Silly Grins

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

33 Days: Day 3

Work commences.  Angela's plot to ask to work the best beach on Belle-Ile ($$) is thwarted by a fat, tan, competitive Belle-Ilois ice cream vendor who we later discover foots around the island on a moped like a gorilla in a cartoon.  He has a small, theoretically illegal stand (due to the law all vendors on the beach must be mobile, able to move at a moment's notice, and his stand is way too big for that) on the beach where he sells ice cream pretty much like ours but with a different brand name, soft drinks, etc. and makes a decent business so obviously he doesn't want us dipping into his profits.  Heated discussion ensues between him and Romu while all of us look on worriedly.  I don't really feel like leaving Angela there because I worry this fucker will give her shit (he has a lot of deadbeat-ish friends who hang around his stand and appear to have nothing to do besides harass another ice cream vendor should one decide to appear) but Romu assures us it will be o.k. and we leave Angela with her ice cream chariot, which has a big buoy-like thing attached to a metal frame with handles so that it can be pushed over the sand without too much effort.  I ask to be put on a smaller beach (less scary if there are less people to deal with, like I said, French isn't my native language) and find myself at a charming spot called Herlin, good sand and miniscule waves, perfect conditions for families who come to the beach with small children.  

In the end both Angela and I make practically nothing because there is no one there, the season hasn't really started yet.  I make the acquaintance of the lifeguard, David from Rennes, who has a really really red face and talks to me like we are both on some kind of sports team together, always trying to pep me up and giving me theatrical slaps on the shoulder.  I leave the beach at 6:30 p.m. and walk up the hill to the parking lot with no shoes since Romu assured me I wouldn't need my thongs on the beach and advised me to leave them in the van, on top of pushing the stupid fucking cart up the hill it's nice to have rocks stabbing into my feet.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Integration Disorder

schizophrenia (play /ˌskɪtsɵˈfrɛniə/ or /ˌskɪtsɵˈfrniə/) is a mental disorder characterized by a disintegration of thought processes and of emotional responsiveness.(Courtesy of Wikipeida)

Not too long ago, schizophrenia was renamed. Now it is called "integration disorder" in an apparent attempt to deal with the negative stigma.  George Carlin would probably have said, "No matter what you call it, it's still 'fucking crazy'."

During another one of those talks over lunch, this time with families and at a park. Hadn't seen them for a while, not since the new addition. 
We talked about being here, what it means, and how to deal with it. The difference. The difference between the image and the reality. 

The image is of a very advanced and civil society. A doctor had remarked at how some papers had been published that dealt with renaming schizophrenia and how, wow, that place must really be ahead. 

He then said, the same doctor who has never visited Japan, an obviously intelligent and 'qualified' individual, paused...and also couldn't help but notice that, for 'developed countries' (or whatever the current term is), Japan's got an amazingly high rate of polypharmacy, possibly leading the pack by a long, long way.

When I heard this, I wanted to nod and pretend that I understood. But I asked for just a little bit more info. 

To people in the field, the idea of coming up with a more refined term through a very thorough process and then to agree on "integration disorder" is kind of on the bi-polar opposite side of the spectrum from the practice of old-fashioned polypharmacy... a practice where medication is all lumped together without too much consideration given to the side-effects, etc. 

At least that's how I thought I understood what he was saying. 

We'd been talking about crazy. And I'd wanted to reconfirm the chilling story he'd told, kind of out of the blue, last time we'd talked...

Something almost unspeakably dark had happened. 
"Could you tell it to me again?" I asked. 

" it is. Do you remember that guy..." 

That's a story that I'm still figuring out how to relay because of what it could mean. Maybe in a few days. Fuck. Maybe...


33 Days: Day 2


A ferry to Belle-Ile... 

We check into a decent campground next to Le Palais, the main town on the island. There are lots of trees in the campground and we are given a camp spot with no shade whatsoever; upon discussing with the lady at reception that seeing as we will be living there for a month it kind of busts our balls to have a spot which leaves our tent uninhabitable for half the day due to sun exposure, we are told that since we are seasonal workers and our tariff is lower than the other campers, we have no choice and that "it has been decided" by the powers that be that it should be like this.  

Monday, November 28, 2011

About Page: Redundant

 Almost Ten...

1. Emoticons: Not on a boat, not with a goat. I will not. But that's just me. Other people do it all the time and I actually believe that those modern day hieroglyphs add character to what people write. Those emoti-thing-ma-jigs just aren't my cup 'a tea.

2. Smilies (or Smileys): No. While those smilies are definitely an upgrade from their kissing cousin, the emoticon, I just would not, could not. Just ain't my style.

(Is it just me...or does the right side appear darker than the left?)

33 Days: Day 1


Pack shitloads of stuff into bags, subsequently into tiny-ass TGV (the French bullet train) storage spaces...

Three Horses for the Ride

Hardest thing is remembering...
"I'd needed to take three horses where we were going. Kind of nice, sleeping out under he stars. Three horses...that's how far and hard I had to ride. Herd had been let out to pasture and needed to be brought in. "

Yeah, I guess this was a roundup of sorts. Time to bring 'em all in. 

"When we got back and had them all together, one started to bloat. After a few days, it wasn't getting up. They said I could have know, they didn't really know what they were doing."

"Neither do I."

Sunday, November 27, 2011

33 Days: Prologue

The following is not mine in the sense that my decrepit hands and my dull mind are in no way skilled enough to have carried out such a task. 

In other words, I did not write it. No siree.

This collection of posts, thirty-three more or less, are the relaying of a story that has been passed along. 

Okay, here it is:

Paramedicine: A Good Idea

Over Drinks…

On the fourth floor of a company apartment, there was a fight of some sort going on that involved a husband, a mother, and her daughter-in-law.  Apparently, the daughter-in-law was getting really stressed. 


You see, another wife of a company employee on the second floor was wondering if she should call the police. But things had quieted down a bit and she really did need to finish her laundry. So, she went out to her balcony to hang up some clothes.

That’s when something fell from above. Down past the second floor where that other wife of a company employee, who happened to be ex-nurse, was hanging her laundry. Ex-nurse heard the very heavy futon-like sound on the ground, just two stories 


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Friday, November 25, 2011

Silk Dreams Are Made of These

Ships and Sails

For many people
Dreams are something 
To be had while asleep
And for others...well, they may have forgotten to close their eyes.
Even when it's a long way down. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Japan: The Small Print

i never bothered to read the small print before coming here. but something seemed mighty odd. all the wincing smiles, the bowing, and the tweaked stress levels. 

there was something more than just a few Polite Lies being told. no, this isn't about that book, but the comments are worth a read. if you've got a moment to skim, you'll probably see why. 

Some Japanese and japanophile readers could be offended by the revelations about Japanese culture. -MoTisch

oh yeah, there was compassion, but that seemed to happen on very rare occasions and usually between the elder and the young, between the innocent and the retired, the newly arrived and the soon to be departed.

what was skewed? something was funny...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Bits and Pieces: Letters and Memory

Bits and Pieces: Letters and Memory

Not A Happy Ending

For someone born to a man who had wanted a son, life was not easy...

...She rode with everyone while we were in Texas,  helping with doctoring the injured and sick livestock during the roundup time and during the summer when school was out.  Mother tried to keep her home under all kinds of "mothers'" pretenses so she didn't have to do that hard work and knowing Dad would be on her case for not roping and holding a 1200 pound angry steer...

...Life was not easy despite her having tied for the highest IQ in her schools' history. Rumor had them near 200...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Scatterthought: From Nomura and Beyond...

The House
of Nomura:
The Inside Story of the World's Most Powerful Company

Apparently, the late Al Alletzhauser was willing to go against the grain in the writing of his book that came out in 1990. On the first page, just inside the cover:

On Monday, lawyers for Nomura in London wrote to Mr. Alletzhauser and his publisher threatening to sue unless they agreed to the immediate withdrawal of the book, payment of a suitable sum in damages, and a public apology.

"This isn't Nazi Germany and I'm not going to withdraw the book simply because they don't like it," said Mr. Alletzhauser..."Anybody who's familiar with the Japanese knows that the book contains one-tenth what it could have." 
                                                                          - Wall Street Journal, March 1, 1990

All of this is old 'news' though. But, there are some bits and pieces of what may be important information, the kind information that can provide an idea of how certain elements in the business world work. 

Even before they become members of the Japanese business community, students are taught that playing by the rules is the path of greatest resistance (184).

This 'understanding' of how the game is often played is not exclusive to any one country. In fact, some could argue that this is the way it is in the US too.

Does that mean that people cheat?
Well, it would appear so...and early on in the game. 

Maybe Richard Quinn was lucky, in a way... because, most of the time, whistle-blowers are the ones who 'get it':
'many whistleblowers report there exists a widespread "shoot the messenger" mentality by corporations or government agencies accused of misconduct...' (from this Wikipedia entry)

Shoot the messenger?!
Hell yes.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Economic Collapse: An Education

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

Bill Black, one of the guys responsible for jailing a number of the S&L people back when that was all we thought we had to worry about, showed up at the OWL, and had a little 'news' to share.

My encouragement to watch the following clip came from something posted on a Facebook wall.
"Bottom line: you NEED to watch this video, cuz nobody has said it better, so far. Gets it all down to bullet points and brass tacks."
This is compact, fits all into just under four minutes.

After watching the clip, I naturally wanted to learn more about this fellow, so clicked through a few more of the available clips on YouTube.

(Honestly, don't expect anyone to really continue beyond this point, at least not without a barf-bag. Really not liking where all of this is heading. Guess this kind of thing happens to those of us who've had our heads in the sand for just a little too long.)


Dreamers: A Renegade Harpist

You could have heard his music if you were somewhere in Northern Europe during any number of the summer seasons in the 1990's. From the crowded streets of Amsterdam where virtually "anything goes" to the mile-long pedestrian streets in Copenhagen where the gorgeous blondes are noticeably not into wearing bras...and on to the heavy drinking crowds in Oslo where knife fights are not all that uncommon.

Yeah, some people have seen their 'fair share' of this 'n that.

This post is about a number a things, but most of all, this is about dreamers.
And what can happen.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Good Deeds...

'No good deed goes unpunished' or something close to that. 

A kei car had pretty much sunk its two front tires into a neighboring rice paddy. The two older women who were more or less responsible for single-vehicle accident looked a little embarrassed more than anything else. Whatever it was that they'd been talking about was no longer the focus of their attention.

Immediately, I'd pulled over to take a look. 
Things were starting to appear grim as I didn't have a cable or chain... I began