Monday, September 24, 2007

Another Unprovoked Attack (War)? I'm Afraid So

I don't know how many of you have been following the government's attempt to turn Iran into the next Iraq--a rogue state with weaponry that could bring us down in a moment, strange people who don't speak English the way George Bush does, sitting on oil they might not want to give to us...

Once upon a time, last year, I couldn't believe that the US would launch another unprovoked attack. After all, it cannot be a surprise to even the most gung-ho war supporter that the attack on Iraq has not gone well. So it seemed improbable that our government would decide to try again. But I think I expected too much rationality, or maybe they've taken the egregious Thomas Friedman's admonition to be a little bit crazy seriously.

Whatever their reasons, it appears that we are being softened up for another war. The talking heads are talking up the dangers we face from Iran. Next we'll start hearing about aluminum tubes, and then we'll see satellite pictures of trucks driving around the desert. Democrats will start scurrying for cover.

I expect the unprovoked attack--oops, war--to be launched in February or March. By then it will be too late to impeach them.

My Summer Vacation

I've been really lazy. I went to Hawaii and didn't write a word about it, even though I had my computer with me and access to a fast internet connection. I was just lazy. And I've been back for a month now.

My friend A took us along with her when she went to help care for her mom, who lives in Kailua. I didn't think J would want to go, but he did, so we all headed off for Honolulu. I'm not a good flyer, but the plane left too early in the morning for J to pour a beer down me before embarking. I survived the flight, but on landing the pilot had to abort the first attempt and come 'round for another attempt. Anyone else on getting to see Diamond Head for both the first and second time from the air would be thrilled, but I only wondered whether the plane had enough fuel for the second attempt.

Living in Sacramento has given me a great appreciation for any landscape with features. And Hawaii has features. The color of the ocean is a color unlike the Pacific anywhere on the California coast. It's not quite teal, but almost. And the mountains (the highest is about 2,500 feet) rise from sea level in almost vertical cliffs. So while they wouldn't be much more than foothills here in California, the mountains of Oahu are imposing in appearance. Even better the colors of the mountains change every 15 minutes--sometimes green, sometimes brown, sometimes a purple-black--as the ever-present clouds strike shadows across the sky.

I think there must be a beautiful sandy beach every 30 feet, and we sampled several of them. I did insist on putting my feet in Waikiki (and in fact spotted fish from the sea wall there), but spent more time at Kailua and Lanikai beaches. Most of my beach time was spent swimming, so I didn't get to read a single beach book. There wasn't time.

A is a wonderful tour guide and organized our time to see as much as we could in the nine days we were there. We were taken to Honolulu, the North Coast, hiking to Waimea Falls, snorkeling at Shark's Cove, to the Blowhole, everywhere. While Oahu is a small island, travel is slow. There are no superhighways and the maximum speed on the island is 60 mph. Most roads are much slower--35 to 40 mph. We never got to the Bishop Museum or Hanauma Bay or Pearl Harbor, so I'll just have to make another trip some day...

I somehow managed to develop an interest in the early missionaries who came to Hawaii in 1820. At a really excellent bookstore in Kailua I happened across one of the classics on the subject (Bradford Smith's Yankees in Paradise) and will get around to reading it as soon as I finish the book I'm reading with the PACE freshmen at Kennedy High later this month--Epitaph for a Peach. It's difficult looking at the portraits and photographs on Hawaii's royal family wearing heavy woolen clothing when shorts and tank tops are far more appropriate to the climate. But through the majority of the 19th century that's what they wore.

J has put up the pictures at
so you can see our trip.