Today


Today was Veteran’s Day.

At times, I mix in Memorial Day with it…  I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

They will always be veterans in my eyes.

____________________

Dad at Miyajima, Hiroshima in the spring of 1949.  I now have a bad case of “tennis elbow” and can’t retouch:

He was part of the US 8th Army’s Military Intelligence Service and served during Occupied Japan.  Being a “kibei”, he translated during the War Crimes trials, interrogated Japanese soldiers being released by Russia, Korea, Manchuria and China and translated Japanese war documents for intelligence.

Dad today with my two littlest kids:

Ninety-three years old.

Went to pay our respects to Old Man Jack.  Sun was just too low in the sky for a good pic… 😦  Miss you, Jack.

And went to see good ol’ Bob, too…  What a kind, great man he was.

Happy Veteran’s Day, guys.

Election Depression


November 6th – and the horrendous boulevard the public was forced to navigate – took a toll on me.

A form of depression, perhaps?

All the cheap shots.  Stupid propositions to fatten someone’s pocket.  Pot.  Programs that cost millions – millions a state government doesn’t have.

And the bozos that led us onto the verge of fiscal collapse were re-elected.  Criminy.

And of the most STUPIDEST state propositions that passed in “my” state was one that will make it ILLEGAL for porn actors to “do their work” without a prophylactic.  A rubber.  OK.  I wrote it.

There are (I’m guessing) several hundred “adult” actors here.  A law for several hundred actors.  Geez-louise.  For what purpose?  No need to discuss that.

In a nutshell – with inference to the White House and Capital Hill as a whole – I am depressed about our country’s future.  And of our brave souls in uniform stretched to their physical and mental limits protecting those same people with their lives.  And what’s REALLY crappy about that is the “special elected officials” get a full salary and benefits for life while our soldiers, Marines, sailors and aircrews can’t even get proper medical care after they leave honorable service.

But there is nothing more depressing than finding only crumbs left  in my bag of Lay’s BBQ potato chips.

Crumbs

Will a kind blogger set me up with a four year supply?

Thank you.

Live On, America


You have three hundred words to justify the existence of your favorite person, place, or thing. Failure to convince will result in it vanishing without a trace.

Go!

____________________________

My favorite place is here.  Our country.  Our America.

Our fathers and forefathers sacrificed all for their descendents’ freedom and prosperity unlimited… for us to cast our individual votes tomorrow.

Honor our right to vote and honor those that bought us that right with their lives.

Vote or our America will vanish.

Obsession, Time and Retouching


What an off-the-wall title.

But you have to be obsessed…when time is working against you.

_____________________

A single page from my Grandmother’s precious photo album

Retouching faded or damaged family photographs can become a labor of love.

Perhaps the finished product is meaningless to people outside of your family.  Maybe to some within your own family as well.  But somehow, you become obsessed with it because in spite what others feel, you know in your heart it is important… and perhaps more important as the years roll by.

Family members come into this world, live, then pass on.  How did they live?  Where?  What was it like “back then”?

That’s my mission.  To leave hints of what it was like for my descendants as well as interested family.

To let others see what “they” looked like.  How “they” smiled.  How “they” grew up.

________________________

The first snapshot above is but a page from my Grandmother Kono’s photo album.

Brittle pages.  Photos that were lovingly pasted onto those pages by my Grandmother.  Photos now eaten by insects.  Faded.  Damaged.

Now is the time.  Restore and retouch.  Hundreds of them.  That’s the mission.  Before all knowledge of their lives disappear.

They are disappearing today.

________________________

Having but free software, the retouching being done is surely amateur.  Basic at the best.  I wish I could afford professional software but then again, there would be a tremendous learning curve.  Make do with what you have…as “they” did.

And when you finish one photograph, you receive gifts.  Gifts of seeing what would have been lost.  Lost to their descendents forever.

Here is one example from that page:

(L to R) Suetaro, my dad, Aunt Shiz and an unknown friend. Circa 1923 at 620 S. King Street in Seattle, WA.

While the detail is surely not “lost”, it is hard to make out things.  The print is small to begin with; a quarter was placed for size reference.

But after restoring and retouching, some fun things come into clearer view – especially if there is a companion print to compare with:

In another pose on the same album page, you can see both my dad and Suetaro were holding food in their hands and dad had a bandaged thumb.  Here, after restoration, you can more clearly see the food but it blends into his bandaged thumb which would have been hard to separate.  I’m pretty sure Dad is eating an “onigiri” or rice ball, likely wrapped in seaweed.  Uncle Suetaro had already devoured his.  Minor detail, yes.  But now we have an idea of what Grandmother fed them in Seattle while growing up.

Aunt Shiz…well, it appears she would rather have been playing with her friend but we know she wore a uniform to school.  And she has a hair clip.  Berets for boys were in fashion, also, it seems.  Funny as Dad doesn’t like to wear hats much.  We also know that on that day, they wore very Western clothes…down to his overalls.

One barber pole is also different than the other.  When dad saw this today, for some reason, he just proudly blurted out, “620 S. King Street”, and very happily.  I think he was amazed at himself for remembering.  But the confirmation of the address came from retouching the print.  He also said, “That’s wood (referring to the sidewalk),” implying he doesn’t remember a wooden sidewalk.  But I mentioned to him it was cement when you look at it carefully and he was happy that he wasn’t a “pumpkin head”.

From this retouched print, Dad also added one startling comment out of the blue.  He said a number of “hakujin”, or Caucasians, came to the shop, even though it was in “Japanese Town”.  I asked him why.  His reply was, “I don’t know…  but Japanese are more attentive, I guess, than the other barbers…especially in shaving.”  I know what he means.

________________________

So all this “stuff” came from retouching a faded photo… Things that would have been otherwise lost.  Face it.  Dad isn’t the little boy eating that onigiri anymore.  But he still eats like a horse.  A good sign.  Aunt Shiz didn’t feel like eating much the day she quietly passed away.

Obsession and time.

And time is running out.

Crushed Raspberry and Mascarpone Dessert


 

The recipe is from my chef e-friend and former Food Editor of the Orange County Register, Cathy Thomas.

Since I’m a mechanic at heart, this should prove that anybody can “cuisin-ate” her easy-to-follow recipes.

I’m sure some of you pros out there can put the dessert together in a much more appealing presentation.

Sandy Aftermath and Fraudsters


I receive FBI news and alerts as a normal part of my day.

Unfortunately, many unscrupulous (and that is an understatement – they are pond scum) people defraud thousands of people pleading for donations to help out the people affected by a disaster.

Instead, the money goes straight to their pocket or to some organized crime/terror network.

If you are so kind and noble as to want to help out our Sandy victims, please read this following FBI alert before doing so:

Tips on Avoiding Fraudulent Charitable Contribution Schemes

Thank you for your kindness if you do donate.