"There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit." - President Ronald Reagan.

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Friday, July 22, 2016

Trump and The Space Program

Above, the shuttle Endeavour being towed in the streets of Inglewood, California in 2012. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Since President Obama gutted the space shuttle program before we had a replacement vehicle to service the International Space Station, we've had to rely on the Russians to supply and man the ISS.

While I was pleased with Donald Trump's acceptance speech last night, I was disappointed that he did not mention NASA or the space program.

A few years ago, Trump Tweeted:

Since then, he has expressed that we should put our priorities onto the nation's infrastructure before spending on space. I disagree. I feel that we should be able to do both. I stand with President Kennedy's statement on space: "We mean to be a part of it. We mean to lead it!"

I have always contended that the space program was the only worthwhile government program we have. I still feel that way.

I have Tweeted to Trump that he needs to revive the space program and issue a detailed policy statement.

National Review Morning Jolt: Donald Trump's Dark Speech

National Review assessed Donald J. Trump's acceptance speech. They sent it to me as part of their "morning jolt". I thought it worth posting in its entirety. I noticed that Hillary Clinton is not even mentioned.

Sure, Trump’s Speech Was Dark. America’s in a Dark Place Right Now.

Yes, it was way too long. Yes, he shouted almost the entire speech. Yes, it was almost entirely devoid of Trump’s usual humor. But the dark portrait of America in Trump’s speech was an argument: an argument that the state of the country has gone terribly wrong, and that the status quo must change. It is simple and largely accurate; soon we’ll see if the public agrees Trump is the man who can change the country for the better.

There has been a lot of griping that this year’s convention was way too dark and negative. I wonder if the media voices making that complaint noticed the latest numbers from Gallup:

Americans’ satisfaction with the way things are going in the U.S. dropped 12 percentage points in the past month, amid high-profile police killings of black men and mass shootings of police. Currently, 17% of Americans are satisfied with the state of affairs in the U.S . . .

For the past two years, satisfaction has been in the 20s and 30s, with low points of 20% in December 2015 and November 2014.

This 12-point drop in one month is tied for the largest decrease in satisfaction since Gallup started asking satisfaction monthly in 2001. The previous largest decrease during this period was also 12 points in October 2008, as the financial crisis was taking hold.

We can argue whether this moment is as chaotic as 1968, or the days of Watergate, or the wartimes of World War II or the Great Depression or the Civil War. But it’s pretty bad. For about a two-week span before the convention, it felt like each day’s news featured some maniac shooting at a cop or a terrible terror attack in Europe. Recall my “Feeling Yeats-y” Corner post from July 14.

Americans have good reason to feel dissatisfied with the state of the country. There are a lot of causes for the country’s problems, but a significant portion of the responsibility lands at the feet of President Barack Obama, who promised “hope and change” eight years ago and delivered the latter while stomping on the former.

Even aside from raw racial tensions, outrageous attacks on police, and awful terrorist attacks, most Americans now know they’ve been sold a false bill of goods. The public now knows Obama’s promises, from “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan” to the red line in Syria mean nothing.

President Obama has been telling the public things are getting better since “Recovery Summer” in 2010, but a lot of Americans just aren’t feeling it. It’s not surprising the president genuinely thinks America is doing pretty well; he lives a life among celebrities and big-dollar fundraisers and sees smiling faces everywhere he goes. He’ll never worry about having enough money or being a victim of a crime again. The ordinary concerns of Americans — what if the car needs major repairs, what if I get laid off, how am I going to cover this new higher monthly premium for health insurance, is that parking lot safe at night if I work late — never cross the mind of Obama, or the vast majority of political elites.

The pivotal question about Donald Trump’s speech is, do the viewers at home listen to his description of the country’s problems — lawlessness, a growing terrorist threat on our own soil, illegal immigration, a fear that their job could be outsourced overseas — and say, “Yes, finally, this man gets it”? Or does Trump’s style get in the way of his powerful message?

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Trump's Acceptance Speech

Above, Donald Trump and Gov. Mike Pence. Screen capture by Armand Vaquer.

As far as convention acceptance speeches go, Donald Trump hit all the right notes. I am very pleased with it.

The speech was a tad long, but sometimes a longer speech is necessary. Considering the horrendous eight years of Obama, there was a lot of ground to cover.

Above, the convention floor after the acceptance speech. Screen capture by Armand Vaquer.

Next to Ronald Reagan's 1980 acceptance speech, this one comes as a close second as one of my favorites.

If Trump continues to speak as he did tonight, Hillary Clinton and the Democrats should be very worried.

2016 GOP National Convention On Streaming Video

For the past several hours, I have been watching the Republican National Convention on streaming video on YouTube since I don't have cable or satellite.

Thank goodness that this streaming video service is available.

To watch on your computer or your Android device, go here.

Denise Santos: A Month Later

Above, Denise Santos at Gladstone's in June 2015. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

One month ago today, I severed contact with Denise Santos.

At the time I did it, I had doubts whether I would be able to be firm and resolute about it. There are times, admittedly, where I do find myself missing her. As time goes on, I'm told, one looks back at the good times (and there were plenty of them) and less so the problems that caused the break-up in the first place. That's the old "looking though rose-colored glasses" part of it. That's the reason why I blog about this experience, to remind myself what happened (and to help others who may find themselves in the same situation).

Aside from sending her a demand letter (as I am required to do by the courts) on June 29 and responding to a text message from her (requesting my address) on July 5, there has been no contact between us.

But no-contact means just that, no contact. This is forever. It is the way it has to be. I'm actually proud that I've been able to do it with no wavering.

The time has allowed me to look at things in a different and in a much more accurate perspective. The red flags I either missed or ignored (and I take full responsibility for that) are seen now very clearly. And, the fact that I now have come to believe that Denise is either a narcissist or has tendencies of a narcissist. I have done some studying on the subject in recent weeks and realize now that the break-up had nothing to do with anything I did, but she tried to project things onto me and tried to portray herself as blameless. She did it all. She came up with questionable and harebrained things that I was justified to express my discomfort about. She could not take anything that came anywhere near criticism or be questioned. She would go ballistic and would say that I was the one with problems (she even accused me of being bi-polar). See Stage 2 below.

Thankfully, a friend sent me a video by Corey Wayne that is so uncannily accurate on what I had experienced, that it seems like it was actually written about us. The video explains why things happened the way they did. It is sad that she is this way, but as the video explains, it was not my job to fix her. She has to look inward and fix herself through psychiatric counseling. If she does, then she will have a better chance to have a happy life that's real, not a facade. If she finds someone else to deceive as she deceived me, and that person is less understanding and has violent traits, she could be putting herself in deadly danger. That is the one concern I have, despite everything.

The three stages of relationships with a narcissist are:
You may be aware, there are three stages to a relationship with a narcissist: 
1) Elevation – Where they put you on a pedestal, treat you like a king, and you think you have finally found “the one”. (People with low self esteem are susceptible to this kind of treatment, and buy in to it.) 
2) De-elevation – They slowly begin to find fault with you and make you think you are crazy. (They’ll never admit there is anything wrong with them. Their ego couldn’t handle it. They feel like a steaming pile of shit, and they project that onto other people.) 
3) Discard – They shut you out completely with no explanation or closure, and you are left wondering what happened. You want so badly to be with the person who you knew at Stage 1, that you would do anything to get back to that point. (People with self-esteem issues keep chasing, trying to get back to Stage 1.)
Thank goodness I decided I had enough during the beginning of Stage 3 and cut off contact and did absolutely no chasing. Everything in the video was right on the mark and described Denise to a "T". It is a relief to know that it was all her and not me all along that screwed up everything.

We had a great time last year (while we were at Stage 1). The video even states that one can have an enormous amount of fun with a narcissist. But that was before reaching Stage 2, which began during New Year's in Las Vegas. As the video explains, one finds the narcissist no longer fun to be with during Stage 2. The Hawaii trip was a big example. It was in sharp contrast to the good time we had together in San Diego in February. She acted like a "cold fish" in Hawaii, and I told her so. She was not happy about that. It must've been a big blow to her ego that I came out and said it. 

Before I decided on no-contact, Denise asked me if I thought she was evil. I told her I didn't think she was evil, because how could I fall in love with an evil person? I told her she is misguided. If she had a long-range plan for playing me, then I would have to say she was evil. But, if all what happened was solely because of her personality disorder (that she may not even be aware of) with no "sinister" plan, then I would still conclude she's very misguided. Which one it is, I don't know. For her sake, I would hope it is the latter, not the former.

The only thing that remains to be done concerning Denise is to deal with the probable lawsuit on the rings, the surgery expense and legal fee loans. The extension deadline is fast approaching. And, the lawsuit against her friend Jackie had been served and the trial will be in Small Claims Court next month.

As of now, I am doing fine. I have been dating and have projects to keep me occupied with. I have been traveling in The Beast. I had gone through some rough seas, but I have reached calm waters.


Reactions to this posting:
Is her hair starting to thin? I knew someone once who blamed me for her hair falling out. 
It's true most narcissists don't know they are narcissists. That would require an honest and introspective assessment of themselves; truths too painful for most to bring to a conscious level and admit to. The worst lie is the lie a person tells themselves. 
We should sit down and compare notes sometime, Armand.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Japan Sees Record High In Foreign Visitors

Above, the Dotonbori district of Osaka. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

While the strengthening yen may be putting the brakes on Japan tourism to a certain extent, particularly in regard to spending by tourists, 2016 still has broken records in the number of foreign tourists in the January through June period.

The Japan News (Yomiuri Shimbun) reported:
TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The estimated number of visitors to Japan in January-June grew 28.2 percent from a year before to a record 11,713,800, topping the 10-million threshold for the first time ever on a first-half basis, the Japan National Tourism Organization said Wednesday. 
The first-half visitor number rose for the fifth straight year, according to the JNTO. The increase was led by growth in the numbers of international flights and cruise ships to Japan.
To read more, go here.

Stronger Yen Puts Brakes On Japan Tourism

Above, Hozomon gate at Senso-ji temple in Asakusa. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

This has been brought up many times on this blog. If the Japanese yen gets stronger and the U.S. dollar buys less yen in foreign exchange, it would put the brakes on American tourism to Japan. The same goes with other currencies.

This has happened.

Financial Times reported:
The number of visitors to Japan rose 24 per cent year-on-year to a new record for June, but spending per person fell as yen strength put the brakes on a massive tourism boom. 
Average revenue per tourist fell 10 per cent in the second quarter as free-spending Chinese tourists — famous in Japan for their “explosive shopping” — find the renminbi in their pocket no longer goes as far. 
Inbound tourism has been one of Japan’s biggest sources of economic growth for the past few years. The new numbers suggest that trend will continue but highlight the drag from a stronger yen.
To read more, go here.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

First, There's Gender Confusion...

...and now:

"Shin Godzilla" ("Godzilla Resurgence") Trailers

Here's some Shin Godzilla trailers:


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Monday, July 18, 2016

Melania Trump, Rudy Giuliani and Marcus Luttrel Speeches

Good News! Jacquese Scott Served!

Above, Denise Santos (left) and Jackie Scott at Waikoloa, Hawaii. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Good news was received in the mail today!

I received notice today (Proof of Service) from the Court Services Division of the San Fernando Sheriff's office that Jacquese "Jackie" Scott was served with my Small Claims lawsuit on Thursday, July 14 at 6:45 AM.

The lawsuit stems from the Hawaii trip in May in which Scott joined Denise Santos, her son Aiden and I. I was asked to "front" the money for her portion of the trip and Scott agreed to reimburse me, which totaled $1,408.25. I guess this is what happens when one is nice to people. Well, no more "Mr. Nice Guy"!

To date, she repaid $600 of that amount and she owes me $808.25. I am perplexed as to why she let things come to this since she knows she owes me. As I've said before, I haven't been dealing with logical people lately (some have called them "dishonest"). Whatever transpired between Denise Santos and me has nothing to do with Scott and her debt to me, even though they are best friends.

Despite two contacts via text requesting reimbursement of the $808.25, I received no response from her. I gave her until June 30 to comply. Since she failed to do so by then, I filed suit in Small Claims Court in Van Nuys. Now she can add my court costs to that amount. Stupid!

While I was driving through Yosemite National Park at that time on July 14 on Tioga Pass road, she was being served by the L.A. County Sheriff. I think I had the better morning that day!

This marks the end of step one in this case. Step two is the trial.

One down, one more to go!

"Ever notice how you come across somebody once in a while you shouldn't have fucked with? That's me." - Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino.

What To Do In Tokyo

Above, the Sumida River from the Tokyo Skytree. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Headed to Tokyo? But you are wonder about what to do there?

Live Japan has some suggestions on what visitors can do in Tokyo with plenty of photographs.

To see what to do in Tokyo, go here.

Denise Santos and California Civil Code 1590

Above, Denise Santos in Hawaii with "Thelma & Louise". Photo by Armand Vaquer.

1590.  Where either party to a contemplated marriage in this State makes a gift of money or property to the other on the basis or assumption that the marriage will take place, in the event that the donee refuses to enter into the marriage as contemplated or that it is given up by mutual consent, the donor may recover such gift or such part of its value as may, under all of the circumstances of the case, be found by a court or jury to be just.

The above California Civil Code 1590 is the law governing gifts of money or property on the "assumption that the marriage will take place". Thankfully, it is due to this civil code that I will be likely filing a lawsuit against Denise Santos, either in Small Claims Court or in Limited Civil Court for the engagement/wedding rings (or cash value) and the cost of the breast implant surgery (given as an early wedding present) dubbed "Thelma & Louise" since she was the one who broke the engagement.

The loans (one for $500 and one for $300) for child support legal fees fall under a different category, but they will be included in a lawsuit, should one be necessary.

Above, the "missing" engagement ring. Photo by Denise Santos.

Above, the complete ring set before resizing. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

To date, Santos has not returned the engagement/wedding ring set (or cash equivalent) or reimbursed me for the cost of the implant surgery or the legal fee money. A demand letter was emailed to her on June 29. She also has not contacted me to try to settle these matters. She did send a text message two weeks ago and asked for my address. She has not returned the wedding ring portion of the set, supposedly put in safe-keeping until the wedding was to take place. I gave her a 30-day extension from the original June 30 deadline to settle these matters.

In reading the above civil code, one could conclude that just about any money or gift given on the basis of our engagement is recoverable. There is no provision that the "donee" even has to be notified that each time money or property is given by a donor that it is on the basis of the engagement (on the cost of the implants, it is documented that they were intended as a wedding gift). It would be an assumption by the parties involved and, presumably, by the court that such were given on the basis of the engagement.

It would be ridiculous to stop and say each time a gift or money is given, "One the basis of our engagement..." or have notarized documents prepared for such occasions.

I will have to ask an attorney if my interpretation is correct.

Dollar Up At ¥105.80 In Tokyo

After dipping down to ¥100 in recent days, the U.S. dollar is back up around ¥106 in Tokyo trading. This is good news for U.S. travelers to Japan.

Jiji Press reported:
Tokyo, July 15 (Jiji Press)--The dollar shed some of its early gains on position-adjustment selling and traded around 105.80 yen in Tokyo trading late Friday, after topping 106 yen for the first time in three weeks.
To read more, go here

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