Angkor Before the Khmer Rouge: A Snapshot Essay

Christmas of 1965, while Americans back home were beginning to learn where Saigon was, the Barlow family was preparing to leave Bangkok for a few days in Cambodia, the country separating Thailand from… Continue reading

Savanna, Sahel, Sahara: Then What?

On market days in the late 1980s, women carried bundles of wood alongside the national road, the one paved road in much of northern Togo. They might be going to the village of… Continue reading

Signs of Things to Come?

As goes Kentucky, goes the nation. Could be. And that might not be so good. Already, defeated incumbent Governor Matt Bevin is claiming voter fraud and demanding a recanvass though the 5,000-vote margin… Continue reading

Blowhards and News Clowns: Can They Learn to Win?

In a post on August 4, 2016, I posited Donald Trump as Indiana Jones faced with a scimitar-twirling attacker (his Republican primary opponents). He, of course, pulls out a pistol and shoots the… Continue reading

Slavery’s Heritage in Public

A few years ago, when visiting Middleton Place, an old plantation near Charleston, SC that is now a tourist attraction, I noted that there was more emphasis on the role of the slaves… Continue reading

For the Want of a Nail

So what if Donald Trump doctored a picture with a Sharpie? So what if the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) instructed its scientists not to contradict Trump in his assertion that Alabama… Continue reading

David Brooks: The Thin Man Who Went Over the Mountain

As every reader knows, getting inside the head of someone else, especially a real person, carried danger even for a skilled writer of fiction. Eudora Welty did it well in her 1963 short… Continue reading

A Blur of Pretty: Car-Touring of the Irish Republic

There’s no way to capture in a picture or in words what you see heading down Irish backroads in County Cork and County Kerry on the way from Blarney Castle to the old… Continue reading

Squeal, by Donald Trump

We all know how it starts, the famous first line: “I destroyed the best minds of my generation through madness, stark hysterical naked.” But do we remember the last section? Steve Bannon! I’m… Continue reading

“They are the instigators, not me“

When suspense novelist Stanley Ellin had his potential mass murderer create a manifesto about his plans and actions, he was making things up. The book that resulted, The Dark Fantastic, appeared in 1983.… Continue reading