What Travel Writing Should Be

I have been absolutely riveted by Richard Bangs story on his Tour of Libya for Slate.com.

As much as I may like to fancy myself a travel writer, I’ve certainly got a lot to learn from Bangs and others who occasionally write engaging pieces.

Last year, I tried querying Tom Swick of the South Florida Sun Sentinel with several article ideas. All were rejected, sadly, but he did direct me to read his article that details what makes a good travel story. Hopefully he won’t mind if I post it here – maybe he’ll get better queries from us so-called travel writers.

Deciphering the Reagan Funeral

No matter what you think of “Reagan: The Man,” “Reagan: The Funeral” should be a fascinating nugget of history in the making. Major traffic arteries in Washington will be closed beginning at about 3pm today to make way for a funeral procession steeped in tradition.

Yes, Washingtonians will complain over the next few days because they won’t be able to go anywhere without encountering security checkpoints and road blocks. Then again, many federal and city workers within the vicinity of downtown have been granted “liberal leave” this afternoon, meaning that they can use the Reagan funeral as an excuse to ditch out of work early without using their vacation time. On Friday, government workers, financial workers, and companies that follow the government schedule (most all in Washington) will have the day off.

We’ve really got it good in this city of ceremony.

Lying in State

The saturation Reagan coverage is cathartic to some, annoying to others. All I know is that we’re about to get bombarded with Reaganites over the next few days.

My day job has followed the Federal Government and declared offices closed on Friday (thanks, Ronnie!). Starting tomorrow, traffic around here is going to be hellish. Barriers and fencing are already up near the National Cathedral. I haven’t had a chance to look downtown yet, but I’m sure it’s a mess, too.

I have mixed feelings about Reagan, mostly because I was too young during his presidency to really get angry about his policies. A little older, a little wiser, I’m a bit disappointed that some of the negatives of the Reagan years are not being mentioned in the media. CNN’s site has some good ones, though. I’m touched by some of the people from the former Soviet Bloc (just wrote Soviet Blog – that’d be a cool one!) who feel that they owe RR for their freedom. Then again, this is the man who ordered an invasion on tiny Grenada and refused to speak out about the AIDS crisis. This guy says it pretty well: