Racism — A Few Things to Think About

I’m 75 years old. As readers of this blog know, I’ve been around the block a time or two, and I’ve seen, read and learned a lot. What I’m seeing right now — America’s racial “conversation” (for some, our national yelling match) becoming ever more shrill and violent — deeply troubles me. I’m also deeply […]

What I Learned in Pennsylvania About Saving Hawaii’s Whales

World’s first oil well, drilled in 1859 by Edwin Drake in Titusville, Pennsylvania Reflecting on my visit to Pennsylvania1 last month, I had an epiphany — that there is a special connection (though of course not a geographical one) between the Keystone State2 and the Aloha State. Let me begin with the conclusion I’ve reached about the […]

National Doughnut Day — Did It Roll Right Past You?

Naomi (here in a forest outside Leningrad, 1977 or 78) in the hooded snowsuit which, with its neck slightly unzipped, prompted a passerby to claim she was “naked” I hope you didn’t miss National Doughnut1 Day this past Friday. If Facebook had not brought it to my attention, I certainly would have. As it turned out, […]

Who Said History Is Boring?

Ilya Yefimovich Repin: Zaporozhian Cossacks Write a Letter to the Turkish Sultan Advisory: Despite this blog’s ordinarily being family-friendly, this post is not appropriate for readers under the age of 18 (no nudity, just language). The painting above is one of the strongest possible refutations of the notion that the study of history is dull […]

Wall Street Journal Swings and Misses on Hawaii’s Big Story

As I sifted through the online news on Friday, I was delighted to see what looked as though it would be an exposé of Honolulu’s unfolding $9 billion train wreck, a commuter rail project. As a former Honolulu resident, I was sorely disappointed when I read the article in the Wall Street Journal. (The article […]

The SuperOutrigger, Nathan Daniel’s Final Invention

Artist’s conception of a full-size passenger-carrying SuperOutrigger In a footnote to last week’s blog post, I promised I would soon write about the SuperOutrigger, an oceangoing vessel that my father, Nathan I. Daniel, invented. Although some basic information about the SuperOutrigger is included in the tribute I wrote to my dad, I think it’s time […]

Governor’s Speechwriter — Who, Me?

Gov. John Waihee with speechwriter Howard Daniel on the morning of “the Guv’s” last day in office, Dec. 5, 1994 Last week I wrote about why I love the work I do. This week, readers might be interested to learn how it was that, a quarter century ago, I found myself working as speechwriter to […]

Prix Fixe Concerts

Santa Rosa Symphony Last Saturday evening Sandra and I attended a concert by the Santa Rosa Symphony. The orchestra’s music making, as always, was wonderful. But a sour note, for me, was one I’ve been hearing, with increasing frequency, in recent years — the need to endure the performance of dissonant modern compositions as the […]

Does Voter Apathy Exacerbate Political Polarization?

In the wake of this past Tuesday’s primary elections here in California and several other states, my attention was drawn* to a Los Angeles Times report on voter apathy. “No offense, but I never vote,” a man, age 63, told the reporter. Asked why, the man responded, “I don’t believe in the system.” As someone […]

How Much Energy Does It Take to Explode a Ketchup Packet?

Have you ever wondered how much force it would take to burst open a little packet of ketchup – the kind you get with a takeout order at a fast food joint – by stomping on it? I’d be willing to wager that this question has never so much as entered the minds of most […]