Hawaii Calls!

We are having an excellent adventure in Honolulu to celebrate our “30-something” (31, we figure) wedding anniversary.

We have enjoyed so many trips here, including one where we circled the Big Island in a rental car, camping at oceanfront state parks for a glorious week.

This time, we are celebrating in POSH fashion, 19 floors above Waikiki Beach and the Pacific Ocean in a deluxe condo. The two balconies have sweeping views of the ocean and the Ali Wai Harbor.

We can see the sailboat owners scurrying around on the docks, as well as outrigger canoes heading out to sea.

The sunsets are spectacular.

Thanks to the time difference, we can watch the Giants’ baseball games at breakfast while glancing at the ocean.

When we wake up, it’s mid-afternoon on the East Coast, where our son is at college. But we’ve managed to connect without interrupting his dinner hour. Ha!

We’re enjoying fresh Hawaiian fish from the Tamashiro Fish Market and fresh vegetables grown on the island.

The ocean is inviting – “70-something” degrees. At sunset we can hear musicians performing Hawaiian music on the beach.

It is not crowded, which is ideal. The downside is that Hawaii’s economy is still suffering from the fallout from COVID-19.

Years ago, we contemplated relocating to the Islands from California. But the schools weren’t great, so we dropped the idea.

As for now, we’re just thrilled to be visiting.

A room with a view.

Netflix says it will eventually charge more if you share your account

“In light of Netflix’s concerning subscriber losses, the company announced (yesterday) during its first-quarter earnings call that it will expand its test that charges members a higher price if they’re engaged in account sharing with people outside their household. The company first began testing the feature in March in Chile, Costa Rica and Peru, but now says it plans to implement the solution in global markets, including the U.S., in around a year’s time.

“The streamer clarified it will need to continue to iterate on the feature for roughly a year or so, to make sure it gets the balance right in terms of how much extra to charge subscribers who have shared their Netflix account with other users outside their own household.”

The rest of the article is here.

Baseball is back!

“Baseball is Heaven’s gift to mortals.” —George Will

Spring is in the air (except for some snow lingering on the ground around Lake Tahoe that prevents a “spring cleanup” in the yard), so we’ve been enjoying watching the baseball season get underway — sometimes at dinnertime with our proverbial “TV trays” (a throwback to the ’50s — kind of like us).

Our TV service allows us to watch out-of-market games, so we can watch the Dodgers from Los Angeles (where we grew up) and the Orioles from Baltimore (where our son goes to college at Johns Hopkins), not just the Giants.

We are hardly diehard Pittsburg Pirates fans, but it is not lost on us that the team’s owners now own the newspaper chain of The Union and Sierra-Sun. That’s cool. So we’ll watch a game or two for old times’ sake.

It’s hard to keep up with the MLB ownership changes. “The family of real estate magnate Ted Lerner, which 16 years ago purchased the Washington Nationals from Major League Baseball and oversaw a rebuilding process that eventually resulted in a World Series championship, has begun the process of exploring potential changes in the club’s ownership structure, including the possibility of selling the team,” as the Washington Post is reporting this week.

It’s no surprise that baseball is big business. And “Moneyball” (a primer is here) has made the game decidedly less romantic. The book is a must-read for baseball fans.

We still get excited at the first pitch of the season, and this spring was no exception.

We’ll catch a Giants’ game at AT&T Park in San Francisco, and we hope to see an Orioles game at Camden Yards when we visit our son in Baltimore. The two downtown ballparks are similar, and the architecture firm HOK Sport (now Populous) built both of them.

As George Will also wrote: “Baseball is a habit. The slowly rising crescendo of each game, the rhythm of the long season–these are the essentials and they are remarkably unchanged over nearly a century and a half. Of how many American institutions can that be said?”

Patti Ingram needs some schooling

Here’s (another) Herb Caen item for our local scene:

I noticed Patti (with an “i” not a “y”) Ingram is running for supervisor. Good luck! But let’s hope she does a better job of “dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s” if she’s elected.

Her website — patti4supervisor.com — (at least as of this morning) reads: “Patti attended Sierra College and Sacramento State University where she studied Journalism.” Huh?

Memo to Patti (with an “i”): DO NOT capitalize journalism in this case. The basic grammar rule — for would-be journalism majors and the rest of us — is here: “Do not capitalize: School subjects, except languages or specific course titles (algebra, journalism, language arts). However, you would capitalize Algebra I, Journalism III and English; Personal titles used without names (the president spoke).”

Here’s a nostalgic song that is redolent of “old” Grass Valley, where Patti grew up:

Plaque honoring Chinese Narrow Gauge rail workers in Nevada City

Editor’s note: I received this press release from the Nevada County Historical Landmarks Commission, and I’m pleased to republish it:

“The Nevada County Historical Landmarks Commission is pleased to announce that on March 22, 2022, the Nevada County Board of Supervisors designated the County’s newest historical landmark NEV 22-01 to commemorate the Chinese workers who were integral in building the Narrow Gauge Railroad.

“Applicant Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum is sponsoring a plaque which is expected to be placed this coming summer near the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad kiosk at the corner of Sacramento Street and Railroad Avenue in Nevada City. It will read:

“In the race to build the western portion of the Transcontinental Railroad, the Central Pacific Railroad recruited over 10,000 young men from China, creating a skilled and dependable work force. Upon completion many of these workers, who had come to America under contract for employment, returned home to China. Others remained to find employment building railroads throughout the United States.

“This site marks one end of the 22-mile Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad that connected Nevada City and Grass Valley with Colfax and the Central Pacific Railroad.

“After construction of the NCNGRR started in 1875, over 300 Chinese immigrants labored to build the railroad. They built the railroad grade over the rugged and uneven terrain between Colfax and Grass Valley, scaling canyons, filling ravines, and prepared the way for bridges and trestles. Using hand tools, horse drawn scrapers, hand carts and their determination, they completed the task in early 1876. Although considered more dependable than white workers, they were paid less.

“When the railroad was completed in 1876, most of the Chinese moved on to other railroad construction projects. A few Chinese workers remained as track workers maintaining the NCNGRR. Apart from laboring on the railroad, several Chinese businessmen in Nevada City were investors and retained stock in the company into the 20th century. The contributions of Chinese immigrants were an essential element in the building and success of the NCNGRR.

“The purpose of the Nevada County Historical Landmarks Commission is to promote the general welfare of Nevada County and its citizens through official recognition, recording, marking, preserving, and promoting the historical resources of Nevada County.

“The plaque will be featured in the next edition of the Commission’s interactive map and e-guide.

“Please visit nevadacountylandmarks.com for information on digital and hard copies of our book.”

Award-winning Chinese food in Baltimore

We enjoy Chinese food, and as it turns out, Baltimore is home to an up-and-coming Chinese restaurant that is a finalist for a James Beard Award – one of the nation’s most prestigious restaurant honors.

The team at NiHao, an authentic Chinese restaurant that took the local scene by storm when it opened in July 2020, has received a nomination for Best New Restaurant. The James Beard recognition comes on the heels of NiHao ranking No. 4 on Esquire’s Best New Restaurants list in 2020.

The initial Chinese population came to Baltimore because of the transcontinental railroad, but the Chinese population never exceeded 400 as of 1941, according to historians.

What’s more, “Chinese children were classified as ‘white’ and went to the white schools. Chinatown was largely gone by the First World War due to urban renewal,” according to a citation in Wikipedia.

NiHao is an expression of Chinese greeting, a hello, a casual ice breaker that usually follows with “have you eaten yet?”

“We’re honored and pleasantly surprised,” owner Lydia Chang said about the national honor in Baltimore Magazine. “We want to thank Baltimore City for the love and support over the past year and a half.”

We ordered “to go” and had:

-Half Peking Duck (sweet & savory sauces, whole wheat buns)

-Kung Pao Chicken (cashew, peppers, sweet potato)

-Crispy Eggplant (charred eggplant, Sichuan pickled cabbage)

It all was delicious.