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Monthly Archives: February 2006

Getty Museum Reopening Soon

Getty_villaAfter a 275 million dollar facelift and 8 years of hard work, the J. Paul Getty Museum will be reopening and the majestic view of the Malibu coastline will be enjoyed by tourists from around the world. The museum closed when the new Getty Center opened in 1997 down the road. Now some of the world famous collection will be able to be seen in it’s original location.

Although it still houses an extensive Roman, Greek and Etruscan antiquities collection, the Getty received a top-to-bottom makeover. Award-winning architect Jorge Silvetti said it was designed to shake the senses of visitors, as they round a corner and first see the complex with its main building, plaza and new 450-seat outdoor amphitheater.

“I would hope there is a sense of wonder that really surprises in a very, very happy and positive way,” Silvetti said as he sat in the plaza’s courtyard on a recent sun-dappled day. “Our vision of the project was very deliberate — to create surprises.”

The centerpiece of the museum complex is still its main building, where 1,200 items dating as far back as 6500 B.C. are on display. Among them is the renowned Lansdowne Herakles, the larger-than-life statue of the Greek god that is believed to date to about 125 A.D.

The building itself was constructed in 1974 to resemble the Villa dei Papiri, a first century Roman country home that is believed to have been the residence of Julius Caesar’s father-in-law. Silvetti and his partner, Rodolfo Machado, have redone it, installing nearly 60 windows and a skylight to allow natural light and air to circulate through the building. As a result, sensitive exhibits are now sheltered in darkened galleries. via CNN

J. Paul Getty Museum Website


Top 10 Aquariums in the United States

Georgia_aquariumWith the help of the USA Today, we have put together a list of the top 10 Aquariums in the United States. We have included their phone numbers and websites to make you traveling to these sites easier.

New England Aquarium – Boston – 617-973-5200 – www.neaq.org

Georgia Aquarium – Atlanta – 404-581-4000 –  georgiaaquarium.org

National Aquarium – Baltimore – 410-576-3800 – aqua.org

Tennessee Aquarium – Chattanooga – 800-262-0695 – www.tennesseeaquarium.com

Waikiki Aquarium – Honolulu – 808-923-9741 – waquarium.org

New York Aquarium – Brooklyn –  718-265-3474 –  nyaquarium.com

John G. Shedd Aquarium – Chicago – 312-939-2438 – sheddaquarium.org

North Carolina Aquariumon Roanoke Island – Manteo, N.C. – 252-473-3493 – ncaquariums.com

Oregon Coast Aquarium –Newport, Ore. – 541-867-3474uarium.org

Kids Play Stay and Eat Free at Universal Orlando Resort

Universal_studios_orlandoUniversal Studios in Orlando is having a special deal for family vacations. They are offering the Kids Play, Stay, and Eat Free Promotion for a limited time. The promotion comes in two flavors;

You will receive one kid’s ticket (ages 3-9) for FREE for every 2-Day/2-Park Ticket purchased online at the regular price of $99.95 plus tax.

Plus, you will also receive three (3) additional days of admission for FREE, for a total of five (5) consecutive days of admission for the whole family.

This exclusive online offer is not available at the gate and must be used by December 31, 2006.

and including hotel accommodations:

Kids stay, play and eat for FREE now through July 31, 2006 including:

  • Three (3) nights hotel accommodations
  • Unlimited admission to both Universal Orlando theme parks for up to five (5) consecutive days
  • Kids Eat FREE at select Universal Orlando theme park restaurants
  • Hotels include the Fairfield Inn and Suites starting at $239 per adult, and Universal Orlando Hotels at $449 per person.

Haiti Flights Cancelled by American Airlines Due To Election Fears

AmericanAmerican Airlines is cancelling its flights to Haiti next Monday and Tuesday as the country is having national elections. Typically there is a great deal of violence and unrest during this period in Haiti, and American is showing good judgment avoiding the island during this period. This will allow its employees to stay home and out of harms way.

”We took a look at the history of unrest coinciding [with elections] and there is definitely a history there,” said American spokesman Tim Wagner. The cancellations are meant to ensure the safety of employees, flight crews and passengers, particularly as they travel to and from the airport, he said.American has three flights daily from Miami International Airport to Port-au-Prince, one flight daily from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood and one from New York’s JFK.The flight cancellations are posted on American’s website, aa.com, which says passengers with tickets to or from Port-au-Prince, issued no later than Jan. 31, can change their reservation to travel as late as February 10. One ticketed change is allowed, and no fee or penalty will apply. via MiamiHerald.com

Search for Missing Ferry Continues in the Red Sea

Al-Salam-BoccaccioAn Egyptian Ferry is missing in the Red Sea as it was returning to Safaga, Egypt from Saudi Arabia last night. Strong storms in the area have hampered rescue efforts for the over 1,300 passengers on board. The ship seen from the picture on the right looks very top heavy and could have stability issues in rough seas.

A frantic air-sea search was underway in the Red Sea today for an Egyptian passenger ferry missing for more than 12 hours after vanishing from radar screens with 1,310 people on board.
Saudi and Egyptian naval vessels and helicopters are battling low visibility and bad weather in a widespread search for the Al Salam Boccaccio 98 which lost all contact with controllers shortly after sailing from the port of Duba, in western Saudi Arabia, at 7pm last night (1600GMT).
The 1970 built roll-on-roll-off ferry was due to have docked at Egypt’s southern port of Safaga at 3am local time (0100GMT). Latest reports suggest that a lifeboat carrying three people has been spotted in the sea in the area where the vessel was last recorded. There were unconfirmed reports of bodies floating in the sea.
“We lost all contact with the ship shortly after it left the Saudi port,” said one maritime official at Suez. Its last position on the radar screens was 62 miles from Duba. A fierce electrical storm raged for more than three hours across the Red Sea last night, which may have hampered attempts to send out an SOS signal. via the Times Online.

EL_SALAM89Update: 6:55 AM EST – A search and rescue plane spotted a lifeboat with passengers in the Red Sea on Friday near where an Egyptian ferry disappeared with about 1,300 passengers, an Egyptian health ministry official said. via Reuters

Middle East Online is reporting ” Egyptian helicopters spotted bodies floating in the Red Sea Friday, after maritime authorities said they lost contact with a ferry carrying 1,300 people, mostly Egyptians, a security source said.

Update 7:33  AM – Fox News is reporting that 12 people have been rescued from the water.

The bodies were seen in the waters off the Egyptian coastal port city of Safaja, some 600 kilometers (370 miles) southeast of Cairo, the source said.”

Update 9:25 AM – ReutersCoast Guard vessels pulled dozens of bodies from the water today and rescued 30 survivors, officials said.

The 35-year-old ship, Al Salam 98, which was also carrying around 220 vehicles, went down 40 miles off the Egyptian port of Hurghada as most of the passengers were sleeping, officials said.

Update: 2/4/06, Red Sea ferry survivors say captain fled

SAFAGA, Egypt (Reuters) – Survivors of the Red Sea ferry disaster said on Saturday the Egyptian captain had fled his burning ship by lifeboat and abandoned them to their fate, as hopes faded of finding some 800 missing people.

Egyptian survivor Shahata Ali said the passengers had told the captain about the fire but he told them not to worry.

“We were wearing lifejackets but they told us there was nothing wrong, told us to take them off and they took away the lifejackets. Then the boat started to sink and the captain took a boat and left,” he added, speaking to Reuters Television.

“The captain was the first to leave and we were surprised to see the boat sinking,” added Khaled Hassan, another survivor.

Hooters Hotel Casino Open in Las Vegas

HooterscasinoHooters Hotel Casino is now  open in Las Vegas. With bright orange everywhere, and young ladies throughout the property wearing the traditional hooters outfits, the Hotel and Casino is now open to the general public after 10 months of renovating the old San Remo Casino just off the strip.

I am wondering if this is another ploy to increase the odds in the houses favor. Trying to keep track of ones cards amongst the curvaceous dealers will be a test for even the most stoic gambler.

Hooterscasino2The former San Remo property has been “hooterized.” Final touches are being put on the rooms, including bar tables and stools complete with bright orange lighting. From the casino floors to the rooms, this place is bound to be a hoot.
One of the unique things about this new resort is the fact that you can make reservations for the Hooters Hotel Casino in Las Vegas from any Hooters Restaurant. They have the Hooters Hotline; all you have to do is pick up the orange phone which will connect you directly to the Vegas resort.
“We’re putting in a reservation terminal in each of the 400 restaurants domestically. You’ll be able to pick up the orange hotline with a direct call right to Las Vegas and let us know you’re coming and we’ll book you a room,” said Richard Langloix, Senior VP of Marketing. via KVBC

The Hooters Hotel Casino Web Page

Hertz, Avis, and Budget Change Rental Policy Regarding Acts of Nature

Another outgrowth of the tremendous damage that the past two hurricane season have caused is the new policy by some rental car companies of holding the renters liable for damages on vehicles caused by natural causes. This is a change in policy that has not been widely announced, and should make a car renter prepared to check with their insurance companies to make sure you are covered.

Car-rental giant Hertz has changed its contracts to make customers responsible for damage from acts of nature.
It told its best customers last month that they’ll be responsible for auto damage from natural causes such as windstorms, hurricanes and tornadoes. In the past, it was the rental firm’s responsibility. Avis and Budget are moving in the same direction.
Hertz informed its #1 Club Gold members of the policy after quietly implementing it last year for the rest of its customers. Hertz says it’s not the first company to make the change, which it says was underway before Hurricane Katrina.

USATODAY.com – Car renters stuck with storm damage.

Monarch Of The Sea Captain Found Dead

RoyalcaribbeanWith all that has been happening with the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, the unknown death of the Captain of the Monarch of the Sea is disturbing.

The 38-year-old captain of the Monarch of the Seas cruise ship died this week as the vessel steamed north from Mexico, just hours before it docked in San Pedro. Authorities said Capt. Joern Rene Klausen was found in his stateroom at approximately 4:15 a.m. Monday, according to a statement issued by Royal Caribbean International, which operates the 2,700-passenger cruise ship

The death appears to be from natural causes and authorities in Los Angeles will conduct an autopsy,” the statement said. A supervisor from the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office said late Tuesday that an examination had not yet been conducted and the office had no statement at that time. via the Daily Breeze.

Canadian Flight Attendants Can Compare Salary Against Pilots Wages

AircanadaIn what has to be one of the most ridiculous court rulings I have ever heard of, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled that Flight Attendants can compare their pay against the pilots. Let me guess this correctly, a flight attendant needs 6 weeks of training to be initially certified while a pilot needs years of training and experience to land a job with the major airlines. And the Canadian Supreme Court sees a correlation between the two.

If rulings like this continue, Canada is going to see a brain drain with only the parasites remaining as logical folks are going to be running from the country.

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled Tuesday that Air Canada’s flight attendants can compare their pay with that of pilots and ground crews to determine if they are being discriminated against because of gender.
The top court said it is fair to make the comparison, because the flight attendants, pilots and ground crews all work for the same organization in the same business.
Air Canada had argued that each of the groups is covered under a different collective agreement, so a comparison would not be valid. The top court rejected that view. via The Globe and Mail

United Exits Bankruptcy

UAL04United Airlines is expected to exit  Chapter 11 this morning, ending one of the longest bankruptcies in United States history. The company has shed billions of dollars in annual costs and the choking control over the company by it’s unions.

Now it’s really time to fly, to move forward,” Glenn Tilton, CEO of United and parent UAL, said in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Passengers are unlikely to notice an immediate difference, since United never stopped flying even when multibillion-dollar losses forced it to seek protection from its creditors in federal bankruptcy court. But the Elk Grove Village, Ill.-based airline has made one change after another since early in its three-year overhaul.

It now has about 30% fewer employees (58,000), 20% fewer airplanes (460) and 20% lower operating costs (7.5 cents per seat per mile), excluding fuel, than it did when the bankruptcy began on Dec. 9, 2002. Labor costs are down by more than $3 billion annually after two steep pay cuts and the elimination of defined-benefit pensions. Dozens of daily domestic flights have been eliminated. via USATODAY.com