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Celebrity Nurseries

Sunday, Feb 18 2018 by

Being a pregnant celebrity has come a long way from the days of hiding their pregnancy and staying out of the limelight until after their delivery. Now, having a baby bump is a trendy accessory in Hollywood, and so is having a fashion-forward and fabulous nursery to bring the baby home to. Recent trends are clearly focused on gender-neutral and age-neutral themes, which make decorating fun and adaptable for a growing family.

Savannah Guthrie

Savannah Guthrie, co-host of NBC’s morning news show Today, decorated her daughter Vale’s room in a neutral animal theme that is anything but boring!

Savannah Guthrie & Michael Feldman's House (Birds Eye)
Savannah Guthrie & Michael Feldman's House
Photo credit http://celebritybabies.people.com/2015/08/19/savannah-guthrie-daughter-vale-nursery/

Ivanka Trump

Whether you love or hate her dad, it’s impossible not to love Ivanka Trump’s nursery in her upper East Side apartment with husband Jared Kushner. The neutral palate of cream and gray are on trend even for the most sophisticated adult, but the softer touch of stars, plenty of books for his older siblings to read to him, and the portable Moses basket make the room a great place for Theo to grow up and interact with his entire family.

With her great taste in style, it’s a sure bet that her new house in Washington, D.C. will be as fabulous as her New York apartment!

Ivanka Trump & Jared Kushner's House (Google Maps)
Ivanka Trump & Jared Kushner's House
Photo Credit: Ivanka Trump

Kevin and Danielle Jonas

Kevin and Danielle Jonas were in tune with the new trend of sophisticated and adaptable baby rooms when they decorated the nursery for their baby girl, Alena Rose, in 2014. Starting with a neutral palate of dark wood floors and ivory furniture, they accented the room with stunning navy blue and natural wood furniture, making the room both perfect for a new baby and ready for a toddler to learn, play and grow. Navy is a neutral color that will make it so easy for the Jonas family to use the nursery for whoever joins their family next!

Kevin Jonas' House (Google Maps)
Kevin Jonas' House
Photo Credit: http://www.newarrivalsinc.com/Celebrity-Spotlight-Danielle-Kevin-Jonass-New-Playroom_b_207.html
Photo Credit: http://www.newarrivalsinc.com/Celebrity-Spotlight-Danielle-Kevin-Jonass-New-Playroom_b_207.html

Nicky Hilton Rothschild

After years of fashion hits and misses that were always entertaining and anything but low-key, model, socialite and trend setter Nicky Hilton married James Rothschild and settled down to married life. She gave birth to baby girl Lily Grace Victoria Rothschild in July 2016, and shared details of the baby’s nursery shortly before her birth.

The New York City nursery is decorated in soft blues and whites, which would be perfect for either a boy or a girl, but the furniture makes it clear Nicky and James have a baby girl! The antique dollhouse and Madame Alexander dolls set it apart, and the cat-themed mobile above the crib shows off Nicky’s personality and love of all things cat.

Nicky Hilton's House (Birds Eye)
Nicky Hilton's House
Photo Credit: http://ca.hellomagazine.com/health-and-beauty/02016072828320/nicky-hilton-stylish-stroller/
Photo Credit: Nicky Hilton Instagram

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Notorious Prisons

Saturday, Feb 3 2018 by

Most people only think of prisons when they see them portrayed on television or in the movies, but for those who know from personal experience, there are some prisons you really don’t want to end up at across the country. These prisons have well-deserved reputations as the most notorious prisons in the United States.

ADX

ADX, or the United States Penitentiary, Administrative Maximum Facility, in Florence, Colorado, is the prison where the most dangerous, violent and famous federal prisoners are sent. It was specifically created to hold society’s worst criminals, those without regard for human life. From its inception, it has been a notorious location. Only around 400 prisoners are housed at ADX, but they include top mafia and gang leaders, drug dealers, former spies and domestic terrorists.

When a prisoner arrives at ADX, they are immediately subjected to one year of solitary confinement, with only one hour a day outside their cell. Only after a year is their behavior evaluated and they are considered for better conditions. The prison was specifically designed to be escape-proof, including by making directions, distance and time of day difficult to ascertain once inside.

Famous criminals include Zacarias Moussaoui, one of the September 11 terrorists, Richard Reid, the so-called “Shoe Bomber”, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who bombed the Boston Marathon, and Robert Hanssen, a former FBI agent-turned Russian spy.

ADX Florence (Bing Maps)
ADX Florence
Photo Credit: http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2015/08/the-50-craziest-prisons-and-jails-in-the-world/tadmor-military-prison

Alcatraz

Probably the most famous, and most infamous prison, in the United States is Alcatraz Prison located on an island in the San Francisco Bay, over a mile from the mainland. Also known as “The Rock”, Alcatraz started out as a lighthouse, then was used for military purposes, before being turned into a prison in 1934. Its military uses included holding prisoners during several wars, including the Civil War, Spanish-American War and World War II. The first batch of federal civilian prisoners arrived in 1934. These criminals were sent to The Rock because they were troublesome at other facilities or were deemed high risk. The location in the middle of the San Francisco Bay was ideal because the bay’s waters are extremely cold and fast-moving, making it difficult to reach and nearly if not entirely impossible to escape.

Alcatraz (Birds Eye)
Alcatraz

Though many tried, officially no prisoners are recorded as having escaped and survived. At least 36 men attempted to escape; most were caught alive but six were shot dead, two confirmed drowned and five are assumed to have drowned but could in theory have made it to shore. One breakout attempt was so elaborate and all-consuming it became known as the Battle of Alcatraz.

Photo Credit: https://www.nps.gov/alca/index.htm

Some of America’s most famous and violent prisoners were held here, which adds to the island’s reputation as a notorious prison. Gangsters such as Al Capone (convicted of tax evasion rather than murder, drug running or bootlegging), George “Machine Gun” Kelly, and James “Whitey” Bulger all served time at Alcatraz.

The history of Alcatraz doesn’t end with the closing of the prison in 1963. In 1969, it was taken over by Native Americans as part of a larger movement in favor of Native American rights and culture. The occupation lasted nearly two years, and impacts of the occupation including graffiti and burned down buildings are still recognizable today.

According to legend, Native American tribes felt that the island had bad spirits and would sometimes banish individuals to the island for a time. Reports have continued until today about ghosts appearing throughout the island in Civil War attire, sounds of screaming and cannon fire, and other mysterious events such as smoke without any fire coming from different rooms. You can tour Alcatraz these days and learn all about its history and local and national impacts, and look for signs of its notoriety.

Leavenworth

United States Penitentiary at Leavenworth, generally referred to as Leavenworth, is an older prison within the US Bureau of Prisons system and has developed a reputation for being tough prison, even though its maximum security prison days are behind it as it is now a medium security prison.

Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary (Google Maps)
Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary

Leavenworth is one of the oldest prisons in the federal system, built by military prisoners in the early 1900s. Its first execution was a hanging in 1930, and it housed Japanese Americans who were conscientious objectors during World War II. For many years, Leavenworth was an extremely dangerous prison, housing gang members, violent killers and others deemed too dangerous for other prisons. Five corrections officers were murdered at Leavenworth, the last in 1974, and there have been several prisoner murders and riots, as well as multiple escapes in its long history.

Leavenworth’s design with a large central domed building led to its nickname as the “Big House” which often refers to prisons in general now. Its Panopticon style design allows guards to watch prisoners without them being able to see the guards, leading to a sense of lost privacy and paranoia to ensure the prisoners remain on their best behavior.

Photo Credit: https://www.bop.gov/locations/institutions/lvn/

In 2005, Leavenworth was downgraded to a medium security prison, but its reputation as a tough prison will always remain, especially with famous inmates including James “Whitey” Bulger, George “Machine Gun” Kelly and Michael Vick.

San Quentin

This California prison makes the list because it maintains the largest death row inmate population in the US, with more than 700 prisoners on Death Row. It has a large population, with over 3,000 prisoners total. San Quentin houses many gang members, and their rival affiliations often lead to riots and violent outbursts and murders at the prison. The prison has a long history of corruption among those responsible for running and maintain the prison, and previous guards would encourage gang and race violence.

San Quentin State Prison (Birds Eye)
San Quentin State Prison

After a 2007 race riot, prisoners from all backgrounds began working together to overcome racial and gang-related prejudices. This, along with better anti-corruption efforts, have helped make San Quentin a safer place to serve time, but it still struggles to manage and assist those prisoners struggling with mental illness.

Scott Peterson, infamous for murdering his pregnant wife, is serving time at San Quentin, and Charles Manson, one of America’s most notorious cult leader and mass murderer, served time here as well.

Photo Credit: CC Flickr user Håkan Dahlström

Sing Sing

Sing Sing is a New York state prison, and houses around 2,000 prisoners at any given time. Sing Sing is a dangerous and violent prison, whether you’re a guard or an inmate.

Sing Sing Prison (Google Maps)
Sing Sing Prison

Sing Sing is one of the oldest working prisons in the United States. When it was first opened in 1826, prisoners were forced to be silent, and could expect a whipping or other punishment for talking.

In spite of recent efforts to maintain prisoner morale, the prison has certainly earned its reputation as notorious. Various tortures were sanctioned, including water torture. Over 600 inmates, both men and women, have been executed at Sing Sing before New York State outlawed the practice. Possibly the most famous prisoners, and most famous executions, were of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, convicted of spying for the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Over the years, wardens have raised the standards from a “Hellhole” to a decent prison with sports teams and activities for prisoners.

Photo Credit: Burns Archive

Sing Sing has housed many famous or infamous prisoners including serial killer David Berkowitz, aka the Son of Sam, gangster Charles “Lucky” Luciano, spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, and Eddie Lee Mays, the last man executed by the State of New York.

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Wallace Neff, Architect of California’s Golden Age

Monday, Jan 30 2017 by

Wallace Neff was a famous Southern Californian architect. The houses he designed are still among the most coveted and appreciated houses in Los Angeles by celebrities and architectural connoisseurs alike. The distinct style he worked in is called the California style.

Jon Brooks's house (Birds Eye)
Jon Brooks's house
William Joseph "Bill" Bell Jr. and Maria Arena Bell's house (Google Maps)
William Joseph "Bill" Bell Jr. and Maria Arena Bell's house
Adrien Labi's house (The Singleton Estate) (Birds Eye)
Adrien Labi's house (The Singleton Estate)
Carol and Frank Biondi Jr.'s house (Google Maps)
Carol and Frank Biondi Jr.'s house
Jimmy Iovine's House (Birds Eye)
Jimmy Iovine's House
Bradley S. Cohen's House (Birds Eye)
Bradley S. Cohen's House
Peter Dent & Susan Purvis-Dent's house (formerly Madonna's) (Birds Eye)
Peter Dent & Susan Purvis-Dent's house (formerly Madonna's)
Bill Guthy & Victoria Jackson's house (formerly Cary Grant's & Buster Keatons's) (Birds Eye)
Bill Guthy & Victoria Jackson's house (formerly Cary Grant's & Buster Keatons's)
Rudolph Valentino's 'Falcon Lair' (demolished) (Birds Eye)
Rudolph Valentino's 'Falcon Lair' (demolished)
Pickfair Estate (Birds Eye)
Pickfair Estate
'Chandler House' by Wallace Neff (Birds Eye)
'Chandler House' by Wallace Neff
James Murdoch's House (Birds Eye)
James Murdoch's House
Loren G. Lipson's House (Birds Eye)
Loren G. Lipson's House
'Dome Home' by Wallace Neff (Birds Eye)
'Dome Home' by Wallace Neff
Ricky & Betty Chow's House (Google Maps)
Ricky & Betty Chow's House
Diane Keaton's House (former) (Google Maps)
Diane Keaton's House (former)

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This Week's Birthdays - Week of September 5

Wednesday, Sep 14 2016 by

September 5, 1850 – Jasper Newton “Jack” Daniel, an American distiller and the founder of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey distillery.

Jack Daniel (StreetView)
Jack Daniel

September 6, 1963 – Angela Chalmers, a retired Canadian track and field athlete who competed in the 1500 m and 3000 m.

Angela Chalmers (StreetView)
Angela Chalmers

September 7, 1936 – Buddy Holly, an American musician and singer-songwriter who was a central figure of mid-1950s rock and roll.

Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story (StreetView)
Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story

September 8, 1990 – Matthew “Matt” Barkley a NFL quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals.

Matt Barkley - USC QB (2009-2012) (StreetView)
Matt Barkley - USC QB (2009-2012)

September 9, 1890 – Harland David “Colonel” Sanders, an American fast food businessman who founded the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) restaurant chain.

Colonel Sanders (StreetView)
Colonel Sanders

September 10, 1950 – Anthony Joseph “Joe Perry” Pereira, the lead guitarist, backing and occasional lead vocalist, and contributing songwriter for the rock band Aerosmith.

Signed Aerosmith photo (StreetView)
Signed Aerosmith photo

September 11, 1862 – O. Henry, American short story writer (d. 1910)

The 1880's home of O. Henry (William Sydney Porter) (StreetView)
The 1880's home of O. Henry (William Sydney Porter)

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Thomas Edison

Wednesday, Sep 14 2016 by

Thomas Edison (February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931) was an American inventor and businessman. He developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and a long-lasting, practical electric light bulb. Dubbed “The Wizard of Menlo Park”, he was one of the first inventors to apply the principles of mass production and large-scale teamwork to the process of invention, and because of that, he is often credited with the creation of the first industrial research laboratory.

Thomas Edison Statue (StreetView)
Thomas Edison Statue

Thomas Edison statue (StreetView)
Thomas Edison statue
Edison Memorial Tower (Birds Eye)
Edison Memorial Tower

Edison's Black Maria (Google Maps)
Edison's Black Maria
Thomas Edison's Hollywood star (StreetView)
Thomas Edison's Hollywood star

Thomas Edison Birthplace Museum (Birds Eye)
Thomas Edison Birthplace Museum
Thomas Edison National Historic Site (Google Maps)
Thomas Edison National Historic Site

Thomas Edison's House (former) (Birds Eye)
Thomas Edison's House (former)

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Today in History - September 4

Wednesday, Sep 14 2016 by

1882 – Thomas Edison flips the switch to the first commercial electrical power plant in history, lighting one square mile of lower Manhattan. This is considered by many as the day that began the electrical age.

Thomas Edison Statue (StreetView)
Thomas Edison Statue

1888 – George Eastman registers the trademark Kodak and receives a patent for his camera that uses roll film.

Kodak (StreetView)
Kodak

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