Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Eve Greetings

Well it's the last day of 2007. Where did this year go to anyway? Apparently I spent it sipping martinis all over town...see "exhibit A" at left, as most recent evidence. (I'm enjoying a Blue Raspberry Martini with my friend Jim at Melvyn's Restaurant in this photo from last week). All kidding aside, I have always felt New Year's Eve to be quite a solemn ocassion. There is something about the passage of time and the significance of that milestone that makes me feel melancholic. I tend to be reflective and spend time thinking about my life. I am grateful for that with which I have been blessed. I am fortunate to have my health, and good fortune on many levels. So today I shall be mindful of life's blessings, celebrate the end of another year, and welcome in the new one.
Being The Palm Springs Savant, I have plans to celebrate New Year's Eve on the town, of course! No doubt another round of martinis will be in order. Last week when out to dinner at Melvyn's I was recognized in the cocktail lounge by a local reader of this blog. I was being escorted to my table, when out of nowhere I hear someone call out: "Are you Rick Rockhill?" I stopped, turned and smiled and the voice continued: "...from The Palm Springs Savant, right?" We chatted for a few minutes as the rest of my dinner party was seated. I'm always happy to meet people who read this blog. Lately I've been running into more and more, right here in Palm Springs. So if you are reading this, and plan to be in Palm Springs to celebrate New Year's Eve, don't hesitate to say hello if you see me out and about town. I may even buy you a martini!
Wishing everyone around the world, to right here in Palm Springs peace, health, happiness and prosperity for this new year.

What do you plan to do for New Year's Eve? Don't be shy now...
-Rick Rockhill

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sunday Art Review: El Paseo Public Art

For this week's edition of the Sunday Art Review, I decided to feature public art from the Palm Springs area. Yesterday I went to the world famous El Paseo shopping district in Palm Desert to take some photos. It was a beautiful day for shopping, strolling along the street, or to relax over a cup of coffee to enjoy the art. The El Paseo public art is located along the center median of the street; with new works rotating periodically. Each piece is set securely on a cement base and illuminated at night; providing a wonderful ambiance both in sunshine and by the light of the moon. Today I am featuring five works, next Sunday I will share the balance of the photos I took yesterday. I completely forgot to write down the titles of each piece and the artist name-for that I do apologize. So I numbered them for your reference. Above left is #1...

above left: #2, above right #3 probably my favorite of today's grouping

above left: #4, it's actually a man, and above right: #5
I hope you enjoyed this week's art as much as I did....which one do you like best? Go ahead, leave a comment, it's completely free and FUN too!
-Rick Rockhill

A Swank Palm Springs Soiree

Saturday evening I attended a swank soiree at the home of some friends here in Palm Springs. It was a marvelous evening, with an "A List" crowd of really nice people. As we pulled up, the valet parked our car for us, and we were offered champagne as we entered the grounds of the property. After greeting a few friends, I made my way to the martini bar outside by the pool. There was a massive ice sculpture (see photo at left). The bartenders were making Lemon Drops, pouring the cocktail into the ice sculpture to chill down the drink. Then a small cube of dry ice was dropped into the martini glass to create a smoking, bubbling effect. If you look closely in my martini glass you can see the "smoke" from the dry ice. Naturally, I stopped for my usual martini pose.

above: The party had wonderful decorations on the grounds outside by the pool. If you look closely to the left in the distance, you can see the martini ice sculpture illuminated. Dozens of fresh roses adorned each table around the pool, which was so elegant in the desert moonlight.

above: Inside, a pianist played wonderful music (he was on a break when I took this photo).

Above: The food was nothing short of fabulous. Fresh Shrimp, Crab Legs, Sushi, Rack of Lamb, salads, Carne Asada served in martini glasses and other culinary delights. The center of the table was decorated with tall glass vases with fresh white orchids floating in water, which was quite stunning.

above: later in the evening, servers brought around a tray of fresh baked, warm cookies, and a tray of cold milk in shot glasses. It was such a nice touch...hosts Greg and Brad think of everything!

above left: in the blue shirt, popular desert personal trainer Eddie, with my dear friend Skip & above right: friends Dave, Ralph and Todd share a smile. It was an elegant, enjoyable soiree; I am grateful to have such wonderful friends here in the desert.
-Rick Rockhill

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Saturday Seven: Best Ballroom Dances

As yet another year draws to a close I quietly assess the past 12 months and consider "what I have done, and what I have left undone" (why does that sound like one of the prayers in church?) Anyway, while I never planned to do so, I spent part of the past year on and off thinking about how much fun dancing can be. I should tell you that I have never seen the Dancing with the Stars show ever, but I certainly heard all about it from people at work. My point being that I've flirted with the idea of taking dance lessons, but never did. Well for starters I need a dance partner (so hint hint everyone). Dancing is fun...so I started thinking, which dances should I learn? This brings us to another scintillating edition of Rick Rockhill's:
The Saturday Seven: Best Ballroom Dances
In the interest of full disclosure- all dance descriptions are from our friends at Wikipedia.
#1 Tango

above: The Tango originated in Buenos Aires, Argentina. There are several styles, but most are danced in either open embrace, where lead and follow connect at arms length, or close embrace, where the lead and follow connect chest-to-chest.
#2 The Swing Dance

above: The Swing dances developed concurrently with the style of jazz music in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. The most well known of which is lindy hop. There is also a strong tradition of social and boogie woogie and acrobatic rock and roll styles mixed in.
#3 The Waltz

above: The Waltz was the first dance to use the closed position for any extended period of time, and because of this it was subjected to severe criticism and condemnation by both civic and church authorities.Waltz music is written in 3/4 time, with three equal beats to the measure. The first note of each measure is stressed, or emphasized. Dancers must learn to hear the stressed note, which indicates the count of 1 or a "boom".
#4 The Cha Cha

above: The Cha Cha is a dance of Cuban origin. It corresponds to the Cha-cha-cha music introduced by Cuban composer and violinist Enrique Jorrín.The basic pattern involves a checked forward step with the left foot retaining some weight on the right foot, the knee of the right leg being allowed to flex and close to the back of the left knee, the left leg having straightened just prior to receiving part weight.
#5 The Mambo

above: The Mambo is a Cuban dance that corresponds to mambo music. The basic pattern or "Basic Step" of Mambo consists of two halves: Forward Basic and Backward Basic. When a man dances The Forward Basic, the lady dances the Backward Basic and vice versa. The steps are performed with Cuban hip motion, a weight change while bending the knee - this will result in the hip motion which is typical for Salsa. In mambo however this move is made to appear more sudden and accentuated.
#6 The Merengue

above: The Merengue is a dance and music of the Dominican Republic. Partners hold each other in a closed position. The man holds the woman's waist with his right hand while keeping his left hand/her right hand at the woman's eye level. The merengue is a two-step beat requiring both partners to bend their knees slightly left and right. This in turn makes the hips move left and right. When danced correctly, the hips of the man and woman will move in the same direction throughout the song. Partners may walk sideways or circle each other, in small steps.
#7 The Rumba

above: The Rumba is originated from Cuba. considered rumba the most erotic and sensual Latin dance, for its relatively slow rhythm and the hip movement. American style rumba is characterized by the Cuban motion or hip sway arising from the bending and straightening of the knee, as opposed to Latin motion stepping on a straight leg, which is used in international style rumba. In a well choreographed dance there will always be an element of "tease and run"; the man being lured and then rejected.
Bonus Entry: The Samba

above: The Samba is a lively, rhythmical dance of Brazilian origin in 2/4 time danced under the Samba music. The basic movements are counted either 1-2 or 1-a-2, and are danced with a slight downward bouncing or dropping action. This action is created through the bending and straightening of the knees, with bending occurring on the beats of 1 and 2, and the straightening occurring on the "a".

What are YOUR FAVORITE DANCES? Since this is the last Saturday Seven for 2007, ALL COMMENTS ARE FREE TODAY!

-Rick Rockhill

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies

It occurred to me recently that I've never once mentioned a show we have in town called The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies. It is a world-famous, Broadway-caliber live stage production with music, dance, comedy, variety acts and a splash of vaudeville too. It's classic entertainment from the 30's and 40's era, with a feel of old Hollywood glamour and a splash of good old American patriotism thrown in to warm the crowd. It's old school and modern at the same time, but here's the wrinkle (no pun intended): the cast is all over the age of 60, and as old as mid 80's! Yep, these are women and men who have been in show business literally all their lives who love to perform. It is a high energy show, very entertaining, with a bit of slightly off-color humor to amuse the young and old alike. Yes, the majority of audiences are older, but it is a fantastic show, now in it's 17th year! Here are some photos I found on the web to give you an idea...
"The Long Legged-Lovelies"

above: Elaborate showgirl costumes with feathers, beads and sequins have a Vegas feel to them

above: Each year the show theme changes, as do the costumes, songs and dance routines.

above: Trina Parks, who was a Bond girl "baddie" called "Thumper" in the 007 flick Diamonds are Forever.
So if you ever get to Palm Springs in the months of November through May, be sure to check out this show. It's classic Palm Springs entertainment that will leave you smiling and inspired too. Here is a video from YouTube of the show:

PS- as a reminder, like everything on my blog, this is NOT a paid post. I just write about things I like!
-Rick Rockhill

Thursday, December 27, 2007

'Taint Christmas and 'Taint New Years...so bring on Carol Channing!

Well hope you all had a nice Christmas. It's that funny 'tween time now, when 'taint Christmas and 'taint New Years. So I thought I'd fill in the gap between the two holidays with a few fun old videos from our friends at YouTube. (my apologies to anyone whose work blocks out YouTube). For everyone else, I hope you enjoy this campy collection of Carol Channing videos. (after all, she is practically my neighbor)

Below: you just can't beat Carol Channing, Della Reese, Ann Miller and Ethel Merman on The Love Boat...

And below, here is a VERY short clip with her now immortal role in "Thoroughly Modern Millie". Carol plays a rich, madcap widow named Muzzy Van Hossmere, who makes her big entrance flying in a biplane, sloshing champagne, and screaming "Raaaassspberries!"

And finally, below this clip from Alice in Wonderland with Miss Carol Channing playing the White Queen.

-Rick Rockhill

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Wisdom Wednesdays: Featuring Dr Sidney Wang

ASK DR WANG, the psychic betta fish

This week's e-mail is from Kellie

Dear Dr Wang,

I am majoring in English and minoring in art. I love the written letter and it is my passion. I love it in many languages. I also have a desire to practice massage. I am terrified of not being able to get a job with my liberal arts degree and there is a need for massage therapists where I live. Next semester outside of college I can take some extra courses for fun on the side in calligraphy which I will no doubt enjoy. This would make me a better artist. I can also save my money and take a class over the summer that will certify me to be a massage therapist and I will get my classes in massage, anatomy and physiology, and even business. My family says that I need to do what I feel is right and since I do not know. . . I am coming to you, Wise Dweller of the Waters.


-Kellie

Dr Wang responds: Dear Kellie,

Being a clairvoyant fish, I have the benefit of using my psychic abilities combined with a heightened sensitivity of vibrations in the waters of my tank. I often rely on these methods to dispense the wisdom so many readers seek each week. But once again, I consulted The Great Bubble Wall for guidance and clarity of thought. The pattern of bubbles was quite erratic and irregular, which indicates that you have still not made up your mind with regard to a preferred career.

Finding a job with a degree in English and Art in the next ten months will be tough as removing barnacles from the bottom of a sunken ship. I recommend that you take the class to become a certified massage therapist. You will be able to earn a decent income by working in a local day spa as a therapist. There you will meet a client by the name of either Hannah, Anna, or Brianna who runs a local newspaper. You will recognize her by her webbed toes while you are massaging her feet. She will mention her newspaper, and you should mention your degree. She will then invite you to interview for a position as a copywriter for the arts section of the paper, which you should pursue. There you will find a job using your English and Art degree.


In the meantime, keep swimming upstream.

-Dr Wang
****************************************************
"Wisdom Wednesdays" features the sage advice of our resident oracle, psychic betta fish "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, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

I'd like to thank you for taking the time to stop by my blog. I really appreciate visitors, and hope that you find some enjoyment here. Merry Christmas!


-Rick, Shimi, Owen & Dr Wang too

My Christmas gift to you today is this quick joke:

Paul climbs to the top of Mt. Sinai to get close enough to talk to God. Looking up, he asks: "God, what does a million years mean to you?"

God replies, "A minute."

Paul asks, "And what does a million dollars mean to you?"

God replies, "A penny."

Paul then asks, "God, can I have a penny?"
God replies, "Sure, in a minute"

Monday, December 24, 2007

Twas The Night Before Christmas...

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the tank,
The Great Bubble Wall had stopped bubbling,
as Dr Wang paused to give thanks.

The Christmas ornaments were set in the gravel with care,
in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The Sea Monkeys were nestled all snug in their castle,
while visions of sugar-plums danced like a dangl-ing tassel;

Dr Wang had just settled down for a long evening's nap,
When outside the tank there arose such a clatter,
he swam to the surface to see what was the matter.
Up close to the glass he swam like a flash,
pushing apart the fake-plants in a great dash.

When what to his wondering fish eyes should appear,
but a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
he knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than sharks his coursers they came,
and he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!

To the top of the tank! To the top of the filter!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
So up to the aquarium-top the coursers they flew,
with the sleigh full of fish food, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, he heard on the light-hood,
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As he drew in his fin, and was swimming around,
down The Great Bubble Wall St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, even though it looked tacky,
and his clothes were all tarnished with fish slime and algae;

A bundle of air stones he had flung on his back,
and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
and filled Dr Wang's stocking; then turned with a jerk,
and laying his finger aside of his nose,
and giving a nod, up The Great Bubble Wall he rose.

He sprang to the waters surface and jumped into his sleigh,
then off on a wave, he went on his way.
I heard him exclaim, as he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."

Christmas Tree Trimming Party

Sunday night I went to a friend's home for a Christmas tree trimming party and dinner. It was at a beautiful estate in the Las Palmas area of Palm Springs. Since this was a private affair, I am limiting my photos to respect the privacy of the hosts.

We started trimming the tree, listening to Christmas carols while enjoying some wine and cheese. There were a group of 16 of us, each taking turns decorating the tree and enjoying each other's company over the course of the evening.

above: The tree we were trimming was quite large, we had to use a ladder to reach the top. When we finished, it looked so festive. My camera washed out the colors, so you'll have take my word for it.

above: This is my favorite photo, after the tree was trimmed. I paused to take this photo, which conveys the warmth of the room. The glow of the fireplace and the tiny lights from the Christmas tree provided a wonderful yuletide feeling.


above: after dinner, there was the most amazing chocolate cake. It was a life-changing dessert. The poinsettia flowers were frosting, but were not overly sweet at all. It is shaping up to be a wonderful Christmas season here in Palm Springs.
-Rick Rockhill

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Sunday Art Review: Metalworks

This week's Sunday Art Review is a collection of sculptures in metal of one kind or another. I've photographed all but the last piece at the end of this post. My intention is to show that despite being cold and hard, metals have the ability to convey great beauty and stimulate thought in one way or another. I hope you enjoy this collection....

above: This is in downtown Providence, RI along Memorial Boulevard. One portion of the circle has shiny, scale like metal and the other side is contrasted by smooth, hard, angular jagged type cut work.

above: This sculpture, set in a pool of water is at the front entrance to the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert. It is a well polished shiny steel with sexy curves and free form type shape. The water fountains and up lighting make this a stunning piece.

above: This is located on North Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs. It is art with function. Although not shown in this photograph, each of these metal tubes have water that flow through them. Each colored tube slowly fills up with water and gently glides down, allowing the water to majestically flow out and back into the pool below.

above: Located in front of the Palm Canyon Theatre in Palm Springs, this may not seem very sophisticated, but it is quite stimulating, and whimsical.


above: I did not take this photo. This is titled "Sounding Sculpture", by artist Harry Bertoia. It is part of the permanent collection at The Palm Springs Art Museum. The artist was fascinated with sound from metal pieces in various shapes and sizes.
Thanks for stopping by The Sunday Art Review today, I really do appreciate it.
-Rick Rockhill

The Red (Christmas) Party

Saturday evening I attended the annual Christmas party at the home of friends Vince and Yates. Their "Red Party" is always a highpoint of the Christmas season in Palm Springs. One of the things that make this party so fun is that most people dress in some article of red clothing, which makes things extra festive. The party was already hopping when I arrived-there were well over 100 people throughout the house and outside by the pool sipping cocktails in the moonlight. To my delight, they had classic disco-era and soul music from the 70's and early 80's playing, which to my mind was some of the best party music to be heard. Things like Gloria Gaynor, Chic, Yvonne Elliman, Barry White, Tavares, Donna Summer, The Bee Gees, and all that feel good stuff.

above: the house was beautifully decorated with stunning floral arrangements, fresh Christmas garland, wreaths and huge poinsettia plants throughout. The party had a definite glow on. By Palm Springs standards, the party went late. I lost track of time and was still dancing with friends around midnight, enjoying a few laughs and eating way too many snacky-things for my own good. Every so often I would head over to the chocolate fountain and dip a mini cream puff under the stream of luscious warm, flowing chocolate and gobble it up. I can't control myself when it comes to chocolate, I'm afraid.

above: a blurry picture, but I snapped this photo above to capture some of the wonderful atmosphere on the grounds of their property. I don't know if it was the giant Booda statue in, or the myriad of glowing candles, but it was such a cozy area to relax and chat with friends.

above: me with my good friend Skip sharing a few laughs. Luckily there was a heater behind us taking the chill out of the air!

above: Regular readers of this blog know that Rick Rockhill loves cozy fireplaces. I am drawn to them life a moth to a flame. I think my sweater itself was on fire by the time I walked away, but it felt so good! I had such a great time at this party I was still dancing as I walked out of the house.
-Rick Rockhill

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Saturday Seven: Strangest Christmas Gifts Ever

With Christmas just a few days away, I've been thinking about some of the more interesting Christmas gifts that I've received over the years. We all know someone who has a knack of finding and giving strange gifts to unsuspecting recipients. I'm sure you've seen it or experienced this before: You open the box, dig through the tissue paper and get a first glimpse. You feel your face get hot, then your internal voice is shouting: "smile fool, look happy!" An involuntary response kicks in and you find yourself smiling and suddenly you hear yourself saying: "Oh...wow!" As your eyes scan the item, your brain fumbles to work out what the devil it actually is. Then you realize, oh, it's a ______! Just what I've always needed! Well, all this leads me to another scintillating edition of The Saturday Seven: Strangest Christmas Gifts Ever!
#1 Automatic Watch Winder

above: The Double Watch Winder (with drawer) is the perfect accessory for any fine automatic, self-winding watch. Beautifully finished with high-gloss polyester over a genuine teakwood veneer, this watch winder comes with a pull-out drawer for storing six additional watches or personal jewelry. What, is it too much trouble to wind your own watch???
#2 The Banana Guard

above: The Banana Guard: If you are fed up with your lunchtime banana perfuming your workspace and looking unappetisingly bruised and blackened, the Banana Guard is for you. The rigid banana-shaped case with ventilation holes will keep your banana fresh and yellow until you are ready to eat it. This is a really weird one. I had no idea brown bananas were such a problem in the world.
#3 Digital Fruit Clock

above: The Digital Fruit Clock: This fruit powered digital clock and calendar combines micro-electronic technology with the natural electrical potential of a fresh fruit or vegetable. The Fruit Clock uses the original scientific principles on which all modern electrical storage batteries are based. Just add a fresh orange, apple, lemon, lime, pear, banana, or any another convenient fruit or vegetable to the supplied components in this kit and you have the perfect synthesis of nature’s own electrical power resource and the accuracy of a digital clock. But what if I want to eat the Apple? And I suppose I'd have to scratch fresh squeezed orange juice off the list if I had one of these.
#4 Aromatherapy Pens
above: Aromatherapy Pens. A stylish and functional pen with the benefits of Swiss aromatherapy, our smooth writing Swiss Aromatherapy Jewel Pen includes a glass jewelSTIK ™ containing a blend of pure Swiss essential oils and a genuine Napa leather pen glove for added protection. Makes an ideal thank-you gift for any occasion. I don't usually write with pens that much anymore, so if they would only make an aromatherapy laptop...
#5 Electronic Grocery Organizer
above: The Electronic Grocery Organizer. With our SmartShopper Electronic Organizer, you'll never again forget an item at the grocery store or overlook a stop by the bank on the way home. Do away with annoying paper lists that clutter your kitchen countertop, and make compiling and organizing grocery lists and to-do lists incredibly simple. What happened to the old pencil and paper? Or why not just e-mail the list to yourself and use the phone/BlackBerry? Seems like an extra thing to carry around...
#6 Digital Cash Counter
above: Digital Cash Counter. This can be loaded with up to 125 bills, counting 1,000 bills per minute. It also uses UV (ultra violet) and MG (magnetic) protection to detect counterfeit bills. Features an easy-to-read remote digital LED readout. I never have that much cash laying around that I can't handle counting myself. With credit cards and ATM debit cards, who needs cash anymore?
#7 Wheeled Snow Shovel

above: Wheeled Snow Shovel. Clear your driveway — without lifting or straining — using our Wheeled Snow Shovel. Designed to greatly reduce the amount of physical effort required while snow shoveling, this handy winter accessory outperforms snow blowers without the expense, fumes, maintenance, or noise. My suggestion instead? Hire the kid next door to shovel snow and pay him 20 bucks.
Bonus Entry: Coffee Saxon German Incense Smoker
above: German Incense Smoker. This one-of-a-kind Coffee Saxon German Incense Smoker depicts a traditional German "Kaffee" merchant. This antique-looking mantel decoration is sure to delight collectors and children alike. Looks like a useless trinket to me.
What are some of the strangest gifts you've received? I'm running a pre-Christmas sale: ALL COMMENTS ARE HALF PRICE TODAY!
-Rick Rockhill

Disclaimers...

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.

It is for entertainment purposes only it, so just lighten up and just enjoy it. Life is short, live in the moment.

As the author, thoughts/views have no affiliation to my clients, business colleagues or my company.