Watercooler Stories

By DENNIS DAILY, United Press International  |  Aug. 6, 2002 at 1:07 AM
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The pioneering motel chain Holiday Inn is celebrating its 50th anniversary this summer. In honor of the celebration, the company has released some interesting statistics to the media.

For example, this summer 75 percent of all family travel will be by private vehicle. Families are watching their budgets and many are still afraid to fly in the wake of last year's terror attacks.

The initial Holiday Inn opened in 1952 in Memphis. Now, a half a century later, the company can boast that at one time or another, over the years, 95 percent of all Americans have spent at least one night in one of its motels.

Founded by Kemmons Wilson, the company plans to open 25 new facilities in the coming year.


Remember the 1968 Frank Sinatra-Raquel Welch movie "Lady in Cement" and its pulsing theme by Hugo Montenegro? Well, there's a modern-day "Lady in Cement," except this lady is in "concrete," instead. Her story, as relayed by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer begins with one of the headlines that only makes sense in the area in which it's written: "British woman wins seven days in Concrete."

Your first clue to working out the puzzle created by the headline might be the fact that "Concrete" is capitalized. And, it's that way for a good reason. It seems that Concrete is the name of a city in Washington state, about 45 minutes north of Seattle.

So, what the lady from the U.K. won was not a week in concrete, but a week visiting the interesting town of Concrete, Wash.

The visitor should have a good time in Concrete, a city with a decidedly interesting reputation. It has 800 people and once sponsored a Dead Fly Festival.


In the wake of a tragic accident that took the lives of three workers who were in the process of trying to put up a huge 15-ton billboard near Snellville, Ga., city officials are ordering that all of the massive, top-heavy signs in that city be taken down and inspected.

Snellville isn't exactly "billboard heaven," but quite a few have been erected on the hills there because they can easily be seen from Georgia State Highway 124, a popular commuting route in the area.

The mayor of the city tells the Atlanta Journal and Constitution that checks made on several billboards by workers hoisted up in cranes showed "some deficiencies."

After the large ad signs are checked to city approval, the go-ahead will be given for them to be put back into place.


The Holland America cruise line has dry docked two of its vessels to make sure that they are not contaminated in the wake of incidents in which passengers became ill over the weekend. The company reported intestinal illnesses onboard two vessels sailing to Alaska.

Passengers were given full refunds and a third liner was stopped before it left port in Seattle. The company says that the two ships on which passengers got sick were taken out of service. Both ships will be in port for two weeks and will be completely disinfected to make sure they are purged of the contaminant.

When the company heard about the problems on the two vessels, it decided to keep a third from leaving port. Many people were in the process of flying to Seattle from all over the country to join the cruise when the company notified passengers of the cancelation.

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