Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Quote of the Week

"It's the ultimate irony: a pin-up girl for people who don't believe in masturbating."

- Dana Gould on Sarah Palin

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The "suns" also rises

My boys are both huge NBA fans. Growing up in Saipan they never had to take their life in their hands by sitting behind an NBA basket while Shaq prepared to clang one, but tonight they took that risk and we all survived and had a great time. First, I had a plan. No one gives a hoot about the preseason in this country, so that's where I step up. I got four tickets for $5 each, which is the right price -- about half of what a movie ticket costs. I last saw Shaq play, for free with student tickets, in Columbia, S.C. against my college team the University of South Carolina when Shaq was a sophomore at LSU circa 1993. He dominated that night. Fifteen years later he's much richer, much slower and definitely the grand poobah on the court. I could see the opposing players sucking up to him during every stop in play. Shaq is still quite the figure, though Suns forward Amare Stoudamire is quite the athlete. He is big and he is very fast. Shaq did play very well tonight and the Suns won in double overtime.Alex also had quite the night. All I could do is proudly claim, "That's my boy," as he was swallowed up by the Suns cheerleaders and put on the Diamondvision. Can't really tell, but he is in the middle of that cheerleader sandwich. Not a bad night for the kid.
Grant Hill also managed to play this entire game and not get injured. He looked pretty good as well.
Larry Brown found time to contemplate what team he will coach next. He has coached the Kansas Jayhawks, Indiana Pacers, San Antonio Spurs, Philadelphia Seventy Sixers, The New York Knicks and now the Charlotte Bobcats in just what I can remember offhand without googling the complete record. I'm sure there are even more.

Ashley just took in the lights and prepared to eat the tickets. Eating paper is her new favorite pastime. Though waking me up at 3 am -- still -- ranks high for her.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Secret Machines Live

The Secret Machines are my favorite new band to come along in a long while. I love their effects laden guitar and the Zeppelin, Floyd, Rush inspired space jams. I caught these guys in Tucson a while back in a small club and really liked the vibe created with the laser show they also managed to integrate. The band has a self titled new album that was released last week.

Lions and tigers oh my

Ashley turned six months today, so we celebrated her half a year birthday with a trip to the local zoo, which is very close to home. The world renowned San Diego Zoo is also not terribly far, so I'm sure we'll be checking that place out eventually as well. The weather has cooled off and it feels really nice to get the occasional chill in the air after many years without one.

In the news again -- Ron Hodges

I walked into my local Barnes and Nobles, which nicely is just across the street, and was looking at the many new offerings when this book caught my eye. I knew there had to be a Saipan section, and sure enough there is. And wouldn't you know it, the principal source on that chapter was none other than persona non grata himself Ron Hodges, who is quoted rather extensively. The overall mood captures the depressed economic state of the CNMI, but some of it, there were several sources, was a bit exaggerated with suggestions that the place is especially violent playing up the Mafia angles and suggested there are hordes of people with broken thumbs and such from gambling debts. The book does a good job of explaining the depressed pricing of Saipan real estate, and it uses the staggering difference in the cost of building the Hotel Nikko and what it just sold for, it might have been hundreds of millions less I can't recall, to illustrate the point.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The tenets of Scientology

Tonight I caught the new Bill Maher movie Religulous, which is a combination of the two words "religion" and "ridiculous," which does seem to be a reasonable word combination. My favorite scene is this one where he goes to London and starts preaching the tenets of "Scientology." He gets treated like he's crazy because, well, it is crazy, and he makes the point that it only sounds comparatively crazy because it's newer and we haven't heard these stories as often as the ones from the more mainstream religions. Bill's too smug for the dopey masses to even contemplate a lot of what is offered in this movie, but it's nice to see someone putting up the good fight against the forces of superstition, prudism, dullness and dogma.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Smashing Pumpkins Starla

This song is great. It is good to see the Smashing Pumpkins back. I love their moody, atmospheric songs that continue to build like this one.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Good game, lousy ending

I got a good seat to the Dallas vs. Cardinals game today in Phoenix. From my perspective as a Cowboys fan it didn't go particularly well. The current Cowboy coach Wade Phillips is a horrible NFL coach -- maybe as bad as Barry Switzer. The rookie sensation Felix Jones doesn't get the ball nearly enough, the all pro receiver might be slipping and doesn't get the ball thrown to him very often and last year's team was an all time underachiever -- the only number one seed to go one and done in the playoffs. I made the right call to stick to the end of this game and saw a miraculous comeback to tie it up and send it to overtime, but I also saw an atrocious and brief Cowboy overtime performance where they lost in ugly fashion.

The behavior of people at these games confounds. It's like the Ancient Roman Arena only we watch people pull hamstrings and tear knee cartilage instead of slicing off limbs. When I see how kids act in school, today was a reminder of where they are getting it from. It was still cool to see the game up close and personal. I've seen the Cowboys live in three different seasons. In the previous two times they later went on to win the Superbowl. I saw them in Atlanta in 1993 and at Giants Stadium in 1995 when Emmitt Smith ran wild on the night they retired Lawrence Taylor's number.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Market madness

Last night I made the depressing decision to go online and look at my mutual fund account. I rolled over my CNMI retirement contribution in July, and since then, I've seen that money, in a very broad array of mutual funds, crash to the tune of 22 percent -- 11 percent in September alone. I just saw a yahoo story that says retirement accounts have decreased by $2 trillion. That decrease doesn't even factor in today's five percent fall. Finally it seems President Numbnuts has run everything into the ground. He'll leave office with an expensive, endless, unpopular war, an even wider gap between rich and poor aided by his crony capitalism, absolutely no progress on health care, global warming or education, trillions more in debt, an attack on the American homefront on his watch, Bin Laden still at large and a crippled economy, but he went to church and didn't approve of gay people kissing, so no problem. Bill Maher is right, we're too stupid to be governed.

Between the stock market crash, the price of gas -- better but still bad -- the housing crash, which was inflated from the previous years truth be told, I'm not sure I've ever seen the American economy this bad. I also don't see this country having much ability to cope with these problems, either. This country as a whole seems very past its prime and incapable of doing anything other than creating more debt and heading further in the wrong direction -- appealing to the dumbest, most base instincts. Our movies are bad, our music is bad, disgusting fast food abounds, an absolute ditz could end up vice president -- don't get me started on the state of parenting or the raging anti-intellectual attitudes of the youth. It's starting to feel like I'm in Saipan five years ago.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Baby cover model

I've had a very long week of awakening to duck noises at 5:30 in the morning. Fortunately this baby is such a sweetie. My wife is keeping herself entertained with taking or tweaking baby photos.