Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Party at The Beach at Mandalay Bay

What a blast! I got to see my long-time friend Irene, whom I've known since 7th grade. I also had the opportunity to meet some of her wonderful colleagues, eat dinner, dress up in costume, see some wild people, and be entertained by The Village People and Earth, Wind and Fire! Irene's room was upgraded to a penthouse...and now I've had the opportunity to see how the other half lives!

This photo was taken with my camera by a drunken Norwegian. Not bad, eh?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

LOLA Fundraiser

Moe and Gerard - the founders and dreamers who are creating LOLA (Lots of Love for Animals) from the empty desert floor to a completed sanctuary.

Some of LOLA's Board of Directors

The LOLA fundraiser was held at all three Claim Jumper restaurant locations. We had a great time, while helping build a no-kill animal sanctuary! These photos are from one of the Claim Jumper locations. If you're interested in donating to this non-profit organization go to:

This photo was taken with my camera by a LOLA fundraiser.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Autumn is a bountiful time of the year. The colors of the leaves are so rich; the final, beautiful burst of energy before dying. It is a time to be thankful for fall harvests, to celebrate life, and enjoy family and friends. Autumn is a time to contemplate what your life has sown across the fields of the past year. You decide which treasures to keep and carefully tend over the winter. You will then be prepared to shake out and renew these treasures in the spring.

My magical gipsy wish spirited me away to a cooler place of quaking aspen, ponderosa pine, and mountain cabins. I sipped hot coffee on the balcony, while enjoying a cool mountain breeze and warming sun. A little hiking, shooting photographs, and dreaming of winter snows arriving in a month or so. cocoa and warm fireplaces...too bad I have to take my caravan back home.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Gypsy in Me

"There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir: We must rise and follow her, When from every hill of flame She calls, and calls each vagabond by name."
~ William Bliss Carman ~

My gipsy blood is definitely stirring. I'm called to travel to cooler places of flame-colored leaves, crisp apples and maple syrup. The beauty of autumn enraptures those who breathe the wind swirling through the leaves. It's a magical time of year when almost anything can happen.

Niger Refuses Entry to Doctors without Borders and Children Die

Niger has prevented the Nobel prize-winning Medecines sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders) from entering the country to provide life-saving medical services for its people, especially its children. This is unconscionable. MSF is not a political organization; it simply provides free medical assistance to people in need. Please put pressure on the government of Niger to let them in so that these thousands of malnourished children's lives can be saved! Please contact their embassy and put on some pressure:

I e-mailed the following letter, addressed to the President, Prime Minister and Ambassador of Niger, to the e-mail address

The Honorable Mamadou TANDJA, President of Niger,
The Honorable Seyni Oumarou, Prime Minister of Niger, and
H.E Mrs. Toure Aminata Djibrilla Maiga, Nigerian Ambassador to the United States:

I respectfully urge your government to allow Medecines sans Frontieres into your country to provide medical assistance to your citizens, especially your beautiful, innocent children. I appreciate your time and energy in this matter. Thank you.

Your signature goes here

Here's their contact information:
Embassy of the Republic of Niger
2204 R Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008

Tel: 202.483-4224 to 4227
Fax: 202.483.3169

The Embassy of Niger is open Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM ET.

The President of Niger is The Honorable Mamadou TANDJA.

The Prime Minister of Niger is The Honorable Seyni Oumarou.

The Ambassador of Niger to the United States is H.E Mrs. Toure Aminata Djibrilla Maiga

Bachmann and the Republican Right - Who's Really un-American?

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann on Obama: "I'm very concerned that he may have anti-American views...I think the people that Barack Obama has been associating with are anti-American, by and large."

In her statements, she has opened up a Pandora's box of intolerance, prejudice and hate-mongering that goes against the very grain of the democratic fabric of our country.

What are views that are un-American? Are they views that go against the views of the majority? Are they views that are completely antithetical to the populace? What qualifies the views of a citizen as being un-American? Does disagreement with the status quo mean you are un-American? Early in President Bush's term of office, I recall him stating that anyone who didn't agree that we should go to war in Iraq is unpatriotic and un-American. As one of those people who thought we should not go to war Iraq, I guess that, according to his terms, I was as un-American as was Obama.

Well, according to our Constitution and Bill of Rights, unless you are committing a crime, your views are as valid as anyone else's. Who is Bachmann to decide what is American and un-American? Does she hold the standard? What is the standard? As far as I understand, the United States of America is an extremely diverse country, full of many ethnicities, cultures, races, traditions, and religions. It's nearly impossible to quantify who represents the face of America, as we have so many faces.

The beauty of our Constitution and Bill of Rights is that they allow for a multiplicity of extremely diverse opinions that provide a platform for discourse and intelligent debate. This is a wonderful method in which one determines one's own views, and from which one can then make educated and thoughtful decisions. When people silence others with whom they disagree, they silence Democracy.

Our freedom to have and publicly communicate our opinions and beliefs is an integral part of being American. This is what sets our country apart from so many others. Bachmann, who shows no tolerance of viewpoints other than her own, may currently be one of the most dangerous people in office in our country. However, she too, has the freedom to state her opinion; just as do I, here, in my blog!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Finally, Gas for under $3/gal.! McCain/Palin "S" Word! NAFTA!

On my way home tonight, I was happy to finally see gas for $2.99/gal. It's about time. Oil and gas companies have been setting these high prices to greedily line their pockets by taking money directly out of ours. If there really was a legitimate shortage, nothing would make these prices drop. Hmmmm...

As for Palin and McCain using the "S" word, I think there should be no problem in Obama using the "F" word in reply. Obama is not a Socialist, but the entire policy of the Bush Administration, which McCain has enthusiastically supported, endorsed and for whom he campaigned twice, has for the past eight years been absolutely Fascist.

As for McCain bringing up Rev. Wright after promising he wouldn't, means he lies! So much for his promises.

NAFTA - multi-national corporations going into less-developed nations in Central and South America, using up the natural resources of these nations with little thought to adverse environmental consequences and unfair labor practices. Now, indigenous peoples of some of these countries are beginning to protest.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Terms Limits and Tyranny

NYC's billionaire Mayor Bloomberg, who has consistantly switched parties, is attempting to change term limits on the office of mayor. He is pressuring City Council members in order to make this possible. This is against the tenets of our Republic and those of democracy. When you have people in office who wish to extend their terms and, in addition, use undue influence to make this happen, you get tyranny. Next thing, we'll be hearing Bush try this, and there goes the USA as we know it. Money + power + abuse of power = Tyranny = UNACCEPTABLE to the people of the United States of America. There is always danger when someone who takes office thinks that they are the only ones who can run the city, country, or whatever. This is money, megalomania and sociopathy combined.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Las Vegas Renaissance Faire

This year's RenFaire had record numbers, despite the cold temperatures. My favorite group, Knights of the Midnight Sun, had a spectacular camp and wonderful performances in Irish and belly dance, including a ribbon and a sword dance.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

ARRRRRGH! $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

I think Bush, Cheney and Paulson all need to resign. Shame on them and everyone else responsible for this, now global, mess. They should all be prosecuted, possibly even be named in a civil suit, as they have compromised our national security. Their poor leadership and outright greed have driven our economy into the ground. Deregulation, my foot! I honestly can NOT believe anyone who purposefully removes protective regulations put in place after the Stock Market Crash of 1929, to prevent it from happening again, had no clue that this would occur. So, idiocy or premeditation, they all need to resign and be held responsible!

And now AIG gets another bailout right after they take a bunch of insurance agents on a junket to an elite Southern California golf resort and spa. They did this to the tune of over $400,000 for things such as hotel rooms, massages and manicures! While the rest of us are struggling, the money for their junket was taken straight out of our meager pockets through the first AIG bailout! This gets more and more ridiculous and outrageous! When are they going to give the taxpayer a bailout? Maybe we could take the money for our bailout from the bank accounts and financial holdings of the executives responsible. After all, they've made billions of dollars at our expense!

Teachers Should Not Be Held Accountable for Society's Problems

I believe that we need to get children into school earlier for pre-K and full-day Kindergarten. Many parents work 2 jobs just to make ends meet, so they don't have enough time to work with their children. Many students are coming to school without knowledge of the alphabet, letter sounds, basic number sense, ability to count from 1 to 10, or even understanding directionality of print. Instead, parents are relying more and more on teachers to teach early literacy, math and life skills to their children in 1/2-day Kinder and in 1st grade classes. This late start puts these children at a distinct disadvantage, where many spend the rest of their academic lives playing catch-up.

I don't see society and our economy rolling back to the time when one parent can afford to support the family and the other parent, mom or dad, can stay home to work with the children. I would, however, like to see it roll back to a time where people earn a living wage so that they only need to work one job. At least, then, parents will have more time to spend with their children and teach them life skills, early literacy and numbers, to read to them, and help them with their homework.

I truly hope the next President will realize that the problem with education is a problem that originates in the basic structure of society, the family and the economy. I think we blame teachers because they are scapegoats for these much deeper and more difficult problems to solve; problems without one, easily identifiable "go-to" person or group to hold accountable.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Another Stupid and DANGEROUS Deregulation by Bush: The Endangered Species Act

Well, here he goes again. Bush is planning on weakening the Endangered Species Act. Part of this is the question of the use of middle-range sonar during Naval training exercises. This sonar has been harming dolphins and endangered whales, causing such adverse affects as life-threatening hemorrhages. The Navy can exercise restraint, conduct research into developing alternative technology, and put in place protective measures for these animals during their training exercises. If you think weakening the ESA is as ridiculous and irresponsible as do I, especially considering the IUCN findings reported in my prior blog, please go to the following website before October 14th, and follow their directions to submit a comment online:

or write to the following via traditional mail:
Public Comment Processing
Attention: 1018-AT50
Division of Policy and Directives Management
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
4401 North Fairfax Drive
Suite 222
Arlington, VA 22203

We MUST protect our environment and all the species within it. Our own survival depends upon this as our existence is intertwined with all the other species! We must prevent Bush from doing this. Please write, online or via traditional mail.

1 in 4 Mammals May Become Extinct - Our World and Our Own Survival is in Crisis

Almost 25% of all mammals are threatened with extinction. We must do something now! The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has just completed their first detailed study in over a decade, looking at the mammals of our planet. This study was conducted over a 5-year period, by over 1,700 scientists, 11,000 volunteer scientists, and over 1,000 government and non-governmental organizations from over 160 countries around the world.

Their dire prediction is that 20.8%, a little over 1 out of 5 of all the world's mammals are surrently at risk for extinction! The IUCN, which is based in Switzerland, has red-listed 44,838 as threatened species, out of which 16,928 are endangered, 8,912 species are at risk for extinction, and 3,246 are facing imminent extinction. Since there are some mammals for which there is little data, whose numbers have not been counted possibly due to extremely low numbers, the actual number is probably close to 25% or 1 in 4.

Since 1500, there have been approximately 76 species of mammals that have become extinct. The fact that the number of mammals facing extinction has increased exponentially is due directly to our management and use of the world's lands, oceans and animals, as well as our contribution to global warming and climate change. Some of the causes of this mass extinction are habitat loss, deforestation, hunting, poaching, the international pet trade, accidental death-by-net and vessel strike for matine animals, and climate change. I personally would add pollution/poisoning of the ecosystem as another cause of extinction. The larger primates are at the most risk because they require larger areas for their habitats than do smaller mammals. If you would like to know more about the IUCN study on mammal extinction, go to
or get it directly from IUCN at

An on-line article about endangered turtles on MSNBC reported that 40% of all species of mammals in China are endangered. They state that this is due to hunting and pollution. This problem is pervasive and certainly not limited to China. The question is, what are YOU going to do about this? We must ALL get together on this to save the mammals of our planet. If we lose 25% of all known species of mammals, this will have far-reaching effects that will quickly filter down to other species, and will ultimately, radically change our own lives, and possibly impact our own survival as a species. When you are talking about the extinction of the larger, top predatory species, you disrupt the trophic cascade. To understand the depth of impact this will have you should follow the studies of the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park. Part of the positive impact of their return to that environment has included the literal change in the course of tributaries, caused the creation of new wetlands, and increased the diversity of species now found in Yellowstone. Combine the results of the IUCN study of mammals with what we already know about the enormous amount of ALL other species that are threatened, endangered and critically at risk for extinction. I believe our environment, as we know it, is at risk. Therefore, so is our own fragile survival as a species.

We have exploited, destroyed, killed competitors for land to extinction, polluted, and covered with concrete, a huge amount of our habitable land areas. We have polluted a large amount of the potable water of this world, which is less than 1% of all the water found on Earth. We have polluted the world's oceans and have overfished a large percentage of our marine food supply. I could go on and on. When you really look at what is happening, it is obvious that our decision-tree as humans should include everything that will save our environment and exclude that which threatens our environment in any way. Basically, we are down to the question of, what are we as a species willing to do and give up to survive? For instance, "Drill, Baby, Drill" is about as irresponsible and stupid a thing to do as I can imagine. Hmmm, profits or survival as a species?

A really interesting study was done by Jared Diamond that looked at the causes of the extinction of past civilizations, such as the Maya and Anasazi. He looked at the following five major factors that he believes contribute to the decline and/or collapse of a civilization: 1) environmental damage and population growth, 2) climate change, 3)hostile neighbors, 4) weakened trade partners, 5) and failure to solve social problems. If you are interested in Diamond's Case Study watch his lecture at UC Santa Barbara at
Here's a link to his graph embedded in a NY Times article about Diamond's research on the decline of civilizations