Sunday, February 28, 2010

You Talk Funny

I am going to recommend this article for two reasons:

First because it is a nice ode to a teacher and shows how good teachers can influence so many people's lives.

Second because the second paragraph contains the sentence "In his impenetrably thick Ukrainian accent, he would berate us for being out of tune..."

Why do I mention that? Why do you think? I believe this former students paean to a departed teacher illustrates an important connection that Japan is sadly missing out on; that people who were born in other countries can teach your children and positively impact their lives. You may think this is self-serving and I am just talking about me and my job status. I am, but the story is larger.

Japanese people live in a country synonymous with a language. That language has many accents, most of them celebrated. From Osaka comedy to Tokyo business out to thee barriers of Kagoshima and Aomori indecipherableness, Japanese regional accents each have their own character. What Japanese people have trouble with is people speaking Japanese as a second language. That is an accent that can only be celebrated through buffoonery, witness Bobby, or any other TV clown. Speaking to a good deal of the Japanese public is a bit like the bartender in Anchorman attempting to inspire Ron Burgundy only to be told, "I'm sorry, I don't speak Spanish." It often isn't the quality or intelligence of what is being said, but rather the willingness and ability to hear it. I am not just making this claim as someone with hurt feelings but as someone who's job it is to teach a foreign language to people who have no concept of people being useful speaking a foreign language, usually with an accent.

Mr. K. in the article, had a rough life. He also had an uplifting life. If he has decided to ply his trade in Japan he would have been forced to teach outside his subject, switch schools every year or so and always be accompanied by a Japanese citizen. Why? Well, his brand of discipline, or any discipline for that matter, would be against the law for a foreigner to implement. Now, I know the contrary argument; Good thing he didn't teach in Japan, but anyone can choose to not teach in Japan. Well, yes and no. LIfe is complicated for lots of us and it isn't always choices about job equity that keep us where we are. A more larger argument that I would make is that I love my students and I feel bad that their country won't give them the opportunity to be taught and driven and inspired by teachers from various backgrounds.

Last week I was teaching a particularly bad 2nd year class. One of the boys was constantly flicking off a girl in class. I told him to stop what he was doing as it was rude. He asked, "What does this mean?" I answered that you probably shouldn't go around doing something if you didn't know what it meant, but that, as an American, I thought it was rude and not something you should do in class. He replied, "But this isn't America." "True, but I am American and I am teaching this class and I am telling you to stop." His friend chimed in from the back "Why are foreigners here teaching us anyway? Japan is for Japanese people." Now, this is a pretty silly argument and is far from offending my sensibilities. However, I felt kind of bad for them and their limited world and I felt bad about a school system that, in my opinion, reinforces these opinions. Reading this article I felt good about America and that, growing up, we do get to experience people from backgrounds that aren't our own. I only think it helps to make us better people and I think Japan will pay the price for its approach in the long run.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Still February in Kyoto




Jinrikisha- Higashiyama-ku




Old voodoo doll tree- Kiyomizudera

Animals Aren't Cute

I hate to jump up and down and yell "I told you so!" at a corpse with water still draining out of it, but there is no reason marine mammals should be in captivity. This is something I have been pretty adamant about since I went to a conference on it at UF during high school. There are many ethical and moral reasons that we shouldn't imprison these creatures to have show time for the rubes, but another, more pressing reason is that they are giant animals and can kill you with less effort than they use to take a shit. Speaking of shit, keeping marine mammals in captivity makes them bat-shit crazy. Think about it. "I want to get in the water with a giant, intelligent, carnivorous, toothed mammal whose name has "killer" in it, who has gone mental from its sonar bouncing off of concrete walls for the last 10 years." Bad Idea Jeans. One man enter, fish fucking kills you. I say it is par for the course. It is to be expected. Don't hate the killer whale, hate the fucking game. Really. Don't pay to see this bullshit spectacle unless you accept that somebody is going down.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I enjoyed this article on the economy, because one; It discusees the field of economics as being an advocate for hummanity in general. Two; it had pretty graphs.

Pimp My Power Structure

I haven't been talking about the O'Keefe/Breitbart boondoggle at all, but it seems very representative of something. If you aren't familiar with the story, it is an extension of the Republican war against Acorn as Acorn has the temerity to register low-income voters. Of course, participating in democracy is not something that should go unpunished so Acorn has become a Republican punch-line, just like purple hearts and torture. In order to further undermine Acorn Andrew Breitbart employed neveau Nixonian dirty Trickster James O'Keefe to go around and secretly record low-level Acorn staff members trying to deal with his fictional problem. What was presented to the media were a pair dressed in outrageous Blacksploitation pimp regalia and hooker wear, respectively, going around and getting Acorn to instruct them in how to avoid paying taxes. What it turns out really happened is that a normal looking man in a dress shirt and slacks went to Acorn offices with a girl in a skirt and claimed that it was his girlfriend who was being threatened by a violent pimp and they needed help getting out of the situation. They then went back and edited the videos heavily and inserted clips of O'Keefe in the pimp get-up. It is obvious to almost anyone what lame frat-boy level racism goes into the whole structure of this prank. What is worse is that the media bought it completely. They have gone back on it slightly, but not enough. What is truly infuriating is that all of this led to congress trying to shut off all federal funding for Acorn while the NY Times refuses to retract the "dressed as a pimp" language in their reporting. The attitude expressed by The New York Times' independent Public Editor, Clark Hoyt, says about all you need to know about the power structure in America. The fact that his papers participation in the right-wing Acorn hysteria might have led to lower-class people having harder lives, doesn't seem to way on his mind to heavily. If you want to read the original transcripts of the Acorn tapes, then go here. You will also keep in mind that James O'Keefe is the same criminal who is facing federal charges for messing with Sen. Landrieu's phones.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

February in Kyoto


We happened upon a wedding in Yasaka Jinja.



Skyline from Kiyomizudera.


Tyrany of the Minority.

This is something that has been making me nuts for a while. The author here makes the very solid point that preventing health care, or any other proposal, is a kind of no vote. So, with the Republicans scorched earth, guerrilla warfare style of preventative politics, they become the majority with 41% of the vote. Somehow this is rationalized in the press, with the complicity of lap-dog Democrats, to seem as the state of things as they have always been. Should 51%, a majority, somehow be considered not enough to get things done? If so, why? Does it only apply to Democratic policies. The answer to the latter would seem to be an emphatic "Yes!!!"

Sunday, February 21, 2010

UFC 110: Lightning Jack

Paul Hogan strode to the podium, cracked open a Foster's, grinned at the camera and said "Who's dead now mate." Winked and disappeared in a puff of smoke.

Te Huna vs. Pokrajac

I don't pretend to know. Momentum seems to be behind Te Huna. I take him by 1st round TKO.

Dolloway vs. Reljic

Dolloway is the physical manifestation of Public Enemy's declaration, "Don't Believe the Hype!" The dude might tap to the game of Twister. Reljic is also an outstanding athlete but he has been sidelined by injuries and disinterest. Reljic has been the better fighter in the past but I am wary of fights back from back injuries so I will say Dolloway by decision. I don't know though.

Lytle vs. Foster Australia?? Great. It is no secret that I can't root against Chris Lytle. Can I pull for him? Hmm.. Chris Lytle is a very skilled striker and grappler, but he has traded in this skill for big fight of the night payouts. For those who don't know, fight of the night in the UFC means best appoximation of a toughman contest. Lytle obliges. And why not? He gets the money for it. If he fights in that fashion in Australia he is going to get smacked around by Foster who has power and wrestling. If Lytle decides to get his black-belt and pro-boxing experience out of storage he can win this decision. If not? Chunder!

Bonnar vs. Soszynski

Bonnar was a fighter that I thought had a lot of upside. He was a gold-glove boxer with a Gracie black-belt. He is obviously technically proficient. Where has that gone? His trainer, Carlson Gracie, dying might be to blame. A naturally low ceiling might be a bigger factor. He might have been an average fighter from the get go. That isn't shameful, it just means he isn't going anywhere. Soszynski isn't a bag full of talent either but he is a good fighter, and a smart fighter who knows his strengths. He is a more physical fighter and I think it will show in this fight as he beats on Bonnar for a TKO in the 3rd.

Filipovic vs. Perosh

Filipovic's opponent, Ben Rothwell, had to bow out of the competition this week. In steps Persoh. Down goes Perosh. The downfall of Cro-Cop has been sad to watch but this fight won't be. As weird as Filipovic's performances have been recently, something strange could happen, but I see a return to highlight real dominance for Filipovic with a KO in the 1st.

Jardine vs. Bader

I think there are truths to both sides on Jardine's striking; It is effective, sometimes, in its awkwardness. It is also technically unsound. Jardine is a hard opponent, but I see Bader tooling him for some reason. Bader has an explosive double leg and the wrestler's solid 1-2. I think he lands the straight right on Jardine and also takes him down for damage. Bader by TKO in the 2nd.

Stevenson vs. Sotiropoulos

Who ccan't like Joe Stevenson. He is very likable. A good fighter, who goes hard, but he couldn't cut it against the top guys. Greg Jackson in his corner is a help. Sotiropoulos is part of the Purebred family so it is also hard for me to come out against him. I was very impressd by Sotiropoulos's dedication to training during his time on TUF. While other people were exchanging body fluids, he was running sprints in the back yard. Both fighters are superb grapplers, so this should be a good fight that should go to a decision. I am being provocative and calling it for Sotiropoulos. 大和多魂。 

Silva vs. Bisping

I have said it a bunch, I just don't buy into Bisping as a top level fighter. I think Silva lays it on him. I think Silva devastates him. Hooks and knees from the clinch. Silva KO in the 1st.

Nogueira vs. Velasquez

I am going to be honest, this could go either way. I think the real key is going to be whether Velasquez can base out on Nogueira's sweep attempts and maintain his balance. If so, I think he can ride it out to a decision. If not then I think Nogueira can maintain top position. Nogueira deserves every bit of his legacy and is still a relevant fighter. I would love to see him win. Velasquez is a great up and comer. He has amazing skills and dedication. It would be great to see him win. A toss up. Velasquez's take-down, stamina and balance, earn him a decision.

There it is Linda Kozlowski. Fax it to Arash with a cc to Amy Chavez. Put in your milk money.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ms. Chavez, Back At It

I think we should start treating Amy Chavez like that elephant who they have trained to paint pictures. The only real difference is that the elephant has some degree of natural talent. Maybe we should regard what happens in her head as what happens when monkeys throw shit around the zoo. The only problem with that is that monkeys are entertaining and the shit has a random chance of forming some kind of pattern or making sense. If Ms. Chavez were to be a competent writer I would have issues with her over her ignorance and her willingness to view Japan as a pre-constructed stereotype rather than experience it herself. Unfortunately Ms. Chavez is decidedly untalented and yet is paid by the Japan Times to conduct a monkey shit fight with herself on the pages of their newspaper. I don't know Amy, what would it be like if Hello Kitty went shopping? What is it like when you buy jeans? Great story pitch.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Eiheiji. Fukui-ken. February 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010

Christian Founders?

I came across this NY Times article this weekend and apparently it has been getting a good deal of attention since. That, I am sure, has no relation to me looking at it however.

I had read before about how Texas controls what goes in most American textbooks. That is unfortunate. This article seemed especially timely coming on the heels of Howard Zinn's recent departure for the big protest in the sky.

As it is a broad, big article, I have many thoughts on the content within. At this moment I would just like to pose two of them.

1. Even if the entire reason for the founding of America was the creation of a Christian nation (and lets not kid ourselves, the only reason "Judeo" is tacked on there is because the conservatives understand who they can afford as enemies.) is that, rationally, the best course for a modern, stable democracy? If you want to test that just substitute any religion for Christianity and I think you get the answer. No one wants to live under a government designed to enforce a religion they are not a participant in. Well, there might be someone somewhere, but it would seem more like a fetish than a brave stance.

2. If we accept that all of the founders believed themselves to be Christian, do their actions hold them up as Christians? For example, say I am going to found my own country in my basement. My country's motto will be "For the upliftment of Christ." Our constitution will forbid all non-Christians and our laws will be the Ten Commandments. Another thing we will do in my country is murder children. I don't mean that in an abstract way. Some of the citizens might just be rapists, but a lot of them will also murder children. They will murder old people too. Sometimes they will wantonly kill adults as well, but the children thing seems the most notable. Could anyone pretend that that was a Christian nation? Even if it called itself "Make No Mistake We Are Chritian-sylvania"?

I would think the answer to number two is clearly no. And it seems ridiculous but is it any different from what the people in this article are saying? The U.S. is a Christian nation but had legal slavery participated in by its most notable aristocrats for hundreds of years. Slavery, of course involves rape and murder, I don't think I am being controversial in saying that. Of course you could point out that slavery wasn't that frowned upon in many nations in history that considered themselves Christian. Sure, but could anyone make a real go of it with that argument about America now? So, to me, any argument that the U.S. was founded as a Christian nation is a silly rhetorical trick that cares little about actual history or political/theological/philosophical thought. A Christian nation in the midst of a genocide be it of Africans or Natives is a mockery of both religion and government. If that is truly the argument they are going with, then the textbooks should ask the question; Why were the founders such absolute, pathetic failures?

Language is Retarded

Or should I say that it can be retarded when we attempt to police it too vigorously. On the whole, I agree with this article in the Washingon Post. I understand that the word is hurtful to some people and that some other people intend it to be hurtful towards people who don't deserve it. The main point to me is that, no matter what we change the correct, defensible term to, it will be offensive to people in 50 or so years. I am not trying to advocate a cavalier attitude, declaring that any concern for other's feelings is "PC" and that we should all just say whatever comes into our heads. One should recognize their audience and sensitivities and think about what they say and the effect that it can have. That being said, I don't think I have associated the word "retarded" with mental illness since grade school. By the same token I haven't associated "gay" with being happy in......ever. Gay clearly means two guys who are retarded for each other. Of course guys can also be retarded for girls and vice-versa. Opposing same-sex relationships on the other hand is severely retarded. I might even call it mongoloid if that was in the vernacular. But it is not as mongoloid as any another outdated retarded medical term used to discuss morons. I was discussing this queer terminology with my octoroon buddy the other day. I should point out that he has some stake in this whole name game as he is half. I mean, they are double. Which is it? The whole concept is dumb. But motherfuckers get riled up about it. They get on the war path. You know, like Indians. I guess the imagery I am going for is know....India fighting over Kashmir. On the war path as it were. Not that I want war. We will achieve peace. Lord willing and the Creek don't rise and all. As long as our allies don't Welsh on their obligations or Jew us around like Indian givers. Wait. That sounds offensive. This resurgence of saying things like "I've been Jewed" really needs to quit. How would our JAP friends feel about it. It is too much for me to sort out. At least its only a few weeks until spring training so I can start rooting for the Braves again, and looking forward to who the Redskins will draft. Fo'shizzle my nizzle. Try not to be niggardly with your comments. Oh my gosh. I can't believe I typed the word "niggardly." I hope no one is offended. Being offended is so gay. What a gyp.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Ms. Chavez I Presume?

My name is Amy Chavez and I am a professional writer. People pay me to write things. I type them and this what happens. I am really happy with my profession and to be able to share it with the world. On another note, I am mentally handicapped. Good thing they gave me a masters degree. Was it before or after I flowered for Algernon? Who knows?

Grammar Warriors Mount Up

New grammar problem. A work sheet today read "My most favorite sport is ________" I immediately said "You can't say that because both are superlatives. You can't be the most tallest." The teacher answered, "Really, but that's what it says in the book." Gong, like Chuck Barris for not the first, nor the last time. I went back to the lab to huddle and research only to find that not every expert considers the word favorite to be a superlative. Some do. I would. But then again, I have no problem with saying "It is my least favorite." Is that because favorite is a positive so you can rank its negatives? I would stay away from saying "most favorite." You don't call John "The most dead Kennedy." We don't call Sartre "The most French." If we did either of these things, we would be making a joke. Thoughts?

And the Oscar Goes To...

Not believing that Oscars and good movies go hand in hand I have spent the rainy week watching best picture nominees anyway.

The Hurt Locker was quite a good movie but I have the feeling I would have thought more of it if I had come to it naturally instead of it being a nominee. I don't want to critique it from a hard line realist stance, but I do think a movie about the military needs to adhere to things that are factual, especially when discussing an ongoing conflict. I don't say that in any kind of "they need to do right by our boys" fashion, but that it detracts from what is going on when, say, the submarine has both a pet dog, an aquarium and a stereo on it. In the case of The Hurt Locker, while I found the seen in the professors house very good and necessary, I didn't find they way that the character ended up there plausible. I don't think U.S. GIs do very well off base in Baghdad. That being said, this was my only problem with the film. I thought that the last 10 minutes was exceptional and speaks to lots of things that I find to be true in life. Jeremy Renner picking out cereal in the supermarket seems especially tragic to some notion inside of me. I guess it can be a great and terrible thing about military life that it can make you stand out for being really, really good at something, even if that something doesn't negotiate well with the word at large.

Precious was very good were it good just have easily been bad and preachy and maudlin. It wasn't any of those things. It played somewhat like an after-school special. But like the dirtiest, most heartbreakingly honest and real after-school special ever produced. I thought Mo'nique, who I only knew from her spot on the dais at Emmitt Smith's roast, was exceptional. She was terrifying and pathetic. Al of the supporting performances were very good and captured something real about the situation. The story played really straight for being about something so awful. As a teacher you see parents like this out there and I will never understand them. Also, Mariah Carey was sterling in her role. I didn't even realize it was her for a bit, even though I knew she was in the movie and in what role and was told "I didn't realize it was her." Make no mistake, it is a very good movie.

Up In the Air is a solid movie with good acting and cinematography. It is about something in the same way the other two movies on here are, but it is something that, on its surface, seems more self-centered, and piddling and white. I think it runs a little deeper than that though. Also, on a shallower note, for people who have spent a lot of time flying it is a solid commiseration. We all have our methods and strategies I suppose. I also enjoyed the aerial scenes of the cities.

All of these movies, as I suppose most good movies do, seemed to have an interesting confluence with my present life and its predicaments. I identified a little with Clooney having to hand in his Superman "S" and what that means about who he is. Here is where I am going to make an outrageous claim; Of these three movies, Precious was the easiest to make. I don't mean logistically, although it might have been. I mean that the subject matter was so shocking and strong that it drives the movie forwards no matter what. I don't think you have to work as hard to make strategy and heartbreak impact people. I think that what The Hurt Locker and Up In The Air do subtly is a harder trick than showing how horrible rape and incest are. Then again, the tricky part of Precious is how to not make it too preachy or heavy handed. This brings me to another, and in my case, inevitable point; Where is The Hangover? I know, that is absurd, right? But why? Why is it absurd. I argued that Michael Caine should have had an Oscar for Austin Powers. I think that Tropic Thunder was probably the best move last year. I really, truly believe that making a solid comedy is far more difficult than making a drama, because, when making a drama, you are assuming a tone that demands that people take you seriously. With comedy you are making a product to be judged on its raw merits. That is a hard bar to pass. It isn't easy to come up with something funny. I don't know that The Hangover was the best picture last year, but I think it deserves consideration.


I saw a bit of the very odd exchange between Ron Reagan and Atlas Shrugged over the weekend and just kind of shook my head. Fortunately the good folks at Lawyers, Guns and Money took it on a bit. Really, honestly, what was she talking about? Do you think she just said "epistemological" because it sounded like something smart that would make someone back off? That seems the most likely. Or do you think she was really trying to engage in a discussion about whether someone is able to know someone and their thoughts on a truer level by reading what they wrote rather than being one of their offspring and having a life-long relationship with them. Actually, thinking about it, I don't think she meant anything. She could have substituted any other smart sounding word, because she couldn't honestly mean what she implied. She wasn't actually even inviting the discussion...was she?

Monday, February 8, 2010

I am Better at English Than He!

Grammar warriors, help me out.

Would you teach junior high schoolers that they should be saying:

"He is taller than I." OR
"He is taller than me."

Now, I know the grammatical arguments. I know the controversy over whether "than" is a conjunction or a preposition. However, I take a more organic view to these things. Do you think it would better serve a teenager to say "I" or "me"?

I am going with "me" on this one but some other teachers disagree with me. If a junior high student would be encountering actual conversations from the vernacular, I think it would serve them better. Of course, I am teaching in Japan so all they are encountering are stilted text readings created by committees of non-native speakers. I think teachers feel more comfortable explaining the rules for "I."

I would consider teaching it this way:

"I am tall."
"He is tall."
"He is taller than I am."

This would require materials for the board to illustrate, but it would be easy to teach I think as they would already grasp "I am..." Then again:

"I am tall."
"He is tall."
"He is taller than me."

Might be a good way to teach about the object of the sentence. The counter argument being that you cant say, "He is taller than me am."

But, let's think about a 12 year old complaining:

"I'm so short. When will I grow. This sucks. Everybody is taller than I!"

Doesn't really work, does it?

Help me out.


Reading back through my Strunk and White I find the cautrionary "In general, aviod 'understood' verbs by supplying them." As usual, I defer to the masters and find them correct.

For example:

"He eats pizza more than I."
"He eats pizza more than I do."

"She lloves him more than me."
"She love him more than I do."

Better English that way, I think.

The (Completely Timely) Fall of Air America

I said I was going to write about this weeks ago, but I never seem to have the time. Or, to the larger point, I stopped caring about Air America a long time ago. If we hopped in a time machine and went back a few years that would seem completely unforeseeable.

Let's go back further. Ten years maybe? I can remember the little corner of northwest Alabama where I could pick up Jim Hightower's radio show when driving to Memphis. It seemed like an amazing pocket in the substance of the universe that let one view a world where liberals were allowed to speak. There was also a mildly left-wing program when I would drive up the interstate through Chattanooga. I remembered where I could get the stations. I probably got a total of an hour of left wing programming in a year. And I am a radio junkie. Funny, that was the title of my radio show which I didn't name. So, when rumors of Air America's founding became a reality, I was sprinting like Ben Johnson towards whatever outlet would give me some of that. That outlet, it turns out, was very simple. Anyone could listen to Air America, for free, on the internet. It was like goddamn Halloween for Christmas every day of the year. Realize that the morning line-up was in my evening and, as Ed can testify, I spent most evenings with Air America's morning line-up.

In the beginning, that line-up was truly bad-ass. You had Unfiltered with Lizz Winstead, Chuck D and some unknown Rhodes Scholar Phd, Rachel Maddow. Leading in to that was Morning Sedition with Mark Maron and Mark Riley, which was a really very good honest show which mixed Riley's old radio professionalism and Marc Maron's instinctive, life coming unhinged commentary. It also had one of my favorite titles of all time. There was also the Al Franken Show, which, although a little more down the middle than the others, contained a lot of good policy information. Looking back, the show that stands out to me most, however, is The Majority Report. Even at its worst- It's worst probably being Jeneane Garafolo's foray into the public service wing of Scientology and Sam Seder's subsequent flip-out, was great radio. I was never too into Randi Rhodes, but she was alright. Thom Hartman amazed me but I didn't listen to him as much.

Sadly, what happened to Air America, is what happens to lots of good things. They weren't doing so great financially and they decided to listen to people who told them that in order to fix this they had to do what everyone else in radio did. Of course, that is, in the end, terrible advice, because Air America's entire selling point was being something different. I lost interest gradually due to three separate factors.

1. They started implementing a pay-to-listen system. I can't remember how or when now but it discouraged me. I think you could still download podcasts, but it got more complicated.

2. They started getting rid of personalities. I hear that they started making cuts for budgetary reasons, but who they cut is telling. They tossed out everyone whose voice was unique to Air America. They jerked around Sam Seder and Marc Maron and replaced them with Lionel and Jerry Springer. I think this is what most people would tell you made them unhappy with the station. Anything that was new or interesting or with any kind of unique appeal was thrown out the door for things that were considered safe. I could extrapolate this to a problem with the left-wing in America in general. I understand that Lionel was their highest rated host, but is that really what you are in it for? It isn't something I wanted to participate in. It is kind of like electing Barak Obama only to have Rahm Emanuel be Chief of Staff. Wait, that happened. Radio is like the NFL everyone wants to copy success because trying something new has stiff penalties and being mediocre is safer than trying and failing.

3. During Air America's downturn, other outlets began popping up. The Young Turks internet radio program was more accessible and far more DIY. Rachel Maddow became a household name and Al Franken became a senator. This final reason for my lack of interest in Air America would seem to also be praise for Air America. If they hadn't been around, I don't think Maddow and Franken would be where they are now.

Of course the bankruptcy will be heralded by those on the Right as a failure of liberalism. They will fail to mention that Fox News lost $90 million in its first five years of operation. They will forget that Fox News's parent company lost $30 billion in market value in 2008. Most conservative media outlets run at severe losses but are funded by super wealthy patrons who don't care. Nothing like that exists on the Left and it probably shouldn't. To me the failure of Air America has very little to do with Left vs. Right and everything to do with the mediocrity of playing it safe. If you have ever worked in radio, you know that the pressure to do what everyone else is doing is overwhelming. In my 2 years in radio I pushed for internet broadcasting every day. I was told repeatedly that that was absurd and could never work. Good thing we never tried. Well, Air America, for a brief few years tried until things got rough. And when the going gets rough, the squares play it straight. Count on it.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

UFC 109: A Simple Gesture

UFC Commissioner Dana White stumbled to the stage with a torn copy of A People's History of the United States in one hand, an empty bottle of rum in the other, and a J.D. Salinger autographed T-Shirt. "Fuck it," he said, gathering his strength, "Everybody is dead anyway." He then smeared himself with black-face and began his long rumored, spot-on, Wyclef Jean impersonation:

Gracie vs. Beltran
With one week of training, Beltran is being sent in to lose. Gracie by 1st round sub.

Hague vs. Tuchscherer
I don't really care. Hague is an elementary school teacher I believe? I don't know. Tuscherer by G-n-P TKO 2nd.

Davis vs. Stann
I am not going to lie and say that I have seen a lot of these guys, but I always hear their names. Davis by lots of take-downs to decision.

Nover vs. Emerson
This one is hard for me. I really liked what I saw of Nover on TUF. I thought he had a lot of promise and I bought the hype. He hasn't arrived yet though. Emerson is a fighter I can never support. If you don't know, as a young man he was involved in a gang of rich, white kids who went around with guns robbing and beating people. He ended up missing out on jail time. Maybe he has moved beyond that, but he is not someone I can support. Emerson has, on the other hand, been able to get the most out of his limited talent. He has some bread and butter striking complemented by an increasingly capable take-down defense. If Nover has been able to improve his training, he his the higher ceiling, the better ground game and the more diverse striking package. This fight will show us where he is. If you are going to play it safe, call it for Emerson. I like Nover by split decision.

Torres vs. Guillard
Guillard showed up on the scene with all of the (striking) talent in the world. What he has showed us in the years since is one of the lowest fight IQs in the game. Guillard has rare, rare power, and can always win. That being said, he know how to lose. If this fight goes to the ground, and it will, Guillard will lose. Torres represent Nova Uniao. That counts for something. Torres by sub in the 1st.

Danzig vs. Bucholz
Danzig is absolutely my kind of fighter. He is good all-around. He has tight, competent boxing. He makes few mistakes on the floor. He is a driven, talented fighter. Danzig's problem is that he just doesn't have the body and athleticism to fight at the highest levels at 155. I have always called Bucholz to lose, and he seems to win somehow. I don't see him winning here though. He isn't a good enough wrestler to make anything happen. Danzig wins a hard, but unanimous decision.

Serra vs. Trigg
Who the F knows man. Both of these guys are a roll of the twelve-sided die. Trigg is notorious for being RNCed, so I called that Mayhem Miller, who excels at RNCs, would beat him. Trigg proceeded to beat Mayhem up.Serra, the jiu-jitsu black-belt, is best known for beating the tar out of GSP. I like Serra better, does that count for anything? I think Serra has more power. Trigg has better wrestling, but Serra isn't that worried about getting taken down, however, he doesn't submit much from the bottom. I say Serra by split-decision.

Maia vs. Miller
Ouch. They are puttin' the hurt on me. Two of my favorite fighters in a similar style match-up. I am a big supporter of Miller's career. He has a real, pulling, yanking, strength submission game to go with a wrestling base. Maia hovers above this world on the BJJ mother ship laughing at the rest of us vain attempts at the graceful art. I see this as the kind of match-up I see in the gym a lot wherein the Shooto guy has a very good, strong, basic submission game that they can lay on quick and strong. Maia would be playing the part of the sub wizard in the gi studying Youtube on the weekends and flipping through all the obscure books. What makes Maia different is that he has some rare athleticism to back it up. I want to pull for Miller, and his savvy could make this a little interesting, but Maia still gets the sub in the 1st.

Swick vs. Thiago
No one can say that Thiago has gotten the easy road here in the UFC. Apparently he has to fight the entire American Kickboxing Academy roster to get anywhere. This is a hard fight and I would rather see Thiago get more of a chance to develop. The odd thing about Swick is that he uses his monster reach more to get under-hooks than to jab. He has some good tight hooks and some sneaky power. Thiago has real power too, and a ground game. Swick probably takes this by having more experience, but I say Thiago by KO in the 2nd.

Marquardt vs. Sonnen

I often talk about "my kind of fighter." Sonnen is not that. He is an asshole Republican real estate agent who wrestles people until they get bored with their own careers and retire to the decision. He is kind of ridiculous and notorious for getting subbed, screaming and crying and then saying he was never subbed. Marquardt has the complete game. Just complete enough to never beat Anderson Silva. Sonnen can out wrestle him, but Marquardt will take advantage at every other opportunity. I call Marquardt by screaming sub in the 2nd.

Couture vs. Coleman
Two pioneers. One successful and respected. One bitter and pitied. Coleman once dominated the sport to such a degree that they had to change the rules. Of course that rule was no headbutting. If that is your only skill and you never progress become Mark Coleman, who I feel bad for, but who had every opportunity to get better and didn't. Couture, on the other hand, was a wrestler who got arm-barred by Enson Inoue (who owns my gym) and progressed to someone who could fight to a draw with Jacare in a grappling match. Couture also has very good boxing. I will give Coleman the power edge, but he doesn't use it so effectively. Coleman also has better single and double-leg take-downs, but does that really matter against Couture who lives for the clinch? Two old men come out smelling like Old-Spice and Icy Hot and gum each other......or....or Couture by TKO in the 3rd.

There it is kids. Donate it to Haiti. Apparently I have been taking this space to taunt Arash Markazi, not knowing that he was battling and beating back cancer. Beating Cancer, Arash, well above average. Your MMA writing, somewhat below.

attempting to silence the voices in my head.