Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

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Las Vegas-CitiCenter Design

February 11, 2010

CitiCenter in Las Vegas is an 8 billion dollar sprawing complex that has and is still under construction. Three towers opened by New Year’s 2010 and I toured the area that is banking on the futuristic architecture and design to draw a new generation of tourists. Here are some pictures taken one afternoon. The above shot is a picture of a tiled floor from a balcony.

The spired entrance to Aria.

The monorail between towers.

Reflection of a tower within a tower.

Part of a massive waterfall.

A full wall advertisement in the Crystals Mall.

Crystals in the Crystals Mall

Steps detail

Partial front view as it is impossible to get all of CitiCenter in one picture.

Claes Olderburg’s Eraser

Ceiling detail.

Floral strip in Crystals Mall

Mandarin Tower

Showroom detail.

Water tornado garden.

Underside Restaurant detail.

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ASH MEADOWS – DEATH VALLEY

January 12, 2010

WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE BUT NONE TO DRINK

Ash Meadows is located on the Nevada side just in the shadow of Death Valley and administered by the same Park Service. It is an immense valley of water that is just below the surface and shows itself in the many springs that dot the landscape in a valley located next to the driest place in the nation, the middle of the Mohave Desert. In 1978, the Supreme Court ordered that no one could utilize this water mainly due to the handful of tiny pupfish that were found in Devil’s Hole, a subterranean, thermal-fed spring, and thus declared an endangered species. At one time, 10,000 years ago, this was a vast lake and through those thousands of years the water evaporated. The only evidence of that water are these visible springs that remain and the water just below the surface that is part of an immense ancient aquifier. (All photos by Nick)

http://www.stateparks.com/ash_meadows.html

The Ash Meadows

The blue shift from the setting sun.

Prehistoric veins of a time long gone.

Granite crumbling creating a cave.

The Sentinels keep watch

A lava outcropping.

A can dating from the 30’s originally from India.

A dry desert mountainside looms above the aquifier.

A bush gives evidence to water just below it.

Nature’s upthrust millions of years ago.

The sun sets on a lovely afternoon………..

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THE LAST SNOWSTORM OF THE SEASON

March 24, 2009

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NIGHT AND DAY THROUGH THE STORM’S EYES

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SNOWFALL AT “LITTLE FALLS” IN MT. CHARLESTON

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THE SNOW SQUALL MOVES IN

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IT APPROACHES CATHEDRAL ROCK

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THE HAND OF THE SQUALL COMES FROM BEHIND

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IT OVERWHELMS AND CONQUERS THE MOUNTAIN

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THE WHITEOUT FINALLY ARRIVES

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THE MIGHTY SUN BREAKS THROUGH

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Death Valley 20 Mule Team Day Trip

February 23, 2009

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The Yaga Labyrinth is named in honor of the indigenous Paiute people who inhabited the area near Death Valley, now known as Tecopa, California. The labyrinth is built on an elevated space offering spectacular views of mountains, deposits of glacial Lake Tecopa, and a riparian habitat of the Amargosa River, which is a stopping place for migratory birds, and home to the endangered Amargosa vole. -Tecopa Website  http://www.tecopahotsprings.org/

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The new GM bailout model coming to your dealership soon………

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And here’s the new Jeep bailout model…….

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On the Road to Furnace Creek………….

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Near Furnace Creek

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Everybody Must Get Stoned

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WELL THE WEATHER OUTSIDE IS FRIGHTFUL……

December 15, 2008

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IT’S SNOWING IN VEGAS! 

HERE ARE SOME PICTURES FROM ACAPULCO TO WARM YOU UP!

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THAT OLD MAN RIVER KEEPS FLOATIN’ ALONG

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LIFE’S A BEACH

ON THE SUNNY SIDE OF THE STREET

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I SEE DEAD CELEBRITIES….

September 27, 2008

On the 56th floor of The Palms Casino on Flamingo Road, the Ghostbar has become the ultra-slick social spot for celebrities such as Paris Hilton, Ashlee Simpson, the Kardashian family, Mario Andretti, Kid Rock or Pam (never at the same time), Avril Lavigne and more.  The modern furniture outside and the incredible view of the city from all points is breathtaking.  If that’s not enough, walk over and stand on the glass floor and look 55 stories straight down.  It’s a rush whether you’ve had a few or not.  The fun part is you, yes little old you, can go there and hang with your friends and enjoy yourselves drinking the special “Ghostini” to prepare you for an enchanting experience. 

The name of the joint derives from the ceiling over the lounge by the bar, that has an intended ghostly appearance.  You might see Bruce Willis or Halley Joel Osment without a ‘sixth sense.’  It’s a hip place that fills up on the weekend so if you are not into crowds go during the week, however the ‘stars’ come out at night and one will never know who you will see.  Across the street, the Rio’s Voodoo lounge was the hotspot years ago, but the change in ownership years ago turned a hot property with many firsts (first dance club, first wine bar, first ‘Show in the Sky,’ and many others) into a ho-hum sorta place.  The Palms is the new hot spot, but no matter where you go here in Vegas, there are so many deals with vouchers for food, gaming, and hundreds of dollars for return trips, the time to come here is now while they are discounting everything because of the credit crunch.  Just go online to Vegas.com and they are all there. If you’re in for a vacation no matter what the economy is doing, this is the place for value for your dollar.  And one last word; if it really is the end of the world, well this is the place to party into oblivion.  Hopefully, it will just be fun and worth the trip without the angst of reality.

It the words of Jeff Spicoli;   Party on, Dudes!

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A Real Tropicana Folly

August 22, 2008

 

The Nevada Gaming Commission on Thursday gave unanimous approval for the Columbia Sussex Corporation to hand over operational control of bankrupt Tropicana Entertainment to a four-person board eliminating the owner William Yung III from all operations and ownership status and while the new board members undergo investigation for licensing in Nevada. Chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission, Pete Bernhard said, “This particular structure at this particular time under these particular circumstances justify us approving (this deal),” “It’s not something we would do with any company at any time that’s in financial distress.”

So, I ask why would you do it at all?  The owner chased after the stock bidding up beyond $50 a share when no fool would have bought it for more than $35 a share, and then leveraged everything, laid off thousands of workers, pissed off the Culinary Union, and then defied the New Jersey Casino Control Commission by not setting up internal audit structuring that is required by New Jersey law. 

All of this stupidity, directed by Mr. Yung himself, fell back into his lap when the Commission declined to give him a permanent license and placed the casino in the hands of a conservator while waiting for bidders.  At this point with the credit crunch they may have a very long wait for someone to want to pony-up 3 billion dollars for someone to buy an aging casino in New Jersey while Pennsylvania is opening up huge gaming halls and cannibalizing New Jersey’s gambling business.

While all this is happening, less than enlightened journalists in Las Vegas are writing articles about how the big bad New Jersey Control Commission is practically communistic in their decision, regardless of the fact that Casinos were created under a referendum in 1978 that included in its charter – one of the purposes for allowance of those casinos – the purpose of the creation of employment for New Jersey residents.  Nevada could care less about that, the employment-at-will laws and the disregard for the working class has long been ingrained in the once small circle of millionaires, and now billion-dollar multi-national corporations with mostly the same management personnel, that rule the roost here.  One particular journalist even stated that if a casino wants to allow it’s toilets to overflow and its rooms to be dirty then that is their choice.  That had to be the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen or heard.  The business of this state reflects the image of this state, whether it is in New Jersey or Nevada, California-if you allow shitty operators to run shitty businesses, then you get a shitty perception of what your state stands for and allows.  Then this guy who actually gets paid to write this crap, states he thinks the Culinary Union is sabotaging the Tropicana and bedbugs were “planted” by those horrible union employees (statements the owner and management originally made).  And you wonder why this guy lost his license there?

So, here in Nevada where the good old boys are still the good old boys, Scott Butera a very good executive that I know from my days at Donald Trump’s Empire in Atlantic City, is placed in charge with this new board that has ex-communicated the owner.  Why is this happening I must ask?  Why is this hotel getting special treatment here in Nevada when it is so upside down, the sale of all the assets could not come near what Yung paid for the Tropicana Corporation.  In this supposed laissez-faire atmosphere here in Nevada (for employees at least) , why are we allowing an inept operator/owner to give up his ownership and control and stand in the corner on “time out” while someone else bails him out for all his stupidity?  Since when have we become a socialistic business state?  Hypocrisy abounds between those that have, and those that have not in the city of Las Vegas and the State of Nevada.  I’m happy those that are still at the Trop here and in AC still have jobs-and each person doing the work of three people – but the reality is they would be better off allowing someone to buy the places for thirty cents on the dollar, knock this one here in Vegas down eventually and make room for a world class resort, something this state should demand of every casino project. 

Scott should know that, Donald paid the bondholders thirty-three cents on the dollar when he went bankrupt back in the nineties in the days of Ivana and Marla and out-of-control Trump Taj Mahal executives that spent his money like sailors on shore leave.  And by the way, he paid that thirty-three cents on the dollar in notes that would convert to stock in 5 years, and I believe over 120 businesses went bankrupt on the deal, some that had been in business for over 30 years.  He forgot to read his own first book “The Art of the Deal” and then Steve Wynn did almost the exact same thing years later allowing a shrewd Kirk Kirkorian to create the comglomerate MGM-Mirage.  Buy low, sell high………you have to sell high to make it work though, not buy high.

There’s no tellin’ what varmints get away with here in the ole’ West……let‘s not even talk about that fancy 10 billion dollar water pipeline that’s gonna suck out the North’s underground water for Vegas yet……………..Whoa Nelly!  Talk to the Knappster! (George Knapp Vegas’ investigative reporter par excellence) He’ll give you an earful on that subject better than I could.

 

-Should have taken a left, what was I thinking?-James Reed (leader of the Donner Party)