Author Archives



Everything has to start somewhere, and the European crusading frenzy started here on the Place Royal in 1201 when Godfried de Bouillion, the first so-called King of Jerusalem, leapt onto his steed and raised his standard to incite the attending mob into joining him on the 1st Crusade. […]

Ciudad de México

You never know whom you’re going to meet in Mexico City. Here, we were minding our own business at the Aztec ruins off the Zócalo, when we were swamped by the Miss Universe pageant. The contestants do these side trips to provide local color for the eventual show, […]

Terminal Island

We prefer two of the older names for this island in Los Angeles Harbor–Rattlesnake Island or Deadman’s Island (after the latter was dynamited and added to the landfill here)–considering one of the more infamous episodes of its history. The fishing Japanese-Americans who settled here called it Fish Island […]


Centuries before Bram Stoker found inspiration for his novel Dracula, best-selling stories were circulating in Europe about the fifteenth-century Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia, better known as Vlad Țepeș, or Vlad the Impaler. Vlad’s favorite punishment for invading Turks, recalcitrant Boyars, and highway robbers alike (around 100,000 total […]


There is a saying in Romania that, if you walk thirty minutes in any direction, you’ll find an impoverished Gypsy. In the back-country around Pitești, the saying sounds about right. The Romani were the first to be laid off in the industrial collapse that followed the end of […]


We first arrived in the California desert expecting to find Lawrence of Arabia–all romantic, pristine sand dunes with wisps of dust devils trailing off into the air. The reality was more of a trash heap, at least in the more accessible areas, with all manner of household and […]