Tucson AZ Best Retirement City In The USA, Says AARP

According to AARP Magazine, the city of Tucson, Arizona, is the best place for seniors to settle for “simpler retirement living”. Also on the list, in order of AARP’s rating after Tucson are Greenville, SC, Montpelier VT, Logan UT, Ames IO, Northampton MA, Lexington/Fayette KY, Oxford MS and Walla Walla WA. Its #8 is an obscure listing naming just Texas Hill Country, wherever that may be.

Apparently the AARP people who compiled the list never bothered to investigate the more familiar retiree destinations of Miami, San Diego, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Palm Springs, Palm Beach and Orlando. Or maybe it was because they believe housing and other cost-of-living expenses in those places have already escalated out of sight.

Avoiding hotel rooms reeking of old cigarettes PDF Print E-mail

Smoking chimp

Q: I’m a lifelong non-smoker and am grateful there’s a growing trend in hotels and terminals to ban cigarettes totally. However, too many hotels and motels still allow it in rooms. Often, even in designated non-smoking rooms, lingering odors of decades-old burned tobacco make the room very unpleasant.

How can I avoid booking those smelly rooms?

Marian P., Boston MA

Booze on cruises do’s and don’ts PDF Print E-mail

Champagne glass

We firmly believe cruises can be the most economical way to enjoy a relaxing, luxurious vacation. Everything is within a few steps of your comfy cabin: food, pool, spa, entertainment, ocean breezes, casino. And all-inclusive for one bargain price of from $50 to $100 a day!

Well, not quite. The beancounters who work for cruise lines calculate to make the all-inclusive prices so attractive, because passengers will spend extra money on booze. It’s the same reason why Las Vegas makes room rates so low, knowing visitors will lose money gambling.

There’s nothing rip-off about it, just common sense ways to insure profits. Here are some tips for managing your booze spending on your next cruise.  

1. Prices for alcoholic drinks and sodas are very high on cruises and keep getting higher. A Coke costs $5 or more, while mixed drinks and beer are $10 plus. If you order them at a ship’s bar, you’re expected to leave a 20 percent tip.

2. If you order bottles of booze, champagne or beer for your cabin, the price is at least 50 percent higher, with the obligatory 20 percent tip added.

3. When you’re checking aboard before the cruise begins, ask at the info desk about the booze and soft drink policies. On some ships, you can buy an unlimited refillable soft drink bottle for $10. It’s a bargain if you drink two or three a day during a week or more at sea.

4. If you’re permitted to bring bottles of champagne or wine aboard, when you open any in a dining or bar area, you’re charged up to $25 “corkage” fees.

5. Tipping for booze, wine or beer service at meals or anywhere else on the ship is on each order you get. It’s always separate from the other end-of-cruise tips you’re expected to give for dining and cabin service.

On your next sailing, enjoy all the wonderful ways to have fun, but expect to pay more when you add booze to the cruise.

Send your love to a GI today! PDF Print E-mail


Valentine’s day is over, but you can always send some loving messages and gifts to those who are serving you in lonely and dangerous spots around the world. It can be a loved one or someone who’d just appreciate your consideration.

Through various online services, you can contact members of the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard. Some of them are:

Travel memories: U.S. Navy guys in Egypt PDF Print E-mail

Navy guys in Egypt

Crew members of U.S.S. Raleigh visit the sphynx and pyramids, 1896

Airline food: Does jet noise make it taste yukky? PDF Print E-mail

air passenger meal

Do loud sounds while you dine bother you? According to a Unilever study, noises produced by aircraft engines take away the appetite of passengers when meals are served in the air. They also state that knowing the food is pre-frozen and microwaved doesn’t help, either.

In the experiments, blindfolded diners ate while simulated aircraft noises were broadcast at low frequency and then up to very loud. The results were that the noises were distracting, and the food didn’t seem as tasty. Researchers said the meals were more appreciated when soft music was played.

So, next time you fly, and the meal in the air isn’t so great, don’t blame the airline chef. Put on your earphones and listen to music instead of the engines. Maybe that’s why they have strolling violinists at the fanciest restaurants on the ground.


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