Monday, April 28, 2008


We love this song. What a cool band. Check them out!


Why Exxon won't produce more oil

The energy giant is being managed to achieve an acceptable investment return for shareholders, not for the benefit of consumers. Less supply of crude oil means higher prices -- and record profits.

-- Business Week

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth and AIDS

First off, today is Earth Day.

Two of many things most Americans aren’t too concerned with is the horrible state which our environment is in and the unequal status of the LGBT community in the United States.

Doing our part in conserving energy, recycling and taking care of the earth is a no-brainer. If the air is too polluted to breath, the water too toxic to drink and our food supply too genetically modified to cause more harm in the long run, what else is there? Do we eat dollar bills? Drink the last remaining drops of fossil fuel? It’s not that hard to understand that the human race depends on a clean environment to survive. It’s very simple really.

George and I recycle. We have replaced most of our indoor and outdoor incandescent light bulbs with more energy-efficient fluorescent ones, and we car pool every day. We don’t turn the heater or air-conditioner on until absolutely necessary. Even during the summer desert heat we have our thermostat set at 84 degrees. Otherwise we’d be working only to pay for mortgage and the already way too high power bill. It’s mind of matter.

The other issue, which is rather alarming, is the fact that people of the LGBT community in the U.S. are becoming third class citizens. For whom exactly does "life, liberty
, and the pursuit of happiness," as it is stated in the United States Declaration of Independence, apply to then? Only to rich white guys? Some people want to vote for a federal amendment to ban same-sex marriage. What business is it of heterosexual people whom gays or lesbians love and want to spend their lives with? What gives them the right to take away the right of other people? Not too long ago in this country, women would not even have been allowed to vote on this subject. Or any subject, for that matter. Imagine that, certain white straight people had no equal rights at one point in history of the United States.

Then there is the whole debacle how HIV infected people are being treated and how AIDS in general is being used as a smear campaign by some right-wing, religious fanatics against anything gay or lesbian. The fact that HIV is not only affecting homosexuals, but also heterosexual people, including women and children, is conveniently swept under the rug. The claim that AIDS is a gay disease is not only a lie but also ignorant. And while the endless debates and finger pointing over whether it is an abomination and who to blame rages on; countless people continue to suffer. With no cure in sight, without help or compassion.

One of the few things that help to bring some kind of relief are events such as the annual Las Vegas AIDS Walk, which was held on Sunday. The money raised will help the AFAN (Aid for AIDS of Nevada) organization to provide support and advocacy for adults and children living with and affected by HIV/AIDS in southern Nevada.

George and I participated in the walk, as we did last year. It’s our little contribution to a great cause and it’s usually fun too. Some people came in costumes. Many families with children were taking part as well. And as always, there were lots of dogs. Countless dogs in every size and shape were present. The weather cooperated too. It was sunny and very comfortable. Below are some photos of Sunday’s event.

This is actually a picture from last year's AIDS Walk in Las Vegas. Here we are with one of the Sin Sity Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Jump the Shark

Remember when American television used to be great? It was just fun to watch. Stories were told, comedies were hilariously funny, and yes, sometimes it would actually inform us about world events.

Even television commercials were at one point considered to be one of the best in world. The visual presentation used to be top-notch, with superb designs and state-of-the-art motion graphics.

Now, with all the hi-definition, surround sound and other technological advances, one would think we’re in television heaven.

Yet, our super-duper wide-screen HDTV set is off.

There’s simply nothing to watch anymore. Our cable company offers 300+ channels and they all seem to be broadcasting the same crap. How many more reality shows (reality???) do we need? Aren’t sitcoms supposed to be funny? I don’t even remember the last time we watched the news...any news...on TV. News? Do Americans even remember this term anymore?

If we actually do turn on our super-duper HDTV set, then we tune into HD Theater and watch their “Sunrise Earth” series. The picture quality is out-of-this-world. It’s also more entertaining to watch the sun rise over a South American jungle, than having to endure the stupidity of bitching has-been actors or one-hit-wonder rock stars, the unoriginality and formulaic sameness of drama series and sitcoms, or the lies and manipulation of state-controlled “news” programs. Nowadays, everything seems crude, mindless and to be produced for pure shock value. Television programs of every kind are being pumped out cheaply to squeeze out the highest ratings possible, which in return mean huge profits.

Huge profits. Money. That's what it's about in the end after all. Those large multi-billion corporations making even more money off of the little guys. And along the way, the masses of an already uneducated and highly credulous people are being turned into a nation of brainless and biased drones.

Quit frankly, American television as a whole has already jumped the shark a long time ago. But to be fair, most of the contemporary foreign programs don’t fare entirely great either.

Luckily, there’s always HBO or a DVD player.

But then again, who has time to sit in front of the idiot box anyway. We sure don’t. There’s too much to take care of in-between our busy work schedule. And there’s still a life to be lived. The open world out there in real life always looks better than watching it all mashed together as high-resolution pixels projected on a boxed-up screen.

Leave your TV off. Put down that remote. Just once. Give it a try.

Read a book or take a walk outside. Maybe there's a nice park nearby?

Explore reality. You may actually like it.

Monday, April 14, 2008

More Spring in Vegas

Below are more photos from our spring outing on the Las Vegas "Strip" with our friend Margaret a little while ago. Some snippets of what we saw along the famed boulevard. It's an ever-changing scenery. Old things never stay old and the future is always just around the corner.

Outside the Bellagio Hotel & Casino. After visiting the spring flowers and butterflies inside their conservatory, we strolled along the "Strip" and enjoyed the afternoon sun.

Next to the Bellagio is one of many construction sites of future gaming establishments, condominium towers, shopping and entertainment complexes. This here shows the construction of the Cosmopolitan.

An observant George. The "Strip" is the place for people watching.

Greeting from Paris. In the desert, that is. Paris Las Vegas has its own Tour d'Eiffel. It's a half-sized replica though.

The former Aladdin Hotel & Casino was recently turned into a Planet Hollywood Casino. It's contemporary and trendy now. Gone too is the Middle Eastern themed Desert Passage mall. The mall stores are now lined up along the Miracle Mile, named after the business section on Wilshire Blvd. in L.A.

They put a cork into the famous volcano in front of the Mirage. This famous attraction is being completely refurbished and won't spew fire and "lava" again until sometime this fall.

Encore is a perhaps fitting name for the new addition to Wynn Resort. The opening of the second hotel tower and the expansion of the Wynn Casino is not too far away.

One of the rare quiet moments could be experienced on the mezzanine of the Venetian, which overlooks its piazza, gondolas and the Strip below.

It's the real thing. An oversized Coke bottle, gigantic M&M candies and other larger-than-life product placements can be found up and down the "Strip."

Don't blink. You might miss seeing another high rise building going up. See, there's another one. That wasn't there yesterday. This is only a part of the massive City Center, developed by the MGM Mirage, and will bring a new level of gaming and entertainment experience to Sin City.