Friday, February 29, 2008

A Visit to The Ellen DeGeneres Show

Yesterday I had a pleasant surprise. I was in LA for the day for business. During the day I had a meeting planned with one of my vendors who surprised me with a ticket to join them to attend a taping of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. I already well understood the connection of my vendor to Ellen. For the past eight months or so I've been secretly working on a project I'm particularly proud of. Before I go any further, please remember that I am writing from my personal opinion, with no affiliation to my employer. That being said, there is a terrific line of all-natural, holistic pet food called Spot's Stew, made by Halo, Purely for Pets. Recently, Ellen became part owner of Halo because she feeds the food to her own pets. I've had to keep it absolutely quiet until now. We've been working with Ellen's team to re-launch the Halo brand at PETCO stores nationwide starting this weekend.

Anyway, so I was pleasantly surprised by the invitation to join my vendor to attend the taping of The Ellen Show. I had loads of fun! Of course, many of you know I've met Ellen several times before and she is absolutely delightful. In fact during one of the breaks, she saw me from the set and walked over to my seat and gave me a hug and a kiss. If you watch her show you probably know that she loves to dance. They warm up the audience before the show by having everyone dancing like crazy. Guests were Janet Jackson, lifestyle guru Dr Wayne Dyer, and Adam the guy who won a million dollars on the Price is Right show. The show airs today, Friday February 29th 2008. I was sitting in the front row, so you may see photos of me in the audience. Of course no cameras were allowed in the studio, so I found these photos from The Ellen Show website to help provide you with the visual:

I found the following announcement directly from Ellen's website today:
"Today Ellen announced that she has become a part owner of what she believes to be the best pet food on the market. It's called Halo Purely For Pets ...although Ellen says she finds it delicious too. Ellen has been feeding it to her pets for years and hopes that you let your pets try some".
Outside the Studio:

above: the only photos I was able to take: driving into the lot of NBC TV, and The Ellen Show sign on the outside of the NBC studio building.
And finally, click here to see a very funny video of Ellen talking about Spot's Stew.
And because I don't want to get people all agitated, here is the fine print:
This site is about my personal opinions, experiences and stuff I am interested in. From time to time I express a personal opinion about natural, holistic and organic dog and cat food brands. As the author, I am writing this with no affiliation to my employer, although I am a dog food merchandise manager and have an excellent knowledge of pet foods. There are many kinds of natural, holistic, organic and super premium dog and cat foods available. When looking for a natural, holistic or organic pet food it is important to first consider the needs of your pet. What are you feeding now? Are there any issues that your pet is having? How is your pet's skin and coat? healthy? Shiny? Does you pet have any digestion issues? Always consult your vet if you notice any serious problems. In my personal opinion, if you want some of the best natural and holistic pet foods available, try brands such as Halo, Natural Balance, Natural Ultramix , Organix, and Pet Promise.

-Rick Rockhill

Thursday, February 28, 2008

No Yolk About It- An Ostrich Egg

On one of my recent travel junkets I acquired something new and interesting for the house. An objet d'art, a whatnot, a doo-dad...well an egg actually. Not just any old egg, but an ostrich egg. And not just an ostrich egg, but one without the yolk. Actually as you can see from the photo at left, it's a hollow ostrich egg with carvings in the shell. My ostrich egg has elephants on it. I understand that they do the carvings with a "layyy-serrr" Can you imagine, they use a frickin laser beam to carve decorations onto the shell of an ostrich egg? Well as long as people like me keep buying these sort of things I guess there will always be a demand. So anyway, I came home with this wonderful new carved ostrich egg, feeling all special that I had something pretty cool and unusual. Then yesterday by pure coincidence, I received an e-mail from Jennifer, a reader of this blog who sent me a series of photos that included....can you imagine? OSTRICH EGGS with carvings on the shell. Her photos inspired me to share MY ostrich egg. So you've seen the full on view (above) now check out this close-up below:

above: if you look closely you can see the image of elephant...
And below, here are the photos of the other ostrich eggs that Jennifer sent to me:

above left: hummingbird, center: concentric circles, right: a winged horse.
So a big thanks to Jennifer for giving me the inspiration for this post on ostrich eggs. Jennifer- looking forward to seeing you in Palm Springs soon when you visit your mom!
-Rick Rockhill

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wisdom Wednesdays: Featuring Dr Sidney Wang

ASK DR WANG, the psychic betta fish

This week's e-mail is from Amy Q in Dowagiac, Michigan. Amy writes:

Dear Dr Wang,

This winter has really taken it out of me. I've had a cold on-and-off all season. I'm exhausted from having sore throats, coughing and blowing my nose. When will the bad weather end? And will I ever get rid of this cold?


Amy Q

Dr Wang responds: Dear Amy,

Some time ago, back when I was swimming freely in the great open waters, I had a fellow fishy friend named Freddie who constantly complained about the temperature of the water. One day I finally got fed up and told Freddie to find a new place to swim. So for my first piece of advice, I don't need to use my psychic abilities: If you really can't stand the winters, do something about it and move to a warmer climate. I'm not a meteorologist so I have no clue about what the weather will do and when.

However, I did consult The Great Bubble Wall, just beyond the new palm trees in my tank- for insights into the string of colds you mentioned. The pattern of the bubbles indicate that you are largely responsible for the state of your health. I see that you have a habit of chewing on your hair, probably a nervous habit, but I should tell you that there are all sorts of germs in your hair that you continue to place in your mouth. So stop being a hair-chewer and become a hair hopper instead. Pile your hair up as high as it will go and use loads of hair spray to hold it in place so you are not tempted to drag strands into your mouth. Once you do this, you will find that your colds will subside. One side benefit is that while you are out buying a can of hairspray you will meet a midget hairstylist who can do wonders with your hair. You will have to sit on the floor, "Indian-style" since he is so short, but you won't regret it. Good luck.

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, February 26, 2008

Dinner at Copley's on Palm Canyon

Saturday night we went to dinner at the renowned Palm Springs restaurant, Copley's on Palm Canyon. The restaurant is the former home of Cary Grant, who lived in Palm Springs and was known for lavish parties. We arrived a few minutes early, so we enjoyed a glass of wine by the fire pit. We were dining with family this evening, and Greg, the co-owner of Copley's had selected the perfect table on the outdoor patio for our group of five. Situated under a massive ficus tree, and adjacent to a lion's head fountain, it was the ideal setting for a casually elegant dinner outside. Chef Andrew Copley creates the most dazzling menus to tantalize the pallet; it's difficult to decide which one entree to order.
Above: as a starter, I had the "Untraditional Wedge Salad" with Organic baby lettuce, grape tomatoes, olives, marinated mushrooms, cucumber, blue cheese crumbles and a creamy garlic-herb dressing.
above left: Kobe Beef topped with Lobster Claw, and above right: Ahi Tina topped with Tiger Shrimp on Wasabi mashed potatoes. Both were magnificent.

above: An amazing dessert: Chocolate-macadamia nut tart with homemade hazelnut chocolate ice cream.

above: Copley's has a great ambiance and atmosphere. It's my favorite restaurant in Palm Springs.
-Rick Rockhill

Monday, February 25, 2008

Carol Channing Doll Wins an Oscar

Sunday was the 80th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood. As always, the star studded event was full of glamour and surprises. Perhaps one of the biggest surprises was an award that did not appear during the televised broadcast. In ceremonies held earlier in the day, an Academy Award was presented to the ever popular Carol Channing doll for a role in a You Tube video.

Photo left: The Carol Channing doll accepts the Oscar for her role in the You Tube performance of "Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend". The award was a complete surprise to the Miss Channing doll, who was thrilled to be recognized for her hard work. "I rehearsed quite a bit for this part and felt like someone was always pushing me, pulling my strings and making me perform even when I wasn't up to it" she said. "But it was well worth it in the end, just to have the chance to have my very own Oscar award". Below is the video that earned the Carol Channing doll the Academy Award:

And for the fans, below is a famous skit that the real Carol Channing has performed many times on stage. It is her "Cecilia Sisson" bit, which is really quite hilarious. Carol, if you are reading this, know that we think you are really the tops!

-Rick Rockhill

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sunday Art Review: Travel Treasures

After a two week hiatus, the Sunday Art Review returns to it's place as a weekly feature on this blog. The Sunday Art Review is an unpretentious presentation of various forms of art I have discovered. I often focus on art in and around the Palm Springs area, but during my travels if I see something that catches my eye, I try to photograph it for inclusion in this weekly post. I rarely remember to document the title or name of the artist, and for this I apologize. I hope you find some enjoyment in the works I share each week. At the left is a bronze statue of a nude woman. She is a permanent exhibit in the lobby at the Waldorf=Astoria Hotel in New York. I particularly like this piece, it is very expressive and sensual yet at the same time quite tasteful. I call her "Sophie".

After New York, my travels eventually brought me back to California; I flew directly into the San Diego airport, where I found the following three paintings on exhibit in a row. They are clearly a collection, meant to be viewed together for full effect. Therefore I will refrain from any remarks after each-other than to say that I love the vibrant colors and geometric shapes. Enjoy...

-Rick Rockhill

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Saturday Seven: Favorite Things That Could Make Me Spend $25,000

I wouldn't say I had a bad week, just that it was a little gloomy. I was in San Diego most of the week where it was overcast and rained several days. Work was hectic and had several stress points that wore me out. Meetings back to back all day. Things that should have been nailed down slip through the proverbial cracks and caused extra work. And the never ending flow of e-mails. Hundreds of them a day, just piling up, unanswered. Rather than letting it get me down, I try to think of my favorite things. Well as some of you know I am cursed with champagne taste. This brings me to another scintillating edition of: The Saturday Seven: Favorite Things That Could Make Me Spend $25,000. This is an exercise in dreaming...go on let go, it feels good to splurge. Assume you had money to burn. But first, for something different and for your viewing pleasure, I thought I'd lead off the Saturday Seven with a clip you all know...

And now onto The Saturday Seven: Favorite Things That Could Make Me Spend $25,000
#1 New Wardrobe at Brooks Brothers: $2,400

#2 Weekly Massages for a Month: $600

#3: Five Nights in New York at The Waldorf Astoria Hotel: $6,000 (all expenses)

#4 Twelve Day Cruise to Tahiti: $6,000

#5 Three Nights in Las Vegas at the Bellagio Hotel: $3,000 (all expenses)

#6 Five Nights in London: $7,000 (all expenses)

#7 Rescue a Cute Dog at an Animal Shelter: $500 (includes fees and vet visits)

-Rick Rockhill

Friday, February 22, 2008

Modernism Week in Palm Springs

We are toward the end of the popular "Modernism Week" in Palm Springs. It is an annual event that focuses on the MidCentury Modern style that originated in the Palm Springs desert community. It features the Modernism Show and includes groovy stuff from the Palm Springs Preservation Foundation, the Palm Springs Historical Society, the Palm Springs Modern Committee, the Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce and the Palm Springs Art Museum. It is a time to see the best examples of mid-century "modern" design, architecture events and programs in the Palm Springs area. We usually attract visitors from around the world who seek authentic "modern" architecture and art.
But What is MidCentury Modern, you ask?
In the midst of the 20th century, the Palm Springs desert area gave birth to a unique artistic "modern" movement that is now referred to as desert modernism. It is distinctive particularly for the use of metal, stone, glass, deep overhangs, and a variety of other natural and man made materials. It usually focuses on bringing the outdoors inside, and captures stunning mountain views and defines the Palm Springs desert lifestyle of informal elegance. It was wildly embraced by the hip, swinging crowd that lived and vacationed in the Palm Springs desert in the 50's and 60's.
The "modern" designs inspired a significant crop of local design talent and attracted many visiting architects who came to learn how to adapt the modern techniques of desert living to recreate modern structures elsewhere in the US and around the world. Palm Springs is very fortune that much of our "modern" legacy still exists today and is in tact for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.
Modernism Week
This year, Modernism Week started on February 15 and runs through Saturday, February 24. There have been all sorts of cool events around town. An event at the Palm Springs Convention Center featured nearly a hundred different well known art dealers present a variety of design movements of the 20th Century.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Wisdom Wednesdays: Featuring Dr Sidney Wang

ASK DR WANG, the psychic betta fish. This week's e-mail is from Bob in Davenport Iowa. Bob writes:

Dear Dr Wang,

This has been a strange week for me. At 43 years old I just found out I am adopted, and the people who raised me are not actually my real parents. After all these years I know that my adoptive parents love me but I am hurt and saddened that they never told me sooner. I'd like to search for my birth parents but wonder what I will find. Are they alive? Where do they live? Why did they give me up for adoption? What sort of people are they today? So many questions. Can you tell me what the future holds?


Dr Wang responds: Dear Bob,

I have some new underwater Palm Trees in my tank, which together with The Great Bubble Wall provide me with the perfect setting to ponder questions such as these. Do not obsess about finding both of your birth parents. You mother is a Mary Kay consultant living just outside of Dry Beaver Creek, Arizona. It appears that your father is a retired insurance agent living in Miccosukee, Florida and has not spoken to your mother since before you were born. Do not waste your time chasing him, he is a slimy barnacle on the bottom of a rusty sunken ship. You should, however go to Dry Beaver Creek and meet your mother. She won't be hard to find, she has the only pink cadillac for miles. She is living with a man named Floyd who has eyebrows like catapillars and low set ears. I would avoid Floyd, but you will enjoy getting to know your birth mother.

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.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Perils of a Tiny Piece of Fruit...

The Blackberry. It's such a tiny piece of fruit. Beautiful. Delicious. Sweet. Healthy. A blackberry is actually composed of many smaller fruits called drupes and has many health benefits. You can enjoy it in pies, tarts, on ice cream or in a bowl with other berries. When I take cruises I usually order a bowl of mixed berries after dinner every night. I like blackberry jam on wheat toast. I even like to eat plain ripe blackberries with a nice glass of Cabernet. But somehow I have become addicted. And not in a good way. But not the kind you see in the top left photo...
The Blackberry. It's a pocket-sized piece of technology. Handsome. Sleek. Useful. Convenient. But that, my friends is where my story changes. The Blackberry has become an extension of my office. A constant connection to work. Always available. Always connected. It can lead to obsessive-compulsive behavior, checking e-mail constantly. That flashing-alternating red and green light, taunting me. Calling to me. Constant temptation to read the next e-mail coming in. Unlike the fruit, this Blackberry is not healthy at all. Wherever I go, my Blackberry goes with me. At my company there is an unwritten expectation that people with a Blackberry check e-mail all day. Weeknights. Weekends. Be constantly available. On a typical day I receive between 200 and 250 new e-mails everyday. I simply can't keep up with the volume, particularly when I am away from my desk in meetings all day long. So I check my Blackberry all day long, when I first wake up, on my way to meetings, any free moment and before I go to sleep at night. So to me, it has become a particularly perilous piece of fruit. I long for the days when a Blackberry was just a piece of fruit.
-Rick Rockhill

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A Night of Homemade Pizza

By the time I got home from work last night it was too late to cook a big dinner, so I decided to make a pizza. This post is nothing more than the details of my homemade pizza. Fortunately I had lots of fresh veggies in the fridge, so the hardest part was deciding what to use. I started with some chicken that was already cooked, so I cut it up and used it as a base for my pizza.

above left: fresh mushrooms and sliced yellow peppers & above right: sliced tomatoes

above left: there is nothing like fresh basil & above right: then the fresh grated cheese!

above: It's finally done...the cheese was all bubbly. The basil smelled so delicious, I could hardly wait to slice it up. It turned out to be a pretty good dinner after all. Anyone else like to make homemade pizza? What do you like to put on yours?

-Rick Rockhill

Sunday, February 17, 2008

On Air with Syndicated Radio Host Harrison Forbes

On Saturday I was a guest on the popular syndicated radio show "Pet Talk, with Harrison Forbes". Harrison was broadcasting live from the Global Pet Expo at the San Diego Convention Center. I last did the Pet Talk show back on January 12th when Harrison broadcast live from Palm Springs to cover the Dick Van Patten star dedication on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars. During my segment on Pet Talk yesterday, we discussed how to choose a pet food and some of the special nutritional needs that dogs and cats have. (Photo above left: me during the live broadcast on Pet Talk with Harrison Forbes) In particular we discussed specialized needs of large breed dogs for hip and joint health. Harrison does a great job keeping the show interesting and relevent to his listeners. Harrison has been a dog trainer and behaviorist for over 20 years and has trained over 600 police dogs across the country. He is presently writing a book called The Leash That Binds, due to be published later. this year by St Martin's Press. If you live in the Los Angeles or San Diego area markets, check out Harrison's radio show. Photo above left: headshot of Harrison Forbes, pet expert and rising star in radio and TV.
Three Cute Pugs...

above: I saw these three super cute Pugs who were having so much fun together yesterday I just had to take their photo!
-Rick Rockhill

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisperer at The Global Pet Expo

Yesterday was an exciting day at the Global Pet Expo in San Diego. Without a doubt, the highlight was an appearance by Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer. He was on hand to announce a new line of pet products bearing his name. (Now that the news is public, I can finally mention it on my blog.) Cesar has been closely involved in the development of the Dog Whisperer line of products, which will range from organic dog food & treats, fortified water, toys, beds, and a variety of other supplies- all in support of Cesar's philosophies to rehabilitate dogs and re-train the owners so they understand how to see the world through a dog's eyes. Now for the shameless plug: The Dog Whisperer line of products will be available exclusively at more than 900 PETCO stores nationwide in late spring 2008. Cesar is such an inspirational person with a love for animals, I am certain his new line will be a big hit. I always enjoy meeting Cesar, he is such an upbeat, positive person.
above: Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer stops for photos after he announces his line of organic dog food and supplies. In the photo above right I was petting one his dogs.

above: holding up the package of his new "Cesar Millan, Dog Whisperer" organic dog food. His appearance attracted a large crowd and members of the press as well.
above: The pet industry is an interesting business; I also ran into this wacky duo who were handing out samples of a lint roller type product. It's hard to tell from this photo but she was wearing a wacky get-up. I couldn't resist adding her to my collection of strange pet trade show sightings.
And Now for The Fine Print
As you know, this is a personal blog, and anytime I mention a product specifically it is because of my own interest and not for advertisement. I also know that there are folks from the pet industry who read my blog, so here is my usual disclaimer, what I like to call "the fine print"...
This site is about my personal opinions, experiences and stuff I am interested in. From time to time I express a personal opinion about natural, holistic and organic dog and cat food brands. As the author, I am writing this with no affiliation to my employer, although I am a dog food merchandise manager and have an excellent knowledge of pet foods. There are many kinds of natural, holistic, organic and super premium dog and cat foods available. When looking for a natural, holistic or organic pet food it is important to first consider the needs of your pet.
-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.

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.

This blog is independent and free of any type of financial affiliations. Some images used are from the internet and sometimes hard to credit them, so if you own any and want them removed just send me a message.

No copyright infringement intended. I am not responsible for defamatory statements bound to government, religious, or other laws from the reader’s country of origin or residence. The intention of this blog is to do no harm, defame, libel or offend anyone.