Norm’s Pacific Ocean Cruise, Plus This & That

Took a real vacation for nearly two weeks. Part of it was spent on the Pacific Ocean in a cruise ship called “Splendor,” owned by Carnival Cruises. its destination was the Mexican Riviera.  Had a real cool balcony room on deck 8.  Swear it was like riding in my new Chevrolet, real smooth as we set to sea Saturday afternoon from Long Beach, Calif., and headed south for Cabo.  We landed at Cabo Monday morning, anchoring offshore, and were taken ashore by special boats. We couldn’t wait to get off the ship.  We, Nancy and I, had signed up “To Swim With the Dolphins.”


Carnival Cruise Splendor

We formed in a group on the pier to wait until everyone was there. I noticed a few people were watching every move we made–Not in a bad way, but in a protective way.  If you sneezed someone was there with a hanky (I merely am saying everyone was most helpful).  Now I’m not a fast walker, nor am I any good at distance.  So, I often get slower and slower as I begin to walk anywhere, and as  we walked off the pier and headed towards the dolphins, I knew I was going to be in trouble.  Eventually, one of the hosts came back and asked if I was O.K. and stayed with us so we wouldn’t get lost.


The first thing we did was to get assigned to a locker, where we got into our swimsuit (naturally everyone just had to get out of their street clothes). Next we were trimmed down to a small group of four couples. We were assigned two instructors, who gave us information about the mammal, and what we could and what we couldn’t do, while we watched the dolphins at play right in front of us.  After putting on our life jackets, we sat on the edge of the pool, then we all stepped off into the pool and floated next to the edge as a female dolphin slowly passed in front of us.  We were allowed to place our hand on her back and side. What a thrill as she slowly passed each one of us.  She then did a huge jump and returned with her belly up and we rubbed it and sorta scratched her again.  I swear she was sending me a message of greeting.


Norm swimming with the dolphins

There is a lot more, but I think you should have the privilege of learning that personally.  The big thrill was getting my hands on her fins and taking off at a rapid rate around the pool and returning to the edge where I was helped out of the water. That was worth the whole trip believe me!  I have done a lot of things in my life, from racing cars to flying in a jet fighter, but there is nothing like being jetted around a pool by a dolphin.


The next day we visited Mazatlán where we hired a private taxi and toured the city for two hours.  That afternoon, back on the ship, that I fell down getting onto an elevator to go somewhere.  As I was stepping into the elevator my foot slipped on about an inch of water covering the floor and away I went.  Fortunately, my training in Judo had instilled in my mind how to fall, and my head didn’t hit the floor with a hard hit.  My companion, of course, screamed as I laid there helpless for a couple minutes soaking up some of the water from the floor. She called 911 on the ship phone, as another guest was helping me up (she was an EMT nurse with her daughter).  Needless to say, the ship officer wanted me to go down to Medical, but I knew I wasn’t hurt so we took witnesses names, signed a paper that I was O.K. and went back to our room to prepare for dinner.


Norm swimming with the dolphins

Believe it or not, I only gained 2 ½ pounds on the ship.  There was food everywhere.  Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and any thing from Pizza to coffee and donuts, to a neat Deli were provided. And it’s all part of the ticket.  Dinner was always a treat.  We met a nice couple from Vegas who were our dinner partners at a table for four for all seven nights.  Our steward in the dining room (Gold Pearl) was Robert who had been working on cruise ships for 29 years and would be closing out his career at the end of the year. What a great steward!  He was always “Johnny-on-the-spot” with iced tea, coffee or whatever we needed.


And I must say to a person working on the ship–from the guy responsible for mopping up the water, to the Captain of the ship they were all so polite and helpful. Yes, I got a sunburn, but fortunately for me at least, my companion had brought along some vinegar to cut the pain. Getting on the ship and off the ship was very well organized too.


Overall the seven nights aboard the Splendor were spent having lots of fun, meeting new people at the pools, spas, and bars.  Humm, no difference than what goes on in Vegas every day.



In this age of extraordinary technological advancement, what if society could make killing a thing of the past? That is what Rick Smith, founder and chief executive officer of Axon Enterprises and developer of the TASER, proposes is possible in his provocative new book “The End of Killing: Using Technology to Solve Violence.” The public is invited to hear his presentation on Saturday, June 1, in The Mob Museum’s historic courtroom and witness a live TASING demonstration.

In his new book, Smith writes that since its launch in 1993, the TASER has been deployed more than 1 million times saving hundreds of thousands of people from potential death or serious injury. Today, Smith’s company develops technology and weapon products for law enforcement and civilians and is the largest manufacturer of body cameras. Drawing on the latest innovations in advanced weaponry, biotechnology and artificial intelligence, Axon Enterprises seeks ways to improve how police, soldiers, courts and many others in law enforcement and national security perform their work.

Says Smith in the Author’s Note at the outset of his book, “Alongside TASER weapon technology, we led the movement to have police wear body cameras, which have shown great promise to both improve transparency and reduce violent police encounters. We’ve proven, I believe, that it’s possible to address important social problems through a combination of technology and entrepreneurship.”

Rick Smith

He acknowledges the book contains what might “sound like far-out ideas,” noting “the ideas we were tempted to write off become the breakthrough solutions we need.” At this program, the public can hear about some of his unconventional solutions, as well as the thoughts of individuals consulted for his book who both agree and disagree with his ideas.

Prior to launching Axon Enterprises, Smith earned his B.S. in Neuroscience from Harvard University (Cum Laude), a Master’s in International Finance from the University of Leuven in Belgium and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago. He was co-winner of the Ernst and Young 2002 Entrepreneur of the Year and made Phoenix Business Journal’s list of “Most Admired CEOs and Top-Level Executives” in 2010.

For more information, please call (702) 229-2734 or visit


The city of Las Vegas invites residents of all ages to the 16th annual Las Vegas Senior Idol Showcase. Tickets are on sale now at all city of Las Vegas senior centers for $5, and they are going quickly. The variety show takes the stage at the Charleston Heights Arts Center, 800 S. Brush St., Thursday, June 20, at 3 p.m. and will feature entertainment by amateur and professional performers. All performers are between 56 and 89 years of age.


City of Las Vegas

Solo and group performances will reflect the diversity of the city in song, dance, music and comedy and here are just a few of the interesting act that will hit the stage: Trina Wiggins, a grandmother and pediatrician with Volunteers in Medicine of Southern Nevada, will perform a Tina Turner fitness/dance tribute to “Proud Mary;” Kenneth Grady will sing the Alex North/Hy Zaret hit “Unchained Melody;” The “Glitz” duo of Mariza Hein and Lorraine Jones will salsa dance to “Tus Besitos;” Retired Verizon Communications executive secretary Liz Swantek will sing the Smokey Robinson and The Miracles 1965 hit, “Ooh, Baby Baby;” Backstage Revue duo Ann Vizzaccero and Sonja Swenson will sing “Happiness Hotel,” made famous by the Muppets in “The Great Muppet Caper.”


Tammy Hicks

And there are more: Treasures of the Nile belly dancers will perform in costume to music by Ro-Je; Linda Wells will sing Aretha Franklin’s 1968 hit “Ain’t No Way;” The eight Tapping Troubadours will dance to “It’s A Musical;” Entertainer and former Mr. Universe/Mr. America Bill Cunningham will sing “I’ve Got The World On A String;” The duo of U.S. Postal Service mail carrier Charles Vecchi and retired schoolteacher Jean Henning will perform to “People Magazine;” The Sirocco group will perform a Middle Eastern dance with veils; Former Mrs. Nevada America Tammy Hicks will sing the 1951 popular song written by Churchill Kohlman, “Cry;” The Six Sunsations dancers of Sun City MacDonald Ranch will perform to a “Mamma Mia” medley, and even more will fill out the night. For more information, contact Alice Jarvis at 702-229-6453.


Well, gang, I’m still treating that sunburn, but the trip is and was one I will never forget as I am in love with a beautiful swimmer, a dolphin named “Dolly!”

I’m outa here!

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