Browsing articles in "Hawaii"
Jan 23, 2013

Selling The Garden Island

I am talking about the newspaper, not the island, which was just purchased by The Star Advertiser.  I think the job loss was quoted at 14 (or was it 41?) which may not seem like much, but it is a lot on the tiny island of Kauai.

The Star Advertiser is going to print the paper here and fly it to Kauai every day — this is no doubt part of carrying out The Advertiser’s plans, before it was purchased by the local people who owned The Star Bulletin.  So this is for you, guys;  you  know who you are.

When The Star Bulletin bought The Honolulu Advertiser, lots of people lost their jobs.  Now, more people are losing their jobs because of The Star Advertiser.  The reasoning behind putting your precious millions into The Star Bulletin in the first place, local owners, was so there would be local ownership and a second print voice in the community.  The local owners prize their local-ness and certainly understand the limitations of finding jobs in Hawai`i in general, and on Kauai in this specific case.

I inadvertently thought that the local owners were in fact interested in preserving local jobs.  I am a bit biased because I worked for Mike Fisch when he was the publisher of The Advertiser and The Honolulu Advertiser employed hundreds of local people.  It was The Honolulu Advertiser that built the shiny plant The Star Advertiser claims so proudly.

The Honolulu Advertiser was literally, because of its parent Gannett’s deep pockets, able to launch Sunshine lawsuits and work to get media information exposed.  While it is true that it was The Star Bulletin which exposed The Bishop Estate, that was to some degree that it had far less to lose than had The Honolulu Advertiser published it.  They were in fact offered it first, but didn’t publish it because they were fact checking — a lost art in the media these days.  Nonetheless, most of the stuff we know that perpetrators hoped we would never find out is because The Honolulu Advertiser had the deep pockets of its parent Gannett to pursue the answers hidden and unknown.

The Honolulu Advertiser, because of its parent Gannett’s deep pockets, was able to step forward and be the first company to give money to support the about-to-be-shutdown Honolulu Shipyard.  I need not go on — there were examples too many to count.

I know the newspaper industry is changing — even great papers like the New Oreleans own Time Picayune are being shut down or made into unrecognizable editions of their former selves — but here in Hawai`i, we all know things are different.  When the local people bought minority shares in The Star Bulletin because we needed a second (presumably local) voice, we were one of about four cities which had two papers in the entire country.  Anyway, we have the coconut wireless.

For a while O`ahu had two newspapers.  Now we have one.  Owned mostly by an outsider, a little bit by local people.  Acting like a big corporation.    I don’t know the insides of  The Garden Island deal.  Maybe they are  giving each person they are letting go $100,000.  But I doubt it.


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 6, 2013

Lazy Liberals of Hawai`i Nei

It is Congresswoman Hana-BOOsa, thank you very much.

The warm and fuzzy folks at FOX “news” sent some guy named Watters out here to find out why Hawai`i is so liberal.  Of course they edited the film to make us look liberal and stupid at the same time, interviewing a woman (among others) in a bikini who did not know what liberal meant.

Bill O’Reilly weighed in with more opinions that he doesn’t believe, saying that we have no hard working conservatives, only lazy liberals.  Further, he noted that Asians are “usually conservatives,” so liberalism in a State that is largely Asian makes no sense whatever.  So CNN interviewed some Asians who said that FOX “news” was not worth responding to and “I’m an Asian and I’m liberal.  End of story.”

O’Reilly and Watters could have had an intelligent discussion on the issue, but did not.  Big surprise.  Why would people who had been brought here to work the plantations (no fun whatever, very hard work) and then put in internment camps in World War II  not be liberal?    O’Reilly and Watters were also disturbed that whites were in the minority — which, actually, they aren’t — they are the majority of a bunch of minorities.  The burgeoning white population are haole from the mainland, who have happened on our beautiful islands and come back to make their home here. ( Many of these people are in the much talked about 2%, so I suggest we be planning to raise taxes on the rich.)

But I digress.  The anti Asian slurs by O’Reilly and Watters made our Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa put the gloves on.  She was rightly offended, and I guarantee you she is not going to let this die.

Maybe O’Reilly and Watters have figured out that Hawai`i has a lot to teach the nation in terms of living side-by-side with different people.   It is a state stolen from the Hawaiians, and built on the backs of Chinese, Japanese, Koreans and Filipinos.   Unions and liberalism grew up here because the Luna of the plantations and the “big five” haole companies did not take care of people the way they should have.

It is a state where people know about patience and live with comprise on a daily basis.  This is not to say we don’t have our power players or shifty politicians (not the ones we send to Washington) but Hawai`i and growing up here is part of the reason that Obama can be strong and also be a compromiser.  As they say in France (they do, according to Google)    “Mieux vaut prévenir que guérir” (“Better bend than break”).

We have sent several Buddhists to congress … and as one of our friends likes to say ” A Buddhist’s notion of patience is watching a boulder erode.”

That doesn’t mean they don’t know when to push it down the hill.

Jan 6, 2013

Obama to Grow a “Fro” in Second Term

Supposedly removed from store shelves; still available on

In a second history-making term referred to by insiders as the WTFN? term, Obama plans to do whatever the f–k he wants.  Caveat emptor, I am a liberal’s liberal and this blogpost is BS or my mind has been taken over by republican zombies.  Ann Coulter, are you in there?

Obama’s first priority will be to irritate the f–k out of Mitch McConnell.  Since Mitch has to run for another term in 2014, the main thrust of the first two years of the second Obama administration will be to dethrone him.  WTFN?

A staff member has been dedicated to listening to Rush Limbaugh and FOX ‘news” for the express purpose of gleaning things Obama can do to irritate the right.  If they accuse him of it, he will do it.  WTFN?   As we have already seen, his agenda has immigration and gun control on it, and it will be fun to watch him stand his ground.  WTFN?

Look forward to annual firearms license and registration fee.  WTFN?  No more concealed carry.  WTFN?  Look forward to the realization of the Dream Act.  While Republicans are dreaming, we will allow immigrants who are already here to start the path to citizenship.  Once a month, The Dream Act red carpet will be rolled out on the Mexican border.  WTFN?

Beginning in September 2016, Obama will initiate a free-for-all of Executive orders, cleaning up everything that he has left undone — or was forced to leave undone.  WTFN?   The Republicans will be so busy trying to win the White House it will take them a while to notice what the black man in the white house has done.

Jan 5, 2013

State of the Light Source Industry

Surprise! Does not meet government toxicity standards. Has Mercury. Can catch fire and/or smoke.

In 2007  Congress passed the energy bill.  Shortly thereafter, the Republicans defunded it.  So the effort to ban incandescents over time has had no oompf behind it.  Still, Ian tells me that Home Depot will stop stocking high wattage incandescent bulbs.  Ever present to the world around us, Ian made a trip to Home Depot to buy up sufficient incandescense to incandess our house for years.

About two years ago, Ian changed most of our bulbs to CFLs (compact flourscents) which were being flogged by the electric company as the be-all-end-all solution.  Turns out they have mercury in them and if they break, the government recommends that you leave the room for twenty minutes.  Nice.  He was going to replace all the CFL lights with LED lights, but he got to the cashier and found out it would cost in excess of $3000.  No sale.

LEDs the current be-all-end-all are still pretty expensive, and they haven’t quite got the lighting right.  Their prices will come down.  I love my LED Christmas tree lights, which I can bang around and they don’t break, and they last a heck of a long time.

Since all of this was new to me, I googled CFL V Incandescents v LEDs and found a chart.  Some interesting facts:


Light Source          Incandescents                     CFLs                   LEDs

life span/hours                    1200                                  8000                   50000

KWh/year                              3285                                    767                      329

Cost/year                              $328.59                         $76.65                   $32.85

heat emitted/hour              85 BTUs                         30 BTUs                  3.4 BTUs

So — there’s your treatise on the lighting industry.


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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