Category Archives: Uncategorized

El Mundo Donaldo: A Satire


Na Zdorovie!             OF COURSE there was COLLUSION!  It all goes back to my meeting with Vlad at his lavish St. Petersburg dacha.  From the first moment he flashed those baby blues, I felt the keen stirrings of sexual desire in my nether regions.  Who could resist a strapping beefcake […]

Venezuela in the Chávez Era: A Photo Essay


In 2006, in the midst of the Chávez era, I toured Caracas and the surrounding area.  At the time, the administration was touting its much-vaulted social programs or “missions.” In 2003, the government created “Misión Barrio Adentro” or “Inside the Neighborhood Mission,” a program to provide basic health care to […]

Politics and Counter-Culture: From Bushwick to Ridgewood


In many ways, Bushwick, Brooklyn resembles my recent trip to Berlin.  Getting off the L train at Jefferson Street, you can’t miss the dynamic youth scene, wall murals and graffiti in the area. Inside a courtyard, people drink hipster beer amidst more wall murals. Wall murals cover surrounding streets. Like […]

Berlin: Echoes of the Cold War


In East Berlin, I visited the Stasi museum. Across town, tourist flock to Checkpoint Charlie, a traditional boundary between east and west. Above Checkpoint Charlie, I spotted a pro-Ukrainian banner which echoes earlier Cold War tensions. But will the United States stand by Germany or even Ukraine for that matter […]

West Berlin: From Institutionalized Graffiti to Thai Park


In contrast to edgy East Berlin, developed West Berlin can seem much more predictable.  Urban Nation, a graffiti museum, seeks to capture the mystique of other neighborhoods without really succeeding, though a building facade manages to catch one’s attention. Further to the west, hipsters mingle with Asian food vendors at […]

Berlin: From Turkish Minarets to Treehouse to Neo-Ottoman Hipster Chic


In Berlin, Turkish immigrants live cheek by jowl alongside anarchists and political radicals.  In Kreuzberg, for example, a mosque lies just a stone’s throw away from the radical counter-culture. Not far from the minaret, I came across a curious tree house.  The structure originally belonged to Osman Kalin, a Turkish […]

East Berlin: From Graffiti Galerie to Sandinistas


Well off the beaten path lies Lichtenberg, where passers-by can check out Graffiti Galerie underneath the highway. More graffiti and animal motifs off to the side of the highway. Above Graffiti Galerie, I came upon a curious mural honoring the Sandinistas who are hardly a model for progressive political ideals […]