Beware of Nampa’s Asian Nest

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Wallace-to-Nampa-MAPThe city of Nampa, as it happens, is just about halfway between Wallace, Idaho (where I live) and Tahoe Keys, California (where I intended to visit family for a few days).

I went online to see if I could find good and inexpensive lodgings to overnight in Nampa on my drive down to Tahoe.

A place called “Nampa’s Asian Nest” had excellent reviews and listed the very reasonable price of $65 for a one-night stay.  I noticed that the online listing said bookings were not refundable.  But I figured for that price what could go wrong?

So, on Saturday, July 28th, 2018 I took the plunge and booked a one-night stay at Nampa’s Asian Nest with my credit card.

Almost immediately I received an email confirmation of my reservation, now showing the amount billed to my credit card as $116.66.  Apparently a cleaning fee had been added to the room price originally listed.

I, in turn, immediately cancelled my reservation — in light of the fact that the amount billed was more than $50 greater than the advertised price.

Emails to Nampa’s Asian Nest explaining why I’d cancelled and asking for a refund proved futile.  So did attempted phone calls.

My credit card company later reported that because the booking was described as nonrefundable I could not challenge the $65 part of the $116.66 charge.  I could get a refund for the remaining $51.66 if I could prove that $65 was the advertised online price for a room.

Getting some sort of justice was becoming more trouble than it was worth.

Nampa-to-Tahoe-Keys-MAP

I don’t know if this sort of thing is common.

From now on I’m going to take a little more care in any online bookings of this sort.

Folks should of course book at Nampa’s Asian Nest with caution.  Maybe other online bookings as well should be approached a little more carefully.

Note:  I made the 920 mile return drive in a single, 14-hour stretch of straight-through driving, with the help of my wonderful pickup’s various electronic comforts and entertainments.  In so doing I managed to bring my trip budget almost back into balance.  A revenge of sorts, I guess.  Or so it felt.

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Borges and Judas Revisited

BORGES-LIFEJorge Luis Borges’s (1899-1986) short story, “Three Versions of Judas,” was first published in 1944.  In time it would become one of the best known of his many cerebral and captivating literary concoctions.

The story offered three unorthodox and inventive re-interpretations of Judas Iscariot’s betrayal of Jesus.  In 2006, 62 years after the story’s publication, a team of distinguished scholars released an English translation of a 2nd century gnostic tractate titled the Gospel of Judas (the JudGos).  This newly available document set the scholarly, literary, and theological worlds abuzz, soon generating best-sellers, a National Geographic television documentary, and no little controversy.  The chief question before interested audiences:  Was Judas truly “the bad guy” described in the four canonical gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, or was he instead “a good guy” assigned his perfidious villainy from on high in order that Christ’s earthly mission might be completed?  An additional alluring question also drew interest:  What was the relationship between Borges’s 1944 short story and the newly translated JudGos?  Had Borges’s formidable erudition and his longstanding preoccupation with gnosticism somehow permitted his famous short story to anticipate significant elements of the Gospel of Judas‘s content?      Continue reading

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New Holl Family Photo

Holl Family - c 1954.jpg

Aunt Sue, in Victoria, emailed this old photo yesterday.  Shown, left to right, are Uncle Fred Holl, Aunt Jeanne, Peter Holl, my grandfather, Millie, grandmother, Uncle Manfred, and Aunt Debbie.  My guess — and it’s only a guess — is that it dates from about 1954 and was taken in Canada.  It might be a little earlier, too.  Missing here are the two sisters, Gisela, my mother, and Aunt Sue, and their spouses; they were far away by this time in California and Victoria, respectively.  Great Picture!

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Uncle Manfred

Manfred - 1965

Dr. Manfred Holl (1928-2018)

Manfred passed away at his home in Carmel Valley, California on April 28, 2018.  He was my mother’s younger brother and the youngest of the four Holl siblings.  Manfred kindly gave me a summer job at his Monterey-based meteorological research firm in the mid-1960s.  Manfred and Debbie also provided support and respites during my time at Ford Ord, for basic and advanced training.  The picture dates from 1965, when he appeared in a print ad in a business oriented magazine.  His physics Ph.D. was from U.C.L.A. and he ran a successful research operation, linked to the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, for many years.  An unfortunate conflict over an inheritance issue fractured relations between Roizens and Holls many years ago.  He is survived by his spouse, Debbie, and sons Christopher and Michael.  I have many more good memories than bad, fortunately.  R.I.P.

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Safeguarding Col. Wallace’s Semi-Sullied Reputation

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Wallace, 1887

There are weighty questions in history’s halls – Why did Rome fall?  What launched the Renaissance?  Why the American Civil War?  The following doesn’t deal with one.  It merely touches on one of history’s countless minor footnotes – in this case, here in Wallace.

Author Tony Bamonte offered a long quotation from Richard Magnuson’s Coeur d’Alene Diary at page 59 of his recently published book, Historic Wallace, Idaho and My Unforeseen Ties:

In 1887, the Colonel was called to Coeur d’Alene by the U.S. Land Receiver and informed that the scrip he used to buy the land was no good.  Wallace claimed he then paid the land officer $50 “for advice” and was told the government’s letter informing the land office about the scrip would not become a part of the Land Office records.  Wallace then went to Spokane Falls to buy other land scrip so he could cover his purchase, but he found it was too expensive.  He claimed the land officer told him to sell the land and no one could injure him for it.  The land officer said he would protect him as his attorney…. Wallace contended the entry or issuance of duplicate scrip was fraudulent, and that he would fight to establish his rights.

On March 7, the town council met to consider ways to raise money to get a patent on the town land.  Colonel Wallace asked that nothing be done for 30 days, as a land officer was on the way to investigate his land problem.  His request was not complied with.

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Wallace’s upcoming mayoral election

Wallace-1950s-cropped

It was good to see — in the Wednesday, October 25th edition of the Shoshone News-Press – that Wallace’s upcoming mayoral election will be contested.

I’m guessing that Lynn Mogensen is the likely frontrunner at this point.  Her long service on the city council and perhaps especially her employment with the U.S. Postal Service have surely provided her with a wide array of acquaintances and friends around our town.  I like Lynn, and, speaking for myself, our interactions have always been friendly.

At the same time, I hope Wallace voters will take a close look at Lynn’s opponent, David Sherman.  I don’t know him well, but I’ve been following his remarks and commentaries for some time on Facebook.  On that medium David Sherman may be said to come across as an intelligent, thoughtful, educated, and sensible voice.  Perhaps especially in his many exchanges with our local Hunter-Thompson-esque and firebrand wordsmith, the redoubtable David Bond, Sherman elevates the medium.    Continue reading

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“David Attenborough’s Natural Curiosities” — for Zoe

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10/17/17

Dear Zoe,

Sometimes just before going to bed I like to watch a nature program on Netflix, just to take in some easy watching and to appreciate nature’s beauty and variety before drifting off to sleep.  Yes, I get tired of the endless repetitions in their scripts – including, for example, that old saw that juvenile animal play develops important life skills.  (“I know, I know!”)  But I like these sorts of programs anyhow, in their moment, and spend some time, when I’m hankering to watch one, looking for something new and interesting.

Last night, as it happens, I stumbled upon a David Attenborough series called “David Attenborough’s Natural Curiosities.”  I was a little reluctant about starting it, thinking I may have seen all his examples before – on one or another of his other great productions.  The individual programs in the “Curiosities” series are short and, so far at least, he considers two such “curiosities” in each program.  So far, in the two programs I watched last night, he’s examined the chameleon, the giraffe, the platypus, and the midwife toad.  Well, it didn’t take long for me to realize that I’d lucked out.

Why?    Continue reading

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