Sunday, May 31, 2015

Where Hawaii Ranks 34

Yep, we’re in the top five most expensive places to live in the country, extended nursing care is expensive, and Honolulu is the most over-priced city in the United States.

Percentage-wise, we do have the best federally rated nursing homes, but that’s tempered by the fact that we’re the second worst state for nurses to practice their profession, and the average daily cost of nursing homes is fourth-highest.

Most Expensive Places in U.S. to Live (Business Insider, 2015) (The average index is 100)
  1. Nassau-Suffolk Counties, NY (Expense index 155)
  2. Nantucket-Dukes Counties, MA (153)
  3. Stamford-Norwalk, CT (152)
  4. TIE: Honolulu, HI (149)
  5. Tie: Westchester County, NY (149)

Highest Nursing Home Costs (, 2015)
  1. Alaska ($666 per day, double occupancy)
  2. Connecticut ($321)
  3. New York ($306)
  4. HAWAII ($302)
  5. Massachusetts ($299)

Highest %-age of Nursing Homes with Top Federal Ratings (Centers for Medicare and Medical Services, 2015)
  1. HAWAII (39%)
  2. Delaware (33%)
  3. Vermont (32%)
  4. Tie: California (32%)
  5. Tie: New Hampshire (32%)

Worst State for Nurses (WalletHub, 2015) (Based on salary, facilities, openings, hours of work, commute time)
  1. Louisiana
  3. Kentucky
  4. West Virginia
  5. New Jersey

America's Most Overpriced Cities (Forbes, 2015)
  2. Southern Connecticut (Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk)
  3. Boston, MA
  4. New York, NY
  5. Cambridge, MA

Friday, May 29, 2015

Only Grandpas and Grandsons Allowed Here

We just got back from visiting our grandson (oh, and his family too, we tend to forget about that), and the wife sometimes feels left out because when he and I talk about Star Wars and Legos and other trendy kids' amusements, she doesn't understand a word of what we're saying.

Poor thing. I'm sure she'd find a sympathetic friend in Opal Pickles.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Hawaiian Air First Class, LAS-HNL

Fortune smiled, and the Hawaiian Air Miles had piled up, qualifying me for a free Economy Class flight to Las Vegas, and a free First Class return flight with all the resultant amenities.

The best thing in Hawaiian Air's First Class, of course, is the meal. It's created by Chef Chaowasaree, aka "Chef Chai" of Honolulu's Pacifica Restaurant.

On the return flight, we were offered an appetizer choice of a Cheese Plate with Crackers, or aThai Beef Salad with Garlic Vinaigrette.

I selected the cheese plate, which consisted of a very mild Camembert, and a green-marbled white cheese that nobody could seem to identify.

According to flight attendant Charlen, everybody in the crew tried, but couldn't. All they could come up with was a guess that they THOUGHT there were bits of rosemary in the cheese.

It's actually Sage Derby Cheddar (I did a Google search and found some pix on the Internet).

For our entrée, they gave me two options: Grilled Chicken with Pineapple and Tomato Salsa on Saffron Chickpea Rice, or Tri-Color Pasta with King Paola Sauce, Grilled Portobello Mushroom, Cherry Tomato and Broccoli Tips.

I had the chicken, and I'm glad I did. That dish was delicious. It kind of reminded me of a dish I sometimes make – breaded chicken with mango-pineapple salsa.

It's too bad the wife couldn't be with me. We usually take the two entrées and sample each other's dish. She'd have taken the beef salad and tri-color pasta, I'm sure. Or, if she took the chicken, I'd have taken the pasta.

On the dessert cart was a Honey Almond Cheesecake. Good lord, it was on the high side of amazing, almost like a crème brûlée crust on top of the cheesecake. Yummy, yessir.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Mysterious Downtown Las Vegas Event

Since I had a few hours to kill before my flight homes, I thought I'd revisit the Las Vegas Natural History Museum near Cashman Field (home of the 51s). It's been a couple of years since I last visited.

But ... Friday the 13th was not a good day to do that. I got the first hint of something brewing when traffic heading east on Las Vegas Boulevard slowed to a crawl and I spotted an "Event Ahead" sign, then a "Lane Closed" sign soon after that.

It turned out that East Fremont Street (the extension of the Fremont Experience) was blocked off, full of big rigs, north-south bound traffic blocked from Las Vegas Boulevard to 10th Street.

I detoured. I wasn't going to keep on crawling, so I turned right on Carson Street to Maryland Parkway, turned left, then left again onto Ogden, and back onto Las Vegas Boulevard, all the way through the Cultural Corridor.

After an enjoyable hour or so at the museum, I headed back on Las Vegas Boulevard and snapped a couple of pix of the event crowd when I passed Fremont. Try and try as I might, I never did find out what the mysterious downtown event was.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

In Remembrance

Today is the 55th anniversary of the destructive tsunami that damaged much of Hilo town in Hawaii while I lived there. I wrote about this five years ago, and re-offer it, that it not be forgotten.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Household Hacks 1

Here are 10 ways to make your life just a little more enjoyable:
  • Buff a CD/DVD or Blu-Ray with toothpaste on a cotton ball. Wipe, rinse, and voila!
  • Untangle knots with cornstarch. Loosen shoe laces with a few sprinkles.
  • Buff out furniture dings with raw walnuts.
  • Add club soda to bread, pancakes, waffles, etc., instead of water to make them fluffier.
  • Sponge salty water on inside of windows to keep them frost-free.
  • Remove permanent markers with rubbing alcohol.
  • Use Chap Stick to stop bleeding from shaving nicks.
  • Wash your hair with apple juice to reduce dandruff.
  • Rub aspirin paste (add water, or vinegar) to eliminate t-shirt armpit stains. Leave it alone an hour before washing.
  • Add olive oil to your pet’s food to make its fur shinier.

More hacks later.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Treasures of Egypt

Co-sponsored by the State of Nevada, the Mirage Hotel & Casino, the MGM Hotel & Casino, the Luxor Hotel & Casino, and the Engelstad Family, "The Treasures of Egypt" is the featured exhibit at the Las Vegas Natural History Museum.

Stepping through the door entrance is like taking a step into the past, the days of pyramids, pharaohs and hieroglyphics. Displays and art works show you what life was like back then during the Bronze Age.

A special segment of the display features King Tutankhamun, the "boy king" who died at a very young age. The replica artifacts never fail to amaze me, and cause me to regret seeing the real thing when I was in San Francisco while the King Tut Exhibit was open at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park.

But that was then, and this is now. Wanna see some of the photographs I took? Here you go:

Wall Carving

Wall Carving

Wall Carving

Wall Mural

Cartouche-Shaped Box

Triple Lotus Oil Lamp

Royal Necklaces

Vulture Collar

Royal Funeral Boat Model

Tutankhamun Coffin

Tutankhamun Sarcophagus

Tutankhamun's Head

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Small Horny Ungulates

In the main hallway of the Las Vegas Natural History Museum are a number of glass cases displaying small ungulates. Y'know, deer ... from Africa, mostly. All of 'em have tiny sets of horns, and to be truthful, if a bunch of various species came bouncing around me at the same time, I couldn't tell a Suni from a Dik Dik from a Grysbok.

But that's okay. Because the museum did the identifying for me.

Check them out:





Salt's Dik Dik

Blue Duiker

Harvey's Red Duiker

Royal Antelope

Cape Grysbok
Tomorrow, the last of the Las Vegas Museum pictures. Tomorrow, we visit Egypt.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Las Vegas Natural History Museum

I See YOU! C'mon in!
On my last day of a recent trip to Las Vegas, I had beaucoup time before my plane flew out in the late afternoon to take me back to Hawaii.

So, I spent much of my day wandering around the Las Vegas Natural History Museum on Charleston, next to Cashman Field, where the Las Vegas 51s Triple A (Pacific Coast League) baseball team plays its games.

The Las Vegas Natural History Museum is affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution.

It's a great little museum, not real big, but full of interesting stuff - like taxidermy animals, water life, birds, reptiles and emphibians, dinosaurs, dioramas, fish and water life, a children's science area, and a terrific display of Egyptian artifacts and the life of King Tutankhamun - The Treasures of Egypt.

It's easy to forget the time and immerse yourself in history and our world.

Galleries include Prehistoric Life Gallery, Wild Nevada Gallery, Marine Life Gallery, Young Scientist Gallery, African Savanna Gallery, the African Rainforest, the International Wildlife Gallery, and an Early Man Exhibit.

They do change their exhibits every now and then, so if you only frequent Las Vegas once or twice a year, it won't seem repetitive to you. In fact, I go about every year and although some of the displays and exhibits look familiar, I still walk through with a grin of awe and wonder on my face.

I took a couple hundred pictures this last time; here are a few:


Rams and Antelope

Peccaries vs Rattlesnake

Ferocious Polar Bear

American Bison

Lion Taking Down a Wildebeest

Gigantic Alligator Jaw

Comparison: Great White Jaw vs Megalodon Jaw

Prehistoric Allosaurus

Ankylosaurus and Babies

Rocky Mountain Sheep
I'll show you pictures of some horny little animals in a few days.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Phone Pix 46: Buildings

No matter who you are, no matter where you go, you encounter buildings. Some are old, some are new, but all are historic in a sense, and interesting to check out.

Me? I just whip out my mobile phone and click a few pictures:

House on Nehoa Street, Aug. 26, 2013, Honolulu, HI

Excalibur and New York New York Casinos, Sept. 2, 2013, Las Vegas, NV

Catholic Church of Las Vegas, View from the Encore
Sept. 4, 2013, Las Vegas, NV

Bodega Church, Sept. 24, 2013, Bodega, CA

Potter Schoolhouse ('The Birds' Location)
Sept. 24, 2013, Bodega, CA

Condominium Viewed from Rear of Art School
Nov. 8, 2013, Honolulu, HI

Industrial Structure in Iwilei, Dec. 20, 2013, Honolulu, HI

Robert Wyland Mural near Honolulu International Airport
Dec. 30, 2013, Honolulu, HI