By John Ruberry

Twenty minutes into the first episode of a new Netflix series, Dark Tourist, not only did I ascertain what dark tourism is, I realized that I am a dark tourist. After all, I’m someone who has vacationed in Detroit. Twice. I’ve visited the most dangerous neighborhoods of Chicago. I’ve been to Gary, Indiana. Those jaunts are known as urban exploration.

Seeking out similar dangerous and notorious locations outside of cities, such as the radiation hot zone surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan, the personality cult-driven capital of Turkmenistan, and the ghost resort town of Famagusta in Cyprus, where the Turkish army bans visitors–is what rounds out dark tourism.

Dark Tourist stars David Farrier, a nerdy journalist from New Zealand who nonetheless is, for the most part fearless, or perhaps I should say foolish. After all, Farrier, during his visit to the Semipalatinsk Test Site in Kazakhstan, swims in Lake Chagan, also known as “Atomic Lake,” which, as you can guess by its name, is radioactive. And he takes a bite from a fish caught there. Afterwards he at least has the good sense to down a shot of vodka.

Ferrier is a darn good reporter who asks what a cosmonaut calls “a profound question” about space travel at a pre-launch press conference.

There are dark tourism tours right under my nose. Several times a year my day job brings me to Milwaukee. But it never occurred to me to search out sites connected with cannibal serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. When Farrier was in Wisconsin’s largest city he connected with Dahmer devotees. Weird? Yes. What makes this situation very weird is that most of these fanatics are women. What do they see in this gay man who ate his murder victims? Why are bachelorette parties drawn to Dahmer?

The same episode sees Farrier in Dallas where there are Kennedy assassination tours, including one that employs a Jackie Kennedy impersonator.

How do you top these Dahmer and JFK tours? Why with a Charles Manson trip, of course.

Medellin, Colombia has a thriving Pablo Escobar dark tourism industry. As far as I know there are no Jeffrey Dahmer impersonators driving cabs in Milwaukee, but there is an Escobar reenactor cabbie who threatens to kill Farrier’s loved ones. Also in on the drug lord vacation racket is John Jairo Velásquez, whose nickname is “Popeye.” He claims to have murdered 257 people, including his girlfriend, who was recorded speaking with the DEA. Popeye has gone from killer to charismatic YouTube star.

One episode takes place in Africa. Predictably there is a voodoo sojourn in Benin. Then Farrier visits white nationalists in South Africa. They direct him to a group of Afrikaner survivalists.

There are plenty of disturbing and macabre bits, was well as some humorous ones, including Farrier embedding himself with a group of British men impersonating the 101st Airborne Division of the US Army participating in the world’s largest World War II reenactment, a dinosaur robot checks Farrier into a Japanese hotel, and Farrier is followed by his “guide” in Naypyidaw, the capital city of Myanmar.

The other Asian capital Ferrier treks to in Dark Tourist is Ashgabat in Turkmenistan. Both cities are beautiful–Ashgabat has been called the place where “Las Vegas meets North Korea”–but both are largely devoid of people. Turkmenistan is a dictatorship that has had two cult-of-personality leaders since the Soviet Union collapsed. Myanmar’s capital was founded in 2005 when that nation, now a struggling democracy, was a despotic state.

Blogger on a dark tourist trip in Detroit last year

Autocrats love buildings but not people. That’s a dark truth I learned while watching Dark Tourist.

Warning! There are unpleasant images and scenes in Dark Tourist. I dropped my plan to include the official Netflix trailer in this post because even that clip was too disturbing for a mixed audience. Dark Tourist is rated TV-MA.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

In Aug 1945 a 23 year old carpenter was sitting on board a ship in the Pacific when he discovered to his delight that there would be no invasion of the Japanese Mainland and neither he nor his fellows would have to risk their lives to support an invasion.

Despite the lure of a promised promotion his bride to be’s insistence caused him to leave the navy, get married, raise 5 children and run several bars and restaurants until his death in 1987. His bride would outlive him by 25 years dying in december of 2012.

That man was my Father

Today there are 33 people between the ages of 68 & 6 who are direct descendants of this man. One of his grandchildren got married last week and at least three more are in their 20’s unmarried (including my two sons).

This week Barack Obama talked of the dead of Hiroshima with words of regret over the Atomic Bombs that killed them.

However without those bombs dropped on Hiroshima & Nagasaki it’s very likely those 33 Americans Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Agnostics and atheists would not exist.

And they would not be alone, it is expected that the invasion of Japan would have cost at least 100,000 Americans or more not to mention the wounded and crippled.

At 33 descendants each that’s over 3 million americans who might not be here today?

And we aren’t even counting the number of Japanese who would have been killed in said invasion, or the number of Japanese & Chinese and Russians who would have died as the Soviets drove south into China and Korea while the fight for Japan continued on to the bitter end.

I would say that it’s a disgrace that the president of the United States doesn’t understand this, but I suspect that the man who presided over Benghazi objection to the prospect of dead Americans is not what one might have expected from the White House in the past.

But frankly leftists wishing Americans dead is nothing new.

Closing thought: If the WW 2 generation was not in their 90’s would there be any chance in hell that this event would have taken place?

Cat: You’re the ground controller?

Ground Controller: Please State your name and clearance code?

Cat: Reality Sucks

Ground Controller: Your names reality sucks? Ha Ha Ha Ha. One second Mr. Sucks

Red Dwarf 1999

I have made the argument over and over that the only reason to be a Christian in general and a Roman Catholic in particular is because it’s true.  I’ve said if it wasn’t true then we’re just an elk’s club that meets on Sundays.

A person who lives according to beliefs not based in truth and reality is fooling him or her self.  There are words for such belief sets.

Two  are “Fantasy” if you want to be kind and “Delusion” if you don’t.

This came immediately to mind when I saw this story out of Japan.

Kozaki is one of hundreds of thousands of Japanese who have bought Love Plus, a game released on the Nintendo DS in 2009, which is intended to simulate the experience of high-school romance with one of three pre-programmed teen girl characters. For a sizable number of loyal male gamers, it has become something more: a relationship that, if not entirely like dating a real woman, comes close as a source of affection.

“I really do love her,” Kozaki explains, when he and two of his friends meet with me in a coffee shop in Akihabara, the Tokyo neighbourhood at the centre of Japan’s otaku culture. Kozaki fully expects the game to be a lifelong commitment. “If someone were to ask me to stop, I don’t think I could do it,” he says.


IN PERSON – IF INDEED PERSON IS THE RIGHT WORD – Geminoid F can appear strikingly beautiful in a way that doesn’t translate to photos or video. Her hair is smooth and glossy, and falls across her delicately translucent, pale silicone face. As she sits in the chair at Osaka University, she runs through an idling program of random motions. She blinks, fidgets and makes small, distracted movements with her lips. When she turns her head and looks at you with her plastic eyes, the effect is thrilling and unsettling. It feels as if you’re being stared at, a little too intently, by an attractive stranger.

This is cultural suicide on a grand scale. If you have people who are dealing with virtual women who are programed to be Stepford Wives and girlfriends They will have no idea of how to handle actual people with actual feelings and actual needs on their own. One can deny reality as long as you want but sooner or later reality is going to catch up.

Japan is dooming itself to demographic death and here in the US there are plenty of people also dealing with unreality that while not quite at the Japan point are going there.

The future belong to those who show up. At the rate Japan is going they won’t have to worry about being conquered by China, At this rate China will eventually just walk on into to an empty set of Islands.

“Be fruitful and multiply” is better advice they people know.

[thermometer raised=0 target=300 height =200 ]

Well I’m back home after a morning of speaking on Behalf of WQPH Catholic Radio. It’s a new week which means it’s a new thermometer.

It’s a big week in two ways. As the final week of the month getting the paycheck guarantees the Mortgage payment in full, but more importantly if we get the 15 tip jar hitters @ $20 this week it means a full month of paychecks meaning that this system HAS worked.

Can this work to support a blogger? Well we have seven days to find out.

…an incredible finish, US strikes, Japan counter-strikes with little time left. Then it happens again, US strikes, Japan counter strikes to tie it.

And of course the jinxes. First the announcer states there has never been a Red card in a woman’s world cup final and of course there is a red card. ( A good call too, likely saved the game for Japan).

But the ultimate Jinx it was when the announcer mentioned Obama was watching and gave him a greeting.

You just KNEW once that happened something bad was going to happen.

One point to make. The foul committed near the end of the game that earned Iwashimizu a Red Card came after the announcers talked about how clean a game it had been (within minutes of that moment a yellow card was awarded). It took place in the 121st minute and was likely the best foul I’ve even seen in professional play. It would be the equivalent of blatant pass interference in a 3 point game with 0 time on the clock. If you don’t make the foul you lose by 3. So you take the penalty in the hopes that either they can’t push it in from the one or if they go for the kick, at worst you are tied at regulation. It is not unfair to say that it is the foul that game Japan the World Cup

Exit question, if you are a coach big on clean play what do you say about that foul to your players?

Update: PJ Media on the Obama factor:

As for the president, I’m hoping he can do me a favor. Cheer for the Yankees from now on? And Duke and OU? And the Redskins, Giants and Eagles? And Manchester United? And refrain from weighing in during next year’s Olympics at all?

The day he becomes a Red Sox fan we’re all in trouble.

Now that the entire attention span of the world is on Japan, the Gaddafi family is taking full advantage to thrust forward.

The chaotic collapse of rebel positions in eastern Libya in the past week is sapping the morale out of the rag-tag rebel troops that had been rapidly driving west just days ago.

The optimism of a few weeks ago that Col. Muammar Qaddafi, who has ruled Libya through the torture and execution of political opponents since 1969, would be swept by a flexing of people power similar to the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia is now a distant memory.

The Arab leagues proposed no-fly zone is apparently not going anywhere and now that the headlines are all thousands of miles away the British and the French moves on Libya are dissipating. Neither will bother to act if the world isn’t watching.

This is analogous to the four state strategy from Yes Minister clip that I posted before. It’s designed to make sure nothing is done. In case you missed it here is the The four stage strategy via Yes Minister:

Dick: “In stage 1 we say ‘Nothing is going to Happen'”

Sir Humphrey: “In stage 2 we say ‘Something may be going to happen but we should do nothing about it'”

Dick: “In stage 3 we say “maybe we should do something about it but there’s nothing we can do.'”

Sir Humphrey: “In stage 4 we say ‘Maybe there was something we could have done, but it’s too late now'”

A variation this is now being played out in Libya we are currently at stage 2.5 and climbing.

Here is the clip again if you’d like.

Update: We are in stage 3 and rising

Update 2: Linked at Questions and Observations and the Green Room.

Any person who fought against them or is the son of a person who fought against them can tell you that so don’t think for a minute that a nation that could bounce back from the destruction of world war 2 aren’t certainly going to bounce back from this. Anyone predicting otherwise just doesn’t know the Japanese people.

I’m relieved to hear my friend Yushin and his family are safe but there are a lot of people who are going to need a lot of aid. Rather than re-inventing the wheel I suggest Catholic Relief services per the Anchoress or the Red Cross per Stacy. Be aware that many really nasty people are going to shortly be putting up scam sites and sending out scam e-mails to take your money pretending to be helping. Don’t fall for it. Just give to the mainline groups that I mentioned and you will be fine.

I also think Stacy’s other advice concerning the story is first rate:

My advice: Get some sleep. And when you wake up Sunday morning, go to Denny’s and have their Grand Slam breakfast while reading the local newspaper. Then go back home and drink a couple brews while watching a basketball game on TV. At that point, you can then safely log back onto the Internet and try to figure out what actually happened Saturday.

I would suggest the 5th street Diner in Fitchburg instead of Denny’s. For the beer try either the Nashoba Club Restaurant In Ayer, The Border Grille and Bar in Leominster, Linguini’s Italian eatery in Marlborough or Central Plaza Pizza in Townsend but other than that hes’ right.

I’m not even going to try to cover this event. The info is constantly changing and we simply don’t know what is going on in detail nor shall we. I say let the people who know what their doing do it, give what help we can and stay out of the way otherwise. The best help we can give is donation and letting our carries groups that can generate tons of drinking water from salt water go to work.

As for those trying to use this for political gain, or to push agendas. I have no use for them. This quake has as much connection to Global Warming as it does to the end time. Namely none.

Update: The Media superstars don’t take Stacy’s advice and Miss Attila notices that Stacy has an affinity for hits, the shock is just too much for me.

That Glenn Reynolds linked to is this:

Lost in all this anti-American preaching by people who have no clue is the longer story arc; for 65 years there has been no World War III.

No one wants to risk being the next Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

Not to mention the millions of Japanese and Americans who did not die in an invasion of the mainland or the people who would not have been killed as the Russians swept south into China as the war continued.

Of course as the son of one of those Americans on a ship in the Pacific in 1945 I must confess I’m a tad biased, I owe my life and the life of my children to Hiroshima & Nagasaki. I suspect that millions of those on the left who beat their breasts over the Bomb do too.