Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving with the Troops and the LA Kings Girls at the Bob Hope Hollywood USO

My Thanksgiving with the troops, the LA Kings Ice Crew girls, and Playboy Playmates at the Bob Hope Hollywood USO.

Thanks to everyone who everyone came out and made the event such a big success!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The best of New Orleans

Beignets and Cafe au Lait at the Cafe du Monde in the French Quarter ...

Looking back at New Orleans

So much I could say about my experience in New Orleans.

The food and the music were impressive.

Loved the beignets and cafe au lait at the Cafe du Monde.

Loved the sounds of jazz and blues from the French Quarter.

Encountered friendly, Southern hospitality everywhere I went.

And to boot, a pleasure even on board the plane, thanks to the satellite TV, snacks, and roomy seats.

Photo highlights to be posted later today ... :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

JFK's Terminal 5

Finally have a chance to enjoy JFK's Terminal 5, thanks to a 3-hr plus layover.

This is a the model all airports should use for their terminals.

Nice, bright, and a very cool central area.

The big windows give a great view of the airfield. Nice for plane watchers.

The complimentary WiFi and the numerous seating stations where you can plug in your laptop and work & eat, also deserves a big Hi5.

Even lots of dining options here. Love the look of the Deep Blue lounge.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The day in a nutshell.

Filing regular reports is proving to be a challenge.

Long day ... starting with New Orleans, the Garden District, then on to Mississippi and Alabama ... and finally back to the Big Easy.

Today's highlights:
1. cafe au lait and beignets @ the Cafe du Monde (a landmark that opened during the Civil War)
2. wandering through the Garden District.
3. Lunch buffet featuring fried chicken, biscuits, cornbread, mashed potatoes and gravy, and apple pie
4. checking out the beaches of Mississippi.
5. Touring the Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library in Biloxi
6. Hitting the casino in Miss.
7. Monster break in Mobile, Ala.
8. A final stroll down Bourbon Street at night.

Tired ... zzzzzz.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Notes from LAX


9:06 pm PDT – Terminal 6 Los Angeles International Airport

The All You Can Jet journey has begun.

Kicking off my experience with the good folks at JetBlue, at LAX’s Terminal 6, ready for the red-eye to New York JFK.

There’s a reasonable volume of people milling about tonight. Some of the Continental gates (the primary tenant at T6) are overflowing though. And I just heard a Frontier spokesman say they were looking for volunteers to give up their seats. Oops … oversold. So people are still flying.

The Home Turf Sports Bar is also filled, with fans glued to the TVs watching the Steelers and Titans square off.

I’ve opted for a quick coffee at Monet’s California, instead of the usual Starbucks.

Can’t help but wonder why are there no Coffee Bean outlets in this airport. Surely our hometown chain deserves a spot or two. Or perhaps Starbucks has some sort of exclusivity deal here?

Last time I was in this terminal was this past February. Since that time, it has become a construction zone.

Flight still on time, scheduled to leave at 10:21.

Just one beef - my longest-running beef with LAX – no complimentary WiFi.

JFK's T5 has it. New Orleans has it. Come on, LAX -- get in the game!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ready for Lift-off!

Ready for launch!

Tonight: LAX-JFK (red-eye)
Tomorrow morning: JFK-MSY

Forecast for New Orleans:
Friday - 82, 50% chance of scattered t-storms.
Saturday - 81, 60% chance of scattered t-storms.

NYC weather:
Low 60, High 66 ... steady rain. Windy.

As always, weather is perfect for departure from LA.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

36 Hours 'til Launch

36 hours 'til launch ... and a non-stop fill of music, food, and fun in New Orleans.

Bring on the jambalaya, gumbo, and everything chicken-fried. And throw in a pile of gravy.

And I want that accompanied by the sounds of New Orleans jazz, blues, cajun, and zydeco music.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The JetBlue Experience: The Music Awaits

So many choices, so little time ...

Nevertheless, the itinerary for my JetBlue Experience has been set.

Sept 10-13: New Orleans, New York City
Sept 17-20: Miami/Fort Lauderdale & the Florida Keys
Sept 25-27: Austin, San Antonio, Hill Country
Oct 1-4: Puerto Rico

An overriding theme of my selections? Only one, really -- music.

An evening (or two) in each location will be spent on the town, taking in some of the music each spot is known for -- from the jazz, blues, cajun, and zydeco sounds of Louisiana; to Manhattan, where the musical choices are endless; to the Cuban and Latin vibe of Miami; to Austin, the "Live Music Capital of the World"; and finishing up with the Latin and Caribbean sounds found in Old San Juan.

The countdown is on ...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Jetting with JetBlue!

Ok, JetBlue, game on!

You have tempted me with your All You Can Jet offer ... and then some.

So, looks like I'll spend four consecutive weekends (Thurs/Fri to Sun, give or take), in at least four different places.

Tentative itinerary (departing each wknd from LA - BUR/LGB/LAX):

Wknd #1: Fort Lauderdale/Miami
Wknd #2: New York City
Wknd #3: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Wknd #4: Deep in the Heart of Texas ... to a favorite, Austin.

Or ... I could just fly around aimlessly non-stop until the good folks at JetBlue kindly ask me to stop flying, and leave some empty seats for others.

Either way, sounds like a heck of an adventure.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Fourth of July!

Waiting for the crowds to arrive: Daybreak at Huntington Beach ...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Duane Eddy!

Rebel Rouser ... Cannonball ... 40 Miles of Bad Road ... Shazaam!

These are some of the signature tunes of one the true legends of the music world -- the one, the only, Duane Eddy.

The guy who invented the "twangy" guitar was born this day, April 26, 1938.

So a big "Happy birthday" to one of my guitar heroes. Here he is, playing Cannonball ...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Queen Converts Buckingham Palace to Buckingham Bed & Breakfast

Apparently the financial crisis is hitting home in England as it is around the rest of the world. And it seems that Queen Elizabeth has found a new way to deal with the current economic difficulties facing the Royal Family.

Like governments worldwide -- and millions of individuals -- the Royal Family finds itself short of cash these days.

So effective today, Buckingham Palace is being converted to the Buckingham Bed & Breakfast. (This is a photo of Liz and Phillip's first guests, the Obamas.)

It won't be a cheap place to stay, but Liz figures there are enough people out there who would be happy to spend a few dollars (or Pounds or Euros) for the privilege of sleeping in a palace -- and sitting at the breakfast table with the Queen herself.

She'll accept all major credit cards, except American Express, because their fees are too high.

It's been well-documented by insiders for years that Elizabeth has always been a frugal royal, going so far as to sit in coach, even on overseas flights. And to save a buck on the fees, she just goes with carry-on bags only now ... and brings a sandwich from home.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Power of a Positive Mental Attitude: Patrick Devlyn

When I think of people who I admire, I can name a number of people, from a number of different walks of life, who I admire for a variety of reasons.

But one person who I happen to have a great deal of admiration for is also a personal friend. His name is Patrick Devlyn.

If you’re from Mexico, you will most certainly recognize the name “Devlyn”.

Patrick is the Vice-President of Devlyn Opticos, an optometry company whose humble roots go back to a small optical store in Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso. That’s where his parents began selling eyeglasses at the end of the 1930s. From that small store, the family business would grow to some 500 stores today, spread across Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic.

That’s an amazing success story, and is worthy of a book all by itself.

But what stands out about Patrick is something else – something which has no doubt played a key part in the success he and his company have enjoyed.

See, Patrick is without question, the most positive, optimistic person I have ever met.

His energy is infectious, and you just find yourself wanting to be a part of it.

Patrick has a long involvement with Rotary International, and he’s become well-known in those circles (and elsewhere) for his motivational talks. He’s entertaining, he’s sincere, and you can just feel the positive energy radiating from him. He is a true leader.

You can’t help but feel good after listening to Patrick give a speech.

His key message is precisely that – the importance of having a positive mental attitude.

In fact, any time I get the urge to tell somebody about any particular problem that might be bothering me, I just think of something Patrick says.

As he points out, 80% of people don’t care about your problems, and the other 20% secretly take delight in the fact that you’re feeling worse than they are!

It’s a humorous way of looking at it, but he makes a valid point. Besides, negative people attract other negative people, while positive people attract other positive people.

When you stay on a positive track, you find ways to overcome any challenges that may come up. Staying positive is the key to better decisions, better relationships, and better results in all aspects of your life.

Patrick Devlyn is proof positive that a positive mental attitude brings results.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Putin: Commie, KGB Spy, Tourist.

Love this pic uncovered by Sky News.
That's current Russian President/Dictator Vladimir Putin, pretending to be a tourist during a visit by President Reagan to Moscow in the 1980s.
Of course, he was no tourist. He was a KGB spy.
And now he's chummy with such "leaders" as the Castro Brothers and Hugo Chavez.
That reminds me ... I think I'll cross out "Visit Moscow" from my list of things to do.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Happy B-day Patrick Duffy!

How did I miss such a momentous occasion?

Yesterday, March 17, was a big day -- the 60th birthday of the one and only, Patrick Duffy.

Here's what the man on the street had to say (above):

And here's what people are saying about his new upcoming film, He's Such a Girl:

Hmmm ... wonder what Larry Hagman is up to these days ...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Dick Dale R.O.X.

Last night was the fifth time I had the good fortune to see a living legend in concert -- the one, the only, Dick Dale.

The man who takes a Fender reverb unit and cranks the volume up to 11 did not disappoint.

The opening twangs filled the room even before the King of the Surf Guitar hit the stage. The crowd was electric as soon as they heard the signature style of Dale, even while he was still backstage.

He made his entrance, playing as he walked onto the stage from the dressing room.

Dick's music is so intense, it leaves you feeling the vibration of it throughout the entire show -- and for some hours afterward.

I shot some video of the event, but alas, capturing the sound was not easy (no surprise there).

Nevertheless, it was great to see he still has the same magic touch as always.

Check out his opening number, the electrifying "Nitro".

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Ramblings from Huntington Beach

It's Saturday, and the pier area is particularly infested with Jesus freaks today.

No offense ... I'm sure he was a good guy and everything, but I don't come to the beach to be told I'm going straight to the hot place if I don't follow the bible in the way you happen to interpret it.

Quite frankly, I bet if Jesus were here right now, he wouldn't be preaching. He'd probably be getting a "strawberry surf rider" at Jamba Juice, then would be hangin' out on the beach getting some rays for a bit.

And I bet he'd go for the fish tacos at Wahoo's.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Black President!

Still a little loopy in the head from the festivities at tonight's concert ... but I must heartily recommend Black President.

And no, that's not a reference to the current occupant of the White House ... it's the name of one of the hottest new bands going.

Lead by a good friend of mine, Christian Martucci (who does a bitchin' job on vocals/guitar), they were formed in Los Angeles, and are now touring the country.

Check 'em out --

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The sky is falling, part II: Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

I read one of the most ridiculous headlines ever today.

A story from Reuters ran with this heading:

45 percent of world’s wealth destroyed: Blackstone CEO


Has 45% of the world’s physical assets suddenly been launched into space, never to be seen again? Have people suddenly become 45% less able to think and create for themselves?

Of course not!

Only artificially-set numbers on paper have changed. The inherent value of my “stuff” and my ability to create wealth has not changed one iota.

Unless I believe it to be true.

The great writer Mark Twain put it very well. As he said, “There are three types of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

Well said!

The sky is falling! The sky is falling! Run for the hills!

I love watching CNN. Everyday, they give me new “evidence” of the “economic crisis”.

If I believed everything they told me, I’d think the only thing left to do is to go build a bunker or run off into the hills, because the sky is obviously falling, and there’s nothing we can do about it.

And they’re so concerned with sucking up to the President, they don’t even question why he’s spending such a frightening amount of money, all in the name of a “crisis”.

CNN ought to call itself what it really is – Constantly Negative News.

Let’s set things straight.

The sky is NOT falling. It’s in the same place today as it was yesterday, and it’ll be in the same place tomorrow as well.

Our ability to earn money, make a living, and do stuff we want to do is in no way limited by what others like CNN choose to perceive as reality.

The only limits are those that we artificially set for ourselves. Period.

Don't believe it? Then stay tuned for more ...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Conduct at Chuck E. Cheese described as 'madness'

by MATTHEW KEMENY, The Patriot-News
Wednesday January 07, 2009

The wobbly video shows a group of adults mulling inside Chuck E. Cheese's restaurant in Susquehanna Twp. Suddenly it pans left and captures a fight breaking out.
The 22-second clip, uploaded Sunday to YouTube, is the latest example of what police describe as a disturbing and bizarre crime trend: escalating violence among adults at a place designed for children's birthday parties.

Susquehanna Township police have been called to the restaurant on Union Deposit Road 12 times in the past year for reports of disorderly conduct, assault and theft. Those calls have resulted in 13 arrests, including six women -- five adults and a juvenile -- charged with disorderly conduct in a Saturday-night brawl.

In 2007, police responded to the restaurant 18 times for similar offenses.

"It's madness, absolute madness," Susquehanna Twp. Police Chief Robert A. Martin said.
Martin said he believes much of the violence stems from ongoing disputes among people who bump into each other in the restaurant. "They see each other at Chuck E. Cheese, and before you know it an argument turns into something physical."

The assaults also could be attributed to separated or divorced parents who attend a child's birthday party, he said. Such was the case in an April 4 incident, when police accused a man of slapping his estranged wife in the head at their child's party.

The violence at Chuck E. Cheese's isn't isolated to the Susquehanna Township restaurant. Last month, the Wall Street Journal published an article about a growing number of adult melees at locations in Brookfield, Wisc.; Topeka, Kan.; Toledo, Ohio; and Flint, Mich.

The number of calls at the Susquehanna Township location increased from 11 in 2005 and nine in 2006, Martin said. In late March, police broke up a fight involving 20 people.

Other Chuck E .Cheese restaurants in central Pennsylvania have had similar problems.

At the Manheim Twp. restaurant in Lancaster County, a man was arrested March 20 after police said he ran around the restaurant spitting and yelling he had hepatitis C. A week earlier, a 17-year-old Warwick Twp. girl was walking to her car in the parking lot when a man walked up behind her, grabbed her and tried to drag her away, police said. No one has been arrested in that incident.

A call to CEC Entertainment, Inc., which runs Chuck E. Cheese, was referred to the company's legal department in Irvine, Texas. Messages left Tuesday morning and afternoon were not returned.

In April, a company spokeswoman told The Patriot-News all the restaurants have security cameras to help ensure peace of mind for customers and the restaurants' workers who dress as the Chuck E. Cheese mouse mascot.

"As in our other urban, high-density locations, we rely on the local authorities and their advice to control situations such as the ones we have experienced in Harrisburg," spokeswoman Brenda Holloway said.

Incidents reported by police at the Susquehanna Township Chuck E Cheese in the past year:Jan. 19, 2007: Theft of cell phone Feb. 16: Domestic dispute Feb. 19: Domestic assault; one arrested Feb. 26: Assault March 22: Disorderly conduct; one arrested March 29: Disorderly conduct; two arrested April 2: Disorderly conduct April 4: Domestic assault; one arrested May 10: Disorderly conduct; one arrested Sept. 9: Theft, assault. Oct. 3: Domestic assault, simple assault; one arrested Jan. 3: Disorderly conduct; six arrested.


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