Monthly Archives: February 2005

New Landfill Passes Federal Muster

The US EPA approved of Dandan as the location of Guam’s new landfill. It actually looks like the festering sore of Ordot Dump will finally close, despite the protests from the village of Inarajan. Residents of Malojloj are understandably upset about the decision to place the new landfill in their community and are making an effort to halt the process. It is important to realize that part of this new landfill is a sustainable solid waste program, one that incorporates recycling, composting and minimizing the waste that goes into the landfill. It is still a messy problem, but the new landfill should be far less damaging than Ordot.

Some Random Science Links

In case anybody is curious, I’m trying to clear my blogging slate tonight. Maybe it’s the Sudafed kicking in, but I am on a roll tonight. I got a pile of stories that accumulated during the past week, and I want to mention them before they get too stale. So bear with me while I toss up some brief, yet interesting science related links

  • Japanese researchers announced the discovery of plankton found in the depths of the Marianas Trench, just off of Guam’s coastline. The plankton survive by ingest the organic detritus that filters down to the abyssal depths, over 35,000 feet below sea level.
  • Geologists now say the mammoth earthquake that caused Decembers catastrophic tsunamis was three times stronger than originally reported. No, that doesn’t mean it was a magnitude 27.0 earthquake, the temblor was upgraded to 9.3 magnitude. After further analysis they have a theory on the propagation of the killer tsunamis as well, only one third of the slip fault experienced a rapid, powerful earthquake. The remaining two thirds of the fault affected went through a ‘slow slip’ that generated the enormously powerful waves.
  • Check out the new Turing Cluster supercomputer at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. It’s constructed out of 640 Apple Xserve G5’s. Cool.
  • Here’s a ridiculous story about how random number generators can forecast the future, or telepathy, or some other such nonsense. To say I am skeptical is an understatement. It’s like nobody wants to understand mathematics, probability or cause and effect.
  • Finally, here’s a really cool image taken by the Cassini probe in orbit around Saturn. The colors are true to life and show the pale blue atmosphere of Saturn’s northern hemisphere. The black arcs are the shadows of the diaphanous rings around Saturn. As an added bonus, mysterious Mimas passes in the foreground between the probe and the gas giant. Very cool photo. Check out the detail in the full size photo, it is simply amazing.
    Blue Saturn with Mimas

Okay, that’s it for tonight. I’m going to take some cold medicine and hit the sack.

PIA Ceases Operations

I forgot to mention this last month when the story first broke: Pacific Island Aviation, one of the regional airlines that specialized in the inter island Guam-Rota-Saipan routes, ceased operations last Wednesday. PIA announced the shutdown late last month, citing high fuel costs and the stiff competition from Freedom Air and Cape Air (dba Continental Express). I was sad to see the airline go, I flew PIA several times and always enjoyed it, especially after they became a Northwest Airlines affiliated airline and I could accrue miles flying to Tinian. Here’s the story from last week’s Marianas Variety.

Not Closing, Just Cruisin’ – PIA

by Jude O. Marfil

SAIPAN – At around 8 p.m. Wednesday, a Pacific Island Aviation plane pulled into PIA’s hanger after its final flight.

Upon hearing the whir of the plane’s propeller, PIA’s soon to be jobless employees stopped what they were doing. They cheered, waved and clapped.

After 16 years, the airline had decided to stop its operations.

“We are not closing. We are just cruising,” said in-flight supervisor Marcy C. Cepeda, one of PIA’s 60 employees. “We are here now not to say goodbye but to say thank you for the good memories we have (while) working here.”

The teary-eyed Cepeda add, “It’s been very emotional reminiscing.”

PIA’s marketing director Daisy S. Sablan said they will miss “our working together as a family.”

Sablan is among the pioneer employees of PIA when it started its operations in 1988.

Capt. Michael M. Sato said he is also sad for the CNMI because it just lost the only carrier based in Saipan.

PIA’s competitors Cape Air and Freedom Air are based on Guam.

“The people failed to realize that they just lost one of their own. This is their own airline,” said Sato, the pilot of PIA’s last flight.

PIA decided to end its operations on Saipan due to stiff competition and rising jet fuel costs.

-Marianas Variety Guam Edition, Friday Feb. 11, 2005

I think Continental and Cape Air just killed PIA with their service. Continental ceased virtually all jetliner service between Guam and Saipan and shunted travelers into the nearly hourly Cape Air flights. PIA will continue to offer charter flights from Saipan to Tinian.

Nuclear Reactors Anybody?

A remote Alaskan town is considering an offer from Toshiba for a free small scale nuclear reactor. The town Galena currently barges in expensive diesel fuel to power the village, which carries a considerable risk of a fuel spill on the rough Yukon River. Galena pays three times the national average for electricity, and the offer of cheap, reliable nuclear power could cut the town’s power bill from 28 ¢/kwh to less than 10 ¢/kwh.

Toshiba is offering the town one of their new 4S (Super Safe, Small & Simple) sodium cooled nuclear reactors. There are no control rods to sustain the nuclear chain reaction, the reactor uses reflector panels around the core. If the reflector are removed the density of neutrons drops below the level needed to sustain fission. The reactor uses liquid sodium to cool the reactor and create steam to drive the generators instead of water. The 4S generator can produce 10

Galena looked at other options but decided coal was too dirty and solar was not feasible at the extreme latitude of Galena. It sounds like an interesting test case. Obviously Toshiba hopes this will spark other isolated towns to consider nuclear power in the future. The 10 megawatt reactor would be the first nuclear power plant approved and constructed in the United States since the early 80’s.

I am certain that some environmental groups are protesting this action. But I think the time has come to face up to it; only nuclear power offers a chance for humanity to escape the ravages of global warming. Civilization isn’t in any danger of running out of fossil fuels in the near future, the real crisis is that the world is running out of capacity to absorb the damage we are doing to it. Even with the Kyoto Protocol now in effect, it is too late to stop global warming, the best we can hope for is to minimize the damage it causes in the coming decades. The originator of the Gaia hypothesis, James Lovelock, endorsed nuclear power last year, saying it offered the best hope for curbing global warming.

While it took humans until this past century to harness the power of the atom, natural nuclear reactors once existed in the earth’s crust during the formative stages of our planet. Scientists researching a ‘georeactor’ found in Togo in 1972 discovered that the nuclear reaction was controlled by river water trickling into rich uranium ore deposits. The water acted like control rods in a modern reactor, stabilizing the reaction and releasing tremendous amounts of heat. Once the water boiled away, the chain reaction fizzled out until more water seeped into the ore. The reactor worked like clockwork, every couple of hours it would ignite for exactly 30 minutes before cutting off. And it lasted like that for 120 million years.

Neal Stephenson Interviewed

Here’s a good interview from Reason Magazine with one of my favorite science fiction authors, Neal Stephenson. I am currently reading Quicksilver, so Stephenson’s thoughts on the Enlightenment and the emergence of the industrial revolution are particularly apt right now. The interview touches on some of his earlier work, like Snow Crash and The Diamond Age, and how these visions of the future represent the apotheosis of libertarian ideals. But the gist of the interview is how Stephenson became interested in the Age of Enlightenment and the rise of the modern state. The role of science cannot be underestimated during this period, and Stephenson tears into it with vigor. His sentiments regarding the current climate towards science is equally perceptive:

It is quite obvious to me that the U.S. is turning away from all of this (science and engineering). It has been the case for quite a while that the cultural left distrusted geeks and their works; the depiction of technical sorts in popular culture has been overwhelmingly negative for at least a generation now. More recently, the cultural right has apparently decided that it doesn’t care for some of what scientists have to say. So the technical class is caught in a pincer between these two wings of the so-called culture war. Of course the broad mass of people don’t belong to one wing or the other. But science is all about diligence, hard sustained work over long stretches of time, sweating the details, and abstract thinking, none of which is really being fostered by mainstream culture.

We’ll see how well I do with Stephenson’s magnum opus, the Baroque Cycle. Each of the three books are about 900 pages long, so reading them will be all about diligence and sustained hard work over a long stretch of time.

Ah CHOO!

I can’t believe this. A week ago I was sidelined with a classic case of the flu: nausea, vomiting, body aches, ague and a general lethargy. It was over in a couple days and by the end of the week I was feeling fine.

Yesterday I started sneezing. And sneezing. And sneezing. Last night my throat was sore. Woke up this morning and my head was stuffed, my nose drippy and I am still sneezing. Yes, I have a head cold.

So, what’s going on? Am I still sick from last week, or is this a new and different virus running amok in my system. I don’t really know, and
medical science doesn’t really know either.

Ah choo!

The Bottom Of The Movie Barrel

And to wrap up my movie review mayhem, here’s the lousy movies I saw that really made me regret the time spent watching them.

  • The Manchurian Candidate – This Jonathan Demme remake of the Sinatra classic is a taut and enjoyable reinterpretation of Jonathan Frankenheimer’s original. It’s easily the best movie of this bunch. Instead of communists placing a brainwashed sleeper in the White House, it’s amoral global corporatists placing implants in people’s brains. The remake is a worthy contender to the original, with biting insights on the modern political process. It lacks the layers of the original, but the ending is original and entertaining.
  • The Hole – Well that was a disappointment. Started good, but quickly became predictable and terribly boring. And I mean completely predictable.
  • Dogville – Good gravy, it’s like Our Town on a bad acid trip. The movie is without a redeeming quality, in the aptly named town of Dogville. At first I thought it might be interesting, with the minimalist set and overtly theatrical lighting. But it quickly descends to an unending litany of horrors and abuse heaped on Nicole Kidman. The movie is the coarsest sort of allegory, without a single moment of redemption. The climax of the movie, when Kidman exercises her inevitable, terrible vengeance on the inhabitants of Dogville is ordained from the first frame. The movie tries to be anti-American, but ultimately it is a misanthropic fever dream. Utterly loathsome, probably one of the worst movies I’ve every seen.
  • The Chronicles of Riddick – It certainly comes off as an important blockbuster. High powered cast with Judi Dench, Thandie Newton, Colm Feore and Karl Urban making up for Vin Diesel’s lack of acting ability. Ultimately however, the movie was a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, yet signifying nothing.
  • I, Robot – I’ve seen this so-so Hollywood action flick far too many times. Blame it on Continental, they can’t get if off rotation on their flights. Over and over I got to watch Will Smith battle robots in a soulless movie. On the fifth viewing of this movie I felt like Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange, forced to watch this horrible thing, with toothpicks propping my eyelids open. This movie is like Troy, the swords ‘n sandals epic “inspired by Homer.” Though I, Robot shares the name with Isaac Asimov’s short story collection, and it features robots and the three laws of robotics, this is definitely not Asimov. Some hack took the idea of robots, tossed in a bunch of nonsensical violence, a few dozen explosions and Will Smith’s butt and called it a movie.
  • Without A Paddle – Here’s a bad sign: I seriously thought this movie was called Up A Creek – Never a good sign when you can’t remember the name of what you watched. This comes from the nothing ventured, nothing gained school of movie making. It ain’t terribly original, it ain’t really funny, but it ain’t really bad either. Basically a waste of time, but I have to confess it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. It was a way to kill a few hours during a trans-Pacific flight. Would I recommend it? Hell no, don’t waste time or money on this piece of crap, it only exists to kill time on a long haul across an ocean.
  • Raising Helen – Oof-duh. I can’t believe I watched this piece of fluff. The most preposterous movie I’ve seen in a long time. It was like a two hour pilot for a bad sitcom. Bad jokes, predictable plots and unbelievable characters. And the most unbelievable thing is this fantasy movie? She lands a job as a receptionist at a used car dealership and the job pays $19.50 an hour!! Sweet Jesus, whoever wrote the screenplay was on mushrooms or something. The things I will watch while riding a 747 across the Pacific.
  • The Village – I caught this on the airplane from Newark to Narita. Man, that Shymalian guy just gets worse and worse. I liked the Sixth Sense, Unbreakable was okay, the crop circle movie was stupid, and this movie really sucks. I mean it really, really sucked. The plot was completely transparent and utterly preposterous. Go back to making movies about ghosts and freaky medical conditions dude.
  • Suspect Zero – What was this, a special two hour episode of just about any crime drama on TV? I think so. It was a good episode of a tv show, but a nondescript movie. Ben Kingsley is good, but not much else is worthwhile in this Silence of the Lambs knockoff. Another waste of time on Continental’s 777 to Narita.
  • Vanity Fair – I only caught about half of this ponderous mess before the flight ended. Poor Reese Witherspoon is completely out of her depth in this ridiculous Masterpiece Theater wannabe. I’ve read Vanity Fair, and this movie is completely off base. Becky is far more avaricious, conniving and manipulative than how Witherspoon portrays her character. Witherspoon brings her character from Legally Blonde across the Atlantic, and gives her a British accent. What a disappointment. I really enjoyed some of Mira Nair’s earlier work (no, not Kama Sutra – though that was pretty hot). But this movie is a mess.

Funny Weird Or Funny Ha Ha?

Time for some more movie reviews. This time, I will run over a few comedies that passed by my TV screen.

  • Napoleon Dynamite – Wow. Deadpan is about the only word that comes to mind on watching Napoleon Dynamite. It is bizarre film, so utterly stupid and completely off the wall that humor doesn’t really matter. I don’t know what to say about this nonsense. I really don’t know. Did I like it? It’s like driving by a train wreck – I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. It certainly takes high marks as the most absurdly stupid movie I’ve seen in a long time. If this movie reminds me of anything, it’s the asinine late-night cartoons that are shown on the Cartoon Channel weeknights. Yes, this is the live action film version of Adult Swim
  • I Heart Huckabees – What the hell? This is pretty much incomprehensible philosophic mishmash done up in pastel colors. Enlightenment is found screwing in the mud or wearing clothes like the Amish, or maybe it’s just being nice to people. Okay, whatever. But go with the flow, sit back and enjoy the ride. After all, it is a 13 hour flight and there’s not much else to watch. In the end, this movie is an enjoyable mess.
  • Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle – Not a bad stoner/road trip movie. Certainly had some funny segments, including a strung out, horn dog Doogie Howser who steals the hero’s car. And it certainly made me crave some White Castles. The movie makes some pithy comments on race in 21st century America. Probably one of the most honest explorations of American ethnicity I’ve seen in some time. And it was pretty damn funny too boot. It was like a great stoner high, bouts of complete lucidity puncuated by moments of absolutely skewed humor.
  • Shaun of the Dead – I heard a great deal about this movie, so I was eager to watch it. Zombie movies are fairly easy targets to lampoon, and Shaun of the Dead does not disappoint. Two drunken slackers barely notice the end of the world going on around them. And when they do realize the zombies have taken over, they settle on the local pub as the best place to lay low and ride out the apocalypse. Easily the funniest of the recent spate of zombie movies, it even gets in a few digs at the other movies, like 28 Days Later, Dawn of the Dead, and Resident Evil.

The News Carried To Macedonia

On the banks of the
     river they call Indus today
we observe a kind of
bean
     much like the Egyptian bean
     also
crocodiles are reported
upstream & hillsides grown over
     with myrrh & ivy
          He believes
we have located the headwaters
of the River Nile
     we offer
sacrifice
hold games
     for the occassion
There is much rejoicing &
          the men think
     we shall turn back
These elephants their
emissaries offer
     are giant
terrifying beasts yet
     with a grin he yesterday
ran up a ladder onto
          the very top of one
     beast
The men
          cheered him & he
waved & they cheered him
     again
He pointed across the river
     & the men grew silent
The builders
busy themselves with great rafts
     at the water’s edge
          on the morrow
we again set our faces
     to the East
Tonight
          wind     birds
fill the air
     the clacking of their bills
like iron on iron
The wind
          is steady is fragrant
     with jasmine
trail of the country behind us
The wind moves
          through the camp
stirs the tents of
the Hetaeri
     touches each
of the sleeping soldiers
Euoi! Euoi!
     men cry out
in their sleep & the horses
          prick their ears & stand
     shivering
In a few hours
they all shall wake
     with the sun
shall follow the wind
     even further
-Raymond Carver, Fires

Skipper Of Grounded Sub Faces Sanctions

The commander of the USS San Francisco, which ran into an undersea mountain last month, is being admonished by the US Navy. Commander Kevin Mooney faced an admiral’s mast in Japan today, on charges that he endangered his ship and the lives of his crew.

The Navy’s highest form of nonjudicial punishment, admiral’s mast falls short of the criminal proceedings of a court martial, but can result in anything from full exoneration to fines, reprimands, and loss of qualifications.

At the heart of the issue is whether Cmdr. Mooney disregarded warning signs of an uncharted mountain before the grounding. Charts onboard the submarine did not indicate a mountain, but additional charts available to the skipper mention a discoloration in the water, a likely indicator of a submarine seamount reaching to near the surface. In addition, CBS News reported that before the high speed submerged run began, depth soundings taken by the crew of the submarine showed the water was shallower than indicated on the charts, another warning sign that was disregarded.

CNN is reporting that Cmdr. Mooney was relieved of command today, a formally reprimanded by the Navy, an action that has likely ended his career.

Fear Not, I Still Walk The Earth

I’m feeling much better after a couple days of laying about in bed, so let’s get back to the movie reviews. This time around, let’s talk about some sparkling little gems I’ve seen recently.

  • Spirited Away – A delightful, wonderfully skewed animated film about a girl that crosses over to the spirit world and finds work in a bathhouse for the gods. This animated treat is the masterpiece of Japanese anime legend Hayao Miyazaki. I can’t imagine why it took me so long to finally watch this movie, I thought Princess Mononoke was an amazing feat. Chihiro’s adventures in the bathhouse are the stuff of classic children’s literature, similar to Roald Dahl or Maurice Sendak. Thankfully my sister has excellent tastes in movies and brought it home from her library for my enjoyment.
  • Afterlife – Another sleeper I found laying around at my sister’s house in Chicago. A poignant, humorous look at what happens when we die, this Japanese film was absolutely delightful. If you could only remember one memory from your life, what would it be? The movie poses some interesting questions and told a good story with a wry sense of humor. And it saved me from wallowing through the complete five DVD edition of Ingmar Bergman’s masterpiece, Fannie and Alexander. I’m only good for one movie marathon per holiday season please, and my brother trumped Bergman with the complete Lord of the Rings Extended DVD collection.
  • Hotaru No Hoshi (Fireflies: River of Light) – This was by far the best film I watched on the long, long flight to Narita. A bumbling young schoolteacher discovers how to be a teacher through a project on reintroducing fireflies to the local streams. An intimate and beautifully filmed movie, it was a joy to watch. I understand the director turned down a role in Tom Cruise’s lame ass Hollywood blockbuster The Last Samurai to spend a year filming this exquisite little film. I understand the movie is based on a true story, not like the usual Hollywood “this movie is inspired by something that might have possibly happened to somebody vaguely familiar to something you could have heard about on the evening news before we scrubbed out the unpleasantly realistic parts, tossed in a blonde bombshell with a huge rack and maybe an airplane blowing up ‘cuz that looks really cool kind of a story.”
  • Finding Neverland – I heard good things about this movie from people that saw it, so when it showed up at the bargain theaters I made a mental note to go watch it. I finally made it the other night, since I figured it days are probably numbered at the second run theater. Kate Winslet radiates life and energy in her role, and Johnny Depp brings real depth to his portrayal of J.M. Barrie. The fanciful interplay between imagination and reality was a great effect, seamlessly combining childhood fantasies with reality. A nice trick, it reminded me of the way Julie Taymor blended reality into Frida Kahlo’s artwork in Frida. I think Finding Neverland is the weakest of the movies I’ve mentioned here, but it’s about as enjoyable a movie I’ve seen come out of Hollywood all year, with the exception of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Funny, most of those movies are Japanese. And the two Hollywood movies I admitted to enjoying in the past year both star Kate Winslet. Hmmm. Maybe I’m still in a delirious fever dream…

Oof-Duh

Well, I woke up this morning sick as a dog. Been throwing up all day, achey muscles, fever. Guess I got the flu.

I was so wiped out I didn’t even watch the Superbowl today.

This Week’s Book Report

It’s time to talk about books, books and more books. Here’s the latest roundup on what I’ve been reading since the middle of December. I think it is a good list of interesting stuff.

  • Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabakov: I can’t believe it took me so long to read this book. Once I started reading it I was enthralled. Absolute brilliance, scathingly funny, Pale Fire is a vision of obsequiousness, hubris, sycophancy and pomposity without equal. I laughed out loud during certain passages, and I mean I laughed out loud in food court or restaurant when I was reading this book. That always brings discreet looks (“Is he nuts?” “What’s up with that guy?”), but I didn’t care. Pale Fire was a damn funny book.
  • Baudolino by Umberto Eco: I’ve enjoyed Eco’s work before, but this novel was especially enjoyable. Baudolino is a fanciful, playful romp through medieval legends and history. The title character relates the impossible adventures of his life to a Byzantine official during the sack of Constantinople, ranging from boyhood adventures to a quest for Prester John in the Far East. Along the way Baudolino encounters emperors, bishops, knights, magicians, giants, wonders and monsters of all shapes and kinds. What is real and what is fantasy? That is the crux of this delightful book.
  • Once Were Warriors by Alan Duff: I saw the movie adaptation of Alan Duff’s novel many years ago, but my recent travels in New Zealand prompted me to read the original. The unrelenting horror of the first half of the book is slowly replaced by a growing seed of hope; while some may fail and fall along the way, it looks like most of the book’s characters find themselves are working to emerge from the crushing cycle of violence and poverty that wracks their lives.
  • The Club Dumas by Arturo Pérez-Reverte: I’ve been meaning to read The Club Dumas ever since I watched the Johnny Depp film adaptation that Roman Polanski made a few years ago. It was called The Ninth Gate, and much of the subtlety and depth of the novel never made it to that movie. In fact a huge portion of the book was simply dropped from the screenplay, which made parts of the movie rather inscrutable. I have a certain penchant for intellectual suspense novels like this, works steeped in literary and historical references. These erudite thrillers usually throw in enough minutiae to keep my brain churning for days afterward. The Club Dumas was no different. What struck a chord with me was the casual gnosticism of the novel, woven deeply into the story about antique books. A funny synchronicity: Both The Club Dumas and Baudolino incorporate gnosticism into the stories but never directly address it. They both deftly dance around the subject, but it is definitely there. But an exploration of Gnostic thought is for another time and another post…
  • Life Along the Silk Road by Susan Whitfield: I dragged this book with me on vacation, mostly because I have an enduring interest in the Silk Road, and Baudolino sparked my interest in medieval Central Asia, Manicheans and Nestorians. Susan Whitfield offers up an interesting look at life on the Silk Road over the course of two centuries, stitching together stories based on actual documents recovered from the Silk Road city of Dunhuang. Dr. Whitfield presents her subject matter in this uniquely humanizing way, revealing the stories of soldiers, traders, courtesans, nomads, monks, artists and widows during the heyday of the Silk Road.
  • Kalpa Imperial by Angélica Gorodischer: This singular collection of stories spin the history of a fantastic empire that never was, a chimera of Jorge Luis Borges and Ursula Le Guin, Carl Jung and Edward Gibbon. Like Borges, Gorodischer is an Argentine, so I expected similarities with his work. But it has the tones of Le Guin, probably because she translated the work. The stories are epic in scope, archetypical in nature and ethereal in prose. While the stories are fantastic, it is wrong to classify this book as a fantasy novel. It uses fantastic settings and characters to deliver insightful stories and chilling reminders of the archetypes of humanity.

Iraq Shooting in Tal Afar

Ask me what I think of when I contemplate Iraq and this comes to the top of my mind. Americans spent January 20th obsessed with the empty pomp and circumstance of King George’s coronation in Washington D.C. The rest of the world read in horror the this story, and the images captured by an embedded photojournalist.

Iraq Orphan

A child shrieking in fear and loss, bathed in the blood of her parents. Her father was shot in the head so many times his skull collapsed in on itself, while his daughter and her five siblings watched. Makes you wonder about quotes like this:

Lt. Gen. James Mattis, who commanded the 1st Marine Division in the 2003 Iraq invasion, drew the subtle reprimand after making the remarks at a panel discussion Tuesday on lessons of the Iraq war. Although many U.S. military commanders speak with blunt bravado about killing, Mattis’ remarks sparked criticism from military ethicists for saying he relished the act.

“Actually, it’s a lot of fun to fight. … It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right upfront with you, I like brawling,” he said at the forum in San Diego.

“You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil,” he added. “You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway. So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them.”

Another Earthquake

At 13:34 we had another earthquake. Not as strong as the one Wednesday, but it lasted pretty long.

…Well, shiver me timbers. It was just as strong as Wednesday’s earthquake, a magnitude 6.3 temblor. Only it was much further away, closer to Anatahan and Saipan than Rota or Guam. 25 miles southeast of Anatahan, 50 miles north of Saipan.

I hate earthquakes.

Associated Press Gets Punked

This is almost the funniest thing I’ve heard all week, it’s right up there with the judge and his penis pump fetish.

Yesterday I heard the story on NPR about how mujahedeen in Iraq claimed to capture an American soldier. The AP ran with the story and the major news media picked up the tragic story. His picture was posted on the internet by the extremists:

GI Joe captured in Iraq

Looks a little stiff and expressionless doesn’t he? Well there’s a good reason – he’s a fucking GI Joe doll!

GI Joe in mint condition

Of course all the news media are making half-assed excuses about being completely hoodwinked. Bunch of idiots falling over themselves to present the latest gory story and dramatic photo. Over at Fark, they’re having a field day with this, cooking up a plethora of fun images. I especially like this image:

Dan Rather breaks another hoax story

I guess he managed to escape using his kung fu grip. Thank God he’s still in mint condition.

When will the madness in Iraq end? WHEN? How many toys must die for President Bush’s imperial dreams?
Oh God! Not Elmo!