Friday, September 12, 2008

Holy Shit - "US naval base in Yokosuka attacked by rockets."

US naval base in Yokosuka attacked by rockets | Japan Probe:
"Somebody tried to attack a US naval base in Kanagawa Prefecture last night:
Two explosions were heard in a residential area in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture late Friday in what is believed to be a guerrilla attack against the U.S. naval base in the port city, police said.

No one was hurt in the incident, which took place in a hilly area of the city at around 10:30 p.m., the police said.

The police said there were the traces of two rocket bombs being launched. Metal pipes, batteries and lead wires were found on the scene, they added.
Investigators are looking into whether the timing of the attack had something to do with the planned arrival of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington later this month."

T2 - 12/13.

12 - Lower body training/6 meals/2.4L water
13 - Tomorrow/free/rest

"Are you an elitist? / 18 revealing ways to know for sure..."

Too funny.

Are you an elitist? / 18 revealing ways to know for sure:

10. You arrive at a dinner party at the home of a friend-of-a-friend whom you don't know very well. What's the first thing you notice? A) The quality of the stemware, B) the origins of art on the walls, C) the titles of the books lining the shelves, D) The hugeness of the head of the giant dead polar bear whose face you're nearly sitting on. Answering anything but D makes you an elitist snob. Obviously, that's a grizzly, not a polar bear.

11. A "real American" is A) an obese deer hunter/blue-collar millworker with a giant truck and a gentle smile and a thing for origami B) a tattooed yoga-loving urbanite intellectual hipster who loves A.S. Byatt and red meat C) The Muslim chef/mother of three who was born in Fort Wayne and went to Burning Man for the first time this year and dropped Ecstasy and was struck to giggling wonderment by the gorgeous silliness of all existence, D) the nice family of Sikhs living next door, E) What is this, f--ing alphabet day? Enough with the multiple choice already, elitist hippie.

...14. You prefer spirituality to religion, fluid self-determinism to Biblical dogma, premium sake to sacramental wine, devising new sins instead of merely indulging the old ones, swallowing instead of spitting, back door to front, Shakti to Mary, and floating instead of kneeling.

15. You speak a foreign language. This implies you might understand something of the world, have an interest in a culture other than your own, or have perhaps even traveled to some exotic foreign land that isn't Texas or New Jersey or Hawaii, a place where they like weird cheeses and don't fear gay people and ride bicycles to the opera.

16. You recognize and appreciate more than 50 percent of the references and enjoy at least a quarter of the featured profiles in the New York Times Arts section. Also, you read the New York Times. Also, you read.

17. You are, for some godforsaken reason, absolutely convinced all the way down to your most profound sense of what is divine and truthful in this strangled world that violence and bloodshed are rarely the answer, that the irrefutable spiritual laws of the universe confirm that like attracts like and even at a quantum level there is a profound pull toward a divine, benevolent dynamic equilibrium, and therefore constructing a malicious national policy of torture and surveillance and pre-emptive aggression merely shames the better nature of the human animal and invites a particularly violent energy into the national bloodstream and poisons the human heart as it creates nothing but more turmoil and unrest and hate in the world. Man, only an elitist jerk would tolerate a ridiculous run-on sentence like that.

18. Your most treasured pieces of writing don't feature... an angry and omnipotent patriarch who demands unquestioning subservience and strict adherence to often cruel, arbitrary laws of behavior from on high, who forsakeths thou for months and years at a time and never write or calls and then suddenly reappears without warning only to rain down hellfire and frogs and locusts and totally inconvenient plagues on everyone, and never even apologizes. And then you're supposed to feel all guilty? For like, 2,000 years? Whatever."

Remember kids:

"The Japanese Tradition" - How to do Everything in Japan.

Awesome short documentaries teaching the ways of the Japanese culture. Well worth watching.



Shazai [Apologies]

Onigiri [Rice Ball]

Yes, these are comedies. Their video on sushi made the rounds some time ago, and I could have sworn I posted it up, but can't find it, so maybe not.

Rahmens - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
"Rahmens (ラーメンズ) is a Japanese comedy duo (owari kombi) consisting of Jin Katagiri (片桐仁) and Kentarō Kobayashi (小林賢太郎). The pair first met in Tama Art University, Tokyo. Starting out as a konto (conte:comic short plays) group in 1996, now they are popular in US as Mac and PC in the Japanese 'Get a Mac' advertisement. They starred in the 'Japanese Tradition' video series directed by Kobayashi (e.g. 'sushi', 'dogeza'), which was originally made for a Japanese audience. The series has become popular outside Japan via the internet, with some anonymous people making English subtitles for them."
It's funny, I find a lot of Japanese comedy really broad and kind of banal [probably true of all climes and places] but I really dug these. Witty and dry, almost British.

Here's the sushi vid, the first one I saw...

Everybody makes everything up.

Okay, not everything maybe, but a lot.

False Memories of tragic and happy events - Boing Boing:
"...two articles on the fascinating subject of false memories. The first is a piece in yesterday's Guardian stating that four out of 10 people surveyed in a new study claim to have viewed footage that simply doesn't exist of the 7/7 bombings in London three years ago. A previous study by the same researchers, led by University of Portsmouth psychologist James Ost, reported how people distinctly remember seeing footage of the Princess Diana car crash. No such footage of that event exists either...

Another similar study from 2001 at the University of Washington addressed good false memories rather than bad ones. From Daily University Science News:
About one-third of the people who were exposed to a fake print ad describing a visit to Disneyland and how they met and shook hands with Bugs Bunny said later they remembered or knew the event happened to them.

The scenario described in the ad never occurred because Bugs Bunny is a Warner Bros. cartoon character and wouldn't be featured in any Walt Disney Co. property, according to University of Washington memory researchers Jacquie Pickrell and Elizabeth Loftus."

Are you fucking kidding me?

Seriously? How do they get away with this shit? Honestly?

Crooks and Liars » 9/11 and Bush’s Law of Bin Laden:
"At the White House on Wednesday, press secretary Dana Perino played down the Bin Laden danger to her lame-duck boss’ flatline political standing, if not to the American people:
Q: But Osama bin Laden is the one that - you keep talking about his lieutenants, and, yes, they are very important, but Osama bin Laden was the mastermind of 9/11 -

PERINO: No, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was the mastermind of 9/11, and he’s sitting in jail right now."


Overheard in New York | Unfortunately, I Hollowed It Out to Fit My Flask:
"Guy #1: The new Harry Potter is coming out this summer; you should read the book with me before the movie is released.
Guy #2: If I wanted to read a book filled with stories of sorcery, I'd read the bible.
Guy #1: (mouth drops open)

--Artapasta, Soho"

Comic book commentary is awesome. » Blog Archive » Thursday WHO’S WHO: The Marine Marauder:
"But I like Marine Marauder. Because she is a girl who decided, from an early age, that she wanted to be rich without doing any work, and so chose the obvious path of becoming a marine biologist and then using fish to rob cruise ships. I’m sorry, but any girl who decides upon that on a life path has to be insane in bed, and as we all know, the only reasonable capacity for judging the value of a female fictional character is how good she would be in the sack. (Especially when her costume essentially consists of arrows pointing at her erogenous zones.)"

Thursday, September 11, 2008

T2 - 9-11.

9 - 20m cardio/shadowboxing, 6 meals, 1.5L water
10 - Upper body wkout, 6 meals, 1.7L water
11 - 20m cardio/shadowboxing, 6 meals, 1.7L water

To even get a workout in today, a shabby, half ass one at that, after 6 full classes of elementary school kids, counts. Not much. But it counts.

Wow, is Baltimore and MD fucked up.

Edited to note, the area is one I have vague ties to... college at nearby Annapolis, sister in law went to grad school at Johns Hopkins, and the biggie - my mom and her side of the family are from the area.

The escalating breakdown of urban society across the US | Media | The Guardian:
"...this week, no one asks why men and women from Baltimore, upon being given a chance to strike a blow against disorder and mayhem by convicting those charged criminally, would shirk their responsibility.

Well, here it is, plain as day...

In order to elect Baltimore's mayor as Maryland's governor, crime had to go down. And when that mayor was unable to do so legitimately, through a meaningful deterrent, his police officials did not merely go about cooking their statistics, making robberies and assaults disappear by corrupting the reporting of such incidents, they resorted to something far more disturbing.

For the last years of his administration, Mayor Martin O'Malley ordered the mass arrests of citizens in every struggling Baltimore neighbourhood, from eastside to west. More than 100,000 bodies were dragged to Central Booking in a single year - record rates of arrest for a city with fewer than 700,000 residents. Corner boys, touts, drug slingers, petty criminals - yes, they went in the wagons.

But school teachers, city workers, shopkeepers, delivery boys - they too were jacked up, cuffed and hauled down to Eager Street - hundreds of them a night on the weekends. Some were charged, but few were prosecuted. And in 25,000 such cases, they were later freed from the detention facility without ever going to court; no charges were proffered because, well, no crime had been committed.

I wasn't arrested. Nor was Ed Burns or Dominic West or Aidan Gillen. Nor were my neighbours or the Baltimore Sun's editors or the members of the Maryland Club. But then, we're all white. Among the black members of my cast and crew, it was often impossible to drive from the film set to home at night without being stopped - and in some cases detained or arrested - on nonexistent probable cause and nonexistent charges. The crackdown came wholly in black neighbourhoods and it landed wholly on the backs of black citizens.

...Is it so hard to understand that the same people who had their civil rights cleanly dispatched, who spent nights in jail because police officers lied on them and dragged them off without charge - that these people might be inclined to disbelieve the word of law enforcement in any future criminal case?..."

Dolphins are bastards, apparently.

Unusual suspects - 31 July 1999 - New Scientist:
"...Richard Connor and his team from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, have spent more than a decade watching dolphins in Shark Bay, Western Australia. They were the first to notice that mature males tend to hang out in pairs or trios when consorting with females. The bond between such gang members is as strong as that between a mother and her calves, and stronger than any other social interaction among members of this 400-strong group. What is going on?

Connor soon realised that these male gangs were after just one thing: sex. A trio—let's call them the Sharks—will kidnap a sexually receptive female from her normal group and hold her prisoner for a month or more. There is no gentle courtship. Instead the Sharks herd their trophy around, using brute force including thumping and biting to keep her moving where they want. Meanwhile they mate with her, either one at a time or sometimes simultaneously..."
While you contemplate dolphin rape gangs, don't forget the serial killers.

New Scientist Environment Blog: Dolphin serial killers?:
"Scientists who autopsy cetaceans that wash up dead on British beaches have come to a grim conclusion: some species are being killed by bottlenose dolphins.

Dead porpoises (and other cetaceans) turn up regularly on beaches around Britain. According to a Defra report last year (pdf), the cause of death of 15 out of 56 porpoise bodies found - the majority - was "physical trauma (bottlenose dolphin attack)". The photo above shows the rake marks on a harbour porpoise caused by a bottlenose dolphin.

..."We can't state confidently that the killings are tied to declining fish stocks," says dolphin expert Nick Tregenza, who advises the Marine Strandings Network in Cornwall. His guess? "They could be doing it for fun.""

Well played, sir.

Overheard in New York | Roger's Often Baffled by the Unexpected Appearance Of Headgear:
"Old hipster walking by group of young hipsters, waiting at an apartment door: Oh, look at you all! Didya get all dressed up to come to the city? 'Oh look at me, I'm a little hipster, look at me, I'm so pretty! I'm so special and pretty! Look at me! Oh! I'm waiting to get into a hipster party!'
Young hipster #1: Look at you man, you're all by yourself.
Young hipster #2: And you're wearing a fucking cowboy hat.

--1st & 13th

Overheard by: Can't we all just get along?"

Innappropriate Engrish.

When your female, elementary school, 4th grade student is wearing a Tshirt that says "Double Breast - DB."

Japan is... quirky... in its English comprehension, on occasion.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Overheard Everywhere | Religious Differences Are Best Resolved Before Marriage:
"Girlfriend: So, you don't believe in vampires, right?
Boyfriend: Nope.
Girlfriend: Okay, but do you believe in ghosts?
Boyfriend: No, I told you I don't believe in that stuff.
Girlfriend: But you at least believe in witches, right?
Boyfriend: No!
Girlfriend (exasperated): Now you're just being naive!


"Sumo hurt by its own mythmaking" - A fascinating look into the madness.

THE INSIDE GRIP: Sumo hurt by its own mythmaking : Sports : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE:
"'s likely sumo will get back to doing what it has always done: bumbling along for the most part, occasionally wallowing in crises caused by its irreconcilable contradictions.

A professional sport that has public responsibilities, a profit-making organization with tax-free status, a secretive and Byzantine body that is completely at the mercy of the media, sumo suffers scandals more often than Japan changes prime ministers.

If sumo didn't pretend to some higher purpose, none of this would happen. Setting yourself up as a semi-ascetic, morally unimpeachable, quasi-religious cultural asset is always going to cause trouble when the reality is a lot more prosaic.

There is a tendency in all sports for fans to attach heroic qualities to the athletes. Sumo wrote the script, creating a warrior caste topped by yokozuna whose white rope apes the divine.

Of course, symbolism--imitative or not--creates an aura of power and mystique. And watching two wrestlers at the top of their game go mano a mano weaves a spell that is rare to find in this world.

But except for these sublime moments, sumo is a commercial venture. A profit-making, venal, bitchy sport populated by men who are in it for the money and who can make just as many mistakes as anyone else.

This most recent crisis shows just how bad those mistakes can be.

...But if we are looking beyond sumo's contradictions for a core reason why this took place, Kitanoumi may have provided an answer. Announcing his resignation on Monday, he said he had quit to take responsibility for Hakurozan's test failure.

In doing so, Kitanoumi relied on an ideological crutch he used to justify avoiding action in many of the other crises: the sanctity of the relationship between a stablemaster and his wrestler.

Asashoryu went astray because Takasago failed to supervise him; Roho beat up a photographer because Otake failed to supervise him; Wakanoho's career went up in smoke because Magaki was too sick to, yep, supervise him.

There are stables where the ideal seems close to being practiced--Kotooshu and Kotomitsuki's Sadogatake stable and Goeido's Sakaigawa come to mind. But if the JSA is going to rely on this master-wrestler relationship as the basis for its sport, then some serious house cleaning is in order."
Pic via.

"Change you can believe in."

It'd be unbelievable, except it's not. More typical than anything.

Balloon Juice:
"On 31 August, an Alaskan General says Palin had no hand in decision making.

On 3 September, he says it again.

On 5 September, he completely changes his story.

On 8 September, he is promoted.

Apparently, that is change you can believe in."

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


The Sunk-Cost Fallacy: Good Money After Bad ∞ Get Rich Slowly:
"The sunk-cost fallacy describes our tendency to throw good money after bad. Just because you’ve already spent money on something doesn’t mean you should continue spending money on it. Sometimes the opposite is true. Psychologically, the more you spend on something, the less you’re willing to let it go."

"Conspiracy Fail."

The stupidity. It burns.

Monday, September 08, 2008

T2 - 7&8.

7 - 20m cardio/shadowboxing, 5 meals, 2.5L water
8 - Lower body wkout, 6 meals, 2.5L water

The Internet is Awesome - Miscellany Edition.

Continued cleaning of the pictures folder. How did we ever know what was funny before the internet? Click to enlarge, if so required, etc, etc.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Private profit, public risk.


Hit & Run > Moral Hazard Watch - Reason Magazine:
"The Bush administration, acting to avert the potential for major financial turmoil, announced Sunday that the federal government was taking control of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac."

Ocean Ballet School Showcase.

Last weekend I attended a ballet performance, as the head teacher is a friend of mine who used to help me out with English classes as a volunteer at one of my elementary schools. [Boy, that was a tortured sentence. It's late. Shut up.]

Anyways, it was really kind of awesome. I actually enjoyed it more than you'd think, knowing me for the uncultured individual that I am. And I enjoyed it in that manly, macho way, of course.

But there's a great deal of power, grace and agility in it, all qualities I'm woefully lacking, but still... It's really quite impressive to watch.

And plus, the daughter of another English teacher at a different elementary school was one of the students performing. And as it turns out, about another 7 or 8 kids are, or were, students of mine.

It's always kind of fascinating to see the kids outside of school. Besides the shock in their eyes at seeing me alive anyplace outside of the academic buildings, and their slow, dawning recognition that yes, I'm actually kind of interested in their lives and what they're doing and I'm not just the English speaking monkey from class... and I find that 99% of the time, outside of school, they're far more interested in engaging and interacting with me, which is really cool. And fun. And I digs it.


The littlest leapers! C'mon, how cute is that?

One of my Jr High kids... she was surprisingly, and exceptionally good, I thought.

A few of my elementary and Jr High kids I managed to catch after the show. It's so strange, on stage, the look so much bigger, and some of my Jr High kids looked almost adult, but afterwards, offstage, they're still the same little munchkins who barely come up to my chest.

Wow, horrible pic of me [could I have more chins?] but this is a former student of mine, now in high school. She was great.

Mistress of ceremonies from the evening.

All pics from the evening here.

Ocean Ballet School Showcase, Japan from Rob Pugh on Vimeo.