War All The Time

War All The Time

The truck bombing in Mogadishu and appalled everyone who heard about it. Indeed, the level of carnage was horrific. But far fewer people know what lies behind the misery of Somalia than heard of this fresh atrocity. More»

The Great Terrorist

The Great Terrorist

My boyhood neighbor, Loren Jones, was a man with an interesting story about Stalinist Russia.  He arrived there in 1937 as the first television engineer in the country, sent by his employer, the Radio Corporation of America. More»

Leaving the West

Leaving the West

Among Turkish media commentators and academics, we are observing an increasing tendency to question Erdoğan’s policy of reorienting Turkey away from the West towards positions and a vernacular that appeal to the “Islamic street.” More»

Latest entries
Hidmo Means Home

Hidmo Means Home

My Seattle starts here, on the corner of 20th and Jackson, more than twenty years after first arriving in this town.  I’m not sure what to call my connection to Seattle during all those years. I was here, but somehow I hadn’t actually arrived. Then, about two summers ago, at this corner, in this building, possibly in the company of some of these people captured in this Google Streetview image, I felt my relation to Seattle, and the world beyond it, shift into a new mode. More»

Mussolini and Me

Mussolini and Me

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»

Literature Goes to Jail

Literature Goes to Jail

Arizona has become the site of a little-noticed literary flowering:  it is home to some of the best prison writing in North America. During the last two decades, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Ken Lamberton, and Richard Shelton have converted their experiences with Arizona’s penitentiaries into prize-winning books.  No US state can claim a similar cluster of prominent prison writers. More»

Haunted by the Present

Haunted by the Present

While it’s possible to listen to Violet Cries without thinking about history, the forcefulness with which Esben and the Witch invoke musical forebears makes the exercise a little perverse. Not to mention that, unlike many artists who are assigned to the mental bin labeled “Goth,” the band doesn’t shy away from the burden of association. Asked in an interview to discuss the term’s abuse, they declared “that Gothic should be revered in its greatest forms” suggesting that, while this sensibility “lends itself to a sense of the dramatic and the ostentatious,” it need not be an object of derision. More»

Clampdown

Clampdown

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 Road to Nuremburg

The Road to Nuremburg

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