Sunday Stories for August 25th, 2013

Old prison in Boise Idaho

Seattle Washington skyline

The end of summer looms, and I find myself  making plans for the upcoming Labor Day Weekend. While traditionally this signifies the end of the summer season, I personally think summer continues through the end of September as the nice Seattle weather keeps me in the summer mood.

What are you plans for Labor Day Weekend? Hitting up Bumbershoot? Or maybe heading out of town for the Ellensburg Rodeo? Maybe just having friends over for a barbecue and some beer? I trying to decide myself, so if you’ve got great ideas, I hope you’ll leave them in the comments.

Here are my recommended reads from this past week. I hope you’ll click through and enjoy the full story as much as I did.

6 Free Writing Podcasts

Over the last few weeks I’ve talked to a lot of people who are interested in writing, blogging, and/or learning more about it all. This roundup of writing podcasts would be a great place to start. I’ve downloaded a few to try out myself.

It’s rare to come across writing tools that are completely free and actually useful. You can ring up quite a tab attending webinars, seminars and retreats. For most writers, those price tags are far out of reach. On the other end of the spectrum, writing tools and tips that are advertised as free have a tendency to disappoint.   Enter podcasts. They’re portable, engaging, and free.

First-Ever Glass-Bottomed Plane

I’ve avoided a number of buildings with those glass hey-you-can-look-down floors because I have a healthy fear of heights. Or edges. I’m not really quite sure which it is. But a glass bottomed plane sounds exciting. Would you want to look down?

Nervous flyers look away now – and certainly don’t look down… Pioneering bosses at Virgin Atlantic and their founder Richard Branson are introducing a jet with a glass floor to give passengers an uninterrupted view of the Earth from 30,000ft.

Click here to view original web page at

Old prison in Boise Idaho

5 Prisons for Law-Abiding Citizens

Go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200. I’ve visited a prison or two in my travels, but none of the ones references in this post. Is prison tourism going to be a new travel trend?

Here are five notable prison museums around the world with flexible visiting hours for an easy escape.

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10 Wacky Grooming Products from the 1970s

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, to coin Charles Dickens. And although he may have been talking about the years surrounding the French Revolutions, the notion applies equally well – although for different reasons – to the glory days of the 1970s. How many of these crazy products do you remember? And how many do you confess to using?

I’d like to say that we Baby Boomers were savvy shoppers in our youth—that we never fell for fancy packaging or seductive advertisements. I’d like to say that, but I’d be lying. Why else would we have slapped down our hard-earned baby-sitting money on products like these in the eternal quest to look and smell our best?

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Summiting Denali

This delightful narrative about Denali (also known as Mt. McKinley) in Alaska, written by my friend Pam, is full of the joy a first sighting of the mountain brings. She takes me right along with her in this story, and I bet you’ll feel the same way.

Higher up, we were sandwiched between two layers of cloud and flanked by steep faces of rock with deep striations on them, the work of glacier claws as the weight of the snow and rock slipped to lower altitudes. At 12,000 feet we put on oxygen masks and then, we punched through and saw the twin summits of Denali, the south one at 20,320, the north at 19,470.

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Airplane wing taken out the window

Here Are Some Pictures Of A 7’2″ Man In An Airplane Bathroom

Think those airplane lavs are small. For some people they are smaller than others. Like the guy in these photos.

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One Second on the Internet

I take the internet for granted. When I want information, from a quick answer to a question, to check out a restaurant’s menu, or to dash off an email, I count on the internet – and my access to it – being a quick and seamless process. It wasn’t always so. Take a look at what happens today on the internet during one second.

30 years ago there was no internet.

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The Price Is Right … and the Taxes Are High

Ever wished you could be one of those contestants jumping with glee on a game show? No surprise, but there are plenty of strings attached to winning all that loot. My own experience on a game show – not the one referenced here – was an all cash, rather painless transaction. But it’s not like that when you win that new car, furniture or a trip around the world.

There is no such thing as a free lunch … or an all-expenses paid trip to Acapulco. That’s what “The Price Is Right” contestant Andrea Schwartz found out when she scored $33,000 worth of prizes, including a shiny red Mazda 2 compact car, a pool table, and a shuffle board table, on the popular television game show.

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Cherry Buckle with Cocoa Cinnamon Crumb Topping

Sunday morning coffee, coffee cake, and the Sunday New York Times is my definition of a good start to the day. This recipe gives me a new one to try and I thought you might like it too.

“I can’t stop eating this!” exclaimed AJ as he took another bite of my Cherry Buckle with Cocoa Cinnamon Crumb Topping. I looked inquisitively at him as he sat at the round wooden table in his parent’s tiny kitchen. He explained himself, with his mouth half full and crumbs in his beard “You KNOW I love coffee cake!” which, strangely, I did not know.

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Here Comes iTunes Radio, Threatening to Shake Up Music Streaming

I’m currently using Pandora for my music fix, but the new iTunes Radio, launching later this fall, looks like it might have possibilities.

Eddy Cue, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services, introduces iTunes Radio at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco on June 10, 2013.

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Tallinn Estonia. Tips for Travellers Must See Attractions

Like my friend, Gary, I know only the basics about Tallinn or Estonia. Oh sure, I know it’s the home of Skype, but this post explained everything else there is to see and do is this exotic sounding city.

Tallinn in Estonia is a city I had heard of through the Eurovision Song Contest, I am embarrassed to say. I knew very little about it before visiting and so once there I discovered a treasure trove of facts and surprising facts.

Click here to view original web page at


Mary Jo Manzanares is a traveler, travel blogger, and podcaster. In addition to her blog, Traveling with MJ, she hosts the Where Else to Go podcast, and is the founder and the editor-in-chief of The Traveler’s Way, an online travel magazine. Her travel ethos is value luxury - luxury for real people - and her goal is to help travelers know when to splurge and when to save. Mary Jo has been a speaker at various industry events around the world. When she’s not traveling, Mary Jo likes lingering over a cup of coffee, wandering in a museum, sipping wine at a cafe, and sharing it all with friends and readers. Her most recent travels were to Stockholm, a Baltic cruise, and Universal Orlando Resort.

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