WEDNESDAY, JULY 23
With the deadline to file for the upcoming election having come and gone, the races (and non-races) are now set. We don’t have the space here to dissect and break down all the intrigue but rest assured, we’ve got you covered. In the coming weeks we’ll start running a semi-regular spread featuring brief bios of the candidates and more in-depth looks at some of the issues and match-ups that matter most, at both the county and state levels. And we’ll have plenty of election related fun in this space, injecting the enterprise with the all the requisite snarkiness. Stay tuned.
THURSDAY, JULY 24
In a blow to pregnant New Age spiritualists, expecting conceptual artists and knocked up acid heads everywhere, a family court judge in New Zealand has decided to take a stand against parents who saddle their progeny with “creative” (read: wildly inappropriate) names. As reported in the Associated Press, Judge Rob Murfitt ordered that a 9-year-old girl from Hawaii named Talula Does The Hula (yes, you read that right) be made a ward of the court so that she could be given a more conservative moniker. The new name of the girl, who was caught up in a custody fight, was not released to protect her privacy. “The court is profoundly concerned about the very poor judgment which this child’s parents have shown in choosing this name,” the judge wrote. “It makes a fool of the child and sets her up with a social disability and handicap, unnecessarily.” True enough, but this has got to be the mother of all slippery slopes. Deciding what constitutes a name given with “poor judgment” is like trying to define pornography—which, coincidentally enough, is what I’m planning to name my unborn daughter. Pornography ShaferC9has a nice ring, doesn’t it?
FRIDAY, JULY 25
The pictures of Barack Obama speaking before a sea of people in Berlin during his recent Let me Prove How Presidential I Am overseas tour were pretty awe-inspiring, no matter how much McCain and the American right may try to dismiss the whole thing as a trumped-up publicity stunt. Sorry, no. Standing on the deck of an aircraft carrier in a flight suit and comically robust codpiece backed by carefully posed troops and an unfortunately labeled banner—that’s a publicity stunt. Getting 200,000 Germans to show up to your speech and not having one of them toss an egg at you? That’s impressive, and not something even the savviest PR team could manufacture. Whether Obama is the solution to all the world’s problems is a separate question (hint: he’s not). But it’s pretty clear his election would go a long way toward repairing our tattered image in the international community. And that’d be a start.
SATURDAY, JULY 26
We get into the Maui Land & Pineapple layoffs in our new segment The Business End, but it’s just too big of a story to not mention it here, too. Whatever your take on the economic logistics of the situation, any time hundreds of people lose their jobs in one fell swoop, it’s a dark, dark day. And at the risk of being labeled a raving Marxist, it has to be said: When the going gets tough, it’s always the workers on or near the bottom that are hit the hardest, while the CEOs say somber, regretful things and then go cash their big fat paychecks. It’s just business, some will tell you. But for those now dangling over the yawning chasm of unemployment, it’s also very personal.
SUNDAY, JULY 27
Look, rising gas prices suck for everyone but Dick Cheney and his oil company cronies. Nobody’s pretending otherwise. But they can also have a decidedly silver lining—forcing people to make green-tinted lifestyle alterations. Case in point: The Maui News reports that various county departments are turning to conservation methods including checking tire pressure and cutting down on unnecessary driving in an effort to stay within their $4.4 million fuel budget. That figure represents a 15 percent bump over 2007, but gas prices have climbed more than twice that much just since February. The bottom line is that fuel efficiency is now more than merely a good idea espoused by tree huggers and Al Gore; it’s a downright economic necessity. And while that’s bad news short term for our wallets, it’s good news long term for the health and stability of the planet. Now excuse me while I take out a second mortgage on my imaginary house to fill my tank with regular.
MONDAY, JULY 28
Speaking of fuel conservation, there’s no better method than taking cars off the road. And the most effective way to do that (other than getting rid of a bunch of people, which is an idea for another time) is to follow the lead of our friends in Europe and get the public transportation ball rolling in a big way. It looks like, at least theoretically, the political will is there. A survey commissioned in part by The Honolulu Advertiser shows that some 60 percent of Oahu residents would support a rail line if the matter were put to a vote. That’s a promising figure, though I’m reminded of a fake-but-sadly-real headline run by The Onion (which I realize I’m quoting for the second straight week, but those guys are pretty damn insightful): ’98 percent of U.S. Commuters Favor Public Transportation for Others.’
TUESDAY, JULY 29
Sharks have no gratitude. After last week’s cover story about how we’re a greater threat to them than they are to us, what happens? How do the sharks of the world repay us? By biting Ryan Seacrest, that’s how. According to Fox News (They Report on Ryan Seacrest Related Incidents, You Decide), the American Idol host and professional sycophant was swimming off shore at a resort in Mexico when a sand shark nibbled on his toe. Not exactly Jaws, but Seacrest did divulge on his radio show that he “needed to take an Advil.” WaitC9why are we telling you this again? MTW