Guns of Navarone

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 […]

Venezia

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 […]

Manzanar

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 […]

Chicago

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 […]

Budapest

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 […]

Kadiköy

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

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. The original Gauffre developed in the Middle Ages out of the production of Oublies, the pressed wafers fed to the confessed Catholic […]