Solar Eclipse 2024: the Band of Totality Tour!

  Strong feelings shaded yesterday’s total solar eclipse in North America, ranging from worries about terrorism against big crowds gathered in rural areas, where first responders would be overwhelmed, to fervent hopes for the rapture. Maybe it was because I was living farther away from the ominously-named band of totality in the eclipse of 2017, […]

Intro to the Socialism 2023 Conference

    The Socialism 2023 conference was held in Chicago, September 1-4, at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place hotel, near the lakefront. It was a beautiful Labor Day weekend in the city. The timing of Labor Day was no coincidence, of course, though the venue might be said to have had a whiff of the […]

When Your Friend Runs for Congress

  Chris Bruneau, Republican candidate for US Congress, lives in Bel Air, Maryland, 30 miles northeast of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. This is Maryland’s 1st Congressional District, the state’s largest district and only deep-red one. The upright of its L-shape comprises eight of the state’s top-10 counties with the most farmland, on the Eastern Shore of […]

Calamity on Fields of Green: Gettysburg

    Leaving the Flight 93 National Memorial in central Pennsylvania for Gettysburg, a drive of just two-and-a-half hours along Route 30, the old Lincoln Highway, it was tempting to compare the two sites. Both involved large-scale but very different technological violence; both occurred on otherwise bucolic fields; both were about national determination to different […]

Calamity on Fields of Green: Flight 93

    Driving east from Pittsburgh toward Baltimore, intending to stop at Gettysburg, I was surprised to be reminded in the middle of the Pennsylvania countryside of the nearby Flight 93 crash site, now a National Memorial run by the National Park Service. Hijackers on September 11, 2001, purposely crashed the United Airlines passenger jet […]

African Americans and Cars

    The Frick Pittsburgh—not to be confused with the Frick Fine Arts Building at the University of Pittsburgh, the Frick Building in Pittsburgh, or The Frick Collection or the Frick Art Reference Library in New York City—has a special exhibit now called Pittsburgh and the Great Migration: Black Mobility and the Automobile, which ends […]

Moving Along Through Time

  I was sitting at a café table outside the pâtisserie in Little Morocco, Queens, waiting on repairs to my aging Honda, when an older man in shades pulled up to the curb in a no-parking zone, in his black Cadillac Escalade Premium Luxury Platinum. I was thinking about mobility, you see, so the universe […]

All-American Models Rescued from Oblivion

    “Build and Be Happy!” says the website for Atlantis Models, a company that has rescued many of the ship, airplane, and car models that American kids grew up building for generations. “Building models can be an artistic discovery and a journey through history.” Atlantis was found in 2009 by the former owners of […]

Little Egypt, Queens

    Sometimes you know the universe is at work when the metaphorical intersects with the personal. When my car suddenly shuddered and seemed to slip out of gear as I was trying to get over the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge to Long Island, my next self-assignment, I pushed harder on the gas, thinking I […]

Breaking the Flatness of the Present

  The feeling comes over me at unexpected times—walking down a street of stone townhomes at dawn, lights in bay windows, stairs and gardens mounded with new snow. Sensing that the skyscraper-as-public-art was designed instead as a taunt and a cashing-in on disaster. Leafing through a glossy magazine filled with photos of socialites smiling as […]