Saturday, June 10, 2006

How sad is it that the first thing I think of is that they were "suicided". God bless America.

BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Triple suicide at Guantanamo camp:
"Three detainees at the US base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba have died in what appears to have been a suicide pact."


Second wind: "master athletes," age 70-plus, are replacing their recliners with running shoes for a senior exercise study - Fourth Annual Seniors Section American Fitness - FindArticles:
"Some say life begins at 30, others say 40. For 92-year-old Noel Johnson of San Diego, life began at 70 when he began running. A few years later he wrote his first book, A Dud at 70, A Stud at 80.

Johnson is one of 25 men from across the country participating in a University of Horida (UF) study to determine the benefits of exercise for the elderly. Called 'master athletes,' most of the participants are over 70. During the 20 years since the study began, many have continued to compete in long distance running events.

The study began in 1971. The master athletes held their first national championship in San Diego, California. 'Back then there were a lot of questions about whether it was medically safe for these people to exercise,' says Michael Pollock, Ph.D., director of the UF Center for Exercise Science. 'The experts didn't know if seniors should give all out efforts in the 100-yard dash, run marathons and do things of this nature.'

The study was followed up 10 years later. The results, published in Journal of Applied Psychology m 1987, showed the master athletes were all in good health, particularly in the cardiovascular area. 'Some suffer from arthritis or irregular heart beats just like everyone else as they get older, but these athletes haven't experienced high risk of sudden death,' says Pollock. 'They have stood the test of time.'"

Friday, June 09, 2006

The Electronic Freedom Foundation's John Perry lays the smack down.

In the words of Matt Thornton, "I am an optimist because people die."

And that's why the EFF will win, information will be free, archaic and obsolete business models will go away, and the corporations will lose.

Or a close approximation thereof.

BBC NEWS | Programmes | Newsnight Home | Hollywood and the hackers:
"...These are aging industries run by aging men, and they're up against 17-year-olds who have turned themselves into electronic Hezbollah because they resent the content industry for its proprietary practices. And I don't have a question about who's going to win that one eventually.

...I've got good news and bad news and good news. And the good news is that you guys have managed to buy every major legislative body on the planet, and the courts are even with you. So you've done a great job there and you should congratulate yourself.

But you know the problem is - the bad news is that you're up against a dedicated foe that is younger and smarter that you are and will be alive when you're dead. You're 55 years old and these kids are 17 and they're just smarter than you. So you're gonna lose that one.

But the good news is that you guys are mean sons of bitches and you've been figuring out ways of ripping off audiences and artists for centuries..... "

Sandy's visit to Houtou Shrine on Takashima Island

She spent the day with Kiko, Midori and Bachan visiting the shrine at Houtou. The shrine is off the mainland on Takashima island, about a 10m boat ride from the Karatsu Castle parking lot.

The shrine is for good luck in the lottery. Yes, there's a god/spirit for that, apparently.

This cat, named Kane-chan, is apparently a good luck charm and is credited with helping one woman win 300,000,000 yen... Sandy made me post the picture, I swear to you all.

Kiko was keen on coming up with a partitioning agreement to split all lotto winnings 3 ways in case anybody won.

Except if she won, of course, in which case she said she'd keep it secret.

That's some strong Adachi blood right there. The cheapness is strong with their people.

But most importantly, check out Bachan's kickin' new haircut!

And this photo is here just cause I thought it looked cool. Nice framing.

Where else but in Japan...

...can you get Mountain Dew in a green glass bottle with a screw top? I mean, really? [Same weird Japanese Mountain Dew flavor tho']

Sparring night at the Dojo builds character.

At least I hope so. Otherwise I'm getting beaten up and manhandled for no reason.

My wife has monkey toes.

So much so that she considers her dextrous and nimble feet easily suited for life as a pen holder.

"Special Olympics Government" - I believe that might be my new favorite phrase

Kung Fu Monkey:
"Just more of the Special Olympics Government. Were supposed to be WMD's -- not our fault, bad intelligence. Was supposed to plan for the post-war -- not our fault, bad advice from expats. Was supposed to get armor for the troops -- not our fault, Clinton cuts (I cannot emphasize how retarded that particular line of reasoning is on the body armor issue, and I didn't even like Clinton.). Was supposed to prep for Katrina -- not our fault, no way to know the levees would break. Supposed to get Osama -- not our fault, Pakistanis helped him. Ports and airports not secured -- not our fault, because ... actually, we're just going to go with a generic 'not our fault' there.

The buck stops -- OOO! SHINY!!"

I always told everybody. Comic books predict the future.

Batman had one of these years ago.

Special forces to use strap-on 'Batwings' | the Daily Mail:
"Elite special forces troops being dropped behind enemy lines on covert missions are to ditch their traditional parachutes in favour of strap-on stealth wings.

The lightweight carbon fibre mono-wings will allow them to jump from high altitudes and then glide 120 miles or more before landing - making them almost impossible to spot, as their aircraft can avoid flying anywhere near the target."

Jacksonville, NC - my hometown - plus comic books and lesbians. It's like God himself wrote this article for me.

Jacksonville, NC - my lovable hometown - makes the comics blogosphere.

Blog@Newsarama » Northstar, ‘big burly dude’?:
"I have no idea who “Josh Walton” and “Leila” are, but they play a pivotal role in the Jacksonville, N.C., Daily News‘ reportage of the “lesbian Batwoman” story.

“No sooner had the words ‘Batwoman’ and ‘lesbian’ been uttered, Josh’s ears perked up,” the reporter writes. “Oddly enough, so did Leila’s. Seems Josh would like to know more about D.C. Comics’ lesbian counterpart to the Batman, and Leila wants to know who the ‘lucky’ girlfriend’s going to be.”"

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Boy, just makes your chest swell with pride as an American, dunnit?

Pentagon to omit Geneva ban from new army manual: report - Yahoo! News:
"New policies on prisoners being drawn up by the Pentagon will reportedly omit a key tenet of the Geneva Convention that explicitly bans 'humiliating and degrading treatment.'

Citing unidentified but knowledgeable military officials, the Los Angeles Times said the step would mark a further, potentially permanent, shift by the US government away from strict adherence to international human rights standards."

thinkarete - promoting higher thought. [I dig this site]

"Get this: Guys like Socrates, Plato and Aristotle said that if you want happiness you better live with areté–a word that literally means virtue or excellence but has a deeper meaning…something closer to “constantly striving to reach your highest potential.”


How beautiful is that? It was one of the highest ideals of Greek culture.

It should be one of ours.

Tragically, it’s not.

We seem to be more interested in resumes, accolades and 401k’s.

Speaking of retirement…

Who came up with that? Work like crazy doing something we’re not passionate about so we can accumulate enough money to pay the bills from our stress-caused illnesses while we complain about what we should have done when we were still young.

Hmmm…We can’t quite figure that one out. Seems like it makes a bit more sense to go ahead and dare to live now…

Why not thinkarete?

Live to your highest potential–moment to moment to moment.

Not in the mood?

Fine. Then live with regret, anxiety, and disillusionment.

Your call."

What you focus on with feeling manifests.

What you focus on with feeling manifests in your life.

And not "feeling", but *feeeeeling*. With emotional content. Emotional intensity. Intent.

What you think... is.

What is believed to be true, is true or becomes true - John Lilly

Who is the one that makes the grass green? - Zen Koan

[You are, btw.]

Whether you buy into the magic[k]al model [you manifest events], the subconscious psychological model [your subconscious awareness has a greater capacity to notice things "manifesting"], the NLP model [you don't manifest things, but you completely choose and manifest their meanings], the practical model [everything around you now started as someone's idea] or a different model completely, the bottom line is that what you think about, becomes.

What you think about consistently, intently and intensively will show up in your life.

By focusing your thoughts, you can change everything and anything.

Bringing or removing things into or out of your life is as easy as focused thought.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Visualization 101

I'm finding, more and more recently, that the things I picture - forcefully, vividly - both good and bad, tend to come about. So the key, I imagine, is controlling the process to create that which you want.

1. Create a clear mental picture. You must associate a picture to your goal. You should picture yourself in your vision, rather than watching yourself achieve your goal. This "fine point" separates the masters from the masses. You must create a picture that is so real you believe you already have achieved your success.

2. You must "experience" your vision. You must be in your picture, looking through your own eyes... seeing, hearing and feeling everything as if you have already achieved your goal. You must create the emotion of the moment in your own body.

3. Visualize your goal at every opportunity... The more frequently you plant your picture into your unconscious mind, the more rapidly you will begin to realize increased results in your life.

4. Visualize first thing in the morning and last thing at night. The best time to visualize is in the morning right after you wake up and just before you go to sleep. These are the times when your unconscious mind is most open to influence. When your conscious mind relaxes, your unconscious becomes very receptive to your thoughts, dreams and ideas--particularly ideas with high emotion.

...All great masters have taught that we
become what we constantly think about.

"Those who are the hardest to love are the ones who need it most"

I came across this quote a few weeks ago and it immediately made me think of my Mom. I haven't spoken to her in about a year and half. So I've been staring at it every time I look at my "Drafts" folder when I come over to blog to post something or another. Thinking about what it means and how I feel about it.

There are times when I'm immensely happy that I don't have contact with her and there are times when I regret it more than just about anything.

My mom and I have had a complicated relationship, as most relationships are, I imagine. Most families are "dysfunctional" in one way or another...

It comes down to a conflict of, really, two ideas that I can't really find a way to harmonize.

The first, and the reason I'm at where I am now with it, is the idea that you really need to cut yourself off from those people who are negative and toxic influences in your life.

People who are overwhelmingly negative, cynical, judgmental, hurtful and mean spirited... there is just no reason to keep trying to fit those people in your life. I mean, eventually, and this is how I felt, that constant negative and hurtful harping and picking just eats away at your soul. You end up feeling small and worthless. And there's no reason to force yourself to keep undergoing that and feeling that way.

The most common refrain is, "But, you know, it's family... you have to put up with it."

But you don't.

There are consequences, sure. But the ties of blood can be looked at as chance, fate and happenstance... and there's no reason to put yourself in a position where someone will continue to make the effort to belittle you and make you feel bad about yourself.

And make no mistake, my mom can be an amazingly hurtful and negative person. Both of my brothers and I have had periods of estrangement from her... this is my second, actually... where there's no communication with her. And one of the reasons I haven't made overtures to reconcile, like I have in the past and both my brothers did, is that I'd swear she sees the overtures as a sort of validation that her behavior was okay. It seems as if she saves her anger and hurtfulness for family. You always hurt the ones you love? Maybe.

But at the same time I know, I mean I absolutely know, that a lot of her issues, for lack of a better word, comes from a place of insecurity... and the second idea, which I can't resolve with the first, is the headline of the post - the idea that the people who are the hardest to love need it most. That seems true. I know my mom does need it.

And then I feel small and guilty and tiny minded that I'm not able to be a good enough person to be the kind of person who can do that.

I don't not love her, if that makes any sense. I do love her. I wish nothing but good things for her. But I just can't take being around her on anything like a regular basis. And I can't stand the idea that for those times that I was around her, or would need to be around her, that I'd need to mentally prepare myself for however long I'd be there that it would be emotionally strenuous and painful.

I've tried dealing with her with a lighter touch, orienting myself to her more positive aspects, laughing off her comments and insinuations, but I've never been able to keep it up. That's probably my failing, but at the same time, my god, why on earth should I have to be on guard to constantly do that?

I truly love and appreciate the things she's done for me, in raising me and all the sacrifices that parenthood demands and entails.

I just don't think that should give somebody a blank check to act in a mean spirited way.

I do love her. But right now it just has to be from a distance.

Positivity, via Stephen Colbert.

Yes sir, that is most definitely the Word.

Colbert Tells College Graduates: Get Your Own TV Show:
"He closed his speech on an apparently semi-serious note, urging the grads to learn how to say 'yes.' He noted that saying yes will sometimes get them in trouble or make them look like a fool. But he added: 'Remember, you cannot be both young and wise. Young people who pretend to be wise to the ways of the world are mostly cynics. Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it. Because cynics don’t learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blinder, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us.

'Cynics always say no. But saying yes begins things. Saying yes is how things grow. Saying yes leads to knowledge. Yes is for young people. So for as long as you have the strength to, say yes.

'And that’s The Word.'"

The unspoken agreement between the leaders of the Republican party and it's people.

Deftly described over at Driftglass in the wake of this whole Bush, etc speaking on a gay marriage ban and flag burning. Clearly the most important issues our country currently faces...

d r i f t g l a s s: More and more:
"That was the deal: In exchange for Queers to blame, they’ll ignore torture.

In exchange for Flag Burning Amendments, they’ll help the GOP heap the United States Constitution onto the pyre.

In exchange for making Liberals the New Dirty Jews, they’ll let their labor be devalued and outsourced.

In exchange for smearing Feminists, they’ll let the education system go to hell, and let good education cease to be a right and become just another privilege of the landed gentry.

In exchange for making the Michael Moore the repository of all evil, they’ll let war criminals, traitors, looters and lunatics run the government of the United States right over a cliff.

In exchange for being willfully ignorant and turning their back on Reality, they get Hateclowns like Rush and O’Reilly and Coulter to amuse them.

And in this run-up to the Maul in the Fall, that’s corner into which their Thirty-Year Long March Strategy has painted the GOP leadership. "

Cleaning out my email VII - Being against God

...don't be confused... I'm not against God. Or the idea of God. Or Gods. Or the spiritual. I'm just against YOUR God ;) Or at least the God you lay claim to as a Christian. [Again, if that's confusing, I can only once again recommend a good book on comparative theology or philosophy] :)

The God of the Bible. The one actually described there. That inconstant, egotistic, vengeful and violent child... slaughterer of nations and children who displease him. Demanding of the adulation and subservience of his creation under penalty of eternal tortuous damnation.

And... I can't emphasize this part strongly enough... I am emphatically against *any* god's self appointed representative on earth, as from an historical perspective, they've pretty much been the biggest and most evil scumfu*ks ever.

You know, and I don't know if you do, but I would love for *any* god to change my mind and "heart". In the words of that great X-Files philosopher Fox Mulder - I want to believe. Surely, it shouldn't be beyond the abilities of his grand beneficence and omnipotence to convince lil ol me of the truth, and do it in a way that I wouldn't think it was just some weird self delusional synaptical misfire. Compared to, say, generating all of creation and everything, that should be a snap.

But I've been waiting a loooooong time for that. And the closest I've ever seen to *god* is the love and compassion that people's better nature sometimes allows them to give to one another.... no god, no Jesus and no Bible required.

Cleaning out my email VI - The war on some drugs.

The "War on SOME Drugs" is a sad little pet peeve of mine, just because from top to bottom it's so antithetical to common sense.

First, prohibition doesn't work. Period. People will always find ways and substances to change their state and their emotions. Always have. Always will. The country's last experiment with prohibition and alcohol, one would think, would have informed people that outlawing substances doesn't work. But America never learns, apparently. All prohibition does, from Capone to the Crips to the Cartels, is breed a culture of violence. It's no coincidence. What's more, the very act of outlawing something makes it more tempting and more prone to abuse. Basic human psychology.

What's more, on a basic level, the very concept of making substances that grow naturally upon the earth - marijuana, coca, mushrooms - illegal, strikes me as the most asinine, unrealistic and surreal move ever.

And all of these plants and chemicals have a long tradition of consciousness expansion. There's even a not unpopular theory that the ingestion of psychedics is what triggered the development of human language, by kickstarting the brain. Not to mention almost all religions have a foundation of ingesting "sacred" substances to commune with god, no matter how far into denial modern religion is about that.

And I cannot stand laws that are designed to "protect me from myself" or prevent "potential" criminal acts. Seat belt laws annoy me to no-end. The drinking and driving laws are insane. That ingesting a substance makes you criminal is nuts. Impaired driving can result from many things - cell phones, music, conversations, you're just an idiot - but the idea that a single precursor behavior is singled out and made "criminal" astounds me. Punish the act. Not whatever you believe causes the act. For every "drunk" driver there's a dozen who have a few beers and drive home. For every "drug fiend" who jacks a car there's a dozen who light up a blunt, eat a bag of cheetos and pass out in front of the TV. Seat belt, drunk driving and even drug laws strike me as little more than revenue generating scams. That or protecting the very vested market interests of the big business of liquor and tobacco in America. And don't even start me on prostitution. If selling is legal and fucking is legal, why isn't selling fucking legal? Unless you're in Nevada, of course. Or Amsterdam. Or hundreds of other places not crippled by BS puritanical nonsense. Laws make criminals.

And no one, absolutely no one, should have more of a say about what I put into my body than me. If I don't have that right, I really don't have any rights at all. Which, honestly, I don't. Whether I have rights or not are, practically, determined by whether the guys with the guns are in a good mood that day.

And the fact that SOME drugs are illegal while alcohol and tobacco are over the counter? The hypocrisy alone astounds me. It's all sad, arbitrary nonsense.

Cleaning out my email V - R.A.W., false Aristotelian dualisms, and probability logic.

....the false trap you've fallen into is another wacky Aristotelian dualism of things either being "absolutely right or wrong" or "absolutely relative". It's actually kind of related to the existentialist crisis - Nietszche, look out! - that if all things are relative, then there is no basis for any moral decision - which isn't "true" [accurate being a better word]. But the point being that all things are not EQUALLY relative... the point of probabalistic logic, fuzzy logic, what have you is removing false certainty and instead applying multiple value logic. [In it's most basic form, in any situation there exists a "Yes", a "No" AND a "Maybe"]. I can't remember if it's in Quantum Psych or one of his other books but he details several types of logic systems, including fuzzy logic, Bayesian logic and the multi value logic systems of Jan Łukasiewicz.

The upshot is, basically, you can apply probabilities instead of absolute certainties to anything you would have previously classified as "right" and "wrong". The probability that the current scientific model of the universe, ie earth round the sun, is accurate, give it a, I don't know... 95% chance of being right. Considering we have no idea of what "dark matter" is about, whether the universe is actually speeding up or slowing down, and why and how it all started, of course... The odds of Bigfoot's existence... say 50/50. The odds the sun rises tomorrow? 99.5% And so on...

The whole point is that when you start to think in absolute certainties about anything - be it the cosmological nature of the universe, the cultural tendencies of Japanese people, the likelihood someone is going to be an asshole or incompetent... you're previously determined model of reality decides beforehand, without regard to facts, what you see. Man is not rational, man is rationalizing.

As certain as you are that the earth revolves around the sun, the Holy Mother Church "knew" that the Greeks were absolutely wrong and they were right in that Apollo didn't drag the sun cross the heavens but that god placed the earth in the center of the universe...

Certainty in anything slowly creeps into certainty in most things. The idea that one is infallible in any aspect leads one to being a prick in most.

...some theories, if one is speaking in the scientific sense, and most other senses as well, are NOT RIGHT or WRONG... and no truthful researcher, mathematician or philosopher presents them as such. Theories, scientific or otherwise, are models based on the best collection and evaluation of available data. But all theories, if they are to be of any use at all have to be ready to incorporate new data, or new methods of collecting data, or any number of other possibilies.

ABSOLUTE certainty about anything leads to happy occurences like, say, the Inquisition, The Crusades, The Invasion of Iraq and the Holocaust.

Wilson postulates that his method of logic is relatively better [for him particularly, and most people generally] because it seems to lead to greater tolerance, understanding and clarity of thought while allowing you to accomplish more, learn more and have a more pleasant and interesting life. I'd tend to agree.

There's nothing in Wilson's system of logic that prevents anyone from judging whether or not any number of options or paths or courses is relatively "better" [more productive, effective, pragmatic, etc.] than another... and in fact I'd argue that his multi-modal method of thinking provides more options that the simple way such options generally break down... the incredibly simple and dualistic "this way" or "that way" [or more typically, amongst say, everyone "my way" and "the wrong way everyone else does it."]

In the absence, for example, of causing physical harm to somebody, cultural relativism, i.e. the crap way Japanese may go about about things... is entirely acceptable to me, but still frustrating, most of the time. I'd hazard a guess, that in your experiences having come across a totally dicked up bass ackwards way of doing something, it's completely Wrong in that from your cultural perspective [a culture that is established on efficiency and Getting Things Done] whereas the cultural emphasis from a Japanese is, I don't know, preserving the WA or somesuch thing...

Again, I don't think cultural relativity excuses all things... but it does explain a lot. And whatever you find objectionable within an experience is really just a result of your own cultural and ethical influence. ...culture + genetics + imprinting + environment + education + stupid luck and chance...

Cleaning out my email IV - Still working on the TV thing...

I'm thinking more and more [sit down now, this is sacrilege to most folks] that I really should be doing more interesting things instead of watching other people do interesting things on TV. Living. Ya know? Watching TV on the net or on TIVO is good because it lets you control the schedule, instead of being controlled by it, which is a good step. But really, less TV and mindlessly surfing the net, and more of actually doing stuff is in my future. Which should further brand me an outcast from American society.

Cleaning out my email III - Language, Reality, Truth

...the verbal grunts, and the symbol systems we use to describe said manifestations, as we attribute them to things and actions are wholly relativistic and are only representative of reality so far as groups consent or individuals imagine within their respective game systems.

As goes language, so goes philosophies, religions and models of reality. All are, at best, approximations of reality and only "true" so far as people agree on them within the game rules they've chosen to play by. History is the story of one popular model of reality being supplanted by another. The concept that now, and only now, we've struck "truth" is, at best, hubris.

Cleaning out my email II - Halfway through the Chapel Perilous're stuck halfway through the Chapel Perilous of your existential crisis [or early mid-life crisis, depending on your perspective...]. See, you've long understood and embraced the fact that life lacks an inherent, intrinsic meaning. [Or if such meaning exists, we're unable to accurately determine it through our subjective neurological grids and cultural bias]. Most things people do and aspire to are societal and cultural constructs.

See, but instead of progressing all the way through that dark existential tunnel to embrace the self created life, determining what things mean to you and what you REALLY want out of life - you know, specifically and not in a vague "Uh, you know... martial arts stuff and learning and what not...]

Instead you remain stuck halfway, half embracing the meaninglessness of everyday corporate "reality" and half justifying/rationalizing your participation in that which you don't REALLY want to do... while at the same time only halfa$$edly pursuing that which truly inspires you - resulting in a blase' life of unclear and unsure moves and actions.

Yes, flowing with the Tao and being like water is key... but you must also decide which direction you want to face or if you want to get in the water to begin with. No decision is also a decision, so the wise man told me.

Cleaning out my email... "The question of 'why'"

Trying to clean out my email boxes, but came across some things I've written to folks that I'd like to remind myself of from time to time... and, well, that's what this blog is for, to remind me of things I need to think about. Sometimes, anyways...


I've spent a looooong time, sometimes I think too long, pondering the whys, wherefores and meanings of life, the universe and everything. I'm certainly not one to deride anyone's quest for the meaning of anything, but I've slowly come to my own conclusions about that kind of thing, at least my psuedo-conclusions for now, everything being time-dependent... To make a long story short, and probably nonsensical as well, certainty about anything, any question of why, can only be answered within very limited and defined game systems - like math, for example. Any other derivation of truth, certainty, why, or whatfor, runs not only through every individuals subjective, cultural and linguistic bias, but their own neurogenetics, imprinting and conditioning.

I, less and less, ask why, because I don't think most "whys" can be answered with any kind of objective context. Instead I try to ask how can my perception of whatever-it-is be useful to me. I'm agnostic, or at least try to be, not only in the religious sense, but about most things.

I think the book probably works through a combination of things, like a lot of divinatory systems - from tarot to Freudian psychology... suggestion, perceptual analyses, projection, wishful thinking, generalization. Also, for lack of a better word, magic. But that probably doesn't quite mean what you think it means...

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Marriage Tip of the Day

It's more important to listen to your wife complete her thought than interrupt to clarify a semantic point.

So, I've heard.