Monthly Archives: March 2004

Tax Rollback Tomorrow

Tomorrow the GRT is reduced from 6% back down to 4%, and its about time. The additional gross receipts tax was a burden on people at a time when the island’s economy could not handle it. Instead of facing the problems of GovGuam head on and actually reducing the bloated government payroll, legislators increased taxes by 50% and instituted a new round of fees on all sorts of government licenses. Believe me, voters will remember who was for increasing taxes this November – it was the Democrats.

Now it goes against my political grain to vote Republican, but it must be stated, those taxes didn’t add any services or special protections to the government operations. They did it so they wouldn’t have to lay off people on the government’s payroll. They took a look at the political fallout from raising taxes and decided it was an easier pill to swallow than being the first legislature in the island’s history to actually reduce, instead of increase, the island’s government workforce.

‘Max Havoc’ Filming Starts In May

So it looks like this is really going to happen: A film crew will start shooting Max Havoc in May of this year, here on Guam. They listed the stars in the movie, and the only one I recognize is Carmen Electra, that chick that I think was married to Dennis Rodman or something. Other than her, the stars named were from Germany and Taiwan. I guess this is a straight to video effort, but it might be entertaining to check this out in the coming months.

Adieu Hypercard

It appears Apple has finally killed off the moribund HyperCard.

I remember it well, it was an amazing product that really opened my eyes to how cool a software could be. It was so damn easy to make functional little software stacks, I made a stack that housed all my bibliographies during my college years, and outputted them in a suitable format for WriteNow, my trusty old word processor. The real problem with HyperCard was simple: It was a memory hog – and slower than tar on my Macintosh SE. If I started up HyperCard, nothing else would run on my computer with its paltry 2 megabytes of RAM. And once I moved up to a color computer with more oomph, HyperCard was fossilized, stuck in the old black & white world with 9 inch screens System 6.

I guess Apple never really knew what to do with the software and stopped promoting after a couple years. But they were heady times in the late 80’s, lot’s of stacks swapped around on floppies. Some really amazing stuff was created with HyperCard – and the greatest was If Monks Had Macs. This collection of stacks was incredible, they were a quantum leap beyond anything else I had ever seen done in HyperCard. Provocative essays and quirky explorations, If Monks Had Macs was probably the first successful multimedia I experienced. For those that are interested, If Monks Had Macs has been updated and released for both Mac and PC, using a successor to HyperCard, Runtime Revolution.

(Not So) Slow Train

Found an interesting website this week called Red Nova; it’s focus is on space and astronomy subjects. Like this one about The Slowest (And Fastest) Train In The Universe – the Mobile Transporter upon the ISS space station. The top speed of the MT is 2.5 cm per second, making it one of the slowest rail lines ever created. But it is also one of the fastest because the ISS is orbiting our planet at 28,000 km per hour.

BBQ Goodness

Spent yesterday at a bbq with some friends from work. Nothing like a day at the beach, eating bbq and drinking beer. The crew from Materials always has a good time. Even though I moved on to another department ages ago, I still get invited to their department functions. This party was an early Easter celebration. The location varies from year to year, this year the site was the United Seamen’s Service property (the old USO) in Piti. (The place is right next to the Cabras power plants and the port, so if anybody wonders about the industrial background in some photos, those are Guam’s base load generators.) The highlight of the afternoon was the Easter Egg Hunt for the kiddies, and it was amicable chaos as usual. Lots of running and screaming and good fun for everyone.

Check out some photos:
Mark shows off his skill on the grill
Check out those spare ribs!
Looking north towards Ritidian Point
Mark and Duane hard at work
I think Mark likes the bratwurst I brought
Barb and Tony hanging out
Claire and her boy Devon
The hunt begins
Parents help the little kids find eggs
Quick! There's more eggs on the other side!
Bringing back a full basket
Chuck and Lola relax in their folding love seat
Check out Tony's new ride

I was pretty tired when I got home, so I took a nice nap before heading out for another little party at a neighbor’s house. Sorry no pictures of that though. It was a good day, lots of sunshine and fun.

Price hikes hit wallets –

Boy I opened my mouth too soon. Gas prices shot up another 5¢ last week, making regular unleaded $2.25 a gallon. This is becoming ridiculous. But what is really ridiculous? The amount of money some people pour into their gas tanks. Everybody quoted in the Pacific Daily News article on price hikes at the pumps fill their vehicles two or three times a week. Damn. I visit the gas station about once every two weeks and I think that is bad. People are addicted to their automobiles here on Guam.

Arsonists Plead Guilty

Apparently everyone involved in the February torching of the iConnect radio tower in Saipan plead guilty this week. Back on February 7th, the iConnect radio tower atop Mount Takpochao in Saipan was heavily damaged by an explosion and fire. The FBI investigated the case, and quickly rounded up three suspects. Under questioning all three confessed; two employees of a rival cellular company and their boss, who’s business was being ruined by iConnect’s success.

Giant Fried Shrimp And Mars

This is pretty darn odd: Seems Long John Silver’s, purveyors of fried seafood across the States, is celebrating NASA’s discovery of an ancient ocean on Mars with free shrimp. I guess it’s great news if you love greasy, battered pseudo-fish.

One of these restaurants opened on Guam a few months ago, and I finally tried their food last week. I never tried Long John Silver’s back Stateside, and I don’t think I’ll try it again. If I ever have a hankering for tons of batter-fried food, I can’t do better than Kinney’s out in Pagat, Mangilao. They got four things on the menu, deep fried shrimp, deep fried chicken, deep fried mahi mahi and chop steak. Oh, and those killer onion rings – Kinney’s got the best on Guam. Much better than Long John Silver’s anyday.

Habib Trial Postponed

KUAM just ran a story this evening about local pervert Haim Habib, who stands accused of coercing sex from 13 & 14 year old runaways at his apartment. Seems a court appointed psychologist determined Habib is not mentally competent to stand trial at this time. Seems Habib feels a bit paranoid these days. So off he goes to Mental Health for treatment. Hopefully he’s feeling better in a few months and can stand trial.

Food For Thought

Do we owe our intelligence to mutation that reduced our species’ jaw size and strength? A new Gene study suggests early humans traded mighty bite for bigger brains. About the time our hominid ancestors started developing bigger brains a genetic mutation appeared that crippled the development of powerful jawbones and their requisite muscles girdling the skull. The theory goes that once the skull was freed of the burden of supporting massive jaw and cheek muscles, early hominid cranial size exploded.

Take The Long Way Home

Took the long way home tonight. The fiery sun set into the Pacific as I tooled down Marine Drive. Instead of taking my usual route I kept heading south, all the way to Agat. The power of the sun compelled me. I watched it sink into the ocean, and as the sky turned purple and pink with sunset, I turned the Blue Torpedo eastward along Cross Island Road.

Nothing like a nice drive home to unwind after a hard day at the office. Seems like everything I am working on is due by next Monday. Oof. I need a vacation. Pretty sad, since I just got back from one two weeks ago.

In Defense Of Evolution

One of my favorite blogs lately is Pharyngula, written by Paul Myers, associate professor of biology at the University of Minnesota, Morris. Dr. Myers is a tireless advocate of evolution education, shining the spotlight on creationists, ‘intelligent design’ supporters, and their efforts to expunge evolution and scientific thinking from the curriculum across the country.

Monday he posted a link to a lucid and well written defense of evolution, a statement published by the Botanical Society of America: Botanical Society of America’s Evolution Statement. It defends the use of evolution as a scientific theory and exposes creationism as “scientific uselessness,” that offers not “a single contribution to agriculture, medicine, conservation, forestry, pathology, or any other applied area of biology.”

Gasoline Prices Rising

Came across this story about the rising cost of gasoline. This article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is griping about $1.64 per gallon prices. Crap. I can’t remember the last time gas was a $1.64 on Guam. Honestly, in ten years of driving gas has never been below $1.72 or so on Guam. The price for regular unleaded is currently a scorching $2.20 a gallon. I am just glad I don’t drive around in a big old SUV like so many mopes on this island. I think it’s time to start biking to work again.

A Couple Reflections On Guam

Two things:

  1. The power went out for a second morning in a row today. Yesterday it died in my village a little after 7:00 am and was out for a couple hours, today a long brownout (great for the appliances and computers!) at 8:10 preceded an island-wide outage. Parts of the island-wide grid are slowly being energized. The cause? Probably a big brown tree snake – that was a popular excuse a few years ago.
  2. Speaking of the brown tree snake, I was just outside making a call on my cellular when I heard this odd noise. I turned around and saw a pidgeon. Holy crap! A bird on Guam, even a common pidgeon, is always a surprise. I was startled by what I saw, after all birds are non-existent on Guam, thanks to the brown tree snake.