"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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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

California Gasoline Tax Goes Up Tomorrow

Above, California already has some of the highest gas prices in the country. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Thanks to Gov. Jerry Brown and the Democrat-controlled legislature, California's gasoline tax goes up twelve cents tomorrow.

The Daily News reported:
The day after Halloween, an unpopular force lurking in gas pumps will start siphoning more money from Californians’ wallets. 
It’s not the plot from a horror movie. It’s a 12-cents per gallon increase in the state’s base gasoline-excise tax that takes effect Wednesday, Nov. 1. The increase raises the tax to 30 cents a gallon, with adjustments for inflation starting in 2020 that could make it even more expensive. 
Taxes on California diesel fuel are going up as well. The excise tax on diesel will rise 20 cents, making the total tax 36 cents a gallon. And the diesel sales tax rate will go from 1.75 to 5.75 percent. 
But wait. There’s a sequel. 
Starting next year, a new fee ranging from $25 to $175 based on a vehicle’s worth will be added to the cost of vehicle registration, with zero-emission vehicles subject to a $100 annual fee starting in July 2020.

That's what happens when you have a one-party rule.

To read more, go here

Terrorism In New York

A suspected terrorist was arrested after being shot in the ass after mowing down and killing at least 8 people in New York City today.

The New York Daily News reported:
At least eight people were killed Tuesday afternoon when a speeding Home Depot truck plowed down riders on a Lower Manhattan bike path in a terrorist attack, sources said. 
Eyewitnesses told police the driver yelled “Allahu Akbar!” — Arabic for “God is great!” — after running down helpless riders from behind, their mangled bodies left scattered behind his runaway rental truck. 
The Middle Eastern man was arrested after police shot him in the rear end following a Tribeca crash between the truck and a school bus. Sources said he was waving an air pistol and a BB gun when cops reached the scene.  
The truck jumped the curb near Houston St. at 3:04 p.m. and began bearing down on the unsuspecting bicyclists, sources told the Daily News. Video showed crumpled two-wheelers and four bodies left in the vehicle’s deadly wake.

To read more, go here

Japan Plans "Exit Tax"

Above, the Kachidoki Bridge that was toppled over by Godzilla in 1954. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Foreign visitors to Japan may be subjected to an "exit tax" if the proposed plan is enacted.

According to The Mainichi:
The Japanese government is moving toward preparations to enact an "exit tax" on people leaving Japan starting in fiscal 2019, the first new national tax in 27 years. 
The tax would be 1,000 yen per person and be included in the price of the traveler's plane ticket out of the country. The tax plan will be included in the outline of 2018 fiscal year tax revisions planned to be compiled at the end of 2017 with the aim of enacting the tax the next fiscal year. If introduced, it will be the first new permanent tax since the 1992 land value tax.

To read more, go here

Graceland Taps Municipal Market for Renovation and Expansion

Above, the rear of Graceland mansion. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Elvis Presley Enterprises will be tapping again into the municipal market for renovation and expansion of the Graceland complex in Memphis, Tennessee.

According to Bloomberg:
It’s an estate fit for a king. The King of Rock and Roll, to be more specific. Graceland, Memphis’s premier tourist attraction, which draws more than half a million visitors a year, plans to borrow $88 million in the municipal market with a negotiated deal scheduled to price on Wednesday. 
This is actually the King’s third trip to the municipal market. The new deal refunds $84 million in notes sold through private placement in 2015. In 2016, the issuer sold another $40 million in notes. The conduit issuer is known as the Economic Development Growth Engine Industrial Development Board of the City of Memphis and the County of Shelby, Tennessee. 
And there will be more visits to MuniLand, according to Joel Weinshanker, managing partner of Graceland Holdings LLC, the majority owner of Elvis Presley Enterprises Inc., which manages the 120-acre Graceland campus. The company aims to transform Graceland from an attraction to visit to a vacation destination. (Elvis’s only child, Lisa Marie Presley, own 15 percent of all Graceland-related entities). 
That transformation is well underway. The home of Elvis Presley (1935-1977) is a National Historic Landmark that opened to the public in 1982. In 2014, Elvis Presley Enterprises developed a master plan for a public-private partnership with the city, county and state for the redevelopment of Graceland, which now includes an archive studio, a 450-room “Guest House at Graceland Hotel” (which opened in 2016 and replaced the 128-room “Heartbreak Hotel” built in 1989), a museum, retail facilities and a recreational-vehicle and campground park.

Above, the office and store of the Graceland RV Park and Campground. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

To read more, go here. 

Happy Halloween!

This year, I'm just going to sit and watch Game 6 of the 2017 World Series.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Japan Plans Perks For Foreign Filmmakers

Above, a shoot at the Sensoji Temple in Asakusa. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Considering the present implosion of Hollywood due to the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the timing for the following news article may be opportune.

The Laredo Morning Times reported:
The government is planning to introduce incentives for filmmakers that shoot their movies in Japan, offering subsidies and tax breaks, according to sources. 
Some local governments already offer such incentives, but it would be the first time for the central government to establish a system to attract filmmakers to Japan. 
The government aims to introduce the system soon after conducting research on existing incentive packages overseas. It hopes the initiative will boost the domestic film industry by enticing big-budget movie productions to shoot in Japan. 
It also hopes domestic and foreign tourists will be attracted to film locations, supporting the government's goal of promoting Japan as a "tourism-oriented country."

To read more, go here

Another Signed Baseball

Another signed baseball I inherited from my dad has been found.

I didn't know I even had this but I found it today in some boxes. It is an autographed baseball signed by Ken Griffey, Senior and Ken Griffey, Junior of the Seattle Mariners.

Here it is:

Enjoying It Again

Since the 1994 Major League Baseball strike, I have paid scant attention to the game.

I practically lived at Dodger Stadium (and, on occasion Anaheim Stadium) since the late 1970s by attending at least one game during every Dodger homestand. I have followed the Dodgers since I was a kid.

Above, enjoying Game 2 of the World Series.
I have been on the fields of Dodger Stadium and Anaheim Stadium. I participated in a flag ceremony at Dodger Stadium while in the Cub Scouts between games during a (circa 1963) double-header and a ceremonial parade at Anaheim Stadium with Platrix Chapter of E Clampus Vitus (we inducted then-Angels owner Gene Autry into ECV that day).

The baseball strike effectively killed my enthusiasm. The first Dodger game I attended since 1994 was two years ago. It was a shock to see how much things changed at Dodger Stadium and the prices for tickets. What used to cost $6.00 for a reserved seat (blue level), now cost $42.00. How in the world can a family afford to attend a baseball game with any regularity anymore? It boggles the mind.

Well, since the Los Angeles Dodgers made it to the World Series this year, the old enthusiasm is starting to come back. I have watched each game of the World Series and am enjoying them tremendously.

Even though the Dodgers lost to the Astros last night (13 to 12 in ten innings) in a wild game, I had a great time. The old anxiety (in a fun way) has returned.

History Quiz: The Gadsden Flag

Are you familiar with the Gadsden Flag?

If you aren't, or you think you are, you should test your knowledge with a quiz that has been posted by The Heritage Foundation.

I fly the Gadsden Flag on The Beast's flagpole (I got it from The Heritage Foundation):

Above, The Beast at the Lava Hot Springs/City Center KOA. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

To take the quiz, go here.

A Year Ago: The Longest Trip Began

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

It is hard to believe that a year has already flown by since I headed off for the longest trip of my life.

Today marks one year since I went to Metropolis, Illinois for Noel Neill's celebration of life services. The trip also included visits to Meteor Crater, Arizona; Memphis, Tennessee; Springfield, Illinois; Kansas City, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; Topeka, Kansas; Abilene, Kansas; Durango, Colorado; Monument Valley, Utah; Grand Canyon National Park and points in between.

Above, taking the Monument Valley tour. The Mittens are in the background.

The trip lasted exactly three weeks in duration. The Beast held up just fine (the only problem was hitting a sharp-edged curb of a traffic island that shredded two tires in St. Louis). Other than that, the trip was without incident.

The first night of the trip was an overnight stay at the Grand Canyon/Williams KOA. 


A couple of baseball memorabilia items. Signed baseballs.

I hadn't looked at these in a while, I inherited both from my dad.

The first is from Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Fernando Valenzuela:

The second is from California Angels pitcher Nolan Ryan:

Sunday, October 29, 2017

World Series Game 4 A Win For Fox

Above, my Clayton Kershaw drinking cup. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Game 4 of the 2017 World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros was a rating win for Fox.

According to Deadline Hollywood:
For a baseball battle that was scoreless until the sixth inning, Game 4 of the 2017 World Series knock the drama out of the park in the end last night.

When the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Joc Pederson delivered a three-run homer in the ninth inning, Game 4 went from grinder to jaw dropper at Minute Maid Park in Houston. A result that saw the Dodgers win 6-2 over the Houston Astros and break their two game losing streak to tie up the 2017 World Series 2-2. 
Scoring a 10.6/20 in metered market results, Game 4 of the 2017 World Series was a home run for the broadcaster.

Tonight's game (Game 5) starts tonight with pitchers Clayton Kershaw on the mound for the Dodgers and Dallas Keuchel for the Astros. After tonight, the World Series will return to Dodger Stadium for the final games.

To read more, go here.

New Cell Phone Law In Honolulu

Above, a view of Honolulu, Hawaii. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The "nanny statists" of the Hawaii have struck again.

Before saying anything further, I should mention that there is one political party in Hawaii that dominates the state's government. Here's a clue: this party is a party of control freaks.

Give up? Hawaii is dominated by Democrats.

The latest is a new law concerning cell phone usage in Honolulu.

From Condé Nast Traveler:
As hard as we all try to blend in with the locals while traveling, there are always telltale giveaways of being a tourist: stopping in the middle of the sidewalk in New York, sitting on church steps in Florence, speaking loudly in public in Paris. Now, a new law in Honolulu that bans texting while crossing the street is guaranteed to confuse any visitors. 
Put into effect this week, the aptly named Distracted Walking Law allows police in Honolulu to write tickets for people who are caught looking at their cellphones while walking in a crosswalk, reports NPR. "In fact, a downward glance at a screen of any kind will cost you—a phone, a tablet, a video game," said a reporter for Hawaii Public Radio. The fines start at $15, but can increase to more than $75 for repeat offenders.

To read more, go here

Experiencing Totality By Sky & Telescope

Above, the eclipse in totality. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The big event of last summer (and, perhaps, the year) was the Great American Eclipse that took place on August 21. 

As readers of this blog know, I headed up to Idaho to see the eclipse for myself and it was a very worthwhile trip. I was originally going to go to Rexburg, Idaho to view it, but elected instead to go a few miles north of Roberts, Idaho.

Above, the frontage road along Interstate 15 to the viewing area. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Getting to the viewing area was not difficult. Getting back to camp in Lava Hot Springs was a different story. The traffic was so heavy, it took me four and a half hours to get to camp.

Sky & Telescope has posted some stories of people's experiences in viewing the eclipse from across the country.

They begin with:
With Sky & Telescope's editors and writers scattered across the eclipse path, we have dozens of stories to share. Here are a few.

To experience a total solar eclipse is to experience the sublime. It is to encounter something so awe-inspiring, so earth-shattering, that you lose all capacity for reason. Even if you understand the celestial alignment above, you often react in ways that you never expected. 
At least that's what accounts of the celestial spectacle often say. At Sky & Telescope, we have been poring over these accounts for years — wondering what our personal reactions might be to the Great American Eclipse. Now that August 21, 2017, has come and gone, we no longer have to wonder. In fact, we can now add our own stories to the pool of others. 
Of course, it might still be impossible to speak lucidly about the event. Jay Pasachoff — an astronomer at Williams College who has seen 34 total solar eclipses — notes that no one has ever described a total solar eclipse adequately. But we wouldn’t be writers if we didn’t try.

To read more, go here

National Parks That Would Be Affected By Fee Proposal

Above, Sequoia National Park would be one of the parks affected. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

If you are wondering which 17 national parks would be affected by the proposed peak-season entrance fee increase, the National Park Service posted the list.

Here's what they wrote:
Under the proposal, peak-season entrance fees would be established at 17 national parks. The peak season for each park would be defined as its busiest contiguous five-month period of visitation. 
The proposed new fee structure would be implemented at Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Denali, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Olympic, Sequoia & Kings Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Zion National Parks with peak season starting on May 1, 2018; in Acadia, Mount Rainier, Rocky Mountain, and Shenandoah National Parks with peak season starting on June 1, 2018; and in Joshua Tree National Park as soon as practicable in 2018.

To read more, go here

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Flag Pole Buddy Information

Above, at the Peter Lebeck clampout at Camp Okihi. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

At the recent two clampouts I attended, I received some admiring looks at my flagpole set-up on The Beast and some queries.

Above, at the Platrix clampout on the Keene Ranch. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

For those (and others) who are interested, the flagpole set-up is the Flag Pole Buddy. I purchased it online from Camping World. The Flag Pole Buddy comes with a flagpole that extends 22' and mounting hardware and a U.S. flag.

It mounts on an RVs roof ladder. I first used it during my August Great American Eclipse trip to Idaho.

Above, at the Lava Hot Springs City Center KOA in Lava Hot Springs, Idaho. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I recently attended the California RV Show at the Fairplex in Pomona and there was a booth for the Flag Pole Buddy in the big accessories tent.

With those inquiring Clampers and others in mind, I picked up some literature and have scanned it. It is posted below.

T + L: Things To Do On The Big Island

Above, lava can be seen in a volcanic vent at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The Big Island of Hawaii has been seeing increases in tourist visitors recently. And, why not? There's plenty to see and do there.

Travel + Leisure has an article on things visitors can do on the Big Island along with a video.

They begin with:
Officially named Hawaii, but referred to by most as the Big Island, this is the largest island in the Central Pacific archipelago known as Hawaii. Here, you’ll find no shortage of dreamy vacation draws, from white-sand beaches and a fascinating array of ocean and wildlife, to a thriving food and drink scene.

To see the video and read more, go here

Rep. Tom McClintock Opposes National Park Fee Hike Proposal

Above, Yosemite National Park would be one of the national parks
affected by the entrance fee proposal. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Conservative Republican Congressman Tom McClintock has come out in opposition to the proposal to double entrance fees at 17 national parks.

His comments against the proposal has been posted at the Sierra Sun Times.

He said (in part):
On Tuesday afternoon, I personally expressed to Secretary Zinke my strong objection to the proposed steep entrance fee hikes for our National Parks. 
Two of the principal objectives I have set as Chairman of the House Federal Lands Sub-committee are to restore public access to the public lands and to restore the federal government as a good neighbor to those communities directly impacted by the public lands.  The proposed fee increases run counter to both of these policies. 
At a time when we are trying to encourage more Americans to visit and value our national parks, more than doubling entrance fees is certain to have a significant impact on park visits and the commerce they bring to our gateway communities.

To read more of Rep. McClintock's statement, go here

Friday, October 27, 2017

JFK Assassination Files Released

Above, the former Texas School Book Depository from Houston and Main Streets. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

As promised, the previously unreleased documents on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy were released, save a few that will be under a six-month review, by President Trump.

According to Business Insider:
President Donald Trump on Thursday approved the release of more than 2,800 previously classified documents related to the 1963 assassination of former President John F. Kennedy. 
The trove of documents, released late on Thursday by the National Archives, offer up an array of details around the assassination itself, the ensuing investigation, and the government's foreign-policy endeavors.
There are some interesting tidbits, but nothing earth-shattering, in what was released.

Business Insider has posted some of the more interesting highlights.

To read more, go here

Only One Acre Burned In Yellowstone National Park

Above, Upper Yellowstone Fall. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

2017 saw many wildfires break out in several national parks over the summer, including Crater Lake National Park and Yosemite National Park.

However, there was one national park that was almost spared.

KPVI News reported:
CODY — The number of acres burned in Yellowstone National Park during the 2017 fire season totaled about one acre. 
A year ago, 63,000 acres burned in the park, the most land singed in a single season since the 1988 record year when 793,880 of Yellowstone's 2.2-million acres were engulfed in flame.

To read more, go here.

Yosemite National Park: How Crowded Is It?

Above, The Beast at North Pines Campground in Yosemite Valley. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Ever wondered how crowded it gets in Yosemite National Park?

The Sacramento Bee has an article that will answer that question.

It starts with:
Here’s how crowded Yosemite National Park has become: The number of visitors last year topped the number of residents in 27 different states. 
As the National Park Service considers doubling summertime entrance fees at Yosemite and other popular parks, the crush of visitors – and traffic – keeps increasing. 
About 5 million people visited Yosemite in 2016, up by more than a million from just three years earlier, the latest federal data show. For perspective, that number of visitors is roughly equivalent to the population of Colorado. 
The vast majority - more than 90 percent - of those visitors arrived by car.

And that's only for starters.

To read more, go here

Big Kahuna Luau Got The Boot

Above, the Big Kahuna Luau show in May 2016. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

While researching what are the best luaus to attend in Hawaii, I noticed that the Big Kahuna Luau that we attended last year was not on anyone's list.

So, I did a little more looking and found that the Big Kahuna Luau is no more, at least for the time being. We attended the Big Kahuna Luau in May 2016. The luau was shut down a month later.

According to Hawaii News Now:
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A public-private partnership has gone sour at an historic property up on Tantalus. After more than two years in operation, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources is ending the Big Kahuna Luau at the Nutridge Estate, the site of Hawaii's first macadamia nut plantation. 
After repeatedly warning Discovering Hawaii Tours, Inc. -- the company which hosts the lu'au -- to correct numerous violations, DLNR says it's revoking their permit at the end of June. 
"We were really surprised, because we weren't expecting to have to leave," said D'Manti Diamond of Discovering Hawaii Tours, Inc. 
The company first got permission to use the property in 2013. 
In late 2015, the state ordered the business to correct a number of violations, including the restoration of an historic tool shed that had been converted into a bar. There were unauthorized stones and concrete installed, after the state says crowds turned the lawn into a muddy mess. It goes on to list unauthorized sinks that were installed and illegal discharge of grey water. There were disputes over parking and noise complaints from neighbors.
Above, the main huse of the Nutridge Estate. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It appears that Discovering Hawaii Tours is still looking for a replacement venue for the Big Kahuna Luau. Either they're still looking or they gave up as I've seen no recent news.

To read more, go here.

Dollar Firmer Above ¥114

There's some good news for Americans who are planning a trip to Japan in the near future.

The Japan Times reported:
The dollar was firmer above ¥114 in Tokyo trading on Friday, after briefly retaking the level overseas as the euro plunged on the European Central Bank’s decision to halve asset purchases, a less hawkish measure than market participants had expected. 
At 5 p.m., the dollar stood at ¥114.10-10, up from ¥113.77-78 at the same time on Thursday. The euro was at $1.1632-1632, down steeply from $1.1818-1819, and at ¥132.73-74, plunging from ¥134.47-48. 
The dollar was supported by purchases by Japanese importers and a rise in long-term U.S. Treasury yields in off-hours trading, while its topside was limited by profit-taking and wait-and-see attitudes ahead of the release of U.S. gross domestic product data for July-September later in the day, traders said.

To read more, go here

Osaka Riverside Walk

Above, Osaka Castle. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Here's an idea for visitors who have ventured south to see the city of Osaka. It is a walking tour along a riverside, which also include food stops.

It is presented by Time Out Tokyo. It also includes a visit to Osaka Castle.

It begins with:
Osaka may be most famed for its street food, vibrant nightlife and plentiful shopping opportunities, but Japan’s second-largest city is also a historically and culturally rich metropolis perfectly suited to on-foot exploration. This more refined side of Osaka is best experienced in Nakanoshima, an oblong-shaped island sitting in between the Dojima and Tosabori rivers. It’s home to wide, tree-lined streets, numerous museums and stylish restaurants and cafés, while also serving as the city’s administrative and commercial centre. Follow us on a one-day stroll along Osaka’s waterways and discover the sights, tastes and energetic atmosphere of a district visibly on the rise.

To read more, go here.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Hawaii Visitor Spending Up 7.1% In 2017

Above, dancers at the Big Kahuna Luau in Honolulu. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

2017 has been very good for the Hawaiian tourism industry thus far.

The following was posted by eTurboNews:
George D. Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), issued the following statement regarding Hawaii’s visitor statistics results for the first three quarters of 2017. 
“The hard work by Hawaii’s tourism industry professionals has produced strong results in the first three quarters of this year and continues to contribute significantly to the health of the State’s economy. Spending from visitors has increased by 7.1 percent to more than $12.5 billion, which generated $1.47 billion in tax revenue for the State, a gain of $96.5 million over last year’s pace. 
“The growth in visitor spending is broad-based with double-digit increases reported for Hawaii’s four major source markets, U.S. West, U.S. East, Japan and Canada. Accordingly, the economies of our four island counties are continuing to benefit, led by the island of Hawaii with a gain of 16.4 percent in visitor spending that is a direct result of the additional air access introduced this year."
 To read more, go here.

Democrats Condemn National Park Fee Hike Proposal

Above, Lassen Peak. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It is funny that Democrats in the U.S. Senate are condemning the proposed national park entrance fee hikes.

There is currently a $11 billion backlog of maintenance and infrastructure projects needed for the national parks that have accumulated over years. Why did they let this backlog accumulate and not address it over the years, especially during the 8 years of the Obama Administration?

Now they are screaming because the Trump Administration is trying to find a way to tackle this backlog.

According to the Billings Gazette:
WASHINGTON — Democratic senators on Thursday criticized a National Park Service plan to impose steep increases in entrance fees at 17 of its most popular parks, including the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone and Zion, calling the proposed rates "arbitrary and unjustifiable." 
Under a plan announced this week, visitors to many national parks would be charged $70 per vehicle during the peak summer season, up from $25 or $30 per vehicle now. Officials say the higher fees are needed to address an $11 billion backlog of maintenance and infrastructure projects that have been put off for years. 
Senators said the plan would exclude many Americans from enjoying national parks. Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington state and other Democrats said the proposal is especially egregious because the Trump administration is recommending severe budget cuts for the park service.
Saying that the Trump Administration is cutting the National Park Service budget is disingenuous. It is not really cutting the amount of funds they get, just a cut in the rate of increase.

To read more, go here.

UPDATE (10/27/17):

I received this reaction which brings up an excellent point:
Funny, I don't see those on the left complaining about hurting the poor by raising the price of gasoline in CA by a 12 cent/gallon tax and vehicle registration fees to fix highway infrastructure. So complain about poor people not having the opportunity to see national parks while making it more costly for them to drive there. Now there's a bit of searing logic in practice.

Three Most Scenic Spots of Japan

Above, Godaido temple at Matsushima Bay. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Do you know what places in Japan are considered to be the most scenic?

If you don't, that's okay. Because Goin' Japanesque has the answer in a new article.

It begins with:
Today, we have an article about the Nihon Sankei, the most scenic spots of Japan. These places have captured the hearts of Japanese people and also have been depicted in the Ukiyo-e of Utagawa Hiroshige. This article juxtaposes the ukiyo-e and the modern day photos to see the comparison. Photo: https://www.flickr.com/

What is the Nihon Sankei 
The Nihon Sankei, or the Three Most Scenic Spots of Japan refer to the three locations, Matsushima, Amanohashidate and Miyajima. It has been a yearned for travel destination for Japanese since long ago and can be said to be the origins of travelling. The reason these three sites came to be recognized originates in the writings of Confucian scholar, Hayashi Gaho. In his writings, “Nihon-koku Jisekikou (Review of Things about Japan)” he wrote that these sites had the most amazing view. There have been poetry, artwork and other historical documents siting these places and praising their extraordinary view.
Of the three, I have been to Miyajima and Matsushima.

To read more, go here

NPS Seeks To Deal With Backlog Through Fee Hike

Above, the Watchtower at Grand Canyon National Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

This subject was posted a couple of days ago, but it was more Yosemite-centric.

Here's some details on a proposal by the National Park Service on dealing with the nearly $12 billion maintenance projects backlog in our national parks.

The Chicago Tribune reported:
Visiting the country's most popular national parks would get more costly under a federal proposal released this week. The National Park Service says its goal is to cut down on the nearly $12 billion in maintenance projects that have been put off under budget constraints. 
Under the plan, visitors driving into 17 of the most popular national parks, mostly in the U.S. West, would pay $70 for a weekly pass, up from $25 to $30. They include the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone and Zion. 
Outside the region, three parks in Maine and Virginia would be affected. People have a month to comment on the plan.

To read more, go here

World Series: What A Game!

Above, yours truly enjoying the game.

Last night's Game 2 of the 2017 World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros was one heck of a ballgame.

I dug out my old Los Angeles Dodgers baseball cap. I hadn't worn it for quite a while. It is a pro model that I bought when I practically lived at Dodger Stadium back in the early 1980s. It is 100% wool fabric with a stitched "LA" logo.

Game 1 was relatively sedate (and quick) in comparison. The Dodgers won that game 2 - 1.

Last night's game see-sawed from the sixth inning on. Finally, it was tied up and went into extra innings.

Unfortunately, I had to run an errand but kept tabs on the game. Jean Carbajal, "Mr. Godzilla Toys", was at the game and posted that he was losing his voice. I can just imagine.

From Sporting News:
Game 2 of the 2017 World Series reached legendary status around midnight Wednesday. 
Mintues after the Astros had dented the Dodgers' vaunted bullpen and taken a lead in extra innings, LA rallied for a pair of runs in the bottom of the 10th to tie the game. The teams played on at Dodger Stadium until Houston prevailed 7-6 in 11. 
The win was the first World Series triumph in Astros franchise history. Houston was swept by the White Sox in the 2005 Series.
The series is now tied at one win apiece. It resumes tomorrow night in Houston.

Before the game began, the ceremonial "first pitch" ceremony was a real treat. The participants were former Dodgers announcer Vin Scully, former Dodger catcher Steve Yeager and former Dodger Pitcher Fernando Valenzuela. See the video below.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Hillary Is In Deep Doo-Doo!

The Robert Mueller investigation into the alleged Trump Russia collusion matter was sparked by the phoney dossier that was proven to be bogus.

Now, after millions of taxpayer money had been spent for nothing, it now comes out that the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid for the dossier's creation.

It looks like a few Democrat asses are puckering up! Maybe the Clintons will finally get what they deserve: jail.

Driveway Camping

Above, The Beast in my cousin's driveway. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Last weekend, I stayed at my cousin's in my motorhome in her driveway.

It just so happens, "driveway camping" is a topic of a new article by Do It Yourself RV. They have some good tips on making such a stay problem-free.

They begin with:
Driveway camping, driveway surfing, courtesy camping, moochdocking, whatever you want to call it, being offered free overnight RV accommodations is a beautiful thing. Chances are if you travel by RV, you’ve had friends and relatives generously offer you a night or two in their driveway or yard. 
In the past four years of full-time RV living my husband and I have had the good fortune to driveway camp at relative’s houses and in the yard’s of good friends. Several times we even took up the offers of strangers to stay in their driveways. 
Not only is driveway camping free (and fun), but it’s also a great way to visit acquaintances without being a nuisance. I like to joke that we are the best kind of house guests — the kind who bring their own house with them! 
Driveway camping can be convenient and rewarding, but it can also be a potential hassle if you don’t do your homework ahead of time. Driveways are not campgrounds, and as such require a bit of extra planning and knowledge for successful RV parking.
 To read more, go here.

"Million Dollar Quartet" Reviewed

Above, the Sun Studio Cafe with the "Million Dollar Quartet". Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Last November, I took a tour of the famous Sun Studio in Memphis, Tennessee. It was the studio where Elvis Presley was discovered.

At the studio, several large photos of the "Million Dollar Quartet" decorated the inside and outside. It was of a jam session that included Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis.

In Edinburgh, Scotland, there is currently a musical play about this historic jam session and it is reviewed by The Edinburgh Reporter.

They wrote:
1956 was a memorable year. Not only did Hearts win the Scottish Cup (come on, I need something to lift my spirits) but at the end of the year there was a chance meeting of four of the greatest musicians ever to grace this planet. 
Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley were all in the studios of Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee. The owner of Sun Records, Sam Phillips was desperate to keep many of his rising stars under his wing although he sold the rights to Elvis to RCA Records the previous year. Thus, on a December day in 1956, they all played an impromptu set at Phillips’ studio. It was the only time these four legends played together. 
Based on the book by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux, Million Dollar Quartet tells the story of this incredible meeting This fabulous musical is on at the Edinburgh Playhouse all this week and is, quite simply, brilliant.

When I spotted the title of the review, I thought the review was for the CD recording of the jam session. I bought a copy at Sun Studio. The CD has been available for several years and it is fascinating to listen to.

To read more, go here.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Left-Wing Hysteria of Billionaire Tom Steyer

Looney Left Report

For the past couple of days, you may have seen television ads by someone named Tom Steyer calling for the impeachment of President Trump.

You may wonder, "Who is this guy?"

According to Fox News, Steyer is a left-wing billionaire.

They wrote:
Soon you will be seeing "impeachment" ads. The far-left billionaire, Tom Steyer has launched a $10 million campaign to remove President Trump from office. 
In all 50 states, the ads will say that Trump has brought us to the brink of nuclear war, obstructed justice and taken money from foreign governments. 
Steyer says “If that’s not a case for impeaching and removing a dangerous president, then what has our government become?” 
A better question might be, what has become of the Democratic Party?
I can easily answer that. They've been taken over by hysterical nut-jobs. If Steyer wants to blow $10 million on an ad campaign filled with bullsh*t, then let him.

To read more, go here

Yosemite Fee Hikes Considered For Improvements

Above, a bridge over Tenaya Creek in Yosemite Valley. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

To address a backlog of maintenance, repairs and improvements at Yosemite National Park and 16 other national parks, the National Park Service is considering seasonal entrance fee price hikes.

The Sierra Sun Times reported:
October 24, 2017 - WASHINGTON – As part of its commitment to improve the visitor experience and ensure America’s national parks are protected in perpetuity, the National Park Service (NPS) is considering increases to fees at highly visited national parks during peak visitor seasons. Proposed peak season entrance fees and revised fees for road-based commercial tours would generate badly needed revenue for improvements to the aging infrastructure of national parks. This includes roads, bridges, campgrounds, waterlines, bathrooms, and other visitor services. 
During the peak season at each park, the entrance fee would be $70 per private, non-commercial vehicle, $50 per motorcycle, and $30 per person on bike or foot. A park-specific annual pass for any of the 17 parks would be available for $75.

To read more, go here

JFK Assassination Files To Be Released

Above, the open window marks the sniper's perch. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

By Thursday, the last remaining classified documents and files on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy will be released.

CBS News reported:
President Trump announced on Twitter that he will allow the release of thousands of classified documents about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy after years of delays. 
The unexpected move means the trove of never-before-seen documents are set to be released by the National Archives by Oct. 26.
Below, a video of former Sercret Service Agent Clint Hill I took last year in Corte Madera, California:

It will be interesting to see if there's anything new on the assassination will be revealed. It will also be interesting if the released documents will spark new conspiracy theories.

Above, Clint Hill gives a talk on the JFK assassination at Book Passage in Corte Madera. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

To read more, go here

Almost Half of Californians Don't Speak English

The following shouldn't come as a surprise, given California's history of coddling illegal aliens.

CNS News reported:
(CNSNews.com) - In California--which with a July 2016 population of 39,250,017 is the nation’s most populous state--44.6 percent of the people five years of age and older do not speak English at home, according to data released this week by the Census Bureau. 
At the same time, according to the Census Bureau, 18.6 percent of California residents 5 and older do not speak English “very well.” 
That ranks California No.1 among the states for the percentage of people in both of these categories.

To read more, go here

Memory Lane

One year ago yesterday, CNN posted the following:
(CNN) - Hillary Clinton has a 12-point lead over Donald Trump and has reached 50% support nationally among likely voters, a new ABC News tracking poll shows. 
The poll shows Clinton with 50% support to Trump's 38%, with 5% backing Libertarian Gary Johnson and 2% supporting the Green Party's Jill Stein. 
The poll comes on the heels of the third presidential debate, which a post-debate CNN/ORC snap poll showed Clinton won.

Of course, the polls the Democrats relied upon, like this one, were totally wrong. Who is sitting in the White House now?

To read more, go here

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