"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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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Hawaii Visitors, Spending Up In October

Above, the "infinity pool" at the Sheraton Waikiki. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

One of the benefits of a booming economy is that people feel more comfortable in taking vacations and spending more.

Such is the case with Hawaii. The October numbers are in and they bode well for Hawaii tourism.

According to U.S. News & World Report:
HONOLULU (AP) — The Hawaii Tourism Authority says the number of visitors to the state rose nearly 3 percent in October compared to the year before. 
The state tourism agency said Thursday spending by travelers topped $1.3 billion during the month. That's an increase of more than 4 percent compared to the same month last year.

To read more, go here

Yosemite Roads Closed For Season

Above, The Beast at a Tioga Road viewpoint in Yosemite National Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It looks like winter is fast approaching (even though it is still autumn) in Yosemite National Park.

Snowfall has closed popular roads within the park.

According to the Los Angeles Times:
Popular roads to Yosemite National Park’s backcountry have closed for the season because of hazardous driving conditions after a recent storm, according to a park news release Wednesday. 
Tioga Road (California Highway 120), the east-west route through the park, and Glacier Point Road have shut after the storm brought snow to higher elevations.

This is actually good news. We use the water that the Sierra Nevada snowpack provides. It appears that the snowpack is just starting to build.

 To read more, go here.

RV Shipments and Sales Soar

Above, The Beast at Mammoth Mountain RV Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The RV industry has fully recovered from the Great Recession...and then some!

According to Herald Net:
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — For RV manufacturers, the bumpy ride from the Great Recession has vanished from the rearview mirror as the industry projects shipments to dealers will top 500,000 units this year. 
Manufacturers and dealers meeting this week at an industry trade show in Louisville, Kentucky, are pointing to solid fundamentals including favorable fuel prices, strong consumer demand and available credit as key factors behind the unprecedented growth. 
They’re also starting to see more adults in their late 20s and 30s browsing showrooms and dealer lots alongside more traditional customers — older couples looking ahead to retirement. 
“Now the aisles are full of baby strollers,” said Dan Pearson, an RV dealer in Minnesota. 
In 2009, recreational vehicle shipments from manufacturers to dealers — a key measure of consumer demand — sank to 165,700 — the lowest level in nearly two decades. Shipments have steadily risen since then and are projected to reach 505,600 units in 2017, up 17.4 percent from a year ago, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association said. It would be the first time shipments surpassed the half-million mark since the group started recording shipments in 1981, RVIA spokesman Kevin Broom said Wednesday.

To read more, go here

Van Nuys Robbery Pursuit: A Suspect Looks Familiar!

While watching the news tonight on KNBC Channel 4 this evening, I saw a video of a police pursuit of a burglary suspect that took place in the Van Nuys/North Hollywood area.

Of course I watched it, but something stunning came on the screen towards the end.

But first, here's the story from ABC7.:
The suspect drove erratically through surface streets, narrowly missing other cars and pedestrians at times. 
Once the suspect ditched the car and started running, officers caught up to him and tackled him. 
A female passenger who jumped out of the vehicle during the pursuit ran into a construction area. She was eventually captured and taken away in an ambulance.
When the female suspect jumped (or fell) out of the Jeep, she was hanging onto the door and appeared to be dragged several yards on her knees (that must have been painful). No wonder she needed an ambulance later.

Here's a video from Fox 11 News (the female suspect is shown being carried to an ambulance at about 37 minutes into the video):

What caught my attention on the KNBC video was that the female suspect on a stretcher looked very familiar! I can't say with 100% certainty, but she sure as hell looked like my ex-fiancee!

The KNBC video that was broadcast had a much closer shot of her, but it was fleeting. I saw it twice and the woman did look like her (hopefully not, for her son's sake). Unfortunately, the KNBC video on their website does not include the shot of the female suspect on the gurney.

The Fox 11 video shows her, but it is too far away for me to make a positive identification.

My "honorary sister" said after I sent her a screen capture of the female subject:
It is not beyond belief with that one.  It may be possible to find out.  For her to even be up to anything illegal is not beyond reason, either.
 Here's two screen captures from the above Fox 11 video:

Maybe it's her, or maybe not. As my "honorary sister" said, it may be possible to find out. After arraignment, suspects are taken into custody by the Los Angeles County Sheriff. There, suspect information can be obtained from their website. The media will also post the names of the suspects.

If it is her, karma finally caught up with her!

(UPDATE 12/1/17): It wasn't her. They say "everyone has a double", and this gal sure has a close resemblance. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

600-900 Yellowstone Bison To Be Culled

Above, sunning Yellowstone bison. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

About 600-900 bison will be culled from Yellowstone National Park's herd this winter.

According to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle:
PRAY — Somewhere between 600 and 900 Yellowstone bison should be culled from the population this winter via hunting and slaughter, bison managers agreed Tuesday. 
State, federal and tribal officials met at Chico Hot Springs yesterday to hash out plans for the winter management of the Yellowstone bison herd, and they agreed that the population should either decrease or remain stable. 
Yellowstone National Park’s most recent estimate says there are 4,816 animals in the population. Park biologists provided data that indicated the removal of 600 would keep that number relatively stable while the removal of 900 would lead to a slight decrease.

To read more, go here

"Free Hookups"

An email just came in.

When I saw "Free Hookups" as the sender, I thought it was spam for a RV park or resort. Then I saw the subject title.

Pocahontas: Trump Played The Left Like An Orchestra

The liberal media and leftist politicians are screaming like gut pigs after President Trump referred to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. as "Pocahontas" during a White House ceremony.

Meanwhile, the rest of us just laugh.

The Daily Wire reported:
Rather than press Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) hard on her stealing of funds meant for Native Americans by misrepresenting her heritage, the MSM is now treating her as just another victim of President Trump's bullying. 
Speaking on CNN, Warren lamented about Trump once again referencing her nickname "Pocahontas" while honoring Navajo WWII code talkers at the White House. Warren called it a "racial slur."

During an event at the Oval Office on Monday honoring the code talkers, Trump said, "I just want to thank you because you are very, very special people. You were here long before any of us were here. Although, we have a representative in Congress who has been here a long time . . . longer than you — they call her Pocahontas."

It can't be a "racial slur" since Warren has no Native American blood and Trump was poking fun at her, not Native Americans. She's a phony as they come! Besides, she asked for it by dishonestly claiming to be a Native American in order to get a job at Harvard.

To read more, go here.

Start Your Own RV Adventure

Above, The Beast at Crater Lake National Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Prices, along with demand, are going up for vacations involving plane fares, hotels and attractions. Going on vacation in a RV may be more of a fit for your budget.

Digitl Journal has an article with five tips on getting started for a RV vacation.

They begin with:
MISSION, Kan., Nov. 29, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- (Family Features) If you’re looking for a way to get away without the hassle of planes, hotels and an exorbitant travel budget, a recreation vehicle may be just the answer. 
Whether you're traveling with family, your significant other or several generations of family and friends, these tips from world-renowned auto travel expert Alan Taylor can get you on your way to an unforgettable RV vacation adventure.
I'll give away one of their tips:
3. Try it before you buy it. There’s no better way to try before you buy than by renting an RV. Many people rent RVs simply for a change of pace by taking a trip to a special event or destination. You can rent near home and journey to your final destination or fly and pick up your RV at the other end. More than 460 national chain outlets and local RV dealerships rent RVs, including state-of-the-art, late-model-year units. A growing number of campgrounds offer on-site RV rentals, as well. 
Most RV rental companies offer housekeeping packages (dishes, pots, pans, bed linens, etc.) for a fee, or you can bring your own. Even if you’re driving or towing an RV for the first time, features like automatic transmissions, power steering, large external mirrors and rearview cameras make it easy for inexperienced drivers to adjust to the difference in size, height and weight.
Above, a RV rental business in Van Nuys, California. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

To read more, go here.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Gallup Events

If everything goes according to plan, I should be moved to Jamestown, New Mexico by the beginning of February.

There's a few events in 2018 in Gallup that are interesting and ought to be fun to attend. They include:
  • Every August, Gallup hosts Native Americans from across the United States in a massive Inter-tribal ceremonial. The Indoor/Outdoor Marketplace and the Ceremonial Showroom present the country’s most complete and varied displays of genuine Indian fine arts, including Navajo rugs, katsinas, jewelry, pottery and basketry. Socials, rodeos and parades round out the events.  
  • Gallup is famous for its rodeos and the entertainment they provide. Annually in June, Gallup hosts the State’s largest amateur event, the Lions Club Rodeo.  
  • The first weekend of December brings color and excitement to the red sandstone bluffs and canyons of Gallup, New Mexico as 200 balloons from around the world take flight from this spectacular setting.
(UPDATE 12/1/17):

From Glenn Draper:

  • National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show at the Sandia Resort and Casino in Albuquerque, New Mexico on March 2-4, 2018.

RV Garage "Beast House"

One of the things I'll need to do once I am settled into the house in Jamestown, New Mexico is to get a RV garage for The Beast. Since it snows during the winter and the summer sun and heat would also cause damage to the fiberglass sides, it will need to be protected.

I have already looked into and priced a RV garage to my specifications and have a spot on the property in mind where to have it installed. I will likely go with Alan's Factory Outlet for the structure. Their price includes free delivery and installation.

I envision a 12-gauge metal garage that is 18 feet wide (the RV is 8 feet wide), 31 feet long (the RV is 24 feet long) and 14 feet high (the RV is 11 feet high). This will allow more room me to store odds and ends with it.

I have marked off the area (red rectangle) where I think would be a good location for the RV garage:

No Termites!

The termite report on the Jamestown, New Mexico house has been received. It was paid for by the owners.

The termite inspection found no evidence of any past or present infestation of termites or any other destructive pests. That's good to know and a relief!

National Parks, Then & Now, In New Book

Above, rock formations include Thor's Hammer and Queen
Victoria in Bryce Canyon National Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

A new book on our national parks has been published showing vintage photographs of scenes of various national parks and new photos of the same scenes.

The Rapid City Journal reported:
After driving more than 50,000 miles and hiking hundreds more while shooting photographs in 24 national parks, Custer-based photographer Paul Horsted has a new book and conflicting emotions. 
“I’m encouraged and a little bit worried,” he said. 
The encouragement derives from the places in the parks that appear largely unchanged from photographs taken 75 to 150 years ago. 
To lessen the environmental impact from hordes of visitors, controversial ideas such as mandatory reservations are being floated at some parks. It's amid that atmosphere of growing concern about overcrowding that Horsted offers up his new book, “Treasures of the National Parks Yesterday & Today.”

To read more, go here.

Vacations and Travel, A Key Component of Retirement

Above, The Beast at a KOA Kampground in Lava Hot Springs, Idaho. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Since I retired two years ago, there has not been a single moment where I regretted the decision.

I already preplanned on what I was going to do and went ahead and am doing it: travel. It is a great opportunity to see new places and things and enjoy the benefits of ordering "geezer slams" (their senior menu) at Denny's while on the road.

That is exactly what the Buffalo Reflex recommends for seniors to do in their retirement years and they provide some ideas on how to go about it.

The article begins with:
When the time comes to bid farewell to conference calls, meetings and daily commutes, retirees have open schedules to fill with whichever activities they choose. Travel is one exciting way to pass the time. 
Traveling can be a rewarding prospect for active seniors, particularly those who successfully preplanned for retirement and have the income to fund various excursions. Many seniors, both in the United States and Canada, find that travel tops their to-do lists once they retire. According to Senior Travel magazine, new travel options are emerging for newly minted retirees looking for something a little different from the status quo.
The list of destinations retirees have at their disposal is limitless. The following ideas are some of the more popular ways retirees choose to travel.

To read more, go here

Monday, November 27, 2017

Elvis’s Only GI European Concert

Above, Elvis Presley in the Army.

It was a major news story in 1958 when Elvis Presley was drafted into the U.S. Army.

The military's newspaper, Stars and Stripes, has posted an article on the only concert Presley gave in Europe during the time of his service.

They begin with:
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — The Grafenwoehr Training Area is known today as the largest U.S. Army training area in Europe, a place where artillery maneuver and fire alongside tanks and infantry. But the “King of battle” wasn’t always the only king on base. 
Elvis Presley, the “King of Rock ’n’ Roll,” spent several weeks training on base here in 1958 after he was drafted into the Army. He returned for an encore to do maneuver training in 1960. 
Elvis’s time in Grafenwoehr wasn’t spent only on training. The King left a lasting legacy on base and off, and he is still remembered as the most famous person to visit the area. 
This month, Grafenwoehr’s Culture and Military Museum hosted a special exhibit on Elvis’ time in the area, complete with dozens of photographs of the King working with fellow soldiers at Camp Algiers, where he was based.

 To read more, go here.

Home Inspection Done

Above, the house today. Photo from the inspector's report.

The home inspection has been completed on the house in Jamestown, New Mexico and it came out pretty well in general.

There are a few things, more of a minor nature, that do need to be corrected. Some shingles on the roof need replacing, particularly near the swamp cooler. Some boards on the deck are loose and need to be repaired. One or two steps are loose, which need to be fixed due to a potential safety hazard. The step railing is loose, another potential safety hazard. There is a loose toilet in the guest bathroom that needs to be taken care of (and having the flooring checked for any damage). The sink fixture in the same bathroom needs replacement. Hurricane straps need to be installed to secure the structure to the foundation and to check for any uneven pillars, etc. Outside drainage needs to be corrected so that water won't compromise the foundation.

Otherwise, the house came out okay.

It is up to the seller to remedy these issues or knock off a chunk off the selling price. I think they'd be better off doing the repairs (and have them verified) rather than having money deducted from the selling price. I'll have to discuss this further with the realtor and we'll go from there. We'll see.

All in all, it is generally just minor stuff.

Xavier Becerra's Hypocrisy, Others Taking Notice

Above, Lassen Peak trailhead parking lot. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It appears that others are noticing the hypocrisy of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra when he protested the proposed national park fee hike, along with other attorneys generals, besides me. I posted about this glaring contradiction several days ago.

Joel Fox, Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily, also took notice.

He wrote:
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra wants to keep national park fees down so poor people can afford entry in their vehicles. However, the gas tax repeal effort, which critics say he disfavors based on the title and summaries he authored on repeal initiatives, might keep drivers from even reaching the parks because of the increased cost of gas
Becerra did not think it necessary to emphasize words “tax” and “fee” in his title of the initiative efforts to repeal gas taxes that are designed to maintain roads. However, the word “fee” is up front in a letter he co-signed with other state attorneys general protesting a Trump Administration proposed action raising national park fees for among other things road maintenance within the parks. 
The letter says making it more affordable to enter the parks for all is a matter of policy. But then again so is raising the gas tax on all.

To read more, go here.

We All Get Old In The End...

We all get old in the end...

I changed my car horn to gunshot sounds. People get out of the way much faster now.

Gone are the days when girls used to cook like their mothers. Now they drink like their fathers.

You know that tingly little feeling you get when you really like someone? That's common sense leaving your body.

I didn't make it to the gym today. That makes five years in a row.

I decided to stop calling the bathroom the "John" and renamed it the "Jim". I feel so much better saying I went to the Jim this morning.

Old age is coming at a really bad time. When I was a child I thought "Nap Time" was a punishment. Now, as a grownup, it feels like a small vacation.

The biggest lie I tell myself is..."I don't need to write that down, I'll remember it."

I don't have gray hair; I have "wisdom highlights." I'm just very wise.

Teach your daughter how to shoot, because a restraining order is just a piece of paper.

If God wanted me to touch my toes, He would've put them on my knees.

Last year I joined a support group for procrastinators. We haven't met yet.

Why do I have to press one for English when you're just going to transfer me to someone I can't understand anyway?

Of course I talk to myself; sometimes I need expert advice.

At my age "Getting lucky" means walking into a room and remembering what I came in there for.

I am a Seenager. (Senior teenager) I have everything that I wanted as a teenager, only 60 years later.
I don't have to go to school or work.I get an allowance every month.
I have my own pad.
I don't have a curfew.
I have a driver's license and my own car.
I have ID that gets me into bars and the whisky store.
The people I hang around with are not scared of getting pregnant.
And I don't have acne.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Racism Allegation Contradicts Presley's Life

Above, a Sun Studios display of Elvis with Junior Parker (left) and Bobby Blue Bland. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

An interesting article by Roy Black of The Gleaner (Jamaica, Wisconsin) on the alleged racism of Elvis Presley was posted today.

In it, he wrote:
Last week's Music Diaries gave a short insight into Elvis Presley's spiritual leanings. His association with gospel concerts and gospel recordings as a teenager portrayed him as a godly man who would be the last to indulge in racism. Yet, I have grown up from a youth knowing that Presley was condemned by many Jamaicans for certain derogatory comments in the late 1950s. 
The official website Elvis Australia - Elvis and Racism, the ultimate definitive guide, quotes a source (which they do not reveal) that accused Presley of saying that "the only thing Negroes can do for me is shine my shoes and buy my records". But the same website has produced glaring evidence to refute that comment and render it fallacious. 
Photographed in a jovial mood with several outstanding black entertainers of that time, including female gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, Brook Benton, Jackie Wilson, Sammy Davis Jr, Johnny Mathis, Fats Domino, and B.B. King, Presley was portrayed as a white man who had a black heart. The website states that "in heavily segregated Memphis of that day, Presley was regularly seen at black-only events". 
The white boy thus became hooked on the music of pioneering black artistes being played on the radio, got immersed in black Memphis blues clubs, and absorbed the music of local impoverished black communities. It was to Memphis that his father had moved the family while Elvis was still a pre-teen to escape the poverty that they were experiencing in Mississippi, where he was born into a poor sharecropping family on January 8, 1935. 
I have grown with the music and kept abreast of Presley's development and easily appreciate that most of what was said about Presley and his racist leanings was nonsense. For whatever reason, from my viewpoint, he came across with a 'black sound' on That's All Right Mama in July of 1954 for Sun Records. It was, therefore, inconsistent with his upbringing that Presley could have indulged in such misdeeds.
Black failed to note that Presley shopped for his clothing mainly at stores in the black areas of Memphis. He preferred their styles over the styles found in white areas. This also refutes the racism accusation of some detractors. (See Elvis By The Presleys DVD.

I did some additional digging.

Jet magazine looked into the alleged "shine my shoes" comment and asked Presley about it (Source: Creative Loafing):
I learned that the infamous “shine my shoes” quote was never verified, and was told second-hand to what basically was a 1950s tabloid rag out of Boston called Sepia. During the same time that Elvis supposedly gave this “quote,” he did an interview with Jet (yes, the black-owned Jet magazine) in which he spoke openly about the controversy and the origins of rock ’n’ roll as black music. “I never said anything like that, and people who know me know that I wouldn't have said it,” he told Jet. “A lot of people seem to think I started this business. But rock ’n’ roll was here a long time before I came along. Nobody can sing that kind of music like colored people. Let's face it: I can't sing like Fats Domino can. I know that.” 
I found quotes from notable black musicians and celebrities, detailing their experiences with Elvis, which ranged from respectful to affectionate. James Brown said, “I wasn't just a fan, I was his brother.” B.B. King was also close to Presley throughout his life and Ike Turner reportedly let Elvis carry his band's gear early on and claimed he was the first man to put Elvis on a stage. Muhammad Ali, who let Elvis live with him while he trained for a bout against Joe Frazier, said, “Elvis was my close personal friend. I don't admire nobody, but Elvis Presley was the sweetest, most humble and nicest man you'd want to know.”

To read more, go here.

La Mesa RV In Albuquerque

Above, La Mesa RV's sales office in San Diego. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

In familiarizing myself on what stores and services are available in Gallup and Albuquerque, New Mexico, I did some Google checking.

My checks ran the gamut from supermarkets in Gallup (mainly Albertson's and Safeway) to RV repair and service centers.

Luckily for me, there is a La Mesa RV Center in the western park of Albuquerque off of Interstate 40. I bought The Beast at La Mesa's San Diego dealership, so I should have no problem of getting The Beast serviced in Albuquerque when the need arises.

Albuquerque is 125 miles from where I will be living.

How Hiroshima Rose From The Ashes

Above, the A-Bomb Dome in 2004. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Hiroshima was the first of two Japanese cities to be obliterated by an atomic bomb. But today, it is a thriving city with very few reminders outside of Peace Memorial Park of the atomic attack in August 1945.

BBC Travel has an article on how Hiroshima rose from the ashes.

They wrote:
Today’s Hiroshima is a bright, welcoming place, blessed with an enviable location on the shores of the Inland Sea, with its maze of misty islands. On the other three sides are mountains. Six rivers run through it, earning Hiroshima the nickname the ‘City of Water’. 
Visitors invariably leave here with an overwhelming feeling of admiration and respect for the tremendous character of Hiroshima’s residents, who resolved to pick themselves up and start all over again, turning their tragic experience into a force for good in the world. Many visitors also say they experience a notable spike in their levels of empathy, compassion and altruism. It’s what you might call ‘the Hiroshima Effect’.

To read more, go here

May Is The Perfect Time To Visit Yosemite

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

May just may be the perfect time to visit Yosemite National Park. It is a bit warmer than April (when I last stayed in Yosemite last year).

But as an article in the Mercury News states, any season is a good time to visit Yosemite National Park. However, the article focuses on the month of May.

The article states, in part:
To be sure, every season is lovely in Yosemite. Summer brings long days, cobalt blue skies and meadows rich with subalpine wildflowers. Autumn is beloved for foliage: magenta dogwoods, yellow maples and butterscotch oaks. In winter, the park is a snowy wonderland, its rocks etched like crystal.

But spring is special. Even the smallest creeks rush with water; the most famed waterfalls reach peak runoff in May or early June. There’s still a chill in the morning air. The trees explode with fresh new leaves. Meadows are bright green corridors of grass. Snow still drapes over the beloved mountain aptly named Clouds Rest. 
Wildlife is stirring, with bears, foxes, deer and lynx moving among the scented cedar and ponderosa pine trees. As spring progresses, the Valley is rich with blossoming white dogwoods and brilliant pink-purple redbuds. 
Here’s another secret: The biggest crowds don’t arrive until Memorial Day. And — more good news — you can escape them. 

To read more, go here. 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Popular Snowbird Winter Destinations

Above, Crazy Horse Campground at Lake Havasu, Arizona. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

People who live in northern latitudes and colder climates and who have RVs will head to southern and warmer climates during the winter are called "snowbirds".

Do It Yourself RV has an article on eight places that are favorites of snowbirds.

They begin with:
Every winter, many full timers avoid the cold weather by heading to areas like the southwest and sandy beaches of Florida.  Being able to follow the sun is one of the best advantages of having a home on wheels—you can stay at the perfect temperature all year and not have to deal with winter camping problems. 
If you’re driving south for the season, check out these popular destinations for snowbirds.  You’ll find plenty of RV parks, things to do, and sunshine all the way until next spring.

 To see what they are, go here.

Memphis Needs Graceland, Grizzlies To Work Together

Above, Elvis Presley's Graceland mansion. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

A dispute has arisen in Memphis, Tennessee that has led to a lawsuit by Elvis Presley Enterprises against the Memphis Grizzlies. The lawsuit is over a proposed concert hall or multi-use facility that EPE wants to build.

According to an editorial by the Commercial Appeal:
It’s hard to imagine how anyone might benefit from the lawsuit filed by Elvis Presley Enterprises against the Memphis Grizzlies. 
Its ostensible purpose was to challenge the clause in the Memphis Grizzlies’ FedExForum lease that protects the arena, a multipurpose sports and concert venue, from competition by other publicly financed facilities. 
Maybe EPE was maneuvering for a larger public subsidy for the arena it plans to build near Graceland, suggesting that it might drop its lawsuit if the public till can be tapped a little more? 
If it had a legal leg to stand on, that might be an understandable strategy. But the noncompete clause is as solid as an uncontested dunk. 
It essentially gives the Grizzlies organization the right to block the operation of any venue either financed with public funds or capable of seating more than 5,000 people or both.
The editorial urges both parties to cooperate with each other rather than fighting it out in court.

To read more, go here

Hawaii Medical Marijuana Users Lose 2nd Amendment Rights

Above, Diamond Head from the Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon at Waikiki Beach. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Hawaii may be a tropical paradise for some, but it has a state government that is a constitutional hell for others. 

Here is the kind of thing that happens when you have a one-party dictatorship of liberal Democrats ruling a state. California is another example.

Did you know that when laws allowing use of  recreational and medical marijuana were passed, the sneaky bastards in the Hawaiian legislature included a provision that if one uses medical marijuana they use their Second Amendment rights? Yes, it is unfortunately true!

See the letter below (courtesy of GOP congressional candidate Mark Reed):

This is blatantly unconstitutional! What's next? Users of mouthwash containing alcohol will be stripped of their Second Amendment rights, too?

Noel Neill's 97th Birthday

Today marks what would have been the "Original Lois Lane" actress Noel Neill's 97th birthday.

A toast and a hat-tip to Noel on her birthday!

Above, Noel and yours truly in Los Angeles in July 2001.

Above, Noel's personal appearance outfit on display at her celebration of
 life services in Metropolis, Illinois last year. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, Noel's statue in Metropolis, Illinois. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Useful Japan Tips For An Easier Trip

Above, Toho Studios in Setagaya. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

If a trip to Japan seems intimidating enough to keep you from going, Vogue has eight tips that will help make things a bit easier.

They begin with:
Traveling to a foreign country can be distressing in many ways: language barriers, geographical unfamiliarity, and trying to spend wisely are just some of the concerns that arise. Even when a destination is popular and well-traversed by tourists, it can still be hard to discover the best tips and tricks for seamless navigation. Japan is certainly no exception—if anything, the country in all of its wonderful glory can be one of the most challenging for English-speaking visitors. What do you do when a menu is only available in Japanese? Is there a way to save money on those high-priced Shinkansen (bullet trains)? In a destination notorious for hard-to-acquire reservations, how do you get a seat at a top-notch restaurant? To answer all of these questions, and more, we’ve compiled eight tips that will help assuage many of your worries and make your trip to this amazing island nation easier.

To read more, go here

Cheap Flights To Hawaii This Winter

Above, sunset in Honolulu. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

If one would like to take a trip to Hawaii but think it is too expensive to fly there, think again.

Airlines are flying people to Hawaii for a lot less this winter.

Travel + Leisure reported:
Flights to Hawaii are once again available at a great price, so you can still book that winter getaway to a warm, sandy beach without breaking the bank. 
For example, round-trip fares to Honolulu for winter travel are starting at $337 from San Jose, $357 from Los Angeles and San Francisco, $442 from Denver, $480 from Dallas, $522 from Chicago, $568 from D.C., and $582 from New York City (and many other cities). The cheapest dates to fly are in January, February, and the beginning of March. 
Of course, there's more to Hawaii than Honolulu, and there are deals across the islands. According to Scott's Cheap Flights, fares to Kauai, Kona and Maui are starting in the $300s. From Denver, travelers can fly to Kona for $362 round-trip.

To read more, go here

Friday, November 24, 2017

Is There A Store Nearby?

Thanksgiving Day was spent at my cousin Maria's in Wildomar, California.

While there, other family members were asking and congratulating me on the home purchase. More than once, I was asked if there are stores nearby. I said yes, there's a Pilot Flying J Travel Center at the off-ramp at Interstate 40, which is about a couple of miles from the house.

It has a Denny's and a Subway there. And, they sell fireworks!

The first photo is of the Pilot Flying J Travel Center from the Yelp website:

There are more photos of the Pilot Flying J Travel Center, some even has the place covered in snow.

Here's an aerial view of the Travel Center and where the house is located (white "X"):

As you can see, I'll be a little bit "up the hill" from Interstate 40 and Historic Route 66. This will come in handy as I get a five-cent-per-gallon of gas discount at Pilot Flying J Travel Centers through the Good Sam Club.

Fireball Over Japan

A big fireball was seen over Japan Tuesday night and it was caught from several vantage points with video cameras.

NHK World reported:
Skies over Japan were lit up Tuesday night by what appears to have been a meteor. It was seen in Odawara, west of Tokyo, and other areas. The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan said it was probably a fragment of an asteroid that burned up in the Earth's atmosphere.

Maybe it's a Toho publicity stunt announcing that King Ghidorah is arriving in Japan?

Videos of the fireball can be seen here.

Osaka's Dotonbori Aims To Expand Nightlife

Above, Dotonbori is known for its unique signage. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

One of the highlights of my trip to Japan two years ago was a visit to Osaka. It was the first time I've been in the city since the 2004 G-TOUR.

And, one place visited for the first time was the Dotonbori shopping and dining district. Osaka is now planning to expand on its appear to foreign visitors.

According to the Asahi Shimbun:
OSAKA--In hopes of turning the Dotonbori commercial district here into a sightseeing spot of world renown, a travel agency has teamed with a local association of shops to promote the district to attract more tourists from within Japan and abroad. 
JTB Western Japan Corp. on Oct. 26 signed an agreement with the Dotonbori Store Association saying that both parties will work together to expand the lineup of available nightly entertainment options. 
The JTB group is also hoping to tap into the potential for consumption by a growing number of visitors to Japan.

To read more, go here

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Leftist Loon Xavier Becerra and National Park Fee Proposal

The Looney Left Report

California's leftist loon Attorney General Xavier Becerra is leading a group of mainly Democrat attorneys general of 10 states to threaten legal action if a proposed national park fee hike (to deal with a $11 billion backlog of projects and maintenance) goes through.

SF Gate reported:
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra led top attorneys from 10 states Wednesday in threatening legal action against the Trump administration for planning to more than double national park entrance fees. 
A letter drafted by Becerra and signed by representatives of the mostly blue states says the proposal to increase the price of admission at Yosemite and 16 other marquee parks — to $70 per vehicle during the busy season — is not only unfair to many less affluent Americans but is inconsistent with national park policies. 
“Our goal as a nation should be to make our national parks supremely inviting and encourage more families to visit them,” Becerra said in a prepared statement. “Instead, the Trump administration proposes the complete opposite.”

Gee, where was Becerra when his party jacked up the gasoline tax and increasing the cost of vehicle registrations in California? That will put more of a damper on the "less affluent American's" means to visit national parks. What do you say to that Mr. Becerra? Does jacking up registration fees and the gas tax even bother you?

I am not in favor of the fee proposal in dealing with the backlog, but it seems that these lunatics are always willing to spend taxpayers' money on politically-driven legal actions. Hypocrites!

To read more, go here.

No "Shin Godzilla" Sequel Until After 2020

Above, the Godzilla mural at Toho Studios. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

A sequel to Toho's Shin Godzilla won't be produced until after 2020, according to Comicbook.com.

It is strange that this is being reported only now when co-director Shinji Higuchi stated as such at last summer's G-FEST. G-FEST is held every July in the Chicago area.

Comicbook.com wrote:
Did you enjoy Toho's new take on Godzilla in Shin Godzilla? Too bad it won't get a follow-up for a few years. 
Speaking at a Q&A during G-Fest XXIV, Shin Godzilla co-director Shinji Higuchi detailed the Godzilla rights deal Toho had made with Legendary Pictures. It turns out the multi-year partnership with Legendary allows the Western film company to make Godzilla films like 2014's Godzilla, and the upcoming sequel Godzilla: King of the Monsters but not leaving room for much else. 
With Legendary planning to produce an eventual crossover with Kong: Skull Island, Godzilla vs. King Kong in 2020, Toho actually can't make another Godzilla film until after 2020. Meaning that any hope for a quick turn around on a Shin Godzilla has been dashed.

To read more, go here

Two Different Kinds

Trump Wine:

Liberal Whine:

Thanksgiving 2017

For this year's Thanksgiving holiday, I'll be heading down to my cousin's in Wildomar in The Beast.

Since traffic in Southern California is expected to be heavy, I will try to get on the road as early as I can.

But, until then, here's a Thanksgiving greeting:



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