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Posts Tagged ‘United States’

English: Full sign of the Louisville Palace, b...

Louisville Palace, by user Innominate on Flickr http://flickr.com/photos/seemesnap/210663249/, using a compatible Creative Commons license. I reduced and cropped the image, and I release my changes under the same license. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

THURSDAY’S TOP TEN  this week is a trip down the nostalgic road that used to lead to the grand movie palaces of the past, the beauties I featured a couple of weeks ago; See https://pbenjay.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/art-deco-theaters-abound-in-california-fab-foto-friday/ and those little niceties that those of us who grew up in the40’s and 50’s took for granted even in our own small town local movie house.  You could be in any town USA and locate the movie theater by its illuminated large vertical sign with the name of the theater and below it the triangular marquee lit with hundreds of light bulbs announcing the title of the movie playing.  Now we have faceless movieplexes, devoid of charm and character.  So hey Gen X & Gen Y – this is what you missed!

THE RED VELVET CURTAIN:  As patrons entered the movie theater prior to showtime, they naturally lowered their voices and spoke in hushed tones as they found their seats. There was something about the lush, heavy red velvet curtain covering the screen that gave the auditorium an aura of majesty and demanded that people be on their best behavior. When folks were seated, they talked quietly among themselves, which was possible because the latest pop hits weren’t blaring out of oversized sub-woofers. If there was any soundtrack, it was atmospheric Muzak playing softly in the background. When the lights dimmed and the curtains parted with a flourish, the audience fell silent in anticipation.  Curtains haven’t covered movie screens since theater owners figured out how to turn those screens into temporary billboards. Today the screen is almost never blank; if the main feature isn’t showing, then a constant slideshow of advertisements and trivia questions is.

UNIFORMED USHERS:  Those gallant men and women who escorted you to your seats at the cinema used to dress in more finery than a decorated soldier. But that was at a time when movie ushers did much more than tear tickets and sweep up spilled popcorn; they kept an eye out for miscreants attempting to sneak in without paying, offered a helpful elbow to steady women walking down the steeply inclined aisle in high-heeled shoes, and were quick to “Shhh!” folks who talked during the movie. Ushers carried small flashlights to guide patrons who arrived after the movie had started, and they were also the ones who maintained order when the film broke and the audience grew ornery. Of course, cell phones hadn’t yet been invented, so doctors or parents who’d left youngsters home with a babysitter often mentioned such to the usher as they were seated, so he’d be able to find them during the show if an emergency phone call was received for them at the box office.

DISH NIGHT:  One gimmick that kept movie theaters operating during the very lean 1930s was Dish Night. Money was obviously very tight during the Great Depression, and families had to be extremely cautious when it came to any discretionary spending. A night out at the movies was an unnecessary luxury, and cinema audiences dwindled. Theater owners lowered their ticket prices as much as they could (sometimes as low as 10 cents for an evening feature), but what finally put bodies in seats was Dish Night.
Salem China and a few other manufacturers of finer dinnerware struck deals with theaters across the U.S., selling the theater owner their wares at wholesale and allowing their products to be given away as premiums with each ticket sold. Sure enough, soon housewives were demanding that their husbands take them out to the Bijou every week in order to get a coffee cup, saucer, gravy boat, or dinner plate to complete their place setting. One Seattle theater owner reported by distributing 1000 pieces of china costing him $110 on a Monday night, he took in $300—a whopping $250 more than he’d made the previous Monday.

ASHTRAYS:  Movie theater seats didn’t come equipped with cup holders until the late 1960s, and even then it was something of a novelty that only newer cinemas boasted. What every seat did have for many decades before then, however, was a built-in ashtray. You can probably guess why that particular convenience has gone the way of the dodo bird: fire regulations and second-hand smoke dangers and all that.

NEWSREELS:  Before TV became ubiquitous, most Americans had to get their breaking news from the radio or the daily newspaper. But neither one of those sources came equipped with moving pictures. Hence, the newsreel, a brief “you are there” update on what was going on in the world, was invented. Newsreels were commonly shown prior to the main feature and was the only way most people first saw actual film footage of events like the Hindenburg explosion or the Olympic games.

DOUBLE FEATURE AND CARTOON:  Movie patrons of yore certainly got a lot of bang for their buck (actually, more like their 50 cents) back in the day. Very rarely would a cinema dare to show just a single motion picture—patrons expected a cartoon or two after the newsreel, and then a double feature. That is, two movies for the price of one. Usually the second film was one that wasn’t quite as new or perhaps as prestigious as the main attraction, which is why we oldsters sometimes still describe a bad B-movie as “third on the bill at a double feature.”

EXQUISITE DECOR;  There’s a reason that some of the larger downtown theaters in big cities were called movie palaces—thanks to elaborate architecture and decorating the Riviera or the Majestic were probably the closest most Americans would get to a palatial setting. Such cinemas were called “atmospheric theaters” because they were built and decorated with a theme, often one featuring a foreign locale such as a Spanish courtyard or a South Asian temple. Atmospheric theaters had lobbies that were several stories tall with one or more grand chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. No wonder folks dressed to go to the movies back then; wouldn’t you feel out of place wearing jeans and a baseball cap amid such splendor?

CRY ROOMS: Those elaborate movie palaces had many amenities that not every neighborhood theater had, including “cry rooms.” A cry room was a soundproofed elevated room in the back of the theater with a large glass window in front so Mama could still watch the movie (and hear it over a public address system) while trying to calm down a fussy baby. Many theatres that provided cry rooms also came equipped with electric bottle warmers, complimentary formula, and a nurse on duty.

SERIALS:  A staple of the Kiddie Matinee was the Chapter Play, or Serial. Always filled with action and adventure, and either cowboys or space creatures, these 20-minute shorts were continuing stories that ended each installment with a cliff-hanger. And if even if the producers sometimes cheated and the hero managed to survive an automobile explosion even though he hadn’t gotten out of the cockadoodie car in last week’s episode, kids made sure they got their chores done and weekly allowance in hand early each Saturday. No one wanted to be the only kid on the playground Monday who hadn’t seen Crash Corrigan battle Unga Khan and his Black Robe Army.

“LADIES PLEASE REMOVE YOUR HATS” SIGNS:  A staple of the Kiddie Matinee was the Chapter Play, or Serial. Always filled with action and adventure, and either cowboys or space creatures, these 20-minute shorts were continuing stories that ended each installment with a cliff-hanger. And if even if the producers sometimes cheated and the hero managed to survive an automobile explosion even though he hadn’t gotten out of the cockadoodie car in last week’s episode, kids made sure they got their chores done and weekly allowance in hand early each Saturday. No one wanted to be the only kid on the playground Monday who hadn’t seen Crash Corrigan battle Unga Khan and his Black Robe Army.

A special thanks and shout out to my chief  “Sourcerer” Gail,  who sent me the link to the Mental Floss web site where this was featured.

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This isn’t going to be a long blog.  Today is a point in case where a picture is worth a thousand words.  There are some holidays that really make me miss my Dad.  I always used to call him on Veteran’s Day; He was so proud of his naval service during World War II and then subsequently in later years he joined the Naval Reserve as an officer.  

However, this weekend is not about honoring those that served and lived to tell about it.  Memorial Day weekend is all about honoring those that died while serving the cause – whether you agree with the cause or not is irrelevant because some mother or father somewhere is mourning the loss of their child who went to war.  There are thousands and thousands of white crosses in cemeteries around this country….and yet we keep on sending our youth, our future, off to fight  wars on the other side of the world!  WTF?  WHERE is it written that the United States is the peace keeper of the world?  Or that it’s our business to decide what political group is running a country other than ours?  

I’m not going any further with this little rant because ALL I REALLY WANTED TO SAY was “It’s Memorial Day weekend and it’s not all about picnics and parties. 

photo courtesy of montyrainey.wordpress.com

Remember

Remember

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This week’s Mental Health tip needs no introduction from me – the title says it all!

” The National Institute for Mental Health estimates that many many millions of Americans should be receiving mental health services for their problems. Add to that the vast number of individuals who might benefit from Psychotherapy and Counseling as a prevention for future problems, and those who simply want to share their secret fears, dreams, and joys with another human being who can be objective and non judgment in his listening and feedback.

The stigma is gone!!!! Many folks talk openly about their counseling. Hundreds of self help groups and organizations abound. Getting Psychological help is now seen as a sign of strength and maturity. Several of my single patients require their new partners to get psychological checkups as often as requiring HIV testing! If you are brutally honest with yourself you know that there is some fundamental issue in your life that you have not been able to resolve. Perhaps an unresolved family conflict, a lifetime phobia, or an elusive feeling of happiness that always feels out of reach.

Many insurance policies cover Psychotherapy with a professional therapist. There is no excuse for not at least seeking out a couple of sessions. Think for a moment…….what are you afraid of? Often the fear is that you will reveal more of yourself TO YOURSELF than you think you can handle!  Get out of denial and take a real healthy risk for yourself.”

Tell me how it goes at shpilkes@aol.com

Thanks as always to Dr. Barry Lubetkin, who generously shares a weekly Mental Health topic with us.

Logo of the National Institute of Mental Health.

Logo of the National Institute of Mental Health. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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I love to celebrate any holiday, I really do….my ideal is to always have a party or dinner significant to the holiday or event.  We’ve had Mardi Gras parties, Oscar parties, Martini parties, Super Bowl Sunday dinners with dishes from the team’s home states, Valentine cookies and cakes, Easter brunches, July 4th picnics…you name it and we’ve had it at one time or another.

Some holidays are about a lot more than the food and fun.  I understand the importance of the religious aspect of Christmas and Easter, the historical significance of July 4th and other national holidays.  So in that vein, and before we start to down those Magaritas and eat chips and salsa and dine on Mexican food tonight, I thought I would re-post a blog from a couple of years ago.  It’s the story of Cinco de Mayo.

May 5th, battle of Puebla, cinco de mayo, celebration, Mexico, French forces

This is Why We Celebrate Victory

If you’ve noticed a sudden dearth of avocados, limes, Corona Extras and Jose Cuervo at your local grocery store over the past couple of days, don’t panic — no one is conspiring against you. Instead, your neighbors are simply stocking up to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, a holiday celebrated in Mexico and all over the United States with delicious Mexican cuisine, far too much alcohol and plenty of fanfare.

But Cinco de Mayo (“the fifth of May”) is much more than an entertaining way to forget an entire day’s worth of events. The holiday owes its origins to the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, when the Mexican army overcame seemingly insurmountable odds to defeat invading French forces from conquering the state of Puebla. The victory remains a cause for commemoration nearly 150 years later.

Interestingly enough, Cinco de Mayo isn’t celebrated in Mexico nearly as much as it is in the United States, as the country’s most widely recognized national patriotic holiday is actually the Mexican Independence Day on September 16. But Cinco de Mayo gets plenty of attention in the U.S. not just from Mexican-Americans, but also from anybody interested in seeking out new forms of cultural exposure — largely due to the efforts of liquor companies and Mexican restaurants.

Last year, MTV Tr3s sent comedian Cristela Alonzo to Los Angeles’ historic Olvera Street to report on the community’s deep understanding of Cinco del Mayo. While the holiday has historic roots, Alonzo acknowledged that many participants view Cinco de Mayo as “an excuse to get drunk and party.” But as Alonzo learned, enjoying the rowdier aspects of Cinco de Mayo doesn’t have to come at the expense of forgetting the holiday’s cultural significance.

“What’s important is to remember the meaning behind the holiday,” she reported of her findings. “It’s about freedom and to celebrate those who had the courage to defend it.”

So as you immerse yourself in today’s festivities, make sure to put your ice cold cerveza down for long enough to acknowledge the true meaning of Cinco de Mayo, a holiday built on the foundation of freedom. ** This article is from the MTV website

And today!  

Corona, Dos Equis, beer, fiesta, Mexico, Battle of Puebla, cinco de mayo, jose cuervo, tequila, limes, margharitas

Cha Cha Cha It’s Fiesta Time

Corona, Dos Equis, beer, fiesta, Mexico, Battle of Puebla, cinco de mayo, jose cuervo, tequila, limes, margharitas
Cha Cha Cha It’s Fiesta Time!
You know what they say: Drink responsibly, Drive safely – OH WAIT, we live in New York City, we can be totally irresponsible – BUT then again there is May 6th to think about!

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English: The western ramp and pylon of Brookly...

 The western ramp and pylon of Brooklyn Bridge, New York City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I live in a strange and wondrous place.  My City never sleeps which means should I get a craving for anything in the middle of the night, I can either go downstairs to the 24 hour Duane Reade (drugstore++) or across the street to the 24 hour diner and eat another dinner or breakfast.  I can go to the Opera, the Philarmonic or the theater any night of the week. I can eat any ethnic food any day and visit at least 10 museums anytime.  I can see wonderful, colorful parades on most Sundays in the Spring, and Summer and watch the world go by as Israelis, Pakistanis, Irish, Indians and more walk along Fifth Ave.  That’s just a tiny bit of what makes New York City a wonderful place to experience life. BUT there’s so many things about this city that I didn’t know and here are some of those strange and interesting facts.

  1. In 1857, toilet paper was invented by Joseph C. Gayetty in NYC.
  2. The Jewish population in NYC is the largest in the world outside of Israel.
  3. The city of New York will pay for a one-way plane ticket for any homeless person if they have a guaranteed place to stay.
  4. Pinball was banned in the city until 1978.  The NYPD even held “Prohibition-style” busts.
  5. Albert Einstein’s eyeballs are stored in a safe deposit box in the city.
  6. There’s a wind tunnel near the Flat Iron building that can raise women’s skirts.  Men used to gather outside the Flat Iron building to watch.
  7. New York City has more people than 39 of the 50 states in U.S.
  8. There is a birth in New York City every 4.4 minutes.
  9. There is a death in New York City every 9.1 minutes.
  10. PONY means Product of New York.
  11. The borough of Brooklyn on its own would be the fourth largest city in the United States. Queens would also rank fourth nationally.
  12. New York City has the largest Chinese population of any city outside of Asia.
  13. It can cost over $289,000 for a one-year hot dog stand permit in Central Park.
  14. In 1920, a horse-drawn carriage filled with explosives was detonated on Wall Street killing 30 people. No one was ever caught, and it is considered to be one of the first acts of domestic terrorism.
  15. In nine years, Madison Square Garden’s lease will run out and it will have to move.
  16. Sixty percent of cigarettes sold in NYC are illegally smuggled from other states.
  17. Chernobyl is closer to New York than Fukushima is to L.A.
  18. The Empire State building has its own zip code.
  19. The East River is not a river, it’s a tidal estuary.
  20. There are 20,000 bodies buried in Washington Square Park alone.
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Mother Nature is two-faced, there’s no question about it. I’m still wearing winter coats and scarves on my way to work, I’m putting the heat on in the den at night. On Sunday, my friend Susan sent me a photo of the falling snow in her backyard and my friend Kim posted the all too familiar picture of the stabbed snowman because in upstate New York where she lives, they got almost a foot of snow.

Even though the temperature keeps fluctuating, there are other greater rituals in place. Regardless of snow or wind or ice, the daffodils send up their bright shoots, the crocuses blossom and many of the birds who wintered elsewhere come home. These photos were taken in Central Park this past weekend.

All photos courtesy of Murray Head

Behold the magnificent Blue Heron captured in flight!

Blue Heron

Blue Heron

There’s no more snow in the park BUT we do have Snow Drops!  Aren’t they pretty?

Spring Snow Drops

Spring Snow Drops

Even though Cardinals hang around all year, they are so beautiful and regal, how could I not include him in this array of seasonal color?

Regal Red Cardinal

Regal Red Cardinal

A splash of sunshine in your garden. 

A Bit of Sunshine

A Bit of Sunshine

I love it when I hear the first Red Wing Blackbird arrive at our feeder.  They have a very distinct and melodic trill.

Love His Epaulets

Love His Epaulets

The first purple crocus each year reminds me that Spring is truly on my doorstep.

Hello Spring!

Hello Spring!

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April 2, 2014 is

National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day

It’s National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day! Did you know that the average American consumes 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by the age of 18? The combination of sweet jelly and salty peanut butter has been a staple in school lunchboxes for over fifty years.

According to one story, American soldiers invented the peanut butter and jelly sandwich during World War II. They decided to combine their bread, jelly, and peanut butter rations into a fabulous new treat. When the soldiers returned home after the war, peanut butter and jelly sales soared.

To celebrate National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day, make this iconic American sandwich for lunch!

April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month & National Grilled Cheese Month.

 

My Favorite Sandwich

My Favorite Sandwich

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