Friday, October 29, 2010

76-Second Travel Show: 'How to Time Travel'

Episode #044
F E A T U R I N G * 6 4 * B O N U S * S E C O N D S

Did you see that Charlie Chaplin video yet? I like how George Clark, the director, says three times he's screened it for 'about 100 people,' calls the woman in question 'butch' a few times, starts with blatant self promotion, and -- a director -- rambles on way too long and shoots his deal in bad lighting.

Considering that, AND that it's the 25th anniversary of a more relevant time-travel (and Huey Lewis) vehicle Back to the Future, it's time to weigh in.

Can you time travel? Is it better to go back or forward? And what when would physicist Paul Davies, with a time machine, head to?

My ranking of the Charlie Chaplin traveler, out of five possible clocks:

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

76-Second Travel Show: 'Monopoly Travel to Atlantic City'

Episode #043
F E A T U R I N G * 1 8 2* B O N U S * S E C O N D S

Question: Can a Monopoly board be used as a guidebook?

Why yes! In Atlantic City, it can!

Parker Brothers first published Monopoly 75 years ago this year -- it began in various forms decades before as 'Landlord's Game.' Some people don't realize that the color-coded properties encircling continuous layout -- eg Connecticut Avenue, St James Place, Marvin Gardens, Park Place -- are based on real ones in New Jersey's famed seaside beach destination. And with the exception of one -- St Charles Place -- all can be visited, and doing so (sometimes) leads to Atlantic City's best survivors from past-gone eras.

I followed the board around Atlantic City recently. Several locals independently advised that the Baltimore Grill on Atlantic Avenue served 'the best pizza in the world.' It didn't -- and didn't have a grill either -- but I loved the '50s-era throwback. Meanwhile, at the corner of Vermont Ave & Pacific Ave, I peppered the keys of an antique pianola in a 19th-century lighthouse, now surrounded by housing blocks.

But the best stop? Easily St James Place, home to a classic pub and hotel at the Inn at the Irish Pub? Most memorable stay in an American hotel I've had. Like walking into a Little Rascals set, with picks from local estate sales that date to the Depression, lacy curtains blowing in AC-free rooms, slanted floors and -- in my room at least -- an embroidered Norwegian scene hanging opposite an inspirational quote taped onto a paddle.