Tuesday, December 28, 2010

JesusMariaJose--i essitan Chamoru

For the record: sometimes I had a hard time understanding my grandmother when I was younger due to her accent. In the past two years I finally parsed out her two favorite sayings: "Kalakas!" ("Disgusting!"--usually in reference to cats who would defecate in her garden, and poop in general) and "JesusMariaJose!" ("JesusMaryJoseph!"--as in the High Holy Familia--usually in reference to something unappealing, like, let's say, adulterous spouses and/or ugly hairstyles).

So this joke's out for iyo-ku Nanan Biha, yan todu i i man'amko ni umessitan. Got any more? I'd love to collect some, and I'm bugging my Saipanese che'lus to do the same.


Auntie Uncha heard strange sounds coming from her daughter's bedroom in the middle of the night, so she went to go check on her. To her shock, there was no daughter where she was supposed to be--namely, in bed and sleeping!

Ilek-ña si Auntie Uncha, "JesusMariaJose!"

From under the bed came a panicky voice, "GUAHU si Jesus! Månnge' si Maria yan si Jose?!"

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Felis nochebuena, felis pascua, felis navidad, tiempon minagof, etc. etc.

Ginen si Walter A. Manglona yan i man'amko giya Saipan. (Like the spaceships in his earlier video, I don't get why he would ask for a Maserati because Saipan has literally one road and the speed limit is 35, but whatever.) Umespiha yu' i kanta "Puengi Yu'os," lao ti siña gi Youtube.

Na'maolek i ha'ani-hamyo!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Two odes for a dead boonie dog

Never was boonie dog more persistent
Chasing cars he was sure quite consistent
He peed on my car
But did not wander far
For this dog's loyalty was infinite.


Guard dog ferocious I never did fear
On his left side a flippy flop ear
He sprawled in the street,
Humped all dogs in heat,
But no bark could I ever hold more dear.

(Photo lifted from Guam Animals In Need Facebook page. This dog is different than Woofie in that Woofie had significantly less fur, more of a limp, and generally liked to play dead when he wasn't being . . . dead. Damn I miss this dog.)

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Okay, I take back the unkind words I wrote in the previous post about Ernest the Pretty Good whoring it up with the mangy dog from the corner who pees on my car. That mangy dog just died in the backyard. Rest in peace, Woofie. May you have all the cars you could chase/mark in heaven.

Triste yu'. SAD.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Destroyer of Christmas mirth and cheer

Don't be fooled by the tail that's wagging so fast the camera can't even capture it. Ernest the Mostly Awesome has been downgraded to Ernest the Pretty Good on account of: 1) Whoring it up with the mangy dog up the street who pees on my car, and 2) Chewing through the extension chord for the outdoor lights, thereby depriving our neighbors of festive twinkle. In hindsight it's a good thing we didn't get a light-up nativity scene. Given Ernest's penchant for chewing on plastic things, it would be less than stellar to wake up to a decapitated wise man.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Tiempon Minagof

This is the first time I've been in a house with a Christmas tree in twelve years. While the idea of using a palm tree crossed my mind, previous attempts at keeping it alive in our radon-infested house seemed for naught.

In general, the whole concept of decorating one's tropical home with snowflake and reindeer-themed ornaments seems silly to me, so as you can see in the bottom righthand corner, I took some liberties and used a Palauan basket for holding pine needles (to bring out the smell of a real Christmas tree, as per The Boyfriend's request) and glass/styrofoam balls.

And in addition, poinsettia here is $35 per plant. Given our propensity for not using the air con and the fact that said poinsettia would meet certain doom in about two hours, we're going with the plastic glittery kind! 'Cause we're nothing if not classy this holiday season.

Of course, this being Guåhan, the more traditional and/or Katoliku familia Chamoru might ask where the balen (nativity scene) is, to which I would have an awkward time professing the atheist persuasion without totally sounding like a Christmas-murdering douche. My family here, to my knowledge, hasn't done the balen plus lumot (moss) thing in a while, so that's on my list for next year. I'm sure someone has a spare set of baby Jesus and kings they might be willing to part with. And in the interim, those two bell-ringing penguins on a tea tray will have to do for now.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Come on in . . . or not

(Photo from Don Farrell's collection at Guampedia, you can see more here!)

The Boyfriend and I haven't had many guests at our house. First, it's a certifiable health hazard since we got a little slack with the cleaning when work lives got way tinane'ne'ne'. Second--and this is what embarrasses me--I only realize now that I've had a bit of shame about my neighborhood, unacknowledged, so much so I didn't even know I had it until I spent some time reading (some) military wives' blogs. I got over it.

You see: the barking pack of flea-bitten boonie dogs down the street. I hear: an awesome security system.

You see: the tall weeds. I feel: rainy season in full swing, and in the meantime, my banana plants are doing just fine, thanks.

You see: a small house. I live: in a place that's manageable, where when I open the doors the cross breezes air it out mad fast.

You see: concrete building materials. I know: strength in a typhoon.

You see: little square boxes. I get: that all together, the inhabitants form a clan/i familia/a network, on a road whose namesake marks history and foresight.

You see: a ghetto canopy over a driveway. I cherish: the nights spent underneath those playing cards, saying prayers, or barbecuing.

You buy: Paradise/Talo Verde/Anonymous Rancho Whatever Estates, whose brochures cry out "Just like the States!" I pity: a place with no signs of life.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Grateful for . . .

waking up to chickens in the yard,
hearing chickens STILL at 2pm in the afternoon,
the neighbor's band pracice,
when the people down the street have a party and/or wash the car and blast the Chamoru music,
the 15-minute drive to Tumon Beach,
86 degrees year-round,
this precious double life I get to live, outside/insider, local/not local, the watched/the watchee,
rainy season under a tin roof,
drinking beer under the canopy in a friend's yard on a Saturday night,
waving to neighbors,
my zori tan,
kåntan Chamoru gi i rediu,
a loving family, and
generous people.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Goobernatorial elections

Voting options irritated me in Sanlågu. Like, sure, eight years of Dubya was a travesty in the federal/global sense, but in general you're far enough removed from D.C. that you simply don't meet the guy at your local grocery store. If there's any upside to the stateside political ruling class/elites, it's that those guys are probably not gonna shop where you do, among the unwashed proles.

Not so in Guåhan. It's been at least THREE times where I've been at a coffee shop and a certain World of Warcraft-playing Level 70 Dwarf-Priest lieutenant governor candidate made me shake his hand in spite of my looking fully engaged with my blank screen.

These are dire times. One goobernatorial candidate's family essentially runs corporate empire (health insurance, grocery stores, real estate, Budweiser/Pepsi) on this island, and the best thing one of the other candidate's more fervent supporters could say to me was, "Well, none of those federal charges stuck!"

So what caused me mere irritation in Sanlågu is giving me straight-up hives here in Guåhan. There isn't enough sunscreen in the world to keep my skin from somehow getting scorched if I vote Sunshine/Democrat. And as for the Republican slate, the campaign motto of "All About You" might as well end with "because, in the end, I need to ensure you get paid so i familia gets paid via your health insurance deductibles, weekly grocery bill, and that six-pack you so desperately needed when voting was all said and done."

And for parting words . . . I imagine that there were liberties taken with the translation, but I can only turn to Plato: "Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being ruled by those who are dumber."

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Canine Rototiller

Meet Ernest.

She is technically the neighbor's dog and technically has a different name, but seeing as she likes to run around our yard, bark at the 200-pound wild pig that brazenly visits under the full moon, and sleeps near our door, I like to think she is partially ours.

Her original name (her original name, other than the neighbor's selection for her) was Ernest the Awesome, but given her farts when you pet her stomach and the utter destruction of The Boyfriend's kangkong/seedling boxes, she got demoted to Ernest the Mostly Awesome.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The infinite wisdom of Chris Rock

I made a conscious decision not to post musings here about politics/colonialism/race/militarization/the environment/sartorial choices, since there are others far better equipped to expound on such subjects--in blog form--than I. You'll see some of those writers to the right.

Also, I have no other place in my life to publicly post photos of slugs or what I ingested for breakfast.

But despite a mighty effort, I can't ignore those nasty "little" incidents popping up in daily life, whose occurrences increase in their frequency and ability to irritate me. The Drowning Mermaid's recent post about contact with military personnel exposed the marrow more clearly than I (and I imagine, a lot of locals) care to admit, and my mood's been a bit on, ahem, check, as it were.

So without yakking on about my thoughts on racism and all that other shit--acknowledging that her post touches on profound theories of local/tourist, military/civilian, Chamoru/not Chamoru--I guess the best possible way to (not) explain where I'm at personally, desde Sanlagu para Guahan after two and half years here, is to rely on Chris Rock to do it for me:

"If you're black, you gotta look at America a little bit different. You gotta look at America like the uncle that paid for you to go to college . . . but molested you."

Uncle Sam, indeed.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Walter A. Manglona just revived Richard Marx's career in the CNMI

I can't believe that I never posted it (I first heard this song maybe back in April), but am glad I finally got around to it. The Chamoru rap starts at 3:10.

Walter A. Manglona, you're an effin' genius. (I'm not quite sure what the snowy New England background or spaceship have to do with Saipan or someone's broken kurason, but what do I know about artistic license?) Si Yu'os ma'ase for showing our young people that Chamoru can be relevant to pop culture.

(By the way, Walter, yanggen you're out there . . . Umekungok yu' i kanta-mu, something about throwing kannai-mu on someone's daggan, and I have no idea where to get your album. Let me know, nai?)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

In case you've got an extra $3,000-$6,000 lying around . . .

You too, could be the proud owner of this piece de resistance.

I just happened to spy an October 19 New York Times blurb about a book put out by the Museum of Modern Art's Library Council, which is based on Oliver Sacks's medical anthropology travelogue Island of the Colorblind.

Given that I finished reading this very book not two months ago, it seems somewhat fortuitous that I would happen across the blurb about--let's say it again, because we simply don't hear it enough out here as an indictment/excuse (but interestingly enough, never a point of pride)--"just a tiny tropical island in the middle of nowhere!"

Although, really, MOMA's overpriced book/art thing-y is less about Luta/Rota per se and more about the good doctor's nostalgia-inducing trip to the island. I think. I don't know because I haven't seen the book + excerpted text and am not jetsetting back to New York anytime soon to see the images in their respective gallery.

All I know is that New York Times called the MOMA book "mysterious" and "seductive." Given that it's a book with photographs of ferns, it sounds like the artist did a hell of job making them sexy, and I'd really like to hire him to take my next MySpace profile pics.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Airport/plane scenes, Guåhan-style

Scene 1
Whereupon the plane taxis to the gate, and over the intercom you hear, "Auntie, can you please sit down? The fasten seatbelt sign is still on."

Scene 2
Whereupon waiting in the U.S. Citizen/Green Card line (note to self: always take Line 41, which is only for U.S. passport holders, which therefore moves at least twice as fast as the Green Card one), the guy coming back from training at Fort Benning looks at the quicker moving Line 41.

He says, "That line's moving a little slow because there's a youth soccer team who played in Korea. See that groups of kids up front?"

And I say, "Yeah, Korea--that's cool."

And he says, "Yeah, that guy right there is my nephew."

And about ten minutes later, looking at the old dude holding up our line, the same observant Fort Benning trainee notices it's the mayor of Mangilao.

Scene 3
Walking back to the car, I run into the spokeperson for one of the utilities, and we chat about her half-marathon in Australia for about five minutes before her ride pulls up.

As someone who has traveled extensively throughout the world, I can attest that contrary to Friendman's claim that it (the world) gets smaller and flatter, it is only at Guåhan's airport where I can own such small and special experiences.

Monday, February 15, 2010


Unlike other people who blog but stray, I'm not gonna publicly berate myself for not keeping up regular updates, life gets in the way, blah blah blah, unsure of focus for writing, blah blah blah.


Instead, here's the feral cat The Boyfriend and I have been feeding for the past four months. She was pretty mean in the beginning (as evidenced by the consistent hissing despite our daily offerings of quality food), and so we called her Sourpuss.

But suddenly (about as fast as the chicks and chickens in our backyard mysteriously began to disappear), Sourpuss got really friendly with me. She started rubbing up on my feet or legs when I would feed her, and The Boyfriend and me never got around to catching her and taking her to the local animal shelter to get spayed because we wanted her to keep coming back.

HOWEVER. (You see where this is going. Maybe.)

It turns out that cats get friendly--not because they realize that the wonderful smartly dressed humans in Barrigåda occasionally dispense chicken breast and other tasty morsels--but because they GET PREGNANT.

Sourpuss, we are now taking the discourtesy of renaming you.

An introduction is in order. To all friends and familia: say "håfa adai" to her majesty SluttyCat (pre-pregnancy).