Panoramic view of the archaeological reconstruction at Monte Albán

Reflections on Oaxaca

Over the past ten years I have visited Oaxaca de Juárez, Mexico about forty times. During that period, I visited the city at least three times per year, and some years more. Understandably, my impressions of the city and the state of Oaxaca have evolved over the years. When I first arrived in  Oaxaca, I delighted in…

Cartoon: Fellow is updating his facebook account while nuclear warhead explodes.

What if Facebook Were Our Only Source of News?

What if Facebook were our only source of news and information? What would we know about the United States? How would we see the world around us? I have been thinking about these important questions and offer the following observations. (Note that some of the observations contradict others, but that’s the nature of reality in…

Cute kittens being petted by their foster parent

Wisconsin Doublethink

In his prescient political novel, 1984, George Orwell writes that “doublethink” is the “power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them . . . .” Here in Wisconsin we are in the middle of deer hunting season. On the front page of last Saturday’s Janesville Gazette, the local…

Dapper lady skeleton dressed in a bonnet, feather boa, and beautiful pink gown.

Everyone Loves La Catrina

Every year during the annual celebration of the Day of the Dead in Mexico, La Calavera Catrina resumes her celebrity status. This is especially so in the state of Oaxaca, where the cultural significance of the Day of the Dead is especially strong. Usually referred to simply as La Catrina, “La Calavera Catrina” translates into…

Credit: Chip Bok, Akron Beacon Journal

Our Unintelligent Intelligence “Services”

Recent security breaches at the White House have focused attention on the failures of our security and intelligence services. The poor performance of these organizations is not new. And while opposition politicians act as if these failures just started under the Obama administration, I can remember a number of them from years past in my…

A collection of crime fiction book covers displayed as a collage

Why Do We Like Crime Fiction So Much?

Take a look at the New York Times best seller list any given week and you will see that about a third of the books listed are crime mysteries. Americans, at least those who read and buy books, are in love with crime fiction. Readers of the genre will have different preferences. Some like the…

Map showing roads and businesses in a small part of Janesville, Wisconsin.

National Bicycle Month vs. Reality

I just read that this is “National Bicycle Month” and that this week is “Bicycle to Work Week.” I have no idea who makes these pronouncements, but I am sure they represent a kind of wishful thinking rather than an accurate reference to everyday reality. Last week an article in the Washington Post reported new…