Monthly Archives: May 2003

Guam Museum – Again

A good editorial on the deplorable conditions at the Guam Museum ran last week. I totally forgot to mention it at the time. Instead of the rantings of a disgruntled blogger, the criticism was leveled from a far more credible source: Dr. Gary Heathcote, professor of anthroplogy at UOG. I sincerely hope that the administration responds to his editorial with a renewed vigor in upgrading the museum but frankly I doubt anything will happen. GovGuam is teetering on insolvency and now is not the time to be sinking money into a bottomless pit like the museum.

And so the ‘death spiral’ continues…

Don’t Eat That Fanihi!!

A new theory on the cause of lytico-bodig is making the rounds: Eating the Marianas fruit bat was the cause of lytico-bodig. Seems some researchers are suggesting that during the post war boom, a surging Chamorro population suddenly increased the amount of fanihi that were eaten. The fanihi ate raw cycad seeds, and the poisonous BMAA toxins accumulated in the fat deposits on the bat. Intriguing idea, but so many have been proposed in the past. Cycads have always been a leading suspect though. The last one that I heard about mentioned bacterial blooms in certain rivers, which made a certain amount of sense since the incidence of lytico-bodig clusters in several southern villages and suggests a common local source, like a water supply.

Media Consumption

Grooving Tunes lately found on my stereo:

Bitching DVD’s flickering on my screen:

  • Black Robe – Yep, it’s just as hauntingly beautiful and utterly depressing as I remember it.
  • Apocalypse Now Redux – Charlie still don’t surf, now with an extra hour of footage.

Books being read:

  • The Magic Mountain – Three months and 400 pages into Thomas Mann’s opus, and it still hasn’t done much for me.
  • Bleak House – Ah Dickens at his satirical best.
  • The Diamond Age – Neal Stephenson is always a good thing.

Back into datastream

VOG

That’s volcanic smog – it is hanging thick over the island today. Looks like Manila or Los Angeles out there. Hazy yellow in every direction.

Out??

I just tried loading my web log and it failed! A quick run through leads me to suspect KUAM has gone down in a blaze of glory, taking my newsfeed with it. I was going to edit out the newsfeed from my blogger template, but my timing is lousy. Blogger is upgrading to a new version, and my template disappeared. Bummer.

Hawaii Anyone?

Northwest is offering a great deal on travel to Hawaii and the mainland. Only $199 and 15,000 miles to Honolulu! Damn. The only problem is you have to overnight in Narita both ways, and Northwest is not offering a hotel room like they do with full paying fares. Maybe I could convince Dave Neale to put me up overnight – no wait, he’s planning a wedding right now, best I stay far away from that mess.

Movies Movies Movies

Matrix Reloaded
I went to the theater to watch the new matrix movie last weekend. It was a break from the non-stop work at the office. For that purpose it was excellent. Lots of cool special effects, and some chewy ideas to wrap your noggin’ around. Too bad those ideas had to be beaten into your skull with a two by four. “Choice.” “Free Will.” “Destiny.” Yawn – oops something just blew up spectacularly. I guess my biggest complaint centers on Keanu Reeves’ Neo. If the dude is so damn powerful, why does he even bother with the kung fu? Why battle 100 hundred clones of Agent Smith for 20 minutes, then fly away? Because the digitally created fight served no other purpose than to look cool. It’s a let down from the first film, but I certainly don’t think it deserves comparisons with The Phantom Menace. It’s just an average summer blockbuster now.

Whale Rider
Okay, now that I’ve seen the trailer, I am interested. Very interested. I hope this comes to Guam. However we seem to only get all the crap movies and big summer blockbusters. I am guessing I will have to wait until it comes out on DVD to watch this movie.

Canoe Found Safe

A traditional sailing canoe was located by the Coast Guard yesterday, more than two weeks after their scheduled arrival in Yap. The Simion Hokulea left Palau bound for Yap on May 7th, but light winds becalmed what was supposed to be a two to three day voyage. When the Coast Guard located the canoe it was only 30 miles from its destination in Yap, but the crew was weary and dehydrated.

Master navigator Mau Piailug of Satawal and 12 others were onboard the canoe, recreating the traditional voyages between Yap and Palau. The Coast Guard supplied the crew with water and let them continue on to their destination.

SARS Flight Ban Instated

Bowing to the moronic pressure of the Guam Medical Society, Governor Camacho this week instituted a flight ban on the routes between Guam and Hong Kong and Taiwan. The idea is to keep SARS from infected Guam. Both Continental and China Airlines bowed to government pressure and cancelled their routes to these destinations. Various tourism idiots suggested that this ban would actually increase tourism. Uh-huh.

I think this could be filed under “a day late, and a dollar short.” Procedures are now in place in Taiwan and Hong Kong to identify travellers with SARS – hell, they were in place almost two months ago. This measure effectively kills the Chinese tourism market, just when the island needs every tourist it can get. Silly, pointless, and ultimately damaging to the island’s economy. There is an excellent opinion in today’s PDN on this chicken little decision.

That’s One Old Dude

This guy in India has been drawing a pension since 1938! Says he is 132 years old, but nobody has a birth certificate to prove it. Habib Miyan can prove that he’s been collecting a pension since 1938 however. He originally collected 1.86 rupees a month, and now draws 1,900 rupees a month. “According to his pension book he is a mere 125. If correct that makes the world’s oldest living person 10 years his junior.”

Dixie Chicked?

Interesting article at Salon yesterday on a commencement speech given by New York Times war correspondent Chris Hedges at Rockford College, in Rockford Illinois. Hedges speech was sharply critical of Dubya and the war on Iraq, and he was not received warmly. He was heckled and jeered off the stage by the audience.

The fact that Hedges was forced off the stage at a liberal arts school that prides itself on a newly opened center for civil and social engagement is just frightening. It speaks volumes for the level of patriotic fervor and conservatism that is washing over the youth of our nation. Of course Rockford-Roscoe-South Beloit area is a pretty conservative place, but this is a stark change from what it was like when I lived up there a decade ago. Like the Dixie Chicks before him, Hedges spoke his mind and paid the price. I am certain he is being vilified on talk radio and on a thousand web logs right now. The audacity of a person to question the impudent, imperialist adventures of a third-rate president that didn’t even win the election.

I suppose this conservative backlash was inevitable. Today’s young adults were reared by the petulant, spoiled baby boomers. As the boomers rebelled against their parent’s staunch conservatism in the 1960’s, so today’s youth has reacted against their parents. They watched their parents behave like feckless fools: broken marriages, wanton sex, drug use, and a constant infantile search for pleasure and eternal youth. It’s not exactly surprising that these children raised so glibly by their errant parents would crave stability and a old time values. Something that George W. Bush and his neo-con pals provide. A simpler worldview with no troubling shades of gray. Rock solid, unwavering determination. It has a certain appeal – just ask the Germans in 1934.

Earth, Jupiter and Ash Clouds

Found a cool photo today: The Mars Global Surveyor turned its camera away from the surface of the red planet earlier this month and took a picture of earth. The photo captured not only the earth and moon, but also mighty Jupiter and three of the Galilean moons orbiting the massive gas giant. Pretty damn cool photo, even if it has been digitally enhanced to bring out the moon and Jupiter in the image.

The best link seems to be at SpaceRef.Com’s page – the original source at Malin Space Science Systems appears to have been slashdotted by all the traffic. Somewhere, a web server is dying a horrendous death.

Amazingly, I came by the page from a completely different source – I was simply surfing around, looking for images of the Anatahan volcanic eruption from space. I found them on a SpaceRef page.

Satellite Image from before the storm
Notice how the ash plume is drifting to the west last week…

Satellite Image showing changing ash plume due to typhoon
And how it is drifting south towards Guam today.

A Hazy Shade of Volcano

Well I thought it was a little hazy this morning for some reason. I suspected the passing of Typhoon Chan-Hom. I was correct, sort of.

The typhoon shifted the wind patterns in the area and now the ash fall from the erupting volcano on Anatahan is blowing over Guam. I thought it seemed a little too hazy this morning.

Whisky, Marlin, And Me

Couple things bouncing around in my head this morning:

  • I received a lot of whisky yesterday from a co-worker. She is moving to a new home and decided to clear out the liquor cabinet. I guess I struck here as a particularly besotted individual, because she unloaded six bottles of hooch on me. Most of it is Japanese whisky, from the Nikka Whisky Distilling company. I was a little dubious about its quality, but it seems to receive high marks.
  • There was a photo in yesterday’s PDN, this guy caught a 452 pound Pacific Blue Marlin a couple days ago. In a funny coincidence, those bottles of Japanese whisky are embossed with a marlin and the title kujiki (Japanese for Pacific Blue Marlin). Mmm, I think I need to pick up some fish for dinner tonight.

Past The Eye Of The Storm

Typhoon Chan Hom is currently located at 12.7�N by 151.1�E – about 428 miles from Guam. (And you won’t believe how long it took me to calculate that distance. It’s been a long time since I used any trigonometry. A very long time.) The storm looks to pass Guam with little affect upon the island.

Same Crap, Different Day

I just love this – “Is it possible to work 37 hours in one day? Someone at Guam Waterworks Authority found a way, according to an audit report on Waterworks’ restoration efforts after Typhoon Chata’an.”

Yep, it’s another week, and another revelation of payroll improprieties at a GovGuam agency. I’m sure the same lame-ass excuses will be sounded off, then the entire thing will slip back into the murk and muddy waters of GovGuam, to be conveniently forgotten.