The Cranky Ol' Bat

Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death! - RuPaul


What's With the Huge Buttons?

Well, kids, believe it or not, the Jet Set Chick, notorious party girl and globe-trotting mixologist, has been selected to be one of Mind & Media's book reviewers.

I have a bit of a confession to make....I'm a book slut. Really, I'll read just about anything. When I saw Mind & Media asking for people to review Beyond the Shadowlands, a book about C S Lewis, I couldn't resist. I submitted my name, and here we are.

Yes, it's a Christian book. Yes, I'm a Christian. However, I have happily included in my circle of friends several atheists, some Jews, a Muslim, a Hindu, a pagan (even wished her a "Happy Solstice", much to her surprise!), and several other people who, quite frankly, I have no idea what they believe. If they want to worship citrus,'s a free country, and if you allow me to believe what I do, regardless of how crazy or irrational it seems to you, I am happy to let you do the same. Hell, I'm happy to let you believe whatever you want even if you feel the need to "correct" me on my beliefs (regrettably, I get that more from other Christians than anyone else).

Now if I could only get the stupid Books for Soldiers button to work, I would be a happy girl. Until that happens, it's listed under "Baggage Claim". If you have any books lying around, believe me, the soldiers, sailors and airmen would love to have them keep them company during downtime. Help make their "mail call" a little brighter....especially fellow "book sluts" in uniform far from a decent library!

"That Pilot Just Called Me a SOB!!"

Well, if you are behaving yourself and you didn't run over his cat, this might be the reason....

Every Now & Then, The Guvmint Does Something Useful....Really!

You're getting ready to take off, but you're wondering.....should I worry about checking my bags? What are my chances of getting bumped? Will the *%$#-ing flight arrive on time?

Believe it or not, for once, the government really is here to help you. The Department of Transportation keeps stats on how the different domestic carriers are doing. I was kind of amazed that Phoenix's so-called "Hometown Airline", America West, wasn't perched at the bottom like it has been for a long time.

(Editor's note....I haven't been happy with them since it took them literally 4+ months to refund my credit card $40 back when I was a newly minted college graduate trying to take advantage of a cheap airfare to an interview site. Discover didn't charge me interest, but it was damn annoying to see that charge come up month after month because America West refused to fill something out that Discover needed. It was ridiculous. I got 5 letters from America West telling me they were going to reverse it any day now before they finally did it. And don't get me started on how they've mishandled my friends' luggage. My favorite was when my friend went to get his bag, and only got the handle back.)

Looks like JetBlue is for you if you don't want to get bumped. Hawaiian will be the one to get you there on time with your bags. The airport with the best arrival and departure on-times is Houston's Bush Intercontinental.

If you're running late, hopefully your happy butt is on US Airways' Fort Lauderdale-Philadelphia Flight 435. On average, it's been 62 minutes late getting out of the gate, and it's late 93 percent of the time. But if you're flying Atlantic Southeast, it's possible they cancelled the flight (8% of the time...hit that snooze button). If they didn't cancel, they are the most likely to bump you off. They are the most likely to lose your bags, too.

Want to see how your favorite (or most hated) domestic carrier stacks up? Click here to see the latest report. It's available in either Adobe Acrobat or MS Word format.


No More White Paging Phones at Sky Harbor

It's pretty rare when Arizona leads the pack. But Phoenix's own Sky Harbor International is replacing the white paging phones with Paging Assistance Locations, or PALs.

Pages will still be announced as always, but now they will also be displayed on monitors throughout the airport. The traveler will get their messages in a PAL, which has a touch screen, Braille keyboard, and telephone headset or handset. There will be accomodations for people with limited arm mobility, and instructions on how to use the system will be in English, Spanish and German.

FAA Orders Checks of Airbus Rudders

The FAA has ordered American Airlines and Federal Express to inspect their 112 Airbus A300s and A310s after a Canadian airliner lost its rudder on a flight from Cuba earlier this month. (Reported to you here on 14 March! - ed note)

The tests ordered by the FAA last Friday include a visual test and a tapping test to check on the condition of the carbon composite materials used. Federal Express forecast no difficulty in testing its 100 planes within the three month FAA deadline.

French aviation regulators issued a similar directive about a week ago.

Delta To Outsource Heavy Maintenance, Up to 2000 Jobs May Be Lost

Delta announced yesterday that it will be outsourcing its heavy maintenance to two firms in an effort to save $240 million over the next five years. Miami's Avborne will handle the company's MD-88s and MD-90s, while Vancouver's Air Canada Technical Services will handle the 757s and 767s. It will also move maintenance out of the Tampa hangar to Atlanta.

The 2000 jobs are considered to be part of the 6000 to 7000 job cuts Delta announced the previous September.

Cocktail of the Week

Well, I don't have a name for this next one. Me & Sparkle Girl came up with it in 2003 while we were getting bombed on the beach in Maui watching the sun go down. Didn't know her before that night, but she's been one of my best friends ever since.

There's only two ingredients, but they might take some searching for at your local market.

6 oz pineapple-orange-guava juice
2 oz Malibu rum

Pour rum over ice, add juice. Stir. Add maraschino cherry for garnish.

I found some of the pineapple-orange-guava juice at my neighborhood store in the juice aisle (not the dairy case) made by a company called Langers. Remember that weird thing called "pogs" back in the 90's? Those were originally bottle tops for this juice mix back in Hawaii.

Malibu rum is for those of you who love coconut. If you don't love it, don't bother getting it. Otherwise, try it in a screwdriver or yellowbird and enjoy the difference.

I've seen drinks such as the Birdie and the Berry Cocktail, but nothing close except for something called a Navy Grog. It has the right juices, and rum, but not Malibu rum. It throws in lime juice and something that gives it a vanilla/allspice taste. Sounds good, though.

So, I figure, we've got to get this submitted to Cocktail Database. I just need a name for it and we're set. Any suggestions out there?

Tsar Charming ain't helping much with this one. He suggested calling it "Tropical Pork". As in, drink it and get....porked. (Just for the record, neither me nor Sparkle Girl got porked that night after creating it.) His lame explanation was that it stood for pineapple, orange, rum, koconut. When asked, "what about the g?" he just started laughing his ass off. The Tsar's a sick, sick man.....but I love him anyway.

Maybe I should call it "Sparkle Girl"? "Jet Set Punch"? What about "Beach Bimbo" or "Maui Sunset"? Any suggestions from the Jet Set Lounge?

Keep Your Seatbelts On, You Idjits!!!

Time for a safety tip from the Jet Set Chick....

Yes, it's irritating to sit in those tiny little seats, and downright uncomfortable if you are over, say, 5 foot tall (Sparkle Girl is soooo lucky!!)

But, there's a damn good reason to keep those seatbelts on when approaching the airport for a landing. Turbulence can be sort of fun in a sick way when you are strapped in if you like roller coasters. If you aren't belted in, however, you could end up getting hurt if you get tossed around.

Earlier this week, on a flight from Taiwan to Japan, 37 people were hurt when they hit a particularily ugly patch of turbulence. Some even had to go to the hospital. ALL of that could have been prevented if they had kept the stupid seatbelts on like the foxy flight attendant told them to....

Yeah, I know. I used to think it was crap, too, until I hit a bad patch on a flight a few years back. It was the kind that made most of the passengers grip the armrests (me, being the sick type, thought it would have made a decent ride at Magic Mountain, and would have loved to do it again.) It wasn't until we opened up the overhead bins that I saw how my relatively heavy carryon handled it. I put it up there at the end directly overhead. The bag did a complete flip and was upside down at the other end. Everyone's bags ended up in new and different positions than they originally started in.

Look, a dented bag is an annoyance. A dented head is possibly a night in the hospital.

Ok, end of lecture.


Chirac's Still Plugging Away for his Airline Ticket Tax

I don't know what France's President Chirac has against the airlines. Maybe they didn't give him enough kickbacks, or they refuse to contribute to his legal aid fund, or Air France refused to give him a free upgrade to first class...

Anyway, earlier this year he suggested an international tax on airline tickets and their kerosene fuel with the proceeds going to fight global warming. When this went over like a three day old baguette, he decided to trot it out again, but this time he claims the tax will save 3 million people per year dying in Africa from AIDS.

Of course, being Chirac, it's not like he gave any details on how this would be done (drugs to the needy? prevention?) when he floated the idea to Japan's Prime Minister Koizumi yesterday.

News From the Auld Sod

If you had a favorite little town in the ring of Kerry, let's say.....Veltry, for's now Ceann Tra. (No, I don't know if it is pronounced in a similar fashion.)

The Irish government has now started to remove English language versions of place names from official government documents and maps in the western parts of Counties Cork, Donegal, Kerry, Mayo, and Galway, and parts of Counties Meath and Waterford where Gaelic is often spoken.

Official Gaelic names will also be introduced for many locations where English has been traditionally prevalent.


A Filipino beauty therapist who was working on board an Irish Ferry route running between Wales and Rosslare has refused to leave the vessel. RTE broadcast a story about Salvacion Orge's working conditions and her pay rate of one euro per hour, and she was fired the next day.

Union reps signed the lady up and are trying to resolve the dispute on her behalf. The ferry is continuing to make the run while Ms Orge stays on board.

Be Happy You Don't Live Next to These People!

You might have some really annoying neighbors, but the true way to tell if they are the family from hell is if the police have a special task force to deal with them.


A New Member for the Non-Rev Hall of Fame?

A Midway Airlines baggage handler was accidentally locked in the cargo hold when he went onto the plane to load a wheelchair in Milwaukee.

He involuntarily flew in the cargo compartment to Philadelphia. When he was finally able to get out, he asked for a cigarette and offered to finish out his shift.

Midway flew him back to Milwaukee, in the passenger compartment this time, and let him take the rest of the day off.

"A Very White Trash Easter" Brought to You by the Jet Set Chick

Me & the Tsar have this "downtown urban sophisticate" lifestyle thing nailed. Oh yes. We travel, we shop at Trader Joe's, we have tasteful furniture, and we have pets instead of kids (for now, anyway).

But every now and then, we have to do something a touch different so that we don't become walking cliches. So, since Tsar Charming grew up in a country without children's Easter egg hunts, I decided to provide his first ever surprise from the Easter Bunny....with a twist.

I decided to revive this goofy thing I did for my dad one Easter after I reached legal drinking age. That year, the Easter Bunny didn't leave colored hard-boiled eggs, or even the plastic candy-filled eggs. Billy Jack Jim Bob the Easter Bunny left....cans of the really cheap beer my father liked for some inexplicable reason. A six-pack, split up and hidden in the living room.

I still remember when I told my dad of this. He stopped and gave me a "what the #$%& did you say?" look. I repeated the tale of Billy Jack Jim Bob. Dad then gave me another look that seemed to say, "and I busted my ass to send you to college WHY?"

Presenting him with a grocery store paper bag with a very badly drawn rabbit on it (I told him that was his Easter "basket"), I pulled him into the living room and told him to find the beer. I can't remember where I hid them all, but there was one on top of the TV, one nestled into the sofa cushions.....just like Mom & Dad used to do for me & my brother. He collected the beer cans, and had himself a very happy Easter that year.

I did that for my dad a couple more times before his death. He played along with the joke and seemed to enjoy it every year.

Since this year is our first Easter together, I figured me & the Tsar had to do something special. I told him about White Trash Easter, and his eyes lit up. (His eyes usually light up whenever anyone mentions beer....) So, off we went to Trader Joe's, where I got him a six pack of his current favorite, Blue Paddle Pilsener. I've hidden the bottles around the living room, and now have to "decorate" the bottle carrier as his "Easter basket." My drawing skills have probably gotten even worse, so I bet this year's bunny sketch is going to be downright horrible. I'm going to blame the dogs if it's incredibly bad.

However, I can see that the Tsar really got into the spirit, since he's hidden some hard cider bottles around for me. Aww.....shucks!

Now we just got to find some monster truck rally on the TV today, and we'll be all set to celebrate in style!


UPDATE: Wow....this is now cross posted at Freepers and Hippies and Trolls, Oh My! There's other really cool stuff there too, so be sure to check it out!


Top Banana In the West

Growing up an airline brat prior to deregulation was the best way to live like a millionaire without actually being one. I mean, damn, I was so used to flying as a little kid that I thought a car trip was pretty exotic. I don't even remember my first flight. How could I? I was 9 months old!

Deregulation did put more butts in the seats, but it destroyed the protected world that the airlines lived in. With the controlled routes doled out by the CAB a thing of the past, the weaker ones went under or merged, including the one my dear old daddy worked with.

He worked for what had to have been one of the most, um, colorful ones. Hughes Airwest was famous for two things....first off, being owned by Howard Hughes (or as Dad referred to him, Uncle Howie), and for those bright yellow planes with the funky logo on the tail (a stylized "HH"). The route map stretched from Canada to Mexico, all along the west coast.

The airline merged with Republic Airlines in 1980, and those big yellow planes became part of history. But some of the airline's employees are still around and have set up their own website dedicated to all things RW.

Oh yeah, on the "In Memory" page.....the gentleman last on the list has a special place in the Jet Set Chick's heart.


I Can't Believe I Missed Cuddly Kitten Day!

Damn, and I have one as my avatar, too! (It was the 23rd.)

Anyway, posting might be light this weekend. Today is mine & Tsar Charming's six month anniversary. Poor guy will do anything to stay in America, apparently. Including marrying me.

Seriously, Tsar Charming....I love you, and thanks for the best half year of my life.

Happy Easter to all from the Jet Set Chick!

Inflight Tunes a Hit in Pakistan

The next time you complain that the tune selection on your flight sucks, you might want to consider flying Pakistan International Airlines. Believe it or not, they've compiled their own greatest hits compilation. And supposedly it is selling so well that the stores only seem to have pirated copies left.

I haven't checked it out, but then again, Pakistani pop music ain't my style.....

Don't Book Your Next Trip With These Sites....

The internet is a great place to find terrific travel deals and information. Unfortunately, it is also a terrific place to get ripped off by fraudulent websites. Hopefully none of you were planning on using any of the sites listed below:

These sites were nothing more than a way to capture your credit card information. Victims tried to enter their credit card numbers three times, and then got a message urging them to submit payment via Western Union. In effect, the victims got ripped off twice....they handed over their personal information, and they gave the scammers money they can't recover.

The plane reservations were never made, or were canceled later. When the victims tried to get a hold of someone at customer service they got connected to a person in Bulgaria.

Caveat emptor!


Beware the Doped Up, Dueling Swiss Cows!

I heard of a lot of weird things, but Swiss dueling cows are a new one to me. Think bovine sumo, and you've got the basic idea for a competition that brings out approximately 50000 spectators.

It must be on the brink of the big time, because they now are worried about doped up cows competing. The um, sports officials in charge are planning to bring back drug testing after ending it in 2002. Six years of testing had brought forth only negative results.

No word on what the pharmaceutical of choice is for a dueling cow......any ideas out there??

No Gay Nudists Please, We're Sort-of British

The tiny Caribbean island of Nevis has refused to let a Windjammer Cruise ship full of 110 gays, nudists, and possibly, gay nudists to come into port.

Gay cruises have called on Nevis before without any problems, but they refused to allow the SV Polynesia dock after over an hour of talks. No word if Richard Hatch was on board.

Hey, It Could Have Been The Deadly "Blue Ice Chunk", Lady!

A woman in Tampa swears that a plane flying overhead sprayed her with jet fuel when flying low over her neighborhood. Airport and federal officials stated that there was no reason for any plane at Tampa's airport to dump fuel prior to landing on Monday.

The alleged victim tried to combat the effects of jet fuel by using three bottles of air freshener. Why she didn't try to, I don't know, take a shower instead, was not addressed in the article.

What I Wish I Could Do Someday....

Hat tip to the Larsonian.....

A master Australian woodworker is putting together a hope chest to raise money for tsunami victims. Dave Shaw is damn good at what he does, and is documenting it step by step on on the previous link.

I hope someday I could make something half as attractive....right now I'll just be happy to not chop off any fingers tonight in class as I put together my clock.


Places to Avoid Going to if You Can....An Ongoing Series of Opinionated Reviews

I've always wondered if the guys who write Fodor's and Frommer's actually stay in the hotels they review. Or sometimes, if they've been to the cities they write about within the past, say, 10 years. (I picked up a 2003 guide to Phoenix earlier this year....and it raved about Ed Debevic's. Nothing wrong with that, except that by 2003 Ed Debevic's had been closed for about five years.)

Case in point....The Villa Athena in Agrigento, Sicily.

Based on reviews like this one from This Is Travel and this one from Fodor's, you might be suckered into staying there. Even this one from Frommer's doesn't sound too bad. Rude hoteliers? So what, you say.

If that was the only problem this guy came across, I'm sure he would have been happy. But apparently he's not alone. Trip Advisor, a place with independent traveler reviews, also had a different take than the big guys.

In any case....repeat after me....there but for the grace of the Internet, it mighta been me.....


I Can't Make this Crap Up!

Still more news of the weird, brought to you today by Zimbabwe.

A woman paid a popular singer about $5000 to bring over four invisible mermaids to help her recover a stolen car and some cash. Supposedly mermaids are seen as powerful avengers against wrongdoing by the Shona people.

The victim never saw the invisible mermaids, which sucks after she shelled out all that cash to put them up at the top ranked Jameson Hotel in Harare, complete with cell phones and power generators.

I don't know if they hit the sushi bar during their stay, so don't ask.

Airline News Roundup!!

It's official. My least favorite international carrier, Lufthansa, is taking over Swiss International.

British Airways is raising the cost of the fuel surcharge on their tickets for the third time in less than a year. Virgin Airways also announced they would raise their fuel surcharge today. Delta and Continental, however, are planning to rescind the price hikes they announced last week.

Prosecutors in New York are investigating the death of a man who died after fellow passengers restrained him on board an American Airlines flight last week. He apparently suffered a cardiac arrest on the galley floor. William Lee, who was described as "a very large man", demanded alcohol and ignored crew requests to sit down. When he pushed aside a female purser who told him he would not be served any more alcohol, seven passengers, possibly rugby team members, tackled him and held him down until the plane landed. Port Authority officers' attempts to revive him with CPR were unsuccessful.

But my favorite story of all....a Japanese 19 year old hijacked an airport bus and demanded to be driven to....the airport. Apparently alcohol was involved. Big shock there, right???

BBQ Pork Tonight!!

Something about this story makes me want to run down to Hap's for a pulled pork sandwich and a beer with the Tsar.

Hogzilla, the Jet Set Chick salutes you!!

Sort-of Cocktail of the Week

Saturday afternoon was the St Paddy's Day party (yes, I know it was on Thursday...but some of us had to go to work on Friday....). It can be amazing what you learn about your friends during a celebration. I had no idea that Sparkle Girl could tie cherry stems into knots with her tongue (I think my brother and DSiA wanted her phone number after seeing that.)

No, I can't do that.

What I can do is bake. I made a chocolate cake with mint frosting (nice, but I still think the frosting tasted a bit like, well, Scope), and my showstopper dessert....Bailey's Irish Cream cake, the sort-of Cocktail of the Week.

It's quite easy and quite good. Here's the recipe, a personal creation of the Jet Set Chick.

1 box yellow cake mix with pudding added
1/2 с vegetable oil
1/2 с water
1/3 с Bailey's Irish Cream
4 eggs
1 с slivered almonds

Lightly grease and flour a 12 cup Bundt pan, and set aside. Put the cake mix, oil, water, Bailey's and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Blend together on low for one minute, scrape the bowl. Throw in a shot of Bailey's. Blend for two minutes more on medium. The batter should look thick and well blended. Throw in another shot of Bailey's with the almonds, and fold in the batter. Pour into the greased pan, smooth it out. Bake at 325 degrees for 48 to 52 minutes (it will be golden brown and start to pull away from the pan). Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Loosen it from the pan with a knife or narrow rubber spatula, cool for 30 minutes more.

Prepare the glaze: A shot or two of Bailey's with enough powdered sugar to bring it to your desired consistency. Pour it over the cake, and top with additional almonds if desired. Let the glaze set before cutting the cake.

Enjoy a slice or two...then arrange for a ride home.


Who Says Hollywood Never Had a Good Idea?

I first heard about Modern Drunkard magazine last month while traveling to New Orleans. I don't think there's a better town to actually be a "modern drunkard" in than New Orleans.

Anyway, they have an online edition, and the articles are pretty entertaining. Liver abuse does something magical to a writer.

Can you guess which movie star said this about the world, circa 1950?

The whole world is three drinks behind. If everyone in the world would take three drinks, we would have no trouble. If Stalin, Truman and everybody else in the world had three drinks right now, we’d all loosen up and we wouldn’t need the United Nations.

Stumped? Click here for the answer.

Hint.....he got an Oscar back in 1952 on this day. I think I'll celebrate with a Jack Rose in his honor!


Another Time Waster, Brought to You by The Jet Set Chick

Before you click on this, let me clarify....the Jet Set Chick is NOT with, well, Chicklet. Or a Tsarevich.

Just type in your favorite name and watch.


Adventures in Onboard Alcohol...

Virgin Airways is set to open up the first onboard cocktail bar in association with Bombay Sapphire gin. Upper Class passengers on the New York to London run will receive drink menus featuring options like the French 75, the Ivy Fizz Royale (possibly a variation of this), the Grapefruit Collins (a twist on the classic Tom Collins), a Gin Martini, and a Raspberry Debonaire (might be based on this).

If you are too lazy to go to the bar, a stewardess will bring your selection to you. The bar is only open during the first three hours, and "consumption will be strictly monitored."

Heh, that last phrase reminds me of this Alaska Airlines flight that I took to Seattle from Phoenix last year to visit Tsar Charming. They offered an upgrade to first class for an additional $50. Naturally, I couldn't pass it up. I ordered a screwdriver from the stewardess, and she gave me a full glass of OJ with a little bottle of vodka on the side. Before I could mutter "how the hell am I going to get this vodka into a full glass?" she scampered off. I drank my OJ like a good little girl.....and put the vodka bottle aside in my carry on bag.

I asked for another screwdriver. Same thing.....full glass of OJ, vodka bottle on the side. The vodka bottle met his buddy in the carry on. I did this 5 times. The last time she brought a drink, she looked at me funny.....and then on the sixth request for additional liquid refreshment, she told me that "consumption was strictly monitored, and by Alaska Airlines standards I had sufficient drinks."

She kept looking at me in wonder. After all, she thought I had six tiny bottles of vodka flowing in my veins. I've never had anyone be so concerned about my progress to the lavatory on a plane before. As I went past her to get off the plane in Seattle, she whispered to another stewardess, "She can still walk?? In heels??"

The guy who was sitting next to me on the plane had a good laugh out of that one....and me & the Tsar had a nice cocktail party later that weekend. If those little bottles had been glass instead of plastic, I would have been so busted!

In all fairness to the Alaska Airlines stewardess, at least she knew what a screwdriver was. I ran into a crew on Northwest once who didn't have a clue. I'm serious! After I gave my order to the stewardess, she scampered off to ask the other cabin crew what a screwdriver was. None of them knew. She returned to ask me what was in it.

My dad went speechless. I replied, "it's vodka and orange juice." The stewardess brightened up, and went to make a very respectable screwdriver on the spot. She handed it to me and went down the aisle. My dad still sat there in shock. I took a sip, looked him in the eye and said, "Yep, Dad, that's one of the airlines you worked for...."


This STILL Wouldn't Convince Me to Fly Lufthansa!

Maybe some of you remember airlines like MGM Grand and Regent Air. They tried to have an all-first class fleet a while back. Neither airline made it, but now, after seeing some of their premium customers defect to private plane sharing companies, a few regular carriers are trying to upgrade service on a few select routes to lure them back.

This article from the Los Angeles Times notes that service has been uneven on the transcontinental routes that United Airlines has tested the concept on. Currently they are flying 13 times a week in specially modified 757s from JFK to Los Angeles and San Francisco. Fares start at $254 one way for "Economy Plus" and go to $2230 for first class.

International carriers trying this out on transatlantic routes are Swiss International, and my least favorite, Lufthansa. (Don't even ask.....I'm not trying that airline again unless there is absolutely no choice. I don't care if they've subcontracted the route to PrivatAir!)

United Airlines Hate Site One of Forbes' Top 9

It's no secret that I am not a big fan of Lufthansa. But I never bothered to set up an entire website devoted to how much they tork me off.

Forbes came out with its annual list of the best corporate hate sites, and this site dedicated all things evil with United came out #3 on their top 9. Other companies to feel the love include KB Homes, PayPal, Allstate Insurance, Microsoft, Wal-Mart, American Express, Verizon, and United Parcel Service.

I STAND CORRECTED: Fixed the links. Sorry about that! I should have let Cookie & Alexa, the Jet Set Dogs, type the post instead of me. Jeez!


Cocktail of the Day....Happy St Patrick's Day!!

This one was suggested by my little brother as one to share with the rest of you.

I'm sure you've heard of of his personal favorites, the Irish Car Bomb.

If you want to make it like they do at Michael's Pub in Columbia, Maryland (where they claim to have invented it), here's what you need.

1/2 pint Guinness
1 ounce Jamison
1/2 ounce Bailey's Irish Creme

Pour Guinness into a glass. Float Bailey's on top of the Jamison's in a shot glass, then carefully drop it into the Guinness. Drink before it curdles.

Ok, now, the part that kind of gets to me is the "drink before it curdles" part. I mean, ewwwww! It might be wonderful (Tsar Charming says it is), but curdling scares me.

Anyway, if you want something different to go with your pint of Guinness, you can always do what they would do in Dublin if you asked nicely at our hotel bar.

Pour a shot of creme de cassis into your glass before you pour the Guinness. It's delicious.

Happy St Patrick's Day to all Irishmen and Irishwomen.....and ones like me who only wish they were Irish. ERIN GO BRAGH!!!

Guerrilla Marketing is Everywhere

I checked my job search agent this morning to see if anything interesting came up for a part-time job. This is what came up today.

If you can't guess what movie this is describing (first clue....Buena Vista Entertainment....), click on the "company website" link on the page.

I don't think the link is going to last long, so you might want to hurry and check it out....

UPDATE: Monster has now taken down the link. It redirected users to a website promoting "The Incredibles".


The Best Airline Layover Party Ever....

There's only one group of people who have more fun than Americans do, in my humble opinion....the Australians.

I'm sure that many of you have seen the supposed posting at the top of this link before. However, the really funny part is halfway down the page, which supposedly is a real letter detailing what happened during a Qantas layover that apparently caused a small international incident. I make no promises as to the veracity of the letter. Go there now.

Just to let you know, you might not want to be drinking or eating anything when you read it. The Jet Set Chick assumes NO responsibility for property damage if you ignore that suggestion....


Know Any Lefty Bloggers??

I know some of you who read the Jet Set Chick have your own blogs, so I thought I would pass on the word.

A new group blog, the Blogger News Network, is looking for a few good lefty bloggers to contribute to their site. They sent out an e-mail to their correspondents asking us to see if we could recruit a few good lefties to contribute their articles, editorials, and general opinions to the site to balance it out a bit. There's more than enough on the right wing for now. Intelligent dissent keeps everyone honest and keeps the place from being an echo chamber.

So far, the pay is, well, bupkis. But since most of us are givin' it away for free anyway, why not? (Yes, Soapboxing crowd....I'm talkin' to you! ;) )

Also....if you have a good idea for the layout of the site, contact them. They're looking for ideas in that direction too.

Overrated Vegas

I have to admit, Vegas has a special place in my heart. My daddy used to own some land up there (it's now under one of McCarran's runways....), and about six months ago I got married to the Tsar at the Tropicana. (Highly recommended, BTW....unless you simply HAVE to spend thousands of dollars and weeks of planning time on a wedding for some reason.)

However, there are many attractions there that are, well, way overpriced. This article in the Chicago Tribune is on the money for those of you who haven't been to Vegas in a while.

(If you don't want to register and it's required...that site is capricious....use my e-mail of, password jetsetchick)

A Public Service Announcement to Alitalia Passengers

Alitalia is going on a scheduled one-day flight attendant strike tomorrow. Yup, Wednesday. Why they didn't pick Friday and maybe get a nice three day weekend is a question that I can't answer.

Just don't do something goofy and go off on Lufthansa instead, ok?


Does Airbus Have A Rudder Problem?

(Hat tip to Instapundit.)

On 6 March, an Airbus A310 flying to Quebec from Cuba had the rudder fall off the plane into the Caribbean sea at 35000 feet.

Let me repeat that....the $#@%-ing rudder fell off the plane. This structure is about 24-25 feet tall. Without it, it is damn difficult to steer a plane. The fact that the pilot could do it with just wing and tail flaps back to Cuba is a miracle and a testament to that flight crew's skill.

It has also opened up some renewed questioning among the aviation community about American Airlines flight 587 in November 2001, that crashed after taking off from JFK enroute to the Dominican Republic. The plane, an Airbus 300, is similar in design to the A310 the Canadians were flying earlier this month. The American Airlines plane also lost its rudder (in addition to the tailfin). This was originally blamed on pilot error (the copilot was blamed for overreacting to turbulence, causing it to fall off).

Airbus insists that visual inspection of the composite-based surface is sufficient to detect if there are any problems, but a growing group of pilots are disagreeing with that theory. They state that regular ultrasound inspection is the only way to determine if there are cracks or other defects in the laminate.

About 20 American Airlines pilots requested to be transferred to flying only Boeings after the flight 587 disaster. This is huge....pilots had to be retrained and lost out on earnings while they were getting familiar with the new (to them) equipment.

Hopefully this is all just a fluke. If you want more detail, click here to read the whole thing.

Great Circle Mapper

Yes, I know it's Monday and we should all be getting back to work. But sometimes you got to have something to play with at the office (while you're on hold, waiting for someone to call you back and filing just doesn't tempt you, that kind of thing....)

Here's a cool time waster. Click here to start plotting out flight routes for, say, Moscow to Sydney. Or from Phoenix to Honolulu. Pick out a pair and let the computer do the work.

You can really fool around with this thing. Change the map style ("azeqi" is the most bizarre option), plot several routes between different pairs of cities, find out which airport is farthest from your home, and SO MUCH MORE!!

Hey, it beats getting caught by your boss making a grasshopper out of play-doh. (Yes, that happened to me....fortunately my boss knew I was all caught up & she liked my attempt to make a bug....My boss is cool!)


Cocktail of the Week....Sort of.....

Well, kids, I had to add the "sort of" to this regular feature. I've been fighting a sore, dry throat this weekend, so the "Cocktail of the Week" has been Nyquil with a coke chaser. Or orange juice. Once it was chicken noodle soup.

You get the idea.

But while I'm experiencing the mellowed out feeling of all of the above combos you will never get at your neighborhood bar, I've been checking out those state quarters that have been piling up in a ziploc bag we keep in the entertainment armoire. Maybe you haven't heard, but supposedly there is a design change to some Wisconsin quarters.

Look at the corncob behind the cheese. Some quarters have a corncob that's a bit different. They've been turning up in Tucson, so I figure.....maybe a couple have come up to Phoenix? Maybe they're in my little stash? Hmmm....

After all, they're going for about $500 each on Ebay. That will buy a lot of mixers for future cocktails of the week!

Happy hunting if you're heading to your stash of loose change!

Why Didn't I Think of This?

A new company, Return Key Systems, Inc., has set up self-serve stations at New York's La Guardia, Newark Liberty, Washington Dulles and both Houston airports to mail your prohibited items back to you so that they won't be confiscated by TSA.

It's not cheap, but if you can't live without your daddy's antique Zippo, it might be worth it to spring for the service. Mailing fees range from $6 to $22 per parcel.

My New Heroine...."Mama Bird"

Evelyn Bryan Johnson got bored one day in 1944. She decided to take up a new hobby....flying.

Since then, she has certified about 9000 pilots for the FAA, trained 3000 new ones, and has been running an airport in Tennessee since it opened in 1953. She's logged about 57,600 hours of flight time since she started.....about 6 1/2 years of her life has been spent in the sky. And she's still going strong at 95.

Today, the Jet Set Chick salutes "Mama Bird". Read more about her here.

China's First Private Airline is "Okay"

Tip of the hat to Deep Thoughts Only Partially Influenced by Wine....

China's first private airline, the wonderfully named Okay Airlines, has started service between Tianjin and Kunming. It is the first of four private airlines scheduled to begin service in China in 2005 (the others are Shanghai's Spring International Airlines, Chengdu's Eagle Airlines, and Huaxia Airlines in Gansu province.)

Click here to get a look at the first flight picture of an Okay Airlines Boeing 737.


11 Die in Vietnamese Train Wreck

11 passengers have been killed and about 84 more injured on a passenger express train going from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City this morning. The train went off the tracks just south of Hue near the Hai Van mountain pass. Rescuers had to approach the site by boat. It is still unknown why the eight cars went off of the tracks.

Bus Service to Start in Kashmir for the First Time in Decades

Looks like peace is breaking out all over, which is good news for travelers. Especially if you have always wanted to check out Kashmir, a beautiful province that straddles the border between India and Pakistan.

(It's also where some of the most beautiful sapphires in the world are from, BTW. Remember Princess Di's ring? A Kashmir sapphire.)

Ok, buses, aren't the favorite means of transportation of the Jet Set Chick, but in this case, I'll make the exception. Some landscapes are better off seen at ground level than from the air. Especially if I get to pick up a little blue "souvenir."

I'll just tell Tsar Charming that I need one. After all, it matches my eyes.... ;P

Jetsgo Pulls the Plug, Thousands Scramble in Great White North

I think we have an early contender for the "Least Ethical Airline" category for 2005.

Jetsgo, a Canadian carrier with flights to Florida and Los Angeles, just announced that it was ceasing operations last night. It had been financially troubled throughout it's two year history. The Montreal-based carrier made no alternate plans for any of the passengers expecting to start their Spring Breaks this weekend. Further details are available here on Yahoo News.

Remember, always make a plane reservation with a credit card, unless you are getting on the flight right now. Passengers who made a reservation without one are likely SOL. The Travel Industry Council of Ontario is warning the public that if you booked online or directly with the carrier (without using a card), you are not getting a reimbursement.

"Yours Is A Very Bad Hotel"

These two Seattle gentlemen never thought that their Power Point presentation about the Doubletree Club Houston would go any farther than the hotel manager and a few friends.

Maybe you've seen it on the Internet, and thought that it was just, well, pure crap. Nope, it actually did happen back in 2001. Click on the link to learn more about their misadventures with Night Clerk Mike.


Blogspot's Gone Nuts!

Sorry if you have been trying to post on this and can't. I don't know what is up with Blogger lately. The posting problem looks like it has finally been fixed, but comments are still haywire.

If there is something that you are dying to tell me, still works! Just send it to!

Hogs & Kisses!

Kory O

To Be in England, With My Love....

at the IgNobel Tour! (Apologies to Art of Noise)

Yes, it is time for the IgNobel tour of the UK. If you have never heard of the IgNobel awards, it is something like the Nobel Prizes. Only when they award a prize for Medicine, it's not for some cure for cancer, but for something like "The Effect of Country Music on Suicide".

Biology is always a crowd pleaser. If you thought they couldn't possibly top last year's detailed description of homosexual necrophilia in the mallard duck, they've honored a research team that has proven herrings communicate through farting. I am not making this up.

My personal favorite was the Peace prize awarded to fellow crazy Lithuanian Viliumas Malinauskas in 2001 for his amusement park/gulag hybrid called Stalin World.

Maybe next year me & the Tsar will have to check this out....

Quote of the Day

"Deserts are charming for those who know how to see them."

John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club, a/k/a "Father of Our National Park System"

59 Iranians Protest Islamic Government Aboard Lufthansa Plane

A group of Iranians sympathetic to restoring that country's monarchy refused to leave a Lufthansa plane in Brussels after the flight was over. All but two of them held EU passports (two held US passports).

The protesters were demanding to speak to a member of the EU Parliament, and stated that they wanted the EU to forcibly remove the Islamic government that has been in power since 1979. Brussels police finally persuaded the protesters to disembark. The peaceful protest ended without incident 16 hours later. No arrests were made.


The Shittiest Cruise Ever, Brought to You by the Dave Matthews Band

So there you are, on your Chicago River cruise, enjoying the architectural sights of the city, when your tour boat passes under the Kinzie Street Bridge. A lovely time, unless you took that cruise August 8 on board Chicago's Little Lady.

That's when the driver for the Dave Matthews' Band tour bus decided to do a little housecleaning. As in, dumping 800 pounds of human waste from the bus' septic tank.

The driver, Stefan Wohl, was just sentenced today to 18 months probation, 150 hours of community service, and a $10000 fine. He has since been "relieved" of his duties for the band.

The 100 passengers received refunds for their fare. None of them have suffered any lasting ill-effects, although several reported ruined clothing and messed-up car interiors.

They Say They Honor Diversity, But....

Do you own a Humvee? Do you vacation with pets? Smoke? Did you vote for George Bush?

If you answered yes, you're not welcome here.

I emailed the Ocean Haven a couple of days ago, but still haven't gotten a reply as to how they would be able to tell if someone was a Bush voter. They must have some special spidey-sense I was born without. Bet I'm on their shit list now, though.

Fine by me...if they don't want to take my Humvee-driving, smoking, right-wing-nut Jet Set Dogs (Cookie and Alexa, relaxing on the carpet after a vigorous night of sleeping), we'll just stay somewhere else.

Want to Stay Here? You Better Pass the Test!

Most places that cater to travelers are just happy if you don't swipe the towels. Not the The Berkeley Springs Inn. If you want to stay here, the owner, Chase Everhart, is going to call you to make sure you aren't single, aren't gay and aren't having an affair. He doesn't want smokers, either. Be prepared for a twenty minute interrogation to make sure you are his kind of guest.

Then, if he accepts you, plan on a leisurely breakfast between 9 and 10. That's for you and your significant other only. He won't set a table for four, even if you are visiting with another couple.

And, keep your swimsuits on in the Jacuzzi, you perverts!

If you think you can pass the test, check out the Berkeley Springs Inn at their website.


Proof Europe is Going to Hell, Part 384

The Jet Set Chick's little bro fondly remembers what he can after 5 liters of beer that wonderful Bavarian party called "Oktoberfest".

I'm not sure how he's gonna react after he reads this. He'll agree with the last paragraph, though.

Hidden Lake Powell

The five year long drought here in Arizona hasn't been good for almost anyone....except for some houseboaters on Lake Powell.

Sure, the dropping water level has given houseboaters less of a lake to float on, but it has also revealed places that have been submerged and out of reach for years. The water level has dropped an incredible 130 feet! Slot canyons and springs that have been hidden under the lake have been revealed, sometimes for the first time in decades.

This article on is long, but a good one. Go read the whole thing.

I haven't been to Lake Powell since I was eight, but I think I might have to bring Tsar Charming up there this summer.


"Garuda: Every Passenger Makes It To Their Final Destination, It Just Might Not Be The One You Planned On"

Next time you get on board Indonesia's national airline, Garuda, you might want to pass on an upgrade to Business Class.

The airline has been implicated in the arsenic poisoning of civil rights activist Munir Said Thalib during a flight to Singapore last year. Among the employees charged in the killing were the pilot and Garuda's CEO.

The minimum lethal dose of arsenic ranges from 50 to 300 mg, and symptoms of acute poisoning include vomiting, convulsions, muscle cramps, diarrhea and stomach pain. Unless you are involved in mining, sheep dipping or copper smelting, you are highly unlikely to have a large risk of poisoning. Because it is so toxic, it has been used in pesticides of all kinds (think rat poison).

The chief suspect is an off-duty pilot aboard the flight who persuaded Thalib to accept the upgrade on the first leg of his flight. The CEO has denied any employee involvement, and will remain CEO of Garuda for the time being.

Guess I Should Have Registered Here When I Got Hitched

I have this thing for stuff with defunct airline logos on it, probably because my parents worked for so many of them! (There's no industry that has burned through so much money with so much style.)

Since almost all of the airlines have done away with anything other than plastic cups and disposable trays, a lot of this stuff has ended up in stores like the ones featured in this article (Chicago registration may or may not be required....that online publication is damned capricious.)

If you can't make it to the Windy City, just remember....there's always Ebay! Punch in your favorite "lost bird" and see what comes up! Hopefully, something better than this!

On a Personal Note....

Thank you to everyone who has visited this site! I've appreciated your links to other stories, suggestions, and comments.

If you have any ideas that you just want to post to me and not have appear in the comments, write me at and I will reply as quickly as I can.


New Tech for Lost Bags Hits Snags

The good news is there's a system that will cut down on the amount of lost and misplaced checked baggage.

The bad news is that United States airlines and foreign airlines want to use different RFID (radio frequency identification) systems.

If you have ever run a marathon or a half marathon, you are already familiar with this technology. Runners tie a plastic tag onto their shoes that automatically tracks when the racer has crossed the finish line, thereby giving an accurate time when tracking a personal best, and ensuring that the competitors actually ran the race by recording when they crossed different checkpoints. Good luck trying to pull a Rosie Ruiz nowadays!

Domestic airlines want to use a cheaper tag that costs about a quarter, and the foreign carriers want to use one that can store more information about the traveler. RFID systems are already used by many airlines to track their own resources (spare parts, etc.), but this would be the first time that they would be used to track passenger bags.

Currently the only American airport to use (or attempt to use) this technology is Las Vegas' McCarran International, since they and not the airlines handle baggage handling.

Although it looks like the system cuts down lost bags by two-thirds, would enable authorities to grab a bag off for further inspection much faster than they can do currently, would save carriers money in the long run and could even be a marketing advantage for the airlines that adopt all comes down to the initial cost of installation.

If you want to read more about it, check out this NY Times article (free registration required). I love the doublespeak in this quote:

"We're not walking away from it," said Benét Wilson, a Delta spokeswoman. "We're just postponing it indefinitely. We felt we could use our resources in other areas."

Riiiiiight, sister.

UPDATE: Hey, look who's sort of hit the big time! Thanks, Blogger News Network!

When Bad Decades Happen to Good People

There was just so much that was wrong about the 70's that it boggles the mind. Richard Nixon. Jimmy Carter. Double-knit, polyester plaid, no less. Avocado green and harvest gold kitchens. Olivia Newton-John (or as my friends used to call her, "Oblivious Neutron Bomb").

A time when the only logical answer to the question, "Is the US on God's shit list?" was "Yup, I think so...."

We're going to time travel back to a decade that should never, ever have happened. If you still believe anything good came out of that decade, this will remind you why the 70's weren't cool. Ugh.

P.S. Ok, I'll make exceptions for things that happened in your personal lives as to why the 70's weren't completely evil. But overall, yup, it really was this bad. No wonder so many of my friends are on meds....we lived it the first time around, and some goofy fashionistas keep bringing back things like the poncho!


Cocktail of the Week

I've done the Art Detour twice, and both times I saw some small pieces that I would have considered buying if I would have had the money (damn landlord insists that I pay him on time....the absolute nerve!)

This time, me, Tsar Charming, and a friend I'll call Sparkle Girl stepped into Perihelion Arts Gallery and Bookstore. We decided to kill some time until one of my old coworkers, Mary, came to the next door Bikini Lounge to take control of the bar. (Mary, if you're reading this, I want to be like you if and when I grow up.)

Well, I can't afford any of the works that were on sale by Shag this month, so I settled for a book they had on sale called "Bottomless Cocktail". Looking through all these pictures of bossa nova parties featuring martini-slinging monkeys and tiki gods made me thirsty.

I got off my groovy sofa in our swingin' penthouse suite and mixed up an Adult Cherry Coke. I figured after trying the Pink Gin last week, I could use something that goes down sweet and easy.

1 jigger cherry-flavored liqueur
1 can cola
Almond extract (optional, a drop or two should do it)

Pour the cherry liqueur over ice, add the extract if desired, and pour the coke on top. cocktail shaker with this one. The Tsar didn't believe me, and he got to scrub up the floor after his attempt to "improve" it by shaking it up. Heh!


The Iditarod Starts Today!!

They call it the "Last Great Race on Earth". This year, teams will be racing across some of the most hostile, yet most incredibly beautiful, terrain on Earth to commemorate the heroic effort to bring diphtheria vaccine from Nenana to Nome in 1925 (twenty dog teams covered the 674 miles in 27.5 hours!)

The race now starts in Willow and goes about 1050 miles to Nome. The dogs and their handlers will face below zero temperatures, occasional complete loss of visibility due to blowing snow, seemingly endless darkness, and rugged hills and mountains along the course. Most of the 79 teams are American and Canadian, but this year there are a couple from Italy, a few from Norway, one from Germany, and even one from South Africa.

I'm going to see if I can get my two lazy pups to watch the start on the webcam link I posted on this page. I've always had a sneaking suspicion that Alexa, my lab mix, would have loved to have been an Iditarod racer back in her prime....

When a Five Star Resort Just Isn't Good Enough....

Try a seven-star one. I didn't even know there was such a category until I saw this article.

Amazing....the cheapest rooms have plasma televisions, a concierge to scatter petals in your scented bath, your choice of a lavender- or rose-scented pillow liner to encourage sweet dreams, and a chocolate "bouquet" by your pillow at night. But still, no damn soundproofing? For approximately $1825 a week?

I guess for that you need one of the Palace Suites for approximately $15k per night. They're so large you could literally get lost in one.

Still not extravagant enough for you? You better be a member of Arabian royalty, because that's the only way you can get into a Rulers' Suite. Even Bill Gates couldn't buy his way into one of those.

Go ahead, read the whole thing. The description will either make you envious...or sick.


"Phoenix Has No Culture!" Oh Really??

Ok, so it's not quite like New York, Austin TX, or San Francisco. But tonight you can experience the more unusual side of Phoenix during the Art Detour. This article will introduce you to the artist/real estate mini-mogul who got the whole thing started back in the 90's.

Of course, man and woman do not live on funky art alone. I don't know if this place is still open (yes, I know....Bad Blogger! Bad, bad, bad!!), but if it's not, you could always try one of the places in this article. The desserts at My Florist Cafe are to die for, and if you used to watch a '70's sitcom called "Alice", the outside of Pat's will look strangely familiar....(they changed the sign a bit in the opening credits to say "Mel's").

None of the cool, interesting people are going to happy hour tonight. Why should you?


Why Not Travel In the Front of the Bus?

Lots of airline discounters will give you the best fares for a given route. But how many of them will give you the best first class fares?

This site doesn't just list the bigger airports, either. They've got the fares for places like Flint, Michigan.....Missoula, Montana.....and some other places I wouldn't be caught dead in this time of year (too cold!!)

Yeah, I know....first class is so expensive! Not necessarily....for example, I checked out the fares going to Philadelphia from Phoenix on one of my favorite sites, Cheap Tickets, leaving in a week. The cheapest round-trip fare was $498. Best Fares' cheapest fare was $698. You get an upgrade, both ways, for $100 per.

For that money, you get fed something that would look and taste like real food served on real plates, free alcoholic drinks served in real glasses, extra frequent flier mile credit if you are part of that airline (or their partner airline's) club, lots of leg room in a comfortable seat, a smaller chance of losing your luggage, and greater chance that you will be on a non-stop flight. Believe me, it's well worth the extra money to not feel cramped up after a cross-country trip. (It's cheaper than a chiropractor, ain't it?)

I'm checking this one out when it gets closer to our first anniversary. First class to Hawaii sounds pretty sweet!


Amateur Worst Comes Up With Another Brilliant Idea

In their continuing effort to provide the worst overall customer experience among domestic airlines, America West just came up with another reason to give up and fly Southwest.

If they ever do this, I don't want to imagine what the carry-on bins are going to look like.

I mean, really, America West, what's next? Pay lavatories?

Do You Yahoo?

If you've got an email account with them.....

Free Ice Cream today at a Baskin-Robbins near you! Just go to their homepage and click on the free ice cream button.

Looks like me & Tsar Charming have our cheap date all set for tonight!

Disabled Cruisers Ask Supreme Court For Help

A few years ago, when I broke my leg trail running, I grew a new appreciation of the difficulties disabled people face every day. When part of one of my past jobs required issuing parking tickets, believe me, if you parked in a handicapped space and didn't have the proper weren't getting out of that ticket, pal.

Fortunately, more places are opening up to the disabled traveler. You would think cruises would have done this years ago, since disabled travelers choose to cruise more than the general population does.

On Monday, 28 February, the Supreme Court heard arguments in a suit filed against Norwegian Cruise Line stating that facilities on board are inaccessible to disabled passengers, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The cruise line argued that US law doesn't apply to foreign flag carriers. (Note - Clicking on the link takes you to a NY Times article, free registration required.)

The Court won't issue it's opinion for months, but I've already made up my mind. If they already have a big share of the disabled market, and that market is getting bigger, why would they want to lose it to their competitors who have found that market to be a profitable one?

Want a Cheap Cruise in 2005? Fuggedaboutit!

I have been known to amuse Tsar Charming by singing my own version of the "Let's Go Island Hop" jingle for the Hawaiian American Cruise Line commercials (it goes like, "let's go smoke some pot!" Yeah, I know, not very creative, but rather unexpected from a person who used to work for a police department....key words, kids, used to work. I feel much better now that I don't report to Sergeant Psycho of the Dumb Officer Unit.)

Anyway, lately cruises have gotten a bit of a reputation for being much more affordable than they used to be, what with all the new ships and post-September 11 discounts. With the dollar falling against the euro, in some cases it was cheaper to cruise than book hotels.

Not anymore. If you were planning on cruising, be prepared for sticker shock. Cruise prices are going way up, and good luck trying to find the discounts of the past. Some major lines are prohibiting travel agents from offering discounted cruises to their clientele.

So, if you would rather spend the cash on your bar tab, where can you turn?

Try Cruisequick or Cheap Tickets. I have never used Cruisequick, but I've had a lot of success with Cheap Tickets getting inexpensive airfare. (I've been a big fan of Cheap Tickets ever since they ate the difference when their computer system screwed up and booked me a flight at a higher rate than the one stated on their site.)

Just don't expect any miracles this year....especially since bookings for 2006 are going at a fast clip!


Cigarette Smokers are REALLY Going to Go Nuts Now

Beginning 14 April, leave those lighters at home.

A smoking acquaintance of the Jet Set Chick was told yesterday when she went to pick up her mother at Sky Harbor (mom's disabled, so she was allowed to go to the gate to help her) that they were going to start cracking down on them this month, ahead of the national ban.

Geek Alert!

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy....coming to a theater near you on 29 April!

You're such an......Ashcroft?

Aerolineas Argentinas' special editing of the Oscar-winning movie "Sideways" has a special little tweak to it.

Cutting out profanity on a in-flight version of a movie is nothing new, but if you get the English language track, when the actors originally say a word commonly used for a bodily orifice, instead you hear the actors say "Ashcroft".

Bet my little brother has picked up on that already.....