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Dazzling images from under the sea

By Sean O'Neill
October 3, 2012
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Veteran photographer Jeffrey L. Rotman fills his new book, Underwater Eden: 365 Days, with glorious images of ocean creatures in the Red Sea, the Great Barrier Reef, and elsewhere.

Gawk at a shark, octopus, dolphin, turtle, and assorted fish in brilliant shades of neon and bizarre patterns and textures, in our slide show. Of course, the book is available at Amazon.

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Inspiration

Webcomix get museum cred

MoCCA, The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art in New York City, is now showing a small but impressive exhibit on Webcomics—a label covering all types of online, serialized comics. The Internet gives artists the breathing space to be experimental, leading to some surprising inventions. For instance, a young man named Brian Fies recently wrote a webcomic about his mother's lung cancer. Another guy named Josh Neufeld has illustrated some of the stories of Hurricane Katrina survivors. The country's most famous webcomic is probably Penny Arcade, whose work is on display. Other represented artists include Jorge Cham (PhD), Pete Abrams (Sluggy Freelance), and Dan Goldman (the author behind the Eisner-nominated Shooting War and an upcoming graphic novel about the presidential campaign). The museum itself is on the fourth floor of a nondescript building on Broadway in a bustling SoHo shopping district. (By the way, if you've never visited a Japanese-inspired Uniqlo clothing store, be sure to pop in to the one a few doors down from the museum.) Hours are Friday through Monday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.; tickets $5, kids 12 and under enter free. Moccany.org.

Inspiration

Wistful thinking about Hawaii

Who isn't tempted by the allure of the islands? The lush flowers, the droopy palm trees ripe with coconuts, the gentle waves lapping the shore…. Sure, it's a clichéd vision of Hawaii, but it's an effective (and largely deserved!) one. Travel companies have been milking it for decades, and Hawaii remains one of the top spots for honeymooners. While on my own honeymoon in Maui, I came across a package of postcards featuring vintage art from the early 20th century—the glory days of travel to Hawaii. This was a time when airlines and cruise lines were selling the glamour of travel to the Pacific by using some of the classic art imagery that had already been seen on "luxury" items like canned pineapples. Check out the slide show I've put together, showcasing a bunch of these iconic images of Hawaii. Related While we have you in the mood, read up on your favorite island, whether it's Kauai, Maui, Oahu or the Big Island. Earlier A slide show of photographs from the book Exotic Postcards: The Lure of Distant Lands [artwork courtesy of islandartstore.com]

Inspiration

Testicle festival

We received the following email from Judy McFarland of Columbia, Mo. Please let Kate Appleton know that she missed one Wacky Festival in Missouri, the Testicle Festival. I've attached a billboard picture from the festival, which happens in Olean, Mo. Duly noted, Judy. We clicked these photos on Flickr to learn more. But you may be heartened to know that Budget Travel mentioned the Testicle Festival in its recent Road Trip: Eastern Kansas. [Update: A reader has reported on a second testicle festival. See comments below.] You can see Judy's testicle festival photo... here: And here is Kate Appleton's terrific roundup of Wacky Festivals.

Inspiration

Lord of the Skies: Air New Zealand

Last month, I boarded a 13-hour flight from L.A. to Auckland, New Zealand, expecting hassle, discomfort, and general unpleasantness. But I was in for a surprise because I was flying with Air New Zealand. As I boarded, I was politely greeted (gasp!) by genuinely friendly flight attendants. Once seated, I was offered a choice of beverages that included fine teas, coffees, wines, and much-appreciated water. This service continued throughout the flight like clockwork. As the cabin dimmed for dinner, I, for the first time, consumed an entire airline dinner--a tasty and fresh New Zealand lamb loin, which was a far cry from traditional airline fare, to say the least. The pre-arrival breakfast was equally impressive, including quiches, frittatas, spinach omelets, and French toast. My fellow passengers who forgot to pack sleep aids were glad to know that each seat on Air New Zealand is outfitted with an on-demand entertainment system. Over 250 programming are offered: current and classic movies (including a selection from New Zealand directors), games, sports, travel guides, television shows, and a wide selection of music channels. I even found myself slightly bummed when the pilot announced our arrival, halfway through my Lord of the Rings movie marathon. The leg room in "Pacific Class," like most airlines, could stand improvement, but, all aside, Air New Zealand proved that flying (even on epic trips) can still be painless and (dare I say) enjoyable.--Liz McKenzie. Related: A Month in New Zealand With No Set Plans [Photo by Liz McKenzie.]

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