Sunday, May 31, 2009

San Diego

San Diego, California (skyline)
In addition to the office being established in Pasadena for the high tech company in start-up mode that my partners are working on, I've begun to look at potential office space in San Diego for the consulting firm. I always thought house hunting was difficult. The precisely correct office space is even more difficult to find because an office provides a perception of the business as well as  work space. Crafting the impressively correct image, a location with a view of the ocean and harbor, as well as finding function is not as easy as it sounds at first blush. 

At present, I'm hoping to find a place and move in by the end of summer. We've been very busy with work, with clients, with travel and our initial spectacular success seems to be mirrored in a string of clients coming to the table. 

Saturday, May 30, 2009

My Next Cool Car

2008  BMW-M1 (concept car)

I'd love to have one but I think they 
only produced one or maybe two.

BMW M10 - New for 2010

I've been pondering my next COOL car purchase. When I say "cool", I'm definitely not talking about some sled that handles like a landing craft. I enjoy driving and pushing something down the freeway that purrs appropriately. I've always been partial to BMW and miss the 5-Series I used to have.

I had been seriously considering the M5 or M6 until I heard about the new M10. The M10 will feature an all-carbon fiber skin over a V-10 engine producing 550 HP.

* When I say my next cool car, it doesn't mean that I won't buy a different car for running around and such before I buy this one -- but this is one of those machines I have my eye on.

The Temple of Greed

High School Graduation is hard on fathers and I am no exception.

Today I'm taking my youngest daughter to the TEMPLE OF GREED (yet again).  There she will engage in endless wandering, disguised thinly as "shopping". She will try on twelve outfits in one store only to decide that none of them are quite right. Six in another. Then toward the end of the ordeal, we will return to the beginning where she will try on three of the previously rejected outfits to decide that one is just right.

Shoe shopping is the worst because she likes Jimmy Chu. It feels as if you need to pay the man just to walk through the door into the salon (they don't call it a shoe store, which is a very bad sign).

Somewhere along the road, the price of women's handbags has moved from mildly entertaining to blatant extortion. She hinted that Dolce Gabbana would be a nice place to begin her spree for accessories. Because a dress or an outfit is not complete until it is fully accessorized. 

If I had boys, it would have been so much easier. I'd have bought them a rifle, a compound hunting bow or perhaps a cool fighting knife for graduation. They'd be happy with their new weapon and that would have been that. They'd go out and shoot endlessly to improve their skills. With girls, it's an outfit and you can't wear the same outfit to the same place twice - Heaven Forbid!

Women are always a challenge.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Want to Get a-Head?

Following this blog can be dangerous and possibly lethal as illustrated in the photo above, received from a tiny mad scientist who decapitated DARLIN' and is using her brain to tap into the secrets of "what women are thinking".  Scary.  Darlin' is a Canadian woman so the situation is even more dire than it might otherwise be.

Those of you brave enough to follow this blog are fairly warned that things can happen... Even on your birthday. (happy birthday)


On April 29, 1945, USS Hazelwood, a Fletcher Class Destroyer, was one of several destroyers screening aircraft carriers off the Island of Okinawa in the Pacific Theater during World War Two. The ships came under attack from kamikazes. The ship maneuvered to avoid two kamikazes but was struck by a third that came from astern. The aircraft smashed into the bridge and exploded sending flaming gasoline over the decks and bulkheads. 112 of her crew were killed including the commanding officer. 29 including my father were wounded.

This was a small piece of a very large war.  However, it was part of my father's journey through life and it left a lasting impact on him. His wounds were not severe - shrapnel in his left arm that bothered him periodically for the rest of his life. 

His service to the US Navy in large part prompted me to seek service and a commission in the navy and to serve as an officer. 

Our journeys through life are extensions of those of our parents and those who sacrificed so that we enjoy what we have. It applies to us all, to that universe of humanity we joined with that first breath of life. Honoring them for what they did for us - in their sung and unsung sacrifices is the very smallest thing we can do.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

US Supreme Court Nomination (Sotomayor)

I have a problem with a potential Supreme Court Justice whose public claim to fame is that, "judges should dictate policy and that one's sex, race and ethnicity ought to affect the decisions one renders from the bench."

What is wrong with interpreting the United States Constitution in terms of the intent of the founding fathers they way it's supposed to be viewed? 

If I, as a white male said, "I intend to view the law as a vehicle of bias in favor of white males," there would be an (appropriate) cry of rage toward me. If a latino woman makes the same statement, she is met with approval, understanding and agreement.  Sorry, I just don't get it.

(CLICK HERE) for the CNN story.

Yes, I know that the Democrats will approve her nomination, but it's simply another outrage perpetrated against the public by the Obama Administration.


I don't like giving the bride away. There, I've said it! 

My sons-in-law are both great guys. It doesn't have anything to do with them. I am simply selfish and when it comes to weddings, it means that I am loosing that daily interaction with my girls who are a part of me.

My daughter, Kelly's wedding (last year). I'm pictured above dancing the last dance with my baby.
My daughter, Amanda's wedding (two years ago). I'm pictured above with my four girls.

There are compensating factors - and I will admit that as well. Both daughters have given me delightful grandchildren. When I look forward to the next two (staggeringly expensive) weddings, I also have the prospect of still more grandchildren who will bless my life. So maybe giving them away isn't all THAT bad.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Kingdom of Heaven

 Kingdom of Heaven
Director's Cut

When Hollywood released the movie Kingdom of Heaven, they chopped the original version to the extent that it lost all the meaning of the Original Director's Version. 

If it's not my favorite movie, it's in the top half dozen and I highly recommend this film in the version specified.

"A woman in my place has two faces. One for the world and one which she wears in private. With you I'll only be Sybilla."

A War Story

I may have posted this before, but since this is a day to remember the fallen, I thought I'd share this recollection and you can call it a war story.

It is impossible to communicate the nature of physical exhaustion to those who have not experienced it. There were three of us, but the other two are dead today. We sat in a river no more than two inches deep in the middle of a fetid swamp, eating small water snakes which were squirming in the mud by the hundreds and washing them down with water from our canteens.

We had not eaten or slept in four days. We were in a state of starvation-induced exhaustion that caused us to have vivid dreams that we experienced while wide-awake.

T. E. Lawrence said, "all men dream but not equally", however in that place, at that time, we all dreamed of home.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Political Speculation

To explore an interesting view on a dark horse candidate for the (next) president of the USA, (CLICK HERE) visit my other blog: Virtual Mirage.

Thoughts on Honor

In ancient times up through the Middle Ages, the only contract was a person's word. Giving your word amounted to a binding contract. Taking an oath meant something and bound you to your utterance. Fealty was taken seriously and a breach of that fealty made you a "felon" (criminal).  The law governed the way people behave and if you chose to live outside the law, you lived outside the community of people as an "outlaw".

Beginning in the late 11th Century, the concept of honor was codified under a social contract for a certain class of warrior/landlord as chivalry. Chivalry required adherence to a moral code that emphasized courage, honor and service. Cowardice was unthinkable, and that very concept led to many needless deaths in combat where men at arms were obliged by their class and their code to prove their courage. Chivalry required duty to country, fairness, valor and protecting the weak and poor. It also required duty to God even above the feudal lord and duty to women requiring gracious conduct. [The Broad Stone of Honour: Rules for the Gentleman of England (Digby)]

The same concepts of chivalry that permeated European society was mirrored in the Muslim world. Moorish knights were expected to exhibit skill in the martial arts, be pious, courteous, and poetic in writing.

Whether Christian or Muslim, the requirement of a knight was HONOR above all. It was a standard set for behavior and though it might surprise those of the present day, the concept was deeply held. Today there is not much honor in government and there is no knightly class to protect the poor or champion the proper treatment of women. 

It's left to each of us to hold the value of honor within our own hearts and to act accordingly.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Never Forget


In Flanders Fields
-LTC John McCrae, MD
Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
  Between the crosses row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
  The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
  We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
  In Flanders Fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
  To you from falling hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
  If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
  In Flanders Fields.

Days of remembrance are important. They cause us to reflect on where we are, why things are the way they are, and allow us to set priorities for the future.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Hesitance, Initiative and Winning a Fight

I'm reposting in substance, an article from the "LESSONS ON THE ENGLISH LONGSWORD" Blog. If you'd like to read the complete text (Click Here).

"To control the fight, one must "create the fight. To bend an opponent to one's will, one must force the opponent to react; to guide, recognize and preempt the opponent's actions and reactions. This is an integral, shining facet of that jewel of the art that we treasure.

"As the ancient maxim of many a culture says, to defend is to prolong defeat. The other side of the coin being that action beats reaction. The best defense is a strong offense. These sayings are innumerable within the martial arts, and one could scribe volumes on them. Yet one will never find anything advocating the opposite...anyone who has studied these arts, and many who haven't, will tell you that within the tradition continued by Leichtenauer, the seizing of the initiative to end the fight quickly and efficiently and to control the opponent is highly regarded. It is also apparent in that it is by far the favored means of doing so in the contemporary English tradition."

Today everyone stresses defensive martial arts - aikido being one of the most often learned.  For some reason I don't presently understand there is some twisted virtue in giving an enemy the gift of the first move. If you give it to a skilled enemy, you forfeit the engagement.  In nature one lion doesn't give another lion the first bite for control of the pride. 

A combatant must always seize and retain the initiative in order to remain in control of a series of attacks. I use the word "momentum". It's true in life, it's true in business and it's true in politics. Surrendering momentum means losing the contest. 

An Argument in Washington, DC

First Lady Michelle Obama supports her husband (above)

 Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (below)
expresses a differing opinion.
Having no first hand knowledge, I remain mute on the issue.

Friend's Video - Promo

The English Longsword was the weapon of gentleman warriors in its day. Brandon Heslop (the bald guy in the movie below) and I debate medieval tactics from time to time but he is clearly better than I am at swordplay. He and his friend Casper (the guy with long hair) have published a book on the use of the Longsword in combat as Renaissance Martial Arts are renewed in the present day.

Live steel sparring (below) should be reserved for people who are very familiar with the use of these edged weapons because they are lethal. Brandon doesn't play for blood. He enjoys sport with an "edge to it" (pun intended). Most of my friends either have or do "live life on the edge." 

Thursday, May 21, 2009

In praise of predators

Our society seems to be very predator averse.  I want to claim that predators are important.

First, there's nothing wrong with sitting atop a food chain whether you are a corporate CEO or a clever operator in any industry or discipline. Far fewer than 10% of the population come up with 99% of all the great ideas. Those people who have that aggressive desire to achieve lift us all.  

Yet, we seem to grind our teeth in anxiety whenever somebody suggests that trophies in school athletics should only be given to winners. They assert that "trying is winning". 

NO. Winning is winning. Not winning is losing. (if you're not first, you're last)

In the world of nature, surviving is winning, not surviving is dinner for the one that survived. 

Even today my work is taking me to some awful places where the law-of-the-jungle is in play. I put it to you that we are ALL living by that law, no matter where we are. So I'm quoting from that law as set forth in The Jungle Book.  Maybe it applies to wolves. Maybe there is a deeper wisdom at work or perhaps it's a children's story. I leave it to you all to decide which.

The Law of the Jungle 
from The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
Now this is the Law of the Jungle - as old and as true as the sky;
And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, 
but the Wolf that shall break it must die.
As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk,
The Law runneth forward and back-
For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf,
And the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.

Wash daily from nose-tip to tail-tip;
Drink deeply, but never too deep;
And remember the night is for hunting,
And forget not the day is for sleep.

The Jackal may follow the Tiger,
But, Cub, when thy whiskers are grown,
Remember the Wolf is a Hunter.
Go forth and get food of thine own.

Keep peace with the Lords of the Jungle-
The Tiger, the Panther and Bear.
And trouble not Hathi the Silent,
And mock not the Boar in his lair.

When Pack meets with Pack in the Jungle,
And neither will go from the trail,
Lie down 'till the leaders have spoken.
It may be fair words shall prevail.

When ye fight with a Wolf of the Pack,
Ye must fight him alone and afar,
Lest others take part in the quarrel,
And the Pack be diminished by war.

The Lair of the Wolf is his refuge,
And where he has made him his home,
Not even the Head Wolf may enter,
Not even the Council may come.

The Lair of the Wolf is his refuge,
But where he has digged it too plain,
The Council shall send him a message,
And so he shall change it again.

If ye kill before midnight, be silent,
And wake not the woods with your bay,
Lest ye frighten the deer from the crop.
And your brothers go empty away.

Ye may kill for yourselves and your mates,
And your cubs as they need, and ye can;
But kill not for pleasure of killing,
And seven times -- never kill man.

If ye plunder his Kill from a weaker,
Devour not all in thy pride;
Pack-Right is the right of the meanest;
So leave him the head and the hide.

The Kill of the Pack is the meat of the Pack.
Ye must eat where it lies;
And no one may carry away of that meat to his lair,
Or he dies.

The Kill of the Wolf is the meat of the Wolf.
He may do what he will;
But, till he has given permission,
The Pack may not eat of that kill.

Cub-Right is the right of the Yearling.
From all of his Pack he may claim
Full-gorge when the killer has eaten;
And none may refuse him the same.

Lair right is the right of the Mother.
From all of her year she may claim,
One haunch of each kill for her litter,
And none may deny her the same.

Cave-Right is the right of the Father,
To hunt by himself for his own:
He is freed of all calls to the Pack;
He is judged by the Council alone.

Because of his age and his cunning,
Because of his gripe and his paw,
In all that the Law leaveth open,
The word of the Head Wolf is Law.

Now these are the Laws of the Jungle,
And many and mighty are they;
But the head and the hoof of the Law,
and haunch and the hump is -- Obey!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Memories, like the corners of my mind. 
Misty water-colored memories of the way we were.

There is nothing like adding to your posterity for the nostalgia of the past to creep up in subtle ways. Twenty-eight years of marriage drift by on the breeze, children are born, now all raised and things change with time and experiences.

This is the old me (not all that much like the current me) trying to teach my then-girlfriend and future wife to snorkel in the ocean. She didn't take to the water, unfortunately, but she was game enough to try it. Yes, my hair was dark back then.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Above - Alyssa      Below - Kelly (at the same age)

18th Birthday Photos

For those who read this Blog including who are friends who don't visit us in person very often, I'm posting these photos from last Saturday (Emilie's 18th Birthday). Above, Emilie sits poolside.
I went shopping with Emilie for clothes and bought her the top she's wearing. I don't know why she likes to go shopping for clothes with Dad except that I'm a soft touch when it comes to breaking out my wallet... See, Dad's do have VALUE (cha-ching). 
(left to right) Kelly - who had Alyssa yesterday, Emilie and Tammy

Indulge Me (for one more moment)

Yes, I'm a proud grandpa. Alyssa getting her first bath. The way things worked out, I was supposed to be in Washington, DC --  Monday and through this week for meetings pertaining to business. Due to client issues, I had to put those meetings off and it allowed me to be present for my granddaughter's birth. 

These are seminal moments in life and I'm so very happy that things were delayed and that I was able to be present. Not everything that counts can be counted - not everything that can be counted counts. 
Alyssa was born to a mother and father who wanted her. She was born into families of grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles - to an extended family who welcomed her. She will grow up around those who love her.  Of all the things a baby can be given, that unconditional love and acceptance it the most important.
Emilie, my youngest daughter, who is also known as the family princess, pronounced that she will be giving up her tiara (crown) to Alyssa. 

Though I have important work to be done today, I'll give you one guess where I'll go before I need to work... To the hospital to visit Kelly, Devin and Alyssa.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Miss Alyssa

Welcome to Earth, Alyssa Rae, born at about 
6 pm today by c-section after an 18 hour labor.
My daughter, Kelly, my granddaughter, Alyssa and son-in-law, Devin
The face of a little princess...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Condor - In Landing Pattern

Tonight I'll be a grandfather of my first granddaughter, Alyssa Rae Howard. Kelly is past due and the doctors will begin to induce labor. Normally a stork brings a baby, but in this case it will be a Condor - because the stork didn't show up.
Kelly at her baby shower.
Alyssa "In the Hanger" getting ready for her life in the world. She's a lucky little girl because she will be born with so many people around her who will love and cherish her.

Killer Chip (patent application)

A Saudi Arabian inventor tried to patent a very interesting chip designed to track and potentially eliminate undesirable people. You can read more about it here (CLICK) from the German-News (English) website, The Local. A friend of mine who put me onto this suggested that the patent will go through - but not in Germany. German patent law does not allow inventions that "transgress public order or good morals" according to Stephanie Kruger of the German Patent and Trademark Office.

The tiny electronic device, dubbed the "Killer Chip" by Swiss daily Tagesanzeiger, would be suitable for tracking fugitives from justice, terrorists, illegal immigrants, criminals, political opponents, defectors, domestic help and Saudi Arabians who don't return home from pilgrimages.  -- "I apply for these reasons and for reasons of state security and the security of citizens," the statement reads.

"After subcutaneous implantation, the chip would send out encrypted radio waves that would be tracked by satellites to confirm the person's identity and location. An alternate model could reportedly release a poison into the carrier if he or she became a security risk."

In troubled times, the fearful and naive are always drawn to charismatic radicals. It was true of Hitler in Germany in the 1930's, true of Lenin and Trotsky in Russia circa 1910-20, true of Castro in Cuba in the 1950's and some would opine that we in the United States are facing the same cult of personality in office today. Technology has changed what the unscrupulous are able to do and this so-called "death chip" is but one example what is possible. I know it sounds like a bad science fiction novel - sometimes life is like that.

Robert Heinlein, noted Science Fiction author wrote, "Everything is theoretically impossible until it's done. One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never have happened."

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Rite of Passage

I thought of writing some sort of clever blog complete with photos to commemorate my youngest daughter's eighteenth birthday but it seemed too trite for this rite of passage. 18 is the year of majority in all things except consumption of alcoholic beverages. As of today she can vote, make a valid will, enter into binding contracts and enlist in the armed forces. If she commits a crime, she would not be tried in the criminal justice system rather than through the juvenile court system. She can also marry without my consent now.

As a father, I look at her rite of passage as one of my own as well because my children are all (more or less) grown up. There is a sobering realization in this that things have changed in a subtle way in my life. It doesn't mean I won't still pay the bills and that I'll stop being a father to my daughters, but it does diminish my responsibilities slightly.

She's getting a really cool presents - she got a new 2008 Honda Civic last year so it won't be that cool. We're going to Fleming's Steakhouse at Fashion Island (Newport Beach) for dinner to celebrate as a family. It's my favorite place to get a steak in Southern California and the dining facilities are better able to accept Kelly (10 months pregnant) and Griffin (3 months old) than the Dana Point Charthouse or other favorite destinations. Happy Birthday Emilie.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Constitutional Rights - 912

States test the US Constitution - Bill of Rights - Tenth Amendment. 

Essentially states are passing legislation that nullifies Federal jurisdiction over firearms ownership when the firearms and the ammunition are manufactured in that state. The Federal government has no jurisdiction on intra-state commerce.

Naval Jargon

I used some naval terminology in a discussion today and the person I spoke to thought I was speaking martian. Here are some terms. Let's see how you do. I'll post the answers here on this blog in a day or two.

Charlie Noble  (galley stovepipe)
Ganked              (stolen)
Lagging Paste  (oatmeal)
Snipe                  (engineman)
Sewerpipe        (submarine)
Pogey Bait        (doughnuts or sweets)
Teakettle           (nuclear powerplant/engine)
FOD Burger     (somebody sucked into a jet intake)
Goat Locker     (chief petty officer's space on the ship)
DILLIGAF        (does it look like I give a f--k(?)
AFFF (or A-Triple F)  (fire retardant)
Purple K           (more fire retardant)
CHENG             (Chief Engineering Officer)
Overhead         (ceiling of a compartment)
Splice the Main Brace  (have a drink of alcohol)
Bulkhead                      (wall) - Opus #6 identified
Head                               (toilet) - Opus#6 identified
Pisscutter         (officer's garrison cap)
Golden Shellback (sailor-sailed across the equator and dateline)
Condition Zulu (all hatches closed and dogged shut)
Auto Dog                 (soft-serve ice cream - looks like dog dropping)
Calking Off  (daydreaming or sleeping on duty)
Boy Butter    (grease spread on torpedoes before loading in tubes)
Gun Decking (falsifying statistics)

Piracy as an Occupational Choice

Dead Men Tell No Tales!

While you may dispute that mantra, there is some proof behind it that substantiates the claim!

On my other blog, I took a shot at the international community that lets modern-day piracy flourish through their seeming indifference.

Then I thought about what I would be doing if I lived back in the halcyon days of privateering circa 1625 in the Caribbean. The Island of Tortuga (meaning Turtle), just north of Hispaniola was actually an island shaped like a huge sea turtle - thus Ile de Tortue as it came to be known was a location where the first French settlers hunted and sold meat to sailors in the area. They were called buccaneers (derived from the word boucan - French for meat).

Would I have hunted and sold meat when there were treasure ships to be taken on the high seas? Not likely.

The pirates banded together and called themselves "Brethren of the Coast". They were united under Jean Le Vasseur, the French governor who built a large fort on the top of a hill which made the enclave virtually unassailable. 

So the choice - feather merchant or buccaneer? Yeah, I'd have been 'Captain Jack Sparrow'. I know I'm blending history at this point with the ride at the Disney Amusement Parks - Pirates of the Caribbean, and I'm doing it deliberately.

Q How much does a pirate pay for an earring?
A Buck-an-ear.

Q What do you call a good looking pirate girl?
A Aye - Candy

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me.
We pillage, we plunder, we rifle and loot,
Drink up, me 'earties, yo ho.
We kidnap and ravage and don't give a hoot,
Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me.
We extort, we pilfer, we filch and sack,
Drink up, me 'earties, yo ho.
Maraud and embezzle and even hi-jack,
Drink up, me 'earties, yo ho.

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me.
We kindle and char, inflame and ignite,
Drink up, me 'earties, yo ho.
We burn up the city, we're really a fright,
Drink up, me 'earties, yo ho.

We're rascals, scoundrels, villains and knaves,
Drink up, me 'earties, yo ho.
We're devils and black sheep, really bad eggs,
Drink up, me 'earties, yo ho.

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me.
We're beggars and blighters, ne're-do-well cads,
Drink up, me 'earties, yo ho.
Aye, but we're loved by our mommies and dads,
Drink up, me 'earties, yo ho.

Yes, it's my favorite ride at Disneyland - and afterward, dinner at the Blue Bayou Restaurant.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I want a Ferret

No, not a little furry weasel, an armored scout car of the type featured above. The rig above is a 1960 Ferret Armored Scout Car MK 2/3. A total of 4,409 Ferrets were produced and many such as the one above, are street-legal in the US and owned by private enthusiasts. 

The women blog readers will shake their heads and ask, "Why do you want a Ferret?" The answer is simple. I want another toy to play in the desert with. Yes, I have a world class Toyota FJ Cruiser but it's simply not the same thing as the Ferret. And since when was one toy enough for any guy?

Am I just a large child?  Uh, YES! I'm a guy, aren't I?

Every Guy wants a Stepford Wife...

I browsed the library for reading material and thought I'd try something in the horror department. To my ABJECT HORROR, I found that the novel, "The Stepford Wives" by Ira Levin was considered a horror novel.

Ever since the movie came out in 1975, I believed that it was non-fiction. 

In order to refresh your recollections, the town of Stepford, Connecticut had fawning, submissive, impossibly beautiful wives married to handsome, successful, brilliant men.  The protagonist (the snake in the proverbial Garden of Eden) attempts to destroy the male paradise by delving into matters best left alone. In the end of the story, the protagonist, Joanna (Catherine Ross) has seen the error of her ways and is seen gliding through the aisles of a perfect supermarket buying food for hubby's dinner.
The 2004 film put a more sinister spin on the book. 

But I still harbor the firm belief that the book was non-fiction.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tokyo Express (the latest from Japan)


Trust the Japanese to come up with their own spin on bottled water. I give you Bottled Water in a CAN. Why don't the Japanese call it "canned water"? Who knows? If a Japanese person happens on this blog, please explain for the benefit of all.

Next (below) is the fire breathing robot. As I understand it there are many of these sorts of robots in Tokyo which serve as decorations. This one is different because it shoots napalm from its mouth as part of a stage show. Clearly it's the state-of-the-art in controlling unruly fans at a concert. 
I wonder if it was inspired by the Sci-Fi Classic, "The Day The Earth Stood Still"? I'm slightly disappointed that it wasn't a fire breathing Godzilla or Rodan since they are so classically Japanese.

Up for a "quickie" or a place of repose for a traveling "salaryman"?
For those of you who have visited Tokyo, Osaka or any other large Japanese city, you'll know that finding a hotel room can be a challenge. Not to worry. Now you can visit a "First Cabin" airline theme modular hotel. The rooms rent for $50.00 per night for a first class room or $40 per night for a business class room. There are separate co-ed public shower/bath areas as is customary in capsule hotels. Daytime stays are also possible by-the-hour if you simply need to catch a few winks or have some sort of liaison planned at the modest rate of $9 per hour. The First Cabin hotel is completely cashless. Reservations can be made on-line or with a mobile phone internet interface.

As a note, many Westerners find the notion of a public co-ed washroom/toilet facility/shower and bath set up to be somewhat strange. The first time I was standing at a urinal in Asia and two women walked past me to use the toilet facilities behind me, I'll admit I was a little freaked out.  Different countries - different customs.

It's a living

My daughter, Emilie, models fragrance and shows people how not to smell so bad. When you consider the world at large, it's a service to us all if she succeeds. 

I have tried to coach her in her approach to complete strangers: 

(1) I smelled you walk through the door into the store. You need to buy this perfume.

(2) I know that you don't think you can mask that disgusting odor, but why don't you try this product.

She claims not to have used any of my rather innovative sales tactics but since she seems to have done well, I have my suspicions that she's using them to great effect. (haha)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Fast Rope

Fast roping is a technique for getting men out of a helicopter to the ground quickly. The rope/line is used something like a fireman's pole in that you use it for braking before you hit the bottom. The rope is not attached to you (photo right) and there's usually about ten feet between people in free-fall on the rope. That means, when you do hit the ground, you need to move fast or the next guy will land on top of you. 

Heavy gloves are used to create braking friction on the line. So as the ground is coming up to you, holding hard on the soft, large diameter rope is what keeps you from being squashed. 

The rotary wing aircraft in these photos are CH-43's.
The photo above shows a little razzle-dazzle, going off the ramp inverted (upside down) thence down the rope to the patiently waiting Earth below. And with the exception of the inverted stunt, the old thing we said as kids, "look Mom, no hands" holds true up to the point when you need to brake.
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