I was going to write a little some Veteran’s Day that was once Armistice Day to introduce a beautiful passage from “Breakfast of Champions” by Kurt Vonnegut, but Doktor Zoom beat me to it. You should read what the Doktor wrote. You don’t have to come back if you don’t want. All that is left here is the passage I wanted to introduce. Doktor Zoom has it in his blog piece. So you can move on.
“So this book is a sidewalk strewn with junk, trash which I throw over my shoulders as I travel in time back to November eleventh, nineteen hundred and twenty-two.
“I will come to a time in my backwards trip when November eleventh, accidentally my birthday, was a sacred day called Armistice Day. When I was a boy, and when Dwayne Hoover was a boy, all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
“It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.
“Armistice Day has become Veterans’ Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans’ Day is not.
“So I will throw Veterans’ Day over my shoulder. Armistice Day I will keep. I don’t want to throw away any sacred things.”
I know that this iteration of JimFormation is relatively new. I apologize for that. I should have just kept the damned blog up forever and moved it here-and-nigh as a whole. Instead, I’ve always just stopped cold turkey and pulled the plug on my site. Always starting somewhere and some-way brand new.
That said, JimFormation has almost always been a single narrow column of text and photos. The width of the site has almost always been about 500 pixels wide with the text being about 12 pixels high.
For good or bad, I just changed it. The column is 700 pixels wide and the main text is a massive 18 pixels high. Listen, all the cool kids have already done something like this. Just check out the cats at 37signals or Jeff Zeldman’s site or my good friend Randy’s site, Big White Guy.
So times have changed. JimFormation has changed with it.
That is all.
An amazing re-imagining of one of my favorite movies, Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window”:
Rear Window Timelapse from Jeff Desom on Vimeo.
20 years ago Richard Preston wrote “The Hot Zone.” It was about a rare virus called the ebola virus. Ebola is all over the news right now. Google it. You’ll see. The book was breath-taking in its science, its history, and its drama. But I was taken by something that Richard Preston said late in the book. I’ve carried this paragraph (which I’ve broken up for web consumption) with me since I read the book. Preston was talking about viruses like ebola and HIV that come out of the rainforests and hit the human population with no mercy. And that maybe it is simply the earth fighting back against humans. I’ll let Mr. Preston say his piece:
“In a sense, the earth is mounting an immune response against the human species. It is beginning to react to the human parasite, the flooding infection of people, the dead spots of concrete all over the planet, the cancerous rot-outs in Europe, Japan, and the United States, thick with replicating primates, the colonies enlarging and spreading and threatening to shock the biosphere with mass extinctions.
“Perhaps the biosphere does not ‘like’ the idea of five billion humans. Or it could also be said that the extreme amplification of the human race, which has occurred on in the past hundred years or so, has suddenly produced a very large quantity of meat, which is sitting everywhere in the biosphere and may not be able to defend itself against a life form that might want to consume it.
“Nature has interesting ways of balancing itself. The rain forest has its own defenses. The earth’s immune system, so to speak, has recognized the presence of the human species and is starting to kick in. The earth is attempting to rid itself of an infection by the human parasite.”
Since this book was written, nature is becoming even more protective. Consider that we humans have done everything we can to get nature out of our lives.
We have walled ourselves into artificial caves that not only keep out the animals (all but the few that we’ve domesticated or keep in cages and jars), but also keep out the smallest of creatures. If an insect dare make its way into our homes, we kill it. If too many make it, we call a specialist to kill all of them.
Our hospitals are worse. Our hospitals even look to keep microscopic nature out of our lives. We carbolize and sterilize large internal areas. Our goal is to kill everything that lives, no matter how small, but humans.
We are mono-cropping humans. And nature abhors a mono-crop and relishes diversity.
So what has She done? She has created super microbes that resist our ability to wipe them out. She has created MRSA and C. Diff and VRE. Most of them exist only in our hospitals. It’s like they were created to turn meat, our meat, back into dirt.
And in our dirt, She will once again grow a natural, bio-diverse environment.
I am old enough to remember what food looks like. Oranges aren’t perfectly round or uniformly colored. Carrots aren’t all the same shape and size. The best, sweetest apples are often hideously deformed. Potatoes are downright ugly.
The fruits and veggies I see today are impostors. Stepford fruits and veggies. I never trusted them once I saw them for what they were.
I long for the day of ugly, real food.
Enter, “Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables”:
“The opposite of courage is conformity.”
~ Rickson Gracie
Most week nights you can find me at Madama Jiu-Jitsu Academy. I teach the kids classes three nights a week. I take a class or two every night, and will even teach beginner and advanced classes from time-to-time.
Here’s a video that Professor Madama took this evening. You’ll find me rolling in the cage. I’m the guy who transitions to mount and finishes the guy with an arm-in guillotine. (That’s me in the preview image below.)
I am not a soccer fan, but I am one of those people that pay attention during the World Cup. Other than that, soccer doesn’t hit my radar.
I watched several games … err … matches this year in full. As I did during the last World Cup. I have some opinions about the game.
Boring Games. Good Company.
The finals pitted Germany vs. Argentina. Germany won. 1 to nothing … err … nil.
Most of my non-soccer watching friends (and that would be almost all of them) found the game boring and ludicrous. Me too. Kinda.
But here’s the rub: This was the only time that I can recall, including World Series and Super Bowl games, that both of my sons sat down and watched the entire game with me. The entire game. Over 2 hours of soccer boredom, and they stuck with it and me. So there’s something there.
We made jokes and had fun. But there’s something there.
Three Requested Changes.
1. Punish Cheaters
I come from a sport where if you even think that you violated a rule, you call it on yourself. If you cheat, you’re ostracized by the other players. Golf. Golf is a gentleman’s game.
Soccer, on the other hand, is a liars game. Period.
The guys who take obvious dives to get a call from the referee should be taken out in the middle of the pitch before their next game, be surrounded on all sides by the opposing team and a sub-set of fans, and shot with paintball guns for any duration of time that seems too long.
Liars. They are unprofessional, cry-baby liars. I turns me off.
Each game should be reviewed for players taking obvious dives, and they should be dealt with severely. Maybe shooting them with paintball guns is a bit over the top, but fine them and suspend them. They are useless to your sport.
2. Do Something About Offside
Get a blue line like hockey, for Christ’s sake. Your version of offside is ludicrous.
It’ll make the game more exciting. More goals will be scored. And more people will watch … well … a least more Americans will watch. But maybe that’s not your goal.
3. Make It Television Friendly
This one has nothing to do with the rules but more to do with the people who televise the games.
Soccer has no time outs. You watch for 45 minutes, there’s a 15 minute timeout, and then you watch for another 45 minutes. Uninterrupted “action.” This leaves no time for commercials.
At certain points during the game, just squeeze the game a little smaller into the left hand side of the screen. Run a commercial or two in the upper right. And crawls something on the bottom that says something like, “The following commercial-free ten minutes of action is sponsored by Smith’s Widgets. If you need widgets, think Smith’s. Smith’s Widgets, for all your widget needs.”
I think companies would pay for that. But, then again, it doesn’t seem to be an issue.
Actually, none of these seem to be issues. So maybe I should just shut up.
This is Jim. Signing off.
Warning! Shameless Plug Alert!
My wife is a professional health and wellness coach. She has also been a registered nurse for over 25 years.
She has her own business where she helps people reach their health and wellness goals. She doesn’t sell any products or programs. She doesn’t steer her clients towards any products, programs, or lifestyle bull-shitty things.
She knows, and has been professionally trained to understand, that your path to wellness is within you. You’re intelligent. You’re an adult. You innately know what’s good for you and what isn’t. But with all the trappings of modern society it’s not easy to keep on the healthy straight-and-narrow.
It’s easy to eat bad food. It’s easy to sit around and watch television. Or go out drinking. It’s easy to join and gym and easier yet to never go there. It’s easy to say that you’re going to quit smoking, after this next pack. And on and on.
I’m not trying to be a commercial here. (Okay, maybe I am.) But I’m trying to be a sincere commercial. Let me say it clearly:
If you are finding it difficult to set and/or maintain goals that directly impact your life, talk to my wife. She can help you. Honestly, she can.
Go to her website (which I put together) to find out more:
EVER TRIED. EVER FAILED. NO MATTER. TRY AGAIN. FAIL AGAIN. FAIL BETTER.