Just asking…

Is it just me or are you noticing the frequency of new signage on our highways and byways.

I’m talking about newish and plentiful signs that warn drivers to be cautious and keep foot on brakes.

And it’s a matter of gradations:

  • HUMP. Sort of like a warning that there will be a large bump on the road.
  • BUMP. OK, perhaps this is a signal that there will be an uppity element, maybe less so that a hump
  • DIP. Hmmm, like a slight discrepancy on the paving of the word. Not as worrisome or wobbly like a bump or a hump.
  • UNEVEN SURFACE (OR ROAD). Golly, that’s applicable to all the freeways and side streets that are worn out and awaiting fixing.

I believe you see all of the above east-bound on the H-1, from the Makiki area to the University Avenue.

The stretch of Kalanianaole Hwy., from Waimanalo heading to Kaneohe, has its share of  hump-bumpy warnings. There are some HUMP warnings painted on the road, near the school zones, and you need to chill unless you’ve got a sturdy truck.

On the other side of the island, Kamehameha Highway from Aiea east-bound to Pearl Harbor boast a few on-road hump warnings, too. Sedans and SVUs need to heed these little mounds.

The worst of these humps/ bumps might be at the Hilton Hawaiian Village resort, whose entrance and exit have the highest humps or bumps, and speeding would be manic. Methinks the small mountains of tar should be ID’d for what it is: Hilton Hills. After the first ascent over the first hill, you need to keep your seat belts on, put foot on the brakes, and Go. Slow. Otherise, you’ll ruin your tires or chassis.



A Belgian waffle store, La Liegeoise, has opened at the Koko Marina Shopping Center in Hawaii Kai, in the former Sophie’s Pizza slot a stone’s throw from Zippy’s take-out space.

The concept is a holdable waffle with options for toppings of your choice.

I chose a basic cinnamon sugar topping, sprinkled over a waffle that had a crispy exterior and a tad sticky interior, making it a chewable pastry toasted like a conventional thick Belgian waffle but with a slightly moist inside.

The basic waffle is $7, with a $1 charge for your choice of a topping such as Nutella, peanut butter, strawberry jam and whipped cream, or not-so-common options like Oreo, Fruit Loops, M&Ms and salted butter caramel.

The various toppings kinda makes La Liegeoise’s waffle trying to play catch up with the trendy doughnuts. So far, no bacon topping. Nor maple syrup.

Some considerations: if you’re holding and eating the waffle, you might want a topping that won’t topple. If you eat the waffle flat, you could still use your fingers and munch as you would a slice of toast. Or use utensils like you would a normal waffle.

But here’s the rub: the quicker you eat it (it’ll be warm), the better; if you’re buying for dessert after dinner, it won’t be fresh (it’ll be cold).

Best option: eat in-store, since there are a few tables. You can splurge and buy before or after a movie, make it your breakfast, or your snack after shopping instead of shave ice.

My opinion: It’s a middling newcomer with an uphill battle to compete with fancy doughnuts and malasadas, where patrons order up a dozen. Don’t think these waffles will have too many take-out orders of 12. …

Services set for John Michael White

A memorial service for the late John Michael White will be held at 2 p.m. May 18 at Central Union Church, 1660 S. Beretania St.

White died March 31 at age 81.

White, pictured, was known for his support of a range of community organizations, including Boys Bunch Hawaii, of which he was a founding member, the Hawaii Polo Club and the polo community, and Make a Wish Foundation.

I knew him best as avid theater patron, where he always shared his manao with a handshake and beaming smile, at productions at Diamond Head Theatre and Manoa Valley Theatre.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to John’s favorite causes.

Survivors include a son, Jeffrey Michael White, and a daughter, Tracey White McCarthy, and several grandchildren. …

Make Longs a part of your day, again

Well, you can make Longs a part of your day again, when Kumu Kahua revives the Lee Cataluna comedy, “Folks You Meet at Longs,” May 25  to June 25…

The show, which was a hit when it originally premiered in 2003, is a glimpse of folks who frequent the aisles of the drug store where just about everyone shops. There are monologues and interaction, just like any day at a Longs. Not surprisingly, CVS Longs and HMSA are among the partners in sponsoring this run.

The acting ensemble features Alysia-Leila Kepaʻa, Brandon Hagio, Cori Matsuda,  Darryl Soriano, Dawn Gohara, Jason Kanda, Jonathan Reyn,  Judy Lucina, and Thoren Lagaʻali Black.

Alvin Chan, who is directing the revival, said , “It’s an honor to work on a piece that I consider to be part of Hawaii’s theater canon.”

For ticket information, call  (808) 5364441 orvisit

And that’s Show Biz. …



Kevin I, aka Kevin Iwamoto, has formally retired but no doubt will be busier than ever.

Most retirees have hectic, fruitful, and yes, busy lives when they make the plunge. It’s normally because you decide, when you get up in the morning, what you’ll do. You’ll elect to focus on retiree choices: tend to the garden, take more trips, schedule occasional lunches or dinners with friends and family. Or not. You can do absolutely nothing.

A pal from back in the day, Kevin was a recording artist and frequent singer, at local clubs and venues. We’ve known each other for decades – five? six? —when we both young, green and eager to make a difference in our chosen fields.

Kevin’s had many jobs, spanning a spectrum of successes, moving up the business ladder after ending his performance career. It’s not so much that he feared not finding a performing job, but another option – in his case, aspects of business – would be a better foundation.

Me, I prevailed in one and only occupation – a journalist, a reporter, a critic, a columnist – as if my needle was stuck on the record player. Boring, perhaps, but filled with some opportunities but loaded with memories.

Kevin, of course, has had a luminous career and was, and still is, an active voice in the corporate travel industry. Why not? He earned his stripes at TIM, the University of Hawaii’s fabled Travel Industry Management program of the Business College, and he rocked and rocketed, from a Hawaiian Airlines employee to the Bizly biggie, where he was chief strategy officer and head of enterprise. When he retired a few weeks back,  he emerged – when you look back – to be one of the sparkplugs of the corporate travel industry for 35 years. He’ll continue to advocate for the biz travel community, consulting and speaking, as he’s done throughout his career.

Those in the biz world, who worked with and knew Kevin, will attest to his generosity of time and skills, during various facets of his growth as a corporate leader.

Business Travel News named Kevin Travel Manager of the Year in 2001 for accomplishments at Hewett-Packard, and he was named an Industry Icon in 2009, by the National Business Assn. now known as the Global Business Travel Association.

He’s authored books  and  was a prolific blogger for a network of travel biz followers, but he’s not forgotten his Hawaii roots, providing TIM scholarships for UH biz students.

In the past year, his entertainment career made a comeback of sorts, when his vintage vocals became a minor sensation in downloads with surprising sales and response from a network of new fans discovering his ‘80s music. Better late than never.

Ironically, he kept a stash of long-playing vinyl records for years, but discarded a bundle of ‘em when clearing out storage space in Hawaii, a miscue since the discs are  now out of print.

I’ve not traveled with him, but Kevin has frequently met me and my wife  in New York, to do a few touristy things, and we’ve gone to Broadway shows together. In  the summer of 2019, when we took in “Hamilton” together we got to explore the onstage set after the performance. (Those visits were halted because of the pandemic).

We’re hoping to find a mutually workable date this year, to meet up in New York again. And here’s a morsel most folks won’t know about Kevin. He probably doesn’t remember, too,  but he was briefly a journalist in Hawaii and turned the tables on me by conducting and then writing up an interview with me for a local publication.

It was a lovely piece, which I probably still have in box of memories at home.

So Kevin, enjoy your retirement. I know you will likely be the busiest retiree in. your circle, but will make time for activities you want to do, not have to do on your own timetable.

I share these recollections to congratulate Kevin on finally bidding aloha to the work force.

I know our paths would not have criss-crossed if he wasn’t a singer, but fortunately, his job at one time connected with mine as a journalist, and it’s been a blissful intersection and intervention since. …

About Spam and chow fun…

If you savor Spam, it’s old news that McDonald’s in the islands serves Spam as an accompaniment to eggs, in one of its breakfast meals. The other option, you must know, is Portuguese sausage.

These “side” options, however, are not available  at McDonald’s on the Mainland.

Saimin also had been another only-in-Hawaii item at your local McRestaurant, but it was discontinued some time ago…

And lucky you live Hawaii, too, if you like chow fun with your Chinese take-out at Panda Express.

Panda here offers four starch choices (and you pick two):  white rice, fried rice, chow mein or chow fun in plate-lunch portions or in bulk via its Family Feast option. But most Mainland Panda eateries don’t have the chow fun…

Scratch this on your list

Scratch Kitchen in Hawaii Kai – located on the former site of Outback Steakhouse on Kalanianaole Hwy., at the Hawaii Kai Towne Center  – is opening at 9 a.m. Friday (April 14).

No specific details yet, but the restaurant plans to serve brunch (presume breakfast and lunch fare) as well as dinner.

Wish it would open earlier, like 7 a.m., on a trial run, for early birds who want to get breakfast before hitting the road, or retirees who get up early who would likely prefer an earlier time to have chit-chats with breakfast fare. You know, with eggs, bacon, and coffee, in a modified menu and timetable that would fill the void caused by the April closure of Zippy’s dining room at Koko Marina Shopping Center. Take-out counter service continues, but heck, dine-in matters, too.

Also newish at Hawaii Kai Shopping Center, is Tex808 BBQ & Brews, open for lunch and dinner on the waterfront. Ribs and brisket are the prime offerings and happily, there was a good-sized crowd when I visited Saturday night. There was live entertainment, but too loud with amplification. …

Pagoda koi population to downsize

Over at the Pagoda Hotel, you know that Sorabol has taken over the dining rooms, upstairs and downstairs, and in the pagoda clusters amid the ponds which have been home for the resident koi for decades. Korean food prevails in the dining halls.

But the koi population, as well as the scope of the ponds, apparently will be downsized.

The talk is that the koi and the watery element will be focused only in the front area of Sorabol, which means a key attraction on the site will be minimal. You could buy koi food and toss ’em as they swim to get their meals.

If there’s not much water surrounding the dining pods, there will be fewer koi, so the tradition will end, timetable not known.

Pagoda hotel guests still have access to breakfasts served at  the Pagoda ballroom, where shows or special buffet meals prevailed before, but these American meals are not open to the public.  …

And that’s Show Biz. …


If you grew up in the Hawaii of the 1940s and ‘50s, you likely will remember something commonly called the slop can, where your family dumped their kitchen discards.

This was an era where most households didn’t yet have garbage disposals in their kitchens.

So “wet” garbage, like soups and kitchen debris, like carrot shavings, cabbage cores, pineapple skins and orange and banana peels, had to be disposed somewhere.

Garbage destined for the slop can.

This also was a time where there were no oversized plastic garbage bags – or composting in the backyard – to conveniently dispose these food remnants.

Enter, the slop cans. Or in local lingo, “buta kau kau,” literally pig food. Gross? Yes, but it was part of everyday life.

Most homes had a slop can outside their kitchen door. The canister was a rectangular-shaped can, likely the kind of container for oils and other liquids, with an open top, where garbage would be disposed. A wooden cover was necessary, to keep flies and bugs and even feral cats and dogs from seeking the remnants of discarded food. And a bucket-type handle was necessary, to lift the can and contents.

 I remember having that duty to bring out the daily veggie and fruit stuff and even chicken and rib bones. I recall, too, that slop had a sickly sour odor, and you made sure you didn’t allow seepage.

This messy load would be picked up once a week, like the rubbish vehicles hauling away other throw-aways.  The slop was destined to rural pig farms in Waimanalo, Kahala (before the luxury homes were erected), and other farming zones. The thought that slop could be food for pork that we’d eventually buy and eat was unimaginable.

As garbage disposals became prevalent and vital, not merely for convenience but for health reasons, the slop can happily became history.

Till today, we don’t toss stuff like fish or steak or pork chop bones into the disposal; we place ‘em in produce bags from food stores and dispose in the gray bins for waste collections once a week.


Just asking:

Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day, by surprising your spouse or significant other, with a gift?

The same question might apply to your birthdays.

Sure, a sweet gift is not  unwelcome.

But when you’ve been married for more than five decades, to give or not to give is not an issue.

We’ll go out for dinner on these milestone occasions, but an actual gift is not longer part of our lives.

 Some time ago, my wife and I decided that saving on ungifting meant we’d be able to splurge on vacations and trips. But the pandemic put a lid on our travels – we had a pair of one-night staycations in the past three years,  one in Hilo, one in Waikiki – so we’re aiming for a trip to New York sometime this year.

If and when that happens, it will be a mutual gift we’ll be happy to spend on.

What say you?