Sunday, July 18, 2010

Gion Matsuri: Procession-Part One

This was the first year since I have been in Kyoto that this part of the matsuri fell on a weekend. Not that it would have mattered this summer as I am on 'vacation.'















Gion Matsuri: Yoiyama

The nights leading up to the parade at Gion Matsuri are known as Yoiyoiyoiyama, Yoiyoiyama and Yoiyama. It rained through the first two but cleared up for one good night wandering around town looking at the yamaboko.


Here Keiko helps Natsuki put on a yukata for the first time since junior high.


Part of the Gion Matsuri is known as the Byobu Matsuri, where people open up their private collections and their homes.



There is a lot of garbage. Armando and Natsuki frolicked among it.


This is Fune Boko. Which is a Hoko that looks like a boat.




Fish, take warning, run from Japan.



Sunday, July 4, 2010

UFC 116: To Kill a Mockingbird

(the 'a' key barely works on this keyboard. sorry)

Commissioner Dana White stumbled towards the podium with his fly down and a t-shirt with picture of Christopher Hitchens smoking a cigarette. As he chuckled to himself a slight stream of champagne slid from his nose.

Madsen vs. Vemola

Yeah, this undercard is a real grab-bag. Light it on fire and stomp on it. A lot of guys with good records in small promotions vs. guys with middling records in big promotions. There just isn't enough data. I think Vemola might be more talented but Madsen has more UFC experience. Let's say Madsen by TKO in the 2nd.

Roberts vs. Petz

Again, what do we really know? I am going Roberts by decision.

Harris vs. Branch

Harris is a real dogged fighter. Good take-downs and top control. He will probably win but I am going to call a surprise sub for Branch in the 1st. Interesting.

Grove vs. Reljic

Two super talented guys with big holes in their games. Reljic's being injury and subsequent lay-off, which makes me question him. Grove who's lack of beard is epic. I really love Grove's game but you just can't bet on Glass Joe. Reljic by KO in the 2nd after being out fought by Grove.

Romero vs. Petruzelli

One of the strnge things about operating on the fringes of the MMA world is that I realistically know that Seth Petruzelli could come into my gym and kick my and everyone else's ass (as long as Enson wasn't there) however, come on....whatever. Romero by decision.

Schaub vs. Tschurer

Schaub is a fighter I am actually interested in. His boxing is still a little robotic but not in so bad a way. He throws straight punches and has a good one two with some decent head movement. He is also a very good, strong athlete. I got Schaub by TKO in the 3rd.

Sotiropoulos vs. Pellegrino

Damn. Two fighters I really like. Pellegrino has really impressed with his improvement. He isn't great at anything but he is tough as hell. He fought Alberto Crane with a hole in his mouth. I really pull for the guy. But. But. Sotiropoulos reps Purebred hard. Is that enough to make me pick him? Probably. He first stood out to me on TUF when he kind of ignored everything that was going on and took the training and woke up early to run sprints in the yard. That is the kind of fighter to watch. In his last fight Sotiropoulos ran a grappling train on Joe Stevenson, who is no slouch. I am very excited to watch this and it could go any myriad of ways. I see Sotiropoulos getting taken down but winning the scrambles and getting some good body triangles and taking the back for a positional decision.

Bonnar vs. Soszynski

No offense, but who cares? Soszynski by clinching to decision. Two good guys who aren't relevant anymore.

Lytle vs. Brown

I have never hid my love for Chris Lytle. Bad tattoo. Fireman. Good boxer. Great grappler, but only in secret. I also appreciate Brown and his strange folk hero status. Brown is tough but Lytle is way better technically. If Lytle fights dumb, which he sometimes does on purpose, Brown can find a way to when. Let's hope he decides to bust out his grappling and submits Brown in the 1st.

Akiyama vs. Leben

Now we are talking. Too bad Wanderlei's body fell apart before this fight leaving the Cat Smasher to come in on a quick two week turnaround. Leben can win any fight he is in by having a steel head and real power in his hands. Akiyama is small for the weight class but excessively talented. He is better boxer and great in the clinch. He is stronger and better on the ground. I got Akiyama by sub in the 3rd.

Lesnar vs. Carwin

i should decide on the merits of the fight, but Brock Lesnar, while being immensely gifted is a bigot and a moron. Can't play with him. Can't win with him. There are a lot of unknowns in this one as well. Neither guy has been tested as much as we need to make a verdict on them. If Carwin come out and stops a double leg, then it is on. Carwin has sick, sick power. Does Lesnar have a chin? Who knows? Carwin by KO in the 1st.

Take it to the office kids.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Lara Logan: Voice of Our Betters

I assume most people have been following the uproar over Gen. McChrystal's ridiculousness. What has been more ridiculous is the has been the claws of the media reaching out for Michael Hastings (a high school classmate of a friend of mine's by the way.) The guy did nothing wrong accept for witness something important and then talk about it and he was pilloried as if he had shat on the carpet. Of course, during a war where we aren't allowed to see dead bodies I assume that pointing out anything is a hard party foul, and what are our current elite if not hard partiers. I could go on about this for a while, but I think that Matt Taibbi and Cenk Uyger pretty much covered all of the bases for me.

A slightly bothersome element of all this is that Lara Logan has had her strong points in covering the Iraq war, but I think for some social climbing is what got them to the dance and they are determined that it is going to get them to the hotel room afterward. Again, it is how we select our elite that is at fault. If you put yourself out there as a clutcher and a grabber, someone is going to toss you a coattail. If you are good at being ignorant at the right times, you will be well fed. Another confirmation of what we already know. The system is not just broken, it is decripit and infested.


Here is a great article on Uruguay and the World Cup.

attempting to silence the voices in my head.