Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Tree and the Cat

The russians obviously make great cartoons.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dick Jokes

"Fuck you faggot," the young gay hipster said to me as I sat down. I was taken aback. I opened my book. "I'm just trying to practice a bit," he said. "I'm trying to start saying fag, or faggot like a normal straight guy. Its not really working that well."

I shrugged and opened my book as I waited for sign ups to begin. I'd been to Brainwash, the cafe/laundromat before with a friend. We'd come on thursday for the open mic comedy night. Hordes of aspiring comedians come to the laundromat to drink beer and tell bad jokes. Tonight I resolved to be one of them. I looked up from my book and saw a middle aged man in a trench coat. As he strode before me I noticed that he wore only bondage underwear. "Faggot," I cried.

"Oh my gawd, that was so inappropriate," the gay hipster cried in between shreiks of laughter. "I seriously want to suck a dick, seriously. What's your name?"

I went inside with him and we signed up. I would be number 24 which meant a long wait. Each comedian got roughly four minutes, plus or minus depending on the emcee, Tony Sparks, accounting of the clock. I sat at the front and watched a handful of comedians. Most of them told bad jokes. The funniest joke was; "Who gets full eating pussy? - Cannibals." I didn't laugh but I wrote it down.

I was a little nervous about my own bit. I'd been working on it for a week or so, honing it into perfection, but was worried about the racist comment in it about black people not tipping. I resolved to do the joke when a black woman, who had been sitting in the front of the audience heckling the comedians, bought a round of drinks. She didn't tip.

My bit went as follows.

I hate my job. I work as a server at a restaurant in Berkeley. You'll never notice my loathing as I'm so good at putting on a happy face. I'm a ray of sunshine when I greet my customers.

"Hi, My name is Matt, what can I get for you?"

This actually translates into: "You fucking terds! Stuff your shit pits as fast as you can til they burst then give me all your money cuz I'm here to get PAID!"

I hate even being there. I always take smoke breaks. I don't smoke but I like to stand outside, it makes me feel all tingly. I hate when people ask me for cigarettes though. I never give my smokes away cuz if I don't have any cigarettes I can't take smoke breaks.

Waiting has made me a terrible person. I've become a compulsive liar. When a customer asks me; "Oh would you recommend this salad?"

I reply, "Its delicious." Even if that salad tastes like ground up baby sauteed in pig shit. Its ridiculous, who asks that? Of course I'm going to say its good, its like asking a prostitute if her vagina is tight.

I've also become racist from waiting tables. I wasn't always like this. I used to be a nice guy with a nice smile, a real ray of sunshine.

Now when someone comes into the restaurant I look at them and see a pie chart over thie heads depicting their spending habits and if they're black, latino, asian, a foreigner, or under 21 that pie in teh sky says; "Fuck You Waiter!!"

I remember the tipping point. I was a liberal guy in Berkeley, the lefty paradise. There is no racism in Berkeley. I had a table of middle aged black ladies and I gave them excellent service.

"Extra napkins, no problem!" "Lemons? I've got them right here." "Tartar sauce for your pizza? My pleasure to serve."

They even got waters for their entire table, which they didn't drink. That's like going to the bathroom and not pissing, or wearing a condom and not fucking a bitch.

I gave them exquisite service. I drop the check and thank them. A few minutes later I pick it back up. I don't open it right away. I say to myself; "I don't believe in stereotypes, I don't believe in stereotypes, I don't believe in stereotypes." I open the book up... Fucking Black People!!!

They put $5 on a $60 check. Its like that 90s rap song chorus is going through their head all the time. "I got five on it!" $5 on a $20 check that's good but $5 on $60 that's less than 9%. Fuck I'm here to get paid.

---1---- I know, I know, its a cultural thing. Its not something you can blame anyone for. Its just not part of the culture to tip well, its like how being cool is not part of white culture.

Anyways this is my first time doing stand up and I thought I'd be really nervous, or embarrassed. I just did the sensible thing and pictured you all naked which is giving me an erection. I don't know if I should be nervous about my boner or embarrassed the my dick is so small you can't see it.

No one really laughed during the bit. I got off the stage and some bearded dude started talking to me while the emcee talked about how black people don't tip because waiters don't give good service, don't quote me on that though. I also forgot one of the last jokes, marked above with a 1. I probably came across as even more racist than I actually am. Oh well, the plight of being white.

It was a good experience if I did "bomb." It taught me a few things; 1) maybe I'm not funny 2) White dudes making fun of black people is probably just racist and not funny 3) no one thinks complaining about customers as a waiter when you're at a cafe is humorous.

I don't intend on doing another bit. I think I'm pretty happy with how I'll be known after doing this bit, as a racist with a small dick.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Red Shirt Redux- From the Economist

FOR much of April and May, Bangkok’s Rajprasong shopping district was taken over by a raucous protest movement that was eventually quashed by the army. On Sunday, four months after that episode ended in bloodshed, the “red shirts” were back. Several thousand showed up to chant anti-government slogans, release red balloons, tie ribbons on lampposts and call for justice and democracy. If you squinted, and ignored the charred shopping centre torched during the clashes, it was a vision of the April demonstrations. But Sunday’s influx of protesters did not linger. By evening, the crowd had drifted away, having made their point: the red shirts are back.

Thailand’s prime minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva, has tried to push the tragic events of April and May into the background. He has appointed various committees to investigate the violence and to address social and economic inequities in Thailand. Officials tried to frame the red-shirt revolt as a power play by Thailand’s former prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, who has been accused of bankrolling the protests and inciting violence. Thailand’s economy has picked up steam, defying predictions of a downturn in the second quarter. Mr Abhisit’s supporters hope that continued growth and a large dollop of welfare spending will save him from defeat when parliamentary elections are held, sometime next year.

Sunday’s gathering was a riposte to such glib optimism. Red shirts are still fuming over their rough treatment by the army, which stands squarely behind Mr Abhisit. A popular slogan at Rajprasong was "Stop Killing People". Others made the point that though 91 people were killed, most of them at the hands of heavily armed soldiers, the army has shown no remorse. “We want society to remember that people died here. Everything the government says is one-sided,” said a middle-aged woman. As if to confirm her view, Thailand’s state-run broadcast media largely ignored the protest in Bangkok, as well as a large rally held in Chiang Mai.

The red shirts are no angels. Armed militants emerged from the shadows during clashes with troops; some of the dead and injured were soldiers, including a decorated army colonel. Low-level thuggery has often marred red-shirt protests in Bangkok and elsewhere. The charred shopping centre is a reminder of the chaos they unleashed on the capital's downtown in May. Many Thais are turned off by both the pro-Thaksin red shirts and their arch-rivals, the royalist "yellow shirts", who occupied Bangkok’s international airports in December 2008.

Mr Abhisit rode to power on the back of the yellow-shirt protest movement. He has failed to bring them to task for their transgressions, even while hundreds of red shirts were rounded up and jailed in May. Much of the movement’s leadership is in prison or on the run. Mr Thaksin lives overseas, and flits between countries on various passports, thumbing his nose at Thai efforts to extradite him over a politically motivated corruption conviction. He is among the red-shirt figures facing terrorism charges, though few expect him to stand trial.

Bangkok has been under a state of emergency since April, but Sunday’s protest was allowed to go ahead. That it ended peacefully may give the government room to lift the emergency when it comes up for renewal in two weeks. But that does not mean that the capital is secure. A series of bombings and attempted bombings have been blamed on militants among the red shirts. Thailand’s southernmost provinces have been under emergency rule for five years as troops battle a shadowy Muslim-led insurgency. That conflict shows no sign of ending. The national politics is coming to bear an uncanny resemblance.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Women boxers in India by Ezra Winton

Anna Sarkissian and Ameesha Joshi are emerging filmmakers from Montreal, Quebec, currently making a documentary in India “on a shoestring budget” about women boxers called With this Ring. The synopsis from the film’s site:

Winning four world titles is not enough to get noticed in India, just ask 27 year-old boxing champion Mary Kom. She could have been a household name by now if she had chosen to pursue a more “ladylike” sport like tennis or field hockey. Instead, she is fighting against centuries of tradition in a country that expects women to be sweet and docile. With cropped hair, defined shoulders and a mean left hook, she is anything but your typical Indian girl.

With This Ring lets you step into the ring with members of the Indian Women’s National Boxing Team. From their villages to the podium, these girls quickly rise to the top of their game. At the 4th World Women’s Boxing Competition in 2006, the Indian team makes a clean sweep, winning eight medals and the Championship Team title. They officially become the best women’s boxing team in the world. And the most under-appreciated.

Art Threat recently fired off a few questions to this dynamic duo. Their responses, with images, and a sneak peak video of the film are below.

Art Threat: What is this project about and how did you get the idea?

Anna Sarkissian: Since 2006, we’ve been on the trail of the Indian women’s senior national boxing team. They’re some of the top boxers in the world, with multiple world champions in their midst. Ameesha originally found out that there were women boxing in India after seeing their images at a World Press Photo Exhibit. With her Indian heritage (she’s Gujarati), she was really curious to find out how these women were able to pursue boxing when they are expected to marry and have kids by the age of 20. The social pressure to be a dutiful daughter, wife, and mother, is intense. When she found out they were some of the top boxers in the world, she knew there was a story to tell. We talked about going to India, and upon finding out that there would be a boxing world championship in New Delhi for the first and possibly last time, we knew we couldn’t pass up this opportunity. So in November, we booked last minute flights and headed to India. We had no funding, no equipment of our own. We basically begged and borrowed and did whatever was necessary to get ourselves there. It was well worth it and we were able to witness history in the making; India won four world championship titles and was crowned best team in the world.

Essentially, we’re looking at the women behind the gloves. We’re interested in their personal stories, finding out how they have overcome struggles in order to pursue boxing, which can be their ticket out of poverty. Successful athletes are often rewarded with a cushy government job, meaning they would be set for life. Many girls on the team are able to support their entire families with their earnings. As you can imagine, many of them come from small, conservative villages where boxing is misunderstood. Yet once they start winning medals internationally and earning their own money, their families become more accepting.

One of their parents’ primary concerns is that boxing will disfigure their faces, and they won’t be able to marry. It may sound trivial to us to have a cut or scar on your face, but marriage is a pivotal rite of passage in India. Some of the boxers are 25 or 26 years old and still haven’t married. Society views them as old maids. They’ve given up on some of them. You can imagine their relief to find out that Ameesha and I (we’re 37 and 27) aren’t married. We formed some common ground on that front.

People have a lot of preconceived notions about these boxers, who train to “hit other women in the head” three times a day, six days a week, 11 months a year. Even here, when we show our footage, people are startled by their appearance: short hair, defined shoulders, men’s jeans. People will come up to them on the street, asking, “Are you a boy or a girl?” just to rattle them. They laugh it off. They go about their business inside the walls of the training camp, focusing on boxing. They are marginalized by society, in many ways, but they keep training. They ignore the snide remarks and stares because they have their sights set on the next world championship, the Asian Games, and the Olympics.

Publicly, most people said they supported women’s boxing. We would ask people on the street, “what if your mother wanted to try boxing?” They told us they would encourage her to do so. But others were more candid, saying it was degrading for women to wear tracksuits and other cheap clothing when they should be in saris. Others said they would prefer for women to focus on “womanly pursuits” like weaving or pottery. One man said he wouldn’t let his wife box because she would put him in the hospital.

Spring demo 2010 (With This Ring) from with this ring / anna & ameesha on Vimeo.

The site seems a little different than a standard doc film site, what is the plan for the website?

AS: We hope to make people part of the process as the film comes together. Since we’ve been sharing the production experience with an audience on our CitizenShift blog since 2006, we felt that we wanted to continue to have the same kind of relationship during the post-production. We’ve been very candid about the challenges and problems we’ve had in making this film. In a sense, we feel like we have nothing to hide. We would like our online presence to be a warts and all portrayal of the way that With This Ring was made. It feels strange to talk about ourselves in the third person while promoting our film, so we keep things intimate. It’s just the two of us working on this in our free time, there’s no huge bureaucratic production house shaping our words. We want it to feel genuine. Since this is a personal project for both of us, we wanted others to join us on the meandering journey, wherever it goes.

We hope to post more clips as we get deeper into the post-production process and of course we’ll save some nuggets for the actual film. Apparently, there’s this thing called social media that we’re supposed to be utilizing to promote our film. We don’t know the first thing about tweeting but we’re open to the idea.

What’s the best story/moment you have from filming? And the worst?

AS: We’ve been lucky in the sense that we’ve had many wonderful moments. Our film was made on a non-existent budget and we had unbelievable support from the families of the boxers, coaches, and even complete strangers. In India, they have a saying that the “guest is like a god.” You really feel that. We enjoyed more delicious meals at people’s homes than either of us could have imagined. It’s also not customary for two women to travel alone in India, so people were quite nervous about us gallivanting around the country by ourselves. They really went out of their way to ensure that we were taken care of and welcomed us wholeheartedly. That’s really what I’ll always remember about India.

The worst? Upon arriving in India back in 2006, the coaches told us we were welcome to shoot the team – for the day. Somehow, there was some miscommunication and the team didn’t understand that we were coming to India for two months expressly to document their lives. That was a minor roadblock, to say the least. We spent a few weeks waiting outside their training hall, hoping to speak to them. Eventually, we gained the trust of the coaches and the athletes and developed a good relationship with them. Since 2006, we have met up with them in Ontario when they came for a training camp in 2008, spent 10 weeks with them at the training camps in India in summer 2008, travelled to China with them for the world championships in November 2008, and returned to India in December 2008 for a final visit. At this point, we’ve finished shooting and we’re starting editing.

Filmmaker Ameesha Joshi

Ameesha Joshi: One of the best moments was the first day we arrived at the boxing camp in India in the summer of 2008, 2 years after our first visit. Since then Mary Kom, one of our main characters and currently the world`s best boxer, had left the boxing scene for two years after having twin boys. We had no idea if she planned on returning to the sport, so it was absolutely a surprise to discover she had and arrived at the boxing camp the exact same day we did to begin production. 

Mary was determined to win her 4th gold medal at the next Championships, which she did! But the best part of her returning was her arrival with a baby in each arm. We got to witness her juggling an extensive training workout while taking care of her two babies. She was often up all night from them crying, but always got up at the crack of dawn with all the other boxers for a grueling workout and their workouts occurred three times a day, 6 days a week. It was impressive to say the least.

There are many of the smaller moments I remember fondly, like getting caught in the rain during an outdoor boxing competition in monsoon season. Sometimes the rain would come down like a waterfall without any prior warning of a drizzle. The chaos that ensued was rather comical, everyone was screaming through the downpour, racing to get inside, many scrambled and crouched underneath the ring for cover. It was seconds before you got completely soaked so you had to move fast. Then there was us huddling under our ridiculously large golf umbrella Anna had brought from home, it ended up being one of the most valuable items we packed that summer, no question it saved our equipment. The boxers ended up continuing the competition indoors, with a makeshift ring, using their backpacks to mark the edges. They always made the best of any situation and there most common response to any hitch or hurdle were always the words ‘ no problem!’ 

One of the worst times was the whole process in getting special permission to visit the north eastern state of Manipur where Mary Kom lives in 2006. We bought our plane tickets before realizing that non-resident Indians need special permission to visit. The ordeal to get the paper work approved was long and arduous, involving long lineups over many days. We kept pushing back our plane ticket to Manipur without knowing if we would even receive permission in time. We had non-refundable plane tickets back to Canada, and with next to no budget, our schedule was fixed so it was quite stressful, but in the end we did managed to get the permission, and only because a kind Manipuri family we befriended in Delhi pulled some strings at the last minute. 

Then there was the moment we arrived in Manipur to find out Mary had just left for Mumbai for a last minute engagement. We were more than relieved to learn she would return three days before we would leave Manipur, and she did everything to shower us with incredible Manipuri hospitality during those precious days.

Your previous short (Anna’s) was an experimental documentary, will this one be as well? And what do you feel are the problems/limitations with more conventional documentary?

AS: It’s a tough business and I can appreciate how incredibly difficult it is to make a good film. I think documentaries are often lumped together as being “badly made” by other filmmakers, with shaky camera, choppy editing and so on. In some cases, people are so focused on the message that any trace of art disappears. Personally, I think Powerpoint is a great visual tool for conveying facts and information – but I don’t want to see pie-charts at the movies. I’m certainly not a master filmmaker, but looking back at some of the NFB box sets from the glory years, I think we’ve lost touch with the art of documentary. They were true technical masters who had a great sense of storytelling. My dream would to be able to combine those two elements in a film (or die trying).

The filmmakers with the boxing team

I’m not sure that our finished product will be television-friendly. We’re wrestling with aesthetic decisions now, trying to maintain our vision without losing our audience. Ameesha and I certainly have a vision for the film that is not entirely conventional. We like long takes, wide shots, slow motion, slow pacing – letting your eye roam around the frame. At the same time, we want our film to be accessible because the stories are important to us.

AJ: In addition to Anna`s comment about our film being accessible is the consideration of audience reactions from different cultures. Although we can’t predict what the majority will think, we at least understand the audience in Canada better than in India, where we hope the film will be widely viewed. It’s very important for us to give these boxers the media attention they need. But in India, where Bollywood is the popular film format, I really do wonder whether the general population will enjoy our artistic approach. I can only hope.

Anything you’d like to add?

AS: A lot! Not sure what else you’d like to know that isn’t on our website…But here’s a description of our two main characters.

AJ: Women`s boxing will be featured as an Olympic sport for the first time at the 2012 Games in London. Having a chance to compete at the Olympics is the ultimate dream for most athletes. All hopes are on Mary Kom, but no question there are other boxers on their team that have the potential to strike gold and make history. We were in India during the last summer Olympics and witnessed how the three Indians who won a medal were splashed throughout the media. I can only imagine that this display of pride would make a significant difference in changing the social taboos surrounding women`s boxing in India.

Boxing Lessons by Gordon Marino

I offer training in both philosophy and boxing. Over the years, some of my colleagues have groused that my work is a contradiction, building minds and cultivating rational discourse while teaching violence and helping to remove brain cells. Truth be told, I think philosophers with this gripe should give some thought to what really counts as violence. I would rather take a punch in the nose any day than be subjected to some of the attacks that I have witnessed in philosophy colloquia. However, I have a more positive case for including boxing in my curriculum for sentimental education.

The unmindful attitude towards the body so prevalent in the West blinkers us to profound truths that the skin, muscles and breath can deliver like a punch.

Western philosophy, even before Descartes’ influential case for a mind-body dualism, has been dismissive of the body. Plato — even though he competed as a wrestler — and most of the sages who followed him, taught us to think of our arms and legs as nothing but a poor carriage for the mind. In “Phaedo,” Plato presents his teacher Socrates on his deathbed as a sort of Mr. Spock yearning to be free from the shackles of the flesh so he can really begin thinking seriously. In this account, the body gives rise to desires that will not listen to reason and that becloud our ability to think clearly.

In much of Eastern philosophy, in contrast, the search for wisdom is more holistic. The body is considered inseparable from the mind, and is regarded as a vehicle, rather than an impediment, to enlightenment. The unmindful attitude towards the body so prevalent in the West blinkers us to profound truths that the skin, muscles and breath can deliver like a punch.

While different physical practices may open us to different truths, there is a lot of wisdom to be gained in the ring. Socrates, of course, maintained that the unexamined life was not worth living, that self-knowledge is of supreme importance. One thing is certain: boxing can compel a person to take a quick self-inventory and gut check about what he or she is willing to endure and risk. As Joyce Carol Oates observes in her minor classic, “On Boxing”:

Boxers are there to establish an absolute experience, a public accounting of the outermost limits of their beings; they will know, as few of us can know of ourselves, what physical and psychic power they possess — of how much, or how little, they are capable.

Though the German idealist philosopher G.W.F. Hegel (1770-1831) never slipped on the gloves, I think he would have at least supported the study of the sweet science. In his famous Lord and Bondsman allegory,[1] Hegel suggests that it is in mortal combat with the other, and ultimately in our willingness to give up our lives, that we rise to a higher level of freedom and consciousness. If Hegel is correct, the lofty image that the warrior holds in our society has something to do with the fact that in her willingness to sacrifice her own life, she has escaped the otherwise universal choke hold of death anxiety. Boxing can be seen as a stylized version of Hegel’s proverbial trial by battle and as such affords new possibilities of freedom and selfhood.

Erin Schell

Viewed purely psychologically, practice in what used to be termed the “manly art” makes people feel more at home in themselves, and so less defensive and perhaps less aggressive. The way we cope with the elemental feelings of anger and fear determines to no small extent what kind of person we will become. Enlisting Aristotle, I shall have more to say about fear in a moment, but I don’t think it takes a Freud to recognize that many people are mired in their own bottled up anger. In our society, expressions of anger are more taboo than libidinal impulses. Yet, as our entertainment industry so powerfully bears out, there is plenty of fury to go around. I have trained boxers, often women, who find it extremely liberating to learn that they can strike out, throw a punch, express some rage, and that no one is going to die as a result.

And let’s be clear, life is filled with blows. It requires toughness and resiliency. There are few better places than the squared circle to receive concentrated lessons in the dire need to be able to absorb punishment and carry on, “to get off the canvas” and “roll with the punches.” It is little wonder that boxing, more than any other sport, has functioned as a metaphor for life. Aside from the possibilities for self-fulfillment, boxing can also contribute to our moral lives.

Aristotle recognized that a person could know a great deal about the Good and not lead a good life.

In his “Nicomachean Ethics,” Aristotle argues that the final end for human beings is eudaimonia ─ the good life, or as it is most often translated, happiness. In an immortal sentence Aristotle announces, “The Good of man (eudaimonia) is the active exercise of his soul’s faculties in conformity with excellence or virtue, or if there be several human excellences or virtues, in conformity with the best and most perfect among them.”[2]

A few pages later, Aristotle acknowledges that there are in fact two kinds of virtue or excellence, namely, intellectual and moral.[3] Intellectual excellence is simple book learning, or theoretical smarts. Unlike his teacher Plato and his teacher’s teacher, Socrates, Aristotle recognized that a person could know a great deal about the Good and not lead a good life. “With regard to excellence,” says Aristotle, “it is not enough to know, but we must try to have and use it.” [4]

Aristotle offers a table of the moral virtues that includes, among other qualities, temperance, justice, pride, friendliness and truthfulness. Each semester when I teach ethics, I press my students to generate their own list of the moral virtues. “What,” I ask, “are the traits that you connect with having character?” Tolerance, kindness, self-respect, creativity, always make it on to the board, but it is usually only with prodding that courage gets a nod. And yet, courage seems absolutely essential to leading a moral life. After all, if you do not have mettle, you will not be able to abide by your moral judgments. Doing the right thing often demands going down the wrong side of the road of our immediate and long-range self-interests. It frequently involves sacrifices that we do not much care for, sometimes of friendships, or jobs; sometimes, as in the case with Socrates, even of our lives. Making these sacrifices is impossible without courage.

According to Aristotle, courage is a mean between rashness and cowardliness;[5] that is, between having too little trepidation and too much. Aristotle reckoned that in order to be able to hit the mean, we need practice in dealing with the emotions and choices corresponding to that virtue. So far as developing grit is concerned, it helps to get some swings at dealing with manageable doses of fear. And yet, even in our approach to education, many of us tend to think of anything that causes a shiver as traumatic. Consider, for example, the demise of dodge ball in public schools. It was banned because of the terror that the flying red balls caused in some children and of the damage to self-esteem that might come with always being the first one knocked out of the game. But how are we supposed to learn to stand up to our fears if we never have any supervised practice in dealing with the jitters? Of course, our young people are very familiar with aggressive and often gruesome video games that simulate physical harm and self-defense, but without, of course, any of the consequences and risks that might come with putting on the gloves.

Boxing provides practice with fear and with the right, attentive supervision, in quite manageable increments. In their first sparring session, boxers usually erupt in “fight or flight” mode. When the bell rings, novices forget everything they have learned and simply flail away. If they stick with it for a few months, their fears diminish; they can begin to see things in the ring that their emotions blinded them to before. More importantly, they become more at home with feeling afraid. Fear is painful, but it can be faced, and in time a boxer learns not to panic about the blows that will be coming his way.

While Aristotle is able to define courage, the study and practice of boxing can enable us to not only comprehend courage, but “to have and use” it. By getting into the ring with our fears, we will be less likely to succumb to trepidation when doing the right thing demands taking a hit. To be sure, there is an important difference between physical and moral courage. After all, the world has seen many a brave monster. The willingness to endure physical risks is not enough to guarantee uprightness; nevertheless, it can, I think contribute in powerful ways to the development of moral virtue.


[1] G.W.F. Hegel, “Phenomenology of Spirit,” Chapter 4.
[2] Aristotle, “Nicomachean Ethics,” Book I, Chapter 7.
[3] ibid., Book I, Chapter 13.
[4] ibid, Book X, Chapter 9.
[5] ibid, Book III, Chapter 7.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


One day I will actually write on this blog again. Until then I will post more music videos!

Covenant-Happy Man

Like Tears in Rain

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I'm getting old. I realize that's totally relative, but I can feel it. I can see it. Maybe its my recent injury that has made me feel it more poignantly. While knee sparring with Coke my knee dislocated, or twisted, something happened to sprain the tendons. I didn't jump right back up with youthful enthusiasm, instead my ass sat on the ground for a few minutes. I've spent the last couple days laying in my bed icing my knee taking ibuprofen keeping my patella elevated.

Worry seeps in about my body breaking down before I'm ready for it. I think that's been one of my concerns since my last bout, when I broke my face, I'm not afraid of being broken again; we age and thus we break. My anxiety is about breaking down too soon.

I remember a long time ago hearing older people talk about getting cuts. Come to think of it my grandma would become really vexed when she got cut. I used to think "What's the big deal, a day or two and its gone Grandma." Of course that day was more of a week, or two. Even seven years ago my body was different, I could gnash at myself with alcohol, dash my brains against the wall, engage in the nihilistic destruction of youth, now though my body seems more fragile, more likely to break. My hangovers are longer, my headaches more, and the self destruction seems more self sabotaging.

I don't really know what to do with this anxiety mainly because the worst of the worry is that it is real. What if I don't get to fight again? I knew from the start that I wouldn't be the world's best fighter, nor have the best record, nor be the strongest or bravest, maybe I defeated myself from the start by not having an invicible "winner's mind" by being all too human. I know, like all fighters know, that they have an expiration date. It can come at any time. Realizing that is hard. Any professional sports player must have to deal with that when they get injured. Sometimes there is no last hurrah, no final game, no walking out off the field on one's terms.

It really maddens me, this worry, no matter how real it can be. One of the reasons I got into fighting was because it was a way for me to control my fate. We live in a world we were are tracked. Increasingly every choice we make is a choice that buttresses the world of capital. I don't think that my choices are that important, but I'd like to believe that they are. It doesn't matter how much I study or the personal choices I make more likely than not I'll end up working class or worse with the same problems as my peers or worse. Its not just in what I've read, its in watching my peers.

So what do I do? Sneer at the worrying veneer that attempts to don my countenance? Try to rid myself of worry? No longer engage in dangerous activity and so try to prolong myself a little longer? They just don't seem like choices, at least not the kind I like to make.