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Captain Belinda Bennett, Beatle Beat Trivia

Captain Belinda Bennett Awarded Merchant Navy Medal

Captain Belinda Bennett of Windstar CruisesThe U.K. Merchant Navy Medal for Meritorious Service has been presented to Captain Belinda Bennett of Windstar Cruises, as “the first black female captain in the commercial cruise industry.”

Bennett was given the award for services to the promotion of the maritime sector under the auspices of the U.K. Department for Transport and Maritime & Coastguard Agency. Her Royal Highness Princess Anne presented the Merchant Navy Medal honor, earned by those “who have gone above and beyond in their service to the maritime industry,” earlier this month at Trinity House in London.


Hard Day's Night 2017

Q) Name the first Ringo Starr composition to appear on a Beatle LP?

Scroll down for the answers

Random Acts of Canine Kindness

Cedric the Dog takes a well-earned break after organizing a protest at an altright Neo-Nazi rally in South Dakota.

You want a friend in Washington? Get a dog. – Harry S. Truman

MORE Dog Quotations

Check Out the Latest Inflight Meal Reviews!

Courtesy Nik Loukas,  Inflight Feed 

Air New Zealand plane
New Zealand’s national airline is well respected for its culinary offerings and the excellent in-flight wines available. Photo courtesy: © Air New Zealand

InFlight Feed an airline food information website for passengers that also features a blog of the inflight meal experiences of Nik Loukas on his various trips around the globe. Inflight Feed has been giving passengers information on over 150 airlines worldwide since 2012,  telling them how to order special meals, find out what food might be for sale inflight, how to upgrade your inflight meal and general inflight meal information.


15 Surprising Things TSA Allows Past Airport Checkpoints

By Benet Wilson

Some items — like guns (real or replica), large scissors and flammable liquids — are never allowed. But the agency continues to make changes when it comes to what can get past the checkpoint.

Below are 15 surprise items you can actually take past the checkpoint. But in case you still have questions, you can take a photo of the item and send it to either AskTSA on Facebook Messenger or via Twitter. Staff are online with answers from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET during the week and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends and holidays


10 Most Misleading Travel Terms

Courtesy Jamie Ditaranto, SmarterTravel

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

If you spend enough time comparing hotels, flights, and tours, you’ll eventually realize that many words have very little meaning in the travel industry. You might think that there would be some sort of common agreement on travel terms across hotels that would define what makes a suite a suite or a deluxe room better than a standard room, but no such agreements exist. Travelers are often surprised to find that what they booked is not quite what they expected.

Here are some travel hype words you should take lightly, and that might even signal you should do a little more research.


10 of the World’s Craziest Landings

Courtesy Ashley Rossi

These 10 airports have some of the craziest landings in the world. Fretful flyers, you’ve been warned.

landing plane

Flying can be a nerve-racking experience for fretful travelers; however, landings at these 10 airports are sure to frighten even the most frequent flyers. From an airport at the edge of a cliff to sandy beach landings, here are the world’s craziest runways — consider yourself warned.

Abbey Road album cover art
Iain Macmillan, courtesy Apple Corps/via REUTERS

Beatle Beat Trivia Answers

Q) Name the first Ringo Starr composition to appear on a Beatle LP?

A) Don’t Pass Me By on the 1968 LP The Beatles (know by many fans as the The White Album).

Ringo is credited with two compositions recorded by the Beatles: Don’t Pass Me By, a black comedy quasi Cajun/country folk song (with a bit of swing) on The Beatles/White Album (1968), and the nautically themed Octopus’s Garden, from Abbey Rd (1969). Ringo co-wrote What Goes On, another country track, with John and Paul, which was on side 2 of Rubber Soul (1965), and also received a co-writing credit with the other three Beatles for the psychedelic instrumental, Flying.

Flying was the only instrumental the Beatles officially released during their career. It was recorded for the Magical Mystery Tour soundtrack in 1968. (Pop Trivia fact: MMT was released as a double EP in the UK in 1968, but as an album by Capitol in the U.S. Parlophone later realized that it had mileage as an album and copied the U.S. strategy.)

Contrary to common belief, Ringo didn’t write Yellow Submarine, although he sang the lead vocal. Ringo would usually average one vocal per album. Other songs sung by Ringo on Beatles recordings were Boys (an EP inclusion of a cover version of a Shirelles song written by Dixon/Farrell), Act Naturally, a cover of a song by Russell/Morrison included on Help! in 1965, I Wanna Be Your Man (a 1963 song written for the Stones), Matchbox (rockabilly cover song), Honey Don’t (country rock cover), With A Little Help From My Friends (Lennon/McCartney song 2 on Sgt Pepper (1967), Good Night (Lennon/McCartney, counter intuitively mainly Lennon) from 1968 – The Beatles/White Album.

Another song, If You’ve Got Trouble, was written for Ringo to sing on Help!, but although recorded, it wasn’t released. It was replaced by Act Naturally. Later, If You’ve Got Trouble appeared on Anthology 2.

In total, Ringo sang lead vocal on 11 Beatle songs. You may be interested to know that there were 4 Beatle songs where McCartney played drums:

Back In The USSR
Dear Prudence
Martha My Dear (Ringo had temporarily left the Beatles as he was fed up with all the studio squabbling)
The Ballad of John & Yoko (Both George and Ringo were on holiday)

Courtesy of Gerry Parker

Venice Bans Cruise Ships from City Center

Courtesy Daniel McCarthy, Travel Market Report

rowers and gondolas at a regatta, Venice

An Italian governmental committee has voted to ban large cruise ships from the water in front of Venice’s St. Mark’s Square.

The vote, which was made after years of protests and petitions from locals, bans all ships weighing more than 55,000 tons from the city’s Giudecca Canal.

This means that all ships from Carnival Cruise Line, all from Royal Caribbean aside from Empress of the Seas, and all from Norwegian Cruise Line will be banned from the canal.


Hometown Heroes: Iconic Foods from Around the World

Courtesy Polly Byles, Lonely Planet


Every city around the world has a local food culture that embodies the unique essence of the place. While some have become iconic on the global stage – think Philadelphia’s Philly cheesesteak or Tokyo’s renowned ramen – others remain under the radar, tucked away in a backstreet trattoria or hidden in the pages of grandma’s secret recipe book.


8 Popular Destinations Where Air Pollution Could Ruin Your Trip

Air pollution does a lot more than cause canceled or postponed vacations — it kills millions of people worldwide every year, according to the World Health Organization. Some of the worst places for air pollution are also home to bucket-list-worthy sights. But missing them might be the least of your problems if smog ramps up during your visit: Symptoms of air pollution sickness include nausea, coughing, headache, itchy eyes — and air pollution can cause long-term breathing problems.

Here are some of the worst destinations for smog, especially if you already suffer from asthma or other respiratory problems.


fog and smog at the Taj Mahal, Agra, India
Photo courtesy of Adithya0376, via Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

The Taj Mahal attracts thousands of travelers every day, but the city it’s in is one of the worst in the world for air pollution. Smog in Agra can cut visibility so dramatically that you can’t see much more than an outline of the giant tomb, and visitors who don’t cancel their trip during a period of heavy smog can be seen wearing face masks to visit.


Burping Is Good Manners & 25 Other Global Etiquette Surprises

Courtesy The Daily Meal Staff

a cup of Cappuccino

In Italy, Never Order A Cappuccino After A Meal

When you’re dining the Italian way, be sure to order an espresso or a coffee after a meal. Do not order a cappuccino, as Italians believe milk beverages slow down digestion.

MORE Global Etiquette Surprises

In First Lady’s Hometown in Slovenia, the Business Is Melania

Melania Trump's family's house in Slovenia
Photo Source: Splash News

Courtesy The New York Times

Melania cake. Melania cream. Melania wine. Melania tea. Melania slippers. Melania salami. Melania chocolate-coated apple slices. There are few products that the enterprising burghers of Sevnica, a small, rural Slovenian town where Melania Trump spent her formative years, have not sought to brand in honor of the first lady of the United States.


Countries Difficult for Americans to Visit

In spite of broad generalizations that Americans have no interest in leaving their own borders, US citizens are traveling abroad in record numbers. According to the US National Tourism Office, nearly 67 million Americans chose to take an international trip in 2016. The world may be our oyster, but some countries impose harsh visa requirements that may hinder American tourism.

Taktsang Monastery, Bhutan
The tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan doesn’t allow independent travelers. To gain access, interested visitors must hire a travel agent, who will require upfront payment of the entire trip.

Deb's Poetry Break


By Robert Frost

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall

Send Deb your favorite travel poems

Time Capsule Cinema

Z movie poster

Polanski’s “Cul-de-Sac”

By Walt Mundkowsky

By this viewer’s idiosyncratic standards, Cul-de-Sac (1966) is Roman Polanski’s sole brush with greatness, and the only feature to keep faith with the surrealist metaphors and perceptions of his celebrated short films. It’s his most bizarrely funny, as well as his most serious work.

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