGH MONEY to rescue "no child left behind".
We DO HAVE ENOUGH MONEY to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
We DO HAVE ENOUGH MONEY to bail out Bears Stearns.
We DO HAVE ENOUGH MONEY to bail out AIG.
We DO HAVE ENOUGH MONEY to pay for an unnecessary TRILLION DOLLAR war.
When the LITTLE GUY needs help, they scornfully say, "GET A JOB!"
But when one of their BIG GUY CRONIES need a bailout, what do they say? SURE, NO PROBLEM. Where's the checkbook?
"But what about the debt we're leaving on the backs of our childen and their future?"
"Children? WHOSE Children? OUR children won't have to pay for this. YOUR children will."
The Republicans have had their hands in our pockets for well over 8 years.
Now they are robbing us blind IN BROAD DAYLIGHT and smiling about it!!!!
The Republicans have shown their true colors and now they expect us to vote them back into office?
What's next? Should we bend over and spread 'em? Oh, I'm sorry, but we've ALREADY DONE THAT!!
Vote for REAL change this November.
¿Quién es Señor Zapatero?
This is almost too weird, John McCain does not know where Spain is or who its President is. (hat tip to AmericaBlog for this story).
TPM broke the story and I didn't quite believe it at first, but I went and listened to the interview and the account that is given on AbericaBlog is spot on.
I guess that without Joe Lieberman at his shoulder correcting his gaffs, McCain's real knowledge of the world is a lot more apparent. You would thing that McCain's handlers would have given him at least a basic breifing (Now remember John, Spain is in Europe - yes, I know they talk funny there - and the name of its president is Zapatero, no, Za-pa-tero John)
This could be seen as a major insult to the people of Spain.
It's probably a good thing that BushCo didn't manage to privatize Social Security.
If they had your "private account" would likely be gone today.
Remember, John McCain also wants to "privatize" your Social Security, and until yesterday he was the big "deregulator", which is to say he wants to make it easier for corporations to do the things that have created the problems we see today.
For all of you who just saw your 401K accounts go belly up I am sorry, that is unless you voted for Bush and his republican cronies, in which case I guess you are fine with having just lost your life savings, because this is what you voted for.
The Republicans lie
You have been lied to for the last eight years. Those lies have brought about the near downfall of our country.
If you vote for John McCain you are voting for the lies that have wrecked our economy and sent our money into the pockets of the mega-corps, the Mid East and Communist China. But Americans have been cyniclly conditioned to believe Republican lies over the last thirty years or so.
Before we can break our addiction to foreign oil we must first break our addiction to Republican lies.
I know that all the Right Wingers want to believe that they are correct about all the things they have belived about themselves and our country But reality has caught up with them.
Republicans have drivwen this country into a ditch, they have ruined our econemy and done it all with lies.
on the election!
Do you remember when the Democratic convention was going on, all the evangelicals were praying for rain? They wanted Obama's speech to get rained out, but as it happened the night of Obama's speech was as clear as a bell, warm and comfortable, the stars twinkled down on Obama as only happens in the South West.
On the other hand, the Republican convention got hurricane Gustav, they even had to push its opening back a day. Now we have hurricane Ike pounding Texas, the home state of George W Bush.
It seems to me that God has let us know what he thinks of Right Wingers, so called Evangelicals that think they have God in their pockets, Republicans who wear their religion on their sleeves while being complete hypocrites, and George Bush along with his whole Texas Mob (like the criminal Tom DeLay)
God has shown us that He doesn't like them very much, that he will not only NOT answer their prayers but that He will visit on them what they ask to be given to others.
Lets see how smug they are after a bit of this. Perhaps now they will actually read the the teachings of Jesus (as) They should start with Mathew 5 through 7.
If you don't actually follow the teachings of Jesus (as) then you have no business calling yourself a Christian. Better you should call yourself a Paulian, or a James Dobsonian or a I-hate-everyone-who-is-not-like-me-ian.
But God WILL notice, and when you pray for rain you will get an answer you don't like.
In 2000 I would have voted for McCain if he had gotten the nomination instead of Bush. It was a no brainer, and the country would have likely been better off than today under the heel of BushCo.
But whoever is inhabiting McCain's body today is not the same man who ran in 2000. If anything he is even slimier than "The Shrub" was during that race.
Here is Sarah Palin answering a question about the Bush Doctrine
(warning: Painful to watch)
I mean with the Palin thing and such-like?
It's a matter of perception and gender of course! Just take this simple test and you will see what I mean.
Watch the video all the way through and do the count as accurately as you can. If you like you can tell me what your count was in the comments (there will be a prize for the first person who gets it right).
OK, if you went through the video you see that most people miss the gorilla. This is something that is happening right now, to you. You need to ask yourself "while I am distracted by counting Sarah Palin's many failings, what is the republican gorilla doing?"
It's all smoke and mirrors designed to keep you distracted so that when the republicans try to steal the election (again) you won't notice.
Every "pig in lipstick" furor is nothing more than asking you to "count the passes"
Wake up before you lose your country.
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 11:02 AM
And soul mate as well it seems.
Meet Sarah Palin (shown here in a shot from collage that would have made Britney Spears proud). John McCain's pick for Vice President (I suspect the emphasis here is on "Vice") seems to be the poster girl for Miss trailer trash 2008. (A title currently held by "mean" Jean Schmidt of Ohio)
After a stunning run in the local PTA, and a stint as mayor of a town with more caribou than people, she is elected to run what is arguably the most corrupt State Government in the USA.
Three of my students went to the Philippines last month to fight in tne WEKAF World Championships in Cebu.
They all did very well. I'm pretty happy with them. Two of them got in the local paper. I'll let the reporter tell you about it.
Let alone have something positive to say, but this is good!
Her Mom Kathy Hilton had the straight up message about the McCain "celebrity" ad, but my hat's off to Paris for this one.
The brilliant and articulate Naomi Klein has a bit of discussion on energy with the 'droids at Fox "News".
The opinion casters at Fox, though they try to be condescending and trivializing, do not manage to stop the truth from being told.
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 1:13 PM
Which has been taking up some of my time of late.
They are actually pretty decent people and the discussion has been quite friendly.
A couple of people have wondered how I manage to stay mellow during these dissuasions. It is actually quite easy, I listen to the right music.
I particularly like to listen to the music of the Syrian Church to help me keep focus when talking about things biblical, Here is one of my favorites for your consideration.
This is the incomparable Lisa Gerrard singing the Abwoon (the lord's prayer) in Aramaic, the language that Yeshua ben Maryam (Jesus) spoke.
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 9:41 PM
I guess it was about a year or so ago I had the pleasure of attempting to repeatedly cut and stab my friend Scott Sonnon with a knife.
It was a lot like trying to cut smoke.
This was at a rather impromptu knife workshop that we taught together in Portland OR. We put it on at the end of another seminar that Scott and Steve Barnes had put on.
The workshop was something of a lark, we just decided to do it. We had not even had time to work out what we were teaching, and neither of us had any experience with the other's material.
Needless to say, it was great fun.
At the very beginning of the evening Scott demonstrated some agility stuff he had picked up in Russia. He had me move to cut or stab him, with the knife starting in contact with him (we did use a training knife) and he used the contact to tell him how to move so that he would not be cut.
I was impressed. I am used to being able to tag someone when I try, but like I said, it was like trying to cut smoke.
So fast forward to today. Scott put's up this video along with a great article on using the knife as a tool on his blog.
Take a look, then read the article, it's good.
The young mouse thinks he can bite the lion's tail because the lion is old
At the National Conference for Media Reform held a couple of days ago, Fox "News"
thug personality Bill O'Reilly sent one of his "producers", Porter Barry to ambush interview Bill Moyers. Berry attempted to blast Mr. Moyers with questions regarding his political affiliations and his "refusal" to appear on O'Reily's circus show. Mr. Moyers demonstrates the difference between a journalist and a corporate media hack by handing Berry his arse.
Do watch the clip to the very end to be treated by seeing some of the other journalists at the gathering give Berry a bit of his own medicine.
I have a good friend out west, San Francisco to be precise, who has just gone into his own business full time.
My friend Wes Buckingham Is a wonderful photographer. He has been well received at shows and has done some truly innovative work. I have one of his experimental pieces that I find very relaxing just to look at.
If you are looking for some artwork to invest in, or you need a photographer that is more than a cut above you should check him out.
You can visit his professional site here.
This is, I think, the seventh year for putting on this event, and it has truly grown from a small seed to something very special.
The gathering is put on by a group of people who have loosely organized themselves into
This is a group of people, many, but not all of whom are teachers of the martial arts, who became fed up and disgusted with the petty and juvenile nature of martial arts politics. We had all seen just one too many petty tyrant who believed that having someone pay them for instruction gave them the license to try and control every aspect of a student's life.
The martial arts world has far too many egomaniacal narcissists who demand "hormat" as a divine right and define hormat as complete unquestioning submission of the student to the every whim of the teacher.
So a bunch of us voted "with our feet".
It was perhaps inevitable that we managed to find each other and began coming together to share ideas in an open forum where everyone was equally respected.
This is how the Gathering of the Tribes started.
This year's Spring Gathering started in the usual fashion, with the Friday evening "meet and greet". This is a social/free training time that allows us to catch up with friends who we have not seen in a while and for new people to to get to know, and feel comfortable with everyone. As one might imagine, the party went late into the evening.
As per usual, Saturday morning started out with a pancake breakfast for anyone who was staying on the property or could manage to drag themselves over here that early.
Our first clinic of the day was given by Maha Guru Buzz Smith of Maharlika Kuntaw.
Buzz introduced us to his Kuntaw "lock and flow" exercises.
Buzz was assisted by his very capable student Anton. Since Anton is about twice Buzz's size there was no doubt that the material was going to work against a larger opponent.
Everyone has lots of fun learn to flow from one lock to another under different circumstances and in real time.
Buzz managed to give personal instruction to everyone. Buzz's clinic set the tone for the gathering in that most of the clinics worked different aspects of close range fighting, clinching and takedown.
Next up for a clinic was our own Guru Bobbe Edmonds. Bobbe segued naturally from Buzz's material into Pangamot and Dumog.
Bobbe made sure to work with everyone in the group.
And his instruction was first rate. It was easy to see the relation between the Kuntaw empty hand locks and flows and the use of the stick as an extra lever.
But for some reason Bobbe kept sneaking up behind me and hitting me in the head with his stick every time my partner applied a lock.
I would have to say we all had a lot of fun.
The next session was with RMAX Head Coach Cody Fielding.
Cody did a grappling clinic, working pummeling drills and other clinch work, and takedowns from the clinch.
He also addressed environmental factors, like the cage in MMA fights or the use of a handy wall. This turned out to be a great addition to the theme of the day.
Up next were our own Sterling and Dan who did a fascinating clinic on building and using an inexpensive "wooden dummy"
They brought several of the home made dummies along,
And ew all got to try our stuff on them to our heart's content.
This ended the formal part of the day but for one thing. We, the League that is, has some presentations to make.
First, we had certificates of acknowledgment for Norm and Marsha. We wanted to stand behind them and be witnesses to their rank in Shorin Ryu.
Then we had something that we had been plotting for a year.
We wanted to do something for Buzz to affirm him as both a consummate martial artist, a great teacher and as one of the elders of our Tribe. Buzz has been unstinting in his support for the Gathering of the Tribes and the League, so we wanted to acclaim him to the station he deserves.
Bobbe outdid himself (don't let it go to your head ya young whipper snapper) with the designing of the certificate and it was signed by all of the founding members in attendance.
Bobbe read the certificate and I gave a little speech about what it meant to us to have had Buzz's support these last few years. When we presented the certificate to him Buzz was quite moved.
So with that we wrapped up the formal part of the day and got to the Saturday evening feast.
As usual Jeanne made satey and Chuck grilled. We had tons of food and everyone ate, hung out watched movies (Remo Williams, the Adventure Begins and Forbidden kingdom) and generally had a great time.
Sunday morning say people up and shaking off the cobwebs with warm-ups. It was just another day in paradise thanks to the glorious Michigan spring weather.
Sunday's first clinic was lead by your humble servent and covered a bit of Silat knife work with emphasis on clinch and grappling. I was able to relate what we did to Saturday's materal with some success I think.
Everyone has fun poking each other with training knives,
and trying out different variations
and just generally enjoying the day.
The second formal session of the day was with our own James who worked the group through some trigger point release work.
After all the working out it was nice to do some things to get the soreness out of the body.
The rest of Sunday and Monday were devoted to more informal sessions. Our friend Keith Zahn, a master bowier, brought over several of his hand made long bows and gave people a chance to get a little archery coaching.
Ian and Chuck opened up the Smithy and helped anyone interested work on making their own knives.
Here is Ian taking a break from the forge to shoot a few arrows.
The kids in attendance loved the archery as well.
And Bobbe has his Robin Hood moment.
Mariah did a little teaching as well, giving lessons in Filipino style rope swinging.
Don managed to get the ropes going pretty well after a little coaching.
Then it was time to say goodbye to friends new and old,
Until next time, September's Fall Gathering of the Tribes.
An incredibly kewl article by my friend Cody Fielding.
Cody is pretty brilliant. He works full time as an athletic coach and trainer in the San Francisco Bay Area. To be successful at that out there where trainers are so ubiquitous is fairly impressive, but Cody's credentials are impressive and his results also. Cody is a certified Olympic lifting
coach, CrossFit trainer, and Head Coach under Scott Sonnon's circular strength training/CST system.
Cody has just had an article published for Organic MMA that is a must read on the subject of mental preparedness. Check it out here.
I woke up this morning with this song playing on my mind's juke box.
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 12:05 PM
Even better, this one's free.
The fellow who put this together is a Brit who goes by the handle of "Green Pete". He's a sort of minimalist, eco-friendly guy with a lot of good ideas.
I was pointed at this video by a friend, not because he wanted my opinion but because he couldn't figure out how to play it.
The video is downloadable as an ISO (which is burnable directly to DVD) and is very good quality, but it is PAL format, the video format that the rest of the world uses. I had no problem converting it to NTSC (the format that we use here in the States), but it is a consideration if you are not used to such things. However most computers will play both PAL and NTSC without problem, so if you don't mind watching the video on your computer screen you are good to go.
You can download the video here.
This video examines methods of knife making using the stock removal process rather than forging. Stock removal is the process of grinding off metal until you get what you want. Green Pete has several interesting and innovative ways of doing this.
He uses an old file as the steel for making his knife, so of course you will have to anneal the metal so that it will be soft enough to work. He takes you through the process in a pleasantly lo-tech way.
While you can spend literally thousands of dollars equipping a shop with the tools to do stock removal, this is not that kind of video.
Pete uses two power tools, and angle grinder and a hand drill, both run off a 12 volt car battery and an inverter. He also uses the battery to run the blower for his forge fire, a salvaged car heater fan.
The angle grinder is a very useful tool for both cutting and grinding. While you can spend lots of money on one (Metabo makes the best I have ever used, but they cost) You can spend around $15.00 US at Harbor Freight and get a grinder that can last you for years.
Afrer the rough grinding it's time for the file work.
One of the really valuable ideas on the video is this jig for keeping the right angle when filing.
It's simple to make and very effective.
The video also covers heat treating and finishing the knife. Everything is practical and workable in the simplest settings.
The video is well worth a look, the price is right, and there is some pretty valuable material for anyone who wants to live simply and yet have kewl gear.
After you have checked out the video take a stroll through the rest of Green Pete's website you will find plenty there that is worthwhile.
I've been catching up on work that laid fallow all winter.
There were a few things that brought production to a standstill over the winter, but Spring is here, and our smithy is going all out again.
I completed one project yesterday and will be finishing off several more in the next few days.
This was a set, an English trade pattern "scalp knife"
and a modified Woodlands style Tomahawk.
The knife is forged from 1095 steel, and has a deer bone and Osage Orange Wood grip. The Tomahawk has an L6 carbon steel head and is hafted with Allegheny Mountain Ash wood. The head has a hammer on the back rather than a pipe bowl and the poll is teardrop rather than round so that the handle can't turn under use.
These were made for use rather than display so I went for practical rather than ornamental.
More to come soon!
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