Monday, July 21, 2014

A Houseguest With A Most Peeculiar Manner

Meet Flag.

He's a very cute Lab mix and rather social. A year older than Jett, he's smaller but can keep up with the play by play.

While we were up in Huntsville, Flag's owner happily and graciously boarded Jett and he and Flag had a grand time and Jett was quite the fine guest.

Today Tash, the kids, and Flag's family headed off to Michigan's Adventure park (for the first time ever for our kids) and it was only natural that I take Flag in for the couple days and look after him.

Unfortunately, and unbeknownst to his owner or us, Flag's Indian name apparently is "Guest Who Frequently Pees In Visited Home A Lot".

He is housebroken at home, but he won't stop pissing all over the place here, even after being walked and going happily outside, he comes back in and goes again, and again, and again. Argh.

I'm spending more time with odor remover and paper towel scrubbing the carpet and tile than I ever did before Jett was housebroken. Heck, Jett even looks at him like "WTF dude, keep it in until you're outside!"

Flag's Korean name is now on the perilously close to becoming "Tastes Good With BBQ Sauce When Smoked Until Tender".

The dog is now clinging to me like glue, trying to desperately distract me from picking up the phone and calling the nearest Korean restaurant for a trade in value.....

Man Versus Ivy Part 1

Yesterday after returning home from the seminar it was time to engage in some chemical warfare.

At the local hardware store, following some helpful suggestions from my commenters, I purchased this:

After carefully reading the directions I donned jeans, boots and long sleeves and got to work.

There's even more poison Ivy than I thought, with multiple separate patches in addition to the huge and very visible patch I had found before.

There's also some that is as tall as the fence and I found it in more than just one spot.

All of it received a solid treatment of Roundup, note the newly wet leaves.

The directions state it will take more treatments and likely up to 4 weeks before it gets the ivy killed off, so we'll see how it goes.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Back From The Iha Dojo National Training Seminar

From Friday until now I was over in Lansing, Michigan for the Iha Dojo Karate National Training Seminar. I found out I made the promotional card with a photo of the seminar from last year, which is kinda cool.

The seminar is three days of karate instruction, meeting friends both new and old from a number of dojos around the country and the world, and having a good time doing so. There was a strong showing of contingents from the New York, New Jersey and the Canadian Dojos this year.

This year it was held at the Lansing Convention Center so we were right in downtown Lansing with many restaurants and bars in easy walking distance. This would be useful during lunch breaks and after the classes ended.

The convention floor was concrete with a thin layer of carpet over it, which made break-falling particularly exciting, especially the fall in Passai Sho Bunkai where you have to do a forward roll as the person in the center of the bunkai pulls your arm forward and throws you via that leverage after you punch towards them with that arm. It was fine as long as you were careful and everyone was paying attention.

Before each session started everyone would meet and socialize while they were warming up.

Sensei Iha (10th Dan) or Sensei Barker (9th Dan), his Sampai or senior student, would lead the training, and we worked on kata, bunkai and partnership drills. Careful attention was paid to body mechanics, typically keeping ones elbows in among other things, turning on one's axis and proper movement, balance, and weight shifting.

Here's a shot of Sensei Iha (10th Dan) or Sensei Barker (9th Dan) and Sensei Menders (8th Dan - in the red and white striped belt)

Sensei Iha at over 80 years old is not only still sharper than a tack but also in amazing physical shape. Sensei Barker, in his late 70s, can similarly deliver a kick that can send you into a neighboring state, or a punch so focused with all their power and body behind it that your ancestors will feel it. It's a good thing they're both wonderfully nice and peaceful individuals with a great amount of patience and a love of teaching karate, and we're very lucky to have them both.

This morning Sensei Iha for example demonstrated on a 6th Degree black belt the concepts of axis and was able to show that with punch throw at him he can basically control the attacker's movements and put him wherever he wants, typically ending with a thud. We then learned these applications and commenced to locking up an opponent once they punched at various angles (hiugh, low, middle) and then (gently) throwing them and vice-versa.

All this physical work creates a powerful thirst so last night the memebrs of my dojo headed to the Midtown Brewing Co.

They had a decent list of beers:

When asked which of them we wanted to drink, the answer was yes, and yes it was so.

Dinner was served.

Oh, I also had a black and blue burger that was awesome, but back to the beer.

The sample included a Hopwood Double IPA with a 9% alcohol content. Barrel-aged it was excellent going down and then hit like a ton of bricks. The other IPAs were also quite good, as were the amber ales. The best by far however was the All Night Long Coffee Stout. The stout had a rich taste of coffee but was not bitter nor over-sweet and was an excellent beer to finish up the time at the restaurant.

We then met up with yet more karateka wandering Lansing's streets and then headed to the hotel bar for some fine sipping whiskeys before calling it a night.

I was awoken at 2:30 am by some idiots in the next room not from our seminar who had got back from the bars and were yelling and carrying on. Finally they shut up around 3:30 or so and I was able to get some sleep. Since I had to be up at 7 to meet up with the other people from my dojo for breakfast and then get ready for an early morning for today's seminar, my alarm was set. Completely fortuitously, the alarm ended up being located right beside the adjoining wall from whence last night's rudeness came, and it went off loudly and I sadly in the rush of the moment forgot to turn it off for some time. I may have also banged into the wall a few times getting ready, how clumsy of me.

After today's morning session we all changed, checked out of the hotel and went to the celebratory banquet and then headed home.

It was great seeing a lot of friends from prior seminars and training with lots of different people, most of them with much greater experience than I, and learning some very neat new (to me) techniques.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Michigan Democrat Tries To Put Fireworks Toothpaste Back In The Tube

Oh, the noise, the noise the noise.

Michigan's own fireworks Grinch is trying to introduce legislation to again ban fireworks in this state.

The Detroit Free Press: Michigan lawmaker's bill would douse purchases of bigger fireworks

Saying he and his wife are fed up with high-powered fireworks in their neighborhood, the only state senator to vote in 2011 against expanding Michigan’s range of legal fireworks said today he wants to rescind the law.

“My bill will roll us back to exactly what we had before,” when Michiganders could buy only relatively weak fireworks like firecrackers and sparklers, said state Sen. Glenn Anderson, D-Westland.

“You’re still going to have people who drive an hour to cross the state line” and buy more powerful fireworks, Anderson said.

“But they shouldn’t be available at corner stands and every party store,” he said.

Awfully honest of him to admit that it won't change anything and that his bill will encourage illegal behavior, not to mention deprive the state of needed tax revenue now isn't it?

The legislation has about the same chance as a firecracker going off after being submerged for a week underwater.

The bill does illustrate the average Democrat legislator's (and quite a few Republican legislators as well) mentality of "I don't like it so let's ban it".

Who Knew DDOT Stood For Drunken Drivers Offer Transport?

Tam has a continuing series detailing the follies of the Indianapolis Police Department and its officers issues with drunken driving and subsequent crashes.

Police, in sedans, driving drunk.

Detroit decided to top that in a big way with drunken bus drivers: DDOT bus driver accused of drunken driving in hit-and-run crash

Police say they arrested a Detroit Department of Transportation bus driver who had a blood alcohol level twice the legal limit after he sideswiped a car and then fled the scene with passengers on board.

An Ontario Tradition - The Beer Store

Ontario, unlike more libertarian leaning polities, keeps its alcohol sales under tight government regulation and control.

This does not stop minors from getting beer mind you, but it keeps the tax money rolling in.

To purchase beer, you need go to the imaginatively named Beer Store.

Then after entering you look at the displays on the walls and pick the beer you want and tell the clerk how much you want of it, you pay for it, and then they'll get it from the back for you, with it coming out after being pushed on a track covered in rollers to make it zip on out.

Here's two of the wall displays:

As you can see, it's certainly not cheap ($35.95 for a two-four of Labatt's Blue is highway flippin' robbery) and the selection, while much improved from the days of my youth (I remember taking trips to the Martimes with a highlight of the trip being the "smuggling" back of Moosehead beer that was unavailable in Ontario), is still rather small compared to say a Meijer's or Hiller's grocery store.

For wine, liquor and other beers, you have to go to a geographically separate government store, the LCBO, where you can actually pick the bottles you want and take them to the cashier to pay.

On the upside, there were some fine Canadian beers available at the Beer Store that you don't see much anywhere else.

We bought some Granville Island English Bay Pale Ale, having never tried any before and found it quite tasty indeed. Not as hoppy as a full IPA but clean, crisp and perfect for a hot day with some freshly grilled steaks. I'd have it again without hesitation.

Having gotten used to both Michigan selection and relative ease of purchase of beer, not to mention the prices, going back to the Beer Store was a bit of a culture shock.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Huntsville Car For Keads

I was up in Toronto and Huntsville Ontario last week for some family things.

While walking along main street in Huntsville I passed by a Ford Mustang and remembering Keads' affection for the beasts, I took a couple pictures.

The owner saw me admiring the car and snapping some pictures and offered to pop the hood so I could snap one of the engine.

The car was in darn nice shape and looks like a nice example of Equus Caballus Fordae.

While The Media May Oftentimes Be The Enemy, You Really Shouldn't Shoot Them

So, just four days after an 88-year-old man is brutally assaulted and robbed when he opened his door in Detroit to a stranger, a local ABC affiliate station, WXYZ, decided to surprise him at his door without calling ahead.

What could possibly go wrong?

Well, this: The Detroit News: Robbery victim shoots at Detroit TV news crew.

Luckily no one was hurt, but that was a highly ill-conceived way to approach a recent victim of a traumatic attack.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Axe Meets Gun in Detroit CPL-Free Zone

On Sunday, Sumdood decided to show up at a church in Detroit with an axe to grind.

Very luckily for the church and its congregants, because the church is an otherwise by law concealed-firearm free zone, there was an off-duty police officer present with his service weapon. After the suspect tried to bury the hatchet in him, he managed to shoot him and end the episode.

The Detroit News: Hatchet-wielding man attacks off-duty Detroit cop at church

Thankfully, the officer only suffered minor wounds and hopefully will make a complete recovery.

Meanwhile, Axe dude, who is (surprise!) described as mentally ill, is in critical condition in hospital.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

On Combat – A Vital Read For Anyone Lawfully Carrying

On Combat, The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace , by David Grossman and Loren Christiansen gives perhaps one of the most comprehensive looks at the psychology and physiology of the human being in a deadly force situation. While most applicable and clearly directed toward members of the military and law enforcement, there is a wealth of information for civilian concealed carriers regarding both the psychological and physiological elements of a deadly force encounter and its aftermath.

I had heard Lt. Col Grossman's riveting presentation at the NRA Convention, and this book goes into spectacular amounts of detail on areas he touched upon in the presentation. He writes as rivetingly and as clearly as he speaks.

Both authors know exactly what they’re talking about, with Lt. Col. Grossman being both a psychologist and a military officer and perhaps the foremost expert on the psychological and physiological effects of deadly force encounters on people, and Mr. Christensen being a law enforcement officer, military veteran, and martial artist with years of real world experience.

The book details the variety of possible automatic responses to a deadly force encounter caused by the body’s nervous system, and knowing about them makes one better prepared to deal with them should they likely occur.

One vital item of use is the illustration of the likelihood of memory loss in a deadly force encounter:

“It is common in the first 24 hours to recall roughly 30 percent of the occurrence, 50 percent of it after 48 hours and 75 to 95 percent after 72 to 100 hours. This is why it is so important for investigators to interview participants of a critical incident again after they have gotten one or more nights of quality sleep.”

A civilian self-defender will likely not get a critical incident debrief but is far more likely to get a critical incident interrogation. It’s most likely that the police will not wait to begin questioning until after 72 hours have passed and you’ve had a good night’s sleep to process the trauma of the incident. The statements you give initially that you may have believed to be true can be used against you later as they appear to contradict your later statements when you remember the incident more fully.

You can now appreciate the need after a self-defense shooting to give only a very brief statement and then immediately insist on refusing to speak about any details until you’ve contacted your attorney.

That’s just one small portion addressing just one of many of the psychological and physiological likely responses of a deadly force encounter in a 403-page book chock-full of such useful information.

I’d very highly recommend On Combat, as a vital read and an important addition to any law enforcement, military or civilian carrier’s library.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Wayne County Justice

SO in the Steve Utash Racially biased (but not charged as a hate crime) beating that left him in a coma, we get the following sentencing results:

So far, one attacker gets 6-10 years in prison, which seems appropriate.

But, the other convicted attacker gets 3 years probation.

The Detroit News: One man gets prison sentence, another gets probation for Detroit motorist beating