Times and things have changed: Part 1

Depending on how old you are and where you come from, some aspects of our lives have changed a lot over the years — largely due to advances in science and technology. For example, when I was a kid in the early 1950s, practically everybody on our block used a “party line.”

If you don’t know what that is, then you’re a lot younger than me and you might find what follows interesting. If you know exactly what I’m describing, you might enjoy reminiscing for a few moments.

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What a ‘wero’!

Over the past 40-plus years I’ve seen Maori at the Polynesian Cultural Center welcome many visiting groups of their countrymen with traditional greeting ceremonies, but I think the wero or challenge-and-acceptance protocol the PCC and Maori from the surrounding communities put on for Te Panekiretanga O Te Reo Maori on July 27, 2010, was one of the most exciting ever…

…partially because members are carefully accepted into the Napier, New Zealand-based group to study and perfect Maori language and cultural skills: Where in past groups maybe one or two of the manuhiri or visitors would respond to the challenge and karanga chants, nearly all Te Panekiretanga O Te Reo Maori members joined these thrilling moments as they entered the Maori marae at the Polynesian Cultural Center:

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Rainy Rushmore!

Mt. Rushmore and surrounding region (if you don’t see a video window above,
please go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWp2Q05v77E)

Almost every time I saw pictures or movies of Mt. Rushmore in the past, its grand-scale patriotism instilled in me a desire to see it in person . . . so, even though it made for several long driving days during our recent road trip through the western United States, we looked forward to reaching this unique national memorial in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

However, the huge thunderhead clouds, which I’ve been told can reach over 30,000 feet high, that we saw as we drove into Pueblo, Colorado, two days before should have given us a clue: It started to rain that night, and dampened our plans for the next several days.

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Arches! and getting there

A selection of pictures from Arches National Park near Moab, Utah (go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcZr15dhhq0 if you do not see a video window above)

The incredible natural beauty of Arches National Park — which I previously visited only once before in the mid-1970s on a photo expedition to Monument Valley — speaks for itself, but in our case, the adventure and unexpected delight of getting there enhanced the experience:

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Revisiting hoodoos…and other trips

(If you do not see a YouTube video window above, go to:

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Teaching kids responsibility

While watching several of our grandkids recently, I recalled something we taught our kids early-on . . . BUT FIRST, I apologize for being away from my blog for a while, just in case anyone out there in the blogosphere wondered if this site is still active.

Okay, back to the grandkids: My wife, Sally, and I recently went to Hilo to participate in the baptism ceremony for Sam Makakehau Kim — one of Daisy’s four sons, for those of you who know our kids. As everyone was getting ready to go over to the stake center for the services, I was impressed to see that Sam, 8, and his two older brothers — Jonah, 10, and Hyrum, now 13 — took turns ironing their own white shirts. This ironing incident reminded me of several things:

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This just in: Watch out for third-hand smoke!

I’ve blogged before about my feelings and experiences on first- and second-hand tobacco smoke . . . but I have to admit I was kinda’ surprised this past week to learn there’s such a thing as third-hand smoke — tobacco smoke contamination that lingers in the environment after a cigarette has been extinguished.

A quick Google™ search reveals that many people, “particularly smokers, have no idea that third-hand smoke — the cocktail of toxins that linger in carpets, sofas, clothes and other materials hours or even days after a cigarette is put out — is a health hazard for infants and children.” In other words, long after the second-hand smoke has cleared.

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It’s all relative…

Lately, we’ve been experiencing what passes here for Hawaii winter weather, and quite frankly for the fully acclimatized, it’s been down-right chilly: People wear jackets and sweaters all day long, put extra blankets on the bed at night, drink more hot chocolate, sleep with their socks on, etc.

For example…

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Brushes with military and government service


[Story by Mike Foley, originally published January 21, 2010]

First, let me pay tribute to all those currently serving and who have served in the military, especially including my dad, the late F. W. “Mike” Foley — who met my mom while he was stationed at the U.S. Army’s Fort Douglas in Salt Lake City, Utah, and was also a member of the motorcycle honor guard when President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated Hoover Dam near Las Vegas, Nevada, on September 30, 1935; and my brothers-in-law, Jimmy and the late Eddie McShane, who served in the U.S. Army in Viet Nam.

Next, let me note that I appreciate the service and sacrifice of all those in the military, but I was never one of them [although I enjoyed the JROTC class we were required to take in high school, in which I achieved the rank of sergeant]. Coming of age during the Viet Nam war, however, I came close a couple of times to the real thing, and was willing to serve if called . . . which forms the basis of my following recollections:

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Aloha, baby Gavin Norton…

[Story by Mike Foley]

Natalie and Gavin NortonPeople from all over the world have been praying for and following the story of Gavin David Bruce Norton, the eight-week old son of Richie Norton and his wife, Natalie Link Norton, who was born in Hawaii on October 24, 2009 and died in Salt Lake City, Utah, on January 7, 2010. [The picture at upper left, taken of Natalie and Gavin by Richie…and many more examples of Natalie’s family and wedding photography can be seen on her blog, Picks & Kicks, at http://www.natalienortonphoto.com/.Please note that Natalie recently won an Emmy Award partially based on her experience with baby Gavin.]

The Nortons and their beautiful young family have many friends, and many thousands of others around the globe became aware of the medical challenges baby Gavin faced through Natalie’s contributions and links on her Digital Photography School web site — http://digital-photography-school.com/author/aloha . . . while only a few hundred of us were able to gather in the Laie 4th Ward chapel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints this morning, January 13, 2010, to take part in the deeply touching experience of baby Gavin’s funeral.

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Thank you, Miss Rappaport

I learned one of my most useful skills in life in the late 1950s when I was in the 8th grade at Roosevelt Junior High School in Salt Lake City, Utah — touch typing. For that I must thank a most unusual teacher: Miss Bertha Rappaport.

Anybody who took beginning typing from her back in the day at “Rosey” could probably tell similar tales, and you might be interested in my following recollections; but before I get into the tiger of touch-typing teachers, a little background:

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