It sometimes helps an activity to have defined goals. Not always -- go-with-the-flow and see where it leads is valid, but a sharper focus can be useful, and achieving various platforms on a long climb, helpful.
In martial arts, there didn’t used to be colored belts. They came to be many-hued in judo, primarily because the creator and head instructor, Kanō Jigorō, looked up and realized he had so many students he couldn’t keep track of who knew what. With standardized ranks denoted by color
Back when I spent a lot of time going to science fiction conventions and had duty as the toastmaster, or MC at the costume thingee, I worked up what I thought were some pretty good stand-up routines and snappy patter. Three of my favorites were:
Redneck in overalls with raygun
The Man With Nine Wives
Best Job in the World: Being an Optometrist in Metropolis (This one began with me reciting the opening for the old George Reeves TV Superman show, with a tape recorder
Trousers bySteve Perry
“I grow old, I grow old … I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled …”T.S. Elliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
The clock is winding down.Yeah, so? Who wants to live forever?Me! Over here! I do!Or, maybe just for, you know, two or three hundred years? Or, even, a hundred and twenty or so, but in good health and full possession my of physical and mental abilities? I don’t think I’d get bored, haven’t been that in ever so long.Moot point. Th
The price you pay for kittens and puppies, they say, are cats and dogs. They usually don’t mention the hidden surcharge, that of old cats and dogs who go into decline.
They are like the Flash, our furry companions; they live at a different speed than we do. They rise sooner, and fall earlier.
I’m not the first, nor will I be the last, to lament this. And it is a lesson when you go through it that the cycle of your beloved companion is the same as yours, con
Sometimes, you get a notion, a scene, or an idea, a character, and if you are a writer, you have to — must — write it down before you lose it. If you wake up in the middle of the night with a brilliant notion about anything, by the way, best you try and write it down in some form you will be able to use to recall it, because if you don’t, it will be gone in the morning.
This piece? I dunno where it will go, have no story or book upon which I am working into which it will fit without
Past three days, I was at a silat seminar in Battle Ground, WA.
“Silat” here being the short version of Pukulan Pentjak Silat Sera Plinck, a Javanese martial art that features hitting, kicking, elbows, stabbing, cutting, and other ways of whacking people who mean to do you harm.
By the third day of a three-day camp, one tends to be tired, sore, and with a full cup. Given the quality of the teachers and how much they know, it sometimes feels like drinking from a fire hose, but t
A few stray thoughts on self-defense that have burbled up from the Stygian depths …
The hindbrain. The lizard brain. The auto-pilot.
It’s what keeps you breathing and alive. That’s its job, and mostly, you aren’t aware of it. You can’t control it, it’s just there. Your heart beats, you breathe, your temperature adjusts itself, automatically.
We have, hardwired in, a reaction to lethal danger, if we see it coming. It’s down under the rational brain, covered wi
When I was a meditating hippie, I wanted to be one of those avatars, the fully-realized human beings who, even though they could leave The Wheel, avoid further reincarnations, and join the Infinite Bliss? instead stayed on to help their suffering fellows, a shining beacon against the big darkness.
There were never more than a relative few of these exemplary people at any one time, so the story went, those who had found a true path, gotten their shit together, and shaken off the
Got asked by somebody about what kind of gun they should get. Here is the long answer:
So, if you somehow feel the desire or need for a gun, you need to ask yourself some basic questions. One size does not fit all, and if you drill down to your primary reason for wanting boomware, that will answer the most important question.
1) Why do you want or need a firearm?
Gun sport? Self- or home-defense? Hunting for food? Heroic fantasy?
Let me break those down.
Years ago, here in Oregon, there was a terrible event: A young mother, out driving with her children in Springfield, saw a curly-haired stranger on the side of the road trying to flag her down, so she pulled over, and he tried to carjack her. Wound up shooting her three children and her. Killed one child, paralyzed another, caused the third to have a stroke. Her wound, to the arm, was less serious, and she managed to escape, get back into the car and flee, driving to the hospital.
I was raised from the age of two to thirteen in Baton Rouge, in a middle-class neighborhood called Brookstown. Small houses, mostly blue-collar families, lots of kids and dogs and early 1950's sensibilities. (Look at Google Street View now? It's a barely-recognizable, impoverished third-world country, one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the city. You can't go home again.)
In the summer, sometimes a friend and I would find a plum tree and, once the fruit was just past a par
Knew a guy once was a consummate liar. A master of mendacity; a primo prevaricator; a man, who, in the words of the old saying, would climb a tree to tell a lie rather than stay on the ground and tell the truth. If his lips were moving, he was lying ...
Why? As nearly as I could tell, it was always to make himself look better. He wanted people to like him, and he wanted them to admire him. So he never told a tale but that he was the hero of the story, and his heart was always pure,
Having been pressed into service to pick up one of the grandsons from high school this week, I had occasion to be parked in my car in the lot when a comely young woman who, by the nature of where we were, had to be in her mid-to-possibly-late teens, walked in front of me.
She was wearing tan tights, and it looked to be as if they had been air-brushed on.
Not to be considered a dirty-old-man staring at a teenager young enough to be my granddaughter, I could
Because low humidity can cause damage to wooden musical instruments, and because we had an especially hot and dry summer, and winter heating tends to dry things out, too, I humidify my guitar and ukes.
What this consists of is usually an old pill bottle with a rolled up sponge in it, with holes punched in the top and bottom of the bottle. You soak the sponge, shake out the excess water, dry it off, and plunk in into your instrument case. The moisture slowly permeates
Back in the day, when I first started learning how to play guitar, fifty-some years ago, there was a subset of folk music called “protest music.” Redundant, the term, since folk music has always had a thick vein of that particular ore running through it, but there you go.
Most of those at the time were anti-war songs.
Soon as I had three major and one minor chord, I started writing protest songs. This was in my pre-hippie days, circa 1966, right about the time I g
Somewhen about 1977 or so, I joined the writer's organization, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, SFWA. Thirty-eight years ago, and at the time, fairly big deal for me.
The qualifications were, you have to have sold a novel, or two short stories, to an approved, paying market, which back then, meant on of the big publishing houses in NYC, or one of the three or four American SF magazines still alive.
Later, the organization tried to expand its reach to
There is a cliche in martial arts, that of the perfect student. Been done forever, and here's the basic version: A young person, boy or girl, from out in the hinterlands, shows up at the martial arts Master's place. Generally not accepted as a student right away, eventually the kid gets in, and s/he is the perfect student. In a matter of months, maybe a year, the student sweats blood, breaks blisters and bones, and learns the system so well that s/he kicks the other long-time stud
Sunday Concert Schedule
Went to the show at Marylhurst as we usually do, and if you were local and you skipped it, you missed a great time. Lots of handmade instruments, guitars, fiddles, basses, charangas, flutes, harps, lutes, banjos, and ukuleles. Great mini-concerts, fifteen minutes each of excellent players showcasing instruments. We saw half a dozen of these, including Travis Stine on ukulele, doing his version of Jake's arrangement of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," on