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Jul. 29 2010 — 2:59 pm | 38 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

Goodbye, and thanks for making my rent

It’s been a fun ride filled with love, hate and whatever’s in between. I’m honored to have been here from the start, and I’m glad to end on a high note. Catch me at Caveat Viator and/or find me on Twitter.


Jul. 27 2010 — 11:32 am | 180 views | 1 recommendations | 2 comments

Travel writer hurts publisher’s feelings; publisher bans all travel writers on LinkedIn

On July 20, a magazine publisher named Ned Dawson posted the following message on two LinkedIn groups, Travel Media Pros and Travel Editors & Freelance Journalists:

“We have a new Luxury Lifestyle mag launching in January and are looking for a travel writer who focuses on the luxury end of the market. If you are interested drop me an email to xxxxxxxxx”

Despite Dawson’s request for direct emails, at least one member of the second group started asking questions in the forum itself. This prompted Dawson to post this followup:

First off I am not going to post all the commercially sensitive information about our new launch here on an internet board – that is why I asked people to drop me an email so it can be discussed in private.

Secondly – I am travelling a lot and posted my post on here before I went off on a trip. I am not in here all the time so posting questions on here and then saying did anyone hear from Ned yet when you didnt follow instructions, isnt a great first impression.

For those who did send me an email I am now back home and will start going through them all. I have about 50 to go through so dont need anymore thanks.

Enjoy your day everyone.

Which does sound a bit pissy, if not quite rude. But since travel writers spend more time at their computers than on the road (believe me), it didn’t take long for someone to take exception to Dawson’s tone:

“Ouch. We get that you’re a boss-man, Mr. Dawson, but must you be so high-and-mighty, so cold, and so grammatically incorrect? It pains me to see. It really does.”

Prompting this fiery retort from Dawson:

Well since you seem to be the mouthpiece for this group who have turned around and attacked me when all I was doing was providing some possible employment for a number of you, you can take your smart ass comment above and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine.

And to all the other members of the group who sent me emails, I will be deleting ALL of them because I refuse to hire anyone who is a part of this same group that this vulgar individual is from, and Lena if you don’t like my grammar, tough bloody luck.

Have a nice day everyone and we will source our writers from somewhere else.

And that’s why I never join conversations online. Someone, eventually, is going to start shit. But having the last word on a LinkedIn forum wasn’t enough for Ned Dawson. On Monday morning, his assistant sent the following email to everyone who had dared reply to the boss’ original query:

“Thanks for your reply but unfortunately due to the personal attack on our Publisher by a certain member of the LinkedIn group where the invitation for writers was made, he has made the decision that we will source writers from elsewhere.”

And you still want to be a travel writer? Please reconsider. It’s an industry filled with twats and mediocre talents.

Crossposted at Caveat Viator

Jul. 27 2010 — 11:01 am | 15 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

Good news for trekking Trekkies: Australian company to offer tours in Klingon

Finally! A tour company that caters to my needs. From ABC News (the Australian version): “The Jenolan Caves near the Blue Mountains west of Sydney is about to become possibly the first tourist attraction in the world to launch tours in the fictional Star Trek language of Klingon. Earlier this month two Klingon scholars from the United States flew to Australia to tour the caves and finalise the translation of a self-guided tour.”

Why Klingon? Apparently, an episode of Star Trek: TNG featured a ship named USS Jenolan. Don’t the tongue of Worf? Fear not. The tours will also be offered in ten “more commonly-spoken languages.”

Crossposted at Caveat Viator

Jul. 27 2010 — 10:59 am | 272 views | 0 recommendations | 1 comment

Crisis in Japan: Plunging birth rates and more ‘bedroom shut-ins’ may spell national disaster

The end of the American empire will come not at the business end of a gun, but the cream-filled center of a Twinkie. We’re a disgusting, gluttonous people who will eventually evolve into massive flipper-babies floating in tubs of artificial amniotic fluid. (If we’re lucky.) Japan, on the other hand, will wither away under the crushing weight of joblessness and omnipresent pube-free pornography. As reported by the Mainichi Daily News, the problem of hikikomori, or chronic shut-ins, is so widespread that it constitutes a national crisis:

There are approximately 230,000 people who almost constantly shut themselves in their rooms except to go to nearby convenience stores, according to a survey conducted by the Cabinet Office. The number increases to about 700,000 if those who only go out to do something hobby-related are included.

Moreover, there are an estimated 1.55 million potential so-called ‘hikikomori’ who have felt like shutting themselves in their own rooms. Most of them are young people.

As the population of young people declines due to falling birthrates, the statistics have raised questions about the future of Japan…

Problems involving shut-ins have been pointed out over the past 15 years, but only experts and nonprofit organizations have worked on the issue, with little public support. The government has been late in responding to the situation and taken only stopgap measures. Numerous cases have ended in tragic incidents, and the situation was worsened as a result of treatment and education that lacked solid scientific foundations.

This latest survey shows that nearly 50 percent of hikikomori shut themselves away due to work problems or trouble job-hunting. Nearly three-quarters of hikikomori are men. Since this is Japan, arguably the world capital of filial shame, being identified as a shut-in can be worse than the problems that prompted the behavior in the first place. Typical comments from the survey: ”I’m sorry for my family”; “I’m worried how other people view me”; and “I sometimes feel it’s painful to live.”

To combat the growing problem, the federal government is launching a reeducation camp aimed at reintegrating hikikomori back into society. Which sounds creepy, but what else are they going to do? On this side of the globe, we’d send camera crews to document the downward spirals for an A&E series.

Crossposted at Caveat Viator

Jul. 9 2010 — 10:21 am | 187 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

Awful crime, awesome mugshot: Mexican clown nabbed for sexual assault

From the Smoking Gun: “Pedro Artega Velazquez, 53, was juggling on a Juarez street corner when collared by cops in connection with the alleged assault of his teenage stepdaughter.” Yes, he was arrested — and booked! — in full face paint:

Clown Busted In Sex Attack – July 9, 2010.

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