Golden Gate Bridge celebrates 75 years throughout 2012


Anyone with plans to visit San Francisco in the next year should take advantage of a program of “75 Tributes” that the Bay Area is planning to honor the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge. Bay Area museums, cultural centers, universities, arts organizations, and more are coming together to create a roster of exhibits, lectures, performances, concerts and film screenings that honor the iconic span–most of which are absolutely free. A full schedule of events is available at goldengatebridge75.org.
The main event, however, is a birthday bash set for May 26-27th. Unlike the 50th anniversary celebration, officials won’t close the bridge to traffic (last time they tried this, an unnerving 300,000 people crowded onto the bridge at one time causing it to loose its natural curve). This year, the free celebration will be held on the waterfront and will feature music and other entertainment, exhibits with memorabilia and historic artifacts, guided walks, and a “spectacular surprise finale,” according to the San Francisco tourism department.
The area around iconic span will also undergo some dramatic changes intended to create an atmosphere that is more like a national park. As it stands, visitors to the bridge are greeted by little more than a gift shop and snack bar. That gift shop, known as the Round House, will be converted into a welcome center where visitors will be able to organize a guided tour or get their picture taken in front of a green screen of the bridge (which will probably be popular on foggy days). The snack bar will be renovated into a cafe featuring a menu of locally-grown foods. Outside, the bridge plaza will get new wayfaring signs and two scenic overlooks will be built. Construction on a new 3,500-square-foot pavilion that will is also underway. Perhaps most amazingly, no bridge tolls or tax dollars are being used for the renovations–all of the improvements are coming from private donations.

(Image above: Cars crossing the Golden Gate Bridge on its opening day in 1937)

SkyMall Monday: Anniversary Gifts

gadling skymall monday love you more anniversaryLast week, my fiancée and I celebrated our two-year anniversary. We met and went out on our first date on the same day (I work fast). We’re getting married next Spring, so we’ll soon have a new anniversary to celebrate. Do we stop celebrating our initial anniversary date? Do we celebrate both anniversaries? How does that work? Anyway, it was obviously a festive week at SkyMall Monday headquarters. Naturally, it had me thinking quite a bit about presents. Thankfully, SkyMall has gift guides organized by occasion, so they do all of the thinking for you. Whether you and your betrothed have been together for a year, a decade or what seems like an eternity, our favorite catalog has the right gift to say all the things that words cannot express. Choose your gift carefully, however, because what you select says a great deal about you and your relationship.There are 125 gifts listed in SkyMall’s “Anniversary Gifts” category. I have chosen to ignore all of the jewelry and flowers. Why? Because those are obvious and traditional gifts and you don’t need SkyMall’s help to be dull. You’re probably doing a bang up job of that all by yourself. You’ve turned to SkyMall because you need inspiration to be creative and keep your relationship spicy.

Now, let’s take a look at some of SkyMall’s best anniversary gifts and what they say to your special someone:

Love You More Wood Plaque

From the product description:

You’ve played the flirty back-and-forth game. Now you can finally have the last word.

What it says to your significant other: I wish you wouldn’t make me end all of our phone calls by saying, “I wuv you, Snugglebottoms,” while I’m out with my friends.

Soap Roses

From the product description:

Display them and softly scent a room. Peel off a petal and lather between your hands. Sprinkle a handful of petals in warm bath water…

What it says about your relationship: After years together, we’ve lost our physical intimacy and I’ve taken matters into my own hands while in the shower.

gadling skymall monday yukataYukata Cover-Up

From the product description:

Yukatas are pieces of wearable art – no two are exactly alike. Our 100% spun crushed Japanese Rayon is the most luxurious of all Rayons and meets the highest fashion standard.

What it says about you: You’re a connoisseur of rayon. You never got over your Asian fetish.

Bonus fun fact: The Yukata Cover-Up is produced by Jams World, the same company that made those extra long boardshorts that I wore in the 1980s.

Bonus video: If you enjoy lounge music, beach scenes and attractive women with their arms akimbo, then this is the video for you.

Large Organic Fruit Sampler

No product description needed or provided. We all know what a fruit basket is.

What it says about everything: I think you’ve gotten fat.

Happy anniversary!

Check out all of the previous SkyMall Monday posts HERE.

Brooklyn Bridge celebrates 128th anniversary

Brooklyn Bridge
If you are in New York today, consider paying homage to one of the city’s most venerable landmarks: the Brooklyn Bridge, which turns 128 today. The iconic bridge opened in 1883 after 13 years of construction. As is common with mid-week birthdays, the main celebrations happened over the weekend, including a special offer to get a $28 tattoo of the Brooklyn Bridge from a local tattoo parlor. Brooklyn Tattoo illustrated 60-70 proud Brooklynites in 2010, and inks another dozen or so each month. That’s a lot of bridge enthusiasts!

Should you not want such a permanent souvenir, you can always celebrate with a walk across the bridge and a picnic at the newly-expanded Brooklyn Bridge Park (where yours truly got married 7 years ago), but forget the Champagne – no alcohol is allowed on the bridge or in the park.

Photo of Langley aircraft carrier under the Brooklyn Bridge courtesy San Diego Air & Space Museum archives.

Forgotten space pioneer: 50th anniversary Alan Shepard’s historic flight

space, Alan ShepardFifty years ago today Alan B. Shepard Jr., became the first American in space when he flew in the Freedom 7 mission. He got 116.5 miles up and his flight lasted 15 minutes, 28 seconds. He made history, but has been generally forgotten.

Why? Because he was the second man in space. Yuri Gagarin made it into space 23 days earlier and won the second round of the US-Soviet space race. The Soviets won the first round too, when they got the first satellite into orbit in 1957.

Neither man achieved full orbit, but they did prove you could survive the trip and they paved the way for future space missions. Both deserve to be remembered.

NASA has an excellent interactive webpage about the mission and the capsule he flew in is on display at the Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Shepard was an alum (Class of 1945) so needless to say they’re pretty proud of him over there.

Shepard later landed on the Moon in the Apollo 14 mission and drew laughs and criticism when he played golf in low gravity. You can see the Apollo 14 command module at the John F. Kennedy Space Center.

[Photo courtesy NASA]

Celebrate Italy’s 150th birthday in Torino

Italy's 150th birthday150 years ago, Italy became a country. Well, sort of. Venice and Rome didn’t join for another 9 years, so many Italians will be waiting until 2020 for the big celebration of the Risorgimento, as the unification is called in Italian. Nevertheless, as Italy’s first capital city in 1861, Torino (aka Turin, home of the famed Shroud) is celebrating all year, including the reopening today of the Risorgimento Museum, with free admission for the rest of March. This weekend also marks the reopening of the Automobile Museum, with a huge expansion and total concept overhaul, fitting for a country that gave birth to the Ferrari, the Lamborghini, the Alfa Romeo, and Torino’s own Fiat.

Beginning this summer, the history and evolution of Italian fashion will be celebrated just outside Turin at La Venaria Reale. La Venaria Reale will also host a Leonardo da Vinci exhibition starting in October 2011. Not to leave out food, visitors can attend “royal dinners” all spring through fall, sample traditional regional dishes, and learn about their history as part of the unification. Buon compleanno, Italia!

Learn more about Italy’s birthday events at eng.italia150.it and

www.dreamofitaly.com