Saturday, January 31, 2009

UFC 94: Mustache

Dana White stumbled towards the podium, runnels of dried vomit clinging to the corners of his mouth. Despite his cringed countenance, a smile seemed to, briefly, cross his face. "Helio Gracie has died......" A silence soaked the room "But the UFC goes on!!!" He cried, throwing his arms wide and pulling a bouquet of roses from the sleeve of his leather jacket.

If I told you how ridiculously psyched I am for this card you would slap me like Cher in Moonstruck. You would kick me as I rolled around giggling. Not only is my 2nd most favoritist fighter of all time, BJ Penn, descending from the heavens to grace us, my rapidly ascending most favoritist fighter, Lyoto Machida will be dancing his way into your hearts too. Not to mention Karo and Bonnar and Kim and Jones and Wilson and Diaz....For Christ's sake Nate Diaz. This card is so rad it hurts. It hurts me!

To the picks!

Arroyo vs. Cramer: Arroyo has too much on the ground, doesn't have much else. It don't matter. It won't matter. Arroyo by sub in the 1st.

O'Brien vs. Wellisch: Nothing wrong with these guys. Both competent. Both not so exciting. Wellsich will come out and do okay. O'Brien will out-wrestle him to a decision that will not make it on the main card. O'Brien by decision.

Howard vs. Wilson: I am sold on Wilson. Good knees. Good grappling. Knows where to keep his lead foot against a southpaw. My kind of guy. Wilson by TKO in the 2nd.

Gamburyan vs. Tavares: I've said it before and I will say it again; I am scared of Gamburyan. I would be terrified to fight him. Nevertheless he has two things going against him. First, his shoulder is liable to go out of joint, rendering him unable to fight at any moment. Second, his short, sturdy stature leaves him with very short arms. He simply can't work an effective outside striking game. He has to clinch, takedown and get top control. Tavares has a very good grappling game, but I think Manny can handle him and keep him down. He will wear Tavares down from the top and get the decision.

Fitch vs. Gono: Fitch gets angry about a video game and gets sent to the doghouse. Gono, being one of the better fighters of the last few years who is not really great, is trying to buy a win. I dig Gono and I want him to do well, but I think Fitch is too much for anyone not named GSP to deal with. He is big and a great wrestler. He is also tough, with stamina and a chin. Gono will dance and counter-strike, but Fitch will eventually get him down and wear him down for the decision.

Bonnar vs. Jones: I am excited about this Jones guy. He has a nutty, lanky build and real real talent. He has only been training for a year and he has already developed a charmingly unorthodox striking game to go along with his solid, scholastic wrestling. I want to see him do well, and I am interested in his progress. However I am picking Bonnar. I am picking Bonnar not knowing how he has healed from his injuries. Some call Bonnar's striking equally strange, but I think that is just because he throws spinning kicks. I like his boxing. I think it is technically sound. I think his jiu-jitsu is more than solid. If his body holds I count on his experience to get him a sub in the 3rd round of what should be an exciting fight. If you want to sound like a bad-ass, call the upset for Jones by something crazy.

Diaz vs. Guida: Remember my rule. I have said I since I started making picks and it has never failed: Never Bet Against a Diaz. Learn it. Know it. Live it. Guida is great to watch. He is 100% at the opening bell, he is 100% at the closing bell. He has relentless takedowns. He has solid top control. Diaz's striking is much more refined. He has the length to work his jab. In the clinch, he can judo throw. His guard is active and dangerous. Guida is so enthusiastc that he leaves himself open to submissions. Diaz will take him up on that offer and sub Guida in the 3rd. It should be a great fight. I love the Nate Diaz.

Parisyan vs. Kim: I was a die-hard Parisyan fan before his borish cameo on TUF. He probably isn't as bad as he appeared. Is he as good as he used to be in the ring? Parisyan came in as a young, dynamic, explosive grappler. I am not sure what he is now. A clincher, with moderate power in his strikes and a panic disorder. I don't know. Kim is also a judo badass with exceptional balance and takedown defense, questionable striking but solid ground and pound. Parisyan's striking has always confused me. As explosive a grappler as he is, his strikes have never shown the same pop. He throws good combinations and isn't that wild. He just doens't seem to have natural punching power. This bout could turn into sloppy boxing, if neither guy can get it down. If it does turn into a straight grappling match, I think that Parisyan has more of a solid MMA game and can do something. But, it probably goes to a Parisyan decision. As usual.

Machida vs. Silva: What a great fight. We are lucky. I love watching Machida fight. A good deal of people don't like him. I dont get it. Do they understand how good you have to be to fight the elusive game that he does? To use all of the feigns and threaten the things used and not used means that you have to be good at them. That your opponent has to actually feel threatened by them. He isn't a paper tiger. He isn't running because he is scared. He is running because he is destroying you. His angles are great. His counterstriking is the best. His takedown defense is outstanding and his subs and ground games are among the best. What can you do? What is not to like? I am stoked. Silva is also undefeated and has rare, rare power. He is explosive and startling. He can win the fight in a split second. All he has to land is one punch or knee or kick. The problem is that he won't land that hit on Machida. Machida by beautiful decision.

Penn vs. St. Pierre: Do I need to expound anymore on my BJ Penn love? I shouldn't love him. He is a cocky dick from a wealthy family. He was able to pursue his love for BJJ instead of worrying about college or working. He was also born with superior athletic gifts. Why do I love him? Because he is absolutely out of his goddamn mind and gifted beyond belief. If you watch a BJ Penn fight you are bound to see something yo have never seen before. His flexibility and dexterity are the best in the sport. His BJJ is above back-belt level. He used to roll through other black-belts in competition. To tell the truth, I am a big GSP fan to. He is an athlete in the true sense of the word. He also seems like a genuinely sweet and humble person. I think that all of the shit that BJ throws at him is because he needs the hate in his soul to make himself fight.

Let's get this straight; I can not pick against BJ Penn. This is not an unbiased evaluation. GSP is the better wrestler. He is the dominant top position grappler in the sport. He has a solid striking game with top-notch kicks, and interesting combos. St. Pierre also has amazing takedown defense. He is top 5 pound for pound in the sport, without a doubt. BJ also has some of the best takedown defense. He has great wrestling, but won't really be able to show it here. BJ's hands are far better than GSP's. BJ has a sick chin and doesn't cut or swell easily, which matters in a 5 round fight. It goes without saying that BJ has one of the best submissions games going. Usually his subs come from hurting someone with his hands and then crawling up their backs. He can sweep from the bottom and he can sub from the bottom. His much talked about weak-point, his cardio, is still the wild card. Who knows?

Here is what I think happens. BJ comes out hard and works the hands. He doesn' have the reach but he has the timing. He also lands a few knees. The fight goes back and forth for a few rounds. BJ sucks it up and lands some big hands in the 4th and wins by KO. Again, I tell you, I can't pick against BJ Penn. Don't bet money on this.

Except for you Arash Markazi! Bet the frat house. Alright, put it in the piggy banks kids. I am stoked on this one. Also I have a press pass to the fights in Osaka tomorrow, so it is all MMA all day for me.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Thursday, January 29, 2009


I don't know if you care about photography, but I thought this was interesting. It makes an essential, yet overlooked point that, the larger a photograph is, generally, the farther you stand back from it. Hmmm.

Poochie the Dog

Wow, it is the approval that I have always wanted. Plus: Time travel!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tales of a Beard

It is very cold so I have grown a big, raggedy beard. It wasn't on purpose at first. When you grow a beard small things change in your life. People react to you different. People get excited about your beard. Or, they get intimidated by it.

The principal came up to me yesterday morning. "Oh! Che Guevara." He laughed in Japanese. "Why don't you drop by my office later and talk to me about the revolution." Score one for you old man.

I went to the travel agents yesterday. I am going to Korea next month and had found a ticket for $160. (I will pretend we are talking in dollars.) The office was hot and boring and I started sweating and everything was too small and I was knocking into things and looking angry. They kept referring me to the supervisor of English who I kept speaking to in Japanese.
"Can you pay a deposit?"
"How much?"
"Is $100 okay." He kept motioning down with his hands like he was trying to talk the gun out of my hands.
"The ticket will be $360." He told me.
"No. I don't think so." I declared.
"Did you not expect the taxes?"
"I expected the taxes, but this is way too much."
He stood up crouching, maintain the same height while backing away. "How much could you pay?"
"Maybe $300." I didn't want to pay that much.
He came back, sweating and stooped. "Okay. $240."
"Great." I struggled to stay scowling. How could he reduce a price by that much?
"Here are some fliers, please hand them out to your foreign friends who can't speak Japanese."
"All of my foreign friends speak Japanese," I said, handing them back. "Sorry."

I think I got the "Looks Crazy" Rebate. Sweet.

Fushimi Inari

The junior high kids are all taking tests so I have no classes. "Go to elementary school A." They say. Elementary school A tells me that all of the kids are going to a play. "Go to the junior high." they say. Elementary B calls up. "We aren't having classes today." They say. "Just stay at the junior high." Fine I says. Where did I go? Hint: It was not a school.

Are You Rocking the Spot?

One of the greatest songs from one of the greatest albums of all time.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Fox Gets Stupider

If you know me well, you know that I can't stand Jay-z. If talent and reward went hand in hand it is my opinion that he would be begging to get on open mic nights and saving up his pennies. Instead, he is one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in the world. If that isn't a lesson in the way things work then... There are people, however, to be looked down upon more. People who's station in life and actual worth are even farther out of whack. People who make me feel like Jay-Z and I are playing for the same team. These people work at FOX News.

For years now we have been asking ourselves the question, "Are these people really that dumb, or are they just playing to the rubes?" I think most have settled on: A little from column A. A little from column B. This clip pissed me off even more than usual. Maybe because it is about hip-hop. Maybe because it illustrates the clear racial/social/generational/class/intelligence divide that still separates us.

What are we supposed to be offended by here? That young black rappers use the word "nigger"? Well that is an active debate, but you are late to it and have no place in it. Are you Chuck D or Q-Tip? Are you Cornel West? What are you doing in this conversation? Holding a place for uptight, rich, white people who don't give two shits for hip-hop in the first place? Yes, I consider you an uptight white person Michelle Malkin. Have you ever been anything else?

I guess this issue gets me hotter than Tabasco (if you are a real hip-hop fan, fill in the next line and get the joke) because I love rap music in a very real way and feel that these fortunate people get paid to sit on TV and take the piss. Whether you agree that "nigger" is acceptable or not, you should not be surprised that it is used at a hip-hop show. To pretend that you are is base journalism that should be offered behind a curtain at the county fair for an extra nickel. No, check that, it isn't worth that much. Is this kind of discussion racist? Of course it is. Racist in the sense that it pretends there is no ongoing dialogue in the community that is being portrayed.

The real irony in all of this is that the controversy surround Jay-Z, who the only reason he is a VIP at the inauguration of our president is because the power structure has deemed him acceptable. It wasn't Immortal Technique or Talib Kweli sitting near the podium. It wasn't even Mos Def or Black Thought. It certainly wasn't Chuck D, Dead Prez or Michael Franti.. It wasn't even everyone's darling Kanye (George Bush hates black people) West. It was Jay-Z who has been deemed safe enough to hump Beyonce, America's debutante.

You know what gets me riled up? This. You can kill prisoners in our custody as long as you don't celebrate by saying "My president is black, nigger!" I am sure it also upset these two ladies as well.

Good thing in all of the years that we had a white president no one ever used the word "nigger." I am sure FOX would have been very unsettled.


Sports lends itself to interesting photos. This week Sherdog's Dave Mandel produced what may go down as the sports photo of the year, even though it is only January. This is from Fedor Emelianenko vs. Andrei Arlovski. No words could as accurately describe the gap between Fedor's ability and the rest of the fighters in his weight class. Arlovski is supremely talented, trains with dedication and is comitted fully to the sport. He didn't make it out of the 1st round.

Huggy Bear

Been thinking about how much I love this song this week.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Last night I went to see Che: Part One. One review I read described the film as obdurate. I think that is the best description I can give of a quite excellent movie. It was in Spanish with Japanese subtitles so there were some details I missed out on. In Japan, where Che is a T-shirt superstar, I was worried that the movie would sway towards stylistic hagiography. It wasn't that. It also wasn't a harsh psychic autopsy, which would have been an easy way to be hailed as serious. It was a depiction of deeds and personality. Even if you accept that Che stumbled towards tyranny and on his best days could never rise above being a murderer, it would be unreasonable to insist that the life he lived was something short of incredible. That is all the movie shows. As Soderbergh posed to a detractor this week, "Do you believe that the Che depicted in this movie wasn't capable of what he became?" I think that the Che presented to us is an autocrat who believes that his moral compass alone points to absolute north. If he wasn't that kind of person, he couldn't have done the things he did good and ill. Barring all of these things, the film is beautiful. I would have been happy just to look at it and listen to the music. Very well made. Very worthwhile.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Karasuma Starbucks

I realize that Starbucks jokes are played out at this point, but if I had to tell you where the new Starbuck's that I discovered on my way home last night was, I would say; It's on Karasuma just north of the Starbuck's across the street from the Starbuck's.

Affliction: Why Do Bad Things Happen?

Saturday, Affliction, a company dedicated to charging you as much for one shirt as Target would for 10, will be attempting to bankrupt itself yet again by participating in a business that has nothing to do with their on. Nevertheless, it is an appealing card. Gather 'round the radio kids. Ring in the farm hands, here are my picks.

Speight vs. Cooper: Would you like me to pretend that I know anything about these two? OK. Speight has a decent jab but lacks power in his right hand. That is unfortunate because Cooper is a lefty with good movement. Neither man has good takedowns, despite Speight's black-belt in judo. Both have stamina for miles so expect a fairly boring decision featuring a stand-up tactical battle. Nothing I just said is true, to my knowledge. But it will go to a decision.

Duarte vs Rios: I don't know so much about Duarte but what I have seen, I like. He has a solid guillotine and is good at taking the back. Rios is no slouch. But is prone to the decision. I think Duarte subs him in the 2nd.

Davis vs. Quach: I am interested in Quach. He has fought some big names in Shooto. Fought them and lost. Still, I want him to do well. Davis, on the other hand, is actually doing well. He has a really solid record and a varied method of victory. I think he is a little to explosive for Quach and controls him for the decision.

Hieron vs. High: This is a fight I want to see. Hieron is reputed to have the best striking at Xtreme Couture. You never know how far to take gym talk, but the guy is built long and has a pretty good record in the IFL to back him up. He lost in the UFC, but he had some heavy opposition (GSP). Hieron gets the KO in round 1.

Matyushenko vs. Nogueira: Lil' Nog is undergoing a bit of a resurgence lately. Keep in mind that his record is already 15-3, so he was never that down. I like Nogueria a lot as a fighter. He is much like his brother in his toughness and solid striking/grappling combination. What he doesn't have is Matyushenko's top flight MMA wrestling and control. I see Matyushenko controlling him from the top as the crowd boos shamefully and ignorantly. Matyushenko pancakes out the decision.

Green vs. Lauzon: I am a Lauzon fan. These guys are scrappy, like the kid who got bullied until he went nuts and took out everyone. Lauzon has deceptively powerful, if not pretty stand-up and a squirrelly grappling game that features leg-locks and good movement on the bottom. I call Lauzon by sub in the 2nd.

Buentello vs. Sidelnikov: They call Sidelnikov "Baby Fedor." I call Buentello "Grand pappy" because he has been fighting since Sidelnikov's parents were waiting in bread lines. Buentello is generally underrated as a fighter. He is good. He is good enough to beat most everybody, just not the people who count for moving you up the ladder. His striking is compact and technical; it should serve as a good antidote to Sidelnikov's wild power. The thing about wild power however, is that you only have to connect once. I see Buentello winning on a short crisp hook in the 3rd. KO.

Sobral vs. Sokoudjou: I would rather see both of these guys win, but that isn't really possible, now is it? Maybe it is and they will both get Affliction t-shirts. Sobral's athleticism is seldom extolled. Probably because he is built like the chunky guy who hangs around at the tiki bar down by the beach. But he is very gifted. He is also gifted with one of the best nicknames in sport. "Babalu" Is a brand of bubblegum in Brazil that comes in a red wrapper. Chubby Sobral used to wear the same red shorts to practice all the time so they hung that one on him. Sokoudjou is a judo champion who has redesigned himself as a punching machine. He has also showed little of his initial promise recently. Sobral will struggle to get the takedown and absorb some punishment, but the striking will be a back and forth affair. At some point in the 3rd, the fight hits the ground and Sobral wins by sub.

Belfort vs Lindland: Both of these guys fighting styles are personifications of themselves. Lindland fights decidedly unpretty and conservative. He drags his opponents into his game. Wears on them. Slows them down. And outlasts them. Belfort fights as pretty as he is, and almost as vapid. No one was more exciting than Belfort when he first emerged as a lighting quick heavyweight striker and jiu-jitsu black-belt. He lost the plot somewhere along the way and shows up as consistently as a drunk uncle. I love Belfort, but the magic is gone. Skill remains, but Lindland sucks out other's skill like some suck the marrow out of bones. Lindland takes this to decision.

Barnett vs. Yvel: Barnett is one of my favorites and one of the best heavyweights in the world. While he might not look like the best athlete you have ever seen, he is one of the best. His stamina is top notch. His catch wrestling genius is undeniable. Barnett’s striking is also top-notch. Yvel is 100% as crazy as he looks. He relies on explosive Muay-Thai to run through opponents. When that fails he disconnects his frontal cortex and goes straight up medulla oblongata. Barnett takes him down and wrenches off a leg in the 1st setting up a showdown with Fedor amidst Affliction's bankruptcy hearings.

Fedor vs. Arlovski: A fight is a fight and anyone can win. You have to realize though that Fedor is a special talent. He isn't another fighter that has some gifts and works hard. He is a Barry Sanders or a Hank Aaron. He is Mickey Mantle before his knees went out or Prefontaine before the car wreck. The guy is a once in a generation talent. I am an Arlovski fan. I very much enjoy his fights. I appreciate the time he is putting in boxing and I think his sambo base is to easily forgotten by some. But...But, when we are talking about Fedor, we are only talking about what percentages one has not to lose. I give Arlovski a 25% chance. The only thing concerning me about Fedor is that he was in Thailand working on some movie for the last few months. That makes me nervous. I imagine Arlovski will try to land combos from the outside and move. He will probably put kicking and clinching off of his menu. That being the case, Fedor will throw him to the ground at some point, and there will really be no answer. Fedor can be cut. If Arlovski can work the jab on Fedor's eyes and cut him somewhere and keep dancing out of reach, then he has a chance to pull of a decision upset. Nobody fights with more clarity or explosiveness that Fedor and he will blow up at some point and I don't know that Arlovski, athletic man-mountain that he is, can take it. Fedor. TKO. Late.

I would tell Arask Markazi to go ahead and phone it in, but I think he is at the frat reunion "dress like a native" party. Take it to your home office kids.

I only post on one internet site. It is about fighting, but once a year someone gets really upset about people who don't eat meat. I don't know why. It has begun again. My response is in italics.

gabelh wrote:
As for my previous comment about Tim's hobby of killing animals with high-powered rifles: A.) I'm the official Subfighter vegetarian, ask Meurglys we've discussed this at length, B.) what else does he do outside of that for recreation? I've never heard of anything else. By some people's standards, taking a life every chance you get for recreation can make you an unsavory character in some folks' eyes which could in turn *gasp* be bad for the sport if you want to nit-pick about it.

Zapruder wrote:
So...murdering plants is somehow better than murdering animals? Should I speak louder? Or can you hear me way up on that high horse of yours? Walking through the forrest picking apples off a tree is the EXACT same thing...wha? dont believe me? Why dont you go compare a plants hormone spike with an animals brain waves and see what you get...listen to plants while at rest and then listen to them when they are being harvested...or as they call it THE HOLOCAUST

theruler wrote:

this is one of the most fascinating ideas i have heard on the forum. one which i've thought about considerably. just ask dinkyjon Wink .
i don't know how serious you are but i believe it wholeheartedly.

Zapruder wrote:
I worked with several professors in college developing a few theories on this exact subject. I can send you a bunch of info on this subject..I used to go counter protest PETA douche nozzles just for the lulz, and I would give out all this info...OOOO the good times.

So have you ever read Tom Robbins "Jitterbug Perfume"? If not check it out.

Yes, You and Professor Plum and Dr. Pepper in the lab cooking up a big old beaker of bullshit. Only when the study finally came out no one could read it because you had covered it in those puffy, old GI Joe stickers from 1980 when it was just the one dude with the beard and you had scrawled your favorite Care Bear on the back in crayon instead of writing end notes. Is this the annual "I Had a Revelation About Vegetarianism While Sleeping in the Hammock That I Strung Up Between My Trailer and My Mom's RV and I Decided to Bring the Whole Thing Down to the Internet for a Test Drive" Subfighter thread? If so, all I have to say is that nothing is more interesting than staring at a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Language

I think about language most of the time. Not only because I teach. In fact, less so because I teach. Mainly because I have to communicate with people who understand less than the totality of what I am trying to convey. Here is a conversation that I had yesterday (In Japanese):

Them- What does "Yum" mean?

Me- That something tastes good.

Them- I thought that was "Yummy."

Me- It's the same thing.

Them- So I should say "Yum" instead of "Yummy"?

Me- You can say either one, although they both sound childish, neither one is wrong.

Them- My dictionary says "Yum-yum."

Me- I guess people say that too.

Them- But it isn't right?

Me- They are all OK. They just sound like a little kid.

Them- So I should say "Yum" then?

It is debatable that English has the largest slate of words to choose from amongst world languages. Some make the argument that it does. I would make the argument that it offers a larger vocabulary than Japanese. This might just be because I am a competent English speaker and a moronic Japanese speaker. I might be trapped in a glass cage of my own ignorance. It seems to me, and it has been argued before that speaking English is making choices between words with slight differences in shade and nuance. We have Old English, French and Latin mixed in with many other sources. We can say Kingly, Royal and Regal (From the English, French and Latin, relatively.) They are basically the same words but carry different values. Values that matter. One of my favorite Simpson's bits is Grandpa declaring, " Your dad used to be as smart as a monkey. But then his mind started gettin' lazy, and now he's dumb as a chimp." It is very hard to explain why this is funny, but I think most people understand the very slight difference in these words which mean, essentially the same thing. Playing with these words is a skill. To a very large degree, I feel that this form of humor is completely lost on Japanese people. In my eyes, Japanese is an endless quest to say the right thing. I say this as someone who loves Japanese and enjoy learning it. But it doesn't seem to value the same subtlety. In English, good comedians are usually the ones who have a good sense of choosing the correct word for the situation. In Japanese, comedians are usually ones who are good at repeating the same thing. Over and over. Of course, there is creative language play in Japanese. Puns are well loved. But puns are something different from word selection.

I mainly bring this up to point out one of the reasons it is hard to teach English. I find myself telling people everyday that what they were taught is wrong isn't necessarily wrong, it is just not so much in favor in some circles. I think that most people just give in and say that the rules are the rules. I will keep laboring on, trying to get them to do their own thing, but it ain't taking.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Knucklehead Conflagration

I haven't been writing about school lately because it is all much of a oneness. Also I have been busy living about school, instead of digesting it as an experience. Since Christmas break I have largely been at elementary schools anyway.

I am writing about yesterday, not because it is exceptional, but because it is the story of what happens everyday in a nice, contained package. Two things to understand:

First. Again. Students are not allowed to ride bikes to school. I realize that this sounds like a tight-ass rule for kill joys and sticklers, but it is just a practicality. My school lies in a congested, mixed-use urban area and has over 400 students. For those who haven't experienced the Japanese city, it is not a landscape of sidewalks, parks, open spaces and, at worst, parking lots. It is 10-15 feet of rough asphalt, exposed gutters and front doors. Parking one extra bike in an apartment parking lot creates a nuisance. A parking lot in Japan isn't an expanse of pavement under an open sky, it is a shoebox blown up a little. There is no way to ride your bike to school without being an asshole. Not only to the people in the neighborhood around the school but to the vast majority of kids who suck it up and walk. Not that anyone has that far to go. The furthest house can't be more than twenty minutes away at a light stroll. I have walked between both elementary schools and the junior high in the course of one lunch break. I walk to the station and back every day, and it is surely farther than the most distant student's home. Riding your bike to school is just a way of saying "fuck you" to the entire process, and not in any constructive way.

Second: I don't care about Takuma anymore. I didn't think I would ever give up on a student, but he could never turn up again and we wouldn't be at a loss. Another teacher said to me today, "I have no interest in his life." That is pretty much it. I have dealt with all kinds of teenage behaviour. (I hate to pigeonhole teenagers that way anyway. Everyone is different. Everyone has something to offer. People between 12 and 20 aren't any real group. But they are undergoing some similar experiences and are subjected to similar pressures. So with that understanding.) I have busted kids for pot and felt nothing more than a complicated kind of disappointment and frustration. I have stopped kids from fighting. I have chewed kids out over destruction of property. None of it is that big of a deal. A lot of it is very normal. One kid this year got in trouble for throwing a shopping cart of the top of a parking garage. While we, as teachers, have an obligation to get angry over this, it doesn't concern me for the child's future. I can"t think of many things more entertaining than being 13 and throwing something of a building. Of course it is dangerous. Of course it is destructive. Of course you have to react and let the kid no it isn't acceptable, but it isn't rotten either. Takuma exists outside of this. Has he done anything terrible? Not really. Has he done enough to make me write him off as a liar and excuse maker with no heart, no will and a complete disregard for anything outside of himself? Yes. I don't even scold him anymore. I ignore him to the extent that I can. I never thought I would feel that way about a student.

I walk west from the station. My school's district lies to its west, so I walk through neighborhoods that all attend another junior high school. I pass those students every morning. Some are laughing and riding tandem on bikes (which is illegal.) I almost say something to them, but they have no idea who I am and I don't know their rules or their situation. I emerged from a small alleyway between a pre-school and an old folks home yesterday morning to see two bike pass me. One had two boys on it, the other had three. I thought, "Man, the other school has some rotten kids." Then I realized that I knew all of them. They hadn't recognized me because, in the cold, I was wearing a jacket with a high collar and a knit cap pulled way down. I walked after them, watching where they were going. One bike they parked under an apartment building, the other in another pre-schools parking lot. When I say 'parking lot' I mean a narrow strip of asphalt between rusting fences where parents can stop their bikes and drop off their kids.

"What are you doing?" I yelled. Ueshina shouted "Takuma" alerting his buddies. Takuma looked up at me and kept on what he was doing. I said, "You know you can't ride bikes to school. Take them home and come back." The indignant excuses began. "No. We have to come here because Ueshina has to bring his little sister to pre-school." He does have a little sister there, but she wasn't on a bike. "Then we were going to take the bikes home and then go to school." "Really? That is moronic. Why would I believe that? Hurry. Now!" At this point parents were showing up on bikes and wondering who the strange foreigner, who vaguely resembles a homeless bum (the beard is coming nicely, thank you) is standing in front of the pre-school shouting at children. An assistant principal from my school walks past. "Hi Miyaji!" Makino shouts. "Good morning." He waves back, useless. "What are you doing?" Makino protests. We have an odd relationship. He respects me because I fight and he will listen to me but he can't give away to much in front of his crew. "I am looking for your bike's registration number so I will know it next time I see it." "You could just ask. I don't care." I kind of like that about Makino, even though I want to kick him in the ass every now and then. "You know that you can't ride bikes to school and you can't ride two to a bike." "Sure we can." "No. You can't" "Who cares?" "Those are the rules that other kids have to follow." "And?"

At this point Takuma has run in to the pre-school, where he has no relation, and is screaming and running around in circles. Lately when we discuss him, we just shake our heads and refer to him as "truly stupid." Raw unfiltered stupid. I consider going in and finding the head of the school, but I realized how much I would freak them out. More than a 13 year-old doing laps around their grounds, yelling. When I do get them all out, I tell them to take the bikes home. Takuma and Kyohei (who is well loved by all of the girls at school because he looks like a member of an all-boy pop group. If you haven't lived in Japan, you can read that as, "Ugly by our standards, as diverse as they might be.") take the bikes and ride a direction that is not the way home, laughing. Makino yells after them, "That isn't home!" I walk in that direction but can't find them.

I report all of this to the assistant principal in charge of discipline. All of their families get a call. Takuma is specificaly in trouble over running into the pre-school. His parent's response, "But it wasn't his bike." That is apparently as far as the conversation got. Guess waht happened this morning. The exact same thing. With parents like these, it is no wonder.

While I Am On It

Found this again while watching the post below. For those of you who haven't seen it, it is pretty f'ing genius.


For Those Who Havce Ever Played Sports VIdeo Games

Completely not related to yesterday's momentous events.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

Saturday, January 17, 2009

UFC 93: The Gaza Strip

Commisoner Dana White was inconsolable. His podium had been blowed up by Israeli rockets. His T-shirt collection destroyed he rolled around on the ground, crawled into a corner and stared blankly as the fights went on.

Siver vs. Mohr: I have never been impressed with Siver. That doesn't mean that he is bad. Maybe he doesn't exist to impress me. Mohr, I have no opinion on. I think Siver wins by being a little tougher. Stuns Mohr with a big punch and then submits him in the 2nd.

Egan vs. Hathaway: The UFC dug Egan up at some Guinness depot wailing away on the Kimbo punching machine. Hathaway has a good number of wins against fair competition. Egan has a punchers chance, but Hathaway wins by G-n-P TKO in the 1st.

Drwal vs. Serati- I would like to pull for Serati, but Drwal is better all around. Better striking, better wrestling gets him the TKO in the 2nd.

Mendes vs. Schafer- Mendes is from the hardscrabble Brazilian fight circuit. He is a wild striker with natural power. Schafer is a hard cranking sub machine. But not a super new machine with sleek Apple design, more like a machine that crushes cars in the dump. He is also big for the weight class. I think Schafer rips something off here. Sub in the 1st.

Barros vs. Kampmann- I beleved in Kampmann at 185, I believe in him at 170. Kampmann is the real deal as a striker and he has solid subs. He looks a bit drained at the new weight, but I think his striking skills and reach take him through. Kampmann by KO in the 2nd. Look out for some serious leg kicks from Barros along the way though.

Davis vs. Lytle- What to make of this one? Two fighters that I really like making a half-assed pact to not really fight but to just punch each other in the face. Are they really going through with it? I hope not. While Davis has good subs, Lytle is a much better grappler. I would like to see part of this fight on the ground. Rarely, in a Davis fight, the striking might be equal to slightly in his opponent's favor. The advantage that Davis has is being a good gameplanner, whereas Lytle goes in and gets pulled along on whatever trip his rival is taking. Again, this pact, i don't know what to think of it, and it makes the fight hard to call. I'm going to say Lytle breaks the pact and subs Davis in the 3rd.

Belcher vs. Kang- Kang is the fighter's fighter. He is a sick grappler with real striking power. It is strange to see him now in the UFC. I have been convinced that he is the real deal for a while now, I guess his record will be the judge from now on. Belcher has impressed me before, he has a diverse muay thai striking game and is fun to watch. He is also from the Gulf Coast. That being said, Kang should be able to take him down and submit him in the 1st.

Horn vs. Palhares: I am calling Palhares as the darkhorse to have a championship belt in the next 2 years. His strength, explosiveness and submission violence impresses me. Horn....? He is a legend in the sport but seems to be more of a rumor now. Horn beat Chuck Lidell, but he is no longer that fighter and the game has changed around him. His strength is jiu-jitsu but I am not sure that on his best day he could have taken out Palhares. Palhares by leg-lock in the 1st. It will be painful.

Coleman vs. Rua: So many wildcards in this one. 2 years ago Rua was debatebly the top P4P fighter in the world. Now he has bum knees and a questionable gas tank. Coleman was the most feared fighter in the sport, but they took away his man panties and his head butts and now he is a 44 year old guy with mandatory steroid testing. What I question about Rua is not his gas tank so much, no 205er fights at his pace, but is his durability under the undeniable physicality of Coleman. Striking-wise, Rua is interesting, but not so powerful. Coleman is non-existent. That being said, Coleman could land one big punch. Coleman could damage Rua on the takedowns, as he had before, but Rua will submit him on the ground. Rua by sub in the 2nd after Coleman tires.

Henderson vs. Franklin: I have said it before and I will say it again, Henderson might be the best athlete in the sport. He also suffers from Chris Lytle's issue, but worse. He will fight his opponents fight. He will get sucked in and play along with whatever. He will get distracted and frustrated. He will chase around kick-boxers. He won't wrestle crappy grapplers. He often gets bailed out by his giant power and his iron chin. Franklin is a different creature. He has a diverse game. He is a capable striker with unstoppable stamina. He is capable on the ground and good at the sprawl without being a great wrestler. However, he has no real power and a substandard chin. I think that Franklin could suck Henderson into a kickboxing match, wearing him out with body kicks and punches off of angles. I will not be surprised if Franklin wins but I can't bet against the one punch power and durability of Henderson. I see him getting a knock-down in the 2nd and pounding Franklin out.

There it is, take it to the Middle-East. Don't call me crying when you loose your money Arash Markazi.


Israel, you must be very proud of yourself.
(make sure to turn on the subtitles in the box down on the right.)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Prisoner

Patrick McGoohan who played, and created The Prisoner died this week. The cool think about him being dead is that AMC has every episode of the prisoner up for free!!! What a wacky-ass show. If you have never seen! It's free on the internet.

Evan Tanner Article

CNNSI pays tribute to the man.

Monday, January 12, 2009


I must apologize for my recent sparseness, I had what I thought was a cold which turned out to be the flu, so I have spent my three-day weekend layed up in my loft with the temperatures descending into the 0s both outside and inside. It has been snowing in Kyoto. I struggled out to walk to the grocery store and facing north the mountains were covered in snow. Being from Florida I still, even after seven years in Japan, am startled by seeing mountains on the horizon, them being covered in snow has the extra quality of the unreal. Me having the flu makes them almost mystical. Arriving at the store I had all the supplies for curry in my basket and was debating whether I had enough money to buy peanut butter when I realized that I had, in fact, no money at all. So I put everything back and ran across the street to the ATM. As the electric doors, covered in setsubun masks, attempted to close on me and the green light began to blink, I made it through the intersection as the sunlight turned to a snow flurry. I bought my groceries and walked home staring and very buildings in the now. Kyoto is beautiful. In the snow it is almost unattainable.

I managed to take a shower tonight. The shower is outside. It is a large cube made of plastic. It isn't a bad shower. It is very warm inside. But only inside when the shower is running. Condensation gathers on the ceiling, which droops slightly. Being in contact with the outside, the ceiling is near freezing. So is the water. As you stand under the hot water, the condensation grows heavy and begins to drop on your back. Freezing. When the shower is off, the temperature drops again rapidly. I dry off grab my clothes and throw them on quickly and smoothly, by necessity. This flu has caused a serious break from reality, but it is interesting.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Secret

This is genius. Read it while it is still up.

Best Song Ever?

Still, after all these years, climbing the rankings of Best Song Ever.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Friday, January 9, 2009



Yes this is socially acceptable. Yes Japan has a problem. I could argue this in a lot of ways but I am besot with the Devil cold and am low on output. I could probably show that to a random sampling of 100 Japanese people that I know and be lucky if 5 found it offensive. That being said, there is a kind of tradition in Japan of performing in blackface as being a tribute to black performers. I think that should be reconsidered...but... Yeah, it"s pretty shameful.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Shiver Me Timbers

Semi-interesting article about pirates; modern and old-school.

The best thing is that it was accompanied by this advertisement.

Monday, January 5, 2009


Have I been remiss in not addressing politics over this holiday period? The world done blew up. I don't even know if I feel like commenting on Israel v. Palestine anymore. It seems to simplistic to say "grow up" but don't both sides deserve a stern spanking.

A lot of blame, however goes to the U.S. who demanded Palestine hold elections when any reasonable analyst knew that Hamas was going to win. The, when Hamas did win, the U.S. acted surprised and refused to recognize them. So which is it? Do we believe in democracy or do we not? If we do then we should treat Hamas as the government of Palestine. A bad government, but the government. When they have to function as the government they have different responsibilities than when they are operating as the opposition. The U.S. could have then chastised them for antagonizing another sovereign state. But we lost the ability to do that didn't we.

Not very deep thoughts but the situation is ridiculous.

Roll Tide?

I am accepting a doo-doo end to a great season, but it hurts.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Ebino Kogen

All of the years I lived in Miyazaki and I went to Ebino Kogen for the first time yeasterday. Verdict: Lovely!

Over to the right, where the water looks smooth is all frozen. This is a volcanoe crater. Lake Fudo.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Year in MMA

Good roundup by Cagepotato (Who are a consistantly good website.)

Happy Birthday Mimi!

My grandmother turned 90 today. She told me about spending her 7th birthday on the operating table after taking a boat, The Primrose, to Pensacola.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Because Mochi Can't Make Itself

Japanese speakers: Kagoshima-ben, can you figure it out? (this excludes James.)

Miyazaki New Years

attempting to silence the voices in my head.