Friday, January 30, 2009

LINKS: Don Rearic's blog

I checked Terry Trahan's blog, Weaselcraft, two days ago and noticed the following link. It has been sometime since Don Rearic updated his site, http://www.donrearic.com. Good to see that he is back in business.

Check out Don Rearic's blog, The Reclusionnaire.

LINKS: Kelly McCann's site

Cool! I like Kelly McCann's material which is described as 'combatives'. I was checking his old site, Crucible Security, and it never seemed updated. Forgot all about that site. I checked Terry Trahan's blog, Weaselcraft, two days ago and noticed the link.

No-nonsense material. McCann doesn't teach civilians, only Mil/LEO's. He used to write for the magazine Guns and Ammo under the pen name Jim Grover. Has a bunch of dvd's out sold by Paladin Press.

Check out his site:

http://www.kellymccanncombatives.com/

UFC 94 Fight Card and Predictions

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UFC 94 ST-PIERRE VS PENN 2

Date Time: Jan-31-2009 7pm PT/10pm ET
Location: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Nevada

Description:


Doors open at 4:15pm PT
First bout 4:45pm
Broadcast begins 7:00pm

In March 2006, top welterweights Georges St-Pierre and BJ Penn fought for the division’s No. 1 contender’s spot. St-Pierre earned a razor-thin split decision and went on to win the Ultimate Fighting Championship® welterweight title. Penn dropped to the lightweight division and won the organization’s 155-pound title.

Now they’re about to do it again. But this time, there’s much more at stake. UFC® lightweight champion BJ Penn looks to be the first fighter in history to hold two UFC® championships at the same time when he faces Georges St-Pierre for the UFC® welterweight championship at UFC® 94: ST-PIERRE VS. PENN 2, live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday, January 31, 2009.

Fight Card

Georges St-Pierre Vs. BJ Penn

Name: Georges "Rush" St-Pierre
Height: 5' 10" (178 cm)
Weight: 170 (77 kg)
Record: 17-2-0

Name: BJ "The Prodigy" Penn
Height: 5' 9" (175 cm)
Weight: 170 (77 kg)
Record: 13-4-1

GSP is awesome and exciting to watch. I like him, I like him very much. I don't know if there is a line on the fight, guessing that BJ Penn is the underdog? I like Penn's use of the jab against Sean Sherk. Win, lose or draw, this fight will be one for the fans. Rooting for Penn the underdog and seeing if Penn's jabs will disrupt GSP's gameplan.



Lyoto Machida Vs. Thiago Silva

Name: Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida
Height: 6' 1" (185 cm)
Weight: 205 (93 kg)
Record: 13-0-0

Name: Thiago Silva
Height: 6' 1" (185 cm)
Weight: 205 (93 kg)
Record: 13-0-0

I've only recently gotten back into watching UFC's. So I don't know Thiago Silva that well. I've seen a few of Machida's past few fights. I like his style, it may be boring for most MMA fans who want rock'em/sock'em or awesome subs. Machida is a thinking fighter... mostly a counter-fighter, but if he sees an opening, he will go for it. His style lulls opponents and can frustrate them like his fight against Tito Ortiz. Machida by decision.



Stephan Bonnar Vs. Jon Jones

Name: Stephan "American Psycho" Bonnar
Height: 6' 4" (193 cm)
Weight: 205 (93 kg)
Record: 14-4-0

Name: Jon "Bones" Jones
Height: 6' 4" (193 cm)
Weight: 205 (93 kg)
Record: 7-0-0

Don't know either fighter, although, IIRC, my co-worker says Bonnar is good.



Karo Parisyan Vs. Dong Hyun Kim

Name: Karo "The Heat" Parisyan
Height: 5' 10" (178 cm)
Weight: 170 (77 kg)
Record: 26-5-0

Name: Dong Hyun "Stun Gun" Kim
Height: 6' 1" (185 cm)
Weight: 170 (77 kg)
Record: 11-0-1

Don't know Stun Gun, have seen a few of Karo's fights. A student of Gokor and Gene LeBell. One of the few guys to be successful with judo throws. Rooting for Karo and hoping for some textbook throws.



Nate Diaz Vs. Clay Guida

Name: Nate Diaz
Height: 6' 0" (183 cm)
Weight: 155 (70 kg)
Record: 10-2-0

Name: Clay "The Carpenter" Guida
Height: 5' 7" (170 cm)
Weight: 155 (70 kg)
Record: 24-6-0

Don't know either fighter, although, co-worker says Diaz is decent. Look at Guida's record/experience. Guessing Guida with his experience will bring home a win for him.



Jon Fitch Vs. Akihiro Gono

Name: Jon Fitch
Height: 6' 0" (183 cm)
Weight: 170 (77 kg)
Record: 21-3-1

Name: Akihiro "The Japanese Sensation" Gono
Height: 5' 9" (175 cm)
Weight: 170 (77 kg)
Record: 28-13-7

May not be broadcast.

Don't know either fighter.


Manny Gamburyan Vs. Thiago Tavares

Name: Manny "The Anvil" Gamburyan
Height: 5' 5" (165 cm)
Weight: 155 (70 kg)
Record: 10-4-0

Name: Thiago Tavares
Height: 5' 7" (170 cm)
Weight: 155 (70 kg)
Record: 17-3-0

May not be broadcast.

Don't know either fighter.



Chris Wilson Vs. John Howard

Name: Chris "The Professor" Wilson
Height: 6' 1" (185 cm)
Weight: 170 (77 kg)
Record: 13-4-1

Name: John "Doomsday" Howard
Height: 5' 7" (170 cm)
Weight: 170 (77 kg)
Record: 10-4-0

May not be broadcast.

Don't know either fighter.



Jake O'Brien Vs. Christian Wellisch

Name: Jake "Irish" O'Brien
Height: 6' 3" (191 cm)
Weight: 205 (93 kg)
Record: 10-2-0

Name: Christian "The Hungarian Nightmare" Wellisch
Height: 6' 3" (191 cm)
Weight: 205 (93 kg)
Record: 9-3-0

May not be broadcast.

Don't know either fighter.



Matt Arroyo Vs. Dan Cramer

Name: Matt "No Regard" Arroyo
Height: 6' 0" (183 cm)
Weight: 170 (77 kg)
Record: 3-2-0

Name: Dan Cramer
Height: 6' 2" (188 cm)
Weight: 170 (77 kg)
Record: 0-0-0

Don't know either fighter.

UFC 93 Franklin Vs Henderson - Results and comments

I've been a little busy and wasn't able to post my predictions. So what follows are the results with some brief comments.



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UFC 93 FRANKLIN vs HENDERSON

Date Time: Jan-17-2009 8pm GMT
Location: Dublin

Description:

In the light heavyweight main event, former two-division world champion Dan Henderson will collide with former UFC middleweight king Rich Franklin in three-round war which will set the tone for the 205lbs division in 2009.

Then, 2005 PRIDE® Grand Prix Champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua returns to the Octagon™ to throw down with UFC Hall of Famer Mark Coleman in a rematch MMA fans thought they would never see. The pair last met in Japan in 2006, with the legendary Coleman pulling off a stunning upset by breaking Rua’s arm in the first round.

Fight Card and comments

Rich Franklin Vs. Dan Henderson

Name: Rich "Ace" Franklin
Height: 6' 1" (185 cm)
Weight: 205 (93 kg)
Record: 26-4-0

Name: Dan "Hendo" Henderson
Height: 6' 1" (185 cm)
Weight: 205 (93 kg)
Record: 24-7-0

Dan Henderson Wins by Split Decision at 5:00 in the 3rd round .

I like Henderson and didn't really know Franklin. Only know from the commentary that at the time Henderson was Pride champion, Franklin was UFC champion in the same weight division. Henderson looked sloppy though or tired. Arms were way low, lumbering in... Franklin if he kept up his punch/kick combo, probably could've knocked Henderson out with a surprise kick to the head. He set it up all night with the kick to the body. With like 35 seconds to the fight in the round, Henderson unintentionally fingerjabs Franklin's eyes. Franklin got to rest for 2 minutes. But up to that point, Dan looked gassed out and if Franklin was able to press on, he probably would've won. That timeout gave Dan enough rest to safely avoid any of Franklin's attacks in the remaining 35 seconds of the match.



Mark Coleman Vs. Mauricio Rua

Name: Mark "The Hammer" Coleman
Height: 6' 1" (185 cm)
Weight: 205 (93 kg)
Record: 15-9-0

Name: Mauricio "Shogun" Rua
Height: 6' 1" (185 cm)
Weight: 205 (93 kg)
Record: 17-3-0

Mauricio Rua Wins by Technical Knock Out at 4:36 in the 3rd round .

I was not impressed by Shogun's performance this fight. I've never seen Shogun fight before so I didn't know what to expect. From the commentators, it sounded like Shogun was some b@d@$$ standup Chute boxer.

I WAS impressed though by Coleman's heart. He was way beyond running on empty and like the Energizer bunny, kept at Shogun. Shogun was gassed too.




Alan Belcher Vs. Denis Kang

Name: Alan "The Talent" Belcher
Height: 6' 2" (188 cm)
Weight: 185 (84 kg)
Record: 13-4-0

Name: Denis Kang
Height: 5' 11" (180 cm)
Weight: 185 (84 kg)
Record: 31-11-1

Alan Belcher Wins by Submission (Choke) at 1:36 in the 2nd round by guillotine.

Don't know either fighter.



Jeremy Horn Vs. Rousimar Palhares

Name: Jeremy Horn
Height: 6' 2" (188 cm)
Weight: 185 (84 kg)
Record: 88-19-5

Name: Rousimar "Toquinho" Palhares
Height: 5' 8" (173 cm)
Weight: 185 (84 kg)
Record: 18-2-0

Rousimar Palhares Wins by Unanimous Decision at 5:00 in the 3rd round.

I rooted for the underdog, Jeremy Horn. He definitely showed me something. There was a point in the fight that Horn almost subbed Palhares! Despite the commentators saying Palhares was on a whole other level than other BJJ blackbelts and that he was a monster, Horn won a moral victory.



Marcus Davis Vs. Chris Lytle

Name: Marcus "The Irish Hand Grenade" Davis
Height: 5' 10" (178 cm)
Weight: 170 (77 kg)
Record: 21-5-0

Name: Chris "Lights Out" Lytle
Height: 5' 11" (180 cm)
Weight: 170 (77 kg)
Record: 36-17-4

Marcus Davis Wins by Split Decision at 5:00 in the 3rd round .

Don't know either fighter, although, my co-worker says they are both good fighters and that this was an exciting fight. I didn't watch this fight yet.



Martin Kampmann Vs. Alexandre Barros

Name: Martin "The Hitman" Kampmann
Height: 6' 0" (183 cm)
Weight: 170 (77 kg)
Record: 14-2-0

Name: Alexandre "Baixinho" Barros
Height: 5' 9" (175 cm)
Weight: 170 (77 kg)
Record: 13-6-0

Martin Kampmann Wins by Technical Knock Out at 3:09 in the 2nd round .

Don't know either fighter.



Eric "Red" Schafer Vs. Antonio Mendes

Name: Eric Schafer
Height: 6' 3" (191 cm)
Weight: 205 (93 kg)
Record: 13-3-2

Name: Antonio "Samuray" Mendes
Height: 6' 3" (191 cm)
Weight: 205 (93 kg)
Record: 14-4-0

Eric Schafer Wins by Technical Knock Out at 3:35 in the 1st round .

Don't know either fighter.



Tomasz Drwal Vs. Ivan Serati

Name: Tomasz "Gorilla" Drwal
Height: 6' 0" (183 cm)
Weight: 205 (93 kg)
Record: 15-2-0

Name: Ivan "Il Terribile" Serati
Height: 6' 1" (185 cm)
Weight: 205 (93 kg)
Record: 10-3-0

Tomasz Drwal Wins by Knock Out at 2:02 in the 1st round .

Don't know either fighter.



Tom Egan Vs. John Hathaway

Name: Tom "The Tank" Egan
Height: 5' 11" (180 cm)
Weight: 170 (77 kg)
Record: 4-1-0

Name: John "The Hitman" Hathaway
Height: n/a
Weight: 170 (77 kg)
Record: 11-0-0

John Hathaway Wins by Technical Knock Out at 4:36 in the 1st round .

Don't know either fighter.



Dennis Siver Vs. Nate Mohr

Name: Dennis Siver
Height: 5' 7" (170 cm)
Weight: 155 (70 kg)
Record: 13-6-0

Name: Nate Mohr
Height: 5' 9" (175 cm)
Weight: 155 (70 kg)
Record: 8-6-0

Dennis Siver Wins by Technical Knock Out at 3:47 in the 3rd round by kick.

Don't know either fighter.

BIO: Hélio Gracie (October 1, 1913 - January 28, 2009)



Hélio Gracie (born October 1, 1913) is the co-founder of "Gracie Jiu-Jitsu," also known as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). Until his death, Gracie was the only living 10th degree master of the discipline and is widely considered as one of the first sports heroes in Brazilian history; he was named Black Belt Magazine's Man of the Year in 1997.

Early life


In the early 1900's, a Japanese jiu-jitsu instructor by the name of Esai Maeda went to the state of Para in Northern Brazil. There he befriended Gastao Gracie, an influential businessman, who helped the Japanese get established. To show his gratitude, Maeda, also known as "Count Koma," offered to teach the traditional Japanese jiu-jitsu to Gastao's oldest son, Carlos.

The youngest son of Gastao and Cesalina Gracie's eight children, Helio, was always a very physically frail child. He would run up a flight of stairs and have fainting spells. Nobody could figure out why. So, after completing second grade, he convinced his mother that he shouldn't go to school anymore.

When the family experienced some financial hardships following their move to Rio, some of the children were scattered to live with other relatives. Helio was sent to live with some aunts and through these family contacts, he found work as a coxman for a popular local rowing team, eventually moving into the team dorms. His indomitable spirit, great sense of humor and tireless aptitude to drive people nuts, earned him the nickname of "Caxinguele," which means "squirrel." He raised hell!

After a couple of years, when he was about 14, he moved in with his older brothers who lived and taught jiu-jitsu in a house in Botafogo, a borough of Rio de Janeiro. He would spend the next few years limited to only watching his brothers teach, especially Carlos, since doctors had recommended that they keep Helio away from any physical activity.

When Hélio Gracie was 16 years old, he found the opportunity to teach a Jiu-Jitsu class, and this experience led him to develop Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The Director of the Bank of Brazil, Dr. Mario arrived for class as scheduled. The instructor Carlos was running late and was not present. Hélio offered to begin the class with the man. When the tardy Carlos arrived offering his apologies, the student assured him it was no problem, and actually requested that he be allowed to continue learning with Hélio instead. Carlos agreed to this and Hélio began as an instructor. Hélio realized however, even though he knew the techniques theoretically, in actuality, the moves were much harder to execute. Due to his smaller size, he realized many of the jiu-jitsu moves required brute strength that his physical nature did not allow. He began adapting the moves for his particular physical attributes, and through trial and error learned to maximize leverage, thus minimizing the force that needed to be exerted to execute the move. From these experiments, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, formally Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, was created. Using these new techniques, smaller and weaker opponents gained the capability to defend themselves and even defeat much larger opponents.

Arrest


Hélio was involved in an attack on Luta-Livre teacher Manoel Rufino dos Santos in 1937, at the age of 24. In an interview for Playboy Magazine he regretted that act with this statement:


“It was 66 years ago. that I was involved in my biggest trouble. A famous fighter in Brazil [a former luta livre champion] Manoel Rufini dos Santos. said that he was going to show the world that we Gracies were nothing. It was at the Tijuca Tenis Clube of Rio that I gave my answer to him. I arrived and said "I came to answer the declaration that you made". He throw a punch and I took him to the ground, with two fractures of his head, and a broken clavicle, and blood spurting out. But it was a foolish act that I did. Today I would never repeat such a thing.”


Hélio was arrested and sentenced to two and a half years in jail. An appeal was made to the Supreme Court by Hélio's lawyer Romero Neto and the sentence was upheld, as the court said "Today it was with Manoel Rufini dos Santos. Tomorrow it will be us." A couple of hours after that decision Brazilian President Getúlio Vargas pardoned Hélio. According to Hélio, one of his students had a brother who was an ambassador and was very close to Getúlio, and he intervened in favor of Hélio. Hélio and Getúlio subsequently met many times and Hélio eventually taught Getúlio's son Maneco.

Fight career


Hélio stated in an interview that he had around 15 fights. He began his fight career when he submitted professional boxer Antonio Portugal in 30 seconds in 1932. Also in 1932 he fought American professional wrestler Fred Ebert for fourteen 10 minute rounds until the event was stopped by the police. In 1934 Hélio fought professional wrestler Wladak Zbyszko, who was being billed as a "world champion", for three 10 minute rounds. That match was declared a draw. Hélio did win against Taro Miyake, a Japanese professional wrestler who worked for Ed "Strangler" Lewis in the U.S.

Hélio also fought in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu vs. Judo matches. In 1932 he fought Japanese judoka Namiki. The fight ended in a draw, but according to the Gracies the bell rang just seconds before Namiki would have tapped out. Hélio had two fights with Japanese judoka Yasuichi Ono after Ono choked out Hélio's brother George Gracie in a match. Both fights ended in a draw. Hélio fought another Japanese judoka Kato twice. The first time was at Maracanã stadium and they went to a draw. Afterwards, Hélio asked for a rematch. The rematch was held at Ibirapuera Stadium in São Paulo and Hélio won by front choke from the guard. In 1955, Hélio went on to fight leading judoka Masahiko Kimura at Maracanã stadium with Kimura winning via bent arm lock. In 1994, Hélio admitted in an interview that he had in fact been choked unconscious earlier in the match, but had revived and continued fighting. In 1967, during a live television interview, Helio was challenged by capoeira practitioner Valdomiro. Helio, as always, accepted the challenge and defeated him via back choke on a live television program called "Desafio 67" that took place one week after the challenge was made.

In May 1955 at the YMCA in Rio de Janeiro, Gracie participated in a 3 hour 40 minute fight against his former student Valdemar Santana, with Gracie losing by technical knockout due to exhaustion. It is often claimed that that fight is the longest fight in history; however, that distinction belongs to a wrestling match at 1912 Olympics that lasted 11 hours and 40 minutes.

Helio, the first sports hero in Brazilian history, also challenged boxing icons Primo Carnera, Joe Louis and Ezzard Charles. They all declined.

Personal life


Outside of the ring, always looking for a challenge, he enjoyed breaking wild horses and bulls. In an event worthy of a Hollywood movie, he once jumped into shark infested waters in the Atlantic Ocean to save a man's life, which earned him a medal of honor.

Helio's relentless contribution to the perfection of jiu-jitsu techniques, his philosophy on life and his unique teaching methodology have been an example for his children and his students worldwide. These are the pillars on which the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy was built.

Gracie had been married twice, first to Margarida and later to Vera. He has 7 sons (Rickson, Royler, Rolker, Royce, Relson, Robin and Rorion) and two daughters (Rerika and Ricci).

Death



The 95 year old patriarch of the Gracie family died on the morning of January 29, 2009 in his sleep in Itaipava, Rio de Janeiro. The cause of death, reported by the family, was natural causes. He had been having stomach problems a few days before when he was admitted to a local hospital in Rio de Janeiro. "I created a flag from the sport’s dignity. I oversee the name of my family with affection and nerves of blood," were his last words.

Career highlights


* 1932: Submitted Antonio Portugal by armlock
* 1932: Draw with Takashi Namiki
* 1932: Draw with Fred Ebert
* 1934: Draw with Wladek Zbyszko
* 1934: Submitted Taro Miyake by choke
* 1935: Draw with Yassuiti Ono
* 1936: Draw with Takeo Yano
* 1936: Submitted Massagoichi by armlock
* 1936: Draw with Yassuiti Ono
* 1937: Submitted Erwin Klausner by armlock
* 1937: Submitted Espingarda
* 1950: Submitted Landulfo Caribe by choke
* 1950: Submitted Azevedo Maia by choke
* 1951: Draw with Kato
* 1951: Submitted Kato by choke
* 1951: Defeated by Masahiko Kimura by armlock
* 1955: Defeated by Valdemar Santana by KO (fight duration 3h 45min)
* 1967: Submitted Valdomiro dos Santos Ferreira by choke


Selected parts cut and pasted from the below sites. For more info, please visit:

http://www.martialinfo.com/helio-gracie/
http://www.completemartialarts.com/whoswho/halloffame/heliogracie.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helio_Gracie

IN MEMORY OF: Helio Gracie

It is with heavy heart and great sadness that I post that Helio Gracie passed away yesterday morning. My sincerest condolences to the Gracie family, friends and students. Reposting below the email that was sent by GracieInsider:

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On Tuesday morning Grand Master Helio Gracie was tanning at his ranch in Brazil, and on Thursday morning at 9:15 he passed on due to natural causes. His legacy will survive forever in all members of the Gracie Family, jiu-jitsu practitioners around the world, and all those who have benefited from the revolution he began.

In his final years, the creator of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu often spoke of his satisfaction with his life’s work. He openly stated that he had accomplished everything he had set out to do, displaying his preparedness for the transition into the afterlife.

The Grand Master believed that such a transition should be seen as a positive step in one's spiritual evolution. In a recent interview he declared: “I’ve already told my sons that when I die I want there to be a party. No drinking, no debauchery.”

To honor his request and his legacy, the Gracie Academy will host a celebratory gathering/slideshow presentation on Saturday, February 7, 2009. In anticipation of a large turnout of friends and family, we intend to have three showings starting at 4:00pm, 5:00pm and 6:00pm. If you can’t make it to the party, but would like to express how the Grand Master has affected your life, please send your story to heliogracie@gracieacademy.com so we can post it on the Gracie Academy website.

In one of his final magazine interviews the Grand Master expresses his concern for the future of Jiu-Jitsu:

"O Jiu-Jitsu que criei foi para dar chance aos mais fracos enfrentarem os mais pesados e fortes. E fez tanto sucesso, que resolveram fazer um Jiu-Jitsu de competição. Gostaria de deixar claro que sou a favor da prática esportiva e da preparação técnica de qualquer atleta, seja qual for sua especialidade. Além de boa alimentação, controle sexual e da abstenção de hábitos prejudiciais à saude. O problema consiste na criação de um Jiu-Jitsu competitivo com regras, tempo inadequado e que privilegia os mais treinados, fortes e pesados. O objetivo do Jiu-Jitsu é, principalmente, benificiar os mais fracos, que não tendo dotes físicos são inferiorizados. O meu Jiu-Jitsu é uma arte de autodefesa que não aceita certos regulamentos e tempo determinado. Essas são as razões pelas quais não posso, com minha presença, apoiar espetáculos, cujo efeito retrata um anti Jiu-Jitsu."

“The Jiu-Jitsu that I created was designed to give the weak ones a chance to face the heavy and strong. It was so successful that they decided to create a sportive version of it. I would like to make it clear that of course I am in favor of the sportive practice and technical refinement of all athletes, whatever their specialty may be, as well as good nutrition, sexual control, avoidance of addictions and unhealthy habits. The problem lies in the creation of a sport-oriented Jiu-Jitsu, based on rules and time limits, which benefits the heavier, stronger, and more athletic individuals. The primary objective of Jiu-Jitsu is to empower the weak who, for not having the physical attributes, are often intimidated. My Jiu-Jitsu is an art of self-defense in which rules and time limits are unacceptable. These are the reasons for which I can’t support events that reflect an anti Jiu-Jitsu.”

-Grand Master Helio Gracie (October 1, 1913 – January 29, 2009)

Monday, January 26, 2009

NEWS: 1,800-year-old marble head unearthed in Israel

I don't know who broke this news story first, I heard it on the radio on the drive home.

Archaeologists uncovered an 1,800-year-old marble figurine of a bearded man's head, possibly a Roman boxer, in an excavation near Jerusalem National Park, it was announced today. (Clara Amit, Israel Antiquities Aty.)


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Cut and pasted from http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/science/01/26/israel.ancient.find/index.html#cnnSTCText:

(CNN) -- Archaeologists in Israel have discovered what they believe is the bust of a Roman boxer from the second or third century.



The figurine is small -- about 6 centimeters high by 4 centimeters wide -- but very detailed, archaeologists say.

"It seems that what we have here is a unique find," the two directors of the excavation said in a statement released Monday by the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The figurine, made of marble, comes from a time when "the art of Roman sculpture reached its zenith," Doron Ben-Ami and Yana Tchekhanovets said.

It's tiny -- only about 6 centimeters high by 4 centimeters wide, Ben-Ami told CNN. "That's why it is so impressive. It's so small, but still you can see every little detail on the marble," he said.



The archaeologists believe a merchant family from the eastern part of the Roman Empire most likely passed down the "precious object" through the generations until the fourth or fifth century, when an unfortunate family member had it with him at a public building, perhaps a hostel -- and an earthquake struck.

A team has been digging up the building in the City of David, part of Jerusalem.

The object is part of the "silent testimony of the drama that occurred in this impressive structure prior to its collapse," the Israel Antiquities Authority said.

The "short hair style, the prominent lobes and curves of the ears, as well as the almond-shaped eyes suggest that the object most likely portrays an athlete, probably a boxer," the statement said.

Little bits of the sculpture have broken off. It is missing part of the nose and mouth, Ben-Ami said.

"The high level of finish on the figurine is extraordinary," Ben-Ami and Tchekhanovets said in their statement.

They added: "To the best of our knowledge, to date no similar artifact made of marble (or any other kind of stone) bearing the same image that was just found has been discovered in excavations elsewhere in the country."

A few similar artifacts made of bronze have been found "at different sites in the country and they have been found in large numbers in different places throughout the Roman Empire, where the overwhelming majority of them date to the third century CE (the Roman period)."

Two tiny holes in the figurine suggest it was used as a suspended weight together with a balance scale, the archaeologists said.

Last month, the excavation team at this same site discovered "one of the largest and most impressive coin hoards ever found in Jerusalem," the Israel Antiquities Authority said. "It consists of 264 gold coins and was found at about the same time as a gold earring, inlaid with expensive pearls and remarkably well preserved."

"Every single object has a story behind it," Ben-Ami said in an interview with CNN. "Behind every object there are people. And, for us, the most important thing is to try to tell the stories behind these items."


Check out http://www.antiquities.org.il/article_Item_eng.asp?sec_id=25&subj_id=240&id=1490&module_id=#as for more information.

NEWS: Is It Curtains for Cursive Writing?

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Cut and pasted from http://www.indystar.com/article/20090126/NEWS04/901260379:

January 26, 2009

Schools have less time for penmanship

Technology, new standards crowd cursive lessons


By Meranda Watling
mwatling@jconline.com


Third-graders in Michelle Webb's Burnett Creek Elementary classroom were practicing how to form a lowercase f in cursive on Friday.

Determined faces sprinkled the room as the children wrote again and again -- f, f, f -- perfecting the "loop the loop" on top and bottom. Student teacher Allison Touloukian demonstrated the correct slant and curve on screen for the class as students practiced forming words.

Learning to write in script is a time-honored tradition. But in today's time-starved classrooms, some around the country are questioning whether, given everything else vying for space in the curriculum and the increasing use of technology, teaching these children cursive is even necessary.

Local teachers say, if nothing else, its emphasis has diminished in recent years.

"Historically, we teach less cursive now," said Webb, whose class works on handwriting for short periods two to three days each week. "It seems we have more and more standards we need to cover. The emphasis is on science and reading."

Shift to efficiency

Cursive is still widely taught in U.S. elementary schools, according to a 2007 nationwide study by Vanderbilt University on handwriting instruction. It surveyed a random sampling of about 200 teachers in grades one through three.

Ninety percent of teachers who responded said their schools required instruction in handwriting. Of those who taught it, half of second-grade teachers and 90 percent of third-grade teachers offered cursive instruction.

Also, the emphasis has shifted from the beauty of handwriting to writing efficiently, the study found.

Many schools in Lafayette dabble in cursive during the second half of second grade. Indiana standards don't require it until third and fourth grades. How much instruction varies by district, by school and even by classroom.

Lisa Jones, who teaches third grade at Edgelea Elementary, said she's noticed that consequence of the de-emphasis, not just by schools but by society: "The most difficult part for me is that now they can't read it, because they don't see it anywhere."

Like Webb, Jones said she isn't teaching as much cursive as in the past. Not emphasizing it as much at that grade, however, means by the time they hit fourth grade, they're not able to write as well.

"I don't think it will be used as much," Jones said. "When I was in junior high and high school, our final copies of work had to be handwritten in cursive. Now it's typed."

Pupils like cursive

This shift hasn't lessened the enthusiasm of kids to learn the pretty writing.

Burnett Creek third-grader Mikahla Combs said her mom introduced her to the script writing back in first grade. She really likes it, but she still prints everything for now.

"I love cursive," she said, "because it's so ... different."

Classmate Alicia Clayton said it's hard for her because the less frequent lessons mean she sometimes forgets how to write the letters. The Burnett Creek student still wants to be able to write in her journal in cursive.

"Once everyone learns it and we use it, it will be easier," Alicia said. "It does hurt your hand now, because you don't know it."


My coworker and I discussed this a few weeks ago. Today he came across this link. His wife is a teacher, and one of her coworkers discussed this issue with her.

In today's society of computers, cellphones with text messaging, etc. do we really need to write in cursive? Heck, my pic atop is 'written' with one of the gazillion cursive fonts out there. Sometimes I have to write a letter to my children's teachers asking them for something. I find it hard to write in cursive as I didn't really have to write with pen/pencil, especially in cursive, after I graduated from college, which was ages ago. I find I make a mistake and I tear the page up and get a new page to begin anew. I find it easy to write in cursive the easy everyday words, the common usage words or what is called 'sight words' now in elementary school. Any word just a tad more complex than a sight word, I stumble in my writing and sometimes miswrite it and make a mistake. Sad of me to say that my cursive skills have deteoriated so much. It is true what they say, "Use it or lose it."

Is it any wonder that at work, my job doesn't really require me to write. If I write, it generally is either in all-caps or I write in upper- and lower-cased letters. Writing a fax cover here, or writing on a post-it to remind myself or workers of things. I can imagine teachers, maybe writers (why wouldn't they write with a word processor?), etc still needing to handwrite things and perhaps still write in cursive. We had an oldtimer (older than dirt) coworker. He was so old-school, he wrote his emails in cursive on a piece of notepad paper and had me help him type it up in the email program! He would handwrite in cursive his letters to congressmen, a country club member, a letter to his wife, etc.

I am lucky where I live that my oldest daughter (currently in 5th grade) learned how to write in cursive in the 3rd grade. She actually likes it. My 2nd daughter has what I call the "Younger sibling syndrome"... you know... a younger sibling sees their older siblings doing something and they want to learn to do that too. She is currently in 2nd grade and has already started writing in cursive and pretty good at it, given she only watched her older sister writing and has no formal instruction. Sadly, my youngest, he's currently in kindergarden, may not have formal instruction via school, in writing. That task will fall on me, and his 2 older sisters.

My coworker and I vow to write at least once a day in cursive to maintain our skills. Hard to imagine not signing off on letters or on checks or greeting cards in cursive. But one day, the sad reality is that it may be curtains for cursive writing.



EDIT: hmmm... I need to figure out the pic dimensions for a regular blog post if I am posting a link from my photobucket account instead of uploading the pic to blogger.com.

About the Lunar New Year aka Chinese New Year

Cut and pasted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_New_Year:

Chinese New Year or Spring Festival is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. It is often called the Lunar New Year, especially by people in mainland China and Taiwan. The festival traditionally begins on the first day of the first lunar month (Chinese: 正月; pinyin: zhēng yuè) in the Chinese calendar and ends on the 15th; this day is called Lantern Festival. Chinese New Year's Eve is known as Chúxī. It literally means "Year-pass Eve".

Celebrated in areas with large populations of ethnic Chinese, Chinese New Year is considered a major holiday for the Chinese and has had influence on the new year celebrations of its geographic neighbours, as well as cultures with whom the Chinese have had extensive interaction. These include Koreans, Mongolians, Nepalese, Bhutanese, Vietnamese, and formerly the Japanese before 1873. In Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and other countries or regions with significant Han Chinese populations, Chinese New Year is also celebrated, and has, to varying degrees, become part of the traditional culture of these countries. In Canada, although Chinese New Year is not an official holiday, many ethnic Chinese hold large celebrations and Canada Post issues New Year's themed stamps in domestic and international rates.

Although the Chinese calendar traditionally does not use continuously numbered years, its years are often numbered from the reign of Huangdi outside China. But at least three different years numbered 1 are now used by various scholars, making the year 2009 "Chinese Year" 4707, 4706, or 4646.

Mythology

According to tales and legends, the beginning of Chinese New Year started with the fight against a mythical beast called the Nian or "Year" in Chinese. Nian would come on the first day of New Year to devour livestock, crops, and even villagers, especially children. To protect themselves, the villagers would put food in front of their doors at the beginning of every year. It was believed that after the Nian ate the food they prepared, it wouldn’t attack any more people. One time, people saw that the Nian was scared away by a little child wearing red. The villagers then understood that the Nian was afraid of the color red. Hence, every time when the New Year was about to come, the villagers would hang red lanterns and red spring scrolls on windows and doors. People also used firecrackers to frighten away the Nian. From then on, the Nian never came to the village again. The Nian was eventually captured by Hongjun Laozu, an ancient Taoist monk. The Nian became Hongjun Laozu's mount.


Much much more background info on the wiki page!

Happy Lunar New Year 2009!

To any and all who celebrate the Lunar New Year:

May the Year of the Ox bring you health, wealth, prosperity, success, luck and happiness to you and your loved ones!

And as the Chinese say it:

Gung hei fat choy/Gōngxǐ fācá

Sun nien fai lok/Xīnnián kuàilè

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Story of Mr. & Mrs. Stickgrappler (suckas) vs. the Slick Car Salesman on Superbowl Sunday

Couldn't leave well enough alone.


Remember that phrase, it will come up later.

As this year's football playoffs ended and the Superbowl approaches, I'm reminded of what happened last year on Superbowl Sunday. I shall entertain you with the story of my wife, Mrs. Stickgrappler, and I , Mr. Stickgrappler, going to shop for a car.

They were having a 0% interest financing deal going on... you know the type, there will be no interest on the loan, but you must make the minimum monthly payments for 3 years. What that means is us having to pay a higher monthly payment, but the tradeoff is our loan is interest free, which most loans, you end up paying principal AND interest. Or you can choose to decline that and get $1,000 back, IIRC, those were the terms of the deal. The promotional was due to end the day after Superbowl Sunday.

Mrs. Stickgrappler and I went to the nearest dealership. Unbeknownst to me, the nearest dealership recently split into 2 locations: 1 for used/pre-owned certified cars and the other for brand new cars. I didn't do my homework to check on the dealership, thinking it's the same one. This was a popular brandname and I didn't think the dealership would close. I just didn't foresee them splitting their products to 2 locations.

We go in and there was no one in there. Granted it was a Sunday, a few hours before the Superbowl, but we expected at least some customers in the dealership. We were greeted by a slick salesman. He was wearing jeans, a hooded sweatshirt and sneakers. Immediatedly both my wife and my 'radars' went off. DING! DING! DING! DING! Something's amiss here. We just couldn't place it at the time.

Standard opening lines from a slick salesman: How are you folks today? How may I help you? Looking for a used car?

We said, "No. We are looking to buy a new car." The slick salesman's eyes lit up. You can see the $$$ popping up over his head and hear the cash register open... CHA CHING! He was polite and informed us that the dealership split into 2... the new cars are in the other showroom. All along he's making polite conversations, tentatively probing us with his questions and statements... seeing what reactions he can elicit. He was working us like a fisherman reeling in the big one.

He drove us over to the new showroom. My wife inquired about the promotion going on. He said there was no promotion going on. My wife was adamant and said her coworker referred her to that dealership and that there was a promotion going on. He then said, "Oh wait. I think your friend got it wrong. That deal is only for select vehicles. It's mainly for the SUV's or Pickup trucks and not for the car you want." My wife mumbled under her breath saying she knows there is some deal going on.

We get to the other showroom, and it was jammed-packed with customers and windowshoppers. The salesmen were all wearing suits and ties. Our radars went off again. DING! DING! DING! Mrs. Stickgrappler glares at me with the "It's all your fault!" look.

We were in there to buy a car, and being helped by this nice salesman so we will stick with him. He takes us to another floor, he makes conversation explaining how the dealership was successful and needed to expand, how everyone who lives in the area, buy cars from him and the dealership. We look over a few, and find the model we want. We sat inside and the slick salesman pointed out all the bells and whistles of the car. We were in love with it.

The slick salesman drives us back to his location. While driving back, he casually asks us what we were willing to pay for our dream car. He kind of steered us towards a price, after we saw the sticker price. His price was a round even number a few hundred dollars less than the sticker price. My wife mentions that she checked a website which had a price even cheaper than the sticker price. The slick salesman says that can't be. Perhaps the site didn't have all the features that we wanted. Perhaps it was a bait and switch operation. Be that as it may, we were getting less and less enamored of buying a new car and getting a bitter taste in our mouths.

We had discussed buying a new car for a few months already... I felt we could've waited maybe 1 more year. But after all discussions, we agreed, we would buy a car that day (which coincided with the Superbowl).

We get back, sit down, and start the paperwork and haggling. My wife and I expected to be told a price, and we pay it, but we ask for freebies like mats, etc. The slick salesman said no freebies, said no car dealer sells below cost, but he was willing to sell it to us a few hundred below cost. My wife played a little hardball knowing that the price he quoted as the cost and the price he was willing to let us have it, despite it being below cost, was still a few hundred north of the real bottomline.

Anyway, he says he has to do a credit check, leaves us in his cubicle. Grabs his boss and they make some noise/commotion in the back. He comes back and says his boss wasn't happy about the price we were willing to pay and as if on cue, his boss walks behind us past his cubicle and says, "You're giving the car away!" as if to reinforce/sell us on what a bargain price we are paying for it and that we are pulling a fast one on them.

So to sum up:


    no freebie mats
    no 0% interest financing
    no $1000 cash back


We were willing or more likely really wanted to buy a car that day.

I was about to sign paperwork and my wife says she doesn't like the color we saw. She wanted a different color. The slick salesman all of a sudden had a scowl. I'm sure he heard in the back of his mind as I did, prior to my wife requesting a different color, Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glenross -- "ABC - A - Always, B - Be, C - Closing."

He said he couldn't get a different color. My wife said in the showroom you said you could. He says my wife's choice of color was bad. The color in the showroom we saw was good. At that point, it sunk in, he wanted to sell us the floor model. Our heads started to spin. We whispered to each other that somethng was not right. We started to get a scowl on our faces now. His politeness was gone. He was close in getting me to sign off the paperwork. Then he makes a commotion, gets up and leaves, saying he will check for the color as he senses we were going to walk on me. He spent about 2 hours with us. He then says, he could give us free mats and get us the color. The time he spent to put on the show for us, made us reflect on what was going on.

He says he would concede all those 'unreasonable' things my wife asked for. I had pen in hand, my wife seemed happy, and the slick salesman, couldn't leave well enough alone.

"How about a tip? Don't you think I deserve a tip, Mr. Stickgrappler?" I was dumbfounded. My wife didn't hear him. I almost signed the paperwork and I asked my wife if she heard him. I looked at him again. He says he has 6 children, he gave us all we requested, he got us a price that was below cost, he felt he should get a tip.

My wife and I dropped the pen and flat out said, "No. We do not want to buy a car from you." His head was blowing off steam at this point. He tried to maintain his cool and asked, "Why not? Was it the tip? Sorry about that, I felt I was entitled. You can ignore my request then."

Couldn't leave well enough alone.


The former suckas known as Mr. & Mrs. Stickgrappler walked out on the Slick Salesman on Superbowl Sunday. The next day, my wife discussed the events with her co-worker and there was a promotion going on. The Salesman was going to get the $1000 that was really ours, using that, he was going to cover the costs of the freebies and the below cost price he quoted... after all that, he would've netted about $400 probably. Easy scam job there. Almost took another sucka to the cleaners.

Here ends this Story. There are some lessons to be learned in this story: don't walk all over customers to see how much you could get away with. If your gut and radar is going off, listen to it. Do not turn a deaf ear to your intuition/feelings. If something feels wrong, get out of Dodge. Don't hang around.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

NEWS: The Inauguration of President Barack Obama

I normally don't venture into politics much publically, but I just had to post that today is history in the making. Reflecting back, I've witnessed many many historical events. Here's one for the books.

Good luck President Obama!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

NEWS: Pit bull taps out from a nine-year-old's rear naked choke

I was struggling to come up with some great post for the first post of 2009. Well 6 days into the new year, I got nothing until I saw this.

Cut and pasted from: http://sports.yahoo.com/mma/blog/mma_experts/post/Pit-bull-taps-out-from-a-nine-year-old-s-rear-na?urn=mma,132178



Mon Jan 05, 2009 9:57 am EST
Pit bull taps out from a nine-year-old's rear naked choke

By Maggie Hendricks

A Bakersfield, Calif. boy saved a friend and her dog after a pitbull tried to attack them. Did he do it by calmly coaxing the dog with a sweet voice, and then singing to it? Nope. He did it using a choke he learned in a jiu-jitsu class, which he held for 20 minutes until the police showed up.

Isn't it better that he was in this class instead of sitting on a couch, playing video games and eating Twinkies? The next time I hear MMA described with the words "human cockfighting," I will find this wonderful young man, who talks about the ordeal here, and have him choke out the idiot who said it.

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Stickgrappler's Sojourn of Septillion Steps