Whale Wars Season 2 Episode 7: The Desire to Fling Things

Though there is good commentary in all my Whale Wars posts,  you can find my newest post on the subject here.

Sorry I am a little late this week.  I had to attend a family reunion with my in-laws out of state.

This episode picked up with the Steve Irwin tracking behind the Japanese factory ship.  Their small boat is still lost in the fog…again.  The concern of the captain for the members of his crew that could have been lost at sea led him to do absolutely nothing.  The Sea Shepherds blamed the Japanese for blocking their transmissions, but I say it’s an even bet that their equipment was broken (again), or, in their continued incompetence, they simply did not know how to use it.  This, of course was confirmed when the sat-phone would not work.  Oddly, the communications officer was able to come up with a work-around that allowed them to communicate and find out where they were.  Captain Paul Watson showed his true concern when he said, “They should never have gotten that far away.”

The small boat finally got free of the ice, and made its way back to the Steve Irwin.  We got to hear a recap of last week’s events as soon as they got back onboard.

The Sea Shepherds claim that as long as they hound the factory ship, the Japanese cannot kill whales.  While this makes some sense, I have heard them make bold claims of their effectiveness before, see the ‘pro-fouler’ from last week’s episode.

They follow the factory ship into an ice field, and once again, we are subjected to they fragile Steve Irwin making its way precariously through it.  The first mate emphasized the importance of following the factory ship when he wisely said, “…whether it meant a breach in the hull, we were going to be stuck to them like glue.”  Obviously, he is the only person who missed the movie Titanic a few years ago.  At some point they figured out that if they followed in the wake of the other ship, they would not have problems with the ice.  geniuses.

Later, the Japanese surround the Sea Shepherds with three other ships.  The members of the Sea Shepherds seemed to recoil at the aggressiveness of the Japanese, and the potential for collision.  How quickly the Sea Shepherds forgot that they were the ones who actually hit one of the Japanese ships while attempting to intimidate them.

They then decided to violate the orders of the Dutch government, and ‘defend’ themselves by throwing things at the Japanese ships.  I hope they lose their flag over this, and are branded true pirates.  I keep finding myself saying this.  The Sea Shepherds are the aggressors here.  All they have to do to stop the Japanese from attacking them is to stop attacking the Japanese in the first place.

The first mate, whose idiot-factor is quickly rising decides that making a grappling hook to tear away the Japanese nets would be a good idea.  I see a little boat being dragged behind the Japanese ship while it is tethered to the net of the harpoon ship by a rope and grappling hook.  Oh, please make it so.

Rightly, the small boat crew was having none of this nonsense.  One of them actually said, “There is just so much potential for tragedy.”  The boson is simply a moron.  He said that he was disappointed that they thought it was dangerous, and this great quote, “Any new tactic is worth trying out.”  Really?  Any tactic?

This most anticlimactic of episodes ended in this manner.  What a waste of time.  Get to the point Animal Planet!  At least the previews from next week’s episode look good.

Obama the Micromanager

After seeing Obama’s comments about the police in Cambridge. Massachusetts this week, I’ve decided I’m going to call him and let him handle it the next time the city fails to pick up my trash.  I thought it was ‘stupid’ the last time they left it at the curb, and I’m sure he will also.

Whales Wars Season 2 Episode 6: With A Hook

Though there is good commentary in all my Whale Wars posts,  you can find my newest post on the subject here.

After Last week’s anticlimactic ending, I’m ready to see the Japanese defend themselves.  This episode began with the volatile situation we were left with last week: the Steve Irwin, two Japanese ships in front, and one behind with whales nearby in the water.

The ships box the Steve Irwin in, and the Sea Shepherds get ready to launch their small boats.  They plan to throw their stinky acid bombs and try to foul the propellers of the Japanese processing ship.  In a move that they obviously think is clever, they plan to use the code phrase, “Tora, tora, tora” (Which actually translates ‘tiger, tiger, tiger’) when they launch the attack.  The narrator refers to this as Japanese slang for ‘attack.’  This just is not true.  The phrase was the code that launched the attack on Pearl Harbor.  That is the common connotation, and the narrator’s comment came off as an attempt to spin the phrase less offensively.  The truth is, they used it in pretty bad taste.

Unfortunately, the Japanese have proven to be fairly adaptive as they have deployed netting that will cause the bottles of acid to bounce off.  The Sea Shepherds’ helicopter also sees water canons and LRAD.

Never ones not beat their heads against a wall, and put themselves at unnecessary risk, the Sea Shepherds attack as planned.

The Japanese do not deploy the LRAD for some reason.  Paul Watson gives the ‘code phrase’ to drop the prop fouler.  Not surprisingly the keystone cop members of the crew do not know what they are supposed to do, and start to throw the acid bombs at one of the harpoon ships.

The harpoon ship defends itself with water canons, but does not deploy the LRAD.  Paul Watson was very put-out that they did not deploy the prop fouler, but instead hurled the acid.  Instead of explaining what he wanted like a good leader would, he just berated the crew of the small boat, and told them repeatedly to “do what they were supposed to do.”  Of course, being confused, they still thought that they were supposed to hurl the acid.  Would it have been better just to say, “Foul the prop!” if they wanted the prop fouled?

They succeeded in deploying the prop fouler parallel to the ship’s course.  If you watch any cop show it will teach you that in order to stop the bad guys, you have to throw out the tack-strip perpendicular to the course of the car.  That way, the car’s natural momentum will carry it right over the tacks.  The same principle applies here.  In the end, all the Sea Shepherds have done is to waste more gas, and lose their prop fouler.  Genius.

They eventually found their prop fouler, but it had succeeded in fouling an iceberg.  One of the crew decided to jump onto this very small iceberg.  There is no way I would ever do that.  You could really die.  Eventually they got their rope back, and they were left with only a zodiac to attack with.

The zodiac attacked the factory ship, but the ship’s water canons kept them at bay.  They tired to throw them over the bow, but it was too tall.  The other small boat tried to attack the back of the ship, but the strongest water canon was there.  One of the team members had his eyelid cut by the water, and they had to give up.  The Japanese had effectively defended themselves, and it was a happy ending…for now.

Shortly after getting the injured crewman back onto the Steve Irwin, the crew of the small boat attacked one of the harpoon ships again.  Sadly, they were able to deploy the prop fouler perfectly this time, and it did not come back up.  Luckily, the prop fouler that could “stop military vessels” worked about as well as everything else the Sea Shepherds do, and they simply sailed on.

The “unbreakable” prop fouler was chopped right in half.  So, what to do.  The obvious answer would be to waste more time and gas trying to do the same thing with the prop fouler that had already failed.  The great thing was that when they missed the boat this time, the Japanese simply stopped and fished the prop fouler out of the water.  They decided to try one more attack with the acid, and the Japanese began to throw metal nuts about as big around as a golf ball.  The hypocritical Sea Shepherds seems appalled that the Japanese might actually try to hurt them while defending themselves.  Let’s not forget, the Sea Shepherds are the aggressors here.  There would be no conflict if they were not attacking the Japanese vessels in the first place.

As they went to break, I braced myself for the Sea Shepherds to spend the rest of the episode trying to make themselves look like victims.  I was not disappointed.  If someone attempts to break into my house, I’m not going to asking them if they have a violent intent, I’m just going to shoot them.  The Sea Shepherds should expect nothing less from the Japanese.

The episode ended with a storm coming in and the small boats being ordered back to the Steve Irwin.  Instead of coming straight back, they decided to wave at the Japanese one more time.  This foreshadowed them getting lost again next week.  What a waste.

Speaking of waste, I have a friend who did the math that I have to give props to.  By their own reckoning, he estimated that they used 300 tons of fuel while failing to save one whale from being killed before they had to return to port for another load of fuel.  So far, they still have had no impact on the Japanese operation.  He questioned how they could justify the environmental impact of their operation with little or no positive result.  Good questions.

Whale Wars Season 2 Espisode 5: The Unintimidatables

Though there is good commentary in all my Whale Wars posts,  you can find my newest post on the subject here.

I have been waiting for this episode with baited breath. Finally, the Japanese are going to retaliate.  Let the LRAD begin.  Mr. Sulu set LRAD for ‘decimate!’

The show began with a ‘white powder’ being opened in an envelope while at the dock.  The ship was quarantined while anthrax tests were done.

I don’t buy this for a minute after the ‘Shooting’ at the end of last season, I don’t believe this at all.  I smell a rat.

Let me supply another possibility.  All of this generates a lot of media coverage which gets the Sea Shepherds in the news, they look like victims, and their donations go up.  And, all it costs is an envelope, a stamp and some Tide.  I’ll put my money on this.

After determining that it was not anthrax, they loaded back up, and set sail again.  They had just reached dangerous waters again, when the bucket of bolts known as the Steve Irwin lost all power, including engines, and was dead in the water.  Where is a storm when we need one?  It’s just amazing how much time and money these guys waste because all of their equipment breaks down.  I wonder how many poor whales were slaughtered while the ship was not running.  At least, the Japanese won’t starve.

I was thrilled to see that the Dutch, who for some reason allow the Sea Shepherds to fly under their flag, had ordered the Sea Shepherds to cease throwing objects from their ships at the Japanese.

The Sea Shepherds’ interpretation of this order is that they will have to throw their chemical bombs from the smaller boats instead of the Steve Irwin.  This is great because the Sea Shepherds have proven that they can barely get these boats launched at all much less attack the Japanese from them.

The first mate announced that the Japanese have LRAD.  It is clear that at least some of them see the inherent danger in being in a small boat or helicopter if LRAD is used on them.  One of the crew made the wisest statement that has ever been made on the show when he said, “Usually plans are made around worse-case scenarios.  However, we seem to be foolishly making plans around best case scenarios.”  That guy should be captain.

After being tipped off, the Sea Shepherds find the Japanese.  However, when they find the processing ship, there is also a harpoon ship.  Then, another harpoon ship comes up behind them.  The narrator refers to the fact that the Sea Shepherds are ‘very outnumbered.”  The truth is that it is the Sea Shepherds who are attacking the Japanese.  Then, to add suspense, some whales showed up also.  Drama, drama, drama.

Now, engorged with the fuel that drives all reason from their bodies, ‘passion’, the Sea Shepherds commit themselves to the attack.

Since this episode ended so anticlimactically, so will this post….

Beaten Down by All the Hype

The events of the last week have left my head spinning.  It’s almost like God has decided to cast his own version of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.  First you had a washed up ‘B’ movie actor in David Carradine, then you had a washed up variety show sidekick in Ed McMahon, then the washed up model/actress who had not worked in twenty years unless it was on Lifetime in Farrah Fawcett, then we had the freak show that was the washed up life of Michael Jackson (see MC Hammer), and finally we have the guy who was made famous by being in commercials, Billy Mays.  Paulie Shore had better hide.

The confusing thing in all of this for me has been the extreme revisionism that has come with all of these deaths.  Suddenly, people who were fringe at best a few months ago are being hailed for their greatness.  What’s up with that?  Can’t we appropriately honor the accomplishments of these people without all of the hyperbole?

I am always brought back to the year Princess Diana died when these things come up.  Do you remember who died the same week that Diana did?  Most people do not because the press was too caught up in the hype of Diana to properly give Mother Teresa and her lifetime of service to humanity her due.  I guess the explosion of media since then has given us the ability to overhype any number of things at the same time.

It’s the hyper-revisionism that bothers me the most.  Suddenly, Michael Jackson has been elevated to a level just below that of Martin Luther King Jr.  How did this happen?  Here we have a guy that had obvious mental and emotional issues that drove him to try to appear more, for lack of a better term, ‘white’.  He married a white woman, and I don’t ever remember him taking a strong stand on racial issues unless you count his song “Black or White.”  I seem to remember allegations of molestation, but somehow a 22 million dollar broom swept them all away (and, of course he was found ‘not guilty’).  Now, there seems to be confirmation that he was gay, and did like young men.  Has that become a popular stance in the black community?  And, all of the children of his ‘baby mammas’ have turned out not to be his.  Is this the example that so many young men are following today?

Suddenly, however, everyone is rushing to praise his greatness, not just as a singer and dancer, which he was, but all other aspects of his life, and many more that have seemed to materialize after his death.  Here’s a newsflash, you can be a great singer and a great dancer, and still be a freak in the rest of your life.  It’s OK to admit it in Jackson’s case, because it’s the truth.

Unfortunately, it looks like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are going to have to have a monkey knife fight to decide who will preside over the funeral.  The self-promotion of these two guys in this case is almost as nauseating as the self-promoting of Joe Jackson (anybody need a blue-ray?).

The truth is, Michael Jackson was a great performer in the 1980s, and sadly like many people, had a hard time dealing with his fame in the years since then.  The same group of leeches that followed him during his lifetime have turned into a flock of carrion birds whose ranks have been swelled by the likes of Jackson and Sharpton.

Sadly, the exploitation of Jackson and his children is just beginning.  They say he will not be buried at Neverland.  I’ll bet the opposite.  There is money to be made if they can put the body there, so it will probably happen.  Next, you will have the Michael Jackson memorial tour in which lots of washed up singers trying to jump-start their careers will get together and sing their versions of his songs.  And, of course the tribute anthology will be released on which every artist from Whitney Houston to Jamie Foxx will sing Michael Jackson songs.  Then, in a few years when the money has stopped rolling in, and the nostalgic fervor has worn off a little, his family will sell the movie rights to his life, and back up the Brinks truck once again.