Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Governor Grinch

All the state employees who voted for David Ige this past election and got him elected as our new governor, might be taking a step back and wondering if they did the right thing. If they are, it’s extremely small-minded of them.

See, Gov. Ige has decided that state employees shouldn’t get Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve off, a tradition previous governors have granted.

Actually, I think it’s good. It costs the government about $11 million every year when they give the extra holiday days. If the workers want the eves off, they should take vacation days; it should come out of THEIR pockets … not mine (the dutiful taxpayer).

Monday, December 29, 2014

Pull My Finger

While I was visiting in Queen’s Hospital Neurology Intensive Care, a doc in next room was trying to get a patient to respond.

I could hear her through the walls. One of her exhortations: "Pull my finger!"

Wait ... What?

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Las Vegas Stamp Safari

Every now and then, I check in at Charleston Stamps when I visit Las Vegas.

Owned by Ruth Hillard, the 30-year-old shop reminds me of a mini-version of Natick Store, which I used to patronize in downtown Los Angeles in the late '60s – if you ask for something, Ruth hauls out the appropriate stock book bulging with stamps. She also has a bid board where collectors can sell their stamps.

(Las Vegas Review-Journal
I used to go there when her former husband, Bob, owned the store in the mid-'70s, and we'd trade stock. I brought British Commonwealth stock that I couldn't move in the Honolulu stamp shows and he'd let me wander through his stock for things I thought I could sell (including Hawaii).

This last time, I went there as usual, but Ruth was absent and her friend Terry was handling the shop for her. She told me that Ruth was having some pretty bad back problems and probably would have to go to the hospital.

Terry treated me as nicely as Ruth always did, and I was happy to leave there with a bunch of used United States stamps to fill holes in my collection.

Get better soon, Ruth, and I'll see you the next time I'm back in Las Vegas.

Charleston Stamps, 5708 W. Charleston Blvd. (corner of Charleston and Upland), Las Vegas, NV 89146, phone (792) 887-1106. Closed Sundays and Mondays.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas
to You and Yours
from Me and Mine ...
and the Mickey Mouse Gang!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Bellagio Christmas

The other attraction that is amongst the first I visit on trips to Las Vegas is the Conservatory in the Bellagio Hotel & Casino. Depending where I'm staying, and the route I'm driving, I visit either the Palazzo Atrium or the Bellagio Conservatory first. But no matter, the other is always the second place you can find me.

It seems they recycle their theme attractions from time to time. I've seen those penguins and bears before, but nonetheless, they always bring a twinkle to the eye and a smile to the lips.

It's especially heartwarming to hear parents tell their youngsters to "watch for this, and watch for that" ... it's a Christmas tradition, evidently, to revisit the Conservatory.

As usual, I'll just keep my mouth shut ... well, perhaps I'll caption the pictures. Have fun visiting with me!

Via Bellagio Mall Display

The Bellagio Lobby Horse

Display Behind the Registration Desk

Penguins on the Frolic

Do Penguins' Necks and Heads Get Cold?

Teeny Tiny Beads, Not Water

The Giant Bellagio Christmas Tree

Zoom-In Picture of the Tree Ornaments

Snow Globe and Train

Another Snow Globe and Gingerbread House

Is this Santa's Express?

Close-Up of a Giant Christmas Tree Bulb

Mama Coca~Cola Polar Bear

The Lazy Coca~Cola Polar Bear Cub

The Energetic Coca-Cola Polar Bear Cub
From me at the Bellagio, Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Palazzo Christmas

One of the first places I visit when I'm in Las Vegas is The Palazzo Hotel & Casino, right next to the Venetian. I discovered their hotel lobby and atrium season displays the first time I stayed there many years ago.

It never fails to impress me, and this Christmas Season is no different. Their theme this year was a snow peacock, and they could be found all over the place. This is their lobby display:

The Palazzo Lobby Display
I don't usually do a lot of writing when I talk about the Palazzo displays, I figure a few of the many photographs I took can say so much more than I can.

So ... Enjoy!

I can't wait to see what their next seasonal display will look like. In the meantime, from me at the Palazzo, Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2014

A Random Conversation

(Let me tell you about a conversation I overheard at Honolulu International Airport in the Vacations Hawaii boarding area between an old [say, 80s] local Hawaii Chinese man, hereafter referred to as "Husband," and his travel companion, an equally old Chinese woman we'll call "Wife.")

Wife: You baddah put on one jacket, (name indecipherable) w'en call and said was cold in Vegas. Like sixtay. You w'en bring um, o' what?

Husband: You t'ink me stupedd, o' what? A-course I w'en bring one jacket. Stay in my carray-on bag. I know stay cold in Vegas.

Wife: She said stay inna sixtays so you baddah wear um, 'kay? (Louder) SIXTAYS!

Husband: I know dat! Stay inna sixtays. I know dat! I get my jacket and shoes in my carray-on, okay?

Wife: Well, you baddah, 'cause she said was inna sixtays.

(I couldn't stand it. I looked up the current temperature on my iPad – it was 51° going down to a low of 39° in Las Vegas – and showed the screen to them. They gasped at how cold it was, and continued their conversation.)

Wife: You baddah put on one jacket, da guy said stay cold in Vegas. Like feeftay.

Husband: Lee-me 'lone. I know stay cold! I get my jacket and shoes!

Wife: You baddah! Going down to turday.

(I went back to my seat, shaking my head and vowing to mind my own business from then on. Old Hawaii locals crack me up.)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

King Street Bike Lane Revisited

Remember when I posted this picture on Nov. 25th and said I sure hoped I'd see a lot of bikers using the new bike lane?

I saw a couple recently. One 'way down the way during the afternoon rush hour traffic, and one crossing in front of me at a stop light as we were going to a local restaurant to have dinner. And that last one continued riding on the sidewalk, not the bike lane; but I'll count him anyway.

Yippee. That's $100,000 (what it cost), divided by 2. So far, $50,000 per biker in my eyes.

Like I said back then, a whole lotta bikers have to use the grand experiment for it to be successful.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Phone Pix 36: Slightly Early Christmas

Last Christmas, I had to take the wife for an MRI at Kuakini Medical Center, and while I was waiting, I wandered into the Gift Shop, where I snapped a few phone-cam photographs of their Christmas stuff on sale.

It was a bit early for the Yuletide items to be out - Dec. 2, 2013 - but as you can figure out, there's a reason for that. And I'm not talking about copying what's going on in the commercial world.

Here you are ... enjoy the season!

Christmas is only 10 days away!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Advancements in Technology Can Confuse

About a week ago, the wife and I visited the Ala Moana Pacific Building to make reservations for a trip to Las Vegas at the Vacations Hawaii office.

It's been a while since I went there in person, and it was interesting and a bit exciting to see that the building had upgraded its elevator system.

Instead of just pressing the usual button and waiting to see which car arrived first, you now have to (1) pick your floor, and (2) wait for an assigned car to open for you.

That sounds simple enough, once you've read the instructions. I repeat ... ONCE YOU'VE READ THE INSTRUCTIONS. Well, I didn't read the instructions and got all confused, punching button images. Confused? You have to remember my brain is turning to mush with old age.

Now ... what were we talking about? Oh yeah. Elevators.

Good thing there was someone there to tell me what to do.

Coming back down was another story. I knew what to do, so I poked the "1" image. The trouble is, I had to get off on the 7th floor and take the escalator down to the parking deck. The elevator stopped on the 7th floor and would go no farther. After I got out and walked around in circles in front of the elevator doors a few times, the wife recognized one of the stores and we found our way back to the car.

Ain't technology wonderful?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

De Nombreuses Ventes de Garage!

Loosely translated, "That's a helluva lotta yard sales!"

Check out all the homemade yard and garage sale signs posted on an overpass pillar near Honolulu International Airport.

It makes sense, actually, for them to be posted in that particular area. Just on the other side of the freeway from the airport is a big ol' military housing complex. And with the ever-constant rotations being inflicted on the military families, there's always a lot of movement in and out of the place.

I'm sure some of the families would rather hang around in Hawaii. Hopefully, none of them has been reassigned to the North Pole.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Where Hawaii Ranks 32

Thought you’d be interested in the first one, since it’s almost Christmas.

Costliest U.S. Cities to Celebrate Christmas (, 2014, website )
  1. Manhattan, New York, NY ($1,293.93)
  2. HILO, HI  ($1,172.02) (Honolulu, HI, is #10 at $1,037.62)
  3. Brooklyn, New York, NY ($1,120.99)
  4. Boston, MA ($1,104.88)
  5. Stamford, CT ($1,101.79) 
Warmest U.S. Tourist Destinations in December (Current Results, 2014)
  2. Everglades National Park, FL (82°F)
  3. Anaheim/Disneyland, CA (70°F)
  4. Yuma, AZ (69°F)
  5. Rio Grand Village, Big Bend Park, TX (71°F)
Lowest Gun Death Rates (Violence Policy Center, 2014)
  1. Rhode Island (3.14 per 100,000 residents)
  2. HAWAII (3.56)
  3. Massachusetts (3.84)
  4. New York (5.11) New Jersey (5.46)
  5. New Jersey (5.46)
Highest Justice Index: How Well Courts Serve Disadvantaged (National Center for Access to Justice, 2014)
  1. Washington, DC (80.9 score out of 100)
  2. Connecticut (73.4)
  3. HAWAII (69.9)
  4. Minnesota (69.4)
  5. New York (67.4)
Worst State for Business (CNBC, 2014)
Based on economy, infrastructure, workforce, quality of life, technology and innovation, business friendliness, education, cost of living, and access to capital
  1. Rhode Island
  3. West Virginia
  4. Alaska
  5. Connecticut

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Random Musings 25

What does one do when one wants a 10-gallon hat but has an 11-gallon head?

* * * * *

If one has only so many meals left in life, shouldn’t one enjoy each meal and try not to fall behind?

* * * * *

When a dog sniffs a fire hydrant, tree, or telephone pole, is it checking its social media?

* * * * *

Those little voices in my head – could they be the fleas planning their next attack? Do you think I need to wash my hair again?

* * * * *

Don’t you wish our lives had remote controls so we wouldn’t have to get up and do it ourselves?

Friday, December 5, 2014

Hilo Days: The Perfect Incentive

There are both upsides and downsides to being the son of a doctor. Most are upsides, but there is one downside in particular that I will never forget. From my former Hilo Days website, here's what I'm talking about.

Hilo Days: The Injections

Dad was a doctor. You already know that. It was okay. The family always got a lot of respect, and we got a lot of kids named after us.

But there was a down side. First of all, we could never fake sickness just to stay out of school. Dad knew all the tricks. Worst of all, Dad always had a supply of those dreaded hypodermic injections waiting in his ever-present black bag.

Our booster shots were always up-to-date – without fail. One good thing was we never had to leave the house and torture ourselves in a doctor's crowded waiting room, endlessly waiting for the inevitable words: "This won't hurt a bit."

I remember sitting down many times at the kitchen table at Obachan's house and being presented with some options:

  • "You're feeling sick? I'm going to have to give you an injection!" I went to school.
  • "You better listen to your mom, or I'm going to give you an injection!" I listened to Mom.
  • "You better eat your liver, or I'm going to give you an injection!" I ate my liver (but I hate it to this day).
  • "You better stop teasing your sister, or I'm going to give you two injections!" I was an angel.

You get the idea.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Opt In, Yes ... Opt Out, No

Recently, Oceanic Time Warner Cable sent me a "Mahalo" card offering me a gift for 12 months - a free subscription to their EPIX movie channel.

Normally, as a movie lover, I'd jump at the chance. I watched several movies during their initial free promotional period, but then didn't subscribe. Ah, but wait. As the saying goes, "Nothing is free." And sure as tooting, when you read the fine print on the back of the card carefully, you find this:
After promotional periods, regular rates will apply. You may cancel at anytime by calling 643-2337.
Their hope, of course, is either (1) I will be so hooked on the channel that I won't want to cancel, or (2) I will completely forget that I can cancel at any time. Either way, more revenue for them, not that there's anything wrong about that.

Personally, I don't like "opt-out" agreements. I'd rather be able to "opt-in," to make my own conscious choice when I decide to do something.

I have until Jan. 15, 2015 to make up my mind, but it's already made up.

Thank you very much, Oceanic, but I think I'll pass on this great offer.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Phone Pix 35: A Variety of Subjects

A lot of phone pictures that don't quite fit into a theme have accumulated in my miscellaneous folder this past year or so. It's time I started clearing out the file and share them with you.


Berth 35 Honolulu Waterfront, March 20, 2013, Honolulu, HI

Costco Caution Flag, Aug. 20, 2013, Honolulu, HI

Camaro Giveaway Prize, Red Rock Resort, Sept. 3, 2013, Las Vegas, NV

Encore Hotel Mini Bar, Sept. 4, 2013, Las Vegas, NV

'Sky Dancers' Sculpture by Aristides Demetrios, Pacific Commons
Sept. 21, 2013, Fremont, CA

Bodega Bay Wharf Gift Shop, Sept. 24, 2013, Bodega Bay, CA

Pueblo Story Tellers, Indian Gift Shop, Dec. 12, 2013, Las Vegas, NV

Gnarly Tree Trunk, May 15, 2014, Aiea, HI

Fry's Electronics Checkout, May 20, 2014, Las Vegas, NV

Palm, Honpa Hongwanji, July 24, 2014, Honolulu, HI