"There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit." - President Ronald Reagan.

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Monday, January 23, 2017

Needles KOA

Above, The Beast at Needles KOA. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The final campground I stayed at during my three-week trip to Metropolis, Illinois was the Needles KOA.

I left Monument Valley and headed to Grand Canyon National Park. I just planned for a drive-through after having breakfast in Cameron, Arizona.

While in Grand Canyon, I was debating whether to stay the night in nearby Williams or Kingman. I decided not to stay at either and pressed on the Needles, California, which is just across the Colorado River, which is also the border. This way, I would have fewer miles to drive the next day in getting home.

I got to the KOA in Needles in the late afternoon. There were signs along Interstate 40 for the campground and what exit to take. But, after doing so, it was a bit hard to find as it is situated about a mile and a half from the freeway with no tall signs to mark their location.

But when I got there, I found a nice, clean campground with a friendly and helpful staff (I even received an escort to my site) and a spacious site. After using some of my bonus points I accumulated, I only paid $34.00 for the night. I lucked out again as I didn't have use my leveling blocks as the site was very level.

Oleander bushes served as a border between sites and added a little privacy.

This is a nice campground that is perfect for an overnight stay.

To access their website, go here.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Limon KOA

Above, The Beast at Limon KOA in Colorado. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

After leaving Kansas, I entered Colorado and made my way to the Limon KOA for an overnight's stay.

It was a convenient little campground (64 sites) with farmland scenery, friendly staff and lots of bunnies running around.

My site was a back-in site with full hook-ups. The site was fairly spacious with border fences. It also had a picnic table to use. There wasn't much in the way of shade, but I got there in the late afternoon, so that wasn't a problem. The campsite was nice and level, so I didn't need to use my leveling blocks.

The staff was friendly and helpful. After my KOA discount was applied, I paid $30.00 for the night's stay. I would stay there again.

To access the Limon KOA website, go here.

Grand Canyon/Williams KOA

Above, The Beast at Grand Canyon/Williams KOA. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Here is a review of the Grand Canyon/Williams KOA located in Williams, Arizona.

The Grand Canyon/Williams KOA was my first overnight stop during my trip to Metropolis, Illinois last year. I had stayed at Circle Pines KOA in Williams in 1992, but they were about to close for the season. The Grand Canyon/Williams KOA is open all year.

I arrived in the afternoon and was assigned a back-in campsite, which included a barbecue and electric and water hook-ups. There was no sewer hook-up at the site, but I could have used their dump station to empty my holding tanks if necessary.

The hook-ups were placed in such a way that I was unsure that my power cable and water hose would reach the outlets. So I pulled forward instead and that worked out better.

Along with the barbecue grill, each site has a fire ring and a picnic table to use.

The site was a little more spacious than other campgrounds I've been to. The sites next to mine were unoccupied. There was a handful of other campers there.

There is some shade, which is nice during the summer months since this is the Arizona desert. The staff was friendly and helpful and they had a nice convenience store at the office. After my KOA discount was applied, I paid $32.00 for the night's stay.

Above, the Grand Canyon. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The campground is on Route 64 and that is the route to take to Grand Canyon National Park from Williams. Grand Canyon National Park is roughly 46 miles from Williams.

To access the Grand Canyon/Williams KOA website, go here.

Elk City/Clinton KOA

Above, The Beast at the Elk City/Clinton KOA in Oklahoma. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

My third overnight stop during my trip to Metropolis, Illinois was at the Elk City/Clinton KOA in Canute, Oklahoma.

It is located right off Interstate 40 and easy to access once you get off the freeway.

I got there around 4:00 in the afternoon after leaving Albuquerque and crossing the Texas panhandle.

The campground had plenty of shade and the staff was friendly and helpful. I paid $38.00 (after my KOA discount was applied) for the night's stay. It is far enough from Interstate 40 so one isn't bothered by any road noise.

The KOA does serve breakfasts and dinners. I cooked my own dinner and left before breakfast was served.

My campsite had a fire ring and picnic table along with full hook-ups (electric, water and sewer).

It was a nice campground for a good overnight stay.

To access their website, go here.

Report To The Secret Service

If you hear or see anyone making threats, "jokes" or any other comments about assassinating President Trump, report it immediately to the U.S. Secret Service.

Madonna's rant about blowing up the White House has landed her in hot water as the Secret Service is now investigating her.

While some comments may be jokes, some wacko may be incited enough by them to actually act it out.

An example:

The woman in question above has since been fired and has been interviewed by the Secret Service. The investigation is ongoing. Go here for more.

Secret Service contact information:

Brit Hume Exposes CNN's Inauguration Crowd Deception

CNN, the Counterfeit News Network, has been caught in another instance of fake news when they showed purported crowd differences between President Trump's inauguration and President Obama's 2009 inauguration.

Brit Hume of the Fox News channel exposed CNN's deception.

According to Independent Journal Review:
At a time when there should be national unity, a media war has erupted between the size of Obama's and Trump's, err, Inauguration Day crowds. 
The size of the crowds is being hotly disputed as a flashpoint between the Democratic Party and its supportive media, who want to delegitimize the new president, and the Trump administration, which wants the symbolism of a massive crowd on the Washington mall to defy the opposition's narrative.
While White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was wrong in saying that “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration”, it was a very respectful turnout (some may have decided to stay away due to threats of violence by leftist mobs).

To see the real crowd comparisons, go here.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Counterfeit News Network Struck A Chord

After posting the "Counterfeit News Network" satire/parody logo at The Deplorables Facebook page, it met with a big reception among the members.

Right now, it has 193 likes and 63 shares. Not too shabby!

Here's where it stood at around ten minutes ago:

National Pity Party

Across the nation, bat-shit crazy leftist women (or arguably "women") marched in the Women's March on Washington.

The event was supposedly in protest against President Trump and, allegedly, reproductive rights. But some of the celebrity speakers were totally insane.

A couple of examples:

Singer Madonna said that she's thinking about "blowing up the White House." This is only handing her a Secret Service investigation. Can you say, "terrorist threat"?

Actress Ashley Judd was equally as loony, as she attacked Trump and his daughter Ivanka with, "I'm not as nasty as your own daughter being your favorite sex symbol, your wet dreams infused with your own genes." She comes across as a screeching wacko. Who will ever go to a movie she's in ever again? (I don't think she's been in anything substantial for quite a while.)

Seeing some of these marchers stomping for "reproductive rights" (i.e., abortions) that one would have to think, "Why are they so concerned? Some of them are so ugly that no abortions would be necessary as no man would find them attractive enough to want to even touch." I've seen many Facebook posts by women absolutely appalled at the vagina costumes. Many said, "These idiots don't represent me!" "They are embarrassing!"

It is very hard to take anyone seriously when they dress like this (is she supposed to be a taco?):

This is supposed to be inspiring? If anything, it may keep people from missing the Ringling Bros. Circus. It was a circus on its own. This kind of behavior is a prime example why Donald Trump won the election and is now in the White House. These people are lunatics!

Read this from the Daily Mail.

Now We Know What CNN Stands For

Well, they earned it!

How Passenger Rights May Change

Above, an Airbus A380 at LAX. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

With the Obama Administration now history, people are beginning to wonder what changes, if any, will take place with the Dept. of Transportation where it concerns airline passenger rights.

According to Condé Nast Traveler:
As the Obama administration leaves Washington, D.C. and power changes hands, travelers might be wondering: What’s going to happen to the dozens of airline passenger protection rules that took effect—and others that are still pending? 
First, some context. During the past eight years, an unusually active team over in the Transportation Department pushed through a slew of new rules affecting air travel, starting with the three-hour tarmac delay requirement, which levied stiff punishments on airlines that held fliers in planes for hours on end. That was followed by other other policies, which allowed passengers to hold reservations for 24 hours before making final payment, increased compensation for passengers who were bumped; and a requirement for airlines to advertise prominently the full price of an airline ticket, including all taxes.

Since President Trump knows the travel industry inside and out, having run hotels and an airline, some are cautiously optimistic that no real changes will be made, especially on protections that have been in place for years and are popular with the traveling public.

To read more, go here.

Caesars Is Eyeing Japan

Above, Caesars Palace Forum shopping area. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

With the bill that passed in the Japanese Diet on December 14 allowing for the legalization of casinos in Japan, U.S. casino operators are seeing opportunities to expand into Japan.

One of them is the parent company of Las Vegas's Caesars Palace.

According to GGR Asia:
U.S.-based casino group Caesars Entertainment Corp is “pursuing a number of growth opportunities in Asia, including Japan,” Steven Tight, its president of international development confirmed to GGRAsia. He added the group would “release information at the appropriate time”. 
The executive also said that Caesars was preparing to move forward on its previously-slated South Korea venture. 
The news comes as it was confirmed on Tuesday that Caesars Entertainment Operating Co Inc – which runs some of the group’s most profitable venues including flagship properties in Las Vegas – is on the path to concluding its reorganisation under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
To read more, go here

Osaka Saw Record Foreign Visitors In 2016

Above, Osaka Castle. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

One Japanese city that is often overlooked by tourists is Osaka.

Most tourists when coming into Japan largely confine themselves to Tokyo. When venturing out of Tokyo, they will head to Hiroshima or Kyoto. Since Osaka is a next-door neighbor to Kyoto, it is an easy place to reach.

Osaka is about a 30-minute commuter train ride from Kyoto. When in the city, there are subways available (although not quite as extensive as Tokyo's subway and train system) to get visitors to the city's attractions such as Osaka Castle and the Dotonbori restaurant district.

More people are discovering Osaka as record numbers of foreign visitors headed there in 2016 (I was last in Osaka in October 2015).

According to The Japan Times:
OSAKA – Over 9.4 million foreign tourists visited Osaka last year, the largest number ever, Osaka tourism authorities announced earlier this week. 
The figure represents a 31 percent increase on 2015, and is more than triple the number of foreign nationals who visited the city in 2013, officials added.
Naturally, since Osaka had been featured in Godzilla Raids Again (1955) and in Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989), kaiju fans have reason to visit the city.

To read more, go here.

Friday, January 20, 2017

It Has Arrived

The Navajo style rug/blanket arrived in yesterday's mail and I have already put it on The Beast's dinette seat backrest.

Here it is:

This will help to protect the cushions from Sierra's claws whenever we go on trips and she decides to do some climbing.

It's Pouring!

Above, the scene of the parking lot from my bedroom window. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It's a good thing that I planned to stay inside today to watch all of the Inauguration events. It is pouring outside!

The apartment building's parking lot has re-formed "Lake Tarzana" in a short period of time. I would have a heck of a time trying to get to my car if I had to go somewhere.

No complaints, though. We need the rain to make up for the years of drought.

Mr. President!

Mike Pence Sworn In As Vice President of the United States

Governor Mike Pence is sworn in as Vice President of the United States by Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas:

Trump's Lincoln Memorial Concert: Mike Deaver's Playbook

It was a feeling of seeing a "long-lost" friend again yesterday while watching the "Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration" concert at the Lincoln Memorial.

Yes, there was great entertainment by Toby Keith, Lee Greenwood and others, but it was a feeling that the late Michael K. Deaver returned from the grave to organize the event. The event was attended by thousands of people.

Deaver was known for setting up spectacular settings and backdrops for President Ronald Reagan during his eight years in office. The shots of the Lincoln Memorial, the concert and the fireworks afterwards seemed right out of Deaver's playbook on public events.

It helps also to have a photogenic new first family on hand.

Whomever organized the event for Donald Trump did an excellent job. After eight years of scarce patriotic symbols, this was a breath of fresh air.

Here's a video of the full concert:

Thursday, January 19, 2017


Tomorrow, our long national nightmare is over.

About the only good that Barack Obama did for American was that he was the best salesman for the gun industry that it ever had. I guess we can thank him for that.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Dollar At ¥113 In Tokyo Trading

The inauguration of Donald J. Trump is only two days away and the exchange rate in Tokyo between the U.S. dollar and Japanese yen is a bit jittery. It seems to be in a "wait and see what happens" mode.

According to The Japan Times:
The dollar bounced back above ¥113 in Tokyo by late Wednesday after tumbling below the threshold on incoming U.S. President Donald Trump’s reported frustration with the U.S. currency’s current strength. 
At 5 p.m., the dollar stood at ¥113.32-33, against ¥113.28-29 at the same time Tuesday. 

To read more, go here

Japan Making Going To The Loo Easier

Above, a Japanese high-tech toilet. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Quite often, foreign visitors to Japan are amazed and, in some cases, intimidated by Japan's fabled modern toilets.

Some have even been confused with what each push button is for (I've never had any difficulty). With the 2020 Olympics coming to Tokyo, Japan has decided to standardize the symbols used on their high-tech toilets to make going to the loo easier for foreign visitors.

The Guardian (U.K.) reports:
Navigating the array of buttons on Japan’s high-tech toilets can be a disconcerting experience for the uninitiated, who, expecting to hear a familiar flushing sound, are instead subjected to a sudden, and unwanted, cleansing of the nether regions. 
As Japan prepares for an influx of overseas visitors during the 2019 rugby World Cup and the Tokyo Olympics the following year, the country’s sanitation industry has agreed to standardise pictograms on toilets so users know for certain if they are about to receive a blast of warm air or a jet of water. 
Nine manufacturers belonging to the Japan sanitary equipment industry association will soon start using the same eight symbols to explain the buttons found on their state-of-the-art WCs.

To read more, go here

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Caroline Munro: Greatest Talia There Never Was

Above, Caroline Munro and Armand at Monsterpalooza 2012.

An interesting article was linked at a Neal Adams Facebook page on actress Caroline Munro. It was posted by 13th Dimension.

The premise of the article is that Munro would have been the best Talia (daughter of Ra's al Ghul) ever in a Batman movie. Unfortunately, she never got the chance, but she does bear a striking resemblance to Talia in the Batman comic books.

The article has plenty of photos of Munro to enjoy.

Also mentioned in the article was that yesterday was Munro's 68th birthday (born January 16, 1949).

A happy belated birthday to Caroline Munro!

Total Eclipse of the Sun Coming

If you happen to be a RVer and have not yet made any plans for a vacation trip this coming summer, here's an idea to consider.

On August 21, there will be a total eclipse of the sun that will cut a swath across the United States.

Below is a map of the path of the obscuration:

I may go up to either Oregon, Idaho or Wyoming for the eclipse.

For map details, go here.

Japan's Record Tourists Keeping Wallets Closed

Above, the ticket counters of the Tokyo Skytree. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Foreign visitors came into Japan in record numbers in 2016, but that didn't translate into big spending while they were in the country.

According to the Wall Street Journal:
TOKYO—Tourists are flooding into Japan in record numbers, but spending growth has slowed sharply in part because Chinese visitors are shying away from expensive items such as jewelry. 
The Japan National Tourism Organization said Tuesday that a record 24 million foreign tourists came to the country in 2016, nearly double the figure two years earlier. Visitors from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong combined make up slightly more than half the total. 
The visitors spent a total of ¥3.75 trillion ($33 billion) in 2016, another record. But the growth slowed sharply during the year. In the fourth quarter of 2016, spending was up just 1.3% compared with the same period a year earlier.
During my 2015 trip to Japan, since there was the three of us, I spent a little more than usual. Our spending mainly comprised of food, lodging, JR Rail Passes (a money-saver bought in the U.S.) and attractions and activities (such as the Tokyo Skytree, Sumida River cruise, Osaka Castle, Tokyo DisneySea, studio photos and a half-day tour of Kyoto). We did pick up some souvenirs, but those tended to be "practical" items such as yukatas and cutlery. Still, the trip was "under budget" as I returned home with plenty of leftover cash.

To read more, go here.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Take Part In a 1,000-Year-Old Tradition At Kiyomizu

Above, looking downslope towards the shops below Kiyomizu-dera. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

One of the best places to buy souvenirs in Japan are the shops below Kiyomizu-dera in Kyoto.

There are many shops and the prices are quite reasonable.

Souvenir Finder has an article on what visitors can find while they make their way to Kiyomizu-dera.

Above, the Kiyomizu-dera stage. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It begins with:
Kiyomizu temple, the Eiffel tower of Kyoto 
If you’re like most travelers, you’ve probably seen a dramatic photo like this one of Kyoto’s Kiyomizu temple, perched in the trees like a bird’s nest, and thought, I must go there. 
That is, until the bus drops you off at the bottom of the hill and you are left looking straight up at the nearly half-mile incline standing between you and the temple. 
Family owned shops, sweets stands and tea shops all make perfect pit stops during your trek up the hill. And as a bonus, by shopping your way up to the temple you’ll actually be participating in a time-honored custom followed by temple visitors for the last 1000 years.
To read more, go here

It Has Happened Again

Well, it's happened again.

A longtime friend and Godzilla fan writer, who happens to be liberal and a Hillary supporter, decided to discard our friendship over politics. In the past, we hardly ever talked politics, choosing instead to just discuss Japanese rubber monsters.

It all started last night when I sent an email to him to see if he was up for lunch this coming Thursday (sushi, naturally). We haven't gotten together since October. The email bounced back with a message indicating that my email address was blocked.

Next, I went over to Facebook and, sure enough, I found that he unfriended me there. So, I sent him the following:
Pedro, I tried emailing you to see if you're up for lunch Thursday and it bounced back. Then I find you unfriended me here. What gives? - A.
His response came this morning:
 I don't break bread with Trump supporters.
My reply:
What? That is so ridiculous.
When this first happened, I was on the road at the time in Kansas and I got into a beef with Yuu Asakura, a Japanese national living in the U.S., over politics. I tried to smooth things over privately to no avail. Since the person now in question and I were a lot closer, I am refraining from posting his name. (At least for now.) I later posted a blog on this with a link to a National Review article by Dennis Prager, "Ten Reasons Left-Wingers Cut Trump Voters from Their Lives". I didn't go too much into it, but this time I am posting those ten reasons.

They are:
1. Just like our universities shut out conservative ideas and speakers, more and more individuals on the left now shut out conservative friends and relatives as well as conservative ideas.  
2. Many, if not most, leftists have been indoctrinated with leftism their entire lives. This is easily shown. There are far more conservatives who read articles, who listen to and watch left-wing broadcasts, and who have studied under left-wing teachers than there are people on the left who have read, listened to, or watched anything of the Right or who have taken classes with conservative instructors. As a result, those on the left really believe that those on the right are all SIXHIRB: sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, homophobic, Islamophobic, racist, and bigoted. Not to mention misogynistic and transphobic.  
3. Most left-wing positions are emotion-based. That’s a major reason people who hold leftist views will sever relations with people they previously cared for or even loved. Their emotions (in this case, irrational fear and hatred) simply overwhelm them.  
4. Since Karl Marx, leftists have loved ideas more than people. All Trump voters who have been cut off by children, in-laws, and lifelong friends now know how true that is.  
5. People on the right think that most people on the left are wrong; people on the left think that most people on the right are evil. Decades of labeling conservative positions as “hateful” and labeling conservative individuals as “sexist,” “intolerant,” “xenophobic,” “homophobic,” “racist,” and “bigoted” have had their desired effect.  
6. The Left associates human decency not so much with personal integrity as with having correct — i.e. progressive — political positions. Therefore, if you don’t hold progressive positions, you lack decency. Ask your left-wing friends if they’d rather their high-school son or daughter cheat on tests or support Trump.  
7. Most individuals on the left are irreligious, so the commandment “Honor your father and your mother” means nothing to those who have cut off relations with parents because they voted for Trump.  
8. Unlike conservatives, politics gives most leftists’ lives meaning. Climate change is a good example. For leftists, fighting carbon emissions means saving human existence on earth. Now, how often does anyone get a chance to literally save the world? Therefore, to most leftists, if you voted for Trump, you have both negated their reason for living and are literally destroying the planet. Why would they have Thanksgiving or Christmas with such a person?  
9. The Left tends toward the totalitarian. And every totalitarian ideology seeks to weaken the bonds between children and parents. The Left seeks to dilute parental authority and replace it with school authority and government authority. So when your children sever their bond with you because you voted for Trump, they are acting like the good totalitarians the Left has molded.  
10. While there are kind and mean individuals on both sides of the political spectrum, as a result of all of the above, there are more mean people on the left than on the right. What other word than “mean” would anyone use to describe a daughter who banished her parents from their grandchildren’s lives because of their vote?

Read more here.

It is really incredible how the election polarized people to this extent. Will it ever end? It has been two months since the election.

Prager has this thought:
I wish none of this were true. But there is a way to prove me wrong: Re-friend your friends and relatives who voted for Trump, and tell everyone who has ended relations with family members — especially with parents — to reach out to them and welcome them back into their lives. 

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