Sunday, October 31, 2010


If I wasn't here today, I'd be holding the hands of my grandchildren, trick-or-treating. And a tough decision it is...but I'm here. 

This is a photo of the southwest coast of Oahu, looking north from where I snorkeled this morning. You'll notice a yellow bar. There is a smokestack to the right of the bar. The power plant generates electricity for this side of the Island. As a by-product of the process of energy generation, the plant generates heat, and is cooled by the ocean. Heated water is pumped about 100 meters out to sea (yellow bar area) and the heated water draws fish -- and because it draws fish, it also draws predators. The principal predators who hunt this area are:

Spinner Dolphins!  Last year, Heather and I snorkeled with the dolphins further out to sea. However, they come in near the power plant to feed (in the hundreds) early in the morning and I'll be there tomorrow morning to flail around in the water with them while they have their breakfast.

Green Turtles are often guests at the same place since there is a lot of growth in the water due to the unusually high temperature in this area. I hoped to find some sea turtles in the area where I snorkeled today. Visibility was good, but no turtles.

I'm trying to get my salt water fix in because later in the week, they are expecting high waves from an Arctic storm that is kicking things up a thousand miles north of here. The high waves and surge kick up sand and the water won't be quite as clear.

Option 2 is to drive (instead of walk to) a more sheltered area called Shark's Cove, which is known for it's population of common reef White Tip Sharks. The White Tip Sharks are not particularly large or aggressive and the water at the cove is not all that deep. There are quite a few octopus here and the sharks eat them when they can.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Dispatch from Paradise

I'm not doing a heck of a lot. Today I went snorkeling out past the danger warning buoy where the good snorkeling and the fish are. The rip current isn't much of a problem if you're prudent, have really powerful fins and a bit of experience.

I walked over to the marina where the Black Pearl is moored and spoke to some Disney people who are outfitting her for sea. They're getting ready to film the next Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Yesterday is the first day I saw people working on the ship/prop. 

It's noon and I came back to the room for lunch - a chicken salad sandwich (don't get too excited, it's the chicken salad pre-made stuff they sell at Costco) and wheat thins. I haven't had the sandwich yet. And I'll continue reading Surface Detail  by Iain Banks (highly recommended). Maybe I'll go down and read by the pool. I haven't decided yet.

It's a Saturday and I don't want to go head-to-head with people who are going somewhere or who are actually 'doing something'. So snorkeling, loafing, a sandwich, the pool and a book are more less the extent of my ambitions.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Spooky Yo-Ho/Yo-Ho

The Legend of the Black Pearl finds its genesis not on the Spanish Main, but in Disney studios -- but it's still spooky! The Curse of the Black Pearl seems to be a great place to begin my Halloween blog. This was motivated when I looked out of the elevator window at the hotel where I'm staying and this is what I saw:

The Black Pearl be swingin at anchor, me hearties. 

The figurehead be a skeleton drinking a drought of
rum - toasting the devil, me thinks!

Here be a picture of her aft. 

(I took the photos in the morning in unfavorable light)

So the ghost ship is here -- near me -- at Halloween. And at night when the moon is full, bats can be seen flying from the hold, in search of human blood. In the distance I can hear the song echo from the jungle:

Yo Ho, Yo Ho, a pirate's life for me
We pillage, we plunder we rifle and loot
Drink up me hearties, yo ho
We kidnap and ravage and don't give a hoot
Drink up me hearties, yo ho
Yo Ho, Yo Ho, a pirate's life for me
We extort, we pilfer we filch and sack
Drink up me hearties, yo ho
Maraud and embezzle and even high-jack
Drink up me hearties yo ho
Yo Ho, Yo Ho, a pirate's life for me
We kindle and char inflame and ignite
Drink up me hearties, yo ho
We burn up the city we're really a fright
Drink up me hearties, yo ho
We're rascals, scoundrels villains, and knaves
Drink up me hearties yo ho
We're devils and black sheep - really bad eggs
Drink up me hearties yo ho
Yo Ho, Yo Ho, a pirate's life for me
We're beggars and blighters and ne'er do-well cads
Drink up me hearties, yo ho
Aye, but we're loved by our mommies and dads
Drink up me hearties, yo ho

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Protecting Trick-or-Treaters

It's a bird?  (no)

It's a plane? (no)

It's a cruise missile, isn't it? (no)

It's Super Boy (yes, the boy of steel), able to change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel in his bare hands, leap a small building with a single bound, etc.

Pony Tails

Alyssa (my granddaughter) wearing her pony tails!

She looks just like her mother and her grandmother
...and every bit as full of mischief.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

On the Road-Big Island

Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park:

A lava flow crossed the road in 1979, closing the road and burying the sign, encasing it in stone forever. This photo was taken down on the coast.

Kilauea caldera -- In essence, the drive you take over about twenty-five miles (or so) is taken over an active volcano and series of calderas. There is a lava tube system that empties out into the ocean.

At the opening of the Thurston Lava Tube (Nahuku). It feels much like you're going to enter a Disney-style ride.  The descent through the rain forrest (where it was raining -- as one might expect) into the black lava tunnel is slightly surreal, but fun.

I had high hopes of some off-road driving in a rented Jeep -- but I found that the road had been PAVED. I felt sooo betrayed! The Saddle Road used to be an unimproved road. No longer... :^(

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Today I took a ride on the Hawaii Railway (Oahu), managed by the Hawaii Railway Historical Society, along the old O. R. & L. Co. track that had been used to haul sugar cane to the processing plant. Today it's a 90 minute ride from Ewa to Kahe Point. The train runs on Sundays at 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm.

Diesel locomotive and flatcar.

We passed Ko Olina where we are staying.

The price of this ride through Hawaii's history is $10.

The Potato: Friend or Foe?

The Potato - an enemy of the State?

When I heard that the United States Government was working to BAN people receiving government assistance and schools from buying potatoes, I took a step back. Could this be true? Could Big Brother be that -- intrusive? It turns out that it's true and the government is taking steps to eliminate potatoes from the diets of welfare recipients and children who eat school lunch. Since when did the potato become our enemy? Will potatoes eventually be banned from consumption in the US?

The Institute of Medicine, the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences, recommended that the U.S. Department of Agriculture stop participants of the federal Women, Infants and Children program, known as WIC, from buying potatoes with federal dollars. The institute also called for the USDA-backed school lunch program to limit use of potatoes. This is a program that Barack Hussein and Michelle Obama are pushing hard to see implemented. I wonder if any of it has to do with the fact that the potato producing states have not voted for him or his cronies? The State of Idaho would be CRUSHED economically by this decision.

Under an interim rule, the USDA agreed to bar WIC participants from buying potatoes with their federal dollars. Potatoes are the only vegetable not allowed. Next year, the agency will roll out a final rule on the WIC program, which last year served 9.3 million children and pregnant and breast-feeding women considered at risk for malnutrition.

Associated Press (LINK)
GLEED, Wash. - Potato growers are fighting back against efforts to ban or limit potatoes in federal child nutrition programs, arguing the tuber is loaded with potassium and vitamin C and shouldn't be considered junk food.

One Washington man is so exasperated by the proposals that he's in the midst of a 60-day, all potato diet to demonstrate that potatoes are nutritious.

"We're just really concerned that this is a misconception to the public that potatoes aren't healthy," said Chris Voigt, head of the Washington Potato Commission. "The potato isn't the scourge of the earth. It's nutrition."

The USDA is expected to release changes to the federal school lunch program by the end of the year. The program subsidizes lunch and breakfast for nearly 32 million needy kids in most public schools and many private ones, and those schools must follow guidelines on what they serve.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Outside the Tourist Zone

I'm currently vacationing in Hawaii, staying in a five-star resort. Yes, one may say that I'm a rich mainlander fat-cat living it up. That's clearly the view of many Hawiians who live in grinding poverty. Why? They live in "paradise".

Poverty has a cure but it can't be found in psychologically devastating social programs that promote victimhood and encourage generation after generation of the poor to think of themselves as helpless and unable to advance because of the oppression of the "rich"; or because of racism or sexism etc. etc. Hawiians have been wards of the State for many years and it has worked against those people.

Anyone who spends any time watching the popular series, Dog, the Bounty Hunter, is treated to scenes of the Hawaii that most tourists never see. Duane "Dog" Chapman and his band of bounty hunters scour Hawiian ghettos in search of criminals on the run from the law. The truth is that more of Hawaii fits into this category when it comes to Native Hawiians, than people are comfortable talking about.

Developing more and more "compassionate" and condescending social programs that artificially encourage "self-esteem" or promote helplessness and dependence is not the solution to poverty in Hawaii and elsewhere. The American "war on poverty" has been has been a quagmire and a waste of national treasure in both human lives and money. These government programs continue to truly victimize each new generation of the poor; especially native Hawiians who compensate for this ongoing humiliation through the "glorification of their devalued status".

The war on poverty maintains: "material deprivation causes poverty" and refuses to look at the societal consequences of devaluing marriage and family; demonizing the wealthy and the entire work ethic; and glorifying dysfunction and victimhood, is doomed to fail generation after generation. Look at the deplorable behavior and caustic rhetoric directed against notable and successful black thinkers, for example; especially those who disagree with the political left. What you will see and hear is that, instead of 'curing' poverty, we have created an entire subculture that devalues education; and extols attitude, violence, and hypersexualized misogyny. Anyone who sucessfully escapes the pit of poverty and the left's propaganda and begins to think for themselves outside the leftist/progressive box automatically become gender or race "traitors". Hawaii is the State that created and formed Barack Hussein Obama, a utopian socialist, whose heroes growing up were the people whose policies oppressed native Hawiians by making them wards of the state.

There is a solution that the political left refuses to consider. Policies on the Islands need to encourage personal responsibility that gives people a tangible stake in their own lives. Massive hand-outs only serve to suborn achievement and destroy the human spirit.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Where are my Food Stamps?

House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA):

At a press conference in her home town of San Francisco, Pelosi explained that the program’s multiplier effect –the amount of money generated in the local economy as the result of the subsidy– far exceeds the nearly $60 billion spent this year by the federal government and is a sure-fire way to stimulate the economy.  “It is the biggest bang for the buck when you do food stamps and unemployment insurance. The biggest bang for the buck.” 

Am I the only one in America who isn't on the dole, receiving food stamps (Federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)? The way it works now, you don't get the script (sort of like money) anymore. It' an ATM card. And you can use it to buy goods and services at strip clubs and casinos according to CNN (LINK HERE).

I feel just a bit guilty that I haven't been supporting gambling or "adult entertainment" -- all in the name of stimulating -- the economy. Right, that's what I'd be stimulating! According to CNN, "In the last six months, the debit cards withdrew more than $1.8 million of taxpayer cash on casino floors (in California)."
Can you find it in your heart to forgive me for slacking in my duty to get the US economy jump started?

Toughing out a vacation!

I'm not there yet, but Kona calls to me... and don't worry, since I am not a virgin, I won't be throwing myself into the volcano to appease its anger. I will leave that sort of thing to others, more worthy to do on behalf of all residents and tourists.

We're not spending a lot of time on The Big Island (just three days) and other than one brief activity when I was in the US Navy, I have never been there before. That is a condition soon to be set right.

The other two weeks will be spent on the beach, isolated from the human stain of Honolulu, on Oahu. But don't weep for me, dear blog readers, as I may post once or twice from paradise (or maybe not, who knows).

Some of you will think me crazy for bringing books along to read, but I like to do this, so I'm going to bring them and read them.

  • Our Kind of Traitor, by John le Carre
  • Fall of Giants, by Ken Follett
  • Surface Detail, by Iain M. Banks
It's possible that I will chop through the 2,000 or so pages of reading during the vacation and if that happens, I will make pilgrimage to a local book store - or maybe a used book store in down town Honolulu - for more reading fare. 

There are things that must be done on vacation such as snorkeling, swimming with dolphins, driving to the top of the volcano (without jumping in), etc. but the most important part of any vacation is what you don't do.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Future Farmer?

As some of you know, I have been privately charting my grandson, Griffin's career. He has a choice between being a Naval Aviator or a Special Warfare Operator (SEAL). I won't put him down for either option. He can decide for himself between the two career choices.

All these good intentions for his future may have turned with his introduction to the Pumpkin Patch in preparation for candy harvesting at Halloween. (He will go dressed as Superman) He seemed to enjoy the farm - a lot.

Of all the activities available, Griffin preferred to drive the John Deere tractor. Well, he didn't actually drive it, he sat on it and pretended to drive it. When my daughter, Amanda tried to take him off the tractor so another child could have the opportunity, Griffin resisted! While I wouldn't feel bad if he decided to be a farmer, I'm searching for a jet cockpit to drop him into and deprogram him from the whole tractor experience... 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Obama Humor

America needs Obama-care like Nancy Pelosi needs a Halloween mask. 
-- Jay Leno

Q: Have you heard about McDonald's' new Obama Value Meal?
A: Order anything you like and the guy behind you has to pay for it. 
-- Conan O'Brien

Q: What does Barack Obama call lunch with a convicted felon?
A: A fund raiser.
-- Jay Leno

Q: What's the difference between Obama's cabinet and a penitentiary?
A: One is filled with tax evaders, blackmailers, and threats to society. The other is for housing prisoners. 
-- David Letterman

Q: If Nancy Pelosi and Obama were on a boat in the middle of the ocean and it started to sink, who would be saved?
A: America ! 
-- Jimmy Fallon

Q: What's the difference between Obama and his dog, Bo?
A: Bo has papers. 
-- Jimmy Kimmel

Q: What was the most positive result of the "Cash for Clunkers" program?
A: It took 95% of the Obama bumper stickers off the road. 
--David Letterman

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Monday, October 4, 2010

In Heavy Custody

My grandson does his time in solitary confinement.

mama tried...

Won't somebody bake him a cake with a file in it?

He didn't shoot a man in Reno, but he ended up behind bars all the same...

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Thoughts on Political Freedom

A friend of mine who spends a great deal of his time in old China has commented to me that the Chinese people seem to have a gap in their social experience. I explained that something happens when the mind is chained in a multi-generational sense. Children propagandized by dogmatic tyrants have had not only their capacity to think for themselves abrogated; they have had their capacity to make moral choices taken from them. Given fifty or sixty years, it creates a generation of people who need to re-learn morality and the quality of mercy.

The very foundation of capitalism is human freedom in its most classical, liberal tradition. And that frightens American progressives to their very core. Try to explain it and they will deny it with vitriol. Capitalism's incredible production of wealth is the economic side-effect that occurs when political freedom is present. It has been argued, and I agree, that both economic and political freedom are absolute prerequisites for moral behavior.

The moral case for capitalism is not taught in our schools, nor is it argued much in our culture. In fact it has been more or less universally accepted by the intellectual elites that systems such as communism and socialism are "morally superior" to capitalism, hence more "socially just", even though in practice such systems have led to the death and enslavement of millions, and to those unlucky enough not to die from them, they have led to the most horrible shrinking and wasting of the human soul.

The truth is that neither socialism nor communism nor any kind of religious fanaticism is compatible with morality at all. If all of one's actions are coerced by the state or religion, or both; if human activity is indoctrinated, legislated, regulated and ordained down to the last minute detail--particularly to the degree we see in other countries of the world --then how can it possibly be argued that one's actions are moral? 

Human behavior under such systems is not voluntarily chosen, but actively coerced. Morality has to be a matter of choice, not mandate. One cannot hold a person responsible for actions that are coerced or forced from him. Morality can only exist when freedom of action exists; and thus moral actions in any field of human endeavor require freedom.

Conduct may only be thought of as moral or immoral when it is freely chosen by the individual. It is only then that the moral significance of the action can be assessed. It is only when we are free to act that we can exercise moral judgement.

Which brings us to a capitalist political/economic system. Only in a free economic system within a free political system is it even possible to be moral, since benevolence toward others, compassion, charity, and generosity cannot exist without freedom. Benevolence, generosity, charity, and compassion that are mandated by the state, or by a religion (on pain of death or other consequence); or by any regulations on behavior; or by force--are meaningless insofar as individual morality is concerned.

The American left's utopian agenda has forgotten that human ambition and the drive to freedom is not as easily crushed or eradicated--as the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century discovered; and as the ones of the 21st will soon realize. 

The human spirit--a spirit which strives always to throw off the shackles hold it down; which constantly veers toward freedom and away from slavery--cannot ever be completely extinguished and will always rise from the ashes of the left's next failed utopian experiment.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

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