Oct 13 2014

You only see the “Y” in the road-you don’t see the end of it.

The S.O. has had to work all this weekend, and I have been on call for my job. Basically its a payment up front for the both of us-for we will be in Austria for her birthday at the end of the month. The timing is less than optimum, but I have a deposit on our place to stay already put down and I don't want to lose it. So, this holiday weekend has been a quiet one. It's nice having the S.O. gone, I savor the time alone, probably because I get so little of it.

It is also a good time to think and reflect. That's a part of my inability to write these days-there is a lot to think about. Next few months will become busy and then it will be 2015. That years is going to be one I will have to make some decisions, and I have no idea what they will be. But I suspect I won't like them. The tough times are coming, I fear-and there is little I can do to stop them.

I did go to a festival in the nearby town yesterday. It was nice. It was an open shopping day ( most stores in Germany are closed on Sundays). Walked through the town, and of course stopped for a couple half liter glasses of beer.

No good deed goes unpunished however, and so shortly I will be going out to do the list of errands the S.O. has left for me. I find it odd how much I am enjoying this time alone at home. I should want to be heading out, but I don't. It's fun being lazy this holiday.

Tomorrow will come soon enough and off to work I will go.

Since this is Coloumbus Day holiday, I would like to depart by pointing you to an article by Charles C. Mann in The Atlantic. It was originally published in 2002. But its worth a read again.

Erickson and Balée belong to a cohort of scholars that has radically challenged conventional notions of what the Western Hemisphere was like before Columbus. When I went to high school, in the 1970s, I was taught that Indians came to the Americas across the Bering Strait about 12,000 years ago, that they lived for the most part in small, isolated groups, and that they had so little impact on their environment that even after millennia of habitation it remained mostly wilderness. My son picked up the same ideas at his schools. One way to summarize the views of people like Erickson and Balée would be to say that in their opinion this picture of Indian life is wrong in almost every aspect. Indians were here far longer than previously thought, these researchers believe, and in much greater numbers. And they were so successful at imposing their will on the landscape that in 1492 Columbus set foot in a hemisphere thoroughly dominated by humankind.

Have a happy holiday.

6 responses so far

Oct 05 2014

Pumpkin Fest

Published by under Die Deutsche Leben

In Ludwigsburg, they are running a Pumpkin Fest. In German the word for Pumpkin is Kurbis(with an umlaut). It's held in the garden of the palace in Ludwigsburg. Probably most amazing-besides the Pumpkin Wine, Soup, and Pasta-and beer-is the Pumpkin Figures.

See for your self:


And Elvis, had to stop by:



And when you have to go-you have to go:


The Earl of Locksley dropped by:


And lets play dinosaurs!


And the bees were out:



3 responses so far

Oct 04 2014

Back to blank paper.

Thank goodness it is a new month. Last month was at the same time, marvelous and deeply depressing. On the marvelous front, the return to Japan was without a doubt the highlight of my year.  Returning to Germany however was a big swoon and a drop to a real low. There are a bunch of reasons for this. 

To start with, there is a lot of churn at my work. The unintended consequences of the megalomaniac's merger from hell are coming home to the roost. The biggest of which is the revelation,  that the merger exposed,  about the great disparities in compensation among people doing exactly the same work. More discouraging in the long term, is the inability of this soulless individual to recognize, that he could take some straightforward steps to correct the worst issues-and also avoid the repeated ethical bypasses he takes to keep all control solely in his hands. Even though we "divorced" because the relationship was most unsatisfactory, and the "customer" we work for recognized he was getting f*cked at the drive through-there is still a lot of damage that was done and cannot be quickly undone. And we who all came in about the same time-with expectations of upward mobility-are becoming more than a little disillusioned. We are probably going to lose one, maybe two people in the next few months-and their replacement process will be iffy at best. So my work level, at least in the short term, will increase. And of course it makes even more bittersweet, my return to Japan,  when it gets coupled with the increasing realization that getting back there to live is / or will be extremely difficult if not impossible. The pain that alone engenders is excruciating.

But life, on many levels, has to go on. For the short term, I have to remain focused and attack my work, but also keep an eye out for the writing that is visibly scrolling itself across the wall.

Which leads me to the public disappointment. I don't think I am saying anything earth shaking when I say that on the global news front-the last month just sucked. Chief among my public concerns is watching the United States sink back into the quicksand that is yet another war for Arabs who cannot solve their own issues-or put their silly religious disputes behind them. It may in fact be that the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is not up to the task of dealing with this issue. But I know with certainty none of his potential GOP successors is up to the challenge-just as his predecessor was not up to the challenge of dealing with 9-11 or it's aftermath. His decisions created this mess in the first place, chief among them being the utterly disastrous decision to invade Iraq in 2003. All of the current agony, as well as the United States political and economic dysfunction stems from that one single disastrous, completely flawed decision by a deeply flawed man. 

And its troubling our country has no memory of this chain of events. When the consequences are plainly in front of it. And yet, the march of the war lovers goes on again and again-second ( or third) verse, same as the first.

It would do us all well to think about this:

It’s important to remember that moment now, amid our current bout of war fever. It may be worth attacking the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria for purely humanitarian reasons. After all, the United States launched air wars against Serbia (twice) and Libya without claiming that their regimes posed a national-security threat, and ISIS is more savage than either Slobodan Milosevic or Muammer al-Qaddafi. It may be worth attacking ISIS because of the threat it poses to our allies in the Middle East. If unchecked, the group could destabilize not only Iraq and Syria, but potentially Jordan and Saudi Arabia too. (Judging by social media, ISIS has a lot of fans in the kingdom of Saud.)

But, for the most part, that’s not how this war is being sold. It’s being sold as a war to protect the United States homeland against a profound terrorist threat. Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein recently said, “The threat ISIS poses cannot be overstated.” Her Republican colleague Jim Inhofe has claimed that ISIS is “rapidly developing a method of blowing up a major U.S. city” and that as a result, “We’re in the most dangerous position we’ve ever been in as a nation.”

This time, the press needs to aggressively investigate whether that’s true. If it is, then the Obama administration should be considering ground troops, as General Lloyd Austin, commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East,reportedly requested—domestic politics be damned. We sent them into Afghanistan, after all. And if the ISIS threat really is greater than the al-Qaeda threat was on September 10, as Inhofe suggests, then there’s a case for doing the same in Iraq and Syria today.

If, on the other hand, ISIS lacks the motivation and capacity for anything close to 9/11, then President Obama’s stated justification for even an air war looks weak. So far, the press hasn’t done a good enough job of determining if this is the case. Many publications have uncritically accepted Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s claim about the number of Americans who have gone to fight with ISIS—a figure that New America Foundation terrorism expert Peter Bergenargues is dramatically exaggerated. Other media commentary simply assumes that if Westerners go to fight with ISIS in Iraq or Syria, they’re destined to attack Europe or the United States. But that’s not true. Bergen notes, for instance, that of the 29 Americans who have gone to fight with the Somali jihadist group al-Shabab, none have tried to commit terrorism against the United States. One reason is that many of them ended up dead.


The problem is, no one can answer for me the key question: How does this end?

I don't think anyone in power knows the answer to that question either. And there is one more thing:

I am continuing to come to the conclusion that, despite all efforts to the convince us to the contrary, there is something fundamentally wrong with the Islamic faith. I'm kind of in agreement with Bill Maher on this-even though he is taking a lot of heat for his statements to that effect. Maher called Islam “the only religion that acts like the mafia, that will fucking kill you if you say the wrong thing, draw the wrong picture or write the wrong book.”

Yes, the number of extremists are a minority-but there seems to be no one of authority in Islam, including so called "Islamic" nations,  who have the balls to stand up to this minority. Or publicly denounce it. It's a part of the problem-and its a big reason why the invasion of Iraq, or anywhere else did not work-because of a tired adherence to stupid parochial bickering-Arabs always screw things up.

And thus we are back to the central question: How does this all end?

I don't know, and I don't think you do either. There 1.5 billion Muslims in the world however. So today – the future continues to look bleak.

Have a good weekend.

Lots of things could threaten the United States. The critical question, as the U.S. launches a war against ISIS that will likely take years and have myriad unforeseen consequences, is what “could” actually means. This time, the press needs to do a better job of finding out.


6 responses so far

Sep 28 2014

Still here, you greasy bastards.

Published by under Blogging

Two weeks without posting is obscene. I should be doing better and I resolve to do better. However in my defense, things have been busy, I've been depressed, and I've been in a funk. A real funk-and its taking me a while to work through. But make no mistake, I'm still an honest to God blogger.

Lots on my mind right now. Yet one more war in the Middle East is a good way to start. I don't know where it ends-and that troubles me greatly.

But till I can assemble my thoughts-have a great weekend.


3 responses so far

Sep 13 2014

Too much fun

Published by under Japan Living

Sorry for the lack of posting. I have been enjoying my time here in Japan and reminiscing about how much fun it was. I really have missed being here. Germany is ok, but I really thought I would be back working in Asia by now.

That has not happened.

The S.O. has a lot of family issues going on-which was one of the reasons for this trip. I've tried to be supportive as I can, and I have also been pleasantly surprised that my Japanese language skills have held up better than I expected. Was able to converse reasonable well with her family, and when we went to an appointment for some S.O. business issues-I held my own in understanding and contributing to the conversation. That, needless to say is a big victory for me.

Alas, it all comes to an end tomorrow as we board a plane for the long trip back. Sadness will envelope me I am sure as I board the bus for Narita. I sure as hell am not going to wait so long to come back.

Pictures to follow.



12 responses so far

Sep 05 2014


Published by under Uncategorized

That is what you say in Japanese when you come home. Hopefully a loving specimen of Japanese womanhood greets you with a beer and a cheery, "O kaeri nasai" when you do.

We spent the last week at my father's house-after a quick stop in Shopping Mall. Did not really want or need to go to Shopping Mall, considering I was just there, but since my employer was paying for the trip home for my home leave. That was where I had to go to.

Spent the week in hot and humid North Carolina and got up this morning to get on the plane. It was 2 hours late departing which made our connection to Tokyo a tight one. Fortunately we were able to get upgraded and ended up on the upper deck of the 747. The upper deck is nice. Was able to sleep on the plane.

Now we are at our lodging, trying to gut it out and stay up long enough to make the body clock sync when we go to sleep. Don't know if it will work.

But it sure is nice to be back in Japan.smiley

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Aug 27 2014

One of my pet peeves……..

Published by under Time wasters

I am sorry it’s been a long time between posts. I was on travel to the US, partly for business and partly to see my son. The business days tended to be long and involved and when I got back to the room-between drinks, dinner, binging on Netflix and doing my courses-something had to go by the wayside. So that is not a good excuse-but it’s the truth.

Now I’m back in Germany-but only for a short while till I begin a trip I have been planning for some six months, a voyage back to the promised land of Japan. It’s been 4+ years since I have set foot in Japan, 2.5 years since I set foot anywhere in Northern or Southeast Asia. To say I am more than a little excited about it is an understatement.

So as I prepare to drop off the grid for a while ( about 2 weeks to be accurate) I wanted to do a quick post on one of my biggest pet peeves: e-mail. Or rather, people who complain they don’t have enough time to get through their e-mail. I had the misfortune of hearing two Lieutenant Colonels whine and complain about how they spend so much time dealing with e-mail, they don’t have enough time to get anything else done. Since one of those same LTC’s seems always to find 1.5 hours for a mind numbing staff meeting each week-and another 1.5 hours each day for a workout, ( and the other one is always dealing with child care issues-welcome to the modern world) I know for a fact that this is utter bullshit.

 E-mail is the curse of our generation and those that are yet to come. Yet, I think some of the complainers really don’t know how bad things were in the “good old days” of OCR printers and messages, message diary entries, and messages that had to go all the way to the CO for signature. You have amazing tools at your disposal to deal with e-mail these days-it disgusts me when you don’t know how to use them.

 It especially makes me angry when I hear a flag officer complain about his e-mail load. What that tells me, is that you don’t know how to delegate responsibility to subordinates-and more importantly, you don’t know how to :1) read for content and context and 2) scan and sort necessary e-mails from trash. As an O-7 in a modern military, you should be able to do better.

I get between 75-100 e-mails in an average workday on two different networks. I am almost always able to work my way through the pile in relatively short order in the morning and before I go home at night. I do long for the days of yesteryear, when I could use POP mail to drop into my e-mail accounts at night while drinking beer, but thanks to events of the last few years that is impossible to do. The key is understanding a few fundamental rules about e-mail, and for that matter, about work in general. So I provide these rules and suggestions for your consideration.

Rule #1: Not everything is worth doing to perfection. Some things are worth doing only good enough and others are not worth doing at all. The trick is to know which is which.

For e-mail the corollary would be-not every e-mail needs to be answered. And those that do, do not always have to be answered by you in writing. Phone calls are quicker.

 For my two LTC friends above, they have the double curse of being grammar and word Nazis-added to the idea that they subscribe to the notion that we have what I call, “Twitter flags”, e.g., Admirals only have a little time so you can only give them the bulletized version. I think that is total crap.

Rule #2: Outlook is a powerful tool, IF, you will learn how to use it.

Here is an example. I have a coworker who says he hates the “preview pane”. With all due respect, he’s an idiot. The sorting rules and preview pane of Outlook are your friends not your enemies. Especially the preview pane. I use it religiously and have my outlook set up with calendar on the right of the preview pane. I make it a point to scan through all my new e-mail using the preview pane first-then I go back and read in detail the ones I judge to be important. I scan paragraphs quickly-not necessarily to read for total comprehension, but to scan for warning flags of things that are dangerous and need to be responded to.

And here is an adjunct rule-if you have a secretary, or a chief of staff or exec, they better be trustworthy enough to read your official mail and you should have no qualms about sharing your inbox with them. Three sets of  eyes can spot warning flags better than one. ( Caution if you do this, have some checks and balances and fire the person that does not safeguard the contents.) Lots of times they can alert you to something you missed, or in many cases they can take actions on your behalf.

Rule #3: Action and CC lines mean different things. If you are not an action addressee on a e-mail, give thanks, take note of an e-mail and move on. Come back to the e-mail if you need to later.

Rule #4: Start at the top of the pile and work your way down. That will help you resist the urge to respond immediately, which is usually never a good thing. You will also generally find out that a problem has worked itself out without you having to intervene at all save for reading about it.

Rule # 5. For writing replies-see rule #1. If it is really important, and you have the luxury to have subordinates “ghost” the reply, let them do it. Its good training for them.  But if you do this-be a man and ask them for the desired text only. Don’t be one of these flag officer pussies who insist on having the whole e-mail including addressees laid out for them. That wastes time. There  is a word for flag officers who make subordinates create an outlook shell and then put addresses and text in that shell: morons.

If it’s just a minor matter that needs acknowledgement-then respond quickly, and move on.

Rule #6. Learn to use Outlook rule sets-and learn how to archive. Generally if an e-mail is over a month old, you don’t need it and you can archive it. This makes your e-mail inbox smaller.

Rule #7. Go see rule # 1. If you are a leader, e-mail should be a small portion of your day. If you are spending too much time on e-mail, you are in over your head.

Trust me-these rules work. I am a big believer in managing by walking around, and I refuse to get chained to my desk all day. I also believe in things like Blackberries, and letting people work from home, or at least have access to e-mail at home to the max extent possible. I know some people hate these ideas-but I am the kind of person who works best in spurts. Having the BB with me, allows me to pace myself and do more productive things. I am not a slave to my Blackberry. It is a slave to me.

Thus endeth the rant for today. 

4 responses so far

Aug 27 2014

Can’t believe I missed it.

Yesterday was Women's Equality Day. And I totally forgot about it. I'm so depressed. wink


After all, there are some hard facts of life:


And while you are at it-get me a beer:


Ok Honey?



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Aug 13 2014

The darkness that always lurks beneath the surface.

Published by under Memorials

I wanted to write a quick not about the tragic loss of Robin Williams. His death will most probably be ruled a suicide. And I expect ( and in some of the worst corners of the internet-we are already seeing) the holier than thou brigades are already spouting venom-not understanding in the least the struggles one must deal with, once you get the Scarlett "AA" tagged upon you.

Its common knowledge that Williams struggled with issues from addiction. What most of the do gooders seem to ignore, is the heavy burden America's system of shoving you into the hell that is AA does to you. Addiction treatment is not about stopping drinking. Plenty of people do that for protracted periods of time with no effort. It is the idea that they foist upon you that you can never do it again-that creates the inner conflict that grows and grows and grows. Especially since it is complete and total bullshit-most alcoholics recover on their own, and do perfectly fine drinking again, once they realize that there is personal responsibility. The treatment industry is about control-not fluids. Its about their iron clad demand that you cede control of your life to someone who in all probability is more fucked up than you are. And they stick a double whammy on you in that they tell you , that you can never take that control back.

Only by rejecting their ideas-and demanding to live your life on your own terms can you ever get some peace back. I know, because I lived through the hell of having a worthless bastard tell me how I had to live my life. It took luck and a great deal of anger and planning to escape from the shackles of the "program" he abandoned me into. I don't think I can ever forgive him for his callousness and indifference.

What does this have to do with Robin Williams? Well, a lot I think. The conflict of being a talented individual, knowing you are talented, and then being forced to be subjected to an idea that you are worthless and powerless-is a huge conflict. It creates inner struggles and a feeling of futility at being told you are not "like everyone else". Even when you are. it takes a great deal of struggle to break free.

Not everyone is up to the struggle-no matter how successful they are.

So all the people who so easily dismiss his struggle-I have no use for. The trolls who have been coming out and writing really reprehensible things-I also have no use for. They may think it can never happen to them-trust me, it can. And don't kid yourself, your so called friends and allies will abandon you in heartbeat. Such is the nature of America's coerced treatment machine.

So God rest the soul of Robin Williams, and if he is any just will grant him access to glory. To all those who attack him after the fact-I spit upon you.

I loved a lot of his movies-and I think he was a gifted and talented man. Since I was aware of him from my college years-his work literally spanned the length of my adult life. And he was a great.



He deserves peace and a place in heaven. Those who think otherwise-can leave my sight now.

5 responses so far

Aug 11 2014

Just kill me now…..

Published by under Fun things!

Once again I have to apologize for the lack of posting. The S.O. and I went on a marvelous trip to Austria. And now we are back.

And work got even more suckier in the interval.

So, pix to follow-and now I ask for appeals to save me from flag induced O-5 ambition. Trust me pal-you are still getting passed over.

In the meantime-help me think about this:


No responses yet

Aug 03 2014

Recent Reading

Published by under Movies and Books

While I was back in the land of the free and the home of the stupid and overweight, I had a chance to stumble into Barnes and Noble. This was ostensibly for the purpose of purchasing a study guide for the examination I have to take later this year, but that did not stop me from perusing the aisles and finding some other great books. Since I am home sick today-woke up at 4AM sick as a dog-I thought I might share them with you.


When I left the store 1+30 after entering it and 167 dollars poorer, I had five books in my bag. The study guide of course, and this one, by Michael Lewis:


Originally published in 1991, this is a collection of the columns he wrote after leaving the world of investment banking. Taken together they are a great picture of the foolishness that was the 1980's-and provide insight into the ideas that laid the foundation for the disasters we say in the second half of the first decade of the 21st Century. I have now read 4 of his books and enjoyed all of them very much. I had recently finished this book, which was a fascinating investigation of Flash trading and how it screws the average investor:


The book is a fascinating read. 

Flash Boys is about a small group of Wall Street guys who figure out that the U.S. stock market has been rigged for the benefit of insiders and that, post–financial crisis, the markets have become not more free but less, and more controlled by the big Wall Street banks. Working at different firms, they come to this realization separately; but after they discover one another, the flash boys band together and set out to reform the financial markets. This they do by creating an exchange in which high-frequency trading—source of the most intractable problems—will have no advantage whatsoever.

The characters in Flash Boys are fabulous, each completely different from what you think of when you think “Wall Street guy.” Several have walked away from jobs in the financial sector that paid them millions of dollars a year. From their new vantage point they investigate the big banks, the world’s stock exchanges, and high-frequency trading firms as they have never been investigated, and expose the many strange new ways that Wall Street generates profits.

The light that Lewis shines into the darkest corners of the financial world may not be good for your blood pressure, because if you have any contact with the market, even a retirement account, this story is happening to you. But in the end, Flash Boys is an uplifting read. Here are people who have somehow preserved a moral sense in an environment where you don’t get paid for that; they have perceived an institutionalized injustice and are willing to go to war to fix it.


What I found most interesting was the lengths these companies would go to , to gain milliseconds in time. And the outrage they expressed when someone actually called what they were doing the thievery that it is and was. The main narrative involves Brad Katsuyama, a trader at the Royal Bank of Canada, a relatively obscure firm that is no where near the top tier when it comes to Wall Street trading. Katsuyama discovers that his trades aren't getting filled as he expects, and he becomes suspicious and goes looking for the problem. He finds it-and a whole lot more problems.


In both books, it is a fairly clear common thread that the people with money, are conspiring to keep other people from joining in the party. Investing is increasingly rigged against the average person and small investor-which I find especially disgusting in light of how corporations have walked away from their obligations to provide pensions and made millions of Americans utterly dependent on making good investment decisions. The problems identified in both books are symptoms of a bigger problem, namely that people do not embrace a business model that looks out for all the stakeholders in a company, which includes more than just the shareholders; it includes the employees and the customers. If you ever needed convincing of why unregulated markets are dangerous, these two books do a good job.




Moving on to the other purchases, to keep up with my commenters, I purchased this little gem:




It is a great book and one I have really enjoyed. I look forward to using some of these quotes to respond to Curtis in the future.




On a more serious note, I came across this fine book by astronaut and moon walking explorer, Buzz Aldrin. 





Basically, Aldrin is offering a well reasoned argument that: 1) Exploration is important, 2) The US manned space program is broken and finally 3) there are some commons sense and affordable solutions on our part that would fix it.


I agree with this assessment:


"There is no reason to go there," "Let's wait until we have better technology," "Let's straighten up our home front first before we venture into somewhere else." These tired, old excuses could have been said to Columbus or any of the great explorers in our history; people use them to stall progress since the day of dawn. Yet, here we are, thousands of years later, and we still kill each other on a daily basis. Let's face it, humanity haven't changed a bit, and if we were to wait for the perfect time for everything, we would still live in caves and pray for some imaginary lightning god for fire. Curiosity and exploration are the real driving forces of progress. We harvest and bask in the fruits of scientific progress today, of which not a small part come from space exploration from our kitchenware to satellite TV. Similarly, the process of exploring Mars could hold technologies that could define our future for centuries to come. Or maybe not… But if we don't go and look, we will never know!

For that reason, I wholeheartedly agree with the central premise of this book, and I am overjoyed to see the growing number of private companies taking up the baton our government had dropped decades ago.

"The day we stop exploring is the day we commit ourselves to live in a stagnant world, devoid of curiosity, empty of dreams."

- Neil deGrass Tyson


Specifically, Aldrin avoids the trap of saying we have to go back to the moon. He argues that while we should eventually have bases and industry on the moon, its not sufficient enough of a challenge to motivate us and keep us on track. Using the year 2035 as a benchmark and bemoaning all the lost time we have squandered in the last 20 years-Aldrin lays out a good plane to have government and private industry work together to get mankind out into the solar system on a long term basis. For going back to the moon- Aldrin does not ignore it, rather he proposes that we outsource it. E.G. let the Japanese or Chinese or Europeans go there and we should applaud them all the way.  For the US he says we should go for bigger game: a blueprint for establishing a base on Mars involving a novel “flexible path” approach, with Mars’ moon Phobos as a docking station. He endorses commercial space travel for paying passengers, as a way to work on technology and get more people to buy into space exploration. "He favors the use of "reusable, recyclable space transportation" and equipment as the building blocks of "cycling" networks to support and replenish the movement of people, cargo, and other essential materials between the "celestial triad" of Earth, the moon, and Mars."


Most importantly, despite what many say, Aldrin's plan is affordable. Certainly it will cost maybe 15% of what we wasted on worthless wars for worthless Arabs over the last dozen years. Just think what we could have done if the US had not wasted all that money on the hell hole that is Iraq?


Read the book for yourself. I think we should put Aldrin's ideas into action. If there is any one criticism I would levy, it is that Aldrin's strategy assumes a steadfast government over the years. Given that the legislature has morons like Ted Cruz, Paul Ryan and an asshole like Louie Gohmert, I am not sure that is a good assumption.

10 responses so far

Aug 01 2014

Still here.

Published by under Uncategorized

It is crunch time on my courses right now. Plus. I am playing the popular game, "What will next year's budget be?".

So go read this outstanding article by James Fallows instead.


No responses yet

Jul 26 2014

Mile high

Published by under Uncategorized

Sitting in the lounge at Denver International-waiting to make the jump back across the Atlantic.

If you have not seen any of the latest Weird Al videos, you are missing a treat. Here is his send up of Happy:


Funny, isn't it? Have a great weekend. See you on the other side!

4 responses so far

Jul 20 2014

Six New States????

Nothing like coming back to the land of the free-home of the stupid. I remain just furious every time I see someone come out in support of this incredibly ridiculous idea.

The plan would split the state of California into six smaller US states — each with its own governor and legislature — as you can see in this map:


The proposal's chief backer, venture capitalist Timothy Draper, argues that with six states instead of one, government would be more decentralized and responsive. "The existing breadth of industry and various interests in California is untenable," Draper has said. He argues that the state's economy and educational systems have stagnated, partly because of the state's centralized bureaucracy — and he thinks dispensing with this bureaucratic baggage would allow for more innovation in governance. Under his plan, he told Gregory Ferenstein at TechCrunch, "Each new state can start fresh. From a new crowd sourced state flower to a more relevant constitution." Then, these "start-up states," as he calls them, "will be able to compete with each other, for us" — trying to lure businesses and residents.

So this is what I spent 29 years of my life in the service of a great nation, all so some rich douchebag can come along and propose an idea as positively dangerous and destructive as this? NO! I tell you. NO! Both the Constitution and the Civil War settled this-and quite simply, it is in really bad taste to even raise this issue at all. It is sedition pure and simple. "Any region caught leaving the State of California will be shot for desertion. Any one advocating the leaving of California will hung for sedition."

I can't tell you how much this really bothers me-and how much I hate people who dare to speak in its favor. California has a long and proud history-and until it started letting crackpots control the voting process by passing things like Prop-13, and giving credence to assholes like Grover Norquist. It deserves a lot better. The United States has a long and proud history too. And don't kid yourself, if an idea like this were to come to pass, it would destroy the United States. Maybe not right away-but it would start the US down a path it does not want to go down. I could see the US going the way of Europe-or Africa, increasingly smaller political entities, when in reality it needs bigger ones.

God this makes me angry. It really does. The reason the Union is inviolate-is that it forces, in the end, the people to decide,maybe after a lot of stupidity-such as that we are seeing from our teabagger crazed loons, maybe not-that they have to work to solve problems. Taking the lazy way out is not an option. You don't get to break up states! ( yes Texas, this applies to you too, spare the crap about your "special" status. You forfeited that when you took so many military bases.)

The State has problems, yes. The US, has problems too. But the solution is not to break up the Union-or to cede the solutions to a solution similar to the Balkans-and we have seen how well THAT has worked. Both California and the US have straightforward solutions to their problems. They just need to the will to exercise them-and stop letting crazed lunatics control the agenda.

I DID NOT give 29 years of my life in the service of my nation-only to see it kidnapped by rich bastards who care not a whit about it. NO!

Play nice in the comments or I will boot your ass in a heartbeat. I feel very strongly on this issue.

23 responses so far

Jul 18 2014

Traveling man

There just are not enough hours in the day sometimes. Leaving this week for business and to visit my father in the USA. Sitting here in the lounge contemplating the long jump across the Atlantic and then a cramped ride in a DeHaviland Dash 8 to my Dad's place. The shoot down of the Malaysian airliner keeps going through my mind. Those passengers were probably doing the same thing I am doing, relaxing before boarding, thinking about what to do at their destination, when on the plane many were probably asleep or reading-anticipating arrival in Amsterdam. Looking forward to life and a future.

And then……BOOM!

It is just not fair. I'll bet some of those passengers had put in a busy week like I did, trying to get things taken care of so they could relax on vacation. In my case it was a week trying to convince my erstwhile boss that he actually should pay attention to the budget up front-instead of relying on the previous author of the stupid merger to take care of things. Oh, he will take care of things all right-right up your ass. I've told you time and time again, money is one of those things its worth taking time to get right. Certainly a lot moreso than esoteric power points that nobody will read.

But that seems to be the story of my life lately, not being able to convince folks I am right. When KNOW I am. It is tiresome, to say the least.

The S.O. was unexpectedly very sweet to me last night. Very much a surprise-made doubly so because she too has had a busy week and got a scare when she went in to work and found a co-worker had screwed something up. We had a marvelous dinner last night at an outdoor Italian restaurant, and it was a beautiful evening to watch the sun set and be thankful for being able to live in an interesting place. ( Even if it is not Japan). It was more than usually sad to kiss her good bye this morning.

And oh you should see the day today!! The weather is gorgeous . It would be a great day to play golf. To go hiking. To be out and about in a convertible. To be driving a boat. Or flying a plane. Or even riding in one I guess.

I had a good deal of nostalgia last night. The song Maggie May was playing on my I-pod. That song always takes me back to the period 74-75, when I was preparing to attend to The Citadel, turning down the Naval Academy to do it-and contemplating what it would be like "in the Corps". I always think of the Citadel when I hear that song. The line, " I wish I had never seen your face" makes me think about what might have been if I had not met the ex. At that point in the song, nostalgia turns to rueful sadness.

In case you have not guessed-this post is really not about much of anything, just I had some time and I wanted to pour some feelings out. Now its time to go board the plane. Dear God please keep it safe.

Have a great weekend.



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