Rocky I Ain’t

I often think I was born in the wrong time, year, and century.

As a young man I was an avid fencer. No, not chain link, but the sword fighting kind.

It was in high school and our coach was Mr. Anton Vokov.  Mr. Vokov was a math and history teacher who had fled Hungary in the “revolt” of 1956. He came to America, settled in Washington State and became a teacher.

He had also been a member of the Hungarian National Fencing Team.  Fencing wasn’t big in Seattle High Schools, so we were always fencing College teams, or out of state tournaments.

Fencing was something I continue today, just not as much or as fast.

I excelled as a competitive handgun shooter. I’m pretty good with a rifle or shotgun.

I played with archery as a youth and have taken it back-up.

So here I am, a man that is good with gun or blade, handy with a rifle or bow, but I’m pretty bad with my hands. I mean bad as in not good.

As a police officer I got myself talked into training for Golden Glove Boxing. Don’t ask why, I have no answer.

My trainer was a patrol friend of mine, I had gone to Kaimuki High School with his sister, and he later became one of my sergeants and a friend.

I was already in my 30’s, not exactly the optimum age bracket for learning to box. What the hell, why not.

So I started training. Roadwork and gym work 5 days a week. I worked out hard, did full shifts as a police officer, and still found some time to spend with the young lady of my life. In fact, she often met me at the gym and we’d go out after workouts.

I worked hard and tried to really learn everything the coaches tried to teach me, and practiced, practiced, practiced.

Well, let’s finish this tale. I trained hard, and thought I was ready.

I had three Golden Glove Fights, I had three second round knockouts                                and when I woke up from that third knockout my friend looked at me and said,

“Jim, you might consider this ain’t your sport.”

 

I had to agree.

Sticks and Stones

Words have meaning. I don’t mean just Webster’s meaning either.
In many cultures a person’s name, male or female, often was considered to have great power and often names were what the individual was to strive to become.

Words also have power. And with power there are always rewards and penalties.
But how many actually consider the consequences of their words today?
With the electronic communications of today, few understand the power of their words, because they seldom see the results. They believe they can sit behind their keyboards and screens, say whatever they want, and fully believe they will never have to face the consequences of their words.
Recently there has been a big push about “cyber bulling” and young suicides. As there should be. Once, if a school yard bully pushed hard enough, someone would strike back. Win or lose, the bully was diminished by that act of standing up.
Stand up.
Spend a few moments before you respond to a message, comment on a profile, or question someone’s motive.
Remember, your words carry power, use that power for good.
(steps down from the soapbox)

Remember, wine and conversation is always in order.

 

 

Strange People

In y years I have met many, many people. And damn near everyone of them has a story.

David Logan, a Man On the Run

In 1979 or 1980 a guy named “David Logan” started to put out a weekly downtown “newspaper” and spent a lot of time at Hummer’s bar where I worked as a bartender. This was during the time I had been fired for selling bullet proof vests and was in the process of fighting the dismissal.

Logan was good looking, smooth talking and seemed very personable. But as I look back, he never talked about his past.

At one time he published a book of the “The One Hundred Most Eligible Single Men in Honolulu (and how to meet them.)”. It featured pictures, short bios, and if he was to be believed, he had a panel of women who read the bios and questionnaires’ and selected the men without knowing their names or seeing their pictures.

When I was told I’d been selected I expressed my thanks which he put off by telling I had been selected by a “Majority of the panel”.

Ok, I’ll admit it was a real ego boost. I was just in my early 30’s, really chasing my dick big time, and this was great. Dave and I would often go down to the Hyatt and listen to Jimmy Borges entertain, and pick-up women. Like I said, he was smooth talking and good looking, I was just the wingman.

I eventually won my reinstatement was to HPD and went to work on the Windward side.

Hell, the Vice Principal of one of the middle schools recognized me from the book, and we ended up having a several months long affair.

By then Dave Logan had kind of disappeared.

Until one night in the mid 90’s, Julie and I were at Anna’s (big surprise there) when Dave taps me on the shoulder and greets me.

I introduced him to my wife and he asks if we can sit and talk for a while. Just the two of us.

I wasn’t real sure where this was going, but said sure, and Julie went off to play the bar video game while Dave and I sat down.

Well, it turned out Dave’s name wasn’t really Dave Logan. And he really didn’t come to Hawaii to run a weekly newspaper.

His name doesn’t really matter anymore, because, well you’ll see why.

Dave it turns out had been a member of the 60’s radical group, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and was a participant in some of the violence done by the “Weathermen Underground”. Mostly bombings and the like.

The entire time he was in Honolulu, he was wanted by the FBI and US Marshals.

He tells me that when he found out I was a police officer, he almost grabbed a flight out of Hawaii as he was sure I’d “make” him. As we became friends and I didn’t make him, he often thought of confessing who he was and turning himself in, to me.

Only jail scared him and he just couldn’t bring himself to do it. So we became friends, drank together, had mutual friends, and even attended the same parties. And I never made him. Didn’t really even think he wasn’t who or what he claimed.

To my memory, he had just sort of moved on. When I went back to HPD I never thought about him. So 12 years later this guy pops up.

I wasn’t the only reason he had come back to Hawaii. He had returned to settle some old business, so he told me his story.

He had turned himself in to the FBI, gone to court, been sentenced to several years in prison, served his time, and had come back to Hawaii to finish up.

Then he tells me, one of the things he felt he had to do was apologize to all the people, including me, he had spent all those years lying to.

He was only in town a few days, and I’ve never seen or heard from him again.

Dave, if you ever read this, I have always forgiven you. You and I are square.

The Elephant on the Beach

Soapbox….Soapbox…….

The recent Florida shooting was tragic, no argument on that. As they all are. What I hate is all the political hand wringing and smoke blowing that occurs while the blood is still wet on the ground.

There were numerous signs that this young man (boy) was seriously disturbed and there were many indications of problems. Something should have been done. Again, I have no argument.

I am not going to argue “gun control”, or any of the other topics that will come up. Gun control is really people control and that I disagree with that goal.

I want to say something about the way the argument is sometimes skewed.

It is being reported there have been 18 school shootings so far in 2018. Let’s look at those numbers;

New York; a gun was fired in a school; 0 injured; ruled an accident

Minnesota; a gun was fired by a security guard; 0 injured; an accident

Maryland; a gun was used in a robbery; victim was killed

Penns.; a gun was fired during a fight; victim was killed

Mich.; a gun was fired in a school parking lot; 0 injured

Alabama; a gun was fired in a school parking lot; 0 injured

Texas; a gun was fired during a teenage domestic; 0 injured

Louisiana; a gun was fired during a drive by shooting near a school; 0 injured

Texas; a gun was fired during a drive by shooting near a school; 0 injured

California; a gun was fired during a drive by shooting near a school; 0 injured

Arizonia; a gun was fired by a student committing suicide; victim was killed

Texas; a gun was fired by a student in a school; 0 injured; ruled an accident

Washington State; 2shoots were fired at a school during a drive by; 0 injured

Michigan; ; a gun was fired by a student committing suicide; victim was killed

(These are as reported by the Safe Everytown (Fair Gun Control) stats page.)

 

I don’t think these are anywhere the same magnitude as the Florida assault. But if you only read the headline, and only their numbers, you’d think it was the television wild west.

I say “television wild west” because historical facts show there were more gunfights on just “Gunsmoke”, then were recorded in the entire west from just after the civil war to the end of the century.

If we’re going to report numbers and incidents, let’s report them fairly. Don’t just use them to frighten everyone into agreeing with you. If you scare anyone badly enough, they’ll agree with anything that will make them feel safe, whether it does or not.

 

A Murder Most Fowl

BIRD OF PARADISE

As a “Rookie”, you got stuck with some not so glamorous or police-like assignments.

Hawaii is known for its lush landscapes, incredibly beautiful flowers and the “South Pacific” experience. For a time, there was a park that catered to the tourist looking for that experience, named Paradise Park. It was filled with plants from all over, but its main attraction was the incredible birds.

A visitor would walk the marked trails and stop by the numerous cages and aviaries to see parrots, cockatoos and toucans, chickens (some very beautiful), and the “duck show”.

Actually it was often billed as an exotic trained bird show, but seldom was.

My assignment was to be the uniformed escort for the Police Officers Wives Club, and their small children for a special mid-week tour, show and luncheon. Regulations being what they were, the wives had to be escorted by a uniformed officer. I was the lucky guy.

Most of the children, since it was “mid-week” were 6 years and under and like all wives they were all shapes, sizes and ages but the ladies were dressed up and so were the kids.

Because so many of the birds were “trained”, they were allowed to basically be free in specific areas of the “trail”.

There was a warning sign at the entrance telling you the birds would be attracted to shinny objects like necklaces, bracelets, earrings and visitors should take those things off. So everybody did. Well, almost everyone.

The walk itself was mostly down-hill, surrounded on both sides by cages with multi-colored, brightly feathered friends from around the world.

Along the pathway there were assistants and volunteers that would try to answer questions about the birds, where they came from, what was their natural setting, stuff like that.

Sometimes the “guide” would let the visitor hold a bird, let the bird sit on the guests shoulder, or have the bird do a trick, like crap on the shoulder. That’s how a bird ended up sitting on the shoulder of a Captain’s four year old daughter.

Remember when I said almost everyone took off their jewelry? The daughter was the exception. Everybody in the beginning was so concerned with their jewelry they forgot the little girl was wearing small gold-ball earrings.

The guide gently placed a medium sized cockatoo on the girl’s shoulder, everyone began ohhing and awing, taking pictures, and she was giggling with joy.

Then giggles of laughter quickly turned to screams of pain and fear as the bird latched onto the earring with a beak strong enough to crack hazelnuts.

Of course, the louder she screamed the more afraid the bird became and the harder it clamped down on its prize, the earring. By now everyone was yelling, the women kept yelling at the guide, and me, to do something.

The guide was trying to calm everyone down. She kept telling them to quiet down and stop scaring the bird. I will not repeat what she was told to do by the police officer’s wives.

Not being able to use a blackjack, mace, or a gun, I just grabbed the damn bird by the neck and squeezed what I hoped was its jaw, hoping it would cause the beak to open.

The one thing nobody ever tells you, those birds have really fragile necks. Oh, and how do I know this? Okay, the damn bird let go of the earring because it was dead.

There, I said it, I killed the bird!

It wasn’t until later, after all the huhu and shouting died down that anyone, but me, bothered to check on the other victim, the little girl.

It was her I was worried about, so I was hugging her with one hand and holding that damn dead bird with the other. Then the wives and park personnel moved in and I was left holding the bird.

That’s pretty much the story. I’ll skip the report work ( and there was a lot), the fact not one wife bothered to ask how I was doing or say thank-you, and I’ll pass over the $3,000.00 bill the park sent me, and as far as I know, nobody ever paid.

I’ll just wrap this up by saying, that’s the story of how I killed,“The Bird of Paradise”.

Brain Squirrel

 

Voices in your head? (I don’t always listen, but man do they come up with some neat ideas.)

Let me tell you about brain squirrels.

Have you ever been just doing your thing, minding your own business, when out of nowhere you get a crazy idea or mad urge to do something and your brain just seizes up on it like a drowning man grabbing hold of a rescue line and refuses to let go? And for the rest of the day (or longer) your brain is obsessed with it, working out the how without even bothering to wonder about the why?

That’s a brain squirrel. Although mine often turn into brain hamsters because they just love to run on that squeaky wheel inside my brain, which is how I envision my mind trying to turn a weird idea into something actionable. They just run amok on the wheel until I just can’t hold back.

Idea’s that come this way are usually frowned upon by better half. But what the heck, it might be worth the trouble.

(Thanks to Lurkingrythmically)

The Last King Of Hawaii ?

The Last King of Hawaii

Every once in a while someone you know pulls off a truly memorable stunt.

Don Dzura was a Honolulu attorney. He was also a well known rugby player and prodigious drinker. Wait, is that redundant? He was also known for getting everyone around him involved, in trouble, and more than once, in jail. Good thing he was a lawyer.

But this incident made national news.

Somehow Idi Amin, president-general-ruler for life of Uganda, had gotten it in his head that the people of Scotland wanted him to become their “Last” king. He was photographed wearing a kilt and loudly proclaimed if the people wanted him, he would accept the crown. This would later account for the title of the bio-movie, “The Last King of Scotland”; a great movie incidentally.

As Don’s part in this, I’m willing to bet that a large amount of Scotch and Coors Lite was involved, as well as several days without sleep due to chemical assistance.

Somehow Don and several friends managed to get through, via telephone land lines, this was the late 70’s so no cell or common sat phones, to the Uganda Capitol.

They then managed to convince whoever they spoke to that they were the chosen representatives of the “Hawaiian Peoples” and were requesting a diplomatic conversation with the ruler; that is Idi Amin.

As a trial attorney, Don was a very convincing speaker, and it worked; again. Somehow, Don and his crew of merry pranksters actually talked themselves into talking to Amin himself.

They then “convinced” him they were calling on behalf of the “Hawaiian Peoples” and were asking if he would also consider accepting the mantle of Hawaiian Royalty and becoming their “King”.

Now, to my knowledge, none of the individuals involved had any “Hawaiian” blood in them. Almost every one of them was a mainland transplant and those that weren’t were still just plain old haoles.

Amin was receptive but told them he would need to follow-up with his advisors and took Dzura’s number and gave his word he would sincerely consider their request.

It was less than 2 hours (maybe a lot less) that found the FBI knocking on Don’s front door demanding to know what the hell he was doing talking with one of the most murderous dictators ever known.

The stunt made Time magazine, The International Herald Tribune and the local newspapers, for one issue, but was dropped quickly. Very quickly.

Amin made one announcement about it saying his advisors had advised him against accepting the “Hawaiian Crown”. That was pretty much the end of the whole matter.

A few years later cancer took Don’s life.

But the “Last King of Scotland” almost became the “The Last King of Hawaii”. And Don Dzura will always be remembered by many of us as the man that brokered the deal.