Getting From European Geography to Hawaii

A Bi-monologue

Trying to explain why some knowledge of geography might be useful and to point out the failures of the schools they (my younger children) have attended; I began by choosing northern Europe as a starting point: Scandinavia, the three countries, their bounding neighbors. Going south we hit the low countries and then I jumped to the UK, what comprises the UK. ‘drick knew: England, Scotland, Wales and part of Ireland.

Well done boy. Know where the Ilse of Man is? It is ‘twixt Wales and Ireland. I told them that a I knew a Manx-man. Said Manx-man is/was named Bob. As a child he displayed extraordinary soccer skills and was taken to Manchester to attend a Soccer Academy; I, then, remembered not which. As Bob grew, his skills improved, but not enough. At age 15 he was advised that he would never be a star; maybe a lower division substitute. The offer was: “we can trade you to a lower level team, or, we can sponsor you for an apprenticeship.” Bob opted for the apprenticeship.

He chose the Millwright program and dutifully obtained his journeyman’s card. Then, and then, Hawaii Flour Mill contacted the Millwright Guild, requesting they be sent a qualified millwright. Bob was offered the chance and took it; came to Hawaii and began milling grains to be canned and shipped about the tropical Pacific.

As a vocation he went back to playing soccer on the week-ends; organizing and managing the Honolulu United Soccer Club He developed a reputation as a manager that when Hawaii Flour Mill was made unprofitable by direct shipments from the mainland to the other islands; and closed; Bob was hired full-time as the soccer coach for Punahou School, the oldest English Language school west of the Rockies. He led them to many titles.

Now his name came back: Robert (Bob) Clague; his soccer academy: Manchester United, why else develop Honolulu United.

And that is how one gets from Europe’s geography to Hawaii via the Ilse of Man.


Working Wood

For years I’ve played at working wood: letter openers, poorly done chopsticks that became coffee stirrers; some wood-burning; some carvings an old fashioned laptop – a piece of wood with rails on which one may write or draw while it sits on one’s lap.

Recently I tried to make a Koa wood diamond for mydaughter to use to make jewelry; failed miserably on two counts; it doesn’t look too good and it took too long: she got bored and moved on.

But some of the work produces things of pictorial value; I will post several in this blog:


A piece of wood, name unknown to me but common in Hawaii. I’ve split the branch, cut it to length and planed it almost smooth, a few scars left. The question is: what do I do next, burn a pictured on it; carve a name or a chip-carving; it won’t carve in the round, the grain frays. I shall contemplate some more.


A piece taking shape; but what will it be in the end; still thinking on that. I believed the wood to be Koa when I absconded with a large center section cut from a tree dropped by the CC as in danger of toppling in the next wind. It is not Koa; but it slabs easily with a hatchet cuts tough with a saw, seems to carve with a knife and planes well. I still have about a cubic foot left to play with. The piece is in a $22 clamp I got at City Mill; works better than my homemade devices; the steel plate is my plane adjuster and card-shave sharpener (visible under the clamp) works well as both.


Looked at this piece of wood for a long time, several days: what to do with it?; plane it into tinder, split it into kindling. It had slabbed off really nicely, I wanted to work with it. Then I said: “It emulates our most famous dormant cinder cone.” Sure enough, burning a resemblance of Diamond Head on it was easy, too easy. Failed to notice that ‘Madame Pele’ was peaking out the top face; must’ve been visiting one of her sleeping daughters. Kinda cute; no offense intended. The Madame can be quite cantankerous if one displeases her.


Prepping a piece for jewelry; these old fingers still enjoy the work. This oldman had his #2 daughter take the picture. The next is from the same sitting:


She zoomed in a bit; guess my fingers don’t show the desiccation noticeable when the rest of my skin is exposed.

And that will do for this post.



Gone Mindless

Me, a so-called expert on mindfulness has gone mindless; not no mind, not quiet mind; not even “monkey” mind — just blank mind.  But, not  totally empty mind (but totally on the wrong home keys, so lots of retyping.) no the mind has flashes, maybe ideas, maybe random synapse firings; maybe blood clods flowing by.  I’d say senility has set in but, when I am driving, I still drive, I am alert scanning for pedestrian and the ‘no-look’ lane changers; only two more months of need to drive; thereafter; only when I feel like it.  Nothing in Honolulu is outside the range of a young healthy bike rider.  Me, not young nor healthy and my e-bike only goes about 20-25k per charge, however the rest of the family are young.

And that sets topic for later, but soon, biking Honolulu;


Vote for Bernie and more

Yesterday I voted for Bernie and he won; but, the powers, already elected officials, have half committed to Hillary C.  This is the biggest problem; we need to let these super-delegates know that they will be unemployed come November. Mazie, Brian, Mark and the former governors, all Republicans in democrat clothing, need be put up against the wall and given a major attitude change.  Tulsi is supporting Bernie but needs be watched.  Hawaii, having nearly no Republicans in office but for the democrats, mostly as Republican as the congressional delegation need be replaced.  Nationwide, electing Bernie will be spitting into the wind if the people do not replace the Republicans and conservative democrats in congress;  will we have another do nothing congress and the rich will continue to destroy the ‘middle class’ and make serfs of the poor.

For my non-Hawaiian reader; after WWII the AJA, Americans of Japanese ancestry used the GI Bill to be come lawyers and took over the state as democrats; reading well, the republicans switched to the democratic party so they could continue to enjoy the perks of office, contract kick-backs, nepotism, in some cases out and out bribery; all the normal shenanigans of politicians in power.

That situation continues.  We had a Republican governor for eight years recently, elected as a backlash to the democrats we take care of family and friend first.  She did nothing and now works in Illinois.  She did nothing because the people refused to oust the local representatives, “no can vote against X, we calabash” (local term for we may be related, if not, we gonna act like we are to no upset tutu (grandma).

I fear the mainland is much the same: “old Bill ain’t never been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. True, He’s got a place in the Virgin Islands, drives big cars and so on; but he’s earned that, having to live in DC all these years when he wants to be here.”

We must change that way of thinking; otherwise I wasted an hour in line and a vote.




I am back

Last March I thought I’d be dead by now and the name of my blog falsified; but the Ukrainian doctor decided to try Vitamin B12 injections rather than just supplements: I got better but by August had no desire to write or take pictures, so other than facebook, 没 什么的.

Now I sit and think of things I believe others might enjoy reading; but I lost my password, senility creeping in, and it took  to today to figure out how to reset it.  Did, and here I am, not much to say right now.  Reading a book on and Elaine Lau’s dissertation on acquiring Cantonese, Punti fa, relative clauses, interesting, both.

Need read this and publish.  Vote Bernie early, late and often!


Mt. St. Helens and Spirit Lake

Mt. St. Helens as I knew her in the fifties.


I was a Boy Scout in the middle 1950’s. I went to camp one year at the BSA camp on Spirit Lake across the lake from Mt. St. Helens. I had a long acquaintance with the mountain and the lake; my parents held the Star route contract from Castle Rock to a point 20 mile down stream from the lake, a 140 mile route, driven six days week.

Once, upon a long time ago; far away; who knows how the plates have moved, near – far, no matter. A baby volcano began to grow; she farted, belched and spewed gas, ash and magma all about her. This behavior lasted all through her childhood. Whether she was born on the edge of the continental plates and the oceanic; or, migrated there is not relevant. She ended up growing to maturity on the confused area at the meeting of the Pacific plate as it slipped under the North American plate. She had for neighbors Mts. Rainier, Baker and Hood as they are now known. Had they names, and in what languages while they buried forest on forest, revising the landscape in ways whether designed or random will not be known.

But eventually they grew up, settled down and ceased revising the area every few years; all but the medium sized mountain that got the name in English: Mt. St. Helens; she spewed, belched and farted every hundred years or so, burying more forests and at one point, to soothe her bowels, she blocked the river running along her flank, producing a bottomless lake to cool her colic. (Really bottomless?, probably not but there was a reason for that assertion.)

As the lake rose, the water leached out the minerals of the mountain and let them flow into the wood that constantly cascaded into it from the hills and mountains. These mineral laden logs, and trees and scraps quickly sank, forming a semi-floating jumble under water. This jumble prevented efforts to plum the lakes depth; the moving wood caused plums to stop and then fall some more but never allowing them to reach dirt. At the same, throw a rock in the lake and it floats and so the Indians called it Spirit lake, avoiding the area.

There was another reason to avoid the environs of this mountain: in the millenia she had been spewing ash and lava about the area, she had created many fields of ‘tree wells’. What be a ‘tree well’, well if you’re a tree and get buried by lava or ash, your top burns off, but the rest just sits there; over the years decaying and being eaten out until the only sign of your one time existence is a cone shaped whole in the ground, small end up. The opening may be very small, or several feet across; but fall in one and you are probably lost. Depths of these wells vary from a few feet to 60′ according to the rangers. Have people fallen in, nobody knows, many have disappeared in that area but very few found. All known wells near the campsites were marked and signs warned all to stay on the paths.

As to the mountain; other than her behavior; she was just a mid-sized mountain; easy to walk, in fact if you didn’t get caught, one could drive up the jeep road to the tree line and walk from there. I never made the top, usually stopped at the snow line and played in the ice. The little depression near the top was unstable so one had to walk around it to the top.

St. Helens’ claim to fame before 1980 were her apes, real apes, quite possibly. Very early in the 20th century a circus train partially derailed near the mouth of the Toutle river, that which drains Spirit lake. The chimpanzee cage sprung and the apes escaped. Hunters with dogs followed them up the river but never found them. Thenafter, going up the mountain, people were warned not take the left fork of the jeep road; that was ape country and one could well get stoned by them; or, perhaps your friends having fun.

This state lasted until May, 1980 when the lady blew her top, literally blew the top and the north face of the mountain many miles across the lake and old growth forest, killing about 50 people and flattening the forest for miles; not making more tree wells, just blowing everything flat.

Among the fifty was Harry Truman, not the former president but a man of the same name who had lived on the mountain for time immemorial. He owned the first lodge and only lodge reachable by car, near the Toutle river outlet. In the summer he let rooms and rented fishing boats. Come October, he took his truck to town, loaded up 12 cases of whiskey, flour, potatoes, bacon, salt, sugar; whatever he needed that he couldn’t get from the forest and went home to await the snows and next April when he’d see another human.

The rangers warned him in April of 1980 that the mountain was moving and groaning and might be getting dangerous and he should maybe move to town for a while. He allegedly responded: I’ve lived on this here mountain for fifty years, and I am gonna stay for life. He did.


Myth of the Crab and Spider

There is the myth of the Spider and the Crab

One day, all myths start with an indeterminate time, the spider spied itself scuttling across the bottom of a tide pool. Can’t be me said the spider; I don’t go underwater and I am not gay; pink, white and orange; not even a gay spider would go about in those colours.

The Crab: What am I doing out there in the air; it gives me a headache quite quick; and I’d never wear black, not even to go to a funeral: must a water-air illusion. I’ll shut my eyes and it will go away.

Ay, what did I do; just pulled in those appendages on my head, with what looked like eyes; but my eyes are not on stalks sticking out of my head; let’s see, no, thank the world, my eyes, all five are still in my head.

What’s that I’m rubbing on my head; miniature claws, mine are not miniature, they’re monsters, can break oyster shells, snare snails, crack dead fish heads; drive off ravenous octopi. Is it climate warming or maybe Fukushima radiation mutating me before my very eyes?

This gotta be a bad dream; can’t be nothing that grotesque in reality; buggy eyes, big slobbery mouth, eruption all over my skin; gotta be some fantasy land, like when I dreamt I was in a computer board and the binary gates kept slamming shut in my face.

This is horrible; I’ll pinch myself and wake up.

I grabbed my manipulator with that big claw, I’m gonna poke me in the eye and spit some poison, then maybe this will end.

And thus it ended; as did they – the crab and the spider, both gone; all over a mis-perception.