Bat Fan vs Fat Ban by Mike Baron

BAT FAN V. FAT BAN

By Mike Baron

This was it. Ragnarok, Armageddon, and Doomsday rolled into one. This was the premier of Batman: The Killer Croc’s Revenge, the latest installment in the greatest movie franchise of all time. Christian Bale as Batman. Gary Oldman as Chief Gordon. Lindsay Lohan as Rachel Dawes. And Sean Penn as Killer Croc.

Wayne Callard stood in line with 1500 other Bat Fans waiting for the Cinegrande Cineplex to open its doors. Wayne had been waiting in line for nineteen hours. He’d camped out on the sidewalk the previous night, swathing his bulk in two double-sized down-filled sleeping bags on a foam mattress. Wayne was five feet seven and weighed 350 lbs. He’d been born Cicero Wayne Callard.

“Man,” said Manny Ramirez standing next to Wayne and blowing on his hands, “I hope they open the doors soon! I could use a tube steak!” Manny wore Bat sneakers and a Batpack.

“Haven’t you heard?” Wayne said. “They pulled all the hot dogs. The fat content was too high.”

Manny regarded Wayne dubiously. “You’re shittin’ me.”

“No sir. The mayor signed the executive order yesterday. He doubled the food tax on all fast food items and mandated the removal of such items as hot dogs, French fries, jalapeno poppers, and deep fried cheese curds.”

“You gotta be shittin’ me!” Manny wailed. “What kind of dumb fuck would do that?”

“An overreaching municipal, state, and federal government that seeks to control all aspects of our lives and treat us like children.”

“I been thinkin’ about that hot dog all night! It’s the only thing that kept me going!”

“Hang, bro,” Wayne said. “I got you covered.”

A shout. A huzzah rose up the line. They had opened the doors. It was ten-thirty in the morning. Excitement was palpable among the faithful, overwhelmingly comprised of adolescent boys with a few sullen adults shepherding their cubs and hapless girlfriends in tow.

Two security guards met them at the door. “Please deposit all liquids, foods, and recording devices here. Sir, would you mind opening your coat?”

Wayne dutifully spread wide his bulky pea coat revealing a round mound covered with a nicely pilled argyle sweater that had belonged to his grandfather. The guard looked away and waved him through.

“Sir, would you mind opening your backpack?” the guard said to Manny.

Manny slipped it off and flipped open the lid. “It’s a Batpack.”

Tickets were nine dollars for the eleven o’clock matinee, twelve dollars for shows after noon. Wayne got his ticket and waited for Manny in the lobby where the snack counter was doing a brisk business in popcorn made with sunflower oil and available with virgin olive oil, tofu on a stick, and fruit smoothies.

Manny entered the lobby. “Ahmina get a Coke and some buttered popcorn, okay?”

“There is no buttered popcorn. It’s available with sunflower oil and olive oil.”

Manny’s jaw crushed a toe. He looked toward the refreshment counters which resembled festival seating at a Who concert. He resigned himself to water. Wayne took off at flank speed. It was imperative to GET YOUR SEATS FIRST and fish for food second. By the time Wayne and Manny gained the theater, the plum rows eight through twelve were taken with sniveling, squirming, texting, snarfing boys and men in a state of perpetual shiftiness emitting a low rumble of conversation punctuated by invective.

Wayne took the third seat in the 13th row except it was labeled the 14th to avoid the onus of superstition. Manny sat on the aisle. The big screen showed a ruddy, cheerful Santa Claus in coitus with a reindeer, guzzling Coke and shouting, “Shake, it Prancer, you hot bitch!” It was a Very Special Christmas.

During the trailer for Punisher IV, Marvel 0, a flat top and his date, who look4ed like Betty from Betty & Veronica, entered the aisle causing Manny to swing his legs to the side. Wayne had to stand and even then it was like squeezing by a mattress stuck in the doorway.

“Do you smell McDonald’s” Betty whispered to her date.

“Shhh!” Wayne shushed. Dude gave him the stink eye but Wayne ignored him. The troublesome couple sat three seats away. They watched a trailer for Zits, the new Will Ferrell comedy in which he plays a child/man forced to grow up when he takes over the family summer camp. They watched a trailer for Grits, the new Adam Sandler comedy in which he plays a child/man forced to grow up when he takes over the family plantation. They watched a trailer for Pits, the new Ben Stiller comedy about black holes.

Finally, after ads for plastic surgery and whole grain crust chicken and sun-dried tomato pizza, the lights lowered and the feature began. Manny stared at the screen in fascination until the smell of a Big Mac got his attention. Wayne nudged him and passed over a Big Mac.

“What? How?” Manny said, pleased and delighted.

Wayne reached down and pulled a portion of his belly away from himself like a lid. “Prosthetic belly,” he whispered. “Costume store. Got the Big Macs last night in Jersey. Kept ‘em warm with body heat.”

“Shhhh!” Betty shushed harshly.

I know what you’re thinkin’, Wayne thought to himself. In all the confusion, did he pull out two burgers, or three? The question you’ve got to ask yourself, lady, is do you feel lucky?

Batman had a utility belt. Wayne had a prosthetic belly.

Wayne and Manny ate their burgers. Dude immediately in front of Wayne turned in his seat. He had a buzz cut and a ring in one ear and through his nose. “Dude, like that burger you’re eating is totally horrendous. Take it outside, why don’tcha?”

Other young men swiveled to see the object of wrath. Wayne deftly tucked the rest of the Big Mac into his cavernous maw, chewed and swallowed. Reaching into an inside pocket of his pea coat he withdrew a canned Coke, popped the lid and drank copiously. He belched like the Mother of All Bullfrogs. He rolled it out like a black furry carpet. It just kept on rolling. The belch caromed off the ceiling frieze and tumbled ‘round the room.

Onscreen, Batman foiled an attempt by the Punisher to crash his movie.

Buzz Cut jabbed a finger at Wayne. “Why don’t you get up off your fat ass and go sit somewhere else?”

“Yeah!” said his sidekick, Li’l BC.

With a sigh Wayne heaved himself to his feet and motioned for Manny to do likewise. He had not come to rumble with Nazis. He had come to see the movie. He and Manny moved further upslope until they found two seats in the narrow aisle next to the wall.

Onscreen, terrorists had taken over Gotham Tower and were jamming all radio, internet, and short wave transmissions. In the theater, a gang of twenty-something boys sitting behind Wayne and Manny had seized control of the 18th row and jammed transmissions from the screen by hooting, making noises, and throwing Junior Mints.

A Junior Mint bounced off the back of Wayne’s basketball-sized head. Wayne slowly swiveled with a steely glare. The obstreperous ones studiously watched the screen on which Bruce Wayne was fending off Poison Ivy’s attentions.

Another Junior Mint sailed past. Giggles emanated from the 18th row. Wayne didn’t bother to turn and look. With a sigh of resignation, he gripped his arm rests and heaved himself from his seat. My city bleeds, he thought. He ponderously made his way up the aisle toward the 18th row.

“Oh oh,” they joked. “Look out now, here he comes!”

“Beware the Fat Fury!”

Wayne wondered if the benighted ones were even familiar with Herbie Popnecker. Without looking at them Wayne reached the 19th row and turned in. He sat behind what he took to be the ringleader, a dude in an Oakland hoodie, pants down his ass and BKs on the back of the seats in front of him as if he weren’t the issue of wealthy white mandarins on the Upper West Side.

“You smell something?” the White Negro said.

“Yeah,” said one of his minions. “Something stinks.”

The White Negro turned to confront Wayne, whose knees were up against the back of the seat. “Whassup, you fat faggot? Why don’tcha move your bulk somewhere else, know what I’m sayin’?”

Wayne reached into his belly prosthetic and brought forth a halogen flashlight and a water pistol filled with dog urine. “Please turn around and enjoy the movie for which you paid nine dollars.”

Onscreen, Batman confronted a crazed Killer Croc in the act of planting a bomb.

Offscreen, the White Negro said, “Or what? You gonna make me?”

Wayne turned the flashlight on the White Negro’s face. He squirted dog urine on the White Negro’s shirt.

“There,” Wayne said. “Now you have a smell to complain about.”

The White Negro heaved himself over the back of his seat and attacked Wayne with both hands, delivering blow after blow to Wayne’s prosthetic belly. The White Negro’s fist penetrated several of the twelve thumbtacks Wayne and pushed through the front of his sweater. Stinking of dog urine, the White Negro stared in horror at his bleeding fists.

The manager, a pale young man with a ponytail, came up the stairs with his own flashlight which he shined on the whole sorry scene. He sniffed. “Okay, I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you all to leave. Your ticket money will be refunded out front in the lobby. Let’s go.”

The White Negro turned on him in wounded innocence. “But we didn’t do anything! This fat fuck started messing with us!”

Wayne remained seated. “They threw Junior Mints at the back of my head. I’m sure a police search will reveal the Mints.”

“What’s that smell?” the manager said.

“Smells like dog piss,” one of the minions said. He had the makings of a fine detective.

“All right, that’s it,” said the manager with newly found authority. “Out of here right now or I’ll stop the film, turn up the lights and call the cops.”

There was some grumbling but when two more ushers appeared with flashlights on the landing below the White Negro resignedly got to his feet and led his minions out the door. “It sucks anyway.”

The manager turned his flashlight on Wayne. Wayne turned his flashlight on the manager. “You too,” the manager said.

“Moi?” Wayne said. “I have troubled no one. I have thrown Junior Mints at no one. I merely seek to watch the movie which is ruined for me now, ruined I say because of incessant interruptions and the obstreperous and contumacious nature of your clientele.”

“Let’s go,” the manager said. “You can get a refund in the lobby.”

Wayne rose with dignity. “Fine,” he said and waddled down the stairs, pausing only to glance at Manny, who dutifully joined him. The two lads soon found themselves nine dollars richer individually and out on the street.

“Now what do we do?” Manny said.

Gazing at a poster for The Bourne Natural Killers, Wayne deduced their next move. “Come on. We’ll make our own movie. We’ll shoot it on my phone.”

Disco by Mike Baron

DISCO

I write grim stuff. No getting around it. My Bad Road Rising series, featuring reformed motorcycle hoodlum Josh Pratt, is rife with beat-downs, murders, and foul language. My wife Ann doesn’t read novels. She’s only seen three movies in her whole life, and two of them were The Sound Of Music, which she saw twice.

One day she said, “Why don’t you write something I can read?”

We love our dogs. Many dog lovers love their dogs so much they want to do books about them. Some do. My local Barnes & Noble features hundreds of titles devoted to individual dogs.

I started tossing discs to my dog Lucy in Wisconsin. Lucy was a big mutt of unknown provenance, but she grabbed big air when she snatched the disc. We call them discs because Frisbee is a copyrighted name of the Wham-O Corporation, and we don’t always use Frisbees. Because of Lucy, I became interested in the Skyhoundz World Championship and the Frisbee Dog World Championship, also known as the Ashley Whippet Invitational.

Both competitions feature the “freestyle,” in which human and dog do a routine set to music involving somersaults, aerial jumps and fancy throws. The other major event is the distance throw, which currently stands at 402 feet.

The story grew in my mind of a boy from a broken family, whose mother moves from town to town looking for a stable situation, and how he adopts a mongrel pup and learns, by accident, that the pup has an affinity for snatching discs out of the air. It took me twenty years to get around to writing it. Ann’s suggestion that I write something she could read did the trick.

Liberty Island will release Disco at the end of November.

Mike Baron’s DISCO is such an unexpected delight – it’s a story with both heart and warmth that also pulls no punches, and is, simply, a pleasure to read.” – James A. Owen, author Of HERE, THERE BE DRAGONS

How to change a tire by Mike Baron

HOW TO CHANGE A TIRE

I ain’t the handiest guy in the world, but I know how to change a tire. A lot of new cars don’t come with a spare. If you get a flat, you’re shit outta luck. Better have one of those plug-in tire repair kits so you can hobble to the next service station. I also know how to drive a stick shift. Growing up on the flat eastern plains of South Dakota, my friends and I couldn’t wait to get behind the wheel, so much so, that we would routinely “borrow” our parents’ cars late at night to get the hang of it.

It was a car culture. My best friend’s dad always had copies of Road & Track and Car And Driver in his clinic office. He was a successful doctor who also owned several hot cars including a Ferrari, which he let me drive once.

“I think eighty is fast enough, Mike.”

Doctor Delaney also had a Mercedes 300 and a humongous Dodge with a hemi.

I love shifting the gears, matching revs on downshifts, feeling the engine hit its torque curve. It’s a joy to feel part of the mechanical apparatus that moves you through the countryside, and the joy is greater when you ride a motorcycle, because instead of being sealed off from the land in an enclosed steel cage, you are part of the countryside.

I love the smell of gas.

These days, most cars have automatic transmissions, rear view cameras, devices that correct the steering if you nod off and fail to notice you’re about to rear end a semi. People refer to manual transmissions as millennial anti-theft devices, and there’s some truth there. A lot of kids are leery of driving and in no hurry to get their licenses, partly because of stupid propaganda demonizing internal combustion engines. All progress comes at a price. The internal combustion engine has been one of the greatest boons to mankind since the invention of the wheel. For every person who dies in a car crash, a thousand have been transported swiftly and safely to hospital emergency rooms for everything from pregnancy to heart attacks. Fresh water and medicine travel to disaster areas via internal combustion engines.

Those who want us to emulate Europe with mass transit don’t understand what makes America unique. Part of it is freedom. The freedom to hop on your bike, or into your car, and go wherever the hell you please. America is a huge country with vast distances, especially out here in the West. Mass transit works great in dense urban areas, not so much in the West.

Today’s risk-adverse yoot are not buying motorcycles. Scary! There used to be numerous monthly general purpose motorcycle magazines. Now there are two quarterlies, Motorcyclist and Cycle World, and neither has anything of interest. Motorcycle manufacturers don’t vomit forth dozens of new models each year as they did in the past.

But like the horse and comic books, motorcycles will never disappear because they have their enthusiasts. I hope they will make a comeback.

To change a flat tire, you loosen the lug nuts before you apply the jack. Jack the wheel off the ground, replace it, gently screw in the lug nuts, then lower the car back to the ground. Once it is on its full weight, you tighten the lug nuts.

Weasel Words by Mike Baron

WEASEL WORDS

In the never-ending battle to obscure or ameliorate whatever it is they want to say, certain parties have infected the English language with weasel words. When my dog Freddie was dying from heat stroke, the veterinarian at CSU said the test results were very “concerning.” He said it over and over again. I wanted to strangle him. If Freddie was dying, why didn’t he just say so?

Some find words empowering. I find the word empowering debilitating. Don’t trot out those dictionary definitions! I’m warning you, do not do it! But I must. I feel empowered. To empower: “authorize, entitle, permit, allow, license, sanction, warrant, commission, delegate, qualify, equip.” Well how empowering can it be if another party has to do it for you? I’ll do it myself without your help, thank you very much.
But is my empowerment sustainable? What does sustainable mean?

The ability to be sustained, supported, upheld, or confirmed. Environmental Science. the quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance: The committee is developing sustainability standards for products that use energy.

“To be sustained.” There’s that passive tense again, blithely ignorant of Newton’s Laws of Physics. The first law of thermodynamics, also known as Law of Conservation of energy, states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed, energy can only be transferred or changed from one form to another. In other words, energy cannot be created or destroyed. Are electric cars sustainable? From where does the energy come? Could it come from coal-burning power plants? Perhaps it comes from nuclear power plants. We all know that nuclear power plants lead to world-wide disaster and death, except for those nuclear power plants that power most of France.

The US has 99 nuclear power reactors in 30 states, operated by 30 differenT power companies, and in 2017 they produced 805 TWh. Since 2001 these plants have achieved an average apacity factor of over 90%, generating up to 807 TWh per year and accounting for about 20% of total electricity generated.
Is it sustainable? You be the judge.

I love Judge Judy. Whenever a litigant says, “Basically,” Judge Judy interrupts.
“NO BASICALLY. Just tell me what happened.”
The word basically needs to go the way of the dodo.

Likewise “literally.” When you use the word “literally,” you sound like a fool.
And “undocumented immigrants.” And the word “optics.” One day the media rose up as one and decided that the “optics” would replace appearances. They think it makes them sound smart. Optics means, “The scientific study of sight and the behavior of light, or the properties of transmission and deflection of other forms of radiation.”
When I watch a show on On Demand, they warn me that “fast forward and other functionality may not be available.” Functionality? What the fuck? What’s wrong with functions? And “may not be available?” It’s never available. Like those car ads that say, “available 800 horsepower engine.” That means you gots to pay extra.

Mike Baron, The Survey

THE SURVEY

Every company is desperate for positive feedback. Every company employs some firm to conduct surveys on its behalf.

Use SurveyMonkey to drive your business forward by using our free online survey tool to capture the voices and opinions of the people who matter most to you.

School district issuing surveys to complete picture about home, classroom, technology use.

Online surveys are part of the broader family of self-administered surveys (Internet, by post, etc.), as opposed to administered surveys (face to face, telephone). By taking the time to give your opinion, you are providing input for the development of a product or service. In fact, the quality of an online survey depends on the reliability of the information you provide.

The information collected from surveys reaches clients, but will always conceal individual identity. Survey results are aggregated by combining responses with those provided by other participants who have also completed the online survey. This data is stored in a database that can be analyzed by clients, but personal data will never be revealed, sold or traded without your permission.

My own experience is that they are intrusive and irritating. Automatic calls are the most irritating, as they do not work on your schedule. A prerecorded voice says, “Your feedback is important to us. Please take a few minutes to answer this survey about your recent experience with Veeblefetzer Orthodontics.”

But it’s not a few minutes. They phrase the questions so that the can provide neat statistics to their employer. There is seldom room for personal experience. “On a scale of one to ten, one being least satisfactory, ten being most satisfactory…”

And the questions go on and on. I usually hang up after five minutes. Online surveys are nearly as irritating. Don’t we get enough spam? In days of yore, businesses knew they were on the right track by repeat customers and personal testimonials. I’m happy to give a personal testimonial. I write glowing reviews for the Better Business Bureau. But this survey business is out of hand. I went through McDonald’s the other day and by the time I got to the second window, the survey was waiting.

New Music, Mike Baron

NEW MUSIC

Mark Roebuck, the driving force behind the power pop band The Deal, whose only album is from Not Lame, and rotsa ruck finding it, releases his second Roebuck CD, Kingdom of Mustang. Roebuck has a unique melodic sense, laden with pastoral bridges and hooks. Like Marshall Crenshaw, Michael Brown or John San Juan of the Hushdrops, his songs are instantly identifiable and contain a generosity of spirit, even sans lyrics. But the lyrics are feckin’ bril. “Sister Sledgehammer” showcases his elegant chords, deft guitar, exquisite bridge. “Brand New Day” is a homage to Buddy Holly. You can hear Holly singing it, while “Undone” is something Tim Buckley would have proudly claimed with its sweet and rueful shoulda, coulda, woulda lyrics. Mark rocks too. He is Brian Wilson’s soul brother.

Chris Richards is a made member of the Michigan Mafia, which includes Keith Klingensmith, Andy Reed, Donnie Brown, and Nick Piunti. They constitute a power pop powerhouse that just keeps releasing one great record after another, and Peaks and Valleys is no exception with its Red Kross power chords and embarrassment of guitar riches. They expertly massage major/minor chord changes on “Just Another Season.” Every song is filled with jewel-like guitar riffs tickling the occipital lobe with laser precision. I hear a little Byrds in “Wrapped In A Riddle’s” jangle, and again in “The End of Me.” Unstoppable and irresistible.

David Myhr of the Merrymakers second album, Lucky Day, is as sunny and hook-laden as his first, melodic pop in the vein of The Cyrcle, We Five, and The Cowsills, with Beatlesque dazzle. “Negative Friend” bounces along with McCartneyesque effervescence. “Room To Grow” has a bridge right out of a sixties TV theme or fifties musical, which is to say, a massive, unforgettable hook. The title track swoons in on a bent chord with a bittersweet melody like the sun peeking through clouds. A blast of west coast sunshine from Sweden.

Astral Drive, a prog rock love letter to seventies, is reminiscent of Todd Rundgren’s Something/Anything, and “Hello It’s Me” in particular. Crank it to eleven. This isn’t just Rundgren on steroids. It’s Rundgren on acid and steroids, a swirling, psychedelic, wall of sound time machine. “Summer of ‘76” will make millennials wish they’d been born earlier. The title track is epic and symphonic prog rock. “Child of the Universe” has a swelling space chord that expands to fill the room.

Ron Bonfiglio’s Trouble Again is an instant classic, trailing more hooks than The Deadliest Catch. Bonfigli, who is musical director of Wilson Phillips, is part of Wanderlust, the seminal nineties power pop group that also includes Scott Sax. Trouble Again scores on every song with superb dynamics and lethal hooks.
“Passenger Seat,” the opening track, is a giddy juggernaut of Springsteen ower chords, Raspberry refrains, and Jellyfish orchestration. I could say the same for every song. There are traces of the Shazam in “Love Over Hurt, and “Astral Drive” in the key-driven “Gone.” “Mr. No One” has an Explorers Club vibe and perhaps the greatest hook over. Best thing I’ve heard this year.

Updated News from Mike Baron

A man goes to the zoo. There’s only one animal, a dog. It’s a Shi-Tzu. Greetings, my friends! This is my first newsletter! Finishing Unfortunate Son, the 7th Josh Pratt novel in the Bad Road Rising series. Biker is the first.

They are grim, my friends. Dripping with viscera, yet filled with hilarity and quiet moments of contemplation and tender romance.

Dark Horse is preparing a raft of new Nexus for next year. But be warned, my friends! My partner Steve Rude published these, and as publisher, he changed my every word! I can only hope the new material I sent him survives intact. For an explanation, see the documentary, Rude Dude. Oogle it!

My friends, those clamoring for Badger apparel can find it here: https://badgerapparel.cottontoptees.com/

I’m working on a Buddy McGill comic with visionary artist Fer Calvi. Who is Buddy McGill? He’s a super party animal and his name is Buddy McGill! With a case of Sudz and some brand new duds, he’ll give you something you can feel!

I have finished a new Badger story in which he enters the Iditarod. There is also a giant cockroach!

Shortly we will begin a crowdfunder to turn my novel Sons of Bitches into a graphic novel. A young woman puts out her own Muhammad comic. Hilarity ensues.

I’m working on The Snot-Nosed Punk of Yore, a bold reimagining of the life of Shakespeare as a differently-abled lesbian of color!

As always, if you wish to be removed from this list, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your existence. Feel free to fire back.

 

Testing Black Belt, Mike Baron

Notes for Testing Black Belts, Summer 2018

Combinations:

Main thoughts for combinations are to make sure your strikes are complete and clear. Combinations need to flow in order to be useful, but don’t go so fast that we can’t tell what kind of kicks you are throwing.

Kicks need to fold and retract. (3rd degrees are weakest at this.)

Point foot on round kicks.

If a combination says “double side kick” it is meant to have both kicks middle height, not lo-hi. It will say “lo-hi” if that is the intention. (3rd degree #6a has double side kick)

Pay attention to when you are supposed to step back, usually on a #2 combo with a step back spin hook kick or spin backfist.

Know when to step and when to skip, and when NOT to.

2nd degrees #2a slide side kick is different from a skip kick.

(Take corrections to heart, but don’t hurt yourselves trying to do something that doesn’t work for your body!)

One-steps: Samar be more aware of your distance, you tend to be too far away. Will, sometimes your kicks were not clear. Looked like you were doing round kicks for #2.

Everyone, just be aware of proper distance to make the techniques work optimally.

Same for Grab defenses. Know when to step in or step back to make your defenses work better (esp 1st degrees)

Know what things work for you, and consider who your partner is, in how you do some things (careful with the take-downs)

Knife defense: Control that knife hand! Don’t forget to use your strikes.

Club defense: Mostly good, find ways to get inside the swing.

Ground defense and choke defense: Keep good awareness, to recognize things early so you can defend it early.

Sticks: On 11-count form, be sure to complete moves. #7 thrust sometimes gets lost.

3rd degrees: On hi-forehand, hi-backhand, hi-forehand/sombrada drill, be sure you show the change of distance.

Targets: Hand targets—make sure 1 and 2 punches extend; target-holders be careful not to meet the puncher’s punch so much that they can’t extend.

For all of the targets work, be sure you listen carefully to the instructions. Sometimes people were doing the wrong drill or wrong techniques. Be sure to hold the targets properly for your partner. The test is on holding as well as on the striking. Be a good partner.

Forms:

General: Full preparations; retract kicks. Stances. Timing hands with feet. Focus on the techniques. Be self-aware, self-correcting. Always aim for better.

Bal Sae – counts 6,7,8 be sure to twist body and make both arms move fully.

Sang Kee – Timing of the yell on #1 is when you step back and R arm drops down to block. Remember all of the other yells (esp. both on #9 and #11). Head height stays low when changing from horse stance to back stance (#17-18). Count 22 is open downward block in back stance. Then shift to front stance.

Koryo 1 – count 6 is single knife hand block (L hand pulled back by hip), and #7 is reverse punch, staying in back stance. Dbl outward block #11 is in front stance. Knife hand blocks #1 and #14 are with both hands open

Koryo 2 – remember the sequence. Some of you had occasions when you left out parts. Double outward block #13 is in front stance, #15 is in back stance.

Kan Ku Dai – try to cross all of the knife-hand preparations; yells are on #9, #25, & #40

Ge Baek – mountain blocks are palms-facing-in; niner block is a square position; yells on #1, #14, #18, #30

Under-belt forms: Knife-hand blocks with fist on chest in KM forms except KM Oh Dan; PA Sah Dan line toward the back in 3 double-attacks and a knee; PA Yi Dan remember to do full prep for sideward punch counts 3 & 6.

Weapons Forms:

Full motions—one arm is straight in all strikes with bo. Be clean on vertical line, horizontal line, diagonal line Universal bo – Be sure the diagonal strikes when you are on your knee actually go out diagonally.

Universal kamas – Be aware of where the chambered hand is. Be sure that both arms move when doing forward cut in back stance and backward cut in front stance. Keep clean stances. The front stances tend to get short and sloppy.

Specials – Looks like we have a nice variety of performances. Keep practicing, get comfortable with facing the audience, explaining something about your choice, and moving smoothly through whatever it is that you are doing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abject Squalor by Mike Baron

ABJECT SQUALOR

My late wife chose the house in which we live. When we moved in, the front and back yards were perfect, watered regularly by an underground, automated watering system. If you want to have a lawn in Colorado, this is what you do. Because most of Colorado is a desert. And the rest is mountains. Yet everyone has a lawn. And the city’s lawns are the most glorious of all, because they don’t care how much they spend. Many a time I’ve driven past city water sprinklers during a heavy rain storm as they direct their stream to the middle of the road. I once notified the Parks Department that their sprinklers were falling on asphalt. Nothing has changed.

The West is all about the water, who owns it, who controls it. Now you might think nobody owns the water. You would be wrong. Certain land rights carry water rights, grandfathered from the days of the Conestoga wagon, if the land contains a stream or river. Some states (not Colorado) have outlawed the collection of rain water in barrels.

Lawns are reasonable for the Upper Midwest and the South, where rain falls steadily. They make little sense in a desert. You want to solve Los Angeles’ water problem? Tell all those stars to stop watering their lawns. And build some more dams!

But their problems are not my problems. My problems are the dogs.

Enter Freddie. One day I heard Freddie laughing and barking in the back yard. He was tearing up the underground watering system. Not a nip here and there, no. He ripped up entire sections and chewed them to suet. The other dogs. Soon there was nothing left of my backyard watering system. I could do what I do in the front yard, which has its own problems. Drag the sprinklers out twice a week and water.

Then came the rabbits. Their urine destroyed the front lawn, and if the front lawn isn’t nice, the home owners’ association sends a SWAT squad. I carefully scraped up the dead spots, applied gypsum, seed, and covered it with fresh topsoil. It rained for three days straight. I watered every day for a week. The result? A desultory handful of blades. I am waiting. I am watching. And when the time is right, I shall try again. Not for me the terraforming and chemicals of the modern professional lawn grower! No. If I can’t raise it itself, it doesn’t deserve to live.

A Post Literate Society by Mike Baron

A POST LITERATE SOCIETY

Remember Borders and B. Dalton’s? They were chain bookstores that are no longer with us. Barnes & Noble struggles to survive, slashing book inventory, turning more and more floor space over to toys, collectibles, DVDs, and games. New DVDs cost anywhere from twenty to fifty dollars. While there are fans who are happy to pay that amount to see a new movie, I’m not one of them. Anyone with internet access can order those films from Amazon, a lot cheaper. Amazon is the elephant in the room, and it’s sucking up all the oxygen. It’s past time for the Justice Department to investigate them for unfair labor practices, but while Amazon must bear the muich of the onus for declining book stores, they are not solely at fault.

A lot of young folks ain’t readin’. Just ain’t readin’. Weren’t raised that way. Video games have taken a huge bite out of the comics market, and anyone who’s conversant with modern video games can see why. They are designed with a great deal more thought and characterization than most comics. They’re the other elephant in the room. It doesn’t help that many comics are unreadable, but so what? Many movies are unwatchable. Gryphon’s, a prominent local comic shop, advertises games and comics. They carry the Big Two, a selection of second tier publishers, and will special order whatever, but many titles don’t make the cut. Gryphon’s can’t afford to pay for inventory that doesn’t move.
Humans gotta innovate. Technology marches on. The internet is a mixed bag. It enables us to reach millions, research anything, send manuscripts without the mail, but it has a coarsening effect on communications, of what we say and how we conduct ourselves. I once posted Lady Gaga had killed it in reference to her singing the national anthem, and within ten posts it was “FUCK YOU!” and “NO! FUCK YOU!”
The there’s “HOW R U?” “ROLF!” “C U BIATCH.”

Words intended as ironic are interpreted as dismissive or offensive. Facebook encourages bold declarations of virtue often accompanied by vulgar language, gratuitous insults, and death wishes.

This collapse of manners is partly due to the collapse of literacy. In Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury posed a future in which the only printed periodicals consisted of pictures only. We may have reached that point.