Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Tomaso Files: Chocolate Bunnies ‘N Rainbows make Kona seem a long way away...

Snow-capped Mauna Kea, the tallest peak in Hawaii. The only place on the Hawaiian islands to snow ski. (Post card photograph by Douglas Pebles)
’Whale, its been awhile now since I’ve ‘Poonded out another riveting episode of my Tomaso Files, which was intended to be published on Easter - but I was busy looking for those chocolate nuggets the Easter Bunny sometimes leaves behind... As once again I’m doing this primarily for the benefit of Mr. Carpets, who’s a Humongous ‘Ger-ranimal ‘LUV-er who surely is disappointed I couldn’t get my photo taken with the Seahorse I was holding briefly... Huh? Haven’t Y’all ever held a Seahorse? But more about that later, eh?

Unfortunately, although its hard to believe, it was still technically winter when we arrived on the B-I-G Island and hence, a day later Mother Nature stirred up the ocean aplenty and our favourite beach across the street’s sand was immediately sucked back out into the great aqua blue Pacific - meaning I wouldn’t get to frolic with the buzz bombing green sea turtles anytime soon; Sigh!

And as typical, I checked out a plethora of CD-Audiobooks from my local library, one of which I’d put down upon my reading list last time when in Hawaii, which I briefly scribbled ‘bout in;

The book in question was Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, which I still marvel ‘bout enthusiastically listening to nearly some 108-years after its author’s death, not to mention some 143-years after its initial publishing! 

Not your typical Gas Station motif; as next time you stop for petrol, see if you can spy any sorta fish alongside the station’s pumps...
  • ’92-ish Rootbeer brown colour
  • Rare Constellation XL Headliner option,
  • Custom tinted windows, which resemble multiple water spots/rain bubbles due to their delaminating.
  • Optional 135mph Speedodometer - sometimes going 75-85mph while stationary or moving in school crossing zone.
  • Non-functional Odometer: has been stuck on 70,000 miles for unknown duration, especially funny since there’s change oil ‘Deckle (decal) on car window saying next change at 137,888 miles; Huh?
  • Automatic “Suicide” Shoulder belts; plus lap belt that likes to fall down/hide between seat/door.
  • Optional single cup holder w/custom duct tape, made for too large size cups NO longer manufactured!

And although I was sworn to secrecy about our forlorned ‘loaner-mobile, especially concerning the 45min Rally stage into-out of State park beach - which we missed A-L-L of the ‘Yumps; CRIKEY MATES! I just simply cannot leave I-T alone! Especially since it was such an entertaining ‘ride...

And perhaps Y’all haven’t heard ‘bout the ultra rare XL Constellation headliner option available only on selected Saturn products? ‘Whale, Yuhs see, this well worn Saturn’s headliner’s glue had simply gotten sapped out not once, but twice due to that ‘lil golden ball thingy high above the Hawaiian sky, and thus, a very clever lady who’s name I cannot divulge - cleverly decided to secure said sagging headliner with a proliferation of push-pins of varying colours, albeit predominantly yellow & white; Eureka! As I tactfully ran my palm across the car’s ceiling - it was covered head-to-toe in this strange starburst of push-pins securing the flagging headliner; Aye Karumba! 

The second book I attempted reading was another of my favourite yarns by auto enthusiast Clive Cussler, which was bad enough having to endure every disc being severely scratched - forcing me to miss multiple segments of the book, but; WTF? As I cannot even fathom how one does this; BUTT! Somehow a previous listener had managed to ERASE the book’s entire final disc; SHEISA! I mean C’mon people, let’s treat the talking books like that O-L-D phrase the video stores used to say: “Be Kind; Rewind!”

As in DON’T be so brutal to the public library’s CD’s Please!

Planes, Trains, Cars & People
(From the book: The Race)
  • Locomobile
  • Ford Model K
  • model 35/Thomas Flyer
  • Airplane engines

The books lead character Isaac Bell drives a Locomobile at breakneck speed with his boss riding shotgun as they race over to Preston Whiteway’s world headquarters, where Bell screeches into Whiteway’s parking stall before he can get his Rolls Royce parked there. As it’s later claimed that the racecar is capable of 100mph - which would have been pretty heady in 1909!

Then later in the book, Messer Bell rents a high powered Ford Model K in order to race over to a witness being held in an insane asylum, as its an interesting choice - the Model K, (in the book) since apparently it was a very unloved chassis, with only some scant 900 cars being produced during the years 1906-08 before production ceased. As the cars biggest drawback besides shoddy quality was its humongous $2,500-3,000 price tag!

Have heard the name Thomas Flyer before, as it was the winner of the only New York to Paris race held, which it won in 1908; as reportedly the winning model which I saw once countless years ago in Reno, Nevada at the Harrah’s Car Museum just so happened to be a Model 35. Ironically this is the same chassis that the “Bad Guy” uses to  race cross country in pursuit of his intended victim due to its excellent cross country ruggedness abilities, due to its four cylinder 60-horspower engine and ample ground clearance, albeit he and his accomplices suffer countless punctured tyres, not to mention driving  on railroad tracks when roads don’t exist, which is exactly what I believe was done during the winter of 1907 during the NY-Paris marathon...

Although there’s a mix of fictional Monoplanes and Biplanes in the story, they use period correct engines of the day, with the wat-wat-wat of the three cylinder radial Anzani, four cylinder Curtis’s; the burbly smooth rumble of V-8 Antoinette’s along with another engine I’ve never heard of before, the rotary Gnome Omega engine - as this French seven cylinder design was the first ever production rotary engine, having made its debut at the 1908 Paris Auto Salon.

Interestingly, as the book eludes to, the entire rotary engine’s cylinders spin around the fuel mixture being drawn thru the central crankshaft, since apparently their rotary suffix is in regards to their motion - since when I hear the word rotary I commonly think of Mazda’s instead with their fewer reciprocating parts. As I was also unaware that these  engines would power both French and German airplanes during World War I, with French copies being produced by German manufacturers…

One of the countless ‘Prized Seahorses viewed at the Kona Seahorse Farm...
Seahorse Whisperer
Most definitely, my trip’s highlight was the day’s outing for the morning Seahorse Tour, which was taken at what I believe is the world’s only commercial Seahorse Farm, which at the end of our most enjoyable tour, our guide told us that yes, and you can have your Seahorses delivered to you in approx 48-hours... But these Seahorses are only sold in pairs, since they don’t cope without a Mate! While it’s also the Male who gives birth to 600+ babies every 9-45 days...

The tour began by showing us the purpose made brakish water pond specifically built for growing the shrimp Seahorses traditionally feed upon, although they’ve taught their commercial breeds to eat frozen food instead, with various species growing to between six-ten inches in length, as I got to throw in the captured shrimp into one of the tanks of awaiting Seahorses.

But for Mwah, especially since I couldn’t see the various Seahorses, the highlight was the end of this most enjoyable tour where I got to hold one of these critters for approx three-plus minutes before having it handed off to the next attendee... And I use the word “Hold” loosely, since its Biologist handler actually has the Seahorse attach to your pinky finger with its tail provided it’s not startled by you! And they’re so damn tiny ‘N light that I could barely discern it being attached, albeit I could faintly feel this “Hippocampus” clinging to my imaginary coral reef finger as it gently swayed in the pools water current... As I was told later that I’d been holding a ten year old Seahorse, while there were two twelve year old’s in the tank too! As I believe they said fifteen years is their record...

You can check out more about this amazing facility at:

More Cars
(From the book: Arctic Drift)
  • 1932 V-12 auburn Boatail Speedster
  • Maybach

This was another enjoyable Cussler novel, this time reacquainting me with the fictional Dirk Pitt, who’d been absent from my first two Cussler book selections. As this book deals with a very real modern day problema - that pesky subject known as Climate Change, as the book was entertaining for Mwah since it was taking place partially in the waters of Vancouver’s Inland Passage which is just north of me.

And the lesson learned in this book was never take your priceless vintage automobile to work upon a case, as the just restored Auburn Boatail becomes the punching bag  for an exploding  science lab raining down debris upon it! As I was totally unaware that the Boatail contains a single person rumble seat in it, allowing for three passengers to occupy the Speedster.

The Maibach was another name that seemed vaguely familiar to Mwah, as it was utilized by the billionaire ‘Cuhnadiun Bad-man who poses as a “Greenie,” while actually being heavily invested in fossil fuels, tar sands and natural gas holdings.

As I learned once again - that the Maibach was actually first conceived in the early 1900’s in Germany before going dormant after World War II, before Mercedes Benz bought the marque and tried lamely resurrecting it as an upscale luxury car competitor to the likes of BMW’s Bentley and VW’s rolls Royce brands, before being discontinued in 2012 with the brand going out in a barely audible whimper - being replaced by S-brand ‘Merc’s this year instead...

Sea Turtle gate we passed upon our daily morning ‘Walkabouts...
Animal Planet
And No Fenders  ‘Offical Photographer ‘CARPETS would have been most impressed with the veritable tropical paradise of animals to mostly be heard by your humble (and visually impaired) No Fenders scribe - typically awakening to the screeching of Parrots, Myna birds and Doves in the trees directly outside the bedroom’s window. As here’s a list compiled by Tomas Sr.  Of the various creatures observed daily.

Birds:  Japanese White-Eye; Red Cardinal; Spotted Dove/Zebra Dove; red headed Parrots; Saffron finch/common Myna /Gray Francolin which I fed at the beach

Humpback whales leave usually on tax day 4/15, after swimming all the way from Alaska for mating season in Hawaii, as they could be seen in the distance playing, breeching, tail slamming, etc; usually to the delight of nearby whale watching boats...

Lots of spinner dolphins.

Lone Mongoose spotted.

Stray rooster - black and white, spotted in yard side nearby road.

Green sea turtles; although I didn’t get to swim with any this time, did get to see multiple at the famous “Turtle beach” which unfortunately everybody’s found out about and hence, was very hard to get the necessary guest pass to access the beach’s gated community...

Kudos to Hawaii Correspondant Linda for all photos & postcard...