Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Back from Vacation

As you know, I've been missing in action since the 18th, having spent the last week and a half or so celebrating my grandson's birthday in San Jose. Oh, I could have posted from there, but figured it was time for a break.

The trip started off auspiciously enough; I discovered Hawaiian Airlines no longer flies directly from Honolulu to San Jose. Instead, there's a three-hour stop in Kahului, Maui. Which to me is kind of ridiculous.

Not only that, but the flight to Maui left Honolulu at 8 in the morning, which meant we got to the airport around 6 a.m., which meant we had to wake up before 5 a.m. Ridiculous, if you ask me. But, be that as it may, that's what we had to do.

Which also meant that if I wanted to upgrade to first class on the Maui to San Jose leg (which I did), I'd have to check in at 8 a.m. the previous morning to have any chance. Which I did.

There were three seats available, so I immediately tried for two that were together. No such luck, I got a message that the upgrade couldn't be completed. So I called Hawaiian Airlines' web support and talked to an actual person ... a nice lady who said that someone must have been quicker on the keyboard because there were no more empty first-class seats available.

Well, rats.

But y'know, sometimes it pays to play a hunch. Around 11 a.m., I thought I'd just cruise on by the website, check the first-class cabin again, and ... BINGO! Two first-class seats had opened up.

This time, I was a whiz on the keyboard. Yep ... sometimes It pays to play a hunch.

By the way, the Hawaiian Airlines route map above shows a direct flight from Honolulu to San Jose. That's all wrong. It's deceiving, and they need to change that.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Be Back Soon

On vacation visiting my grandson. Will return on or about Tuesday, April 30. In the meantime, be kind to animals.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Tangerine ... she is all they claim
With her eyes of night
And lips as bright as flame!

With apologies to Frank Sinatra, who certainly could sing rings around me, our tangerine tree gets me in the mood to sing a song THAT particular song. But all it does for the wife is prompt her to give me a puzzled look. See, she's never heard that song before.

Our tangerine tree is starting to bear fruit. The crop is sparse so far, but eventually during the summer, the tangerines will be festooning the green branches like orange Halloween Christmas decorations. They're not as sweet and easy to peel as Clementines are, but they come mighty close.

The picture above is from our tree, taken two days ago. I was thinking of posting it with the rest of the fruit pictures yesterday, but it didn't keep with my theme of "green."

I do miss something with our tangerine tree these days. Many years ago, swallowtail butterflies (the yellow and black ones) were plentiful in our neighborhood and they used to lay their eggs on our tangerine tree. The big, plump caterpillars used to munch on the leaves, and when you bothered them, they'll expose a yellow T-shaped thing from their head that smelled ... well, to quote my father-in-law ... "green."

They'd make their final design change in a bejeweled chrysalis before emerging like a striking flower ready to face the dawn.

Ahhh ... that tangerine tree!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Green Fruit

And the green grass grows all around, all around, and the green grass grows all around. So does our small jade plant.

One thing about living in Hawaii ... everything is so green during the spring. I took advantage of the beautiful sunny day yesterday and wandered around the house. It was supposed to rain, but it didn't, all the better for checking our emerging fruit.

The jabon (pomelo) tree in the back is bearing fruit; you may recall I posted some pictures of the blossoms a while back. The fruit are still on the small size, but come summer there will be some gigantic yellow fruit weighing down the branches.

In the front yard, we have an avocado tree that seems determined to be a bonsai ... it just doesn't grow any taller than four feet or so. It alternates between being bushy green and leafless brown, seemingly unable to make up its mind what it wants to be when it grows up. At any rate, it'll be many, many years before any fruit develop.

Our scrawny fig tree is bearing fruit, but we can't let them mature beyond the pale green. Once some of the light yellow and purple color begins to appear, the birds attack them. So, the wife picks them early and believe me, there's nothing less tasty than a green fig.

The papaya tree is fruiting nicely with clumps of the green fruit hanging on for dear life. I know they're got going to get fully ripe on the tree, but that's okay. Pick 'em when they show a hint of yellow, let them hang around the kitchen for a bit and they'll ripen nicely. Hopefully they'll be sweet.

We had several strawberry guava trees in the front yard, but all but one were removed for the cycads that now grace the spot. The strawberry guavas are now beginning to develop, looking like miniature green balls huddling in clutches. Soon they'll be turning red and we'll have overflowing buckets to munch on, or make guava jelly.

And then there's our Pirie mango tree at the top of our driveway. Pretty sad-looking fruit. All that are there are teeny little mangos, about two-inches or so in length. The rain and wind play havoc on the flowers, ripping them from the branches. Eventually there'll be a modest crop that the wife can gloat over. Me, I don't care. I don't care for the perfumed Pirie aroma. Gimme a Hayden any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

Green is good:

Jabon (Pomelo)



Strawberry Guava

Pirie Mango

Monday, April 15, 2013

Tax Day Humor

Here's something to tickle your barbecue ribs on Income Tax Day ... two signs that have nothing to do with taxes. In fact, I apologize for reminding you that it's tax day.

I wonder if Ernest Hemingway ever worried about taxes? He moved to Cuba in the 1940s and again in the 1950s, y'know.

But one thing has been confirmed: Ernest Hemingway never had a meal or a drink at the Las Vegas Flamingo Hotel & Casino's Carlos 'n Charlie's World Famoso Mexican Grill & Fiesta. I confirmed that via the above booth signs. Yep, you gotta trust those people.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Dogpatch Donut

"Hey Maw! C'mere and take a lookie! They done named a donut after me! How'd they know mah last name be Cinnamon anyway?"

"Beats the corn likker outta me, Paw! I dint tell 'em!"

"How ya reckon they taste? Looks good t'me, ain't got no hole in 'em or anything. Y'know ... more vallee for muh moneey, rat?"

"Git me one too, Paw!"

"Yew betcha, Abnah!"

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Squirrel Comb-Over

Chad Carpenter just cracks me up! Hey, at least I don't do a comb-over, even though the hair on the top of my head is fast disappearing.

You know when I first noticed my hair was thinning? It was when I was backing out of my driveway with the sun at my back and I could see through the hair at the top of my head in the rear-view mirror.

Aren't comb-overs ridiculous? I wonder if squirrels know how to drive?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Roger Ebert and Me

I have a connection with Roger Ebert, the iconic movie reviewer. Not a real close connection; after all, I never met the man. But, we both were journalists in the ‘60s-‘70s, we both had a lot of hair, and we both wore horn-rimmed glasses.
When a 1969 black and white photograph by Associated Press photographer Bob Kotalik of the Chicago Sun-Times surfaced again on the occasion of Mr. Ebert’s passing on April 4, it reminded me of a somewhat similar picture my staff photographer took of me two years later.
I dug up the picture yesterday and was struck by how much Mr. Ebert and I resembled each other. I mean, take a look at me back then (1971):
Craig Miyamoto, Journalist, 1971

Okay, now take a look at Roger Ebert (1969):

Roger Ebert, Journalist, 1969

Kinda uncanny, huh? Believe me, I am in no way comparing our careers or influence. All I’m saying is we had a connection via our pictures.

Y’know, I’m honored.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

What? You Said What?

Don't you just love headlines that test your sense of what makes sense? These are the kind that make you stop in your tracks and ask, "What?"

Oh yeah, they're funny, and I guess in a way they make sense. But good Lord, it always seems there's something missing in the headline, a word or two extra that's needed so you can nod and say "Ahhh, I see" instead of "What? You said what?"

To wit:


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Annette: Pineapple Princess

My favorite Walt Disney Mouseketeer left us on Monday at age 70: Annette Funicello, a member of the Mickey Mouse Mouseketeers in the '50s, and a teenage icon in her beach party movies of the '60s.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser had a short article in their Opinion section yesterday and talked about her connection with Hawaii, specifically her "Hawaiianette" album, which featured a number of "hapa-hau'oli" (English worded) songs about Hawaii (e.g., "Hukilau," "Little Grass Shack," "Aloha Oe").

Although a few songs are mentioned in the story, they failed to mention one of her most popular songs: "Pineapple Princess."

When the U.S. Postal Service issued a new pineapple-themed postcard on May 12, 2007, I paid homage to the song with a cachet of Annette holding a pineapple ... she was indeed, our Pineapple Princess.

Rest in peace, Annette.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Unreliable Timepiece

As an experienced veteran of many conference and vacation trips, and as a traveler who sometimes has had to rely on early-morning wake-up calls and alarms to make a plane flight at some ungodly hour in the morning, I’ve come to depend on hotel room clocks.

Actually, though, I bring my own travel alarm. If I have to wake up in time to catch a 6 a.m. flight, for example, I set my travel alarm for 3:30 a.m., order a wake-up call at 3:45 and just in case, set the room clock alarm at 3:55 a.m. That way, I’ve assured myself plenty of time to get cleaned up and on my way.
In the old days, before the 9-11 thing, it was okay to get to the airport maybe as close as a half-hour before the flight. Today, it’s smarter to get there at least two hours before the flight.
Say you forgot your travel alarm clock (which I’ve done). Say you sleep through the wake-up call (which I’ve done). Your last chance is the room alarm clock. So it had better work or it’s heart palpitation time as you rush, rush, rush.
Look at the clock in my room at the California Hotel when I stayed there last December. I had to get up and be in the gathering area at 6 a.m. (tour thing, y’know), and if I had to rely on this clock, I’d have missed the bus … literally.
So you know what? I ordered two wake-up calls. By the way, I didn’t set the clock alarm. I couldn’t see the numbers well enough to set it. Friggin’ miserable piece of equipment.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Udderly Ridiculous

There’s an old University of Hawaii football cheer: “We want anuddah one, mo’ beddah dan de uddah one!” It’s a local pidgin takeoff on the more famous “Do it again, harder, harder!”
I was reminded of that cheer when I had dinner at Carlos ‘n Charlie’s World Famoso Mexican Grill and Fiesta in Las Vegas’ Flamingo Hotel (now is THAT a long restaurant name, or what?).
Hanging up there, over the bar, is a cow – it has a huge udder, is wearing cowboy boots, and has no head. Kinda like flat beer, if you know what I mean. I don’t know the story about the thing, and I’m not so sure I want to hear it anyway.
Each of the teats is named: One is “Margarita Gold, and I can’t make out the other ("de uddah one") in the picture. I think they are liquor spouts. But I didn’t see them being used to make drinks. Maybe it’s supposed to stand on the bar itself? I dunno.
Nobody (but me) seemed to be paying any attention to it. How udderly ridiculous is that?

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Hilo Days: The Power of Suggestion

How did your parents get you to do things? Did they bring out the “Black Mariah” ruler? Did they threaten to withhold TV or candy? Did they ground you?
At our house when growing up, we were coerced into being good in a way only doctors’ kids can experience. Needles today sometimes have bad connotations; but back then, they were effective.
This little story appeared on my website, “Hilo Days.”
The Injections
Dad was a doctor. You already know that. It was okay. The family always got a lot of respect, and we got a lot of kids named after us.
But there was a down side. First of all, we could never fake sickness just to stay out of school. Dad knew all the tricks. Worst of all, Dad always had a supply of those dreaded hypodermic injections waiting in his ever-present black bag.
Our booster shots were always up-to-date — without fail. One good thing was we never had to leave the house and torture ourselves in a doctor's crowded waiting room, endlessly waiting for the inevitable words: "This won't hurt a bit."
I remember sitting down many times at the kitchen table at Obachan's house and being presented with some options:
"You're feeling sick? I'm going to have to give you an injection!" I went to school.
"You better listen to your mom, or I'm going to give you an injection!" I listened to Mom.
"You better eat your liver, or I'm going to give you an injection!" I ate my liver (but I hate it to this day).
"You better stop teasing your sister, or I'm going to give you two injections!" I was an angel.
You get the idea. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Attack of the Birds!

While having a spot of hot milk tea and munching on some English biscuits yesterday, I accumulated quite a bit of crumbs on my ample stomach by the time I was done.

So I gathered up the crumbs and threw them on the ground for any doves that might come poking around later on.
To my surprise, a horde of Zebra and Spotted Doves swarmed in for the attack almost immediately. Good thing I had my camera with me. I've learned my lesson and have it with me most of the time now, because I've missed quite a number of interesting shots. (Of course, now that I carry it with me, the occasions have diminished.)
I didn't throw that many crumbs, and I'm afraid quite a few of the birds went away hungry. But it does show that these feathered buggers lie in hiding, ready to pounce at the earliest opportunity.
. o O ( I think I want to watch Hitchcock's The Birds again. )

Friday, April 5, 2013

Purple Eggs

During my wandering at the Chinatown Market Place in City Square, I saw these purple eggs in the Brian's Seafood Market cooler. I left it out of yesterday's post because it didn't have anything to do with fish, my theme for the day.

These are salted eggs, dyed purple, not for Easter, but to remind you that they're not fresh eggs. The eggs are cured in salt brine for about two weeks, resulting in a slightly salty-tasting product. To prepare for consumption, they are boiled slowly for a half-hour.

Or so I'm told.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Brian's Seafood Market

While wandering around the recently discovered Chinatown Market Place at City Square in Kapalama, I stopped by Brian's Seafood Market, located in one of the corners.

It's not the biggest fish market there, and they don't have the largest variety of fish on sale, but it's a nice place with fresh seafood on display for the picking. They were doing a fairly brisk business while I was there.

I was taught to check three things that determine the freshness of the fish: (1) Does the fish feel slimy? If so, it ain't fresh. (2) Are the eyes cloudy? If so, it ain't fresh; the eyes should be clear. (3) Finally, does it smell fishy? If so, it ain't fresh; it should smell like the ocean.

The fish there met all three criteria.

They also had eel (puhi) on sale. Big thick, ugly buggers. The kind you'd quickly swim away from if you encounter one while poking around a coral reef.

A woman noticed me inspecting the eels and asked if I eat the stuff. Frankly, I haven't ever had puhi, unless someone slipped me some when I wasn't looking. I told her that and she giggled, confessing that she too hasn't tried it.

I have caught puhi with a fishing line, and it's fascinating how they tie themselves up in knots around the line as they try to free themselves from the hook. I suppose the people I gave it to ate it, but at the time, I was in high school and not a very adventurous eater.

Whatcha think? Would you enjoy seeing one of these on your dinner plate?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Ellery Queen Mysteries

Whilst wandering around Fry’s Electronics in Las Vegas, I checked out the TV shows section and found a DVD set titled “Ellery Queen Mysteries” that contains uncut episodes of the entire 1975-1976 NBC television series of 22 episodes and the show’s pilot.
The one-season tenure of Ellery Queen’s “who dunnit” adventures takes place in the late 1940s, when people believed that television was just a fad, and would never last. Why, New York Police Department Inspector Richard Queen (Ellery's dad) remarks, shaking his head, would anyone want to watch bad news and weather just before going to bed?
It was a time when radio shows were popular, and writers used the two-finger hunt-and-peck method on manual typewriters to put their thoughts down on paper … making copies with carbon paper at that. Shot in typical big-city detective style with spinning New York Daily Star front pages screaming sensational headlines, the show has a certain class and simplicity that grips your interest.
I haven’t read the Ellery Queen novels yet, but because of the DVD, I just might have to do that.
Jim Hutton plays the nerdy, forgetful, klutzy Ellery Queen, who helps his father, Inspector Queen, solve murders that often baffle the police. Ellery has a knack for spotting the most insignificant of clues and putting everything together. He’s a kind of post-World War II “modern-day” Sherlock Holmes, except more lovable a character.
The two Queens are assisted by the cigar-sucking Sergeant Velie, played by Tom Reese, who always addresses Ellery by the moniker, “Maestro;” recurring cast members include John Hillerman ("Higgins" on Magnum P.I.) as the smarmy mystery-radio host Simon Brimmer, who’s always butting in and getting in the way; Ken Swofford as sensationalist New York Gazette columnist Frank Flanagan, who also, in search of an exclusive, becomes quite a nuisance; and Arch Johnson as Deputy Commissioner Arch Johnson, who applies the appropriate pressure at the appropriate time.
I haven’t enjoyed mystery television like this; I once started watching Murder She Wrote, starring Angela Lansbury, but kind of lost interest. I guess putting out the cash to actually buy the DVD set impresses a certain responsibility on me – I’d better like it, or I’ve wasted my money, right?
Just before the final scene, where Ellery gathers all the suspects (which includes a lot of very famous stars of the time), he turns to the audience and challenges us to figure out who the culprit is. After all, all of the clues were presented to us at one time or another. We just need to remember what they are and get into his mind so we can figure everything out.
By the way, the name “Ellery Queen” is a pseudonym. Despite the fact that the name appears as the author of the Ellery Queen novels, it’s actually a name used by two cousins – Daniel Nathan, alias Frederic Dannay, and Manford Lepofsky, alias Manfred Bennington Lee. Jeez … aliases AND pseudonyms.
Why was Ellery Queen cancelled after only one season? I can't find a good answer, but it probably had something to do with the fact that Jim Hutton died of cancer in 1979, so perhaps it had something to do with his health, or a desire to do some living before he died.
So … I’ve been watching one or two episodes a night and force myself to stop, lest I keep watching until the wee hours of the next morning. These things are addictive because they’re so well done.
You ought to give Ellery Queen a try yourself.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Where Hawaii Ranks 18

Tourism is Hawaii’s top industry, even more so since the demise of the sugar industry. So how do we stack up against other destinations? And how do we rank in other non-tourism areas of comparison?

Best U.S. Beaches (Trip Advisor Users, 2013)
  2. Siesta Key Public Beach, Sarasota, FL
  3. Gulf Sands National Seashore, Pensacola, FL
  4. Fort De Soto Park, Tierra Verde, FL
Top Island/Sun Destinations (Smith Travel Research, 2013)
  1. OAHU, HI (84.7% occupancy)
  2. Puerto Rico (72.9%)
  3. MAUI, HI (72.6%)
  4. Phuket (72.6%)
  5. Bali (69.8%)
Highest Wellbeing in the Nation (Gallup-Healthways, 2013)
  1. HAWAII (Index score 71.1)
  2. Colorado (69.7)
  3. Minnesota (68.9)
  4. Utah (68.8)
  5. Vermont (68.6)
Lowest Voter Turnout, 2012 Presidential Election (NonprofitVOTE, 2013)
  1. HAWAII (44.5%)
  2. West Virginia (46.8%)
  3. Oklahoma (49.6%)
  4. Texas (50.1%)
  5. Arkansas (51.0%)
Best West Coast Airports for a Rendezvous (MeetAtThe Airport.com, 2012)
  1. Los Angeles International
  2. Las Vegas McCarran International
  3. Reno-Tahoe International
  5. Santa Barbara

Monday, April 1, 2013

Hope Springs Eternal … Again

It’s finally here – Opening Day in the major leagues. The Atlanta Braves, my team of choice, are poised (hopefully) for another successful year. They open their season at home today against the Philadelphia Phillies, their division rivals.

Hopefully, the Braves won’t be undone by the Wild Card Game again this year; hopefully they can get into the playoffs and possibly wend their way into the World Series.
The roster looks real different again. Gone are future Hall of Famer Chipper Jones, lead-off batter Michael Bourne, left-fielder Martin Prado, right-handed pitchers Tommy Hanson and Jair Jurrjens, reliever Peter Moylan, and outfielder Matt Diaz.
Joining Jason Heyward in the outfield are brothers B.J. and Justin Upton; third-baseman Chris Johnson has joined the team; pitchers Kris Medlen and Craig Kimbrel are back, as are infielders Freddie Freeman, Dan Uggla and Andrelton Simmons. That’s exciting.
And, as usual, I’ve put my money where my heart is: Nice Las Vegas wagers on the Braves to win the National League (7 to 1) and the World Series (14 to 1).
Yeah, yeah, I know … it’s gonna be tough. But one just never knows. Like I always say, “Hope Springs Eternal!”