Saturday, November 30, 2013

Best-Ever Collegiate City Rivalry

The University of Southern California (USC) Trojan football team locks horns with the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) Bruins today for the 83rd time today, the 67th to be contested in the Los Angeles Coliseum (the balance played at the Rose Bowl, UCLA's home field).

USC has won 46 of these games; UCLA 29. Seven have ended in ties.

The rivalry game, usually played at the end of the college football season, usually has implications in the Pac-12 conference, and often for the national title. At the very least, the winner has bragging rights as "owner" of Los Angeles for a whole year.

And, the winner holds onto the Victory Bell for a year. The supporting trolley is currently blue, because UCLA won last year.

The annual rivalry is not just a game in Los Angeles, it's week, Banners are up all over the place, with about a 50-50 split between USC and UCLA supporters. Even families are divided ... engaged couples ... brothers ... sisters ... it's incredible.

When I lived in Los Angeles for 10 years, I remember seeing booster signs all over the place. I remember seeing the Tommy Trojan statue sans his sword blade because UCLA pranksters had broken it off. I remember hearing stories about raids on the UCLA campus, and retaliatory raids on the USC campus.

This year, I've got one of those hard-to-find "fucla" tee-shirts that I plan to wear while watching the game from my couch. I'll have on my USC cap as well.

Fight on!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Damaris Phillips

I didn't watch Season 9 of Food Network Star; well, maybe I saw a couple of episodes, but I didn't watch it religiously. One thing though, I knew Kentucky chef and culinary teacher Damaris Phillips was going to win.

And y'know what? I was right. Every week, although I didn't watch the show, I checked to see who was still in the running. One by one they were eliminated, until the last episode, when Damaris picked up the crown and won her own Food Network show.

I've been watching her show, Southern at Heart, since its inception a few weeks ago. It runs at 5:30 in the freaking morning on Sundays, which means I have never (and never will) wake up in time to see it when it runs. Thank Heaven for DVR. I record it and watch it at a more reasonable hour, which is a good thing, because now I can rewind to view a segment over again, and pause it to drink in her good looks.

Damaris has such a comfortable way about her. Her mannerisms and homey dialogue make not only her guests (guys learning to cook for their love) comfortable, but the audience as well. There is absolutely nothing fake about this lady.

Plus, the dishes she prepares are so down-to-earth and easy to make. At least it seems so, and a lot of that is because of her wonderful personality.

She only has six episodes this season, and that makes only one more Sunday that I can wake up to this great lady.

Can't wait until she does more.

You can connect with Damaris Phillips on Twitter (@ChefDPhillips) and on Facebook.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving ... A Black Thursday?

I wonder how many young people know what Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, stands for. I betcha if you get a group of high schoolers together (perhaps even collegians), three-quarters would have no idea.

Simply put, merchandise sales on the Friday after Thanksgiving usually bring the retail outlets into the "black," which means they begin making a profit on their sales for the year. Red ink = losses, black ink = gains. Hence, Black Friday.

Personally, I think it's pretty sad that it takes that long for store to start making money. So do the stores, apparently. There was a time that stores never opened on Thanksgiving Thursday, then opened at their regular hours on the next day. Then, they began opening earlier, like 4 a.m. Then, they began opening at midnight.

Now, if you look at the ads, some are moving their opening hours up a few more hours into the scared realm of Thanksgiving Day ... "Black Thursday."

Some people are very, very upset with that. Thanksgiving, they say, is a day to spend with family, not helping those greedy companies take advantage of people and earning more money. Boycott, they cry, boycott!

Personally, that's stupid. Stores open on Thanksgiving doesn't bother me. I consider it a sign of the times. Business is bad, and the manufacturers and retailers are trying everything they can to stay in business, with the ultimate result that their workers can keep their jobs. Good business is good for everybody.

Plus, there are those who go into depression when they spend Thanksgiving alone. They could be helped by keeping their minds and bodies busy working to make others feel joyous. Slim thought, I know, but it's valid.

Remember when stores were closed on Christmas and New Year's Days? Many shopping centers began opening on New Year's, and I'm sure more and more will be opening on New Year's and perhaps even Christmas this year. It doesn't bother me. As much as we like to make Christmas a religious holiday, it's secular as well.

So please, stop sending me emails about boycotting stores on Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Where's the Gas Cap?

This was a surprise ... a shock, actually.

When I drove into the gas station to fill up my rental car tank at the end of my most recent trip to Las Vegas, I didn't see a gas tank cap while standing there with the hose in my hand.

Apparently, the auto company had figured out a way to eliminate gas caps. All you have to do is poke the pump nozzle into the thingy without unscrewing a cap.

Which begs the question: Why did it take so long for someone to figure it out? I mean, the auto manufacturers spend a lot of time fine-tuning the outer design, how come nobody was thinking about basic stuff like this until now?

What's next? The oil dip stick ... HEY! That's it! Somebody please ... work on that.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Magazines Through the Years

Magazine titles kind of reflect the nation’s personalities, especially our obsession with ourselves.

I remember reading Life in the ‘50s; the magazine was first published in 1883, then reborn in 1936 and published until 1972. Remember? It was a weekly news and photojournalism magazine that graced doctors’ offices and brought lots of pictures into our lives.
Back in the ‘50s, we didn’t have much television, maybe just a few channels (four at best), and it was all in black and white. So we welcomed receiving the picture news magazines and passed them around the neighborhood for all to enjoy.
Yep, it was life – all of us.
And then came People, which first appeared in the ‘70s, first published in March 1974. Still around today, it’s to be found weekly in supermarkets and newsstands, focusing on the people who made the news, rather than the issues.
Notice how we went from “life” to “people”? Not just everything that’s living – just people.
A few years later, Us Weekly came to life in the late ‘70s, first published in 1977. Another magazine that’s still around today, it presented stories about celebrity and entertainment, fashion and beauty. My, how our interests have changed.
From “life” to “people” to “us.” Just narrowing the audience and what we’re interested in, right?
Then, in the early 2000s, Autumn 2004 to be exact, there appeared a publication called Me Magazine about creative individuals. I’ve never seen it on any newsstand as it’s sold mostly in New York City. Guess I’ll have to buy a subscription if I ever want to read this one.
So we’ve moved from “people” to “us” to “me.” Focus, focus, focus.
As if “me” weren’t enough, there’s now Unique Me, a quarterly on-line ezine first published in Summer 2012. It’s for families with children who have special challenges (physical, medical, mental, emotional, behavioral and educational). It just published its third issue and uses social media (Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and Google+) a lot.
There you go. Magazine titles have evolved over the years to cover what interests us most. Apparently, we don’t care so much about life or humans in general; apparently, we care about ourselves – our own selves, to be more specific.
Is this a good thing? I dunno. Hey, that’s a good title for a magazine: Is This a Good Thing?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Fired USC Coach Lane Kiffin to Gators?

Okay, this was interesting. In today's College Football Daily program on ESPNU, host Dari Nowkah and analysts Jason Seaborn and Paul Feinbaum were discussing the horrid University of Florida Gator football season and the immediate future of coach Will Muschamp.

Feinbaum was into his analysis about the Gators needing a new offensive coordinator when Seaborn tossed in the name of Lane Kiffin ... y'know, the coach that everybody loves to hate.

And you know what? Feinbaum agreed enthusiastically. Despite his personality, Kiffin does know his stuff (he just doesn't know when to delegate). And, Feinbaum added, Kiffin does have a connection with Florida -- his wife's father or uncle or somebody went there.

Hmmm ... possible? Anything is possible, right?

I kid you not.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Oh, Go Ahead and Whine

I don't mind if you whine, I'm used to hearing it.

But ... don't you do it at Spud Point Crab Company in Bodega Bay, where The Birds was filmed. They don't like whiners there, and they're going to make you toss a fin (not the fish kind either) in the pot.

I was going to ask them if they've raked in a lot of money with the charge, but I was afraid they'd charge me a dollar just for asking.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Good News, Bad News

Good news, bad news.

The good news is that I hit a moderately satisfactory jackpot on the Megabucks slog machine in Las Vegas, a double-double 7 that won me $960. That nicely offset the other dollars I wasted on slots that trip.

The bad news is that once I won that one, the odds of my winning the big bugger (about $16.5 million) became worse than the 280,000,000 to 1 that they say are the "normal odds." So I stopped playing for the day.

All this is recorded on my Wynn Resort Red Card, but like I said, that's okay, the rest of my losing slot bets will probably cover this win over the course of this past year. So I probably will come out even with the IRS.

It was nice, though. I got to eat "on the house" for several dinners. It's nice to win sometimes.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Wait! Is that Map Right?

What's wrong with this screen capture of a graphic shown on my recent return flight from Las Vegas to Honolulu on Hawaiian Airlines?

Go ahead. Look and contemplate. I'll wait.


... ... ...

... ... ... ... ... ...

Give up? Las Vegas is NOT east of Honolulu. When you fly from Las Vegas to Honolulu, you fly west, from right to left, at least on the traditional "north is top and south is bottom" maps we're all used to.

Not these guys. They showed us flying the wrong way. Somebody situated Las Vegas where Hawaii should be, and vice-versa.

I didn't say anything. I might have been banished outside. And look how cold it was out there.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Three Forks

We have eaten at a couple of Chinese food restaurants in Fremont, California, including Food Talk Café in the Pacific Commons shopping area. They specialize in Hong Kong and Taiwanese food.

Now, I don't know about you, but I always have difficulty eating with Chinese chopsticks that don't some to a point as do Japanese hashi. I just can't get a good hold on the food, particularly the noodles.

So I always ask for a fork. It's a little less cultured (yes, that's the truth, a throwback to Medieval European days), but hey, I don't want to struggle when I eat.

When the waiter brought our forks, I couldn't help but notice that the styles of all three forks were different (check out the handles). Not that there's anything wrong with that, mind you. In fact, at least I knew they were a thrifty bunch and didn't throw anything useful away.

There's something good to be said about that, no?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Phone Pix 10: Hanging Art

Wandering around in Las Vegas, I get to take phone pictures of some pretty incredible art and décor hanging from the ceilings and walls of the resorts and restaurants I visit during my holiday. Here are some of them:
Bellagio Flori di Como Ceiling, 2,000 Pieces, Sept. 2, 2013
Dona Maria Mexican Restaurant Stained Glass, Sept. 2, 2013
Palazzo Atrium Carnivale Mask, Sept. 2, 2013
Encore Resort Elevator Lobby Butterfly, Sept. 4, 2013
Encore Resort Entry Décor, Sept. 4, 2013
Encore Resort Foyer Lobby Chandelier, Sept. 4, 2013
Encore Resort Regis Lobby Chandelier, Sept. 4, 2013
Encore Resort Regis Lobby Fake Orchid Display, Sept. 4, 2013
Encore Resort Suite Wall Art, Sept. 4, 2013

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Who Are These Guys Anyway?

While having dinner last night, I saw this ¼-page pink paper with writing on it sitting on the dining room table. So, being a meal-time cereal box reader, I picked it up to read.

It was announcing a 20th Anniversary Special Offer, something that always interests me. I turned it over to see what the offer was (after all, they did say “**Turn over for more information” at the bottom of the little flyer).
I turned the flyer over:
They were offering special November reduced prices on several menu items, on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Hmmm, I thought, I should check out their regular prices to see if indeed the offer is a good one.
You know what? I couldn’t find the restaurant’s name anywhere on the flyer. Not on the front, not on the back.
There’s a cardinal rule in advertising: When you print an offer on a piece of paper, or a balloon, or maybe even a pencil – anything! – always put your name or company on it. That’s in case people like me get ahold of it, want to take advantage, and don’t know who to contact. Plus, me in particular, you know I’m going to make fun of it.
I had to spend valuable retirement energy to ask the wife where the flyer came from. Luckily, her brother, who had brought the take-out food, had also picked up one of those sample menus. So I checked the prices.
Hey, not too shabby. The Miso Ramen is regularly $7.75, it’s on special for $5.99. The Pork Fried Rice is regularly $8.25, it’s on special for $5.99. The Beef Curry Rice is regularly $8.75, it’s on special for $5.99. The Gyoza (4 pieces) is regularly $3.25, it’s on special for $1.75.
You’d better hurry, there are only five more days in the 20th Anniversary Celebration.
But where, you ask, is this happening? See what I mean? That’s why they needed to have their name on the flyer. I’ll tell you anyway … it’s Taiyo Ramen, 451 Piikoi St., Suite 105, Honolulu 96814, phone 589-2123. Tell them Craig sent you. That should confuse the hell outta them.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Restaurant Waiter Code?

The last time the wife and I were in California, we had breakfast at one of those Original Pancake Houses. I've always had and liked their Eggs Michael at their other locations, so that's what I ordered. The wife had an Apple Crepe.

All was well and good, until we got our bill. It threw me for a loop. I knew what the initials the water had scribbled stood for, but there were no figures to go along with it, so I didn't know how much the bill was.

Oh well, I thought, the cashier will figure it out and tell me. Then I can go back and leave the appropriate tip. So off I went to pay the tab, chuckling to myself in anticipation of watching the cashier (1) refer to the menu and add up the listed prices, or (2) call the waiter over, or (3) do it from memory, or maybe even (4) throw a fit.

She did (5) ... turned the bill over and read the addition on the other side.

Boy, did I feel stupid.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Signs, Signs, Everywhere There’s Signs

I watched ESPN’s College GameDay yesterday morning. And before you ask, yes, I recorded it from their regular 3 a.m. Hawaii Time broadcast. People on the East and West coasts of America probably complain about their early-morning broadcast. They have nothing to complain about.

One of the things I like about College GameDay is that they go to different campuses each week – probably the campus of the home team in a big Saturday collegiate game. Yesterday, they were at the University of Southern California; the Trojans were hosting the Stanford Cardinal (aka, the “Trees”), who were ranked fifth in the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) poll.
By now, you know the score of the game and who won (USC in a 20-17 upset of Stanford, yay), so I’d like to talk instead about the student signs. Fervent college fans show up in the hundreds, sometimes thousands, to watch the panel program unfold and listen to the pundits talk about who they think is going to win the games that day.
And a lot of them make signs that they wave in the air behind the panel. Throughout the three-hour program, the cameras turn to the crowds and show us the wit and creativity … and harshness … of the sign-makers.
Yesterday, a few of the signs set their targets on Lane Kiffin, who was fired as head football coach of the Trojans after the team’s dismal performance against the Arizona State Sun Devils on Sept. 28. Here's one that the panel focused on:
At least this sign wasn’t harsh and denigrating; all it did was bring Lane Kiffin to front of mind and make us appreciate what Ed Orgeron has done to revitalize the team as its temporary head coach for the rest of the season. He’s why USC was only a 3.5-point underdog boing against the #5 team in the nation.
But my favorite sign had to do with Manti Te’o. Remember him? He was on the Notre Dame team that beat USC in the Los Angeles Coliseum in 2010, the first time since 2001.
I don’t have a picture of the sign because it had just a fleeting appearance and I couldn’t find it afterwards. It evoked memories of what had to be Te’o’s most embarrassing and stupid experience of his football career and personal life – Lenny Kekua, his imaginary girlfriend.
The sign: Even Lenny Kekkua Got Into Stanford.
Oooo-wee! That’s harsh on at least three levels: (1) It dragged a Te’o embarrassment back into the picture, (2) it took a huge swipe at the Stanford stereotype that women go there are smart but ugly, and (3) it showed that the USC student who made the sign doesn’t know how to spell.
Still … I laughed and laughed and laughed. I’m so ashamed of myself.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Dinner Reading About a Poll?

When I sat down to dinner last night (Pizza! From Pizza Hut! Yum!), I had one hand free since we all know having pizza is a one-handed affair ... you just roll up a slice lengthwise and shove it in your mouth, putting it down every now and then to swig from your canned soda (or beer, if you are so inclined).

That leaves one hand to hold reading material. So I grabbed a sports section of the morning paper. I found out later it was a week old, but that's beside the point.

Anyway ... I saw a story inside, on Page 2 of last Saturday's Honolulu Star-Advertiser sports section, that NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson had earned a ... a poll. That seemed odd. Since when does a person earn a poll? I mean, you take a poll, you're questioned for a poll, but I've never heard of anyone EARNING a poll.

Well, it turns out that Jimmie Johnson won the POLE position at Phoenix International Raceway by breaking the lap trial mark with a new track record of 139.222 miles per hour. Now that's fast.

So he didn't earn a POLL ... he earned a POLE position.

I wonder if the headline writer had enough sleep the night before. Poor guy/gal. If s/he worked for me when I was an editor, s/he wouldn't be working for me any more. So unprofessional.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Butterfly Airplane

What do you call a gathering of butterflies? You call it a “flight,” or a “kaleidoscope,” or a “rabble,” or a “swarm,” or a “flutter.”

I like “flutter,” myself. I mean, think of what the sound of a thousand butterfly wings flapping (fluttering) sounds like. A flutter. So I prefer “flutter.”
However, “kaleidoscope” would be most appropriate for a flutter of butterflies I saw recently at McCarran Airport’s Terminal 3 in Las Vegas. Right there, where you take the escalator to the underground area where you catch the electric train to D Gates, is this large group of butterflies decorating the upper airspace near the ceiling.
It’s called “Mirare,” which means “to look at thoughtfully, to wonder at.” And the hanging artwork is made up of nearly 3,000 polyester butterflies suspended by fine stainless steel wires … almost 2,400 of them.
If you don’t watch out, they’ll make you late for your plane. You can spend quite a bit of time just examining each beautiful butterfly, then stepping back to get a picture of the flutter/kaleidoscope as a whole. Believe me, it gives the word “kaleidoscope” justice.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Puns for Educated Minds 1

Have I mentioned that I love puns? Sure I have. They are so clever, and sometimes you have to be a little more educated than usual to catch the point of these groaners.

Here’s the first of a new batch that a friend sent me:
  • The fattest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi.
  • I thought I saw an eye-doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian.
  • She was only a whisky-maker, but he loved her still.
  • A rubber-band pistol was confiscated from an algebra class, because it was a weapon of math disruption.
  • No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.
  • A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.
  • A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.
  • Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie. 
LOL. I’m still cracking up! I’ll have more at a later date. In the meantime, you go ahead and email these to your friends. If they like them, they’re on a par with you. If not, well, that’s their problem, right?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I Don’t Care for This

Don’t care for what, you ask?

I don’t like it that the University of Southern California still has a chance to make the Pac-12 Conference Championship Game in December, but has to depend on Arizona State to lose a couple of games. Losing one game isn’t going to do it, because they beat USC in September and hold the tie-breaker over USC.
I hate that. It’s better when a team controls its own destiny. We shouldn’t have lost to Arizona State (or Washington State, for that matter), and I blame since-fired head coach Lane Kiffen for that.
Still, today is today, and I guess we have to hope for the team ahead of us to stumble so we can slide in the back door.
I hate that. It’s bad enough that we have to play Stanford this Saturday, then have our crosstown rivalry game against UCLA on the final day of the regular season at the end of the month.
Oh well … Fight On!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

It’s So Groovy Now

I have an ear worm. It’s that blasted Target commercial featuring the song by Friend and Lover called “Reach Out in the Darkness.” You know, the one that goes:
“I think it’s so groovy now, that people are finally getting together.”
I’ve always thought that the comma should be after “groovy,” as in “I think it’s so groovy, now that people are finally getting together.” But then that would leave a big ol’ quiet spot at the end of the first line.
So now I’m going around with the song in my head. Not the whole song, because I can never remember the words … just that “groovy” line. I can do a little better on “Yellow Submarine” … I think.
Anyhow, I feel like Jerry Duncan’s dad, Walt. Except instead of a yellow submarine, I probably have a big ol’ groove in my head. By the way, did you know he has a peace sign tattooed on his butt?
Damned ear worm …

Monday, November 11, 2013

Hilo Days: On and Around the Pond

When we lived on Barenaba Street, there were adventures galore for a preschool kid like me. We would eventually move to Ekaha Street, and the Barenaba Street house became referred to as “Obachan’s house” because Dad’s mom remained behind.

Although we knew the pond as “Lanai Pond,” its actual name is “Mohouli Fishpond.”
Good memories abound, many of which I wrote about in my now-gone website, Hilo Days. But here’s one of the stories from the website that I’d like to share with you.
Lanai Pond
Photo by N. Peralto, on
Lanai Pond was right across the street. Actually, “pond” is a misnomer. Lanai Pond was big – more like a lake. It was a kind of swampy place with lots of big fish in it, crowded with reeds and limu [Hawaiian for “seaweed”].
I took my first rowboat ride on the pond. I think we paid a quarter for the ride. The skilled boatman took a couple of us kids out on the pond and even let us row the boat. Kind of spooky. Every time I looked over the side, my sphincter would tighten. It wasn’t bad when I was rowing; I had to concentrate on not losing the oars. But eventually, I had to move out of the rowing seat and into the stern of the boat.
The boat would rock gently from side to side, we’d squiggle to maintain our balance, and the boat would begin to rock less gently from side to side. I’d inadvertently look over the side, and my sphincter would tighten.
“Look at the fish! The boatman would say, pointing down at some large mullet passing by under the boat. I’d look, of course, bracing myself for another sphincter-tightening episode. But God, those fish were fascinating. They were mostly mullet, but every now and then a different-colored one would pass by.
I think the quarter bought us a half-hour, but it seemed like only five minutes before we headed back to shore. End of nature lesson.
* * * * *
The canec mill was across the pond from the Kilauea Avenue side, and we used to sit in the grass watching the smoke rise from the stack.
One day, something more than smoke rose from the plant. “The canec plant is burning!” people were shouting as they raced down Barenaba Street to Lanai Pond.
My first fire watch! The canec plant really was burning. The flames were reaching high up into the blue Hilo sky, and you could actually hear the roar as the sound blasted across the quarter-mile-wide pond.
I think the entire population of Barenaba Street was at the pond that day as the fire department battled the fire. The canec plant went back into operation after the fire damage was fixed.
* * * * *
The plant itself was a fascination. Years later, when I was in intermediate school, I went skinny dipping at night at the canec plant. The water was fed by springs and was more of less brackish since the pond fed Wailoa River in the Waiakea area of Hilo.
Let me tell you, when we jumped into the night-cold water at the canec plant, more than just sphincters tightened up. Females might have a hard time understanding that, but every boy or man who has ever turned on the cold water in the shower by mistake knows what I’m talking about. It was cold.
* * * * *
Do you know I saw my first insect zapper at Lanai Pond? There was a restaurant that opened at the pond called – what else? – The Lanai.
One of its features was an electrical bug zapper. We used to stand there and watch bugs get the shock of their lives and drop into the pond where the hungry fish would gobble them up.
Yumm, fried moth.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Phone Pix 9: Some Stuff

Here's a bunch of stuff that I photographed with my smart phone, everything from locales to signs to deck ornaments to airport scenes.

It's fun doing this with no particular purpose in mind, except as reminders of things I've done and where I've been. Plus, it's fun to share them with you.

Central Pacific Bank, Ward and Queen, Aug. 9, 2013
Dairy Queen, Ward Warehouse, Aug. 9, 2013
Dr. Carl Yorita Waiting Room, Aug. 12, 2013
Shuttle Information, Honolulu Int'l Airport,
Sept. 1, 2013
Escalator, McCarran Int'l Airport (LAS)
Sept. 2, 2013
St. Germaine Bakery, Sept. 7, 2013
Sanoya Ramen, Sept. 9, 2013
Son's Fremont Home Back Deck, Sept. 20, 2013

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Sage Advice?

Guy Hovis and Ralna English were regulars on The Lawrence Welk Show, which aired on a local Los Angeles station from 1951-1955, then on ABC from 1955-1971, then on national syndication from 1971-1982.

They were paid union scale (everybody on the show was), so they had to play weekend gigs (many out of town) to supplement their income. Working on the TV show Monday through Thursday, then doing extra work on Friday through Sunday, didn't give them much time for rest.
Consequently, they began to look a bit peaked. Lawrence Welk noticed this and when told of their rigorous performance schedule, gave them his sage advice: "You should work less and charge more."
Great anecdote. It reminds me of something my father once said. He’d been working too hard and wanted to cut back on his medical practice. So he raised his office visit prices, thinking that the higher price would discourage new patients from making appointments.
Well, that didn’t work. His practice grew, so Lawrence Welk’s advice, while sensible, sometimes doesn’t work if your “product” is too good to pass up. Sometimes raising your rates is a great way to increase favorable public perception of your work.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Humongous Cake

While visiting my grandson in Fremont, California, I came across one of the biggest (if not the biggest) cakes I've ever seen in my whole life.

It was at the Claim Jumper Restaurant in Pacific Commons, after we had their Sunday brunch.

I mean, check it out. It's their "Chocolate Motherlode Cake," and believe me, it was the MOTHER of all lodes. I don't recall exactly, but I think it was seven layers of pure chocolate. One slice must weigh a whole pound or more, don't you think?

Look at the whole cake. It's looks like a giant Baby Ruth candy bar.

And before you ask, the answer is no, I did not order a slice.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

NFL Red Zone

I like football. I like college football, I like NFL football. I have a heavy emotional attachment to college football, particularly the University of Southern California Trojans. I used to have an attachment to the Los Angeles Rams because I went to their games on Sunday until I moved out of Los Angeles.

Consequently, I watch all of USC's games on TV. I do not, however, watch any particular NFL team play on TV. When it comes to the pros, I'm satisfied with watching highlights until the end of the season and then playoffs, when I really start paying attention.

For me, the best thing to do on a Sunday is tune in to NFL Red Zone, a "whip-around" program that shows every touchdown scored during the live games, as they happen (well, most of the time, anyway).

In particular, they cover all plays in the "red zone," the area of the field between an opponent's 20-yard and goal lines.

Sure beats flipping channels and sitting through entire games if you don't have an emotional attachment to a team. It's perfect for people like me who just want to see scoring plays.

I get it as part of a cable sports package and the package cost is well-worth the few dollars a month. Check it out, you might like it too.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Dirty What?

Oh my, the things we see if only we'd keep our eyes open.

One day, while parking behind Sanoya Ramen on King Street, I noticed bumper sticker stuck on ... not a bumper, but a pipe. It wasn't hard to notice; the green color stuck out like a sore thumb.

But it was what was written on the sticker that really caught my eye: "Dirty Unko Inc."

The word unko is Japanese for doo-doo, dump, crap, defecation, number two. It's not pronounced like "uncle," It's pronounced "oon koh."

How come I always notice stupid stuff like this? Brain warp? Time warp? Let's do the Time Warp again? Why? Still, I wonder who put the sticker there, and what the motive was, if any.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Inconsiderate Passenger?

On the wife's and my most recent flight home from San Jose, one of the first-class passengers did the lazy thing and just shoved his roll-on bag into the overhead bin without even trying to nestle it in.

There it sat, with its top sticking out, until a flight attendant turned it sideways so it would fit.

All I could think of was, what an inconsiderate guy that passenger was. And lazy beyond belief. It's people like him who make it hard on other passengers and flight attendants. Maybe I should have said something, but no ... he was a big bugger.

Discretion is the better part ... and all that stuff.