Sunday, July 21, 2002

Wahoo, I'm still alive
Well gang, I've been here for nearly a week now, and have finally made the time to check out the computers in the library (where generic unlabelled machines proudly display their 8X CD-ROM drives). There are five machines here, and only one seems to have a valid internet connection. Ouch.

But let me tell you a bit about the place. It's a tiny little tropical paradise. It's an Air Force base (sorta) so there are MWR facilities, booze, a chapel, booze, a chow hall, and more booze, and a nine-hole golf course. Oh, before I forget, copious amounts of booze. The BX is the size of the PX on most bases, about the same size as a small Circle K or 7-11. I'm living in barracks that made my old ones at Edwards AFB look absolutely modern. Still, it's a great place, birds, fishes, sharks, plutonium, dioxin and such.

Currently I'm in classes, learning all about the project and about GB and VX gas, and mustard gas. Safety is a big word out here, and from what I've seen the company is actually serious about it.

I've continued to write, though it's all on paper, and my time on the PCs here is pretty limited. Eventually, however, I'll pick up a laptop and just burn what I've written so I can publish it here. Publishing will remain incredibly sporadic due to accessibility and work schedule. Work promises to be a real bear, twelve hour shifts and the heat, but I'll be on night shift. It'll be cooler, but I'd rather work days so I can take advantage of the scuba, wind-surfing, and sailing classes. I'll probably join the canoe club, so when I do get back to the land of broadband I'll be all buff and tanned.

Until then, y'all keep the faith. I will be back.


Thursday, July 11, 2002

I think this is it

Well, at least for a while. I'm packing the computer up tonight, and my luggage limit is two pieces and a carry-on, so no PC for me. I don't know what the internet access is like, but I'm told that e-mail is available, as is phone access (though not reliable). So I finish packing tonight, go spend the next couple of days with my family, and then head off to Hawai'i on Monday. Tuesday with my grandparents and Wednesday I'm off to the Atoll. After my briefing and orientation I should know more about net access. I'm hoping they at least have library computers with net access. I mean, I still have to tell the world why nature sucks, and how badly it sucks (Castaway is a good hint there). I have to rail against the dying of the light (and the air conditioning, etc), in California. I had still wanted to speak out against the oppression inherent in the ... ummm, what was I talking about again? Aw hell, I blame society, society is to blame.

Tell you what, I'll leave y'all with some background info on me. Perhaps I'll be remebered in half a year, when I get back, for that only.

My name is Kaleiokalani Barela (this was never meant to be an anonymous blog anyway). Growing up my nickname was "Kalei". After joining the Air Force and getting out of Basic Training I found that even the lone dipthong in my nickname was a bit too much for most people, so my nickname suffered another cutback and became "Kal". We'll leave off on how many middle names I have for now. Maybe next time.

Sometime after the Air Force I got a job at the Air Force's Rocket Lab (also at Edwards AFB). There I promptly made a name for myself (literally) by scrawling 'Kilroys' all over rocket test stands, hydrogen tanks, liquid oxygen run-lines, and vacuum lines. One of the 'old guys' (every place seems to have one of them) started calling me Kalroy, I graffittied my old 'Kilroys' by writing "Kalroy was Here" on them, and low and behold, Kalroy was born.

Now I'm off to be a millwright on Johnston Atoll for six months. After that I have no idea. Maybe a sales representative for Mary Kay, on Kwajalein.


Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Broken Army

Winds of War linked to an interesting piece entitled, How to Fix My Army:. This brought to mind an essay by Col. David Hackworth entitled The March of the Porcelain Soldiers. Sean D. Naylor's article (taken from The Army Times) outlines proposals by Maj. Don Vandergriff to overhaul the US Army. I found his proposals pretty common-sensical, and noticed parallels that I used to bitch about in the Air Force (why should guys who go to squadron car washes get promoted before those who go to seminars on their trade?). They are both sobering articles that left me shaking my head and muttering under my breath "uh-huh, uh-huh, aw hell." Many of the proposals made by Major Vandergriff made me recall the writings of Robert Heinlein (Starship Troopers), John Dalmas aka John Robert Jones (The Regiment), and David Drake (Hammer's Slammers).

Between the two articles I doubt I could say anything that would constructively add to the situation or to those respective articles, so I'll leave it at that and simply recommend both articles.


Another of my daily checks, Daily Pundit, has noticed this blog, thank you kindly for that. I'm almost regretting next weeks flight to a <sarcasm> pacific paradise </sarcasm>. I still have a large number of opinionated rants and raves bouncin' around my noggin'. But I also have my "Mead Composition" notebook. And it works 'unplugged.'

update: Glenn Frazier again noticed my place here. Thank you kindly Glenn.

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

Another Pissy Hawaiian
Two things, first off I'm the Pissy Hawaiian, and two, finally something I'm actually qualified to have an opinion on.

I remarked some time ago about The Rock wanting to play Kamehameha the Great. I had my misgivings about the project, because Hollywood has an extremely poor record of accuracy in its works. Certainly the days of movies based on books containing solid research (such as those by Cornelius Ryan) and produced by people who put great effort into maintaining accuracy (Daryl F. Zanuck) and directed by people who get Star Wars characters named after them, feels like a thing of the past. Yet, as bad as Braveheart was for accuracy it was a great movie that was a lot of fun.

If The Kamehameha story was done as poorly as Braveheart I'd love it. Certainly I don't expect it to be accurate, movies based on historical facts are rarely accurate, but so what? If someone wants a hyper-accurate portrayal they're free to make one.

I was incensed at the words and actions of Lilikala Kame'eleihiwa. Jeff G. of Protein Wisdom brings this young lady's rant to our attention. Ms. Kame'eleihiwa is a radical bigot who managed to piss this 'kanak' off to no end.

'The story of Kamehameha should wait for a culturally knowledgeable Hawaiian to write the screen play,"

Exsqueeze me? Why? What makes someone not of Hawaiian ancestry suddenly unqualified to write about a Hawaiian topic? Had her argument been simply "should wait for a culturally knowledgeable person" I'd agree with her, but her suggestion that only a "Hawaiian" can do it is not only racist, it's idiotic. Her argument invalidates the work of Dr. Kilolani Mitchell who is not genetically Hawaiian. Dr. Mitchell was not born to Hawaiian parents, but he was incredibly knowledgeable about Hawaiian history and culture, but whom I, and others, found to be far more Hawaiian than many people with the right genetics.

"and for a Hawaiian descendant of Kamehameha to play the role,"

Oooh, and maybe we should wait for an actual descendent of Captain James Cook, or of the haole gunners who worked Kamehameha's cannon? Does that mean that I will get to play either of Kamehameha's hanai brothers, or that I would get to play Kalaniopu'u, his Hanai father? How much would I get paid? On the plus side it would mean that Kelly Hu (who was in The Scorpion King with The Rock) could play a part since she actually is part-Hawaiian and graduated from .... wait for it ... The Kamehameha Schools (founded by Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, one of the last in the Kamehameha line). How many of Kamehameha's descendants (and a lot of people claim to be) even look pure-blooded Hawaiian?

"'We Hawaiians have already had 60 years of cultural misrepresentation, and it is no longer tolerable ..."

Have we? Yup, sure have. There has been a history of most educational programs glossing over, or totally ignoring some aspects of Hawaiian culture and history. Public schools ignore that we ate Captain Cook (and Kamehameha was almost certainly part of that particular ritual). The Hawaiians were a randy bunch when Cook arrived and they died in droves within a few years due to "social" diseases which were preventable and not passed on in some genocidal attempt. Here's one that did make it into most curricula when I was growing up. Kamehameha murdered Keouaku'ahu'ula by inviting him to a sacred dedication of a temple with the promise of safety, and then killing him on his arrival (okay, no one really knows if Kamehameha actually ordered it or not, but he did nothing to stop it).

"The very fact that movie producers, and you as well it seems, think that "the Rock" is appropriate to play Kamehameha, is an indication that you understand nothing of Hawaiian culture, no matter how thorough has been your research in the history of Kamehameha."

Here's what's really scary. Ms. Kame'eleihiwa is the director of the Gladys 'Ainoa Brandt Center for Hawaiian Studies at UH, and yet she doesn't realize that The Rock is also polynesian just like King Kamehameha. In fact, as I recall, he's at least part Samoan (feel free to correct me on this if you wish) which means he's of the exact same genetic extraction as the Goddess Pele. How can anyone be the director of any 'Center for Hawaiian Studies' and not know that?

"'you don't believe Hawaiians should have the final say over the telling of our history."

And well they shouldn't. To say Hawaiians should have "final say" over any publication is not simply unconstitutional, it's pretty damned silly and offensive.

"The saga of Kamehameha is Hawaiian intellectual property, guaranteed by the United Nations, and if you have any respect for Hawaiians you will stop your project now."

Whoops, there you go. Ms. Kame'eleihiwa has just shown herself to be one of those ultra-radical activists who are an embarrassment to most Hawaiians. Embarassing enough to raise my own ire to the point of flushed faced lividity.

"'I've gotten many positive responses from the Hawaiian community as well, by the way." [Poirier]"

Right on.

If I leave, I'll just be replaced by someone who may not care as much about historical accuracy or cultural sensitivity as I am." [Poirier]

Damn Skippy.

Imua Kamehameha!
Two States
Last month, on the 16th, I was flying to Denver reading a newspaper. The 'two states' thing came out again in an article I was reading. So I whipped out my notebook, a Mead Composition book, and jotted down the following thoughts. I tried to post them to Kalroy Was Here, but Blogger freaked out on me and after typing the entire thing out I lost it when I tried to post and publish. Shortly thereafter President Bush made his policy statement regarding the Palestinian Arabs and the situation between them and Israel. My rant then didn't have the same impetus and I never bothered to try to repost it.

Since then I went ahead and typed it out locally and now figure I might as well go ahead and publish it, so here it is.

Two states, two states, two states. You hear it from both sides. Other than the simple point that there is already one very real state, and another that exists in all but declaration, how could there possibly be a problem with such sentiment? The fact is that the Palestinian Arabs could have a state of their own anytime they wished. The governmental beauracracies, civil services, and military services are all already in place. In fact the only things missing are balls. The balls to stand up and dance the "self-determination" part of the concept of self-determination. As it is they sit around screaming, "woe is me, 'please suh may I have a nation.'" Heck, the Afghans were in far worse shape, with one hell of a lot more going against them, and they didn't need 'permission' to form a nation.

The US didn't beg for permission before waging its war of independence against the most powerful nation on earth. Israel didn't seem to care what the world thought when it did the same. Heck, there's many examples of people taking the fate of their country into their own hands; some good, some not-so-good, and some plainly heinous (Madame Guillotine anyone?). The Palestinian Arabs don't have the same hurdles, there is no one they have to fight off to get a state, and if the terrorism stopped I doubt Israel would do anything more than complain.

Here's where the real sticking point comes in. The Palestinian Arab's leadership do not want a state. Alright, settle down, I'm serious. Consider a few of the drawbacks to being a country that a terrorist people and culture would suddenly have to deal with. They would now be forced to police themselves. The world would expect them to behave in accordance with their new stature. Certainly they could get away with it somewhat, but they'd be in the same boat as Iraq and Syria.

Also, when Fatah's military branch murders ten or twenty Israeli children in Israel it no longer bears the official title of "rogue terrorism"; it becomes an act of war and would free Israel's hand further in their own defense. Also doubtful is whether they would trade more Israeli lives in exchange for mythical good press in Europe and among the more liberal news agencies in the US. With this in mind I think I see why the PA has never bothered to formally declare its own independance; though it could've done so at anytime.

Granted, the same terrorist comforting people and organizations would continue griping no matter how few terrorists are killed or how many civilian non-combatants those same terrorists kill. The European Union, SFSU, Berkeley and the Chomskites would continue to support a terrorist people and enemies of the US and the Free World.

But that's another story.

Shrinking and Flabbergasted

I've been having a hard time getting to some of the blogs I usually like to read as a result of my HOSTS file tinkering (but it's nice to have those banner ads stop popping up). I swung by Ye Olde Blog, which I believe is Andrea Harris' baby, and whose link do I find on the side bar? None other than lil' ol' metalworker me.

I think what flabbergasts me is that I honestly never expected anyone to pay much attention to this little part of the net. I know that in some cases my opinions and knowledge can be interesting; but for me that's been with my "brew party, tasting party, 'found some aging in the back of the pantry' party" friends. That particular group, however, drinks a LOT and likes to put on armor and smack each other around with sticks, so I'm not sure what it says about their enjoyment of my ideas.

So, thanks again to everyone who has stopped by and/or plugged my corner of the foundry here.


Monday, July 08, 2002

A Real Sports Hero

Pat Tillman has just given up a lucrative ($3.6 Million) contract to join the US Army, in the hopes of serving his country as a Ranger. I just heard this on the radio and felt my chest tighten. With all the wonderful sports heroes today (Tyson, Strawberry, etc), Pat Tillman is a throwback. He's a man who has chosen to put the welfare of his country and its citizens ahead of his own personal advancement. With the recent passing of Ted Williams, who also volunteered, this was wonderful news to me.

Mr. Tillman is not guaranteed a position as a Ranger. I have no doubt with his education, physical prowess, and heart he will get it, but he and his brother have enlisted knowing that there is no guarantee that they'll be Rangers and that fate may end with them being cooks (doubtful but still quite possible).

I'm a big fan of American Movie Classics, old movies, old actors and old heroes. I like the fact that at one time a number of famous actors were veterans, Ernest Borgnine and Lee Marvin spring immediately to mind, followed by Audie Murphy and Clark Gable (though Carole Lombard was pretty instrumental in that, and tragically so). People who were famous, making better than decent money, and yet served (and there were others who were drafted and served). To me such people, including Ted Williams and Pat Tillman, are impressive, and I feel proud that such people exist among the sports and Hollywood elite in America.

Huzzah Mr. Tillman, and good luck.

Cowboy Insult

Ever heard these phrases coming from European leaders and spokesmen? "Bush is a cowboy," or "Cowboy Politics" or here's a favorite of mine, "Like a bunch of cowboys." Earlier I wrote about the hypocrisy in claiming that Americans are culturally ignorant; but these European leaders and 'spokes-folk' think that "Cowboy" is some kind of an insult.

Real cowboys work hard and have hard lives that I doubt I could presume too. I'm not some kind of Nancy Boy, but I doubt I'm tough enough to live the cowboy life.

The ideal of the cowboy is one of rugged individualism, hard work, and the kind of physical, mental, and spiritual toughness that made the United States the kind of country it is. I'm failing to see how "cowboy" could possibly be a derogatory remark except to those utterly ignorant of American culture. This is more glaring because the cowboy ideal is one of those common cultural threads that pervades American culture.

What amazes me even more is that Europeans still have cowboys. Perhaps European cowboys are different than those put out by "Britain and her Cowboy Kids." Maybe that's why they consider it an insult. Perhaps they're reading European culture into American culture because of a very real lack of familliarity with American culture. I mean "Plucking a pom-pom affixed to the horns of" wild bulls is not the kind of rodeo sport that American, Australian, or Canadian cowboys are going to aspire to.

As an aside, I was googling to see if I could find the above-mentioned quotes on the net (since linking to radio and television news doesn't seem to work to well; <a href="WKERN News, AM1540">) and it turns out my opinion is hardly unique. I mean I knew it wasn't a new opinion, it's a discussion I had with my drinking buddies in the NCO club back in the 80's (and just yesterday over the phone with an old friend), but I'd never bothered to write it down before.

Frodo Lives
So I'm at Glenn Frazier and decided to take his advice and check out Frodo's problems with the ICC. I know, it's been the talk of the web for days now. I recall seeing a blurb on Daily Pundit and ol' Sgt. Stryker simply said "This Rules".

They're all right.

Thank You All Kindly
          So there I am doing my usual daily ritual of checking out various blogs on the web, when I come across permanent sidebar links to this blog from Glenn Frazier and Beers Across America. Glenn Frazier had some really nice things to say about this bit of graffiti I've been doing, and I appreciate both the kind words and advice he's given me. All in all I've been quite surprised by my reception into the blogosphere both by bloggers I have philosophical similarities, and by one in particular that I've had a difference in opinion with.

          I'd like to thank Glenn Frazier, Beers Across America and last, but most certainly not least, Doubting Thomas.


Sunday, July 07, 2002

Well, Looks Like I'm Leaving Soon
          Well, it's official, I leave for Johnston Atoll in one week. I'll be working as a “Senior Maintenance Millwright.” It's isolated, I'll be living in GI barracks, eating at the chow hall, staying clean-shaven, and shopping at the PX. It'll sorta be like my old GI days, but I'll be making a decent salary, and I can tell my bosses to “shove it” and quit (if I don't like it) without being sent to Leavenworth.

          Way cool. I don't know how much access I'll have to the net at that point. I'm told even the telephone service (none in my room) is sometimes kinda iffy also. But hey, it's only six-months. In the meantime I still have a couple of other rants I'll try to get off my chest before I pack the computer up for good.


Saturday, July 06, 2002

Ignorant Americans
          That’s right, I just wrote the phrase “Ignorant Americans” and I wasn’t being sarcastic. Americans are pretty culturally ignorant; from a Will Rogers’ point of view.

          I used to do a lot of posting, arguing, and even debating (rarely) on the Yahoo News Forums. Flames, insults, rants, raves and the occasional well-reasoned argument (a refreshing rarity) are the norm there. Two things that used to bug the daylights out of me were the claims that a) Americans only know English, so they are ignorant; and b) Americans are ignorant about Europe, The World and their cultures.

          Part of the reaction was because I took the insults personally. I mean, I know the difference between Gallicia and Andalusia. I know the names Alfred the Great, Hengest and Vortigen. I know that Carolus Magnus would have eaten trenchers for breakfast and that Chucky’s more vulgar name was Charlemagne. The insults were not, however, applicable to me, yet I took umbrage to them. Three Musketeers syndrome probably (an attack on all is an attack on one and vice versa).

          Still, something about their words felt wrong and not simply in their applicability to myself. The claim about languages was easily thought out, and though partially true, the number of unintelligible European (and The World) immigrants that I’ve met doesn’t impress me as an argument as to the linguistic ability of The World.

          The question of cultural ignorance, however, still tugged at my mind. Certainly I could silence the detractors by asking pointed questions about American culture. I mean it’s easy, American culture is so incredibly vast and diverse that even its common threads are not always obvious. Steven Den Beste brought forth one of those common threads quite well. Yet some of those detractors were Americans, unable to answer questions about American culture like “Where did the pyramid and eye on the dollar bill come from?” I thought that would be an easy one.

          The more I thought about it, the larger and more convoluted the subject became.

          For instance, saying “no” to an offer of food is a grave insult, to this day, in parts of the State of Hawai’i. Turns out that the same holds true in some of the more rural parts of Mississippi. Cultural norms within a single state can be incredibly different. People in Kern County are different than those in the Bay Area (again, this is ‘in general’), let alone the difference between someone born and raised in San Francisco compared to someone born and raised in Garlock. Differences are readily noticeable between peoples from Los Angeles and Juno or New York and Kaunakakai.

          This is exempting the fact that a large chunk of The World’s culture is part of America’s cultural mélange (yeah, I just saw Dune again and wanted desperately to use that word). Oktoberfest, Makahiki, Cinco de Mayo and others are all part of the vast, complicated tapestry that is American Culture.

          Hey! Mr. Elitist European (and/or Mr. Euro-phile wannabe). Quick, what is Makahiki? How about Cinco de Mayo? No Google searches allowed.

          BZZZZZZZ. Too slow. Don’t feel bad though. Many, if not most, Mexican-Americans don’t really know what Cinco de Mayo celebrates either.

          Americans are pretty ignorant about their own culture, but their culture is such that it is doubtful that any one person could ever be truly familiar with it. Mennonites, Hippy communes, American Buddhism, soy farmers in Illinois, ranchers in Texas or California or Hawai’i; to say nothing of the Hawaiians, Inuit, Shoshone, Hopi, Choctaw or Delaware.

          Realize that anyone saying that Americans are ignorant of The World’s cultures, though not incorrect, is being highly hypocritical.

          Though many Americans are ignorant about so much of The World, The World is far, far more ignorant about American culture.

Ah Well Ah
          Thanks to the likes of Glenn Frazier and Doubting Thomas, my penis is getting smaller. I've suddenly gotten a couple of people checking out my rants. Now back in the day I didn't bother much about when, what, or how often I tried to post. Suddenly, however, that silly sense of monarchial responsibility inculcated into me by stories of Umialiloa and Keouakuahu'ula is beginning to tell. I have actually gone over my latest essay with a red pen. Certainly my old English teachers and professors would be proud of me, and it has clarified the respect I already had for writers, but sheez. This is like actual work, made all the more difficult by the "bullions and bullions" of insects attracted by the flood lamp outside where I sit with my notebook (and/or printed first draft) and not even the smoke of my hand-rolleds scares these little buggers away. Toss in a couple of links and voila, I’ll be cooking with gas. Err, I mean charcoal. Everyone knows charcoal is superior.

          I'll be done with my essay continuing my European Ignorance rant shortly. Now if only I could get the bloody links to show properly.


Thursday, July 04, 2002

Happy Independence Day

European ignorance
          I hear this a lot, “Americans are ignorant of other’s culture,” and “Americans can’t speak anyone else’s languages.” Both are often used to indicate American Ignorance, but how true are those accusations?

          In the absolute it is pretty true. Many Americans know very little about the cultures of other people. Specifically they tend to know only what they see on television, or read in the paper. As to their linguistics, it’s not nearly as bad as it’s made out to be. The children of millions of immigrants tend to be bi-lingual. Many high-schools mandate a foreign language for their students. Many Native Americans are bi-lingual. In absolute numbers I would hazard to put money on the number of bi-lingual citizens versus any country in the world.

          Relative to other countries, however, there is more diversity and variance in America’s linguistic ability than in any European country. I can, without leaving my county let alone my state, find speakers of every single European language. Can the same be said about any European country, or even all of Europe? Nope, never, no way. I doubt that anyone in Europe could compile an honest list of languages they have encountered spoken by Europeans, that would match my list of Americans.

          Let’s clutter the bandwidth with a preliminary (first draft, and again poorly thought out):
English, German, French, Swedish, Tahitian, Samoan, Tongan, Fijian, Maori, Marshalese, Spanish, Portuguese, Basque (seriously), Russian, Japanese, Cantonese, Mandarin, Hindi, Arabic, Farsi, Tibetan, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Illicano, Gaelic, Scots-Gaelic, Choctaw, Latin (I don’t know if that one should even count, but I’m putting it in), Apache, Hopi, Navajo (Dine), Kikuyu, Swahili, Thai; hmmmm, that’s all I can think of off the top of my head. Oh, I almost forgot, Shoshone, and of course, Hawaiian.

          That’s a list of languages, spoken by actual humans (all American citizens). There are several missing, for instance Hans (an engineer at the USAF’s Rocket Lab) who was born and raised in the Netherlands, but the subject of language never came up (too busy discussing nuclear space propulsion and the best time to skim dross off your beer).

          As to myself, I speak English and Hawaiian (a couple of my siblings know Spanish, German, and French), and I’m struggling through Latin. I’m not a college graduate, I’m blue-collar who has been a welder, machinist, blasting assistant, forklift operator, truck driver, and have recently been offered a position as a millwright. In my own family we have English, Japanese, Cantonese (learning Mandarin would cause a scandal), Tagalog, Portugese, German, and, of course, Hawaiian.

          Next up, how ignorant Europeans are to American culture


Tuesday, July 02, 2002

Very Impressive

USS Clueless has an excellent read on the reason the US and so many of its citizens don’t like the idea of the International Criminal Court. His point is well made and valid. Consider that one of the things that both the right and the left have in common (other than greed, and serving special interests groups) is a healthy distrust of government; theirs, others, everyone’s. This is one of the things they share with Libertarians and those freaky militia groups also. Read it.