WEDNESDAY, Nov. 28
Got to see one of Maui’s more famous trial attorneys in action this morning. James “Jim” Krueger was first on the docket in Judge Joseph Cardoza’s courtroom. Now I’ve long read about Krueger’s celebrated cases in the papers. In 2003 he represented the family of a guy who died after falling off a 300-foot cliff in Huelo in a lawsuit against the vacation rental where the guy was staying. In 2005, Krueger sued the Hyatt Regency Maui for negligence on behalf of the family of Lauren Crossan, the 18-year-old cheerleader who died after getting drunk and falling out of a ninth-story room. A year later, Krueger sued the county after a guy died in the Lahaina Aquatic Center. And just this year, Krueger filed suit in a wrongful death case on behalf of the families of two girls who apparently drowned in Tubes in Haiku. Clearly, this is not an attorney who shies away from publicity, controversy or even personal insults. And believe me, he didn’t disappoint this morning—at one point in court, Krueger referred to his legal adversary as an “economic idiot,” alleging that she couldn’t even read a simple tax return. Surprising and even a bit jarring, sure, when compared to the studied politeness that characterized the rest of the day’s attorneys, but what surprised me most of all was that Judge Cardoza didn’t even flinch when Krueger started lobbing personal insults.
THURSDAY, Nov. 29
What didn’t surprise me was the email former Malulani Medical Center booster Dr. Ron Kwon wrote to his friends, announcing that he was leaving Maui for Boston’s Harvard Vanguard hospital. Kwon—a natural spokesman who more than anyone else pushed, prodded and agitated for a “high-tech” South Maui hospital—is more than a little bitter about the complete and utter refusal given him by state health officials. “It will be refreshing to work in a community where high standards of medical are the norm,” Kwon wrote in an email addressed to “friends” and forwarded to me. “Maui is a beautiful place with wonderful people, but it has a heartrendingly inadequate medical infrastructure and there are no signs to indicate that any solutions are forthcoming.” As one who saw Malulani as just one more hideously expensive reason why American health care is so hideously expensive, I do have to acknowledge that Kwon’s last point is on the money.
FRIDAY, Nov. 30
And now for some really surprising news: today daredevil Evel Knievel died at the age of 69. Like most of you, I was shocked to hear this news. “Evel Knievel was still alive?!” I exclaimed. “I was sure he died 20 years ago.” Like many guys my age, Evel Knievel played a huge role in my childhood, though not exactly in human form. Growing up, there were two camps of kids: those whose parents bought them the Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle, and those who did not. I fell into the later camp, and was forever looking on with seething jealousy at my friends who could play with the Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle at their leisure. My parents forbid me from having the toy, which was simply a small toy motorcycle, complete with Evel Knievel action figure, that hooked up to a device containing a flywheel that, when properly wound, would launch the bike over ramps or just across the room (YouTube is full of stunt cycle videos, some of them displaying considerable production values). Their reasoning was that it glorified a lunatic who made his name getting horribly injured after failing to jump the Snake River Canyon in a poorly made rocket-powered contraption, but I think they just lived in fear of incessantly listing to the “revving” sound made when you wound the flywheel. Of course, had my parents known that Evel Knievel would ultimately expire from diabetes and pulmonary fibrosis, perhaps they would have let me have that stunt cycle after all.
SATURDAY, Dec. 1
Undefeated—was there ever any doubt?
SUNDAY, Dec. 2
Everything tastes sweeter in a Sugar Bowl.
MONDAY, Dec. 3
Well, everything except school! No more sugar bowls in school (University of Hawai`i exempted, of course)! Yes, folks, it’s finally happened: the state Department of Education has finally declared war on candy. After, well, decades of teaching kids about the importance of nutrition and physical fitness while simultaneously throwing pizza parties and sending kids door to door selling boxes of chocolate bars, it looks like our public school system is finally going to try to wean our students off unhealthy snacks. And like everything else our public schools do, this little project—a “three year plan,” according to an Associated Press story that ran in todayMaui News—will be informative and fun. “At a food science class, a teacher could ask for salad fundraisers or fruits or have a vegetable of the week,” school food services program manager Glenna Owens told the AP. Salad fundraisers! Vegetable of the week! Seriously, are we trying to get kids to drop out of school? Considering the veggie-burgers, soy ice cream and vegetarian chili found in today’s supermarkets, you’d think a project like this would be no problem.
TUESDAY, Dec. 4
You tell me why the Hawai`i Superferry isn’t coming to Kahului Harbor this week: “It’s not because of the weather,”Superferry PR flack Lori Abe told The Maui News today, insisting that the Superferry would come to Maui if this were a regular trip. But in a press release also sent out today, Abe wrote that “Due to highly unusual weather and surge conditions in Kahului Harbor on December 3, 2007, the state [Department of Transportation]’s barge damaged two mooring bollards on the pier”and that the Superferry will return “When repairs arer completed.”
Anthony Pignataro has long believed that decanting White Zin should be a crime on par with eating pudding through a straw. MTW