Public Menorah lightings

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to all! On Sunday night (the first night of Hanukkah) I went to the public lighting of the world’s largest menorah. It was a 32 foot, 4000 pound steel candelabra with gas lamps in a windproof casing. It was designed by Israeli artist Yaakov Agam, inspired by the original menorah that was in the Holy Temple of Jerusalem almost 2000 years ago. Mayor Bloomberg lit the wicks, symbolizing the first of eight nights of the Jewish festival of lights. There was quite a crowd there on the corner of 59th St. and 5th Ave., right near Central Park. This menorah, and about 700 more located all over the world are organized by the Chabad organization and this year have the added significance of standing strong in honor of those who were killed in the recent Mumbai terrorist attacks.

Another popular New York City public lighting took place on Sunday night at Washington Square Park.

The other “world’s largest menorah” is lighting up Washington, D.C. It’s located on the Ellipse, just across from the White House.

Other large scale lightings are taking place all week long in Santa Monica, San Francisco, Honolulu, and Chicago, as well as in 732 more cities in 47 countries worldwide.

Check out this youtube video

from the Chabad of Malibu about their candle lighting initiative. And if you’re curious as to HOW to attend a public lighting, ehow’s got you covered.

Happy holidays!
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Some more places to go Golfing

A while ago I posted a list of 10 Great Places to go for the Green (Golfing) and now I was browsing a blog I follow and found another list. This is from The Golfer’s World and highlights the best U.S. public courses. Larry Olmsted is the author of the blog and has started with number 24 and has so far worked his way down to number 8. So today I’ll do 24-13 and when he finishes (in December), I’ll post his top 12 choices (remind me). So here ya go, golf enthusiasts:
24. Harbour Town Golf Links – Hilton Head, South Carolina
23. Blackwolf Run – Kohler, Wisconsin
22. The Dunes – Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
21. Dorals’ Blue Monster – Miami, Florida
20. The Boulders Resort Golf Club – South Course – Carefree, Arizona
19. Sunriver Resort – Sunriver, Oregon
18. Manele Bay – Challenge Course – Lanai City, Hawaii
17. Pinehurst #2 – Pinehurst, North Carolina
16. Tobacco Road – Sanford, North Carolina
15. Madden’s Lake – Classic Course – Brainerd, Minnesota
14. Primm Valley – Lakes Course – Primm, Nevada
13. Kapalua Golf Club – Plantation Course – Lahaina, Hawaii
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Real Men go to Spas

There is nothing unmanly about relaxation. Some guys play video games, some guys work out, and some guys go to spas. When I leave a spa, either after a simple shiatsu massage or after a full day go at skin care and specific body work, I feel so relaxed and distressed that I feel the effects of it for weeks afterwards. According to Men’s Health magazine, “Any vacation is a good vacation. But the best ones can calm your mind, refresh your body, revive your relationships, and maybe even extend your life.” I couldn’t agree more. And it’s a great way to meet chicks…or make one very happy if you’ve already got one. It’s a romantic valentine’s gift or anniversary idea. Or, more likely (for me at least) a way I can get out of the city (or feel like I’ve left the city) and completely relax and take care of my body. A lot of spas have fitness centers on their premises, so you really get to feel like you’re working towards a healthier existence.

Here are some great spas that offer spa treatments for men—sports massages, facials, back skin care, and male manicures and pedicures, among others.

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Business trip to Austin, Texas

I’m in Austin, Texas for five days, spending three nights at the Hilton near the Austin Convention Center, and two nights at the Lake Austin Spa Resort, which I am really looking forward to (last two nights). As you know by now, I don’t ever plan a business trip without a significant pleasure portion. I’ll really be busy this trip (not like my last trip to Jackson, Wyoming where I spent most of time out on the green), but of course have scheduled some time at the Barton Creek – Crenshaw Cliffside Course, which, coincidentally, I just wrote about in 10 Great Places to go for the Green, so that’s certainly a highlight.

Here are my goals for the week: Get work done, golf, eat some good BBQ and Mexican food, and get a few massages. That shouldn’t be too hard. One of my coworkers suggested the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum—does anyone know if that’s worth going to?
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Boston for the Boys: Good father-son museums

Just to continue the Boston conversation that Sharon has started…
I think of these things as “guy things” but that could just be because I’ve been to Boston a number of times to visit my father who always insists on taking me to one of these museums (among many others):

New State Park in Washington State

Great news for the West Coast! Washington State has just opened its first new state park in more than a decade. Located on the southwest shore of Camano Island is the brand new Cama Beach State Park.

Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen calls the new state park “a jewel”, according to the article in USA Today, which also explains how the park-making process was a bit delayed after archeologists uncovered human remains and Native American artifacts dating back 1,600 years. It’s the Tulalip, Swinomish, Upper Skagit and Stillaguamish tribes that occupy that area who opposed the construction and renovations of the park. An agreement was made to leave the north side of the property undeveloped to preserve the cultural history of the ancient Native American village. Reservations for the new park are already filled through the summer.

While you’re in that area, check out other national and state parks in the area:

  1. Olympic National Park
  2. Deception Pass State Park
  3. Moran State Park
  4. North Cascades National Park
  5. Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

See ya there.
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Honeymoon in Hawaii

While it was still freezing in NYC, my new, spectacular wife and I escaped for 2 weeks (spring break plus some) to Hawaii for our belated honeymoon. We’re back already but if I close my eyes and concentrate just a little, I think I can take you back there…

Warmth is showered upon me as I peel off the layers of clothes that had kept me warm in the airports and the flight. I squinted my eyes with pleasure and splashed suntan lotion on Carrie’s (now bare) shoulders. We got in a cab that brought us to the Sea Mountain Resort, but not without giving us a tour of a most picturesque landscape. Our windows were open and we could see, feel, and smell Hawaii bursting with life around us. The sight of the waving trees and glistening sands drenched in heat and ocean winds was delectable and whispered our names, beckoning us to partake in its splendor.

The majestic sands of the Punaluu Black Sand Beach won us over for our first day trip. We dragged our feet along the lava granules (sand) lining the beach. Inspired by the natural foot massage, I treated Carrie to a full body Punaluu massage (created and carried out by me) where I took the coarse rocks mixed with warm water and spread them out on her body. We saw turtles and went snorkeling. We went swimming in the freshwater pond at the far end of the beach and saw ducks. We ate a romantic picnic lunch and lazed out in the sun for hours.

I had just finished a unit on volcanoes for my third graders and had promised to take pictures of some volcanoes in Hawaii; and what better place to do so than the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The biggest and most active volcanoes dot this park. The environmental features of this island are absolutely phenomenal. The hike we went on brought us to dramatic vistas that were surrounded by the looming heights of volcanic displays.

Spencer Beach Park and Hapuna Beach State Park demanded a few days of our time, and we broke up beach time with eating at fantastic restaurants and participating in (kinda cheesy, but fun) luaus. We also went to Mauna Kea Beach, which honestly, I can’t remember anything specific about—maybe that’s the one that we camped out at?

The Hawaiian palate is impossible to describe—it’s like someone threw some colors on a canvas and then swirled them magically into a beach sunset. The air is imbued with passion and chaos—it is only through these great forces that this sort of beauty exists.

We took fantastic pictures, but I’m not sure if I know how to post to this site. I’ll see if I can figure it out…
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