Monday, August 29, 2016

Vikings (History Channel)

Thanks to Roku and Amazon Prime, I have been able to catch up with every episode of “Vikings,” the gory historical series about the Northmen as they went about their plundering ways in what are now England and France.

My Facebook friends had posted about the show, and although I’d been eager to watch it, the scheduling prevented it.

It’s a gutty series (literally), with well-developed characters that include a host of unfaithful spouses; one loses track of how many lovers the warriors and women have taken. Still, it apparently is how the Viking society functioned.

Ragnar Lothbrok was a real-life Dane who ruled in the 9th Century. His sons—Ivar the Boneless, Bjorn Ironside, Halfdan Ragnarsson, Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye, and Ubba—became legendary figures in themselves. Ragnar was married to Lagertha (three times), Aslaug, and Þóra Borgarhjǫrtr.

The second half of Season 4, it’s been announced, will debut later this year. According to the History Channel series creator Michael Hirst, Season 4 Part 2 will focus on why King Ragnar returnd, after his self-imposed banishment following his stinging defeat at the hands of brother Rollo and the Parisians of Frankia.

You will remember that the final episode of Season 4 Part 1 began with a 10-year leap forward in time. It’s then that we met his sons by Aslaug, grown up and apparently ready to prove their worth in the season(s) to come.

Spoiler: Ragnar and his former wife, Lagertha, will get back together again.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

An Evil Scheme

Earl Pickles is a wise old man. I have learned a lot from him about getting out of household chores.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Signage Fail

While shopping at Times Market McCully on King Street the other day, I noticed this sign -->

Two things wrong with it:

(1) They mention “Banana Apple.” WRONG! It’s "Apple Banana." I’ve never heard of (much less seen) an apple shaped or tasting like a banana. Rather “eww-y” to me.

(2) The sign is over small pumpkins, NOT bananas, NOT apples, and certainly, NOT banana apples or even apple bananas.

It’s enough to drive a person … well, bananas.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Phone Pix 71: Oooo, Pastries

Not going to talk too much with this bunch. The pictures say enough.

Cupcakes, Oct. 1, 2015, Safeway Beretania, Honolulu, HI

Sinful Delights, Dec. 10, 2015, La Belle Madeleine,
Paris Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, NV

More Sinful Delights, Dec. 10, 2015, La Belle Madeleine,
Paris Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, NV

Desserts, Jan. 7, 2016, Panya, Honolulu, HI

Yummy Breads, Jan. 7, 2016, Panya, Honolulu, HI
Is your sweet tooth buzzing yet?

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Where Hawaii Ranks 46: Recreation

July was National Park and Recreation Month in the United States, and WalletHub ranks Hawaii as the 10th best state for recreation. Well, ain't that a kick. No wonder we get family and friends coming here every summer.

Hawaii ranks #1 in:

  • Number of Bike Rental Facilities per Capita
  • Number of fishing spots per 100,000 residents
  • Number of hiking trails per 100,000 residents
  • Number of boat tours and water sports per 100,000 residents

Hawaii is also ranked:

  • 2nd in entertainment and recreational facilities
  • 3rd in parkland as a percentage of city area
  • 4th in most coffee shops per capita

Our food prices, however, are 2nd highest of the 100 largest cities measured, exceeded only by San Jose, CA.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Hilo Days: Taking a Fall

Watching my grandson go through the paces of his Taekwondo class brought back memories of my own martial arts experience. It was a long time ago, and I wrote about it in my now-defunct Hilo Days website.

I thought I'd share it with you here.

Hilo Days: Judo Lessons

A bunch of us kids took judo lessons in the fourth grade. Now there was an experience. Our judo teacher was a bonsan who had just arrived from Japan. He was a black belt and an accomplished judo expert – relatively young too. I would guess that he was about 30 or so.

That first judo class we attended gave us an opportunity to test out this guy, so we peppered him with questions about where he had been, what he had done, and how he liked Hilo. More than anything else, we liked his Japanese accent and the way he murdered the English language.

"I rike Hawaii," he told us. "I was pirot in Japan." A pirate?
Really? So did he fight during the war? "Yesu."
Did he help bomb Pearl Harbor? "Yesu."

Yesu? I reported this to my parents that evening and I remember Dad shaking his head and saying the sensei better not go around telling people that or he'd get into trouble. Personally, I think he was just trying to position himself and impress his young charges. He never mentioned Pearl Harbor after that.

We'd meet for judo class every Wednesday afternoon for an hour after Japanese school ended. And at every practice for the first three weeks, all he'd do was make us practice falling on our backs ("Justo fawru bahku – pa-TAH! Riku dat! Andu slappu yo hamuzu on gloundu!")

Actually, it was kind of fun. There were some older boys in the class – some toughies, in fact – and that was the only chance we got to push them to the ground. They loved it. In fact, everybody was going around practicing how to fall.

Eventually, we got around to the part where the sensei taught us how to do the basic leg sweeps and throws. "Yuzu hizu momentum. Yuzu hizu momentum." I remember going home with some pretty sore ankles and bruised hips week after week after being swept by an opponent. My only consolation was that everyone else's ankles were probably just as sore.

Then, we progressed to the part where you actually competed, and wrestled with your opponent once he (or you) hit the ground. That's where things got serious. That's where learning how to fall really paid off.

If you failed to counter a move and didn't "yuzu hizu momentum," and got thrown over your opponent's shoulder flat on your back, you could get the wind knocked out of you as he moved in quickly to apply a suffocating headlock. We were taught that – move in quick on our opponent as soon as he hit the ground, and pin him to submission. Real macho stuff. Unless you were the one on the ground – then it was not a manly situation to be in, and no fun at all.

"You clying!?!" "NO, SENSEI!" Hell no. If sensei caught you crying, you were chastised, crucified and mortified. We didn't cry. We were tough men. We were masters of the martial arts. Well, okay, so we were 10-year-old cry-babies.

I competed in a couple of tournaments. I always won my first two or three matches, but then would blow it to the older guys. Not so good, not quite the samurai I thought I was. Most of us didn't return for the second year – but it was fun while it lasted.

And it impressed the girls –  not that I cared about girls anyway.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Random Musings 32

What if a baby is born with WiFi already installed? Are the older kids in the family outdated, and must they be upgraded?

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Do framers bring their friends and families to art museums to show off their work?

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When a worm put on a fishing hook as bait drowns, is it the responsibility of the fisherman to give it mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and save its life?

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If child psychology books work so well, why don’t we let the children read them?

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I just realized why you can’t tell time on a circular thermometer … it has no small hand.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Phone Pix 70: Hospice Walls

The walls of St. Francis Hospice in the Nuuanu neighborhood of Honolulu offer a peaceful display of art appropriate to its patients and surroundings: Stained glass, oil paintings, watercolors, photographs, and even fabric designs.

Here's a modest display we discovered while visiting an aging dear one: