Dec 3

Altadena Photo Safaris

Posted by Simon

We live in the foothills above Pasadena and for the last few years bears have been living in our neighborhood.  Some residents like it, some not so much.  We also have racoons, deer, parrots, hawks and occasionally bobcats and mountain lions.

Why not start a company that gives tours of this wildlife.  There is a certain symbiosis here.  The tours would take place in the early morning so there would be very little disruption of the neighborhoods.  Many tourists would pay to see bears.  Many residents would welcome rewards for being spotters.  The wildlife would gain another constituency.

There is lots to see.  This is a perfect project for a young person who can act.  It would require an investment in an old Land Rover and some advertising and promotion.  It is a combination of the Jungle Cruise at Disney Land and a Photo Safari in Africa.  My bear video



Oct 23

Looff Carrousel

Posted by Simon

I didn’t expect

 to like Spokane

but I Looff it.

Have I been here?
We spent four days at Lake Coeur d’Alene in July 2014
Including a day trip to see Spokane, WA
Oct 16

Deck Chairs

Posted by Simon

“The best summers

are spent near water”

Have I been here?
We spent four days at Lake Coeur d’Alene in July 2014

Sep 2


Posted by Simon

Spokane, Washington is a confident growing city.  We spent a day there and even though it rained we had a nice time and were very favorably impressed.

Spokane’s slogan is:

Near Nature. Near Perfect.

It has waterfalls in the middle of town:

This is a trial of a new WordPress feature.

Aug 12


Posted by Simon


We were in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho for a few days on our road trip.  (See the daily photos on my facebook page.)  We took a hike one day in one of the city parks that borders the lake and we overheard a young lady say: “So I posted it and right away there was a lot of commentation.”  I knew immediately that I had heard a new word and that it is useful new word.

Since then I have had to defend the word against the word conservatives who say that “commentary” means the same thing.  But it doesn’t.  Commentary is organized and on topic.  “Commentation” is free form and disorganized.  Commentary is marching.  Commentation is rambling. Commentary is letters to the editor.  Commentation is social media.

Embrace this word:


Lake Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Your commentation is welcome.


Dec 30

Better Buffets

Posted by Simon

On the breakfast tables in the hotels we stayed at in Italy they had very small trash cans.  These turned out to be very useful.  Breakfast was served buffet style and we invariably ended up with trash.  Yogurt containers, butter wrappers, banana peels, the piece of toast you dropped and much more.  It was very convenient to have a place on the table to put all of it.

We don’t do that in the USA. Yet.  But it is an opportunity for someone.  They were about the size of a kids beach pail and varied in design.  The perfect one would have the the establishments name on it.

I failed to get a picture of this innovation transfer idea but I have sprinkled this post with pictures of restaurants in Italy to whet your appetite if not your interest.

Aug 12

June Lake

Posted by Simon

Last week we spent four days at June Lake with the Rotters, Carltons and others.

Flickr Album Here

June Mountain from the cabin at dawn

It was a beautiful stay.  We managed to get in three hikes.

Lundy Canyon

At Whitney Portal with Nurit we hiked a few mile miles up the famous Mt Whitney Trail.

Nurit at the first stream crossing.

Carmela and Ben Rotter hiked with me to the top of Mono Pass (started near Tom’s Place) and beyond.  About 11 miles and 3600 ft of elevation gain.

Does Mono Pass look lunar?

And finally Howard R, Nurit and I hiked 4 miles in Lundy Canyon (just north of Lee Vining).  It is a beautiful valley with beaver dams, waterfalls everywhere, old log cabin and the ruins of mines.  A great hike.

One of the falls in Lundy Canyon

Bonus Photo Simon at a Beaver dam

Jan 28

Carnegie Libraries

Posted by Simon

On our drive from Santa Fe to visit the Pecos Pueblo we visited the Carnegie Library in Las Vegas, New Mexico.  It was Sunday so the library was closed but as we drove up the sky cleared and I got this great photo.

Yes it was designed as a copy of Monticello.  The building of the Carnegie Libraries was an amazing thing.  It seems that someone like Stephen Fried who wrote Appetite for America about Fred Harvey and the Harvey Houses could do a great job telling the Carnegie Library story and sell a lot of books.

From the Wikipedia article: ” 2,509 Carnegie libraries were built between 1883 and 1929″

When in Las Vegas NM eat at Charlies Spic & Span.  They have excellent Sopapillas and even better freshly made flour tortillas.

Aug 13

Top Ten Tourist Icons

Posted by Simon

This is a little diversion to list what you think are the top ten tourist icons in the world.  in other words what are the most recognizable places in the world.  The Statue of Liberty is an example.


  • One minute time limit (don’t over think)
  • Unquestionable location recognizable by a large numbers of people
  • Human-made
  • Make your own list first and them insert it in the comments below and read the other list there.

It all started when I saw a claim at the Brandenburg Gate that it was “one of the top ten tourist icons” and I wrote the claim on a postcard.  People answered.  Now I want to see your list.

No In-N-Out Burger is not one of them.

Nor are icons like McDonalds and Nike. (they are not location specific)

Machu Pichu?

Give it a minute and compare your answers below.

Aug 3

Time as a Monopoly

Posted by Simon

Every medieval town we saw on our European trip had a cathedral and a clock tower.  In one of the towns, probably Bern, I realized that time used to be a monopoly of the church.  They had the bell in the church steeple and since nobody had a clock when the priest pulled the bell to signal that it was noon, it was noon.  It was until the late medieval era when civic governments got clocks and towers to put them in that the church lost its monopoly.  Interesting.  What monopolies exist today in the background that we don’t see because they are part of the fabric of our society?

If your interested in the beginning of the Renaissance read The Swerve  by Steven Greenblatt a nonfiction account of the rediscovery of Lucretius that reads like fiction.

One more time question if you have time: Why does an hour have sixty minutes around the world?  We use different languages distance and weight measures but time measurements seem to be universal.  Why?