Monday, February 4, 2013

Attitude Adjustment - Round III

One of the most popular pursuits at Florida Grande is the "Attitude Adjustment" painting class, always fully booked and usually with a wait list. The third outing this season was no exception.
Fifteen young lovelies settled in to exercise their painting prowess under the watchful guidance of Gruppenfuhrer Marty Whitney. In just two hours, the attendees each produce a finished piece of artwork while skillfully multi-tasking with a liter or two of wine.
See here for a private viewing of these unique works.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Third Annual Florida Grande Silent Auction

It seems almost no time at all since the previous Silent Auction but, here it is, another entire year having slipped by almost unnoticed.
Happy hour provided an opportunity for diners to inspect the loot and plan their strategies. Then, per tradition, a nourishing dinner was served and this, along with the occasional adult beverage, mellowed the crowd nicely. Once dinner was done the auction got underway producing another large crop of lucky winners.
Pictures of the proceedings, courtesy of Sandy and Evelyn, can be seen here.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Grande Fashion!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 heralded another "First" for Florida Grande. It was the day for the first Lunchtime Fashion Show in the Grande Room.
With clothing and stage management provided by Boutique-on-Wheels ably represented by a half-dozen clothe horses press-ganged from the myriad beauties around the park, the event could not fail to impress.
Sandy and her able team of elves, with their usual panache, laid on a stylish lunch and all was set. The event was well attended and the fashion parade was astonishing! Check it out for yourself!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Florida Grande Car Show!

In the same way that there is a religion for almost every belief, there is a definition for elderly automobiles to suit every aspiring collector.
A Classic car is an older car, that much we know. The exact definition of Classic however, varies around the world. A Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) statement maintains that a car must be between 20 and 40 years old to be a classic, while cars 45 years and older fall into the Antique Class. Confusingly, the CCCA formal definition is
'... a "fine" or "distinctive" automobile, either American or foreign built, produced between 1925 and 1948...'
a direct contradiction of the general statement. The waters are further muddied by additional subjective criteria including engine displacement, custom coachwork, luxury accessories and so on. Not much firm ground here.
Independently, most states have time-based rules for the definition of "classic" which are used for granting antique vehicle registration, invariably along the following lines
"A motor vehicle, but not a reproduction thereof, manufactured at least 20 years prior to the current year which has been maintained in or restored to a condition which is substantially in conformity with manufacturer specifications and appearance."

The Antique Automobile Club of America obviously does not agree with this as it defines an antique car as 45 years or older. Worse yet, none of the above even addresses the classifications of Veteran, Vintage or Brass era cars, all with their own conflicting date ranges. Finally, there is nothing to stop every car club in America from further narrowing or broadening any of these definitions and many do just that.
In short, as Humpty Dumpty said, "A word means exactly what I want it to mean" making it a simple matter to fit every car into an agreeable category. Best not to quibble - just enjoy the splendid hardware!
More views of this event are here.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Health Fair? No, Health Good!

Way back in January we had the privilege of being visited by local health and wellness organizations along with the Big Red Bus. While the unsuspecting were drawn in droves to the free massages and other giveaways, a small band of acned Goths were stealthily grabbing people off the street and ghoulishly draining their arms.
Donated blood is usually stored as separate components some of which have sadly short shelf lives. The life for platelets for example, is as short as seven days. Red cells fare better with a refrigerated shelf life of 35–42 days while plasma can be frozen and stored for about a year. Blood centers in the U.S. often have difficulty maintaining even a three day supply for routine transfusion demands.
World Blood Donor Day is celebrated on June 14 each year, the birthday of Karl Landsteiner, the scientist who discovered the ABO blood group system. Today, more than 80 million units of blood are collected annually.
Florida Grande Blood Day can be seen right here.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Oscar Night at Florida Grande!

To thank all of the volunteers that contribute to the non-stop activities taking place around the resort, the ringleader, Sandy Gallup, organized our first "Night at the Oscars." Having stuffed everyone almost to immobility with meat loaf and fixings it was time to roll out the red carpet and get out the awards.
Many thanks also to Evelyn Wolf for capturing the proceedings and providing the pictures that can be seen here.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Lá Fhéile Pádraig

 Lá Fhéile Pádraig - more commonly known as the Feast of Saint Patrick - is celebrated on 17 March each year. The feast commemorates Saint Patrick (c. 387–461 CE depicted here at right), the best known of the patron saints of Ireland.
Saint Patrick's Day was officially recognized in the early 17th century and has been co-opted as a showcase for that oxymoron known as Irish culture.
The original color associated with Saint Patrick was actually blue but over the centuries this has morphed into the now universally accepted green with green ribbons and shamrocks worn on St Patrick's Day as early as the 17th century. In the US today, celebrations include prominent displays of green, overeating, consumption of alcohol, and numerous parades. See here for more of the Florida Grande celebration.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Season's Final Attitude Adjustment Art Class

One has to wonder whether it was a form of Freudian compulsion that led to the choice of the name Attitude Adjustment for these highly popular art classes. Let's see, the initials AA could also stand for... Nah, probably just a coincidence.
Anyway, the last class of the season, held yesterday, was the biggest yet with an additional table squeezed into the Hobby room. By the end of the evening much mellowing had occurred and it was becoming difficult to get all the pictures right way up for the class picture.
If you are a fan of 19th century impressionist art like the Alfred Sisley piece shown here, do we have a surprise for you! Check here for a glimpse of the talented 21st century products from our very own neighbors.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

2012 Florida Grande Chowder Wars

Another event in the procession of Comfort Food Cook-Offs at Florida Grande is the Chowder Fest.
Chowder (chou'dərn.
1. A thick soup containing fish or shellfish, especially clams, and vegetables, such as potatoes and onions, in a milk or tomato base. 
2. A soup similar to this seafood dish: corn chowder.
Informative maybe, but not exactly interesting.
In fact, there seems to be a lot of debate about what qualifies as a true chowder and each of the many variants has its cohort of passionate minions defending its lineage. Chowderistas will debate endlessly as to which style is the authentic chowder, adding an occasional (and usually unchallenged) “award-winning" to their rhetoric in their endeavors to dignify their claims.
Cauldron or Chaudiere
The Oxford English Dictionary traces the word chowder to the fishing villages along the coast of France from Bordeaux to Brittany where it was probably derived from the Latin word calderia, originally meaning a place for warming things and later applied to a cooking pot. The word calderia morphed into cauldron and, in French, became chaudiere.
Originally despised as a "poor man's food", chowders, made with vegetables or fish, have been traced back to the 16th century at which time they were indeed stewed in a cauldron. Fish chowders were the forerunners of clam chowder but, in reality, old-fashioned chowder builders threw in just about everything that flew, swam, or grew in the garden.
This year there were six entrants vying for top honors when battle was joined. You can see our in-house Chowder Champs right here in pictures kindly provided by Sandra Gallup.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

At the Hop!

Following a nourishing meal of '60s junk food - potato chips, subs, root-beer floats and such - it was on to the Hop. With 140 dancers murdering 50 years of dance styles to the sonorous strains of the Bad Kitty Band, spontaneous groups of hoofers sprang up around the Grande Room.
The long and the short of it - exemplified in the picture here (click to enlarge) - was that a good time was had by all. The band produce a mélange of memorable music, fast, slow, rebellious, romantic covering every major dance craze of the period.
For a Who's Who of Florida Grande Rock and Roll click here for the usual slide show. As a special bonus, the band produced a promotional video of the evening and that can be see by clicking here. When the video is running click on the icon at the bottom right to change to full screen. Press ESC to exit full screen mode. Enjoy...

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Class Pictures from the Sock Hop

Following the graduation of the first class from the new Florida Grande High School there was a Sock Hop in the Grande Room last night. During the evening's activities couples had their class pictures taken to mark the occasion.
Get a fresh cup of coffee and click here to see the parade. And remember, if anyone tells you Elvis has left the building don't be too quick to jump to conclusions - he seemed all too real last night.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Alcohol Powered Painters

The third "Attitude Adjustment" art class of the season took place in the Hobby Room recently. Like prohibition era brown-baggers on their way to dinner, the participants arrived replete with their favorite libations and with attitudes shaped by the day's events.
Within an hour or so, attitudes admirably adjusted, the room was a hive of artistic activity with a dozen demented daubers happily splashing their way around their canvases.
For more glimpses into this arcane underworld, click here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mumbo Gumbo, it's Mardi Gras again!

Mardi Gras can traced all the way back to the Romans but it was a French-Canadian explorer, Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville, who landed on a plot of ground 60 miles directly south of New Orleans in 1699 and called it "Pointe due Mardi Gras." He also established "Fort Louis de la Louisiane" - modern day Mobile - 1702. In 1703, the tiny settlement of Fort Louis de la Mobile celebrated the very first Mardi Gras.
Like many events marking various religious calendars Mardi Gras has become somewhat detached from its roots and is now a valid reason to overeat and behave badly. FGs contribution - Gumbo and Dessert
Gumbo : American (Creole); soup or stew made from okra, onions, celery, and pepper, flavored with filé powder (powdered dried sassafras leaves), and containing chicken, meat, fish, or shellfish.
Check here for tempting, tasty Mardi Gras grub.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Larry's Excellent Adventure

In early February, Larry Cook, one of our very own residents and an otherwise rational being, was seized with an irresistible death wish urging him to jump out of an airborne airplane. Without more ado and having put his life in order off he went to Freeflight International Airport in nearby Coleman to look Fear in the face.
Turns out that Larry came to be a trendsetter with sundry other Granders following in his slipstream and hurling themselves out of airplanes over the last week or two. Come on guys, Congress may be doing a poor job but surely things are not that bad?
For more pictures of this epic event, click here.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Superbowl Chili Cook-Off

Super Bowl XLVI (46 for those who care) was the most watched television event ever in the USA with more than a third of the total population, 111.3 million gawkers in all, watching some part of it.
So, it was a competition between the American Football Conference champion New England Patriots and the National Football Conference champion New York Giants to decide the National Football League champion for the 2011 season. Say what now? The game was played on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana and the Giants duffed up the Patriots 21–17.
More pictures here but not for the  faint of heart!