Said it before, and I’ll say it again: they just do things differently in Canada. A lot of it’s great, like how they start less wars than we do, bitch and moan in the United Nations less than we do and elect way fewer irritating, incoherent Texans than we do. But sometimes, that plucky Canadian spirit seems to lead them astray. Case in point is today’s Honolulu Star-Bulletin story on Hugh O’Reilly, the current mayor of the British Columbia ski town of Whistler. Nearing his 50th birthday, O’Reilly—who’s been mayor for nine years and a councilman for eight—has decided that he won’t run for reelection this November. Not that he doesn’t want to be mayor anymore, just that he doesn’t want to live in Whistler anymore. So he’s doing what lots of people do—he’s moving to Hawai’i. Specifically, he’ll be splitting his time between Kauai and Ka’anapali, selling real estate on the side. I say “on the side” because he’s insisting he’ll be spending the rest of this time filling out his term as mayor of Whistler. And considering that there’s not much to do on Kauai or in Ka’anapali, I’m sure he’ll do a fine job doing whatever job he didn’t want to do back in Whistler.
THURSDAY, Aug. 11
When Maui Time began nine years ago, the Lahaina News, Haleakala Times, The Maui Bulletin, Maui News and Maui Weekly (then called South Shore Weekly and later South Maui Weekly) were all independently owned and operated. But today, Maui Time is the only one not owned by a big, mainland chain. All the rest belong to Wheeler, West Virginia-based Ogden Newspapers, a chain comprising dozens of dailies, weeklies and magazines in 11 states. This week, Joe Sugarman, the guy who gave the world BluBlocker Sunglasses—finally cashed out and sold his Maui Weekly to Ogden’s Hawai’i Publications. It’s not surprising, given the paper’s contraction from 36 pages to just 24, to say nothing of the fact that rumors of the sale have been floating around for nearly a year. I’ll certainly never forget Oct. 14, 2004, the day Sugarman ran five stories announcing that the paper was “sold” to Ogden. Thinking no publisher was dumb enough to boast in five separate, distinct stories a deal that wasn’t actually inked, I reported it as fact in my Oct. 21, 2004 story “Et tu, Maui Weekly?” The joke was on me—nothing was “sold,” and the whole deal unraveled a few days later. But this time there’s no fake-out: The Maui News has a tiny story on the sale today, saying current Lahaina News editor Mark Vieth will take over as Weekly general manager. So that’s it—Sugarman’s gone, out of the great journalism game. That means no more Big Cat, Maui tsunami or scary tow truck nonsense. No more sensational foolishness. From now on, the Weekly will be more or less a normal newspaper. Yeah, I’m already missing him.
FRIDAY, Aug. 12
Forget about chowing down on hot dogs and sodas at the Iao Valley State Park. The Maui News is reporting today that Hawaiian activist Charles Kauluwehi Maxwell, Sr. shamed the Department of Land and Natural Resources into thinking twice before putting fast food concessions into the sacred valley. No word on the proposed roller-derby rink and all night wicker outlet.
SATURDAY, Aug. 13
We get a lot of free books for review at Maui Time. Of course, most of the books are boring romance novels, sci-fi fantasies or useless travel guides. They suck, take up lots of space and generally make our lives a little less magical every time we rip open their cardboard packing. But until this weekend, not one of those tomes, dull as they are, insulted us the way Jonathan Aitken’s new Charles W. Colson: A Life Redeemed did. I can’t decide which guy—Aitken or Colson—is the bigger snake. But let’s start with Colson, President Richard M. Nixon’s “Special Counsel” who ended up serving seven months in federal prison for perjury involving his complicity in the Watergate scandal. Colson spent his days scheming against Nixon’s numerous enemies, including innocent anti-war demonstrators. When Nixon furiously demanded Colson “bomb” the Brookings Institution think tank, Colson saluted, spun on his heel, and began plotting the insanely illegal attack (fortunately, Colson’s underlings had clearer heads and refused to carry out Nixon’s order). But Colson says he’s a changed man—after allegedly finding God in prison, Colson now runs Prison Fellowship Ministries. By strange coincidence, Aitken has a similar background. A former British Member of Parliament, Aitken ended up serving 18 months in prison for committing perjury during a civil trial. While in the slammer, Aitken allegedly found God—if only the Almighty spent more time outside of prison with us decent folk—and is now a director of Prison Fellowship International. To sum up: a convicted liar who’s now supposedly reformed has just written a book about a convicted liar who’s also supposedly reformed, and we’re all supposed to shell out $24.95 and believe every word of it. Work for you?
SUNDAY, Aug. 14
You guys really need to learn to recognize when I’m kidding.
MONDAY, Aug. 15
By the way, last Wednesday was National Underwear Day. Have no idea how it slipped my mind. I think the whole thing’s a scam sponsored by the underwear-selling website Freshpair.com to sell more Le Mystere Bras and bodysuits, but really, who cares? If we as a nation can’t come together and walk around in our underwear so some virtually unknown internet company can cash in, then clearly, the terrorists have already won.
TUESDAY, Aug. 16
Good thing “Mayor” O’Reilly is bugging out of Whistler to sell Ka’anapali and Kauai condos: The Maui News is reporting today that the average price of resort residential properties skyrocketed 25 percent last year, to a stratospheric $960,000. Even more astounding—unless you’re in the nation’s top one percent income bracket, I guess—is that total turnover of these glitzy homes totaled $2.7 billion last year. Do you know how many B-2 stealth bombers we can get for $2.7 billion? Almost two whole ones! Isn’t America great?
Anthony Pignataro is not a number. MTW