Internet Explorer bug fixed!

For those of you still using Microsoft Internet Explorer, you may have had difficulties reading Looka! since the WordPress changeover and, more recently, seeing the sidebar. If you’ve given up on us because of that — and are still, I hope, glancing at your RSS reader — please come back! The bug’s fixed (gaah, stray comment tags!), all is well, and IE users will have a trouble-free Looka! reading experience from now on. (But it would behoove you to switch to Firefox. And if you’re a Mac user, Safari works great.)

We now return you to your regularly scheduled weblog. Don’t let this distract you from reading “Go forth and conquer,” Wesly’s first Looka! post, if you haven’t already.

Go forth and conquer

So, I’ve been taking the train to work the last few months.  It’s a bit of a hassle, but not overly so, especially for Los Angeles.  It gives me some extra time to read, it’s not nearly as much trouble as it could be (did I mention that I live in Los Angeles?), and it can actually be quite interesting on occasion.  So I’m consciously counting it as a small blessing in my life right now.

As you are no doubt aware, it’s kind of impossible to go anywhere or do anything in our modern world without being the target of advertising.  Been to a movie lately?  How many commercials did you have to sit through?  While you were sitting in a seat you had paid to sit in, I might add.  Grr, don’t get me started.

It will come as no surprise to you that there are advertisements on the Gold Line.  I am shocked! I hear you say.  Shocked, I tell you!  Shocked and appalled. Well, get used to it.  Most of the time they’re fairly forgettable ad posters, easy to dismiss or ignore.  But recently there’s been a series that has caught my eye and actually made me smile…and think, I guess, just a little.

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Sugar’s got what it takes!

Enjoy this full-page advertisement that appeared in the March 4, 1966 issue of TIME magazine, and imagine that appearing today, lo these 43 years later when “sugar” has become a dirty word.

1966 sugar ad in TIME magazine

Click to enlarge

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Happy Repeal Day!

For those of you who might not be aware (a diminishing number annually, I fervently hope), there is an other winter holiday to celebrate, “the most joyous of all winter holidays,” as my friend Tatsu said yesterday.

Happy days are here again!

Repeal Day is December 5, and celebrates the anniversary of the Repeal of Prohibition, the “Noble Experiment” that was anything but. Prohibition brought about myriad ill effects to the country and the world, including the loss of every job in the brewery, winery, distillery and hospitality industry that relied on making and serving alcoholic beverages, the criminalization of millions of Americans who simply enjoyed having a drink, and the wide expansion of a criminal underclass to provide liquor to the masses (without caring too much about whether or not that liquor would poison you).

Getting rid of and recovering from all those ills (and to this day we’re still recovering from the ill-effects of Prohibtion) and having the freedom to have and enjoy a drink is well worth celebrating, don’t you think? We have our friend Jeffrey Morgenthaler to thank for coming up with the idea to make this a widely-celebrated national holiday, and it’s getting more and more well-known every year.

A bit of history, shall we?

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Eating in London

Yes, we took a trip to Europe last month! Yes, we’re procrastinating when it comes to writing about it. I’m going to start today; you can needle Wesly for his contributions as appropriate.

I do love nonstop flights, especially when they’re affordable. When they get us directly from L.A. to Heathrow with a relative minimum of discomfort for steerage coach class, all the better. Our dear friends John and Fiona Hoskins picked us up at the airport after a quick trip through immigration and Customs, and off we went to Hampton Court!

That’s Hampton Court Palace, in fact, where King Henry VIII used to live with his various wives back in the 16th Century, and where we were staying at the Georgian House, a guesthouse converted from kitchen staff housing right on the palace grounds.

Georgian House's private garden

That’s the private garden outside the house. Not bad.

When we arrived we were greeted by a tantalising aroma, which was Fiona’s 24-hour slow roasted pork:

24-hour slow-roasted pork

… served along with cracklings (the crispy skin) and a side of pasta with tomatoes and roasted red peppers … oh my. We spent the entire first evening in London at the Georgian House, catching up with John and Fiona, drinking Plymouth gin & tonics, presenting them with bottles of Torani Amer so that they can continue to make their namesake Hoskins Cocktail at home, stuffing ourselves with pork and generally having a grand time, jet lag be damned.

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