Monthly Archives: June 2005

Oh… Drool

Okay this article on tri-tip beef barbecued and smoked, California style, has me drooling. Tri-tip is a tasty cut of beef, that’s for sure. Picked some up yesterday at the store, and this article has my mouth watering. I might have to try this guy’s method over the weekend.

Tri-Tip, a tasty slice of beef

The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race

Well here is a little gem from Jared Diamond: The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race. The author of Collapse discusses the error that led to agriculture in this essay. Yes, the grave error of agriculture. With the rise of agriculture humanity became subject to wars, disease, social and sexual inequality and despotism. Makes a person wonder why people switched from hunting and gathering to sedentary farming.

Supreme Court Forces Me To Use iTunes

Well, it’s been a wild week at the Supreme Court. First the gang of nine scuttled the concept of private property in favor of big money developers. Then came a whirlwind of decisions: In the Valerie Plame affair, the journalist found liable for contempt of court is not CNN’s right wing ideologue Robert Novack, but Judith Miller of the New York Times, who has never mentioned Valerie Plame in her articles. Curious – down the rabbit hole indeed.

And finally the SCOTUS (Scotus? Scrotus? Who comes up with these acronyms?) put the whammy on peer to peer file sharing, finding Grokster liable for copyright infringement and illegal downloading using their P2P software. That sucks. No more free music.

Luckily I made a major discovery today. Sitting at lunch with some other IT guys, I found out that iTunes is now working here on Guam. I don’t know when this wondrous thing happened, since I tried in February and March and was shut down from purchasing music online.

But no more. I rushed home tonight to test this out and before I knew it, I was $30 poorer. But I know have several albums;

This can be very dangerous. Instant music gratification. Oh boy.

Blast From The Past

Man, I used to use ZTerm all the time back when I had a screaming fast 9600 kps fax/modem. Hell, I used ZTerm with every modem I ever had, all the way up to my last modem, a Global Village 33.6 that I used until my jump to DSL in 2002. The real winning point with ZTerm was the fact that it was cheap, reliable, and offered the blazing fast Zmodem transfer protocol, a real godsend in the days of BBS’s and dial-up connections. It was a great program, a real classic, and it warms my heart to see it still available in this day and age.

Japanese Imperial Couple Visit Saipan

Imperial CoupleYesterday afternoon Emperor Akihito and his wife, the Empress Michiko, arrived on Saipan, in a visit to honor the island’s war dead. They will visit Banzai Cliff, where hundreds of Japanese soldiers and civilians jumped to their deaths rather than surrender, shouting “Banzai” – long life, for the Emperor’s father Hirohito.

This visit to mark the 60th anniversary of the war is the first time the imperial couple have gone outside Japan to visit a World War II battlefield. The visit has attracted international attention, especially as tensions are high in China and South Korea over Japan’s wartime history.

Nevertheless, this is a big event for Saipan, with hopes high that this will spur further tourism to the island.

Big Gary At Shaw’s Garden

Gary at Shaw's GardenAnd here is a picture of my eldest brother Gary, taken last month at the Missouri Botanical Garden, or Shaw’s Garden as the locals call it. Called that after Henry Shaw, who founded the garden and provided the land it now occupies in South St. Louis.

Anyway, this photo highlights the limitations of the camera phone’s abilities. Look at the edges of the image: the blurring and distortion is unmistakable. Not exactly a camera replacement. But then I never expected it to replace my current digital camera.

Speaking of the digital camera, I’m going on a hike later this afternoon and I think I’ll take the camera with me. Hopefully I can get some good photos of the hike and my destination.

Tangan-tangan

Leucaena leucocephalaI’ve been thinking about tangan-tangan lately. Mostly because I started hiking again, and whacking my way through stands of tangan-tangan brings it to the forefront of my mind. Sure is a lot of it on Guam and Saipan. I always knew it was introduced to foliate the islands after WWII, but that was about it. Turns out it is a species called Leucaena leucocephala, also known as the white lead tree, cow tamarind, and koa haole in Hawaii. It is a legume, like string beans or peas. As the LegumeWeb site says: “The principal unifying feature of the family is the fruit, a pod, technically known as a Legume. The Legume is modified in many ways to facilitate dispersal by animals, wind and water.”

Huh. Apparently it can be used as fodder for cattle, the seeds can be popped like popcorn, and of course it makes a convenient source of firewood. The stuff is technically a weed, and it grows like mad here on Guam. We have entire forests of the stuff; basically anywhere there is limestone soils, tangan-tangan grows profusely, crowding out other, native species. It is a shrubby, small tree, branches usually one to two inches thick, with seed pods on the topmost branches. It tends to get about 15-20 feet high, forming nearly impenetrable thickets. It grows rapidly, especially in disturbed areas, which is probably why it is so successful here. Typhoons tend to disrupt the jungle canopy and tangan-tangan takes full advantage of the light and space afforded by these openings.

Tangan-tangan is considered one of the top 100 worst invasive species according to the Global Invasive Species Database. Take a look at that list, it seems like Guam is a textbook study case for invasive species. Compared to some of the nefarious creatures on that list, tangan-tangan seems innocuous. Then again, are any of these species ‘nefarious?’ They don’t have the capacity for evil, they are simply exploiting the environment in a fantastically successful way. Most of them are doing so at the expense of indigenous species however, and most of them are spread by the activities of mankind. So if anybody is to blame, it’s us.

Tangan-tangan

Mommy Dearest

Continuing with the photos from the camera phone, here’s my lovely mother smiling for the camera last month. It was a big to-do, celebrating her birthday and mother’s day in one gigantic party. The weather was perfect, almost everybody was there, and I know she had a great time seeing her children and grandchildren. She looked over at my dad during the party, with nearly three dozen boisterous people talking and laughing and said “We’re responsible for all this.” Yep, you sure are. Thanks.

It reminds me of a videotape she sent me ages ago. Our German cousins came to St. Louis for a visit with the American kinfolk and they made some videos of the party. It was a wild event, with children running wild screaming, laughing, piano playing, singing, joking, my brother juggling, and the highlight was my mother wearing a lampshade on her head! After about 20 minutes of this rowdy chaos, the video switched to a wedding of the German relations. It was a somber, orderly affair, pleasant but very reserved and organized. The difference between the two celebrations was shocking, but all in all, I would have preferred the wild party at my parent’s house. That was one for the ages.

Nancy Nancy Nancy

Nancy ZanderSo I finally got around to pulling some pictures off my camera phone using the wonderful and free BitPim. Open source comes through again.

Anway, most of the pictures suck, but a couple came through quite nicely. Here is my lovely sister Nancy enjoying the continental breakfast at the Fairfield Inn in Fenton back in May. Doesn’t she look delightful?

I got a few other quality photos wandering around Shaw’s Garden, I might post those tomorrow. Overall though, the pictures the cam phone takes are subpar, which is about what I expected. I’ll be keeping my digital camera close by for the time being.

Japanese Tourists Say Guam Sucks

Well I have to say this isn’t much of a surprise. Japanese tourists don’t have much positive to say about Guam, pointing out that the hotels are sub par, the local food is ‘awful’ and there really isn’t much to do here except shop for duty free goods. Of course the Guam Visitor’s Bureau spouts off some obtuse remarks about highlighting the local culture and reinvesting in more duty free shops to attract the big spending tourists. That’s not the point dumbo. Sounds like Gerry Perez is focusing in with laser-like precision on the wrong target. Of course he was the brainiac in charge of GEDA when they approved financing for that stupid movie they filmed in the Outrigger.

The whole tourism thing on Guam is damaged and failing badly. After years of marketing ourselves as a bargain destination, that is what we’ve become; cheap airfare, decrepit and run-down hotels, dirty beaches, lots of shopping malls selling crap, abandoned buildings and trash lining the road, a creaky infrastructure that can’t deliver water or power, and home to a dangerous subclass of thieves that prey on tourists with impunity. The island attracts people that can’t afford anything better. Guam has gone from being the Japanese version of the Bahamas to Panama City. And surprise, surprise – all the money the government collected back in the good old days is squandered, leaving very little in the coffers to try and fix things. I wonder if Madeleine Bordallo will spend her hours protesting against Japan Today’s insensitive and offensive remarks in Congress? It will give her something to while away the hours.

Am I coming off a bit cynical here? I should mention that my friend’s car was stolen in broad daylight from a parking lot yesterday while we ate lunch. Walked out from Shirley’s, and it was gone. The cops basically said there’s little hope of recovering it, at least in one piece. Seems like crime is increasing all over the island, with break-ins and ‘home invasions’ becoming common. Not exactly the prosperous land of plenty Governor Camacho believes Guam to be. Everywhere I look, I see signs of stagnation and decay around this island. It depresses me to think of the potential wasted on this island by greed and incompetence. Hell, a million gallon water reservoir collapsed this week, taking out two other reservoir towers in Macheche. And the reason for this failure? Oh well, nobody at Guam Waterworks ever inspected the reservoirs – not once in 34 years. Oops.

This Week’s Dumb-Ass Award

So this dipshit tried to fleece a restaurant by impersonating a health inspector and demanding a bribe. He was arrested this afternoon when he showed up at the restaurant and police were waiting for him. Duh.

I know exactly where this guy got the idea. There was another nincompoop that pulled this crap for years on Guam, writing bogus checks, impersonating health inspectors and eventually getting his thieving ass elected to the school board in 2002. Jonathan Toves eventually wound up in jail on sex charge, but he had a good run for a few years. Nothing like having a convicted felon on the board of education.

Arachno-Puppy

Six-legged puppyNever mind the two-faced kitten from last week. Now here’s a really cool pet: a six-legged puppy was abandoned outside a Chinese temple in the Malaysian town of Pandamaran. The temple is keeping the puppy as an omen of good fortune. The puppy has six legs and two penises, and was named Ong Fatt (lucky one). Two penises? Lucky one indeed.

Sending Out An S.O.S – Sending Out An S.O.S.

Here’s an interesting story: A Dededo resident found a message in a bottle from California family. The bottle was tossed into the ocean at Dana Point, California in October 2003. Inside was a message, five dollars, a California lottery ticket, a pair of dice, and a certificate for a four-day, three night stay at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas. Apparently the bottle was cast into the sea in memory of a man that loved gambling. Funny how something like that could end up on the rocky beaches of Fadian Cove.

ESPN Apologizes To Guam

Thanks to the nonstop efforts of the PDN and Madeleine Bordallo, ESPN issued an apology to the people of Guam for Mike Ogle’s cockfighting article that so many found offensive.

Seems Mike Ogle’s friends find this all a little silly. Can’t say I disagree. It was certainly not the greatest piece of nincompoofery ever written about Guam, but I don’t think it warranted the weeks and weeks of front page coverage in the PDN. That’s just egregious. But he certainly pegged Madeleine as somebody with nothing better to do in Congress.

As I said a few weeks ago though, Dr. Lujan will take every opportunity to drive his ‘statesiders’ versus the island folk wedge into the heart of the community.