Monday, March 31, 2008

Tango in the media :: Again

I just ran across this. "Tango - Smart Talk about Love"

I don't like it. I just don't like it. These people using the word Tango. Capitalizing on the word Tango. Capitalizing on the dance Tango. Capitalizing on our Tango. Capitalizing as in making dinero off of it.

Especially when it's tabloid shit like this:

Marriage Without Monogamy, Part Three
Hidden Camera: Good For Your Sex Life?
How Snooping Helped Me Survive Divorce
I’m A March Madness Widow
5 Secrets To Surviving Wedding Season

Portrait of an Open Marriage
Anal Sex For Beginners
The Etiquette of Oral Sex
Which Love Language Do You Speak?
Why Geeks Are The New Chic

"Documentary on Heather Mill's Love Live"... "Grocery Store Romance Gets Shelved"...

What is the world coming to? What is the west coming to? What is the U.S. coming to?

"A lack of indpendent enterprise..."

In the construction business, we no longer call it "an estimate"...we call it "an opinion of probable cost"...

From the New York Observer, more on the New York Times article on Buenos Aires by Denny Hill...the saga continues...

Click Here

Note that I don't want to imply the guy plagiarized or anything...I actually don't think it's a big deal...I just think it's fun to watch it unfold...

I'm content with the "a lack of independent enterprise" comment by one of the editors at the New York Times - perfectly perfect language I would expect a senior editor to come up with...

Another great laugh...

A cute girl with a unique laugh...

And this is what she's laughing at...

Laughter is contagious...


Without laughing or smiling, try to watch this guy who is laughing without smiling.

I bet you can't do it.

Apparently there is an entire viral thread on YouTube - on "laughing without smiling".

On Tango-L :: The subject that never dies

Cruzada rosada

A thread about followers automatically crossing without being led...

Here is my post to the list this morning....

Subject: The subject that never dies

Re: Keith’s latest response to Floyd on the subject...

I would venture to say that the key to leading the cross is in the torso. I might even go so far as to say the cross is led entirely with the torso.

I doesn’t really matter (in a kinda/sorta way) what the leader is doing with his feet. I can lead the cross standing still, with my feet together, led entirely with contrabody/torso. I don't ever lead it this way while dancing, obviously. Granted, there are the “norms” of where the lead’s feet are when leading the cross - I just wanted to illustrate my point.

I just wanted to mention this because Keith's post didn’t – the importance of contrabody and the torso in the lead to the cross.

There is no “autocross” in my experience - I don't really "get" a cross unless I lead it. Unless she is a very basic beginner in the first month or so – and has just learned the cross. Sometimes they will self-lead themselves to the cross, by accident. That generally goes away with a good lead, and as the follower begins to understand what the lead feels like.

The “auto” that I struggle with in the cross is what I will call the “autopop”. It's where the follower “pops” her crossing left foot into place, without any regard to lead, musicality, or timing/rhythm.

To lead the “superslow” cross can be challenging – with the leader leading the rate of travel of her left foot – to the music - as it caresses the floor into place.

Here are the mechanics behind it as I understand it:

While walking, the normal travel distance of her left foot (from first placement to second placement) is between two and three feet, unless she is being led in very small or very large steps. When being led to the cross, that “normal” travel distance is cut in half – when her left ends up beside her right in the cross. So, if the left foot is traveling half the distance in the same amount of musical time, then it has to travel at half of the normal speed to end up (in the cross) on the beat.

So, it's very important for the rate of travel of the left foot to be led by the leader, not automatically done by the follower.

That fast pop (of the left foot into crossed position) is only applicable in the superfast cross, where she crosses and you walk right through it. But again, this is led. With the torso.

Try leading the superslow cross when the music is appropriate. It’s also a good exercise for both parties. But especially in eliminating/mitigating this unpleasant habit - and it shows her something new in the realm of possibility.

And what I edited/deleted before pressing "Send"...

"But especially in breaking the followers of this unpleasant habit.

Breaking them like a cowboy saddle breaks a young filly.

How's that for throwing gas on the fire?

I'm joking! I'm joking!"

I'm sorry, I couldn't resist. Everyone is so touchy...

What I love to wake up to...some good, strong, milonga...

Just posted on YouTube...Mamié Sancy & Carlitos Espinoza...Milonga demo at "Les Lundis Tango au Bateau" milonga. Paris 25/02/2008

The song in both videos below is "No Hay Tierra Como la Mia" by Francisco Canaro.

It looks like there is a Thierry LeCocq influence, although I am not sure who influenced whom. Or perhaps they were both influenced by some other teacher.

Either way, it is some very good milonga dancing. Very good.

Here are Thierry LeCocq et Delphine Blanco again...

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Love in the Time of Cholera :: Love is a state of grace...

Sol en la sierra
Originally uploaded by jlcrucif

Fermina Daza reads the typed letter from Florentino Ariza... "Our inner lives are eternal, which is to say our spirits are as youthful and vigorous as when we were in full bloom. Think of love as a state of grace, not a means to anything, but the alpha and omega, an end in itself." She crumples the paper, but then opens it, and reads again... "Think of love as a state of grace, not a means anything, but the alpha and omega, an end in itself."

There is also a scene where Dr. Juvenal Urbino asks Florentino Ariza if he likes music. Florentino Ariza replies "I like the music of Carlos Gardel." To which Dr. Juvenal Urbino says "We must begin to import the real music, from Paris."

There's another scene when he is picking up his college coed lover - there is a tango song playing in the background. I will have to listen more closely and figure out the song.

The second time around it's an even better film. There are parts that are strange, but then parts that are very poignant and very funny. I won't give anything away.

Rent it or Netflix it...or buy it...I think it's out...

The "ShitStorm" is coming...I can see it on the horizon...I can feel it coming...

Woman and Strad...
Originally uploaded by igor.shmel

I've had a microburst of traffic today. In the last four hours I've had as much traffic as I have on an entire "heavy traffic" day.

The strange thing is that it's all coming from the state of New York. Ithaca, Buffalo, Fairport, Rochester, Webster, Mayville, Syracuse, Auburn. Howdy folks! Welcome to my humble blog!

As I am writing this I think I may have figured it out. Someone must have posted something on the Buffalo Area Tango Society [BATS] Yahoo Group page. Something about one of my posts.

Part of my point in this post, this here one (in southern speak), is to touch on the back-and-forth on Tango-L - the "on similes and such, like..." thread. When I first read it this morning, I said to my self... " are about to get your self some flak for the Car and Driver (re)post... you better get your flak jacket out... "

Poor Floyd from the BATS has been run through the ringer of late because of his comparison - "simile" - of a leader being a Maestro violinist and the follower being a Stradivarius violin. No problem for me there, I know what he was trying to say.

Another one people take offense to is the "leader is the artist, the follower is the brush" concept.

The people who don't like Floyd's comment(s), surely won't like my re-post (from a dance bulletin board in the U.K.) comparing followers to various types of cars, and leaders to various types of drivers.

I found the Car/Driver thing amusing - downright funny - so I chose to re-post a digested form of it. It's just humor after all. Some might say this makes me a misogynist or at least misogynistic. Or anti-feminist. Those of you who know me personally, or know me through my blog, know that I am not. Not at all.

First, you all know that I love women. I don't have a problem with the next President being a woman. Even though I personally think she is unpalatable to most people, including me, personality-wise. I don't even like to hear her talk - the sound of her voice irritates the shit out of me. But if, for example, the Republican candidate were say, MONICA BELLUCCI, I would definitely be voting Republican. In spite of my being a "dyed in the wool" Democrat/Independent.

I also don't have a problem with my future third ex-wife being the Chairman and CEO...make that ChairWoman of GE or Nestle (the largest food/product corporation in the world, with 500,000 employees) or something like that. I would even be a stay-at-home dad and putter around the house. As long as she would let me have my tango. A "no tango" policy from the boss lady would be a deal breaker for me.

Plus, I'm already really good at saying "Yes, dear, whatever you say." And my blanket apology (when I can tell she's pissed about something) of "Whatever I did, or said, or didn't do, or didn't say, I'm sorry." That one always got me huge points for "communication" and "sensitivity" in my marriages. And once it got me a very cold, very icy drink smack dab in the middle of my solar plexus at the dinner table. Being a man who respects women, and the ways in which they emote, I didn't react physically or even verbally. I just sat there, dripping, and quietly finished my dinner. And then I divorced her - 13 years later.

I don't have a problem with women being heads of state and governments and leaders of the world. I welcome and look forward to the day when women are the majority in control - running things. I sincerely believe that the world would be a better place for it.

I don't have a problem with the concept of God being a woman. Although I really am not into the personification of something so important as "God", or the "Supreme Being", or "Supreme Power" or "The Force" or whatever your preference is. I prefer the concept of "energy", just like we humans (our true, underlying selves) are "energetic beings", I believe this "God" thing to also be an energetic being or force. I think it's surely a female, maternalistic, mothering, nuturing, forgiving, thread of feminine energy intertwining the entire universe. Why do we always say "Mother Earth" anyway?

So in closing, I am sorry if I said, or did, or didn't say, or didn't do, anything to offend anyone, woman or man, God or mortal with my "Car and Driver" post. Sorry in advance. And thanks in advance for forgiving me.

I'm all for feminism.

Just not in tango.

Now I'm going to pop some popcorn and watch a movie.

Love in the Time of Cholera. Again.

It's a "chick flick".

Sunday Morning

Sunday Morning

Saturday, March 29, 2008


Sorry folks, it seems today I've just been sitting here, blogging and blogging and blogging, and I just can't seem to stop.

And then I go away for a bit, and have to come back and sit some more and blog and blog and blog it goes again.

PrettyFriggin'FastMilonga :: Asfalt Tango by Fanfare Ciocarlia

This one is not so fast, but 6 minutes long...sustained milonga dancing that will have the sweat squirting off of you like a fountain...

Superfuckingfast Milonga :: Milonga Para As Missoes by Renato Borghetti's an accordian, not a bandoneon, but I still love it...dancing to it is like runnning the 100 yard dash...and I like that it starts out so slow...

Leaders as drivers...followers as cars...

56 Caddy
Originally uploaded by flaurella

From a link Ms. Hedgehog provided...comparing leaders to various types of car drivers...note that some of the posts are from Great Britain, so a few I don't get...

Leaders...driver "types ::

The taxi driver
always in a rush, just wants to get to the destination, but not always taking the needs of the passenger into account.

The chauffeur
A lovely smooth ride, optimum pleasure for his passenger.

F1 racing driver
Handles the car with ultimate precision, every turn well though out in advance.

The Bus Driver
The vehicle must need as much strength as possible to get it moving, stands to reason as it's so large, surely?????

The Learner Driver
Nervous, breaks down every movement needed to drive the car. Ecstatic to get from A to B.

The Sunday Driver
Wants to drive purely for the pleasure. Takes it easy, without worrying about the other drivers and their hangups.

The Demolition Derby Driver
Doesn't care about the damage caused to his car, just wants to enjoy himself!

The Drive-in-Movie Driver
The car isn't going anywhere, and he 's mostly focussed on getting his hand up your skirt

The Compulsive Mechanic
Can't stop himself from fiddling and tweaking

The Stunt Driver
Extreme driving, takes mad risks, needs an audience

The mechanic
He's more interested in the workings of the car and what's under the bonnet that actually making the ride pleasant for his passenger

the gocart driver
wants to be a F1 driver, but looks like a beginner

the rally driver
who needs bungee jumping to get an adrenaline rush.

the black cab driver
knows exactly what to do, but insists on talking all the way through.

the premier insurance driver
more concerned with keeping their no claims bonus than trying anything interesting

the minibus driverdouble trouble is for wimps

The 'Back-seat Driver'
Not actually driving, but insists on commenting / taking control.

The 'Commuter'
Looks down at all the other drivers who don't know all the short-cuts on his daily journey. Hates being overtaken, cut across or drivers of a better model.

The 'BMW Driver'
Owns the road, especially the fast lane.

The Automatic Car Driver
Puts into forward, sits back and lets the car do all the work. When he's finished his journey puts it into neutral and abandons it.

The Male Driver
Completely lost but will not ask for directions

The Tailgater
Always drives that leetle bit too close for comfort, despite your tendency to nudge the brakes as a warning.

The Flash Git
Drives everywhere with hazard lights flashing (especially common around Xmas and Halloween time)

And then here are some follower car "types" ::

The Mercedes
smooth, refined, but a bit soul-less

like a mercedes, but better to drive

The Skoda
everything works, but somehow the overall effect is lost

The VW Beetle
a triumph of style over technique

The Rover
been dancing for years, but still can't do the basics

The MG
A Rover that has done 1 style workshop

The Ferrari
can't wait to be let off the leash, tight and responsive

The 4x4
always gets in the way of everyone else

The Land Rover
doesn't matter what you do, will always come back for more.

The Aston Martin
the ultimate

The Renault Megane
a slightly out of proportion booty with a lot of hip action.

Ford Escort
does the basics relatively competently, no bells and whistles, gears will crunch if you try to change too quickly

The Hearse
Always in black. Very smooth. Incapable of going faster than 40bpm. Identifiable by the convoy of other vehicles following her around. If you hang around her too long, she may drive you to religion.

The Convertible
versatile and able to play more than one role. Some men feel uneasy with left hand drive models

How about the car with the broken shock-absorbers that just won't stop bouncing?

The '56 Caddy
Nice ride, but handles like the Exxon Valdez, fully loaded, in high seas...


park avenue armory
Originally uploaded by Laurea

I bet you could have 2,000 people dancing tango at one time in this space!

Neil Young

Old Man ::

A Man Needs a Maid ::

Out On the Weekend ::

I had almost forgotten about this song. This one was more or less the story of my life in Aspen for a while. I even "packed it in" and "moved to L.A." for "the woman who loved me all up"...but it didn't "pay"...(work out)....

Soundtrack from the film "Dead Man" with Johnny Depp :: A strange but great film...

Helpless ::

Buffalo Springfield

Where Stephen Stills, Neil Young & Jim Messina got their start...

Rock 'n Roll Woman ::

For What It's Worth ::

Friday, March 28, 2008

Tango legs

Tango legs
Originally uploaded by parakulturado

O Fortuna...Fortune plango vulnera...

From Carl Orff's Carmina Burana...

Conductor Seiji Ozawa
The Shin-yu Kai Chorus
The Berlin Philharmonic
December 31, 1989

O Fortuna ::

O Fortune,
like the moon
you are changeable,
ever waxing
hateful life
first oppresses
and then soothes
as fancy takes it;
and power
it melts them like ice.

Fate - monstrous
and empty,
you whirling wheel,
you are malevolent,
well-being is vain
and always fades to nothing,
and veiled
you plague me too;
now through the game
I bring my bare back
to your villainy.

Fate is against me
in health
and virtue,
driven on
and weighted down,
always enslaved.
So at this hour
without delay
pluck the vibrating strings;
since Fate
strikes down the string man,
everyone weep with me!

Fortune plango vulnera ::

I bemoan the wounds of Fortune
with weeping eyes,
for the gifts she made me
she perversely takes away.
It is written in truth,
that she has a fine head of hair,
but, when it comes to seizing an opportunity
she is bald.

On Fortune's throne
I used to sit raised up,
crowned with
the many-coloured flowers of prosperity;
though I may have flourished
happy and blessed,
now I fall from the peak
deprived of glory.

The wheel of Fortune turns;
I go down, demeaned;
another is raised up;
far too high up
sits the king at the summit -
let him fear ruin!
for under the axis is written
Queen Hecuba.

Uh oh! :: New York Times writer plagiarizes Newseek Article

From Miss Tango at Tango In Her Eyes...

It appears that the recent New York Times (Sunday Travel Section) article on Buenos Aires was plagiarized from a Newsweek Article written a a year ago... my original post about the NYT article is here...

Check it out here at The Argentine Post....

My grandfather as a little boy...

My maternal grandfather :: Felix Alex Todd

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Holy Shit! :: Heart Tango :: Monica Bellucci

As found on 5:45am Tango...

Monica Bellucci dancing tango!? I'm done for. A goner. Screwed. Fucked up in the head. It will take me weeks to recover from this.


Update: The music is Veronica Verdier..."Asi se baila el tango"...from the film "Take the Lead" (with Antonio Banderas)...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Laughing Tango

From a post over at Confessions of a Tango Dancer...

One of the contributors there writes (hilariously) about a guy with excessive chest hair spilling out, and how it tickled her face, her ear when she turned her head and her nose. And then it made her sneeze. It's a funny post that touches on the subject of nicknames as well. This guy is "Mr. Amazon Jungle".

Have you ever burst out laughing while dancing...or immediately after...?

Not like a "having fun" chuckle or laugh, which I find to be fairly common, especially when playing...

But a real, bona fide, gut wrenching, hilarious, can't stop or control yourself, bust/burst out laugh about something weird or funny in that moment?

I don't think think it's ever happened to me...I will have to think on that.

A friend of mine was dancing in Buenos Aires with a guy...a fairly well known teacher on the international circuit. He was expressing some musicality with his abdominal muscles, pumping, and rolling and fluttering them to the music. This was a first for her, and she was dumbfounded I suppose. She said she did know what to do, except to bust out laughing. She hoped the guy didn't take it the wrong way.

Please share your stories here....thanks in advance!

From my journal...

I have this nice, leather bound journal that I keep all my tango "secrets" in. Not so much secrets, or a diary, but it's a record of all the classes and workshops I go to.

It started out as a notebook for a convention [The Urban Land Institute] I went to in Las Vegas several years ago. So the beginning pages are full of notes from this. Interesting notes from speakers the likes of Faith Popcorn, a predictrix of social and cultural trends.

There are some other things I have scribbled in along the way.

I'm not sure where this one came from...

Emotional: ambition creation resolution dreams

Mental: intellect power charisma leadership

Material: passion desire procreation physical vitality

Spiritual: wisdom understanding wholeness connection to universe

Here's another...

"Get your tongue out of my mouth. I'm kissing you goodbye."

And may have heard this one...

"Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement."

1931 :: Not much has changed...

From Oleh on Tango-L...

So, should the guy who got dissed ever dance with her again?

Oh my god! as in OMG!...I think he threw her down the stairs!

Crossed system entry

Ways to enter (get into) crossed system... I just wanted/needed to make a list...

1] Walking straight - "sneaky" wt change inside
2] Walking straight - wt chg outside (close side)
3] Side step - "sneaky" wt change
4] Side step - stealth/slo-mo/milonguero wt change aka "little foot"...sim to milonguero salida
5] Rock step (left) + side step + wt chg
6] To cruzada with no wt chg by leader
7] Cross footed start - leader changes follower's weight while standing, with no weight change by lead
8] Cross footed change - same as #7, but in the middle of a song, from a pause, or walking (more difficult)
9] "The Stermitz Fake" - while walking fake/feint/trick follower to switch to crossed feet, but leader does not change...very difficult to impossible to lead...
10] Ocho cortado with no weight change in final step by leader...
11] In ochos (already in crossed feet)...straight walk out of ochos to stay in crossed feet...
12] Traspie "side step" to right - leader changes weight by traspie step...
13] Any resolution where leader normally changes wt to walk out in parallel - don't change weight to walk out in crossed system (tends to infinity...infinite possibilities)...
14] In molinete (counterclockwise)...lead extra side step by follower...walk out in crossed feet on close side...

Underlying structure....1] leader changes to crossed system...or 2] leader changes follower to crossed system...

Am I missing any obvious possibilities?

Behind the Sunni-Shi'ite Divide

On MSNBC..."Dozens killed as Iraq militia clashes spread"...

Apparently the violence is escalating in Basra and southern Iraq. The Iraqi PM, Nouri al-Maliki [Shi'ite] is saying that the Shi'ite insurgents have 72 hours to surrender, or face a large scale "shoot-on-sight" kill off (my words). The Shi'ite insurgents are said to be supported from within Iran [90% Shi'ite].

I decided this morning that I wanted to fully understand the civil war in Iraq. Sunni, Shi'ite, Saddam was Sunni, Al-Qaeda is Sunni, Muqtada al-Sadr is Shi'ite, Iraq was under Sunni control (under Saddam), but they were/are in the minority as far as population. The Sunni controlled the Iraqi interim government at first, but they boycotted the "election" and only hold 5 seats to the Shi'a 15 seats. Now the government and ministers are largely Shi'ite. Al-Qaeda is Sunni, but the Sunni in Iraq don't support them. Even though the Shi'a represent 60% or more of the population fo Iraq, the Shi'a insurgents are mostly foreigners (funneling into Iraq through largely Sunni Syria), including Chechen [Shi'ite] rebels who are the most skilled and vicious due to their experience fighting against the Russian military. So the Shi'ite controlled government and the Shi'ite Militia of Muqtada al-Sadr are fighting against the foreign Shi'ite insurgents and Al-Qaeda, who are Sunni....? And Iran is supporting the Shi'ite militias that the largely Shi'ite Iraqi populace and Shi'ite Iraqi government is trying to eradicate....? I don't get it...

The only thing that is for sure is this:

The Sunni branch believes that the first four caliphs--Mohammed's successors--rightfully took his place as the leaders of Muslims. They recognize the heirs of the four caliphs as legitimate religious leaders. These heirs ruled continuously in the Arab world until the break-up of the Ottoman Empire following the end of the First World War.

Shi'ites, in contrast, believe that only the heirs of the fourth caliph, Ali, are the legitimate successors of Mohammed. In 931 the Twelfth Imam disappeared. This was a seminal event in the history of Shi'ite Muslims. According to R. Scott Appleby, a professor of history at the University of Notre Dame, "Shi'ite Muslims, who are concentrated in Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon, [believe they] had suffered the loss of divinely guided political leadership" at the time of the Imam's disappearance. Not "until the ascendancy of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1978" did they believe that they had once again begun to live under the authority of a legitimate religious figure.

It's all very confusing. I'm still confused.

Here are two good internet resources I found:

Time/CNN Article :: Behind the Sunni-Shi'ite Divide

MilNet Brief :: Religious Differences: Sunni vs. Shi'ite

But I'm still confused. I'll report back if I figure anything out....

The Punctum III

Bell Brook :: Hunting Party :: Uvalde County :: Dry Frio River

The Punctum II

Katie :: Guadalupe River

The Punctum and The Studium...

The Gaze

From Wikipedia...reading about philosopher Roland Barthes and his "punctum" theory on photographs...that element which pierces the individual viewer...versus the "studium"...that which is the obvious symbology for all viewers...

"Throughout his career, Barthes had an interest in photography and its potential to communicate actual events. Many of his monthly myth articles in the 50s had attempted to show how a photographic image could represent implied meanings and thus be used by bourgeois culture to infer ‘naturalistic truths’. But he still considered the photograph to have a unique potential for presenting a completely real representation of the world. When his mother, Henriette Barthes, died in 1977 he began writing Camera Lucida as an attempt to explain the unique significance a picture of her as a child carried for him. Reflecting on the relationship between the obvious symbolic meaning of a photograph (which he called the studium) and that which is purely personal and dependent on the individual, that which ‘pierces the viewer’ (which he called the punctum), Barthes was troubled by the fact that such distinctions collapse when personal significance is communicated to others and can have its symbolic logic rationalized. Barthes found the solution to this fine line of personal meaning in the form of his mother’s picture. Barthes explained that a picture is not so much a solid representation of ‘what is’ as ‘what was’ and therefore ‘what has ceased to be’. It does not make reality solid but serves as a reminder of the world’s inconstant and ever changing state. Because of this there is something uniquely personal contained in the photograph of Barthes’ mother that cannot be removed from his subjective state: the recurrent feeling of loss experienced whenever he looks at it. As one of his final works before his death, Camera Lucida was both an ongoing reflection on the complicated relations between subjectivity, meaning and cultural society as well as a touching dedication to his mother and description of the depth of his grief."

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Followers, "You make me want to be a better man..." or "Do you hear that great big sucking noise?" or "Is that a banana in your pocket...?"

... or "Is that a banana in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?"

January 9
Originally uploaded by carmen|farrell

The photo should make sense, obtusely, later in the post...

Debbi's most recent post "Feedback vs. Backoff" and Johanna's related post "A Quandry" about a hack/teacher got me to thinking about a prior post of mine - actually I think I have posted it twice now.

It has become my "holy grail" of tango etiquette - "The Do's and Don'ts of Inviting" by Ney Melo.

You will find this (and more) under his Section #6 - The Tanda:

"I truly believe that when women start using their power of declining dances and sending messages, then that is when the leaders will start working to improve their dance. It has to be a system of checks and balances. If we allow mediocre leaders to dance with amazing followers and vice versa, then why would they want to get better?"

This is huge. It works. It worked on me in the early months. It made me want to BE better, to be a better leader, "to be a better man".

I think the organizers of practicas need to make an announcement in the beginning, and then again at a middle/break/announcement point - about proper feedback, and that a practica is all about feedback, and that it is not just about practicing tango, but also about the practice of giving and receiving positive, healthy feedback. Healthy for the individual, the two individuals involved, and the tango community at large. Maybe there should even be a "feedback moment" at all practicas- where the organizer says - "Okay, the next tanda is a feedback tanda - constructive suggestions only!".

Come on people! We are all adults here. Frankly, I'm tired of all the bandying about and beating around the bush and walking on eggshells. Let's communicate! Communication is key. Communication is king!

Come on! Give it to me! I can take it. Help me help myself! Help me help you. Help me, help you. I want to be a better leader. I want to be a better man.

I was really pissed, mostly at myself, but also that no one in my community, not even my teacher, would tell me that my walk sucked in a big way. "Do you hear that great big sucking noise? That's Alex's walk!" (In the words of Ross Perot...) After an EFFING YEAR! A year! Luckily, I realized it on my own and started to take the appropriate steps (pun intended) to fix it.

Debbi's issue might be corrected simply by some appropriate announcements by the practica organizer.

Johanna's issue is a little more delicate, but I think the guy needs to be approached by someone - another male in the community perhaps - probably not another teacher - a community organizer/leader - maybe a friend of the guy - stick a note in his shoe - something - anything - just not silence. I think the guy should be able to take some constructive criticism. Plus, the fact that he is a teacher makes it that much more important to deal with. A community does not need a teacher who is a bad leader teaching new leaders. Or leading new followers for that matter.

Better to not dance at all, versus dancing with a bad leader??? Just say no!

I would like to believe that we are all open to constructive criticism. Just don't take anything personally. Don't take it as a personal attack. Accept it, assimilate it, roll with it, deal with it. It may or may not be accurate feedback, but it came up, and it was given in the spirit of love and caring. If we don't give a shit about someone, do we ever tell them anything? (uh-oh...I just realized something...)

What about the guy I know who got "thank you'd" (by three different women) at the end of each song of a tanda at a festival. At a FESTIVAL no less! Shot down after the first song. Strafed after the second song. Napalm'd after the third song. One right after the other - boom, boom, boom. The guy didn't get it. The women (saying yes) didn't get it.

This guy is not even dancing tango. He dances some bastardized deviant variant form of it. It used to piss me off so much that I wanted to go tell him to his face that the women were all complaining, and that they (we) would like for him to please learn how to dance tango. To ever-so-gently point out that he was not dancing tango. But they always said "No, don't. It will hurt his feelings. The community is too small." Little did they know that I already knew I was going to be leaving the community, and didn't really care. But I never did say anything. I suppose he is still there, having the time of his life, oblivious, dancing his deviant variant. The aggravating thing was that the women were all complaining, but they were all still dancing with him. Still saying yes.

The worst part, in his deviant variant dance, was/is his pelvic lead. I should really call it his pelvic "thrusting" lead. The guy danced like a horny dachshund. It became sad to watch.

And the kicker is that this guy has been dancing for five years or more. Taking classes and workshops like the rest of us. Alongside the rest of us, but never getting it...never improving. He takes the information from the class, filters it through his pelvis, molds and adapts it into his deviant variant dance, and then it comes out, er, it comes out through his pelvis.

Perhaps this is harsh, but my feeling (at the time) was if his feelings got hurt and he left tango forever, then so be it. This guy had a habit of showing up to new beginner classes and dancing with the newbie followers. My position was this this guy was singlehandedly driving new followers from the community. They had to be thinking - "If this is what tango feels like, if this is the type of man I will be dancing tango with here, then I'm not coming back to this..." or something along those lines.

Ultimately I told the followers (who were complaining) that if they would not let me say something, and if they were not going to say anything, then they should stop their complaining and dance happily with him. Basically, they all converted, en masse, to open embrace with the guy. Thereby thwarting his pelvic/thrusting/humping lead. They danced milonguero with everyone but him. Perhaps he got the message after all.

I did my part as a member of the community and started showing up at the beginner classes to dance with the newbies, too, to offset the damage being done by this guy. (And to help - to be the teacher's "assistant".) It got to the almost comical point of the teacher sidling up to me, nondescriptlike, pointing someone out and whispering to me, hushed, "Go dance with her, she's been dancing with Mr. XXX too much, you need to go purify her". After dancing with these noviates, they would almost invariably say, appreciatively, "Ahhhh, so thhaaat's what it's supposed to feel like...", like the light bulb was lighting up over their head.

But then I left the community. I'm sure Mr. XXX is still doing his "thing". And still getting all the dances he wants.

My point is someone within the community should be able to say something to these people - something constructive, polite, kind, gentle - but to the point. Perhaps not in the heat of moment. Perhaps in an anonymous letter of cut and paste magazine letters - ransom letter style. What about the person with chronic bad breath? What about the person with chronic B.O.? What about the horse wrangler who comes to class right off the ranch, without showering? What about the touchy/feely pelvic leading lech? What about the guy making inappropriate and failed "romantic" (perverse) whisperings into follower's ears? What about the guy dancing with the banana in is pocket? What about the full blown pervert who has taken up tango with his only goal being to get laid?

Okay, so once again, I see that I have digressed "off point" - veering off of the "just say no" topic, to more overarching community-wide issues.

God, apparently I had some pent up shit to say on this subject...

'nuff said...

Here's Ney's article in its entirety...focus on Part 6...for this post...

Tango Etiquette - The Do's and Don'ts of Inviting :: by Ney Melo :: 07/24/2006

I have been thinking about writing this article for a long time, after having experienced many humorous and not-so-humorous episodes at the milonga. Many of us get caught up in learning the steps of the tango and then we get to the milonga and we don't know that there are certain unwritten rules about inviting and accepting or declining dances. While the 'cabeceo' - or inviting people to dance with eye contact and a nod - is alive and well in Buenos Aires, we live in North America and as such our customs have to adapt. (It would be great if the cabeceo were used here because it empowers both men and especially women to dance with the partners they most want to dance with. But the thing is, the cabeceo only works when everyone does it.) Therefore, I've put together a list of "rules" that, if somewhat adhered to, will make the milonga enjoyable for men and ladies alike.

The first and last tango of the milonga experience have a significant meaning in the mind of a milonguero/a. Ideally, you'd want to start off on the right foot; you'd want to begin dancing with a capable and smooth partner in order to prepare for the long night of dancing that lies ahead.

But just as a good partner will raise you to the next level, a horrible partner will knock you down a few notches. The saying among milongueros is that it takes two good partners in a row to knock out the effects of one bad one. Therefore, be careful about who you accept or invite as your first partner. The last tanda (a set of tangos) also has a significance. In Buenos Aires, it is said that you usually dance the last tanda with your lover or a potential lover. I take a more casual approach to this rule and I think that one should dance that last tanda with their significant other unless agreed otherwise. If you are single, then it's open game whom to dance with. However if you are dancing with someone whom you know has a significant other at the milonga, and the last tanda is announced, it is a nice courtesy to ask them if they need to go dance with that other person.

Typical scenario: a lady is sitting down at a milonga and is approached by a gentleman who then invites her to dance. Rather than reject him outright, she says 'no, not right now', that she is tired, taking a break, waiting for a friend, etc. Instead of walking away, the guy decides to SIT DOWN BESIDE HER and wait for her to be ready to dance with him! This man has just committed what I call "babysitting". I have seen both ladies and gentlemen commit this fiendish act. When someone says no, it means that you should stay away from him/her for a certain period of time. This leads me to the next rule.

After discussing this with many milongueros and milongueras, I've come to the following onclusion. No means "No for a Little While". If you have been rejected, you cannot invite the same person to dance again at the beginning of the next tanda! Only after 2, 5, maybe more tandas later can you consider asking that person to dance again. Don't be a Stalker. Often times the person who rejected you may even track you down to claim that dance later on when they are ready -- that is if they were truly tired in the first place.

Rejecting someone does bring a consequence along with it. This is the rule that if you reject someone for a tango, you cannot dance that same tango with someone better who comes along. You have to, at least, wait for the next song or preferably for the next tanda. You can think of those minutes of waiting time as being in hockey's "penalty box". Sometimes this is a double-edged sword because let's say you are in the "penalty box" but then a really amazing dancer who never asks you to dance finally asks you. You know that if you turn them down then you may never get your chance again, but if you say yes you will look like a jerk in the eyes of the first person that asked you (and then THEY may cease asking)! Sometimes you just can't win!

I've seen old black and white movies where a Clark Gable or an Errol Flynn type will cut in between the beautiful, young starlet of the movie and her lame-duck partner who audiences forget about seconds later. Well, that only happens in the movies. I'm pretty sure that "Cutting in" is banned in all milongas in all the countries in the world. Back when I was a beginner, I once had someone kindly ask me if they could "cut-in". I kindly cursed them and their family in my mind. That's how serious it is! Invitations to dance happen during the cortinas (the minute of ambient music that is played between the tandas) not when 2 people are standing and talking between the songs in a tanda. PERIOD.

A DJ will usually play 3 or 4 songs of the same orchestra or style followed by a one minute cortina. This "set" is called a tanda. It is only when we want to stop dancing with our partner that we say "thank you". Do not make the mistake of saying "thank you" after every tango. Try to wait until the end of the tanda. If we do not wait until the end, then we are conveying a message. Here is a quick breakdown of the "messages":

We danced 4 songs: That was nice/ I enjoyed it/ Let's do it again in the near future, etc. etc.

We danced 3 songs: It was ok/ Sorry, my feet hurt/ Yikes! My ride home is leaving, gotta go!

We danced 2 songs: I've humored you long enough/ You need to take more lessons/ I thought the first bad tango was my fault, but now I see that its your fault.

We danced 1 song: It's just not happening/ Maybe you should just sit and watch for a while/ Please don't ask me to dance at this milonga again.

I truly believe that when women start using their power of declining dances and sending messages, then that is when the leaders will start working to improve their dance. It has to be a system of checks and balances. If we allow mediocre leaders to dance with amazing followers and vice versa, then why would they want to get better? I remember an argument that a friend and I had a long time ago. She was upset because a horrible leader basically manhandled her for a whole tanda and made her look and feel bad. I witnessed the whole thing and I didn't like what this leader did, but I also didn't like that my friend was too nice not to end the carnage early!! Ladies, please use your power to say "no" to bad dances. It is better to sit all night, enjoy the music, and have a good conversation than to be dragged around the milonga floor like Hector was by Achilles after being slain in the movie "Troy". There were many times in my tango infancy that I was rejected by good followers. I never took it personally. It only served to make me better.

I'm not saying you shouldn't dance with beginners. Everyone should do a dance or two with beginners at the milonga and look at it as 'community service' and make them feel welcome. But there is a difference between a beginner, and a bad dancer who just never 'gets it'. There are a number of guys at any given milonga who have been dancing for a long time, they maul the ladies, and they never have any incentive to get better because they get all the dances they want anyway.

Rejection is tough to accept. Feeling can be easily hurt. Please take this into consideration when rejecting someone. It might help to approach it as though you are going to break up with someone, making sure not to hurt their feelings but yet not giving them hope for a reunion. For example:
"Sorry, its not you it’s me"
"Look, I am not in a good place right now, I want to just be alone for a while"
"I just want you to be happy"
"You deserve better"
"I know we danced last night, but that was then, this is now"

For the rejectee, just accept it and move on. It doesn't help to reply:
"But why?"
"Just tell me why"
"Give me one good reason"
"I can change"
"Look, I'll be right here. Let me know if things change"
"But I thought we meant something"
"You suck"

This is when leaders or followers end the tanda early and then finish it off with someone else. This is bad business. What makes it worse is that in order to facilitate this trade, one usually has to make eye contact and cut a deal with the new partner while still on the dance floor with the original partner! I've seen this happen at the milonga and all I can say is that this is "shady, shady, shady". Like I mentioned in Rule # 5: Invitations to dance should happen during the cortinas (the minute of ambient music that is played between the tandas).

Every now and then I will be invited by a lady to dance and I will politely refuse because I will be in the process of doing something that prevents me from dancing with her at the moment (getting a drink, taking a rest, on my way to the bathroom to change shirts, etc. etc.) This is when the lady will sometimes pull out the "dance with me now" card by saying "But I'm leaving the milonga in 5 minutes". This makes me uncomfortable because now I feel pressured to dance with her right then and there. What makes matters worse is when I do succumb to the pressure, I dance with the person, and the person DOES NOT LEAVE THE MILONGA! I think a lot of people agree with me when I say that if you are going to use the "dance with me now" card by claiming that you are about to leave, then I better not see you at the coat rack at the same time as me at the end of the night.

Also, resist the urge to use excessive force when asking for a dance, i.e. grabbing your target and dragging him or her to the floor while exclaiming "Let's dance! Let's dance!" You should give the other person a choice of whether or not to dance with you, being polite and civilized about it. Bottom line: The dance is not enjoyable if the inviter (male or female) pressures the invitee. People want to dance out of pleasure, not duty.

Because rejection can be hard to take, one method devised by some ladies of communicating to the men that they are not accepting invitations at the moment is to take their shoes off. This serves as 'proof' that they really are taking a break, should anyone ask them. All they have to do is raise up the bare foot 'white flag'. They can rest the balls of their feet from those 4 inch heels and not get hassled by potential dance partners. (On the flip side, they can also make a guy feel great if they do decide to dance when asked and say 'let me put my shoes back on for you'.)

Pay attention to your potential partner's body language when you are getting ready to ask them for a dance. There are non-verbal signals that you should try to clue in to. Gentlemen, if you are headed towards a woman and she sees you and quickly turns away, reaches down to fiddle with her shoe strap, digs in her purse endlessly - it means she DOESN'T WANT TO DANCE. If she even jumps up and heads for the ladies room, don't pursue her and grab her shoulder as she flees thinking 'maybe she didn't see me'. If she notices you and maintains eye contact, or smiles, or waves, or in general looks pleased that you are headed her way, then by all means ask her! If you are not sure, go over and say hello, and judge by her reaction whether she wants to dance.

You can look around the room as well and guess which people are wanting to dance. If they are sitting or standing right by the dance floor, looking intently and wistfully at the dancers, looking around to catch the attention of potential partners, etc, then they are most certainly available. If they are sitting with all their attention focused on their companion, deep in conversation, eating, enjoying a drink and looking otherwise very comfortable where they are, approach with caution. See if you can catch their eye. If they look away, then save your invitation for later. Yes, this is a version of the cabeceo. If someone is in the midst of an animated conversation, do not hang around in the periphery of their vision, tapping your foot, waiting for the split-second when they pause for breath to interject your invitation. Ask someone else.

Maybe some people will think this is very old-fashioned but I think it is nice: When you approach a couple who are dating or married and they are sitting together, it is nice to 'ask permission' of the other when you want to ask one of them to dance. Often it is the man asking the other man for 'permission' to dance with his lady. This is not because the man 'owns' the woman or because the woman needs her date's permission. It is simply showing the courtesy of acknowledging the other human at the table when you come to take their companion away. I think it is rude to come up to a couple and ask one person without even saying 'hello' or 'excuse me' or 'may I?' to the other. This rule of course only applies if the couple is actually seated together. And this rule also applies to women asking permission of another woman to dance with her man. Ladies, if a gentleman is standing with his arm around his significant other and you come up and ask him, make sure to greet both people, don't just grab him and drag him away. Yes, this happens, and yes it is rude.

Most of these rules may seem like they shouldn't need to be laid out, but you would be surprised. Anytime someone violates these rules, its because they are letting their ego get the best of them. In the end, we are all tango music lovers and we all love to dance, and we all must learn to get along at the milonga. Being aware of, sensitive to, and in tune with another person are what partner dancing is all about. Use these skills off the dance floor as well as on.

Monday, March 24, 2008

I've been robbed!

I just went to a movie. 7pm to 9pm....crowded parking lot...lots of light...cop car patrolling would think it was safe. But...

I've been reading in the paper about carjackings, armed robberies, robberies, burglaries, car break ins, kidnappings, muggings, and even a few murders. You may have read or heard about the unfortunate incident about the Auburn University coed who was murdered. It turns out the guy who did it (and confessed) mugged and assaulted a woman and her daughter two days before he kidnapped and murdered the coed. The mugging occurred in the Sam's Club parking lot right across the street from the movie theater. In my town. Little city I suppose. Criminalville.

Having heard about all this stuff, I even took the extra precaution to remove the tape player thingy (and the wire) and tuck it, along with my iPod, into my center console. When I got back into my vehicle, the glove box door was open. I thought that was strange, but thought that maybe it wasn't closed well and popped open. Then I saw some stuff laying on the passenger seat that should not have been there. I opened the center console and my iPod was gone.

Somehow they unlocked my vehicle without setting off the car alarm. A buddy I called to vent said criminals have a receiver/detector that they can capture your locking/unlocking code. I suppose that's what happened. So lock your vehicle by hand, not with the keyless entry thingy. No broken windows, no other damage, they didn't steal the entire car, so I suppose I should be thankful.

They also focused right in front seat. I had my Nikon D-200 with me and had the foresight to tuck it under the back seat and cover it with a bandana. That's easily three or four grand. Whew! Then in the back cargo area, was my Porter Cable laser level - that puppy cost me about $850. They didn't touch that, or my hand tools.


The most important thing of all though, is that they didn't make off with my tango shoes. Two pairs in the back seat, still intact.

Very lucky.

I will call my insurance company about the iPod tomorrow and see if I can get it replaced - although the deductible is likely more than the value of the iPod. The pisser is that they stole my backup iPod. My brand new one broke about a week ago after it fell on the floor.

It sucks. It's a violation. All criminals suck, but thieves really suck.

No more movies for me. This town is not safe.

The Broken Spoke Development :: Austin, Texas

Developers acquired the property, but are going to "save" the Broken Spoke by keeping it intact and building their development (multi-use, residential, commercial, retail) all around it.

The Broken Spoke is an Austin and Texas institution - a bastion of "Texas" country music (versus "Nashville" country) and the best place in Austin to go two-stepping. There is even a small contingent that heads out to the Broken Spoke after milongas in Austin. A little Tango, a little two-step, who could argue with that.

I miss my Austin.

Here's a very brief article about it....

Photo by JerryHayesAustin/Flickr...

Monday Humor

Financial Engineering

Found on MsHedgehog's Blog...

This video is 71 minutes watch it when you have some time on your hands...

"what do we do with people who profit by destroying value, getting rich by causing damage...?"

"big bucks in the economy are made in finance..."

"where does the top 1/100th of a percent come from?...these are the people making the really large incomes..."

"although there are captains of industry, creators, the really large incomes are people you have never heard of, doing it through financial engineering on wall street"

"and there is very little evidence that this is creating value..."

In other words, simply making money off of money...

"The economy in the middle part of this decade consisted of Americans selling houses to each other and borrowing the money to do it from China..."

"a P.T. Barnum market...a sucker is born every minute..."

These guys who orchestrate these "financial engineerings"...walk away with a severance package of $150 million...then the investors are left holding the (empty) bag...the illusion of making money for investors for a few years...then they crash and burn...

Persistent problem...with no learning...makes money for two years...and then blows up in investor's after another after another....I don't know how it all ends...

Seduced by Tango :: PBS Documentary

Here's some new info I ran across...

Seduced by Tango :: Winter/Spring 2009 Release
Producing organization: Tatge/Lasseur Productions. Episodes: 1 x 90 (HD). Status: preproduction, fundraising. Budget: $1.3 million. Host: Robert Duvall. Talent: Pablo Veron. Producer/director: Catherine Tatge. Producer: Dominique Lasseur. Composer/music supervisor: Tom Montgomery. Writer: Glenn Berenbeim. Coordinating producer: Bunny Tavares. Contact: Bunny Tavares, bunny@, 831-462-6004. Program explains why tango is not just a dance but a refuge, a way of life and a philosophy. Tango artist Pablo Veron prepares dancers for a pilgrimage to Argentina. The producers are soliciting dance couples on website:

Infrastructure, infrastructure, infrastructure...

From a news article I just read....

The Army Corps of Engineers worked through the night to plug the breaks with sandbags, and that work appeared to be holding as of Sunday afternoon, Preslar said.

"Right now, it's kind of a wait-and-see game," she said.

Corps of Engineers spokesman P.J. Spaul said the levee near Pocahontas was built in the 1940s. The levee district charged with its maintenance dissolved in the 1960s, leaving it to sag and have trees to grow up in its banks over the last 40 years, Spaul said.

"There were two, 24-inch pipes that cut through the levee. At one time, they had closure gates on them, but they couldn't be closed" Saturday, Spaul said. "Everything was rusted out on them."

Arkansas emergency management officials have said early estimates for statewide damage to homes, businesses and infrastructure was at $2 million, though that figure was expected to grow. Forecasts show it likely will be the middle of this week before rivers statewide see significant drops.

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe has declared 35 counties disaster areas.

I wonder where all of the money for maintaining the public infrastructure has gone over the past 30-40 years? It would be interesting to see the data for the entire U.S. as a whole - broken down by the various budget categories - to see where the money has shifted to, or where it has disappeared. I have to believe that on the whole, public funding has increased dramatically, but at the same time, basic public services have actually decreased in their efficiency and effectiveness and/or public safety and/or actual benefit to "the public".

Police; fire; public health/hospitals/research; education/schools; water and wastewater treatment; highways, streets and bridges; airports; waste disposal/landfills; wildlife/environmental/pollution; emergency/disaster/aid (think Katrina), poverty/homelessness/unemployment; addiction; abuse; foreign aid; the military; scientific/energy research; and on and on. I've probably missed over half of the areas where we spend our tax dollars.

Note that I am talking about public funding at all levels - city, county, state, and federal.

If I had to make a guess right now, in this moment, at 2:12 in the morning, I would have to guess that the bulk of the public funding goes to feed the monster itself. The administration of the public services, but not the public services themselves. The money never gets to the public - the end user.

It gets chewed through on things like trucking ice around the country (and storing it) for months and months on end after Katrina. Finally, someone decided it would be most cost effective just to let it melt. It gets chewed and burned through paying the salaries of the idiots doing this kind of shit. And paying for their benefits, retirement, vacations, healthcare. In this case, the ice shipping/storage "only" cost the taxpayers around $100 million dollars.

Even if it were only $10 million, that's a lot of fucking money - $10 million here and $10 million there - figure out how to save $10 million ten times in a year and you have $100 million. I would bet that someone with balls could come up with a billion or two (or ten or twenty billion) of waste within the "system" pretty easily.

Then we could afford to pay someone in Arkansas to go grease the fucking gates on the fucking double barrell 24" pipes through the levee and throw some dirt on the levee while they are at it. Or replace them when they rust out.

I'm only using this current news as an example. I am of the opinion that people who buy land and build homes and businesses within the 100 year flood plain are idiots - or at least ignorant - or at least poor and cannot afford land anywhere else. Levees or no levees - or the illusion of levees that will actually prevent flooding.

Then you have the State of Mississippi diverting $600 million in Katrina relief housing funds to expand the port there. While people are still living in trailers so contaminated with formaldehyde that it's making people sick. They haven't built much/any new rental or public housing there. Casinos, hotels, single family homes which are out of the economic reach of the poor. $60 million will build a lot of fucking public/affordable housing.

The rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer. The publicly funded re-distribution of wealth in this country continues before our very eyes, under our very noses.

Remember Enron? The "public", the people, we the people, are being "Enron'd" by our own government and special interest groups (read lobbyists). Where do you think the largest pile/pool of money is? It's tax dollars. Our tax dollars. Ripe for the plucking.

But the message is the same wherever you look and whatever example you choose to look at - something has got to change.

FYI, The Brookings Institute has an online "reading room" on issues learned from the Katrina debacle - but these same principles are applicable all across the country - flooding in Arkansas, Interstate bridges collapsing in Minnesota, and on and on. I'm going to spend some time reading about this stuff.

If you are not outraged, you're not paying attention.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Dana Frigoli and Pablo Villarraza

They said this in an interview with Jackie Ling Wong...paraphrasing again...

"Students must obligate their teachers to continue learning - the teachers must continue to learn."

Tango :: Filter the music with your heart

From today's Tango-L Digest...

Said by "El Flaco" Dany Garcia, subsequently interpreted by others - and now paraphrased here by me: "The music goes in my ears, is filtered through my heart, and comes out through my feet."

Terrible photo [below], but it's El Flaco standing at the end of my table talking to the Buenos Aires Tango Club...a very cool and very funky tango dive you don't hear talked about much...


For Nuit :: Perfect Harmony

Saturday, March 22, 2008

For Ms. TangoBaby :: Kreepy Peeps

Peeps Factory Video :: "Tulips" in the beginning, but then there is footage of the chick peeps being made...

The video above, the part towards the end with rows and rows of peeps marching along the assembly line reminded me of the visual documentary film "Baraka" part in it is...the end of Part 5, and the beginning of Part 6...
Part 5

Part 6

Rita Braver of CBS Sunday Morning :: A Peek at Peeps

Peeps Official Website

Out of context :: The Declaration of Independence

I realize it's Easter Sunday tomorrow, and that I should, perhaps, be posting something about this sacred day. I'm more from the "spiritual, but not religious" vein. So, in lieu of anything Easter related, besides a "Happy Easter" from me, I offer this...

I've been watching the new HBO special "John Adams". Tonight's episode was about the Declaration of Independence.

One of my favorite quotes, attributed, I think, to author Edward Abbey (Desert Solitaire) is this: "A true patriot is one who is willing to defend their country from their government." Unfortunately, in America today, if you question your government, you are often immediately branded as "unpatriotic", when this is the exact opposite of what our forefathers intended. Their intent was for "the people" to always be able to question their government, and even change it if need be.

It was intended to be, in their powerful words, "government of the people, by the people and for the people...". The vast majority of Americans have lost sight and understanding of this. Many young Americans could not even tell you what the Declaration of Independence is, much less what it says and what it stands for.

Here is the original text of the Declaration of Independence. It's a powerful document with powerful words that extend beyond our borders.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

— John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

For the ladies :: Veronique Boucasse

Check out her embellishments...very nice...very nice indeed...

Friday, March 21, 2008

For Nuit :: The birthplace of Coca Cola...

A pharmacist came up with the original formula while living in this house...

Government Employees :: Get back to work!

I've had two hits today from NIH (National Institutes of Health) and the Library of Congress.

You know who you are...

Little brother is watching!

Get back to work you slackers.

Actually, since you were searching on tango related stuff I will let it slide.

Private sector workers, feel free to continue fucking off...

Hell, after all, it is a Friday...and I am home fucking off...but not making love...

Just thought I would clarify that...



Until I figure out how to embed this...or imbed this...

Only in America :: It's always about the money...

Here's an article about traffic light cameras - originally installed to catch people running red lights, and in theory, reduce fatalities, discourage the habit, and increase public safety. The gov't also made the incorrect assumption that they would reap in millions in ticket fines.

In actuality, the reverse has happened. Yes, fatalities are down, safety is up, but fines are also down because people are being safe - not running red lights.

So, because fines are down, at least one city - Dallas - is turning the cameras off. In camera based fines, they took only in $11 million versus their projected $15 million.

I can understand (although not necessarily agree with) the budgetary realities for public entities. But come on now, really.

Here's another one for you. Aspen recently spent somewhere around $1 millon on solar powered parking meters - to be installed into extended residential areas around the town core.

So now, you have to pay to park on the street in front of your own house.

Only in America, is breaking the law an economic benefit. They want us to break the law. It's good for business. It's good for government. It's good for the GDP. But not the big laws - just the little ones - misdemeanors and parking offenses. Don't go postal on us.

Here's the link to the traffic light camera article:

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Too good not to share :: "Wonderful Life"

I found this right on the heels of my full moon bugaboo post...just what I needed...from Miss Tina...

The bane of my existence...

It's a full moon tomorrow night...I felt it tonight, before I realized what phase it was in...I was out in my yard picking up sticks and branches from all the recent storms...and noticed it rising in the east...I feel it coming...
Full Moon

Amazing Robotics

And another, more socially significant least in "dog" society...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Okay, here we go :: Fuck Me Back...revisited...


Now for the adults...

There is a thread on Tango-L right now about "Follower Expressiveness". I'm teaching a beginner woman right now and it's been challenging to explain the more nebulous elements of following. "It's not about being submissive", I explain. "It's surrendering, but not submitting." "It's meeting energy with energy." "Not trying to resist that energy, but accept it...greet it...with your own ...." Blah, blah, blah.

Okay, so it's impossible to explain/teach a feeling. It's also impossible to teach a woman how to "properly" surrender in tango. Either they have it or they don't. They can acquire it more and more over time I think, but I have also danced with a first day beginner who nailed it in the first six seconds and a 12 year dancer who didn't yet have it.

Tom Stermitz said this on Tango-L...about the followers in Buenos Aires...that they are "oh-so-adaptive" yet at the same time "oh-so-alive". He mentions the myth of "just following" - I will say it this way - "just doing nothing". We all know that followers DO NOT, by any stretch of the imagination - "do nothing". It's difficult (and important) to make sure beginning followers do not see it this way.

I have been thinking more about my post "The Perfection of the Perfect Connection". In it, I asked the question "Is it what she is thinking about, combined in the metaphysical soup between us - intertwined with what I am thinking about?"

I want to delve into this further by talking about making love. I feel this is the best analogy for the purpose. Plus, I am horny these days and it's pretty much all I think about, besides tango.

First, I want to unequivocally state that I am NOT equating dancing tango with making love. There are already way too many societal mis-perceptions about tango being "sexy", "sensual", "hot", "torrid" and all that. Which, it can be, at times, but that's not really what it's all about. Some of my readers in Russia mis-interpreted the last time I wrote something about this - that dancing tango was like having an orgasm. They completely missed the point - but I think it was a language barrier thing. (I love Babel-Fish.)

So here we go...for the faint of heart...this is your last chance to turn back...

I've been thinking about what I think about when I dance tango - what "we" all think about when we dance tango. And, no, I do not think about making love when I dance tango - that's not where this post is going. I remember the days when it was all I could do to think about the next single step.

I definitely do not think about "the market", or paying the bills when I dance. I hope my followers are not thinking about coloring their hair or running errands tomorrow or getting rid of the chairman of the board or plasma physics or whatever.

What do we think about when we make love? Not when we fuck, but when we make love. Fucking is the throw down, the doing it on the floor of the kitchen, the tipsy return from a night out on the town, the rug burns on the knees kinda sex. I'm talking about making love. Sweet, soft, warm, tasty, deep. Spiritual.

You know how when you are "in love" with someone, the sex seems so much better? For me, it can be mind blowing (okay, "has been" - past tense in the love department). When I look deep into a woman's eyes, while I am deep inside her, literally and figuratively - that feeling is indescribable. The physical sensation, combined with the metaphysical/spiritual, topped with the chocolate sauce we call "love" - man oh man - hopefully most of you know what I am talking about.

For me it is this - when I make love, it is not about my physical pleasure - it is not about my orgasm. I have checked that "end unto itself" at the door. Sure, I know it is in store for me, perhaps, but that is not my primary objective. The woman I am with is. Her pleasure is. Being with her is. The warm softness of her skin and her hair. The ecstacy of the act itself. All I think about is her. Caressing every inch of her body with my lips as I explore. Kissing her lips. Kissing that flat spot on her cheek right in front of her ear (my favorite). Kissing the sweet spots. Tasting the tasty spots. I'm not ticking off a list of techniques or methods in my head. I'm with her. I'm present. We are together. It's about two human beings coming together to share each other physically and metaphysically. To share an experience together.

And sure, lovemaking does not happen this way every time. Both parties have to be there - they have to be "on". They have to be thinking the same thing, feeling the same feeling. My goal is her pleasure, her goal is my pleasure. Energy meeting energy. If a woman is not there - and is "just there" - laying there - while the man does what he needs/desires to do - it's not the same. It's simply a physical release. It can work the other way too. Granted, it's rare, but the man can just lay there watching the football game and let the woman have her way.

The crux is this - when she "fucks me back", when she makes love to me "back", that's when the carnal ascends to another level.

That's when the connection ascends to another level - when that energy is there, and it's mutual energy. Symbiotic energy. Follower and leader are mutual and equal partners. I don't want to go much further than this - just that I think it's an energy thing. It's the focus of the leader's energy and thoughts. If a leader is 100% focused on the follower's experience - being "in the moment" - this moment, this song, this dance, this floor. Focused on her pleasure and enjoyment - her "fun". But the reverse must also be true, she must be focused on him. 100%. His pleasure. His enjoyment of this dance with her. Their mutual enjoyment of this brief time together.

I think this is a huge key in the quest for the perfection of the perfect connection. Mindset, energy, attitude, focus. All shared with another. The person in your embrace. It may be THE key.

Tango is not "just" a dance. Most definitely not.