That Hawai’ian trip, 82 million years ago

By Jeffrey the Barak. Let’s say you are hanging out near Hilo on the big island of Hawai’i and wondering what was going on in the neighborhood, oh let’s say, 82 million years ago. Well if you had a time machine and went back 82 million years or so, you might find yourself in a … Read more

Finding My Roots Through DNA

By Jeffrey the Barak. How my knowledge of my ancestry suddenly jumped from the 19th Century to tens of thousands of years ago. A couple of months ago a friend told me she had used an online DNA testing service, 23andMe, to research her ancestry. The ancestral history of her DNA revealed some unknown ancient … Read more

L.A. Beach Bike Path, Part Three

By Jeffrey the Barak. Part one took us from Torrance to Manhattan Beach on the L.A. Beach Bike Path, and part two began in Manhattan Beach and ended as we arrived at Venice Beach. This article is part three so if you are starting here, you may want to navigate to parts one and two … Read more

How Art Almost Killed An Entire People

By Jeffrey the Barak. At times, we wander the galleries and see pieces of art that look as if they could hurt someone, or kill someone, but in a way this has actually happened. I refer to a place commonly known as Easter Island. This is it’s modern name, given to the place by Christian … Read more

Los Angeles, what are we standing on?

By Jeffrey the Barak. Geologists would say that the Los Angeles Basin is like a huge bowl of sand The geologic center for the Los Angeles Basin is the place where the Los Angeles River and the river known as Rio Hondo merge in South Gate. At this central point, sand, silt, clay and other … Read more

The hazards of imagining countries

By Jeffrey the Barak. Nomadic tribes move independently of each other and occasionally come together to interact through trade, war, sport, cultural exchange, intermarriage, murder etc. In the dense jungles of South America and Africa and Asia, the boundaries formed by geographical features such as ridges and valleys are all it takes to keep two … Read more

Taking the “A” Train

By Cherie Magnus What is it about trains? We all love them–the waiting, the leaving, the whistles. Who can hear the distant “woo-woo” of a train without feeling something’s longing, nostalgia, the urge to hop on and leave your old life behind? Literature abounds with romantic train symbols: The Polar Express, Streetcar Named Desire, Train … Read more

An American Diary from Mexico – Episode 11

The Worlds of Xochimilco By Cherie Magnus A lake carries you into recesses of feeling otherwise impenetrable. ~William Wordsworth In gardens, beauty is a by-product. The main business is sex and death. ~Sam Llewelyn Xochimilco, the “place of the flower fields” (in Nahuatl), is at once an ancient Aztec dream, a modern Mexican fiesta, and … Read more

An American Diary from Mexico – Episode 10

Tango Magic in Oaxaca By Cherie Magnus Imagine a large leafy square with fountains and huge trees, surrounded on four sides by the colorful arcades of ancient colonial buildings. Imagine the kiss of a chocolate scented breeze on your skin. Imagine a concert band playing a classical concert with elderly couples rising casually from their … Read more

An American Diary from Mexico – Episode 8

Corpus Christi in San Miguel By Cherie Magnus My first day back in San Miguel de Allende after three weeks, I ran around doing errands, unpacking, organizing, but I wasn’t too busy to notice the hanging of red and gold satin and velvet banners from balconies along the main streets. Thinking a weekend fiesta was … Read more

Spielberg’s Mom and The Milky Way

By Nicola Pittam He’s the biggest director in the world and the mastermind such box office hits as ET, Jurassic Park, Jaws and Indiana Jones. But while Steven Spielberg makes movies that pull in hundreds of millions of dollars, his mum still runs the tiny restaurant she began 25 years ago. Petite Leah Adler, who … Read more

Hotel Home

Hotel Home – Peter Greenberg’s Unique Odyssey By Nicola Pittam Traveler Peter Greenberg has transformed his house into a real holiday home. Peter was so impressed with his stay in hotels around the world, that he immediately turned to them when he wanted to decorate his home. Now the travel writer has decked out his … Read more

An American Diary from Mexico – Episode 4

Semana Santa in San Miguel By Cherie Magnus I can’t think of a better place for a practicing Christian to be for Holy Week than San Miguel de Allende–except maybe for Rome, but I’ve never been there, and here I am in Mexico. (Who knew?) Even for those not Christian or Catholic, the cultural expressions … Read more

An American Diary from Mexico – Episode 3

Auto Mexico By Cherie Magnus After a mind-expanding long day with ghosts, pyramids, and mysterious ancient art in Teotihuacan, our little tour group cruise along the Autopista with just two hours to go before hitting San Miguel de Allende and home. Gene, an archeologist from the University of Texas, Jaime, our Mexican guide/driver, and me, … Read more

The Church of Tango

By Cherie Magnus   It was known as La Cat’dral. Not easy to find in Buenos Aires’ dark side streets at three in the morning–no signs, no cars, no people in front. But once I climbed the stairs to the second floor of the old warehouse, I could hear the siren call of music. It … Read more

Memorial Day Weekend, One To Remember, for sure!

Memorial Day Weekend, One To Remember, for sure! How a novice hiker almost put the Death into Death Valley By Frank Moss Frank Moss is new to hiking but his story, told here in his own words acts as a warning to the inexperienced and a reminder to the accomplished hiker, of just how dangerous … Read more

La Salsa Cubana Experience

By Cherie Magnus These days ladies alone do pretty well anywhere in the world they travel. The world has gotten used to women on their own in airports and hotels due to business traveling, and more recently, vacationing. I’ve traveled alone in many countries and I wholeheartedly recommend it for those decisive independents who don’t … Read more

The Wonders of Southern California’s Historic Ridge Route.

It’s still there! The Wonders of Southern California’s Historic Ridge Route. By Jeffrey the Barak Horseshoe bend It began with an intriguing map tumbling out of the Los Angeles Times in October 1997. Like a map to hidden pirate treasure, it showed the way to an adventure that would become one of my most memorable … Read more