Sunday, February 26, 2012

Teensy treat just for you...

A treat to watch-- from the Abu Dhabi World Pro in 2011, Paulo Miyao v. Pedro Torres, purple belt -65kg finals.

And a treat to eat: 3, 2, 1 Cake

These individual little cakes are amazing and ready to eat in one minute! They are perfect for whenever you feel like a treat without all the fat and calories that cake can have. Genius idea!

1 box Angel Food Cake Mix
1 box Cake Mix - Any Flavor
2 Tbsp Water
Makes 1 serving.

In a gallon ziploc bag, combine the two cake mixes together and mix well. For each individual cake serving, take out 3 Tablespoons of the cake mix combination and mix it with 2 Tablespoons of water in a small microwave-safe container. Microwave on high for 1 minute, and you have your own instant individual little cake!
Keep remaining cake mixture stored in the ziploc bag and use whenever you feel like a treat! You can top each cake with a dollop of whipped topping and/or some fresh fruit.

Helpful Tips:
This recipe is called 3, 2, 1 Cake because all you need to remember is
3 tablespoons mix,
2 tablespoons water,
1 minute in the microwave!

TRY various flavors of cake mix like carrot, red velvet, pineapple, lemon, orange, etc. Just remember that one of the mixes has to be the angel food mix; the other is your choice. The flavor possibilities are endless!

The best thing is, you open both cake mixes into a gallon storage bag, one that 'zip locks' or 'self-seals', or a container that seals tightly, shake the two cake mixes to blend and then make the recipe. Storage of mix is simple, put it on a shelf. No need to refrigerate, since the mix is dry. Always remember, that one of the cake mixes must be Angel Food. The other can be any flavor. The Angel Food is the cake mix that has the eggs whites in it. So, if, anyone is allergic to egg whites, don't eat this.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Mitt, really in touch with the average American....

"Presidential candidate Mitt Romney on being back home in Michigan:
"I like the fact that most of the cars I see are Detroit-made automobiles. I drive a Mustang and a Chevy pick-up truck. Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs, actually. "

Spam and eggs.

Jiujiu had a funny post listing the goofy stuff spammers wrote in their "comments" so I actually looked in my spam filter... Here's some:

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ronda and Miesha

I enjoyed this interview.

I think Ronda needs just a tiny bit less of the confidence... not in her skills, but in her own rightness and opinions.  She's just a little too free with her words, and I think maybe they'll bite her someday.  She comes across too strongly, treading the line of b*tchery.  She's already my favorite female MMA fighter bar none because her judo and her armbar give me tinglies, but I would like her more if she seemed more humble.  She's right in what she says though...

01:50 -- Ronda Rousey -- "All these girls are saying that I have talked my way into a title, is just a mean way of saying that I was smarter than them and I figured out to make as much progress in six months as they did in six years."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

RicksonGracie Dammit! Santorum is such a LIAR!

Euthanasia in the Netherlands: Rick Santorum’s bogus statistics

Glenn Kessler here, on the Washington Post at 06:00 AM ET, 02/22/2012.

“In the Netherlands, people wear different bracelets if they are elderly. And the bracelet is: ‘Do not euthanize me.’ Because they have voluntary euthanasia in the Netherlands but half of the people who are euthanized — ten percent of all deaths in the Netherlands — half of those people are enthanized involuntarily at hospitals because they are older and sick. And so elderly people in the Netherlands don’t go to the hospital. They go to another country, because they are afraid, because of budget purposes, they will not come out of that hospital if they go in there with sickness.”
— Former senator Rick Santorum, at the American Heartland Forum in Columbia, Missouri, Feb. 3, 2012
"These were interesting remarks by one of the leading candidates for the GOP nomination. Though Santorum made this observation earlier in the month, a video of his comments only circulated on the web over the weekend and a number of readers asked whether he is correct. (His comments also spawned headlines in Holland, such as one that proclaimed: “Rick Santorum Thinks He Knows the Netherlands: Murder of the Elderly on a Grand Scale.”)

So we will check his statistics — 10 percent of all deaths in the Netherlands are from euthanasia and 50 percent of those die involuntarily — and also his claim that the elderly wear bracelets requesting that they not be euthanized.
(Full disclosure: The Fact Checker’s parents emigrated from Holland and I have direct, personal experience with the practice of euthanasia there. My father’s brother requested euthanasia when he was diagnosed with a terminal disease and after various remedies were ineffective. In the United States, he might have lived another two or three months, in great pain, and likely would have lapsed into a coma before death. But, after a conclusion by the Dutch medical establishment that he had no chance of survival, he arranged for his death at home with his family at his side. He even called me an hour before his death to say good-bye.)

We realize this is an emotional issue in the United States. But the simple facts, as Santorum described them, should be clear.

The Facts

In 2001, The Netherlands became the first country to legalize euthanasia, setting forth a complex process. The law, which went into effect a year later, codified a practice that has been unofficially tolerated for many years.

Under the Dutch law, a doctor must diagnose the illness as incurable and the patient must have full control of his or her mental faculties. The patient must voluntarily and repeatedly request the procedure, and another doctor must provide a written opinion agreeing with the diagnosis. After the death, a commission made up of a doctor, a jurist and an ethical expert also are required to verify that the requirements for euthanasia have been met.

Late last year, in the first such case, a 64-year-old woman with advanced Alzheimer’s disease was euthanized, on the strength of her insisting for years that she wanted the procedure to be done.

Nevertheless, the statistics show it is still a relatively uncommon form of death. In 2010, the number of euthanasia cases reported to one of five special commissions was 3,136, according to their annual report. This was a 19 percent increase over 2009, but “this amounts to 2.3 percent of all 136,058 deaths in the Netherlands in 2010,” said Carla Bundy, spokeswoman for the Dutch embassy in Washington.

At the time of the annual report, the commissions had been able to reach conclusions in 2,667 euthanasia notifications reported to the agency and found only nine in which “the physician had not acted in accordance with the due care criteria,” the annual report said. More than 80 percent of the patients were suffering from cancer; almost 80 percent died at home.

A 2005 study by the New England Journal of Medicine found only a minimal number of the cases — 0.4 percent — in which there was an ending of life without explicit request by the patient. The study concluded the rate had actually been cut in half since the euthanasia law was passed.

These statistics were so at odds with Santorum’s claims that we wondered how he could have thought that 50 percent of the elderly were put to death involuntarily (or that 10 percent of all deaths in Holland were from euthanasia.) Spokesmen for Santorum did not respond to a query, but the best we can tell, he is grossly misinterpreting the results of a 1991 survey known as the Remmelink Report, which was influential in crafting the 2001 law.

The Remmelink Report found that 0.8 percent of the deaths at the time were done without the explicit request of the patient; in 59 percent of the cases, the physician had some information about the patient’s wish. “Life was shortened by between some hours and a week at most in 86 percent,” a summary of the report said. “In 83 percent the decision has been discussed with relatives and in 70 percent with a colleague. In nearly all cases, according to the physician, the patient was suffering unbearably, there was no chance of improvement, and palliative possibilities were exhausted.”

And what about those “Do Not Euthanize me” bracelets?

This also appears to be a strange misinterpretation of life in the Netherlands. We did find that a Web site known as Right Wing News last year published an article which asserted that “over 10,000 [Dutch] citizens carry ‘Do Not Euthanize Me’ cards in case they are ever admitted to a hospital unexpectedly.” The source was the Louisiana Right To Life Federation, which in turn cited no specific source except possibly the Nightingale Alliance, which opposes euthanasia. But this group does not appear to have published any actual figures.

In a letter to the British Medical Journal last year, a Dutch euthanasia specialist wrote that such cards do not exist. “What does exist is a living will (the levenswensverklaring), which is distributed by the Christian Dutch Patient Association,” in which people can “state that active life termination is not an acceptable option.” He wrote that it is unclear how many people completed such a living will.
“According to the Ministry of Health, ‘Do not euthanize me’ bracelets do not exist in the Netherlands,” said Bundy of the Dutch embassy. “In the Netherlands, there are indeed living wills, which are documents in which members can state their wishes regarding euthanasia.”

The Pinocchio Test

There appears to be not a shred of evidence to back up Santorum’s claims about euthanasia in the Netherlands. It is telling that his campaign did not even bother to defend his comments.

Four Pinocchios"

Repost: the Art of Flow Rolling

Was reminded of this excellent instructional article  on the art of the flow roll today, so I decided to share.  It's really foundational stuff. 

Aside from the great article, Christian put together this 37 minute video that is worth everyone's time to watch.

The original source is Christian at Zhoozhitzu do Graugardo

Friday, February 17, 2012

Dang gear is so expensive... a solution is at hand!

How much does it suck to buy a new gi... wash it once, and have it shrink too much to be wearable?  Or you try to shrink it, and it doesn't shrink enough?

How much does it suck to think you like your new gi, wear it a couple classes, and realize that it really doesn't fit you all that well?

How much does it suck to start out in BJJ and right off the bat it seems you have to spend $150 on a gi, when you're not even sure you're sticking with the sport?

Or how about you move, and you need a Gracie Barra gi for the new academy (or you're no longer training with GB and want to get rid of yours)-- what do you do?

I can tell you that few companies will let you return a worn and washed and dried gi for a refund.  It's hard to find Barra patch sets these days.  What if your academy sells "starter gis" for $125-- can you do better? What if you want to try out some muay thai and need some fight shorts? shin guards? And gloves?  But you didn't get a raise?

Check out the BJJ Gi Market.  Not just used gear... not just gis... but an affordable source for one-on-one sales of whatever you might need.  Some sellers are individuals, whereas some are direct (discounted) sales from the manufacturer.  (There's an A4 Ronin, brand new, for sale from the manufacturer right now for only $79.)

Here's what the site has to say:

"Welcome to  Here you will find others who are looking to buy or sell gently used items relating to the sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. If you are looking for cheap gear to buy, or have gear you do not need, and are tired of paying the high prices & fees on Ebay, then you have come to the right place. We do not charge for memberships or listings and we will host your photos and contact information so others just like you can search, browse, and buy or sell their gently used grappling merchandise.

We feel we are the best place to buy or sell used Gis, grappling shorts, shirts, gloves, and any other BJJ related gear or clothing on the web! From Kimonos to Tees you will find it all here at BJJ Gi Market.

***Please note we reserve the right to delete or edit any listing we feel is obscene or inappropriate and we do not allow the listing of undergarments or mouthpieces of any kind due to sanitary reasons and liability.  All else is fine as long as it is kept within the Terms of Service.***"

Right now I see some new and used Shoyorolls, some ladies' gis (and I'm about to add ten or so to that list this weekend), Atamas, Ronins, Break Points, Relson Gracie, Gameness... it's a good selection!  There are also fight shorts, new and used gloves, and a bunch of other stuff.  They also have categories for books and DVDs.  Are you a purple belt now and don't need Roy Dean's Blue Belt Requirements any more?  Let some whitebelt soak up the knowledge!

And, a special free gift if you purchase on the site: Stephan Kesting's A Roadmap For Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Ebook!

I've sold a few people gently-used gis before-- usually some young girl who sees one of my "dyed creations"-- and as long as you give it a good wash with about 1/4 cup of bleach in the water, a used gi isn't going to give you cooties. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Ready to perfect your BJJ, network, bond, AND enjoy vacation???

Ladies, get ready for the Womens Grapple Camp this summer--  start planning now! I just finished a mini-camp, a 3-day weekend in San Antonio, full of great jiu jitsu taught by Val Worthington and Emily Kwok and fun times with other like-minded gals. I can only imagine what a full week would be like!  This one will be hostessed by Mallory Kraft, a blue belt and awesome friend of mine.  Here's Mallory (blue gi) last year at the Pan--

Here's a picture from a previous camp -- if you start counting 1 at the far left, #2 is Val, #3 is Mallory, and #5 is Emily.  The other two ladies also came from Mallory's academy.

The camp will be August 1-5 at Paragon BJJ Academy in San Luis Obispo, CA. What? your honey is pouting? Significant others (and presumably your kids) may train at either the SLO location or Templeton location (30 miles north) for only $50 for the week! From the schedule you can see there are plenty of classes to keep them busy.  Look how big their dang matspace is:

But they're not into jiu jitsu, you say? or some are, some aren't? San Luis Obispo has been called the happiest city in America by National Geographic and Oprah. There's tons of great hiking within the city or a 15-minute drive. SLO is also ten minutes from multiple beaches. Stay a little longer and make it a mini vacation. Drive down to the LA/San Diego area and do some slumming with Galvao, Cobrinha, Saulo/Xande, Kron, Henry/Ronda and other second-string instructors *wink*...

You can expect a class to be taught by the head instructor at Paragon-- Chris Lovato, a black belt in BJJ and judo.  Here he is with Franjinha at No Gi Worlds 2010. Chris is on the left in the white and black rashguard. They closed out their absolute bracket together that year.  Franjinha is the head of the entire Paragon association and Chris' instructor.  Pretty cool moment!

So, consider this your save-the-date.  More info to come on registration, pricing, etc etc!


Thursday, February 09, 2012

Birth control, insurance, and Catholic hospitals/employers....

Reposted from Slate, by Amanda Marcotte:

"With all the fussing going on over the Obama administration's sensible refusal to carve out huge exceptions in their new contraception rules for religious-affiliated institutions that serve the public, I fear that there are a lot of misperceptions floating about regarding what it is that Catholic-affiliated hospitals and universities are really like, or how actual Catholics feel about this situation. Some numbers are helpful.

Twenty-eight states already require religious-affiliated institutions that serve the public to offer equal insurance coverage as non-religious institutions offering the same services. The tragic results predicted by anti-choice hysterics have not come to pass because of this. The notion that Catholics as a group are offended by these regulations is also false; a poll run by Public Policy Polling found that 53 percent of Catholics support the administration on this, which isn't substantively different than the population at large.The group who actually opposes the ruling are evangelical Christians, as a poll from the Public Research Institute found. Only 38 percent of evangelical Christians want the coverage.

So the divide here isn't between Catholics and non-Catholics, but religious fanatics and non-fanatics. You might not realize it from all the wailing about how Obama offended the Catholics, but most Catholics aren't actually sex-phobic religious fanatics. They use contraception and have abortions at the same rate as everyone else, in fact. The hyper-conservative representatives of the U.S. Conference on Catholic Bishops cannot be equated with American Catholics, any more than the Branch Davidians can be considered representative of Texans as a group.

The notion that the culture of Catholic-affiliated universities and hospitals is substantively different than secular or Protestant ones, and thus deserves some kind of special dispensation from having to obey the law, is something that direct experience with these institutions should immediately disprove. I personally went to a Catholic-affiliated university, and the reason that it was a fine fit for my atheist self was that "Catholic-affiliated" is basically meaningless when it comes to the daily business of a university. Culturally, there was no real difference between my school and a secular school. We had a LGBT group, co-ed dorms, no curfews, and while I was there our school theater did a performance of The Rocky Horror Show. Half the students and staff weren't even Catholic, and of those who were, most were like self-identified Catholics everywhere, which is to say not particularly interested in the church's extremist doctrines. The cafeteria served meat on Fridays during Lent. Campus entertainment, such as free movies and parties, was exactly like at secular universites. I remember sitting on a blanket on a warm summer night watching Pulp Fiction as it was projected on a wall on campus. My friends who went to private Catholic school in high school would often joke that they had better sex ed than you get in public schools. The only thing from the secular world that the USCCB cares to take a stand on is contraception, which suggests that this isn't about religion at all, but just about controlling women."

Screw cutting weight-- FUDGY brownies, I'm tellin' ya.

So, if the thought of box-mix brownies for Valentine's (or any-tines) offends... here are some brownies with extra fudginess (substituted pulverized nuts for some of the flour for added richness and less dryness..) Got the recipe from L.V. Anderson on Slate. But before the recipe, a brief report. I pulled myself up to a chin-up position with just my arms (JUST MY ARMS!!!) yesterday... twice... *prance prance* And then did it again with just the help of my tippy-toes on the wall 3 more times... that's right, baby, TWO PULLUPS... uh huh!

Ok-- back to the chocolate.

Chocolate Chip Brownies

Oil or butter for greasing the pan
1/2 cup almonds, hazelnuts, or walnuts
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch slices
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate (not chips), roughly chopped
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup milk chocolate chips

1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8- or 9-inch square or round pan with foil or parchment paper and grease the lining. Put the nuts in a food processor and process until finely ground. Add the flour and salt, and pulse a few times to combine.

2. Put the butter and chocolate in a large saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until they melt and the mixture is smooth. (Or combine the butter and chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until they melt.) Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar, letting cool a little so you don't scramble the eggs. Beat together the eggs and vanilla in a small bowl, then add the egg mixture to the saucepan and stir to combine. Stir in first the flour mixture (do not overmix), then the chocolate chips, and transfer the batter to the greased pan.

3. Bake until the brownies just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 30 minutes. Cool thoroughly before removing from the pan and serving. (The brownies will keep for a few days wrapped in foil or parchment paper at room temperature.)

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Top 7 reasons nogi is good for your gi game

Andrew Smith is an instructor at Revolution BJJ in Richmond VA.  He's a first-degree blackbelt in BJJ under Julio “Foca” Fernandez.  Smith is a three-time Pan champion (plus a silver and a bronze), a 20x US Grappling champion, and a decorated judo blackbelt. He wrote a nice two-part series on why it's good to train both gi and nogi.  I thought the second half, on how nogi helps your gi game, was a good reminder for me and maybe a bit of a kick in the pants to get me out of my kimono a little more often.

Check the article out here.

Two choke attacks, taught by Fernandez:

Also, if you haven't read Sam Harris's two articles on self defense and his start in BJJ, drop whatever you're doing and read them right now.

Self defense is here.

Drowning in BJJ is here.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012


I'm sure the vast majority of people reading this can point to an aunt, a cousin, a sister, a best friend who has had breast cancer.  My best friend Heather from high school has it, and just finished her last chemo treatment on Groundhog Day.  (Next up-- surgery, then radiation.)

So far, the estimated new cases and deaths from breast cancer in the United States in 2012 (and this is just February) is over 225,000 women and almost 2,200 men with new cases of cancer and almost 40,000 women and over 400 men who have died from the disease. Many of these people are poor and have little access to proper health care or support; many of them owe their lives to breast screening provided by Planned Parenthood.

With all the hoopla over Susan G. Komen lately, it's tempting to turn the volume down and not listen to all the voices.  One voice that you SHOULD listen to belongs to Linda Burger, a 56-year-old breast cancer survivor in Las Vegas, who was so appalled she made a video. As Linda says in this video, cancer makes you frank and it makes you say what you feel.

Watch this wonderful video. Then send it to an aunt, a cousin, a sister, a best friend. Send it to your Congress(wo)man. Send the Komen Foundation the message that politics and religion have no place in providing health care for women who have nowhere else to turn. They can take their plastic pink ribbons and shove them up Ari Fleischer's nose. Then send a donation to Planned Parenthood - help keep them alive, so that they can help keep us alive.

Susan G. Komen accepted Karen Handel's resignation.  Her resignation letter is chock full o' it....

Dear Ambassador Brinker:

Susan G. Komen for the Cure has been the recognized leader for more 30 years in the fight against breast cancer here in the US – and increasingly around the world.

As you know, I have always kept Komen's mission and the women we serve as my highest priority – as they have been for the entire organization, the Komen Affiliates, our many supporters and donors, and the entire community of breast cancer survivors. I have carried out my responsibilities faithfully and in line with the Board's objectives and the direction provided by you and Liz.

We can all agree that this is a challenging and deeply unsettling situation for all involved in the fight against breast cancer. However, Komen's decision to change its granting strategy and exit the controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood and its grants was fully vetted by every appropriate level within the organization. At the November Board meeting, the Board received a detailed review of the new model and related criteria. As you will recall, the Board specifically discussed various issues, including the need to protect our mission by ensuring we were not distracted or negatively affected by any other organization's real or perceived challenges. No objections were made to moving forward.

I am deeply disappointed by the gross mischaracterizations of the strategy, its rationale, and my involvement in it. I openly acknowledge my role in the matter and continue to believe our decision was the best one for Komen's future and the women we serve. However, the decision to update our granting model was made before I joined Komen, and the controversy related to Planned Parenthood has long been a concern to the organization. Neither the decision nor the changes themselves were based on anyone's political beliefs or ideology. Rather, both were based on Komen's mission and how to better serve women, as well as a realization of the need to distance Komen from controversy. I believe that Komen, like any other nonprofit organization, has the right and the responsibility to set criteria and highest standards for how and to whom it grants.

What was a thoughtful and thoroughly reviewed decision – one that would have indeed enabled Komen to deliver even greater community impact – has unfortunately been turned into something about politics. This is entirely untrue. This development should sadden us all greatly.

Just as Komen's best interests and the fight against breast cancer have always been foremost in every aspect of my work, so too are these my priorities in coming to the decision to resign effective immediately. While I appreciate your raising a possible severance package, I respectfully decline. It is my most sincere hope that Komen is allowed to now refocus its attention and energies on its mission.


Cool interview with Abmar Barbosa.... and some Mendes Brothers for dessert...

Check out SubmissionControl's interview with Abmar Barbosa here...

And if you're in San Diego, seriously-- go train with those Mendes boys.  They are both training 3x a day at Atos San Diego, Andre Galvao's gym, getting ready for the Pan.

2009 World Pro Cup finals, Rafa Mendes v. Cobrinha:

Rafa v. Bruno Malfacine, looks like ADCC 2011...

Rafa v. Guilherme, 2010 World Pro Cup finals:

Monday, February 06, 2012

Cutting weight + craving chocolate = ??

This recipe makes 12 really good brownies, only 130 calories each.  They're full of chocolate flavor, not dry, chewy and utterly yummy.  This comes from Cook's Illustrated which is hands-down the best recipe and "learn how to cook" site on the internet.

To keep the texture and flavor just right, use a combination of semisweet chocolate and cocoa powder instead of unsweetened chocolate  (which is higher in fat and must be used in combination with more sugar and butter). A little espresso powder accentuates the chocolate flavor. And it uses just 2 tablespoons butter, instead of the usual 8 to 12 tablespoons, along with 1 tablespoon warm water added to the batter to help bloom the cocoa flavor and keep these low-fat brownies moist.

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2teaspoon baking powder
2tablespoons Dutch-processedd cocoa powder
1tablespoon warm water
1tablespoon vanilla extract
3/8teaspoon instant espresso powder
2tablespoons unsalted butter
3ounces semisweet chocolate , chopped fine (DO NOT USE BAKING CHIPS)
1/2cup sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
1/8teaspoon salt
1 large egg , lightly beaten
1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch square metal baking pan with parchment paper, or foil lightly coated with vegetable oil spray.

2. Whisk the flour and baking powder together in a small bowl; set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk the cocoa, water, vanilla, and espresso powder together; set aside. Microwave the butter and chocolate together in a medium microwave-safe bowl on 50 percent power until melted, about 1 minute; whisk until the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the sugar and salt until completely incorporated. Whisk in the cocoa mixture, then whisk in the egg. Stir in the flour mixture until just incorporated (do not overmix).

3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking (do not overbake). Cool completely on a wire rack, about 1 hour, lift the brownies out of the pan by grasping onto the parchment paper, and cut into 12 brownies.

Stupid knee.

Tweaked my knee again in class on Saturday.  Not even rolling-- just drilling the technique.  Actually, I was being the "dummy" for my partner to drill her technique with.  That kind of sucked.  Also it sucked that I accidentally much-softer-than-punched-but-I-can't-think-of-what-to-call-that her in her mouth while we were drilling something else when we both moved a little unpredictably in the fatal wrong combination of directions...  Also it sucked that she accidentally kicked me in the head later on, but less than it probably sucked for her receiving the mouth-not-punch thing...

Anyway so my knee was not happy, and then I went to a local womens' open mat on Sunday, and rolled with a bluebelt friend of mine from another school, no incidents, just fun.. then I rolled with another gal I really like who is about to go blue, and really could feel my knee being not happy with her.  Picture like if you were riding a horse, trying to curl your leg inwards around the horse's barrel-- as if you could make your leg bend inwards on the sideways axis, not like heel to butt-- well when I do that, is when it hurts.  I was playing open guard and she was trying standing passes, and I just couldn't keep my foot on her hip or knee at all.  So I'm sulking and pouting a bit.

But not enough to keep me from going to class tonight. :)

Hope you had a good weekend...

Friday, February 03, 2012

Start thinking about St. Valentine's Day....

Instead of going out to eat (ahem, it's already too late for reservations at most places) you should make your sweetie a home-cooked meal.  I'll be tossing out menu and recipe ideas here and there before the holiday so you can start planning.

How about linguine with lemon-garlic shrimp, broccoli rabe with balsamic vinegar, and ganache-frosted brownies.  Easy enough for a novice in the kitchen but high on the impressive scale.  Don't forget some flowers!  (Please, unless they love red roses, why don't you think outside the box?  Irises, tulips, peonies, something a little different!  Just not yellow roses, unless you really are "just friends.")

Linguine with Lemon-Garlic Shrimp-- serves 2-3

Kosher salt
1/2 lb. dried thin linguine (try whole wheat!)
1 lemon
1 lb. extra-large (26 to 30 per pound) shrimp, peeled and deveined
black pepper
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced (1 Tbsp.)
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese (optional, if you're cutting weight, but adds a nice creaminess)
2 Tbsp. thinly sliced chives
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the linguine in the boiling water according to package directions until al dente. Reserve about 3/4 cup of the cooking water and then drain the pasta.

Meanwhile, finely zest/grate the whole lemon (a microplane zester works best for getting the yellow part without the bitter white pith) and squeeze 2 Tbs. of juice. Toss the shrimp with 1 tsp. of the zest and 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper.  Save the rest of the zest.

In a 12-inch skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat until the foam subsides. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until the garlic just begins to brown, about 1 minute. Add the shrimp and cook until just opaque, about 3 minutes, then remove shrimp to a plate. Add the wine and lemon juice, bring to a boil, and cook until slightly reduced, 1 minute.

Add the drained pasta, mascarpone, and 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Toss well, adding more cooking water as needed, until the pasta is coated and the sauce looks creamy. Remove from the heat. Toss in the shrimp and the remaining lemon zest and the chives. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Broccoli Rabe with Balsamic Vinegar-- serves 3-4

1/4 cup aged balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt
1 large bunch broccoli rabe (1 lb.), thick stems trimmed, leaves and florets rinsed well
4 medium cloves garlic, lightly crushed and peeled
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
2 oil-packed anchovy fillets, finely chopped (Even if you think you don’t like anchovies, don’t leave them out—their flavor blends into the background and gives the dish a savory edge that is absolutely delicious.)
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
black pepper
In a small saucepan, boil the vinegar over medium-high heat until reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Have a large bowl of ice water ready.  Blanch the broccoli rabe in the boiling water for 3 minutes (the water needn’t return to a boil). Drain it and transfer to the ice water to cool. Drain well and gently squeeze the broccoli rabe to remove excess water.

Heat the garlic and oil in a large skillet over medium heat until the garlic begins to turn golden, 2 minutes; remove and discard the garlic. Add the anchovies, mashing them with the back of a wooden spoon until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the pepper flakes and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 to 10 seconds. Add the broccoli rabe and cook, stirring often, until tender and heated through, 3 to 4 minutes. Drizzle with the vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a platter and serve.

You can reduce the vinegar and blanch the broccoli rabe up to 6 hours ahead. Leave the vinegar at room temperature and refrigerate the broccoli rabe, returning it to room temperature before finishing the dish.

Ganache-frosted Brownies

Buy a box mix and bake a pan of brownies a day in advance.  Trust me, the frosting makes the most mundane brownies over-the-moon good.  Or do chocolate cupcakes, like I did in the picture above, or a cake.

9 ounces semisweet or milk chocolate, chopped (note: the higher quality the chocolate, the nicer the ganache, so use Callebaut, Ghirardelli, Valrhona, or Scharffen Berger, if you can, but even chocolate chips in the grocery store will work.)

1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon dark rum or cognac (optional- can also use vanilla extract)
Place the chocolate into a medium bowl (the bowl for a stand mixer is ideal). Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil, watching very carefully because if it boils for a few seconds, it will boil out of the pot. 
When the cream has come to a boil, pour over the chopped chocolate, and whisk until smooth. Stir in the rum/vanilla. Allow the ganache to cool in the fridge until it's thick, then whip with a hand mixer or stand mixer until light and fluffy.  Spread over your brownies and enjoy.

Save the breasteses!

From Erin Gloria Ryan on Jezebel today:

Breaking News: Komen Reverses Decision on Planned Parenthood Funding, Is Still Likely Full of Shit

After public outcry, irreparable brand damage, and some embarrassing executive doubletalk, Susan G. Komen for the Cure has just announced that they're reinstating funding to Planned Parenthood. But don't think for a second that this means they're free from a political agenda.

The organization released the following statement:
We want to apologize to the American public for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women's lives.
The events of this week have been deeply unsettling for our supporters, partners and friends and all of us at Susan G. Komen. We have been distressed at the presumption that the changes made to our funding criteria were done for political reasons or to specifically penalize Planned Parenthood. They were not.
Our original desire was to fulfill our fiduciary duty to our donors by not funding grant applications made by organizations under investigation. We will amend the criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political. That is what is right and fair.

Our only goal for our granting process is to support women and families in the fight against breast cancer. Amending our criteria will ensure that politics has no place in our grant process. We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants, while maintaining the ability of our affiliates to make funding decisions that meet the needs of their communities.
It is our hope and we believe it is time for everyone involved to pause, slow down and reflect on how grants can most effectively and directly be administered without controversies that hurt the cause of women. We urge everyone who has participated in this conversation across the country over the last few days to help us move past this issue. We do not want our mission marred or affected by politics - anyone's politics.

Starting this afternoon, we will have calls with our network and key supporters to refocus our attention on our mission and get back to doing our work. We ask for the public's understanding and patience as we gather our Komen affiliates from around the country to determine how to move forward in the best interests of the women and people we serve.

We extend our deepest thanks for the outpouring of support we have received from so many in the past few days and we sincerely hope that these changes will be welcomed by those who have expressed their concern.
That's all well and good, but they're still lying. Although they've restored funding to Planned Parenthood, they've only done it after a category 5 shitstorm threatened to completely taint the brand. They're not sorry they pulled funding to satisfy a political vendetta; they're sorry they got called out on it, and I'm not sure that their brand isn't already tainted.

Komen blatantly, obviously, and deliberately targeted Planned Parenthood. Their board room is still staffed with conservative donors and at least one vocal anti-choice politician. They're still a conservative political organization masquerading as a feel-goodery for people who just want to help cure cancer.

Women aren't stupid, though, despite the fact that the Komen foundation seems to think we are. Supporters of the organization are owed much more than a statement about how "hurt" Nancy Brinker and company are by the accusations that they're a political organization. They're owed evidence that Komen hasn't already evolved into a political instrument.

And no such evidence exists.

And more from Ms. Ryan, at Jezebel:

An Accounting of Komen’s Impressive Financial Hypocrisy

Sweet jiggling breasts, has Susan G. Komen for the Cure ever painted itself into a corner. When they first announced their decision to revoke funding from Planned Parenthood, they said it was because they had a rule against giving money to organizations that were under investigation. But they give money to organizations that are under investigation all the damn time. And they certainly don't have any trouble taking money from companies that are under investigation. Let's take a tour of their hypocrisy, shall we?

Susan G. Komen For The Cure CEO Nancy Brinker has spent the last 48 hours embarking on a bizarrely prim damage control tour wherein she folds her hands in her lap and tells reporters that when they said they were stopping the flow of funds to Planned Parenthood because of a rule (that was definitely not just made up by Karen Handel so that they'd have an excuse to stop funding Planned Parenthood), what they meant was they were just trying to streamline the process and I guess that whole first press release about how they were following a rule was maybe not intended to be a factual statement. But regardless, let's take a moment to examine how, if the Handel Rule actually exists, it's been completely non-enforced.

Let's first turn to Penn State, recipient of a 5-year, $7.5 million grant courtesy of Komen. Mother Jones found that a grant was awarded to the institution in 2008, before the 2011 establishment of a rule that declares that Komen will no longer be donating funds to organizations under investigation at the local, state, or federal level. Since the federal government is currently investigating Penn State for its institutional role in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, if the "Handel Rule" were being applied uniformly, monies to Penn State's affiliated hospital should be suspended until the investigation's completion. But cash still flows to Happy Valley.

According to the charity's website, in the last year, Komen's given quite a few grants to quite a few hospitals and medical schools associated with quite a few investigations.
  • They've given a grant to researchers at the University of Kansas, even though the director of the lab at the school's medical center was recently under investigation.
  • Funds haven't been interrupted to the University of Texas at Austin, even though a currently pending lawsuit alleges that the school is discriminatory against Asians.
  • Boston's Dana-Faber Cancer Institute is named in the investigation into the death of a former employee who ingested cyanide. Would that pass Handel Rule muster?
  • Komen's also given a grant to the University of Texas Southwestern's medical center, which was under investigation at both the state and federal level as recently as last summer.
  • An organ donation center managed by the University of Alabama at Birmingham, another Komen grant recipient, is currently under investigation for having an improper financial relationship with a vendor.
  • They've given money to Duke University's Medical Center, even though Duke's under investigation for Title IX violations.
  • A grant to the University of California at San Diego's Medical School flowed through uninterrupted, even though last summer, a recreational fencing coach there was investigated for sexual assault. (If an individual is under investigation, does that mean the entire organization should be treated as though it's under investigation? Best err on the side of caution!)
  • Money's still going to the University of California at San Francisco, even though a seat belt-less shuttle bus led to the death of a professor last summer.
  • And protesters who claim they were wrongly treated at the University of California-Berkeley are suing the school, which is still receiving money from Komen. Shall I go on?
And Komen's supposedly high minded (and patently false) claim that they won't give grants to organizations that are under investigation of course doesn't apply to money flowing into the organization.
  • They get money from Quilted Northern, which is owned by the Koch Brothers, who have gotten in trouble with doing secret business with Iran.
  • They're got a big hard on for Bank of America, Public Enemy Number 1 when it comes to fucking over the American consumer in all colors of the rainbow (especially pink!).
  • Just a couple of months ago big Komen supporter Merck was forced to pay almost $1 billion to settle charges that it illegally marketed the drug Vioxx.
  • Another big Komen donor is 3M which just was forced to pay $3 million to settle an age discrimination suit.
  • Pink pimper Oracle was investigated last summer for violating antibribery laws while doing business in Africa.
  • Just a couple of weeks ago, Federal safety regulators began investigating claims that Komen corporate buddy KitchenAid was making dishwashers that light stuff on fire.
Komen also gladly accepts money given by Ford, American Airlines, Key Bank, and Microsoft — all of which were recently under investigation. Talk about inconsistant principles.

And yet, Nancy Brinker continues her confusing damage control tour as though it will be a piece of cake to convince a skeptical public that Susan G. Komen For the Cure is not completely full of it, when it's clear that not only did they defund Planned Parenthood because of Karen Handel's rabidly anti-Planned Parenthood agenda, but they also lied about it, twice.

They lied when they said that they cut Planned Parenthood out because of a rule— because they don't follow that rule in any case but the case of Planned Parenthood. And they didn't stop funding Planned Parenthood because of "streamlining," because they should have foreseen that the public backlash at the family planning provider's defunding would have resulted in untenable backlash. The conservative leadership of Susan G. Komen for the Cure severely underestimated their supporters— just because they're women who are fine with decking themselves out in pink feather boas doesn't mean they're stupid and gullible.

Maybe it would be best, for the time being, for Nancy Brinker and the rest of the Komen leadership shut up, regroup, and speak publicly again when they've got their story straight.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Takedowns when you have impaired peripheral vision??

A friend of mine posed the following question: 

What kind of standup game (i.e. takedowns, offense and defense, in BJJ-- not MMA!) would you advise for someone with some impairments to their peripheral vision? 

She says it's hard to watch everything all at once-- hands, arms, legs, core-- and hopes for some suggestions.

My first thought was, assuming you have a non-square stance (one foot kind of back), use your rear hand to get a cross-grip on their lead hand/cuff.  That gives you one thing to look for and focus on getting, and by grabbing with your rear hand, you cross them up (preventing them from shooting on you).  If you were reaching with your lead hand, you'd either have to get a same side grip (which leaves you both open to being shot on) or you'd be going for her rear hand (which is tough and leaves you open to a lot.)  I just recently read something on the blogosphere about this and can't recall where, but would be happy to edit to give credit where it's due!

Oh wise readership-- help my friend out!