Archive for November, 2012

So You Think You Can Sing?

November 29th, 2012
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Sing or Sink

We just wrapped shooting/editing of the new December episode of Career Changers TV, which will begin running on Saturday at 8:30 PM on OC16. In keeping with the Christmas spirit, most of the segments have a gift idea theme. The exception is our feature on the Sing or Sink online contest just started by local sports reporter Kanoa Leahey and three of his high school buds. But the ability to sing well is sort of a gift too, yeah?

The photo above was taken prior to the start of the Gordon Biersch launch party at Aloha Tower Marketplace (recently in the news because of the proposal by Hawaii Pacific University to take over the property, which has become something of a ghost town due to the exodus of retailers). They were invited by Kanoa and his partners -- Jerry Tanaka, Mark Ambler and John Stepien -- to be part of a live singing contest that featured local talent with a wide range of experience... some were just kids, others were veteran performers. You might recognize some of the guys performing above. Hint: one is in the Hungry Guy commercial. Click here to catch a short instrumental jam that was one of those magical spontaneous moments you just happen to stumble upon. I love hearing unplugged acoustic music and voices under the open sky by the water. Very cool.

If you can't watch the high def widescreen version of the Sing or Sink piece, here's the CCTV YouTube Channel link.

In my next post, I'll tell you what else we have in store for the December show... but I anticipate that for the next two days, the Star-Advertiser blog box will be filled with about two dozen Volleyshot updates of the Wahines tournament matches, which means you probably won't notice any other new blogs posts over the weekend. Go Bows!

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For daily viewing times of my show, please visit www.CareerChangers.TV where you'll also find a link to the CCTV YouTube Channel for video segments from past and current episodes.

Robin and The Rainbows

November 20th, 2012
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Been really busy with shooting new segments for the December episode of Career Changers TV, which will premier next Saturday -- good stuff! I was also involved with human trafficking presentations the past two weeks. Our 808HALT.com project and coalition has expanded to include people from the East West Center, government agencies and non-profit groups who recognize that this issue affects us all directly or indirectly... the food you eat may be coming from farms that employ immigrant workers who can't read health warnings on pesticides they are told to use (which you then consume unknowingly)... young girls are being recruited by pimps in shopping malls with come-ons about "modeling" careers... we're hearing more reports about "domestic servants" being brought in from Micronesia, who are treated like modern day slaves... restaurants and construction companies may be exploiting immigrants, right under our noses. You can click here to see videos we've produced that have been translated into other languages as well.

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Did you see the nice three-page feature on Robin Lung's "Finding Kukan" documentary work in progress, which ran in the Sunday Star-Advertiser? Here's that link if you missed it. Followers of my Career Changers show and this blog may recall we did a two-parter on her story last December. She's come a long way since then, tracking down more leads and raising money to continue the project. In Part One (click here) Robin tells how she became interested in the fascinating life of Li Ling-Ai. Part Two shows Robin's first trailer/preview. The film has evolved since then as her search for details on Li Ling-Ai turned inward, and has become much more personal to Robin. Anyway, I'm happy to say my show was first to put Robin and "Kukan" on local television!

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As some of you know, my wife and I are old 'Bows fans. We had UH football season tickets for about 20 years, going back to 1988. At one point, we also had season tickets for men's basketball during the glory years of A.C. and Alika, NCAA tournament and NIT appearances; men's volleyball when Yuval and Sivan had fans dancing in the aisles; and women's volleyball, when the WAC tournament was played in Vegas (and we went)... so many great memories and experiences. Especially surrounding the football team. We'll always remember the big wins under Coach Wagner and Paul Johnson, and watching the 'Bows beat Illinois from the Big 10 at the Holiday Bowl in San Diego. We were at Aloha Stadium for great wins when June Jones was here too.

So it was sad for us when we went to the game against Boise State last Saturday and there were probably less than 20,000 fans in the stadium. A sizable chunk of that was wearing orange and blue to go with their bright red sunburns. I also noticed there were still a lot of old timers in the stands. Some -- like me -- still break out their faded Rainbows shirts and hats, because we take pride in what UH football and sports has stood for over the years. It seems like a lot of the younger "Warrior" fans are of the fair weather variety, who bail out when times get tough... You know, I thought June was a very good coach. But I never understood why he chose to alienate the true diehard fans, who wanted to keep the Rainbows logo and name alive. Look at every pro team and most major colleges, and you'll see they cultivate tradition -- and sell it! Retro team apparel is a revenue generator.

Yet when we walked around the stadium and stopped to look at UH "Warrior" merchandise, the only choices were: drab green and basic black. Sheesh, even the green they use in their uniforms these days is duller and boring compared to the bright shade of green the uniforms used to have. And don't get me started on those ridiculous butt stripes on the back of the current uniform pant legs. Who thought that was a good look for football players?

However, the latest UH Athletics email had a little bit of positive news for us older fans. They are now offering some retro 'Bows shirts again! They're calling them "Vintage" designs (click here).  I call them cool. Like the Miami Hurricanes, the UH Rainbows was a truly unique nickname... and I'll never forget hearing 40,000 people in Aloha Stadium, chanting "RRRAINNN..." on one side, followed by "BOWWWS" from the other half of the crowd. Those days are gone though, and I am over the Rainbows. Once you kill a tradition, it's pretty hard to bring it back.

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Have a great Thanksgiving weekend. For daily viewing times of my show, visit www.CareerChangers.TV -- you can also watch segments from past and current episodes on the CCTV YouTube Channel.

Must CCTV News and Updates

November 7th, 2012
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"Tomorrow there'll be sunshine, and all this darkness past... this train, carries saints and sinners... this train, carries losers and winners...

This train -- dreams will not be thwarted... this train -- faith will be rewarded... this train -- bells of freedom ringing."

- Bruce Springsteen, "Land of Hope and Dreams"

Not gonna gloat, but yes, I felt like my faith in democracy was rewarded. Big Super PAC Money lost in the national races. The Fox News propaganda machine lost. Equal rights for gays won yesterday. The failed War on Drugs approach to criminalizing marijuana also took hits in state initiatives. And locally, rail will move forward. It's called progress, and that scares a lot of folks. Always has, always will.

Yet this is what makes America great. We move forward. Forget what you keep hearing about the status quo being preserved. That's nonsense. The elections proved that if Republicans continue to take the "just say no" obstructionist approach to government, they are doomed for extinction -- nationally and in Hawaii. Honestly, I wish we had a strong two party system because debate can be a good thing. But when one side is being run by Mainland right wing zealots and the local GOP candidates won't denounce them, there really is no choice, is there?

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Moving on, got some quick updates related to friends of my Career Changers TV show that we've featured in past episodes.

Kathy Custer, owner of Keiki Sitters, sold her OBAMA Car with the only Hawaii OBAMA license plates in existence for $10,0000. Which is a bit disappointing since it hit that mark on the first day of bidding and didn't budge, even after it was apparent the President had won a second term. Still, Kathy was happy that the proceeds will allow two young students to continue their college education. (Click here for the back story.)

• On our current CCTV show, we interviewed Dave McClure, founder of 500 Startups, who was here for the Geeks On A Plane event that was part of the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival. Earlier this week, Dave was on the new Bravo series called Start-Ups: Silicon Valley. Two young wannabe hotshots set up a meeting to ask him for $500K to fund their new online venture, and the hungover sister decides to take a nap under the conference room table while waiting for Dave... even though she and her brother know Dave is one of the biggest venture capitalists in the world. Needless to say, Dave is not impressed when he walks in and sees the disheveled young lady crawling out from under the table. It's actually a lousy show that bears little resemblance to what real start-ups go through. Instead, watch our segment on Big Island entrepreneur Darius "Bubs" Monsef to see how he turned a "goofy" idea about rating colors into a multi-million dollar business (here's the CCTV YouTube Channel link).

• I haven't watched this week's delayed Hawaii Five-0 Halloween episode yet, but another friend of the show -- Yvette LaFontaine, owner of the Costume Closet in Kapahulu -- told me she supplied some of the costumes that were used. Here's a segment we did on her for last year's Halloween show.

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Lastly, Hurricane Sandy devastated the small town in New Jersey where I grew up -- Union Beach, located next to the Raritan Bay. I saw videos and photos of houses that were torn in half or totally demolished. Nothing was recognizable. I used to get into arguments with intelligent friends back in NJ about whether global warming was real. They scoffed at Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" and Republicans denounced climate change as a myth. Well, if you look at his charts for how high the ocean could rise, it matches up with Sandy's path of destruction. Sea level rise will not happen gradually. It will occur in surges, according to scientists.

This is a wake-up siren for Hawaii. I have been arguing for years that the shoreline setback requirements on Oahu are NOT strong enough. People are building too close to the ocean. Yet the Honolulu City Council continues to ignore the reality of climate change and rising sea levels. What happened to Union Beach can happen to my current home town of Kailua and many other parts of Hawaii. When will we learn?

For daily viewing times of Career Changers TV, please visit our website... and for those who oppose rail, why not think about how we can make it better, instead of trying to stop  this train called progress. This is a chance to preserve ag lands, decrease carbon emissions from cars, revitalize areas around new terminal stations, and create good paying jobs.

Thank God, the elections are over! Due to incessant spamming, comments are closed. But if you really want to say something, email me and I will post it as long as it's civil.

Old People Run Hawaii

November 2nd, 2012
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PROGRAM ALERT: The new November episode of Career Changers TV will premiere 8:30 PM on Saturday night, Nov. 3. You can find daily viewing times and channel info on our website (click here). This month's show has some interesting "leftover" pieces in keeping with our Thanksgiving theme. To watch segments from past and present shows, please visit the CCTV YouTube Channel.

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I was young, naive and ambitious when I moved here in 1985. Now I'm older, more cynical and don't have the same drive to change the world as I once did. At 56, I feel like I have another 10 to 15 productive work years ahead of me, but I'll have to use my time wisely and conserve energy for the things that take priority in my life. That's just an inescapable fact of growing older. We slow down.

What is distressing though is how it seems Hawaii's future is being dictated by old people with old ideas. Elderly folks deserve respect -- but should we really be making major policy decisions regarding long-term planning, based on what senior citizens at McDonald's think or tell politicians? Look at who has been railing the loudest against rail for the past few years -- I mean, really LOOK at them. They are mostly old retired men, who have time to write memoirs and haven't had to commute by bus or car for the last decade or two. They don't have to deal with horrible traffic and gridlock on a daily basis. Their children have already grown up and bought homes, so they don't worry about affordable housing plans that are part of community redevelopment projects, which will go hand in hand with building a 21st Century rail system.

I don't expect many Star-Advertiser readers will agree with my views for a simple reason: a couple of months ago, the S-A poll asked, "What is your job situation?" About 43 percent replied they were retired. Almost half the people who have time to read these blogs, write letters to the editor, or answer phone calls asking for opinions on everything from rail to elections, are over the age of 60. More importantly, they are the people who vote. The ones who have the most at stake in the upcoming elections -- young adults, working couples who battle traffic every day -- are less likely to go to the polls. It also seems there is a shortage of younger, energetic visionary leaders who can inspire people to rally around anything constructive these days. Politics has become all about being against any kind of real change, and focusing on the negative.

Although I support Caldwell and rail, I despise the negative PRP commercials and thought they would backfire. I'd rather see candidates and issues be judged on their merits and facts. But people who think Cayetano is losing in the polls because of those attack ads, seem to forget that Caldwell and Carlisle -- the pro-rail candidates -- combined, were ahead of Ben from the start. Love him or hate him, Ben is about where he was all along. And so are his views. If the best he can offer is putting more buses on more roads, with more years of stalling and scrambling for funds... well, you might as well turn Honolulu into one giant retirement community with additional lanes devoted to Handi-Vans and mobility scooters. Because that's how fast traffic will be moving every time there is an accident on the H-1 or H-2. Besides that, anyone who has gotten stuck behind buses (or riding them) while commuting from the Windward side or East Oahu knows buses are not the answer to our traffic problems.

Personally, rail will not benefit my wife or me. We don't have kids, so affordable housing for young people doesn't directly affect us. Yet, even though we're in our fifties and getting older, some of us still cling to the naive idealism of our youth, when we were able to see a bigger picture with a brighter future. However, if younger people and all those commuters in West Oahu don't get out and vote, they have no one to blame but themselves if we must endure another 20 years of gridlock and shortsightedness. Peace out.

Comments are closed for the weekend because I am sick and tired of all the campaign talk and commercials. Plus, there's no point in arguing since everyone has more or less made up their minds by now. In any event, no politics in my Career Changers TV show, so watch it this weekend!

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