Thursday, December 22, 2005

Guest Panel Discusses "Transit Strike: Friend or Foe?"

Loyal readers,

I know you'll never tire of my voice.
Of my crisp, clarion, and charming banter.
Of my priceless insight into such topics as SHPOSes, ways to choke people unconscious, and what I did this past weekend.

But I am a giving person, and I want to give more.
That's why I'm bringing in a panel of guest commentators while they're available.
Today's topic for discussion is "Transit Strike: Friend or Foe?"
But first, I think the panel members should introduce themselves.

First, your moderator is Brokk, the self-aware demolition robot:

Brokk!!! Pardon me. Thank you, The Litvak. I shall do my best to acquit myself without discredit. Brokk!!!

And the rest of today's panel:

Avast, ye SHPOSes! 'Tis I, The Whaler!
I'm Monica Bellucci. You may recognize me as the star of "Matrix: Reloaded" and "Brotherhood of the Wolf."
Who wakes the dead from their eternal slumber? The Ghost of Thorstein Veblen answers all.
David Lo Pan in the house.

Well, then, shall we get on with it? Today's topic is "Transit Strike: Friend or Foe." The Whaler, you spend a lot of time in the subways enforcing rules of mass transit etiquette with the business end of a harpoon. What do you have to say about all this?
Aarr. I admit I was influenced overmuch by the films of the nineteen-eighties. Still, the illegal strike is near certain to throw society into anarchy. I reckon we will soon see digruntled Iraq veterans assault and hold Central Park, demanding better pensions. Tommy Lee Jones showed how it's done in "The Park is Mine." Fine film, that.
HmmmMMMmmm! The 1980s gave us the greatest films of all time, there can be no doubt. I see John Leguizamo as the shell-shocked Marine sniper back from Falluja, and Jessica Alba as the gutsy reporter who is not afraid to have her hair blown in the wind, her cheeks streaked with leaves and dust in a makeshift Central Park sniper's nest, and her blouse...
...Lo Pan, you see Jessica Alba everywhere you look.
Yes, if only she had green eyes, like emerald lightning...
...enough film references-- we don't want a lawsuit here. Besides, I disagree that that movie advanced Tommy Lee Jones' career.
This, from someone who appeared in both Matrix sequels. At least the transit strike has had the salutary effect of disrupting the conspicuous consumption of the Christmas season. "Conspicuous consumption"--have I mentioned that I coined that phrase?
Only like a million times.
Brokk!!! Shall we turn the conversation back to the strike?
It does dampen me spirits. No subways means no SPHOSes with whom to do battle.
From what the recently departed SHPOSes tell me, it's not so much "do battle" as "impale from the shadows with thrown harpoons."
I'd fight 'em mano a mano, but they keep runnin' away!
This discussion is completely out of touch with working-class New York. The people the strike hurts most are not vigilantes, killer robots, ghosts, and demonic sorcerer-kings. Lower-income people who have long commutes and have lost pay right when they need to buy Christmas presents are the real victims. Them, and gorgeous Italian movie stars.
Well, that's all the time we have. This has been highly informative.

Uh huh. Thanks, guys.
I think there are still some kinks to work out, but we're on the right track with this format.
Have a wonderful Holiday Season.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

My Birthday Present

No, J.R., it's not a Ring of Power.
It's yesterday's opinion by Judge John E. Jones III of the Middle District of Pennsylvania in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, a/k/a the Intelligent Design case. 
NYT coverage here.  Opinion here (courtesy of J.R.).
I happen to believe that 139 pages (which I have mostly skipped over) is much too long, but, your Honor, it's the thought that counts.  Thanks!
The Old Testament rocks. 
I bought a new translation of it a few months ago, and it's great.  Especially Genesis.
But it has parts--the creation of the world and its inhabitants, references to geocecentric astronomy, the Flood, and the Tower of Babel-- that are, how should I put it . . . not helpful as guides in trying to understand the physical world.
The Bible is an amazing work of literature, spiritual and ethical guide, and historical account of Jewish history. 
It does a lot!  It does it well!
But it is not a Swiss Army knife-- it's not a recipe book, a science textbook, a treatise on economics, or a cleverly-coded message foretelling the coming of Jesus or the date on which the world will end. 
Nothing's wrong with the Bible, but there are other books that do, or try to do, those things.
And Judge Jones's message, delivered on my birthday, translated into Litvak, might be:
Pick one up!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Transit Strike!

That's right, you heard it here first.
I've actually had a pretty nice time of it.
Last night Tenderfoot came by to surprise me for my birthday (which is today).
This morning, she gave me an excellent birthday present.
Can you tell I like the color orange?
Then we bundled up to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, like our fearless billionaire mayor-- who lives in Manhattan but came to my borough to take a constitutional and to show he has the common touch before settling down to work in front of, I presume, a roaring fire fueled with $50 bills.
So TF and I actually caught two empty seats in a cab on Court street, right after we'd picked up cups of the best coffee in the city from D'Amico's.
Our driver was an adorable 70-year-old guy (I think he was a member of the Tribe) hailing from parts ex-Soviet.
He sang "Happy Birthday" to me and told us stories about his kids.
One of our cab-mates chatted with us about pastry shops (our new daydream), and we then had a nice breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien next to some charming Israeli tourists.
You wanted to put the squeeze on me, Local 100?
Get bent.
You think retiring after 55 is too cruel?
You think there are too many disciplinary proceedings?
Remind me to tell you the story of the token booth operator who was disciplined for passing off a weekly pass as a month pass in exchange for my Transitcheck.  Even with incontrovertible documentary evidence (the metrocard, the stub of the Transitcheck, the guy's license number), it took the MTA months just to give me a refund for what he'd stolen-- and (not that I care what happened to the guy) the union gave him enough protection that he wasn't fired. 
I don't know of other unions powerful enough to keep thieving employees on the job, but I'm with Mike.  Make 'em sweat. 
I'll walk to work.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Subthig Wicked This Way Cubs

Just as the appearance in Gotham of Batman--detective, technophile, autodidact-- summoned Joker, Penguin, and other criminal masterminds...
Just as Superman--super-powered do-gooder--made his debut in Metropolis and spawned Lex Luthor and other kryptonite-wielding miscreants...
Just as the genesis of Spider Man--the webslinging teen--coincided with the arrival of Green Goblin, Dr. Octopus, and other villains with whom he would do battle on bridges and skyscrapers... too has the good work of The Whaler--harpooning bane of SHPOSitude in New York's subways--given rise to an uber-SHPOS of unspeakable wickedness...

This morning when I got on the F Train at work, the first car I (almost) stepped into reeked powerfully of what the conductor later announced was "human waste."

Not human waste, sir, but rather subhuman-- and it was no natural smell, but rather a preternatural reek.

I held by dose ad walkt to the dext car. Oh, ban, did that sbell terrible.
I bead, peel-the-skid-off-your-flesh terrible smellig.
I was ad hour late for work!

Now, by Jove, it's over, and got on with my day.
I and my fellow commuters suffered only indirectly the evil that now lurks in the tunnels beneath the city.

Sbellig of putresedce ad waste, a shablig SHPOS spreads pestilece ad bisery...
Subthig wicked this way cubs... The Whaler up to the challege of...

Hobo Habilis-- the Proto-SHPOS?

Stay tuned.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Cat Burglar!

Some of you may remember when SHPOSes burgled my apartment.

Not to be outdone by mere subhumans, an actual non-human staged a full-on home invasion of Litak Keep.
That is, a cat named Lexi sneaked into my apartment on Thursday evening and hid there until four nights later when I discovered her presence and, with some help from a little girl and her mom, rousted her from her hidey-hole!

So. Last Thursday evening. I've just started training a little at a well-known boxing gym in Brooklyn called Gleason's, and I wanted to get some sleep so I could wake up early and train.

Around midnight, while I pondered weak and weary, something started making noise on my fire escape. It was a cat meowing pitifully.

I'd seen a cat on the roof before-- the lip of my roof is across from the 4th story windowsill of the building next to ours, where I figured it came from.

To get onto my fire escape, this cat pretty much had to jump down off the roof. But now it couldn't get up, and it couldn't get down, and its window next door was way out of reach.

Suddenly, I was its new best friend. And its me-owed at me while I lay in my bed by the closed window.

So I tried to go to sleep, hoping it'd find its way home. No luck.

I turned on the lights and opened a window to try to coax it in. More meowing, and sticking its head inside, but it'd shy away and run onto the fire escape stairs when I came near.

"I wanna come in, I don't wanna, well, maybe if you asked the right way..." this was clearly not a guy cat.

I decided to try the neighbors and see if they were home. I don't really know my neighbors, except in my building. Sad to say, because they live 12 inches away, on the other side of some brick and plaster.

Anyway, I went outside and tried the buzzer on the only unit with lights on, but there was no answer.

I looked up at the fire escape, and the cat had come down to the second story from the third, and was staring at me and shivering.

I wondered whether I'd have to watch curiosity kill her.

I went upstairs and closed the window, tried to go to sleep again.

Around 2 a.m., I heard her again, climbing up the screen on my window, trying to get to the roof. Clearly, that wasn't going to work.

So I tried letting her in a different window, but it was more coy feline ambivalence.

I think at this point I went to the bathroom, and when I came back, she'd gone down the fire escape or something. I closed the window and went to bed.

Woke up early, and the fire escape was empty.
Good-- she'd jumped down and gone home.
Gleason's was great-- jumped rope, shadowboxed, did some calisthenics. I had a productive day at work.

That night I went to my parents' for dinner, went out for a drink with my little sister (Doodles) and a friend of hers who plays poker for a living (I was really excited to pick his brain).

The next morning, I went to meet with a trainer at Gleason's. I noticed a cat hair on my bed, but figured it was just one from my parents' cats, who live to rub up against anything that's taller than it is wide.
I briefly considered that the cat might have gotten in somehow and called to her, checked under the bed and in the closet, then left the house.

I worked with a trainer at Gleason's-- worked on the "super heavy" bag, hit pads, speed bag (that's hard! Like chasing a fly with a baseball bat.), &c. Came home.

Then the cable guy came and installed my cable broadband in the office. I had to get a screwdriver out of the toolbox under my kitchen sink to remove the pullup bar in the office-- so he wouldn't crack his face open on it. He moved around, popping little fasteners all over the eddge of the walls to lead the cable into the office from the living room.

Hey, broadband cable is nice! I'm using it right now. Much better than creeping along with my neighbors' wireless connection.
Earthlink has a decent deal on cable broadband without making you sign up for phone and TV, too, which is good for someone like me who doesn't want TV and needs to do some work from home.

That's right-- if you want to hear the inspirational cat story, you have to hear to every stupid thing I did for the past 4 days.

Next, I visited my ex-roommate a few blocks away. He and a friend of his were playing with his new Xbox360 hooked up to an obscenely large flat HDTV.
It was awesome.
We played some Perfect Dark Zero, which looks more real than what's in front of my face most of the day, and has particularly satisfying gore and explosions and guns.

I walked over to my Dad's and helped him with some stuff (are we getting to the cat yet?); went to a restaurant in Manhattan for a friend's birthday dinner (is the cat gonna figure in somewhere?); then back to Brooklyn to meet Tenderfoot at yet another friend's party (we played Taboo! and roasted marshmallows).

On the way home, I noticed a guy standing outside the apartment next door.

"Do you have a cat?" I asked.

Well, he did, and she was missing. So I told him the story. He decided to look around the nearby lot, which houses a clan of wary alleycats.

The next morning, Tenderfoot sat in my papasan chair and told me an anecdote about her recently married friend, whom we'll call Guju, and her husband, Bubu.
Tenderfoot had been hanging out with them and put the evil eye on my papasan chair.
Bubu responded with envy, recalling the papasan chair he had owned and loved before being tamed by Guju, who asked him to get rid of it because it took up so much space and he never sat in it.
Man, first you give in on the papasan chair, next thing you have to go watch gospel performances, hold her purse, wear slacks instead of jeans, and see "breakup-and-make-up" and "coming to terms with things" movies.

Then, we were off to brunch to meet Guju, Bubu, and two friends of theirs from college for whom I'm too lazy to invent nicknames.
We went to Jaques-Imo's Cafe on the Upper West Side.
Oh man, that was good.
I even ate some alligator sausage cheesecake, and loved it.
Why will I eat gator and still conscientiously avoid pork?
Because pork is treif, of course.

Today I had to fly out of town for the day for a meeting, then came back to the office, did some work, and went out to Pratt to meet Tenderfoot and another friend (again, haven't made a nickname for him yet) at his sister's photo exhibition there.

The exhibit, which was about her grandmother's 100th birthday celebration in India, was great.

Tenderfoot was feeling sick from some bad Chinese food she'd eaten at lunch, so we walked in the falling snow to the subway and went to Litvak Keep.

Tenderfoot's keen eye noticed an interesting aroma in the Keep.
And a wet spot on the papasan she'd cursed.

The smell was cat pee. I'd stake my life on it.

There was also white powder spread in patches on the floor and on the papasan.

So we searched everywhere.

We checked under the bed, behind curtains, under the sofa, behind shelves, in every nook of the closet, bathroom, kitchen.
I tried meowing. I put out a saucer of milk.
Tenderfoot looked behind the cabinets, in the cabinets. I looked in the cabinets. I looked behind the fridge, in the trash, everywhere.

Tenderfoot noticed a pawprint on the papasan cushion:


I took the smelly papasan cushion out into the hall, and buzzed my neighbor until he yelled out the window.
When I told him his cat was hiding in my apartment somewhere, he said he'd send his wife.

And he did. She and their adorable daughter came by.
I was worried the daughter might be upset if she found her cat sick or starving or dead.

As soon as the girl started calling "Lexi! Lexi!", there was a pitiful meowing from the cabinets.
I mean, Dumbo-when-his-Mom-is-locked-in-a-cage pitiful.
Even then, it took five minutes for them to find her, squeezed into the back of a cabinet under my kitchen sink, with the door almost closed.
Tenderfoot had looked in there!
I had taken a screwdriver out a few days earlier!

The shelf was covered in white powder--Ajax--spilled from a cat knocking the open can around, which explained the powder around the apartment.

Lexi looked healthy, but was more scared than Saddam coming out of his spider-hole, and almost twice as adorable:

What can I say now?
Maybe this is a sign I should get rid of papasan.
In any case, I'm not opening my window for any horses.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

BJJ Move #70: "Crucifix" Neck Crank from Sprawl

Here's a fun neck crank you can do from a successful sprawl, among other positions.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

"Crucifix" Neck Crank from Sprawl:
You can often do this move against someone who has just shot on you.
You are head-to-head, and you secure an overhook (say, on his right arm with your left arm) and an underhook (with your right arm under his left arm). Your head is on the top of his shoulders (otherwise, he’s the one in control).
Circle in the direction of your overhook (here, to your left, clockwise).
When your body is perpendicular to his, roll over your side—the side near his head (here, your right), “pointing the way” with your underhooking arm. This will roll him over his head and onto his back.
When he lands, hook your feet around his previously overhooked arm (here, his right). Specifically, your right leg here goes over and around the top of his right arm, then back beneath it.
Scoot onto your right hip, clasp your hands together, and, trying to keep his back to the ground, lever your back against the back of his neck and draw your arms up for a neck crank.

Comments? Please feel free to point out mistakes, describe tips on the techniques, suggest ways to make the descriptions clearer, etc.
Click here to go to the list of my BJJ move posts.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

BJJ Move #69: Sprawl and Cross face

What do you do when an opponent "shoots" in on you, with something like a single- or double-leg takedown?
Sprawl and cross face.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Sprawl and Cross face:

When your opponent shoots on you, drop your hips down (not back), arch your back and drive your legs back. Try to get underhooks.
Do not lock your hands around your opponent’s waist—you want to maximize the distance between the back of your knees and his shoulders.
Do not stay where you are after sprawling; spin around behind him (see crossface below).
Drop all the way down, insteps to floor (staying on balls of feet provides friction for him to stand you back up by driving you backwards; resting on your insteps lets you slide back as he drives).
Drop to one hip (the leg he’s going for, usually your lead leg, should drive backwards and you should try to get that hip to the floor and get an underhook with that arm).

Cross face:
After sprawling, a cross face can further stop a shot and help you get behind your opponent. Here, assume you have sprawled after your opponent has shot for a single leg takedown on your right leg.
To execute a cross face, your opponent’s head has to be on the outside of your hip / body. If his head is on the inside or between your legs after you stop the shot, push it to the outside.
Now take your right forearm and reach it between his right jaw and right shoulder, scooping his face ("cross face") back to your front and right with your arm— and turning his head away from you to his left.
If you can, grab his left shoulder or bicep with your right hand, and lever his head backwards with your right upper arm.
With his head turned to his left, he won’t be able to effectively drive forward and to his right, and it will also be difficult for him to maintain his grip on your right leg.
Now, circle clockwise on your feet, toward his right foot--the opposite direction that your cross face is pushing his head. Maintain pressure on his face and head.
Grab around his back with your left hand to go toward a rear clinch.
You may also be able to scoop up his right foot with your left hand for an ankle pick, or, when his grip is broken, with your right foot to drive him over his left side.

Comments? Please feel free to point out mistakes, describe tips on the techniques, suggest ways to make the descriptions clearer, etc.
Click here to go to the list of my BJJ move posts.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

R.I.P., Pat Morita

Pat Morita, of "Happy Days" and "Karate Kid" fame, passed away on Thanksgiving.
The NYT has an obituary-ish editorial by Lawrence Downes, who makes the perfectly justified complaint that "it's distressing to think that the life's work of one of the best-known, hardest-working Asian-American actors is mostly a loose collection of servile supporting roles."
True, true.
He also claims that "[t]he movie and TV industry has never had many roles for Asian-American men, and it seemed for a while that they all went to Mr. Morita."
Au contraire, Downes! 
Obviously, Downes hasn't been paying attention to the pantheon of Asian-American B movie actors-- Victor Wong (of Big Trouble in Little China fame, also starred in Tremors and Joy Luck Club), James Hong (uh, also Big Trouble, among others, and that Seinfeld episode in the Chinese restaurant), and the always, er, identifiably Asian Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa (many movies best forgotten).
Pat Morita may be gone, but the hard-working Asian-American actors whose talents justify the inclusion of "Dragon," "Shadow," and "Emperor" in the titles of our B movies will live forever.  Metaphorically.

Does Stress Cause Cancer? NO.

In today's NYT, Gina Kolata asks what seems to be a tough question (" Is There a Link Between Stress and Cancer?").
A lot of people who get cancer think it was caused by stress.
Only thing is, no one else does.
Ms. Kolata gets good quotes from a number of experts in the field:
"I have no idea, and nobody else does, either," said Barbara Andersen, a psychology professor at Ohio State University who studies stress reduction in cancer patients. "If somebody suggested that they know, I would question them."
"If the question is, Have we established it?, the answer is, Absolutely not," said Sheldon Cohen, a psychology professor at Carnegie Mellon University who has studied the role of support groups and stress reduction in cancer.
Barrie Cassileth, chief of the integrative medicine service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center:  "I tell them they did not cause their cancer. Absolutely not."
Dr. Drew Pardoll, director of the cancer immunology program at Johns Hopkins' Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center:  The old idea was that cancers arise every day but the immune system destroys them. Anything that weakens the immune system - stress, for example - could hinder this surveillance. The result would be a cancer that grows large enough to resist the body's effort to heal itself. "Nobody believes that anymore," Dr. Pardoll said.
Dr. Fred Applebaum, director of the clinical research division at the Fred Hutchinson Center, said that he and most other cancer experts believed the theory. But then they looked at mice that were genetically engineered to have no functioning immune systems. "They really don't show a huge increase in the incidence of cancer," Dr. Applebaum said.
James Allison, chairman of the immunology program at Sloan-Kettering:  "I can't rule it out," he said, "but I would be very skeptical."
Several studies reached the same result-- no correlation between stress and cancer.
Gina Kolata is a great reporter, and has a greatest cocktail-rhymed name in the world, but her piece reminds me of papers I've written where I hoped a question would turn out to be interesting but instead had a simple answer that I discovered too close to the deadline to find another topic.  Tough break.

BJJ Move #68: Double Shin Sweep vs. Opponent Standing in Open Guard

If your opponent stands up in your open guard, you're in trouble.
Best option is to push him away with your feet and stand up yourself.
If your opponent's standing close to you, however, you might pull off this sweep...

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Double Shin Sweep vs. Opponent Standing in Open Guard:

Your opponent is standing up in your open guard but your feet are hooked inside and behind his knees (to keep him close with your feet as hooks) with your own knees splayed out a little (to hold him off by pressing against the insides of his knees with your shins).
Grab both his ankles with your hands from the outside. Pull in with your arms as you drive your hips off the ground and spread your knees out, knocking him over backward. Take the mount or an Achilles ankle lock.

Comments? Please feel free to point out mistakes, describe tips on the techniques, suggest ways to make the descriptions clearer, etc.
Click here to go to the list of my BJJ move posts.

Monday, November 28, 2005

BJJ Move #67: "One Hook" Guard Sweep to Mount

Hey, a new BJJ Move post!
First, I'll describe a variation on the open guard-- a "one hook" inside version.
Then, a nice sweep from that position.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

"One Hook" Guard, Sweep to Mount:

Open guard variation – one hook in:
You and your opponent are both seated and facing each other. Your right knee is up, right foot worming under his left thigh. Your left leg is folded in front of you, knee pointing out to your left.
Your opponent grabs the back of your head with his left hand. Grab the back of his neck to the outside of his left arm with your right hand. Grab thumb-down on his right wrist with your left hand. This is a good position from which to sweep him to his right side.

“One Hook” Sweep to Mount:
Your opponent is in your open guard on his knees. The opportunity for this sweep is when your opponent is rushing forward. Your right foot is between his legs, left foot folded across in front of you / under your butt.
Get an underhook with your right hand, and an overhook (or grabbing his right wrist) with your left. You want to be sitting up with your head near your opponent’s chest.
Bring your left elbow in tight to your own hip to trap his arm effectively.
With your right hand, punch under your opponent’s left armpit, holding his back.
Sweep by falling to your left while kicking your left leg through, flat on the ground; kicking up with your right foot against his left inner thigh; lifting with your right arm; and trapping his right arm with your left arm, taking him over to the left.
Make sure you keep opponent's arm trapped until you land in mount or cross side.

Comments? Please feel free to point out mistakes, describe tips on the techniques, suggest ways to make the descriptions clearer, etc.
Click here to go to the list of my BJJ move posts.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Bush Declines to Pardon Coward Anti-War Turkey

You give aid and comfort to our enemies, Tom. 
I am ashamed to call you my fellow American.
May God have mercy on your soul.
Amen, and pass the gravy, heh heh.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Friedman, Quit Gankin' My Philosophizing

Back in July, after the London bombings, I wrote about an "Object Lesson for Irresponsible Ideologues":
Defenders of suicide bombings against Israelis (those who don't support the London bombings) now have to answer the charge that the London bombers have simply taken their perverse reasoning to its logical conclusion, and used the Palestinian terrorists' methods to another group of civilians they believe are "oppressors."
Ditto the Jordan bombings. 
Today Thos. Friedman wants to join my novel "suicide bombing is bad" bandwagon.
He has a piece (sorry, it's Select) to the effect of "'Why Us?' Sunni Arabs Should Ask, 'Why Anyone?'"
In fact, that's the title of the piece.
Friedman notes that "it was . . . dispiriting to listen to other Jordanian and Arab voices saying that they believe Israelis were behind the attacks in Amman, or telling the bombers: if you want to bomb someone, bomb the 'occupiers' - code for Americans and Israelis. Why us?"
He also writes that "no one protested recently when Muslim suicide bombers butchered Shiites in Iraq or Ahmedis in Pakistan or Christian tourists in Indonesia or Jews in Israel or Hindus in New Delhi."
Yeah, yeah.  "The chickens have come home to roost," "sow the wind, reap the whirlwind," whatever. 
Then Thos. makes some unnecessarily flip remarks about a national museum in a country whose national heroes are suicide bombers ("Here's Ahmed - he blew up 52 Muslims at a wedding"), yadda yadda. 
The blog posts I write while I eat lunch at my desk are better than that narishkeit, boychik.
Friedman, quit gankin' my philosophizing.  Honestly.  I totally disapproved of suicide bombing before you did, Johnny-come-lately.
Don't you have marvelling to do at how well Indians get along with computers, or something?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Bird Is The Word

Puny Humans:
Yeah, yeah, I'm a chicken.  I'm tired of the jokes.  This is serious.  Don't ask me if the sky is falling.  Don't associate my species with cowardice.  I'll peck your eyes out, fool.
Hey, shut up.  Don't say "chopped liver."  That's not funny.
Your New York Times reports today that China plans to vaccinate all the chickens (and other poultry) in China. 
Despite the fact that (1) "billions of free-range birds will have to be caught" and injected one by one, (2) we all look alike to you people; (3) pigs and migratory birds carry the virus, and (4) many Chinese families live with birds and pigs as their pets, I can't see anything wrong with it.
Oh, yeah!  Except for the fact that we don't need your stupid vaccines!
Vaccines are just a way for humans to encroach on the sovereignty of birds.  Do I look sick to you?
Hell, no!  Check out this plumage, you hairless apes.
Do I need the side effects of your stupid vaccine?  Like a neck-wringing!
You know what?  If you poor, scrawny monkeys are so worried you can't survive our nasty flu, maybe you should stop eating us.
You don't see chickens with leprosy and measles, do you? 
What? Chicken pox?  Very funny.
Two for flinching. 

Monday, November 14, 2005

Roth Everlasting

NYT editorial contributor Peter Mehlman asking the tough questions:
Is Philip Roth using writing-enhancing drugs?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

NYT to Bush: Demote Your Boss

Yesterday's NYT's has an editorial saying, in effect: 
President Bush, you stink.  And, by the way, demote your boss (i.e., Cheney, not God).
After President Bush's disastrous visit to Latin America, it's unnerving to realize that his presidency still has more than three years to run. An administration with no agenda and no competence would be hard enough to live with on the domestic front. But the rest of the world simply can't afford an American government this bad for that long.
But the central problem is not Karl Rove or Treasury Secretary John Snow or even Donald Rumsfeld, the defense secretary. It is President Bush himself.
The place to begin is with Dick Cheney, the dark force behind many of the administration's most disastrous policies, like the Iraq invasion and the stubborn resistance to energy conservation. Right now, the vice president is devoting himself to beating back Congressional legislation that would prohibit the torture of prisoners. This is truly a remarkable set of priorities: his former chief aide was indicted, Mr. Cheney's back is against the wall, and he's declared war on the Geneva Conventions.
Mr. Bush cannot fire Mr. Cheney, but he could do what other presidents have done to vice presidents: keep him too busy attending funerals and acting as the chairman of studies to do more harm. Mr. Bush would still have to turn his administration around, but it would at least send a signal to the nation and the world that he was in charge, and the next three years might not be as dreadful as they threaten to be right now.
Dubya!  First they fire your pet reporter, now they slam on your veep!
Are you gonna take this lying down like a French police precinct, or are you gonna show your stuff and reveal what we've always suspected:  The NYT's boyfriend is an undercover superhero:

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Tortured Reasoning

Sorry about the pun.
The editorial in today's New York Times scolds Bush & Co. for opposing laws and rules that would forbid us from torturing people.
And the Times is right, of course.
Now, I don't want to get into politics-- I want to make a different observation.
The Bush administration reminds me of my earlier post about Sammy Franco's "Contemporary Fighting Arts."
The basic premise of the Bush and Franco approaches seems to be that in the arena of violence, the more extreme something is, the more ruthless, the more unprincipled and abhorrent, the more effective it must be.
Of course, it's nonsense.  A minimum level of tolerance for hurting innocent people is necessary to fighting wars (or beating people up), but there's no reason to think we continue to reap advantage as we become more and more desensitized to wickedness. 
Superior training, personnel, intelligence and technology are the foundation of our military hegemony, not our enthusiasm for war crimes.
Similar considerations make trained fighters better at brawling than misanthropes who daydream about maiming everyone.
Otherwise, the Sudanese militias would rule the world, and Sammy Franco would knock out Mike Tyson.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Well, it's ten in the p.m.  This is a blog, so I'm encouraged to use old-tyme language as well as indiosyncratic phrases.
I'm excited because I'll be out of work by 10:30 this evening, and I may actually get to do something! 
Maybe I'll have a beer!
Perhaps I'll call a friend who's still awake and catch up.
Then again, I may ride the subways home dressed as a whaling captain, fighting the forces of SHPOS-itude with my trusty harpoon.
Good times.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Kiss Me Once and Kiss Me Twice and Kiss Me Once Again...'s been a long, long time.
I keep thinking I have to have something gr-r-r-eat to re-start my blogging.  In fact, at home I have a huge description of my trip to the Yucatan (I got back a month ago), but I've been so busy at my new job for the Law Firm, and I have only occasional The Internet there, so...
Well, now Playa del Carmen's been beat up by the umpteenth hurricane this year.  If I would have felt bad leaving for Mexico right after New Orleans got hit, I now feel just silly blogging about natural disasters.
This isn't a Blog of Import.  It's just where I write down stuff I'm too busy to tell everyone I know and too self-absorbed to keep to myself.
Think I'm going to knuckle under and join NYT select.
NYT, you know I tease you a lot, but we have something, this connection.
Anyway, more blogging on the way!  Stay tuned!

Friday, September 02, 2005

Krugman's Mad. Me, Too.

What he said!
I predict President Bush's approval rating will drop below 25% nationwide, and below zero in Brooklyn.
I also want to point out that the frequency with which Krugman writes about something other than economics is directly correlated with how screwed up things are in our country.

BJJ Move #66: Some Omo Plata "Thwart" Moves

Here are a few moves to try on someone who's defending against your omo plata.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Omo Plata - 5 "Thwart" Moves:

Omo Plata (Thwart) Roll Against a Roller:
If your opponent somersaults over as your attempting an omo plata on his right arm, somersault over over with him, get up on top of his back and put your hips on his hips. Now you can finish the lock.

Omo Plata (Thwart) - Reverse Armlock:
You attempt an omo plata on your opponent’s right arm, but he’s grabbing his own left hand or belt tightly with his right hand so you can’t pull it out to turn the shoulder joint.
Your left leg is entangling his right arm; slide your left knee underneath his body a bit, so your left shin lies across his right upper arm and the back of his right shoulder.
Now put your right foot in between his right arm and body from the direction of his back, and you have an armlock with your legs crossed—-just pull on his hand. If he rolls over, you’ll still have it, even tighter.

Omo Plata to Wristlock:
From an omo plata on your opponent’s right arm, his right arm is bent in your lap with your legs figure-foured over his right arm.
Now using both hands on his trapped right hand, apply a “downward” wristlock (forcing his palm into the underside of his forearm by pressing downward on his knuckles).

Omo Plata (Thwart) - “The Rack” Shoulderlock:
You have managed to get your left shin underneath your opponent’s chin, but he won’t let you move to an omo plata on his right arm.
With your right knee bent, kick your right foot, bent up at the ankle, into the back of his left armpit.
Reach under your own right knee with your right hand from the outside, and grab your own left instep, drawing your left instep underneath your bent right knee-crook.
Pull your right foot through from under your opponent’s left armpit (your legs are still figure-foured around his right arm) but keep it under his chin.
Pivot clockwise on your hips so your head goes toward his right foot, and apply the shoulderlock by straightening your legs.

Omo Plata to Toehold:
From an omo plata on your opponent’s right arm, before sitting up, his right foot may be nearby.
Your left arm comes under his right shin from the outside, your elbow is bent so your hand is back near his foot, and your left hand then grabs the outside, pinky-toe edge of his right foot (your palm faces the ceiling, your elbow is pointing out to your left side).
Your right hand comes over the Achilles’ tendon of his right ankle and grabs the top of your own left wrist (“t-stack”). Now lever and turn your hands to apply the toehold.

Comments? Please feel free to point out mistakes, describe tips on the techniques, suggest ways to make the descriptions clearer, etc.
Click here to go to the list of my BJJ move posts.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

One Short Katrina Post

Briefly, I don't want to blog much about Hurrican Katrina and the ongoing tragedy in New Orleans.
The news and blogs already all over it.
I hope my friends, their families, and everyone else in the region is okay, although I know that's not the case for everyone.

There'll be plenty of time to be angry about all opportunities we missed to do things that would have saved lives and property.

I hope it gets the attention it deserves.
Civil engineering, disaster relief, and helping poor people aren't nearly as exciting to argue about as international struggles against extremism or spreading freedom or whatever, but they do seem a lot more practical today.

BJJ Move #65: 3 Triangle Choke "Thwart" Moves

Here are a few moves to try on someone who's defending against your triangle choke.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Triangle Choke - 3 "Thwart" Moves:

Triangle Choke (Thwart) - Armlock:
You are performing a triangle choke with your opponent’s right arm inside, and he postures up (as in earlier post) so you can’t pull down on his head or your shin.
Hook his right triceps with your right hand and grab his right wrist with your left hand, securing his right arm.
Thrust your hips upwards.
Circle your left leg over opponent's head and place your left shin in his throat.
Lock a figure four in front of his chest, placing your right leg over your left shin.
Thrust hips upwards to finish the armlock.

Triangle Choke (Thwart) - Biceps Slicer:
You attempt the triangle choke (with your opponent’s right arm inside); he pulls his head, but not his arm, free, and steps up to the outside of your right foot, standing up onto his left foot.
Put your left foot on the ground and hip out to the left while firmly holding his right arm into your right knee-crook to keep him from taking cross side.
Drive your right shin into his right elbow-crook, triangle your left knee-crook over your right ankle and pull with clasped hands on the back of his right arm to add pressure to the biceps slicer.

Triangle Choke (Thwart) - Omo Plata:
You attempt the triangle choke with your opponent’s right arm trapped inside, but before you can figure four your legs he overhooks your left thigh with his right arm to keep you from tightening it.
Control his right elbow with your left hand, open your legs and pivot 180 degrees clockwise.
Kick your left leg through over his right shoulder and figure four your legs (right knee over left shin).
Sit up to drive your opponent to the floor and lean forward toward his head to finish the omo plata.

Comments? Please feel free to point out mistakes, describe tips on the techniques, suggest ways to make the descriptions clearer, etc.
Click here to go to the list of my BJJ move posts.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

BJJ Move #64: Head and Arm Choke from Mount

Hey, you can do that last move from the mount, too, and with even more leverage!

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Head and Arm Choke / Neck Crank from Mount (a/k/a shoulder choke, arm triangle):

1) From the mount, get head control: swim your arms inside his and get one (here, the left) around his head. Lean your weight onto his neck, turning his head to his left. Get him to put his left arm near or across his face.
2) Another opportunity is when you are sitting up in his guard and he posts his hand (here, let’s say his left hand) on your chest, or when you have him in cross side and he pushes up with his hand to escape.
Now shove his left arm across his face with your right hand and slide your face down the back of his left arm. Pin his left arm under his jaw with your left chest/shoulder, holding him around the back of his neck with your left arm.
Now bring your right arm up by his left ear and grab your right biceps.
Bend your right arm and place the palm of your right hand on his forehead. This is basically the same grip as a rear naked choke.
Bring your elbows toward each other, squeeze, and push your head forward and down to tighten the choke. Your left biceps cuts off his right carotid while his own left shoulder against his throat cuts off his left carotid.
If the choke isn’t working well, turn your left palm up to bring pressure from the ridge of your forearm against his neck for a painful neck crank. You can also tighten it by stepping your left leg over to his right side, so you no longer have the mount, and leaning your weight onto his head / neck.

Comments? Please feel free to point out mistakes, describe tips on the techniques, suggest ways to make the descriptions clearer, etc.
Click here to go to the list of my BJJ move posts.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Light Posting

Hey, loyal readers!

Sorry about the light posting recently...
I've been wrapping up my clerkship: Drafting opinions, training my replacement, etc.
And this coming Saturday I'm off to the Yucatan Peninsula for a few weeks.
Alas, all four of you will have to find something else to do with thirty seconds of your week, 'cause I don't plan to blog while I'm gone.

Just beer, beach, books, and Mayan ruins.
I'll post pics.

Tu heel k'iin!

BJJ Move #63: Head and Arm Choke from Guard

Guys in your guard often let you get one of their arms across their body with an arm drag. You can use it to take his back or sweep him, as in the last move, or...

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Head and Arm Choke from Guard:

Your opponent is inside your closed guard leaning against your throat with his right forearm.
With your legs clasped around his body, press him backwards a bit and use your left hand to push his right arm to your right.
Now relax your legs to let him lean forward again and collapse his right arm across his centerline between his body and yours.
Your right arm goes under his right arm and around his neck (past his left ear from the front of his body).
Press your head against the outside of his right shoulder, preventing him from bringing his right arm back out.
Now grab your left biceps with your right hand, place your left palm against your opponent’s forehead, and squeeze your elbows together, press your head into his arm, and push him backward again with your legs for a tight choke.

Comments? Please feel free to point out mistakes, describe tips on the techniques, suggest ways to make the descriptions clearer, etc.
Click here to go to the list of my BJJ move posts.

Monday, August 29, 2005

BJJ Move #62: Arm Drag to Back Mount from Closed Guard

A general tip from a guy who taught me, leading into what the arm drag from guard is about:

A big, strong guy with good posture and strong shoulders can often be caught in an armlock or triangle, but it has to be from open guard where he extends his arm and you swivel your hips and drive them upwards, catching him unaware—you can’t lever him over with your hips from the closed guard.
If he is stiff and defensive and will pull anything out that you try, go for the arm drag from the guard (open or half guard or sitting guard). The move is so simple and you will always at least sweep him if not take his back. The arm drag capitalizes on his weakness: lack of mobility.
Don't play a closed guard with him, he'll just sit in it, you need feet in the hips, you need a solid half-guard or sitting guard. He's all about forward pressure and just laying on you. You need to make that space to allow yourself to work.

What follows is an arm drags from closed guard.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Arm Drag to Back Mount from Guard:

Arm Drag Reversal to Back Mount from Closed Guard:
Opportunities / set-ups:
1) First, get the no-gi arm control: When trying to control your opponent’s right arm while he’s in your guard, and he isn’t wearing a gi, hold his right wrist with your left hand against your chest, trap his right arm by the elbow with your right hand, and hip up to his elbow, reducing the space for him to bend his arm and pull it away. Your butt will leave the ground.
Now, drop your hips suddenly and to the left, pulling his arms to the mat and slightly to the right, sliding your locked feet to the right so they’re over his left hip.
2) Your opponent is in your guard and is leaning on your throat with his right forearm.
Grab his right wrist / gi sleeve with your right hand, and his right elbow with your left hand.
Push your opponent back with your hips, and push his arm to your right.
Switch your right hand to grab underneath his right upper arm, securing his shoulder to your chest.
Once you’ve done the arm drag, immediately hug your chest against his right shoulder, grabbing around his back with your left hand to his left lat, trapping both of his arms across to your right, and free your right hand (if he’s holding it, you can’t pivot around him).
With your left hand/arm over his right shoulder grabbing his back or the back of his left armpit, start scooting around clockwise towards his back until you have the back mount.

"Thwart" move:
As above, but he’s holding onto your right wrist so you can’t slide around to get his back. Uncross your feet and swing your left leg to the side, rolling him over his right side and taking the cross side on his right.

Comments? Please feel free to point out mistakes, describe tips on the techniques, suggest ways to make the descriptions clearer, etc.
Click here to go to the list of my BJJ move posts.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Oil, Betting, and Bull

Read below the link for my bloggy rant on oil, news media, and bullshit in general.

Okay, you're in for it now.


In Sunday's NYT Magazine, Peter Maas had an interesting, if economically very silly piece about "Peak Oil."

Basically it advanced Matthew Simmons's idea that the Saudis aren't being honest about how much oil they have and can produce (believable) and that oil is soon going to cost about three times what it does now (not so believable).
Silly, I (and many others smarter than me) say, because we can switch to alternatives, increase fuel efficiency and conservation, etc. Besides, the futures market isn't stupid, and it's not pricing 2010 oil anywhere near there.

Steven Levitt, the economist of the economist-and-writer team who wrote "Freakonomics," has a great post on his blog about the recent John Tierney column.

Tierney, emerging as quite the badass of the op-ed page, bet the Simmons $10k that oil would be under $200/barrel in 2010, adjusted for inflation.

Now, set aside that a big part of inflation is energy prices, and just realize that Simmons is saying we're going to be spending more than three times what we currently do on a barrel of oil instead of firing up some uranium reactors. No way. I mean, if Americans don't believe in evolution, how can we be afraid of mutation?
Mutation (artists's conception)

Simmons reveals (and Levitt points out) his ignorance of economics when he basically says that oil should cost more because it's so useful. In his e-mail to Levitt, he compares its utility to that of a rickshaw driver.

I took a microeconomics class with a "Marxian" economist who taught us standard micro but had ideas like this.

Marx was a very smart man. Ptolemy was even smarter, but the Sun does not go around the Earth.

Predicting what something will cost by evaluating how much it ought to cost, is, to give a little Yiddish lesson, narishkeit, bubbemeise, mishugas-- that is, foolishness, old wives' tales, craziness . . . bullshit.

Newspapers tend to be very good at reporting the basic facts of a story.
But as soon as they try to evaluate or report the details or any sort of theoretical underpinning-- legal, geopolitical, economic, medical, statistical-- they're out of their depth.

If you've ever been involved in something reported in a newspaper, you know what I mean. Even the best reporters can't get accurate details on a deadline. And aside from a very few reporters (Linda Greenhouse on the Supreme Court, for example), they don't know enough and/or feel it isn't their job to cut through the crap they're fed.

That's the praisweworthy role of BS-detecting columnists like Tierney and bloggers like Levitt. A calling to which I hope to contribute not at all.

Please, people.

This site is full of it.

BJJ Move #61: Arm Elevator Sweep from Guard

A sweep when your opponent stands up onto onto one foot while in your guard. This happens a lot when you attempt an armlock.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Arm Elevator and Sweep (to mount) with Armlock Opportunity (a/k/a arm-inside sweep):

Use this move when your opponent lifts up one leg in the guard. If your opponent gets up on his left foot, you slide your right arm underneath his raised left leg.
At the same time, pull on his leg to bring your head to his left foot, pivoting counterclockwise on your lower back.
Using your free left hand, grab the gi sleeve / wrist of his right arm.
In one motion, pulling his right arm and raising his leg, bring your opponent on a 45-degree angle toward your left side (not right across your body, and not right past your head, but the angle halfway between).
The important step with this sweep is to use your left leg for momentum. As your bring your opponent on a 45-degree angle toward your left side, swing your left leg underneath him from left to right.
Use your right leg to kick in the direction of his head underneath his left armpit.
As your opponent is reversed onto his back, climb into the mount by rolling back and over your left shoulder.
Or, instead of climbing into mount, pull his right elbow up to about your waistline, put your left leg across his face and apply an armlock.

Comments? Please feel free to point out mistakes, describe tips on the techniques, suggest ways to make the descriptions clearer, etc.
Click here to go to the list of my BJJ move posts.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

BJJ Move #60: Neck Crank from Guard

Here's a nice neck crank that's easy to apply and keeps you in a very secure position throughout.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Guillotine Fake to Neck Crank or Reversal to Mount, “Crucifix” Neck Crank (from mount):

You can do this move when your opponent has his head against your chest or is somewhat low in the guard. Another opportunity is when your opponent is escaping from a guillotine (your right arm is choking him) by driving his right forearm against your throat—clear his arm to your right.
Now wrap your right arm across the back of his neck (as if you were attempting a guillotine choke) and put your right hand under his left armpit, from the front. Try to drive your right arm under his armpit to the crook of your elbow—deeper is better.
Moving your hips to the left make give you more room to drive your arm deeper. Take your left arm and put it across his back.
Clasp your right hand (which is underneath his left arm right now) palm down, to your left hand, palm up.
Pull your hands towards you, lifting up with your left hand, lowering your right arm toward your hips to crank your opponent's neck and/or shoulder.
Slide your forearms up his arm towards his elbow for more pressure on the shoulder and superior leverage; lock your feet and grab closer to his armpit to focus pressure on the neck crank.
If your opponent begins to roll over to release the pressure on his neck, you can use your right foot and bridge to the left side to reverse him (you will pull him over by his underhooked left arm).
You will end up in the mount, but do not release the hold yet. You still have a neck crank submission right here. Just apply the pressure by arching your back and pulling up and towards your body.
Instead of finishing from the mount, you can go to cross side and hook his free arm from under the front of his armpit with your right leg—sit through and crank your right fist towards the ceiling to finish. Be careful, it’s hard for him to tap from this position.

Comments? Please feel free to point out mistakes, describe tips on the techniques, suggest ways to make the descriptions clearer, etc.
Click here to go to the list of my BJJ move posts.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Can Somebody Take Away This Guy's PhD?

Bring in the logic probe...

So someone does a study comparing the eye movements of a few Chinese and Americans when they look at photos. Turns out that Americans look more at the subject of the photo than the Chinese, who pay more attention to the background.

Richard Nisbett, a psychologist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor whose graduate student ran the study, says that:
Americans are looking at the focal object more quickly and spend more time looking at it. The Chinese have more saccades [jerky eye movements]. They move their eyes more, especially back and forth between the object and the [background] field.

Well, okay.
But what's it all mean, Dr. Nesbitt?

Nisbett says that any explanation for the cultural differences is, at this point, speculation. However, he and his colleagues suggest that the differences may be rooted in social practices that stretch back thousands of years.

"Westerners are taught to pay attention to objects that are important to them, to have goals that they can follow," he said. "East Asians are more likely to pay attention to the social field. ..."

Nisbett traces the origins of the variation to at least 2,500 years ago. At that time collaborative, large-scale agriculture was the primary driver of the East Asian economy. For most workers, economic survival required paying attention to the person in charge as well as co-workers in the fields. Context was important.

By contrast, ancient Greek society—the prototypical Western society—was characterized by individualistic activities, such as hunting, fishing, and small-scale farming.

The difference, Nisbett said, still holds today. East Asian societies tend to be more socially complex than Western societies. Understanding context, therefore, has more value in East Asia than in the West.

So, uh, people look at this picture...

...and Americans look at the tiger more, Chinese look at the trees more, and it tells Nisbett all that?

I have some equally plausible theories:
1) Chinese look at all parts of the picture to avoid causing them a loss of face or dishonoring the photographer's judgment feng shui judgment. Oh! Or to avoid challenging the authority of the tiger.
2) Americans focus on the tiger because we instantly see everything as a threat. There's plenty of time to cut down the trees after we kill that cat.
3) Chinese already live in harmony on the same continent as tigers, so, they're like, "No big deal. Tiger. What's the interesting thing in this picture?"
4) Americans are still daydreaming about the beginning of Europe's ascendancy, when the prototypical Western society defeated oriental despotism at Marathon. The tiger just happens to be where we stare into space.

Can somebody take away this guy's PhD?

Give 'Im Hell, Dowd!

Give 'im hell, Dowd!

"My Private Idaho" takes Dubya to task. Read it.
When we add planets #10 and #11, we can include the President's ranch as #12.
Hey! Mr. Commander-in-Chief! We're in the middle of a war! It's not going well! Look alive!

BJJ Move #59: Omo Plata

The omo plata is almost like a kimura you start from guard, then use your legs to finish instead of your hands. It's pretty powerful, and even if you can't always finish from the end, it's also a great control position.
It's a little complicated to describe, but actually not that hard to do. You may want to search Google for a picture.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Omo Plata / Chickenwing Shoulderlock Using Leg / Hiza Gatame (from guard):

Opportunities / setups:
1) From the guard, if your opponent ever puts an arm down (say, right arm) on the ground above your (here, left) shoulder, trap it by your neck/head with both hands.
2) He puts his hands on the ground near your hips.
3) He’s passing your guard and overhooks your leg (say, left leg).
4) You put your guard up high on his shoulders, until your right leg is over his left shoulder (known as the “crooked” or “climbing” guard), then force his right arm backwards (towards opponent’s back).
5) “Overhook” setup: Your opponent is in your guard and you have an overhook control with your left arm on his right arm.
Change your grip from overhook on your opponent’s right arm to hooking underneath your left leg, behind the knee (your left arm is still over opponent’s right arm but now hooks your left leg instead); your left hand can clasp your opponent’s right shoulder. Continue…
6) “Lockdown” setup: Your opponent is in your guard, and his right hand is on the ground to your left side or is near your left hip (it's not up high or on your chest).
Uncross your feet and bring your left leg, bent, up by the back of his right arm and put your left hand and forearm inside the crook of your knee from the outside, gripping your opponent's right upper arm / shoulder with your left hand.
Now clasp your right hand to your left hand, locking his right shoulder down.
At this point he may try to push your right knee down to pass, but it will be difficult for him to do it before you get the omo plata. The reason he can’t mess with your other leg is that you are trapping his shoulder tight to your body. The “lockdown” puts your opponent in a lot of danger, and without your leg inside can be used to control him from sitting guard, closed guard, or half guard. In fact you can squeeze your right leg tight against his body so it's like one side of a vee, allowing you to switch to an armlock (on his left arm if he tries to push his left arm through to get his head out), a reverse armlock (on his trapped right arm) or a triangle choke.
Your right forearm pressing against his neck is keeping his head away. Unclasp your hands.
Now, the rest of the move:
Push his head further away with your right hand, and bring your left foot underneath his jaw (you may want to use your right hand to pull on your left ankle to help put your put underneath his jaw).
Push against your opponent's left hip with your right foot to pivot you clockwise on your butt / lower back and into the position for omo plata—you sitting up, flush against his right side with your left side against him.
At the same time, put your left heel across your opponent’s back, trying to touch your heel to his opposite shoulder, trying to touch your own right knee.
Now use your left hand to hold his right elbow. Continue pivoting until you’re almost parallel to your opponent. If he resists this turn, drive your right leg out straight to bring his head down, then continue turning.
Now slide your right leg out from underneath him and come up sitting beside him facing toward his head. Your left leg now lies across the back of his right shoulder to press his elbow down into your lap.
Bend his arm into your lap for a chicken-wing shoulderlock as you hip all the way out to his side. His right hand will be palm-up at your belt buckle, arm entangled in your bent left leg.
Figure four your right knee over your left shin to keep his arm trapped.
Keep him from rolling forward with your left hand on his belt, lower back, or by hooking his near (here, right) leg. You want to keep turning until your body is alongside his, with your head facing the same way as his feet, and vice versa.
Now stand up onto your knees, leaning forward towards his head (to the left a little) to apply the pressure.
Tip: Guys with strong arms / shoulders won’t be easy to lock—grab his upper arm to your chest tight, clamping it there with your elbows; this makes the lock much faster and tighter.
Tip: You want his shoulders on the mat so you can apply the lock and so he can’t roll you back onto your back, so when you first sit up, straighten your legs to push his shoulders down.
Tip: Some opponents, however, are too strong to be pushed down by straightening your legs. There are two good ways to bring his shoulders down. First, you can scoot your butt back toward his feet. Second, you can pivot on your hips clockwise, which will take him down to his left where he’ll have no base.
Tip: It can be difficult to finish from here even once he’s down—-you may want to finish with an armlock (if he rolls over), wristlock, toehold, etc.

Comments? Please feel free to point out mistakes, describe tips on the techniques, suggest ways to make the descriptions clearer, etc.
Click here to go to the list of my BJJ move posts.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

BJJ Move #58: Reverse Armlock from Guard

Here's a nice guard submission. With a "reverse" armlock, your hands hyperextend your opponent's elbow by pulling toward you while you brace his wrist against your collarbone and immobilize his shoulder from either side with your legs-- as opposed to a regular armlock, where your hips hyperextend his elbow by pushing away from you, your hands hold his wrist to your chest, and your legs immobilize his shoulder by wrapping around his head and torso and pulling them back.
This tends to be a little quicker and have a little less control than a regular armlock.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Reverse Armlock (from guard) (a/k/a pressing armlock, ude gatame):

This is a very fast submission. You have your opponent in your guard, and he grabs your head with his left arm to keep your bodies close together. He may also clasp his left hand with his right hand.
Grab your own left shoulder with your right hand, trapping his left arm against your body.
Put your right foot against his left hip, and hip out to the right (your butt moves out to the right, and you turn onto your left hip).
Bring your left knee up against his chest and your right knee over his back near his left shoulder, squeezing your knees together to immobilize his left arm.
Keep your head leaning to your right shoulder to keep his arm trapped against your right trapezius, and slide back until his wrist is against your collarbone.
Keep your back slouched so there’s room to lock.
Grab around his elbow with your left hand to turn it so it faces away from your body, and fold your right forearm over his elbow, pressing the arm into your body for a reverse armlock.
Alternative setup: Your opponent puts an arm down (say, left arm) on the ground above your (right) shoulder—trap it by your neck/head.
Slide your hips out to that side (your right) and wrap your left arm around his right elbow, trapping his right wrist between your neck and left shoulder.
Clamp your knees around his left shoulder and squeeze together.
Fold your right arm over your left, both over his elbow joint and squeeze toward your chest, hyperextending his elbow joint.

Comments? Please feel free to point out mistakes, describe tips on the techniques, suggest ways to make the descriptions clearer, etc.
Click here to go to the list of my BJJ move posts.

Monday, August 22, 2005

BJJ Move #57: Some Armlock "Thwart" Moves

You've almost got that armlock-- and the guy's defending!
Here's a bunch of techniques for when your initial armlock attempt is "thwarted" by your opponent defending.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Some Armlock "Thwart" Moves:

These moves all start from you attempting an armlock on your opponent's right arm.

Basic Go-To Move:
First, make sure your right forearm is hooked in against his wrist, not the crook of his elbow. That gives you a lot more leverage and is more uncomfortable for him.
Now move his right arm into your right armpit and try to get your right forearm deep in near his hand.
Base out near his head with your left hand.
To attack in a direction where your opponent’s grip is weak, don’t lean straight back here; instead, lean towards his head and then swing back to being perpendicular to his body once your left shoulder is near/on the ground. This should break his grip and let you finish the armlock.

As above, but instead, switch your left arm into his elbow-crook (move fast, your base is gone now) and put your right forearm against his right forearm to lever it towards his head as you sit that way (as above, but here your right arm is helping release his grip) towards his head, then swing back to make your body perpendicular to his and apply the armlock.

“Cow Hand” Wristlock:
When your opponent’s right elbow is bent, put your left hand underneath your right wrist and grab his right hand across the knuckles, t-stack your hands (right hand over top of left wrist) and lever his right hand down toward his forearm for a “cow hand” (downward) wristlock.

“Cow hand” wristlock #2:
Sit up and brace his right elbow against your stomach/chest.
Grab his right hand at the knuckles (for maximum leverage) with both hands, and press his palm towards his wrist for a “cow hand” (downward) wristlock.

Strip his fingers apart with your hands.

Foot Push:
Use your right foot (the one across his chest) to push his left arm away by pushing on the crook of his left elbow. This will start pulling his right shoulder straight out of the socket and he ought to let go. Then finish the armlock.+

Biceps Slicer:
Place your right forearm in the pit of his right elbow and slide your right foot over his right forearm so your right lower leg rests across it.
Pressing down on his right forearm with your right leg closes his elbow joint around your right forearm; the sharp edges of the radius and ulna in your forearm dig into his biceps and forearm near the joint, causing pain. Your forearm in there also acts as a fulcrum higher than his elbow joint, prying his forearm and upper arm away from each other, i.e., separating his elbow. The pain will make him want to stop using his left arm to pull his hand toward him, and he’ll release it, or even try to push it back straight.
Pull his right arm back as you slide your right foot off it, but watch out that he doesn’t slap you in the face as he lets go.
To use this as a submission instead of a release, base out with your left hand and triangle your left knee over your right instep, tightening down onto his right elbow joint to separate it.

Leg Jerk:
Jerk the knee of your left leg up and down on his face so he wants to let go and give you the armlock.+

Triangle Choke:
If your opponent grabs his own (right) arm when you sit back for the armlock, you can easily put him in a triangle choke.
When he grabs his own wrist to prevent the armlock, take your right leg and slide it between his arms from the bottom.
Take your right hand and put it behind his head to help raise it. He will cooperate in coming off the ground because he’s defending against the armlock.
As he comes off the ground, slide your right leg around his head/neck, and shift your hips to the right. Then fold your left leg over your right ankle, and apply the triangle choke.+

Switch to s-mount, armlock on other arm:
Opponent clasps his hands and hips out to his left to try to extract his elbow and touch it to the ground.
Post your left hand behind you and remove your left leg from your opponent’s face.
Keeping your weight centered on your opponent's upper torso, slide your hip across your opponent’s chest. You will come into a sort of s-mount with your bent right knee off the ground above your opponent’s left ear, with your right inner thigh propping his left arm up. Your right foot is flat on the ground just past his head.
Now continue coming up, rising onto the ball of your right foot and touching your right knee to the ground by his left ear. Control his left arm.
Now sit back, put your right leg over his face and armlock the left arm from his left.

Comments? Please feel free to point out mistakes, describe tips on the techniques, suggest ways to make the descriptions clearer, etc.
Click here to go to the list of my BJJ move posts.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Bluefin Occupation Update

Me, again, Consul Bluefin (from this post) shoutin' at ya.

Now, I know everyone hasn't gotten on board with the "with us or against us" speech I made back in June.

Insurgent killings of fish continue, and land creatures still struggle to achieve freedom and equality.

The Atlantic Province has dispatched military observers to many hot spots across the waterless realm, but do not be alarmed; they are serving in a purely advisory capacity.
Lieutenant General Swishy
General Swishy's command brought this New York Times piece to our attention today.

It seems David G. Burney, executive director of the United States Tuna Foundation, expends his efforts inciting the murder and consumption of my kind.
I'd hate to see the platform of the Anti-Tuna Foundation.

In any case, the Times' esteemed Melanie Warner points out that we Tuna are, you know, full of the deadly metal mercury.
And it's bad for you! Viz.:
Symptoms of mercury toxicity include kidney troubles, irritability, tremors, changes in vision or hearing, and memory problems.

Did you just read that?! Irritability! Tremors!
If you've been eating fish and have felt irritable, I can promise blind, deaf, amnesiac shaking is probably next. The wages of sin is tremors.

If you're of an ill-conceived viviparous body plan, eating mercury can accumulate in the tissues of your offspring during their unnatural gestation. And then, when it emerges from the artificial sea of your distended abdomen-- bad news, people.
The article does not discuss the effects of mercury on the Times' oviparous readers, but let me tell you: it's not pretty.

Mr. Burney says he is "convinced that getting mercury toxicity from tuna is impossible. While his wife was pregnant, he said, she consumed a can of albacore tuna almost every day."
Another tunacidal maniac "says his three boys, 9-year-old triplets, eat several cans of albacore a week.

He probably means his 9-year-old three-headed son.

Humans, what lies beneath these noble scales is no Chicken of the Sea. It is instead bitter death on a bed of roasted garlic couscous.

BJJ Move #56: Some Papercutter Chokes

These chokes are all variations on a theme-- your opponent is wearing a gi or some other kind of shirt, you are face-to-face on the ground with an advantageous position (usually mount or guard), and you strangle him with the fabric of his collar or lapels.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Some Papercutter Chokes:

There are three grip variations on the papercutter choke, which is done face-to-face with your opponent (e.g., mounted or guard):
1) Nami Juji Jime: Both your palms face away from you (thumb down and inside his gi) in opposite collars (your right hand grabs his right lapel, your left hand grabs his left lapel, so your hands cross).
2) Kata Juji Jie: One palm faces you, one faces away in opposite collars; otherwise like above. The palm of the hand crossing over the top of the other hand is the one that faces you.
3) Gyaku Juji Jime: Both palms face you (thumb faces up and is outside gi) in opposite collars; this is strongest grip. Finish the same way.
Apply the strangle by bending your arms at the elbows and pulling your arms apart, pushing your hands past each other. This pulls his gi collar tight around his throat.
Tip: First, grab his right lapel, thumb up, with your left hand. Use that to feed the lapel to your right. Then, grab the right lapel above your right hand with your left, and wrap your left arm around the back of his head so you’ve got the choke. This is sneakier, and so, easier, than trying to grab the second lapel with one hand.
Tip: Alternately, loosen his gi collar over his right shoulder so you can attach both hands up there. If he tries to hold you off, go to the standard armlock.
Tip: If applying the papercutter from the mount position, place your forehead on the ground above his head to increase the leverage.
Vale tudo tip: Street clothing is often strong enough to use for collar chokes.

Here's a detailed description of this choke from the mount:
From the mount, pull your opponent’s right collar open with your left hand and reach inside his right collar with your right hand, palm up. Slide your right hand in toward his neck as deep as possible; you would ideally like to touch your knuckles to the ground inside his gi.
Now reach across with your left hand, palm down and thumb inside to his left collar. Lean forward and place your forehead to the ground, giving you a better base. Apply the strangle by drawing your elbows up and back, which pulls your hands across his throat, tightening the collar around his neck.

Comments? Please feel free to point out mistakes, describe tips on the techniques, suggest ways to make the descriptions clearer, etc.
Click here to go to the list of my BJJ move posts.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

BJJ Move #55: Sleeve Choke, Fist Choke

Here are two similar ways to choke someone out from the mount.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Sleeve Choke and Fist Choke:

Sleeve Choke (gi):
You have the mount position, and you are wearing a gi or other shirt with long sleeves.
Put your right arm around the back of your opponent's head.
With your right hand, palm down, grab the cuff of the sleeve of your left arm.
Sneak your left hand across his throat.
With your left hand, palm up, grab your right sleeve.
Now tighten your grip; pivot your forearms so the bony edges face his neck and throat instead of the soft sides, reducing the space between. Do this by turning your wrists from their current positions—right palm facing down, left palm facing up--to right palm facing up, left palm facing down.
If you can’t sneak your left hand in, use your left fist to do a fist choke (below).

Fist Choke:
First, get head control: put your left arm around your opponent’s head and lean your shoulder onto his neck, turning his head to his left.
Base out to the top-right with your right hand, where your weight should be leaning.
Now hook your head next to his left ear and use it to turn his face to his right.
Do the rest of the move quickly, because you’re now vulnerable to a reversal.
Open your left hand. Make a fist w/your right hand and bring your right forearm in against the front of his throat from a 45-degree angle from the top (halfway angle between his head and shoulder) and feed it in until your fist is against his left carotid artery.
Grab your own right biceps with your left hand.
Squeeze for a choke.

Comments? Please feel free to point out mistakes, describe tips on the techniques, suggest ways to make the descriptions clearer, etc.
Click here to go to the list of my BJJ move posts.