When my son was a baby I wrote an article about traveling to Israel with him. I wrote that “I prepared for the trip like a general preparing for an invasion.” I took tons of disposable diapers as they weren’t so available in Israel at the time, cans of formula, and an assortment of other items. Well, disposable diapers are available all over the world now so that wouldn’t be a problem, but if you are traveling with kids, be they babies or teens, be prepared! Here are some tips you might find useful.
1. Traveling By Car
Traveling by car is the easiest way to take along everything you can think of to make the trip more palatable to your offspring and easier for you and all the adults. For babies, obviously bring enough formula, juices, and diapers, as well as toys to keep them amused, if they are beyond the stage where their hands and feet are enough to keep them occupied. Take changes of clothes for wetting or other such accidents, and a small pillow and blankets.
Toddlers and kids from three to six present the impatience problem. “When are we going to get there?” is often a refrain before you’re even out of the driveway. First of all, get the little ones psyched up and excited about whereever you are going and never mention that any trip will be longer than “soon.” Have any child that’s able to walk pack his or her own backpack. In fact, this is a great time to get a child a new backpack or little suitcase just for trips. Have the child put in all of his or her favorite toys, coloring books, books, paper, crayons, and a pencil or pen. Paper and crayons are essential. They can keep kids busy for hours. Favorite blankets — but small ones just for trips — and tiny pillows are also essential so if they fall asleep they’ll be comfortable.
For all trips an emergency medical stash is important. Buy a plastic lunch box and have it contain children’s aspirin, Tylenol, children’s cough medicine, cute bandages, neosporin, and a digital thermometer. Also carry extra prescriptions if your children are on any medications. I once stayed at a very posh Beverly Hills hotel which didn’t even have a thermometer — the hotel’s limousine had to take me to Walgreens just to purchase one.
2. Keeping Them Amused On A Car Trip
For most kids, up to a certain age, counting cars of different colors and the number of trucks, signs, shopping centers, and things that are similar is great for passing the time. Here is where the pen and paper come in handy. If they are old enough, they can also write down each time they see something they are counting. Even a four or five year old can make marks for each time a car, truck or other counted item appears. Watching for speed-limit signs is also a great way to learn numbers. Buy inexpensive binoculars for kids to watch life along the road and through cities as well. If two children are a bit older, then card games and even pocket chess are stable enough to play. Older kids can read the books they brought and even younger non-readers will love looking at pictures. Ask kids to draw what they see on the road as well.
For teens, they’ll keep themselves busy texting (or complaining). If it’s a trip between sessions in school, you might suggest that older children bring special assignments to get ahead in class.
Bring a road map to have older kids follow where they are. They can mark up the map as they pass a place listed on it.
3. Snacks On The Trip?
Have kids pack snacks the night before. Try to steer them to healthy snacks like baby carrots, celery sticks, and fruit. For little kids, always cut up fruit, like apples, as they will most likely not finish them. If they want something chewy, then try to get something as healthy as possible. Little bottles of water and healthy juices are great. Carry along some powdered milk so that you can replenish the supply with bottled water if you aren’t able to get more milk along the way. Yogurts travel very well and up to 24 hours without refrigeration. Carry along a manual can opener and some cans of tuna or salmon. Healthy crackers (check for no hydrogenated oil etc.) are always good. Carry plastic cutlery — it’s easy to use and throw away when done. Don’t forget to give kids plastic bags for garbage and carry a big one to toss everything afterwards.
4. Plane Travel Tips?
Special backpacks and suitcases are also important here, filled with the same kinds of toys, crayons, books, and paper and pencils that you take for automobile travel. Here, because of the TSA, what you take in your medicine kit may be limited. You can still take a thermometer, but any liquid medications have to be three ounces or under. You can take fruit, snack bars, tuna and maybe salmon pouches, but you won’t be able to take bottled water, yogurts, or juices. These you’ll have to purchase once you’re through the TSA checkpoint. You can carry powdered milk and snacks like bars and crackers.
Books, card games, crayons, and paper are still handy here to keep kids busy. A small blanket and small pillow are also great if there’s room for them. If it’s your children’s first airplane trip and experience with TSA, it would be a good idea to talk to them about both experiences so that they won’t be apprehensive about either.
5. Cruise Tips?
Even here it’s a good idea to bring something to color with so that your child can keep busy at a table which may be peopled with strangers. Most cruise lines have children’s programs and an infirmary so a medical kit may not be necessary, though a thermometer might still be a good idea so that you can check if it’s even necessary to take the child to the ship’s infirmary. Even though food is provided, healthy snacks of fruit may be great to have
In all cases, when traveling with kids it is essential to keep them busy, busy, busy. Keeping them busy will make your travels, by whatever means, smooth and pleasant.
Santa Catalina Island, or as everyone calls it Catalina, is the only inhabited of California’s Barrier Islands. Viewing it from the ferry as we arrived, I found the powerful, craggy, thrusting-out shoreline magnificent and breathtaking. In fact the only really flat surface is the six block Avalon downtown, Crescent Avenue, which borders on sandy beaches. The rest of the town rolls and rises up and down, winding along with houses, and condos perched up the hilly sides. It has a Mediterranean feel with its pastel colors.
Four thousand people live on the island with 3,800 in Avalon.
Thanks to Wrigley — who bought out his co-investors — and Wrigley’s son Phillip — who established a Conservancy — 88% of the 8-by-76 mile island has been left in the same pristine state as when the Catalina Indians lived here. The Conservancy offers jeep tours of the inland and other coastal areas, where Bison (not native to the island, but brought in by a Hollywood filming group) may be encountered. Several hundred movies have been made here.
Wrigley also built an island focal point that catches every new visitor’s eye, The Casino, which has never been used for gambling, but was a big dance hall in the forties. Now it’s the island’s movie theater. Once a year a silent film festival is held here with an organist providing the music. Many visitors and islanders dress in circa 1920 garb. A big dinner and dance bash takes place on New Year’s Eve which is also a great time for everyone to dress up.
A jazz festival is held in the fall, and several art festivals as well.
Catalina has been a great retreat and living spot for many celebs. Marilyn Monroe lived there with her sailor husband when she was still Norma Jean; Zane Grey’s house still stands atop a hill above the beach road; Ronald Reagan was there with the Wrigley-owned Chicago Cubs as a broadcaster; and of course, Natalie Wood drowned here off her yacht.
The history of the island and its intriguing Hollywood connections can be seen with blown up photos of Wrigley and others in the island museum.
Catalina has become a great place to escape for people from everywhere, and an adventure land for people who love the water, to scuba, to snorkel, or just to take the kids on the glass-bottom boat to feed the fish through open wells. Either way it’s a real treat for kids of all ages to see the fish swarm in their feeding frenzy.
The more adventurous can also kayak at Descanso Beach and I was told that babies can even go if held by parents. I myself went kayaking with a four-year-old. We saw whales and dolphins! Day trips and overnight trips can also be scheduled.
Catalina is known for its special sea life. Snorkel and scuba equipment can be rented by the hour or day and there are short courses for scuba certification. The center point for many of these water adventures is the green pier which juts out into the Pacific. This is also the place to go para-sailing. The pier is always bustling.
Landlubbers are not left out. Segways, bicycles — including electric bikes — can be rented by the hour or day. Segway tours are also offered. Several marathons and triathlons are held each year along with a grueling 50-mile marathon!
At Descanso Beach — a great, secluded scenic area, just outside of town — there’s a zip line course that most zippers would love. A short introductory lesson is given for newbies, and children as young as five can ride random with an adult. First zip is off of a 350 foot height over an open canyon chasm. Longest zip, 1,000 feet and fastest, forty miles an hour.
Hiking the 46-mile trail is fun and you really get the feeling of being part of the island. Permits are free but a three dollar donation is suggested. It takes about three days.
One of the most quaint things about Catalina is that golf carts are used as vehicles. Rent one and tour the heights for great views of the city. Some rental properties come with carts.
The food is varied and plentiful both day and evening with outdoor eating. Night life is usually at the restaurants. Maggie’s Blue Rose, which serves upscale Mexican food and gigantic and exotic tequilas, is usually a great place to hang out. You can watch tortillas being made and flipped. Steve’s steak house, run by a three generation islander, has great harbor views.
A wonderful way to get a feel for where you’d like to eat and an eating adventure in itself is to take a “cultural and tasting walking tour” with Taste of Catalina Food Tours covering five different restaurants. It includes an interesting talk about the town’s history by your guide. A drinking tour is also offered.
There are a number of places to stay, even houses to rent. One of the most charming and hospitable is the Aurora Hotel and Spa, a 16-room cozy inn which has a rooftop veranda with great views of the City and harbor. A complimentary breakfast of hard-boiled eggs, juice, fruit, cereals, sweets, and individual Keurig tea and coffees is offered, as well as 24-hour coffee, tea, and fruit. There’s even a Keurig-maker in each room. The Aurora offers packages with ferry tickets and taxi pickups.
We were warmly greeted upon our arrival, treated as family during our stay, and hugged by Richard and Diana, two hotel personnel, when we left. Islanders are friendly, down to earth, and welcoming.
The worst part of a trip to Catalina is leaving.
See the previous installments in Arlene’s travel series:
I lit Shabbat candles this past Friday night for the first in a very long time. I made the decision somewhere between learning that the Grand Synagogue of Paris had closed its doors on Shabbat for the first time since the end of World War 2 and the starling fact that 15 Jewish patrons of the kosher supermarket in Paris huddled in a storage freezer to avoid being executed by terrorists.
Roger L. Simon wrote a compelling piece in the wake of last week’s barbaric attacks perpetrated by radical Islamists in Paris. Reading his article I observed with irony that he writes about America’s need for a Churchill. Perhaps, pray to God in His mercy we have one, as we are now surely England with a Neville Chamberlain at the helm. Europe, on the other hand, does not have a Churchill in sight. Europe’s Churchills and their children have fled and are fleeing, some at a breakneck pace. The only Churchill I see on the world horizon is Bibi Netanyahu, which is why he will no doubt be elected to another term as prime minister in Israel, regardless of the deals he may or may not cut with the ultra-religious. Internal politics have to be placed on the back burner when international enemies are this bloodthirsty.
Jugglers, mimes, keyboard artists, and assorted musicians perform on the steps of one of New York City’s most prestigious museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art. These performers are part of New York City’s museum scene every weekend when New Yorkers and visitors alike make the rounds of the many museums in the Big Apple.
New York can well be called Museum City, USA, with more museums than any other city in the country. There are museums of art, history, science, music, broadcasting, fashion, and almost as many museums as there are cultures, professions, and interests. Many are small, offbeat, and sometimes only one floor large, their likes not found outside the Big Apple. A museum hopping trip to New York will be both unusual and educational, and you’ll find that even after you think you’ve seen them all, a new one opens!
New York museums aren’t just collections of things. Some offer concerts, poetry readings, lectures, and movies. Most museums are in Manhattan and can be toured by area, as the larger ones are within walking blocks of one another on “Museum Mile”. A few are in different part of New York City. Many are closed on Mondays, open late mornings, and have shops where you can buy items related to the collections, like books and postcards. Many even have restaurants.
I have no interest in seeing Ridley Scott’s epic IMAX 3-D meisterwerk Exodus: Gods and Kings. Why would I want to spend money on a “gloriously junky” movie that turns my history into a collection of high-tech special effects laced together by a biased, biblically-inaccurate script? Yet, for however lousy the movie itself might be, it has inspired some interesting commentary on Jewish peoplehood from Emma Green over at the Atlantic. For Green, the film inspired a polemic that highlights the seemingly eternal struggle Jews have with the idea of being called out, that is to say “chosen” by God.
I’ve always found this to be rather asinine as far as ideological burdens go. Most people struggle to find their purpose in life. Jews are born into it. We are here to bring God’s teachings into the world in order to make this earth a better place. This chosen status, this calling doesn’t make us any better than anyone else. It simply gives us a job to do, a role that manifests itself through every aspect of existence, every academic discipline, every profession we’ve ever encountered. Whether we’re religious or not, or politically Left or Right, we (for the most part) are bent on doing our part to make the world a better place. Which is probably why those who hate us the most love to rub our chosenness in our face, intimidating the Emma Greens among us into second guessing our God-given responsibility.
When I was a guest at Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu in the Beit Sh’ean Valley in Israel, I had to get up at four or five A.M. to get to the fields on a cart driven behind a tractor, with other young people, so that I could pick vegetables before breakfast. These where huge smorgasbord affairs with lots of oatmeal (because it was cheap, hot, and filling) and whatever was the most of the crop of the day. Of course, I wasn’t a paying guest, I was a worker volunteer.
Years later I became a guest again at another kibbutz, Ramat Rachel, at that time a half-hour ride from Jerusalem. I didn’t have to do any work at all, because this time I paid to be a guest. I still had the smorgasbord breakfast (which all kibbutzim with guest facilities offer), but this time it included a variety of cheeses, cereals, sweets, juices, and fish, among other things. Cappuccino was offered along with coffee and tea. I no longer had to work for my meals, and could enjoy all the recreational offerings of Rama Rachel which included a huge swimming facility, and even water slides. I recently revisited Rama Rachel and since Jerusalem has expanded so much, it is now on the edge of the city with a bus stop which offers buses constantly. It also has been the site of an archaeological excavation and offers an archaeological garden to tour.
Stretching 150 miles from Miami, U.S. 1 traverses the Florida Keys, a series of narrow tropical islands, surrounded by aquamarine waters, and connected by 42 bridges — one is seven miles long! There are 800 keys, with only a few inhabited. Coral formations range offshore their entire length. They stretch east to west, ending in Key West, the southernmost spot in the U.S. Weather is warmer in winter than anywhere else in the continental U.S. in winter, and pleasant in summer.
The variety of land and water attractions include gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, sailing, fishing, sampling a medley of fresh area seafood, viewing unusual fauna and flora, swimming with dolphins, sea kayaking, and more. It includes the world’s third largest coral reef, which extends 240 miles from Key Largo to the Tortugas. Lush vegetation proliferates with flowering bushes and bougainvillea.
The food is special, too, with dishes like Key Lime Pie, made from tart yellow limes; Bahamian fish stew; and conch served in a variety of ways. The very special Keys’ deer are miniature, no larger than medium-sized dogs. They are so adorable that you might be tempted to take one home as a pet. Several of the keys offer the chance to swim with these intelligent warm creatures who love humans and especially kids. My son swam with them several times.
A region as varied and storied as the South has plenty of wonderful holiday traditions. From the biggest of cities to the tiniest towns, Southerners — and Yankee tourists — have plenty of special ways to spend the Christmas season.
Honestly, I had a tough time picking ten destinations, but I think the ones I chose demonstrate the variety of Southern experiences. Enjoy!
10. Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC
Ok, so I took some heat for putting Asheville in my list of the 10 Most Overrated Destinations in the South, but I stand by my choice. However, one of Asheville’s most iconic locations makes the list of the ultimate holiday destinations.
The Biltmore Estate is grand and gorgeous year round, but, like so many other places, Christmas decorations add even more beauty. George Vanderbilt’s palatial home hosts a display of holiday cheer that’s hard to top.
During the day, Biltmore offers wine tastings, visits with Santa, and tips for exquisite décor. At night, the estate features candlelight tours and impressive lighting displays. It’s enough to consider fending off those Asheville hipsters!
While driving on a desert road in Borrego Springs, California, if you see a massive undulating serpent whose tail is waving in and out of the sand on one side of the road you’re driving on, with the rest of him, including his fearsome almost two-story head, sticking out of the sand on the other side, you are not having a desert hallucination. The three hundred and fifty foot serpent and other fanciful and realistic metal sculptures, including scorpions, spiders, dinosaurs, wild horses rearing their heads, and an array of human like figures doing human-like activities, dot the landscape near the town of Borrego Springs, and the historic La Casa del Zorro Resort. In fact the artist, Ricardo Breceda, who sculpted these surreal creations, has his studio at one end of the resort’s 42 acre property.
Bright lights and colors; action everywhere, from one end of the circle to another.
High above daredevil acrobats fly from one swing to another, while spectators hold their breaths. Bulbous-nosed, sad-eyed clowns with impossibly big feet play pranks on one another; beautiful ladies ride tip-toed on prancing horses while a morning-coated ringmaster holds it all together! It’s a kaleidoscope of movement and sound, of tantalizing smells like cotton candy and popcorn. It’s the circus, as old and older than our republic and as American as mom and apple pie. While circuses have come and gone since our country was founded, they still reign in Sarasota, Florida, which calls itself Circus City, USA.
When Englishman Philip Astley, considered the father of the modern circus, added acrobats and other acts to his equestrian performances, he created the circus’s prototype. He brought it to America for performances in 1772 and 1773. In 1793, another Englishman, John Ricketts, established the first permanent circus building in Philadelphia. The American circus was now here to stay.
In 1825 tents became popular as circuses took their acts across the country. Circus trains became the next innovation. Cars were elaborately carved and decorated, becoming works of art in themselves. Some are still displayed in the circus museums in Sarasota.
Author and journalist Judy Bachrach started volunteering in a hospice in the late 1980s, and her real motive was to try to overcome her fear of death. About two decades later, when her mother came down with Alzheimer’s, Bachrach decided to look into the subject of near-death experiences.
So she delved into the literature, and journeyed around the United States and the world to interview near-death experiencers (NDErs or, as she calls them, “death travelers”) and leading researchers in the field. The result is her book Glimpsing Heaven. Her conclusion from her inquiries: “there are simply, as some of the doctors and scientists I’ve interviewed point out, too many experiencers and too many experiences to discount.”
How many? Dutch cardiologist and NDE researcher Pim van Lommel says that in the last 50 years over 25 million people worldwide have reported NDEs. A 1982 Gallup poll found eight million Americans reporting them. As Bachrach comments: “Not every self-proclaimed death traveler could be an arrant liar or deeply unbalanced or both.” If you want to hear accounts by “travelers” who are evidently balanced, mature, and intelligent, you can easily find them on YouTube.
But were these people really “dead”? Aren’t these experiences just hallucinations caused by oxygen deprivation? Having looked into the NDE subject myself for a few years, I believe one can only hold that view if one is ill-informed or determined.
Editor’s Note: Check out the previous installments in Chris’s series exploring Disney history: “10 Disney Cartoons from the 1930s that Reflect the Can-Do Spirit That Survived the Great Depression,” “10 Ways World War II Affected Disney’s Filmmaking,” “10 Examples Of How Disney’s Productions Reflected The Changing America Of The 1950s,” “Walt Disney’s 7 Most Radical Ideas From His Last Decade on Earth,” “Disney’s Wilderness Years, Part 1: How The Studio Reflected The Chaos Of The 1970s” and “Disney’s Wilderness Years, Part 2: How The Studio Navigated The Hit-Or-Miss 1980s.”
A few years after Walt Disney’s death, the studio he founded entered a creative drought of nearly 15 years. The projects Walt had his hands on had dried up, and the most creative minds in the company were working directly on the theme parks. Ron Miller, Walt’s son-in-law, oversaw the company during most of this era, and, though the studio managed to produce some underrated cartoons and live-action films during this time period, nothing matched the artistry and innovation of the years when Walt was still alive.
When Roy E. Disney and Sid Bass brought Michael Eisner over from Paramount to head Disney — along with Frank Wells — the company experienced an almost immediate injection of creativity. In the realm of animation, most everyone dubs the period beginning with 1989′s The Little Mermaid the Disney Renaissance. (Some people end the Renaissance with the execrable Tarzan from 1999, but for me, this period ends with 1995′s Pocahontas.)
A lot of exciting things took place at Disney during the first few years of the Eisner-Wells tenure, and here are the ten best of them.
10. Pocahontas (1995)
Pocahontas marked the end of the Disney Animation Renaissance of the late-’80s and early-’90s, as far as I’m concerned. And it’s nowhere near as good as the films that preceded it, largely due to its over-earnestness, Judy Kuhn’s vocal melisma, and the screenplay’s loose play with history.
However, Pocahontas deserves mention because of its firsts. It was the first Disney animated feature based on a historical person, and it also brought the Disney Princess banner to an American character (something the studio did much better in 2009 with The Princess and the Frog). Disney also deserves some credit for turning the dramatic “Colors of the Wind” into a smooth pop hit.
Even though Pocahontas isn’t the greatest of the Disney classics, it does belong among the highlights of the early Eisner-Wells era.
I am not one of those people who reflexively think European goods are superior to American ones—you know the kind of people I’m talking about—but boy do I sometimes wonder about the coffee in this country. The average American takes his or her daily caffeine in the form of a tepid, mud-like beverage that delis, diners, and commercial chains have chosen to call “coffee.” Is it? It can’t possibly be. Even the coffee at Starbucks, which is supposed to be something special, more often than not tastes like the business end of a drainpipe. It’s a shame so many people have been duped by words like “venti” and “macchiato.”
This dislike of mine has nothing to do with snobbery. I don’t care about price, brand, origin, or other markers of prestige. I know precisely nothing about the agriculture of coffee beans or the chemistry of brewing. I do know, however, that the proof of the coffee is in the drinking, and the motor oil served at most American establishments is barely potable.
I suspect I’m not alone in this judgment. If not, follow me, dear reader, on a mental trip to the beautiful city of Lviv, in western Ukraine—a place where I found some of the best coffee I have ever tasted. This was after I had tried the product of Vienna’s famous Cafe Hawelka. In fact, to imagine what Lviv is like, picture Vienna, only not as well preserved, with extra grit and grime on the buildings, and with occasional glimpses of drab Soviet architecture.
For the past few weeks, we’ve looked at the company Walt Disney built and how it has survived over the decades. We talked about how the studio reflected the can-do spirit that beat the Great Depression in the 1930s, as well as how World War II affected Disney. We’ve also discussed the changing world of the 1950s and how Disney reflected it, and we looked at Walt’s seven most radical ideas from the 60s.
Last week, we delved into what I call Disney’s wilderness years – the period after Walt’s death when the company had exhausted all of its founder’s projects and its output suffered creatively. We looked at the 1970s and how Disney reflected the both the general malaise and the leadership crisis the country faced.
Over the last few weeks we’ve looked at how Disney and its productions reflected, and sometimes influenced, the times. We’ve seen how Disney mirrored the can-do spirit of the ’30s, how the studio overcame the challenges of World War II in the ’40s, and how Disney changed with the times in the ’50s.
By the time the 1960s rolled around, Walt Disney appeared to have done it all. He had elevated the cartoon from an opening-act short to a feature-film art form. He had conquered live-action movies and embraced television, and he even revolutionized the theme-park experience. But Walt wasn’t done — in fact, it looks like he saved his most radical and powerful ideas for the last years of his life. And here are seven examples to prove it.
7. Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color (1961-1969)
After a seven season run for Disneyland on ABC, Walt wanted to explore different options. His greatest desire was to broadcast a show in color. Even though ABC had broadcast the show in black and white, Walt insisted on filming most of the segments in full color because he believed color would add long-term value to his productions. Rival network NBC had begun to promote color series heavily since parent company RCA made color television sets, and, after a brilliant sales pitch from Walt, the network bit.
Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color ran for eight seasons before undergoing a retooling and title change. During those seasons, Walt took advantage of the new and exciting world of color programming when few producers were willing to branch out, especially in the earlier years. Once again, Walt willingly blazed a trail, and once again his pioneering spirit paid off.
I didn’t fully appreciate how spiritually free I am as an American woman until I set foot on an El Al plane.
“Do you speak Hebrew?” the fretting woman in front of me asked.
“No, not really.”
“It’s okay, I speak English,” she hurriedly replied, obviously looking for a friendly face. “These Orthodox,” she motioned to the people sitting next to her, “they don’t like sitting next to women.”
“Well, that’s their problem.” My response was pointed, matter-of-fact, American.
She smiled as if a light bulb went off in her head. “You’re right!” Her expression grew cloudy. “But what if I take off my sweater? They won’t like that I expose my shoulders with my tank top.”
Again, I simply replied, “That’s their problem.”
She smiled, empowered. Removing her sweater, she took her seat and stood her ground.
And at that moment I thanked God I was raised in pluralistic America, and realized, oddly enough, that the Holy Land was giving me my first chance to practice the biblical feminism I’ve preached.
Israel is a Western nation in that women have equal rights by law. Israel is also a confluence of religious and ethnic cultural attitudes, not all of which are friendly to women. Two days into our trip to Jerusalem, a family member who also happens to be a retired journalist explained the latest story to hit the nightly news. A man accused of spousal abuse was released to return home. Later that evening, police found his wife had been shot dead. The husband confessed to the murder. Apparently, domestic violence and death is a relatively small but significant problem in Israel. When I asked my former journalist why, he pointed to the influence of Middle Eastern (both Arabic and radical Islamic) patriarchal culture as the primary source.
Yet, even religious Jews in Israel (and around the world), despite their insular nature, are far from immune to sexual abuse. Sex scandals among the Haredim (ultra-Orthodox) show up frequently on the evening news. In this case it’s not the Arab/Muslim influence, but perverted behaviors that arise from rabbinic abuse of biblical teachings. How do you expect a man to relate to a woman sexually when he’s not even allowed to look her in the eye?
10. Daniel Deronda
A multi-part BBC series based on the powerful English classic penned by Zionist George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), Daniel Deronda tells the story of a young gentleman who discovers, through a series of almost mystical events, that his mother is Jewish. A fantastic examination of Jewish identity in Victorian high society, the novel was cited by the likes of Henrietta Szold and Emma Lazarus as influential on their decision to become Zionists. Wonderfully cast, the BBC version is grossly engaging and well worth a marathon viewing.
I pushed off the idea of writing this article when I first heard that Joan Rivers, one of my comic icons, was rushed to the hospital after a botched outpatient procedure last week. I didn’t want to think about having to say goodbye to Joan, to bid farewell to yet another icon of an age gone by, a powerhouse who managed to be a cultural force until her last breath. The only solace we can muster is in knowing that, for these ten reasons at least, Joan’s memory will be a blessing.
10. Joan never grew old or gave up.
At 81, she was as attuned to pop culture, politics, and current events as a 20 year old. A self-made fashionista, the comedian never retired, sat in a chair, or gave in to technology. Joan will forever be a role model to women who refuse to trade style for a shapeless moo-moo and an office chair for a rocking chair. In her later years she paired up with Melissa, illustrating that mothers and daughters really can work together and get along. She was a modern Bubbe, surrounded by her children and grandchildren as she took the world by storm.
There were too many “good” things to squeeze into this post, while the “bad” and the “ugly” run together:
Way more homeless people than we saw in 2011, perhaps because they’d been cleared out during the 9/11 anniversary.
Speaking of which: the tourist behavior at the WTC memorial is every bit as depressing and infuriating as you’ve heard. We couldn’t wait to get out of there.
(Hint: When Vice Magazine thinks you’re out of line…)
LaGuardia still looks like a 1970s bus terminal.
Times Square is my idea of hell.
But back to the “good” stuff:
6. Food is meat-and-potato style.
As I discussed in last month’s “10 Reasons Why Indianapolis Is the Best City in the Midwest,” you can enjoy food from around the world in any U.S. city these days. I’ve had, for example, spectacular Thai in St. Louis; Colombian in Minneapolis; Indian in Indianapolis; Lebanese-style in Lansing; Ethiopian feasts in Omaha; and more. People may know Chicago has those options, but clearly so do other locales. “Globalization” has rendered authentic international food once found only in places like New York, San Francisco and assorted college towns commonplace.
Located off the coast of Spain, via Instagram user ele_nora11 earlier today:
Since December of 2013 PJ Lifestyle has been collecting sunrise and sunset photos from contributors, readers, and Instagram. Now we’re going to begin an effort to organize the ongoing collection. Revised goals:
1. Collect a sunrise from every state in the union. Completed July 25, 2014 but you can still send in your great photos to be featured.
2. Collect a sunset from as many countries around the world as possible.
3. After getting all 50 states’ sunrises then switch to collecting their sunsets and begin the global sunrises collection.
Updated April 2014: 4. The extraordinary submissions of Mark Baird have inspired a new collection of photographs devoted specifically to our nation’s capital. We’re going to try and organize fantastic sunrise and sunset photos from all the different monuments and scenic views.
Updated August 2014: 5. We’re going to now try and start combining sunrise and pet photos, leading with images and video taken by PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle featuring Maura the Siberian Husky on her morning runs.
The Completed United States Sunrise Collection
Beverly Hills: A California Sunrise in Memory of Shirley Temple
Chicago: 7 Sunrises to Start Your Sunday
Washington and West Virginia
Mars (which we might as well go ahead and start counting as an American state now)
The International Sunset Collection
4. Cayman Islands:
6. Costa Rica:
7. England, 8. France, and 9. Denmark:
23. South Africa:
Starting The United States Sunset Collection:
The Washington D.C. Collection So Far:
- A Capitol Dome Sunrise
- Sunrise Reflected In the Tidal Basin
- Paddling to Sunrise On the Potomac
- The Sun Rises Over The Spot Where Martin Luther King, Jr. Made History
- A Precisely-Timed Sunrise Shot From Inside the Thomas Jefferson Memorial
- A Pink Sunrise Reflected in the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
- Sunrise at the Marine Corps Memorial
- Marine Corps Memorial: A Sunrise to Remember Our Nation’s Heroes
- A Superb Sunrise at the Navy-Merchant Marine Memorial
- The World War II Memorial At Sunrise
- 4 Washington D.C. Sunrises Through the Cherry Blossoms
- The Secret of the Lincoln Memorial’s Equinox Sunrises…
- 2 Beautiful Sunrises From the Washington Monument’s Reflecting Pool
- Remembering America’s Heroes as the Sun Rises Over the World War II Memorial
- Why You Should Never Wade In the Reflecting Pool at the Washington Memorial
- An Amazing Orange & Blue Sunrise at the Jefferson Memorial
- Paddling to Theodore Roosevelt Island at Sunrise
- Sunrise (And the Munchies) from the Steps of the Lincoln Memorial
- The Ducks Make This One of The Best Washington D.C. Sunrises in the Collection
- These 4 Incredible Capitol Photos Taken Over 43 Minutes Show the Colors of the Sunrise
- The Sun Strikes The Sculptures At the Federal Trade Commission Building
- ‘Watching the Sunrise from Inside the Lincoln Memorial You Get a Great View of the Mall.’ – Mark Baird
- An Awe-Inspiring Blue and Pink Sunset at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial
- A Soothing Orange And Blue Sunset at the Lincoln Memorial
- A Phenomenal Photo of the Air Force Memorial at Sunset
- The Sun Sets at the Titanic Memorial
- Rochambeau Stares Into the Sunset
The Siberian Husky Sunrise Collection So Far:
10. Indiana War Memorial Plaza Historic District
Throughout four consecutive blocks, Indianapolis recognizes our military heroes. Standing tall in the center of “Circle City,” the Indiana World War Memorial was constructed to honor soldiers from the Great War. General of the Armies John “Black Jack” Pershing laid the ceremonial cornerstone July 4, 1927, two years after the American Legion moved their national headquarters to Indianapolis, where they remain two blocks north. The War Memorial opened its doors on Armistice Day, 1933. A cenotaph, honoring the first soldier killed in World War I, from Indiana no less, sits at the plaza’s northern end.
Because there is so much history within walking distance around downtown, people from around the world visit the area. I know this from experience as a state historian. If you go a few blocks north, you’ll hit the Benjamin Harrison Home, where the 23rd president lived, campaigned and died. A few blocks to the south is the incredible Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, which we’ll discuss later.
Last week I shared my choices for most underrated destinations in the Midwest; this week I present the most overrated destinations.
10. Soo Locks, Sault Ste. Marie, MI
A vital commerce site and river bypass between Great Lakes along the Canadian border, but ships pass through as infrequently as Old Faithful, so you’re usually staring at empty locks. If you’re in that gorgeous region of our nation, there are superior places to visit like Traverse City, Leland, Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Mackinac Island, the Porcupine Mountains and much more.
Last week I shared my picks for the most overrated destinations in the South, and this week I’m presenting the flip side of that list. Here are ten destinations that don’t always make the list of great places to visit down here in Dixie. Hopefully some of you will consider these places when you book your next vacation. Enjoy!
10. St. Petersburg, FL
On the north side of Tampa Bay, on a peninsula bordering the Gulf of Mexico, sits St. Petersburg. Like its sister city, Tampa, St. Pete boasts beautiful beaches, vibrant attractions, and nightlife. But deep down, St. Petersburg is a funky arts and architecture town masquerading as a mid-sized city.
The architecture of this city encapsulates much of the 20th century’s notable styles, yet nearly all the buildings look like they belong in a city by the water – quintessentially Floridian. The arts scene in St. Pete is strong – museums and bohemian arts communities are nestled all over the city, and one museum in particular holds the largest collection of Salvador Dali’s works in North America.
With an exciting city core and a beach rated number one in America, St. Petersburg has a lot to offer its visitors.