Nagasaki – reborn

In going through the few photos I have of Nagasaki, the other major bunch are of the hypocenter or peace park. That post will be a long one on history, with a lot of the photos from the park and my thoughts on the museum. However, today is just one shot. I came across this photo and I was shocked I had it. This is at the hypocenter. I had to go back and look it up, I was in Nagasaki in April of 2004. So this is Nagasaki in the Spring, 59 years after a nuclear weapon exploded right above this location. I’ll leave any conclusions and thoughts to you.

Nagasaki – Confucius Shrine

Not sure why I ended up at this Shrine, it’s not entirely popular but I’ve got pictures of it so I guess I went there for a reason. I guess?

Constructed in 1893 by Nagasaki’s Chinese residents the place has 72 statues of Confucius. It’s a reminder that Nagasaki was always the ancient gateway into Japan.

Note the differences in architecture from Japanese shrines from some of my previous posts.

disconnect everything you can

Recently, a town of 15K people near Tampa, Florida nearly had their entire water supply poisoned by a hacker. Somebody hacked the system and increased the lye content of the water to poison levels. Only the actions of a very alert employee (who should be the guest of honor at the next Super Bowl) saved 15K people from drinking poison.

Guess what, nobody cares. To me, this should be front page news for a week. To others, the Brittney Spears documentary and the Aunt Jemima rebrand are more important. These news articles go above the near poisoning of 15K Americans, which is off the front page after less than a day. So this is another reminder of how debased and useless the modern media is.

I can’t stress this enough, disconnect everything you can. I’m a former loser computer science major. I’ve never used computer science, but am still a loser. If you have four hours, give me a shout and I’ll explain to you in intricate detail just how unsecure the Internets is.

You cannot secure the Internets. At its most basic 0 and 1 level, it can’t ever be totally secure. This goes back to how the founders of the Internets designed the backstage to be totally open and freewheeling. When these dudes made the Internet’s core coding and theory, security wasn’t even on their top 100 concerns.

I was helping my Ma troubleshoot her fridge this weekend, spoiler alert, never buy an LG fridge. In the manual they have Wi-Fi instructions. Why does your fridge need to connect to the Internets? Soon your freaking pacemaker will be. What the fuck are people thinking? I think they don’t understand just how unsecure this all is. The “Internet-of-Things” is a fucking dystopian nightmare in waiting.

You need a phone and a computer to connect to the Internets. Oh, and a gaming console, if that’s your thing. Disconnect everything else. As the bumbled coronavirus response has shown, if you’re counting on the government to protect you, you have the wrong idea. You have to protect yourself.

it’s the Super Bowl, sort of

Coming up! On tomorrow’s special feature, an elderly narcissist duels a mostly humble upstart who might one day supplant his records. Will the upstart change football generations in one three hour block of domination? Will the narcissist use all his dark major powers and quack snake oil health products to summon the ghost of a dead unicorn to play slot receiver for him? Tune in tomorrow to find out!

I have met zero, and I mean zero people in the last few weeks who are cheering for the Bucs. Why? Simply put, everybody, and I mean everybody wants Tommy to lose. Even people I know who are apathetic to football know who’s playing and want Tommy to lose.

What did the greatest football player of all time do to deserve this? Well, part of it is undoubtedly jealousy. The guy has more money than Satan, has won the Super Bowl six times, is married to a supermodel, and probably has a whole gaggle of Oompa-Loompas at his mansion to be his manservants.

But, it’s mostly because Brady is an insufferable shit. His canned fake public statements are worthy of the most jaded public relations hack. Brady so polished and calm and fraudulent in public that his second career should be to establish his own public relations / reputation firm. He’d make billions.

His wife is a known bitch who openly insults just about any form of humanity that displeases her highness. And then greatest of all is the TB12 health line which if you, an average ordinary man tried to sell this, would do a decade in prison for medical malpractice and fraud. But Tommy is famous and rich, so he gets away with harming real, live human beings with his fake health/medical regimen and products.

Oh, and yeah, he did cheat for many years. And like Bill, he got away with it. Would he have still won six titles without cheating? Probably. But still, he cheated.

Maybe in two decades after Mahomes has one his sixth title he too will have succumbed to the human frailties of riches and power at the pinnacle level. Maybe when he’s 40, Mahomes will be despised too. At one point, Brady was just a humble sixth round draft pick who at 24 won his first Super Bowl and was adored as the underdog who made a miracle happen.

What I do know is you couldn’t ask for a better historical matchup. This will probably go down as one of the most famous Super Bowls of all time. Enjoy it!

meet your future master

Nature’s awesome, I get a kick out of it when I’m not enslaved by a square screen that masters my life via my jobs. One of my jobs called me last night a 3:17 am. It was my boss, he had a hanky over the receiver at an inner city pay phone so he sounded like a drunk Vader, he screamed profanity at me for 39 seconds, then said in a normal voice, “See you tomorrow. We know you won’t quit.”, and then hung up. This is a pretty routine occurrence, so I just drifted back to sleep until the alarm woke me.

I often wonder why I don’t watch more nature television. It’s probably because I don’t have cable or a streaming service subscription. But I was at my Ma’s a few months ago and stumbled on an hour long program on Japan’s southern islands narrated by the Downton Abbey beauty and I was enthralled.

Anyways, it must have been a quasi religious experience if you were the first person to document [insert any new animal, fish or plant here]. I’m sure there’s a whole bunch of stuff in the rainforest we’ve yet to find, but it’ll be some new fern or insect or whatever. This is cool, and important, but not quite the same. Nobody’s ever going to find a brand new hippo sized creature on Earth. We’ll have to wait until we colonize other planets to find such new things, and then get on with destroying their biome too.

This one’s neat, it’s the “smallest reptile on Earth“. “The male Brookesia nana, or nano-chameleon, has a body of just 13.5mm.” He lives in Madagascar.

Just get a load of this surly little asshole. Look at him, it’s too good. He’s so, utterly, uninterested in mankind. His face just screams a whispered, “Fuck you.” Before he very slowly, lazily walks away to eat more mites.

By the year 2090, when humanity is done mutilating itself by some means, this little guy will be all that’s left. The radiation from the bombs or the impact of the end game pandemic will transform him from the smallest reptile into a godzilla sized monster. He’ll be the size of the building, but still a surly asshole. He’ll stare down at the last human alive, he’ll be smoking a cigarette, and wryly say in his booming but quiet voice, “Our turn now. Bye.”

contemplating my future elderly food poisoning death

Yesterday I only had about an hour to cook between work meetings, a failed video date, meeting with my Guests to plot the overthrow of the Laotian government, and my meditation to contemplate the exact, precise differences between English Stilton and French Roquefort.

So I went with a simple salmon dish with a side of roasted squash and zucchini from my very first, original cookbook I bought two decades ago, the Good Housekeeping cookbook. This old classic doesn’t melt your brain with recipes. These are simple takes on good old food. Could I have made this meal off the top of my head, sure, but with everything I had going on yesterday I didn’t want to think.

Everything tasted great. The problem was because I was in a hurry, and not quite paying attention since I was on my work computer for part of the time, the salmon was dramatically under cooked. I mean it had a great crispy skin and a solid crusty spice rub, but the interior flesh was mild if not approaching raw. This was not sushi grade salmon and so the possibility of disease was present. I ate it anyways and I feel fine.

I wonder how I would have handled it when I’m say 70? Food poisoning kills several thousand Americans a year. When I’m 70, I’m probably going to under cook some chicken in the same fashion. Then I’ll be vomiting and running through the streets in a bathrobe, delirious, and ultimately get plastered by a bus.

My parents didn’t grow up destitute, but rich they were not. Food was simple and wholesome, and cheap. One grandmother was a fantastic cook, the other was not. But food poisoning was a concern under these circumstances. The very first medium rare steak I had was well after I was 18. This was because the family wouldn’t serve steak to the family anything less than well done. This probably sounds insane, but it was the mindset of a family eating a lot of cheap meat, and concerns that all little microbes were cooked out.

Were these concerns valid? Maybe, but probably not. Nobody in my family has checked out due to food poisoning, but maybe that’s because the family was cautious. Is this a Simpsons tiger-rock question?

Plus, I guess you could say my family was trained, experienced with the classic English / American tradition of cooking. What do I mean by this? Well, I think I’ve mentioned in previous posts I’m rewatching Poirot. The contrast for comical purposes is Poirot is a very refined Belgian who loves his food fancy. Japp is the gruff English bobby who probably beats half his suspects in shackles off screen when Poirot’s not on the case.

Poirot serves Japp pigs feet, Miss Lemon serves Japp lemon sole, and he’s horrified at both. Then later Japp turns around and serves Poirot meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and stewed peas, and Poirot claims he’s allergic to meatloaf. These scenes are handled perfectly, and this classic, good natured humor always get me a rare open laugh. But, essentially my family ate Japp’s style of food. Now what happens is I’ll cook my fancy shit, but when I go home my Ma cooks in the old style. Oh man, how I love both these styles of food so very much.

What I do know is my body today will not be my body at 70. Would I eat the under cooked salmon several decades from now? Don’t know, god willing at that point it wouldn’t be my decision alone. Or, maybe I’ll just say fuck it, swing some beer, and dig in and roll the dice. And if I go out the door at 70 eating tasty under cooked salmon? Oh well, worse ways to go, for sure.

Osaka – Shitennō-ji

I just didn’t take as many photos back then, I guess. Go to a temple, take only two shots? I’ve talked about how this can be a good thing. But when I don’t remember all that much about the visit, I guess it can also be a bad thing.

About an hour’s walk from Sumiyoshi-taisha is Shitennō-ji, another very old temple with a long history. It’s beyond my memory, but this is an excellent summary.

Shitennō-ji is said to be the oldest Buddhist temple in Japan but sadly all the buildings date from a 1960’s rebuild. Still worth a short visit.

a different flavor of coup

I feel quite comfortable in saying that if you’re a country’s leader, but guilty of genocide, that it’s not actually a coup if you get yourself overthrown. Aung San Suu Kyi rightly lost her darling status years ago. So she doesn’t merit the coup term if a bunch of folks put her back into house arrest with a bunch of tanks in the driveway. Her own people have suffered much worse, by the millions.

Plus, Burma isn’t a real democracy. Sure, there are now two full sets of elections in the past, but the Army never really gave up full power. The Army always maintained the interior and exterior security ministries, and rigged the game so the legislature was always at least minority controlled by them. So is a really a coup when the Army never actually gave up power? I suppose so, I guess, if you go by the dictionary.

But it doesn’t mean we have to care. Or do anything about it. Swapping Suu Kyi with an Army goon general is just swapping one form of evil from another. They deserve each other. Burma’s people don’t.

Osaka – Sumiyoshi Taisha

If you’re in Osaka, you kind of just have to. Osaka’s most famous shrine, seat of all Japan’s Sumiyoshi shrines, and the subject of many legends, Sumiyoshi Taisha is said to have been originally built in 211. Founded by Empress Jingu it’s a shrine to the sea, dedicated to the Sumiyoshi Sanjin or the sea’s three gods. Back then, the shrine was right against the sea itself whereas today it’s somewhat inland.

The appropriately, galactically famous Sorihashi Bridge, one of the most beautiful and quintessential of Japan’s taiko bashi or drum bridges. This is one of my most favorite shots of all time, it was done with my old bad camera, and has its flaws but I still dig it.

The shrine’s west entrance, looking from west to east, with the gate up front, and the bridge in the background.

One of the rarest things I ever saw in Japan, a legit memorial for World War II. The shrine being dedicated to the sea, this of course makes sense. This was tucked away in a corner area and I kind of stumbled into it. I sadly don’t read Japanese in any form anymore, but this is a heavy cruiser. I don’t know the ship name or class, but the painting is an older version of the ship, I think, since the heavy cruiser has only two forward turrets instead of the later installed three.

The secondary temple.

If I’ve got my bearings right, this is the north side of the trio of the three main sanctuary structures. I always love the candid shots I get of just ordinary people happening along their daily lives, unaware or uncaring that this weird dude is taking very serious (bad amateur) photography.

New Zealand, from the top rope!

I’m often so grateful that when I first began my travel adventures the smartphone didn’t exist. I had an old school flip phone where texting was a downright marvel. Social media was a term that didn’t exist. I had my own camera (originally a very crappy one) that I used to take my shots. Essentially most, but not every travel post I’ve ever done on this blog was travel I did without a flat screen smartphone.

I wonder what beginning your travel adventures nowadays does to a young man or woman who starts out their journey, probably has a smartphone, has various social media accounts, and doesn’t carry a separate camera. I shudder to think about it. But I think the answer is this, this is from a Twitter user named Lukas Stefanko in 2018, with the caption, “The social media queue”

This is in New Zealand, and this photo makes me want to burn every smartphone and social media account on the planet. [unintelligible snickering] Yes, yes, my Guests would like me to remind you that I am in fact a degenerate, crazy, loser, blog author.

Well, New Zealand is sick of it. New Zealand has a long history of being a tourist favorite, or over favorite. There have been talks in New Zealand for years to impose some kind of tourist fee, or restrictions on visitors in certain areas because they feel so buried by the mass of humanity. But this will never happen because so much of New Zealand’s economy is tied to tourism.

But they put out this video, from the top rope, and it’s professionally shot, funny, and has a super cool message:

I like how @0:50 he gets grabby with these two actors (who are portraying total losers). But it’d be great with me if he went further, and was whacking them with a truncheon like some 1880’s drunken bobby.

Messages like this delivered with humor are awesome, @1:28 where he takes a tumble I was totally cracking up.

Anyways, have a look at the video, heed its message. Indeed, some of the best travel experiences I ever had were where I deliberately made myself never take one photo, either with my good camera, or my smartphone if I had one.

Enjoy your day!