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    Resurgence of Small Business Retail or Just an Anomaly?

    Necessity is the mother of invention. As the economy has moved away from manufacturing and labor-intensive agriculture, people need to find new ways to earn a living. A well-run small business can provide a comfortable standard of living, and stability that few professions can match. On the...
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    Kilts, man-skirts and sartorial freedom

    Come to Tokyo. You can walk down the street in a Playboy bunny outfit and stiletto heels, and no one but the tourists will look twice.
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    Thoughts on where to go for a bespoke suit???

    There is a lot involved in getting a bespoke suit. The first thing involved is looking at catalogues of various types of suits and choosing the style you need. Next is choosing the material, there are hundreds of different samples to look at. You also choose the lining material. Then you choose...
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    Why don't car makers make direct drive electric hybrids?

    A few years ago an American university developed such a vehicl. What they did was adapt direct drive motors into the hub assemblies of a regular gasoline-powered car. They planned to patent their invention and market it, and the story ended there. Quite likely their patent was bought by a...
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    Do you worry about the future ?

    The world is already in the midst of the greatest extinction event ever; and it's caused by humans. I don't mean to argue, but this is not at all true. Far more species are extinct than exist today. The world has always been in constant upheaval and change, with sea levels varying by hundreds...
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    Suit fit and style

    These tight-fitting suits are popular in Tokyo now, and probably to a more extreme degree than you have seen them elsewhere. The cuff is well above he ankle, shoes are worn without socks (just liners, which are not visible). Jackets are tight, with shorter sleeves, etc. Silly as they may look...
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    Thoughts on where to go for a bespoke suit???

    I've never had a suit made in America. You can get a decent off-the-rack suit at Neiman Marcus, and they can fit it closelt enough to look bespoke. My favorite suit maker was Réty, in Paris, but now they are Ermenengildo Zegna. The quality of their work is as good as ever, but they used to carry...
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    Pontiac GHOST Car

    That's why gangsters bought Cadillacs and not Pontiacs. My great-grandfather had a 1936 Cadillac Roadster (with a 16 cylinder engine, no less). My great-grandfather was an interesting character, a runaway from the reservation who became a roughneck, prize-fighter, and pool shark, and eventually...
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    Unusual first names

    I remember having to drive all the way to a place called Vallejo in California to take a driving test for my class A licensed (I had to drive up from the LA area). The DMV inspector who tested me was an Asian man, and his name was, and I kid you not, "Duk". That might not sound so bad, but his...
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    Do you worry about the future ?

    People always worry about the future. It's why we study, work hard, save money, and invest in the education of our children. When you are prepared for the future and the problems it might bring, you greatly reduce the likelihood of these problems happening. But we live lives better than any...
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    Language Pet Peeves

    Being an American in Tokyo, most of the English speakers I know are Brits, Aussies, and Canadians. The Brits are mostly acadamics, and their English is, as you might expect, pretty good. Scots are a pain-in-the-backside to understand, though those who have been in Japan long enough have had...
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    Gillette Bleue Extra Blade Review

    Honestly-speaking, I have both types, and find that they shave the same. The problem with the blades in the plastic dispensers is that the oil they are coated with has gotten sticky, making the blades hard to push out of the dispensors. My only complaint about the GBE blades is that they are not...
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    What Do You Do To Make Your Clothing Last a Long Time?

    Having a large enough wardrobe reduces the amount of time each item is worn, and the wear-and-tear it receives. 5 suits will last five times longer than one suit. Being more careful also helps. I don't carry bags with shoulder straps when wearing an expensive suit or coat, I don't wear...
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    Shoe polish questions

    Polishing shoes was something I learned in the Army. Before then, I never owned a pair of dress shoes or nice boots. I would sit with my friends on the steps to the barracks, shooting the breeze while getting our boots and shoes polished up for the next day, it was one of the few times we...
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    What made you happy today?

    My two-year-old daughter playing the ukulele (kind of) and singing "twinkle twinkle little star."
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    I sold my car for scrap. No replacement. So far so good.

    I live in a place called Midtown in Tokyo. Anything I need is within walking distance. There is a nice park with a playground, gardens, pond, jogging course, and basketball court. There is a good grocery store (though a little overpriced), a good bakery, two Starbucks, a Dean and Deluca, and...
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    Fatherhood

    My wife and I decided to have a child 3 years ago. We had been together for 8 years at the time. We are both quite busy, she works in a large American investment bank, and at the time I was teaching business classes while running a business myself. We weren't worried about the cost of having and...
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    Do kids build forts anymore?

    Good memories, forts. My stepfather's job kept us moving around the southwest when I was a kid. We sometimes lived in the city, or in the countryside. In the city, forts were made of cardboard boxes or wooden pallets, in the country they were generally made out of wood. We dug holes deep...
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    Driving a manual transmission.your thoughts.your experiences.

    I learned to drive in an old Ford which had the "three on a tree" shifter, then a Pinto with the "four on the floor". Then there was my old air-cooled Honda Coupe which had the shifter to the right of the instrument cluster. Then was the old Dodge logging truck which had a 5 speed trans and 4...
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    Any guitar players out there?

    Lots of guitars, 63 Gibson ES 175 60-something Rickenbacker 360 75 Greco Breezy Sound Telecaster 80 Greco EG1000 Les Paul 85 Fender Telecaster 86 Fender Strat 87 Fender Japan "order made" '54 Strat 87 Gibson Les Paul Standard 89 Gibson Les Paul Standard 90 Gibson SG Standard 2000 Gibson Faded...
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