Monday, March 31, 2014

Questionable Book Titles/Subjects 2

This is especially for cat lovers. It's a short post, and there are only three of them, so you can probably tolerate the books.

Hey, don't blame me. I didn't write the books.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Triggering an Urge

Every time I turned on the water in the Red Rock Resort's bathroom in Las Vegas, I had to shut it down immediately and take a pee. What's with that anyway?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Did You Know You Smell Like ...

... a dead chicken?

Yep, it's true. You know those cadaver-sniffing dogs they use to find dead people trapped in earthquake or other disaster rubble? They often train them using pig cadavers.

But recent studies show that the decaying organic compounds, aka "the smells," coming from dead pigs don't exactly match that of human bodies in a state of decay.

You know what's a much closer match? Yep, you got it, dead chickens.

So when the wife pulls a green-encrusted raw chicken out of the fridge and asks you to smell it and tell her if it's any good, feel free to tell her that it smells like her.

I kid you not.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Where Hawaii Ranks 26

Here are a bunch more rankings that place Hawaii in the top five (at least) of numerous categories, some good, some not so good.

Top U.S. Beaches (TripAdvisor, Travelers' Choice, 2014) 
  3. Siesta Key Public Beach, Siesta Key, FL
  7. Hunting Island State Park, Beaufort, SC
  9. St. Pete Beach, St. Pete Beach, FL

Cities with the Worst Traffic (Inrix 2014) 
  1. Los Angeles, CA (64 hours wasted in traffic in 2013)
  2. HONOLULU, HI (60 hours)
  3. San Francisco, CA (56 hours)
  4. New York, NY (53 hours)
  5. Austin, TX (41 hours) 

Top Five Unionized States (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013) 
  1. New York (24.4% of employees)
  2. Alaska (23.1%
  3. HAWAII (18.9%)
  4. Washington (18.9%)
  5. Rhode Island (16.9%) 

Most Solar Power Generated Per Capita (Solar Energy Industry Association, 2013) 
  1. HAWAII (104 watts)
  2. California (68.4)
  3. Arizona (63.5)
  4. Massachusetts (35.4)
  5. North Carolina (34.0) 

Highest “Work vs. Welfare” Benefit (Cato Institute, 2013) 
  1. HAWAII ($60,590 pre-tax and $29.13 hourly wage equivalent)
  2. District of Columbia ($50,820 and $24.43)
  3. Massachusetts ($50, 540 and $24.30)
  4. Connecticut ($44,370 and $21.33)
  5. New York ($43,370 and $21.01)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Questionable Book Titles/Subjects 1

A Facebook friend of mine posted a link to a website that poked fun at book titles and subjects. Some of them are sexual in nature, so this is a good time to put the kids to bed. Others are yucky. Some are downright offensive. But know that these are actual books that are (or were once) on sale.

Here's the first of six groups ... this selection has to do with pooping.

Still with me? Good. More at a later date.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Hilo Days: Those Are NOT Balloons

This is a story taken from my now-defunct website, Hilo Days. It’s one of those stories that could become legend, if only those who came after us in school perpetuated them. Unfortunately, the incident was probably forgotten.

That’s okay, at least I’ve kept it alive for a while.

Rubber Heaven

Mrs. Chock was supposedly one of the strictest teachers in the seventh grade.  A Hawaiian lady who had married Chinese (I think), she taught English and was quite adamant about us not speaking pidgin in class.

She and I got along quite well — in fact, most of us Riverside School graduates did well in her class, since after all, we had been selected to Riverside on the basis of our English in the first place.

Some of the students who came from other schools did have a rough time in her class.

So, the inevitable happened.  Mix together a strict teacher, a bunch of hormonal young boys from public school who weren't exactly her favorite students, and you get a lot of pranks.

One of the boys had gotten hold of some condoms — we called them "rubber cocks" in those days.  It's anybody's guess where he got them, because back then, they just weren't displayed in the stores.  You had to ask the pharmacist for them in person.

The rascal blew up three or four of them — they are quite elastic and do get quite large — before class, and put them in Mrs. Chock's closet.  Unfortunately, she didn't go to the closet that period, but we learned the results second-hand from the class two periods after us.

As the prankster had hoped, Mrs. Chock opened her closet and the inflated condoms came floating down on her head.  The class had erupted in laughter, and Mrs. Chock demanded to know who had booby-trapped her closet — she was certain the culprit lurked among them.

Of course, they didn't know anything about it, and since nobody from our class was stupid enough to tell her, Mrs. Chock never discovered who the guilty party was.  But some of us know.  And we'll never tell.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What? You Said What?

The other night, while watching cable television, I saw this class-action recruitment commercial sponsored by AkinMears GP, about testosterone therapy.

As you know, male audiences have been bombarded with testosterone therapy television commercials and print advertisements promising "male enhancement" and sex-drive improvement results. And of course, where drugs like these are concerned, there will always be side effects that are actionable.

So I was reading this ad copy when it occurred to me that they wanted people to call if their prescription testosterone therapy has resulted in heart attack, stroke, blood clot or death. Wait, they said, "If you are a male ... blah blah blah ... and have suffered ... Death, call now."

How can you call if you've suffered ... Death?

I kid you not.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Dr. Barbie? Or Mrs. Potato Head?

Who's Best for Your Daughter?
Say you have a daughter, whom you want to grow up and become somebody special, like a doctor or a teacher or a CEO of a major corporation. (You other men, bear with me, this gets interesting.)

What toy would you buy her? A Dr. Barbie? A businesswoman Barbie? A fashion model Barbie? A homemaker Barbie?

Or would you buy her one of those stupid-looking, bug-eyed, huge eared, pouty lipped, bulgy nosed Mrs. Potato Head?

Why, you’d buy her the Barbie, of course. And you’d be wrong, wrong, wrong.

A psychology study at Oregon State University found that the Barbie dolls (no matter what the profession she’s promoting), actually hinder little girls’ career ambitions. It just reinforces the home instinct all children have.

Those who have Barbies are 1.5% less likely than boys to feel confident that they can enter any career track or profession. But when they play with Mrs. Potato Head, well, just five minutes with “Jane” left them with the confidence that they can do anything a boy can do.

So toss those Barbies and reintroduce your daughters to Jane Potato Head!

And you other guys, go out today and buy stock in Playskool.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Phone Pix 20: Food Displays

Always take your phone with you on shopping trips (particularly food-shopping trips) so you can record what you see in the display cases and shelves.

Who knows? Maybe someday after the zombie apocalypse when the world has been restored to order and new breeds of humans are surviving on chemical rations, someone may find your phone and gape in awe at the wonderful foods we currently consume.


Pork Steaks, Foodland Supermarket, Aug. 12, 2013

Fresh Taape Fish, Chinatown Marketplace, Aug. 20, 2013

Muffins and Bagels, Costco, Aug. 20, 2013

Kauai Kookies Macadamia Nut Cookies, Safeway, Aug. 30, 2013

Muffin Display, Mimi's Cafe, Las Vegas, NV, Sept. 4, 2013

Deli Meats, R. Fields in Foodland, Sept. 7, 2013

Mango Jam, Made in Maui Store, Kahului Airport (OGG), Sept. 19, 2013

Jams, Jellies, Mustard, Sebastiani Winery, Sonoma, CA, Sept. 23, 2013

Macarons, La Tour Cafe, Dec. 4, 2013

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Strangely Worded Come-On

The last time I was in Las Vegas, I spotted this come-on at (I think) The Golden Nugget and couldn't resist take a picture.

I know exactly what it means: One free pull (on a slot machine) and you can win $2,500. But in my warped left-field mind, I imagined myself wondering how come a "free" pull costs $2,500. That certainly wouldn't be free, would it?

So I went inside, claimed my unfruitful free pull and mentioned that to the young attendant who was standing there looking all pretty. She gave me a blank look in return and just smiled. I suppose if you don't understand what an old man is saying, you might as well figure he's nuts and give him a nice smile.

I felt really "left-fieldy" walking out of there chuckling to myself.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Pagoda Floating Restaurant Redux

This past Sunday, we made our annual trek to the Pagoda Floating Restaurant, something we always do when my mother-in-law and my two brothers-in-law celebrate their birthdays, all of which fall in the first week of March.

Every year, I go with a sense of obligation and a stronger sense of trepidation. Biggest question on my mind is, "What will I find wrong this time?" But you should know, I always try to keep an open mind and anticipation that the place has improved.

Well, as usual, I have nit-picky things to talk about: They don't have sushi or sashimi in their buffet offerings any more. Neither do they have cold somen noodles, which is always a favorite of the more senior members of our group.

The spinach in the eggs florentine was very salty, the prime rib was overdone and unjuicy, the omelets were overcooked, the iced tea (which is no longer complimentary) was too weak, and their desserts continue to be ordinary (translation: not sweet and decadent).

I did see San Diego Charger Manti Te'o a couple of tables away; he looked local and cool in his white tee shirt and shorts. He was with family, I think ... nobody imaginary in sight, thank goodness.

The buffet brunch crowd wasn't very big, and I saw a lot of empty seats. Do you think others have the same opinion of the place as I do? Are they as tired as I am of the same ol', same ol' that it offers?

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Donation Station

Did I write about this before? My memory isn't so good these days; I think my brain is slowly drying up.

Anyway, This is a Donation Station located in downtown Las Vegas at the southeast end of the Fremont Experience, on the Main Street curb just across the street from The Plaza Hotel & Casino.

All that extra change you have in your pocket ... you know, the coins you have no use for since the slots all converted to bills and tickets ... instead of carrying them around, wearing holes in your pants pockets, you can get rid of them and help the homeless at the same time.

The money is used to help provide transportation, shelter, and other essentials for the homeless, and of course, to increase awareness of the problem to those of us who cross the street. The Donation Station is officially coordinated by the City of Las Vegas, who's renovating and recycling old parking meters.

And yes, I always empty my pockets of change when I bump into the Donation Station.

Friday, March 7, 2014

It's Here At Last

Yes, indeedy, baseball season has arrived. The spring preseason games are in full swing, players are trying to make their teams' rosters, and the air is filled with the sounds of bats making contact.

Crowds are cheering (albeit smaller crowds in smaller spring training stands), dads are with their kids, and we're getting a good look at the stars, future stars, and wanna-be stars.

My favorite Atlanta Braves will look a little different this year. All-Star pitcher Tim Hudson is gone to the Giants, and All-Star catcher Brian McCann is now with the Yankees. But the good new is that the Braves have signed long-term contracts with their young stars;pitchers Craig Kimbrel and Julio Teheran, first baseman Freddie Freeman, shortstop Andrelton Simmons, and right fielder Jayson Heyward will be around for a few years.

The Upton Brothers (Jason and BJ) are still around, and hopefully BJ will improve over his 2013 season slump. Dan Uggla too.

At any rate, the late winter days seem brighter now that Opening Day of the 2014 Major League Baseball season is just around the corner.

I love baseball.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

'Bates Motel' After-Show Stinks

I’m a big fan of two AMC horror dramas – Walking Dead and Bates Motel. The first is the continuing saga of how a group of people who survived the upcoming zombie apocalypse are faring in a world where all the rules have changed; the second is a prequel of sorts of how psycho Norman Bates came to be before Alfred Hitchcock made him famous in Psycho.

Immediately after Walking Dead airs, the after-show, Talking Dead, comes on the air. It’s a funny, yet serious discussion of the episode we’ve just seen, hosted by stand-up comedian Chris Hardwick, with a small live audience and some great guests.

Starting this year, immediately after Bates Motel aired on Monday night, it was followed by a one-time-only after-show, Bates Motel: After Hours. It was hosted by Carrie Keagan, with guest appearances by Vera Farmiga (Norma Bates), Max Thieriot (Dylan Massett), and executive producers Carlton Cuse and Kerry Ehrin.

It was bad. Real bad. I blame Carrie Keagan. She’s pretty bad, I can describe her hosting style as opening a can of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup, adding a can of water, and heating it on the stove. Yep, that bad. Her voice is extremely irritating (I had to turn the volume ‘way down). The only redeeming factor was Vera Farmiga.

In their online poll, 55.33% of those voting said they’d tune in to After Hours if it were expanded to a weekly show. A whopping 44.67% said “No.”  One of those is me.

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Start of Something Big

They came in the morning – heavily tanned men who spoke with a local accent, experts in what they do – and took over our front yard with their tools and equipment.

They came in the house, climbed up into our attic to survey the situation, and then began digging up the yard. They cut a deep trench where a heavy PVC pipe led electrical wires to the house.

Driving by, you just know something was up. And something IS up, indeed.

They’re going to replace about 80% of the wiring in our house, which was constructed in the ‘50s. The wiring is at least 60 years old and can’t handle our electrical needs for the future. So the bullet was bitten and the electrical renovations were committed.

Ahead are a few weeks of commotion and occasional power interruptions as the work progresses. But there will be a light at the end of the tunnel – more dependable power for our constantly growing need, more outlets to help eliminate the string of power strips, fewer brownouts … and maybe, just maybe, photo-voltaic (PV) installation to cut back on our electric bill (if Hawaiian Electric will allow it).

At least, that’s the plan.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Phone Pix 19: Airports

I like to get to airports early, which is fine, except then sometimes you have too much time on your hands. So what I do is wander around and take pix with my phone.

Pix like these:

Chandelier at Honolulu International (HNL), Sept. 1, 2013

Hawaiian Airlines Gate Area (HNL), Sept. 1, 2013

Explore Interactive Screen at Los Angeles Airport (LAX), Sept. 2, 2013

Slot Machines at Las Vegas McCarran Airport (LAS), Sept. 2, 2013

The Bar at Club LAS, McCarran Airport (LAS), Sept. 6, 2013

Concourse Display, Kahului Maui Airport (OGG), Sept. 19, 2013

Rolling Ball Sculpture, San Jose County Airport (SJC), Sept. 30, 2013