Thursday, March 31, 2005

I'm a bad chest cold

The moon is shining brightly. Even though the sun has come up and is no longer dark outside. It looks like a giant back-lit hanging orb. Nothing but the tops of the buildings are visible through the thick, ground hugging fog. You can hear, but not see the traffic zooming on the nearby road. Wow, what a unique morning. Glad to be alive.

Really cleaned up my laptop last night. It was getting pretty grungy. Especially the keyboard. And I know where my fingers have been. Eeewww.

The interpreter story. Ah yes. Mr. Nishida-san is with a joint US-Japanese company that provides the navy with, among other things, interpretation services. The 4 guys that work with us come to the office every day, study the material and get our lessons and notes and bone up on them so they will be better prepared. As I'm sure you know, we squids have a language all our own.

Of the 4 guys, Nishida-san has never been in the navy; Maki-san worked closely with the navy for years, but as a civilian; Tall and quiet-san, who I think is in charge, was a naval officer; and the 4th guy is just a freakin' mystery to me. Only Nishida-san actually translates. The others assist him.

Well, Nishida-san has been at our office for months and has done one other mission which was all classroom lessons down in Sasebo. This was the first time he has had to work on a ...da da da dum (suspense music)...ship. He was so funny. If we had to go out of the office and in to a space to observe a technical drill he would get so lost. He was all big eyed at the size of the equipment, the complexity of the equipment and, of course, the weaponry. He amazed at the lack of space or privacy. And the strict adherence to protocol and traditions and our unflinching deference to rank. But by far the most alien to him was the navy's propensity to keep starting earlier and earlier and finishing later and later. Navy is definately not a 9-5 job.

Then came the small boat rides. There he found himself, standing on a pier before 6 AM, on a foggy, drizzly morning waiting to go to a ship that was out at anchorage. When the boat arrived he had this real funny look on his face. He didn't expect the small boat to be so small nor that it would have no formal access point, instead requiring you to clamor aboard wherever you saw an opening. In your street shoes. Carrying a briefcase and computer. And umbrella.

Then he found out that on the ride, you get sea spray. No way around it, you get the spray. And the small boat rocks and pitches. And vibrates up through your butt. Constantly, and not in a particularly pleasant way, either.

And then, we arrived at the giant, hulking, grey hulled monster of a navy warship. And he was ready to be there. "Just show me to the door", his eyes said. Until he saw the acomm ladder. Then his eyes got big again. An accomm, or accommodation ladder is kinda like stairs going up the outside of the ship, if stairs went almost straight up with only the slightest perceptable incline, and were in a constant to and fro motion with a little up and down thrown in for good measure, and you accessed them from a small boat that was doing the same...but not in synch. In street shoes. With a briefcase and computer. And umbrella.

We arrived in our makeshift office. Set up and went on to have a normal training day. 10 short hours later we were done, and headed out for the accom ladder to disembark. Going home was much the same fun as the ride in. Plus it rained. Welcome to the navy, Nishida-san.

Peace, out
Travelin' Ed

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Redundant posts

This old blog site has been really bogged down lately. My early morning is early evening stateside, so maybe it's a heavy use issue. All I know is when I go to publish it will sit and spin for 5, 10, or even 20 minutes, stuck on a small percentage number such as 8% complete. My connection is really fast and other sites are a breeze, so the data transfer problem belongs to them boys and not me. I will normally just hit the stop button and then try to publish again. I think I'll quit doing that, though. Imagine my chagrin this morning to find all of those multiple posts. I cleaned them up, as you can see.

I was going to write about our Japanese interpreter who, while he knew he was going to work for the navy, hadn't taken into account all the nautical stuff. You know, like ships, A-comm ladders and small boats. I'll do that blog tonight or tomorrow. We gotta be pierside at oh-dark thirty for a small boat transfer to the ship which spent the night at anchor. Yep, we're going out again today.

Yo ho ho, out
Travelin' Ed

Monday, March 28, 2005

Well, I guess you can...

...teach an old guy new tricks. I don't even notice these bifocals anymore. Ahhhhh, aging....

Travelin' Ed

Boys...I work with boys

And what's worse, they are boys being led by boys. We are in the middle of a training mission for a Japanese ship. Or at least that's the way I understand it. However, with the already mentioned exception of myself, everyone else seems to think we're on a mission to chase Filipina bargirls all night and sleepwalk through some lessons each day for something to do.

One guy is single and living overseas for the first time. He has not yet figured out that every Asian woman will more or less make you feel like you're something special. But that a bargirl will make you feel re-e-eall-ll-ly special. Especiallly that part of you known as the wallet. That's why, when we used to stomp around the Philippines a lot, we called it "peso-nality". So this dude is bouncing off of walls, spending money like, well like a drunken sailor ($1,000 his first week, and we're here for 3 weeks), and coming "this close" every night to getting this particular girl out of there and getting some action. What the kid ain't figured out yet is that she's always gonna have him thinking that one more ladies drink and she's outta there with him because "she likes him a lot."

So anyway, this guy has never taught a live lesson before. He was only here to observe but one fellow got yanked back so we divvied up his lessons and ths guy got one of them. So, for a week and a half, this guy has known he has one, one hour lesson to do. He teaches it first thing this morning. So yesterday afternoon I asked the "lead" instructor, and by "lead" I mean "not leading anybody", if he had run this guy through a practice teach to make sure he was ready. I only asked because I knew the boy had spent the weekend chasing tail all night and sleeping all day. The response I got didn't really give me a warm and fuzzy. He said, "I know he worked on it some". People, he worked on it some.

So I, not the lead instructor but me, made him do a practice teach for me yesterday afternoon. He was poor to fair. What killed me was that he got to one slide, one that he was going to apparently teach this morning without any further research, and said, "I don't really know what this slide means." There are 14 other instructors here, any one of which could teach this lesson, and he doesn't even ask them to explain a slide he doesn't understand.

Needless to say I yanked the little peckerhead's liberty card and he got to spend the night doing practice teaches until he got it right. An evening that had him chomping at the bit because his bargirl missed him and tonight was the night she was probably going to go with him. An evening that was made only slightly more tolerable for him by the fact that I yanked the lead instructor's liberty card also and made him sit with me to observe the practice teaches so that peckerhead would have an "audience" on which to practice. I tell ya, some people's kids.

On a completely different note, AI, dude YOUR Rolling Rock will have an umbrella in it.

Sensai, out
Travelin' Ed

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Jest don't trust 'em

Some things are just to hinky to trust. And you know what I mean, too. Spam just kills me. I mean, really, who is stupid enough to buy stuff sight unseen from a guy they've never met? Someone who can't even spell the name of the product correctly because he doesn't want to be shut down. Yeah, there's a preferred merchant for you. One step ahead of the law. Want to buy a warranty with that?

New twist I've seen is adding the word "christian" into the schemes...Thanks GW. "Christianmoneylenders" and "Christianhomemorgtage". I don't buy it. And I certianly ain't entrusting my house to a spammer, (supposedly) Christian or not. Somehow, beady eyed little bugger comes to mind instead.

I was going to explain my feelings on the "HerbalErectus" guys, but you know, all this crap is pretty disingenious. C'mon, what thinking person doesn't already know this about that? This boring blog's just the by-product of too long in a Japanese, I mean hotel room with nothing happening to stimulate my brain. Yes, I said brain. Get your mind out of the gutter.

Got an interesting proposal from a friend who wants to start up a production company. It sounds pretty well thought out. Of course he also spends beaucoups time in 3rd world hotels and on oil rigs, so time for contemplation is not really in short supply for him. I just need to figure out if I can be consistently creative, or only when I'm bored. Promised him an answer by the end of the week.

Contemplating*, out
Travelin' Ed

* Don't have a dictionary to help me with my RaWo-matic(R) . The RaWo-matic(R) is a random word generator that works on the principle of opening a college dictionary and RAndomly using your index or middle finger to hover over, and thereby "select", a WOrd. it's devilishly ingenious, really. But the main component of the device sits unused on a bookshelf back in Yokosuka, rendering the remaining component useless for now. Sorry. It'll be back in use next week. I promise. T' E

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Last week in Maizuru

Well, this is the last week here. This past week we rolled in and the weekend was beautiful. Cool to the point of nearly being cold, but sunny and calm. Monday through Saturday brought us (pick 'em...mix and match 'em) rain, wind, snow, sun, thunder and lightning, ice, and fog. Today, Sunday, is fine. Sunny and bright, and I'm guessing mid-70s for a temp. I just had to go out for a walk.

Talked with the Lockheed-Martin guys again about being an instructor for their Foreign Military Sales (FMS) division. They asked again for my resume. We think I can work for them and still live in Florida, as long as I have access to an airport, which I do.Those guys get $300 a day in per diem over their salary. And it is EXACTLY what I am doing now. We're teaching shoulder to shoulder. And FMS is not just Japan. It is Spain, Korea, Japan, Australia, one of the Scandinavian countries, and possibly Taiwan. Not sure who else we plan on selling the stuff to. Anyhow, I can get hired today. That's not a problem. The sticking point is my refusal to relocate.

That is the only thing to write about today. We went out prowling the snacks and buy me drink bars last night. Not worth a whole lot to anybody today. We are underway on the Japanese ship 3 days next week. May or may not get around to blogging, but will try.

Holding my head and fading....out,
Travelin' Ed

Friday, March 25, 2005

This one's for Bite Me Again

Dang girl, what a name. And you seem so nice. Ah well, you just can't never tell. Anyway, here's the words I promised you.

White Stained

Did you smile cuz you knew I would tumble?
Could you wait or did you just have to tell?
Could you see that I wore my fears just like a bandana?
Crashed down and see how hard I fell
Crashed down and see how hard it felt
The sidewalk where we saw our secrets spilled.

Did you see me go running for cover?
See me hide from the light of day?
Must have known I would call you up when I was all wasted.
Jacked up and crying on the line
Smacked around and grabbing for a time
The promises had not yet gone to lies.

Seems your smile used to come more freely.
Your eyes used to dance and laugh whenever I'd call.
You were my muse and I was your hard luck hero.
White stained and crooked as they came.
White stains too easy, don't they say.
Honey, I don't see you 'round too much these days.

Smoked the butt to the end and that's when I flicked the filter.
Shower of sparks that died in the gutter drain.
What is there left but to turn and to walk off slowly?
Oh darling, if I pray it will...
do you reckon maybe time would just stand still?
On this sidewalk where we saw our secrets spilled.

This sidewalk where we saw our secrets spilled.


OK, BMA. It was fun. You keep writing, too.
Travelin' Ed

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Quotes morf eht snospmiS

...and they'll never know the simple pleasures of a monkey knife fight. - Homer

Aw man! I'm going to die and I never got to taste cantalope. - Lenny

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Hotel Land: Trials & Tribulations (The mini series)

No rant today. I found out they had ice, which was nice. Also found out there's free beers at the desk. Hmmm, another little perk, albiet a caloric one for a man on a strict ramen diet.

I found that by tucking the bath towel into the devil chair's seat cushion I could create enough "ass friction" to considerably slow the slide towards the floor. Not eliminate it, but make it more bearable. Only downside was the naked, dripping wet trek across the room to fetch my towel after I forgot it was there before I took my shower. I'll make that mistake probably once more and then I'll start remembering it. Yep, I know my learning curve pretty well.

AI & I (sounds like a phone company) continue our mutual admiration society. I think next time I head up where my family is in NC I'll try to slide on over and buy him a drink. One with one of them little umbrellas if I can.

Today we hold drills on the ship. That is where we start them to running a scenario with all of their radars, computers and such on-line. Then we walk through and "break" some things at random to force them to find and use the proper repair procedures. We grade them on recognizing, repairing and reporting the casualties. Yeah, I know... and they pay me for this.

Grinning, out
Travelin' Ed

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Ah yes, the boredom sets in

Man, if it weren't for the internet and some downloaded sitcoms I'd be dying right now.

It's pretty cool outside but not quite cold. The kind of temp that makes you stop and debate yourself about taking a coat with you...and whichever you choose is wrong. It pretty rainy but not quite raining. The kind of rainy that makes you debate taking an umbrella...OK, you can take it from here. Last but not least I am in a room the size of a cell. It has NO shelves or drawers so I am literally living out of my suitcase which takes up one third of the navigable floor.

The maids are, in fine Japanese fashion, completely rigid and impervious to change. Throw a bucket of change on them and it'll slide right off with ZERO effect. I was working when they came to the room. I told them just change the towels and dump the trash. Then we talked and gestured some. Then some more. Then a manager got involved. Then I wound up in the lobby, pissed off that the freakin' maid couldn't change the towels 8 feet away without me taking a field trip to the lobby. Then Einstien-san, the pretty but none too bright counter girl snapped off that I was not happy and escorted me back to the room so I could continue working. The Japanese are great...unless you deviate from their pre-set plan in any way.

And now, for the tour de farce. I have a pretty, comfortable looking, well padded chair that looks real inviting. A high back that wraps around. It's a good chair. But no-o-o-o-o, it couldn't be that simple. First off, for some reason that is completely and utterly incomprehensible to me, the back of the seat cushion sits higher than the front, subjecting your butt to a perilous incline. But that's not all. It is covered in a silk like fabric that is just slicker than Appalachian Intellectual snot. As soon as you sit down you start sliding off so you spend the entire night fighting gravity as you try to watch TV. Ahhh, relaxin'.......NOT!

I know, I know. W-a-a-a-a-ahhhh!! But still, does it have to be this hard?? Well, I have the internet and downloaded sitcoms, by golly. So I am stoked.

Sliding on, out
Travelin' (right out of the chair) Ed

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Hey sk, you're trippy!

I think I should not try living left handed as you suggest. No good can come of it. A maid would find me dead on the floor of this tiny hotel bathroom, totally perplexed as to why I have toothpaste in my eye. But thanks for asking.

Travelin' Ed

The Big Dance

I am getting to watch the tournament. Sort of. I am having to sit here watching the Scoreboard feature on CBSSPORTSLINE.COM to keep up. I have it on right now, splitting the screen between this open window and that one, watching 3 games wind down.Duke is in a dog fight with, appropriately enough, the Mississippi State Bulldogs but are starting to pull away now. GA Tech is getting taken behind the woodshed and spanked by Louisville, so say goodbye to the Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech. And, drum roll please, my #10 seed North Carolina State Wolfpack knocked off #2 seed Connecticut today.....JUST LIKE I TOLE YOU THEY WOULD. The iffy part now is how far can they go? I figured they'd be playing #3 seed Kansas next and lose, but Kansas done lost in the first round. So now they play #6 Wisconsin and I have no idea if they're any good or not. I'd like to think we could whoop up on a bunch of yankee boys, but we've been proven wrong there before. So let's just cross our fingers and hope for the best. Back the Pack!!

Yay team, out
Travelin' Ed

Old Favorite

Man, what an awesome song. After the first two words you'll recognize it and know I didn't write it. And you're right, I didn't write it. Lived it.


There's a port on a western bay
And it serves a hundred ships a day
Lonely sailors pass the time away
And talk about their homes

And theres a girl in this harbor town
And she works layin' whiskey down
They say Brandy fetch another round
She serves them whiskey and wine

The sailors say "Brandy you're a fine girl
"What a good wife you would be
Yeah your eyes could steal a sailor from the sea"

Brandy wears a braided chain
Made of the finest silver from the North of Spain
A locket that bears the name
Of the man that Brandy loves

He came on a summers day
Bringing gifts from far away
But he made it clear he couldn't stay
No harbor was his home

The sailors say "Brandy you're a fine girl
What a good wife you would be
Yeah your eyes could steal a sailor from the sea"

Yeah Brandy used to watch his eyes
When he told his sailor stories
She could feel the ocean fall and rise
She saw its ragin' glory
But he had always told the truth, lord, he was an honest man
And Brandy does her best to understand

At night when the bars close down
Brandy walks through a silent town
She loves a man who's not around
She still can hear him say

She hears him say "Brandy, you're a fine girl
What a good wife you would be
But my life, my love, and my lady, is the sea"

So.....can I get an amen for '70s AM radio?

Misty eyed and reminiscing, out
Travelin' Ed

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Hotel Mare Takata

Made it OK to Maizuru. Had a little adveture along the way, the kind that would come straight out of a cheap comedy movie. I lost Thompson on the Shinkansen and he had to do a little unplanned side trip.

We were getting off in Kyoto when we realized that we had left a bag on the train. Now the bullet train is only stopped at the station for a minute or minute and a half. It don't waste no time loitering. I stayed on the platform with the 2 large suitcases and 2 computers and he jumped back on to get it. Unfortunately, he got behind two slow moving old ladies and got back to the exit just as the doors closed. I implored the conductor to open the doors, but he just did the X'd arms. So I did the only thing I could think of. I waved goodbye to Thompson and started schlepping bags across the terminal to our connecting train.

Now, these stations are not set up for having a lot of luggage and you encounter quite a few stairs. I managed to get all four bags down to the main level and through the turnstiles. But it was a real effort. Luckily, no one offered to help, which would have made it much easier. In the effort I managed to drop my computer to the floor no less than 4 times, so I am very suprised I am writing this. By all rights it should have died along the way.

Fast forward a little, I have arrived at track 31 for my connecting train. Now I grab a bench and check the ticket for departure time, which convienently turns out to be 10 minutes ago. Easy enough, I just had to visit to the fare adjustment window to find out the next departure time. In Japan, if you've bought a ticket somewhere, you'll go, even if you miss your original flight or train. In the case of trains and shinkansens, you just forfeit your reserved seat and go into a general admission car of the next thing rolling out. But there's no real hassle to it.

Now that I knew when the next train was leaving, I went back to the track to wait. I was contemplating having to navigate a commuter train with all the friggin' baggage, when Thompson came strolling up and said, "Well, now I've seen Osaka", and asked when the train to Maizuru was leaving. All in all, we just got put 1 1/2 hours behind schedule. No biggie.

Got here and found out the whole hotel is a wireless hotspot, so high speed in the room is not going to be a problem. But no TV in English. So I have been going online and downloading stand-up comedians, Simpsons and The Family Guy episodes to watch at night. With a high speed connection, all things are possible and LIFE IS GOOD.

Chillin', out.
Travelin' Ed

Friday, March 18, 2005

Higashi Maizuru

OK, this morning I am catching the Shinkansen train down to Higashi Maizuru, via the ancient city of Kyoto. I will see a full 250 yards or so of Kyoto as I transit the station for my connecting train.

I say that to say this. I will be staying in a real nice hotel that I've never stayed in before. I always stayed next door at the Urban Hotel. Rumor has it that this hotel has high speed internet in the room, but I cannot confirm that. If it does not, I no longer have a dial-up account in Japan, so I will be off line for the duration, which is through April 2nd.

NC State just beat UNCC in the tournament. I have them going another game, which would be beating Connecticut, before going down in a blaze of glory to, I think it was Kentucky. Back the Pack!!

Travelin', out
Travelin' Ed

Thursday, March 17, 2005


Just because:

You put a tomato in the refrigerator, don't expect it to last forever.

You have a credit card, doesn't mean you have extra money.

You can pull your hair into a ponytail, doesn't mean you should. (Gentlemen.)

You have a Harley, doesn't make you special. (Or tough. Or cool. Or sexy.)

You name your daughter Durnhotlatrina, don't believe you've done her a favor. (Verily.)

You write a blog, doesn't mean you have anything to say. (If you're still with me here.)

You're homely, doesn't mean you're smart. (There's plenty of stupid homely folk.)

You drink the good stuff, doesn't make you interesting. (Even remotely

You use big words, doesn't mean I understand them. (Even if I'm nodding along.)

Cushitic, out.
Travelin' Ed


You know, that Jimmy Fallon seems like such a nice guy. No, you're right, he's no Tina Fey, but still. And his whole family almost became mail carriers. I know.

Feldspar, out
Travelin' Ed

A romantic and a duck walk into a bar...

As I have mentioned many times before, I am retiring from the navy. 26 years has been enough. Now here is something I hadn't realized until today. We arrive back in Tampa on the 26th of July. That's our 4th Anniversary. Kinda romantic, if you're into that sort of thing. You know; Starting a new life in a new house in a new place on our wedding anniversary. Awwww, it's the kind of crap greeting cards are made of.

My cell phone has a ring tone called "Donald Duck Humming". I use it, not because I particularly like it (it's rather annoying, really), but because I hear it when it rings. It does not blend in to the background noise. So even though I carry it around in my back pocket, I seldom miss calls anymore like I used to. So today, I'm standing in line for the ATM, near a fairly busy section of road. This was apparently one of those rare instances I was going to miss a call. I say was because, and I laughed so hard I spit when this happened, the teenager in line behind me tapped my shoulder and said, "Dude, your ass is quacking." Lord have mercy.

Peace, out.
Travelin' Ed

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

25 Things That I Like & Are Cool

25. Music that mixes genres, especially if one genre is rock or country
24. The Amazing Race / Survivor / Apprentice triumvirate
23. The yellow marshmallow chickies you get at Easter.
22. Wrangler jeans
21. Cufflinks
20. Lyle Lovett & His Large Band
19. Watching fish in the aquarium
18. A fat cigar, a lawn chair in the shade, and nothing planned all day
17. A pond, a jon-boat, fishing rod, best friend, and nothing planned all day
16. Playing "Trump...or monkey" on David Letterman
15. Waking up 2 hours early and realizing you can roll over and zonk back out
14. The fanfare & excitement associated with a ship's return to homeport
13. Hot Links grilled over a fire
12. Really good bourbon, splashed over rocks, on a warm, quiet day
11. When the crap you ordered on the internet finally arrives
10. Having a tailor make you a new suit exactly the way you want it
09. Feeding your friends a really good meal
08. Cat in your lap purring while you watch TV
07. ACC Basketball. Any time, any team, any where.
06. Driving a back country road, windows open and Neil Young cranked up high
05. Being polite when no one expects it. The reaction is worth the effort.
04. Finding out that your nephew wants to be like you
03. Realizing you are not as screwed up as you always thought you were
02. A really, really cheesy pizza with lots of meat
01. Getting the words just right when I write

Oh yeah. There's a lot more, but you can see that I'm pretty easy to please. No one really believes me when I say my life is not about the money, but it really ain't. If everybody else in the world didn't insist on you giving them money for things, I could pretty much live without it. But others insist, therefore I toil.

10 Things I really like about Japan, and may or may not be "cool"

10. Gloria Gran Turismos

09. Recycle shops

08. Helpful public servants

07. Cheap insurance

06. Lawsuits are rare, a heartfelt apology and some gomen money usually salve any situation

05. Courteous drivers. Everyone is required to attend extensive driver training and afterward are considered to be professionals.

04. Customer service is top notch. Anywhere, regardless of price range.

03. It's a culture built on getting along. Everyone is pretty polite most of the time. No one steals from you.

02. Beautiful women. And I guess I'd be amiss not to mention the schoolgirl uniforms.

01. My favorite thing, and I would bring it back to the US if it were possible to do so, THE ABILITY TO MERGE. Traffic does not come to a stop here because when the sign says there is something ahead and to merge into one lane, everybody moves over into one lane instead of racing ahead to the choke point to engage in a Mexican Standoff. The same is true for unexpected events like a stalled car in a lane; as soon as it is noticed the affected lane slides over while the unaffected lane creates holes for them to move into. A little more ragged than an announced merge, but still, everyone keeps moving forward. I am sure gonna miss logical merges.

00. This is actually buckshot, and therefore part of an entirely different list. Sorry for the inconvienence.

Cornification, Out.
Travelin' Ed

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Random sheet

You know, I really like good sheets. Something with a high thread count. Yep.

Out, out, peace out,
Travelin' Ed


I was riding my bike in to work one day and words just kept coming to me. It was about a 10 minute ride and by the time I got in I had the first 3 stanzas of this one all laid out. I just had to pop in a chorus, in this case one of them I like to call a mutating chorus 'cause it keeps changing slightly, give it some added length and get that sucker down to paper.

I love the part about "I think she must be really smart/she doesn't say a thing." It comes from when I used to say if a chick was interested in you she'd ignore you and then I would proceed to point out how every girl at the mall must really want me based on the fact that they were all quite effectively ignoring me. I didn't get much back then, if you're wondering...which I suspect you're not. Please read LINGER, but, and I cannot stress this enough, if you are in a public or semi-private place, try not to annoy others. Thank you.


I wrote my name in steel gray clouds
Then made my ponies fly
Don't ask about the blood I've shed
It's not for you to mind
The road is long and ornery

Like the twisting turns you 'round
Her smile, just like the wintertime
Up and knocked me down

Chorus 1:
Last night and tomorrow linger on
Lipstick on the mirror
Hints that she's already gone
Don't make me laugh that true love waits
It never could sit still
I never knew and guess I never will

I ran my heart up like a flag
It danced there in the wind
While just a random point of view
It's still where I begin
I gave my love like roses

Yet the flowers share no pain
Our moments crossed then intertwined
Unraveled once again

Chorus 2:
Last night and tomorrow linger on
I can't feel the music
When I try to sing along
I always heard that true love waits
But it ain't waiting still
A twist of fate as crazy as it feels.

I must accept some things don't change
And that's when you just quit
We've all got our own tale to tell
And make the best of it
So fascinated I've become

Lost in my own designs
My past becomes unguarded
As a crooked piece of time.

Chorus 3:
Last night and tomorrow linger on
I've tried to get away from me
But I'm already gone
I've seen me run from true love
Moving slow but gaining steam
Too stupid still to come in from the pain

I think she must be really smart
She never says a thing
Maybe has a secret life
That don't have room for me
I've never gave it that much thought

Don't need that dose of blues
And things are looking clear enough
Mixed coffee with my booze

It's fascinating, I've become
Lost in my own designs
My past becomes unguarded
As a crooked piece of time.

CPOQ Yokosuka Japan

Carryback, out
Travelin' Ed

Monday, March 14, 2005

Nice ring to it

Been a little busy the last few days. First there was the ACC tournament to watch...if you call jumping out of your chair, shaking your fist at the TV and screaming "Damn you, JJ Redick. Damn you!" over and over as he wielded his 3 point dagger on your team watching. I gotta hand it to the Dookies. They don't have the team like they usually do and yet...ACC Champions and #1 seed at the dance. So there you go. And NC State's showing in the tourney got them to the dance also, where I hope they'll do some damage. Back the Pack!!

Yesterday at work the internet was down. Which is good from the standpoint that no new taskers came in from the mothership in Virginia. But bad in that there was nothing to do but actual work. I got my presentations all prepared for what I think is my last training mission. Saturday I hop the Shin-kansen (bullet train) down to Kyoto and then take a regular train over to Higashi Maizuru for a two week mission on the Japanese ship JDS Myoko. That's some big per diem $$. Even the Japanese suck air through their teeth, shake their head and say, "Oh, Kyoto Prefecture is very expensive." And these are the same folks who don't blink at $3.50+ for a cup of coffee...each, no free refills. We're in a real nice hotel, the Mare Takata, which I understand has high speed internet in the rooms. If I go incommunicado on you, it means I understood wrong.

I got an offer from American Express over the weekend to come work for them. As a Financial Advisor. Like the ring to that..."Hi, I'm Ed. I'll be your financial advisor." Not bad for a guy who, after 14 years, still barely cleared the bar to graduate high school. In fact, true story here, my mom had my graduation notices printed up and they read, "....proudly announce that their son, William E. Abernathy, has finally graduated Brandon Senior High School..." Not kidding, the wench had them print that. I was LMAOing even before there was LMAO!

Like the one from Lockheed Martin, I took it as a serious offer because they contacted me rather than I applied to them. I wrote back that I would not be available until August, a fact that I had stated plainly in my resume cover letter, a fact I suposed that they had overlooked, and a fact that I was pretty certian would lead to a "thanks, but no thanks. Better luck next time" form letter. Instead I got a nice response of "We look forward to your return from overseas. Please contact _______ ______ when you get back." Wow. American Express. Maybe I'll get an employee discount on money. That'd be cool.

Can't think of nothing else now. Hang loose. And, if anybody asks, "How's it hanging?" you can say, "Loose."

What!?!, out,
Travelin' Ed

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Welcome Aboard

Hi Cindy and/or JJ and/or offspring. Glad you made it. I like knowing we are kinda in touch. Not actually touching, which is good I think, but in touch.

Here you will meet the Appalachian Intellectual, a good old Carolina Mountian Troll like JJ, and some others. It's a fun site....usually.

When I typed the title I thought, "Cindy was a navy wife a long time. She'll recognize the greeting." That got me thinking of Antietam, and for some sleazy reason, this:Remember the ship store sold "Welcome Aboard" USS Antietam panties and "Official Antietam Snake Handler" nite shirts. Kinda un-PC back in the day, huh?

Thanks for visiting, y'all. Love you all. Travelin' Ed

How is this different from the Taliban?

I try to keep things light hearted but some things just scare me. I'm not really one to get all angry. But I do get fearful. While I try not to preach, moralize or push politics, sometimes I gotta tell you something. This is one of those times.

We are a Christian nation, for the most part, and that's cool. Every nation needs some kind of moral compass.

I am a Southern Baptist. Mostly, though I think the Southern Baptist Convention wanders far off course and goes to ridiculous extremes sometimes. I was raised in a North Carolina paper mill town with one grocer, one pharmacy, 1 gas station and a church on every corner, and I am content with that. It's who I am. But extremism, in anything, has always given me pause.

We all marveled at the lack of regard for women in Afghanistan, and the muslim world in general. At least the Arab muslim world in general. With that said, I copied this article off of a "Christian" website, and frankly, this mindset is disturbing. Is it really that far removed from requiring burkahs and male permissions for basic human freedoms? It sure doesn't seem like too much of a stretch to me.

Here's an excerpt from the article. Enough to give you the gist of the line of reasoning, and hopefully make you go "Hmmmmm, that's pretty fascist." I don't believe this stuff is Christianity, and having said that, I hope I don't get attacked by fundamentalists.

Over the years I’ve noticed that Christian parents, as much as any parents, encourage their daughters to participate in sports. This is all the rage in our public schools, especially since the passage of Title IX by the feminists. Since most Christian parents send their children to the public schools, it doesn’t surprise many of us that Christians are influenced more by the secular school culture than by the culture of the Church. Worse, the Church itself is being more heavily influenced by the culture instead of the other way around. One of the trends in schools is the participation in sports by women; therefore it shouldn’t surprise us that so many Christian daughters today participate in sports. But is this really all that bad?

For those of us who believe we should train our daughters according to Titus 2, 1 Peter 3, and other Biblical passages, my answer is “Yes, it is not good.” I propose that sports greatly hinders the development of godly, Biblical, feminine character. Parents today expend extraordinary amounts of time and energy taking their daughters from one sports event to another, week after week, even to the point where it exhausts the family and family resources. The fruits we see are that today’s Christian women are often ill-prepared to be Biblically obedient wives and mothers. This brings to mind a couple of questions: “Why do we spend so much time preparing our daughters to play sports?" and "What does it prepare them for in the future?” My answer is that sports prepare women to be more like men. Instead of spending all that time preparing our daughters as the Bible directs, we are training them to be like men so they can better compete with men in traditionally masculine roles - i.e., compete with them in the workforce, in politics, in the military, and in sports.

Actually, I don’t have a problem with women playing recreational sports on an occasional basis, just with them playing competitive sports on a regular day-to-day basis. This rigorous physical and mental training tends to make women more masculine. I think it is prudent to often ask ourselves “Can a woman do this activity and retain a Biblically feminine character?” With sports I think it will be difficult in most cases. Even some of the traditionally more feminine sports like gymnastics and ice skating are now influencing women to be more masculine.

The Bible talks about women developing a quiet and gentle spirit; I think sports fosters anything but that. They instead develop a competitive and contentious spirit that will cause them to have great difficulty in their marriages. I already mentioned that the effort expended on sports will hinder the development of wifely duties around the home; even worse is when a man has to compete against his own wife in the workplace and community.

It continues, but you get the point. I find it pretty illogical, myself. For the whole story, FOLLOW THIS LINK.

Seriously, out
Travelin' Ed

Sorry, y'all

Sorry for such weak posts of late, but I've been running around like a chicken with his head cut off. I dropped my retirement stuff off with the personnel people on Tuesday, came in for some fine tuning on the package on Wednesday and by Wednesday afternoon I had my tickets home. Wow.

So I have been putting checks in all the boxes the last few days. You know, housing, household goods, the bank, and all the various other loose ends I can start tying up at a leisurely pace now that I have informed them all of my solid separation date. Should slow down now that they've all been notified.

Had to buy my own tickets home. I know what I said in the first paragraph, and it's true. I did get tickets from them. But tickets that met their needs, not mine. Let me 'splain.

They had me flying to Chicago then Jacksonville FL to muster out. My wife was flying to Dallas, on a different airlines, and down to Tampa, FL which is our home of record. That's all in accordance with procedures and I accepted it.

I asked if I could
a) change her ticket, or b) change her ticket and pay the difference, or c) change my ticket to Tampa and drive up to Jax, because Nong wasn't familiar with the US at all and I wasn't about to send her through customs, immigration and DFW all with such a limited ability to communicate. But...One, two, three strikes you're out. None of those were possible. Again, no sweat. I politely told them to cancel the wife's ticket and I would buy her one myself. I was not upset at all because I know all about government furnished tickets and all the rigamarole associated, and pretty much expected this scenario might come about.

So I bought her a ticket on my flight, used my miles to upgrade her to Business Class and then took my gov't ticket and told them to upgrade it to Business also. Of course, my ticket proved to be non-upgradeable. Screw it, I thought, I'll buy my own ticket. And I was just about to buy two upgraded tickets to Jax when I realized, "Hey...if I'm buying the cotton picking ticket, then I'm not required to fly into Jax necessarily. They're required to send me there, but I'm not obligated to take their ticket if I don't want to. I just miss out on the free fare." So instead I bought 2 tickets to Tampa. I'll spend the night with the folks and drive my truck back up to Jax the next day. Then I won't be stuck hoofing it for the whole 3-11 days I'm up there. Good plan, well executed.

I will touch down at Tampa International Airport 1600-ish on the 26th of July, never to wear the uniform again. I will still be getting paid for 2 months of permissive temporary duty and leave, but for all intents and purposes I am out in July. They'll mail me the DD-214 on the 30th of September and I am officially a civilian.

Last note here, I got another call back on my resume, so I can see now that I won't be unemployed. I will actually have a choice of jobs it looks like and that has to be a good thing. The last people to call back was for a job as a trainer in a marketing company in Tampa. I haven't taken it yet, but it's nice to know it's offered.

Peeps, out.
Travelin Ed

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


I have an uncanny ability to predict bouancy. - David Letterman

If God had wanted me to work on my own car I wouldn't have qualified for MasterCard. - Travelin' Ed

You don't want to monkey around with sinkholes. - Bruce Willis

Or sink around with monkey holes. - David Letterman

Travelin' Ed

Monday, March 07, 2005

Monkey Bicycle dot Net

I still expect to make a post of original ruminations sometime today. Well, I hope to anyway. But I found this and wanted to share it.

I was checking, as I do every morning to see what weird,objectionable,funny, ignorant or just plain wrong thing they had found on the net to direct us to. The link to the story of the guy who left his underwear out overnight while camping and came home with elephantitis of the testicles was their typical, sophmoric fare.

But, that "big nuts" story was carried on a site that appears to be dedicated to amateur creative writing and poetry. And, this particular story not withstanding, most of it was pretty darn good.

I said all that to say this. I want to share a link with you to their archives page. This is especially for sk, TAD, and Fishslayer to heed. Follow this link MONKEY BICYCLE ARCHIVED STORIES and scroll down to the (several) entries titled "ONE SENTENCE STORIES". They are fun and fascinatng.

OK, that's my good deed for the day. As Steve Earle once said, "Remember, there's no room in vulgarity for bluegrass."

Finger pickin' (my nose), out.
Travelin' Ed

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Nivea Furman

Got to work safely. Thank you. One song each from Izzy Strandlin, John Prine, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown and Lynyrd Skynyrd satisfied the duration of the drive. In the mornings (at 5:20 AM) the commute goes pretty quickly. It's getting home what sucks.

Had a few things meandering through my head as I drove. Don't really know why my neurons fire the way that they do, but since it's the way I was wired I deal with it.

I use Nivea for Men products. They're right decent, and lord knows a man's gotta keep his face smooth. But I take a small backwards step over the fact that they're French products. No, I'm not one of those "Freedom Fries" fools (yep that whole Freedom Fries thing made the world take us seriously, didn't it?). But in the last year I have noticed a few personal changes. While minor at first, they are beginning to worry me. For instance, the other day in Yokohama I was apparently near a petting zoo but didn't know it. While I was talking to Rod, a goat had come up and was standing behind me, fairly closely. I remember thinking, "Dang, Miss. You're smelling might fine." Yep--French-enized. And another disturbing machismo. Now I walk around with a big chip on my shoulder, griping and skulking and always ready to instigate a fight I can run away from. French-enized, I tell you.

Watched the premiere of Amazing Race last night. Man, that show is so-o-o cool. I really want to be on it. I know I can do it. I'm pulling for Boston Rob and Amber to win it. Last night was funny. Anytime anybody did anything or went anywhere the only thing they were concerned with was "Where's Rob and Amber?" I'm thinking they should spend more time considering what they need to do and less time wondering what someone else is or isn't doing. But that's just me. I'm a hard charger thataway.

Being married to an Asian, it's not dull. I think you should all try it once. Except you girls, y'all just need an Asian girlfriend 'cause same sex marriage right now is, well complicated.

Some random examples, presented randomly in random order:

1. For no known reason you end up with a collection of giant, painted ceramic eggs in one corner. Some as large as a beer keg.
2. Things you're not even sure you should be touching are finding their way onto the dinner table.
3. You know six different brands of phone cards and the pros and cons of each. An interesting aside, the Phillippine Airlines phone card (why?...I don't know) rewards you for using their card by increasing your luggage weight allowance incrementally with each card. [That does go a long way towards explaining how a couple flying economy class back to the PI can get by with having 4 suitcases and 9 bulging boxes to check and I end up throwing away my socks and paperback book in an attempt to make the NorthWorst Airlines weight restrictions.]
4. No matter how hard you fight it, karaoke is creeping into your den.
5. When you hear muttering in her native tongue, batten down the hatches 'cause your're heading for a real rough ride.
6. Although y'all don't have a lot of new clothes, you suddenly realize that she's doing laundry about 8 times a week. And you can't figure out how it even has time to get dirty between such frequent washings.
7. She loves you with all of her heart, but if her "real family" (mom or grandmom) calls and needs something, you're on your own, buddy.
8. Any time you travel, even to a place you've never been before, she will have a friend who has a friend there and you'll end up carrying something to give to them. That is a 100% certianty.
9. She learns "Asshole" first time she hears it but cannot for the life of her remember "Tupperware".
10. Somehow you have learned to discern the subtle differences between the various rices and noodles.

And the biggest change in life as you know it: You have indoor slippers, porch slippers and bathroom slippers (I kid you not) and now you freak out when you get more than 3 steps inside the house before realizing, "OH CRAP!!! I STILL HAVE MY SHOES ON."

I'll leave you with that.
Swasdee kob, Sayanora, out
Travelin' Ed

From the home office: Listmania

Got a cold and it's been kicking my butt. Nose keeps making snot, no matter how much I blow it. And my eyes hurt, for crying out loud. Who needs painful eyes?

I accomplished, in spite of my miserability, setting up a wireless network in the house. Now I'm mobile. That's a good thing. I watched Martha Stewart get out of prison and go home. That too, is a good thing.

Got contacted by Lockheed-Martin offering me a job. Noteworthy only because I did not apply to them. They wanted me in Moorestown, NJ, which is, for all intents and purposes, Philadelphia. But that got me thinking, so I applied to them in FL also, pointing out that LM in NJ had already offered me a job, I had just declined to relocate to take it. We'll see.

Wife got me out shopping 3 times. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Sneaky wench, two of those days she managed to make me think it was my idea. I gots to be mo careful. Sunday I was in hot pursuit of, of all things, vaccuum bags. Yep, I am one boring dude!

Here's some things from my office at home.

10 CDs in the back of the book (Most recently purchased, though "recent" is a relative term")

10. Alice Cooper: Brutally Live
9. Sawyer Brown: The Hits Live
8. Loretta Lynn: Van Lear Rose
7. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band: Will The Circle Be Unbroken Vol. III
6. Eric Clapton/BB King: Riding With The King
5.Willie Nelson: The Great Divide
4. Kid Rock: Cocky
3.Buddy Miller: Midnight and Lonesome
2. Elvis: 30 #1 Hits
1. Various: Kindred Spirits, A Tribute to Johnny Cash

9 Coffee Mugs Stashed in a box (Of 16 total mugs...yes, I need help)

Ship's crest mug: USS Antietam
8. Japanese Kanji writing, possibly vulgar?
Ship's crest mug: USS Bunker Hill
6. Ship's crest mug: USS Vincennes
5. Krispy Kreme
4. I LOVE MY WIFE, from my wife. Bought at Stuckey's in YeeHaw Junction, FL on her first trip to the states. She thought truck stop shopping was just awesome.
Ship's crest mug: USS Bunker Hill, different one
2. Japanese Kanji for Water
1. Santa Clause Mug, from Mother in Law in Bangkok

8 Books on the shelf

8. John Grisham: The Summons
7. Isaac Asimov: I, Robot
6. Robert Ludlum: The Sigma Protocol
5. Tony Horwitz: Confederates in the Attic
4. John Grisham: The Firm
3. John Irving: A son of the Circus
2. Study Book: Basic Tagalog
1. Traveler's Guide: Asian Customs and Manners

7 Toys (They're mine. All mine.)

Toshiba laptop, fully functional
6. Toshiba laptop, fully functional
5. Toshiba laptop, fully functional
4. TV/VCR combo
3. DVD/HDD Recorder
2. Fax/Copier/Scanner/Printer
1. Photo Printer

6 Ballcaps on top of TV

6. New Orleans Saints (kinda ratty)
5. New Orleans Saints (slightly less ratty)
4. NC State Wolfpack (lovingly cared for)
3. Bourbon Street New Orleans
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
1. Center For Surface Combat Systems Detachment, Yokosuka Japan (Logo cap from work)

5 pictures Dale took. Framed and hung by moi.

5. Live oak trees, draped in Spanish Moss at sunrise
Live oak trees, river bank, draped in Spanish Moss at sunrise
3. Black bird with orange wings sitting on barbed wire fence post
Lone oak tree, with some Spanish Moss, heavy fog, gothic vibe, at sunrise
1. Live oak tree, draped in Spanish Moss, fog rolling in, at sunrise

4 "personal items"

4. A flying wooden winged frog
3. Man trying to crawl away pencil holder
2. Frog head with a mirror in his mouth
1. Fourteen monkeys (smoking, see no evil, hangs from ceiling, wind up dancing monkey and 10's OK to be jealous)

3 People in photos in my immediate work area. Not counting me

3. My best friend Dale & his wife Lynn studio portrait
2. My neice Marisa (at 3 y.o.) holding a huge red snapper
1. Machima (aka Other Nong) in a lizard sarong at the beach

2 Things I really need to do

2. Pee
1. Go to work

1 thing above I wish I didn't have to do

1. Pee. No, work! No, Pee. (That's my final answer)

Pees, out
Travelin' Ed

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Alien Boy playing with words

My friend Dale (M.F.D. yo!) called me that. Not sure why I gotta be alien, or a boy, but still I kinda liked it. I love words, but I get to going and can't stop. difference. I just keep going and going.

I have fun writing stuff like this next one. When the words start rhyming up nice and coming to me easy...well, I am completely content. Man, if I played guitar, or piano, or zither or autoharp I would be a songwriting force to be reckoned with. I'm not, but I could be.

So read on, brothers and sisters. Read on:


The air was still and I felt the thrill
of having you close by.
Love, and dreams of sex, and alcohol.

You smiled at me, heart skipped a beat.
You whispered in my ear.
Elvis smiled from the velvet on the wall.

Been a lonely rolling stone
coming to a rest.
Been a lot of things gone wrong
but I think I liked you best.
Bourbon talks straight on the rocks
and love's a dangerous thing.
Hey Amber,girl, let me be your slave.

The lightning bugs lit up the woods
with pinpoints of delight.
The shadows rolled in close and teased the moon.

You said "let's dance" and threw a glance
off somewhere in your mind.
I played a song so slow it left the room.

Been a lonely rolling stone
coming to a rest.
Been a lot of things gone wrong
but I think I liked you best.
Bourbon talks straight on the rocks
and love's a dangerous thing.
Hey Amber,girl, let me be your slave.

A pile of clothes, like do's and don'ts
lay crumpled on the floor.
No damage done, it wasn't far to fall.

Slow and smooth, the earth don't move
but Amber saw it all.
And Elvis smiled from the velvet on the wall.

Been a lonely rolling stone
coming to a rest.
Been a lot of things gone wrong
but I think I liked you best.
Bourbon talks straight on the rocks
and love's a dangerous thing.
Hey Amber,girl, let me be your slave.

Hey Amber,girl, let me be your slave.

Norfolk, VA

Plasticised, out
Travelin' Ed

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

A belly good morning

The title means nothing. Maybe if I had said "base-eh ball been belly, belly good to me.", but I didn't. I'm like that...kinda flighty.

Oh man. sk you done made my day today. If chocolate made you write all that stuff...nice stuff...REALLY nice stuff... I'll sign you up for M&M's home delivery program, my treat. (The M's are my favorite, but alas, they aren't sold seperately.) And as long as it's just for home mix tapes, I really see no reason to not P2P some music. Especially the old stuff. I use the LimeWire program. And, newsflash!, Ryan Adams has inspired quite a lot of my stuff. Almost as much as Billy Joe Shaver. I am sure that comes as no surprise, though. The guy can flat WRITE A SONG.

The dudes on American Idol are pretty darn good this season. There were only about 2 slackers and they got the boot pretty early. I'm really liking them, especially the 2 long haired rockers, Constantine and Bo Bice, although Constantine often seems like he's pondering on which of the girlie singers he might score with. He's got beady eyes that way.

Speaking of the girlie singers, not real impressed. Mikaleh, 17 going on 40, is intriguing. She reminds me of Fran Drescher, The Nanny. On whole, They don't seem to be a real talented bunch. Cute, but not real exciting. Not that I wouldn't gladly bear any one of their babies, I just wouldn't have them sing the little drool monkey to sleep.

OK, how to approach this? I'm going someplace good with this, so see it through. I found a Japanese website that pertained to handicapped wrestling. These were very handicapped people, wrestling for the amusement of others. Like dwarf bowling...somewhat, except without the dwarves and pins and beer frames.

Well of course, my first reaction was to kinda avert my eyes and go, "Oh no they did-nt." But, looking at the pictures, which were very good quality by the way, I realized that they were in an arena. A sold out arena from the looks of it. That got me thinking, and since I have lived here inJapan 11 years I know a little about how they function as a society, that maybe this was a good thing. With the vacant eyes and nonfunctioning limbs there is not a lot of employment to be had for them. Like it or not, that's a fact.

Now I do not know, or pretend to know the answer to the next question. But I did wonder about it. Are they perhaps grateful or even proud of their wrestling even though it seems kind of demeaning to us? I mean, if the arena is sold out then it must be making money and they must be getting some of it. Wouldn't it always be better, from a self worth standpoint, to be earning a wage and supporting yourself than to be in a home being cared for? And if that job is available to you, shouldn't you take it? I would think so, but I'm a Libetarian and a Populist. I don't know for sure.

I do know this, and I know it's true. A girl in one of the Third World countries, you could get me to lie as exactly which country it was, said this in an interview. She wanted actors, actresses and crusaders to stay the hell away from her village. They were mostly farmers, but a large clothing company also had a shop there that sewed shirts or pants or something.

So some Do-Good-Betty-Doo-Wop come on down to the village, camera crews in tow, and complained mightily about the horrid conditions (you know...not like a factory in say, California...and by the way, there's a REASON the factory is not in California anymore) of the "sweat shop". She cried and wailed and urged boycotts, plagues of locusts on the company and all manner of bad publicity. Eventually she got the company to change and she smiled in satisfaction, patted a village boy on the head, got back into her plane and flew home.Now, when I say got the company to change, I of course mean that they closed the shop down.

The girl stated simply that the village does not have jobs and that they were all very poor. Those working at the shirt sewing shop felt lucky to get the jobs. Sure it was hard, but so is the alternative, farming in rocks. And the shop paid more than farming did.

In a simple, agricultural village, the shop was a good deal. Now, thanks to the helping hand they got from Betty Doo Wop and her travelling indignation show, it's closed down. Gone. And took it's payroll with it. But at least it was for their own good. And, of course, their dignity. Better to live a dignified life in abject poverty, I suppose. I'm guessing Betty Doo Wop gets an extra half mil everytime she shows her tits in a film. You know, dignified employment. (Ok, the story is true, but I paraphrased it because I was doing it from memory.)

For my own good, out.
Travelin' Ed

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

You gotta deal. Stupid people.

Lord, have mercy. Everybody's freaked out that Americans are getting fatter. And they are. But what frightens me even more, besides the jingoistic patriotism and militarism we seem to have embraced, is that we're getting STUPIDER! Non-thinkers and sheep with a big army that sees frequent use. Kinda scary. But... since this is not a political blog, and never will be, we shall press on.

Case Study #1
I ordered my wife a hair dryer holder. Simple product, basically a clamp on a pole. But a handy thing that she wanted. So I went on line and ordered it. Put it on the Master Card, said a prayer for cyber-safety, and hit the send button.

A live chat popped up with some type of customer handler on the other end. She asked if my experience was good and I said it was fine, but if possible I'd like to provide my real phone number as the form's format did not allow for my international number. I got this back, and it's a quote, "We do not ship to overseas addresses. Goodbye." and click, I was disconnected.

A little concerned that they were going to charge my card and not send the product, I called them. And it was not toll free. I explained that my FPO address is indeed a US address and that the tecnological properties of a clamp on a length of pipe, while theoretically possible to be used as a weapon, probably were not sufficient to trigger any kind of state department technology transfer prohibitions.

I was abruptly told again that they would not ship it, so I asked to speak to a supervisor. When she came on I asked her why they would not ship a metal pole to a US Post Office. She stated that they needed a street address and not a PO Box. OK, I thought, I can see where this is going. "Oh. Do you ship via FedEx or UPS?", I asked her. "We use USPS", she replied, "and they won't ship to a PO Box."

I was incredulous. "USPS is the POST OFFICE, for crying out loud! Why the hell wouldn't they ship to a POST OFFICE box?", I demanded. "It's what they's ALL they do." You'll love her response: "Oh. Well that makes sense. OK, it's on the way." Ay-yi-yi, I fear for our future.

Case Study #2
I went to the bank to get checks made up for use after I leave here. I gave the girl the name and address info I wanted on top. I even had her start the check numbers at 750 so it wouldn't look like a new account. You can do that, you know. Everything was smooth and uneventful, as it should be. The smooth uneventfulness was soon to be horribly shattered.

"OK, sir. They'll be mailed in about 3 business days." "OK, but I want them mailed to this address here, not that one." "Can't do it, sir." "Why not, ma'am?" "Because we can only mail to the address on the front of the check." "No, that's ridiculous. You can mail to whatever address I want you to." "Nope. I'm afraid I can't. Only to the address on the front." "No ma'am, that is just not correct. You can mail them wherever I want you to." "No, I can't." "OK, the, let me ask you this. Do I HAVE to get my name and address printed on the front of the check, or can I just leave it blank?" "Yes sir, you may leave it blank if you wish." "OK, so if I leave the front of the check blank...WHERE WOULD YOU MAIL IT TO THEN?" "Ummmm....oh, I don't know...." "Miss, please call your manager over." That's when it all finally got resolved.

These stories are true. The names have been changed to protect the idiots.

Manager calling and logic using, out.
Travelin' Ed