Ben’s Book, Great Quotes, Etc.

Don Chapman
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August 06, 2008
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I had a chance to chat with former Gov. Ben Cayetano recently when my son and his grandson graduated from the Honolulu Fire Department academy in the same class. Among other things, I asked about the memoir he’s writing.

“I’ll tell you this,” he replied, “if I ever write another book, it’s not going to be non-fiction. With non-fiction, you have to check and check and check to get your facts straight.”

“Welcome to my world, Governor,” I said.

“I mean it, if I ever write another book, it’s going to be fiction - you can just make stuff up.”

I mentioned this conversation to MidWeek political columnist Dan Boylan, who said he’d heard from a number of Ben’s former associates who’ve received late-night calls from him, asking for their recollection of specific details.

The manuscript is currently with the publisher, the governor says, and he expects to do some revisions before it goes to press.

Ben was certainly our most tell-it-like-it-is governor, and I’m looking forward to reading his book. * Got a kick out of meeting new UH football coach Greg McMackin when I was invited as a guest to hear him speak to the Pearl Harbor Rotary. With his warm, outgoing demeanor, in public he’s the anti-June Jones. And I liked this honest assesment:

“I’m still in the honeymoon phase. People are always coming up, shaking my hand, saying nice things. Of course, I haven’t lost a game yet.”

I also liked that he’s told his players to get physically fit enough to perform in the searing heat and humidity of an August afternoon in Gainesville, in the season opener against the tough Florida Gators:

“I told ‘em there will be no leaning over with your hands on your knees when you get gassed. Do that and you’re coming out of the game. We will not show any sign of weakness.” * Master sommelier Roberto Viernes’ recent MidWeek column on great wine quotes reminded me of this one from the late, great Robert Mondavi, spoken at the Kapalua Food & Wine Festival circa 1988: “Just because I like a wine doesn’t make it a good wine. What makes it a good wine is if you like it.” * Speaking of quotes: This is from a San Francisco Chronicle online columnist known as The Betting Fool, regarding Michelle Wie’s disqualification from a tournament for failing to sign her scorecard:

“How do you forget to sign a scorecard? Good Lord, it’s a wonder she can remember her phone number. How in the hell did she get into Stanford? ... Have you ever listened to a Michelle Wie press conference? You can practically hear the air rushing through her head as she talks.”


* I will say this: Michelle’s decision to pass up playing in an LPGA “major” - the Women’s British Open last week - in favor of playing what amounts to an exhibition against second-tier male pros in Reno is a head-scratcher. So she proved again she can’t make the cut against men. She needs to prove she can beat the women. If she can.

* I was sorry to hear of the recent death of Rocky Aoki, the colorful Benihana founder and adventurer. Back in September 1979, a month before I would move to Hawaii to begin work as a daily columnist at the Advertiser, I was the outdoor columnist at the San Jose Mercury News and was supposed to accompany Rocky on a test run out of the Golden Gate in a 38-foot offshore racing boat, on the day before a big ocean race. But at the last minute my editor decreed he wanted me in the office writing headlines instead. I was not pleased, to put it mildly. But it turned out to be a lucky thing. Racing at 70 mph, the boat hit a huge wave and disintegrated. Rocky suffered a ruptured aorta, a lacerated liver and a leg broken in four places. When I heard the news, I kind of felt better about that editor.

Condolences to his family, including his son Kevin Aoki, who runs the excellent Doraku Sushi at the Royal Hawaiian Center.

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