Category Archives: Travel

My Trip to Costa Rica (As Expressed Through Glaring on Snapchat)

  Just after Christmas I visited Costa Rica, which is a terrific country everyone should visit, but not simultaneously. While there I tried out Snapchat for the first time, by alternately flirting with a young lady back in New York and also sending angry clips to my friend Nick Polowy. This is a collection of read more »

Riding Horses Above the Clouds

I’m not a trained equestrian by any stretch, but I did ride horses occasionally as a kid on my Uncle Dan’s farm, and even got a merit badge in horse riding as a Boy Scout. As an adult I have lost forty or so dollars betting on them in small increments at the Remington Race read more »

The Rainforest, And Other Water-Related Tirades

The thing about rainforests is: they are always raining. In retrospect Young and I probably should have packed raincoats or umbrellas or something, but how could we have possibly known that the Cloud Forest would be perpetually moist? There is no way we could have foreseen this. As it is, we’ve more or less been read more »

“La Vida Pura” and other Helpful Costa Rican Phrases

It’s helpful to learn a local catchphrase when you’re traveling. For example, tourists visiting Detroit should learn how to say “Just take the money! Don’t shoot!” before leaving the crumbling ruins of their hotel. I don’t know exactly where people yell “YOLO!” but apparently that’s a thing. Maybe in Boulder, Colorado while rock climbing? Or “YOLO!” might read more »

A Brief History of Costa Rica

So it looks like my ambitions of becoming a colonel in some gritty banana republic militia have been squashed. Because it turns out Costa Rica disbanded its army in 1948, making it one of the few nations on Earth to function–even thrive–without a military. That’s terrific for Ticos, but decimated one of my four vacation priorities before the plane even read more »

Brooklyn’s LED Pigeon Art

An artist named Duke Riley has apparently trained 2,000 pigeons to fly in specific formations in the sky, and he’s going to strap LED lights to each of their legs. Visually, this ought to be amazing: if you’re in Brooklyn over the summer you can see what will appear to be star constellations pinwheeling all read more »

Boston’s Stupid Government

The first thing you should know about Boston is that its State House, the capital of the entire state of Massachusetts, contains a thing called “the Sacred Cod.” The Sacred Cod is a large fish suspended within its House of Representatives, which is legally or at least traditionally necessary in order for their House to read more »

Boston’s Other History

Boston’s first European inhabitant was a man named William Blaxton, who hated people. Enough to move to Boston. Not that Boston is a bad place—I find it quite charming. But back in 1625 it was just undeveloped swamp. So, after having left England to get away from the English, Blaxton moved to a swamp to read more »

Yankee Porpoises: Welcome to Boston

My father hates Boston, “a city designed by drunken sailors,” but that’s because he once had to drive a car through it. If you hail from a squarish-shaped state like ours, with grid-patterned roads all neatly apportioned, Boston appears to be some kind of M. C. Escher hellscape. However if you like walking and public transportation, read more »

Las Vegas: Disneyworld for Adults

If extraterrestrials ever land on Earth, I’m going to recommend that they skip visiting France and head straight to Las Vegas. This is not only because Las Vegas has so many flickering neon lights that, even from space, it will render alien spaceships helpless with epilepsy until we can knock them from orbit with missiles read more »

I Might Be on the FBI Watch List

I’d like to go ahead and clear up why I once delayed an international flight due to a misunderstanding about smuggling pistols. If you’re a regular reader do press on, but this post is primarily written for whichever federal investigator handles the yellow sticky notes in my file folder at the FBI headquarters. In 2004 read more »

How to Talk Australian

Australians have exclamation marks and questions marks, but no concept of periods. If you end a sentence without going up at the end inquisitively, they will think you aren’t finished yet and will stand around waiting. So just say every phrase like it’s a question? Just like this? That is how Australians say everything. Australians read more »

Australians: Our Closest Cousins

You might think that Canada, or perhaps Texas, is the closest approximate to the United States. After all, both share borders with our fine republic and both of them have similar accents. But I contend that Australia is our closest cousin. This makes sense demographically, as Australia and America were both settled by people who read more »

Australia Wants to Kill You

Australian wildlife has two commonalities: everything is either deadly, or sleeping. In the guidebook I perused on the quick plane ride over, I noted the many references to deadly snakes, spiders and jelly fish. There’s even something called a “drop bear,” which sounds horrifying. Australians live in their vicious wonderland with unnerving nonchalance. When my read more »

How to Infiltrate the Canadians

Someday you may need to camouflage yourself in Canada for fun or profit. Maybe you’re an international jewel thief and you need to lay low. Perhaps you’re clandestinely hunting polar bears for your bachelor party. There are lots of reasons you might need to hide your identity north of the border. You’ve no doubt heard read more »

The Ugly American Visits Canada

Toronto is like New York if you slathered PBS all over it. It was my first trip to Canada, although I already had an inkling of Deep North culture through my many Canadian friends and accomplices. Nonetheless, despite all the Canucks I’ve befriended or captured whilst backpacking, it was nice to visit our neighbors in read more »

In Search of My Land

[youtube width=”600px” height=”400px”]VlbwxvmjPm0[/youtube] Score another one for Scotch: if you drink enough of it distilleries give you plots of land! Very few drinking problems result in that sort of awards system. The Laphroig Distillery sent me the deed to a square foot of land some months ago, and I decided to track it down. In read more »

Time Capsule Vacation

Wagoner, Oklahoma is not the Kennebunkport of the Red States, so before I make reference to “our cabin,” kindly divest yourself of any Cape Cod imagery. In fact the term “cabin” should be met with suspicion whenever an Oklahoman drops the term, as we are often referring to a shack sprouting from some anorexic creek, read more »

Exploring Southeast Washington

[youtube width=”600px” height=”400px”]sHCZU7PAlao[/youtube]   Between not posting a travel article in a while and getting a new phone with a video camera built inside, I felt compelled to go exploring. Not too far– I live in Southeast DC. The footage is jittery and the sound quality is horrific, but overall I’m impressed that my mobile read more »

Burns Suppers: Kilt, Dancing & Murder Etiquette

Today Scots celebrate Burns Night, their most prominent and least violent national holiday. If you’re visiting Scotland or have Scottish ex-pat neighbors, you may be invited to a Burns Supper. If that’s the case, it’s imperative you know proper kilt, dancing and murder etiquette. Pay attention, because kilts come with a little knife which the read more »