just journaling: post-Starwood

A week after Starwood...still adusting to Mundania....so hot, sapping energy, haven't finished unpacking yet...

Trying to cultivate yin, get my house in order, catch up on paperwork and house
projects after two months of travel, Saiten, FSG, Chicago/Milwakee for the AOBTA convention, Starwood...and spend some quality time with the dogs, especially after Picollo getting sick while I was in Chicago. And back to Zelda's after a few weeks away.

Jul 30 Zelda's exercise

From a Zelda's Inferno exercise:

firefly

when we were kids we would catch them gently

running around my grandfather's yard on summer night

put them in glass jars with holes in the lids and a few blades of grass in the bottom

let them go at the end of the night

catch them from underneath, hands scooping up to match their flight, cupping the lightning bug inside

its flashing tail betraying it to our child-eyes

never wanting to hurt, just hold the wonder for a little while

later

first time I went to camp, nine or ten years old, other boys my age, me not fitting in much as usual but liking being in the park

evening, summer, games

some other boy catches lightning bug

"watch this!"

smashes it on my chest, smearing its glow across my t-shirt

casual cruelty still stuns me twenty five plus years later

if I had to summarize all that's stupid and wrong and sick in this world of men

in just one moment

the death of one firefly might do it

Being a gentle martial artist without being a "Pooh Bear"

Post to the Sabaki list in response to "A School Full of Pooh Bears", an excerpt from John Gradens new book, The Truth About the Martial Arts Business


To paraphrase Tom Hanks in the movie A League of Their Own, there_s no crying as a black belt!

Shoot. Ok, then, where do I turn mine in? Hell, I've been known to cry at episodes of The Simpsons...

Its important to be OK with the fact that martial arts can't be all things to all people. The very term martial means military. Military relates to matters of war.

It's often a bad idea to try to define what something is, by going to word origins. "Tragedy" comes from roots meaning "goat song", after all. Some martial arts - karate, for example - were not created for the battlefield, but for personal self-defense or for civil law and order enforcement. But we still call them "martial" arts.

This doesn't mean each class is devoted to killing or war tactics; it means that our foundation is one of peace through superior firepower.

The problem, of course, is that superior firepower doesn't bring peace (as my country is demonstrating in Iraq for all to see).

How I'm spending my summer so far...

A note to my friend Robin explains what I've been up to recently: (also see this post at her blog with paintings by the Japanese kids she's teaching)


Hi Robin! Many travels lately - we had the wonderful 30th Anniversary celebration for Seido karate earlier this month, people from all over the world - Japan, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Jamacia, Poland, Germany, UK, Brazil, US - came to Columbia U in NYC for five days of special seminars and classes, and a charity benefit tournament. I even met some folks from Osaka; now if I get back over there for a while, as I hope to eventually, I might have some people to play with. It was a *wonderful* gathering!

Then I was off to the Free Spirit Gathering, one of those pagan things I go to each summer, dancing around bonfires late into the night...

Monday I'm off to Chicago for a few days, visiting some Seido people there (wonderful group, they do a great job of connecting budo with nonviolence - www.thousandwaves.org ), on my way to a shiatsu conference near Milwaukee. Then home for a few days, then off to the Starwood Festival, that other pagan thing I go to each summer.

I feel in the past few years I'm making up all the travelling I never did in my youth. Slowly growing wings, or learning to use the ones I didn't realize I had. I begin to understand why, when the Taoist masters of old sought students, they waited in inns, looking for travelers whose minds were already being opened by the journey.

state of the union

So just how are we doing on the land of the free these days? Let's see:

First, The Boston Globe reported on Bush the Second's assertions that he can ignore more than 750 laws, laws he himself signed, including military rules, affirmative-action law provisions, requirements to report to Congress about immigration services problems, nuclear regulatory whistle-blower protections, and laws against political interference in research.

The Globe notes that W is the first president in modern history to never veto a bill, thus making him immune from veto-overrides; instead, he signs them and then quietly files "signing statements" in the federal register, in which he lays out his "legal interpretation" of the bill. These often assert that the president has the right to ignore numerous sections of the bills -- including provisions negotiated with Congress in order to get the bills passed in the first place.

Copyright cops now have K9 division

I've been predicting for some time now that the RIAA and MPAA are dragging us toward a "War On Copying" similar to the "War on (Some) Drugs" we've been fighting with so much success the past few decades. Well, if the Wo(S)D uses drug-sniffing dogs, why not copy-sniffing dogs for the Woc? Yes, the MPAA is training police dogs to sniff out DVDs.

As part of a project promoted by the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA), FACT instigated the training of two black Labradors named Lucky and Flo by one of the world's leading experts in the field whose other clients include police, fire and rescue service. The dogs were trained over an eight month period to identify DVDs that may be located in boxes, envelopes or other packaging, as well as discs concealed amongst other goods which could be sold illegally in the UK. These DVDs are often smuggled by criminal networks involved in large scale piracy operations from around the world.

Never mind, of course, that DVDs can contain other sorts of data beside copied movies...

Language, animals, and music

A few interesting bits regarding language that came before my eyes recently:

First a new study reveals that the "Putty-nosed monkey" (Cercopithecus nictitans) monkeys can combine simple primitive calls into more meaningful sequences. The evolution of grammar?

Second, studies of prairie dogs show that they have "the most sophisticated communication system that anyone has shown in animals", including a capability to create new terms for things they've never seen before.

Finally, this article discusses the theories of Steven Mithen, professor of early prehistory at the University of Reading, that early hominids ancestors had a musical culture that strongly influenced the development of language.

Steven Colbert at White House Correspondent's Dinner

You must see this, or at least read the transcript, or with analysis from Chris Durang here. In the midst of the Washington press corps, standing right next to W, Colbert let 'em all have it:

Now, I know there are some polls out there saying this man has a 32% approval rating. But guys like us, we don't pay attention to the polls. We know that polls are just a collection of statistics that reflect what people are thinking in "reality." And reality has a well-known liberal bias.

Contemplating nuclear power

Discussion over at Slashdot about nuclear power, touched off by this piece in the Washington Post. (See also this response the Daily Kos: "Patrick Moore is a paid consultant for the mining, logging, biotech and energy industries, and putting him out as "ex-Greenpeace" is a lot like calling Scooter Libby an "ex-Hill staffer.")

Some excerpts from my posts on the topic:


Is fission less dangerous to the environment than coal? Perhaps. If it were a choice between only between building more coal plants and building fission ones, it's possible that fission might win out. (Though I think it would have to depend of the specifics of the technologies and implementations involved.)

But that's the wrong question.

At best, fission is still a stop-gap: supplies of fissionables are limited, on the order of a century or two at most, perhaps much less. So is it not more reasonable to divert resources to solving the problem right - with fusion reseach, renewables (i.e., using that big fusion reactor in the sky, including ideas like orbital photovoltaics) and better energy efficiency - than to build fission reactors and [push] the problem onto our great-grandchildren? (Or rather, for us non-breeders, our friends' great-grandchildren?)

[The Moore editorial] mentions the Iran situation only to gloss over it, but there are massive security concerns with fission technology.

Also [the Moore editorial] is inaccurate in talking about nuclear waste; the problem is not the U and Pu in spent fuel, which can be processed and reused, but thorium, radium, radon, and radioactive lead isotopes.

Is some of the opposition to fission irrational? Yes. But so is some of its support, based on an almost romantic notion of "man harnassing the mighty power of the atom!"

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