Conversations with Oath-Breakers, 16SEP18

Him: “Civilians shouldn’t have AR-15s!”

Me: Didn’t serve, or oath-breaker?

Him: “I was a tank commander!”

Me: All you had to say was “oath-breaker”.

Him: “I am an American.”

Me: Did you magically become a tank commander without swearing an oath to defend the Constitution? Or did your oath come with an expiration date? If the answer to neither of those is “no”, then you are an oath-breaker. The accident of your place of birth means nothing to me.

Conversations with Wannabe Despots 06JUNE18

From Twitter (paraphrased for brevity and clarity):

Them: “Public businesses have to be open for the whole public!”

Me: It was a private business.

Them: “Conservatives never consider that businesses are supported by police and fire departments. No business is an island.”

Me: If anyone had the choice to opt out, that would be a valid argument. We don’t.  Most conservatives are Republicans.  They took your slaves away once; they probably aren’t interested in letting you get a new batch.

Them: “I get really tired of hiring that.”

Me: I’ll make you a deal. You stop advocating for a system in which you have total authority to dictate what other people are allowed to do, say, and think; and I will stop calling you out for wanting Democrats to have slaves.  Again.

Thank You, Academy…

The morning news today said that the American Academy of Dramatic Arts would be taking extra steps today to ensure that they would not repeat the mistake of having awards announced incorrectly.  Are there any steps which they could take to get some good movies made?

On Okinawa Budou

Ryukyuan martial arts were not a monolithic entity called “toudi”, any more than there is one martial art in China called “kung fu” (or more precisely, “quan fa”). There were two major schools of Ryukyuan martial arts; one based in the capital city (Shuri-te) and one based in the major port (Naha-te).*  “Toudi”, or more commonly “tote”, is Uchina Guchi (native Okinawan language) equivalent of quan fa (Mandarin) or Kempo (Japanese). **  It is a generic descriptor of multiple styles. It should also be noted that these earlier systems were true martial arts, and not the modern sports derived from them: that is, they were weapon-based, with unarmed combat a secondary consideration.
Ryukyu was repeatedly conquered by Japanese forces over its history, and gradually assimilated Japanese language and culture. The Okinawa “to-te” was gradually replaced with the Japanese “Kara-te”, written with the characters meaning “China hand.” During this period, unarmed combat and improvised weapons also became more significant in training, due to the Japanese prohibition on weapons. Naha-Te also divided into two schools, which are today called “Goju Ryu” and “Uechi Ryu”.
After World War II, Ryukyu voluntarily repatriated to Japan as the Prefecture of Okinawa. A council of karate masters, not wanting to show disloyalty to their new nation, decided that the name “Kara-Te” would be kept, but the characters would be changed from “China hand” to “empty hand”. This also helped with the concern of appearing overly-belligerent in post-War Japan, as they removed the weapons curriculum entirely, forming a different art called “kobujutsu” (literally, “the old way of fighting”).
Today, there are a mix of schools on Okinawa which teach the more traditional karate-jutsu/kobujutsu, and those who have adopted Funakoshi’s “-do” philosophy.

*Today, Shuri is a neighborhood in Naha, and the capitol is Okinawa-shi, a bit farther north.

**This does not mean “fist law”. That is some nonsense Ed Parker made up to sell books. It means “fist technique”.

Cannibalizing Workouts

So, I have recently started back into the arena of powerlifting, after a nearly twenty-year military-enforced hiatus.  No, the U.S. military doesn’t ban powerlifting; I am just not genetically gifted enough to train in powerlifting and do my daily military PT.

In trying to break back in (at the age of 45, now), I first turned to what had worked for me before.  In high school and college, I successfully trained to State-champion (in my then very-low weight class, at least) using Coach Shepard’s “Bigger, Faster, Stronger” system.  I like the concept quite a lot, but it is somewhat difficult in this age of “Planet Fitness” zombie “workouts” to find a gym outside of an academic setting which caters to things like “four-way neck machines”, “box squats”, and “towel bench presses”.  While none of those things are strictly mandatory, I thought I would look at other, more recent programs to see if I could find something better.

My next stop was Wendler’s “5/3/1” program.  I liked this for similar set-rep scheme to BFS, and in fact its four-a-week training is more similare to how BFS was done in the 80’s than the current version of BFS is.  However, as Wendler notes, his is not a program for beginners–nor 45 year-old rehabilitees.  However, his books regularly mention Mark Rippetoe and the “Starting Strength” program, so I was off to my next trial.

“Starting Strength” and its sequel, “Practical Programming for Strength Training”, really are phenomenal introductions to strength training.  Unfortunately for me, it assumes that strength training is all you are doing.  While it has sections for scalability to “special populations” (such as quatragenarians like myself), it is also made clear that if you are doing other training, or not doing exactly the training in the book, you are NOT doing “Starting Strength”.  And Starting Strength requires you to do, in addition to other exercises, eight sets of back squats every workout.  This would have wiped me out as a fifteen-year-old on summer break, let alone as a forty-five-year-old with military training requirements and a martial arts career.

Even in the Starting Strength fora, the usual response is, “Just drop your other activities for a few months and do Starting Strength.  You’ll come back even better because of your stronger body!”  Be that as it may, “Sorry, Sir, I can’t PT with the Company any more; I’m doing Starting Strength” is not an option.  So, I have taken a lesson from BFS and alternate days of regular back squatting (on my bench press days) with days of front squats.  This is an “acceptable squat variation” from BFS, and mixing it in allows me to train without destroying my body metabolically.  I also did two sets of ten of each exercise, as per the BFS “Readiness Program”, instead of three sets of five.

I have recently met all of the standards for graduation from the BFS “Readiness program”, and I consider this a good place to transition from a true novice program to an “advanced-novice” program.  I am using the Onus-Wunsler template from Starting Strength, including the three-sets-of-five scheme, but with two substitutions: I am still alternating back-squat and front-squat days, and I am doing stiff-legged deadlifts in place of back extensions.  This is another old favorite from BFS which is mechanically similar to back extensions.  It places greater stress on the gluteals and hamstrings rather than the lower back emphasis of back extensions, but more importantly it does not require a special piece of equipment to which I do not have access.

My warm-up for every weightlifting workout is five sets of strict push-ups; I finish with either wrestler’s bridges or a Captains of Crush grip trainer.  On off-days, I do sets of sit-ups and a thirty-minute treadmill run.


“So, how did you like the tuna salad sandwich at that new deli?”

“Well, it wasn’t tuna salad.”

“Yes, it was!  It said so right on the menu!”

“Well, it was made with ham.  That makes it ham salad, not tuna salad.”

“You’re just afraid of change!  You’re intimidated by things that challenge your tiny mind!”

“No, I understand ham salad quite well.  In particular,  I understand that it is substantively different from tuna salad.  That doesn’t mean that ham salad can’t work, just that calling it ‘tuna salad’ does a disservice to everyone involved.  In fact, there are a lot of places where eating a ham salad sandwich isn’t simply a matter of taste–it has serious moral repercussions.  Selling someone a ham salad sandwich which you disguised as tuna salad would a reprehensible act under those circumstances, and I fail to see why it wouldn’t represent fraud in any event.”

“I knew it!  You’re just a mean, stupid HAMOPHOBE!”

On Film Adaptation (Inspired by Tarzan)

Look, it’s very simple. If you don’t WANT to do a movie about Tarzan, don’t call your movie “Tarzan”. Say it was “inspired by” Tarzan.
Conversely, if you call your movie “Tarzan”, then make it a faithful adaptation of the source material. And since Hollywood has officially run out of people intelligent enough to write an original movie, this applies to EVERY adaptation of EVERYTHING. Make an original story, or make a faithful adaptation. This is just plagiarism.

Ludicrous Leftists

Just so that everyone understands:
1: When people of Western European descent adapt practices of other cultures, it is “appropriation”.
2: When people of Western European descent do NOT adapt practices of other cultures, it is racism.
3: When other cultures adapt practices from Western European traditions, it is imperialism by the Europeans.
All clear now?

Good-bye, Republican Party

I held my nose last election and voted for the “moderate” Republican to block Obama from another term, but voting for a Clinton-loving liberal to keep a Clinton out of office is an exercise in futility.  Republicans, you had the most principled conservative since Calvin Coolidge, and you threw him away.

Trump says he doesn’t want the whole Republican Party?  Fine with me.  Hello, Constitution Party.

As for those who say that a third-party vote is a vote for Clinton…  So is a vote for Trump.  If you had really wanted to keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House, you shouldn’t have made her long-time donor and friend the Republican candidate.  If you want to keep her out now, you’re welcome to join me in my new affiliation.