Monday, August 22, 2011

I'm in a Brochure!

it's the AMERICAN dream

Something remarkable has happened.

A few years ago I flirted with the idea of restaging the Battle of Brooklyn, the obscure (but huge) battle of the Revolutionary War that sent scampy colonials running for the Bronx via Manhattan -- a huge, potential war-ending victory for the British before the war really got started.

The problem is, someone already was 'restaging' it, more or less, at Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery. So I went. (Read about it here.)

This week is 'Battle Wedk' in Brooklyn, with a host of events linked with the battle. I happened to grab a brochure today, and noticed something shocking: I'M IN IT.

Check it out:

See the guy in the background? NO ONE but me wears green shorts like that. And the reenactor in question is someone I talked to too (footage also made this video). Here's my photo of the same bloke:

Getting accidentally included in a brochure due to bad photo-cropping skills? Check that off my list. So no matter what happens next, I got that going for me.

For more on Battle Week, go to

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How to Like Atlantic City

Recently, my pal Paul Brady called Atlantic City a place that's 'hard to love.' I get that. During a short visit last year for Lonely Planet, I didn't exactly fall in love with Atlantic City either, but I got plenty out of my 35 hours of tracking down the source of all the Monopoly board properties.

Here's a video of the experience:

Using Monopoly as a 'guidebook' to AC, and it wasn't always easy to do, led me away from the casinos into a place where I found local-lifers in love with their home. It led me to used bookstores, old pizza places, lighthouses. The hunt for the Electric Company, actually a modern complex outside the center, almost felt like tracking down a buried treasure.

And also, I had fun.

To be honest, I could live happily if I never made it back to AC (though I felt a night at the Irish Pub was a time-travel experience, unlike anything I've had anywhere in the USA). But by searching out a pre-Trumpian era of AC, and meeting up with those who do love it, made me see it differently.

Sometimes I think that's the main thing travel is for.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

76-Second Travel Show: 'Boley, Oklahoma'

Boley! I never knew about Boley for years, not until going back home after 10 years as an expat Okie in places like New York, London, Melbourne and Saigon. I wrote more on Boley for Lonely Planet.

Meanwhile, this happened:

That's right, Lonely Planet is leading with Oklahoma. (And my article on Oklahoma's Top 22.) It's a very unusual week. In all the right ways.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Iceland's Penis Museum

Mr Penis -- Sigurdur Hjartarson, curator of Iceland's Phallological Museum -- is retiring. But the museum will go on! Read about my recent visit on Lonely Planet.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

What are the travel dreams of Iron Maiden?

Last month I flew with Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden, who's flying for Iceland Express this summer (amidst a busy Maiden tour -- the guy's got energy). Much more happened than can be packed into a three-minute video -- him joking with the Icelandic crew, paying off his co-pilot $1 for a nice comment, whisking me past security, watching TSA agents asking when Maiden's playing New York next, getting on the Reykjavik tarmac to admire the Iron Maiden's Ed Force One from below.

Check out my full Q&A on Lonely Planet.

Thanks to Bruce. And my pals in Tulsa's Bozack for the soundtrack.