Monday, December 14, 2009


The second time I went to Japan we watched the first bombs drop in Iraq on a little bitty TV with rabbit ears at the top of a temple in Japan. The temple had dial-up but they barely used it, we would have to wait till we get back for more information. Many of us wanted to go home because things were about to change. Our karate teacher who is Japanese didn't understand our angst, he insisted we stay. I remember going through the motions, testing for my belt and getting home to find out the state of the nation and the world.

Today, rabbit ears (TV antennas) in America no longer work. If you don't have a digital convertor you get no picture. That trip to Japan in 2002 I had a film camera and didn't think of bringing my cellphone. That was about 8 years ago. If you have ever watched the TV show "Kung Fu" the opening has David Carradine snatching a pebble from his master's hand. That scene is similar to my training as well as how fast mobile technology is changing.

I eventually got home and found a slightly different attitude than I expected. People were aware of the war situation, but not really effected. Life just kind of went on. In the background you knew something was up but the news delivery at the time did not feature the war every day. Wartime for me always looked like John Wayne movies. One for all, all for one, people rally together to defeat the enemy. The average citizen would conserve and contribute. When a soldier was carted away after an injury, someone sticks a cigarette between his lips and shakes his hand for his service.

Our guys were getting blown up in Iraq and they made sure we didn't see pictures. Mr. Bush urged us to shop and pretend everything was fine. The mission was accomplished and he had a handle on things.

At the time, I had a handyman that worked on my house that I had nicknamed "Platehead". He was a former Navy Seal that had a metal plate in his head. He always wanted me to touch it… no fricken way. He was super patriotic, very loud and drove a truck that had a custom rear paint job with these words, "Support our troops or kiss my ass". Platehead rides a Harley and watches Nascar, you could describe him as Joe Lunchbucket, a typical American. His sentiment was how American's were pushed. Support the effort or you are unpatriotic. While all this was happening I was wondering how we are paying for this war monetarily and psychologically. Platehead was busy ruining the patio.

Commercials on TV told you that renting an apartment was stupid. Buy a house with no money down. Idiots were stock experts, companies like Enron turned off energy to increase the price then their executives stole the cash and ran. Everyone was a homeowner, SUV's ruled the road, big stores became clubs that sold toilet paper by the truck load. Excess was good yet the war was going on.

From a mobile perspective we were in transition. One do-it-all device did not exist. I carried a telephone, a camera and a PDA separately at the time.

2002 makes me think of karate, cellphones, metal enhanced craniums, and the beginning of the war.


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