Sunday, March 31, 2013

Baseball! It's Here Again!

The World Baseball Classic is over; training camp and Major League Baseball spring training games in the Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues are done for the year. Team players have been chosen for Opening Day tomorrow and everybody's gone to the ballparks. We are ready for ... BASEBALL!

And, it's hard to shaddup about it.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Ted Williams Popsicle Night

I’m not so sure that honoring the man known as “The Splendid Splinter” for his batting exploits on the baseball field with Popsicles is such a great idea, but apparently, the Bisbee-Douglas Copper Kings of Arizona thought it was a cool idea. The promotion was held on June 3, 2003.

So why the ice confection? In case you didn’t know, Ted Williams is still around. The baseball legend actually died in 2002, but his family had him cryogenically suspended (that’s “frozen” to you and me) in liquid nitrogen.
Consequently, he’s now in a stainless steel tank somewhere in Scottsdale, Arizona, cooling his heels. (Hey, I’ve been to Scottsdale; I didn’t know he was there.)
That’s about four hours north of the Kings’ home field – Warren Ballpark. All they wanted to do, according to team owner John Guy, was sell tickets for the brand-new professional team. He got his publicity, with lots of ESPN and Sports Illustrated coverage. His 500 Popsicles only cost him $100.
A minor league team in the Arizona-Mexico League, the Kings originally played in 1949-1950 (affiliated with the Brooklyn Dodgers), then 1955 to 1958. They were affiliated with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1958. The Copper Kings have the distinction of being the only professional team whose nine players in the starting line-up each hit a homerun in the same game.
Unfortunately, Guy and the Kings couldn’t sustain their audience. Although they ended the year with a 9-7 record (second place), the league folded.
I wonder what they did with the Popsicle sticks after the game.
I love minor league baseball team promotions.

Friday, March 29, 2013

A Market Discovery

Every few weeks, the wife and I do a grocery safari, especially when we run out of fresh eggs.

You've seen me write about Ka Lei Eggs before. We knew they had two locations (Kalihi and Kaimuki); and recently, we learned they have a Kapalama location as well, where the old Gem Store used to be on Dillingham near the River.

We had a bit of trouble finding the place because they aren't fronting the large parking lot at City Square, where the wife was told they were. We circled the lot, but no luck.

However, as we were leaving, I saw an elderly guy carrying a flat of eggs and asked him if he got those at Ka Lei Eggs. Yep, he did, telling us the store was "inside."

Okay, but inside where? So we went back into the lot and paid better attention. Hallelujah, we saw the Chinatown Market Place and a little bell went off in my head. Now I understood what he mean by "inside."

The market place is like an open market in a way, except that all of the vendors are set up in stalls. Veggies, seafood, meats, fruits, prepared foods, and ... Ka Lei Eggs. Ahh, at last. We were no longer driving around with our heads up our butts.

Needless to say, we bought our eggs ... and a bunch of other stuff too. I mean, who can resist the variety and reasonable prices?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

My Once-Favorite Las Vegas Sign

The Las Vegas Strip has been changing over the years. Gone are some of the iconic hotels that I remember visiting when I was younger – much younger. Like the Landmark, the Frontier, the Aladdin, the Desert Inn, the Sahara, the Sands, Westward Ho and Vegas World. All closed, all demolished.

But the sign I miss the most is the Stardust. Whenever I drove down South Las Vegas Boulevard at night, I’d always crane my neck looking for its beautiful sign.
I didn’t know this, but according to the docent tour guide at the Las Vegas Neon Boneyard Museum, the sign is actually based on a nuclear mushroom cloud, and the sparkly lights were supposed to represent the nuclear fallout, cosmic star dust as it were.
The half-million dollar sign was erected in 1967, replacing the old circular sign that had been standing since the Las Vegas landmark was built in 1958.
Alas, all that’s left are photos, some movies and videos, and memories. Oh, and remnants of the old sign at the Las Vegas Neon Boneyard. To wit:

This “Stardust” identification is in the Google type font, and was replaced in 1991 by a Futura typeface. That’s all that remains of the hotel made famous by the original Lido de Paris production show, and the casino's former (way former) owners with supposed ties to the mob.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Brave Little Cardinal

Maybe it’s because the birds see me sitting in my outside chair every day and have gotten used to me, but yesterday was the first time a Red-Crested Cardinal (also known in Hawaii as the Brazilian Cardinal) ever came this close to me.

I checked the species out and Paroaria coronata actually is a tanager (Thraupidae) and isn’t very closely related at all to true cardinals (Cardinalidae). Introduced to Hawaii and Puerto Rico, it’s normally found in South America (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay).
I tried to coax it closer, but apparently it doesn’t understand English, Spanish OR Portuguese. Not even pidgin English. Shucks.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Communissy Kissy

It may be a coincidence, but then again, it may be a matter of fate that I was reading a novella, McGrave, by one of my favorite authors – Lee Goldberg, screenwriter for a number of Monk episodes and books about the pathetic, compulsive-disordered phobia-ridden detective.

Just about that time, a friend of mine changed the cover on her Facebook page and posted a picture of the Berlin Wall that she took when she and her husband visited Germany.

In his book, Goldberg wrote about the main character also visiting Germany and being driven to the last remaining half-mile segment at the Mühlenstrasse of the famous wall that represented the great divide between democracy and communism. Goldberg wrote that the segment is famous because of a mural there showing a pretty demonstrative kiss between two people.

So, I asked my friend if she took a picture of that famous mural. She did, and sent it to me.

Here it is:

Just a little disturbing and unsettling, if you ask me. It’s a painting by Russian artist Dmitri Vladimirovich Vrubel based on a 1979 photograph of then-Soviet Union Premier Leonid Brezhnev (left) and German Democratic Republic (East Germany) President Erich Honecker on the occasion of the GDR’s 30th anniversary.

The title of his painting? “Mein Gott, hilf mir diese tödliche Liebe zu überleben“ (“My God, help me to survive this deadly love”).

My sentiments exactly.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Anniversary at Stake ... er, Steak

Me and My Bride
The wife and I enjoyed a very nice 47th wedding anniversary last night at one of the best steakhouses in Honolulu … in fact, almost anywhere in the U.S. – Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Honolulu’s Restaurant Row.

I guess I tipped them off that it was our anniversary when I mentioned it in a post on their Facebook page. They were ready for us when we arrived, wishing us a Happy Anniversary at the front, as they guided us to our table decorated with red rose petals, as they served us, and as we left.
Rose Petals and Wine
Very nice, indeed.
The host told us that we would be served by Marco Polo. Wait … Marco Polo? He laughed when I said that. No, he said, Marc or Polly. Jeez, and I hadn’t even had a sip of the complimentary glass of sparkling wine yet.
I was going to order something like a rib eye steak, but the special last night was a 42-ounce prime porterhouse steak for two. The wife thought that sounded great, so that’s what we ordered. After all, it was HER night, after all. Good choice. It was like having a filet mignon and a New York steak, plus a T-bone to gnaw on. That bugger was huge, so soft and so delicious.
To top off the meal, they gave us a complimentary dessert – four mini chocolate cupcakes topped with decadent chocolate frosting and fresh raspberries.
Then, to cap off a wonderful evening, they presented us with a $20 gift card to use on our next visit.
I think we’ll go back. After all, we have to spend that $20 … right? (By the way, I'll write about the meal itself in the "A Place for My Taste" blog the day after tomorrow ... the link is in the column on the right).

Sunday, March 24, 2013

EVOO Oh Good Grief

If you watch cooking shows as much as I do, a strange phenomenon begins to emerge. On the other hand, it may not be that strange – it may just be a symptom of our daily conversation.

Watching Rachel Ray, one is constantly bombarded by her abbreviated phrase: “EVOO.” That’s E-V-O-O, and it’s her way of saying “Extra Virgin Olive Oil.”

Then there’s Ann Burrelle with her now-famous “BTB RTS,” which she intends to mean “Bring To Boil, Reduce To Simmer.”
How about Bobby Flay? I heard him say “S and P” several times over the years. That, of course, means “Salt and Pepper,” something even a kindergartener can figure out.
Nothing wrong with abbreviating; it’s like the American habit of giving everything nicknames. Heck, we even do it to names, often nicknaming someone with their first- and middle-name initials (e.g., J.D. Salinger, J.R.R. Tolkein, J.K. Rowling).
So where is this going? Hold on, I’m almost there.
And here we are: What’s the use of using initials if you’re going to repeat the unabbreviated phrase right afterwards? For example, “A few drops of EVOO – extra virgin olive oil,” or “Turn the heat up and BTB RTS, bring to boil and reduce to simmer,” and “Season with S and P … salt and pepper.”
All that does is drive home the point that the celebrity chefs think we’re stupid. Are we? I ask, are we?
Abbreviation redundancy, indeed.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Fragile Firearms

Every time I go to Kit n Kitchen for a meal, I take some time to check over the collection of stuff that owner Kit Yiu has on display.

I've talked about his Coke can collection before, and the last time I went there, I checked out his two whiskey bottles shaped like pistols. I don't know what guns they represent, but the one on the left is labeled "The Original Revolutionary Gun" on its mount. Looks as though there are two holes for shot glasses too.

And of course, I'm sure you've noticed the collection of wine corks and golf tees. You name it, he's probably got it somewhere in the restaurant.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Usual Gang of Idiots

It's been a while since I've talked about feeding doves in my driveway ... that's because, well, just because. Okay, I admit it, I've been lazy and haven't been feeding them.

But that's not to say they'd forgotten me. Just this week, I had some stale bread that I dried out in the refrigerator (you did know that the refrigerator is the best place to dry things out, didn't you?) so I crumbled it and tossed it in the driveway.

Whoosh! Like a horde of Mongols, the doves swept down on the crumbs. I counted at least 20 of them - the little Zebra Doves, and the larger Spotted Doves. The gang also included a few Mynahs, Red-Vented Bulbuls and Brazilian Cardinals, but they were practicing the swoop-in-grab-and-swoop-off technique, so I missed taking their picture.

This bothers the wife no end. If the birds congregate in the mango tree to the right and poop on her drying clothes, I'll hear no end of it.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Discovery: Long-Horned Beetle

A strange little visitor appeared at our house yesterday, a beetle that I'd never seen before. The wife found it wandering around in an old cooking pot we use to catch outside dripping water from the bedroom air conditioner.

The bugger was just swimming around in the shallow pot water then when the wife poured the water out, it just walked around, shaking itself dry.

Turns out it's a long-horned beetle, Lagocheirus obsoletus. I did a little research and found out it comes from the Texas-Mexico-Central American area, and was accidentally introduced into Hawaii (isn't that always the case?), where it's become a serious pest of the plumeria plant.

It lays its larvae on the leaves and when buds appear, the larvae insinuate themselves into the young flowers and devour them from the inside out. Nasty little critters.

Well, say bye-bye to this one. The wife got rid of it; I didn't want to ask how. But you know her ... death to all pests that dare to show themselves around the house!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

More ‘Duh’ Headlines

Okay, here we go, the second and last group of actual newspaper headlines that state the obvious and make you go … “Duh!” Enjoy, and laugh along with me!

I wonder how the editors get to keep their jobs.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Friendly? Or Angry?

Checking out a menu that came in the mail the other day from the California Wok Chinese restaurant in Honolulu, I couldn’t help but notice a couple of hilarious items on the same page.

First of all, check out the title in the category, “Steamed Menu.” It’s the first time I’ve ever heard of a menu being angry enough that steam hissed out from under its collar. Y’know, as in “I was so steamed I was seeing red”?
And then, under the category of “Fried Rice,” they will serve you some Chicken FRIEND Rice. I guess it doesn’t matter whether you’re happy or angry, a friend will always be a friend, even if s/he’s chicken.
Don’t you must love it? By the way, the restaurant’s motto is “You Never Imagined That Healthy Chinese Food Could Be This Tasty!” Zagat gives them good grades, so despite the mistake and double entendre on their menu, they must be okay.
With two California restaurants in Encino and Costa Mesa, California Wok’s Hawaii restaurant is in Ala Moana Center.

Monday, March 18, 2013

First Day of School

Dennis the Menace, March 10, 2013
What? Dennis is just starting first grade? How can that be? He's old, like 63 years old (born March 12, 1961). What HAS he been doing all these years?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Green Beer? Nah

There's something not quite right about St. Patrick's Day. On second thought, there are quite a few things not quite right. I've never been a real fan of the holiday for several reasons:

One: It bothers me that a symbol of St. Patrick's Day is green beer. Sure, I've had my share of mugsful, but only to keep people company. Truth be told, I'd rather chug a glass of Green River (limeade) drink.

Just can't abide celebrating a day when hordes of Caucasians with red hair get drunk by over-imbibing, I guess.

Two: The pinching that goes on if you don't wear green. That gets to the point of ridiculousness. You should have seen the bruises on my arm when I was in elementary school. And the thing is, the teachers are the ones who encourage the custom.

Three: Everybody makes and consumes large quantities of corned beef and cabbage, supposedly the traditional Irish meal. But y'know, it's not traditional Irish. It's New York Jewish, a dish the Irish glommed onto when they immigrated to the United States from Ireland. What did they eat in Ireland? Mostly pork, because they couldn't afford English corned beef. So that's fake homeland tradition, right?

Four: Adding "O'" to one's last name to pretend you're Irish. Hearing people in Hawaii call themselves O'Chang, or O'Miyamoto, or O'Wollensky, or O'Sanchez ... well, that's just plain stupid.

I do like leprechuans and shamrocks. They remind me of Hawaiian menehunes eating salad.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Partridge Bus

I was cleaning out my picture files recently, and came across this one, tucked in the back of my "Wanderings" folder. I think I took it during my August '12 vacation in Las Vegas.
It's a mini-replica of the Patridge Family bus parked in downtown Vegas at the Fremont Street Experience, and it was being used as the backdrop for a band playing '70s music for visitors to Vegas.
The band was dutifully loud, the melodies were hypnotic, and the crowd was appreciative. I wish I knew the name of the band, but alas, I didn't get a picture of their sign.
Maybe they're still there. Maybe you'll get a chance to see the bus when you visit Vegas.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Even More Groaners

Oh look! A friend sent me more puns. Sorry about that.

·         I tried to catch some fog, but I mist.
·         They told me I had type-A blood, but it was a Type-O.
·         I changed my iPod's name to “Titanic.” It's syncing now.
·         I know a guy who's addicted to brake fluid, but he says he can stop any time.
·         What do you call a dinosaur with an extensive vocabulary? A thesaurus.
·         Velcro – what a rip off!
·         I stayed up all night to see where the sun went, and then it dawned on me.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Wanted: Decapitator

Are you pretty adept with a sword? How’s your downward swing? Are you squeamish? Can you speak Farsi?

If so, have I got a job for you. The Saudi monarchy is looking for a few good men who know how to brandish a sword and want a position as official decapitator of criminals. In Saudi Arabia, as you may know, they use the sword a lot for punishment.
Rob someone and they cut off your hand. Things like that.
But the most proper Islamic method is beheading for the serious crimes of murder, armed robbery, rape, trafficking in drugs … if it’s bad, say hasta la vista to your head, it’s been nice knowing you.
So what’s the problem? They’re running out of qualified swordsmen, which may force outlying provinces to resort to the second choice of execution – the firing squad. Official beheadsmen can’t always make the appointment time because they’re having to travel all through the regions, and that takes a lot of time.
So … want a steady job with lots of travel in a foreign land? Have I got a job for you!
I kid you not.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Snoozed, Losed

Okay, I know. It’s supposed to be “lost.” But then the phrase wouldn’t rhyme. Not that it matters anyway, but last night was a perfect example of getting somewhere too late.

I’d received an invitation to a preview screening of the new action thriller movie, “Olympus Has Fallen,” which was promoted as a blockbuster movie that opens next week Friday, March 22. Of course, I replied to the invitation and was issued two complimentary passes.
The problem with these things is they overbook, and if you get to the theater too late, you can’t be accommodated.
That’s what happened to the wife and me last night. We had planned to be in line by 6 p.m. for the 7:30 showing, but got there around 6:15 or so after parking our car. Too late. We were pretty close to the end of the line.
About 45 minutes before the movie was to start, a host came out and said the theater only held 184 people, and that he’d counted the number of people in line. He reached 180 about 15 people in front of us, which meant there was no way we were going to get into the theater. I would estimate there were another 15 or so behind us.
So the wife and I did the only logical thing. We got out of line and bought tickets to another movie – Life of Pi. And that was okay, it was a chance to see a movie together, something we hadn’t done in quite some time. Plus, it would be the first movie I’d see since Hunger Games … you know the one where I tripped over my own foot and banged up my knees last year? Yeah, that one.
Memo to self: "Craig, if you get another one of those invites and complimentary passes, arrive at least two and a half hours before the scheduled start of the movie."

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Salt Lake City Airport Art Pieces

It’s strange, but one of the air routes to Las Vegas goes through Salt Lake City Airport (SLC) in Utah. I speak from experience because that’s the way I went to Sin City a few times in the past. It's one of Delta Airlines' flights that leaves Hawaii at a convenient time for me.

One thing good about it is that I usually have time to wander through the concourses as I walk to find the connecting gate. These days, whenever I know I’m connecting through a large airport, I go online to see if there’s any art to be found.
That’s the way I found paintings in Memphis, posters in New Orleans, sculptures in Denver, retro museum items in San Francisco, light shows in Chicago, and even an air museum in Las Vegas. I'm sure I saw a bunch of stuff in other airports, but I can’t remember any more offhand.
At SLC, I found a wall of paintings, and in one of the concourses, I found these sculptures by local artists:
'Enjoying Our Walk' by Colleen Madamombe
'Where is Mom?' by Royal Katiyo
(l) 'Waiting' by Joe Mutasa, (r) 'Fond Embrace' by Ngoni Mrewa, (c) 'Captivating' by Agnes Nyanhoro
See? You just have to keep your eyes open and gather in the world around you. That is, if you’re not running to make your connection.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Time to Snoooozzzzzzzz

I bet you didn't know today is the 14th anniversary of Napping Day in the U.S. The special day for us dozy-heads was created in 1999 by a Boston professor to help us (well, you, perhaps) overcome the effects of setting your clocks ahead for Daylight Saving Time.

We lucky ones in Hawaii don't need an excuse to nap, especially when one is retired (like me). The trouble with me is, I can't nap. Oh, once in a while I'll conk out while watching TV in the afternoon, but when it comes to a planned nap with the light turned out in the middle of the day, forget it.

Even when I was working, I tried to plan a half-hour nap after an at-the-desk lunch. I'd close my office door, turn off the lights, and try to doze off. Nada. Nothing. In fact, most of the time, someone would knock on my door and/or sneak in to drop something off.

I'd hear, "Oh sorry, were you napping?" And that was the end of that.

Maybe it'll work today. After all, I just found out it's official.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Daylight Saving Time

When I saw this comic strip this morning, I laughed and laughed and laughed, because that's exactly what would have happened at my house.

Except, of course, Hawaii doesn't have Daylight Saving Time and we don't have to adjust our clocks every spring and fall.

So there.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Beautiful Baby Backs

Lunardi's Market in California's Silicon Valley has some of the best meats I've ever seen, and some of the best butchers you can ever hope for. Plus, they have the greatest service.

Great product, great employees, great service. Can't beat THAT with a cattle prod, huh?

See those ribs? Not only is that tough slab gone, the butcher asked if I wanted the ribs separated. Single bone? Double bone? No problem.

It sure beat trying to cut them myself. Of course, after the meat was cooked, it just fell off the bone, so maybe cutting them up first wasn't entirely necessary.

But it sure was good service! When has YOUR butcher ever offered to do that without your having to ask?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Fotografie Verboten!

I've been forbidden from taking photos at stage performances, exhibitions, even museums. But never ... NEVER have I been asked not to take pictures of a woman's front side, specifically the lower tummy area.

Well! I never!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sensible Sign

Posted outside Carlos' n Charlie's Famoso Mexican Grill and Fiesta in the Flamingo Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas is this sign board.

Nothing really interesting about it ... except for the one in the lower left. I had to stop and think for a moment after I saw it.

Very appropriate. No admission, but if you don't pay to get out, you'll be stuck at the bar until you do.

And that might not be too bad an idea. Waiter! Hold the check!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Doggie Poopie Place

Your doggie gotta pee or poo? Have I got a place for you.
The thing is, you have to get to Las Vegas to use it. The Flamingo Hotel has only the third dog relief station I've come across.

The first is in Almaden Winery Neighborhood Park in San Jose, near my son's house. The second is in The District, the shopping "town" next to Green Valley Ranch in Henderson, close to Las Vegas.
The Flamingo's doggie station is nicely identified in the Wildlife Habitat's grounds map, located next to the valet drop off area.

I guess it's for people who took their doggies out with them and are looking for a handy place where their dogs, with crossed legs and squirming demeanor, can rush to and find a measure of relief.
In case you're wondering, the Flamingo has been designated a pet-friendly hotel. Dogs must weigh 50 pounds or less and be present at the time of check-in, up to two dogs per room are allowed, and dogs are permitted to walk through designated common areas while on a leash and accompanied by the owner.
There is a charge, however – $35 per night upgrade for designated pet-friendly hotel accommodations.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Gourmet Airport Snacks

Airport food (not to be confused with “airplane food”) has improved immensely with the growth of air travel over the past 30 years or so. Instead of just small food stands with commercially made snacks and candies, you can now enjoy snacks selected by celebrity chefs.
While walking around Salt Lake City Airport (SLC) to catch a connecting flight, I chanced upon Cat Cora’s Gourmet Market.
Catherine “Cat” Cora is one of America’s Iron Chefs and one of the nation’s culinary stars. In addition to the SLC gourmet market, she owns “Cat Cora,” a bar/restaurant at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), “Cat Cora’s Kitchen” at Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) in Houston, and “Kouzzina by Cat Cora” at Disney World. Just a few weeks ago, she opened the 63-seat “S.E.A. Aquarium” at Resorts World Sentosa off Singapore.
Last year, she was inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame.
I walked around her SLC gourmet market and checked out the offerings – salads and sandwiches of all kinds, plus slightly exotic items such as hummus and tapenades. The counter girl told me they use eco-friendly plates, boxes, utensils and napkins … all bio-degradable.
But I wasn’t hungry, so I didn’t get anything. I did thank the girl and give her a big smile. Does that count?

Monday, March 4, 2013

Opa’e Shrimp Ecospheres

At a recent visit to Marukai Market, I saw a display of Opa’e Ula (Halocaridina rubra, aka Hawaiian red shrimp, Volcano shrimp, Hawaiian micro-lobsters) being sold in Opa’e Ecospheres.
These bright red-orange Hawaiian shrimp grow up to ½-inch long when full adults. You’ve seen them, often at the front counter in doctors’ and dentists’ offices. These sealed-in-plastic environments supposedly are self-sustaining – the shrimp eat the algae, and produce waste that fertilizes the algae, the algae produces oxygen for the shrimp, the shrimp produces carbon dioxide for the algae, and so on. Or so they say.
Opa'e Ula Shrimp (Yellow Arrow on Lft, Red Arrow on Right)
The truth is, the waste does accumulate and the shrimp die from lack of food and oxygen.
So … these sealed ecospheres might seem cool to own, and it may be comforting to have a tiny shrimp or two swimming around in a sealed container as you work at your computer, but the truth of the matter is, you’re condemning them to a premature death.
If you want to keep Hawaiian red shrimp, give them room to roam in an aquarium. If they could thank you, they’d wave their tiny claws in appreciation. Of that, I’m sure.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Flamingo Hotel Wildlife Habitat

It had been years since my last stay at the Flamingo Hotel & Casino, and I was curious to see how the Wildlife Habitat had fared since the hotel's renovation.
Was it still there? A quick check of their website confirmed that when I made my reservations online. What changes, if any, had been made? I soon found out, the first day of my stay. In a couple of words, a fair bit.
The biggest change is that the playful frolicking waddle of penguins wasn't there anymore, which is a shame, because I'd always enjoyed watching them swimming around and cooling off in the hot sun. Heck, I enjoy watching them anywhere – zoos, aquariums, parks.
I remember an information sign saying they were actually tropical penguins and actually enjoyed the heat. A likely story. They were gone. Where did they go? I had to do some research online and learned they had been transferred to the Dallas Zoo.
The habitat's newest additions include two brown pelicans named after the original hotel's founder, Benjamin "Bugsy" Seigel and his girlfriend companion, Virginia Hill. Bugsy and Virginia had been rescued by the Pacific Wildlife Project after suffering fishing-line injuries. They now reside in the former penguin area.
In addition to the pelicans, the Flamingo Wildlife Habitat houses about 500 animals including ten pink Chilean flamingos, ducks, black swans, a white sturgeon, koi fish, parrots, guinea fowl, turtles and an ibis. They make themselves at home on islands and streams surrounded by waterfalls and foliage – a wonderful place for a casual, relaxing walk.

They've even got a wedding chapel there if you're looking for a lovely venue to get married in. Long ago, the habitat area featured a large swimming pool with rows and rows of chaise lounge sunning chairs. The south tower wasn't there; instead, during one trip n the '80s, I stayed in a two or three-story apartment-like building that housed guest rooms.
Although I snapped a bunch of pictures, can you believe that of all things, I forgot to take pictures of the flamingos and the wedding chapel. Looks like I gotta go back someday.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Cow Soap … COW Soap?

I did a double-take when I saw this product advertised in Irasshai, the monthly publication of Marukai Market in Hawaii.

What in the world, I thought, is cow soap? And why is Marukai selling it? Does their marketing research show that their customers own cows and need a soap to bathe them? What gives?
Well, it turns out that Cow Soap is a product created and distributed by Cow Brand Soap Kyoshinsha Co., Ltd., a Japanese company founded in 1909. Cow Soap Kyoshinsha has 340 employees, and is headquartered in Osaka. They make and sell beauty soap, cosmetics and glycerin.
According to the company’s historical profile, the “Cow” in their name symbolizes the spirit and posture of a cow, which doesn’t know how to turn back, but instead keeps moving forward tenaciously. A cow is also docile and liked by everybody.
Now that I’m familiar with them, I hope their product mooves well.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Airport Security Joke

If the following sounds like one of those jokes you receive in a mass email from your friends, be assured that it's not.

Personally heard by me at approximately 12:45 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, in the Las Vegas McCarran International Airport D-Gate Concourse:
"Your attention please. Would the party who lost $5,000 secured by a large yellow rubber band please report to security."
Well, that caught my attention and resulted in lots of disbelieving looks among the waiting passengers.
Then: "We found your rubber band."
Laughter and more head-shaking. True story. Those TSA people ... They tell us not to joke around at the risk of being detained and questioned, and then they go and pull something like that.