When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

27 February 2010

Reviewed briefly: "The Stick and Cane in Close Combat" (Tom Lang, 2006)

One of the most thoughtfully written and nicely illustrated "how to" books I've seen in a long time, "The Stick And Cane In Close Combat: Jointlocks, Takedowns and Surprise Attacks" is about how to use a stick, staff or cane as leverage in grappling. It's a compendium of jointlocks and takedowns, basically, from the practical to the fanciful, with only passing reference to the short, sharp shot (the best way to fight with a stick is to hit somebody with it, usually.)

A little knowledge of anatomy and physics is a *truly* dangerous thing. I am far from an expert martial artist, but Mr. Lang certainly is, and it appears to me that at least some of these techniques would remain completely accessible/available to older people who might have reduced strength, range of motion, or even balance.

It turns out that Tom Lang is an instructional designer and medical/technical writer, in his day job.  No wonder the book reads so well!

Related links:

Jointlocks and Takedowns with the Stick and Cane (Tom Lang)

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26 February 2010

Reviewed briefly: "I'm New Here," Gil Scott-Heron (2010)

4 out of 5 stars (* * * *)

\He sounds like forty miles of bad road, but Gil Scott-Heron, the hard-living New York Poet who once taught us that The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, is back with a recording that poignantly examines rebuilding your life, even if you have to start from scratch.

Audio and video here:

15 February 2010

Americana/alt.country playlist for Bunny

And anyone else who's interested.

Lyle Lovett: "Lyle Lovett" (debut album), "Pontiac," "It's Not Big It's Large" (with the Large Band) - a good introduction is "Anthology Vol 1, Cowboy Man", but there are no bad songs on the early albums and damn few on the later ones; it's worth buying the full albums in my view. 

Steve Earle: God, anything really. But especially "Guitar Town" and "Transcendental Blues."

Townes van Zandt: Anything and everything.  A good introduction is "Live at the Old Quarter, Houston, TX" - there are some compilations but I don't like the looks of them.

Willie Nelson: Anything and everything.  A good introduction is the recent comprehensive box set.  Just buy it. :-)

Guy Clark. The alt.country singer-songwriter's singer-songwriter.  Anything.  His last couple of records ("Dublin Blues," "Some Days The Song Writes You") are solid as they come.

Joe Ely - both as a solo artist and with The Flatlanders.  Look for an anthology.

Robert Earl Keen - another member of the Texas smart-country set.   "The Party Never Ends" is canonical.

Buddy and Julie Miller: If you buy just one record, buy this one: "Written In Chalk".

T-Bone Burnett: Producing more than performing these days, but proves that Christian Rock does not have to be "I found God and lost my talent."  He writes heartbreakingly beautiful songs.

John Prine - all of it.

Emmylou Harris - all of it pretty much.

Lucinda Williams - all of it, but especially "Car Wheels On A Gravel Road."

Tift Merritt - a good introduction is "Live in Birmingham" (England, not Alabama)


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