Posted tagged ‘Life’

Give some YouTube love to my nephew Jake

May 27, 2011

We seem to have drifted into featuring good music on Fridays, which isn’t a bad way to end the week.

Today’s spotlight is on my nephew Jake Conol from Glenwood on the Big Island, with his soulful cover of Michael Bublé’s “Home.”

I consider Jake to be possibly a major undiscovered talent in Hawai‘i and some others agree; his video of “Wonderful Tonight” a couple of years ago got more than 55,000 hits and glowing reviews from viewers.

He’s been fronting bands in Puna since his talents on the ukulele started to emerge in middle school, but his musical ambitions became secondary after his mom was severely disabled in a tragic highway accident.

Even with the rudimentary production of these videos, Jake’s voice seems to come from someplace deep and real. He can be a wizard on the fretboard, but isn’t into showing off for its own sake. I like his simple guitar accompaniments that bring only as much as the song requires.

Give it a listen and if you agree with me, pass it on and help get the boy some YouTube hits. If you don’t agree, write me off as a proud old uncle.


Getting my ash kicked over European volcano

May 25, 2011

The renewed volcanic activity in Iceland that is spewing a cloud of ash toward Europe is again causing me grief because of the name of my blog.

As with last year’s eruption, travelers looking for information about flight cancelations search Google for “volcanic ash,” find my blog and ask me for the latest news. When I politely say I can’t help, they call me names.

One Lady Gaga type from England who checked my blog for volcano info and instead saw Neil Abercrombie called me a “friggin’ idiot” on Twitter. Another fellow blamed me for his train being 10 minutes late.

As it happens, my wife is leaving on a trip to Europe this week and even she asks me about the ash situation. Geez, I can’t even pronounce the name of the volcano.

(If burglars or loose women have ideas about taking advantage of the knowledge that my wife is out of town, the former should be warned that I have protection and the latter should give a a few minutes to go to Long’s and get some.)

I am so dead if my wife joins the other Europeans checking my blog for travel information.

A good man feeling bad

May 20, 2011

The headline is the best statement of the blues I’ve heard and nobody played it better than Sam “Lightnin’ ” Hopkins, who picks, sings and talks the blues in the above video I recently came upon clipped from the 1967 short film “The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins.” (Part one, Part two)

A Hopkins blues line was the source of my favorite quote to sustain me in old age, something to the effect of: “I ain’t afraid of dying, it’s just that you have to stay dead so long.”

He was also a source of inspiration to many of the guitar heroes of the Rock Age, in whose wailing sounds you’ll hear a lot of Lightnin’ licks played at warp speed. (His nickname notwithstanding, Hopkins was best known for slow blues shuffles with long runs of triplets that keep drilling deeper and deeper into your gut.)

Not that he wasn’t capable of going up-tempo. I leave you with another video of the old horndog trying to get a party on with a young and demure Joan Baez.


Happy feet and jive spirits

May 4, 2011

My, so much discord around here lately.

The Legislature is taking a cruise day before the finale of its session, so let’s do the same. Let’s revel in the sunshine. Let’s be happy. Let’s dance.

To help you along, I give you this video forwarded to me by my friend Buck Donham in Arkansas. Watch it and I guarantee you’ll spend the rest of the day happily humming and tapping your toes.

Sucking wind

April 22, 2011

I’ve been dragging for the past week from the triple curse of a bad cold, hot humidity and vog, which combine to leave me gasping and glued to my recliner by lethargy and perspiration.

All that gets me through the days is the hope that the weather will change and bring some relief.

Every night since last Friday, the weather guys on the TV newscasts have been promising a return of the tradewinds. But every morning upon waking, I look out the window expecting to see some rustle in the leaves of my stately ti plants — and NO MORE NOTHING!

I fully sympathize with Guy Hagi when he laments about the demands of viewers who expect him to tell him the exact hour it will rain at their house.

I certainly don’t demand that, but when they say the tradewinds are returning to the islands, I do assume that my house falls within the general classification of “the islands.”

The raised expectations are their own fault with all the hype over flashy meteorological graphics that need three weather segments in each half-hour newscast to be properly shown off.

But all those fancy graphics really tell us with any accuracy is what happened today, which we already know if we bothered to look out the window.

The art of predicting what will happen next hasn’t improved all that much and is often little more than a coin flip. We’re a tiny island chain in the middle of the ocean and a shift of just a few degrees can cause a weather system to hit us more full on than expected — or miss us altogether, like the elusive trades.

It’s still hot and humid as I write this late at night, but the few ti leaves I can see in the darkness are showing a hint of rustle.

Maybe tomorrow …


There was question in the comments earlier this week about the status of U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa’s campaign promise to move into the First Congressional District she represents. KITV had an update last night.

Getting my ash examined

April 6, 2011

My work flow lately has been rudely interrupted by a colonoscopy, which is quite a traumatic series of events when you include the unpleasant preparation and sweating out the pathology results in the aftermath (which thankfully resulted in good news in my case).

This is one of those medical procedures that when I younger, I always said I’d rather die from what they were looking for than submit to the exam.

But perspective and the urgency of the survival instinct change as you get older — not to mention that I’ve sadly seen friends and family members die from what the colonoscopy is looking for, and it’s not a pretty way to go at all.

So I lay on the exam table accepting my fate and waiting for the anesthesia to kick in as two doctors and three or four nurses stared at my posterior until they could have their way with me.

Before I drifted off, it occurred to me that some of the public officials I write about might have enjoyed a chance to do the inserting. (Oh, did I forget the lubricant? Oops.) I could have auctioned off the rights and cleared a little of the state debt.

I hate missed opportunities, but if I live that long, I’ve been warned I’ll be doing it all over again in about five years.

The night before the holiday we don’t mention

December 16, 2010

I had a lovely time last night at my grandkids’ school Christmas show, which was actually called Winter Fest because you can’t say Christmas in public anymore without getting the PC police all up in your business.

Talk about a contrast; one of my girls played an elephant and the other played a kolea (which had a much more pleasant singing voice than I expected after some of the riffs I’ve heard around here).

It was very nicely done, with hula, Hawaiian legends and segments taken from “The Lion King” and “Rent,” but scarcely a mention of the 800-pound holiday in the room.

The sanitization has gone too far, and I can understand why it ticks Christians off. Nobody would blink at a slipped mention of Hannukah or Kwanzaa, and you can invoke the Dalai Lama until the cows come home. Putting a lot of religious dogma in these shows would be inappropriate, but the avoidance of mentioning Christmas at all is ridiculous.

I’m not a Christian myself, but I enjoyed it a lot when my grandson was at the school six or seven years ago and the shows ended with a UH music professor coming out to play Christmas carols on the piano while the audience sang along. Beautiful songs, beautiful moments.

And to my knowledge, nobody complained.

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