The rain and dawn made for very interesting light (photo)

We spent Friday night in Kaaawa with friends, and stayed to walk the beach early this morning.

It’s strange jumping back and forth from our current neighborhood, back to where we spent nearly 30 years, and then back to town later this morning.

I haven’t had a chance to upload any of today’s Kaaawa photos yet, but here’s a keeper taken Friday morning in Kahala to fill the space. There were patches of rain blowing through as the sun was starting to come up, and they created a very special quality of light.

The camera I was carrying didn’t really capture the very unusual character of the light, but you can see the curtains of rain blowing through it, which was part of the experience. Meda can be seen walking ahead of me on the far left of the photo. She’s often out in front, as I dawdle along with my camera.

wonderful morning light

Feline Friday: The day after Thanksgiving

[text]That’s Mr. Duke welcoming you to another happy Feline Friday, which happens to be the day after Thanksgiving.

I think all the cats had a good Thanksgiving. We were home, which added a little interest to their day. And we did produce a good dinner which had appropriate feline benefits included.

We did finally realize that when Ms. Wally was alive, Duke was her excess food cleanup crew. He got to be very skilled at sneaking onto the kitchen counter to quietly clean up any leftovers. And with her fragile appetite, leftovers were plentiful, I’m afraid.

And now that she’s gone, Duke’s been on a restricted diet, although he still gets his own full ration. The result is that he’s much more interested in what’s going on at our dining table, and has become a much more assertive presence at mealtime. He’s cute about it, purring all the way, so we have to be careful not to reward him for his efforts. He’s naturally fat, taking after his mother, and that contributes to his diabetes, so we do our best to keep his food intake at reasonable levels.

Yesterday afternoon I discovered an explained injury on Ms. Annie’s ear. It looks like she’s been in a fight, but she hasn’t been outside. So are we talking some sibling rivalry here? Could be, I suppose. There is competition for spots on our bed. Romeo and Kili rule there, while Duke and Annie are able to sneak in from time to time. Poor Toby rarely gets to claim a place on the bed, although he used to be king of the afternoon naps.

So it goes in the new world of our Kahala cats.

–> Click here to see all of this week’s Friday Felines!

Plan to address UH athletic deficit draws quick pushback

The University of Hawaii at Manoa athletic program aired a plan last week for dealing with its chronic deficit, but the plan is already getting push back from at least one key constituency, the students.

Last Friday, the newspaper reported athletic director David Matlin’s budget presentation to the Board of Regents (“How the University of Hawai’i at M?noa Athletic Department wants to balance its budget“).

Matlin laid out a plan to raise over $14 million in new annual revenues over the next four years. He identified several potential sources.

UH Athletics’ Initiatives: $4.7 million

Student Fees’ Increase: $1.7 million

Direct Legislative Support: $5.5 million

Increased UH Institutional Support: $2.3 million

The proposal would double the current student athletic fee from $50 to 100 per semester. And the additional “institutional support” would also come from tuition dollars.

The story on Matlin’s proposal was posted at last Friday. And on Monday, a Ka Leo editor penned this far less than enthusiastic reply with a clear message: “Dear UH Athletics, stay away from our wallets.”

Irene Fang, Ka Leo’s associate opinions editor, raised several key points, including one that nobody seems to want to talk about, “the student body’s apathy towards athletics.”

In a nutshell, Fang says, students are at UH to get an education and a college degree, and most aren’t affected by athletics.

At the same time, she argues, the financial reality is that Hawaii isn’t in a position to raise the kind of money needed to field a competitive football team. And schools that do don’t accomplish it with student money.

Mid-ranked University of Washington (UW) spent almost $30 million, as reported by, which is roughly how much a university should spend on a competitive football team. However, there are no UW athletic fees. Reported by Husky Athletics, 97 percent of the athletic program is self-sustained, with the remaining three percent coming from the state. In fact, four of the top five NCAA ranked schools in Texas, Michigan, Alabama and Ohio State charge no student athletic fees, as reported by USA Today.

And given the stagnant or declining share of state revenues that have been allocated to the university system, and especially the flagship Manoa campus, in recent years, seeking additional ongoing revenues dedicated to support of the athletic program seems like a long shot, at best.

And that’s the biggest problem.

The earlier Ka Leo story quoted Matlin.

“We have no professional teams, so UH athletics is our NFL, NBA, and MLB,” he said. “When our teams are doing well and competing for national championships, the morale of the state is uplifted.”

You can’t continue to squeeze the university’s primary mission, education, in order to fund a competitive athletic program that is of primary interest to those outside the university.

So while the numbers in Matlin’s plan may add up, the politics of it don’t.

How to handle a door-to-door solicitation

So we were just getting ready for lunch when a man came up to our front door.

He was handing out business cards and soliciting work tree trimming, landscaping, or doing yard maintenance.

“Hey, Boss, we’ll give you a good price,” he said.

In Kaaawa, we would get visits like this quite often. Over the years, I hired several people who first made unsolicited visits like this. Some turned out to be good workers, reliable, and honest. And the fact that he was out looking for work on Thanksgiving seemed to be to his credit.

I took his card, thanked him, and he left.

His business card lists two phone numbers, with the statement, “Bonded & Insured,” along with a license number.

I was going to just drop it in a drawer for possible future reference, but then I noticed the license number. It just didn’t look right.

So I quickly checked online with the Professional and Vocational Licensing database, and sure enough, the license number isn’t in a format used in Hawaii. When I searched, there’s no record of a license issued in the company name or the individual’s name. So apparently the licensed part is bogus, and likely the “bonded and insured” claim as well.

A bit of additional searching online found that a person with the same name, and a similar sounding company name, was fined twice (for a total of $1,600) by Oregon’s Construction Contractors Board several years ago.

So here’s a question: Should I just throw his card away and forget it? Does someone in my position have a responsibility to help protect others who might not know how easy it is to check out this kind of offer? Should I feel obliged to become an enforcement agent and forward his card to state regulators?

Any thoughts?

Three moments on Thanksgiving morning

It was raining as we prepared to head out for our early morning walk, but it cleared, at least temporarily, and we never had to use our umbrellas.

Here are three highlights of the morning.

First, the view of Koko Head as the sun announced its appearance.

Then, in the middle, is Marlo after he enjoyed rolling in some freshly cut grass. He’s the cover dog for my first Kahala Morning Dogs calendar, and has quite a personality. I have to remember to use this picture when St. Patrick’s Day rolls around.

And the third photo was taken as we were crossing the small bridge over the stream that runs through the middle of the Waialae Beach Park.

These photos really define the several parts of our daily walk, from the sunrise through the morning dogs, and then back through the park and home.



The beach park