Remembering JFK

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http://www.hotelkeeper.gr/ The world will never forget the 22nd of November, 1963. 50 years ago John F. Kennedy was assassinated, his death shocked the whole world. A number of events were organised to commemorate his memory. Find out more.

Most memorable childhood moments caught on film

Childhood! We’ve all been there! And I am pretty sure that for most of us childhood stands as the time of our lives. Childhood is the promising beginning of a new life, full of joy and happiness. Maybe you don’t remember it by now, but there are always those proofs to remind you of the fact that it was precisely like that! So many parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles of family friends tend to take plenty of photos of the children in their family, especially in their earliest years of life. You know, that very yearly age that ends, let’s say, around the time you turn five and you become a bit more conscious of the social norms. But up until that moment, everything is a bewildering kaleidoscopic sequence of  funny instances, situations and events – all caught by your parents and relatives either on film or on tape, one more quirkier than the other.

Let’s check on the quirkiest instances in which parents, close relatives and friends tend to immortalize on tape or film when it comes to the new-comers to life around them:

1.              At the table

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credit: “theirhistory” on Flickr

Chocolate mousse, tomato sauce and all that whipped cream! Strawberry juice, carrot puree and cranberry pudding! Imagine all of those all around the place and especially all on top of the baby! The little ones tend to eat with their hands and spread food all around them. Grownups find this to be very funny, maybe just because they get nostalgic of those days when they could do it too (?). Thing is, it seems that babies and small children have a lot of fun doing it and probably most of the photos taken of babies and small children are while sitting at the table, ‘eating’… or simply playing it Jackson Pollock with their food. Take a look at your own photo album from when you were little and tell me: how many food photos can you count? Too many to count, I suppose …

2.              Swimming with the ducks

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credit: “Tanya Dawn” on Flickr

Oh, boy! All that baby shampoo and bubble bath splashing around the whole bathroom! As much as the whole grownup population appreciates the benefits of having a modern Mira Showers model installed in their bathrooms in order to avoid the mess and leaks of water all around, they simply love it when babies make a mess. There are too many photos of babies making a mess in the bathroom while playing with their toys! Foam and water everywhere, plastic duckling thrown all over the place, as if the bathroom was a water park and grownups simply trying to catch it all on tape – especially if the baby likes it! Of course! Wish I could explain to those babies: enjoy it as it lasts! As you grow up, your mom won’t like it anymore and you will know what that means! Shouting at you from the living room not to make a mess in the bathroom while you are taking that shower … well, we’ve all been there – both babies and teens. Thing is, grownups can stand the mess in the bathroom only when it comes from a baby. The proof: the many photos that flood the photo albums – and nowadays the Facebook accounts.

3.              On the ‘throne’

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credit: “Geekybiker” on Flickr

Let’s not leave the bathroom just yet! There is yet another instance caught on film that is simply mesmerizing and quite embarrassing when looking at the proof for the already grown up former baby that must have been caught in the deed while still little. What I am talking about is the photos parents tend to take of babies while they are peeing or engaging in their ‘bare necessities’. Why!? I simply wonder! However, the thing is that parents tend to do that – take photos of their little ones in the most embarrassing moments. I still don’t know what is so funny about that! Still, it does get documented quite often! Just take a look at your own album! You might find some proof of your own self patronizing the toilet! Enjoy!

4.              By the beach

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Facing The Waves

What about those castles made of sand? Not the famous song, but the childhood memories that are kept evergreen due to those plentiful of photos that we all have from our childhood. All of that pride and happiness and satisfaction of the castle well-built, oh boy! What a joy! But isn’t there any of you who happens to have been caught in the photo just right when a wave was tearing down the feeble construction? Chances for it to happen might be at first considered to be rather slight; however, waves are many, and so are those dreadful chances of a miniature tsunami to wipe out the wonderful construction.  For sure, many of us remember not only the satisfaction of having our castles ready, but also the shock of seeing it all wiped out in an instant and the waves of tears rolling down the face. It must have been a terrible feeling back then, but it must surely make for a rather amusing memory as grown-ups, at least to a certain extent … after all, all of those castles made of sand wiped out by the big wave stood for just a very truthful lesson of life – isn’t it so?

5.              Trick or Treat!?

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Halloween Costumes 1980

Guess what! Halloween is knocking at our door and now’s the moment to catch up with the fun! Just take a look at all of those wonderful photos, all just as many memories of the greatest period in one man’s life: childhood! There is no child not to have photos taken when dressed as zombie or as Count Dracula. And if you were one of those faint-hearted, then there surely must be proof of you running scared of all your childhood friends, all wearing their quirkiest Halloween gowns. In case you don’t find any, then maybe it’s not too late to get your costume now and get going! Halloween is just around the corner! And that’s for sure the time for childish fun! Enjoy!

Pixar Mania

Pixar Animation Studios

Pixar Animation Studios

What is it that makes us love animation? Perhaps it is the fact that there is no other artistic creation or sort of moving image that can help us escape reality in the lightest, most cheerful and playful way. The story of animation goes way back in time, at the beginning of the 20th century.  Since animation came into being as a moving image on a screen many things have changed. First of all, what has changed is the way we, adults, watch animation. Animation films have stopped being the main preoccupation of kids alone, as they might have used to be perceived not until long ago. Especially during the last few decades animation became a main entertaining cultural product for adults, just like in the beginnings of it. One of the main factors to have influenced this switch was also the tremendous success of Pixar films.

If we want to be honest and make justice to animation movies, we cannot open a conversation without at least mentioning the Japanese productions. Some of the best animated films, as well as a number of considerable innovations in the field of animation have been introduced due to Japan and the animation industry; the rest of the world just followed.  Hayao Miyazaki might be just the most well known personality and a great ambassador for the Japanese animated films industry. Spirited Away or Princess Mononoke are just a couple of Miyazaki’s masterpieces, which children and adults alike can watch and be fascinated with.

Spirited Away, Hayao Miyazaki

Spirited Away, Hayao Miyazaki

However, Japan is just one big chapter of the story of animation. Along with it, there are many other pages of it. Let’s just stop at a more recent page: that one about Pixar! When talking about Pixar films, it is always useful to remember that even Steve Jobs was involved in the whole story, as it was his own company (Apple) that funded Pixar in the very early days. Is it basically as if he could have predicted that twenty years later he would be able to sell Pixar to Disney for $7.4 billion, or is it that whatever Steve Jobs made or touched could actually turn into gold? Whatever the situation, the truth is that Pixar makes for a successful story.

The Pixar success story officially started in 1995 along with the release of the first, out of fourteen till this moment, feature-length film, Toy Story. The movie had a tremendous impact on the film industry and it opened the road for Pixar’s latest monumental successes.  If I want to be entirely honest with you, it personally took me a while to get completely fascinated with Pixar films, as I was more into Miyazaki at the time I tried out the Pixar creations. However, it did not take long for me to get hooked. And it was after I watched Finding Nemo for the first time (I watched it numerous times after) that I finally felt that the Pixar creative universe is, indeed, as special as to convince me to stay faithful to it on and on.

The latest film from Pixar to be released is Monsters University, which seems to be doing pretty well at the box office as we speak. I haven’t watched it yet, but I’m looking forward to spend another couple of hours lost in one of the most enjoyable and mind soothing parallel universes of our world!

Toy Story

Toy Story

Finding Nemo

Finding Nemo

Monsters University

Monsters University

For all of those who cannot simply wait to have another taste of Pixar, there is always the chance to plan a trip to the Walt Disney World! Over there, and especially this summer, Pixar-related attractions will make you feel like home; you just need to check on tickets available from FloridaTix and then your only concern will be which Pixar attraction to choose first!

In all of the Disney theme parks (Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom), the visitors have the chance to find their favorite Pixar characters and to get to know their world a little bit better. Just to name a few, there is The Seas with Nemo and His Friends, The Laugh Floor featuring Monsters Inc characters, Toy Story Midway Mania, Finding Nemo The Musical and many others…

Toy Story Midway Mania, Disney California Adventure

Toy Story Midway Mania, Disney California Adventure

The Seas with Nemo and His Friends

The Seas with Nemo and His Friends

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Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor, Magic Kingdom

I have watched most of the Pixar films. Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, WALL-E and, of course, Ratatouille would be among my favorites, but I certainly don’t want to imply that any of the other Pixar movies is not worth it! Everything indicates that the story will go on and my hunch is that the story is to be continued by also maintaining the quality standards that Pixar have reached during all of these years. Currently, there are three Pixar films in production: The Good Dinosaur, Inside Out and Finding Dory. I can’t wait to watch them all!

The Incredible Hulk Coaster!

Express Your Thing

The Incredible Hulk Coaster!

This Hulk-transforming coaster is standing with pride! All of its twists, turns, drops and loops will drive you insane and aggressive. Funny how I did not ride this one at Universal Studios Florida, I was already tired by that time. The first roller coaster or even ride that I rode was the blue dragon rollercoaster (forot the real name) in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (since I am a Potterhead). We circled the park counter-clockwise to see the Harry Potter world first. But I really do wanna post this photo of The Hulk Coaster because it looks so cool!

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Remembering Asterix

Asteris & Obelix

Asteris & Obelix

Why is it that we love Asterix and his adventures? One could argue that people will always love the spirit of resistance, the idea that they will always be a few who will never surrender, but fight and never give up, as irrationally and stubbornly as one might actually dare to think that it even fringes absurdity at times. Some others would probably say that it was this particular French humor incorporated in the pages of Asterix that made them laugh continuously. Finally, it would be safe to argue that Asterix will always remind us of the good old days of comics when people didn’t die like flies; as a matter of fact, no one ever dies in Asterix! There seems to be a certain degree of innocence in old European comics such as Tintin or Asterix; kids today are exposed to much more violent and cynical comic creations. Every time period imposes its own rules and attitudes and this element transcends through the pages of Asterix.

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Asterix, The Village

I personally grew up with Asterix… and not only! Lucky Luke was also one of my childhood heroes. With Asterix, though, I had a bigger chance of bursting into laughter as Obelix, Asterix’s best friend and companion in all kinds of adventures, was admittedly a hilarious character. Obelix could not take even a step without that reassuring presence of his beloved doggie named Idefix. A charming character, indeed!

Cacofonix & Idefix

What was also of great importance in Asterix’s enormous success worldwide was the importance on the details. Asterix’s village, the only village of Gaul (nowadays France) resisting to the Roman rule, was filled with a number of attractive characters, all of them adding to the general picture. My personal favorite would have been (without a single doubt) the village’s bard, Cacofonix: in the end of each book, he was to be found tied on a tree in order not to sing for yet another time with what was considered by his fellow villages as a terribly annoying singing voice!

But enough with slipping down the memory lane! Now is just about time for some good news: Asterix intends to live forever! The comic was originally created by Rene Goscinny (writer) and Albert Uderzo (illustrator), but it continued to reach the audience even after the premature death of Goscinny back in 1977. Uderzo took over and published a few more of Asterix’s adventures in the ancient Roman world and as it seems as definite by now, Asterix will continue to explore new lands and seek for new adventures even without Uderzo’s creative efforts.

There is a new book coming out this year entitled Asterix and the Picts. It will actually be the first Asterix book ever created without Uderzo’s active participation on the project, but it will be released with his full permission. Now, there has been a challenging debate going on lately concerning the fact of whether the new Asterix, which is to be made without the guidance and the creative spirit of at least one of its two original creators, will continue to entertain the readers in the same engaging way that it got its fans used to over the decades.  My opinion is that it was just about time for Asterix to enter a new era, while paying all respect to its particular history. Asterix has grown bigger and bigger over the decades, exceeding expectations. Asterix even has his own theme park! Located just outside Paris, the Parc Asterix receives over 1.5 million visitors per year. You can easily book your own tickets at AttractionTix and live the experience in one of the park’s many roller-coasters and other fun activities.

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I’m personally looking forward to the new Asterix coming out later this year, given the fact that I was slightly disappointed by the last book, entitled Asterix and the Falling Sky, where some… aliens arrive in the village. I do hope that new creators will revive the French legend and new readers and fans will learn about the unbeatable and brave Asterix and Obelix.

Till then, one can always watch one of the four live action movies that have been released over the years, which have met consistent box office success. What is more, there is an upcoming new Asterix animated film expected in 2014. Asterix : The Land of Gods will be the first animated Asterix movie in stereoscopy 3D. Get ready for the new adventures!

A dog’s car accident: don’t leave dogs in the car!

Don’t we simply love our best friends the dogs? Of course we do! Starting with the all-time favorite and classic Lassie to all the little puppies that can steal a smile even to the most cold blooded. But what do we actually know about our little fellows? Well, maybe not as much as we think we do. Since we love them that much and we empathize with them – as they empathize with us -, we might tend to treat our dogs as humans, forgetting that they are actually … dogs! Of course, there is nothing more touching like a dog’s soul, still … this soul inhabits a dog’s body, with its special needs and its special features.

Some of us tend to even feed our dogs a part of the food we buy or cook for ourselves. Don’t! Never! Spices are harmful for dogs and consequences can be devastating for a dog’s organism and you do not want to bare it on your consciousness forever. Us, humans, are responsible for the dog friends that we have in our care. Part of our responsibility is to also not engage our dog friends into activities that could be fatal for them, unfortunately. What we, humans, might perceive as harmless, might be deadly for our dog friends, which are not humans and do not function as such, not even as baby humans!

Did you know, for instance, that it could prove to be deadly to leave your dog in the car? A baby might practically or physically survive a swift ten minutes session of loneliness in a parked car, even in a summer’s day, leaving aside the treads and the distress – so do not dare to try that either! But a dog might die if left alone in a car for even a quarter of an hour.

There are so many of us who tend to go everywhere in the company of our dog pal. Some even have the hunchback of their car especially designed to the very dear passenger: the dog. However, it has been proven that cars are not dog’s best friends, especially during the hot season. Moreover, cars appear to be some of dogs worse enemies, even if leaving your dog unattended in the car even for a quarter.

This is why the Dogs Trust has launched the campaign  ‘hot dogs’ in order to raise awareness to irresponsible dog owners that leave their dogs inside their hot cars. The AA supports the Dogs Trust’s campaign. It goes without a saying; the AA car insurance can cover for anything but not for a dreadful loss… The company’s employees have saved 1000 dogs only last year; let’s hope that won’t stop to be the case from now on…

But what is actually the case? As cars do come designed with special devices for our dog palls… What happens is that a car can easily become a dog trap especially in a hot summer’s day. Cars tend to get overheated, as we all know. And dogs cannot bare as much heat as we humans can. It has been proven that a dog can suffer serious brain damage or even die of a heart attack because of the heat produced in a parked car in a hot summer’s day. The worst is that the irreversible and dreadful event can happen faster that we think: in about 15 minutes. That’s bad!

What to do if you see a trapped dog in a parked car? Well, first of all, do not cowardly leave the scene as nothing has happened and do not keep a blind eye to it! In case you know the owner, call him or her to inform about the catastrophe. If not, call the authorities, giving the exact pattern of the car, the registration number and all other required details. However, calling the authorities does not solve the actual problem – a dog dying in a hot parked car.

Therefore, if the situation is truly bad, do not wait for it to get worse. Find a witness and, since you supposedly already informed the authorities, try to break in the car and to get the dog out before its too late. Take the dog to a cool place, which has air conditioning and immediately call animal control, explaining about the symptoms.

But before authorities and animal control appear at the scene, you might also need to continue providing first help to the dog. What to do? Water helps. Provide the dog with water! Also, immerse the dog’s body in a tub of cold water (but not icy cold!) for a couple of minutes, if a tub is available. If not, wet towels places over the dog’s body will do. The dog will need to see a veterinary immediately, just like us, humans, would immediately need to urgently see a doctor if a car accident happen to us.

So, see the action of leaving your dog friend all alone in the parked car in a hot summer day just as a car accident and try to avoid it as much as possible! Who wants to lose a friend in a car accident and also be held responsible for it!? Bare than in mind and love your friend – just as much as your dog friend loves you! Bow-wow!