Saturday, April 04, 2009
"Girl to pizza delivery guy: So that's a meat feast, a ham and pineapple, a chicken supreme, and a Margherita for Amy because she's a lesbian.
Amy: I'm a vegetarian!
Overheard in New York | And I Think He'd Look Hot in a Top Hat and Bowtie:
"Boyfriend: Ah, don't listen to her, she still believes in magic.
Girlfriend: Jesus! I believe in Jesus!
--117th St & 8th Ave
Overheard by: Schenk"
Friday, April 03, 2009
Anyways, hitting the izukaya tonight, so I knocked out some training during lunch. Decent, albeit appreviated wkout - Sumo DL - Pushups w/feet elevated - Wide grip pullups/band pulls - Plank.
About 3L of water, give or take.
"Philly cop takes journalism student through black neighborhood. J-student reports that during the ride-along, the cop refers to residents as “animals,” and the crimes he polices as “typical nigger shit.” He then adds, “People hate us here. They spit at us.” I wonder why.
The city of Santa Fe has settled with a man beaten by police officers in 2006. The settlement came after the man was able to get a court to force the city to turn over a dash cam video of the beating–a video the city tried to claim didn’t exist. The man was initially charged with felonies for assaulting the police officers. A jury acquitted him in 20 minutes. The two officers who beat him are still on the force."
Thursday, April 02, 2009
307 - 10m NEPA walk, 2.5l water
PT - Romanian DL, Side Planks, DB Press, Chins/Band Lat Pulls
308 - 3L water... other than that, I got nothin'
Slightly sore from getting back into the PT this week. I started out this week trying to moderate my diet, get back into it, but between the enkai on Tues, lunch w/teacher's today, another welcome party tomorrow, and yet another beginning of the year party on Monday... + every new and old teacher leaving candies and cakes on my desk as a "new year hello" AND the Mrs sending me a care package full of junk food from the states...
...we'll just say that hasn't worked out so well.
Not gonna sweat it and keep up w/the PT without thinking about the nutrition right now. Next week, mid-week, on that.
"Being attacked by a guy with a knife or a gun or some shit is fucking scary but it doesnt have to be. Heres three ways to avoid being hurt by sociopaths who have no regard for human life."
Or cherry-blossom watching, is more a Mrs thing than something I'm inclined to do... but today the 1st grade teachers, to which I'm officially assigned, despite teaching all three grades, went out to the local shrine to eat some lunch under the auspice of the traditional Japanese flower watching thing...
"We are here in Japan, where we've secretly replaced the Japanese teacher they usually serve with a foreigner. Let's see if anyone can tell the difference!"
Cherry Blossoms and Palm Trees, quite a combo.
A sea of flowers...
I will admit, they are kind of pretty.
The principal addresses the troops.
Unfailingly, we end up going to one of two regular places for the school functions... this time we went to the place I only know as the "silver fish" place.
Dig this place because the food, generally speaking, is slightly better, imho, than the other place we frequent.
This was some good fish.
Japan does steak and fries.
Outstanding steamed clams.
End of the year means transfers. We had two teachers go to other schools, one go to an educational staff job, and another retire from teaching.
The fella on the right is the one going to the staff job. He's quite the photo ham, he saw me with the camera and made everybody stop and look at me so I could take his picture. He's what you call a "fun" drunk.
Our two transfers, including an English teacher, saying goodbye and receiving farewell flowers.
And finally, our retiree. Nomura sensei was a super nice guy. Just friendly as hell, and I think the only two words of English he knew were "good job" - which he would unfailingly tell me whenever I went home for the day. And he would tell me this, of course, without ever actually knowing if I had done a good job.
What's more, he's here in a suit and tie... despite the fact that in 3 and a half years this is, maybe, the second time he's worn one when I'm around. His daily Japanese style sweatpants and shirt, plus is occasionally unkempt and scraggly beard conspired to make you think "homeless, maybe?"
And when I compare and contrast his attire with the 3 years I say him doing a kick ass job teaching and being the coach for the baseball team, how much all the students and other teachers liked him, it did nothing but confirm for me that the concept of "professional attire" is retarded and of no signifigance whatsoever.
One of my dining compatriots for the evening, over which we bonded about pro-wrestling and martial arts. He's done kendo from elementary school to university, and was apparently, before getting injured, a member of the Japanese Police Kidotai - the riot control police, an elect group here in the land of the Rising Sun.
One final farewell song!
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
"Wouldn't it be great if science was a cool, logical process? If you could work out how the universe ticks without making the chilling discovery that most of it is missing? Or if, when you were investigating the placebo effect, you didn't find that some licensed drugs only work when you know you're taking them?
Unfortunately, as these examples show, things don't often work as neatly as scientists might like. Doing science is messy and difficult – and that's before you factor in its human side. Jealous rivals, journal editors who think your subject is a joke, or colleagues with a lot to lose if your latest discovery pans out: other people can all make the scientific life a difficult one...."
But of course, Robert Anton Wilson told us all this years and years ago...
The New Inquisition by Robert Anton Wilson - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
"The New Inquisition is the author's term for what he refers to as a tendency within mainstream science to forbid certain forms of theories from being classed as 'science.' He cites the cases of Wilhelm Reich, Rupert Sheldrake, and the Mars effect controversy, among others, in support of a central claim that a materialist bias within the scientific community has led to some speculations and theories being unjustly thought of as unscientific."
Tor.com / Science fiction and fantasy / Blog posts / Fox Cancels Joss Whedon:
"Despite early indications to the contrary from network executives, FOX announced that Joss Whedon will be cancelled, most likely by marketing-assisted suicide.
This decision marks the end of a long and troubled relationship between the studio and the writer-director, beginning with FOX denying Whedon food and drink, leading up to a gradual reduction in his daily allowance of oxygen.
“I am so not breathing,” Whedon confirmed. “This is me, all asphyxiating.”"
The Mystery of Father Krespi - Associated Content:
"World War II had ended. A former Nazi Intelligence Officer named Magda Zeitfeld had offered her services to the United States Government...
Magda's father was a pioneer in the use of implanted facial prosthetics, and had operated the largest plastic surgery clinic in Germany. This clinic had received much of its financing from the Nazi Government...
As war broke out, Magda had been commissioned in the German Army, and had been assigned to German Intelligence, working, according to her, with the SS. After her surrender, she told Allied Intelligence of an incident that occurred in the fall of 1943. She spoke of three high level Nazi officials that were brought into her father's clinic under conditions of extreme secrecy and security...
She reported that these men choose to have their faces altered to have exaggerated Semitic features...
Magda claims, that unknown to the SS, she and her family had been well aware of who two of these men were. She told Allied Intelligence that one of the men was Adolph Hitler, another was Martin Borman, and they did not know who the third man was...
Magda was well acquainted with Hitler. She had supervised a program, which altered the appearance of four men to look like Hitler. Some of the work had actually been performed in her family's clinic...
Another interesting fact is that two weeks after the three men left the clinic, the SS conducted a raid. During this raid, the entire staff including Magda's father and her brother was brutally killed and the clinic was burned to the ground. All records were burned with the clinic...
In 1981, a retired US Army Colonel named Wendell Stephens made a trip to Ecuador. During his trip, he met a priest in a small town called Cuenca. The priest was named Father Krespi, and Col. Stephens was convinced he was in fact Adolph Hitler...
When Magda met Krespi, she too was sure it was in fact Hitler. He had the same features she had helped her father sketch out all those years ago. And she also was convinced by a specific piece of art that the Father had. She knew it as the same piece of art that had been a favorite of Hitler's. It had hung behind him at his Reich Chancellery Office, there was no mistake.
Father Krespi's background is also mysterious, and does in fact go along with Magda's accounts of what happened. Krespi claims he is from an Italian/Austrian family in Northern Italy. He came to the Vatican in fall of 1943. There, he attended seminary and served as a Novitiate. Later, he was ordained into the priesthood. All this was behind the closed walls of the Vatican. Unheard at the time, and has never been repeated since. He never set foot outside of Vatican City, a city with the status and diplomatic immunity of a sovereign nation. Krespi was given a position as Curator of Art for the Vatican Achieves, a position far above his humble rank as Novitiate...
Krespi spoke fluent Italian with a perfect accent. Magda later pointed out the fact that Hitler's mother was from Northern Italy and spoke Italian as her first language. Hitler himself learned Italian as his first language...
In 1956, Krespi was sent as a priest to the town of Cuence in Ecuador. A town known to Nazis Hunters as a hideout of Martin Borman and other high level Nazis that had escaped Germany. There, he lived a reclusive life as village priest and reportedly gave money to every member of his congregation at the conclusion of services. He also reportedly paid the villagers to protect his mission. Villagers say German men often visited him.
In 1993, Father Krespi died, reportedly at the age of 90. More than 2000 people attended his funeral, which was marked with ceremony rivaling that of a King. He was laid to rest in a white marble sepulcher, which is still reported to be cleaned weekly, and adorned with flowers constantly, all paid for by anonymous admirers.
After his passing, some interesting things were discovered about him. He left behind millions of dollars worth of artwork. Magda and others later identified much of this artwork as belonging to the private collection of Adolph Hitler...
The Chief of Police for the town of Cuence reported that what he termed as "teams of European men" invaded the small town the day prior to the funeral. Several attendees of the funeral were German, and had armed escorts..."
This is about as accurate and brief summation of religion as I've read.
NOBODY KNOWS NUTHIN'.
HARDCORE ZEN: BEST SELLER? DIDN'T EVEN *KNOW* HER!:
"The monk asks the master an abstract question and the master, not wanting to discuss abstractions, answers with a concrete fact. The monk persists and the master explains the true significance of the monk's question very clearly. It is the type of question that 'makes one think.' And that's all it does.
Speculation on what happens after people die simply makes you think. All anyone can do in response to such a question is indulge in abstractions and fantasies. This is what turned me away from religion a long time ago. I wanted to know the answer to what happened after people died and all I got was stories and fantasies. I found the Zen answer to be perfectly logical when it said that all you can ever get from such answers is a peek into someone else's world of fantasy. And I wasn't interested in other people's fantasies."
"Alberto Gonzalez advises Mexican government to try drug cartels in public, because, “Doing things in private breeds corruption.” "NO. SHIT. YOU. JACKASS.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Dramatic readings of message-board posts about atheism from Christian fundamentalist message boards - Boing Boing
"...four minutes of dramatic readings from choice selections in various fundamentalist Christian online forums."
Monday, March 30, 2009
"...let me express the common Mexican and indeed South American view of the, oh god, War on Drugs. It goes thusly:
Latin America does not have a drug problem. It has a United States problem. The problem is that Americans want drugs. The US is a huge, voracious, insatiable market for drugs. Americans very much want their brain candy. They will pay whatever they need to pay to get it. All the world knows this.
Why, Mexicans wonder, is America’s drug habit Mexico’s problem? If Americans don’t want drugs, they can stop buying them. Nobody forces anyone to use the stuff.
Ah, the rub is that Washington doesn’t want Americans to have drugs. All right, say Mexicans, that is a problem between the American government and the American people. Let America solve it.
Why, Mexican’s ask—read this sentence carefully—should Mexico tear itself in pieces, lose thousands of dead annyally, and turn into a war zone to solve a problem that America refuses to solve?
Think. Why doesn’t the American government run sting operations at, say, Berkeley and Stanford, and Rice and George Washington U., and put those students caught using drugs in the slam for two years per? How about a sting at your daughter’s high school, with a year in some nasty reformatory, which is to say any reformatory, for those caught? It could be a family sort of thing. You could visit her and hear what fascinating things she had learned about compulsory Lesbian sex.
The reason of course is that any effort to punish large classes of politically influential people would result in a revolution. You can’t jail Harvard. So Washington doesn’t. Instead it expects Mexico to do something about drugs.
Now, on the off-chance that you live in an impermeable bubble, and don’t know who uses drugs, I will tell you. I note that I am not speculating about this. I spent eight years working as a police reporter from Anacostia to South Central, and know whereof I speak.
Blue-collar people use drugs—crack, for example. I’ve spent whole days arresting down-scale beauticians in rattletrap Chevys as they bought the stuff from black dealers in the grubby satellite towns outside Chicago. High rollers in Houston use as much powder as they ski in (and it happens to my certain knowledge on Capitol Hill). White professionals have bags of grass in the garage. So, most likely, do their children: In the suburban high schools of metro Washington, e.g., Yorktown and Washington and Lee, kids have easy access to Mary Jane, acid, shrooms, nitrous, Ecstasy, crystal. Good ol’ boys in Texas make, grow, and use drugs. Country kids in Virginia have a few plants out in the woods. And so on.
...In short, the WOD is a fraud... So why should Mexico fight this war for Washington?
...The Latin American attitude toward the largely imaginary War on Drugs could be summed up thusly: “Solve your own problems, gringo. We aren’t your mother. Leave us alone.” Fat chance."
Sasuke (TV series) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
"SASUKE is a Japanese sports entertainment television special where 100 competitors attempt to a complete four stage obstacle course."TV ad for tonight's Sasuke:
HL of Makoto Nagano, only the second man to complete all three stages, in 2006.
Today - sets/reps written elsewhere - DB Squat, DB Bench, DB Rows, Plank - 15mins light shadowboxing. For a first day back, it didn't suck. Wonder if I'll be sore tomorrow? About a liter and a half of water - been sucking down too many coffees/sodas/teas the last couple weeks - gonna have to rebreak that habit again.
Video: Sylvester Stallone Training for The Expendables
Said it before, say it again... 62 years old and in this kind of shape and condition? WIN.
Same vid, set to the music from Rocky IV. Too funny.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Kidding, of course. They're all insane. Because really, there's no difference between UFOs and cloning and, say, the talking snake and walking on water.
Say it with me again, folks... the only difference between a cult and a religion is time and money. That's what determines mainstream acceptability.
But check out those shoes!
Raëlism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
"Raëlism, or The Raëlian movement, is a UFO religion founded by a former French sports-car journalist and test driver named Claude Vorilhon.
Raëlians believe that Vorilhon, who is known by the movement as Raël, received special knowledge and instruction for mankind from the creators of life on Earth, human-like extraterrestrials called Elohim whose technology enabled them to appear as 'angels' or 'gods' in the eyes of ancient people. Raëlians believe that previous visitation from Elohim sparked the founding of many major religions humanity knows today."
In other news, the Japanese Jehovah's Witnesses stopped by again yesterday. They are a dedicated lot. I am unfailingly kind and polite to all comers, cause hey, everybody's walking a tough road - but flipping through their Awake! magazine they left... wow, is that some fucking retarded nonsense.
Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » Matt Taibbi, American Hero:
"Matt Taibbi responds to Jake DeSantis, the AIG exec who wrote the whiny GBCW letter last week in the NY Times:More from his article: AIG Exec Whines About Public Anger, and Now We're Supposed to Pity Him? Yeah, Right | The Smirking Chimp:DeSantis has a few major points. They include: 1) I had nothing to do with my boss Joe Cassano’s toxic credit default swaps portfolio, and only a handful of people in our unit did; 2) I didn’t even know anything about them; 3) I could have left AIG for a better job several times last year; 4) but I didn’t, staying out of a sense of duty to my poor, beleaguered firm, only to find out in the end that; 5) I would be betrayed by AIG senior management, who promised we would be rewarded for staying, but then went back on their word when they folded in highly cowardly fashion in the face of an angry and stupid populist mob.
I have a few responses to those points. They are 1) Bullshit; 2) bullshit; 3) bullshit, plus of course; 4) bullshit. Lastly, there is 5) Boo-Fucking-Hoo...
AIGFP only had 377 employees. Those 400-odd folks received almost $3.5 billion in compensation in the last seven years, a very large part of that money coming from the sale of credit default protection. Doing the math, that averages out to over $9 million of compensation per person.
Ask yourself this question: If your company made that much money, and the boss of the unit made almost $280 million in just a few years, exactly how likely is it that you wouldn’t know where that money was coming from?
Also, there’s this: let’s just say, Jake, that you’re telling the truth, that you don’t know anything about this toxic portfolio. If that’s the case, then why the fuck does anyone need to retain you at an exorbitant salary to help unwind that very portfolio? If these transactions aren’t and never were your expertise, then where the hell is your value here?
When I spoke to Christine Pretto, the AIG spokeswoman, and asked about those bonuses, she said that AIG needed to retain people like you in order to take advantage of your “knowledge of these transactions.” So if you don’t have knowledge of these transactions, what are you being paid for? Your winning attitude?"
""None of us should be cheated of our payments any more than a plumber should be cheated after he has fixed the pipes but a careless electrician causes a fire that burns down the house."
First of all, Jake, you asshole, no plumber in the world gets paid a $740,000 bonus, over and above his salary, just to keep plumbing. Second, try living on a plumber's salary before you even think about comparing yourself to one; you're inviting a pitchfork in the gut by even thinking along those lines. Third, Jake, if you were a plumber, and the electrician burned the house down -- well, guess what? If you and that electrician worked for the same company, you actually wouldn't get paid for that job.
Out in the real world, when your company burns a house down, you're not getting paid by that client. It's only on Wall Street, where the every-man-for-himself ethos is built into an insanely selfish and greed-addled compensation system, that people like you expect to get paid in a bubble -- only there do people expect their performance bonuses no matter how much money the shareholders lose overall, no matter how many people get laid off after the hostile takeover, no matter how ill-considered the mortgages lent out by your division were.
You expect that money because you think it's owed to you. But what money? The money is gone. Your boss, if not you, set it all afire. You want the money, but where exactly do you think it's coming from? "
You know, parents... if you leave a book with that title out in the open, it's gonna get read when you're not around. Which, in hindsight, was probably the plan. Since that book and my dad's porn was the only sex-ed I ever had. Never had "the talk" from anyone...
So, anyways, Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. Chalk it up to the faulty memory of youth, and the 20 years since I'd cracked it open, but I'd thought that I'd remembered it as a biography of Siddhartha Guatama - the Buddha himself. Nope. Siddhartha touches on the buddhist philosophies, but the main character of the book is another Siddhartha, who follows a path remarkably similar to the original Buddha, who he meets and is called Gotama in the book. Regardless, about the search for meaning in life... taking the path like the Buddha himself, through ascetism and hedonism, till finding that elusive middle way. It's lyrical writing quality is still impressive, and what I thought was most profound in the book is the most simplest of realizations, of course -
"Wisdom is not communicable. The wisdom which a wise man tries to communicate always sounds foolish... Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, be fortified by it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it. I suspected it when I was still a youth and it was this that drove me away from teachers.
...I can love a stone... and a tree or a piece of bark. These are things and one can love things. But one cannot love words. Therefore teachings are of no use to me; they have no hardness, no softness, nor colors, no corners, no smell, no taste - they have nothing but words... Samsara and Nirvana are only words... Nirvana is not a thing; there is only the word Nirvana.
...It may be a thought, but... I do not differentiate very much between thoughts and words... I do not attach great importance to thoughts either...
...But I think it is only important to love the world, not to despise it, not for us to hate each other, but to be able to regard the world and ourselves and all beings with love, admiration and respect."
The world is full of things... don't mistake your thoughts about those things for the things themselves.
I also picked up, true geek that I am, Watchmen and Philosophy: A Rorschach Test (The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series) by William Irwin (Editor), Mark D. White (Editor). With the movie coming out, there's a wealth of material out there. And as Watchmen, along with Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns and Denny O'Neil's zen inspired The Question series in the late 1980s, in a lot of ways kicked off my interest in all things philosophical. I can draw a fairly direct line from my interest in existentialism to the Nietzche/abyss quote that appears in Chapter/Issue 6 of Watchmen, and the whole series is washed in issues of fate, determinism, nihilism and existentialism.
The book itself, like any collection of essays, is hit and miss. Some seemed to me as overly academic, and simply used the Watchmen comic as a jumping off point for whatever philosophy they were ruminating on. The more fulfilling essays, for me personally, where the ones that really delved into the philosophical intricacies in the book itself.
I particularly dug the one on the Nietzchian Ubermensch, the one on means, ends and authoritarianism and the one on memory and whether memory and thought construct the personality, or are constructed by it. Some fascinating stuff.
[From Friday's class with the kids...]
That's a Mr Incredible box, plus two cellphone/keitei bears... Enter the Dragon and Superman Returns, respectively.
Only the Mrs will see what I've done here...
Simo Häyhä - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
"Simo Häyhä (December 17, 1905 – April 1, 2002), nicknamed 'White Death' ...by the Soviet army, was a Finnish soldier, and has the highest recorded number of kills as a sniper in any major war.
...In temperatures between −20 and −40 degrees Celsius (−4 and −40 degrees Fahrenheit), dressed completely in a white camouflage suit, Häyhä killed over 540 Soviet soldiers.
The unofficial Finnish frontline figure from the battlefield of Kollaa places the number of Häyhä's sniper kills over 800. A daily account of the kills at Kollaa was conducted for the Finnish snipers. Häyhä used a Finnish variant, M/28, of the Soviet Mosin-Nagant rifle (known as "Pystykorva" rifle, meaning "spitz"), because it suited his small frame (5 ft 3 in/1.60 m). He preferred to use iron sights rather than telescopic sights to present a smaller target (the sniper must raise his head higher when using a telescopic sight), to prevent visibility risks (a telescopic sight's glass can fog up easily), and aid concealment (sunlight glare in telescopic sight lenses can reveal a sniper's position). Another tactic used by Häyhä was to freeze the snow in front of him so that the shot wouldn't puff the snow, thus revealing his position. He also kept snow in his mouth so that when breathing he wouldn't reveal his position.Besides his sniper kills, Simo Häyhä was also credited with as many as two hundred kills with a Suomi M-31 SMG, thus bringing his credited kills to at least 705. However, the latter claim has never been substantiated. All of Häyhä's kills were accomplished within 100 days, prior to injuries caused by an enemy bullet. Häyhä's record of an average of 5 kills a day, almost one kill per daylight hour of the short winter day, is unique, and he was called unstoppable by the Soviet Army.
...When asked in 1998 how he had become such a good shot, he answered, "Practice.""
Breaking all the rules of magic. Watch closely.
A nice and thought provoking bit... free speech, flag burning, patriotism.
...which was apparently adapted into an episode of the West Wing. [I never watched really, after Sorkin left...] Funny stuff though.