Madang Town Government – Identify a Problem; Make It Worse!

Posted in Rants and Rages on August 31st, 2009 by MadDog
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It rained cats and dogs last night. Moderate by Madang standards. It sometimes rains crocodiles and pilot whales.

When we arrived at the office this morning we discovered that Lake Madang had returned. It was, of course, exactly what we expected after observing the work, or rather the lack thereof, over the last few weeks. I moaned about this back in July, showing you Lake Madang and The Big Hole in which it lives. Nearly six weeks later, the problem is simply worse. I’ll show you the “progress”.

Lake Madang

Really, it all starts here:

The drain to the sea - dig it all out!

This is the drain that is supposed to take all of the rainwater from the area and dump it without ceremony into the sea. We’ve been complaining, along with everybody else, to the deaf ears of the town management that it is plugged up. This goes back twenty years! The water should disappear into here:

Whoops, someone forgot to see if it goes all the way through

Whoops, it’s going nowhere! A few weeks ago I saw a huge character standing out in the street bossing a bunch of skinny kids with buckets and shovels. He said he had been “awarded the contract” to dig out the drain so that the lake would go away. He left all of the mud there for weeks. Finally, the mud was taken away from the sides of the drain. In our foolishness, we supposed that it was actually open. Ah, the folly of the bleeding-heart trusting liberal. Is there no end to it?

However, as you can plainly see, Madang River has no outlet to the sea, so Lake Madang just keeps getting bigger and digging its big hole deeper:

Nowhere for the water to go

At the other end of the road, we have yet another tragicomedy in the making. Yes, folks, this is how we fix the roads in Madang:

I guess THIS is how you fix it. Yes, it is finished.

First we tear everything up really thoroughly (the lids for the drain laying scattered about on the right making nice big ditches for the pedestrians to fall into). Then we dump huge piles of gravel anywhere the truck happens to stop. There, see.  It’s all fixed. It’s been fixed for about three weeks now and nobody has bothered to call the town managers to thank them. We’re such ungrateful wretches.

No, NONE of it is fixed! They just made it worse.

If it weren’t for the entertainment value, we’d be getting very tired of this silliness. The huge gap in the road that I described in Insect Authority is still there also, along with thousands of new axle-bending potholes in all of our streets. The Insect Authority ditch is now about a half-metre deep.

I don’t know if those responsible for our decaying town, once one of the most beautiful in the South Pacific, are incompetents, fools, crooks, lazy do-nothings, or all of the above.

Me – I just play the fool. The rest is too complicated.


More Magic from Magic Passage

Posted in Under the Sea on August 30th, 2009 by MadDog
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It was a beautiful morning on Saturday with calm seas, something that we’ve not seen lately. This, along with an incoming tide, gave us a chance to dive Magic Passage,  which we have not visited for some time.

As soon as we reached the bottom at about 25 metres, we saw a Black-Blotched Stingray (Taeniura meyeni):

Black-Blotched Stingray (Taeniura meyeni)

It’s been a while since I saw one of these. I was so surprised, since I did not see it immediately (it was behind me), that I had time only for a couple of quick shots before it zipped away. The shot is very poor because of motion blur, but interesting nonetheless.

As we worked our way down toward the mouth of the passage I ran across this beautiful starfish about the size of a dinner plate:

Starfish at the bottom of Magic Passage

This is probably the most common species of starfish around Madang.

Here is a nice shot of Amanda Watson and Pascal Michon moving down the south wall of the passage:

Amanda Watson and Pascal Michon at Magic Passage

A small school of barracuda were pointing into the current. One lonely Midnight Snapper was hiding among them:

Barracuda at Magic Passage

As soon as I got up close enough behind them to be an annoyance, they wheeled around to avoid me and gave me the opportunity for this very nice shot:

The barracuda avoiding me

Down closer to the mouth of the passage a large mob of eels were waving in the current snapping up goodies floating past:

Eels at Magic Passage

This is the best eel shot that I’ve yet managed. They are usually quick to pull back down in their holes as soon as you approach. I don’t know why they let me come so close to them on this occasion.

If you’ve followed our dives before, you already know that the sub-adult Silver Sweetlips is my favourite fish:

Sub-adult Silver Sweetlips at Magic Passage

That is not just because it is a very pretty critter. It is a photographer’s dream fish. They are so calm and placid and unafraid.

They remind me of my human friends. The tropics will do that to you.

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Australian Sailors at Play- HMAS Kanimbla

Posted in At Sea on August 29th, 2009 by MadDog
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When we motored out on a pleasantly smooth Tab Anchorage  on Saturday morning for our usual weekly dive, we didn’t expect to see a huge Australian warship basking peacefully in the tropical sun. As we approached HMAS Kanimbla  cautiously (they have guns), we were waiting to see if they would hail us away or simply start plugging Faded Glory  full of holes. As it turned out, they were not very frightened of us, unlike the USS Peleliu  which motored around miles out at sea rather than approach our sometimes testy shores:

HMAS Kanimbla

She looked very pretty, not to mention ready to fight.

And then, the toys came out. Here’s a nice shot of water skiing with the Kanimbla  in the background:

Water skiers from HMAS Kanimbla

Kayakers were all over the place:

Kayakers from HMAS Kanimbla

This landing craft came up to the shore of Pig Island  and unloaded a huge gang of fun-seekers:

Kanimbla landing craft

They dispersed quickly back into the bush and out into the water. I hope those who went bush had plenty of insect repellent. They have the most ferocious mosquitoes on Pig Island  that I have ever seen:

Kanimbla landing craft unloading fun-seekers

Ah, young Australian warriors. Aren’t they the handsomest (and most beautiful) of all:

Crew members at Pig Island from HMAS Kanimbla

Not to mention the goofiest:

An HMAS Kanimbla taking a tumble

I took about fifty shot of kids (they all look like kids to me) diving off of the back of the landing craft:

He caught the ball!The fellow in the shot above caught the ball very nicely and made a respectable landing in the water.

Although they were not very communicative, we want to thank the crew for entertaining us ratty looking locals.

You can find a list of all Australian warships here.


A Hole in the Water – Faded Glory – My Boat

Posted in At Sea, Mixed Nuts on August 28th, 2009 by MadDog
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Well, everybody has heard the old joke that a boat is simply a hole in the water into which you throw money. As you can see from the looks of Faded Glory,  I don’t toss a lot of our scarce cash her way. It’s been fifteen years since she’s been painted, and she shows it. She is, however, sturdy beyond belief, having recently survived an entire coconut tree falling on her bow. It bent the sun deck down a bit on the starboard side and broke the railing. Maybe someday I’ll get it fixed.

She was carrying about a hundred kilos of barnacles on her bottom and would barely get up on a plane. Since I had no money to get her slipped, we waited until high tide, jammed a bunch of old tyres under her stern and waited for low tide in the morning. This is how she looked at about 06:15 just before I got to work changing the sonar transducer, another job that’s been waiting until we could get that area of the boat out of the water.

She’s all scraped now, except where the tyres were. I’ll do that bit when I have my dive gear on tomorrow:

Faded Glory getting her bottom cleaned

You might like to see the logo that we put on our t-shirts:

Faded Glory Ensign

You’ll note that I’m rambling more than usual today. I had no time to prepare for a post today, so I’m faking it as best I can. I’ve gotten quite interested in feather-duster worms lately. I only recently realised how beautiful they are:

Feather-duster worm

I haven’t thrown any sunrises at you for a few days, so I’ll play catch-up with a few from the last week or so. I don’t think that I’ve shown any of these before. This one is a three-frame panorama. The water looks as if it were a very long exposure, but that morning it really was that glassy smooth:

Sunrise Panorama

This one is from this morning just before I began working on Faded Glory:

Purple haze sunrise

Here is one from a few days ago. The colours were very strange that morning:

Sunrise on my imaginary planet

I call this one the Ray Charles Sunrise (it’s okay to groan now):

Ray Charles sunrise

And, that’s all that I can manage for today. Tomorrow is dive day (Saturday) and I have guests coming from Port Moresby for our first Bed and Breakfast experiment. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

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Quizzes for Numbskulls

Posted in Humor, Rants and Rages on August 27th, 2009 by MadDog
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If you don’t use Facebook and you don’t think that I’m funny, then move along folks, there’s nothing to see here.

If you are a Facebook user, you probably fall into one of four categories:

1. You think quizzes are cool and you take every one that comes along.
2. You don’t care much about quizzes, but they don’t bother you. You might do one if it seems fun.
3. You dislike quizzes, do not take them on principle, and would dearly love to never see one again.
4. You despise them with a furious passion and have discovered how to heartlessly bludgeon them into submission. (That’s me!) *

First, a little background on Facebook quizzes. This is the goon who started the plague – patient zero – Thaddius Fuddsucker. You may notice the striking resemblance to Alfred E. Neuman. They are distant cousins. Thad started writing Facebook quizzes after his hospital recuperation from injuries sustained in a bar fight. He went back to his trailer and cried on the lap of his thirteen year-old bride until he had the inspiration to write the first and most famous of the Facebook quizzes, What Kind of BadA** Are You?  (Note my clever use of ** to obscure the word a**.)  The rest is history, folks.

A typical quiz writer

Note that Thad is a little squinty from brain damage and his left ear is a prosthetic.

My first and only foray into the underbelly of Facebook was when I took the quintessential What Kind of BadA** Are You?  quiz myself. I was delighted to find that I was Barrack Obama! I decided never to do another quiz, since the outcome could never be as good.

So, now we know that type of people who produce these scatological tidbits,  but who consumes them? Huh?

Well, I did a scientific survey of all of humankind to determine those who are most likely to succumb to the temptation to narcissistically force down other peoples’ throats information such as, what colour am I, what kind of underwear would I be, or if I were a root vegetable, what variety would I be? This turns out to be the grade between morons and idiots, commonly known as imbeciles:

Scientific chart showing the most likely group to take quizzes

This is, of course, right up my alley, so to speak. I come from a long line of inbred trailer-trash. Two of my close family, in fact, are feeble minded imbeciles and take Facebook quizzes at every opportunity. I’ve pointed them out here in a candid snap taken after a recent drunken brawl following a family discussion of the implications of the correlation between phases of the moon and the number of containers that fall off of ships. We’re going to have to choose our topics with more prudence. That one generated a lot of heat:

The two quiz takers in the Messersmith family

As you can see, we are all a little agitated. There was still a lot of hooting going on.

I know that someone is going to ask, so I’m the one behind my sister, Agnes, staring fixedly at a horse fly which landed on the lampshade. Honestly, it was the most beautiful thing that I ever laid eyes upon.

While we’re at it, I’d like to congratulate Uncle Fred on his recent diploma in Applied Sewerage Science from the Indianapolis Junior Technical Institution for The Twelve Fingered.

Now, of course, I can’t let this go before I tell you the quizzes that I would like to see. I don’t want to take them, I just want to see how many fuzzy numbskulls out there do.

(1) If you were a pair 501 jeans, how many buttons would you have on your fly?

(2) If Genghis Khan called you a sissy boo-boo nuggi-nuggi, who would you tell him to go and make love to?

(3) If you were a pair of pliers, what would you want to squeeze most?

(4) If your pyjamas were on fire, who would you most like to put them out?

(5) If you were a heartless dictator with the blood of millions on your hands, which one would you be?

and (my personal favourite)

(6) If Albert Einstein pooh-poohed you for believing in quantum entanglement, saying it was hogwash and represented “spooky action at a distance”, where, exactly, would you punch him?

Happily, not all of my family is so backward and stuffy. The younger generation is open-minded, politically aware, free-spirited, and each has a consciousness which has been expanded to the approximate size of Tasmania. They are “The Young Ones” and we love them all.

My politically active nieces and nephews

They are far too stoned to take quizzes.

Could this be a good  thing?

* Find the Facebook One-Click Quiz Blocker on the web and try it. You’ll see each quiz ONCE. Then you bludgeon it to death with one click of the mouse (powerful stuff!) and you will never see that quiz again.

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More Ancient Advertising from Paradise

Posted in Humor on August 26th, 2009 by MadDog
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I think that it’s about time that we delve further into the subject of Ancient Advertising. These ads came from the venerable pages of old Paradise magazines given to me by my partner in dubious humour, Maureen Hill.

Let’s start with an image that is so sublimely ridiculous that it deserves . . . uh . . . I’m not sure what it deserves. A punch in the face comes to mind. No that’s inappropriate. Let me think about it:

AVDEV - who is the clown with the briefcase?

Okay, who is the clown with the briefcase, where has he been, where is he going, and why, oh why did he insist on that astonishingly dangerous spot from which to depart. I was a helicopter pilot before I took up clowning for a living. Let me tell you, that LZ makes the hair on my arms stand out like Buckwheat’s afro (sorry if you don’t get that, Google Buckwheat and Little Rascals).

Now here is a very nice snap of some lovely ladies doing . . . something, I’m not sure what, maybe exchanging gifts, who knows? It’s one of those “concept” things that I’m never sure why it is supposed to make me want to buy a particular car. It seems like a lot of mumbo-jumbo to me, but then I’m not very sophisticated:

An ancient Toyota - I wonder how long it ran?

When I see one of these old automobile ads I can’t help wondering how long the thing held up here in PNG. I still see some that look a lot like this one on the streets, belching white smoke and wobbling back and forth on bent rims and dead shocks. Most of them are held together only by the tenacity of rust.

Look at this zippy looking aeroplane. It just makes me want to go somewhere. It’s too bad that we ended up with a state-controlled airline that is so backward an inefficient that it’s cheaper to get from Brisbane to NYC than it is to get from Madang to Brisbane:

Anybody else remember TAA?

Maybe we can locate one of these old clunkers and revive it. I bet that a concerned citizens group could buy one for a song, hire me to fly it (for suitable compensation, of course) and beat the socks off of Air Niugini. We’ll have to figure out how to get it to run on palm oil. We can grow our own jet fuel out in our gardens.

Now, here is a lady who loves her perfume. She seems, in fact, to worship it. And don’t hand her any of that “size doesn’t matter” blather. She’s into serious scent:

This lady lover her perfume and size DOES matter!

I tried to load the web site for the designer, but my lunch hour wasn’t long enough. Eunie has about twenty teeny-weeney bottles of perfume in her secret hiding place right next to the bathroom sink. She always smells nice; everybody says so. Why would you need a gallon of the stuff? A pernicious B.O. problem?

The Toyota ad wasn’t silly, it was just mystifying. This one hits about 9.8 on the Silliometer. First of all, comparing a Datsun to a thoroughbred is like Comparing Queen Latifah to Meryl Streep (or something like that). They are both actors, but they don’t run in the same class. (By the way, I like Queen Latifah. Meryl Streep’s not bad either.):

This looks a bit ridiculous

Can you picture a guy way back in the day buying one of these little wonders in Lae and driving it up to Hagen only to discover that it’s completely clapped out by the time gets there?

This one is amusing. I’ll send a crisp K20 note to anyone who can email to me a scan of a document that demonstrates that anyone ever booked a trip through Burns Philp:

Did anyone ever use it?

Hey, dude, watch where you’re pointing that thing. I might go off. If anybody can think of a good caption for this one, please leave a comment. I’m wracking my brain, but I can’t think of anything suitable for a general audience.

And, how about that funky computer terminal. I’ll give a hundred Kina to anyone who can get me one of those.

It will go into the MadDog Museum of Mildly Amusing Artefacts.

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The National – Fixing Their Site? – Time Will Tell

Posted in Dangerous, Mixed Nuts on August 25th, 2009 by MadDog
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As I reported some time ago, The National,  one of our major daily newspapers has been infected by a virus since at least the 29th of July. The virus is called HTML/Framer, but that’s probably of little interest to you.

I visited the site (I’m well protected) a couple of days ago (don’t remember the day) and my AVG threw up the same old warnings. Today the story is different. I was just preparing to remove it from my list of “Try These Links” when I decided to give it one more shot. This is what popped up in Firefox:

The National is off-line. Are they getting rid of the virus?

The site is completely off line. I hope this means that they are fixing the problem. I called the system administrator as soon as I discovered the virus. He never returned my call. I’m going to give the person the benefit of the doubt and assume that he was too flabbergasted at the moment to talk to me, but I am suspicious, nevertheless. I’ve been rebuffed many times when I had a solution in hand and tried to help out a webmaster or a system administrator. Many simply can’t believe that someone calling on the phone to report a virus could possibly know as much about it as they do.

Anyway, I find it abominable that they didn’t take the site down the minute that they discovered the virus. Practically everybody knows that maybe over 90% (note the wacky estimation technique) of the computers that can get on the internet in PNG are probably unprotected and already spewing out viruses by the bus load to any other unprotected computer. Every single flash drive that comes into our building from outside is infected. That’s why I forbid them to be inserted into an office computer until I have de-loused them.

I find it irresponsible of the management of The National  to allow their web site to remain on line for such a long time knowing that it was spreading a virus to every unprotected computer that visited it.

Any rebuttals? Corrections? Comments?

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