Saturday, January 31, 2009

Queen's Surf

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A Ted Trimmer Red Sunset.

"Rules are not neccessarily sacred, principles are." President Franklin D Roosevelt

what are these eggs? I dunno, but aren't they pretty?

"The family seems to have two predominant functions: to provide warmth and love in time of need and to drive each other insane." Donald G. Smith
A spotted box fish swam beside me as I walked along the dock.

"Children are messengers to us from a world we once deeply knew." Alice Miller

The Hawaiians had names for every little feature and area of the `Aina, the precious land. Today we give directions by roads and buildings: human made creations. But the people of old had intimate familiarity with all of nature and took pleasure in naming it; In singing and dancing about it. Nowhere is this more apt than here in Waikiki, the "Spouting Waters" where three mountain streams: Palolo, Manoa, and I forget the other one, all give themselves to the sea, creating a unique micro-climate the ancients considered to be powerfully healing.

Diamond Head remains from their landscape to ours. And at her green skirts of Kapiolani Park is a distinct area of Waikiki Beach that we call "Queen's Surf." The people of old called it Kalehuawehe, "The Open Lehua Blossom."

High Chiefs from every Ahupua`a, or district, came to Waikiki in season to enjoy it's special ambiance. Taro was brought to them from nearby uplands, Fish and favorite sea-vegetables were always fresh at hand in the sea and also in the ingenious fishponds that graced our neighborhood back then.

One thing that even they might NOT do was to surf at Kalehuawehe, for it was Kapu, or taboo, for any but the high chiefess daughter of O`ahu's highest Ali`i of that classic time: Kakuhihewa. And so it remained her private joy until one morning. . .

A handsome young chief, pure Ali`i from the right side of Manoa Valley, stepped forward to offer her a perfect lei of lehua blossoms. Enraptured by that ultimate moment of their perfect youth and beauty on that perfect day, she accepted the lei which was as lovely as his manly smile. The unbroken custom of Aloha, of flawless reciprocation, put her in his debt. So wordlessly they joined hands and entered the surf together. From that day the Kapu was broken at Kalehuawehe. . . The place we call Queen's Surf. . .

And so the passing generations immemorial of Ali`i have left their Mana, and sometimes their bones, their sacred Iwi, here. Closer to our own times, King Kalakaua, the Merrie Monarch, spent happy hours beside the grand park named for his Queen Kapiolani. Then a Queen, his sister Liliuokalani, had her beach home here: the lovely Pualeilani , Heavenly Flower Lei, which she in turn left to Prince Jonah Kuhio, Hawaii's first (nonvoting) representative to the U.S. Congress; our "Citizen Prince." (And Prince Cupid to the ladies ;-) It was his own retreat until his passing in 1922. . .

Today, the Waikiki Aquarium is queen of this part of the beach. The deceptively small building houses myriad wonders as well as genuine scientists working to repair the oceans. So the healing quality of Waikiki remains. Only now it extends to the oceans themselves. Come feel it for yourself. Come to Queen's Surf. And that little thing about Kamehemeha landing his army here to begin the conquest of O`ahu, I mean the UNITING of the islands? It was a one time thing, man! This is a beach of peace - all back to normal. A happy normal indeed. . . when you're walking in Waikiki . . . .
A L O H A Cloudia

Friday, January 30, 2009

Honolulu Phone Book

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Reflected Sky, below

"You can't understand Barack until you understand Hawaii." Michelle Obama

"No place else could have provided me with the enviornment, the climate, in which I could not only grow but also get a sense of being loved."
U.S.A. President, Barack

Proud maintanence man

Aunties at the Royal Hawaiian.

“A day without Aloha is just another mainland day."
Buck Buchanan

The Honolulu Phone Book is very interesting! All the unique local names, and the many ethnicities represented, never fail to draw me in whenever I pick it up. Now who or what was I searching for? Oh well, look at all these “Makekau’s” “Manabog’s” “Manuel’s” “Masuda’s” “Ming’s” “Mook’s” and “Moon’s!” . . .A L O H A! Cloudia

Thursday, January 29, 2009

How Many Gods?

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A rarely seen image: Diamond Head under cloudy skies. Alert the tourism police!

"Art washes away the dust of everyday life."
Pablo Picasso

It's not enough to glory in the moment. We need to buy the t-shirt too!

"There's a difference between beauty and charm. A beautiful woman is one I notice. A charming woman is one who notices me."

John Erskine

Sally Field, TVs Gidget in the 1960's, has a new TV show in which we can watch as "Gidget Goes Senile."

"I'd rather be a failure at something I love than a success at something I hate."
George Burns

Nature, red in tooth, claw, and leaf!

Recently we have been hearing more "New Age" talk about angels, and animating nature-spirits like faeries, gnomes, nymphs and naiads. Any glimpse at shamanism immediately introduces us to a well populated invisible realm. . . We think of this merely as the childlike explanatory stories of immature humanity - never guessing the distilled wisdom behind it. We admire these artifacts, and pass the traditional stories on to our children as markers of ethnic identity, or multi-cultural enrichment.

For us moderns raised up in the Abrahamic faiths: Judaism ("The Lord Our God is ONE") Islam ("No God But Allah") and Christianity ("One Name, One Faith, One Lord") these mythologies of multiplicity can actually stir a vestigial anxiety: Idolatry. Just look at the parents who want to ban the Harry Potter books from their school's library! We must go, they remind us, to God (big "G") ONLY. Appeal to any other agency, or any exploration of the animate traits and personalities underlying worldly phenomena, feels like abomination. Jesus may have spoken of "powers & principalities" and confronted spirit beings, but western religion explains that the Age of Miracles has long since ended. Our world is now made up of "processes" and "rules" that we have largely discovered (Electricity!) and manipulate at our pleasure. Only very recently have mainstream churches advocated for stewardship, rather than domination of the formerly despised "natural" world. We don't care to be in harmony with the personalities of nature. God supersedes them and makes of them our mere servants . And so our world becomes more static and lifeless everyday. Our pets are the only place outside of ourselves where we routinely see companion hearts returning our gaze and regard. No wonder they are so dear to us. All of our relationship with "other" is now borne on their furred and feathered shoulders!

The ancients' discovery of Monotheism grew from their intuition of a Unity underlying, overriding, and running all through the world's sporting multiplicity. Their myriad animating nature-divinities were then revealed as more than capricious free agents; They too served a higher intelligence.

Today, the ancient small "g" gods have been further demoted. We have reduced them to mere "processes," and "explanations." We leave them to the mediation of calculating experts. Our seasonal celebrations bring only tourism dollars - not unity, collective catharsis, or bountiful crops at harvest time. We no longer claim friendship with a lovely water goddess, a loved and lively bringer of music, satiety, joy and life. We turn the tap expecting only a mundane commodity, and that's all that we get anymore. Nature seems listless because WE have bored her with our greed and pedestrian gracelessness.

We have journeyed from the glory of One Majestic God behind nature's dazzling animate multiplicity, to a distant God dogmatically locked behind a gate-keeping priesthood, to an abstract "God" who is more concept than threat or promise. Then, for a while, God was regarded as "Providence," a watchmaker who set all this in motion and then went out to a billion year lunch. Next we heard of God's demise. Then we ceased to think of God at all, except in the operating room, courtroom, or battlefield. Prayer became a public duty, or something to DO with our fear and pleading: holy chewing gum for our anxiety, more debased than any Shaman's familiar spirit . . . . Your thoughts? A L O H A! Cloudia

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Greed for Freedom

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"I look upon every day to be lost, in which I do not make a new acquaintance."

James Boswell 1784

"Once you start to see through the myth of status, possessions, and unlimited consumption as a path to happiness, you'll find that you have all kinds of freedom and time. It's like a deal you can make with the universe: I'll give up greed for freedom. Then you can start putting your time to good use." David Edwards

Not all bad: "Millionaires in the U.S. lost 30% of their fortunes on average. Almost 20% of them lost 40%." Bloomberg News

"Awake! For morning in the Bowl of


Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to


And lo! The Hunter of the East has caught

The Sultan's Turret in a noose of light."

from Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, translated by Edward Fitzgerald

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Chinese New Year part 2

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Here are more pictures from Chinese New Year celebrations here in Honolulu. If you haven't already, read yesterday's part 1 post.

Incense smoke pouring from the Kwan Yin Temple. (Top)

Good luck from over the rainbow.

Trinkets! (Left)
A symbol of a sweet New Year, a tiny orange tree. (Below)

Even the trees sprout poetry!

Gung-Gung (Chinese: ''Grandmom") and Mo`opuna (Hawaiian: 'Grandchild')


A Spiritual Official holding a cash offering. One of the "Powers & Principalities" that Jesus spoke of?(Left)

Kwan Yin Temple Altar. (Below)

Chinese Proverbs:
"You cannot prevent the birds of sorrow from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from building nests in your hair."

"Better do a good deed near at home than go far away to burn incense."
"To talk goodness is not good... only to do it is."
"Do not confine your children to your own learning, for they were born in another time."
"Teachers open the door but you must walk through it yourself." "Talk doesn't cook rice." "I hear and I forget, I see and I remember. I do and I understand."
"Deep doubts, deep wisdom; small doubts, little wisdom."
"A single conversation across the table with a wise man is worth a month's study of books."
"An inch of time cannot be bought with an inch of gold."
"The greatest conqueror is he who overcomes the enemy without a blow."
"With virtue you can't be entirely poor; without virtue you can't really be rich."
"If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow."
"The journey is the reward."
"Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere."
"When you cease to strive to understand, then you will know without understanding."
"One joy scatters a hundred grieves."
"Insanity is doing the same thing in the same way and expecting a different outcome."
"One never needs their humor as much a when they argue with a fool."
"A hundred men may make an encampment, but it takes a woman to make a home."
"If I keep a green bough in my heart, the singing bird will come."
" If you want happiness for a lifetime -- help someone else."
"Habits are cobwebs at first; cables at last." "Enough shovels of earth -- a mountain."
"When men speak of the future, the Gods laugh."
"With true friends... even water drunk together is sweet enough."
"A wise man makes his own decisions, an ignorant man follows the public opinion."
"Life is a dream walking death is a going home." A L O H A

Monday, January 26, 2009

Honolulu Chinese New Year

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This Tong (Association)building was open for Chinese New Year. Note the (practical) store on the ground level. Many altars were upstairs, but the top floor was closed to the public (me).

Even the little markets have Altars. Note the fruit, plants, and Chinese Buddhas next to Japanese "Lucky Cats" of gold and white with their raised paws beckoning customers and good business. Only in Hawaii do Japanese & Chinese cultures mix this way.

Narcissus is a symbol of purity for the New Year.
"There is not enough darkness in all the world to put out the light of even one small candle."

Robert Alden

Above: Barack Obama's favorite meal at Zippy's, Won Ton Min. Notice the one shrimp tempura, the yellow scrambled egg, the noodles, won tons, char siu (red pork), greens, chopsticks & Asian spoon, plus condiments Chinese mustard and shoyu (soy sauce). The metal lid is laid to the side. It is topped by a little receptacle for chopped green onions that you add yourself. The inauguration special this week!

"Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful." Buddha

The main altar inside the tong building shown above. Kwan Yin, the Goddess of Compassion, is wearing her holiday best! Great Headdress. See the floral, fruit, and monetary offerings?

Rambutan Fruit

Japanese Shinto priest conducting service. Note hangings, and the sake bottles offered by parishioners representing agricultural abundance and joy.

Good Luck Lions dancing. The winner will get to eat the child in the stroller. (Just kidding!!) People feed them dollar bills to bring luck for the new year.

Making Jin Dui, "Chinese donuts." The dark stuff is sweet bean paste for the center of the round pastry.
The whole family helps!

Line waiting to EAT the Jin Dui boiling in the big woks!

A cool Pomeranian and companion.

Chinatown is a commercial district. Immigrants from ALL over Asia live and make their living here. You can enjoy food from many nations.

Dragon rests between performances. One person holds each pole; the beast undulates beguilingly as it chases the ball seen here resting on it. The ball represents the "power essence" that the Dragon wants to eat. The guy holding that pole conducts the dragon wherever he wants to!
Below, a beckoning sign offers a late beer in the "Secret Alley."

Zippys (a local chain) is the place that returning Hawaii folks go to directly from the airport. Local comfort food! Usually, I'll have dim sum at my favorite place, but I was "ono" (Hawaiian, means 'hungry' and also 'delicious') for Won Ton Min at Zippys and so began my Chinatown New Year Celebration on Saturday at Maunakea Street & Vineyard Boulevard. The server told me that it's Brack's favourite! This Zippys is right across the boulevard from the beautiful Kwan Yin Temple, and also the site of the original Hawaiian Village of "Kou" which pre-dated our Honolulu Town. A great place to start, I'd say. Walking towards the Chinese Cultural Center, sort of a mall of Chinese businesses and organizations, I passed the Lum Sai Ho Tong (1899-1953). For the first time in my 20+ years in town I found it open for New Years visitors! It was amazing with multiple altars upstairs and a cool, usually inaccessible view across the canal (Nu`uanu Stream). I really need to post more of the pictures I took tomorrow! At the Cultural Center I bought some lucky calligraphy on red paper from the Nu`uanu Chinese Christian Church booth, as well as a lucky "Gau," a round rice "pudding" cake that celebrates family cohesion. Streets were closed, crowds were thick, and dancing lions with their gong/drum/crashing cymbal bands roamed the district to the sounds of firecrackers. I went into a hole-in-the-wall noodle factory and bought some. "Nihau" (Hello) Shi Shi (Thank You) and "Gung Hee Fat Choy" (Happy Lucky New Year!). A bit of patient gesturing along with the linguistic niceties above will take you far, especially at this time of year when merchants make a good part of their annual profit. Walking back to my car with my noodles, lucky amulets, and new red t-shirt, I noticed that the Shinto Shrine on Kukui Street was open too. Inside a Shinto Priest was conducting services for two young Japanese folks. I thought that they were discharging a family obligation, or interested in their roots. The priest took the pole with the hanging white papers off of the altar and blessed the two with it. Then he kindly blessed me as well. Finally, he brought a wooden tray with porcelain cups on it and served each of us a sip of good Sake. Bracing! I had been afraid that I was trespassing so I thanked the Priest sincerely. "Thank you for coming." he generously said. Then I went home and rested for a while so I could return in the evening with the Favourite Husband, the Cholos, and the Cattermoles whom I had promised to guide through all the wonderment. We ended the night (after the boys rejoined us from their interlude in "Secret Alley") with a social libation at one of Hotel Street's best hole-in-the-wall bars, Ke Kai. . .

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Unknown Greats

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"If you make it plain you like people, it's hard for them to resist liking you back."
Lois McMaster Bujold

If I keep a green bough in my heart, the singing bird will come." Trad. Chinese

"I find that he is happiest of whom the world says least, good or bad."
Thomas Jefferson
Cloudia’s Gallery of Unknown Greats: There are folks in any community who the “public” (that’s us!) will never get to know, and that’s too bad. We pass them on the street never realizing the amazing stories we will never get to hear. I think of them as “Unknown Greats.” They are celebrities in a certain circle: a profession, hobby or neighborhood; great people like my friend, pilot Gene W. Gene flies those “ambulance planes” around the islands. I know that they are lucky to have him. Though he never discusses it, “Gino” was a copter pilot in Viet Nam pulling our wounded folks out of firefights. No wonder nothing gets him rattled today. There’s no one I’d feel safer flying with; and you’ll never be bored either! Even with my famously bad memory I’ll never forget one story Gene told me about his flying days in Africa. Jobs were very precious commodities to the Africans that he worked with. One day the big boss called one of the local mechanics into his office and fired the fellow with a loud flourish. The man, who had seen much of life, looked back at the boss calmly, and in a soft voice said: “What? You are not going to cut my hand off, kill my family or poison our well? It’s just a job.” Then he walked away with a dignity that I think about whenever I’m upset about some “big problem.” There aren’t many mechanical problems (big or small) that Gino can’t figure out and calmly repair. A longtime Kama`aina with his own rented hanger on the outskirts of HONO airport, he fixes and even BUILDS airplanes! Every pilot in town has borrowed Gene’s time, wisdom, and tools at one time or another. He knows every gaily-painted little private plane at the Lagoon Drive hangars personally. So here’s to Gene W – our first unknown great – who also built my 1973 BMW motorcycle from the frame up. But that’s another story. . .

. . . Got a sec? Save the World! We are all so busy that our “to do” lists seem to get longer instead of shorter. Believe me, I know! But if you could save over 12 feet of genuine Amazon Rain forest (our Earth’s lungs) just by clicking over to a web site would you? I love the feeling of tangible accomplishment every day, just knowing that I’ve made at least ONE good thing happen. And the Rain Forest Site sponsors offer cool fair-trade stuff so shop till your clicking finger hurts!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Genoa Keawe

PO’OKELA (Excellence)

"Ahuwale ka po’okela I kāu hana iā ha’i."
Hawaiian Saying

It is through the way you serve others that your greatness will be felt.

"Hele me kahau ‘oli"

Go with Joy

"The best effect of fine persons is felt after we have left their presence."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Aunty Genoa Keawe and son #11 (bottom picture)

. . . Boats are lovely things, dancing at the end of their lines. The Ala Wai Harbor is a special neighborhood WITHIN a special neighborhood. Our neighbors mean a lot to us, especially the good folks like Captain Dave Silvey, who’s always available to help anyone who needs it. Over 200 folks gathered recently at the Hawaii Yacht Club to wish him a happy 85th Birthday. Papa Al, played his guitar and sang a few of his own compositions. They tell me that I played my flute with the jazz band – but I was having such a good time that I don’t really remember it. What a blow out! Hope I get a cool party like that when I turn 85! Happy Birthday Dave ;-). . . . Which puts me in mind of legend, Aunty Genoa Keawe. Seems to me that the great lady has been passed for about a year. I feel to lucky to have been present at one of her last gigs. We were celebrating her 89th birthday all the month of her last October, leading up to her birthday on the 31st. As I recall, it was one of those free “Na Mele No Na Pua – Music for the Generations” concerts at Embassy Suites Hotel on Beach Walk. Over half the audience were locals, and it turned into a real back yard luau as aunty was joined by her sons, grandchildren, friends, and spontaneous hula dancers from the audience. Even co-host Brickwood’s mom got up and sang, what a talented lady she is! Now we see where her popular son “gets it from!” It was an amazing experience! Just don’t call Aunty’s style “falsetto.” She sings her full range. Proper Hawaiian Falsetto singing (which some say underlies today’s distinctive country music lonesome “twang.”) is the exclusive province of the men, and stems from a cultural time when Hawaiian women didn’t sing in public – so men sang the high wahine parts (like Japanese Kabuki, or Shakespearean Theater). There was good falsetto singing by New Jersey native Bill Wynn who won a recent Falsetto competition and told us that he’s selling his house back east and moving “home” real soon. Of course Mz. Keawe sang her classic hit “Alika” (Alaska) with it’s unbelievably long, long, LONG, held notes. Host Kimo Kahuano told us about when he was just starting out in music, and how “this lady sitting here always treated me, a kid, with true respect. I never forgot that, and if we can’t treat our kids and each other with that kind of Aloha, we aint never going to get anywhere good.” This veteran performer and MC had tears in his eyes and his voice as he said this. You could have heard a lei drop to the floor. Then Aunty sang for us the first song she ever recorded (on 49th State Records), “My Hawaiian Souvenirs: A photograph, a calabash, a paper lei – these are my Hawaiian souvenirs. . . When I’m old and gray. . . “ Now there wasn’t a dry eye in the house; and no one wanted it to end, even Aunty Genoa at the curtain call of a two hour show; so we spontaneously sang “Hawaii Aloha” all holding hands, then “God Bless America,” and finally “Happy Birthday.” I noticed a white dove fluttering in place just above the party, just like the Holy Spirit in a stained glass window. At the end, Aunty shouted out happily: “I’m proud to be 89!” What a special day for us all! Just the sort of magic that can be found around most any corner. . . when you’re walking in Waikiki. . . Aloha! Cloudia

Friday, January 23, 2009

New Normal

click on photos to enlarge!
Ted Trimmer Photo

"It's not enough to just sit there and have compassionate thoughts. Your thoughts need to be reflected in what you do. . . You need to help other people." David Edwards

"What you do repeatedly is who you are." Aristotle

Honolulu Star-Bulletin Jan.21, 2008 "Shaka"

"Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve." Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Happy Aloha Friday!

After September 11th, 2001 we heard lots about a "New Normal" but it wasn't very normal at all for a formerly "free country." So today's "New Normal" is partly a restoration of the way things SHOULD NORMALLY be; but it is also distinctly new indeed. A delicious new Trade Wind is blowing. Can you feel it? As my sails fill, I'm beginning to believe that we as a people are back on course. . .
. . . Recently we have had public servants run amok in our name. Today it seems that we have leaders worthy of the name. Every day will not be a mountaintop experience, life's mundane tasks remain. But I believe that I am not the only one standing a little taller. This new normal is pregnant with hope and good will. So let's take a much needed break, and go over to Cafe Duck Butt to sing some karaoke! "me me me me me, la la la la" . . . . A L O H A! Cloudia

From da sublime to. . . DUCK BUTT!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Inauguration High

"Let us turn to each other, not on each other."

Inaugural Speech

"I don't measure America by its achievement but by its potential."
Shirley Chisholm

"We will extend a hand of friendship, if you are willing to unclench your fist." President Obama

"When I'm trusting and being myself... everything in my life reflects this by falling into place easily, often miraculously."
Shakti Gawain

Lawn Party at the Halekulani (above)

Royal Hawaiian Hotel Re-Opening. A Gala Local Inauguration Celebration!

Pics taken from outside da fence, and enlarge when clicked! Left, and Top.
Note family slide of young Barack in top picture.

Parrot Guy will place his feathered co-workers all over you, and take an unforgettable family portrait!

Inauguration day was like an unbelievable dream coming true. After years of ugliness, of dogma & talking points over science and dialogue. . . finally it's time to come home, America!
. . . Well, I possess no adequate words, just powerful impressions and memories: The tens of thousands of individual people and stories that came to Washington. . . Seeing Barack and his girls throw "Shaka" hand greetings to the Punahou School Band. . . Barack's greeting: "Aloha!" and Kauai`s General Eric Shinseki (discarded for speaking the truth but now confirmed as Veteran's Affairs Chief) dancing in a tuxedo at the "Home State Ball." . . .
. . . Barack & Michel dancing with military folks at the "Commander in Chief's Ball." Honolulu school children watching on TV and catching the "bug" of civic engagement. "He grew up around here just like me. Today I believe that anything is possible." Celebrations on almost every continent of the world; No one knows the full scope of what will come of this, and SO much more. . .
. . . Rick Warren and Rev. Lowrey both gave excellent excellent prayers. . .
. . . Intentions and beliefs are the cause of events. Enough people changed their minds, and the Berlin Wall came down. At this moment, millions of us all over the world are changing our minds about what is desirable and possible. . .
. . . I needed to take a break at last, and walked down Waikiki Beach around sunset last eve. Walk along with me through the pictures above.
And Welcome to the Next Chapter. . . A L O H A! Cloudia