Friday, February 20, 2015


We were channel surfing, not sure what to watch, when we saw this guy.

He flew through the air. As he grabbed the turning red wheel the audience rooted for him. Guys dressed like him were on the sideline, cheering. When he couldn't grab a red ball on a swinging rope, he fell into the water.

Immediately another guy started leaping onto some moving steps that led to the turning red wheel -- missed -- fell in the water.

Another athletic looking guy conquered the steps, grabbed the wheel, got the red ball -- but he missed grabbing the top of a curved wall. The next guy lasted longer, then another -- we watched till the announcer said, "Tune in for the Ninja Warrior finals tomorrow."

The next night we found "Ninja" in the TV guide, and saw a bunch of other contenders -- found ourselves rooting for athletes like Kevin Bull in this video.

After a few days of watching, we realized there were three or four different "stages," each with more difficult obstacles. We found ourselves cheering out loud -- shouting "Wow," applauding as warrior, Tim Shieff, a super exciting athlete, conquered every feat in the routine and broke the record for speed.

These athletes conquer fear. With a great deal of disciplined exercising, each guy has created a powerful body. The more I see of Ninja Warriors, the more I feel it's an exercise art form where mind and body are coordinated. Only when mind and body are totally integrated, can these athletes do the impossible feats.

Is this sport something you want to see?  I have to say that John Cullum and Emily Frankel nowadays tune in Ninja Warriors whenever it's listed. We are hooked!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


The big "I" -- ISIS -- it's in the news every day now, with hideous acts that don't belong in the world of today, but are happening today.

Yes, I have heard many times that waterboarding is a surefire, horrible, hideous way to get information from the bad guys.

I watched this video. A good guy -- a reporter -- volunteered so that he could write about it, explain why it's a successful, unbearable torture.

Did I enjoy watching this? Did you enjoy watching this video?

ENJOY? Wrong word maybe, but weren't you riveted as you saw him suffering? Did you wonder how the guy pouring the water -- how he and the other guards in this video -- felt as they waterboarded other prisoners?

For three days, I've tried to write about torture.
I will never forget Abu Ghraib, this photo, and other
photos of guards degrading prisoners.

I re-read this cover story about three dead Gitmo prisoners, who supposedly committed suicide, but were actually murdered. It was revealed that guards stuffed rags down their throats so that their screams wouldn't be heard when the guards killed them.

And the beheadings -- yes -- I searched online until I found the worst, most horrifying photo of one of the victims.

And the pilot burned alive -- I cringe, I shudder deeply -- even so, I looked at the photos, wondering how the burning was started.

I'm sickened by these killings. I'm sickened by my curiosity. I want to slam the door on my thoughts, even as I wonder if my curiosity is wrong -- why is my curiosity wrong?

What's happening to me?

I was riveted years ago, by the film "Quo Vadis" -- Christians in the arena -- ravenous lions freed from their cages -- Deborah Kerr in a crisply beautiful blue dress, about to be eaten alive.

Remembering that scene, I browsed "8 Gruesome Movies That Caused Audiences to Get Sick."

I checked out the  "Most Painful 20 Torture Devices In History," reminding myself that Man's inhumanity to man has always, down through the ages, fascinated us, and entertained us.

ENTERTAINED? Webster's says "amusement or diversion provided especially by performers -- something diverting or engaging -- a public performance that amuses relaxes, provides pleasure, and diversion."

I suspect that I am not alone in my curiosity, my dread, the sickening feelings I have about this. I think that intolerable violence is part of our lives now.

Isis isn't winning the war that's it's creating -- but it's capturing imprisoning, torturing me -- enslaving, corrupting my mind. Yes, that's why I wrote this and made you look at these pictures.