What the Heck?
Italian TV's Andrea Salvadore, kneeling, interviewed Becky and Cheryl Soon as they counted ballots Tuesday at the Democratic caucus at Koko Head Elementary School.
Eyes of Italy fall upon caucus in Hawaii Kai
Chaos would be an exaggeration. The Democratic presidential caucus at Koko Head Elementary School on Tuesday was more like college registration, in the bad old days before computers. Long lines, nobody knew which one to stand in.
Up on the stage, trying to make herself heard, was precinct Chairwoman Amy Monk. In a normal presidential year, the party would be lucky if 100 people showed up for this caucus. "They told us to expect 200, we prepared for 300 and got 1,000," said Monk.
To vote, people had to fill out registration forms, which ran out quickly. Someone -- no one got his name -- took blank forms to his nearby office and made hundreds of copies. He was rewarded with cheers.
"This is the strangest election I've ever seen," said new Hawaii resident Mae Ariola, as she filled out the paperwork. It was: People clustered around cafeteria tables while precinct captains shouted themselves hoarse, passing out ballots. The ballots were just scraps of paper you filled out with a pen.
Despite the confusion, everyone who got there by 8 p.m. got to vote. Volunteers counted the paper scraps -- watched over by the international press. RAI Italian Television sent Andrea Salvadore and a cameraman to cover the scene in the Hawaii Kai elementary school.
Salvadore seemed bored. "In Iowa, the caucuses were more exciting. Speeches, people moving from one candidate's group to another, very emotional," he said. "This will be a landslide for Obama."
He was right. Sen. Barack Obama carried Koko Head, 760-259.
Stung By Sting
Kailua Pilates instructor Jayme Newhouse got a little nervous when the woman on the phone said she was from the police. But it was The Police. Sting wanted someone to help with his personal workouts in Hawaii.
Newhouse made her way to the Blaisdell. From her e-mail: "I was so nervous I couldn't think straight. I asked if I could touch him if I needed to correct him. He said, 'Yes, I love to be touched.'"
The result, said Newhouse: "I never took my hands off this man. He is totally buff and a great butt to go with it. I'm still on cloud nine. Whoa, I feel like I have been stung by Sting!"
Sommeliers are supposed to be as dignified as the ancient bottles of Bordeaux they decant.
Not Jason "Cas" Castle of DuVin and Indigo. Saw him in a cap and jeans, wearing a sling. He hurt his shoulder -- not wresting a cork from a bottle, but skateboarding.
His sling reads, "Please do not touch my arm or shoulder."
His friends all seem to want to clap him on the shoulder to make him feel better, said Cas. "That pains me more than drinking a bottle of bad plonk."
What Ales You?
Lili Hess' beer is in town. Hess, who reps Sam Adams here, won a nationwide contest among Sam Adams employees. For a limited time, the Boston brewer is making her homebrew creation.
It's a Grape Pale Ale. Yes, it has grapes in it. No, it doesn't taste like grape juice. It tastes like beer.
Hess wins a trip to Oktoberfest next fall, and, as she put it, "my five minutes of fame." Her name and picture are on every bottle, though she's distressed the picture makes her look "really old. I'm better looking than that, really."
Toque to Toque
Hawaii Restaurant Association head Gail Ann Chew tried to set up a competition between Hawaii chefs and New York's. No takers. San Francisco? "They were too scared," she said. "They know how good we are."
Finally, she found chefs willing to go toque- to-toque. On Tuesday, Fred DeAngelo and Chai Chaowasaree will take on two chefs from the Bellagio -- in a competition emceed by Robin Leach, at the Las Vegas International Restaurant Show.
How does Chew like the Hawaii chefs' Vegas odds? "I'm the only Chinese person I know who doesn't gamble," said Chew. "I just know they're sure thing."
You Somebody, Yeah?
Jimmy Borges and wife Vicki were walking down Rodeo Drive when they found themselves swept into a glittering soiree at the Louis Vuitton store, courtesy of Darlene Osterman, whose late husband at one time ran Liberty House here.
"I didn't recognize her, but she knew me, and gave us the celebrity treatment," said Borges. Jimmy and Vicki hung with the other notable guest, Mary Ann Mobley, who, said Borges, "was Miss America in 1838." (Actually, 1959.)
"All the fancy people kept looking at us, because we were being treated like we mattered," said Jimmy. "You could just see them scratching their heads, because nobody knew who the hell we were."
Oscar Deprivation Avoided
The HIFF "official" Oscar Party is today. Unless you already bought tickets, you can't go.
You'll remember that the Oscar ceremonies were in doubt until the writers strike got settled less than two weeks ago. The minute the Oscars were on, HIFF's party sold out.
"Apparently, the best way to get people to appreciate the Oscars," shrugged HIFF Executive Director Chuck Boller, "is to threaten to take them away."
Beckham Bends to Please
According to a number of insiders who worked the recent Pan-Pacific Tourney, soccer icon David Beckham was a marvel of humility. He rode the team bus, stayed in the team hotel, signed soccer balls for hundreds of AYSO kids and gave away his shirt, even though he was upset at the time that his team had lost its opening game.
"He's not like a lot of NFL Pro Bowl players," said one. "His ego's under control."