Brief asides


POSTED: Friday, March 26, 2010


Tomorrow night's 'Earth Hour' gets some competition

The fourth annual “;Earth Hour”; starts tomorrow night at 8:30, and millions of people around the world are expected to join in by turning off their lights during that 60-minute period. Started in 2007 by the World Wildlife Federation, the event is meant to be a “;symbolic show of support for our one and only planet.”; But for every yin there is a yang, and last year a counter one-hour event was created to occur at the same time called “;Human Achievement Hour,”; in which participants are encouraged to turn their lights on. Started by a policy analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, “;Human Achievement Hour”; is intended to celebrate human inventions and technology, which, of course, includes the humble light bulb. So take your pick. But if you do decide to go with “;Earth Hour,”; just be sure — as the Niagara Falls Fire Department is warning — to not leave your candles unattended. In fact, the department is even suggesting that “;Earth Hour”; participants consider using battery-operated candles instead. But that would sort of defeat the purpose, wouldn't it?



Prince Kuhio Day honors Hawaii's royal past

Quick, what is the only state in America that has a holiday dedicated to royalty? And not just one, but two of them?

The answer is Hawaii — and if you're one of the many workers enjoying today off, you are celebrating Prince Kuhio Day. It's the birthday of Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole (1871-1922), heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Hawaii, prince of the House of Kalakaua, and territorial delegate to the U.S. Congress from 1903 until his death.

Kuhio was in his early 20s when the kingdom was overthrown in 1893, then rebelled against the Republic of Hawaii, but years later, served as a statesman in post-annexation Hawaii.

Now, quick again: What is Hawaii's second royal holiday? It is Kamehameha Day on June 11, celebrating the king who unified the Hawaiian Islands in 1810. But that's another epic story.