Thursday, June 30, 2005

Bang the drum.

Taiko Drum that is. I've signed up to learn how to play the traditional Japanese taiko drum. 太鼓. For the next month I go twice a week and then a group us will play during Bon Odori.

That can only mean one thing: ITS SUM, SUM, SUMMERTIME!!!

The rainy season is coming to an end and that means a lot of things here in Japan. First it means that it will be VERY hot for the next 2 and one half months.

Second it means the official beginning of the Fuji climbing season. Most people picture the mountain as snow capped, here's what it looks like when you climb it:

It also means that matsuri season is here, fireworks and festivals. If you are here in Japan, click here for the schedule for the Kanto area. (Sorry it is Japanese only...). Suffice it to say the fireworks here are not to be missed:

Golf, of course, is always on the menu:

This course is Gotemba which, at about 10,000 yen during the week, is actually sort of a bargain ( but not that much of one...).

Bon odori festivals:

And of course its a great opportunity to look at these:

Here's hoping everybody has a great summer!!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Random thoughts...also why I hate pinheads!

Today sucked! Spent most of the day typing e-mails and on the phones trying to convince useless idiots to be doing what they should have been doing all along. Coming on the day of the President's speech, it only reaffirms that were it not for Providence, and some good staff officers, we would surely be losing the logistics battle in the Middle East.........

For every good guy out there, there are two pinheads in the rear echelon. Just about all of them are O-5 and above!!!!!! Let's give this war over to the JO's! We'll be done in 6 months. Since we have the participation of flag officers...It's going to take much longer.

Speaking of Iraq, there is literally, a beautifully written post by Neptunus Lex that each and every one of you should read. While I disagree with some of his points, he has stated the arguments in favor of our adventure in Iraq very well. Read it!

For all of you who have given kind advice about my struggles with my feelings and the S.O., thank you. Since I have been feeling especially romantic and charitable this week towards her, I would just like to reiterate, that my worst day with the S.O. is still better than my best day with the ex-wife! I guess that's progress of a sort. However for the two ladies who wrote in, you've each given me a reason take women off of my pedestal..... I used to think only men were that devious.

Meanwhile here in Bloggerville there are some great things to see. First of all, under the category of "why I like being in Asia", all of you should go over and read Spike's tales of being back in the US. Nothing to make you feel like getting the hell off to Hong Kong, than a week in L.A.

Speaking of Spike, he came across a sign that is applicable to many women I have met:

If there is any doubt if you are a prostitute......assume you are, and approach the nearest man you see with an offer to go home with him.

Moving right along.

Spike also has an interesting perspective on what it is like to work for Carl Rove.

Gaijin Biker has a post about the slide towards internet censorship is not just limited to China or the US....... . "Slowly the captives forged their own chains..." .

Are you a Power Point Warrior? Read Expat at Large's tale of what happens when things go wrong.....

Thanks to the Lost Nomad for pointing out what divorce is like.........:

And finally, the results are in for the Fashion Faux Pas Poll. Thanks and a hat tip to all of you who responded.

Here is the list of things that just drive us nuts:

1. "Ball cap worn backwards "

2. "I do not mind seeing girls with a part of their belly showing. If you have the body DO IT! I just HATE it when girls who have a belly and they wear clothes that show everyone how big a belly they have. If your belly laps way over your pants don't wear clothes that will show your belly. Cover up! How can you think this is attractive?" --(You tell 'em MOM!) .

3. "Hip-hop gangsta wannabe guys having their pants pulled down to their f***ing crotches so that they can show off their drawers, which is now prohibited by the fashion police in Japan"--( I concur Mark!).

4. "People that wear Che Gueverra shirts. I'd bet a nickel that you'd be hard pressed to find one of these knuckleheads that knows anything about Che Gueverra." (You know in your heart that Scott is right!)

5. "Any piercing on the face not involving the ears. Don't they realize those scars on their eyebrow/lip/chin/nose is going to look real stupid when they are on kid #2 and at PTA?" ( The Phibian is right on target here!)

6. " Guys who wear under-pants exposing attire" ( So Jenifer what happens if they don't wear underwear at all?)

Like the line from the Blues Brothers, "They are all pretty bad." Thanks again for playing.


Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The President is on! He's on every channel, we're gonna miss Flipper!

George W. Bush is giving a speech about Iraq in the US tonight. Before I get to my commentary, thinking about the speech makes me remember my daughter...(before she stopped speaking to me after I walked out on the ex.........on her birthday.). There was a comedienne that she really loved who used to do a routine about TV abput the 60's, Of course in those days, there was no cable TV so you were at the mercy of the broadcast networks. This comedienne had a line that was great talking about those days. It shows ever child's dilemna:


I still remember her voice imitating that lady. Of course that was when she was 13. Now she is 21 and in college living her own life.

But she is right. Tonight the President will be on, trying to convince us that " it would not be prudent" to withdraw now, that we "should stay the course" and that this is the War on Terrorism to end all Wars on Terrorism. Where have we heard this before?

Good evening, my fellow Americans: -Tonight I want to speak to you of peace in [Iraq]. No other question so preoccupies our people. No other dream so absorbs the 250 million human beings who live in that part of the world. No other goal motivates American policy in South[west] Asia. For years, representatives of our Government and others have traveled the world -seeking to find a basis for peace.

Their attack[s] - failed to achieve its principal objectives. It did not collapse the elected government of [Iraq] or shatter its army - as the [terrorists] had hoped. It did not produce a "general uprising" among the people of the cities as they had predicted. The terrorists were unable to maintain control of any of the more than 30 cities that they attacked. And they took very heavy casualties. But they did compel the [Iraqi's] and [our coalition] allies to move certain forces from the countryside into the cities. They caused widespread disruption and suffering. Their attacks, and the battles that followed, made refugees of half a million human beings. The terrorists] renew their attack[ every] day.

They are, it appears, trying to make 2005 the year of decision in Iraq- the year that brings, if not final victory or defeat, at least a turning point in the struggle. Our presence there has always rested on this basic belief: The main burden of preserving their freedom must be carried out by them - by the [Iraqi] people themselves. We and our [coalition] allies can only help to provide a shield behind which the people of [Iraq]can survive and can grow and develop. On their efforts - on their determination and resourcefulness the outcome will ultimately depend. That beleaguered nation has suffered terrible punishment for more than 20 years. I pay tribute once again tonight to the great courage and endurance of its people. Iraq supports armed forces tonight of almost 200,000 men - and I call your attention to the fact that this is the equivalent of more than 10 million in our own population. Its people maintain their firm determination to be free of domination by the [terrorists.]

There has been substantial progress, I think, in building a durable government during these last [2] years. The [Iraq] of [2003] could not have survived the terrorist offensive of 2005. The elected government of Iraq [continues to survive] attack[s] and is rapidly repairing the devastation that it wrought. The Iraqi's know that further efforts are going to be required:
-to expand their own armed forces,
-to move back into the countryside as quickly as possible,
-to increase their taxes,
-to select the very best men that
they have for civil and military responsibility,
-to achieve a new unity
within their constitutional government, and
-to include in the national effort all those groups who wish to preserve [Iraq's] control over its own destiny.

Last month, 10,000 men volunteered for military service - that was two and a half times the number of volunteers during the same month last year. Since the middle of January,[lots] of Iraqi's have joined the armed forces - and nearly half of them volunteered to do so. In order that these forces may reach maximum combat effectiveness, the Joint Chiefs of Staff have recommended to me that we should prepare to send - during the next 5 months - support troops totaling approximately 13,500 men. A portion of these men will be made available from our active forces. The balance will come from reserve component units which will be called up for service. The actions that we have taken since the beginning of the year

-to reequip the [Iraq] forces,

-to meet our responsibilities in [Afghanistan], as well as our responsibilities in [Iraq], -to meet price increases and the cost of activating and deploying reserve forces,

-to replace helicopters and provide the other military supplies we need, all of these actions are going to require additional expenditures.

What follows next is what you wish you would hear...but

The tentative estimate of those additional expenditures is $[78 ]billion in this fiscal year, and $[80] billion in the next fiscal year. These projected increases in expenditures for our national security will bring into sharper focus the Nation's need for immediate action: action to protect the prosperity of the American people and to protect the strength and the stability(?) of our American dollar. On many occasions I have pointed out that, without a tax bill or decreased expenditures, next year's deficit would again be around $400 billion. l have emphasized the need to set strict priorities in our spending. l have stressed that failure to act and to act promptly and decisively would raise very strong doubts throughout the world about America's willingness to keep its financial house in order.

Yet Congress has not acted. And tonight we face the sharpest financial threat in the postwar era - a threat to the dollar's role as the keystone of international trade and finance in the world. But to make this system work the United States just must bring its balance of payments to - or very close to - equilibrium. We must have a responsible fiscal policy in this country. The passage of a tax bill now, together with expenditure control that the Congress may desire and dictate, is absolutely necessary to protect this Nation's security, to continue our prosperity, and to meet the needs of our people.

What is at stake is 7 years of unparalleled prosperity. In those 7 years, the real income of the average American, after taxes, rose by almost 30 percent - a gain as large as that of the entire preceding 19 years. So the steps that we must take to convince the world are exactly the steps we must take to sustain our own economic strength here at home. In the past 8 months, prices and interest rates have risen because of our inaction. We must, therefore, now do everything we can to move from debate to action - from talking to voting. There is, I believe-I hope there is-in both Houses of the Congress - a growing sense of urgency that this situation just must be acted upon and must be corrected.

My budget in January was, we thought, a tight one. It fully reflected our evaluation of most of the demanding needs of this Nation. But in these budgetary matters, the President does not decide alone. The Congress has the power and the duty to determine appropriations and taxes. The Congress is now considering our proposals and they are considering reductions in the budget that we submitted.

One thing is unmistakably clear, however: Our deficit just must be reduced. Failure
to act could bring on conditions that would strike hardest at those people that all of us are trying so hard to help. These times call for prudence in this land of plenty. l believe that we have the character to provide it, and tonight I plead with the Congress and with the people to act promptly to serve the national interest, and thereby serve all of our people.

You'll probably hear something like this:

Now let me give you my estimate of the chances for peace:
-the peace that will one day stop the bloodshed in Iraq,
-that will permit all the Iraqi people to rebuild and develop their land,
-that will permit us to turn more fully to our own tasks here at home.
I cannot promise that the initiative that I have announced tonight will be completely successful in achieving peace any more than the [others] that we have undertaken and agreed to in recent years.

But it is our fervent hope that [terrorists] , after years of fighting that have left the issue unresolved, will now cease its efforts to achieve a military victory and will join with us in moving toward the peace.

And there may come a time when Iraqi's - on both sides - are able to work out a way to settle their own differences by free political choice rather than by war.
As [the terroists] considers [their] course, there should be in no doubt of our intentions. It must not miscalculate the pressures within our democracy in this election year. We have no intention of [not winning] this war. But the United States will never accept a fake solution to this long and arduous struggle and call it peace.
No one can foretell the precise terms of an eventual settlement. Our objective in [Iraq] has [always] been the annihilation of the enemy. It has been to bring about a recognition in [Al Queida] that its objective - taking over the Iraq by force - could not be achieved. A number of nations have shown what can be accomplished under conditions of security. Since [2001], Eastern Europe , the fifth largest nation in all the world, with a population of more than 100 million people, has had a government[s] that [are] dedicated to peace with its neighbors and improved conditions for its own people. Political and economic cooperation between nations has grown rapidly.
I think every American can take a great deal of pride in the role that we have played in bringing this about in South[west] Asia. We can rightly judge as responsible South[west] Asians themselves do - that the progress of the past 3 years would have been far less likely - if not completely impossible - if America's sons and[daughters] had not made their stand in [Iraq]. At [the UN] , about 3 years ago, l announced that the United States would take part in the great work of developing Iraq , for all the people of that region. Our determination to help build a better land - a better land for men on both sides of the present conflict - has not diminished in the least. Indeed, the ravages of war, I think, have made it more urgent than ever.

So, I repeat on behalf of the United States again tonight what I said at the UN- that terrorists [must] take [their] place in this common effort just as soon as peace comes. One day, my fellow citizens, there will be peace in South[west] Asia.
It will come because the people of South[west] Asia want it - those whose armies are at war tonight, and those who, though threatened, have thus far been spared. Peace will come because [rabs]were willing to work for it - and to sacrifice for it - and to die by the thousands for it.

But let it never be forgotten: Peace will come also because America sent her sons[and daughters]to secure it. It has not been easy - far from it. During the past 4 1/2 years, it has been my fate and my responsibility to be Commander in Chief. I have lived - daily and nightly - with the cost of this war. l know the pain that it has inflicted. I know, perhaps better than anyone, the misgivings that it has aroused.
Throughout this entire, long period, I have been sustained by a single principle:
that what we are doing now, in [Iraq], is vital not only to the security of South[west] Asia, but it is vital to the security of every American.

Surely we have treaties which we must respect. Surely we have commitments that we are going to keep. Resolutions of the Congress testify to the need to resist aggression in the world and in South[west] Asia. But the heart of our involvement in [Iraq] - under three different Presidents, three separate administrations - has always been America's own security. And the larger purpose of our involvement has always been to help the nations of South[west] Asia become independent and stand alone, self-sustaining, as members of a great world community - at peace with
themselves, and at peace with all others. With such an Arabia, our country-and the world will be far more secure than it is tonight. I believe that a peaceful Asia is far nearer to reality because of what America has done in [Iraq]. l believe that the men [and women] who endure the dangers of battle fighting there for us tonight - are helping the entire world avoid far greater conflicts, far wider wars, far more destruction, than this one. The peace that will bring them home someday will come.

Finally, my fellow Americans, let me say this:
Of those to whom much is given, much is asked. l cannot say and no man could say that no more will be asked of us.

Yet, l believe that now, no less than when the decade began, this generation of Americans is willing to "pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty."

Since those words were spoken by John F. Kennedy, the people of America have kept that compact with mankind's noblest cause. And we shall continue to keep it. Yet, I believe that we must always be mindful of this one thing, whatever the trials and the tests ahead. The ultimate strength of our country and our cause will lie not in powerful weapons or infinite resources or boundless wealth, but will lie in the unity of our people. This I believe very deeply.

That speech came from Lyndon Johnson over 35 years ago. Just goes to show that while the actors may change.....the script remains the same. My own prediction is that GW's speech will not change anyone's mind about the war at this point. His base will love it, Democrats will hate it, and the great majority in the middle will wonder when something concrete is going to firing Don Rumsfeld.

Till then, if you decide to watch the ball game, you can tell your friends you got the news first from Tokyo.....on the Skippy news network ( which is anything but, main stream media).


Monday, June 27, 2005

As long as I live, I'm never going to understand women! (Or myself).

Sunday should have been a great day. Sleep in, play golf with the S.O. and head together for a nice evening in Yokohama. Maybe if all goes well, end the evening in rapturous embrace.........

Yeah, right..........

That's how it works in the movies maybe, but not in the real world that yours truly lives in. Instead here's how Sunday really went:

The day started off ok. We slept in, and I was in a pretty good mood considering she said she was "TIRED" the night before. ( So, you don't have to stay awake on my account! Just lay this.....).

Made breakfast, did the dishes, got her clubs out for her. She had reciprocated by picking out some golf togs for me to wear and vacuuming. (Both subjects deserve their own posts....but that is for another time).

Played golf, S.O. beats me by 3 strokes. That's not supposed to happen, after all, I have to shoot from the MEN'S tees. Go home and change to get ready to go out. Shower (sigh....Separately). Get dressed to go meet her friend from the American company she used to work at until they heartlessly laid her off in a downsizing. He ( an engineer, still has his job, but now he has transferred to "Big Shopping Mall", United States.) . I get dressed, come out, watch some golf channel. Back in the bedroom, she "puts on her face" and all that other lady stuff.

Out she comes.......and boy does SHE LOOK HOT! I mean she looks great. Smart top, skirt, some really nice high heeled Italian shoes...(with the toes that point in an icosles triangle...). I'm serious, she looks great. One thing about the S.O., like most Japanese women, she has a very good sense of fashion and what "works" and what does not. Just about all of the good clothes I have, she picked out. I do trust her judgment when it comes to clothing.

So there I am, lucky to be standing, since only 1 red blood cell in 3 is making it all the way up to my brain....the rest are being diverted someplace else. I want to jump her right there. Or so I think until the little voice in the back starts talking:

She does not dress this way for going out together lately. Wonder what's up here? How long has it been since she has seen John anyway? 4 years? I thought John was married? Wonder if there is something I should know here..........

"Stop rationalizing. You promised her, you would take her into Yokohama and take this guy to dinner" , the inner voice says, "Besides she had a life before she met you, you know".

Yes, I know she did. She had a pretty good life by all accounts. And I want to keep my promise. This is important to her and if it makes her happy, well, that's important too.

Off to the train station. Ride the train into Yokohama. We've got some time to kill, so she wants to go to Takashimaya. Oh great, more watching women fight over shoes. Finally tap her on the shoulder and say its time to go, we are going to be late for meeting John.

Off to Starbucks, and I get to meet the guy I have heard a lot about. Do my best to put on a smile and be a good host. I suggest we get some coffee, then head on down to Sakuragicho, see the sights, have some dinner and then walk around after it gets dark. ( Its a great view of Yokohama at night). So off we go.

Over dinner after a couple of beers, the S.O. and he fall into reminiscing about old times. She had stayed with John during a couple of visits to "Big Shopping Mall" USA. He lets it slip that she was there to "chase down an old boyfriend". The third visit, her and the unknown boy friend saw a "lot" of each other. She even went back to "Big Shopping Mall" USA for a 4th visit. She quickly changes the subject, but John inadvertently came back to it.

Neither the S.O. or John meant anything by it. It was just recalling a past time. S.O. had helped John and his wife when they lived in Tokyo and when he was away in China and his wife was pregnant. Its what I would expect her to do. She is a kind and caring person. And she had a rich and full life long before she ever knew who I was. I also enjoyed talking to John. I ought not be giving any of this a second thought.

Yet.....I am. Somewhere in a way that I am trying in vain to understand, it bothers me. Not in any type of an angry way. Just an unsettled feeling. "A disturbance in the force". I keep reminding myself that, there is no good reason for this. Its crazy to be jealous of somone you never met, when at the time they met, I (and she) had no idea that our lives were somehow going to cross. It's petty and worse it's not right. I pride myself on being more mature than this. bothered me. The mention that she went to "Big Shopping Mall" USA several times to see this unknown man just vexes me. I can't wait to say our goodbyes to John and get on the train back home. Like I said its not really anger, its not really jealousy ( maybe a little) but just unsettled and troublesome. Does not get in the way of conversation and I still am sitting there thinking she looks beautiful and we are lucky to be together , since I'm no great catch and I am sure she could do a lot better on the man front.

This is crazy. Its damned unfair, since I know she had several boyfriends long before I came along. Its none of my business. I had a string of girlfriends and one night stands before she came along, and well prior to coming to Japan. She knows that, just like I know about her life. Its unfair too, given the frustration and longing I have to just to return to having only myself to be accountable to. I still don't know how I really feel about her. So you would think I'd be more objective and rational (read cold hearted) about this. Only thing I do know is that I'm comfortable with her and at the same time she can drive me nuts. Its unfair because I know I'll do some skirt chasing and sport boinking when I go to Thailand and Singapore next month. "Kind of a rotten double standard don't you think? ". Damn right it is.

When we got back to the train station I suggested we walk together through the park on the way home, its a little out of the way, but its a nice place to walk and hold hands. We did hold hands and at it was nice. Those fancy shoes were making her feet hurt though, so she wanted to get on home soon after. ( I told her not to wear them.....). We talked about general things, I told her I was glad I met her friend and that he seemed like a nice guy. I told her, if he comes back to Tokyo, if she wants him to come out to dinner, I'd do whatever she wants to make that happen. I mean it.

Maybe it's a form of comparison shopping. Did she and Mr Unknown guy in "Big Shopping Mall" USA party together? Why did they break up? Did she do things for him that she won't do for me? Useless thoughts! Who cares? Past is past , here and now is all that matters. WTF is the matter with you , Skippy?

I wish I knew. Maybe I should write to Ann Landers. I could end the letter, "Sign me -Confused".

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Please indulge me in a rant

Notice of advisement- The use of the terms: "worthless whore", "useless bitch" and "scum sucking leech" are used in generic terms only. Any resemblance to persons living or dead, except for Skippy's ex-wife, is purely unintentional. The terms are applicable to Skippy's ex- wife however, and may apply to yours as well.

Definition of a Military Divorce: That is where you pay a former spouse not to live with you, for the rest of your natural life, regardless of fault, merit, remarriage, or individual circumstances. Remember this definition, there will be a quiz at the end.

Watching the current news on American TV about what's going on in Congress, prompts me to ask a pertinent question. When are those scumbags going to do any real work? I realize that guys like Dick Durbin have a lot on their minds what with stirring up a hornets nest with stupid comments, passing stupid amendments about flag burning, and other such nonsense, but they have yet to do anything that has real value for me. Namely, doing something about the Uniformed Serviceman's Former Spouse Protection Act- like repealing it!

Never heard of it you say? That's probably true unless you have been through a divorce in a community property state. In a nutshell, the USFSPA was a law passed in response to a Supreme Court ruling in a case known as McCarty vs McCarty. In 1981 the United States Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that military retirement/retainer is not subject to division in state divorce proceedings.

This is one decision that the Supreme Court got right. Let's listen to Harry Blackmun writing for the majority:

Moreover, the application of community property principles to military retired pay threatens grave harm to "clear and substantial" [453 U.S. 210, 211] federal interests. Thus, the community property division of retired pay, by reducing the amounts that Congress has determined are necessary for the retired member, has the potential to frustrate the congressional objective of providing for the retired service member. In addition, such a division has the potential to interfere with the congressional goals of having the military retirement system serve as an inducement for enlistment and re-enlistment and as an encouragement to orderly promotion and a youthful military."

Immediately the next year former congresswoman Pat Schroeder ( useless whore-CO) sponsored the USFSPA. What the law did was to make it legal for the family courts to do, that which the Supreme Court had said was unconstitutional, divide military retirement as property. I won't bore you with all the details of the law, which can be found here and here. Suffice it to say that the purpose of the law is to screw deserving individuals such as myself out of hard earned military retirement, in order to allow a scum sucking leech the opportunity to receive a monthly stipend for life. Or looked at another way:

This is actually a true story!

At the time the law was passed, the military was predominately male. Thus the law is written with men in mind. Pat Schroeder had hearings and brought in a horde of women, complaining about how their former military spouses had left them with nothing, so that they could divorce them and get a "trophy wife". They all cried about how poor they were. The law passed the Congress easily. There is a book you can read, Divorce and the Military which tells the whole shameful story in great detail. There is also a good summary of this flawed approach to law making here. If you read the link you will see how Pat Schroeder reneged on every one of the promises she made in drafting it and that even then, wise folks had severe misgivings about the wisdom of such a law.

Basically, the law has two serious flaws. It treats retired retainer pay as property, making it divisible for the rest of the servicemembers life. Thus if the servicemember has to pay long term alimony, ( which generally happens in a community property state when the marriage is longer than 10 years) the ex-spouse gets a raise when the service member retires. If she remarries the alimony will stop, but the retirement payments go on and on. If military retirement were treated as income, then the ex's share would have to be figured into her income, thus forcing a reduction / elimination of alimony in many cases.

As discussed here, USFSPA creates a form of permanent alimony that continues for the life of the former spouse, even after remarriage. No other federal retirement plan continues payments to a former spouse upon their remarriage. In addition, many state courts are ordering that the military member designate the former spouse as the beneficiary through the Survivor Benefit Plan so that they will continue to receive payments after the member dies. ( I know about this one from personal experience. The judge did not even listen to the fact that no legal precedent requires insurance of a retirement stipend). Since only one beneficiary can be named, this leaves the member's current spouse unprotected and unable to receive that benefit. When a former spouse dies, the payments revert back to the retiree who earned it until the retiree dies. At that point, the benefit payments cease altogether. If it were property, it could be passed on to future generations.

Secondly, it pays the percentage of retirement based on the pay scale the member retired at, rather than the rank the member got divorced at. The cartoon above pretty well sums that up.

Over the years there have been several attempts to reform the law, even as simple as making the relatively minor change of making the retirement payments stop on remarriage. None of these attempts to reform the law has passed. This has happened for two reasons: a) DOD REFUSES to stand up and be counted by voicing opposition to the law even though it screws over male and female alike and b) the ex spouses have a pretty slick lobby in place, epitomized by a woman named Doris N. Mozley .

Doris N. Mozley and a group of greedy women just like her have made it their life's mission to oppose any change to this one sided and unfair law. Ms Mozley in particular has taken it upon herself to try and be the lead crusader in the fight to ensure that former military spouses have the definitive legal edge in divorce and the division of military retired pay. Now never mind that it has been well over 20 plus years since here divorce. And before you feel to sorry for her, remember that she is a successful lawyer practicing outside Richmond Virginia. So she is not hurting for money.

The other villain in this failure to do the right thing is DOD itself. At critical junctures, when some well placed words of support from the Department of Defense might have swayed Congressional votes, DOD and its personnel representative Dr David Chu remained silent. Now for anyone who has observed Dr Chu over the years, this should not be suprising. When it comes to taking care of servicemembers and especially veterans and retirees, Dr Chu consistently votes no. A quick look at Dr Chu's career provides some insight:

Some readers may not be familiar with the workings of Dr. David S. C. Chu or his role within the Department of Defense (DoD). He is a product of the Ivy League, earning his Doctorate in Economics from Yale in 1972. He was commissioned and served two years in the Army, including a tour of duty with the Office of the Comptroller, Headquarters, and 1st Logistical Command, in Vietnam. From that point on he has been in and out of government, accruing more than 18 years of federal service. He was named to his current position on June 1, 2001.

Since taking his current DoD post, David Chu has served as the designated "attack dog" for the administration. He has testified before Congress, given speeches and written articles for the media on numerous occasions. If the topic relates to veterans' issues, retired military personnel or military dependents benefits his approach has repeatedly been negative. In fact, some of his public comments have actually displayed disdain for those who, in the past, served their country with honor. He has been particularly vicious in arguing against expenditures for veteran and retiree health care. At the same time it should be noted he will receive a federal pension and medical benefits when he retires from federal service. Some say these are even more generous benefits than are awarded to military retirees. (Certainly if Dr Chu gets divorced he won't have to fork over 50% of his federal retirement if his spouse remarries.---my comment).

In the current interation DOD has opposed HR 1111, a bill sponsored by Rep. Cass Ballenger (NC). The legislation would amend the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA) so its provisions would offer more than token protection to military retirees undergoing divorce proceedings. Currently, the law favors the former spouse who, despite DOD’s assertion, has an open door to a service member’s retired pay before the member earns that rightFurthermorere DOD filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit that was brought against Dr Chu's boss Donald Rumsfeld. The motion was upheld by the District Court.

Its important to note that this is not men's or a woman's issue. With the increased service of women in the Armed Forces, there are plenty of horror stories of women who have been equally screwed over by this very bad law. DOD has been given plenty of ammunition to support reform, even by their own personnel. They consistently refuse to look at the facts. In that regard I join Molten Eagle and his scorn for lawyers, particularly those in DOD who have taken up the devil's work of making specious arguments against reforming the USFSPA. This should be a no brainer , it costs them no more money than they are already paying, and shows that they are sticking up for the service member when it counts. ( Male or Female). However as is so often the case, DOD refuses to grow a spine and stand up to the feminist lobby. So the hidden message comes across, DOD cares more for the welfare of a former spouse than it does for the well being of service members. This comes in spite of the fact that military divorce rates are rising, thanks to the war, OPTEMPO and other factors.

So for now the injustice continues. Every month totally undeserving men and women (including my scum sucking leech of an ex-wife) receive from DFAS their monthly welfare check, thanks to a very bad law passed by the US Congress.

Hell, even OJ gets all of his retirement checks. Then again he did not divorce Nicole.....HMM. Better not go there and just close this little discourse now.

But hey, I'm not bitter or anything..........


Saturday, June 25, 2005

Short post and open post.

Been in and out today and have not had much chance to finish the rant I am working on. You will see it soon however.

Till then, here is your chance to be cynical with me:

What is the thing that you see people wearing that really ticks you off? I'll tell you what does it for me:

Men wearing ball caps backwards. I hate it, and have never understood it. I agree with those who say that you lose 10 IQ points for having your hat backwards.

So what is the fashion faux pas that drives you nuts?

Post to the comments and I will transcribe and report here.


Friday, June 24, 2005

A bad day at the golf course beats a good day at work!

Actually my day at the golf course was not so bad. But hey, it happened when I should have been working so that's a great thing....Don't you think?

I should explain, today a well respected member of the place I work at put in his last day. Our boss (benevolent soul that he is) had given his blessing to allowing us galley slaves to play a final round of golf with the man after 12pm. Thus at 12:30, he and I were teeing off.........

Now we joke a lot about the departee's golf game. We call him "Rey the Sandbagger" because of his unusual(?) tendency to play better in a tournament than when we play him in a "normal game". Without explanation we have to assume he is sandbagging. It may just be that he plays well under pressure..who knows? Who cares? He just hits the ball a ton.....I hate him!

Actually today I could have been accused of sandbagging. My front nine was my usual 13 over par but the back was new life for me. Par, Par, Par, Bogey, Par, bogey.......then came 16.

I hate 16. Its a rolling hill for a fairway with trees on the left, OB fence on the right, and a monster bunker (plus a river in front of the green). It taunts me, it hates me, it draws out the worst part of my inability to hit a strait shot off of the tee. And if you have not guessed by now it gave me Mr Snowman. (OB followed by two very bad shots to get to the green....).

Still the old adage is true. A bad day on the golf course beats a good day at work. Now its time to for a cold one.

You thought I might forget Friday beer and babes. I know that was what you were thinking. Perish the thought.

Speaking of babes, I am still in sort of a surreal existence with the S.O. She treats me nice, I get more confused, and I don't move on. For now though I have resolved not to think about it, maybe I will for a while when I go on a trip next month. But for now, I am just going to go with the flow.

And now its:

And of course:

Ja ne!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The 10 stages of drunkeness

Neptunus Lex made a recent post about Drunks and Politicians which looked at some of the buffoonery of some prominent Democrats lately. By way of introduction he explained what he called the "7 stages of drunkenness". Leave it to a Hornet pilot to take the shortcut home, he left out a few stages. There are 10 stages of drunkenness, not 7; trust me I know- I've been to all of them at various times. When I saw his post, I knew something did not look quite right, so I checked with some of my comrades in one of my former squadrons, the World Famous (and now defunct) Seabats of VAW-127 :

If anybody knew a thing or two about getting drunk it was us. Our skipper used to refer to his wardroom as "a bunch of refugees from an CAAC (alcohol treatment) ward." That's not to say we did not do our fair share of hard work and we did A LOT of flying. Check here and here for some of our "on the job time". It was a good squadron to be in: a work hard, play hard outfit. When it was time to play, we did play hard.

So if I may, I'd like to set the record straight. Here are the "official" ( at least as official as any set of bar rules / jokes can be) 10 Stages of drunkenness:

Stage-1 No Name associated. Still mostly sober, relaxed, cold beer is tasting good.

Stage-2 Witty Charming Part I. That's where you think you are witty and charming- and you are. Chicks dig you. Some women in the bar start looking better and better.

Stage-3 Patriotic. Somebody puts on "Proud to be an American" by Lee Greenwood and it brings a warm spot to your heart. You'll also be in the mood to kick anyone's ass who does not like the song.

Stage-4 Witty and Charming Part II. That's where you think you are witty and charming; you think chicks dig you- but you are not and they don't. ( Unless they are ahead of you on drinks by a couple of stages). All women in the bar start looking good.

As an aside, any body remember this little ditty from the New Riders of the Purple Sage?

Well I guess it's been at least an hour, and I didn't plan to stay.
I only dropped in to drink a beer, and float off on my way.
It was a pale and rather plain girl over in the corner sipping wine.
When I did not sit down at her table, she sat down at mine.

And she's looking better every beer.
Her hair is soft and shiny now, her eyes are bright and clear.
How could it be I didn't notice her when I first came in here.
Now she's looking better every beer.

Well the bar lights and the candles throw a little color on the chin.
And two by two the people leave who one by one came in.
The jukebox plays and the coke-filled ashtrays warns the time that flies.
And every time I drain my mug I can't believe my eyes.

She's looking better every beer.
Her hair is soft and shiny now, her eyes are bright and clear.
How could it be I didn't notice her when I first came in here.
Now she's looking better every beer.

Anyway.......Back to the task at hand.

Stage-5 F**K dinner! Many people enter the matrix at this stage.

Stage-6 "Crank Up the Enola Gay! We're going to Hiroshima!" This is the 'should I stay or should I go' point. Go home now and chances are pretty good you'll be up for work on time the next morning. Stick around and your chances of appearing in the newspapers have gone up significantly. ( Also in Japan, you are advised to come up with another name, they don't seem to find this one particularly funny for some reason........).

It almost always goes down hill from here.

Stage-7 Rich and Powerful . This is where you ring the bell in the bar for no reason, you buy ladies drinks by the half dozen and you tip the barmaids very well. If you have an ATM card in your wallet, you may run out to resupply your cash. This is another potential "exit ramp"; if you have a met a girl who likes you, or if you are in Neptune's or Fenwicks and the two of you have agreed on a price.

Stage-8 Introspective. Having opted not to head for the exit ramp or having found no one to go home with, you continue drinking and turn you thoughts inside (this is generally considered a bad move). You contemplate everything that has gone wrong with your life; with no else to talk to you you even make the mistake of drinking and dialing your ex. Warning, it is at this stage guys like Hemingway have reached for the shotgun.

Struck out again, eh Skippy?

Stage-9 Invisible. You can pee in the street and its no big deal because no one can see you. Which of course leads to a HUGE surprise when the officer slaps the cuffs on you for public lewdness.......

Stage 10- Bulletproof. You can pee on the railroad tracks in front of an oncoming train because it cannot hurt you. Thanks to the antics of people at this stage, the folks who publish the Darwin Awards have something to write about.

So there you have it. There are lots of lists of these rules out there and the sequence may change depending on the circumstances, but this the list from "the trained professionals".
Your mileage of course may vary.


Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Pick your lessons and the nomination of John Bolton.

I know you folks are going to find this hard to believe, but in my younger days I was something of a rebel. I was full of rage against the machine. So in an argument, I would continue long past the point of any possible return, because I did not just want to get my way, but I wanted my opponent to acknowledge the unquestionable rightness of my position. That type of thinking was especially true with my ex-wife. Before the marriage spiraled down to the abyss in its later years, we would have some spectacular arguments, because I was just hell bent to "prove" to her that I was right and by God she was going to acknowledge that I was right. ( Which most of the time I was by the way.^-^). Only slowly, did I come to realize that it did not matter if I was right, because she did not care. So in the last few years I simply adopted the estranged husband's path of choice, avoiding conversation entirely.

What it points up is some advice I got a long time back from a mentor. You have to know how to pick your fights. You cannot win the all , and you only have so much energy to give. Thus you cannot waste that energy on issues that don't really matter in the great scheme of things. I had to learn that lesson the hard way I am afraid. Now, however it stands me well. You have to know if you can go the distance, long before you step into the ring.

Look at the mess about John Bolton. Yesterday while I was working out, I watched the news talking about the Senate's failure to bring his nomination to a vote. The Senate has tried to vote twice for cloture and to bring his nomination to the floor. Democrats are overjoyed in that they seem to be succeeding in blocking his nominee. The President left open the option of appointing him in a recess appointment. Even if he does, I still am not sure this was a fight the Democrats really wanted to pick.

President Bush wants Bolton because he will supposedly talk tough and reform the UN. Problem is the UN is unreformable. It likes being what it is, because for those who are in its organization, working for it, the UN is an extremely good deal. I know because I have applied for a series of UN jobs in the last year......all ignored most probably because I am white, male and an American. ( Go to their web site and look at their pay tables some time. You'd want the organization to stay the same too). So what this is really about is public relations: President Bush giving the impression he is doing something to work with the international community, after "snubbing" them for years. Its also about proving that he has "political capital to burn" and he will get the folks he wants into government. He is, after all, the President. So maybe he should get his way.

And that is why, I believe, that this was the wrong fight for Senate Democrats to win. All it does is make them look petty in the end. Like me arguing with my ex, its about showing the President that "they" are right. Just like my ex though, George W. Bush does not care. Plus, as we all know, what goes around comes around and there is going to come a time when they have someone they want to see moved on and Senate Republicans are going to go all out to crush them. Last time I checked they still control the Congress.

They ought to let Bolton go. The real fights to pick are with the Presidents policies. There's meat there, not in hamstringing Bolton or judges. The American people are able to see through that. To me the fight over the Bolton nomination shows how far gone the leaders of both parties are. The Democrats have yet to understand that they have to come back from la la land and get in touch with "real people and their issues". Eric and Dean on their blogs have a great discussion about how to get the discussion of issues back on track. Right now the parties are too focused just on "winning"; something , anything, just so long as it makes either George W. Bush or the Democratic leadership look like dirt. It ignores the old adage to stay focused on your mission. For the President it's to get his bills through Congress and for the Democrats its to become relevant again. I worry though, that its not possible with this bunch, its personal with them. In the end its the US that loses.

Like I said, you've got to know how to pick your fights. And this is not one they should have picked. If the Democrats could find a real issue, not a nomination and force a defeat on the President a lot of people would cheer. I'd be one of them. But it won't be about this.

Speaking of knowing how to pick your fights I am continuing to follow the adventures of Sarong Party Girl and her nude pictures. Its been talked about here, here, here, and here. Now SPG is saying:

"Just leave me alone.Any article about me as a 'nude blogger' after yesterday's ST does not come with my support or agreement. There's nothing I can do I suppose, and it's probably going to be pretty naff. But whatever. Just so you know, I never agreed to anything. Besides, how could I? When they don't come clean with you what exactly will be published?IM SICK AND TIRED OF THIS BULLSHIT."

End result? Now in we are a world where I cannot see SPG's breasts, but I can see Phil's ! How screwed up is that?!

Pick your fights.


Monday, June 20, 2005

Some common sense about blogging.

We've all heard about folks who have been fired for blogging. See my post here, for a friend's valid concern about retribution. Here , at last, is a company that encourages it and provides some good advice along the way.

Kudos to Sun Microsystems. This is the kind of rules the US Army should look at instead of their policy of Big Brother......


Leave it to a blackshoe........

Leave it to a blackshoe to take something like liberty (time off the ship for you non-naval indoctrinated personnel) and make it hard. Yankee Sailor obviously did not have enough to do, so he tagged us folks of military persuasion with another meme. But its a good meme, and to play you have to have paid your dues in the service of Uncle Sam. So to get the monkey off my back, I will answer the prosecutors questions.

Now before I start there are a few caveats I need to make clear. During the bulk of my Navy time I had been an East Coast Sailor. I had never been to the Pacific save for one stint off of San Diego as a midshipman, a long time ago and a galaxy far away. Had I been a Westpac Sailor in my younger days, I might never have come back! So this list is slanted towards the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean. Yankee Sailor is too young to remember the days when we spent hours boring holes in the sky and water, just to make Jimmy Carter feel like he was doing something about the hostage crisis. Looking at his post, we both went to Haifa about the same time; for the first time. The difference is he was a midshipman and I was a LCDR (sel)....!

Since coming to Asia and reaching the promised land, I've traveled a lot around the region. However now, I do it via the comfort of Singapore Airlines or Cathay Pacific or Thai Airways. If I had known having a job with this kind of travel existed, I would have been gone from the Navy a lot sooner. So for fairness sake, I have left out all of my Asian places; the worst of which still outclasses the best Mediterranean or American port. Since I was / am in aviation, I have included any location where we made a detachment of over 2 weeks, since those are a "cruise" of sorts. So with that in mind here goes:

Number of ports I've visited: 63

Most recent port I visited: See caveats above. Last port visit I made was over 8 years ago, it was St Maarten's in the Caribbean. ( I've traveled a lot since then, however). I liked St Maarten, and the highlight was having our admin ( that's something I'll have to explain in another whole post) in an entire house on the south end of the island. Brought some "guests" back just in time to watch 2 of the JO's, doing nude cannonball's in the pool.

Port I never want to see again: Colombo Sri Lanka. In a word, IT SUCKED! The boat ride was long and the city was drenched in poverty. We would go out sightseeing and be besieged by beggars in the street. Its also the only place I have ever played golf where cows were a hazard. ( That's a no s***er! They allowed these scrawny cows with horns to graze on the course and I still have memories of trying to chip an 8 iron shot over a cow and hoping that I did not hit him and make mad). After 3 days in port, we just said screw it and spent our days getting drunk by the hotel pool.

As an aside, the worth of a place depends on whether you are there with the ship or not. For example I visited Djibouti abut 13 years ago and actually had a pretty nice time. The French had brought in an extra 1000 Legionaires ( Legion Etrangere) to keep the Issa tribesmen at bay so the city could run, so the place was crawling with French Legionaires. An Army Sergeant First Class attached to the Embassy there, gave me the full tour of all the discos and hooker bars the legionaires liked to go to. Drank with a lot of Kepi wearing legionaires, got to dance with the girls and drink a lot, and all in all a good time was had by all. Our introduction to the SFC was interesting: he pulled out several strips of Trojans, gave us each a strip of 8, and reminded us that we were in Africa and to be "careful out there". Believe it or not, mine went unused, (NOT IN AFRICA! NO CHANCE PADDLES!) so I gave them to the C-2 crew that flew us in. From what they told me, they put them to good use with his maid and about 6 of her friends......

Only goes to show that any place is better when you go there without 5000 people tagging along.

But I digress.......

Three ports that were the most memorable:

Edinburgh Scotland- It was coolish in September, but the people were great and I got to play golf. Plus it was the first time I had ever driven on the left hand side of the road. A buddy and I took turns driving and scaring the S**t out of each other. We were going to play golf at St Andrews, but a wise man in a pub told us the night before about a local country club that he could get us on for free. He was true to his word and it was great. We got right on and did not have to wait on any tee boxes. So playing the Old Course at St Andrews is still on my life "to do list". Add to that I love English ( Scottish) beer!

Haifa Israel- While I was at the War College, I sponsored the Israeli student. 2 years later on cruise, he returned the favor by letting me stay with him and his wife ( who was from Russia and was GORGEOUS!). Daron drove me around the country including to the West Bank and the Golan Heights. I have a picture of a sign facing Syria with an Israeli flag on it saying, "Welcome to Israel!" The day we went to the West Bank, I was slightly taken aback when he showed up with an M-16 in the back seat and a Barretta by his side in the drivers seat. On the way , we stopped at a Kibbutz and picked up a "tail gunner"....Amazing. Drove through Jericho down to Masada. I also got to visit an Israeli winery in Daron's home town of Zikron Yaakov. He arranged to have me get a one man winery tour and wine tasting. Outstanding!

Intifada or no, if you get a chance to go to Israel..TAKE IT! Its a beautiful country. Also seeing Israel after seeing Egypt made me very pro-Israeli. I still am.

Trieste Italy- Not because Trieste is that great a town, because its kind of dumpy like most Italian cities. However 3 of us took leave, got on the first boat off the ship and then immediately went to the train station where we caught a train for Salzburg Austria. 6 hours, 6 beers, and 2 bottles of wine later we got off in Salzburg with snow falling and snow up to our asses. Found the first hotel we could find, slept it off and then had a blast for 3 days being in a city with NO SAILORS THERE!

Some close runners up: Panama City Panama, Ft Liquordale (er..I mean Lauderdale), Athens, Marseilles, Palma........hell any place is all right provided: a) its not on the ship and b) there is cold beer and hot women!

Liberty ports are what you make them. Come to think of it, I've really never had a really bad liberty port......a bad day in port still beats a good day on the ship!


P.S. I think this meme would interest Neptunus Lex, Bow Ramp, and Bubblehead.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Gitmo and Gulags.

I've watched the ongoing controversy about Guantanamo prison camps with a bit of nostalgia ( I was there several times to fly counter-drug operations) and bewilderment. On the one hand you have some grand standing Senators and Congressmen who say that GTMO must be closed down because there is treatment that verges on torture and saying:

If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime--Pol Pot or others--that had no concern for human beings.
This is usually followed by a demand to close GTMO NOW!

On the other hand are the folks who say that , "Hey, we're nothing compared to what old Joe Stalin did in the real gulags. We are coddling these thugs and they deserve a hell of a lot worse". The is a second verse to their refrain, that anyone who criticizes what the United States is doing in Guantanamo must be a disloyal American. Its obivous that that person does not care for his country's welfare or winning the war on terrorism.

So who's right? Well let me tell you Michelle Macangalang, they both are.

Let me preface what follows by stating categorically that I have absolutely ZERO sympathy for the occupants of Gtmo prison camp. None, nada, zilch. These people are scum and I could care less if their "precious" Koran is pissed on, torn apart, thrown at them or other wise desecrated. The Koran is desecrated every time one of these Islamic scumbags opens one. And I don't care if they get deprived of sleep, are made to sweat, or locked in cages by themselves. Could not have happened to a nicer bunch of guys. These jerks chose to make league with Osama and his band of criminals so they deserve to be in a real gulag. Too bad "old Uncle Joe" is not around to play "lets make a deal" with.

However, the longer we maintain the camp in Guantanmo the more tenuous the legal and moral position of the United States becomes. I submit to you, that if anyone in DOD could do so, they would admit, that back when the idea came to put Afghan prisoners in Guantanamo if someone had told them that some 3 years later they would still be there, they would look at you like you were crazy. In other words, the U.S. government never intended it to go like this. Truth be told, they probably expected there to be workable Afghan government by now so that custody could be transferred for all but the most hardened criminals. Problem is the Afghan government, like Iraq is still a basket case. Now that that things have gone as far as they have, they have to put the best face on it that is possible. So, pinheads like Dick Durbin actually do the US government a service, by distracting people from the real issues involved with GTMO. Quite simply, the powers that be never envisioned, or communicated, the fact that the GWOT is going to last for over 20 years.

The real issue is, that we chose not make these folks prisoners of war, subject to the Geneva convention, but rather declared them Illegal enemy combatants . There are some real issues with this:

The U.S. classifies the prisoners held at Camp Delta and Camp Echo as "illegal enemy combatants", but has not held the Article 5 tribunals that would be required by international law for it to do so. This would grant them the rights of the Fourth Geneva Convention (GCIV), as opposed to the more common Third Geneva Convention (GCIII) which deals exclusively with prisoners of war. On November 9, 2004 US District Court Judge James Robertson ruled that the Bush Administration had overstepped its authority to try such prisoners as enemy combatants in a military tribunal and denying them access to the evidence used against them.
Another problem with the US treatment of the Guantanamo Bay prisoners, is that most of them were captured and transferred to the camp from non-US soil. International laws regarding warfare would allow the US to do so, but only if the persons can be classified as prisoners of war. If they can not, the actions are kidnappings.

So the US can keep them, but only if it is willing to turn its back on accepted international law. Now we can do that, but in the end there comes a cost. God forbid the Muslim wackos capture a large group of Americans. The again, we all know how observant of international law these Muslim wackos are. So why not beat these bastards to the punch and keep them from re-entering the fight?

The reason is our rhetoric and American world view of themselves. The global war on terror is framed as a war to eliminate evil. Americans believe that they are better than the other major powers of the world and not motivated by self interest. We all still believe, ( at least I still do) that America is the last, best hope for humanity. So when we behave like a nation looking out for its self interest, or even just trying to take care of itself, it does not square with the vision of who we are. God forbid if we acted like our friends the British.

Whatever intelligence value these folks may have had is long gone. So the only real reason to hold these people now is to keep them from re-entering the fight. That's an acceptable goal and I have no quarrel with it, except that we cannot have it both ways. If we are a land of respect for law and democracy, the supposed aim of our effort in Iraq, then we cannot be selective in our applications of it.

So my solution to the GITMO "problem"? Build a gallows. Have trials and treat these people like the criminals they are. Those the US finds guilty, give them a punishment appropriate to the crime. If someone is innocent, send them strait back to Kabul. Those we do not hang, put them into the Federal prison system and reduced the burden on the US military. There may be murderers and drug dealers and rapists there, but by God they are patriotic murderers and rapists. Why else is John Walker Jr kept in isolation? Because he would be dead in a week in the general population. Same thing happens to child molesters.

A little extreme? Well that depends on your point of view. There are about 6000 families ( WTC+Iraq War Dead+Afghanistan War dead+USS Cole victims+ Madrid subway victims+ God knows who else) who would probably think that was too good for them. However any movement towards adjudication and justice for these folks would be better than to continue in the current legal limbo. Otherwise call them POW's and keep them for the duration. Since its going to be a good while to victory, the end result is the same.

Plus, the current camps and the expansion plans are a huge drain on US military manpower. At a time when the powers that be are refusing to adequately man the US Army, so they are making the other services run it. That's flawed in the long run for a whole host of reasons.

So in summary, be careful what you wish for, or you may surely get it. We wanted the Islamists out of circulation. Now we have to reconcile ourselves to the fact that we are just like every other major power involved in a war of occupation.

So don't cry about Dick Durbin. Cry about the fact that we don't get on with administering of justice to these Afghan and Arab scum.


Saturday, June 18, 2005

Cardio theater and a lazyman's post.

As the S.O. says when she is tired, "she has no power". Today I have no power. Played golf today, shot.....well lousy. Came home and napped a bit then off to work out.

Work out? Skippy? Most people who know me think the only lifting I do is 12 ounce curls. Actually I do work out some. I walk on the golf course. And lately I have been going to the Cardio-theater. The gym I go to has DVD players attached to the treadmills and ski machines. Its great. You can watch TV (Japanese or CNN in English) or you can watch a movie. Its great for me, because if I just run I will quit before I am supposed to. ( Unless it's a Hash run, in which case I just keep following the herd till I get to the beer). This way I can take my mind off of how bad my arms and legs really feel. And when you drink as much beer as I do, then it is imperative to work out. At least till this evening, where I realize, "I have no power". Even for my favorite exercise...doing the wild thing. ( THAT'S TIRED).

So trot along down some other streets here in Bloggerville, there's lots to see.

First, if you want some insight into what makes my mind tick, go over and read Spike's latest postings. His experience of first being in Tokyo is the same as mine was:

"As much of an outsider as I was, there was something there, I felt like I belonged there. I was an alien and at home at the same time. "

I still feel that way.

He and I seem to be thinking alike on a whole bunch of things. I understand his travails with loving a hooker, but I like to think I would be more prone to follow Expat at Large's advice much of which is as we say, "written in blood". Love with a working girl, no way, but then again who knows what would happen if I had not run into the S.O. and complicated(screwed up?) my life. However I like to think not. At least so far, I've never written one of these:

That does not prevent me from being a connoisseur of their wares however, content to sample all the different varietals.

The kind folks over at Mango Sauce have even provided a convenient form to record one's "tasting" experience. Maybe I can start a new magazine: Bar Girl Spectator.

Speaking of the word connoisseur, it reminds me of a clever quip that I heard almost 20 years ago from a doctor at dinner one night. It was right when the AIDS panic was first begining and folks were asking him all kinds of questions about what was safe and what was not safe.

"How about blow jobs, Doc? Anything wrong with those?"

His answer was classic, I remember it vividly until this day:

" Well that depends if you are asking me as a medical man, or as a connoisseur?"

Let me sleep and I 'll come up with something serious tomorrow, I promise.

O yasumi nasai!


Friday, June 17, 2005

Well it started as a good day......

The S.O. really can drive me nuts sometimes. Like in how she can go from totally desirable to really annoying in 6 seconds flat. It would be nice if she would come down on one side or the other. That would make the decision easier.

Now any good aviator would be screaming at me now, " If there is doubt, then there is no doubt!" . Doublespeak you say? Not really, just a clever way to say that if you do not think you can get aboard safely, WAVE IT OFF AND TAKE IT AROUND FOR ANOTHER PASS!

Which is probably what I should do here. Depart the pattern and head for another, safer airport. However, I am a hacker, I'm confused, and I care, so I'll subject myself to this for a good while longer I suspect.

Details details you ask. S.O. and I had to go to a social function today. I had to go into work first, check e-mail, get some letters and e-mails cranked out. Had agreed to meet her, and we would go in together. When I met her...WOW!!!! She looked NICE. She was wearing a beautiful yellow dress, a little sexy in that it was short, but it was more like it was just made for her. I think the women out there will know what I mean. Bottom line was she looked good. Made up my mind I was going to treat her nice tonight and give her some of that good loving that I know I need and I am fervently hoping she does.

Went to the function, went to the reception afterward. Talked to a lot of people, but I kept looking at my watch, as today was one of those perpetually busy days when I had more places I needed to be, than I had time to be at them. So I tell her its time to go, got to get back to work. "Besides, don't you have a doctors appointment this afternoon?" ( She did). Face kind of wrinkles in frustration , but quietly she goes. Drop her off at the apartment, get back into work.

Meetings, then a farewell lunch for a secretary I'm really going to miss. ( Not that way, she's married and a devout Catholic). She is a great lady and she and her husband are leaving Japan.

Get home from work, discover "the monthly friend" has arrived to the S.O. DAMN! I know what that means. Plus its put her in a cranky mood, and all she can care about is did I wash my hands after I came into the house. ( That seems to be a Japanese tradition, which I have yet to understand.) Offer to cook her dinner she is not hungry. 90 minutes goes by, she still does know what she wants. Go out? She doesn't know. Fuck it then, I'm going out to the movie. Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is here. Want to come along? NO.

Get home, she's on the TV watching NHK, possibly more boring than Volgoran(sp?) poetry. (GO SEE THE MOVIE!). " Wash your hands" Chanto.....(Japanese word that needs to be explained sometime, but not here). GRRR!

Tell me again why I am enjoying her company? Sigh........

Looks like I need a few of these:

And I definitely need one of these:

I feel like Marvin the Robot........


Thursday, June 16, 2005

Boneheaded demonstrators update!

Check out Bubblehead's post on the funeral of Carrie French. He uses a lot less four letter words than I would have. What's wrong with this picture? EVERYTHING!

Kicked in the teeth-Part III

Follow the link to view a father's moving tribute to his son. Father's Day this weekend. Take time to thank your Dad. I don't know how my Dad ever put up with me, but he stood beside me through thick and thin. I know my friend did the same for his son.....and more.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The real meaning of "The human capital strategy".

Its starting, albeit slowly, give it a few years to spread to all the services:

Seems like we have been here before........

Point, Counterpoint

There is a certain logic here:

Then again, who ever heard of a nice looking Democrat woman?

Don't believe me? Check this out!.

Beautiful to look at that, then they open their mouths and wreck the ambiance.


Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Jumping Jehosaphat! What the hell were those boys thinking!

Any one who spent time around Naval Aviation in "the good old days" ( Namely anytime prior to 1991 and the witchhunts and crucifixions that followed...) remembers Grampaw Pettibone. Gramps as he was affectionately known, was the quinticential and timeless caricature of the Naval Aviator. ( And he looked NOTHING like Tom Cruise!) :

Gramps was a column written in the Naval Aviation News. The purpose of it was to promote safety awareness by writing about, and ridiculing, the buffoonry of other's. ("The kind of comics real naval aviators like!"). There was always truth in what old gramps wrote and it was good reading. His classic line was " Jumping Jehosaphat! What were those boys thinking? ( Now he has to use the word girls as well.....) " Its good thing Gramps is not writing about politics or current events these days, he would be screaming those words, and its sure bet no one is listening.

Consider this list of things one can say Jumping Jehosaphat to:

"Michael Jackson says he is not going to allow kids in his bedroom any more"- Duh, you think maybe that's not a good idea?

"Hillary Clinton planning presidential bid."- Who gives the Democrats this kind of political advice? Hillary Clinton would be among one of the worst candidates they could run. I really wonder sometimes when the Democrats are going to get it. George Bush may be pendantic and a spendthrift, but he is a smart political animal and so are other folks in the Republican party. For the Democrats to become relevant again, they have to be percieved as being in touch with "real people's" issues. I believe, that inability to connect with folks played a role in the defeat of John Kerry last year, and it is definately involved in the current attitude of "red state superiority" thinking. "Real people" are not comfortable with homosexuality, and many of the other issues that the Dummycrats sponsor. To win back the White House, John Dean and others have to start making sense about jobs and deficits, not calling the Republicans a "white Christian party" when the demographics do not support that. She can try to pretend she is a moderate all she wants, but "if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck.......".

Bubblehead has a great post about a really stupid idea. "What the hell were those boys thinking?"......He's right, " Whoever came up with this idea should be publicly identified so they can get the mocking and belittling they so richly deserve...".

Whoever came up with this, obviously did not think the whole thing through:

Its a CHOCOLATE dress! I wonder if I could eat my way to the model's center?

For once, I actually agree with Michele Macangalang , ( You know her, she's the C**T); guys like Fred Phelps give Christians a bad name.... How truly low can you go?

Meanwhile in Guam a couple of weeks ago, 6 military folks decided to get together for lunch at a local restaurant. Lunch involved a few beers or drinks and turned into playing pool with more drinks. Four or five hours later they called it a day and in three separate vehicles they went their own way.
The end result? Car #1 got back Ok, but he was the most senior person of the group. Car#2 got nailed at the base gate and the driver was charged with DUI. His BAC? .200. (remember legal limit in Japan is .03, in Guam its .08). As for Car #3, well, while driving back, the driver crossed the center line and struck a vehicle with a woman and two small children in the back. (I'll pause here before I go on.) .......The mother of the small children did not survive the crash. Now mind you, the driver was not the owner of the car. His BAC? .290. The owner said he'd had too much(his BAC was .200) so his friend said, "Hey, I'm fine, I can drive" and took the keys. 5 of the folks involved are in various stages of being thrown out of the military for being criminally stupid. The sixth, well he is looking for a good attorney and protection to keep from being lynched by the residents of Guam. This is big news over here.

Over in Beijing, a university professor allegedly leaked exam questions and answers to a female applicant of a master's program after she had sex with him. This woman better have been one outstanding piece of tail, since now the professor is being charged with giving away state secrets.

Finally, back here in Tokyo, 25-year-old Manabu Furuya, finding himself down to his last 10,000 yen (95 dollars) – but at the same time desperate to take his girlfriend to Tokyo Disney Sea – the deranged devotee robbed a pub where he used to work. Fleeing the scene with 150,000 yen in his pocket, he was confronted by pub employee Takahiro Dono. And in a bid to escape, Furuya stabbed him. An attack that sadly proved to be fatal. A tragedy though that failed to get in the way of Furuya and his Disney themed date. The day after the theft and murder, he happily went to Disney Sea as planned.

Jumping Jehosaphat! What were these guys thinking?


Monday, June 13, 2005


If you have tuned in looking for an update on the War of the Roses, alas there is no news to report. Today was as if "the conversation" had never occurred. S.O. got up, went to work and was just as sweet as could be tonight. She even made me my favorite summer time meal . All this in spite of the fact that she did not feel well this afternoon. She says she had a headache. I made her go lay down on the couch and convinced her that, yes, I could clean the kitchen myself, just the way she wants. Either the woman has no feelings or she is just as confused as I am. So for now, we just go on; kind of like the US and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Detente, reinforced by the threat of mutual assured destruction. Not sure if I am supposed to play like Jimmy Carter and give away the Panama Canal, or become Ronald Reagan and demand that she "Tear down this wall". She sure looked sweet at dinner though.......


Now that she is sleeping, I'm practicing a time honored male ritual: watching 3 movies at once. Thanks to the miracle of cable TV and a remote control, I am flipping back and forth between Time after Time, Hunt for Red October and Master and Commander. One can only do this with movies one has seen already. You have to know when to cut back and forth between channels. Its male talent, I believe, as a woman would want to look for deeper meaning. I just want something to distract me.

Somehow words coming from these three movies seem appropriate the the current situation though. The brogue of Sean Connery intoning:

"When Cortez reached the new world, he burned his ships. Thus his men were well motivated."
Or the taunt of the crew speaking , as it were to me and my issues:

"You couldn't just slip away could you Captain? No , you had to make a political statement. Or was it something deeper?"
Damned if I know. When I figure it out, I'll let you know.

HG Wells sums me up pretty good too:
"And now we should say our goodbyes. Don't you see, I don't belong here! Besides someone has to write all these books whatever they are. [I'm] not ready for time travel{romance}........"

Lets not forget Russel Crowe's advice:

"To wives and sweethearts....May they never meet!"

Yea, yea whatever....just don't throw a telephone at me!


P.S. If you get a chance check out Sarong Party Girl. Her blog is causing quite a stir in Singapore. Might have something to do with her NAKED PHOTOS! She knows what I'm feeling.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Oops! I wasn't ready for this yet!

The S.O. is a smart woman as I have noted before. We had a good round of golf today, She came back from a 7 stroke deficit on me to narrow it down to 3 strokes. She even chipped in for a par on a more difficult hole. It was a great shot. I beat her, but since I fell apart on the last 3 F****ng holes, it was tough.

Then we came home, and I made her a nice dinner. Swiss steak, corn, salad, Pinot wine. Things are going Ok......and then, it happened. Using her female intuition, she shifted the conversation to the "unspoken thing" that lies between us like a rock in the sea: I hate our little domestic life. And for the last few months or so, being chained down has felt like a millstone wrapped around my neck, dragging my mind and spirit down. She asked me why I have been unhappy.

Now at this point, I need to come to the S.O.'s defense, she is a very smart woman and there's no real conflict between us. Its not like we have had any huge arguments. Sure, I've come home late on occasion and I don't pay the same attention to house work that she does, but that's who I am and she knows it. I cook for her and make sure she gets to work, and come home early to make sure dinner's ready for her when she works, so I feel like I do my part. Still, she could see my slowly increasing frustration.

Now the proper male response would have been to deny everything and move the conversation along. And had I not had 2 beers and a couple of glasses of Pinot, maybe I would have taken the coward's way out. However, tonight I said to hell with it, might as well let her see my frustration and tell her the truth. So we jumped into the deep end of the pool, and had a "serious conversation". I won't bore you with details, except it comes down to this: I'm not ready to tie my self down to just one woman, and I jumped back into a serious dating/ living together relationship too soon. I like women too much to be attached to only one.

Since I was married at 22 fresh out of college, I never had a chance to get out and do the "hair on fire" single life I deserved as a young man. The S.O. did, as she has never been married before. She had a nice content little single life that I still envy. She saved money, did what she wanted, and according to her was "quite the party girl".

Problem is, she's not a party girl anymore. And I am still very much the party boy. And I'm not planning on changing that anytime soon. If I have my way, I'll be the party old man, chasing women at the VFW in my 70's. I feel like she used false advertising on me. She said she was a party girl when we met....really she is a woman who was single for a long time, who is ready to settle down and thought I could give her that.

I met the S.O. at an amazing time in my life. I had been in Japan for about a year still working through the financial hell that is divorce in the US. Literally, it was raining women. I was going out from time to time with a Thai lady who worked as a make-up person( who had a boyfriend I found out later), I had been to Kyushsu to meet (and sleep with) a Chinese girl I met through the internet, and I had a couple of girls on the string here in Tokyo. However the S.O. really caught my interest. She was smart, had a good paying job, had her just bought her own apartment and was quite beautiful. Originally I thought this would be a good addition to the trophy case. However the more we went out, the more I found myself liking her. Things led to another, her heartless American company laid her off, and together we marched into domestic oblivion. That I now believe was a big mistake.


Problem is, I still had not sorted through all of this in my own mind, and I have learned its never good to set your house on fire without having a well thought out escape plan and fire exit in sight. And those details are not worked out yet. Plus, truth be told, I still like her, a lot. She's a nice woman, if slightly obsessive about cleaning. However my ex went from being pretty to a fat trashy, spendthrift, American housewife who hated housework, so in that regard its a great change of pace. The S.O. looks like a saint compared to her. For some unknown reason though, I find myself wanting to live in Hong Kong or Singapore and have the love life problems that Spike has. Problem is, it takes money to do that.

Nothing was resolved in the "conversation". However the issue is out there. I went to the movies just to get away and think for a while, but that did no good. All it did was make me want to go to a bar and get drunk. ( Which I did not do, work still always comes first, and I have to get up early tomorrow. )

This saga is going to drag on for a while till its eventual demise. I'll provide you with plot updates as the drama plays out. Should be interesting, emotionally painful, and I suspect, expensive. Disengaging from relationships with women always is.

This sucks......Oh, and for the female viewers out there who want to pull an Oprah on me and tell me what an asshole I'm being. Well, let me save you the trouble, I know it. However this all about me. I want what I want, and I'm no longer going to apologize for that. I did too much of that in my past life.


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