Friday, August 29, 2008

E cooking

In following the tradition of Clare we return again to E Friday, where I post photos of my darling granddaughter E, because VG really likes to look at these pics. Well, I like to look at them also. So, back to my fuzzy camera used in Portland pictures.

One of the reasons we drove up to Portland for E’s birthday party was so that we could take a car full of stuff along. After much discussion as to what to get her we decided that an appropriate gift would be one that would start her on the long road to womanhood and a life of enjoyment, a stove so that she could start practicing cooking. (stop hitting me, stop, please). Rather than get one of those plastic ready made things (we did get one off of Craigs list for her to use in LV) I decided to put my woodworking skills to good use and constructed one, with burners, and oven and a little sink. In order to fit more in the car we brought this in pieces, and put it together when we got there. She helped with the construction as well.

At least I think she was happy with it.

Look - did you notice? Sunshine in Portland! I did the construction part and B did the painting part. Hopefully it will last and be played with.

We also got her lots of other stuff – so please don’t call us cruel grandparents for getting her started on domestication. She likes bugs, so we also got her a bag of bugs. You can see some of them in the above picture, on the plates ready for serving. Of course they must be properly cooked prior to serving

We did get served a lot of bug salad and scrambled bugs and even some tea while we were there. She even washed the dishes too.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


I was wandering around the big hotel casino resort next door and noticed the difference between the employee areas and the guest areas. Thinking about it, I guess that most places usually fancy up the area where guests are expected while not spending as much on the rooms that the employees or locals spend time in. My house is the same way, we keep the front room pretty while my office is, shall we say, not usually presented to the public. Anyway, this is the main corridor used by employees

While this is the main corridor used by guests.

Ah well, employees keep coming back for their paycheck, no reason to make it too pretty for them, a few motivational posters and some artificial greenery will be good enough; at least they did something other than plain institutional white walls. Guests on the other hand come here to spend their money, so let’s give them a show and make them want to come back because it’s so pretty.

Today is the last day of the big clothing show with the sparkles upstairs. For those of you that care, the ‘in’ look this time for women: black t-shirt with white men’s dress shirt unbuttoned over it over tiny jeans shorts: shorts that if they were any shorter wouldn’t be shorts but a belt. Half the time these are over black tights with runs down the front. If no tights then you are required to have ugly purplish tattoos on your calf to share with the world. I couldn’t tell about the tramp stamps ‘cause the long shirt tails were covering them. For guys, black T over black jeans. For both: low top sneakers in silver and fancy colors.

We walked around the show a little. Unfortunately there was no repeat of the models from last time. Oh well, but Tau ran the DJ booth overhead (one was built up in the air over an aisle) and there were always a few Tau girls above our heads dancing in tiny shorts, wiggling that booty for all to see. Other than that, very few models in the booths, I think I only saw three or four, and a couple of guys just modeling jeans. Next week is the bridal show, so we’ll have acres of lace and ecru all over the place.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Well, I'm sorry, I've tried to stay pleasant and avoid subjects that cause people to think. This wasn't designed to be a political blog but mainly just a place to share pictures that I've taken around Las Vegas because I really like it here and want people to see how nice it is. Or strange, because at times it is strange but usually I don't have a camera with me when the strange things happen.

But today I just have to join Deana and bring up something that I find important. Mainly, that our country has really gone downhill over the past eight years. We have soldiers dying in countries that we should not even be in, where we are throwing away billions of dollars in ‘reconstruction’ funds and costs that would be better spent at home on health care of food or just about anything, or not be spent by the government but left to the people. Our national debt is higher than it ever has been, I feel no safer flying (if I do, I now avoid it) and hate putting up with those petty restrictions and full body searches (no, you are not safer because of it, the 9-11 guys got their stuff in a different way).

I think our country cannot handle another four years of Bush. Yes, I feel the Republican candidate would just continue on the same path that we have been heading along. Get off your butts people and do something.

Go to Obama for President website

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Panties Plus

Setup is in progress in the big hall downstairs for the lower priced clothing show. Upstairs in three halls is the sparkly hip trendy clothing show, and in the other hall and the ballrooms is the one of a kind and designer clothing and accessories show. The first floor of the tower has swimsuits and intimate apparel, while other stuff is up in the tower on the higher levels as well.

These shows come every six months, part of clothing week in Vegas, so this is the third setup that I have seen since starting work here. It is interesting watching a big empty concrete room turn into an exhibit space. On Monday they were marking the floors, Tuesday was installation of electrical to each booth area, Wednesday was installation of carpets, stanchions and draperies in addition to the start of move in for shipping crates. Thursday was the finishing of crate move in and the start of booth setup by participants, which will be completed Friday in time for show opening on Saturday. It looks like the same booths are in the same locations – I guess when a company likes a location on the show floor they continually reserve the same space.

On the corner in about the middle today is a very large crate with the label ‘Panties Plus’. This company has been in the same corner location all three shows. Yes, the crate is a big wooden box about four by four feet ten feet long. It is crammed with pretty colored woman’s panties. Usually there are two crates, so the other one should show up soon. The first time I saw these I wondered who would be manning the booth, and whether or not we would enjoy models. Unfortunately there are no models downstairs at the lower priced show. But many booths upstairs have models; some even have painted ladies (as seen last time). That reminds me – have to go upstairs on opening day and check it out.

Anyway, back to Panties Plus (say it again Joe) – as a total surprise the booth is manned by orthodox Jewish men. Yes; yarmulkes, black clothes, long hair and beards. For some reason it seems very amusing to me to see a booth full of colorful panties with these guys in front describing their wares. I guess a lot of lower cost garments are made in Israel, there are quite a few booths in this show manned by men in yarmulkes, and it is one of the few shows where food service puts out kosher meals. I think the only other show where kosher is served is the big jewelry one.

A few weeks ago we had the large gift show here. In many ways it is very similar to the clothing show down there now; it seems aimed at providing items that you don’t really need at cheap prices. Here it’s really thin glittery silkscreened T shirts and socks with the logo of your favorite sports team. For the gift show it’s hand blown glass trinkets and plaster statues and fountains and all kinds of stuff that you find in the little shops in the back of the mall that you wonder how they survive selling those things. And most of their stuff also arrives in wooden crates. But clothes can all be thrown in (sorry, nicely folded) to a crate and shipped off, the gift stuff has to be wrapped and packed so that it does not break. This results in lots of packing materials left strewn around after show closing and packing.

Well, it keeps our housekeeping department well staffed and busy, as well as providing for the dumpster rental company and trash truck drivers.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Video Monday - Astrud Gilberto

I work at a big convention center attached to a big resort hotel casino (that’s how they label it) and work as a computer programmer. My title is web developer, which I think means that I am supposed to develop web programs, but since I am the only programmer (well, there is J, but he technically is the database expert) I do just about whatever is asked for. Since the main thrust of the company I work for is not technical management tends to ignore us until some important project rolls around, like that web site I had to do last month for the top boss’ birthday party. We are not given fancy offices; we have our desks down in the basement under the convention floor in a room with the other computer people; two help desk people and the internet person. Our ceiling is the bottom of the concrete floor of the large room upstairs, and is filled with pipes and ductwork and vents. There is a continuous background noise of air flow, and occasional rumbles from things going on upstairs and in the hall next door.

In order to concentrate on what I am working on, and to avoid distractions from all the help desk calls, I usually put in some earphones and listen to music. I’ve got an Ipod half filled that I can take in, but usually plug into the computer and listen to assorted radio stations over the internet. At times I put on some French stations, mainly because I don’t speak French so the commercials still sound like entertainment and don’t distract me. I also have started listening to a New Zealand station, Zed-FM; they play a little different mix that our local radio stations and I like the accents. I have also found Pandora radio, which lets you pick your own style and has no commercials. (you can set up multiple ‘stations’, and switch between musical styles as desired)

But let’s continue on this week with a direction started last Monday, that of Brazilian music. One of my Pandora stations is titled Astrud Gilberto radio, so here are some songs from Astrud that I’ve been listening to for a while. She does not have the most dramatic voice or a very large vocal range, but for the style of songs that she has concentrated on she sounds quite well. From Wikipedia, born in 1940, Astrud married Joao Gilbert and though not a singer was talked into joining her husband when he recorded an album with Stan Getz in 1964.

First we have Astrud with Stan Getz from a 1964 movie doing The Girl from Ipanema. When I hear this I always fantasize of sitting on that beach in the sunshine with a cool drink watching the string bikinis wiggle past.

Here is Jobim’s Corcovado, again with Stan Getz on sax:

And her quiet voice again in Summer Samba

Friday, August 22, 2008

E brithday (again)

In following the tradition of Clare we return again to E Friday, where I post photos of my darling granddaughter E, because VG really likes to look at these pics. Well, I like to look at them also.

When E was down here a while back we celebrated her birthday a little early. We went up to Portland on the real BD for that party, but there was a little one down here in advance to prep her for the big day. The first thing she noticed were the presents.

And of course, what do you to with presents?

Afterwards there was blue dinosaur birthday cake

Which you can see was quickly swallowed

And then for the big treat we went down to Barney’s shopping, where someone was fascinated by the naked ladies in the window that were being dressed.

She didn’t get anything at Barney’s, but I think she was happy with the blue dinosaur cake.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hands again?

A while back (not that long ago) we drove up to Portland to visit granddaughter E. Prior to our trip I wanted to visit with some of the marvelous writers who’s blogs I like to visit regularly. So far only two of you that have come to Vegas have called, so I had the pleasure of a lunch with loverly Anna and her marvelous accent and lunch with the gorgeous Deana with her marvelous accent (oh, yes you do) and her husband (unfortunately – but Martin was nice). So in the rainy northwest, after some changes, I got to have coffee with this beautiful person:

Yes, I like pictures of hands. I have them of Anna and Deana but can’t find them right now, I’ll have to look and repost tomorrow. Anyway, I thought it would be interesting when people came to Vegas to have a shot of them pulling on a slot machine lever, then posting the pics and having you try to guess who they were.

OK, this is where we take a little break while you wonder what the heck is going on. Thanks to Mom for this one.

That didn’t go over at all (no one guessed) so beyond the first posting I will not force you to wonder (if you did) who it was. It was RSG, in her smiling brightness out of the rain and in front of my dropped so all of my Portland photos are fuzzy camera.

We had a lovely short time (too short, she had to be off for a work meeting) leaving me again with thoughts of how interesting the people I read about really are. And much prettier in person (though she does look good in her own posted shots) bringing thoughts of us both being married to others, oh well. It was raining that day (what? Rain in Portland?) and she had sparkles in her hair (I think that was the rain) and a big smile on her face and very intelligent words (from a writer, who would have thunk?)

Anyway, thanks RGS for taking some time out to meet with me.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

More music gone

Don’t know why, but when I go through the paper I usually turn past the obituary pages and get stopped by the big stories that usually talk about famous people that have recently died. I’ve put up items that I’ve seen there before, so here are two more.

Don Helms, steel guitar player for Hank Williams recently passed away. I don’t remember the player but I sure remember hearing the guitar. OK, you may not like country music, but at times it’s still pretty. Don developed that style while playing in clubs, with the belief "that a high, whining sound would cut through the noise of a typical roadhouse or bar where people would be talking, dancing and carrying on." Cold cold heart

Here he is with Hank on the same song.

And there’s that steel guitar in the back of this one too

Back to Cold, Cold Heart; a newer version, one that I have on my play list by Nora Jones

In a completely different musical direction, Dorival Caymmi, a noted Brazilian composer also died. His music was performed by many South American entertainers; his song "O que E que a Baiana Tem?" brought Carmen Miranda to the attention of American movie producers. Here seen for the first time in one of those fancy outfits

OK, sidetracked in YouTube again by the women, just can’t get over Carmen’s many hats

Back to Dorival, here with Joao Gilberto performing himself

OK, music education for today is over.

Monday, August 18, 2008

E Friday (late again)

In following the tradition of Clare we return again to E Friday, where I post photos of my darling granddaughter E, because VG really likes to look at these pics. Well, I like to look at them also. Sorry I’m late VG, but I took the weekend to do plumbing and found out again that it is not a profession for me. I think it’s not leaking now (after three take aparts) but I am afraid to look.

When they were down here last I made fancy pancakes for Sunday breakfast. Wondering what I was doing, E of course wanted to help. She was just marvelous at measuring and mixing. I made my famous lemon ricotta pancakes, filled with lemonly deliciousness, but E is a blueberry kind of girl, and unfortunately I asked so we ended up with lemon pancakes filled with blueberries. They were still really good, probably better but I can’t say that.

Of course, we first had to play with the little pyramids that the fancy tea comes in.

Yes, the morning hair is marvelous, no?

Then came the measuring phase. This was very well done with minimum spillage.

Of course, what comes next? Yes – the eating part, which is what all the before stuff is all about.

Hair in the syrup isn’t all that great, so the application of a stretchy thing was permitted. And she gets to use the famous pickle fork. Notice the decorative lemon slice on the edge of the plate, which was sampled but rejected in favor of blueberries. Notice the abundance of blueberries in the pancake, which was at an acceptable level.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Not much

Somebody posted a link to this one, so I thought I would flash back in time to when I was going to school (way before most of you youngsters were born) and some of the psychodellic music that was being played. Magical Mystery Tour came out my first year of college. I hadn't seen the video, but remember the Beatles turning from pop into their psychodelic phase before the White album and their falling apart.

Loved the Nehru jackets.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A night at the opera

This one?

no, not that one, this one

On Saturday night B and I attended a performance of the Phantom of the Opera, at what I used to call the big hotel next door but now is properly title the big Resort, Hotel, Casino next door. (I better get it right.) As a reward for all of the lost weekends working on the big boss’ birthday web site my boss gave me two tickets for the Phantom. And very good tickets too – row five right in the middle. To compensate for the free tickets we figured we’d have dinner somewhere in the big RHC.

We started the evening in the new parking garage underneath the new tower of the big RHC next door (from here on referred to as tbRHCnd). This is a first for Vegas – five stories of parking underground, beneath the casino itself. Up until now most facilities have put up a big parking garage at the back of the casino, but since land prices are now up to $35,000,000 per acre they figured it would be more advantageous to put a big hole in the ground and then build everything on top of it instead of spreading things out. I think they have about 4,000 parking spots down there, with plenty of room for driving and turning into them. Our original parking garage is rated rather poorly, both for the small spaces and the narrow lanes between, making it really hard to park. (sorry, no pictures of the parking garage).

The escalators up from the parking garage take you right to the middle of the casino floor. From here it’s just a few steps to your favorite slot machine or table game, saving you valuable gambling time.

We got there a little early and decided to walk around a bit. The central atrium is still looking nice.

And I thought we would see if we could beat the fancy shoes RSG saw while in SF. We hit the Jimmy Choo store and only looked at stuff in the front half; there were too many people in the back trying on shoes. Most of them were similarly priced, but I liked this pair

Only $ 995. B declined the offer to try them on as she feels a little unstable when the heels are over an inch. We wandered back to the Palazzo lobby

Just to the right of the Strip entrance and next to the check in desk was Morel’s Steak House, our destination.

Morel’s is a steak-seafood restaurant. We’ve been looking at the menus and viewing the dining rooms (most do not serve lunch) of all the restaurants at tbRHCnd during our lunchtime walks and I liked this one. It’s right on the lobby, and has big windows that open out onto the Strip. There are some outdoor tables, but it is a little warm right now to use them, but it is probably a very nice place to sit the rest of the year. Right across the street is the TI and the Siren show, so besides all of the people walking you can watch a pirate battle while you dine.

The bar is right up front, with a display of oysters and seafood on ice.

The dining room is just behind the bar, high ceilings, white tablecloths and lots of staff.

We went there also because B was in the mood for meat. When I asked her last week where she wanted to eat she said she didn’t care, as long as there was beef available; so naturally we ordered some. We got the rib eye for two, and at her request it was rather rare. A very fine cut of meat (at those prices it better be). It was carved at the table, and for some reason seemed to take a few people to work on it.

It did taste marvelous, and B felt the degree of done was just right. I would rather have it medium well, but it was her night too. As we dined the sun set behind the TI and they were able to open the curtains.

We took our time, salads and soups and wine and all, but found it was time to be off for the play before we got to try the desserts, or the tremendous cheese assortment for afters. The Phantom theater is waaayyy on the other side, under the escalators over in the older hotel casino, about a fifteen minute walk away. I get to see the daytime crowds there, and we usually don’t go back at night, so I was surprised at how many people were out and about, wandering into restaurants and playing at the slots and table games.

I was able to take a shot of the stage, but then one of the staff came over and loudly said ‘no photographs’ so I had to put the camera away. But this is what it looked like at first.

That’s the center part of the million dollar chandelier, the theater and stage supposedly cost over $10,000,000 to set up a few years ago when they moved in. We really enjoyed the show, it was 95 minutes of constant music and movement, with a cast of 33 plus live orchestra. The Vegas production differs from the NY and London versions in that there is no intermission, and about 25 minutes were cut out. We hadn’t seen the Phantom elsewhere, so it was all new to us. I’ve seen several movie versions of the play, remembering the Claude Rains (1943) one mostly. If I hadn’t seen it before it would have been rather confusing, the music was nice, but B said she had a hard time understanding the words. But all in all a very pleasant experience. (but B says the Cirque show Ka at the MGM is the best show in town, my favorite is O over at the Bellagio).

As we left it was very noticeable that the size of the crowd in the casino was even larger. There were quite a few young ladies in very short dresses headed for the clubs, and lots of loud screams coming from assorted craps tables; it sounded like somebody was winning.

So – the cost of the evening? You have to remember that room rates at tbRHCnd for Saturday were $359 and up. The Phantom tickets (if we bought them) would have been $158 each, there are lower priced seats further back. Dinner at Morel’s – (not the most expensive place among the two dozen restaurants) was $214. Drinks later - $14 each. It was a most enjoyable evening. But that's also why locals don't go down to the Strip that often. We could have had a very similar meal at Flemming's, about six miles west, in an equally fancy setting for about half the price. Or had a good steak down at the Silverton for a third of the price. But that just would not have been the same overall experience.

Monday, August 11, 2008

10 rules

Going to my New Zealand radio station Zed FM, to day they posted a list of 10 unwritten rules to live by. They seemed logical, so I figured it would be nice to share them with you:

1) Never ask a woman if she wants to have sex by asking her if she wants to have sex.

2) When someone in your family is going through a divorce, always side with the blood relative.

3) Praising something unusual a person owns or has done will make you appear far smarter in his eyes than a 10-minute discourse on world events.

4) Be aware that most people are operating on a very condensed version of the 10 Commandments: the part about murder.

5) Trying to "teach someone a lesson" never works.

6) Never buy anyone a gift at a kiosk.

7) Rainbows are God's way of reminding us that beauty is an optical illusion, except in sports cars.

8) You will never become a rock star.

9) You will discover that more and more of the subjects you studied in college are useless, with the exception of abnormal psychology.

10) Always imply, in every possible way, that the person you're talking to is smarter, better-looking, slimmer, and more successful than they really are.


·"Must see TV" isn't.
·"One size fits" all is a lie.
·There is no "good" trailer park in which to live.
·Never drink red wine while wearing white clothes.
·No one should be allowed to wear overalls unless they own a tractor.

And, as long as I'm following their lead, they also posted this clip of CNN, on a day when there aparently was no news:

CNN has no more news - video powered by Metacafe

Friday, August 08, 2008

E Friday - with Max

In following the tradition of Clare we return again to E Friday, where I post photos of my darling granddaughter E, because VG really likes to look at these pics. Well, I like to look at them also. And look – I am posting on Friday!

I figured I would follow up Deana and combine E with some Max pictures. We have two dogs, Max and Buster. They are both about the same size, and have been with us now for over a dozen years, coming home from the San Diego Animal Shelter a day apart.

Max always needs to supervise. He always follows E around, though he does not want her to touch him and will nip, he still has to be there watching. Buster doesn't care what's going on, he's probably up on the couch sleeping.

I have no idea what he is thinking, or what is so fascinating.

Sorry, I’ve only got two Max and E shots – here’s one of her with some other animals that she can hold to round it out to three.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Local happenings

I was writing checks to pay some bills this morning, and noticed one of the return forms: it was for a gas company credit card, which I use every few months just to have handy. They provide a series of boxes to fill in each digit of your payment amount; my form had eight boxes, indicating a maximum payment amount of $99,999.99. Now, I know that gas prices have risen lately, but just who would have a monthly gasoline bill of over ten thousand dollars, thus requiring all of those boxes? That’s a heck of a lot of gas, even at four dollars a gallon. (no, not me, my bill was for $ 63. – a fill-up for each car) One of the payment forms for a ‘big name’ credit card company has two more boxes. Imagine making a monthly payment of nine million dollars? (imagine having credit where you can put that amount on your charge card?).

Last evening I was floating in the swimming pool enjoying the warm weather and the sunset. This time of year we usually get most of our rain, though none has fallen at my house yet, so instead of a clear blue sky we had some nice puffy white clouds and a beautiful sunset. The weatherman on the local news channel that we watch had up his weather radar picture, showing lots of thunderstorm activity to the south and east of us. We get the moisture up from Texas and the Gulf of Mexico in the summertime, but we also get the Santa Ana winds up from LA as well, which this week are fighting it out and pushing the rain over to Arizona, keeping us dry. It’s interesting to watch those radar maps, with little red dots of rain springing up like some strange disease, drifting around but all outside of the valley.

Las Vegas does not get a nice steady rain, like most other places where I’ve lived. Because of all the mountains we just get the violent thunderstorm activity, quick bursts that drop three inches of rain over a six block area in ten minutes. This is accompanied by strong gusty winds and lots of thunder and lightning, driving our poor vicious little dog Max into a whimpering idiot that hides under the covers.

Anyway, back to the pool; we usually like to jump in around sunset. Our pool is on the north side of the house, but it is situated so that there is no shade at all on the water all day. There is a little pool house just to the west, which starts to shade the pool around six in the evening. With the air temp being over 100f and the sunshine bright enough to produce sunburn in minutes we tend not to want to float around during the brightness of the day, so we wait until there is some shade upon the waters. It was still over 100 when I dropped in yesterday, and floated around until sunset and the stars came out. It was very pleasant, watching the sparkle of airplanes taking off and circling around to the east; periodic stripes in the sky higher up from planes headed towards LA and SFO; the half moon coming and going behind the puffy clouds; the clouds turning orange and red and then darkening as the sun went down behind the western mountains; the birds flocking overhead, going to their favorite trees for the night; bats coming out flitting around chasing bugs; the constant buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz of the cicadas in the trees, singing to each other; the sky getting dark and stars popping out, airplanes moving from silver sunlight reflectors to blinking strobe lights in the darkness. It was a very pleasant way to end the day. The water seemed a little cool at first; I left the cover on the pool last week, and on Sunday the water temp was up to 94f, which was just a little hot, so I left the cover off for the past three days and it cooled down to 89f, which was cold at first (yes, strange how 89 seems cold, but with an air temp of 105 it did just that) but after floating for a while it seemed perfect. I usually like it around 92 or so, which it will be up to by the weekend with the cover back on. I’m not much for swimming back and forth, I go more for the floating around with a foam noodle, drifting over to the deep end where my toes don’t touch the bottom or laying back with a few noodles keeping my feet up as well.

Last weekend E was down, photos of her in the pool were posted recently. On Sunday we had a group over for her first pool party. We had the trips plus one from across the street as well as some other friends and relatives. This resulted in the largest group we’ve had in the pool since we have been here, at one time I counted close to fifteen kids (big and small) as well as that number or more of inflatable devices ranging from simple tubes to a full size shark (with handles on his back to hold on to). There was much splashing and screeching and laughter and enjoyment, with the only tears coming when mom said it was time to go home. The hamburger consumption was quite high as well. Sorry, no videos of this, close your eyes and use your imagination.

Also in the neighborhood recently were some interesting occurrences. On one of my walks a few blocks down across from the park I found a vehicle that I haven’t noticed before.

I have no idea what it was doing parked on the street. I don’t think we have any trees that size around to produce such a load, so I surmise that either the truck driver lived in a nearby house and was stopping while on a trip or someone was going to have quite a lot of firewood for the upcoming winter. Seeing that we usually have a daytime temp of over sixty almost every day of the year I don’t really know when there might be a reason to burn so much, unless the owner wanted to keep a reminder of our summer 100+ temps going all year round.

In our neighborhood Cox is the provider of cable television and high speed internet. As we only have four broadcast stations most people forgo the rooftop antenna and opt for cable or satellite so as to receive a few hundred channels and still have nothing worth watching. I heard a lot of noise over our side wall – we have a corner lot and normally just pay attention to the street out front – and peeked over to see what was going on. It looked like one of our neighbors a few houses down was having cable problems. I checked ours and everything was working fine, so I guess it was localized or something. Cox usually contracts out to some installation company for new customers, so this was most likely a problem or upgrade.

But really, there were nine Cox trucks and two supervisor vehicles out there. No wonder our monthly bill is so high, but I have difficulty getting help over the phone when problems arise, much less rating the visit from what looks like half the western region. I don’t know, it might have been free donuts or some nude sunbathers next door, but something sure caused a crowd to gather. This being Vegas I’d think it more likely nude sunbathers; if so I’ll have to find out which pool they were by and check it out myself.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Cab Calloway and Betty Boop

This week’s video lessons, some old time singing and dancing. Sorry I haven’t had a video class for you in a while, so this will be a long one in order to get all the related videos on. Today we will discuss Cab Calloway, his flying feet and bouncing hair.
I love the old Max Fleisher cartoons. Some of them are much more inventive than the newer cartoons. There is one of Betty Boop’s first appearances in a cartoon.

Oh, I thought Elvis could move, but look at Cab Calloway (and with Betty Boop) How old was Betty supposed to be, anyway? This one has her running away from home because her dad is mean to her and tries to make her eat her dinner. But the intro with Cab dancing - Michael Jackson's moonwalk is nothing compared to Cab's flexible legs.

And you get ghosts with tails. How can you top that? A few years later, in 1934, Cab got his own short movie.

One of his most widely played songs as Minnie the Moocher, here in an old clip.

Fifty years later, here he is in the Blues Brothers, still moving

Back to when he was faster, moving fast – and check out the hair, Little Richard has nothing on Cab either. Reefer Man - back when the movie Reefer Madness came out, extoling the dangers of that horrible drug. The people I know that tried the dangerous weed (what, me? no, come on, how can you say something like that?) moved slower not faster. Perhaps it was a different thing back then.

Moving ahead a few years to 1943, when Cab had a bigger band, from the movie Stormy Weather, he’s still dancing and singing, this has the bouncing Nicholas Brothers – they can move! But those flying splits still look pretty painful to me.

So – there you are, a few rather long clips of Cab Calloway singing and dancing. My favorite is the short intro to the ghosts cartoon – he was so flexible. I could post a bunch more, but spend some time clicking on those little links after the videos are finished and see some of the others, like Jitterbug Party and some more from the early 1930's when he was rather big.

Friday, August 01, 2008

E Friday and entertainment this weekend

Yesterday I was just picturing the Echelon project that I drive past each day. In this morning’s news it’s reported that Boyd gaming, the owners, are stopping construction due to problems with the financial market, and will probably delay things for a year. That’s for the $4,800,000,000 construction on the site of the old Stardust, that’s filled with a dozen cranes and steel and stuff going up all over the place. I’ve watched them digging the whole site down for almost a year, and finally starting to fill it back up, now only to hear that all will stop. Look at that picture below, with the steel frames rising; guess I have another year of it sitting that way. I know that Vegas doesn’t get much rain, but still some things have to deteriorate in the sunshine while just waiting for construction to resume. Word yesterday that the new convention center planned to replace the one I work in is also delayed, supposed to break ground a few months ago, now on hold until January. With half a million dollars in steel sitting in a warehouse someplace just waiting to be used, carrying charges must be something on that too.

One of the columnists in our local paper, Doug Elfman, reviews entertainment around town. Today he was discussing oldies acts that will be here this weekend. I found several of his comments to be interesting. For you old farts coming into town this weekend, Bryan Adams opens for Rod Stewart at the MGM Grand on Saturday ($52-$158) (you remember Bryan; with his breakthrough lyrics such as "Have you really, really, really ever loved a woman?"). Motley Crue will be at Mandalay Bay tonight ($55-$95), in comparing Crue with Nine Inch Nails Doug reports that Crue is lacking in "musicality, chops, style, originality and brain cells." Ouch. The Regeneration Tour brings in Human League, Belinda Carlisle, Flock of Seagulls, Naked Eyes and ABC on Saturday at Planet Hollywood ($72-$131). And Pat Benatar will be in Primm ($32-$44) Wow, cheaper to drive to Primm, isn’t it? (Primm is the small area 30 miles south of us on the California border, formerly known as State Line Guess they figured to fancy themselves up with the name change.)

OK, back to E Friday, which I know is why you really come here, so in following the tradition of Clare we return again to E Friday, where I post photos of my darling granddaughter E, because VG really likes to look at these pics. Well, I like to look at them also.

When B was up visiting Portland back in cold days there were a few times when the group walked down to the park a few blocks away. Mom pulled a wagon for E to ride in, but sometimes she got bored and walked

and sometimes she was tired and rode

When we visited last time it was a little warmer, and there were two whole days of sunshine amidst all those days of grey. We walked down to the bakery and E was in more of a walking mood.

But she did come back when requested not to go so far ahead (sometimes)

There you are – from a distance outside in Portland.

Oh - if you don't remember, here's Bryan: