Saturday, March 31, 2007

Done with no fun

All done now. Have to get packed up and on the way home. Weather today is lousy so I canxed my trip up to Seoul and have been vegetating in front of the TV. My suitcase is staring at me demanding to be packed. I don't feel well and I'm hungry.

Situation normal.

Meanwhile, in Hong Kong its that time of year again, when hordes of expats converge on the city and on Wanchai. And for the 5 th year in a row, I am not there. Must be the order of the universe or something. Hemlock describes the carnage:

As I understand it, the sensible, seasoned Rugby Sevens aficionado will pace himself. The first pitcher of beer will go down in sips from noon to 1.30pm. The next goes down a bit faster, and so on, until by the last game at 8.00pm he has forgotten how many he has had but can still, just, walk. This is where the real fun starts. Because within stumbling distance of the stadium there will be free busses to Lan Kwai Fong, supplied by the considerate business association centred in that neighbourhood. After pouring out of these vehicles the fans will be in the bar district, where waitresses will be manning kegs set up on the sidewalk. According to Kevin the Australian barman in the pub, a large proportion of these highly inebriated customers will not leave until well into the small hours. He doubts he will be closing until 5am. And these extremely merry ale guzzlers will not just go through this tonight. They will do the same tomorrow and on Sunday. Kevin expects each night’s takings to be two to three times those of a normal Saturday.

Those with a taste for greater carnage will make their way to Wanchai, where Mainland and Thai hookers lie in wait. Some Sevens attendees will emerge with five-figure credit card bills they can’t remember signing for. Others will simply come out of it with no credit cards – the plastic will have been put through one last mega-transaction in an all-night jewellery store. Some of the ladies of the night specialize in peering over the shoulder of drunk male clients as they punch their PIN number into an ATM and memorizing the number without writing it down for however long it takes to go to a cheap hotel, put baby to sleep and sneak out with his wallet. My idea of fun is to observe the battlefield after the smoke has cleared and the gore dribbled into the gutter. A stroll down Lockhart Road at 7am on Sunday is my idea of rich Rugby Sevens entertainment. One year, as the sun was rising, I found wild American friend Odell seated on his backside on the pavement outside the flea-ridden den known as the Old China Hand. He was just conscious and complaining in a loud slur about a Filipino thug who had marched him to the door and shoved him in the chest after the ex-Mormon had poured a beer over a waitress he considered to be insufficiently attentive to customers. Sitting on the concrete, he pulled his phone out. “I’m gonna… fucking… call the police,” he blurted, trying to focus on the keypad and stabbing it with a finger. “Fuck…” He dropped the phone and glowered into space. “Battery’s out…” Now I think about it, I look forward to this time of year as much as anyone.


Sigh. Maybe next year!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

New T-Shirt

Another long day-one to go.

However, I bought a T-shirt today. I've tried to find a picture of it, but I cannot. Just picture this:



With a caption that says this:

Someone is going to die tonight.

We decide who.



Just could not pass it up................

Got to sleep!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The USAF scale

I'm confused where this falls.

In USAF speak its good when someone enters a beauty pagent.

However its bad if you make a million dollars posing for a major magazine.

So what happens when you try out for this contest?

Miss Flash Natsuko Tatsumi flanked by runners up Momo Yoshida and Asami Tani at a press conference to introduce the top finishers in the Miss Flash 2007 competition.

Flash is a weekly publication in Japan that bills itself as a “weekly photo magazine.”



More pictures here. H/T to Japundit!

What was the number........

Of that truck driving school again? Today was not so bad as yesterday, but I got careless and made a mistake. I caught it later, but that's not the point. One is supposed to have better command of the issues not to do that. I take it as a sign my fun meter is pegged. Oh well, the world needs ditch diggers too!

I don't see how some of these guys here do it. They literally are in the building from dawn till late every day. And since they live here, they do some of these exercises again and again. I'm beginning to appreciate how nice it was to be on the wild end of the whip instead of observing the handle that cracks it. Sigh.

Three more days here.......then gone. Hopefully not back for a good while. Some people thrive on this type of stuff, I don't. Makes me realize how much better I was at my old job. At least there I felt like I was making a difference for somebody.

Enough whining.

And if I needed more good news to cheer me up, I didn't exactly like watching the news that Tony Snow has cancer. He's only 51. That's not very reassuring if you ask me.............

Congress votes to keep withdrawal language in a bill that will not pass the Senate. Sure the move to remove it went down in flames, but that's just a feel good move-when the rubber meets the road the Senators will fold like a cheap suit. Leaving nothing accomplished after 4 months. Now part of me likes the idea of giving the President a good legislative whack across the side of the head. However the other part of me knows that the military needs the money-to get through the rest of the year.

If you want an eye opener some time, about how dysfunctional American government is, go here, and download the whole supplemental bill. It's chock full of little goodies to fight the war on terror. Like a few of these items:

-8,469,000 for DEA salaries. How is that supporting the troops?

-17,000,000 for the Federal Prison system?

-The now infamous farm subsidies.

-461,000,000 for aircraft procurement. Does that not belong in the annual appropriation?

-Money for BRAC?

-258,000 for the International Commission on Religious Freedom?

-And my personal favorite:"For payment to Gloria Norwood, widow of Charles W. Norwood Jr, late Representative from Georgia"-162,000 dollars?

How do I get in on this?

What this highlights is what a subterfuge the whole idea of the supplemental is to begin with. Yes, the troops need money to fight the war on terror. However it was pretty clear at the beginning of the year that they would still be fighting it at the end of the fiscal year. So why not include that in the DOD appropriation. And likewise, make the other departments justify their contributions to the war in their own budgets.

Because the scrutiny on the annual appropriations bill is higher-that's why. And it would show the real growth in the overall budget. This way allows the president to mask this as a one time expense "for the troops". Making the legislation hard to attack.

I wish every American could take time to actually read the bill. If you do remember that some of these amendments came from the Republican side of the aisle, just as much as some others came from the Democrats.

There ought to be a law! Oh wait, this is one...or will be soon. Sigh.

Then again, at the rate Congress is going-maybe not. One plus side, the money that will pay for my trip here in about 6 months will be in there. Not getting that would be no great loss................

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Brain Dead.........

My brain is fried. Totally drained. Want to know why? You try 14 hours of being made to feel like this:



I'm heading for bed. Feel free to stick around and talk among yourselves. You can always talk about diversity you know............



Click on the image to see it better!

Monday, March 26, 2007

American Beauty..

"My job consists of basically masking my contempt for the assholes in charge, and, at least once a day, retiring to the men's room so I can jerk off while I fantasize about a life that doesn't so closely resemble Hell."

That movie was on last night. When it came out in 1999, my relationship with the shrew had hit rock bottom. Below bottom to be perfectly truthful-as the ex thought she had found the perfect way to bend me to her twisted will. The above quote pretty well sums up my joyless 1999, until...........I gathered the courage to take my life back.

(The above quote could also sum up my this week in Korea...except the men's rooms are too small.......).

The movie really struck a chord with me. Even though it is unbelievably dark. However in my frame of mind then-it spoke to me.

"I feel like I've been in a coma for the past twenty years. And I'm just now waking up."

Exactly! Now, before you laugh hysterically, I am not saying that movie spurred to me to take action. However it was one of those things that helped me see what I had to do and to put in perspective. Now after 8 years it really helps me put some things in perspective.

Lester Burnham: I am sick and tired of being treated like I don't exist. You two do whatever you want, whenever you
want to do it, and I don't complain.

Carolyn Burnham: Oh, you don't complain? Then I must be psychotic, then! What is this? Yeah,let's bring in the laugh-meter and see how loud it gets.

Lester Burnham [Lester throws the asparagus plate at the wall] Don't interrupt me, honey! [sits back down to eat] Oh, yeah, and one more thing, from now on we're going to have alternate dinner music because frankly - and I don't think I'm alone here - [looks in Jane's direction] I'm tired of this Lawrence Welk shit!


Ah yes the shrill voice of the woman who was raised to believe that somehow, someway, her gender gave her a right to tell a man what to do. Or that she could do what she wanted, while I just had to pay the bills.....and pay....and pay. They tend to think it is the way of the world. So it comes as a great shock when they get told, "NO".

" You don't get to tell me what to do, ever again"

You have no idea how joyous and liberating a feeling it is, when you finally tell all the people who think they have the right to define your life for you, that its your life and you'll do exactly what you damn well please.

"Well you know what? I've changed! And the
new me whacks off when he feels horny! "
Or some other acceptable substitute. However the point is that each one of us gets to make his own choices and I'm going to make mine. I do things now-for the most part, there are a few exceptions- because I want to, even doing things for the S.O.

Of course the interesting part is that because of the former time in my life, I can really appreciate the latter. I just which I did not have to go through 20 years of the former to learn that.

However it makes me like Lester-I can understand the beauty of freedom and responsibility:
"Sometimes I feel like I'm seeing it all at once, and it's too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst... And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can't feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life... You have no idea what I'm talking about, I'm sure. But don't worry... you will someday. "

I just had to get that off of my chest! Now I can go fall in my bed-for tomorrow as Scarlett said, is yet another day.

Ja ne..........

Important safety tip.......

Not much time tonight-5:30am comes way to early.

However I heard about this today.

When briefing an ROK Navy admiral, never say this:

"When USS XXXXX XXXXXX arrives on station in the Sea of Japan........"

This causes a strong Hangul reaction-followed by a smackdown from his Korean interpreter..............

So, hey, anybody want to go to Takeshima Island?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

A nice country.......

If I had time to see it. Problem is all of my trips to Korea are for work. Long hours type of work. And I don't have an international drivers license so they won't let me rent a car. So, so far all I have seen of Korea is Seoul and some of the better bars of Songtan. And even that last part will stop Monday-which means some light blogging ahead.

Eat, suck down a couple of beers, sleep and then get up and do it all over again. That's my life for this coming week. I kind of feel like Gar on his taxi ride:

I had an interesting ride home last night with my wife. We jumped in an AAFES taxi, her in the back, and I in the front. Usually the wife lets me do the talking so I can practice my hangul. I gave directions, but I admit, I wasn’t in the mood to really think about what I was saying… I was a little buzzed and used minimum words. The AAFES taxi driver goes into a speal about how most of the foreigners she’s met don’t speak any Korean, nor even try. She continues with how she doesn’t understand why foreigners who live here haven’t learned proper Korean, blah blah blah. Finally I asked my wife to tell this lady that, contrary to popular thinking, most foreigners never even think about Korea, can’t find it on a map, and certainly don’t study the language in elementary school. She asked why not? I replied “it would make much more sense to learn Chinese, Spanish, or Japanese than to learn Korean.” She asked why I thought that was so. I told her “because Korea is only a tiny country on the world stage, and not the center of the universe like some of you think it is.” I gave her a handsome tip before I got out of the car and then suggested she keep studying her english, particularly if she wanted to work for AAFES driving foreigners around. She never spoke a word of english during the ride.

I can relate.

Weather today was terrible. Rain, fog, and just kind of a blah day. It was a short day, but I just could not get motivated. Spent a lot of time watching the TV news.

Which all together made very little sense.

In the US the House of Representatives votes a nonsense funding bill of supplemental budget money to pay for Iraq war. However, to get passage of the bill, the Democratic majority had to buy off reluctant members (you know those who actually care about what the US does and about the personnel serving in uniform) with what we Americans affectionately call "pork". A few million here and there for stupid stuff-like Peanut Farmers. What that has to do with the war in Iraq is beyond me.

Even crazier, to my opinion, is how the Democratic leadership can think the American people will not notice how this happened. Or how the bill is DOA when it arrives in the Senate, because Sen Quisling Liebermann will hold the Senate hostage by not voting with his own party. Nancy Pelosi believes that Americans don't pay attention and are therefore stupid. They are not, and they had no intention for the debate to get this silly. They just want the damn war over with, but at the same time they do not -repeat that- want financial restrictions placed on the Soldiers fighting.

Not the President believes that the people are stupid too, he for a different reason. See George W. Bush wants people to believe that the war is not taking money from other parts of the budget, or that federal budget is not growing obscenely because of the war. So instead of acknowledging that the US will be fighting in Iraq for a generation many more years and building all of the expenses into his annual budget, his administration resorts to the subterfuge of submitting a bill asking for supplemental money-"to pay for the cost of war". Except it just does not pay for the wars direct costs. If you look deep into it, you will find that aircraft purchases are in the bill and a few other things, like 13.9 billion for force reconstitution. Read that as procurement. Now IMHO that should be in the DOD annual budget. John McCain used to agree with me.

And when he wants to condemn the Congress, George W Bush decides to use his favorite props-American Military people, instead of just calling a spade a spade. So who is guilty of political theater? Both sides are.

There's a lot more to say about that, but I just don't have the energy. What I need, would be wearing makeup, some perfume, a short skirt and boots and a tight fitting sweater. She would be handing me a beer as she drapes her arm over my shoulder. Don't think that's going to happen anytime soon. Sigh........

Friday, March 23, 2007

The death of common sense......

I know why I am so frustrated this week. It is because we have lost the ability to empower people to make decisions at the right level. Watched a bunch of guys get their a**s handed to them because they took fuzzy direction and tried to run with it. In the process they misinterpreted that direction so when they got to see the Big Guy with it, he was.....well.....less than thrilled. Back to the drawing board.

I blogged about this subject one time before when I was in Korea. Too many decisions get made at too high a level. Which in turn requires such a scripted process that the hard questions do not get asked nor do senior personnel have the time to do the detailed reading that have might allowed an "easier course correction" to be made before a bunch of hardworking guys went down a rat hole.

Why does this happen? Because someone made a mistake once....or twice. And the senior person got burned by it, and regretted not more closely micromanaging the process. So future actions require the "eye of the master". The subordinate learns what from this process? Take the path of least resistance---and tell the boss what he wants to hear. The days of a good ass chewing, and then move on, are gone I fear. Thanks to the advent of Power Point and the VTC. Which allows the operational decision maker to become way too involved in the tactical.

Now of course, in war, the price of mistakes are high. Furthermore, peoples lives are involved. So there are some things that have to be vetted all the way. However, that said, not everything is worth doing to perfection. Some things are worth doing only good enough and some are not worth doing at all. The trick was always to know which was which.

One of the more depressing things I observe every time I come here is how little authority is delegated to the right level. And how little effort is devoted to getting the initial guidance right in the first place, then let the workers get the job done. I'll bet our overly inflated levels of decision making have a lot to do with the fiasco in Iraq. It is depressing to meet men with over 24 years of service to their country and some solid operational experience, being reduced to slick ad men selling a product.

Of course on that judgment there will be nay sayers, but I'll stand by my guns. Decision makers don't have enough time to think, read and ask questions in a less formal way. They are too busy getting ready for the next brief.

Maybe it is because USAF people spend too much time watching a guy like this:





Maybe if they spent a little more of their off time drinking this:



While working on this:



They would have a better perspective! Let the games begin!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Too tired..........

To blog or do anything else...except catch some Z's real soon.

However imagine my surprise when I watched Keith Olbermann's show ( inside the command center they have a streaming video player on some of the computers....this from the USAF-go figure) and I was shocked to see that CNATRA (The Naval Air Training Command) beat out Sean Hannity for the honor of worst person in the world.

Check it out here.

Poor Keith. I'm a fan, but its clear that he does not realize that this was the easiest way for the Navy to put her someplace, nearby to Houston, while she plans her legal defense. She won't be doing much besides trying to keep a low profile.

Nonetheless-seeing CNATRA win "worst person in the world" has to warm some struggling Naval Aviator's heart. Somewhere.

And as a plus side, there is a new single woman in Corpus Christi........any takers?

I'm out. Good Night and Good Luck!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Its official.......



I'm really turning into a dinosaur. Or becoming my father. Or somewhere /something in between.

The list of things that I do not understand seems to be growing exponentially with each passing week. I like to think of myself as a tolerant man, but lately-I'm beginning to wonder if that is really true any more.

Lets see, where should I begin? How about clothing styles. The last weekend I remember coming out of my room and heading to the lobby. Joining me in the elevator were 5 guys and a girl, all looking like they were about to audition for a 50 Cent video. Seriously, these folks had taken a lot of time and effort to dress up like hoodlums and other variations of gang members. I just don't get it. Some of these same guys came out of the commissary the next day wearing a suit and tie-as if they had just come out of church-but on this particular night they looked ready to trip over their baggy sorts and be blinded by all the gold chains they were wearing.

And don't even get me started talking about the guy wearing a "doo rag"- I hate those. I guess I let my disapproval show on my face because the look of disdain I got from on member of the group was pretty sharp.

Really only one solution for this kind of sartorial choice:


I always want to tell them that they look like s**t........... Whatever happened to dressing for success?
<---------------------------------------------------------------------------------->

Then there is the latest fol de rol going on in Washington about the fired prosecutors. Me, I'm rooting for Gonzales to get the boot-along with Rasputin Karl Rove to get the boot, although I know they only way Rove is going anywhere is through an act of God.

Here is what I don't get. Why, in a profession that it would seem demands an objective viewpoint, are federal prosecutors political appointees? And if they really serve at the pleasure of the President, then why are these firings turning into such a big deal? Better yet-what does it say about the process of government when someone can view the dismissal of someone from their job as no big deal? Yes its true that other Presidents have had a high turnover of the prosecutors. However in this case what I really find odd is the documentary evidence pointing to the fact that the Attorney General and the Presidential staff seemed to place a higher value on loyalty than performance.

Furthermore, I think that GWB really wants to keep Gonzales in the job. Otherwise he might risk getting an attorney general who actually believes in enforcing the law and living by the Constitution-God forbid that would happen. It works easier for Bush to have a hack who can bend the law to the aims he wants accomplished.

His statement of support seems to confirm that fact. I still think they will be looking for a new Attorney General by the end of the month.

The good news though is that , unlike on Iraq, this is the kind of issue where the Congress can actually win-and in the process keep the President on the defensive. As I have said before, they are better off nibbling on the fringes-not taking him on directly.

I don't weep for the fired prosecutors-their job prospects are bright and they will be pulling down six plus figures before they know it-don't you wish we all had that kind of job security?

However why this came up now-its something I just do not understand.
<---------------------------------------------------------------------------------->

I'm also pretty sure that I don't understand why someone would need to buy a belt that looks like this:



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

And of course I do not understand why I am in Korea, when I could be seeing this:



The Sakura are blooming in Tokyo. Nothing is blooming over here except brown dirt and rain.

<------------------------------------------------------------------------------>
I'm also pretty sure I don't understand about this:



It's pretty funny-mainly because you can picture it happening. Obama's campaign has denied having anything to do with it and the author remains in hiding. Wish I had that kind of talent.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Oops!

According to Japundit, the US owes a few bucks in rent to Japan..............

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Watchers......

Working over here in Korea has been smothering interesting to say the least. However, I am constantly reminded that not everywhere has the Cold War ended.

I do all of my work each day in a place called the HTACC, which stands for Hardened Tactical Air Control Center. For anyone who ever did time in Germany or some of the other NATO bases it is reminiscent of the older buildings that one used to find on NATO bases.

The HTACC is buried into a hill here at Osan. Its windowless and has big blast doors that can be closed in case of attack by one of the dear leaders missiles. Thick blast doors. It is also windowless.
The Hardened Theater Air Control Centerat Osan AB is the largest Combined Air Operations Center in the world. The "Hardened" in the HTACC's designation derives from the 10-foot-thick walls, hence the nickname "Cheyenne Mountain of South Korea." The Hardened Theater Air Control Center's Defense Red Switch Network provided superior multi-level, self-authenticating, flexible, secure communications, which enhanced leadership's command and control effectiveness.

For a picture, go here ( For some reason I could not get it to upload).

The main focus of the building is the operations floor, which looks like every movie you have seen about a Command and Control center. Its darkened and it has a "big board" that shows the air activity over the Korean Penisula. Because the South part of Korea has developed so well, its way too easy to forget that, here, the Korean War never really ended. The two sides agreed to simply stop shooting at one another and came up with some rules to keep from shooting at one another again. However one can never forget that a mere 50 or so miles away-the hordes are there, potentially waiting to try a rematch.

Which to me, is one of the fascinating things about the place. 24/7- Koreans and Americans sit in front of computer screens and watch. They watch for any indication that the "Dear Leader" is going to do something bad. They watch the aircraft come and go through the complex airspace that is Korea.

Probably it was much the same way in Germany during the Cold War. When the big fear was that the Russians would start lobbing shells on the Fulda Gap any day of the week. Now in reality, it's not quite that easy to start a war here or there, but the analogy still holds. The forces here have to be ready to "Fight tonight". And more importantly- to make sure the "Dear Leader" knows it.

So every day, the men and women in BDU's watch their screens. Its been that way for over 50 years. Every time I come here I always think about that.

You know, the United States has not lived under threat of invasion for over a 100 years. Here in Korea, its a reality that, it seems to me, the people here simply shove to the back of their minds and try to forget about. However deep down, they know the danger is still there.

And so, the watchers watch and wait.

Cross posted to the Flight Deck.

A picture of my world........

For the next two weeks anyway, Chap found it.



The Glorious Leader can die any time now............

Check please!

You are 83% ready to get out of Korea
 


You have them figured out. You know it is a 5,000 year-old shell game and there is no pea. You are already over the hump and can probably remain in Korea indefinitely without any permanent damage. (don't make fun of the ESL teachers too vociferously because they still buy in to it all)


The "Is It Time To Get Out of Korea?" Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes


Sunday, March 18, 2007

I'd blog tonight....

But its been too hard to get on the Internet. No Internet in the room and the wireless in the lobby is just not working well.

When I finally did get on, I made the mistake of going to Phibian's place and reading this.

Now I am just too pissed off to blog. YGTBSM.

Tomorrow as Scarlett said is another day.

Why am I pissed off? Well, lets just say I was there and watched this whole mess happen......................................

Breathe in, Breathe out.........think happy thoughts.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy St. Patricks day!


Short post tonight. I had to work today and I will have to put some time in tomorrow. Which is going to put a definite cramp in my Guinness consumption tonight. Why the hell do they schedule exercises over weekends?

Today was an interesting day with a disjointed schedule. Work in the morning from the wee hours, a break midday and then back to hell the salt mines in the evening. Now is just time for a quick dinner a quick-and do mean quick-foray around the bars. Originally I had planned on tomorrow being a day to sleep, but the best laid plans of mice and men get waylaid.

Loving the new IPOD. I've went to the library and borrowed some CD's to build up my music count. Can't wait till I can get back and get my Jethro Tull library put on it.

Lots to say-no time say it. Things should get a little easier come Monday when the second half of our herd arrives here in Korea. We need the reinforcements and I need the time!

In the meantime-sorry for the short post. Nothing but fluff I know. Mo-betta soonest.

Have a great day! And don't forget to wear the green!


Friday, March 16, 2007

In praise of:


Korean women. The more I observe the more I think they have really beautiful faces........

Now if we could just do something about the weather and the Korean language: both are harsh.



Gotta look for beer!

Looking your self in the mirror.......

Is a problem when you are guest blogging over at Michelle's place.

Greyhawk, Smash, Blackfive, John Noonan and a couple of other Mil-bloggers are guest blogging over at her place-while she goes to an internment camp on yet another vacation. The good news is that at least these folks can write and on their own blogs have something useful to say. Sadly from reading all the posts today they have fallen into the spirit of Michelle's blog. Sigh. :-(

Funny, she did not ask me to guest blog at her place. I wonder why? Maybe it has something to do with this? Or this? Certainly she has forgotten about this? Or because I laughed my butt off over this?

It's just as well. I only guest blog for REALLY classy people. As it should be.

Now if Michelle really wanted to highlight MILBLOGS she would have sought out some of the lower traffic sites. And given them the boost that her Fox News money would allow her to do. These guys are the big hitters in the MILBLOGS arena. How about something for the little guy?

Because like I always say, " I rather have a sister in a whore house, than a guest post on Michelle Malkin's blog!"

Then again, I guess at this location, you get both outcomes.

Excuse me, I have to go hide in a bunker now.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Seems like I never left............

That is what I used to say whenever I came back to the carrier after being off of it for a while. The look and the smell and the frustrations were all the same. After a dayor so onboard, you were hungry, horny, and tired. You would think that here , you could at least do something about the middle item.........

Sadly, its too difficult now.

The working hours have changed because it seems they like early meetings here now. That blows with a capital B. Going to have to do something about that if they decide to work this weekend. It will be St. Patrick's day you know......

Bought an I-Pod today at the exchange. So now I need to down load more software and get it set up. I finally had it with dragging around DVD's and my portable DVD player. Plus when I heard I could down load TV programs-I'm there.

Yes, at this point, it is appropriate to ask, "where in the hell have you been Dude!? I-Pods have been out for years".

That may be true but they did not sell them with beer so I was not paying attention.

Bought a Foreign Policy magazine today. In it they have a great article about which countries and parties to the conflict, won in Iraq. The whole article can be found here. I'll throw in a plot spoiler though-not one of them is the United States. Yes the U.S. may be winning on the ground, but strategically the US set it self on a losing course right after "Mission Accomplished".

And the Winners are:

1. Iran

2.Muqtada El Sadr

3.Al Quaeda

4.Samuel Huntington

5.China

6. Arab Dictators

7. Oil Companies

8.The United Nations

9. Don Rumsfeld's friends in "Old Europe"

10. Israel

With the possible exception of Samuel Huntington, all of the wrong people are winning. Now before you dismiss that idea out of hand-I suggest you read the reason given at the links. ( It is easiest to buy the magazine or read it at your nearest library-some of the linked articles are subscriber only). They make some compelling reasons for their case. Particularly with respect to China, Arab democracy or lack thereof, and Iran.

FP has a pretty good track record on some of these types of analysis. Read for your self, or encourage your President to do so................

Gotta run. Have to be up early tomorrow. However I did find time to see my favorite little bartender last night. She has been doing yoga and it shows in all the right places ;-). She was looking quite nice last night! (Which reminds again why Ken's comment from the previous post is so correct). Gotta save my little won notes up.

Ja ne!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Telling the truth......

Greetings from Korea! Its actually warmer here than I expected it to be. Lets hope it stays that way.

Got over here OK-some adventure involved on the way. The powers that be decided to send our whole herd over in a military airplane. A C-12, which is a Beech King Air. Small and cramped and-relatively slow.

One of the things about spending a significant amount of time flying is that you learn to sense when an aircraft does not sound right. So passing 24,000 feet- looked up from my magazine to hear a thump thump thump. Not good I think to my self. Sure enough I look forward to the cockpit to see the co-pilot pulling the right engine off the line....and feathering it. Now, I've ridden through a single engine landing 4 times (Now 5 times) in my life. I really did not like any of them.

The crew did its job though. They declared an emergency, turned back toward the field, began an immediate decent. Those not familiar with flying were REALLY nervous. Truth be told, I was looking forward to 3 points on terra firma myself. However I reassured myself that we still had one pulling and plenty of altitude. -Looking back up into the cockpit we had not so far to go to get back to the field.

Which is what professionals do. They put their emotions behind them and get the job done.

Which is why I do not understand the flurry over what General Pace said. It seems, he committed the most outrageous sin in Washington DC, he said what he really felt. I believe deep down he thinks homosexuality is immoral. However, if you parse his whole statement-ALL OF IT- he was simply trying to point out that this nonsense about homosexuals openly serving is just that-nonsense and not smart to change the rules.

Now from my standpoint-I think the military is way off base trying to legislate sexual morality. As I have pointed out before, there are too many hypocrisies in its rules for it to do that. The better question is, " What gets in the way?"

Which is where the homo lobby just doesn't get it. Its not that gays are not able to serve. However if you are going to be gay and be in the military-that cloak of plausible deniability has to be there.

I think I speak for a lot of guys when I say its not that men are homophobic-its just that they are just not capable of understanding what a guy sees in another man. Guess that makes me an unenlightened dinosaur. I can live with that.

The point is still germane though. Once you know someone is gay-it becomes THE defining characteristic and you can never look at him the same way again. At least I can't. I think there are a lot of guys who would agree with me in that statement. If, on the other hand-you don't know for sure-well it creates a way out. Human nature does not change and hasn't for 6000 years.

So I'm glad Gen Pace is not apologizing. He has nothing to apologize for. He told what he considered to be the truth. The guy's got enough to do without being bushwhacked for saying how he feels.

So gay guys, put that in your pole pipe and smoke it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Suprise, suprise, suprise!

Robert Kagan says the surge is working. Considering his brother Fred was the author of it, and convinced the President and every one else to disregard any recommendations to the contrary, what else was he going to say?

He's got some reliable sources. Bloggers:

Some observers are reporting the shift. Iraqi bloggers Mohammed and Omar Fadhil, widely respected for their straight talk, say that "early signs are encouraging." The first impact of the "surge," they write, was psychological. Both friends and foes in Iraq had been convinced, in no small part by the American media, that the United States was preparing to pull out. When the opposite occurred, this alone shifted the dynamic.

As the Fadhils report, "Commanders and lieutenants of various militant groups abandoned their positions in Baghdad and in some cases fled the country." The most prominent leader to go into hiding has been Moqtada al-Sadr. His Mahdi Army has been instructed to avoid clashes with American and Iraqi forces, even as coalition forces begin to establish themselves in the once off-limits Sadr City.


Where is my Louisville Slugger? I need to go back to my home town and put it to good use.

First, its not surprising that increased numbers of American troops are having some effect. However the real issue is , when can the Iraqi troops have an effect and we can go home? The answer increasingly seems to be never.

If the surge was such a good idea why was it not done 5 years ago? And if it works now, then what that means is that the management up to this point failed miserably-criminally failed and should be held to account for their mismanagement. Paul Bremer still gets to have a cushy paycheck, as does Messrs Wolfwitz and Feith-not to mention their erstwhile boss-Donald Rumsfeld. The families of over 3000 brave Americans should file a lawsuit against all three of them for criminal negligence-and demand payment of damages.

Because the real issues that I think most Americans agree on is: getting this job done and going home. The disagreement is about how-not the what. Nowhere in Mr. Kagan's article does he talk about that. Rather he seems to imply that we will have to stay there for a long time to come.

Which of course is true. Because the real reason for the surge is to stabilize Baghdad and also keep Malaki from doing what he has been advertising for a long time-turning the Iraqi forces loose to execute an anti-Sunni, pro Shiite agenda. Which I find interesting, since the important Muslims in the Arab world are the Sunni's. They inhabit the countries that are really of value to the United States. Like Saudi Arabia.

Kagan and all his neocon buddies crow over and over again that Al Sadr has fled. That does not mean he is out of the picture. They never think that maybe, the fat bearded one is thinking for the long term. Pull back and wait out the American process. Time, after all, is on his side. And at least for now so is the government. No point being a martyr in a country that still has plenty of places to raise hell besides Baghdad. The Al Sadr folks have had over 8 weeks of warning that the troops were coming and Baghdad was the place.

And even with the this "new attitude" the violence is still not diminishing that much. Robert Kagan should explain a few of these events that happened the same day he put out his article:

NEAR MOSUL - Gunmen shot dead the director-general of water projects in Iraq's Mosul, Abdullah Mohammad, just outside the northern city, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

BAGHDAD - A total of 20 bodies were found shot dead on Sunday in different districts of Baghdad, police said.

* RAMADI - A suicide bomber rammed his vehicle into an Iraqi police checkpoint in the western city of Ramadi, wounding 11 people, including four policemen, police said.

BAGHDAD - A U.S. soldier was killed and two wounded by a roadside bomb that hit their patrol during a mission supporting an air assault southwest of Baghdad on Sunday, the U.S. military said late on Sunday.

MAHAWEEL - The body of a man, shot dead and tortured, was found in the town of Mahaweel, 75 km (50 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

MUSSAYAB - The body of a man, shot dead and bound, was found on Sunday in the town of Mussayab, 60 km (40 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.


The analogy that works for Iraq is the one of the used car that you keep having to put a lot of maintenance into. Just to keep it running. It drains you, the owner, of resources and time, but the car keeps running. Your freeloading buddy still gets a ride when the car is working. However he is not the one whose over all financial health is being hurt. In the case of the US, it is the ability to respond elsewhere where American interests are and because of the failure to save for the rainy day (build up the Armed Forces to an acceptable level starting on 12 September 2001), the ability to keep going back to Pep Boys for more parts is getting harder.

It also does not solve the basic structural issue, the car's motor and chassy are shot-and will never get better. As Juan Cole points out:

Last summer, Bush explained of Iraq that "victory means
a free government that is able to sustain itself, defend itself; it's a government that will be an ally in the war on terror. It's a government that will be able to fight off al-Qaida and its desires to have a safe haven."

There is still no good evidence that the Iraqi government can achieve "freedom" or that it can sustain or defend itself anytime soon. On Tuesday, the Iraqi parliament failed to convene because it could not garner the requisite quorum. The stony-faced prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, is speaking darkly of having parliamentarians arrested for involvement in death squad activity, and of dismissing from his cabinet members of the Shiite bloc of radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr that helped elect him in the first place. As a parliamentary democracy, Iraq is broken.

Contrary to what the president says, there is so far no reason to believe that the new security plan has made a big difference in the lives of Iraqis. The massacre of the Shiite pilgrims this week is among the more ominous developments. Protecting the pilgrims was the most important thing the government could have done. That so many were killed is no harbinger of progress. Three weeks into the surge, the Sunni Arab guerrillas are running rings around both al-Maliki's forces and those of the U.S. How some extra troops for half a year will change that remains about as clear as Baghdad's sky during in a spring sandstorm.


Herman Wouk once wrote that victory is meaningless, except in its impact on future events. E.G Iraq actually gives us something, the troops get out, and we get to move on to a more broad based look at the Middle East. THAT takes an Iraqi government that actually can do something-and it requires neo-cons to think from a narrow American perspective, about what is good for Americans. You remember those guys don't you Bob? The real people who matter in this equation? I tend to doubt that you do.

However then again, why should he? Its not like he has the specter of being shipped off to Iraq in his future-he never served and will never serve. However, it does give him a way to keep writing and making money. The people who actually have to make his ideas work-well like the pig and breakfast-they are totally committed. Would that Mr Kagan recognized the efforts they have had to expend.


Why they do simulators.........


The pilot of this ANA flight to Kochi ( On Shikoku Island) , did a magnificent job bringing this Bombardier DH-8 to a full stop landing. What's so novel about that you ask? He only had 2/3 of the amount of landing gear he should have had.

The pilots of the aircraft did an outstanding job of landing the Bombardier aircraft holding the nose up until they passed below 70 knots. You can watch video of the landing here.

The aircraft suffered minimal damage and the airframes folks should have it ready to fly again in short order. EXCEPT the whole fleet of these aircraft have been grounded by ANA.

I watched a press conference at lunch time where the directors of ANA apologized to the passengers for any discomfort or inconvenience. Maybe Jet Blue should come here to learn a thing or two.

Monday, March 12, 2007

How it feels....

To be a middle of the road blogger sometimes:



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Very little time as I am getting ready for my trip to Korea. Beginning with this trip I will spend over 50% of the next 4 months on the road-criss crossing the pacific at least 8 times by my figuring. That does not include travel between places here in Asia. That's too much travel, even for me.

It would be different if it were "gentleman's travel" like I used to do where the work was over by 4 or 5 and you were in the bar by 7. These trips( with one exception) all will start slow and then build to a mind numbing intensity of work that is sure to drive me nuts. Especially in Korea, where they will take something that could be done in 30 minutes and drag it out for at least an hour and a half each meeting. Death by denunciation and too much PPT stimulation. Check please!
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I was lucky, my order from Amazon came in today.

So I will have:

1) The Sims complete set-which I spent most of tonight loading on my laptop. From looking at the tutorial it does not seem the game I thought it was. E.G. I cannot create a smoking hot, big breasted, female Sim that sleeps with anything that is male and has a pulse. Too much like real life for me! However I will play it for a while and see if it gets better.

2) Couple of books about EXPAT job hunting. Need to read.

3) The book, A Savage War of Peace. Its a book about the French effort in Algeria. Something to read on the plane(s) for the next few weeks.

4)Some art books for the S.O. On top of that I got hit up to buy her a yoga mat........The hits just keep on coming to my wallet!

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Also, under the heading of why I hate Gen B.B. Bell, I had to complete on line training to tell me every thing I already knew about Korea. Some contractor must have made a fortune putting together this ridiculous waste of Internet bandwidth. So now I know:

1) Prostitution is some how bad
2) Korea gets sand storms from China
3) Need to be careful about what I eat and drink
4) Nothing good happens after midnight
5) Koreans respect their elders
6) Driving is dangerous in Korea-like I can get a rental car!
7) Command post exercises in Korea are nothing but exercises in futility........

Somehow, I don't think that last item was supposed to get into the training. I want their money back:



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I also learned that Halliburton thinks living outside the US is a good idea, just like I do. Seems its harder to get served a subpoena from congress an ex-wife there.

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Japan Probe has an interesting idea about why the birth rate in Japan is going down-its because Japanese men won't! Reminds me of my roommate freshman year-who had decidedly negative ideas about visiting the utsukushi kuuni.

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Gotta run. S.O. wants the computer again to look for God knows what.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The elitists.................

Short post tonight, out eating a great dinner of crab at one of the local establishments. A little expensive, but very, very good.



I came home and as is my wont, drank some beer and read some blogs. Being unable to drink beer with dinner due to the obscene nature of the DUI laws these days. As it happened I strolled on over to Richard's place only to hear him singing the praises of a female Expat Blogger in China that Expat at Large had pointed me to days earlier.

In Richard's post and on the other blog, there is a common theme-looking down the nose at Expat men who seem enchanted by wonders of Asia and the women and other pleasures there. Unspoken is a lament that they do not transform themselves into mirror image of the mind numbing monotony they came to Asia to escape.

As I responded to this post of Richard's:

After reading both her blog and the comments here, I have once again been re-affirmed in something I already knew. There are a group of elitist expats who think they are somehow better than us hedonists and have to reaffirm their elitism by bashing us.

Personally I think its a sign of insecurity on their part.

I am tired of being told that I have to apologize for wanting to have a good time. Expat girl can just get over it.

Well for the record: 1) I like drinking and I like the fact that it can be done over here in Asia easier than it can be done in the US.

2) I like Asian women and a lot of guys are just like me. If we wanted to deal with pushy gwailo women-we would have stayed at home. (Although I agree with poster who said the idea of a submissive Asian woman is a myth. They just make you feel better while you are being used!)

3) Its a free market. Learn to compete in the market you're in or go home................

4) I'm not ashamed to be a "disgusting expat man". I am proud of it and will wear it like a badge of honor.

Sign me,

Happy as a clam to be in asia.


It is sad that there is a string of expat bloggers who have to look down on their fellow denizens. Hemlock does the same thing, I've seen the same tone in some of Larry Feign's cartoons. They all miss the point. What is Hong Kong with out Wanchai or Lon Kwai Fung? Bangkok without the Soi Cowboy or Patpong? Singapore without Orchard Towers or Clarke Quay? Tokyo without Roppongi? Just another crowded, big city. I don't need to travel 7000 miles just to see that. Stop ragging on the folks who want something different out of life and have found it in Asia. Ever stop to think it just means they are more progressive over here?

Well, maybe not. However if I want suburbia, I would have stayed in the states. Seems to me that is where Expat Girl needs to go-if she is so unhappy in China. It is representative of what I call, the elitist class of expat. Sadly, they exist here as they do at home. "A burning devil to take them!"

Finally, I refer her to the fact that the economics are not in her favor.............

Sign me, still happy to be in Asia!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

If you have ever wondered.........

Why the Army cannot seem to get that whole, making the correct decision thing right-READ THIS!

With all due respect, who was the bonehead at Camp Zama that decided this was a good idea? I'm hoping they kept him away from the elementary school...............

Happy Birthday to me!


50 years. I guess this means I have to stop calling older Japanese men oji-san and just acknowledge I have become one myself.

Part of my horoscope was correct today. This morning when we woke up, it was-in contrast to what NHK had said-a beautiful day. The S.O. and I both decided that golf should be on the menu-particularly because I am getting screwed out of it next weekend to be behind the great firewall in Korea. ( Then again, I'll be free to go to my favorite little pub for St Patty's day so I guess that means there is balance in the force).

The S.O. gave me a nice card and a tie. Funny, when she crossed a major milestone birthday, I gave her a trip to Germany. Where is the justice in the world? I sure hope there is another reward out there somewhere. She wrote the card all in Japanese. That I could read it and understand it-well that's an accomplishment I am extremely proud of. It was a nice note.

More tomorrow-my older, and probably no wiser stomach is growling. We should have gone out to dinner, BUT, I got suckered by the S.O. into taking her to a re-cycle store after golf. I thought someone else was the one supposed to be getting used this day?

A couple of folks went a couple of parsecs out of their way to pay me a visit though:


Here's to me!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Why I miss flying.........

Add one more thing to be depressed about turning 50. I don't get to do this ever again...........

Or this.

Or even this.......

Then again, I may have been spared the chance to do this.....

So I guess it all evens out.

TGIF!

Long day today-I'm mentally exhausted. And tomorrow is my birthday. A big one-the big 50.

God, it seems amazing to write that! I can remember being a teenage boy of 18 thinking that, and the 21'st century were so far away. Now its here.

Trying to think hard to put it into perspective. Can't really. I feel the same as I did in the 40's-except that I tire more easily now. I definitely cannot "hang" the way I used to even at the ripe old age of 44.

The big thing about turning 50, of course, comes with it the realization that more days are past than are probably ahead. And if insurance actuarial tables are to be believed, more people become susceptible to that whole dying unfairness. That gives me reason for pause.

It also becomes readily apparent that the ability to make radical changes in life and location become more difficult, if not- in some cases- down right impossible. The odds are slim to zero I will ever walk on the moon for instance. Seemingly random choices have risen up and become my destiny. It seems pretty clear now that I will never be one of the rich and famous set. The best that I can hope for now is to live comfortably and happily.

It also means I can't put off writing my Hemingway style novel much longer- if the words were ever really inside of me. I think they are-but I still have to pay bills so just becoming an itinerant author is not quite in the cards just yet. Not without a wealthy patron, an interested publishing company, or a winning powerball ticket.

There is a lot to be satisfied with-I tend to think I've gotten live more of the adventures I wanted to live than many people get to. However there is obviously more to see and do-and I intend to do it.

I will have to wait till next month to give myself my birthday present-a trip to familiar and desired scenes. Courtesy of B. B. Bell, I found out today I'm leaving for Korea 5 days earlier than I was supposed to. Thanks sir, thanks a lot! Don't you know its my birthday?

I took a moment to re-read something I wrote here a while back. Seems like I got the advice right- I wonder if I can still hear it. Or the advice of my horoscope for that matter:

You'll be getting a major dose of warm fuzzies from
a very surprising source today -- and you will like it! Getting closer to people isn't always a matter of choice; from time to time, you stumble upon a person whom you'd never have picked out of a crowd, but who enlightens your life and excites your imagination. Get ready for that type of fun stumble today. Keep your mind open, and be ready to change your plans with little more than a moment's notice
.

Good! I could use some warm fuzzies. And some cold beer and one of these:


I'm not too old to lose interest in those!

Gotta go now and either celebrate-or cry myself to sleep. Maybe meet the warm and fuzzy person...............................

Thursday, March 08, 2007

They were warned..............

Not a lot of time tonight. And what time I did have, I wasted putting up a post over here.

However, I have been watching some of the footage from the Congressional hearings about Walter Reed. I've also listened to the strident pledges of change that have come from the very top. From my little vantage point, I find it more than amusing-actually rather sad- that the administration seems to be only finding out about these things now. The truth is that people had been telling them that there were problems with veterans care for a long time now.

They told the good Mr Chu so-here. And here, as well as here, here and also here.

There are a lot more examples that can be given of how the Bush administration has been the most military personnel unfriendly administration since Jimmy Carter. When the good Dr Chu stands up and says that he is shocked that things were astray at Walter Reed, you should know that he is lying through his teeth. Plenty of veterans groups had tried to get the point across-that the administrations commitment to proper benefits was shallow and half hearted. Only to be ignored again and again.

Maybe the President did not know about it. However Rummy's boys did. And they did nothing.

Dr Chu even tried to make his stance seem virtuous a couple of years ago in the WSJ.

Write your Congressman. Demand that Dr Chu go away. Fire him today!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Can't live with them......

Can't beat them to a pulp. Or phrased another way, why is a beer is better than a woman? At least it will be ready on time.

Tonight the S.O. had a tight schedule. As she is teaching in her evening time to make some extra money (Japanese to Americans, English to Japanese-don't you hate her that she can do that?-I know I do.) she was scheduled to finish a lesson at 7. Then she had another one at 8. Dinner had to be ready at 7. Exactly 7. Wakriamsu ka? Hai wakarimasu.

So yours truly was a wiz in the kitchen figuring out each part of the meal in terms of time. I really did not mind, especially if this makes her happy about buying the !@#$ rug. However........

7pm came and went. So did 7:05. Then 7:10. Still nihongo o shaberemasu. 7:15. Finally at 7:25 , the nihonjin student goes out the door. Dinner was not nearly as nice as it would have been at 7. Let the record show...IT WAS NOT MY FAULT!

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Speaking of pissing people off, anyone been following Abe-san lately? Talking about coercion, or the lack thereof, of women in Korea and the Philippines to service the troops during WWII. Seems that the Prime Minister is not going to quietly into that great good night:



Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe bites his lips during an Upper House budget committee meeting in Tokyo Monday, March 5, 2007. Japan will not apologize again for its World War II military brothels, even if the U.S. Congress passes a resolution demanding it, Abe told parliament.

Abe, elaborating on his denial last week that women were forced to serve as frontline prostitutes, said none of the testimony in hearings last month by the U.S. House of Representatives offered any solid proof of abuse.


Seems several former members of the Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere are taking objection to that. Koreans in particular are not amused by this. However Abe san is showing no signs of backing down. Personally, I think this is a deliberate strategy by Abe to get tough with Asia. In that he has decided enough is enough and Japan has apologized enough. However for a part of the world that still thinks Japan wants a rematch, its a weird line of thinking. Between Koreans, Japanese and Chinese none of them like one another and all of them look down on Filipinos. Obama only thinks he has seen racism. Come to Asia my friend, you can meet it first hand. This story too is not going away.

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Speaking of Korea, look what happens now that Americans are no longer in the JSA ( Joint Security Area at the DMZ):


Not the real DMZ Methinks!

H/T Planet Boy!

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On another provocative front, closer to home here in Japan , the "Governor", Shintaro Ishihara is out promoting his new movie. Japundit points out:



The famous, some say infamous Governor of Tokyo Ishihara Shintaro stands in front of a promotional poster for his movie ‘I Go To Die For You’ in Tokyo. The film was written by Ishihara and some are nervous that a right wing politician making a film about Kamikaze pilots cannot be a good thing in regards to furthering relations between Japan and its Asian neighbors.





The film's official web site is here and I blogged about this movie a few days earlier. Go here to see the trailer. You should follow the link to the movie's web site, its got some really cool Zero graphics!




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Bad news for the Royal Family:


Empress Michiko has fallen ill, showing symptoms of bleeding from the walls of the intestines several times. The 72-year-old empress has also suffered oral inflammation and nasal bleeding, which the Household Agency attributed to psychological stress, adding she will have a chance to
recuperate on two occasions between late March and early April.


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Under the category of this does not compute..........

North Koreans gathered to protest in Hibiya Park this past weekend. What's up with that? Seems they think Japan is being unfair to North Koreans. I assume that means they don't think Kim Jong Il is?



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Finally, here is why we put up with the silliness I mentioned at the top of the post. Definitely NSFW! Mami Yasaki looking quite fine, if I do say so myself!


Need a cold shower!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

A fish rots from the head.......

So they say. Which is why I am passing the following on to you. A concerned reader and fellow victim of flawed congressional legislation has sent the following letter to the Secretary of Defense. His central point is worth noting: its time for Dr. David S.C. Chu to be sent packing.
Read for yourself:

The Honorable Robert M. Gates
Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20301-1000

Dear Secretary Gates:

You are to be commended for accepting the resignation of Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey in the wake of the scandalous and deplorable treatment of patients at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. I now respectfully request you solicit the resignation of Dr. David S. C. Chu, Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness).

Since taking his current Department of Defense post, Dr. Chu has testified before Congress, given speeches and written articles for the media on numerous occasions. If the topic relates to veterans' issues, retired military personnel or military dependents benefits his approach has repeatedly been negative. In fact, some of his public comments have actually displayed disdain for those who, in the past, served their country with honor. He has been particularly vicious in arguing against expenditures for veteran and retiree health care.

I do not need to chronicle all the reasons why Dr. Chu is viewed as the designated "attack dog" fighting against apparently anything that will benefit active duty, veteran and retired military personnel. Following are just a few of the items Dr. Chu has opposed:

-Concurrent receipt

-Reduced Reserve retirement age

-Health Care improvements for veterans

-Hikes in Imminent Danger pay and family separation allowance


That's just the begining of a long list of sins. In his position Dr Chu has oversight on Military Healthcare. In fact the now departed Assistant Secretary of Defense for Healthcare issues worked for Dr Chu. Few people know who he is. However just about every verterans group has had issues with Dr Chu-ever since he came into office he has been the voice of non-compassion. Having a visibile and public firing of Dr Chu would send a message that the new SECDEF gets it. Even if it did nothing to solve Walter Reed, it would be welcomed by the military coalition. Having their support will be critical in the months and years to come.

Because in the end, as Rep Waxman stated, the scandal at Walter Reed is just the tip of the iceberg. Take a stroll around the milblogs and you will see that DOD has big problems and it all comes down to one thing: requirements are outstripping resources. Its not just healthcare, its equipment, its people, its so many things that are not being resourced properly. As I have said repeatedly, that was the primary responsibilty of Donald Rumsfeld. It was a task that he failed miserably at.
It's important for Secretary Gates to distance himself from any trace of the old regime. Firing Dr Chu advances that cause. Many of the other villians are gone: Wolfwitz, Feith, even Rumsfeld himself. This would simply be completing the circle.

And if nothing else-it sure would make me happy.

Sublimnal messages.......


Somehow I'm not sure this was what CNN meant to say.............

Monday, March 05, 2007

Wiped out...........

During my college days, we used to have a joke about a powerful creature that lurked within the confines of Padgett-Thomas barracks. It was a beast so powerful, and yet so cunning, that it could sneak up on its victims undetected and overwhelm them quickly, taking them down into captivity.

It was of course, the RACK MONSTER! The rack monster lured you into your bed with just the promise of taking a "little nap". As was the case yesterday, when I awoke many hours later than I intended. Thus no post yesterday.

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Welcome Sayonara, Crooks and Liars readers! Seems that the kind folks over there have discovered my little place in Bloggerville and were kind enough to link to me. For a few hours anyway. Then the PC police swung into action. Now the link has been removed and all trace of my existence erased from the linking post.

Seems someone did not appreciate my "enlightened " view of Pat Schroeder:

Another blogger emailed me saying they were offended by Far East Cynic's portrayal of Pat Schroeder, and offended that I would link to the blog as a result

Dear "offended blogger",

So it seems you find my portrayal of the former Congressperson from Colorado offensive do you? Well let me tell you what I find offensive, if I may? Having to give away a significant chunk of a hard earned retirement to a slug who deserves not one dime of it. Or watching really good friends and really good people get shafted because of a personal vendetta from Congresswoman who can't let the Navy work through its own problems at its own pace. I find the fact that some men had to risk their lives because it was more important to make sure less than qualified people were allowed to complete training. Those things-I find offensive. I really do. You will forget about your being offended rather quickly. I and these other folks will have to deal with these things for the rest of our lives. Which, I ask you, is the greater outrage?

Somehow I doubt you will answer that question.
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Speaking of "enlightened views" or the lack thereof, I am observing the reaction of the blogosphere to Ann Coulters "faggot" remark with a mixture of amusement and skepticism. The Town Hall Harlot seems particularly upset with her former hero at the Nazi party rally recent CPAC meeting. She is shocked! Shocked! That Ann Coulter would indulge in name calling at the expense of a Democratic candidate who holds a position opposite to theirs.

Having read a lot of MM's own work I am unmoved by her denunciations. In particular, her concern that "children" might be affected.

Enter Ann Coulter.

Her "faggot" joke was not just a distraction from all the good that was highlighted and represented at the conference. It was the equivalent of a rhetorical fragging--an intentionally-tossed verbal grenade that exploded in her own fellow ideological soldiers' tent.

There are countless conservatives who bring their children to CPAC. It's a family-friendly event. I brought mine last year and the year before. I met several parents with their kids there this year. We expect CPAC to be a place where conservative role models speak with clarity, passion, and integrity. There are enough spewers of mindless filth, vulgarity, and hatred on TV, at the movies, and in the public schools. We don't expect our children to be exposed to that garbage at the nation's preeminent conservative gathering.

I was in the back of the ballroom and did not see any children in the audience during Coulter's speech. But what if there had been?

Would you want your children hearing the word "faggot" spoken in such a casual and senseless manner? Would you like your first-grader or three-year-old running around the halls of CPAC singing "faggot, faggot, faggot?" Not me. Not anymore than I'd like my toddler singing "gook, gook, gook" or "sambo, sambo, sambo"--favored epithets hurled at conservative minorities by leftist haters groping around in their empty intellectual quivers. There were hundreds of young conservative college students in the ballroom. Would you be proud of your college-age daughter spewing such epithets in her campus debates with leftists?


RIGHTTTTTTTTTT! As if they have never heard the word before. From their parents. Who happen to be attending a political activist convention that features Sean Hannity as a guest speaker? Or sells T-shirts like this?


Yea the kiddies won't be affected by that at all. However let an invited speaker use the F-bomb and there is hell to pay.

Actually, I agree with those who say that Coulter knew exactly what she was doing. And while she will be excoriated on the blogs and in the papers, she has probably just sold another 100,000 books. So love her or hate her, old Ann still walks smiling to the bank.

I mean, its not like Michelle exactly has a reputation for tolerance and politeness, does she? Even in her so called denunciation she goes out of the way to distinguish right wing intolerance from the other kind:

We should remind them that we are not on the same side as Bill Maher, the Huffington Post, and John Edwards' ex-bloggers who pollute public discourse with shallow, sensational attacks and hide behind the "satire" card when called to account.


No Michelle, right wing folks wrap themselves up in other kinds of cloth.

The better question to ask about the whole episode is why is she connecting Edwards and the "F" word anyway? Where the heck did that come from? By all accounts Edwards has a wife, kids, and a solidly heterosexual life. He's a Democrat to be sure, so his allegiance to homosexual rights goes with out saying. I thought it was a membership requirement.

But to call him a "faggot"? Now if she had used the word "ambulance chaser"-now that might have been more accurate.

If Ann Coulter wants to use the "f" word- I say let her. In a sick, holy cow, ice machine is working in hell kind of way, I find myself agreeing with her central premise-namely why do I have to go to a re-education camp for expressing my feelings?
I really do think that was what she was trying to say-albeit in a rather sensationalist fashion.You play to your audience-something all politicians do-and tell them what they want to hear. Red meat for the audience she thought she was addressing.
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Speaking of the love that dare not speak its name, I have to admit that despite efforts to understand gayness, and gay rights-I just don't get it. As was noted in another forum:

I think I speak for most heterosexual males when I
say I’m not homophobic but chick-o-centric. Let’s keep it positive, okay? It’s not that we dislike you, the gay guy; it’s just that we really like girls. It seems no matter how long we compliantly spend in rehab undergoing the most stringent psychotherapy to rid ourselves of our knee-jerk to your mate choice, the simple fact is . . . heterosexual guys don’t “get” gays. Period.

Heck, we don’t understand women. What makes you think we’ll ever understand a man who doesn’t like women yet wants to be a woman? You just rifled right over our heads. In addition, not only are most men incapable of comprehending what a man sees in another man, we also don’t care to try to because football is on—so can we all just shut the hell up with the gay stuff and watch the game?!?


The author of that little tidbit got pummeled for writing that by the way. But it pretty well sums it up for me. Sleep with who you want to. However please explain to me why do I have to know about it?
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And as for understanding women, I've decided that women are just like the insurgency in Iraq. They don't come out and attack you in a large frontal assault, the simply keep using random acts of emotional violence to wear you down. So it was with me and the S.O. this weekend.

She's been wanting to buy a rug for sometime. Not a Daiei special throw rug, but one of the expensive Persian kind. Now we need this thing like Pamela Anderson needs breast implants. The woman is already a fanatic about cleaning, what will she do when she has a multi-thousand dollar rug underneath the dining table?

So finally, I said fine-you have to pay for it though. I need to save my money for next year when I will, in all probability, be changing jobs. To which she did not pause a second. She went back to looking for the"one".

As you can probably guess, we now have the rug, I'm paying for half of it, and I still did not get a "reward". GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! It does look nice though-have to admit that.
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This previous Saturday was Hina no Sekku or girls day here in Japan. People display a set of hina ningyo (dolls) and props in the house, wishing girls' healthy growth and happiness. Parents or grand parents of a newborn girl buy a set of gorgeous hina dolls unless they have special dolls, which are inherited from generation to generation. The S.O. put up dolls and a special art that she has which has pictures of girls days dolls.





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Finally, while we are on the subject of girls, after we got back from shopping for the waste of money rug, we watched one of our regular Japanese TV shows. Its called Adomachi and appears on TV Tokyo. Each week they examine the top places within one of the various wards within Tokyo and other areas-usually on the Kanto Plain. This last week they took a look at Setagaya Ward, which is a trendy suburb of Tokyo.




Counting down from 30 down to number one they show restaurants and places to go and see. One of their regular features is also the "Good Girls" video which usually appears at the end as they recap. Definitely a treat for me-there is nothing naughty about it-and its a cute little clip.

As witness this little gem from when they went to Kanda:



Excuse me, gotta go answer the door...........Its the thought police-it seems I'm late for rehab.

Ja ne!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Music

To get really depressed by.

The following video discusses the explosion of knowledge and how the United States is ill equipped to deal with it. Set to the music from Last of the Mohicans, I guarantee you will feel like Chingachgook fighting Magua when its done. Tired.

At least in the movie, the good guys win however. The jury is still out about whether the good guys win in the brain competition with Asia............

Make sure your speakers are on....and a glass of scotch is on your desk. You will need it if you are paying attention.



Chingachgook: The frontier moves with the sun and pushes the Red Man of these wilderness forests in front of it until one day there will be nowhere left. Then our race will be no more, or be not us.
Hawkeye: That is my father's sadness talking.
Chingachgook: No, it is true. The frontier place is for people like my white son and his woman and their children. And one day there will be no more frontier. And men like you will go too, like the Mohicans. And new people will come, work, struggle. Some will make their life. But once, we were here.

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