Netflix Streaming The Irish Pub Documentary

Those darn Netflix recommendations. It’s like it downloaded my interests into my brain and picked out a program that I would like.

If you need any more inspiration to head to Ireland, check out The Irish Pub streaming on Netflix. It’s a loving slice-of-life documentary where director Alex Fegen sits his camera down in pubs across Ireland and lets his subjects talk. There’s no narration, no camera movement and no rowdy atmosphere.

As Americans, our picture of the Irish pub is boisterous crowds, loud music and pint after pint after pint after pint after pint after pint after pint of Guinness. The reality goes much more deeper when you travel further in Ireland into the small villages where the pub is the focal meeting place.

As you see in the documentary, the pubs still function as a grocer and, at one point, the town’s church. You can figure the connection between pub and church on your own.

You’ll see pub owners explain how their patrons are an extension of their family, and vice versa. The locals are born into the pub when they are of age and will probably take their last sip of Guinness on the same stool.

You can also see how the Irish get their gift of gab and hospitality. Just make sure you put the subtitles on so you can understand the tall tales and antidotes.

While the film jumps around from county to county, the one pub that’s featured in Dublin is The Palace Bar on Fleet Street, which I profiled in my historic pubs series. This is the place where journalists from the nearby Irish Times go to talk shop.

The pubs in the far-off counties aren’t the polish ones you find in Dublin with the aged wood, golden brass and storied histories. These joints are weathered, creeky and charming.

If you rent a car and set off to drive around Dublin, watch the documentary and you can set your GSP to find the pubs yourself. You might even come across the stereotypical flock of sheep in the middle of a county road.


The One Thing To Do in Vienna — Ride the Riesenrad

Vienna is the kind of city that grabs you the second you emerge from the metro onto the Mariahilfer Strasse. The energy from the crowd and the historic buildings lining the street is memorable. It’s tradition, old world charm and romance wrapped up in a nice Austrian bow.

The city takes pride in those traditions — whether it be the Christmas markets, the centuries old cafes, the classical concert halls or the wiener schnitzel. The best place to honor those traditions, and maybe start one of your own, is to ride the 120-year old ferris wheel, the Riesenrad.

Not only is it one of the oldest and, at one time, tallest ferris wheels in the world, it features prominently in two classic movies, The Third Man and Before Sunrise.

As a student of film, The Third Man is one of my favorite movies of all time. It captured the spy world quality of post-World War II Vienna with its dark shadows, mysterious men and bombed out buildings. The eventual meeting between Orson Welles and Joseph Cotton on the Riesenrad underscores the themes of the movie — there’s new world where money can be made. You can’t help but to look down onto the Prater amusement park as Welles did. Hopefully, you don’t think what he thought.

Before Sunrise tapped into the Riesenrad’s romantic nature as a chance meeting between two college students turns into a day-long love affair. Unlike Welles and Cotton, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke admire the view of Vienna and kiss.

My experience was a bit of both — admiring the view, appreciating the history of the attraction that dates back to the 1890s and thinking that this would be a great place to do some spy work and recon. The carriage creaks, squeaks and sways as you rise above the city at about 212 feet.

It’s reassuring that millions of other visitors have had the same experience. Local families bring their kids as their parents did when they are young. First time visitors as myself vow to come back if I ever find myself back in Vienna.


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If the Plane is on Fire and Smoke Fills the Cabin, Leave Your Carry-On Bag Behind

To be filled under “common sense but we still have to tell you anyway,” let’s go through this situation: you see smoke fill a cabin on your routine flight that’s going to make an emergency landing. The overhead oxygen masks falls from the ceiling. The flight attendants are going through their emergency procedures that they train for hundreds of hours. The cabin doors open and the inflatable slides are deployed. Finally, the emergency lights in the aisles are illuminated and are guiding you to the doors. What do you do?

A) Put on your oxygen max and then those of children
B) Listen to your highly-trained flight attendant for instructions
C) Head towards the exits in an orderly fashion just like the wacky instruction video tells you to
D) Grab your jacket, your purse and whatever is in the overhead locker and head for the exit.

A, B and C seem like perfectly sensible answers. Guess what some people did on that Emirates plane that caught on fire in Dubai last week?

Sigh. Yeah. The engine is about the explode and people are fiddling with overhead lockers.

While all 300+ passengers and crew were evacuated unharmed, it could have been bad. If somebody were to catch on fire and die because some doofus had to get his or her 22x14x9 rolling carry-on that’s filled easily replaceable clothes, phone chargers, laptops, under 3oz. liquids and shitty duty-free shopping, that would be bad.

“Passengers are told not to waste time getting luggage, but they just don’t listen,” fire safety expert Ed Galea told the BBC. “This is not unusual, it happens in most cases. Often they don’t appreciate the absolute urgency of their situation. They don’t realize that every second can literally make the difference between life and death.” Agreed, I call them tourists.

If you remember the Titanic movie, there were passengers taking their luggage with them as the ship sank into the icy water. If only they knew Bill Paxton would recover it a century later.

Experts suggests locking the overhead lockers in emergencies or when the play is taxing for that fools don’t get up early. Good luck with that.

There are several reasons why you should leave your shit behind when the plane, train or bus is on fire. They are all pretty obvious:

— it’s going to slow you down
— bulky carry-ons are going to crowd the aisles
— a heavy bag will make it difficult to slide down the fun inflatable slide or even break the slide
— your possessions can be replaced
— your possessions can also be returned to you if the whole plane doesn’t go up in flames

I’m trying to think what I pack in my rolling duffle that I use to travel. It’s basic stuff like electronic chargers, books, sneakers, camera, printouts of my itinerary, small purchases and maybe my laptop if I’m not using it. My passport wallet with my money is usually on me or in the pouch in front of my seat. Even that can be replaced. Losing money would suck, but you know what also sucks? Being dead.

Let’s KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) and GTFO (Get The Fuck Out) when the plane is on fire.

Places to Not Play Pokemon Go Around the World

PokemonGo_BuffaloBillPokemon Go! I don’t even know her. Bah dum dum.

Apparently we as a society have become bored with millions of hours of streaming content at our disposal, a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips, taking selfies, snapchatting and human interaction that we need a mobile video game featuring Japanese cartoon characters from the 90s to fill our disposable free time. “Oh, but Chris. People are leaving their homes to go out and explore.”  Sure, but you shouldn’t need a video game to do that.

I was watching the BBC World News and they were interviewing a gentleman who quit his day job and had been traveling around the world to catch all the Pokemon characters. The thing that got me was that he didn’t look too happy or fulfilled. It could have been the spotlight of being on TV, but he had the look of disappointment. The journey had ended, but I guess he was expecting better sense of accomplishment.

In any event, you’ve heard stories of people being robbed, finding dead bodies or falling off of the cliffs, now here are a few places where you shouldn’t be playing the game.

Auschwitz, or anyplace associated with the Holocaust: Yes, it’s true — people have been going to museums, concentration camps and memorials looking for Pokemon. Nobody should be surprised once people started taking selfies at inappropriate times. “Technology can be an important learning tool, but this game falls far outside our educational and memorial mission,” United States Holocaust Memorial Museum told USA Today.

Arlington Cemetery: This isn’t the first time Arlington has been the scene of inappropriate behavior. “We do not consider playing ‘Pokemon Go’ to be appropriate decorum on the grounds of ANC. We ask all visitors to refrain from such activity, ”  Arlington Cemetery had to tweet out.

Mecca: Taking your phone out to play a game during a holy pilgrimage turns out is not a good idea. Clerics at the Grand Mosque frown upon those shenanigans.

9/11 Memorial: So much for the memorial to be a time of reflection. “A 28-year-old Pokémon Go player from New Jersey, who only identified himself as Shawn, said he was passing through the site when he decided to whip out his phone to play the game. He told TIME he regretted the decision when he realized the magnitude of the landmark,” wrote Fucking millennials.

Louvre: Some of the greatest art work in the history of the world is housed here. “Nah, I’d rather play a video game,” say boys and girls. On the other hand, the game has increased attendance at museums big and small.

Machu Picchu: Machu Pikachu? I guess one of the natural wonders of the world isn’t reason enough to visit.

American Airlines Pilot Takes Down Drunk Passenger — Deserves a Raise

While he may not be Capt. Sully, an American Airlines put the beat down on a drunk passenger this week.

Michael KerrOn an hour long flight from Charlotte from Lexington, Kentucky, a 25-year-old man and future lead singer of an Anthrax tribute band named Micheal Kerr decides that three whiskeys would help pass that grueling hour.

As the plane was taxing to the gate, Kerr got out of his seat, confronted a flight attendant and threatened to break her jaw, according to the Charlotte Observer. He then started to kick flight attendants in the leg. Well, as the wise man Ron Burgundy said, “That escalated quickly”

The unnamed pilot took matters in his own by taking a seatbelt and securing Kerr’s leg. The pilot said, “you don’t put your hands on my flight attendant!” As you see in the video, the drunk guy needed a Vulcan Neck Pinch.

Might I suggest to our hero pilot a better one-liner like “Get off my plane” or “Always bet on black.” Whoever you are, I hope he gets commended. The Scott Ian-looking mofo was clearly a danger to passenger safety.

As for Kerr, he was charged with intoxication, assault on a female (which is a specific crime in South Carolina), communicating threats and interfering with the duties of a flight crew or attendant. He was released on $25,000 bail and will be available to attend the next Donald Trump rally.


Two Food Stalls in Singapore Receive a Michelin Star

Imagine you spend years at a culinary school, a decade toiling away at fine dining establishments and what feels like a lifetime honing your craft to open your own restaurant, only to never get a coveted Michelin star. Then, you read that two hawker stalls in Singapore get awarded the stars. Maybe it’s time to move to Singapore.

Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle and Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle in Singapore are the first food stalls ever to get one, which Michelin states is “high-quality cooking, worth a stop.” The pretentious hipster food trucks in Los Angeles, New York, Austin and Portland all shake their fist in disbelief.

As a result, lines have stretched an hour long to get a coveted plate of noodles and chicken rice. “I was very happy to win the award. Why did they pick me? I don’t know. I’ve heard of Michelin before but didn’t think it would have anything to do with my hawker business,” Tang Chay Seng of Hill Street told CNBC.

As you night know, Tim Ho Wan, the dim sum restaurant in Hong Kong, was known as the cheapest in the world. Now, they have some company.