Essays & Stories

TERMINAL MADNESS: What Is Airport Security?

A decade after September 11th, and still airport security can't get it right. Here's why. Read More
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NOW AND ZEN: A HÜSKER DÜ RETROSPECTIVE

A Hüsker Dü retrospective. Two new books, and remembering indie rock's greatest album on its 20th anniversary. Read More
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REVERE BEACH REVERIE: A Hometown Memoir

The Pilot goes home again. Remembering the honky-tonk bars, Michelob bottles, and smoky old 707s of America's first public beach. Read More
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LETTER FROM MUMBAI: An Afternoon in “Maximum City”

"It's monsoon season, and we set out under a nervous, curdled sky. The air has a smell of rotten expectation -- like a sink full of dirty.. Read More
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THE EXPLODING TOILET and Other Memories

Not all mistakes are fatal. Some are worse.   Read More
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SOUTH LATITUDE: Searching For Soul and Sky, In Florida and Beyond

The flotsam and jetsam of the world's most colorful airport. Plus, a journey to Hispaniola: land of baseballl, denuded hillsides... and sausage casings.   Read More
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INTO THE SEA: Love, Death, and Other Near Misses

The true story of a near-death experience over Nantucket.   Read More
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THE YIN & YANG OF AIRLINE IDENTITY

Part one: logos and liveries, from the elegant tsurumaru of Japan Airlines to the Bosch-like turtle of Cayman Airways. Plus, a paint-jobs report card!   Read More
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THE YIN & YANG OF AIRLINE IDENTITY

Part two: A humorous look at the best and worst of names, slogans, and advertisements. Ah, the existential musings of the Scandinavian salt-poet. Read More
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HIGH ART: History, Hype, and The World’s Biggest Planes

Can a re-born jetliner again change the world -- or look good trying?   Read More
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AIR TRAVEL IN ART, MUSIC & FILM

Movies, songs, album covers and poems. From Gershwin to the Clash, which forms of art best evoke the spirit of air travel? Read More
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WE GAAN: The Horror and Absurdity of History’s Worst Plane Crash

The horror and absurdity of history's worst plane crash. Read More
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SMOKE IN THE COCKPIT

Onward to Canada with a planeload of obsessed Japanese tourists. A true story of danger and hilarity.   Read More
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THE RIGHT SEAT: Polyester, Propellers, and Other Memories

The awe and odd of the author's first flying job.   Read More
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EN ROUTE ANGST

It's fear and loathing on the high Atlantic. Do pilots think about crashing? Of course they do!   Read More
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WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH AIRPORTS?

From litter to noise to aesthetic nothingness, US airports just don't compare. Here are fifteen ways to make them better. Read More
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POVERTY, HEDGEHOGS, AND THE WORLD’S WORST AIRPORT

Welcome to Dakar, home of the world's worst airport. And a visit to a nearby slum yields an unexpected find.   Read More
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OFFICE PAPER and Other Misfortunes

From paper clips to scrap metal. A workplace memoir from Patrick Smith. Read More
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LETTER FROM MOJAVE

The deeper meanings of an airport graveyard.   Read More
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GIVE AND TAKE ON THE ROAD TO TIMBUKTU

Letter from Mali. Our confidence is sinking fast as we head upriver with a Dutch metermaid.   Read More
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