My body has traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tulip Time!

Tulip time is coming! Or officially “The Holland Tulip Time Festival”.
I know this because my own actually started blooming yesterday already (above). I've got somewhere around 300 bulbs as another nod to my mother but the city puts in 550,000 (every year) with a specially built machine (by a local company too) to plant them in roadside lanes for miles.

This is cause for excitement or dread on the part of locals, depending on their mindset.
I’ve been in both camps on different years, this year being more indifferent.
At one point in time, it was the #2 or 3 flower festival in the US now in it’s 80th year I believe.

If you enjoy festivals, diverse people, parades and “fair food”, people get pretty excited.
If you hate festivals, lots of “blue hairs”, bad drivers and even worse traffic, stay away.
Having grown up here, involvement with it is inevitable.
I’ve marched in something like 14 parades carrying heavy ass drums and bloody knuckles., something my son has now experienced too.
And I’ve had my share of fair food too, now really only the good point. It’s a real tradition for locals to go during lunch and late at night after crowds have gone.
In years past they’ve finally started working hard to make it actually reflect some true Dutch culture rather than just a tourism money grab.
They now have some very authentic Dutch food (and quite good) available besides corndogs and elephant ears. One year they added a kids play area (Kinderplatz) that, being a "dutch" town, they got the spelling wrong the first year. Not surprising since I had to go to college to learn dutch. And then afterwards learned my Grandparents spoke Frisian
There's even a large market for buying authentic items at surprisingly reasonable prices too.
Finally picked up the traditional Dutchman’s cap last year that I’ve been warning my wife I’d start wearing when I hit 60 ;-)

What’s most odd to me is that 50% of the actual city is now Hispanic and that they’ve decided to add a beer tent.
It’s great to see all the Hispanic school kids in the Volksparade wearing traditional Dutch costumes. Doesn’t bother me but it strikes me odd. I do find it nice that a large part of the community gets involved in some way with the Festival.
And local Dutch are not Nederlans Dutch. The ancestors of the Dutch here are those that left Holland because their strict beliefs were in strong disagreement with the free, open society that characterizes true Dutch. But hey, you can get beer here now too, they actually have a Beer tent event.
I just find it all a bit contradictory.

And jeez, if I hear one more report of “will the tulips be early/late this year?“( a stemfest)……..

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Navadisha seminar

Traveled with Mushtaq and Mariah (and Randy of course) to Chicago last weekend to put on the first ever Navadisha seminar for the public. John's a big fan of anything old school and we'd been planning this for a long time.
By all reports the seminar was a great hit. We tried to keep things moving at a good clip and from what I could tell, everyone was having a great time and learning non-stop.
Navadisha isn't a very complex system (sic) and as Mushtaq noted, one could learn the entire system in 6 months of hard study. Perfecting it of course is a lifetime.
So when trying to design the curriculum for the seminar it can be a bit difficult.
Navadisha is more concept based than technique based. More movement based than combination based.
Combinations are great if the universe would cooperate and hold still while you execute it. Still negotiating with the cosmos for that.
So, the key theme of the seminar was to introduce the concepts in a way that continually drilled in the movements and made them natural to they way the person already moved.
We began with basic stick warm up drills. The concept in these drills is to learn to utilize the elbow for rotation and not the wrist as it often more instinct.
The elbow rotation ties into the movement of all the future concepts.
And if rotating between the joints, all the better.
Next we covered the first two of the three infinities. All techniques in Navadisha are to be found in some point of the infinities.

Eventually footwork using the infinities was explored as well.

Wrong footwork

Correct footwork!

Superb footwork!!

The three differing concepts of meets, follows and passes was also touched upon.

Eventually all was put together with a free flow exercise working at a slow speed to find the flow with your partner. The key to gaining from the exercise is to learn from what you do wrong, not what you do right. When your flow is disrupted, that's where you discover your errors and examine what to correct.

All in all, a great time was had by all. Those teaching as well as those absorbing.

I should note that Mariah did a fantastic job working with the group. Whether demo-ing, partnering or correcting, she was fantastic. All the guys took her serious (as well they should), which I expected from John's group anyway and when I caught what she was correcting people with, it was on the money.

Ron Kaszak, a long time student of Rich Lameroux was a real treat to flow with for Mushtaq and myself. Ron has some considerable skill and similar roots too. Good to see him feeling well and I was honored that he made the time to come.

Nice to see Brandon Cash from the Bandalan group too!!

Don't eyeball me!

John, care to explain this?

You'll have to host a seminar to learn the secret back scratch technique

I was also awarded a 3rd degree black by the Sulong organization. Something I don't covet but I do take their awarding it with all seriousness.

Spring has spring

Marvelous weather over the weekend, 65 on both Saturday and Sunday. Got all the ponds going again and lots more. And last night was a raging thunderstorm with lots of lightning. For reasons I don't know (but Steve Perry probably does), lightning always seems to spark the grass into growing again so it should be green all over again soon.

The rebirth of nature is one of the grandest reasons to tolerate a Michigan winter and one of my fondest spring memories from childhood is that of my mother's Crocus peeking through the snow.
So here is my ongoing crocus garden tribute to my mother, now gone almost 21 years.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Boy, 12, Kills Man Attacking Mother

Md. Boy, 12, Kills Man Attacking Mother
Officials Undecided On Filing Charges

By Avis Thomas-Lester and Hamil R. Harris
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, April 2, 2008; A01

The 12-year-old boy had finished his homework and was playing a video game when he heard his mother cry out. Rushing to her aid, he found her on the kitchen floor, straddled by a fellow resident of their Prince George's County boarding house, the man's hands wrapped tightly around her neck, the boy said yesterday.

"I kept saying, 'Stop! Stop! Stop!' " the boy said, describing the events of Monday night. "But he just ignored me. He didn't stop. He just kept hurting her."

The boy said he grabbed a knife and swung, slashing 64-year-old Salomon Noubissie across the neck and opening an artery. Noubissie was fatally wounded.

The mother, Cheryl Stamp, said she did not immediately understand what had happened. "What did you do?" she said she asked her son.

"He didn't say anything," she said. "But I knew when I looked in his eyes. I said, 'Oh, Lord.' "

Law enforcement officials were reviewing evidence yesterday and had not decided whether to file charges. Their preliminary account of the incident broadly matches that of the boy and his mother.

The case presents exceedingly unusual circumstances: Rarely is a 12-year-old implicated in a homicide, and even less often does a child that age take a life to protect his mother.

"In Maryland, there can be a legitimate defense of third parties in the event of a violent attack," State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey said. "That is a possibility in this case."

Yesterday, Stamp and her son were secluded in the boarding house on Roosevelt Avenue in the Landover area, curtains closed and doors locked against reporters and neighbors.

Like other neighbors, Turan Queen said she stood by the child. "His reaction was to help his mother," she said. "This was a 12-year-old defending his mother."

Stamp and her son agreed to be interviewed by Washington Post reporters, in part to explain the boy's actions. The Post is not naming the boy because he is a minor.

Efforts to contact Noubissie's family were unsuccessful.

Stamp said she and Noubissie, a Cameroonian immigrant, moved into the boarding house within days of each other about three months ago. They became fast friends, she said.

Stamp said that she is unemployed and that Noubissie had told her he was studying to be a psychiatrist. She said the boarding house is owned by Noubissie's nephew, a Massachusetts resident.

On Monday night, she said, Noubissie was not himself. He started to yell at her and grab her hair, she said. He was speaking in his native French, as he often did, but this time in "a devilish voice," she said. "He was talking crazy," Stamp said.

She said she tried to use "reverse psychology," ordering him to leave the kitchen and go to his room to calm down. His response was violent, she said.

"He threw me into the door so hard it hit my back, and it made my chest start hurting," she said. "Then he threw me to the floor. He threw me down and started choking me. I think that's when my son came in. . . . He protected me."

The boy, who is 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighs 175 pounds, said he acted because he thought he had no choice. "He was hitting her with the broom; then he was choking her," the boy said. "I told him to stop."

He grabbed a knife that he said his family had last used to cut turkey at Thanksgiving dinner.

"I knew I had to kill him so he would stop hurting my mother," he said.

Once she was freed, Stamp said she yelled upstairs for someone to call police. She said her son took her by the arm and led her into their bedroom.

Nearby, Noubissie was flailing and yelling, Stamp and her son said. As the door closed, she noticed the blood coming from his neck. "I didn't know where all that blood was coming from," she said. "He was talking in that language -- loud."

Stamp said she did not realize for several moments that her son, and not she, had been responsible for inflicting the injury that caused Noubissie to release her.

In the bedroom, as they waited for police, the boy did not speak, Stamp said. She sat on a couch, looked down and saw the bloody knife, she said.

Noubissie was alive when police arrived, Stamp said. He was combative with the officers, she said, even as he bled heavily. He died at a hospital. Police sources confirmed her account.

Stamp, who has two adult children and a 17-year-old daughter who lives with the girl's father, said the tragedy was the second to befall her family. She supports herself and her son from "widow's benefits" she has received since her husband fatally shot himself more than 20 years ago. Her eldest son, 27, witnessed the suicide, she said. "I've had enough drama in my life," she said.

The 12-year-old boy said yesterday that he was not happy about what he had done but that he knew that it was the right thing.

"I just asked God again to protect me and my mother," he said. "I told God that I had stabbed him because he was killing my mother. I know he understands, and I think he will keep us safe now."

After the stabbing Monday night, after police had left and neighbors returned to their homes, the two sat and held each other. There was no sleep that night for either.

Officials are deciding whether or not to file charges!?!?!?!?!?!?

They should be stepping over each other to give him a scholarship and the key to the city!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

When you're ready for a new pickup

Here you go. This thing rocks!

And more