Birds, Trees, Airplanes, Frisky Fish

Posted in Mixed Nuts, Under the Sea on February 26th, 2009 by MadDog
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I’ve got it all for you today.

This morning, my garden was sizzling with warm morning sunshine. I felt like I was 60 again. Whoopee! I was standing on Faded Glory  looking back at the house. I quickly brought my camera up to my eye by instinct and caught this crow flying past. The blue sky, warm orange sunlight on the trunks of the coconut tree, and the ominous black bird make an interesting juxtaposition:

Sky, coconuts, bird
Then I heard an Air Niugini jet about to take off. The runway is close to our house. I snap-shot again, just barely having time to zoom. There is even a small school of fish jumping at the bottom of the frame on the right:
Air Niugini departing Madang
A click on the image to enlarge will give you a view of the logo on the tail.

Lastly, here is an unfortunately green movie clip that I got on our Wednesday dive on the Henry Leith.  It is two Three-spot Dascyllus (Dascyllus trimaculatus)  getting it on (Excuse the minor vulgarity. If I use the word – I’ll spell it out – “esss – eee – exxx” in a post, I’ll be knocked off of millions of computers.):They take turns circling, cleaning, depositing, fertilising, and chasing away potential egg stealers (including myself – they BITE!).

I just noticed while I was checking this post that, if you turn the sound up, you can hear over my breathing the sound that many of these small fishes make (Damselfishes of all kinds, including the Anemonefishes). It is a small, quick grunting sound. Turn your sound up and see if you can pick it up. They most commonly make this sound when they are perturbed. You can hear the sound most clearly starting at about 1:13 into the clip running to about 1:45. It comes back again at about 1:45 and you can hear it on and off until near the end of the clip.

Sorry for the horrible green cast. The water was very green and I haven’t yet figured out how to change the tint of my video clips. If there’s anybody out there with a suggestion how to do that, please leave a comment.

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A Short History of Ancient Advertising

Posted in Mixed Nuts on February 18th, 2009 by MadDog
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I’ve been keeping amused by sorting through the old issues of Paradise Magazine that Maureen Hill gave to me. There are many articles of interest to old-timers, but the advertisements are so funky and dated that I have to show you a few of them. I’ll get around to the articles later.

These ads came from Issue 2: October 1976, Issue 5: May 1977, and Issue 6: July 1977.

In hindsight, I suppose that old cigarette ads are not so funny. I can remember when “Nine out of ten Doctors Recommend . . .” They can ‘t get away that that now. Here’s an old Peter Stuyvesant ad from Paradise:

Stuyvesant cigarette ad from an early Paradise magazine
It would have been more honest to say, “We hired this clown to dress up in a doctor suit and lie to you.”, but I don’t think they would have sold as many coffin nails. I was curious about who the dude was or if it was a fake name. Turns out he was real:

Peter Stuyvesant (circa 1600 – August 1672) served as the last Dutch Director-General of the colony of New Netherland from 1647 until it was ceded provisionally to the English in 1664. He was a major figure in the early history of New York City. Stuyvesant’s accomplishment as director-general included a great expansion for the settlement of New Amsterdam (later renamed New York) beyond the southern tip of Manhattan. Among the projects built by Stuyvesant’s administration were the protective wall on Wall Street, the canal which became Broad Street, and Broadway.

Here’s one that’s a laugh. Who in the world thought this up:

Air Niugini - A Wise Old Owl?
Air Niugini – A Wise Old Owl? Maybe way back then.

The Avis car hire gang was around then and have managed to hang in there:

Avis - The Car Hire Gang
Although I don’t think anybody dresses like that anymore. (Hey, wait a minute. I DO know some guys who still dress that way!)

Ela Motors is still pumping out the iron, though I seriously doubt if the car shown in the ad is more than a rusting hulk:

Avis - The Car Hire Gang
South Pacific Brewery is still faithfully insuring that nobody goes to school (ably assisted by British American Tobacco).* However, with the quality of the flint bottle longnecks (SP Export Lager) that we’ve been seeing lately I think a lot of people would switch if there was anything in the same price range. Every other bottle spews about a third of its contents out as soon as you open it:
Old South Pacific Brewery ad from Paradise Magazine
I saved the best for last. Burns Philp used to be a very big deal here. I can remember a huge warehouse store just around the corner from my office. It burned down. Burns Philp is now a shell company owned by New Zealand businessman Graeme Hart:
Old Burns Philp ad from Paradise Magazine
I wonder if its demise had anything to do with its ludicrous advertisements.

Fair is fair – it is cute in a demented sort of way.

* Okay, okay, I know it’s not fair to blame the brewers and ciggie makers for the irresponsibility and neglect of the slugs who choose to consume the products in such quantities that they can’t afford to send their kids to school. It’s like blaming the arms industry for all the people who die in wars. But, hey, we gotta blame somebody!

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Crane Strains for Plane

Posted in At Sea, Dangerous, Madang Happenings on February 7th, 2009 by MadDog
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Going through my ancient videos that I’ve transferred to digital media, I came across this amusing, but not very action-filled segment of a big crane straining to lift an Air Niugini F-28 from the water in front of our house:
The indicent happened in 1995. There was a huge thunderstorm that dumped an enormous amount of water on the runway. The plane came in long (too far down the runway) and hydroplaned off the end.

It ended up with one wing in the water. People got out the door, walked up the wing to safety, and (presumably) got down on their knees and kissed the tarmac.

The sound of the crash woke us up, but we thought it was just one of the huge long peals of thunder that we hear all the time.

As you can see, they have painted out the logo and company name with white paint. Here’s a spoofed shot of the plane taken before it was defaced.

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A Treasure Chest of Paradise

Posted in Mixed Nuts on February 3rd, 2009 by MadDog
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This will be of special interest to PNG old-timers. Maureen Hill recently gave me a big box of old PNG publications. The bulk of it is old issues of Paradise Magazine, the in-flight rag of Air Niugini.

As I started going through them, I realized what a treasure I now have. I picture the pirate running his hands through the coins in his treasure chest murmuring, “Gold . . . Gold!”

The oldest issue that I could find is this one: 

Early Paradise Magazine Cover
Try as I may, I can’t figure out what when it was published. It appears that it is from the late 1970s, but there is no publication date to be found in its pages. I thought it might possibly be the first issue, but a little Googling turned up this page on Trevor Michie’s blog that shows the first issue cover.

Among the amusing advertisements for dead companies, there is this interesting pattern matching spread:
Find the matching pair
Click to enlarge to see if you can find the pair. I must admit that I gave up. Things like this make me nervous. Finally, I gave it to our long-suffering bookkeeper, Lois Bayyom-Nai. I’m always giving her improbable tasks. She came back in about two minutes with the match. I won’t spoil if for you by pointing out the matching pair. I will say that there are two that look the same but the face amounts are different. They are not the matching pair. They are red herrings.

It’s also interesting to note that the denominations of these stamps are all in pre-Kina currencies.

Another blast from the past is this article by Fr. Frank Mihalic, SVD. Old-timers will know his name well: 

Article from Paradise Magazine on Tok Pisin by Fr. Frank Mihalic, SVD
Father Mihalic authored one of the most important books in PNG history (my not-so-humble opinion, I admit). It was first published in 1971:
Jacaranda Dictionary and Grammar of Melanesian Pidgin - F. Mihalic, S.V.D.
I can remember studying this book when we came to PNG for our training in 1981. If you have a copy of it, hang onto it, especially if it’s an early edition. It may well be worth some money someday.

As I go through the old Paradise Magazines, I’ll be posting more of this absolutely useless, but nevertheless amusing information.

Stay tuned.

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Back to What Passes for Normal

Posted in Humor on January 28th, 2009 by MadDog
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It looks as if most all the problems of moving Madang – Ples Bilong Mi are in the past. I still have a few issues with old images not showing up and there’s something wrong with the gallery plugin, but I can get back to regular posting now.

The image below is from yesterday in our front yard. It’s not the QE2, but it’s a big cruise ship. We didn’t see it when we left the house. Sometimes, we don’t notice what’s right in front of us. When we drove into town we could see it sticking up at the end of Modilon Road, and we wondered how we’d missed seeing it at home:

Presumably rich folk are aboard

This reminds me of the time that an Air Niugini jet ran off the end of the runway right in front of our house and we didn’t notice it in the morning: (this image has appeared here previously)

Air Niugini's Jet Boat Service

Yesterday evening I was sitting in my “reading chair” with a beer and a cigar and I heard very loud Italian opera music coming from outside. This is not something that is normal in Madang. In fact, since 1981, it has never happened. I don’t know about before that, since I wasn’t here.

Anyway, it was that one that goes, “Da-da-daaaaaa. Da-da-daaaaaa. Da-da-da-da-da-daaaaaaaa.” Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a Philistine. I don’t mind opera. I just don’t understand Italian and I can never remember the names of them.

Anyway, I got up to look out the door. Just then, the cruise ship tooted very loudly three times (the standard signal for “leaving port”) and pulled away from the dock.

If the above doesn’t amuse you, let me try this.

TELIKOM turned off all of our phones (probably about twenty) because they messed up again in their billing department. Never mind; it happens now only occasionally. It used to happen every month. Of course, they want you then to pay a reconnection fee, but we learned long ago to thumb our noses at that nonsense.

So, to get my weekly jab in at TELIKOM, I’ll show you this beautiful (and typical) “work in progress” shot of our connection box in front of our office:

TELIKOM work in progress

Messy, eh?

Fortunately, it wasn’t raining yesterday.

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Air Niugini – Just Can’t Get It Right

Posted in At Sea, Humor, Opinions on December 18th, 2008 by MadDog
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I don’t know if I get such poor service from Air Niugini because I’m such a whiner and they’re punishing me for it or if I’m just paranoid and they treat everyone with equal contempt. In the case of the former, I wish they would quit making others suffer along with me, because it’s simply not fair. They should just punish me by giving me free, unlimited air travel confined to Air Niugini and force me to use it every day until I die. I reckon it would take about a week. The coroner’s report would list the cause of death as terminal frustration.

For afternoon flights, I’m running about 50% getting from Port Moresby home to Madang on the day that I was ticketed to do so. For an operation that is a self-proclaimed source of pride for our* nation, I find this embarrassing.

I’m too tired and cranky to find any humour in yesterday’s shenanigans, so I’ll skip the gory details. If I can’t find a way to make a story at least a little funny, then I have little interest in telling it.

I’ll have plenty to say in future about my eight days at sea on Miss Rankin. It will take be a few days to digest it and work on the photos.

Nevertheless, I did get a couple of interesting shots yesterday evening at the Port Moresby Royal Yacht Club.

This shot is just at sunset, before it started raining:

Port Moresby Royal Yacht Club at sunset

It got very cold. I was clad in a t-shirt and shorts, my customary attire, and I was distinctly underdressed for both the weather and the social scene. The PMRYC is a planet away from Madang. I was so far out of my element that I wished I could fade into the shrubbery and shiver while waiting for the dinghy back to Miss Rankin.

So much for the country bumpkin in the big city.

Later, it rained and got considerably colder. I got this shot by putting my G9 on the table at the edge of the bar and giving it a full fifteen seconds exposure:

Port Moresby Royal Yacht Club on a rainy nightTo madden Air Niugini further, and avoid having a blank spot in my December posting calendar, I’m cheating by back-dating this post by one day. It’s my pathetic way of thumbing my nose at Air Niugini for messing up my schedule yet again. It also allows me to pretend that I arrived home yesterday – when I was supposed to.

As if I have anything important to do . . . Sure.

* I’m a Permanent Resident of PNG, not a Citizen. So I use the term “our nation” loosely. I do, however, use it with pride.

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This Pidgin Won’t Fly

Posted in Humor, Mixed Nuts, Photography Tricks on November 8th, 2008 by MadDog
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We may as well all jump into the fray of constructive criticism of Air Niugini now that it seems possible that healthy competition will yet help to heal the festering sore of an airline and allow it to become serviceable and affordable for its passengers.

There are improvements. One that I am personally happy with is the new Fokker F-100. Why, you might ask? Well, I live right next to the end of the runway in Madang. Does that answer your question? The F-100 is much quieter on take-off than the old F-80.

Here’s my artsy-fartsy tribute to Air Niugini’s new F-100s: (you might want to click to enlarge . . . or not)

A somewhat artistic rendition of the Fokker F-100

I took this shot as I disembarked in Port Moresby last Sunday morning. I brutally massaged the frame with several Photoshop Artistic filters.

However, none of this is the subject of this post.

You would think that airlines in general would put a modicum of effort into the preparation of something that passengers have to stare at throughout the flight.

Not so, Air Niugini.

Here is what you must look at on the back of the seat in front of you:

This Pidgin Won’t Fly

Let’s start with the English.

I’ll get the most picky point out of the way first. There is no full stop (period for Yanks) at the end of the sentence. The same is true for the Tok Pisin version.

Sticking with the English for the moment, I can find absolutely no reference to the spelling of the word equipment as equiptment. If this is a Papua New Guinean way of spelling the word, then I can only suggest, “Stop doing that!” America has already sufficiently savaged the English language. There is no need for the rest of the world to join in the slaughter.

Now, let’s get to the Tok Pisin version – it’s much more interesting.

First, here is my literal back-translation into English: “It is against the rules truly to throw out all life jackets and all another things from this aircraft.”

Again, I’ll start with the nit-picking complaint. The Tok Pisin word raus comes from the German raus which, as far as I can tell, means throw out, get out, throw away, or such things as, “get out of here!”

According to the The Jacaranda Dictionary and Grammar of Melanesian Pidgin by my old friend Father Frank Mihalic S.V.D. (R.I.P), it can mean take away, but this is a lesser usage.

The better word would be stil which means to steal. In Tok Pisin, the word stilim (the transitive) more clearly conveys the meaning of the sentence.

Airlines generally understate. What they want to say is, “Don’t steal our life jackets or any of our other stuff!” The word “remove” is a linguistically weak-kneed way of saying it.

Let’s look at another word. In the Tok Pisin version, the word narapela is definitely wrong as far as I can see. It should be arapela. Let me explain.

Again, according to Jacaranda, narapela means another, while arapela means other. So, if we back-translate the Tok Pisin version it says, “all another stuff” which doesn’t make sense.

I won’t even get into the matter that na means and while o means or. Or . . . maybe I will.

Locically, the Tok Pisin sentence is explaining that it’s only wrong to take the life jackets if you also take all of the other stuff too. If you take only the life jacket(s) then it’s okay. It’s apparently also okay if you take all of the other stuff and leave the life jacket(s).

I’m not a native Tok Pisin speaker, so I welcome any and all comments on my comments.

Here would be my Tok Pisin translation of the English sentence:

“I tambu tru long stilim life jacket o olgeta arapela samting long dispela balus.”

I would back-translate this into English as: “It is illegal to steal life jackets or any other things from this aircraft.”

I’m feeling feisty, so bring on the critical comments.

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