Thursday, February 28, 2008

The no ho zone

Let's visit Come-ons from the whores on Seventh Avenue again. (I'm still fishing for a compliment on my clever use of a song lyric to reference the Seventh Avenue garment district in New York)

It looks like the parade has passed by. The working girls are still here, they're just not here. No more primping, posing and pacing up and down under my nose. Except when a ship is in, you see them going somewhere else. Some have become regular customers. I'm not real pleased with the guy hustling dirty movies a block away, but the ladies have moved on. Then again, he sure buys a lot of beer.

My guess is they're strolling and trolling nearby. Maybe it's better enforcement, but I'd like to feel I have a bit part in this particular street theater.

If I'm not busy, I follow 'da boys outside sometimes and we solve all of Saipan's problems while they start on their road beer. That's usually not fun for a passing hooker. Let's put it this way: what are the first words most people seem to learn in any language? Okay, it's hard to embarrass a professional, but who needs that kind of aggravation and attention?

Maybe that's not it at all, but it fits what I've seen. Even when they're out in 'hey sailor' mode, they tend to walk faster and not advertise when they're within shouting distance of the store.

This all popped into my head because of Tim Harford: It takes a neighborhood to cut crime in the Saipan Tribune (Sacramento Bee*)today. Harford talks about 'eyes on the street' reducing crime.

This doesn't work as well if the only eyes on the street are attached to merchandise on the street. The loitering law is a good start, but it must be a nightmare to get solid evidence. I'm sure the police try, but they're pretty much reduced to saying 'move on, move on, or go inside'. The bicycle police, another good idea, are faced with spotters holding cellphones. By the time they get around a corner, it's like a speakeasy was turned into a church revival.

The new zoning plan will help, a lot. Just don't expect it to change anything overnight. As a practical matter, a lot of pretty crappy land uses have been grandfathered in. That's just reality. Be happy that it's there after all of the false starts.

Also in today's Saipan Tribune we hear another verse for an old, sad song. (Growing the Russian market) A Russian manager for Vladivostok Air, Roman Gregoriev, chimes in about Saipan's sleaze factor:

“Thailand doesn't have a good reputation [among Russians] because of its sex industry, especially for couples and families with children. But Saipan is a really good place for them. That is why some Russians were really disappointed when they found a lot of strange massage-lounges in Garapan,” he said.
Hopefully that will soon be behind us. We should also start seeing new buildings that are not built right up to the property line (or a few feet over it) with no place to park cars. With patience, and no retreat by the politicans this time, we can expect improvement.

Way back, I thought I wanted to be a land use planner when I grew up. A noble calling, but politicians and 'stakeholders' love to use the messenger as a punching bag. Planners grab fistfuls of information from hearings and written comments, stuff it into a plan... and usually get attacked immediately from all sides.

What I loved about planning was that it was a certificate program within the Geography department. I could take almost anything and justify it to my advisor.

Physics? Sure. Geology? Absolutely. Satellite images? Yum. Don't forget the math, especially statistics. There's economic, political and social geography so I could dip into those subjects. So much for a generalist like me that I soon lost interest in having a boring specialty. My allergic reaction to politics just pushed me over the edge and eventually into Communications.

What I began to notice in my trek through the so-called Social Sciences was the academics busily re-inventing the wheel in their Ivory Towers. That includes geographers. Other than to justify an occasional salvo at a competing department's tower, it seemed that most of them weren't even reading the journals outside of their niche.

Which brings us back to that economist.

Before it morphed into the dismal pseudo-science, economics was political economy. You may have heard of a few of its champions: Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx. I may have forgotten everything else in my poli-sci 201 text, but its definition of politics stuck: “who gets what”. Economists are still stuck there, they just deny it. Whatever their protestations, economists are not scientists. They use many of the same tools. A hammer is a great tool for cracking nuts, but using it doesn't make me a carpenter.

Economists usually refuse to see the assumptions behind their "scientific" theories. If you don't acknowledge them, they don't exist.

Look at the statistics he cites about high-rise buildings-and don't get me started about "new-wave" economists. It's simple really: high-rise equals high-crime.

Okay, let's see, do those studies include how the building fits into its neighborhood? Are the tall buildings just plopped on a lot with no place for people to hang out on the ground floor? I'm not talking about a Starbucks on every block, but that's better than a sterile lobby or gated staircase. But let's not think, we'll just say "It's the height of the building itself that matters."

Old urban neighborhoods are a glorious mess, with a wondrous cacaphony of children playing streetball and their parents or sibling hanging out on the stoop or fire escape. The greengrocer spills out onto the sidewalk. It's too bad they're an anachronism in today's world of drive-by shootings, pedophiles and crack houses. But they worked reasonably well, and should be kept in mind whenever something new is being built.

Oh, he refers to "eyes on the street" as "urbanist Jane Jacobs' persuasive, but unproven, insight". Sheesh. That idea was old news back when I was reading Lewis Mumford.

*My link comes from the Sacramento Bee, but I first read the Article in the Saipan Tribune. I couldn't find it in their online edition. It took forever to track the story down with various keywords. I finally had to give up on Microsoft's search engine and jump to the trusted Google.

Snake bites dog

Let's see if this loads. I'm still tinkering with videos and the MSNBC site was really cranky.

It seems all right. If there's a problem you can go to Python stalks, eats family dog in front of kids on the MSNBC website.

They must be nice people. I suspect I might have been trying python kelaguen for the first time. If it had to be a dog, at least it was half Chihuahua.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Pat Paulsen for President

Now that we've left the early primary silly season and entered the really silly season it can only mean one thing. Pat Paulsen is running for President!

Wait, I'm told that he's been dead for ten years. Now what? Here it comes: Ralph Nader Running for President -- Again. Isn't this getting old?

Almost the same, really. He's already got one foot in the grave.

Maybe he can make it to five percent this time. I'd love to spelunk inside of his head for a few hours, if I had a trail of granola crumbs and knew I could get out. A serious candidate would have been building his base two years ago. You know, running candidates for, say, municipal council and dogcatcher.

Is it just about his ego, or is this only a way to get his ideas publicized? He'd have to be totally delusional to think he has any chance.

I just wasn't ready for a candidate that can call John McCain 'junior'. He makes the Senator look like a spring chicken.

It also means the Democratic candidate is going to climb up on stage with these two and look like he or she is up past bedtime.

Oregon humor (Trunk Monkey)

That's what Brother Bob called it anyway. It sure made my morning.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

B-2 crash

I was just about to get away from the computer when I saw this one: B-2 stealth bomber crashes on Guam. (AP)

Woa. There goes a quick billion bucks. At least the pilots are reportedly okay. I hope it's not their fault; that would be quite a payroll deduction.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Samoa for, er, Samoans

A couple of Radio New Zealand International stories on the minimum wage hearing in American Samoa strangely echo what we've been hearing in the CNMI.

There's the American Samoa Chamber of Commerce, of course. They say any future wage increases should be based on a study of the economy. I guess they didn't like that Department of Labor report much either.

They add that, if the increase is not stopped, the canneries "will make some serious decision".
Here's the story.

A schoolteacher, one Peni Teo, has a different view which he's planning to share. His argument is that the raise is good for local workers. He says too much emphasis is placed on the canneries and that most of their workers are from Western Samoa.

He's quoted as saying “You’re looking at eighty, eighty five percent of the labour force or employees at the canneries are from Samoa and part of what I’m arguing for is that not only that labour force belongs to Western Samoa, those folks are now living here depleting land resources for families are well as government resources that really belong to the people of American Samoa.”

His view is available here.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Post it note

Just out of curiousity, I followed the link in a Google ad on my home page (I know, I know, that's a no-no) about's Saipan Forum. What are potential tourists reading? thought I.

Here's one that I just had to flag. I'll copy the email reply so you get the idea.

Dear TripAdvisor Member,

Thanks so much for letting us know about your concerns regarding the Saipan forums, and for your helpful participation.

At TripAdvisor we do our best to allow a wide variety of members to voice their opinions, but at the same time keep the forums friendly and helpful to all. We appreciate your help in doing so.

At this time we're evaluating the situation and have already taken fair action to reduce the number of disruptive and inappropriate posts in the forum. We will remove posts that directly violate our forum guidelines or significantly disrupt a directly travel-related discussion. Please note that we have updated our guidelines, they may be viewed by following this link:

Thanks again for sharing your concerns.

Best regards,
DanTripAdvisor Support Team

On Wed, 20 Feb 2008 08:25:39 -0500, wrote:

> User: Ken Phillips (>
> Forum ID: 2885
> Topic ID: 1584975
> Topic Title: Need a good hotel for 3 weeks
> Poster Name: patron-silver
> Poster ID: 32ABDD2C07324150AD2E9FDB50F089A1
> Post ID: 9825529
> Post Body: Saipan has gone too the dogs.
> Water and electricity are intermittent.
> Tourism has ceased to exist.
> DONT swim in the lagoon, its polluted with raw sewerage.
>Link:> >


It overstates the problems. While the local utility is indeed stretched too thin, intermittent is a great exagerration. There are infrequent partial outages because of inadequate backup. They are planned to have minimal impact on tourist areas.

Tourism is down, it has not ceased by any means.

The beaches are red-flagged more often than I, or anyone would like, but it is an overstatement to say they are polluted with raw sewage.

The post is a hit job, for some reason.>

Maybe I should have replied to the post instead of complaining, but that's like replying to someone who asks if you've stopped beating your wife. You start by being on the defensive and I'd rather just have it removed. And yes, I spun it as positively as I could without lying. This is what potential visitors are reading about the island, folks.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Pole dances with wolves

Is this a trend? I've spotted display advertising for dancers in the Saipan Tribune twice this week. Not those classified snippets that real job hunters ignore, but honest-to-goodness ads in the front of the paper.

I'm interested. NEED A JOB AND MONEY DAILY??? Yep, that's me. 50% commission daily and the tips are all mine. But wait: 21 years old to 28 years old. Isn't that against the law? Can I call the EEOC?

Maybe I'd have more luck at the second place. Besides, it's a sports bar, so I'm sure the dancing would be more artistic. What? TWA's only? Now I'm really pissed off.

What I'm saying, not too subtly, is that we know what they're looking for. You just can't come out and say it in print these days.


I've led a sheltered life lately, so help me out here. It seems like all of the dancers are from the mainland via Guam or from the Philippines. Is that true? If so, I'm just wondering why.

While I'm exposing my ignorance, I thought the P.I. didn't let people exit if their job category was Dancer.


I lost interest in those places well before I got married. There's not much thrill in seeing someone who would obviously rather be somewhere else watch herself chew gum in the mirror.

Sorry, but the stripping I've seen here is like Lindsay Dee Lohan trying to be Marilyn Monroe. Thanks for the mammaries, but you have no talent.

I may have forgotten others, but the only club I remember trying to choreograph a show and even be mildly entertaining was the old Kimchi Cabana in Oleai. They weren't X-rated, really not even R. More like a PG-13, which may be why I'd sometimes see a DeLorean parked off to the side.

Exit pole

I'm ready to jump (and slam my heels on the stage) on this if it's a trend.

I'm thinking Amateur Night. That is, if I can convince my wife. Now, if I can just jury-rig a pole through the hanging ceiling.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Looking Interior

Just for fun, and to keep you fans up to date, here's one about the U.S. Department of the Interior: Casino Battle Rages in Congress.

OK, they're just one of the players, but I love the quote. I'll Cliff Note the article for those of you who don't want to wade through it.

Some Indian tribes are trying to get land, prime land near Detroit and the Canadian border to settle some old claims. Land for casinos, which would affect other casinos. A classic, with greed, lobbying, political influence and power. Always power. That about covers it.

And DOI? From the article: "The Interior Department opposes the legislation because if Congress acts, the agency would not be able to assess the impact of the land-claim settlement on the environment or on other tribes. It also would circumvent the department's role in reviewing gambling compacts between tribes and the states."

The quote? "It may provide a road map for others to follow," Carl Artman, assistant interior secretary for Indian affairs, told the committee.

I guess those tribes just aren't ready to govern themselves.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Wrasse mania

I was suitably impressed when Felix Sasamoto wrassled those fish out of the ocean in January. Two giant tangisons in five days for Felix Saipan Tribune

But no writing, I'd run across an article or two about them being threatened in some places. There's one to avoid, I told myself. It's bound to shake the nuts from the trees. Little did I know.

Surprisingly, much of what I've read has been surprisingly good, particularly the first blog by Mike Tripp. That filled in a lot of gaps.


But now I've just got to hold my nose and dive in. This has gotten way out of hand. Why should people feel free to bug him and his family because of a picture in the newspaper. Sending emails, calling his wife at work?

A little self-righteousness creeps into some of the comments: 'it may be legal but it's a bad idea.' Or, 'he should set a different standard for himself because of where he works.' Huh? Forest rangers can't hunt Bambi? That's a slippery slope once you start down it.

If it's against the law or the regulations it would be different. Maybe they should be stricter. Great. The legislature has been known to amend laws. Petition Fish and Wildlife to amend the regulations, at least for popular dive sites. After what I've learned, I'd sign. As long as you don't mention Mr. Sasamoto. Get MVA on board.

Or we could see what what Sharia law has to say about it. Bad analogy, you'd say. That's a bunch of Islamofascists (fishists?) trying to ram their beliefs down our throats to enforce their religious beliefs outside of the legal system. Hmm.

A wrasse! poor Yorick

But it's such a cute fish. The teddy bear effect, according to Mike. And some people just don't like to be reminded where their food comes from.

A fish-petting zoo would be a Fine Thing. I support anything that would attract tourists. Even call them 'friendly' fish if you like. I don't snicker very loudly, no one will hear. Because that's anthropomorphic nonsense to me. Do they wag their tails?

I don't pretend to understand the fish psyche. Shirley McLaine isn't in my group any more and I can't find a fish psychologist locally, but I'm pretty clear on one thing. Fish don't 'think' like us. Maybe it's the fish equivalent of friendly, or curious, or foreplay, or territorial behaviour. Maybe because of fish-itch and no arms to scratch. Maybe neoprene tastes good. Maybe it's just operant conditioning. B.F. Skinner was right about some things.

I've even seen it suggested that it would be all right if he's poor, but not if he didn't really need the money. Really. I'd like to see that regulation: b) for those making between $10,000 and $20,000, the following species are allowed... Why not. Governments are good at that sort of thing.

How about better enforcement of the current rules? That's not a bad idea, and it came from Mr. Sasamoto.

He's caught his fish, he's caught flak. Now, let him catch a break.

I suppose he's a public figure in a way because of the picture. 'It may be legal, but it's a bad idea.'

The rest is silence

I can't be the only one who smelled something, well, fishy in the stories about that man drowning Thursday. Jumping off of the rocks to chase a big-ass Mafuti? Yah, sure. Why did the 911 call 'reportedly' say he fell in. Fisherman drowns off Coral Ocean Point (Marianas Variety) and Fisherman drowns near COP cliff line (Saipan Tribune).

Were the reporters quoting the witnesses, or quoting the police spokesperson reading what the police report said? Who were the witnesses? Were there witnesses to the witnesses? Does that make the reporting third-hand or third-rate?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Every rose has its thorn

Anatahan coughs and I wake up hacking. So. Hack writing on a hackneyed subject. You got it.

♥It must be Valentine's Day.

♥Just another day hijacked by marketers, in this case greeting card companies, florists and chocolatiers. Diabetes by word and by food. Even better, they don't even know anything about the guy, except that he was probably martyred. The original St. Valentine's massacre.

♥Try sending flowers in March, or October. You know, when you haven't even done anything to apologize for. When you're just fulfilling an obligation it's not so much fun.

♥Enjoy those Ecuadoran roses. I read an article about microcredit awhile back. You know, loaning poor people a few bucks so they can start their own business and get out of the low wage trap, flower picking for instance. In passing they mentioned how much the pickers were paid, i.e. what's left after the growers and middlemen get theirs. Then again, they also mentioned how grateful the workers were to have any job at all. There's the trap. Stop buying and they get nothing.

♥Love thy neighbor. Totally unrelated, but who gets to win this battle: Trees, Shade and Solar Panels = a Possible Crime.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Moderately anonymous

There seems to be a Great Schism on two subjects: Anonymity and Comment Moderation. Just for fun, I'd like to get some feedback.

Is this the party to whom I'm speaking?

Personally, I'd like everyone identified, all of the time. Which is absolutely hypocritical, because I've posted anonymously more times than I could count. Usually it's because I'm trying to stir the pot and don't want to call down never-ending wrath for one comment or one-liner. The forest for the trees, don't you know. I try to write nothing I wouldn't say to a person's face, so of course I'm the exception to my rule.

Now, particularly in a small town or on a small island, some people have to worry about bad juju for their friends and family, even if they're not concerned about themselves. For instance, I once lost a good customer because of an offhand comment about Bush the juvenile. I don't even remember the remark; it was pretty mild. I sure remember the reaction. A shame really, I was also one of his customers and spent at least as much as I made off of him. Who wins when we play those games? But that's a tangent.

The nefariously anonymous don't take much comment.

Mainly, I like a consistent posting identity because it adds to my mental picture of the person. We're all different; nobody fits into neat little ideological or social boxes. I might totally agree with you about one subject but think you're as loony as Huckabee discussing evolution about another. Actually, he's a good example. There I go, but I'd say it to his face.

A lot of people post anonymously with a cute name, but don't have a Blogger id. Fair enough, if you're consistent. But, fair warning. I watched one forum nearly self-destruct with made-up posts using another person's handle.

Everything in moderation, including moderation

Have I deleted comments? Oh, yeah. Once. Almost anyone but the culprit would have done the same thing. I can imagine any number of reasons to do it again. I've deleted myself quite a few times.

Spam is another matter. There's a run-on cut-and-paste job on one of my old posts that reads like a sentence in a Kerouac novel. It's gone as soon as I finish reading it. Heh. Another I've seen word-for-word on other sites. Just another pamphlet, but how does this person expect to be taken seriously? I'm tempted to hit the button. Ultra long posts and multiple posting used as a weapon just spoil it for everyone.

But basically I believe these things run their course. If anyone gets too far out of line, one or two reasonable voices will be heard.

And I JUST...DON'T...LIKE reading that my comment will appear sometime in the future after it's been digested. That's too much like being put on hold. I like my gratification immediate.

Note to Brad: Word Verification has been turned off. That drug testing mot wasn't aimed at you.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

And now, the rest of the story

It's really past my bedtime, but having just ragged Bruce Bateman about posting only his weekly Saipan Tribune column, I have to give him a nod.

He appears to have solved the great Live Sports Muzak mystery for us. That being the boring graphics and music shown during breaks. Of course, MCV knew all along and any of us could have picked up the phone.

I could repeat it, but it's his email, so just scurry over to Saipan Saipanuvian Speaks.

Those boring breaks do help us remember 1)how long they have become and 2) how desperate and antsy we are if the tube isn't feeding us every second.

The photo caption might offend some. Shame on them, I think it's hillaryous.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Meme? Or viral homework?

So I'm it. I've been tagged and should review and tag five blogs. Something I would usually avoid, because I link to people I read a lot and others can make up their own minds about them. But I'm told I'll have bad luck if I don't. It may be true: the last time I ignored a tag (from Jeff) this whole federalization thing picked up steam, the minimum wage increase was passed and garment factories kept shutting down.

This blogging thing is just entertainment to me, so I went for the the sites that keep me coming back the most often. Sometimes that's just a function of updating regularly. In no particular order:

The Saipan Blog -Angelo Villagomez

I first ran across Angelo's antics when I was searching for Ed Steven's then-new blog. That has degenerated into a soul-less rehash of his columns with no comments allowed, but I stayed with this one. At first it was because of his Linklust®. If somebody new popped up in the Saipan corner of the blogosphere (assuming spheres have corners in this dimension) they were likely to get a mention.

Picture Ralph Nader in Blue Suede shoes. Geraldo doing Al Gore. A Greenpeace document hidden inside a supermarket tabloid. Ah, that's not it. If you don't care for the cheesecake, come back tomorrow. I usually do.

Saipan and other random hypercritical thoughts - Jeffrey Turbitt

What Alan Colmes might write if he was here and had bigger cajones—and better comebacks. Mainstream liberal, not meant to imply all of the garbage spinmeisters try to fold into the word. Some would say the response could be 'I know you are, but what am I.' Too personal sometimes, but that's just me. My opinion, nĂ©? Good, clear writing style.

GLEND558 - Glen Doutrich

God bless him. I used to watch Glen suffer on other blogs. He kept trying to talk about issues and was always ignored and/or cut off. I'm glad he's got his own soapbox. Mad as hell and not going to take this any more. One of my first stops.

Saipan's Beach Boy Blog - Brad Ruszala

All over the map, but worth the journey. If it's a Dear Diary day, there's always the next post. I'd have to agree with Jeff, he takes other people's blogs very seriously, (if they're serious posts) and spends some time on his comments.

must be the humidity - lil_hammerhead

Queen of the adjectives. I like this one. Good (insert adjective) fun. OK, a lot of it is too personal for me, but easy to skip. Involved in incessant cold wars and border wars with her neighbors. I don't know the history and haven't done my research. The topics and writing style keep drawing me back.


Middle Road would easily have been number one back in the day. All right, not that long ago. They've been coasting lately, but at their best they are hugely entertaining and I still visit wistfully every time I'm making the rounds. I'm also not one who should be caviling about blog burnout.

Bruce Bateman the
Saipanuvian could have made the list, but I really only visit to post and browse the posts. I've usually already read it because it's not actually a blog, just his newspaper column with a few photos thrown in occasionally. Often wildly wrong and often entertaining. Rush Limbaugh with a tuba hangover. He can turn a nice phrase, my recent favorite being 'elevator rap' for the filler the local cable station puts in breaks from live sports. A libertarian with content moderation.

These are just the folks from the Saipan blogdivot, and the list is slowly changing. You'll note I couldn't stop at five.

I just returned from a lengthy hibernation and there are a lot of new perspectives I'm still checking out. There are also a lot of sites I visit but not so often—usually because they update infrequently. Strangely enough, they eventually make it to my Lazy Links ® When I'm not too lazy.

Quick hit

This is one for Brad:

Nevada sports books lose record $2.6 million on Super Bowl.

But those greasy bookies are a stereotype or front men these days. I think you'd be more likely to find actuaries setting the odds. I found the story because I've got an active search going for the 49'ers and they had the previous record.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Battle lines being drawn

Flashback, ca. 1975. I'm sitting in the Student Union with some friends having coffee. There is a stack of pamphlets and papers in the middle of the table that we collected when we ran the gauntlet of activists choking the lobby. They range from the Young Republicans to the Socialist Student Workers Party and the Socialist Workers Student Party. The latter two just had a nasty split over the meaning of 'dialectic'. They now spend their time attacking each other.

We idly discuss the screes, but, really, they try so hard to make their points that they overreach and throw in that last comment that takes them over the top.

Which is my cue to fast-forward.

Bruce Bateman got me to thinking with his Sour Grapes column at
Saipanuvian. He spends a lot of time trying to explain taotao tano. Actually makes some good points along the way. They have their voice, and it's one that's needed. Are their politics too personal? Yeah, for me.

Then Bruce makes the classic mistake--if it's a mistake, because it's also a classic propaganda tactic. He starts branding anyone who might disagree as "mainlander liberals, and mainland educated liberal locals". So there, now I don't have to deal with ideas, lets just talk labels.

Bruce got me to thinking, but it was Wendy Doromal over at
Unheard No More that got me to writing. I vaguely remember her wandering through the Variety when I was there, also vaguely that her stories were pretty good, except that they verged on having too much opinion for straight news.

It's interesting that Guam Chamoru Rights activists seem to be heavily involved with Taotao Tano. Makes sense, I suppose. They've got a lot of the same interests.

I've always thought Guamanians had a better beef with the U.S. After all, the CNMI approved the Covenant in an election. Nobody ever asked Guam. I think we all know how that would turn out, but that's beside the point.

And now that I've made it by the tables in the food for thought court, I'll finish my V-8. All of these activists shouting makes me thirsty.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


Note to those who, as I have, linked to Ruth Tighe at The link has been broken for awhile. I got old-fashioned and gave her a call; she said she'd follow up.

Meanwhile, On My Mind is still available on She doesn't link to anyone, so I gave her a pass on that etiquette point because I like the way she thinks. And the break is over; she said a column was coming Friday.

Hee, hee. Harry Blalock is broken too. I haven't called yet.

Oh, and props to her for her support of Public Radio.

En Voc

Tony Pellegrino's letter to the editor about vocational education caught my fancy.

He says there is no vocational school in Saipan. I haven't been keeping up with the college, but I know they used to have a number of programs. Well, yes, most of the students weren't strictly 'local', they counted a student twice if they took two classes and anybody who could immediately applied their skills in Guam or the mainland because of the wages here. But the classes were available. (I did try to check out their
new and improved website but it's obviously still a work in progress.)

Still, I'd bet on Tony. I remember saying his public library scheme was stillborn. He signed up Joeten (added parking) and Kiyu (keeping up with Joeten) and motivated a lot of kids. OK, that's not fair, they both contributed greatly. We now have a library to be proud of, and I always remember Tony when I think about it.

I wish some reporter would follow up on this, but it's obvious they don't read the papers, even their own.

Pubic Library?

For instance, back on January 15 the Northern Marianas Housing Corporation was advertising for PURCHASE OF ADULT BOOKS for the Tinian Public Library (built with public funds) in the Saipan Tribune. Maybe the Marianas Variety, too, but I read that one online. Part of a Community Development Block Grant.

Now, doesn't that pique your interest just a little? Maybe enough to be worth a phone call?

The lie of the land

Since I've started, it's time to rage about public land leases again. Now, the government does its job to the letter of the law. Of course, the average person has no clue about the location of section 15...blah, blah, blah, but the proposed lease has been published.

I would hesitate to bug them about every lease they advertise, and obviously I'd come off as a crank or a busybody. A reporter, on the other hand, would just be doing his or her job. The flip side being not doing his or her job by ignoring such simple leads.

Right. I've been here before. I did try to get around this basic laziness or incompetence by approaching one of my Representatives. "How about legislating a requirement that the location be described generally so that ordinary people could understand it?" Sez I. "Great idea," sez he. "I'll get right on it."

It pays to advertise

Now I'm waiting to see if they follow up on the ad for
CNMI Labor's new job posting site. I would expect their business departments to be a tad nervous about losing revenue if newspaper posting of job vacancies gets replaced. We already see one or two pages of ads where there used to be three or four.

I had to look it up, you know. Using '' instead of '', I thought it might be a scammer.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Dog days

Everyone's howling about dog control. Understandable, I guess. In my case, there is this cute dog across the street. She's kind of a wire-brush terrier boonie dog, except that is a misnomer. She is a feral animal. Apparently so are her friends that hang around, though I'm less certain of that.

Tourists love to take her picture as she lolls in the sand. She barks at them. Cutely. Most think so, though some are obviously intimidated by three or four dogs just lurking. When she drops a litter the barking is less cute.

She threatens the tourists, especially small children. One Russian lad would probably have been attacked; he was running far ahead of his parents. I warned her off. Only one top dog in this neighborhood, thank you.

Happily, the puppies have been cute, so they get rounded up rather quickly. Then she returns to her old habits. Her friends come back and they pack up, attacking dogs being walked down the street and chasing the occasional car.

They eat horses, don't they?

So what's the answer? There seems to be some opposition to eating our way out of the problem, though it is traditional in some cultures.

Not for me, with the admission that I have sampled Fido. Not by choice, mind you. I was at a birthday party and they put a chaser out before the rest of the food. Not bad, I said, reaching for more. What is it? (If you have to ask that question, you're probably already in trouble.)

After general laughter, and a few "woof, woofs", I filled my plate again. Because, of, in order: my inner eight-year old who would take any dare, the rationale that I'd already eaten it and I really was hungry, and, weakest of all, I didn't know the dog by name.

Not for sale, in any case. I think USDA approval of a dog-packing plant would be a reach. Also, I remember the business that used to buy dogs no questions asked. Quick beer money for the boys. And, now that I think of it, my neighbor in Tanapag who seemed to think a beating gave it more flavor until I offered to whack him with his own stick if he didn't stop.

Don't lase me bro

I think shooting is out, the community seems to have responded rather strongly to that one. That reprobate up on Navy Hill who was putting out antifreeze was also on the wrong track. Besides, the corpses would probably never be collected.

Sterilization is great, but a few operations won't begin to address the problem. Maybe India has the answer. Did you catch In Northern India, Unemployed Youths Hired To Sterilize Monkeys? The 300 political footballs in the government, unemployed garment workers, high school graduates. The possibilities are endless.

Laser sterilation, according to the Chief Minister. Obviously we'd need some controls. Don't want some guy settling a grudge outside a bar.

The kids are right

I've been searching the local papers to no avail. I'm sure I wasn't hallucinating. Wasn't there a story about school kids wanting to solve the problem and wondering why the Legislature did nothing? They'll learn, they're young.

Money for a pound, but not enough, and no animal cruelty laws.

It's (still) amazing to me that a small problem can fester for this long but there's plenty of time for public posturing about pet peeves.

Maybe dog-kicking is needed to release frustration, and that's why it can't pass the Senate. Or, again, they fear any animal control is a backdoor attempt to move in on cockfighting. No politician in his or her right mind would take on that group. Talk about one issue.