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Currently Viewing Posts Tagged Travel

It Is Hard To Title Random!

I have had a few requests not to post cat pictures anymore. Does this really count?

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Hahahahahahaha (I can’t help it)

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Yes, I am sure there is still some “cat picture anger”!

Which leads me to the Winston Churchill story. I always enjoy some “history” in Our Blog. Apparently at a party, Churchill was accused by either Lady Astor or Bessie Braddock of being ‘disgustingly drunk’. He simply replied, “My dear, you are ugly, and what’s more, you are disgustingly ugly. But tomorrow I shall be sober and you will still be disgustingly ugly.”

This pic o reminded me of that Churchill story. Part of his success was not being afraid!

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If you are now making plans for summer travel, here are some websites to consider:

Kayak.com tracks the fares that you search and advises you on whether to buy now versus the likelihood of price fluctuation.

Skyscanner.com lists searches by “cheapest”, “fastest” and “best”.

Hipmunk.com searches your fares and suggests dates that would give better pricing.

Momondo.com and the more well known Booking.com are travel fare search engines for comparison shopping.

I thought this article (here) from CNBC was good information on why walking and thinking helps your creativity…and why Steve Jobs did it all the time.

You can see the randomness today. I enjoy just rambling on Our Wednesday Blog!

And finally, for our pic o’ day… I hope this brightens your day!

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Leaping Into My Office Chair

I titled the blog with a feeling of positivity. It shows excitement to be back to work. My wife and I were on a nine-day cruise through Maine and Canada. Nine days means you need to get your sea legs!

Cruises are obviously associated with lots of food. I’m not sure why they (food service) thought that I needed this many free white and dark chocolate strawberries delivered to the room. This was just one day’s delivery! Free strawberries! (I just noticed the Joel Bieber pen in the background. See!)

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My confession? I am not posting pictures of the cupcakes that they delivered. My only defense is that I did not order them… and who wants cupcakes to go to waste?

The ship offers a bridge tour to show the brains of the ship’s operation. I found the ship’s steering wheel to be a bit underwhelming.

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It is rare that the ship is guided manually. Normally the ship, Grandeur of the Seas, is guided by computer. There were approximately 2200 passengers and 800 crew. A lot of moving parts

At the end of the cruise, the chef was reciting all the food that was eaten during the trip. I was amazed. Of course, I amazed myself with my eating capability. Resume material!

I just rambled today to say that I am glad to back. Tomorrow, I will blog on one of the stops on the cruise. Every place has its curious history.

For our pic o’ day, I am posting one of the Chris Christie memes. If you haven’t read about how he closed the beach and still enjoyed it, here is the Washington Post story . Personally, I felt a bit like this during the cruise. Well… maybe a little “non-svelte”? Now he has become a national joke posting.

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Keeping up Appearances (Passport Ramblings)

Have you ever thought about the mane on a lion? Well, male lions are easy to recognize because of their distinctive manes. Field biologists have concluded that the only reason that a lion has a mane… is to appeal to the female lion.

Apparently to the lioness, the mane represents sturdy genes and a very healthy constitution for a male to live long enough to grow a substantial mane.  So, even to lions, appearances do matter!

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That brings me to appearances on passport photos. They matter too. As of November 1, 2016, the State Department will not accept passport photos if you are wearing glasses. That’s right… no glasses; even if you normally wear glasses.

Last year, more than 200,000 passport applicants submitted poor-quality photos that could not be accepted. “The No. 1 problem was glasses,’’ the State Department said in a news release. “We had to put their passports on hold because we couldn’t clearly identify them from their photo.’

The following are other passport photo regulations:

  • You must submit a photo taken within the last six months.
  • Photos must be high-resolution. They cannot be blurry or grainy.
  • Photos must show your true skin color. They cannot be over- or under-exposed or have shadows on your face. (apparently,you are not allowed to look like a Cheetos snack)
  • Selfies are not recommended. Photos taken too close or too far away will be rejected.
  • Photos must be 2 by 2 inches.

So, appearances do matter. Especially when it comes to your passport photo…or if you are a lion.

And for pic o’ day, see how a smile can change your entire image:

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Case Investigation

Southwest Airlines has announced that their new planes will be equipped with bigger seats for their customers. The new seats are gaining an extra seven-tenths of an inch and will now measure 17.8 inches wide.

When I read that, I really didn’t know what that meant. To compare, seats on the 737’s flown by Alaska Airlines are 17 inches wide according to SeatGuru.com. American Airlines, United  and Delta planes all offer coach seats with 17.2 inch inches of “room”.  First class seats are sometimes as wide as 21 inches.

I suspect that we will see Southwest advertising their “roomy seats” as a reason to fly. Their “bags-fly-free” campaign  has already been very successful. (CBS) So they know what works in making fliers happy.  It’s a reminder that the difference in success can be in the details.

In the investigation of new cases and potential clients that we begin to represent, it is very helpful to get into the case in the beginning. Conversely, insurance companies attempt to keep claimants from contacting a lawyer. Instead, I have heard adjusters recommend to the person that it will be better to negotiate directly with the insurance adjuster, instead of paying an attorney fee.

Prospective clients don’t begin to investigate their own cases. It usually causes them to wait to see what the adjuster will offer. Unfortunately, that sometimes causes evidence to disappear and cars to be repaired without pictures being taken.

A claimant may not have much property damage to the back of their car after a crash. That might not reflect the force of the crash as much as the fact that car manufacturers reinforce the back of their cars to protect the gas tank. The force then is transmitted through the car and into the occupants who were rear-ended.

The true damage may be to the front of the car that caused the crash (the defendant). That’s because the front is not reinforced like the back of the car. If the insurance company only takes a picture of the minimal damage to the rear of the prospective client’s car… then the hood/front-damaged car may be repaired without documentation. And there goes the details!

The truth lies in the details. Does an insurance adjuster have any motivation to take pictures of both cars before repair?

I hope you have a great weekend. And for pic o’ day…

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Williamsport to Hershey

This is a story that winds through Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and then wanders through Hershey, Pa. Then, it ends with fortunately not boarding the Titanic after purchasing a ticket. How is that for wandering?

First, I went to Williamsport on Sunday, to speak at a 60th Anniversary celebration of a church that my grandfather started. You can see that the platform is on high alert because of some of my unpredictable stories down memory lane. But, it was a treat for me to remember my grandfather and grandmother.

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And since Williamsport is close to Hershey, (unless you measure in candy bar units), on to Hershey and why I have mentioned the Titanic.

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This is a check (taken with my cell phone) that Hershey wrote, to put down a deposit for a state room for boarding on the Titanic that launched on April 10, 1912, with 2000 passengers. This $300 deposit wrote in December 1911,  is worth approximately $7281 today.

Hershey had founded his Chocolate Company in 1894 and had just begun to mass-produce chocolates and distribute them in 1907. So, around the time that he wrote this deposit, he was just really gearing up the business. For instance, during World War II, the Hershey company provided Ration D Bars and Tropical Chocolate Bars to all the troops through the entire war.

It wasn’t until after 1918 when Hershey transferred all his assets to a trust; that such things as the town, entertainment complex, the Milton Hershey School, and the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center came into existence. (Milton S. Hershey Wikipedia)

I took this picture of the check while touring the Hershey Archives because one of the workers pointed it out, and then explained that Hershey and his wife were to have been on that fateful ship, but had to cancel at the last moment because of work duties that called him back home. He and his wife left on an earlier ship.

Obviously, Hershey came to that fork in the road…. and made the right choice. The Hershey company doesn’t necessarily credit the hand of God or Providence, but they do quickly mention “What if?” Hershey had been on that ship. We may not have Hershey bars today!

As a side note,  history records that there were six other prominent people who missed that fateful ride, who had been booked on the Titanic. (listed here)  These other six included J. Pierpont Morgan and Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt.

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And then I conclude this with:  it’s good to go away… but it’s always good to come home!

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Seat Rights and Fights

Imagine a television advertisement that announces that you can now buy more room for your next airplane ticket purchase. The airline is selling tickets called “reclining seat” tickets. Or, another TV ad that says that you can now get $20 discount off your next flight by purchasing a “no-recline seat” ticket.

From San Francisco’s ABC-7 comes the following weekend news report:

A Southwest Airlines flight landed at San Francisco International Airport five hours late after an incident on board forced the pilot to return to the gate at LAX.

Southwest flight 2010 returned to LAX after the pilot declared an emergency. The plane was only in the air for 13 minutes. Law enforcement met the plane at the gate and took one person from the flight. The other passengers and crew switched planes and took off for SFO about two hours later, landing at 1:43 a.m. A passenger says she witnessed a man harassing a woman about a reclining chair.

As airlines attempt to squeeze more passengers and make us feel more like cattle, it’s no surprise that people are on edge on the plane. Then, you finally get to your seat and the person in front of you reclines… and your legs are now jammed against the seat.

Right now, airlines are siding with the reclining passengers. The “jammed knees” passenger has no right or expectation of their seating space but, there’s a solution. It’s a device called the Knee Defender.

The “Knee Defender,”  described. as a $21.95 product designed to guard your leg room. You can attach them to your seat and they work to keep the seat from reclining in front of you. They are legal. They still might cause you a bit of a confrontation when the person in front of you attempts to recline.

     According to the Washington Post in an article that came out when this product first hit the market, FAA spokesman Paul Takemoto says “the clips were not against federal aviation rules as long as they weren’t used during taxiing, takeoffs or landings.”

Knee Defenders are specifically designed to be applied and clamped to the seat while your tray table  is lowered,  except that the tray table must be up and locked “during taxiing, takeoffs or landings.” As long as Knee Defenders are being used for the sole purpose that they were designed to be used in flight, their use does not violate any US aviation law, rule, or regulation.

The solution? I think that either airlines should create a charging system for reclining; or a priority seating assignment method incorporating reeling choice, like restaurants with non-smoking sections… or allow passengers to arm wrestle for the right to recline. Or something like that!

And for pic o’ day, a better way to ride…

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The Law Excuse Blog

I have been out of town on a case, which is my excuse for not writing a blog the last couple of days. I could have written a short blog or at least posted a pic o’ day with the ease of technology by iPad these days, But,  I now claim the law as my excuse!

I did receive some great pictures. Here’s one from Jeff R. that just makes me laugh. You will only appreciate this one if you are not a fan of the Patriots. In light of the recent Tom Brady suspension and all the discussion of football deflating, this is a classic sarcasm picture  of their championship Super Bowl ring. (couldn’t help it, I had to post)

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I also thought that the Friday blog is good time to post a few more unusual laws that are still on the books in various states.

Here’s a curious one from Maryland: It is illegal in Maryland for lions to attend the theatre.
And, in Alaska it is against the law to wake a sleeping bear, just to take a picture. That seems more than curious. And finally in our Friday blog look at some unusual laws: In South Dakota it is against the law to lie down and fall asleep in a cheese factory. Guess that was a real problem.

I hope you have a great weekend. And here is our pic o’ day:

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The Religious Tolerance Line

Not long ago while traveling on the roads of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, our car passed several Amish horse-and-buggy riders. Having been born in Pennsylvania as well as being a “Lancaster regular”,  I was not surprised by this scene. Cars regularly traveling in Lancaster are accustomed to keeping a lookout . Plus, the grooves on the sides of the roads from the buggies and the horses are just part of travel now. Even part of the tourism.

In the early 18th century, the Amish and Mennonites emigrated to Pennsylvania. Their dialect combination of Pennsylvania German became known as Pennsylvania Dutch. Locals accepted their religious beliefs that included life without electricity, automobiles and telephones. Their clothing and dark colors just added to it. The Amish do not participate in the social security system nor buy commercial insurance. That is their religious beliefs and they are accepted.

Religious beliefs now impact travel. The New York Times recently described an event on an airplane that involved the beliefs of the ultra-orthodox Jewish faith.  A lady had settled into her airplane seat to get ready for the long flight from New York to London. A man dressed in the all black garment of the orthodox religion appeared next to her seat and refused to sit down. His religion did not allow him to sit next to a woman that was not his wife. Finally, the lady agreed to change seats and the flight attendant found a man to sit there.

The article went on to report that many flights between the United States and Israel have been delayed or disrupted over this religious issue. It raises the question of what airlines must do in the name of religious tolerance and accommodation.  As one Rabbi stated, “Multiculturalism creates a moral language where a group can say, ‘You have to respect my values.'”

Some religions do not allow  a woman’s face to be publicly exposed except for the eyes. The burka is the most concealing of all Islamic veils which covers the entire face and body, leaving only a mesh for the eyes to see through. Airlines make accommodations for security purposes.

I’m not trying to recite all religious distinctions and beliefs. It does raise the question of just how high of a bar do we all have to reach in the name of tolerance. I remember a minister who used to say, “your freedom ends where my nose begins”. I guess that would suggest that no passenger should be made to change seats in the name of religious tolerance.

And for pic o’ day, I need to lighten it up a bit:

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