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Thursday, October 23, 2014         

Under the Sun Premium

I had been away from the islands for years, physically and in thought. As with many a young adult, new adventures had loosened birthplace ties, but through East Coast-West Coast sojourns, Hawaii still counted as home.

Opening credits for the vintage television series “Sex and the City” show an ad for the main character’s newspaper column stretched across the side of a bus.

A super-hardy variety of cockroaches has taken occupancy at the High Line, a New York park fashioned atop an abandoned elevated railway that once marred the Manhattan cityscape.

I like to keep my inboxes relatively clear. Otherwise, they become online storage rooms, kind of like the spare room in the house, where stuff steadily accumulates.

We were headed to a restaurant on the edge of the Tenderloin district that, though "cleaned up" somewhat in recent years, remains one of San Francisco's rougher neighborhoods.

Mrs. DeMello wasn’t in place that day. She usually stood to the side of her desk at the front of the classroom, a few feet from the door.

Twenty years is a long time to take to acknowledge that people who are gay have the same right to legally marry as people who are straight. With the state Senate's final approval of a bill Tuesday and with the governor's quick signature, Hawaii has said yes to equality and though passage of similar anti-discrimination bills had started and stuttered through two decades, the effort was easy.

There are lists that spark envy, such as the best-dressed people in Hollywood, the richest men and women in the world, and the most luxurious hotel suites — which most regular people could never afford, even without the sliding scale of resort fees.

I used to be one of those Halloween grinches, not in costume, but in attitude, a killjoy who saw doom and gloom in the excess of the holiday.

Post-midnight was the perfect time for a run to New York. The objective was breakfast at a coffee shop in the city, but the real reason was the desire for an exhilarating ride on the open road.

Here's how it went. You picked up the handset as your teenage circle gathered 'round. You dialed, literally, using the holes to rotate the wheel on the face of the chunky, black device. The numbers were chosen at random.

There are no real people on Capitol Hill. The men and women who sit in seats of power at our nation’s center look like the people whose best interests they’re suppose to watch over, but they aren’t.

With tourism as the be all and end all for Hawaii’s economic well-being, no wonder businesses, government agencies and industry investors constantly troll for ways to enhance the “visitor experience.”

As politicians in Washington draw lines in the plush carpets of Capitol Hill, belch illogical notions of nationwide economic collapse and crank theatrics on a near-empty Senate floor, they forget that the essential reason for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is to give millions of Americans a chance to buy medical insurance to fit their needs and financial circumstances.

A City Council committee tonight will again hear what people have to say about a housing development that has been a fierce point of contention on Oahu for more than a decade.

As often happens when some piece of our islands picks up some distinction, it becomes one of the “great secrets,” “a hidden gem that you won’t read about in the travel books!”

Leaders of the state House are counting heads this week, getting a preview of who among their members will or won't support a fair measure to allow gay people to marry in Hawaii.

The City Council is doing what any self-respecting elected official would do when people complain about paying a lot more for a basic service and about the mistakes made in billing for that service.

Three years back, the state Legislature considered a measure that would have wrested control of development in Kakaako from the Hawaii Community Development Authority and transferred it to the city and state.

As Flossie swirled temperamentally toward the islands Tuesday, nature dispatched another event to shake Hawaii.

When Honolulu was a less populated place, the general rule for behavior on the road was to assume that the driver you encountered in an irksome situation was somebody — a guy who worked at the shop your uncle ran, a woman whose daughter went to high school with you or a neighbor from down the street on the next block.

Common sense and decency appear to have reined in the exploitive calculations of Juror B37, her lawyer husband and her publisher as they announced they have scrubbed plans for a book about the trial of George Zimmerman whose fate she helped decide.

Then there are the local fruit lovers who count the days until the season delivers lychee, plums and the best mangoes money can't buy.

Lawrence Ellison, the Oracle founder whose 2012 compensation topped the list of well-paid CEOs in research conducted for The New York Times’ Sunday business pages, would be one of the few who might consider a $9 million condo affordable.


HRP Needs Your Kokua,” the message line read on the email the Hawaii Republican Party sent earlier this month.

That the fellow who leaked details of now-not-so-secret government surveillance programs lived in Waipahu and worked downtown brought heightened attention in the islands to the revelations.

When trade winds would desert us, my uncle used to declare, "Ho, da hot." Like many of us who have lived here for a long time, he's likely saying this more often these days.

Through most of the past decade, the Army insisted that the security of the nation would be at risk if it could not base 4,200 soldiers and 300 19-ton Stryker vehicles in the islands.

Earlier this month, the proprietors of Tsukenjo Lunch House folded battered wooden doors over the entrance and slid down a buss-up plank to cover the takeout window for good.

To be blunt, the apartment was a dump. The tilted floor was gritty, furry balls scurried from corners, dust filmed furniture surfaces.

Through the hotel window overlooking the Herengracht, one of Amsterdam's famous canals, early morning came alive with a daily rustle from residents sweeping and scrubbing steps and sidewalks while business owners swabbed storefront windows and scoured the pavement before opening doors to customers.

Few proposals evoke more visceral public resistance than a pay raise for elected and appointed government officials.

If it isn’t one thing, it’s another. Or so it seems with Hawaii’s indispensable tourism industry.

If all public leaders are to be censured, booted or otherwise punished for their racial prejudices, the halls of government would be sparsely populated.

Producers for Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s news conference this week could have been more mindful of the racket the props on his street stage would generate.

In seven paragraphs, a snowbird couple from a Pacific Northwest state touch lightly and politely on some of the troublesome situations that afflict Oahu.

Even if the Public Land Development Corp. goes the way of the dodo bird, its lingering byproduct will be further abrasion of people’s trust in political leaders to do the right thing.

An exuberance fills the tourism industry as a record number of visitors spent a record amount of money in Hawaii last year, making 2012 the best since 2006.

Scott Caan need not apologize. The “Hawaii Five-0” actor doesn’t have to enjoy living in Hawaii for the few months or so that he’s stationed here to film the TV series, even if the location is key to the show and the show key to his getting a paycheck.

Media critics knocked television coverage of the 57th Presidential Inauguration when broadcasters concurred with what Republican U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander noted as the “peaceful, orderly way” through which the nation transfers or reaffirms its leadership every four years.

Much of Aliiolani Elementary School has changed in the million years since I rambled from classroom to auditorium, library, cafeteria and points in between.

Even when sitting, Mufi Hannemann’s height is evident. His knees barely fit under the table he was sharing with his brother Nephi as the two men waited for their orders of vegetarian chili and other fare at Zippy’s in Kaimuki.

Everyone acknowledges that the plan to massively expand the Turtle Bay Resort to 625 hotel rooms and 750 residences will massively expand the number of minivans, SUVs, convertibles and all variety of motorized vehicles traveling to, from and through the region on its one and only narrow coastal road.

This morning, I measured water into the tank of a coffee maker, shook some grounds into the filter and slid the carafe on to the heating plate.

The man in the white hat weed-whacked, while his companion used a noisy blower to clear away clippings and leaves from the expanse of grass in a corner of Thomas Square.

Perhaps the peace-and-love spirit of Thanksgiving led two politicians important in the creation of the Public Land Development Corp. to temper their attitudes toward the people who disagree with them.

If current trends continue, the grand tradition of family and food and giving thanks may soon be a fast meal, hello, good-bye before the true expression of the holiday season rings in. Cha-ching!

Oh, for heaven’s sake. Just after an all-consuming election had ended, just as politicos had their heads between their knees, taking deep breaths after screen-sifting furiously through the debris of ballot boxes, when — ta-da — a sex scandal surfaces to divert national attention from serious matters at hand.

Sandy brought widespread destruction to the country at a time when political campaigns had grown as tumultuous as the rain, flooding, snow and wind the superstorm hurled across the Eastern Seaboard and points west.


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