Browsing articles in "All in the Family"
Jan 25, 2013

My Life in Guns

My grandfather shot himself dead with a gun.

My aunt shot herself dead with a rifle.

My cousin murdered his brother.

Eight of my half-sister’s aunts and uncles shot themselves dead with a gun.

My brother’s best friend was shot dead with a gun while watching television in his home.

My son and I were trapped in our car and nearly shot by a neighborhood vigilante with a rifle.

My family, you will point out, brings up the mental illness issues associated with gun ownership, but with the exception of my cousin all of the fatal wounds were self-inflicted — because they had guns in their homes.

(Don’t forget, Dick Cheney shot his friend in the face with a gun.  And Wayne LaPierre is probably mentally ill).

Jan 25, 2013

“He isn’t a Liar. He’s Just a Kid”. Manti Te`o’s Dad

Anyone who watched the Katie Couric interview with Manti Te`o got a sense of what it is like to be a child in an extened Samoan family.  Those of us who know Hawai`i, and those lucky enough to know Manti, know that he is the real deal.  At the end of the interview, I am not sure Katie believed him; maybe she has trafficked in the world of liars and narcissists too long to comprehend.

Does he seem 21 or 22 to you?  No, I think he probably doesn’t.  Manti has been expected to act as a leader, with dignity and respect for others since he was a little kid.  Now that he is a big kid, it seems like the world thinks he’s a grown up.  Could your 21 year old go through what he has gone through and still comport himself the way he did on Katie’s show?

Lance Armstrong must have been thanking his lucky stars when the Manti Te`o story came on the scene.  While compelling that anyone could be as naive and trusting as Manti, or as cruel and untrustworthy as Ranaih Tuiasosopo, this story did not rise to the attention it was given.

If Manti seems too good to be true, he isn’t.  You can bet he has learned a lot from this experience:  he may be naive but he is no dummy.  And I suspect no longer naive.  Given the chance, he will continue to surprise us all his life, and to be a model of decency and kindness.  This is something he shares with so many of the talented Samoans who play in the NFL.  Junior Tseu was one of them. Jesse Sapolu another.  Too many to count.

He didn’t need “Lennay Kekua” or “her” phony car accident and death to be a candidate for the Heisman.  Ask anyone at Notre Dame.



Jan 23, 2013

Gotta Get My Gun

There are reports that 250,000 people have signed up for the NRA since the President made his announcement about changes in the gun laws.  And lots of people are buying guns.  In a class recently where my son was getting his hunter’s license, one of the participants there raised his hand and said “I only want a gun.”  So I am wondering if these people are buying assault weapons before they are banned, or clips with more than 10 rounds?

More than 900 people have been killed by guns in the U.S. since the Sandy Hook massacre.  Having a gun in the house makes it more likely that someone will be killed by a family member, by an accident or by their own hand.  It does not make people safer.  The statistics support this.

So I decided I had to get a gun.  One that is melted down into jewelry.  In Newark, where my favorite Mayor Cory Booker (he of the rushing-into-a-house-on-fire-to-save-someone) held a gun buy back program.  Jewelry designer Jessica  Mindich approached the Mayor with with the idea of melting down the guns and bullet casings and making them into jewelry.  Signing off “Jewlery for a Cause”, Ms. Mindich gives a portion of her proceeds to the city of Newark.  Recently she handed Mayor Booker a check for $20,000.

On the website where you can buy the bracelets,, it says:

The Caliber Collection is made up of metal from 250 guns and bullet casings seized by the Newark Police Department. The result is a series of pieces that embody the gun’s transformation from a destructive weapon to a powerful symbol of renewal. A portion of the proceeds from each sale is used to fund future Gun Buyback Amnesty programs in Newark. It is our hope that this will be a model that we can roll out in other cities across the nation.

The site is done in black and white and cleverly uses language associated with guns.  The theme of the site is “A shot of style, jewelry’s secret weapon.”   The name “caliber” was chosen because of guns, and because how the caliber of a city is raised without them.

My bracelet arrived in an envelope that said “evidence.”  The bracelet was tagged with the kind of tag you see on guns from buy-back sales.   The serial number and the city’s name Newark are on the bracelet and I will wear it proudly and with prayer that our country gets the message that guns make great jewelry.


Jan 15, 2013

Dr.Christian Boyens

You need only to glance at the memorial page set up for Christian Boyens almost a year ago.  Dr. Boyens was beloved by all of his patients, and I was certainly among them.  He was a patient’s doctor in the way we say someone is a man’s man — he really “got” his patients, made time for each one of them, and saved a lot of people.

One reason I loved him was that he knew enough to ask women whether or not they wanted to be weighed.  This happens to be the biggest barrier to most women going to the doctor.  The fact is, we know when we are fat, and if we are going to the doctor about fat that is one thing.  But usually we aren’t.

He spoke plainly to his patients, and made sure they understood what he was telling them:  what he figured their problem was and how he intended to solve it.    He did not disregard a patient’s own diagnosis, believing (I surmise) that they knew themselves as well as anyone.  He clearly respected you no matter who you were.

Sometimes you had to wait for Dr. Boyens, but it was always okay because you knew that you would have your time, too, if you needed it.  I have never seen anyone work so hard and yet be so pleasant.  He had an odd and quirky sense of humor which was very charming — once you got used to it.  He was always attuned to things that might seem insignificant, and often could make a big difference.

He would go over the reports about my heart (after my heart attack) and explain them more clearly, and certainly less scarily, than my cardiologist.  He gave me hope.  And I suspect he did that for other patients as well.

Dr. Boyens took on all comers — people who had insurance, people who didn’t.  The very abled and the disabled.  The non-addicted and the addicted.  And he treated everyone like the human beings that we all are.

Losing Dr. Boyens:  well that was a loss so huge that I cannot begin to explain it.  Ever since I was mistreated by my pediatrician in Denver, I have mistrusted doctors.  Until I met Christian Boyens.  We met wholly by accident; he was a Straub doctor in Kailua.  When he left Straub, we followed him.  I would follow Dr. Boyens anywhere.  I wish that I still could.  R.I.P. you wonderful man. I hope that you are looking down on us all, wishing us well, as we do you.

Jan 10, 2013

Branding and The Boy Scouts of America

 I gave this speech to the Aloha  Council of the Boy Scouts of America late in the last century.  I am adamantly opposed to their exclusion of gays in their organization, but I am posting this because it is an excellent overview of the discipline of branding.

Aloha and good morning.  Derek Fortin asked me to speak on the idea of Marketing and the Boy Scouts of America image.  I want to change that a bit, and talk to you about Marketing and the Boy Scouts of America Brand Identity.  Image is a word that is often construed to mean something superficial — even phony.  But a brand, or brand identity, is something far more profound.   Brands are not products or the logos or the images that represent them.  Brands are the relationship that a person has with a product.  Boy Scouts of America is a very powerful brand, that has a very strong connectionwith its customers.  The relationship which the Boy Scouts of America customers have with the “product” that is Boy Scouts is based on belief in values, loyalty and one of the strongest principles of branding — a continuity of experience

Today, I want to talk to you about three things.  I want to talk to you about what a brand is and how important a strong brand can be to a product or an organization’s future. I want to talk to you about the brand that is Boy Scouts of America.  And I want to talk to you about what it means for you who are here today — the keepers of the Boy Scouts of America brand — to champion that brand effectively so that it can survive in the 21st Century.

First, I want to spend a bit of time explaining the idea of brand identity, and why brand building is important to the Boy Scouts of America.

We can all name the world’s well known brands — Coca Cola, McDonald’s, Nike, Marlboro.  The value of the Coca Cola name, for instance, is estimated at more than $33 billion.    That value does not lie in the taste of Coca Cola, but in the promise that it makes to its customers.  When Coca Cola did its research on New Coke — the overwhelming taste preference was for the sweeter version of the soft drink.  But the company had failed to take into account the value of its brand, and how inextricably that brand was linked with what is now known as Classic Coke.  A brand is not something that can be seen, touched, tasted, defined or measured.  Intangible and abstract, it exists solely as an idea in the mind of the customer.  And yet, it is often a product’s most precious asset.

How many of you know that Marlboro used to be a cigarette for women?  At that time—prior to 1954 — Marlboro was called a luxury cigarette.  With a non-filtered tip that kept tobacco off a women’s lips it was hardly a rousing success.  It had one fourth of one percent of the tobacco market which —as any of us know — hardly spells success.  When Marlboro changed its image to target men, it developed a brand that was strong, masculine and rugged.  It co-opted cowboys forever.  The company added a filter, but didn’t change much else: except the brand identity. Continue reading »


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.

Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.