Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Once in a while, there’s nothing like a tomato sandwich. Fresh, firm, juicy, sweet slices of tomato between two lightly toasted slices of rye bread slathered with some herby mayo-sour cream spread.

Once in a while, there’s nothing like an Italian caprese salad. Fresh, firm, juicy, sweet slices of tomato alternating with slices of creamy mozzarella cheese and crisp basil leaves, sprinkled with crunchy sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, drizzled with balsamic vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil.
Once in a while, there’s nothing like eating a tomato like an apple. Fresh, firm, juicy … well, you get the idea.
The last time the wife and I were in San Francisco, we dropped by the Ferry Building on just the right day. It was Farmer’s Market Day at the Ferry Plaza fronting the Embarcadero.
They had the best-looking tomatoes I’ve seen in a long time:

More Tomatoes

Even More Tomatoes
Ahhh … they were fresh, firm, juicy and sweet.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Random Musings 9

Probiotic – legitimate word, I guess, but isn’t “prob” short for “probably,” and “iotic” at the end of “idiotic”? Does that mean “probiotic” means “probably idiotic”?

* * * * *
If honey is really bee barf, how come it tastes so good? I sure hope it’s not bee poop instead.
* * * * *
How do those lemmings know the right way to jump off cliffs when they’re stampeding? Do they have to study Cliff Notes first?
* * * * *
The wife was fuming yesterday: “You dummy! It’s true! Dumb women marry dumb men!” I couldn’t stop laughing at the irony of what she said.
* * * * *
If people purposely avoid having hobbies, is THAT their hobby?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Mystery Victim

The wife and I went on a bus tour to the Grand Canyon about a month ago. Remember? Sure you do, I told you all about it.

Anyway, while we were at Bright Angel Lodge, the second stop along the canyon rim, I was so invested in trying not to get too close to the railing that I didn’t pay a lot of attention to other stuff.
That is, until the wife called me over to show me this:
Mystery Victim
What do you think it is? Obviously, it’s been wrapped up by a spider and saved for lunch. The bundle was about four inches long and contained a critter of some sort.

To me, it looked like a mouse; the wife thought it was a bird. My first inclination was that it was a bat, but there was no evidence of a wing. There was, however, a little foot (that light-colored area in the middle) and you could see the toes.
The spider was nowhere to be found; I don't blame it, it must have been exhausted after doing all that work.
I didn’t want to upset the delicate balance of nature and open up the web package, so I just peered closely and tried to figure out what it was. 
I think … mouse.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Me ‘n M’Shadow

That was fun, standing out in the blazing Honolulu early-summer noonday sun feeling the top of my head getting sunburned and hot.
But it was worth it, because I got to take a picture of my minimum shadow at 12:28 p.m. – Lahaina Noon, y’know – when for the first time this year, the sun was directly overhead.

It only happens twice in 2011, the next is July 15 on Oahu (you’ll have to check the Neighbor Island schedule yourselves).
See how my feet are in the middle of the shadow?
And no, I don’t have a beach ball on my head. That’s my stomach that’s protruding out in front and my big ol’ butt hanging out the rear.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Socks Dilemma

Pickles, April 22, 2011
I know exactly how Earl feels. Socks and I have not always been friendly partners.

For one thing, they love to play hide-and-seek with me. There must be a secret compartment in washers and/or dryers that snatch away socks when they're being cleaned. I can't tell you how many orphan socks I've had in my life.

And y'know, one can't always take two orphans and put them together - not even when they're the same kind. I've tried that; unfortunately however, I always end up with a mismatched identical pair - one is longer than the other.

'Course, I've never put one on inside-out like Earl. Oh no, not me. Uh-uh. Nope.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Lahaina Noon

If’n yer not doin’ nuffin fer lunch t’morrah, wanna join me? It’s gotta be a little early because I have something to show you at 12:28 p.m.
Friday is one of only two days a year when the sun will be directly overhead. So when we stand outside, we won’t have a shadow (shades of Peter Pan).
Let’s get outside a little early and find a spot where there aren’t too many people around. If there’s a crowd standing shoulder to shoulder, that defeats the whole purpose, right?
The cool thing about this solar phenomenon is that it only happens twice a year in the tropics (the next one, according to Mr. Sun’s schedule is 12:37 p.m. July 15), and Hawaii is the only state in the Union where you can experience it.
Maui, Lanai, Kahoolawe and the Big Island have already had theirs. Molokai’s precedes Honolulu’s by four minutes, and Kauai residents will have their Lahaina Sun seven minutes later.
“Lahaina,” by the way, means “cruel sun” in Hawaiian. “Lahaina Noon” is the result of a 1989 contest.
So, see you there? Oh, and don’t forget your sunglasses!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Watch Your Step!

The front-page headline in this morning’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser read, “Seniors at risk on isle roads. A study finds Hawaii first in deaths among older pedestrians.” The figures were by the Centers for Disease Control taken from a Transportation for America report.
Hawaii, it seems, leads the nation with average annual senior pedestrian deaths of about 7.21 per 100,000 people age 65 or older, way higher than the number 2 state, Alaska (5.42 deaths). California, New York and Nevada round out the top five.
Sounds bad for Hawaii, huh?
Bottom line: Seniors need to be careful walking on sidewalks or crossing the street in Hawaii, because it's common knowledge that Hawaii drivers are not to be trusted.
I've been a pedestrian in perhaps one-fourth of the United States, including all those I've mentioned above, and I have to say I fear for my safety more in Hawaii than anywhere else that I cross the street - even New York, where cabbies drive like maniacs.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Oops! Reset!

Having struck out twice with his “end of the world” date prediction, evangelist Harold Camping is trying again. Let’s see, that’s twice he’s had to hang his head in shame and eat crow.

Good grief, he said today, back-tracking from his last prediction. The world wasn’t going to experience the Rapture on May 21, it was supposed to say FIVE MONTHS from May 21. That would be … *counting on my fingers* … October 21.
(Hey, at least I get to celebrate my birthday first.)
The May 21 date was actually a spiritual judgment day, according to the heavily mocked 89-year-old so-called preacher. And you know what? He insists that Jesus did arrive on Earth on May 21.
The sad thing is, the true believers already spent their money buying billboards and taking care of their earthly needs. Will they do it again? I wonder how many people actually went through their bucket list and did as much as they could before the world took a nose dive. Well, at least THOSE people accomplished something.
As Mr. T used to say, “Pity the fool.” I wonder how crow tastes.
Ask me if I care. G'wan, ask me!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Should-a Stayed in Bed

This was one of those mornings. I should have never gotten out of bed.

Let’s go back to last night. I felt like making pancakes for breakfast so I checked the Bisquick supply. Just enough for one recipe. Looked in the egg carton. Yep, two eggs, just what I would need.
I looked in the milk carton. It had a May 16 expiration date but it smelled and tasted okay. But just in case it soured overnight, the wife and I did quite an extensive search in the cupboard for some evaporated milk … just in case.
So last night, I started watching something on the Military History Channel that I’d seen before – a program about the Battle of Thermopyle – which means I stayed up late (2 a.m.). Consequently, I woke up late, which means I was groggy.
Everything went downhill from there. An egg had cracked and leaked into the egg container, so I had to clean out the container, rinse off the remaining eggs, and resituate them in a new container (good thing we keep a couple extra on hand). I had the eggs out, so I cracked two into a bowl and whipped ‘em up.
Now for the milk. The milk in the carton had soured overnight. Eww. But remember, I had a backup – the can of condensed milk. I opened it and … it looked like chocolate pudding in there. Guess it went ‘way past its expiration date, huh?
No pancakes. And I’d been thinking of it all last night and as soon as my brain awakened this morning. No pancakes.
I usually have just one egg and the equivalent of one egg substitute for breakfast – trying to watch cholesterol intake, y’know. But I had two already cracked and scrambled in a bowl, so that’s what I made for breakfast, feeling slightly guilty on top of a little depressed because … no pancakes.
Should-a stayed in bed … or gone out for breakfast. Although the way things went this morning, I’d probably get a flat tire on the way.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Lucky Penny Day

Since the world didn’t end as it was supposed to yesterday, and since the United States government hasn’t given up on the copper coin, the world will continue to celebrate National Lucky Penny Day on May 23 as usual.

Last year I made a suggestion. Instead of looking for pennies on the ground, why not PUT pennies on the ground and give someone a chance to “Find a penny, pick it up, and all the day, s/he’ll have good luck.”
Remember, it’s on May 23, and it’s still on.
Wait, that’s TOMORROW! I’d better get cracking here.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Beautiful Rubbish

The monkey pod trees at Manoa Shopping Center are bursting forth with their beautiful reddish-pink flowers. Albizia saman blooms are definitely pretty and remind one of eucalyptus or bottle brush flowers.
But they make a mess. The parking lot of the shopping center is layered with the fallen stuff. The worst thing is that the base of the flowers is sticky.
When they fall onto your windshield, they can’t just be swept away by your windshield wipers. They tend to roll around and generally cause a smeary mess on the glass that needs to be manually cleaned. And, they get into the car’s ventilation system when they fall through the vents situated beneath the windshield wipers.
I avoid this by parking away from the trees and walking to the stores – no matter how far away I have to park. Beauty has its place, up there in the trees, not on my car.
Avoidance … I can do that well.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Bye Bye World?

What are you doing tomorrow? It’s Saturday. Going swimming? Going on a picnic? Going to a movie? Going out to dinner?

If you were to believe Harold Camping, an Oakland, California, preacher, you’d better be making your peace with your maker instead. At 6 p.m. Saturday, May 21, Camping believes the Rapture will occur – with a miniscule 2% of the world’s population making it past the Pearly Gates.
The rest of us are doomed to a fiery appointment ‘way down deep in the fires of Hell.
I don’t know about you, but I’m packing lots of hot-weather clothes tomorrow morning, just in case. Hmmm, I wonder if Mr. Camping thinks he’s going to Heaven. And, when he says 6 p.m., is that Eastern time? I’m on Hawaii time myself. So … is that 12 noon for me?
I’d better hurry.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


I love being retired. Since permanently shucking my work responsibilities in 2006, I’ve been able to do what I want to do, when I want to.

The greatest thing about retirement is not being responsible for telling clients what they should or should not be doing.

Yeah, it was fulfilling when I did it, but the yoke of responsibility often weighed heavy. It’s tough being someone else’s conscience, knowing that one flawed piece of advice could bring down a company and cause hundreds of employees to lose their jobs.
As an independent consultant, I was always being told how wonderful my job was – work when I wanted to, be my own boss, pick clients I like, things like that.
The truth of the matter is, I worked when the clients needed me to work (which was every day and being on call 24/7), I had the worst boss in the world (me, a slave-driver), and the clients I wanted to work for didn’t always need my services (or, they had their own consultants with whom they were already happy).
Nope … retirement is great. I have no boss (except my conscience, which sometimes can be quite demanding), and I do what I want (within the parameters set by my wife’s and her family’s needs).
Hmmmm. Lemme think this through a little more. I’ll get back to you.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Squirrely Experience

I’ve heard people say that squirrels are nasty little creatures, nothing more than big rats with long hairy tails. Be that as it may, I think they’re cute and fun to watch.

During our recent trip to the Grand Canyon, we stopped off at Bright Angel Lodge, one of those tourist stops along the rim of the canyon.
Scampering around on the stone wall that kept tourists from venturing too far to the rim were a bunch of squirrels. They’d pop their heads up (like those whack-a-mole games), then duck back down, running to and fro on the other side of the wall before popping up again a few yards away.
There were signs warning us not to feed the squirrels, pointing out that they do carry disease (I have no doubt about that). Still, I could see young people (mostly high-school girls) just itching to feed them. Thank God for their more sensible boyfriends.
I just had to take some pictures:

Cute, no?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Valedictorian Rant

Val·e·dic·to·ri·an (valəˌdikˈtôrēən): A student, typically having the highest academic achievements of the class, who delivers the valedictory (farewell address) at a graduation ceremony. 
Sa·lu·ta·to·ri·an (səˌlo͞otəˈtôrēən): The student who ranks second highest in a graduating class and delivers the salutatory (opening or welcoming) address. 

Something’s just not right. According to tradition (not to mention the definition), there should be one and only one valedictorian in each graduating class – high school or college.
But several years ago, I noticed high schools having more than a single valedictorian – a phenomenon, I suppose, of everybody trying to be politically correct and not damage the psyche of kids who just didn’t measure up to the #1 and were relegated to salutatorian status or lower.
It just drives me crazy every year when schools honor more than one student as valedictorian. According to the morning newspaper, this year, Campbell High School (Maui) will have nine (9) valedictorians, and Kaiser High School (Oahu) will have eight (8).
Now where’s the honor in that? To me, it’s a cop-out by those who would select the valedictorian. It would seem they just don’t want to make a tough decision. Okay, so nine kids have a perfect 4.0 grade-point average, and all are outstanding in several extra-curricular activities. Surely one of them must surpass the others by at least a smidgen.
Ties don’t mean a thing – whether they be in sports, academics, school career, or life. Having multiple valedictorians delivers a single message: Nobody was good enough to be #1.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Low Cal Fast Food Meals

We’re always blasting the fast-food industry for their high-calorie, high-fat content meals, so just to even things out, Family Circle assembled some fast-food, low-cal, lower-fat meals for those of you concerned about nutrition:
Chick-Fil-A Chicken Garden Salad
  • Chick-Fil-A: Char-Grilled Chicken Garden Salad with Honey-Roasted Sunflower Kernels & Light Italian Dressing, and Large Fruit Cup (395 calories, 14 grams of fat)
  • McDonald’s: Honey Mustard Grilled Snack Wrap and Snack-Size Fruit and Walnut Salad (470 calories, 17 grams of fat)
  • Burger King: Hamburger (no mayo, extra lettuce and tomato) and Value-Size Unsalted French Fries (480 calories, 21 grams of fat)
  • Wendy’s: Large Chili with side of Mandarin Oranges (420 calories, 10 grams of fat)
  • KFC: Honey BBQ sandwich and Large Corn on the Cob (460 calories, 4.5 grams of fat)
Got it? Good. Now move aside, I’m starving for a greasy double hamburger with salty fries.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Loco Moco Lunch

The wife and I had an extended visit to Kuakini Hospital's MRI Center because of a little mix-up, re, her insurance policy. It was taken care of and although her MRI was expedited, we left the hospital about an hour and a half later than we'd anticipated.

As a result, our planned breakfast turned into a lunch.

But as it turned out, that was okay. We went to Ruby Tuesday at Ala Moana Center instead of one of our usual favorite breakfast haunts. The wife had one her favorite lunches - their salad bar and mini-burger combinations.

I on the other hand, had their loco moco for the first time. Our waiter said it would be pretty good, and he wasn't kidding. The rice was perfectly semi-sticky the way I like it, the burger patty was thick and juicy and cooked to a perfect medium, the gravy was dark and flavorsome, and the eggs were nicely cooked over-easy with lots of yolk oozing out when the yolk sacs were broken.

The waiter had recommended adding the crispy onion fries for an extra buck, and I have to admit, they were terrific!

So ... anyway ... that was my lunch experience. I just wanted to share it with you today.

Harold the Helicopter

Remember a couple of years ago, I posted a video of the kiddy song, “Six Little Ducks”? You know, the one my little grandson used to love? (“The one little duck with the feather on his back, he led the others with a quack, quack, quack” … yeah, that one.)

Well, he’s 2 years old now and has discovered the “Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends” franchise – videos and songs. He’s got the DVDs, and even watches it on his parents’ iPhones.
So … while we were visiting San Jose a few weeks ago, we watched his DVDs and sang his favorite song over and over and over again, having a great time watching him sing some of the lyrics, in particular, “Harold will be there!”
I think if you’re reading this, you need to hear the song:
So tell me, did it give you an ear worm? Huh? Huh?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

World Naked Gardening Day

Naked Gardening Day. It’s today … Saturday, May 14. Started a half-dozen years ago by a Seattle nudist guy named Mark Storey, it’s become an annual tradition. With whom? Beats me.

All I know is that it’s linked to nudism (duh, really?) and people are encouraged to go out into their garden and do all those gardening things we’re supposed to do – you know, trimming, seeding, weeding, cutting, spading, planting, fertilizing, pruning, bonsai-ing, cultivating, mixing planting medium … those fun things that make your hands dirty and smell like manure.
There’s no mention of poison ivy, spiny grasshoppers and crickets that nibble on people, preying mantids that will crawl all over your body, worms that will squooze against your bare skin, not to mention honey bees. Yikes!
Want more information? There's a website: http://www.wngd.org/
It may be a good way to get your Vitamin D. But me? I think I’d rather just drink milk. Clothed. In the house.
I kid you not.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Las Vegas Strip

South Las Vegas Boulevard ("The Strip") at Night
It's really very amazing to stand on one of the Strip pedestrian overpasses and gaze down the boulevard toward downtown.

On our last trip to Las Vegas, we stayed at the Monte Carlo Resort & Casino (yellow arrow above), the first time I'd been at that venue since it first opened in 1996. It's hard to fathom, but it has been 15 years since I stayed there during its first week of operation.

Many, many years prior to that, during my very first trip to Las Vegas in 1965, all that you see in the picture above wasn't there. The Strip ended at the Dunes, where the Bellagio now sits. Let me correct that. The Hacienda Hotel was also situated much farther down the Strip, where the Mandalay Resort now resides. But it was so far off that we didn't even visit it.

My, my, how things have changed.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Eazee Squeeze Cheese

Eazee Squeeze Cheddar Cheese Sauce
While waiting for a table to become available at Scrambl’z Restaurant in San Jose, the wife and I meandered over to a 99¢ Store to wander about and kill some time.

One of the items there that struck me was a display of Eazee Squeeze Cheddar Cheese Sauce in plastic bottles. I thought about buying one just to try it out, but then I got a call on my mobile phone telling me that our table was ready. So we left.
I don’t know about cheese in a bottle – runny cheese at that. According to Livestrong.com, a ¼-cup serving of Eazee Squeeze has 200 calories, 20 grams of fat, 3 grams each of carbs and protein, and a whopping 970 milligrams of sodium.
A pie chart reveals the disparity: Eazee Squeeze contains 5.9% carbohydrates, 5.9% protein (the important stuff), and 88.2% fat (the tasty stuff).
In order to burn off one 200-calorie serving (¼ cup) of Eazee Squeeze Cheese, you would need to (your choice): Play competitive badminton for 25 minutes, lay sod for 35 minutes, seed your law for 71 minutes while walking, play hacky sack for 44 minutes, or (if you’re feeling lazy but intellectually starved), lean back and read for 176 minutes (that’s nearly three hours).
I think I’ll stick to the real stuff.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What Was I Talking About?

The older you get, the more senior moments you experience. If you’ve had ‘em, you know what I’m talking about.

You walk into the kitchen, stop, scratch your head, and ask yourself, “What was I going to do?” Senior moment.

You arrive at the doctor’s office and the receptionist asks you why you’re there the day before your appointment. Senior moment.
You want to call your son or daughter, but yell out the entire roster of all your children before you reach his or her name. Senior moment.
You look for your hair brush, which has mysteriously disappeared, only to find it in the refrigerator two days later. Senior moment.
I got a perfect cartoon in my email the other day that beautifully illustrates the disastrous effects of these senior moments. To wit:
‘Nuff said.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Bedrock City

Across the US Highway 80 from the gift shop we stopped at in Williams, Arizona, on our return bus trip to Las Vegas from the Grand Canyon was a cartoon stopover called Flintstones Bedrock City.
Good ol’ raggedy-skin and blue-tie clad Fred stood there beckoning to us. “C’mon over and stay the night!” he seemed to implore. Perhaps if I were driving and tired, I might have taken him up on his offer. But we had only a few minutes to wander around the “authentic Indian souvenirs” touted by the tour bus driver, and running across the street to take pictures didn’t seem like a safe thing to do.
So all I did was stand on our side of the highway and snap some pictures for the memory.

Apparently this is America’s second Bedrock City, the first being in Cluster, South Dakota. From what I could see, they have a campground, a Fred’s Diner, and a gift shop accessible from near the entrance to the attraction. I did a little research and found there’s an admission fee to get into the place – $6. Reasonable, I suppose.

They used to feature a real live Fred and Barney, but that didn’t work out. Inside are a general store, police station, post office, jail, beauty parlor and a bunch of homes, all painted in bright prehistoric colors.
There’s a Fredmobile tram, a volcano, a theater that plays Flintstones cartoons, Flintstone photo cutouts, a life-size dinosaur steam shovel and Fred’s foot-powered automobile.
If you want to visit, it’s open daily from 6 a.m. to sunset during the summer. Winter hours are 7 a.m. to sunset, but it may change, so my research source advises you to call and verify – (928) 635-2600.
Yabba dabba doo!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

I'd never do that. Uh uh. Nope, Not me. I don't golf.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Chicken Pox Fish

The wife and I had dinner at Rainforest Café recently … you know, the one in the MGM Grand Casino in the middle of the Las Vegas Strip.

They gave us a seat next to one of those salt-water aquaria situated throughout the restaurant, which was kind of neat, almost like a mini-floor show that we could watch while waiting for the food to arrive.
The 'Chicken Pox' Fish
However, one of the fishies in the tank was a bit odd. It had a grumpy look, a pasty-white skin, and lots of black dots all over its body – kind of like a sickly pale fish with chicken pox. If I had a weak stomach, I would have lost my appetite and not ordered seafood (as I wanted to do when reading the posted menu outside).

Ah, the heck with it. I just tapped the glass, shooed away the chicken-pox fish, and ordered the “Taste of the Islands” seafood combo.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Gimme Some Tongue?

Okay, now this is just plain weird. On the local news last night was a report of a gadget that allows you and a paramour to (get this) … French kiss online. No matter where you are in the world, no matter where your kissee is.

Only thing is … what the Japanese inventors would have you do is suck on a plastic straw-like thing that swirls around in your mouth, moving in response to what your kissing partner is doing to his or her straw-like thing on the other side of the connection.
The inventor says its popularity could skyrocket if a famous entertainer (e.g. Justin Bieber) records his French kiss on one of these contraptions and sells it to his fans.
I dunno. Personally I think it would be a lot more effective if the device had realistic lips and tongue that stayed soft and warm and moist and supple, then moved according to the kisser’s own tongue movements.
Is that asking too much? I’m sure the technology exists. Wouldn’t it be better than sucking on a straw?
I wonder how late the inventor stayed up at nights thinking this thing through. Huh?
I kid you not!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Broaching the Subject

Sometimes I just can't believe how stupid people can be. Wait, let me change that ... I should have said "uneducated," or "unaware" to be politically correct.

Just look at this sign I saw at a Las Vegas gift shop. Obviously, the sign-maker meant to say "brooches" instead of "broaches." Also obvious is the supposition that s/he spelled the word based on pronunciation.

"Brooches," as you should know, is pronounced "broaches." But that doesn't mean a brooch is the same thing as a broach. The thing about it is, the store owner is just as guilty as the sign-maker. How can you approve work such as this?

Well, I wasn't going to stand for it. I told the cashier about it ... and you know what? She thought it was spelled correctly. I didn't argue. Stupid is as stupid does.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What's With the Hats?

(From left): Tara Palmer, Queen Margareth II of Denmark,
Princess Beatrice of York
We're all well aware that the Royal Wedding recently in England brought out the best (and worst) of fashion. I didn't watch the nuptials, but it was impossible to miss the hat coverage on TV for days afterwards.

All I have to say about the hats is ... what the heck were the designers (and the wearers) thinking? Some of the hats, in my royal opinion, are stupid-looking. They may be the hit of the fashion world, but to me they've gone 'way beyond the original purpose of hats -- to keep one's head warm and the sun and rain out of one's eyes.

Check out Princess Beatrice's thing sitting on top of her head. It's a wonder birds don't block to perch on it. She's no stranger to strange hats, however. Just look at the one she wore in 2008.

Flutter, flutter ... and that ain't my heart doing it either!