Thursday, February 26, 2015

First Plum Blossoms of 2015


This has been a very cold winter in Japan and it snowed about six or seven times this winter season. 

I have seen the first plum blossoms of the year around the neighborhood and taken photos of them. I saw the first one yesterday, so today I went out and took a few photos in spite of it being rainy. And, as I do every year, I'd like to post just a few photos for you of the first arrivals of the blossoms.

As the cold still remains, the blossoms show us that spring is right around the corner.










May all you dreams come true in 2015!


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Japan's Debt to GDP Hits 400%!


Incredible! Over at Zerohedge, I just read an article entitled: This Is The Biggest Problem Facing The World Today: 9 Countries Have Debt-To-GDP Over 300% (www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-02-23/biggest-problem-facing-world-today-9-countries-have-debt-gdp-over-300)

Here's the chart from that article showing the top 16:



It doesn't comfort me at all that the USA is 16th with debt at 233% of GDP.

There's only one way out of this mess, folks; the governments and central banks must create inflation. The way they will do this is by depreciating our currencies by more printing. 

It's the only way out for them.

Got gold? Silver?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Robot55 Discount Video Production in Tokyo


Even though I haven't been blogging on this blog (my own blog) these past few days, I have been blogging religiously everyday over at a new video production business we started in Tokyo. That company is called Robot55. 


Robot55 Top Page image

That's not Robot "Fifty- Five," it is "Robot Go-Go." "55" in Japanese can be pronounced as "Go-Go."

Robot55 is a discount professional video production service in Tokyo. We specialize in 30 second and 60 second internet-use videos to promote businesses, organizations, products, restaurants, bars and services.

The reason all our commercial videos are 30 seconds or 60 seconds? Well, data gathered by research agencies show that there are two very important numbers to remember when making a video to promote your business, product or service. They are "10 Seconds" and "15 Seconds."

“10 seconds.” That’s how long you have to grab the attention of viewers in a video marketing clip. According to research by Visible Measures, 20% of your viewers will click away from a video in 10 seconds or fewer. And it doesn’t get a lot better than that. You’ll lose about 1/3 of your viewers by 30 seconds, 45% of them by 1 minute and almost 60% by 2 minutes. And those numbers remain the same no matter how long the video is. 

 “15 seconds.” According to research conducted by Jun Group (2011), videos that are 15 seconds or shorter are shared 37 percent more often than those that last between 30 seconds and 1 minute. If you make your video longer, that stat goes down. Those shorties are only shared 18% more often than videos of longer than 1 minute.

So why would anyone in their right mind make a video for advertisement purposes that is longer than 60 seconds at most? 

(Of course, the data tells us 15 seconds is optimum. And it is, if you are selling a nationally recognized brand, like, say a dishwashing liquid that can be bought at any store in town. But if you are small business, then you need to get your address, hours, etc. all into the video. Pretty tough to do in 15 seconds. But! We're working on it and are coming up with some great ideas!)

(For more data and details, please read: 90% of All People Say a Video Helps To Decide a Purchase! (www.robot55.jp/blog/90-of-all-people-say-a-video-helps-to-decide-a-purchase/) 

Here's a 60-Second video we just completed for a very happy customer:


This is perfect because, in English or Japanese, you know within the first 5 seconds what this place is all about. 

Like I said, all our videos at Robot55, that are for advertising purposes are under 60 seconds. In this way, we can uniform and streamline the entire production process and bring our clients professionally crafted videos at 1/3 or 1/4 what the competition charges. I like to think that we are pioneers in this much like Charles Schwab or Earl Scheib.

"Discount" is not a dirty word; it is smart business.

And we are planning to hire the physically disabled so that they can do office work and video editing at home and earn a decent wage.

Over at the Robot55 blog, I've been blogging about interesting things "Japan" as well as tips on how to take better photos and make better videos.

We even have a series started there entitled: Video Tips! Make Your Own Video For Your Business For Free! (www.robot55.jp/blog/video-tips-make-your-own-video-for-your-business-for-free-part-2/) Where we give professional advice to small business owners - and anyone else - on how to make a better video to promote their business for absolutely free!

I hope, if you have been missing me here, you'll just jump over the the Robot55 blog. At the Robot55 blog,  there's great advice for making better videos and taking better pictures as well as great retro videos about Japan.

Hope to see you there!

Robot55 Blog: http://robot55.jp/blog-center/

Robot55 URL: http://robot55.jp/


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https://www.facebook.com/robot55video?ref=hl

Friday, February 13, 2015

I Was a Teenage Converse All-Star!


It's not everyday one can be at the center of a massive national advertising campaign for one of the coolest shoe makers in the world, but I was. Hence the title of this post: I was a Teenage Converse All-Star! (Okay, that part about being a teenager? That's a lie. I'm 57. But the rest is true. So please allow me to brag. I usually don't get that chance in my mealy existence!) 

So, thank you God! Thank you Punk Rock! Thank you InterFM! Thank you Converse! Read more below!

創立100周年を超えるコンバース!毎週日曜日「What The Funday!」10:15からのCONVERSE - THE SOUND OF CALIFORNIA

毎週カリフォルニアのアーティストを1組ピックアップしてご紹介
さらに、 タロヲの「カリフォルニア小話」も放送中。
実はこの小話、コンバースオフィシャルサイト内の特設ページで、いつでも聞けるんだよね!URLは http://www.converse.co.jp/the-endless-summer/fm/index.html

僕らがCONVERSEのモデルとして登場しているとっておきの画像もみれるよ!
InterFMからもアクセス出来ます。CONVERSE - THE SOUND OF CALIFORINIA
チェックしてね。

Currently, the other two guys on my radio show, (WTF? What the Funday, InterFM, every Sunday morning 8 am ~ 11 am) George Williams and Taro Furukawa and I, am at the center of a massive Converse Shoes campaign for all of Japan. It's called "Converse - The Endless Summer" campaign and they are sponsoring our radio show as well as putting our faces on advertisements that show up somewhere that I am not quite sure about. But, you can see our photos here (https://www.interfm.co.jp/the-endless-summer/) or at the link at the very bottom of the page, so there! That's another reason for this blog; I wanna make sure I keep these photos forever! My mom is so proud of me!



Every Sunday morning at 10:15 ~ 10:25, Converse sponsors our show and we have a special that features a few songs from artists from California, insider information about said artist and also we GIVE AWAY CONVERSE SHOES FOR FREE TO LISTENERS!!!!! 

What!? Free Converse shoes??? Yes, just listen in every Sunday morning from 10:15 ~ 10:25 or so and you can win! (Actually, listen from 9:00 because we often give away hints on how to win earlier in the show!

The show is entitled, "Converse - Sound of California" and it's great.

Also, there's a massively popular joke corner where we tell jokes that are quite risque (and that's unheard of in Japan!) you can practice your Japanese, see the script, and hear a recording of the actual broadcasted joke here. Check it out, it is massively popular amongst the Japanese (and people studying REAL Japanese language): Taro's California Ko-Banashi (Joke) (If that link doesn't work, copy and paste this: http://www.converse.co.jp/the-endless-summer/fm/index.html) 


http://www.converse.co.jp/the-endless-summer/fm/index.html

Actually, it's a secret, but this Sunday, there will be some folks from Converse at the show and they are bringing a bunch of presents so definitely check it out.

If you do not have an FM radio, you can listen on Radiko. Just download Radiko and click the button at the top that says "InterFM" and you can win some cool free Converse shoes. Radiko! Listen online: http://radiko.jp/

Converse - The Sound of California! And I was a teenage Converse All-Star, really! Just I wasn't in their advertising campaigns until I became over 55! So, I guess that's cool. I reckon there aren't very many olde pharttes like me who get to model sports shoes for youth culture at my age! Yikes!


---------------------------

* Check out the funny jokes online: http://www.converse.co.jp/the-endless-summer/fm/index.html

* WTF? What the Funday URL: https://www.interfm.co.jp/wtf/index.php?mode=sun&id=32

* Converse - Sound of California Homepage URL: 
http://www.converse.co.jp/the-endless-summer/

Listen online: http://radiko.jp/


Monday, February 9, 2015

Gaijin Gourmet: My Favorite Rock N Roll Diner & The Best Salad Bar Deal in Tokyo!


Ladies and gentlemen, I have come to the conclusion that the best salad bar deal in all of Tokyo is at my new favorite Rock N Roll diner, Big Boy. 


In fact, besides an incredible deal on the salad bar, Big Boy might be the best place to drink beer too! How so? Read on...


When I was a high school student living in the west in the mid seventies, we often went to Bob's Big Boy. It was cheap, er, I mean, inexpensive and the food was great. 

American style large comfortable seating... And, instead of Japan's J-Pop Hit Parade of Hell, they actually were playing American 1950s and 1960s Rock Music!


I didn't even know they had Bob's Big Boy (called simply "Big Boy") in Japan until the other day. I found one, incredibly, right by my house. It is in the opposite direction of the station so I had never even once walked by it in ten years. I did the other day when I went for a stroll and what a stroke of luck.

I walked in and checked the lunch menu. Are you kidding me? A full lunch set that includes soup and curry rice and white rice for only ¥680!? Who, on a budget, in their right mind would ever go to any McBurgers, when you can get a balanced meal for that price? The lunch set that includes the salad bar and the soup and rice and curry rice is only ¥960!!!

Incredible deal for the whole family!

My wife tried one of the set menus and it was very good! The hamburger was great and the fried chicken was miles away better than the KFColonel!

But, I try to eat very healthy if I can and stay away from fried foods (and cooked foods) generally. I checked the salad bar menu and prices and that was when my jaw dropped to the floor!


¥590 for an all-you-can-eat salad bar??? You are kidding me, right? "Is this a mistake? Am I reading this wrong? ¥590 for an all-you-can-eat salad bar????!!!!" Incredible, but true. I ordered that and loaded up on the veggies and fruits! I ate 5 plates of that! It was heaven!

I had been going to a place that charged ¥1,980 for the all-you-can-eat salad bar. That is nice too, but Big Boy has a great salad bar at less than 1/3 that price and the salad was fresh and delicious! What a fantastic deal! This has to be nirvana for vegetarians and salads eaters like me in Japan!

If you aren't hungry and you just want to sit down and have at the all-you can drink bar then it is only ¥290! 

And, if that's not enough, the plat de résistance! After your first draft beer, the next beers are all half-price!


Big Boy is running a campaign where you buy the first beer (¥500) and then all the subsequent beers are half price at ¥250! And there's no table charge! Think about it, I can go in and sit down at a table and drink 4 beers for ¥1000 (about $8 USD)! That is unheard of in Japan. 

Also, besides the set menu, Big Boy offers side menus of fried calamari and french fries and all sorts of little snacks that you can wash down with beer! (I recommend the calamari & french fries... They were quite excellent and only ¥290 yen!) 

The real test for my family was taking my son to Big Boy. He is a VERY picky eater and generally doesn't like eating out, excepting at a few (very expensive) restaurants. We took him to Big Boy and he loved it and gave it an incredible 9 out of 10 points... 

That's not the first time he's given 9 out of 10 to a restaurant, but was the first time he ever did that for a restaurant that didn't cost me at least ¥15,000 (about $120 USD) for the three of us. He had calamari & fries, a delicious steak from the dinner menu, all-you-can drink and ice cream dessert; my wife had a ¥960 set menu and all-you-can drink with a dessert; I had the salad bar and all-you-can drink; the damages? ¥4,200 (about $36 USD) for the three of us!

Simply amazing; good, clean restaurant. Delicious food at a very reasonable price - and Rock N Roll music to boot!

If I were you, I'd get over to Big Boy and try out the salad bar and beer deal ASAP. It's the best deal in Japan!

I give Big Boy 5 out of 5 stars. When a head of lettuce costs ¥260 (about $2.25 USD) at the local grocer, but Big Boy can give you all-you-can eat salad at ¥590 (about $5.05 USD) why go buy groceries? How do they do that????

You'd better get over the Big Boy soon, because, the way I eat salads, they are going to go bust because of me! Get into this great deal while you can! 

Bob and I are now buddies again! My favorite Rock N Roll Diner!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Measles Vaccinations? A "Professional" Speaks Out!



"Adolf Hitler wasn't vaccinated against Measles, either!" - Mike Rogers

"See? I told you Ebola was mutating! It has now mutated into a measles epidemic on the nightly news!" - That's by me too!


This measles vaccination nonsense is absurd.

It's not a question of public health. This is a question of property rights; do you own your own body?

At my house, we do not give our child a flu shot every year: we gathered information and made a judgement on cost and effectiveness vs. risk performance. We got him flu shots before, but these last 4 or 5 years, we opted out.

Unfortunately, our kid came down with the flu this year (his second time in eleven years). 

The children of my best friend, Taro, also got the flu this year. The difference? We didn't get a flu shot for our son. My friend Taro had all his kids get the flu shot. Twice. They all did; and they had both flu immunizations; yet they still got the flu.


My son got the flu this year. He didn't get an immunization. My friend's kids all did. They all got the flu also... And my friend was out several hundred bucks for a flu vaccine that didn't work.


If we allow the government to force people to take immunizations, then no one can complain when the government deems that you are too fat and then they can decide ridiculous things like you are no longer allowed to buy large Cokes. Or that your medical condition is so bad (in their judgement) that you need to be put into an institution against your will. Or that your folks (you included) are too old and inept to take care of yourselves so you need to be put into an old folk's hospital or strapped to a bed 24/7. Or that your smoking or drinking habit is too dangerous for other people so you must stop... Or you need to wear seat belts...

There's no end to it, folks.


Most of you folks reading this are mostly probably too young to remember, but for those of us born in the 50s, there was no fear of the measles or the mumps or chicken pox.

Nope. It was something that we all got. No big deal.

I lived in a family with three brothers and when one got it, the others soon followed. I don't remember Chicken Pox being anything but very itchy, the measles were absolutely nothing, but the mumps hurt a little bit.

Still, no big deal.

In fact, I looked forward to getting sick and missing a few days of school: JUST LIKE ALL THE OTHER KIDS DID!

Today's media makes these formerly common childhood ailments sound like Small Pox or Polio or the Bubonic Plague...


Seriously. I remember clearly the Measles, mumps and Chicken Pox because we all three got it roughly the same time. No worry. Just stay in bed.

Watch this video to see what people used to think about Measles, before those days when Big Pharma started marketing vaccines. (Thanks to Lew Rockwell! www.lewrockwell.com)




The Brady Bunch (Ugh!) is the best.... Really. They even say that getting those three diseases is the best way to skip out of school....

Forced immunizations are not about controlling diseases, but about controlling you.

NOTE: Oh, the title of this article: "Measles Vaccinations? A Professional Speaks Out!" Before someone complains about who the professional is, it's me. I've worked in the mass media for over 30 years; this mass media sensationalism? I am a professional and an expert at mass media sensationalism; oh, and I am a "professional" with a big mouth.

ADDENDUM: Great article over at Zerohedge today: Guest Post: How Vaccine Hysteria Could Spark A Totalitarian Nightmare

Snippet:



1. The voices shrieking to forcibly vaccinate people are the same voices shrieking to support a woman’s right to choose abortion under Roe v. Wade. If a woman’s body is sacrosanct, if she has the right to choose to deliver a child or not, if she has total authority over her body, how can she not have the right to accept or refuse a vaccination?

2. Medical ethics are clear: No one should be forced to undergo a medical treatment without informed consent and without their agreement to the treatment. We condemn the forced sterilization of the ’20s and ’30s, the Tuskegee medical experiments infecting black inmates and the Nazi medicine that included involuntary “Euthanasia,” experimentation and sterilization. How can we force vaccination without consent? Vaccination is a medical treatment with risks including death. It is totally antithetical to all ethics in medicine to mandate that risk to others.

3. Science is never “concluded.” Mr. Obama and other ideologues may think the truth is finalized (“The science is indisputable”), but the reality is our understanding of disease and treatment are constantly being updated. Just like Newton’s mechanical paradigm of the universe was supplanted by Einsteinian physics, and physicists today modify that view, medical “truth” is not the truth for long. In an attempt to quantify change in medicine, years ago a cardiology journal discussed “The Half-life of Truth.” cardiologists looked back in their journal at 20-year-old articles to see how much of what was believed then was still believed to be true. The answer? 50 percent. So in cardiology, at least – and in all of medicine to greater or lesser degree – only half of what we believe now will still be true in 20 or so years. The last word on vaccination is not in. It hasn’t even begun to be written.

4. If you believe absolutely in the benefit and protective value of vaccination, why does it matter what others do? Or don’t do? If you believe you need vaccination to be healthy and protected, then by all means vaccinate your child and yourself. Why should you even be concerned what your neighbor chooses to do for his child – if vaccination works? The idea of herd immunity is still based on the idea that in individual cases vaccines actually are protective.

5. If you think the government has the right to forcibly vaccinate people – for the good of society – what is to prevent them from forcibly sterilizing people, or forcibly euthanizing people, or forcibly implanting a tracking device – for the good of society? You make think those examples are extreme (although two-thirds have happened), but the principle is the same. You are allowing government to have ultimate authority over your body.

Read more at: How Vaccine Hysteria Could Spark A Totalitarian Nightmare

Thursday, February 5, 2015

New Post Over at Robot55 About Toshikazu Endo Art Exhibit


Hi folks. I have anew post over at Robot55 (Robot-Go-Go). It is about a very chilling art exhibit I saw yesterday. Sorry for the link below but today I have a tons of stuff to get to, but I wanted you to check this out. This is some very weird stuff....

Here is an excerpt from: Endo Toshikatsu Exhibition at the Akiyama Gallery www.robot55.jp/endo-toshikatsu-exhibition-at-the-akiyama-gallery/

"As I stood there trying to take it all in and digest what I was seeing, it hit me, “This is scary,” I said. And I meant it.

This work of art made me feel a sense of fear. Of fear of what? I do not know. Death, perhaps? But I definitely felt fear. Perhaps it was the kind of fear that the saber toothed tigers of the Ice Age felt when they were trapped in the tar pits of La Brea; struggling to get out. But the more they struggle, the deeper they sink… 

Or perhaps it was a fear that I had stumbled into another world; a world of the gods where I was not wanted nor welcomed. It was a place where those much greater than I had dwelt; and they were all dead. 

What does that mean for me if the immortal ones have long since died and their lives burned away? Was the a picture of our collective future?"

You have to check this out. Here's a photo:



Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Thoughts on the Superbowl and Other Bread and Circuses....

“Panem et circenses" (Bread and Circuses) -  Juvenal 

Well, I am not a professional sports fan at all and I didn't watch the Superbowl. I don't watch things like that excepting if I am drinking with friends and it just so happens to be on TV... I think Professional Sports are boring and a waste of time. Who cares if the San Diego Lakers beat the New York Yankers? Does my life improve if my local team wins? Nope. In fact, my life probably gets worse if there is a local team. For more on that read: How the NFL Fleeces Taxpayers 

I will, though, gamble on a games outcome because then it becomes interesting as I like to win money (and hate losing it). Gambling makes any sport interesting. 

I do, though, greatly enjoy watching children do sports.

But I digress quickly, today.

Today, I am talking about the Superbowl, again. I laugh today when I read all sorts of articles about "Bad calls," "What were they thinking?" etc.

Folks, these things are all fixed... Now before you jump up and down and say "Rogers is crazy" may I give my qualifications? I was a paid professional sports announcer from 2005 ~ 2010. 

Were you? No? OK, then please hear me out (because besides being a former professional sports announcer, I am a tad bit crazy!)

In this last Superbowl, I was surprised to find that the last touchdown was with 2 minutes left in the game.... Usually they arrange it so that the final score is within the last 20 or 30 seconds... But then I heard about the interception that everyone is complaining about. 

Think about this folks: These big companies at sponsor the Superbowl are paying hundreds of millions of dollars for 4 hours TV ads... They want their 4 hours... They get their 4 hours. 

Can't have blow outs in the first quarter...

You know when say, Denver got blown out (maybe thirty years ago) and was behind by 40 some point at the end of the first quarter and 36 million tvs turned off, the sponsors were not happy and that hurt sales at the networks... The networks do everything they can to make damned sure things like that don't happen again. You know the leagues live and eat off revenues, so do the coaches and referees. No big money sponsors? No, big money salaries...

Don't believe me? Please refer to women's NBA or women's soccer. I'll wait.

Yesterday, I chuckled at this article: 

What were Seahawks thinking on Russell Wilson's goal-line pass? Explanations make little sense.  (They make total and complete sense if you think like me!)

They could have won the game with less than 30 seconds left.... But they threw a pass? Oh, really? 


High School Cross Country isn't corrupt(ed too much)... But you can bet your bottom dollar that when Cross Country or Marathon gets to the big money Olympics, there's all sort of Hi-Jinks going on!

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Folks, did you know in Orwell's 1984, in one chapter Winston Smith goes to the office restroom and there he sees his boss. 

The boss says, "Did you see the big game last night?" 

To which Smith answers, "No!" 

The boss responds, "Wow! What an exciting game. What an exciting finish... That's the best script we've written in a long time!" 


---------------

I mentioned that the sponsors pay for 4 hours of advertising, they want their 4 hours of advertising... The leagues does everything in its power to make sure that happens, too. It makes it easier to get even more money from sponsors next year. It's a given.  

The laughable part is the next day after the big game.... Americans are outraged that some coach called for a pass in a football game... 

Do Americans complain about US troops in Ukraine, bombing dark skinned children in Middle Eat nations 24/7, or massive tax increases?... Nah... Just crickets.... 

One article stated, "They'll be talking about that call for years!" 

Sheesh! Right.... The sad part is that they actually will be talking about it for years. 

It's good promotion for the game to have people talking about it for years after.

The guys handling promotion for Sony Pictures, "The Interview" ain't got nuttin' on the guys handling the Superbowl... Heck, for all I know, it's the same Madison Avenue advertising agency....

As an aside, ya, know, everybody says the NFL is run by a bunch of money making geniuses (maybe I won't argue) but it seems to me they are missing a Big Money maker. He'll, if I had a huge platform like the Super Bowl with 110 million drunks watching, I wouldn't pay Katie Perry a dime to perform. I'd tell her, the other artists and their labels, "It's costs $50 million to appear at the superb owl halftime show."

But I digress again...

Most people, upon reading what I have written here will respond, "But it is impossible to cheat because too many players have to be involved." Ha! No they don't. You only need league salaried refs and TV station execs.

It's not necessary to have the players involved. 

The leagues learned their lessons the hard way doing that with the 1919 World Series Black Sox scandal when the players WERE involved with game fixing... 

Dear reader might also find this tidbit interesting, from Playboy Magazine in November 1983...

"Joe Namath backed up his famous guarantee with the New York Jets upsetting the Baltimore Colts, 16–7, in Super Bowl III. But since “Broadway Joe” trotted off the field pointing No. 1 to the sky, there have been more than a few rumblings that the Colts took a dive against the Jets. 

The legitimacy of the NFL-AFL merger of 1970 was greatly aided by the AFL’s win in Super Bowl III on Jan. 12, 1969. The fact that the game was won by New York — a massive media market with a coverboy quarterback — was icing on the cake. 

In hindsight, it could be argued that the Jets’ win over the Colts was a triumph worth not just millions but billions of dollars for the league. 

Bubba Smith said, “That Super Bowl game, which we lost by nine points, was the critical year (for the AFL). The game just seemed odd to me. Everything was out of place. I tried to rationalize that our coach, Don Shula, got out-coached, but that wasn’t the case. I don’t know if any of my teammates were in on the fix.”

Money talks... Bubba Smith would go on to claim years later that the story wasn't true and, after he recants, he would be elected to the NFL Hall of Fame. Nobody said that football players were rocket scientists, but money talks.


-------------

There's a litany of this sort of thing all throughout sports history and it happens every year in every major sport. I can run off a huge list off the top of my head: Sonny Liston going down against Muhammed Ali on a phantom punch (Gerry Cooney against Larry Holmes too)... 

George Foreman is famously quoted as saying, "Professional Boxing? It's one big joke." 

Dear reader, ever heard of Tim Donaghy? 

"Tim Donaghy was an NBA referee from 1994 to 2007, officiating in 772 regular season games and 20 playoff contests. But rumors of fixing games caused Donaghy to resign in July 2007. Concrete evidence presented by the FBI resulted in Donaghy pleading guilty to federal charges and being sentenced to 15 months in federal prison. After being released, Donaghy began telling tales of NBA officiating, gambling and controlling the outcome of games. His legal team even filed loosely veiled allegations against the NBA in U.S. District Court.
Although he does not name team or referee names, it is clear that Donaghy’s attorney is referring to Game 6 of the 2002 NBA Western Conference Finals between the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Lakers. 

“Referees A, F and G were officiating a playoff series between Teams 5 and 6 in May of 2002. It was the sixth game of a seven-game series, and a Team 5 victory that night would have ended the series. 

“However, Tim learned from Referee A that Referees A and F wanted to extend the series to seven games. Tim knew Referees A and F to be ‘company men,’ always acting in the interest of the NBA, and that night, it was in the NBA’s interest to add another game to the series. Referees A and F heavily favored Team 6. 

“Personal fouls (resulting in obviously injured players) were ignored even when they occurred in full view of the Referees. Conversely, the Referees called made-up fouls on Team 5 in order to give additional free throw opportunities for Team 6. Their foul-calling also led to the ejection of two Team 5 players. 

“The referees’ favoring of Team 6 led to that team’s victory that night, and Team 6 came back from behind to win that series.”

These sorts of things are not isolated incidents... 

All pro sports are big entertainment. They are big money. The bigger the sport, the bigger the money and, therefore, the bigger the "entertainment." 

Seriously, to think otherwise is, really naive and just plain foolish. 

If you want to watch true sports that aren't fixed where the players play to win and play their hearts out and cry when they lose... Go to the playground and watch little children play....

Oh, but, don't let me leave you on a happy note... Sorry, but as a former coach of kid's little league soccer, I can also tell you that those leagues are not completely on the up and up either; the dads who start the leagues pick all the best players for their teams and guys like me - who are recruited by the local government recreation department - to coach a bunch of kids from broken families, get kids with basically poor skills. Of course they have poor skills! They can't kick or throw a ball as well as the other kids because they don't live with dad.

The kids who do live with dad are the best ones, with the best skills, and so they were taken long ago by the dads when the leagues were first set up. So, even in that case, the playing field is not level nor fair...

But, at least, in that case, the kids try their hardest for their family, moms and dads, friends and team mates and themselves. They don't think about anything else. 

That's the true spirit of sports.

Am I wrong?


Thanks to James Santagata

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Legal Age for Sex to 13 Years Old?


A female British barrister says that the law should be changed so that sex is legal at 13. The reason for this is so that older men will stop being sent to prison for sex with a minor.

Allow legal sex at 13 to stop 'old men abuse persecutions', says barrister 

The age of consent for sex should be lowered to 13 years-old to end the ''persecution of old men'' in the wake of the Savile sex abuse scandal, a leading barrister has claimed.

In a controversial intervention, Barbara Hewson, a senior barrister at Hardwicke chambers in London, also called for the end of anonymity for complainants. The lawyer, who specialises in reproductive rights also claimed crimes committed by disgraced broadcaster Stuart Hall were ''low level misdemeanours''.

Campaigners today criticised the ''outdated and simply ill-informed'' views, which it said ''beggars belief'' from a highly-experienced barrister. Her article also provoked an internal row within her chambers, which launched an "investigation" into the claims. 

But amid the storm of condemnation, she stood by her comments today as she quoted François-Marie Arouet, the 18th century philosopher, in her bid to defend her "opinion". Her comments come as Scotland Yard operates Operation Yewtree, an investigation split into three inquiries into allegations involving deceased presenter Jimmy Savile, involving Savile and others and those involving just others.

This article got several remarks from my well respected friends. Some of their remarks puzzled me as they were quite negative and suggesting that lowering the legal age for sex was akin to  "making murder legal," or something like "Satan worshipping."

I think my good friends, while well-meaning, are confused on the real issue here. I think the real issue is a question of personal freedom and self-responsibility. Now, I won't go too much into the fact (and a bit off issue) that there are untold numbers of young girls (and boys) who are prostitutes at very young ages. I would venture to guess that there are some as young as 10 or even younger.

I wrote to my friends concerning the question of the government deciding the legal age of marriage:

I wish you'd consider this. Why does the government have the right to decide this? For several millennia things like were decided by families and religions and religious beliefs. What makes the government (guffaw!) any more of a credible judge in matters like this? 

Why is it the government says, in the USA for example, that a young man or woman can get married at 18, join the army and go kill people or get killed overseas, drive a car, have an abortion, but they cannot go to the store to buy a beer? It's arbitrary and it's absurd. 

The problem is that when we allow the government to decide these things, it opens a can of worms about other rights that they decide arbitrarily. 

It isn't my business what another family wants to do... Only my family is my business.... There might be special circumstances whereby marriage at a early age is considered "OK" by some people. I don't know what's best for other people; just as they do not know what's best for me. 

I then linked to a History of legal age of marriage on Wikipedia:

Historically, the age of consent for a sexual union was determined by tribal custom or was a matter for families to decide. In most cases, this coincided with signs of puberty: menstruation for a girl and pubic hair for a boy. 

In Ancient Rome, it was very common for girls to marry and have children shortly after the onset of puberty. Roman law required brides to be at least 12 years old. In Roman law, first marriages to brides aged 12 through 24 required the consent of the bride and her father; but, by the late antique period, Roman law permitted women over 25 to marry without parental consent. The Catholic canon law followed the Roman law. 

In the 12th century, the Catholic Church drastically changed legal standards for marital consent by allowing daughters over 12 and sons over 14 to marry without their parents' approval, even if their marriage was made clandestinely. Parish studies have confirmed that late medieval women did sometimes marry against their parents' approval. The Catholic Church's policy of considering clandestine marriages and marriages made without parental consent to be valid was controversial, and in the 16th century both the French monarchy and the Lutheran church sought to end these practices, with limited success. 

In western Europe, the rise of Christianity and manorialism had both created incentives to keep families nuclear and thus the age of marriage increased; the Western Church instituted marriage laws and practices that undermined large kinship groups. From as early as the fourth century, the Church discouraged any practice that enlarged the family, like adoption,[citation needed] polygamy, taking concubines, divorce, and remarriage.

Do not misunderstand what I am saying here; I do not approve of what these young people are doing; I also do not approve of their life situation. But it isn't my life; it's theirs. It is sad that these young people feel they have to prostitute themselves or they live in a situation - perhaps a desperately poor country torn by war or they have no parents - that they do what they do to survive. 

Of course we are talking about children here, but what is an adult? It is not up to the government to take care of children, it is up to the parents. The fact is that today, there are untold numbers of young people prostituting themselves; it is a crime and it is against the law in most places, but guess what? In spite of being a crime, it's still going on. It's going on right now not only in the most desperate parts of Africa, but it is going on in New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris and most big cities. Yet, it is certainly against the law.

To think that it is not is foolishly naive. 

I added:

By the way, 1950s rock super star Jerry Lee Lewis married his 13-year-old cousin, Myra. Is he a nut? Maybe he is (but in those days, in the South, things like that happened all the time - so what? Who am I to judge what they do?) Is it any of our business? No, it's not (I still think he is a rock & roll hero in spite of that). It isn't our business and it most certainly isn't the business of the central government. Oh, and another thing, am I confused or do we sometimes rail on some people for believing in a "god" yet, here, we talk about Satan? If we don't believe in god, we can't believe in Satan... I think..... Someone check me out on my logic there, willya?

Ignore the comments about Satan. Many of my friends seem to be atheists, yet they mention Satan like it/he/she is a fact? That seems a contradiction, no?

My point in this issue is not that this matter of 13-year-olds having sex is in any way morally right or to be condoned or not condoned. Personally, I do not condone it for me or my family. But my issue is, as I said, one of personal freedom and self-responsibility; if the parents or the church or their religion does not dictate behavior, then who are the government to do it? I think it's the government that is messing things up so that, in many cases, the kids have to do things like prostitution just to survive. For just one view on that read this: How the West is Responsible for all the Problems in the Middle East(Even Socialists who fail to see that since government is the cause of the problem, a different government is not the solution... But even a broken clock is right twice a day. Please refer to: The politics of famine.)

I can guarantee you that I took care of my own kids as best I could in my household and did my best to raise my children; my kids did not prostitute themselves at 13 or 16 or 25. Why? Even though they lived in a broken home, I made sure they had what they needed and felt loved and had a high self worth and some government wasn't bombing us and killing their father and mother.

I can't speak for other households. You and I have zero control over what other people do.

It is sad that these other children do these things; but the fact remains that they do so in spite of the government passing laws over and over to try to "fix" these problems. These poor people live in a situation, in many ways not of their own making, where they do these things to live.* The government has made child-prostitution a heavy crime for ... Yet it continues to this day. One can do a simple Google search and find a plethora of articles stating that child prostitution and trafficking are increasing... Is this not evidence that the policy isn't working and we need to rethink what we are doing? 

Wasn't it Einstein who said, "Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity"?

Ultimately, what I want to say is that the way we have been doing things (concerning government laws dictating what you can and cannot do; put into your body, eat or drink... Whether you can gamble or take drugs, etc...) Hasn't worked. The old way isn't working. We need to think about a new way of doing things. 

Like I said, proof of that claim comes from the fact that, say in the case of drugs, the Drug War is a miserable failure; also, in spite of the fact that prostitution and gambling is illegal, you can go to any big city in America, any time of the day and find an underaged prostitute, gamble or buy drugs.

If that isn't a failed policy, I don't know what is.

I don't know what the age for sex should be. I don't think the government does either. That's the issue here. Hate to harp on it, but "underaged sex" has been going on for the last 50 years (Ha! Last 5000 years) and laws haven't stopped it. I only know that we as individuals have to take care of our children; the government can't do that.

Government can't fix these things. If the government could fix our problems, don't you think they would have done so long ago? The only thing the government can do is to get out of the way and try to create an environment where everyone can be and do their best; perhaps then, young children might have opportunities to get jobs and create money without having to risk their lives by prostituting themselves.

What else can we do but to hope and work for that goal? 


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NOTES: My good friend Don Cooper chimes in:

So as a father this is a sensitive issue but if you're not consistent with your principles then why have them? Anything the government prohibits will have a much more dangerous black market for it, alcohol, drugs, guns, prostitution and child porn is no exception. 

So, the question is: who's responsibility is it to protect your children? It's yours! The state has absolutely no authority to tell people they can't make child porn, but if parents protect their children, then where are they going to get the children for the porn? And if a parent does sell their child for child porn then that's no different than a parent giving their child alcohol, drugs, guns or selling them for prostitution or beating them or any of another hundred things that could be detrimental for the child. 

But the solution is never state force because the state will always do more harm than good. There is no utopia and bad people will always do bad things even to children. The best any society can do is to hope families care enough to intervene on the part of the child.


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*In Yuko Mihara Weisser's 1998 book Japanese Cinema Encyclopedia: The Sex Films, Weisser related that of the entire 30 Japanese porn actresses interviewed, all of them came from broken homes; some didn't even live with a parent in childhood.



Thanks to my friend, James Santagata

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The New Year's Party and the Japanese Rock & Roll Ghost Story



"If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it." - William Arthur Ward 



The "Shinenkai" (New Year's Party) for "What the Funday" on InterFM, was held on Monday was a smash success. I thank everyone involved so very much from the bottom of my heart. The event and everything else involved with the event came out better than I ever dreamed of.

The bands were great. The crowd was fantastic. In fact, the manager of the venue told me afterward that it was the record for attendance at his club since it was established 5 years ago.  


Poster for Shinnenkai. I designed this poster modeled after the old 
Motown posters I so loved.

Not only was the New Year's Party a party, but it was also a movie shoot: we used the party to shoot parts of the trailer for a movie we are making. The movie is called, "A Japanese Rock & Roll Ghost Story." (ロックンロール亡霊?) Well, I think that's what we are going to call it. Fact of the matter is that this is the working title and we've been trying for over three months to find a better title but haven't been able too.I think a movie title should be a good description of the movie (well, duh!) and, while it is a little long as titles go, "A Japanese Rock & Roll Ghost Story" is exactly what this movie is about.

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It is a story about a struggling Japanese "Sixties Retro-Music" musician who finds the spirit of a long dead Blues musician living in his studio and he and that spirit make fantastic music together, unlike the rock musicians band in real life. The problem is that no one else can hear that music nor can they see the spirit. Only our protagonist can see and talk with the ghost.

Over time, our hero becomes only happy when he plays music with the spirit. He stops working, stops practicing with his band and spends all his time locked up in the studio with a ghost no one else can see or hear. 


His band members and his family begin to think he is having a nervous breakdown or is going insane.


Finally, the musician gives up everything to go and be with the ghost all the time and making heavenly music.


Has he completely gone insane? Or has he really died and gone to heaven?



(Left) Loren Fykes (ghost) & Mr. Pan (rocker)


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I have assembled an excellent team to tackle this film project. For the director of the movie, I asked Enrico Ciccu who has written and directed for some very fine cult movie productions in Italy. Enrico can be a difficult person to work with; but that’s the way I like it. Great artists are never easy people to deal with. Enrico wrote the screenplay and had a large hand in the making for this short film which was accepted at the Sapporo Film Festival: “Julie – Johnny Guitar.” Enrico also recently directed this: The Erotik Monkey.



Proper and mood lighting is so critically important to the look and feel of any movie. For Lighting Director, I asked my old friend Yuji Wada. Yuji is a famous Hollywood lighting director. And, amongst other works, Yuji does the lighting for all of Sofia Cappola's movies including the smash hit "Lost in Translation." 


Scene from "Lost in Translation"

For camera, I recruited Ken Nishikawa. Ken Nishikawa is a former BBC (speaks beautiful Queen's English) director as well as having donw films and TV productions for every major TV broadcasting company in Tokyo. Ken and I have made MANY TV productions and music videos (Shonen Knife, Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols original bassist) and many other famous Japanese bands). Here the trailer for one of our next productions that I expect to start in spring 2015: Matsuchiyo - Life of a Geisha



Of course, all good films need good acting. I also need people who can act AND play some mean music. I found them. The actors in our film are from several famous Japanese bands and they are all eager to perform. 

The main actor will be Mr. Pan (Lead vocalist of Neatbeats - sitting on the right on the sofa in the photo below). Mr. Pan will be main actor in movie. He can act and has been on TV and radio many times and has also acted in one small part in a movie before. Plus he is the epitome of a cool Japanese Rock and Roll band. The Neatbeats, by the way, just returned from a tour of Europe!



Other bands who have agreed to appear: The Privates and The 50 Kaitenz. 

Here are some videos from these great bands:

50 Kaitenz: Killer (This is hilarious. You don't need to understand Japanese to get this!)

The Neatbeats (Campy sixties style Rock and Roll with a hot sexy girl, of course!) 

The Privates (Excellent Rock and Roll!)   

So far we have had two shooting sessions for the film. The first was on Jan. 23, 2015. It went fantastic and everything was perfect. Here is a still from that shoot:


(Left to Right): Me, Mike Rogers - Producer (bottom left), Enrico Ciccu - Director (standing left), Ken Nishikawa - Cinematographer (Kneeling middle), Mr. Pan - Protagonist (sitting on sofa). 

I hope you can see merely by the lighting of this photo that we are going for a style and quality that is a compliment to my inspiration for this particular film, Quentin Tarantino.

Finally, we come full circle. The second shooting session for the film was at our New Year's party. I needed to shoot scenes at a nightclub of our hero's band doing well and doing terribly. We got both. Here is a still from that photo shoot:


On stage are the killer Japanese rock band, "The Privates." Sitting in front with red cap is famous Japanese radio dee-jay and comedian, Furukawa Taro. The beautiful woman at the same table is Tomomi Hiraiwa. Behind them both, the guy sleeping (or acting dead?) is me, Mike Rogers (I must say, I do a mighty fabulous job of acting dead). On camera is director Enrico Ciccu.


Everything, as I wrote, was just perfect for both shoots. The editing starts next week and we expect the trailer to be ready by end of Feb. 

Shooting this film is one of my dreams come true and I have decided that if we are going to do this, then we are going to do it right and we are going to make something that is world-class quality.

I think that is a good goal for everyone, all of us, even dear reader, for our lives and our goals for 2015: "If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it." 

I am going to make my dreams come true this year. I am cheering for you all to do the same. 

Let's make all our dreams come true, together in 2015!


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