Archive for June, 2009

Where is that Drink?

Where is that drink?

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This (rather fuzzy, sorry) martini was served at the compact and crowded bar at Colibri Mexican Bistro, which is conveniently located at 438 Geary Street, between Mason and Taylor Streets, in the Union Square District of San Francisco, CA.  Colibri specializes in Central Mexican cuisine and has an imaginative menu of small and large plates, as well as an extensive selection of Tequilas.  It’s an excellent and popular choice for pre- and post-theatre meals or cocktails if you’re visiting the Curran Theatre or ACT Theatre (formerly the Geary Theatre), both located directly across the street.

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To read more about Colibri, visit their official website by clicking here.

To go to previous posts in the “Where is That Drink” series, click here.

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Today’s Quote

“Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.”

   — James Dean (1931-1955)

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 To go to previous entries in the “Today’s Quote” series, click here.

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Today’s Quote

“Life should be lived at the precipice, so that we don’t come to the end of our life with regret for what we have not done.”

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   — Edward Albee (Born 1928)

 To go to previous entries in the “Today’s Quote” series, click here.

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Today’s Video

Today’s video is an amazing stop-motion video, called “Deadline,” which was conceived and filmed by Bang-yao Liu, as part of his senior project at the Savannah College and Art and Design, in Savannah, GA.

I thought this was a marvelously clever video and clearly required a lot of work and imagination.

To learn more about the Savannah College of Art and Design, go to their official website by clicking here.

To go to previous posts in the “Today’s Video” category, click here.

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Lucy Turns Five

Happy Birthday to Lucy, who turns five years old today! 

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You’re looking good, Lucy!   Truly Lucy-luscious!

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Stonewall at 40

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Forty years ago today– June 28, 1969– patrons at the Stonewall Inn, located at 53 Christopher Street in the heart of Greenwich Village in New York City, NY, clashed with police during an early morning raid on the bar.  Those events, together with the spontaneous and violents protests that occurred in the days that followed, have come to represent the defining moment which marked the start of the gay rights mvement in the USA and around the world. 

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Above:  Photo taken on June 29, 1969 showing some of the protestors at Stonewall Inn, which appeared on the front page of the New York Daily News.  Below:  A recent photograph of Stonewall Inn.

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To go to the website of the Stonewall Inn, click here.

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Today’s Quote

“In a world filled with hate, we must still dare to hope. In a world filled with anger, we must still dare to comfort. In a world filled with despair, we must still dare to dream. And in a world filled with distrust, we must still dare to believe.”

   — Michael Jackson (1958-2009)

APTOPIX People Michael Jackson

To go to previous entries in the “Today’s Quote” series, click here.

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Today’s Quote

“If you enter this world knowing you are loved and you leave this world knowing the same, then everything that happens in between can be dealt with.”

   –  Michael Jackson (1958-2009)

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 To go to previous entries in the “Today’s Quote” series, click here.

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Where is that Drink?

Where is that drink?

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This refreshing Cape Cod cocktail– a combination of vodka and cranberry juice (sadly, served here without the required lime wedge)– was poured aboard Southwest Airlines Flight No 2133 from Oakland to Las Vegas, together with the Southwest Airlines signature snack (peanuts or pretzels).

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Above:  Snow-capped mountains (yes, in June!) viewed from a Southwest Airlines B737, enroute from Oakland to Las Vegas.  Below:  A view of beautiful San Francisco and the Bay, taken shortly after takeoff from Oakland International Airport.

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To book your next flight on Southwest Airlines, go to the official website by clicking here.

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To go to previous posts in the “Where is That Drink” series, click here.

Photos taken: 6/2/09

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SF Pride 2009

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This weekend, San Francisco hosts the 39th Annual San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration and Parade with a series of events that culminate at the SF Pride Parade on Sunday, June 28.  The Parade starts at 10:30 AM at Market and Beale Streets and continues to Market and 8th Street.  The theme of this year’s Parade is “To Form a More Perfect Union,” a passage drawn from the preamble of the US Constitution.  This year’s Celebrity Grand Marshall for the Parade is actress Cloris Leachman.

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Farewell, MJ

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The King of Pop is gone.  Rest in peace, Michael Jackson (August 29, 1958-June 25, 2009).

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A New Life

Today’s video is a recording of a live performance of Linda Eder singing “A New Life,” a song she originated and made famous in the Broadway musical “Jekyll and Hyde,” written by Frank Wildhorn, with lyrics by Leslie Bricusse.  The musical, based on the novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson, opened on Broadway on April 28, 1997 and ran for 1,543 performances, closing on January 7, 2001, making it the longest running show in the history of the Plymouth Theatre.  I saw the show on Broadway, with Linda Eder in the leading role of Lucy, in December 2007.

After popularizing this song, along with “Someone Like You,” in the musical, Linda Eder has incorporated it in her repertoire of show tunes that she routinely features in her touring concerts.


The song “A New Life,” as performed by Linda Eder, is ranked No. 9 on my list of Top 10 Favorite Songs.  To go to a previous post with the full list of Top 10 Favorite Songs, click here.

To read more about Linda Eder and to view her schedule of upcoming concert performances, go to the official Linda Eder website by clicking here.   To go to a previous post regarding a live performace by Linda Eder in Las Vegas, click here.

To go to previous posts in the “Today’s Video” category, click here.

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Welcome, Summer

Today is the official First Day of Summer 2009.  Happy Summer!

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He’s Barack Obama

Today’s video is another hilariously entertaining video from the comic masters at JibJab, called “He’s Barack Obama.” Enjoy!

To view JibJab’s full offering of videos on YouTube.com, click here.

To go to previous posts in the “Today’s Video” category, click here.

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Today’s Quote

“A true friend stabs you in the front.”

    — Oscar Wilde

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 To go to previous entries in the “Today’s Quote” series, click here.

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Today’s Quote

“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.”

   –  James Michener, 1907-1997

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 To go to previous entries in the “Today’s Quote” series, click here.

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Going, Going, Gone Mac

Last week Apple introduced a “refreshed” line-up of its MacBook Pro line, together with numerous other product announcements, including the widely-anticipated and much touted new iPhone 3Gs.  The changes to the MacBook Pro line included the introduction of a new 13-inch MacBook Pro, which previously was available under the standard, and lower-cost MacBook series.  After being a life-long Windows/PC user, I made the big leap last week and have “Gone Mac,” as they say.

I ordered the 13-inch MacBook Pro online from the Apple Store, together with some optional upgrades, such as the 2.53 GHz processor and a 500-GB hard drive.   The MacBook Pro arrived this week, in the customary sleek and ultra-stylish Apple packaging.  It looks beautiful.  And within two minutes, the MacBook Pro was up and running and connected to the local wireless network.  Awesome!

I’m now left wondering:  Once you go Mac, do you ever go back?

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 To read recent views of the new MacBook Pro 13-inch, click on the review links below:

Review from Gizmodo
Review from PC Magazine
Review from Laptop Magazine

Or read more about the general upgrade to the MacBook Pro line from The Apple Blog, by clicking here.

To order your own MacBook Pro, with complimentary shipping, direct from the Apple Store, click here.

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Today in History

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On June 17, 1885, which is 124 years ago today, the Statue of Liberty arrived in New York Harbor on board the French frigate Isere as a gift to the USA from the people of France, in celebration of their centennial.   The statue arrived in 350 pieces, stored in 214 crates aboard the ship.  Sixteen months after its arrival in New York, the monument was officially unveiled on October 28, 1886 by President Grover Cleveland.

Designed by Frederic Auguste Bartholde, the magnificent copper-clad monument, affectionately called “Lady Liberty,”  is one of our most-beloved national treasures and one of the world’s most-recognized icons. 

Together with Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty is part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument, operated by the USA National Park Service.  In 2007, 3.2 million people visited the Statue of Liberty.  On July 4, 2009, visitor access to the Statue of Liberty’s crown will be granted for the first time following closure in the aftermath of 9/11, in a hugely symbolic move to fully reopen the monument.

To learn more about the Statue of Liberty and the reopening of the crown next month, visit the official website from the National Park Service by clicking here

If you want to make reservations and purchase advance tickets to the Statue of Liberty Monument and/or Ellis Island National Monument, visit the website of Statue Cruises, the official concessionaire of the National Park Service, by clicking here

If you want to get more details about upcoming access to the Crown of the Statue of Liberty, read the special bulletin from the National Park Service by clicking here.   According to plans announced by the NPS, roughly 200 persons per day (in groups of ten) will be admitted to the Crown, accompanied by a Park Ranger.

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Where is that Drink?

 Where is that drink?

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This handsomely-prepared martini, called “The Left Bank Martini,” was served at the Left Bank Brasserie at 60 Crescent Drive in the New Downtown in Pleasant Hill, CA, one of the local chain’s five locations in the San Francisco Bay Area.  The Left Bank Martini features Ciroc vodka with Dubonnet, garnished with a twist.  In addition to a large bar that serves casual small plates, the restaurant offers a classic French brasserie menu.  Personal favorites include steamed mussels with spinach and onions, Salad nicoise with seared ahi, and wonderful crisp pomme fritte.  Left Bank is one of my favorite neighborhood restaurants, and a great place for a meal or cocktail before or after a movie at the nearby Century 16 Theatres or Cinearts Theatres.

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Above and Below:  Views of the spacious large dining room at Left Bank Pleasan Hill, which includes private dining rooms on the ground floor and mezannine levels.

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Above:  A partial view of the ope, high-ceiling bar area that includes table seating and stools along the long bar.  Local live entertainment is provided on weekends.  Below:  Left Bank provides a large open-air outdoor seating area (with large umbrellas and outdoor heating lamps for cool evenings).  The full menu is available in the outdoor, pet-friendly dining area.

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To read more about Left Bank and their seasonal menu offerings, go to their official webite by clicking here.  To make a reservation at Left Bank Pleasant Hill via opentable.com, click here.

To go to previous posts in the “Where is That Drink” series, click here.

6/21/09 Update:  Left Bank Pleasant Hill permanently closed for business after their final dinner service on Sunday, 6/21/09.  Au revoir, Left Bank.

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Today’s Quote

“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.”

   — Bill Bryson

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 To go to previous entries in the “Today’s Quote” series, click here.

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Up is Up and Away

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Up,” the latest animated release from Disney-Pixar, follows in the best tradition of WALL-E  and Toy Story by delivering some of the most touching and haunting sequences in animated film.  It’s another remarkable achievement for Pixar and easily the most memorable film of 2009 to date (along with Sin Nombre).  There are two particularly stunning sequences in the film, which like the opening scene in WALL-E , are delivered in breathtaking animation, with wonderful music, and almost no dialog.  In the first sequence, we watch the lead character, Carl, a shy young boy, as he meets a rambunctious and lively young girl, Ellie, who shares his fascination with a famous world explorer named Charles Muntz, voiced by Christopher Plummer.  The two youngsters grow up with a dream of adventure, get married, and grow old together, without being able to get away to the hidden place in South America, as they had both dreamed as children and younger adults.  After her death, Carl is left alone in the house they shared together for a lifetime.  The passage of their years together is shown in an extended sequence with virtually no dialog, and it’s an amazing feat of animated filmmaking.  The second sequence occurs late in the movie after Carl, played by a wonderful Ed Asner, crosses paths with the explorer Muntz who is living in the jungles of South America.  Here again, there is very little dialog, yet the scene packs an enormous emotional whallop. 

The movie offers loving and sentimental nods to such classics as The Wizard of Oz and Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo.  Although the movie, like the best of Pixar’s other films, deals with serious topics such as death, lonelinesss, disappointment, and lost dreams, it’s also enormously hopeful and life-affirming.  Hats off to Pixar on a masterful work of art.  Up is truly up, up, and away.

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Watch the Up trailer from YouTube below.


 

“To watch Up with any attention is to be moved and astonished by the economy with which specific visuals are invested with emotion throughout. “

   — Mick LaSalle, The San Francisco Chronicle

“Rarely has any film, let alone an animated one powered by the logic of dream and fantasy, been able to move so successfully — and so effortlessly — through so many different kinds of cinematic territory. “

   — Kenneth Turan, The Los Angeles Times

“Up is a breathtaking ride into the realm of pure imagination. Up shames the pap that now passes for family entertainment (yes, Night at the Museum 2, I’m talking to you). “

   — Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

To read more about the Disney-Pixar movie Up, go to the official movie website by clicking here.

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Top 10 iPhone Apps

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As new applications for the iPhone continue to pour into the market, I’ve updated my list of Top 10 Favorite iPhone Apps (listed in random order):

* Save Benjis
* TripIt for iPhone
* Google for iPhone
* QuickVoice
* Around Me
* Wall Street Journal
* Amazon.com
* New York Times
* Zoom In
* EverNote

To see other lists in the “Top 10 Favorite” category, click here.

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Top 10 Cities

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Although the list changes as I experience new places, my current Top 10 Favorite Cities are (in alphabetical order):

* Bangkok
* Beijing
* Charleston
* Hong Kong
* London
* New York
* Paris
* San Francisco
* Rome
* Shanghai

What missed the list?  Savannah, Venice, Honolulu, Dubrovnik, Washington, D.C., to name a few.  What cities are on your list of Top 10 Favorites?

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To see my other lists of “Top 10 Favorite…”, click here.

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Today’s Quote

“Not all those who wander are lost.”

   –  J.R.R. Tolkien

Excerpted from:

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”

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 To go to previous entries in the “Today’s Quote” series, click here.

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Dream a Little Dream

Today’s video is a vintage (circa 1968) recording of Cass Elliot singing “Dream A Little Dream of Me,” written by Fabian Andre, Wilbur Schwandt and Gus Kahn.  The song was a Top 20 hit for Frankie Laine in 1950 and later was recorded by Louis Armstrong, Doris Day and Ella Fitzgerald.  Today, it is probably most associated with the legendary Mama Cass.

“Dream A Little Dream of Me” is #6 on my list of Top 10 Favorite Songs.  To go to a previous post with the complete list of Top 10 Favorite Songs, click here.

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Where is that Drink?

Where is that Drink?

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This perfect Bloody Mary was served at one of the sidewalk tables available at Elite Cafe, a San Francisco institution, located at 2409 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA.  Housed in a beautiful Art Deco building that began as the Lincoln Grill in 1928, the Elite Cafe has been in operation since 1981.  Athough the restaurant has undergone a change in ownership and several changes in Chef since it opened, the menu remains focused around the flavors of New Orleans and Southern-style comfort food.  The restaurant still features original, beauutiful mahogany booths, a large bar, and outdoor bistro-style seating (with overhead heating lamps during cold weather) which is perfect for people-watching on busy Fillmore Street.

This Bloody Mary was perfect– very spicy, with horseradish, and wonderfully-garnished with celery, lemon wedge and skewered olive, pickled onion and pickled green bean.  Yummy!  Also be sure try two signature items– Meeting House biscuits and deviled eggs.  Excellent!

The Elite Cafe is open for dinner nightly and for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.  To read more about The Elite Cafe or to view their sample menus, go to their official website by clicking here.   To make a reservation at The Elite Cafe via OpenTable.com, click here.

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Above and Below: Views of The Elite Cafe, a San Francisco landmark, and one of my favorite restaurants on Fillmore Street in San Francisco.  The outdoor seating is heated and is pet-friendly, too.

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To go to previous posts in the “Where is That Drink” series, click here.

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iPhone DocScanner

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Have you been in a situation where you wanted to capture an image on your iPhone and then convert it to a PPDF file?  Well, now there’s a handy application, called DocScanner, from Norfello, that allows you to take a photo from your iPhone and immediately convert it to a PDF file which you can then send anywhere.   DocScanner can be downloaded from the iTunes Store or via the iPhone.  The cost is $9.99.

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To learn more about the features of DocScanner, visit the official website from Nortfello by clicking here.

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iPhone Camera Zoom

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If you’ve been frustrated by the current iPhone’s lack of a zoom feature on the built-in camera, there’s a great application called Camera Zoom, from Kenditech, that provides variable zoom (up to 4X), which you can download and install from the iPhone App Store.  The cost is $0.99.

Here are the features of Camera Zoom:

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You can also watch a short video that shows how Camera Zoom works on your iPhone.

 

To learn more about Camera Zoom, visit Kenditech’s official website by clicking here.

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Today’s Quote

“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.”

   — Freya Stark (1893-1993)

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 To go to previous entries in the “Today’s Quote” series, click here.

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Today’s Quote

“If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. “

   –  George Washington (1732-1799)

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This post is a tribute to the men and women who were killed, injured or persecuted as a result of  The June Fourth Incident in Beijing on 6/4/89.

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