The Newsstand for Oct. 25-Nov. 8, 2017
HOME    E-MAIL JOE    PRINT    2017 COLUMNS     ARCHIVES     SEARCH    LOG OUT
Read all about it! A butter shortage in France, spam thefts in Hawaii and a village in Italy that's more Scottish than Italian. What it takes to be a "palace" hotel in Paris, Atlanta's new "view" hotel and how the Harvard Club in New York sold a painting to fund a lodging expansion. Plus our baseball coverage from the road over the years. And much more.

The World Today: Butter, Spam and Rye Whisky
The world is a goofy place, which shouldn't surprise you as a business traveler. Here are just a few pieces that fell into my inbox this week from around the globe.
      FRANCE Sacré bleu, there's a croissant crisis. A severe shortage of butter is the butt of jokes and films. But facing the most critical shortfall since the war years, France fears supplies of croissant are at risk. Butter prices have risen sharply, so croissants that will be baked will surely cost more.
      HAWAII Half of the nation's spam is consumed in Hawaii, a legacy of the meat-deprived days during World War II. But the spam craze has reached new heights--or lows. There are so many spam thefts that retailers have resorted to storing the canned meat in locked cases.
      NEW YORK What booze do you identify with New York? A collection of craft distillers are hoping you'll think rye when thinking about the Empire State. They hope to create the appellation Empire Rye.
      ITALY The town of Gurro, hard by Lake Maggiore, has an historic connection to Scotland. Hence the spectacle of kilt-wearing Italians with Scottish-sounding names and an incomprehensible dialect. Beware the haggis ravioli.
      LONDON Newly middle-class Chinese, with yuan to burn and a world to explore, have descended on London. One of the big winners? The Ritz, the swanky hotel in Piccadilly. Chinese visitors came to The Ritz in waves earlier this month during the so-called Golden Week of holidays.
      SAMOA Remember Scott Brown, the Republican famous for 15 minutes when he was elected to the Senate after the death of Ted Kennedy? His political career sputtered after losing to Elizabeth Warren two years later. But President Trump made him ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa and he promptly stepped into it. The Guardian and Politico have details.
      SAN FRANCISCO With tech money making San Francisco one of the most expensive places in the world to live, it is no surprise that less-well-off residents are often at the mercy of the market. Herewith the tale of what one local magazine calls San Francisco's cruelest landlord.

Where Our Heads Land on Beds
I don't know anyone who thinks the "palace" hotels of Paris define the cream of the global lodging crop, but a certain segment of moneyed classes clearly thinks otherwise. There are typically French rules to qualify as a palace property, including standards that must "contribute to enhancing the image of France throughout the world." We're much less stuffy here in America, of course. We think it's a perk when rooms have a view of a baseball field. Case in point? The soon-to-open Omni hotel at SunTrust field in Atlanta. Still, there are American lodgings that have history. Take the Harvard Club in Manhattan, for example. The property dates to 1884, the building was designed by McKim, Mead & White and has a recent extension funded by the Club's sale of a John Singer Sargent painting. Betcha no Parisian palace hotel sold a Georges Seurat to fund a bunch of new rooms ...

From the Archives: Baseball, Baby!
The World Series moves to Houston from Los Angeles this weekend as the two supposed "super teams," the Astros and Dodgers, vie for the baseball championship of the planet. (Sure, the World Series only has North American teams, but what can you do?) The players' travel is handled by the teams, of course, but the broadcasters and beat writers must go their own way. Two years ago, I profiled New York Mets beat writer Kristie Ackert just as that team was making its run to the 2015 World Series. A few years earlier, Chris Barnett interviewed Ken Levine, a one-time sitcom writer who became a baseball broadcaster. More than a decade earlier, I discussed how baseball junkies descend on Florida for spring training. Two years before that, I bought a new laptop because my existing one wasn't up to the task of following the Mark McGwire home run title chase. (Yeah, I know, the steroids ...) And way back in July, 1981, Martin Deutsch wondered whether President Ronald Reagan, who would break the air traffic controller strike that August, might impose the Taft-Hartley Act on striking baseball players.

Tight Connections ...
      We're closed! New Zealand prime minister-elect Jacinda Ardern must be channeling her inner Miracle Max. She promises to introduce a bill that would ban foreigners from buying homes in New Zealand. "Inconceivable!" as Vizzini might say.
      Spare change An elderly Chinese passenger grounded a flight in Shanghai when she threw coins into one of the plane's engine. That is at least the second time this year it has happened in China.
      Never mind The U.S. Supreme Court officially bailed on Trump Travel Ban 2.0, which expired before they could rule. As explained last week, Trump Travel Ban 3.0 is working its way up to the Supremes. -- Joe Brancatelli


This column is Copyright © 2017 by Joe Brancatelli. JoeSentMe.com is Copyright © 2017 by Joe Brancatelli. All rights reserved. All of the opinions and material in this column are the sole property and responsibility of Joe Brancatelli. This material may not be reproduced in any form without his express written permission.