Friday, September 30, 2011

Aloha OY!

Thought for the day:  Hawaii's state fish is the humuhumunukunukuapua. Now, that's an aloha OY! mouthful.

Wow, it's gonna be hard to make fun of Hawaii. (But I'll try!)

In February of 1970, my husband and I met there for an unbelievable week of R&R magic. (According to the U.S. Army, it was Rest & Relaxation, but most of the soldiers called it I&I. Use your imagination.) Anyway,  I flew there from cold, dreary, middle-of-winter Maryland, and he flew there from the steamy jungles of Vietnam. For me, it was Heaven. For him, it was a surreal respite from Hell.

It's traditional for visitors to be greeted with a lei when deplaning in Hawaii, but it wasn't a high priority on the military base, so the soldiers missed out on that little nicety when they landed. Not that they cared. But my better half and I kinda made up for it later:  We were strolling hand-in-hand on the white sands of Waikiki Beach the evening it happened. Picture it. The sun was setting. Every gorgeous snapshot you've ever seen of the breathtaking sunsets in Hawaii are absolutely true. Amazing colors. Palm trees, silhouetted against vibrant streaks in the sky, swaying gently in the breeze. The sweet heady scent of tropical flowers. The lapping of the waves coming into shore. And there we were, together for the first time in eight months. We sat down on the beach to gaze out over the water and to soak in the incredible surroundings, to soak in the fact that we were together again. Like I said, surreal. Then, a sweet young Hawaiian boy came up from behind us and slipped a fragrant frangipani and orchid lei around my neck. "For the pretty lady," he said. Then he slipped one around my hubby's neck, too, and said, "And for you, sir." We both smiled and thanked him, and then he thrust out his hand, palm up. "One dollah, please," he said. "EACH."

We paid him, but it cracked us up and kinda broke the romantic spell, ya know? As the Hawaiians say, Haka Tiki Mou Sha'ami Leeki Toru, which means Death to mainland scum, but leave your money.

How about a few quick facts about the Aloha State state before going on to look at a handful of pictures and check out their laws?  Although most of us can only name four or five off the tops of our heads, Hawaii is actually made up of eight islands: Niihau, Kauai, Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe, and the big island of Hawaii. Although their native language contains a lot of super long,  hard-to-pronounce words, their alphabet only contains twelve letters: all five vowels, and the consonants H,K,L,M,N,P, and W. (Just think how long their words would be if they had all twenty-six letters to work with!) The cost of living is high there, but the living is easy. The most common footwear is slippers, the only suit most people own is a bathing suit, and nice clothes means a tee shirt without a puka. (seashell necklace)

Okay, some pictures.

Everybody knows about Hawaiian pineapples. But did you know Hawaii grows a third of the world's supply of them, which translates to approximately 320,000 tons a year? Just about every drink you order there comes with a fresh spear of pineapple in it. (Best iced tea ever!) A couple other food tidbits: Hawaii is the only state in the U.S. that grows coffee and vanilla

In addition to all kinds of neat shopping places, Don Ho's place was also located in the International Market Place, which was a very short walk from our hotel. We went in there one evening to have a drink, and the emcee dedicated the next song to all the couples there on R&R. (Besides us, there were two other couples.) Awwww. Nice, huh? Know what the song was? Leaving on a Jet Plane. Talk about a downer.

The flowers of Hawaii are absolutely stunning. The one in the picture is a bird of paradise, but there are all kinds and colors of flowers at every turn. Everywhere. Vibrant colors. And every single one of them, sweet-smelling.

The water is the most beautiful blue-green, and so clean, you can easily see the bottom. Beaches? White sands. More than one hundred world-renown beaches ring Honolulu alone. Great swimming and snorkeling. And a surfer's paradise.

Iolani Palace, in downtown Honolulu, is the only royal palace in the United States. And it had electric lights four years before the White House did.

The Polynesian Cultural Center was one of my personal favorites. There, visitors experience the music and dancing of a multitude of Polynesian islands. The instruments were like nothing we'd ever seen, and the rhythms and dances were mesmerizing.

Kilauea is the world's most active volcano. Its most recent eruption began in 1983, and is still going strong. But it isn't a big violent eruption like you see in the movies; it's more of a gentle ooze of lava flowing from its crater. The Hawaiian islands were created thousands of years ago by the eruptions of volcanoes, and now, Kilauea's continuous eruption is adding new land, making Hawaii the only state whose land mass is actually increasing. Hawaii also contains the world's largest volcano, Mauna Loa, with an estimated volume of 18,000 cubic miles. Its last eruption was in 1984.

If measured from its base on the ocean floor, Mauna Kea (pictured)  is the world's tallest mountain: 33,476 feet.

Mt. Waialeale, on the island of Kauai, is the wettest spot on earth, getting an average of 397 inches of rain per year.

Okay, enough trivia. Let's move on to the laws. Actually, most of the Hawaiian laws I perused were quite sensible, and designed to protect the environment and wildlife. But I did manage to find a handful of head scratchers.

  • Billboards are illegal. 
  • Residents may be fined if they don't own a boat.
  • It's against the law to place a coin in your ear. (So much for magic tricks.)
  • It's also illegal to get a tattoo behind your ear or on your eyelids, unless a registered physician is present.
  • Shooting galleries aren't allowed to offer liquor as a prize. (For fear the winner may return after drinking  the prize and want to do some more shooting.)
  • It's illegal to kick a seeing eye dog. 
  • It's against the law to use imitation milk in milkshakes without warning. (Now, I LIKE this one!)
  • It's illegal to feed a shark. (Even if he's a pet?)
  • It's against the law to own a mongoose.
  • It's illegal to fish with dynamite, electric current, or poison,
  • In Honolulu, it's illegal to sing loudly outside after sunset. (Better watch how much you drink at that luau!)
  • Also in Honolulu, it's illegal to annoy any bird within the limits of any public park. (So give him your sandwich, already!)
  • In Maui county, anyone building an atomic bomb is subject to a fine. (That's ALL? Just a fine??)
  • In Kauai, no buildings may be taller than the palm trees.

Okay, boys and girls. It's time for (ta-DA!)

The Weirdest News Stories of the Week

*** Rats are always getting a bad rap, but they could turn out to be man's best friends, especially if that man has had a stroke. Tel Aviv scientists have successfully restored lost brain functions in our furry little friends by turning them into Cyborgs. Kinda. A digital cerebellum, essentially a simple microchip attached to the brain with electrodes, can receive and interpret sensory input from the brain stem, and then relays the signal to another  portion of the brain to initiate the appropriate response. Thus far, the synthetic cerebellum can only deal with the most basic stimulus-response signals, but this marks a huge leap in the quest to repair certain brain malfunctions in humans. Earlier this year, researchers were able to restore previously lost memories in rats with the use of electrodes and chemicals. So the next time you see a rat, before you snap his neck in a trap, you might wanta thank him for his kind's service to mankind.

*** I've heard some amateur radio operators joke on the air that they were operating mobile ... because they were riding the couch. Well, as it turns out, some folks really DO ride their couches. A leather 2-seater broke a speed record in Sydney, Australia, earlier this week when it traveled at an amazing 101 MPH. Betcha didn't even know there was such a thing as a land speed record for upholstered household furniture, didja? Yup, the previous record of 91 MPH was set in 2008 by Brit Marek Turowsk. Evolution Motorsport, a race car and bike designer based in Sydney, built the new record-breaking racing couch, which was powered by a Suzuki GSX 1400 engine, and these guys weren't satsified with merely tearing up the macadam with the sofa alone, either. Oh no, it was attached to a coffee table, complete with a bowl of fruit and a cup of coffee. (What? No flowers?) If you'd like to take a peek at this speedy sofa in action, take a gander here

*** In past weeks, we've seen a would-be robber dressed as Gumby, and another with a fearsome firecracker stuffed down his britches. This week, we have a South Carolina man who successfully stole two cases of beer by threatening his victims with an inhaler, which allegedly resembled a silver pistol. The police didn't have any trouble finding the asthmatic crook. They simply followed the trail of empty beer cans. Evidently, inhaler plus multiple beers doesn't make for a very good equation. When police caught up with the twenty-three-year old, he finally used his head. Unfortunately, he used it to crush the police car windshield. Man, I'll bet that dude really had a hangover and a half.

*** This week was Banned Book Week, so how deliciously appropriate that a book previously banned in Boston actually became UN-banned. Actually, Mark Twain's book Eve's Diary was banned by the Charlton Public Library in Cambridge. Since 1906, this book was taboo because of some nude illustrations of Eve. This week, library trustees located two paperback copies of the book, and within two hours of shelving them, one was already in a patron's hot little hands. When the library's trustees banned the book back in 1906, Twain said, Nobody attaches weight to the freaks of the Charleston Library." But apparently, they did. For more than a century.

                                       Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.



  1. Actually, Hawaii's crazy laws seem quite sensible.

    And what kind of clerk mistakes an inhaler for a gun?

    And nice to know that (100 years late), a library unbanned a book.

  2. Hawaii's crazy laws aren't that outlandish. I like that they can't have a building higher than a palm tree in Kauai, the most beautiful island of them all.

    So what do you think a rat wants to remember? With the life they lead, some things may be better forgotten.

  3. "Death to mainland scum, but leave your money" Sounds like a bunch of future politicians.

  4. LOL-ed all the way through (as usual), but especially at this: "Death to mainland scum, but leave your money."

    And I'll try my best not to annoy any birds in parks if ever I visit Hawaii.

  5. I & I! I haven't heard that in decades! LOL Thanks for the happy Fridays, Susan!

  6. I'd love to go to Hawaii, but don't want to do the trip. Too long. Unless I went by boat I think. Then it wouldnt be so bad. At least I could throw up outside and walk around.

  7. I have to agree - the laws mostly sound like common sense. I mean, isn't it the law everywhere that kicking a seeing eye dog illegal?

    And in Washington DC no building may be taller than 15 stories [I think it is 15] because they didn't want any building to usurp the Washington monument.

  8. So you're saying if I go to Hawaii I can't fish with dynamite? What's the point? Stupid laws.

  9. I think every single one of those laws make absolutely perfect sense!

  10. I almost feel like I've been to Hawaii. Thanks Susan! Didn't they grow a human ear on a rat recently? Or did I dream that...

  11. Surprised you missed Hawaii's biggest trivia question... it's the only state in the U.S. without a native orchid! Turns out that Hawaii, being even more remote than the Galapagos Islands, had few native species and most all there today were brought by man. How 'bout them apples?

  12. Hi, y'all. Thanks for your comments. And I have to agree with you that most of these laws made absolute sense. (Maybe Hawaii hasn't been a state long enough yet to have laws as bizarre as our other states.)

    Dianne- I dunno. I couldn't find a picture of an inhaler that looked like a pistol, but allegedly, it did.

    Arleen- Maybe a rat needs to remember where he left the cheese?

    Delores- You've got a point.

    Linda- From what I remember, it was more a case of birds annoying people.

    Austan- Ah, so you know what that stands for! (Oh, and 'twas very, very true, too ...)

    Anne- That trip to Hawaii was the first time I was ever on an airplane. There was so much turbulence on the flight, a couple of the attendants even threw up. I was so stupid, I thought that's the way the flight was supposed to be. I just kept on crocheting. (Finished an entire afghan on that flight.)

    L.G.- Yeah, 'fraid you'll have to leave the dynamite at home.

    Kara- Yeah, me, too, 'cept for maybe the one about putting coins in one's ear. That one strikes me as a little weird.

    Mr. C.- Fascinating! I didn't include that, because I didn't KNOW that. Very interesting. Thank you, dear sir. (I have a head filled with useless information, but there's always room for more.)

  13. Most tourist destinations give me the 'eff off but leave your cash behind' sensation. Paris is probably the worst. They'd even say it to your face, if they could be bothered.

    What sort of fine do you get for building the bomb? That'll be fine; maybe?

  14. Oh, Cro. Say it ain't so. Paris is supposed to be the City of Lights, the mecca for lovers, romance personified. Crap. Guess I'll just stay home.

  15. Hi,
    Susan, I've never been to Hawaii, but I know it is like a paradise (from what I have read and heard) and I'm sure McGarrett tried to keep it that way. All my blogs that I follow have disappeared from my dashboard... I am hoping they will get the bug fixed so I can read them once again. As for the pineapple drinks in Hawaii, they would not go over very big with me, because I don't eat anything pineapple. The acids in it are not kind to my soft palate.
    What a rude awakening with the beautiful leis! But a very enterprising young man has to be admired. :) Love, Ruby

  16. Hi, Ruby. Good to hear from you again. I hope blogger fixes itself for you real soon. Too bad about the pineapple, especially the fresh stuff you can get in Hawaii. It's a real sweet taste of paradise. Kinda goes with the surroundings. Take care.

  17. I have an award/challenge for you on "youngish" (you can access through the button on my sidebar on thefeatherednest) if you are up to it.

  18. Oh, so much fun Susan :) And so was the Banner Boners post too. I've enjoyed my visit here.


  19. This makes me want a MaiTAi. Even with opportunity to leave money on every corner, we love to be, hear, smell, and live Hawaii. Thanks for the trip.

  20. Hi-ya, Delores. "Youngish?" Um, I think you must have the wrong person for that award. But I thank you kindly, and will check it out later today.

    Donna- Glad you had a good visit. Please come back again now, y'heah?

    Barb- Yeah, there's no place like Hawaii, at least no place I've ever been. As for the mai tai, you can have that anywhere, so go for it! (Throw in a piece of pineapple ...)

  21. 'it's illegal to kick a seeing eye dog'. Ha! But one-legged dogs are fair game?

  22. Hi-ya, N. So, what would they name a one-legged dog? Third Base? I'm sorry. That was b-a-d. (and old as the hills)