Monday, November 22, 2010

Are We Romans?

I’m an old fashioned martial artist. I teach old-fashioned ethics and fighting principles. My students leave me with a sense of right, wrong, and that gray area in-between.

I’m old enough to have started teaching before this American upsurge of the UFC and MMA, which is the United Fighting Challenge, and Mixed Martial Arts, now shown across our country on television. What I’m seeing worries me. It’s not Boxing and it’s not Wrestling, and it’s not Karate or Te Kwan Do, and it’s definitely not Wu Shu, (Kung Fu). It is a mix of everything out there and it is brutal.

Now I must say that fighting is brutal regardless of the process, but two individuals engaged in mortal combat aren’t usually shown on prime time TV. I say I’m old fashioned, I am a boxing fan and a wrestling fan etc. I am not a MMA fan.

It has been recently brought to public attention that young teens in the state of Maine have been caught performing their own UFC type competitions. The authorities are looking into banning such practices in Maine. These young fellows are on You Tube.

There is a certain philosophy that needs to be experience before I will consider a person a warrior. This philosophy creates gentle men and women with a degree of respect for each other and humanity. What’s next, a hungry lion?

Peace and Balance,

Sunday, November 21, 2010

More Wood

I officially started my own wood-burning season yesterday. As my friend, Six Bears mentioned this is the season of burning crap wood. I however burn crap wood all year because that’s what I’ve got. Although to my delight I found out that at least part of my pile of wood is good seasoned fire wood that’s been sitting in my yard for a couple of years. It had time to season just a tad wet because of recent rains.

Some of my friends use gas power wood splitters and real big chain saws to deal with their wood. I use a 3 horse electric saw and a manual wood splitter. A manual wood splitter is cool; it consists of a stump and an axe. The engine that drives this one runs on coffee and hot dogs. Fortunately the engine eats enough hot dogs to keep the bun and dog balance going.

I have to admit that it’s been a couple of years that I actually burned wood on the regular. Due to a situation I’ve gotten my self in with one of the local oil companies I’m forced to buy diesel fuel ten gallons at a shot and dump it in my oil tank. That works for now, but will get expensive if I don’t solve the other problem. It sucks being poor.

So Six Bears, when we go find wood, and I’m going to need more, lets find the real good kind. :o)

Peace and Balance,

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Hot Dog Buns

A conversation with a friend at work made be start thinking about hot dog buns. He asked me why hot dogs are packaged in dogs of ten and hot dog buns are packaged in buns of eight. I didn’t have a good answer. He even googled for an answer and come up with nothing concrete. Here are a couple of the Internet reasons. Standard hot dogs are packaged by the pound, and a pound of hot dogs makes ten regular sized dogs. Ok, that sounds reasonable. Bakers like even numbers, so the buns are packaged in pieces of six, eight, or twelve to make a dozen. I don’t buy that one as well because the standard bakers dozen is thirteen.

I began thinking about this dilemma and here’s what I came up with. There is a kabala afoot regarding hot dogs and buns that reflects the business practices of many or most of the large corporate monsters of America. Even numbers backed up by odd numbers that force us, the regular folk to spend more of our hard earned cash. Oscar Mayer has determined that the average fellow needs ten dogs to fill eight buns. So, we go out and buy more buns for the dogs and extra dogs for the buns and so on and so forth… In order for us to even out this mathematical dilemma we need to buy four packages of dogs to make forty dogs and five packages of buns to make forty buns. That means we need spend extra cash for a nice even number of the Great American Hot Dog. Hey, I think I’ve uncovered something here… Now where’s my apple pie, and who’s playing in the World Series?

Peace and Balance,

Language So Foul

I am a listener. I listen to words. I listen to how they’re spoken, the syntax, the verbiage, and the power behind them. Because I am a listener I often hear words used in ways that may not be the most useful or profound. I often hear words that I do not use myself, the kinds of words that embarrass me and or anger me.

I raised my children to respect their usage of language, and to respect the individuals within earshot of their speaking. They would never use foul language in front of the adults in the family, nor did they speak with each other that way. What they said to friends and other like aged folk I don’t know, but I am sure it was good old fashioned speak.

As I said, I am a listener. While listening to other’s children I often hear language that insults my ears and leaves me wondering if they really understand the meaning of what is being said. I have my doubts.

Words have power, what we say we attract to us. If we affront other’s with our language that sort of energy will affront us. What we say also influences what and how we think. Words have power. My question is, “Do we let words have power over us, or do we exercise power over words?” Interesting… Practice, listen, and then speak…

Peace and Balance,

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Mentor

Many years ago I had an older friend that inspired me to do better things. I would say he was like a father figure to me, but he was more a teacher than a father. My teacher became more than that the longer I knew him and the better he knew me. This was when he became my Mentor.

A Mentor is a person that points you in a direction given some choices and allows you to make your choice on how to move in the direction you’ve chosen. Often you fall back after realizing your choice sucked. The Mentor, in my experience, would laugh at you, kick you in the butt, and say, “Ok, now what?”

This friend of mine was a most wonderful teacher who was a superior student that taught by example, my personal teaching philosophy coming out here. He was the philosophical leader and consummate warrior that kept me moving forward and learning.

We all have elders in our space that push us, but we don’t all have a Mentor. I feel privileged to have had such an experience. May you all find your Mentor.

Now, here’s how you go about it. Get up real early in the morning, go to a mirror, and look deep into your own eyes. When you find them again you’ve found your Mentor. Think about it…

Peace and Balance,

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sometimes It Just Has To Happen

Sometimes it happens, your wandering the cosmos of your thought processes when you swear you can hear the familiar sound of an old metal fan pinging with the sound of something hitting it hard. This is usually the first warning sign that something has gone afoul. If your instincts are tuned fine enough you might even feel dizzy or become slightly nauseated. Your ears might buzz and your head may burn, some how you know something is wrong in the world.

Now think, have you ever suddenly known that it was about to swing wrong in your direction? Has your dejavu instinct gone off, your spidey sense tingle? I think maybe so. The problem is that most of us tend to ignore the tinglings and the sounds of that rusty old fan, usually to our dismay.

We are human beings and within us is hidden the secret “humane” being that sends us these signals hoping we will learn to listen, and most often we do not. We all are born with this survival instinct in tacked and we, or most of us, have it squished by other nerdowells as we grow.

Learn to listen to that instinct, become the spider man for a moment and recognize the sounds of your personal fan before it is struck with a foul odor. If you’re wrong you’ll get over it. If you’re right, then you’ve averted a potential stinky situation.

Think about what I’ve just written, and remember, “I told you so.”

Peace and Balance,

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Recently I was reminded of a few tests given to teenagers to determine their learning process, abilities, and styles. These tests to inform the taker of his or her ability to go further down the road of academia are taken to fulfill a requirement each high school student in the US has to graduate, a portfolio of learning.

Intelligence to me has always been the product of learning and experience, not the product of a test taken to discover said intelligence. I’m wondering if we live in an environment that teaches us the skill of survival are those skills considered intelligence? In my opinion, of course yes, any skill learnt through doing teaches us an amount of intelligence.

Some would tell us that intelligence is the measure of potential to learn and not the subject learnt. I say it is both, the subject or experience and the learners potential.

When I was young my father, an educator of some substantial regard, never would allow me to be given an IQ test. I have since taken one myself for curiosity sake, but will never divulge said numbers. My learning styles are also lost to the round receptacle in the corner. Is it possible that our society places to much importance on fabricated norms of the majority? Hmmmm, I wonder…

Peace and Balance,

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Blogging is an art, an art that is often forgotten. We intend to write, and time passes by. We intend some more, and time passes by. Before you know it time has swept us away into the distant void and blogging is forgotten to the past.

Awaking can be an interesting event. We visit the blog and notice the last entry to be very early July of this year. That is almost six months ago. Time indeed has done it’s playing upon our interest and the blog has suffered. To my readers I apologize for forgetting and having been caught up in the wave of time. The blackness had dragged me with it singing it’s song lulling my writing to sleep. I am now awake, Vanwinkle remembering the past. I will use the past as a tool to write to you, the reader.

As a writer it is my responsibility to entertain and inform, to keep your interest and to maintain the writing process. That, which has suffered these many months, Now and Zen, I will endeavor to write and keep the promises of the past to your eyes and interests.

So to you the reader I apologize again and hope that you will continue to read and enjoy what you see, possibly even learn something on the way.

Peace and Balance,