As author Dave Barry might say, "you couldn't make this stuff up."
It seems the good folks at Loews Hotels are capitalizing (sorry about that) on U.S. President-elect Barack Obama's coming inauguration in Washington, D.C. and his stated promise to provide his family with a dog. They're offering a, wait for it, special "indoguration" deal with the "Presidential Pooch" package.
The package includes a one-night stay at Loews Hotels 17 properties for guests and their pets, a special "Stars and Stripes" room service meal for pups and a (this is hard to believe) "patriotic-themed bandana" for dogs to wear when they're back at home, apparently so they can brag to the other dogs on the street.
The package offers rooms at 10 per cent off the usual, best available rate. Prices start at $139 U.S. and the deal is valid between Jan. 20 and April 29.
Oh, the Loews press release even included the recipe for the "Stars and Stripes" meal for the presidential pooches. Included is ground turkey, an egg, olive oil and then the red, white and blue combo of sundried tomato fettucini, star-shaped pasta and blue-corn kernels.
Whatever happened to a simple can of Alpo?
TUMBLING TOURISM DOWN UNDER
Despite the lovely footage of Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman in the movie "Australia," (or perhaps because of the wooden dialogue, I don't know), tourism in Australia is expected to drop four per cent this year, according to Agence France Presse.
The Australian government invested about $40 million Canadian on a campaign using the movie, which has been a huge bust in most parts of the world. I didn't mind it, but to have a tough guy like Jackman go through all sorts of tribulations and mutter nothing stronger than "Oh, crikey" made me cringe.
There was no figure offered on Canadians, but the AFP report suggested U.S. visitors would fall 8.5 per cent this year.
Nobody's called me, but if the Aussies need someone to come down and extol their virtues to the world, I'm available. I've been to Sydney, the Great Barrier Reef (a little disappointing, at least where we went) and Melbourne and drove along the Ocean Road, where visiting the Twelve Apostles almost made we weep. But I haven't checked out Ayers Rock or Perth or the lovely wineries in the Barossa Valley or Darwin or anywhere up that way, where much of the movie was shot and which appears spectacularly beautiful.