Features

Managing Air Traffic before PATCO

By 1929, though, Archie League had crossed over to safety’s side and taken a job with St. Louis’s nine-year-old airport. Every day, he walked to the end of the Lambert Field runway with a wheelbarrow that held a deck chair, a beach umbrella for summer heat, a notepad, his lunch and, most important, two flags.

Riding in the Jenny Biplane, an American Icon

It was all safe as houses, and twice as fun—an opportunity of a lifetime, and powerful enough an experience that I still have a hard time overlaying it on my childhood dreams of flying in a Jenny. For now, let me say that on this day a complicated little freedom machine called the Jenny—built to aid warfare, at once fragile and powerful in its utility, and as beautiful as a moth in the daylight—transported me through time and space and let me return to people I love.

Everything You Wanted to Know About Kissing but Were Afraid to Ask

When we kiss, the world drops away. We are warm lips and darting tongues, soft cheeks or stubble, arched necks, wrapped arms, tingling pressure, tenderness and hunger. We drown in a good kiss, suffocate and come up gasping for air and do not care, because such a kiss insists that we are loved and wanted. Our breath intermingles. For the time it takes a cloud to pass the sun, our souls join.

My Talk on the Centenary of the Grievous Event

I have come to my own conclusions about the meaning of the event, and using the narratory and rhetorical tricks of a writer and former teacher I may temporarily make you think you agree. But I stand here filled with distrust of stories in general, having waded through so many of them. It is a time of strong beliefs in shallow stories.

Ahmad Jamal Remembered

I was probably in my last year of high school when I bought an Ahmad Jamal album called Extensions. I bought it only because it was in a remainder bin and cost ninety-nine cents. The title seemed intriguing, and here was someone I thought that I ought to like or ought to learn to like since so many people around me did.

Of Modern Landscape

The great Victorian-era writer and art critic John Ruskin explores the change in mindset that marked contemporary painters apart from their classical, medieval forbears, and that would later give birth to modern painting. “It is evident that there are both evil and good in this change; but how much evil, or how much good, we can only estimate by considering, as in the former divisions of our inquiry, what are the real roots of the habits of mind which have caused them.”

Naming Names

Even in this time of flux, with fluid identities and avatars that split us into separate selves, names write code for who we are. We bear someone’s name, take someone’s name, carry on a name, drop one. Names, in other words, have weight. They arrive with little suitcases that we roll along for the rest of our lives.