"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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Sunday, May 20, 2018

Indian Fetishes

Above, the "fetishes" sign at the upper left at the Jewels & Java store. 

A few people's eyes bugged out over a photograph of the exterior of the Jewels & Java Native American arts & crafts store in Gallup, New Mexico of my blog post yesterday.

What caught their eyes was the sign that said, "Fetishes". I was questioned about it and I had no idea what that was about as I saw nothing weird at the store. In fact, I have seen several Native American stores in New Mexico with "Fetish" signs.

Thanks to one of my Facebook friends, I now know what they are.

For those of you who also took note of the sign, here's something that should put your minds at ease.

This is from The Collector's Guide website:
Indian fetishes are hand-carved objects, which represent the spirits of animals or the forces of nature. From the earliest times in North America, the Indians have used fetishes in an effort to master the arbitrary and unpredictable forces beyond their control. The earliest fetishes are called Ahlashiwe or stone ancients by the Zunis. They were naturally formed stones that seemed to resemble people or animals, sometimes made more realistic with the features accentuated by a carver.

So, don't freak out if you come across an Indian shop that has the word fetish on it.

To read more, go here.

RV Ownership Continues To Climb

Above, The Beast at the Cedar City KOA in Utah. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It was only a short ten years ago that the RV industry (along with everyone else) experienced the Great Recession. Sales of new RVs plummeted and 15 companies filed for bankruptcy in 2008 or 2009 (the recession officially started in December 2007). These included Monaco Coach, Fleetwood Motor Homes, Country Coach, Travel Supreme and Rexhall RV.

Today, the RV industry is booming.

According to the SportsDay section of the Dallas News:
It won't be long until schools close doors for the dog days and families begin hitting the road on summer vacation. 
While some will look to the high country for cooler weather or the beach for some fun in the sun, others may stay closer to home and visit a state park or national recreational area. Either way, many will take to the road with their own home away from home in tow. 
Recreational vehicles are all the rage these days among adventuresome types looking to get away from it all. And they aren't your grandparents' campers, either. 
Many of today's RVs are equipped with slide-outs to make them more roomy, a garage for power toys, satellite HDTV, GPS, Wi-Fi boosters, surround sound, showers, bathrooms, generators and other nifty amenities that allow campers to slumber beneath the stars without leaving their creature comforts behind.

Dealers are feeling the love, too. A consumer survey conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan shows the number of RV-owning households was around 8.9 million in 2011. That number now exceeds 10 million by some estimates, according to Kevin Broom, director of media relations with the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association.

To read more, go here.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Jewels & Java Native American Arts & Crafts

Above, the Jewels & Java store in Gallup, New Mexico. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Following my dinner tonight at Genaro's in Gallup, I did a little cruising around historic downtown Gallup.

I eventually found my way on Route 66 and spotted the Jewels & Java Native American Arts & Crafts store. I've passed by it many times and never stopped in. Until now.

Inside are lots of Indian arts and crafts from the Navajo, Zuni and other tribes. They have very nice things in the store.

Merchandise includes carved knives, paintings, kachinas, jewelry, pottery, stone carvings and other items. I picked up a small stone carving of a corn tower.

Here's some photos:

Above, a general view of the store. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, carved knives. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, silver & turquoise bracelets. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, yours truly. 

Above, the corn tower stone carving. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, yours truly with an eye-catching mural. 

If you are a collector of Native American art, or even if you're just a tourist passing through Gallup, be sure to stop in Jewels & Java.

Their address:

100 West Historic Highway 66
Gallup, New Mexico, 87301

Phone: 505-722-4545

Enchiladas Tonight

Above, enchiladas from Genaro's in Gallup. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Since it has been about a month since I last had Mexican food (New Mexico-style), I am thinking on heading to Genaro's in Gallup this evening for some enchiladas. Yes, I am craving Mexican food.

I suppose I can stand sweating like a fiend today since the enchilada sauce is hotter than hell. Thank God they have a nice big napkin dispenser on each table for patrons to wipe off the perspiration.

Red or green enchilada sauce? Well, I found a website that discusses the difference between the two New Mexico sauces.

They wrote:
Red or green?  That's the question you'll be asked in every New Mexican restaurant.  In fact, New Mexico is the only state in the USA that has an official state question:  "Red or Green?"  I learned that on my first trip through New Mexico, and, I was further told, "if you're not asked this question in a New Mexican restaurant, you're not eating New Mexican food."  While many of us out-of-staters (who love our Mexican and Texican fare) generically refer to this type of red or green chile pepper- or powder-based sauce as "enchilada sauce", and, mistakenly assume it's reserved for enchiladas, in New Mexico, you'll learn that almost everything gets smothered in it.  You name it, the dish gets sauced.  Can't decide?  Just answer "Christmas" -- they'll bring you both.

I don't think I am too daring to answer "Christmas" at the restaurant. Since I survived the red sauce the last time, I'll just go with that.

Small wonder that the New Mexico Motor Vehicles Department offers "Chile Capital of the World" license plates.

Typical Saturday

Above, today in the garage. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Today is a typical Saturday for me these days.

It started off with watering the trees and plants in the yard. I received a compliment from one of the neighbors yesterday on how good the trees are looking.

Then, I trashed more of the thrashed moving boxes. I figure I have about 2-3 more weeks of trash pick-ups to go before I get rid of the last of them.

I did manage to find a few things I was looking for. One clothes brush, one cat brush, batteries and other odds & ends.

The weather was just right for doing stuff in the garage, about 72­°.

Bill Introduced For Communist Holiday In Commiefornia

The Looney Left Report

"It's a MADHOUSE!" So cried Charlton Heston's character, Taylor, in the science-fiction classic, The Planet of the Apes (1968).

And so it is in the People's Republic of Commiefornia, which is what the radical left-wing Democrats have turned California's government into. Each time a wacko action is taken by the Democrats, the more glad I am for leaving Commiefornia.

Here's the latest in Democrat lunacy (from Breitbart):
A Democrat California assemblyman introduced a bill seeking to make “May Day,” or International Workers Day, a state holiday that would replace President George Washington’s or President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. 
Assemblyman Miguel Santiago’s (D-Los Angeles) legislation calls for consolidating the two presidents’ birthdays to be observed on the third Monday in February as a single “President’s Day” holiday, but it also calls for the state to observe May 1 as “International Workers Day.” 
International Workers Day, also known as “May Day,” had been observed in countries under Communism for decades and was designated as an official holiday of the Soviet Union. 
But not everyone in the California Assembly was on board with replacing a president’s birthday with a holiday steeped in communist roots. 
“Are we in competition to become the laughingstock of the United States?” Assemblyman Matthew Harper (R-Huntington Beach) asked in a floor speech Thursday. “This is ridiculous. This is insane.”

It is actually not too surprising that this bill was introduced by Assemblyman Miguel Santiago. He's a well-known leftist lunatic.

The lunacy is not just confined to Democrats in Commiefornia, the whole Democrat Party is radicalized.

As Rush Limbaugh put it the other day:
The problem is that the Democrat Party is being California-ized. The Democrat Party is becoming unabashedly, no attempt to disguise it whatsoever, full-throated socialist. 
There is no Democrat Party, or there soon will not be a Democrat Party of your youth, and certainly not the Democrat Party of your parents. It is trending full-throttle socialism, and it doesn’t stop at socialism. Communism never stops at socialism, or socialism doesn’t stop until it gets to communism, and that’s where they are headed. The Democrat Party is being taken over by pure, undiluted, raw socialists. 
They are winning primaries. They are determining the Democrat Party agenda. They have taken over California. California has already gone in that direction. California’s lost. There is no Democrat Party of old in California. It’s full-fledged radical and on the border of insane socialism.


To read more, go here

Friday, May 18, 2018

8 Campground Courtesy Rules

Above, The Beast at Brown's Town Campground in Bishop, California. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Generally, I have not had any bad experiences while camping, either in a tent or a RV, with other campers. 

About the only annoying thing I can think of was when kids from other camps will use my campsite for their walkway. That's about it.

Here's an article by The Know (from the Denver Post) on 8 rules to follow so that you don't become "that annoying camper".

They begin it with:
For years, my idea of camping meant heading into the middle of nowhere and pitching my tent as far from the rest of humanity as possible. 
That changed when maturity knocked. My wife and I bought a small travel trailer, which we now generally park in established campgrounds. 
While most of our experiences have been pleasant, all too often we find ourselves sharing territory with individuals who apparently believe the need for civility doesn’t apply to them. Here are a few suggestions on how to be courteous campers.

To read more, go here

"The 50th Anniversary of the Elvis Comeback Special" Coming In 2019

This year, HBO premiered Elvis Presley: The Seacher. Next year, NBC will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of Elvis's "comeback" special.

The original special, titled simply Singer Presents...Elvis, was originally aired on December 3, 1968.

Billboard reported:
NBC will be paying tribute to the King of Rock and Roll next year, particularly focusing on the network's incredibly successful 1968 special that marked Elvis Presley's return to live television. 
The 50th Anniversary of the Elvis Comeback Special is set to feature today's biggest music artists recreating the spectacle and the staging of the original show. Additionally, the two-hour broadcast will include rare footage of the superstar and interviews from those who were involved in the event 50 years ago.

To read more, go here.

Congestion At Zion National Park

Above, the Great White Throne. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

One has to consider themselves lucky to have fully visited Zion National Park in Utah over the years before congestion took over.

There are more people (and vehicles than parking spaces) within the park. This is somewhat mitigated by the shuttle system. The last time we fully enjoyed the park was around 2003 and, at that time, we were still able to drive up to the Lodge. You can't do that anymore unless you have a special permit.

Amber and I drove through the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel into the park three years ago, and that was basically it. We had hoped to breakfast at the Lodge's dining room, but that was out of the question, so we ended up eating in nearby Springdale.

There's just too many people in too small an area. That's why I prefer visiting national parks during the off-season.

To see how things currently are in Zion National Park, here's a new video by Campervan Kevin:

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Gallup Summer Nightly Indian Dances

Spotted this:

Summer Nightly Indian Dances

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Name: Summer Nightly Indian Dances
Date: May 28, 2018 - September 3, 2018
Event Description:
The Summer Nightly Indian Dances have been happening in the Gallup area for 24 years. We are excited to be in our new facility at the "Gallup Courthouse Square". Visitors to Gallup can take the opportunity to visit and learn from the many different dance groups.

The Courthouse Square
Located on Aztec between 2nd St. and 3rd St.
Date/Time Information:
Every Night
Memorial Day to Labor Day
7:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M.

Yellowstone Microbes Basically Live In Acid

Above, a Yellowstone National Park hot spring. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

An interesting discovery was made in Yellowstone National Park which provides clues on the origins of life on Earth.

Science Alert reported:
Scientists have found a new lineage of microbes in the famously hot and acidic spring waters of Yellowstone National Park in the US, a discovery that promises to teach us more about the origins of life on our planet. 
These single-cell organisms, from the archaea domain of life, seem to thrive in the thermal springs of Yellowstone where iron oxide is the main mineral. 
Because the surface of Mars is made up of the same sort of materials, the researchers have named the lineage Marsarchaeota.

The conditions inside the springs of Yellowstone are thought to match the conditions on the early Earth, and that's why these Marsarchaeota microbes can be so helpful – they can show us how organisms sparked into life, and what role iron oxide may have played.

To read more, go here

Yosemite's Tioga Road Opens Monday

Above, Tenaya Lake. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It must be springtime.

It has been announced that Yosemite National Park's Tioga Road is opening this coming Monday.

According to the East Bay Times:
Tioga Road, the fabled route through Yosemite National Park’s scenic high country and the highest-elevation road in California’s state highway system, will re-open to vehicles Monday. 
The road, which closes every winter due to deep snow, has been closed since November. It will open to all vehicle traffic at 9 a.m., park officials announced. 
The road’s opening is something of an annual rite of spring, and is an indication of how much snow the Sierra Nevada received during the winter. Last year, after record snow and rain that broke the California’s five-year drought, the Tioga Road didn’t re-open until June 29. The average opening date from 1996 to 2015 was May 26. 
All campgrounds along Tioga Road remain closed. Park officials said Thursday that there is no anticipated opening date for the Tuolumne Meadows store and the Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center. There is no gasoline available along Tioga Road. The closest gas station is located at Crane Flat. For more information about park road conditions, motorists can call 209-372-0200 or go to https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/conditions.htm.

To read more, go here

Graceland vs. City of Memphis In Townhall

Above, a view down Elvis Presley Blvd. Graceland is at left. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

A townhall meeting was held last night in Memphis, pitting the City of Memphis against Elvis Presley Enterprises.

According to Fox 13 Memphis:
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - An attorney for Elvis Presley Enterprises went head-to-head with the City of Memphis at a town hall meeting Wednesday night in Whitehaven.  
Elvis Presley Enterprises has plans in place for several major projects, including an 80,000 square foot convention center, a 6,2000-seat performance arena, and a new wing of the Guest House at Graceland, which would add 325 new rooms. 
As part of the plan, Graceland says its “Made in Memphis” initiative would also bring a manufacturing plant that would employ about 1,000 people.  
Each of those projects is on hold, because of an unusual legal battle over the proposed arena.  
In the City’s contract with the FedEx Forum, a clause prevents any entertainment venue from competing directly with the home of the Memphis Grizzlies. It’s currently up to a Shelby County Judge to determine whether the 6,200 seat arena in Whitehaven would violate that clause. 
The City of Memphis has asked the judge to dismiss the case.
The new development around Graceland has already drawn a new Holiday Inn Express, which is located a half mile south of Graceland on Elvis Presley Blvd. It includes a guitar-shaped swimming pool.

To read more, go here.

Foreign Visitors To Japan Tops 10 Million In January-April

Above, the Saikai Bridge in Kyushu. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

More visitors are heading into Japan at a faster pace.

The Mainichi Daily News reported:
TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The estimated number of foreign visitors to Japan from January to April topped 10 million, reaching that level at the fastest pace on record, the Japan Tourism Agency said Thursday.

With the latest data, the annual number of overseas visitors to the country has now reached 10,519,300, up 15.4 percent from a year earlier and exceeding 10 million for the sixth straight year, the agency said. The previous record pace was set from January to May last year.

To read more, go here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Canvas Size

Above, Asya with the chosen canvas size. 

Asya and I discussed the canvas size for the landscape painting she's doing for me of the three mesas that are across the valley from Jamestown, New Mexico.

She sent several pictures of different canvas sizes and the dimensions on the labels on each canvas were in centimeters. I had to use a conversion website to figure out each one in inches. I also measured the space on the wall where the painting will eventually be hung.

I settled on the 70 x 90 cm (pictured at top) canvas, which converts to 25.55 x 35.43 inches.

The oil painting will be based on this rough watercolor sketch:


UPDATE (5/17/18):

We decided to bump up the canvas size to 27 x 39" (or 70 x 100 cm) due to composition considerations.

2018 Roswell UFO Festival News

Here's the latest news from the organizers of the 2018 Roswell UFO Festival:

New post on Official UFO Festival Roswell Website

Free movie fun at the 2018 UFO Festival!

by UFO Festival

In the epic adventure film `Independence Day,' strange phenomena surface around the globe. The skies ignite. Terror races through the world's major cities. As these extraordinary events unfold, it becomes increasingly clear that a force of incredible magnitude has arrived, its mission: total annihilation over the Fourth of July weekend. The last hope to stop the destruction is an unlikely group of people united by fate and unimaginable circumstances.
What a perfect movie to show at the official 2018 UFO Festival Independence Day weekend!  Join us at the 3rd St. Station pavilion for a FREE showing of this critically acclaimed movie. Movie begins around 8:30 p.m.  The floor is concrete, so plan accordingly.
Remember to bring your:
  • Chairs
  • Snacks
  • Bug spray

501st Legion to appear at the 2018 UFO Festival!

by UFO Festival
Image result
Do you love Star Wars?  Who doesn't?   We are thrilled to announce that members of the 501st Dewback Ridge Garrison will be on hand for photos and more at the official 2018 UFO Festival!
Since 1997, the costuming organization known as the 501st Legion has spread the magic of the Star Wars genre worldwide through its authentic-looking costumes, and has become the leading force in fan-based charity events. The 501st, also known as "Vader's Fist," is truly dedicated to brightening the lives of those less-fortunate.
Members of all ages and characters, including Darth Vader himself, will thrill audiences at this year's event. There is nothing quite like a group of Stormtroopers to bring attention to an event. Unlike individual entertainers, the 501st Legion functions as a group creating a true science-fiction/fantasy ambience with a wide range of professional-grade costumes and props. Our internal standards ensure a high level of professionalism in both actions and appearance to ensure your event runs smoothly.

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