Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Signs of Maine

Maine rest area sign -- Snack WiselyLast November I posted a photo of a sign I had seen at a rest area in Maine. It warned about "snacking wisely." You can view the post by clicking here.

The Voice of Maine, an online forum devoted to Maine issues has a collection of comments about the sign and the "thinking" behind it -- they call it, 'The Ultimate in Nanny Statism'. Big Mother is watching you.

Someone contributed a photo of another sign, below, this was also found beside a Maine highway. It encourages exercise while driving. Are there more signs like these? Would they make just two versions?

Maine rest area sign -- ButtocksCan these be for real? I wonder if they might be hoaxes. Everyone seems to be all too willing to blame the government of the State of Maine for such intrusive silliness. Perhaps some art students at the Maine College of Art in Portland thought this up after a silk screen class?

There was a case in Los Angeles a few years ago of a fraudulent highway sign that looked so real it stayed up for five years. Yes, an art student did it.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Weather Report

Wet Florida Panhandle
This may be what they mean when they say, "Put it where the sun don't shine."

Image from

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Next Cruise

Coral PrincessAs soon as we returned from our Western Caribbean cruise last month, we booked another one. In the spring we will be taking a 10-day cruise on the Coral Princess. Launched in 2003, it carries a maximum of 1,970 passengers with a crew of 900.

It's a slightly smaller ship than the other two we've been on -- the Caribbean Princess and the Golden Princess. But the reviews of the Coral Princess are raves and the size is apparently just right. See the deck plans.

We sail out of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. The ports of call are Panama with a partial crossing of the Canal, turning around in Gatun Lake, followed by a visit to Cristobal; then Limon, Costa Rica; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Grand Cayman and Cozumel, then back to Port Everglades.

Click here to see the current view from the bridge of the Coral Princess.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

News from Our Mississippi Neighbors

Jackson County United for Families meeting with Coast Businesses for Fair Play

Who comes up with the names of these special interest groups? What do they want?

One is a group of Mississippi pastors who say it stands for "quality of life and moral values." The other is largely supported by Biloxi casinos and is against the Indian casino's tax-free privledges and potential freedom of location.

The proposed casino to be operated by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians would be closer to Interstate 10 and away from the waterfront locations state law forces upon the non-Indian casinos.

This would take business away from the Biloxi casinos and harm families?

The group of pastors opposed to gambling met Monday with a representative of Coast Businesses for Fair Play to discuss strategies against the proposed Choctaw casino near Ocean Springs.

The pastors plan to ask the Jackson County Board of Supervisors to hold a nonbinding referendum to oppose the casino, or at least a casino operated by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians away from the water.

What good is a nonbinding referendum, anyway? Does it cost the taxpayers anything? Probably. Does the casino cost the taxpayers anything? No, it brings in millions from the casino customers.

For more on this read the story by Tom Wilemon in the Biloxi (Mississippi) Sun Herald, January 24, 2007.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

"And the award goes to..."

If I used Oscar they would sue me.This morning the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced their nominations for this year's Academy Awards.

In keeping with the spirit of honoring excellence, here's a list of links for your consideration:

Film, Video & Broadcasting Awards
Academy Awards
Peabody Awards
Emmy Awards
Golden Globes
Directors Guild
BAFTA Awards
Hollywood Walk of Fame

Theatre Awards
Tony Awards
Obie Awards
Olivier Awards

Music Awards
Grammy Awards
MTV Awards

Other Awards & Honors
Kennedy Center Honors
Nobel Prizes
World Series
Pulitzer Prizes
MacArthur Fellows Program
Miss America
The James Beard Awards
The Clios
Super Bowl
The Golden Web Awards
Whitney Biennial

Monday, January 22, 2007

Behind the Scenes with the Cruise Ship Crews

Here are some websites and personal blogs that will tell you what it's like to work on a cruise ship. And several tell how you can get a job on a cruise ship.

John Heald's Blog -- John is the Cruise Director of Carnival Freedom.

The Roaming Mind of Norm -- Michael, from British Columbia, was a photographer on several ships, most recently the Coral Princess. Right now he is planning to find land-based work as a photographer.

Crew Office -- Stuart (also from Canada) has spent eight years on Princess, working as computer officer and in various financial positions. He is now on Oceana Cruises' ultra fancy, M/S Regatta.

Tabitha at Sea -- yet another Canadian, Tabitha, from Toronto, is a member of the famed Second City sketch and improvisation ensemble. She was with a troupe of Second City that performed on Norwegian Cruise Line's, Norwegian Dawn, out of New York City.

The Real Truth About Cruise Ship Jobs -- the blog's title says it all.

Cruise Ship Jobs -- a comprehensive guide to everything you want to know about working on a cruise ship. -- it's an online networking site geared to those who are in the cruise industry. You must register to take part in Crewfinity but it's free and easy to do. You can learn a lot of behind the scenes lore.

Safe Cruise Blog -- "The current lack of safety & security is not acceptable especially after 9/11," says this tabloid-style blog. It also documents the many disappearances of cruise ship passengers and crew reported each year (62 since the year 2000). And it even tells of heavy drinking on some of the cruises out of Australia. College-age Aussies on vacation drinking to excess? I am shocked to hear that.

Thank you for reading this far. Don't forget to leave a comment.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, Biloxi

Beau Rivage slot player's club cardIt was a dark and stormy day...the perfect time to drive over to Mississippi and spend the night at MGM Mirage's Beau Rivage. We haven't been it in since Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005. It reopened last summer on August 29, 2006 -- the one-year anniversary of Katrina.

The hotel is as beautiful as ever and the guest room alone is worth the trip. The public areas are lavish with marble walls, mosaic floors and fresh flowering plants everywhere.

Beau Rivage HotelIt's a world-class resort at prices that wouldn't get you a low class motel room in New York or London. The casino is big and flashy and we were surprised to find it full of people on an off-season Tuesday night. No other hotel/casino on the Gulf Coast can compare to the Beau Rivage. Very few anywhere else can either.

Memphis Q Restaurant logoFor casual but hearty food at the Beau Rivage we loved the Memphis Q for steaks and BBQ. Excellent food and a wonderful setting -- a dark cave deep inside the casino.

Friday, January 12, 2007

News from Our Alabama Neighbors
(do you wonder why we support gun control?)

"Man shot in fight over James Brown's height"
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
By Connie Baggett, Staff Reporter
Mobile (Alabama) Press Register

James BrownGunfire landed a 70-year-old Atmore man in jail and a 62-year-old man in the hospital Monday after the two got into a heated argument over the height of recently deceased soul musician James Brown, police said.

Atmore police said David James Brooks Jr. walked into the police station and told officers he had been shot. Paramedics rushed him to a hospital for treatment.

Minutes later, Dan Gulley Jr. arrived at the station, saying he had fired the gunshot, officers said Tuesday.

Investigators learned that the two men had been at a friend's house on Stallworth Street when they argued about just how tall James Brown was.

Brown, known as "The Godfather of Soul" and the "Hardest Working Man in Show Business," died Dec. 25 in Atlanta of a heart attack at the age of 73. His career spanned 50 years, including hits during the civil rights movement and into the 1980s.

So just how tall was Brown, who was known to wear lifts? He was 5 feet 6 inches tall, according to several Internet sources. One of those sources -- -- bills itself as a "fairly reliable guide" but does not state its source. Other Internet references to Brown's height also do not list sources.

Witnesses told police that after Gulley and Brooks' argument escalated, Gulley began shooting at Brooks, hitting him twice in the abdomen. Brooks, already wounded, went to his vehicle, got a gun and returned fire at Gulley, missing him, according to a police news release.

Gulley was arrested by Atmore Police officers and charged with assault. He remained in Escambia County Jail on Tuesday. Brooks remained in the hospital on Tuesday, officers said. Information regarding his condition was not available.

Atmore officers said the shooting happened shortly after noon Monday and that alcohol is not believed to be a factor. Police recovered two small-caliber handguns, investigators said.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Wal*Mart, Love it and/or Hate It

I dislike so much about the way Wal-Mart manages their corporation and treats its people -- its "associates." But still I shop there, several times a week.

Why? First, it's the closest full service supermarket. Yes, there's a Winn-Dixie a quarter of a mile closer but it is a mess. And it rarely has everything on my shopping list.

Second, the other supermarkets are generally, if not always, much more expensive. For instance, the coffee we like (Community Brand New Orleans Style Coffee and Chicory) is at least $6.89 a package when you can find it elsewhere. Wal-Mart always has it in stock and the price is $4.79.

Wal*Mart Family CookbookThird, every now and then Wal-Mart does something nice. Like this cookbook with recipes from their associates with big colorful photos of each recipe. It seems all the contributors are from the South. Maybe they printed regional editions? I will check on that possibility. I would love one from the New England states. And the Southwest.

As you can see the price of the book is low, less than six cents per recipe, and they are all down-home wonderful eats. Below is a sample from the table of contents.

From the Table of Contents