Friday, July 23, 2021
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Nazi-Adoring CNN Contributor: ‛The World Today Needs a Hitler’

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CNN issued a questionable response to revelations that a frequent contributor from Pakistan to the network had, on many occasions, issued glowing adoration for Adolf Hitler and the Nazis in their relationship with the Jewish community during World War II.

In the most outrageous post, Adeel Raja, posted, ‟The world today needs a Hitler.” Raja had written dozens of pieces for the outlet.

Sunday, after declaring that the network had ‟never heard of him,” CNN spokesman Matt Dornic provided a statement that read, in part, ‟Adeel Raja has never been a CNN employee. As a freelancer, his reporting contributed to some newsgathering efforts from Islamabad. However, in light of these abhorrent statements, he will not be working with CNN again in any capacity.”

Some cursory digging into Raja revealed that he was, actually, a prolific admirer of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, often extolling his admiration for the genocidal leader across social media.

‟The only reason I am supporting Germany in the finals – Hitler was a German and he did good with those Jews!” Raja wrote during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. ‟Hail Hitler!” Raja wrote the following day.

The overarching point in this issue is this. If CNN couldn’t vet contributing journalists to their coverage to the point they would find what it took amateur sleuths just minutes to uncover, who seriously do they vet both their sources and their story information?

It is beyond unacceptable that CNN did not know they had a Nazi-loving, Hitler-glorifying, Jew-hater contributing to their broadcasts and publications. It is irresponsible and it should disqualify CNN from being considered a serious news outlet. This is not an ‟issue an apology and it will go away” moment. This is – and should be – a fatal blow of realism that should make even the most ardent CNN sycophant wince.

This moment shouldn’t just even Raja’s relationship with CNN, it should end CNN’s relationship with the public.

Of course, as CNN smolders, we should offer them a serious thank you for outing the fact that a mainstream media outlet would be so deep in the tank ideologically for the Marxist agenda that they would overlook a Nazi-sympathizer and champion of the Holocaust in their midst.

If an organization that prides itself on investigative reporting is so thoroughly blinded by ideology that they can’t readily recognize the pure evil in the hatred of someone like Adeel Raja, then their credibility as an investigative body simply doesn’t exist.

Our society has become numb to the horrors of what happened to not only the over 6 million European Jews at the hands of Hitler and the Nazis, but to Catholics, Blacks, homosexuals, Gypsies, the physically and mentally disabled, Poles and Slavics, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and members of political opposition groups to number approximately 5 million.

A short but disturbing depiction of events:

‟The first gas chamber at Auschwitz II–Birkenau was the ‛red house’ (‛Bunker’), a brick cottage converted to a gassing facility by tearing out the inside and bricking up the windows. It was operational by March 1942. A second brick cottage, called the ‛white house’ (Bunker 2), was converted some weeks later. According to Rudolf Höss, commandant of Auschwitz, Bunker 1 held 800 victims and Bunker 2 held 1,200 victims. These structures were in use for mass killings until early 1943.

‟At that point, the Nazis decided to greatly increase the gassing capacity of Birkenau. Crematorium II, originally designed as a mortuary with morgues in the basement and ground-level incinerators, was converted into a killing factory by installing gas-tight doors, vents for the Zyklon B to be dropped into the chamber, and ventilation equipment to remove the gas afterwards. Crematorium III was built using the same design. Crematoria IV and V, designed from the beginning as gassing centers, were also constructed that spring. By June 1943, all four crematoria were operational. Most of the victims were killed using these four structures.

‟The Nazis began shipping large numbers of Jews and other ‟undesirables” from all over Europe to Auschwitz in the middle of 1942. Those who were not selected for work crews were immediately gassed.

‟Those selected to die generally comprised about three-quarters of the total and included almost all children, women with small children, all the elderly, and all those who appeared on brief and superficial inspection by an SS doctor not to be completely fit.

‟The victims were told that they were to undergo delousing and a shower. They were stripped of their belongings and herded into the gas chamber.

‟A special SS bureau known as the Hygienic Institute delivered the Zyklon B to the crematoria by ambulance but the actual delivery of the gas to the victims was always handled by the SS.

‟After the doors were shut, the SS dumped in the Zyklon B pellets through vents in the roof or holes in the side of the chamber. The victims were dead within 20 minutes. Johann Kremer, an SS doctor who oversaw gassings, testified that the ‛shouting and screaming of the victims could be heard through the opening and it was clear that they fought for their lives.’”

Approximately half of the 420,000 Americans who dies fighting in World War II died ending the evil of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. During their reign of terror they literally gassed, burned, shot, tortured, and worked to death the inhabitants of their concentration camps, often dumping the bodies of the mass executed into mass graves, making the dead’s brethren bury them.

Those slaughtered by Hitler and the Nazis were killed, murdered, because of what color skin they had, what religion they were, what disabilities they had, what they said, thought and believed.

Today, as we approach the 75th year since the end of the war, arrogant, hate-filled, uneducated malcontents who want to believe they are aggrieved call anyone who doesn’t agree with their ideology ‟Nazis” and ‟Hitler.” Fascists and anarchists with much more in common with Hitler and the Nazis than not – defended by American politicians in Portland, Seattle, Chicago, and New York as they reign dark terror in the streets – identify their prey by the color of their skin, by their religions, their politics, their disabilities, their gender-beliefs…just like the fascists of the Third Reich. And those who have embraced the genocidal evils of the past are so blind to the fact they could be wrong they haven’t the intellectual capacity to self-examine themselves for what they have become.

Those who are quick to call their political opponents ‟Nazis” and ‟Hitler” do two things. They diminish the horrors of what took place at the hands of Hitler and the Nazis, but they also expose themselves for the shallow intellects that they really are.

No, they aren’t woke, they are simply intellectually stunted, uneducated, self-important, spoiled children who have grown to be dangerous. If they are left unchallenged, they will become as dangerous and genocidal as the Nazis.

General Excise Exemptions to be Shut Off for Two Years?

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House Bill 58, the “Frankenbill” that we wrote about before, has cleared the Legislature and is on the Governor’s desk waiting to become law.  It suspends some General Excise Tax (GET) exemptions in calendar years 2022 to 2023.  In this article we’ll explain some of them and who is likely to be affected.

Back in 2011, to address the economic situation in the aftermath of the Great Recession of 2008, lawmakers enacted Act 105, Session Laws of Hawaii 2011, which suspended 31 different GET exemptions for two years.  In the middle of 2020, the State Auditor’s office issued Report 2020-05, which tried to quantify the effects of the exemption suspensions using 2018 numbers, then the latest data available, in case the Legislature wanted to consider suspending exemptions again in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

This year, however, lobbyists were ready to fight for exemptions their clients were interested in and were successful in whittling the list of suspended exemptions from 31 (which were in the original list in Senate Bill 56)  to a mere 11.  Some of the exemptions left will have little financial impact.  For others, the financial impact won’t be visible to the public because only a handful of taxpayers qualify for the exemption and the Department of Taxation won’t release information about those exemptions to preserve taxpayer confidentiality.  We consider the following two as significant exemption suspensions.

Sales to the Federal Government.  Because the federal government can import whatever they need free of Hawaii use tax and/or GET, local sellers seeking to sell to the federal government (including military exchanges and commissaries) would be at a disadvantage if they had to pay 4% on their sales while their out-of-state competitors didn’t.  That’s part of the science behind why the exemption was enacted.  So, the big losers here are local companies trying to get Uncle Sam to buy their products or stock them for resale in the commissaries and exchanges.

In 2018, the amount of business to which this exemption applied was nearly $1.4 billion, leading to a GET exemption of a little more than $49 million.

Sublease deduction.  In Hawaii, lots of land is leased.  Large landowners in the days of the Kingdom of Hawaii carried their holdings over to the State of Hawaii, and because they didn’t want to part with their land, they leased it instead.  Lessees, especially of larger tracts of land developed into shopping malls, for example, subleased their land to stores.  Larger stores could sublease part of their space to smaller stores, and so forth.  The problem is that 4% GET was payable on every lease and sublease, which started to add up quickly if there were more than a couple of lease tiers.  So, in 1997 our lawmakers enacted the sublease deduction, which allowed a person who both received and paid lease rent to deduct 87.5% of rent paid.  This deduction was meant to mimic the wholesale-retail rate economics where wholesalers were allowed a 0.5% rate when their customers resold their products and paid 4% retail rate GET when they did.

The Auditor estimated that this deduction caused an annual revenue loss of about $6.8 million based on 2018 numbers.

The big losers would be the smaller stores who rent from larger stores who rent from people up the food chain.  There will be lots more tax payable up and down the chain, and the tax is usually passed on down to the lessees who are occupying the space.  Look for retail prices of the goods sold by those stores to increase as a result.

These are the two biggest exemption suspensions, in our estimation.  Our Governor now gets the first crack at deciding whether these suspensions are going in effect.

Mike Nichols, a Life–a family perspective

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A decade ago, my father handed me The New Yorker profile of Mike Nichols, the iconic stage and film director. “He’s our cousin. He’s a Landauer,” he informed me. I was vaguely aware Mike Nichols directed The Graduate and other films. As a child of the ’60s, I also recalled he was half of the Nichols and May comedy duo.  And of course, he was married to Diane Sawyer.  

Other than seeing his movies, and sharing a bit of genetic material, our worlds did not exactly overlap.

The New Yorker piece sparked a greater interest in my (third) cousin. And when the biography Mike Nichols, a Life by Mark Harris was published late last year, I was primed. 

Unless you were sequestered in Osama’s cave, it was impossible to miss the glowing reviews of Harris’ 688-page tome that surfaced everywhere, from NPR to Variety.

The favorable reviews were warranted.

I enjoyed the book immensely for several reasons. First off, it’s an exquisitely detailed–let’s call it definitive–biography of Nichols’ life and times. From a personal perspective, his story reflects my own family’s saga of immigration from Germany, family trauma, and adaptation to a new life in America.

Mike Nichols.
Credit: Courtesy of the Nichols family

After all, the Nichols’ story is my family’s story.

Harris interviewed over 250 people who had any personal or professional association with Nichols, ranging from little-known set designers to big league actors, such as Dustin Hoffman.

To his advantage, Harris knew his subject personally.

A veteran entertainment journalist, Harris wrote a well-received book debut in 2008: Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood. It included a segment on The Graduate, which entailed research interviews with Mike Nichols and his lead actor Dustin Hoffman. So, Harris had a running start on the Nichols biography.

Everything is there.

Details are discussed about every movie, theatre, or comedy production he ever worked or collaborated on. Seemingly, all the actors Nichols ever directed, not to mention girlfriends, wives, and important friendships, are accounted for.

No detail is too insignificant.

(In case you were wondering who Diane Sawyer dated prior to connecting with Mike, it’s in the book. It was the iconoclastic diplomat, Richard Holbrooke.)

Mike’s saga began in Germany. Here, with his mother, Brigitte Landauer, before the family left for the United States.
Credit: Courtesy of the Nichols family

In short, Harris does a remarkable job of chronicling Nichols’ triumphant and not-so-triumphant moments over a 50-year career. 

We learn intimately about the making of his highly regarded films, his flops, as well as his bouts of depression and substance abuse.

Harris doesn’t dwell on the dark or lurid stuff. He’s a serious journalist who appreciates the cultural milieu that produced a Mike Nichols.

As with my nuclear family, Mike’s saga began in Germany. Mike Nichols was born Igor Michael Peshkowsky to a Russian father and German mother, Brigitte Landauer. Like other branches of our family, Mike had the good fortune to escape to the United States.

Nichols’ German-Jewish heritage is central to his narrative.

His German side, the Landauer clan, was thoroughly assimilated into German society, having been there since the 18th century. Like many upper-middle class Jews, they were secular. They considered themselves, above all, Germans. All of his military-aged relatives that I’m aware of served as soldiers in the First World War.

Mike’s grandfather, Gustav Landauer was an intellectual polymath. The apple didn’t fall too far from the tree.
Credit: Public Doman, Wikimedia Commons

Mike’s family, in particular, had a scholarly bent.

His grandfather, Gustav Landauer, a famous guy in his day, is aptly described by Harris as an “intellectual polymath.” A proponent of social anarchism, he was also immersed in metaphysics and religion. (One of his close friends was Martin Buber, a philosopher of note).

For good measure, Gustav translated William Shakespeare’s works into German.

Michael’s grandmother, Hedwig Lachman, was also no slouch.

She translated literary works from luminaries such as Edgar Allan Poe, Honoré de Balzac, and Oscar Wilde. Her translation of Wilde’s Salome was used by German composer Richard Strauss as the libretto for his opera, Salome.

At age 49, Gustav was brutally murdered by members of the Freicorps, a right-wing proto-Nazi paramilitary group. The pain and suffering inflicted on Brigitte Landauer, age 13 at the time, no doubt had repercussions on her son, Michael.

I say this with conviction because the generational trauma experienced in my own family was quite similar to the Nichols.

Mike’s grandmother, Hedwig Lachmann, was an equal to Gustav. She translated a number of works including Wilde’s Salome which was used by Strauss as the libretto for his opera, Salome.
photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

As an immigrant, young Michael not only had to learn a new language but confront his father’s death at age 12. This emotionally fraught experience plunged the family from an upper-middle class life to one of privation.

In addition, he had to cope with a special curse. At age 4, a nasty reaction to a whooping-cough vaccine left him permanently hairless.

No hair, no eyebrows, nothing. This required him to don a wig and eyebrows daily. In the book, Harris quotes Mike (confiding to actor George Segal), “It takes me three hours to become Mike Nichols every day.”

There is, of course, a silver lining to this story. His heightened sensitivity as an outsider (Jew, immigrant, and alopecia sufferer) helped him develop acute powers of observation. He was incredibly perceptive, sensitive, and – when he wanted to be – empathetic. For Nichols–or any director–the ability to put oneself in the place of his actors was priceless.

He paid a price for the hardships he experienced in his childhood.


“I suppose I’ve spent a large part of my life trying to sort that out,” Nichols said of his early childhood. Berlin, circa 1936.
Credit: Courtesy of the Nichols family

Among Nichol’s insecurities was a lifelong craving for financial security and status. He had to have the trappings of wealth – a Bentley, the ultimate “country” home in Connecticut, a stable of Arabian horses, and the list goes on. The problem was too often he’d run out of resources to support his “rich and famous” lifestyle.

There was a big irony with this “rich and famous” thing. When you’re directing Liz and Dick, breeding Arabians, and having private lunches with Jackie O, you’re in a rarified demographic. While Mike was the definitive A-lister, he nonetheless always felt like the outsider.

Harris makes it clear that being Mike was complicated. And, he was not always a nice guy.

For example, while making The Graduate, Harris describes an “intimate, punishing relationship with Hoffman … which inflamed every private insecurity Nichols had about his personality, about his physical appearance, about his place in the world.”

Nichols in fact projected his own anxieties onto Hoffman and later in life, onto other actors such as Gary Shandling.


Nichols backstage at his poorly received revival of The Country Girl.

Credit: Courtesy Walt Odets

At times his insecurities had a positive outcome and, arguably, made for better movies.

Case in point: by casting Hoffman for the role in The Graduate, Nichols, recognized he had made this character “the Jew among the goyim, the visitor in the strange land,” according to Harris.

That was clearly a departure from the script where the character is a WASP.

“My unconscious was making this movie,” said Mike.

So, what made Mike tick?

Harris, to his credit, goes deep to unravel Mike’s psychology.

He reveals that Nichols made a serious attempt to understand himself – to work on himself, as the Buddhists say. That includes the trauma he endured as a child, a complicated relationship with his parents, and as he confided to Harris, the “life-shaming, undeserved luck” that allowed him and his family to survive.

Harris told me he was “very taken aback by the word ‘life-shaming.’”

Mike, in effect, suggested that surviving – getting out of Germany in time – left him “with a feeling that he would never be able to fully justify to himself why he had survived, and others hadn’t. And that feeling placed an impossible burden on his life,” said Harris.

Author Mark Harris gets kudos for plumbing the depths of Mike Nichols’ psyche and career.
Credit: David A. Harris

So, a big part of what made Mike tick was a motivation to prove that he mattered – to prove that he had earned his survival.

I would say Cousin Mike fulfilled his promise, and then some.

Robert F. Kay is a columnist for the Honolulu Star Advertiser, a health nut, the author of two Lonely Planet guidebooks and Fijiguide.com. He’s currently working on a screenplay about WWII.

Upping hearing protection with Peltor’s Military Grade ComTac V Hearing Defender

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Folks of a certain demographic may recall a TV ad where some old guy proclaims “when you’ve got your health you have everything”.

As kids we rolled our eyes on that one. What advice could some old fart give us anyway?

What a difference a few decades make.

As a Boomer I’m well aware of my aging body. One of the first things I note (no jokes please) to go is my hearing. Obviously visiting the range on a regular basis does not enhance things in that department.

Science is tells us that hearing matters—a lot.

A long term study conducted by Johns Hopkins explored the relationship between hearing loss and dementia. The upshot: participants who reported hearing loss at the beginning of the study were much more likely to develop dementia. They determined the more severe the hearing loss, the greater the likelihood of developing dementia.

The precise reasoning behind hearing declination and the onset of dementia is unclear but for my purposes, it’s a moot point.

Protecting your hearing is not just a matter of not wanting to devolve into Mr. Magoo. Lousy hearing can lead to cognitive loss and this is not where we want to go.

The heart of this headset is the superb microphone system (covered by foam) which can be tweaked for volume and frequency. Note the hourglass shaped toggle control at the bottom.

Enter the ComTac V

That brings us to the subject of the article, the Peltor Comtac V Hearing Defender, a product of 3M. This is top of the line, military grade hearing protection.

How so?

It’s all about design.

The cups are slender. That’s what you want, especially if you’re shooting rifles. A big bulbous earmuff is going to get in the way when you bring the stock up to your cheek. It will in effect pop the cup off your ear and you’ll end up hearing a lot more than you want. (Think dementia protection!)

The battery life which is rated at about 150 hours on a set of two AAA lithium batteries. Of course, that’s under ideal conditions. In the real world it will be less depending on the weather conditions, usage, etc. The battery compartments on either cup are water and dust proof but easily accessible. You just snap off a flange and pop out the AAA battery.

The ComTac V is powered by AAA lithium batteries. They are both water and dust proof.

At the bottom of the right cup are the controls.They are easy to operate, just push the forward button to turn the headset on and off. Backward turns the volume up and forward lowers volume until it reaches a silent mode (before you click it off).

To get into the menu you’ll need to press both forward and rear buttons down. The rear button will take you through the various menu options. Each step through menu land is accompanied by a ghost message (a female ghost) to let you know where you are. One of the modes is equalizer which has four settings that adjust for frequency ranges for the microphones, changing slightly what ambient sounds the headset will pick up. (I left mine on normal).

There’s also a balance setting that will adjust volume for each ear which is pretty cool if one ear is a bit more audio challenged.

“Ear Plug Mode,” will boost volume for situations where enhanced hearing protection is required. Essentially it increases the volumes of ambient sound and the external input by about 6dB. It should only be used only with a properly fitted ear-plug under the headset. Thus your ears are well protected, but you can still hear as normal. 

The “active volume troubleshooting” mode ensures that the volume control is in order and your batteries haven’t lost power.

The biggest plus with this nearly $500 headset is are the mics, which of course pick up the ambient sounds. They are really top notch and that’s what you’re paying the big bucks for.

I put the headset on a friend who does professional voiceover work at radio stations and she practically squealed with joy over the mic audio quality which she said was equivalent to the gear in her studio.

You can practically pump up the audio pickup to the point where you can hear what your next door neighbors are talking about at the breakfast table.

What’s nice is that you don’t have to turn the volume too high to hear what’s going on around you. You don’t necessarily want to hear the guys on the firing line complaining about someone’s flatulence or what they forgot to bring. However, you definitely do want to hear what the rangemaster is saying and you’ll get that even at the lowest level.

There’s even a silent mode if you want to shut out the world. Keep in mind, on silent the headset is turned on so if you want to keep it silent without running down the batteries, just turn the headset off.

The bottom line is that this headset is optimal for the range (or hunting) so that you can fine tune your audio environment both in volume and frequency.

The noise cancellation technology worked wonderfully. Fredrik Johansson, Global Product Marketing Manager, Hunting & Shooting, 3M Personal Safety Division explained that when the headset detects sound above 82 db, it will decompress the sound to below 82db.

The ComTac V headset (right) is compact compared to some of the other brands. It stays out of the way of your rifle stock.

How much below 82 db is dependent on how high the volume is set on the headset. Johansson explained that the system does not switch off, which used to be the case. He reasoned that in models where it does switch off, you are more likely to miss instructions if you are on the range.

Johansson says the 3M technology said the ComTac system handles sound decompression and amplification of to provide a comfortable experience.

Finally, the thing I really appreciate about this model is that it comes standard with Gel-filled Ear Seals (also manufactured by 3M).  

The Gel-filled seals have become popular over the last couple of years and are standard for higher-end earmuffs. In my opinion, they are a vast improvement over the traditional foam seals. They differ from the foam pads because they are wrapped in a super-thin polyurethane outer skin. This gives them a soft, quasi-squishy feel that conforms to the shape of your head.

They are super comfortable but just as importantly, provide a much better level of passive hearing protection because they envelope the ears in a way that foam just can’t do. Essentially, they are more effective at closing up the gap around eye-pro temple stems.

If you get sweaty, they are less prone to produce “hot spots” where they contact the head or ears. 

If you have an older pair of Peltor or another brand you can upgrade them with the ear seals quite easily. Once you do so, you’ll never go back to foam.           

The ComTac V comes standard with Gel-filled ear seals which are both comfortable and effective at passive hearing protection. You can order seals separately if you with to upgrade an existing headset.

Conclusion

I fired a range of weapons with this headset, including an AR with a 7.62 x39 upper, a S&W 357 magnum and a Winchester Model 92 chambered in 357. This was at the Kokohead Range, an open space. I did not test this indoors.

The hearing protection response time and the headset’s ergonomics were excellent. At no time did I ever have a problem hearing the rangemaster, or anyone else for that matter.

The ComTac V is the gold standard. It’s a proven, durable product that has seen service by police and military personnel throughout the world. My only suggestion is add recharging capabilities, particularly since the preferred battery is Lithium.

My test unit was in coyote brown but they also come in black and foliage green.

This product shines with the quality of it’s sound. You can tweak the mic to your precise needs and of course it will protect your ears when the guy in the slot next to you insists up shooting his S&W 500.

Who knows, it may even prevent premature Alzheimer’s.

Robert F. Kay is a columnist for the Honolulu Star Advertiser, a health nut, the author of two Lonely Planet guidebooks and Fijiguide.com. He appreciates a good pair of earmuffs on the range.

Dress like an Outlier–Every day

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If you’ve been reading my columns over the last few months, you’ll note I’ve been somewhat obsessed with finding the ultimate pair of do-anything pants. As I start to reengage with the post Covid, outside world, I want to be ready for just about any occasion.

Evidently, I’m not alone.

The pandemic has transformed my relationship with clothing and just about everyone else’s.

The Brooklyn-based company sells men’s clothing along with bags and accessories strictly online.

People in general are buying fewer garments.

According to a recent piece in Fast Company, fashion industry revenues dropped about one third last year. But there’s a caveat to that statement. Consumers were choosier but actually increased spending on “casual” wear” and “active” wear.

In the active apparel department crossover wear–clothing that can be used in any number of environments has become an important niche. Whether it’s a hike up Tantalus, a BBQ (yes, that’s happening again) or a visit to Costco you’ll want something that’s durable and practical.

Looking decent is always very much still part of the equation but people don’t seem to be consumed with looking like they walked out of a Gucci ad.

The Slim Dungarees have a two-way stretch without seeming overly “technical”. They fit great and are sexy.

Consumers (like yours truly) are also buying a helluva lot more online.

Not only are we purchasing from well known retailers such as Amazon or Patagonia but smaller outfits that specialize in niche apparel. (Of course, that’s the beauty of the Internet). You don’t need brick and mortar to sell directly to “end users” as they say in the tech industry.

Enter Outlier

That’s where Brooklyn-based Outlier fits in. They call their products “material for the city,” which sounds very urbane. It is urbane but it’s not presumptuous or overly “hip”.

The first thing that interested me was their Slim Dungarees. The Outlier website proclaims, “If you only own a single pair of pants, these are the ones.”

They have a point.

This is a pant that you can wear every day, in about every environment.

This seems to have become their “flagship” pants. Again, to riff off their website, Slim Dungarees are a “superior” five-pocket pant, made from fabric that is strong, very comfortable and chameleon-like enough to be worn any day of the year, anywhere you go.

They are incredibly versatile and for someone like me (a bona fide author of Lonely Planet guidebooks) they are ideal to have in your bag. They can be worn in just about situation.

Even with the classic 5-pocket jeans design, they are classier and a more formal than than what you might conjure up from the word “jeans” or dungarees for that matter. You can dress up or down with ease. You’ll be fine with them on the Eurail, headed to Barcelona, or at Aunt Minnie’s cookout in Gilroy.

They are indeed a slim fit, but you won’t confuse that with old fashioned pegged pants. They are tailored with a standard cut abut they don’t call them slim for nothing.

They are not going to work if you’re a tackle for the Steelers but most of us aren’t in that category. That said they are tough and feature a gusseted crotch and a reverse yoke so they will stand up to a lot of movement.

Thus you could wear them on a hike, on your bike or simply for everyday wear.

They have a classic 5-pocket jeans design but are classier than what you might conjure up from the word “jeans”

What I like about them is their comfort.

Manufactured from a fabric that is 82% Nylon, 16% Polyester 2% Elastine, they have enough stretch (two-way) so that you’ll feel good but not so tight that you look or feel like you’re wearing spandex. (The fabric comes from Switzerland and the manufacturing was done in Portugal).

The fabric is soft, breathable and will keep you comfy in both warm and moderate climates. The material will repel water but if you’re caught in the rain, you’ll eventually get soaked. The good news is that in 30 minutes they’ll dry.

That makes them a good choice for travel. Pockets are deep so you can place your passport or Yankee dollars way down there in the webbed pockets.

I really like these pants and they flatter the hell out of me.

Colors offered are black and bluetint gray–I got the latter.

Injected linen has the breatheability of cotton combined with the durability of a closed weave.

Injected Linen Pants

My second foray into Outlier land was a pair of their “injected linen” line.

What exactly does that mean?

Linen of course is a lightweight, very breathable fabric as old as the hills.

The “injected” part is where the technology comes in. Injected linen has the breathability and light weight of an open weave but the durability of a closed weave. It’s a hybrid linen (59% linen/41% polyester) that looks and feels like the traditional fabric but has been fortified.

It’s of Japanese origin and has a sort of pinstripe look that evidently is the result of the injected fibers.

Up close the fabric has a pin stripe look. The injected polyester content makes them not as prone to wrinkle and instead, take on a waviness.

Unlike the dungarees, it’s more of a relaxed cut that tends to drape over my hips in a very comfortable manner. Sort of reminds  of the way that the ACU (American Combat Uniform) camo pants fit.

The result is a very relaxed, casual look that goes really well with a fancy merino T-shirts which are so popular these days. Or, like the Slims, you can dress up with a fancier top and appropriate shoes.

The only issue I have with full on linen is that it tends to easily crease. These pants, with the injected polyester content, are not as prone to wrinkle and instead take on a waviness. Put them in a suitcase and you’re not going to have to have an iron handy (as you would with traditional linen).

When would you wear them?

The injected linen has a sort of casual aesthetic that also allows you to dress up or down. I love the way it drapes over my hips.

I think they are a tad more formal than the dungarees. The injected linen is perfect  hot weather because they are so light. You can feel the breeze blow right through your legs. In Honolulu, in September, that’s a good thing.

They come in a host of colors, black, seascape, dark forest, olive drab, plumsmoke, dry tan and steel.  I got the steel which is neutral enough to work with many of my shirts.

I’d say this is also a wonderful summer or tropical travel pant.

Price for both the dungarees and the injected linen pants are $198. You need to go directly to Outlier’s website.

If you dress like an Outlier you’ll be in good stead and good style.

Robert F. Kay is a columnist for the Honolulu Star Advertiser, a health nut, the author of two Lonely Planet guidebooks and Fijiguide.com. (He appreciates a good pair of pants).

A blast from the past, Winchester’s newest incarnation of the Model 92

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To say the Model 1892 was an instant hit when it was introduced would be an understatement. Luminaries ranging from Annie Oakley to Arctic explorer Admiral Robert Peary (who carried a Model 1892 on his trek to the North Pole) employed the new rifle. The firearm also became hugely popular in both South and Central America, as the nascent nation states developed. In the US, the ’92 found a home with hunters, campers, law enforcement officers and ranchers.

In popular culture this lever action Winchester became synonymous with the old West.

Throughout the 1950s and well into the 1960s it took on a role in prime time TV shows such as “Rawhide,” “Wagon Train,” “Have Gun. Will Travel,” “The Wild, Wild West”, “Gunsmoke” and other Westerns.

If we fast forward to the third decade of the 21st century the latest incarnation is alive and well.

It’s now made in Japan, by Browning/Winchester’s venerable partner Miroku which has been manufacturing firearms since 1893. Japanese workmanship is first class and the Miroku folks have done an exquisite job on this rifle which sports a deep finish and a rich walnut stock.

The high level of machining and hand finishing is evident. The wood/fit interface where the stock and buttstock meet the receiver are perfectly mated. 

Made in Japan, by Browning/Winchester’s partner Miroku, which has been manufacturing firearms since 1893.

A 21st Century Winchester

With modern manufacturing processes, I would venture to say this has to be the most refined Model 92 ever produced. (Obviously, Winchester is not going to lend their name to anything remotely substandard).

Right out of the box, one throw of the lever and you can feel how silky smooth the action is. Of course, this is not a replica of the original 1892. Nearly 130 years after the original design it looks identical but with modern CNC machines and all the technology available today it’s a slightly different animal.

There are new features engineered with safety in mind. 

First off there’s a top tang mounted safety that acts as a hammer block. Purists may recoil at the sight of this but so what? If you don’t like it, ignore it. The other addition is a rebounding hammer. When you fire the gun and discharge the cartridge, the rifle will automatically be put into a half cock position which will prevent an accidental discharge.

Fit and finish are first rate. (Note tang-mounted safety on the right hand edge of the photo).

Other than those two items, it functions just like any model 92. If you cycle the lever action resolutely, up comes the carrier, a round is placed in the chamber and you’re ready to fire. Note that because it’s a top-eject gun the case may fly just about anywhere, sometimes plinking you in the head. (Compared to an AR-15 or for that matter a semi-auto pistol, the brass is not going to fly too far away).

Shooting Lever Guns is Fun

Shooting the ’92 is downright fun.

These sentiments were echoed by my FFL, Mae Shiroma who operates X-Ring Security here on Oahu. Says Mae, “My father gave me a lever action in 22LR when I first started shooting. I learned to shoot from small caliber to larger calibers like .38 special, 357 magnum, and .44magnum. I still love to shoot them.”

Normally I post targets on reviews but as one writer aptly stated, with semi buckhorn sights, this is not going to be confused with a bench rest rifle. Nor should it. If you wanted to add an aperture sight, there’s a plethora of aftermarket products available but that’s probably the subject of another story. At least for now, I’m quite happy with the current set up.

Everything on the gun is hand-fitted. The bluing is splendid.

At under 100 yards, which is what this rifle is meant for, the gun is plenty accurate for my purposes, which is whacking the gong. (Not a lot of recoil with the 38 Special or .357 rounds which is also quite nice).

In Hawaii it’s also perfect for pigs or Axis deer.

Finally, what about shooting the rifle, in particular, the trigger?

It breaks nicely/cleanly but it’s on the heavy side–in the neighborhood of about 5 1/4 lbs. As I alluded to earlier, it’s not a bench rest rifle. The “traditionally” standard trigger comes with the territory. A gunsmith or a talented enthusiast could lighten it up. (See this link). That said, I’m okay with it.

I will appreciate the rifle for what it is. A blast from the past…expect to pay in the neighborhood of $940 for this modern, piece of history.

The semi-buckhorn sights do take a bit of getting used to. I practice with my gong at 100+ yards.

Reloading

One of the joys of owning a rifle chambered in .357 is that you don’t have to load rifle cartridges, which is for me is a loathsome task. You can use either jacketed, hard cast gas-checked or polymer coated bullets for this rifle.

That said, lever guns such as the ’92 can be finicky when it comes to cartridge length and bullet shape. You need to figure out what OAL the rifle is comfortable with as well as the shape of the projectile. Otherwise, there will be issues in feeding, particularly when it comes to putting a larger than 158 gr bullet in a 357 magnum case.

I started with 158 gr bullets (from Zero) which is what I’d ordinarily use with Model 27 Smith & Wesson. They fed perfectly.

This 158 gr jacketed projectile from Zero over a Starline case will feed perfectly.

However, I wanted to experiment with larger bullets. I wanted to jack up the kinetic energy and obtained some 180 gr bullets from Missouri Bullet Company. I’d been ordering bullets from these guys for years and was not only impressed with the product but the integrity of management.

I’ll explain. There was an instance years ago where I overpaid and got an email to the effect from them, explaining that I’d overpaid and credit would be added to the card. You might say, “Of course, they were honest and did the right thing”. That’s true, I’d answer, but unfortunately you can’t always count on that.

They also happen to make excellent bullets. In fact you can use their 158 cast bullets for the 357, with no feeding problems.

Missouri Bullet Co offers both Polymer coated (left) and standard cast 180 gr (right) bullets. The Polymer bullets run cleaner and are becoming quite popular.

In addition to standard cast bullets for the last few years they have offered projectiles with the “Hi-Tek” polymer coating from J&M Specialty Products in Australia. 

There are several advantages to using bullets with a polymer coating. First off, instead of waxy lubes, the bullet no longer needs a lube groove. That means no waxy gas check gunk fouling up your gun or, your seating and crimping dies.

The coating also reduces or eliminates exposure to lead during handloading. You don’t have to wear surgical gloves when handling the bullets, which is what I always do with standard cast bullets. The Hi-Tek coating reduces exposure to airborne lead particles when shooting as well as smoke, which is diminished or eliminated. 

I loaded 180 gr bullets (in background) with Starline 38 Special cases. (The 180 gr bullets loaded on a 357 case would not feed).

There’s really no downside to this coating but you do have to be careful over crimping (as you would a plated bullet) to prevent scraping the surface which exposes the lead and leads to (no surprise) leading.

Is there a difference in accuracy? According to an article in NRA Shooting Sports which actually compared wax lube and polymer coated 9mm Missouri Bullets, the polymer bullets grouped significantly tighter that the wax lubed bullets at 25 yards.

Suffice to say, I’m sold on polymer bullets.

I tested a bunch of 357 loads, primarily with Western Powders and both Accurate #7 and #9, worked perfectly for the 158 gr bullet.

Unfortunately the 180 gr Missouri bullets atop a 357 case didn’t feed properly.

Accurate #7 is my go-to powder for 158 gr bullet in the 357.

The way around this was to load them on 38 Special cases. I made up some dummy rounds and the bullets fed perfectly.

Naturally I had to adjust for the load.

There are no published loads for the powders I was using for 180 gr bullets but thanks to Don, the Ballistician, at Western Powders, I was able to locate data for 173 gr SWCs (for 38 Special) for Accurate #2 and #5. I was conservative with the recipe and lengthened the OAL slightly for the 180 gr bullet.

Soon the gong rang with the sound of 180 gr Missouri bullets. The larger bullet is also effective at knocking down silhouette plates.

My go to brass is always Starline. In this T&E I used both 38 Special and .357 cases. The main thing is to use good quality brass to maintain uniform quality rounds. Don’t use range brass or your accuracy will suffer.

Redding’s Premium die sets are excellent, especially if your loading brand new brass with cast or coated bullets.

One last tip. When loading new brass I find that using Redding’s Premium dies to be critical.

Using Redding’s expander die will create a properly sized bell on the rim. This is important, especially with new brass. Their (carbide) expander die creates a smooth entry radius followed by the precise expanding diameter to accommodate the bullets. This also makes a perfect bearing surface in order to seat the bullet.

This helps correctly align the bullet with the center line of the cartridge case which positions the projectile for proper contact with the seating micrometer. The last step creates a flare to further open the case mouth. This is key for cast and coated bullets which can easily be damaged during the seating process.

Note that the above links for dies, brass, powder, etc point to Brownells. (That’s where I do my one-stop shopping).

The harness is clean and secure on the end of the buttstock. The hardware such as the swivel is first class. A “Chicago” screw is used to adjust the strap’s length.

Adding a sling

I would suggest you get a sling for your Model 92 especially if the rifle is destined for range duty. (Obviously it wouldn’t be a bad idea of you were a hunter as well). It’s simply easier to manage that way and you’re not going to get as easily fatigued. 

I’ve become a big fan of  RLO Custom Leather which has pioneered a “no-drill” design for it’s slings.  Instead of adulterating the stock with screws and the like, RLO uses a harness on the buttstock. To mount the sling you get hardware such as swivels, a magazine tube clamp and a hex wrench. 

Adding the harness is literally a snap.

Essentially, all you need to do is place the harness over the butt stock and snap it on. (There are two snaps which secure the harness). Likewise, the tube clamp is easily attached with a screw. (They provide the Allen Wrench). The next step is to attach the swivel by means of a spring-loaded pin. 

Finally, adjust the (1 inch wide) strap length by means of a “Chicago” screw. There are three adjustment holes approximately 1-1/4″ apart.  I needed to add an extra hole, which was not a big deal. The whole thing will take you all of 20 minutes to assemble/attach on a bad day. The sling is available in Chocolate Brown, lighter Saddle Tan and Charcoal Black. All are made from quality 5/6 ounce veg-tan leather hides.

Conclusion

I don’t think you can go wrong with this Model ‘92. It’s fun to shoot, aesthetically pleasing and with the RLO sling it’s easy to manage.

It’s easy to mount the sling. RLO provides all the parts. Even I can do it.

What’s not to like?

Well, Winchesters are more expensive compared to brands such as Rossi which can be less than half the price. There’s a reason for this. The Winchester is hand-fitted and labor in Japan ain’t cheap. Thus this rifle is not to be confused with some mass-produced firearm assembled in the tercer mundo. If you want first rate quality, you have to pay a bit more.

I think it’s worth it to have the real McCoy or in this case, a genuine Winchester.

Mahalo to X-Ring Security

A final note is a shout out to my friends at X-Ring Security in Waipahu for handling the FFL duties. X-Ring has a wonderful selection of items, a modern, indoor range and full complement of services including a gunsmith. They are easy to work with.

The author is not responsible for mishaps of any kind, which might occur from the use of this data in developing your handloads. It is the user’s responsibility to follow safe handloading guidelines to develop safe ammunition. You use this data at your own risk. No responsibility for the use or safety in use of this data is assumed or implied. (Note that Winchester would prefer that you use factory bullets in the Model ’92).

Robert F. Kay is a columnist for the Honolulu Star Advertiser, a health nut, a firearms enthusiast and the author of two Lonely Planet guidebooks (and Fijiguide.com). 

State/Federal Changes in Income Tax Coming

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Completing tax information.

Income tax is a complicated enough subject already. Certain things are income and certain things are not income. Some expenses can be written off and others can’t.  Under House Bill 1041, which isn’t law yet but is expected to become law, Hawaii income tax is going to be mirroring certain federal tax law changes and going its own way on some others. 

No tax on second round recovery rebates:  The CARES Act provided the first round of recovery rebates, or economic impact payments, of up to $2,400.  In the 2020 session, our lawmakers passed legislation saying that, just like federal treatment, those payments would not be taxable income for state income tax purposes.  This year’s bill considered the second round, namely the $600 payments, and provides that those are not taxable either.  The third round of payments, the $1,400 payments provided under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), was enacted early in 2021 and will be considered in the 2022 legislative session.

Tax on unemployment benefits:  ARPA says that individuals can exclude up to $10,200 in employment benefits received in 2020.  Hawaii is not going to copy the exclusion.  It costs too much.  If you received unemployment benefits in 2020, and you didn’t elect to have Hawaii tax withheld, you should look very seriously at paying estimated Hawaii tax.

PPP, EIDL, and other federal grants and forgivable loans are exempt, but associated expenses aren’t deductible:  There has been a lot of news about the Payment Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loans, and new specialized grants to help restaurants.  Hawaii went on record as saying that when the federal government forgives these loans or issues grants under the PPP, the money will not be taxable income.  The tax treatment of EIDL grants was not settled by the CARES Act, and the Consolidated Appropriations Act included a provision saying that those grants also would not be taxable income.  Hawaii’s bill does mirror that treatment.

In the Consolidated Appropriations Act and ARPA, however, the Feds went one step further, and Hawaii won’t take that extra step.  Here’s what happened.

When the CARES Act first gave us the forgivable PPP loans, the Internal Revenue Service issued a Notice, and later a Revenue Ruling, telling us that under the normal rules in the Internal Revenue Code, payment of expenses that give rise to loan forgiveness can’t be deducted for tax purposes.  This is because expenses associated with taxable income are deductible, but expenses associated with tax-exempt income are not because that would result in a double benefit.  There would be no advantage in deducting the expenses against the tax-exempt income, so the expenses would be deducted against other taxable income, which didn’t seem to be what Congress had intended at the time.

In the Consolidated Appropriations Act and ARPA, however, Congress included provisions saying that they would indeed give a double benefit to taxpayers.  The issue for Hawaii lawmakers was whether they would conform to that benefit as well.  Lawmakers found that copying that benefit would cost even more than providing the unemployment benefits exemption, so their decision was to decouple from that benefit as well.

No GET on loan forgiveness:  Separately from the legislative process, the Department of Taxation concluded that PPP or EIDL grants or loan forgiveness would not be subject to GET and don’t need to be reported on GET returns.  The ruling sounds like the Department is doing everyone a favor, but the conclusion does follow other precedent, called the “general welfare exclusion,” concluding that government payments made on the basis of need aren’t considered gross income, and thus wouldn’t be subject to GET.

Precision Measuring Upgrade with Hornady’s M2 Digital Bench Scale & Digital Caliper

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As everybody knows it’s almost impossible to get ammo these days. What’s a firearms enthusiast to do?  The answer is obvious. Roll your own.

Not surprisingly; concomitant with Covid has been a rising interest in reloading. Sales of components and reloading gear has also risen appreciably.

Which brings us to the subject of this piece.

The linchpin of any loading bench is a powder scale.

Obviously, the amount of powder that you’re filling a case with had better be accurate. It also comes in handy if you’ve got bullet heads that are of indeterminate weight. For example, is that a 115 or a 124 projectile I’ve found in a jumbled pile?   

One way to get your loads in order is with the M2 Digital Bench Scale from Hornady.

Hornady is a class act. 

They are well known for manufacturing bullets, cases, ammo and other components but also make dies, presses and other reloading gear. One of their newest products is the M2 Digital Bench Scale.

Priced at $165, it occupies a sort of sweet spot on the continuum for a decent scale. (You’ll have to pay at least in the neighborhood of $150 for a good quality scale).

Anything less expensive is probably going to be battery operated and not as robust as what a serious reloader needs. Another reason to get something of better quality is that you don’t want to have to buy something now only to have to replace it in two or three years–or less.

Not sure about what projectile you’re loading? Give it a weigh. (Note the round level bubble on the right hand corner of the scale).

I had a chance to test the M2 in my private laboratory and really liked it. For over a decade I’ve used another product but it’s showing it’s age. A scale is too important not to update at least once in a decade!  

The M2 is also ideal for the neophyte.

With a capacity of 1500 grains, as alluded to above, it also has the capacity to weigh cases, cartridges and perhaps the sterling silver spoon from Grandma.

It’s easy to set up but you will have to wait about 15 minutes until it’s completely warmed up before using it.

During my test there was zero drift.

There is also a round level bubble for extra precision, which is an improvement over the earlier version of the scale. Simply adjust the feet on the scale and you’re in business.

The Takeaway on the M2

The primary reason to get this scale is that it instills confidence. It sounds a bit corny but the minute I switched it on, I just felt more secure about whole reloading process.

I knew that I was using a tool that is brand new, hence more accurate and more consistent than my aging scale. Using it inspired me to actually tidy up my bench, wipe it down, lube the press, etc.

I don’t know what got into me but I suspect other folks will feel the same way.

If you’re going to upgrade your scale, not a bad idea to upgrade the caliper while you’re at it. Hornady’s Digital Caliper is a winner.

While you’re at it consider a caliper upgrade

After I unpacked the scale and set it up, I got my trusty press ready for action. I added the tool head and tweaked the adjustment on the dies, etc. I opened up the loading manual, checked the specs on the diagram and took out the caliper with the intention of making certain that the case mouth (in this instance 45 caliber) had the correct dimensions.

In doing so I started noticing that my old caliper was not consistent. Was my measurement accurate or was the caliper playing up? I really didn’t know. It seemed to be off 3 or 4 thousandth and I was starting to get squeamish.

Time to replace it.

Sure, there are innumerable models available on Amazon or Brownells for that matter, but I decided to go with Hornady once again and get a new tool. They sell a good quality Digital Caliper for about $38.

Hornady also offers a traditional dial caliper. No electronics on this to go haywire.

It comes with a hard plastic case and a spare battery. The 6″ caliper is constructed from heavy duty stainless steel, it’s easy to zero out, and has a crisp digital display.

They also offer a more “traditional” stainless steel, shock-resistant dial caliper accurate to +/- 0.001″. With the Dial Caliper you don’t have electronics can go haywire. There’s very little that can go wrong with it. It features four-way measurement capability: inside, outside, depth and step. The slide may be locked in any position for precise measurements. The thumb wheel aids in easy opening and closing.

In addition to the calipers Hornady also has a Micro-Meter that measures from 0-1″ in 0.0001″ increments. This is for applications that need extreme accuracy. It’s a go-to tool for machinists and gunsmiths.

For accuracy up to 0.0001″ increments Hornady also offers a Micro-Meter.

Between the new caliper and the scale I’ll be ready for the next ammo shortage or who knows, the Night of the Living Dead. Let’s hope it doesn’t get to that!

Tech Support

One last comment. Hornady, like others in the reloading space has excellent tech support. I called for a quick question about reloading one of their bullets and had an answer asap. Even in the Covid-19 era, knowledgeable people were available without waiting for more than a few minutes.

Hornady gets kudos for that.

Robert F. Kay is a columnist for the Honolulu Star Advertiser, a health nut, a sharpshooter, the author of two Lonely Planet guidebooks and creator of Fijiguide.com. 

Mother’s Day at Waikiki–Vicky Durand Reminisces about the Golden Age of Surfing with her Mom

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by Vicky Durand

Vicky Heldreich Durand has had a life-long love affair with surfing. She recently launched a memoir, Wave Woman: The Life and Struggles of a Surfing Pioneer, which chronicles the life of her mother, Betty Pembroke Heldreich Winstedt, a legendary surfer in the days when woman surfers were a rarity. 

Vicky first fell in love with Hawaii at age twelve, when she spent a summer with relatives on the island of Molokai. Returning home from Chino, California she talked her mother Betty into a Hawaiian trip the following summer. By the following winter, the adventurous Betty had moved her two young daughters to Honolulu.

Vicky spent her teenage years surfing with her mother. They competed in the annual Makaha International Surfing Championships. Together, they were invited to Lima, Peru, to promote women’s surfing.

Looking back at Vicky and Betty’s evolving relationship, Betty always told Vicky that every day was an adventure. Never afraid of the difficult challenges ahead, Betty inspired Vicky to take new challenges and share her mother’s story. Wave Woman is her first book.

Betty Winstedt at Kuhio Beach with her Joe Quigg board, 1955. She began her career as a surfer at 41. “It’s never too late to get out of your comfort zone and work for what you want,” said her daughter Vicky Heldreich Durand.

From the moment we met Charlie Amalu at Waikiki Beach in 1954, I knew I was in for something special. It wasn’t just the thrill of my first wave, when I plunged my arms into the water, took a few strokes, felt Charlie push my board, stood up for a minute, and fell off into the clear warm water. It wasn’t just the attention from Amalu, a gallant beach boy in a yellow tank top, navy shorts, and a white baseball hat with the red Outrigger Canoe Club emblem. It was the fact that my mother was learning to surf, too. And that she, at 40, was even more excited than I was at 14.

We soon outgrew Charlie’s tutelage and the beaches at Waikiki, moving on to the big waves of Makaha. My mother made a name for herself as a pioneering female surfer on O‘ahu’s West Side while I attended high school. But I kept up on weekends and, three years later, even won the Makaha International Surfing Contest. We were 27 years apart, but we were equally seduced by the challenge of the waves, the power of the ocean, and a never-ending quest for adventure.

There was no shortage of publicity swirling around Betty and the other Hawaii surfers preparing for the Lima competition.

We surfed together during what became known as the golden age of Hawaiian surfing. My mother died ten years ago, at 98, and she never lost her love of the sea. I think of her every time I swim at Ala Moana Beach, near my home.

One moment always comes back to me when I enter the Pacific. It was a spring morning in 1959, shortly before I was to graduate from high school. My mother and I rose at dawn and went out to the lawn to check the Makaha surf. We could see that there was a six-to-eight-foot swell running, with glassy waves. Both of us were born tall—she was five feet, eight inches; I was five ten. An eight-foot wave would tower above us. We couldn’t resist.

We waxed our boards—on waves like these, we couldn’t afford to slip—then hoisted them under our arms and headed down the beach. We walked a quarter mile along the bay, side by side, our bare feet crunching on the cool morning sand. During my childhood, I had longed to spend time with my mother, but she was always busy working. Here I was, about to step into adulthood and a life of many unknowns. There was comfort in walking with her, in sharing the anticipation of the surf—which, of course, contained its own unknowns.

Duke Kahanamoku, center, posing with the first Hawaiian surfing team that competed in an international surfing competition in Lima, Peru. At the competition, Betty Winstedt, standing next to Kahanamoku, took first place in the women’s division.

We arrived and sat upright, our bare legs straddling the boards and our feet plunging into the morning sea. What better way to start a day than being immersed in clean, blue-green salt water, looking up to the emerald Mākaha Valley, and feeling the ocean’s liberating powers? We waited, looking out to sea, watching for new mounds of water forming on the horizon.

A golden disk was just coming up over the mountain, a delicate breeze was flowing down the valley. The air was filled with the pungent, musty smell of kukui nuts that had washed ashore. We paddled out, dodging incoming waves, to a spot we knew well, just past the underwater coral heads. One of my high school teachers was there, with a manager of a Waikiki men’s store, both waiting.

An accomplished surfer herself, Vicky Durand was inspired by her mother’s life and resilience in the face of many challenges.

A set approached. We let the men take the first wave—after all, they’d gotten there first. We claimed the next one, heading our boards toward shore with a few little paddles and turns of the feet. As the wave approached, we lay flat, readying ourselves. I paddled like mad to catch the wave and felt my board rise in the water. My mother did the same.

In a few seconds, the power of the wave propelled us. We popped up to a standing position and angled to the right, heading down a wall of water that was feathering with ocean spray. It felt like flying. I was gliding down the face, keeping close yet just ahead of the breaking wave as it crested with white water. My mother was doing the same, standing on my right side, closer to the outer edge. Several times throughout the ride we both slowed down, stalling before turning and cutting back toward the breaking wave, shooting down the wall of water closer to the curl for added acceleration.

The ride went like that, both of us slowing down, cutting back, speeding up, always in tandem. It was one long, unforgettable moment. Not one of symbiosis, exactly, because we had parity as we rode that wave. It was more simpatico, or deep sympathy—a kind of knowing each other and each other’s moves. It was an elemental connecting with the waves, with the ocean, and with each other.

In six months, my view toward surfing would change. I lived through a heart-wrenching and harrowing day of surfing in Hale‘iwa. In a few more months, my mother and I would travel internationally as a mother–daughter surfing duo. A few months after that, I would leave Makaha again for life in San Jose, California, as an awkward young bride. My life and my mother’s would soon flow in their own directions, sometimes diverging, sometimes converging, sometimes just running in parallel. But that morning, as we sped across the wave together, I couldn’t help thinking how lucky we were.

For more information on the book and the author visit www.wavewomanbook.com.

Top Photo: Betty Pembroke Heldreich Winstedt photographed surfing at Waikiki in 1956. She charted a new path, for herself and for other female surfers, as a champion athlete.

Why Is The Black Community So Accepting of Violence As the New Normal?

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If there is systemic malady affecting the Black community in the United States is certainly isn’t systemic racism, be it in law enforcement or otherwise. It is the acceptance of violence as the new normal within the Black community by the Black community, and the free pass the rest of the nation is giving to the Black community in that regard.

It seems as though every day there is a news item or social media post showing members of the Black community violently interacting with each other. The musical culture that permeates the Black community harbors a large selection of lyrics that espouse not only violence but violent misogyny as well. And many ‟Black-centric” movies are centered on acts of violence, although to that extent the total of the movie industry profiteers of the violence they propose to abhor.

A recent spate of attacks on Asian Americans has taken place in several urban areas around the United States and in every case, without exception, the perpetrators were from the Black community.

One case was particularly brutal. Brandon Elliot, 38, a parolee who was convicted of killing his mother two decades earlier, was arrested on assault and hate crime charges in an attack on a 65-year-old Asian American woman in New York City that was caught on video.

The surveillance video showed Elliot kicking and stomping the woman, who suffered serious injuries including a fractured pelvis. She was on her way to church when she was attacked by Elliot who was heard saying, ‟You don’t belong here.”

In another part of New York City, 29-year-old Jordan Burnette was charged with burglary as a hate crime and ‟numerous charges related to the acts of vandalism as hate crimes that have taken place in this community.” His acts of vandalism targeted four synagogues in the Bronx where windows and doors had been shattered in repeated attacks.

But this penchant for violence is not exclusive to individuals in the Black community. The truth of the matter is this. Violence appears to be the first choice in any conflict resolution between Black people, or at least an overwhelming amount of evidence proves this to be true. Mind you, this mindset is outside the parameters of gang violence which takes hundreds of lives a year in our inner cities.

Recently, a public brawl at the Miami International Airport was the centerpiece of almost every news program. The brawl at one point counted 20 people with one person being arrested in the end.

The catalyst for this melee? Well, 20-year-old Jameel Tremain Decquir was upset about seating on an airline flight. Video footage shows two separate groups of Black people punching and kicking each other at gate D-14 in the American Airlines terminal.

Punches, chairs, napkin dispensers, and even knives were thrown in a Mississippi restaurant in April. Video of that confrontation counts close to a dozen people taking part in the fight, each of them Black. Witnesses said the fight escalated from a disagreement between two groups of patrons. Bystander parents are seen actively protecting their children from the violence.

And to bring another facet to the interface of Black violence, increasingly we are witness to Black athletes – high school and college, and even intramural – resorting to violence because they simply don’t like the calls sporting officials make on the courts and fields.

Players on a – shock of shocks – Chicago-based travel basketball team beat referees during an Amateur Athletic Union basketball game in an Atlanta suburb because they objected to a call on the court and the official’s demeanor toward the protestation.

The attack was captured on video with one of the coaches insisting that the catalyst for the fighting was that one of the Chicago players had shoulder bumped the referee. Disturbingly, the Chicago coach blamed what can only be described as ‟unsportsmanlike conduct” – an idea whose time is well in the past – on the referee instigating the confrontation with a push.

The game ended with a violent brawl on the court with the entirety of the Chicago team punching, kicking, and stomping the referees.

All of these examples are but a small sampling of the violence that has become second nature to the Black community. As we watched the many Black Lives Matter protests that took place throughout last summer – and which have stretched into an almost daily occurrence somewhere in the country, we see that they almost always devolved with the sun into violence and destruction, many times with death as a companion.

Then we also have to consider the legacy of death that the Black community has embraced as urban culture.

Over the July 4th weekend in 2020, 80 people were shot and 14 were killed in Chicago, 44 were shot with six dead in New York, 28 were shot with four dead in Atlanta, and 20 were shot with three dead in Cleveland, almost all the result of Black on Black violence. 172 people were shot with 27 killed in just four locations over one weekend.

Yet, the Black activists – along with their self-deprecating sycophantic toadies of the ‟White guilt-trip crowd” and the opportunistic liberal political class, insist that the biggest threat to the Black community comes from law enforcement and White supremacy.

I’m sorry, but the evidence that is continuously presented to the public and the statistical numbers prove the exact opposite. The most potent threat to the Black community is the violence that exists within the Black community; the threshold for violence that they, themselves, have set as a new normal for the Black community.

The charlatans’ embrace of the Marxist crafted Critical Race Theory only exasperates the situation, tantamount to running interference for affecting a true and real; a permanent solution to the rampant violence in the Black community.

Where enlightened people have, throughout time, quested to embrace non-violent conflict resolution (as useless as the United Nations is, non-violent conflict resolution was its original mission), it seems that the contemporary Black culture has chosen violence as its go-to conflict resolution tool.

Until true leaders in the Black community emerge who initiate a self-examination of the Black culture in an effort to purge the violence that permeates that culture, it is impossible to entertain the idea that any other segment of our society is a ‟threat.”

As they say about excuses…they are like…well, everyone’s got one.

Read “Critical Race Theory: What It Is and How to Fight It” by Christopher F. Rufo as published in Hillsdale College’s Imprimis