What the Heck?
COURTESY OF RICK SMOLAN / AGAINST ALL ODDS PRODUCTIONS
Model Veronica Varekova poses during a Sports Illustrated swimsuit shoot on the beach near the Four Seasons Resort Maui. CLICK FOR LARGE
Sports Illustrated shoots suits at Maui hotel
Oh, What a Beautiful Morning:
Before 7 a.m. last weekend, I was strolling the beach in Wailea. In front of the Four Seasons Resort Maui, who should appear out of the surf, wearing an abbreviated polka dot bikini, but supermodel Veronica Varekova.
Varekova, a Victoria's Secret model, has graced the cover of many magazines, most notably the 2004 Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.
She's back. Sports Illustrated was shooting swimsuits at the Four Seasons, their only location in Hawaii. Varekova was surrounded by a crew of 14: a burly guy standing up to his knees in the surf holding a giant reflector, a video crew, various assistants, make-up artists and hair dressers, plus sports photographer Dave Klutho, who was shooting Varekova in 3D, so she would pop off the page.
Varekova would take a few steps out of the water carrying a surfboard. Someone would yell, "We lost the light." Back in the water and out again, over and over. This went on through several bikinis, into which Varekova would change in a giant collapsible gray tube that looked more or less like a giant soda can.
Marketing director Mark Simon got up early to oversee the shoot for the resort. "I got a lot of volunteers to help," he said, "but I told them I could handle it."
Oh, What a Beautiful Morning 2: Though he's never seen a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, retired District Judge James Dannenberg still gets up before dawn every morning and heads to Lanikai Beach. Every day for years, he's taken a photo of the sunrise.
Currently, you can catch a stunningly colorful collection of his sunrise photos at Chinatown's Louis Pohl Gallery.
"Every picture I take isn't stunning," admits Dannenberg. "Still, if you live in the most beautiful place in the world and take enough pictures, occasionally you're going to get a great one."
Dannenberg, who lives in Kailua, shoots only sunrises, never sunsets. "To photograph a sunset, I'd have to drive all the way to town. Who'd want to do that?"
You Sure Running's Good For You? You heard about Dr. Koji Takano, the Japanese dentist who suffered cardiac arrest at the finish line of Sunday's marathon. He was brought back to life by timely application of a defibrillator, but when he woke up in the ambulance, he thought he hadn't finished and wanted to be taken back to the course.
You may not have heard of Rene Hopfinger, a 37-year-old California woman. Hopfinger ran the first half of the marathon in two hours and the second half in four -- but only because at mile 16, she somehow snapped her femur. With her leg broken, she finished anyway, in considerable pain.
"I'm not stupid," says Hopfinger, who has a masters in molecular genetics. "I know not to run on a broken leg. I just didn't know it was broken."
She thought it was muscle pain, as did the medics who saw her afterward, and even the doctors at St. Francis, who, working their way through marathon injuries, did not see her until eight hours later. As a precaution, the docs took an X-ray and had her in surgery the next morning.
With a metal plate holding together her femur, Hopfinger will heal nicely. Her only worry? "I don't know whether I can run again. I love marathons."
Playing Santa: Mountain Apple President Leah Bernstein spent her week contacting local musicians who weren't responding to calls and letters from an outfit called SoundExchange. Why was SoundExchange, which collects royalties for music played over the Internet, so eager to reach the musicians? To give each of them a check for thousands of dollars.
Notes Bernstein, every musician she contacted said the same thing: "Oh, I wasn't calling them back because I was afraid I owed THEM money!"
Last Rum Cake: If you see Harry Matsuno, president of Safeguard Services, buying rum by the gallon at Costco, don't jump to the wrong conclusion.
Since he started keeping track a decade ago, Matsuno has baked and given away more than 5,000 rum cakes with glazed walnuts. He bakes year round, two cakes at a time, all his home oven will hold. But his production peaks over the holidays, when he gives cakes to friends, clients and employees.
He's currently baking 70 or 80 a week. If you're lucky enough to get one, it may be your last. Having sold his business and retired, Matsuno insists he's giving up baking: "I'll make some for friends, but I'm thinking of taking up golf."
Vegas Vagabond: Getting off a Hawaiian Air flight from Las Vegas was Jean-Marie Josselin, the pioneering chef whose Pacific Café empire stretched through the islands in the '90s. "You're back," I said. "Never left," he said.
Two weeks a month, Josselin presides over his award-winning Caesar's Place restaurant, 808, where he still serves up sesame-crusted mahimahi. But Josselin doesn't like Vegas. "It's either too hot or too cold," he says, so he keeps places on both Oahu and Kauai.
Will he ever cook in Hawaii again? Be patient. When the Coco Palms Resort is finished rebuilding on Kauai, expect Jean-Marie in the kitchen.
Ah, the Worldwide Allure of Hawaii: Home, a gay nightclub on Cockle Bay Wharf in Sydney, is advertising a New Year's Hawaii party, asking its clientele to wear board shorts and bikinis. That sort of makes sense because New Year is midsummer in Australia. The club promises kabana boys and "lualu" women. Am hoping that's an Aussie misspelling for luau. Otherwise, I'm not sure I want to know.