Friday, June 29, 2007

Good morning world!

I have had a lot of time to think here in Canberra. About life and what's passed and what may be ahead. Trying hard to come to some sort of logical conclusion about it all.

So I may be in and out over the next couple of weeks. I've got some decisions to make. And things to explore. Turning 50 and facing another job change next year will do that to a person-maybe. I know, I know a lot of you guys out there figured it out a heck of a lot earlier. I never did-sue me.

One thing I have decided-I'm so glad I met the S.O. I've realized I appreciate her a lot more than I realize. I hope she appreciates me. Wherever I go-God willing-I want her to go with me.

Thinking about hitting the delete key right now-but I think I'll publish it. Its the news.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

No worries mate!

That is, I think, the most used phrase Australians use.

You hear it all the time. Say, "Excuse me" and the reply is no worries.

Say I'm sorry, and it is no worries.

Say the girl at the next table has a nice ass...and the reply is the same.
(She did have a nice ass........).

Other things I have noticed here.

A) The bar is for buying drinks. Not for standing and drinking the beer watching women.

B) Australians are much more willing to push back when their boss says something contrversial. I have been in VTC's where the Wing Commmader told his boss ( politely) that he was full of you know what. That would never happen with the USAF or the USN.

C) If I were younger by about 15 years, I might consider coming here to fly. Lex \, if you are listening, they say they short about 40 Hornet pilots. And they are buying the F-18F. Just a thought.

D) Canberra is a city for families-not for single people. However I did join the Canberra Services club just down the street from my hotel. I prevailed upon an elder Australian gent to sponsor me. Good cheap beer and lots of great conversation. Talked with about 7 Australian Vietnam vets.

e) The only kangaroo has been a dead one on the side of the road. Then again I have only been out of town as far as the nature preserve. How come Kangaroos are not in the Northern Hemisphere.

F) I still can't find the southern cross. Then again, its rained so much-who would know.

Got to run. Working hours are more normal for the last part of this trip. Which means there is beer for me to drink!

Ja ne!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

I'm still here!

I'm not dead (yet!). But getting to be able to read or post this blog or others is hard this trip. I'm on a very odd shift and I have to be in bed pretty early because of a pretty early wake up.

So talk about this. Its not just America that deals with protesters.........



I'll be laying low here the rest of the week.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Limited Comms

For a while. The place I am staying only has wireless in the lobby. Its rainy and cold here now and I am on the other side of the compound. So I will check in from time to time but for a few days-I'll be out.

Working weird hours does not help either.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Doing me a favor......

Yesterday was a busy work day. And it rained and rained and rained.

Today requires less work but some odd hours. Still getting used to Australia and the look and feel of the place. It kind of looks European but it doesn't.

So I am asking my readers to take part in a science project. Please follow this Please take my Blog Reader Project survey. ">link and take the survey.

Or don't.

Gotta run now. More tonight. Assuming I don't get dragged into a pub or something....

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The eagle has landed.......

After a very long day getting here, finally got myself into Canberra. Yesterday was about delays and more delays. At least once I got to the hotel I could sleep.

The city is very different than I pictured it. Looks a like a nice place to live-not so nice place to party. Maybe that is just as well. At the rate of exchange with Australian dollar-when I start drinking beer I go through them very quickly it seems.

Our Aussie hosts did take us out last night to a pub-what a refreshing concept!-to watch the Queensland-New South Wales football game. I had a hard time making sense of the whole thing and after 5 pints ot Toohey's, really did not care who won. OUr hosts sure did though.

Note to self: 5 pints is not the same as 5 cans. At least I slept well.

Off to work!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Qantas-3 ; Skippy-0

And I have not even boarded the flight yet. Bottom of the first and its not looking good for Team Skippy.

Arrive at Narita with my bag and a bag carrying our equipment for the this upcoming adventure in Canberra. Come up the escalator from the Narita express, quick glance at the screen-my flight to Sydney is cancelled.

Strike 1. Fast ball right down the middle.

Getting to the check in counter am told that they have re booked me-through Melbourne and I will arrive at Canberra "just a little late".

"However sir, we are restricting total baggage to just 25 kilos and that is only because you are Premium member".

WTF!

Strike 2. Curve ball low and inside.

Decide its time to go offense into the merge-pointing out that my travel office never told me there was a luggage restriction, need this gear when I get there, yadda yadda yadda.

"Sir if you wish to check both items it will cost you 60,000 yen".

WTF!

"Let me speak to your manager please". This shall not stand!

This goes on for about 15 minutes after which said manager appears. Bottom line, if I repack some I can take one bag on as a carry on and I only have to pay 15,000 yen.

"But you cancelled my flight".

End up with no charge.

Foul tip-against the backstop.

"However since you are jerking me around so much, perhaps you could upgrade me to Business for all my trouble?" Figure I've pushed this hard-can't hurt can it?

"Let's see all these pitches to choose. Better go with the old number one"

"Give him the heater, Ricky..........."


Strike-3.

"You're outta here-get your ass back to economy where you belong."

Back in the dugout lounge drinking beer. Just checked the weather in Canberra. I think I should have packed a heavier jacket...........

Its going to be a long summer winter.

Monday, June 11, 2007

O kaeri nasai!

To Miss Universe, Riyo Mori-who arrived at Narita yesterday to a huge welcome. She also gives great definition to the term "little black dress". I never see girls like this when I go to Narita....... well maybe a couple:



Pretty Nice!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Being the war czar is like.........

Visiting the the doctor for a physical.

Or so says Jeff Huber over at Pen and Sword:

The Maytag Repairman has nothing on Lieutenant General Douglas Lute. The newly nominated "War Czar" is about to become the loneliest man in the world........

Lute's in a difficult spot, all right. He's been ordered to march to the end of a long table and bend over.
Read the rest here.

No reach around either.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Hardest working women in Japanese Baseball.....



The Beer Girls at the Tokyo Dome, of course.

Fresh cold beer-quickly and efficiently delivered to you at your seat.

H/T to Rob Pongi!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

It's nobody's fault........

The war in Iraq is 4 years and 3 months old. Close to 150,000 troops are now deployed there-and almost 60,000+ are arrayed in the countries outside Iraq. Good things are happening-I know so because I read conservative blogs. Its just not being reported. They only focus on those nasty little things-like car bombs and IED's going off every day in very disparate parts of the country.

Those losers have the audacity to report that the Iraqi government is still ineffectual.........despite being given lots of time. Don't they know? ITS NOT THEIR FAULT!

Because when it comes to Iraq-to hear some on the right spout off-you cannot blame anyone for the current fact that we are still stuck there for what will be a fifth and a sixth year.

The President cannot be blamed. He was compelled to invade the "Central Front". Greatest idea since sliced bread-so goes the argument of William "The bloody" Kristol.

Congress can't be blamed-they were blackmailed into supporting the troops. Never mind that they approved the funding the President requested 3 separate times-with timetables for withdrawal attached-it is not their fault that we have to stay and stay and stay. That's the current leadership line-which if recent polls are to be judged is not selling well with the American people.

The US military leadership cannot be blamed-there is a whole segment of bloggers and others who are accusing any one who writes critically of the military leadership of being at the best, insubordinate-at the worst playing into the hands of the terrorists. Our current flag officer leadership is on a noble quest-don't you know that? No one can criticize them because they are not flag officers themselves. Even at a time the former commander in Iraq says things are not as rosy as they appear to be.

Sad to see an Army man work so hard just to become a surrender monkey..........

Nor is it the fault of the civilian leadership that was at the Pentagon-who have all moved on to cushy high paying jobs elsewhere-they had to tinker with the OPLAN. It was not transformational.

Can't be that they should have left well enough alone and did their real job-properly resourcing the armed forces-no not at all. Paul Wolfowitz is just a victim.

Of a woman and mean old World Bankers who don't want change.

And Rummy was set up too. ( By his own stubbornness-but don't bother me with facts.)

So maybe it is the Iraqi's fault- for being useless Arabs who will not put their differences behind them and seizing the opportunity that was given to them. For being tied down in stupid tribal struggles over the legacy of an apostate religion.

NO NO NO! Says Robert Kagan-brother of the author of the "surge" Fred Kagan. Its not the Iraqis fault. Never mind that their government "has been a disappointment. " Its still is somehow not their fault:

Blaming the Iraqis also allows Republicans to acquiesce in defeat without having to acknowledge that it is an American defeat. We didn't fail, the Iraqis did. And blaming the Iraqis clears the American conscience. We got rid of Saddam Hussein, Republicans will say. The rest was up to them, and they failed. The more sophisticated will declare that the Iraqis were culturally destined to fail.

As with any good cover story, there is just enough truth in this one to sell it to those who need an excuse. The Iraqi government has been a disappointment. Sunni and Shiite leaders don't have an easy time compromising with one another, as opposed to, say, Democrats and Republicans in Congress. Sectarian killings continue.


It is what's wrong with this story, however, that makes it so irresponsible. The fact is that, contrary to so many predictions, Iraq has not descended into civil war. Political bargaining continues. Signs of life are returning to Baghdad and elsewhere. Many Sunnis are
fighting al-Qaeda terrorist groups, not their Shiite neighbors. And sectarian violence is down by about 50 percent since December.



So says Mr Kagan. Of course he has no axe to grind-even though his brother Fred was the author of the "surge" strategy and it might look bad to criticize his fellow family member's handi-work. The fact that others document the facts in a very different manner makes not a whit of difference to him. Or that by the traditional definition of a Civil War, Iraq has been in one for 6 months.

It can't be their fault.

Because after all, when they said this-they must have been mistaken back in November of last year:


Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said Thursday that his country's forces would be able to assume security command by June 2007 — which could allow the United States to start withdrawing its troops.

"I cannot answer on behalf of the U.S. administration but I can tell you that from our side our forces will be ready by June 2007," Maliki told ABC television after meeting President Bush on Thursday in Jordan.

Maliki was replying to a question about whether U.S. troops could start withdrawing at that time.


As in contrast to now when their president says not till the end of 2008. But hey-its not his fault his country does not work. Actually to hear others tell it-they have accomplished a lot.

Or not.

Maybe Iran then-yea its all their fault. Its definitely Al Qaeda's fault.

"If we were to fail, they'd come and get us. … If we let up, we'll be attacked. … It's better to fight them there than here."


Guess that explains that whole JFK thing then?

And it does not explain the circular logic that was pointed out a couple of weeks ago:

See if you can follow this argument: The United States has to be in Iraq to fight the terrorists who are in Iraq because the United States is in Iraq.

If you do follow that familiar argument, you're going in a circle. It's familiar because President Bush has argued it many times before, trying to make the case that Iraq is the "central front in the war on terror." His circular argument didn't persuade Americans before. But that hasn't stopped him from recycling it now.


It's nobodies fault. Because like Love Story making a strategic mistake that runs against the national interest-means not having to say "your sorry".

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

They're back........

After a six year absence, having been driven from the playing field by the boys of Ray Kroc......The Whopper makes its return to Japan.



The short clip focuses on the size of the Whopper, with the female reporter exclaiming that it is about as big as her face!(13 cm...).

Never, never, never........


Bring a camera to party. A JAL stewardess found out why the hard way:


"Yes, I'm the one in the photos," Miss A admits to Shukan Post (6/8). "But they weren't taken by some man who had picked me up.

"I know where they were taken and who took them," she explains. "She was
a person who I once trusted."

Well, whatever the circumstances, her pictures, and name, and the name of her employer -- Japan Airlines -- were now festooned on an adult Web site.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Brave new world....

Back on the right side of the international dateline. Just about got my head back in the right time zone, although waking up at 3:30 this morning and not being able to go back to sleep for an hour was no fun.

Also heard some less than good news about a colleague this weekend. Reminds me again about the perils of getting older. We worry about so many things and want to live as long as we can, but life reaches up and smacks some people down. Its the old paradox-bad things happen to good people and the Ultimate Power is somehow not to be held accountable for that. Not as if He has to give an account, but such blatant unfairness is just hard for my little mind to accept. I call it the Job paradox-namely trying to understand how a loving God allows such misery in the world. Particularly when, if you take the Bible literally, he had the ability to destroy Satan at any time.

That's put me in a rotten mood. This is a subject I could write for a long time about. Unlike Christopher Hitchens, I do believe in God-but I also think the bible makes the most sense when viewed allegorically. The evil that men do comes not from a beast with horns-but from ourselves and our own failings as human beings. That as many people rise above those and somehow live in harmony is probably the most positive development that I can think of.

However there is still too much misery in the world. And people dying of diseases, that should have been conquered long ago. We find the time to spend 87 billion dollars every 6 months on destruction-yet the world cannot band together to make the world a better place. I don't understand that anymore.

Any more than I understand folks who argue the old order-where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer- is somehow better for the world. I once accepted that line of thinking-I do no longer. If the world is to make any progress, some sort of progress of creating a minimal standard of living world wide is required. The inequality between the stable worlds and the unstable world can no longer continue. And the solution for that is not to be found in military invasions-but it has to come in some sort of flowing of resources from the haves to the have nots. I'm not sure how to do that, but if we do not, there will be no peace or progress.

People will argue that this is impossible and sheer lunacy to dream of. I'll tell you what is sheer lunacy-that after 30 years and untold amounts of research, AIDS is still a problem in the world. That we still do not have vaccine against it. That people still have to view something as wonderful as sex as being a crap shoot with death.

That cancer is not more contained than it is. That we still sweat TB-highlighted by the news last week of the man who flew to and from France.

That we have a vaccine for HPV which works-and people are arguing against its use because it might somehow encourage sexual activity. And the people arguing this do so with a straight face.

So much misery is still in the world. Its got to change. Some would say that we have to wait for the world to come to see this go away. I take issue with that-man should not have to wait for heaven. It should be brought to this world. This world, now-not in some future time.

If somehow this is so fair, I sure would like for Him to explain it. Because as far as I can see its not.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Please tell me....

That this is not true. I cannot believe that anyone would think this is the right thing to do:

Fort Lewis, which this month has suffered its worst losses of the war, will no longer conduct individual memorial ceremonies for soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Instead, the post will hold one ceremony for all soldiers killed each month, the Fort Lewis acting commanding general, Brig. Gen. William Troy, wrote in a memo to commanders and staff last week.

“As much as we would like to think otherwise, I am afraid that with the number of soldiers we now have in harm’s way, our losses will preclude us from continuing to do individual memorial ceremonies,” Troy wrote in the memo, according to a copy obtained by United for Peace Pierce County and posted on the group’s Web site. A post spokesman confirmed the policy change Tuesday. It will start in June.


This has to be mistaken reporting on someones part. It can't be true, because if it is, it says something bad about ourselves. Soldiers are individuals who deserve individual recognition. The Army has time to do this-they know it. I'll bet there are more than a few pastors and others who could volunteer their time to make these things happen.

That's why I just cannot believe its true. Anybody know differently?

Friday, June 01, 2007

TGIF!

It's Friday!... Oh drat! I have to go home tomorrow.............sigh.

Today, though was a great day and a good way to end some very nice days together for me and the S.O.

No golf today. Instead we slept in, ate a leisurely breakfast and then spent the rest of the day here:


Nice day at the beach!

Took the S.O. to Bellows AFB Beach where we had a picnic of sorts. (Some beer and water and three chicken salad sandwiches. The S.O. nixed the nice bottle of wine I bought, preferring to pack it instead for home...GRRRR!!). Bellows is a nice place and while I had been by here before, today was the first day I ever spent any real time here. I may see if I can get a cabin reservation someday and come back and veg out with my books. We also took a drive aroud Kilua and took the long way home to Chinatown.

Speaking of books, I'm still mired in my Truman book. I can't get settled into it-plus the work schedule did not help last week and the S.O. schedule kept me from it this week. I've read a lot of Korean War chapters though. Now I want to go back and learn how he became the Senator from Pendergast.

So tomorrow its back to Nihon and back to getting some things in order. Lots to do and only about 10 days to do it. I was supposed to leave for Norfolk tomorrow and get some meetings done there. That plan was changed by the home office, due to changing requirements by our friends in Australia. I'm not complaining. I'm just as happy to go home with the S.O. , believe it or not. We really did have a good time together this week. If Hawaii were about 3000 miles closer to Hong Kong, Singapore , or Thailand it might have potential. For now though, it will have to sit on the second shelf.

There's lots to talk about in the news, but tonight I don't want to get started on it. When I get home, I'll write some more on the whole Iraq - Korea thing, but I don't want to devote the time tonight. Rest assured though, the knives come back next week!

I'd rather savor the memory of this week (Since Tuesday anyway..). Besides Honeymoon in Vegas is on.

Speaking of TV, I have totally geeked out now. On the way home from the beach and the restaurant ( we went back to Won Kee again for dinner-its good food!), stopped an bought a 500 GB external hard drive. It had slowly dawned on me that I was eating up my laptop's hardrive space, with all of my movies and other porn I-pod stuff I have down loaded and maybe that was not such a good idea. I sure hope the instructions given to transfer my library to the drive were right!

So now its time for one of these:



And hopefully some of this:

That's the proper way to end a vacation isn't it?

It occurs to me that this is probably the earliest I have ever returned to my room at the end of ANY of my Hawaii work trips. I must be slipping..............

See you on the other side!

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