Fascinating stuff but until it nibbles my ear, turns over for belly rubs and rockets up on the cute meter, I think I’ll stick to my little Furbeast. And…hey!…stop kicking it!
I double dog dare you.
The Alpha Japanese Female (AJF) and I took Max to our local Petco shop to pick up some poochlet necessities.
While we were in line at checkout we were approached by the store manager and another lady who was toting a large camera.
They wanted to know if we would allow Max to be photographed for a story about dog Halloween costumes to be featured in our local paper – The Honolulu Star Advertiser. Max seemed amenable. The AJF began to transform into a stage mother and I thought the whole rigmarole to be funny.
Max was carted off to the pet grooming area to be “prepped” for his photo shoot. A young lady appeared with a pin brush and started glamming up the Furbeast. Meanwhile earnest consultations transpired over which costume should be worn by the Malt.
An alligator? No…doesn’t match his personality. Star Wars? Nope, he’s already as furry as Chewbacca eating an Ewok. Finally, for reasons that remain obscure to me, they decided that a piñata would be Max’s ideal get-up.
By then, the brush out was complete, copious food bribes had been offered and ingested and we were ready for his close up, Mr. DeMille. But first Max had to be dressed in his costume and, as you can see, he failed to see the good humor in the process. Miffed Maltese.
Eventually our little piñata was fully prepared and the photo session went off without a hitch. The AJF was so proud although I heard her mumble about union scale, residuals and percentages off the top whatever that was about.
He will make his newspaper appearance within the next couple of weeks. I promise to post the actual newspaper photo of Max when it is released.
Meanwhile, Max and I decided on his “official” costume for Halloween. You may remember that last year he dressed as a Viking warrior. Well, this year will be quite different but I’m not giving away the secret yet… For now, Max will remain a piñata.
A piñata who hates me.
Max is a creature who likes his comforts and will resist any initiative to get him off his favorite chair.
This is particularly true when it comes to his 10 PM walk. He has mastered the passive part of passive-aggressive behavior.
Submitted as proof of this hypothesis:
No doubt you think the production values rival those of Spielberg. You’re right. Marvin Spielberg that is, the dentist from Poughkeepsie.
The Malt was frankly suspicious when informed that today’s jaunt would take him to the end of the road.
For a dog who soaks up luxury and leisure pursuits, that sounded a bit too challenging to Max.
But after a few rounds of hold-the-cookie-on-your-nose, the wee Furbeast was ready for some exploration of his island home.
Today’s end of the road destination was Mokulēʻia.
Mokulēʻia means “isle of abundance.” It’s a small, rural town located on the western side of Oahu.
There are probably 2,500 people living there; it’s about as remote as one gets on Oahu. It’s where the road ends, literally, as one tries to circumnavigate Oahu counter-clockwise.
There was once a railroad around this far western point of Oahu and the dirt road used to go all around this part of the island, too.
I drove it in a beat up 1949 Chevy as recently as the late 1960s (OK, that’s not very recent) but erosion caused the path to slide into the ocean.
One can still ride bikes or hike around the coast but no vehicles are allowed.
Due to its remote tropical setting, that rather strange television series “LOST” filmed several scenes on the beaches of Mokulēʻia.
Fans will recall scenes of the beached fuselage from the fictional Oceanic Airlines flight 815.
The prop airplane drew a lot of attention as it sat on the beach for months because the crash appeared so authentic.
The television series Hawaii Five-0 also uses this area in various episodes where a wild coast is required.
The Mokulēʻia beaches are still a bit of an Oahu local secret.
The folks who come out here are self-contained. They don’t seek or want food stands or souvenir stores.
They bring tents and wind shelters, giant coolers and barbecues ranging from little hibachi to full scale Weber gas grills that they carry off the back of their pick up trucks.
It’s a mix of local folk and military folk with a smattering of tourists and all intermingle, generally with great success and mellow moods.
Mokulēʻia is also known as home of the Dillingham Airfield, formerly Air Force Base, which is a joint military/civilian airport currently used for glider riders and skydiving. Its military use is as a training location for night vision devices.
The airfield’s history goes back to the 1920s when a communications station called Camp Kawaihapai was established. At that time there was a railroad along the southern and western ends of Oahu and it was used to transport mobile coast artillery to the site.
By 1941, the Army leased additional land and established Mokulēʻia Airstrip with Curtiss P-40 fighters deployed there when the attack on Pearl Harbor took place.
After the Pearl Harbor attack, the runway was paved and extended to 9,000 feet long. By the end of World War II, Mokulēʻia Airfield could handle B-29 Superfortress bombers and was the longest air strip on the island.
In 1948, the airfield was inactivated and renamed Dillingham Air Force Base. Nike missiles were installed in the 1950s, one of four sites located on the island.
The Nike-Hercules guided missile was a nuclear-capable weapon but was obsolete by 1970.
In 1962, the State of Hawaii leased Dillingham for general aviation use. In the 1970s the base was transferred from the Air Force back to the Army.
The state signed new leases with the Army in 1974 and 1983. In the 1980s, hangars, a control tower, and a fire station were built.
Adjacent to the airfield is the Mokulēʻia Forest Reserve.
The Reserve is home to the Mokulēʻia Trail, a 10 mile trail that offers scenic views and is rated as difficult.
The trail is primarily used for hiking, mountain biking and road biking and is accessible year-round.
Dogs are also able to use this trail although certain porky Maltese dogs have been known to faint at the idea of a long outdoor hike.
One mile beyond the airfield is the entrance to Kaʻena Point, the westernmost tip of land on the island of Oahu. Spelling and pronunciation count with this name.
Kaʻena with the ‘okina (the little backward apostrophe) can mean “the heat” or “the hottest part of the flame” and refers to those things that are glowing, raging, enraged.
On the other hand, kaena without the ‘okina means to brag or boast, to be conceited or proud. If you have hiked Kaʻena you will appreciate the little backwards apostrophe – Kaʻena can indeed be hot as the gates of Hades and you will not be doing much boasting.
Though long uninhabited, Kaʻena was once an important community for fishing, feather-collecting and salt-making.
Nowadays, Kaʻena is a State Park and a nature preserve and a very significant cultural location.
It represents to Hawaiians the place where the souls of the dead leap off to join their ancestors in the next realm of their existence.
There are several such leaping off spots on the Hawaiian Islands and each is a special place full of stories and legends and, frankly, creepy as hell as night.
Kaʻena is also a living example of native Hawaiian ecology.
The area is abundant with native coastal plants and a total of 11 plants found at Kaʻena are on the Federal endangered species lists.
The reserve is a haven for the rare Hawaiian monk seal, and honu (Hawaiian green sea turtles) can often be found resting along the coastline.
In the deep waters, just off the point, spinner dolphins play and hunt for food. During winter and spring months, humpback whales are a familiar sight offshore.
Kaʻena is also home to birds such as the Laysan albatross and wedge-tailer shearwater and of course there is an abundance of fish of indescribable color and variety. For those seeking a little turf with their surf, there are plenty of mongooses and feral chickens darting across the roads, too.
After wandering around the road’s end, we watched the gliders for awhile but alas there were no parachute jumpers to be seen. So after some beach exploration the AJF announced she would like to stop at Kualoa Ranch for a bite, so we bundled into the car and headed 50 miles east where we enjoyed a pleasant lunch which, of course, included feeding Max his fair share of grass-fed local burger.
And then came bath time.
UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE!
You guys giggled about my purchase of this noble throne but the headline of our local paper today proclaims:
Hyatt Waikiki’s $100M renovation includes Japanese toilets
The story (behind a paywall) goes on to tout the many benefits and attractions of the super flusher.
So neener, neener, neener…I was just ahead of my time.
This whole thing began because the Alpha Japanese Female (AJF) believes that the Western world is inhabited by barbarians who do not appreciate the finer points of excretion. You see, in Japan, the majority of households have a “Washlette,” a technologically advanced magic toilet seat. Perhaps you’ve seen or experienced a Japanese wonder toilet seat. No doubt you’ve heard of them. They have remote control devices that offer more water features than the fountains at the Bellagio, heated seats, bidet functions and built-in deodorizer fans. Some models play whooshing white noise in an effort to obscure other, more ebullient sounds and some boast seats that respectfully rise as you approach them. Night lights, too.
The Washlette was invented in 1982 by Japanese company, Toto. Today, more than 70 percent of Japanese homes now feature a toilet seat with enhanced capabilities. In contrast, only 30 percent have a dishwasher. That statistic clearly indicates the priority Japanese have about washing things, but I digress. Not so in ‘Murika where we rate our toilet seats on functionality and weight bearing capacity, as opposed to luxury. Even in Hawaii with our high Asian population, my very informal survey, conducted with the utmost discretion, indicates most of our toilets cannot perform tricks. This is kind of odd. We spend so much cash on granite counters, stainless steel refrigerators and hardwood floors but so little on a little basic ass comfort. As the AJF points out, either we are barbarians or maybe we are just ignorant of the benefits a Toto can provide. So let me tell you about my $1,000 toilet seat.
Having finally acceded to the AJF’s demands to upgrade our commode status, we visited our local Washlette showroom and browsed the various models, an experience that inevitably led to bad jokes, immature behavior and embarrassing questions. For example, I referred to the toilet seats as “Japanese picture frames” which got me a swift whack across the back of my head. The salesman was a pro and simply smiled politely at our nonsense. We quickly concluded that if digital defecation was the objective, so to speak, we wanted the top-of-the-line model. $1,021.00 plus tax. Being a canny shopper with Amazon Prime I was able to bag the toilet seat for $780.00 including free delivery. But…it’s not that simple. One needs to have a special electrical outlet in proximity to the throne which set us back another $300.00. After that, I was comfy doing the rest of the installation myself and it was a snap. So what does a grand worth of Japanese picture frame get you? First of all, we skipped the automatic lid lifting feature. We quickly realized that there were two scenarios involving the small white dog. The first was that he would be terrified of the automatic device; the second was that he would think it was entertaining. Neither option appealed. Fortunately Max is too short to be a bowl drinker, if you know what mean and I think you do. As you approach the toilet, the Washlette turns on a bowl light and sprays the inside of the toilet with a preparatory mist of electrolyzed water. This magic elf water is said to keep the bowl cleaner – the manual euphemistically says it repels “dirt.”
OK, we’re going to get graphic about the Washlette’s more, uh, intimate functions. The timid and those with weak stomachs are advised to turn back now. Did I mention that the seat is heated? Oh yeah, baby, and your posterior meat never realized how good that feels until you’ve given it a try. Smush your butt ham on to that elongated oval and settle in. Using the Washlette’s remote, you can adjust the seat’s temperature up or down until your haunches are happy. When the time comes, there’s the bidet function, the killer app of Toto’s masterpiece. The “money shot.” This is why one goes “top of the line.” For reasons unknown, most Americans seem to be intimidated, perhaps fearful, of a “bidet.” Why is that, do you suppose? Is it the French name? Maybe it’s that Puritan ethic that drives us to eschew a warm, moist butt-cleaning and stick with dry paper that often has the texture of tree bark. Do we feel a need to punish ourselves for the nasty act? Maybe we think that paying attention to this bodily function is somehow deviant or a waste of time better spent on other bodily parts like nose hair?
Unlike our brethren in Europe and Asia, ‘Murikans won’t even accept moist towelettes in lieu of the dry stuff. A market survey showed that moist wipes are only 3 percent of U.S. toilet paper sales and, of households that do buy moist toilet paper, 54 percent hide it out of sight in a bathroom cabinet. This makes no sense, particularly when no one would forego baby wipes and treat their newborn to dry wad. Go figure. But, back to the bidet. It’s awesome. Hands free, with a steady stream. A pressure washer for your undercarriage. There are two positions: “front” and “rear” ( I think the latter designation is a Toto pun but can’t prove it.) The front position uses an icon of a lady perched on the seat while the rear features a male icon. Do I need to spell this out any further? I thought not. You may augment the liquid cleansing process with dry paper if you wish, in whichever sequence you desire. Oh yeah, you can also use the remote to control the pressure of the flow and the water temperature. You want a gentle spring shower, no problem. A master blaster gushing an outpour like a Yellowstone geyser, you got it. There are buttons to modify the oscillating or pulsing characteristics and even the position where the spray makes its lunar landing on your moon. The remote allows two people to program their preferred settings so a single touch activates the perfect cleaning cycle. A bull’s-eye every time.
When clean, the Toto will treat the user to its “drying cycle” which features an airflow adjustable from summer breeze to Class 5 Typhoon and cool zephyr to roast-your-buns in temperature. As you leave, the toilet whispers “sayonara.” Nah…I made that last part up. Being a polite blogger I will spare you my more personal experiences and observations except to say I cannot now conceive of life without my $1,000 toilet seat. It may be as close as I will ever come to life among the 1%ers. More importantly, the adage “Happy wife, happy life” has again been validated.
It’s official. Hormel Foods will release a new version of Spam exclusively in Hawaii.
Yes, we’re talking a Portuguese Sausage-flavored Spam that unites two of the islands’ favorite meat products in one can with an expiration date measured in centuries.
Only in Hawaii. Well, that makes sense since Hawaii consumes more Spam per capita than any other state.
How much? Well, roughly 5 million pounds a year which is the equivalent of 6 cans for every man, woman and child in Hawaii.
Oh sure, there is that dark secret that both Guam (16 cans per person per year!) and American Samoa have us beat in per capita consumption.
But neither is a U.S. state so we ignore those statistics, scream “neener, neener, neener” and declare proudly, “We’re #1!, we’re #1.”
Spam is available at McDonalds, Burger King and Jack in the Box and at just about every restaurant from greasy chopstick dive to fine dining establishment. It gets the gourmet treatment by foodies: truffled Spam, Sriracha-sauced, with jalapeno quesadillas and even sandwiched in a glazed donut.
We have street fairs dedicated to Spam; in fact the annual Waikiki Spam Jam occurs on May 2nd.
We sell Spam tee shirts, accessories and home products and swag of all designs.
We have teriyaki Spam and we list Spam as a food staple for emergency preparation kits along with rice and bottled water.
Of the 13 Spam varieties sold in Hawaii, the top sellers generally are the Classic, Lite and Less Sodium varieties.
This is primarily because they are sold in multipacks at membership stores such as Costco and Sam’s Club.
On the other hand, most grocery retailers sell cans, especially the flavored ones, individually. But the company doesn’t reveal the rankings of flavored Spam products.
Got to keep that trade secret stuff secret, dontcha know.
Get some Spam today. Your family will thank you for it. Father, usually a grump, will be lots more fun.
If you need some Portuguese Sausage-flavored Spam, let me know and I’ll send you a can or two, or four hundred.
Max and his Mom went to the park yesterday and I happened to snap the pic shown below.
I sent it to the kids and asked for their captions. The responses ranged from “Short Conga Line” to some truly rude comments that the AJF is certain to remember on birthdays and at Christmas.
I still have not figured out what is going on between these two. Feel free to submit your own caption. The winner will get imaginary internet bonus points.
Apparently they worked out their communication issues and the dog was given his instructions.
Sorry for the drive-by post! Just wanted to say “hi.” Max will be making a new submission very soon. Promise.
The city of Hilo on Hawaii’s Big Island sits in the shadow of the world’s largest shield volcano, Mauna Loa.
There are many tales about Mauna Loa’s eruptions and the dangers those lava flows posed to the pretty little city by the bay that dates back to about 1100 AD.
This is one of the stranger stories: the time when the US Army Air Corps (USAAC) bombed the volcano to stop a threatening magma flow before it could reach Hilo.
Our story begins with the eruption of Mauna Loa that started on November 21, 1935. It came as no surprise to those working at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.
Like most Hawaiian eruptions, it was preceded by two flurries of earthquakes months prior to the outburst of lava. Each flurry tracked the upward migration of lava within the volcano. The largest recorded earthquake was so strong it was felt on Oahu. The actual eruption began at 6:20 PM with 300’ curtains of molten rock fountaining on the northeast side of the volcano’s caldera.
By December 8, the vent began producing the smooth, gloopy form of lava called pahoehoe. Following a northerly heading, the pahoehoe flows had ponded in the low area between Mauna Loa and the giant dormant shield volcano Mauna Kea at which point it turned to follow the natural drainage toward Hilo.
On December 26, the flow was moving about a mile per day and Hawaii’s leading volcanologist, Dr. Thomas A. Jaggar, Director of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, concluded that the threat to Hilo was limited.
Nearly a month later, however, the situation dramatically changed when ponded lava, located less than 20 miles from Hilo, broke through the natural levees of stone and began a rapid flow directly toward the city.
Jagger, neither a Meister nor Mick, believed something had to be done or the lava flow would cut off Hilo’s water supply and possibly burn the city. Seeking a solution to nature’s wrath, he had been experimenting with using TNT hauled by mules up the side of the volcano to dynamite lava tubes and divert the flows. Problem was, he was running out of time and the mules were not getting any faster. Dr. Jaggar estimated that the lava flow would wipe out Hilo on January 9, 1936, unless it could somehow be stopped.
Another volcanologist, Guido Giacometti, suggested using US Army Air Corps bombers to deliver precision explosions more rapidly.
The plan made perfect sense in a “here, hold my beer for a second” Guido-sort of way.
I mean, dropping bombs on an active volcano – what could go wrong?
In any case, as time was of the essence, a call was placed to the 23rd Bomb Squadron, US Army Air Corps in Hawaii where the operational planning was tasked to a Lt. Colonel George S. Patton, who would go on to WWII fame.
It was a gorgeous Hawaii day on December 27, 1935 when the first of two flights of five bombers took off to bomb the volcano. Each plane carried two 300 pound practice bombs and two live bombs with 355 pounds of TNT; in other words, twenty bombs for a total of 7,100 pounds of dynamite. Picky chemists and pedants will note that TNT and dynamite are not exactly the same things but I digress.
The USAAC’s “Keystone” bombers themselves were a pretty rag tag group of outdated, obsolete airplanes that the USAAC hoped to replace.
The B3-A was a twin-engine biplane bomber, among the last biplanes used by the United States Army. Each 48 foot-long airplane was operated by a crew of five and had a less than dazzling cruising speed of 98 miles per hour with a service ceiling lower than the 13,679-foot summit of Mauna Loa.
The U.S. Army planes dropped bombs, targeting the lava channels and tubes just below the vents at 8,600 ft hoping to divert the flow near its source. The results of the bombing were immediately declared a success by the good Doctor Jaggar. In the resulting news reels, the USAAC was credited with saving Hilo and its waterworks. To this date, the 23rd Bomb Squadron still officially takes credit for saving Hilo from destruction by lava.
Jagger wrote that “the violent release of lava, of gas and of hydrostatic pressures at the source robbed the lower flow of its substance, and of its heat.”
Indeed, the lava stopped flowing on January 2, 1936.
However, the efficacies of the lava bombing and the science behind the idea have been disputed ever since the 1930s.
The modern scientific conclusion is that Dr. Jaggar’s assessment was vastly overstated and the lava flow stopped entirely by coincidence.
In effect, the small Mk I bombs were a pointless and futile effort.
Just five months later, in a bizarre twist, the Mauna Loa volcano again erupted, once again threatening Hilo. Once again, US Army aviation assets were called in for the job, this time using more modern B18s. Their bombs proved equally ineffective; in other words, a thorough waste of otherwise good munitions in the view of later scientists who have studied the matters closely. That wasn’t the end of the “bomb the volcano” trend, however, and bombs were similarly used to “thwart” another Hilo-bound Mauna Loa flow in 1942. Mauna Loa can be such a tease.
So, could one successfully use bombs to divert lava flows? The question remains alive today and was floated in discussions relating to the current lava flows from Kilauea Carter than have threatened Pahoa as recently as this year.
The answer is not completely clear. In the late 1970s, a volcanologist from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory recruited the military to drop thirty-six bombs on historical Mauna Loa flows along the northern part of the mountain, within an Army training area. Doctor Lockwood assumed the strength of the hardened old flows was comparable to active flows, which often develop a solidified exterior mid-eruption.
The result of the experiment was awesome demolition, where bombing pockmarked flows with mini craters.
The largest craters formed in areas where the rock was less dense.
It was proof enough that bombing could work using the far more powerful bombs available.
In theory lava bombing might work but frankly today’s residents of Hawaii would never stand for a bombing of what Madame Pele has created. “Let the lava flow” is the only acceptable mantra today.
Final note: to watch a brief newsreel of the actual 1935 lava bombing, please click on this link. I could not afford the fees to embed the nifty video but you can see it at the link for free.