Buddhala_3 It is sooo tempting to make fun of a story that starts of this way:

The Los Angeles Housing Department has paid thousands of dollars to a Zen Buddhist priest from Hawaii for management training that includes teaching breathing with sphincter control, learning "how to stand" and playing with wooden sticks.

I mean, honestly. Public money?  A Zen Buddhist priest from Hawaii?  Sphincter control?

Plus, obviously, it's California.

These details are practically begging for a snarky blog post -- or at least a mention on Leno's monologue.

But here's the deal. I actually think it sounds like a pretty good idea. 

First of all, yes, they city paid "thousands of dollars" for this. But it was less than $19,000 for at least four sessions over the course of two years. And while a $5k employee training session ain't cheap, it's not exactly gonna break the bank either.

And, yes, some of the activities aimed at helping city workers "center" themselves are pretty kooky: the parking lot bamboo swordplay, the breathing and -- oh yeah! -- that business about the sphincters. But it's only marginally more outlandish or off-putting than countless other lame employee team-building exercises.

And if all this stuff about breathing right and centering oneself keeps just one city employee from developing hypertension or having a heart attack (or, you know, whatever proper shpincter control is supposed to prevent), well isn't that 19-grand well spent?