How did the Spaghetti Bowl get its name?

As much as I’d like to tell a salacious tale that a member of the Italian outfit coined the common name for the nest of freeway ramps at Interstate 15 and U.S. 95, that’s not the case. Nor was it our near-native helicopter traffic reporter, “Chopper Tom” Hawley—although he may have used the term here first.

“Spaghetti bowl” is said to originate with a 1970s British journalist, just after the intertwined intersections became trendy with traffic engineers (ours was built in the late 1960s). Dozens of interchanges worldwide are called “spaghetti bowls”; Reno has one (I-80/U.S. 395), as does Henderson (I-215/U.S. 93). But unlike the traffic snarls created years ago, most move cars fairly quickly, thanks to the lessons applied during our Spaghetti Bowl’s late-90s re-engineering.

Or so one would think. The jumbled cluster-truck on I-15 south near Las Vegas Boulevard and I-215 has been in some state of fix since opening, and the recent reinvention of the Summerlin Parkway/U.S. 95/Rainbow interchange proves that as long as we are married to the automobile, traffic engineers and construction crews will have work.

A bird keeps me awake by sitting outside my window and incessantly chirping all kinds of crazy noises. Has someone’s prized parrot gotten loose?

Several years ago, while your Native was relaxing with Chet Baker and a gin and tonic, watching his dog meander around the bushes, a gray bird with a long tail swooped suddenly from the trees, frantically dive-bombing my uninterested spaniel. When the dog departed, the bird alighted atop a telephone pole and recited two hours of various voices—insects, amphibians, mechanical noises, other birds, and what I swear was a cellphone ring and a car alarm. Fascinated, I recorded several minutes on my iPhone and called my mother. A British expat, she knows more about birds than anyone else I know (Sir David Attenborough and all that), and was sure my new frenemy was a mimus polyglottos, or northern mockingbird. This amazing species can acquire a repertoire of 200 sounds, all amazing to hear—unless, I suppose, you are trying to sleep. Enjoy their song, but respect their nests; as the North Las Vegas City Hall learned in 2010, the little buggers are quite protective, forcing officials to erect a caution sign depicting a couple running scared from angry birds.

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The splendors of Ecuador are far-reaching and unmatched the world over. With wonderful cultural sites like the Museum of the Equator in Quito and the Galapagos Islands, there is no other place offering such varying environments. The culture is rich, the food is indigenous and the people are warm and closely tied to their roots. Here’s how to see Ecuador and the Galapagos in seven days, without missing a beat.