Cena likes money

John Cena likes money. That’s about all you need to say in conclusion after watching his forced, hostage video-like, confession of crimes that would make even the most jaded of Community Party goons proud and open to tears.

I mean, you could take it to extremes and be like: John Cena hates democracy, universal human rights, and supports genocide. That would probably be accurate, but still at least a little over the top for what’s actually inside his brain.

But the reality doesn’t really get past the hard goal of coin. John Cena likes money. China has money Hollywood wants China’s money. Hollywood will do as China tells it. John Cena will do as China tells him.

You need look no further for other examples than LeBron James / entire NBA (who worship BLM, but who also somehow apparently don’t believe in universal human rights, but also love money) or Zucky (who still has a copy of Xi’s book on the desk inside his heart, and who also loves money).

One of China’s most effective weapons is not what it does, but what it makes money loving cowards do for them without prompting. China didn’t send a knife wielding goon to Cena’s house. Cena did this entirely on his own. It’s quite pathetic. Cena is a grown man allowing somebody he’s never met determine what he says.

You know I just watched Five Came Back by Netflix where it chronicles how Ford, Wyler, Capra, Huston, and Stevens basically left Hollywood to put their lives and careers on the line to defeat fascism. It cost them their bodies and their brains for the rest of their lives.

I guess if China invaded Taiwan, or China continues to exterminate an entire culture, or if China sank a few US aircraft carriers, Cena would have to apologize to China for all the trouble we caused them.

I think Cena, James, Zucky, and all these celebrities and tech goons think the rules are different now. That China is not Imperial Japan, Nazi Germany, or Soviet Russia. And so taking China’s money is perfectly fine. That they will do as they’re told, cash that check, and there couldn’t possibly be consequences.

They should tell that to their Muslim neighbor, particularly if they’re Uighur. Or maybe they can go on record and explain to America why they think Communist China is awesome, and how Democratic Taiwan is full of losers. In the meantime, it completely exposes them as money loving hypocrites who society should ignore, but won’t.

There is a very clear choice. China is not shy of describing what kind of world they want the 21st Century to generate. They’re not lying, it’s all very clearly put out there by Xi and his people. But these dudes have made a choice, and the choice is money.

Nagasaki – Peace Park

On March 10th, 1945, 279 B-29 Superfortress heavy bombers conducted the most devastating conventional bombing raid in human history.  Their target was Tokyo.  The new tactics they employed had been tested but never implemented on such a large scale.

High altitude precision bombing over Japan had proved difficult compared to Europe due to high altitude winds over Japan.  The US Army Air Forces decided to switch tactics, primarily at the behest of Curtis LeMay, although the ideas were not entirely his own.

The tactic of large formations of B-29s conducting high altitude precision bombing using high explosive bombs was completely altered.  The attacks would happen at night.  The B-29s would attack as a swarm, with each bomber flying individually without formation.  The attacks would be conducted from very low altitudes to ensure accuracy and to confound Japanese anti-aircraft defense.  Finally, the B-29s would use incendiary bombs instead of high explosive bombs.

The target was Tokyo itself, its people, and the largely wooden based construction of Japanese homes and small businesses.   Some bombers carried a small number of high explosive bombs which were the first out of the bay.  The idea being to crack open the roofs of structures using high explosives so the follow on incendiary bombs would fall within.

LeMay took extreme risks in the plan.  To increase bomb load, all defensive guns on the B-29s were removed except for the tail gun.  A lack of defensive formation meant each B-29 would be highly vulnerable to Japanese night fighters without mutual defensive support from other B-29s.  Nevertheless, LeMay decided to proceed with the new tactics.

The raid succeeded on a scale few could have imagined.  The Japanese were completely taken off guard by the new tactics.  No Japanese night fighters were able to engage a single B-29.  Japanese anti-aircraft guns did manage to down 14 B-29s with the loss of 96 Americans.  But generally, Japanese anti-aircraft fire was ineffective as the gunners were not prepared for a low altitude attack and the low altitude run of the B-29s rendered Japanese radar mostly blind.

The attack started a firestorm throughout Tokyo with a ferocity previously seen in places like Hamburg.  However, the wooden base of Japanese construction made the consequences even stronger.  An estimated 100,000 Japanese died in one night, almost all of them civilians.

Until the end of the war, the USAAF would continue to employ the nighttime, low altitude, incendiary attacks across all of Japan.  And yet, by August 1945 even after five months of firestorm bombing Japan was no closer to surrender.  As World War II would demonstrate, no amount of conventional strategic bombing would ever bring an Axis country to surrender.

In Germany, it had taken a complete conquest via ground forces.  American plans were in place for a ground invasion of Japan to start on Kyushu which estimates claimed would cost millions of lives.  And so the decision was made to try and short circuit such a scenario.  The Soviet Union would enter the war, and America would employ atomic weapons in a last attempt to force Japan’s surrender without a ground invasion.

On August 6th, 1945 the first atomic weapon was dropped on Hiroshima with perhaps over 100,000 Japanese killed.  And yet, Japan still did not surrender.  President Truman did announce to the public and to Japan what had been done.  A single plane, with a single bomb, had done what had previously taken hundreds of bombers.

Japan’s leadership was well aware of what had happened, but refused to surrender anyways.  The same concept, that the Japanese people could endure anything, and Japan could fight on remained inside their minds.  It must be acknowledged that by this point most of the Japanese senior leadership were certifiably insane.  It is akin to Hitler’s last moments, where he ordered divisions to attack, that no longer existed.

And so the decision was made to use a second atomic weapon, this time on Nagasaki.  For the most part, Nagasaki had avoided conventional bombing throughout the war due to its difficulty as a target.  But with an atomic weapon accuracy and raid tactics were essentially irrelevant.

On August 9th, 1945, once again, a single B-29, with a single bomb.  At 11:01 in the morning a plutonium core weapon detonated about 2,000 feet above Nagasaki (the airburst setting allowing for the blast wave to not be absorbed by the ground).  Approximately 80,000 people died.

The devastation is clear to see, before and after:

Hirohito, finally, seeing the inevitable, and perhaps making one of the braver decisions of his life (there was no guarantee that the militarists would not simply assassinate him and fight on) decided to surrender.  When he spoke via radio to the Japanese people it was the first time they’d ever heard his voice.

Nagasaki Peace Park began in 1955 and has a museum and hall adjoining it.  It’s hard to explain what it was like to visit the place as an American man in my early twenties.  Nuclear war on such scale, such horror, is difficult to comprehend when you haven’t seen it or know personally anybody who did.

I don’t really have any conclusions to draw here.  I could probably write a super long post on the morals of strategic bombing done by both sides during the war.  Or the ethical decision to use atomic weapons to avoid a horrific ground invasion.  But others far wiser than I have written legions of books on these topics.

As to the rest of this post, it’s just about the photos I took while there, and a few words from the Japanese themselves.

ground zero or otherwise known as the hypocenter

some of the ruins were left on purpose inside the park

inside the museum

    After experiencing that nightmarish war,

    that blood-curdling carnage,

    that unendurable horror,

    Who could walk away without praying for peace?

    This statue was created as a signpost in the

    struggle for global harmony.

    Standing ten meters tall,

    it conveys the profundity of knowledge and

    the beauty of health and virility.

    The right hand points to the atomic bomb,

    the left hand points to peace,

    and the face prays deeply for the victims of war.

    Transcending the barriers of race

    and evoking the qualities of Buddha and God,

    it is a symbol of the greatest determination

    ever known in the history of Nagasaki

    and the highest hope of all mankind.

    — Seibo Kitamura (Spring 1955)

important people, get important awards, say important things

My Guests and I didn’t watch the Oscars and simply don’t care.  We love old movies and old Hollywood.  Now everything sucks.  So we don’t watch, and would rather examine different kinds of beach sand in a laboratory than learn who won.

The Oscars used to be alongside the Super Bowl as a much watch event for the whole country each year.  But that was decades ago.  I can’t fathom a human being who still watches this running joke.  Though I’m sure plenty of decent, good people do so for their own reasons.  Hey we all have our own guilty pleasures, folks!  Mine’s beer, and more beer.

Anyways, we’ve come up with some belligerent guesses on how all this played out:

1) Most of the awards went to obscure arthouse projects and actors for films that almost nobody saw or will ever see

2) The ceremony dragged on for a bloated five plus hours as these self-identified very, very important people stroke their own egos with delicious hot fry oil

3) A celebrity made it a point to show and/or state how rich they are compared to YOU, the poor shit eating masses

4) Various, multiple, one-sided, unneeded, petulant, militant comments were made about the current state of American politics

5) Conversely, no mention was made about China’s current, daily crimes, because Hollywood wants China’s money and supporting evil helps with that

6) One or both Clooney’s offered a remark that made the audience desire to shoot one or both of them into the Sun via giant clown cannon

7) Bogart’s ghost appeared on stage and stated deadpan, “I hate the lot of ya.  You’re not real people.  I wouldn’t ever have a drink with any of ya.”

8) A woman clutched the Oscar statue, and quoted 37 Me Too platitudes, all without understanding the same statue is still held without shame by an acknowledged child girl rapist

9) George Lucas showed up, and tried to get everybody to shake his hand so it could be remembered that he is, in fact, still alive

10) Militant anti-film luddites stormed the stage wielding plastic bats and proclaimed a return to a “Heroic Book Future” before being subjected to tasers

Fin

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.

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.

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!

Ōsaka-jō – and why building expensive castles usually doesn’t work

So you want to build a castle. You’re a powerful man but you have a boss. And his castle is awesome. So you want to build one that’s even better than his. So your tower is taller, you throw some gold leaf on there, and you probably think you’ve done an awesome thing.

Problem is, your boss dies, and you’re left hanging with this big, huge, expensive castle while your enemy instead has a massive killing machine of a mobile field army. Oh, and sorry, fixed defenses are generally of only limited value during a long running military conflict. Just ask China how well the Great Wall was at keeping out those dastardly Mongols.

Ōsaka-jō was built from 1583-1597 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi who wanted to mirror the digs of his boss (at the time, everybody’s boss) in Oda Nobunaga. But then Oda died. And soon the son in Toyotomi Hideyori gets Ōsaka-jō.

Then one day in 1600 this ordinary, average, nondescript guy named Tokugawa Ieyasu wins arguably one of the devastating and decisive battles in military history at Sekigahara. Toyotomi loses badly, but it takes Tokugawa until 1615 to acquire enough balance of power to finally settle the score. Tokugawa’s army of several hundred thousand men overpowers Ōsaka-jō, burns it to the ground, Toyotomi dies by his own hand, and Japan’s history is essentially written for the next two hundred years.

Tokugawa rebuilds the castle, because of course. In the subsequent centuries it does what a lot of wooden buildings do throughout history, it burns repeatedly. Gets rebuilt. Then burns again. Then the castle is rebuilt with public contributions. Then during the Boshin War it’s taken and burned again. Then it’s rebuilt, but this time as an arsenal. And so the the Americans carpet bomb the place into oblivion in August 1945.

Only in the late 1990’s is the castle itself restored. But in typical Japanese fashion, it’s done in concrete and not wood. Every time, it still gives me a lack of understanding chuckle at the lack of authenticity and reverence the Japanese have for historical sites and buildings. Nothing quite like the calm, religious experience of a glorious temple, when you can buy hello kitty right inside the door from one of my merchant stalls.

This was a neat visit, it’s cool to look at and the ground themselves are beautiful more as a garden or a park. The tower is interesting, but it feels stale and not real. Probably because it’s concrete and not real. It’s not one of my favorite Japan locations, by far, but it’s worth a short trip if you’re in town.

And also, if you have a Bond style villain demi-god level of power in your future somewhere, don’t build a castle or a god-like evil lair. Building expensive castles usually doesn’t work, see Ōsaka-jō. Or Bond will blow up your lair. Focus on mobile field armies or goons instead.

everybody died today

The news is a funny thing. Lots going on in the world, but especially people dying. I think today I saw the following people have commuted to Valhalla:

– Sigfried or Roy, I can’t remember which one, but I think this means both are now getting mauled by tigers in Valhalla as drunk mead swilling goons laugh at them

– Some Survivor contestant, which means one of like 3,487 people because for some reason that stupid show still exists

– Some actress that at least a few people have heard of that was on some show or movie I’ve never seen

I think that makes it about 1/5 of the news articles on the front pages of the news I read. I didn’t click on these articles, but there they were, in my face. And I wouldn’t say I read trash news or gossip or celebrity sites. I’ve got my beef with the media, but it’s not like I’m reading TMZ.

I’m not wishing for people to go, and it sucks when anybody dies. Well, unless you’re Hilter, Stalin, a card carrying member of Al Qaeda or ISIS, or if you love & religious profess Crossfit. But it doesn’t mean you deserve front page news when you check out to the next realm.

I mean when like Sean Connery checked out, that’s front page news. Same with Leonard Nimoy. Otherwise, back page please, let check out time come quietly for most.

apartment living is a bizarre experience

I lived in a house and then a townhouse I owned for nearly a decade. Then I sold them because I got moved around for work and frankly was tired of being a homeowner. Owning a home is a big pain in the ass. These two houses had a number of major issues. I dropped so much freaking coin to get them ready to sell. I think I essentially lost money on one and made some money on the other.

So then I got back into apartment living to shorten my commute and because after two of my eternal doggy buddies commuted to Doggy Valhalla I only had one small troublemaking shoebox dog and could get away with a small one bedroom closet.

There are a great deal of pros with this sort of life:

1) If something breaks, I don’t care, because I don’t have to fix it.

2) Significantly less square footage to clean.

3) Never have to search for where said troublemaking dog is hiding because the place is so small you can always hear her snoring and determine her location by ear (she has a smash face).

4) I have found that owning less stuff is a pro for me. My biggest source of hoarding are books and blu rays. Boo hoo. It’s gonna be a sad day for me when I buy a house again and have to own more than one couch.

5) When the ghosts come to haunt my dreams and tell me to burn things there’s only one bedroom so they’re in and out real quick.

6) Cooking smells last for days, which works for me because I take my cooking seriously. Who doesn’t want their dive apartment smelling like Spanish jamon for days on end?

7) You only have to drag your laundry twelve feet instead of up and down two flights of stairs.

8) I don’t care what any financial goon says to you, renting may have once been way, way more expensive than owning. I think this was true for our parents’ generation. I don’t much think so anymore. Granted, I don’t rent an expensive place, but I put out way, way less coin in a year into renting than I ever did into owning.

Now the bizarre cons:

1) Having to once again submit myself to the noises and antics of neighbors who will yell at one another, have party now and then, conduct a demon ritual with friends and fellow acolytes, and so on. I can sometimes hear all this inside the apartment. It bugs me and my doggy. Fortunately this is solved via headphones or the ever tasty internet white noise generator which I frequently employed when I lived overseas recently and the walls were made of cheap plaster made in Pakistan.

2) Do you like pot? It’s okay if you do. But boy you gotta keep that smell shit inside your apartment. Cigarette smoke lasts about twelve seconds. Pot smell and smoke lasts 27 years. Trust me, I ride the subway and can confirm this. They need to put a towel under their door or something. Like I said I kind of rent on the cheap so management doesn’t care. And I live in a progressive jurisdiction where a large amount of crime is essentially tolerated because nobody wants to offend anybody, do we? I’ve got not beef with the smoking pot, I’d fucking legalize every drug on the planet. Just keep it out of my apartment.

3) The incredibly bizarre experience of elderly women and homosexual men brazenly hitting on me at 1am on a Saturday morning when my dog is using the bathroom in the courtyard. Again, all good with me about anybody’s life choice, just not my thing. Plus, if hitting on people at 1am in an apartment courtyard was acceptable (among many other behaviors) then I suspect dating wouldn’t be so difficult for me.

4) The dudes who buy and have delivered their snotty higher than thou newspapers, decorate the front step with them, and then don’t collect them until 11am. I’m usually the first tenant out the door with my dog for bathroom. I gotta sweep this pile of shit aside like my foot is a broom. It’s my first act of the day, or, I guess second after snaring my dog and carrying her down the stairs (her back is gone). Even my own dear mother has stopped getting a paper newspaper except but once a week. And daily newspapers have been a religion in my family for generations. Who does it daily anymore, except as a statement of political support? It’s the new woke. “You do read the paper newspaper, every day, don’t you?” [looks intently at total stranger while fingering official woke dagger in pocket]

5) I truly, truly, truly miss having a full kitchen to cook in. I have a micro kitchen. Do you see my sad face? This is my sad face.

6) My cheap ass apartment has a hot water heater manufactured in Yugoslavia in 1984. It does not possess the capacity to fill the bathtub to full capacity. Do you know how much I miss a good hot bath after an outside winter workout? Sigh.

7) I wish I knew my neighbors, at all. I’m rewatching Poirot and at least as depicted 1935 apartment living everybody is all polite and knows one another and watches out for another. I’m an insular, quiet weirdo who my neighbors probably thinks builds bone pyramids in my closet. But even when I try and greet people, say nice things the usual response is dead silence. This was even before covid. Now people avoid each other like there’s a pandemic going on. It makes the building feel so cold and empty.

8) My cheap ass apartment has no balcony and no floor length windows. So my doggy can’t look outside and watch the world go by. And I can’t sit on the balcony in the spring or fall and smoke me a rare cigar and scotch and just exist. I miss my decks and backyards.

That is all. This will be my last apartment.

PS, if you’ve read this far, I thank you. But also wonder what’s wrong with you? I mean, I know there’s a lot wrong with me. But why are you here? I’m so, so sorry that you’re hear. Let me help you! With a virtual pandemic hug. To get your free hug, kindly send via international wire transfer, $500 to:

The Arcturus Project – Virtual Hug Project

C/O Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation

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