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2008 Sour Poi Awards

Celebrating the best of the worst of 2008—the strange, the stupid and the scandalous.


(page 4 of 5)

Illustration: Matt Mignanelli

Slow learner

After 37 convictions, you’d think a guy would have refined his criminal techniques. But a would-be thief didn’t get far after he broke into a van and grabbed a duffel bag from the front seat—this particular van was full of Honolulu police officers working on a surveillance operation.

Photo: Courtesy City and County of Honolulu


Also true: anytime the mayor gets criticized, an angel loses its wings

When mayoral candidate Ann Kobayashi called Mufi Hannemann a bully during a televised debate in September, Hannemann bristled. “It really saddens me every time you talk about me being a bully,” he said. “I want you to know that you bring dishonor to my parents when you do that.”



Stay classy, Honolulu

Then-presidential nominee Barack Obama made a solemn visit to see his ailing grandmother in October, the last one he would be able to make before she died a month later. After Obama left, a bunch of items from his grandmother’s building went missing: a bird bath, a set of tables and chairs, and a potted plant.

Ah, nature!

A sperm whale carcass created a huge stink this past summer after washing ashore on a Kahuku beach. The 35-foot, 8- to 10-ton carcass proved difficult to maneuver on the rocky coast, delaying its removal. When officials finally trucked it off two and a half weeks later, parts of the badly decayed whale spilled onto the road in a busy Kaneohe intersection, blocking traffic and grossing out nearby residents with the stench.

Photo: Istock


Making international incidents of molehills

Genshiro Kawamoto’s feel-good plan to offer Hawaiian families free rent in Kahala mansions in 2007 didn’t buy him any brownie points this past year with Kahala homeowners, who complained that the Japanese billionaire was neglecting many of his other properties in the neighborhood. The word “eyesore” came up a lot. Kawamoto proved so hard to reach that the City Council even called on the Japanese consulate to step in and reason with him. The consulate declined, calling the request “strange.”


Good help is so hard to find

Maui Electric Co. had to apologize to a local family in October after one of its line maintenance contractors littered, defecated and parked vehicles on top of the family’s heiau in Ukumehame.

We’ll drink to that

The Bennu Pharmaceutical Co. recruited Japanese Hawaii residents this spring to participate in a clinical trial for a drug called Convivia. Why only Japanese? This experimental drug is designed to treat ethanol intolerance—the flushing effect many Asians suffer from when drinking. No word yet on the final results of the trial.

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