This is the End of Heisei

One friend said today, “This is last time we will do this.” This is how Japanese talk at the end of the year. They are big on the endings. Well, it turns out that it was the end of the year. Tomorrow the calendar changes to become Reiwa. The Emperor father turns the kingdom over to his son.

To show this is real I got this in my inbox from Costco Japan. Gannen is a fancy way to say Year One.... [Read More]


“Yellow, It’s Me….”

Why are all those people behind Biden at his minuscule Pittsburgh rally yesterday wearing yellow shirts? Yellow is most famously the colour Of cowardice. It’s the colour of sadness. It’s the colour of a urine stain. Thank you Pissburgh, we love ya!

Well, I guess he can’t drape himself in the flag graphic. Trump has really pretty much pre-empted that! Just like Clinton’s supporters had to be schooled not to chant “USA! USA!” Because that’s a Trump chant. That says it all, really.... [Read More]


Why Trump Will Be A One Termer

I have been kicking this thought around in my head for about a month. I have come to the conclusion that the reason why Trump won in 2016 had more to do with whom he ran against than anything else. Yes, Trump hit on issues that many Americans found important, most notably trade issues and immigration. Yes, Trump worked much harder than Hillary when it came to states like Wisconsin and Michigan. But it must also be acknowledged that his margin of victory in many states that have not gone Republican since at least 1992 was razor thin for Trump, Michigan especially.

No, the main reason why Trump won was because Hillary was hated that much by most everyone in the electorate. If the voter was a Republican, there is no need to explain that person’s vote. If the voter was a progressive, then the explanation of wanting payback for Bernie is very reasonable. The bulk of Democrat voters in these states that did not show up to vote for her, or outright voted for him, is a clear indicator.... [Read More]


“FISA Court Says FBI Lied to Them”

Mike Huckabee wrote the following,

After being on defense –- with his hands legally tied –- for the first two years of his Presidency, President Trump is finally able to go on offense, as he can no longer be accused of “interfering with the Russia investigation.” But something else is afoot as well, according to deGenova, and here is the tremendous breaking news: The FISA court has been looking into abuses of the FISA system and has communicated with the Justice Department about its findings. Their chief judge has already determined that for more than four years before the election of Donald Trump, there was an illegal spying operation (yes, SPYING –- and, yes, ILLEGAL) going on by four FBI contractors to break the law to steal personal electronic information about American citizens and to use it against the Republican Party.... [Read More]


The First Time The Saints Came Marchin’ In

In connection with discussions on two threads in the last few days, I checked my recollection of events surrounding the crucifixion. But here’s sump’n I never noticed before. At the moment of Jesus’ death:
“And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and were seen by many.”
—Matthew 27:52,53.
Mark, Luke, and John don’t recount that. But my question is: I thought you could only be a saint if you had known Jesus, meaning you were alive during His ministry or you accepted the faith later. There are no Old Testament “saints”, right? Moses, David, Elijah, Isaiah, aren’t saints.
Were the saints Matthew refers to people to whom Jesus has preached and who had believed? Or did he just mean the dead walked, as part of the signs and portents surrounding the sacrifice? But then, which dead? And for that matter, did they rise when Jesus died? If so what were they doing until Sunday morning?
That’s the same question: so, where were you Saturday?— that spawned the Gospel of Nicodemus, I think from the 12th Century, which contains a fantastic account of the Harrowing of Hell over the weekend. The traditional liturgy used to say Jesus “descended into Hell” but I don’t think it does, anymore.
Protestants aren’t big on saints. I think we only routinely call the writers who made it into the canonical Bible “saints”. Even Mary and Joseph: they come out at Christmas time but then, we pack ‘em away again for another year.
Were those revenants who came marchin’ into Jerusalem really “saints”? Faithful Catholics, who can qualify as a saint?


I’m #1! And #2!

I’m rather notorious for claiming both American and Canadian roots.  I was born in Portland as a 4th generation Oregonian but moved to Canada when I was 6 and lived there through high school before returning to the States for college.  I also received a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications so my father always accused me of having a BS in BS.

So with that background, I proudly claim positions 1 AND 2 in the following study!... [Read More]


Golden Week is Upon Me.

From April 29th to May 5th is the usual Golden Week in Japan. This is the linking of the following holidays.

  1. April 29th  is Showa Day. (It used to be called the Emperor’s Birthday.)
  2. May 3rd is Constitution Day
  3. May 4th is Greenery Day (This is basically a made-up holiday to connect to the next day.)
  4. May 5th is Children’s Day

This year is special because the 29th is a Monday and the 5th is a Sunday so Golden Week is 10 days long.  The three extra days come from the Saturday and Sunday before the 29th and Monday the 6th as a replacement holiday for the 5th landing on a Sunday.... [Read More]


Book Review: The Code Hunters

“The Code Hunters” by Jackson CoppleyA team of expert cavers exploring a challenging cave in New Mexico in search of a possible connection to Carlsbad Caverns tumble into a chamber deep underground containing something which just shouldn’t be there: a huge slab of metal, like titanium, twenty-four feet square and eight inches thick, set into the rock of the cave, bearing markings which resemble the pits and lands on an optical storage disc. No evidence for human presence in the cave prior to the discoverers is found, and dating confirms that the slab is at least ten thousand years old. There is no way an object that large could be brought through the cramped and twisting passages of the cave to the chamber where it was found.

Wealthy adventurer Nicholas Foxe, with degrees in archaeology and cryptography, gets wind of the discovery and pulls strings to get access to the cave, putting together a research program to try to understand the origin of the slab and decode its enigmatic inscription. But as news of the discovery reaches others, they begin to pursue their own priorities. A New Mexico senator sends his on-the-make assistant to find out what is going on and see how it might be exploited to his advantage. An ex-Army special forces operator makes stealthy plans. An MIT string theorist with a wide range of interests begins exploring unorthodox ideas about how the inscriptions might be encoded. A televangelist facing hard times sees the Tablet as the way back to the top of the heap. A wealthy Texan sees the potential in the slab for wealth beyond his abundant dreams of avarice. As the adventure unfolds, we encounter a panoply of fascinating characters: a World Health Organization scientist, an Italian violin maker with an eccentric theory of language and his autistic daughter, and a “just the facts” police inspector. As clues are teased from the enigma, we visit exotic locations and experience harrowing adventure, finally grasping the significance of a discovery that bears on the very origin of modern humans.... [Read More]


This Week’s Book Review – Admiral Gorshkov

I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) After my review appears, I post the review here on Sunday.

Book Review

‘Admiral Gorshkov’ a biography of the Soviet Navy’s architect

By MARK LARDAS... [Read More]