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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, February 12, 2002

The Left Lane
A doll you can hug

The problems with Barbie and her ilk are rife: A little girl can't nicely hug the teensy doll, for starters, it's breakable, and if you're Asian, the blond hair can seem, well, a mystery. At least, so says Raeann Ruth, director of Portage for Youth, an after-school enrichment program in St. Paul, Minn. So Ruth has designed a plush doll with silky black pigtails, half-moon eyes, creamy skin and rosy cheeks. Although the toy is patterned after girls of Hmong ancestry, who make up all of her 35 students, it mirrors the appearance of girls of many other Asian backgrounds. Ruth feels girls should have dolls that look like them. "This is a doll you can hug. You could cry on its shoulder. These girls need that," Ruth says. A Latina doll may follow later. Proceeds from sales of the $29.95 doll — available at theportage.org/dolls or by calling (651) 772-8674 — could help restore some money the small center lost in December. But be patient; the students' moms are sewing the dolls as fast as the orders come in.

— Advertiser staff and news services

First-smooch jitters

If you were a shaky mess during your first real kiss, you very likely weren't the only one. When a recent Colgate survey asked 115 men and women ages 18 to 24 to recall that fateful buss, close to 75 percent of respondents said they had the jitters. Asked "What were you most worried about when you experienced the kiss?," the biggest concern was "doing it right." However, women were more worried than men about "getting caught." One respondent feared "getting cooties."

Sadly, 8 percent of men say the kissing experience has not gotten any better since that first encounter, and even more men — 12 percent — don't believe they are better kissers today. On the flip side, all of the women reported that they themselves have improved their skills.

— Advertiser staff and news services

One of New York's Finest helped out Lo Kaimuloa of Wilhemina Rise.

Aloha at Ground Zero

When Lo Kaimuloa of Wilhelmina Rise and her hanai brother, Herman Ferreira of Anahola, Kaua'i, visited New York last month on a buying trip for the store Riches Kahala, they took maile lei in the hope of placing them at Ground Zero. But when they tried to go there, they found a long line of people waiting to get to the visitors' platform. They were told they could not get any closer. (The next day, officials started requiring people to obtain tickets.) But then they asked a policeman (whose name she neglected to get) if he would take the lei to an appropriate spot. "Where do you think they should go?" he asked. Kaimuloa said she would love to see them on the platform. "I agree that's where they belong," he replied, and opened the gate for her to go up and place the maile on the platform herself.

The aloha spirit is alive and well in New York City.

— Paula Rath, Advertiser staff writer