Bad Movie Day: Miami Connection

Warning: This film is basically harmless, but it is not for everyone.

Miami Connection (1987) Rated R for ninja violence, language and improbable 1980’s strangeness.

People are sometimes baffled by my love of terrible movies. It’s easy to look at a film like 1987’s Miami Connection and blow it off as nonsense.

The year is 1987. Motorcycle ninjas tighten their grip on Florida’s narcotics trade, viciously annihilating anyone who dares move in on their turf. Multi-national martial arts rock band Dragon Sound have had enough, and embark on a roundhouse wreck-wave of crime-crushing justice. When not chasing beach bunnies or performing their hit song “Against the Ninja,” Mark (taekwondo master/inspirational speaker Y.K. Kim) and the boys are kicking and chopping at the drug world’s smelliest underbelly. It’ll take every ounce of their blood and courage, but Dragon Sound can’t stop until they’ve completely destroyed the dealers, the drunk bikers, the kill-crazy ninjas, the middle-aged thugs, the “stupid cocaine”…and the entire MIAMI CONNECTION!!

There are bad movies that are garbage and there are bad movies that go so haywire that it becomes a working example of the Taoist concept of the happy accident. In other words, art that you could never intentionally create. Like a ray of light falling on a leaf floating down a mountain stream, the charm is unintentional. Things just come together by random chance to make something unique.

The people who made Miami Connection tried very hard to make a good movie with a positive message. They even put part of that message in Dragon Sound’s opening song.

Friends through eternity
Loyalty, honesty
We’ll stay together
Through thick or thin
Friends forever
We’ll be together
We’re on top
‘Cause we play to win

Movies like this have helped me to avoid overthinking success or failure when I am creating something.

When Miami Connection was originally released it was a dismal failure. Today it is loved by B-movie aficionados all over the world. Sometimes art needs time to find an audience.

Daily Dojo

In the pursuit of learning, every day something is acquired.
In the pursuit of Tao, every day something is dropped.

Less and less is done

It is difficult to comment on Lao Tzu because there are tons of different translations of his writings and no two of them read exactly the same.

I will refrain from sharing my opinions or insights concerning this quote. Like picking up the chord progression to an unfamiliar song at a jam session, Lao Tzu works best when you stop thinking about the details and trust your intuition.

The quote comes from Chapter 48 of the Tao Te Ching:

In the pursuit of learning, every day something is acquired.
In the pursuit of Tao, every day something is dropped.

Less and less is done
Until non-action is achieved.
When nothing is done, nothing is left undone.

The world is ruled by letting things take their course.
It cannot be ruled by interfering.

Daily Dojo

Yesterday is done. Tomorrow never comes. Today is here. If you don’t know what to do, sit still and listen. You may hear something. Nobody knows. 
We may pull apart the petals of a rose or make chemical analysis of its perfume, but the mystic beauty of its form and odor is still a secret, locked in to where we have no keys.

Today we have a quote from Carl Sandburg:

Yesterday is done. Tomorrow never comes. Today is here. If you don’t know what to do, sit still and listen. You may hear something. Nobody knows.
We may pull apart the petals of a rose or make chemical analysis of its perfume, but the mystic beauty of its form and odor is still a secret, locked in to where we have no keys.

Carl Sandburg:

True story: I once found a massive tome containing the complete works of Carl Sandburg at a library book sale for less than a dollar. I was thrilled! Literally drunk on beautiful words. Then the idea of a library devoid of Carl Sandburg made me so sad, I sneaked in and stealthily put the book back on the shelves for some other pilgrim to discover.

Lost and Found

A few days ago I got a message from Shoebox telling me to download my photographs because the company was going out of business and the images were scheduled for deletion.

This was surprising. I do not remember Shoebox.

I managed to log in and discovered thousands of photographs I had thought long lost. Nearly every moment Amy and I photographed at home or traveling in our time together.

My memory is kind of unusual in that I can remember moments so clearly that I can sort of rewind the tape in my brain and watch it all over again. Not just images but tastes, textures, emotions and things like that. Because of this I was not worried about losing this archive . . . but rolling through the pictures has been nice.

I look forward to the day when these photographs and memories will not hurt so bad, but I fear that will be a long time coming.

Delays, Celebrations and Other News

Neuropathy pain knocked me out of commission for most of this week. Things are slowly improving, and I assure my Patreon sponsors that The Daily Frail should be back in production soon.

On April 20th my parents will be celebrating their 51st wedding anniversary. They continue to amaze me with their unceasing love for each other. Here’s to many more years of happiness!

The Banjo Dojo will begin releasing episodes soon. Patreon sponsors will have first access to each video episode for a period of time before it is released to the general public. As an added bonus, Patreon sponsors will also have the first opportunity to register for the weekend-long Banjo Dojo workshop on Maryland’s Eastern Shore (more on that later!).

More information on The Banjo Dojo will be posted soon. Be sure to work through The How and the Tao of Old Time Banjo and A Book of Five Strings while you are waiting!

Omnivore

Taking the advice of one of my doctors, I am no longer a vegetarian.

I did enjoy the meat-free lifestyle, but like a lot of people before me I ran into some health issues due to lack of protein intake. I guess we are meant to be omnivores after all.

To quote Pulp Fiction, “Mmmm-hmmm. This is a tasty burger!”

Monarch Migration 2010

Amy and I were married on October 10, 2010. A month later a friend flew us out to California to spend a week in a beach house on Monterey Bay.

It was an amazing experience – literally a once in a lifetime opportunity. We spent long nights in each others arms with the blue Pacific ocean churning just steps away from our bed Crazy in love and everything was beautiful beautiful beautiful.

We saw a lot that week, but the highlight for me was driving up to Santa Cruz to see great swarms of monarch butterflies migrating. A sight I had dreamed of seeing ever since I first read of it when I was very young. I thought the pictures were lost, but I found a handful today.

I can remember this day like it was yesterday, and the pictures do not come close to capturing the majesty of eucalyptus trees covered with monarch butterflies. The path was crowded with people, but Amy and I stood under this wonder of nature silently holding hands. I took pictures, but eventually let my camera rest and just tried to take it all in with my eyes. My heart. My mind. She was so beautiful. A lenticular cloud hung over us in the sky like a disk of snow. The smell of the forest. The rustle of soft leaves on softer wings . . . it was one of the happiest moments of my life.

All through eternity
Beauty unveils His exquisite form
in the solitude of nothingness;
He holds a mirror to His Face
and beholds His own beauty.
he is the knower and the known,
the seer and the seen;
No eye but His own
has ever looked upon this Universe.

His every quality finds an expression:
Eternity becomes the verdant field of Time and Space;
Love, the life-giving garden of this world.
Every branch and leaf and fruit
Reveals an aspect of His perfection-
They cypress give hint of His majesty,
The rose gives tidings of His beauty.

Whenever Beauty looks,
Love is also there;
Whenever beauty shows a rosy cheek
Love lights Her fire from that flame.
When beauty dwells in the dark folds of night
Love comes and finds a heart
entangled in tresses.
Beauty and Love are as body and soul.
Beauty is the mine, Love is the diamond.

They have together
since the beginning of time-
Side by side, step by step.

~Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī