Saturday, July 31, 2010

World’s Longest Yardsale 2010

It’s here again. Soon. Real soon, like next week. It’s the 23rd annual “U.S. 127 Corridor Sale,” also known as the “World’s Longest Yardsale.”

The 675-mile yard sale that winds its way through six states and stretches from Hudson, Michigan to Gadsden, Alabama, is scheduled for Thursday, August 5, through Sunday, August 8.

As usual, thousands of vendors will set up their tables and tents on front lawns and vacant fields in the towns along the route, giving bargain hunters every opportunity to load up their cars, vans and trucks with everything from marbles to pots, from comic books to model cars, from dolls to electronics, from clothes to kitchen items, from gardening tools to furniture, from … well, you get the idea – most anything you want will be available somewhere along the route.

The event is a boon for events and attractions that include river boats, railroads, music, arts, crafts, horse-riding, hiking, Civil War history, agriculture and beautiful scenery.

I wrote about this a year ago, and it tickled me so much that I put it in my tickler file for this year. You see, I wanted to warn you about the traffic jams that’ll clog driving in those areas next weekend.

One of these days, I’m going to do the drive. Wanna come along?

Friday, July 30, 2010

What? Say What?

When I retired four years ago, I wanted to take it easy, to not be responsible for any other person’s actions – something I did practically all my life during my career in public relations. The wife, helpful woman that she is, suggested that I do something only on days of the week that ended with “Y.”

Damned fool that I was, I said okay. Score: Wife 1, Craig 0.

The wife said she didn’t want to cook, so she threw something together for dinner last night. I told her she missed what she was aiming at and needed to practice her throwing a little bit more.

The bump on my head seems to be going down. Score: Wife 1, Craig 1.

I’ve never been big on kids – little tiny kids. For some reason they like me, but they do get on my nerves. The wife loves kids. I told her it’s okay to have them come to the house, as long as they aren’t on their “pest” behavior.

“What about our grandson?” she asked. Score: Wife 2, Craig 1.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Zen of Flatulence

Don’t you think these guys are thinking about the process just a little too much?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Governor‘s Election Sign Derby, Part 1

It’s a little early to begin assessing who’s ahead in the Hawaii gubernatorial election sign race, because after all, the Hawaii primary election is still about two months away.

However, I did a preliminary sign count on the route along East Manoa Road from my house to Manoa Marketplace, as I always do during elections.

Democrat Mufi Hannemann, who just resigned as Honolulu mayor to run for governor, leads with five signs (plus two used by roadside sign wavers). Democrat Neil Abercrombie, who cost taxpayers $670,000 for a special election when he resigned his U.S. House post to run for governor, has just one sign. Republican Duke Aiona, current lieutenant governor likewise has just one sign (but it’s a pretty big one).

The “sign-count along my route” method seems to predict election races quite well. For now, the score is 7-1-1 in favor of Mufi.

We’ll see how it goes as the election day draws nearer.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Sunny-Side-Up Day

My Wife Diana, and Lois of Ka Lei Eggs

We went to buy some eggs yesterday, but instead of going to the supermarket, we decided to pay a visit to a company that my wife’s family’s local delicatessen patronized until they closed the business last year – Ka Lei Eggs.

Ka Lei has been around for years and years. In fact, the owners are third-generation egg and poultry farmers.

Lois Shimabukuro-Wakai, the company’s president whom my wife knows very well, put her work aside, and came out to talk with her. While waiting for Lois, we bought a flat of jumbo eggs (two-and-a-half dozen for a very reasonable $8 … and they were fresh!).

The company’s eggs can be found in many Oahu supermarkets, as well at the Ka Lei Eggs Retail Outlet, 439 Kalihi St. in Kalihi, which is where we went. They also have an uptown store – Ka Lei Marketplace, 3585 Waialae Ave. in Kaimuki.

If you live on Oahu and buy eggs, you really should buy Ka Lei eggs. They’re straight from local hens. Call them. Their Kalihi phone is (808) 841-7695; their Kaimuki phone is (808) 737-7665.

Take it from me – Craig, the Good Egg. I love ‘em flipped, flopped, or staring me right straight in the eye.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The X-Band Radar Dome

Standing on the lanai at my son’s home in Aiea, I was mesmerized by the clear view of Pearl Harbor and all of the ships berthed there for the Rim of the Pacific (RimPac) war games that launched on Friday.

They've done this every year since 1971. This year, 32 ships from 14 nations sailed into Hawaii for the exercise, including the USS Ronald Reagan, a Nimitz-classed nuclear-powered supercarrier, and the USS Freedom combat ship.

Neighborhood residents complain that whenever these exercises take place, there are problems with home electronics – especially with the garage door openers. They strongly suspect that it’s because of the sea-based X-Band floating white-domed radar that stands out like a sore thumb.

It can detect ballistic missile launches and determine if they are real or fake. Based in Alaska, the sophisticated radar dome is back in Hawaii for maintenance. It sits on an oil-drilling platform and is manned by a crew of 85.

Can you imagine this huge white bubble floating south on Pacific seas from Alaska to Hawaii, then back again?

Wow!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Whales Take the Offensive

Betcha didn’t know that whales, like humans, can have bad breath.

It’s true. First-hand field observations (smellervations?) have been reported in the local newspaper that whales have halitosis. Or should we call it “whalitosis”?

We all know our bodies and breaths smell like garlic the day after we consume it, just as our bathroom excursions leave an odor of asparagus behind.

We are, after all, what we eat. So why can’t whales be that way too … right?

Some whales’ spumes are extraordinarily stinky. Like the minke whale. Its whalitosis is so bad that it’s been nicknamed the “stinky minke.” And the so-called “right whale” isn’t that right; they smell (according to whale book author Philip Hoare) “somewhere between a cow’s fart and a fishy wharf.” (I don’t want to know how he researched the smell of a cow’s fart.)

Ocean writer Susan Scott, writing about gray whale breath, finds a silver lining in all of this, noting that if you can smell the gray’s whalitosis, it just means your boat is too close to it and you need to back off.

Care for a Certs?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Filo Friday

Like the flakey pastry dough, Friday's Honolulu Star-Advertiser newspaper can be peeled back layer by layer to reveal fun stuff.

Expensive Food?

In the “Dine” section of the newspaper’s “tgif” supplement, I saw a small advertisement for a restaurant named “Yakiniku Million.”

Oooo-KAY. So what does that mean? Does it mean that they have a million varieties of yakiniku (grilled stuff)? Or does that mean it’s expensive? Or is that the number of people who visit there? Or is it simply a ploy to promote the place as a top shelf restaurant?

And if they’re so top shelf, how come they don’t buy a larger ad? These are questions people need answered!

Okay, maybe not. But it’s fun to speculate.

Local-Style Solution

In her morning column, Lee Cataluna tells the story about how Kauai’s radio station became the central point of information, re the island’s new trash-collection schedule. I don’t usually read her column (I think she’s sometimes too cynical), but this one caught my eye.

Kauai people are rural. Not just regular rural, but “Hawaii rural.” So when their routine is disrupted, they get upset.

Except for one little old lady, whom Ms Cataluna labels a “representative of the demographic.”

The 4-foot-8 lady told the radio deejay, “I can handle. I’ll leave my bin where it is and walk my rubbish out in little bags.” Sounds like my wife.

Doggie Star!

Finally, Bugsy – a pug from Hawaii – is on the cover of the August Reader’s Digest magazine. He’s shown riding the nose of a surfboard, and had a “speaking” role in last season’s Lost television series.

He’s running for office, so to speak. You can vote for him as “Most Amazing Pet” at www.rd.com.

He’s got MY vote.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cornerstone

There was a time when building cornerstones were considered important symbols of construction and reminders of the past.

When they tore down the original Queen’s Hospital building in 1922, they saved a piece of the building’s cornerstone that had stood there for 62 years (since 1860).

As it was too large to use as a door stop (please excuse me while I enjoy an idiotic laugh at my own expense), they put it in a glass case for me to see the last time I had to chauffeur someone to Queen’s for medical tests.

How nice of them to do that. I appreciate it.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Overheard at Costco

I heard some pretty funny stuff the last time I went to Costco to pick up prescription meds:

Checkout guy to a utility clerk rushing to the check-out stand with three cantaloupes: “Take it back, sorry. She wanted a catalog, not cantaloupes.”



Mother herding four kids, with another in her arms, to her little boy: “Watch out, there’s a dead bird there. Don’t step th— DON’T STEP THERE! … I TOLD you not to step there.”

That was a good day for a couple of laughs fer shure.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Contemplating Bacteria

Let's say you want to wipe down your toilet seat. I hope you don’t run to the kitchen, get your kitchen sponge, run back to the bathroom and use the sponge to clean the seat.

Let’s also say you want to clean your telephone. I hope you don’t use the kitchen sponge for that either.

But whatever you do, don't ever use the sponge to wipe your mouth. Why?

· Your mouth has about 2.5 billion bacteria in it.

· The average used kitchen sponge, on the other hand, has 7.2 billion bacteria on it (that’s nearly three times as much as your mouth).

· Your telephone has 25,000 bacteria per square inch. That’s still a lot, but it’s a lot less than 7.2 billion.

· Your toilet seat has only 49 bacteria per square inch. And that’s a whole lot cleaner than the telephone.

I kid you not.

Hmmm … applying some logic to that kind of information, it would seem it’s quite safe for you to kiss your toilet seat. No?

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Pagoda Grumble (Again)

I was forced to attend another family gathering at the Pagoda Floating Restaurant yesterday, since my grandson was visiting us with his parents, and my nephew and his wife were in Honolulu as well.
And again, I am compelled to grumble about it. To reiterate what I’ve said before, in general, the food isn’t too bad; it’s just that we always go there for these family things. You know me, I like variety AND a higher class of food and service when I dine out.
Last time, I grumbled about my omeletus vomitus. So what do I have to grumble about this time?
· A party of about 90 people used up all the parking spaces in their small lot, so my brother-in-law, my son, my nephew and I all had to drive around the block an unacceptable number of times to find open street parking for our cars.
· The brunch buffet food selection hasn’t changed since the last time I was there.
· They used cheap raw tuna for the poke; it had so much “string” in it, I could have flossed my teeth while chewing the fish.
· The English muffins used for the mass-produced Eggs Benedict were soft, limp and floppy (is that being redundant?), and the yolks were nearly hard-boiled.
· Some of the desserts ran out before we got to them, and weren’t replenished.
· My omelet was not too bad this time – it was toasted for sure, but at least it didn’t look like vomit.
· The prime rib, however, was another story. I asked the carver for the rarest piece he had, and THIS is what I got:
Nothing Rare About THIS Slice of Meat
I tell you … the Pagoda Floating Restaurant and I just don’t get along.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

What I Discovered When I Changed the Station

Would you believe less than six months ago, I had no idea who Michael Bublé was?

I’d just switched my musical preference from oldies rock and roll to easy listening about a year ago, switching my default radio station from 107.9 to 99.5 FM before the wife and I had to spend three months in California.

During our time there, we drove approximately one and a half hours each day to UCSF Medical Center and an equal amount of time driving back to my son’s San Jose home where we were staying. That’s nearly three hours of music, and soon after Christmas, the station we were listening to switched back from all-Christmas music to easy listening.

One day, I heard this very nice song – “Haven’t Met You Yet” – and wondered who the singer was. At first I couldn’t remember his name, ‘cause I got the phrase “blew away” stuck in my head instead of Bublé. Well, eventually I got my head straight, and all of a sudden, I hear his music everywhere.

Since returning to Hawaii in January, I hear one of the Canadian singer’s songs every day I’m in my car.

I can’t believe that he’s been around for more than a decade, and that I’ve only recently becoming hooked on his very pleasant voice and easy style of singing.

Just goes to show you what you’re missing if you don’t change the radio station every once in a while, huh?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Wonder of Chinatown, Part III

It’s always difficult to select representative pictures from excursions I take into the expanding outer world of Craig. Invariably I will leave one out that I later wished I’d included.

However, I am sensitive to the fact that pictures of a person’s wanderings can be boring, and rather than risk losing you with page after page of shots, I pick some and stow the rest in a photo file.

At least nowadays they’re digital files and not huge and bulky picture albums!

So here is the final bunch from my recent downtown Honolulu Chinatown monkey safari:

One of Many Selections of Bananas

Meat Market (Didn’t find ox tongue … darn it)

Sidewalk Vegetable Stand

Beautiful, Tasty Dragon Fruit

Lamb Shabu Shabu Restaurant Sign

Chinese Liquor (there were dozens!)

And that … as they say … is that. Hope you enjoyed.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Wonder of Chinatown, Part II

Here’s another half-dozen pictures from the bulging folder of photographs I took during my Chinatown monkey hunt on Monday.

The pictures can only hint at what one can uncover while on safari:

“Stuff” Galore

One of Many Vegetable Market Stands

Shrimp on Ice

Tank of Fish Wanting Out

Scrumptuous Roast Duck

Cindy’s Lei Stand Creations

Final set of pictures tomorrow.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Wonder of Chinatown, Part I

If you know where to look, downtown Honolulu will reveal many of its secrets.

The people of Chinatown are friendly, and not all of them befriend you just to sell you something. They’re easy to talk to and speak freely as though they consider you part of their family.

I was in awe of the colors and textures and variety of stuff you can find there:

Delectable Sweet Pastries

Tilapia, the Biblical Fish

Colorful Variety of Garments

Sweet Red Peppers

Chicken Feet that Look Like Human Hands

Dried Beans and Stinky Sea Critters

More tomorrow.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Chinatown Monkey Hunt

I took a two-hour stroll around Chinatown in downtown Honolulu yesterday, with the intention of dropping into any number of Chinese gift shops.

The goal of course, was to search for monkey figurines that would qualify for my collection – solid material, no higher than four inches, and no apes.

I did find a few, which I will post on my Monkey Seas blog over the next couple of weeks. I also took a lot of pictures of sights and colors that are a feast for the eyes in Chinatown. I’ll post those in here during the next few days.

But the one image during my wander that will stick with me for a while was this one:

It’s a homeless person, making his bed on the hard and cold sidewalk. He was asleep, dressed in a hodge-podge of clothes that I’d guess were castoffs or were given to him by a kind soul.

I don’t normally do things like this, but I gave him some money – slipped some money anonymously under his water bottle. It didn’t make me feel any better, but I hope it helped him.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

On a Quiet Sunday Afternoon …

You’re hitting some balls on a quiet afternoon at the Los Serranos Country Club in Chino Hills, whispering to yourself as you set up:

Tee up, ball straight … stand right there, feet apart, knees slightly bent ... keep my head down … wonder what’s for lunch … stop that, concentrate … good grip, fingers locked in, keep my head down, address the ball … swing the club back, keep my left arm straight … don’t bend the elbow, don’t bend the elbow … keep my eye on the ball … now swing the club swiftly in a big arc … eye on the ball, eye on the ball … untwist the body and thwack the ball … oh, nice sound … follow through … watch the flight of the ball and yell:

WATCH OUT FOR THAT PLANE!

That’s probably not what you wanted to say, but as soon as you hit the ball, all you could see was a Cessna 177 making an emergency landing on the fairway.

The pilot, Phil Samuelian, ran out of gas and couldn’t make it to Corona Municipal Airport, so he headed for open ground, which happened to be Serranos Country Club.

A couple of dozen other people beside you had to scramble as Samuelian crashed into a flagpole, just missing those two people sitting over there in a golf cart.

The thing is, did you hit the ball onto the fairway? Or did it get lost in the rough?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Skinny Dipping Record?

Did you happen to see a bunch of nekkid people scurrying around your neighborhood yesterday?

No, they weren’t on their way to a new “modern religion” church. No, they weren’t chasing a clothes robber. No, they weren’t practicing their streaking skills.

They probably were on their way to a swimming pool to try and set a skinny dipping record.

The American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR) had been promoting this event for some time now. They wanted to see if they could set a Guinness World Record for the largest skinny dip across North America.

Dip day was yesterday. And according to AANR, the official tally should be known as soon as all of the pictures taken at the gathering are received at its Kissimmee, Florida, headquarters.

Last year, 13,648 people participated.

All the guys participating were praying that the water wasn’t too cold … if you know what I mean.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Sunday Kind of Story

I’ve always liked this story.

“Take a look at this jar,” the teacher told his students, holding up an empty glass jar. Would you agree that the jar is empty?

The students agreed, nodding their heads in acknowledgement.

“Now, if I put these golf balls in the jar, would you agree that it’s full?” the teacher asked, filling the jar with golf balls.

Again, the students agreed … the jar looked full.

“But look, I can put little pebbles in the jar,” he said, adding pebbles that filled the spaces between the golf balls. “Would you say the jar is full now?”

The students once again agreed.

“Okay, but if I take this sand …” the teacher added, pouring sand into the jar, filling the spaces between the golf balls and the pebbles. “NOW would you say the jar is full?”

“It’s full!” the students cried out, wondering where all this was leading to.

“You think so?” he asked, producing two cups of coffee from behind the lectern. “Watch this.” The teacher poured the coffee into the jar, and of course the jar accommodated the added liquid.

“This is a lesson in life,” the teacher said.

“The jar represents your life. The golf balls are the really important things – family, faith, friends, work, charity. The pebbles represent other things that are important to you – your house, your television sets, your car, your clothes. Y’know, your worldly possessions. The sand is everything else, stuff you can do without.

"As long as you have the really important things, there’s always room for the other things. But if you fill your life with sand or pebbles, there’s no room for the golf balls. So make sure you take care of the golf balls first.”

“But what about the coffee?” a few students cried out.

“Ah … I’m glad you asked that. See, even if your life is full, you always have time for a couple of cups of coffee with your friends."

Care to join me in a cup of coffee?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Classic Case of Sour Grapes

Dan Gilbert, majority owner of the NBA Cleveland Cavaliers put on a classic display of “sour grapes” in an open letter to the team’s fans.
As you probably know, Lebron James, whom the owner never referred to by name in his letter, spurned the Cav’s offer to re-sign him, and signed instead with the Miami Heat.
Mr. Gilbert wore his petulance on his sleeve, using derogatory words and phrases (former hero, deserted, narcissistic, self-promotional and cowardly).
Worse yet, he had the gall to publicly personally guarantee that the “Cavaliers will win a championship before the self-titled king wins one.” Now he has to put his reputation where his black-venom mouth is.
I mean … Lebron James did hear them out, affording them plenty of equal time to make their case, so it seems the monkey is on Mr. Gilbert’s back, not his. Obviously, the Cavs did not come close to Miami’s offer and situation.
The message it sends to young people is, “Why work hard if when you decide to move on, your former boss is going to slap you around the block, forgetting all that you did for them in the past?”
It’s a classic example of the “What Have You Done for Me Lately Syndrome.“
Boo hoo, boo hoo. Crybaby stuff. All his tirade does is expose his sour pickle psyche. Get over it, Mr. Gilbert.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Gas Mask Required at Work

A couple of months ago, in late March of this year to be precise, the Metro newspaper in Sweden reported that a prisoner in Malmo’s Kirseberg Prison is facing discipline because of his behavior.

It seems that the unidentified 21-year-old convict didn’t like the jail conditions and expressed his displeasure in what officials deemed to be a disgusting manner.

What the guy did was literally turn the other cheeks to the guards and delivered a barrage of “hootsy-toots” in their general direction – what prison officials called “a series of concerted attacks.” Numerous complaints were filed by guards.

The prison warden, Anders Eriksson, gave him an official warning and warned him never to do that again or he’d face real punishment.

I bet they don’t serve him beans for dinner anymore.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Short Story about Familiar People

Kenneth Carson and Barbara Roberts were passing the neighborhood park when they spotted Patricia Reichardt tossing a baseball into the air.

“Who are you waiting for?” Barbara asked.

“I’m waiting for Aloysius,” Patricia replied.

“Does Jeff Albertson play on your team?” Ken inquired.

“No, he plays for the other team, the one coached by Captain Horatio.”

“Ah, okay then. Have a wonderful day now. And say hi to Charles for us, okay?”

“Okay … bye bye!”

Soooo … recognize these people? If not, then you should pay better attention to the back stories, history and hidden facts of today’s modern culture characters.

· Mr. Carson and Miss Roberts are … Ken and Barbie, the famous dolls.

· Patricia Reichardt is … Peppermint Patty of Peanuts fame.

· Aloysius is … Snuffaluffagus, the long-nosed hairy guy-thing on Sesame Street.

· Jeff Albertson is … the “comic book guy” on The Simpsons.

· Captain Horatio is … Cereal character Captain Horatio Magellan Crunch of the S.S. Guppy.

· And of course, the “Charles” that Patricia was referring to is Charlie Brown of Peanuts.

There … now don’t you feel better?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Pearlridge Dinosaurs

video

There’s something about dinosaurs that turns an old fart like me into a kid again.

Case in point: I went to Pearlridge Center yesterday and spent an hour or so taking pictures and videos of their new dinosaur exhibit, and watching the children gawk at the giant moving lizard ancestors.

This is the fourth such exhibit I’ve seen in the past couple of years – Pearlridge had one last year, as did the Bishop Museum. And, I went to see the dinos at the Las Vegas Museum of Natural History two weeks ago.

I have to say that this new Pearlridge Center exhibit is the best one of the lot; the dinos are more realistic in their appearance and movement.

Hope you enjoyed the video I put together.

Dino Butt … The End

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

History Trivia ‘Oops!’

One day recently, we went to breakfast at Sam Choy’s Breakfast, Lunch & Crab on Nimitz Highway. While waiting for our food to arrive, I read the reading material they had laminated in plastic (“Coffee something or other”).

I came across a history quiz so I thought I’d see how smart I was. I needn’t have bothered.

Ye gads. When the person who put this history quiz together proofread what s/he had done, s/he apparently wasn’t paying attention and focusing on his/her work.

The answer (“Marco Polo”) that they provide for Question 1 (“What date did man first land on the moon?”) is actually the answer to Question 2 (“What explorer introduced the Italians to spaghetti in the 14th Century?”)

Compare the rest of the questions to the numbered answers at the bottom of the quiz. The answer to Question 2 is actually the answer to Question 3. And so forth, all the way to the end of the quiz.

But … when you get to the end of the quiz, the answer to Question 6 is actually the answer to … NONE of the previous questions.

I mean … I’m sure the Society of Friends isn’t called “Virginia.”

If the person who worked on this worked for me, s/he would no longer be working for me. And if that person were a student of mine, s/he would get an “F” for the article.

Just goes to show – one mistake put it in writing is there for the world to see … and to criticize … and to make fun of.

So I’m just doing my share. That’s enough for now.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Hot Summer Songs

I heard Summertime on the radio the other day (y’know, the Gershwin song from Porgy and Bess) … Sam Cooke was singing, transporting me back to my younger days when the living was easy, the fish were jumping and the cotton was high.

Okay, not really. But what the song did was make me pause and ponder … just what ARE the songs about summer that remind me of vacation, bare feet, sunset fun, hot nights, music and easy living anyway?

I thought and thought, and came up with this list of my 10 favorite summer songs:

1. California Girls, by the Beach Boys: “The West Coast has the sunshine and the girls all get so tan.”

2. Hot Fun in the Summertime, by Sly & the Family Stone: “High high high high there, them summer days, those summer days.”

3. Summer in the City, by The Loving Spoonful: “Hot town, summer in the city. Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty.”

4. Summertime Blues, by Eddie Cochran: “Sometimes I wonder what I’m-a gonna do, but there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues.”

5. All Summer Long, by the Beach Boys: “Every now and then we hear our song, we’ve been having fun all summer long.”

6. Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer, by Nat King Cole: “Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer, those days of soda and pretzels and beer.”

7. In the Summertime, by Mungo Jerry: “When the weather’s fine, you got women, you got women on your mind.”

8. Summer Nights, by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John: “Summer lovin’, had me a blast, summer lovin’ happened so fast.”

9. California Sun, by The Rivieras: “They shimmy and I’ll shimmy, they fly and I’ll fly. Well they’re out there havin’ fun, in the warm California sun.”

10. Theme from “A Summer Place,” by The Lettermen: “There’s a summer place where it may rain or storm, yet I’m safe and warm.”

Ahhh, summer – hot and fun and free. How ‘bout you? What are your favorite summer songs?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

‘50s-‘60s Redux

Remember the decades of the 1950s and 1960s? Two very different eras.

In one corner of T.G.I. Friday’s n the Orleans Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, the wall was covered with remembrances of the era.

There’s movie icon Marilyn Monroe in a reproduction of Andy Warhol’s painting, and there’s John Lennon over there to the right in a black and white picture of the Beatles.

Hangin’ on to his microphone stand and belting out a ‘50s rock and roll song in his ‘60s jacket is the great Elvis, shaking his legs in his patented hippy-wriggling way.

And then, over there on the left-hand side of the picture (my favorite part of this entire photograph) is a sign directing hippies of another sort to use the side door. Obviously, the people who ran the establishment where this was displayed didn’t want the upper-class patrons to see rag-tag, long-haired drop-out types hanging out at the front.

Hmmm … I wonder where I can get a sign like that.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Sahara Brew Tower

Check out the sign at the Sahara Hotel & Casino’s NASCAR Café frontage.

No, not the Rick Thomas white tiger magic show sign. No, not the 6-pound burrito (“Eat it all and it’s free!”). I’m talking about the Brew Tower.

The Brew Tower? Yeah, the Brew Tower! You can order one of these at the NASCAR Café – it holds the equivalent of 15 beers (180 ounces) – so now you too can have this obnoxious tube of beer perched on your table top. When you want a beer, just turn the spigot and tap one out.

Of course, if you’re the only one partaking, it’s gonna be mighty tough for you to get the beer into the mug once you’re half-way done. So I’d recommend you invest in one only if you have a few people with you.

No, I don’t know what it costs. And what do you care anyway? If you and your party can consume 15 beers, isn’t it fun just to have the damned thing on your table?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Greasy Delicious Fatburger

While walking through the Green Valley Ranch Casino near Las Vegas on my way to have breakfast, I passed an iconic hamburger place – Fatburger.

The first time I heard about Fatburger’s famous fat burgers was when I visited my relatives in Sacramento while in college. Apparently their Los Angeles restaurants were making quite a name for the company, and I had no idea what they were.

The first Fatburger fat burger I ever ate was in Las Vegas, in a little shopping area on the Strip, near the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino. It was big, greasy, and utterly delicious – just like In-N-Out used to be before they expanded outside of California.

Founded in 1952, Fatburger now has 95 restaurants. In-N-Out, founded four years previous, today has 240 locations.

Anyway, seeing the Fatburger neon lettering inside a casino was amusing. Who’da thought?