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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

THE GOLD TREE IS BLOOMING...AGAIN

We have a very active photography club at 15 Craigside.  Behind our building on this shot to the left is Craigside, where I lived for 32 years.  Our assignment for sharing at our next gathering is to take photos on an excursion.  I noticed that Pearl's Gold Tree was again blooming (this is now at least the third time in 2016), so off I went to complete my homework.

I first visited the Queen Kapiolani Garden, a rarely visited gem located across the street on the Makai side of Honolulu Zoo.  First a most unusual black elephant ear plant:


This is not a Gold Tree, but is a gold-colored tree.  Just a block in the Diamond Head direction is a true Gold Tree:


Driving up Ward Avenue I noticed a Gold Tree at Thomas Square in the foreground of Coronet, an apartment where Pearl and I owned our first penthouse 44 years ago.

These Gold Trees can also be found next to my Pacific Ocean Science and Technology (POST) building on the Manoa Campus, among a spectacular blooming of rainbow shower trees:


The parking lot of the POST building is now the most beautiful parking lot in the world.  Just go up East-West Center Road from Dole Street.

Let me close with a visit of our 15 Craigside photography club to Arcadia, our sister seniors community partner, to interact with their photo club.  They have almost twice the number of residents and have been around for almost half a century.


In their pond they had a gold koi that looked exactly like Pearl's Gold Koi at Matsumoto Castle.

Below, the 15 Craigside members and the shot below that those from Arcadia, with our display behind us, produced by Takeo Ito (to the extreme right).


Eight of us have these panels now in exhibit at Arcadia until June 30, then they will be returned home to be displayed on the Craigside Artistry Wall from July 3-31.  Above is my contribution showing a recent visit to Japan.   Here are the original photos.  Note the musk melon (about as large as a cantaloupe, with flesh like a honey dew, but mushier) costs around $120.


Wagyu beef can cost $250/pound in a typical Japanese basement market.  Below, Shinjuku Park, Mount Fuji and Osaka Castle.


Finally, this exhibit will be displayed at the Honolulu Museum of Art (formerly known as the Honolulu Art Academy) School Hallway Gallery of their Linekona building from August 2-16.  Thanks to our mentor, Scott Kubo, who is on their staff, we are attaining world class status.  Below, Scott with Irene Zane, our 15C photography club leader, who once lived at Arcadia and  resides on my floor,


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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

ALIENS, THE CIA AND A GREAT WHITE SHARK

I saw three movies this weekend (rating this week in box office revenues) and (Rotten Tomatoes scores for reviewers/audiences):

(2)   Independence Day:  Resurgence  (33%/39%)
(3)  Central Intelligence (67%/71%)
(4)  The Shallows (73%/70%)

I thought all three were entertaining, and if there is only one you wish to see, ID features awesome special effects, with a nice touch in bringing back a bunch of actors reprising their roles twenty years later (original Independence Day came out in 1996); CI was mostly very funny, and many enjoy reunion films; and TS was unexpectedly gripping.  Finding Dory, an animated film, was #1 for the second week in a row, and if you wish to see a review, go to Rotten Tomatoes, where it earned spectacular 94%/90% ratings.



This sequel was again co-written and directed by Roland Emmerich, and does not include Will Smith.  However, many returned, including Robert Loggia, who died during the filming of this movie.  If you like iconic buildings, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai and Marina Bay Sands in Singapore were film sites.  However, most of the scenes took place in New Mexico, for they provide a 25% movie tax credit.  Hawaii, take note.  Best escapist fare of the three.
The original aliens returned with a 3,000-mile diameter battleship, and the storyline is about how these characters two decades later, with their sons and daughters, react, respond and, well, prevail.  There is an obvious conclusion having to do with The Queen of the Aliens, and I think this is her to the right above.

While ID:R did not do as well as expected, already the film has matched the budget, for two thirds the revenues for this sort of film today come from international markets.  China, for example, is now a key money-making site, and for this film, there was Angelababy (yes, that's her actress name, for she is Chinese-German, was called Baby as a child and later Angela, playing a fighter pilot whose father died as a pilot in the first attack).  Yes, there will be a Part III.


There is a 20-year theme at play here, too, with Dwayne Johnson as a CIA "rogue" agent, and Kevin Hart as a Mr. Everything in high school.  They were classmates, and the script has them involved in saving the world just before their 20th-year class reunion.  Here is just another example of ultimate role reversal, as now Johnson, who was in high school a fat and friendless nerd named Robbie Weirdicht, becomes essentially The Rock with a new name, Bob Stone, while Hart, in high school the celebrated Golden Jet, is now a nobody accountant.  You will wonder whose ear it was.  Want a predictably funny film?  Go see this one.  In Week 2 it has already made more money than was budgeted, with, again, most of the revenues coming from international theaters.



The flick, originally called The Deep, is slow to start, but becomes a survival horror thriller.  Blake Lively, a medical student close to getting her degree has second thoughts about continuing in school, and finds her way to a secluded beach where her mother who had just passed away had surfed when she (mother) was pregnant with her (daughter).  

The beach certainly looks like something from Hawaii, but all filming took place in Oceania.  So the great white shark (seen about to attack her above) bites her leg, but she manages to escape to a piece of rock sticking above sea level (and disappears at high tide--so there is the time factor of how long she will survive with the shark continuing to circle her).  Bleeding and threatened, she uses her wits to survive.  In the process, she slips back into place a separated wing of a sea gull who is also trapped on the same rock, and places it on a piece of surfboard that allows the bird to, probably, find a way to shore.  Nice soft touch to a mostly stressful experience.


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Monday, June 27, 2016

OVERWEIGHT PEOPLE LIVE LONGER THAN NORMAL PEOPLE!!!

YES, OVERWEIGHT PEOPLE HAVE A HIGHER LIFE EXPECTANCY THAN NORMAL PEOPLE, but first, two newsworthy items:
  • The stock market fall today continued because of Brexit (scroll down to view my two postings on this subject on Wednesday and Friday--or go to the right column and find those articles near the bottom in BLOG ARCHIVES), but the drop was less than half of what happened on Friday, with Japan and China showing positive movement.  The U.S. Dow could well decline a total of 1000 (-5.5%) points during this Friday-Monday two-day period, but most European stocks sunk at least 10%.  Generally (maybe two-thirds of the time) recession follows six months or so after a 10%-15% decline of the market.  So let's see what this coming Friday brings, and some recovery from today can be anticipated.  However, the Brexit affect on the world economy awaits where things will be around the time of U.S. Presidential Elections this Fall.
  • At a cost of $5.4 billion, the Panama Canal Extension opened to commercial traffic yesterday with a Chinese container ship, the Cosco Shipping's Andronikos, re-named Panama.  The first position was earned from a lottery of the largest shipping companies.
Now, about your personal health, something extraordinary seems to be shaping up that will have monumental consequences to our lifestyle.  For some time now a variety of studies has shown curious evidence that slightly overweight people actually seemed to live the longest.  Initially, it was felt that just the extra body fat for those who became ill was surmised to be the reason.  However, something more than that appears now to be at work that is, indeed, surprising.

Four decades ago, the world had twice the number of underweight people than those obese.  Today, there are more obese individuals that those underweight.  However, while this trend towards fatter people continues upwards, women in Singapore, Japan, Czech Republic, Belgium, France and Switzerland have maintained about the same Body Mass Index (BMI) during these past 40 years.  Funny, though, that as we get more overweight, global life expectancies have also continued to increase.  While the above sentences seem confusing, it is important to understand that overweight has long been considered to be unacceptable,  but now, as you shall see, could well be desired, but obesity should still be avoided.

No doubt Americans are probably way too fat:  35% of men and 40% of women were obese in 2014.  The 38% obesity average is an increase of 34% since 2006.  Here is where we were in 2012:


Oh my gosh!!!  (If you can't read the fine print, click on it to view how much more obese Americans are than most of the world.)  One indicator of how obesity (note, again, this is fatter than overweight) is that the USA has a lower life expectancy than most developed countries:


Countries previously deprived but now more developed, such as Kuwait and Egypt, also have abnormally high obesity, even more so than that of the U.S.  Same especially applies to islanders

According to long established tradition, you want a Body-Mass Index (BMI) between 19 and 25.  Polynesian and Micronesia women have an average BMI of 34.8.  More than 38% of men and more than 50% of women are obese.  When you board Polynesian Airlines, a stewardess is there to pass out seat belt extensions.  People on islands, said to be genetically hard-wired to store fat for survival, combined with certain cultural proclivities, such as a larger physique being a mark of higher status, are at play here.  I noticed watching TV one day that the softball (female) players from Nanakuli and Waianae, with high Polynesia enrollments, were mostly obese, so, even in Hawaii, we are faced with this situation.


  • Hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Dyslipidemia -– An abnormal concentration of fat in the bloodstream. 
  • Type 2 diabetes – Insulin resistant diabetes
  • Coronary heart disease – The buildup of plaques in the main arteries of the heart.
  • Stroke – The blockage of blood flow to the brain
  • Gallbladder Disease – Can cause nausea and fever, caused by gallstones.
  • Sleep Apnea – Problems breathing during sleep.
  • Respiratory Problems
Add to the above, low self-esteem, shorter life expectancy (yes, this source said this, but in reference to the morbidly obese) and a crummier social life.

Ah, but what about those comprehensive studies saying overweight people live longer than normal ones?  Apparently, the ideal BMI for Italian women is 33, which is obese.  This same article also indicated that the accepted medical advice that 3 drinks per day or more was bad for your health was, really, plucked out of the air.  There is NO EVIDENCE proving this admonition.  In any case, the latest body of medical data shows that normal people don't live as long as those overweight.  Let me repeat this:  overweight people have a higher life expectancy than those who are normal!!!  One example:


But, again, this table just reinforces the survival advantage of being overweight.  Is it only the chronically ill that benefits from poundage?  How, then, to gain weight and simultaneously reducing all that "badness" about obesity because being overweight also means you should begin to suffer the symptoms of obesity?  Frankly, I'm still confused, but willing enjoy the consequences.

One point to underscore is that as the world has gotten fatter, the life expectancy has actually continued to increase.  Is it more because people out of poverty, such as in Africa, now live longer?  Or, do overweight people actually live longer?

 From as far back as 2009, this report showed that in comparison to normal:

  • Those classified as underweight were 73% more likely to die.
  • Those extremely obese with BMI of 35 or greater were 36% more likely to die.
  • Those classified as obese with BMI 30-34.9 had about the same risk of death.
  • Those classified as overweight with BMI 25-29.9 were 17% less likely to die.
My reading of the above is that normal people have the same life expectancy as those obese, and the overweight with  a BMI between 25-29.9 live the longest.  Why wasn't all this publicized seven years ago?
The media picked this up but the medical profession just could not quite embrace something so counterintuitive.  Then just last month:  people who have a BMI of 27 now have the lowest risk of dying in the United Kingdom.  (I show these two flags just to link Captain Cook to Hawaii, our flag above, whereas to the right is that of the United Kingdom.)

My BMI is around 23.5, about the lowest I've been in two or three decades.  I need to gain 10 pounds just to get to a BMI of 25.  Most of my adult life I wanted to lose 10 pounds.   Now, I like it, but feel uncomfortable about trying to gain weight.  To reach BMI 27, I must add 25 pounds. That's insane.  I'll certainly need to ask my neighbor, who is a medical doctor, what he thinks, and also, my personal physician.  In the meantime, because of this almost overwhelming reversal of medical sense, I find myself enjoying more snacks and generally eating what I want.  I'm curious at how medical science will respond this time.  I'm awaiting a reasoned backlash.

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Sunday, June 26, 2016

15 CRAIGSIDE GOES TO SORABOL, PLUS THE GOULD FAMILY AT HOUSE WITHOUT A KEY

Honolulu Magazine's Hale 'Aina Awards 2016 selected Sorabol as the best Korean restaurant in Hawaii, as has been the case for several years in a row now.  They first opened around 30 years ago and today, they never close.  Sure, there are some fast food establishments that are 24/7, but Sorabol is a higher class sit-down eatery.

How do you eat Korean?  Honolulu Magazine early this year provided a guide.  The food is healthy with a lot of vegetables.  I would offer, though, that sodium might be an issue.  First, they say, skip the meat jun, order something like, left to right, eundaegu chim (black cod with vegetables), yookhae (raw ground beef with egg) or al chi-ke (fish-egg stew):

 If looking to cure a hangover or cold, have the Yukgaejang (spicy beef and vegetable soup).

Second, enjoy the banchan, those complimentary small dishes that keep coming.  If you really want something specific along these lines and it is not served, just ask for it, and it almost always will be provided.  Variations of kimchi (kimchee, gimchi) will be included.  These are all free.  Probably, you will share these tidbits, but mostly you will need to ignore those germ warfare hints.

Third, seek the server's recommendation by asking mueoseulgwonhasigetseumnikka? But don't order too much, for there is that gratis banchan, plus Korean dishes tend to be rather voluminous, although lunch portions are more sensible and cheaper.  Thank you is pronounced gomapseunmida.  I took a summer of Korean when I served in the Army Reserve.

You are supposed to refill the empty tea and soju (shochu in Japan, a clear alcoholic beverage of varying ethanol content) of others, starting with the oldest person.  For 15 Craigside, it almost doesn't matter, for everyone is old.  Hold your cup in both hands.

If using a grill, BBQ the non-marinated meats first, then go on to the kalbi.  Eat your rice last, something I can't.  While various sauces are provided, it's best not to use any of them, for Korean food is already quite spicy.  

Generally, there is no dessert, except that your meal should be finished with shik hae, which is a sweet cup of cold, cinnamon-tasting rice soup to aid your digestion and cleanse the palate.  Like all those vegetable dishes, this conclusive finish will just show up at no additional cost to you.  Best to bring some breath mints.

So off yesterday for lunch went 15 Craigside to Sorabol:



Here is one table:


I ordered a Combination #1, which included kalbi and BBQ chicken, with a cup of shoju.  Never was able to figure out what the drink cost.

While the food was good, the service was spotty and the place noisy.  A favorable sign is that a lot of Koreans come here, bringing with them a heightened atmosphere of goodwill.  It sure felt like I was in an active Seoul restaurant, so the ambience was most experienceful.

Friday night I had an enjoyable reunion with the remarkable Gould family at House Without a Key of the Halekulani Hotel (note that my photo at the top of this blog was taken here):


Five of them shown in these photos are Stanford graduates, and the four young ones (yes, they're all drinking those expensive tropical drinks, sans alcohol) show high promise for admission.  Bob, former Northwest/Delta 747 pilot, and I were in El Capitan, a campus eating club.  The members still hold an annual dinner during reunion week.

If I heard correctly, beginning with his grandfather, 19 from his family of relatives went to Stanford.  What is the big deal about being from Stanford University?  Well, did you read my posting of 15 June 2016?  While I have determined that I will not be able to save Planet Earth and Humanity, I'm beginning to more strongly feel that Stanford will.  Okay, even Stanford is not perfect, for our mascot is a zany tree, or two or more.

A close neighbor of the Goulds is Kanoe Miller, Miss Hawaii 1973, who has been the primary hula attraction at House Without a Key now for almost 40 years.  That kiawe tree in the background, also known as algaroba and mesquite, is a hundred years old, although, frankly, from my point of view, it poses a sharp danger, for the thorns must have bedeviled scores of unsuspecting barefoot people over the years.  I've stepped on a few of these small spikes numerous times on golf courses and hikes.  Good thing I wear shoes on those outings.    But, so what, this was Pearl's favorite spot to begin a Waikiki outing, and so too of the Gould family.

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