Saturday, May 23, 2015

In Remembrance

Today is the 55th anniversary of the destructive tsunami that damaged much of Hilo town in Hawaii while I lived there. I wrote about this five years ago, and re-offer it, that it not be forgotten.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Household Hacks 1

Here are 10 ways to make your life just a little more enjoyable:
  • Buff a CD/DVD or Blu-Ray with toothpaste on a cotton ball. Wipe, rinse, and voila!
  • Untangle knots with cornstarch. Loosen shoe laces with a few sprinkles.
  • Buff out furniture dings with raw walnuts.
  • Add club soda to bread, pancakes, waffles, etc., instead of water to make them fluffier.
  • Sponge salty water on inside of windows to keep them frost-free.
  • Remove permanent markers with rubbing alcohol.
  • Use Chap Stick to stop bleeding from shaving nicks.
  • Wash your hair with apple juice to reduce dandruff.
  • Rub aspirin paste (add water, or vinegar) to eliminate t-shirt armpit stains. Leave it alone an hour before washing.
  • Add olive oil to your pet’s food to make its fur shinier.

More hacks later.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Treasures of Egypt

Co-sponsored by the State of Nevada, the Mirage Hotel & Casino, the MGM Hotel & Casino, the Luxor Hotel & Casino, and the Engelstad Family, "The Treasures of Egypt" is the featured exhibit at the Las Vegas Natural History Museum.

Stepping through the door entrance is like taking a step into the past, the days of pyramids, pharaohs and hieroglyphics. Displays and art works show you what life was like back then during the Bronze Age.

A special segment of the display features King Tutankhamun, the "boy king" who died at a very young age. The replica artifacts never fail to amaze me, and cause me to regret seeing the real thing when I was in San Francisco while the King Tut Exhibit was open at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park.

But that was then, and this is now. Wanna see some of the photographs I took? Here you go:

Wall Carving

Wall Carving

Wall Carving

Wall Mural

Cartouche-Shaped Box

Triple Lotus Oil Lamp

Royal Necklaces

Vulture Collar

Royal Funeral Boat Model

Tutankhamun Coffin

Tutankhamun Sarcophagus

Tutankhamun's Head

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Small Horny Ungulates

In the main hallway of the Las Vegas Natural History Museum are a number of glass cases displaying small ungulates. Y'know, deer ... from Africa, mostly. All of 'em have tiny sets of horns, and to be truthful, if a bunch of various species came bouncing around me at the same time, I couldn't tell a Suni from a Dik Dik from a Grysbok.

But that's okay. Because the museum did the identifying for me.

Check them out:





Salt's Dik Dik

Blue Duiker

Harvey's Red Duiker

Royal Antelope

Cape Grysbok
Tomorrow, the last of the Las Vegas Museum pictures. Tomorrow, we visit Egypt.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Las Vegas Natural History Museum

I See YOU! C'mon in!
On my last day of a recent trip to Las Vegas, I had beaucoup time before my plane flew out in the late afternoon to take me back to Hawaii.

So, I spent much of my day wandering around the Las Vegas Natural History Museum on Charleston, next to Cashman Field, where the Las Vegas 51s Triple A (Pacific Coast League) baseball team plays its games.

The Las Vegas Natural History Museum is affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution.

It's a great little museum, not real big, but full of interesting stuff - like taxidermy animals, water life, birds, reptiles and emphibians, dinosaurs, dioramas, fish and water life, a children's science area, and a terrific display of Egyptian artifacts and the life of King Tutankhamun - The Treasures of Egypt.

It's easy to forget the time and immerse yourself in history and our world.

Galleries include Prehistoric Life Gallery, Wild Nevada Gallery, Marine Life Gallery, Young Scientist Gallery, African Savanna Gallery, the African Rainforest, the International Wildlife Gallery, and an Early Man Exhibit.

They do change their exhibits every now and then, so if you only frequent Las Vegas once or twice a year, it won't seem repetitive to you. In fact, I go about every year and although some of the displays and exhibits look familiar, I still walk through with a grin of awe and wonder on my face.

I took a couple hundred pictures this last time; here are a few:


Rams and Antelope

Peccaries vs Rattlesnake

Ferocious Polar Bear

American Bison

Lion Taking Down a Wildebeest

Gigantic Alligator Jaw

Comparison: Great White Jaw vs Megalodon Jaw

Prehistoric Allosaurus

Ankylosaurus and Babies

Rocky Mountain Sheep
I'll show you pictures of some horny little animals in a few days.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Phone Pix 46: Buildings

No matter who you are, no matter where you go, you encounter buildings. Some are old, some are new, but all are historic in a sense, and interesting to check out.

Me? I just whip out my mobile phone and click a few pictures:

House on Nehoa Street, Aug. 26, 2013, Honolulu, HI

Excalibur and New York New York Casinos, Sept. 2, 2013, Las Vegas, NV

Catholic Church of Las Vegas, View from the Encore
Sept. 4, 2013, Las Vegas, NV

Bodega Church, Sept. 24, 2013, Bodega, CA

Potter Schoolhouse ('The Birds' Location)
Sept. 24, 2013, Bodega, CA

Condominium Viewed from Rear of Art School
Nov. 8, 2013, Honolulu, HI

Industrial Structure in Iwilei, Dec. 20, 2013, Honolulu, HI

Robert Wyland Mural near Honolulu International Airport
Dec. 30, 2013, Honolulu, HI

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

King Street Bike Lane Boondoggle Update

View from the Driver's Seat:
King Street at Rush Hour, Bumper to Bumper Traffic
Caused by the Boondoggle Bike Lane Off to the Left
See that? That’s King Street during the afternoon drive from downtown to where I turn left for home. Bumper to bumper all the way. Accident ahead? No. Pedestrians crossing? No. Bicyclists? Definitely no. The boondoggle bike lane? YES.

The last time I totaled up the number of bike riders I’ve seen in the $100,000.00 King Street bike lane, I think it was 11 or so. I hadn’t seen any since then because I’ve gone on a couple of trips and can’t remember the exact number, so let’s be fair and add a few. Let’s say I’ve seen 15. Fair enough?

Yesterday, I had the opportunity (?) to drive along King Street around 5 p.m. during the afternoon rush hour. I saw 15 bikers coming and going in the lane, so that should bring my total sightings up to 30.

Let’s see now, $100,000.00 cost, 30 bikers.

That brings the total cost per rider (according to my eyes) to $3,333.33. Still very expensive. Where are the hundreds of riders predicted by the bike lane supporters?

This is supposed to be a test project. In my humble opinion, our Mayor failed the test. Give us back the bike lane for our cars. Please?

Monday, May 11, 2015

Red Rock Canyon Drive

During my latest holiday in Las Vegas, I drove all the way up Charleston Boulevard to take in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. The day pass is a small $7 entrance fee that's good for 24 hours and includes the Red Rock Visitor's Center, which I skipped because I've already been there in May 2012.

To see pictures of the Visitor's Center, go here:

This time, I went on the 13-mile scenic drive, which took me a little longer than two hours to complete (starting at 11:30 a.m., according to the time printed on my receipt, and ending at 1:46 p.m., when I pulled back onto West Charleston Boulevard, aka State Route 159). The drive included stops at various lookout points that provided magnificent views of the earth-colored rocks and multi-colored shrubbery and sand valleys.

When I first began the drive, I was the only one on the well-paved, smooth-riding road, so I took my time, feeling no pressure behind me. However, when I reached the first overlook (Calico 1), there were about 75 cars parked at the overlook and alongside the road.

Taking a chance, I drove into the parking lot, and as luck may have it, a car pulled out of a prime spot right at the edge of the overlook. I must say that the vistas are magnificent. Not as magnificent as say the Grand Canyon, which in my experience is unequalled, or Zion Canyon, which is jaw-dropping and awe-inspiring.

But the canyon is so beautiful, with so many geologic layers ranging from gray stone to Hawaii plantation dirt red, and every color in between.

At every overlook, there were cars, cars, and more cars. Many of those on the drive tour brought out hiking backpacks (there are 18 hiking trails in the conservation area, ranging from easy walks at strenuous ascents up the mountainsides), and I could see many of them below, looking as tiny as ants on the rocks.

Speaking of living creatures, I did spot a jackrabbit, but in the few seconds it took to whip my camera around and boot it up, it disappeared over a small rise. Also, there were signs saying "Tortoise Crossing," but I had no luck seeing any that day.

I took so many pictures that my battery ran out. Good timing, as I'd just taken a panorama shot and would be heading back afterwards. I did replace the battery when I got back to my room at the Luxor and was delighted to see that I didn't lose the last panorama.

Of special interest is the outhouse. It looks nice and well-kept from the outside, but it’s just a glorified hole in the ground. There is a porcelain toilet seat inside, but when you look down the hole, well you just don’t want to breathe in while you’re doing it.

But enough talk ... Here are a few of the pictures I shot that day:

Click on Picture for a Larger Image

Click on Picture for a Larger Image
The pictures just don't give a true sense of the magnificence because they're flat and two-dimensional. You have to be there to truly appreciate the canyon experience.