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“In Search of Dark Watchers Landscapes and Lore of Big Sur” by Benjamin Brode and Thomas Steinbeck
“In Search of Dark Watchers Landscapes and Lore of Big Sur” by Benjamin Brode and Thomas Steinbeck

BUY

▪ “In Search of The Dark Watchers: Landscapes and Lore of Big Sur,” paintings by Benjamin Brode; text by Thomas Steinbeck

This may be the trippiest – and most beautiful – coffee-table book on the market this winter. It’s the combination of Steinbeck’s words (yes, he’s related to that Steinbeck) and the sketches and oil paintings of 77-year-old Santa Barbara artist Ben Brode. The subject is Big Sur, which launched many a tall tale (see Kerouac and Henry Miller). Specifically, it’s about the legend of the “Dark Watchers,” said to be diminutive hominids who haunt the landscape. The only thing haunting are Brode’s gorgeous paintings.

BUY

▪ Oscillococcinum (Natural Flu Medicine)

$13.50; local pharmacies

The maker of this “homeopathic” medicine is marketing this remedy that does not prevent the flu but purportedly reduces the duration and severity of the illness for travelers. They talk about airline travel and breathing “droplets” in the cabin air and touching tray tables that harbor “respiratory secretions.” The dissolving pellets are supposed to be taken at the first sign of illness. I’m skeptical of claims such as this but, when the family fell ill, I tried it and didn’t get sick. Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not.

WATCH

▪ “Expeditions Unknown”

Premieres Thursday 9 p.m., The Travel Channel

Adventurer and archaeologist buff Josh Gates hosts this new Travel Channel series that tries to answer “unsolved events” from history, such as Amelia Earhart’s disappearance and Jesse James’ buried treasure. While Gates is searching for Earhart’s plane, you can feast your eyes on gorgeous landscape shots of Fiji.

THE LIST

▪ “10 Best Places in the World to Run a Marathon”

1. North Pole Marathon

2. London Marathon

3. Inca Trail Marathon (Peru)

4. Great Wall Marathon (China)

5. Athens Classic Marathon (Greece)

6. Lakeland Trails Marathon (Great Britain)

7. New York City Marathon

8. Mont St. Michel Marathon (Normandy)

9. The Big Five Marathon (Entabeni Game Reserve)

10. Boston Marathon

THE TWEET

Lino Miani (@meanlin1): “Fellow travelers, use your armrest, not the seat in front of you as a crutch to help you stand up on aircraft. #travelfail #rude”

Compiled by Sam McManis, smcmanis@sacbee.com

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