Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Eccentric street name of the week

Apparently, there's a hill of roasted meat in Connecticut and this is the road that takes you there.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Happy birthday, Leith

Today is my brother Leith's birthday and I've said it before and I'll say it again, no one could ask for a better sibling. He's also the coolest cat I know. He's so cool, in fact, I'm sure he doesn't want me to say so.

The really cool people don't become cool, they're born that way. Here's to the real deal.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

We will, we will rock you: Scenes from Plymouth, Massachusetts

Plymouth Rock sits under this Greek-looking temple

Those numbers were embossed on the rock in more modern times.

Massasoit's peace pipe.

The Mayflower 2.

...and The Mayflower, too.

A local sweet shop makes chocolate covered potatoe chips (the recipe must come from Dan Quayle)

Looks like this founding father got a little too close to the firecrackers on the Fourth of July.

Happy Thanksgiving, Pilgrim

Today being Thanksgiving seems an appropriate time to chronicle a recent trip we took to Plymouth, Massachusetts, about 40 miles south of Boston and site of the colony founded by the Pilgrims, who arrived from England on the Mayflower back in 1620. It was also the site of the first Thanksgiving feast in 1621 (let's hear it for Squanto). You'll also find the famous Plymouth Rock there, a souvenir of the place where the Pilgrims got off the boat when they arrived after their long trip, although no historical references mention a rock being at their disembarkation site. Picky, picky, picky... it makes a better story to have a rock there and the tourists (and shopkeepers) love it. It sits in a protected pit under a Greek-looking pillared shelter to keep souvenir-seekers from chipping off pieces. There's also a huge National Monument to the Forefathers statue in a park nearby, and a replica of the Mayflower, the Mayflower 2, in the harbor. And Plimouth Plantation (that's the Old English spelling, so shut up, spellchecker), a popular tourist attraction where people dress in period costumes and tell you all about the history of the area, is also nearby.

What am I thankful for? Those clever people of Plymouth for coming up with Thanksgiving. Now, will somebody pass me the gravy?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Presents from the past: Mid-Century mementos from the open road

The hep cats at Mid-Century Style Magazine gave us a nice tip-o-the-hat recently which inspired this Greatest Hits Volume 1 of retro sights we've seen along the way. Just our way of saying Thanks, Daddio, we dig you the most.

A Big Boy from Baker, California. Artistic cropping courtesy of the sun in my eyes.

A fine example from our dear relative/friend/awesome guy "Uncle" Stephen's Channel Master collection.

Jell-O with fruit in in from downtown L.A.'s incredible Clifton's Cafeteria.

Last chance for booze before Death Valley.

This from my hometown of Hamden, Connecticut. I grew up seeing this sign and, happily, it's been beautifully preserved. Way to go, Hamden!

From Las Vegas, home of tons of retro signs.

A Norge Ball from North Platte, Nebraska.

A cool old sign from downtown Chicago.

The Palm Springs visitors center, a former googie gas station.

From the Marx Toy Museum of Moundsville, West Virginia.

A fine 1950s Shasta trailer from the RV Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Indiana.

The Las Vegas Neon Boneyard is not to be missed.

The Wigwam motel of Rialto, California.

One of Wildwood, New Jersey's mid-century motel marvels.

Zip's Diner of Dayville, Connecticut, a steel and neon masterpiece (and the food is good, too!)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Spare time: Bowling signs seen along the way

These old signs strike my fancy, are right up my alley, are neat as a pin, are a trip down memory lane, put me in a good frame of mind, are a gutter delight and are in a league all their own.

Friday, November 11, 2011

11-11-11: The most important date in history, EVER (for Corduroy, that is)

Today, November 11, 2011, is significant in a few ways. It's Veterans Day, the U.S. presidential election is less than a year away, and it's Calista Flockhart's 47th birthday. But for the Corduroy Appreciation Club of New York City, this day is the most sacred day ever. Formed several years ago, the Club "wishes to cultivate good fellowship by the advancement of Corduroy awareness, as well as, understanding, celebration, and commemoration of the fabric and all related items. Club events are held on dates which incorporate, resemble or refer to Corduroy," according to their mission statement. These dates would be January 11 (1-11) and November 11 (11-11), and this year being 2011, well, you just can't get a more Corduroy-resembling date than 11-11-11. Today, the Club will convene at the Desmond Tutu Center refectory on 10th Avenue (what, no 11th Avenue locations available?) where the following activities will occur, according to their website:

• Dark Secret Rituals (No photography please)
• Presentation of Awards for Exemplary Usage of Corduroy
• Awards for Best Dressed
• A person (to be determined, and of some gravitas) to deliver a keynote address
• Installation of Corduroy Messiah (child – still at large! – that shall turn 11 on 111111)
• Singing, Dancing and Poetry inspired by Corduroy
• An open bar with Beer and Wines
• Additional epic and historic things

The 3 Item Rule (3 items of Corduroy must be worn to be admitted) will be strictly enforced and the meeting will adjourn, auspiciously, at 11:11 pm (natch).

We would like to wish the Club a "cord"-ual congratulations and hope they will celebrate a-"cord"-ingly and re-"cord" their ceremony for posterity.

Here's a video that the great Bill Geist of CBS Sunday Morning did last year:

Happy Veterans Day

We'd like to wish a Happy Veterans Day to all the soldiers who have served our country and their families. In their honor, here's a rerun of a post we did in June of 2010 from Sarasota, Florida.

A kiss is still a kiss: Sarasota, Florida's V-J Day Kiss Statue

Edith Shain, who claimed she was the nurse getting swept off her feet in Times Square by the kiss of an anonymous sailor in an iconic Life Magazine photo shot on Victory Over Japan Day in 1945, died today. She was 91. Her passing is rather timely for us at Eccentric Roadside because just last week I took some pictures of a statue depicting the famous Alfred Eisenstadt photo on Route 41 in Sarasota, Florida. A great big one. Twenty-six feet tall to be exact. Entitled "Unconditional Surrender," it was created by noted sculptor Seward Johnson, the same artist responsible for the truly awesome 25-foot "American Gothic" replica we saw in Chicago last year, and it makes quite a statement along the busy palm treed boulevard, surrounded by high-rise condos and a luxurious marina. Sarasota was the statue's original home in 2005. It was then moved 3000 miles away to San Diego for a spell, and then returned in better than ever condition back to Sarasota in 2008. A June 18 post to reports the smoochers were being craned onto a flatbed truck bound for New Jersey for some repairs before a triumphant Sarasota return engagement later on this July. Eisenstadt never got the names of the original celebrants and more than one nurse and sailor have claimed to be the make-out artists in the photo, but we believe you Edith. Don't sit under the apple tree with anyone else but us.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Eccentric street name of the week

Probably not the best address for a weight-loss clinic.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

I read the nukes today, oh boy: Pennsylvania's Three Mile Island

The training center is across the street...

...where they've courteously provided picnic tables.

The homes in the area are quite lovely... is the rest of the scenery.

I was reminded of someone while snapping this picture of myself...

On an unseasonably warm and clear March day in 1979, a bucolic section of central Pennsylvania just south of Harrisburg was the site of the nation's worst commercial nuclear accident. The Three Mile Island power plant accident was a core meltdown in Unit 2 that resulted in approximately 2.5 million curies (that's a lot) of radioactive gas being released into the Keystone State's atmosphere. A combination of a stuck valve and human errors led to an emergency being declared and an evacuation of thousands of residents. The incident caused an international sensation, and President Jimmy Carter, in an act of either bravery or foolishness, toured the plant shortly after the accident to prove everything was under control. The cleanup took over 14 years and cost $1 billion. In the end, experts concluded the accident did not cause a greater risk of cancer among the residents and plant workers. A meltdown was prevented and Unit 2 was permanently shut down, but Unit 1 is still in operation today. The power plant is on Highway 441, an otherwise lovely country road along the Susquehanna River. You round a bend and boom, there they are, those famous futuristic twin towers, belching out, what one hopes, is steam and not Armageddon. Across the street from the towers is the Three Mile Island training center, a nondescript industrial looking building surrounded by some nice landscaping and a neatly manicured lawn. There are even some picnic tables with a view of the towers, for your outdoor dining pleasure. The Three Mile accident is so significant to Pennsylvania's history, the state has put up an historic marker that doesn't sugar-coat the events. On the same "George Washington slept here" type of plaque are the words "nation's worst commercial nuclear accident". And up until several years back, there was actually a visitors center with a gift shop (!) . What gifts, pray tell, did they sell there -- "Three Mile Island narrowly avoided a nuclear meltdown and all I got was this lousy T-shirt"?