Insight, News, and Opinion by Nick Abramo
  • January 19, 2022
It’s Never Too Late To Bring You 8 GREAT Holiday Gift Ideas From St. Nicholas

Hey, it’s still the holidays, so this story about holiday gift ideas still applies.

It is a bit late, I’d say, since Christmas, when most holiday gifts are given, was six days ago.

But, arggh, writing about some amazing football being played in the islands right around that time (and the actual celebrating of Christmas with family and friends) took me away from this story idea.

Temporarily.

And so, I’m here to let you know that it’s not too late to:

  1. Buy someone a belated Christmas gift
  2. Buy someone a Christmas gift for next year
  3. Buy someone a New Year’s gift
  4. Buy someone a gift for their pcoming birthday in 2022

The following 8 gift ideas are not in any specific order. Oh, and yes, as the writer, I actually quote myself, and I can do that. I am the writer.

Handmade, Skillfully Crafted Woodworking By A Husband And Wife Duo

Go to this Instagram page: 97MBCreations.

There you will find exquisite wood pieces, cutting boards, coasters and some furniture.

It’s by Mike and Jenn Betz of Mililani.

A cutting board by 97 MB Creations.

And you can go to their full business website, too here.

“Absolutely GREAT stuff,” said Nick Abramo of Bedrock Sports Hawaii, who is the proud owner of a charcuterie board (Christmas present 2020) and coasters (Christmas present 2021) from the Betzes.

The Chaminade Upset Of Virginia Book

Whether you heard about this mega college basketball upset near Christmas time in 1982 or not, it’s something worth looking deeper into if you are a sports fan or avid reader of fascinating stories.

It’s written by Hawaii’s Jack Danilewicz, who did extensive interviews with the key members of the two teams.

Here is a snippet from Amazon.com about Jack’s book, The Greatest Upset Never Seen: Virginia, Chaminade And The Game That Changed College Basketball:

“No one had really heard of Chaminade University — a tiny NAIA Catholic school in Honolulu with fewer than eight hundred undergraduates — until its basketball game against the University of Virginia on December 23, 1982. The Chaminade Silverswords defeated the Cavaliers, then the Division I, No. 1–ranked team in the nation, in what the Washington Post later called “the biggest upset in the history of college basketball.” Virginia was the most heralded team in the country, led by seven‑foot‑four‑inch, three‑time College Basketball Player of the Year Ralph Sampson. They had just been paid $50,000 — more than double Chaminade’s annual basketball budget — to play an early season tournament in Tokyo and were making a “stopover” game in Hawaii on their way back to the mainland. The Silverswords, led by forward Tony Randolph, came back in the second half and won the game 77–72.”

 The book cover.

And this is from a review by Fred Barnes of the Wall Street Journal on Nov. 22, 2019:

“Entertaining, carefully researched. … Mr. Danielwicz has it right: The ‘sun has never set’ on Chaminade’s glorious win. Chances are, it never will.”

And Neil Everett of ESPN, a former Hawaii sports anchor, said this:

“Chaminade beating Virginia is a marquee event in the NAIA’s great basketball history. There should be a statue of (Chaminade coach) Merv Lopes on the campus, and the story of that night should be required reading in Hawaii schools.”

“I love that quote by Neil Everett,” said Nick Abramo of Bedrock Sports Hawaii, who worked with Jack Danilewicz during his time at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “We all know the upset is a truly amazing story. And Jack’s book is a GREAT rendering of it.”

Public (Roller) Skating At Kapolei Inline Hockey Arenas

Take someone (or your whole family) roller skating at Kapolei Inline Hockey Arenas.
And it’s right there in Kapolei, about a mile into Campbell Industrial Park.
And everyone knows that skating is FUN, FUN, FUN.
Fun, fun, fun roller skating at Kapolei Inline Hockey Arenas.

And for any inline hockey players out there, KIHA has leagues for all ages and abilities, including beginners.

“It’s a GREAT place to keep in shape,” said Nick Abramo of Bedrock Sports Hawaii.

Coffee, Honey, Whisky, Chocolate, Cigars And More From A Kauai Farmer

Les Drent, a Kauai farmer, started growing coffee on the Garden Isle in the early 2000s. His family-run business has since expanded to lots of products, including whisky, chocolate honey and cigars.

“One word comes to mind when I drink Les’ coffee or taste the honey he makes and that word is quality,” said Nick Abramo of Bedrock Sports Hawaii. “Basically, all of those products are GREAT and Les takes great care and pride in his work.”

You can go to LBDCoffee.com to get a good look at all of his products.

One type of coffee from Les Drent and family.

Eh, and you’ll be following that slogan that goes something like this: “Grow local. Buy local.”

Here is a quote from the family (Les, his wife Gigi, daughter Jessica, and son Jorgen) from their website:

“Not a day goes by that we are not thankful for what this farm has provided us; the instillation of hard work, the comfort of home, a loving family, many discoveries, and endless amounts of pleasure.”

Unlike The New Movie Hit: LOOK UP!!!!

There’s a new movie out starring Leonardo DiCaprio called “Don’t Look Up.”

I suggest: “Look Up”

Lot o’ great stuff up there in the night sky. Thanks to my brother Joe Abramo (who is mentioned in another section below), I’ve seen Jupiter’s moons and Saturn’s rings through a telescope. I know where to look for Andromeda, which is the nearest galaxy to the Milky Way.

I’ve seen double stars, the Southern Cross constellation (which is not always visible in the Northern Hemisphere), and a bunch of comets and lunar eclipses.

Ahh, but what I’ve seen is just a small sample of the many things that are UP there. This section of the story is more about Nick Bradley, who runs Stargazers of Hawaii. He gives public and private stargazing shows with large portable telescopes.

For a Christmas present last year, my wife got me a coupon for a stargazing show that allows me to to bring up to 25 people.

That coupon has been on my bureau, front and center, ever since. Oh yes, I want to go, but can I even get a few people together in this COVID-19 era?

But when the time is right I will DEFINITELY take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.

The Orion Nebula is one thing you might see by looking up in the sky with Stargazers of Hawaii. (Image taken from an Internet site).

A Nick Bradley photo of the Andromeda galaxy through a telescope. Oh, and you can see it with the naked eye and binoculars, too, but, of course, it’s just not as good of a view. 

A Stargazers of Hawaii customer looking through a telescope at the moon during a colorful sunset.

And, haha:

“Looking up at the celestial objects is absolutely GREAT,” said Nick Abramo of Bedrock Sports Hawaii. “If you never done it, you really don’t know what you’re missing in a way.”

Recently, I met Nick Bradley at a networking event and he was glad to hear that I didn’t just discard the coupon, and I was glad to be able to tell him that I’m looking forward to using it.

The following snippet by Nick Bradley was taken from the “about” section at StargazersOfHawaii.com:

“With a passion for the science of astronomy and an eagerness to a share his knowledge of the Hawaiian constellations, Stargazers of Hawaii was established in 2019 to personally bring the universe to you and show you what wonders can be seen when you look up into the night sky. The experience will literally take you out of this world and bring you to a new appreciation of our stars.

Bradley, a University of Hawaii graduate with a degree in engineering, was selected as a volunteer NASA/JPL/Caltech Solar System Ambassador in 2021, and he has been an astronomy merit badge counselor for the Boy Scouts of America since 2019.

There is also a sports connection here. Bradley has been the University of Hawaii baseball team volunteer video coordinator since 2015. He plays in local baseball and softball leagues and has been involved in local baseball since 2008.

Take A Staycation At Waikiki Malia By Outrigger

If you choose to go on a staycation at the Waikiki Malia By Outrigger, you will not pay a steep price for enjoying a comfortable retreat

Right next door is Rivals Waikiki, where you can sip on cocktails or watch sports or eat pizza.

Both of these businesses are run by a friend, Michael Kawazoe, and he is a huge supporter of University of Hawaii athletics and high school sports. In other words, he’s local. So go local, right?

Waikiki Malia by Outrigger.

An Rivals Waikiki ad.

 

A room at Waikiki Malia by Outrigger.

Starting at $129 per night, you can book a room, and if you choose to stay for a week or more, the rate can go as low as $69 per night. And you can choose a Malia guest room or a Luana studio with kitchenette appliances. Another really good special: Book a second room for 50 percent off.

“I’ve taken about three staycations at Waikiki Malia by Outrigger with occasional drinks at Rivals Waikiki and they’re both GREAT,” said Nick Abramo of Bedrock Sports Hawaii.

Rivals Waikiki is also the sponsor of some inline hockey teams.

Go On A Neighbor Island Getaway to Kauai

Yo, yo, yo. Ho, ho, ho. Well, if you haven’t figured out that I know all of these people featured in this article, that point will hit home in this section.

Take a Neighbor Island getaway and get a vacation rental on Kauai from Joe and Jane Abramo (my brother and sister in-law) of Na Pali Properties.

There are cozy places with beautiful views available in Hanalei and Princeville. Tell them I sent ya.

One place for rent by Na Pali Properties.

Oh, and I almost forgot: “I lived on Kauai for 10 years and it’s GREAT,” said Nick Abramo of Bedrock Sports Hawaii.

Get Coaching Sessions From The Best

Communication and leadership coaching from the best is available by going to Bambooshoot.co.

That’s a business run by my wife, Vince. And of course, she is the BEST coach out there.

She coaches and trains individuals or organizations in things like conflict resolution, networking and professional public speaking.

 

The “About” section from Vince Abramo’s website: Bambooshoot.co.

“Hey man, CONFLICT RESOLUTION can change your whole attitude about life,” said Nick Abramo of Bedrock Sports Hawaii, who has attended some of Vince’s sessions. “Ever hear someone talk about how they don’t get along with the people they work with? I hear it all the time. How do you get beyond it? That is a truly important question we as a society must ask in this day and age. Whole companies and industries can benefit from this knowledge. Oh, and I gotta keep with the theme: Vince is a GREAT coach.”

And also, if you hire Vince for a coaching session on my recommendation, she says she will give you a 75 percent discount.

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808-391-7371.