Saturday, December 31, 2011

Scenic Excitement

The Canary island of Lanzarote has a number of established surf schools and has been the location of a number of world wide surf competitions in the last couple of years. The beach of Famara is the most popular of the surf spots and as well as having great surf for the majority of the year it is also an immensely beautiful location.

Turtle Creek

The Westinghouse Bridge spans Turtle Creek, Braddock Avenue and the Norfolk Southern (ex-Conrail, ex-Pennsylvania) railroad tracks.

When it opened for traffic in 1932, the bridge, near Pittsburgh, was the longest concrete-arch structure in the United States.

Towering 240 feet above the Turtle Creek valley, it remains one of the highest bridges in the nation and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.

While the bridge itself is historic, a trip across the bridge also offers a perspective on the history of the Mon Valley that few other locations can match.


Los Angeles – May 25, 2011 – S. Chris Park, Vice President and General Manager of the Wilshire Grand Hotel, announced the hotel’s closure on December 31, 2011 after 60 years of service in downtown Los Angeles at the intersections of Figueroa Street between Wilshire Boulevard and 7th Street. Operated originally as the Los Angeles Statler and known over the last half-century as the Statler Hilton, then the Omni Los Angeles, the behemoth property is currently operating as The Wilshire Grand Hotel. Mr. Park offers, “The Wilshire Grand continues its on-going investment, not only for the future of our business, but also for our guests and for the future of downtown Los Angeles with the addition of two new towers, one of which will be a new hotel, to grace the downtown skyline.”

Friday, December 30, 2011

Amazing Feet: The Nicholas Brothers

by Caroline Palmer

From childhood performances alongside Cab Calloway to thrilling scenes in Hollywood musicals, the dancing Nicholas Brothers were always tapped for greatness
The best popular dancers of this century stand out for their signature styles. Fred Astaire brought effortless grace to every step, Cyd Charisse swept elegantly across the stage, and Gene Kelly radiated charm. When it comes to the Nicholas Brothers, a single scene from the 1940 film Down Argentine Way speaks for itself: They enter dressed in spotless eveningwear and start tapping at a clean clip, every part of their bodies engaged in motion. Before you know it, Harold and Fayard Nicholas are turning cartwheels and flips, landing in the splits, and moonwalking before Michael Jackson was ever the Thriller. They always return, then, to a perfect tempo, nary a thread out of place--a flawless marriage of flash and control. Such moments have led other master movers like Mikhail Baryshnikov to say, "They are probably the most amazing dancers I've seen. Those guys are perfect examples of pure genius."

CHAPLIN: At His Best

The Kid is a 1921 American silent dramedy film written by, produced by, directed by and starring Charlie Chaplin, and features Jackie Coogan as his adopted son and sidekick. This was Chaplin's first full-length movie. It was a huge success, and was the second-highest grossing film in 1921, behind The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The film was selected for inclusion in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 2011

A Special Moment in Time

June 26, 1953: Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell writing their names in the cement outside the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.

Hollywood Moments

Celebrating Nonsense

On the day of the Holy Innocents Els Enfarinats (men with flour-caked faces) go through the streets of Ibi (Alicante), with their duly chosen mayor, who assumes municipal power for the day. These flour-caked figures dress in a slovenly manner and go around the banks and shops imposing fines. In the evening Els Tapats -unrecognizable masked figures- make an appearance. Later the frank and biting bands of els enfarinats, criticising local people and institutions, are read out. Similarly, in Campo de Mirra (Alicante), there are sometimes "Fools" Festivals at Christmas time, where people disguise themselves and go through the streets satirizing life in their town. Julio Caro Baroja, in his novel El Carnaval (Carnival), compares this type of festivity with the Roman Saturnalia, which used to be held around this date, saying: but the traditional day for electing Kings, Mayors, etc., is the day of the Holy Innocents. The traditional jokes played on such a day also took place in Rome during the Saturnalia.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Crescent Moon Tower (Dubai)

There could be a "trick" here

Lighthouse guard in Mare, France must be one of the most courageous people on the planet!Not everyone will have a smoke in such weather, and in such a place!

Banpo Bridge in Seoul, South Korea

Paris computer games store

In fact, the floor is absolutely flat.

Looks like traffic's not too bad . . .

In the Chinese province of Shandong is a bridge across the Gulf of Jiaozhou. The bridge length over 36 km is calculated for eight car lanes, and is the longest sea bridge in the world.

There's a city down there some where ??

Dubai. The view from the skyscraper BurjKhalifa. The height of the building is 828 meters (163 floors).

"the gates of the dungeon"

Thor's Well a/k/a "the gates of the dungeon" on Cape Perpetua, Oregon. At moderate tide and strong surf, flowing water creates a fantastic landscape.

Monday, December 19, 2011

“SCUBA Claus”

“SCUBA Claus” at the world’s largest aquarium! How fun is this? At the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, GA, Santa gets suited up and plunges into the world’s largest aquatic habitat, Ocean Voyager, to swim with whale sharks and manta rays. Definitely a unique way to meet-and-greet ole’ Kris Kringle.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

We all love a parade

The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade is actually older than the annual Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center — and unlike this NYC counterpart, the Boat Parade lasts a few days rather than a few minutes!

"Shakespeare and Company in Paris: Keeping them coming back"

Founded in 1982, this cozy shop pays homage to the literary history of both Paris and New York (its name reflects the NY publication founded by Norman Mailer). With 18,000 English books to choose from, the shop is located in the heart of St. Germain, and regular reading and events keep the book-loving community coming back.

Monday, December 12, 2011

"The Black Hole"

NGC 3842 (upper left) is the brightest galaxy in a rich cluster of galaxies. The black hole at its center (shown in middle as artist's concept) is surrounded by stars distorted by its immense gravitational field. The black hole, which is seven times larger than Pluto's orbit, would dwarf our solar system (inset).

Image by: Pete Marenfeld / UC Berkeley

"The same and completely different"

Twin tiger cubs were born on 31st May at the Tianjin Zoo in China. But cubs Jinliang and Yinshuai aren’t any ordinary twins. Workers at Tianjin Zoo, China were shocked when the pair were born – because they arrived into the world in completely different colours – yellow and white.

The furry feline’s mother Meimei was a mixed blood tiger – and it seems each of her offspring has unusually inherited each of her different colours.

"Grammy Awards"

Frank Gehry, Poster Designer?: The world’s most famous living concert hall designer has taken on another music-related task: designing the official poster for the 54th Grammy Awards. The poster, which depicts the Grammy's trademark golden gramophone in the middle of what appears to be a Gehry-designed city, is reminiscent of the starchitect’s 1991 Chiat/Day building. (Both pair a bizarre, oversize object — the Grammy or, in the case of Chiat/Day, a pair of binoculars — in the middle of a Gehry design.) Gehry designed the L.A. Philharmonic's Walt Disney Concert Hall and sits on the board of the philharmonic, which is this year nominated for a Grammy. [LAT]


Price: $1,849.00

Sunday, December 11, 2011

"the training ground of professional athletes"

Park City Mountain Resort in Utah is a favorite of experienced skiers and snowboarders. SKI magazine readers voted it one of the top ten resorts in North America. The mountain boasts the largest superpipe in the country. And the four terrain parks have been ranked among the top ten by Transworld Snowboarding Magazine for five consecutive years. They're the training ground of professional athletes like Shaun White and Tanner Hall. Park City was home to the 2002 Winter Olympics.

For some stunning new exhibits

The Natural History Museum of Utah (NHMU) opened the doors to the public at the new Rio Tinto Center after years of planning and construction. To celebrate opening day, admission was free. NHMU is a major research institution located at the University of Utah with a focus on the natural and cultural history of the Great Basin Region and the Colorado Plateau.

Inside the stunning new Rio Tinto Center is approximately 51,000 square feet dedicated to new permanent exhibitions within the galleries that explore topics ranging from Utah’s ancient ecosystems and Utah’s first peoples to cutting-edge science in the areas of biogeography and genetics. The Museum’s new exhibit galleries were developed by some of the world’s leading scientists, educators and exhibit designers. They feature Utah’s history, artifacts and objects from every county in the state.

"Los Angeles Harbor Holiday Afloat Parade"

LA Harbor Holiday Afloat Parade

Decorated boats parade through the Port of LA Main Channel.

When: Saturday, December 3, 2011, 6-9:00 pm

Viewing Locations:

Banning Landing Community Center, 100 E. Water Street, Wilmington
The Port of LA Cruise Ship Promenade, 600 N. Harbor Blvd., San Pedro
Ports O' Call Village, 1100 Nagoya Way, San Pedro
Cabrillo Marina, 200 Whaler's Walk, San Pedro

Info and Parade Route:

Image above from:

France or Spain ???

Llívia (Catalan pronunciation: [ˈʎiβiə]) is a town of Cerdanya, province of Girona, Catalonia, Spain. It is a Spanish exclave within the French département of Pyrénées-Orientales. In 2009, the municipality of Llívia had a total population of 1,589.[1]

Llívia is separated from the rest of Spain by a corridor about 2 km wide, which includes the French communes of Ur and Bourg-Madame.

The Esteve Pharmacy, located in Llívia, is a medieval pharmacy, one of the oldest in Europe, founded at the beginning of the 15th century. It keeps albarelos, i.e., medieval type of ceramic pots used in pharmacies, as well as antique drugs, and one of the most important collections of prescription books in Europe.

"Mono Lake's mirror image"

Paul Hiller visited the Eastern Sierra in October to camp and photograph the changing aspen leaves. During his trip, he took a detour to Mono Lake to take in its splendor.

"I captured this image just before dusk and was intrigued by the still water and incredible reflection of the blue sky against it, along with the symmetry that the reflections created," he said.

Especially for Women

If you’re confident skiing blues and ready for some more fun (think Alta’s famous ungroomed runs and exciting steeps), consider one of Alta Lodge Women’s Camps, hosted by the best female instructors of Alta Ski Area’s Alf Englen Ski School, located in Alta, Utah. Alta’s women’s ski camp includes four nights lodging, complimentary breakfast and dinner, three full days of ski instruction, three days of lift tickets, three days of demo skis, and two yoga sessions.

Squaw Valley Magic

The Scenic Cable Car provides amazing views of Squaw Valley and Lake Tahoe.

( Nathan Kendall / Squaw Valley )

What else is new ???

At Squaw Valley, $50 million is going into upgrades that include mountainside lodges and what's said to be the world's first ski-in, ski-out Starbucks. The base area features a new restaurant and bar. Fire pits will be scattered across the Olympic House sun deck.

( Hank deVre / Squaw Valley )

Lunar Eclipse

The Lunar Eclipse in December, 2011 as seen in Hong Kong, China.

Photo by Reuters

Sunday, December 04, 2011

What Comes Naturally NOT!

When it comes to water, penguins aren't naturals.

"Some of them are terrified," says Bethany Wlaz, a keeper at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.

So each time African penguins are born into the zoo's breeding program for the endangered birds, someone like Wlaz becomes their swimming coach. But first comes the introduction to being wet.

Soft as a cotton ball and about the size of a roasted chicken, Male One — hatched on Oct. 12 — is lowered into a stainless steel sink by Wlaz and Betty Dipple, another animal keeper.

"Araaah," the bird protests, as a stream of lukewarm water washes over its head and flippers. "Araaah."

Back and belly, tail feathers and webbed feet, nothing escapes the faucet. Five minutes later, the penguin's first bath is in the can.

While Male One is being dried and wrapped in a fluffy towel, Male Two — four days younger — gets the same treatment and emits a similar donkey-like bray. Puffs of gray down float in the air.

"They're getting the full salon service," Wlaz says.

Doting on African penguins has been a Maryland Zoo specialty for more than three decades. With 55 to 65 birds living at the moat-enclosed area known as Rock Island, the zoo has one of the largest breeding colonies in the country. Another major colony is at the New England Aquarium in Boston.

Frozen Nome

If you have weekend plans to visit Nome, Alaska, you might want to check the weather report.

What’s being called an epic storm has roared across the Bering Sea, slamming into western Alaska. Nome, on Norton Sound in the Bering Sea, is about 160 miles from the U.S.-Russian border.

A winter storm warning is in effect until 9 p.m. Wednesday, and a coastal flood warning is in effect until 6 p.m., the National Weather Service said. The Associated Press reports that storm surges of up to 10 feet are expected.

In its winter storm warning, the National Weather Service predicts as much as 18 inches of snow with visibility near zero in blizzard conditions. Winds, it notes, will be 50 mph with gusts to 70 mph. “Travel and outdoor activities will be extremely difficult and dangerous,” it said.

Nome, with a population of about 3,600, has been tested repeatedly by man and nature. The area grew up as a result of a gold rush, prompted by the discovery of the glittery metal at Anvil Creek in September 1898. In two years, the population swelled to 20,000, and the city was incorporated in 1901. By 1920, when the easy gold pickings were gone and the area was hit hard by a flu epidemic, fewer than 1,000 souls remained.

Today it largely makes headlines during the Iditarod, the 1,150-mile dog sled race that begins in Anchorage and ends in Nome.

I Call This "Determination"

Agoura's Jonathan Cabral won the 110-meter high hurdles during the 2011 CIF Southern Section track and field Division 3 finals at Cerritos College. He won in 13.54 seconds, breaking the old record of 13.65 held by Steve Kerho of Mission Viejo since 1982.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Winning Silver

The Men's U S A Team Sprint squad rode to silver at the 2011 Pan Am Games.

Hybrid Tandem

This happy couple prepared a video to clearly show the joy as a disabled and able body couple display riding a custom made Georgi Georgiev Varna cycle! The delighted customers' video has been posted to show the joy they now have being able to ride together once again! Click on the heading above.

New York gets a new bridge to Vermont

Above, the central arch of the new Lake Champlain Bridge is slowly raised into place on August 26, 2011. New York State Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy and Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin presided over the ribbon cutting of the new bridge. This project was completed in less than two years.

"simulating a jetliner on takeoff"

Sound has long been used as a weapon. The Germans put sirens on Stuka dive bombers in World War II to amplify the terror to unlucky souls below. Jamaican maroons — fugitive slaves — used the abeng horn to unnerve British colonial soldiers.

The U.S. Army blasted rock music to torment former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega. And according to the Bible, Joshua brought down the walls of Jericho by having his priests blow rams' horns.

Now, the power of loud noise is being harnessed by police departments.

A device known as the sound cannon is joining Tasers, rubber bullets and pepper spray in law enforcement's expanding arsenal of nonlethal weapons.

It's officially called the Long Range Acoustical Device, or LRAD, and it has two primary uses. One is as a high-tech megaphone that generates a beam of sound that can cut through the din of a noisy protest far better than conventional public-address systems.

It also functions as a tactical weapon — projecting a high-pitch chirping sound that makes people cover their ears and run away. And with a maximum volume of 149 decibels, the LRAD can get about as loud as a jetliner on takeoff.

Sergio Scaglietti 1920-2011

Sergio Scaglietti was called Ferrari's 'maestro of aluminum.' He molded the bodies of the 750 Monza, the 250 Testa Rossa, the 250 GTO and the California Spyder. He was renowned for his ability to do his work without blueprints. Sergio Scaglietti molded the original of this 1957 250 Testa Rossa Ferrari (shown above).

(Scott Williamson / Petersen Automotive Museum)

Monday, November 28, 2011


The Criterion Collection's Eclipse series pays tribute to the Indian-born actor Sabu. At 13, he was discovered by documentary filmmaker Robert Flaherty ("Nanook of the North"), who cast him in a role of an elephant driver in the popular 1937 film "Elephant Boy." Sabu is best known for his role as Abu in Alexander and Zoltan Korda's 1940 film "The Thief of Bagdad." Sabu became a U.S. citizen in 1944 and served in the armed services during World War II. His postwar career suffered. He died of a heart attack in 1963.

the "father of special effects"

Director D.W. Griffith once said of French filmmaker Georges Méliès, "I owe him everything." Charlie Chaplin described him as "the alchemist of light."

Méliès built the first movie studio in Europe and was the first filmmaker to use production sketches and storyboards. Film historians consider him the "father of special effects" — he created the first double exposure on screen, the split screen and the dissolve. Not to mention that he was one of the first filmmakers to have nudity in his films — he was French, after all.

And thanks to Martin Scorsese's critically acclaimed 3-D family film, "Hugo," contemporary audiences are being lovingly introduced to the silent film pioneer. "Hugo" is a fanciful tale about a young boy, Hugo (Asa Butterworth), who lives in the Paris train station in the early 1930s and discovers that the curmudgeonly old man (Ben Kingsley) operating a toy shop in the station is Georges Méliès. ("Hugo" took in $15.4 million from Wednesday to Sunday, playing on far fewer screens than other wide releases).

When cinema was in its infancy, Méliès made about 500 films filled with wonder, humor and outrageous effects. A trained magician who captivated audiences with his illusions at the Theatre Robert Houdin, he happened to be in the audience on Dec. 28, 1895, when the Lumière brothers premiered their Cinematographie to the public.

Within a year, he was making his own one-minute films. His best known work, 1902's "A Trip to the Moon," which features the iconic image of a rocket landing in the eye of the man in the moon, has recently been restored to its hand-colored glory.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

"Tiger and Turtle"

From a distance, "Tiger and Turtle -- Magic Mountain" looks like a conventional roller coaster, but get up close and you'll realize its curves aren't meant for a quick adrenaline rush. The steel structure, which made its public debut Nov. 13, is actually a giant sculpture by German artists Heike Mutter and Ulrich Genth.