Archive for the 'Reasons why I miss Japan.' Category

Oct 31 2016

Dear Trumpkins…….

You think that Donald is your answer. As I have pointed out earlier-we all understand your desire for revenge, what we don't understand is how you are so oblivious to the fact that it will hurt you. You want to repeal Obamacare? Fine-remember that a GOP Congress will not propose anything other than band aids and when you get cancer in 2-5 years, your insurance company will be free to drop you like a hot potato.

But most of you are the types if ignorant souls who really believe you are immune to everything. As one who has had bad things happen to him-trust me, it can and it will. But live in your ignorance anyway. It will not save you in the end.

The only question remaining is, where will America's Palestine be and who will rebuild the remananents of the nation? All the good places are taken.

 

 

5 responses so far

Aug 27 2013

Buzzword Bingo

I came across this article the other day about the slide into jargon that the military and so many Amercian businesses have gotten into. I think Mr. Marr has a point. In the article below-he mentions the worst offenders. Several drinking games come to mind seeing this list.

By Bernard Marr

 

 

I reckon every office or workplace has one of those people that are just

full of jargon-ridden management drivel. Does this kind of 'management

speak' remind you of someone at your work place: "Before going forward we

have to touch base and reach out to our key stakeholders so that we can

drill down into the key issues that are not yet on our radar and catch the

low-hanging fruits…"

 

Are you surrounded by people who annoyingly can't get enough of the

management gobbledygook and who utter one jargon buzzword after another? Are

your meetings buzzing with so much management lingo that you find it hard to

get to the real meaning of what is being said? The problem I have with these

phrases is that they sound so pretentious and often are counter-productive

because they irritate people so much and deflect from the real meaning.

 

Below are my top 30 most irritating and overused phrases we hear at work. I

am sure you have others that you can add to this list. Let's make it the

most comprehensive list of unnecessary management drivel ever – Please add

your ones using the comment field!

 

For me, these are my top 30 most irritating jargon phrases and words used at

work:

 1.Going forward

 2.Drill-down

 3.End of play

 4.Touch base

 5.It's on my radar

 6.No brainer

 7.Best of breed

 8.Low hanging fruit

 9.Reach out

 10.Dive deeper

 11.Think outside the box

 12.Positive momentum

 13.Execute

 14.Milestones

 15.Run the numbers

 16.Touch points

 17.Keep your eye on the ball

 18.Back to the drawing board

 19.Get the ball rolling

 20.Bang for your buck

 21.Close the deal

 22.Leverage

 23.Shift paradigm

 24.Move the needle

 25.Game-changing

 26.Move the goal post

 27.Value added

 28.Win-win

 29.Across the piece

 30.All hands on deck

 

What do you think? Do you agree? Are these the most irritating phrases?

Please let me know which ones you would add to this list!

 

——————-

 

Bernard Marr is a best-selling business author and enterprise performance

expert. Make sure you click 'Follow' if you would like to hear more from

Bernard Marr in the future and feel free to also connect via Twitter,

Facebook and The Advanced Performance Institute

 

4 responses so far

Jun 08 2011

Where HAVE all the fun people gone?

A friend sent me the following in an e-mail. I am so lucky to have been able to see the “Old Navy”-sadly, future generations will never get to know the fun we had:

Where Have All The Fighter Pilots Gone? 

 We used to go to the Officers Club or NCO Club Stag Bar on Friday afternoons to drink, smoke and swap lies with our comrades. Think about this when you read the rest of the letter below. What happened to our Air Force (or Military)? 

Drinking then became frowned on. Smoking caused cancer and could “harm you.” Stag bars became seen as ‘sexist’. Gradually, our men quit patronizing their clubs because what happened in the club became fodder for a performance report. It was the same thing at the Airman’s Club and the NCO and/or Top 3 clubs. 

Now we don’t have separate clubs for the ranks. Instead we have something called All Ranks Clubs / community clubs. They’re open to men and women of all ranks….from airman basic to general officer. Still, no one is there. Gee, I wonder why? 

The latest brilliant thought out of Washington is that the operators (“pilots?”) flying remote aircraft in combat areas from their duty station in Nevada or Arizona should draw the same combat pay as those real world pilots actually on board a plane in a hostile environment. More politically correct logic? They say that remote vehicle operators are subject to the same stress levels as the combat pilot actually flying in combat. —– REALLY!!!??? 

Now that I’ve primed you a little, read on.

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There are many who will agree with these sentiments, but they apply to more than just fighter pilots. Unfortunately, the ones with the guts to speak up or push for what they believe in are beaten down by the “system”. 

Unfortunately there is a lot of truth in the following text – supposedly, Secretary Gates has a force beating the bushes to learn who wrote this…. 

Subject: Where Have All The Fighter Pilots Gone? 

Good Question. 

———————————–

Here is a rant from a retired fighter pilot that is worth reading: 

It is rumored that our current Secretary of Defense recently asked the question, “Where are all the dynamic leaders of the past?” I can only assume, if that is true, that he was referring to Robin Olds, Jimmy Doolittle, Patton, Ike, Boyington, Nimitz, etc.? Well, I’ve got the answer: 

They were fired before they made major. 

Our nation doesn’t want those kinds of leaders anymore. Squadron commanders don’t run squadrons and wing commanders don’t run wings. They are managed by higher ranking dildos with other esoteric goals in mind. 

Can you imagine someone today looking for a LEADER to execute that Doolittle Raid and suggesting that it be given to a dare-devil boozer – his only attributes: he had the respect of his men, an awesome ability to fly, and the organizational skills to put it all together? If someone told me there was a chance in hell of selecting that man today, I would tell them they were either a liar or dumber than shit. 

I find it ironic that the Air Force put BG Robin Olds on the cover of the company rag last month. While it made me extremely proud to see his face, he wouldn’t make it across any base in America (or overseas) without ten enlisted folks telling him to zip up his flight suit and shave his mustache off. 

I have a feeling that his response would be predictable and for that crime he would probably get a trip home and an Article 15. We have lost the war on rugged individualism and that, unfortunately, is what fighter pilots want to follow; not because they have to but because they respect leaders of that ilk. We’ve all run across that leader that made us proud to follow him because you wanted to be like him and make a difference. The individual who you would drag your testicles through glass for rather than disappoint him. 

We better wake the hell up! We’re asking our young men and women to go to really shitty places; some with unbearable climates, never have a drink, have little or no contact with the opposite sex, not look at magazines of a suggestive nature of any type, and adhere to ridiculous regs that require you to tuck your shirt into your PT uniform on the way to the porta-shitter at night in a dust storm because it’s a uniform. 

These people we’re sending to combat are some of the brightest I’ve met but they are looking for a little sanity, which they will only find on the outside if we don’t get a friggin’ clue. You can’t continue asking people to live for months or years at a time acting like nuns and priests. Hell, even they get to have a beer. 

Who are we afraid of offending? The guys that already hate us enough to strap C-4 to their own bodies and walk into a crowd of us? Think about it. 

I’m extremely proud of our young men and women who continue to serve. I’m also very in tune with what they are considering for the future and I’ve got news for whoever sits in the White House, Congress, and our so-called military leaders. Much talent has and will continue to hemorrhage from our services, because wanna-be warriors are tired of fighting on two fronts – – one with our enemies, another against our lack of common sense. 

I don’t approve of political jokes–I’ve seen too many of them get elected.” 

Political correctness has doomed them, like our nation, to the hoary pages of history.

6 responses so far

Dec 20 2010

Christmas week.

An oldie but goody-is your Christmas shopping done?

One of the things I have always marveled about, when it comes to the hymn Silent Night, is how many languages it has been translated into. In the spirit of Christmas, here is a cure little video of the song translated into Nihongo:

And of course the fact that Christmas is coming this week-also means that Santa Claus is coming. To bring presents to some real sweet hearts. Santa Babes:

Just for my teabagger friends-here are some of your Nihonjin friends wishing you a Merry Christmas.
( And no I cannot verify that the anime characters are over 18!):

Merry Christmas to all and to all an Omedetou Kurisumasu!

I miss Japan!

No responses yet

Aug 21 2010

Odds and ends.

Another week down-still not sure how many to go. I’m more than a little stir crazy at this point, but hey what’s a fellow to do? Have spent the morning, sleeping, eating, paying bills, and catching up on paperwork and expense reports. Another pretty nice day and not to hot here in “the Paris of eastern Europe” (Ummm…I don’t think so).  Have been purusing all the news I missed last week so here, in no particular order are some random thoughts.

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Jeffery Goldberg (Not to be confused with Jonah Goldberg-the idiot who wrote Liberal Fascism and continues to write stupid posts over at NRO) has a new article in the September edition of the Atlantic magazine.

 What is more likely, then, is that one day next spring, the Israeli national-security adviser, Uzi Arad, and the Israeli defense minister, Ehud Barak, will simultaneously telephone their counterparts at the White House and the Pentagon, to inform them that their prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has just ordered roughly one hundred F-15Es, F-16Is, F-16Cs, and other aircraft of the Israeli air force to fly east toward Iran—possibly by crossing Saudi Arabia, possibly by threading the border between Syria and Turkey, and possibly by traveling directly through Iraq’s airspace, though it is crowded with American aircraft. (It’s so crowded, in fact, that the United States Central Command, whose area of responsibility is the greater Middle East, has already asked the Pentagon what to do should Israeli aircraft invade its airspace. According to multiple sources, the answer came back: do not shoot them down.)

In these conversations, which will be fraught, the Israelis will tell their American counterparts that they are taking this drastic step because a nuclear Iran poses the gravest threat since Hitler to the physical survival of the Jewish people. The Israelis will also state that they believe they have a reasonable chance of delaying the Iranian nuclear program for at least three to five years. They will tell their American colleagues that Israel was left with no choice. They will not be asking for permission, because it will be too late to ask for permission.

Such an event would no doubt be hailed by “William the Bloody” Kristol and his other dimwit followers as a great event-but Goldberg lays out very precisely in this scenario that there is no free lunch-for either Israel or the US. The roof will most assuredly cave in -presenting the country with hideous consequences.

…..they stand a good chance of changing the Middle East forever; of sparking lethal reprisals, and even a full-blown regional war that could lead to the deaths of thousands of Israelis and Iranians, and possibly Arabs and Americans as well; of creating a crisis for Barack Obama that will dwarf Afghanistan in significance and complexity; of rupturing relations between Jerusalem and Washington, which is Israel’s only meaningful ally; of inadvertently solidifying the somewhat tenuous rule of the mullahs in Tehran; of causing the price of oil to spike to cataclysmic highs, launching the world economy into a period of turbulence not experienced since the autumn of 2008, or possibly since the oil shock of 1973; of placing communities across the Jewish diaspora in mortal danger, by making them targets of Iranian-sponsored terror attacks, as they have been in the past, in a limited though already lethal way; and of accelerating Israel’s conversion from a once-admired refuge for a persecuted people into a leper among nations.

Which was exactly the point Fox Fallon was making back in 2008 before being eased aside to make room for “an ass-kissing little chickenshit” -and a whole lot of other wiser folks have made since then, but that does not seem to have dampened the appetite of some people for war with out end.

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In Bucharest the word “sidewalk” is synonymous with “parking lot”.

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How stupid can your average American be? Pretty stupid, evidently. Consider this latest poll result:

 Roughly one in five Americans wrongly says President Barack Obama is a Muslim, according to two new US opinion polls out Thursday amid a furor over a planned mosque near New York’s “Ground Zero.”

And about 30 percent of Americans say followers of Islam should be barred from running for president or serving on the US Supreme Court, according to one of the surveys, published in Time magazine and available on Time.com.

That last little tidbit is pretty interesting, since it is in defiance of the Constitution, a document that the people who rant such idiocies pretend to hold dear.

Take it away Jon Stewart:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Extremist Makeover – Homeland Edition
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

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Meanwhile, over here in Bucharest, I am waiting for the teabaggers to be out in full force in Revelutionary square any minute:

The government has approved the first budget rectification this year, cutting the budgets of several ministries and offering more funds in particular for the payment of pensions, of unemployment benefits and of other social benefits in order to avoid “the eruption of social conflicts.”

Romania has budget problems that make ours look small in comparison. However you don’t see folks out on the street holding stupid signs. What’s up with that?

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Sarah Palin and Dr. Laura get a civics lesson:

[T]he First Amendment doesn’t guarantee that speaking your mind will have no economic consequences. Proclaiming that those without thick skins probably shouldn’t marry outside their race is always going to be, let us say, commercially risky if you’re aiming for a broad audience — or if your sponsors are. General Motors and Motel 6 both reportedly pulled their sponsorship over the flap, prior to Schlessinger’s decision to leave her show. But whether that’s the right thing to do or the wrong thing to do, it doesn’t implicate the government; it implicates the profit motive.

In fact, the organization of a boycott is itself the exercise of First Amendment rights — GLAAD, or the American Family Association, or Sarah Palin, or Laura Schlessinger, anyone can publicly advocate for an end to the economic support of someone else’s speech. If you want, you can boycott them back — “Okay, if GLAAD is boycotting Laura Schlessinger, then I’m boycotting anybody who donates to GLAAD.” It becomes reductive and unhelpful at some point, and it may or may not be justified, and one side or the other may be substantively right or wrong — but all of it, from every angle and every political position, is consistent with the idea of free expression.

Because the “free” in that concept means “free from government interference,” not “free from consequences.” 

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And finally on a lighter note.

H/T to Spike!

Have a good weekend!

12 responses so far

Jul 17 2010

Well, so much for that idea……

I really thought I was going to get some posting done this week. Lots to write about with the Tour De France, Steinbrenner dying, and other events going on.

But alas it was not to be. Maybe tomorrow. I’m locking my blackberry in my safe and not touching it all day. Say hello to my voice mail.

Hopefull when this week is over-and the team size drops again, I will have more of a reasonable life again. One can dream can’t he?

“PowerPoint makes us stupid.”

It’s dangerous because it can create the illusion of understanding and the illusion of control. Some problems in the world are not bullet-izable.”

In General McMaster’s view, PowerPoint’s worst offense is not a chart like the spaghetti graphic [of our Afghan strategy], which was first uncovered by NBC’s Richard Engel, but rigid lists of bullet points (in, say, a presentation on a conflict’s causes) that take no account of interconnected political, economic and ethnic forces. “If you divorce war from all of that, it becomes a targeting exercise,” General McMaster said.  Commanders say that behind all the PowerPoint jokes are serious concerns that the program stifles discussion, critical thinking and thoughtful decision-making. Not least, it ties up junior officers — referred to as PowerPoint Rangers — in the daily preparation of slides, be it for a Joint Staff meeting in Washington.

Even more dangerous, the article implies, is that it leads to bad decision-making, with serious consequences:

Commanders say that the slides impart less information than a five-page paper can hold, and that they relieve the briefer of the need to polish writing to convey an analytic, persuasive point. Imagine lawyers presenting arguments before the Supreme Court in slides instead of legal briefs.

3 responses so far

Jun 23 2010

Brain dead…..

I was going to post tonight.

A 13 hour day at work cured that notion.

Now if it were doing something useful that made sense-well that’s one thing. But to just have to re-do work because some idiot thinks its a good idea, and then demands things on an unreasonable deadline-that is another thing entirely. By my figuring a whole boatload of man-hours were wasted today, just because of the whims of one person. For the work we do-that’s simply ridiculous.

End of rant. Night.

No responses yet

Mar 02 2010

Reruns

My work here in Virginia has been very busy. Up at six-not back to the room till after dark. Dinner, phone calls and a combat nap-and the time just whisks by………….

So today-because it was so depressing, in the realization that for most people here, this is the only existence they dream of-I spent a lot of time thinking about the place I talked about in this post from 2007. I think its worth repeating:

And a lunch time restaurant recommendation for Spike!

On Saturday the S.O. and I sent out for Tokyo. She had tickets for an exhibition in Ginza. It was the perfect antidote for having 2 days rained out by the typhoon. I insisted though that we take the trains through Shibuya so we could walk around a bit, then change over to the Ginza subway line. After some negotiating-she agreed. Follow me!

Normally, the S.O. avoids Shibuya like the plague-she says its too crowded and the stores are too expensive. Now it is crowded all the time, but that is the fun part-for me. Oh the stories I could tell from my first couple of years over here!

So could the S.O. apparently. Now she denies it vehemently, but she has let it slip more than a couple of times that in younger days: her short skirt wrapped legs and pointy toed, high heel shoe wearing feet traversed Shibuya crossing and a few of the back streets to the good clubs………….

In one of God’s little ironies, I’ve never got to see the mini-skirt part-sigh. Here by the way is a picture of Shibuya crossing at night-I’m not kidding about the crowds. This scene, by the way,  is a familar one from the movie “Lost in Translation”:

What makes it so interesting is the people. All kinds of people. Walking through the station-riding on the train-moving through the streets. The girls: young and not so young are always a treat. Name a fashion trend in Japan and you will see it here. Shopping, shopping, and sending messages on their cell phones. On the train up I was lucky enough to get a seat, so while I was reading my book-I kept glancing over at the girl (woman really) wearing a blue silk dress. Not exactly young any more, but not over the hill either, she kept glancing pensively at her watch. Late for a date? A wedding? A one afternoon stand? Who knows-but there was a story there-if only I could have followed her to figure it out. That kind of thing is repeated in Shibuya 1000 fold.

We of course stopped at Hachiko’s statue. Hachiko as many know, was the Akita dog who waited faithfully for his master at Shibuay station for 9 years-even though his owner, one Professor Ueno has passed away in 1925. The statue is the pooch’s monument. Its also THE place to meet your date. Ergo, it too makes for some great girl people watching. Rumor has it that Richard Gere wants to make a movie about this story-I’m not sure how you turn it into a 90 minute screen play, but hey, if they can do it for a Disneyland ride-they can do it for the dog!

My tactic to get the S.O. down there was one of pure greed. The TV show she watched on Mondays always runs a bit about good inexpensive restaurants. She had seen the TV bit about Shibuya Dining pun-raku. ???? They a Japanese tabehodai ( or all you can eat for a set period of time-this case its 30 minutes) from 10:30-3:00pm. Last customer is seated at 2:30. Its only 980 yen-which is cheap for a place that gives you that much food. Considering Shibuya prices-its a good deal. The buffet is a mix of Japanese salads, soba, chiken, fish and curry-coupled with Miso soup. rice and Japanese pickles. All I can say is we got our money’s worth.

So Spike, ( or anyone else for that matter) if you want a good inexpensive lunch during your sojourn in Tokyo this week. Head across the street from Shibuya station, Hachiko exit, to the Tsutaya building. Its the one with the REALLY big Starbucks sign and Starbucks inside. Tsutaya is a book and CD/DVD store and to get to the restaurant you will need to meander through the first 6 floors by escalator then take the elevator up to the 8th floor and the restaurant. I suspect its like a casino, they designed it so you have to pass all the good stuff including all the books on the 6th floor. (There is an elevator that goes straight up on the back side of the store-but where is the fun in that?). You will probably have to wait a while-they have been having a lot of business since the TV program. That’s ok-lots of people to watch while you wait.

And if you are lucky you will get seated like we did, next to two guys with Sumo wanna be haircuts and by my count at least 11 studs in their ears and face. ( No lie, the one guy had four on each ear, one through his bottom lip, and one on his nose. I did not look to see if there was one on the tongue as well…..I don’t want to know.) On the other side were two young girls. One of them at the end of the meal, while straightening her skirt and tugging on her blouse, broke out the big mirror and the whole make up kit-right there at the table. After which she proceeding to type on her phone intently.

It was all downhill from there. Over in Ginza we went to an art exhibition in the Matsuya store-the S.O. got free tickets from her credit card company. It was a display of fabric art and dolls. I think I was literally the only man there. Which would have been nice-except its not young ladies who are at the things. It was Oba san central.

It was a day out though-and those are never bad. I can’t wait to go back!

One response so far

Jun 16 2009

I always wondered how they did it…….

One thing I miss living here in Hillbilly Hell Shopping Mall, is the lack of any good sushi. For a place that prides itsefl on bass fishing-they would not know a good piece of fish if it walked up and bit them on the ass.

Back on the right side of the international dateline-one of the fun little treats was to go to Kura Sushi. All plates 105 yen-and you ordered everything electronically from a cool little gizmo by your table.

As the video clip shows below-all the plats had a chip implanted-so it knew how old the sushi on the plate was- and you knew when your special ordered sushi was coming your way. When a plate has been going around the conveyor belt for too long, it is automatically classified as old sushi and dumped.

They even gave you a game to play when you cleaned up. Used plates are put into a slot, tallying the price of what you ate and sending the dish back for cleaning. For every 5 plates eaten, a little slot machine game is played. I loved winning prizes.

Sigh. Gotta get back.

4 responses so far

Feb 09 2009

Trainspotting

During my last little sojourn up north, I embarked upon an experiment. When the meetings were over, instead of staying the last night in small town New Jersey ( home of the roads with no left turns), I set off back to the Philadelphia airport and stayed the night at a hotel near there. In this objective, I saved my company money(this was on my nickle)-and I undertook to explore another facet to the city of brotherly love.

Arriving at the hotel-I took care of personal business and phone calls, took a nap, had a few beers at the hotel bar. Fed and beered-I set out on a my little experiment to understand the state of America’s city transportation infrastructure. Being an accomplished train rider from Japan, and the Burgh- I knew that I could easily navigate the short ride from the airport to center city Philadelphia.

Boy was I wrong.

If you ever want to understand why America needs investment in its infrastructure-ride the train from the Airport in Philly-a fairly modern and reasonably nice airport-to 30th street station or Suburban Street station.

It will depress you.

Now truth in advertising my frame of reference is Japan or Hong Kong-or even Singapore-where I can depart the plane, step on a train and in 30 minutes or so be in the middle of one of the fine metropolis’ of the world.  In the 1700’s-or even the 1950’s Philadelphia was considered a fine city. No longer,  it grieves me to say.

Start with the train’s schedule. 1 train every half hour-at a very unpredictable time. (8:09 or 8:39 from terminal B). Where is the value in that? Miss the train and you have to wait-as I did- in 28 degree weather on platform with some scary people on it.

Then look at the fare-$7.00. More if it is peak time. What is up with that? I could take a cab for $18 dollars and at least they were numerous. ( I checked the fare on the cab when I stumbled home). Time has value too. Now contrast that to Hong Kong where the station is right at the airport, bright and clean, and runs every 6 minutes-at twice the speed of SEPTA’s engineering AMTRAK marvel. The distance from PHL airport to 30th street is the same as that from HKG to Kowlwoon.

The train arrives. I embark. Four cars in all-no ticket box available prior to the platform. A scruffy, ne-er do well “conductor” takes my hard earned money. He takes his sweet time dispensing change-and then has to hole punch a paper ticket. Again, contrast that with Asia, where one would swipe a card, board a clean train, and have wi-fi all the way in side. ( Or even a little TV in the seat just like on a plane). The passengers were not travelers as it appeared to me-but a collection of various and sundry airport employees-tired after a hard day of catering to the needs of the nations jet set.

30 minutes later, said train arrives at 30th street station-home of AMTRAC and America’s sorry excuse for a bullet train, the Acela. I cross through the historic and beautiful station, remarking to myself, ” I wonder what this place was like in the 40’s or 50’s?”

30th_st_station_philadelphia_pa_largeI’ll bet it was something.

Now, its still pretty impressive, until you walk out side. You see-you have to walk outside to make the connection to the Subway. Which was, a whole another adventure in and of itself.

Crossing the street, fighting my way  past homeless people, (who I have a new found appreciation for-I might be one myself someday)-and pushy taxi drivers, I set down the stairs to the Philly Metro. Abandon all hope ye who enter here.

My destination was simple. Get to a street adjoining Walnut street, and near Rittenhouse Square. Had been told there was some night life there, including a couple of Irish pubs. The getting there was the adventure however.

No subway pass in my pocket, no token upon me, I have to pull $2 to hand to a non-descript, non -communicative representative of diversity hiring at work-simply so I could walk through a turnstile. Tell me again why I could not swipe a card and invest the man’s salary in transit police? Who were sorely needed when I descended the steps to the transit platform-where I quickly discovered what it was like to be a minority of one.  The trolley comes-who said this was a subway? I board, keeping my head on the swivel and figuring out possible escape routes.

Two stations later I depart.  Two blocks over I am on Walnut street.

At least this part of the journey turned out as advertised-there was some night life. However, walking down the streets gave me the creeps. And this from a man who has braved “The Gut” from the Via Roma southward to the Maritime Terminal in Naples at 2:30 AM-or climbed the hill from AFSOUTH to NSA Naples in the dark.  I was not quite as nervous as I was walking around Philadelphia at 10 pm at night. Street lamps? Dimmer than they should have been. Homeless people? Too many. Bars? Not enough.

However my ardous journey was rewarded when I arrived at my destination, just cold enough ( it was FREEZING) to have gone in any warm door.  I was just in time to join the crowd for QUIZ NIGHT! Sitting at the bar, I re-discovered why I enjoy , what I affectionately refer to as prowling. Sitting next to me was one of Philadelphia’s finest and his rather well endowed girlfriend. We struck up a conversation-and as he discovered that I was r.easonable fluent in useless historical trivia-we agreed to team up our efforts. Since I admire policeman deep down- I think they have a very hard job- I bought him beers. He in turn, allowed me the privilege of talking to his girlfriend with out hitting me when my eyes strayed, once or twice, down south on her sweater. A fair trade if you ask me.

The moral of the story? Philly has things to offer-but not if it can’t get people to them. Six cities in Asia that I know of,  have automated train systems-high speed ones too. Why would it be a crime to invest in that? Why do we still have people collecting tickets, when technology exists to pay with the swipe of card. And why not brightly light the stations like they do in Japan? The extra electricity costs could be offset by less people on the “Surekill”. With a modern train system and an interconnecting system of trains and busses I could have been in Philly every night of my trip-instead of Jay’s Sports Bar.

If I were the President-I would take 100 billion to invest in railroads. Not roads-but railroads as a part of moving energy consumption heavily towards electricity and away from oil. Screw the tax cuts-the country has an opportunity to fix itself, and in this area, if the government does not lead the way-no one will.

One final note-don’t try to save money going home by walking briskly down Broad Street southward in 27 degree weather. I folded after 8 blocks and hailed a cab. Scary too. Thank God  he sent lots of them along. Abdul got me home ok.

It could have been worse though-I could have ended up like this guy:

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