MMS Friends

East of the Sun, West of the Moon

Friday, October 31, 2003

WWXD: What Would Xenophon Do?

The Road to Babylon

Another Guy Arrested For Being A Pervert

Police also arrested Robert Campbell on Wednesday for engaging in sex with minors for money. Also arrested was 23 year old Maxine Billy, who allegedly arranged the teenage girls for both Campbell and Haim Habib.

Speaking of Habib, I was thinking last night about another pedophile with the initials H. H. - Humbert Humbert.

E-Votes On Access

Erwin and I had a pretty good chuckle about this. The idea that an electronic voting system would be based in Microsoft Access is just plain silly.

Kill Bill

Oh yeah, Kill Bill.

I went to see Kill Bill last week and promised a review. It was okay, full of cartoonish violence and fake blood. Tarantino is a disturbed gentleman, with some pronounced sadistic tendencies and a misogynistic approach to women.

That said, I found the movie a trifle boring. It was like I was watching somebody play Soul Calibur for two hours, with the Bride slashing her way through waves of underlings to get to the 'mini-boss' (Go Go) and finally the level boss (O Ren Ishii). The final 'boss' showdown with Lucy Liu in the garden with snow falling was achingly beautiful, but overall I felt like it was a waste of time. Kill Bill certainly doesn't have the visceral pop and crackle that Reservoir Dogs or Pulp Fiction had.

Jimmy Dee Arrested

Jimmy Dee, Guam's answer to Don Ho, was arrested yesterday on two counts of criminal sexual conduct. According to police he make sexual and derogatory remarks to a teenage girl last Tuesday, and then sexually assaulted her later that evening.

Arbitration panel sets PacifiCare rates

Arbitration panel sets PacifiCare rates.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

RFID And Me, Or How Much Is That Chip In My Head?

I got to thinking about the new ID badges they passed out at work a while ago. We now have to pass the badge over a scanner to gain access to different areas and departments at work. How do those things work? Obviously some kind of radio frequency was being used, but the badges contain no batteries. They must be transponders of some kind. What's going on here?

Well this led to a little research on the internet. The badges use a device called Radio Frequency ID, or RFID. Get used to that term, they are about to burst into the mainstream. These tiny little radio transponders could bring about some big changes in society. Unlike bar codes which must be manually scanned, RFID tags are automatically read when they come in proximity to a reader. Since passive RFID tags require no batteries or moving parts, they offer long term durability and shelf life. New RFID tags are so small they can be embedded in just about anything, bank notes, clothes, pets, and even students. Okay, maybe they're not implanted in students yet, but the principal in that Wired article sounds like he would be amenable to such a development. He touts the ability of the system to track students location in and out of school, to constantly monitor students for their own safety. Uh, kinda like Big Brother?

RFID is poised to become ubiquitous due to a big push by Wal-Mart to replace bar codes with RFID tagged items in stores. And when Wal-Mart talks, suppliers listen. The fear of civil libertarians is that RFID tags will be used to intrude on personal privacy. Think of last year's movie, Minority Report. Whenever Tom Cruise walked around in public, retinal scanners instantly ID'ed him. People fear something just like that, but instead of using eyes to ID somebody, a halo of almost microscopic RFID tags would signal a person's presence and their every move.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

This Old Mac, Or Hello Yellow Dog

My G3 is getting old. Pokey. Not quite up to snuff anymore. Hell, come January and this machine will be 5 years old. It's been a wonderful machine, and it still fulfills most of my needs in computing.

Mac OS 9, which is what I am running on this G3, is starting to feel a little long in the tooth. My software options are steadily diminishing, and the promised land of Unix beckons. Mac OS X is too much for this dependable old processor to handle, but I am really giving Yellow Dog Linux a serious look-see. Yellow Dog is basically a port of Red Hat to the PowerPC chip. I am already running Red Hat on my server, so Yellow Dog wouldn't be that great a gulf to bridge.

OS News, a very competent web site, has run a variety of stories on Yellow Dog, and I think I could make the switch soon. Probably start with a dual boot, see how that goes.

If you'll excuse me, I got some ISO's to download.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a bunch of ISO's to download.

Rock, Paper, Scissors

I swear my friend Kirino can beat anybody at Jan Ken Pon. Even this dude: Canadian Beats World at Rock, Paper, Scissors. I mean, the guy is Canadian, how can he be the best at anything?

Dark Star Crashes

Chandra :: Field Guide to X-ray Astronomy :: Dark Matter Mystery

Beyond Einstein: What is Dark Energy?

Here's A Goody

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty by James Thurber. Hello again Thurber Carnival. It's been a long time.

I read a lot of Thurber when I was younger, but I stopped for some reason. I think it's time to get reacquainted.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Tuesday Night

Ah, the sweet sounds of Johnny Cash on the radio and the soft whispers of Glenmorangie on the rocks in a tumbler. Time to decompress...

KPRG & NPR

Last week marked KPRG's fall pledge drive. I cannot stress enough how valuable KPRG is to Guam. The sole public radio, community radio station on island, KPRG offers a diverse mix of NPR, PRI, and local programming. This is an unusual situation. Other public radio stations are usually entirely NPR or entirely PRI programming, never a mix of the two. And community radio is usually something completely different. Only here on Guam is there a blend of all three. A highly eclectic blend.

This morning KPRG played a rerun of an old Performance Today broadcast from last month, the final partitas #6 of The Bach Partitas with Richard Goode. Excellent. The second hour of PT was the current program, climaxing with Stravinsky's Rite of Spring at the new Walt Disney Concert Hall. Wow.

And All Things Considered ran a fascinating piece by Walter Cronkite about his involvement in CBS' television show "You Are There" during the 1950's. Unknown to Cronkite and most of the show's staff, all the writers on the "You Are There" were blacklisted screenwriters. The writers used historical allegory to make thinly disguised comments about the communist witch hunts of the McCarthy era. It was an absolutely fascinating story, and a true delight to hear Walter Cronkite's voice again.

When I think of the drivel being broadcast on commercial radio on a daily basis, it makes the value of a station like KPRG and NPR truly exceptional. Now if only they would run Whad'Ya Know here on Guam. That is one of my favorites on PRI.

Fires In Southern California

My brother lives in Temecula, northeast of San Diego. I've been worried about him and his family during this emergency. I finally located a map of the affected areas at the L.A. Times, and it looks like Temecula is okay right now.

Timex - Data Link Software

Please excuse the link. I am going to need this later, so I want it in a place I can find it.

Timex - Data Link (Previous Products) - Software

Monday, October 27, 2003

Chinese Navy Visits Guam

Two vessels from the People's Liberation Army Navy South Fleet docked at Apra Harbor last week. The destroyer Shenzen was accompanied by a supply ship, the Quinghai Hu on an official visit to the U.S. Naval Station Marianas. The goodwill visit was the first time a Chinese warship has stopped at Guam.

It seemed like the island was crawling with Chinese sailors last Friday. I guess they had liberty, and most spent it shopping.

Local Attorney Nabbed In Sex Case

Haim Habib, a local attorney, was arrested this weekend in a lurid sex case which involves child pornography, child abuse and the harboring and rape two runaway teenage girls. Two other local residents were arrested in connection to the case, including the mother of two toddlers found in 'deplorable' conditions in a house in Dededo.

iMac Envy

Dianne returned to Guam last week with a little something extra; a 17 inch iMac. Wow. It looks gorgeous. Now she has the iMac and her G4 Powerbook. I have a serious case of Macintosh envy. My aging G3 looks positively dowdy next to these sleek beauties.

Ah well, I got no money for a new computer right now. The G3 will continue to suffice for now - it does everything I need.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

I Am Green With Envy

Check out this guy's Panther Observatory, a home observatory in Austria. Pretty nice. I really like his astrophotography. Be sure to look at his photos of Mars during the closest approach in August. I especially enjoyed the comparisons between his photos and images from the Hubble Space Telescope taken at the same time. His results are really impressive.

Origins of the Military-Industrial Complex

I never would have thought the term military-industrial complex came from a speech by Dwight Eisenhower. Wow. Interesting speech. He cautions against the undo accumulation of political power in the military-industrial, warning future presidents and senators to be vigilant against incursions by the permanent armaments industry.

Eisenhower also mentions the dangers inherent in federally funded research at universities, as lone inventors tinkering in their shops are replaced by research labs with government funding.

A strangely prescient speech.

Yesterday's Phone Outage

The PDN ran a short article on yesterday's phone outage. I worked with Doines Guevera, the person interviewed for the article.

Sunday Morning, Sun Is Shining

This strange bright orb is hanging up in the sky. I vaguely remember something about this being the sun, the source of life, warmth and energy for our rainy little planet.

Seriously, this is the first time the sun has come out in force in over a month. The clouds and rain are temporarily dispersed.

Time to set myself loose upon the brilliant day. I think a hike is in order, or maybe a trip to the beach.

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Back Up And Online

The phones were out this morning. According to GTA, a large portion of the south was without telephone service today - me included.

Seems like the infrastructure to every public utility on Guam is crumbling. The water system is on the verge of collapse. Every week another village is without water due to broken pipes or pumping stations. The power has been a perennial problem since I moved here over ten years ago. The phone system is just as susceptible to failure. In last week's power outage, many areas were left without phones because backup generators at telephone switches were broken or missing.

It gets very frustrating, especially when the rates for every utility have gone up this year. None of that money is going into increasing reliability of the system though; the rate increases are for judicial settlements, unfunded retirement allotments for employees and massive debt loads created by previous administrations. The public utilities desperately need to be privatized but I doubt it will ever happen. Too many jobs are at stake and that makes it a political hot potato. Nobody wants to tackle the agency's problems.

Friday, October 24, 2003

PriceSmart Closing Doors

Guam's only warehouse shopping club, PriceSmart, is closing its doors on December 31st. Management cites the inability to attract enough members to the price club, saying that the membership feature just doesn't work on Guam for some reason.

I never joined PriceSmart, not because of the $20 membership fee, but because I can get everything I need at Cost U Less, a competitor without the membership hassles, or KMart. Plus I had the feeling PriceSmart would never last; PriceCostco failed in the same location for the same reasons. Why pay for membership when the same things are for sale at a couple other places. Kind of defeats the purpose of a price club.

Boy, If That Ain't A Sign, Nothing Is

The actor portraying Jesus Christ in Mel Gibson's controversial film, The Passion of Christ was struck by lightning while filming a few scenes at a remote location in Italy.

Jim Caviezel and assistant director Jan Michelini were struck by lightning but not badly hurt. A witness said he saw "smoke coming out of Caviezel's ears." Amazingly, this is the second time Michelini has been struck by lightning while filming the motion picture.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Niagara Jones

Talk about stupidest things and dumb luck: This chucklehead went over Niagara Falls unprotected and survived. Turns out he was obsessed with the idea.

Daily Planner

Ate lunch at Tony Roma's today. I often forget about Tony Roma's, but it's a good spot for lunch.

Since I am picking Dianne up at the airport this evening, I am going to stay up in town and go see Kill Bill at the Micronesia Mall Theaters.

Curious George Visits Bali

The POTUS is in Bali today, at least of a few hours. Then it's off to Australia for George W. Must be trying to bump up the frequent flier miles or something.

Engines of Creation Redux

Turns out the book I am reading right now, Engines of Creation, is available for free online through Eric Drexler's Foresight Institute. So run and check it out. The text is complete with hyperlink references. Very cool.

Double Whammy

The Western Pacific has two powerful cyclonic systems right now. They developed within days of each other. Typhoon Ketsana is sitting between Guam and the Philippines, intensifying and slowly drifting to the northeast, while Tropical Storm Parma is rapidly moving away to the northeast as it strengthens. Neither system is a threat to Guam, but I was really hoping the two systems would converge since they formed so close to each other. I was looking for a Pacific "Perfect Storm."

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

More On TheBrain

I really like TheBrain. It is a truly revolutionary way of organizing data. I find it incredibly easy to map out projects, their requirements, the people involved, resources and files needed, and reference sites out on the internet. I find my Personal Brain a useful information organizer. I just wish the damn thing could integrate some sort of weblog interface for posting thoughts to a website. That would be cool...

Now I am starting to see sites developed that utilize a WebBrain. I mentioned Ray Kurzweil's site and the vast trove of articles referenced by his WebBrain. I found another one at iApplianceWeb, a site devoted to internet enabled devices, embedded network appliances and related technology. I found this site from an article in TheBrain newsletter, and it looks promising.

Engines of Creation

I've been reading Eric Drexler's seminal work on nanotechnology, Engines of Creation. It is a fascinating introduction to nanotech and the coming Diamond Age.

Speaking of nanotechnology, Ray Kurzweil has a fascinating site on emerging technology and futurist trends, with an emphasis on nanotech developments. This site is also one of the first to use a really cool information neural net from TheBrain Technologies on their website. It makes for an interesting way to navigate a site and its many links. I've been using Personal Brain off and on for about a year now, and WebBrain is the internet enabled version of that technology. TheBrain at KurzweilAI.net is a treasure trove of links to a vast array of subjects archived on the site. Truly a first rate implementation of a promising technology on a gold mine of a site.

Say Goodbye To Internet Radio

Court affirms Internet radio royalties

More On Pacificare v. GovGuam

The PDN ran their take on yesterday's decision as the lead story in today's paper.

Concorde: Fast Flight to Nowhere

Adios Concorde: after 27 years, the Concorde is scheduled to fly its last flight this week. A technological marvel, the Concorde was loud, fast, and unable to make a profit. And with the Concorde's exit, so goes the market for commercial hypersonic transport, at least for the next few decades.

Monday, October 20, 2003

The Totalitarian Pope

Alternet, a sometimes rabidly liberal online site, ran a story on John Paul II's legacy; The Totalitarian Pope. Alternet slams John Paul II's papacy for being reactionary, authoritarian and recidivist, especially in regards to the modernization and democratization instigated by Vatican II in the early 1960's. The article concludes that John Paul II's impact on the Church will continue to be felt long after he is succeeded. The Pope has appointed all but four of the current cardinals, and a vast majority of the bishops throughout the world. He canonized more saints in his 25 years than all the popes in the previous 500 years - combined.

Well Pope John Paul II is certainly a staunchly conservative man, and many of his published encomiums during his remarkably long tenure were marked by an affirmation of traditional values in the face of modern pressures upon the Church. But then the Roman Catholic Church is a remarkably conservative organization to begin with. Just a few years ago, the Church finally admitted that it was wrong to force Galileo Galilei to abjure and renounce his findings in 1633 under threats from the Inquisition. (Talk about holding a grudge!) So this reactionary Pope, who has stacked the College of Cardinals with his disciples, is merely an expression of the Church's innate conservatism.

Sausage 'N Peppers

Yum -
  • Spicy Italian Sausage
  • 2 Onions
  • Green Bell Pepper
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Little Bit of Tomato Sauce
  • Some Chunks of Buffalo Mozzarella
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese

Lordy Lordy, is that good stuff - especially with an ice cold beer.

Judge vacates order for PacifiCare to cover GovGuam

Today's big news for me and my coworkers:

Judge vacates order for PacifiCare to cover GovGuam

So it goes back to the arbitors to set rates and benefits. Which is basically back to square one.

Bamboo Dick

I was having a conversation with Chris this afternoon, and it turned to this year being the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brother's flight at Kitty Hawk. Au contraire, piped in Chris, some nutball down in Australia or New Zealand flew his airplane before the Wright Brothers. His name was Richard Pearse, from New Zealand, also known as Bamboo Dick. Chris said he saw it on a documentary about a New Zealand filmmaker who caught the event on camera and that it actually proved Pearse flew months before Wilbur and Orville's famous flight.

Well, Chris was partly true. The documentary he mentioned was Forgotten Silver, a parody by Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson. The subject of Forgotten Silver, a heretofore unknown Kiwi filmmaker called Colin McKenzie, was totally fictional. Chris was duped, like much of New Zealand, by the serious tone of the mockumentary.

However, it appears that Bamboo Dick was the genuine article. When I visit New Zealand I intend to research this further. A model of his monoplane is supposed to be on display in Auckland.

Health-IT World: Anybody's Guess When Feds Will Enforce HIPAA Transactions

Health-IT World: Anybody's Guess When Feds Will Enforce HIPAA Transactions

Good lord let's hope it happens on a day far, far away. This is one of the big projects I've been working on for a long time and it sucks.

Week 7 Fantasy Update

It's been a couple hard weeks on the Zulus, my fantasy football team. We lost a couple heartbreakers to non-contenders, especially last week's 70-90 loss to 'Reign of Fire.' I can only say it was because both of our top receivers had a bye week. This week however, things are looking better.Week 7 saw the return of our important starters, including Randy Moss, Chad Johnson and Corey Dillon. Excellent. Too bad we didn't start Dillon, he was a game time decision and our lineups need to be in before that. So we went with D'Shaun Foster, Stephen Davis' backup at Carolina, who put up some decent numbers last week when Davis was hurt.

One area of our roster concerns me - running back. Two of our stable of backs were out this week, Trung Candidate and Anthony Thomas. While they are our backups, our primary back, Clinton Portis and Corey Dillon, are proving more delicate than we hoped. Most of our running backs have something wrong with them and have sat out a couple games this year. Not cool. I want solid running backs that post good numbers every week. But then doesn't everybody?

While Foster didn't put up good numbers for us, it wasn't necessary. The Zulus are poised to win again and become 5-2. The only problem is two other teams in my division are 5-2, making for a clusterf**k. The other two divisions in our league are populated by sad sacks and has beens.

Crikey

Woman dies in freak accident: a woman was killed yesterday morning at the Dededo Flea Market when a canopy was overturned by a gust of wind. The canopy was anchored by concrete cinder blocks, and when the canopy flipped, the woman was struck by a cinder block hurtling through the air. Ouch.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

The Sand Pebbles

I just finished watching The Sand Pebbles, a very good movies about China in the 1920's, when foreign gunboats plied the Yangtze. It stars Steve McQueen and Richard Attenborough as U.S. sailors, and a young Candace Bergen as a missionary teacher. The movie is a powerful allegory for American policy in the 1960's, especially the involvement in Vietnam. Using the upheaval of China in the Twenties, U.S. naval gunboats put American lives in harm's way, ostensibly for the protection of American citizens and businesses. The movie makes it plain that the U.S. military presence only hardens Chinese enmity towards all Americans, ultimately endangering the missionaries and destablizing an already tense situation.

One interesting little trivia tidbit: Richard Attenborough's love interest, the doomed hostess Maily, is played by Marayat Andriane. One look at her and I could tell she was Thai. Looking up the film's cast on the Internet Movie Database led to an interesting discovery. Marayat Andriane is also known as Emmanuelle Arsan, the Thai wife of a French diplomat who became a writer and penned a semi-autobiographical novel of sexual promiscuity called Emmanuelle. Yep, that Emmanuelle, the original soft-core film that graces late night Cinemax, along with it's many sequels. In fact Emmanuelle Arsan wrote the screenplay, directed, and acted in some of the Emmanuelle movies. What the hell? Especially peculiar is the fact that the character of Maily is this virginal sacrificial lamb raised by missionaries. Must have been a real stretch sticking a libertine like Emmanuelle into that role. It's like having Ana�s Nin portray a nun in a movie. Just a real nonsequitur.

More Rain

Still raining on Guam. Kind of curtails any outside activities. Tried to fire up the water blaster to do some power washing, but the cantankerous machine is fraught with problems. Finally abandoned the effort when the ripcord broke and a downpour began. I don't want to spend my day off in the rain trying to mend an obstinate machine. I'd rather eat some lunch and take a nap. Maybe watch the World Series.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

Movies Movies Movies

Netflix has hit a wall; no new movies in over three weeks. I don't blame them, the US Postal Service must be having troubles delivering the mail to this island again.

Anyway, I watched A Midnight Clear last week, and again earlier this week. Last night and tonight were devoted to a long expository video by Robert Thurman on Tibetan history and culture. Enlightening sure, but not exactly light entertainment. Tomorrow I'll watch the final dvd in my possession right now, The Sand Pebbles. If I don't get anything in Monday's mail, I guess it's time to pay a visit to my local video store, 3V's. I got a hankering to watch The Two Towers or something like that.

Firebird

I downloaded Mozilla Firebird 0.7 tonight. It's a nice browser, and a serious contender for my default browser. I've been using the full Mozilla distribution for over a year now, but I must admit it is big, often slow, and chock full of things I don't need like email, html editing and a chat client. Firebird is lean and mean, and after a bit of a hassle installing plug-ins, I like it a great deal. I'll be taking it for a test drive this week and we'll see if I switch.

Rain Rain Go Away

Will it ever stop raining on Guam?? I am sick of rain, I am sick of soggy ground, and I am sick of cloudy skies!!

This Ought To Start A Riot

Guam's non-voting delegate to Congress is visiting Iraq as part of a Conressional tour. Boy, one look at her helmet-hair ought to spark a riot in downtown Baghdad. It is certainly an offense to God and man.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Victims Of Fate

The Cubs were denied yesterday in their quest for the World Series and vindication as a sports team. But the real nail in their coffin was in Game 6. The fan. That foul ball in the eighth inning.

Damned by their own fan. Or at least in the eyes of many, he is the scapegoat, the sacrificial lamb.
I feel tremendous pity for Steve Bartman. He did nothing wrong, yet the hatred of an entire city is focused on him. If I was in his place, I would have done the exact same thing.

Things got pretty ugly for the guy pretty quick. He was escorted out of the stadium with a coat over his head, while irate fans pelted him with beer and murderous threats. The crowd outside Wrigley Field was pretty ugly and all riled up.

Then the Chicago Sun-Times ran the poor guy's name and personal information. He is Steve Bartman, 26. A resident of Chicago's North Side and a Notre Dame graduate, Bartman actually coaches little league ball and is a devout Cubs fan. Suffice to say he was disconsolate at his hand in bringing about the Cub's downfall. He was under police guard during Game 7 yesterday, and his home phone number has been disconnected.

But let's face it. Chicago loves the Cubs because they are a hard-luck team. They are sultans of despair. They blew the NLCS in colossal style, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. And Chicagoland loves 'em for it. They are the lovable losers, with a century of hard luck behind them. It takes determination to be Cubs fan, to revel in the pain it brings. Reminds me of that song Waiting In Vain: Like Bob Marley, Cubs fans are more in love with the waiting than the girl (or the team).

Grid Computing for Astronomers

Here's an interesting idea: Grid Computing for Astronomers. Telescopes hooked up via a network with intelligent software to guide them. The idea of using agents in a network to constantly monitor and inform people is not new, but setting up the software to actually determine significant astronomical events and respond to them is really cool.

GovGuam v. Pacificare

Here's an update on the battle between GovGuam and Pacificare. The gist of this article - Judge Manibusan will render a decision on Monday.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Quick Guam News Roundup

A quick trip through the Guam headlines:
  • GovGuam Retirement Fund Audit Released - It took a few years, but the audit of GovGuam Employees Retirement Fund is out. Seems the fund has over $1 billion in unfunded liabilities, due to bad investments and the tendency of lawmakers to dip into the fund to cover governmental expenses. Whoops. Guess that wasn't such a good idea after all guys.
  • Yingling Please Innocent - Gerry Yingling appeared in court yesterday and plead innocent to charges he used a government credit card to run up thousands of dollars in personal expenses.
  • October 13th Blackout - For the third year in a row, the power went out islandwide on October 13th. Luckily it was back on by the time I returned Monday evening.
  • Jayne Flores Calls Out DOE Leaders - Jayne Flores, local journalist and editor of Guahan Magazine, called on five DOE directors and principals to retire because of their ineffectual leadership last Thursday. I am sure none of the five will do such a crazy thing - it's not their fault the school system sucks, they only work there. Oh wait, they are the long time, entrenched leadership that guides the school system. I guess it is their fault the schools are falling apart and the children are failing so miserably.
  • GovGuam Gets $15 Million Settlement - GovGuam got a $15 million settlement from the Bank of Guam last week. Guess how much is going to be dispersed to people in the form of long-awaited tax refunds? That's right - none of it. In fact, the legislature was banking on that cash to keep the government afloat. Guess I'll never get my money back from GovGuam.

Lost Weekend

I spent the weekend in Tokyo, a guest at the wedding of a former Guam resident. Sumiko moved off Guam about three years ago, but we've kept in touch since. She married Go Shimada on Saturday, and friends converged from around the world to wish her and Go all happiness and joy in the years ahead.

The happy couple


The wedding was held at the New Otani Hotel in Tokyo, and it was beautiful. The party lasted well into the night, first at formal dinner in the New Otani's Ho-oh Ballroom and then at Zipangu, atop the Akasaka Excel Hotel Tokyu. Among the guests were a sizable contingent from Thunderbird, the graduate school in Arizona where Go and Sumiko first met.

Antonio makes a toast to Go and Sumiko


My friend Annie, also a former Guamanian, came to the wedding from San Francisco.

Sumiko and Annie together again


Guess who got the bouquet when Sumiko tossed it?

Annie snags the bouquet


It was a good trip. I spent Sunday shopping with Annie and her friend Liz and Sandy. Or I guess I should say they went shopping in Harajuku while I went to see the Meiji Jingu Shrine and walk around Yoyogi Park. Sunday night they went down to Roppongi (Gas Panic!) while I met my friend David Neale for dinner in Ogikubo. Dave is putting on True West this week, so I was lucky he could spare a few hours to hook up with me.

I spent a good deal of my free time wandering around this trip. Tokyo is just about as different from Guam as any place can be. Millions of people, all in a hurry. Millions of things to do, places to go, sites to see. It is very easy to become lost in the immensity of the place. Hell I could ride around on trains all day and be happy. To escape the daily routine, and discover new places and people. I am sure that is why people come to Guam, and many see it as an exotic, idyllic place. The allure of a tropical island wears off after so many years. I find myself craving cities, culture and mobs of people. Losing myself in a crowd, melting away to nothing, it holds a nihilistic appeal to me.

A funny thing, the newlyweds honeymooned on Guam! They were at the Hilton for a few days, and I met up with them yesterday. They look quite happy together. They left today for Japan, to resume their busy lives.

I will say this. I got a taste of the big city in Tokyo, and I definitely will be visiting more often.

Cubs Lose

Boy, the weight of history was against the Cubs this year. Up 3-1 in the NLCS and the Marlins came back to win the series and go to the World Series. I just watched the last couple innings of the game and the Wrigley Field crowd was numb. The final out left the ballpark quiet. Only the Marlins dancing around the infield showed any joy. I think the entire crowd was weeping.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Finding Amelia Earhart

Monday's PDN had a whopper of a story: an 81 year old veteran says he knows where Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan are buried: In an overgrown patch of jungle on Tinian.

Stories of Earhart's demise swirl around the Marianas, mostly because of one Saipanese woman's story about how she saw Japanese authorities imprisoning an American woman in the late thirties on Saipan. No one has ever confirmed this story, and historians are skeptical. This new story is similar, though the particulars take place on Tinian, the island due south of Saipan.

According to Saint John Naftel, he was approached in 1944 by a Hawaiian laborer on Tinian. The Hawaiian told him that shortly after he arrived on Tinian in 1937, the Japanese made him bury to Americans, a man and a woman, in aviator suits. The Hawaiian showed Naftel the burial sight, but Naftel never reported it because of the war.

Naftel finally told his story to local archaeologists, and Jennings Bunn agreed to help Naftel locate the long lost burial site. The veteran arrived last weekend and located the site the Hawaiian laborer identified so many decades ago.

Frankly I have my doubts. It's a big ocean, and the odds are that Earhart and Noonan are lying at the bottom of it. Saipan and Tinian were both well off Earhart's route, and if she was captured by Japanese, it's likely they took her to the military headquarters in Truk Lagoon.

Still, the story does capture my imagination. Jennings Bunn is busy securing the permits to dig on Tinian and he hopes to commence an archaeological study by the end of the year.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Resistance Is Futile

So, scientists at Duke University hooked up a monkey to a robotic arm and the little simian learned to control the arm with brain signals.

I'm sure this will lead to wonderful advances for parapalegics and stuff, but the first thing that went through my head was "BORG MONKEY"

Double Suicide In California

Women's deaths investigated as murder-suicide - Oct. 13, 2003

And one of the women was from Guam.

I'm Back...

I returned from Tokyo last night. I was a guest at a wedding and did some sightseeing. I'll post a more details this evening, complete with pictures from the wedding.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Lovely

From the Guardian comes a wild story; Vatican says condoms don't stop AIDS. The Holy Mother Church says condoms cannot stop HIV, nor limit the spread of AIDS. They persist with this fantasticly ludicrous position despite ample scientific evidence to the contrary and unwavering support from the CDC and WHO.

No wonder I stopped going to Mass decades ago. The Church would rather risk spreading the disease than address sexual habits openly and maturely and support a prophylactic device. The Church totters closer to irrelevance with every passing year.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

The Mouse That Howls

My Monday morning staple program on KPRG, Living on Earth, carried a quirky story about a mouse that howls like a wolf. Sounds crazy, but its true.

Oops

Error releases inmate - The Department of Corrections admitted that it released Benny Chaco Santos in September, a full two months before the end of his sentence.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Ulysses Illustrations

This is pretty cool: Illustrations for Joyce's Ulysses.

- TOMS -

Gotta like it. NASA has a project named after me. - TOMS -

Monday, October 06, 2003

Fantasy Football

We engineered a nice little trade last week, pulled in a kicker and a running back for this weekend's games. And it worked out nicely. Bagged another win to put us in sole possession of first place in our division.

Say hello to Trung Candidate and Sebastian Janikowski, the newest players on our squad.

This week is the supplemental draft, and we'll be picking up some more guys. We got a few guys that are no longer needed, and some areas of the lineup need bolstering.

It's funny, last year we were the most prolific team trading and drafting players with abandon. Our final squad bore little resemblance to our draft picks. For some reason, the other owners in the league are reticent about trades, and skittish about drafting players during the season. Perhaps they are too deeply attached to their draft picks. Hell, we traded away our #1 pick last year mid-season. Shaun Alexander was playing like a feeb, so we ditched him to another team for Jamal Lewis and a receiver. And never looked back. Lots of guys are determined to hang onto their players, probably because of pride or hubris. They don't want to look silly for drafting an underperformer. Even worse, they often don't want to trade those players away, thinking they are too valuable to their team. Dude, everybody's expendable. It's what they bring to the table that matters.

Boring...

Balancing the books is such a fucking chore. Plus it always depresses me. But it is good to know what's in the bank. I just wish there was more of it.

What's Really Going On In California

Alternet digs up the real reason for the California gubernatorial recall: Arnold's Enron Secret

Not A Single Game

Not one. No football on television this week.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Rain Rain Go Away...

It has been raining for weeks. It just won't stop. Brief patches of sunlight interspersed with copious amounts of rain. I am tired of rain. I am so tired of rain.

Saturday, October 04, 2003

Insurance Update

Pacificare to continue coverage of GovGuam members at least until Oct. 16 court date.

Oh the paper ran a story about the layoffs too.

Friday, October 03, 2003

Geeking Outer Joins

A nice, concise introduction to relational databases and types of joins used in querying the data from disparate tables. Not a very complex article, but it explains the mechanics behind inner and outer joins very well.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

School Apologizes for Nazi Display by Band

Talk about a collosal error in judgement: The Paris, Texas marching band performed a Nazi anthem and waved Nazi flags during a halftime performance at another high school last Friday. The Nazi piece was part of a 'Visions of World War II' program that featured other country's anthems. Last Friday also marked the start of Rosh Hashana, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.

Oops. I wonder if the band director is a friend of Rush Limbaugh's?

Why Am I Not Surprised?

Limbaugh resigns from ESPN over comments about McNabb. The cackling idiot has a propensity for putting his foot into his mouth. Unfortunately ESPN is not the chummy confines of talk radio, where Limbaugh can get away with outrageous falsehoods and offensive statements.

Dark Side Of The Moon

Silly me, I completely missed the thirtieth anniversary of one of my favorite albums earlier this year.

Breathe, breathe in the air
Don't be afraid to care
Leave but don't leave me
Look around and choose your own ground
For long you live and high you fly
And smiles you'll give and tear you'll cry
And all you touch and all you see
Is all your life will ever be

Run rabbit run
Dig that hole, forget the sun,
And when at last your work is done
Don't sit down it's time to start another one
For long you live and high you fly
But only if you ride the tide
And balanced on the biggest wave
You race towards an early grave...

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Arbitration allows PacifiCare to terminate contract with GovGuam

Breaking news on tonight's KUAM news broadcast: Arbitration allows PacifiCare to terminate contract with GovGuam.

MIT OpenCourseWare

MIT released 500 course notes, syllabi and exams in the MIT OpenCourseWare program. Interesting development. While the available courses are not for college credit or degree programs, it offers up a variety of information for self-learners or independent researchers. An excellent idea.

And this is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, not the 'other MIT' I knew growing up: "Meramec In Town" - the Meramec Valley campus of the St. Louis Community College system. That was the running joke back in high school. People would ask where you were planning to go to college and you'd reply, "MIT - Meramec In Town or Mom I Tried"