Hawaii: Day 1

I am on Oahu, the most touristed of the Hawaiian Islands, but there is also great beauty here: beaches, lovely mountains, waterfalls, and, of course, food. It is the island in red on the map below. (The island of “Hawaii” proper, to the extreme right is known as “The Big Island”).

They are all in a series of volcanic islands created as the continental plate moved over a hotspot from southeast to northwest, so that each island was a volcano that became quiescent and then began to erode away. There are underwater islands in the chain to the northwest, and a new island, still underwater, is forming to the southeast of the Big Island.

Here’s a topographic map of Oahu, with an area of 596.7 square miles (1,545.4 km2), and a population of about one million. The island has two mountain chains, volcanic in origin, which lie to the east and west. Oahu is about 3 million years old. Someday the island may break in two as erosion wears it down and sea levels rise.

Our trip yesterday went along the east coast, beginning at about the leftmost of the two “prongs” on the southeast coast, and then proceeding around the island on the east side to the very top, the beginning of the “north shore” where the waves are fierce and much beloved by good surfers.

First, though, I had to feed the ducks. Ducks are numerous here in every body of fresh (and often brackish) water. They don’t have to migrate as the climate is salubrious (and there’s nowhere to go except the other islands).

There’s been a lot of interbreeding between wild mallards and domestic white varieties, as well as with muscovy ducks, creating “mullards” like the one below, a putative mallard/muscovy hybrid whom I named Fergus after the Yeats poem (other ducks tend to follow him). Fergus shows up every day in the local marina for a feeding.

Here he’s being tossed some duck pellets, which I bought at a local feed store. (I know, it’s an obsession.) He is a handsome lad, though. His appearance reminds me of a s’more

There are many red-crested cardinals (Paroaria coronata) here, an invader from South America. Despite their appearance, they are not closely related to the Northern Cardinal from the Americas.  This one’s in the family Thraupidae, while the Northern is in the family Cardinalidae.

The juveniles have a yellowish crest, but I didn’t get to photograph one. They are lovely birds.

An endemic, the Hawaiian stilt (Himantopus mexicanus knudseni), is a subspecies within the species that contains the black-necked stilt. They’re considered a subspecies because the black coloration is more extensive than that on the black-necked stilt. These are graceful birds and look very fragile. When they fly, their legs trail out behind like streamers. Wikipedia says that, compared to their body size, they have (relatively) the longest legs of any bird. Remember, their legs bend at the joint that’s homologous to our ankle, not our knee.

The second bird is a mutant, a very rare four-legged stilt:

On the eastern shore is the famous Byodo-In Temple, a Buddhist temple dedicated in 1968. Here’s a description from Wikipedia:

The Byodo-In Temple (平等院 Byōdōin) is a non-denominational Buddhist temple located on the island of Oʻahu in Hawaiʻi in Valley of the Temples Memorial Park. It was dedicated in August 1968 to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaiʻi. The temple is a replica of a 900-year-old Buddhist temple at Uji in Kyoto Prefecture of Japan. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a functioning Buddhist temple in the proper sense as it does not host a resident monastic community nor an active congregation.Inside the Byodo-In Temple is a 18 ft (5.5 m) statue of the Lotus Buddha, a wooden image depicting Amitābha. It is covered in gold and lacquer. Outside is a three-ton, brass peace bell. Surrounding the temple are large koi ponds that cover a total of 2 acres (0.81 ha). Around those ponds are lush Japanese gardens set against a backdrop of towering cliffs of the Koʻolau Range. The gardens are home to sparrows and peafowl. The temple covers 11,000 sq ft (1,000 m2).

The temple against a background of misty mountains:

Here I am ringing the tree-ton “Peace Bell” cast in Japan. That sound surely invokes Buddhism!

The gold-clad Buddha:

This sign is mistaken, but I won’t comment further:

The koi pond. You can buy food to feed them, and lots of kids were doing it. They were the fattest koi I’ve seen!

A pair of black swans inhabits the pool by the temple. One was swimming. . .

. . . and the other was sleeping, standing on one leg with its head tucked under its wing:

Lunchtime was at the well known Waiahole Poi Factory, where I satisfied my daily craving for poi. They make poi at this nondescript place, of course, and it was tasty and fresh. It’s a great shame I can’t get it on the mainland.

Lunch was similar to yesterday: lomi-lomi salmon with tomatoes, kalua pig, poi, but also with beef luau, beef stewed with taro leaves. Dessert was a square of coconut-milk pudding, haupia. It was all delicious and filling.

I’m not quite sure what this slogan at a bus stop means, but I’d guess it means “hail (greet) the bus when it comes”. “Aloha,” of course, has many meaning in Hawaiian, including “hello,” “goodbye,” and “love.”

Professor Ceiling Cat (Emeritus), ordered to wear a hat because of the brutal sun, meets the Pacific. The water was green and turquoise, and surprisingly cold. On New Year’s Day we’re scheduled to go snorkling in the open ocean with dolphins, turtles, and maybe whales (there’s a good spot for that, and I abhor the expensive and somewhat cruel snorkeling experiences with captive dolphins.)

Brigham Young University (a Mormon school) has a branch in Oahu, just like it has branches on other Pacific Islands. The Mormons proselytize everywhere! We visited because I heard the campus was beautiful. It wasn’t so much, but it was fun visiting for one reason (see second photo below):

Da Jesus Book! The New Testament rendered in Hawaiian pidgin.

The book, with a page shown below, is available free online, and it’s fricking HILARIOUS.  On this page (and remember, this is serious, as pidgin is a language people really use), Jesus is about to have the last supper, described as “Da Dinna Wit The Boss.”

It’s reminiscent of the famous LOLCat Bible, but the latter is a joke.

I much regret not having bought this book. . .

The BYU dress code, surprisingly lax for Mormons but, given the climate, necessary.

In the town of Haleiwa is a huge lot containing food trucks, which are ubiquitous in Hawaii. They are, I’m told, great places to have shrimp. Here’s a pizza truck called “Cheesus Crust,” and while it’s a pun, I’m not at all sure it’s a joke:

Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck, very famous. I didn’t try any as I was full from lunch and the line was very long.

The lovely mountains, going back and forth from sun to cloud over the day:

Volcanic mountains, someday to erode away:



  1. Posted December 30, 2018 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Oh, I forgot to mention before you left, of you can squeeze it in, try La Mariana Yacht Club
    https://www.lamarianasailingclub.com As a tiki bar, it can’t be beat and the Mai Tai’s, perfection.

  2. yazikus
    Posted December 30, 2018 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Had the opportunity to visit a couple of years ago – stayed on the ‘rural’ west-side of the island. I love how even when it rains, the air, the water, everything seems to be the same temperature.

    I also enjoyed soursop for the first time. A delightful fruit.

  3. Joe Dickinson
    Posted December 30, 2018 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    “It’s a great shame I can’t get it in America.” Note: You are in America (at least the US thereof). Reminds me of a very fine sabbatical in Hawaii (with Hampton Carson). My wife took a part time job at a department store. She regularly had people ask “Will you take dollars?

    • Posted December 30, 2018 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      I meant the mainland. I ALWAYS make that mistake and it angers people here; I need to be more careful!

      • E.A. Blair
        Posted December 30, 2018 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

        Some years ago, I had a job that required frequent trips to Toronto. Apparently I impressed my Canadian colleagues by using “the states” instead of “America”. I liked Toronto and could easily have fit in living there.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted December 30, 2018 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

          Is it weird to Americans that we call the United Stares, “the States”? I’ve heard Americans say the same but I met a couple in Vegas once that said, “is that what you call it, “the States?” Like they expected me to say something else or like they always wondered what we called it.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted December 30, 2018 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

        Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III seemed to make a similar mistake while US attorney general, questioning questioning the authority of some “judge sitting on an island in the Pacific” to declare Donald Trump’s Muslim ban unconstitutional.

  4. Serendipitydawg
    Posted December 30, 2018 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    The second bird is a mutant, a very rare four-legged stilt>

    Nice 😀

    • Liz
      Posted December 30, 2018 at 2:02 pm | Permalink


  5. Diana MacPherson
    Posted December 30, 2018 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    I love Oahu’s micro climates. Almost 20 years ago I rented a car and drove up to the rainforest. It was beautiful there and raining though from the photos you couldn’t tell it was.

    I visited the little aquarium in Honolulu as well. They had, and probably still have, a nautilus there.

  6. Randall Schenck
    Posted December 30, 2018 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Brings back memories. Valley of the Temples was my back yard there in Kaneohe. Locals would say Ahuimanu but right next to Kahekili Hwy. How many hours I spent sitting in traffic there around 6 am. in commuter traffic. Glad you were able to spend some time there. The cemetary surrounds the temple and you often see people with picnics visiting family graves.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted December 30, 2018 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      I remember that temple from several episodes of Hawaii Five-O! (Including the original series.)

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted December 30, 2018 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

        Book’em Dan O.

        Right after the Temple on the Kahekili HWY if you turned left on Hui Iwa st. and then to Hui Kelu st. That is where I lived. You had no heating or air conditioning on the windward side. Really did not need, which is good because you did not have. On this side it rained a lot. Maybe 60 to 80 inches a year. Over where the tourist stay, almost no rain, just a little in winter. The coldest temp I remember in 5 years was 59 degrees once. People were freezing.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted December 30, 2018 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

          Sounds like my kind of place!

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted December 30, 2018 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

          59 degrees of your wardrobe is for 80 would be freezing. Everytime the seasons change, I freeze or boil. You’d think I’d remember what it was like & what I wore but at least I have the wardrobe options on hand.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted December 30, 2018 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

            But by 59 I mean one time in four years and that is the overnight low. Hawaii is the only place I lived where they had no weatherman/woman on the news. Did not need I guess, no weather.

      • DrBrydon
        Posted December 30, 2018 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

        And Magnum!

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted December 30, 2018 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

          Oh yes, there is the Magnum PI house there. I think we drove by it.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted December 30, 2018 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

          Oh yes! That was a good one too!

  7. Randall Schenck
    Posted December 30, 2018 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Nice you took a photo of a bus stop. Very important part of the transportation on Oahu. I don’t know the cost now but you could take the bus anywhere on the Island for 25 or 50 cents. Very much a bargain in an expensive land.

  8. Michael Fisher
    Posted December 30, 2018 at 2:33 pm | Permalink


    “…Hawaiian Islands […] are […] a series of volcanic islands created as the continental plate moved over a hotspot from southeast to northwest […] each island was a volcano that became quiescent and then began to erode away. There are underwater islands in the chain to the northwest, and a new island, still underwater, is forming to the southeast of the Big Island”

    But better then words is this pic:

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted December 30, 2018 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      I read somewhere that some of the now separate islands were once contiguous. This shows that it seems quite possible.

    • Diane G
      Posted December 30, 2018 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

      Very cool; thanks, Michael!

  9. Ken Kukec
    Posted December 30, 2018 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Be sure to let us know if you decide to surf Pipeline while you’re there on the North Shore, brah.

  10. Ken Kukec
    Posted December 30, 2018 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Know you’re the type to kiss & tell, boss, but while you were on the southeast end of the island, did you stop by Halona Beach Cove to reenact Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr’s famous roll in the waves?

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted December 30, 2018 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      Had no idea that is where they did that scene. Actually though, the bigger attraction for the tourist there in that area is Hunauma Bay. Beautiful photographed from above and a big area for snorkeling.

      • rickflick
        Posted December 30, 2018 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

        That’s where I snorkeled 5 days in a row and decided to learn scuba.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted December 30, 2018 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

          There you go. I suspect everyone who snorkels must go there – it’s picture perfect.

  11. kurtzs
    Posted December 30, 2018 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    There’s excellent sushi in Honolulu, but I forget the names. We had a visit in March 2016.

  12. Jenny Haniver
    Posted December 30, 2018 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    For the full flavor here are some pidgin bible readings:
    Mark tell bout Jesus 15:1-47 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ybja5TOsfG0
    Mark tell bout Jesus 1:1-45 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQq8ms9AEKE

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 31, 2018 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      I saw that BuyBull and thought – “this has good potential for really winding up some of the more conservative bigots out there.” Seems so.
      I’m having a mental image of Dawkins, whenever he’s lambasting some religious eejit slipping out of “received pronunciation” and into Hawaiian Pidgin whenever he quotes from the Bad Book.

  13. Posted December 30, 2018 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful birds and landscape. Looks like a nice place to see off 2018.
    This Jesus book does seem a joke!

  14. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted December 30, 2018 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    I know nothing about Hawaii!

    What angle will shadows make between their subjects at noon? That’s be fun to see..

    • rickflick
      Posted December 30, 2018 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      The glow of the volcanoes cancels many shadows…er…if that’s what you mean…

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 31, 2018 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      (Working on memory) Hawai’i is about 30deg N, isn’t it? So, noonday shadows would be between 41deg and 7deg depending on time of year.
      Do you mean on the solstices?

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted December 31, 2018 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

        Hawaii is 20 degrees, Oahu is 21.

        So, in the Tropics (23 1/2 degrees if memory serves).

        In other words, Hawaii is a tropical country.

        Same latitude as Rarotonga, as it happens, though ‘above’ the Equator rather than below it.


        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted December 31, 2018 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

          (We can now split hairs about whether Hawaii is a ‘country’ or whether that means the USA is a ‘tropical country’ 😉

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted January 1, 2019 at 2:23 am | Permalink

          While Hawaii is broadly of tropical/megathermal according to the Köppen climate classification, that is not useful in a practical sense because, depending on elevation, ground cover, the particular coastal orientation in relation to the trade winds etc etc the islands experience most of the World’s climates somewhere. It is a bit of a rarity – one of those places that supports excellent wine growing AND coffee growing! Up near the telescopes it’s “cold-summer Mediterranean” for example. Here is a jolly nice climate map of just Big Island:

          • rickflick
            Posted January 1, 2019 at 6:09 am | Permalink

            I noticed this effect of climate zones on Oahu. By driving for half an hour you can go from wet to dry, in some places. Generally on the East side where the mountains dropped rapidly to the beach, it was misty or rainy. I think the prevailing winds are from the Northeast. Off-shore winds, a moist oceanic flow, is lifted by the mountains, cools and forms clouds and weather. Down near Hanauma Bay, it dried out and heated up. On the mountain slopes north of Honolulu, it was baking hot and dry. A rain shadow. It was quite surprising for someone coming from the mainland, upper Midwest.

            • Michael Fisher
              Posted January 1, 2019 at 6:17 am | Permalink

              Here’s a nice precipitation map illustrating your excellent description of the effect of the NE Trade Winds:

              • rickflick
                Posted January 1, 2019 at 10:00 am | Permalink

                A climate map is worth a thousand words.

            • Michael Fisher
              Posted January 1, 2019 at 6:18 am | Permalink

              It’s clickable for a better view

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted January 1, 2019 at 10:43 am | Permalink

              Micro climates.

            • Diane G
              Posted January 1, 2019 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

              “It was quite surprising for someone coming from the mainland, upper Midwest.”

              Though not for anyone coming from the Pacific Northwest. 😉

              • rickflick
                Posted January 1, 2019 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

                The Olympic Mountains are there whenever your heart desires.

              • Diane G
                Posted January 1, 2019 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

                The rain-shadow effect is pretty striking no matter where you cross the Cascades…

                Damn, I love it out there…

              • rickflick
                Posted January 2, 2019 at 8:44 am | Permalink

                We were thinking of retiring on the Olympic Peninsula. It was beautiful. There’s a place just east of the Olympic Mountain called the blue hole, because it’s often clear of clouds. Sequim is the town. The down side is your pretty far from the big city. You need to take the car ferry or a small plane, and traffic can be prohibitive around Seattle.

              • Posted January 2, 2019 at 10:44 am | Permalink

                I loved the Hoh Rain Forest. An amazing place. It was so idyllic, like a scene from Bambi. I had a couple of chipmunks chase each other up my leg. (I think they were but they moved so fast it was hard to focus on them.) The Olympic Peninsula has many beautiful spots and is also quite empty of people. A good place to get away from it all.

              • Diane G
                Posted January 3, 2019 at 1:56 am | Permalink

                Oh, yes, Sequim! When the rainforest is just too…rainy. 🙂 I’d love to retire to a place like that, too. Practicality says otherwise, sigh.

              • E.A. Blair
                Posted January 3, 2019 at 9:58 am | Permalink

                If you go to Sequim, it’s important to know how to pronounce the name of the town. I once had a new co-worker who was from Washington. I asked him where in Washington and he said “Someplace you couldn’t pronounce. It’s spelled S-e-q-u-i-m”. I said, “Oh, ######!” (prnounced correctly). When he expressed surprise, I said, “My mom is from Centralia.” That was all the explanation I needed.

              • rickflick
                Posted January 3, 2019 at 10:33 am | Permalink

                As I recall, it’s pronounced SQUIM.

              • Diane G
                Posted January 3, 2019 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

                Yep. One of those slightly esoteric bits of information that almost never comes in handy. 😀

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted January 1, 2019 at 6:52 am | Permalink

        I was thinking of “shadow at noon equator”->Google :

        “At noon on the Tropic of Cancer, 23° 26′ North, the sun will be at a 90 degree angle from the Earth—directly overhead.”
        Source :
        Smithsonian Magazine
        “On the solstice, people in the tropics cast no shadow”

        Google search link:


        • Michael Fisher
          Posted January 1, 2019 at 7:11 am | Permalink

          Hawaii is in the northern hemisphere
          Obviously for the Winter Solstice Sol is overhead at Noon in the Southern hemisphere

          You’ve referenced the Summer Solstice not the Winter Solstice. Near the date of the Summer Solstice one gets the Sol directly overhead in Hawaii for example “Lahaina Noon” occurs in May & July.

          ** In May as Sol advances northwards to the Northern Solstice
          ** In July as Sol retreats southwards from the northern Solstice
          Here are the tracks of the sun on various dates for O’ahu [not sure of the year shown]:

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted January 1, 2019 at 7:27 am | Permalink

          I’ve just checked & right now
          The Sun is currently above a single point on the Earth at 23.0°S 20.1°W
          Note the “s

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted January 1, 2019 at 10:04 am | Permalink

          On any day of the year there is a line around the Earth marking the locus of the “sub-solar point”, at which the proverbial stick in the mud (or well in Alexandria) will cast no shadow (be sunlit to the bottom). (If you think about trying to do consistent aerial or satellite photography, you need to place your aircraft or spacecraft at a consistent location with respect to the sub-solar point, to get comparable intensity and direction of lighting.) That line will oscillate around in the belt defined by the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, but it’ll be somewhere every day. On two days of the year, the line will be coincident with the Equator, when the rotation axis will be perpendicular to the Earth-Sun line and day and night will be of equal length – the solstices.
          However, on a solstice day, a person at (say) 1degN (well within the Tropics, but not on the equator) will cast a shadow of 1deg.
          Whoever wrote that article for the Smithsonian Mag was very considerably simplifying – over-simplifying IMO – the geometry.

          • ThyroidPlanet
            Posted January 1, 2019 at 10:14 am | Permalink

            Thanks Michael Fisher and gravelinspector – I was just putting the Google-formatted top result- do you understand- in there. Excellent points. I wasn’t too encouraged by Smithsonian Magazine, but puzzled as to what Google used – presumably a species of Page Rank – to give it an air of precision.

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted January 1, 2019 at 10:26 am | Permalink

              To be honest, I got this sort of thing blattered into my head in aerial photography interpretation classes back in the mid-80s and thought I’d never have to use it again. Then sitting storm-wracked (20m + waves), in mid winter, in “Iceberg Alley” (North side of the Grand Banks) and hearing that a 70km-long iceberg had calved off Greenland and was trundling in our direction … well, I had to re-learn it in the satellite/ Earth-Observation context.

              • rickflick
                Posted January 1, 2019 at 10:59 am | Permalink

                You do get around, don’t you. Inspecting gravel must demand a lot of travel just to keep an inventory. Is there an ocean or continent where you’ve never set foot? I’m thinking you owe posterity a full accounting of your exploits. Perhaps a full book treatment. Or at least a novel based on true events. 😎

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted January 1, 2019 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

                Antarctica, South America and Australia are the major bits of real estate that I’ve not worked on, yet.
                I’ve been trying to write a book for the last couple of years. Negligible progress. Nothing to do with my life though. Not something that interests me.

              • rickflick
                Posted January 1, 2019 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

                They say everyone has at least one book in them. The trick is to get it out. There are over a million books published every year. Your’s could be one of them.

  15. Posted December 30, 2018 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    I’ve always liked Pidgin. I never realised that biblical Hebrew would become so potent when rendered in it though.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted December 30, 2018 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      The Hawaiian alphabet consist of 12 letters if I remember correctly. All 5 vowels and 7 consonants. The idea or feeling that you could be in a foreign land may hit you if you stop a few of the local kids and try talking to them. You will understand almost nothing.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted December 30, 2018 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

        If they were speaking Hawaiian (rather than pidgin) then yes, it is a completely foreign language and furthermore with an entirely different grammar and syntax. (Not that I know any Hawaiian but I’m assuming, as a Polynesian language, it has similarities to e.g. Tahitian, Rarotongan and NZ Maori).

        Of course, they might just be speaking modern slang.


    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted December 30, 2018 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      I find that pidgin amusing (yeah, I know I’m being condescending and borderline racist) in a way I don’t find other languages like Maori, notwithstanding that they incorporate many words of obvious English origin.

      I think the reason is that Pidgin is obviously a much-simplified derivative of English, with a limited vocabulary, so strongly resembles ‘baby-talk’.

      It’s also reminiscent of attempts I’ve seen to render a Brooklyn (??) accent.

      (I know this doesn’t reflect on the intelligence of the speakers).


      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted December 31, 2018 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

        The same goes for speakers of PNG-ian Pidgin, Trinidadian Pidgin and Beninoise Pidgin, in my experience. The languages are simplified in both grammar and vocabulary from the original, so they do sound as if they’re being spoken by children.
        Ever tried comparing, say, Fortran and Basic?

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted December 31, 2018 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

          Depends which version of Basic. Some of them are powerful structured fully-featured computer languages. 😉

          I would assume that the speakers of pidgin(s) generally had their own, fully sophisticated, native language, before the dreaded white man arrived and effectively imposed a requirement that all official transactions take place in a subset of English.

          If for example Holland suddenly invaded New Zealand and insisted that all transactions take place in Dutch, I have no doubt I would soon end up speaking a sort of pidgin baby-Dutch along with all the other inhabitants (and native-Dutch-speakers would instinctively regard this as symptomatic of our limited IQ).


          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted January 1, 2019 at 9:20 am | Permalink

            A “pidgin” is a language formed when adult speakers of one language have to adopt another language ; a “creole” is a language formed when child speakers grow up using both their parental language(s) and another (usually “da boss man speak”, as you say). Apparently the linguists can tell them apart quite easily.

            • rickflick
              Posted January 1, 2019 at 11:24 am | Permalink

              That reminds me of a my theory(and it is mine) of human evolution. I suggest that many breakthroughs in human advancement over millennia have come about, not through the careful application of adult tinkering, but through children and their tendency to play. When we occupied the planes of Africa or the caves of Europe or the jungles of Asia, the children would have made discoveries in both language and technology that had a crucial impact on who we are now.

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted January 1, 2019 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

                Adults are perfectly capable of playing. Feynmann, for an example.
                I think that the big breakthrough was when we moved from being dominated by Darwinian evolution in the biological realm to Lamarkian evolution in the cultural realm. That would have been around the origin of symbolic language, to provide a mechanism for information transmission from one generation to another, replacing DNA in that role.
                Earlier (about 4 billion years earlier) there was another change of communication mechanism, to using DNA, from using – probably – RNA as an information transfer mechanism. Or maybe PNA – people are still trying to work that one out, hampered by the 4 billion years and the problem that biological entities tend to eat the remains of other biological entities.

              • rickflick
                Posted January 1, 2019 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

                It’s interesting to speculate about how things we now take for granted came about. Evolutionary psychology for example tries to analyze human history and give flesh(so to speak) to the bones of ancient emotions. How did language get it’s start? Who made the first stone tool? How did these memes spread? We’ll never know exactly. Today, it is very often the children who take what’s given to them and experiment. Perhaps some young prodigy occasionally saw what adults were doing and imagined how it could be better or more interesting. It always astonishes me to think early man went for hundreds of thousands of years without changing their stone tool making. It’s as if their brains were like that of birds building a nest. Not much flexibility withing a species.

    • DrBrydon
      Posted December 30, 2018 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      I think Jerry should do his Biblical quotations exclusively from the Hawaiian Pidgin Bible.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted December 31, 2018 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

        That idea occurred to me upthread. For Dawkins, not PCC(E), but the idea is transferable.

  16. Posted December 30, 2018 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    What a beautiful and fascinating place, flora and fauna.

    I have a problem with the four-legged stilt… could a second one be right behind it and only its legs visible? A video showing how it walks with its four legs would be most interesting! 😀

    • Posted December 30, 2018 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      Yes, of course it’s two stilts with their bodies but not their legs perfectly aligned. On Twitter people are telling me I should realize it’s not a mutant but two stilts, but I’m a biologist!

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted December 31, 2018 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

        I thought it was a mutation in the Sleipnir gene.

    • rickflick
      Posted December 30, 2018 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      The only other possibility I could think of was one 4 legged stilt and one behind it with none. 😎

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted December 30, 2018 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

        Logically, there could be any number behind it with none.

        Or how about four one-legged stilts standing in a row?


        • rickflick
          Posted December 30, 2018 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

          And here I thought I’d exhausted all the likely candidates. 😎

    • Diane G
      Posted December 30, 2018 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

      Zoom in and you can see a bit of the crown and neck of the hidden bird. 🙂

  17. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted December 30, 2018 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful stuff!
    I will be extremely envious but also thrilled if you see the Giant Hawaiian darner, which is locally known as the pinao. It is one of the largest Odonates in the world. Resembling the common green darner (which also lives on the Hawaiian islands), but it’s significantly bigger. It is most likely seen at higher elevations, in misty areas near water.

  18. Heather Hastie
    Posted December 30, 2018 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    I find the differences between Hawaiian and Maori interesting. Poi, for example is not a food in Maori, it’s an item used by women in a type of dance. It takes great skill and practice to wield them well.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted December 30, 2018 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

      Once my aunt sent me two poi but not actual poi (instead made out of material). I didn’t actually know that poi were things you could eat until I was a young adult, and just thought they were the balls on strings the Maori use. Anyway, my aunt had written “their are goodies inside” which meant gifts in the package. I thought she meant goodies in the poi and ripped one all a part. I still have the one left though.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted December 30, 2018 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        I didn’t know poi were food until Jerry’s posts from Hawaii! I love watching Maori poi displays. The good ones are incredible. My high school’s group won the annual NZ secondary schools competition while I was at there, and I had friends who were part of it. It was a great source of pride for our school. My home town’s biggest marae is known for its talent too.

    • rickflick
      Posted December 30, 2018 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

      Apparently, the Maori are genetically linked to the Hawaiians. At least indirectly. I think the latest studies show most of the Pacific was populated from the original Taiwanese who had a lot of Denisovan DNA. There were migrations over the last 1300 years or so between many widely dispersed islands. It just astonishes me that the peoples of the Pacific were so fearless in moving across vast expanses of open ocean.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted December 30, 2018 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

        There were initiatives where the Maori taught the Hawaiians their language as many Hawaiians had lost their language. The culture and language are similar in the Polynesian triangle.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted December 31, 2018 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

        Yes, they are quite closely related. Both are Polynesian. The ancestral homeland of the Maori is called Hawaiki, but no one knows for sure exactly where that is. The Maori arrived in NZ around 1300 in a great migration via outrigger canoe and settled the whole country at that time. Apart from some very minor regional differences, all Maori speak the same language. They were amazing seafarers, navigating by the stars. The Maori name for NZ is Aotearoa = land of the long white cloud. When the original settlers were approaching that is what alerted them to the fact there was land.

  19. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted December 30, 2018 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    That relaxed Mormon dress code hadn’t filtered down to the Cook Islands. I still used to see teenage Mormon ‘elders’, in pairs on bicycles, white shirts and black trousers and shoes, trundling their way down the road while everyone else whizzed past them on motor scooters in shorts and T-shirts. My sympathy was somewhat muted by the fact it was self-inflicted.


    • rickflick
      Posted December 30, 2018 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

      Self-inflicted by their own free will, I might add.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 31, 2018 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      I found the concept that the only facial hair approved by the Mormons of Hawai’i is what we’d call a “Hitler moustache”.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted December 31, 2018 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

        I forgot that it was amusing.

  20. DrBrydon
    Posted December 30, 2018 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    “Cheesus Crust” may well find its origin in an old (2005) SNL skit where ‘Donald Trump’ (Darrell Hammond) is trying to do a commercial for Domino’s Pizza. It was a simpler time. What I want to know, though, is, was is really Chicago pizza?

  21. Posted December 30, 2018 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful wildlife and scenery!

    “Da Jesus Book” reminds me of the “Cajun Dictionary” me and some friends ran across in Louisiana. We were the only patrons in the bookstore and were somewhat inebriated, so we read from the book aloud. This pissed off the girl at the counter who said something like, “There are people here that still talk that way!” I guess we didn’t realize it was a book not to be consumed on the premises.

  22. Roo
    Posted December 30, 2018 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    Wow, what a holiday! Hope you are able to make it to the section of the north shore where I think the sea turtles hang out! I can’t recall the name but you mentioned a good snorkeling spot and as there is little snorkeling around Honolulu, thinking this might be it!

  23. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted December 31, 2018 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    That four legged (and winged) stilt proves that angels can actually exist! I always found those arms + legs + wings somehow, what shall I say, un-tetrapod -like?
    How do we know it is a mutant and not an accident during embryonic development? Do it’s offspring have 4 legs too?

    • Serendipitydawg
      Posted January 5, 2019 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

      You are assuming that angels have two wings… way too low 😀

  24. Posted January 2, 2019 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on jtveg's Blog and commented:
    “Da Jesus Book” is hilarious. I can’t believe it’s real. I shouldn’t laugh though, Pidgin is supposed to be a “real” language, right?

    Thanks for sharing.

    • E.A. Blair
      Posted January 2, 2019 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      A pidgin occurs when there are areas where mutually unintelligible languages converge. People devise a method that combines the features of the available languages in an effort to communicate. As a pidgin matures, it acquires native speakers who have it as a first language, whereupon it becomes a creole and it develops its own grammar and syntax.

      To call a pidgin not a “real” language is condescending at best – more like demeaning.

  25. Zetopan
    Posted January 5, 2019 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    “The BYU dress code, surprisingly lax for Mormons”

    And woefully incomplete, not even a mention about wearing their magical underwear to be invulnerable to bullets and snakebites!

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