Archive for July, 2007

News About the Nuts

Hamakua Plantation Macadamia Nuts This news actually came out a couple of months ago, but I wanted to be sure that nobody missed it! Researchers at Penn State did a controlled study and found out that macadamia nuts are good for you! Specifically, they are good for your heart.

Well, I think roses and macadamia nuts for Valentine’s Day would be a good thing. You can always get the chocolate covered ones if you must have chocolate. Now that Hershey has bought Maunaloa Macadamia Nuts those chocolate-covered guys should be better than ever!

According to the Honolulu Star Bulletin, this discovery was one that researchers at the University of Hawaii have known about for years. The “discovery” of the lowering of cholesterol levels comes as no surprise to local scientists.

I will make an editorial comment here. I tend to be picky about my macadamia nuts and I like them as close to fresh off the vine as possible. As far as the plain nuts are concerned (which generally means they are dry roasted and at least lightly salted), I prefer the Hamakua Plantation nuts you see pictured here. They taste fresh and never taste like they just came out of a tin can.
Pali Longs Drugs

Where can you get them? Longs Drugs carries them right next to the other two competing brands. Longs is my drug store of choice for just about everything other than groceries. I’ve spent many hours browsing through the isles at the craziest hours of the day and night! It’s hard to get out of that store without dropping $70+ every time. Those macadamia nuts are about $10 a bag so they certainly won’t help you get out of the store with a small tab!

Honolulu Remembers Elvis

The memory of a man who loved Hawaii, as much as Hawaii loved him, was made tangible at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu last Thursday.

Close Up of Elvis in Bronze

Full picture of Elvis statue There are few places across the country, and maybe even across the world, that wouldn’t boast a fascination and admiration for this pop-music icon. But, I don’t know how many of these places could say that the feeling was, and still is, mutual.

There are many who have memories of his visits and many who tell stories about the concert that this statue commemorates. These 1,100 pounds of bronze immortalize the “Aloha from Hawaii” concert that took place in 1973.

According to some news reports, the concert was broadcast via satellite feed to 40 countries and had an estimated 1.5 billion viewers.

Elvis Statue

So who’s behind this? TVLand.com, with the permission and participation of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc., enabled this life-sized look alike to make its home on the grounds of Blaisdell Center.

There are still women who remember getting close enough to touch him or people who still have an article from that concert. Even after more than thirty years, the parking lot at Blaisdell was full of several hundred fans, all waiting for the unveiling of our newest tourist attraction.

People still have his pictures and memorabilia decorating their homes. Even at my house there’s a picture on the wall, with a piece of paper with what portends to be an original Elvis Presley signature.

Honolulu is for the Birds!

I’m still looking for this crazy white bird. Manu-o-ku (which is a white fairy tern), now recognized as Honolulu’s official bird, is still hiding from my camera. The Star Bulletin’s photographer found one for their story released back in April. I guess I need to cross the street because they aren’t hanging out by Iolani Palace. Maybe I will find one eventually.

Until then, I found these guys! I had to do some searching for what they’re called because they are the cutest darn things. The official title for these birds is Grey Java Sparrow.

Grey Java Sparrow Adults

They are also sometimes referred to as the Java Rice Bird, Java Temple Bird or Paddy Bird. Paddy bird refers to rice paddies. They like rice… uh, so do the rest of us in Hawaii! You can read more about them here. This is what they sound like. They look like a cross between a parakeet and a finch, but, their color is different from both of these other birds.

Group of baby Java Sparrows

These are their babies learning how to forage in the grass for food. They haven’t developed much color yet except for their telltale pink-orange beaks. They’re so tiny they disappear in the grass in some spots. Their are two adults with each gang of little ones and those are, presumably, their parents. Judging by the size of this little troop, their nest must have escaped any pesky over-sized geckos!

Grey Java Sparrow

They look almost fake or like they’re made of plastic. They let me get pretty close but they had to give me that side glance to be sure I wasn’t getting too close.

Pair of baby grey java sparrows

They are cute as heck! These tiny finch-like babies sit in pairs on trees with only wispy branches. There are four or five sets at a time snuggled in pairs on the same branch but spaced about a foot apart. No, I’m not a bird watcher. I just want to get a picture of my official city bird. But, in the meantime, I couldn’t resist these cuties.

Dolphins Take Over at Sea Life Park!

Sign at entrance to Sea Life ParkSea Life Park is one of Hawaii’s star visitor attractions. Everyone loves the wildlife from the sea! It had been years since the last time I was there. As much as I hate to admit it, I have to say that when we visited the Park about a year ago, I left the Park just a little disappointed.

The shows were very much geared to the visiting tourists, which is to be expected, but even more so to the little kids. Are those things important? Yes, of course they are! But the bulk of the crowd, while tourists, were at an age where a little more educational brain stimulation could have been thrown in and was definitely in order!

Sea Life Park has changed things a bit since then and they have added things to the park that were never there before. These additions may be because they were purchased not too long ago by Dolphin Discovery, an organization that has six different ocean parks across the country, one of which is now Sea Life Park.

NOTE: Before I continue I need to point out that the trainers will NEVER reprimand or punish these animals in any way. These are wild animals and they are given all of the respect that they are due. So, when a trick doesn’t work, you try it again. If the show fails, you move on and try to work on it for the next time.

Dolphin dances across the water

Continuing on, out of all the marine animals I think dolphins are the biggest crowd pleasers. They can dance across the pool for us…

Three dolphins showing off

…they can leap into the air to please an audience (or just because they want some free fish for doing, on cue, what comes naturally). I swear, Sea Life Park has the best back drop for photo taking!

Dolphin foot push, I like toss better

They can also toss you across the pool if you ask them to!

But, you know, the best pictures and the funniest videos are taken when kids or pets are misbehaving. When the atmosphere is charged with excitement and expectation, these charming creatures catch the excitement bug too! After all, it’s THEIR show! They ARE the show! Well, they took over and stole the show from the trainers one day while we were there on a return visit.

Kids are always the most naughty when they’re together and want to play. Apparently the dolphins are the same way! By being rascals and flipping a fin or two at the trainers they decided to not let themselves be separated from the next group of performers but to join them instead! While the trainers kept trying to separate them, the show host / announcer found himself in the position of educating the crowd and even taking questions to stall for time.

Five dolphins showing off

Great! So everybody gets into the act. Crowd involvement and spectator engagement! What a novel idea! I think it works better to have these attention seekers shock the crowd while having a conversation with the audience instead of just talking at them. These rascals were obeying the commands to get their fish, they just didn’t want to be separated — no way, no how! Not one, not two and not even three — five of these aquatic brats in the air at once!

After the show was over I couldn’t wait to talk to the young trainers (who were about to be reprimanded) and tell them that it was the best show I had seen and to let them know that, “the next time the dolphins decide to misbehave, I’m there!” I also thanked them for sharing some knowledge with us this time and we let them how much better it was this time than it had been a year or so before.

Their supervisor person (or possibly their professor since the trainers may have been graduate students in oceanography or something) then said to them, “See, after all the work you’ve been doing…” Ahem.

Kekaimalu performing for the crowd

Aside from all that, there is the wolphin, Kekaimalu. She is half bottle nose dolphin and half false killer whale and she pulls characteristics from both sides. Her weight is in between that of a bottle nose and a false killer whale, her color is a nice charcoal-gray combination of the dolphin’s gray and the false killer whale’s black. Even Kekaimalu’s tooth count is in the middle. Bottle nose dolphins have 88 teeth while false killer whales have 44; Kekaimalu has 66 teeth! Even her facial features are a clear combination of the bottle nose of the dolphin and the rounder, less-protruding profile of the false killer whale. Kekaimalu is also, if I’m not mistaken, the middle culprit in our photo of five rascals above. She may have been the ring leader for all I know!

Wolphin and parents, from Wikipedia

Kekaimalu was not supposed to be born. The photo above was “borrowed” from Wikipedia and shows Kekaimalu as a youngster with her parents. She is also not supposed to be able to reproduce. Surprise! Kekaimalu has had three babies. Only one is still living but that surviving daughter and Kekaimalu both live at Sea Life Park and are the only wolphins in captivity. Kekaimalu is 21 years old this year. Hopefully she will live the normal lifespan of the bottle nose which is between 40 and 50 years.

I found an interesting tidbit of information while I was doing a little research about these guys. Even though dolphins are surrounded by water the salt-water environment of the ocean is more like a desert for them. They can’t drink that salt water because their bodies would use even more water trying to desalinate what they drink. Their water comes from the foods they eat and from the internal process of metabolizing fat. So, even though Kekaimalu is now 21 and can now drink legally, it would only dehydrate her if she tried.

There are several more animal attractions at Sea Life Park but the dolphins did so well that day that they deserve all the glory in this post. We will talk about Sea Life Park and its other residents again soon, I promise! Thank you, Sea Life Park, for the improvements and for a great show, and thank you, Kekaimalu and the gang, for all of these Kodak moments!

Here’s a Carnival to Keep You Spinning!

Circus topThe Carnival of Cities is being hosted at Buenos Aires this week. It’s kind of nice to have this particular event every week. We all get to travel without the expense and we get to hear from real people who live there are have been there and have a story to tell or something to share.

Anyway, I get to re-introduce this concept of the Carnival of Cities all over again for all of those people who have not seen one before. That’s always a good thing! For the sake of consistency, we’ll go along in the same order as this week’s host.

Our first stop at the Carnival this week is Brazil! Tony Galvez shares very colorful pictures of the Tanabata Matsuri festival coloring up the streets of Sao Paulo. Tony shares with us that this is an event that happens every July and has been going on in this Brazilian city since 1979. We’re so used to this here in Honolulu but I guess it would be unusual in Brazil. Well, not anymore!

We move on to our host’s part of the world where Dalila tells us the 7 things to do when visiting Palermo Viejo. She also tells us not to get mixed up since most of the streets have Latin American names. The three main streets: El Salvador, Honduras and Costa Rica.  Yeah, I guess that could get confusing.

Next we get some advice from Steve Madsen on what to do in London, England. You can get some great travel tips from this blog too!

This is not the first time that we’ve visited the River Ribble in Preston, England. This one is a river worth saving and at Save the Ribble, the Riversider asks if the Preston Vision Board is Split Over the River Barrage.

Visiting Cyprus… that sounds so exotic doesn’t it? Described as an island nation in the Mediterranean Sea, Cyprus shares something similar to us. Okay, they have one large island and we have 8 small ones, but they’re surrounded by water too! Sue shares an evening at Larnaka Beach with us over at her cypruslife blog.

What’s a cyber trip around the world without a stop in Switzerland? Our blogger at This non-American Life tells us all about a Zuri Fascht festival there. It didn’t sound like Jul was altogether happy with the event but the post does indicate that most of the other people at the festival enjoyed themselves.

This is way cool! We are fortunate to hear from someone in the Middle East! We’ve got to send a little aloha from here to the city of Dubai where Grace tries very hard to assure us that all is safe.  I kind of have to agree with her! Thanks, Grace, for sharing this with us! It’s nice to know that there’s peace somewhere among the turbulence!

Jon Rochetti at the DC Traveler found Paris! Uh, he found it in Virginia. Jon tells us all about this little town and the charming Ashby Inn & Restaurant. You’ve gotta love a place that has no problem painting its walls some other color rather than boring old white! I love the warmth of those red walls! A picture says a thousand words. When in Paris (Virginia), make sure you stay at that Inn… the food sounds pretty darn good too. Nice job, Jon!

Surprise, surprise! Hawaii has got two posts in the Carnival this week! At An Island Life, Kailani tells us about her warm family weekend on The Valley Island of Maui. I like the name, Baby Bug! This is how Kailani refers to her youngest little one. Too cute! Close to the beach and still close to air conditioning — life is good! Sounds wonderful, Kailani!

Hopping over one island, Evelyn (me) at Homespun Honolulu shares a post for the biker enthusiasts as Local Pride of the Island puts on its first annual bike show. Lots of motorcycles, lots of vendors, and one very hot sun! Bikes were entered in different classes for judging — a post with the names of the winners to follow!

Then we get to hear from Cherie about the Tango Magic in Denver, Colorado as we journey back across the Pacific and relive an interesting afternoon at the “Tango Temple” with the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop. I think the name, tangocherie sounds like a cool drink. Hey, we just got to Denver after being in the hot Hawaiian sun! I just like that name.

Are you guys dizzy yet?

Well, we get to sit for just a bit for a softball tournament (of sorts) at The San Diego Beat. Carole gives all the in’s and out’s of how San Diego is Going Over-the-Line and then she tells us how to get there, where to be for what we want to do and she even provides videos showing just what it’s all about! I’m glad she included those YouTube videos!  Thanks, Carole!

Of course after watching all of that, you’re probably more tired now than dizzy!

Let’s move on to Jamestown! You guys do realize that we’re back in Virginia again, right? That’s okay because we’re looking at things from a historic perspective this time. Sheila from Family Travel, See the World with Your Kids, shares a nice little story about Who’s on First in Jamestown? The two things I liked about this post were Sheila’s shared fascination with the archeological excavations that continue to go on there, and her reference to the “real story” of Pocahontas, both with links if you want to dig for further information. Thank you, Sheila! I enjoyed this.

Wait, we’re not done with the west coast of America yet. Did you guys know that there is a memorial to fishermen in Seattle? Check out the Fishermen’s Terminal that Mary Jo from the Seattle Traveler chose to share with us this week. According to Mary Jo, the statue is made out of bronze and stone and commemorates the fisher-people (fishermen and fisherwomen) that have been lost at sea. There’s a picture, and a link! Check it out!

Don’t get too comfortable just yet. We’ve got one more long jump across the country to New York where we get to visit Meredith Matthew’s Lemonade Stand. We meet up with Meredith to Take a Virtual Walk in New York City this Afternoon!

Whew! That’s the Carnival for this week but there’s more to come next Monday. It should be interesting to see what the Carnival will bring and where it will take us next week!

What’s Your Convenience Store?

I wonder if the rest of the world is as dependent on 7-11 as we are. When 7-11 first hit town, many moons ago, people talked about the convenience and how you could get emergency supplies even after the regular stores were closed for the evening. But you paid for that convenience. It was not wise to go there when the other stores were open because everything was way more expensive at 7-11. Now it doesn’t matter. The stores are now open all night too and the prices are comparable.

7-11 Store

The stores figured out that all they needed to do to compete was to stay open all night. Did it work? Maybe. Do I go to the grocery store at 2:00 am? Sometimes. But 7-11 still has something they don’t — easy in and out service and location, location, location! I might even go so far as to say that 7-11 changed the way we live and the hours that we keep. They do lock down the sale of liquor at some point in the evening; the 24-hour grocers do too. They have easy-access, hot food all night. Why am I talking about 7-11? Because they’re everywhere?

In Honolulu you can’t go more than a mile or two without running into one. Outside of Honolulu proper you might have to go a little further but each little town has at least one… maybe two. For me there’ are two — less than two blocks away from each other. Are they both busy? Yes! Are they both crowded? Yes! Location, location, location. We have adopted them and some of us have chosen favorites. The personality of a store is important to some of us. I know I have my favorites.

This is Eddie This is Eddie. Eddie is homeless but he has his favorite places too. About a year ago my car was broken into at my 7-11 (I’m still waiting to catch someone in the act and nail ’em!) and Eddie wasn’t there yet. He comes in the evening usually and hopes for a Good Samaritan to give him a couple of bucks for something to eat. When I walked out of the store and saw the glass on the ground, Eddie showed up and pushed the huge chunk of glass, in spite of my protests, off my window and onto the ground.

After calling the police and calling my husband I whipped around and looked at Eddie and hollered, “Where were you?!?” He just put his head down. He has kept an eye on my car ever since. My husband always gave him a couple of bucks and now I do too! He’s a gentle person and always says, “God bless you.” The difference between Eddie and most of the other people that throw that phrase around is that he means it and you can hear the sincerity in his voice. It’s more money in 7-11’s pocket anyway because he goes in and gets something to eat. No, I have never seen him with liquor.

This same 7-11 is also the place that someone stole a car not realizing that they took someone’s baby with them. What does this say about my 7-11? That they need a security guard maybe? Pay Eddie! He needs a job! Now there’s an idea!

7-11 has been acclimated to our local culture so they carry the products that suit us best. That was a good business decision. The Spam musubi is pretty good. I like the Spam katsu musubi. I haven’t eaten it for a while but I know it was good a while back. They’re even selling manapua now. Their manapua, I have to admit, is not representative of the real thing. It’s edible but not quite right — the dough is too fluffy for manapua. If you like manapua, the first time you buy theirs might be the last. So, buy a hot dog instead — that’s always a sure thing.

I’m telling you, they have become a part of the way we live. Just recently a 7-11 opened up in Niu Valley. Suddenly this little shopping center that used to be so dead has come to life! See, they’re good for the businesses around them too! That’s a new favorite of mine too — they carry my soda and they are rarely out of it. I only asked once and they have kept it in stock ever since.

7-11 Nuuanu

Thank you, 7-11. I have no idea what made me talk about you. I guess I must like you a little. Thinking about Eddie is what made me actually do this. He needs a dentist to stop the pain in his teeth. You need a security guard at the upper Nuuanu 7-11. We should clean him up and put him in uniform!

State of Hawaii Adopts “Safe Haven” Law

Signing Bill into LawNo thanks to Governor Lingle. While Linda Lingle saw fit to veto 27 of the Bills that were approved and submitted for her rubber stamp, the Hawaii Legislature in turn overrode 11 of those vetoes. The Governor’s veto of HB 1830, the Abandoned Children; Safe Haven; Immunity from Prosecution Bill was one of the Legislature’s overrides. Hooray!

We touched on this briefly last month. I really thought Lingle would change her mind and not veto this Bill. I guess I was wrong… obviously. The amendments added to the Bill included an answer to the reason Lingle vetoed it the last time. So, I don’t get it. What’s the excuse this time?

The State of Hawaii added a little bit of a twist to the law. The parent relinquishing their parental rights needs to provide the agency receiving the child with the child’s family medical history and any known familial health issues. I think, in addition to that, they should confirm the child’s Hawaiian bloodline, if any. There are many programs that benefit those of Hawaiian ancestry and Kau Inoa is looking to expand on that. I think this kind of information will be important for the child to have later in life.

I know that a lot of people disagree with me and with this legislation. I know there are people who feel that suddenly everyone is going to abandon their babies all over town. I think that is just as ridiculous as the denial that we have an issue with infant abuse and mortality rates. For the most part, the people of Hawaii love their keiki and this law will never impact them. But for those exceptional cases of careless parents, perhaps the Safe Haven law will prevent things like this from happening right under our noses.

Mahalo to Kids and Cars.org for the simple yet appropriate illustration.

Local Pride of the Island

1st Annual Bike Show

Kapiolani Community College was the location for this event brought to you by Ollie Boy Productions. This is how my mother and I spent our first Sunday in July — we went to see what this was all about. It was something different and something… well, bloggable. I do have to admit that after just coming from church it was a little bit of a culture shock. It was slightly intimidating, I’ll admit that too. It only took a while to figure out that the camera was a lot more intimidating to everyone else!

Putting all of that aside, you’ve got to be taken by the artistry of some of the paint jobs on the vehicles that were present for this event. This blue bike, below, used to be black. It was painted a lovely shade of candy blue with flames and marbled accents. This bike was on display as a demo for the paint job and art work done by Cycledelic. This vendor, sponsor, participant, whatever, is located in Mapunapuna and reachable at 808-741-8989.

Blue bike with metal saddle bags

It was a beautiful afternoon, the sun was shining and the tradewinds were ever-present. However, the trades only worked if you were in the shade. The sun was scorching hot! We started on a little trek around the field where the bikes, vendors and sponsors were all set up. Read the rest of this entry »

Let’s Go Fishing!

I always thought of the 4th of July as being a day for baseball and barbecues, but for the first time in a long time we decided to go fishing. My husband’s family hasn’t done this for a while and it’s been even longer for us.

The weather people and the surfers were expecting a swell on Wednesday and the surfers were waiting. But, the surf didn’t materialize when and where it was expected. The surfers weren’t happy. But we were! Nice, flat water is great for reef fishing!

Scenic view looking towards Yokohama

We were a mile or two from Yokohama where the under-toe can be very nasty; as long as you’re not swimming in it you’re fine. That didn’t sound good. You would still be fine if you’re swimming in it… you just need to be a strong swimmer. Of course there’s always those reef sharks.

Read the rest of this entry »

Some Interesting Updates Worth Reading

Charity War Between the Financial Institutions?

Let’s start with the story that is a little less startling, not at all nerve racking and probably pure coincidence and a little amusing. In the recent story about Bank of Hawaii putting together a charity walk for the Institute for Human Services, I said how comical it would be if the banks got into a charity war.

I said that, “Bank of Hawaii has thrown down the gauntlet so let’s see if First Hawaiian Bank and/or Central Pacific Bank pick it up! … shall I send this link to their corporate offices? I would love to start this war!”

That was a tongue-in-cheek comment and I swear I didn’t send the link to any of them. Honest! I’m not crossing my fingers either!

Check this out! Not only did Central Pacific Bank decide to give away 100 computers but also they’re giving them away to, guess whom? They are gifting them to the Institute for Human Services! What are the odds? Okay, it has got to be a coincidence but you have to admit that it’s a little weird.

Moving on…

Did Extreme Makeover Make an Extreme Error?

Another topical post recently was the one about the Honolulu family who was chosen for an Extreme Makeover. We wrote about this and talked about it last month. But, the story about the Akana family that appeared in today’s newspaper is a little unnerving and a little difficult to just shrug off.

Reading this story in the Honolulu Advertiser left many people rattled this afternoon. I am shaken by it and cannot seem to figure out where to take a stand on this. Shame on ABC for embarrassing us this way.

I, for one, will have a hard time seeing the show the same way ever again. I will always be left wondering. In addition to the challenges made to Extreme Makeover’s credibility, there are other things that come to mind, like the recent, unrelated interview with a man living in one of the homeless shelters on the Leeward side of the island; a man who was there as a volunteer helping to build this project. How is this news going to impact people like him and the other volunteers?

I don’t know, guys. You read it and you decide. You can read the comments left by other locals after reading the story too. This is so sad. It was such a happy thing and then…

You guys wanna talk about it? Please leave comments and share your reactions. It doesn’t matter which way you see it, I just want to know what you’re thinking. Please share! Are we overreacting? Should we be shook up? Tell us what you think!