Friday, October 30, 2009
Ever since I moved to The San Juans, a group of islands which are closer to the Canadian border than they are to mainland Washington State, I've been collecting local Pirate stories.
I just heard a doosey this week, more on that coming up, but first some background;
There is mounting evidence that the West Coast was explored and populated by Chinese sailors from as early as 2000 B.C.
Pirate stories abound; when I was a kid my friends family owned an old cabin in Oregon, at the mouth of The Salmon River where it meets the ocean north of Lincoln City. When the coast highway was expanded, they uncovered a ship that had been attacked by local Indians. On board was the remains of a "Kanaka", or South-Sea Islander, and another man who was clutching a sword, his head bashed in. Every year, treasure hunters begged to dig on my friends property, believing it the most likely location for hidden goods.
In northern Washington State, the San Juan Islands were allegedly first explored by the Spanish and English. One legend is that Sir Francis Drake sank a Spanish ship in a deep channel, killing everyone on board except the navigator, who was spared for his knowledge. As the legend goes, they salvaged a fortune in gold from the ship, took it to a sandy beach and recast the ingots with English stamps. High above the waterfront, strange rock cairns (one in the shape of an anchor) add to the legend of clues to treasure.
Much later, these islands, with their hidden coves and dark waterways became one of the key smuggling routes for everything from illegal alcohol to Chinese immigrants from Canada. To this day, the waterways between the islands are a favored transit point for the famed "BC Bud" Marijuana, and other mysterious things such as eight severed human feet have washed ashore in our area since 2007.
When she was young, one woman I know here knew a family that pulled a ladder up into the bedroom loft of their cabin every night to prevent them from being harmed by rogues and bandits. Near the shore, there are huge and ancient middens, or Indian trash dumps. Occasionally, the bones of a discarded Indian slave are uncovered, and from the vista of Turtleback mountain we know the location of dozens of Indian graves.
Which brings me to my latest Pirate story:
When the first settlers arrived, some of them worked for the Hudson's Bay Trading Company and lived in small log cabins. One family was living near Massacre Bay, aptly named due to a slaughter of Lummi Indians by a Heida tribe from Canada.
One day, three Frenchmen came ashore in a boat. The youngest was a huge bear of a man, one was middle-aged, and the other was very old and spoke only French.
They told the family to get in their cabin and stay there, or they would kill them. To prove their intent, they showed them their guns and knives. The family retreated to the cabin, and peered out through small windows.
Outside, the three Frenchmen indentified a large boulder, a huge landmark that had been deposited by glaciers thousands of years ago. The oldest Frenchman did all the pointing and calculations, estimating the location they sought on the rocky face of Turtleback Mountain above. The family watched as the men left to scale the hillside. The family scurried back into the cabin when the men returned, and took visual estimates of the mountain from the boulder again, unable to find the location on their first attempt.
Again they headed back up the hillside, and that's the last time the family saw the Frenchmen. No one knows who those men were, or why they would have killed to find what was hidden on Turtleback Mountain, but stories like this keep the legends alive...
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
The October 27 issue of The New York Times has This Article with updated information on the Karzai government and the ongoing Opium production and Heroin trade.
It appears that President Karzai's brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai has been on the CIA's payroll for years. That in itself is not unusual, if not for the accusations that he is deeply involved in the Drug trade.
This is part of an ongoing pattern that has been well documented since the Vietnam war. The best book I have read on the subject is "The Politics Of Heroin In Southeast Asia", by Alfred McCoy.
Everywhere the CIA goes, guns go in and drugs come out. The trade is protected in part to support the indigenous people that the agency draws it's paramilitary forces from. But more importantly, as we saw in Reagan's proxy war in Nicaragua it provides funding for "Black" operations. Oliver North's handwritten notes acknowledge the use of CIA assets in the guns down / drugs back operations.
Take a look at THIS ARTICLE that states that the Bush administration gave a green light to Opium production in 2002. Here's a snip:
This Is Your CIA on Drugs
The CIA decision not to stop the Afghan opium production has been greeted silently by U.S. allies. According to intelligence sources, both the U.K. and French governments have quietly given their approval of the American policy by not acting in accordance with the U.N. global ban on opium traffic.
However, one foreign intelligence official was quick to point out that the CIA has a history of supporting international drug trafficking.
"The CIA did almost the identical thing during the Vietnam War, which had catastrophic consequences – the increase in the heroin trade in the USA beginning in the 1970s is directly attributable to the CIA. The CIA has been complicit in the global drug trade for years, so I guess they just want to carry on their favorite business," noted an allied intelligence official who works closely with U.S. law enforcement.
Oh the hypocrisy...
UPDATE: Helena at Newsy.com asked to put up this video:
Sunday, October 25, 2009
A few years ago I was talking with a young guy from another Dojo who was about to test for Black Belt. He commented that he wondered if his martial skills would work if he needed to defend himself. I was a little shocked, and I asked him if he'd ever been in a fight before. He said no. I laughed, bought him a Beer and told him not to worry, his skills would be there when he needed them. But inside, I wondered.
You see, I had rarely thought about that. I had been in lots of fights before I ever started training in the Martial Arts.
This year, at 50, I've got enough distance from my youth to look back and see things with the perspective that age brings. There are two things that stir unparalleled emotions in young men; fighting and fucking. Both are extremes in passion and expression, fueled by hormones and experimentation. It's a brave new world.
There were so many scraps that barely rate as a fight, but some that bordered on life-changing. One of the first big ones was with a kid named Teddy in 6th grade. We met in the back field after school, a crowd around us. As a kid, we were always told not to hit, so I wasn't a very good hitter. Teddy, whose hair was redder than mine, got a few good punches in and we wrestled until we got tired. That was it.
But the following year, I was a little bigger and stronger. I was down in the cafeteria where a nerdy friend of mine named Berkley was being bullied by a mean kid named David. I got between them, David knocked the notebook out of my hands and the fight was on. I put one hand on a locker and another on a table and launched myself Errol Flynn-style into David with a kick. It got into grapling, and David got me in a headlock and threw me on the ground. Before I could get up, he kicked me in the head. That's the last fight I lost.
Years later, I picked David up hitchhiking. I drove him to town in my '70 Cuda. He was strung out on drugs and committed suicide sometime later.
High-school wrestling was a great sport for channeling all that adolescent energy, and provided some basic fight skills as a bonus.
One day while aimlessly loafing around the school, the call to help our buddy Dickey went out. It seems there were these guys in their late twenties that had chased Dickey into the school. They were rough street people, nobody knew where they lived but they were rumored to have cut the brakelines of another guy's car earlier.
As I rounded the stairs to the area in front of the auditorium, one of them swung a wine bottle at Dickey's brother Bob, and it shattered on the floor. There were three of those guys and way more of us. I grabbed one and slammed him into a wall, then held him in a choke hold from behind and put my back to the wall. My friend Terry had one guy on the ground and was pounding him. The third came to me and said to let his friend go or he'd cut me with a knife. Right then, with a huge group of students gathered around us, one of the male teachers came to break up the fight. Those guys went to jail, and none of us got suspended.
Around that same school year, there were similar incidents. One night, we were in a store in Northwest Portland, then called "Heroin Alley" trying to buy Beer. My friend Bud was waiting for us outside when trouble broke out. I ran outside and grabbed the Junkie who was fighting with Bud, drove him into a car fender and laid into him with body hooks. We got our Beer and got out of there.
Sometime that Spring, we traveled across town to 82nd avenue where the hot rod car action had moved when the Cops shut down Broadway. There, in a McDonalds reastaurant, my best friend John got hit in the eye by a guy named Teague, who was one of the star football players in that school district. We were clearly outnumbered, and retreated to John's '51 Mercury and headed back to our turf.
The next Saturday night, fueled by cheap Beer and fresh troops, we headed back over to 82nd to see if we could settle the score. This time we had several cars, and John and I were riding in Dave's '54 Oldsmobile. We parked across from the McDonalds to wait for the other cars with our buddies. Well, that '54 Olds looked enough like John's '51 Merc, and we were spotted. Out of nowhere, carloads of local kids started pulling in and gathering around us. Where were our guys?
There must have been sixty people circled around us three. As it is with these things, most people just want to watch, not get their noses bloodied. But three of them squared off with three of us. "That's the one Teague hit last week" said the guy pointing at the black eye John was sporting. The fight was on. One guy threw a punch at Dave, who was wearing glasses and got cut. I stepped between them and that's the guy I took. It was all like slow motion. He threw a loopy right, and a left, both which I blocked easily. The wrestling kicked in and I took him to the ground, with both of us rolling to the curb of 82nd with traffic a few feet from our heads. I managed to get on top, with his face down on the sidewalk. I hit that shithead with hammerfists to the back of the head until one of his buddies grabbed me by the sweatshirt and yanked me off. John and Dave were mixing it up with the other guys. Some religious couple quoting scripture stepped in and tried to break it up, right as our reinforcements made it to the fight. It turned into a stand-off for just a minute, and the crowd drew the attention of the Cops, who broke up the scene and sent everybody packing. We headed back to our turf, we still had Beer, and considered that one a victory. My friend John had another black eye, and we called him "Rocky Raccoon". This was at a time when a fistfight was a fistfight, no guns or knives thank goodness.
Two seperate guys got their noses busted by me when I hit them first. One tried to get revenge and actually found us on a side road and threatened me with a gun. I had a feeling he was too chicken to shoot, and I approached his car. He shoved the gun under his carseat. As I walked to his car, he backed away and I found the gun and threw it out into the bushes. The guy flipped out in a rage. He raced his car out of there, passed some Cops a few blocks away, and was arrested. The Cops came back to where we were parked, and I showed them where I threw the gun. They gave that kid an "elevator ride" in the jail when he tried to fight with the jailors.
I went to work right out of school, had to grow up, start paying rent and feeding myself. There were a few weird scrapes, including saving a Mexican girl from being raped while I was working an overnight shift at a gas station on Burnside in Portland. But I hadn't worked it out of my system yet.
One night after work my friend Mark and I hopped in his GTO and went to a car lot (again, on 82nd ave.) where I had started negotiation on buying a Plymouth Duster with a 340. Nice car. Never bought it. Got in a fight with the used car salesman.
I can't remember exactly how it started, but we argued, and the salesman tried to kick me in the balls. I instinctively blocked it and took him down with a judo leg sweep from wrestling. His sport coat came off in my hands, and I stood over this pathetic middle-aged car salesman, whipping him with his sport coat. Mark and I got out of there before they could call the Cops, and I had some answering to do at work because the company I worked for owned that car lot also. There were a few other dust-ups, but nothing special.
When I finally made the decision to go back to school, I started a Goju-Ryu Karate class for P.E., like thousands of other students try on a whim. Except I never stopped. That class channeled my energy into a path that would lead me to maturity, my first of several Black Belts, and lasting friendships with Dojo friends that beat me up so other guys couldn't.
Something changes when you take up a martial art in a serious way. Sure, I had some minor incidents after that. The difference was, I could handle the situation without breaking anybody's nose or rolling around in mud and broken Beer bottles. simple things like positioning, joint-locks or simple avoidance worked quite well. I didn't have anything to prove to anybody. Hell, I'm old now and there's plenty of people out there that can hurt me, so I stay out of trouble for the most part.
Some fights were emotional, some in rage, some with fear, others just cold procedure. But "the machine" always turned on.
Which brings me back to the young guy I mentioned in the beginning. He did get his Black Belt. He's probably still wondering if his skills will work if he gets into a fight.
I got that question out of the way years ago.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
I don't know who this instructor in Portland is yet, but from his short YouTube videos he appears to be a Bagua and Yang Tai Chi Chuan stylist.
I can't help but see similarities in his movement with our friend and teacher the late Mike Martello.
Like Mike, this guy is small but appears very strong. He uses subtle footwork and movement to defeat larger opponents.
I've still got friends and contacts in Portland, If I was still living there, I'd love to train with this guy. I'll try to get in touch with him by his YouTube channel, and maybe we can find out a little more about his training system and classes.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Oh Dojo Rat; how could you?
Trolling so deep as to exploit the "Balloon Boy " Conspiracy?
Up, up and away in my beautiful, my beautiful balloon! ("The Fifth Dimension", kids- 1969?).
Now that The level of "Balloon Dad" Richard Heene's depravity appears to be exposed, neighbors are (perhaps rightly) at their wits-end with all the media attention.
But really; who hasn't wanted to just kick the shit out of a Fox "News" Crew at one time or another.
This pissed-off neighbor appears to be in the right. He was requesting the police by cell phone, was jumped from behind, and got out of the full-nelson enough to paste the media guy a good three or four times. Good for him.
Reports say no charges are being filed.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Got some Goth kid on your street that threatens to kidnap your cat?
How about a blood-sucking employer or attourney?
-Well friends, this is just what you need-- a 19th-Century Vampire killing kit.
Check it out: a nice little single-shot pistol, a silver-handled dagger, not one but three Bibles.
But wait; there's more!
It's got your Cross, a mallet with lots and lots of wooden stakes, and a whole pharmacy of poisens and potions!
From "Boing-Boing", Here's the seller's description:
"These are expensive kits, made for the wealthy; not some cheap and cheesy plastic novelty items. Such luxury concedes a seriousness -- a deadly seriousness. These items were made to address deep, dark, primal fears. And then, like our fears often are, they were not thrown away but stored in equally dark and out of the way places... Antique wooden killing kits in the attics of old houses, just waiting for the day when the creatures creep from the attics of our minds."
I'll bet Steve Perry wants one of these.
And judging from the kind of E-mail Bobbe Edmonds has been getting, he might need one!
Friday, October 16, 2009
To paraphrase (or mis-quote) Kipling, "The strength of the Pack is the Rat, but the strength of the Rat is the Pack". We had the occasion to get our little Dojo in order with all of the Dojo Rats actually in uniform and ready to rock-and-roll. It was Tommy T's 51st birthday, and young Zac is leaving to teach in Japan for a year.
There were reviews of techniques, a few Beers, some stickfighting and sparring, more Beers, and a spontaneous demonstration of The Wudang Saber Form we are learning. This was a difficult form for me, it is very long and complex. I screwed the ending up just a bit, but not bad for early days. After the movements are perfected, the form is done much faster and more aggressively. This is at Taiji speed, so we can stay together.
The gathering was also attended by the Wives (Rat'ets) and Girlfriends (Rat'lets) of the younger Dojo members. There was tons of great food, lots of Beer, Wine and Sake, and a few gifts for Tom as well as a new Saber for Zac's going away. We'll miss the little Shit, but he'll be back and he hopes to train in Aikido while in Japan.
And as per usual, we had a huge music jam that went late into the evening, with friends of the Dojo, Wives and Girlfriends joining in.
Good news? Nobody got hurt, except my Wife who got kicked in the shin by Zac (just a bruise).
We've had a pretty steady core training group three nights-a-week for years, but it is really special when we can get everybody in the Dojo, in uniform, united in "The strength of the Pack".
One More Picture:
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
These Two Videos Go Together
As a part-time expert on Womens exercise videos, and a some-times fisherman, I hereby declare that these two videos go together.
Just watch a bit of the first video, and then all of the second.
A shameless pitch for crank comments, I say...
...Back to martial arts soon, I promise...
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
There was an unexpected spike in my stats for Monday; it's interesting to try to figure out what's going on. Here's the spread:
Interestingly, my statcounter at the bottom of the Blog has appeared to roll over without counting the current number of hits. It's stuck on 022,659. Another seperate statcounter located slightly above says 178075. Who knows. Maybe it will self-correct, but I know the true count is somewhwere above that number.
Here's the yearly numbers:
So there has been a significant increase since 2007, and it looks like with 2-1/2 months to go this year I'm already ahead of last year.
Boring stuff, but it's an interesting study for those of us that write Blogs, and want to provide fresh and fun information.
Thanks to all those fellow Dojo Rats out there for checking in!
Monday, October 12, 2009
I really, really like this video showing the exercises of Xinyiliuhe, more on the style in a moment.
First of all, consider the variety of technique and the amount of exercise this guy gets done in an extremely small space, no larger than an elevator. Watch as he first goes through the particular animal form with relaxed attitude. Gradually he builds until you can clearly see the martial intent. The spurring of the Rooster, the siezing of the Eagle, the knock-down power of the bear, the defensive covering from blows to the head as the Tiger washes his face. Nice elbow striking also.
Now for the style itself:
The best information I found was here on Jerek Szymanski's "China From Inside". Jerek is a very active journalist and historian living and Training in China, and has some of the best reporting on the lineage of Chinese martial arts.
"As stated in his article, Xinyiliuhe is a Moslem (his spelling) martial art meaning "Fist of Mind, Intention and Six Harmonies". From Jerek's article:
The art of Xinyi Liuhe Quan was passed secretly among Chinese Moslems and has been known as "the most cruel style among Chinese martial arts"
-- As I said above, see how little room you need to do a complete martial arts workout? I can run an hour of Tai Chi Chuan, intense Bagua and a cool-down with Xingyi in less than an eight-by-twelve area (although I prefer outdoors).
Oh, and by the way, I shamelessly ripped this cool video off from The Emptyflower Forum, a source for lots of Chinese internal arts stuff.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
I've always thought that the inner mind is the ultimate retreat, something that nobody else can touch. It's very encouraging to see this happen- in of all places- a prison in Alabama. Here's the complete article from CNN:
RIVERDALE, Georgia (CNN) -- In his darkest moment, Kenneth Brown lost it all. His wife and kids, the housebroken dog, the vacation home on Cape Cod all vanished when he was sent to prison for an arson in 1996.
In 2007, the documentary "The Dhamma Brothers" explored Alabama's Vipassana program.
Trapped in his gloomy cell and serving a 20-year sentence that felt like an eternity, Brown, then 49, found himself stretched out on the floor. He was silent. His eyes were shut. His body did not move.
Brown, a man raised as a Baptist and taught to praise the Lord and fear the devil, was meditating.
"I try to focus on the space between two thoughts, because it prevents me from getting lost," said Brown, who discovered meditation, yoga and Buddhist teachings three months into his sentence.
"This helped me stay on track and get me through prison," he said.
Meditation can help the convicts find calmness in a prison culture ripe with violence and chaos. The practice provides them a chance to reflect on their crimes, wrestle through feelings of guilt and transform themselves during their rehabilitative journey, Buddhist experts say.
In the past five years, books like the "Prison Chaplaincy Guidelines for Zen Buddhism" and "Razor-Wire Dharma: A Buddhist Life in Prison" have emerged.
"This is transformative justice, as opposed to punitive," said Fleet Maull, founder of the Prison Dharma Network, one of the largest support networks helping inmates learn meditation and Buddhist teachings.
Some inmates, like Brown, may not label themselves official Buddhists, but they meditate, practice yoga and follow Buddhist principles on truth, responsibility and suffering.
The practice of meditation seeped into the heart of the Bible Belt in 2002. The Donaldson Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison in Alabama, was notorious for violence. But a group of male inmates, including several murderers, completed a Vipassana meditation retreat that required more than 100 hours of meditation in 10 days.
Brown, now 62, resides in Georgia to be near his family. He says he was wrongfully convicted of arson. In 2005, a Massachusetts appeals judge reduced his sentence from 20 years to nine.
His body was motionless, his eyes closed and the palms of his hands facing upward.
These days, Brown's practice of mediation helps him tackle the challenges of being unemployed with a felony record. The college graduate has been rejected from jobs catching stray dogs and cleaning hotel rooms.
But he's got a lot to be thankful for: His daughters, his grandchildren -- and meditation, he said.
"I finally feel at peace."
(D.R.)- This article really made me reflect on the power of introspective faith, our inner cosmology and the human spirit.
Here's a link to "The Prison Dharma Network"
Friday, October 9, 2009
Aerosmith's "Seasons Of Wither", said to be Steven Tyler's favorite song brings a haunting seasonal feel as we slide toward the winter months here in the Northern Hemisphere.
This is a 1978 concert video, filmed in Texas. Takes me back to High School...
Blue hearted lady sleepy was she
Love for the devil brought her to me
Seeds of a thousand drawn to her sin
Seasons of Wither old in the end
Ooh woe is me I feel so badly for you
Ooh woe is me I feel so sadly for you
In time bound to lose your mind
Live on borrowed time
Take the wind right out of your sail
Fireflies dance in the heat of
Hound dogs that bay at the moon
My ship leaves in the midnight
Can't say I'll be back too soon
she awakens far far away
Heat of my candle show me the way
Seeds of a thousand drawn to her sin
Seasons of Wither old in the end
Ooh woe is me I feel so badly for you
Ooh woe is me I feel so sadly for you
In time bound to lose your mind
Live on borrowed time
Take the wind right out of your sail
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Sifu Rudy and B.T. Novell
Here we begin a study of a great Xingyi two-man drill. While I've learned the 88-movement two-man San Shou form from Tai Chi Chuan, I have not practiced this Xingyi two-man drill yet.
Sifu Rudy and B.T. (Novell) get us started with a basic explanation of the movements, slow enough that we can understand what's going on.
Mike Patterson and student
Now, we see Mike Patterson demonstrating this form, and it adds a whole new level of intensity to the training.
This is why I love live, continuous movement training drills. Sure, it is holding to a pattern, but think about this:
When we were in TKD or Kenpo, I watched students blow a three-movement self-defense drill. They would un-wind from the position they stopped in, and attempt to start the drill again. There was no spontaineity of movement and because they blew the simple drill they had no back-up plan such as evading another attack. On the other hand, drills like the ones in this post allow for non-stop movement and encourage free action when necessary. Thats a very good thing, providing one has the basics.
Master Shouyu Liang and Sam Maisch
Now we see the form, or a more advanced version in action. Kicks are included. It's very stylized but beautiful and powerful at the same time.
I had the pleasure of meeting Sam Maisch when he visited our little island and taught a push-hands workshop. He is very, very skilled and one of the nicest instructors I've trained with. I hope to practice with him again some time...
Monday, October 5, 2009
* Yes, High-level diplomatic talks appear to have broken down, resulting in near disaster. An as-yet unnamed Maoist splinter cell fired a missile at Dojo Rats undisclosed secret island hideout. Fortunately, we were able to disarm the offending Commie Canister before it exploded, with the potential of spilling hundreds of gallons of hot rice wine. Cut the blue wire, Doc! Er, Uh, well, it was our annual fall party up here in the far left corner of America. Our buddy Doc created this spectacular piece of art out of a long-range fuel tank from an old Navy Corsair aircraft. It took six guys and a forty-year-old International flatbed pickup to move it. As we continue to build the Saloon, I'm sure we'll be collecting lots of stuff like this! Drunken fun was had by all! Note: The Chinese writing says "Flee Mother Earth"...
And now for some really, really bad Saloon music, around 1 am...
And now for some really, really bad Saloon music, around 1 am...
Saturday, October 3, 2009
The young woman above is quite a hero, here's the story from "The Telegraph.UK" :
Farmer's daughter disarms terrorist and shoots him dead with AK47
An Indian farmer’s daughter disarmed a terrorist leader who broke into her home, attacked him with an axe and shot him dead with his own gun.
By Dean Nelson in New Delhi
Published: 10:02PM BST 29 Sep 2009
Rukhsana Kausar, 21, was with her parents and brother in Jammu and Kashmir when three gunmen, believed to be Pakistani militants, forced their way in and demanded food and beds for the night.
Their house in Shahdra Sharief, Rajouri district, is about 20 miles from the ceasefire line between Indian and Pakistani forces.
It is close to dense forests known as hiding places for fighters from the Lashkar-e-Taiba group, which carried out the Mumbai terrorist attack last November.
Militants often demand food and lodging in nearby villages.
When they forced their way into Miss Kausar’s home, her father Noor Mohammad refused their demands and was attacked.
His daughter was hiding under a bed when she heard him crying as the gunmen thrashed him with sticks. According to police, she ran towards her father’s attacker and struck him with an axe. As he collapsed, she snatched his AK47 and shot him dead.
She also shot and wounded another militant as he made his escape.
Police have hailed the woman’s bravery.
They said she would be nominated for the president’s gallantry award.
She may also receive a £4,000 reward if, as police believe, the dead terrorist is confirmed as Uzafa Shah, a wanted Pakistani LeT commander who had been active in the area for the past four years.
Supt Shafqat Watali said Miss Kausar’s reaction was “a rude shock” for the militants. “Normally they get king-like treatment but this was totally unexpected,” he said.
Miss Kausar said she had never fired an assault rifle before but had seen it in films and could not stand by while her father was being hurt. “I couldn’t bear my father’s humiliation. If I’d failed to kill him, they would have killed us,” she said.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Ummm... Beer and Girls.
This thread was started by... er, we'll call him "Big Mo".
If other readers have a good candidate for "Cute Hippie Chick Of The Month", send her to email@example.com
And the next one a few of you may have seen, but, well...