On Saturday morning I went to Jen Velasco's dan test at the Aikido Institute. It was a chilly morning, the dojo was packed, and several of us had to watch from outside, peering through the doorway. First she defended herself against Martha, who was eventually armed with a wooden dagger, and then she fought Richard, while both Jen and Richard were armed with long wooden sticks. Clack, clack, hai
! I forget that Aikido is a martial art that includes dealing with weapons and also using them. Now Jen's a yudansha
--thanks to Steve for pointing out
the correct terminology.
On Saturday evening I saw Gary Hart speak at Cody's to promote his new book, The Fourth Power: A Grand Strategy For the United States in the 21st Century
. It was refreshing to go to a political talk that, by being futuristic enough, could be positive. (I don't hold negativity against politicians mired in the problems of the present, however,--to quote Howard Dean debating Ralph Nader on NPR on Friday, "When the house is on fire, it's not the time to fix the furniture.") Hart asks that we adopt a new grand strategy to replace our Cold-war era strategy of pursuing the "containment of communism." He thinks that a lack of a grand strategy after the cold war helped open the way for the Sept. 11 attacks, and that the ideas being shoved into the vacuum now are troubling. He wants a national debate to create a well thought out grand strategy that's positively defined and truly represenative of American principles. Hart provides a lot of food for thought for someone trying to be a responsible and active citizen in our Republic, and I recommend you check out his other books.
Speaking of being a responsible citizen, if you missed yesterday's disaster preparation event at Barnes&Noble you can still find resources
and donate money
to Collaborating Agencies Responding to Disaster
. It was a nice excuse for me to go bookshopping, and Scott showed me a lovely collection of DC art work by Alex Ross
. If you're remotely interested in comic book art and superheroes, check out his website. I think I will use this opportunity to link to my favorite interactive comic, Argon Zark
, even though it's a complete tangent.