Friday, April 21, 2017

Missing "The Hungry Years"

Neil Sedaka once sang a song "The Hungry Years." He missed that simpler time when he was poor and didn't have all of the complications in life that comes when you have success.
Back in 1983 I was dead broke and living in the charming small town of 15,000 people, Albany, West Australia. It sits right on the Indian Ocean. It had once been a whaling village. My wife Maria had left me for good and gone back to San Francisco. I had a legal complication. I was not allowed to leave the state of West Australia. I lived in a rented room. I had a humble portable black and white television and an audio cassette music player. I had no car or bike. I was able to eat and barely support myself by working at a very humble job in a restaurant. The food was good. My boss was, believe it or not, a Mr.Smith and a nice man.
I would think back to my happy times in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. I would long to be back there.While I lived in Perth, I discovered an obscure shop that sold Brasilian music. I had a small collection of audio cassettes from the shop. My favorite Brasilian artist was an obscure singer named Maria Creuza. Every evening I would listen to her beautiful voice and have the happiest thoughts of Brasil.
This music collection got lost by a moving company in South Africa in 1995. I thought that part of my life was gone forever.
In my recent Brasil trip, I was able to find some vinyl records of Maria Creuza thanks to Anna Chagas and Bossa Nova Music Shop in Rio de Janeiro.
Yesterday afternoon was sunny and cool in Pacifica. I started to play the vinyl records of Maria Creuza. Her beautiful songs touched my heart just as they had 34 years ago. I thought back to those hungry years.
It's so nice when you get a part of your life back that seemed to be lost forever.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Celebrating The 100-Year Anniversary of World War I-The New York Times Stunning Photos

“The Entry of the French Into Noyon: French flags carefully hidden for two-and-a-half years soon appeared everywhere.” CreditUnderwood & Underwood/The New York Times Mid-Week Pictorial, April 19, 1917
Times Insider is offering glimpses of some of the most memorable wartime illustrations that appeared in The New York Times Mid-Week Pictorial, on the 100th anniversary of each issue.
“‘The Deliverance,’ An Incident of the German Retreat: This picture typifies the deliverance of the cities of Northern France, for two years and a half under Prussian domination, from the iron rule of the conqueror. The children, quick to recognize their friends, are being given a ride by the men of an advance British bicycle corps.”CreditThe New York Times Mid-Week Pictorial, April 19, 1917
The damage done to French cities and towns along the Western Front, as the German army staged a strategic retreat to the virtually impregnable Hindenburg line, was the main subject of this week’s Pictorial.
Noyon was among the towns retaken by Allied forces on March 18 after the Germans withdrew. Rotogravure reproductions in the Pictorial showed the French army entering Noyon — though scarcely in a cinematic scene of jubilation — as well as the damage done to Noyon, Bapaume, and Nesle.
“These photographs are the first to reach America showing the actual conditions in the French cities evacuated by the Germans in their hasty retreat to the Hindenburg line,” the Pictorial said. “They give ocular evidence of the destruction wrought by the Germans.”
Most stunning of all was a photo taken by Whitney Warren, one of the architects of Grand Central Terminal, who visited Arras, the scene of a prolonged and important battle. Thirteen inches tall on the printed page, it showed the 18th-century Notre Dame Cathedral with much of its roof blown off. The structure has since been restored, as seen in this contemporary view, which roughly corresponds to Warren’s photograph.
“The Present Condition of the Cathedral at Arras: The Cathedral of Notre Dame, while not so ancient as that at Rheims, being begun in 1755, was one of the most beautiful in France. Its destruction is beyond hope of its ever being repaired.”CreditWhitney Warren/The New York Times Mid-Week Pictorial, April 19, 1917
Continue reading the main story

The Noirth Korean Threat To America ANd Its Allies Explained

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Some Further Thoughts On Home Burglaries And Cameras

My comment about installing video cameras got a response that I was not expecting.
Elena and I are very middle class. We have no treasures in our house that would mandate turning the house into a fortress.
When a burglary happens here, it's not a team of professionals going after expensive paintings, fancy jewels, antique firearms, or other trappings of the rich. Rather someone smashes the door, runs in, grabs what they see quickly and runs out.
If you have a laptop with very confidential company information that can be a disaster. Hopefully people secure such things carefully for fear of losing their job.
Generally people lose televisions, computers, guns, and cameras. Insurance pays for most of the loss after a deductible.
The financial loss isn't an issue. Having been a victim of two burglaries in my life, I can tell you one thing. It's not the financial loss. It's the awful feeling afterwards that you have been violated. I equate it to how a woman must feel after she is raped or forced to have sex when her heart is really not in it.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Why People Are Stealing All Over The World

I have a quick comment this morning. As I stated earlier I was afraid to bring a camera to Rio de Janeiro because of street thefts and armed hold-ups. Over the last 40 + years, I have taken a lot of pictures of Rio but was not able to do it this time.
When I got back, burglaries continued here in Pacifica. Elena and I installed a camera system in the house. I will not discuss all of the details. But if you do break in here, rest assured, as the old saying goes, "You will be on Candid Camera."
Sadly break-ins and robberies are common all over the world in both rich and poor countries. My very liberal friends will point out that the continuing rise in inequality between the rich and the poor makes this happen.They draw scenarios where some poor and starving person breaks into your house or robs you with a weapon to get food to stave off starvation.
Studies in poor neighborhoods in South Africa and Brasil paint a different picture. Basically one person in ten works at a low-income job . They produce enough income to keep family members and friends fed. (Basic food stuffs are not that expensive, by the way.)
All of the stealing going on is by people with drug habits seeking to support their addiction.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Article That Won The New York Times A Pulitzer Prize

Tactical Nuclear Weapons Scenario-North Korea

[Analytical & Intelligence Comments ] FEEDBACK: How Tensions on the Korean Peninsula Might Play Out ( sent a message using the contact form at look at the current options for a conventional attack on North Korean nuclear facilities and give an estimate of casualties in North Korea and South Korea.Then let us take it one step further. Let us assume that General Mattias (who would plan the operation) put himself in the shoes of General US Grant in the civil war. General Grant decided that the only way to fight a war was to hit the enemy with overwhelming force. General Mattias may decide that using tactical nuclear weapons against nuclear sites, airfields, and the mountains where all of the artillery is contained. Please work up that scenario including casualties. I'm not crazy. This could very well happen in real life. Of course China would be told that this was just an operation to stop North Korean madness and that the Chinese would follow behind us to handle the regime change that would follow.