Saturday, April 30, 2011

What is wrong with "Truth, Justice, and the American Way...."???

This past week something historic happened.  I am not talking about Will and Kate getting married.  Although, yeah it was historic and the hats were just spectacular....   But I digress...  Political correctness changed the DC Universe.  Not that you know or may even care, but if you've read my stuff before you know I am a HUGE fan of Superman.  He is my hero.  Always has been, always will be.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, we need heroes in this world.  They give us something to try to strive for.  They provide a compass for right vs. wrong.  They fight for people who cannot fight for themselves.  Heroes are necessary.  The world needs heroes.  Superman is an American icon and has been largely integrated into our culture.  Case in point, you cannot go to any mall without seeing the "S" in various clothing stores, on hats, in print at book stores, in music lyrics, on cups, etc.  The "S" is recognizable everywhere and I think around the world in the same manner that Mickey Mouse is recognized, Superman is also well known.  But this week, the writers at DC decided Superman renounce his US Citizenship:

NY Times: Superman Renounces his U.S. Citizenship

And so I ask the question.  Why????  I get he is a fictional character, but I just feel that this is pure and total crap!  I sort of saw it coming with the last Superman movie that came out, when they said, "Does he still stand for truth, justice, and all that other stuff?"  "All that other stuff?"  seriously???  The reason it bothers me is that it seems to say there's something wrong with being an American and identifying with the USA.  The writers try to spin it that Superman's actions are not an off branch of U.S. policy, but encompass a broader purpose.  Well, I would argue that you can still be a hero, still be American, and still have a broader purpose.     One thing does not preclude the other.  I think in the name of political correctness and not wanting to offend anyone, DC took their most recognized, most iconic character and made him the opposite of what he's always stood for.  The stupid thing is, they never even had to take this story line.  And the story line makes no sense.  Why would a farm boy from Kansas renounce his citizenship (keeping in mind Superman was raised in Smallville on a farm)?  It's absurd.  From Superman #24, association with the USA was pretty.....  apparent....


Comics allow an escape into a world where you could imagine, dream and be inspired.  Now DC made this twist to make a statement.   And as for me I think their statement sucks! 


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Trying to Learn Something New

I woke up one day and felt like I needed to do something new.  I wanted to try something creative, fun, and well just ......  different.  The problem was not sure what that new something was.   Now that Graduate school is over and golf is just five, maybe six months out of the year if the weather cooperates, I have a lot of free time.  What to do?  What to do?  One day I got home, went out to get the mail and thumbed through the little booklet for adult night school classes and came across a beginner guitar class.  I thought, hummmm.... it fits the bill, so why not give it a try?  I went out and found a starter Yamaha guitar:

I had one class so far and I like it!  I've been practicing every day to try to build some finger strength, dexterity and try to learn how to properly use this thing....
My hope is that by summer I can just sit out on my deck, strum my guitar and be able to play something that sounds similar to a song.  Maybe eventually I can do some good, acoustic tunes as well that I listen to on Pandora.  My goal is not to be in a band or play in front of people.  This is just something I thought would be something fun to learn and help me to understand that music thing that Sharkey can do and tries to explain to me from time to time, while I blink a few times and blankly stare back at her.  One of the other things I found is that there are some cool tech accessories you can get for this guitar thing.  The starter guitar I bought came with this electronic tuner, but it is not that great (rather crappy in fact... and did I tell you I know how to replace a string because I snapped one while trying to tune it with this thing...).  I came across a SNARK chromatic tuner.  It is the bomb!!!  Unlike the electronic tuner, it works off of vibrations, so you clip it to the head of the guitar, play a string and you can zero in on the right tone easily, even with a lot of background noise.  And it was $10...

Who knows, with a few thousand hours of practice, a few sets of strings, and some quality lessons, maybe Sharkey and I can sing "Lucky" together!  =)  

Now that would be something!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Come on Spring!

I walked out to go to lunch today and felt that wonderful, warm breeze hit me in the face!  I love that feeling!  It made me outstretch both of my arms to give the warm air a hug back.  As soon as that breeze hit me, my thoughts turned to golf, breaking out my polo shirts, getting rid of all that wretched snow and riding with my moon roof back and the music blasting!  I am hoping that little groundhog was right and spring will arrive early.  If the 50+ degree day today was any indication, I hope Spring is right around the corner!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Favorite, Special Place Closed!!!

Do you have one of those "special occasion" places that you go to once in a blue moon? You know, it is not your "everyday" place where you'd go and have dinner, it is one of those special occasion places for when you have a special milestone birthday (30, 40, 50...) or you have a milestone anniversary (5, 10, 20,...). My special occasion place is Roy's Hawaiian Fusion. Sharkey and I first went to Roy's when we were vacationing in Hawaii on Kauai. It was in a word....WONDERFUL!!! They have Asian Fusion food. It is Asian with French influences, so funky Asian. And they have the most awesome dessert.

It is a molten chocolate souffle that is absolutely to die for!! We were happy to find that Philadelphia had a Roy's location. We went there a few times for our "special occasions." So this year my Mom is turning 75, so I thought it was the perfect time for Roy's so I went online to make a reservation only to find out they closed back in July 2010!! A big "OH NO!!!!" was heard for miles when I read about the location closing. I guess that means I will need to hoof it to Baltimore or Hawaii now for special occasions!!!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Crazy Asian Ethics

You may have recently seen this article floating around the internet. It's about the Tiger Mom:

Wall St. Journal - Why Chinese Mothers are Superior

The article talks about how she raised her daughters and if you read the comments there are a lot of critics on her techniques. Call them whatever you want, but I can totally see what she is saying and I think the reason why it is so foreign to people is because she raised her kids using an Eastern perspective and the people judging her are coming at her from a Western perspective.

Now do not get me wrong, I think she is hardcore Eastern (i.e. very hardcore Asian). And I think my being Japanese gives me the right to say this, because, well I lived it. I was raised in a similar fashion. I can remember my Mom drilling in my head that we need to do things "this way" not "that way" and these "things" would be repeated over and over and over and over again for years on end in the house, in the car, on the way to church, at the table, on vacation, etc. My brothers and I joke about it today as adults and call it the broken record parenting style. My Father would tell me on occasion that while people like to say we all are equal, we still need to be better, do better and drive to be the best at what we do to make sure everything is equal. These are the messages I heard growing up and when I read the Wall Street article I saw a lot of similarities to how I was raised.

I used to think part of it was my parents being raised during WWII and all of the prejudice and racial tensions they had to deal with. But reading the article made me realize their perspective on what was acceptable for their kids was not unique to them, because these standards were passed to them by their parents. So maybe WWII was not the real driver for their parenting style. If I were to sum it up, their goal was perfection. And that in and of itself is very Japanese. So even though I grew up in the United States of America all of my life, I hold that Japanese perspective of not being satisfied with just maintaining, but pursuing things with the goal of ultimate perfection. I think reading the Tiger Mom's article was very insightful to my own life because it made me realize I am who I am as the result of a culture thousands of years in the making. Right or wrong, good or bad, and however you think of it, it produces results and often times really good ones.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

JP and Sharkey Day!

From time to time Sharkey (my wife of 10 1/2 years) and I do a "JP and Sharkey" day! Usually it is on a Friday to extend the weekend and we try to do something fun that we normally do not do. Sometimes we go into Philly to Reading Terminal Market for lunch, we have taken day trips to Annapolis, MD, gone to NYC for a short weekend and walk around like "New Yorkers." So with the start of the new year we scheduled our first JP and Sharkey day. So what are we going to do? Well...and this is Sharkey's idea, we "may" be taking a little weekend trip to the Poconos to do some skiing. I used to be a skier in High School. I had my own skis (Dynastar 190cm downhill racing skis) and went about 3-5x a year and went on a yearly 3 day trip with my Church's youth group which is not too bad considering I grew up in the flat, farmlands of Southern New Jersey. But the last time I was skiing was about 15 years ago! And Sharkey, even though coming from the frozen tundra that is Minnesota has only been skiing 2x. This could make for an interesting JP and Sharkey day! I just hope in our "middle-age" we do not end up in traction or requiring some physical therapy after the day together!