Nudists in Florida plan to promote their natural lifestyle as a tourism asset, testing airline food and a unique phallus museum in Iceland grace this weekends, end-of-the-year news. Happy New Year.

Florida town seeks nudist vacationers from Europe

This county, the nudist capital of America, already is home to the first request for a clothing optional polling place, so why not advertise to Germans who love the sun and can’t get enough of it when it is shining. That’s the plan according to the tourism development folk at Pasco County, just north of Tampa.

The ads, to be placed in European publications, will promote the county’s longstanding reputation as the nudist capital of America.

“The idea is to create a Euro-bird season in July and August which are our worst two months of the year,” said Eric Keaton, public communications manager for the Pasco County tourist development agency. Keaton said nudism contributes to the county’s economy, but he had no figures to quantify its impact.

The first target market for the ad campaign will be Germany which, according to Pandabare’s application, is “a large and lucrative market whose millions of nudists are among the world’s most prolific travelers.” The group also anticipates a campaign aimed at British nudists.

Taste testing airline food — really

A colleague of mine, Brett Snyder, The Cranky Flier, had an opportunity to taste test the Alaska Airlines inflight menu last week in LA. He recounts his culinary adventures that lead to what you end up eating during a flight and what finds its way into the trash heap.

Alaska does this regularly to make sure everything is up to snuff. There are monthly menu tastings in Seattle, quarterly kitchen audits in the hubs, and annual audits in the other kitchens around the system. How Kirsten and Lisa don’t weigh 700 pounds is beyond me, because it seems that their job is to constantly eat, even if it is in very small portions.

The kitchen audits aren’t just about tasting food, however. They go to the airport and observe the operation. Is the food being delivered to the aircraft properly? Are the carts organized correctly? Are all the temperatures right? Is the recycling collected on board actually being recycled? It’s a very thorough process. As part of this, they do a menu tasting, and that’s where I got to participate.

Along the wall, every dish prepared by the LA kitchen was set up as it should be presented on the airplane. Each year, Alaska puts together a meal plan that will start in April and go for a year. Meals are rotated monthly but will likely pop up four times during the year thanks to regular rotation. I say “likely” because some get pulled out if the feedback is too negative.

Icelandic Phallological Museum — size matters

Sometimes travelers come across museums that defy expectation. This one-of-a-kind penis museum in Iceland is just such an establishment. It amazes visitors and brings chuckles to everyone who hears about it.

… the Icelandic Phallological Museum, which draws about 12,000 visitors a year and moved last month from a small town in northern Iceland to cushier digs in a former bank on Reykjavik’s main shopping drag, is no Viking-themed peep show.

“There’s nothing dirty or pornographic here,” insists museum proprietor Hjörtur Gísli Sigurdsson, whose 71-year-old father started gathering phalluses after receiving a whip made from a dried bull’s penis as a gift.

Since then, the collection has grown to more than 280 specimens from 40-plus mammals – including Homo sapiens. The latter, floating in formaldehyde and looking more like a shriveled pig’s ear than a flag of manhood, was bequeathed this summer by 95-year-old Icelander Pall Arason.