Daily Archives: 06/10/2004

My Dirty Little Secret

I am so ashamed of myself. Should I reveal my dirty little secret? I guess I must…

I just finished reading James Clavell’s Gai-Jin, and it is not something I am proud of. It was schlock, complete schlock. I knew it was crappy in the first 50 pages, shortly after the languorous rape of the main female protagonist I knew it was utter crap. I actually put the book down and avoided it for over two months. But I have a stubborn streak in me that hates to abandon a book, any book, once I start reading it. So two weekends ago I picked up that weighty tome of baloney and started reading it in earnest.

And once I got past it’s faults it wasn’t all that bad. Of course it was terrible, with wooden characters, confusing dialogue and a steady string of natural disasters to push the plot along, but I enjoyed the setting and some of the Japanese characters. I found myself rooting for them and eager to get past the wearisome blunderings of the gai-jin in Yokohama.

One major fault: I think over half the book was written in the pluperfect tense, which does not make for good story telling. ‘He had eaten after he had talked to the ship captain.’ Seriously, every other page some character or another drifted off into reverie and I was treated to an expository flashback. Even worse, I reckon at least three different times when one character started a flashback, then another character in the flashback had a deeper flashback. Huh? Who’s point of view is that? It certainly befuddled me. What do you call that? Superduperpluperfect tense?

In spite of all this confusion with tenses and point of view, I enjoyed it. Can’t really go wrong with all those samurai chopping their way through scores of people. Will I read another Clavell novel? No freaking way. I read Shogun ages ago when I was in grade school (seriously), but Gai-Jin was nowhere near as good. I guess I will just chalk this one up as a mistake, a guilty pleasure, and move on.

Local News Roundup

A quick tour through recent headlines:

  • Ex-officials Reindicted – A week after similar charges were dismissed against Carl Gutierrez and former administration officials, the attorney general re-indicted them on similar charges yesterday. This is the case surrounding illegally installed streetlights that Gutierrez administration officials peppered throughout residential neighborhoods.
  • Haim Habib Deemed Competent To Stand Trial – Local attorney Haim Habib, accused of multiple charges stemming from having sex with 13 and 14 year old girls, was deemed competent to stand trial this week. Habib had been confined to the Department of Mental Health since March when court psychologists testified that he was a delusional paranoid.
  • Cockfighting Flip Flop – A day after announcing that cock fighting would be a nightly event at the Liberation carnival this year, the Liberation committee announced that all gambling, including cockfighting, was being dropped from the carnival. Seems the governor did not like the idea, so it was dropped.
  • Snakes! – Locals are grumbling about possible cost increases if measures in the CNMI and Hawaii are approved. The measures would require all cargo leaving Guam to be thoroughly inspected for brown tree snakes in an effort to contain the animal’s spread across the Pacific. This could result in higher costs for shipping goods off the island.
  • FEMA Aid For Yap Hits $6 Million – Relief efforts are continuing on Yap, two months after the devastation of typhoon Sudal. 99% of the island’s power and water systems are restored, and the only homes left to repair are the ones totally destroyed by the typhoon. Unfortunately, that is over 700 homes. Donations are still being accepted.
  • New Airport Manager – The A.B. Won Pat International Airport Authority selected a former senator and airport board member as the new airport manager. Jesus Torres. The former manager, Bill Thompson, resigned in March citing personal reasons, but it was widely known he was upset about taking a $7,000 pay cut ordered by the governor.

    Torres was manager of the airport from 1987 to 1995. He has served on the airport’s board of directors for the past 17 months.

  • Fire Continues Unabated At Hard Fill – A fire that started over two months ago in a Chalan Pago waste site is still burning. Residents are finally being evacuated after complaining for weeks about sore throats and watery eyes.
  • Bomb Found In Skinner Plaza – A WWII era Japanese bomb was uncovered by workmen this weekend in Agana’s Skinner Plaza. The discovery of the explosive prompted the cancellation of the annual Santacruzan Procession before EOD sailors detonated the device.