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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, September 11, 2006

BOB KRAUSS | 1924-2006
'Scribbler of stories' loved Island ways

 •  Krauss told Hawai'i's stories for 55 years

Advertiser Staff

Small things were as important to Bob Krauss as big things.

His columns and articles touched on every aspect of life in our Islands. Here is a sampling of his writings, many of which are taken from "Our Hawai'i, the Best of Bob Krauss," published by Island Heritage:


"My frame of reference is that of a scribbler of stories for The Honolulu Advertiser and for books about Hawai'i. Actually, a Child of the Land should be born in the Islands. My parents, unfortunately, failed to provide me with this qualification. I've tried to make up for it by 40 years of chasing around Hawai'i and the Pacific, asking people questions and writing down the answers."


"I was a struggling young columnist when (humorist) H. Alan Smith came to Waikiki to write his book. He was so prolific he could write for Scientific American and the Police Gazette at the same time! Smith was looking for funny stories about Hawai'i, so I made him an offer. I would give him a very funny story about the mynah birds at the Royal Hawaiian hotel if he would write me a column about how to describe the hula for both Playboy and Reader's Digest."


"All races of Hawai'i are represented in The Advertiser's city room and we often eat together. It seems like every time I eat my Oriental food with my Japanese-American friends, they eat with forks while I eat with chopsticks. ... "


"It may come as a shock to you when I tell you that the malassada is the most misunderstood, mysterious, misspelled taste treat in Hawai'i. ... Do you know why a delicious pastry like malassadas has a name which means 'badly cooked'? I thought so."


"Carmen Joyce, an unsung Honolulu legend, the Auntie Mame of old Waikiki, a member of the dance troupe that broke so many hearts on the beach, arrived in our city from California for a visit. The blood pressure of quite a few kama'aina, white-haired gentlemen may have gone up somewhat when they read in The Advertiser that Carmen was in town. You may ask your grandfather why. Better still, ask your grandmother. ... "


"Not all of our important visitors come to Hawai'i on commercial airlines or by ship. Some of our most discriminating tourists fly themselves from Alaska to spend the winter. They are known as Golden Plover, birds of an unusual feather, who arrive in August and stay until the following spring, when they fly back to mate and hatch babies. While in Hawai'i, they camp out on the best real estate: lawns of the rich and famous, exclusive golf courses and the grounds of 'Iolani Palace."


"The around-the-clock, all-weather uniform for men in Hawai'i is now a crisp, polyester, button-down aloha shirt with the tail tucked in for business appointments and important business occasions, tails out to be sporty. Such attire is appropriate for any board room ... legislative hearing and practically every restaurant in town. ... But if a male wishes to stand out in such a gathering, if he wishes to subtly one-up his rivals, if he wishes to proclaim his undisputed standing as a native, he will wear 'palaka.'

"To wear 'palaka' is to trade on the snobbery of the Island elite, an exclusive fraternity who call themselves 'kama'aina,' which means 'children of the land.'

One definition of 'kama'aina' is someone who has been in Hawai'i long enough to have planted his own mango tree and is now giving them away."