Thursday, August 30, 2007

Hippopotamus and the Tortoise

This story below was a publicly posted article that was sent to me by my friend Andi...I thought it was a nice post for a Friday.

Much of life can never be explained but only witnessed...
NAIROBI (AFP)- A baby hippopotamus that survived the tsunami waves on the Kenyan coast has formed a strong bond with a giant male century-old tortoise in an animal facility in the port city of Mombassa, officials said. The hippopotamus, nicknamed Owen and weighing about 300 kilograms (650 pounds), was swept down Sabaki River into the Indian Ocean , then forced back to shore when tsunami waves struck the Kenyan coast on December 26, before wildlife rangers rescued him.

"It is incredible. A-less-than-a-year-old hippo has adopted a male tortoise, about a century old, and the tortoise seems to be very happy with being a 'mother'," ecologist Paula Kahumbu, who is in charge of Lafarge Park , told AFP. "After it was swept away and lost its mother, the hippo was traumatized. It had to look for something to be a surrogate mother. Fortunately, it landed on the tortoise and established a strong bond. They swim, eat and sleep together," the ecologist added." The hippo follows the tortoise exactly the way it followed its mother. If somebody approaches the tortoise, the hippo becomes aggressive, as if protecting its biological mother," Kahumbu added. "The hippo is a young baby, he was left at a very tender age and by nature, hippos are social animals that like to stay with their mothers for four years," he explained. "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."
Happy Friday!
-Rick Rockhill

Joan Crawford in Palm Springs

One of the many reasons I love living in Palm Springs is our connection to Hollywood. Back in the Golden Age of Hollywood, movie stars spent time in the desert because it was just far enough away to feel like they were on vacation, but also close enough to get back to LA if called back to the studio by one of the Hollywood movie bosses. The old studio system of MGM and Warner Brothers kept it's stars under tight control. But I digress....At left is perhaps my all time favorite Palm Springs celebrity photo. This is actress Joan Crawford, with her "lover" Greg Bauzer. What's so great about this photo is that she is wearing a 3/4 length fur coat in Palm Springs. "Beauty suffers" as they say. I wonder just how hot it was that day, but dammit, in the words of Joan Crawford herself: "I never go out of the house without looking like Joan Crawford". and "If you want to see the girl next door, then go next door!". I guess that's what she was thinking when she posed for this photo. Special thanks to the Palm Springs Daily Photo for this great picture of Joan. If you've never seen a Joan Crawford film, do yourself a favor and check out Mildred Pierce.

-Rick Rockhill

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Wisdom Wednesdays: Featuring Dr Sidney Wang


Today is a special double feature edition of "ASK DR WANG". Today's first letter is from a regular reader of this blog, who asked to remain anonymous...

Dear Dr Wang,

I have been struggling with a secret for several years that I have not shared with anyone else. I am at a point where I need some objective advice, and I figure a psychic fish is probably the most objective advice I'm going to find. Ten years ago I gave birth to a daughter and gave her up for adoption. I kept it a complete secret, took some time off in between changing jobs and at the time lived far away from my family. I was young and not prepared to be a mother or to have that degree of responsibility. I have been feeling increasingly guilty about this, and have already tracked down my daughter's location. She was never adopted, but is in foster care with her second set of parents. I desperately want to make contact with her, but I do not want to upset her by suddenly entering her life. Should I make contact with her or should I let go? If I do make contact, how do you think she will react?

Emotionally torn, Anonymous

Dr Wang responds: Dear Emotionally Torn,

While I am not a licensed psychofishologist, I must say, concealing a major personal event (such as the birth of a child) from everyone you know indicates a variety of issues that are best handled by a therapist. However, I have consulted The Great Bubble Wall in my tank to understand your situation and provide advice. You are more deeply troubled by this secret that you know. There are several issues at stake: Your desire to clear your conscious, your maternal instincts kicking in, and your desire to improve the quality of life for your daughter. It is very important that you follow legal procedures for appropriate contact of your daughter. You must resist temptation to contact your daughter on your own. The foster "mother" is a midget woman nicked-named "Bitty" who will be quite stand-offish at first. You should meet Bitty and her husband for dinner and be upfront and honest. Avoid ordering any seafood such as shrimp over dinner with Bitty, it will only make things more difficult.

It will take several months of meetings to establish some level of trust. Your daughter will have a difficult time adjusting to you entering her life. I suggest for your first meeting, you and Bitty should take her to the Aquarium and spend time with the dolphins. The dolphins will help you communicate with your daughter. You should buy a CD and learn both "Whale Song" and "Dolphin Talk". The other anxiety you must conquer is to be honest with your family and friends. The truth will set free the demons that posses you at the moment. Good Luck.

Keep Swimming Upstream,

-Dr Wang


Today's second letter is from Joyce in Greenville, North Carolina....

Dear Dr Wang,

Two months ago I was on vacation in the Bahamas and met "Charlie" while snorkeling with some friends. We literally swam into each other and had lunch together that day. We ended up spending the rest of my vacation together and really hit it off. He lives in West Virginia but has said he wanted to spend more time together. We recently met up for a long weekend at my place and had a great time together. Do you see a potential serious relationship in my future with him?

Thanks for taking my letter, Joyce.

Dr Wang responds: Dear Joyce,

A relationship born under the sea? Sounds fishy to me. To be sure, I consulted The Great Bubble Wall for a glimpse into your future. It looks like your vacation was just dance, like a wave on the ocean, and were romanced. Steer clear of this guy, he is a shark and already has a life and relationship back in West Virginia. The next time you speak with him, ask him who "Shirley" is. See what he says, then you can respond: "Sorry Charlie", and then hang up forever.

Keep Swimming Upstream,

-Dr Wang


"Wisdom Wednesdays" features the sage advice of our resident oracle, Dr Sidney Wang. Believed to be a reincarnated descendant of King Rama II of Siam, Dr Wang responds to e-mail submissions with advice, predictions of the future and conveys ancient proverbs to provide guidance and support. Dr Sidney Wang's 24 Hour Wisdom, Advice and Inspiration service is also available from the left side navigation for this feature

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Bad for Me Breakfast But Oh So Good...

Today I was craving bacon and eggs for breakfast, which is highly unusual for me. I tend to go for something healthier, like a bowl of organic cereal, or some yogurt or wheat toast. But today I just wanted a nice hot breakfast. What's a little cholesterol now and then?

First I fried some "natural" bacon (no sulfates, etc)...then I fried the organic eggs (free range of course), and organic mushrooms & tomatoes. The bacon smelled so delicious...

It was the perfect breakfast; it "hit the spot" that I craved. I even gave Koshimi a fork full of my eggs. He loves eggs! Anyway, that's all for today. Short and sweet. Thanks for stopping by. Tomorrow Dr Wang has a special surprise in store for this week's Wisdom Wednesday. See you then!

PS- I'd like to say hello to Marilyn, Steve's cousin from St Louis. Hey there Marilyn, thanks for being a regular reader! Hope to see you this Halloween.
-Rick Rockhill

Monday, August 27, 2007

I'm A Bad Kitty....

I'm a bad kitty. This morning when Rick was driving down to San Diego, I wasn't quite ready to be packed up into the kennel and endure the two hour ride to the beach house. I was cranky and complaining about it, but he didn't listen. So I decided I'd get even and just pee and poop right there in my kennel. That showed him. Oh yeah. I forgot, I still had to sit in the kennel for the rest of the ride.
When we arrived at the beach houuse, he had the nerve to give me a bath. I was pretty angry about having to sit in a tub of water, especially while the dog watched, laughing at me. So I'm going to stew about this all morning.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Colony Palms Hotel: Purple Palm Restaurant

Last night I finally went to The Purple Palm Restaurant at The Colony Palms Hotel. Regular readers may recall I attended the hotel grand opening gala two weeks ago and wrote about it on this blog. The Colony Palms Hotel, originally built in 1934 was beautifully restored and has a casual desert elegance. In some ways the lounge looks like a scene from Casablanca; in fact I kept waiting for Humphrey Bogart to walk into the lounge and order a cocktail. I had high expectations of The Purple Palms restaurant, particularly after my visit at the grand opening. Once seated, I introduced myself to the hostess on site as The Palm Springs Savant, although we already had reservations through the owner of the hotel. I started off the evening with a martini poolside until we were ready to be seated for dinner.

Above left: The poolside lounge at the Purple Palm Restaurant poolside lounge. Above right: Me and my friend Jason having martinis.

Above left: The misters by the pool lounge kept things cool in the 109 degree temperatures. Above right: The svervice was excellent. Our server surprised us with champagne to welcome us, courtesy of the Chef.
Refreshing Appetizers...

Above left: Caprese Salad with Buffalo Mozzarella, Heirloom Tomatoes, Basil, Peppery Greens, Aceto Balsamic, Virgin Oil, & Lavender. and above right: Crispy Seafood Duo: Parma Prosciutto wrapped Sea Scallop, Potato encased Chilean Sea Bass, & Cantaloupe-Habanero-Tahitian Vanilla Bean Dressing

Above left: "Melange of Baby Lettuces": Roquefort, Chevre, Tropical Fruit, Maui Onions, Ruby Red Grapefruit-White Truffle Vinaigrette, & Citrus-Peanut Emulsion and above right: Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras Passion Fruit, Port Poached Apple Brulee, Forest Mushrooms, Cinnamon-Shiraz-Aged Balsamic Jus, & Kaffir Lime Butter
Delectable Entrees

Above left: Crispy Duck Breast: Grilled Fingerling Potato-Dungeness Crab-Black Truffle Risotto, Watercress, Golden Beets, Passion-Blood Orange Gastrique, & Aged Port Jus and above right: Prime Filet Mignon Roquefort, Wild Boar Bacon, Endive, Chinese Long Beans, Pommes Anna, Sauce Perigourdine, Beet Virgin Oil, & Carrot-Ginger Emulsion

Above: Crispy Potato Scaled Pacific Salmon:Lemon Essence, Wilted Radicchio, Soybeans, Lemon-Lime Linguini, Port Grapes, Saffron-Sauvignon Caviar Sauce, with Lime-Ramp-Pistachio Olive Oil
Scrumptious Desserts

Above Left: Chef's Chocolate Souffle Tahitian Vanilla Bean Chantilly, Crème Anglaise and above right: Zabaglione Fruit Parfait Fresh Seasonal Strawberries,Ripe Hawaiian Mango, Marbled Champagne Parfait, Shaved Belgian Couverture, with Vanilla Syrup & Spiced Almonds

Above: After dinner we strolled out of the hotel...I snapped a photo of the pool which looked so beautiful illuminated in the moonlight. It was a magnificent evening at The Purple Palm Restaurant. The Colony Palms hotel has a great destination on site. If you are from out of town visiting or a local, I highly recommend The Purple Palm restaurant.
-Rick Rockhill

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Saturday Seven: Favorite Foods I Crave

I like to think of myself as a fairly balanced individual, having normal tastes and interests that of the typical person. Although I do admit to being a "creature of habit" and have certain favorites. This is especially true when it comes to food. I am what some people call a "foodie", which our friends at Wikipedia define as: "a gourmet is a person with a sensitive and discriminating palate, and who is knowledgeable in fine food and drink or haute cuisine". I wince at that definition because it sounds terribly snooty, and that is one thing I am not. Despite that I am a foodie, there are certain foods which I always crave, and go back to time and again when I'm feeling a little blue. This brings be to another scintillating edition of
The Saturday Seven: Favorite Foods I Crave
#1 Lasagna:

#2 Fannie May Chocolate Pixies (pecans, caramel, drenched in chocolate)

#3 Chicken Pot Pie

#4 Home made warm Brownies

#5 Banana Cream Pie

#6 Peanut Butter & Jam sandwich (organic peanut butter, of course!)

#7 Pancakes (with real Vermont maple syrup)

Bonus item: Macaroni & Cheese

Before you call me out for having a preponderance of dessert type things, I fully admit to having an incurable sweet-tooth, but alas, it is part of who I am. So how about YOU? What are your favorite foods you crave? Go ahead, join in the fun, remember, comments are ALWAYS FREE on Saturdays!

-Rick Rockhill

Friday, August 24, 2007

Exploring Palm Springs: Contrasts in the Desert

Happy Friday! For my sixth installment of "Exploring Palm Springs" I decided to feature contrasts in and around Palm Springs.
Outside & Inside: Windmills & the Hotel Zoso lobby downtown

Dry & Wet: Desert Sand & The Salton "Sea" lake
Short & Tall: Patio "Ponytail" Potted Palm & Date Palm Trees

Night & Day: Downtown Mercado Plaza
Thanks for following along with this series all week, I appreciate your visit!
-Rick Rockhill

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Oh What A Ham....

If you happened to catch last week's posts you may recall that I was in Anaheim CA attending my company's trade show and manager's meeting. Here are two photos of me making my presentation to the audience at the convention center. I am such a ham...
Oh, also, I'd like to make a quick "shout out" to John from our Seattle store #208...thanks for being an "avid reader".

Exploring Palm Springs: Indian Heritage

In my fifth installment of "Exploring Palm Springs", I would be remiss if I didn't mention the original residents of the Palm Springs area. The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians are a very well established, organized tribe. Oh and very wealthy too. Among other things, they own hotels and casinos, such as the Spa Resort Casino (see left). They are an integral part of the Palm Springs community, and very supportive of the city government. They are know for being very generous, although their casino slot machines have not paid out millions to me as yet. On a bed of nails, I wait.

Aspects of their culture are evident throughout the city. Above: Statues downtown: "Two Cahilla Women" & "Young Cahuilla Maiden"

Above left: Agua Caliente Cultural Museum downtown on Palm Canyon Drive. and above right: Indian Canyon Golf Club.

A few photos from my afternoon at home:

Beneath the Palm trees in the back yard. Above left: Morning & above right: late afternoon, you almost need to squint from the sun while looking at this photo.

The cool, refreshing waters in my pool. The difference is the time of day and the way the sunlight hit the water. I love the way the water looks. I'm ready to take "the Nestea plunge" (obscure 70's TV commercial reference there). Thanks for stopping by today for this brief post.
-Rick Rockhill


This blog is about life experiences & observations and stuff I am interested in. It is simply a side hobby and creative outlet; generally, with a tongue-in-cheek tone. I don't take it too seriously, nor should you. I do not profess to represent every point of view. Nothing on this site is a paid post.

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