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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Read your way around town

By David Shapiro

I guess I'm glad that the state is putting back the old "Arrivals" and "Departures" signs at Honolulu International Airport, but part of me will miss the mystifying modern replacements that got everybody up in arms.

The bright new yellow signs were confusing, but at least they made me stop and think. I'd stop, block traffic and think, "Where the heck am I supposed to go?"

It got me wondering why there aren't more markers around town that make us stop and reflect. I drew on a few of the world's great minds and came up with some suggestions for thought-provoking signage at prominent public offices:

State Capitol: "You will find that the state is the kind of organization which, though it does big things badly, does small things badly, too." — John Kenneth Galbraith

Gov. Linda Lingle: "I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." — Bill Cosby

Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona: "Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt." — Abraham Lincoln

U.S. Sens. Dan Inouye and Daniel Akaka: "The older I grow, the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom." — H.L. Mencken

U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie: "Speech is conveniently located midway between thought and action, where it often substitutes for both." — John Andrew Holmes

U.S. Rep. Ed Case: "The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you've got it made." — Jean Giraudoux

State Senate: "When they discover the center of the universe, a lot of people will be disappointed to discover they are not it." — Bernard Bailey

State House of Representatives: "To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing." — Elbert Hubbard

Hawai'i Supreme Court: "I don't necessarily agree with everything I say." — Marshall McLuhan

Department of Education: "Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time when the quo has lost its status." — Laurence J. Peter

State Library: "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." — Groucho Marx

Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris: "Make money your god, and it will plague you like the devil." — Henry Fielding

Honolulu City Council: "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedy." — Ernest Benn

Democratic Party headquarters: "Confusion is always the most honest response." — Marty Indik

Republican headquarters: " 'My country, right or wrong,' is a thing that no patriot would think of saying ... It is like saying, 'My mother, drunk or sober.' " — G.K. Chesterton

University of Hawai'i Board of Regents: "Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names." — John F. Kennedy

UH president Evan Dobelle: "The key to being a good manager is keeping the people who hate me away from those who are still undecided." — Casey Stengel

UH football coach June Jones: "If I only had a little humility, I'd be perfect." — Ted Turner

Volcanic Ash command center: "Ordinarily he was insane, but he had lucid moments when he was merely stupid." — Heinrich Heine

David Shapiro can be reached at dave@volcanicash.net.