New addition to the Troy family. A Koaloha soprano ukulele. Mary Fran bought it for me at Kamoa Ukuleles in Kapaa, Kauai on Monday. So maybe this should be Ukulele Monday. It was our last day on Kauai and I wasn’t able to post until now.
Here it is: The body is koa, The neck and head are rosewood. the fretboard is ebony. The inlays are pua abalone. She sounds as good as she looks.
I had it in the back of my mind that I wanted a Kamaka. Kamoa had only one Kamaka. This one just sounded better.
Look at the beautiful grain of the koa body.
Now I need to name her. Any suggestions?
Haven’t posted in awhile because I’ve been busy editing Questions Of Loyalty and getting it to my agent. The edits were completed Monday and sent to Beth. Now waiting to hear from her.
Watched the new Magnum on Monday. I had hoped to be impressed by it, but was somewhat disappointed. The show had plenty of humor and action, which means car chases. Jay Hernandez is a lot different from Tom Selleck as Magnum. No eyebrow waggle, no trademark aloha shirts. He’s a good action character and maybe will develop some depth. I have to admit that I’m glad he’s not Selleck. I think I’ve got more than enough Selleck in Blue Bloods and the Jesse Stone shows.
The supporting cast is the biggest disappointment. The new Rick and T.C. don’t cut it, in my opinion, but I’ll keep an open mind about them. As with the Hawai`i Five O reboot, they added a kick-ass female. The Higgins character is now a woman. John Hillerman was great in that role and will be missed. I’m hoping Perdita Weeks will be up to it.
Locale. We see Magnum paddling near Chinaman’s hat. Is that where Robin Masters’s home Is? As with the old Magnum and the new Hawai`i Five O, do not take your geography of the islands from the show. Why are there so many chase scenes up or down Tantalus? Sure, the road is winding and the views of Honolulu and the University of Hawai`i are beautiful from up there, but the road doesn’t go anywhere. It is a loop past a park and some expensive homes and back down again. It is not a short cut or direct route to anyplace on Oahu. Nobody would lead pursuers up there because all the pursuers need do is wait at the bottom for them to come back down. And if you miss a high speed turn and crash down the side of the mountain, as did the bad guys in Monday’s episode, you will not land in the ocean, but on a roof top in Manoa Valley or even Punahou School.
So much for my critique. I don’t need to tell readers that I like violent action, car chases and kick-ass babes in Hawai`i. I will be tuning in again on Monday.
We’re going back to Hawai`i. This is Mary Fran’s birthday trip. The last trip was for my seventieth birthday, so now it is Mary Fran’s turn. We are so excited.
Here’s the itinerary:
Depart Houston, Oct. 10, nonstop to Honolulu
Depart Honolulu, Oct. 10 and arrive Lihue Kauai
Monday, Oct. 15, fly to Kona on the Big Island
Sunday, Oct, 21, Depart Hilo for Honolulu
Tuesday, Oct. 23, depart Honolulu
Wednesday, Oct. 24, arrive Houston
Hawai’i is burning. Fissures are opening on the East slope of Kilauea destroying homes and threatening the lives of more than a thousand residents. The danger comes not only from lava, but also from toxic gases emitted by the volcano. Now comes possibility of a new danger at the summit. According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the lava lake in Halemaumau crater in Kilauea Caldera is draining due to the eruption at the lower levels. the concern is that the lake will drain down below the water table, which could cause a steam explosion that could send boulders rocks and ash into the air. Authorities have closed Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park as a precaution. An explosion in the caldera could do serious damage to Volcano House, which sits on the edge of the caldera.
Here are two images of Halemaumau Crater in Kilauea Caldera taken last year from the observation deck of Volcano House. The lava fountain you see in the night photo is estimated to be about sixty feet high.
Even in daylight, the eruption is impressive, although the lava itself is hard to see. Only smoke is visible in daylight. that smoke contains the toxic gases that are threatening the health of people in the subdivisions on the East slope.
When I worked for Kamehameha Schools in the 1980’s, we had a demonstration program at Pahoa Elementary School in the Puna District of the Big Island. The Puna district is where the current fissures are opening. According to reports, fifteen fissures have now opened. Although the school is not directly impacted by the eruption, many families with children at the school live in the endangered areas. One teacher has reportedly lost her home to the lava. We can only hope for the best for all of them and keep them in our thoughts.
One of the units making up the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, was the 522 Artillery Brigade. Once the 442nd arrived in France, the 522nd became a roving brigade, attached to whichever units needed them the most. In March, 1945, the 522nd remained in France for the campaign in the Lorraine region and the final drive into Southern Germany while the rest of the 442nd returned to Italy for the Gothic Line Campaign.
From March 12 -21, the 522nd participated in the attack on the Siegfried Line. When it fell, they crosded the Rhine and participated in the fall of Mannheim. In 60 days, the 522nd traveled 1,100 miles through 40 towns chasing the retreating Germans.
On April 29, some scouts from the 522nd came across some barracks surrounded by barbed wire in the Bavarian town of Lager Lechfield. What happened next wlll never be forgotten. This is how Technician Fourth Grade Ichiro Imamura described it.
“I watched as one of the scouts used his carbine to shoot off the chain that held the prison gates shut. . . They weren’t dead, as he had first thought. When the gates swung open, we got our first good look at the prisoners. Many of them were Jews. They were wearing striped prison suits and round caps. It was cold and the snow was two feet deep in some places. There were no German guards. The prisoners struggled to their feet. . . They shuffled weakly out of the compound. They were like skeletons – all skin and bones. . .”
The Nisei liberated Kaufering IV Hurlach, a Dachau satellite camp that housed 3,000 prisoners. Most of the prisoners had gone. In the last days of April, Hitler had ordered the concentration camp guards to march the prisoners to the interior in a terrible death march.
On May 2, Nisei from the 522nd came across a field with several hundred lumps in the snow. The lumps were people—Jewish prisoners—many had been shot. Some had died of exposure, but some were alive, although barely. They found other prisoners wandering the countryside. For the next four days, the Nisei were engaged in getting the people to shelter and providing them with warmth.
In what is, perhaps, the greatest irony of the war, many of these Nisei who liberated the concentration camp, had, themselves, left concentration camps in the United States to fight against oppression and totalitarianism. They still had family and friends behind barbed wire in Manzanar, Poston, Gila River, Jerome, Rohwer, Heart Mountain, Minidoka, Granada, Topaz and Tule Lake. It’s to their credit that the men of the 442nd were willing to risk so much to preserve freedom. It’s to our country’s lasting shame that we would incarcerate people solely because of their heritage. We must be vigilant that it never happens again.
I don’t know what to call this drink. It’s based on gin and elderflower liquor. It has several different spices to give it an exotic flavor.
Firsst muddle .5 oz simple syrup, .5 oz lemon juice, a sprig of Thai basil, and a slice of ginger root. Add 1.5 oz gin and 1 oz elderflower liquor. Shake and strain into an old-fashioned glass over ice. Top with a splash of tonic. It’s sort of sweet and sour with Asian overtones.
It has been a while since the bar has opened, but spring is here and it is time to get to it. We are heading to Peru in May, so today’s drink is the Pisco Sour, the national drink of Peru. Peru, in fact, has a Pisco Sour Day, which is the first Saturday in February.
The Pisco Sour was created by an ex-pat American, Victor Morris, who opened a bar, Morris’s Bar, in Lima in 1915. the exact year that the drink was created is in dispute. Some put it in the 1920’s, while others say it was created soon after the bar opened.
The base liquor is Pisco, a type of brandy produced in Peru. The Spanish introduced grape to Peru shortly after conquest in the fifteenth century. Soon after they began producing a fermented liquor called aguardiente. It became known as Pisco after the port from which it was shipped back to Spain.
Making the Pisco Sour is easy. In a shaker, mix
Fill with ice and shake. Strain the drink into an old-fashioned glass. Add a few drops of Angostura bitters and garnish with a lime wheel.
The egg white makes it frothy. You can also make it in a blender, which will produce something like a frozen margarita, but the egg white will form a meringue to sit on top of the drink.
A new article in the Washington Post reports on the abuse of census data during World War II. Census data is supposed to be private and confidential, but it was long believed by Japanese Americans that data from the census was used to identify them for relocation to internment camps in the Western United States. Approximately 120,000 American citizens of Japanese ancestry had their civil rights violated. they lost their homes, their savings, their businesses, and their freedom as a result of national xenophobia and fear mongering. Now a new report details how census data was used illegally to help accomplish that. At a time when our leaders have engaged in unashamed fear mongering and xenophobia, and have proposed changes to the census, all Americans should be concerned. We are facing serious threats to our democracy and our freedom.
My latest book, Questions Of Loyalty, is set, in part, in a Japanese Internment camp during World War II. The story is a mystery involving the cold case investigation of the death of a Buddhist priest in the Tule Lake camp. I can’t tell you when it will be published. Just a few days ago, I heard from my agent that she had sent the manuscript to ten publishers. Got my fingers crossed.
I should really call this, No Work For Another year. Yesterday was the anniversary of my retirement from Texas A&M on February 1, 2017. Looking back on the year, I have to say it was a year of one great event after another. Some highlights from the year of retirement:
And that was only the first year of retirement.
Kailua-Kona, usually referred to a Kona, is a port and city on the west side of the island of Hawai`i. It is known for deep sea fishing and the Ironman Triathlon. The beaches in Kona are not great, in my opinion. They are small and difficult to access because of the rock. the Big Island doesn’t have great beaches anyway because, being the newest island, has not experienced as many eons of erosion as the other islands.
Our favorite adventure in Kona was a night snorkel with manta rays. We signed onto a tour which left the harbor at dusk. They provided us with snorkels, masks and flippers. We set out for about a 45 minute trip to the manta ray feeding ground. On the way, we experienced a gorgeous sunset (of course) and witnessed pods of dolphins. There were about 15 of us on the boat, not counting crew and guides.
Once at the feeding spot, we donned our gear and entered the water where we clung to surfboards outfitted with rails along the sides and lights in the middle. The guides swam us to the viewing site and turned on the light. The light shines into the water and attracts plankton, which are the primary food source of mantas. Then we waited. Not for long, however. In a short time we saw several mantas below. Magnificent creatures with huge wingspans. All of a sudden, one pealed off and swam up at us and did a barrel roll right under our board. We could look into the creature’s gaping mouth. It gave us a show of several rolls before swimming off. Altogether we saw five or six mantas. We had brought waterproof cases for our phones and I would like to say that I got some great pictures. Each appearance happened before I could get the phone aimed. So all I have are memories. But great memories nonetheless. If you go to Kona, I recommend a manta ray expedition.
Yesterday, February, 1, 2018 was the 75th anniversary of the formation of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the Japanese American unit that fought so bravely in Italy and France during World War II. They are the most decorated combat unit in the history of the Army. In earlier posts, I tell about some of their battles.
The unit was created by FDR.
Americanism is not, and never was, a matter of race and ancestry.
—Franklin Delano Roosevelt, February 1, 1943.