Monday, June 21, 1999


Star-Bulletin file photo
These little yellow spots found on cars
really are bee droppings.

Another round for
the notebooks

Let's wind up this cavalcade of moldy golden-oldie watdats, shall we?

What are those things that look like pressure cookers attached to phone poles? That's sort of what they are -- they're pumped to keep positive air pressure inside phone lines. They also contain "repeater boosters" to goose electrical signals.

Wat Dat? What's that rusting metal rack in the midst of Kaneohe Bay? It's all that's left of marine engineer John Craven's vision of a floating city. It was a gigantic scale model that sank by accident; the project never quite got over the ridicule.

What are those things that look like beer cans with periscopes atop many traffic lights? They're Emergency Vehicle Preemptors. The sensors change the signals when they detect an ambulance or fire truck heading their way. Notice that emergency vehicles always seem to make the light?

How come there's a bit of a building on Hotel and Bishop streets that reads "Oregon"? There's one nearby that reads "Portland" as well. Both were built by proud Northwest emigres, but two-thirds of "Oregon" got flattened when Bishop Street was extended in the 1920s.

Some lamp poles have what appears to be microphones aimed at the sky. Why? It's what's left of a Department of Transportation project to monitor air-traffic noise.

What's that triangular pile of rocks in Kapiolani Park signify? Nothing. It used to support a lamp. But it's all that's left of a time when Kapiolani Park was a beautiful landscape of breezy river banks and lazy canals, like something out of a Impressionist painting. The light marked the center of a series of sculpted lily ponds.

Why do the concrete benches on Fort Street Mall have metal bars sticking out every 4 feet? They're "arm rests," officially. Unofficially, they deter extreme skateboarders, and also make it difficult for homeless folks to sleep.

What's that vaultlike door in the side of the freeway as it dips below Punahou Street? It's access to a diesel-powered pump, designed to suck excess rainwater out of the dip.

What are those little yellow spots on my car? Bee poop! Bee poop! Bee poop! Stop asking, already!

Curious about something you've seen? Ask us: WatDat?,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, Hi, 96813
fax at 523-7863 or e-mail at

By Burl Burlingame, Star-Bulletin

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