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BarkellWH

Posts: 3263
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

All is Well with the World 

Apropos of nothing, I just want to say that it is 7:00 PM in Washington, DC, I have just watched the nightly news and am now on my second copita of jerez (amontillado) while listening to a vinyl recording of Sabicas. Normally I have one copita before dinner, but on Sundays I allow myself two copitas. Marta is preparing filet of flounder in corn meal, and I will bathe it in lemon juice when I sit down for this repast. It is still too warm in Washington to enjoy a glass of postprandial port, but I look forward to the fall when a glass of port will finish the dinner in grand style. This ritual has been a mainstay in my life for decades, and I pray that it may continue into the future indefinitely. I suspect only Stephen and Richard will understand, but in addition to lemon juice, I flavor my flounder with pepper corns from Micronesia, specifically from Pohnpei. May all Foro members be as content as I am.

Cheers,

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 18 2016 23:33:37
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: All is Well with the World (in reply to BarkellWH

The best pepper in the world. Hope you enjoyed flounder.

_____________________________

https://www.stephenfaulkguitars.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 19 2016 1:26:28
 
rombsix

Posts: 7586
Joined: Jan. 11 2006
From: Beirut, Lebanon

RE: All is Well with the World (in reply to BarkellWH

Careful, Bill, that your consumption of spirits does not start moving you to the right side of the J-curve.

_____________________________

Ramzi

http://www.youtube.com/rombsix
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 19 2016 1:36:24
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3263
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: All is Well with the World (in reply to rombsix

quote:

Careful, Bill, that your consumption of spirits does not start moving you to the right side of the J-curve.


Thanks for your concern, Ramzi. A copita of jerez as an aperitif whets the appetite and a glass of postprandial port aids digestion. I have played squash for decades to keep up the exercise and maintain balance.

By the way, you may know that the "J-Curve" is also used in economics regarding a country's trade balance after a currency depreciation. But I assume you meant it in terms of hypertension and blood pressure.

How do you like New Haven and Yale? Very different from Nashville, no?

Cheers,

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 19 2016 10:50:45
 
Piwin

Posts: 3316
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: All is Well with the World (in reply to BarkellWH

Cheers to you!
Sounds like it was a wonderful evening.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 19 2016 12:44:35
 
rombsix

Posts: 7586
Joined: Jan. 11 2006
From: Beirut, Lebanon

RE: All is Well with the World (in reply to BarkellWH

quote:

Thanks for your concern, Ramzi. A copita of jerez as an aperitif whets the appetite and a glass of postprandial port aids digestion. I have played squash for decades to keep up the exercise and maintain balance.

By the way, you may know that the "J-Curve" is also used in economics regarding a country's trade balance after a currency depreciation. But I assume you meant it in terms of hypertension and blood pressure.

How do you like New Haven and Yale? Very different from Nashville, no?


I didn't know about the J-curve concept in economics.

New Haven is a rough city. I had my car parked in the clinic's lot which has two security guards all the time, and I returned to find that my fog lights were stolen. We keep getting emails from the Yale police saying that a robbery took place here and there - few days ago, it might have been me, because it happened exactly at the location where I was planning to be at the same time (but I eventually decided to stay at home and study, so another poor soul got unlucky and was mugged). And I live right in the heart of the Yale medical campus where security is tighter, but still this stuff happens.

Yale is quite busy. People don't mess around here. I was stationed in a clinic with 2,000 patients and I am essentially the only psychiatrist working full-time in that location.

What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger, right? Unless you get mugged at gunpoint.



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_____________________________

Ramzi

http://www.youtube.com/rombsix
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 19 2016 14:54:37
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: All is Well with the World (in reply to BarkellWH

Ramzi,

Are you gong to join the Skull and Bones Club?

_____________________________

https://www.stephenfaulkguitars.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 19 2016 16:11:40
 
rombsix

Posts: 7586
Joined: Jan. 11 2006
From: Beirut, Lebanon

RE: All is Well with the World (in reply to estebanana

quote:

Ramzi,

Are you gong to join the Skull and Bones Club?


I cannot, alas, because it's solely an undergraduate society.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skull_and_Bones



_____________________________

Ramzi

http://www.youtube.com/rombsix
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 19 2016 16:35:24
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3156
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: All is Well with the World (in reply to rombsix

When I was eighteen my grandfather took me into the library at the ranch house and poured me a shot of cognac. He called it just "brandy" as though there were no other kind. He said, "A glass of brandy before dinner never hurt anybody. Three glasses of brandy before dinner have killed thousands."

Pohnpei pepper: wonderful! We used to have steak au poivre at the Village, and bananas Foster for dessert. The hotel and restaurant sat on a high bluff on the north shore of the island. We looked out over the fringing reef and the Pacific. Nights with a full moon were spectacular. Nothing compares to fresh pepper and tree ripened bananas. While diving during the day, the passes in the reef below the Village were some of the best places to see the giant manta rays on an incoming tide.

Also Kosrae oranges: people would board the plane at Kosrae with a bunch of oranges that had been given to them as departure presents. Knowing they would be confiscated by Customs in Guam, they would give them away to fellow passengers. The plane would fill with the aroma of orange peel, and there would be smiles and conversation all around.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 19 2016 17:29:44
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3263
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: All is Well with the World (in reply to Richard Jernigan

Last year while in Palau for three months on an Embassy gig for the State Department, I was in contact with the American Ambassador to the FSM in Pohnpei, who I know well and for whom I covered as Charge' d'Affaires at the Embassy in Kolonia for three months until her arrival in September 2012. She informed me of the sad news that the Village had closed. Apparently Bob and Patty Arthur's lease on the land was up, and the various owners of the land made it next to impossible to renew the leases. In the FSM, as in Palau and the Marshall Islands, land ownership is an extremely contentious issue among clans, families, and individuals.

This was extremely sad news, as the Village was the premier resort/hotel in Pohnpei. I had been staying at the Village when in the FSM since my first trip out in 1992 while serving in the State Department's office handling Freely Associated States Affairs. And every Sunday I would order Patty Arthur's Eggs Benedict for breakfast. They were the best I had ever tasted, before or since. It will have a negative effect on the FSM's economy as well, as it was the only premier international-style resort in Pohnpei. And Bob and Patty Arthur were the most gracious of hosts.

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 19 2016 18:42:40
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3156
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: All is Well with the World (in reply to BarkellWH

I had heard the sad news of the Village closing some time ago.

For those unfamiliar with Micronesia, land titles are a vexed issue throughout the region.

Years ago a group of us from Kwajalein went on a dive trip to Fiji. On the second biggest island, Vanua Levu, the dive operator had a nice approach to briefing us on reef conservation. He asked a young Fijian woman, a graduate of the University of the South Pacific, to give us the filmed briefing on reef ecology that she had prepared for the shoreside villages throughout the country. At the end we asked how it was received by the villagers.

She smiled and said they often had information to add. Also they pointed out that some reef areas that belonged to the villages became taboo for fishing and harvesting for a period of years after the death of certain leading citizens. The taboo areas served as nurseries to replenish the adjacent reef. It was only a short step from this practice to institute a regularly rotating system of preserves. A majority of the land in Fiji is the property of village corporations with clearly recognized title, including most of the shoreline.

Afterward, the eleven of us, the young woman, and Curly the dive operator, stood around and chatted. The young woman said she had recently been to a Pacific-wide conference on reef conservation. The representative from the Marshall Islands had said that the unclear status of land ownership was one of the barriers to better reef conservation in the Marshalls.

I asked whether the representative had been Marshallese, or an American hired consultant. The young woman smiled a little sheepishly, and said it had been an American. I recounted the stories of more than one planned big resort development in the Marshalls that had fallen through due to the inability of the developers to get clear title or an uncontested lease on land. I suggested that the complexities of land ownership in the Marshalls might have played a significant role in the conservation of the reefs there.

But I'm sure someone will eventually find a way around it.....

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 19 2016 20:19:46
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3156
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: All is Well with the World (in reply to Richard Jernigan

Curly, the dive operator on Vanua Levu, was a retired Sergeant Major of the New Zealand army. He looked like Mr. Natural. For those not familiar with the hippie comics of R. Crumb, Mr. Natural wore shorts, sandals, a T-shirt and a long wispy gray beard.

Curly was friends with a village on the eastern shore of the island. To get there you drove through a coconut plantation. The village had a hereditary chief and an elected head of the village council. The village council head was our host.

We brought the customary gift of yaqona (perhaps better known as kava in Polynesia, or sakau in Micronesia). We sat in the roofed assembly area, open to the breeze, with the men of the village as the roots of the plant were pounded and soaked in water, and the slightly muddy tasting drink was passed around in a coconut shell. It left the lips tingling, and had a mildly narcotic effect. Then we sat for a couple of hours, snacked and talked story.

The next night four of us were invited back by the elected council chief for dinner at his house. We sat on the floor as a number of dishes were served by his wife and two grown daughters. They included fish and game, and fruits and vegetables from gardens and from the jungle. It was all eaten with the fingers from large and well washed banana leaves on the floor in front of each person. The council head was an educated man, having graduated from university and taught high school for many years in the capital. Retiring, he had returned to his native village in the hinterland.

Having heard the word "vanua" a number of times, I asked the council head what it meant when he used it. His English was excellent. He said that the vanua of his village included about ten thousand acres of jungle and shoreline, including the adjacent reefs. He said it wasn't just the property of the village, in a sense it was the village. He said it meant the land, the people, the plants, the animals and sea creatures, the spirits....and all the interactions among them. He paused, then smiled and said, "A lot of English words for one simple Fijian concept."

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 19 2016 20:45:42
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: All is Well with the World (in reply to BarkellWH

I figure the complexity of land titles serves in a back handed way to keep foreign national companies form getting afoot hold on the island. That's all I would say in public, but knowing the history of the island myself and its colonial past....

Although the Village was a special place and sorry it did not get passed to one of the kids, who are practically Micronesian anyway

_____________________________

https://www.stephenfaulkguitars.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 20 2016 0:38:43
 
SephardRick

Posts: 357
Joined: Apr. 11 2014
 

RE: All is Well with the World (in reply to BarkellWH

quote:

is still too warm in Washington to enjoy a glass of postprandial port


Bill,

It was a bit warm...I was in Baltimore last weekend for my niece's wedding.

Fresh seafood...Good music...fortified wine..Sure makes you appreciate the simple things in life.

Cheers, Brother!

_____________________________

Rick
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 21 2016 19:18:25
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3156
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: All is Well with the World (in reply to estebanana

quote:

ORIGINAL: estebanana

I figure the complexity of land titles serves in a back handed way to keep foreign national companies form getting afoot hold on the island. That's all I would say in public, but knowing the history of the island myself and its colonial past....


It's been at least 15 years since I was in Pohnpei, but every time I was there the harbor was crowded with large (bigger than 100-meter) foreign fishing boats, 15 or 20 of them, as I remember. I figured there were many more than that at sea nearby. So maybe not exactly a foreign foothold--no evidence they owned any significant amount of land based business, but certainly a strong economic impact--either publicly, or more likely, sizable payoffs to the elite as well.

The large catch of fish implied by the size of the fleet would have to be processed and frozen for shipment. I believe this business in the Marshalls was in foreign hands, don't know about Pohnpei...

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 21 2016 20:19:16
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3263
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: All is Well with the World (in reply to SephardRick

quote:

Fresh seafood...Good music...fortified wine..Sure makes you appreciate the simple things in life.


You nailed it, Rick!

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 21 2016 21:21:05
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3263
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: All is Well with the World (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

The large catch of fish implied by the size of the fleet would have to be processed and frozen for shipment. I believe this business in the Marshalls was in foreign hands, don't know about Pohnpei...


Eight Pacific island nations, including the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Palau, are parties to the Nauru Agreement which attempts to control and manage purse seine tuna fishing, as well as long-line fishing, by foreign entities, primarily Taiwan, China, and Japan. All three of the Freely Associated States make most of their fishing income from the issuance of fishing access permits (licensing). In the Marshalls, the Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority (MIMRA) is the authorized entity for that activity, and the FSM and Palau have their own versions. Whether or not the revenue from the issuance of such licenses is fully recovered in government coffers would make an interesting audit.

The fish processing plant in the Marshalls has had a spotty history. Much the same can be said for Air Marshall Islands, which had one DC-8 that was out of commission for several years, and may still be. The fish processing plant in Majuro would filet tuna caught in the FAS EEZ, which would then be shipped to the Starkist cannery in American Samoa for canning. Quite a lengthy supply chain, if you consider distances in the Pacific.

As a side note, Russian oligarchs have discovered the Freely Associated States. In 2012, I was performing a three-month gig for the State Department as Charge' d'Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Kolonia. During my entire tenure a huge yacht was anchored in the harbor. It was owned by one of the Russian oligarchs. I can make an educated guess regarding his contacts, but I can assure you he did not hang out at "The Rusty Anchor" drinking beer with me and the usual regulars on a Friday evening after closing up the Embassy.

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 21 2016 22:05:52
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3156
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: All is Well with the World (in reply to BarkellWH

quote:

ORIGINAL: BarkellWH

quote:

The large catch of fish implied by the size of the fleet would have to be processed and frozen for shipment. I believe this business in the Marshalls was in foreign hands, don't know about Pohnpei...


Eight Pacific island nations, including the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Palau, are parties to the Nauru Agreement which attempts to control and manage purse seine tuna fishing, as well as long-line fishing, by foreign entities, primarily Taiwan, China, and Japan. All three of the Freely Associated States make most of their fishing income from the issuance of fishing access permits (licensing). In the Marshalls, the Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority (MIMRA) is the authorized entity for that activity, but the FSM and Palau have their own versions. Whether or not the revenue from the issuance of such licenses is fully recovered in government coffers would make an interesting audit.

The fish processing plant in the Marshalls has had a spotty history. Much the same can be said for Air Marshall Islands, which had one DC-8 that was out of commission for several years, and may still be. The fish processing plant in Majuro would filet tuna caught in the FAS EEZ, which would then be shipped to the Starkist cannery in American Samoa for canning. Quite a lengthy supply chain, if you consider distances in the Pacific.

As a side note, Russian oligarchs have discovered the Freely Associated States. In 2012, I was performing a three-month gig for the State Department as Charge' d'Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Kolonia. During my entire tenure a huge yacht was anchored in the harbor. It was owned by one of the Russian oligarchs. I can only guess regarding his contacts, but I can assure you he did not hang out at the "Rusty Anchor" drinking beer with me and the usual regulars on a Friday evening after closing up the Embassy.

Bill


While I lived at Kwajalein, MIMRA was the source of frequent stories in the Marshall Islands Journal, and of rumors among the local Marshallese about corruption. The Tuna fleet was largely Chinese, and in Majuro there were waterfront bars, restaurants and "other businesses" that catered to Chinese seamen.

The tuna processing plant opened and closed sporadically, presumably depending on how much of the profit had gone elsewhere.

While Air Marshall Islands operated the leased DC-8, I used to schedule my departure from Kwajalein on Continental Air Micronesia or the military flight, and my return on Air Marshall Islands. This often got me an extra day or two in Honolulu, not charged against vacation time, due to delayed departures of AMI.

Once, on the way home I sat next to the Attorney General of the Republic of Marshall Islands. I asked him a question about labor law. He said he didn't know, but could advise me about divorce and other matters. I said my divorce had been settled long ago, and changed the subject.

The same DC-8 that carried passengers also had a cargo compartment that carried frozen fish on outbound flights. Returning it carried general cargo. You wanted to sit several rows back from the front of the passenger compartment, due to the cockroach population of the fish compartment. Forward of the cargo compartment was a private cabin for VIPs. Amata Kabua, the first president of the Republic of Marshall Islands, came back to the general passenger compartment, stood all the way at the rear and lit up a cigarette, despite the prominent "No Smoking" signs. I glanced back. The Attorney General said, "His wife won't let him smoke up front."

The DC-8 was grounded when nobody on the planet would perform the scheduled maintenance needed to keep it licensed. When asked why, I said it was due to the Marshallese government's fiscal policy.

"What fiscal policy is that?" people would ask.

"Never pay a bill to anybody, for any reason, at any time, unless it's to a member of the local in-group."

The DC-8 experience was nothing compared to my trips in the 1970s when I first began traveling to Kwajalein on business. Continental Air Micronesia operated a Boeing 727 on the "island hopper" route. About the front half of the plane was cargo and luggage space, clearly visible through a doorway from the passenger compartment.

On my first trip I went to Kwajalein on the military flight and returned on "Air Mike." At that time the Marshall Islands was still part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific, essentially a U.S. possession, under authorization from the United Nations. Still, Lijellan Kabua, the Iroij-Alap-Alap, the highest ranking Marshallese nobleman, was a wealthy and important individual.

As we prepared to leave Kwajalein en route to Honolulu, Kabua boarded the plane, accompanied by about ten women, and a few men. I recognized one of them as the man who usually accompanied Kabua, carrying a good sized attache cased filled with U.S. currency.

Kabua had shopping privileges on the military base. His ID badge read "King." It would annoy the Americans when Kabua would decide to have a party on the island of Ebeye, and would appear with his money man to buy all the steaks at the supermarket at the base on Kwajalein. There would be no more steaks until the next weekly cargo flight arrived.

Not long after we took off for Honolulu the women began singing very tunefully and in close harmony, as the cabin filled with cigar smoke. It is a long night flight from Kwajalein to Honolulu. The singing promised to continue indefinitely. I grumbled to my neighbor. "Just wait a minute," he counseled.

Sure enough, within ten or fifteen minutes three of Kabua's aides appeared. One was handing out Cuban cigars and matches, another was pouring liberal glasses of single malt Scotch whisky. The bottle was taken from a case of whisky carried by the third man. The Micronesian and Honolulu based flight attendants seemed accustomed to this, providing glasses of ice water or club soda. Case after case of whisky continued to be poured at least until a couple of hours later, when I dozed off peacefully, to the sound of songs praising Kabua, in vibrant female harmony.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 21 2016 23:26:20
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3263
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: All is Well with the World (in reply to Richard Jernigan

From 1991 to 1993 I was Deputy Director of the State Department's office for Freely Associated States Affairs. I made several trips out to the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Palau. On my first trip out to the island nations and Palau (Palau was still a Trusteeship) I met the Presidents and their cabinet officials. When I had my meeting with Amata Kabua, the President of the Marshall Islands, we reviewed various issues of mutual interest to both the U.S. and the RMI, including of course our Missile Defense Test Range on Kwajalein.

What Kabua really wanted to impress upon me, however, was his chagrin that whenever he flew into Honolulu he was never given what he considered "appropriate" treatment as a head of state. In fact, he was given what we in the State Department call "Courtesy of the Port." What irritated Kabua was that he had to take the "Wiki Wiki Bus" from the landing gate to the main terminal. At that point he was whisked through immigration and customs as any head of state would be. But he thought we should provide him with a limousine from the landing gate to the main terminal. I told him I would bring his request up when I returned to Washington, knowing that we would never provide transportation for him and his party.

On his subsequent trips to the U.S. Kabua continued to use the "Wiki Wiki Bus." And in all my years traveling to and transiting Honolulu, so have I. If it was good enough for Kabua, it was good enough for me.

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 22 2016 1:26:00
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3156
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: All is Well with the World (in reply to BarkellWH

Since Lijellan Kabua was merely Iroij-Alap-Alap, the highest Marshallese title of nobility, and not technically a head of state, I assume he was not accorded honors due to one. I never saw how he and his retinue proceeded through the formalities at Honolulu.

Amata Kabua, being the President of the Republic of Marshall Islands was in fact a head of state, and it is not surprising that he felt belittled. More than one Commander of the U.S. Space and Missile Defense Command, mere lieutenant generals (3 stars) complained that they were insufficiently kowtowed to when they deigned to visit Kwajalein.

When I used to hang around the Pentagon, the people I associated with who worked there called 1- and 2-stars by their first names, were a little more formal with 3-stars, and reserved the "sirs" and "with your permissions," etc. for 4-stars.

Lengthy tenure at the highest ranks is one of the severest tests of character. My father was on MacArthur's staff during the first year of the Occupation of Japan. He hated every single minute of it, and more than once said he pulled every string he had in the Pentagon to get away, despite the fact that he had gone under Hap Arnold's (Air Force Chief of Staff) personal direction.

Dad described endless dreary dinners hearing of MacArthur's feats of personal bravery in WW I, Distinguished Service Cross for this, Silver Star for that, nominated for the Medal of Honor for the other, his exploits as captain of the West Point baseball team, and on, and on, and on...

On the other hand, in a locally televised interview, when Dad was asked which of the great leaders of WW II he most admired, he replied without hesitation, "Oh, Eisenhower, definitely Eisenhower."

"And why was that?"

"When Ike asked you to do something, you wanted to do it."

One thing Ike had asked Dad, an 11th generation white southerner, to do was to oversee the racial integration of Bolling Air Force Base. The experience eliminated Dad's racism.

Ike was a colonel in March, 1941, the year WW II began for the USA, while MacArthur had already been a general for 22 years, had served as Chief of Staff, and had been in effect America's proconsul in the Philippines, a U.S. colony at the time.

But they were very different personalities to begin with. MacArthur was always open in his pursuit of acclaim, and did not hesitate to publicize it when achieved.

As a junior officer Eisenhower liked to play poker. He was good at it. While serving in the Panama Canal Zone as a major, it occurred to him that his continued success at the game might alienate his associates. He gave up poker for the rest of his life.

I could not say which of the two was more ambitious. Ike was more successful as a leader, largely through a better understanding of human nature, mastery of diplomacy, and greater self-control.

I shook Ike's hand every New Year's Day at the White House reception during the four years I was in high school, along with the other teenagers who lived on the same street and went with their fathers. When my non-military pals asked me what Ike was like, I said he seemed like a genial, smiling, but very high energy grandfather.

When we called on MacArthur in retirement, in what Dad called "his throne room at the Waldorf Astoria," MacArthur knew what instrument I played, what sports I played, that I made the honor roll, etc., but I never really felt at ease. I knew he had been briefed for the occasion. As we left at the end of the formal call my mother said, "Well, that wasn't so bad."

Dad replied, "He always was a great actor."

Amata Kabua was shown the elaborate respect and courtesy due to the highest rank of Marshallese nobility. He was much more powerful than all the rest of the political and social elite of the country put together. Yet people who knew him not only respected him, but liked and admired him.

RNJ

...sorry for all the OT, guys.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 22 2016 3:20:31
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: All is Well with the World (in reply to BarkellWH

Marshallese singing puts me to sleep right away, I always dreaded it because every song sounds exactly the same. ON Sunday morning in Kolonia town the radio station would broadcast the church service with the singing....oh lord how fast that got turned off in my house.

I was there in 1989 and the harbor...harbor you could hardly call it a harbor, had one visitor a month, the supply ship. No Russians and very few Japanese boats if any. It was Trust Territory then and the US was giving a lot of money to keep the schools and government rolling. A few hundred million a year when to Ponape alone. I suppose when the transition was complete and TTP became FSM that they needed money from other sources besides the US. Once the Israeli air force dropped in on a training mission and the Village was full of drink fighter pilots, a few other things like that happened.

The only thing economic in terms of tourism happening then was a Japanese owned hotel where Japanese divers stayed , and one or two small companies that took them out to the dive spots. The US Dept of Ag station was there help promote agriculture, but hate to say this but Micronesians are not proactive farmers.....there is a lot of potential in the highlands for coffee production, but it was at that time ignored. Did they ever figure that out? Now there is much more tourism and I understand even a company that takes surfers out to the reefs near Nan Madol. The reefs I longed to surf when we passed by them in a 20 foot skiff on the way to Nan Madol for a study trip. The local kids really did not surf, now surfers come from all over.

It's much easier to sell fishing permits to Chinese companies- it seemed inevitable that they would sell out the permits to natural resources rather than develop a deeper economy based on local production. It's interesting to note that the sakau cup was featured on the Micronesian flag / national emblem at the time it was a trust territory. Micronesia is what I call a "manana culture" we'll get to it tomorrow, tonight sakau. Considering how Micronesians faired under the succession of Spanish, German and Japanese occupation in the space of about 80 years the US did not do a bad job of holding Micronesia stable while it developed its constitution. That strange and accelerated entry into the modern world and first contact with other seafaring voyagers must have been traumatic, but in the end I don't think they succeeded in full liberation because now they sell resources rather then develop their own fleets and farms to the extent that they have potential for. When the Paleolithic is Sideswiped by the Age of Aviation. That is what I would call my book on Air Mike- FSM history.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 22 2016 5:56:27
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3156
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: All is Well with the World (in reply to estebanana

First time we went diving on Pohnpei was probably around 1994, five guys from Roi-Namur at the north end of Kwajalein atoll. Roi was becoming fairly civilized when I moved there in 1991 but the Roi Rats had a rowdy reputation, and we did our part to uphold it.

Mike M. was delegated the job of picking a dive operation and making the reservations. Somehow we ended up with Phoenix Divers. They had pink boats, and were just about all Japanese except for a small minority of Pohnpeian dive guides among the Japanese ones.

On our boat there were three Japanese couples, two good looking Japanese sisters in their twenties and five Roi Rats. The Japanese were suitably freaked out by our gai-jin antics, except for the two sisters, who had dived everywhere in the Pacific and swam like dolphins.

After getting acquainted for a couple of days, I was bold enough to ask the sisters what they did for work. "We are office ladies," they half giggled. I knew the answer to the next question, but I wanted to see what they would say. "What do office ladies do?"

"Oh we buy flowers and arrange them, make tea, that kind of thing."

"But aren't pretty girls your age with university educations supposed to be married?"

"Oh yes, we are supposed to be. But we are afraid that if we got married our husbands would make us stop diving!" They didn't act like they meant to stop diving any time soon.

Little Mike's was the place to go on Saturday night. We went too early, the place was deserted and half dark. While we talked to the bartender a couple of people walked up behind us. One of them spoke. I'm 6'4" (193 cm) and moderately robust. I turned around to meet a guy who was inches taller, much wider and a lot thicker. He held out a hand, to scale with the rest of him, and said, "Hi. I'm Little Mike." Little Mike's father was the first Pohnpeian medical doctor, his mother Samoan. He was an example of hybrid vigor, as well as Samoan genes for size. Little Mike told us when to come back. We did, and had a blast, dancing with Pohnpeian girls. We worried that the local guys might resent us, but we all sat at a big table, and took turns buying rounds of beer.

Little Mike's closed at the stroke of midnight in accordance with a Kolonia city ordnance. There was another place to go just outside the city limits, so we piled into our rented jalopy and went.

There was a big crowd, including a couple dozen Filipino guys who worked at various jobs on Pohnpei, and a handful of Filipina girls who worked at hotels. Some of the Filipina girls kept walking past our table, so we asked them to dance. They ended up sitting with us, and the Filipino guys ended up giving us the stink eye.

Sure enough, when the place closed up around 4 AM and we walked out into the parking lot, there were some Filipino guys waiting for us. I was worried about knives, since I wasn't packing one, and didn't see any big sticks handy to pick up. One of them walked up to me, said some bad stuff in Tagalog and took a roundhouse swing. I ducked, he went on around, fell down on the gravel, and was too drunk to get up. The big rumble ended when his buddies dragged him away to their cars.

The last couple of days diving a Japanese girl showed up as part of the crew. She said she had been working in Kosrae. She was about five feet tall or a little less, weighed maybe 95 pounds, was really cute and wore a very tiny bikini. I asked her what Kosrae was like.

She said, "Well for one thing there are no nude beaches!"

Turned out she left home in Japan at age 18 and went to Spain to study flamenco dancing at the Amor de Dios studio in Madrid. After two or three years of that she headed out to the Pacific and went to work in the dive business.

"To be flamenco dancer you have to be tall and big!" she said. Her Spanish was much better than her English, so I managed to monopolize the conversation.

On the last day we went to the office to settle the bill. There were four or five Japanese guys there who acted like they had seen too many WW II movies. They had crew cuts, wore steel rimmed glasses, held their cigarettes funny, paused sententiously and exhaled streams of smoke thoughtfully before speaking. One of them asked me if any Japanese had ever dived at Kwajalein. I said I didn't think so. The Japanese flamenco dancer had wandered in just about that time.

She said, "I'm changing jobs, heading to Bali, don't need to get there before next month. How do I get to Kwajalein to dive?"

"The only way to dive there is with one of the two dive clubs on the American military base, one on Kwajalein island at the south end of the atoll, the other at Roi-Namur where we live at the north end. To go on the base you have to be invited by someone who lives there."

She was the first Japanese to dive Kwajalein...and probably the first to put on a little flamenco show for the 175 Roi Rats.

I don't know anything about the social structure at Pohnpei except what little I have read. In the Marshalls there is essentially no social mobility in a highly stratified society, and little business entrepreneurship in any American sense of the word.

There were great Marshallese traditional navigators, at least up to the end of the 20th century. The Marshalls were first discovered by Europeans in the 16th century, but the inhabitants were decidedly hostile. When the white people finally showed up in considerable numbers in the 19th century the various Iroij were still almost constantly at war with one another. The big shot and his warriors went from atoll to atoll, eating up the surplus first at one place, then at the next, like the King of England did in the 12th century. When the fleet set out for the next place, all the navigators went with the Iroij in his voyaging boat--no risk of anyone striking out on their own.

By contrast, at Palau, at the other end of Micronesia, there was considerable social mobility. If you worked hard, accumulated a surplus, and devoted it to the communal good, your social status went up. When the white people showed up there in the 19th century, they found an African American man who had jumped ship, used his knowledge and energy, and rose to the highest social class as a minor chief.

Nowadays in Palau there is a lot of local enterprise: hotels, restaurants, dive operations, etc., much of it owned and most of it managed by local people. Very different from the Marshalls.

I first went to Palau with Don H., my regular dive buddy some time in the early 1990s. We dove at Fish 'n Fins, which was started by Francis Toribiong, a local guy. Francis was in the process of retiring and selling the operation to an Israeli couple who had been running a live aboard dive boat there for a few years. Sam's Dive Tours was a much smaller operation, run by a young American.

When Larisa and I went to Palau in 2007 we dove with Sam's . It was large, prosperous, and dominated the dive business on the island, though there were a number of other operations. I wondered how an American had done so well. Sam threw a big party to celebrate some anniversary of the business. I got talking to him and found out he was the stepson of Palau's highest hereditary chief, the Namwarki. The chief had married Sam's American mother, adopted Sam, and told Sam he wanted him to start a dive business, knowing Toribiong was starting to look at retirement.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 22 2016 7:54:13
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: All is Well with the World (in reply to BarkellWH

Yeah I think there is a differnce between the Western and eastern Carolines- but economically speaking always a difficult row to hoe for economic development because of the clan structure and the way in which it carried on a dependency mentality that was from older times. I think that is changing, and part of the defense against selling of land to make money is that intricate clan structure which prevented the Village from even renewing a lease.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 22 2016 13:24:53
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3263
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: All is Well with the World (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

When Larisa and I went to Palau in 2007 we dove with Sam's . It was large, prosperous, and dominated the dive business on the island, though there were a number of other operations. I wondered how an American had done so well. I got talking to him and found out he was the stepson of Palau's highest hereditary chief, the Namwarki.


If I may insert a correction. There is no "highest hereditary chief" on Palau known as the "Namwarki." There are two paramount chiefs of equal rank and stature, the Ibedul and the Recklai. The Namwarki have traditionally been chiefs on Pohnpei and trace their lineage back to the chiefs who reigned at Nan Madol, although the history of Nan Madol is shrouded in mystery and not much is known about the civilization that built it.

Sam Scott (the "Sam" of Sam's Tours) is a good friend of mine. Sam's mother indeed married one of the two paramount chiefs on Palau, the Ibedul, who traditionally has held court on Koror, the main island and town. The other paramount chief is known as the Recklai, who traditionally has held court on the big island just north of Koror, Babelduab. I got to know both of the paramount chiefs, and both have interesting histories.

Both the Ibedul and the Recklai served in the U.S. military, the Ibedul in the Army and the Recklai in the Marines. Each of them ended their service and were called back to Palau when their respective fathers passed away and they assumed the roles of Ibedul and Recklai. When I hosted the two-star Marine general commanding Futenma in Okinawa, I introduced him to the Recklai, who had served in the Marines. It was like two old salts regaling each other with war stories. They say a Marine is always a Marine, no matter where he is and what he does after the service, and after listening to those two for an hour, I believe it.

Regarding Amata Kabua, we in the State Department were well aware of his stature in the Marshalls, and he was given every courtesy of the port any other leader would get. His trips to the U.S., both to Hawaii and Guam, as well as the mainland, were invariably personal. He would take a retinue with him for shopping and other activities. Occasionally he would request a meeting with State Department officials and invariably got it.

But his were not state visits. As he always flew Air Mike, he, his family and minions took the "Wiki Wiki Bus," along with other passengers, to the main terminal. At that point they received VIP treatment through immigration and customs. But RMI Consular officials were responsible from that point on, for transportation, hotels, and his program. What he didn't understand was traditional Marshallese reverence did not determine State Department policy and protocol. He learned to live with it, and it did not intrude adversely upon our relations.

Of the three Freely Associated States, Palau is by far the most entrpreneurial. The Palauans are very different than the Micronesians and the Marshallese, and they have made far better use of the sums of money provided by the Compact of Free Association. That they have a much smaller population has helped as well. there are about 15,000 Palauans, with roughly 5,000 third-country nationals living in Palau, most of whom are Filipinos, but also about 350 Bangladeshis! In contrast, the population of Micronesia is 150,000 and the Marshalls is 55,000.

Nevertheless, neither the Micronesians nor the Marshallese have created a stream of income as have the Palauans. They have preferred to waste Compact funding on projects such as Air Marshall Islands, with its largely inoperable DC-8, that are totally unnecessary and that require subsidies that further drain their coffers. Micronesia could have a thriving tourist industry if they would just roll up their sleeves and get down to business. But, alas, they seem to think "manna" will drop from heaven.

Strategically, the Freely Associated States certainly have been in the U.S.'s interest. After World War II, we worked with the United Nations to designate them the only "strategic" trusteeships in the world. (There were other UN trusteeships that were not "strategic.") Throughout the Trust Territory days and into their status as independent countries in free association with the U.S., our relationship has denied the entire Western Pacific to any hostile power or adversary. The Compact provides us with military training areas in Palau, and no foreign military aircraft or naval vessel (even those of Australia) may visit any of the three without obtaining approval from the U.S. Government. That denial, plus our Missile Defense Test Range on Kwajalein, has been a bargain for the United States.

Bill

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And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 22 2016 14:08:45
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: All is Well with the World (in reply to BarkellWH

I was thinking namwarki is a Pohnpean word. And that there are more than one namwarki which means district head or chief. Like Palaker area has a nanwarki and Sohkes area has a nanwarki.

Bill is this correct?

Have any of you read 'Island of the Color Blind' by the late great Oliver Sacks? He connects a neurological disease caused by eating flour made with the blossoming pods of cycad plants to color blindness in Micronesia. The cycad flour causes congenital colorblindness and extreme sensitivity to light. The book is about the population of Ponape where a high percentage of the population have this disorder. He did a lot of the research work in the Sohkes district near Kolonia town.

The book is super interesting because he represents the culture very well and with a kind of dignity that only he could impart, while at the same time indulging in his favorite nerdy pastime of cycad identification. I know the diving around Ponape and Truk are especially interesting, but put in more time looking at the plants and features of the interior. Sacks' book was a great deal of fun. A writer I will miss more as time passes.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 22 2016 14:20:46
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: All is Well with the World (in reply to BarkellWH

And I might add to Bill's observation of western Carolines and Palau being more proactive in economic development holds true.

And also that Yapese were first to create banks that were 'too big too fail' --

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 22 2016 14:47:39
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3263
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: All is Well with the World (in reply to estebanana

quote:

I was thinking namwarki is a Pohnpean word. And that there are more than one namwarki which means district head or chief. Like Palaker area has a nanwarki and Sohkes area has a nanwarki. Bill is this correct?


That's correct, Stephen. Namwarki are district chiefs.

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 22 2016 14:53:18
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3156
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: All is Well with the World (in reply to BarkellWH

quote:

ORIGINAL: BarkellWH

If I may insert a correction. There is no "highest hereditary chief" on Palau known as the "Namwarki." There are two paramount chiefs of equal rank and stature, the Ibedul and the Recklai. The Namwarki have traditionally been chiefs on Pohnpei and trace their lineage back to the chiefs who reigned at Nan Madol, although the history of Nan Madol is shrouded in mystery and not much is known about the civilization that built it.



Yes, I should start looking stuff up before I post. I can remember when I had a good memory.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 23 2016 0:39:50
 
Leñador

Posts: 5237
Joined: Jun. 8 2012
From: Los Angeles

RE: All is Well with the World (in reply to BarkellWH

I wish I had something to add to this thread, Micronesia, Polynesia and Melanesia fascinate the hell out of me, much more so since I've taken up kayaking on a regular basis. The fact that they discovered hawaii and easter island with the technology they had is easily as impressive as the invention of the microchip. More so really, what an incredible group of people.

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\m/
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 23 2016 1:23:42
 
Dudnote

Posts: 1799
Joined: Nov. 13 2007
 

RE: All is Well with the World (in reply to Leñador

quote:

ORIGINAL: Leñador
I wish I had something to add to this thread

You could always upload another video of your new axe

quote:


easily as impressive as the invention of the microchip.

Microship more impressive than microchip? Damn right. The feats of early travellers seem completely amazing to us now in the age of internet guitar orders.

It's based on the other side of the world but this theatrical documentary on the Iceage Columbus theory is as interesting as it is entertaining as it is controversial. The evidence to support the theory is pretty scant - that is, there's no trace in the genetics of native American peoples today. But that doesn't rule out a small population forming and dying out.


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tú ahora no me conoces.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 23 2016 2:05:47
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