Correcting the record on the Crouching Lion

The Crouching Lion, the Kaaawa restaurant with a troubled history of repeated failures under a string of owners, has reportedly gotten a new lease on life, according to Pacific Business News.

Advanced Fresh Concepts, one of the largest fresh sushi suppliers to supermarkets across the United States is moving ahead with plans for its second Oahu restaurant, at the historic Crouching Lion Inn complex in Windward Oahu, Pacific Business News has learned.

But PBN repeats an error when it refers to “the 90-year-old inn along Kamehameha Highway in Kaaawa.”

Although the building was built in the 1920’s, it was originally a private residence. The man who built the house was George F. Larsen, originally from Oslo, Norway.

According to his granddaughter, Larsen was “a successful mason contractor who arrived in Honolulu in 1912 to help with the construction of Schofield Barracks.”

In 1937, the home was sold to Reginald Faithful, then the head of Dairyman’s Association, one of the islands’ largest dairies and predecessor of Meadow Gold Dairies.

Then in the early 1950’s, my father, John M. Lind, came up with the idea of converting the building to a roadside inn. He approached Faithful and proposed a partnership. Faithful would make the building available, and my father, who managed a restaurant supply firm, would operate the business. They finally reached an agreement, and the Crouching Lion opened in 1952.

Here’s how my dad described it years later, in 2005 at age 92.

We set up a nice little kitchen. We put in tables and chairs for four people each, total seating about 60 in the living room and dining room, with a huge fireplace on one end, and it created an atmosphere that we weren’t very accustomed to in Hawaii. It made a very very nice setting.

We arranged to get a chef who was from Ireland, Joe Sheridan, and we had menus set up. We had Aggie Kellett, one of the women from the [Waikiki] Surf Club, come in as hostess and manager. So we had the chef in the kitchen, a gal in the dining room to greet the guests, and it was set up pretty much as a chafing dish-type food service from the cart to the table with fancy chafing dishes, ladles, and things of that nature.

We served luncheon and dinners. It was all specialty food. The dinners were all candle lit tables with tablecloths.

Joe Sheridan, the first chef, was quite colorful with his white coat and his high crown chef’s hat working the dining room as well as the kitchen.

Carl Reber, who was manager of the Commercial Club, asked if there was any possible chance of him getting work out there. When Joe decided he was going to leave, Carl was given the job and he seemed to enjoy it.

It was outstanding, but not to the point where there were a lot of people (chuckle).

We were told we were about 10 years too soon because round the island travel was not too heavy, and the attempt to get the cars to stop wasn’t too successful.

“Landslide” claim = “Big lie”

A big lie (German: große Lüge) is a propaganda technique. The expression was coined by Adolf Hitler, when he dictated his 1925 book Mein Kampf, about the use of a lie so “colossal” that no one would believe that someone “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.”
Big lie – Wikipedia

That’s the thought that immediately came to mind after VP-elect Mike Pence made several appearances yesterday repeating the mantra that Donald Trump won in a “landslide.”

On Face the Nation: ” As I’ve said, Donald Trump won a landslide American. The American people spoke decisively.”

He repeated the statement in another interview:

“I joined this campaign in the summer, and I can tell you that all the contact by the Trump campaign and associates was with the American people,” Pence said. “We were fully engaged with taking his message to make America great again all across this country. That’s why he won in a landslide election.”

This “landslide” claim is disturbing because it is factually, demonstrably untrue. Since that has been pointed out repeatedly, it has to be considered a lie. An intentional lie. And a blatant lie told as part of the incoming administration’s policy.

First, there’s the little problem that Trump lost the popular vote. More Americans voted for Hillary Clinton. There’s no dispute about that.

As CNN reported earlier:

The Democrat outpaced President-elect Donald Trump by almost 2.9 million votes, with 65,844,954 (48.2%) to his 62,979,879 (46.1%), according to revised and certified final election results from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

And, second, is electoral college margin was far from a landslide.


But it turns out that the percentage of electoral votes won by Trump, 56.9 percent, is hardly a landslide by historic comparison.

John Pitney, a professor of American Politics at Claremont McKenna College, put together a chart showing the Electoral College share won by every president since George Washington and found that Trump’s margin of victory ranked 46th out of 58 U.S. presidential elections.

“It’s just not true,” Pitney said of Trump’s “landslide” boast.

From the New York Times: “Trump’s Electoral College Victory Ranks 46th in 58 Elections”

From PBS:

Trump repeated the landslide claim on Monday after the Electoral College voted to put him over the 270-vote threshold needed to secure the White House.

Even Abraham Lincoln won a greater percentage of electoral votes (with 59.4 percent) than Trump in the 1860 election, when the country was on the brink of the Civil War.

In fact, Trump ranks 46th out of 58 in terms of winning the electoral vote — a spot far down on the list, sandwiched between Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy’s narrow 1960 win.

And the same point made by NPR:

Comparing Trump’s 306 electoral votes to recent history, he falls between the 2000 and 2004 razor-thin margins of George W. Bush, and Barack Obama’s victories in 2008 and 2012.

2000 — Bush 271, Gore 266
2004 — Bush 286, Kerry 251
2008 — Obama 365, McCain 173
2012 — Obama 332, Romney 206
2016 — Trump 306, Clinton 232

So on the historic score, Trump’s margin is pretty average for recent elections, and way down the list if you go all the way back to the beginning of the nation.

So what’s the point of continually repeating a blatant lie that has already been discredited many times over? That’s a question for another day, I think.

Just when you thought this couldn’t get any weirder

[Links in the 5th paragraph have hopefully been corrected]

Back home after another evening in Kaaawa, and finally getting around to posting for the day.

Comics have been having a heyday with this week’s unverified Trump report, whatever we’re calling it. The Russia Tapes? Pee Gate? Whatever.

Alec Baldwin outdid himself on Saturday Night Live, and Stephen Colbert was no slouch, either.

In all seriousness, these tidbits collected by a “former” British spy have to be seen as deeply troubling.

Newsweek has a good story about the spy, Christopher Steele (“What we know about Christopher Steele, the ex-spy behind Trump-Russia dossier“). Reuters, The Telegraph (UK), Haaretz, (“Christopher Steele, British Ex-spy Behind Trump Dossier: ‘Competent, Professional Operator‘”) and others have profiled Steele, and its quite sobering. He’s got quite a track record and, it seems, a solid reputation for gathering intelligence.

BBC added more background on the report that’s worth reading (“Trump ‘compromising’ claims: How and why did we get here?“).

All this can be used to provide laughs. But it’s no laughing matter. Not good news for Mr. Trump nor for any of us U.S. citizens, I think.

Another Kahala dawn (Photo)

This is one of my favorites from the week, taken as we walked past the Kahala Hotel towards the Waialae Golf Course and beyond. You can view it in full screen mode if you click through to Flickr.