Saturday, June 21, 2008


Awesome. True. [And even if it's not true. Pretend it is. Can't hurt.]

It's How You Put it Together...: Tahitian-Style Beach Pump:
"Many seeming disasters are ultimately blessings. I believe in a world of good and goodness. It's often darkest just before the dawn and you can come out of this stronger and wiser and perhaps in a few years you'll look back and have a compassionate laugh for yourself. When you're right in the middle it's difficult, but I suggest you see this as the middle of the story, not the end of the story yet."

"School Board Fires Teacher For Branding Cross Into Students’ Skin"

Nope, religion is perfectly normal and sane. Move along, nothing to see here.

Crooks and Liars » OH School Board Fires Teacher For Branding Cross Into Students’ Skin:
"The school board of a small central Ohio community voted unanimously Friday to fire a teacher accused of preaching his Christian beliefs despite staff complaints and using a device to burn the image of a cross on students’ arms.

School board members voted 5-0 to fire Mount Vernon Middle School science teacher John Freshwater. Board attorney David Millstone said Freshwater is entitled to a hearing to challenge the dismissal.

The report came a week after a family filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Columbus against Freshwater and the school district, saying Freshwater burned a cross on a child’s arm that remained for three or four weeks."

Random JET Programme Ruminations...

Rainy season bites. I'm already sick to death of getting pissed on and soaked biking to and from work every day. Not to mention my bike - the one that wasn't stolen - really only has one semi functional working brake, and in the rain it's not the best. Time to suck it up and buy a new bike, especially with the increased biking I'ma haveta do next from Sept.

Speaking of... Next year has potential clusterfuck written all over it... one fewer JET, 2-3 more schools to go to. I'm trying to maintain a positive mental outlook, but... [heavy sigh] You know, I'm sure it'll all play out okay. And the kids'll be cool. But honestly, given that I'm not gonna be at the new schools enough to really learn the kids personalities, I resent the fuck out of the fact that it'll be taking me out of and taking time away from the schools and students I spent time developing relationships with over the last 3 years. I resent that quite a lot actually. That, plus the whole "Let's up the English requirements in schools at the same time scaling back the JET Programme" bullshit.

Why Elementary Schools rock... yes, they are thoroughly exhausting, but at what other job are people - okay, yes, children - but at what other job can you be greeted by hordes of folks who are absolutely thrilled, delighted and excited to see you? Yes, it may be because I'm tall and white and have a kooky shaved head and look strange, but you know what? Does not matter. I thoroughly recommend Japanese elementary school visits for those depressed, with low self esteem or just in need of an ego shot.

13, 21, 33 months from now... Almost July. End of July is the end of my 3rd year contract, the beginning of my 4th. And as this is almost certainly my last year... kind of sad. Every thing I do this next year will be the last time I do it as a JET. Last summer vacation. Last bunkasai. Last undokai. Last enkais. Last high school test prep. Last graduation. Sad.

I was in class with the 1st graders at Jr High the other day [Who are coming along nicely, 3 months into the year, I might add. Gonna be another excellent class, much like this year's 2nd graders - who are into their 2nd year 'dip'/can't be bothered/gonna screw off for a little bit' phase - and last year's 3rd graders - probably my favorite class since I've been here] - but I digress.

Anyways, in class the other day and I was struck by the thought - "I will not see these kids graduate Jr High." I won't even see this year's 2nd graders graduate. And that did, indeed, bum me out for quite some time. I find myself getting really attached to the kids I teach, despite the language barrier. I really want to see them finish, see them succeed, see them accomplish the things they want. I'll admit to choking up a bit at last year's graduation. [But no tears, of course. I'm a dude.] But after next summer, I won't have that opportunity. 13 months from now, it'll all be over. That does bum me out to the nth degree, to be honest.

So I couldn't help but think that in 21 months, when this year's second graders graduate, and in 33 months, when this year's first graders do likewise, maybe I could come back to Japan for a week or so to catch their graduation, see them one last time. I'd like that. I've heard of some JETs doing that, coming back for a graduation ceremony. Maybe it'll be possible. Given that I've not clue one about where or what or how my life'll be like that far in advance of the actual dates, it's really hard to say whether I'll have the wherewithal, the opportunity or the $$ to do it. [Especially the $$, as gas prices continue to go insane, I shudder to think what plane tix are gonna cost a year and half from now...]

But the idea of coming back that final time, visiting with the students and congratulating them on their graduation day, finding a way of showing them - since words fail, especially for me, in Japanese - that I've truly appreciated this experience and knowing them... well those are happy thoughts.

And they blunt some of the sadness I feel in knowing it'll all be over soon.

And I'm gonna hold onto those thoughts for a while.

Training 74-76.

74 - Nutrition - coffee w/cream&equal, shake w/3 eggs & inst coffee & cream & equal, 500ml diet soda, 1.7l water, ground beef w/mayo & chs
PT - 30m Rutten MMA wkout/thai boxing 3m rounds

75 - Nutrition - coffee w/cream & equal, shake w/3 eggs & inst coffee & cream & equal, 1l diet soda, steak, 1.7l water, 4 salami sticks, shake w/3 eggs & peanut butter & cream & equal, 180ml whiskey [long week]
PT - PHA/circuit workout
Group 1 - Squats 3x10x70/80/90, Situps 3x25, Conc curls 3x30x10, Side Bends 45x25x3, Neck 3x25
Group 2 - Pushups 3x10, Leg raise 3x25, Chins 3x5, Std twist 3x25, Calf rs 3x15x105 Group 3 - SLDL 3x90x10, Crunch 3x25, Press 3x10x70, Bnt fwd twist 3x25, Overhead Tri X 35x3x10

76 - Rest/Free Day


Overheard Everywhere | If You Don't, Try the Cafeteria's Amphetameatloaf:
"History teacher (hanging up posters with spray adhesive): If ya'll get high from this, you're welcome.

High School
Columbia, South Carolina

Overheard by: thank you!"

That is some serious drinking.

Teacher caught drunk driving -- 8 hours after last drink - Mainichi Daily News:
"A high school teacher has been suspended for three months after he was ticketed for driving under the influence of alcohol -- more than eight hours after he stopped drinking, officials said.

...The teacher admitted that he was drinking the previous night. 'I didn't think I was under the influence because more than eight hours had passed since I drank,' the teacher was quoted as telling board officials."

"Assholes. The whole lot." - Useless Democrats pass the FISA Bill, Telecom Immunity.

Honestly, why in the fuck did they elect Democrats to oppose Bush's policies if all they end up doing is rubber stamping his bullshit? Spineless, weak, and useless... I swear to god.

Government rules it's legal for government to spy on those not in government - Boing Boing Gadgets:
"Assholes. The whole lot. Mike Masnick reports on the American congress' failure to not only penalize telco giants who allowed warrantless spying on American citizens, but to provide retroactive immunity for any previous crimes. A few hundred corrupt, pissloaf schemers have just made it totally legal for the government to spy on you without any oversight whatsoever."

Crooks and Liars » Mike’s Blog Roundup:
"The White House has declared a “major victory,” thanks to 105 sellout Dems and…(cough) ‘leaders’ Hoyer, Pelosi…and Barack Obama. This is “change you can believe in?” Reprehensible."

Balloon Juice:
"The Democratic Leadership as portrayed in a picture:

House Falls Down on the Job | Electronic Frontier Foundation:
"The House of Representatives today has fallen down on the job. By passing the FISA Amendments Act (293-129, with 105 Democrats in favor), they voted to give this lame duck President an undeserved parting gift by passing immunity for telcoms that helped the President violate the Constitution by participating in the NSA's massive and illegal spying program.

While Speaker Pelosi and President Bush describe it as a "balanced bill" with "bipartisan support," the millions of Americans whose privacy rights have been violated by the President's illegal spying program seem to have been left out of the equation.

Senator Bond's gloating statement to the New York Times showed the true picture: "I think the White House got a better deal than even they had hoped to get." The Washington Post wrote that the bill "hands President Bush one of the last major legislative victories he is likely to achieve." And the San Francisco Chronicle, writing from Speaker Pelosi's home district, called the vote "weak, timid, spineless."

To say that EFF is disappointed in the House Leadership's support for this bill is an understatement. Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Hoyer, so vocal in their opposition to telecom immunity last March, capitulated to a dangerous "compromise" that gives the telecoms and the Bush Administration what they have been demanding for over a year: Protection from court cases that threaten to uncover the extent of the President's illegal spying program."

And Obama, the new head of the Democratic Pary? Not much better. Very "not much."

Crooks and Liars » Where is Obama on the FISA fight? Obama responds! UPDATED 1,2, &3:
"..In the past Obama supported Chris Dodd’s filibuster.

...Obama will back a filibuster of any Senate FISA legislation containing telecom immunity, his campaign has just told Election Central. The Obama campaign has just sent over the following statement from spokesman Bill Burton:

“To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies.”

That was huge at the time.

UPDATED 1: Obama has come out with a statement via Glenn Greenwald:
Given the grave threats that we face, our national security agencies must have the capability to gather intelligence and track down terrorists before they strike, while respecting the rule of law and the privacy and civil liberties of the American people. . . .

After months of negotiation, the House today passed a compromise that, while far from perfect, is a marked improvement over last year’s Protect America Act. . . It does, however, grant retroactive immunity, and I will work in the Senate to remove this provision so that we can seek full accountability for past offenses.

It is not all that I would want. But given the legitimate threats we face, providing effective intelligence collection tools with appropriate safeguards is too important to delay. So I support the compromise, but do so with a firm pledge that as President, I will carefully monitor the program, review the report by the Inspectors General, and work with the Congress to take any additional steps I deem necessary to protect the lives -– and the liberty –- of the American people."

You suck.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Marines lead the way.

But not quite in the way you'da imagined.

Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > Golden State of Bliss:
"[Bob] Lehman, a former Marine, and [Tom] Felkner were married by Lehman's brother, Jeff, a retired Marine.

'I'm a Marine. I like to do things first,' said Bob Lehman."

No shit.

One of those things I wished I'da learned earlier in life...

Bad guys really do get the most girls - sex - 18 June 2008 - New Scientist:
"NICE guys knew it, now two studies have confirmed it: bad boys get the most girls. The finding may help explain why a nasty suite of antisocial personality traits known as the "dark triad" persists in the human population, despite their potentially grave cultural costs.

The traits are the self-obsession of narcissism; the impulsive, thrill-seeking and callous behaviour of psychopaths; and the deceitful and exploitative nature of Machiavellianism...

But being just slightly evil could have an upside: a prolific sex life, says Peter Jonason at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. "We have some evidence that the three traits are really the same thing and may represent a successful evolutionary strategy."

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Why it's important to know what the hell you're saying.

Overheard in New York | And I Thought I Was So Socially-Conscious When I Stopped Using "Blackie":
"Blonde: So I started calling my students 'nizzle'.
Brunette: 'Nizzle' means 'nigger'.
Blonde: Oh. My. God.

--A Train"

Ahhhh... that's better.

My new computer felt positively naked. Now it's one step closer to making the world a a better place. [Okay, a small step, but still...]

Beach dogs + Engrish.

Cause Sandy likes the sausage dogs.

This has a slightly different context than probably intended. Engrish is fun.

Sunnahamashukai - Sand and Seaweed sculptures by tiny elementary school children.

I'm sure I butchered the romaji above, but on Monday I hiked out to the beach with one of my elementary schools so they could partake of their annual cultural beach time goodness.

I went with two years ago, but missed last year, so it was cool to be able to head out with them again.

And we managed to get out there before the rain hit.

Turtles were a popular topic of construction.

As were sharks.

[That is one happy shark down below there.]

And two, count 'em, two Mickey Mouses.

[Mickey Mice? Meeses?]

Whatever. Disney owns the souls of even Japanese children, apparently.

I, however, enjoyed the stark simplicity of the stingray.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Best Chief of Police Ever.

Boulder cops allow naked biker riders, despite law | News | CW2 Colorado | KWGN-TV:
"Chief says police have 'better things to do'

..."It's not a matter of enforcing the law, it's a matter of making good sound decisions on what you're going to enforce and when you're going to enforce it," said Chief Mark Beckner. He admits his department has "better things to do than enforce a law in which no harm was being done."

He went on to say, "In a situation where it's a mass event like this, I just don't think it's to the communities benefit to spend the money and resources it would take to try to stop a group of 60 people riding bikes naked. It would be like herding cats anyway and that's just the position that we've taken.""

Training 72-73.

- 1.7l water, 1.5l diet soda, chkn breast w/mayo, shake w/3 eggs/cream/equal/inst coffee, grnd chkn w/mayo/chs
PT - 30m Rutten MMA wkout/thai boxing 3m rounds

- cup of coffee w/equal/cream, shake w/3eggs/cream/equal/inst coffee, beef w/mayo, 800ml diet soda, 2.2l water
PT - Complete Keys to Progress PHA/circuit workout.

Group 1 - Squats 3x10x80, Situps 3x25, Conc curls 20/25/30x10, Side Bends 35/40/45x25x3, Neck 3x25.
Group 2 - Pushups 3x10, Leg raise 3x25, Chins 3x5, Std twist 3x25, Calf rs 3x15x105 Group 3 - SLDL 1x80x10 2x90x10, Crunch 3x25, Press 3x10x70, Bnt fwd twist 3x25, Overhead Tri X 30x3x10


New York is harsh.

He really didn't think that one through.

Overheard in New York | I'll Have My Secretary Do It:
"30-something guy to group: So yeah, I mean my ex-wife found out I bought a new car, a Benz, and that my new girlfriend was driving around in it. So she got all pissy and told me to buy her a car. So I bought her the shittiest Toyota I could find at the used car lot. No joke, this thing is a death trap. I hope she burns alive in it.
Friend: Um, don't you have kids?
30-something guy: Yeah, so?
Friend: Doesn't your ex-wife drive the kids?
30-something guy: Oh fuck me, now I have to tell her that I tried to kill her.

--Metro North Train

Overheard by: Just Trying to Sleep..."

More dumb school + police lies.

Yeah, I know I referenced another one of these just recently, but god does this annoy me. To clarify, this isn't the "Every 15 Minutes" program, where a Grim Reaper comes and "kills" a student in class [cheesy, but harmless] but a situation where kids were lead to believe that their friends had actually been killed.

Police pretend students killed to teach dangers of drunk driving - Boing Boing:
"A uniformed police officer went to 20 classrooms El Camino High School in California on Monday and announced to students that several of their classmates had been killed over the weekend in alcohol-related car accidents.

He was lying, and he and the school continued to lie about it for two hours to the grief-stricken students. Why? To teach the kids an important lesson about the dangers of drunk driving.

I imagine the students learned another lesson -- that cops and authority figures are liars

See, that last line there, that sums it all up. What do kids learn? That the school and the cops and anybody with any authority over you will lie their asses off to you whenever they decide it's for your own good. Screw them.

A couple good remarks from the comments:
"Lie and lie and lie and then wonder why they go apeshit.


It has been said that children no longer respect their elders. Children see no wisdom in an adult who is unable to set the time on a VCR. And this is further proof. Lying to children will not teach them. Cognitive abuse will only strengthen their boundaries. This same excercise took place in my high school, fifteen years ago. And yes, some of the students knew it was fake...and disreguarded the authority figure, their message, and their failing ethos. Others, like me, became very distraught receiving the message that another friend had died due to the plauge of drunk driving...


"They were traumatised, but we wanted them to be traumatised,"

Right there, you're fired. And in a sane world, jailed.

This exercise teaches children the valuable lesson to not trust anything adults tell them. It teaches paranoia and irrational fear. It teaches children that the best way to instruct someone is to terrorize them.

Yes, drunk-driving is awful, a tragic consequence of bad decision-making. Why not focus on making better decisions in the first place?"

Growing up, joy was = Saturday morning cartoons + a couple big bowls of sugar bomb choco crunch.

No wonder I was a little fattie. Blog » Drop That Spoon!:
"“That processed cereals had become little more than sugary junk with milk and vitamins added was an accusation made as long ago as 1970, when Robert Choate, an adviser to President Nixon on nutrition, told a congressional hearing into breakfast cereals that the majority “fatten but do little to prevent malnutrition”. Choate was outraged at the aggressive targeting of children in breakfast cereal advertising. He analyzed 60 well-known cereal brands and concluded that two-thirds offered “empty calories, a term thus far applied to alcohol and sugar”. Rats fed a diet of ground-up cereal boxes with sugar, milk and raisins were healthier than rats fed the cereals themselves, he testified to senators.”"

Much more at the link.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Boldly going where two dudes have never gone before in West Hollywood.

George Takei and Brad Altman first to get marriage license in West Hollywood - Boing Boing:
"Actor George Takei, 71, and Brad Altman, 54, were the first couple to ever receive their marriage license in the City of West Hollywood. Takei and Altman will have a wedding ceremony in September in the Democracy Room of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles."

Ah, the Yellow Fever.

Overheard in New York | And Please, No Orientalism on the Way:
"Hot Asian chick to boyfriend, about former boyfriend: He actually told me he liked fucking me because of my 'almond eyes.'
Boyfriend: Where do you find these guys?
Hot Asian chick: I know, right?
Boyfriend: I like fucking you because you come at least once a minute.
Hot Asian chick: Take me home now!

--8th & Broadway

Overheard by: ...can i borrow her"

See, and I thought one of the bennies of having $ was, you know, more options.

Equality of deprivation, how absurd.

Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > The Equal Sharing of Misery:
"Under current National Health Service (NHS) regulations, if a patient chooses to purchase expensive drug treatments not covered by the government, they forfeit the right to further state-funded treatment. Allowing citizens to purchase life-extending drugs not covered by the NHS would create, says Labour Health Minister Alan Johnson, a two-tiered system favoring the wealthy. Of course, Mr. Johnson's is demanding equality of grim outcomes and preventing patients from spending their after-tax income however they see fit. This would be less of a problem if the NHS actually had the money to cover £2,200 a month cancer drugs."

Only in Japan - "Freed hostage apologizes to Japanese government."

That right there pretty much sums up the culture, it does.

Freed hostage apologizes to Japanese government | Japan Probe:
"A Japanese man who was kidnapped by a Pakistan-based gang of bandits while traveling in Iran last year has finally been released. After gaining his freedom, one of his first acts was to appear before cameras and apologize for all the trouble he had caused"

"That dog is now living on the fucking moon, collaborating with Nazis."

Warren Ellis opines on man's natural enemy - the dog.

More funny at the link.

Warren Ellis » The Final Solution:
"Oh, yes, a human’s best friend. Until you show a sign of weakness. And then they eat you. Cats eat dead bodies because they get hungry, and, let’s face it, they made it clear they couldn’t give a shit about you from the start. Dogs lure you with that masquerade of unconditional affection. But they’ve been thinking about eating you the whole time.

My friend Zo lost her dog Moo some weeks ago. What do you think happened to that little dog, now no-one’s keeping their eye on it? That’s right. That dog is now living on the fucking moon, collaborating with Nazis. Prove me wrong."

Monday, June 16, 2008

Training 69-71.

Rest/Free/Carb day. No PT. Food - Subway BLT salad, Subway Avocado and Shrimp sub, karage, fried chicken, fries. Guarana cola, barley tea, coffee w/milk and equal, diet soda.

- 30m Rutten MMA wkout/thai boxing, 3m rounds.
Nutrition - 1l water, 3 coffees w/milk, equal, shake w/3 eggs, cream, equal, inst coffee.

- coffee w/equal, cream, 500ml diet soda, 1.7l water, 4 eggs w/grnd beef, mayo, mexican ground beef&cheese, 2 shakes w/3eggs, cream, equal.

Press - 80x12, 80x9/3
Row - 80x15x3
Pushups - 3x12
Curls - 60x10
Squats - 70x15x2
Pullovers - 2x20x20
SLDL -70x15
Leg raises - 25
Dislocates - 15

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I have been to this Barnes & Noble.

Overheard Everywhere | Or Reject Gender Stratification:
"Five-year boy in front of a door: (frantically) Which one? I have to go!
Exasperated mother: The men's room.
Little boy: Which one?!
Mother: That one (points) and that's why you need to learn to read.

Barnes & Noble
Cary, North Carolina"


Only 17 seconds. Make sure you watch till the end.