Monday, November 30, 2009

Dick Van Patten Book Signing in Glendale CA

For those of you who live in Southern California, my friend Dick Van Patten will be appearing at the Mystery & Imagination Bookshop in Glendale, CA on Sunday December 13th. If you live in the area, stop by and say hello to Mr Van Patten and pick up a copy of his book. Hope you can make it!

Let the Madness in the Music Get to You

I recently broke down and downloaded a few Michael Jackson albums from iTunes. The last time I purchased a Michael Jackson album it was cassette tape, and before that a vinyl record. Amid all the hysteria during his untimely passing, I resisted the urge to buy any of his albums. I've always thought he was a musical genius and I actually enjoyed most of his music since I was a kid. It may seem odd, but what motivated me to suddenly buy a Michael Jackson album was two new young fans he acquired posthumously. My 3 and 5 year old nieces have suddenly become MJ fans and love to sing his songs. It hit me- why I am I depriving myself of this collection of music that I enjoyed so much for decades? And so off to iTunes I went, and in a few clicks I was the proud new owner of a slew of Michael Jackson songs (again). As I re-acclimated myself with his library of music, one song in particular clicked with me: Off Wall. Check out these lyrics, and then if you feel so inclined, view the YouTube video that follows. These lyrics are actually pretty inspirational in a pop-music sort of way. So go ahead, let the madness in the music get to you.

When the world is on your shoulder

Gotta straighten up your act and boogie down
If you can't hang with the feeling
Then there ain't no room for you this part of town
'Cause we're the party people night and day
Livin' crazy that's the only way

So tonight gotta leave that nine to five upon the shelf
And just enjoy yourself
Groove, let the madness in the music get to you
Life ain't so bad at all
If you live it off the wall
Life ain't so bad at all (live life off the wall)
Live your life off the wall (live it off the wall)

You can shout out all you want to
'Cause there ain't no sin in folks all getting loud
If you take the chance and do it
Then there ain't no one who's gonna put you down
'Cause we're the party people night and day
Livin' crazy that's the only way

So tonight gotta leave that nine to five upon the shelf
And just enjoy yourself
C'mon and groove, and let the madness in the music get to you
Life ain't so bad at all
If you live it off the wall
Life ain't so bad at all (live life off the wall)
Live your life off the wall (live it off the wall)

Do what you want to do
There ain't no rules it's up to you (ain't no rules it's all up to you)
It's time to come alive
And party on right through the night (all right)

Gotta hide your inhibitions
Gotta let that fool loose deep inside your soul
Want to see an exhibition
Better do it now before you get to old
'Cause we're the party people night and day
Livin' crazy that's the only way

So tonight gotta leave that nine to five upon the shelf
And just enjoy yourself
C'mon and groove (yeah) let the madness in the music get to you
Life ain't so bad at all
If you live it off the wall
Life ain't so bad at all (live life off the wall)
Live your life off the wall (live it off the wall)

So tonight gotta leave that nine to five upon the shelf
And just enjoy yourself
C'mon and groove (yeah) let the madness in the music get to you
Life ain't so bad at all
If you live it off the wall
Life ain't so bad at all (live life off the wall)
Live your life off the wall (live it off the wall)
songwriter: R. Temperton

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Tip from The Palm Springs Savant: Daily $50 Gift Card Giveaway

The following is NOT a paid or commercial post. I chose to share this with my blogger friends.
The holiday season is here and there is a really cool daily giveaway going on at You can enter once every day for a chance to win the daily giveaway of a $50 gift card. Everyone knows someone who has a pet. There is no purchase required, and it is easy to enter. So what are you waiting for, click here and enter to win:

-Rick Rockhill

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dogs Make Work Better

From time to time I'm asked to represent my company to speak about pet nutrition. It ranges from being a guest on a radio or TV show, contribute to an article, or address a conference. The folks at work who manage these things wanted a few fresh photos to accompany the bio about me they provide to external groups. Apparently all my usual personal photos with a martini glass in hand are a bit over the top if I'm supposed to speak about pet nutrition (I guess I can understand that). Hence the new photo you see here. Its one of a series of photos with me and Sheldon. Duncan was being squirmy that day so he didn't make it in as many shots.

One of the benefits of working at our company is we can bring our pets to work with us. Let me tell you what a HUGE benefit that is, too. Having one of my dogs with me curled up at my feet all day brings such comfort and joy. It helps release stress if the day gets a little crazy t
oo. Sometimes if I'm in meetings for an hour or two and return to my office, I'm greeted by my dog with such enthusiasm that it makes me smile and all the stress just drains away. So for me, having my dog at work makes me enjoy being at work even more. It's also not a problem when I need to work late, I just take Sheldon or Duncan out for a walk and go right back to work. Of course, the floor in my office has dog toys and chews scattered everywhere, but I don't mind a bit. So yes, it is true, dogs do make work better. Anyway so back to the new photos. Aside from the ones taken with Sheldon, a few were taken of just me, but I much prefer the ones with my canine co-workers.

above: This one was taken at my desk, and looks rather official, don't you think? The books make me look like a professor.

above: here is one with both Sheldon and Duncan. This was taken a few weeks ago, when Duncan was still a bit smaller. Today's he's nearly Sheldon's size. So the question is, which photo do you think is best to be used with my bio when I am representing my company? I'm looking for your honest go ahead, leave a comment with the brutal truth.
-Rick Rockhill

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Black Friday...Go Spend Some Money!

Yesterday was a very relaxing day at home. I woke up early to enjoy sunrise so I sat outside on the patio with a freshly brewed pot of organic cawfee and some toast. It was a beautiful morning, although I needed a sweatshirt because it was still a bit chilly. I'm not exactly sure why, but for some reason we decided not to host Thanksgiving dinner, so we made reservations for Melvyn's restaurant at the Ingleside Inn. I usually dress up a bit for Melvyn's, in respect to the rich history of the establishment. I selected one of my new ascots to wear and as luck would have it, it perfectly matched a sports jacket I have. Before I got completely dressed, I decided it was a perfect opportunity for a new photo with the kids. So we sat on the porch for this photo. You can see how big Duncan is next to his brother Sheldon. Don't they look cute together? I love my two poodles...Happy Black Friday. Now go out and stimulate the economy!
-Rick Rockhill

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Time to Be Thankful...

There is plenty for which to be thankful. Fortunately I am blessed to be able to say there are more reasons than I have time to type up here today, and for that I am grateful. I am quite aware that today there are many people who feel as though they have nothing to celebrate and give thanks. So for that reason I decided to give thanks in solitude today, to my Creator, in the early hours of Thanksgiving day.

So for the rest of the day, here on this blog I'd like permission to be flip. Here's another reason to be thankful. Brad Pitt. Not only is he dashing and fit, he is also generous, down to earth and a genuinely nice guy too. So I'll give thanks here for Brad Pitt today. Let's hope he comes back to Palm Springs again soon, it would be nice to see him again. Happy Thanksgiving all.

Now how about you? Finish this sentence: I'm thankful for...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sneak Peek at the Palm Springs Film Festival Awards in January

Things are starting to heat up in preparation for the Palm Springs International Film Festival, now in its 21st year which will run from January 5-18. Our film fest is recognized as one of the largest in the world; it features 400 screenings of more than 200 films from some 60 countries. It has built a strong reputation for support of independent films, and provides a platform for international film makers whose own home nations barely support their film industry. Each year, the film festival committee tirelessly reviews a huge number of films to present a broad range of quality pictures. Since its inception, the film festival also brings a heavy dose of Hollywood glamor, with the Awards Gala, a star-studded red carpet event that attracts throngs of fans, international news media and paparazzi to cover the event. I have a few hot tips to share about the upcoming Awards night. I have learned that Morgan Freeman will receive the Career Achievement Award for Acting. Also, the lovely Anna Kendrick will be honored with the Rising Star Award for her performance in Up in the Air. And here's a surprise: Mariah Carey will receive the Breakthrough Performance Award, in recognition for her performance in “Precious,” about a social worker based on the novel "Push" written by Sapphire. If you have not heard of it yet, Precious opens nationwide this Friday and already has tremendous buzz. As we get closer to the film festival, there will be plenty of other big names announced as award recipients, so stay tuned for more. The host of the Film Fest Awards Gala once again will be Palm Springs' very own Mary Hart of TV's "Entertainment Tonight". So start planning your trip to our desert so you can catch the Palm Springs International Film Festival. Here is what you need to know:
  • Dates: January 5-18, 2010
  • Films will be seen on 15 screens throughout Palm Springs.
  • Tickets: Passes, awards gala, opening and closing night tickets and packages are available now.
  • Individual ticket sales begin Dec. 24 for Palm Springs International Film Society Members, Dec. 26 for the general public.
  • Information: (760) 322-2930 or
I've covered the Palm Springs Film Fest for several years. If you want to refresh your memory, here are a few prior posts I've written right here on this humble little blog:
Thanks for stopping by!
-Rick Rockhill

Monday, November 23, 2009

Exploring Wines: Part 6, Learning Grape Varieties

It has been awhile since my last "Exploring Wines" post here, and with the holidays coming up I thought it might be helpful to resume this series again with some handy tips. (I recycled this photo from a post in November 2007 because I like it so well). As with all my Exploring Wines posts, I wish to remind you that I do not profess to be a wine expert. I happen to collect wines and enjoy what I consume, and I am definitely not a wine snob either! My motto is: drink what you like. It is handy to have a basic understanding of types of wines and the grapes so when you peruse a wine list you'll have an idea of what they will be like. So much of wine tasting is subjective. But the manner in which grapes are grown (including weather and geography), harvested, aged and blended make a huge difference. The type of grape, or variety usually indicate the typical flavor of a wine. However, there are literally hundreds of hybrids and blends that wine maker use, so nothing is absolute. In addition, winemakers often blend multiple grapes to achieve a particular flavor. The label will usually indicate the type of wine, list the percentages of varieties blended to give an indication of flavor. For today's post, I'll just focus on sharing some information on the grapes. There are some grapes that can be grown anywhere in the world, and others that are more common to a specific region or country. So I've broken these into two groups: International Grapes and Regional Grapes.
International Grapes

The following are varieties of grapes that can be grown in various parts of the world:
Pinot Noir
: (red) Cherry, raspberry, violets, game, mid-ruby hue
Riesling: (white) Aromatic, delicate, racy, expressive, rarely oaked Syrah/Shiraz: (red) Black pepper, dark chocolate, notable color, tanins Cabernet
Sauvignon: (red) Black currant, cedar, high tanins Chardonnay: (white) Broad innoffensive, unless left in oak too long Merlot: (red) plump, soft and plummy flavors Sauvignon Blanc: (white) Grass, green fruits, razor-sharp flavor, not usually oaked Gewurztraminer: (white) Lychee, roses, heady, high alcohol, deep color, full body Semillon: (white) Figs, citrus, lanolin, full body & rich
Muscat Blanc: (white) Grapey, simple, sweet, floral. Regional Grapes
Here are varieties of grapes that typically are more regional. The regions I have called out are either the origin or where they are typicall
y known for being grown. Genache Noir: (red) Pale,can be sweet & spicy, ripe (Mediterranean) Sangiovese: (red) Savory, lively, fruity (Central Italy) Cabernet Franc: (red) refreshing, aromatic, not too heavy (Southwest France/Bordeaux) Tempranillo: (red) berries, plum, tobacco, vanilla, leather and herb. (Spain) Mourvedre: (red) Blackberries, wild, gamey or earthy flavor, with soft red fruit (Provence, France) Nebbiolo: (red) violets, tar, herbs, cherries, raspberries, truffles and prunes. (Italy- Piedmont) Zinfandel: (red) warm berry flavors, or blackberry, anise & pepper, depending on climate (Northern California)
: (red) Very dark
and robust, spicy and rich, sometimes gamey (Southwest France/Bordeaux)
Touriga Nacional:
(red) Tannic, black fruits, usually good as a p
ort (Portugal)
: (red) Deep red color, spices, berries, medium bod
y (Bordeaux)
Pinot Gris: (white) flavor varies greatly on origin. Medium to full body, fruity and floral, pungent (Burgundy, France)
Chenin Blanc
: (white) Honey, damp straw scent, very versatile, good for food pairings (Loire, France a
nd S. Africa)
(white) Heady, full-body, hawthorn blossom, apricot, floral and fruity. (France- Rhone)

Pinot Blanc
: (white) Lively, light, similar to Chardonnay. Fruity- apple and melon flavors (Alsace, France)

(white) Almond, marzipan aroma, full-body, also honey, quince, spice & pear
(Rhone, France)
Use this information as a guide, depending on a variety of factors, or blends each wine could have a different taste.
A few examples of actual wines:

* Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

Labeled as a Cabernet, but the bottle indicates that
it is a Bordeaux blend of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. These subtleties give it a complexity in flavor. * Penfolds Grange 2004, Shiraz Primarily a Shiraz/Syrah but also includes 4% Cabernet
* Chateau Cheval Blanc Saint Emilion Bordeau Red 2003 The label indicates that its actually Half Cabernet Franc, half Merlot
* Duckhorn Estate Grown Merlot 2006

It's 86% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc
. The estate grown means that all the grapes used in this wine were from Duckhorn vineyards, and did not buy any grapes from other vineyards. Below is a different Duckhorn label, but you get the idea:

For your convenience, here are links to prior posts on Exploring Wines:
Part 1: Exploring Wines

Part 2: Tasting & Enjoying
Part 3: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Zinfandels
Part 4: Pairing Suggestions with Turkey
Part 5: Key Attributes of Wine
Thanks for stopping by today!
-Rick Rockhill

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Miss California USA Pageant

This weekend, the Miss California USA Pageant is here once again in our desert. Hundreds of ambitious, beautiful young women come to Palm Springs to compete in this annual pageant with the dream of being crowned Miss California USA. The winner of Miss California USA will go on to compete in the Miss USA Pageant, which is the precursor to the coveted Miss Universe title. I'm not one to objectify women, and I know there are people who think these pageants are demeaning to women. Personally I could care less about it all, but as The Palm Springs Savant I like to report on the happenings here in our fair city. The girls (sorry Gloria Steinem) are all staying at the beautiful Riviera Resort & Spa hotel here in Palm Springs. I've written about it many times here on this blog. It's a hip, swank property that attracts well-heeled and trendy younger guests who enjoy sipping martinis poolside. In fact I was at the Riviera last night, we dined outside in the moonlight, with just enough light from the glow of the pool and flickering fire pits nearby. The Pageant brings a fair amount of excitement to "The Riv" so the place was buzzing especially later in the evening. Anyway, back to the Miss California USA Pageant. The event will be televised this evening, so of course I don't know who will win the crown yet, but I thought it would be appropriate to at least feature our very own Miss Palm Springs, Katie Polos. I borrowed this photo from The Desert Sun website. She is a lovely young lady, wouldn't you agree?

Above: I'm pleased to report that Chris Jacobs, of TV's The Insider is here to host of this year's pageant.

above: The girls primp and prep for the swimsuit competition (again these photos are from the Desert Sun)

above: and here is our Miss Palm Springs, Katie Polos strutting her stuff and making us locals proud. For those of you who love fashion, the girls who make it to the top 10 in the finale today will be wearing gowns created by Tony Bowls, a top fashion designer know for his extraordinary designs worldwide. So keep an eye out for that if you watch the event on TV. The Miss California USA Pageant will air live today, November 22nd from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific Let's hope Miss Palm Springs makes it!
-Rick Rockhill

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Nothing Like A Fresh Coat of Paint.....

We finally did it. We painted the wall in the back yard. I've been staring at it for a long time, complaining that it needed a fresh coat of paint. It was the same light whitish-eggshell color that the contractors used when the house was first built. It was peeling in places. I hated it. Finally, I just pulled the trigger and organized to have the wall power-washed for a good cleaning, scraped a bit, and given a few fresh coats of paint. I wanted a color that would provide more of a desert feel, to blend in with the San Jacinto mountains that are just beyond our home. So off to Lowe's to peruse the plentiful paint chips. Dark brown seemed a bit heavy. A milk chocolate color looked nice but didn't match anything else in the yard or the house exterior. We finally settled on this color above, it's called "Iced Tea" from the Olympic paint brand. I hate choosing paint colors, it always looks different once it is up. We were already familiar with this Iced Tea color because we have it on the door trim on the exterior of the house. Once the painting was complete I was thrilled. It is just the effect I was looking for. It blends in beautifully with the mountains beyond, and provides a nice backdrop for the cactus and other foliage in behind the pool. What do you think? To refresh your memory, here is what it looked like before:

above: the old whitish wall color, seems so blah now

above: So I had Sheldon and Duncan pose for a fresh photo in front of their newly painted wall. As long as the poodles like it, that's all that matters I guess. What do you think about the new wall color?
-Rick Rockhill

Friday, November 20, 2009

Holiday Shopping Tip from The Palm Springs Savant:

The following is NOT a paid post
Frugal is the new black, it seems.

In these trying economic times, even the Hollywood elite are tightening their designer belts and being more careful with holiday spending. The exclusive Rodeo Drive shopping mecca has new competition from a great retail concept that could only be born in LA, a $99 store called Tweak99. Whether you live in Beverly Hills, Hollywood or Palm Springs, there is no shame in shopping for gifts if you are on a budget. As you might guess, everything at this store is priced under $99.99. What's also very cool is that everything is pre-wrapped in beautiful unique papers. Tweak99 just launched a new website, so no matter where you live you can shop for really unique and affordable gifts that are ready to go!

Tweak99 was created by the respected home stylist Tara Riceberg, a friend of mine with an eye for style and fashion trends. Tara provides home styling services to many Hollywood stars, but she also has clients all over the country from LA to NY. She was sharp enough to understand that frugal is chic among not only her clients, but all social and economic classes. This prompted her to create a website and store that makes it quick and easy to find thoughtful and fun gifts at affordable prices. When Tara first told me about her concept last summer, I knew it would be a hit. A master at design, Tara selected a wide range of items so that she could merchandise her store by price to make it even easier. One side has items up to $49.99 and the other side are items up to $99.99. The gifts at Tweak99 are clever, purposeful and fun, and most importantly, they're affordable. I was reviewing her website again today- there are gifts ranging from kids toys, jewelry, candles, note pads, bath sets, night lights, decanters, all with really unique designs or twists to them too.
So if you are completely stumped an need some new holiday gift ideas, please check out Tweak99 and look around. And of course if you live near LA, stop by the shop and say hello to the beautiful owner Tara. She might even give you a home styling tip or two!
Tweak99 is located at 8383 W. 3rd St in Los Angeles. You can also call Tara at 310-284-8272.
-Rick Rockhill

Thursday, November 19, 2009

World's Biggest Parade Float! Rose Parade 2010!

Check this video out, it shows Tillman, the skateboarding Bulldog who will be at the Rose Parade again this year. The float is amazing!

World's Biggest Float! Rose Parade 2010!

Gene Autry, America's Favorite Singing Cowboy

One of Palm Springs famous former residents, the late Gene Autry received a new bronze statue in Palm Springs in his honor. Gene Autry was known as "The Singing Cowboy" from a thirty year career in radio, television and movies in the heyday of Hollywood. In addition to being an entertainer, Autry had a number of major hobbies, including owning the MLB team the Anaheim Angels (of Los Angeles). In fact the Anaheim Angels held their Spring training right here in Palm Springs for the entire time he owned the team. He invested wisely and owned a television station, multiple radio stations and a few hotel properties as well. Gene Autry bought his first home in Palm Springs in 1940 and was an active member of our community. He was first discovered by another famous Hollywood cowboy, Roy Rogers who also spent time here in Palm Springs. If you're like me, you probably remember Gene Autry for his signature song "Back in the Saddle" or his legendary Christmas album with his classic versions of "Here Comes Santa Claus", Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" and "Frosty the Snowman". (Those are among my favorites, with Nat King Cole's "The Christmas Song"). This photo below is from The Desert Sun newspaper website:
Gene Autry was also known for creating the Cowboy Code, which according to Autry a cowboy must:

1. Never shoot first, hit a smaller man, or take unfair advantage.

2. Never go back on his word, or a trust confided in him.

3. Always tell the truth.

4. Be gentle with children, the elderly and animals.

5. Not advocate or possess racially or religiously intolerant ideas.

6. Help people in distress.

7. Be a good worker.

8. Keep himself clean in thought, speech, action and personal habits.

9. Respect women, parents and his nation's laws.

10. Be a patriot.

His "Cowboy Code" still seems to make sense to me, even all these years later, don't you agree? When Gene Autry died in 1998, he was one of the 400 richest Americans, with a net worth of over $320 million. Today, his widow maintains the nonprofit Gene Autry Foundation, which has donated over $280 million to all sorts of charities here in the Coachella Valley and beyond. Gene Autry Trail is a major street here in Palm Springs, upon which I travel frequently. It is fitting that there is now a beautiful bronze statue in his honor right on the street that also bears his name.

above: another view of the new Gene Autry statue. I also borrowed this photo from the Desert Sun website.

-Rick Rockhill

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Postcards from Palm Springs

"The Season" in Palm Springs is in full swing, with scores of snowbirds starting their descent into our fair desert community, just like clock work. Our winter residents come primarily from the Pacific Northwest & Canada, but we do attract some Mid-Westerners too. Of course one of the things I notice right away are the cars with out of state license plate, but the Canadian accents are also fun to hear being spoken up and down Palm Canyon Drive. So why does our little desert community attract so many visitors and winter residents? Checkout these e-cards that I borrowed from Palm Enjoy the show!

-Rick Rockhill

Sunday, November 15, 2009

"Eighty is Not Enough", A New Book by Dick Van Patten

Regular readers of this blog know that I have written about actor Dick Van Patten on numerous occasions. I first met Dick through my job, as he is a co-founder and part owner of Natural Balance Pet Foods. But over the years I've come to know the Van Patten family and today consider it an honor to call them friends. Those who know Dickie know that he is a great story-teller, and loves to make people happy. When he first told me he was writing a book, I knew it would be an interesting read because I've heard so many great stories of his life directly from he and his family as well. That's why I can recommend Dick's new book Eighty is Not Enough so highly. As you read through each chapter you will come to know Dick as if he were a next door neighbor you've known for years. Indeed, Mr Van Patten is an endearing person whose words enhance his already squeaky-clean family guy image. Most Americans know Dick Van Patten for his role as Tom Bradford in the top rated US television program "Eight is Enough". Dick became known as America's favorite dad, a regular, down-to-Earth kind of guy. And that is exactly true. But there is much more to Dick Van Patten than Eight is Enough, and this book is filled with the author's anecdotes and recollections of a long career that started as a child actor in New York.

In addition to his star on the Hollywood Walk of Stars, Dick Van Patten was also honored with a star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars. He is a favorite and familiar face to many here in Palm Springs and supports and attends charitable functions in the valley.

Thankfully, what you won't find in this book is any salacious or juicy Hollywood gossip. There are plenty of great stories about his famous Broadway and Hollywood friends, and much to hold your attention and interest. Dick takes the high road and describes his close family relationship and long-standing social friendships. He skillfully shares life-lessons learned in a manner that enables you to think about your own life.

Woven artfully throughout these memoirs are wonderfully detailed accounts of numerous roles Dick played where he worked with some of the biggest names in Broadway and Hollywood history. In particular if you are a fan of Broadway and early television years, many chapters are like wonderful vignettes. Without question, Dick Van Patten is a man who has enjoyed a long acting career, yet he managed to avoid the usual foils of Hollywood actors. His love for his wife Pat and family is clearly evident through this book. His sense of strong ethics and loyalty have been a hallmark throughout his life; and despite a long successful career he remains a man with no ego. This book is surprisingly refreshing and entertaining. It's an easy read with lots of short chapters that make it a perfect book to pick up and put down for bedtime reading. Perhaps what I liked most about Eighty is Not Enough is that in addition to being an enjoyable read, it reinforces that life is about choices; it is possible to make the most of life, savor every day and have fun along the way.
-Rick Rockhill

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Goobers Anyone?

Okay, so back in July I was in NYC on business and one night went to the midnight opening preview of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. While at the cinema I purchased a ginormous popcorn bucket, a Coke and a box of Goobers. I was so enthralled with the movie that I barely finished my popcorn or Coke. Needless to say I didn't get to the box of Goobers. Now the reason I mentioned this is that the Goobers cost me $6.00. Yes, six dollars for a 3.5 oz size "movie pack" package of chocolate covered peanuts. Remember that I used to work in the confectionery industry a zillion years ago, and a whole pound of high quality chocolate covered peanuts cost us something like $2.00. Anyway the point is I wasn't about to throw them away. So I carried it back to my hotel at 2:30 AM (after the midnight showing ended). I didn't eat them in NY, brought them back to Palm Springs, where they sat in the pantry all summer. Then I brought the box with me on the cruise to the Aegean Sea- and never ate them. The box traveled to Rome, Greece, Turkey, Egypt and back to Palm Springs CA and landed back in the kitchen pantry. So fast forward to last night, I was relaxing at home and had the midnight munchies. Nothing sounded good and it was too late for me to "make" anything. I found myself staring into the pantry looking for something to "pop" out. Suddenly I saw it-the box of Goobers from the NY movie theatre. I broke open the box and ate the entire contents in the span of a few minutes. Even for "low grade" chocolate, the Goobers were pretty darn good. I miss the double dipped Fannie May milk chocolate covered peanuts I used to enjoy, but these were fine. As I finished the package I was disgusted with myself. Then I read the front panel which read: "5 grams of Protein per serving. is that good or bad I wondered. For a moment I thought, oh there was some redeeming quality to this snack. So I read the nutrition facts. This 3.5 oz package is supposedly 2.5 servings. So in the span of 5 minutes I consumed nearly 500 calories, 50% of my total daily requirement for fat, 16% of daily carb needs. Wow who knew? I'll just need to do some laps in the pool this weekend I guess. So what are your favorite snacks?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Free Pet Nutrition Workshop Sat 11/14

NOTE: At work, I've been involved in the development of these pet nutrition workshops, so I decided to add a post about it on my personal blog. I hope you can attend. Just go to any PETCO store nationwide. We have over 1,000 stores in 50 states, so it shouldn't be too hard for most of you to find a PETCO store if you live in the US.

All PETCO stores nationwide will host a free pet nutrition workshop facilitated by specially trained in-store nutrition experts on Saturday, November 14 at 2 p.m. During the 30-minute workshop, pet parents will learn about the nutritional needs of their dogs and cats, have a chance to discuss the benefits of good pet nutrition, receive an assessment of their individual pet's nutrition needs and understand the difference between basic, premium and natural pet food categories. Pet parents who attend the event will receive educational materials and free food samples from food suppliers Natural Balance, Wellness and Halo.

WHEN: Saturday Nov. 14th at 2 p.m.
WHERE: All PETCO locations nationwide

WHY: Your pets deserve the very best nutrition to help them live longer, be healthier and happier too!
I hope you can attend this Saturday.
-Rick Rockhill

Monday, November 9, 2009

Spencer Day Performs in Palm Springs

This past Saturday I attended a garden party fundraiser for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). It was held on the grounds of a private estate in Palm Springs at the home of a very famous superstar vocalist who shall remain unnamed. There was a silent auction with all sorts of goodies worth bidding on, although the bidding competition was fierce. The only thing I ended up getting was a gift certificate to a local flower shop. As the silent auction closed, there were some brief remarks by the HRC team, imploring support and membership pledges from the attendees. The highlight of the afternoon was a brief guest performance by a new rising star called Spencer Day. A young budding vocalist/songwriter/pianist, Spencer's music focuses are on the standards, jazz, musical theatre, cabaret and contemporary pop. He performed a brief set of a few songs from his new CD Vagabond. He has a surprisingly soulful voice for a young white kid. He also has good stage presence and enjoys playing to an audience. Spencer has a good career ahead of him, with albums like Vagabond, he has plenty to offer music fans.

above: Spencer Day's new CD, Vagabond

above: Barry Manilow's CD In the Swing of Christmas, from 2007. When we left the HRC Garden Party, the goodie bag had a copy of both Barry's and Spencer's CD. It was a fun afternoon. Yes, "The Season" in Palm Springs is in full swing again. Just about every weekend between now and May there is something interesting going on. I love living here.
-Rick Rockhill

Sunday, November 8, 2009

An Evening With Rita Moreno at The Annenberg

Last night we went to the season opening benefit concert at the Annenberg Theatre starring Rita Moreno. The Annenberg is small, professional first rate theatre at the Palm Springs Art Museum. It boasts a diverse season each year to celebrate the arts, but its actions are interwoven with the mission of the Art Museum to promote arts with children and across the community at large. (PS- this photo of Rita is from Palm Springs Life magazine).

As a fundraiser, last night's season opening performance was a success. In addition to fund-raising ticket prices, the Wells Fargo Foundation donated $100,000 to the Palm Springs Art Museum’s children's education program, which enables nearly 15,000 underprivileged kids be able to participate in art programs and visit the museum. The Palm Springs Art Museum has a broad children's program that provides bus transportation and education programs for a total of 35,000 students every year. In a small community like the Palm Springs area, that is an impressive number.

I always enjoy going to the Annenberg Theatre. As a member of the Palm Springs Art Museum, I take personal pride in our museum and theatre. The museum has a first rate collection of permanant and visiting exhibits. It also blends it all nicely with our history to Hollywood too. The walls of the theatre lobby are lined with wonderful black and white photos of the many Hollywood stars who lived here or spent time in Palm Springs. There are photos of Natalie Wood, Bing Crosby, Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Frank Sinatra, Zsa Zsa and Ava Gabor, Kirk Douglas, Desi Arnaz, and William Powell, just to name a few. It takes you back in time just wandering these halls and looking at all the terrific photos.
Anyway, back to Rita Moreno. Just before the show I learned she is one of only eight performers ever to have earned each of the major entertainment awards: An Oscar, Grammy, Emmy and a Tony!
Her Broadway career started in 1945 and included an early role in the great film Singin' in the Rain in 1952. A breakthrough role was that of Tuptim in The King and I in 1956. She is perhaps still best known for her career-defining role as Anita in West Side Story in 1961. She appeared in a number of impressive films with major actors, but also appeared in TV's The Electric Company and The Muppet Show, with a focus on children's education. She also played the coveted role of silent screen star Norma Desmond in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard in London. More recently, she played the role of Sister Peter Marie for five years, on HBO's OZ series. In OZ, she played a nun who was a psychologist to the hardened inmates at a maximum security prison. So yes, Rita Moreno has had a long and diverse career. At 78 years old, she isn't slowing down either. She proved that she is quite a pro as well. Last night she performed despite fighting a cold. Her speaking voice was a little rough, and she had the occasional sniffle but she plugged away like a trouper and gave a good performance.
She started out by letting her audience know she only sings songs she personally likes, and selected a set that ranged from American Gershwin standards, lesser known Broadway songs, and several memorable Latin songs. I particularly enjoyed the Spanish song “Ararjuez” in which she donned castanets. She also performed “Auguinaldo” beautifully- its actually a Puerto Rican Christmas song with lots of energy, and sang also the classic “Brazil”. She also sang a few Broadway musical songs “Lady in the Dark" and "Sunset Boulevard". In all it was a crowd-pleasing performance that left me humming along as we left the theatre. I was especially grateful to Ms Moreno for performing to kick of our new season and helping raise money for our local theatre.
-Rick Rockhill

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Day at the Golf and Spa Resort

Yesterday I spent the day on the golf course playing 18 holes; it was a bit of business and a but of pleasure. There is an old golf saying that your worst day on a golf course is better than your best day at the office. While I am not a golfer by any stretch of the imagination, that saying holds true. Fortunately I was playing with a few folks who knew I didn't know how to play, so they didn't bother to keep score and quietly winced as I sliced balls, tore up the course and swung madly at a tiny little golf ball that just wouldn't move for me. Despite my shortcomings on the green, I had a great time.

above: we saw a number of interesting birds while out golfing- I didn't recognize this one...anyone have a guess?
The nice thing about many golf courses these days is that they also offer spa facilities, restaurants and other things to keep you on site and encourage you to spend more money I suppose. This facility was exceptionally beautiful with hacienda-style architecture, perfectly manicured grounds and nice little sitting areas to relax and enjoy the weather. Even this water fountain had the perfect sound of water trickling down that it immediately relaxed me as I wandered past.

above: the pathways were lined with tall, majestic date palm trees...

above: inside the spa lobby, the sitting area was so inviting it made me want to curl up with a good book.

above: I like this photo-what I was really trying to capture was the view outside the windows. These huge windows were really showing off the dramatic view of the luxe golf course beyond.

above: the spa also has the Deepak Chora Center for health. mostly yoga type stuff, but they teach healthy living, hold seminars, pilates, etc.
It turned out to be a great day and a relaxing way to end the week. Hope you have a great Saturday. I will...big plans for today so stay tuned...
-Rick Rockhill

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tracie Hotchner, Author and Talk Show Host

Many of you know I've been working in the pet industry for quite awhile. In fact over the past 13 years I've had the opportunity to work with a number of truly interesting people. For example, folks like Harrison Forbes, host of the syndicated radio show Pet Talk and author of pet book Dog Talk. Or Andi Brown, author of The Whole Pet Diet and founder of Halo, Purely for Pets. Or recently when I was a guest on Marc Marrone's show "Petkeeping" on the Martha Stewart Living channel, he was an interesting figure. Right now I have the opportunity to work with Tracie Hotchner, author of the Dog Bible and Cat Bible, who is also host of radio shows "Dog Talk" on NPR and "Cat Chat" on Martha Stewart Living Radio at Sirius/XM radio. Tracie is an interesting person with a terrific personality, and she also is very knowledgeable about dogs and cats. I've started listening to Tracie's radio program after having read her Dog Bible book. If you aren't familiar with Tracie, check out her website, or listen to her radio show on Sirius XM Radio. Maybe I can have one of these folks write a guest blog entry here one day with some pet advice for you. I enjoy reading these kinds of books and getting to know people within the pet industry like Tracie and others who help people learn about caring for animals. Do you have any favorite pet books or authors? I'd love to hear from you, maybe one day I'll write my own book about the pet industry or animal nutrition!
Here are the books by two of my other famous author friends:

If you are looking for a few good pet books, these are all some of my favorites. And if you ever want an personalized, autographed copy, just let me know.
-Rick Rockhill


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