I met Mr. Mikio Otsu in 1988.  He was the third engineer from the Japan Gas Appliance Inspection Association (JIA) to come to our laboratory in Los Angeles for training.  It was my first year as general manager of the lab.  I met Mr. Otsu once a week, usually on Friday, for dinner to discuss his progress and to allow him to practice his English.  After one year of training in LA, he went to our Cleveland lab for more training.  I stayed in touch with Mr. Otsu over the years; we met a few times; and we exchanged Christmas cards every year.  Our last meeting had been in Little Tokyo for dinner in July 2010.  Mr. Otsu was in town for a few days to do some research at the library in LA.

When the 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit Japan on Friday, March 11, 2011, I first thought about our friends in Japan and how their lives had been affected.  Three days after the catastrophe, I sent an email to Mr. Otsu but did not get a return message for several days.  In his position as inspector, he could have been anywhere in Japan during the earthquake.  Finally, his message came almost a week later: "Dear Jerry, I am sorry I did not send my reply.  Because I am in China.  Yesterday I came back to Tokyo.  Our family is fine.  We really appreciate your e-mail as well as the US's Supports.  I think Japan will overcome it.  Have a nice Sandy! [I think he meant "Sunday"]  Mikio."

Mr. Otsu in particular and the people of Japan in general are very proud and industrious.  I have no doubt that they will recover quickly from this terrible tragedy.  In a few years, travelers will see no signs of the destruction that jolted their beautiful island. [JAM 3/21/2011]


Today, I shot my personal-best golf score (83) at Los Amigos Golf Course in Downey, California.  I had birdies on the 8th and 14th holes. [JAM 8/5/2011]


I visited Occupy LA this morning.  Hundreds of small tents surround the Los Angeles City Hall on three sides in a fairly neat encampment.  Although most of the 600 residents were still asleep in their tents at 8:30 a.m., the camp clean-up crew was already sweeping the debris from the previous night.  One man was passing out copies of the four-page camp newspaper for day 58 that was printed for them by the Los Angeles Times.  As I walked around the quiet camp, I saw one man strumming a guitar outside his tent and another was reading his laptop computer.  Some others had risen to use a port-a-potty.  There were dozens of pumpkins sitting around the tents and some of the residents were having raw pumpkin for breakfast.  I was offered a slice but I declined.  Another person was passing around frosted cupcakes.  I stopped to take a photograph of local art and one of the camp engineers asked me if I would like to see their herbal gardens.  The camp has eight large portable planters.  He also showed me the solar panels they installed to provide power for a large section of the camp.  The electrical inspector within me did not look closely at the wiring.  He then showed me the tent where daily activities are held for the camp children.  Another tent was dedicated to camp recycling.  The former AT&T engineer explained that the group was busy planning for phase 2 of the occupation since the mayor had announced that all campers would be evicted on Monday.  It appears that the planning committee will try to move their infrastructure before the eviction date.  However, many of the campers will hold their ground to see what the city will do.  The Occupy lawyers believe that the LA City Council resolution of support gives them the right of indefinite occupancy.  Most of those in Occupy LA are young adults who are homeless and jobless.  They have formed a community of mutual support and they plan to stay together and continue the movement.  [JAM 11/26/2011]

Today, the number of page requests for mindsnackbooks.com passed the 100,000 mark.  This was accomplished in less than three years and without advertising.  Although certainly not in competition with yahoo or google, it does seem that there are some loyal and persistent readers of the site. Thank you for reading and please send your comments to madandson1@aol.com. [JAM 12/12/2011]


Video Poker is a game of skill.  In effect, it is giant game of math probability.  If you spend enough time studying the game, it can become a profitable hobby.  During the mid-1990s, Aileen was a member of a senior group that would take bus trips to Laughlin, Nevada.  Lorna and I would go on some of those trips when they needed help to fill a bus.  On one particular trip to the Flamingo Laughlin, there was a video poker seminar given by Bob Dancer as part of the package.  I attended that seminar and learned for the first time that educated players could have an advantage over the house if they had the discipline to study the games and only play on certain machines.  I have been using the Dancer method and having free trips now for over 25 years.  [JAM 6/13/2020]