There was a time when I secretly wished I went to one of those super-expensive Ivy League schools. Every time I turned on the TV and saw some guy get elected to the U.S. Senate or appointed to the Supreme Court and the reporters inevitably said the person played on the Yale baseball team or rowed crew at Princeton, I’d cringe. Here I was, a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara, and I never once heard my alma mater mentioned in any big time resume. Now to be honest, UCSB does have a reputation as a party school and that might contribute to its lack of mention in the national press. But today all that changed, and I can proudly tell people that I graduated from UCSB. Right now, as I write these words, representatives from Playboy are busy combing the campus for hot female students to photograph for its upcoming “Girls of the Top 10 Party Schools” issue. According to today’s Associated Press dispatch, more than 100 students were expected to audition by the end of today. Students and faculty reacted to Playboy’s arrival with your typical protests about the school being a place of higher learning. “We’re not saying that just because a school is a party school doesn’t mean it’s not also a great place to get an education,” was how Playboy spokeswoman Theresa Hennessey responded in the AP story. And it is a great place to get educated: UCSB is where I first learned geopolitics, neoconservative theory and the phrase “10-keg party.”
THURSDAY, Oct. 20
Headed over to the Hyatt Regency in Ka’anapali tonight for the 2005 Mayor’s Small Business Awards (and yes, I’m aware of the irony of recognizing small business achievement in the ballroom of a major corporate hotel). Anyway, Mayor Alan Arakawa was there and George Kahumoku sang and a bunch of people got up to thank a bunch more people and we all ate stuffed chicken and drank $10 cocktails from the cash bar—Hello! Small businesses don’t have a lot of cash! Then a while later after some more speeches Arakawa announced that we—and by “we,” I mean “Tommy Russo, my boss”—is Maui’s Young Business Person of the Year. You read that right, folks: Maui Time Weekly Publisher Tommy Russo is the Young Business Person of the Year. Or put another way, the Young Business Person of the Year is Maui Time Weekly Publisher Tommy Russo. You know, I work for Tommy Russo, and if there’s one thing I can say about him with complete honesty and candor, it’s that he’s young. He’s just 32 years old (not 33, as listed in the awards brochure and today’s Maui News story). In fact, he’s younger than me. Not a whole lot younger, but he is, you know… younger.
FRIDAY, Oct. 21
Just to make sure I’m on the same page as the White House, are we getting ready to invade Syria? I’m just asking because Dubya’s talking up how terrible they are at a time when we’re bombing and strafing suspected insurgents on the Iraq-Syria border and even, on occasion, sending Special Forces teams into Syria on “manhunts.” It would be nice if we could keep it to one bloody invasion/occupation at a time, but you know how it is—you go to war with the warmonger you have, not the one you want.
SATURDAY, Oct. 22
Only on Maui would the remodeling of a McDonald’s make the front page of the Maui News business section. “The Kahului McDonald’s will hold a grand opening today, although it has been open for business since the end of September,” reported the News in an unbylined story today. And the reason for the celebration? The new McDonald’s has “two drive-through lanes.” Can’t you people see how huge this is? You know what else? It’s also got a community meeting room. I swear I’m not making this up. In fact, the Kahului Lions Club has already booked it, according to the News.
SUNDAY, Oct. 23
“Eagles to take it to the limit on Maui.” That’s the headline to The Maui News’ top story today, concerning the upcoming December Eagles concert at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. I thought about writing something snide about the headline writer, but I think reprinting it is enough.
MONDAY, Oct. 24
The State of Hawai’i has already given over use of Kahului Harbor to the Superferry, and now finally the Superferry has decided that it’s time to make public what it intends to do with it. According to today’s Honolulu Advertiser, Superferry, Inc. will charge $50 for a one-way ticket between Oahu and Maui, $55 for a passenger vehicle and $90 for a van, truck or limo. They expect to turn over $2.3 million to the state each year, starting in 2007 when service is supposed to begin. But what’s most fascinating in the Advertiser story is this single line: “Ultimately, the state could force a Superferry vessel to vacate its dock if it is running significantly behind schedule, one of the problems that doomed Hawai’i’s previous ferry service, SeaFlite, which operated in the Islands from 1975 to 1978.” SeaFlite! I’d totally forgotten that all this inter-island ferry stuff had been tried before, and it completely failed. Some blame the high-tech (for 1975) hydrofoils used by SeaFlite, saying they couldn’t keep up with Hawai’i’s corrosive environment, but most people say the ferries were doomed when their parent company went belly-up. Imagine that.
TUESDAY, Oct. 25
Last week in “Less than Complete Victory: An open letter to Congressman Ed Case,” I erroneously reported that the 2000th American soldier would die in Iraq sometime in November. My powers of mathematical prediction apparently leave much to be desired—today, the Pentagon announced that U. S. Army Staff Sergeant George T. Alexander of Killeen, Texas achieved that bloody distinction when he died of wounds he suffered Oct. 17 when his vehicle was blown apart by an insurgent’s bomb in Samarra, Iraq. He was 34 years old.
Anthony Pignataro really should sit down and watch an episode or two of Breaking Bonaduce. MTW