Saturday, May 28, 2005

You go away for a week.....and look what happens!

I have not even been away from the land of the rising sun for a week, and I find myself in trouble big time. CDR Salamander has tagged me with a meme:


MEME:
An idea that, like a gene, can replicate and evolve. Examples of memes (and meme systems) include political theories, proselytizing religions, and the idea of memes itself.wfmh.org.pl/enginesofcreation/EOC_Glossary.html

As defined by Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene (1976): "a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation." "Examples of memes are tunes, ideas, catch-phrases, clothes fashions, ways of making pots or of building arches. Just as genes propagate themselves in the gene pool by leaping from body to body via sperms or eggs, so memes propagate themselves in the meme pool by leaping from brain to brain via a process which, in the broad sense, can be called imitation." In this sense, chain letter components are memes.www.silcom.com/~barnowl/chain-letter/glossary.htm

A term coined by Richard Dawkins, who defines it as "a unit of cultural inheritance, hypothesized as analogous to the particulate gene and as naturally selected by virtue of its 'phenotypic' consequences on its own survival and replication in the cultural environment.




So it sounds just like an infection I think, infected with a strong desire to emulate the Bookworm. The only way to rid my self of this illness is to comply. So I will.

The subject here is about movies, specifically top five lists of movies that I like and can watch over and over. As a guy who once spent a lot of time on ships, I know a thing or two about that. I've watched more than my fair share of bad ones and even a couple of good ones. So here goes:

Total number of films I own on DVD/Video:

Since they and my books were about the only thing I was able to salvage when I walked out on the shrew...I have just under 100. About a 60/40 split between VHS video tapes and DVD's.

The last film I bought:

Phantom of the Opera. It sounds great when the DVD player is hooked up to the sound system. The S.O. had dragged me to see the movie about 4 months ago, and I liked it.

The last film I watched:

On the plane from SFO going east, watched "Because of Winn Dixie". I also watched Oceans 12 and Coach Carter on the Trans-Pacific flight to SFO.

Five films that I watch a lot or that mean a lot to me (in no particular order):

Here is where I am going to deviate from the format just a bit. I think its too much to lump classic films with new releases. They are like wine , needing time to mature and hit their prime. So I will give you my top movies from 3 categories: Classics ( meaning any movie from "The Jazz Singer(1927)"- 1975.) , Contemporary movies-1975- present, and finally,recent releases (Last 4 years). Like I have said before, Japanese TV is pretty boring and I travel a lot, so I get to watch a lot of movies. And no, my dear Bookworm....there's no porn here.

Top 5 Classics:

Casablanca- " Here's looking at you kid" and " of all the gin joints in all the world....she had to walk into mine". Plenty of classic lines in this picture. Its a great movie and I think it should be on any real man's top 10 list.

The Quiet Man- John Wayne as an American who emigrates to Ireland. Again, my kind of movie. The Duke drinks a lot of beer, kicks some uppity Irish ass, and gets married to Maureen O' Hara. A great flick.

The Magnificent Seven- Every real man should have this movie in his collection. Its just an outstanding movie.

Dr Strangelove..or How I stopped worrying and learned to love the Bomb.- Stanley Kubrick's farce about the Cold War. I still think there is no better scene as when Peter Sellers is playing the President of the United States trying to convince a drunk Soviet premier that he is his friend.

To Kill a Mockingbird- Read the book in High School- Gregory Peck is great in the movie and the story is a great story about injustice.

I've left out a whole ton of great movies here that are of equal caliber......and of course no real man is not without his quota of 3 Stooges clips.......

Contemporary Movies:

Absence of Malice- Paul Newman and Sally Field show that the Main Stream media were not above getting the story wrong to sell newspapers, even before the days of blogs and the internet.

The Paper- Can you tell there is a theme here? Inside me is a frustrated journalist wanting to come out on this blog. I think this is a great movie that tells a great story, and it adheres to all the 3 unities ( You folks who listened in high school English will remember that a good story should have unity of time, place and action). This movie has all 3 as it chronicles the news cycle as it happens.

Blazing Saddles- Again the precursor of an entire genre of comedy movies. This is again a movie every man should have in his cabinent. I've seen this movie so many times I can recite the script with the sound turned down.

The Goodbye Girl- Yes its a romance film, but I like Richard Dreyfus in the movie and he epitomizes all of the frustrated actor impulses in yours truly.

Goodfellas- This is a great mob movie. Great story and great sound track. Plus Robert DeNiro and the rest of the cast all look like they were born to play their respective parts. Casino is also a great mob flick as well.

Special Bonus Foreign Film: Eat, Drink, Man ,Woman(食、飲、男、女)- Chinese film shot in Taiwan about a girl who reconciles with her father a famous chef in Taiwan. Great scenes, good drama, and if you have ever been to Taipei, its a great snapshot of the places you went......

Recent Releases-

Friday Night Lights

Sideways

Proof of Life

The Alamo

Primary Colors

No explanations here with this last category. They are just recently released movies that I have liked. I've had deliberately slighted Science Fiction and Animation, both of whom are Genre's that I love. Science Fiction because I can't solve the Star Wars vs Star Trek thing (I like 'em both) and animation because I like Spirited Away and Heavy Metal. Hard to reconcile that conflict......(Its a one way ticket to midnight!!). I also left out any of the really dirty movies because if there's a lot of gratuitous female nudity, then it always gets two thumbs way up!!
Those types of movies deserve their own ranking IMHO, but this is already long enough.

No one to tag here, because I want to wait to move this one down the pike. However all you citizens of Bloggerville, keep an eye out and practice safe blogging, or you will get infected with a meme!

Skippy-san

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Quick snippets....Yep, I'm back in wonderland!

Quick post here, between very contentious meetings, making the circuit of the bars in town and trying to use the remaining time before sleep to catch up on e-mail and phone calls to Japan.

Saw Star Wars, and I stand by all my previous opinions. I give the movie and Lucas a B. Its good, but I think it could have been better. Maybe a few minutes less of light saber duels, and a little more time exploring the demise of Anakin. I think he folded to the dark side too quick. ( Like in about 2 minutes). I mean, after all, going over to the dark side is a serious decision, could he not have at least been a little conflicted about it.? Still all in all a good movie.

Spent most of my meetings trying to convince people who should know better, to do the things they should be doing anyway, and watching them sweat trivial bullshit. You can get things done once they realize that: a) you're right and b) you have some powerful friends who believe you are right. As an old mentor of mine said, the plot never changes just the actors.......Thank God we don't carry pistols any more.

Its always interesting being back here, dealing with idiot drivers , lack of public transportation and pushy women......more on that at another time.

Sitting here , O.D. ing on West Wing reruns on Bravo. Yes its liberal propaganda, but I still like it.

Damn the last beer is now gone. That means its time for bed.........

More to come.

Skippy-san

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Out of sight for a bit....leaping across the pond

Last post for a couple of days as I head to Narita tomorrow to fly to the states for a bit. Business combined with seeing my parents will probably keep me in the low profile mode for a while especially if I am having to deal with a dial up connection.

Today was one of those glorious days that was just great to be out side, sunny, warm but not hot, and not too much wind. Even chipped in for a par on one hole....does not get much better than that.

Lots of folks commenting on Star Wars...Now I have to go see it. I have a hard time understanding why so many people see politics all through the movie. It seems to me that some of the things people are keying on ( read The Stupid Shall be Punished, here.) are reading too much into the movie. With a dry sarcasm Bubblehead points out:

When Padme finds out she's pregnant, she never even discusses ridding her body of the parasitic fetal matter; this despite the fact that an abortion would calm Anakin's fears that she will die in childbirth (which serves as a springboard for his switch to the Dark Side). Also, in this galaxy, we see that working mothers are apparently discriminated against; Padme fears she'll lose her job if her pregnancy is revealed. Also, this "Republic" apparently doesn't provide pre-natal medical care for women without documented marriages; they can build amazing replacements for light-sabered-off limbs, but she can't even get an ultrasound to determine that she's carrying twins! (^-^)



Never thought about that!

For whatever it is worth, it seems to me that a lot of what folks are complaining about are also necessary plot devices, I'll find out when I see the movie next week. For example, Lucas has to create conflict with the Jedi council to give Anakin/Darth a reason to kill them all. Since it was already announced in Star Wars IV that this had happened, he had to get there somehow. To somehow assume that they represent current military leaders is a stretch in my humble opinion.

Hope the United employees are calmed down a bit. I don't want my beer flow cut off on the plane.....Just keep repeating after me: "Greedy United executives took your pension...Not Skippy-san. So please hurry up and bring me a beer!"

I've got a bad feeling about this.......( 9 hours to SFO is a long time in the cattle car...).

Skippy-san

Friday, May 20, 2005

Friday Beer and babes.......

Drinking beer, watching one of my favorite movie's...The Paper. Taking it easy tonight, playing golf tomorrow. Feel like getting drunk, S.O. is nagging me."飲みすぎないように、ちゃんとうしょじしない。" ( Don't drink so much and clean up your mess!!) This is the point I retreat to the computer and write. It saves me trying to argue with her. I know she is really pissed when I get a high speed, non stop series of invectives in Japanese. So in the interest of peace and harmony, will finish this post, ignore her, and go to bed when I am damn well good and ready to. GRRRR!!!! I don't need this s**T. Brings me back to the , "Give the S.O. a pink slip" idea again. I don't have it in me anymore to be the magnanimous male any more, I want what I want. And I don't want someone telling me how to live or what to do.

This is going to get me worked up I know so its time to focus on the mission at hand. Beautiful women......

This week, Norika Fujiwara (藤原のりか)。 She is a very famous actress and model who has been all over TV and the newspapers here in Japan. She's cute:



A traditional view.

And a not so traditional look (and a younger view):




Critical part of the movie coming up, "Give me the keys!!!!" " What are you nuts?".

Time for a beer:



Have a great weekend. On my way for a business trip to the USA and to dial up connections, so if you don't get much from me....well , trust me, I'm still thinking about stuff to write about.

お楽しみに。。。。。。。。

Skippy-san

To good to pass up.

Short post here.....swamped with that damn thing called work. However check out Gaijin Biker's post about the new Japanese basketball league. Things could be looking up for Monica Lewinsky......



As Hustler Diaries points out, its gonna bring a whole new meaning to the term "scoring a goal".

Thursday, May 19, 2005

A new low....Skippy does a food post?!?!

There are times I really hate blogger. Twice recently, I have been in the middle of typing a post when all of a sudden half or more of it will simply vanish. That happened to me again tonight. I am beginning to understand why folks say to type them out in Word, then transpose them.

The worst part is when you are on a roll in writing, click away to copy an image and then come back to find your great work of written art gone. And you cannot remember exactly what you wrote.

Now, I know what you may be thinking, " Defending liberal speech writers, bashing Arabs, posting pictures of sexy women, writing about sex....for God's sake Skippy, can't you find one thing and stick with it? You are all over the map."

Actually no I cannot. And yes I am all over the map in terms of things that interest me.

Now one of the dirty little secrets about me is that I love to cook. Especially since I left the ex, it has become something that I really enjoy. Swilling beer and making dinner, now that's a good way for me to start the evening! That said I am not a great cook. I am one of those guys who slavishly follows the recipe book. The S.O. on the other hand is a GREAT cook. She has a real knack for knowing how to season exactly right, figure out what should go in the food, improvise and she has a real flair for presentation. However she does not really like to cook Western food. So she and I have an agreement, I do most of the cooking and when Nihon no Ryori (日本の料理、Japanese food) is required she cooks. It works out well for both of us as she is very picky about how the kitchen is cleaned, I hate to do dishes.

Now in the spirit of fair and balanced reporting, I realize I have been quite negative about the S.O. in some of my other posts. It's not exactly fair, as she does have her fetching ways and she is a beautiful woman. One of the things she does is that she knows when I need space to myself. Today was one of those days when I had a bad day at work, and when she called and suggested that she make hyashichuka (冷し中華、Cold Chinese Ramen) I was all over it! Yes!

I got the idea to post this from bothenook , who I must confess, has some great recipes over on his blog. I tried making his bean soup, and it was quite tasty if I do say so myself!

Anyway, the S.O. knows that I love Hiyashichuka and it makes a great summer time meal. Its light and fresh and during the hot, hot days of summer here that follow the rainy season, a great meal. And the way she makes it, makes it a great meal.

You start with a special Chinese ramen. Easy to find over here, I am not so sure about how easy it is to get in America or Europe, however I suggest looking in an Asian market:

Nama Hiyashi chuka ramen(冷し中華らめん)。

Inside the bag are packets of Ramen and packets of Shoyuu(しょう油、Soy Sauce) You can also get it with a special Miso sauce, but I prefer the Shouyuu. One packet per person. You cook the ramen in boiling water just like spaghetti. While that's going on cut up some salad veggies:


Cut veggies.

The S.O. normally uses the following:

Lettuce
Tomatoes
Cucumbers cut into long thin strips
green Onions chopped up
Daikon ( Big Japanese Radish)
Carrots
Celery

At the same time she also makes 2 eggs scrambled into a thin omelet like sheet. Boil a boneless breast of chicken and cut up some Luncheon meet ham.

When the ramen is done, first put the soy sauce from the packet on each plate( 1 Packet per person). Then drain the ramen and allow it to cool. ( S.O. uses a small strainer to do this as she cooks the packets of ramen separately in 2 different pans. ) Put the ramen over the soy sauce like this:




The ramen placed on the plate in the special soy sauce.

Now comes the fun part. Each person should then take some wa karashi(和からし、Japanese hot mustard). Warning! A little goes a long way and its spicy! However squeeze some into the noodles and mix it up into the noodles with your hashi (はし、chopsticks). Here is what Japanese mustard looks like, its in the yellow tube:


The tube is the mustard and the soy sauce is in the packet.

Either before or after serving, put all those cut veggies on top of the ramen. Put some of the ham, chicken and egg strips on there too. Load it up.


More to go

And that is it. This goes well with a nice white wine or a good cold beer. Its a great meal for 2 people on a hot summer's day. Enjoy.

Skippy-san

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Random thoughts.......or Rummy needs a math lesson.

I've been in a real down mood the last couple of days. Not sure why and it probably something I need to set down here in this forum, but I'm not quite ready do it just yet.

There have been some very thoughtful articles and posts that I have been seeing in Bloggerville, these last few days. I sure wish I could write like that!

Lots of talk about the Newsweek scandal:



This is what the cover of next weeks edition should say.........

Most of it beats up on Newsweek and I am not about to say they don't deserve it. However I think the other side of the story, the fact that Moslems went nuts about something printed in an American magazine, says something ridiculous about Islamic sensitivities. I've said for months that Islam is an albatross hanging around the neck of much of the world, and the Arab world, the "Stan's", Iran and Indonesia will make no real progress forward until they jettison it. Newsweek is not to blame for 15 people getting killed, idiot Muslims who can't keep any sense of perspective are to blame. As well as their governments for allowing an atmosphere where wackos feel free to roam. That does not absolve Newsweek from being blamed for poor journalism....but good grief, Al Jazeera ( All terrorism all the time) prints far worse stuff every day about Americans. You don't see us "heathens" marching in the streets. In other words, I just cannot get overly excited about the story.

And as for the prisoners in GTMO? I could care less if they are offended by anything their guards say or do. They gave up the right to be offended, when they made league with Osama.

Back here in Japan, Koizumi is still having to explain something that he should not have to explain, namely visiting the Japanese Shrine at Yasukuni. As the Prime Minister points out, " Every country wants to mourn their war dead, and other countries should not interfere in the way of mourning". I agree. The war is over and has been for a long time.

The Peking Duck, has a link to a great speech given by Bill Moyers at a recent conference on media reform. Here is an excerpt, go to the Duck's site then follow the link to the Salon web site. Its worth reading in its entirety.

The flag's been hijacked and turned into a logo -- the trademark of a monopoly on patriotism. On those Sunday morning talk shows, official chests appear adorned with the flag as if it is the good housekeeping seal of approval. During the State of the Union, did you notice Bush and Cheney wearing the flag? How come? No administration's patriotism is ever in doubt, only its policies. And the flag bestows no immunity from error. When I see flags sprouting on official lapels, I think of the time in China when I saw Mao's little red book on every official's desk, omnipresent and unread.

But more galling than anything are all those moralistic ideologues in Washington sporting the flag in their lapels while writing books and running Web sites and publishing magazines attacking dissenters as un-American. They are people whose ardor for war grows disproportionately to their distance from the fighting. They're in the same league as those swarms of corporate lobbyists wearing flags and prowling Capitol Hill for tax breaks even as they call for more spending on war.

Speaking of flags, I attended a ceremony this morning where the National Anthems of both Japan and the United States were played. I always marvel when I hear the two songs played back to back. First comes Kimigayo which is a short but haunting song, especially when played by a band or sung by a really good female singer. Its not an upbeat song at all, however it is thought provoking and a good anthem for Japan. Then of course, comes the Star Spangled banner which is totally different in its tempo, its words, its outlook on the world. As an American, even though I am totally committed to living over here in Asia, I can never fail to be stirred by hearing the Star Spangled banner. Taken together, it provides in my opinion, a fitting commentary on the nature of the American and Japanese friendship. Two cultures which are very different, but whose futures are inextricably linked together.

Plus, both songs have a lot of history associated with them. The link I gave tells the story of how the song started with a British band director, then evolved.

JR West's president has resigned, which is not suprising since his zealous insistence on meeting timetables is blamed for Japan's worst train wreck in history killing 107 people out side Osaka. He had been adamant for days he would not leave, I think the pressure got to be too much . Over here, there are folks who would just as soon push him under a train......which if JR were true to form, they would send him a bill for the cleanup of the remains.

Gaijin Biker has details. Here is the long and the short of it:




Train derailed at over 106Km/hr....hits an apartment building. Much pain and suffering ensues.



Japundit has an interesting article about the rules for Japanese anime, which anyone who lives over here and watches Japanese TV will appreciate. Trust me they are very true.

The other thing that Japundit commented on was what Japanese call dekichatta kekon (出来ちゃった結婚)which in English is a "shotgun marriage". ( except that here in Japan, being pregnant out of wedlock is not as much of a deal as it is in the states.)

Finally, its time for Rummy's math lesson. The Christian Science Monitor, published an article that talked about the conflict between Rumsfeld's desire for a smaller Army and the real issues that are facing the US Army today: too much to do and not enought people to do it with over the long haul:

For more than two years, Congress has hammered the Pentagon on this point, claiming that the reliance on more than 60,000 National Guard and Reserve troops in Iraq is a sign of an Army stretched dangerously thin. And for more than two years, Mr. Rumsfeld has remained unshakable in his conviction that the answer to any manpower problems lay in ongoing efforts to transform the military from its cold-war excesses into a leaner and more efficient fighting force. Last year, when Congress ignored his counsel and mandated a permanent 20,000-soldier increase for the Army, the tug of war played out as a battle of wills, pitting the Pentagon's vision of the future against Congress's concerns about the present. Now, the House is poised to take up the cause again, considering a measure that would tack on another 10,000 troops. As the war in Iraq enters a crucial period - one that could help decide when troops can start coming home - it is an issue that cuts to the core of the military's prospects for success. On Wednesday, legislators must weigh whether more soldiers will help the military despite itself or simply add new budget, training, and recruiting burdens to an organization already pushed to its limits. As was the case last year, the provision would merely be added to the National Defense Authorization Act - the Pentagon's 2006 budget. The subcommittee debate Wednesday could move the measure forward for a full House vote.



So Master Donald, here is your mathematics lesson for today. 480,000 does not equal 2.4 million(Active and Reserves together). 480,000 is the size of the Active US Army. When Rumsfeld looks at it, he always lumps the reserve numbers in and then goes and argues that the other services should do more......thus he gets the figure that the 150,000 folks in the Iraq Army of Occupation are not placing a strain on the force. Plus Rummy believes that he can outsource every non combat job and create more trigger pullers and in consequence further reduce the size of the Army. I have news for him, even if you succeed in your misguided attempt to out source every rear echelon job to higher paid civilians, you still will not have enough trigger pullers to man wars in : Iraq, Horn of Africa, Afghanistan, and coming to a theater near you Korea and Taiwan. The type of "transformation" Rumsfeld seeks is only good for wars that you win in about 6 months, not occupations that go on for years and years. What Rumsfeld and the other "business managers" see is the cost: "People are expensive". Well yea, they are . That's because they are worth investing in.

It is not as if they were not warned. The former Army Chief of Staff said that it would take a lot more troops to occupy Iraq than invade it, and in hindsight he has been proved right. The Secretary of Defense's response was to discredit the messenger, rather than hear the message. There are other signs of strain as the Army has continued to use a back door draft of IRR soldiers to make its numbers. These are not volunteers, they are guys who did their bit, and now want to move on with their lives. Instead they are being forcibly dragged back in.

Time to stop, because everytime I think about this particular subject I get angry. I am still in a very down mood, so it would do know good. Thinking about giving the S.O her walking papers.........more to come.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Women in Combat

Warning Notice! What follows in this post is not politically correct and will offend any and all feminists and others who can't see the forest for the trees....however it is how a lot of men feel.



Or, phrased another way:


Republicans in the US House of Representatives introduced an amendment which would would remove women from the army combat support units in which they currently serve, and would ban them from such units in the future. I support that sentiment and believe that for once, the elected representatives have gotten something right.

Call me old-fashioned, biased, a bigot, un-modern, pig, or out of touch. Whatever you makes you feel good. Knock yourself out, then :

Too bad, there is not a snowball's chance in hell of something like this passing, no matter how right the idea may be. The Congressmen who authored this add on to the defense bill know it; the feminists know it; the military knows it. Its a feel good measure for Republicans who can go home to their electorate's next year and say they did their bit for standing up for family values. However, Republican or Democrat, there is not a mainstream Congressman that is going to expend precious political capital to stand in opposition to the powerful feminist Mafia, who have worked for years to advance the roles of women in the military, much to the overall detriment of the armed services and the US nation as a whole.

And just as predictably the feminist media machine has swung into action, spouting the feminist line and bashing the usual suspects, men who think that there are different roles envisioned for women and men in a normal and functional society. The Washington Post printed an article citing how women are "already in combat because the front lines are blurred". As is typical in these sorts of articles, there are lots of women quoted criticizing the combat exclusion such as Lt. Col. Cheri Provancha, commander of a Stryker Brigade support battalion in Mosul, "The Army has to understand the regulation that says women can't be placed in direct fire situations is archaic and not attainable".

According to her, "This war has proven that we need to revisit the policy, because they are out there doing it. We are embedded with the enemy." In the article not one person was interviewed or quoted who voiced an opposing view point. That's not to say that such folks don't exist, they do in sizeable numbers. It just means they have a hard time making their voices heard through the feminist noise machine. Never mind that their arguments may have every bit as much validity as those who argue in favor of social engineering, they simply are not allowed to heard, much less even expressed.

In truth, what the House's action and the Army's opposition to it really highlights the fact that the Army, as well as in the other services, recruiting of women has gone too far. Rather than scope their recruiting effort to the number of available billets that could be workably filled by females and remain with the spirit and intent of the law, recruiters, in an effort to make their quotas and keep the Army at its required end strength, admitted too many women and failed to access enough men. Aided and abetted by feminist advocacy groups who wanted high ranking positions for women NOW! rather than allow them to spend the requisite time "paying their dues" and earning positions of respect, added to the pressures to access more female service members. Accordingly, the Army in particular, but there rest of the services as well, ended up with a gender imbalance that they were ill equipped to address.

Mackubin Owens, who I once studied under, a long time ago and in a galaxy far away, is one of the voices who has argued stridently that the forces of social engineering have gone too far. He points out very eloquently that Congress is really not proposing any thing radical, he is simply suggesting that the House panel is merely telling the Army to abide by existing regulations. He ask's them to remember the spirit and intent of then Secretary of Defense Les Aspin's memo and abide by it. In his memo to the Services, Aspin said that :

" 'women should be excluded from assignment to units below the brigade level whose primary mission is to engage in direct combat on the ground,'defined as engaging an enemy on the ground with individual or crew-served weapons, while being exposed to hostile fire and to a high probability of direct physical contact with the hostile forces personnel. This prohibition extended to the support units that were collocated with direct ground combat forces as well. These regulations are still in effect. But the U.S. Army has violated these regulations without the notification required by current law, which requires the secretary of defense to provide formal advance notice to Congress of policy changes regarding female soldiers, accompanied by an analysis of proposed revisions on womens exemption from Selective Service obligations."

Usually at this point, the feminist's trot out the usual arguments to counter the Neanderthal opposition. That there is nothing about sex per se which ought to make it a disqualifying condition for combat duty. That women are just as capable than man to perform the jobs assigned, and in fact in some areas they perform better than men. That the integration of women has progressed to the point where you barely notice it anymore. Its a fact of life so just "get over it". They have and will continue to miss the point. The issue is not about what men or women can or cannot do. Anyone can do anything they put their minds to. The only real question we should be asking ourselves is not whether women can serve in military units, rather we should be asking is the cost involved in letting them serve really worth it? And are the tradeoffs involved, and the excess baggage that mixed gender units bring to the table really contributing to an efficient military and military readiness?

Noted historian, Martin Van Creveld in his book Men, Women, and War has done an excellent job of spelling out all of this "excess baggage" that the services have as a result of repeal of combat exclusion laws. He also punches through a whole lot of the historical myths usually used to justify the feminist argument, particularly exposing the myth of women in the Israeli Defense Force. ( He has a whole chapter devoted to it and the problems they exprerienced and continue to have). He sums up the book in nicely by pointing out that:

" a woman who is neither a feminist nor a moderate might conclude that members of her sex neither can nor should try beat men at their own game; that there are certain fields, of which war is far and away the most important, that had better be left off to men to run. After all to do so constitutes sound strategy: given a choice, and as some feminists belonging to a previous generation saw clearly enough, deliberately playing into the opponents court is little short of madness."

Not only because of the violence it brought upon the women, but what the effect of it had to on society as a whole. Whatever happened to the noble idea of women as a civilizing force in our world?

Supporters, both male and female, gloss over the baggage: violence against women both in and out of the service, the problems created by dual service couples and the attendant issues with assignments and child care arrangements, dating among service members, sex between service members, fraternization, reduced standards and favoritism for women, pregnancy, and all the rest of the "issues" that military commanders at the unit level deal with day in and day out. Feminists and so called "progressive men" dismiss them as the cost of doing business. Trust me, I know from my time in active service ( not so long ago and not so far away) that all of these issues are real. And that they do distract from the real business of a military unit which is to train and prepare to then execute violent operations against an enemy that will give him a beating he will remember for generations.

Now that is the only reason to have a military in the first place. In a perfect world we would not have these types of organizations and we would utilize the resources involved for the better of mankind, as President Dwight D. Eisenhower pointed out. However we don't live in a perfect world and so we need " rough men standing ready to do violence on their behalf."

Which leads me to the bottom line, placing myself in the all male supporters column: Women are simply different than men. As a result, sex will always get in the way. Men treat women differently than they treat other men. It undermines the comradeship upon which the unit cohesion necessary to success on the battlefield depends. The presence of women also leads to double standards that have a serious impact on morale and performance. The feminists would have you believe that, this not in anyway true, that men and women can get along as friends and they can have the same camaraderie. There is only one correct response to that: bullshit.

To quote from When Harry met Sally:

Harry: No man can be friends with a woman that he finds
attractive. He always wants to have sex with her.

Sally: So you're saying that a man can be friends with a woman
he finds unattractive.

Harry: No, you pretty much want to nail them, too.

Sally: What if they don't want to have sex with you?

Harry: Doesn't matter, because the sex thing is already out
there, so the friendship is ultimately doomed, and that is the end of the story.

The proof is out there and it gets added to every year. People ignore it, for a whole host of reasons, mostly what Herman Wouk called , "the will not to believe": Pregnancy statistics that are suppressed, since they reveal issues that services do not which to admit; renewed campaigns against sexual assault like that being seen at the US Air Force Academy. ( Never mind that this was not an issue when it was all male); gender norming and preferred assignment policies for women, not actually based on meeting the required selection criteria; and finally the very real problems created for a a whole generation of children who are denied proper parenting because they are shunted off to temporary caregivers, because "Mommy is off to war". Never mind that the mother is and will always be the irreplaceable parent.

The service academies also provide an great example of what happens as the process of assimilating women progresses. After having stated that they only want to be treated " just like the men" as soon as they are , they complain about it. And soon they start demanding changes to system to make it more "sensitive". There are great examples of this here, here, and also here. You see it in the policies the services enact, and they way the react to incidents that happen with the infamous Tailhook scandal being the worst of this over reaction. Now its 10 years later and we see the same type of thing being played out at the USAF Air Force Academy. Folks in the know will tell you, that the real situation there is far different than what the media tells you. Just goes to show that the feminist actors may change, but the play remains the same. Same cycle of self flagellation.

"You're crazy", you say, " The military cannot function with out women today".

To which I have only response, its a problem of their own making that is easily fixable with the right movement towards a real culture of national service. This among many other reasons is why I support a draft. Men should be made to understand their obligations as men, and national service is one of those. The nation should always have first command of it's manpower.

So I hope the Congress pulls off the impossible and passes this bill. The realist in me doubts it though. After all, truth, it seems, is the first casualty of social engineering.

Skippy-san

Update, 20 May 2005: True to form the committee members folded like a cheap suit, passing a watered down version of the bill. The Senate omitted any mention in its version. Never sell the little feminist B***hes short, they do know how to divide and conquer.


Saturday, May 14, 2005

Dear United Airlines, thank you for screwing me over, yet again!

A few months back I posted about the woeful state of U.S. Airlines and why I hate to fly on American carriers. This week United proved me right yet again. Time to move my allegiance to ANA, JAL and Singapore Airways.

United's management showed its true colors on Wednesday, when it persuaded a bankruptcy judge to approve United Airlines' request to terminate its pension plans, clearing the way for the largest corporate pension default in history and setting the stage for a possible strike by the airline's flight attendants. I am supposed to travel to the US at the end of next week. Even if the Flight Attendants are not on strike, somehow I think my flying experience will be less than enhanced. I'll be lucky if I even get a beer, much less any service. After my last flight with them to Hong Kong, they are definitely not on my to ten list. Problem is I have over 300,000 miles with the airline, 3 times what I have with any other. If that goes away, I'll never see a business class cabin again.

If I were a United employee, I'd be making up signs for the picket line too. This comes as a fine piece of payback , after they weaseled wage cuts, increased hours, and other concessions from all of the airlines unions. Yet United still claims they are poor. Everytime I have flown them from Tokyo, the plane is full. That does not stop them from paying Glenn Tilton, President and CEOUnited Air Lines, over 1.1 million dollars last year. Now mind you, I have little sympathy for many of the airline's employees, especially their pilots who for years got salaries that were overly inflated, and not on par with the days per month that they worked. And if you read my earlier post you can surmise that the poor service of the elderly hags serving as flight attendants is not something I want to crow about. However, this running away from a real coporate responsibility is just plain wrong and bodes ill for the employees of other companies that seek to shirk their corporate responsibilities under the protection of the bankruptcy courts. The flight attendants made a great point when they wrote to the airline:

This is the end of labor relations at United Airlines with Glenn Tilton and his henchmen at the helm. The United Airlines that we have worked so hard to build is gone. Our efforts today are focused on creating a new airline from the ashes of the old and we will do this by employing escalating CHAOS(tm) activities focused on bring down this management group. The decisions that they have made are short-sighted, destructive and are contrary to a successful reorganization.
This management team has long since proven it cannot run an airline. Now it has shown that it has no common sense you cannot run a service business while waging war on your front line employees. The United Board of Directors must act quickly to remove these executives before they destroy this airline.
We are gravely concerned for the success of our airline and the inept and dishonest actions of this management. We have proven our dedication to our airline through service and life-altering sacrifices. Meanwhile executives have run our airline into the ground and have engaged us in a labor relations war. There can be no labor peace with a management that has destroyed our pensions.


Yea, I can see it now. "May I have another beer please?" " Screw you cowboy, the fridge is in the back, get it your self. You still have your pension!"

In all seriousness, I agree with them. I could see hiring new employees with a new 401 K or some other plan. However to simply turn your back on a long term promise, made by a corporate entity, soley because you want to be greedy is just plain wrong. What's worse is that the American government will defend these actions, even as the President seeks to remove the safety net of Social Security. If the President of the United States were serious about that he would be holding United's feet to the fire. Instead he stays silent. Just like his buddy Rumsfeld's determination to screw over military retirees, he fails to see pensions as benefits that are earned, like employee paychecks, not a bonus to be given as long as a company can afford it. It's immoral that just because they happen to be in a legal situation, they can walk away from those obligations. He and every other politician should be screaming.

What really infuriates me is that this biggest ever default of pensions, will not be the first. More will follow, now that the court has opened the door. Conservatives will praise this as proof that this is good for individuals in the long run. Its not, but you won't hear that from the right wingers who already have money in the bank. Oh, and by the way, I'm saving money every month for my future, but has anyone paid attention to what the US and other stock markets have been doing lately? I'll give you a hint, the trend is not upward.

It's wrong for companies to be let off the hook when it comes to fulfilling their pension plans. The judge in this case thought it would be better for the current employees of United Airlines to keep their jobs rather than the retirees of United Airlines to keep the pensions the company owes them. He's nuts.

"The employees of United Airlines are all of the age where they can go and find other jobs. The retirees of United Airlines are not. They are the ones who have no options.
If we don't fix Social Security and then also start letting companies walk away from their pension plans, what is left for older Americans whose savings are finite?" ( Text from Battlepanda).

Well, I guess it will be good news for some rich person. In the meantime, I have to deal with a mean spirited crew who's just been done dirt by their company, all so I can get across the pond. Assuming they are not on strike next week. Thanks for nothing.

Skippy-san



P.S. Hat Tip and thanks to Battlepanda for providing some great insight on this issue.

Friday, May 13, 2005

More Friday Afternoon Buffoonery.......

Definition of Buffoon:

1. A clown; a jester: a court buffoon.
2. A person given to clowning and joking.
3. A ludicrous or bumbling person; a fool.
4. Skippy-san's ex wife

Speaking of my ex, Keiko-san moved on and just like my ex left destruction in her wake:


Japundit has found a product that had Michael Jackson but known about it, could have saved him a fortune in legal fees...( and no jail time.) :





"At Doll no mori (forest of dolls ドールの森)you can fulfill your dreams in the privacy of your own home or hotel room with a life-size doll. These high-quality dolls are made of silicon and reportedly cost about 500,000 yen each(5000 US$). This being Japan, the
dolls are equipped with faces that make them look about 12 years old, and one
even looks like something straight out of some manga. Optional outfits include
school girl, nurse, underwear, maid, gym wear, baby doll pajamas, and more. The
dolls are not for sale but for rent.
After paying 2,000 yen to become a member, you can rent dolls at rates that range from 13,000 yen($125) for 70 minutes, to 45,000 yen(450$) for a full 24 hours. You also have to pay for the doll's transportation costs. According to the Doll No Mori website, any of the following constitutes damage to the doll, and will be charged extra:
Fingernail marks, bite marks, and cuts made with a knife or other bladed instrument
Burn marks
Liquid other than lotion
Excessive bending of the doll's joints
Dirty or torn clothing
A dirty head
Semen anywhere other than the "special hole" (Be sure to use a condom!)"

There are some really sick people out there (and Michael Jackson is definitely one of them!). Me, I'll stick to getting slapped in the face, one (real and over 21 years old) woman at a time!

In other news, there is a reason why the DPRK has problems getting ahead in the world( Besides being ruled by a pathetic, communist, little psycho-path), they can't write a good song! Take a look at this catchy little number from Korea of Songun: A Poem in 17 Stanzas:

V. Ideological Confrontation and Deterrent Force

Sea of Fire! Hail the enemy's licking its wounds.
Hear that Bush "loathes" Kim Jong Il, and
that is a bad thing, why?
Why does Bush loathe Kim Jong Il?
Because he knows that the DPRK of Songun, can never be controlled.

The DPRK goes its own way.
Our dear Leader is not a puppet on a leash.
Rather, he is our symbol of dignity.
Marshal Kim Jong Il is our guiding light of destiny!

Catchy tune isn't it? ....NOT!


Meanwhile, in the push to privatize Japan's postal system, the government of Prime Minister Koizumi is pulling out all the stops:



Lifts and separates, as well as delivers the mail!

Meanwhile over at Geezers corner, bothenook takes us on a trip down memory lane. Everybody should link to him because he's really trying hard to get his wings! Nice mustache! Like Mike said, "I don't mind pimping for other bloggers that deserve it."

Sleek Black Mercedes offers yet another argument in favor of the Ladder Theory. He offers an interesting perspective on why men cheat. And why they buy strange tooth brushes:



Meanwhile, Pope Palpatine, er I mean Benedict XVI, has given the beer industry in Germany a shot in the arm:




VATICAN -- You might think the new pope would prefer water or wine, but Pope Benedict XVI has given the thumbs up to beer. Thanks to the pope, a German brewery is enjoying new success thanks to his endorsement.
A Stuttgart brewery had been struggling to sell its wheat beer, until pictures showed then -Cardinal Ratzinger enjoying the brew every once in a while. So when the new pope was elected, white smoke not only emerged from the Sistine Chapel, but from the brewery's chimney as well.
This past weekend, the brewery sent a beer truck to Rome delivering 185 gallons of beer to the pope


Lastly here's a poster that pretty accurately sums up my life lately:



Time for a beer!


Thursday, May 12, 2005

Every where I go, I'm just a gweilo. (Gaijin didn't rhyme.)

Expat at Large, had post a while back that I have thought about everytime I have a conversation with S.O. about things Japanese. Taking aim at the ever popular Singaporean Mr. Miyagi, Expat at Large quotes:

"But anyway, that afternoon, at the coffeeshop with me were two Ang Moh (Singapore term for a White Westerner) men, sitting at separate tables, minding their own business, which wasn't much. The first man was seated facing the back of the second, and was mulling over his Tiger mug of Tiger, and the other, seated one table away from the first was poring over some book.
Then it happened. The second man leaned to his left so that half his backside was off the plastic chair. And let out an audible fart. It was a toot long and loud enough above the traffic noise to startle himself and the people at the coffeeshop. There was a very pregnant pause as everyone, coffee stall owner, charsiew, roast pork stall owner and chicken wing man, all turned towards the direction of the sudden noise. The Ang Moh sitting behind the Tootler was already choking on his Tiger trying to stifle his giggles. Then everyone burst out laughing. His emphasis"

E @ L then goes on to ask a great question. Would that story be just as funny if it had been set in Greenwich Village and this man and his blog had substituted the word "negro" for the term Ang Moh. What do you think would happen? All his American readers would get a mild laugh? Or would his comments section overflow with hate mail calling him a racist bigot? Would Rev Sharpton show up with a horde of lawyers threatening to sue? Or would the mommy state, simply jerk his blog off the server before the sun set?

He's got a point, something that I would say every Westerner who has lived in Japan, China, Korea , or Thailand and points south has noticed. Racism to Asians is something that only Europeans ( and by extension Americans) do. Asians don't believe they are capable of it.

Which is why I think of the post every time I'm talking or walking around Tokyo with the S.O. these days. Now the S.O. fancies her self as a progressive woman, she will deny in the strongest terms that she is 大和撫子 (Yamato Nadeshiko..Traditional Japanese woman). However she never misses an opportunity to remind me how superior Japanese products are to American products. Cars, Eggs, Trains ( well, those are superior....), TV's....if its Japanese its better. When we played golf the other day, we were playing with 2 older Japanese guys. During lunch afterward she started talking to them about what Gaijins were like. Now I generally can understand spoken Japanese, even if I cannot sound natural when I speak. Her sentences literally translated as follows:

"Those Gaijins do a lot of things differently. I always have to remind my Gaijin to wash his hands. Plus Gaijins are very noisy....." On and on for about 5 minutes of this. The worst part is that she knows I know what she is saying. However she says it anyway.

It happens in a lot of other subtle ways. For example, she really looks askance at things Chinese. I took her to a Chinese restaurant the other day, it was OK, for a Chinese place , but boy those employees are sure noisy. 3 years ago when we watched the World Cup semifinals, Japan had already been eliminated, it was down to Korea vs Brazil. I was rooting for Korea and I naively thought that she would too. Nope. She did not just want Korea to lose, she wanted to see them beaten and bloodied in the process. And when we went to Thailand? Don't even go there. Sometimes I want to ask her what she ever saw in a Gaijin anyway? Besides if Japanese products are so superior, maybe she would not mind if I did a little test driving of other models, just to confirm her theory. ( For some reason she did not think that was funny.......I think its a great plan):



It's not just here, there are plenty of clubs in Tokyo that are Japanese only, even if you speak the language well. Gaijins are neither required or desired.

Its taken me a while, but I've learned the S.O. really means nothing by it. To her, if you are not Japanese, then you are different. To her, that is just the natural order of the universe. I've heard it described another way: " Japan is the club you can never join, no matter how much you try. You either are Japanese or you are not." Even if one becomes a Japanese citizen over here, you are never really a Japanese. I think most westerners who like it over here, just get used to it. After all, being a novelty ( especially to women) is part of the attraction of living over here in Asia.

It does not just happen in Japan. I think a big part of the Chinese riots recently are based on a Chinese perception of their superiority over the Japanese. ( As well as all of the other usual reasons, in particular trying to keep the pressure on Japan and off China.). Korea I am told is the same way, and even Singaporeans who pride themselves on their diversity, have arranged their little universe so its Chinese centric. Peru had a President of Japanese name and ancestry, think it would work the same over here? Not a chance.

The more I work and talk with Asian people, I realize that they have a huge tendency to view everything in terms of where you came from. For example, to the S.O, she will take a long time to try to figure out where someone is from. One time, in Texas when we were in San Antonio together, some well meaning Texan asked her if she was a Filipina......I thought she was going to slug him. I got an earful in the car in both English and Japanese about, "how could she be mistaken for a Filipina?". Reminding her that lots of folks of Philippine descent lived in America did her no good, she said she could see beng mistaken for Chinese, but there was no way she looked like a Filipina. ( Which may be correct, but its also irrelevant. Big mistake when I told her that!). If I had told her that she was being racist, she would have just given me the blank stare. She's Japanese you see, she can't be racist.

I need to stress that Japanese are not racist in a white, black sense. Its an Asian looking with disrespect on other Asians thing. Lots of girls over here date African Americans. There is even a whole subset of girls for who are so into those men over us poor Americans of Scottish descent. However white or black, at the end of the day, we are both still just a ばか(stupid) Gaijin.

Skippy-san

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Don't drink and blog!

I have some interesting reflections on Asia and the attitudes they have over here to us, farang, gaijin, gweilo, and foreign devils. Unfortunately, I had a social event this evening, which I just got home from. I had just settled down with a cold can of VB to render forth my musings when the phone rang. Crisis involving one of our folks from work. He had suffered a huge tragedy at home and needed to get out soonest. So , I have put aside the keyboard, headed to the closet, and donned work togs. I'll get back to you all but this is important. This guy has suffered a real loss.

Got to leave now and walk to train/walk to work. Don't want the Bloggerville police to pull me over for blogging under the influence. So in the sober light of day I will share with you.

Skippy-san

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Good Grief! For two hours can't we just all get along?

More Star Wars talk today, none of it good.Gaijin Biker has a post about the "hidden" meanings inside Star Wars, Episode III. According to the way he tells it, the movie is a veiled criticism of George W. Bush. He accuses George Lucas of "Laying on the Anti-Bush message with a trowel."
Some excerpts:


Gabriel Shanks at Mixed Reviews:
Lucas' screenplay is his strongest in years, and even contains a few barely-concealed critiques of the Bush Administration and the Iraq War. The commentaries on democracy are offered in direct counterpoint to a government that is clearly overstepping its bounds, and the parallels are obvious to anyone looking for them. While Bush might not be an evil emperor (yet), it's not that far a trip from Senator Palpatine to Tom DeLay.

Now me, I'm not sure I see the resemblance:


And here I thought he only looked like the Pope!


"How can I learn these powers?"
"Not from a Jedi!"

Then again, they have a lot in common: they like the trappings of power, they always fly in quality flying machines, and they feel the power of the dark side! Rumor has it they both voted to cut veteran's benefits for retired Imperial Storm troopers too. Well, at least Delay has.

Gaijin Biker goes on to point out that other movies have been perceived to be about political commentary, "when Return of the King came out, some conservative commentators saw pro-Bush parallels between the battle for Middle Earth and the War on Terror. ".

Gaijin Biker let himself in for some heated arguments, after you read the post, read the comments, he gets pummled from all sides.

I'm not buying the inference though. It reminds me of the line from the Merchant of Venice: " The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose. " e.g. its reading too much into a story that was and is a morality play. After all if you look hard you can see the real influence behind Star Wars.....the Edo period of Japanese history:








As you go to the theater next week, just keep telling yourself, " its only a movie!" You'll enjoy it more that way.

Thanks to Willyshakes for the quote.

Skippy-san

Monday, May 09, 2005

Counting down...10 days to go!

As you might probably guess, I am a Star Wars geek. (I'm also a huge Star Trek fan...except for Voyager. Well, then again, I would not mind seeing what was under 7 of Nine's jumpsuit.). The final movie in the series is scheduled for release on the 19th of May....just about every where, EXCEPT Japan! As you can guess, I'm pissed off about that. According to the Star Wars web site:


The circle will at last be complete when Star Wars: Episode III is released to theaters in the United States and Canada, with a near-simultaneous release around the world, on Thursday, May 19, 2005. In Japan, Episode III will be released in July, the traditional month for Star Wars premieres. Exact information for other countries outside of the U.S. and Canada will be coming shortly, so keep checking starwars.com for full details as May 2005 approaches.

In North America, May has been the traditional release date for Star Wars films since the first movie in 1977. The North American release dates for the previous films in the Star Wars saga are:

Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope - May 25, 1977
Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back - May 21, 1980
Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi - May 25, 1983
Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace - May 19, 1999
Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones - May 16, 2002


Looks like I'll have to travel to the U.S. soon. July is too long to wait.


Sunday, May 08, 2005

Sunday, 6pm, time to watch cartoons

Went out to play golf today and worship at our " Holy Mother of the 16th Fairway", a rolling up and down hilly hole with trees on one side and the out of bounds stakes on the other. Oh and did I mention there is a massive bunker in front of the hole?

Anyway, shot a mediocre score, but I still got a birdie on the first hole, with the "shot that brings you back". 160 yards, straight center to the hole, and hitting my 21 degree Nike recovery club ( which I use in lieu of a 3 Iron). For some unknown reason smack it up 5 feet from the pin. Putt in for a birdie......HOO HOO! ( lets not talk about the next six holes till I found my driver swing again.) Plus the whole thing is made worse, as the S.O. was on fire today, beating me by five strokes all because she could: a) hit the ball in the fairway, and b) putt like a mad woman. ( She sunk a 25 foot par putt......GRRR!).

ANYWAY, back to the apartment, start making dinner, and turn the T.V on. Its 6 pm, time for cartoons! My weekly hour of Japanese listening practice: Chibi Maruko Chan (ちびまる子ーちゃん) and Sazai-san(サザエーさん).

At 6 pm comes Chibi Maruko Chan:



This is a funny cartoon about the everyday life in school and at home of a little 9 year old girl with a great imagination named Chibi Maruko Chan. ( In Japanese the name literally means Little Maruko).Maruko spends most of her time daydreaming in her 3rd grade classroom rather than paying attention to her teacher. In her class, has many friends including her best friend (Tama-chan), a rich kid who lives in a mansion, a weird kid who lacks friends, and many more. At home, lives with her parents, one older sister, and her grandparents. Whenever she has a question about something, would ask each of her family members but they are not always free to answer her.

Want to hear the theme song of Chibi Maruko-chan? Click here!

Like South Park, its a little off the wall, but with out use of the F-word. After all this is Japanese T.V. The end and the begining of the show are always interesting as the music is changed about every 6 weeks. Its funny, and its good language practice.

At 6:30pm, its time for the weekly favorite, Sazae-san (サザエーさん)。


First published in 1946, authored by Machiko Hasegawa, Sazae-san illustrates an ordinary family in post-war Japan. The title character, Sazae, is a somewhat giddy teenage girl (later wife and Mom) rushing headlong toward post-war modernity while retaining her essential Japanese-ness. The strip, which ran in the Asahi Shimbun from 1949 to 1974, is as familiar as Peanuts or Blondie to Americans. It was adapted to radio, television (I videotapted episode 3379, which aired in 1990), and movies.

The main character, Sazae Isono (磯野 サザエ Isono Sazae), married Masuo Fuguta (フグ田 マスオ Fuguta Masuo) very early in the cartoon's run. In the beginning Sazae's mother, Fune Isono (磯野 フネ Isono Fune), was worried that Sazae was too unladylike to ever attract a husband. Masuo moved in with Sazae and her family; she eventually gave birth to a child, Tarao Fuguta (フグ田 タラオ Fuguta Tarao, usually called Tara, タラ ちゃん).

Many of the storylines revolved around Sazae's other family members, like her father, Namihei Isono (磯野 波平 Isono Namihei), and her young siblings, brother Katsuo (カツオ) and sister Wakame (ワカメ).

Also, two families sometimes appear: a neighbourhood family, Isasaka, which consists in a novelist husband, his wife, who was a friend of Fune from their high school days, and their children; also, another branch of the Isono family, Namihei's nephew Norisuke Isono (磯野 ノリスケ Isono Norisuke), his wife Taiko (タイ子) and their one-year-old baby Ikura (イクラ).

Although the comic ran for twenty-eight years, it was reminiscient of others in the medium in that the characters never aged: Sazae was always 27 years old, her husband 28, her father and mother were always 54 and 48, and Sazae's siblings were around eleven and seven years of age, respectively.

The Simpsons it's not. There is no biting satire or jabs at Japanese political figures. However it is a reminder of the simpler things in life and how to take joy in them. Also there is a subtle irony to the way that Sazae deals with her parents and with her husband. And, unlike American cartoons, it shows people doing real things: like smoking.

Plus Sazae-san on the tube means it is officially the end of the weekend and Monday morning is right around the corner. So I like it as it allows me to postpone that reality for a few minutes longer.

Ja ne,

Skippy-san

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Either war is finished...Or we are.

There is an incredibly tragic photo that is making the rounds of the papers and the blogosphere the last couple of days. Taken by reporter Michael Yon, embedded with a US unit in Iraq. It shows an American soldier holding a girl who has been mortally wounded in a suicide bombing. Its heartbreaking:



This is a totally senseless tragedy. And as many have pointed out, the folks who planned and promoted this attack have to be hunted down and killed without mercy. And hope that there is a special place in hell for criminals who would "drive THROUGH A GROUP OF PLAYING CHILDREN to get to the passing convoy of Stryker's".(text from CDR Salamander)

This is disturbing stuff indeed.

I am a little troubled, however, by the spin some conservative pundits and reporters are putting on it though. Some of the usual suspects are dredging up the Pulitzer Prize controversy again and also taking the opportunity to show how this photo somehow "Proves what is so good about our soldiers and why we are so different." and it also proves that the main stream media are biased against American soldiers because they won't run the photo or recognize it for a Pulitzer prize.

Perhaps there is a different way to view this:

a) American Soldiers are better and America is great. That does not require proof, the same way one does not require proof that the sun shines. You look up in the sky and you see it. You see American Soldiers, Sailors, airmen, and Marines and you see clearly American compassion, generosity, selflessness, willingness to go the extra mile and do what is right. Its a given. No matter what one's opinion of the Iraq war is ( and mine has been well stated elsewhere in this blog), the Americans and the British are the good guys. Always will be.

b) As for the media, well I think the photo has appeared everywhere, even in so called liberal outlets.

What the picture highlights to me, how truly senseless, tragic, and wasteful war is. A soldier, far from his home, his family, his real life, is trying to lend comfort to a helpless victim of totally senseless violence. To me this photo is every bit as tragic as this one:


Memorial for Stephen Curtis Kennedy , killed while trying to save a man during an ambush.

It is all tragic and we have to find a saner way to run our planet. Somehow the damn Muslims need to figure that out. Or to paraphrase Herman Wouk:

[These events] stand as a monument to the subhuman stupidity of
warfare in our age of science and industry. War has always been a violent blind man's bluff played with soldiers lives and nations resources. But the time for it is over. As the race has outgrown human sacrifice, human slavery, and dueling, it has to outgrow war.....The silliness of it all would be slapstick if it were not so
tragic.
Yet granting all that what alternative to was there but to fight and win? Cain was Able's neighbor. That is the crack we are in, and still are.
I have no answer to this dilemma, and I will not live to see it resolved. I honor the young men of our Armed Forces who must man machinery of hideous potential, in a profession despised and feared by their fellow countrymen (He wrote this in the 70's...Today it may not be so despised, but it is still woefully misunderstood). I honor them to my very soul and they have my [respect and] sympathy. ...
As long as their are belligerent fools or villains on the earth who consider [war and violence] an optional policy, what can free men to do but confront them with what we met Adolf Hitler and the Japanese in World War II with---daunting force and self sacrificing brave spirits ready to yield it?
If the hope is not the coming of the Prince of Peace, it has to be in their hearts most people, even the most fanatical and boneheaded [Muslims], love their children and don't want them to come to harm.......The future now seems to depend on that grim assumption. Either war is finished or we are.
(Paraphrased from War and Remembrance)

The followers of Islam need to be made to understand this...or if they can't then its time to do away with them and their stupid ideas. Seeing that photo made me angry and it still makes me angry. Thanks for letting me vent.

Skippy-san

Friday, May 06, 2005

Friday afternoon buffoonery

Skippy and his friend heading for the bar:



After all, he needs a drink after contemplating the lovely Keiko-san




As Expat at Large would say: "And by "date," I mean "have sex with." You should check out his post on the subject of Bra Models.

Speaking of Expat Adventures, be sure to check out Spike's birthday post over at Hongkie Town. Any man that can host his ex wife in town and get the "x" out on the same day, is my hero!

Meanwhile, over in India, a defendent in a rape case tried an novel defense. Offer to marry the victim.. Funny, for some strange reason she said no. In fact, she rather harshly, "want him to get the severest punishment. I want him to be hanged so that it will be a lesson for all rapists," the 22-year-old woman told a television news channel. ( Must have spent a summer in the USA at feminist camp.). Maybe it had something to with the fact that not only did he rape her, but he gouged her eye out. Interestingly enough, the court adjourned with out pronouncing a sentence. What else is there to discuss?

Back here in Japan, NHK has yet another sex scandal to deal with. The director of the popular program "Eigo de Shabera Naito" (英語でしゃばれないと, Can you speak English?) Shima Hiroyuki (39) was arrested on Tuesday for molesting a 16-year old high school girl on a train in Kanagawa Prefecture. He was apprehended by a 17-year old boy from a different high school and handed to police. He has denied the charges. This is the second sex scandal at NHK in about as many months. He better keep his hands off the hostess, Yumiko Shaku (釈由美子) , she's saving herself for me, I'm sure:


(The Lovely Yumiko)

After all、 I watch that show.

Meanwhile, down in Nagoya at the Expo, the authorities there are:

Cracking "down hard to stop Aichi 2005 from turning into a world sexpo, according to Shukan Gendai (4/30). Aichi's World Expo has been beset by a number of problems since opening on March 25, including a ban on home made foods, long lines and fewer than expected paying visitors.

But it has, according to the men's weekly, also been affected by cross-cultural relations that have proved to be a bit too harmonious.

"It is only an internal matter, but expo organizers are treading extremely carefully to make sure that no troubles arise concerning the sexes," an Expo insider tells Shukan Gendai.


What could go wrong?

"Couples are forming all over the place. Not just among Japanese, but amongst foreigners as well. Apparently really hitting it off well are a lot of guys from Islamic countries and women from South America," the employee says. "These South American women are getting around in skimpy little thongs and costumes that barely cover their nipples while grinding their hips and dancing the samba, surprising the hell out of the guys from Islamic countries. Watching the dances apparently gets their pulses racing. It looks as though these women have no qualms about exposing plenty of skin in front of others."
I'll have to check this out when I go there next month. Thank goodness we are at the bar, I need a beer:



Hey, if other people can post pictures of their pets every week, then I can post about my two favorite things: women and beer.

David Hackworth-May God give you rest and peace.

David Hackworth is dead. He died in Mexico while undergoing treatment for cancer. He was 74 years old and his cancer was a form of cancer now appearing with increasing frequency among Vietnam veterans exposed to the defoliants called Agents Orange and Blue.



Throughout his life David Hackworth was a controversial figure. I have a link to his Soldiers for Truth web site on this blog. For the most part, I enjoyed reading about the issues he raised, even if I did not agree with all of his opinions. What I especially liked was his ever increasing criticism of the US military' s new "CEO manager" generals and admirals, who are more concerned with saying yes to the Secretary of Defense and not with doing what it takes to take care of the average working man in uniform. He called them the "Perfumed Princes". It was an apt analogy. Entirely descriptive of some of the leadership in the Pentagon who are selling their souls for a mess of porridge, while trading away real capability and benefits for folks who deserve better.

At the same time however, one cannot just dismiss the other issues in "Hack's" life. His bios tend to gloss over or omit the 18 years he spent in Australia awaiting the statute of limitations to run out on multiple criminal charges brought by the Army. Those charges were not drawn up lightly, however the senior officer handling the charges was reluctant to press the issue because of Hackworth's superb combat record. The Army leadership at the time allowed Hackworth to retire in lieu of charges. Hackworth retired from the Army and moved to Australia for the next 18 or so years. On his departure from active duty he publicly blasted the country's Senior leadership from the president on down, and was especially hard on the Army's military leaders concerning their handling of the war. This got wide spread news and TV coverage at the time. As we have learned in recent years, based on several outstanding books, many of our senior leaders were truly derelict in their duty. Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, and retired General Maxwell Taylor are just a few of the key players in this sordid era of poor American leadership. In 1989, after the statue of limitations on the charges against him had run out, Hackworth returned to the USA and wrote a best selling book and later became widely acclaimed columnist.

As a columnist for Newsweek, he was involved in a controversy that lead to the suicide of then Chief of Naval Operations Mike Boorda. This came during a time of considerable controversy, when the Navy was being beaten up from all sides and, in truth, had made some remarkably stupid concessions to the feminist mafia. He was to have published an article in Newsweek magazine that criticized Admiral Boorda for wearing the combat "V" on medals he was award for his duty in Vietnam, which included combat operations. But copies of the citations released by the Navy did not mention that Boorda qualified for wearing a combat ''V.'' It was later discovered that some of Hackworth's own claimed decorations were incorrect. And during John Kerry's election campaign there were those who said that the media had a double standard, hounding a decorated Naval officer, while giving Kerry a pass. In the end Newsweek just quietly stopped using his articles.

These items are all on the record. However he still made a contribution in my humble opinion. Hackworth was a flawed man, as are so many. However the issues that he raised were important, and just as importantly there are a whole set of folks who think that he gave a voice to the average working Soldier, Sailor, Airman and Marine allowing them to highlight issues that are increasingly being ignored at the higher levels. He pointed up in his own unique style the increasing disconnect between what the Admirals and Generals understand vs what the working men and women are hearing. And got the criticism out of the "hidden messages" they are sending. Hidden messages like wanting to cut personnel in time of war, but making zero cuts in the number of admirals and generals. Or like that of saying "we support our troops", while watching the lackeys in the Department of Defense try to roll back pay raises and increases in hazardous duty pay. He drew attention to the current Operational Tempo of the Army and what it was doing to its future. Things that need to be heard and discussed

So like it or not, I'm glad Hack wrote and stirred up trouble. Here's hoping his successors at SFTT continue the good work.

Skippy -san

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Coming sign of the Apocalypse?

A little Pope humor that I stumbled onto while staggering around the streets of Bloggerville. The person who posted this is brave but misguided indeed.

"This won't last long. Wikipedia's current entry for the newly elected Pope has a rather... interesting picture associated with it. I doubt either Lucas or the Vatican will see the humor. (separate link for when it gets taken down off the papal page) ."

Or worse yet, the wag who put this up:



These are people with WAY TOO MUCH TIME ON THEIR HANDS.

Skippy-san

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

I've been tagged!

The Phibian over at CDR Salamander decided that I should join the "If I could be" meme. Thanks for the compliment and the vote of confidence, but first you have to answer the $64, 000 dollar question..(I'm a lover not a computer geek..) what the hell is a meme?

Anyway it works like this. I have to answer five different categories of a thing that I could be, and explain why.

Here's the list: If I could be a scientist...If I could be a farmer...If I could be a musician...If I could be a doctor...If I could be a painter...If I could be a gardener...If I could be a missionary...If I could be a chef...If I could be an architect...If I could be a linguist...If I could be a psychologist...If I could be a librarian...If I could be an athlete...If I could be a lawyer...If I could be an inn-keeper...If I could be a professor...If I could be a writer...If I could be a llama-rider...If I could be a bonnie pirate...If I could be an astronaut...If I could be a world famous blogger...If I could be a justice on any one court in the world...If I could be married to any current famous political figure...

So because I promised, here goes:

If I could be a doctor.......well there is no way I could be a doctor, I cringe at the sight of blood. However if pressed, well you can guess my area of specialization: gynecologist. Makes sense, right.? You get to meet lots of women, view their private parts, and help to deliver new life to the world. Except of course, its not that simple, because for every nice piece of snapper you got to view and touch, there are probably 3 more I would not touch with the Phibian's hands. Plus Gyno's have to deal with premature babies and other bad things too......maybe I should rethink this. Oh well.

If I could be a writer........Two ways to go here. Write the great novel like Hemingway, noting the futility of the human condition, combined with sensual wonders to be witnessed therein. Sell a lot of books and use the royalties to live a profilgate lifestyle and drink a lot and chase women. Except, unlike Hemingway, there is NO WAY a shotgun is ever coming anywhere near my mouth. Heart attack at 98 during sex baby, that's the only way out for me! The other route would be that of journalist, ala Thomas Freidman, living overseas and posting comments both pro and con against right wing Republican religious Presidents, who happen to be stubborn sons of another President.

If I could be an astronaunt........Who would not want to be an Astronaut? I think we should be sending more folks into space not less. And by now we should have gone back to the moon, several times. Screw the cost involved, this is about exploration, and staking a claim for America..and the rest of mankind. Besides, the idea of just being able to look down on the Earth from 100, 200, 500, or 240,000 miles. Heck that's worth the price of admission alone. I think, however, I would have liked to have been one of the earlier astronaut's. They got to have fun, chase groupies and swagger like real men. Now they have to be all PC and promote stuff like feminism. Screw that!

If I could be a athlete....there is only one answer here: pro golfer. Not that I would like to be like Tiger Woods, no not at all. I would aspire to be like John Daly, who told the 12 step rehab nazi's to stick it up their ass, I'm doing this my way. Old man Calloway did not like it, but 84 Lumber believed in him. He still hits the ball a ton, and I believe he will soon win another major tournament. Besides, he's been through 4 wives and countless girlfriends. Big guy or no, chicks still dig him.

If I could be a linguist......well of course I would like Miss Moneypenny to tell me, " You've always been a cunning linguist, Skippy." Failing that, I would like to be able to read and speak fluently: Chinese, French, Russian, German and of course Japanese. ( English is a given of course, because it is God's destiny that English become the universal language.....). If given the chance I 'd like to spend some time in Israel and learn Hebrew. Screw Arabic however, because I don't like Arabs.

There are a lot of other things I would like to be on the list as well. In no particular order, I would like to be a professor, a world famous blogger ( NOW!), an inn keeper at Lake Tahoe, chef, and/or married to a good looking bimbo who is a rich political figure. ( That's an oxymoron however, all the good looking bimbo's stay away from politics...except Ann Coulter. See here for what she needs........).

I once read an article about what life would be like if people could live 300 years or longer and that with the right amount of progress it would be possible; and still be look relatively young. In that brave new world, people had 5 or 6 occupations , changing as they became bored with them. Same was true for wives. That's the world I want to see.

Now comes the fun part: I have to tag 3 other bloggers to do the same list. So here goes out there:

I choose Gardner in Korea, Neptunus Lex, and Spike since he just had his birthday and is in a thoughtful mood. If any of you guys have done them already, mea culpa....but I like your blogs.

So there Senor Salamander, I met the challenge.

どぞ よろしく お願い 致します!

Skippy-san

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Kim Jong Il, missiles, nukes....yea I'm sleeping well at night!

The Japan Times reports that N. Korea fired a short range missile into the Sea of Japan Sunday. The Japanese Defense ministry also says its no big deal:

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda played down on Monday the seriousness of North Korea's reported launch of a short-range missile, telling reporters there was "nothing special" to say about the incident.

"It is apparently a fact that tests have been conducted from time to time. There is nothing special to speak of," he said.

According to the Japan Times, a missile was launched from North Korea's east coast shortly after 8 a.m. Sunday 1 May, 2005, and plunged into the Sea of Japan. There was no indication as to the reason for the missile firing and what type of missile it was.

However, Japanese officials do not appear to be worried. DPRK military folks, shooting off weaponry they have no business having, and are starving their people to get, under the dictatorial rule of a certified wacko named Kim Jong Il, should have no implications for Japanese security:

Defense Agency Director General Yoshinori Ono told reporters Sunday night in Manila that it would not pose a danger to Japan. "We have received information that a short-range missile was test-fired," Ono told reporters. "As long as it is short-range, it would not cause problems to Japan's security."

Yea right........

Any thing with N. Korea is a problem for Japan's security. Especially when the country already has long range missiles.


Map shows range of Taepodong 1 missile, flown over Japan in 1998. Range
1,500-2,000 km, payload: 1,000 kg


Now if you look closely at the map, Tokyo is right in the middle of the big blue circle. That's not good. Especially since N.Korea is thought to already have nukes. However Condi Rice tells me I do not have to worry:
Responding to reports that North Korea launched a short-range
missile into the Sea of Japan on Sunday, Rice said, "I don't think there should be any doubt about our ability to deter whatever the North Koreans are up to."
And, in reassuring South Korea, Japan and other allies in the Pacific area, Rice told reporters: "This is not just between the United States and North Korea."


That ought to make me sleep better. After all if Condi Rice says its ok, then it must be ok. There's always room for one more thing on the national security plate. And after all Kim Jong Il is such a rational guy, such that he would take her words at face value right? ( Start sweating here......). He'd never go off the deep end. After all this is the same man who just called the President of the United States a "Philistine" and a "hooligan." Hell, does Kim even know what a Philistine is?

Kim Jong Il is not exactly operating on all cylinders if you get my drift. As has been noted elsewhere:

Kim Jong-il's impatience and extemporaneous behavior contrasts markedly with Kim Il-sung's magnanimity and charisma. The elder Kim was mindful of advice from others, while Kim Jong-il is arrogant and self-centered in policy decision. In addition, the junior Kim does not take kindly to criticism or opinions
different from his own. Kim Jong-il's personality can be characterized by suspicion, and is extremely emotional in his expression of his likes and dislikes, which borders on double personality.

However, he can be trusted to be respectful of the words the US tells him.....

Here's what I don't understand. If China, really wanted a free hand to take back Taiwan, then why don't they offer up ol Kim on a silver platter. I mean it, pack him off to the looney bin, and let Korea reunify. For China it would not be anymore of a threat than they have now with him keeping the attention of thousands of troops on N. Korea. If Korea were to unify, the pressure would build to reduce US troop strength. Korea, which can't make up its mind if it likes or dislikes the US would probably demand less troops. Japan would have a hell of a hard time explaining 20,000 troops in Okinawa for a non existent Korean threat. Since China has already embraced capitalist economic policies, it could more than compete with a unified Korea on the economic front. However, over time, the US would be not so much of a central player in the region, because the main "threat" would have been eliminated. And so over time, China would be able to swallow up Taiwan, maybe with out firing a shot.

However, this type of long range planning is not typical of Communist Governments. So burden or not, they will continue to carry this nut case and his Stalinist regime, even if in the end it costs them more than it benefits them. Makes no real sense, but then when did anything that China does make sense?

Time for another beer....that's the only way I'm going to sleep well tonight!

Skippy-san

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