Our friend Rick Botts has a favorite joke: “Don’t be a sheep and follow the herd.” [The joke being that sheep flock and cows herd, so if you’re a sheep following the herd, you are by definition a chronic non-conformist.] He told us this after I confessed to […]
A Boy’s Life #2: Like many an English schoolboy, I had a fascination with the Ordo Fratrum Hospitalis Sancti Ioannis Hierosolymitani, or The Order of Knights of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem. The Knights Hospitallers, like their rivals, The Knights Templars, defined chivalry in the Middle […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]