Comfort Station  

Posted by Stan Harrington

I came across this picture today while checking out my electronic news media source. Wondering what these sailors were doing hanging around, I had to read the the article that accompanied the picture. "Comfort Station" is a nautical word that was not familiar to my vocabulary. The article that accompanied the picture is quoted as follows; "In this undated image released by the Yokosuka City Council in Japan, U.S. sailors gather in front of a Yasu-ura House"comfort station" in Yokosuka, south of Tokyo. Japan's practice of enslaving women to provide sex for it troops in World War II has a little-known sequel: After its surrender - with tacit approval from the U.S. occupation authorities - Japan set up similar "comfort stations" system for American servicemen."
I want it known right up front that I have spent some time in Yokosuka, but it was many years following World War II and have no recollection of such practices although they do have a very nice USO Lounge where you can get something to eat and listen to Lawrence Welk music.
I researched the subject of "comfort stations", General Douglas MacArthur shut these houses down in the spring of 1946, but only after tens of thousands of women were employed to provide "comfort" to U.S. troops. Under intense pressure, Japan's government apologized in 1993 (just 48 years after the last comfort station was shut down) for its role in running brothels around Asia and coercing women into serving its troops. The issue remains controversial today. In January, California Rep. Mike Honda offered a resolution in the House condemning Japan's use of sex slaves, in part to renew pressure on Japan ahead of the closure of the Asian Women's Fund, a private foundation created two years after the apology to compensate "comfort" women. The fund compensated only 285 women in the Philippines, South Korea, and Taiwan, out of an estimated 50,000 - 200,000 "comfort" women enslaved by Japan's military in those countries during the war. Each women received 2 million yen, about $17,800 in U.S. dollars. The fund closed, as scheduled, on March 31st of this year. Though they were free to do so, no Japanese women sought compensation from the fund.


Posted by Stan Harrington

(1) The typical plastic VHS video tape box measures four by six inches. (2) For display purposes the "original" video box has either a plastic or Styrofoam insert to protect it from crushing, these inserts also measure 4" x 6".

The first question being, when you close two video video stores, what useful purpose is there for either the plastic video box or Styrofoam insert? The second question being, what do you do with 23,000 of these boxes and inserts after you have placed the video back into the original sleeve? The third question being, how do you store 23,000 videos that are contained in several hundred "wet lock" fish boxes? The fourth question is, do you know anyone that would like to purchase 23,000 VHS and DVD videos at a wholesale price of $2.95 per unit if you take them all?

The major question, if you have three people that do not mind working hard and steady, how long will it take to remove 12,000 videos from their plastic "check out cases" and insert them back into their original cardboard sleeve display box? The person guessing the correct amount of time will get two free videos of their choice (as long as they are in stock). You have twenty four hours from the posting time to calculate and post your answer.

Landscaping Project  

Posted by Stan Harrington

This flag is in California and was designed and planted by several companies that grow flowers in the area for seed. This flag is 6.5 acres and the first floral flag to be planted with five pointed stars. Each star is 24 feet in diameter and each stripe on the flag is 30 feet wide. The flag was designed and meets the federal guidelines in relationship to length and width requirements. The Stars are comprised of White Larkspur. The Flag is estimated to contain more than 400,000 Larkspur plants, with 4 - 5 flower stems per plant for a total of more than two million flowers.

"It's Her Birthday"  

Posted by Stan Harrington


Who Is The Smartest  

Posted by Stan Harrington

This dumb animal decided to settle down in a pile of his / her favorite food to have a little snack. Bananas also make a very soft cushion for taking naps after your tummy is full of this delicious fruit. To assist it's immune system, a few choice, plump, ripe oranges are also available for his daily allowance of Vitamin "C", but what does he know, he is just a monkey.

Your second choice is Presidential candidate John Edwards (D) who enjoys having his hair trimmed and styled at a Hollywood Barber Shop. His haircut cost is only $400.00 each for the two haircuts that he has enjoyed. However, the tab for the haircuts were paid for by his Campaign Committee. Isn't he the guy that "feels the pain of the working class" as he is one of us. But, what does he know, he is considered to be far more advanced than a monkey.

Your third choice is New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine who was injured in a car accident last week on his way to meet with Imus and the Girls Basketball Team from New Jersey. His SUV was being driven by a New Jersey highway patrolman. The good Governor was sitting in the front seat of the vehicle, he was not wearing a seat belt (New Jersey has a mandatory seat belt law) and the vehicle was traveling at 91 mph in a 65 mph zone on the Turnpike. Unfortunately, the Governor is still in critical condition, however, one has to wonder who is picking up the cost of the medical bills? But, what does he care, he was elected, laws do not apply to him, and the tax payers will handle the medical bills, after all he is the smartest of all because he has already got himself elected.

Wrong Side Of The River  

Posted by Stan Harrington

Once again, I find myself on the wrong side of the Anchor River. This is not unusual in my life, on many occasions I have found myself on one side of the river and all of the fishing action was taking place on the other side. However, this situation is more serious. We found ourselves in this predicament one year ago when they closed the Anchor River bridge for repairs. I have always wanted to live at the end of the road, my wish has been answered. I am now the last house on the Old Sterling Highway. Although, I only live one mile from my favorite place to join the "coffee table", I will now have to drive 18.3 miles to get there. We do enjoy less expensive home insurance because we live within a mile of the Anchor Point Fire Department, but the present time our emergency calls will be answered by the Homer Fire Department, which is 17.2 miles away. I have to wonder if my insurance rates will be adjusted for this one week period. But, when all is said and done, it is nice to see that they are doing the required work on our "old bridge". We keep putting down those who want to replace the bridge with one of those new modern, non-descript bridges. Our "bridge" is special and the last of it's kind on the Sterling Highway network. It is the oldest and the only remaining original bridge that was constructed between Anchorage and Homer when the Sterling Highway was punched through the wilderness to Homer. It was constructed in 1950 and has withstood all the floods through time. During the great floods of 2002, it was the only remaining bridge between Kasilof and Homer. The "old bridge" has character, so many memories. If you were so inclined to do so and climbed the girders supporting the bridge, you would find the names of various people printed on the top of the bridge. Some of these names date back to some of those that are now elders in the community. During one campaign to get funding to replace the bridge, someone in the community that has a knowledge of the past, spread the rumor that this old bridge was actually a "liberated" bridge. Reportedly, several hundred of this style of bridge was "liberated" from Germany following World War II and transported to the U.S. for construction of the Alcan Highway. The bridges not used in this construction project were then given to the Territory of Alaska for their construction projects. Upon this discovery and the potential existing that the bridge may have historic significance, the "rebuild campaign" was curtailed. However, the source of this valuable information was never identified nor was the information refuted.
If any of you are so inclined to come visit me, if you are traveling from the north, you will need to drive through the community of Anchor Point on the Sterling Highway. Eight miles south of Anchor Point, you will reach the intersection of the New and Old Sterling Highway. At this intersection, you will want to turn right on the Old Sterling Highway and drive north 8.6 miles to the last driveway on the left which will put you back in Anchor Point, except on the wrong side of the river. If you miss the driveway, you will realize it when you reach the bridge and it is closed.

The Pueblo Incident  

Posted by Stan Harrington

A few days ago, I happened to tune into Colonel Oliver North's television show, "War Stories" on the FOX news network. This particular episode brought back many memories and thoughts concerning the "Pueblo Incident" as I was stationed at Naval Station Adak, Alaska at the time of the incident. Having a close friend that worked at the Naval Security Station, he kept me informed as they were monitoring the radio traffic during the incident.
The U.S.S. Pueblo was a converted from light cargo craft for the sole purpose of acting as a surveillance ship to gather of security information pertaining to national security. Her mission was similar to the mission of the Soviet Union trawler ships that would shadowed the U.S. Naval fleet, disguised as fishing trawlers. The U.S.S. Pueblo was clearly identified as a ship of the U.S. Navy. The Pueblo was tasked with conducting a mission of the coast of North Korea, the United States has never denied that this was a surveillance mission to locate radar sites on the coast of North Korea as well as monitoring the Soviet Union fleet in the area of the Korean Sea and Sea of Japan.
On the morning of January 5, 1968 the U.S.S. Pueblo put to sea from Yokosuka, Japan in transit to Sasebo, Japan. On January 11, 1968 she departed Sasebo and headed northward through the Tsuhima Straits into the Sea of Japan to perform her mission. The crew on the U.S.S. Pueblo consisted of eighty three men with Commander Lloyd Bucher as Commanding Officer. The predominant armament of the Pueblo was two deck mounted machine guns.
On January 23, 1968 a North Korean Subchaser moved to within 500 yards of the Pueblo and signaled the following message, "Heave To Or I Will Fire" . After rechecking that the distance from the nearest land which was 15.8 miles the Pueblo replied "I Am In International Waters". The Pueblo then began movement to the sea when the North Korean Subchaser was joined by three torpedo boats and two North Korean MiG's doing low flyovers. A fourth torpedo boat a second subchaser were sited heading towards the Pueblo. The crew onboard the Pueblo, commenced sending out messages pertaining to the situation and asking for assistance. A U.S. Navy aircraft carrier and battle group were located just two hundred miles from the area and were never notified by the command structure to render assistance. The Pueblo continued her course away from the area when the North Korean war ships commenced firing on her. Commander Bucher realizing that he was outgunned ordered his crew to destroy all intelligence gear and documentation. During the firing on the Pueblo, one crew member was mortally wounded, the only casualty of the incident. Realizing that he was surrounded by superior armed and faster war vessels, the Captain made the hardest decision that any military commander could make to protect his men and vessel, he chose to heave to and follow the orders of this pursuers. This was the first seizure of a U.S. Naval ship on the high seas in 15o years.
The Pueblo was escorted back to a harbor in North Korea, however, the crew did not have the time to destroy all of the electronic and sensitive gear onboard the vessel. For the next eleven months, the crew of the Pueblo spent their time in prison being interrogated and beaten on a daily basis, often only one meal a day consisting of a cabbage soup.
On December 23, 1968, eleven months to the the day, the remaining crew of 82 men of the Pueblo walked over the "Bridge of No Return" at Panmumjon. Even during their release, the men had to walk in single file, one man every 15 seconds across the bridge to freedom. On December 24th, the men of the Pueblo honored Duane Hodges in a memorial service prior to leaving South Korea enroute to the United States.
During this incident, unknown for several more years a "mole" was inside the the Department of the Navy. The spy was on active duty with the Navy and had access to the majority of our classified information. Petty Officer Walker was this spy and it took fourteen years for him to be identified. After the fall of the Soviet Union, it was determined that they perhaps were behind the capture of the Pueblo since there was one "top secret" de-coding machine onboard the Pueblo which was not destroyed in time by the crew. With this de-coder and the information passed to them by Walker, the Soviets had complete access to all of our classified information. Petty Officer Walker continues to pass his time in jail.
As for the U.S.S. Pueblo, she still sits in a harbor in North Korea and is a very popular tourist site for visiting North Koreans to the area. The shell holes in her hull and superstructure are circled with white paint to show the visitors how their naval vessels were able to attack and seize the Pueblo. On what was once her "mess decks" a constant playing video display shows the capture of the vessel and "interviews" conducted with the crew members. The U.S.S. Pueblo remains on the list of active naval vessels in the U.S. Navy even tho she was captured thirty nine years ago. Will the Pueblo ever return to the United States? At the recent North Korean talks pertaining to curtailment of the construction of nuclear weapons, Secretary of State Rice made a point at bringing up the illegal seizure of the U.S.S. Pueblo and asked for it to be returned to the United States. Commander Bucher is still alive, perhaps some day he will see his ship returned to the United States.

How Big Was That Fish  

Posted by Stan Harrington

This female, Shortraker Rockfish, was recently caught in the Bering Sea. The term "caught" is very loosely used in this sentence, the fish was actually scooped up by a trawler, the Kodiak Enterprise, a catcher-processor home ported out of Seattle. Their targeted specie was Pollock consisting of seventy five tons. A wide variety of species are taken by these deep water trawlers and classified as "incidental catches". This Rockfish was just one of those incidental catches. She measured out at 44 inches and weighed in at 60 pounds. The estimated age of the fish, taken from data by the Alaska Fisheries Science Center in Seattle (why is that center located in Seattle if they study Alaska fish) revealed that she was between 90 and 115 years old. Tissue samples were taken to measure her reproductive potential, "the belly was large" and "the ovaries were full of developing embryos" according to a biologist at the center by the name of Spencer. I would have loved to caught this trophy fish, it would have given me great delight to slip the hook and watch it swim off but I guess that is not a option when a fish is taken by a trawler.

Members of my family living in the LA area have recently taking to pursuing Northern Pike as a sport fish, which is also a very generous title bestowed upon this specie of fish. Although, they are not real successful at catching any of these elusive predators, they did manage to snag one earlier this fall on a canoe trip. Knowing that I am a non-believer, unless I can witness documentation, they did devise a measuring device which I cannot refute. Although, I could not help myself in giving their tape measure an appropriate name.

Yea, Go Bronco's  

Posted by Stan Harrington

We still have several months to wait, before we can once again cheer for our favorite National Football League team. My favorite team just happens to be the Denver Bronco's. To make the trip to the Super Bowl this year, the Bronco's are now organizing for the kick off season. Currently, the team is auditioning for "Cheerleaders" which will fill out the roster of thirty four cheerleaders. Two hundred and fifty ladies showed up for the auditions with this group waiting to hear the the first call for those that are being considered. Glancing through the photo, these ladies represent the "typical" cheerleader when it comes to physical conditioning, appearance and attitude. However, only one reporter was brazen enough to capture a picture of one of the candidates as she went through her individual audition. Although, the system most likely did not choose her but you have to give her credit for attempting to make the cut and living a dream of being a big league cheerleader. Go Bronco's!

Rescued By The Bears and Ravens  

Posted by Stan Harrington

I once again had the opportunity to see the advantages of living in a small community. I saw the unity come together just a week ago when I was able to do a benefit auction for a fire victim. It was a tremendous success. Just a few days ago, I was asked by the "Friends of Kelly" if I would help them with a similar auction. I was so impressed, not only by the generosity of those donating to the auction but by those in attendance, however, the most impressive thing was how quickly it was organized and on such a short notice the effectiveness of their planning. They did a tremendous job. Although, the El Pescado Restaurant on the Homer Spit was not scheduled to open until May 15th for the season, "Jose" and Carmen donated the restaurant for the spaghetti feed and auction. This was no small feat, considering that the electricity had to be turned up and the building heated after sitting vacant all winter. From the time, that I was asked to do the auction, the organizers had five days to get everything in place.

Arriving at the El Pescador an hour before the auction was to commence, I was astonished to find that there was standing room only. They had even organized a band to play while serving dinner, I could not even venture to guess how much spaghetti was served that evening. "Jose" and Carmen opened up their bar, so there was also plenty of "libations" being served, which always helps the auctioneer. I was at a slight disadvantage, both of my "normal" lady clerks were not with me for this auction. Someone in the LA passed the flu bug to my primary "clerk" so she remained at home with the bug.

Mama Bear was part of the organizing crew so that was the first table that I searched out, finding the Bear family slurping a few spaghetti's with the Raven Clan. Mama Bear and Lady Raven agreed to work as "clerks" for me with just a slight bit of arm twisting. "Clerking" is a tough job, not only do they have to keep track of what I am doing but also take care of recording all of the bids. I always use a "Vanna White" to work with, someone that walks the floor displaying the item that is being auctioned off. This evening, I had the opportunity to use the two "Little Bears" and friend. Before the evening was over, I had an entire line of "Vanna's" and they were needed to cover the floor area of the El Pescador.

It was the first "in the round" auction that I have ever had to do or ever want to do! Because of the lay out of the building, there was no place to do the auction except in the main lobby area so we basically had people encircling us plus those hiding around the corners that we could not see when they were bidding so we had to post two look outs on each corner to give us their bids. Poor Clerks, they have to sit close to me so they can keep up with me, they were reduced to a small table that should have been seating one person. It was hectic and cramped. I spoke with "Jose" after the auction, based on his seating as well as those standing, he figures we had about four hundred people in attendance.

The planners had organized a "Chinese Auction" for baked goods and a variety of other donated items which numbered 50 - 60 items. In the "call out auction", we kept having to add items but most likely pushed the hundred mark in the number of things we auctioned off. I started at 7:00 p.m. and finished at about 10:30 p.m. without a break which is way to long even with a microphone. Won't go into details on the amount on money that the auction generated, however, it was the largest auction that I have ever held. I knew it was a great success, but it was only this afternoon when I got a conference call from the "girls" letting me know what the final tally was, I was amazed and they were ecstatic. The highest item in the sale went for $1,500, a spectacular piece of art work made out of knives, forks and spoons. There was also a pair of Bev Doolittle prints that sold for $1,000.

As soon as the auction was over, I looked for the nearest chair but the "clerks" then had to collect all the money so they spent another hour and half completing their part of the auction. They did a great job, for having never worked an auction, especially with me and under the conditions that we worked, they did a fabulous job. Today, I payed the price, a little slow getting around and the voice a little "froggy" but it was well worth the effort and it went to a good cause. The small town atmosphere continues to amaze me, even tho I have seen it in action in some many cases.