Browsing articles in "All in the Family"
Jun 11, 2013

Seat Belts and Privacy Laws

1955 “green” Ford Station wagon, exactly like my parents’

One of my clearest memories from five-year-old-child-me is coming out of the drugstore on Kearney Street in Denver, getting into our new car and hearing my mother say “Goddamn it, those kids put seat belts in our car.”

I had two older sisters who were of driving age so that was my mother’s knee jerk reaction, but thinking about it now, what teenager would ever voluntarily put a safety element in a car, especially back then?
The key to the mystery was that the car we had gotten into was our neighbor’s car, exactly like ours —- except with seat belts.  Ford began offering seat belts in 1955 as an option.  A few spaces down the street we found our car, right where we parked it, without seat belts.   Although in her dotage she peaceably put on seat belts, anyone who knows my mother knows that she would not voluntarily put a restraint on anything.
In those days, people didn’t lock their houses or their cars, and my mother lived that way until she died.  Luckily, her karma was phenomenal.
Hawai`i’s recent passage of back seat belts for all got me to thinking about seat belts and when they became a fact of life and it brought me back to Denver and the gall of my sisters putting them in my mother’s car.  I have been one of those happy resisters who does not put on seat belts when in the back seat and now I,too, must comply.  What about the people who ride unbelted in the back of trucks?
Ironically, seat belts are still a source of controversy, and from one state to another, the laws are inconsistent.  33 States have primary seat belt laws which allow an officer to write a ticket just for failure to wear a seat belt.  16 states have secondary seat belt laws, which means you cannot ticket for failure to wear a seat belt unless you have pulled the person over for another reason. (“citable infraction”).   Live Free or Die New Hampshire has neither a primary nor a secondary seat belt law.
For a long time, seat belts were one of those things that “nobody could tell [one] what to do,” and now they have become a part of our lives.  They are a nanny state government intrusion, but we accept them, not just because of the fines but because it has been incontrovertibly proven that we are safer with them than without them.
Which brings me to the Patriot Act and spying on Americans and whether we are better off with these intrusions or without them.    In a different but similar way with seat belts, are we safer because of this truly awesome intrusion into our private lives?  We will never know.  It is not like seat belts, where the evidence is clear.
Now a 29 year old kid who was being paid too much money by a government contractor has decided that the government has gone too far … and that we need to know that we have all become persons of interest.  Some call him a hero, some call him a traitor.  Neither the answer to what the government is doing nor to the actions taken by the young Mr. Snowden is clear cut.
Early of the proponents of the internet  lauded that it made information free to everyone, which of course it doesn’t, but given that technology can give that freedom (under law, to the government) are we eventually going to have to accept this kind of activity by our government as the status quo?  For freedom, we must sacrifice some level of security.  And for security, we must sacrifice some level of freedom.  But which and how much?
Apr 5, 2013

I Find Myself Standing with Fox News

For the first time ever, I find myself standing with Fox News.  Surfing the channels, I saw that the talking heads at Fox agreed with me that President Obama’s comments about Kamala Harris were no big deal  — they acknowledged that she was pretty good looking and lamented that many in the country are still so incredibly PC.

Personally, I would like to be as good looking at Kamala Harris, and also as “brilliant, dedicated and tough, making sure everybody gets a fair shake”  — the things Obama said before he commented on her beauty, and before he noted that they had been good friends for a long time.  The world didn’t know they had been good friends for a long time, but since he told us that it seems like we should believe him.   Good friends say this kind of thing about each other.

It seems to me, based on my simple observation of Kamala Harris, that she cares about how she looks and takes care in presenting herself to the world.  So, while I doubt that Obama would say of someone who wasn’t all that attractive that they were “the worst looking AG in the country,” I imagine that Kamala Harris was not thinking, “dammit, he dismissed all of the good things he said about me by commenting on my looks.”  For sure, he didn’t say “but she is the best looking AG …”

While I am no longer of the opinion that Barack Obama is my new bicycle, I do believe he is human and that is one of the thing that makes him attractive to us.  I surfed the web to see what the rest of the media world was saying. While found myself agreeing with comments that Obama’s comment seemed “wolfish” and “flirtatious,” I realize the most of my liberal and feminist cohort do not agree.

I grew up in the 60s and Gloria Steinem spoke at my graduation from Smith College in 1971.  (btw, she used the word “vagina” and caused my father and my husband-to-be to walk out of the ceremony).   I definitely believe that woman are the equals of men and should be treated as such.

I also think that had Obama not made that comment, the world would not have been abuzz with the news of her brilliance, dedication and toughness.  Kamala Harris couldn’t pay for this kind of public relations.  Instant fame:  who knows the name of their state’s attorney general, let alone the AG of any other state?

Frankly, if I were Obama I would be worried about that comment when I got home.


Mar 15, 2013

Upon Hearing From the Government

Yesterday morning the phone rang, and I looked at the caller ID:  US Govt.  Given that we are the bosses of the US Govt, it could be a bit surprising that I am not delighted to see that they are calling me.

I am used to getting calls and letters from the US Govt, having had several disputes with them over filings for both The Brand Strategy Group (aka Garvey plus Gramann Inc) and Lanikai Bath and Body.  I have had only one (small) personal dispute in more than 40 years of paying taxes, and I settled that one because they were right.  All others:  no settlements. (I win)

The call yesterday was regarding a difference between the 941 filings for 2011 and the Social Security payments on behalf of my employees and the deductions from their checks.  I told the U.S. Govt representative, Monica, that I would call back.  Shortly thereafter, I remembered that 2011 was the year my accountant’s basement office got flooded and that I have no copies of my 941s for that year.

I busied myself with the General Ledger for Lanikai Bath and Body and the Employee Earnings Summaries to cobble together an approximation of what the 941s might have said.  This is extra confusing to me because all 941 filings are now online, and the US Govt should have copies of same.  I will phone Monica of the US Govt back tomorrow.

Here is a hint about what I learned from dealing with the US Govt.  Once they find you, they really like to correspond with you.  They are anxious to hear from you, and while they may not want you to write back, if you do, and you should, they will write you and say that it will take them 90 days to look into what has been described in your reply.  Never, never ignore your mail from the US Govt.  They do not take kindly to that.

Since they work for us, it is interesting that they never say thank you.  What if each person from the IRS called five people a day to say thank you?   What would it be like if you saw US Govt on your caller ID and picked up the phone to hear someone say thank you for paying your taxes (which you obviously have) or they would most likely not be in touch with you by regular mail or telephone?

The number of employees of the IRS part of the US Govt was about 50,000 in 2012.  The US population is currently 314.69 million people.  Let’s say that half of them are children, and therefore not taxpayers.  That leaves 157.345 million people.  And, according to Mr. Romney, 47% of us consider ourselves victims and do not pay taxes.  That leaves 73,521,150 people.

If 50,000 IRS workers make 5 calls a day, or a total of 250,000 calls per day, it will take 296 days to call everyone who is a likely taxpayer and thank them.  Less than a year.

Mar 7, 2013

Your Room Will Be Ready At 3:00 P.M.

When Mark and I first moved to Kailua we had five teenagers living with us.  There were a lot of comings and goings.  Neighbors thought we were running a bed and breakfast. One actually came to ask us how much we would charge to put up their mother-in-law and some other family members.  I am surprised we didn’t do it.

When my mother died, Brook made an early power point of “The Resort At Iana Street” to lure my father to Hawai’i at a time when he was truly alone and finding it hard to do anything other than miss my mother. We highlighted “the pool,” “the library,” “excellent guest rooms,” and our in-house chef (me at the time, later Ian).

Over the past 20 years, we have had well over 100 visits, from more than 55 different visitors.  I am guessing at the numbers, but they aren’t far off.  We have had young people live with us for a year and a half, we have had other young people live with us for eight weeks.  We entertain friends, family, friends of family, and friends of friends.  People who know about this aspect of our lives find it hard to believe.

Now that I am in my sixties, I can’t believe us, either.  My brother thinks we are crazy.

This weekend is the first time we have visitors “checking in and checking out” on the same day.  We are now officially a hotel.  Our friends the Weisingers (from Canada) are here with their daughters Maja and Monika.  They will depart on Saturday and Kulia and Travis Petzoldt (on their return from a two year Navy stint in Australia) and their daughter Maya will check in on the same day — to stay with us for two weeks.    The Petzoldts will have to stay in the lobby (living room) or out by the pool until we get their rooms ready.

This is only March.  I am sure by the time fall rolls around, four or five other visitors will stop for a short stay at our house.  We should publish a calendar and send updates to people who are likely to come.  We are popular:  we have many repeat visitors.  We actually love this aspect of our lives.  Because we live in Hawai`i  we know we will see our friends

in the next year or so.  What better expression of Aloha than to welcome people into your home.  We do, and we love it.


Feb 28, 2013

I Had That Idea Forty Years Ago

mine had a white cord, but close

When I came to Hawai`i 40 years ago, my goal was to be a copywriter at an ad agency.  Besides the fact that I was an East Coast Haole (in the 70′s, not cool), I had never written a word of copy.  I had written poetry for my school journals, articles and columns for the school newspaper, but not a line of copy.

Nevertheless, I presented myself at several local agencies as a copywriter.  One of the people I interviewed with was Phil Woods, who I would run into fifteen years later when Starr McCombs Koch merged with Seigle Rolfs and Woods.  Somewhere along the way, someone suggested I ought to write some copy for some imaginary products so people could actually read my writing.

So:  I “invented” — at least in a 2D sense — the electric fork.  I called it the Enrico Prestini Electric Fork, in a riff on the name of my friend Dr. Henry Preston who was at the time in medical school here.  I carefully attached an extension cord to my sterling silver fork, and created some fancy settings at my mother-in-law’s elegant table.  This particular shot was for the “Executive Electric Fork.”

Another version of the fork, and the one I am complaining about herein, was the Dieter’s Electric Fork.  It worked by rejecting every third bite.

The Enrico Prestini Electric Fork did get me an interview with someone I won’t mention, but whose initials are Pat Patterson.  He invited me out to lunch to celebrate and it was not long before I caught on that I hadn’t really gotten the job.  Shortly thereafter I got a job as a secretary — thanks to my expertise as a typist, acquired in 8th grade summer camp — at Sheraton’s advertising department.  My boss, Tom Radar, actually called Smith College to see if I had really gotten a B.A. in English there, not that my college degree was required for the job.

Recently, I heard about Hapilabs new product, a dieter’s fork.  Theirs works a bit differently than mine, but the result is the same.  From their website:

Eating too fast leads to poor digestion and poor weight control. 

The HAPIfork is an electronic fork that helps you monitor and track your eating habits. It also alerts you with the help of indicator lights when you are eating too fast.

Every time you bring food from your plate to your mouth with your fork, this action is called: a “fork serving“. The HAPIfork also measures:

* How long it took to eat your meal.
* The amount of “fork servings” taken per minute.
* Intervals between “fork servings”.

This information is then uploaded via USB to your Online Dashboard to track your progress. The HAPIfork also comes with the HAPILABS app plus a coaching program to help improve your eating behavior.

I heard on the news that the Hapifork goes berserk when you have taken 75 bites, the number Hapilabs says it takes to eat a decent meal.  (one that is not too fat, not too slow…).  Too bad I was ahead of technology.  I wonder how many people will buy Hapiforks?

Here are the product specs: (especially interesting is the patent on Capicitive detection)


  • Length : 7.87 inches // 200 mm
  • Width : 1 inch // 24.5 mm
  • Height : 2/3 inches // 15.70 mm
  • Weight : 0.14 pound // 65 gr

Electronic Key

  • Micro USB connector
  • Batterie Lithium Polymere + 3.7 V
  • Microchip Cortex M3 ST Micro electronic
  • Capacitive detection
  • Return to user : 1 vibrator + 2 leds
  • 2 component plastic shells

Handle Fork

  • Fits both electronically and mechanically
    with the electronic key

Patents : The technology is covered by four patents

  1. Measure of the hand to mouth
  2. Capacitive detection
  3. Specific mechanical cooperation in between electronic and fork
  4. Special cooperation between apps and data platform


HAPIfork is a connected fork which looks for a healthy eating behavior.

  • Eat at the right time
  • Eat at the right pace : not too fast
  • Share with your coach : download his feedback alarm.
  • Share with the community




Gloria. Circa 1955.

Gloria. Circa 2012.

Other than working for the American Red Cross in Korea for two years, Gloria Garvey has lived in Hawai`i since 1971. Her opinion and other writing has appeared in: The American Philatelist. Honolulu Weekly, The Honolulu Advertiser, The Honolulu Star Bulletin, The Star Advertiser, Hawai`i Reporter, Pacific Business News, Island Scene, The Design Management Journal.

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