Ho, lobsters & Miss Kitty in 'Lite' notebook
TUESDAY LITE Notebook (Observations, clarifications, letters, announcements, mea culpas and general chitchat):
» A friend asked if I had seen the big story in Saturday's paper complaining about the "non-native, invasive species on a neighbor isle," and I thought, "Oh, no, did KSSK radio jock Larry Price go off on blue-eyed Kauai state Sen. Gary Hooser again?" Thankfully, it was just a piece on the growing menace of coqui frogs in the banyan trees of Hilo.
» PR man Ray Sweeney was just one of a number of people to chastise me for saying in my Don Ho memorial column ("The Don Ho You Didn't Know") that he had not only flown jets in the Air Force, but had crashed in one. Sweeney et al. argued that Ho flew cargo planes. As I conceded in the piece, all the Don Ho info bits had come from an exhaustive five-minute Internet investigation.
Was it possible that I could I have made a mistake? Moi? With the Vegas odds running heavy against me, I conducted a further exhaustive, not to mention forensic, five-minute investigation and unearthed these factlike items: Many, many newspapers reported that Ho had flown fighter jets and mentioned a crash, including the L.A. Times. Legendary celebrity scribe Eddie Sherman, a friend of Ho's, wrote in MidWeek that Ho had been a fighter pilot. But the best evidence comes from Ho's own mouth in a great profile piece in this very paper written in 1999 by Burl Burlingame. Burl pointed out that Ho had attended flight school in Texas and "graduated as a fighter pilot just as the war in Korea wound down, building hours in T-6s, T-28s and T-33s."
"I managed to have one good crash landing in a T-33," Ho said. "Ran out of gas, so I popped the canopy at about 300 miles per hour. I put her down on a farm. ... The crash made me realize that life was to be enjoyed."
FORGIVE SWEENEY et al. for only remembering that Ho, after the crash, went on to fly cargo transports. They're only human, not humor columnists.
» Due to a technical error, the key first paragraph of Sunday's Lite "New Rule: No Vacations While at War" did not appear online. It deftly pointed out that there'd be less terrorism in the world if more people sat on bar stools. The AWOL sentences have been restored.
» Old news: I recently received two angry e-mails about columns written years ago. One demanded an apology for saying in 2001 about the Society for the Advancement of Lobsters: "These guys love lobsters in the nonculinary, politically correct wacko way." The other writer was offended by a year-old column in which I suggested Miss Kitty of the old "Gunsmoke" TV show was a prostitute. I'm fairly sure the Columnist Criticism Statute of Limitations has run on both pieces. But pity the poor lobsters if it takes their protectors six years to get upset about being called wackos. And if Miss Kitty wasn't a woman of ill fame, why did she sport the little artificial mole on her cheek favored by the classier sporting gals of that age?
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