Monday, September 03, 2018


I have been busy for many months, but thankfully not for the family business.  Today my wife dragged me by the hair off to the cinema to see "Crazy Rich Asians".  This brings back memories of my trip to Singapore 38 years ago to meet her family and the various events that eventually led to us getting married.  There are many elements to this movie that ring true and it was nice to be brought back home without having a 16 hour flight, regardless of class.  

But then there are a few things that didn't ring true.  My ears were not really perked up by a proper Singapore accent, and checking the bios of the actors, there really weren't any.  The closest is Michelle Yeoh who is from Malaysia.  The Western-Malay Henry Golding did well, but really wasn't even close to a proper fit for a Singaporean.  The biggest problem was that the grandmother spoke Mandarin, which fit nicely with Constance's ABC (American Born Chinese) Mandarin, but the older generation doesn't speak Mandarin in Singapore, or at least not with a Beijing accent.  Usually it is the Fujian dialect or Cantonese.  The older generation from Taiwan often doesn't know much Mandarin either, but they do know Japanese.

The important thing is that my wife enjoyed this film so that the family harmony - 和 (pronounced "wa" in Japanese) - was restored.  Now we must figure out what to do about the unmarried kids.

Monday, June 25, 2018

A view of Atlanta Georgian from the Olympic Park

My memory is that I haven't been here since the late 70's, other than an occasional transit through the Atlanta airport.  Can't believe the city is so modern looking.  "Modern" means that there are plenty of homeless, but it still can't compete with California.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

The Naval War of 1812 by Theodore Roosevelt

This is a detailed account of the naval part of the war of 1812, with an idea of identifying the key reasons for success or failure of the various actions.  The 19th century saw America grow into a first rate maritime power, which we still maintain today, but Roosevelt was a key contributor to our national vision.  The areas which he highlights are leadership, training, ability and commitment of the sailors, and equipment.  The US had most of these, but the equipment we had was produced in 1799, while Jefferson and Madison entirely neglected the military, even as the turmoil in Europe grew and knowing that it would inevitably spread onto our shores, just as it did in earlier times.

My main pondering on all this is the intrusion of the extreme rules of engagement imposed on the US military in the last few wars beginning with the Korean War.  More recently it has been political correctness that has intruded, so that a great deal of the training time must now be dedicated to things which have nothing to do with winning wars.  We still put a lot into our military, but we are also making a strategic investment into deadbeatism and other forms of social dysfunction.  Wondering how this will work out moving forward.

Monday, May 07, 2018

2020 Vision

This is based on my belief that the two most popular figures of the Democratic party will go on to become the next presidential candidates.  Thus, I am going to predict that Stormy Daniels will be the Democrat's presidential candidate and Robert Mueller will be the vice-presidential candidate.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

On Teaching Young Men To Be Men

"General Washington, while President of the United States sent an agent to the Chypewyan Tribe, whose friendship it was requisite we should cultivate, to preserve the lucrative fur trade that we held with them.  Washington, by his agent offered, 'the United States would take two or three of the sons of their chiefs and educate them in our Universities.'  When the agent had executed the command, the Indians, who never have an immediate answer on things that they think of importance, told him, 'that they would think of it,' and after a short time returned for answer, 'that they had consulted on the subject; and that they were of an opinion, that it would render them too effeminate to be educated in our colleges, as it would totally disqualify them to hunt or pursue the war, but in return for the civility of their brother Chief, Washington, that if he would send the sons of any of his chiefs among them, they would educate them to pursue the chase for several days without eating, and to go without clothes in extreme cold weather, and in frosty nights to lie on the ground without covering, and every other thing requisite, to make them Indians, and men.'" - Journal of Lewis and Clark, Appendix

Sunday, March 25, 2018


I have been pondering this note from the Journals of Lewis and Clark in the years 1805-1806:

"To travel among the Indians, is but to often thought the road that inevitably leads the unfortunate adventurer to an untimely death.  The barbarity of the Indians in war is proverbial; but in time of peace, hospitality and humanity are traits justly due to their character.  It is a judicious saying of an eminent traveller among them, that, 'in time of peace no greater friends, in time of war no greater enemies.'"

Wondering how my character will be counted when all is done.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Another season is ending

The water temperature in the lake is back up to 10C (50F).  That means that the winter lake temperatures are gone now and the more exhilarating swims are over until next December.  I have about one more month to swim before the various ravenous parasites become active again in their search for human blood. 

This season was a little more difficult than usual due to the various travels which would have me bouncing between 80F water temperature and something in the 40's (F).  It is much easier when things are consistent.  Thankfully I have only had the flu for a short period this season.  And I am thankful to God for granting me the health to keep doing 1+ mile swims regularly throughout the winter season.  There is nothing quite like being in the middle of a large lake engulfed in fog with cormorants, coots, geese and pelicans all around before heading off to work in the morning.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

No Rest For The Wicked continued

I should post this before I forget what I had intended to do nearly a month ago.  The thought was to read (actually listen to)  "A Captivity of Nearly Three Years Among the Savages of Nootka Sound", by John Jewitt (1783-1821) and try to come up with advice for parents who are hopping to send their children away some day.  It so happened that I also listened to "The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima & Nagasaki", by the Army Corps of Engineers, which finished with an account by a German Jesuit priest, Father John Siemes, who was two kilometers from Hiroshima when the bomb dropped. 

I suppose the first bit of advice to the parents is to give up all hope:  Whether they do good or bad, in the end something terrible might happen and sweep everyone away with no regard to character or the love and investment of parents.  In the case of John Jewitt, he and another man were the only ones of the crew who weren't slaughtered.  The Indians had been given a minor insult from the captain, and the Indians then took revenge for all the past injuries that they had remembered from the white man.  For the Jesuits, several of them died while going about their charitable activities in Hiroshima.  A different in the character is John Jewitt's longing to go home, as opposed to the Jesuit's focus on the job that had been suddenly thrust upon them.

Yet still there is a case for encouraging good character and self discipline, as John Jewitt's father admonished his son when he was about to leave England.  The German John Siemes also worked with the survivors to exhaustion saving those that they could.  One little anecdote that I liked was when an irate Japanese officer was about to cut down father Siemes with his sword alleging that the catholic priest was an American paratrooper.  The German Jesuit managed to convince the Japanese officer otherwise, in spite of his garb, which in many ways reminds me of the several narrow escapes from death that John Jewitt experienced in his captivity.  In the end, God preserves who He preserves and takes us all away according to His plan.  May He grant us the strength and opportunity to do a little good along the way.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

On Meddling

When did it begin?  Perhaps it was the snake in the Garden of Eden that kicked things off.  Then there were the Akkadians and Babylonians who enslaved populations and set up vassal kings over them.  The Athenians were the belligerents in the Peloponnesian Wars as they tried to forcibly convert surrounding kingdoms into servile democracies.   But meddling in the name of democracy is honorable, so I didn't type that.  Rome meddled scientifically as it expanded its empire.  But then the Mohammedans came along with a religion calling for meddling, sending out wave after wave of fanatics to overthrow governments. 

Not to be outdone, the Pope tried to surpass all others with his meddling, and then there were the Mongols.  As Ghengis Khan said, "Man's highest joy is in victory: to conquer one's enemies; to pursue them; to deprive them of their possessions; to make their beloved weep; to ride on their horses; and to embrace their wives and daughter".  What greater meddling could there be than that? 

But then along came Napoleon, making the French some of the greatest meddlers in history.  The British were not to be second to the French, so mercantilism became their vehicle of meddling, culminating in the Opium Wars and the irony that these wars gave birth to Libertarianism, which was a hyper-meddling ideology to justify the scorched earth mercantilism.  Fascism meddled with a zeal that rivaled the others, while the Spanish Civil War attracted meddlers from all sides.

The name of the communist anthem is The International, which should give a sense of its attitude towards meddling.  Atheists have been arguably greater meddlers than the Pope and the followers of Mohammad, since external submission is never enough for them.  So that brings us to the near present where communists have meddled in the West for decades, along with much of the rest of the world and will never apologize for any of it until the final judgment.

Next we must look at American meddling, which is famous throughout the world.  We meddled in Canada and tried to overthrow the government of Israel when Obama was our leader.  Syria, Egypt and Libya were famously meddled in, and no doubt many other places.  We shouldn't mention other forms of meddling, like US politicians seeking campaign funds in exchange for favors.  So why the sudden freakout over Russia meddling in the US at election time as if this were the first time in history that something like this had ever happened?

My current speculation is that the Russians' crime was that some of their meddling didn't benefit Hillary, whereas if it had all benefitted Hillary and she had won, then Putin would have gotten another reset along with a hug and a kiss.  Hillary's charity fund would have gotten a generous plus-up and we would never have seen the word "meddling" in the news.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

No rest for the wicked.

The picture below is from a hotel next to the Honolulu Airport.  The quote in the title is roughly from Isaiah 57:20-21. Gotta keep traveling.  Last year I made United Premier Gold status, which means flying more than 50,000 miles in one year, but I didn't only fly United.  It is all romantic until you have to do it.  I am reminded that etymologically "travel" and "travail" are connected. 

To help pass the time, I downloaded an audio copy of "A Captivity of Nearly Three Years Among the Savages of Nootka Sound", by John Jewitt (1783-1821).  My travels seem to be going better than his and I have lived considerably longer than his 38 years, so I have much to be thankful to God.  Hopefully I will be able to get out of Hawaii in better condition than Captain Cook did.  The first thing I learned about John Jewitt was that his parents wanted him to be an educated type, but instead his inclinations led him to become a skilled laborer and they grudgingly approved of his journey abroad from England to seek out a more profitable life in America.  I am looking for parenting lessons to apply here in Silicon Valley as I advise parents about whether or not to push their kids into college, regardless of their aptitude and interest in such things


Monday, January 08, 2018

Official Brain Analysis

A careful study was done and the doctor put in the official document that my brain is "unremarkable".  This was based on an MRI scan of my brain as part of the comprehensive health check which I had in Taiwan.  I am surprised that nothing peculiar was found, but I can be thankful I am not a 'genius'.  The full statement in the medical report was given in English and Chinese:

"Essentially unremarkable finding in this study."

Or as Google translate says, "No obvious abnormalities found".

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Old and New

On our travels through the Taiwan countryside we were given a break at what was supposedly a famous temple.  The traditional architecture was expected, but what was really unexpected was to see a 7-11 as part of the temple facility.  Is there a link between Buddhism and 7-11?  I don't want to think too far, especially since there are crazy things that call themselves "churches", never mind that the origin of the word for church is uniquely Christian. 

One explanation offered up was that the statues now have taken a liking to the food available at 7-11, rather than, say, Whole Foods.  The other being that this reflected changing appetites of the faithful, rather than the statues.  The moving electronic signs stood in nice contrast to the traditional calligraphy.  Mainly I am interested to observe, so won't draw too many conclusions from this.

Monday, January 01, 2018

2018: Welcome To The Narco-Republic of California

My main thought is that I probably want to limit my driving and stay away from roads as the legalized marijuana multiplies addicts.  We shall see.  With the current marijuana strains being much more potent due to careful breeding, the end result will be somewhat different than the '60's era arguments anticipate.

The libertarians like to argue that the government should not legislate on such things.  In this case, however, the marijuana is coming in as an act of legislation with the intent of setting up a regulatory and taxation structure around it.  My suspicion is that drug head culture will simply ignore the regulatory infrastructure.  A problem being that drug heads need to earn money to support their addiction, and drug dealing is both a way to do this and to expand the narcotics market. 

But back to the libertarians:  They seem to think that the government shouldn't be in the business of regulating good and evil, vice and virtue.  This ignore the fact that evil is hostile to good and vice is all about overthrowing virtue, while the entire point of human society is to build something greater through the relationships of the individuals.  At some point you can't be neutral about such things, while the leftist gestapo is increasingly interfering in the lives of the citizenry to enforce its pseudo-morality ...  the idea the evil has more public utility than good, and vice is to be encouraged over virtue since the state can earn a greater profit and dependency from vice and evil.

Then there are the war analogies.  "The war on drugs can't be won, therefore it shouldn't be fought."  So what about the war on unsanitary conditions?  We could save a lot by doing away with garbage pickup and eliminate the landfills, just as the homeless have proven.  Some wars have to be fought, even though they can never be one.  But the real war analogy here is the Opium Wars, where the Europeans raped China to earn profits off of their opium business.  As the Bible says, "there is nothing new under the sun", so we see that the California government thinks it can obtain a profit from all this.  The army of government employees is already in place to handle things and make sure people pay up. 

It will all be great fun!  Happy New Year!