Saturday, February 09, 2008

Bruce Lee now, almost officially, a myth.

The "Legend" of Bruce Lee, indeed. Complete with wirefu [the antithesis of a Lee flick] and totally made up for TV fictional events.

But the production values look high, and the cast is pretty high caliber - Mark Dacascos, Chan Kwok Kwan, Ray Park, Michael Jai White - for a kung fu flick.

They make a subtitled DVD set, I'd totally buy it.

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Forty-part TV show remembers Lee:
"A 40-part series is being made by Chinese state television about the life of late martial arts star Bruce Lee.

The Legend of Bruce Lee is being filmed in southern China and stars actor Chan Kwok-kwan, who said he was "nervous and also excited" about the role.

...The production is being interpreted as a way for authorities to promote Chinese culture internationally in the run-up to next year's Olympics in Beijing.

The Xinhua News Agency said that the 50 million yuan (£3.3 million) series would also be filmed partially in Hong Kong and the US."

I wonder if Japan's obsession with Food TV is the vestige of some kind of cultural memory of food shortages and starvation after WWII?

See, this is what happens when you're reading a history of the post WWII occupation in Japan, are channel surfing on a lazy Sunday morning, and have read entirely too many Jungian psych books.

Of the 5 national channels this AM, 3 have food related programs. Consider, if at any one time, in the US, if CBS, FOX, and the CW were running Food Network style shows...

For the record, we've got a ramen making contest on one station, a review of Hawaiian restaurants on another, and the final channel has the standard "let's watch as B-list celebrities sit around and evaluate a multi-course meal. Course by course."

Japan just loves it's Food TV. It is the nation that brought you the Iron Chef. Tip of the iceberg, that.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Things to bear in mind. For the future. Yeah, that's it. The future.

Meet my hot new stripper wife / Turns out the mid-life crisis is a cruel global phenomenon. Can it be stopped?:
"...researchers compiled data from a couple million people across 80 nations and every income level and social status and gender and demographic and hairstyle, and the conclusion was pretty much irrefutable: The famed mid-life crisis, that feeling of depression and angst and what-the-hell-happened-to-my-dreams, is universal.

It's true. No matter where you live or how much money you make or how much of your mortgage payment you spend on lap dances in Las Vegas, somewhere between ages 40 and 50 (closer to 40 for women, 50 for men) feelings of futility and spiritual barrenness peak, and you feel like it's all been for naught because you're suddenly on the slippery slope toward cold, beckoning death and you never got around to writing that novel or opening that combo porn shop/laundromat/tattoo parlor or having 2.1 perfect kids or hang-gliding naked over the Swiss Alps.

And now, well, now it's just too damn late, because you're all paunchy and sagging and hair is growing where it shouldn't be and you have mysterious shooting pains in your colon and an inexplicable fondness for televised gardening shows, and no one under 30 wants to have sex with you ever again. You know?

...The angst, the heavy sighing, the overwhelming need to accomplish, to Get More Done, to reclaim some vigor and maybe rush out and buy a ridiculous Corvette or a giant silly Harley and couple it with very bad taste in leather jackets and an expensive membership at Sports Club/LA, and top it all off with a gum-snapping semi-hottie 22-year-old girlfriend who loves her some Red Bull and who gets icked-out by sashimi and who says "like" a lot and doesn't get a single one of my references to Spinal Tap or single-malt scotch or rec.arts.erotica, but who has an ass like Mary Magdalene's banana creme pie and makes cute little purring sounds in bed and makes me Viagra smoothies while dancing pornographically in skimpy boy shorts to Justin Timberlake remixes. What, too much? Sorry.

...Alas, there is no talk of prevention. Amid all the research and evidence, no one says what might alleviate or even eliminate the fear and the vague sense of doom, what might help you cruise over the mid-life hump with something resembling wisdom and gratitude and insight.

My guess is it starts with the usual combination, a personally customized admixture of regular, vigorous exercise, conscious food habits and minimal reality TV and great heaping doses of travel and nature and mental stimulation and truly excellent bedsheets, combined with absolute refusal to be fixed in time and place, to shrivel and hunker down and cling, as so many do, to one set of rules, one ideology, one notion of How It's All Supposed To Be. It is the knowledge that real ecstasy has nothing to do with external accomplishment, and everything to do with internal awareness.

...Isn't that the real secret? The simplest truth? Isn't that what the gurus and wise ones have been saying since before Jesus was a tingle in the loins of God? To be so present, so hotly, divinely connected to the moment you are in that time loses all relevance and age means nothing and opportunity shows up exactly as it should, and the real accomplishment, the real sense of achievement comes from celebrating each and every breath like it was a shot glass of molten meaning?

Yes. I'm going with that. What a lovely, Zen-licked, tantra-soaked perspective. I hope to suck down great heaping gallons of it, before it's too late."

Thursday, February 07, 2008

...and I approve this sake-bomb.

I Wanna Talk about the Girl in My Building

Guy #1: Dude, you know what I realized? I really miss Allison*.
Guy #2: Yeah?
Guy #1: Yeah. Like, we talk on IM, but I haven't seen her since the summer, and I was just such a dick at the end, y'know?
Guy #2: Yeah...
Guy #1: I told her we should hang out over break.
Guy #2: Yeah... You wanna get a beer?
Guy #1: Are you even listening?
Guy #2: Yeah. Hey, you want Thai?
Guy #1: Unbelievable. Next time you come crying to me about how the girl in your building has a boyfriend, I'm gonna hang up on you.
Guy #1: This might be the gayest conversation we've ever had.
Guy #2: Agreed. Can we go Saki-bombing?

--49th St

via Overheard in New York, Feb 7, 2008

Ha. Ha.

Judge drops sex case as 'outrageous' --
"A Lehigh County judge has dismissed the case against a woman who was charged with promoting prostitution at a North Whitehall Township spa, ruling that state police engaged in ''outrageous'' conduct when they paid an informant to have sex four times with employees."

Religion notwithstanding, this is a cool little optical illusion.

George Carlin - The Real Owners

Lest you think I'm becoming too optimistic.

Preach on, Carlin.

"It's called the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it."

You know, the first election I could vote in was the '92 Clinton/Bush election. I remember watching the debate, thinking "You know, this Clinton guy... he's different... he's going to change all this nonsense..." and sending in my absentee ballot from college.

Same bullshit, different election.

The tournament begins!

Street Fighter: The Later Years, Part 8.

He just loves the cock.

Well, you know, probably.

[Not that there's anything wrong with that.]

Background on Haggard here.

Headlines: SUNRISE: Haggard exits restoration process early | haggard, life, new -
"New Life Church said Tuesday that former pastor Ted Haggard has prematurely ended a "spiritual restoration" process begun when he was fired for sexual misconduct.

Haggard was fired from New Life Church and resigned as president of the National Association of Evangelicals in November 2006 after a former male prostitute alleged they had a cash-for-sex relationship. The man also said he saw Haggard use methamphetamine.

Haggard confessed to undisclosed "sexual immorality" and said he bought meth but didn't use it.

New Life said in a written statement that "the process of restoring Ted Haggard is incomplete and (New Life) maintains its original stance that he should not return to vocational ministry..."

"The Mormon Bigfoot Genesis Theory"

Oh my god, it's just too awesome. The title alone might make it my most favorite thing ever.

The Mormon Bigfoot Genesis Theory - 10 Zen Monkeys:
"The Journal of Mormon History recently published a new investigation into stories suggesting that the giant Sasquatch monster is really Cain, the murderous second son of Adam and Eve.

It may not be the first controversy tackled by new Mormon President, Thomas S. Monson. But the article's author, Matthew Bowman cites a 1919 manuscript describing Hawaiian missionary E. Wesley Smith "being attacked by a huge, hairy creature, whom Smith drives off in the name of Christ" the night before the mission was dedicated. His brother tells him the attacker must've been Cain. ("Now therefore cursed shalt thou be upon the earth, which hath opened her mouth and received the blood of thy brother at thy hand...a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be upon the earth.") And then he refers him to a story by a celebrated Mormon martyr who was one of Joseph Smith's original twelve apostles.

...There's already been a controversy about the Mormon church's teachings on Cain. Brigham Young believed that God punished Cain's ancestors, and that "the mark of Cain" was: black skin. The same belief continued through a 1966 edition of the church reference book Mormon Doctrine, and black Mormons were banned from the church's priesthood. .."

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Oddly enticing, vaguely disturbing.

Via the always interesting riotclitshave

We win!

Oh no, wait. The opposite of that.

[Unless you use drugs, I guess. In which case you do win.]

Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > World Not Drug-Free Yet. Check Again in Another 10 Years.:
"The U.N. expects another bumper crop of opium in Afghanistan this year, close to last year's all-time record of about 9,000 tons:
Cultivation is still increasing in the insurgency-hit south and west of the country, the report said, and taxes on the crop have become a major source of revenue for the Taliban insurgency."

God doesn't like Super Tuesday; the South.


VOA News - Tornados Wreak Havoc in Southern US States:
"In a display of natural fury unusual for this time of year, tornados and violent thunderstorms have killed at least 50 people in five south-central states. VOA's Greg Flakus reports."

And besides, if we get Clinton-McCain, I have to sit through yet another election where both sides continue to fight over who was right in Vietnam.

I've had quite enough of the "dirty hippies" VS "stalwart anticommunists," thanks. Clinton/Bush/Dole and Bush/Gore/Kerry and dealing with the Swift Boat Veterans for Baby Boomer POW Rhodes Scholar Texas Air Guard Truth... no more, okay?

How about we focus on things not happening 40 years ago in this election? You know, like Iraq, the economy, dwindling civil liberties and health care? Too much to ask?

[Besides which, I don't think Hillary can beat McCain.]

Balloon Juice:
"...So why am I then choosing Obama? A number of reasons, starting with why I am not voting for Clinton, and don’t think you should, either:

1.) Over the past few weeks I have grown weary of the Clintons, and weary really is the right term. They are tiring to the bone. Everything is calculated, nothing is what it seems to be, and they are just too cynical for even me... Everything with the Clintons is so recycled, so old, so tawdry. Yes, Hillary, I do need a change.

2.) There is nothing in the Clinton past that makes me believe they will end the war in Iraq, and additionally, I can see her engaging in military adventurism just to prove she is strong on defense.

3.) I don’t see her rolling back (at least willingly) the executive over-reaches of the past 8 years.

4.) I don’t trust her. I just don’t. Flame me all you want, but I think she has the capacity and willingness to be just as secretive as the Bush administration.


Why then, choose Obama?

1.) I trust his judgement. He has been using this to great effect during the campaign, but it is true- on one of the most important foreign policy judgements of my lifetime, Obama was right. This war has been a disaster, should never have been launched, the junior Senator was right, Hillary was wrong, I was wrong.


4.) I like the impact he has on people. I am a cynical bastard, but I really have enjoyed the fact that he really does seem to inspire people. I have somehow been immune to his charms (and mocked them), but I am not oblivious to the impact he has had on others. That is a good thing..."

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Stylish bit of politics - "Yes, We Can."

I like the song, and the speech, better than any politician... nice bit of music.

"Song & video, featuring a star cast, by of The Black Eyed Peas. Inspired by Barack Obama's 'Yes We Can' speech."

Monday, February 04, 2008

"Ultra-minimalist political flyer, Los Angeles" via Boing Boing.

Well played.

Whatever will be, will be...

It Wasn't a Dadaist Who Drew That Mustache on the Mona Lisa

Hipster to man pressing napkin against Annie Leibovitz picture to write down a number: What are you doing?! You can't do that!
Russian man: Is okay -- it happens.

--Brooklyn Museum

Overheard by: I swear, I didn't know him!

via Overheard in New York, Feb 4, 2008

Antiwar, radical, conspiracy theories, doesn't trust the government... No wonder I always dug Rambo. Red Dawn, too.

A well thought out, counterintuitive look at the Rambo films.

Reason Magazine - The Ghost of Rambo:
"...But there was more to the movie than that. That's the second thing people forget about the Rambo series: The first installment is explicitly anti-war and surprisingly radical.

The film opens with Rambo learning that one of his war buddies has died of exposure to Agent Orange. Right after that, when the sheriff starts to harass the soldier, Teasle tells him that "wearing that flag on that jacket, and looking the way you do, you're asking for trouble around here." The reference to the flag seems to signify an intolerance toward veterans, but the second clause implies that Teasle doesn't like Rambo because of his appearance—i.e., because he looks like a hippie drifter. When the sheriff's men finally find out that Rambo is a Green Beret who served in Vietnam, one of them exclaims, "Jesus! That freak?"

This identification of Rambo with the counterculture is a residue of Morrell's novel, which was partly inspired by a news report. "In a southwestern American town," Morrell writes, "a group of hitchhiking hippies had been picked up by the local police, stripped, hosed, and shaved—not just their beards but their hair. The hippies had then been given back their clothes and driven to a desert road, where they were abandoned to walk to the next town, thirty miles away....I wondered what Rambo's reaction would be if, after risking his life in the service of his country, he were subjected to the insults that those hippies had received."

The most jarring thing about the movie's politics comes later. Everyone remembers Rambo's much-quoted soliloquy at the end of the film, the one where he complains about "maggots at the airport, protesting me, spitting on me, calling me a baby-killer." What isn't quoted as often is a conversation between Teasle and Col. Trautman, the Special Forces officer who trained Rambo. Trautman, played by Richard Crenna, describes his student's immense skills as a fighter, and he suggests the police should defuse the situation by letting Rambo escape, waiting a few days, then putting out a nationwide APB and picking him up later. Teasle refuses.

Trautman: You want a war you can't win?
Teasle: Are you telling me that 200 men against your boy is a no-win situation for us?
Trautman: You send that many, don't forget one thing.
Teasle: What?
Trautman: Plenty of body bags.

A small but committed guerilla force humiliating a larger power that doesn't comprehend the fight it's in—the comparison to Vietnam is obvious. It's also a little discomfiting, because it puts Rambo in the role of the Viet Cong. Morrell was wrong: The movie did transpose the Vietnam war to America. It just did it in a radically different way than the book did, and with radically different implications. It asks the audience to cheer for a guerilla hero.

This was surprisingly common in the allegedly right-wing cult movies of the '80s. Consider John Milius' Red Dawn (1984), in which a small group of Colorado high school jocks battle a Soviet occupation. The film outraged liberal critics, but further to the left it had some supporters. In a witty and perceptive piece for The Nation, Andrew Kopkind called it "the most convincing story about popular resistance to imperial oppression since the inimitable Battle of Algiers," adding that he'd "take the Wolverines from Colorado over a small circle of friends from Harvard Square in any revolutionary situation I can imagine." The one sympathetic character among the occupying forces is a Cuban colonel with a background in guerilla warfare. At one point he tells a Russian officer, voice dripping with disgust, that he used to be an insurgent but now is "just like you—a policeman." Increasingly sympathetic to the Coloradoan rebels, at a key moment the Cuban allows two of them to escape.

...Rambo: First Blood Part 2 starts with the title character being freed from a prison "hell-hole." Dangling the possibility of a pardon, Trautman asks if Rambo is willing to go on a covert reconnaissance mission to find MIAs in communist Vietnam. Rambo accepts with just one question: "Do we get to win this time?"

So begins the movie everyone remembers; or, rather, the movie everyone thinks they remember. If Stallone's speech about the mistreated vet serves as a screen memory that conceals the more radical implications of the first Rambo picture, then the hype and hysteria around the follow-up film has done something similar for First Blood Part 2. Yes, it's an ultraviolent story about a supersoldier refighting the Vietnam war. Yes, it implies that we could have won Vietnam the first time around if our hands hadn't been tied by liberals back home. Yes, Ronald Reagan co-opted it, joking at the end of one hostage crisis that "After seeing Rambo last night, I know what to do the next time this happens." The word "Rambo" entered the language, in phrases like "Rambo foreign policy." Some veterans picketed the picture. One vet—Gustav Hasford, author of the book that became Full Metal Jacket—called it "Triumph of the Will for American Nazis."

All of which makes it easy to forget that this movie is as cynical about the government as any 1970s conspiracy thriller. Indeed, the POW/MIA rescue genre evolved directly from those post-Watergate pictures... In First Blood Part 2, likewise, we learn that Rambo was never supposed to find any prisoners; he rescues them only by ditching the authorities' plan and setting off on his own. (I haven't read Morrell's novelization of the film, but it apparently includes a scene in which Rambo chuckles darkly as he informs the disbelieving POWs that Ronald Reagan has become president. He "couldn't bring himself to tell them that Vietnam was about to change its name to Nicaragua.")

...When the Cold War ended, Sylvester Stallone's movies lost their hold on the culture and decayed into '80s kitsch. But that distrust of the government didn't disappear; if anything, it intensified and crossed what used to be sharp ideological lines. (In the early '90s, it wasn't that unusual to hear left-wing radicals pondering the possibility of a POW coverup—or right-wing radicals touting the powers of hemp.) Since 2001, the balance has tipped back and forth. When the wounds of 9/11 were fresh, the outrage of the heartland populists turned outwards again; since then, the failures of the Iraqi occupation have driven many of them back to an anti-government stance..."

Don't ever trust them.


Yeah, that celibacy thing, that works really fucking well.

Good idea, Catholics.

[More healing power of religion.]

The Associated Press: Elderly Nun Gets Jail Time in Sex Case:
"A 79-year-old nun was sentenced Friday to one year in a county jail for sexually abusing two teens when she was their principal four decades ago.

Sister Norma Giannini avoided a trial by pleading no-contest in November to two felony counts of indecent behavior with a child.

"I ask forgiveness from the bottom of my heart," she told Circuit Judge M. Joseph Donald at her sentencing.

...A psychologist told prosecutors in 2006 that Giannini identified four other victims to an Archdiocese of Milwaukee panel. The three were in Milwaukee and one was in Chicago, where she worked before and after her stint in Wisconsin, the Chicago Tribune reported Friday."

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Screw you, Texas... Japan still hangs people.

3 convicted killers hanged in Japan -
"Japan has executed three men convicted of murder, including a man who killed a woman after completing a prison term for raping her.

The hangings were carried out Friday in Tokyo, Fukuoka and Osaka, the Japan Times reported."

Saw a rainbow today.

Shaken and Safety Inspections.

So, in Japan, if you bought your car from somebody cool, when it's time to get your safety inspection done on your car, they come and pick it up, take care of the all the bureaucratic hassle, and when they're done they bring it back to you.

And they give you a loaner while they take care of it.

Which explains why Sandy is in these pics - goofin' - with a car that is not her own.

Plus, I dug the way the sun hits in the second photo.


Went out in the rain and nonsense this AM to do the Setsubun thing, cause last year Sandy and I got out to the shrine after it was all over...

Via the always illuminating Wikipedia - Setsubun:
"In Japan, Setsubun (節分) is the day before the beginning of each season. The name literally means 'seasonal division', but usually the term refers to the spring Setsubun, properly called Risshun (立春), celebrated yearly on February 3. In its association with the Lunar New Year, Spring Setsubun can be thought of (and indeed was previously thought of) as a sort of New Year's Eve, and so was accompanied by a special ritual to cleanse away all the evil of the former year and drive away disease-bringing evil spirits for the year to come. This special ritual is called mamemaki (豆撒き, lit. bean scattering).

...At Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines all over the country, there are celebrations for Setsubun. Priests and invited guests will throw roasted soy beans (some wrapped in gold or silver foil), small envelopes with money, sweets, candies and other prizes."

Saw a handful of my students out at the shrine, which is always cool.

In that pic on the right, that bachan/grandma in the purple... she totally moved to box me out once they started throwing the stuff. Cute, in an oddly aggressive way.

Our haul. [We gave the rest to the kids.]


Study says many studies suck / Research shows we are far too drunk on stupid studies that tell us what research shows:
"Maybe we have reached — or rather, far surpassed — Inane Study Saturation. Maybe the scientific method we rely on so desperately to illuminate every single microfacet of our lives has become far too much of a fanatical religion unto itself, a bloody altar of ostensibly infallible truth to which we have gladly sacrificed the nubile virgins of common sense and intuition and consciousness and spiritual intelligence. You think?

This, then, is the danger: Despite the frequent inanity, despite the insulting silliness of much of the information, we've been led to believe that it is only through a relentless obsession with tiny, data-driven studies that we can obtain real knowledge, real understanding of what we're about and how we should eat, sleep, screw, breathe.

As such, we risk perhaps the most vital and precious aspect of human understanding, our innate sense that everything is far, far more complicated and messy and juicy and fluidly interconnected, far more non-dissectible than we like to imagine, and in fact trying to dismember human experience into its drab components merely destroys the holistic integrity of the whole damnable circus.

Law & Order: Gotham City

Via - ComicMix news

Someone didn't think that one through.

Pleasure and Pain.

Mad Science: Neuroscience Explains Why You Get Pleasure From Hurting Yourself:
"It turns out there is a neurological explanation for why people scratch and cut themselves, and spank each other for pleasure. Inflicting small amounts of physical pain, whether from scratching your skin vigorously or doing something more extreme, deactivates the parts of your brain associated with unpleasant or painful emotions. Though scientists have long speculated that there was some kind of neurological payoff from self-inflicted pain, a study published yesterday demonstrated precisely why your brain gets a reward when you hurt your body.

...It's also possible that the pain of scratching, or more intense pain from cutting, suppresses painful memories too."

" asking a mugger to hold your wallet."

The funniest thing I read/heard this weekend. And only a special few will know why.


The nanny state reaches an apex.

Jimmy Moore's Livin' La Vida Low-Carb™ Blog: Mississippi Lawmakers Discriminate Against 'Obese' Eating At Restaurants:
"In an attempt to respond to the rising obesity crisis happening in the state of Mississippi right now where they earned the dubious distinction as the first state in the U.S. to surpass 30 percent obesity rates in 2007 (30.6 percent), state House of Representatives members W. T. Mayhall, Jr. and John Read, both Republicans, and Democrat Bobby Shows thought it would be prudent to LEGISLATIVELY require restaurant owners to discriminate against fat people wanting to eat at their establishment. I kid you not, that's what the bill says and they are DEAD SERIOUS (hat tip to Regina Wilshire for telling me about this one)!

The 'Three Blind Mice' of Mississippi, as I have dubbed Mayhall, Read, and Shows, go on to propose in their bill that the Mississippi Department of Health in conjunction with Mississippi's Council on Obesity would set the criteria for establishing what the weight limit will be for patrons wishing to dine at a restaurant anywhere within the state borders (ostensibly using the overused and irrelevant body mass index to determine whether someone is obese or not). Strict compliance with this law will be required of the restaurants or else the state 'may revoke the permit of any food establishment that repeatedly violates the provisions of this"

Hey, good thing we won that war, huh?

Really made a difference.

More of that healing power of religion for you.

Oh, yeah... and opium production is surging and the Taliban's back.

Afghanistan: death sentence for downloading, distributing report on oppression of women - Boing Boing:
"Authorities in Afghanistan have sentenced a 23-year-old journalism student to death for having downloaded and shared copies of a report criticizing the oppressive treatment of women in some Islamic societies."


The Top Secret US Military Space Program. Is The Future Already Here?, page 1:
"“And apparently, NASA must be used to convince the public that our current technology, such as with our very old and decrepit Space Shuttle program, is the best we have, while our military conducts space missions with technology that we can only fantasize about while watching Star Trek.” - USAF Medic, 1980s"