But She Has A Good Name For a Flash Gordon Villain
Trumpette and Stephen Miller disciple Zina Bash made Twitter news when she was seen sitting behind supreme court hopeful Brett Kavanaugh, awkwardly contorting her right hand into a symbol that most media aware people recognize as the new White Power symbol (three fingers forming a “W” while the thumb and forefinger form an “OK”, i.e. “it’s OK to be White”):
Her husband John Bash took to Twitter to defend his wife, of course, and I thought his argument seemed sound:
But then, after the initial uproar, Zina Bash did it again….
So either Zina Bash is a very clumsy racist, is trolling the world, really has no sense of how to put a scandal behind her, or…. this is my theory… Zina Bash has Tourettes of the hands.
The Good List
Currently on TV, one can watch the following shows: The Good Cop, The Good Wife, The Good Place, and The Good Fight.
Oh, Bezos, You Card
Based on my shopping history, Amazon recommended that I buy…. my own book.
Joke’s on you, Bezos. I already own a copy!
Back in 2011, I wrote an article explaining how the US assassination of Osama bin Laden was harmful to global public health efforts in many parts of the developing world.
The journal issued an unbelievable disclaimer after my piece, asserting that its editors do not “necessarily mirror the opinion of the publisher of this journal” and that since “the publisher is not censuring academic opinions the decision was made to make this content publicly available.” I have never seen any such disclaimer expressed in any other peer-reviewed journal. I am still stunned by this move to this day.
Whoohoo! I take it as a win.
This is possibly the greatest title of any paper ever published: “On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bullshit”
But on a more serious note, I draw your attention to this article, which suggests that wealthy California communities are loci for under-vaccination. I just want to point out that I predicted that finding 10 years ago… which got me into a few heated arguments with various yoga teachers.
In (Self Defence) of the Martial Arts
I have long proclaimed that the wisest decision I ever made in my youth was to commit to being a lifelong student of the martial arts. From my teen years to my late thirties, I trained almost daily in up to twelve different traditional fighting arts.
Like most people, I took them up initially to learn how to fight. But I quickly realized –and the advent of MMA and the UFC dramatically confirmed– that traditional martial arts actually don’t teach you much about self-defence. But they do teach you about self-development and self-knowledge… aspects of the ego that I would characterize as the essence of spirituality.
An important boon offered by such training is mental control, and that is what I think I’ve been able to retain into my middle age, well past the years when I train formally or indeed regularly. And this is why MMA is the only sport that I follow and watch: not for the violence or even the techniques, but for an appreciation of the exposition of mental strength.
To challenge myself back in my athletic days, I competed in scores of point-fighting karate tournaments, scores more of forms (kata) competitions, dabbled in full contact muay thai in Thailand, full contact Western boxing, and a tiny bit of refereed randori during my judo and jiujitsu days. None of it, save the muay thai, I would characterize as actual fighting. But all of it was designed to be maximally frightening.
I recall –fondly, mind you– being almost paralyzed with fear a couple of times, just waiting on deck to perform a kata in front of a trio of grim old Japanese men. It was nothing. Less than nothing. Who cares how precisely you can kick and punch the air? The opinions of these men mean nothing to my career, relationships, or life in general.
And yet the scenarios were designed to be simply petrifying. And I love that about them.
See, once you’ve learned to control your emotions in a controlled strange environment like a martial arts event, then doing so in an important, real life scenario becomes that much easier.
In fact, the weekend prior to my PhD defence, I had deliberately competed in a point-fighting tournament (in which I performed very poorly, as usual). It was the usual terrifying experience for me. And yet, when I got to my doctoral defence, I was preternaturally relaxed because, to my mind, how could a bunch of middle aged smiling professors be more intimidating than a trio of grim old Japanese men practised in breaking things with their bare hands?
All of this is to say that lately I’ve been watching MMA for its psychological ramifications more so than its athletic. A case in point is the recent main event of UFC 228, in which welterweight champion Tyron Woodley defended his title against undefeated and favoured challenger Darren Till.
Woodley is disliked by many fans for commonly portraying himself as a put-upon victim, marginalized by his boss and by the system, even though he is the champion, enjoys a choice TV commentating position, is a successful actor and rapper, and is in almost all facets winning in life.
But it occurred to me that that is how Woodley enters into the mental space that allows him to be supreme in a sport that can render real dire consequences if a participant lapses in focus. Woodley needs to generate within himself the certainty that he is an underdog battling the world for relevance, for him to bring his body to optimal performance on fight night.
Lesser minds ratchet up fake anger to drown out the fear that even the hardest of men must feel before entering the cage. The strongest minds, like that of a traditionalist like Lyoto Machida, find preparedness in calmness and quiet, without the need to objectify or vilify an opponent.
And then there is the always interesting Conor McGregor, who has one of the most difficult mental games I’ve ever perceived in a professional athlete. It seems that Conor has to convince himself that he is untouchable and destined for greatness, while at the same time accepting the possibility of failure, such that he can prepare for such circumstances.
It’s a delicate psychological balance that, to me, typifies how professional athletes really are special people. But for professional fighters on the world stage, where the consequences for mental weakness are so physically dire, that balance is all the more precarious. It fascinates me no end.
That’s all I have to say about that. For now.
The Blonde One and I attended a scholarly event on medical cannabis at the University of Toronto this past week. While there, we took the time to digitally vandalize the innocent office label of an innocent scientist who surely deserves better:
It’s Breakfast Time!
As is my wont, here are my recent Overly Complicated Breakfasts…
Sep 15. There are still two outstanding “lost” episodes of Science Monkey, which I will upload one day soon. In the mean time, rest assured that I sometimes find time to have vegan South Indian food with this guy:
It’s Time! It’s Time! It’s Gerbil Time!
As I first shared with you back in August, I’ve been regularly annoying the Blonde One with my insistence on writing a never-ending song about gerbils invading my intestinal tract. Why? Because I’m that kind of asshole (pun intended).
I give you now a taste of the ever-evolving lyrics. This installment is meant to be sung to the Jurassic Park theme:
Those gerbils in my bum
They’re having so much fun
Those gerrrrrbils innnn my buuuuum
They leave me sore and swollen
As they explore my colon
Where no one sees the sun
They burrow in my rear
Like with Richard Gere
(That’s why he cannot run)
And though it’s brown, not pinker
They do like my sphincter
It’s their favourite source of fun
Okay, it’s not quite Shakespeare, but it’s coming along. Later in the day, I found myself singing under my breath, to the tune of The Rainbow Connection, “Why are there so many songs about gerbils / And why they’re inside my bum?”
Ah, it’s so grand to be me.
What Can I Add After That?
Nothing much. So here is my adorable adopted four legged son to say goodbye until next time:
P.S. I just learned the word “hypostatic” from watching the new Norm MacDonald show.