Bill Todd, vice president of sales at Choice Hotels International, said hoteliers are not too bright. After all, he asked delegates to the recent Receptive Service Association annual meeting in New York, who else would charge someone $180 to stay overnight and call the person paying the bill a guest?

In addition, it seems to be only hotel companies that can be persuaded to buy all those 37-watt lightbulbs, he said.

And, when promoting all kinds of amenities, he said, hotel companies "never talk about beds" although the key reason anyone stays at a hotel is to have a place to sleep.

RSA logo.That last remark was by way of promoting new mattresses that Choice commissioned with a challenge to engineers to create the "world's most comfortable mattress." Todd also drew names from a bowl to give away two of the mattresses to RSA delegates.

But to make his point about how really, really comfortable these new mattresses are, he quipped that "it takes two wake-up calls" to get someone off these beds -- and he came to the lunch-hour presentation in pajamas.

Blue moons

On a recent Caribbean cruise, Insider discovered that some fellow passengers decided to engage in a 2 a.m. game of volleyball -- sans garments.

Now, we have no personal objection to such free-spiritedness, but we have to wonder if the impromptu event was appropriate, especially when conducted in full view of the ship's security cameras.

Luckily for the participants, this footage wasn't included in the post-cruise video. If it had been, it would have made quite the souvenir.

But this wasn't the only nude event we were exposed to. One adventurous couple (it was not clear if they were part of the volleyball crowd) found late-night skinny-dipping to be a pleasant activity. Indeed, they found it so pleasant that one agent traveling on the cruise caught their water show on consecutive nights.

No word yet whether they have been booked for a return engagement.

Cannes job

A sign at the new French Village complex at the Beaches Turks & Caicos resort directs guests to the different groups of rooms named after French cities, such as Bordeaux, Cannes, Dijon and St.-Tropez.

As Insider walked by at one point, we heard a little girl in a two-piece Pokemon bathing suit saying to her mother, "I wish we were in one of the nice rooms."

Ornate type on a wall.Mom immediately replied, "We are staying in a nice room," and the colloquy continued along these lines for a minute or so, until the little girl pointed out that the "Nice Rooms" were straight ahead, whereas their room, in the Paris wing, was off to the left.

Marsupial correctness

An acquaintance at TWA told us a story out of the carrier's past, one that conjured a rather comical image.

The carrier once was called upon to ferry several koalas from the South Pacific to the St. Louis Zoo.

Apparently, the cute little darlings were considered too precious to cage up in the cargo hold, so each koala was buckled into a seat in first class, each next to a staff member from the zoo.

Food and beverage service included eucalyptus leaves, we assume.

A Jet all the way

It is an irony that birds are the bane of human aviation.

At airports everywhere, indigenous birds in multitudes are roused by the sound and tumult of aircraft and, as is their wont, take to the air, obscuring pilots' vision and sometimes getting themselves sucked into the wingborne apparatus of planes.

Dog sitting on the grass.This is especially troublesome at facilities such as Southwest Florida International Airport, in Fort Myers, where the shorebirds and wading birds are large and magnificent and oblivious of the perils presented by the flying machines.

Enter Jet, a 3-year-old Welsh border collie and hero. Jet has been trained to herd local birds away from SWFIA's runways, for their own good and that of the growing number of passengers using the facility.

The noble kayoodle was put in service at the airport just last year, and in a matter of weeks, according to officials, the number of birds troubling runways dropped dramatically, by about 50%.

Jet doesn't merely scare off the birds, according to an airport official. He herds them away from the runways, and when Jet was taken out of service in order to heal an injury unrelated to his job and to undergo some further training, back, in short order, came the flamingos and egrets and such.

Jet is back on the job now, we hear, and the bird numbers are back down to where they were prior to Jet's hiatus.

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