Sol Sanders,

Sol Sanders,

A weeklong electronic journal.
July 21 1998 3:30 AM

Sol Sanders,

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       It was 5:30 a.m. when Buri-Buri (AKC Britannia, a native Yorkshireman, the home of Airedales) woke me this morning, yapping, at the doggie door. I keep it closed during the night, what with mongooses, feral cats, marvelous Mickey/Disney-looking field mice with huge ears, scorpions, and centipedes wandering around our old, dry ranch-land setting. Poor Buri-Buri! She has an enlarged pituitary or adrenal gland--as with humans, the vets were prepared to keep on experimenting, but we decided to let her go, eventually, in peace. She drinks like an elephant and eats voraciously. None of my old India books with their really stinky paste bindings is safe. So we've had to put up "defenses"--card tables, plywood, and cushions in front of all the bookcases spread throughout the house. One more reason that after a year, the move from a huge apartment atop an old factory--in what used to be called the Garment Center in midtown Manhattan--to a developer's knockoff on the Big Island is less than consummated. But we do have a fantastic view of three volcanoes, the Kawaihae Bay, and 50 miles of seacoast down to the airport at Kona.
       I snuggled back into bed; it may be Hawaii, but that's not a trade wind that comes down during the night off Mauna Kea, almost 14,000 feet above me. My comforter feels good. And I turned on my television; nothing so soporific to put me back to sleep! The C-band antenna--when the winds don't blow it down--picks up oddments from all over. The six hour differential from EDST means the menu is of things I would never otherwise have chosen. So I am getting instruction in pop American culture when, after a day on the Net, I turn it on for a quicker trip to Orpheus' domain.
       This morning it was the Brothers Kalb on a media-watch show. In my time, it was thought not only inelegant but damned right forbidden to declaim on newspapering mechanics. Once in Saigon, I remember, Danny Biondi, an Italian-American with New York City street smarts, threw a fit on the stage at the 5 O'Clock Follies, the daily briefing by the Command. I asked Danny later why he had carried on; he was usually a sly, quiet type. "When the show gets better on the floor than it is on the stage, you have to do something," he said, referring to the antics of a couple of eccentric--even by the standards of the Saigon press corps--newsmen.
       But there were the Kalbs this morning pontificating about "the first time," "the biggest ever," "the new phenomenon." I am not one of those who believes there is nothing new under the sun. Of course, at 72, one does begin to think that this is where he came in on the movie. But the Kalbs were nattering on about how the media have become patsies for their sources. And even in my drowsy state, I remembered how Bernie-baby in the 1960s was still brown-nosing Sukarno as the New York Times' Indonesia correspondent, two decades after my year's sojourn in Jakarta had taught me how the Bung was laying the groundwork for the catastrophes that have followed. And Marvin-baby--how time flies--was once Henry the K's chief flack in and out of the Washington press corps, with a voice carrying almost as much pseudogravitas as his mentor. But sleep did come ... zzzzzzzzzz!

Sol Sanders is a visiting fellow at the East/West Center. He was the international outlook editor of Business Week, and South Asian editor of U.S. News & World Report. His most recent book is Mitsubishi Electric: The Challenge of Globalization. He lives in Kamuela, Hawaii.