Thursday, December 6, 2007

Musings: All Over the Place

It was more morning than night when Koko and I walked today, although Venus and the waning crescent moon still reigned over the sky.

Since it was lighter than usual, I got to see things I usually don’t, like the golf ball-sized toadstools growing alongside the road. A pink cloud released a sheet of gray rain over in the vicinity of the airport, and a rainbow arched out of the clouds atop Wailaleale.

Yesterday I saw a lot of rainbows — about six, if I recall correctly — on my way to and from Kalihiwai, where the surf was giant, but sloppy, prompting lookey-lous to double-line the road at the bend on the river side, making it dangerously hard to get by, much to the annoyance of people who down live there, some of whom I’d gone to visit.

They informed me that the bones of three persons — one of them in a casket — and a horse had been dug up as the ground was excavated for two septic tanks so a second house can be built on the site closest to the ocean. And for a cool $2 million, it can yours.

Great. Now we’ve moved beyond excavating ancient burials and are digging up modern ones, too. While we’re on that topic, I have a story in the current issue of Haleakala Times that merges the controversy over the excavation of burials at the Whole Foods site on Oahu with the concern over the natural foods giant coming to Maui. I couldn’t help noticing that the ad running right next to my story on the website was for the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, where 900 skeletons were uncovered in 1988.

The PR person for Whole Foods finally responded to my inquiry yesterday, a mere 15 days after I made it and the day after the story was published. I’m still waiting to hear back from the Department of Land Natural Resources public information officer on an inquiry I made last week for a story on a Kauai biofuel project that came out in yesterday’s Honolulu Weekly. (I’ll post the link when it comes on line next week.)

If a public corporation wants to blow off the media, it has the right, but I have a problem with first, being unable to speak directly to state officials who make decisions that affect the public and second, waiting for the PIO to ask the question for me, and not getting a timely response.

Do you ever get the feeling folks just don’t want to answer your questions, or even hear what you have to say? That’s the only explanation I can derive for scheduling a public hearing on proposed revisions to the state Water Resource Protection Plan for 6 tomorrow night in Lihue.

Now how many people want to attend a hearing on a Friday night? And it just so happens to coincide with the parade of lights down Rice Street, when all the roads leading to the meeting site at the civic center will be closed. Let’s hope they put more thought and planning into the revisions themselves, which I will try to read and synthesize for tomorrow’s post.

I’d meant to do that this morning, but experienced bloggus interruptus when I had to zip up to Kilauea again to pick up my health food order. I’m part of a buying club, which helps keep prices way down, and the monthly stockpile came in today.

Saw two more rainbows on the way there, and Crack 14 must be goin’ off because the highway was packed with cars. I wonder how much longer the surfers will be able to get in there, with that fancy new house going up alongside the old cane road. But that’s one good thing about surfers. They push the access issue.

Which reminds me of the next question that Superferry security watchdog Karen Anderson plans to pose: “Dear Superferry, I want to bring a car full of fireworks for my New Year's camping trip, plus tiki torch fluid, cans of lighter fluid, two 20 gallon propane tanks and some hunting rifles. What kinds of fireworks are allowed on board and in what quantity? Also, is it okay to store the fireworks next to the lighter fluid in my trunk?”

Awright. You go, grrrl!

And while we’re on the topic of Superferry security. I got another email directing me to this blog, and this link, which contained this nugget: “Large passenger ferries, such as the ones that carry citizens between Manhattan and Staten Island, New York, pose the greatest risk of terrorism in maritime transportation, the U.S. Coast Guard and Department of Homeland Security warn.

“According to a Coast Guard study, large ferries received the highest risk assessment score among 80 maritime terrorist scenarios, tying with a ship carrying hazardous cargo near an urban area. DHS has also issued a bulletin warning that terrorists are scouting U.S. ferry systems for possible attack.”

But hey, no worries. We’ve got the “Unified Command” keeping us, and the Superferry, safe from the “terrorists” — you know, da guys paddling surfboards and outrigger canoes at Nawiliwili and Kahului harbors.


Anonymous said...

Yes, it was after the 900 burials were discovered in Kapalua on Maui in 1988 that the State created the Burial Councils for each island. What developers need to understand is that when they develop in Hawaii, they need to develop AROUND the burials and quit thinking that they can move things out of the way just like how they did on the mainland beginning with the Native Americans.

Anonymous said...

You can just about spit in any direction and hit a burial site. I say move 'em and plant 'em elsewhere...just like they do on the mainland.

It's just stupid to have to work around such things. Enough already of this catering to local ancient custom!

If it were my relatives, I'd say move em or pave em over!

Anonymous said...

Well, they're not your relatives, so show some respect.

Anonymous said...

I can respect the memory of the dead, but not their current location!

If the dead are in the way of the living, the living always win!

This is one of the things that give "natives" a bad rep.

Not even the Japanese, whose culture emphasises ancestor worship, is as fanitical about this as our beloved natives.

Considering the size of kauai and the total number of people who have died and been buried over the centuries, do you really think that "the living" haven't shifted (or overbuild) "the dead" quite a but over time?

I found a bone on my property here once...fed it do my dog.

Anonymous said...

"Not even the Japanese, whose culture emphasises [sp?] [SIC; Ph.D., who are you kidding?] ancestor worship, is as fanitical about this as our beloved natives."

Care to post some credible evidence?

Anonymous said...

I knew this would stir things up with gadfly. Gadfly, Hawaii is not your type of place, obviously. Why not take a hike and go back to the continent? You will be happier there, guaranteed!

Anonymous said...

From wikipedia:

"In modern times, the custom of burying dead people below ground with a stone marker to mark the place is used in almost every modern culture, although other means such as cremation are becoming more popular in the west (cremation is the norm in India and mandatory in Japan)."

Mandatory in Japan. Why? SPACE LIMITATIONS!!! Like, for example, small islands with large populations that want to use the land for more constructive purposes.

Burn 'em and urn 'em...keep 'em on the coffee table if you want. Just free up the land!

BTW - spell check was the greatest 20th century invention, as far as I'm concerned.

Anonymous said...

After 7 yrs here, we love Hawaii! Perfect place for us, once we got used to the "polynesian paralysis" around here that makes the mexican manyana seem like a new york minute.

"The land of friendly incompetence" where one of our fav hobbies is chuckling at many of the amusing local practices.

And we're far from alone in that.

Anonymous said...

Is what the phrase "F****n haole!" was invented for? Just a guess!

Anonymous said...

"Is what the phrase "F****n haole!" was invented for? Just a guess!"

Nah, he'd be a f****** a****** regardless of his ethnic background.

Anonymous said...

About the Haleakela times - seems there was recently a major shake-up there, with the now former Editor Bree Ullman ousted, and new local management now in control.

Has Hawaii just lost another independent print media resource?

I would loove to hear your musings on this topic, Joan, as I don't think you will be invited to rattle bones again in those pages any time soon.

Anonymous said...

Well, I'd rather be the rich, healthy, young-ish (retired at 50 in 2000 and moved here), world-travelling "F****n haole!" living in the paradise of my own making than 10 out of 10 second choices.

As much as we intellectualize about broader horizons, we all live in a small world of our own making. I absoutely love mine. I'm sure you love yours too. Mine only has to last another 25-30 (life expectancy) years and I believe it will.

"This town's big enough for the both of us".

Well, maybe your island isn't, but that's not my problem.