Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sunday Art Review: A Brief Study in Marc Chagall

Last night we went to the Inaugural Exhibition of a well respected fine art gallery in the area. I plan to feature it in a future Sunday Art Review, so I'll avoid any specifics on the exhibit here today. There was a Marc Chagall painting in the exhibit, which was captivating to say the least. I stood for 5-7 minutes or so and enjoyed the huge piece of art, trying to "soak it all up". Marc Chagall was a pioneer of modernism and one of the great figurative artists of our time. He worked with oils and canvas, stained glass, tapestries, theatre sets, etchings, and large scale public works of art as well. His work is known for using vivid colors and with an optimistic interpretation. Seeing his work brought back some strong memories of art history courses in college. This became the inspiration for this week's edition of the Sunday Art Review: A Brief Study in Marc Chagall. The first piece above left is called "Bay of Angels".

above: "Birthday"
above: "The Blue House"

above: "Flowers and Lovers"

above: "I and the Village"

above: "The Juggler"

above: "The View"

above: "Woman and The Roses"
Thanks for stopping by the Sunday Art Review. What do you think of Marc Chagall? Which are your favorites and why? Go ahead, leave a comment, it's the last day in November (er, thanks for the correction Bee) and this day can never be relived again, so leave your mark!
-Rick Rockhill

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Of Blackberry Battles and iPhone Envy

Our society has gone mad. Mad as a Hatter I tell you. We live our lives managed and controlled by small handheld wireless devices that keep us connected to anything that is more than twenty feet away from us. And anything more than twenty feet away from us must be more interesting than what's immediately in front of us, isn't it? Gone are the days when we can sit at a restaurant and patiently wait for our lunch to arrive, passing time by glancing at other patrons and wondering if they looked in the mirror that day. Instead we turn to our wireless device and check for that all-important e-mail that is about to arrive. Or that voicemail message. Or breaking news. Or search for anything on Google. What have we become? If that weren't enough, it's a competition among the type of device. The latest obsession is the battle of the new Blackberry Storm versus the old Blackberry. Could it be better than the iPhone? Users of the traditional Blackberry models (with an old fashioned keyboard- GASP!) are having trouble adjusting to a flat screen touch model. I sense a case of iPhone envy. Blackberry users are trading up to the new Storm to be as sleek and stylish as those hip and trendy iPhone users. The makers of the Blackberry are no doubt envious of Apple's success from the iPhone. (or is it their shareholders?) You betcha. But with good reason-Apple has sold something like 5 zillion iPhones and it's still growing. I must admit, I am fascinated by it all. I have a Blackberry, mainly because it's a work device. But truth be told, if the choice were entirely mine, I would probably still use an old-fashioned Blackberry with the ever-so-ancient keyboard versus the new Blackberry Storm or iPhone. At least for now, that is unless I get abducted by Aliens and have my brain re-programmed to start liking advanced technology. In the meantime I'll stick with my regular old Blackberry fossil. I'll leave the new fangled stuff to the "early adopters" and modern folk, who understand the high-tech and other arcane matters. At least I don't use a typewriter to write this blog.

above: the old-fashioned BlackBerry vs. the hip and trendy iPhone..who wins the battle? I'm not sure it really matters. What does matter is what's in front of you, so try to live in the moment. In the meantime, hang up your phone, turn off the handheld Internet device and pay attention to the waitress at the restaurant, the girl at the Starbucks drive-thru window, or your other half who is asking you a question.
-Rick Rockhill

The Saturday Seven: Favorite Breakfast Selections

Holiday weekends are especially memorable, not only for the events on the actual holiday, but also for the happenings before and after. In particular breakfast meals. I love breakfast, and always have. Regardless of what is being served I enjoy the ritual of breakfast, Whether it starts with a cup of hot cawfee or tea, breakfast just feels good to me. This was the inspiration for another scintillating edition of The Saturday Seven: Favorite Breakfast Selections.

#1 French Toast:
It's toast, egg, cinnamon and syrup, perfect huh?

#2 Waffles: the little squares are perfect to hold blueberries.

#3 "Full English Breakfast"- consists of everything you see here. Mmmmm delish.

#4 Hot Croissant: The Continental option, but satisfying.
#5 A Bowl of Cheerios: Supposedly helps reduce Cholesterol, so it seems like a good idea.
#6 Blueberry Muffins: The old standby. I prefer home-made, but any will do

#7 Oatmeal: Prefer the kind you cook versus instant. It is heart-friendly so I like that.
What are YOUR favorite breakfast items? There are plenty of others I didn't mention (Smoked Salmon, Pop Tarts, Omelette's, Scrambled Eggs, Beans on Toast, Fruit, Bagels, etc etc etc. So go ahead, leave a comment with your two cents.
-Rick Rockhill

Friday, November 28, 2008

It's Black Friday!

Once again, Black Friday has arrived. I'm not referring to the 1940 movie from this poster (although it was a fun diversion for this post). It's the busiest shopping day of the year, and officially kicks off the holiday selling season. Retailers use this day as a barometer to predict how good of a Christmas it will be. This year, no one is taking any chances. The sales have started early and are deep. If you are a consumer with some cash to spend, it will be a good year to clean up on bargains. I've worked in retail for well over 20 years, in a number of different retail industries. I've never seen so many major retailers so nervous, and for good reason; this year could break a few major retail companies. As a consumer I used to dread the idea of shopping the day after Thanksgiving: fighting traffic on crowded streets and packed parking lots, only to push your way through retail stores mobbed with bargain-hungry shoppers. These days of course, we have online shopping as an option. In fact, for the past few years I did nearly all of my Christmas shopping online. I've already started my shopping this year, using places like ebates to get cash back in addition to the already deep discounting that is underway. For people who are employed, and can afford to shop for the holidays, it's very important to do so. The worst thing for our economy is if everyone stops spending. I'm not suggesting to live beyond your means or spend money you don't have. I know some folks who have a LOT of money, but are "psychologically affected" and talk about not buying Christmas presents this year. I guess the "trickle down effect" really is true after all. If the rich stop "feeling rich" and stop spending, it has an impact on the rest of society. And of course, when the rich "feel rich" and start spending, it does trickle down through the economy in some fashion. So if you have plenty of money, I say, do your part and stimulate the economy! OK, I'm done ranting now. How about these photos from our shopping malls here in the desert to put you in the mood?

Christmas shopping in the Palm Springs area is so much easier than the cold wintry climates. I went out in shorts and sandals to do some Christmas shopping.

Well that's all for now. I hope you find some great "Black Friday" bargains!
-Rick Rockhill

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mimi, the Amazing 12 Year Old Girl and

Recently I discovered a neat story about a 12 year old little girl who is helping to feed dogs and cats in animal shelters. Apparently she was inspired by an idea she saw on, where people can feed hungry people by playing an online game. Mimi created a website called to do exactly the same thing. She solicited sponsors to help her efforts, and she has been able to donate free food to shelters every month since May. It's easy to help. All you have to do is visit her site, read the trivia question of the day and click on an answer. Even if you don't answer the trivia question correctly, your participation still provides 10 pieces of kibble to animal shelters to help feed their hungry dogs and cats.

Mimi first started her website back in April 2008 with the intention of getting people involved to donate food for dogs at a local Humane Society of Central Oregon. In the first month more than 170,000 pieces of kibble were collected, then another 180,000 pieces in May. That's over 240 pounds of dog kibble- enough to feed 456 dogs for one day. As of November 24, freekibble has raised over 70,000 pounds of kibble, currently supporting 11 shelters across the country each month.
The best part is that you can help, at no cost to you...
Mimi needs more people to play her online "Bow Wow Trivia" game every day. She wants people to spread the word to go to her site and play each day. Every day you answer a Bow Wow Trivia question, freekibble donates 10 pieces of kibble to a shelter (no matter if you get the question right or wrong).
Mimi is a remarkable child. At just 12 years old she was able to convince a pet food company to help her feed hungry dogs and cats. Mimi has been personally delivering all the free kibble raised so far. She has been getting a lot of attention too. She is in the December 1st edition of People magazine, and so far has been on the Today Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show and several others too. So it's proof that no matter how old you are, you can make a difference in this world. I wanted to write a post about Mimi because I think she is a neat kid. If you are looking for something good to do this holiday season to help animals, visit Mimi's website everyday and help her donate more food to hungry dogs and cats stuck in shelters. Hopefully Mimi's efforts will help draw attention to the many shelters than need support for needy dogs and cats.
-Rick Rockhill

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Adventures of Sheldon: Who's the Fairest of Them All?

One of the things I like most about being a pet parent is the unconditional love and affection they provide. But pets also provide an never-ending source of entertainment as well, and our kids are no exception. Take Sheldon for instance. First off, having a standard poodle is a totally new experience. Standard poodles have such a different personality from Koshimi and other dogs who have been part of my life. Sheldon enjoys showing off, prancing around and seems to prefer the company of people to other dogs. One of the more amusing habits Sheldon has is admiring himself in the mirror. It's the fun to watch him before he realizes he is being observed. He tilts his head, looks from side to side, no doubt thinking to himself: "Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who's the fairest poodle of them all? Well actually he is more likely thinking: "Damn I'm one handsome fella".

above: Lest you think that first photo was an exception, here is another photo of Young Sheldon, caught at the hallway mirror. He is one silly little puppy.

above: Best Buds: Sheldon and Owen share the bed. Owen is doing a pretty good job putting up with an energetic new puppy in the house.

above: Young Sheldon knows he is a special dog, with his own sitting chair, complete with chenille throw.

above: Here's Koshimi, hanging in there in his old age. He holds a special place in my heart. I love this dog. Thanks for spending a few minutes here catching up on the kids~
-Rick Rockhill

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Flunky, A New Musical

Yesterday I was in the LA area to see a special performance of a new musical called The Flunky. The book/lyrics were written by Jimmy Van Patten, and music/lyrics written by Deborah Gibson. In the business, this performance was considered a "showcase workshop", designed to present the story to a live audience and gauge their reactions. It is also intended to garner interest and financial support of potential investors. The birth and future life of a play or musical depends on "showcase workshop performances" so the principles of the show prepare extensively for the event. I attended with friends and a few influential Hollywood moguls who are interested in the play. I had read the script last year and heard the early demo music tracks while the show was still in development. So, it was exciting to finally see the show come together on stage with a talented group of actors. It starred PJ Griffith, Jimmy Van Patten and Deborah Gibson in leading roles. The show centers around Jackie (PJ Griffith), who is the flunky to an aging former rock star, Tyler Mann (Jimmy Van Patten), who is attempting a comeback. Jackie successfully enters into the world of the rock star and develops an interest in Sandra (Deborah Gibson) who is a budding singer attempting a back up career with the rock star. As Jackie attempts to win favor with the rock star, he learns a few valuable lessons about himself along the way. The villain character is Gunar (Dennis Kenney), a butler who attempts to control the rock star with a concoction of drug laced diet Kool-Aid. It is a fun, entertaining story with a catchy score and toe tapping songs. A highly talented cast brought the musical to life, with Christopher Davis Carlisle, Michael DeLuise, Dennis Kenney, Zarah Mahler, Suzanne Petrela, and Tom Schmid. The ensemble cast included Jebbel Arce, Ceaser F. Barajas, Ryan Castellino, Drew D'Andrea, Janelle Dote, Leon Le, Marlene Martinez and Leah McKendrick. The show was directed by Kay Cole, with musical direction by Mary Ekler and choreography by Eddie Bennett. After the show a small group of us went out to dinner with Jimmy Van Patten and Deborah Gibson to celebrate and compare notes about the performance (see photo above). It was a fun evening and a terrific opportunity to see the birth of a musical in the making. I am confident that in the near future, The Flunky will have a run somewhere for a wider audience to enjoy. I'll certainly keep you posted.
-Rick Rockhill

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday Art Review: Thanksgiving in Focus

With the Thanksgiving holiday just a few days away, I was poking around the Internet for news and information pertaining to this iconic American holiday harvest festival. This became the inspiration for this week's Sunday Art Review: Thanksgiving in Focus. Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays, with strong memories dating back to my childhood. I'm fortunate because it's one of those holidays which I can merely close my eyes and my mind is flooded with pleasant memories. Family, friends and neighbors etched in my mind forever. Indeed, I am fortunate to have such fond memories of Thanksgiving. I chose to lead off this Sunday Art Review with a classic from Norman Rockwell. I hope you enjoy this collection. The next three are all about Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving in the new world.
above: Pilgrim Prayer
above: Landing of the Pilgrim
above: The First Thanksgiving

above: Cornucopia Aplenty

above: Turkey Day Gift Day
Thank for for stopping by The Sunday Art Review. Which one was your favorite?
-Rick Rockhill

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Saturday Seven: Corny Expressions I Still Use

Yesterday I overheard an older gentleman's conversation who used the expression "well I'll be". This made me smile, because I often say "Well I'll be a monkey's uncle". I'm full of strange old expressions and often use them in my daily conversations. Admittedly, most of these I use more casually-certainly not in the board room at the office. This was the inspiration for another scintillating edition of The Saturday Seven: Corny Expressions I Still Use. Several of these definitions came from Urban Legends website.

#1 Goody Gumdrops: Intended as an expression of joy, happiness or delight usually with an expression of sarcasm in response to a small gain or reward etc. Oh Goody Gumdrops, we can all have ice cream tonight.

#2 Fiddle-sticks: An expression used to show an upsetting emotion. "Oh fiddle-sticks, I broke my new mechanical pencil."

#3 Doris Day Parking: Any parking spot that seems as though it was meant to be. Whenever Doris Day would arrive at her destination, a parking space would be available right in front of it so she could drive her convertible right in. No valets necessary. Marvelous, we found (a) Doris Day Parking (space).

#4 Golly Gee Wilikers: Expression used to show amazement. Golly Gee Willikers, I had no idea Mildred was so talented.

#5 Mortified: Being beyond embarrassed or ashamed. Oh my gosh my neighbor heard me singing this morning, I am so mortified.

#6 Curses: An old-time non-offensive swear word, much like gosh, sugar. Used in frustration. Curses! My telephone is ringing again. Of course, a variation of this expression was also popularized by "Snidely Whiplash", the Arch Villain on Rocky and Bullwinkle: "Curses, foiled again!"

#7 Dagnabit: a rather nice alternative to "Damn!" Dagnabit, I forgot about that appointment with the astrologer today!

What corny or old-fashioned expressions do you still use? Go ahead, leave a comment. After all, it's the last Saturday before Thanksgiving.
-Rick Rockhill

Friday, November 21, 2008

Bow Wow Beverly Hills Benefit

Wednesday night I attended the 3rd annual "Bow Wow Beverly Hills" benefit in support of The Amanda Foundation, a no-kill animal rescue and shelter. The evening was the kick off to a five day event that seeks to find good homes for as many orphaned dogs as possible, in time for the holidays. The event was held on the swank Rodeo Drive and featured a doggie fashion show, silent auction, and a cocktail reception.
It was posh event underwritten by major sponsors including Halo, Purely for Pets, Beverly Hills Design & Life Magazine, and the merchant association and restaurants of Two Rodeo Drive. I attended as a guest of Halo, representing my company among the well-heeled guests. There were several celebrities present, but I didn't have an opportunity to take many photos, as I was trying to conduct business during the evening.
above: The strings of festive white lights provided an ambiance to the closed off street.
above: Bar tables, decorations and this huge Christmas tree made the area cheery and bright.
The Doggie Fashion Show!

above: The doggie fashion show was led by actresses, local police, and firemen.

above: I was delighted to see my good friend Dick Van Patten and his wife Pat (right). One of the orphaned dogs jumped up on Dick's lap. The woman with the red hair on the left of Dick is actress Paula Kent Meehan, who is the founder of Redkin Laboratory hair products.
above: Leggy Supermodels took their turns parading the homeless dogs down the grass runway.
Meet Ricky Van Patten
above: Dick Van Patten decided to adopt the orphaned dog who jumped up on his lap earlier in the evening. Believe it or not, Dick named the dog after me, because I was there with him when he met the dog. So, this is "Ricky Van Patten". I was so honored.
above: These floral arrangements were on all of the tables . I just thought this was a nice way to end the post. Thanks for stopping by today. If you can find it in your heart, go to your local shelter and adopt a homeless dog or cat this holiday season. You can also go to to search for a particular type of 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.

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