Tuesday, July 31, 2007

handwritten lyrics

These are the words to Dry Your Eyes, which appears to be about Jesus Christ, even though I thought Neil Diamond was Jewish, but whatever. It is a good song.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid

This is a great movie. It was directed by Sam Peckinpah, who is legendary for his violence. The scenes of the desert are also quite amazing. I don't think a film like this could really be made today, because there are no such open spaces in existence anymore. Billy is played by Kris Kristofferson who is a cool actor.

Peckinpah's use of slow-motion in gunfights and action scenes was copied by just about everybody after him. This movie also has a soundtrack by Bob Dylan, and he wrote "Knocking on Heaven's Door" for this movie, which of course has gone on to become hugely popular.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Democrats totally fail to reform the farm bill

The darn Democrats are totally blowing it with regard to changing the farm bill the way it should be changed. Most of the farm subsidies are going to huge megafarms and this bill does nothing to change that. What's the problem? There is also nothing in there about supporting organic farming. These are huge problems that need to be corrected. Our current farm subsidy system is hurting small farms while encouraging huge one-crop non-organic environment-destroying status-quo farms, and these guys are passing the same bill the Republicans passed last year. What's the problem? Show some backbone and do what needs to be done for this country.

McCabe and Mrs. Miller

This is a good movie by Robert Altman starring Warren Beatty, who was pretty charismatic for a long time. It is also set in a very cool natural and remote setting in Canada. It is definitely one of those little-known movies that is worth watching.

Monday, July 23, 2007

me doing Bassai Dai

I think this looks good up to a point. Here's a master doing the same kata: Kanazawa.

But in any case, it has a few areas that could use improvement, but it looks a lot better than katas that I have been putting a lot more work into. Maybe because Bassai Dai has a lot of dramatic motions. That could be it. It would also look better with me wearing the appropriate uniform in the appropriate setting and without the music.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

from "Think on These Things"

Questioner: Why do we want to live in luxury?

Krishnamurti: What do you mean by luxury? Having clean clothes, keeping you body clean, eating good food- do you call that luxury? It may seem to be luxury to the man who is starving, clothed in rags, and who can't take a bath every day. So luxury varies according to one's desires; it is a matter of degree.
Now, do you know what happens to you if you are fond of luxury, if you are attached to comfort and always want to sit on a sofa or in an overstuffed chair? Your mind goes to sleep. It is good to have a little bodily comfort; but to emphasize comfort, to give it great importance, is to have a sleepy mind. Have you noticed how happy most fat people are? Nothing seems to disturb them through their many layers of fat. That is a physical condition, but the mind also puts on layers of fat; it does not want to be questioned or otherwise disturbed, and such a mind gradually goes to sleep. What we now call education generally puts the student to sleep, because if he asks really sharp, penetrating questions, the teacher gets very disturbed and say, "Let us get on with our lesson."

Saturday class in Portland with Sensei Jerry Fitzpatrick

I went up to the karate class at the VA Hospital today, and it was a good class covering some of the basic Shotokan karate blocks and the body dynamics involved in using them. There were also a lot of people there and quite a few black belts, so I will probably be going back, and I also got some feedback on my kata, so that should also come in handy. Sensei Fitzpatrick is a great example of why karate is good for you. He has to be around seventy years old now, but he is extremely strong and seems much younger than he is. Intensive karate training is the only thing I can think of that will allow you to be in such amazing shape even in the seventies. The old karate masters were known for living extremely long lives. That is assuredly due to the health benefits, but there are also the mental benefits of karate, which include peace of mind and a philosophy of right action. Not that every karate practitioner is a perfect example of the ideal.
I would have liked to do some sparring, but maybe next time. Our class is small, and we don't have too many people that can challenge me, and the ones that can I already know well, so it would be very interesting to spar with different black belts from the same style.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Dashboard Confessional

How did these no-talent excuses for musicians get to be so popular? I could play better music myself on a ukelele. What happened to rock music? I can't think of a single decent new band except for the White Stripes.

I also have no interest in Radiohead. I don't understand why people like them. Nor do I think much of Wilco.

I like a lot of music, a lot of rock, a lot of rap, jazz, classical, and even country and bluegrass, but it seems like rock has fallen off a cliff into total patheticness. Still, there are plenty of groups putting out good music, but most of them have been around for quite a while. Then again, I am probably just not hooked into the vibe any more. Live music is not my thing.

I guess there is always Devin the Dude and Bus Driver.

come on you pretty women
with your hair a hangin' down
come look out your window
cause the candyman's in town
come on you boys and gamble
roll those laughing bones
seven come eleven I'll take your money home

I come home from memphis
where I learned to talk the jive
when I get back to memphis
there'll be one less man alive
hello mr. benson
I see you're doing well
if I had me a shotgun I'd blow you straight to hell

come on you boys and wager
if you have got the mind
hand me my old guitar
pass the whiskey round
come and tell everybody you meet
that the candyman's in town

Saturday, July 14, 2007


It is time to impeach both Bush and Cheney. They have clearly violated the law by claiming executive privilege, illegal wiretapping, and probably a lot of other things. If Congress doesn't impeach them, every president from now on will think they have the right to unlawfully ignore Congress and the law.

Friday, July 13, 2007

"rig" and Iran

When someone refers to his vehicle as his "rig", you can be pretty sure he does not drive a Honda Prius or some other kind of dinky car. I think of a "rig" as being some kind of clunky truck, usually, that the person has done a lot of work on himself, as in "rigged it up" himself, maybe.

What's the deal with Iran? Here's the thirty second briefing:

Sure, invading Iran would be a terrible idea, but why is invading Iran even a question in the first place? Why aren't we worrying about, say, Zambia, or Upper Volta, or Bahrain? The deal with Iran is that it will have enough Uranium refined in three months to be able to make a nuclear bomb, and they already have warheads to put it on that could reach Israel. Ahmadinejad has already said that they would love to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, and, consequently, Israel is not okay with Iran having the nuclear warhead that could obliterate them. So if something is not done, Israel could launch a preemptive strike against the Iranian nuclear facilities that could easily turn into a larger war.
How can this be prevented? Iran is vulnerable to sanctions because total sanctions would be an immense hardship on the economy, and there already is a lot of dissent against the lunatic right-wingers such as Ahmadinejad. So the U.S. should join in talks with Iran if Europe will agree to instigating total sanctions against Iran. That should result in enough pressure on Iran for them to opt for making a deal and joining the world economy. Anyway, that's the best hope, according to Dennis Ross.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Starbucks going downhill

Starbucks is finally starting to go downhill. I always kind of liked the place because they pay for health insurance for the employees, which is no minor expense. Their espressos were also fairly good. However, they recently switched some sort of automated pre-packed espresso pod process, which, for one thing, takes all the art and skill out of making espresso. It also eliminated the spectacle of the espresso being created, because any fool can press a button. Furthermore, there is none of that coffee ground smell in Starbucks these days, because everything is shipped in in vacuum-packed pods. They have the kind of marked dominance now where they can continue to degrade their product in the interest of profit margins and people won't be able to go anywhere else because they own most of the coffee shops in many areas.
Their food also doesn't look as good, maybe because they went along with the "no trans-fat" thing, which is overblown and oversimplified in my opinion. All in all, Starbucks in getting worse and worse, and they have bought up all the alternatives, so the customer suffers.

Luckily, Corvallis people can go to the Beanery

Friday, July 06, 2007

"The Slack" at the Beanery

This was kind of a trippy psychedelic band with two guitars, bass, and drums. They were pretty unstructured but the one guitarist, who is skinnier than in the picture, seemed to be good at coming up with strange lengthy solos consisting of chords sustained for extended lengths of time. He was talented, and the other guitarist had the riffs for "Back in Black" down perfectly, and he had an opportunity to play them when the bassist broke his low-E string and they took an extended break. The Beanery seldom has music featuring electric guitars.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

the race is not to the strong nor is the battle to the swift

Here's another masterpiece by me. I know it is good. I just maybe don't fully comprehend how good it is. It is a nice little song by Neil Diamond, the lyrics of which remind me both of Leaves of Grass and the Book of Isaiah ("the flesh is grass"), a Carl Sandburg poem ("I am the grass, let me work."), and an Emily Dickinson poem:

The grass has so little to do
a sphere of simple green
with only butterflies to brood
and bees to entertain