Friday, September 30, 2011

Nice Improvements

During recent mid-day walks at Kakaako Waterfront Park, the wife and I were delighted to note some of the fixes and improvements made to one of our favorite places.

The broken wall along the waterfront promenade has been renovated nicely; all of the chipped and cracked-off surfaces have been fixed. The walkway pavilions have been upgraded and their trellises fixed.

On the promenade walkway itself, loose bricks have been securely replaced, ensuring my safety during our walks (it's easy to trip when one's attention is diverted by the lovely vista out to sea).

Especially noticeable is the stairway down to the water's edge that leads to an area protected by a small seawall. A railing has been installed on either side, and the pathway has been paved. In the picture above, you can see the wife checking it out.

The wall in the front of the picture typifies the improved look all along the promenade.

Good work. Thanks to whomever is responsible.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

And That's That

After 162 games, the 2011 Major League Baseball season of the Atlanta Braves came to a lengthy and bitter end yesterday, as they fell to the Philadelphia Phillies 4-3 in 13 innings.

Their loss cost them the wild card slot in the National League championship series, a playoff chance that now belongs to the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Braves had an eight-and-a-half game lead in the wildcard on September 6 and it looked surely as though they had a lock on a playoff spot. They weren't in a good position to catch the Phillies, who ended their season with 102 wins, a Phillies club record. But the wild card looked like a sure thing.

Well, as "they" say, the only sure things are death and taxes. Atlanta lost 13 of their last 18 games, including the last five in a row, going 7-20 in September. Surely, it must rank as one of the biggest "el foldos" in baseball history.

Back in February, I walked up to the counter in the Orleans Hotel & Casino sports book and plunked down $100, betting $50 on the Braves to win the National League championship, and $50 to win the World Series.

If they survived yesterday's game and what would have been today's playoff game against the Cardinals, I would have won $250 (and gotten my $50 bet back). Then, if they won the World Series, I would have won an additional $500 (and gotten my $50 bet back) for a total of $750 plus the $100 refund.

Woulda, coulda, shoulda. Oh well, it made for an exciting season. Disappointing at the end, but exciting nonetheless.

Maybe next year ...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Red Dove?

When you are around Zebra (Barred) doves as much as I am, you begin to notice the varieties of coloring.

A little while back I posted a picture of one with distinctive bright blue around the eyes and bill, a lot more intense than the pale blue on most Zebra doves.

The other day while walking along the paths at Magic Island, this dove crossed my path. It looked as though it had been in a red-dirt bath. Instead of the usual light brown-gray, its color reminded me of the red dirt-dyed tee shirts sold in Hawaii's country stores.

It's probably quite common, but for me, at least, it was a big deal.

Hey! Do you think that if it perched on my shoulder while I was wearing a red dirt-dyed tee shirt, it would disappear if viewed from above?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Petey the Millipede

The wife is always having tiny adventures with the fauna that haunt her orchids. The flowers aren't rare, nor have they been specially cultivated, according to the people she's talked to at orchid shows.

Still, they are dear to her heart and she's declared war on any creatures that would dare to munch on the plants.

She's waged a campaign on slugs, and believe you me, they didn't stand a chance. She's even gone out in the darkness of night to find them, and when she does, she flips them onto the ground and pours salt on their slimey bodies.

Have you ever seen what salt does to a slug? It ain't pretty. They just melt away in a puddle of ooze.
Recently, she's discovered what she calls orchid worms. On closer examination, they're not worms at all; they're millipedes. Lots of little legs. Lots and lots and lots. Lots.

The wife is mean to them. She brushes them onto a leaf and drops them on the hot driveway, where they curl up like miniature sausages in a frying pan.

So, to make a long story short, I had to look up information for her on the 'Net (ain't Google wonderful?). Millipedes, I told her, don't eat orchids. They don't even eat orchid leaves unless the leaves are dead. Millipedes make their living munching on dead plant matter.

Will that change her attitude? We'll just have to see. Petey the millipede is anxiously awaiting her decision.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Where Hawaii Ranks 5

Here are a few more categories where Hawaii ranks highest (or at least among the highest):
Most Secure U.S. Metropolitan Area (Farmer’s Insurance 2010) 

1.       Madison, WI
2.       Des Moines, IA
3.       Syracuse, NY
4.       Austin, TX
5.       Portland, ME
6.       Rochester, NY
7.       HONOLULU, HI 

Top U.S. States to Visit (Travelers Digest) 

1.       California
2.       Florida
3.       HAWAII
4.       Alaska
5.       Nevada

Best Tap Water (Environment Working Group, 2009) 

1.       Arlington, TX
2.       Providence, RI
3.       Fort Worth, TX
4.       Charleston, SC
5.       Boston, MA
6.       HONOLULU, HI 

Cleanest Air Quality (American Lung Association, 2009) 

1.       Fargo, ND
2.       Billings, MT
3.       Bismarck, ND
4.       Cheyenne, WY
5.       Colorado Springs, CO
6.       Farmington, NM
7.       Ft. Collins, CO
8.       HONOLULU, HI 

Median Housing Value (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010) 

1.       HAWAII ($525,400)
2.       District of Columbia ($426,900)
3.       California ($370,900)
4.       New Jersey ($339,200)
5.       Massachusetts ($334,100)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Plovers are Back

Kakaako Waterfront Park lawn
The Pacific Golden Plovers (Pluvialis fulva) have returned to their winter feeding grounds in Hawaii, parking their tail feathers here after a 50-hour non-stop flight from Alaska (take THAT, Alaska Airlines).

Arriving every August/September from their summer nesting grounds up north, these beautiful birds grace our lawns until they leave in early May.

They are pretty territorial and somehow remember where their local Hawaii neighborhoods were last year before they flew back to Alaska.

One of them rather owns our side of the street where they wander about the front yards among the doves and finches, poking around the grass for insects. And believe me, there is an abundance of insects in our lawns.

Our neighborhood plover ("kolea" in Hawaiian) has already arrived; I saw it for the first time a week ago. The one pictured above is part of a dozen or so that haunt Kakaako Waterfront Park, where I went walking for the first time in weeks the other day.

Their beautiful plumage helped make my sweaty, hilly walk that much more enjoyable.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


(Warning: This particular blog post might actually be offensive to some. Cover your children’s eyes, and don’t read it aloud to them.)
Have you seen the movie, Rocky II? If so, then you likely remember the short conversation early in the movie where Rocky’s (Sylvester Stallone) friend Tony Gazo (Joe Spinelli) is giving him advice on where to invest his money:
Gazo: How’s about investing in condominiums? It’s safe.
Rocky: Condominiums?
Gazo: Yeah, condominiums.
Rocky: I never use ‘em. 

Well, Rocky should have invested – either in condominiums or condoms. He could be a rich man today. The population continues to grow and these people need a place to stay. Plus, have you seen the condom section in drug stores today? Wow.
Talk about variety! You got your plain, your colors, your ribbed, your lubricated, your reservoir tip, your thin, your long, your short, your lambskin, your waming, your sensitive, your contoured, your nubbed … why, the condom brand “Trojan” itself has 29 varieties.
But here’s one I saw in Las Vegas that I’ve never seen before:

It gives a whole new meaning to the word “screwed,” huh?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Harnessing the Sun


While driving south on U.S. 95 from Boulder City to Laughlin, during my most recent trip to Las Vegas, I could not help but notice, off to the right side of the highway, a bit in the distance, the shimmering light reflecting off something there in the desert.
So I took a picture (dangerously shooting while driving at 70+ mph) from my car, with intentions of doing some research later.
What I saw was Copper Mountain Solar One, a photovoltaic solar energy harvesting facility run by Sempra Generation. The site is located about 40 miles southeast of Las Vegas.
Completed in December 2010, it’s the largest photovoltaic plant in the United States, generating 48 megawatts of power when the sun is out, power that’ll be sold to Pacific Gas & Electric during the life of its 20-year contract.
A total of 775,000 solar panels were installed on the 380-acre site. The company announced in August that it will expand the facility by 150 megawatts (92 mw by 2013, and 58 mw more by 2015).
Clean energy for clean living; the sun apparently is also jumping into the “green” movement.
You should be on the lookout for it, as it’s mighty impressive (albeit a distant impressive). Just don’t take chances as I did and shoot your picture while driving. At least pull off to the side of the road.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Power of the Sea

There's something about the ocean that beckons, that intrigues, that compels one to just stand and watch its power at work. It's a marvel of nature, a wonderful gift of God.

Have you ever watched a wave roll in and wondered where it actually came from? Is a wave the mere movement of salty water affected by the Earth's rotation, the position of the moon, the direction of the wind?

Is a wave just that? Or is it a salty tear rolling down the cheek of God? Or did the wave originate from a land far, far away, kissed by a distant shore, then sent sweeping thousands of miles toward us, to plant that kiss on our shores?

As I stood near the breakwater at Honolulu's Magic Island, I could feel the cool salt spray misting across my face, cooling my thoughts that had been burning under the scorching Hawaiian sun on that brilliant summer day.

I waited seemingly forever to get the right picture, snapping dozens of shots before everything fell into place. It was a sight well worth waiting for.

What poetry, what power, what glory God shared with me that day.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Perils of Texting

Let’s face it. Texting is here to stay. And it’s not just the young ‘uns that are doing it. I text frequently, especially with good friends who live an ocean and continent away. But I also text when I want to communicate with my sons.
When done right, texting isn’t as immediate as a phone call – impersonal, yes, but sometimes more effective.
Smart phones, on the other hand, often are too smart for their own good. If you have the auto correct feature turned on, it could lead to some mighty funny exchanges. In fact, there’ a website (maybe more than just one) with examples of what happens when auto correct takes over the conversation:
All that proves is that just as you can’t always depend on a word processor’s spell check to catch homophonic errors in what you write, you can’t depend on your smart phone to send out the exact message as you typed it.
Lesson for the day: Always proofread the final message before sending it out.
(“Shave my butt,” indeed!)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

London Bridge

I just remembered that when I told you all about my Jetboat tour down the Colorado River to Lake Havasu City in Arizona, I didn’t tell you about London Bridge itself.
Back in 1968, industrialist Robert McCulloch, he of McCulloch Oil and chain saw fame, bought the bridge made famous by the children’s song for a cool $2.6 million. The bridge was actually falling apart and London had put it up for sale.
“Pack it up and mail it!” he cried, slapping the cash down on the table. (Well, maybe not exactly like that, I tend to lapse into hyperbole sometimes when I get excited.)

The first truckload of parts arrived July 1968, and by the time Halloween rolled around three years later, there the bridge stood, spanning the newly created Bridgewater Channel Canal.

It’s interesting that the bridge was NOT constructed over water, but over land. The channel was dredged later, resulting in turning Pittsburgh Point into an island.

It cost an additional $7 million to complete the bridge. 

I was actually expecting to see towers on the bridge, having mistaken it for the Tower Bridge in London, which actually is the next bridge downstream on the River Thames in London. I wonder if Robert McCulloch made the same mistake.
Anyway, I wasn’t terribly impressed by the bridge, and if I’d made the four-hour roundtrip cruise for the express purpose of seeing the bridge, I would have been sorely disappointed. As it was, I was only “kind of” disappointed. The trip itself was fun.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Dove Huddle

I wonder what doves talk about when they huddle up like this. Maybe they're telling each other crazy jokes? Maybe they're sharing recipes? Maybe they're even chatting about a couple of lovey doveys they spotted in the branches above.

Whatever. I think I have to stop wandering around out in left field all the time. It's making me coo-coo (and obviously, I'm making up bad puns as well).

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Hobby Déjà Vu

There was an advertisement in today’s USA Weekend newspaper supplement that took me on a rocket trip back to my youth – a Kenmore Stamp Company offer of 44 mint U.S. stamps for only two bucks.
When I first got into stamp collecting, back in the summer of 1956, I had answered a similar ad on the back of a comic book, an ad that propelled me on my way to a lifetime of collecting. The ad offered a packet of stamps, a packet of stamp hinges, a cardboard watermark detector, a plastic magnifying glass, and a stamp album.
In the months that followed, I discovered that Popular Mechanics and Popular Science magazines had oodles of free stamp offers in their classified ad sections, so I used to cut them out, Scotch-tape them to a piece of paper with my name and address on it (and if required, a dime or nickel).
Kenmore Stamps was one of those companies that I patronized over and over and over again, getting approvals in the mail, keeping some, then returning the rest with payment for what I kept. The approval business was the way to go in those days, especially since postage was just three cents, no matter the size or weight of the envelope.
I still collect today, but approval companies are hard to find. Not only have today’s youth found better things to do, thanks to electronics, the cost of postage has risen considerably, wiping out any little profit a company might make.
That’s too bad. I guess I grew up at the tail end of the Golden Age of Stamp Collecting.
It's amazing to me that Kenmore Stamps is still doing this. As for me, déjà vu is a wonderful thing.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Good Egg

Eggs are good stuff. They’re nutritional, they’re easy to prepare, and they go with anything. Eggs get a bad rap because of the cholesterol scare of the ‘70s and ‘80s, but they’re not really all that full of the bad stuff.
Not only do they supply all the amino acids you need, they are high in vitamins, including A, B-complex, C and D. Changes in chicken diet have produced eggs that are higher in omega 3 fatty acids and lower in cholesterol and fats.
I usually have at least one egg for breakfast every day, supplemented by a one-equivalent of cholesterol-free egg substitute, which is basically egg whites. The ersatz product has improved tremendously over the years in both taste and substance (mouth-feel) since I first started consuming it in the mid-‘60s.
Here’s some interesting information about eggs that I found while reading the January-February 2011 issue of WebMD the Magazine in a doctor’s office recently:
·         Why is the egg the symbol of new life? Egyptians, Persians, Hindus and other ancient cultures believe the world began as a large egg.

·         In the U.S., the average hen lays between 250 and 300 eggs a year.

·         A New Jersey hen holds the record for the heaviest egg – about a pound.

·         You know that White House Easter Egg Hunt they hold each year on the lawn, right? It started in 1878 by Pres. Rutherford B. Hayes because a law had been passed that year forbidding kids from playing on the Capitol grounds. So there!

·         Eggs are good diet food, containing 17 grams of protein and only 72 calories apiece.

·         If you want more low-fat protein, have an egg-white omelet. Want more vitamins and minerals? Use the yolk as well.

·         The “devil” in deviled eggs derives from the spices, not the egg itself.
When I ran for president of the Honolulu Jaycees ‘way back when, my campaign slogan was “Craig is a Good Egg.”

Friday, September 16, 2011

Lone Star Cupcakes

I’m kind of behind on social news and didn’t know this (until this morning), but just in case some of you are behind-er than I am, did you know Texas has a law protecting the right of kids to bring cupcakes to school on their birthdays?
If it weren’t for good ol’ Alton Brown of the Food Network, I could have gone my whole life ignorant of the fact. Who said television isn’t educational?
See, Texas has a reputation of being the unhealthy diet capital of the nation (if not the world), so they did something about it. They banned sodas and sugar from schools. Good grief! All that did was arouse parents, who loved to treat their children’s classes with cupcakes on their birthdays.
I should say!
No fools, the Texas legislature took a bite out of their own law six years ago and passed an amendment, making an exception of the birthday cupcake.
Good thing too. Can you imagine kids bringing raw carrot sticks and broccoli florets to class on their birthday (no dip, because that would be unhealthy)? Who said kids don’t rule the roost?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Unintended Circumstances

Whenever a law is passed, you can count on one thing. There will be ramifications, what are called "unintended circumstances." This has been illustrated time and again in the past.

The best example is Prohibition. Although well-meaning and probably a good thing for the health of the nation and its populace, all it did was result in the biggest crime spree the nation had experienced to date. The mob went wild selling the illegal hootch.

Then, in more recent memory, the slapping on of tax after tax on the tobacco industry resulted in hijackings of cigarette shipments, smuggling from foreign countries, and some abrogation of business rights, all of which were passed on to the non-smoking consumer in the form of higher prices on everything, and higher taxes.

So it was with some concern that I read a story in today's paper about Australian passports now providing a third option when it comes to gender identification: Indeterminate, to be identified with an "X" instead of an "F" for female, or "M" for male.

The unintended circumstance (the difficulty in determining a persons's gender) was created by the success of transgender operations and identity changes, unisex clothing and hairstyles, and the increase in security at a country's entry and jumping-off points because of the terrorism threat.

Nobody said it was going to be easy; it's just too bad this has to be done.

It's just another sign of the approaching Apocalypse.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Here an Ad, There an Ad

Advertising is everywhere you look; it's as pervasive as "Enter/Exit" signs and traffic lights.

At the Ward Center Theaters, Sprint has even got one on the mezzanine overlook level so if you're leaving the movie theaters and heading on down to Auahi Street, the main thoroughfare in the area, you can't help but see the ad.

These days, you find humongrous ads in parking garages, mounted garishly on the walls where the cars either head up or down a level. I've seen them on elevator doors (inside AND outside).

Perhaps the most obvious example of in-your-face advertising is in sports arenas -- on the scoreboards, on the stadium walls surrounding the football field, even temporarily perched in endzones.

Advertisers have even slapped their names on the stadiums themselves -- Arco Arena, Great Western Arena, Coors Field ... you get the picture. Why, they've even co-oped entire sporting events -- the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, the Emerald Bowl, ad nauseum.

I guess that all keeps the price on some things down for us consumers, huh?

Can you imagine millenia from now when a new civilization unearths the artifacts of today? I wonder what they will think.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

It's a Punny World

I don't care what anyone else says, puns are funny. After seeing this one, I bawled. *Fawz down laffinz*

Monday, September 12, 2011

Plus What?

I was watching a cooking show the other day and the host said to add ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons of a liquid to a mixture. Wait, I thought, why the extra 2 tablespoons?
Then, after lengthy thought, it hit me. The recipe was converted from metric. So I scooted over to a conversion table and discovered that ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons equals about 210 milliliters (ml). My guess is that the recipe came from Europe and called for 200 ml of the liquid.
In retrospect, I’ve seen this done before … “one cup plus 2 teaspoons” for example. And that is why some measuring cups these days have two scales printed on them – American, and metric. Guess this is a holdover from the days in the 1970s and 1980s, when the United States tried – and failed – to convert.
So now, it all makes sense. The world just snapped back into place. Except for the United States … and Myanmar (Burma) … and Liberia. We’re the only three countries that haven’t converted to metric.
Shame on us?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Wow, What Strict Dress Rules!

We all know that many schools have dress rules. In my day, about the only school dress rule I remember for the girls is that girls couldn’t wear “spaghetti straps” to school. Their shoulders had to be covered.
The guys could wear slippers to school (you gotta remember, this was in Hilo, Hawaii), but no shorts. Only long pants. No tee-shirts, either. Our shirts had to have buttons. And nobody wore baseball caps to school.
School dress rules have relaxed a lot … ridiculously relaxed.
And so, it surprised me to see this sign on the entrance to a liquor/souvenir store in Las Vegas:

I had seen the central theme of the sign before: “NO shows/shirt/service.” Of course, that means if you aren’t wearing shoes, and/or a shirt, then they won’t serve you. They also won’t let you in if you have sagging pants (I guess butt cracks are definitely out of style).
I know what bandanas are. But y’know, call me ignorant, but I had no idea what “Doo-Rags” were. To me, it sounded like cloth toilet paper. But who the heck carries cloth toilet paper around anyway? (Um, excuse me, but you dropped your cloth toilet paper, sir.)
So I looked it up.
You know what they are? They’re these cloth rags that African-Americans wrap around their heads to cover their hair. The interesting thing is that doo-rags (more commonly spelled “do-rags”) have been around since the 1800s. Freedom fighters used them. So did that famous Rosie the Riveter in the wartime poster.
Boy, that’s pretty strict to ban them from the store. I guess it’s okay to wear a hairnet?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Last to First

In the world of sports, one of the most heartening examples of “last to first” occurred in 1991 when the Minnesota Twins faced off with the Atlanta Braves in the World Series.
The Twins, who had placed last in their division the previous year, won the American League pennant; the Braves, who had placed last in THEIR division, won the National League pennant. And what a World Series it was – in my opinion, the best I’ve personally watched.
Minnesota won all of its home games, beating Atlanta 4 games to 3, all of them exciting contests.
More recently, the University of Southern California Trojan football team also has a “last to first” experience. Last year they played in the last-ever Pac 10 Conference football game, beating UCLA 28-14.
This year, the Pac 10 has added two new teams to the conference – the University of Utah Utes and the University of Colorado Buffalos.
And so it is that today, the Trojans play the first-ever Pac 12 football game when they host new Pac 12 member Utah Utes. Kickoff is at 4:30 p.m. Pacific.
Fight on!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Hawaiian Marketplace

What “Hawaiian”? There’s nothing Hawaiian about the Hawaiian Marketplace on the Las Vegas Strip. Nothing at all, unless you want to count the statue of Kamehameha the Great beckoning to people walking and/or driving by.

I remember the first time I passed it and wondering what it was all about. I actually made a conscious decision to avoid the place as from the outside it reminded me of the International Marketplace in Waikiki. And if there’s one thing I didn’t need to do, it was to buy something Hawaiian.
Plus I remember reading horrid remarks in the newspaper from Island people who’d dropped by the place hoping to find a hint of home. They were so disappointed.
And so, I stayed away. Until a couple of weeks ago when some mainland people I was with wanted to check it out and get some key chains, souvenirs and Hawaiian shirts to take home.
Surely, we thought, a shopping area called the “Hawaiian Marketplace” would have what they wanted.
Fat chance. There a bunch of kiosks, but nothing remotely Hawaiian was being sold. Not a thing. Not even postcards of Hawaii. Nada. Not even chocolate-covered macadamia nuts. Zero. Not even tee-shirts with any saying remotely resembling pidgin. No mo’.
So I took them to ABC Drugs in downtown on Fremont. Macnuts galore. Hawaiian shirts galore, Hawaii-themed trinkets galore. Even Aloha Maid and Hawaiian Sun fruit drinks galore. I even saw some coconut bras and fake-grass hula skirts.
Let that be a lesson to you. If you want a taste of Hawaii in Las Vegas, go to the Fremont Experience and patronize ABC Drugs. Go to Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion on Flamingo Road for dinner. Go to L&L Hawaiian Barbecue on Maryland Parkway. Go to Aloha Kitchen (Maryland Parkway, Charleston or Sunset).
But whatever you do, DON’T GO to the Hawaiian Marketplace on the Las Vegas Strip.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Blaisdell Park in Pearl City

Click on picture for a larger panoramic view
The wife and I took advantage of a 20%-Off email coupon we received from Denny’s Restaurant and had breakfast there this morning … the Pearlridge location.

Afterwards, since I was wearing a new pair of Reebok walking shoes I’d gotten for a song at Laughlin when I visited Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago, we decided to check out Neal Blaisdell Park, waterside in Pearl City and see if it was walk-worthy.
It’s not bad. It doesn’t have rolling hills like Kakaako Waterfront Park, nor does it have beautiful beaches and ocean views like Magic Island. But it does have flat and beautiful open spaces, picnic pavilions, and gorgeous Royal Poinciana trees (Delonix regia) with their striking red flowers.
And it does have is a sweeping view of Pearl Harbor, and a paved trail that skirts along the water.
You are cautioned by signs, however, warning you not to eat the fish or shellfish you may harvest from the water, because the water is … polluted. Yikes!
I figure it’s a good alternative if we are out that way and don’t feel like driving back into town for a walk at our usual haunts.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

One Paddle, Two Paddle

On a recent walk at Magic Island, the wife and I paused to look over the channel that separated the park from the yacht harbor.

When we had first arrived that day, I had wondered aloud how the canoes stored across the street were launched. From the street, it looked as though the paddlers would have to carry them over a stone wall to get to the water. It turns out I was wrong.

As we arrived at the channel side of Magic Island, my eyes locked onto a fisherman casting his line into the water. Then, while we watched him fish, some canoes slid into view. First one, then another, then another.

Pretty soon, there were four of them making a circuit from what looked like a boat ramp at the sea wall end, out to and around a marker, then back to the shore. The paddlers were rather young; I'm guessing they were junior high or high school students.

Meanwhile, the fisherman was undaunted, continuing his efforts to catch dinner. I'm glad he did; it made for a nice picture.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Rancho Discount Mall

The last time I was in Las Vegas (last month), I found another indoor mall … one that opens daily, and not just on weekends like the Fantastik Indoor Swap Meet mall on Decatur near Charleston.
It’s the Rancho Discount Mall in North Las Vegas, on Washington Boulevard off of (what else) North Rancho Drive. Admission is free, unlike Fantastik, which charges a couple of bucks (plus senior discount, 2-for-1 coupon available online at their website).
Personally, I like the variety at Fantastik, but if you’re looking for cheap stuff, Rancho will serve just as well. It seems to be more of a local place, with many of the booth signs in Spanish.
One thing it has in common with Fantastik is the number of empty booths. The bad economy has hit Las Vegas hard in the past couple of years, and only recently has gambling revenue built up to pre-recession levels.
That all trickles down to residents, many of whom depend on visitor industry jobs.
So anyway, I wandered around for a bit, but wasn’t terribly impressed. It’s more fun at Fantastik.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Random Musings 12

Where do superheroes go to quick change into their outfits now? Behind a flipped-open cellphone?

* * * * *
The wife was going on and on about her weight, so I told her to quit complaining and lighten up. The doc said the red handprint on my face should go away soon.
* * * * *
Got another reminder card from my optometrist. Hmmmm, maybe I’ll stop wearing my glasses when I’m not looking at anything, so they won’t wear out so fast.
* * * * *
When mimes retire, do they suddenly get all yakkety and talkative to make up for lost time?
* * * * *
If outer space is indeed nothing but a big vacuum, who changes the bag?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Employee Non-Benefit?

I came across this sign on a gate at the Southern Nevada Zoological-Botanical Park (aka the Las Vegas Zoo) when I visited it recently.

Now, I know what they mean. They're saying the area beyond the fence is for zoo employees only, and that we, the adoring public, may not go past the gate. That's what they mean.

But like many other ambiguously constructed signs I've shared with you in the past, this one can be read another way, as a message to "zoo employees only." And that message would be, "Do not enter." And since the message is directed to a specific audience, it would mean that we, the adoring public, can enter at will.

Methinks the "Do Not Enter" should have been placed above the "Zoo Employees Only."

I'm just saying ...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

College Football is Back

It's been a long off-season for the USC Trojans -- seven long months, to be exact. Actually, seven and a half months since my alma mater was banned from post-season play last season.

This year is the second of three penalty years for USC, but hopefully we'll come out of it okay. The pundits predict we'll go 8 and 4, which ordinarily would make us bowl-eligible. It might even be good for a Pac-12 South Division championship, but if we do qualify for that, we won't be able to play for the conference championship because of the NCAA penalties.

Our first opponent was the Minnesota Golden Gophers, who came into Los Angeles today and nearly pulled off a win. The final score was USC 19, Minnesota 17; it could have been a disaster for USC if it weren't for a game-saving interception as the Gophers were driving toward the goal line.

Just like last year ... we'd score enough to lead going into the fourth quarter, and then poop out and lose the game because the team couldn't finish up. Except this time, they held their own.

There is heavy speculation that junior quarterback Matt Barkley may opt to enter the NFL draft in 2012, eschewing his senior season on the football team. I hope he doesn't, but who could blame him? He's got practically all that it takes to become a successful pro quarterback.

Ah well, those things are entirely beyond my control, so I'll just settle back and enjoy the ride.

Fight on!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Shut That Door!

Once in a while, one comes across words on doors creating phrases that are not exactly what was originally intended. Take, for example, these glass doors at Buca di Beppo restaurant in the Ward area of Honolulu:

I’m sure they don’t serve mountain oysters there, but when you see the two halves of the phase “Meat Balls” transposed, that’s the impression you get.
Sure, I know the word on the open door to the left sports the word “Meat,” and that the middle door probably had the word “Balls” removed somehow.
But that’s not the way it reads, is it? They really should keep the door shut, no?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Signs of the Times

I didn’t care much for what I saw at Lake Havasu City; even the London Bridge, which although interesting and historic, wasn’t what I’d call a major attraction. The rest of it, where we had two hours to spend, was definitely no great shakes.
However, some humor did manage to wrest a smile or two from my dour lips as I hung around near our jet boat waiting for our departure and return to Laughlin.
And here’s what got me chuckling:
My Personal Favorite

Good stuff, huh?