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When Traveling With Poetry, Be Careful


Best Seat on a Plane for Air Sickness Sufferers

There's Dramamine, there's the air sick bag in the seat-back in front of you, and then there's a strategy to limit the effects of airplane travel on the motion-sensitive: Sit over the wing. "An airplane is like a teeter-totter," a seasoned pilot told recently. "When the pilot moves the nose of the plane up or down, the seats in the extreme front and back are going to move a greater distance. And as a rule, the tail tends to move more than the front, so stay away from the rear if motion is a problem for you." On the other hand, passengers near the tail of a plane are about 40 percent more likely to survive a crash than those in the first few rows up front, according to Popular Mechanics, based on an exclusive study that examined every commercial jet crash in the United States, since 1971, that had both fatalities and survivors.


The Museum Of Broken Relationships

The European Museum Of The Year nominees for 2011 do not include  The Transparent Factory in Dresden or even the Museo del Whisky in the north of Spain, each a rather valuable peak on the curated landscape. No, but among them is the Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb. While you're crossing your fingers for the win, you might also consider bequeathing a fragment of your own. Anyway, that's how the collection in Croatia got started: a splitting couple couldn't decide on the fate of some shared objects and so they thought, We should start a museum! And set about soliciting objets from their, er, social network. In the collection now, there's The Ex Axe (1995) from Berlin; the Divorce Day Mad Dwarf (marking the end of a 20 year liaison) from Slovenia; and some fuzzy pink handcuffs (2005) from Zagreb. Founders Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišić explain, "Our societies oblige us with our marriages, funerals, and even graduation farewells, but deny us any formal recognition of the demise of a relationship, despite its strong emotional effect. In the words of Roland Barthes in A Lover's Discourse: 'Every passion, ultimately, has its spectator... (there is) no amorous oblation without a final theater.'" Or, in modern American terms, welcome to the Museum of Closure.


A La Carte Menu In The Skies Formerly Known As Friendly

We have air travel very much on the brain these days, in sympathy with all the people fantastically inconvenienced by the winter weather that has handcuffed many European hubs. Excuse the vulgarity, but it sucks. Today, Prime Minister David Cameron suggested calling in the Armed Forces to help London's Heathrow sort out its really horrible mess. Ugh.

Anyway, the echo of disappointment at cancelled flights will be heard for, well, for a long time. Maybe longer than radio insists on playing Billy Joel songs. It might just get to the point of consumer revolt, whereupon there are only two airlines left, having been replaced in the competitive marketplace by private jet, steamship, bamboo raft, pogo stick....When that day comes, let's hope one of the airlines is Swiss Air, if only for the in-flight menu options. On all international flights, here are the offerings (please don't miss the "bland menu" and extra credit for the long-haul crowd pleaser, chicken nuggets for kids):

Vegetarian Hindu menu
Indian-style menu omitting meat, fish, eggs, poultry, lard and gelatine products
Vegetarian Oriental menu
Chinese style vegetarian products
Vegetarian Jaina menu
Indian style vegetarian meal prepared in accordance with jainistic customs
Vegetarian lacto-ovo menu
Contains dairy and egg products, but no meat or fish.
Vegetarian / vegan menu
Meat-free Western style meal without dairy products.
Hindu menu
Meals are prepared in accordance with religious guidelines.  May contain lamb, poultry or fish. Beef and dairy products are excluded.
Kosher menu
Meals are prepared, packed and sealed only by rabbis in accordance with kosher guidelines.
Halal Menu
Meals are prepared in accordance with religious guidelines and contain no pork.
Diabetic menu
Diet meal without sugar and carbohydrates.  The nutritional values and information are clearly stated.
Bland menu
Light, low-fat meals including mildly seasoned lean meat or fish.
Gluten intolerance menu
Contains neither cereals (wheat, rye, barley, oats) nor starchy foods.
Low-calorie menu
Meals prepared with low-calorie foods.  Meals do not include any pasta, baked goods or products containing cream.
Low-fat menu
Ingredients containing minimum levels of fat, no cholesterol.
Lactose-free menu
Diet meals containing lactose-free products.
Baby menu (up to 24 months)
Consists of a glass of vegetable purée and a glass of fruit purée.

Children‘s menu (2-11 years)
A balanced, child-friendly menu without the addition of hot spices.  Some examples: pasta with tomato sauce, chicken nuggets etc. 

And to think, on American you get attitude if you ask for a blanket.




TSA Caving Under Pressure Over Pat-Downs?

Matt Lauer interviewed the head of the TSA this morning about the possibility that new pat-down procedures will be modified just prior to threatened Thanksgiving boycott at airports.

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