Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Merrie Monarch Rules

It's with mixed emotions I say we are back from Hawai'i. The island is definitely where I should always be.

We did some awesome hiking, including a great day in Pololu Valley and along various Kona-side coastline (including a very satisfying hike-in-to-snorkel at Wainanali'i Lagoon. The lava flow at Pu'u 'O'o wasn't very accessible last week, so we didn't bother with the drive over. That was basically how the week went - we didn't bother with much. Just chillin' and soakin' up de rest and relaxation and the Onion House aloha. It's a magical place.

Our slackitude let me get through 2 fast reads: Richard Clarke's "Against All Enemies" and the lighter, but equally engrossing "The Book Nobody Read," by Owen Gingerich.

The former (apologies for the sound-bite) is an amazingly readable recent history of US counterterrorism policy and operations, over the last 4 administrations. Clarke covers far more than just finger-pointing at Condi. That does happen, but he also develops a much more detailed, almost undeniable, case against all the key players in the dubya admin.

The later is a classic vacation read - regarding a science history scholar's adventures along the way to making a census of the existing 1st and 2nd edition copies of Copernicus' world-moving "De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium Libri Sex." I'm pleased to report my copy (of Owen's, not Nicolai's, book) now resides in the astromically-inclined hands of a lovely U of Hawai'i undergrad - mucho aloha, Heather!

Musically, I found a neat little ooh-koo-lay-lay CD, by "Uncle George" Lanakilakeikiahiali'i Na'ope, "Among My Hawaiian Souvenirs." Perfect title, eh? George Na'ope, for short, is a master of hula and uke, and the composer of "Ka Nani A'o Ka'u" (trust me, even a non-Hawaiianophile will recognize this one). He's also the founder of the Merrie Monarch Festival - which happened to be going on, in Hilo, while we were on the island. I got me da T-shirt, bruddah! Da Kine!


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