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WARNING: THIS SITE FEATURES ORIGINAL THINKING...Jim Croce once sang Don't tug on Superman's cape..., which seems like reasonable advice should we not wish to anger the supreme powers. We do have this duality in our culture: the Superman that is the state collective, the leftist call to a politics of meaning managed by the state, the deification of "we're from the government and we'll take care of you" - versus the Superman that celebrates individual freedom, private property, freedom of conscience, free enterprise, and limited government. We humbly take on the latter's mantle and, eschewing the feeble tug, we dare to PULL, in hope of seeing freedom's rescue from the encroaching nanny state. We invite you, dear reader, to come and pull as well... Additionally, if you assume that means that we are unflinching, unquestioning GOP zombies, that would be incorrect. We reject statism in any form and call on individuals in our country to return to the original, classical liberalism of our founders. (We're also passionate about art, photography, cooking, technology, Judeo/Christian values, and satire as unique, individual pursuits of happiness to celebrate.)

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March 07, 2006
Osaka (Part 2) The Shin-Umeda Floating Garden Observatory
Filed in: Current Affairs, Japan, Photography

What is that and who would have built that thing?, I had asked.


I decided to go inspect the place. As you get closer you can see some interior superstructure that looks very interesting.

...Continue reading "Osaka (Part 2) The Shin-Umeda Floating Garden Observatory"

Pulled by Emcee on March 7, 2006 at 05:23 AM
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Kawazu (Part 4) Which Pacific is it?
Filed in: Current Affairs, Japan, Photography

I know this is called the Far East.

But if I look at a map - this looks like the Western-most Pacific if that's what I'm looking at.

Just a matter of perspective. This beautiful little place is right on this edge of the Pacific Ocean - whatever direction you call it.


And there are islands - really atolls, I guess, galore out there.

...Continue reading "Kawazu (Part 4) Which Pacific is it?"

Pulled by Emcee on March 7, 2006 at 04:13 AM
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March 05, 2006
Osaka (Part 1) The Daring City
Filed in: Current Affairs, Japan, Photography

Maybe it's just because I'm a foreigner - and I could certainly be wrong.

But I felt a distinct characteristic when I arrived in Osaka that makes this place somehow different than Tokyo. For me it's a combination of the architecture, the people, the cuisine, and the layout of the city that gives off this 'vibe'.

For lack of a better term, I'm going to call it daring. Osaka - The Daring City.

Perhaps it's because, as a city, Osaka is kind of the Avis of Japan. When you ask people in other nations to name cities in Japan, Osaka isn't first on their lips. So these people try harder.

Architecture, for example.


I've seen lots of cities around the world. Many of them have buildings in city center that are architecturally unusual. There are a few in Tokyo. But in Osaka, every downtown building is fascinatingly designed.


Curves, windows, facades, interiors - to me they all seem to add just that something more...

...Continue reading "Osaka (Part 1) The Daring City"

Pulled by Emcee on March 5, 2006 at 08:00 AM
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Kawazu (Part 3) To The Sea
Filed in: Current Affairs, Japan, Photography


After getting off the train, we are directed en masse across the street and down an alley lined with blooming cherries and, further on, dozens of flea market stalls offering mostly different kinds of seafood on sticks (octopus, tako, seems most prevalent).

...Continue reading "Kawazu (Part 3) To The Sea"

Pulled by Emcee on March 5, 2006 at 03:43 AM
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March 04, 2006
Kawazu (Part 2) - Monkey Shines
Filed in: Current Affairs, Japan, Photography

Part of the festivities at Kawazu feature shows on a stage - sort of like what we'd have at a state fair or something.

I watched one particular act for a while during my visit - and decided to take a few shots of the finale. They turned out pretty well so I thought I'd share.


This is the star of the show. This little guy (gal?) did all sorts of interesting and funny things at the behest of his human counterpart. He ended the show with some amazing displays of derring do.

...Continue reading "Kawazu (Part 2) - Monkey Shines"

Pulled by Emcee on March 4, 2006 at 05:27 AM
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From James...
Filed in: Current Affairs, Politics, War on Terror

James sent this in today:

Still breathing.

I love living in Iraq, it brings a true reality check. We as Americans take so much for granted. I think most Americans have a basic idea of what we have that other countries don't, but unless you actually take the time to live and learn the culture you can never truly understand.

Our "Special Police" control the infamous Dora Market area in southern Bagdad. Since we have arrived we have had more than 20 SP killed in action and double that injured. We brought with us four more Marine teams to train and live with other SP teams. We have had four Marine Casualties to include one KIA.

Currently our area is under curfiew. No vehicles on the road until after four pm. All persons inside before eight pm. The words civil war have been throw around in the media from time to time. I don't think Iraq is at that point yet, but standing on the endge of the cliff it is.

Shite vs Sunni...In the market area every day there are broad daylight murders. One religious group killing another. Every night our base is shook with the explosions of car bombs destroying the mosques. And in the middle the Americans get blamed for not protesting both sides' religious rights - not guarding the buildings themselves.

The Police fight with the local Iraq Army, believing that the Army is corrupt. Leaving the US standing in the middle trying to break up the fight without injuring our own. Our area is famous for IEDs. Planted in broad day light on the side of the road. New technology that the insurgents use has produced a explosive charge that will destroy anything, to include an Abrams battle tank.

We train our SP's daily on how to wear their gear properly and how to hit what the are shooting at. How to properly search vehicles and conduct immediate action while under contact. We patrol everywere they patrol beside them through the market and sometimes places they won't go. We are there on every raid they conduct and help process every prisoner they take in. They bring their wounded and sick to us daily because the Iraqi medical system is lacking to say the least.
Some of our soldiers are outstanding and some are militia insurgents that you have to watch your back with non-stop.

Thanks for all the support from back home. Id like to say thanks to Albuquerque Police department for donating five siren systems to us.

This is a true American hero folks. Blessings and God-speed James.

If you want to contact James, you can reach him here:

James Pell
1st BN
APO AE 09361

I know that they can use additional supplies, so if you have anything you can donate please contact him and let him know what you have - he'll let you know what they need.

Pulled by Emcee on March 4, 2006 at 05:25 AM
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March 03, 2006
Kawazu (Part 1) - The Will of Spring
Filed in: Current Affairs, Japan, Photography

I mentioned in a previous post that I heard there were cherry blossoms somewhere in Japan.

I decided to go find them. I've been couped up in the bitter cold in Tokyo for a week now and needed to get out.

So, I booked a train from the Tokyo area to Kawazu - a small coastal town some 150 miles or so south of Tokyo and directly on the Pacific.


The train was a special 'Sky View' train that has windows that curve up onto the top portion of the rail car.

...Continue reading "Kawazu (Part 1) - The Will of Spring"

Pulled by Emcee on March 3, 2006 at 05:08 AM
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March 02, 2006
All the little princesses...
Filed in: Current Affairs, Japan, Photography

It has been bitter cold in Tokyo this trip. Hovering around freezing - and humid - so it just feels cold in the bones.

What then does one do to take a few photos of something interesting - and stay inside?

Well, I asked if there was anything going on indoors - and this is where they pointed me...

In Japan, whenever a little girl is born, their parents or grandparents - sometime in the first year of their birth - obtains a 'Girl's Day' display. Girl's Day is officially celebrated March 3rd each year (it's at least a several hundred year old tradition).

What's a Girl's Day display? Traditionally, it is a tableau of the Emperor and Empress sitting on their thrones - and may contain more elaborate displays of support staff - depending on how much you want to spend. When the clerk showed me the Girl's Day display here in Kichijoji - I could have sworn I was in a museum rather than a department store.

The craftsmanship for what is now commercialized art is really amazing - the hours of work invovled must be staggering.


The displays are as diverse as any art form I have ever seen....

...Continue reading "All the little princesses..."

Pulled by Emcee on March 2, 2006 at 07:46 AM
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