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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Knott's Berry Farm: More Than Just an Amusement Park


Knott's Berry Farm can be a noisy place, especially on the weekends. But even with its modern, industrial feel, there are little gardens and flower beds located all over the place, along with water fountains. This helps you feel like you are really in a park.


People aren't the only ones who notice these little touches. 


There's truly something for everyone at Knott's Berry Farm.

Dragon Dave

Monday, September 19, 2016

Old And New at Knott's Berry Farm


My wife and I have been having a lot of fun this year, thanks to our annual pass to Knott's Berry Farm. As it had been fifteen years or more since we last visited, the park took a little getting used to. But Knott's Berry Farm was always changing, even when I was a little child. Occasionally, I'll meet up with an employee or docent who knows the Park's history even better than I, and it's fun to share memories about donkey rides, the Gypsy Camp, the Roaring Twenties, and all the other attractions that have passed along the way. I do miss the light shows, and the fireworks, that they used to set off at night on the lake behind me. With an old church rising up along one shore, the lake had a very pastoral feeling. Now it's all industrial and noisy, with metal and steel rising above the lake, and riders screaming as the Steel Bullet and Jaguar shoot along the tracks. Still, I've come to love those rides, and accept that you can't have something new, without getting rid of something old.

Plus, the old church is located across the street. If I'm in town on a Sunday, supposedly it's even open for a service. In my memory, the church was always closed, only opened up when people hired it for weddings. So not everything old is lost amid the new.

Dragon Dave

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Knitted Star Trek Beyond


Dr. McCoy: Why so introspective, Spock?
Mr. Spock: I'm considering leaving Starfleet to devote myself to my fellow Vulcans.
Dr. McCoy: But your Human girlfriend is so hot! Being with Uhura is worth facing any danger.
Mr. Spock: Perhaps you are right, Doctor. I shall reconsider my future plans in light of your opinion.



Ensign Chekov: This sure is a dangerous mission. Look at all the red shirts piling up!
Yeoman Rand: You're right! I don't even know why I'm here! I'm not even officially a part of this new crew! I must be crazy to have come along as an uncredited crew person!



Mr. Scott: Well, you've done it again, sir. That's the second time you've destroyed my beautiful starship in the third installment of a series of movies.
Captain Kirk: I can't help it, Scotty. First it was Nero. Then Khan. Now they face me off against a former starship captain with a grudge against Starfleet. When our filmed Star Trek adventures are limited to battling psychopathic mass-murderers, the destruction of the Enterprise becomes inevitable.
Mr. Scott: Well, I'm canna take it no more, sir. I'm considering handing in my commission, along with Spock.
Captain Kirk: Don't worry, Scotty. The transporter keeps records of everything's original specifications. We can merely create a new ship by accessing Starfleet's records. 
Mr. Scott: I never thought of it that way, Captain. What an ingenious idea!
Captain Kirk: Beam me up a new ship, Mr. Miracle Worker!
Mr. Scott: Aye aye, Captain. I'll get started on it right away.



Uhura: I'm glad you've decided to remain with me in Star Fleet. Now we can look forward to making a child who's only one-quarter Vulcan.
Mr. Spock: Our love may not be logical, but I look forward to a long and prosperous life with you.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Touring a B-39 Russian Submarine


Have you ever been on a submarine? Recently, my wife and I toured a B-39 Russian submarine at the San Diego Maritime Museum. 


I’ve toured a few submarines in the past, but they were all United States Navy. I must say, the Russian one didn't remind me at all of the Red October depicted in the film based on Tom Clancy's famous novel, The Hunt For Red October. For one thing, there were no doors or person-sized hatches. Instead, you had to crawl through a two-foot-diameter circle to get from one section of the sub to another. That took some doing! 


An audiovisual presentation told how this submarine was historically significant. The USSR sent it down to Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis. It was set to launch nuclear missiles against the USA. The crew remained submerged as long as they could. They knew international tensions were running high. If they surfaced, and war had begun, they knew their submarine would be fired on, and probably destroyed. 


The crew deliberated over whether to fire their missiles on the US, just in case. But their stores of food, drinks, and most important of all, air, were not limitless. 


The captain decided to surface, and hope that war had not been declared, and they would not be attacked. 


Although the USA and the USSR didn’t go to war, it seems the sailors on this sub were looked down on when they returned home. Their military careers were effectively over. I found it interesting to sit in the last part of the sub, and see the post-it notes that people had written and stuck to the walls. Aside from the inevitable “So-and-so was here” messages, there were also heartfelt notes like “Thanks for not blowing us up” and “Thanks for risking your lives for peace.”


For those who served aboard this vessel, as well as their families, consider this post my expression of gratitude for giving peace a chance.

Dragon Dave

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Destruction of Fawlty Towers

Last year, I visited Torquay for two reasons. One was that it was the English city where Agatha Christie lived and wrote her stories. Another was its association with Monty Python and Fawlty Towers.



While planning out our trip, I studied the Hotel Gleneagles' website. It stated that not only could I stay there, but I could see a live dinner show based on the Fawlty Towers TV series. As the six writers and actors responsible for the Monty Python TV show had stayed in Gleneagles, and their visit inspired member John Cleese to create the Fawlty Towers TV series, this seemed like an irresistible opportunity. 

Sadly, although the website was still operating, Gleneagles had already closed by this time.


Still time for a swim?

During our visit to Torquay, my wife and I visited the property. It had not yet reopened, and no cars were in the parking lot. But little signs, here and there, advertised its connection with Basil Fawlty, the fictional owner, and his bumbling assistant Manuel, the hotel bellhop and waiter. I peered in through the windows, and looked through the side gate. I saw a cover over the pool, and an empty hotel lobby. But no one inside, enjoying this place of living history. 

While I was there, another car pulled up, and a local man got out. He took some photographs of the hotel with his phone, and we chatted for awhile. He enthused about the Hotel's association with Fawlty Towers, a show he loved and regarded as a classic British sitcom. He kindly took this photograph of me standing before the entrance.




When I discovered the article on the purchase and renovation of Moorlands House in Hay Tor, where Agatha Christie wrote her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, I decided to search for any developments of Hotel Gleneagles. Instead of learning that it had been also refurnished, redeveloped, and that I would be able to stay there, I learned that the building had been torn down earlier this year. So, Agatha Christie's historic hotel gets saved, and John Cleese's gets razed? One is cosseted, the other destroyed? Sometimes, life just doesn't seem fair.

Still, I got to go there, and see the historic Gleneagles Hotel, before it was lost to history forever. Or, as the Daleks would say, before Fawlty Towers was exterminated, Exterminated, EXTERMINATED!!!

Dragon Dave