Realities Created, Maintained and Destroyed, WHILE-U-WAIT!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

to everyone who celebrates it!

And HAPPY HOLIDAYS to all of you who have to inclination to read this blog.

Here's a slection of Christmas music for your listening enjoyment.

See you next year!













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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Air powered car update

A couple of years ago, I wrote about a car powered by compressed air.

(you can read the original articles here and here)

Well it seems that the idea is still going strong, and the French company that developed the technology was just in the news again. Here's a video from CNN.





And here's a link to the English version of the MDI Website for more information on what they are developing.

It would sure be nice to be able to get one of those cars here. Given a few solar panels, an inverter and compressor it would make running around town a whole lot cheaper.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict

The Best Pink Floyd Song Ever?

I always thought so.
Of course that might have something to do with the circumstances under which I first heard the song. (1969, in a camp in the redwoods, after a day of wildcrafting some of the local mushrooms)

From their Ummagumma album





The same album gave us the more conventionally popular "Careful with that ax, Eugene".


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Gluten Free January

Here's something to try if you want to do something to improve your health.


I found notice of this on Rob Wolf's blog (along with the groovy picture above).

There's a movement afoot to get people to spend a month gluten free, just to see if it makes a positive difference in their overall health and well-being.

There is a website devoted to getting people to participate in the event, located here

For a good number of people there's some real benefit to this, even if they don't show overt symptoms of gluten intolerance or celiac disease. If you have metabolic syndrome or diabetes, it could change your life in a big way.

It's also a great way to drop weight, since gluten containing foods are also some of the most high carb.

Give it a try for a month and see if it makes a difference in how you feel and how much energy our have.

You can find lists of gluten containing foods here and here.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Folkmusikgruppen Irmelin

Or, The folk music group Irmelin

This is an A Cappella folk group singing a rather lovely song called Förglöm mig ej, or forget me not





It's good winter music.

Monday, December 13, 2010

St Lucia Day

It's easy to miss here

But December 13th is St Lucia's feast day. It's one of the events that makes a Swedish winter a bit more bearable.

St Lucy
I've always liked it anyway, and it has an interesting echo of the Pagan past. If you're not familiar with St Lucia day you can read the Wiki entry here



Thursday, December 09, 2010

Here's the most rational discussion I have found about Wikileaks

It's been interesting watching the fabric our our society unravel over the last two years.

I have to admit, I thought it would be the tea baggers that brought down the country, but I may have been wrong about that.

The dust up over wikileaks may just shake the foundations of civilization a bit more. We seem to be at the start of something right out of a scifi novel. A cyber-war that may just have more and more lasting impact than all the Muslim and Christian terrorists combined.

Here is one of the more reasonable discussions I have seen on the problem of wikileaks.






and here is one of the more honest takes on it.



The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Music For A Cold Morning

It has come to my attention that there are some people who do not know of Yasmin Levy.

Winter is  coming on and I have been listening to music from Al-Andalus.

Lots of people are familiar with Flamenco, and some are familiar with the Moorish tradition in Spanish music but fewer have encountered the Judaeo-Spanish Ladino tradition. Ladino is a language based in old Castilian, with elements of Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic, Turkish and even a touch of Greek, spoken by the Spanish Jews. This Musical tradition is as rich as any found in Spain.


So allow me to offer you a piece by Yasmin Levy one of the young musicians helping to keep this tradition alive and vital.



Sunday, November 07, 2010

My latest 15 minutes of fame

On the Diamond Hour Internet radio show.

My buddy Steve Barnes invited me on his show to talk about intermittent fasting and other such such things yesterday.

You can listen to it here on this page





Ore you can go to the Diamond Hour Page and listen to all of his broadcasts there.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The best political speech I've heard in a long time.

Of course it's given by a comedian.

It's a sad state of affairs when the only person making any sense runes a fake news show on Comedy Central.

But the Republicans have spent most of the last 40 years destroying this country. Almost everything that is going wrong today in America has it's roots in Right Wing ideology (Or perhaps I should say fantasy), They should not be allowed to administer the affairs of this country for us.

The Democrats have proven themselves to be incompetent and corrupt by turns. Even when given more power than any political party deserves they have managed to fail miserably at raining in  the excesses of Republican power grabbing. They Don't deserve to administer this country for us either.

And the militant arm of the Republican party the Tea Baggers, what to turn this country into a Religious Moronocracy.*

So let's hope that this video goes viral.





*(Moronocracy: rule by the stupid)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Something on Gun Control

and a new way to carve a pumpkin.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The best "get out the Vote" video I've ever seen

Done by MoveOn as it seems

Go Here and check it out

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Walking Your Talk

And other rare occurrences


Those of you who are regular readers know that I have the privilege of being a friend of Scott Sonnon, and that I write about him from time to time.
(Quick disclaimer, While Scott is my friend, I am not a part of his organization, RMAX, nor am I certified to teach any of his programs. I do not receive any financial consideration for saying nice things about him, or from using his material. In other words, I ain't got no reason to be foolin' with you about this)

Here's the thing, if Albert Einstein had gone into martial arts and athletics instead of physics, he would have been Scott Sonnon.

This isn't hyperbole, I'm dead serious. Scott isn't just a genius when it comes physical movement and training, he has discovered something I consider equivalent to the theory of relativity for athletic endeavor. 

What Scott has found is something very much like the Platonic Ideal of training. I've been watching him work on this for some years now, and it looks to me as if he has gotten his theorem polished.

Recently, Scott has been giving out a series of training programs under his Tacfit umbrella.
There are several Tacfit programs now including:
Tacfit the original. A great program for when you have a gym handy.
TacFit Commando, which is a program that requires no equipment at all.
TacFit Mass Assault, uses a simple set of dumbbells to do wonders.
Tacfit R.O.P.E., for pulling movements. This is basically a whole gym hidden in a rope.
and his latest in the series Tacfit Kettlebell Spetsnaz,which takes kettlebell work to a whole new level.

While all these programs are amazing in their usefulness and effectiveness, they are not what I find most interesting.

What Scott has done is create a matrix into which he can input any sport or movement discipline and output the perfect set of exercises and protocols to maximize your performance.

So someone could say "give me something for badminton" or "I need something to help me perfect my bowling" or even "How about a Tacfit Cheetah for barefoot/minimalist runners?" (not that I am suggesting that Scott should develop a Tacfit program that would help people to maximize their speed, power and endurance as runners while minimizing the chance of injury, just that the world would be a better place if he did :-) ) and within just a little while you would have a set of exercises with progressions and the protocols for executing them that would allow you to reach you full potential in that sport.

And that, my friends, is worth it's weight in gold, to have such a deep understanding of exercise at the Meta level that you can produce a high level training regime for anything involving movement. (I will postulate that this matrix can be used for physical, mental, emotional and spiritual movement, but explaining that will take another full post).

So what does all this have to do with walking your talk?

Well, perhaps you have noticed that while there are all manner of people who offer programs in martial art or exercise, there is perhaps less objective evidence than one might like as to the effectiveness of these programs.

This is especially true in martial arts. There is all manner of stuff out there, but the time to discover whether or not you made the right choice in training is NOT when you really need it.

But how to tell the value of any given material?

For me, there are two criteria. "Can he do?" and "Can he teach?".  Now "Do" doesn't mean "do with your students", anyone can look like the baddest dude on the planet when working with the people who they have trained. And "teach" doesn't mean your students demonstrating in your class. "Do" means demonstrating that your stuff works against someone who has skill and is doing everything possible to make your art fail. "Teach" means your students can do the same.

Here's the rub. The only place to test out your stuff and show that you know what you're talking about (besides the battlefield) is in competition, and big name teachers mostly just don't compete.

I can't really blame them. If you get on the mat and lose, people might not think you know what you're talking about, and if your income is based on being an expert, that could be devastating. (Of course, the only people who have never lost in competition are the ones who have never competed, but many people don't understand that) So you don't see the big name teachers taking risks. (There are a few notable exceptions though).
When was the last time you saw (fill in the name of your favorite self-defense guru here) get on the mat with someone of real skill who was fully committed to beating him?

So some people were a little surprised when Scott put everything on the line and agreed to compete in the 2010 World Martial Arts Games.

He was anteing up his reputation, his company, his health and well being for this tournament. If he lost his detractors would have trumpeted it all over the Internet and it would have no doubt seriously hurt him financially.

And this was not some "do some demos and a form" sort of competition. This was full contact, submission/knockout play.

It's not like Scott has anything to prove. He has a whole list of wins from when he was a Sambo player, and then back in '05 he went to a San Shou Tournament and showed the world that he knew exactly what he was talking about. (read about it here and here).

Scott uses his methodology to train himself for the competition, which is pretty much a "put up or shut up" action. With that, the whole world gets to see exactly how good his stuff is.


So what happens? He goes to this Tournament and fights nine full contact matches in 24 hours against a field with no weight classes or age divisions (Scott just turned 40) and came home with four gold medals, two silver, and one bronze.


There you have it. A person that has proven that their methods are effective using their own body and reputation (and actually risking everything to do so) in open competition, an event almost unheard of in this day of Internet wonders and seminar warriors.

Here's a highlight reel of Scott's competition.

My personal favorite part is just about 2:45 in where Scott's opponent tries to get him in a triangle choke and Scott pretty much dives through his own navel, comes out the other side and gets him right into an ankle lock. Too Kewl.







You can listen to this Interview Of Scott by Steven Barnes for The Diamond Hour Show (right click to download) on the tournament, the training that lead up to it and such. It's well worth it.

Just when I think Scott Sonnon couldn't impress me more he does this. Respect!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Warm San Franciscian Nights

And slightly cooler mornings....

I have recently returned from a two week stay in San Francisco, one of my all-time favorite cities.


I was invited there to teach a series of workshops on a few different subjects. I did three clinics on barefoot running as a method of transitioning to a forefoot strike, a day long seminar on Miyamoto Musashi's "Book of Five Rings", and a rather experimental workshop called "Think, Sweat, Feel".

The events were organized by two of San Francisco's best trainers and coaches Cody Fielding and Carey Rockland.

The first two running classes were put on for Workout On The Hill, This is an organization that offers outdoor training in the Bernal Heights district of SF. (My kind of people. "Gym? We don't gotta show you no stinkin' gym!")

So on Tuesday I found myself standing on the top of Bernal hill at sunrise with a group of really dedicated people.


We started with posture exercises to introduce the idea of "runner's stance" and teach people how to find it and keep it active.


We also went through some of my favorite core strengthening exercises.


As well as the drills I use to help people find the right lean for efficient running.

And of course we did a lot of running practice with our toes exposed to nature in all her early morning glory. There is something quite peaceful about running at dawn, even more so with friends.

After two mornings of training the group was doing quite well, so I left them in Carey's competent hands and went on to a more challenging group.

Carey had set up a running tutorial with a group which was comprised mostly of personal trainers, coaches and teachers.

So on one those perfect San Francisco afternoons, I find myself in a park full of people lounging about on grass.

I am surrounded by some extremely fit people half my age or less, it's my job to suggest that there might be some virtue in returning to a style of running that had fallen from favor before they were born, and to demonstrate that I know what I'm talking about.

It took very little time to get them out of there shoes and going through my basic set of drills. While doing this I also taught some of my methods for working on a more subtle level. One skill I think they will find useful is how to teach a person's "non-dominant" side a skill that they have learned on their "dominant" side.

In very little time I had the group running about the park, bare feet flashing, to the puzzled looks of the other park goers.

At the end of the class I took the group through a short meditative process to help them connect to their "ancestral runner", then we went off for a last run. The group was having so much fun I had to sort of coax them back in for the wrap up.

Of special note for the afternoon, I got a chance to meet a couple of people with whom I have had an Internet acquaintance for a while. First is Heron Saline, a fine hypnotherapist who I have had some pleasant conversation with from time to time. I was particularly geeked to have him attend because he could become a resource for the trainers there who developed an interest in the sort of mental processes I was using to enhance learning. I'm happy to say that he was as kewl as I expected.

The other person I had been looking forward to meeting was T. Thorn Coyle. I have corresponded with Thorn a few times and have several friends who know her and think very well of her. We actually got a chance to spend a little time together before the class, but it is going to take a full blog entry to tell you about that.

There is one thing of note that I will mention here. As I watched her take her last run across the park I remarked to myself how good her form was. She had that long straight runner's stance as she moved, and the gazelle like grace you see in the best "primal" runners. I sort of assumed that she must have some sort of running background. As it turns out I was misapprehended. Check out Thorn's Blog entry for a more accurate account of what was going on.

The Book of Five Rings

The first weekend I was in SF I did a day long seminar on  Miyamoto Musashi's "Book of Five Rings".

The philosophical part of the day was fairly easy to address, but as I don't have much of a background in Japanese fencing I knew we were not going to be waving katanas around, and needed to find some way to address the more physical aspects of Musashi's work.


My solution was to have everyone bring rattans and address what Musashi called "sword fencing" through the lens of Filipino martial art.

We spent considerable time on the nine principals outlined at the end of the "Earth Book"
  1. Do not think dishonestly.
  2. The Way is in training.
  3. Become acquainted with every art.
  4. Know the Ways of all professions.
  5. Distinguish between gain and loss in worldly matters.
  6. Develop intuitive judgment and understanding for everything.
  7. Perceive those things which cannot be seen.
  8. Pay attention even to trifles.
  9. Do nothing which is of no use.
as I consider them to be a really useful condensation of the entire text. The nine principals act as mnemonics for the entirety of Musashi's method of strategic thinking.


The best way to understand Musashi though, is in contesting with with an opponent. The free flow of  combat allows one to experience Musashi's strategy in real time and to get it into the body.

Interestingly, most of the participants were not martial artists, though all were athletes from various disciplines. Those who did have a martial background were mostly not weapon based.

So I was fortunate indeed to have, as one of the attendees Sharon Sanghera,  Editor in Chief of Vincit Magazine and JKD/Kali black belt. Sharon is a proven fighter of no little skill who has fought in some interesting venues.

I had wanted to ask her before the seminar if she would be wiling to help out with the weapons work, but I was not able to, so I just sort of drafted her.


I'm happy to say she was quite game for some impromptu sparring. To tell the truth, I could have stopped the seminar right there and spent the rest of the day fencing her. She had great flow and a strong spirit.

With her able assistance I was able to get the room moving with sticks and having some direct experience of Musashi's strategy in action.

The day was both quite fun and a success in laying a foundation for further study of Musashi's philosophy.

There is one other event of note for the seminar. I finally got a chance to meet Vince Brown, which I had been looking forward to for quite a while. I am going to have to dedicate a full entry to this meeting as it was quite information rich, and I think it may be of interest to a wide audience.

The last event I led before returning home was an experimental work-group called "Think-Sweat-Feel".

It is my attempt to counteract, in some small way, the epidemic of spiritual neotony that has infected humanity like some vile mind parasite.

One thing I have learned over many years of teaching is that if the whole person is not engaged in the development process bad thing may happen.

In designing this seminar I pulled a lot of information from Dr. John Medina's "Brain Rules" to help create the matrix that contained the information.

I will no doubt write more about this later, but I think the seminar was a very good start and came away feeling quite happy about the day and the people.

Here is a bit of theme music for the post. a song that came out in 1967, the first year I ever visited San Francisco.









Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Music for Fall

By three women from Nevada City

Nevada City is a small sleepy town in the Sierra foothills of Northern California. I have whiled away many an afternoon there coming back from trips into the mountains and have always found it it a pleasant place.

It is something of an art community, and it produces more good musicians that is the average for such a small community.


Let me introduce you to three young women who all come from this little town, all of whom are quite fine musicians. Enjoy some interesting tunes for a fall afternoon.

Alela Diane - "White As Diamonds"





Mariee Sioux - "Wild Eyes"





Joanna Newsom - "Ribbon Bows"


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A lesson in how to deal with bigots

Brick Stone Versus The Westboro Baptist Church

Ya gotta love it!


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Old Hippies Rawk

I had not seen anything from Mick "The Barefoot Sensei" Dodge for a while and had been wondering what he was up to.

It seems that he is still going strong. There are a good number of people now who have embraced the minimalist/barefoot/nature oriented approach to fitness but Mick Dodge was one of the first.

He was the guy who turned me on to the idea of using an old tow strap as a portable gym. I have come to value that piece of equipment a great deal over the last couple of years.

So enjoy (and perhaps grab a little inspiration from) the adventures of the Barefoot Sensei.


One hundred and one years after his death

Geronimo is still a prisoner of the United States Government.


You would think that by now the man could have some peace, but I guess it's more important for the preppies at Yale to have their little trophy.
You can read the story here.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Arizona Immigration Law and The Six Hundred Pound Gorilla in the Room

Papers Please?

One thing that I have not heard mentioned about Arizona's new Anti-Latino immigration law is the fact that anyone stopped by the police can be required to prove that they are in this country legally, and if they can't produce proof, they can be detained for several days.

Now I would like you to take a moment to reflect on this and ask yourself

"If I were required at this moment to prove that I was in this country legally, could I?"

As I understand it, a drivers license is not proof, nor is a social security card. That means anyone could be picked up and detained for weeks just because you don't have papers. The law reads in such a way that it could end up being used to detain anyone on the pretext of lack of proof of "immigration" status.

Of course it will be first used against people of darker skin tone, who have Latino surnames, and perhaps accents that are not the "American standard".

Now I know that there are people dumb enough to to think that just because you have a Latino surname you wet-backed across the border last week, but that just isn't the case. Do you think that all the Latino families who live in the States west of the Rockys were born in Mexico ?

Well I grew up with people with Latino surnames and who spoke Spanish at home who's families had lived in New Mexico since before America was a country. Should they have to prove their citizenship just because some bigots in Arizona don't like Latinos?

And of course there will come a time when Sheriff Joe Arpaio, his Spiritual Brothers, and the thugs that work for them decide that they don't like your politics, or religion, or looks, there will come a time when you get asked for your papers, and if you can't prove you're in this country legally, well I just hope you enjoy jail food.

Now the use of this law against American citizens who aren't carrying proof of citizenship on the day they're stopped by the police is a  separate issue from dealing with people who are in this country illegally.

The problem of illegal aliens in the States is so easy to solve I'm surprised that no one has thought of it yet.

All you have to do is remove the reason for them to come here.

So all you unemployed Tea Baggers can get off the public dole and do something good for the country by heading out to California and getting the grape and Strawberry, lettuce and asparagus, garlic, brussels sprout and artichoke crops in this year. You can also start you own landscaping services, child care and maid services and a hundred other jobs that are done mostly by Latinos. I'd love to see all those jobs done by American citizens (the image of tea baggers getting in the strawberry crop would be priceless) So if you want to drastically reduce the illegal population without resorting to draconian legal measures, just go do the jobs that they are presently doing, they will all go away to find work elsewhere.

The Tea Baggers will be happy to know that they have an ally in their quest to get rid of all those pesky  illegals, The United Farm Workers say "Take Our Jobs"


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Summer Sundays

And Tomahawk Tameshigiri

Sundays are the day that I usually reserve for myself. I get together with my close friends and train most Sunday mornings. This is a lot different than working with people during the week because I'm not teaching. On Sundays I get to experiment with new and interesting things with people who are teachers in their own right, which allows me to further my own training.

This last Sunday we got out the sharp, pointy things and attacked a bunch of helpless plastic bottles yet again.

It was pretty much par for the course, with flayed plastic flying all over the yard. But I did try one thing new. I have never test cut with a tomahawk before, so I tried it out.


It actually turned out to be quite instructive, and it has given me some new ideas for tomahawk training.

Sunday is also a day for bike riding, running, walking and other fun outdoor pursuits.

I have long said that Michigan has only one real flaw, it's vertically challenged. That is to say flat as a pancake, level, without significant elevation.

So Michiganders have started turning old silos into climbing walls.

This Sunday I grabbed my sidekick Janet (one of the few people willing to do all the crazy things I like doing) and among our afternoon wanderings we hit one of the local climbing walls.



It is not very high, but great for practicing your horizontal traverse.


and loads of fun.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Great "barefoot" style running video



I have been meaning to post this video for a while

and just got reminded of it by the Barefoot Runners NYC blog.

Even though this was put out by a shoe company,Terra Plana (Extremely good if very expensive shoes) it uses the "barefoot" methodology to teach proper running form.

If you are interested in exploring a more natural stride and one that seems to have a lot less injury associated with it, this is a very good instructional video.


Learning the Skill of Barefoot Running from Terra Plana on Vimeo.


With or without shoes, the fore foot strike is, for me, the very best way to run.



So kick off your shoes and give it a try.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Thought for the Day

Nuke Your Life




From the writings of Jed McKenna

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Thought for the Day

"Most illness and pathology in the body results from training our bodies to be really, really good at the wrong things."
.......Ryan Hurst

I don't know if it is actually "most illness and pathology" or not, but I suspect that if one were to take this idea seriously and train accordingly, the effects would be profound.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Putting things in the proper perspective.

I ran across this yesterday.

It is a site that takes the words of our home-grown Taliban Christian "conservative" tea-baggers and puts them in the mouth of Jesus of Nazareth.

It's rather reveling.

Go take a look at

Let me know if it makes you laugh or cry.

An Interesting Lecture

On the use of livestock to help reclaim land.

I ran across this on one of the Paleo blogs I read. (this one)

It offers some interesting food for thought, and though I would need to see some hard data before I accepted some of his premises, the talk is interesting enough to make me think there might be something useful here.

Allan Savory - Keeping Cattle: cause or cure for climate crisis? from Feasta on Vimeo.

If there is anything to this (and I have to allow that there may be) then one of the pleasant side effects would likely be an abundance of pastured meat, which I consider to be better in every way than the factory farmed feed lot animals that provide so much of what we find in the stores today.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

What the President should have said last night

OK, I've been very caught up in the actual living of live and enjoying of good weather, and have let the blog lie fallow for too long.

But I am back (more or less) and am going to have a few things to say.

First, I am rather disappointed in Obama's response to the Gulf spill, though it is, I think, still better than what The Shrub would have done.

This is the speech he should have given, though I don't think there is a politician alive today with the cojones to stand up to the multinationals (more's the pity).

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Monday, March 29, 2010

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Be Afraid

Be Very Afraid

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Energy in a Box

Now this is interesting...



Watch CBS News Videos Online

I suspect that there will need to be a lot more research to be done before we can get really excited, but it seems hopeful to me.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Playing Hooky

What can I say.

We have enough snow that I can be out skiing at every opportunity,


The Winter Olympics are going on


And I have several projects in the works.


So the blog has suffered a bit. I'll be back soon though (but today I'm out on the trails)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Quote of the day

and words to live by from my friend Scott Sonnon

Scott said:
"HE won't do that." - CST Head Coach Mike Locke screaming at me today after two solid hours of anguish in the midst of my 3rd round of BW+50lbs dips, referring to my opponent.

"Do daily what your opponent is unwilling to do ever."


Got to be some of the best advice I've heard in a long time.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Advances in running

By going back to the days of yore

Here we have Bernard Lagat (USA) winning a one mile race (at the Melrose games).

Interestingly, everyone running is using a forefoot strike and everyone is using racing flats that are a throwback to the thin leather slippers runners used back before Nike came along.

When the Olympic class athletes start going back to the "barefoot" style of running we can be assured that there is something useful going on.
...


...

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Tragedy in Haiti

And the Spin put on it.

I have been appalled to see the usual suspects using the death and destruction to try and garner political points. While the thugs on the Right have been most egregious, the Left hasn't been all that far behind.

I am pretty sure there will be a special place in Hell for people like Pat Robertson, who used the suffering and misery to manipulate his minions into giving him more money.

As usual, Jon Stewart sums it up more honestly than any "real" newscast.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Haiti Earthquake Reactions
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

In honer of this latest foray into new depths of slime, I have started a poll to examine the one thing that I think should be on everyone's mind just now, do please vote.

And do please feel free to mention the people of Haiti to the deity of your choice, or the universe, or the clockwork mechanism that keeps everything running, or the small quiet place in your own heart. It won't hurt and ya never know, it just might help.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Three days of snow......

Then the sun comes out.


It Doesn't get much better than this.

The temperature on Saturday morning was around 10 degreed F, and the snow was just about perfect.

So I grabbed my skis and hit the trail for the best day of gliding over the snow yet this season.

Once we were off the main trail the snow was mostly completely fresh. There were remarkably few skiers out for some reason, I think we saw only three other people on the trails all day.

We did however share the trail with all manner of wildlife, most notably ducks who didn't bother going south for the winter. (I guess they heard about the temperatures in Florida)

While the Grand River is still flowing, all the ponds and small lakes in the area are frozen over.

Making for the spectacular winter scenery you get here in West Michigan.

The rare Michigan Snow Gnome

After about two and a half hours of skiing we still didn't want to come in from the cold

Me, not wanting to stop for the day, even though I know I am going to pay for it tomorrow

I'm already hoping for the next snowstorm, though the law of perversity seems to be holding sway and all the really fun weather is going elsewhere. With any luck, there will be more snow soon, and what we have will stay for a while.

Friday, January 08, 2010

The Christian Taliban rears its ugly head again

With death threats against cartoonists no less.

It turns out that Mark Fiore, a political cartoonist and animator has been getting death threats from the Tea Baggers over a little piece he did a little while back.

Here it is...
...


...

As you can see, it does (deservedly) treat the tea baggers a bit honestly unkindly.

The tea baggers and other Right wing extremists respond in true form, with death threats, just like the Right Wing Muslim extremists who wanted to kill the cartoonist who did the caricature of the Prophet Muhammad (saws).

As I have said before, the only difference between Christian Right wingers and Muslim right wingers (and Hindu, Buddhist, and Atheist right wingers) is the team they are playing for, it's still the same league and the same game.

So check out Fiore's blog, and his Youtube channel.

And remember the Right Wingers, whatever their "team affiliation" are a bunch of murderous morons.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Boring jump rope?

Perhaps not.

Sabi Honom mentioned jump rope as a way to keep in shape over the winter, so this post is for her and others who might want something by way of exercise that takes up small space but gives good result.

Back in the last century, when I was young, I, like so many of the boys where I grew up, studied some boxing. Of course, along with the speed bag, heavy bag, road work and sparring, we had to jump rope.

We all wanted to master the speed bag, as it had the greatest kewl factor (Think Joe Palooka, opening titles) and I think we all hated jumping rope (it was viewed as being just a bit "girlie". Hey I was about 10 at the time, wadaya expect)

Over the years I had kept up with my rope jumping somewhat intermittently, but it would tend to get a little on the boring side for me.

This all changed about three years ago when I got a call from my friend Steve Barnes. Steve keeps an eye out for anything interesting in the area of fitness and he often finds some real gems.

He asked me if I had ever heard of Buddy Lee. I hadn't.

Lee was an Olympic wrestler who had developed an interesting approach to his conditioning based on jumping rope, after retiring from competition he began teaching his method.

I was intrigued enough by Steve's description that I looked into what Lee was doing.

Here's a taste.
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I got hold of his book and video and began incorporating some of his material into both my workouts and those of my students, with very good effect.

One of my favorite things to do is to use the rope with Tabata sets, that'll give you a quick burn.

Check out Buddy Lee's website.

There have been others who have built on Mr. Lee's work, this being a case in point.
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So enjoy your jumping!

Monday, January 04, 2010

Baby, It's Cold Outside

But we could use some more snow.

Temperatures have been down in the single digits, but the sun has been out and there has been very little snow.

The trails are quite rough.


There's lots of lumpy ice just under the surface, as well as ruts and such.

But the river is quite lovely.

And the sunset is as well.


So the only thing to do is grab the skis and get outside.

So with my friend Janet, who is one of the few people crazy enough to be out int this weather with me, we tackled the trail.


It was worth the effort, and we pretty much had the trail to ourselves.

Personally, I think cross country skiing is the best winter exercise to keep you in shape for running in the other three seasons. So here's hoping for more snow.

For today's theme music here's one of the very best renditions of "Baby it's cold outside" done by Margaret Whiting & Johnny Mercer in 1949

Seems to be the New Year's Theme

With a tip of the hat to Janet



Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper's
"I Hate Banks"

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Something to look forward to

This would be funny if it weren't true.
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Makes ya wonder why all the "no tax tea baggers" are sitting on their hands as the banks and credit card companies take everything they have.