Friday, February 27, 2015

Convincing Email Scam

The day before yesterday, I received a rather disturbing email from a friend of mine (or so I thought). His email address seemed legitimate (it was an AOL account), and the message was quite convincing:

Subject ..... (friend’s name)

I really hope you get this fast. I could not inform anyone about our trip, because it was impromptu. We had to be in Philippines for a Tour..the program was successful, but our journey has turned sour. We misplaced our wallets and cell phones on our way back to the hotel after we went for sight seeing. The wallet contains all the valuables we have. Now, our luggage is in custody of the hotel management pending when we make payment.

I am sorry if i am inconveniencing you, but I have only very few people to turn to now. I will be very grateful if I can get a short term loan of ($2,450) from you. This will enable me sort our hotel bills and get my sorry self back home. I will really appreciate whatever you can afford at this moment. I promise to refund it in full as soon as I return. Please let me know if you can be of any assistance.

Thanks, (name)

It was quite tempting to at least email my friend and ask if this really was true. But the request for money is always a red flag.

Then, the clincher … I got another email a few minutes later, with the identical message, from a person I didn’t know.

You gotta be really careful these days! I kid you not.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Innocent, Yet Incredible: Perspective

It all depends on your point of view. Everything depends on your point of view - where things are in relation to each other, and where YOU are in relation to what's in front of you.

That's the beauty of these pictures. They just happened, they weren't set up (I think).

What a wonderful world we live in.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Don't Let Kids Your See This

Moms and Dads, cover your kids' eyes. Right now. Do it. Because if you don't, you can't blame me, because I tried to warn you. In fact, if certain words offend you, turn the page right now and check out someone else's blog.

Or, come back tomorrow when things aren't quite so objectionable.

I have something to show you, something that takes an advertising catch phrase and turns it into adult memorabilia.

I found this tee-shirt in Las Vegas and almost bought it, but I'm sure the wife would have kicked me out of the house, and I like having a place to eat, sleep, and watch TV. So I passed it up.

But I did take a picture of it so I would never forget it.

One of the words is objectionable to a large portion of the populace, so I fuzzed it out. Well, not entirely, but at least it's fuzzy.

Are you ready? Got milk? Got beer?

Here ya go (you're sure the kids are out of the room, right?)



Saturday, February 21, 2015

JFK Experience

... As in "Just Fuhgeddaboudit, Kiddo."

While driving along the Las Vegas Strip, heading back downtown from a buying expedition at Fry's Electronics, I saw this mock-up of President John F. Kennedy's Air Force One. I tried to take a photo from the car, but that didn't work out.

When I got back to my hotel room, I Googled it on my iPad and discovered there was an exhibition of JFK stuff at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino.

The memorabilia, which includes two Presidential limos, a number of Jacqueline Kennedy's formal gowns, and oodles and oodles of JFK's campaign ribbons and buttons. Is a small portion of presidential enthusiast Jim Warlick's collection.

The next day, I went to the Tropicana, took a picture of Air Force One, then headed inside to find the exhibit. I figured it was in the same place where I had seen "The Human Body" and "Titanic" exhibitions several years ago. Without thinking much of it, I began my long trudge.

Now, the day before, and earlier that same day, I'd done a lot of walking, and by the time I found the place, I must have walked at least a quarter mile in my search. My feet hurt, and my legs, hips and lower back were killing me. Not only that, there's a long stairway to negotiate before you get to the entrance.

So I get there, and the guy sitting at the entrance table tells me I have to buy my ticket at the "Show Tickets" booth 'way back where I'd started from. I ask the price. It's $24.95, or $19.95 for local residents (whom we call "kamaaina" in Hawaii) and seniors (like me).

What if, I offer, I just give him $25 (forget the senior price). Would he let me in? He just smiled faintly. I told him if I have to walk back to get a ticket, I'm not coming back. Didn't faze him in the least. I took a peek inside and saw how sparse the exhibit looked, turned on my sore heels, and went back the way I came.

Then I played a deuces-wild poker slot at the Tropicana casino and won $50. Poetic justice, no?

I kid you not.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

My Selective Hearing Aid

The wife often accuses me of having selective hearing. So I told her I'd get a hearing aid; I got one like this  >

She was happy.

Ssshhhh, don’t tell her, okay?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

If You Love Words 2

Here’s the second half of a lexophile’s compilation. A lexophile is someone who loves words. Are YOU a lexophile? 
  • Police were summoned to a daycare center where a 3-year-old was resisting a rest.
  • Did you hear about the fellow whose entire left side was cut off? He's all right now.
  • A bicycle can't stand alone; it's just two tired.
  • When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.
  • The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine is now fully recovered.
  • He had a photographic memory that was never developed.
  • When she saw her first strands of grey hair she thought she'd dye.
  • Acupuncture is a jab well done. That's the point of it.
  • Those who get too big for their pants will be totally exposed in the end.

Groaning is permitted.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Phone Pix 40: Fruits

Ahhh, fruits. Fah-ROOTS! There they are, ripe and plumb and crispy, just waiting for someone to buy them, cool 'em up, and munch into them.

And yes, no matter what you've been told, tomatoes are fruits (berries, actually).

Take a deep breath and smell the intoxicating aromas of fresh fruit:

Mangoes, Foodland Supermarket, Aug. 12, 2013, Honolulu, HI

Dragon Fruit, Chinatown Marketplace, Aug. 20, 2013, Honolulu, HI

Apples, Safeway Manoa, Oct. 8, 2013, Honolulu, HI

Bananas, Safeway Manoa, Oct. 17, 2013, Honolulu, HI

Watermelons, Trader Joes, Aug. 14, 2014, Fremont, CA

Mangos, Sprouts, Aug. 18, 2014, Fremont, CA

Heirloom Tomatoes, Sprouts, Aug. 18, 2014, Fremont, CA

Persimmons, Times Vineyard, Nov. 13, 2014, Honolulu, HI

Friday, February 13, 2015

Another Wizard of Oz Jackpot

I've always had small luck on the Wizard of Oz slot machines in Las Vegas. During my last trip, I hit a small jackpot on the Wizard's Ruby Slippers machine at the Palazzo Hotel & Casino.

The best part about hitting these is that the magic chair you're sitting on begins playing songs from the movie, prompting you and those around you who can hear to do chair-dancing (me) or toe-tapping (them).

The jackpot is a big deal; this last time, I won 19,560 credits. Unfortunately it's a penny machine and you gotta bet $4.80 to win the bonuses, so that doesn't amount to an awful lot of money. Still, it's fun, and you can't buy much fun elsewhere for a bunch of pennies, can you?

But y'know, it was enough to buy a classy steak dinner that night and still have a $100 bill left over.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Bye Bye Stardust, Hello Resorts World

The empty lot where the Stardust used to be on the Las Vegas Strip has been walled off in preparation for work to start on the new Resorts World Las Vegas.

I loved the Stardust, particularly its neon sign that emulated a nuclear blast and the radioactive particulars that fell from the sky. I stayed there a lot in my day, and attended quite a few of its shows (Wayne Newton, The Platters, Smoky Robinson and the Miracles ... ah, memories).

Anyway, back to the present. Resorts World will be Asian-themed (Chinese) and the $4-billion first phase is expected to open next year, 2016. It's going to be huge - 3,000-room hotel, 4,000-seat theater, 175,000 sq.ft. casino, rooftop sky park and observation deck, aquarium, movie theaters, bowling alley, a panda exhibit, indoor water park. Eventually, the resort will boast four towers.

Total estimated cost? Up to $7 billion.

But for now, all I got to see was a wood-panel fence all painted up with teaser copy, and a rising tower.

Here's an artist's rendition:

Click on Picture for a Larger Image

Monday, February 9, 2015

Hilo Days: I Can See! I Can See!

Sometimes, vanity and just plain stupidity prevent a kid from doing the right thing. So does peer pressure. Well, one day in junior high school, my friends and I decided not to fake our eye tests any more.

Here's what I wrote about it in my old Hilo Days website.

A Spectacle

All through eighth grade, and especially during the preceding summer, my eyesight was getting worse. Nobody knew it except me.

Every year, we would take those eye-screening tests, the ones with the big E at the top, progressively getting smaller until you could hardly read the ones on the bottom.

If the E pointed to the right, you'd point to the right. If the E pointed upward, you'd point upward, and so forth and so on until you couldn't make out which way the E was pointing.

When we took the test in the eighth grade, I memorized the positions and faked it on the test. Of course, I had problems all year. So when it came time to test in the ninth grade, I cinched up my belt and finally admitted that I needed glasses.

And in the process, surprised everyone when I gave up on the third row.

Two things I remember about the eyeglass-fitting process: First, the eye drops the doctor used dilated my pupils and the lights bothered my eyes all day.

And second, when I put on my glasses for the first time a few days later, everything seemed to sparkle — reds were redder, blues were bluer, and everything seemed so crisp and bright. It was as though the world had turned on the lights just for me. What a jerk I was not to have taken advantage of modern eye-care.

Of course, everyone thought I immediately looked studious (remember, they already thought I was smart). I had expected an onslaught of "Four Eyes" jokes; they never came. What a jerk I had been.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Innocent, Yet Incredible: Butts

I just love the way these pictures came together so innocently, with incredible timing to create hilarious works of ... art? This first group has to do with derrieres.

Like these? Great. Don't worry, I have more.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

I Peed On An Icon

I took a pee on an icon of the Cold War.

A section of the Berlin Wall is installed in the men's room of the Main Street Station Hotel, Brewery and Casino in downtown Las Vegas. I've seen it there before, but hadn't taken any pictures of it before this.

There's a plaque that you can read while peeing at the wall: "Erected August 13, 1961; Demolished November 9, 1989; 12' high, 18" thick, 27.5 miles long. Over 100 people were killed trying to escape to freedom, flew over it, dove through it, climbed over it, & even tunneled under it."

The plaque is flanked by photos of the wall as it was seen separating East and West Berlin in the heart of Germany. Can you believe it's the most popular attraction at Main Street? And remember, only men can go into the restroom.

I'd like to say I got tremendous satisfaction in taking a pee there, but I have to say that my biggest pleasure came from the physical act of emptying my bladder.

Still, if you're a guy and you haven't seen it, go there, take a look, and whisper, "Take that, you commies."

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

12 Things I Learned Watching Super Bowl XLIX

  1. XLIX always brings ExLax to mind. Gotta figure out why this sticks with me.
  2. When your grandson calls to FaceTime with you to announce what he wants for his birthday, you put the game on pause even if a touchdown is imminent.
  3. The fourth film in the Jurassic Park franchise – Jurassic World – will open in theaters on June 12. I knew this was on the way; there were rumblings about this dino-sequel filming in Hawaii.
  4. Local commercials utilizing the "shaka" sign look amateurish and stupid.
  5. Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch is tough to bring down. Well, okay, I knew that already, but it sure was fun watching him carry tacklers with him.
  6. Pierce Brosnan loves fireworks and gets to keep the car.
  7. I wasn't a Katie Perry fan. I really didn't even know who she was until I saw her in the Super Bowl Pepsi halftime show. I'm still not a fan, but the staging was spectacular.
  8. Arnold Schwarzenegger will be back as the terminator from the future in Terminator Genisys, opening in theaters on July 1. This makes what ... Number 5?
  9. Woodie Guthrie's 1940 song, "This Land is Your Land" turns into a heart song when the tempo is halved and it's sung to a soft acoustic guitar. It makes me want to buy a Jeep Renegade.
  10. A blue pill will do wonders for a Fiat X that wants to get ... er, bigger.
  11. Vin Diesel joins up with Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodrigues and Paul Walker in Furious 7, opening on April 3. Wait. Didn't Walker die over a year ago?
  12. The whole two-week "Deflategate" thing was stupid, stupid, stupid, and the Patriots haters didn't get their wish as it did not affect New England's game in the least. It may have weighed heavily on their minds, but the game didn't suffer in the end.

Funny, isn't it, how most of these involve commercials?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Phone Pix 39: Halekulani Hotel

Have you ever paid attention to the floral arrangements and decor of the Halekulani in Waikiki?

They do beautiful work there, and one can't help but feel so comfortable, elegant and "at home" when going there for a function.

It pays to have a smart phone with camera when you do. I had mine handy at a function there last September. Try it next time. I know you'll be pleased with the results.

By Enu Mizutani, 1984