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Monday, January 18, 2016

A MOSTLY RELAXING WEEKEND

People pay good money to fly to Hawaii and stay in Waikiki or Maui or anywhere here. The weather this past weekend featured the Sun (80 degrees F) and tradewinds, although there was some lingering volcanic haze.  I live here.  So off I went to the Sony Open Golf Tournament.  Noteworthy that the PGA (Professional Gofers' Association) had its beginnings exactly 100 years ago yesterday.  The game itself perhaps began at the time of Julius Caesar, or can more conventionally be traced back to Scotland in 1457.


I usually walk the course for exercise.  Then, I pick up a snack and sit under a shade tree in a location that provided a strategic viewpoint.  Thus, I was enjoying a cigar and scotch over ice at the 350 yard mark of the 18th hole when Adam Scott's drive just about reached me.  I  have something called a golf watch that tells me exactly where I am relative to the tee and next hole.  No other golfer went much past 300 yards.  Scott is #5 on the PGA average drive list with 319 yards.  Gary Woodland is #1 at 323 yards.
To the right across the 18th is the Kahala Resort, located adjacent to the Waialae Country Club.  The hotel first opened in 1964, more than half a century ago, as the Kahala Hilton.  Can you believe it was then the MOST EXPENSIVE HOTEL IN THE WORLD?  Pearl and I were married in 1962 and the Maile Room there became our anniversary restaurant.  Bishop estate raised the rent by 14,000%, convincing Hilton to pass the property to Mandarin in 1994.  Hoku's became the replacement, but  never quite captured the elegance and service of that room.  Every recent U.S. president has spent some time here.

Unfortunately, you can only barely see it, but this is the back view of Diamond Head.  Waikiki is on the other side of that crater.


Here is Koko Head in the background, way behind the 17th hole, which is the 8th hole in regular play.


I should indicate that Fabian Gomez of Argentine had eleven birdies for the day to finally beat Brandt Snedeker in two playoff holes.  Gomez won a little more than a million dollars.


Yesterday I thought I'd continue my relaxing weekend by going to a movie.  I saw The 13 Hours:  The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.  Rotten Tomatoes reviewers did not care for the film, giving it a 59% rating, but audiences liked it, providing a score of 87%.  Box Office Mojo placed the movie at #4 this weekend.

While said to be a true story, the historical accuracy has been questioned.  In any case, on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, Islamic militants attacked the American diplomatic compound and nearby CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya.   My mellow weekend  got a sudden jolt, for the flick was tense, grimy, dark, noisy and only partially redeeming.  Perhaps I should have gone to Ride Along 2, which was #1 this weekend.  However, I noted that Rotten Tomatoes reviewers gave it a 14%...14% rating!  Yes, Norm of the North got 0% and The Forest 11%, but 14%?  And it earned the most money.  What's happening to America?

By the way, Star Wars 7 has made more than a billion dollars domestically and $2 billion globally.  Cost of production was said to be $200 million.  More than a ten to one return in five weeks.  Will Star Wars 7 catch Avatar at $2.7 billion.


I've never quite understood what really happened in that incident, and I still don't after the show.  Yes, Ambassador Christopher Stevens and a few others (three) were killed, but more than 4,000 Americans died in the recent Iraq/Afghanistan wars.  Benghazi will become a presidential campaign issue, of course, where the Republican candidate will blame Hillary Clinton for her irresponsibility.  She largely got vindicated in House hearings, but people tend to believe what they last heard, even on outrageous TV ads.

Libya itself is a split country today, four years after Muammar Gaddafi's death, and seems now threatened by ISIS.  Sometimes you wonder if a dictatorship might be better for countries like Libya and Iraq.  They are just not ready for democracy.

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Tropical Cyclone Victor made a right turn and seems to be heading straight for Tonga:


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