meet your new Jeopardy host, Kal-Al-Dekbrah, Destroyer of Worlds

It’s become rather hard to keep track of just how many people are detonated in the media every day.  So, I for one don’t even try.  But I guess not one but both the new Jeopardy hosts have at one point in their life called another adult a jerk, so they must be executed in Times Square and can’t host the show.

I’m just gonna go ahead and state that Jeopardy should have died with Alex.  I used to watch this show with my Ma and Dad.  My Dad liked it.  But to me, there is literally less than zero point having the show continue without him.  Trebek WAS Jeopardy.  This show does not properly exist without him.  Everything else is just noise.

That being said, somebody’s gonna host this show, because $.  Since modern media / news / celebrities have a zero tolerance policy on any actual human behavior whatsoever, no human being will ever pass the vetting.  So we at TAP propose Kal-Al-Dekbrah, Destroyer of Worlds as the new host.  His qualifications:

1) Possesses most knowledge available in galaxy.  They can fire the scriptwriters.  HE writes the questions, live, on set.

2) Is so surly and dismissive that his dry demeanor will be treated as wise as he calmly asks questions and interacts with contestants.

3) Thinks social media is a clandestine tool to weaken humanity for the forthcoming bombardment, and thus has no black marks on his internet record.

4) Confirmed genocidal maniac who has burned planets.  But since he didn’t say anything about trans on Twitter, nobody will care.

5) Provides esoteric enjoyment during the contestant question session as he asks their opinion about drag coefficients on starships.

6) Ups the drama by requiring any contestant with a negative balance to pay the bill, in cash, on screen, as the credits roll.  Or else.

7) Lights a candle and chants a prayer for a few seconds at the beginning every show in honor of Trebek.

8) Will viciously chokeslam any haughty contestant mid-show (you KNOW the type I’m talking about) shattering their spine on the stage floor

9) Dispenses with the need of judges to adjudicate disputes, only HE judges. Objections result in chokeslams.

10) Antics will provide better ratings than any other [insert complete and total loser human here who is not Alex] new host.

it’s time for a return to bloodsports

This morning on the train a woman was absolutely out of her mind.  Likely under the influence of some mild expanding substances she was shouting nonsensical things to the train car in general.  Since the local train police are essentially nonexistent, this is not an uncommon occurrence.  Everyone ignored her.  However, what was uncommon was as she got off the train she got into another lady’s face and started yelling at a complete stranger, essentially threatening her life for no reason.

This other lady then proceeded to let the crazy lady have it, and basically shouted her down asking her in very kind, appropriate language fit for a kindergarten what her problem was and to get away from her.  Much to my surprise, this entire interaction greatly pleased the entire train car’s passengers.  It seemed to make them happy to see this altercation, made their commute more exciting.  Other complete strangers were talking about it with each other.

Why?  Well, morning commutes are boring as shit.  Plus, this crazy lady had been shouting for 20 minutes and so folks were probably pleased to see somebody hand her her ass.  But, I have a twisted mind and so my other thoughts were that folks were just happy to see some kind of non-violent altercation as pure entertainment.  It brought people together, complete strangers.

This is straight caveman shit.  This is the ape part of our brains that loves to see a good scrum.  Think evolution has solved us of this?  Wrong.  At times it seems the entire purpose of social media is to give people an outlet to express their rage at [insert anything here].  Instead of brawling with their neighbors in the market square over [insert anything here], they just output their rage on Twitter.

Not only is this unhealthy, it’s also weak.  It’s really, really easy to threaten somebody’s life over a political issue when you’re not in the same room with them.  It’s rather a different concept if you’re face to face.  Let’s take an example of this.

1) Political Cult Acolyte 1 says to Political Cult Acolyte 2 over Twitter, “Fuck you, you’re wrong, my opinion is right.  You deserve to die.  I’ll kill you and all those like you, fucker.”  A similar threat is returned.  Nothing actually happens.

2) Political Cult Acolyte 1 says the same thing to Political Cult Acolyte 2, only face to face.  Either the police are called, a fight ensues, or somebody is actually murdered.

If you ask me, (2) is more productive than (1).  (1) allows the rage to continue, let’s people live in their own narcissistic bubble, permits people to endlessly be total assholes without consequence, and in the end solves nothing.  Whereas with (2), the issue is resolved, one way or the other, immediately.

It’s time for a return to bloodsports.  The Coliseum is still standing, just slightly upgrade that venue and let’s get back to our roots.  The mandate is anytime somebody threatens somebody on the train, or on Twitter, it’s like a glove slap challenge.  If the other human doesn’t accept, they can be branded as a coward or not serious in their beliefs regarding [insert anything here].  If they accept the challenge: Coliseum.

This can be live broadcasting like the Olympics or like any number of post-apocalyptic B movie from 1987.  They don’t necessarily have to kill each other, just get the other opponent to submit.  So I’m not necessarily advocating tridents and nets.  Let them hit each other with plastic bats for all I care.  Eventually somebody will get tired of getting hit in the head and give up.  Or, we just let folks go wild and somebody can get viciously stabbed with a short sword.  Either way.

But, I guess the problem is this would instantly make these folks famous.  So folks would be picking fights on Twitter just so they could get into the Coliseum and then become #1 on Instagram.  Fuck, my idea sucks.  It solves nothing.

Hmm, how about instead of bloodsports, we adopt the ancient Mayan or Aztec custom of human sacrifice?  If two people threaten each other on the train or Twitter, they get tossed into a cenote, or have their heart ripped out on the steps of the Supreme Court?

failed train becomes graffiti

Near my place is a light commuter rail train bridge overpass under construction.  Construction’s been on hold for over a year because (shocker) the project is over budget and the government is fighting with various private companies over who pays the bill.  My bet is it takes five more years to finish this thing.  It’ll be a decade behind schedule and probably a few billion over budget.  Which seems to be how America builds things nowadays.

Anyways, since this very new and expensive bridge is essentially abandoned, people get to have a field day except for the nearby construction storage site.  That site is safe is because it’s surrounded by cameras and barbed wire.  But the bridge itself is essentially open, if you’re daring or dumb enough to climb out on the steel edges of the supporting beams.  The beams are about a person’s width wide, without a railing, and a drop of at least a 100 feet or so.  In other words, you can walk out there, but if you fall you’re done.

And wouldn’t you know it several crazy folks have done so, to spray paint graffiti on the side of the bridge.  The first guy did this months and months ago.  It was a crude word that was incomprehensible, I guess it was his art name?  I have no idea, I’m not exactly up on the graffiti scene / lingo.  This morning another artist / goon (depends on your viewpoint) put his or her tag on the bridge side next to the old word.  The new stuff was super elaborate.  It must have taken hours to spray that on there.

I draw the following conclusions:

1) Whoever did this had the mental fortitude / courage / guts of a person who in caveman times would have killed all his rivals and made ten surrounding villages his bitch.  It takes balls to stand out there with inches between life and death for hours, and to somehow spray a well composed coherent concept.

2) Like a lot of places in America, the crime rate in my local area has soared lately.  We had a carjacking the other day which is extremely rare.  This weekend the cops were back, just down the block from me.  Yesterday I had to shoo my dog along during the walk because she wanted to play with a man who made no attempt whatsoever to conceal he was dealing hard drugs.  Spray paint a bridge illegally?  No worries, the cops are nowhere to be found (for many, many reasons which we won’t get into today).

3) Despite his nighttime tactics, I’m sure the artist / goon (depends on your viewpoint) would have been visible to at least a few pedestrians and those driving in cars.  So either these folks just let him do it and didn’t care, or they called the cops and the cops didn’t show (see above).  But I guess if folks saw this and didn’t care, I’m okay with that.  Somebody spray painted a bridge, so what?  If government can’t be bothered to not completely & totally waste taxpayer money for a decade on a failed transit project why not let some dude have at it?

4) Will the most incompetent of governments take the time to paint over or remove the graffiti?  Well, like I said the one guy has had his stuff up there for months, so my guess is no.  At least not until construction resumes on the project, if it ever does.  So these dudes have their stuff just hanging out there on this steel bridge forever.

5) If I had spray painting skills, and the guts to do this, I’d spray paint the most random shit up there.  Something that would cause people near constant question marks in their heads for years.  I’d have like a woolly mammoth playing cards with a penguin, a Cossack, an elderly Incan lady, and a half full glass of water, all of them sitting on a table made of ice, next to a campfire fueled by discarded Chinese newspapers, whilst on the Moon.  It’d be great!  Losers would be searching for the deeper meaning of it for years, when there would none whatsoever.

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!