Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Trip to Paradise on Amazon

You can order Trip to Paradise on Amazon.com
The album you've been waiting your whole life to hear was just released for digital download and will be available on CD very soon.  The album is being released by my very good friends Cinta and Gus Kaipat.  They are releasing the album now because they need your help to raise funds to pay for Cinta's cancer treatment.  Think of this not as a donation, but as Cinta sharing her gift of music with you in exchange for helping save her life.

Here's a letter from Cinta:
Dear Friends and Family:

I would like to extend my most humble thanks and gratitude to each and every one of you for your flood of prayers, well wishes, and endless encouragement since news of my new battle with cancer was first shared with you on February 22, 2013.

Many of you who know Olomwaay Band know that we have spent over a decade working to release a full-length album. The current situation forced us to “just get on with it.”

All 14 songs on this album are original compositions inspired mostly by true stories shared by friends and loved ones, as well as our own personal observations and life experiences.

The Olomwaay Band is releasing Trip to Paradise to raise funds to help us pay for treatment. There will be three ways to purchase the album: (1) purchase a CD from Amazon.com; (2) download an album for your smartphone or mp3 player; or (3) purchase a CD directly from Gus. We may have a fourth option of offering the album at retail locations, but we have not organized this yet.

We are working as quickly as possible to get options #1 and #2 ready and will forward you the links when they are available. In the meantime, we are taking pre-orders for people living on Saipan. To pre-order your album, please give Gus $20 and we will give you a coupon for an album. We'll let you know when the albums are ready to be picked up. We are only offering pre-orders to people living on Saipan due to the cost of shipping. If you do not live on Saipan, you can have your order delivered by Amazon.com. They have several shipping options, including options that are free.

Again, thank you, Si Yu’us Ma’ase and Olomwaay for the outpouring of support! God Bless You All.

The album is already available for download on Amazon.com.  Amazon allows you to purchase the full album for $8.99 or single songs for $0.99.  You can also preview all of the songs before you purchase them.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Famous on Scott's Podcast

I was interviewed by Shark Attack Survivors for Shark Conservation's Scott Curatolo-Wagemann on his new podcast.  I was interviewed last week and Scott broke the interview up into five podcasts.  He'll run one every day this week.

Here they are:

Podcast 1: Shark Sanctuaries and the Godfather of the Mariana Trench Monument
Podcast: 2: Shark Fin Trade Bans, Shark Sanctuaries, and Shark Hope
Podcast: 3: Shark Sanctuaries, The Bahamas, and Oceanic Whitetip Sharks

I'm impressed with these mostly because I managed to talk for 30 minutes without swearing.  That's an accomplishment.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Joseph A. Crisostimo finally served for killing Emie Romero

A photo from a happier time
In a small place like Saipan, it is hard to keep a lid on information.  The coconut wireless has a way of spreading across the island faster than the Internet.  When Emie was murdered last year, the name Joseph A. Crisostimo was whispered at bars, family gatherings, and over morning coffee.  You see, in a small community, there are only so many people who commit the crimes, mostly because the local justice system practices catch and release (2006, 20072008).  Criminals commit a crime, get a slap on the wrist, and are released back into society.  Shame on the people who didn't put this drug dealer and murderer away sooner.  Good on the OAG for revoking his probation.  And shame on Judge Joe Camacho for lowering this catch and release criminal's bail after he was picked up the last time.  I hope justice will be served.  Let's lock this mother fucker up and throw away the key.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Trip to Paradise

After 11 years, the Olomwaay Band is finally going to release their full album.  And the money will go towards a good cause.  More details to follow soon...

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Fitial Resigns

I heard the news while listening to Magic 100 FM.  Benigno R. Fitial has resigned as governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.  Lt. Governor Eloy Inos will be sworn in as the new governor today.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Bruce Bateman Gets His Revenge, Again

Bruce Bateman, the aptly labeled Drunken Face of Evil, is a friend.  We disagree on just about everything, but he and I were part of a local writers group that occasionally, alright, regularly got together to drink copious amounts of adult beverages and solve the world's problems.

About seven years ago we were also part of a concerted effort to improve Saipan's image using blogs -- in addition to organizing weekly beach cleanups, tree plantings, and other community events.  Bruce volunteered a lot of his time and donated a lot of money to improve the community.  At the time Bruce owned a bar called Porky's, wrote a weekly editorial, and posted to his blog.

Most literate people disagreed with just about everything Bruce wrote or said (unless he was publicly apologizing for his more egregious comments).  The outcry was such that many people called for a boycott of his bar, Porky's.  The leader of the boycott was Mr. Glen Hunter.

Porky's, of course, went out of business, not so much for Glen's boycott, but due to the precipitous crash in the local economy (and Godfather's was a much better bar).  Bruce held a grudge.  I'm sure he still holds a grudge.

Bruce, a supporter of the governor and a writer, was able to find employment with the government after his business went under.  He's one of the anonymous commenters on the Marianas Variety that spends all day writing glowing things about the governor. And he's got it out for Glen.  Bruce played a role in getting Glen canned from his last job, and I'm sure he played a role this time, too.

From Ocean to Plate

For several months I've been working with a group of students at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies on the Shark Stanley campaign to advocate for shark protections at the upcoming Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).  We came up with the idea of a photo petition where instead of signing an online petition, our supporters would send in photos of themselves holding a paper shark named Shark Stanley.  The goal of  the campaign is to convince governments attending CITES to vote yes on the shark and manta ray proposals this year by showing them photos of supporters from their countries, as well as photos from around the world.  To date Shark Stanley has been to 112 countries (we got photos in from Mozambique last night).

The campaign was highlighted at a symposium at Yale over the weekend.  The students who organized the event will have videos, photos, and other materials in the coming days and I will post them here and on Shark Defenders.

I don't want to scoop anyone (either my employer or the students), so I won't post all my photos, but I do want to post this one.  This is the team that created and distributed Shark Stanley (plus a few of my coworkers who didn't attend the event, of course).  From left to right: Stephanie, Jeff, Ben, Onon, Leah,  me, Dan, Monte, Omar, and Laura.

And none of this would have been possible without the love and support of my better third, Edz.  Edz came up for the whole weekend, including a stop at the United Nations to meet some of our friends there and a day at the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk to do outreach.

I'm flying to Bangkok a week from Thursday.  Fingers crossed for a positive outcome.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Tailing a Mysterious Man

I thought I saw a familiar face at the Inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama.  He was kind of far away, maybe about 20-30 rows in front of us, but I had my 300mm lens...

...so I snapped a couple of photos and showed them to Edz.

Does that look like someone you know?

I don't know.

Who do you think it is?  It's hard to tell with the hat and sunglasses.

The mysterious man left his seat -- presumably to go to the bathroom (there was really no where else to go).

I think I know who it is.  Let's go say hello.

It's Uncle Herb Soll, visiting all the way from Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

An American Governor Was Impeached Today

Governor Fitial and his wife Josie and me in 2009.
Wendy Doromal will have better commentary on her blog Unheard No More, but I thought it worth blogging that Governor Benigno R. Fitial of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands was impeached today.  If six of nine of the senators vote to convict, he'll be booted from office.  I have not heard a reliable vote count on the likelihood of that happening, however.  I just know that one of the nine sits in federal prison on charges of violating the Endangered Species Act.  Only in the Marianas.

I wrote a blog in 2010 calling on Governor Fitial to resign, which I'd like to point out had absolutely nothing to do with what just happened (despite this blog being Saipan's most popular blog since ever since).  And a few months ago I wrote about Why I Like Governor Fitial.

My feelings on Fitial are mixed.  He's been very supportive of Beautify CNMI! and sharks, but he was a pain in the ass on the monument.  Oh, and his administration has been incredibly corrupt.

Shark Stanley: Famous in the Philippines

Dennis, Glaiza, and Rafael love Shark Stanley
Celebrities Dennis Trillo, Rafael Rosell, and Glaiza de Castro star in the drama series Temptation of Wife on GMA Network, the channel watched by millions of Filipinos across the world.  When Eden saw these photos she reacted like an American teenager at a Justin Bieber concert.  Come on Ian Somerhalder!  You like sharks don't you?  Where are the Shark Stanley photos with the cast of Vampire Diaries?

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Famous in the Marshall Islands

Watch me get handcuffed at 1:04! This video talks about the efforts of Palau, the Marshall Islands, and Honduras to monitor and enforce their shark sanctuaries.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Visiting Pacific Harbour

I spent last week in Fiji facilitating a shark conservation training.  While I was there I had the opportunity to visit Pacific Harbour Multi Cultural School.  You can probably guess what I was talking about.  I'm working on a blog that will be published on work's website, so this photo serves as just a heads up.