Monday, October 30, 2006

Westbound and down

Rolling on and trucking.......we got do what they say can't be done.

Note to self: I need to figure out a better way to drive to the DFW airport. I've tried two different ways now and neither one has avoided morning traffic. It did let me get my NPR fix for a few more weeks.

On the way home now and not a moment too soon. I was growing tired of being in my room watching TV. Feeling better now which only makes sense because I'm leaving. Did watch the Cowboys game last night. Had to be quiet though, since I was rooting for the Panthers. Who lost.

As for the Steelers? Less said about that the better.

I did get a chance to watch Lou Dobbs several times. He is always ranting about the same issues, but to me they make a lot of sense. In particular his mantra about the war on the middle class strikes a chord with me. Because while the economy may be doing well, the benefits of that are not making to the people who need it. So he is probably right about the hour glass shape of the American economy. The rich are making money, but for the rest, there is a squeeze.

Now mind you, most of my economic squeeze comes from America's incredibly stupid divorce laws that hand away hard earned money to useless whores undeserving people. However, I noticed he had a great spot on countries where they had raised their minimum wage such as Ireland and how they were doing well. Also his points about off shoring of jobs not really making Americans any better off were well taken too.

What does suprise me is the veracity of those who are caught in the squeeze to defend the exact opposite. Not sure why that is-except that every American wants to be rich-nonetheless it does exist. I'm going to have to look at his book when I make another book buy.

Till then, I'll be finishing FIASCO on the plane ride home. Its a pretty good book so far and seems to be fairly on the mark.

Gotta run for the plane!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Fall foolishness

If there is a good thing to be said about being sick, is that it allows you to watch a lot of TV.

My trip so far has been mustering enough strength to go give my briefs, sit through the rest, and count the minutes till I can go back to the hotel and snuggle under the blanket.

Which, in turn, gives me an opportunity to watch the news. And while doing that, shake my head at ow really stupid amreicans can be.

Lets start with watchin Bill O' Reilly on the Letterman show. David Letterman, in a poor attempt, tried to point out to Bill what a pompous ass he is, which of course got nowhere. O' Reilly just lived in his smug world of contempt for any idaea that might actually have facts behind them. Tell mme again why he should not get the old Louisville Slugger to the forehead.

Then there is the Webb -Allen race. Allen is so desperate to smear Webb that he drags passages from his novels and gets women from the Naval Academy to claim that Webb is somehow not sympathetic to women. Feeling obliged to return the favor Webb drags up parking tickets from 30 years ago. (At least people assume they are tickets, Allen is not saying).

Its crap-all of it. Same with some of the other political commercials I have seen in the past couple of days.

Can't we stay focused on the issues?

Friday, October 27, 2006

Down for the count.........

Greetings from the land of fat women.

Floght over here was OK, but its been windy here in Dallas. Guess who packed only short sleeve shirts because the internet said it was supposed to be warm?

I've got a cold.

So here I am, on a Friday night huddled in my bed watching bad TV.

No strength even for these:



Which means there will be none of these either:



Back to bed! As a side note, its been very interesting watching Kinky Friedman commericals on the TV................

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

October 25th

"The war is popular beyond belief"
Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians


Somehow it is probably fitting that the President comes out and states the obvious on the one hundred and 2nd anniversary of the Battle of Balaclava. The battle will fovever be linked with gallant men, astounding courage and poor decision making at the top. Today is the 102'nd anniversary of the Charge of the Light Brigade.

Today was also the real begining of the War on Terror. It marked the start of the Suez Crisis. Britain and France conspired with Israel to take back what was theirs and had been stolen from them: the Suez Canal. They also hoped in the process to eliminate an Arab dictator and show the region who was boss.

It did not quite work out that way and as Gwynne Dyer points out:

If you're an imperial power, your troops often end up in places that most of your citizens cannot even find on the map: Mesopotamia for Roman soldiers, for example, or Afghanistan (three times) for the British. It looks foolish, viewed with the long perspective of history, and
yet lots of people fall for it in the short run.
This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Suez crisis of 1956, when Britain, France and Israel conspired to invade Egypt. That operation took much less time to fall apart than the current Anglo-American invasion of Iraq, which has already lasted more than three years, but the parallels are irresistible.
The British-French-Israeli invasion of Egypt was an instant military success, because at that point Egypt had just emerged from centuries of colonial rule by the Turks and the British.
Egypt was utterly incapable of defending itself against countries that had long-range bombers, aircraft carriers and amphibious forces. But what was striking, even then, was the sheer helplessness of the Anglo-French invasion forces once they had won their military victory.


I diagree with Dywer about that conclusion. The simple truth of the matter was they were on the right track. Had they been supported by the United States and allowed to continue, Nasser might have been gotten rid of then, before he had a chance to drive Egypt into the Soviet orbit and the seeds of the current era were laid. Furthermore Suez meant the de-facto end of British influence in the Middle East-something that in the long run was NOT in the best interst of the United States.

Of course the fact that the Hungarian uprising was going on did not help. Particularly since they looked to the US for help and the US was not going to give for a whole host of reasons, not the least of which was the fact that Hungary was deep inside the Warsaw Pact and it could very well have triggered World War III.

However I believe Eisenhower erred in his brush off of the British, and we have paid for it ever since. Britain is still a friend and most Britons consider the adventure as foolhardy and reckless. Nonetheless, it lead the Arabs to try the secular route first, and because it was in their hands without a proper European power there, they screwed it up. Hardly suprising-its what Arabs do.

The power vacuum that led us into Baghdad began this week 50 years ago. I'll publish more about this in the next few days. For now though, its off to Narita! See you on the other side.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Series (s)

Between watching one of the last episodes of West Wing, I also watched the Nippon Ham Fighters KILL the Chunichi Dragons 6-1. The Ham fighters played great and the Dragons pitching staff literally fell apart getting two runners on base by hitting them with the ball.

Meanwhile its all even in the World Series with Detroit fighting back in game 2. So in about 12 hours you will be watching game 3 on the wrong side of the International Date line and I will be getting up to go to work and also trying to put together a presentation that I have absolutely no desire to give. Which is why I put off doing any Powerpoint construction till today. I made my notes of course, but what I want to say is already in my head. Problem is, in today's world my words have to be on the screen or no one will listen. Framing argument verbally seems to be a thing of the past. Now its all about my old friend BLUF. For those of you who actually have powers of cognitive reasoning that means Bottom Line Up Front. Seems folks can't be bothered to follow a line of argument any more, they have to know how the novel ends first before they will read it............Congratulations America's military education system.-you've produced a group of impatient moronic leaders.

Seems to me the more I watch Japanese baseball that a true world series between the East and West would be a good thing. Except, Japanese batters would still get shellacked by Western pitching. Japan plays a more defensive style of baseball that is more fun to watch. Hitting and fielding, you know, what the game was meant to be.

Japanese baseball is much better than what was portrayed in "Mr Baseball". And American players are coming over here and making careers of it. ( And probably enjoying themselves more........Especially if they are single).

So here is the BLUF. I'm predicting the Ham Fighters in 5 games. As for the Tigers.....Well I'll be in Dallas this weekend drinking beer and watching game 7. Buy me a beer will you?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Hantai desu..........

In Japanese that means "opposed to". I mailed my absentee ballot last week. It was definitely hantai.

I voted against every incumbent, sadly in my state district there was no Democrat running. Which is no surprise since I grew up in a very conservative part of Pittsburgh where the residents are more concerned about wealth preservation than any thing else............

Voted to give Rick Santorum his walking papers. I'm hoping against hope he gets beaten badly by Casey. He deserves it. For many reasons, but most of all for being stupid.

Why do I vote in the US when I don't want to live there? Several reasons actually. First it preserves proof that I might intend to move back some day which has applications to my current tax situation. Second, because I want the right to bitch about American government. I only get that right if I vote. So this is my way of buying my admittance to the whining chamber for two more years.

Third, because my passport is still blue, not some other color. So I'm still an American and it is my right and privledge to. Probably the republicans will find some way to take that away from me, but till they do-I'll vote against them.

Now mind you I am quite certain that since I voted absentee, my vote makes absolutely no difference at all. I've felt that way since the 2000 election and in subsequent events when they have not been counted till long after the last balloon has been popped in the winners headquarters.

This year you could call me a 1 issue voter. I voted against anyone who supported the war in Iraq and for anyone whose election would send the arrogant occupant of the White House a message that American interests are more important than those of a bunch of useless Arabs, who cannot and will not abandon a useless religion and govern themselves. It was basically a rerun of my vote in 2004 where my vote was specifically a vote against the Secretary of Defense, by voting to send his boss home. That effort failed as I suspect this may too. But hey, it makes me feel good just checking that square.

Here's the issue in a nutshell. I don't like seeing American names flash across my TV screen and in my newspaper unless it is going to mean something in the end. The current administration has done nothing that convinces me that this struggle is doing anything that promotes American interests. I've tried to think of a temperate way to put that. I can't. I could really care less about the Iraqis and what happens to them as a people. They refuse to get their stuff together and govern themselves. That is perhaps the one bright spot in the news lately-namely that even Republicans are starting to realize how Arabs are prone to screwing up anything good that is given to them.

As I see it there are really only 2 alternatives.

1) If this is so damn important, then lets go back to the Colin Powell rule and send in OVERWHELMING force and level cities that are insurgent hotbeds and close the border. That will require full mobilization of the reserves and commitment of the Army with a mandate to destroy most of Iraq in order to save it. Simply holding the current line is not enough. The entire Arab population needs to be defeated in order to learn that they cannot allow these insurgents to stay. Its probably what Shinseki was really trying to say back in 2003.

2) Since option one is not going to be pursued by anyone, then follow Kissinger's example and go tell (Thieu) Malwaki that he either plays ball or he will be allowed to fall. Seal the borders and let the Iraqis figure it out. That is not as the President keeps saying cut and run, its showing the Arabs what happens when they fail. Which they have......exactly as could be expected. They are Arabs after all.

Neither are good options for various reasons. But asking the folks at home to continue to support the status quo for the next 5 years not a good idea either. Public patience is wearing thin, exactly as I said it would a year ago.

I will remind everyone again, that in the Arab world, the best places for Americans are not democracies, and will not be for many decades. Democracy requires a better caliber of people. As long as the Arabs are handicapped by their religion, we need to support that which gives us what we want.

Because in the end, its all about us.

Angry? You bet. American voters should be angry this year. Throw the bums out!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Random thoughts.......

Today was good day except for the rain that started on 16. Finished the round with 2 Pars which for me is nothing short of a miracle. Accordingly, I'm not mentally caged to jump into the serious end of the pool tonight. Tomorrow being Monday, maybe I can comment on the irony of our deriding mass torture in Iraq while at the same time the Secretary of State is being feted in the capital of torture and human rights violations-Bejing. So appeals to my better nature about how we had to save the Iraqis tend to confuse me a bit.

But that is for another time.

<---------------------------------------------------------->

Series update:

Japan Series:

Chunichi Dragons won the opener 4-2.


NAGOYA -- Once Kenshin Kawakami remembered how to be himself, the game was in the bag. Kawakami, a 17-game winner during the regular season, went eight innings, striking out eight and scattering five hits, as the Chunichi Dragons defeated the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 4-2 in Game 1 of the Japan Series on Saturday night at Nagoya Dome.

Tyrone Woods scored two runs, and the Dragons got an inspired start from Kawakami, who struggled early but turned it on during the last five innings he pitched, before turning it over to closer Hitoki Iwase in the ninth.

"Kawakami was superb," Chunichi manager Hiromitsu Ochiai said. "He's our ace, so we expected to win."


Game 2 is on the TV while I type this.

Meanwhile over in that other minor league match up, the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Detroit Tigers 7-2 last night in the opening game of the World Series at Comerica Park in Detroit. Which is bad news for me, since I am breaking my tradition of rooting for NL teams so I can root for Jim Leyland, former manager of the Pirates.


``We didn't play well,'' Tigers manager Jim Leyland said in a postgame press conference. ``We didn't swing the bats well. We didn't give a good performance.''

The Tigers' Kenny Rogers will face the Cardinals' Jeff Weaver in Game 2 tonight.


<----------------------------------------------------------------->

Meanwhile there is at least one new vacancy opening up at the State Deparment. That's what happens when you try to give an interview in Arabic..........


<------------------------------------------------------------------>

I learned something new this weekend. Did you know that Jesus visited Japan? Neither did I, but it seems there is a small group of Japanese that believe that he did.


In the remote village of Shingo, once known as Herai, a local belief has it that Christ escaped His fate at the cross in Judea, fled across Siberia, and eventually settled down in what is now part of Aomori Prefecture.
Shingo epitomizes the middle of nowhere. A sprinkling of farmhouses. A lonely general store. Scraggly garlic fields and rice paddies. A bland noodle restaurant and a dingy karaoke pub. There's little to distinguish this village from a hundred other remote Japanese farming towns.

Except for the crosses. They're everywhere.

Painted on road signs. Positioned on the tops of fruit stands and bus stops. Emblazoned on the Day-Glo windbreakers worn by village employees, and pictured on their business cards. And, of course, marking the purported grave of Christ. The cross is usually accompanied by the phrase "Kirisuto no sato," which roughly translates as "hometown of Christ."

In the years before World War II, documents pertaining to two small, forgotten graves on the ancestral land of the Sawaguchi family in Shingo turned up in Ibaraki Prefecture, just north of Tokyo. While Sawaguchi family tradition held that the graves should lay undisturbed, no one knew whoor whatwas buried in them. The ancient scrolls were found among the possessions of Koma Takeuchi, a Shinto priest from a long line of Shinto priests. When he realized the secret his family had been guarding for generations, he went to Shingo with Banzan Toya, an artist and a researcher in ancient Japanese history. The two found the graves on May 26th, 1935 in a bamboo grove atop a small hill.

Locals call the documents a testament of Jesus Christ, His last will and testament, to be exact. These papers, written in a Japanese so ancient that most people today cannot understand them, were deciphered by scholars, copied and translated into modern Japanese. They explain that one grave the one on the rightis that of Christ Himself, while the other marks the final resting place of His brother's ears and a lock of the Virgin Mary's hair. The original scrolls, however, were seized by authorities and brought to Tokyo, where they were lost in the mayhem of the war. But the copies remain to tell the tale.The papers say Jesus came to Japan for spiritual training during His "lost years," the twelve years before His three-year ministry. The "testament" tells of how He travelled across Asia, at various points visiting Siberia, Alaska and what is now Vladivostok before reaching northern Japan in his quest for enlightenment.


So I guess this means the Da Vinci code is really written in Hiragana?

<----------------------------------------------------------------------->

Spike has found a web site that makes it easier for you get your toys through the TSA screening.............

Or may be not. The same site also give you helpful tips on how to make the flight pass faster..............

<--------------------------------------------------------------------->

You think American politicians have problems? Try being the first lady of Japan.


Akie Abe


According to the Mainichi Shimbun:

Apparently, Akie Abe is on the spotlight in Japanese media, as she made an end to the past five years yearning for a First Lady during former PM junichiro Koizumi tenure. Unlike former First Ladies of Japan who often shunned the spotlight, Akie Abe is a peppy 44 years old who won peoples’ hearts by her socialite and vivacious profile, as well as by the couple’s famous handholding. She used to work as a DJ, dances flamenco, and professes her passion for South Korean pop-culture, notably the famous actor Bae Yong Jun. But more importantly, SHE DRINKS, and way too much!

Akie goes to all the parties held down amongst the voters in Abe’s Yamaguchi Prefecture constituency. She guzzles down the sake like it’s going out of style and then lets out a big sigh of relief. Abe’s backers love her for i!

and that is not all…

Akie has also been known to babble over her cups, getting teary after a few too many and pondering whether she’s really suited to be the wife of a prominent politician because she remains childless.


Sounds like my type of woman!

<------------------------------------------------------------------------>

And finally if you are under 35, white, and looking for a place to stay in Tokyo check here. (Purchase of Louis Vuitton purses is extra.........but probably part of the ticket if you want to see the inside of the apartment).

Wonder how many serial killers will beat down the path to her door?



Ja ne!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Life is about choices.............

Some good, some not so good:


Friday, October 20, 2006

Note to self.......

Drinking 7 of these:




Is probably not a nutricious dinner and a lousy way to deal with being pissed off at one of these:



But its my way and its a lot cheaper than some of the other alternatives.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Losing the lottery

No post yesterday. Or the day before. For some unknown reason related to Blogger or my ISP, the site just would not load. So I finally gave up and went to bed.

Went out to dinner tonight at a new Chinese restaurant. On the way home we stopped in a book store. One of the interesting things I came across was a Japanese magazine about life in North Korea.It was a picture magazine and had lots of pictures of North Korean men and women, in groups and by themselves-including one of a hostess in a karaoke bar( I never thought they would have them). Slowly it dawned on me that there have actually been Japanese visiting "Kita chosen" for a while now. Never a great number, thanks to the sanctions it has dropped to none now. Even as portrayed in the magazine, life in North Korea looked like it had to suck. Its citizens have rank as one of the poorest losers of the so called "birth lottery", namely that act of fate that gets you born in a good country or a bad one. For North Koreans, well all one can say is, "It sucks to be you.....".

The other place it sucks to be born these days is Iraq. If the news is to be believed, on average 100 Iraqis a day are dying in attacks in the country. Its been almost the deadliest month ever for American troops with 73 killed to date and there are still 10 days to go in the month. Its now been almost 20 months since the folks all hailed people with purple fingers casting ballots for a government that has proven itself to be totally ineffective. As a friend of mine pointed out the other day, " What else did you expect? These are Arabs voting-not Americans. And even at that, I'm not sure we get our voting right anymore. However at least we have the background and temperament to keep from killing each other in the process. "

Recent political events have me wondering about that last statement.

However it really gets to the crux of where we are today in Iraq. As Thomas Friedman pointed out:
The country has descended into such a Hobbesian state that even Saddam called on Iraqis from his prison cell to stop
killing each other. He told insurgents, "Remember you are God's soldiers and, therefore, you must show genuine forgiveness and put aside revenge over the spilled blood of your sons and brothers." When Saddam is urging calm, you know things have hit a new low.



The US is in a damned if you do and damned if you don't kind of position. It can sustain the current force rotations-at a considerable cost in operations tempo and Soldiers quality of life (just ask the 172nd from Alaska about that) for sometime to come. Dramatically increase the numbers so as to go all out and get this over with, and it will come at a cost from somewhere else in the world that needs forces deployed. Even with the continued "kidnapping" of personnel from other services, its hard to get there from here at current end strengths.

On the other hand if we reduce forces, then there is no one to fill the vacuum. Certainly not the Iraqi police forces and Army. They have over 300,000 by current US reporting. And still the slaughter continues.

Friedman points out that there are really only 2 questions the US should look at:

There are only two reasons now for the U.S. to remain in Iraq: because it thinks that staying will make things better or that leaving will make things drastically worse. Alas, it is increasingly hard to see how our presence is making things better. Iraq, under our nose, is breaking apart into so many little pieces that no political solution seems to be in the offing, because no Iraqi leader can deliver his faction anymore and there does not seem to be an Iraqi center capable of coming together. While leaving would no doubt exacerbate the civil war, staying in Iraq indefinitely to prevent even more Shiites and Sunnis from killing one another is not going to fly with the U.S. public much longer.


Nor should it. The American people are very adeptly making the distinction that defending Iraqis is not the same thing as defending Americans. There are many who argue differently, but in the end this has to be about national self interest. And American interest is about stabilty and security of our resource supply.

Personally, I think that the President has locked himself into a box created by his own statements. First, Bush has told the Iraqis that we are not leaving. Thus allowing them the ability to continue to avoid stepping up to the plate and taking charge of their own problems. Also there is still a strong neo-conservative influence in the adminstration. The Boston Globe pointed this out the other day:

Neoconservatives are terrified that Bush will use Baker the same way his father did -- as a shrewd fixer -- and that Baker will use the younger Bush the way he used his father -- as a path to power for himself. Earlier this month, former White House chief of staff Andrew Card acknowledged having tried to persuade Bush to replace Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld with Baker. Many in Washington regard such a move as a viable possibility.


Baker may offer a face saving way to withdraw from Iraq, but I doubt it. He will offer a change of approach not a change of policy. And either one means troops will still be over there.

So in effect we have 2 more years of "more of the same" to look forward to. In 2008 one or the other of the Presidential candidates will make his "I shall go to Korea" speech and by 2009 we will have our own version of "Peace with honor". Too bad we have to wait that amount of time for it though.

Till then, if you are born an Iraqi----you've lost the lottery.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Speaking of songs.......

I came to realize yesterday, while I was driving back from the golf course, that this war does not have one.

One of the great things about my new(used) car is that it has a CD player that works. So I can rock out during the extra time it takes me to get to the course these days. So yesterday while I was listening to Neil Young , I realized that one reason neither side of the controversy about the Iraq war is able to be more successful is that both lack a good theme song. Where is the Iraq War's version of Ohio?

"Stupid Muslims and Bush are coming....We're finally on our own. This summer I hear the drumming............"

For that matter there is not a catchy , feel good tune like we had during the Cold War, such as "Proud to be an American". Something that made you feel good about bombing Libya, or putting the Russians in their place at sea.

Now I have to caveat this theory by acknowledging that I am not as up to speed on current music trends as I probably should be. I don't listen to music that often except at bars, and normally my attention is turned to other more interesting pursuits than music criticism. So I may have missed this century's equivalent of the Battle Hymn of the Republic:

"Oh mine eyes have seen the glory of the ending of Islam. We are tramping out the ragheads and making them read the Psalms.............."

I did a google search on anti-war music and found nothing I really recognize. Sure there have been attempts to rehash some of the classics but they just don't make it. Perhaps the best attempt, Haji Girl, got stifled before it had a chance to gain traction. Cultural sensitivities and all.

No similar song such as we found in WW-II: " I'm going to find a fellow who is yellow and stomp him red ,white, and blue!"

Seriously though, the war is probably being wonked to death. Neither side has a good means of packaging its ideas and that probably points up how ambiguous it is to be sending Americans out to defend a bunch of useless Arabs who will not reciprocate by getting their own act together enough to appreciate it. Instead they are more concerned about killing each other over a stupid argument that should have been ended 1300 years ago. Such is the state of awareness in the Muslim world these days.

Its probably a sign too, of how really un-moblized the country is in general that big singing stars are more concerned about market share and stupid anti-piracy issues, than speaking up about an issue of grave national importance. After all, no one is knocking on their door demanding that they serve or giving them an induction notice. They get to continue living their selfish lives while a small percentage of Americans gets stuck carrying the burden. For the rest, "business as usual baby". All volunteer force and all that, I suppose. God forbid that we would mobilze the nation to understand and accept the magnitude of the task it has taken on. Might spook the market you know? Can't have that. National service? Don't ask me, I bought my yellow ribbon bumper sticker for my SUV.

Which astounds me in a world where the majority of Americans, and most of the rest of the world, believe that the invasion of Iraq was a profound mistake. Then again, maybe the music industry has resembled the nation it comes from, fragmented and unsure of itself. Or where it really wants to go. Even controversial videos like this get no notice.............

Just my opinion---I could be wrong.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

My theme song.........

My son called me at 4:30 this morning. Nowadays, when the phone rings in the middle of the night, I assume it can only be bad news. Fortunately, it was not; he just wanted to talk. Nonetheless it screwed me up sleep wise. So I popped in "Thank you for Smoking" into the DVD player while I tried to get sleepy again. Had not watched the movie since I bought it last week. I forgot some of the cool music they have especially the closing song by the Kingston Trio, which I officially proclaim as the new theme music for this blog. When you listen to the lyrics-it just says, me.

Some people say I'm a no 'count. Others say I'm no good. But I'm just a nat'ral-born travelin' man, doin' who what I think I should, O, yeah. Doin' what I think I should.

Chorus:
And I don't give a damn about a greenback dollar,
spend it as fast as I can. For a wailin' song and a good looking girl guitar, the only things that I understand, poor boy, the only things that I understand.

When I was a little baby, my momma said, Hey, son. Travel where you will and grow to be a man. And
sing what must be sung, poor boy. Sing what must be sung.

(Chorus)
And
I don't give a damn about a greenback dollar, spend it as fast as I can. For a wailin' song and a good guitar, the only things that I understand, poor boy, the only things that I understand.

Now that I'm a grown man,
I've traveled here and there. I've learned that a bottle of brandy and a song, The only ones who ever care, poor boy, the only ones who ever care.

(Chorus)
And I don't give a damn about a greenback dollar, spend it as fast as I can. For a wailin' song and a good guitar, the only things that I understand, poor boy, the only things that I understand.

Some people say I'm a no 'count. Others say I'm no good. But I'm just a nat'ral-born travelin' man, doin' what I think I should, O, yeah. Doin' what I think I should.

(Chorus)

And I don't give a damn about a greenback dollar, spend it as fast as I can. For a wailin' song and a good guitar, the only things that I understand, poor boy, the only things that I understand.


Hey, I thought it was a clever way to get some of my old posts back again! Enjoy!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Good news and bad news.

First the bad news............

THERE IS NO TOKYO AUTO SHOW THIS YEAR! Waaahhh! Waaaaah! Who the f**k decided to skip a year?

So that means I will not be taking the train to Makahri Messe in 2 weeks so that I can drink beer and eye tech babes.

On the good news front:


The Agony and Ecstasy: Atsunori Inaba of the Fighters (center) celebrates with teammates after Hokkaido Nippon Ham clinched its first Pacific League pennant in 25 years, while devastated Fukuoka Softbank pitcher Kazumi Saito (left photo) crouches down on the mound. The Fighters beat the Hawks 1-0 at Sapporo Dome on Thursday in Game 2 of the second-stage PL playoffs to go through to the Japan Series, where they will face the Chunichi Dragons. KYODO PHOTOS



And the Yankees are watching the playoffs on TV. Is the world upside down or not?

Japan series starts in a week so it and the world series will run side by side......that ought to be tough to follow.

So to recap. I need lots of these:



To forget I won't be seeing these this year:


They would keep my motor running!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Some great quotes...........

Read some great quotes that need to be repeated today:

Under the category of keeping one's eye on the real ball game:

Finally, accept that Afghanistan will remain Afghanistan. It will not become Switzerland. Stop promoting things like “womens’ rights,” i.e. Feminism, that tell the locals we want to force Hell down their throats. At best, NATO may be able to leave Afghanistan what it once was, a state with a weak central government, powerful local war lords, a narco economy and chronic, low-level civil war. It would probably help if the monarchy were restored. Anything more as a strategic objective is unattainable.


We of course will never recognize that-at least for another 10 years......

Under the category of "paying the check......" we have the Army Chief of Staff:

'Let there be no mistake: Our soldiers' effectiveness in battle -- both today and tomorrow -- ultimately depends upon a national commitment to recruit, train, equip and support them and their families properly,'' he said. ``This is a matter of national priorities, not affordability.''


Are you listening Mr. Rumsfeld and Mr. Chu?

Speaking of the Chief of Staff, he also made it offical today-the 30 years war Iraq war will continue. The Army expects to deploy at the current level at least til 2010. Retention is good and we made quota by lowering standards-what me worry?

Maybe we should look at the past:

As the United States completes its fourth year of ground operations in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan also continues. In the meantime, the United States Army, now authorized to grow to 510,000 soldiers continues to recall members of the IRR. The use of the Army National Guard and Army Reserve continues at a frenetic and record pace and reserve component units that have already deployed are making plans to re-deploy for a war that appears to have no end.

Donald Rumsfeld is the leader of the world's most powerful military force. Unfortunately for the men and women who serve as our first line of defense, they have a cabinet secretary with both the ear and loyalty of the Commander-in-Chief. The generals who lead them in the field are constitutionally obligated to remain publicly silent when they disagree with the policies of the administration and the wars they fight. It is only when they retire that they obtain the reprieve they need to stand up and have their voices as citizens heard.


And finally, a voice from the grave.

GRRRRR!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Cultural differences..............

Went out with the S.O. for Sushi tonight. I O.D.'ed on it eating 15 plates so now I am very sleepy. However I did think I should relate this little incident that almost started a catfight:

The S.O. and I had waited about 20 minutes we got seated at a table. Across from us was a family, Filipino as it turned out who were eating at one of the counters. Now mind you, in any Sushi go around there are always sign's posted with the do's and dont's-don't put a plate back once you take it, don't touch the food while its on the conveyor and don't reach across the glass partition to the other side of the conveyor. Wait till the food comes around to you. Problem is these signs are in pictures and in Japanese.

It was this last little item that caused all the trouble. Twice, the lady reaches brazenly across the glass and grabs a plate. I watch the S.O.'s face wrinkle, frown, and she catches her self. On the third occasion, however she loses her self restraint.

"You cannot do that! Hey! I said you cannot do that. It is a rule that you have to wait!"

The Filpino lady's response was something to the effect of mind your own business. We have a family here to feed.

"I am Japanese. You should respect our Japanese customs. This is wrong!"

Oh s**t. Gotta keep this from escalating

Using the nationality card was like throwing gasoline on a fire, because now the Filipino lady was determined not to back down. My response? Head for the water dispenser and on the way stop and talk to one of the staff. In Japanese I told her that the lady had been grabbing across the conveyor and perhaps they should say something. Which they did, albeit hesitantly.

Fortunately, the other lady after some growling, decided that making a scene was probably not the right thing to do either. They went back to eating as did we. Except I had to hear the complaints for the next hour. Now mind you, there are probably Japanese who would do the same thing, but I've never seen it. However the key issue here was two women who were determined throw their ethnicity in each other's faces. Why should could have just not told the management, as I did, and let them handle it...well that's beyond me.

And apparently its beyond her.................Sigh!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Their own worst enemy.........

Yes I am...........

But besides me, there are a few others out there who are expert at shooting themselves in the foot.

Lets start with Dear Leader. You know, the dorky looking guy with huge glasses who according to Colbert: "Likes James Bond, Good Scotch and Daffy Duck cartoons". Always great things to have in the mind of a leader who controls nuclear weapons.
Or does he?

According to Defense Tech, the NORKS may have screwed the pooch again:



According to Jeffrey Lewis:

You're thinking, 3.6, 4.2, in that neighborhood. Seismic scales, like the Richter, are logarithmic, so that neighborhood can be pretty big.

But even at 4.2, the test was probably a dud.

Estimating the yield is tricky business, because it depends on the geology of the test site. The South Koreans called the yield half a kiloton (550 tons), which is more or less -- a factor of two -- consistent with the relationship for tests in that yield range at the Soviet Shagan test site:

Mb = 4.262 + .973LogW

Where Mb is the magnitude of the body wave, and W is the yield.

3.58-3.7 gives you a couple hundred tons (not kilotons), which is pretty close in this business unless you're really math positive. The same equation, given the US estimate of 4.2, yields (pun intended) around a kiloton.

A plutonium device should produce a yield in the range of the 20 kilotons, like the one we dropped on Nagasaki. No one has ever dudded their first test of a simple fission device. North Korean nuclear scientists are now officially the worst ever.


Guess the beatings did not produce the desired results eh? Maybe they should go to Iran and we can all sleep easier-or not, since they still blew something up when they should be not doing so. However it does say something for "100% indigenous North Korean technology". I'll wait a while before pricing one of their cars.

Then there are the Democrats-who never met an election they could not lose. They are given a HUGE opportunity in the case of the Foley mess, which coupled with that other little mess in Iraq gives them something to really put the President and the do nothing Congress on the defensive about. So what do they choose to talk about today? The one thing that scares the American people right back into the Republican camp-North Korea. A prudent democrat would have echoed the noise of the rest of the world, decried the test, swore that they were really going to get it, and that we support our country all the way. No, not my boys from the party of Fags and Feminists. They let John Kerry go out and shove them in front of an oncoming bus:

Democratic Sen. John Kerry, the president's rival in 2004 and a potential 2008 candidate, assailed Bush's policy as a "shocking failure," and said, "While we've been bogged down in Iraq where there were no weapons of mass destruction, a madman has apparently tested the ultimate weapon of mass destruction."



That may be true, but there is a question of timing-which as they say is everything-because making this kind of pronouncement this early does them no favors. Like was pointed out by another Senator: "Listening to some Democrats, you'd think the enemy was George Bush, not Kim Jong Il". Especially since when one opens that Pandora's box, one will find both Democrats and Republicans are equally dirty handed.

Good job guys! Who taught you guys how to think?

Because the point is, with the US tied down in Iraq, a smart Democrat could hammer on that, and the administration's real dirty little secret, namely that the armed forces are not resourced well enough for all the challenges facing it, and never mention North Korea once. The voter could make the connection between being distracted by Iraq and not being able to make a credible deterrent to the NORKS all by himself.

But, as I said earlier, that's what makes those wacky Democrats just so much fun to watch. They always, and I do mean always, know how to take a good deal and f**k it up.

And on that note I'm not even going to point out how self defeating this statement is:



Scarlett Johansson: 'I'm Not Promiscous'

Give me another beer! And check out the updates on the NORK test over at The Marmot's Hole!

I thought O-4's were hinges...?

I wonder if these guys are anything like JOPA?






H/T to MajMike, via LEX

Monday, October 09, 2006

This cannot be good..............

The little bastards in North Korea may have gone and done it:

South Korean government officials said North Korea performed its
first-ever nuclear weapons test Monday, the South's Yonhap news agency reported. South Korean officials could not immediately confirm the report. South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun convened an urgent meeting of security advisers over the issue, Yonhap reported
.

I think that officially confirms it-this week is going to suck.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

So what have I learned?

Not very much apparently. This week has been almost surreal and now that I am back in Japan it seems as if it did not happen. More in a subsequent post when I am not so tired. The time difference really is taking a toll on me. Its 9pm but my body thinks its 2am.

Had an interesting experience landing at Narita today. Was flying on JAL-without saying a word, they upgraded me to business (as Ferris Bueller would say: "It is so choice!")-and we were just approaching the runway environment when I felt the surge of the engines, the nose come up and all the other symptoms of taking a go around. Being an experienced rider from my days in the E-2, its always a surprise when that happens. Seemed to me that during the climbout and return back over the water, the pilot was forever trying to play with the power levers and adding power. Bumpy ride around the east coast of Japan! So, 20 minutes later we finally touched down. They never really said why, just that they had to take it around. Being half awake and half asleep, Woodward's book open on my lap, the sudden climb got my attention!

Speaking of Woodward I am aout 3/4 of the way through it. Somehow I cannot picture interactions between folks at that level transpiring exactly as he describes. For one thing, it would seem to me that the whole set-up would be more structured than he describes it, and second the staffs of these people(as described by Woodward) don't seem to know rule #1 of staffdom: never let your boss get surprised. So its hard for me to accept a lot of what he says at face value. I'll finish the book and give you my review.

What I did learn this week though is that decisions made in haste are repented at with painful leisure. And that I've changed a lot from the guy I used to be 10 years ago. Learned I have some rage lurking beneath the surface (bet you could never have guessed!), and that I am not my same old happy go lucky self that I was 6 months ago. This was all learned during time walking around and sitting in parks and bars contemplating I don't know what. Let me get some sleep and I'll try to sort it out.

I also learned I must like the S.O. more than I think sometimes. Went for a late dinner last night, and then went back to my hotel. After a fairly long walk there arrived at the hotel to discover I had left all the assorted presents I had spent the evening buying her at the restaurant. Now it was 5 minutes after the restaurant closed. So I literally RAN, back through the park and up another 7 blocks hoping against hope that someone would still be there. (No taxis were in sight). Puffing, wheezing and sweat running down my neck. I banged on the door and they opened it! Explaining my predicament, they smiled and said yes the shopping bag was there. Now that was workout!

Maybe that is why I am so tired...................ZZZZZZZZZZ

Friday, October 06, 2006

Dear Phibian......and the rest.

Madame Chiang has an answer for you about women............

Read for yourself. Good food for thought.

UPDATE! Thanks to the commenter who pointed out that screwed up the link.
Its fixed now.

A real lesson

I just saw on TV that the Amish folks in Pennsylvania allowed the wife of the murderer to come to the funeral. Because " they belive it is a gift to receive forgiveness, and then to pass it on". So while Pat Roberston and others will be decrying the whole demise of America theme, these folks are moving on. (Without cellphones......).

There is a lesson in there somewhere. For us, and for those who think they are better than us. You know who you are....................

Which reminds me. I am about 1/3 of the way through Woodward's book. Stayed in this evening and read it. (Which is idiocy itself considering that I am in Hawaii.........). For Navy folks out there, the whole first section of the book is devoted to how Richard Meyers became the CJCS and not Vern Clark. There is an air of unreality to the story.........I can't picture him saying the things that are quoted. Anybody got any inside dirt?

Can't figure out which would have been worse: Vern as CJCS or 6 years of him trying to get the Little Crappy Ship and giving the Navy FRP..................If Woodward is to be believed, option 1 might have been better because Rummy ignored the service chiefs anyway.................

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The week that was

Well, I went and spent money on THE book. (Woodward's...). Also bought Thank you for Smoking DVD, which went on sale today.

The news shows continue to talk about all the bad news this week and in particluar Mark Foley. This thing seems to have taken on a life of its own.

Most preposterous argument I heard to date? That somehow Republicans get treated more harshly than Democrats when it comes to sex scandals. That is almost always an attempt to ressurrect the Clinton blow job. Such arguments are ludicrous. First this scandal is not yet about sex, its who the good Congressman made sexual innuendos to.
Its also about other Congressmen knowing that they had a bonehead in their midst and not acting sooner to stop it. In the case of Lewinsky: a) it was a girl and b) she was past the age of consent. That just puts it in the area of mindless sex and not well advised, but not a crime also. (For the record, I forgive Bill getting some on the side, if you h ad Hillary for a wife you would need it too).

Second most amazing thing-hearing that a radio columnist had to give up 500,000 dollars of valuable air time to stop Phleps from protesting at the Amish funerals. That is as amazing as it is disgusting. Sure I would not want to be Amish, but what did they ever do to Phelps? This thing is bad enough without making it worse.....

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Jumpin' Jehosaphat!

What the hell was Mike Foley thinking?

Actually, he probably was not. He just thought he was having a little innocent fun........now the whole world knows about it.

He says it was the booze......I discount that theory some what. All booze does is lower your inhibitions and make really dumb ideas seem all right. Like picking up a Thai hooker in Nana plaza...or e-mailing a teenage congressional page. At least with option one, she goes away the next morning and you never have to see her again.

With option 2, well you can "build a 1000 bridges, but just..." you folks know the rest. Its all they remember you for.

Being back here in the US has been interesting to say the least. Its all Foley, all the time on TV. Good grief! Michelle Malkin has enjoyed the news though.

Its shoved the recent revelation of her church camp pictures by some other blogs. Mainly the ones who are bemoaning her hypocrisy. Now she claims the picture was "photoshopped". Some corners are not buying it however. I'm not sure if it is real or not, but part of me really wishes it was......Wish some of the girls I knew looked that good in a bikini! Of course, as we know it all goes down hill when she opens her mouth.

I do now have a mission though. Stop by Barnes and Noble for a copy of Woodward's book. Bastard! He's suckered me for a third time to read his fiction narrative.

Ja ne and stay away from IM.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Win some-lose some

First things first. To the lady who quietly upgraded me on CX-THANK YOU! That was a nice surprise. Business class on CX is pretty sweet!

To the shrew from SATO who booked me on a non upgradeable ticket out of NRT, simply because I have the temerity to want all my miles with one airline alliance so I CAN upgrade, I hope your husband yells at you for a week. Someone will have to explain to me why wanting to be comfortable or wanting to fly a certain airline is a crime. The government's system of arranging travel is simply hosed up. Let me do it myself please, I can do a better job. GRRRRR!

I wanted to see the fireworks over the harbor last night. However, I made the mistake at about 7 pm of laying down "for a few minutes rest". Next thing I knew, it was 11 o clock and I had missed the whole thing. That was the one thing I wanted to do yesterday. At least I avoided the crowds on the water front. However to say I am disappointed is an understatement.

Speaking of disappointments, has anyone been paying attention to the news about Bob Woodward's book? While I agree with his central premise, that the US has mismanaged its adventure in Iraq and the administration refuses to recognize that fact. At the same time, if its like his last two books, Woodward does not footnote, so one has to wonder if he can really prove some of the quotes he states. I would assume so, he probably knows more about the libel laws than any other reporter, but there is just an air of insider chumminess when he writes about this White House.

This weekend was not anything like I thought it would be. Which to tell the truth is damn shame because I do not know when I will get back. Tried to get up to some of the tourist landmarks, the crowds were prohibitive. I did walk around the park though. (Before it started raining.....). and saw brides getting their wedding pictures done. That always has seemed to be to be a ludicrous tradition. The guy gets off easy-a suit is suit-but the bride has to be poured into her dress, make up set and then walked around in a place that was never meant for a dress. All the brides I saw sure seemed beautiful. Nonetheless, I could not help wondering about what their life was like. What were there hopes and dreams? How did they meet the husband? And why is not life more fair...............That pretty picture can seem pretty shallow when the real world comes caving in..............

That's a whine of sorts, because I've come to realize that I have made a couple of really big mistakes recently. Ones that are not easy to undo. Nothing illegal or fattening (well maybe the beer to wash away the memory is fattening), but I have to sort out a path to move ahead. At this point the map is not very clear. Anybody got a Life GPS they can loan me? I know the destination I want to go to, thank you very much. I just don't know the way to get there-or if any one should accompany me on the journey. Stay tuned, its going take literally months to sort this out.

For now though, its off again! See you on the other side!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Deep in thought

Not much to say today. Have been out and about plus I'm thinking about many things this weekend. I read some interesting things yesterday.

Thomas Friedman has a great aritcle that is worth looking into. As most of you know the Pope asked a legitimate question, namely what , if anything did Mohammed bring to the discussion besides violence and misery? Friedman points out that what is truly insulting about all this is the Muslim reaction to that very question. Rather than answer it, they just get offended.

Read the whole thing here.

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