Thursday, September 30, 2010


In Las Vegas you can find so much more then just Casinos and Show Rooms.

You can actually find history and that is what drew my attention to the Atomic Testing Museum.

I can recall hearing a bit about bombs being tested and having to practice our duck and cover drills when the sirens went off through out the streets where I lived.

However, being a kid, I don't think I ever fully grasped what it was all about. As a child, one seems to feel like death is so far away that it doesn't really sink in. Sure, we would talk about it and some were even very scared at the though of a bomb going off, but, none of us really thought that bomb would kill any of us or anyone we knew.

So, as I walked through the museum seeing these bombs up close, it was an odd feeling for me. Like they were not real.

They were just something I read about or saw in war movies.

It was clear that even back when the threat was real, the public saw the atomic bombs as more of security feeling then a possible death machine.

There were movies, comic books, candy, games and just about everything else, that used the Atomic Bomb as a way to make a quick buck.

America felt safe. We were the World's most powerful Nation. We had the A-Bomb and no one else did. No one was going to mess with us!

Then they started to tell us that Russia also was working on making their own bombs and the fear started to set it.

Many families had Bomb Shelters built. The museum showed what one may have looked like. A tiny little room with some supplies to use while waiting for the Nuclear Fall Out to disperse.

Looking at this now, it's easy to see what a joke those shelters were. The only thing they would have really done was provided a ready made coffin for the whole family.

Seeing the actual items that were used back then didn't really seem to provoke any feelings while I was looking at them.

I did feel as if I stepped back in time and was back in school watching a science film or something.

It wasn't until the end of museum that I started to fully grasp the whole story.

There were real men who gave their lives and suffered grave injuries during the testing that took place in Las Vegas and other places.

Seeing the faces and reading the names on some of the ID cards really hit home with me.

These men watched as the bombs were tested, time and time again. They trusted that they were safe. They believed the people they worked for, our government, that they were far enough away from the test site to not be effected. They never knew what was in store for them.

I'm sure it would have been hard to not look directly at the bomb as it went off. After all, it's like going by an accident. You don't want to look, but, for some reason we can't seem to help our self as we drive by, to try and grab a glimpse.

Some were told they could wear special glasses to watch and some were far enough away that the blast was not going to blind them. So they looked. They watched, first hand as the white light came, the mushroom cloud rose above the ground and then the nuclear waste slowly spread out over a wide area.

All the while, having no idea what they were really doing. How they put themselves in harms way.

The museum has films and photos showing the destruction that just one bomb could cause.

It's really scary to think that there are now so many Countries that have this weapon of mass destruction. It's even scarier to think that one day they could actually be used against us.

As we reached the end of the museum I was thinking to myself how happy I was to know that we are no longer testing these bombs like they used to.

I know that it was because of these bombs we had during the Cold War that we remained safe. Yet, I still hate the thought of how many men still died because of them.

I was happy we were getting ready to leave. I was starting to feel emotional and sad and since I was on vacation I didn't want to feel that way.

In the last room we saw a piece of the Berlin Wall.

The Berlin Wall was another piece of History that seemed so far away from my own life. Like it happened on another world.

Yet there it was. Right in front of me. I paused to think about how many people felt trapped behind that wall. How loved ones were kept from their friends and family because of this wall of concrete.

Then the joy that was felt as they knocked it down. I remember that day. I watched it on TV and remember thinking about how I couldn't relate to what those people were going through.

I was blessed I lived in the USA.

Then as I turned around, I was hit with a big dose of reality. There it was! A reminder of the day in history I will never forget.

Parts of The World Trade Center. The twisted sheet metal piece was behind glass and almost looked like a piece of art.

Yet, it was the furtherst thing from art I will ever know. It is proof of the hatred and evil that can be found in our World.

I turned around again and as I read this sign I had a lump in my throat and thought I was going to break down in tears.

I've seen the photos and watched the News reports where the steel beams from The World Trade Center were shown.

I heard about how heavy they were and how thick the steel was. Yet, until you see it first hand, well, it's like the bombs and the Berlin Wall. It just doesn't sink in.

I walked over to the beam, touched it and said a prayer for all those who lost their lives on 9/11. I couldn't help but wonder what floor this came from and if anyone had died near it.

History is funny. We learn about it in school and see it on TV. Yet, until we actually live it we can just push it aside and be thankful our own life was not touched by it.

I think about the children that are to young to even remember 9/11 and how they will grow up hearing about it and reading about it in their history books. Yet, they will never fully understand the loss, heartache and pain that took place that day.

I don't often think about all the pain and suffering that took place in history. That is, until the past meets up with today.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I just got back from Las Vegas and this trip was much different then the other trips I've had to Vegas.

My sister, Maureen and I decided to go explore and see what we could find. So, after a long night of gambling, we slept in, had breakfast and then set out on our adventure.

Have you ever watched the TV show, Pawn Stars? I've only seen bits and pieces of it but Maureen loves it.

We drove down Las Vegas Blvd and found the location of the real Pawn Shop that the show is filmed at.

Looks like we were not the only ones who had this idea. It was crazy there!

Turned out that they were actually filming and so everyone had to wait outside until they were finished.

We were lucky because about two minutes after we got there, they opened the doors and let people in.

It's not that big of a place so they only let so many in at a time.

I don't know why, but, I was surprised to find they had a gift shop there. Of course, everything had to do with the show.

It seemed like most of the sales were coming from the t-shirts, hats, mugs and videos of the show.

I don't think I've ever been in a pawn shop before. It was kind of fun to walk around and see what people sold in order to pay a few bills.

I loved this old slot machine. It was my favorite item in the store.

I bet this old cash register has a fun history behind it.

Of course, there was the diamonds and other jewelry that you would expect to find in a pawn shop. I wonder if any of them came from the old MOB that used to run Vegas.

Sorry about the quality of my photos. I need a new camera! I should have looked to see if they had any good deals.

If you were a sports fan, you would have enjoyed looking at these beauties. They were rings from some of the biggest games ever played. They even had one ring that came from a SUPER BOWL star.

It was actually kind of sad to see some of these items because you knew that people who once were on top had fallen down. Once looked upon as a hero on top of the world was now forced to sell their items just to pay the bills.

Like these Olympic Gold Metals and a Championship Boxing Belt.

You could even buy a fancy motorcycle here.

I also loved this. I wonder how many old love songs were played on this.

An old Coke machine. Back from when a Coke could be purchased for only a dime and it came in the glass bottles. Oh, the good ol' days!

Even old vintage bikes waited for someone to buy them.

Vintage Circus posters were fun to look at.

Some things were not for sale. Those were the items the owner had for his own collection and were just to look at and enjoy.

Like this old Mourning Brooch from the 1800's.

If you watch the show then you may remember these items. They are Faberge Brooches.

While I found them to be rather ugly, they must cost an arm and a leg to purchase because they didn't even a price listed on them.

I asked what the most rare item was in the shop and I was told this old sword. It's from the 1400's and was not for sale.

They really did have some very interesting and fun items. I highly recommend going to check things out if you are in town. You never know what you may find there.

As we were leaving, I heard a group getting loud and they started to follow a few guys. Then someone said it was one of the stars of the shows. A guy named Chumlee or Hoss, I'm not sure who is who.

I tried to get his picture but he refused to turn around to wave or say hi to the crowd. He quickly got in his car and as you can see, I only got a shot of his heavily tattooed arm.

Even though I'm not a big fan of the show, it was still a fun outing. I'm happy we went.

It made me want to watch the show now.

Tomorrow, I'll show you another different place we went to.


Saturday, September 25, 2010


VEGAS BABY!!! I'll be back Tues evening.


Friday, September 24, 2010


Looking back to when I was a kid and went Trick or Treating, I can really see a big change in the type of candy we had and the type of candy the kids today have.

We had some pretty bad stuff back then. Things like wax lips and wax bottles filled with this awful liquid inside. Gum that looked like yellow rocks, I mean gold. The outside was hard and almost broke your teeth. The gum was so old it would kind of fall apart in your mouth and then once you chewed it enough then it would come together and become gum.

Oh yes, let's not forget the wonderful candy cigarettes. Guess they figured they would try to hook kids while they were young.

Today kids go Trick or Treating and they come home with great stuff. Candy that kids and adults like. Lots of chocolate!

We didn't get much chocolate in our Trick or Treat bags. If we did, they were little tiny bars but, highly treasured!

Some houses would make up popcorn balls. What was up with that? Didn't they know Trick or Treating was all about CANDY and not popcorn. Plus, we couldn't eat it because LSD was everywhere and people would put it in popcorn balls along with razors in the apples. At least that is what we were told at school and by our parents.

Getting a popcorn ball made you feel like Charlie Brown. Only it wasn't a rock, it was a LSD Popcorn ball.

Suckers were a big thing back then. Every kid would go home with lots and lots of suckers.

The houses that were big spenders would sometimes give you those gross wax lips.

Even though they taste bad, we loved them. We would wear them and no matter how many times we were seen in them, we would always get a laugh. Or, at least a chuckle.

While suckers weren't thought of as any special treat, Dum Dums were a step up. At least they came in fun flavors.

All kids love Necco Wafers.

Have you had one lately? I think they must be for kids only because as an adult I think they taste like chalk! YUCK.

The peanut butter bars were pretty popular too. I never liked them. I still don't much care for candy made with peanut butter. I love peanut butter but not when it is used to make something sweet. I know, I'm strange.

Many families would buy wrapped candy by the pound at the grocery store. Caramels were almost guarenteed to be found in the Trick or Treat bags of days gone by.

I remember getting things like these strawberry filled candies. I used to think these were more for adults then kids. You would unwrap them and they didn't look anything like a real strawberry. In fact, I don't think they really taste like strawberry either.

Come on people, these candies belonged in the bottom of mom's purses. She could drag them out when you were in church to keep the kids quiet.

Oh, Bit O Honey candy was something that always made my heart skip a little beat.

While most houses would give you a few pieces of candy, some would only give you one. That's right! Only one little piece of candy.

Some houses would use these cute little bags and you didn't know what you got until you were home.

I remember one year, my mom allowed me to get some of these cute bags and I spent the night before Halloween putting the candy in them and folding them up.

I loved doing that. I still love putting little candies and things in cute bags to present them. After all, it's all in the presentation!

Batman was BIG when I was growing up. Not the Batmans of today. They are fake! FAKE I tell you. I'm talking about the REAL Batman. You know, Adam West.

So, the only time it was OK to break the rules and not give out candy for Halloween, was if you were giving out Batman cards!

Then there were the single men, young people who were living out for the first time and those that gave out good candy and so the kids would keep coming back and they would run out of candy.

Those people would hand out pennies.

Not many, just a few. You never knew what you really got until you got home because they would fall to the bottom of the candy.

Yes, kids Trick or Treating today have it better with all the great candy they get these days. Snickers, M&M's, Mars bars and so on.

But, we had one thing on the kids today...


We used pillow cases to Trick or Treat with. We would go out for hours and hours because back then, you didn't have parents go with you unless you were really little. There was no one to get tired or tell you that you had enough candy.

We would go with a group of friends and hit up the houses until we couldn't carry any more candy. We would come home with a full pillow case load with sugar goodness.

Once home, we would spend more time sorting it all out.

The throw aways. Which of course was the popcorn balls, apples, unwrapped candy and so on.

Then there was the not so good candy. You would toss in your own Trick or Treat bowl for the older kids who got to stay out late. After all, it wasn't fair they got to stay out late. So, they should get the cheep candy. Teach them for being older.

There was also a stack of candy you were willing to share with mom and dad and the others who didn't go Trick or Treating.

But, the real good kind always ended up in the Don't Touch stack. This was the candy that you would get punched if you touched. Stay away from this candy.

Living in a family of seven it really was impossible to know who ate what candy. I'm sure we all took a few from each others bags. But, no one was brave enough to do it in front of you. At least I don't remember any doing it.

However, I was the youngest and had to go to bed first so who knows. Maybe I should go punch my siblings now because thinking about it, I know they ate out of my Don't touch stack.