Monthly Archives: April 2011

History: The Berlin Airlift

The Soviets hoped to bring West Berlin under its sphere of influence by keeping western Allies out - and starving the city's 2.8 million residents was the price it was willing to pay. Uploaded by

At the conclusion of World War II, both the western Allies and the Soviet Union wanted Germany under their sphere of influence. The defeated country was divided into four sections (French, British, American, Soviet), as was the city of Berlin. That city, however, was 100 miles inside the Soviet sector. And Stalin wanted all of Berlin under his control. As a result, he stopped trains bringing in crucial food and other supplies to the vanquished city, hoping to gain total control.

Uploaded to Flickr by x-ray delta one.

The devastate German capital could only produce two percent of its food needs. Outside supplies were a humanitarian necessity. While the western Allies had never negotiated land links to Berlin, they had secured three air routes into the city. To prevent a catastrophe, and to keep the entire city from falling under Soviet power, this was the daily supply total needed to support Berlin’s 2.8 million people, according to Wikipedia: “646 tons of flour and wheat, 125 tons of cereal, 64 tons of fat, 109 tons of meat and fish, 180 tons of dehydrated potatoes, 180 tons of sugar, 11 tons of coffee, 19 tons of powdered milk, 5 tons of whole milk for children, 3 tons of fresh yeast for baking, 144 tons of dehydrated vegetables, 38 tons of salt and 10 tons of cheese. In total, 1,534 tons were needed daily to keep the over two million people alive.Additionally, the city needed to be kept heated and powered, which would require another 3,475 tons of coal and gasoline.”

The U.S. and Britain agreed that the only course of action was an airlift. Yet they could only use a medium-size cargo plane (the C-54), due to runway limitations. At first, the Allies managed to bring in 1,000 tons of supplies each day – 5,000 tons were needed. It took a month of improved procedures and logistics, but eventually the full 5,000 tons were delivered daily. The airlift continued for most of a year, eventually humiliating the Soviets into capitulating. West Berlin continued as a free island as a result of President Truman’s commitment to turning back the Soviet threats – and as a result of thousands of American pilots, crewmen, and ground personnel who made the operation a success.

TV Show: Mad Men

Mad Men depicts life in an advertising agency during the early 1960s. They drink, they're bigoted, they have affairs, and man, do they ever smoke. Uploaded by

What was it like to work in an advertising agency in the early 1960s? Chances are, it’s a lot like the environment portrayed at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce on AMC’s Mad Men. The producers have been meticulous in reproducing the era’s office appearance, clothing, even its props. And something significant to the show’s time frame – smoking. The show’s creator, Matthew Weiner, said, “Doing this show without smoking would’ve been a joke. It would’ve been sanitary and it would’ve been phony.”

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Weiner not only conceived of the premise and wrote Mad Men’s pilot script, he’s its head writer and executive producer. He hasn’t shied away from the controversial aspects of the turbulent sixties – dealing with sexism, feminism, homosexuality, and racism. But the show isn’t an excuse for revisiting that period; it’s not The Wonder Years in advertising.

Mad Men got off to a slow start in ratings, but has continually grown during its four seasons. Critical reception has been mostly laudatory from the beginning, however. The Television Critics Association named the first season as its show of the year. It won the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Drama each of its first three seasons, and 12 other Emmys as well. It has also won the Golden Globe for Best Drama Series the same years, as well as the American Film Institute selection as one of the 10 best series of the year.

Americana: Soda Fountains

Technically, a soda fountain is the machine that dispenses drinks at a lunch counter. But it became the common term for the local hangout that served sandwiches and ice cream treats. Uploaded by

Okay, those of you under 30 bear with me for a few moments. Long, long ago, before a Walgreens or CVS occupied every corner, communities embraced local drug stores. Besides dispensing prescriptions, they mostly sold over-the-counter remedies, along with a few extra items like writing supplies and batteries. But during their golden age, they also had a lunch counter that served sandwiches and ice cream treats. That section was called the soda fountain.

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Technically, a “soda fountain” is just the machine that dispensed drinks. But that became the generic name for the whole lunch counter. One of the main drinks that you don’t find much anymore was an ice cream soda, served with a mixture of chocolate syrup and carbonated water. And the guy behind the counter (seems like it was almost always a guy) was known as a soda jerk. Chances are tunes played on a juke box played in the corner, or maybe from a mini player on the counter.

I remember the counter at my drug store in the Stuart Gardens section of Newport News, Va. They’d make the absolute best chocolate milk shakes in one of those metal decanters; they’d fill your glass and leave the rest for you, too. No one’s quite sure what killed the soda fountain. Maybe it was the mega pharmacy, or maybe the deterioration of neighborhoods. Like drive-in theaters, a few of them still exist…and should be treasured as an irreplaceable part of American culture.

Americana: The Plaza Hotel

The Plaza Hotel opened in 1907, and almost instantly became one of New York's most famous landmarks. That's been helped along by its setting for a wide variety of films, ranging from Plaza Suite to Crocodile Dundee to Sleepless in Seattle. Uploaded by

When I made my first visit to New York City as an adult, I had a list of the sights I wanted to see as a first-timer. Like most people, I wanted to go to Times Square (quite a bit edgier back then), Rockefeller Center, and the Metropolitan Museum. But another destination was a place I considered the heart of New York – The Plaza Hotel. I walked through the lobby and thought of all the movers and shakers who had been there before. And I still love the place.

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Located at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Central Park South, the Plaza has been an integral part of New York since it was built in 1907. At that time, you could stay in a room for $2.50 a night – expect to pay close to a grand for that room today. The Beatles stayed at The Plaza when they came to America in 1964. And Donald Trump once owned the hotel, saying, “I haven’t purchased a building, I’ve purchased a masterpiece – the Mona Lisa.”

Recently, The Plaza underwent renovation and is now 282 hotel rooms and 152 private condo units. No mention of The Plaza is complete without a mention of all the movies filmed there. Some of the more memorable include Funny Girl, Plaza Suite, Arthur, Crocodile Dundee, Scent of a Woman, and Sleepless in Seattle.

Music: Doo-Wop

The 1950s was the golden age of Doo-Wop, when groups of guys would gather on the street corner and harmonize. Uploaded by

While some say the origin of doo-wop goes back as far as The Mills Brothers (Great American Things, December 13, 2009) and The Ink Spots, the form is generally associated with the 1950s. Picture a group of guys standing on a corner and harmonizing. Maybe they’re black, maybe they’re white, doesn’t matter. But the music they created was rhythmic and fun to sing along with.

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Here’s Robert Fontenot’s list of the top 10 doo-wop songs as published on

10. “Come Go with Me” by the Del Vikings

9. “There Goes My Baby” by the Drifters

8. “16 Candles” by the Crests

7. “Little Darlin'” by the Diamonds

6. “Stay” by Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs

5. “Little Star” by the Elegants

4. “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” by the Tokens

3. “Blue Moon” by the Marcels

2. “Duke of Earl” by Gene Chandler

1. “At the Hop” by Danny and the Juniors

Here are some other songs that could easily make a top 10: “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” … “The Book of Love” … “Get a Job” … and “Pretty Little Angel Eyes.” Kinda makes you want to watch American Graffiti or one of those PBS fundraising specials, doesn’t it?

Sports: Sam Snead

Sam Snead still holds some impressive records - such as the most all-time PGA Tour victories (82) and the oldest golfer to win a PGA event (the Greater Greensboro Open at age 52). Uploaded by

“Slammin’ Sammy” Snead is one of the sub-class of professional golfers whose personality almost eclipses their talent. He was a country boy from near Hot Springs, Va., and he lived at Hot Springs most of his life. He was a part of one of the most competitive threesomes ever to play the sport, with Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson. Nelson was the gentleman, Hogan the iconoclast, and Snead the class clown.

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But he was an incredible golfer. He won an incredible 82 PGA Tour events, a record that still stands. He won three Masters, three PGA Championships, and one British Open. His one professional disappointment was never winning the U.S. Open. He certainly had his chances – he finished in second place four times. He has the record for most tournaments won in a single year, 11. He played on seven Ryder Cup teams, and was a three-time captain.

Snead had a beautiful swing that was often emulated. He loved long drives, a major part of his game, especially when his putting began to let him down as he grew older. Slammin’ Sammy is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, and received the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998.

Film: Raging Bull

It was Robert De Niro's fascination with the character of Jake LaMotta that led him to coax Martin Scorsese to direct the film. It's universally ranked among the best films of all time. Uploaded by

It’s a tough film to watch. The book from which its adapted, Raging Bull: My Story by Jake LaMotta wasn’t particularly good. And, as Mardik Martin, one of its screenwriters admitted, “The trouble is the damn thing has been done a hundred times before — a fighter who has trouble with his brother and his wife and the mob is after him.” And with all that, Raging Bull is near the top of virtually every list of the best movies ever made.

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The enthusiasm that eventually got the movie produced belonged to Robert De Niro, who read the book and was fascinated by the LaMotta character. Director Martin Scorsese didn’t want to direct it, but De Niro eventually prevailed on him. Scorsese, as he often did, cast unknown actors in the part, a couple of whom (Joe Pesci and Cathy Moriarty) went on to excellent careers.

Raging Bull received four Oscar nods and won two, including De Niro as Best Actor. In the American Film Institute’s 100 Years…100 Movies list, it came in number 24. The British magazine Halliwell’s Film Guide named it number 7 best movie of all time…Roger Ebert had it in his top 10 back in 1991…Entertainment Weekly had it as number 5…and Variety ranked it number 39. I’d say we have a consensus.

Song: “Forever and Ever, Amen”

There have been numerous rankings of the top country songs of all time, and you'll always find this classic Randy Travis song near the top. Uploaded by

There’s a genuineness to Randy Travis that draws people to him. That sincerity, combined with a terrific country voice and some excellent lyrics, made “Forever and Ever, Amen” a number one country hit, and perhaps Travis’s signature song.

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Writers Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz did a wonderful job of expressing a lifetime commitment, and it only took them three minutes and thirty-one seconds. In NuTsie’s ranking of the top 100 country songs of all time, “Forever and Ever, Amen” came in number seven. In’s list, it was number 34. PopMatters has it at number 59, and Country Music Television has it at 15.

The song won the 1987 Grammy for Best Country & Western Song, and the Academy of Country Music honored it as the Song of the Year.

Music: Zydeco

Zydeco is a product of Cajun and Creole music, and though born in Louisiana, now has made its presence felt in the national music scene. Uploaded by

It’s the ultimate feel-good music from Louisiana Cajun and Creole country. Using the accordion as its featured instrument, Zydeco bands usually have someone playing drums and wearing a washboard vest called a frottoir. After these essentials, just about any other instruments might join in – fiddle, horns, guitars. Whatever the mix, the music is likely to be fast and fun.

Buckwheat Zydeco. Uploaded by

Zydeco evolved from Creole music, played by blacks in rural Louisiana for generations. It’s become a mixture of several musical genres, including R&B, blues, jazz, and gospel. The term “Zydeco” became universally accepted as the name of this new style only in the 1950s, when the first recordings of the music were made. The style has grown slowly, and is still primarily a regional sound today.

The Grammy Awards have finally recognized the form’s popularity, and created a Best Zydeco or Cajun Music Album category in 2007. (And then, in the great purge of 2011, eliminated this and 30 other categories.) The leading artist in the genre is Buckwheat Zydeco. Here are a couple of his videos that represent the fun and energy of this great American music:

Book: The Road

Cormac McCarthy's postapocalyptic vision of a father and son trying to survive a devastated world won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2007. Uploaded by

When you read The Road by Cormac McCarthy, you find yourself asking a lot of questions. The main question is, What happened? An unnamed father and son make a pilgrimage in a world that’s been all but destroyed, and we want to know what caused it. It doesn’t seem like nuclear war is the answer, there’s never any discussion of radiation. Everything is covered in ashes. Whatever the cause, it’s a world with few people, and circumstances have caused many of those who survived into predators – or even cannibals. The father and son remind each other that they “carry the fire,” the spark of goodness in humanity.

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For me, The Road is one of the three or four most memorable and haunting books I’ve ever read. It’s hard to imagine that a book can be simultaneously so difficult to face and yet keep the reader eager to find out what happens next. I read the book about a year ago, and the details are still vivid. That’s the impact it had on me.

The Road was made into a movie in 2009, and I’m sure it’s fine. But this, more than just about any story I can remember, lives in the mind. Letting one director’s vision be the visualization for the story is simply wrong. The Road won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2007, and the next year Entertainment Weekly called it the best book, fiction or nonfiction, of the last 25 years.

Food: Best Hamburgers (2)

What makes a burger great? The quality of the meat? The perfect toppings? A delicious bun? Good chargrilled flavor? Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Uploaded to photobucket by carlapryor.

Several months back I did an overview of five of America’s best hamburger joints. At the time, I labeled the post as “Best Hamburgers (1)” because there are just way too many great hamburger places in the country to cover in just one post. So, here’s the second installment. I doubt if this will be the last one, either. If you live near any of these places, you probably already know about them. If you don’t? Consider a pilgrimage to one of these shrines to America’s favorite sandwich.

Pie ‘n Burger, Pasadena

“The burger is a thing of beauty; the bun is toasted on the griddle, the layers of iceberg lettuce and pickle chips accentuate the sear of the patty, and the dab of cool Thousand Island dressing brings the preparation into the realm of perfection.” Patric Kuh, selected by

Pie 'n Burger, uploaded by

Ray’s Hell Burger, Arlington, Va.

“There’s no sign, yet dedicated fans — a certain president included — come here for the freshly ground burgers and complimentary toppings like grilled onions and mushrooms sautéed in sherry and Cognac.” – Selected by

Ray's Hell Burger, uploaded by

Buckhorn Burger, San Antonio

“(The Buckhorn Burger is) the ultimate in a burger with a burn. The too strong onions, hot-pungent chilies, and potent mustard all battle to a spectacular draw. The cheese is the binder and the pickle the crunchy refresher, while the lettuce and tomato hang on for dear life and the coarsely ground beef acts as a solid, sensible underpinning.” – Alan Richman, selected by

Buckhorn Burger, uploaded by

Roaring Fork, Scottsdale
Order up the Big-Ass Burger—12 ounces of ground beef marinated in green-chili sauce and then grilled and covered with bacon, Colby longhorn cheese, and a pile of caramelized onions. Selected by

Roaring Fork, uploaded to Photobucket by foodhoe.

Blanc Burgers + Bottles, Kansas City

Their fresh spin on the basic hamburger, the Classic, is a standout: a grilled beef patty topped with aged New York white cheddar and homemade pickles on a soft brioche — with made-from-scratch ketchup. Selected by

Blanc Burgers + Bottles, uploaded to by Tiger W.

Advertising Agency: Wieden+Kennedy

The Wieden+Kennedy client list includes Old Spice, Coke, Chrysler, Nike, ESPN, and Target. That's especially impressive for an agency headquartered in Portland, Oregon. Uploaded by

Chances are, you don’t know this agency unless you’re already in the business. But you know their work. If you’re a sports fan, you probably have your favorite This is Sportscenter commercial for ESPN. You may remember the fabulous Bo Knows campaign for Nike. More recently, the agency had a huge hit with The Man Your Man Could Smell Like for Old Spice.

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W+K, founded in 1982, now has offices in New York, São Paulo, London, Amsterdam, Shanghai, Delhi, and Tokyo. But its headquarters and flagship office is in Portland, Oregon. In fact, W+K did something that happens occasionally – it made Portland a prime advertising center just because of its presence there. Its current clients include Chrysler, Coke, Converse, Levi’s, Nike, Old Spice, Procter & Gamble, and Target. Yeah, a pretty decent client list. It’s won many awards, including being chosen Agency of the Year in 2010 by Creativity.

But let’s revisit some of Wieden+Kennedy’s best work. And see the refreshing creativity that inhabits all their work.

Bo Knows, for Nike:

Old Spice:

This is Sportscenter, ESPN:

Americana: Stuckey’s


Started by a Georgia pecan farmer as a roadside stand for his crop, Stuckey's at one time had more than 350 locations and was an American highway fixture. Uploaded by

What you see now, if you pass a Stuckey’s along the highway, is just one among many convenience/snack/confections stores along your route. But there was a time when one of the few available options for travelers was this oasis known for its pecan products. Back then, Stuckey’s was the stuff.

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You can’t make up a name like Stuckey’s, and sure enough, the company was founded in the 1930s by W.S. Stuckey, Sr. in Eastman, Georgia. Like hundreds of other farmers, he had a roadside stand along a main route to Florida selling his produce – in this case, pecans. Before long, Ethel Stuckey began making pecan divinities and pecan logs to sell at the stand. The business was so successful that they constructed a building. Then added a restaurant. Then gas pumps.

I suppose the rest of the story tells itself. At one point there were some 350 Stuckey’s locations across the country. Then America’s travel habits changed, competition increased, and Pet Milk purchased the company. Pet didn’t devote many resources to Stuckey’s, and the number of stores dwindled to 75. The Stuckey family repurchased the chain, though, and now has more than 200 stores in 19 states. They’re clean, and nice, and still sell lots of pecan candy. Even so, the memory of seeing that Stuckey’s sign on the highway and trying to persuade dad to stop is an enduring childhood memory.

Actor: Jack Lemmon


Jack Lemmon starred in more than 60 films, and earned both a Best Supporting Actor and a Best Actor Oscar. Uploaded by

There are some actors who are just fun to watch on the screen. That’s how I always felt about Jack Lemmon. He had his own way of expressing himself, and he did it in a career that spanned 50 years and included more than 60 films.

Lemmon had some reliable partnerships during his lifetime. One was eleven movies with actor Walter Matthau, most notably as Felix Ungar in The Odd Couple. Another was with director Billy Wilder, for whom he starred in seven pictures. Here’s a summary of some of Lemmon’s more notable films:

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  • It Should Happen to You (1954)
  • Mister Roberts (1955 – Oscar, Supporting Actor)
  • Some Like it Hot (1959 – Oscar Nomination)
  • The Apartment (1960 – Oscar Nomination)
  • Days of Wine and Roses (1962 – Oscar Nomination)
  • Irma la Douce (1963)
  • The Odd Couple (1968)
  • The Out-of-Towners (1970)
  • Save the Tiger (1973 – Oscar, Best Actor)
  • The Front Page (1974)
  • The China Syndrome (1977 – Oscar Nomination)
  • Tribute (1980 – Oscar Nomination)
  • Missing (1982 – Oscar Nomination)
  • Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
  • Grumpy Old Men (1993)

Lemmon’s intelligence always seemed to come through in his roles, which is no surprise considering he graduated from Harvard. His career ranked him the 33rd Greatest Movie Star of All Time by Entertainment Weekly, and 45th by Premiere Magazine. He once said, “It’s hard enough to write a good drama, it’s much harder to write a good comedy, and it’s hardest of all to write a drama with comedy. Which is what life is.”

Here’s a wonderful look at the man, accepting the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award:

And here he is in one of his earliest, best roles:

Singers: The Mamas & The Papas


Though they were only together for four years, 1965-68, The Mamas & The Papas had eleven Top 40 hits and a Grammy for Best Vocal Performance. Uploaded by

Popular music was heading down dual tracks in the 1960s. Most of the attention went to the band track, led of course by the Beatles along with the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Who, and others. The second track was the vocal music trend, and I’d put most of Motown (Great American Things, August 9, 2010) in that camp, the Beach Boys (Great American Things, May 16, 2009) – and The Mamas & The Papas. For vocal harmony and fresh arrangements, this group was fresh and unique. When you first heard “California Dreamin'”, you knew you were listening to something special.

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They weren’t the most prolific group in the world, partly because they weren’t together all that long. They recorded as a group from only 1965-68, and released just five albums. Eleven songs hit the top 40. These aren’t particularly impressive statistics. But the quality of the music and the impact they had on future groups is disproportionately large to their output. Their major hits, and their top chart position, included:

  • “California Dreamin'” (1965 – #4)
  • “Monday, Monday” (1966 – #1)
  • “I Saw Her Again” (1966 – #5)
  • “Words of Love” (1966 – #5)
  • “Look Through My Window” (1966 – #24)
  • “Dedicated to the One I Love” (1967 – #2)
  • “Creeque Alley” (1967 – #5)
  • “Twelve-thirty” (1967 – #20)
  • “Dream a Little Dream of Me” (1968 – #12)

The four members of the group (John Phillips, Michelle Phillips, Cass Elliot, Denny Doherty) had complex interpersonal relationships that eventually made staying together problematic. While they were together, though, they earned four Grammy Nominations, and won for “Monday, Monday.”

Kid Stuff: Archie Comics


Archie's creator, John Goldwater, wanted a comic character to capitalize on the popularity of Mickey Rooney in the Andy Hardy movies. The year was 1941. Uploaded by

Though the publisher is also known as Archie Comics, I’m celebrating the comic books themselves. Archie, Betty, Veronica, Reggie, Jughead, Moose, Miss Grundy, and Mr. Weatherbee. The town of Riverdale, and Riverdale High. The quandary over whether he likes Betty or Veronica more. The rivalry with Reggie. Yeah, those Archie comics.

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I’d never thought of it before, but when John Goldwater created Archie in 1941, he was inspired by the popular Andy Hardy movies starring Mickey Rooney. He had a nickname then – “Chick” – and he showed up in Pep Comics #22. And while Goldwater guided the magazine through its most popular era, the comic was written by Vic Bloom and drawn by Bob Montana.

Betty and Veronica have had their own title through the years. So has Jughead. And in an attempt to be “relevant,” Archie Comics now has its first openly gay character, Kevin Keller. Archie now seems dated to me; I can’t imagine today’s kids buying into these characters. But when I was growing up, I loved them. They weren’t challenging, but they were fun. And, of first importance, aren’t comic books supposed to be fun?

Travel: Cedar Point


Cedar Point has the most rides, the most roller coasters, and the most tall roller coasters. No wonder it's been named America's top amusement park for 13 straight years. Uploaded by

Why is Cedar Point usually mentioned as one of the top amusement parks in America? Maybe because it’s the only one that has four roller coasters taller than 200 feet (among the seventeen in the park). Or because its 75 rides are more than any other park. It’s no wonder that Amusement Today selected Cedar Point as “The Best Amusement Park in the World.” Not once. Or twice. But for the last thirteen years.

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Cedar Point isn’t a coaster-come-lately. It’s been around since 1870. And it’s become a sprawling complex of entertainment and lodging venues. CP now has three water rides, an indoor water park, more than two dozen children’s rides, and a host of family rides. Visitors can stay in any of six hotels, relax on a lakeside beach, or attend one of several musical shows. Boredom is definitely not an option.

On the travel review site, reviewer SevenCostanza sums up the general feeling about Cedar Point: “This place should be on any thrill ride enthusiasts bucket list. A ton of coasters, though frankly some of the ones that might seem fun in lots of parks are ho-hum after you ride the likes of Maverick, Millenium Force and Top Thrill Dragster. Those 3 rides are worth the price of admission alone. Besides the great rides, the employees at cedar point work harder than any I have seen at any amusement park. They do everything they can to fill seats and keep the lines as short as possible, as well as do it all with a sense of humor and fun.”

Director: Stanley Kubrick


Many of Kubrick's films, like Dr. Strangelove, made comments on the times, and were often dark and challenging. Uploaded by

Kubrick didn’t make all that many films during his lifetime – just 16 according to IMDb, and only 13 of those were features. But he made them count. Almost all of his films were thought-provoking, intelligent, and sometimes challenging. He began working in the early 1950s, but you’d have to be a Kubrick biographer to have heard of any of his early films. The decade of the sixties saw him break out, and his first major hit was Spartacus, starring Kirk Douglas.

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Kubrick not only directed, but also wrote the screenplays for most of his films. When he worked, he wanted to control everything. That’s not unusual for a director, you say? True…but when his movies went to foreign markets, Kubrick reshot scenes with newspaper headlines for each language of its release. Control.

Here are the movies that put Stanley Kubrick in the pantheon of America’s greatest directors:

  • Spartacus (1960)
  • Lolita (1962)
  • Dr. Strangelove (1964 – Oscar Nomination)
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968 – Oscar Nomination)
  • A Clockwork Orange (1971 – Oscar Nomination)
  • Barry Lyndon (1975 – Oscar Nomination)
  • The Shining (1980)
  • Full Metal Jacket (1987 – Oscar Nomination)

Film historian John Baxter said this about Kubrick’s technique:

Instead of finding the intellectual spine of a film in the script before starting work, Kubrick felt his way towards the final version of a film by shooting each scene from many angles and demanding scores of takes on each line. Then over months… he arranged and rearranged the tens of thousands of scraps of film to fit a vision that really only began to emerge during editing.

Architecture: Hotel del Coronado


The Hotel del Coronado, opened back in 1888, was selected 18th in the AIA's survey of America's Favorite Architecture. Uploaded by

The “Hotel Del,” as it’s colloquially known, isn’t just one of Southern California’s inspired architectural masterpieces. It holds that honor for the entire country. The American Institute of Architects’ survey of America’s Favorite Architecture, placed this National Historic Landmark at number 18. That ranks higher than such national treasures at Monticello and any Frank Lloyd Wright creation.


The Hotel Del and Marilyn Monroe were both featured in Some Like it Hot. Uploaded by

The Hotel Del, located in Coronado, California (just across the bay from San Diego), is one of the last surviving examples of the Victorian wooden beach resort. Built in 1888 from architect James Reid’s plan, it was at the time the largest resort hotel in the world. And it was the first to use electric lighting. In fact, Thomas Edison came out to supervise the installation of the hotel’s wiring.

Today, the mammoth property contains 680 rooms and suites, many of them beachfront. It offers many of the activities and luxuries you’d expect from a luxury resort named one of the Top 10 Resorts in the World by USA Today, and the number two best place in the world to get married by The Travel Channel.

Sports: Pro Football Hall of Fame


The Pro Football Hall of Fame has recently opened two new exhibits: Pro Football Today and Moments, Memories, and Mementos. Uploaded by

It’s unfortunate that professional football (then the American Professional Football Association) had its origins in Canton, Ohio, because that’s where the Hall of Fame organizers felt obligated to place their shrine. Nothing against Canton; I’ve never been there, it might be a fine place for all I know. But it’s neither the quaint old-time village that Cooperstown is for baseball, nor an appealing destination as South Bend, Indiana is for the college game.

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The original building, opened in 1963, has been expanded several times, so that it now totals just over 82,000 sq. ft. Unfortunately, the exterior still looks like a giant juicer. It’s too bad that some of the money raised for expansions didn’t go to improving the architecture.

But it’s the inside that matters, and that’s a fascinating place for football fans. Two new galleries, Pro Football Today and Moments, Memories, and Mementos bring the latest computer and video technology to celebrate the great players and biggest events in the sport’s history. From the game’s greatest legends to the players of today, the Hall brings the artifacts and history of pro football to life. The Hall will bring back lots of memories and provide hours of enjoyment to fans. Even if it is in Canton, Ohio.