Rough draft: Monster Islands

Monster Islands
By Paco D. Taylor

In the classic giant monster movies of Japan, the islands of the South Pacific are home to three of Tokyo's biggest threats: Godzilla, Giant Beast Gappa and King Kong. In real life, these islands are home to some of the biggest threats to anthropology classes everywhere.

Located in the South Pacific Ocean, east of Papua New Guinea, is an archipelago of nearly 1,000 islands. Known collectively as the Solomon Islands, this multi-island nation sits along a volatile seismic strip in the Pacific called the 'Ring of Fire.' It is here that nearly 90% of the world's earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur.

The naming of the Solomon Islands (Islas de Salomon) is credited to the Spanish explorer Álvaro de Mendaña, who 'discovered' the islands on an expedition from Peru in 1567. Hyped up by an alleged gold find on the largest of the islands (named Guadalcanal), Mendaña claimed on his return home that he'd found the location of King Solomon's legendary mines.

As is usually the case, though, with many of the places that Euros are vainly credited with discovering, the Solomon Islands were actually discovered thousands of years before the arrival of a 16th century Johnny-come-lately. And the tenants of the Solomons would give Álvaro de Mendaña the welcoming party of his life.


Workin' on another article for GR. This is a rough draft of the opening, but the text is still very much a work in progress. I didn't have anything else to blog about, so I figured that I'd post this rough. (Please pardon the dust.)

Though the text still has a long way to go, I think it's off to a fairly good start. Unlike the last article, this one already has a good working title. It also has some really good pictures too.


A New World Re-Order

How it was that I managed to catch this episode of The West Wing when it first aired eludes me now. I didn't follow the show, so it might have been based on all the buzz that the show itself was generating at the time that I decided to tune in to see what the hoopla was about.

Based on what I saw of The West Wing that evening, the hoopla was well deserved. As you can see from the clip, the writers weren't exactly shying away from intellectually stimulating (or challenging) subject matter. A brief, but well scripted discussion on the Peter's projection map during a popular television drama took guts. I still think it's amazing that they did it.

I had read about, debated and embraced the use of the Peter's projection a few years before seeing it discussed on The West Wing. At the time, I even had a black and white computer print of it hanging on the wall next to my desk. It would be cliché now to say that what I learned altered the way that I see the world, but there's no avoiding the cliché. The Peter's map altered the way that I view the world -- by projecting the world as it really is.

The reason I mention this now is two-fold: One, I kinda' needed something new to blog about. And, two, I am working on a new writing project, and trying to reorient a ton of information that's drifting around in my head.

Actually, the piece that I'm writing isn't even new. I was having difficulty with it last fall and decided to try a complete reboot. The reboot (which uses a small portion of this still-difficult-work-in-progress) wound up being published in GR64.

Part of the problem I'm having now is the same as I was having before. But one good thing that came from my struggles last fall was the decision to simply start over. Another was the decision to break a mass of information into smaller sections.

Ultimately, I'm still trying to do the same as before, but it's very much like chiseling a statue from a large marble block. But I'm not quite sure that I'm going to get the desired result.

Maybe I should just flip the block and chisel it upside down.