Category Archives: america

An excerpt from Octavio Paz’s “Mexico and the United States”

‘Today, the United States faces very powerful enemies, but the mortal danger comes from within: not from Moscow but from that mixture of arrogance and opportunism, blindness and short-term Machiavellianism, volubility and stubbornness which has characterized its foreign policies during … Continue reading

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Happy (belated) birthday, Hunter Thompson

Hunter S. Thompson, who was from Louisville, would have turned 79 this week. With the Republican National Convention in full swing and on the cusp of a truly ludicrous election, we need him now more than ever. The Paris Review’s … Continue reading

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You All Want a Pepsi-Coke?

I’ve always enjoyed dialects, and I’ve had the good fortune to live in a few places with strong dialect areas, from Torlak to Veneto to Cantonese. But what about American dialects? Are we too young of a nation to really … Continue reading

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Sorry, Charlie: Deep Parables of Consumer Capitalism

There’s no age quite as awkward as the semi-pubescent 11-14 age range which corresponds to what we now know as the middle school years. My own awkwardness at that age can probably best be encapsulated by a rundown of my lunchtime eating … Continue reading

Posted in america, food, literature | 3 Comments

Review of Peter Hessler’s River Town

Peter Hessler was a Peace Corps volunteer in Sichuan in 1996-1998 and his book chronicling his life there, River Town, is an excellent Peace Corps memoir. Even though I can’t think of a place more different from Macedonia, where I served, … Continue reading

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On the Unremarkable Processes of Life

I had a relatively minor surgery last week and thus had more than the usual amount of time to sit around reading, especially about healthcare, medicine, and most of all its incredible rising cost. From Craig Bowron’s most recent article … Continue reading

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il Kentucky

We’re often curious as to how others see us. To that end, today’s offering is composed of translations from an Italian guidebook to the USA on my home state and city. Factually, it’s largely accurate, with a couple of exceptions … Continue reading

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Thoughts on Militarism on Italy’s Day of the Republic

Italy rarely has national holidays that anyone cares about. Milan My building is pleasantly empty at the moment, with most denizens having gone away for a long weekend. Militarism is rarely on display for secular holidays here, although this year … Continue reading

Posted in afghanistan, america, Balkans, the italian right, the right in europe, war | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Body Language and symbolism, part 2

In the era of the image, media and spin presentation is ever-important. Avid followers of Premesso will recall a post offering interpretations of an old photo of Berlusconi with a sidearm a few weeks back. This time we turn our … Continue reading

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Sowing the Seeds of Mutual Distrust

My take on the Raymond Davis situation is this: Pakistan is not a stable country, and whereas it’s not undergoing a full-scale civil war, the situation there cannot be termed “normal” by any stretch of the imagination.  Cultural differences aside, … Continue reading

Posted in america, Bossi, immigration, lega nord, mafia, pakistan, Wikileaks | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment