Indeed. You did say something about people making their own minds in the context of the discussion of the photo.
Sorry, I understood the "cherry picking" to be referring to the "Budo" section on kamae - I never made any comment on the translation under the picture with the sword, except to note that it's impossible to tell what Ueshiba was communicating as "correct". Hunter gave a very good summary of some of the kinds of things that I would be asking him about if he were around to discuss the picture.
1. If the "outer form" demonstrated by the founder is not important, why insist on not doing it?
2. How you decide when to stop "mimicking his outer form"? Will you have all the --kyo, shihonage, koshinage, kokyunage etc... reworked to their non outer form shape? If so, how will your martial art look like when you are done?
3. In the context of the previous question, how does your Aikido look like now? How would you categorise your linage?
1) I never insisted on not doing it - Dan could give you his reasons (which are quite good, I think), and you can make up your own mind, which you have, I guess. I'm not saying that there are no times when a standard hanmi are not optimal - but I'm not sure that waiting for those times to roll around is the optimal strategy. The problem is - everything changes, it's the one thing that can be relied upon. Schooling yourself to a certain set posture is OK for studying certain things, but it will get you into trouble, IMO, in most other places.
2) How do you decide anything? You take your best guess with the information you have and take your chances. I have no idea how it will look when I'm done (if I'm ever really done).
3) Our regular training might look a little odd to you. Normal Aikido classes look more or less the same - but better (IMO)
I'm not sure what you mean by categorizing my lineage.