Tuesday, June 30, 2009

No Disrespect Intended …

… but enough of the Michael Jackson tributes and news coverage on TV already.

Every time a celebrity dies – especially an “iconic” celebrity, the news media goes nuts. The talk shows go nuts. The fans go nuts.

And that in itself is fine, I understand why. Those who were touched by a person’s existence need to find a way to satisfy their curiosity and to express their feelings about the passing.

You just can’t escape the fact that Michael Jackson and his family and his associates are all over the television this week. But since mid-day Friday, June 25, I’ve clicked off channels that were covering his death.

At some point, one just has enough.

And while we’re on the subject of “no disrespect intended,” the death of pitchman Billie Mays was also a shocker. I saw him on Jay Leno a few weeks ago and respected him for working hard and for being discovered by Oxy-Clean.

But … I have to say that I couldn’t stand his commercials and changed the channel whenever one of them would come on.

May they rest in peace.

Monday, June 29, 2009

A Blood-Curdlng Experience

I love to make medical laboratory technicians nervous.

Today was my appointed day to truck on down to the medical lab and have them draw some blood for my quarterly doctor’s visit next Monday.

The med tech was a different one whom I’d never met before so I decided to be a little mischievous. When she prepped my arm for the needle torture, I kept telling not to miss the vein. Mine aren’t that easy to find, but they’re not impossible either.

As the needle drew closer, I repeated, “Be careful now, don’t miss, don’t miss, don’t miss.” I swear I could see the sweat breaking out on her brow.

After she got it in, she looked up at me, and I KNOW she just wanted to give me a slap when she saw me grinning and chuckling.

Sometimes I can be so bad, yah?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Home at Last!

The wife came home today from her hospital stay for removal of a meningioma, and not a moment too soon for me. It was exhausting, spending six days there, keeping her company.

I'm not complaining, mind you, because it gave me a chance to complete the reading of two novels.

And just because I'm a nerd, I took pictures of her entire experience - from her MRI appointment to the pre-op activities, from the post-op days until her discharge this afternoon.

I'm telling ya, I could make a movie out of the whole experience!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Our Footprints

We left our footprints on the sand,
Impressions there from where we stood,
From whence our arms embraced and held
Each other’s comfort when we could.

The sun-drenched waters tumbled in,
They bathed with cooling, kind content
To give us balance from the warmth
That burned within from passion spent.

Our lips were soft as eider down
So warm and loving, giving pause
And tightly held our gentle touch
To grace Poseidon’s sweet applause.

The footprints moved, continued on,
They brought us to another place,
They pressed our markings on the sand
Then disappeared without a trace.

How fleeting are those memories
Impressed there on the sands of time,
Reassigned within our souls
To live inside our hearts sublime.

We left our footprints on the sand,
As we moved onward, hand-in-hand.

I remember writing this poem in 2006 upon reflecting about how quickly our lives pass through the years, and how it's important that we act immediately on what we intend to do or we'll never get another chance.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

In Memorium

Farrah Fawcett 1946-2009
The Iconic 1976 Poster

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Musical Interlude

Things sure have changed since I last was in a hospital 30+ years ago.

For one thing, television channels have increased multi-fold and are presented on cable. And now, the rooms have free TV so we no longer have to have a pile of one-dollar bills to pay the daily fee to watch TV.

And, yesterday when I was bed side in the Intensive Care Unit, a man came strolling in and serenaded us with his ukulele. He had a beautiful voice and played his instrument very well.

I wonder if he’s part of the hospital professional staff who does this to make patients feel at home, or if he’s a private contractor.

I should have asked him, but I didn’t. Maybe I will if he comes again.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Rules are Created for a Reason

I spent quite a few hours at the hospital’s surgery waiting room today while a neurosurgeon did some work on the wife.

And while I was there, I noticed something that really didn’t surprise me: People just don’t respect the rules any more.

On a table poster, plain as day, was a dictum that a maximum of two people were allowed to wait in the area for any one patient who was in surgery. That’s because seating is limited. Also, a sign implored people not to stand in the corridor as it served as a busy thoroughfare.

More than once, I watched as groups of 5-6 people crowded into the waiting area and hogged the seats, causing people to stand in the corridor and generally cause a traffic jam as patients were being gurney-ed to the operating rooms, and carts full of medical supplies passed by.

And more times that I can remember, the volunteer waiting area attendant had to chase the extra people out and direct them to another (general) waiting area so the “legitimate” companions could get out of the corridor and occupy the seats. Boy, were the people who had to move out peeved.

What I want to know is: What in the world has happened to respect for others, and for the rules?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Hippie Holiday

The Honolulu Arts District in downtown Honolulu sponsored an event they called "Hippie Holiday" last Friday night to celebrate the "Summer of Love" in 1969 - painted Volkswagens and all.

I saw the promo on the local morning news show, but there wasn't anything in the morning paper about it, and I didn't see any post-event coverage either.

I'd half-way convinced myself that I was going to check it out, but as so often happens, I got lazy around the time it started, so I just planted my butt back in my easy chair and skipped the whole darned thing.

Craig ... Summer of '69

What the heck, I experienced that "Summer of Love," the real thing during the summer of 1969 in Los Angeles. What did I do back then? I read about it at work, and then watched it on TV at home with my butt planted firmly in my easy chair.

Things haven't changed in 40 years, have they?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Newlyweds

During a recent Monday walk at Honolulu’s Kakaako Waterfront Park, we happened upon a picture-taking session of newlyweds.


Quite a few couples get married at the park and its environs because of its beauty. My own nephew was married there at night a few years ago, and the setting was near magnificent.

Friday, June 19, 2009

A Senior Moment

Every once in a while, we experience what has become popularly known as a "senior moment" - you forget something you have known all your life, you say something dumb and irrelevant, or you do something stupid that you never ever would consciously do ... things like that.

Today I went to a movie theater, got all the way into the metered parking lot, and reached for my wallet to take out my Regal Entertainment card. Not there. In fact, my wallet wasn't there.

Ah me, I was caught on the horns of a dilemma. I couldn't get my parking stub validated unless I went to the movies, and I didn't have my wallet to pay for the movie (not to mention the fact that I'd just driven for a half-hour without my driver's license).

And then I remembered that I always kept a few dollars in my car registration wallet in case of emergency. I looked and discovered I had $8 in there, enough to pay for my movie and thereby earn my parking validation.

Salvation. Two hours later, I was driving home, having paid for and seen the movie (but not earning any points on my card, and having to forego concession refreshments), and with $1.25 in my pocket. The only bad part was feeling naked without my wallet and driver's license.

Senior moments. They drive you crazy.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Have You Heard … ?

I learned three things this morning, two of which I really don’t care about but which apparently are big deals, and one that I do care about. See if you can guess which is which.

Texting Champ Crowned

Fifteen-year-old Kate Moore of Des Moines, Iowa, won the 2009 U.S. National Texting Championships yesterday. She beat 14-year-old Morgan Dynda of Savannah, Georgia and won $50,000 by being first to text an error-free chorus of “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.”

More than a quarter-million people entered the competition.

The sponsor – LG – is contemplating a global competition next.

Out of the Closet

“America’s Idol” runner-up Adam Lambert stepped out of the closet and declared himself gay.

He made the “not-so-startling” revelation via an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, admitting also that he did have a crush on Kris Allen, the Idol runner-up who Adam called the “cute guy.” So much for Clay Aiken, huh?

Chicken to Fly the Coop?

The San Diego Chicken is seriously thinking of hanging up his feathers at the end of the current baseball season.

Ted Glannoulas, 55, has donned the chicken costume and entertained national-wide audiences for 35 years. The chicken became the epitome of – and inspiration for – team mascots in many sports, particularly baseball.

Alas, Glannoulas is feeling his age. He’s taken so many lumps and bruises that (as he puts it) “the eggs come out hard boiled now.”

His only regrets? He’s never played Yankee Stadium or Fenway Park.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I spotted this sign as I was driving in San Jose and it intrigued me. When the tag line is “You Sleep, We Work,” how can it NOT catch your eye?

Basically, it’s for wimps like me who don’t want to undergo the stress and anxiety we feel while sitting in the dentist’s chair. Personally, I grew up in an era where a trip to the dentist was like a trip to a torture chamber. Y’know, evil scientist coming at your face with a huge drill, hammer and chisel?

Apparently, I’m one of the 30% of citizens who avoid going to the dentist because of the fears.

In sedation dentistry, they either give you the drugs via IV, or orally. If I had a choice, I’d choose oral sedation. I mean, if they’re going to work on the mouth, why not let the mouth do a little work a forehand, no?

Oh, and one has to bring someone who can drive.

Hey, think of it. You sleep, they work, your teeth get an overhaul, AND you get a chauffeur. What a deal, what a deal!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Almost Loaded!

When I was in Las Vegas last week, I spotted this Abercrombie & Fitch tee shirt on a young man walking in front of me.

According to the progress bar, his ... er, gaseous status is 85% loaded.

Should I have waited for it to load completely? I think not! I did NOT want to be around at 100%.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Look! A Yo-yo, Ma!

On the train ride back to San Jose from AT&T Park in San Francisco, one of the numerous college kids along for the ride whipped out his yo-yo and began playing it along the way.

It was a plastic yo-yo, and he didn't have enough room to do anything fancier than basic free-wheeling and the easy "walk the dog" trick.

And that brought back memories of my yo-yo days in the '50s. We all had wooden Duncan yo-yos and each of us progressed to our own level of incompetency.

I guess I fell somewhere in the middle of the pack when it came to yo-yo tricks. I could do many, but there were some intricate ones that I didn't even come close to mastering.

But we loved our yo-yos and eagerly anticipated the Duncan Yo-Yo Company's annual visit of yo-yo experts who came to Hilo on promotional tours.

Yo-yo whiz Barney Akers came to town a couple of times, putting on demonstrations at the old Kress store in downtown Hilo. Afterwards, he'd gather a bunch of us outside and carve our initials on our yo-yos.

It has been said that Mr. Akers trained more professional demonstrators than any other person, in the art of the yo-yo. His proteges were called "Barney players."

In 2002, Mr. Akers, Don Duncan Jr. (Duncan's president) and Pedro Flores (the "Father of the Yo-yo) comprised the inaugural class of the American Yo-Yo Associaton Hall of Fame.

Who knew?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I Took Me Out to the Ballgame

Once a year, I try to go to a Major League baseball game. This year I was lucky enough to be in Silicon Valley during a San Francisco Giants homestand, and bought two tickets online to a Friday night game.

As we were in San Jose, I planned to catch a Caltrain from the nearest station in Mountain View to the Caltrain terminal a couple of blocks from AT&T Field where the Giants play. What fun!

On the train, two young girls, age 10 or so, were playing pattty cake to the "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" song, bringing a huge smile to my face. Don'tcha just love it when kids get enthusiastic about something you enjoy?

Take (patty-patty) me out to the (pat) ballgame (pat-pat)
Take (pat) me out to the (pat-pat) crowd (patty-patty)!

I was on my way to my annual Major League Baseball game!

When we got there, we sat in the wrong seats and fortunately I discovered it before we got too comfortable. The ladies next to me were a little disappointed that I was leaving because they saw me taking Pinchy pictures and wanted to know all about his blog.

So ... loaded down with heavy jackets, two trays of chicken tenders and fries, a huge root beer, and some big refrigerator magnets they gave us at the gate, we squeezed into the correct row, displacing two kids who had to spend the game on their mother's and father's laps.

The kid next to me kept squirming and kicking my leg, but you know what? It didn't bother me because I was at my annual Major League Baseball game!

The Giants have a strange mascot named Lou Seal. Somebody in a seal costume. The name just cracked me up and I imagined this conversation going on at the Seal household at Fisherman's Wharf Pier 39:

Lou: Hey Esther! I got the job! I'm gonna be the San Francisco Giants mascot!
Esther: What? Do we have to move?
Lou: Nope, you and the kids can stay here. I'll take an apartment close to AT&T Stadium.
Esther: Oh lordie. You picked a fine time to leave me, Lou Seal ... with four hungry children and a crop in the field ...

Oops, sorry, I wandered out in left field.

I love the 7th inning stretch. It gives me a chance to stretch out the kinks from sitting in a squinched-up position for a couple of hours. Plus I get to clear out my lungs singing the famous song. Ya know, I even felt like turning to the kid next to me and doing patty-cake during "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."

'Cause I was at my annual Major League Baseball game!

We left a little early so we would be assured of a seat on the train back to Mountain View. I mean, who wants to stand for over an hour on a moving train anyway?

A great many young college-age students were on the train, most of whom got off at the Palo Alto/University station. Apparently they were Stanford students. You could tell. Most of them had iPod ears on.

Some of the freshmen (one can spot them immediately) were carrying on a nerdy conversaton about matter and anti-matter and how it might be possible to build a transporter that would eliminate the need for a long train ride back to their dorms. I was chuckling to myself at the way they bandied about words and phrases without knowing that their logic was extremely flawed.

But that's dorky freshmen for you. I didn't care, because I was coming back from my annual Major League Baseball game! By the way, the Giants beat the Oakland A's, 3-0. Giant Tim Lincecum pitched a dandy of a ballgame.

You picked a fine time to leave me, Lou Seal ...

Friday, June 12, 2009

Fast Food Heaven

One of the joys I can reflect back on of the recent four days I spent in Las Vegas is the chance I had to partake of two fast-food chains that aren't available in Hawaii.

Upon our arrival, we went for a quick snack at In-N-Out on Tropicana just west of the Las Vegas Strip.

The burgers there are not bad, and they are cheap. Granted the single doesn't have a lot of meat, but at $1.69 it's a bargain, and quite tasty. For a normal appetite, I'd recommend the "Double Double" at about a buck more.

All they sell there are burgers and fries and soft drinks. You gotta be prepared to stand at the end of a long line, but it moves fast and the food doesn't take very long to appear because they have a dozen or so people behind the counter having the greatest time cooking and assembling the orders.

Another day, we were looking for a quick afternoon snack and happened upon a Weinerschnitzel.

Back in the day, when I first returned to Hawaii from college, along with my wife and son, they had a couple of restaurants in Honolulu. Only then they were known as Der Weinerschnitzel (or as we affectionately called it, "DW").

A few years later, they left the islands, never again to return.

The hot dogs are cheap. You can get five chili dogs for $5, and they were running a special - two chili dogs, a chili fries, and a drink for only $3. What a deal, what a deal!

We had a hamburger, a hot dog, fries and two drinks for less than $7.

I tell ya, I wish we had these two back in Hawaii.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Tiny Insect

The other day, while walking in the Almaden Winery Park in San Jose, I came across this little green insect on one of the roses in the Louis Benoist Gardens (est. 1941).

It looks like a slender aphid, 'cept it has long legs.

I don't know what kind of insect it is, but it's pretty neat.

Are there any amateur (or professional) entomologists out there who can identify it for me?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

What Was He Thinking?

Fifty-one year old Danforth Ross of Vassalboro, Maine couldn't drive his car because his driver's license had been revoked earlier.

But he was thirsty. Real thirsty. So, not wanting to risk driving without a license, he and a friend jumped on his riding lawn mower and headed off on a beer run.

Unfortunately, Ross and friend had a couple of beers BEFORE heading out on the mower, and began weaving erratically on their way to the store.

And of course, something like that gets noticed - by quite a few people. A number of motorists stopped Trooper Joe Chretien and told him about the wayward lawn mower being driven by what appeared to be two intoxicated men having a grand ol' time.

When Ross and friend came out of the variety store carrying two cases of beer and anticipating continuing their guzzle party, Trooper Chretien nabbed them and charged Ross with operating under the influence.

(Hey, I just remembered ... isn't former Vice-President Dan Quayle's name actually James DANFORTH Quayle? Why, you ask? Oh, no reason. I just thought the coincidence was funny.)

I kid you not!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Happy Holes to YOU!

Today is National Donut Day, and Dunkin' Donuts is offering a free donut of your choice with purchase of any beverage.

Unfortunately, there is no Dunkin' Donuts anywhere near where I am now in San Jose. Even if I were back home in Honolulu, there's no Dunkin' Donuts there either (at least any that I can find).

So I've decided to honor Donut Hole Day instead. And in commemoration of this auspicious event, I'm posting (look left) a picture of the last donut hole I had for breakfast. See?

Don't ever tell me I don't pay attention to cultural icons.

So there.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Charlie Brown Was Here

Charlie Brown may have grown up in Petaluma, California, but I saw a sign of him in San Jose at the Almaden Winery Park yesterday.

I've shown you all evidence of his presence in Hawaii a couple of months ago when he crashed two kites in a tree at Waterfront Park, and now he's left a reminder of his presence here in Silicon Valley.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Downtown San Jose Stroll

We did a small walking tour of the San Jose Civic Center area yesterday and stumbled upon a display of sculptures behind the new (2005) city hall called the "Parade of Floats."

Artist Andrew Leicester was commissioned to design an artwork to be located on North and South 5th Street that would create gateways and orienting elements for the Civic Center. He completed a procession of 16 sculptural “floats” recalling parades that exist in several world cultures, expressing the coming together of communities in celebration.

Local artists, historians, and community leaders selected the 16 final themes from more than 250 submitted ideas.

Pictured above is a detail from one of those floats, which is titled "High Technology."

Monday, June 1, 2009

She Lost Her Head

We had a guest for dinner last night. Or should I say, PART of a guest.

This, my friends, is the only left-over we had of the Marinated Crispy Chicken dish that was part of a nine-course meal at Joy Luck Place in Cupertino.

We're visiting with my son and our first grandchild, who you will recall was born on Earth Day in San Jose (hey, that rhymes!).

Just thought you'd be interested in seeing a marinated crispy chicken head.