Saturday, March 27, 2010

Aloha also means, "Hello."

The first two months on my new island have been, let's call it interesting. The relocation was very easy, considering we got the place online without ever seeing it in person. Our cars were shipped directly and right on time, thanks to the wonderful staff at the UPS Store in Riverside, who over-saw shipping of all our stuff (one entire pallet's worth).

The job hunt was a success, whereas in less than one month I found a good sales job with strong commissions and full medical bennies. To be frank, I sell porn. Judge as you may but be aware that there is no shame working in a recession-proof industry. I love my new job, because my strong upselling and suggestive selling skills have carried over. Case in point-

The other day I noticed a guy browsing our "masturbation aids." Your basic jerk-sleeves retail at about $12.95. After about ten minutes with this guy, I had him sold on a $65 Fleshlight and I tacked on a $13 bottle of water-based lube. FYI, you don't want a silicone-based lube for it will eat away the lining of your fleshlight. You're welcome. I wish to educate as well as entertain, but only the advice is free.

The point is, when I worked at a certain, shitty coffee dispensary which I now boycott, and the taco dispensary which I miss with all my heart, I prided myself on my ability to upsell. At risk of tooting my own horn, nobody moved pastries like me. I was, and still am the king of churros, bunuelos, cookies, donuts and flakey & buttery croissants.

My sales success in the PRON bizniz is proof that I still got the Goods, and no one can take that away from me. Boo-yeah.

I have not made any new friends, which is fine considering I don't want any. My co-workers are fine enough, and they are a great bunch of fellas, t'boot. Plus, I meet an entirely different species of folk, which can do nothing but make my stories all the more entertaining.

As an added bonus, I've come to learn that filming for the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean installment will be on my island this summer, and open casting calls take place mid-April. I am going for it. I see this as maybe a final attempt at glory before I "hang up my cleats," as I planned to do long before my transplant to the Tropics.

So despite leaving friends and family behind, I find myself in a place I thought impossible as recently as last summer; HAPPINESS and CONTENTEDNESS.

The downside is, my laptop took a dump and I surf the Net on a borrowed computer, so updates will be few and far between until I get my own pc. I also plan to write my Turzman Critiques again. I no longer care that nobody reads them. From now on, I will write movie reviews for me and my own enjoyment. Anybody who wants to tag along can do a lot worse, but I will no longer view readership as "gravy on top." People can take my advice before going to the cinema, rental house or Netflix, or not. It's your money.

So, until I get a new pc, I'll see you in the funny papers. Cheers-

-and party on.

Friday, March 26, 2010

CITES Fails to Protect Sharks

The Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) has failed to protect all eight shark species proposed for protection by several nations, including the United States and the island nation of Palau.

Protections for the porbeagle shark passed early on at CITES but were overturned on March 24th after a huge push from Japan during a re-vote. The porbeagle, spiny dogfish, oceanic whitetip, scalloped hammerhead, great hammerhead, smooth hammerhead, dusky and sandbar sharks now face an extremely uncertain future. Nobody was asking for a ban on trade, only management of trade, yet the proposals were a nogo! Had the protections passed, countries involved in the trading of these sharks would have been required to monitor and report all exports and demonstrate that their fishing methods were carried out sustainably.

Among the most vocal opponents of instituting trade regulations for sharks are Japan and China. Japan argues that regulations should be managed regionally and that CITES is not the appropriate forum. China is the largest consumer of shark fin soup, and consumption continues to increase exponentially as more and more Chinese move into the middle class and are able to afford the so-called "delicacy." Japan has vehemently opposed trade restrictions not only for sharks but for all of the marine species proposed for protection under CITES. For example, prior to the March 19, 2010 decision not to protect Bluefin tuna, Japan explicitly stated that it would have ignored protections for Bluefin had any passed. We are appalled by the audacity of Japan (They even shmoozed the delegates at a reception before the meeting by serving bluefin sashimi!) and by the betrayal of CITES' purpose at this meeting.

CITES is supposed to use scientific evidence to manage trade of endangered species, and yet all scientific evidence was thrown into a corner because of economic factors. Short-term economic interests have won out over long-term conservation efforts and solid scientific evidence showing the dramatic declines of these critically important species. The decisions not to protect all eight shark species could have disastrous consequences. All are subject to persistent demand, show dangerously high declines, are traded internationally and managed inadequately, are not subject to regional fishing limits, and have low reproductive rates (making them unable to reproduce quickly enough to keep up with demand).

We're simply not going to take the short-sighted decisions made at CITES without a fight. Iemanya is currently in the process of collaborating with other organizations to strategically ensure that protections are instituted for sharks and that history doesn't repeat itself next year at CITES. Follow us on facebook and twitter for updates and to find out how you can get involved.