Friday, January 16, 2015

Dinosaur Dribs 'n Drabs

Real Photo from 1964-1965 World's Fair in New York City (just seems like something from "Zany Afternoons" by Bruce McCall --if you click on this link you'll get to an interesting talk by him)!

"The lifelike (and life-size) dinosaurs attracted more crowds of children. New Yorkers all remembered the day the dinosaurs came down the river. The huge models had been made in upstate New York. They were so large that the only way to get them to the fair was to float them on barges down the Hudson River. Thousands of people were caught in the traffic jam on the highway beside the river the day the monsters were moved downstream..." Another Actual Photo, This Time of...sigh...dinosaur being dismantled at 1964 New York World's Fair...
"But He Probably Did!" an arresting coloring book picture in tribute to Coloring Book King Steven A. at Plastic Pumpkins! (Actually, I think an artisty someone did this--not sure who, 'though. And, it might have been around for awhile. sigh. I'm always the last one to find stuff.)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Nat's Dream: The Floating HoJo's

"Yeah. Nat here. I disapprove of everything. I've disapproved of everything since I hatched out of an egg that your brain is not equipped to imagine. (For the record: I disapprove of your brain's inability to imagine what my egg looked like.) Except for one thing. I have always approved of the concept of a Floating HoJo's. And now, my dream has become a reality. Pfft. Can you believe building such a big ship and not having any restaurants?"
"Nat, man, you're wrong. Again. Oasis of the Seas has, like a bajillion restaurants and I don't know what all--snack cabanas, munchy kiosks, formal dining experiences in each of the 'hoods, and possibly even trained "chip chimps" who run by and stuff Fritos in your mouth when you holler "Chip me, chimp!"
"Yeah, okay, so. I refuse to believe that because I refuse to believe that."
"You give me no choice, man, and I quote:
•Seafood Shack: A casual indoor/outdoor family restaurant on the Boardwalk; seafood, over-sized desserts and a vast selection of ‘mocktails’
•Boardwalk Bar: The main bar on the Boardwalk; offering fruit, salads and sandwiches
•Boardwalk Donut Shop: A classic haunt for casual snacks and delicious treats
•Ice Cream Parlor: A variety of ice cream flavors and toppings take center stage against a backdrop of 1950s kitsch
•Johnny Rockets: ‘50’s-style Diner with server-entertainers
•150 Central Park: A trendy, upscale and intimate restaurant with a tasting menu with customized wine pairings
•Giovanni's Table: An Italian trattoria with both indoor and alfresco seating featuring Italian classics served family-style
•Park Café: An indoor/outdoor gourmet market featuring salads, sandwiches, soups, pastries and to-die-for fudge
•Vintages: A wine bar with pre-dinner tapas and cheeses along with a robust selection of fine wines
•Chops Grille: Royal Caribbean’s signature steakhouse with views of Central Park, and premium cuts or quality meats
•Solarium Bistro: A health-conscious dining option for lunch and healthful fare and dancing under the stars in the evening
•The Wipe Out Café: A casual self-service buffet with pizza, hamburgers, sandwiches and fresh salads
•Izumi Asian Cuisine: Featuring mouthwatering flavors and a sushi bar with hot-rock cooking
•Mondo Café: Open around the clock this café offers coffee, sandwiches and pastries like those found in Italy, Spain and Cuba
•Sorrento's Pizzeria: Featuring New York style pizza, with both made-to-order pies and by the slice
•Café Promenade: Offering Seattle’s Best coffee, fruit shakes, pastries and sandwiches all day
•The Cupcake Cupboard: Featuring fresh-baked gourmet cupcakes as well as parties and design classes
•The Vitality Café: Offering healthy snacks, sandwiches, wraps, fruit and smoothies.
THE CLASSICS, Royal Caribbean hasn’t forgotten the classics of its fleet:
•Opus Dining Room: The ship’s main restaurant features a three-tier venue with a 1920s Art Deco style; flexible My Time Dining and traditional assigned seatings
•Windjammer Marketplace: A casual buffet fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner
•In-Stateroom Service: Order from the complimentary breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, or choose an original Johnny Rockets hamburger or Ghirardelli chocolate cookies from the new Dine In Delights menu
"I disapprove. I also note that you did not mention a Howard Johnson's, so I feel secure in my business plan to follow this ship around with my Floating HoJo's and its now-fully-functional fryolator."
"Howard Johnson's doesn't even EXIST anymore, Nat! THAT'S how much demand there is for it!"
"It's just not a vacation without HoJo's. Now, if you'll excuse me I must go make my 28 flavors of ice cream. I'm expecting customers any moment."

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Vera Veto

Almost before I learned to walk, I learned about the Vera Veto. My grandmother's name was Vera, and she helped raise my sister and me. She was a very unique woman, very opinionated, very smart, very funny, very refined (this is hard to explain, except she had very good e-nun-ci-a-tion--she grew up in an age when children had elocution lessons and she used to em-pha-size each and ev-er-y syll-a-ble), very--uh--colorful, and had been through a lot in her life--children dying, sons going off to war, teaching school, working in factories, you name it. I know that's a lot of verys--but she was very. Ver-y Ver-a.

When we were older the Vera Veto was subtle. Examples: My sister brought a boyfriend home. After he left, my grandmother shook her head and said, "He's a lit-tle smooth." Few words, but a giant Vera Veto. If she felt like we were being overly influenced by certain books, she'd make her feelings known in a quiet way. I picked up a paperback book once and found that she had written "Who says?" "Why so?" in certain spots in the book. On the back of the book, there were very enthusiastic quotes by various people. Next to each person's name, she had written, "Who he? Why should we believe him?" To this day, my sister and I like to say "Who he?"

When we were little, the Vera Veto was very loud and clear. Here are some of her vetoes.

The Vera Veto (in a dark voice): "No. There will be e-nough of that la-ter on."
The Vera Veto: "Grue-some."The Vera Veto: "Don't ev-er touch the booze. You have a mon-key on your backs. From your fath-er." Can I say how confusing this was when we were 4 and 7 years old?
Vera Veto: "Why, that's just su-gar and wa-ter." (With Hawaiian Punch, she really jumped on the syllables--possibly due to my in-cess-ant beg-ging.)

Then again, she was tricky to predict. She liked George Carlin ("Now, him. He's cle-ver"). And, she bought my sister her first record album (Sgt. Peppers from the bargain bin because the Beatles were long past their heyday--after that moment, my sister was a rabid Beatles fan when few of her peers even knew who they were).
Very Vera. To this day, I feel like I'm in huge trouble if someone uses my full first name and strongly pronounces all of the syllables...