Guess what: there’s no shortage of American culture

I jokingly mention in my bio that I’m a fount of useless knowledge, and among those topics I am fluent in, one is 20th century history. Sometimes, though, it can be important to remind ourselves of such things. First, I will quickly review what I am looking at this week.

There’s a war going on in the United States over culture, in simplest terms. In today’s “Copy and Paste” wired world and the ubiquitous “Share” button, this means the battles come down to copyright law. On one side, content producers who argue intellectual property should be protected so it can be controlled and monetized, encouraging artists to produce works. On the other side is, frankly, everybody else. Strict copyright laws stifle innovation and potentially encroach upon freedom of expression. The thing is, the key assumptions underpinning the major content producers’ arguments are flawed. First, research is continuing to show that the current policy paradigm does not work. And, more importantly, today’s artists don’t have their craft put away in the closet while they wait tables, hoping to get discovered and signed. Artists are able to and certainly do get their work out there, whether it’s film (YouTube), music (SoundCloud, iTunes, etc.), art/photography/fashion (DA, Flickr, countless others), or even video games (App Store, Google Play, Steam). The successful ones monetize. As such, there truly is no shortage of American culture today. Anyone who has even casually browsed the Web the past few years has seen the abundance of cultural works in this country, and the great thing is that it’s globalized. So many different art media now can have seamless collaboration across the globe. Unfortunately, the other end sees its industry dying due to this reduced dependence of artists on its publicity machine.

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Mr. Destroyer And NWF — Part 2

Don’t forget to read Mr. Destroyer And NWF — Part 1.

National Wrestling Federation Jr. All Pro WrestlingAs I had said before, Mike and I had a falling out of friendship in real life, which was carried over into the NWF.  These things happen with friends.  Something happens and you have an argument.  But if the friendship is strong, it will rebuild, which is what happened with us, but inside the ring, we kept Mr. Destroyer and Mr. Macho as enemies.  It worked out well for us.  Especially once Mr. Mach was handed the U.S. Heavy Weight Title.  But that comes later.

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Mr. Destroyer And NWF — Part 1

Mr. DestroyerBack in 1986, I was living in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, right on the boarder of Anoka, Minnesota.  My mom, my two (2) sisters and myself had just moved into a duplex, and we changed schools.  One of my best friends at the time was Mike Whaley.  We became friends at Coon Rapids Junior High, which is now called Coon Rapids Middle School.  We did just about everything together.  We would watch wrestling and football together, spend nights at each other’s house watching movies till all hours of the morning.  We used to love watching all the wrestling programs that were on TV, and talk about becoming professions wrestlers.

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Wards Of Faerie

Wards Of FaerieOne of my favorite fantasy authors is Terry Brooks.  Terry Brooks’ stories take place in the modern world, an apocalyptic world and a post apocalyptic world called Shannara.  The most series in the Shannara series is The Dark Legacy of Shannara.  The first book in the new series is called Wards of Faerie.

This the first book after High Druid of Shannara series.  It takes place roughly one hundred (100) years after Grianne Ohmsford’s time with the Druid Council.  There is a new High Druid now, an Elessedil.  One of her druids has found what might be the greatest discovery since the time of Faerie.  She may have found a lead to the missing Elfstones in an old diary.  And, to make things more complicated, The Federation in the Southland want to destroy Paranor and the Druids.

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Movie review: Tampopo (1985)

There are some basic concepts that transcend cultures, even those as widely divergent as East and West. Tampopo is a film that celebrates one of those concepts–the love and joy of food. Prolific director Juzo Itami’s most famous work is unconventional, but it is also a highly entertaining comedy that spins a sweet narrative along the way (yes, pun intended).

Savvy moviegoers will recognize a young Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai, Batman Begins, Inception, pictured below on the left), but that’s about all that will be immediately familiar to the Western viewer. Watanabe’s character, Gun, and his mentor, Goro, encounter the widowed Tampopo, a good-natured woman who is trying–but ultimately failing–to save her husband’s ramen shop. Goro decides to help the woman find the perfect ramen recipe and save her shop.

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The Happiness Of Purple

Minnesota Vikings Purple Semi TruckI have many things in my life that just make me so happy.  I have Tracy, my kids, my sisters, my father, my aunts and uncles, my friends, football (mostly), hockey, martial arts, yoga, music, The Northlands, our pets, just to name a few.
Just seeing a text message from Tracy can make me happy.  Just hearing the sound of my kid’s voices or seeing a photo of them can make me happy.  Getting a random message from one of my sisters.  Getting an email from my father.  Seeing a photo that one of my aunties or uncles posted on Facebook.  Talking to a friend.  Watching the Minnesota Vikings play football (and win).  Watching a hockey game, doesn’t matter who is playing.  Practicing or watching a martial arts display or fight.  Practicing or watching yoga.  Doing things on The Northlands.  Feeling the love from Spike (our dog), Roso or Lily (our cats).  Listening to a good song that I haven’t heard in awhile.  Or course, there are some songs that I love to hear, but can just bring me to tears, lol.

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On Guests

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The word ‘hospitality’ in the New Testament comes from two Greek words. The first word means ‘love’ and the second word means ‘strangers.’ It’s a word that means love of strangers.  Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Dom and I have lived together in five houses.  In four of those houses (over a span of six years) we had just four visits from guests: my mum and dad (who came out when Dom and I just started living together… a big complicated story in itself) my bestest friend in the whole world and her husband and daughter, a friend from way back and her two children, and a couple we know from Chiang Mai who stayed for four days at the house before in Ari just before we moved to our current house.

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What Teachers Make

I love to teachAs a lot of you probably know, I’m a teacher.  I’ve been teaching in Thailand now for about 8 years.  When I came to Thailand, I did a teacher training course called a CELTA, which means a Certified English Language Teacher to Adults.  While on that course, I was teaching adults English on the first day, and every day during the course.  On the first day, I was the first teacher in our group, and I had to teach for 10 minutes, then somebody else came up and taught, and then somebody else after that and somebody else after that.  It was incredible!  I love it.  The CELTA course was four (4) weeks long, and I was offered a job a few days before finishing my CELTA by the company that was running the CELTA, and I started teaching adults English.  Every once in awhile, I would also teach a class of kids, which was interesting.

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Understanding suicide

First off–I’m fine. I’m in a good place right now and there’s no need for concern. I just want to help others understand. To forewarn, this is a dark post

We live in a transitional time for society’s understanding of mental health. Beyond more acute mental disorders, we are just starting to realize that there’s a problem that evolves in advanced societies once basic needs are met. So, if I can help even one person to understand what it’s like living with depression, I feel I’ve done some good.

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Hidden Gems and New Friends

I am very blessed to live in an area of the country with almost limitless photographic and cultural opportunities. One of the places that I visit most often is located on a tract of land along the Potomac River, not more than 3 miles from my house (less than a mile as the crow flies). This location has a very long history. In the 1600s and before, it was the ancestral home of the Dogue Indians. As the new world was colonized, the typical altercations occurred, until the Dogue were relocated in the late 1600, and the land became the property of the colonists who named it Deep Hole.

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