Archive for the 'Its all about me-My life.' Category

Jul 14 2016

And we are back. Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

If ever there was a good two weeks to be disconnected from the world-I think the last two weeks might have been it. Portugal beat France. The whole Dallas mess. The FBI director and his press conference, and of course, the vulgar talking yam saying the normally stupid things he says.

And of course there is this:


Not to mention having to go to work and read about this:



Altogether, I think it is time to:



For what it's worth, however, the cruise was great.  Pix to follow.


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Jun 02 2016

Red Dress Rules

My apologies for the absence this week. Was down in Croatia taking some well deserved time off. We went to Split and then drove from there down to Montenegro and the town and bay of Kotor. Its a beautiful place and worth the time to visit. That said-driving there is a pain in the ass. From Croatia one has to go through Bosnia Herzegovina, where according to Google Maps, the E-65 continues on through. ( An expressway that is beautiful in Croatia). But it was closed 10km inside the BIH border. From then on , well lets just say the roads were less than optimum until you get to Montenegro. Especially in the Republic of Srpska . It is  one of two constitutional and legal entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the other being the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is not a great place. In my opinion and in the opinion of the cow that tried to run over our rental car. ( True story).

But Montenegro was ok, with improved roads that twisted through the mountains on the way to Kotor. While on the way I had to give the S.O. a mini-history lesson of sorts, since it was apparent she must have slept through most of the 90's, or as I suspect, she spent too much time watching boring shows on NHK and not enough time watching the news.

Also for me, it was a bit of stroll down memory lane since I had flown over much of Croatia and Bosnia during Operation Deny Flight in 1994 and 1995. We just never landed there.

While exploring the old city of Kotor though, twice we stumbled upon wedding parades. Suffice it to say the girl watching was pretty nice:

Kotor Red

MILF or Millennial, the red dress always works!


This picture was taken on Sunday after we had finished hiking up to the fortress on the mountain above the town. However the previous night, there was a wedding procession through the old town to the church. One again, the red dress proved its worth:

Kotor Red1

The bow tie has to be a clip on!

Kotor 3

These folks stopped in at a cafe on the wall for a pregame warm-up.

Kotor 4

And we have to pay homage to these:

Kotor 5

Blue dresses look pretty nice too! Wonder how you say, "Nice Rack!" in Serbo-Croatian?


More trip pix tomorrow.


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Jan 01 2016

Happy New Year!

One of the traditions I like in Japan is their New Years greeting: Akimashite omedetou gozaimasu! Kotoshi mo yoroshiku onegai shimasu! ( Happy New Year. In this year too, please favor me).


(It's a one size fits all Nengajo- New Years Card). This year is Heisei 28.

Here in Germany, the S.O. and I were witness to the annual carnage that is Germans going nuts with fireworks. It was foggy this year so we could not see the adjoining villages as clearly as last year, but the carnage full throated with a low level of fireworks going from about 8 o'clock and all hell breaking loose at midnight. One can buy all kinds of fireworks in the grocery stores in the period right before Christmas.

Sadly, I was not at a New Years party much as I would have liked to be. So we enjoyed some of this:


The S.O. fell asleep and I watched the London and Edinburgh fireworks on BBC. Quite impressive-and made me want to be there myself.

In Munich there was a terrorist alert, police ward of an "imminent threat", while in Dubai there was a major building fire. True to form the Arabs showed how utterly tasteless they can be by going ahead with their huge fireworks show anyway.

Brussels, on the other hand canceled its fireworks because of credible information about terrorists. After all, they probably can only support one police orgy per year.

The Sydney, Auckland, Hong Kong, and Singapore fireworks looked awesome-wish I had been there.

But here I am at home-yet again. Meet the new year-same as the last year.

Happy New Year.



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Dec 26 2015

Happy Boxing Day!

Greetings to one and all!

Contrary to some reports, rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated. I am still alive, still thinking,  and hopefully now, able to return to writing.

My original plan had been to return to posting after we got back from the cruise. Unfortunately events took another turn and I have spent the last couple of months first traveling, then in and out of hospitals and doctors offices-as a result of that travel. I'll spare you the details, but while I was in Israel, I became violently ill. Rather than do the smart thing and go to an Israeli ER-I gutted out eight hours on a plane back to Germany. That only made things worse and I ended up going straight from the airport to the hospital.

Moral of the story? Be careful where and what you eat! And don't let yourself get dehydrated!

However, that is not all of the story. The other part was-I just did not feel like I had anything useful to say. My passion for American politics remains, however it does not take a skilled observer to point out that American politics is currently a huge mess. 2016 is going to be a critical year for the land of my birth and I am quite depressed with the prospects. I fear we , as Americans, will do our best to take a bad situation and fuck it up beyond all repair. It's what we do. I mean really, Donald Trump?

The final piece of the puzzle was doing some professional thinking about the remainder of my working life, which is not as long as it should be, or as well resourced as it needs to be.  Regrettably,  I have not been able to find my way back to Asia-but I did get some good news after my hospital stay(s) which helped balance out what was otherwise a depressing outlook in general.

And then there is the demon known as Netflix………….

Over the course of the next week I will have some prognostications regarding the upcoming year. And it is my intent to more actively discipline myself to write. We'll see how well my stick to itivness is on that subject.

Nonetheless, I hope you all had a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukuah, and any other holiday that you are to celebrate.


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Aug 29 2015

Sea Credit

For the record, my sea duty counter when I retired stood @ 5 years, 7 months and 21 days. Since I was in aviation, that time was all embarked on US Navy vessels and most of it was underway. So it would seem more than odd that I am actually looking forward to another week and a half at sea.

Yes, the SO and I have confirmed that both us have officially entered the land of the old timers by booking a cruise this fall here:


On the plus side, this will be the first cruise I make where I don't have to hide my drinking on board. cheeky

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Jun 20 2015

Just a walk in the park

Well, not really. Rather, it is an early morning ride to the S-Bahn station, and then a hike up the non-running escalator to await the arrival of my ride to the main train station. Its traveling time again, and even though I had very little sleep last night, the thought of travel makes my senses tingle and excitement courses through my veins.

Boarding the S-Bahn early on a Saturday morning is always something of an interesting sight. There among the silent or sleeping passengers-heading to work or home from a long night-lays the remains from the carnage of a Friday night. In the trash bins along the side of the car are empty beer bottles, a lone empty bottle of vermouth, and just forward of my seat, a Stolichnaya bottle that evidently had given its contents to the service of someone’s heavy intoxication.

Arriving at the Hauptbanhof only adds to the assault on the senses. Rising from the deep tracks where the S-Bahn arrives, one is immediately able to see, hear and smell the variety of the station’s underground. Passengers and tourists, some with suitcases, some without, scurry in all directions. From the bakeries the smell of fresh bread and pastry, mixed with smell of brewing coffee wafts in and around my nose. The noise of both trains and people is every present, but because it is still early in the morning, its still rather subdued. Come the late afternoon it will rise to a louder crescendo-but for now, it’s a rather peaceful and contemplative sight.


Having traversed the length of the underground concourse, a turn left is needed and onto yet another escalator, this one heading up to the heart of the main station with the high stone ceiling so common among European train stations. A quick stop at Starbucks halfway up and then it’s on the main lobby area. As I ride the second and last escalator up, behind me, a man is wailing, possibly drunk, definitely having had better days, holding plastic garbage bag full of bottles and cans. A homeless man perhaps? Hoping to score enough in recyclables to buy a meal or more drinks I think. Departing the escalator, he is quickly accosted by the Polezei, who I assume put an end to his scavenging ways.

The Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof currently has a lot of construction going on. The beginning of the platforms is moved almost half a kilometer down from the station lobby area. I’ve got just 15 minutes to traverse to my platform and board a high speed train that will whisk me up to Frankfurt airport and flying.

These sights and sounds are one of the things I really love about being in Europe and being lucky enough to have a job that allows me to travel the way I do. Had I been still in Shopping Mall, the morning would have been a slower start, but with none of this excitement. For all the things that I have to complain about, they all tend to recede into the background on a morning like this. I’m a lucky man indeed. Right now, for a bunch of reasons, the future here is uncertain-but those worries are for another day and time. For today, I can relax and enjoy the movement of the traveling man. And that’s enough for me today.





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Mar 10 2015

Another orbit around the sun.

Today is my birthday which in the grand scheme of things is not really important-and tomorrow is the 4TH anniversary of the Tohoku Tsunami which is. If had not given up booze for lent ( and believe me I think its a big mistake tonight)-I would probably be drunk off my ass tonight and not typing this post.

So lucky you, I am sober. sad

Its 2015-the year Back to the Future promised us a lot of things. And we do have a lot of the technology toys that were promised, although I am still waiting for  my hoverboard and flying car. Not to mention the demise of all lawyers.

But given the way the future of the world, and in particular the US is heading, we might need those lawyers after all. For certainly 2015 has not turned out the way I thought it would be in 1979. I mean, besides the fact that I am not rich and successful with a svelte young blond by my side-the overall direction of the land of my birth is backwards not forwards. And that troubles me a lot more than you know.

I feel cheated in so many ways. So many things were supposed to be true this years that are not simply in the cards. The world was supposed to be a more peaceful place. Technology was supposed to have improved the lot of all the worlds populations such that disease, hunger, pollution, and poverty were supposed to be a distant, albeit unpleasant memory.

And we won't even get into the fact that the age of "free love", e.g, lots of sex with lots of partners got a real cramp placed on it in the 80's. WTF is up with that? Certainly its not been for lack of trying on our part as a species-after all monogamy sucks.

And what can one say about the United States? Nothing good I am afraid. The direction of the country's politics is definitely regressive, not progressive. President Obama did himself proud when he eloquently pointed out that it does not have to be that way, and that the cruel vision for the country held forth by the tea sniffers is not in keeping with real patriotism at all. It is what teabaggers will never understand:

What greater expression of faith in the American experiment than this, what greater form of patriotism is there than the belief that America is not yet finished, that we are strong enough to be self-critical, that each successive generation can look upon our imperfections and decide that it is in our power to remake this nation to more closely align with our highest ideals?"

That’s what America is. Not stock photos or airbrushed history or feeble attempts to define some of us as more American as others. We respect the past, but we don’t pine for it. We don’t fear the future; we grab for it. America is not some fragile thing; we are large, in the words of Whitman, containing multitudes. We are boisterous and diverse and full of energy, perpetually young in spirit. That’s why someone like John Lewis at the ripe age of 25 could lead a mighty march.

More on that tomorrow. It was a wonderful speech-but then he had to return to Washington and govern the country with a legislature filled with morons. Suffice it to say, I am not optimistic about the direction of the country. I am deeply concerned what will happen in the back half of this decade, especially when some asshole like Scott Walker gets elected. 

Like everyone on their birthday-especially when in their late 50's I have paused to reflect on the fact that the more of the journey has been completed than is left to run. That's indeed a scary thought. I also, once again, marvel at the changes that have occurred in me and my viewpoints of both my former profession and the world.

For example, I continue to marvel at how completely I have been able to slam the door on my former career as a Naval Officer. While I am grateful for the gifts it gave me, I have no longing desire to go back to it. Especially in the "no fun of any kind" Navy that exists now. I was even able to pick up the latest Navy Times , where the MCPON says chiefs iniations are not "tradition" and not completely lose it. ( Even though the statements by the MCPON are complete and utter bullshit). I find myself speculating on the alternate paths I might have taken-especially as I hear so many people on the radio who left college and do not even , ever, consider the service. At the time I was 20, the idea of not going into the Navy was non-existent to me. But who knows what adventures the alternate path might have led to?

Or not. Either way, I don't find myself missing the wearing of the uniform one bit. That door is closed and will remain so.

There are other things I think about too. I think a lot about injustice these days, and the unfairness of the economic system. I am asking myself what can I do about it? And not liking the answer of, "not very much", at all. I have become a voracious consumer of economic news of late and I find what companies are doing these days quite disturbing. Disposable workers were not what 2015 was supposed to be about either. That they exist,  well that happens. That so many people blithely defend the practice-that is what is truly troublesome.

And it brings me back to the question of my closed door former life. What was it all for? Certainly not to defend this sick and twisted view of life, society, and humanity. If it was-well than may God forgive me for devoting such effort to the profession.

And that brings me back to the idea of what will it take in the future to correct that?

More to follow on that later this week. Have a good day.


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Dec 31 2014

Sayonara 2014

And don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

As years go,  2014 was not really a good one for me. I won't be sorry to see it go. It started living under the burden of a poorly thought out merger at work, engineered by a psychopath- who, regrettably will probably try to resurrect the same stupid idea later on in 2015. It also started with a New Years trip to Lisbon that saw me get sick as a dog-not exactly what I had in mind when I checked into the Palace Hotel in Estoril. It was kind of a harbinger of things to come, now that I can look at it in hindsight.

Fortunately for me, in May, the horrible merger was undone when the powers that be finally recognized what a hideous thing they had done. However, enough damage had been done that it cast a pall over the rest of the year and made work, well not miserable, but not fun either.

On the personal front too it was a lousy year. I basically had to come to grips with the fact that my dream of getting back to Japan to live and work will never come to pass. And that's a painful thing to have to accept. I was able to spend 10 days in Tokyo in September, but all that really did was remind me how much I really miss living in Asia. But economic realities are realities and at my age finding a job over there that will support the level of income I need to maintain….just …..isn't ….going to happen. frown

Then again, I tell myself things could be worse, a lot worse. I am healthy, more or less, and I am not enduring the mind numbing, soul crushing existence of living in a suburb of an American city. And I got to travel enough this past year to cement my Platinum status and have me zero in on the million mile threshold this year. God willing I will get to travel as much as I did last year, this year.

The SO is, well she is the SO. She hasn't yet grasped that she needs to provide things I need and she has yet to realize she is not going to be able to change me, no matter how hard she tries. But she is working and making money now and she still keeps a clean house. So there is that. For a guy like me who needs physical passion and lots of sex in his life, however, that's not quite doing it. So that is yet more thing I have to come to grips with.

But as I said, things could be worse and for that I will remain always thankful. I can pay my bills and credit cards still enable most of the things I want, so I prefer then, to end the year on an optimistic note.

Here is to hoping the New Year is a better year. For all of us.

Happy New Year.



Let's see if we can cheer this little expat up, shall we?

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Nov 04 2014

The pilgrimage

Greetings from Frankfurt airport! I am at the beginning of my every 5 year pilgrimage, wherein I return to the sacred soil in Charleston South Carolina. There to contemplate the journey that life took me on since departing Lesesne Gate for the last time as a cadet. To savor the joys of seeing friends again and to feel the sting of all the dreams you had that were later denied you. In their faces, those dreams appear and taunt you. It is at one and the same time a joyous few days and among the most bittersweet of my existence.

Reunions are a time of mixed emotions for me. For one thing, over time, my ardor for my alma mater has faded what it once was. I can no longer answer "yes" to the question, would I have done it again, knowing what I know now, if could go back and do it again? Probably, but then again, possibly not. In the long view of hindsight, and the path that I know,  a different background life might have taken me to. Then again, one can say that about pretty much any experience in life, and my time at the Citadel prepared me well for the travails and joys that followed me through the curving path that has brought me to this airport lounge today.

I have a resolve to remain more quiet than outspoken this reunion, how well I stick to it, is something that remains to be seen. For one thing, it will be hard enough seeing some of the classmates, who by now are clearly what society terms " successful". 8 of my classmates became generals, (none of us became Admirals, although we do have one or two SES's, folks who connived that after leaving active duty), many who run their own companies, a successful newscaster on a major broadcast network and even two successful authors. And then there is me. Well traveled to be sure, literate and well informed beyond compare, but hardly what any would call, "successful" whatever the f*ck that means.

It is also through the lens of hindsight, that I have come to realize that many of the "facts" I was taught, but not the ideals, were just plain wrong when examined in the real world. My view of these has changed dramatically and I count for loss many of the things I used to believe were bedrock truth. I like to think it is the ideals that were instilled by the institution in me, but even that too may be a flawed interpretation of the situation. I just know its been a long journey and I am thankful I am where I am now, politically, philosophically, and mentally. To think were I could have been on my trajectory out of that gate makes me shudder.

So it seems, to be the (sort of) quiet observer is the way to go through the weekend. Wishing all well, remembering well those who will never make another reunion and giving thanks for the blessings that have been bestowed upon me. Things could be a hell of a lot worse, and I would be well to remember that.

If you are in the whining states of America today, be sure to vote. It is your right, hard earned, even if some of you will squander it on fools.

10 years ago this week, I was again traveling to a reunion-having turned in miles to fly first class on ANA, NRT to IAD. First Class on ANA does not suck, but it was hardly the flat bed seat world we see now. Still it got me to DC all right where I had decided to break my journey thinking it would be cool to see an election from the standpoint of being in the nation's capital. It was made all the more edgy in my humble opinion because it was one of the first times I had voted against the GOP candidate, this vote being driven by my then and still current revulsion at the disaster that man had unleashed with his egregiously stupid invasion of Iraq. I ended the evening in a bar in Alexandria, awaiting them to call the results of Ohio-which would determine the election. Ohio goes Democratic, Kerry wins. If it goes Republican, the grey hair wins and we get four more years of war.

Well, you all know how that turned out, and the present gloomy world rose up to plague us all. The crowd in the bar was pretty evenly split so it was some interesting people watching, but the tea party had not been developed yet and the GOP had not yet descended into its current insanity, so the conversation over beer was reasonably civil.

I expect I will have reason to drink heavily tonight because the wrong side will win-but at least I will do it in my favorite world. That of the traveling man. Have a great day….AND VOTE!


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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.

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