Meet the Author: Philip Carter, IQ Guru

Visit Philip's Web site and see if you can answer the puzzle question: "Why does the Cheshire Cat hate Chichester?"

Philip Carter is the author of Peter Pauper's Game On! IQ Challenges. Philip was born in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, England. His first book, Take the IQ Challenge, was published in 1986; Philip has since published more than 100 brain-building titles for adults and children, most in co-authorship with Ken Russell. He is also author of several books of trivia, and co-author of The Ultimate IQ Book and its sequel The Ultimate IQ Challenge with Dutch writer Marcel Feenstra and Australian writer Christopher P. Harding. Philip's books have been translated into Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Hungarian, and Romanian.

For more information about Philip and for extra puzzle fun, visit "The Enigmatic World of Philip Carter." Perhaps you can answer Philip's puzzle question: "Why does the Cheshire Cat hate Chichester?"
 

If you could invite any five people to dinner, whom would you choose?
John F. Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare, and Groucho Marx.

What foods do you hate?
Anything I can’t spell (apart from rubarb, err rubharb, err rhubabe).

If you could live in any other country, where would you go?
Probably Vienna, Austria.

What mildly embarrassing song or musical artist do you secretly love?
I enjoy a wide range of music — all listed on my Facebook page — and am not embarrassed about enjoying any of it, really.

Favorite drink?
Coffee.

If you had one superpower, what would it be?
To cure all pain.

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Raspberry ripple.

Who are some of your favorite authors of all time?
Charles Dickens and Robert Louis Stevenson.

What do you miss from your childhood?
Being spoilt rotten.

If you had a time machine and could travel to the past or future, what time period would you visit?
1920s.

What is the strangest food you have ever eaten?
Have successfully avoided strange food for nigh on 70 years.

What’s the last thing that made you laugh out loud unexpectedly?
Reading this questionnaire.

How do you want to be remembered?
Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!


Test your logic, math, and word skills! Philip Carter's Game On! IQ Challenges Set comprises three separate books with a total of 180 addictive IQ challenges of varying difficulty.

Image copyright © rook76 / Shutterstock.com. Image of the Cheshire Cat from a British stamp series depicting famous smiles.

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Travel Tuesdays Goes beyond Disney World! An Interview with Author Rona Gindin, Part 2

Disney World travel guideHello, fellow aficionados of the vicarious journey! Travel Tuesdays returns, bringing you the second installment of our interview with Rona Gindin, from whose pen (er, keyboard) flowed the indispensable Little Black Book of Walt Disney World. Rona is a writer, editor, and TV personality based in Orlando. To learn more and check out her excellent articles on food, travel, and a multiplicity of other subjects, visit www.ronagindin.com. Without further ado:

What’s your writing process like?

Ugh. I think, I ponder, I go on the treadmills, I check Facebook, I jot a few notes, I run out for groceries, I tweet … and then when I’m close to deadline I find that the entire outline has formed in my mind and sit down, focus and hack out the basics. Then I go back and rework everything so it reads more smoothly.

What do you love or hate about travel writing?

I love having behind-the-scenes access to information and to places. As a travel writer, a location’s owner, manager or publicist may give me a behind-the-scenes tour, tell me details I wouldn’t know, introduce me to employees who share their areas of expertise. I just wrote a feature on area eco-parks and discovered that a safari-themed place is run by a guy who has given 30+ safari tours in Africa, and that a zipline destination serves hamburgers made from on-site cattle that are direct descendants from animals brought to the U.S. by Ponce de Leon.  It’s not all fun though. As a travel writer, I’ve spent painful hours touring hotel after hotel, or site after site, whether I’m interested or not, taking copious notes and thinking about how I’ll turn the information into written words. Recently some old dude spent a full 90 minutes giving me ridiculous details about Americans in wartime when all I wanted was a quick tour of his museum’s exhibits. There was no speeding him up no matter how many ways I tried to encourage him to tell me something I could actually use for my article. Sometimes I specifically don’t look for assignments when I vacation because I want to simply enjoy my visit without the pressure of a notebook.

Do you have a favorite aspect of Orlando that tourists usually miss?

I like some of Central Florida’s leafy residential neighborhoods with retail strips such as Winter Park, Winter Garden, Thornton Park and College Park. We have some nifty museums, including one with a world-class collection of Tiffany art. And some parks offer canoeing, swimming and more in pretty shaded wooded areas.

What’s at the top of your travel wishlist?

Right now I’m thinking Peru and Scandinavia, and I always want to return to Italy.

What’s your favorite mode of transport, and why?

Walking. I like to take in loads of details along my journey.

What do you think is an ideal mindset for a traveler?

Easy does it. Begin with a basic idea of the highlights you want to see, then meander. If you run from landmark to landmark, or in the case of Disney World attraction to attraction, you miss out talking to an interesting waiter, sorting through treasures at a small flea market, tasting exotic foods in a local grocery store, happening upon an offbeat museum. I’m all for leisurely exploring with no detailed itinerary.

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Thus concludes our conversation with Rona Gindin! We'll be back each week with author interviews; spotlights on not-to-be-missed sights in cities across the world; striking photos; and other items to entertain readers with wanderlust.

Drop us a line! Questions, topical remarks, and subject matter requests for future blog posts enthusiastically welcomed in the comments section.

Travel Tuesdays goes to Disney World! An Interview with Author Rona Gindin, Part 1

Greetings, readers who enjoy sojourning from the comfort of their divans! We've returned with yet another delightful author interview. This time, we spoke with Rona Gindin, from whose pen (er, keyboard) flowed the indispensable Little Black Book of Walt Disney World. Rona is a writer, editor, and TV personality based in Orlando. To learn more and check out her excellent articles on food, travel, and a multiplicity of other subjects, visit www.ronagindin.com.

Tell us a bit about yourself, and what you’ve written.

Disney World travel guideI’m a restaurant and travel writer based in Orlando, Florida. Right now, in addition to the Little Black Book of Walt Disney World, I’m working on a Zagat guide dedicated to Orlando (restaurants, attractions, shopping and more) and I write a lot of feature articles for Endless Vacation and GO, Air Tran’s in-flight magazine. I’m also the Dining Editor for Orlando Home & Leisure, and until recently I hosted a TV show celebrating one Central Florida restaurant per segment. I also write promotional features about travel destinations for Caribbean Travel & Life, ISLANDS and Destination Weddings & Honeymoons. I’ve been freelance for most of the last 20 years, with a brief stint at what’s now Bonnier Corp. to develop Saveur’s initial website and to edit two custom publications, Caribbean Travel Planner and Discover, about the U.S. Virgin Islands. I’ve contributed to Brides, Parents, New York, Woman’s World, and many other magazines.

What caused you to visit Disney for the first time?

My first visit was to attend a conference of college professors who taught hospitality management. I was covering the event as a junior editor at Restaurant Business Magazine and was probably 21 years old. I never returned until I moved to Orlando many years later when my husband got a job here.

Do you have a favorite spot in the parks?

I like walking around Epcot’s World Showcase, perusing the boutiques, tasting the snacks, going on the somewhat gentle rides.

What’s the most fascinating thing you discovered about Disney history while researching for your books and articles?

I’m amazed at the storyline behind each ride. As visitors, we may just enjoy a little thrill or entertainment, but if you do your research you’ll discover that the ride has an entire theme behind it and many tiny details you might not notice enhance that theme, making the ride more interesting and complex overall.

What travel anecdote do you enjoy telling?

Don’t get me started about the time my car was trapped in a narrow ancient street in a Provençal town, one wheel partway down a stairway, one side mirror knocked off, and a local who yelled out, “You are American. You are not king here!” and stomped away, leaving my car barricaded by his.

Describe the best (or most unique) experience you’ve had at WDW.

I haven’t taken advantage of some of Disney World’s most special offerings, like a yacht cruise to see the fireworks. My most special Disney World memories involve food: An amazingly special multi-course wine pairing dinner in the Chef’s Table room at Victoria & Albert’s, a Five-Diamond restaurant, and an Epcot Food and Wine event called Extravagant Evenings that was an over-the-top gourmet feast featuring Fess Parker wines. I’m not sure the Extravagant Evenings are still on the calendar but the many Food and Wine Festival events are great. Next I’d like to try a couple of the Animal Kingdom and Animal Kingdom Lodge private safaris.

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And that's all for this week! Tune in next week (same travel time, same travel channel) for the second installment of Rona Gindin's interview.