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The Jail Café, located at 4212 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles. A ‘jailer’ watches from a guard tower on the roof.  Below the tower, a sign reads: ‘Dancing. Famous for their $1.25 dinners. Steak. Chicken. Lobster. Open from 5pm on. No cover charge.‘ Note the caricature faces peeking from behind the barred windows.  Inside – a ‘convict’ takes the customers’ order.  top photo dated – August 16, 1927

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Old Hollywood’s Best Theme Restaurants Specialized in Abductions and Dungeons

Inside the Wild World of L.A.’s Early Theme Restaurants

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An Indigent American’s Guide to Italy – A Thru GraZie

instead of a post filled with endless pictures from my tour of Italia (which you can find plenty of on my instasham), which would take me 9ever to do, I’m just going to give you a brief set of things that I’ve learned and relearned from the old country…

a) I am not sure that Europeans know what deodorant is.  I know they sell it, cause I saw it in grocery stores, but lots of people don’t seem to use it.  That’s ok… probably in winter, but when it gets to 80+ degrees °Fahrenheit (or 26.6667 degrees °Celsius, if that’s your dumb way of doing weather), and things get a bit clammy, you can easily tell who and who does not use deodorant

Apparently lots of people don’t, cause lots of places smelled like B.O.  The würst was when I was walking up the leaning tower of Pisa and the spiral staircase REEKED of it!!!  And I had nowhere to go but up, and into the thick of it. Jesus people!  Do you not smell what we’re smelling?  Was smelling good not a thing that came about and corrected during the Enlightenment?

b) Speaking of heat – do yourself a favor and avoid going to the southern parts of Europe during the summer, and not just cause of the rampant B.O.  Apparently clouds don’t exist in Italy, or wind (unless you’re in a taxi or boat and it’s in motion)  

Also, air conditioning exists, but it’s not like our air conditioning.  Imagine air conditioning, but awful, and that’s what European air conditioning is like

You’d think that the famous museums (spelled ‘mvseums’ other there) would be pumping cool air, but yer gonna be sweating your feeties off in the Uffizi.  Seriously, what do they do with all their entrance fee monies?  Invest in towels for their employees to wipe their dripping heads with?  

Anywho, I drank endless amounts of water (with ‘no gas’, cause there’s nothing less refreshing than water with bubbles in it), and yet I always felt parched and dry.  Also, cold water is not the most common thing sold in grocery and convenient stores.  They do have them for sale, but it’s either a small amount available, or the fridges they are being stored in are barely refrigerated.  Also, cold costs more.  One nice thing is that room temp water bottles cost next to nothing – even cheaper than here (cept maybe Trader Joe’s prices).  Anywho, I tried many kinds of water, and for some reason, I took to the bottle shape and taste of Levissima.  probably cause I’m a sucker for the color green

c) Speaking of liquids – Italians love their lemons, and they make so many great things WITH lemons.  None better than lemon soda.  Two kinds I really took to were Fanta lemon, and Freedea’s lemon (and orange) soda.  SO FCUKING GOOD (and WAYYY better than the San Pellegrino lemon soda we have here)

also, if you see any kinda lemon slushy, you MUST get one. FANTASTICO!!!

also, in need of a zesty alcoholic drink, have yerself a spritz – an Aperol spritz!  

also, if yer in Venice, pay the 21 euros and get a Bellini where it was invented.  It was worth every euro penny!!!

also, it’s amazing that Italy has no Starbucks (until 2018).  they don’t need em.  you don’t need them.  plus, Starbucks sucks.  plus, give me and the mrs due cappuccini every morning and we’re good to go!

d) Sometimes Europe is into things we’ve given up on ages ago.  The one that always boggles my mind is the Hard Rock Cafe.  I know there are still American locations still going, and the casino is a big deal in Vegas, but c’mon people, give up on the Hard Rock Cafe and give into deodorant!!  Or at least open more Chi-Chi’s, which are dead in America, but still alive… in BELGIUM!!!

e) But in terms of non-Americanized food, Italians are really really really good at cooking… Italian food!!!  It’s true!  But do these people really only eat pizza and pasta for every meal?  If so, how are they not 39923924392 lbs, or just not sick of it??  

I mean, I over-indulged in both, but eventually we needed a few culinary side trips.  Yet, it was hard to do so.  They don’t have Mexican food (they probably don’t know where Mexico is).  Their Chinese food is probably more like food from China, then the perfect version we have of it on our shores.  We broke down and did have sushi, and it tasted like sushi, but you wanna know who’s your best American friend is while abroad?  McDonalds

Say what you will about the Golden Starches, but it will always be there for you wherever you go, and it will always taste like McDonalds.  And they put actual ice in their drinks (good luck getting that in other restaurants), and they have wifi, and easy to access bathroom options.  Plus, McD’s was truly the best and most appetizing options we had at the train stations we were at and in a hurry to catch a train from.  And the McAngus was totally not terrible.  I SWEAR!

But under no circumstances should anyone ever eat at a Subway, home OR abroad.  Also, how insulting is it that they sell a ‘Spicy Italian’ sandwich in Italy??

Gelato is good, and I enjoyed it, but rest assure Dairy Queen, I still prefer good ole American soft-serve ice cream

And yes, the pizza of Italy is great, but nothing was mind-blowingly better than any pizza I’ve had in America.  I’ll take Di Fara’s or Lou Malnati’s or Ledo’s or Pizza Express‘ or Mother Bear’s ANY DAY over what I’ve had.  Also, how is pepperoni (aka, THE only pizza topping anyone should ever order) not a thing in Italy, birthplace of pizza?  I didn’t see it on a single menu.  They have salami, which is wonderful, but it is not pepperoni.  C’MON GUYS!!  I didn’t get to try their frozen pizzas, so I don’t know if they do them better than Mama Celeste done does

also, Yelp isn’t as big over there as it is over here, but I still trust it and trusted it more than I do/did TripAdvisor.  TripAdvisor’s ratings rankings never seem right, and their website design remains more painful to look at than a Julia Roberts movie

so what’s the best thing I ate?  tied – the two sandwiches (they call them ‘panini’, and sadly not ‘sanwichiozzies’) I had from All’Antico Vinaio, and Amorini (pictured here)

f) Speaking of stuffing my face… it all ends up in once place, and I will say that the Europeans are pretty smart when it comes to toilets.  They have one flushing button for lighter loads, and another for the heavy DOOTY stuff.  Also, all the flushes were powerful!  Also, they love bidets!  And who doesn’t love a good bidet!  I just have no clue how yer suppose to sit or hover on one

Alas, there seemed to be A SH!T TON of toilets missing their seats.  WHERE DO THE SEATS GO??  WHO IS STEALING THEM?? Maybe this poor guy below had its seat stolen, and then they stole someone else’s to replace theirs???

g) Italy is full of tourists so don’t be afraid or ashamed to do all the touristy stuff.  It’s insane that all this stuff was built a zillion years ago AND is still with us – the Colosseum, Vatican City, the Duomo, the leaning tour of Pisa, the non-leaning towers of San Gimigano, the town center of Siena, Michelangelo’s David, and every inch of Venice  

Venice is literally the most insane place.  How it’s able to still exist is a miracle, and an absolute dream.  I’ve been dreaming of returning there every since I went in 1998, and I don’t think i can wait another 19 years to return again.  It’s that amazing!!  

Another place you have to add to your MUST visit list is the five sea/mountain villages of Cinque Terre.  People make a big thing about hiking between the villages, but I didn’t have the time or energy to do so.  Did plenty of walking every day, plus the trains take you from town to town in minutes, and with the time you save, you can enjoy the views and ‘beaches’ for even longer!!!  

But please note – all those pics you see of Cinque Terre are overly-saturated in photoshop or reved up in instasham (I am guilty of it myself).  Yes, all the buildings are painting all kinds of beautiful colors, but in actuality, the colors are dulled – not vibrant like you see in the pics.  Look, I don’t fault these people (who used to deal with pirates, and now deal with mudslides and endless tourists) for not endlessly repainting them, but still, the colors are not as bright as you want them to be.  If you’re looking for that ultra-bright color amazingness, and if yer in Venice, take a vaporetto to the isle of Burano.  it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen

this is the block I want to retire on!!!

h thru z) the world is your oyster.  don’t waste your life staying at home or vacationing in Ohio.  America is great, but Europe is greater (to visit, but not to live… I mean, I can’t be watching the Nationals in the middle of the night for 162 games).  sure, it costs money to go to these places, but you can find the money later.  get the pasta and old stuff in now while you’re sorta young and can truly enjoy it.  juss don’t forget to pack your deodorant!

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Red Dawn Gone

Peace The Forks Out

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Mama Nicola – Joan

it’s very rare in life that any of us care and love owners of restaurants, but I did care for and love Joan from Nicola Pizza.  Mrs Caggiano was as much of an institution herself as is the restaurant she co-founded with her husband Nick.  While her pizza spot has been serving up their incredible Nic-o-Bolis since 1971, she has been serving me smiles every since my family has vacationed in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware (one of my favorite destinations on earth).  Luckily the Nic-o-Bolis live on, and I will remember Joan’s smile every time I take a bite into one, now and forever.  Thanks Joan – you made and will continue to make mouths and stomachs happy!

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Powers Boothe

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Yo, this Joe Stanley

146 years young/done

the OTHER Waffle House overlord 

a Dogtoother

LSDeez nuts

Jewish Holocaust survivor/Nazi actor(???!!!!)

Whisky a Go Go-er

Pepe The Frog

last surviving member of Salk vaccine team

Owen and Luke’s dad

THAT guy

Israeli model in the original Casino Royale

Miracle man

a Lion HoFer

Pacers coach

Canadian owner

Big Black

America’s oldest-living Olympic champ

bobsledder

attacked by Michael Landon the werewolf

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Jean Renault

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Weak & Spell

something special is going on with this instagram

i mean spicial!

you can follow along/awrong on instagram | tumblr | twitter

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