Sunday, October 22, 2017

Fancy Rope Trick No. 1

Recently we watched the movie "Dead Man Down" : In one scene the hero runs into an office building to escape his pursuers.

When the bad guys finally caught up with the hero, you could see that the hero escaped out of a window.....climbing down an electrical cable.

On the cable were a LOT of over hand knots, neatly tied and with very regular intervals.

One of my friends (Yes, I have friends...) commented that this is impossible to do in so short time.

I admit: Doing what the hero in that movie did to that electrical cable is impossible in only 10 seconds.

But how about 40 seconds?

Saturday, October 7, 2017

"Get Tough!" by Captain Fairbairn

I love my job: Contributing by  rescuing people from drowning is probably one of the most  meaningful (for me personally) rewarding occupations I can think of.

Anyway, being the C/O on a SAR/ERRV vessel on a "one month out-one month home" rotation pretty much prevents me from participating in any meaningful martial arts training.

Which is a pity because I very much enjoyed my 6 weeks self defense training I received when I had a short, but glorious, career as prison warden.

(Don`t ask me why I chose that "Career path" best friend still refers to it as "Lars` monumental brain fart")

(Self defense training I actually was able to put to a good use when they put me on the department for "negative strong groups" (Nordic biker gangs) and was surrounded by people with a triceps like a football. I am not saying that I single handedly beat up a group of heavy bikers....I`m saying that I came out of more than one conflict situation with nothing more than broken ribs, concussions and 2 pairs of broken glasses.)

Anyhow, I think I am missing out/cutting corners by not training or maintaining self defense skills and so I turned to ... you guessed it: Self help literature! 

"Yeah right, you can not learn martial arts from a book!" you say.

I know, I know...sounds a lot like those adds from the 80`ies pulp fiction and comic books:

"Learn the secrets Kung Fu in 12 steps! Defeat your enemies! No training! No sweat!"

(Right next to the adds for X-ray glasses and Sea Monkeys)

So yes, I probably agree with you if you think that "learning self defense from a book" sound like a nerdy kid`s revenge dreams of getting back to that mean schoolyard bully....

I stumbled over this book "GET TOUGH!" which is written by Captain Fairbairn, the inventor of the "Fairbairne Method" which was developed during Fairbairne`s time as a street copper in the 1920`ies Shanghai and later taught to the Commandos/partisans of 2WW.

"Get Tough" is in its essence a very basic close-combat book with easy accessible/understandable information....and partly designed for self study.

This is what we usually associate with "martial arts from a book": Mail order scams.
So, I will motivate some people from my network at home and maybe I am lucky enough to talk some guys from my crew into this grand experiment.

Fairbairn was so successful with his training methods...

...that he became a comic book hero.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

"Achtung Baby" by U2 (1991)

Before you go on: I really, REALLY like this record.

 It did what was intended and hit the Zeitgeist of the early nineties dead on: Everyone felt that "The End Of History" (Francis Fukuyama) was upon us and George Bush Sr. held speeches about the "New World Order"

Anyhow, for personal reasons I was not able to listen to "Achtung Baby" for 3-4 years after purchase without suffering from heart burn, mainly because other people ruined it for me.

Namely the segment of society believing that Bono was some kind of Messiah and that U2`s songs had some kind of deeper meaning only open to them.

Same obnoxious type as Dan Brown readers really....

(Can also be that I am a pretentious dick, you never know)

 Anyway, Bono is still just a mere human being and the history did not end with the fall of the Soviet Union.

Back to the record, yes....a great record! The last really good one U2 ever made. What made me like it, and turned most U2 fans off, was the influence of electronic dance music especially The Edge had a weak spot for.

Or to express it in the bands words: "Achtung Baby" sounded like 4 Irish guys chopping down the Joshua Tree ( A reference to "Joshua Tree" : another great U2 album) .
Wim Wenders used some of the songs from "Achtung Baby" in his master piece Until The End Of The World and the music was a perfect match for the film.

Favorite songs from that record: 

"The Fly"
"Even Better Than the Real Thing"
Zoo Station"
"Mysterious Ways"
"Whos Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses"
"Until The End Of The World"  


Sunday, October 1, 2017

"Black Tie, White Noise" by David Bowie (1993)

This is the second CD in my life and pretty much the soundtrack of my personal 1993.... and it  is more or less a tribute to his (Bowies) wife Imam, which he married shortly before the release of the record.

I know that the term "soundtrack of my life" is pretty much overused these days, but I swear: I drove everyone crazy by constantly playing this CD!

Slowly shedding the thin residual of grunge I was covered with between 91-92, I slowly went back to listen to music I liked instead of music I thought I ought to listen to.

At this time the only Bowie songs I really liked was "Lets Dance" and "China Girl", those two tracks ran on MTV Europe in an endless loop together with other great music (Yes, kids MTV actually played MUSIC once!).

1993 was my personal "lost year" between dropping out of high school (and hitchhiking through Europe and Morocco) and joining the Navy...which later led me to the Merchant Marine Navy. Even though I swore never to step in to my fathers footsteps.

Anyhow, "Black Tie, White Noise" fitted perfectly in to that phase of my life. Especially the songs:

 "Jump They Say" ( a tribute to Bowie`s stepbrother, who had mental health issues and committed suicide)

"Miracle Goodnight" with the very fitting refrain: "I wish I was a sailor, thousand miles from here. I wish I had a future...anywhere!" . And lo and behold! I became a for my future: In a tender age of 43 I still do not know what I want to be when I grow up!

"Nite flights" which I forever will associate with my travels through Europe, hitchhiking together with the nocturnal highway people.

I recently played this CD for the first time in...many (!) years and had to switch it off as I was overwhelmed by the tsunami of sticky sweet molasses that came out of my speakers.

Well, another time maybe!