John (The Mummy) McCain gets his wrappings dragged through the mud with what looks a lot like a smear champaign.
Personally I don't believe that there is a sex scandal going on.
Remember, McCain is a Republican. Where is the Public restroom? Where is the male hooker? Where are the congressional pages? There isn't even a dwarf opossum wrangler involved.
No, heterosexual extramarital affairs are pretty much a Democratic thing.
All kidding aside, the only real question of any merit is "did McCain give inappropriate favor to the company that the woman was lobbying for?"
So far, there is nothing of substance. It makes me wonder what's going on here.
Unless someone can offer proof that McCain did something unethical, people should drop this one.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
John (The Mummy) McCain gets his wrappings dragged through the mud with what looks a lot like a smear champaign.
Once in the Jurassic about 150 million years ago, the Great Sun Buddha in this corner of the Infinite Void gave a discourse to all the assembled elements and energies: to the standing beings, the walking beings, the flying beings, and the sitting beings--even the grasses, to the number of thirteen billion, each one born from a seed, assembled there: a Discourse concerning Enlightenment on the planet Earth.
"In some future time, there will be a continent called America. It will have great centers of power called such as Pyramid Lake, Walden Pond, Mt. Rainier, Big Sur, Everglades, and so forth; and powerful nerves and channels such as Columbia River, Mississippi River, and Grand Canyon. The human race in that era will get into troubles all over its head, and practically wreck everything in spite of its own strong intelligent Buddha-nature."
"The twisting strata of the great mountains and the pulsings of volcanoes are my love burning deep in the earth. My obstinate compassion is schist and basalt and granite, to be mountains, to bring down the rain. In that future American Era I shall enter a new form; to cure the world of loveless knowledge that seeks with blind hunger: and mindless rage eating food that will not fill it."
And he showed himself in his true form of
A handsome smokey-colored brown bear standing on his hind legs, showing that he is aroused and watchful.
Bearing in his right paw the Shovel that digs to the truth beneath appearances; cuts the roots of useless attachments, and flings damp sand on the fires of greed and war;
His left paw in the mudra of Comradely Display--indicating that all creatures have the full right to live to their limits and that of deer, rabbits, chipmunks, snakes, dandelions, and lizards all grow in the realm of the Dharma;
Wearing the blue work overalls symbolic of slaves and laborers, the countless men oppressed by a civilization that claims to save but often destroys;
Wearing the broad-brimmed hat of the west, symbolic of the forces that guard the wilderness, which is the Natural State of the Dharma and the true path of man on Earth:
With a halo of smoke and flame behind, the forest fires of the kali-yuga, fires caused by the stupidity of those who think things can be gained and lost whereas in truth all is contained vast and free in the Blue Sky and Green Earth of One Mind;
Round-bellied to show his kind nature and that the great earth has food enough for everyone who loves her and trusts her;
Trampling underfoot wasteful freeways and needless suburbs, smashing the worms of capitalism and totalitarianism;
Indicating the task: his followers, becoming free of cars, houses, canned foods, universities, and shoes, master the Three Mysteries of their own Body, Speech, and Mind; and fearlessly chop down the rotten trees and prune out the sick limbs of this country America and then burn the leftover trash.
Wrathful but calm. Austere but Comic. Smokey the Bear will Illuminate those who would help him; but for those who would hinder or slander him...
Thus his great Mantra:
And he will protect those who love the woods and rivers, Gods and animals, hobos and madmen, prisoners and sick people, musicians, playful women, and hopeful children:
And if anyone is threatened by advertising, air pollution, television, or the police, they should chant SMOKEY THE BEAR'S WAR SPELL:
CRUSH THEIR BUTTS
DROWN THEIR BUTTS
CRUSH THEIR BUTTS
And SMOKEY THE BEAR will surely appear to put the enemy out with his vajra-shovel.
Now those who recite this Sutra and then try to put it in practice will accumulate merit as countless as the sands of Arizona and Nevada.
Will help save the planet Earth from total oil slick.
Will enter the age of harmony of man and nature.
Will win the tender love and caresses of men, women, and beasts.
Will always have ripened blackberries to eat and a sunny spot under a pine tree to sit at.
...thus we have heard...
(may be reproduced free forever)
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
My friend Tananarive sent me a note this evening with links to a couple of videos she thought I might find interesting.
If you want to know why Barack Obama is likely to be our next President, watch these in order.
In this first video the reporter thinks he is going to sandbag the young man. The reporter's tone is very condescending and I think he wants to make the kid out as some sort of fluffy headed know nothing who is for Obama because it "feels good".
The second video was made by the young man in the first video because of a bunch of hate mongers who were claiming that he was a shill.
Listen closely, this is the kind of person who Obama is attracting, the kind of person that made this country great and who is likely to help return our country to something we can feel proud of.
My Hat's of to this young man, he gives me hope.
Pass these videos around folks.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
I was very lucky, I began learning the Filipino Martial Arts before most people outside the Filipino community even knew they existed.
No one had heard of Bruce Lee or Dan Inosanto, for that matter no one had heard of Kung Fu, which would not enter the American general awareness until 1966. Bruce Lee made his famous "Longstreet" episodes in 1971, and it would be a couple more years before the first Chinese martial arts movie would hit national box offices (I believe it was "Five Fingers of Death in 1973).
To give you a bit more time line perspective, Inosanto's book "Filipino Martial Arts" was first published in 1979 or '80 if I remember correctly.
It was a time when all most people knew of Asian martial arts was Jujitsu, Judo and Karate. Tae Kwan Do had returned with our troops from the Korean war, and with those who had been subsequently stationed there to help guard the 38th parallel, but was still not widely known.
So, you may be asking at this point, "How did a half breed from New Mexico end up studying Filipino martial arts in the early Sixties?"
Well, it's a long story.
I moved to the central coast of California from my home in New Mexico when I was just thirteen.
It was quite the culture shock, though most of that should be saved for another time.
There were a whole new set of social/ethnic groups. There were several different flavors of white folks. We had "Okies" (people who had migrated from Oklahoma to find work. We still had "Okie camps" when I was a kid) We had "Swiss Italians" who had come into the area as farmers and vintners, We had Portuguese, who came as farmers and fishermen as well as your generic "White Eyes". We also had a pretty big Latino population as one would expect for the area. (California having been in the hands of Mexico and Spain before the US grabbed it up).
There was one other important group. At first I thought they were Native Americans. They had an "Asian" cast to their features, but Spanish surnames much like a good number of Native peoples of the South West.
This turned out not to be the case.
They were from the Philippines. The only thing I knew about the Philippines was that a lot of fighting had gone on there during WW2.
The Filipino kids all spoke a language they called Tagalog and pretty much stayed to themselves.
There was one Filipino kid who didn't hang with the group though.
Being as we were both pretty much "out-caste" I suppose it was nearly inevitable that we would end up friends.
It turned out that his family came from a different part of the Philippines than the rest of the kids, different language, different religion, different history. He was born just two days after I was and he had just lost his mother the year before. I had lost my father so we ended up having a lot in common.
His name was Rashid and his family came from the island of Mindanao, over that year we became best friends.
When we were fourteen we began studying Karate together at the local Dojo. By the time we were sixteen we had both earned our Shodan and were taking home some trophies from the tournaments in the area.
That was when Rashid's father decided it was time for him to learn the family martial art. I got to learn as well because Rashid needed a training partner, and I was that already.
What he taught us was a very compact art. A person could learn the whole curriculum in about a year. Of course it might take a bit longer to master it.
Mr. Abdalsalaam became my first true teacher. I trained with him almost every day for about six years. He died when I was twenty two.
I would have to say, that of the many teachers I have had since then, he is the one that mattered the most.
After his death (Rashid had been killed a year before in Viet Nam) I moved far away from that place and never looked back.
A couple of years into my training I made a crest for Mr. Abdalsallam. He didn't have a name for his art, it was just "how we fight". He had talked a bit about the generic names for fighting, but never cared much about that sort of thing.
I once asked him what he should be called, thinking of titles like "Sensei". He gave me an odd look and said "You call me what you have always call me, Mr. Abdsalaam, "Sir" is also good if you want" I didn't even hear the word "Guro" for about another ten years.
Here is an updated version of the crest.
The original didn't have the Sanskrit and was not nearly as fancy looking. I hand painted three tee shirts with it. I still have mine, all faded and ragged, but precious to me.
Over the years I was exposed to other Filipino Martial arts and I was impressed by much of what I saw. My art didn't have any angles, nor much in the way of drills or "structures". It was just a simple set of principals and a few ways to apply them. It seemed to me that there would be very little interest in an art that was so compact and didn't even have a name or big linage of teachers. So I never much talked about it, though I have never stopped practicing it.
Fast forward forty years.
I'm working with my friend and training partner Steve Van Harn, getting him ready to fight in the WEKAF national and world championships. As we sparred, I would occasionally do the odd thing that he was unfamiliar with.
He would ask me about what I had done and I would give him one of the principals I had learned as a kid and how it applied to what we were doing.
Over time he managed to get the story of my first teacher from me and he started advocating for me teaching him the art.
At first I resisted the idea, I was not sure if there was any value in my teaching something that was archaic and quite a bit different than was the norm for FMA.
Steve wore me down though, so something like a year and a half ago I began teaching him my teacher's art.
About for or five months ago Steve suggested that since his son Cole wanted to compete at the WEKAF nationals, that perhaps he, Steve, might compete in forms with something from my teacher's art.
Steve could not fight this year because he is still healing from shoulder surgery, but he thought that he could do a form without too much difficulty.
My teacher's art only has one form really. It is done with Kris and Scabbard and in part it is to train footwork and how to coordinate upper and lower body. The Scabbard is used as both a parrying tool and a secondary weapon. (Being poked in the eye with a scabbard might not kill you, but the blade following right behind just might).
So I began teaching Steve the form.
I had my doubts. The form is not what you see these days, there is no acrobatics, no flipping or leaping about just for the sake of getting a little air time.
Every move of the form is precise, and it occasionally drove Steve to distraction when I insisted that he lower his center in a very exact way while cutting or thrusting to a specific point on his imaginary opponent's body.
I had no idea how people would receive something so far from what is common in forms competition. I thought that Steve might not even place with what I was teaching him.
We had to tweak the form's timing just a bit to make it fit within the WEKAF rules, but nothing was done that changed the substance of the form.
The competition was this Friday.
Steve took the Gold.
All I could think of when he called to tell me was that my teacher would be happy. Happy both that his fellow countrymen and other FMA practitioners found favor with his art, and happy that his art lives with another generation carrying it into the future. I think he would have liked Steve.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Hillery Clinton is far better than anybody running on the Republican side.
But she is still closer to a moderate Republican than anything else.
We don't need another Republican in office, not even a moderate one running on the Democratic ticket.
Don't get me wrong, if Clinton gets the nomination she's got my vote just because i don't want to see one of the Bush wanabes in office. but given my druthers I want someone who will be committed to bringing us back from the nightmare that is George Bush and get us back to being the leaders of the Free world rather than having the disdain of the free world.
No matter how she has changed her image to get the vote I always see her like this.
On the other hand, Obama has always been consistent in his message
Monday, February 04, 2008
Back in the dark ages when I first started learning Filipino Martial Arts, Rattan had not yet been invented.
Or at least there was no way to obtain it on the Central Coast of California, where I was living and training.
There were however many eucalyptus groves. For those of you not from the west coast , the eucalyptus tree (gum tree) was introduced to California in the 1850's It turned out not to be such a good idea, but there they are, no doubt to stay.
When we needed sticks to practice with, we would go out to a nearby grove and cut saplings of an appropriate thickness, peel them and trim them to size, and set them aside to dry.
We would usually do about six pair at a time, and each pair would last about a month.
It wasn't pretty, but it was free.
These sticks were pretty solid hardwood, you wouldn't want to take a full power shot from one, and even the light taps that happen from time to time in training smarted a bit.
so when we sparred, we used Wiffle bats.
These bats wouldn't break bone (at least they never did with us), but they would raise a welt to be proud of.
This was also in the days before sparring armor was invented. We fought in jeans and a tee shirt, Even though a Wiffle bat is not likely to do permanent damage, if you were not on top of your game you could end up with a black eye, split lip or broken nose if you were not careful. Also, being caught with a good thrust would double you over quite smartly.
I think it was not until the mid seventies that I got my first rattan stick. Dan Inosanto had written his book on the FMA and interest in the arts was growing.
Rattan sticks were nice, but often hard to find and often very un-uniform in quality. They were also quit expensive for something you were going to wear out all too soon.
For years I put up with the problem of going through rattan at an alarming rate. As a teacher I would sometimes bust a stick at least once a week. Even with buying rattan in bulk from a wholesaler, it gets expensive.
Last summer I did a seminar in the Bay Area, while there I met Jeff Finder who I had known from the net for some time but had never managed to meet in person.
Jeff is a consummate martial artist (Sarrada Escrima), superb teacher and just an all around nice guy. He also runs Stickman Escrima products and training, which sells the finest training sticks I have ever used.
Jeff gave me a pair of "cobras" (picture on the right) which are visually stunning and for all practical purposes unbreakable.
Mine look as good as the day I got them and I use them every day.
Jeff has several models, sizes and materials to choose from. His HITS sticks are good light sticks that will not do serious damage with a casual tap, and would be great for beginning and intermediate students. His other products are suitable for people up to "master" level.
So if you are a teacher of the Archipelago arts, and you are tired of spending lots of money to replace your sticks, Check these out. I have found them to be well worth it.
Jeff also makes world class training knives and a few other products.
One of special note are his Shakuhachi flutes (pictured on right) made from the same material as his HITS sticks. I have one, and they play quite sweetly are are in proper pitch. No one is going to look twice at you for having a flute in your luggage or your back pocket, but in a pinch it just might5 save your life.
Give Jeff a visit when you have a spare moment and be sure to check out his blog as well.
Saturday, February 02, 2008
The single best champaign video I have ever seen!!!
Thank god that people are finally waking up from the nightmare that is George Bush and his NeoCon and Right wing authoritarian handlers/ It may not be too late to save our country.
Rember that the biggest similarity between George Bush's vision of "free market capitalism" and Marx's "communism is that they both don't work.