FBI hunts for close in Miami-Boston bomb threats

The FBI is looking for common denominators in bomb threats on American Airlines flights between Miami and Boston. Two cases have arisen, prompting the FBI to dig a little deeper. The most recent incident occurred on Wednesday, when a flight attendant found “bomb on board, Boston-Miami” written on a bathroom cabinet. A search of the luggage yielded no bombs or other weapons.

On September 17, a flight attendant found a threatening note in the lavatory – the plane had departed Miami at around 9:30 PM and had to head back only 40 minutes later. Again, a search of the plane turned up nothing.

Too coincidental to be a coincidence, it seems, the FBI is looking for any common threads that may exist.

Top U.S. ports of entry

Eighty-six percent of international arrivals to the United States come through only 15 ports of entry, according to data from the Department of Transportation. This represents an increase of one percentage point over last year (measuring the first five months of 2008 to the first five months of 2009.

The top three ports of entry are hardly surprising: New York (specifically JFK), Miami and Los Angeles. How insane is it that the leading first impression of our country is in Queens?! These three spots were responsible for 40 percent of all arrivals so far this year. Their share of all international arrivals – trending with the top 15 – increased by roughly one percentage point year-over-year. Miami, Orlando and Philadelphia were the only members of this group to post increases.

Six of the top 15 ports of entry into the United States sustained double-digit decreases in arrivals. The stream through San Francisco is off 18 percent, moving it into the #6 position on the list (behind Honolulu). Detroit dropped 32 percent, pushing it to fifteenth, behind Boston and Philadelphia, and Agana, Guam fell 9 percent, putting it behind Chicago on the list.

Spencer Tunick: Nudes, landscapes and global warming

At a recent trip to my son’s dentist, I was flipping through the latest issue of Time Magazine and came across a photo of hundreds of nude people standing on Aletsch Glacier in Switzerland. The photo was taken by Spencer Tunick on August 18 as Tunick’s effort to show the vulnerability of people and the planet due to global warming–an interesting, and certainly eye catching approach.

(The photo here is of participants walking up the glacier before their clothes came off. It’s on the Aletsch Glacier page of the Spencer Tunick Experience Web site. Yes, there’s a nude photo there as well.)

I find Tunick’s work tasteful and compelling, perhaps because I grew up in a house filled with art and surrounded by artists. Perhaps, I find Tunick’s work intriguing because there are so many people of all shapes, sizes and skin tones represented that the individual becomes part of the whole. As a person with a sociology background, people in groups draw me into the idea of the bigger picture of life and relationships. This is perhaps part of Tunick’s point. Seeing the photo in Time Magazine reminded me of my own missed Tunick opportunity.

A few years ago, a friend emailed me about participating in a Spencer Tunick photo shoot outside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. Sure, I’m game, I thought, and registered. The photo shoot date was switched, however, and I had a conflict, so I was unable to participate after all. I wasn’t sure that I would have anyway, but it was a gleeful thought. My friend did show up along with hundreds of other people, for the event and thought the experience was wonderful and liberating. She ended up with a limited edition of the official photograph for her efforts and an interesting story to tell. She did mention how cold the ground was at that time in the morning.

Tunick’s most recent shoot was in Miami, Florida this past October. The photographs are on exhibit through the end of this month at the Sagmore Art Hotel in Miami. The one here is from the exhibit. If you can’t tell, it’s of men on rafts.

If you have a hankering to have a travel experience you won’t likely repeat elsewhere, register to participate in a future Spencer Tunick photography event. I’m sure he’s not done yet, so who knows where such an endeavor might take you.