Saturday, March 27, 2010

Horrible, horrible rule change for K-1.

Via - Head Kick Legend -- K-1 Rule Change Bans Strikes from the Clinch

Disappointing. Great clinch work and knees makes for great fights. Head Kick Legend makes a good case that it might be designed to keep fighters they don't want to bump - Buakaw, Schilt - from using their most effective tools.

Dog Win; Police Fail.

Serious dog is serious.

Louis CK lead the learning curve on the Catholic Church by a couple years - *Bonus win quotes from Matt Taibbi.*

How did I miss this? From 2007, yet completely relevant. Wicked satire. Even I was like 'WTF?' - and I'm rarely surprised. Funny in that 'wow it's amazingly uncomfortable... yet, you know, you know, kind of true.'

The Catholic Church is a Criminal Enterprise - Matt Taibbi - Taibblog - True/Slant:
"Anyone who’s interested in losing his lunch should read... New York archbishop Timothy Dolan in defense of Pope Benedict; the archbishop’s incredibly pompous and self-pitying rant is some of the most depraved horseshit I’ve ever seen on the internet, which is saying a lot.

...I almost couldn’t believe my eyes as I read through Dolan’s retort and it dawned on me that he was actually going to use the “We weren’t the only child molesters!” excuse. Dolan must have very roomy man-robes, because it seems to me you’d need a set of balls like two moons of Jupiter to say such a thing in public and expect it to fly.

...Dolan is trying to get us to focus on the 1962 case, but the truth is that as recently as this last decade, the Church’s doctrinal office elected to proceed with church trials for less than 10% of the 3000 cases of abuse reported to them between the years of 2000 and 2010.

...They’re a giant for-profit company using predatory salesmanship to sell what they themselves know is a defective, outmoded, basically unnecessary product. They’ll use any means necessary to keep their market share and if they have to lie and cheat and deflect and point fingers to keep the racket going, they’ll do it, just like any other sleazeball company."

"I am your stash." - Warren Ellis explains religion, superheroes, gods.

Hilariously, crazily on point. From his new SuperGod series. [Click to embiggen, etc, etc]

"You can't make something illegal for an adult, just because it'd be harmful for a child. Otherwise we'd all be living and acting like children." - Judge Andrew Napolitano

The Judge breaks it down. Bonus - watch for the puerile and histrionic comparison by the news anchor of marijuana to a loaded firearm. Idiot, I swear.

Via Friday Pot Link - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

The Wisdom of Ron Swanson - "I'm sorry. I can't hear hippies" - "If there's any unclaimed meat or cheese, I would like to claim it."

Though the best Ron Swanson quote remains -
"I did it because I hate bureaucracy.

My idea of a perfect government is one guy who sits in a small room, at a desk, and the only thing he's allowed to decide is who to nuke.

The man is chosen based on some kind of IQ test.

And maybe some kind some kind of physical tournament. Like a decathlon. And women are brought to him.


When he desires them."

'The Losers' Trailer contains all sorts of kick-assery.

I may have posted this, or different trailer for the same flick, before.

But it looks way cool.

And likewise, the comic it's based on, by Diggle and Jock, is all sorts of awesome. And DC just republished new compendium editions - I'd imagine to coincide with the flick - which I wanna pick up.

The movie seems kinda like a Lethal Weapon/Die Hard throwback.

And that's a good thing.

The "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" Trailer looks damned impressive.

I couldn't get into the Scott Pilgrim comics... Though that's probably a personal failing. All the reviews I read online said it was awesome and the concept was brilliant, but the art didn't really work for me. [Despite living in Japan for 5 years, a little too manga-y. Maybe.]

OTOH, I really dig Bryan Lee O'Malley's music. [He's the author/creator of the Scott Pilgrim books.] He's got all sorts of cool, pop music-y goodness here, for free you can download.

And I'll admit the trailer for the new flick, with Michael Cera, looks all kinds of cool.

My disdain for the Catholic organization really knows no bounds at this point.

Vatican Declined to Defrock U.S. Priest Who Abused Boys -
"Top Vatican officials — including the future Pope Benedict XVI — did not defrock a priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys, even though several American bishops repeatedly warned them that failure to act on the matter could embarrass the church, according to church files newly unearthed as part of a lawsuit.

The internal correspondence from bishops in Wisconsin directly to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope, shows that while church officials tussled over whether the priest should be dismissed, their highest priority was protecting the church from scandal."
Pope Was Told Pedophile Priest Would Get Transfer -
"The future Pope Benedict XVI was kept more closely apprised of a sexual abuse case in Germany than previous church statements have suggested, raising fresh questions about his handling of a scandal unfolding under his direct supervision before he rose to the top of the church’s hierarchy.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope and archbishop in Munich at the time, was copied on a memo that informed him that a priest, whom he had approved sending to therapy in 1980 to overcome pedophilia, would be returned to pastoral work within days of beginning psychiatric treatment. The priest was later convicted of molesting boys in another parish."
But still, regardless of all this evil complicity I read and learn more and more of over the years, whenever I read about the church I'm always reminded of what Doug Stanhope said:
"With all the horrible shit that your priest is pumping into your kid's head, his dick should be the least of your worries, honestly. That's just a little mouthwash and a few years of therapy'll get rid of that. That Jesus shit will torture you for a lifetime."
That Jesus shit... all that guilt, shame, fear, punishment, torment and judgement... ain't it the truth.

In a just world, 'Hot Tub Time Machine' would win an Oscar.

Hot. Tub. Time. Machine. I have read the title and have watched the trailer, and it is just glorious.

Getting up to speed on the wife's future State Dept career.

U.S. Department of State Careers - Foreign Service Political Officer:
"As a Political Officer, you’ll keep a trained eye on the political climate at your foreign post and decipher events as they relate to U.S. interests, negotiations and policies. As you learn new skills and enjoy outstanding benefits, you’ll communicate with foreign governments to seek support for shared goals...

*Developing foreign contacts in and out of politics and government to advance U.S. political interests

*Assessing the impact of political developments on the U.S. and making recommendations on action by our government

*Supporting high level visits and advising policymakers on how to communicate with foreign governments"

Political Cone:
"Traditionally, the political cone was the creme de la creme of the Foreign Service. In the olden days of diplomacy, state department political officers held a near monopoly on foreign policy...

Political officers manage the U.S. bilateral political relationship. They maintain contacts among members of the host government, opposition parties, and civil society. They report back to Washington on the various goings on in the host government. Political officers are at the forefront in issues like democratization, national security, political-military affairs, women’s rights, and the day-to-day machinations of governments all over the world. As the State Department continues to become just one of a number of government agencies at embassies, political officers have also become facilitators and continue to serve as resident experts on governmental workings..."

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Another reason to dig Rick Steves...

Attempts to break out of your own conditioning and biases are always worthwhile.

Rick Steves: Blog Gone Europe - Help! Prostitutes Have Taken Over TV News:
"In the last year I have stopped watching TV news and the Sunday talking-heads shows. I now get my news from various newspapers and magazines online (and Jon Stewart). Of course, like most people, I gravitate to news sources that affirm my core beliefs. We all like to feel like we get it. The good news is that I probably spend six hours a week less time getting my 'news.' My challenge: to break out of the idea incest so many of us suffer from when we choose our news sources.

A year ago I had a hunch that there would be more demands on my time than ever and that the political discussions on TV would be less productive than ever. (How many hours have you dedicated to following the health care 'debate' in the last year? And, looking back, what did that earn you?) And I also had a strong feeling that the shapers of public opinion were corrupt — men and women who were selling their souls to get on the air or keep their advertisers happy, or worse, were actually secretly paid consultants of corporations with an agenda..."

This all works for me.

"American: The Bill Hicks Story" - Official Trailer.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sloooooowly getting the hang of it...

Still not great juggling, but better than a couple weeks ago.

Juggling practice after three weeks... from Rob Pugh on Vimeo.

Learning using this.

Best. Job. Ever.

Made for me by this year's graduating Jr High students. I'll admit, I got a little choked up when they gave them to me. Great kids.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Elementary school graduation at Katsuura.

Japan does it right. [Sadly I didn't get to go... but thanks to Akemi for the pic!]

And this was made for me by these completely awesome kids from our last day of classes. Which was way, way cool.

This year's yearbook.

Which, given how much I really liked this year's kids, I had to get a copy of.

Night out with educators and educational administrators...

So, of course - beer!

And cool cooking over what we determined together was [maybe] lava stone...

The stronger drinkers - not me - started in on the shochu. And given the Japanese style of bottle service they marked up their bottle as "Rob Club." That's right, they love me. Or are at least amused by me.

And without doubt, the karaoke nijikai.

Good times.

The New Fukuma JR Train Station.

Most of the construction is done now, except for some roadwork out front.

I don't know. It's all shiny and fancy and new, but the old one had character.

Payday means...

...a re-stocked fridge.

Which is good, because I was down to just eggs for a day or two there. And after I fry them, scramble them, hard boil them, and poach them, I'm about out of creative ways to cook 'em up.

Payday is also an excuse to get some junk food at the 7-11. Hey, we all have our weaknesses.

The 1st Grade Class Match!

Battle Volleyball.

Check out that wicked collision - bottom right.

Awesome kids.

And teachers... [always working and busy.]

And, of course, the shy kids. Who are adorable.

Tsuyazaki Jr High Graduation 2010.

4.5 years with these truly awesome kids. I'll miss them.

I have spared you all countless pictures of me flashing the peace sign with bunches of my kids through the magic of collage. You're welcome.

Still not quite legal for them to have keitais in school yet, even on the morning of graduation.

Me and one of the awesome judo kids engaging in our final battle of strength. [The one who can force the other's arms to cross wins.]

From 2010-03-14

More judo-ing foolishness. [Sandy, this is Tominaga-sensei's nephew - he graduated this year.]

From 2010-03-14

I am totally throwing this for comedic effect. It's important to build their egos.

From 2010-03-14

From 2010-03-14

Some of - honestly - the best students I've had.

From 2010-03-14

Proud homeroom teacher.

From 2010-03-14

Another final test of balance and strength. Again, vs a super-cool judo player - whose balance always made this game tricksy. The point is to push the other off balance, or quickly moving your hands when they try to push you, letting them tumble.

The stage is set.

Next year's student council, ready to assume command.

From 2010-03-14

This munchkin broke free to the front of graduation till she was corralled by a teacher.

My weird shoes remain appropriate for all occasions.

Final farewell songs...

Tsuyazaki Jr High Graduation Farewell Songs, March 2010 from Rob Pugh on Vimeo.
Students get their diplomas and say their final thanks and farewells...

"Yes, we can" - "Happy Life" - "Let's crying" - "Smile."

Teachers receive thanks and flowers.

The final march out of school.

English teacher returning in April after a bunch of - obviously - maternity leave.

Me and a bunch of the totally kick-ass judo team graduates.

From 2010-03-14

Milling about before leaving the school for the last time.

Gifts from a couple kids... too cool.

And the final obligatory graduation bento.