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Archive for the ‘Rant’ Category

Dr. Beach names Haunama Bay the #1 beach in this year’s Dr Beach Top 10 Beaches in America. What is unfortunate is that the corals at Haunama are dead. While in Mexico marine reserves restrict toxic sunscreens that damage corals, in Hawaii there are no such restrictions (shocking considering Haunama is touted as a “Nature Preserve”). There is a serious die-off of corals occurring right now in Hawaii that correlates specifically to sunscreen usage. Exposés like this encourage an increase of tourists to specific areas and will stress the environment even more.

Dr. Beach (self-proclaimed as “America’s Foremost Beach Expert) should use the health of the waters, corals, sea life as part of his criteria to rating the health of beaches before sand softness and smoking. [Read his criteria here] If there’s no testing for toxins, carcinogens, hormone disruptors like oxybenzone, octocrylene, octinoxate, avobenzone on the sand and in the water, these beach sand and water quality tests are not really complete.

We can rarely go to Hawai’i beaches during the summer (or winter or spring break for that matter) without getting bombarded by tourists gooping and spraying these chemicals. How can a beach be “the best beach” when they are now crowded with tourists blasting atomized carcinogens into the lungs of everyone in the vicinity. If you don’t breath this stuff in, you’re likely swimming in it, as most formulations come right off in the water (that nice rainbow sheen) and the kids are playing in it while building their sandcastles.

It’s been shown that these chemicals don’t just kill the corals, but they create an environment antithetical to their existence. That’s because they destroy DNA and affect hormones (yes, they do similar things to you and your children). Studies have shown that if the water conditions are overwhelmed by these chemicals (which doesn’t take a lot – about one drop per Olympic-sized swimming pool), baby corals can not grow. So whether the coral died because of the chemicals or because these beaches are now overwhelmed with tourists trampling and manhandling the corals, efforts to regrow or transplant them often fail.  

Dr. Beach, we love that you appreciate Hawai’i beaches (two in fact made the list this year), but you should balance these announcements by using your platform to help educate about eco safe / reef safe sunscreen. We need to change our approach to UV protection, and use products that are safe for us and the environment. If beach-lovers don’t wake up, their going to inundate these amazing places with their toxic sunscreens and tax the ecosystems to their limits. As far as we’re concerned, that doesn’t make for a nice beach.

Haunama Bay Dr Beach

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When you’re a writer and need to get stuff off your chest, you have to write it down. Normally I don’t bother sharing much of the musings about so-called “famous” people, they deserve their privacy – plus shoots, in Hawaii you surf every day with someone who’s had some fleeting (or legendary) moment of fame via surf. But when that someone’s being a douche, they should be called out on it, regardless of who they are. And sure, every surfer has had their douche-y moments in the water (some are conscious of it, some not so much), but this incident was particularly entertaining. 2015 was the *gulp* 30th anniversary of the first time I ever went surfing. So to have Laird Hamilton gift me with this quote was pretty special. Here’s to purging for the new year!

“You never saw me on a short board?! Then you just started surfing!” –Laird

Surfing Hanalei Bay. It’s a pastime that some on Kauai only partake in on occasion, as it’s so often over-crowded and a bit agro. Today was one of those mellow days with fun-high surf, a relatively sparse crowd, and waves for all.

Winter fixture Laird Hamilton was out. It was early in the season and the first time I’d noticed him since his return from summering in the ‘Bu (yeah, I actually wrote that).

I was surprised to see he wasn’t on a SUP. He looked like a kid, sitting on a board he could actually sink, and I thought it refreshing (not to mention he’d be less able to hog all the waves). So when he paddled near me, after an aloha exchange, I mentioned, “I’ve never seen you on a short board.”

His mood altered split second. “Well then…”, he tisked, “you just started surfing.” He repeated it a little louder and a little more annoyed, “You never saw me on a short board?! Then you definitely just started surfing!”

Wait, um, huh… waht just happened? I waited for a crack of a smile. Nope. He wasn’t joking.

My thought process went something like: Is he thinking I think he’s never short-boarded? Does he think I never saw North Shore?  LOL. Did I accidentally threaten him in some way? Is he really so cocky as to tell a chick that she must be new to surfing because she never saw him in the water on a short board. Is this the best example of inductive reasoning gone awry?! My mind was reeling with questions!

He actually repeated it a few more times. Then went on and on about himself but at that point I couldn’t make out what he was saying. I got all caught up in the energy of the incident… this massive ego… becoming palpable… expanding way beyond the sphere of mere mortals. Maybe someone drank a lil’ too much Laird Superfood Coffee that morning?

He paddled inside, caught a wave, and the vibe out in the water mellowed.

When he made it back out, he took the opportunity to engage a few of the local guys in the pack and went off on some tangent about people who were trying to put him down. He brought up some guys who did this when he was body surfing the other day. “I was going to go in and get my fins and a french fry box… and surf it better than them.” The guys in the water kissing his okole joined in: “Yeah, yeah!” “I would have paddled in and gotten an old door” “Yeah, and beveled down the edges” “Yeah, yeah” “That would show them!” “Yeah!!!”

**Oh boi**

It wasn’t as if Laird was directing this all at me, yet it was obvious my comment – tweaked in his head – inspired the loud discussion that I was supposed to overhear. Bulleh 101. All I could think was, Girlfriend, you know better, don’t you mess with the mind of a narcissist.

After his third wave, Laird paddled back out towards me, and at that point I had to laugh it off and said, “I dunno dude, I was just saying I’ve surfed out here with you like 100 times and I’ve never seen you on a short board. That’s all. Not sure where you decided to go with that…”.

He gave me a pondering stare. Started paddling away. Then turned, paused, and said, “Ohhh, it was a complement.”

I guess I was either with him or against him.

“Uh, well, basically” I replied.

And he smiled…

So, my special quote may not have been North Shore-worthy, but it was close. And whenever there’s a good excuse to include any reference to the flick you really shouldn’t pass on the opportunity: “Burkhart you bastard!”

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Hawaii Winter Heating ToasterDon’t laugh at us when we complain, it gets cold in Hawai’i.

Not ice blistering Alaska cold, but cold all the same.

Before you call us pussies, let me explain. In Hawai’i, most houses are semi-contained. Many places here have either no windows or some windows, and the rest is screened in. There’s no heat, and rarely air conditioning. So whatever the temperature is outside, is what the temperature is inside.

So while the rest of the world would have their thermostats moderating something around 65°, we’re getting nice moist chilled air swooping off the mountains below 50° nighttime through the early morning.

The past few days I’ve had to resort to toaster hand warming, running the oven and opening the door, using the still-hot saucepan (after making rice) on my belly and bones, hot showers, foot soaks, jogging in place, ThermaCare neck warmers taped on the back, wool socks and hoodies, and even stuffing my Malamute / Chow Chow under the covers, to no avail. In a few hours I’ll be in shorts and a t-shirt, and the rest of the freezing world will be jealous, but until then….

While we’re on the topic, every year on weather modification sites you will see posts about snow here. To be clear, before there were airplanes, there’s been snow on the tops of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. That doesn’t discount “geoengineering” by any means, nor does it discount the fact that even those not living near the tops of volcanos are shivering.

I might even have to bust out my long sleeve 2mil wet suit top today for our current brisk ocean temp of 75.7 – what, don’t laugh!

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Otherwise titled: “Top Five Situations People Pay to be In, Which I Would Pay Lots of Money to Avoid”

#5 – A Crowded Beach on a Hot Summer Day

I have a knack for being the one hit in the head by the Frisbee, football, whatever – it’s just my thing. Why I can’t transform that phenomenon into, say, winning lottery tickets… it’s an alchemy yet manifested. Meanwhile, I’ve experienced many a hot summer burn your feet, packed with bodies, peak days at beaches across Southern California, the East Coast, Waikiki, even the French Riviera. Luckily, since then, I’ve been spoiled living on a tropical island with a limitless number of optional sandy settings to choose from. Though we consistently get bombarded with tourists, you can always suss out some private spot that includes only you, your dog and your other dog (your boyfriend). There is no reason ever when I prefer to be sitting downwind to tourists spraying each other with carcinogenic sunscreens chock full o’ DNA-distorting nano particles (far-fetched thought in the modern weird world but… I’d rather croak from fun in the sun than a can of chemicals). These same plebs immediately jump into the ocean, where it all washes off and destroys the reef and adds a lovely toxic slurry for the marine life. To compound the clichéd unconsciousness, they then go sit in the blaring midday sun without an umbrella or hat and wonder why they resemble baked lobster. I would pay $150 if necessary to be removed in handcuffs from that situation.

AMOUNT I’D PAY TO AVOID: $50-150

#4 – Hotels

These days even five star hotels are not immune to roach motel level scum thanks to the onslaught of bed bugs. Many a yelp review sounds more like a cry for help as guests – from the budget conscious to the high rollers – are subjected to a variety of pestiferous aggravations that range from being nibbled upon to having complaints/concerns dismissed with a courtesy move to a new room without compensation for the inconvenience. If you thought the flame retardants from California’s overkill mattress standards were bad, these rooms are even worse as they get fumigated over and over (bed included) on a regular basis. And if you want to check on a hotel before booking, don’t rely solely on bedbugregistry.com; you need to do a thorough Internet search as there’s no solely reliable clearinghouse for experiential public commentary regarding this matter. Though most hotel staff keeps mum about how bad the situation really is, one Oahu-based concierge spilled the beans: “All hotels in Honolulu have them and if they say they don’t, they are lying.” Bringing these bugs home = a whole other nightmare most people would pay thousands of dollars to avoid.

AMOUNT I’D PAY TO AVOID: $250-500+

#3 – Coachella

(Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Burning Man, etc.…) I highly recommend going to at least one music festival when you are young, you know, so you understand why you don’t need to go to them. Beyond that, you have no excuse. Thousands of people in any one location, integrating into the biomass; sweat on, shoved, pretending to have a blast watching the best band ever (when in reality you could barely see or hear a thing). The bands that play, who might otherwise be good, often suck in these huge venues. As a music reviewer (and previous Lollapalooza magazine editor), I attended my fair share but in my defense, I always finagled a backstage pass as means of escape – and heck, it was free and I was getting paid to write about it. Honestly, most of the time it was the smaller stages that I’d enjoy, unless I was being entertained by behind-the-scenes antics (think Love-allapalooza circa 1995).

Not to sound like a “back-in-the-day” party pooper but Burning Man, SXSW, etc. were comparatively small events with maybe 20% the number of attendees. We made events like Burning Man manageable by having our own theme camp (the “Water Camp”), flush with the most desirous desert compound H20 (thanks to Brian Doherty and his van full of tap-filled garbage cans), beach chairs in kiddie pools, water wings (for extra protection from awkward social situations), a cardboard ship, sea shells, a sea shore, as well as a big M*A*S*H tent (stocked with food, alcohol, Ouiji board) to hide out in during the wind storms.

In summary, if I wasn’t viewing an omnipotent mass corporate conglomerate event while parked backstage in a reclining massage chair enjoying complementary food and cocktail service and a loin-clothed hottie fanning me, I would pay $500 to have a private driver pick my ass up and escort it straight to Al’s Bar (old skool LA reference but just think small run down smokey dive bar with your fave band before they became popular in any town near you).

AMOUNT I’D PAY TO AVOID: $500-750

#2a – A Cruise Ship

Why anyone would want to be locked up with a bunch of over-processed vacationers, in tiny, swaying, vertigo-manifesting cabins, on a floating all-you-can-gorge island buffet of germs and bacteria is beyond me. If I were in charge of marketing such a scam, my campaign would highlight: pee-enhanced swimming pools; questionable quality music at high volumes; canned sitcom laughter; copious amounts of indulgence swathed in white trash decadence. And while you are just out to sea, you will find comfort in that as you depart, a boatload of shit (yes, the load in the boat’s hold) is being dumped into the eco-system (visit, pillage, leave your mess behind). It’s not just actual crap but miscellaneous algae, bacteria, etc., stowing away in the undercarriage to be spread with no prejudice to each port visited. And sure, boats also have a tendency to hit whales, reefs, and sink. The ONLY reason to go on one of these monstrosities is to see icebergs (Titanic fans call dibs on your lifeboat early).  I would pay $1,000 – $2,000 (depending upon how ill I felt; or if Isaac Washington was tending bar) to be helicoptered off a cruise ship direct to the nearest spa.

#2b – Group Tours

This is a similar situation, something designed for young or old people and/or those whose have little time, energy, or creativity to plan out their own trip. Sure, there are certain instances where a group tour makes sense – eco-adventures, searching for a boy/girlfriend, cultural tours (I even like those) – but the problem with group tours is that, unless the group is made up of people you already know/like, the company you will be forced to keep is a crapshoot. The type of tour and who it attracts in this case matters most. Depending on the length of the trip, I might pay $1,000 to escape a bad group tour. Certainly a zombie hipster tour to Fukushima… er, I mean Chernobyl, is not on my bucketlist.

AMOUNT I’D PAY TO AVOID: $1,000-2,000

#1 – Celebrity

Being universally recognized, wanted, and gossiped about by the general public is one of the most desired existences. It’s representative of humanity’s insatiable ego and the desperate pursuit of a “perfect life” via the illusion of “love” and wealth (and all the problems such things will solve). Anyone but an alien, and maybe the Dalai Lama, is not built to survive such onslaught without being permanently afflicted. Still, many spend their lives devoted to such a quest, with little consideration to the soul-selling consequences and what it truly takes to maintain such a facade. Imagine achieving world-wide fame, never being able to escape it in your lifetime, especially in those moments you want to leave the house with your hair unkempt; have a private nefarious relationship; do something stoopid in public; or simply be alone, in private, out in the world. I’m not terribly opposed to the idea of “almost famous”, where someone might recognize you once a month, once a year, because they actually appreciate your work rather than because you’re a part of the talent-optional pop-culture milieu they’ve been programmed to hyperventilate over. If faced with a life of TMZ status on the level of Aniston, Pitt, Jolie, Madonna, Spears, Kardashian Inc., etc., I would pay $1,000,000 to not be famous. Actually, I would pay much more.

AMOUNT I’D PAY TO AVOID: $1,000,000+

Honorable Mentions:

The Greek System – Kappa Delta Brutal – if it’s not Animal House why bother; the line at any Amusement Park on a dizzying 90°+ day being sprayed with atomized chlorine mist; Sweat Lodges, obviously; Colonics – just because Groupon offers a coupon does NOT mean you should do it! I’m not against things getting shoved in people’s butts per se, but enemas seem more safe and inexpensive; Korean Baths – I’m adding these on here for my friend, Kerin, who hates the idea of them almost as much as feet and bed bugs; Silverlake, CA / Hipsterville U.S.A. – though I have friends who’ve maintained amazing, tempting rent control situations, most punks would pay extra to NOT be residing next door to the mustachioed and hip-for-the-sake-of-being-ironically-droll – wow, it is like life as a bad episode of New Girl (no offense Phil Hendrie, you always rock our world)! This is pretty much consistent with all gentrified locales. In the end, it would likely even out in terms of expenses: You may pay more for a non-rent control place somewhere less trendy but your mochas won’t cost $8.00 plus tip (hello, LAMILL) and the act of eating out won’t force you to take out a loan either.

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British Airways SurfboardsFor the lot of us who rarely make it to Europe it may not seem a big deal, but for the thousands of international surfers -especially professional surfers- British Airways’ 2007  ban on surfboards was a nightmare. They weren’t just charging exhorbinant fees or having embargo periods, they were banning boards on all their flights. If they got away with it, would it influence other airlines to follow suit? After two years, BA has now reconsidered their policy and beginning October 9, 2009 they will once again accept surfboards — with some limitations.

BA became the focus of much angst, petitions and surely some hate mail when overnight they went from “the surfer’s favorite airline” to “the surfer’s most hated airline.” To add insult to injury, at the same time they banned surfboards because of their size and bulk, they made it increasingly easy for golfers to bring their clubs, bike riders to bring their bikes, skiers to bring their skis, divers to bring their diving gear — all free of charge.

Luckily there are some pluses to a bad economy. Businesses who may have not aptly appreciated their customers are becoming financially influenced to satisfy their needs. Mark Wesson, an executive committee member of the British Surfing Association, says “Despite the immense global opposition at the time of the ban, BA remained staunch in its commitment to the move. However now it seems that their current financial situation – seeing a loss of £401 million this year – is helping to open their eyes and they are beginning to realize the business that surfers can bring back into the company.”

Problem is, while the partial lift of their ban may be a step in the right directions, it’s just not enough. You have to be a shortboarder in order to bring your boards as there is a 6’3″ size limit (so that’s likely a 6’1″ in a 6’3″ board bag). And even most shortboarders (professional and otherwise) will fly with larger sticks in their travel-quiver.

There is so much $$$ behind the surf industry, and so many surfers and surf company folk who travel, that collectively there should be enough power to earn us a little respect. Airlines who offer to take surfboards (of any size, including multiple boards in a bag) for a reasonable fee, should be the first choice for traveling wave riders. Companies like Virgin, for example, who stepped up to the plate after BA’s announcement, not only accepts surfboards but does so for free (and they made a huge profit last year doing it!).

Surfers should continue to make collective efforts: call and email customer service departments and sign petitions to get attention. Let your buying power speak for itself.  Think about the bigger picture before booking your next surf safari and make a statement by choosing a surf-friendly airline — even when you’re just traveling home to see mom and pop.

*   *   *

There are online lists that include info on airline policies concerning excess baggage acceptance and fees; though it should be noted that these can change and some airlines issue embargos during prime surf seasons to certain areas. Check out these links for more info: Surfers Against Airline Fees, Flying Fees and Surfline’s Breakdown of Board Bag Charges (call each airline before booking for the most current fees).


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Subject: I have been given your name by trusted mutual friend

Dear American: I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.

I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.

I am working with Mr. Phil Gramm, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transaction is 100% safe.

This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.

Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to wallstreetbailout@treasury.gov so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed informati on about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

Yours Faithfully,

Minister of Treasury Paulson

(You’ll probably get one of these eventually, as the email is making its rounds. Be forewarned!)

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by Campus Queen

Those who know me know that I’m very passionate about child protection. Let me tell you a few reasons why.

When I was 10, a friend confessed to me that her stepfather had molested her and her sister.

When I was 12, two friends, sisters, confessed to me that their cousin molested them when they were under six-years-old. The way they described it is that is how they lost their virginity.

When I was in college, two of my friends confessed to me that they had been molested by their fathers.

In college, another friend confessed to me that her cousin repeatedly molested her. When he called and said he was going to come visit her at boarding school, she tried to kill herself.

I kept every secret for every one of those girls.

Now at 40, my best friend’s daughter was abducted, molested, and murdered at age 5.

I’m a mom now and I’m not keeping any more secrets.

Two days ago John McCain released an ad attacking Barack Obama for supporting sex education for kindergarten students. In fact, what Obama supported was age appropriate education for children as a means of teaching them what was proper or improper touching to help protect them against sexual predators [read NY Times for facts behind the distortion]. McCain completely distorted that fact. The cold hard facts are that 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 10 boys are molested by the age of 14 (Department of Justice statistic). And because this crime is so greatly underreported, those numbers are extremely conservative. In 85% of the circumstances, the molester is someone close to this child, which makes this education even more important. If the molester is in the home, they will not be getting this education in the home. Children need to know that no one has the right to hurt them. No one.

Earlier this year Joe Biden introduced Senate Bill 1738, the PROTECT Our Children Act. At the core of The PROTECT Our Children Act is a computer system that enables law enforcement to track and document the trading of child pornography in real time. This system allows the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) taskforces and other authorized law enforcement officers throughout the country to quickly determine who the worst offenders are in a given area. The statistics illustrate how law enforcement is facing literally thousands of new leads every day. The PROTECT Our Children Act will create oversight, accountability and cooperation among the many agencies working to stop this problem and give them the resources, forensic labs and US attorneys to prosecute these cases successfully. Thus far, this system has resulted in a 96% conviction rate without a child ever having to take the stand; the images, videos and narratives justifying the heinous abuse of children stand for themselves.

This Senate bill is Congress’ most aggressive support for law enforcement’s efforts to address the exploding U.S. child pornography industry which consists of more than 600,000 known computers that have been recorded actively trading grotesque videos and images of sexually violent crimes against children. Currently, fewer than 2% of these known offenders are being investigated due to a lack of resources. However, in one third of child pornography arrests, evidence leading to a local child victim is found at the scene. If Senator Biden’s bill passes, we will have the power and resources to rescue as many as 200,000 children from ongoing abuse.

There are several senators who have yet to sign off on this bill. One notable absence is John McCain. Joe Biden sponsored it and Barack Obama supported it.

I am outraged that John McCain would use Obama’s support of something that is desperately needed for our nation’s children and distort it so blatantly. How he can represent himself as someone who cares about our children, release this ad, and then fail to support Senate Bill 1738 is deplorable.

Last week in an interview with Time Magazine, John McCain aggressively refused to define the word “honor.” Now I know why. Men of honor protect our children. I hope you will join me in supporting our nation’s children, our future, in this next election by supporting true change.

* * * * *

Supportive Links:

Not One More Child – The video and transcript of Special Agent Flint Waters’ testimony before congress, which can be found here, is unlike anything you’ll ever see/read.

National Sex Offender Public Website

The National Association to Protect Children

Stop It Now – Child Sexual Abuse Prevention

Dru’s Voice

Democracy In Action – Though it passed in the House 415-2, the Child Rescue Bill may likely be killed in the Senate due to politicking. Click here to send a message to the Minority and Majority Leaders in the Senate.

Code Amber – Hurricane’s have displaced the Louisiana-based Amber Alert offices yet again, and they are struggling with added operating expenses. They are funded solely through donations.

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