Author Archives: charlesprogers
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Under great protest, I am writing to tell you all about the late 1970s Hanna-Barbera cartoon Godzilla. As I struggled to come up with a movie to share with you, kind readers, my son came running up and begged—BEGGED—me to write about this cartoon.
Like so many Hanna-Barbera shows of this era, everyone looks and sounds like members of the Scooby-Doo gang, but with far less plausible plot lines. If you listen, you will even hear the voice of Scooby-Doo, although in this he is the voice of Godzilla’s hapless, clumsy little buddy, Godzooky, who is a tenth the size of Godzilla and is clearly there as the unnecessary laughable misadventurer. Think Glomer from the Punky Brewster cartoon. Or—worse—Scrappy-Doo.
The premise of the shows is this: a team of scientists accompanied by the child of one of the scientists, always comes across some bizarre phenomenon. The phenomenon leads to a creature who can only be defeated by Godzilla. Also, Godzilla is friendly and dutifully comes when called. Godzooky, inexplicably, lives with the scientists.
Personally, I do not care for this show, though my son has watched them dozens of times. Maybe your kid will love it too. Though I recommend you bring something to read.
Post by Kyle St. Romain.
A while back, I wrote an article highlighting several underwater hotels that provide a lucky few with an unforgettable experience. While many of these sub-sea accommodations are well outside the budgets of even the privileged classes, underwater hotels are still something I expect to become more popular (and hopefully more affordable) in the future.
Home to some of the world’s most luxurious places to sleep*, Dubai looks to be leading the way in the underwater hospitality market as well. Specifically, Polish company Deep Ocean Technology (a recurring name when it comes to underwater construction projects) recently announced its plan to construct the Water Discus Hotel beneath the Persian Gulf, off the coast of Dubai.
The plan calls for an 11,000 square footdisc, or chamber, that will house 21 guest rooms some 33 feet underwater. The structure will also utilize a second disc located above the surface for added amenities. Together, the teo disc structure will offer a diving center (complete with air locks and a decompression chamber), a spa, gardens, and a helipad above the surface for guests arriving by air. The structures are also movable, which allows the hotel to relocate as environmental policies and economies change.
If you’d like to read more about the plans for the Water Discus Hotel, check out Deep Ocean Technology online @ http://www.deep-ocean-
I’m still fascinated with the idea underwater hotels, and can’t wait for the opportunity to experience one – even if only for a quick day tour! Are underwater hotels something you’d like to experience? Let us know in the comments below.
*Did you know each suite at the Burj Al Arab (often credited as the most luxurious hotel the entire world) comes with a gold iPad? You don’t get to keep it, but you’re free to use it as a sort of personal concierge throughout your stay. Dubai is also home to one of the tallest buildings in the world, the largest shopping mall, and the biggest man-made island. Yeah, everything’s a bit over the top there.
Post by Alison Hein.
Nearly 20 years ago, I took a trip to Charleston, South Carolina. I was quite taken by the stately, historic homes, tucked sideways to the street and blanketed by lush, secret gardens. The marketplace was a plethora of sights, scents and sounds – local artisans weaving sweet grass baskets, aromas of intricate spice blends, and faint lingering chords of street musicians. But most of all, I was entranced by the deep-fried mini-cornmeal cakes playfully called hush puppies. And at every restaurant we visited, I was rewarded with a steaming basket of these little babies before even seeing a menu.
Last month, I returned to Charleston, and was disappointed with the evident lack of hush puppies. When I inquired where they had gone, I was reminded that Charleston is now THE food destination in the US, and weren’t hush puppies just a tad passé?
Upon returning home, I decided to make my house THE food destination for breakfast in bed, starting with a basketful of hot, crisped hush puppies and a side of homemade honey butter. Yumm.
Oil for frying (4 to 6 cups)
2 cups corn meal
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 large egg
Deep-fry or candy thermometer
Pour oil at least 2 inches deep into a small, heavy pan. Heat over medium heat to approximately 360°.
In a large bowl, combine corn meal, baking powder, sugar and salt, stirring to mix. Add milk, cider vinegar and egg and mix well. Batter should be slightly thicker than pancake batter.
Use a teaspoon to measure batter. Carefully drop a teaspoon of batter into the hot oil for each hush puppy. Dip spoon into clean water after each hush puppy. This helps the batter to drop off the spoon easily. Cook about eight to ten hush puppies at a time, allowing oil to retain its temperature.
Fry the hush puppies until they have reached a deep golden brown color, about 2 to 3 minutes. They tend to flip over on their own, but give them a little push with a spoon if they don’t so they cook evenly. Remove hush puppies from pan and drain on paper towels. Serve hot with honey butter.
6 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons honey
Add softened butter to small bowl. Stir in honey and mix well. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
NOTE: Monitor oil with candy thermometer to maintain stable temperature.
Makes about 4 dozen.
The Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man by Michael Chabon.
It is pretty awesome being a superhero. You get to shoot positronic lasers out of your eyes, and wear an awersom red cape and black mask. You get to have special Awesome powers and save the world! But it can be pretty exhausting work too. When you’re so busy shooting lasers and fighting Flaming Eyeball, you can forget to slow down and remember to eat. But who is Awesome Man? What could be his secret identity?
The clever writing of this book gives you clues. Like when he says “All this evil-fighting can make a superhero really tired. Pooped. (I love saying ‘pooped.’)” and, “I’m going to tell my mo—I mean, I’m going to use my beams to make a positronic force shield!”
I’ve never known Michael Chabon to write children’s books before. But his skills in writing come through nicely in a picture-book format. It’s funny, it’s got lots of big bright colors. Definitely worth a look, and more suited to little kids than The Yiddish Policeman’s Union.
Post by Mark T. Locker.
So, this isn’t out on DVD or streaming yet, but according to the Internet, it will be on June 11, so just consider this something to plan ahead for. IN TEN DAYS’ TIME…get out the pillows, pull the cushions off the couch and bust out the spare sheets. It’s time to build a fort, watch a movie, and fall asleep right there on the floor!
We went and saw Oz the Great and Powerful at one of those second-run pizza and beer theaters that are so prevalent here in Portland. I was at best not terribly interested in the movie and went for the sake of my kid. But I gotta tell you, this is actually a pretty good, entertaining movie! Now, I don’t know if this has any relation to any of the L. Frank Baum books or is entirely unique, but it fits so perfectly into the back story of the Wizard of Oz. How did Oz get there? How did an admitted charlatan attain Wizard status? Although bits of it are kind of intense, and some parts are scary, I think Felix is more frightened be the mean trees in the original than the flying baboons in this installation. Me too.
The main criticisms I’ve heard are ones that try to compare it to The Wizard of Oz. It will never be a classic in that sense, but for a Disney movie with appeal to both kids and adults, you could definitely do worse. A fun way to spend a lazy evening together.