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Wednesday, May 14, 2014


I'd always told my kids that the most beautiful place I'd ever been was Hawaii, and now we're finally here (in Maui).

While I have doubts about the cost/benefit of such a long trip just for the sake of the scenery, Hawaii is a far nicer destination than the Caribbean. It's of relatively recent (in geological terms) volcanic origin, so it has spectacular mountains as well as lush tropical jungles and sandy beaches. It's in the US, so it's safer than most Caribbean nations. It's probably safer than most parts of the mainland.

The safety of the islands even extends to its native fauna. There aren't even any snakes on the island, except a tiny one which often gets mistaken for a worm. 

Sadly, much of the original flora and fauna have barely managed to survive the onslaught of humans, who have introduced not only numerous invasive plant species, but also, either by design or by accident, rats, chickens, wild pigs, giant toads, mongoose, and deer. Each has ravaged the native habitat in various ways.

Nonetheless, none of these animals present immediate threats to people who hike in the forests. (The wild pigs are hunted often enough that they have learned to avoid people.) 

Yesterday we took the road to Hana and went for a hike in a bamboo grove. My son commented that it would add a certain spirit of adventure to our hike if there were the possibility of a man-eating jaguar emerging from the jungle.

He then said, "Actually, what this place needs is some Komodo dragons. If I ever get rich, I'm going to bring in some of those and just let them loose here."

I pointed out that cobras and fer-de-lances would have a much better shot at survival. 

I've often wondered, what if somebody did purposely introduce, say, cobras to Hawaii? What kind of reputation would that person have for eternity? He would be regarded as pretty much the opposite of St. Patrick, who is said to have rid Ireland of snakes.

The opposite of a saint is a devil, and if anyone did bring poisonous snakes to these beautiful islands, that reputation would be more than justified. 


Anonymous said...

I'm so pleased you all made it out there, enjoy your time with family and the sights.
All the best

Mad Dog

John Craig said...

Thank you Tom.

Anonymous said...

gather ye rosebuds while you may john. you never know if you'll make it there again.beautiful pics btw. are you going to be looking into the Man's birth certificate btw? what is your opinion on that controversy.

on a sociopathic note - stephen glass and jayson blair were famous liars and frauds. where they sociopaths you think?

there's profile of blair up here - in it he seems almost kind of gloating after being caught -

dunno why glass was denied a license to practice law. he clearly has all the qualifications.

go pig hunting - the meat is amazing.

John Craig said...

Anon --
Funny, I was thinking the same thing: I'm 60, hadn't been to Hawaii in 24 years (and Maui in 28), who knows if I'll ever make it here again.

I'm not sure what to think about Obama's birth certificate. I've heard all the arguments against its authenticity, including the fact that he reportedly has a social security number that would only have been issued in Connecticut at the time. But a lot of the arguments came from a Joe Arpaio team, and Arpaio strikes me as a sociopath, as I wrote about once. Then again, the Obama team -- and Obama himself -- are also not known for their honesty. I remember when they final produced that document, and they acted as if that was the final, definitive proof, that nobody should dare argue with. So it sort of because a question of, which set of liars do you want to believe. anyway, the answer to your question is, I just don't know.

I have a much stronger opinion about Glass and Blair: they would have to be sociopaths to do what they did. The DSM, and most psychologists, always take pains to point out that in order to qualify as a sociopath, you have to exhibit most of a long laundry list of traits. And it's true, almost all sociopaths seem to have all those traits. But there are two sets of cases where you don't need to do an exhaustive analysis, one little data point will suffice. The first is, if the person is a serial killer who does it for his sexual pleasure. If you know that about someone, you don't need to know anything else: he is a sociopath. The second is, if the person is what is popularly known as a "pathological liar." That behavior also encompasses enough of the standard sociopathic traits: dishonesty, self-aggrandizement, impulsiveness, lack of concern for the future, and disloyalty (to whomever you're lying to), that you don't really have to know anything else about the person. And Glass and Blair were basically pathological liars.

You're right to point out Blair's gloating. (I read the article you linked and yes, he does seem to be awfully pleased with himself, even right after he was caught.) I followed that case fairly closely at the time and there were several other clues to his character, including the fact that others described him a charming and a glib talker, and the way he so easily slid into both alcoholism and cocaine addiction. But again, all you really have to see is the constant dishonesty in order to come to a conclusion.

I don't hunt, so I'll just order pork at some point in the next couple days, it seems to be on every menu. (I have nothing against hunting, it's just something I never got into.)

Anonymous said...

Well good, I hope you dissuaded your son from such a lame-brained idea. I hope he was joking. But maybe you need to check up on his "ideas".

John Craig said...

Anon --
He was joking.