Category: Feature


Rome, Year 16 AMT

I left Rockford with the best intentions.  I was going to write and post a diary of our six weeks (plus a few days) in Italy, even including the boring details of transatlantic travel post -911 or, as I prefer to call it, in the Age of Muslim Terrorism, as in “we left home on January 7, AMT 16. Our brief escape from the Midwestern Winter and presidential politicking seemed doomed from the start.  Jim Easton was kind enough to take us to the Van Galder bus station, where we soon learned that the departure schedule had recently been changed,...


Wednesday’s Child: Gadarene Light

Like any massive fraud, whether successful or unsuccessful, Russia’s recent parliamentary election is an interesting subject.  Fraud, swindle, pyramid–perpetrated or operated by all sorts of impostors, flimflam artists, and snake oil salesmen–where would world literature be without them?  Thomas Mann’s Hochstapler, or confidence man, in Confessions of Felix Krull is alone worth a million real-life fraud victims. Conrad would never have written Chance, the masterwork that pulled him out of obscurity, without its central character, the swindler Smith de Barral.  Gogol would not have written Dead Souls without Chichikov, the spectre of Western monopoly capitalism in the guise of a...