Sunday, August 19, 2007

Diving, federal jobs and Phil Rizzuto

Harry and Mike and others are putting together this Marianas Dive website, as they have a point that diving has not been properly marketed here in the CNMI. This little example hardly revitalizes the economy, but taken further, it helps just a bit. I bought Mike's Underwater World of Saipan just as soon as it came out. Of all the dives on the DVD, the one that looked the best, I thought, was Bonzai Cliff. I had never been there. Sure enough yesterday I dropped $45 and hopped on the Aquajet to head to Bonzai and Spotlight Cave, and reality is just as good as the video. There is an incredible diversity of corals at Bonzai with an amazing explosion of colors. Seeing the cliff from the water was cool all by itself. Bonzai is probably now my favorite dive in all of Saipan other than the Grotto. After the dive, I bought myself a new dive bag at a local dive shop, another $45, as I figure I'll continue to dive a lot. Two small examples, but they could go further, and I think those guys have a point on the opportunities in diving here left untouted.

This picture to the right is of the first dive, Spotlight Cave. This picture is by Dr. Mark Robertson. It wasn't as spectacular for me when I went as this day was for Mark, who says the best time to go is on a cloudless day around noon to get this type of spectacular spotlight view. This picture makes me want to do Spotlight again I must say. Great picture Mark.

To the left is the land view of Banzai Cliff of World War II infamy where mass suicides of Japanese soldiers and civilian personnel took place, including women and children. They jumped to their deaths rather than face capture by advancing American forces in 1945. The Japanese on the dive boat with me were seen praying as we passed over the spot.
SSHS has a federal grant that allows for afterschool tutoring. The pay is actually pretty meager, but I'm instituting an afterschool ESL program at SSHS, which we otherwise don't have the money to create. I took a graduate ESL course last year, and I remain in contact with the professor, had lunch with him in New York City this summer, and he has given me plenty of good advice on the most effective ways to proceed. The principal attendees based on sign ups will be Korean students, who I "supposedly" am racist against.
I talked to a friend in the business community, someway who keeps his finger on the pulse of these things, and he says federalization should be done by October, and there will be a lot of federal jobs out here soon thereafter. He also speculated it might be hard to fill them, and that these jobs would be based on merit, via education and test scores, not who you voted for or how many friends you have in government. He said CPA would be gone, as well as labor and immigration, and more jobs would be coming in to the islands.
The Yankees have a look in their eye I didn't expect to see, with a lot of young players performing well, and a lot of veterans turning it around. They are now in the thick of the pennant race.

On that subject, this week Phil Rizzuto died. He was an institution as a broadcaster, and his shtick was a staple of my Yankee obsessed teenage years. He does the play by play in Meatloaf's Bat Out of Hell, which was just fantastic.

Here is a list of his greatest on air quotes. He barely paid attention to the game, and would routinely leave early, very early, to beat traffic. I met him once and got his autograph. He was great with the fans.

'And that ball is out of here. No, it's not. Yes, it is. No, it's not. What

'Well, that kind of puts the damper on even a Yankee win.'
(After hearing Pope Paul VI had died in 1978)

Rizzuto: 'Reggie's home run has gone clear out of the ballpark.'
Bill White: 'Actually, Scooter, the ball landed in the seats.'
Rizzuto: 'It doesn't matter. They can't see it anyway at home.'

'If Don Mattingly isn't the American League MVP, nothing's kosher in

'Oh, deep to left center, nobody's gonna get that one. ... Holy Cow,
somebody got it.'

Rizzuto (after foul ball is hit into dugout): 'Boy, I hope that's not (Ron)
Guidry who got in the way.'
Frank Messer: 'Scooter, uh, Guidry is on the mound.'
Rizzuto: 'You know, Frank, you're right.'

'I gotta tell you what I did. You won't believe it, Bill White, but it's
something I've wanted to do my whole life and finally today I got nerve enough
to do it. I had a facial... No wonder women go. It took two and a half hours.
Oh, they massage your face with oil, and then cream, rub your eyeballs...'

'Okay, here we go, we got a real pressure cooker going here, two down,
nobody on, no score, bottom of the ninth...' 'Paradise by the Dashboard Light'


Bev said...

Bonzai is a beautiful dive! Happy that you were able to experience it. Was the current really strong?

Jeff said...

It was strong at times, but manageable.

Bruce A. Bateman said...

Just what this place needs, more government jobs. More porkers on the public dole. At least for the time being, if the bill passes, the pork pie will be paid by the hapless US taxpayers, not us.

I would imagine that the longer term goal is to get us and all the insular colonies onto the US tax roles so we can ante up our cut. That war is gettin' expensive!

I think your friend may be wrong about the feds canning the local government agencies completely, Jeff. Not their style to take over so blatantly. They like to hide behind and control 'local' governments by controlling purse strings, setting regulations that must be followed etc while leaving a puppet local agency in place to keep the taxpayers fat and happy.

Your dive on spotlight sounds awesome. Wish I had received the message. Next time. Have you decided whether to go to Tinian on next weeks dive?

Still no bolt for the steering but a friend is going to Guam this week and will try to find the part there.

Jeff said...

I'm going to the tinian dives indeed.

Brad said...

Jeff, that photo of Spotlight Cave is FANTASTIC! Wow...I can't wait to go there...I hope you'll have some time the 2nd week of September when I arrive. Can't wait to do some diving.