Friday, December 31, 2010

A New Year’s Eve Tradition

The Japanese have a bundle of New Year traditions, all of which are symbolically significant to one’s life in the coming year. One of them is the eating of soba, or buckwheat noodles.
Although one can eat noodles of any sort, soba is preferred because before cooking it, the dough can be rolled long and thin, symbolizing long life. Plus, because the dough itself is simple to make, soba also stands for a simple (and humble) life – treasured by the Japanese.
Perhaps that wish for a simple life has changed in Japan, where extravagance isn’t necessarily shunned by the younger generations. Still, one can hope, can’t one?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Second Chance Night

In 2007, the Fresno Grizzlies – the Triple-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants that plays at Chukchansi Park – had quite a promotion, one that I could have taken advantage of if the timing had been better.
Any fan bringing a traffic ticket to the box office during the April 20, 2007 game and swore a solemn oath never to get another ticket got into the game free. They called it “Second Chance Night.” Another privileged class of people got in free – Probation officers.
Famous arrestees’ pictures were flashed on the video screen throughout the game, and losers of the between-inning games had to twiddle their thumbs in holding cells while they waited for a second chance to participate and possibly win.
I wish this had happened a year ago when I got my speeding ticket driving from San Jose to San Francisco on the 280 Freeway.
Sure could have used a second chance that time.
I just lurve minor league baseball promotions!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Random Musings 4

We missed the lunar eclipse this month because it was a cloudy night. Why don’t the eclipse people schedule it on a clear night … or during the day when more people can watch it?
* * * * *
Did you know that if you wake up with a plugged-up nostril, you can play a tune with it? And did you know the high note in the Star-Spangled Banner is particularly hard to play? I tried, and a fart came out instead.
* * * * *
At the aquarium, I got to wondering. If a shark scares a turtle swimming in the ocean and it pees its pants in fright, how can you tell? 
* * * * *
If the world goes totally paperless, I know the dogs would rejoice (lots more trees), but won’t I have a helluva bad time on the toilet?
* * * * *
I had an itch that mysteriously disappeared a week after Christmas. The wife thinks I had “Fleas Navidad.”

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bitchin’ Kitchen

She’s attractive in a weird way, that quirky host of Cooking Channel’s Bitchin’ Kitchen. And, she’s very attractive when she drops her wacky television persona.
Purists might be put off by her punkish appearance – wild and heavily sprayed hairdo, serious eye makeup, and the reddest lips you’ll see this side of Marilyn Monroe – but they can’t argue that her show is different. REAL different.
Nadia G. (Giosia), a Montreal Italian with a regular show on the Canadian Food Network, wasn’t well-known in America (especially Hawaii) until her web-based show hit the cable waves in early October. (Wait … “cable waves”? Get with it, Craig!)
I kind of avoided her show for a while, but then one day when I had nothing to do, her show was on. So I watched it. And now I’m hooked. Lawdie, she is so entertaining! It’s fun to watch her mannerisms and facial expressions, and she’s not so bad at wielding her kitchen implements either.
Nadia isn’t formally trained at any culinary school. Rather, she went to what she calls the School of Hard Wooden Spoon Whacks. Her episode themes poke fun at life – e.g., what foods are good after breaking up with a lover, what to eat when you have a hangover, foods that help with your anxiety, what to feed your girlfriend/boyfriend when you make up after a fight, how to impress the inlaws … you know, useful situations like that.
Between prancing around behind her counter, Nadia segues over to her three “experts” – Panos, the Kitchen’s extremely knowledgeable fish monger; Hans, the shirtless food correspondent; and (whatever his name is, even Nadia never gets it right), the spice agent.
Want more? Visit her website at http://bitchinlifestyle.tv/.
I’m telling you, Bitchin’ Kitchen is fun stuff.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Goats 4 Sale

One sees the most intriguing signs tacked up on telephone poles – garage sales, directions to birthday parties, lost doggies and kitties, looking for workers …
Once in a while a different one comes along, like this “Goats 4 Sale” flyer by Aulani’s Ranch that I saw on the way to my son’s home in Aiea (between downtown Honolulu and central Oahu).
Click on picture for larger image
As it turns out, Aulani Kaaihui does have goats for sale. Formerly wild, they have been caught and are now domesticated, as an alternative to being shot by hunters. (I read about it when I did a little research and found her blog, “Waimalu Valley News.”)
I suppose having goats for sale isn’t very unusual. I mean, surely other people must have sold goats before. Just because I’ve never seen goats for sale doesn’t mean people don’t do it. Neither is advertising something for sale on a telephone pole flyer different.
But what caught my eye was the word “Organic.” I’ve never seen animals being referred to as “organic.” So I had to research it.
Turns out that organic sheep and goat farms are a big thing. According to the USDA, there are more than 4,000 certified sheep farms in the U.S. As for organic goats, they have no numbers yet.
An organically raised goat isn’t simply a naturally raised, free-range, or grass-fed goat. The pastures must be certified organic and maintained without pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers, or any restricted materials. Anything you feed the goats must also be certified organic. Even their bedding must be certified organic.
There’s a whole bunch of other criteria that must be met, but if you want to know what they are, you need to Google the information yourself. I’ve just about exhausted my interest in the subject.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Honolulu City Lights

Click on picture for a larger image
Every year during the Christmas season, the City of Honolulu erects its annual Honolulu City Lights displays at City Hall.

In this last homage to Christmas 2010, I offer you a night shot I took of the snow family display – mother, father and kids – as the lights slowly dim on the beautiful annual display.

I hope you had a very Merry Christmas this year.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Joy to the World!


Christmas is a time for joy … JOY! (Performed by Mannheim Steamroller)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas, Darling


My favorite Christmas song. (Performed by Karen Carpenter)


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

White Christmas


There’s nothing like a beautiful Christmas Day. (Performed by the Ray Conniff Singers)


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Christmas Song


Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose. (Performed by Nat King Cole.)


Monday, December 20, 2010

Last Christmas



Sometimes Christmas can be bitter-sweet. (Performed by Wham!)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I’ll Be Home for Christmas



This is for those who wish they could be home for Christmas. (Performed by Bing Crosby)




Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Ghosts of Christmas Eve

I know it’s truly Christmas when I watch The Ghosts of Christmas Eve, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s video about a young runaway girl who is inspired to find her way home on Christmas Eve.
The 45-minute video is a wonderful telling of the Christmas story, narrated by distinguished actor Ossie Davis, the caretaker of an abandoned, rundown theater. The Caretaker introduces performances by Jewel, and Michael Crawford, among others, showing the runaway (Allie Sheridan) what Christmas is all about, and why she should be spending it with family.
Opening with a magnificent updated electric “Joy to the World,” the story segues into a beautiful performance by Jewel Kilcher (“Hark, the Herald Angels Sing”), a stunning segment called “Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24),” a truly magnificent rendition of “O Holy Night” by Michael Crawford, and closing with a lump-in-the-throat celebration – "(She’s Coming Home) This Christmas Day.”
If you don’t have the DVD, you should get it. Not so much for children, but for yourself … to remind you every year what Christmas is all about.
Each year, around this time, since I bought the DVD in 2001, I’ve worked my way up to watching The Ghosts of Christmas Eve. The schedule goes something like this: First I watch One Magic Christmas with Mary Steenburgen. Then I watch Santa Claus: The Movie, with David Huddleston and Dudley Moore. Next, I watch Mannheim Steamroller’s “Christmas Live” concert DVD.
Finally, I watch The Ghosts of Christmas Eve. I did that last night.
So now … it’s truly Christmas for me.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Kahala Mall Santa


When the wife and I were at Kahala Mall, I moseyed over to Santa’s Candyland to get an eyeful (and hopefully not an EARful) of the kids sitting on Santa’s lap and reading from their list of Christmas wishes.
I must say that Santa was quite patient this year. Kudos to the Kahala Mall management for their selection of St. Nick. I’m sure the last thing they want is the stereotypical tipsy guy that we see in movie comedies. No, that just wouldn’t do.
While I was there, a bunch of kids (probably from a school class) was gathered around him, all speaking at once. And patient guy that he is, the big guy didn’t lose his cool, but listened to each and every one of them. He did let out a sigh of relief when they were finally ushered out of his den.
One thing I’ve noticed is that the camera crew has everything down to a science, made all the easier because of modern electronics. Not like when we took our kids to see Santa back in the old days. No more reloading of film or replacing of flashbulbs. No bulky cameras either.
Thankfully, there were no frightened children when I was there, screaming at the top of their lungs!
Ahh, the joys of Christmas.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Shopping 2010

It appears that the marketing ploys of the stores in your city may be paying off this year.
According to the National Retail Foundation, holiday sales in the United States are expected to top out at about $451.5 billion. That’s pretty close to the 2006 pre-recession levels.
The wife and I added our bucks to the mix yesterday, taking advantage of some 20% discounts at Macy’s that are available to their credit-card holders. The wife is pretty sneaky about that.
What she does is charge it to the Macy’s card, thereby earning the 20% discount on top of whatever price reductions they’re offering, then paying it off in cash at the register, thereby avoiding any fees that might accumulate on the card before we get a chance to pay it off.
We do our Christmas shopping for each other together. I pick out what I want, and she picks out what she wants. Then, I wrap her gifts and she wraps mine. There’s no surprise involved, but we benefit by (1) getting something we want, and (2) spending quality time together in the process.
One tends to do these things as one gets older.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Christmas Shopping Blues

Here’s a nice, rhythmic, bluesy tune to ease your mind after you get home from a hectic day of Christmas shopping.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Naughty, Naughty Nun

It’s getting so you can’t trust anybody these days, not even those who have pledged their life to God.
Sister Marie Thornton put the shame on nunnery when she embezzled quite a bit of money from Iona College. She’s the New Rochelle, New York, school’s former vice president of finance.
How much did she steal? More than $850,000. And what did she steal the money for? To pay off personal credit cards and expenses. And what did she owe so much money for? She went to Atlantic City, New Jersey and visited the casinos there. A lot.
The school never reported the losses, until 2009 when it filed its taxes with the IRS, after Sister Marie had been falsely invoicing the school for 10 years.
I hope somebody raps her knuckles good with a stout ruler.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Random Musings 3

If Santa’s bag is so big and full of toys, why does he haul it up and down every single chimney he comes to? Why doesn’t he just leave it in the sleigh and take out the presents he needs right away? Think about it.
* * * * *
Take a look at your feet. Each has one big toe and one little one, right? I wonder … if we live long enough, will the little one ever grow up to be as large as the big one?
* * * * *
I was getting a little bored with doing the same routine every morning. Then I thought of the dung beetle. Poor guy pushes doo-doo around all day. Now I’m not bored.
* * * * *
When I told the wife which way I was driving to the store, she said I could go any way I wanted, but she reserved the right to tell me where to go. Wait … what?
* * * * *
While watching The Bride of Frankenstein the other night, I mused that it might be nice to have Frankenstein’s monster as a pal. That way, if my cell phone battery died, I could ask him to plug it into his neck for a recharge.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Yum! Yum! Yum!

Guess what! They’ve discovered that if you think about eating something yummy long enough, you can fool your brain into thinking you actually ate the goodies.
Just thinking about it is enough to satiate your hunger.

They call it “habituation.”
At least that’s what Science journal is reporting. Researchers tested mental M&M’s. They had their subjects go through the mental exercise of chewing and swallowing 30 M&M’s, one after the other until they were all gone. Control groups either ate three mental M&M’s, or no M&M’s at all.
Then, the test subjects were given a bowl of real M&M’s. The ones who had mentally eaten their M&M’s ate half as many pieces of candy as those who mentally consumed three or none.
Therefore, it’s not true that thinking about a yummy food results in your eating MORE of it when you get a chance.
Personally, I’ll pass on the mental yummies. Gimme the real thing anytime!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Typo Curse

All my life I’ve had what I call “The Typo Curse.” For some reason, typographical errors always seem to explode off of a page into my face.
It there’s one there, I’ll see it. And I don’t really have to try very hard either. And once I find one, it just spoils the reading experience for me. It’s a curse, I tell ya … a curse!
Anyway, if you’ll excuse my juvenile rant … One jumped out at me the other day when the wife and I were at Nohea Gallery in the Ward Warehouse, looking for a particular item to give as a Christmas present.
Click on picture for an enlarged view
After making our selection, I was at the counter paying for it when I saw a 2011 calendar set sitting there. So I glanced over at it, and this is what I saw –>
Now, I don’t know who was responsible for proof-reading the printed calendars before they hit the presses (and a mighty expensive press run that was, four-color process and all), but whoever it was sure cost the company a lot of money.
Tell me now; would you buy a calendar that started off the New Year (when everything is supposed to have a fresh start) during the month of JanuRary?
I wonder how many people will buy the calendar set without knowing it’s flawed, and if so, I wonder how many will not even notice the typo, or return the calendar for a refund, or simply laugh it off?
Me? Personally, it offends me that the calendar maker didn’t think enough of me – a potential customer – to make sure everything was perfect before going into production. You can be sure I pointed it out to everybody in the store, including the owner.
They were happy anyway. I spent a bunch of bucks and was happy with my purchases.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Café Duck Butt

We were driving along the east end of Kawaiahao Street the other day, having just turned right while going makai on Ward Avenue. Makai? That’s “toward the sea” for those who don’t live in Hawaii.
That’s when I almost got into an accident. I hadn’t really noticed it before, but at the corner of Kawaiahao and Kamani Streets was this sign –>
It turns out that Café Duck Butt is a Korean karaoke bar that sells food. I’ve never eaten there but from what I’ve read, people like their food, especially the “Korean tacos.” Korean tacos? Whoa!
I wonder if they actually do prepare and sell duck butt?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Appearance Counts

One thing I have to say about the Japanese – they sure know how to take the physical characteristics of food stuff and apply them to human fortune. Every year around this time – when the family begins to observe Japanese traditions of the New Year, I am reminded of just how deeply we are ingrained into our historical culture.
For example:
Gobo (burdock root): If you eat gobo, you will become an unwavering, resolute and steadfast person who is dedicated and committed to anything you endeavor. Why? Because this long root grows straight and firm in the ground, like someone with a stiff backbone and unyielding focus.
Ebi (shrimp): Persons who eat a lot of shrimp and lobster are destined to lead long lives. Why? Because these seafood have bent backs, like those of the elderly.
Takenoko (bamboo shoots): Eat a lot of these bullet-shaped, tender and crunchy young bamboo plant tips and you will be able to endure and to exhibit flexibility. Why? Because the bamboo plant grows tall and prolifically, and sways without breaking in even the most terrible of storms.
Sato Imo (taro): This vegetable is supposed to make you fertile and able to bear many children. Why? Because baby taros propagate from one seed taro, symbolizing fertility.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Real Reindeer Pause

Click on the picture for a larger image

You say you’ve got nowhere to go? You say you’ve been everywhere and done everything? You say you have insomnia and want something different to do at night?
Well, my friend, have I got a deal for you. I can get you an elevated bed for a night at Museum fuer Gegenwart in Berlin for a measly €1,000. That’s Euros. Approximately $1,400.
What do you get? You get a revolving bed that rises above a herd of 12 reindeer, in a special room that also features 24 singing canaries. You don’t have to worry about rutting reindeer storming around and doing the midnight sun nasties, as they’ve all been neutered (poor guys).
It’s actually an exhibition called “Soma,” named after an ancient hallucinogen made from mushrooms. And if you remember your contemporary literature, it was the drink that calmed the people in Aldous Huxley’s 1932 futuristic novel, Brave New World.
You’ll be at peace with nature. I’d do it, but I have some questions that need answering: Will the singing canaries wake you up too early in the morning? Do they fly overhead and drop some birdie noodles on you while you’re sleeping? Do reindeer fart?
Actually, it is a bit noisy – the reindeer play and spar with each other, making throaty noises similar to lions, according to those who’ve experienced it.
But if you don’t already have your reservations, you’re too late. It’s booked until the end of the show, six nights a week. Belgian-born artist Carsten Hoeller’s interactive exhibit was scheduled to run until Jan. 6, 2011, but apparently has been extended into February.
Just what you need … a stinky, sleepless night, all in the name of art.
I kid you not!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Even Peter Pan Does It


This says it all. I have nothing more to add …

Monday, December 6, 2010

Vintage Collectibles & Hawaiiana Show

The wife and I took in the Wiki Wiki One-Day collectibles show at the Neal Blaisdell Center yesterday, just to wander around and spend a couple of hours on a Sunday morning meeting up with and talking to hobby friends.
I’ve always wondered if I should set up at this particular show, but after seeing it for the first time, it just wouldn’t work for me. It’s really not my audience, and I need more room for customers to come into my booth and plant themselves so they can browse through the stamps and covers that I have for sale.
Nonetheless, it was good to see people I haven’t seen in months and to chit-chat about what we all were doing. Y’know … catching up.
As usual, I brought my camera along and took some pictures to share with you:
Antique Curios

Jade Bracelets

Jewelry

Dinnerware Sets

German Christmas Ornaments
It was a good Sunday!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

It’s Our Kind of Town … Again


It wasn’t a pretty 2010 football season for the University of Southern California Trojans, for us alumni, or for the rest of the USC fans. We lost some games we shouldn’t have, including one against long-time rival Notre Dame.
But last night, we beat UCLA for the fourth year in a row. We claimed possession of the Victory Bell, a 285-pound trophy that’s been given to the winner of the USC-UCLA cross-town rivalry game since 1942.
There wasn’t a lot at stake for either school last night, one of the few times in 80 meetings that neither school was ranked, and neither school was going on to a post-season bowl game. UCLA’s final record of 4-8 did not get them bowl-eligible, and USC’s 8-5 record was for the books only because we’ve been banned from post-season play this year.
But what was at stake in this, the greatest collegiate cross-town rivalry, was ownership of Los Angeles. For another year, USC has earned bragging rights to claim Los Angeles as its own. It’s a good feeling, one that I experienced as an outsider when I first arrived in LA back in 1964 and was invited to my first USC-Notre Dame game. It became most meaningful when I got my graduate degree from USC.
The two schools are only 11 miles apart, separated by the Santa Monica (10) Freeway. That’s pretty close, although it often takes an hour and half to negotiate that short distance during LA’s infamous rush hour traffic.
Last night’s game was one for history books. It was the last Pac-10 football game ever. In 2011, the Pac-10 becomes the Pac-12, and quite ironically, USC will play in the very first Pac-12 game when we face newcomer Utah on September 10.
One final note: Congratulations to senior tailback Allen Bradford, who had his best game of the season, carrying the ball 28 times for 212 yards (a 7.5 yard average), and scoring two TDs – one on long run, and one on a long pass reception.
We own Los Angeles. Fight on!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

My Christmas Gift Wish

The wife asked me this morning what I wanted for Christmas. We go through this every year in early December – she asks me, and then later, I ask her.
But I was ready for her this time.
“What do you want for Christmas this year?” she asked.
“Oh, I dunno. Maybe a new wallet, maybe a new polo shirt … or maybe something like … this:”

“That’s pretty nice! How much is it?”
“Three hundred and fifty.”
“Three hundred and fifty? Isn’t that pretty expensive for a model?”
“Umm … it’s not a model. And it’s a flying car that was designed by MIT graduates. It can go 115 mph in the air, and faster than 65 on the roads.”
“Really,” she said, in deep thought, “All that for three hundred and fifty dollars?”
“Umm … no, it’s three hundred and fifty thousand dollars, plus whatever it costs to ship it. It weighs 970 pounds.”
“I see. So … what do you want for Christmas this year?”

Friday, December 3, 2010

Green Tea Kit Kat

 “Have a break, have a Kit Kat!”
Since 1957, that’s been the marketing slogan for Kit Kat candy outside of the United States. It’s always printed on the product.
Check out the picture. That’s a box of Kit Kat’s new green tea confection (Macha Kit Kat). Each box contains two foil-wrapped packages of the wafer-filled candy/cookie, and aside from a slight green tea flavor – rather than the chocolate we’re all so familiar with – it tastes just like a Kit Kat. Sweet stuff. It was great with hot tea.
I just had to see if there was anything I could find about it on the Web. They are available only in Japan stores, but you can get them on the 'Net at eCrater (http://www.ecrater.com/p/9691735/japan-nestle-green-tea-kit). But be advised, the shipping costs twice as much as the candy itself, because in this case, it’s shipped from Taiwan.
My nephew’s mother-in-law sent the little box as a gift, using my sister as a courier.
How sweet of her.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Warning! Warning!

If you don't want to be subjected to an invasive search at airport security as you pass through the new body scanners, do not … I repeat, DO NOT wear a panty liner.
See, the panty liner will block the view, and TSA agents might subject you to a much more invasive search.
This was reported on the website GladRags.com by an anonymous woman who allegedly wore jeans, a tee-shirt, bra and underwear when she checked in at an unidentified airport. They couldn’t see if anything was hidden behind the panty liner … oh lawdie, the mental picture … so there ya go.
According to the lady, the agents (two females with a male watching) did their job as delicately as possible, but she was so upset that she began crying. Her advice to other women is not to use panty liners at the airport, at least until they are past the security screening.
Good advice, no?
I kid you not.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Eat Your Vegetables!

It’s a well-known fact that Americans don’t like vegetables. In general, in general … because I know you love vegetables yourself.
Remember George Bush the Elder and his famous declaration?
“I do not like broccoli. And I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I’m the President of the United States and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli!”
Yikes. Vegetables even got our president to snipe.
A couple of years ago, I remember reading a “good news bad news” story along those lines, something like: “The good news is that Americans are eating more vegetables; the bad news is … it’s french fries.”
French fries really don’t count as vegetables to the nutritionists. But maybe … maybe potatoes should count?
When the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture ruled that low-income recipients of food vouchers couldn’t use the benefits to buy white potatoes, Chris Voigt, head of the Washington State Potato Commission, was fried. He put his foot down and began a two-month potatoes-only diet to protest.
By the time he was done, Voigt had eaten 400 pounds of potatoes. Yep, 400 spuddy pounds and nothing else, averaging 20 potatoes a day – mashed, sliced and fried, roasted, snack-cubed … you name it, he made it. He did use seasonings (rosemary, thyme, oregano, dill, mustard seed, cinnamon and nutmeg). Wait … cinnamon and nutmeg? That sounds different.
He would whip up a batch of potato gravy using bouillon cubes and potato starch. Hey! Isn’t using bouillon cheating just a little? I mean, doesn’t that contain animal protein? For Thanksgiving, he made … a “tur-tato” --- five pounds of mashed, molded into a turkey, basted with olive oil and broiled. He said it was tender. Well, duh!
Voigt ended his spuds-only regimen yesterday with a steak fajitas dinner accompanied by roasted potatoes. The good news? He went from 197 pounds to 176. I’m sure the Washington state potato growers are proud of him.
Now, would you please pass me the mashed potatoes?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Slugging It Out

Hawaii imports most of its Christmas trees from the Pacific Northwest, primarily Washington and Oregon, and we start seeing them on sale right after Thanksgiving.
Although the cut trees are sealed tightly in refrigerated containers, there are still some little critters that so hanker for a holiday in Hawaii that they snitch a ride here.
Every once in a while the State agriculture inspectors find something that has them shivering in their rubber boots. Sometimes it’s yellow-jacket wasps, sometimes it’s spiders, sometimes it’s bugs. This year, it’s slugs.
Yes … S-L-U-G-S … those slimy homeless snails that leave wet-snot trails wherever they go.
As we speak, the inspectors are trying to identify the slug species. If they’re bad boys, then there are two options: Either tree-filled containers (and the trees) that they were found in will be re-sealed and shipped back from whence they came, or the each of the trees will have to be treated individually by the Department of Agriculture. Either option is going to be expensive for the wholesalers.
It’s amazing what a spot-check of one or two trees per opened container will find.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Something’s Just Not Right with George

Just got a new entry in the “Where’s George” $1 bill tracking report, and something’s a little fishy.
A new entry has been posted after San Jose, two days before he had turned up in Boulder, Colorado. The same user had possession of the bill at a different location, reporting it in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and noting that “It was change, good condition.”
I last reported George had been found in Springfield, Illinois. Nine days later, he turned up in Osseo, Minnesota (comment: “I got the bill from my friend because he owed me some money”), and then four hours later was reported in Charlton, Massachusetts (comment: “I was walking down a street in Charlton [ Bond Road], I picked it up”).
What makes me suspicious are the comments. All begin with “I” and are written in the same style. And the bill has been found on the ground, at a bus stop, and under a windshield wiper. Perhaps someone is playing a game?
Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Going from Bad to Worse

Football at the University of Southern California took a big hit this past summer when it was saddled with NCAA probation and various penalties that will continue to cripple the team for a few years to come.
We’ve been through times like this in the past, but have managed to get through the rough years and return to the glory days of old – winning PAC-10 championships, playing in national bowl games, and even winning a couple of national championships since I graduated from there.
Through it all, when the losses were piling up, we always looked to two games that would determine whether we’ve had a successful season or not, no matter how many losses we registered: Notre Dame and UCLA.
The Notre Dame game is the best known intersectional rivalry game in collegiate football. The first USC game I ever attended was in 1964, when USC upset the mighty Fighting Irish.
The UCLA game is the best cross-town college rivalry game in collegiate football. The winner owns Los Angeles for another year. Often, the PAC-10 championship (and recently, the BCS championship game) was on the line.
We lost to Notre Dame yesterday, 20-16. Our season has officially gone from bad to worse. And if we lose to UCLA on Saturday, we can officially consider the 2010 football season … horrible.
But we’re Trojans, so we … FIGHT ON!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

See You Lay-dah

I may have mentioned this before, but people of a certain demographic in Hawaii tend to emulate people from Massachusetts in their pronunciation of the suffix “er.”
“Er” becomes “ah.” As in “the-a-tah” (theater), except they’ll also pronounce the “th” as “d” and the “tah” as “dah” … say “tee-ay-dah”).
Maybe it’s their Japanese genes. It could be in the DNA. Japanese nationals have a difficult time rounding out the “ers” in when they speak English.
Our tour driver in Japan mentioned this to us when we visited the Mikimoto Pearls farm: “I cannot pronounce the name correctly in English. I say parl.”
I’ve noticed that locally too. But it’s not just the older Americans of Japanese ancestry; it’s the “locals” as well, generally of the lower socio-economic demographics.
I’m just saying.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Holiday Weight Gain


If you’re like me, you over-indulged during Thanksgiving lunch and dinner yesterday, will over-indulge at Christmas, over-indulge at New Years, and generally over-indulge during the breaks between the holidays.
Therefore, is the November through January period when we average people gain the most weight?
What would you guess is the average weight gain in America? Four pounds? Five pounds? Seven pounds? More?
Well now … according to the National Institute of Health (and with a department name like THAT, their word must be gospel, right?), the average American gains … ONE pound over the holidays.
Yep. One pound. Uno poundo. Sixteen ounces. Seize onces. Sedici once.
They’ve got all kinds of hints how not to gain that pound, but heck, only one pound this year? Considering how much I really thought I’d be gaining? One pound doesn’t sound so bad.
But wait! What if somebody doesn’t gain anything at all? What if TWO people don’t gain anything at all? Does that mean I’ll gain three pounds to keep the average at one pound?
What’s a fella to do? Just WHAT’S a fella to DO?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Where Hawaii Ranks 2

Here are a few more lists that show where Hawaii ranks in various categories. The one that bothers me is the last one. We are … du-u-umb!
Lowest Rate of Gun Deaths (Violence Policy Center, 2007)
1.  HAWAII (2.82 per 100,000)
2.  Rhode Island (3.51)
3.  Massachusetts (3.63)
4.  Connecticut (4.27)
5.  New York (5.07)
Credit Card Debt, (Credit Karma, 2010)
1.  HAWAII ($9,296 per capita)
2.  Colorado ($9,177)
3.  Arkansas ($9,109)
4.  New Jersey ($8,916)
5.  Connecticut ($8,897)
Mortgage Debt (Credit Karma, 2010)
1.  California ($334,120)
2.  HAWAII ($314,721)
3.  Maryland ($241,136)
4.  New Jersey ($234,629)
5.  Washington ($228,925)
Decrease in Credit Card Debt (Credit Karma, 2010)
1.  Wisconsin (28%)
2.  HAWAII (13%)
3.  Idaho (13%)
4.  Nevada (12%)
5.  Oregon (11%)
Best Educated State (Morgan Quinto Press, 2007)
  1. Vermont (Index: 17.58)
  2. Connecticut (15.88)
  3. Massachusetts (14.48)
  4. New Jersey (12.55)
  5. Maine (9.33)
   42. HAWAII (-9.67)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cat Nap Cat

The wife and I went into Chinatown yesterday to get some fruits and veggies for Thanksgiving lunch and dinner.
The first place we visited was Wing Cheong Produce Market. They didn’t have what she was looking for, but I found something interesting.
A cute little kitty cat was taking a nap among some of the displayed packages. According to the wife, she’s seen that cat there before, and each time she did, it was sleeping.
All the hubbub and bustle of the open street mall didn’t make any difference to the cat. It just snoozed and snoozed and snoozed. I was tempted to wake it up, but decided to let the cat nap its cat nap.
I had to use my cell phone camera … that’ll teach me to make sure I have my digital camera with me at all times.
Now I’m getting sleepy myself.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ummm, Really?

It must be true. UPI news service said it is, so it must be true.
A bunch of Ashburton elementary school kids apparently flung a potato into the air and it went 17 miles into space before it finally fell to the earth.
Well, they didn’t actually throw it. According to Hilary Gibbard of Landscove Village Primary School in England, her students attached the pomme de terre to a weather balloon. Then they launched it in a soda bottle space capsule.
And that’s not all. Obviously getting into the Christmas season a bit early, the children dressed up the potato as Santa Claus. Imagine that … a Santa Spud.
The balloon popped about 19,000 feet high, and Mr. Santa Potato Head made a lengthy descent, landing 140 miles away in a … (and I find this a bit difficult to swallow) … Christmas tree farm. I wonder how mashed it was, or if it only suffered a few chips.
Anyway, that’s all the exciting news I could take yesterday.
Santa Spud indeed!