Archive for January, 2006

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48-Hour Fast and Martial Arts Seminar

January 29, 2006

I have returned from the 48-hour fast and martial arts seminar. There are simply too many things to tell you about. Here are a few of them, in no particular order.

  • There are a few pictures up on my flickr account! Go check them out.
  • In preparation for the fast I ate very light all last week. On Friday morning I had a banana and an apple for breakfast, then nothing at all until Sunday morning.
  • Today, Sunday, marks the beginning of the new year for many Asian people. That is why the fast was this weekend.
  • All that we had to drink was water and barley tea (a big coffee urn filled with water and a few handfuls of barley. It made for a light yellow brew that smelled faintly of grain.)
  • Grandmaster’s Lee and Chang are very inspirational and approachable people.
  • For someone who has never gone a day in his life without eating, there is something very odd about having a completely silent and still digestive system for two days.
  • Friday was probably the hungriest. It got a little easier after that.
  • Grandmaster Chang showed us diabolically clever yet surprisingly simple techniques that elicit a lot of pain when they are done to you. Hap Ki Do is a formidable art.
  • Yoga is hard.
  • Martial arts students are models of courtesy and respect. Nevertheless, a black belt student came into the dojang late Saturday morning and waved a latte in our faces. One of the fasting students said “how long has it been since you’ve had a good old fashioned ass whupping?” It got a big laugh. And the latte quickly disappeared.
  • My colleagues at J. K. Lee Black Belt Academy are one tough bunch. Their commitment and dedication to our art is inspirational. Spending the whole weekend training, fasting and sleeping on the floor with them was a very rewarding experience.
  • Don’t forget to check out the photos!
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Batman and Judo

January 29, 2006

It bothered me that I remembered Batman studied Judo but not the other martial arts he studied. The reason why finally came to me in a flash this weekend. Bob Kane created the DC comic book superhero, Batman, and Jigoro Kano founded the Japanese art of Judo. Kane and Kano. Somewhere that was rattling around in my head and just popped out this weekend. Memory is a funny thing.

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Fasting and Batman Begin

January 27, 2006

I had some fruit this morning. I will not be eating again until Sunday. Tonight and Saturday night I will sleep at the dojang. I have been given permission to take pictures during the seminar and I understand that the Brookfield school has WiFi, but I do not know if I will get any opportunity to blog about the event while it is taking place. I could always snap a picture with my camera and send it to Flickr and here. I’ll see what I can do.

In other martial arts news I saw Batman Begins. It was good but not great. I really liked Scarecrow and I wanted him to have more screen time. I couldn’t quite accept Liam Neeson as a ninja, though. Could they not get an Asian man to play this role? Besides, how many villains does this movie need? It suffered from villain diffusion. Anyway, I dimly recall that in the original DC comics Batman learned to fight by studying Judo, not Ninjutsu. A little googling says Batman held black belts in Karate, Judo, Jujitsu, and Aikido. Now you’re prepared for when that trivia question comes!

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It’s Cheaper, Really!

January 25, 2006

I had a neat conversation about health care with two colleagues at lunch today. If I understood them correctly, one of these individuals leans more toward the Republican view that nationalized, taxpayer-funded medical insurance is just generally a bad idea. The other individual was more liberal, but had some misgivings about the prospect of higher taxes.

Me? I don’t work in the health care industry, nor am I an economist. (No health care wonk, me.) But there are a few understandings that I’d like to share with you. As usual, if I am wrong please use the comments to set me straight.

1. Pretty much every first-world, post-industrialized country has single-payer national health care coverage. Except us.

2. They all pay a lot less for health care. A lot. Like on average they pay 50% less than we do. (I know! You’re doing a double-take on that. I did, too. But those are indeed the facts.)

3. Health care rationing is not widespread in places like Canada, right-wing noisemaking notwithstanding.

4. Even if you do have to wait your turn for elective surgeries and the like, so what? There’s a social justice issue here that nobody can deny. Perhaps under their system you have to wait six months for your liposuction; under our system 45 million of your fellow citizens don’t have coverage. Let your conscience be your guide, people.

5. I already gave it away: 45 million Americans do not have health insurance. There are only 300 million people in the United States! That’s almost one in six that has no health insurance.

Anyway, we were having this discussion. Good points were made all around. But near the end I kept being asked questions like “are you personally willing to pay $100 more out of your paycheck for this system you’re advocating?” And I kept saying “I don’t understand your question: national health care costs less than what we’re doing now. Less is not more.”

“But there will be a huge increase in taxes!”

Yeah. But all that money you and your employer currently pay for health insurance? Yours now. And it’s more. More than the increase in taxes.

“But all that money has to come from somewhere!”

Yeah. It comes from your paycheck in the form of taxes. All of which is more than offset by the fact that you (and your employer) are no longer paying for the more expensive system that we currently have.

And so on.

In the end, I still sensed incredulity. I think some folks just can’t imagine that a national heath care system like Canada’s everyone else’s can actually – really and truly! – cost less than our own system. They just keep coming back to that question: how will we pay for it?

When we finally do this thing (and I believe we will), the real question will likely be what to do with all the surplus cash.

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48 Hour Fasting And Seminar

January 25, 2006

Friday January 27, 8:00pm – Sunday January 29, 9:00am

In Asian culture, people fast once a year to cleanse their body and get recharged for the new year. Keeping with this tradition, Grandmaster Lee hosts an annual 48 hour health and fasting seminar the last weekend in January.

Students sleep at JK Lee Black Belt Academy (Brookfield) while working personally with Grandmaster Lee. The main topic at this year’s seminar will be taking the five steps to achieving a healthy lifestyle. Grandmaster Lee will cover topics on accupressure and bioenergetic breathing.

Participants should decrease the intake of caffeine (soda, coffee) the week prior to the fast. Diet should include more vegetables and less meats.

Hap Ki Do Seminar

Grandmaster Chang Gedo, from Illinois, will lead a Hap Ki Do Seminar on Saturday afternoon. This will be advanced Ho Shin Sul and Grappling. This seminar is open to all students and their families. You do not need to be a student to participate.

Space is limited. Please fill out an application at the front desk. The fee for the entire weekend is $100. The fee for just the Hap Ki Do seminar is $69 for students aged 12 and older and $50 for students 8-12 years old.

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Drinking Liberally Again

January 25, 2006

Milwaukee-area Liberal Drinkers:

Stacie, Jason and myself thank you from the very bottom of our bleeding liberal hearts for making our last get-togehter such an incredible success. There were more of you there than ever before. For those of you who couldn’t make it there’s good news: WTMJ channel 4 did a feature on us, and even if you missed it you can still watch it by clicking either here or here!

On to business. We are getting together again tonight, Wednesday, January 24th at the usual place: Club Garibaldi in Bay View. That’s on 2501 S Superior street.

Finally, I happen to know that a lot of you folks receiving this email are new to Drinking Liberally. You may be wondering if you should really come and join us. Well, you should! The atmosphere is welcoming; the people are smart, friendly and terrific-looking; the beer is good and the chicken wings are to die for. Bring a friend and come raise a glass with us tomorrow night. And don’t forget to visit our discussion forums. You can participate by using the link to the forums found here.

See you tonight!

Scott

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Yaaarr, Tis Me Son!

January 23, 2006

Dan Feldstein