REPORTERS ON THE JOB..

A HEAVY-METAL MEAL: For today's story on logging in Indonesia, Dan Murphy talked with illegal lumberjacks (pages 8 and 9). And he was surprised about how welcoming and friendly one logger, Tamat, and his family were. They invited him up onto their bamboo sleeping platform on stilts above the Sekonyer River, and laughed good naturedly when he almost fell off the slippery log that's their bridge to the platform. They peppered him with questions about his life. But his heart went to his throat when they asked him to share their lunch - fish fresh from the Sekonyer river, which is contaminated with mercury because of mining upstream. "I smiled and nibbled. The risks for me are low because it's only once, but they have to live there. This is a primary food source. It just brought home to me how difficult their situation is."

AN AIR SHOW BY ANY OTHER NAME: The Monitor's Scott Peterson attended the Moscow air show last weekend (this page), and it brought back a flood of childhood memories. He grew up in Seattle, and his family used to go to an air show at Boeing Field every summer. "I haven't been to one in 25 years, but it all came rushing back with the smell of late-summer cut grass, the aroma of jet fuel, and the excitement of climbing into the cockpit of a jet fighter," he says. As he waited his turn to inspect one Sukhoi fighter, a company official admitted that this particular jet had already been sold to China. "I wondered if they were going to clean off the kids' footprints before they sent it to them," says Scott.

IMMIGRANTS ONLINE: Reporter Dan Murphy interviewed many Central American migrants along Mexico's southern border for his (other) story in today's paper (page 1). "As you'd expect, almost all were hopeful and afraid - uncertain of what lay ahead after leaving home for the first time," he says. But two surprised Dan by asking him for his e-mail address after the interview. One immigrant had even researched his trip at an Internet cafe in Guatemala.

CULTURAL SNAPSHOT..

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