Sunday, June 28, 2015

"I get knocked down, but I get up again . . . "

Celebrating my 42nd by getting down (and up and down, and then down again) during a momentous week for the U.S.A.

Getting tossed around by my teacher, Joe Takehara

After an incredible week of events that saw the upholding of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the legalization of same-sex marriage and reflection on the notorious legacy of the Confederate flag, I thought I'd kick off my 42nd celebrations early (actual date: June 30) with a round of birthday breakfalls at the end of class with the Chicago Aikido Club on Friday the 26th. 

My fellow aikidoka in attendance that night (Marlon Fadragas, Cyril Oseledets, Joe Takehara, Hai Tran, Nguyen Tran and Andrew Vitale) kindly obliged to toss me about the mat.

Friday, June 26, 2015

What a June to Remember

The Pope came out against capitalism, the military industrial complex and on the side of environmentalism. The Confederate flag is getting long-due scrutiny, the Affordable Care Act was upheld and marriage equality just upheld. All within a period of a few weeks. . . . Staring out my window. Still haven't spotted those flying pigs yet but I'll keep looking.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Thoughts on Charleston

I am now thoroughly convinced that if a rich, straight, white male shot up a Wall Street boardroom or a party in the Hamptons filled with similar individuals, armed to the teeth with legally purchased military-grade assault weapons, and the likes of the Koch brothers, Antonin Scalia, Sheldon Adelson and all the GOP presidential contenders were present and forced to pay witness to the death and carnage that transpired first-hand, conservative voices would STILL work overtime to blame African Americans, feminism, gun control, illegal immigrants, marijuana, homosexuality and liberal arts degrees.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Okay, you know I don't get to train as much as I used to, so let's make good use of our time.
Lesson number one . . . 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Thoughts on Mad Max: Fury Road

1) Lives up to the hype
2) Not bothered by the CGI (it's used judiciously and appropriately)
3) The stunts are magnificent
4) Proof that a sequel/remake need not be bad (Though does not justify Hollywood's current sequel/remake/reboot obsession. If anything, raises the bar for them to make ones that are actually good films in and of themselves)
5) Strong action heroines do not equal feminist propaganda
6) George Miller directs vehicle action like Yuen Woo-Ping directs kung-fu like John Woo directs gunfights like Busby Berkeley directed musicals. Action that advances the story, reveals character and revels in artfully capturing physical possibilities onscreen.
7) Minimal plot and character details usually sink blockbuster action films, but done right like here can create mythic, haunting and, dare I say it, poetic atmosphere.
8) Tom Hardy is both great as Max and the heir to Clint Eastwood's mantle as the Man with No name.
9) Other films I found myself thinking of while watching: The Warriors (1979), Fantastic Planet (1973) and Once Upon A Time in the West (1968).
10) Can't remember the last time a film got my blood pumping like that.
11) Hereinafter, the action in any movie should not be described as "visceral" by any critic until it can equal this one.