MMS Friends

East of the Sun, West of the Moon

Monday, June 30, 2003

Bye Bye Wheels

I sold my car today. It left about a � hour ago. I am without a vehicle. I guess I'll be getting around on my bike for the foreseeable future. That's fine, I need the exercise.

The search continues for a new car. Decisions, decisions. Oh so many decisions.

So are you a hipster? Take the quiz and find out. I didn't make the cut, though just barely. I'd prefer an option for hipster doofus though.

Local Surfers Face Challenge

CNMI surfers at the 2003 South Pacific Games in Fiji face tough competition. Go CNMI!

Speaking of surfing, ain't the MTV show Surf Girls the bomb? Nothing wrong with surfer girls in bikinis on TV.

Sunday, June 29, 2003

Desktop Wallpaper Images on polihale.com

I'm testing the 'Blog This' button on the new Google toolbar.

Desktop Wallpaper Images on polihale.com

SPG Kicks Off

The 2003 South Pacific Games kicked off yesterday in Fiji. Guam sent a small contingent this year. Guam hosted the Games in 1999, and it marked a high point on the island. Things have certainly dwindled since then, primarily due to the contracting economy. Sports organizations seem distracted and confused, especially since the typhoons last year. Many facilities were demolished by the typhoons and the funds are not present to rebuild. Gymnasiums, athletic fields, swimming pools and weight rooms still lie in ruin, a sad commentary on Guam's economic woes.

Saturday, June 28, 2003

Cheap Movie Mayhem

Looking at cars and trucks wore me out this afternoon. I fled into the cool recesses of the Hafa Adai theater and enjoyed a $1.50 matinee of The Italian Job. A pleasing little movie with the very easy on the eyes Charlize Theron. I generally enjoy heist movies, and this was no exception.

Last night I polished off two Netflix DVD's that have been lying about for over a month, Jean de Florette & Manon des Sources. What a pair of movies. I cannot praise them enough. Jean de Florette is a more powerful film, as Gerard Depardieu is slowly and inexorably ground down to ruin by Yves Montand and Daniel Auteuil. Depardieu inherits a small farm that the two men covet, and they go to great lengths to drive him off the land; blocking the small spring on the farm, casting aspersions about him in the village, and refusing to lend him vital aid when he needs it most. All the while, they play themselves off as Depardieu's only friends, every ready to supply him with a bottle of wine. At the beginning of the film Montand says that is is much easier to push a man downhill to ruin than to push against him. The conniving duo lead Deardieu down such a hill. The final scene is soul-numbing. Montand and Auteuil gleefully unplug the priceless spring after buying the farm on the cheap from Depardieu's widow. Depardieu's young daughter follows them into the trees and discovers they were the source of her father's downfall and howls an unworldly shriek of anguish. So chilling a depiction of duplicity, methodical cruelty and greed is rarely put onto film. Evil wins this round, but that little girl will have her vengeance.

The second film, Manon des Sources, picks up the story ten years later. That little girl has grown into a beautiful young woman, Emmanuelle Beart(hubba hubba). She wanders the hills, a lonely shepardess, shunning the villagers that stood idle while her family was destroyed. When she accidentally discovers the source of water for both the village and her nemeses Auteuil and Montand, she wreaks a powerful vengeance upon the entire community and sets in motion a chain of events that bring about the downfall of her enemies. This movie is quite good but not as gripping as the first film. It moves along briskly, coming to a shattering conclusion that leaves all evil doers punished. Beart is ridiculously beautiful, and Montand actually seems to collapse in on himself as his ruin draws closer. The tale of evil deeds and rightful vengeance plays out like Greek tragedy.

I first stumbled onto these movies 12 years ago. Flipping through the channels, I came upon Jean de Florette being aired on my local PBS station. I was riveted to the television, mesmerized by the film. I've looked for it in vain since then, scouring video stores and retailers. I really enjoy NetFlix, for exactly this reason. 17 year old films in French are not exactly leaping off the shelves at my local video store. NetFlix gives me a chance to watch some quality films that are not stocked on Guam. I just wish the turnaround on the DVD's was quicker, but that's a problem for the US Post, not NetFlix.

Friday, June 27, 2003

Big Plans For This Weekend

This is it! I am going to buy a new car this weekend. I've been dithering around for quite a while now, and I am finally ready to make the plunge. A new set of wheels is what I need.

What will I be driving? Toyota's are on sale this weekend, and Nissan is running a 2003 model clearance too. So many decisions, so little time. Stayed tuned loyal readers, and discover what I choose...

Bye Bye Jungle

Scientists are alarmed that deforestation in the Amazon surged 40% last year. Doesn't surprise me. Just one more way we are doomed.

Gotta Love That Public Radio

Yesterday I admitted that I am a die-hard public radio listener. My neighbor is a local radio personality at Guam's only rock 'n roll station, and he seemed surprised when I told him I hadn't heard about his station's latest promotion. When I told him I listen exclusively to KPRG, he was incredulous. What really threw him was that I was his 'target demographic' - a male aged 18-34. Well sorry. I guess I can't be pidgeon-holed that easily.

So what do I listen to?

Martian Analemma

Astronomy Picture of the Day comes up with another cool one.

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Fashion Statement

The American Apology t-shirt:

picture of<br />gray t-shirt with text Text of t-shirt in six language.

Now That's Quality Television

Just so there is no mistake, I am dismayed at Fox News arriving on Guam. Nothing like a bunch of jingoistic blowhards fanning the flames of hate, oppression and imperial America. I rank Fox News up there with Wal Mart in terms of sheer evil.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Control Freak

Just a bunch of anal retentive control freaks.

Who? Why the Republican party and the neo-conservative idealogues that are currently steering the ship of state. What else to call a group of men who have rigged the election of the leader of the free world, overthrew third world nations, stacked the Supreme Court with right wing zealots and dictated how other sovereign nations should pursue foreign policy? How about their actions currently afoot to recall democratically elected Democratic governors and monitor every facet of every American's life? How about their demands that non-governmental humanitarian organizations become an arm of the US government?

I Want One And I Want It Now

Apple announced their new G5 PowerMacs Monday. Hoochie Mama - I am suffering serious techno-lust right now. I want one of those dual 2.0 GHz babies something fierce. So does everyone else too, so maybe I can manage one next year. I know I can still milk my G3 for another year or so. But the old girl is starting to show her age. I've had the G3 for four years now, and I am still afraid to make the jump to OS X on that machine - she just doesn't have the oomph to run OS X, and I know it. So everyday the software and hardware on the G3 gets moldy and I find myself using my Windows machine more and more often. Hell, I am running Radio Userland on the Dell now, and that cool panorama I posted yesterday was made on the Dell too. I feel like my Macintosh cred is slipping. I really want to get my hands on an OS X machine and see what happens. And that G5 looks like a screamer.

Hello Fox News, Goodbye Music Videos

Marianas CableVision, the sole cable television provider on Guam, added Fox News Channel to their lineup yesterday. MCV dropped the only music video channel that actually still played music videos to add Fox News, the creaky Soundtrack Channel. I can't say I am sorry to see the Soundtrack Channel go, but Fox News is not what I want to watch. Nothing like a little right wing vitriol spewing from my television. I watched a bit of it last night. Wow, I thought CNN was bad. Fox News seems to delight in pandering to the basest, crudest, most sensational news possible. I watched a bit where the talking meat puppets were earnestly discussing the best ways to 'take out' Saddam Hussein, then proceeded to mock Colin Powell's visit to Israel to spark a dialogue between the Israelis and Palestinians. I flipped off at that point and returned about a � hour later, to find the new talking head dissecting video footage of a bounty hunter capturing his prey, with color commentary provided by the bounty hunter.

So farewell Soundtrack Channel, your dull schedule of crappy video tie-ins is no more on Guam. Now we get the world according to Rupert Murdoch and his reactionary cronies.

Monday, June 23, 2003

Summer Solstice, Yona Guam

I took this panorama from my balcony Saturday evening. I think the results are pretty damn spectacular. Look for more of these in the future. Warning! This file is about 2 megabytes in size, so be prepared for a long download. Quicktime is required to view this panorama.

This image was created by an excellent software package, The Panorama Factory. I think the results are pretty damn spectacular, especially since this was my first attempt at making a panorama. I will definitely purchase this piece of software, it's well worth the money.

Black Robe

I finally got around to watching Black Robe last night. I've have that particular Netflix DVD lying around since late April, but I never got around to watching it. I wonder why? It is a beautiful film, stunningly filmed and with a powerful message. Sometimes I think we haven't learned a damn thing in 400 years. I guess it is a depressing film at its heart; two cultures just cannot fathom each other and it leads to despair and death of all involved.

One thing that struck me though was the appearance of a manitou during several dream sequences. I can remember seeing the manitou on Manitou Bluffs overlooking the Missouri River. Quite a sight actually.

Censorship

I recently noted the 50th anniversary of the publication of Fahrenheit 451, a most excellent novel. One thing I did not mention was how livid Ray Bradbury was when he discovered that editors were snipping out bits and pieces of his book in the interest of making it safer for teenagers to read. The irony of people censoring a book about censorship was not lost on Mr. Bradbury. Well I managed to dig up a preface Mr. Bradbury wrote for a later edition of his novel, addressing that very topic.

More On Anatahan

Clicking through the myriad links I presented in the previous post, I stumbled upon Anatahan's somewhat lurid history. The island was home to a couple dozen shipwrecked Japanese fishermen and sailors during World War II, including one woman. The long isolation, close quarters primitive living conditions, and sexual jealousies reduced the number of castaways, frequently by knife fights between various suitors for the woman's affections. U.S. Forces knew about the holdouts on the island, but were unsuccessful in repatriating any of the Japanese. They held out on their island fortress for six years, until the woman grew tired of island life in 1951 and flagged down a passing US vessel. The other survivors were soon persuaded to give up and return to Japan, marking the last formal surrender of WWII.

This misadventure was actually the subject of a movie made in 1953, The Saga of Anatahan.

Oh yeah, more cool pictures I found at Wash U's web site.

Anatahan Eruption Update

I found a couple cool websites with more preliminary information about the volcanic eruption on Anatahan last month.

Wow. Some of those photos are really amazing, especially the photos of the abandoned village on Anatahan buried in ash. This plethora of information is a perfect example of the quality of information available on the internet, enabling knowledge for people around the world. It is amazing that all this information is so readily available.

FYI: The volcano continues to erupt and the island is still off limits according to the CNMI Emergency Management Office. A good reference for the current conditions is the NOAA GOES (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite) Guam sector web page, and the Volcanic Ash Advisory Center.

Sunday, June 22, 2003

Wal Mart, The Seventh Level Of Hell

Do not shop at Wal Mart, they are the fucking devil. Evil, pure unadulterated evil. Just stay away. Buy local.

Low prices? I recently read how a woman with two children who worked full time at Wal Mart (itself a near impossibility) could not afford to house and feed her family, even if she only bought all her merchandise and groceries at Wal Mart. Most people that work at Wal Mart qualify for Food Stamps. Those low prices are based on the suffering of millions and the shunting of costs onto the American public. Aggressive domination of the marketplace by undercutting local merchants, providing little benefits to employees and engaging in union busting practices, all the while running miserable sweatshops overseas. Wal Mart is truly a corporation based on American ideals: rapacious greed and screwing it to the little guy, all the while draping themselves in the fraudulent veneer of patriotism and family values.

Do not shop at Wal Mart.

Close Call

Just call me lucky: My Isuzu was driving funny the last couple days, a wobble in the front passenger side. I took a look yesterday morning and I was shocked. The tire was literally coming apart, and the radial steel belts were exposed and frayed. Needless to say I changed that tire out right quick. I took some photos of the stricken tire too:

One damaged tire Closeup of the damage

I was very lucky. A blow out while driving around would have totaled the SUV, and probably me too. I've been thinking about getting a new car, and this is a powerful impetus to get me into the showroom.

Whoa

Blogger done did the upgrade dance to me this weekend. Looks good.

I am particularly happy about all my archives being available again. That was really starting to bug me.

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Oops I Did It Again

I seem to be slowly leaking my political leanings onto this blog. Oops. I guess I just cannot deny my inner liberal anymore.

Latest goodie plucked from the internet, how an uppity black Congresswoman was railroaded out of office on the basis of a fabricated quote. Payback is a bitch, especially when you mess with Republicans and press of hearings on their back room shenanigans.

Here's the NPR story that blew her out of the water. What was that about the liberal media? Yeah right. This is NPR pegged McKinney as a hothead, unstable, a 'looney.' Check out the August 21 report where Denise Majette, who beat McKinney, promises her district 'to not do anything to embarass you.' Sounds like a perfect Democratic congresswoman (to ensure Republican control of the House).

Time

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an off hand way
Kicking around on piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

And you run and run to catch up with the sun, but it's sinking
And racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in the relative way, but you're older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death

Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone the song is over, thought I'd something more to say...

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Okay Google, I'll Bite

Google features MC Escher today, a personal favorite of mine. Guess it is his birthday... yep.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

She Speaks

I've been babbling a great deal about Margaret Atwood recently, when I really should be referencing George Orwell. Perhaps now more than ever in the last fifteen years. Well how about Margaret Atwood talking about the influence of George Orwell? Double whammy dystopic discourse.

Monday, June 16, 2003

More On The Modern Day Illuminati

About two months ago, I ran a link to a Harper's Magazine expos� on 'The Family,' a weird pseudo-society of conservative Christian movers and shakers. Reading the article was like peering into the inner workings of a paranoid delusional's mind. The Family openly espouses praise for Hitler and Genghis Khan, and seeks to become remake the world in it's image; all the while maintaining a secret society, behind-the-scenes unaccountability.

Well Alternet is running a follow-up story on the article, interviewing the author, Jeffrey Sharlet, editor of the web site Killing the Buddha. Read both articles and then think about what I said last week about our country becoming the conservative dystopia in The Handmaid's Tale.

Hmm, That's a Bad Idea

I don't have anything against France or the French, but I am forced to question their aesthetic taste. First that bizarre fascination with all things Jerry Lewis and now this: Woody Allen is appearing in a series of commercials to promote French tourism. Who's bright idea was that? The man is an embarrassment now, and his imprimatur on something is not exactly a ringing endorsement for most Americans.

Television: The Corruptor Of Minds

Four years ago, the ancient kingdom of Bhutan became the last place on earth with television, much of it supplied by Rupert Murdoch's Star TV. Within four years, the once peaceful people of Bhutan and suffering under new phenomena: drugs and alcohol addiction, thievery, fraud, murder. Coincidence? What is the reaction of a Buddhist populace that believes in the sanctity of all life when exposed to wanton sex and violence? Television has a remarkable capacity to inform and bring our world together, but far too often the Lidless Eye speaks to our basest pleasures, dulling our senses and lowering our resistance.

Sunday, June 15, 2003

Moonrise

The full moon rise last night took my breath away.

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day, Pop. I hope you have a great time today. Enjoy those steaks I sent, and smoke a cigar.

Friday, June 13, 2003

FYI

Yeah, I got the pictures of the governor's daughter. Several times now. I won't post them here though, I like to think I have more class than that. Well maybe not. But I still ain't posting them here.

Another Voice Chimes In

After my grumbling about the RAVE act last night I came across a great article on Alternet, detailing the current government obsession with legislating away all fun. "The Second Prohibition" indeed. After railing against the RAVE act, the growing power of fundamentalist politicians, the federally funded 'abstinence' eduction and the everlasting shame of over 20,000 people locked up in our nation for marijuana offenses, the author sums it up nicely:

Sex and drugs and live music make life great. These are the kinds of things that were outlawed in Taliban-run Afghanistan. If they can't be legal and easy in America, then I don't want to live here anymore. I want to live in a place where drugs and sex are tolerated, where the government provides a sane level of social services, where religion isn't always threatening to take over the state. Amsterdam. It always comes back to Amsterdam.

Every day I feel like we are inching closer and closer to the fundamentalist dystopia portrayed in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. The fact that leading Republican Rick Santorum can spout off his repugnant views on the evils of homosexuality and the right of the government to control this kind of behavior - and not suffer any consequences deeply troubles me. John Ashcroft truly frightens me because I am certain he fantasizes about turning the United States into a Republic of Gilead. To head George Bush drops in code words and phrases ('there is power, wonder working power') during the State of the Union speech last January chilled me to my soul. The man actually believes God chose him to rule the nation. Uh, it wasn't God Dubya, it was Antonin Scalia and the Supreme Court. It certainly wasn't the majority of US voters.

Prison Guards Beating Inmates

Latest GovGuam debacle: three corrections officers were arrested this week for assaulting and beating a prisoner last year. The officers indicted include the prison warden.

Guess you can't bitch slap the cons anymore without getting in trouble.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Praise Jesus

John Ashcroft must be sportin' a major woodie over this one:

A bogus law called the RAVE Act is now being used to bludgeon drug reform groups and stifle dissent, exactly what groups were afraid of. Praise Jesus. Who needs an open dialog about drugs when you can threaten and harrass venue owners if they don't cancel events? Hallelujah brother, let freedom ring!

Omigod

Oooooooo...

Still Only A Dream

Maybe I've been working too hard, maybe I've been listening to too much Grateful Dead, but I had a great dream last night.

I was cashing a check at the bank, standing in line, minding my own business. I finally got to a teller and while I endorsed the check, he asked "Do you want that in $20's? Or joints?" I laughed so hard I woke myself up. God, wouldn't that be nice?

Thai Food Goodness

Time for a lighter post: my favorite Thai restaurant, Ban Thai, reopened for business yesterday. They lost their roof in Typhoon Pongsona and I have sorely missed eating there. But they are back, in the same location; new roof, new furniture, same good food. I was so excited about eating there yesterday I was literally the first guy in the door.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Operation Iraqi Death Toll

Somehow I think you won't hear this on the evenings news: preliminary AP estimates Iraqi civilian deaths from the War On Iraq at 3,240. And they doubt a complete count will ever be available. The part I really like was where the US military spokesman effectively shrugged off any responsibility for counting casualties. His answer was basically 'America doesn't kill civilians, so there is no need to make such a count. Besides, any civilians that might have died were caused by the Iraqi regime.'

God bless America - 'Blowin' up brown people since 1776!'

And a Dissenting View on Globalization

Sure it has some benefits, mostly economic. But this sobering article details the costs of globalization on the people and ecologies of the third world nations. More evidence that we are doomed.

Science Fiction Classic Turns 50

Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, a chilling book about the not too distant future, is 50 years old this year. In many ways it has come to pass. Oh, firemen don't come and start fires, but the indifference our society has towards books and learning, and our growing addiction to the vacuous banality of television are certainly true. The quote from Bradbury, now 82, really struck me: "I wasn't trying to predict the future," he says. "I was trying to prevent it."

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Nike, Viet Nam, Globalization

Yep. Seen this with my own eyes. People were happy about Nike running factories in Viet Nam when I went there a few years ago.

Monday, June 09, 2003

The Roof of the World

Nepal is on my mind. Everest, Sherpas, Kathmandu, Annapurna, Mustang, Buddhist monasteries, the occassional Maoist insurgent. Perhaps the recent media surge surrounding the 50th anniversary of Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hilary's ascent of the mountain. Whatever. I got a longing to scrape my fingers along the sky and touch the roof of the world.

Route Four Construction

The construction on Route 4 outside my house continues to crawl along. KUAM posted a good story about the goals of the construction project. I am dismayed to hear that completion isn't slated until November 2004 - cripes that's still over a year away!

Blogging Woes

Blogger is giving me fits. I was willing to wait about the problem with my archives, but for the last three or four days Blogger has been down more than it has been up. I'm starting to feel like a sucker here - I can't post anything, hell I can't even edit my template! And I'm paying for this crappy service. At least put up a "Sorry, we're doing some upgrades and the system is down" messages. Grrr... Movable Type is looking better and better. Hell, I might actually start posting to my Salon Radio Weblog!

Thursday, June 05, 2003

Damnation and Ruin

Fifteen years ago I read a book about the coming environmental troubles. Prominent among these catastrophes was the collapse of the oceanic ecosystems due to over-fishing. Looks like we are rapidly approaching that dark day. Two recent publications indicate the dire straits of the world's oceans due to pollution and over-fishing. In a letter published in the journal Nature, Ransom Myers & Boris Worm detailed how large predatory fish stocks have been depleted to a tenth of their previous levels. The consequences could be severe for the ocean's ecosystem.

In a related publication, the Pew Oceans Commission details the increasing pressure on the world's oceans due to development, pollution, and overfishing. It looks grim, mostly because the damage done to the ocean is mostly invisible to humanity. All that salt water covering the devastation and prompting certain optimists to believe there is not problem at all with the oceans.

It just increases my sense of desperation. We are all damned. We were given an earthly paradise, a lonesome blue dot in the harsh and unforgiving universe, and we've fucked it up. Totally. We tore a hole in the sky, pillaged the forests, stripped the mountains, poisoned the sea.

We broke the fucking sky. So many people on this planet, living in luxury or poverty, and we all think we are destined for a heavenly paradise after we die. Don't kid yourself. We are all damned. If a heavenly paradise exists, you can be certain not a single human being resides there.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

Ooo My Back

The Department of Public Works has begun enforcing legislation regarding trash pickup. In 1998 a public law was enacted that required homeowners to place their garbage in trash cans smaller than 35 gallons. I remember this event. The reason was given was the poor garbagemen were throwing out their backs lifting enormous loads of trash into the garbage trucks.

Fine with me. No problemo. I just wish DPW would concentrate on implementing a recycling strategy and closing the Ordot Landfill. That is the real emergency that the department needs to address.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Jonathan Toves In Jail

Let's put one issue to rest. Jonathan Toves, who gained notoriety last year for being a convicted felon elected to the school board, was incarcerated on Sunday night as per his plea agreement earlier this year. Goodbye Mr. Toves, I look forward to not hearing about you anymore.

Monday, June 02, 2003

Groovin'

Magic Box is an excellent little CD. Makes me smile.

Crikey

Interesting article. I especially like the quote at the end of the piece. "He compared the "unique situation" the US felt it was in now in Iraq with a proclamation the British made on entering Baghdad in 1917: 'Our armies do not come into your lands and your cities as conquerors, but as liberators...'" God, that sounds familiar.

I AM NOT TO BE DECEIVING YOU MY FRIEND

Okay, it's made the rounds, but I will post a link too - The Nigerian Email Conference.

Rub-A-Dub-Dub, Three Indonesians In A Tub

Talk about lucky. Three Indonesians washed ashore on the Palauan island of Angaur over the weekend, after being adrift more than two weeks without food or water. The engine on their canoe gave out during a short hop between two islands in Indonesia and they drifted out into the open ocean. I shudder when I think about the odds of finding land in the great expanse of the Pacific.

Same Old, Same Old

In the "What's old is new again, and again" category, Ordot Dump erupted into flames yesterday. Again. I guess the dump felt slighted by the volcano producing all that haze last week and wanted in on the action.

Sunday, June 01, 2003

Phone's Back

Lots of crackle though. I just realized that the post at the end of the driveway is askew - almost like someone ran into it. That is probably the source of my problems.

My apologies to the employees of GTA. I still think they're lazy and will be the downfall of GovGuam, but apparently they can process a check.

Eric Rudolph Captured

The suspected bomber of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Eric Rudolph, was finally captured in North Carolina this weekend. Rudolph is also wanted in connection with bombings at gay nightclubs and abortion clinics.

Phone Is Out

Strange. My telephone is out, but my DSL is still working. There has been a lot of road work lately, perhaps it was disconnected during that. I have this dread feeling that the morons at GTA have disconnected my phone though. Dianne's phone is working just fine, and my cellular works, which leads me to suspect the trunks lines are fine, it is an isolated problem with my phone. I guess that check I wrote for $30 at the beginning of this month was in vain with that bunch of idiots. I swear GTA is the millstone of incompetency around the neck of GovGuam. Can't even process a check.