American Airlines is the one to watch in 2010

Could 2010 be the year for American Airlines?

Well, it’s hard not to see the light at the end of the tunnel after a decade of unusual airline severity. The market was shaken several times by terror attempts – including the attacks of 9/11 – economic pressures from the dotcom meltdown and the recent financial sector only made matters worse. Energy prices hit some peaks along the way, which, according to Joseph Lazzaro of our sister site, BloggingStocks, determines the fate of the U.S. airline sector.

But, AA in particular? The guys with the flight attendant who through a nutter over orange juice?

The stock is up 90% since June. To most travelers, this is not just irrelevant, but boring … until you think about how these matters can impact your experience on an airline. When a company is profitable, it has an easier time serving its customers. And, employees tend to relax a little bit, as profits and stock prices tend to be good signs that jobs won’t be disappearing (at least not in large amounts).Also, I use stock price as a proxy for intangibles, like brand strength, customer loyalty and other factors that are hard to quantify. At the end of the day, the price determined by investors takes all this stuff into account, giving customers and passengers a feel for how the airline is likely to treat it.

So, cast aside the recent high-profile debacles of this airline, including its recent runway faux pas in in Kingston, and think to the future. After all, everyone’s screwed up. United has its guitar-playing victim, and Northwest (and, as a result, Delta) watched a plane overshoot a destination. In a business where every player is scraping the bottom of the barrel, American may rise above, even if only slightly.

The Toilet Restaurant

I once heard that you shouldn’t eat in the bathroom. I don’t know if that’s true, but here’s a twist. How about eating out of a bowl that looks like a toilet while you sit on seat that looks like a toilet? If that’s not enough toilet for you, dishes are also shaped like urinals and bathtubs. My friend Tom Barlow over at Blogging Stocks gave me the heads up on this one.

Leave it to someone in Taiwan to think of this and open a chain of them. The restaurants named Marton–Chinese for toilet–are popular with families with kids and young people. I can see the attraction. Novelty is key. Apparently, the food is also worth going back for. And if you like the idea of toilet dinnerware, you can pick up a ceramic toilet bowl on the way out. Unfortunately, the chain opened after I moved so I’ve never had the pleasure. I have some friends who still live in Taiwan who have probably eaten there. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hsinchu, the city I lived in, doesn’t have a Marton in a couple locations.

Here’s another post with wonderful photographs I found at 2dayBlog.


Asia is Turning into a Gambling Hot Spot

Soon, there may be yet another way to come home from that trip to Japan with less money than you anticipated–or if Lady Luck is smiling at you, you’ll end up with more.

Japan is pondering casino gambling Las Vegas-style. According to’s wordsmith Tom Barlow, casino investors are eyeing the gambling investment pay-off in Macau to see if Japan will be lucrative for raking in the dough as another gambling hotspot. Disneyland worked in Japan, so why wouldn’t Las Vegas, the adult version of an amusement park, be a winner?

Singapore, always looking for ways to bring in money, already has gambling–I think I won about $2 Singapore dollars at the horse races once. Wheee!!! A casino project is already underway at the resort island Sentosa. And, according to the info Tom presented, Taiwan may also become a place for a gambling vacation. Recently, sports gambling has been voted in.

As a person who hates to lose money, I don’t think I’ll get a big win by gambling the next time I go to Asia. But, if there are free drinks at casinos as long as one is gambling, like is a common practice in Las Vegas, I might dig into my pocket to unearth some quarters. Because alcohol is so expensive in Singapore, a free drink might be worth a few pulls on a slot machine. Besides, three cherries do come up once in awhile and what a lovely sound that makes.

For gambling options in Asia check out World Casino Directory. There are 10 countries in Far East Asia with gambling already. Here is a place to find out where the best casinos are and how betting is done in each one. Good luck.