I’m having a peaceful evening in my hotel in Dubai. The Al Manzil, built in a pleasant faux-Arab style, is close to the kilometer-high (give or take) Burj Khalifa, and right across the road from the entrance to the very new Old Town (it opened three years ago,) a lovely contraption of high-end Arabic architecture, fountains, shops, five star hotels and restaurants. (More…)

Taschen should commission a photo book devoted to leftwing European street art. There’s so much great material to work with. (More…)

Last winter, I drove from Berlin to London. Waiting in Calais to take the Channel Tunnel train to the UK, I took a dozen pictures of asylum seeker-related graffiti. My own family was displaced internally, within France, during WWII, so I connected with the graffiti a little more personally than usual. “Droits humains?” (Human rights?) Downtown, November 25th.

This poster is currently plastered on roadside rest areas throughout the state of Texas, which is big enough to enclose a good deal of Europe and therefore an object of dread for many long-distance drivers. (More…)

Arriving in Tbilisi, Georgia, is a refreshing jolt for the senses. The boorish border guards typical of former Soviet republics suspiciously leafing through your passport (to find a visa it took you weeks to obtain) are replaced by courteous people providing a visa and hassle-free service at the city’s small airport. Driving into town provides another. Along the highway, a wavy ribbon of light-blue glass floats off a flat expanse of manicured grass, brilliantly lit against the dark, moonless night. That, I discovered, is the new Interior Ministry headquarters. (More…)

Steve Reich on my iPod, a glass of Aerosvit Airlines Merlot, and a window seat are all I need. As the Kiev-to-Dubai flight leaves the rolling plains of the Ukraine behind, crossing the Sea of Azov, hugging the northern shores of the Black Sea, headed towards the Caucasus, I’m overwhelmed. The view is breathtaking. (More…)

Considering that the San Francisco Bay Area has one of the world’s densest concentrations of Ph.D.s, it shouldn’t be surprising that retailers appeal to the superior knowledge of the customer base they wish to cultivate. In the end, this approach is no different than marketing medicine for male erectile dysfunction to the men who watch sports on television. (More…)

Odessa, once the Soviet Union’s largest commercial port, was the funkiest place in the Nazi empire. It is said that the occupying Romanian officers would never consider going out without their make-up on, the better to attract the favors of the city’s belles. That reputation lives on, to this day. (More…)

There wasn’t a day that he wasn’t there. If he wasn’t standing at the bottom of the stairs, leading down from our side of Piazzale Loreto, he’d be in the middle of the tunnel, connecting one side of the square to the other. Whether it was hot or it was cold, the same sock hat was always affixed to his head. Upon reflection, I can’t remember when he wasn’t wearing a down jacket, either. (More…)

On the taxi ride from Malpensa this morning, I learned a little history of our neighborhood in Milan.  I asked the driver to take me to Piazzale Loreto. About 20 minutes into the ride, the driver filled me in on Loreto’s history, specifically regarding Mussolini’s execution, in April 1945. (More…)

On Friday night, Jennifer and I went out for dinner. Our destination was an Arab-run Tex Mex place on the other side of Piazzale Loreto, a block from the Egyptian consulate. In the year that we’ve lived here, it has become one of our favorite restaurants, even though it’s not exactly orthodox in its take on the cuisine. Nevertheless, its offered us welcome relief from pasta. (More…)

The imagery is a bit harsh. However, it gets the message across. Driver safety sign, highway A9. November, 2010.