It was a pretty unexciting Sunday. But pleasant. I’d forgotten that time can sometimes just be a pleasant thing to just see pass. There aren’t ever enough of these moments. I often forget to treasure them. Times where life is just content. It will be short lived and can’t be sensibly ignored or taken for granted.
After the bad storms the clouds passed and the sun came out. We drove to the Indian Reservation, did some more light grocery shopping and went to Taco Bell. My friend loves their hard shell vegetarian tacos. I got a bean burrito and a “Beefy Cheesy Melt”. Since everything else was vegetarian someone took it upon themselves to make my Melt Beefy-less. It was fine, They made up for the lack of meat by using extra rice. Rice was what I was craving anyway.
When we got back home it was nice enough to sit outside with the dogs. The dogs love me but my friend is “The Mom”. Her being outside set them into joyous doggie paroxysms. Like me dogs seldom express joy by sitting still in quiet contentment.
My puppy played with her Kong and pressed it against my friends leg. My friend didn’t understand that this meant you were supposed to try and steal it from my puppy. The giant dog bought out one of his squeaky toys and just drove us nuts with that. The gentle dog was the happiest and most active of the bunch. His way of expressing his joy is to bite me. Not painfully, he likes to grab hold of my wrist and just hang on. For whatever canine reason this puts him into a state approaching nirvana.
Clearly no side effects to Saturday’s vet visit.
That evening we watched the Doris Day, Clark Gable movie “Teacher’s Pet”. I discovered that my friend is a budding Doris Day fan. She even knows facts about her! I’d never seen more than bits and pieces of the movie before and was surprised at just how good it was. Plenty of surprises and plenty of laughs with just a tinge of bathos, just enough to make you think you were seeing something more worthwhile than an entertainment.
We watched an episode of “Kung Fu”. We’d fallen off the ritual. I hold that it was because the last few had been so dire. This one was good. For one thing it had the genius that is Keye Luke in it for even the briefest spell. Even a small amount of Keye Luke is enough to make anything taste better. The episode was “The Arrogant Dragon”. Carradine was very effective even though his fighting skill still stinks, his acting ability was clicking at a high level. High enough to hide some bad plot holes and some uncomfortable sexual tension. And my old buddy Jimmy Hong got to play a rat!
What I liked most was the careful acknowledgment of Chinese history. It was surprising and welcome even if scant. Basically they acknowledged the birth of the Tongs as being a result of the Manchu’s burning of the Shaolin Temple.
Today I’ve got my doctor’s appointment. I called this morning and they’ve got my blood test results. I’m out of excuses. I have to get my home test results diary into a readable-by-others shape. This morning my blood pressure was 140 over 90. About ten points higher than is considered safe and about 20 points higher than sis safe for first thing in the morning.
I’m hoping that this can be addressed just through diet. I don’t want to take any more pills. I want no more pills worse than I want to be able to stop restricting my diet any further. My fat intake is already restricted to 45 grams per day, no sugar, no pork etc. I guess coffee and salt are next on the list.
My blood sugars have been running on the high side of acceptable. Within the parameters. There’s a chance I might have to deal with that. I get amazed that my diet has to be so restrictive. I know an older diabetic here, on insulin injections, and I had breakfast with him. He had bacon and eggs! BACON! Sometimes its hard to remember that my diet is restricted as much by the chemo’s and their after effects as they are by the diabetes. As much as I don’t want more pills I want injections even less. So it goes, Diet, More Pills, Injections in my order of preferences. And I really want none of them.
Next Saturday I have to spend 8 hours kitting out kids. I roped my friend in for 4 hours of registering the kids. Paperwork . . . I’m still pleased she’ll be there for part of the day.
Then on Sunday will be the spring dog walk!!
There is little on the appointment calendar that is as much fun as the dog walk, for me and the dogs. This will be the packs third one!
Even though the door is open to the pretty day my puppy has chosen to spend this time inside wrapped around my feet.
I love my puppy. Its nice that its reciprocated. Nicer to know she’s not mad about the diet. I’ve cut all her food in half. She seems no hungrier than usual and she’s always hungry.
Congrats to the Men of Troy. Eleven players taken in the NFL draft and 3 of them in the first round! Then Tony Dungy saying that a kid would be crazy not to attend USC becasue SOuthern California is the school that gives you the best chance to succeed!!
Click images for desktop size: “Witchfinder General’s Kitchen” by Andy Jones” Under threat of physical damage to myself I’ve been instructed to point out that my friend only ate NINE tacos on Saturday. The tenth was given to the pups. She does admit that she could have eaten the tenth.
Further the implication that she often eats 9 or more tacos is erroneous. She struggles to keep her weight over 115. I believe that is pounds not kilograms.
Click images for desktop size: “Dog” by S4W A while ago I broke the audio cable on my Ultimate Eat super.fi 5’s. I’ve finally gotten around to finding that I can replace the cable for only 20 bucks. Which seems a lot for a cable but considering my disastrous attempts to rewire and splice the super thin wires it seems like a bargain.
The only issue is that there seems to be no way that I can see to remove the old cord. The only help is that the picture of the replacement cord shows two pretty little gold plugs that obviously plug into the old ear speakers. Still, I can’t see anyway to remove the old cord short of cutting the wire off which makes me fearful of damaging the tiny female plugs that the picture indicates exist there.
I wrote to Ultimate Ears but haven’t gotten a response yet. Frustrated I just now pulled the cord as hard as I could and I’ve either removed the old cord properly or damaged everything beyond repair. That’s the way most of my repairs go.
Click images for desktop size: “Angie Dickensen” I’m going to order the replacement cable and see what happens from there.
We’re still watching an episode of the old David Carradine TV show, “Kung Fu” every Sunday.
I’m a bit stunned about how the show progresses. I still have problems that becoming a star on a hit show Carradine never bothered to learn any rudiments of martial arts. His dancer kicks and repetitive moves that have no foundation in fighting get tedious and I constantly find myself thinking about how great it would have been to have had Bruce Lee in the role.
But the biggest problem is the lack of a story editor. The shows bring in forgotten plot points at random and then promptly forgets them again, not only within the show but in the series. Most of the time he’s just wandering around America but for no apparent reason he is suddenly searching for his brother. He appears to wander from Louisiana to the Mojave Desert. Since this a distance of about 2,000 miles you have to figure part of his Shaolin training is teleportation.
These second season shows don’t have Keye Luke very often. Luke is still one of my fave actors. He was a professional and committed to every role he played. As Charlie Chan’s number one son he moved with an easy grace, easy enough to have him play an Olympic Athlete and be totally believable. As the blind Master Po in the series he lent the show a gravitas and sense of joy that they can’t replicate. Without Luke the Temple sets suddenly look cheap and thrown together. Luke exuded enough sheer joyous power to steal all the focus so that all you see is him. He’s always had the magic.
Oddly even with the overt input from Carradine and all the screaming flaws the show never fails to entertain. At its best it gives some serious insight and provides something more to think of than just
Click images for desktop size: “Bedside Book” by Kahle “cool!” (Which does not negate how much I like “cool!”)
Its this constant battle between exhilaration and disappointment that makes me look forward to each episode. That and that I get to share the experience with my friend. As a guy who thought a great Saturday was to go to 4 different theaters and see 8 or nine movies on the day and who’s greatest pleasure was when someone would go along with me on these celluloid forays that means a lot to me. Even when they hate something I enjoyed or loved something I thought was just okay it makes everything so much better.
Considering that the only book I found of interest in my friends library turned out to be one of those book vaults, where the middle of the book is cut out to hide stuff; it can’t be underestimated.
I’ve been watching a lot of movies, as usual. Nothing great. In fact the best thing I’ve seen was “Alien Raiders”, which says something about the movie funk I’m in. “Alien Raiders” was okay. A nice low budget movie that made the most of its situation, worked well. I liked it more than I did the preachy “The Mist”, even with fewer monsters and a lot less special effects.
I’ve been watching the “new” Shaw Brothers films. Nothing spectacular there. So far the best of them was the previously unreleased “Martial Club” by Liu Chia Liang. The main focus of the movie was Lion Dancing!! There was an opening segment that Liu (a recognized Master of kung fu) explaining the rigid code and rules of the Lion Dance.
It was a fun breezy movie that made me laugh. Had some great fights and an incredible human pyramid of about fifty people. It walked and was part of the Lion Dance choreography.
Tomorrow I’ve got my appointment with the oral surgeon. Eight forty five in the morning.
I think I have a ride there but will probably have to walk home. Normally no big deal. We’ve had some nice enough weather lately but they’re saying its going to rain tomorrow. Using child logic I’ve decided that if I manage to get home before it rains that signifies that everything in my life is gong to turn out well.
The gentle dog went to work with my friend. My puppy, surprisingly misses him. I figure they had some adventure penciled into their schedule.
It always feels odd, now, having only two dogs. I know I liked it best when I had four. Having only two is like looking at the dregs in the bottle.
I’m going to put the giant dog on the corner. With his new haircut and all I’ll turn him into a “working dog”. Get him to approach cars and people, 10 minutes of pets for a nickel. My puppy will be his “business manager”. If we can avoid the vice cops we should make a few dollars.
It works out well though. The two remaining enjoy the extra attention, the extra room. Its easier to walk two dogs than three but three requires almost no effort. Getting pulled down on ice requires no effort at all, at least from me. I can fall down with almost no assistance at all.
Bad pain day. This is still a house filled with love and germs.
My friend coughed badly all night. She was feeling better but relapsed. I’m in what should be the final bad day of the germ. Tomorrow I should be recovering and I should be fine by Thursday night.
Last night I fell asleep watching a movie. It was an interesting one too.
This Hong Kong based company has set itself a lofty goal; they’re releasing every Shaw Brothers film ever made on DVD. Remastering them, cleaning up the soundtracks and trying to present them as classics. Guys like me appreciate that. (Quentin Tarentino does to. I have to admit it irks me that he’s cadged the Shaw Brothers opening logo to open his movies. It seems some how disrespectful . . . if its possible to disrespect a movie studio, a money making operation).
Shaw Brothers always had the rep for making the best, slickest looking movies in Asia. Decent film stock, wonderfully detailed sets and a host of the best directors and a stable of Asian Superstars. They reworked the old Hollywood studio system, keeping their top talent working almost non-stop.
After Shaw Brothers broke the king fu movie at Cannes in the 70’s they became an international force. Golden Harvest, who vacillated between making some of the best and the worst movies going – but they had Bruce Lee – benefited greatly from the superior product coming from their rivals.
What’s cool is that Celestial has finally gotten into the movies that Shaw Brothers was making before they broke the genre world wide. This is the first time that these films have been able to be seen outside of China or your local China Town movie theater.
(I’ve always liked the theaters in China town and Little Tokyo. The Japanese theaters were always SOA but the Chinese theaters were always grim affairs with projection bulbs that were somehow always old and close to death. Its like the mystery of how some guys always managed to have 3 days growth of beard, never four and never clean shaven. Chinese Movie Houses (at least in LA) always had a dim bulb that would finally burn out in 10 hours. And of course the snacks for sale in the lobby were . . . interesting. Dried fish, strange crackers and popcorn you’d have to be fool hardy or at least braver than me to try.)
The new/old movies Celestial is bringing out are at least interesting and sometimes exquisite. The level of kung fu in the movies is far below what we’ve come to expect. For some reason every genre of Shaw Brothers films seems to require at least two kung fu battles. I’m not complaining.
So far I’ve been able to see “The Impostor” a sort of whacky story about David Chiang being this heavy duty altruist who is also a master of disguise. He’s bored, rich and nosey, so he solves crimes . . . Its very amenable.
“The Delightful Forest” (The movie I fell asleep during last night) is a part of “The Water Margin” (The classic ultimate Chinese novel about freedom and brotherhood). Its got Lung Ti, an actor who’s career has easily spanned five decades! Lung Ti is this incredibly moral guy who also happens to be a devastating fighter. He’ thrown in prison, a prison he could easily escape but choses not to as that would be wrong. The Delightful Forest of the title is a town of gambling casinos and brothels . . . what I saw was entertaining.
I’ve got about four more to see and more promised. These movies all hold enough potential that I keep thinking that there’s going to be a mind blasting movie coming up any second. Maybe not but the search and expectations are a lot of fun.
Of the four I have seen none of them were disastrous or boring and that’s saying something.
I might have gotten he dishwasher fixed. I tried not to tear it apart but to just fix most of it in place. The water here must be pretty hard. Mainly I had to pick out chunks of lime and calcium! It was hampering the spray of water.
Did a full load last night. I’m afraid to look at the dishes. If they’re not clean it means I have to take the whole thing apart again. I usually enjoy that sort of thing. For some reason the dishwasher falls outside my list of things I like to take apart.
I only have six episodes of “King of the Rangers”. I really hope I can get the last six. Its very enjoyable on its own level. I admit that part of the enjoyment is watching “Slingin'” Sammy Baugh attempt to act. They give him few lines, fortunately. He recites them like a six year old trying to remember a piece for his first assembly.
The only draw back is that Duncan Renaldo is so great its a shame that he keeps being limited to being the side kick, the guy who screws up and gets slugged so the bad guys can escape. Its still a potent good time serial.
I’ve set a deadline of this weekend to finish up a new little movie for my puppy’s blog. The kids are starting to write and bug HER to get something new posted. I wish I had simpler ideas . . .
Click images for desktop size: “Untitled” by Cole Phillips Huzzah and haroo!
With all the pleasantness of the Olympics and Michael Phelps shattering records, the Jamaican runners, NFL pre-season football, the Dodgers taking 2 of 3 from Wild Card leaders Milwaukee, and even with the stories and videos of USC’s spring practices, even more exciting than the glimmer that Mark Sanchez might be ready to play against Virginia, one thing has made me giddy like a school girl.
My friend has finished her year end stuff.
Not completely. All that’s left are t crossings and i dottings.
She got to take yesterday off (after a 14 hour day on her Saturday). She spent most of the day recuperating. Ambitious plans just vanished while she tried to heal up.
She spent most of the day napping. Oddly this fit my puppy’s schedule perfectly. My puppy thinks playing and fighting are only for when the food dish is empty and the naps are all finished. The naps are seldom all finished.
So it was a dull day by most standards, but I found myself immensely pleased. Sometimes its fun just being lazy.
I am having trouble sleeping. Its an old pattern. Deep sleep for 45 minutes then trying to scratch my way back to sleep.
I used to do square roots in my head.
Click images for desktop size: “Open Arms” by NFL Films I’d calculate my exact age as a decimal to the day, then I’d take that number and do the square root. If I got the root number past 5 decimal places I’d give it up and not bother even trying to sleep.
Now I play the old Lewis Carroll invention “Syzygy”. Its a word ladder game. An easy example is “Turn a cat into a dog”. You change one letter at a time into a word until you get to the word you want to get to.
My big variation is to take two words at random that happen to have the same number of letters and go from there.
It generally works and I usually fall asleep. Its more effective for me than self hypnosis. (Tensing than slowly relaxing every muscle in your body and them pretending you’re on an escalator going down while you count backwards from 100).
Or sometimes I can watch a mediocre movie . . . I watched “Return To Oz” this weekend. I rather like the flic. I like most thinking about the exec who green lighted the film. A sequel to one of the most beloved movies of all time that has Dorothy visiting a shrink for shock therapy treatments!
Its hardly shocking that the film was reviled and a huge flop. But I liked it then and still do.
Watched the very good “Black Belt”. Its a unique film that started from a unique premise. Instead of actors the director. Shunichi Nagasaki, hired true black belts and then taught them to act. it pays off. I can’t imagine how hard it was to nurse maid 3 inexperienced actors through their parts but it paid off. They are all believable in their complicated roles.
The ineffectual guy, who was wounded in the opening sequence was a 1st dan, the nominal hero who explores the philosophy behind bushido and karate was clearly 5th dan Shotokan (the highest belt Shotokan awards). The protagonist, the one who strays to create his own path was 6th dan (Japanese Karate Association-JKA).
Their opponents in the film were also black belts so the fighting is as lyrical and jarring and as brutally sloppy as real kumite.
It was interesting, to me, to compare the screen fighting with the other great real life fighter Bruce Lee. Lee once said that karate was like a steel bar hitting an opponent while jung fu was like an iron
Click images for desktop size: “Naruto” by Masashi ball at the end of a chain.
This movie made that clearer to me than the years I spent in martial arts training.
I also watched a free episode (from iTunes) of a TV show called “Primeval”. It was terrible. They messed up everything. The premise is dinosaurs roaming the streets of modern day England.
Now granted that sounds cool but they forgot the important things, like everybody knows dinosaurs only appear in earthquakes and atomic bomb tests. Dinosaurs all love kids and dogs. They only stomp on and eat adults, which keeps a natural order to the universe. (Except the Tyrannosaurus Rex, which are just too tough and crazy).
When you mess up the basic facts the show becomes unbelievable. And the CGI was wretched.
Also watched a vaguely amusing series called :Kung Fu Killer”. It starred David Carradine as a monk who wanders the west . . . The west in this case is west Shanghai. Carradine still can’t fight but he’s got the branded tattoos.
This isn’t the old TV series or even a spin off. See, in that one his name was Caine. In this one his name is Crane. And that makes all the difference . . .
Every Sunday we watch an episode of the old “Kung Fu” so we should know . . .
Today is to be spent in waiting for the mail man. I ordered some more flea stuff. The dogs are tearing themselves to pieces with the fleas.
I still blame cats. Almost all fleas in North America are designated as cat fleas! There’s my proof.
Tried Zodiac. I’ve always liked Zodiac’s pyrethrin spray but there topical 30 day treatment lasts about 3 days up here. Advantix worked well for about two weeks . . . so now I’m trying Advantage which is Advantix without some of the other stuff for mosquitos etc.
If this works poorly its back to Frontline. Which just costs an awful lot.
Now I’m calling the phone company. Reducing the service to the bare minimum. I sort of want to go back to Vonage but can’t get a commitment from them that my old Vonage router will still work in a different location. I don’t want to have to buy a new one.
There’s also the scary idea of having to move to a “dry” or “naked” dsl. Internet connection with no phone line.
It can be done. They have to string a second phone line in while disconnecting the old one. A bit of a hassle no doubt.
And if the weather holds I plan to mow the yard.
A bit messy a bit scattered a bit unpedictible. Smells like life.
I like it fine.
I’m slowly recovering from the onslaught of emails congratulating my puppy on surviving me for nearly 3 years . . .
I’m sorry if I’ve not gotten back to you. My puppy got nearly 200 emails and many of them can’t be answered with just a form letter. I’m not really sorry but I’ll say I am; kids always take priority over ay-dults.
In a similar vein I deleted 8,500 comments yesterday . . . I was trying to go through and check for any real comments but, as usual, after about 15 minutes and 500 spam comments I accidentally hit the delete all button . . . I don’t really regret it. I’m sorry if your comment was lost due to my ennui.
Deleting comments, ignoring emails . . . I guess I’m just incommunicado . . .
One question seems to predominate . . . 3 people asked. What is the best form of martial art . . . running always comes to my mind first. Running really really fast is definitely the best defense.
Working on running really fast will get you in shape, help you lose weight and clear up your complexion. You will be a babe magnet.
When you can’t run for whatever reason . . . I have to wonder why my opinion matters on this but I’m used to spouting off opinions and having them taken as fact when I really have no basis to be an authority on much of anything. That said, I’ve always thought for learning to do the most damage in the least amount of time, kick boxing, muay thai, is an effective martial art. To get to the level of being deadly takes as much time as any other martial art, but if you’re just being harassed by a bully or something, than kick boxing can give you a solid basis in about 3 months (if you apply yourself).
For the others I think aikido is beautiful. The whole “sphere of influence” philosophy with all the wrist locks and gentle throws has a nice grace. Unlike most martial arts that believe that anyone insane enough to physically attack must be destroyed as totally and quickly as possible aikido is most concerned with stopping them with as little damage as can be needed.
(Don’t pay much attention to the stuff Steven Seagal does in his movies. He’s cool and fast but I’ve never seen any aikido masters fight like that.)
As to the others, in full contact fighting (kumite) and sparring its really difficult to see much difference between the different schools. (Talking empty handed fighting and not including boxing which is still a sport with clearly defined rules). For long term health and well being I’d pick Wing Chung Kung Fu. Its excellent for health and fitness and remember its where Bruce Lee started. (forget the movies, has there yet been a better fighter than Bruce Lee?)
For mental and physical discipline, Shotokan Karate. Mr Oshima, my teacher, looks 30 while he’s 60. He’s as calm and gentle a person as you can imagine. He could possibly kick hell out of your entire gang but would genuinely prefer not to. Bushido.
One advantage to Shotokan is that its the only martial arts school out there that is still run as a not for profit. Its affordable, cheap even, some classes in universities are free. I know of several guys doing work around the dojo because they can’t afford to pay for classes.
Any of the JKA schools in karate are good and well regulated. They also offer all those crazy color belts. Americans like crazy colors and they like visible signs of how much better they are than you.
I don’t like weapons based schools like escrima and kendo. Weapons . . . if you forget your gun your pretty well done with this fight and are back to running very very fast. Which is what you should be working on anyway . . .
I did get to start a new serial, “Zorro’s Fighting Legion”. Its a “klazzik” serial. The first chapter was very cool. It starts with an elegant speech from Jaurez, Mexico’s first President. Jaurez is given a sense of gravitas and sorrow that the movies usually reserve for Abraham Lincoln. Its a fantastic performance.
Also in his 2 minute speech he explained international economics more clearly and concisely than I’d ever known was possible.
That all this beautiful rhetoric is needed to set up a bunch of indian attacks, bad guys and schemes is to its credit!
Zorro is cool. Great costume, and he fights with a bull whip. I’d never heard of Reed Hadley before. He’s awesome as Zorro. Tall thin, rides well, and sword fights better. He’s awesome with the whip!
It will be cool to see if the rest of the serial can keep up with the level of this first one. The only caveat is that for a story set in Mexico about Mexicans there’s not a single Hispanic in sight . . .
I also recently finished a V.I. Warshawski novel. I’ve lost faith with the series.
Warshawski is a great character and Sara Paretsky is a good writer, but the plots have become surprisingly hackneyed. Its like reading a novel based on the Sid Field’s school of scripting. Its the exact same situations with the exact same resolutions. Very disappointing to see talent squandered this way.
Laundry, lawn mower repair and yard work on the agenda today. That and hammering out the details of making the big and scary ISP switch. I realize I need the internet. I guess so I can be a bad communicator and pen pal . . .
Click images for desktop size: “Night Windows” by Edward Hopper I have a doctor’s appointment today . . .
Nothing special, just the first time for seeing this doctor. Most of my worries are about money. Will he see me without insurance? Will he at least write me my regular scripts? Will he make me re-do a bunch of expensive tests? Will I have to plead and beg? Can I get a 3 month supply? I’m out of meds . . .
Just the normal in this life, my life.
What really bugging me are my eyes.
I was raking the yard yesterday and when I was picking up the leaves (from last autumn, so they’ve semi-mulched nicely under the snow) a gust of wind lifted some debris up and smacked me in the right eye.
I did all the right stuff: Didn’t scratch it, washed the eye out etc. Buts its been hurting all day and over night . . . Now I’m almost glad that I’m not seeing my old doctor because this would entail a 45 minute lecture about wearing my dark glasses at all times when I’m outside.
My new sin: Not wearing my dark glasses.
My left eye feels like its getting worse. More blurry and it feels more at ease when I keep it closed and just watch things with my right eye. I try and avoid doing that, especially now that my right eye is hurting me.
I’m not sleeping well but at least I’m staying in bed and not wandering around. When I wander around too late it bothers my puppy. I can’t stand her worried face when she looks at me like that.
I like her to be carefree and happy. I like my puppy to laugh and try and trick me and joke with me. Her pathetic helplessness, her worry when she has no idea what to do bothers me. The only solution she comes up with is to stay as close to me as she can.
My little blind dog keeps hanging on. Blind, stinking, scratching and a chronic cough (that doesn’t help my non-sleeping) doesn’t seem to be a codec for happy but he is happy.
He gets mad because he gets comfortable and then I move and he has to get up and follow. I don’t know why he has to follow but he feels he does. I drive him crazy when I run back and forth.
Click images for desktop size: “Tiles” by Geopics He’s still feeling enough himself to let me know I’m driving him crazy.
Every morning I give the dogs raw hide ships, for treats and for their teeth. The little blind dog gets a pork hide or similar. He can’t have beef at all. Today my puppy and he negotiated a complicated ritual that ended with them swapping treats.
They were both pretty hacked with me for nixing the deal.
As long as he can get mad at me I don’t worry too much. Concerned but not worried. Get the difference?
Watched a lot of disappointing movies this weekend. They were disappointing not because of my mood or physical state but because they were films that anyone would expect to be disappointing. It ended up with me watching them on fast forward and stopping for the fight scenes . . . even Mark Descanzo, usually a pretty reliable guy, was creepy in “Alien Agent”.
I finally got a copy of Jet Li’s debut film, “Shaolin Temple” (Shaolin Si). He was 17 and the 12 time Wushu National Champion.
I first saw this in Chinatown when it was released. I was blown away by the sheer athleticism of the actors, all members of the National Wushu team. They were astonishing in a way the Chinese Opera Company (the main breeding ground for Chinese kung fu stars) could never envision. And that’s saying a lot.
I have a feeling the version I saw was cut because , after the rousingly stupid opening them song (“Shao Lin Shao Lin All the world looks to your mysteric ways”) and the astonishing first movie shots ever of the Shaolin Temple and the Forbidden City (Boy, I want to go to China) there followed some very nasty animal cruelty. Including a bizarre propaganda style piece showing the monks cooking and eating a dog!
I don’t remember seeing that before and I would have remembered. I stopped watching when the bad guys started slaughtering a flock of sheep. I don’t have much confidence in the Chinese not hurting animals. I mean they haven’t shown much respect for students or Tibetans so . . .
If that makes me seem squeamish, I can live with that.
The one thing I found enjoyable, that started out as pretty dire, is the serial “Atom Man vs Superman”. Kirk Allyn is now my third favorite Superman (George Reeves and Christopher Reeves are numbers 1 and 2). He gets more and more engaging. The nicest touch is that he’s always grinning and the grin could be interpreted in so many ways. Sometimes its, “boy can you believe. Bullets bounce right off of me!” and other times, “You mortal fools don’t you see I’m the closest you’ll ever see to a god!” and you can go on and on.
Lyle Talbot, who I recall as the Next Door Neighbor in a lot of ancient sitcoms, is tres cool as Lex Luthor. He works his multifarious schemes to perfection and accepts his ruthless genius as a cool matter of course, especially when he tricks Superman into helping his evil plans.
Noel Neill, as Lois Lane, is much cooler than she was in the TV show (hard to believe but its so). She sassy, belligerent and headstrong. Very excellent.
There’s the usual odd serial plot holes. If Luthor has the money to own a TV station why does he need a gang of idiots to do a series of penny ante robberies . . .
I’m still working on the encodings to test out the Apple TV. I’ve decided to get comprehensive about it and be real exact and precise so I can figure once and for all the best way to watch my meager movie collection.
Click images for desktop size: “Cosmo Girl” by Dim Po In China there is an uproar, a minor scandal. Jet Li has announced he is moving his family to Singapore . . . not to LA, London or Paris, but to Singapore so that he can send his children to a school there.
The Chinese people are very upset with him.
I’ve never been to mainland China. In the times in my life when I was traveling Americans weren’t welcome there. The USA made it as difficult as they could as well.
I’ve always wanted to go there. I’ve longed to see Beijing and the Tennimen Square, the Forbidden City.
I was in Hong Kong when a recent traveller to the mainland told me that the halls of the Shaolin Temple were now carpeted in the cheapest linoleum.
I wanted to see it, to smell the Yangtze River. I wanted to meet the Chinese People and try to understand.
In my childhood the Chinese were presented as monsters, even more terrifying than the Communist Russians.
We nervously “allowed” them to enter the Olympics . . . Nixon travelled there to meet Mao and only returned alive thanks to his wiles, his cunning and grit.
China and Russia were implacable black spots on the globe – sinister environments where we couldn’t breathe the air or survive exposure to their alien sun.
So I dreamed of visiting them often. I studied maps and decided China had to have some waves.
I am often intrigued by the loyalty, the fierce love than the Chinese feel for China. I mean, in LA all the British Pop and Movie Stars have homes, the French stars live there as well as they could. Everyone comes to LA, but not the Chinese. They come to work, to visit, to promote, to make money but they always return. They don’t keep big houses here.
Click images for desktop size: “Jack” by Lawn Elf There are huge areas of heavily Chinese populated areas in the US. They seem to mostly come from the era that was fleeing the communist take over, or they are indigenous from the old wild west days. They are homogenized and a valuable totally cool part of the US. They’re people who’ve kept their own community strong while contributing to society as a whole.
When you talk to the old ones who weren’t born here they will almost always get nostalgic and dream of the day they can return to China. They tell stories of the place, the land and the people, with a rough pride that is not blind to its faults that makes their love more apparent, adamant, tensile and real.
I get sad because I don’t think I’ll ever get to see China with my own eyes.
I’ve been to Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai. They aren’t China. It would be like claiming to know Mexico because you’ve been to Tiajuana.
Bt and large Americans don’t know enough about there neighbors. I’ve heard permutations too often of “I know Paris. I spent a week there once.”
I hope you get to go there and get to tell me about it.
I’m doing okay.
My blood levels still aren’t where they should be but they’re not scary any more either. Just higher than they should be but not so high as to be fatal. I’m going to go blind, if I live long enough. I’m going to lose all my teeth, if I live long enough. I’ve decided that keeping my levels low will retard the process. I have a little bit of doctor’s advice to back up that assertion. Enough to keep me preoccupied with it.
I really like my One Touch glucose meter. Its easier to use and less harsh on my fingertips (from the blood letting, you know.) Thank you BB KING!!
My broken toe is mending. I took my tape splint off today. It hurts but not killingly so.
I’ve decided to stop studying the site stats so intently. At first I was just fascinated with the inconceivable numbers and stuff. And whenever a location came up in Japan or Texas or LA or some such I’d try and figure out who it was that I knew there and having found the site if they’d write to me and re-establish contact. A brief meeting of old friends as it were.
Click images for desktop size: “Untitled” by Frank Brunner But then all those swirling numbers started to get me paranoid. “This person lives to close! Why are they spending so much time!?!? What are they looking for?!?! ME!?!?!”
Most of the time they’re either searching for Captain America pics, or Bebe Neuwirth . . . I’m not kidding about that last one. She’s the woman who played Lilith on “Cheers”, “Frazier” and the lawyer on the only failed “Law & Order” spin off. She generates an amazing amount of traffic here . . . I should start a fan site . . . or someone who’s a fan should . . .
So with my usual deadhead skills I’ve decided that I’m just going to ignore all those fascinating numbers.
They are perplexing to me anyway. I get three sets. One set says I average about 900 visitors a day! The other set about 800! And the 3rd set, the one I use in the number count at the bottom about 130. I’ll stick with the conservative one.
Of course the numbers on my puppy’s web site make mine look inconsequential at best.
One thing I’ve noticed about the numbers is that a large number of people don’t have wide screen displays. I do so most of the stuff I make, save or collect tends to be wide screen. But I’ve been trying for the past few days to include an SD desktop/wallpaper each day.
Click images for desktop size: “Untitled” by Hermon Adams It was a manly day.
I managed to do three loads of laundry . . .
With the way my back felt going up and down those stairs took character. A lot more character than I thought I had.
Then to prove how manly I am I trimmed my toe nails.
That took more courage than I thought I had.
I almost gave up but they don’t call me bulldog for nothing.
I keep wondering what age is it where you find grooming and laundry interesting subjects . . .
More to the point does that mean that the next hurdle to crawl under is the one where my fixations will be all about my bowels . . .
On the very plus side I’m responding to the meds. Right now my levels are only 15% off. Which isn’t great but a week ago they were nearly 200% off, so I’m not happy to settle for mediocrity . . .
I got a Christmas card from my old boss yesterday. I’m still not sure how I feel about that. Or if I feel anything about it at all.
It was a nice card. Nice enough anyway, but sent late. I’d be happy if it were just an afterthought. One of those, “Oh, I’ve got two cards left. Who else is in my address book . . .” sort of thing.
If its an attempt to reach out or something more . . . Best I just throw it in the pile, I guess.
The rest of the day was spent being amused by puppies and watching a Yu Wang flic.
Yu Wang is an odd character in movies. For some unfathomable reason they call him Jimmy Yu Wang in some American Press kits. He was a staple, a huge star in Asia before Bruce Lee hit the scene and shook things up.
Yu Wang worked in most of the big Hong Kong films of the time, made them hits – “The One Armed Swordsman”, “The Golden Swallow” and the like. Movies that redefined the Chinese image, and the Chinese role model.
Click images for desktop size: “Irish Lass” by George Petty Unlike the vast majority of Chinese Actors Yu broke wanted more. He wrote and he directed and starred in some major films. Major in that they made money.
Like anyone with a large body of work there are some great semiotics at work here.
His movies hold their crudeness as a virtue. Yu was not a very good fighter or an above average athlete. He was a movie star. So his fight scenes take the guise of crude brutal affairs with lots of blood and lots of energy.
In his most notorious in America flic, “Master Of The Flying Guillotine”, a blind zen monk, proudly wearing golden swastikas, goes around killing anyone with one arm in pursuit of Yu. He also kills anyone who might accidentally be between him and anyone with one arm. He does his killing with a whacky contraption: A sot of hat that h flips over the victims head and then he rips their heads off . . .
The film features a lot of peculiar fight scenes: A yogi who somehow causes his arms to grow to extraordinary lengths and a thai kick boxer with enormous callouses on his shins . . .
It also features one of the most peculiar to Western eyes fight theories ever. “Run away and hide”/
Which really makes sense if you saw the weird carnival of fighters pursuing Yu.
Yu wins the final fight by being more vicious and cynically sadistic than the beheading monk!
What’s oddest to me is the nods to Leone. But instead of making things big, operatic or even portentous, Yu uses the techniques to keep everything down at a carnival like level.
Instead of mythic he tends to create the feeling of venality and coarse survival for its own sake.
In his “masterpiece” “Beach Of The War Gods” Yu’s savage depiction of the Japanese is heralded with techniques and shots lifted straight from Buster Keaton’s the general.
The effect is that of a man with no sense of humor trying to tell us a joke, getting angry when flubs the punch line and then beating the crap out of you.
I like Yu’s cheap non-epics in a fond not quite condescending way. They’re fun and entertaining and there’s not much wrong with that. It just seems off that this intelligent filmmaker seems set and determined to make non-art.
His movies are worth checking out.