Clouds shaped like oversized squeeze toys skedaddled west and a growing, lopsided moon continued to dance with Jupiter, though not so closely as the evening before, when Koko and I went walking last night. The air was balmy, cooled to perfection by a wind brisk enough to ruffle clothes and rattle palm fronds, and Makalii was rising above a landscape illuminated by Hina’s bright silver-yellow light.
Needless to say, we lingered.
By morning, the moon and Jupiter had set, and Venus was glowing in the east above broad streaks of orange and charcoal. A hen, reunited with her cheeping puffball chicks following a raucous rousting by dogs, was scratching up a meal, keeping an eye on her flock.
Many parents seem to be wondering who is going to be keeping an eye on their kids when schools are closed for furlough Fridays. Advertiser columnist Jerry Burris was on target yesterday when he noted that the public and private effort to fill the gap “amounts to a backdoor form of privatizing or decentralizing our educational system” and then said:
Essentially, what you end up with is subtle cost-shifting. The "savings" achieved by the state will by and large be taken up by others, either for altruistic reasons or for political gain. There really will be no true savings for the overall, whatever you wish to call it, gross national income of the state.
Aside from this subtle cost-shifting, there's the issue of economic inequities. Kids from families with money likely will be able to buy some sort of quality experience on those days. Other kids will get whatever.
The whole situation underscores the way schools have become, to a large extent, an institutionalized babysitting service so parents can be freed up to work.
The tough work of cleaning up after an earthquake and tsunami has begun in Samoa, where at least 150 people were killed. I talked to civil defense administrator Mark Marshall, who said we did get a 13-inch tsunami, which resulted in some unusual sea surges at Nawiliwili Harbor. The tide would drop two-to-three feet, then come up two feet higher than the high tide, completely flooding the small boat ramp. And that’s something they hadn’t seen before. A surfer friend reported that he did a lot of paddling trying to get back in place after the big suck outs caused by surges on the southside.
Mark said the water in Samoa receded so far they couldn’t even see the ocean, then five waves hit in half an hour, with one 20-foot wave going a half-mile inland. And tsunami waves can push in for 20 minutes, not the 12 seconds we’re accustomed to with normal surf. So just stop for a minute and imagine what kind of damage that would cause all along our own coastline. Mark said many people hold the false belief that a tsunami coming from the south will affect just the southside, when in reality the wave would likely wrap around the entire island, with the most severe damage often occurring where the two wraps converge.
How long do you suppose our luck will hold until a monster wave hits Kauai? And then we’ll be dealing with the reality that has been driven home repeatedly to all of us caught in the gridlock caused by recent road construction: we’ve got just one way across the Wailua Bridge and just one way to get in and out of the North Shore. Add to that just one main entry port for our goods, and you start to get a sense of how vulnerable we are to a tsunami, and how complacent we’ve gotten about that threat.
Shifting gears, I don’t want to belabor the incident with Koohan Paik, other than to say I have a great deal of respect for Isaac Harp, who left a comment on that post. I appreciate his gallant effort to take the fall for Koohan; however, her contention that my story and others were just being used as fill to get a sense of how the site might look is false. The stories were used intentionally to create a product that was going to be presented to potential backers, which is disingenuous in and of itself. I was especially annoyed because I had previously told Koohan I did not want to write anything for New Pacific Voice until I had a sense of the site’s tone and look.
The issue is not about whether Koohan and I are politically aligned, how much she’s done for the community or me being flattered that people want to reprint my stories. It’s about respecting me and respecting copyright law, no matter how “20th Century” some folks might think that is. I’m very generous about letting people use my work, although it’s always appreciated when a link and attribution are included. But when I’ve written a story and sold it to a publisher, it’s an entirely different situation. They then own certain rights, and to reuse it without permission is not only wrong, it devalues something that the publisher and I own.
I don’t know why people think they’re entitled to take something just because it was created through the intellectual process. Do they feel similarly entitled to something created through manual labor?
As for anarchy, which also came up in the comments section, it's not, as so many people believe, an "anything goes" social system. It’s about people living with the highest personal integrity so they're not impinging on the rights of others and rules and laws aren’t needed to govern their behavior. I agree that it's an ideal form for society, and we’ve all got a ways to go to get there.
On a totally unrelated subject, I’ve been struck, in doing a spate of interviews lately, by how frequently people evoke God, or some higher spirit. And invariably, it’s in regard to an expression of gratitude, which caused me to muse, are people who don’t believe in the god concept less grateful than those who do?