And a year later…

January 30, 2014 at 2:38 pm (By Ron, Uncategorized)


Yeah, January 31st!

So, after a crazy year where am I?  Have things gotten better?  Worse?  The same?

Overall, I’d say things are cautiously better.  I’m out of a bad living situation, and while where I am is still tentative and not really where I want to be ultimately, it’s far better than things were last spring.  My health…is better too, but s-l-o-w-l-y over what it was.  Of the two illnesses I had last June, one is gone completely and the other…is still there, but far better.  My leg illnesses is First World War like; lots of energy expended for gradual improvements.  But they are improvements!  I figure when I take the dirt nap I’ll be in great shape!  Hmmm……

Mentally, things are much better, but not really for rational reasons!  I think I see so many folks around me my age, tired, cranky, defeated, frustrated that they realize they aren’t going to be Mick Jagger (or Tom Wolfe, if you want to get a bit more toney) and I feel oddly fresher than when I was 25.  As with most good things in my life I have to give credit for this to Nietzsche.  He’s the only writer I’ve ever read that has given me a workout and energy for life for decades.  Even when I flag, that Zarathustrean esprit carries me through.  As he said of Goethe, Nietzsche has “disciplined me to gentleness and a wisdom full of pranks.”  You’ve all suffered through my puns; I can’t help it, that’s where I find that crackle, that lightning charge, that goofy delight in life and learning.  Feh, on stodginess and seriousness.  Astaire has taught me the virtue of light feet.  (This from the guy with the swollen leg!)

There’s so much to do…and not enough resources, funds, and time.  But we do what we can; writing here continues apace, and I even can find my peace and joy in it.  I don’t edit myself anymore; why bother?  Just go with where your finger energy takes you and figure it out later.

Among the goofy ideas I’d like to do…


See that ’49 Cadillac?  I’d like to get something like that…..and make it a hybrid.  It wouldn’t be too hard I think, and the idea of getting say,  25 mpg, out of a tank like that has a lot of contrarian appeal.

Plus…lets look for a partner to do this:


Love to you all, especially our Greenwich Floridian and Hostess, just for setting this whole shee-bang up!


Checkout the birthday card from my very sweet amiga, Lela Dowling!


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Best Advertizing Campaign Ever!

January 29, 2014 at 2:30 pm (Icepick)

Report: Some Bay Area Communities Could Run Out Of Water Within 4 Months

Matt Bigler reporting for KCBS:

SAN JOSE (KCBS) — As the drought in California continues, 17 communities throughout the state could run out of water within 60 to 120 days, state officials said.

In some districts, the wells are running dry while other reservoirs are nearly empty. The state Health Department compiled a list after surveying the more than 3,000 water agencies in California last week.

Et cetera, and so on.

But it turns out that this is all part of the world’s most clever advertizing campaign.

Stay thirsty, my friends!

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Adventures in Cell Phone Texting Autocorrect

January 28, 2014 at 10:35 am (Icepick) ()

“She wacko to the apple and called me silly.”

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56 years ago…this evening!

January 26, 2014 at 1:22 am (By Ron)

Here’s Buddy Holly on The Ed Sullivan Show, 56 years ago today!  (I have another copy of this video with the actual date)   Five days later….the US launches it’s first space satellite Explorer I …. and I showed up.  Leave your brickbats in the comments!

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Parental Observation #5

January 20, 2014 at 3:17 pm (Icepick) ()

Donna B. left the following comment to an earlier observation.

You are doing well to document these times. You can refer back to this when you are the grandparent of a 3-year-old. It will help you in teaching them to better master the skills that drive their parents nuts. Payback is fun!

The moral of the story: Revenge is a dish best served old.

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Parental Observation #4

January 20, 2014 at 3:13 pm (Icepick) ()

They’re little angels when they’re asleep.

They’re not little angels nearly often enough.

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360 Days of the Cherry Tree

January 17, 2014 at 4:58 pm (Guest Post)

by Nobuyuki Kishi

When you hear the words “cherry tree,” I bet you think of the cherry blossoms. But those flowers blossom for only five days out of the whole year. And once the flowers are gone, people don’t pay any attention to the trees. Considering the number of days, however, you can say that the normal appearance of the cherry trees actually is without blossoms. Life is the same way: you go through beautiful times and not-so-beautiful times; you might even go through hard times. When your blossoms are gone, you see how people around you can leave you at the speed of light. People praise the beauty of the cherry blossoms and turn their backs once the flowers are gone. Sad, isn’t it? But you should remember to be the cherry tree itself, not the flowers. The tree that continues to stand tall and magnificent with its strong roots, especially when the blossoms are gone and people have left. This is why I admire cherry trees and compare life to them. They don’t say, “All my flowers are gone and no one is looking at me anymore, so I think I’ll collapse now.” You don’t see cherry trees do that. Those flowerless trees may seem dead and quiet, but beneath the surface they are full of life and energy. And they constantly grow stronger to let the flowers out again the following spring. Whether people admire them or not makes no difference to these trees.

When a person gains fame and social status in his youth and then loses that power, he may think that he’s failed for life. He then struggles hard to become successful again, to regain everything he’s lost, like trying to collect all the fallen flowers on the ground and glue them back on the branches. Some people might end up attempting suicide out of despair, but that’s because they have misunderstood something important: the cherry tree without the flowers. That’s the real you. Don’t be thinking, “This is not what I’m supposed to be.” It’s exactly who you are supposed to be. A cherry tree without flowers is still a cherry tree. I’m in my mid-60s now. When I was still around 45 years old and had ambitions for the New York Kishi Dojo, my mother became sick and I left the city for good to be home with her. Training here for twenty years has been rather quiet and lonely, and it’s quite different from the environment in New York. But now my Karate juniors and students come here to Shinjo from all over the world, just to visit me. My life hasn’t been so outstanding that I’m in any position to preach to others, and I understand that many youngsters long to have the cherry blossoms in their lives. But I want to tell them this: “Instead of focusing on blossoming, focus on rooting deeply into the ground.” And, “Stand strong and tall even when you have rains and storms in your life.” Japanese often describe cherry blossoms as graceful when they fall, but that’s not the only thing that is graceful. What’s truly graceful is the tree that lets the flowers go and focuses on growing its roots, trunk, and branches in order to become stronger and to live tomorrow.

From The Karate With No Name: Seeking the Wellspring of Karate in Japan

By Nobuyuki Kishi, as told to Takeru Fudo


Translation by Emi Mimura; editing by Susan Convery and Annie Gottlieb

Posted with permission

Sensei Nobuyuki Kishi was my karate teacher from 1974 to 1987, and a close friend of Jacques and me. While he returned to Japan for good two decades ago, his teaching continues to influence me, and his student Sensei Masahiko Honma is now my karate teacher in New York. ~ amba

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January 17, 2014 at 4:42 pm (Icepick) (, )


Below, the real treats….

Read the rest of this entry »

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Parental Observation #3

January 14, 2014 at 10:07 pm (Icepick) ()

Every day in which you don’t eat their head must be counted as at least a partial success.

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Parental Observation #2

January 14, 2014 at 6:46 pm (Icepick) ()

It’s always funnier when it happens to someone else. (This is more widely applicable to the human condition, of course.)

Example: My wife sent me an email earlier this afternoon, which read:

I saw your post on Ambiance. ([Amba] shared it on FB.) I laughed and laughed. Then I realized you wrote it.

We’ve all been there.

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