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fun facts about hawai’i

Something amazing happened on Inauguration Day. I learned that President Obama graduated from his Hawaiian high school the same year I was born in Hawaii. More impressive still, I was born in the hospital right down the street from his high school. Does this mean our entire lives have been, and continue to be, inextricably connected? Yes.

In light of this new knowledge, and in support of a much talked about but little known state, I present to you a few interesting facts about the great state of Hawaii (or Hawai’i, if you don’t love imperialism). From a couple of Native Hawaiians, President Obama and myself, here is Hawaii:

The islands of Hawaii, when superimposed on a map of the continent and rearranged, will cover up most of the red states.hawaii-over-continent
Many of Hawaii’s exotic native creatures have been killed off to make room for rabbits. Something similar happened in New Zealand. The moa, a large flightless bird, was forced to march into “Reservations” in the nonessential portions of the county. Those “Reservations” were also known as the Pacific Ocean. Moas, unable to evolve quickly enough to breathe underwater, died. Richard Owen, who studied the moa, also had nothing to do with Hawaii.owen
Isla Nublar is actually Hawaii. Steven Spielberg did location shooting for the Greatest Film of All Time, Jurassic Park, there. Not many people know that Spielberg originally wanted to use Muppets to play the dinosaur roles in Jurassic Park. Calamity ensued when Big Bird refused to eat the lawyer and Bert, Ernie and Kermit did not make realistic velociraptors. (“Hiyo, I’m Kermit the Velociraptor!”) Production was shut down until Spielberg figured out machines could do the jobs of Muppets. This led to Jurassic Park‘s pioneering use of computer generated dinosaurs and also to The Great Muppet Depression.

Pictures of Hawaii account for 95% of all computer wallpapers.diamond-head
President Obama and I encourage all of you to explore the island nation/island state. Hawaii offers much to history buffs, famous movie directors, and people who like rabbits. It may never be Vacationland (that’s Maine), but Hawaii has a special place in the history of the United States, and a very special place in my personal history.

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My Hero: Jack Johnson

jack-johnson2 What attributes does your hero have? Would your hero be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound? Have a special “Spidey sense” to know when trouble is afoot? Dress up like a big bat and fight crime? Know when microwave popcorn is done without being burned? Be able to steal and feel no remorse?

Fortunately for me, my hero exists in the real world. His name is Jack Johnson. He is a singer/songwriter. You may have even heard some of his songs.

Jack grew up in Hawaii. He loved to surf. After high school he went to college, but not any old boring institution for higher learning. He went to school in Santa Barbara to be a filmmaker so he could make surfing documentaries of his friends. After college he bummed around with his friend, G Love. G Love put Jack on one of his songs and it was a hit. Then Jack made an album of his own: Brushfire Fairytales. It was also a hit. Now Jack and his other good buddy Ben Harper write songs, hang out, surf, and talk about saving the environment.

Jack, who is not related to the boxer, is supremely mellow. He is also tall, and awesome. Every one of his albums sound relaxing. Some people – naive and petty people – say all his albums sound the same. Do not believe their lies. While I’d happily put on a Jack Johnson album at a chill party or a BBQ, I would most likely opt for In Between Dreams or his newest, Sleep Through the Static. That’s just the way I roll. Other people may prefer Brushfire Fairytales or the Curious George Soundtrack (which features G Love and Ben Harper). I don’t think anyone likes On and On. Sorry, Jack.

One theory, put forward by my mother, states Jack is the Jimmy Buffet of my generation. He’s mellow, makes you feel good, and has a kind of island-vibe. I agree with that, although I also think Jack is a more dedicated artist than Jimmy. Jimmy is fine, but sometimes he tries too hard to sound laid back. Jack is the real deal.

While I’m not out to convert anyone (Jack would totally oppose proselytizing), I do think that Jack Johnson is worth checking out if you haven’t heard anything beyond “Flake.” I’ll be the first to admit I used to be a Jack naysayer. Then I liked him ironically. Now, I just like him.

Hats (and shoes) off to Jack Johnson: singer, songwriter, surfer, filmmaker. Saving the environment one album at a time.jack-johnson