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Thursday, December 31, 2015

THE WOMEN IN MY LIFE THIS PAST YEAR

Again, the title is more provocative than the reality, for I am setting the stage for my posting of, probably, January 2, which will feature my final around the world adventure--a global cruise--and the necessary requirement that I find a female to join me.  Return for the details.

This is the final day of 2015, and I thought I'd feature the women who this past year have most captivated my attention and imagination.  For the record, most of them passed away a long time ago.  All the more reason for embarking on my final attempt to build future active and human relationships.

Of course, Pearl remains there as a continual reminder, although the time has come to, perhaps, move on:


I saw Irene Dunne several times this year, all on television, of course.  Her Smoke Get's in Your Eyes from Roberta, is unforgettable.  If you liked that, here is the 7-minute version, which keeps getting blocked.   Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers also danced.  Irene, further, sang Yesterdays and Jerome Kern wrote a new song for her, Lovely to Look At.  Earlier, she had failed in her attempt to join the Metropolitan Opera, ended up getting married to a dentist, promising to give up the theater, when on the day she returned from her honeymoon, happened to meet Flo Ziegfeld in an elevator, leading to her role as Magnolia Hawks in Showboat.  She was nominated for Best Actress five times.  



Broadway Melody of 1940 was another memorable film, for Eleanor Powell danced Begin the Beguine with Fred Astaire, and was so good that, it is rumored, Astaire refused to dance with her again.  Interestingly enough, while Powell passed away in 1982, if she were alive today, she would only be 103.  I just featured Luise Rainer, and she only went a year ago at the age of 104.

The lady that most awed me this year was Maria Theresa.  I vaguely remembered her, but on my Grand Around the World Adventure, one of my postings was entitled:


Blond, blue-eyed and short, Maria Theresa:
  • At around the time of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, only 23, pregnant with her fourth child, her father, Emperor Charles VI, passed away, leaving the House of Hapsburg (much of the Austro-Hungarian territories) essentially bankrupt.
  • She went on to have 16 children and ran the Empire for 40 years, leaving a rich country to her eldest son Ludwig (created Oktoberfest), who ran it for another 23 years.   
  • Youngest daughter was Marie Antoinette (right), who became Queen of France, only to be guillotined. 
  • Got to add this:
    • In those days the royalty lived longer because they did not drink water, surviving on beer and wine.
    • People were so afraid of water that they did not bathe or wash their clothes.
    • Maria Theresa washed her feet, her feet only, once/week.
    • Can you imagine what people smelled like then?
Not a terrific way to end the year, so I'll make it up tomorrow.


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Suddenly, Typhoon Uta at 105 MPH appeared, will still strengthen, and move between Fiji and Tonga:


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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

15 CRAIGSIDE GOES TO 3660 ON THE RISE, ETC.

This was an extraordinarily busy day for me.  A team consisting of Irene, Wally and Paula helped me place 70 photos of my Grand Around the World Adventure on the 15 Craigside basement exhibition wall.  Come by to view this feat.


Epicureans from 15 Craigside last night dined at 3660 on the Rise, which, of course, is at the top of the hill at the corner of Wilhemina Rise and 3660 Waialae Avenue.  The restaurant was founded by Chef Russell Siu and Gale Ogawa in 1992, serving Euro-Island cuisine, and regularly wins local awards for best restaurant and the like.  I had not been here for at least 15 years.  Below, a waving Harriet:


John, our waiter was terrific.  Francis and I started with gin martinis:


From left, Francis, Nancy, Norman, with Harriet and Audrey to the right.  From the other end, Cookie, Jeri, Harriet, then on the right, Deanna and John.  


If you're wondering why they look so young, they are all really old, but life at 15C is so wonderful that no one ages.  I should add that Cookie is actually our outing leader.

I had escargots (fabulous), macadamia nut crusted lamb (excellent, but way too much--each piece must have been half an inch thick) and some symphonic dessert (heavenly, but enough for four people), with a pairing of three wines (Pinot Noir, Cabernet and Chardonnay):


Everyone thought this was one of our better outing dinners.  The good part is that our van drops us off and picks us up:


And if you think that was all for the evening, I came back to join our poker table:


Henry, Howard, Carl, Henry the Commish and...no...I can't mention her name, for maybe she doesn't want her mother to know she plays cards with men.  Two more soon joined in, returning from the University of Hawaii basketball game against Mississippi Valley State.  On  Thursday night the group starts at 9PM and plays until midnight with appropriate libations to welcome in 2016.

Last week 15 Craigside went to the New Liliha Bakery, occupying the building previously housing Sam Choy's Breakfast, Lunch and Crab.  Frankly, I was impressed, for this new version is a significant upgrade from the original version, still on Kuakini off Liliha:


The old kitchen probably had one cook and was about as large as a closet.  Now:


They are still known for coco puffs:


Everything went well and the food was as expected.  However, I got two gripes.  First, they take reservations only for parties of 20 or more.  Thus, our group had to wait at least 45 minutes.  Second, they serve too much, especially for old people who come from a place which provides three meals a day.  No sense bringing home any food.

A few of us from 15 Craigside were invited by Henry, the poker commissioner, whose daughter's family runs Market City Shopping Center, to Sandy/Marvin's home, located way up Hawaii Loa Ridge.

One of their sons, see photo below, regularly delivers to Henry a huge plate of sashimi, accompanied by a large bottle of Chardonnay for our table of four, no doubt the highlight luncheon of the month at 15C.  That night there were Black Jack and Poker tables, which were essential, for Henry and I should have been playing back at 15C.   We ate the best food and drunk high end alcohol (they actually had Lagavulin, my favorite scotch--and note the Stag's Leap Red).  This was a Christmas party, so we of course sang all the standard carols, and were entertained by famed Broadway star Cathy, here serenading Henry, with his daughter holding him back:


Henry's nephew, Bill, now owns his own consulting company.  The last time I saw him must have been at least 40 years ago.  He was my first student at the University of Hawaii, who remembered the micro-bio laser reactor we built:


I sat across from John of the Star Advertiser and Laurence, an eminent benefactor, who I've long admired for providing large sums to various universities, with Sandy in the middle:


Sometimes I should add last names, but they are all so famous that you know who they are.  The family with Cathy:


Finally, here is the latest creation of Dexter, master mixologist for our 15C Monday Night Table:


That's his wife, Emily, in the background. This happens to be called STP, and I can only use the initials, for this blog site frowns when I get too descriptive.   One of the 15C staff suggested this concoction, for we wanted something the current generations drinks. Actually, we can call the drink anything we want, for we added Malibu Coconut Rum, not in the original recipe, and are working on this new title.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

CROSSROADS OF MY LIFE: Part 1--Background

A year and a half ago I began a series on Transitions, that went on and on into July and included the afterlife, or potential for it.   (I've told this story of that colored mon to the right several times in this blog site, and here is yet another.)  Interestingly enough, what country do you think in that posting held the bottom spot, where only 4.3% were certain that God existed?   JAPAN!!!  Next, East Germany at 7.8%.  The USA?  A lofty 61%.  Residents of the Philippines most believe (of the 30 countries polled) that there is a God, at 84%.  Mind you, atheism in the USA has just about doubled since the 1990's, and this disbelief is increasing throughout the world, especially among the younger generation.

Today I begin another, and much shorter series, on Crossroads of My Life, when I made strategic decisions that were instrumental in getting me to where I am today.  These postings will sporadically appear whenever I feel like it.  While marriage to Pearl was also a key factor, this act did not qualify as a crossroad, for I simply fell in love and we remained together for 47 years until she passed away six years ago.  (To the left, a product from deviant art.)

As I think about it, virtually all my crossroads had a link to college:
  • Why I went to Stanford.
  • My decision to gain a PhD.
  • Magnificent dabbles with NASA, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the U.S. Senate.
  • Establishment of the Hydrogen Economy.
  • Development of the Blue Revolution.
  • Early retirement from the University of Hawaii in 1999.
  • Move into 15 Craigside.
Yes, I have:
  • Written five books.  (To the right of my three most recent.)
  • Helped establish national centers in hydrogen and ocean resources at the University of Hawaii.
  • Been recognized by national organizations with a variety of awards.
  • Written too many scholarly papers, published more than a hundred articles in The Huffington Post and am now in my 8th year posting daily features to Save Planet Earth and Humanity.
  • Lectured around the world and am now heading for 3 million miles on Star Alliance.
But, disappointingly, after a lifetime of dedication to the good cause, progress has been dismal:
  • Renewable energy commercialization has again stalled.  Of course, I can rationalize that the low cost of oil is the reason.
  • Global warming is proceeding, too, too dangerously, and no matter what  you read, the Paris agreement was meaningless.
  • I've gotten nowhere with regards to eternal Peace on Earth (my first HuffPo was on this subject).
  • The Blue Revolution is too much the Blue Evolution.
Crossroads Part 2 will be on an innocent and unsophisticated kid from Kakaako going to Stanford, and how that decision led to the confidence that resulted in what I am today.  When?  Not sure, but Part 2 will come during the first week of 2016.  (Left graphics from Pinterest.)

Tomorrow, 15 Craigside goes to 3660 on the Rise, and other matters dealing with the cuisine of my current life.  Also featured will be the New Liliha Bakery and colorful Monday Night Table cocktails.

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Monday, December 28, 2015

THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT!

Just during the past week I've seen eight films (in parentheses:  reviewers' and audience's ratings from Rotten Tomatoes):
I would say those Rotten Tomatoes ratings pretty much coincided with my like-factor.  Interesting that Star Wars 7 in 12 days has already reached a billion dollars of world-wide box office revenues, and China does not begin showing until next month.  Also worth mentioning that in various meal groups here at 15 Craigside I'm the only one who has seen it.  Read my review here if you want the full story.  If you don't want to know all the secrets before going, though, don't.  I especially enjoyed Spotlight and The Big Short was very okay.

The other four films I saw on television:
Note the 100% reviewers' ratings above.  

Here, the Rotten Tomatoes ratings did not match my views.  The Great Ziegfeld was too long at 3 hours, way over the top with the A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody set alone costing nearly $4 million in 2015 dollars and poorly rated.  I loved it!  So did the Motion Picture Academy, for the film won the Oscar for Best Film and Best Actress to Luise Rainer.  

Got to say a few things about her:
Incidentally, That's Dancing (1985, ?/71%) is showing today on TCM at 6PM EST and 1PM on Hawaii.

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Sunday, December 27, 2015

IS PAHOA IN PUNA THE CURRENT EQUIVALENT OF SODOM AND GOMORRAH?

Okay, the title is an exaggeration, but  as this is Sunday, I wanted to insert some biblical reference.  People today associate Sodom and Gomorrah with a specific kind of sin and vice in general, through divine intervention, destroyed with fire and brimstone, perhaps 4000 years ago.  There is today a Mount Sodom in Israel.  

So why are God and Madam Pele so pissed off with the village of Pahoa in the region of Puna?  For one, it is the Wild West of Hawaii, where there is a tolerated drug culture.  For a rather small population, people get murdered there at too high a frequency.

Anyway, last year came Iselle, the strongest tropical storm to land on the Big Island in recorded history.  Damages totaled $80 million throughout the state, with Puna getting the brunt of the bill.  However, no one was killed on the island (one died on Kauai).  Then, soon thereafter, Hurricane Julio at 120 MPH, which fizzled before reaching land.  But the fear factor was real.

This is almost unbelievable, but no one has experienced a hurricane (74+ MPH) on the Big Island, nor Maui, nor Oahu.  Mind you, winds have exceeded hurricane strength, but only at the peaks of our highest volcanoes.  Here are the tracks of these major storms:


But regarding Pahoa, then came the brimstone (which in the Bible means sulfur) part, for a little more than a year ago I posted:  THE MOST DANGEROUS SPOT ON PLANET EARTH.

Pahoa is the largest and only real town in this part of Puna.  Moving at 100 feet per day, the flow is unpredictable, and might well be within two weeks of covering this town in a worst case scenario.  The scale is for the larger map above, but as of yesterday, lava was three miles away.  However, that is the "city."  Kaohe Homesteads with up to 30 households is within heat distance, a few hundred yards, of this flow, which presently appears to be bypassing this site.  So far, this 31 year old eruption has consumed 214 homes.


Then the following month, IS THIS THE END OF PUNA?

However, not one person got killed and, according to the Star Advertiser yesterday:


So far, then, no deaths and some property damage, not anywhere close to the annihilation of Sodom and Gomorrah.  (John Martin created these S&G paintings more than a century and a half ago.)  But now there is pestilence in Puna, something these cities of the past never experienced.  The Hawaii Health Department has placed Pahoa on their dengue watch.  How's this for a bit of exaggeration, for, according to the Star Advertiser:

     Dengue cases jump by 1 to 181 on Hawaii isle

This is a big deal in the state, and tourism officials are concerned, plus, of course, the people of the Big Island, too.  Pahoa?  As far as I know, no known cases of dengue fever.

And here is the part that puzzles me.  My posting earlier this month of ABOUT THAT DENGUE FEVER OUTBREAK IN HAWAII indicated that there could well be, annually, up to 100,000,000...or 100 million...dengue incidents around the world.  In not one newspaper nor magazine nor TV news report has that figure been stated.  Sure it might well only be 50 million, depending on who you ask, but 181 versus tens of million?  Pahoa is not suffering from pestilence.  On other hand, how many of you realized dengue is also into major portions of the USA?


Thus, the answer to the title above is a resounding NO!!!  On the other hand, no one has ever credibly proven that there ever were Sodom and Gomorrah.  Biblical scholars keep searching for them in the Middle East, but much of the Bible--say the miracles and the actuality of a talking snake regarding Eve--are fabricated folk tales.  So the comparison with Pahoa in Puna is perhaps faulty.  In any case, the villagers are getting back their lives, and that is good, so I wish them well for a long time to come, even though Madam Pele continues to be active upstream of the region.


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