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

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Monday, April 23, 2018

Ordering A RV Garage

Above, The Beast at the Route 66 RV Resort near Albuquerque. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The Jamestown-Gallup area of New Mexico is not as harsh as the Mojave Desert, perhaps. But with extremes in weather (hot summers, high altitude, snowy winters, etc.) in Jamestown, they will eventually damage The Beast.

So today, I went to a steel garage/carport dealer and priced out a garage for The Beast. 

Above, the RV garage will be built around here. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

In a few days, I will be putting down a down payment for the garage and in about 8 weeks after that, the unit will be built on the extra acre. I chose the heavier 12 gauge over the 14 gauge wall sheeting. This will better resist the winds we get out here. They dealer provides a warranty against winds up to 90 m.p.h. (we get winds of around 50 m.p.h.). It will be barn red (to compliment the house) with white trim.

Most of the residents here have steel sheds, workshops, barns and garages. Mine will just be another one of them.

Having the RV housed in a steel garage will prolong its life and exterior finishes on the cab's paint and the fiberglass as well as the tires.

The People's Republic of California Blog

For news and commentary on what the liberal/leftist lunatics are doing in the People's Republic of Commiefornia, check out The People's Republic of California blog.

The blog's mission statement (a nice to-the-point one):
THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CALIFORNIA - This site is dedicated to exposing the continuing Marxist Revolution in California and the all around massive stupidity of Socialists, Luddites, Communists, Fellow Travelers and of Liberalism in all of its ugly forms.

To view the blog, go here

007 On Vinyl

If one is a fan of a particular movie genre or franchise, they also would pick up tie-in merchandise.

Ever since my parents took me to see a double-feature of From Russia With Love and Dr. No, I have been a James Bond fan since.

I have a few records (vinyl LPs and 45 r.p.m. singles for those of you born after CDs took over.

In the old days, vinyl records were easy to find. One of my favorite places to find new and older 45 r.p.m. singles was Licorice Pizza (now defunct). I bought a lot of singles there. Tower Records (mainly the Sunset Blvd. store) was another great source for records.

The first 007 record I bought was in 1965 right after the release of Thunderball. It is the soundtrack album:

The next soundtrack album I bought was sometime in the 1980s, Dr. No, the very first James Bond movie:

A few years later (still in the 1980s), I picked up this compilation album, James Bond Greatest Hits:

I have four James Bond singles in my vinyl collection:

Above, from upper left to right, Live and Let Die (Paul McCartney and Wings), Octopussy
(Rita Coolidge), Never Say Never Again (Lani Hall) and A View To A Kill (Duran Duran).

I have other Bond albums on CD, but I just wanted to concentrate on vinyl.

Mesa Photos: Sunrise Lighting Preferred

Last evening, I took some photos of the mesas across the valley from Jamestown, New Mexico and emailed them to Asya.

In comparing them with the ones I took yesterday morning, I like the morning lighting much more. That lighting would work better in a painting. I heard from Asya this morning and she agrees.

Here's the evening photos I took:

Here's one from yesterday morning:

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Orange County Forcing Students To Take Gender and Sexual Orientation Course

The Looney Left Report

It appears that lunatic liberals have taken over the Orange County Board of Education.

The Daily Caller reported:
A California school district says that parents can’t opt out of a new sex education course that will deal with abortion, homosexuality and transgender issues. 
California passed a law called the California Healthy Youth Act in 2015 to promote “healthy attitudes” about “gender [and] sexual orientation.” The law is meant to teach students about the “effectiveness and safety of all FDA-approved contraceptive methods” and allow for “objective discussion” about “parenting, adoption, and abortion.” 
The law also gives parents the ability to opt-out of this education and said that the “pupil” shall not be punished academically in any way if they don’t participate. 
However, the Orange County Board of Education has decided that parents don’t have a right to exclude their kids from the class, LifeSite News reports. A memo from the Orange County Department of Education general counsel Ronald Wenkart on March 29 stated that the opt-out provision “does not apply to instruction, materials, or programming that discusses gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, discrimination, harassment, bullying, intimidation, relationships, or family and does not discuss human reproductive organs.”

It looks like Californians are no longer safe from the lunatics in government and education.

To read more, go here

Tokyo's Imperial Hotel Named Best Japan Hotel For Customer Satisfaction

Above, our 2015 dinner party at the Imperial Hotel.

Intrepid reporter Steve Martin (Raymond Burr) said he was staying there in Godzilla, King of the Monsters! (1956) and in 2015, I hosted a little dinner party for friends with Toho Co., Ltd. there.

What am I talking about? I am talking about Tokyo's Imperial Hotel that was founded in 1890 by the Japanese aristocracy.

According to an article in Japan Today, the Imperial Hotel was named best hotel in Japan for customer satis faction.

They wrote:
TOKYO - For the second year in a row, Tokyo's landmark 128-year-old Imperial Hotel has been ranked the best hotel in Japan for customer satisfaction in J. D. Power's Japan Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Survey, 2017. Out of 25 of the hotel brands surveyed, The Imperial was ranked top in the segment of guest room rates of 35,000 yen or more per night, receiving a score of 773 points out of a possible 1,000 points. 
The Imperial's high ranking was based on high scores received in the areas of reservation, check-in/check-out, guest room, food & beverages, hotel services, hotel facilities, and cost & fees. Replies were received from 26,729 respondents to the August, 2017, internet survey of 166 hotel brand chains and groups throughout Japan. The respondents, aged 18 and above, were asked about their degree of satisfaction with their experiences and services at hotels they had stayed at during the preceding one-year period.

Maybe cheesecake is a little hard to find at the Imperial (former Toho President Shogo Tomiyama did locate some), but the food service we had was excellent.

By the way, the Imperial Hotel is just a short walk from the Shin Godzilla statue in Hibiya.

To read more, go here.

Just Shutterbugging

Above, the front of the house. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The plants and trees at the homestead are starting to flower.

Above, could this be a flowering crabapple? Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I don't know what kind of tree this is, except someone said it is a flowering crabapple, but the blossoms are getting much bigger than a week ago.

Above will be a bright contrast to the rest of the foliage. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I have no idea what this plant (above photo) is, but its flowers are a brighter yellow than what the photo shows.

Above, the view from the street. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, Sierra relaxing. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the mesas this morning. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Zion Tunnel, A Marvel of Engineering

Above, the approach to the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel from the east. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The St. George News in Utah has an interesting article on Zion National Park's Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel as part of their "day" article series. Today is their "Zion Tunnel Day".

It begins with:
FEATURE – In today’s political and environmental climate, there is no way it could be built, but back in the 1930s the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel through Zion National park was considered both an engineering marvel and a much-needed transportation link. 
The Zion Tunnel has stood as a monument to engineering resolve and interagency cooperation since its completion in 1930. Not only was it a boon to the local economy by bringing in more tourists, but it also provided a vital thoroughfare between Washington and Kane counties and literally opened up a whole new world by offering access to east Zion with its different formations and wildlife than found in Zion Canyon via the park’s south entrance.

“The Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel has to be one of the great examples of cooperation in the creation of Utah’s tourism infrastructure,” said Zion National Park Forever Project Executive Director Lyman Hafen, also an aficionado of local history, in an email to St. George News. “Obviously, there was a real ‘can-do’ spirit that pervaded not only Utah, but the whole country in the mid 1920s, and most folks in southern Utah were supportive of building roads and connecting the relatively new national parks.” 
In fact, the road and tunnel project were not approved until it was certain Bryce Canyon would be designated a national park. 
Before the tunnel’s construction, any visitor to Zion had to approach the park from the southwest and, once there, it was a dead end. Drivers had to return the same way they came.
My daughter Amber and I were the "lead vehicle" in The Beast three years ago through the tunnel. Large vehicles have to be escorted though the tunnel. Traffic in the opposite direction is held until the escorted vehicles complete their drive-through.

To read more, go here

Mesas At Sunrise

I just got done taking a few photos of the mesas across the valley at sunrise.

These may work out better in a painting, lighting-wise. I will be sending them to Asya shortly.

Here's some of them:

Verne Troyer, "Mini-Me", Dead At 49

Here's another actor who has died too young.

The Mainichi Shimbun reported:
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Verne Troyer, who played Dr. Evil's small, silent sidekick "Mini-Me" in the "Austin Powers" movie franchise, has died. He was 49. 
A statement provided by Troyer's representatives that was also posted to his Instagram and Facebook accounts said the actor died Saturday. 
No cause of death was given, but the statement describes Troyer as a "fighter" who was unable to overcome a recent bout of adversity then goes on to discuss depression and suicide.

To read more, go here

Too Cold For Meteor-Watching, Etc.

Above, the mesas at dusk. I should have gone out earlier. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Well, I woke up at 3:00 thanks to Sierra hogging the bed. But I was planning on getting up early to see the Lyrid meteor shower anyway.

Above, the sun already got below the horizon when I went outside. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I went outside in 36­­° temperatures. The night sky was clear and full of stars. But I saw no meteors. Then again, I only spent ten minutes outside before the cold drove me back into the house (not that I've never seen meteors before).

Above, the new jade plant and pot I bought yesterday. The bear planter stand I
gave my mom about a year or two before she passed away. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The temperature continued to drop and is now at 32° (freezing). So I went out again to switch on the The Beast's holding tank heaters. I lingered a bit and still saw no meteors.

This wasn't the only dud during the past 12 hours. I was planning to shoot the mesas across the valley at sunset last night, but I got outside too late as the sun was just dipping below the horizon. I was planning to send the photos to Asya to look over for the painting. If it is clear outside this coming evening, I will try again (and get outside earlier).

I did take a few shots outside last evening anyway and they accompany this post.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Meteors Tonight!

"That's a meteor! King-sized!" - Perry White in "Panic In The Sky."


USA Today reported:
If you're up late Saturday night — or up early Sunday morning — be sure to take a peek up at the night sky for the Lyrid meteor shower. The shower has been know to bombard the sky with up to nearly 100 meteors per hour. The best viewing conditions are expected across much of the northeastern and southwestern U.S. The worst conditions will be across the central Plains and Deep South, where clouds and showers are forecast.

Look towards the northeastern portion of the night sky.

To read more, go here

Afternoon In Gallup

Above, the jade plant on top of the black bear planter stand. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The better part of the afternoon was spent in Gallup today.

First off, I headed to Home Depot to pick up a few things such as a hose nozzle, a planter, trowel, a jade plant and potting soil. I had a jade plant back in Tarzana, but I gave it to a neighbor when I moved. I was getting tired of seeing my mom's black bear planter stand just sitting with no pot on it. I rectified that today.

Jade plants supposedly bring good luck.

Following Home Depot, I went to look at some storage sheds/garages for The Beast. There are some promising possibilities.

After looking, I headed off to Zen Steak and Sushi restaurant for dinner.

As it was still daylight and temperatures in the 60s, I went ahead and potted the jade plant. The pot looks good on top of the bear.

Como Se Llama?

Above, Meeko safely at home today. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

This is Meeko. He lives around the corner from me.

Four days ago, he got out and was seen running (galloping?) down the main street in our Jamestown, New Mexico community.

After getting today's mail, I cruised by and saw him safely in his yard. So I took the above photo.

Art Scholl

Above, Art Scholl and Aileron in October 1984 at the Point Mugu Air Show. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

While going through my photo albums this morning, I came across some photos I took at the 1984 Point Mugu Air Show.

One of them was of famed aerobatics pilot Art Scholl with his dog Aileron. I took the photo following his air show performance.

Scholl was killed off San Diego County on September 16, 1985 while doing some filming for the movie, Top Gun.

From the Los Angeles Times:
The air and sea search for famed stunt pilot Art Scholl was abandoned Tuesday as the Coast Guard concluded that he did not survive the crash of his camera-equipped aerobatic biplane while performing an upside-down spin to get footage for a movie off the coast of northern San Diego County. 
The 53-year-old Scholl flew in numerous films, including "The Great Waldo Pepper," "Baa Baa Black Sheep," "Blue Thunder" and "The Right Stuff." He was shooting for the Paramount Pictures film, "Top Gun," when his Pitts Special plunged into the Pacific Ocean five miles off Encinitas late Monday afternoon. 
On Monday, mechanic Kevin Kammer and stunt pilot Chuck Wentworth were following Scholl in another plane to watch for possible air traffic about 5:45 p.m., when they saw him go into an inverted spin at about 4,000 feet. 
Kammer said they suddenly heard Scholl radio, "I've got a problem here." 
His Pitts Special then dove into the ocean. 
Debris from the plane was found Monday evening, the Coast Guard said, but neither the wreckage nor the pilot was recovered, and by Tuesday morning, the hunt was called off. 
Scholl was well known throughout the country for his stunt flying at air shows, usually in his Chipmunk monoplane and frequently with his mixed-breed dog, Aileron, clinging to his shoulder as he performed loops and rolls.

I had seen Scholl perform at several Point Mugu Air Shows over the years since 1966.

For more on Art Scholl, go here.

Matuca's "Columbia Reunion" In 1984

Above, the main street of Columbia. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

One of the first Clamper events Glenn Thornhill and I attended after joining E Clampus Vitus was to attend the "Columbia Reunion" in Columbia, California put on by the Matuca Chapter in May 1984.

It was my first foray into the Mother Lode country of California and Glenn and I enjoyed the scenery of the area. We took the winding Highway 49 to Columbia.

Columbia is a Gold Rush-era town that has been restored as a tourist attraction.

According to Wikipedia:
Columbia is a town located in the Sierra Nevada foothills, in Tuolumne County, California, United States. It was founded as a boomtown in 1850 when gold was found in the vicinity, and was known as the "Gem of the Southern Mines." 
The town's historic central district is within the Columbia State Historic Park, which preserves the 19th century mining town features. The U.S. historic district is a National Historic Landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Above, at the Hall of Comparative Ovations. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The Clamper event was a one-day event, but we stayed at a motel in nearby Jamestown.

Above, Glenn Thornhill (right) and Armand at the Hall of Comparative Ovations.

The event included a visit to the St. Charles Saloon in Columbia, along with initiation rights at the Hall of Comparative Ovations and a barbecue lunch. We also joined the other Clampers for adult beverages (Glenn and I both had put away quite a few drinks).

It was a fun trek.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Condé Nast: How To Celebrate National Park Week

Above, the Colorado River flows through the Grand Canyon. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Tomorrow kicks off National Park Week, which includes free admission to the national parks Saturday, April 21.

Condé Nast has posted some recommendations and top picks of ten national parks.

They begin with:
This Saturday, April 21 officially kicks off National Park Week, and the National Park Service is celebrating with free admission to all its serviced sites and parks—even the 118 that normally charge entrance fees. Now’s the time to take that long-awaited trip to the Grand Canyon, or check climbing Yosemite’s El Capitan off your #travelgoals wishlist. After all, Earth Day is also this weekend, so get in the spirit and get outside. If you need inspiration, we’ve rounded up a list of 10 parks you should visit while the fees are waived—our editors’ favorite picks, recommendations from a national parks travel specialist, and some off-the-beaten path destinations you might not expect. So, what are you waiting for?

To read more, go here. 

Spring Snow

Just when you thought that the weather would steadily change with warmer days and nights, Mother Nature decides to pull a fast one.

Snow and snow showers were forecast for this evening. Sure enough, it started in.

It got pretty heavy, but due to the 40 degree temperatures, it didn't stick too long. But it lasted long enough for me to take a couple of photos.

I went out to turn on the heaters in the motorhome so that the piping wouldn't freeze tonight and took the photo of the deck while outside.

Above, the snow already melted on the ground, but there was some left on the deck. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the deck as the snow was falling. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Old ECV Shenanigans

Above, an anvil being sent airborne during a clamp-out in
1988. The practice has been banned. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Today, I scanned a few pictures from past Clamper activities from 1988.

Here's couple more:

Above, Platrix Chapter No. 2 in the 1988 Pasadena Doo Dah Parade. Glenn Thornhill and I are at right.

Above, yours truly, Glenn Thornhill and Steve Born at Tapo Canyon in 1988.

The Super-Volcano Below Yellowstone

Above, a volcano-fueled hot spring. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

As scientists learn more about the super-volcano that lies below Yellowstone National Park, what could happen makes them worried.

The Mercury News reported:
Yellowstone National Park sits squarely over a giant, active volcano. This requires attention. 
Yellowstone has been a national park since 1872, but it was only in the 1960s that scientists realized the scale of the volcano – it’s 44 miles across – and not until the 1980s did they grasp that this thing is fully alive and still threatens to erupt catastrophically. Yellowstone is capable of eruptions thousands of times more violent than the Mount St. Helens eruption of 1980. The northern Rockies would be buried in multiple feet of ash. Ash would rain on almost everyone in the United States. It’d be a bad day. Thus geologists are eager to understand what, exactly, is happening below all those volcano-fueled hot springs and geysers.
Maybe people should see Yellowstone National Park now, while there is still a Yellowstone.

To read more, go here

English-Speaking Guides At Imperial Palace Coming In May

Above, the Imperial Palace "Double Bridge". Photo by Armand Vaquer.

For those who wish to take a guided tour of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, English-speaking tour guides will be available beginning in May.

Jiji Press reported:
Tokyo, April 19 (Jiji Press)--English-speaking guides will be available for visitors to the Imperial Palace in Tokyo from the beginning of May, in response to a surge in the number of foreign tourists, the Imperial Household Agency said Thursday. 
 A walking tour of the palace is usually offered twice a day from Tuesday to Saturday.

To read more, go here.

Arlen Shumer Salute To Superman Artist Curt Swan

Above, a Curt Swan/George Klein Superman (no. 174) cover from the 1960s.

As this week is being called "Superman Week" in commemoration of the 80th anniversary of Superman, Arlen Schumer has an article at 13th Dimension.com saluting the definitive Superman artist, Curt Swan.

The article begins with:
To the Baby Boom Generation that grew up on his work, Curt Swan (1920-1996) was, is, and forever will be the definitive Superman artist. 
Over the course of his almost-four decade run on the character (1948-1986), Swan depicted many of the landmark events that became touchstones in the lives of the Superman family. His versions of familiar aspects of the character’s iconography, from the scenes of a doomed Krypton to sights of Superman soaring above the Metropolis skyline, became the new icons against which all succeeding Superman artists are judged. 
As the Superman character evolved from the Golden Age to the Silver Age, “Mort Weisinger (Superman editor 1945-70) felt we should get a little more humanistic qualities into him,” Swan recalled in a 1974 Cartoonist Profile interview. “We wanted people to relate to him better, make him a little more believable.” 
That believeability came across in Swan’s characters’ faces — young or old, male or female, hero or villain, monster or alien — which he endowed with a spectrum of human emotions, from agony to anger, mournful to mirthful, that remains one of the hallmarks of his realistic style.

To read the full article, go here

Democrats Sue Russia, Wikileaks and Trump Campaign

The Looney Left Report

Well, the Democrat Party is suing the Trump campaign, Wikileaks and the Russian Federation for "conspiring to disrupt" the 2016 campaign.

According to CNBC:
The Democratic Party on Friday sued President Donald Trump's presidential campaign, the Russian government and the Wikileaks group, claiming a broad illegal conspiracy to help Trump win the 2016 election. 
The multi-million-dollar lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court says that "In the Trump campaign, Russia found a willing and active partner in this effort" to mount "a brazen attack on American Democracy," which included Russian infiltration of the Democratic Party computer network. 
The Trump campaign, according to the lawsuit, "gleefully welcomed Russia's help." 
The suit says that "preexisting relationships with Russia and Russian oligarchs" with Trump and Trump associates "provided fertile ground for [the] Russia-Trump conspiracy." 
The common purpose of the scheme, according to the Democratic National Committee, was to "bolster Trump and denigrate the Democratic Party nominee," Hillary Clinton, while boosting the candidacy of Trump, "whose policies would benefit the Kremlin."

This is all an exercise in stupidity. If anyone has more of a cause of action it would be the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee for the phony dossier and other Democrat collusions and dirty tricks.

I envision that the GOP side will counter-sue. The Democrats are opening a big can of worms!

To read more, go here

Landscape Painting Plans

Above, the three peaks I have in mind for a painting. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

While getting things more situated with the unpacked stuff, it occurred to me that a space in the living room cries out for a large landscape painting.

What I have in mind is a sunset painting of the three main peaks (one is called "Midget Mesa", another is "Mesa Butte" and the third has no name that I know of) across the valley.

Zooming from left to right:

Above, Midget Butte. The community of Iyanbito is below it.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, a little further right. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, Mesa Butte. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, a little further right from Mesa Butte. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the unnamed peak. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I am checking with Asya (who is now in St. Petersburg, Russia) on her availability and landscape painting skills. She is interested. The photos that accompany this blog post were shot this morning and sent to Asya.

She can work from photographs (she did my portrait from photographs she shot), but it would be preferable if she painted here. The problem with that, at present, is that the consulate in St. Petersburg had been shut down by Vladimir Putin's govenment, so it may be difficult for her to get a visa (unless she goes to Moscow).

We'll see.

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