Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Women who deserve to be in the Bikinis Hall of Fame

The other day I expressed my disappointment that the Bikinis Hall of Fame is really more about celebrating large breasted celebrities than honoring the pop culture significance of the bikini bathing suit.
Last year, the Bikinis Sports Bar & Grill chain made actress-dancer Carmen Electra the first inductee into its Bikinis Hall of Fame. The decision likely was more about the availability of a female celebrity to mark the seventh anniversary of the Texas-based restaurant chain than honoring someone famous for wearing a bikini.
Electra was a star of the beach drama “Baywatch,” but I can think of a lot more women who would be more bikini-hall-of-fame worthy.
Film stars like Brigitte Bardot, Ursula Andress and Raquel Welch helped popularize the bikini in the 1950s and early 1960s.
Then there are all the supermodels who have graced the cover of the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue over the years, including Cheryl Tiegs, Christie Brinkley and Elle Macpherson.
Wikipedia has a section on the “Bikini in popular culture.”
A bikini hall of fame could easily have scores of well-known inductees. A proper shrine would have the original bathing suits or at least reproductions.
What follows are lists of famous bikini wearers from movies and TV shows.

20 Classic Movie/TV Bikinis (Entertainment Weekly: May 24, 2014)

Top Ten Bikini Movies of All Time (Bikinis Blog; July 31, 2014)

The Most Memorable Swimsuits Ever (InStyle)

Top 10 Bikinis in Pop Culture (Time; July 5, 2011)

Relive the Impossible Hotness of 17 Top Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Cover Models (People; Feb. 3, 2014)

List of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover models (Wikipedia)

Photos: Jessica Alba on the cover of the May 30-June 6, 2014, issue of Entertainment Weekly; and Cheryl Tiegs on the cover of the 1975 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Bikinis Hall of Fame still a one-off

In July 2013, the Bikinis Sports Bar & Grill chain announced actress Carmen Electra as the first inductee into its Bikinis Hall of Fame.
Doug Guller, founder and CEO of Bikinis Sports Bar & Grill, created the Bikinis Hall of Fame to mark the seventh anniversary of his restaurant chain. Bikinis is known for its scantily clad waitresses, who wear bikini tops, denim shorts and cowboy boots. Guller even holds the trademark for the term Breastaurant.
To celebrate the chain’s anniversary, Electra had a cast of her bikini-covered chest made for the Bikinis Hall of Fame. A plaque on the cast reads “Bikinis Bust of Fame.” (See coverage by the Daily Mail and the Superficial.)
Last week, I emailed Guller to get a status report on the Bikinis Hall of Fame. I asked him whether last year’s induction of Electra was a one-off.
“There will be many more inductees!” Guller replied. “We were trying to get Dolly Parton this year but the timing didn’t work out.”
It’s pretty clear that the Bikinis Hall of Fame is more about honoring famous breasts than bikini wearers. That’s unfortunate.
A museum honoring famous bikini models and actresses is a lot more interesting than an exhibit devoted to ladies with big boobs. Bikinis evoke images of summer, vacation, fitness and sexuality. Without that context, boobs are boobs.

Photos: Carmen Electra is inducted into the Bikinis Hall of Fame; country music singer Dolly Parton graces the cover of Playboy magazine in October 1978.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Tumblr gives me a ‘final warning’ a year after deleting my blogs for supposed copyright violations

Seriously, Tumblr?
You terminate my account abruptly more than a year ago for “repeated uncontested notifications of copyright infringement” and NOW you send me a “final warning”?
That’s like a cop shooting someone and then saying, “Stop or I’ll shoot” … a year later.
If there was any way of getting back the three blogs you deleted because of two complaints from one photographer against one of those blogs, despite my fair use argument, I’d be all ears.
But you never responded to my appeal and I doubt you will now.
Sending this email is obviously just another screw-up on your part. Thanks for rubbing salt in an old wound.
P.S. It’s nice that you’re paying at least some lip service to users’ rights now.

Here’s the text of an email message I received yesterday evening from Yahoo-owned Tumblr:

Tumblr Copyright Violations- FINAL WARNING


We're writing to let you know that, due to repeated uncontested notifications of copyright infringement against one or more of your blogs, your Tumblr account is one more uncontested notice away from termination. PLEASE CONSIDER THIS A FINAL WARNING.

As a reminder, Tumblr, as required by US law, implements a strict policy of terminating the accounts of repeat copyright infringers. It's important for all creators that our users respect copyright, and so we ask that you take greater care in what you post to your Tumblr blogs. You can review Tumblr's Terms of Service (http://www.tumblr.com/policy/en/terms_of_service) and Community Guidelines (http://www.tumblr.com/policy/en/community) for more information on our copyright policies.

Also, if you believe that a copyright infringement notification has been incorrectly submitted against you (in other words, that you have the legal right to post the content), you can contest the notice and file a counter-notification according to the procedure found here: http://www.tumblr.com/policy/en/terms_of_service#dmca

For more information on US copyright law, you can visit the following sites:

Thanks for your consideration.

Tumblr Trust & Safety

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Best songs of summer

Billboard magazine officially crowns each year’s song of the summer after Labor Day. But often those tunes don’t stand the test of time.
Others have tried to compensate for the shortcomings of the Billboard list in choosing the song of summer by coming out with their own lists. What follows is a few of them.

Best Summer Songs of All Time (Rolling Stone)

The 44 Most Summery Summer Songs of All Time (E! Online)

Top 30 Summer Songs (Billboard)

Photos: Album covers for “Heat Wave” (1963) by Martha and the Vandellas.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Forget ‘Fancy’, here are my picks for song of summer 2014

Summer is nearing an end, so it’s time to crown the “song of summer.”
Based on its dominance on the Billboard Hot 100 music chart, “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea and featuring Charli XCX looks like a lock to be the song of summer for 2014. It was No. 1 for seven straight weeks.
Billboard ranks the most popular songs across all genres from Memorial Day through Labor Day, based on cumulative performance on the weekly Billboard Hot 100 chart. It factors in radio airplay audience impressions, sales data and streaming activity for the chart.
Last year, Billboard crowned Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” as song of the summer. It was No. 1 for 12 weeks.
Basically the official song of summer is objective, based on popularity, rather than something more subjective, like a tune that captures the feeling of a particular summer. It doesn’t even have to be about summertime activities.
Music has the ability to take people back in time in their memories. Certain songs make me remember where I was when a track was popular, especially summer songs.
Just check out this Billboard list of the top 10 songs of summer from 1985 through 2013. Many haven’t held up very well. And often lower-numbered tracks get more airplay today than the No. 1s from summers past.
For me, “Fancy” is a faddish track that’s more about swagger and attitude than melodies.
Songs that best capture the summer of 2014 for me include “Summer” by Calvin Harris, “Am I Wrong?” by Nico & Vinz and “Turn Down for What?” by DJ Snake and Lil Jon.
To those chart toppers I’d add an Internet meme tune – “Apparently” by the Gregory Brothers. Seriously.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Summer road trip, part four: The kids’ perspective

As an educational exercise, I had my two children keep journals during our recent road trip. They were assigned to write about their experiences at the end of each day.
From his journal, my son summarized the most memorable parts of the trip. I decided to run my daughter’s journal entries as is.
What follows are guest blog posts from my children about the trip that I blogged about over three articles.

Christopher, age 11

This summer my family and I took a long road trip up to Big Star Lake, Michigan. We stopped at many places on the way there and back.
On the first day of the drive, we stopped at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh. Some of the exhibits were quite interesting, including a toilet that you would have in space.
The next day, my dad brought us to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. My dad got a real kick out of it. I thought it was OK.
In the line to get tickets, we had our pictures taken and those were given to us at the end.
We saw all sorts of costumes from the performers.

After the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, we drove to our final destination: Big Star Lake in western Michigan.
We stayed three days at a cottage there with my cousins, aunts and uncles.
At Big Star Lake, we went boating, fishing and tubing. Tubing is where you sit on an inflatable raft and get pulled by a boat from a long rope. The boat goes very fast and you have to hang on for dear life while the boat is roaring.
We spent a lot of time on the beach. I liked swimming in the water looking for minnows.
My cousin Johnny taught me and my sister to play ladder golf.
I challenged my dad to a game. I played Dad three times and won once and lost twice.
My dad and I also went and flipped a paddleboat. My glasses got lost in the water, but Uncle Doug found them. If he did not, that would have been bad!
I played water baseball with Johnny. The bat had holes so you could adjust how far the ball went when you hit by filling the bat with water.
I tried fishing and caught one bluegill on a hook and another with a net.
One night after dinner we shot off fireworks on the beach. That was cool.
On day six of our seven-day trip, we took one last ride on my uncle Steve’s boat before hitting the road. My cousin Brian went wakeboarding. He is very good at it and did tricks.
After that, we said our goodbyes on got on the road.
We got stuck in a long line of cars trying to get into Canada.
After a long drive, we finally arrived at Niagara Falls. Our hotel was near Clifton Hill on the Canadian side of Niagara. It was like a fair, except year round.
The next morning, we waited in a massive line to get on a boat to go to the falls. We wore cheap pink ponchos to keep us dry.
When that was over, we walked to the Bird Kingdom. It was awesome! We saw all kinds of animals (not just birds). That place was amazing!
Finally we got back on the road towards home.

Aerin, age 8 

Day 1:
Road trip!
In the morning I was eager to get in the car. Once my mom and dad loaded all of our bags into the car, we started driving.
In the car I had books and video games to keep me entertained. But soon my Nintendo DS had to charge. But I played silly games with my brother Chris.
After four hours in the car, we stopped at Carnegie Science Center.
Then next door was another science center. It was about sports. Chris did a pitching game while I did a bouncing game.
We stopped at a food court and Panera Bread.
After a two-hour drive, we were in Cleveland. Then we tucked in for bed.

Day 2:
Day 2 was mostly in the car but we did some fun things.
In the morning, we got up and went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! They had Katy Perry’s peppermint dress. They had Michael Jackson’s jacket. And we watched a movie about Dick Clark.
Then it was six more hours in the car.
We ate Mexican food for dinner. Soon after we arrived at Big Star Lake.

Day 3:
Most of the day we were outside. But we did a lot of stuff. I played ladder golf and swam.
We had doughnuts for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch. For dinner, we had pasta, roast beef, corn, hot dogs and after that we had s’mores.

Day 4:
Today was stupid because we did not do anything out of the water or that wasn’t near it.
In the morning I went fishing. Chris caught one and named it Squishy.
In the afternoon I went tubing with Claire, my cousin. She fell off once but I stayed on the whole time!
In the night, we had a bonfire. Then tucked in for bed.

Day 5:
Day 5 was a lot of fun.
In the morning, we had waffles. Then we went in the water. It was FREEZING!
In the night, we shot fireworks.

Day 6:
Day 6 was a long drive.
We woke up and had French toast.
We got on the boat and saw cousin Brian do tricks.
Then we went to the cabin and got our bags. Then we left the cabin.
We drove and we made it to Canada! We stopped at the hotel. We went and got pizza for dinner. After that we went to see Niagara Falls at night. Lights lit it up.

Day 7:
Day 7 was a lot of time in the car.
We ate at IHOP for breakfast.
We went on a boat called the Maid of the Mist. Then we went to the Bird Kingdom. Then hit the road and drove home to Virginia.

Niagara Falls;
Water-skiing on Big Star Lake, Mich.;
Beyonce costume exhibit at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland;
Parrot at the Bird Kingdom, Niagara Falls, Ontario;
Chris throws 52 mph fast ball at pitching exhibit at Highmark SportsWorks, Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh;
Madonna memorabilia at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame;
Aerin playing ladder golf at Big Star Lake;
Pier at Big Star Lake.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Summer road trip, part three: Niagara Falls

The last major destination on our family road trip was Niagara Falls.
We entered Canada from the west, which seems odd because the country is north of the continental U.S. We crossed over the St. Claire River at Port Huron, Mich., and got grilled by a very stern Canadian border control officer in Sarnia, Ontario.
After being waved through, we proceeded to drive several hours across flat, dull southern Ontario.
We entered Niagara Falls, Ontario, in the early evening hours and checked into our room at the Sheraton On the Falls hotel, which had a nice view of the falls.
We then explored the carnival atmosphere of Clifton Hill, shopped for souvenirs, ate dinner and walked to the riverfront park to experience the falls at night. The falls are beautiful any time of day, but at night they’re lit up with colored lights.
The next morning, after a nearly $100 breakfast for four at IHOP, we decided to board a boat to get up close to the falls.
On the U.S. side, the boats are called Maid of the Mist. On the Canadian side, they’re called Hornblower.
Passengers on the U.S. side wear blue plastic rain ponchos, while tourists on the Canadian boats where red ponchos. At least that’s what it looks like from a distance. Up close the cheap coverings on the Canadian side are pink.
You need the rain gear because the falls pelt you with a fine mist of water. It’s like a light rain, but you’re in it long enough to get soaked.
The boat ride took us below the American and Bridal Veil falls where we saw tourists on the wooden walkway for Cave of the Winds. That attraction reminds me of the 1953 Marilyn Monroe movie “Niagara,” which was filmed on location.
The boat then cruises to the Horseshoe Falls where it parks in the mist for a few minutes to let passengers experience the roar of the water and the majesty of the largest of the three falls. My glasses got all wet so it was all a blur after a while.

I was impressed by the falls. But the kids were antsy and could only be calmed by agreeing to take them to the Bird Kingdom.
I was expecting a tourist trap, but I actually enjoyed myself. The Bird Kingdom has lots of different feathered friends on site and the kids were entertained by a scavenger hunt game.
Soon it was time to hit the road and head home.
We could easily have spent a few days in Niagara Falls enjoying the sites and attractions. On the Canada side, I would like to have seen the White Water Walk and maybe done the Whirlpool Aero Car. On the U.S. side, I would have done the Cave of the Winds walk and checked out the Niagara Falls Observation Tower.
But we had a long ride home ahead of us.

Up next: The kids’ perspective

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