Friday, March 11, 2011

tsu tsu tsunami

If somebody happens by this idling site, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has a warning out for the Northern Marianas.

Their estimate is about 8:53 Zulu -- about 6:53 this evening. They say its magnitude was 7.9 with no reports of damage or waves... But that's bulletin one.

From Japan I'm hearing 8.8 with large waves and major damage. Check out They claim it's the largest quake ever recorded in Japan.

Mo later.

Excerpted from bulletin #9:

SAIPAN US 15.2N 145.7E 0916Z 0.65M / 2.1FT 30MIN

So it looks like 2.1 feet at 7:16 pm

I wonder where the gauge is...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Chevy Goodenough is a good name

Okay, you'd have to read Gene Weingarten's piece in the Washington Post to get the joke.

Awhile back (quite a while) I ran off my reaction to a story about the planned Chevy Volt. I'm winging it, but I believe the original article said something about General Motors rolling the dice (and betting the firm) on it.

They lost, of course.

But hey, this is America and everyone gets a second chance, especially if they're Too Big To Fail. GM has almost bailed out their boat and it looks like the Volt might actually work out.

Not enough to get me out of my blogging snooze, except for a rare planetary alignment.

First, there was a reaction to his story from Powered by Coal which said, repetitiously: "Powered by Coal."

ha hahahahahaa. the whole article is a set up for that punch line. the american car industry: going backward to go forward

True enough, which got me thinking about the head of my current list of What's Wrong With This Country. That would be the Koch brothers, who seem to have become a liberal target also. When they're not suborning Justices or buying tea bags, they're funding lies about global warming.

I had to stretch to remember their names a couple of times, so I came up with Koch-coke-coal to deal with that mental burp. Weak, but it's my mnemonic and I'm keeping it.

That's the irony here. Even if you don't swallow some of the nonsense they've been enabling and buy an electric car, you're still filling their pockets.

So it's step forward and step back, but marginal progress nonetheless. Especially, as one of his readers astutely noted, because it's not much use if you don't have a secure place to plug it in.

If your power is expensive, Hello Saipan, not too practical and it's not much car for $36,000. Those are just quibbles, I think it a grand machine, even though I won't buy one soon. Finding a repair shop, I dunno.

Odds and ends

I'm a little rusty at this blogging, so there are a few danglers.

I mentioned that planetary alignment. His piece also included a cute quote that I vaguely remembered from way back, presented cutely:
This reminds me of Durwood Kirby. When he was warming up the audience for the Garry Moore show back in the 60s, he'd be asked from time to time what his real name was. He'd answer: If I weren't named Durwood Kirby do you think I'd ever call myself that?

Garry Moore was Garrison Morfit, Jr. By the way.

I am VERY old.
Also, just for closure, after the Koch bros. my WWWTC is headed by Rupert Murdoch and any one who has had any thing to do with Goldman Sachs. That last includes just about every national politician you've ever heard of and is one of the reasons for my blogger hiatus.

Sometimes you just throw your hands up and look at NASA's pretty pictures on the internet.

Meanwhile, the Volt really is just a Goodenough.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Once in a Blue Moon

incredibly remiss
otherwise occupied

I ran across this piece claiming that tonight's full moon is indeed a 'blue moon'. Not the second full moon in a month as everyone *knows*, but an extra month in a season. Supposedly, the monks didn't like years with 13 full moons because it messed up their festivals... unlucky, as it were.

Sounds good to me; it even makes sense. Just goes to show that we were more than capable of viral misinformation long before the internet piped up. The caveat, of course, being that I was interested enough to read the story and post this, but not to check the article's veracity.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Slow motion tsunami watch

Yesterday's magnitude 8.8 earthquake in Chile gave us time enough for two panic attacks, and I'm not going to the beach today.

A patrol officer announced the first tsunami watch at about ten o'clock last night. Sort of: I saw the lights and heard a marble-mouthfilled underwater voice. But the employees called soon after, then some customers. 'Are you open? Will you be open?'

No irresponsible lout, I pecked my way to the trusty Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. The site loaded in my browser more slowly than a government payment, and I soon learned why. A big one. We love lists and this comes in five on the top ten since 1900. (Hawaii was particularly nervous. Number one was from Chile too, I think, and it had a killer tsunami.(Evidently yes, at least it was just confirmed via CNN breaking news overkill.))

Still, the Pacific Ocean covers a third of the world. Chile is in the Southeast, we're in the Northwest. Even using the ballpark figure of commercial jetspeed without a TSA check beforehand, I could count on a good night's sleep before giving it much thought-- though there were early reports of 3-7 foot waves close to the quake.

Three feet in Hilo, Hawaii, the cable networks said at about 10:00 our time (Except CNBC; they were featuring Akio Toyoda falling on his sword before the U.S. Congress.) I should have recorded their boring beach pictures, it would be useful as one of those 'therapeutic' video relaxation programs.

So, at about 1:00 this afternoon I'll be at home. I live in Garapan, but up a hill. Safe enough. My neighbors went crazy when a police car went around again this morning. Massive chatter, I saw people with suitcases and bottles of water. None of my business.

If I had the ambition or energy, I'd head over to Old Man by the Sea or Jeffries Beach and try to grab a photo from a safe height. Hmm... Laulau Bay from the old Chamorro Village might be interesting. Nah, I'll play a computer game.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dirty dancer not deportable

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is at it again, deciding that nude dancing is not "categorically" a crime of moral turpitude and cause for deportation.

The story caught my eye because it might be of more than passing interest to some people locally now that immigration has gone federal. Well... it didn't hurt that they put 'moral turpitude' in the subheading. That woke me up better than a cup of coffee, almost guaranteeing a string of my favorite adjectives: vile, wicked base acts, depravity.

I was disappointed, sorely. The decision didn't even discuss the 'lewd act' that one Victor Ocegueda Nunez committed to get convicted of indecent exposure (I looked).

This all came up because Ocegueda, an illegal immigrant, was petitioning on hardship grounds to remain in the U.S. with his wife and children. Ah, but two moral turpitudes and you are out. The first was a petty theft conviction. Surprisingly draconian, or as Judge Stephen Reinhardt puts it with more judicial precision: "Go figure." That left the indecent exposure conviction and a descent into sophistry.

Instead of the facts of the case we are treated to an analog of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. It's easy to see why the Ninth Circuit gets slapped down so often.

Ordinarily, I would probably disagree with dissenting Judge Jay Bybee. Reading between the lines, it wouldn't be a stretch if he thought all dancing was lewd and lascivious. Still, it's hard to argue with "Whatever Ocegueda did to get himself convicted of indecent exposure, we can be fairly confident that it involved more than being a nude dancer at a bar or a 'tasteless prank'." This is California, folks.

Now I'll have that coffee.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Dilatory in posting, I've been chided. Shrug, I've been busy. Not that it matters, the local newspapers bickering, more Tiger balm for the masses, bankers back to being bankers. Politics, politics and another offensive in Afghanistan (Obama's War, according to a PBS piece).

I drive a lot lately. If the Department of Public Safety is cracking down on aggressive drivers, it's on other streets in other villages. A recent study claimed that most motorists weren't as competent as they thought. The evidence is out there every day.

I've always been bemused by the 'slalom' drivers here. With the distances involved, how much faster can you get anywhere cutting in and out of traffic? My tentative conclusion is that it's some sort of compensation. 'Sure, I'm still going to be late, but look how hard I'm trying to make up the time'. Nobody's watching but your superego, of course. I guess that's part of being socialized: act as if your disapproving aunt is judging every move, even when you're alone.

My reaction is different, if not quite opposite. Much of it comes from far too much time on the road after midnight, or later after the bars close. There's a simple rule if someone is weaving, driving erratically, too fast or too slow: keep them in front of you.

That last one might take some patience, but it's a hard-earned lesson. I once passed some yahoo stumbling down the road at 15 miles an hour and immediately found myself in a bad Fast and Furious remake (ok, that's redundant). Who knows what will push the road rage button when someone is making all of their decisions with their brain stem? It's all about control. If you're in front of me I have it, behind me and I'm a potential victim.

They're the worst, but drunks aren't the only problem to get before me. Cellphoners and text-punch-drunks come in a close second. I added the ubiquitous, pestilent white tour van years ago. Now, of course, any Toyota* is on the list.

Driver's education wasn't a big thing back in the day, but I remember learning about defensive driving. I vaguely recall a film with horrible, twisted corpses in horrible, twisted wreckage.

So, when I wonder whether that guy is going to pull out right in front of me at five miles-an-hour, he usually does. If I consider that gal likely to cross over into my lane for no reason, she often does. Dogs, cats and rugrats are alarmingly oblivious to tons of steel whizzing by.

There are some vivid images imprinted in my brain. I was crawling up the hill to the college (I still think of Dr. Torres Hospital and call it hospital hill) in a long line moving at the speed of a truck-full of gravel. There were only two lanes and the shoulder barely existed. Coming the other way, drunk at eight in the morning, was a fellow who veered into the gravel 'just a bit'. He over-corrected and zigged straight at the car in front of me. In stop-motion I saw (and see) his wide eyes as he zagged and over-corrected again, I see the driver in front of me looking over his shoulder equally wide-eyed with his mouth in a cartoon oval of surprise. Three's the charm, so his last over-correction took him just past me and he piled into the next car. The last image, less vivid, is the man behind me leaning away from the inevitable collision.

Luckily, no one was hurt-- drunks seldom are, anyway-- but there was nothing any of us could do. Out of our hands, luck of the draw. I'm doing my best to never be in that helpless position again.

* Some 'independent expert' was quoted as saying that while one of the Toyota brake fixes seemed expensive at millions of dollars, it was actually *only* a buck or two per car. That would be one explanation for him not working for a car company, their logic being that if you can save a dollar or two on each car it's millions on the bottom line. (I hope Nissan executives had bad dreams for awhile because of the evil psychic juju I was generating when I discovered my Sentra had a nylon timing belt.)