A Boy’s Life #1: My favorite book and movie in childhood was the WW II adventure, The Guns of Navarone by Alistair MacLean. It didn’t hurt that the gorgeous, busty Greek turncoat in the movie, played by Gia Scala, was a dead ringer for a major crush, my […]
There was a time when the mask business in Venice was more than just a quirky feature of the tourist trade. No one really knows if the original intent was political (for anonymous voting) or social (to disguise your class and identity). But by the 12th century, both […]
From 19 February, 1942, until 2 January, 1945, at least 110,000 men, women, and children, 62% of them American citizens, were forcibly removed from their homes, farms, and jobs and relocated in primitive camps like Manzanar. No charges were brought or proven against any of them. The Supreme […]
One of these days, we have to go to Chicago voluntarily. Our three visits to the city have all been courtesy of United Airlines flight delays, missed connections, and nasty Midwestern thunderstorms. We always take the Blue Line into town, stock up on umbrellas and tooth brushes we’ll […]
This weird statue–named Man with a Snake (to signify War) and soaring over Hősök tere (Heroes Square) on a stormy Budapest morning–set us to puzzling over chariots: First of all, wouldn’t the charioteer have been better off hanging on? Chariots had iron-rimmed wheels with zero suspension and could barely […]
The political classes are forever looking for symbols to crystalize their support and distract from the failure of their policies. No symbol has remained more potent, persistent, and maybe ridiculous than the headscarf. We would dismiss the entire brouhaha, if it wasn’t for Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, one of […]
Waffles are yet another example, along with modern beer, French Fries, and the saxophone, of how Belgium has been slowly and quietly conquering the civilized world.
This statue in the heart of the tiny village of Flers in northern France is remarkable for three reasons: First, it commemorates a foreigner, the British Tommy, or foot-soldier, who fought and died by the thousands in 1916 in the Flers-Courcelette phase of the World War I Somme Offensive. The French don’t […]
There are few products you can consume today with as clear a conscience, both for where they came from and what they will do to you.
The original Orient Express started running in 1881 from Paris to Istanbul via the northern, Romanian route (Paris-München-Wien-Budapest-București-Istanbul). After World War I, the southern route substituted Belgrade-Sofia for București to bypass the worst of the Balkan political mayhem. After growing up with Agatha Christie (Murder On the Orient Express), Graham Greene (Stamboul Train), and Ian […]
We spent days poring over the historical accounts, talking to Park Rangers, and trampling through the undergrowth outside Chancellorsville, Virginia, in search of the precise spot where, on 2 May, 1863, Stonewall Jackson was shot. Given the catastrophic effect on the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, we naturally expected some […]