Category Archives: Children

A Volcanic Week


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The Little Cake Boss doing her dance thing out in the middle of nowhere. Notice her iPhone? The Texting Princess was not too keen about having no signal.

It indeed turned out to be a volcanic week.  The end began the night before on Saturday at 10:30 pm when my son asked, “Papa, can we go to the Mojave Road tomorrow?”

Mojave Road??  In the morning??  Egads.

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The week was already in shambles… full of surprises.

My 13 year old son requested one of my apples pies so I baked one on Tuesday night…from scratch.  Crust included – never mind it looked like a clone of Shaq’s head. The pie turned out pretty darned good if you ask him.  Can you hear it sizzling as it came out of the oven?:

My 11 year old daughter has multiple dance classes every week night except Friday plus 2-1/2 hours on Saturday – right in the middle of the day.  On Thursdays, although she has a two hour window in between two classes, she chooses to stay to chat up a storm with her friends…except last week.  As I take her to her 4:30 pm class on the 4th (late again as she is never ready on time), she asks me to pick her up at 5:30 instead!  Plus, as she exits the car, she manipulatively says, “…and today’s National Cookie Day, Papa.  Can we bake some chocolate chip cookies later tonight?”  Geez.  Rushed across the street to Ralph’s to pick up more brown sugar and some walnuts then headed home…

As I was pre-mixing the dry ingredients for her cookies, Jack rushes into the kitchen at 5:15 pm all excited.  He said, “Papaaa…  I forgot to tell you but there’s an orientation night at the high school.”

“Oh…OK.  When?” I ask.

“Toooo-night…” in a shy voice…

Holy crap!!  I never got a notification of the orientation but it turns out he had taken something home to his mama; of course, she didn’t bother sharing that with me!  Then double crap!  (There’s a triple crap coming.)  I had to pick up my daughter in 15 minutes but the orientation started at 6:00!  Arrgghh!

Throw some snacks into a bag, load my son hurriedly into the car, then zip off to her dance studio.  I was a few minutes late and she was waiting outside.  I am NEVER late when it comes to the kids and especially with my little girl.  As I hand her the snacks, I tell her she has to stay because…..  😦  Boy, did she get upset at my son…from a distance!

We get to the auditorium in the nick of time.

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We transitioned to a classroom later listening to the IT department head give his presentation when… the triple darn hits.  My phone starts vibrating…  It’s 6:45 pm…  It’s my little girl calling from the dance studio.  She forgot a piece of her dance clothes for her 7:30 class.  Geez.

I couldn’t leave Jack alone so I had to pull him out of the orientation and rush back to the dance school.  I picked her up to take her home as I have NO idea what “thing” she needs.  I take her back by 7:20 only to have to pick her up at 8:30.

With all the excitement, I had forgotten how many 1/4 cups of brown sugar I had put into the cookie mix.  Criminy.  Anyways, four batches of toll house cookies emerged… And the Little Cake Boss – she’s the one who wanted to bake the cookies for National Cookie Day – didn’t help…  She said she was too tired…  Arrgghh.

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Yielded about 40 cookies.

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Ah, the volcanoes…

I had been asking Jack where he would like to go on a Sunday especially since the last two months have been Brooke’s dance, dance, dance for competitions and dance “conventions” every weekend.  Saturdays and Sundays. Get up by 5:30 am.  Criminy.  I felt bad leaving him home but I had no other choice.

So at 10:30 pm on Saturday, he brings up the Mojave Road.  He would like to go there.  I looked it up.  It was a dirt road that makes the Baja 500 look like skateboarding on a sidewalk.  Sadly, I said we couldn’t go because it’s 4 x 4 terrain; plus, the rainstorms had made some sections really rough going.

Then he says, “Papa, isn’t the Subaru 4WD?”  Gadzooks.  I had to show him photos of the road damaged by flooding and how raised monster off-road vehicles even get stuck.  Besides, the car only has cheap two-ply street tires.  He was disappointed.  I asked him to pick somewhere else…after I had said to pick a place.  He decided on “Hole-in-the-Wall” in the middle of the Mojave National Preserve.  It’s roughly 240 miles from home… One way.  Man, you should have heard my daughter moan and groan while chomping on the toll house cookies her PAPA baked for HER.  She did NOT want to go!

“Jack!!  What are you going to do when we get there! Duh!” she asked, then stormed to her room.  Oh, man.  I feel sorry for her future boy friend.  Did I write that?  Where’s the backspace…

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Believe me, I’d rather fight Godzilla rather than getting the Little Cake Boss out of bed early on a Sunday.  Braving an apocalypse, I cracked open her door at 7:30 am; I escaped with just one black eye and a broken arm.  But we all managed to get into the car by 8 am.  Drove like crazy as it gets awfully cold and DARK real quick out in the desert.  We got there a little after noon.

Hole-in-the-Wall is an area where volcanoes spewed lava over millions of years.  Geologists theorize that uneven cooling of the layers of lava aided in creating pockets of trapped gasses within.  Through the eons, time had eroded away the lava layers, exposing these “holes”.  The plateaus surrounding the area were what remains of the tops of the original lava flows millions of years ago. It has also been rumored to have been a hideout for outlaws in the days of the Wild West.  Their saddles must have had built-in GPS to have been able to come back to this forsaken place.  If it weren’t for Sparklett’s making door-to-door deliveries, they wouldn’t have had water, either.

As this story is getting too long, some snaps by my son and I from Hole-in-the-Wall:

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Avoiding cacti and other thorny stuff… as well as tarantulas that wouldn’t fit in a dog cage.
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Some petroglyphs.

I encouraged Jack to take photos as there is an art show at his school early next year:

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Me bending down is out of the question so I encouraged Jack to take a photo of this dead plant.

This is his result:

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Jack’s photograph. Pretty darn cool!

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A billion cacti meant a gadzillion thorns.
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On the three mile desert hike that nearly killed me.
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Canon, baby.
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Another one of my son’s photos.
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There must be a zillion people smarter than me as we didn’t see a single car for over 20 minutes… but then we were trying avoid potholes the size of the Meteor Crater. Taken by Jack.
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Natural cotton gin.

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A last one from my son.

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Green Eggs and Ham… Not


So tonight, the kiddies asked if I could make something new.  Something different.

Not my Fettuccine Alfredo nor my grilled chicken with lemon and chive pan sauce nor my szechuan tofu…nor Hamburger Helper.

Nor green eggs and ham – but it was close.

They asked for bowtie pasta with (classic) pesto.

Like the one they ate at California Pizza Kitchen.

Egads.

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So Cook’s Illustrated came to my rescue again.  They had a recipe AND even a video!

Now…if I could only follow the instructions.  And I was determined NOT to leave a bag of groceries at the check out line like my blogging bud Jan Morrill did when she made pesto. 🙂

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Per Cook’s Illustrated’s recipe, the ingredients were simple:

2 “packed” cups fresh basil

2 tbsp “packed” flat leaf parsley (i.e., Italian parsley)

1/4 cup pine nuts (raw)

3 (skewered) garlic

7 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup grated Parmesan Reggiano

(The trouble here in SoCal is the drought.  EVERYTHING is getting expensive.  Fresh pine nuts were $8.99 for a small carton!)

Also, note the type of parsley:

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It does taste different and with all that garlic, I felt the parsley was important. 🙂

Boil the water but do NOT salt yet.  Skewer the three cloves of garlic and submerge in the boiling water for about 30 seconds then plunge into an ice bath.  Mince but it needn’t be too fine as it will go into the processor.

After generously salting the boiling water, start to boil the pasta while keeping a measuring cup in the colander; you need to remember to reserve about 1/2 cup of the water.

After toasting the pine nuts in a skillet over medium low heat for about 3 to 4 minutes, everything went into the food processor except for the Parmesan and the water.  Scrape down the sides with a spatula as necessary until you get a relatively smooth mixture.  You should still be able to make out small pieces of the basil.  (Oh, you had to put the basil and parsley into a Ziploc and pound it maybe a dozen times to bruise the leaves before throwing them into the processor.  Doing so helps release the savory oils.)  Salt as necessary.

This is what it should look like:

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The rest is easy.  When your pasta is al dente, reserve about 1/2 cup.  Add about 1/4 cup of the reserved water into the pesto along with the Parmesan.  Toss with the pasta and you’re done!

 

What Did FDR Know? – Part 5


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My dad’s oldest brother, Uncle Yutaka, in the back row, center. He is posing with the Block kitchen crew at the Minidoka, Idaho “War Relocation Center”, circa 1944. Notice their living quarters behind them.  They lived in plywood barracks covered only with tar paper.  There was no plumbing nor toilets installed.  Photo courtesy of my stateside cousin, Janice (Kanemoto) Hew.

So you likely see from reading Parts 1 through 4 of “What Did FDR Know” that Japan really never had a chance…  A chance to win WWII.

Their chances were nearly nil largely due to the US breaking two key Japanese codes.  One was JN-25, the code used by the Imperial Japanese Navy.  The other, as we’ve read, was “Purple”, the secret cipher used by the Japanese diplomats.  Simply put, we knew exactly what they were doing as well as what they were going to do in all aspects.

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 A Family Example of What Happened

My father’s draft card before Pearl Harbor, postmarked December 13, 1940.  As a US citizen, he was eligible for the draft and classified 1(A):

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My dad’s revised draft card mailed to him while imprisoned at the Tule Lake “War Relocation Center”, postmarked January 19, 1943.  This is now official notice he was now classified 4(C) – Enemy Alien.  The address bears his address (block number) at the Tule Lake “War Relocation Center”:

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Interestingly, the cards are creased as he was required to carry it in his wallet at all times.  All American males of draft age were…even if they were imprisoned in a dusty, barren dry lake bed in California stripped of all rights.

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Armed guard at the Tule Lake Concentration Camp. My father, uncle, aunt and cousins were there so he was guarding them. US Army Signal Corps, May 23, 1943.

Ironic, isn’t it?

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But what did FDR know about “suspect” activities by people of Japanese descent living in the US on the West Coast before Pearl Harbor?  Most importantly, of the extent and magnitude of their “suspect” activities?  We’re talking espionage.  What could have prompted his ordering the “evacuation” of such people from the west coast of America?

But don’t get me wrong; it was not just the Japanese.  People of German descent loyal to Nazi Germany also did spy…as did people of Italian descent.  Some were loyal to their homeland, not the US.  But certainly it was not ALL of them.  Let’s not forget the famous East Coast docks were run by the Italians, too.  Certainly, if one wished to “spy” and report on ship movements, there could not have been a better way.  Being dock workers, they know what supply ship left when…and with what.  After all, they loaded them.  A number were sent to the bottom of the Atlantic by the waiting U-boats.

Let’s explore this a bit further.

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Since we are addressing “suspect” activities, here’s an interesting sidebar to this story.

Did you know that eight German saboteurs were caught on American soil whose combined cases were brought before a special session of the Supreme Court on July 29, 1942?  Did you know they came ashore from submarines in mid-June with greenbacks worth over $2 million today, explosives and even James Bond-like devices?  The case was referred to as the Ex parte Quirin.  It was named as such because of the lead saboteur, Richard Quirin. Quirin had lived in the US for a dozen years and became the first spy “trainee” of this group once he returned to Germany.

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In short, six of the eight got to sit in the electric chair just about ten days later…  On top of that, a one saboteur (Herbert Haupt) actually went to live with his father in Chicago.  The father also helped him apply for a job and get a car.  Another saboteur, Werner Thiel, actually handed some of the money over to his once room mate and business partner, Anthony Cramer; they owned a deli but it had failed.  But it is interesting to note that in spite of this event, there was not a mass imprisonment of German nationals or their American-born offspring from this incident which made the US Supreme Court.

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The MAGIC Intercepts Distribution Process

Because the US had broken the ultra-complex “Purple” code in 1939 used by the Japanese diplomats, FDR was able to at least see exactly what the Japanese diplomatic corps was doing before Pearl Harbor.

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Lt. Cmdr. Arthur McCollum. US Navy Photo

ONI (Office of Naval Intelligence) had established a secret delivery system for the intercepted Japanese military and diplomatic intelligence (MAGIC) for FDR in the winter of 1940. Lt. Com. Arthur H. McCollum of ONI, and the author of the “McCollum Memo”, was the distribution officer; his name was on 151 USN routing slips in the National Archives.(¹) These routing slips provided a trail to a large collection of Army and Navy MAGIC ultra secret deciphers from monitoring Japanese communications; these were presented to FDR, the top military chiefs and several key members of the Administration between February 1940 and December 7, 1941. Sometimes, when McCollum deemed he had a “hot” item, he would personally deliver the message to FDR; otherwise the President’s naval aide made the delivery as per below.

According to Stinnett (1):

The Japanese intercepts destined for FDR were placed in special folders.  Captain Callaghan (Naval Aide to FDR) was responsible for the safety of the documents. Roosevelt read the original copy but did not retain any of the intercepts. Each original was eventually returned to the folder and stored in McCollum’s safe at Station US in Washington. There they remained, available for White House review. Shortly after December 7, when Congressional critics began to question the administration’s failure to prevent the Hawaii attack, all records involving the Japanese radio intercept program—including the White House route logs and their secret content—were locked away in vaults controlled by Navy communications officials.

These intercepts would include those related to Japanese espionage efforts.  This twenty-two month monitoring program prior to Pearl Harbor also allowed FDR and key staff to anticipate and analyze Japan’s reaction to the provocations advocated in the McCollum Memo.(²)

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So what did some of the MAGIC intercepts and other investigative reports include before Pearl Harbor and up to the imprisonment of about 117,000 people of Japanese descent against their will?  We already know per “What Did FDR Know – Part 3” that Tokyo instructed its American-based diplomats to covertly begin putting together an espionage network.  In fact, because we had broken the Japanese codes, the US “listened in” on Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto in February 1941; he clued in Captain Kanji Ogawa, Japan’s top intelligence officer, of the intentions of attacking Pearl Harbor.  Yamamoto wanted to give Ogawa enough time to put together his own military-based network in the event of war.

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ONI memo generated for FDR, dated February 12, 1941. This was based upon the Purple deciphers, with Tokyo instructing American-based diplomats to set up their espionage nets. Source: “Magic” by David D. Lowman.

Prior to the message instructing diplomats to energetically strengthen their espionage efforts, there were already Japanese spies living on the west coast.  Under the disguise of language students, Japanese military agents (primarily IJN) had already established their network including a small number of Issei and Nisei, militaristic Japanese organizations, Japanese clubs and business fronts.  This facet was led by Lt. Cmdr. Itaru Tachibana of the IJN.  In June 1941, however, this ring was smashed.  Tachibana, and unbelievably a former chauffeur and business secretary to Charlie Chaplin named Toraichi Kono, had tried to recruit a former US Navy seaman (Al Blake) but Blake turned him in.  While Tachibana and his lieutenants were deported, detailed searches of their living quarters provided detailed records of their espionage network.  This detail included names of residents of Japanese descent as well as a number of organizations.

While not a historian, the following is a summary of what I deem to be key MAGIC intercepts in addition to other information gathered by other entities such as the FBI.  In addition to information contained in the previous four parts, the thirst for intelligence by the Japanese was high:

  1. February 5, 1941 – Tokyo instructed the diplomats to come up with a contingency plan in the event something were to happen (i.e., war).  To always exercise due care and to look at Central/South America for continuing intelligence efforts.
  2. February 15, 1941 – Tokyo directly asked for intelligence on materiel movement (especially planes and ships), non-military cargo vessels, troop movements, production of planes and arms, military training activities, etc.
  3. April 24, 1941 – This intercept disclosed that Tokyo wanted a status update of its previous orders in regards to: (1) keying in on intelligence instead of propaganda, (2) recruiting of agents for the ring, and (3) established standards for reporting such information.
  4. May 9, 1941 – The Los Angeles office reported that they “…have already established contacts with absolutely reliable Japanese in the San Pedro and San Diego area, who will keep a close watch on all shipments of airplanes and other war materials…”  Further, they shall “…maintain close connections with the Japanese Association, the Chamber of Commerce and the newspapers.”
  5. May 19, 1941 – the Japanese Embassy in Washington requested $500,000 more cash to further their recruiting for intelligence gathering purposes, i.e., entertainment, bribery, etc.
  6. June 10, 1941 – To prevent an international scandal, this intercept recommended that it be made to look as if Kono’s friends were supporting him financially for his defense and to keep the IJN out of further suspicion on the arrest of Tachibana.  It was recommended $25,000 be offered as a bribe to Kono; the memo stated  in part “…in view of the danger that he might give evidence unsatisfactory  to TACHIBANA.”
  7. October 4, 1941 – specifically asked for intelligence on any change in sea or air patrols or warship movements and the immediate reporting thereof.
  8. October 28, 1941 – in one of many transmissions reporting naval ship movements, the Seattle diplomats reported in detail the sailing of fifteen Coast Guard vessels.  They also reported their four-inch guns were upgraded to five-inch guns.
  9. November 29, 1941 – Tokyo ordered the San Francisco diplomats to report in detail all arrivals, departure dates and destinations of ALL commercial and war ships in the Pacific, Indian Ocean and South China Sea. (Note: this was not transcribed until December 4, 1941.)
  10. December 6, 1941 – Seattle diplomats reported the departure of the carrier USS Saratoga from Bremerton, WA.

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Please note there were hundreds of these types of transmissions, both from and to Tokyo.  In addition, there were quite a few official FBI reports detailing espionage activities.  These reports also included names and businesses that were involved.  The FBI was not privy to MAGIC intercepts.

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FDR signed Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942 which had the effect of forcibly relocating all persons of Japanese ancestry – both citizens and aliens – out of the west coast’s Pacific military zone and into War Relocation Centers. The much later publicized objectives of the order were to prevent espionage and to protect persons of Japanese descent from harm at the hands of Americans who had bitter anti-Japanese attitudes.

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Dad in his US Army duds, Tokyo 1947. The Emperor’s Palace is behind him to his left. MacArthur’s GHQ is off to the right (Dai-Ichi Sei Mei Building).

So what is the point of this story, the last installment of “What Did FDR Know?”

Some say people like my dad were imprisoned because of their race.  In other words, they were discriminated against, pure and simple.³

Some say people like my dad were imprisoned because “FDR wanted to protect the Japanese from hate crimes”.  After all, my grandmother was egged while she lived in Seattle.  Some Japanese girls were taunted or worse, molested, assaulted or raped.  Indeed, there was hysteria.

Some say people like my dad were imprisoned because of the espionage activities.  And from the above, we do see some were taking part in espionage activities.  In other words, the US wanted to ensure we won the war in the Pacific with the fewest amount of lost lives as possible and espionage was certainly a risk.  But if that were the case, how would the US go about removing Japanese suspected of espionage?  Just knock on specific homes and businesses and arrest specific men…but leave the others to go about their daily lives?

If they did that, wouldn’t Tokyo suspect their “secret” transmissions were being intercepted?  How else would the US have known who to arrest?  And if Tokyo did suspect that, what if they changed their codes?  We’d be in the dark again intel-wise.  More of our military would therefore possibly lose their lives.  (NOTE: It is true not one person of Japanese descent was tried and convicted of espionage.  However, it is my amateur opinion that they were NOT tried to maintain secrecy about the broken codes.  Case in point: the Supreme Court above.  Certainly, the fact we listened in on their espionage activities would have become public knowledge from testimony.)

So what do you think?  How does this compare to what you were taught?

(ADDENDUM – July 23, 2014

As a good fellow mentioned, the third paragraph immediately above can be read to imply my dad was suspected of espionage activities.  He was not.)

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In my opinion, our breaking of the Japanese codes was America’s greatest secret weapon.

It was not the atomic bomb.

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NOTES:

(1) Per “Day of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor” by Robert Stinnett.

(2) There was a brief period in 1941 when FDR himself was removed from the MAGIC distribution list.

(3) In 1988, President Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act.  The Act approved paying each surviving Japanese or Japanese-American $20,000 each for being unlawfully stripped of their rights for no reason other than race.  (My dad, four uncles, four aunts and seven cousins each did receive payment as did other more distant relatives.)

Our America Divided


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My feeble attempt to express my opinion…

Our United States has become less of a nation.

It is more than just split in half.  A nation cannot survive split in two.

Think of our country being not much more than local drug gangs fighting for their drug turf.

Their own street corner in their perceived territories.

Each gang with their own beliefs, their own mini-economies, their own cultures and in-fighting for control.

And killing those who invade their boundaries.

One gang is right.  The other gangs are wrong.

And they choose to ignore their neighborhood if not hold them hostage.

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To me, our nation no longer has collective major goals.

Heck, we Americans now may actually have less commonage with other Americans than ever before.

In my opinion, segregation by race fueled the beginning of disunion.

No.  I don’t condone segregation.  Of course not.  However, since the intense focus on racial segregation began – heightened by media beliefs and TV – in the 1950’s, a new mutated “segregation” has been kindled…and it is a roaring wildfire.

It’s no longer just the color of our skin.

We’re segregated by how we think and see things – in totality.

It’s about how we live and how we look upon how others live.  That’s segregation.

Religion.  Culture.  Even what language should be spoken.  Or is it languageS?  All segregation.

Look at our children’s textbooks.  Our views of their content and what is taught in the classroom varies drastically by how you think – or were raised.  Segregation.

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We can’t even talk about certain subjects with people you meet.  You have fear of setting them off.

Health insurance.  Welfare.  Guns.  Executive Orders.  Terrorism.  Foreign policy.  Even approving driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants.

You name it.  I think it is absurd.

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This mutated concept of segregation is inflamed by our own political leaders and on a daily basis.  And the media, unfortunately, incite the segregation amongst peoples here, American citizen or not.  There is no reason to explain why here.

Every key event is made more severe, more infinitely dismembered by the politicians and media to suit THEIR agendas.  As government grows, we everyday people strongly contract to share our own beliefs only amongst small groups.  Not as a collective community of Americans.  A type of ugly segregation actually encouraged by those who lead us and by those “reporters” who elect to report an incomplete story to benefit their revenues or popularity.

And as national and state governments grow uncontrolled, our leaders go further blind and deaf, mired in their own re-elections, partisanship and haughty view of themselves.  So much so that never since the Civil War has there been so much movement towards secession.  And if not by state, by breaking up within a state.

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The union being attacked by deadly snakes.

Is there a civil war in store?  In 1861, it is written these were likely the major causes for the Civil War:

  1. Income and social disparity between the “North” and the “South”
  2. State versus federal rights
  3. Strong disagreement between pro- and anti-slavery states
  4. The election of Abraham Lincoln as President.

Sound familiar?  Look at my illustration at the top.  I’m no artist but I hope the message is clear.

I believe we will have another Gettysburg.  No, not with cannon and Gatling guns… Besides by that time, only the criminals will have guns.  But our union will become irreparably weak in all significant aspects if something doesn’t heal our wounds.  The upcoming elections will be key, in one way or another, no matter what your beliefs are.

I think we are in deep shit.

What about you?

Passing the Baton


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My twelve year old son Jack at the Seal Beach Pier.  He just began taking pictures at this time and I wanted to capture that moment.  I guess that’s the photographer in me.

With all the researching, translating and documenting I’ve done on our family history during the past several years, I’ve come to the realization I was living in the past.  And as time marched by, I wanted more time…but now, that time has gone.

I reflected on the near future; in the past month, things have changed.  Things that cannot be undone.  And I realized, too, that in addition to passing on what I’ve learned about our family history through these blogs, I need to pass the baton on as well for tomorrow.  Small things.

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For as long as I can remember, I’ve held a camera in my hand… from the time I was perhaps eight years old.  I vividly recall looking down on the ground glass of my dad’s Rolleiflex TLR.  And I know it was my grandmother or aunt who sent me a “Fujipet” 120 film camera from Japan as a gift.  It had a plastic lens.  There were two levers, one on either side of the lens; you pressed one down with your left finger to cock the shutter.  Then with your right finger, you pressed the other lever “to take the shot”.  I took a bazillion shots during our 1964 road trip to Chicago and burned through a lot of 120 film.  I don’t think mom was too happy.

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I’m in the center; dangling from my neck is the Fujipet 120 film camera. The “model” on the left is my cousin Jane.  Chicago, circa 1964.

When I was twelve, I spent a summer in Tokyo; I was born there.  My Aunt Eiko got me my first “real” camera: a Canon Demi-S.  It shot 35mm film but in “half-frame”.  In other words, if you had a 36-shot roll of film, you would get 72 shots – plus about four or five more at the end.  I loved it.  It even had a built in light meter, a soft case and a wrist strap.  It went everywhere I went.  I even bought yellow and red filters.  I used it to take photos of the TV set when Armstrong landed walked on the moon…but none of the images came out because I wanted to use my new fancy-schmancy electric strobe with a DC cord.  I got great pictures of our RCA color TV, though.  LOTS of great pictures of our TV set.  But on one – just one – you can BARELY make out Armstrong as he stepped of the Lunar Module.

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The Canon Demi-S, complete with the soft case. Under the lens, there is even a filter that enhances skin tones when shooting color.

While I did take one class in photography, everything else was self-taught through the years.  Trial and error.  That means lots of moolah down the drain…literally.  I had a full darkroom in my parent’s house at one time.  I must have developed and processed over a thousand rolls and printed thousands of pictures.  While I did win a few contests in sports photography, I never learned the critical things that define a pro…like my bud Alan Miyatake (but I did best him in ONE contest. LOL).

Since becoming a young adult, I’ve always been the “photographer”…  taking pictures at events, parties, of this and that…  I don’t know if I was any good at it but people always seemed to ask me to take photos.  Perhaps because I took them for free.  But finally, I took snapshots at my own daughter’s wedding…and not someone else’s daughter for a change.

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As I was taking my kids back to their mother’s two weeks ago, my twelve year old son surprised me by asking if he can have a “real” camera.  Totally out of the blue but I was happy.  He wanted to take pictures like his old man.

So yesterday, we headed towards the nearby beach; he wanted to take pictures of the sunset!  I handed him my (getting old) Canon DSLR and monopod and while in the car, I gave him a crash course on shutter speed, f/stops,  and ISO.

But he asked, “But don’t you just push the button, Papa?”

So with temps in the high 50’s (cold for us here) and a chilling wind, I gave him some basic instructions and I left him pretty much alone.

He took on his own challenge.

Here are a few of his photos; sure, I edited them a bit but he did darn well for his first time.

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Must be in his genes.

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As I watched Jack from a distance in that chilling wind, feelings of being alone and lament swirled.  Sadness that time has surged by with tomorrows dwindling.  It felt as if I was looking at myself…  fifty years ago… with that Fujipet camera with a plastic lens dangling from my neck.

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My son Jack must be thinking of his next shot…

I hope he continues.  The family needs a photographer.