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Ian Lind • Online daily from Kaaawa, Hawaii

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Feline Friday: Another long goodbye

January 30th, 2015 · 1 Comment

Ms. HarryIt’s a sad end of a sad week. Ms. Harry, also known as Harriet, has been going downhill fast. We’re pretty close to the end. She is barely eating anything at all. I’m lucky to get her to lick baby food off my finger. One finger, maybe two. Then she turns her head away. I’ve kept her going on NutriCal, a high calorie supplement, which she has been willing to lick.

She’s uncomfortable, but doesn’t seem to be in pain. She communicates her discomfort by trying to knock things over, pawing whatever is nearby. A newspaper. A wine bottle. A book. A head of garlic on the counter. A coffee cup. A plate. A small bowl of food placed where she’s sitting to tempt her into a taste. It’s very frustrating for us, since we constantly have to react by racing across the room to rescue whatever has gotten her attention. I want to shout at her, “No! Stop that!” But I don’t, because shortly I’ll be wishing that she were still here to act up and bother us.

Ms. Harry seems to spend too much time sitting up and staring into the distance, but she can still curl up and fall into a peaceful sleep. We’re thankful for that.

She knows. We know. It’s very sad, but we are trying to chant through the many great moments of her long 15 years of life. She’s survived the other three kittens in her litter by several years. Now it’s time. We have an appointment mid-day on Saturday with Ann Sakamoto, our main vet at VCA in Kaneohe, a final consultation, perhaps. Miracles happen, but not often. And I don’t think this is one of those times.

Meanwhile, I pressed my iPhone into duty for this week’s Feline Friday. All of today’s photos were taken with the phone. It’s a different point of view.

–> See all of today’s Friday Feline fotos.

→ 1 CommentTags: Cats · Photographs

Happy Trails, Andrew

January 30th, 2015 · 4 Comments

Reading Andrew Sullivan’s “A note to my readers” this week was like an out-of-body experience, as if I could have been reading my own words.

“I want to let you know I’ve decided to stop blogging in the near future,” he wrote.

Two reasons. The first is one I hope anyone can understand: although it has been the most rewarding experience in my writing career, I’ve now been blogging daily for fifteen years straight (well kinda straight). That’s long enough to do any single job. In some ways, it’s as simple as that. There comes a time when you have to move on to new things, shake your world up, or recognize before you crash that burn-out does happen.

The second is that I am saturated in digital life and I want to return to the actual world again. I’m a human being before I am a writer; and a writer before I am a blogger, and although it’s been a joy and a privilege to have helped pioneer a genuinely new form of writing, I yearn for other, older forms. I want to read again, slowly, carefully. I want to absorb a difficult book and walk around in my own thoughts with it for a while. I want to have an idea and let it slowly take shape, rather than be instantly blogged. I want to write long essays that can answer more deeply and subtly the many questions that the Dish years have presented to me. I want to write a book.

Like Sullivan, I’ve been blogging here daily for 15 years, and I have sometimes ached with a desire to pour myself into some longer investigations and a different form of writing, if only for a while. His words could have flowed from my keyboard, for sure. But unlike Sullivan, I haven’t attracted 30,000 subscribers or built a surprisingly robust business with a million dollars in annual revenue.

No, I’m not quitting, although I won’t deny having played out that scenario in my mind from time to time.

It’s instructive to see how others have responded to his announcement (see “A Blogger Breaks Free: Your Thoughts“; “A Blogger Breaks Free: Your Thoughts II“; and “A Blogger Breaks Free: Blog Reax“).

→ 4 CommentsTags: Blogs · Media

Several meals from a leftover ham bone

January 29th, 2015 · 1 Comment

I wish all leftover meals were this good!

Using leftoversRelatively early Tuesday morning, I pulled a ham bone out of the freezer and put it in our big, cast iron dutch oven. I think we made the ham for a family party just after Thanksgiving, and it’s been taking up room in the freezer since then. Covered with water, or as close to covering as I could get given the dimensions of the pot. Brought it to a boil, and then let it simmer for the rest of the morning. By now, any leftover meat was starting to fall off the bone.

Soon after lunch, I started adding kale into the pot, along with some garlic and pepper. As the kale cooked down, I kept adding more. Eventually I added all of a good-size bunch, and later added some mixed greens that was heavy on spinach.

Sometime around the 6 p.m. news, I put in some carrots and celery, followed by a can of garbanzo beans, after draining and rinsing.

Once the carrots were cooked, this fine soup was ready for the table.

Served with whole wheat french bread and a plate of tomatoes, olives, artichoke hearts, and avocado. The glass of red wine didn’t make it into the picture. It was fabulous, and oh so simple. All it needs is time. We enjoyed it two nights in a row, and there’s enough left for a lunch.

And, as usual, click on the photo to see a larger version.

→ 1 CommentTags: Food · Photographs

Throwback Thursday: Shades of the grad student lifestyle

January 29th, 2015 · 5 Comments

I’m pretty sure this photo dates from 1978. We were renting an apartment on the 4th floor of what was then called the Circle Jade, the round apartment building on 9th Avenue in Kaimuki, just makai of Waialae. On the ground floor, the old Kolohe Lounge.

We lived in that apartment through our graduate school days, and then as we transitioned into our first “real” jobs.

It was before computers, hence the stacks of papers, folders, books, clippings, journals, all of which kept mysteriously multiplying. You can tell that I was already pretty much a document hoarder. I didn’t know yet that it was great preparation for an investigative reporter.

I can’t read all the things that were taped onto the door. It was, as I recall, a good collection.

Here are some that I can make out.

Bumper Stickers

TH-3: Road to Ruin

Uppity Women Unite

Eat the rich!

Say Goodbye, Dick

Peace & Jobs, Stop the B-1 Bomber

Stop the Whale Killers, Boycott Japanese Goods

Don’t buy war toys

And other items. The cover of the Whitman College alumni magazine featuring a photo of Richard Nixon being given a Whitman shirt. A schofield Barracks visitors pass. A hand-printed poster, “Be a witness at the Hickam 3 Trial August 8.”

Luckily, the building went condo shortly after this and we had to move. We did thin the paper herd at that point, although stacks quickly grew to replace what we had jettisoned.

What you don’t see in this photo are the cats. We only had two. It seems like a very long time ago, in so many ways.

At my desk

→ 5 CommentsTags: History · Photographs

Star-Advertiser failing in coverage of trial involving police chief’s wife

January 28th, 2015 · 6 Comments

Why in the world isn’t the Star-Advertiser covering the civil trial involving Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha’s wife, Katherine Kealoha, and her family? A closely related criminal case led to serious allegations of police misconduct made by a federal public defender, and an unprecedented referral by the U.S. Attorney to the FBI for investigation.

The current civil case isn’t your typical family dispute. It’s another potential window into what could be a major police scandal.

Yet the Star-Advertiser has been relying on brief, AP summaries of the trial proceedings.

The article appearing in today’s Star-Advertiser is all of 132 words in length.

The only “news” is in the first sentence: “The uncle of the Honolulu police chief’s wife says she promised to pay off a reverse mortgage on his 95-year-old mother’s home.” The rest is recap.

There’s not a single quote from testimony.

That’s worse than lame. And it’s embarrassing for the state’s largest newspaper to fail to cover such a prominent case with lots of public interest angles.

By the way, I did run across an interesting item relating to that “reverse mortgage.”

Most people would probably think of a reverse mortgage as a deal in which you get regular payments each month, a mortgage in reverse, and those payments don’t have to be repaid until the mortgage has run its course. It’s a kind of deal typically used by older homeowners as a source of regular income during their latter years, with the mortgage being repaid only after their deaths.

In the case of Katherine Kealoha’s grandmother, Florence Puana, the “reverse mortgage” for $938,250 on Puana’s Maunalani Heights home, was apparently paid out at one time, or over a short period, and at least some of the proceeds used to purchase a condominium for Kealoha’s uncle. That’s been reported.

But what I haven’t seen reported is that the reverse mortgage on Florence Puana’s home was foreclosed on by the lender, and Puana was ordered out of the house by the bank. The house was sold in September 2013.

This information is buried in the transcript of a videotaped deposition of Puana taken for the criminal trial of her son (and Katherine Kealoha’s uncle), Gerald Puana.

Questions are being asked by Federal Public Defender Alexander Silvert.

Q. You trusted Katherine Kealoha to take care of all of the paperwork regarding the reverse mortgage.
A. Yes, I did.

Q. You don’t understand that paperwork, did you?

A. No.

Q. And you didn’t understand how much was to be paid.

A. No, I don’t know.

Q. She was going to take care of everything.

A. She said, she promised me not to worry. At first my son didn’t write, sign that paper for the mortgage, I did, because he said he has eight other siblings that he has to think about.

Q. But my point is that, at your age and your knowledge, you had no idea what was happening with the paperwork–

A. No.

Q. Katherine Kealoha was doing it all.

A. Yes.

Q. And as a result of what happened, you lost your house.

A. Yes.

Q. And you’ve sued her for that.

A. Yes.

Q. And she took money, is this correct, that she took money from the bank account–

MR. OSBORNE: Objection, leading.

MR. SILVERT: Okay. No further questions.

→ 6 CommentsTags: Court · Media