Vegas Mermaid

vegas mermaid tail (2)Vegas Mermaid at Silverton Casino. Photo by M.C.


One of Renaissance Man’s cousins died so off we went to Las Vegas for the funeral. If you want a lot of people to show at your funeral have it in Vegas. It was a chance to see family I hadn’t seen in a while and family I had only heard about. His cousin, KDawg, (I’ll call him by his nickname.) was my age and was a funny Samoan guy. Many people spoke about how he gave them courage to do things they wouldn’t normally do or to face something scary. Sometimes he was the bodyguard for the little guy at school. Sometimes he encouraged his friend to cut someone off on the road. “Be that person,” he’d say to her. Then his friend said she was going to end her speech by singing Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love of All.” She paused then said, “Nah, just kidding.” I don’t think I’ve laughed so much at a funeral. There were a lot of stories that had to be censored. Of course, KDawg loved to eat. And once a friend asked if he’d share some fries with him. “Heck no!” he said.

Some family said they read my book. My niece read Superfreak three times! So I came home and returned to editing book two titled Superflop. It’s in the editor’s hands. I’ll publish in June 2017. Sign up for my author newsletter where I’ll publish a free story once in a while .

After, we swung by one of the houses I grew up in. The neighborhood has gotten dumpy. So strange to see. Vegas has changed, but then it kinda hasn’t. The Strip didn’t seem that big to me even though it’s grown. It did seem strange to force large buildings so close when there is so much desert. It’s an easy small city to drive and has so much to love about it. But it was great crossing the state line back into California. (That was a jab at my friend R, who always takes digs at CA and says he does a “Yahoo!” when he crosses the state line back into Nevada.)

My old friend R suggested we meet at Silverton Casino. I’m not sure if he chose it for me because of the mermaid. I’m pretty sure he just wanted to shop at the Bass Pro Shops connected to the casino. Only in Vegas.

The mermaid slipped in from the top of the tank in her white and red tail with a bikini top. She engaged the audience and made a water heart for me then posed. She did twists and somersaults. I want her job! At least for a day. They should charge people to do a ten minute mermaid performance. There is also mermaid art by It was tempting to buy The Proposal. A pirate pulls out gold from his tooth with his hook, giving it to a mermaid on his lap. Cute.

Then I saw R and didn’t recognize him. He had to wave at me. It’s been years and we’ve gotten older, but he sounded like the same immature guy. He has a sweet, patient wife now. So since we were only making a pit stop we walked around Bass Pro where they had tons of taxidermy. I wanted to touch the giraffe, but the sign said not to feed or touch the animals. R said, “Touch it.” R and KDawg would have liked each other. Actually, I should have touched the lion because I wrote a Cecil the Lion story. Oh well. R said people take their dogs into Bass Pro to get used to wild animals.

Yes R hunts. We are complete opposites. He kills coyotes because he can. I lecture him not to kill what he’s not going to eat. Don’t we all have friends like that?

I see KDawg and R in my future books. ‘Cause I’m gonna be that person.

And now an update on my blog. For the summer, I am headed to my usual places in Laguna Beach and San Diego. Pageant of the Masters theme is The Grand Tour, inspired by pilgrimages to Europe’s cultural centers. And the Shakespeare Festival at the Old Globe is producing Hamlet and King Richard II. I am itching to see Gustavo Dudamel conduct the LA Philharmonic and an opera. I’m keeping my eye on the little theatres too.

Turn off your TV and head to the theatre. The arts are suffering because of budget cuts. Live theatre is a great way to create a special memory.


Jungle Bells


Reindeer at San Diego Zoo. By M.C.

We lucked out recently at the San Diego Zoo. The threat of rain had many of the animals out and active. Then some visitors were getting a special tour that blessed us with a couple of treats. Plus, the Christmas decorations were the best I’ve seen at the zoo.

We always have to visit the orangutans. I guess it’s their personality I love. They are calm, intelligent and friendly. They have this need to entertain the crowd. A curious baby swung from the ropes from one adult to the other then settled on top of a rock. The baby played with a burlap sack pulling it over its head. Something new about the enclosure, monkeys were added.

We took the Skyfari, which was free for everyone (not sure why), to the west side of the park.


Polar bear. By M.C.

The polar bear played with a big plastic ice cube. He somersaulted bringing his face up close then pressed his big paws against the glass. The Northern Frontier section seemed especially festive with reindeer and bulbed Christmas trees.

We chatted to one of the Wildlife Conservancy representatives. He told us about how we can support San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and help end extinction. He said the conservation organization is using drones to identify giraffes by looking at the unique markings on their necks. (Did you know there may be nine subspecies and the Nubian giraffe may be extinct?) Prompted by a myth, Africans are killing giraffes and eating their bone marrow and brains to protect against HIV/AIDS. Eating any part of giraffe doesn’t guard against the virus or infection. And I had only stopped to ask for directions. I learned so much from the guy and ended up donating. Renaissance Man says it serves me right for asking for directions.

In the Elephant Odyssey we saw a small male lion yawn. Those moments of the animals chilling or playing makes me think they must be happy. Around the corner a female zookeeper was holding a baby sloth! A male zookeeper inside the enclosure was talking to a man and his daughter outside of the enclosure. I thought they were special, but then I found in the brochure under Animals In Action you can take a 1-hour interactive tour with an animal ambassador that gives you a behind the scenes view and feeding opportunity. The baby sloth must have been twelve inches long. The male zookeeper put the baby inside a hole in the tree with the parents. Then the man and his daughter got to see one of the elephants do tricks for food.

Last time I was at the zoo, protestors had signs to free the elephants. This time I read the signs posted around the elephants about how they are old and non-breeding. I get dolphins and whales should be freed from SeaWorld and sent back into the ocean. The sea creatures who have been freed have gone on to reunite with their families. But I wonder if the elephants would be safe. I suppose they could be put into a wildlife sanctuary, but look what happened to Cecil the Lion. He was living in the wild and had walked out of a sanctuary.

In general I don’t recommend zoos. I don’t know where the San Diego Zoo got all of their animals who weren’t born there. The zoo has done a lot of work for the California Condor. Reading ZooNooz some of the animals do come to the zoo in need of help.

San Diego Zoo is one of the few I would recommend. Many zoos do a disservice to animals, such as, Zoo Atlanta, where Chantek the orangutan is kept. He is not allowed to visit with Dr. H. Lyn Miles, his human mother. (Chantek never should have been learning sign language in the first place at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Campus. Hopefully the zoo’s administrator lets Lyn visit again, but also I hope the anthropologist has learned wild animals should be born in the wild and live in the wild. That’s the burning question. Has she learned this lesson? She still is a professor at UTC. There is a fascinating documentary about Chantek and Lyn that sometimes airs on public television. I could go on . . . the stupidity of man.)

Jesus is the reason for the season and some day He will come and rectify the injustice done to His animals and His green earth and His people. We live in His hope. Merry Christmas!

For the holiday season Jungle Bells runs from December 10, 2016 through January 2, 2017.

San Diego Zoo Global, 2920 Zoo Drive, San Diego in Balboa Park.