Saturday’s Forum

Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. de stijl says:

    Last night I was trying to get my sleep schedule squared away and better aligned to the sun cycle. I have been awaking at roughly 3 AM give or take for the last few weeks.

    Last night I pushed and bulled hard to stay awake until at least 10 PM. I made it, barely. I was proud of the effort and my sticktoitiveness. I had an adaptive plan. It was foolproof.

    I woke up at 2:31 AM.

    Dammit, I tried! Now I’m going to need to take a big nap sometime today which is going to screw my schedule up even more.

    When I was working, regulating my sleep schedule was always a concern and often a pain in the butt. I’m naturally a night owl and have always been. Going to sleep at a reasonable hour and getting up at the proper time that aligns with school and work was always a problem for me.

    When I ranked up in seniority I basically stated that my working, scheduable hours start at 9 AM. And be aware that at 9AM I am going to be both stupid and highly caffeinated. If you need me to engage with a knotty, complex problem, please wait until after lunch.

    My DNA is not built for following a “normal” schedule. I always hated alarms and after retiring I miss that not one little bit at all. Life is much more blissful without an alarm clock.

  2. de stijl says:

    It was recently discovered that a Piet Mondrian work has been hung upside down for almost 80 years. Called New York City 1. The Guardian has the article.

    It is not actually a painting. It is a very shallow shadow box with interlaced strips of brightly colored tapes strung just slightly above the canvas.

    The usual Mondrian colors. Yellow, black, blue, red in rectilinear stripes over a backdrop of a bone white base.

    Turning it right side up might potentially destroy it. The tape is 75 some years old. Modern day duct tape basically disintegrates after 3 years, and less in direct sunlight.

    I cannot tell you why Mondrian works impact me so. They just do. Undescribable. My on-line nym has been “de stijl” since forever because of Piet Mondrian. It appeals to me. It makes me feel slightly transcendent. It resonates. It works.

    I kinda prefer the upside down / “wrong” perspective myself.

  3. Kathy says:

    What are you so happy about?

    Which for no reason at all reminded me of a classic.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Man released from California prison after 38 years following DNA test

    At the time of the victim’s autopsy, the coroner conducted a sexual assault examination and semen was detected in an oral swab, the district attorney’s statement said.

    Hastings sought DNA testing in 2000 but the DA’s office denied the request. Hastings submitted a claim of innocence to the DA’s Conviction Integrity Unit last year and DNA testing last June found that the semen was not his.

    The DNA profile was put into a state database this month and matched that of a person convicted of an armed kidnapping in which a female victim was placed in a vehicle’s trunk, as well as the forced oral copulation of a woman.

    22 years because the DA was afraid to be proven wrong.

  5. de stijl says:

    From yesterday’s Twitter article.

    I had an active Twitter account for about two weeks. I have never had a Facebook, or Instagram, or TikTok account. Let alone a MySpace page or Friendster. A Geocities page – nope!

    It basically never entered my mind to do so. The negatives outweigh the positives by a lot in my head.

    Besides, I have nothing much to say. I’m very boring. I can be occasionally clever when reacting to something thanks to a fairly solid education and wide ranging reading and visual media consumption, but as an active speaker / advocate I don’t have a lot I want to say out loud into the ether.

    I describe well. I prescribe poorly. My go to is “Be well. Be safe. Be good. Try not to fuck up.” I’m better at reaction rather than action when it comes to public life and telling people what to do.

    Telling people what to do just strikes me as an action that would make me feel really uncomfortable. Not my business. Not my monkeys, not my circus. I need to square away my shit first, and my shit is decidedly unsquared away. I am decidedly unequiped to weigh in on someone else’s shit that is not my business.

    I am an analyzer through and through. I react.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @de stijl: Besides, I have nothing much to say.

    He says in his 3rd post of the morning. 😉

  7. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: my thoughts exactly! We love you de stijl, and look forward to your posts, but that had me chuckling out loud

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Russia says 82,000 conscripts from emergency draft already in Ukraine

    Thousands of conscripts had been deployed in places such as Bakhmut, where Haidai said they were being killed or wounded quickly after being thrown into battle against dug-in Ukrainians. “The average ‘shelf life’ of mobilised personnel is about two weeks,” the governor added.

    So, for every conscript that lasts 3 weeks there is another who only lasts 1 week.

  9. Sleeping Dog says:


    Putin is simply not as efficient as Stalin in killing off Russian citizens.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Stalin set a pretty high bar.

  11. Sleeping Dog says:


    That he did.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Not even Hitler could top Stalin. Tho he took a pretty good shot at it.

  13. Sleeping Dog says:


    I don’t know if it is true, but I read somewhere that Stalin viewed Hitler as an amateur (or similar) in eliminating his political enemies.

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Jerry Lee Lewis was a star who lived life dangerously close to the edge

    Jerry Lee Lewis was waiting in the lobby of the William Morris Agency, New York, one day in 1958. The receptionist was very attractive and, as he loved to, he began to tell her of life on the road, of how he nearly pushed Paul Anka off the roof of a hotel, all kinds of wildness. After a while, he paused. “What if I told you that none of that was true?” he asked her.

    She looked crestfallen. “Please don’t tell me that. That’s the Jerry Lee Lewis I know. The one people love.”

    RIP Jerry Lee.

  15. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Well… they are not the only ones considering it. I’m an American, here directly as a result of fascism. I grew up keenly aware of what it means to lose a country and a history.

    On the holiest night of the Jewish year earlier this month, my rabbi looked up from his Kol Nidre sermon — a homily about protecting America’s liberal democracy — and posed a question that wasn’t in his prepared text: “How many people in the last few years have been at a dining room conversation where the conversation has turned to where might we move? How many of us?”

    He was talking about the unthinkable: that Jews might need to flee the United States. In the congregation, many hands — most? — went up.

    The sermon included a quotation from the Jewish scholar Michael Holzman: “For American Jews, the disappearance of liberal democracy would be a disaster. … We have flourished under the shelter of the principles behind the First Amendment, and we have been protected by the absolute belief in the rule of law. Without these, Jews, start packing suitcases.”

    The fear of exile has become common as Jews see the unraveling rule of law, ascendant Christian nationalists and anti-Israel sentiments turning antisemitic on the far left. Wondering where Jews might move “is among the most frequently asked questions that I get,” Jonathan Greenblatt, head of the Anti-Defamation League, told me.

    Seriously, add a few things together:

    * Trump has all but announced that 2024 run
    * Trump ahas already said that Margerie Taylor Green (MTG) could be great in his administration (a possible VP?)
    * MTG has already threatened Corporations that chose to not continue financial support to insurrectionists.

    So with the Supreme court saying that money = speech, that would mean that MTG and the “new” government expects to specifically target corporations for their choice of speech… requiring a supreme court enabled revision of what the First Amendment means. Not difficult, with a conservative SC.

    Is it a stretch? Yes, but not a Comet-Ping-Pong-of course-Trump-won-blood-drinking-pedophile-Democrat trolly car on which many Conservatives are now totally onboard.

    Like our friend @de stijl , I am speechless.

    To quote Dante: “I’m not even supposed to BE here today!”

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: From Excess mortality in the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin

    Estimates of the number of deaths attributable to the Soviet revolutionary and dictator Joseph Stalin vary widely.[1] The scholarly consensus affirms that archival materials declassified in 1991 contain irrefutable data far superior to sources used prior to 1991 such as statements from emigres and other informants.[2][3][4] A minority of authors and journalists maintain that “statistics can never fully describe what happened”.[1]

    Prior to the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the archival revelations, some historians estimated that the numbers killed by Stalin’s regime were 20 million or higher.[5][6][7] After the Soviet Union dissolved, evidence from the Soviet archives was declassified and researchers were allowed to study it. This contained official records of 799,455 executions (1921–1953),[8] around 1.7 million deaths in the Gulag,[9][10] some 390,000[11] deaths during the dekulakization forced resettlement, and up to 400,000 deaths of persons deported during the 1940s,[12] with a total of about 3.3 million officially recorded victims in these categories.[13] According to historian Stephen Wheatcroft, approximately 1 million of these deaths were “purposive” while the rest happened through neglect and irresponsibility.[2] The deaths of at least 5.5 to 6.5 million[14] persons in the Soviet famine of 1932–1933 are sometimes, though not always, included with the victims of the Stalin era.[2][15]

    That last bit was the Holodomor. I read Bloodlands by Timothy Snyder a while back. One grew a little bit numb reading what Hitler and Stalin did to the people between their 2 countries. Just horror piled upon horror piled upon horror.

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: I have a number of friends talking about it. It’s not an option for us. We have grandchildren.

  18. Michael Reynolds says:

    Self-aware caveat: I am impatient. I am very impatient. And I learned to city-walk in Washington, DC, when I was 19, going from my apartment near Dupont Circle down to Farragut Square. In DC, at least in those days (Watergate era) walking fast was very nearly a competitive sport. We are all terribly in a hurry because we were all probably involved in terribly, terribly important matters of national security or economic security or at least rushing to get a half-smoked.

    I got into it. It’s an odd form of athletic event, anticipating the movements of everyone else on the sidewalk, finding those narrow openings, dipping into the gutter, swinging around a sign post, accelerating, decelerating, move move move. I was a quick little guppy. . . okay, a sleek orca. . .and I hated slow walking people.

    Today, I am in Florence and despite it being October, the crowds were dense. Dense in the sense of lots of bodies per square meter*, and dense in the sense of stupid fucking cattle who insisted on clumping, and meandering, and unforgivably, stopping right in the middle of the flow of traffic.

    I believe we should teach some basic walking skills in school.

    1) Two abreast is OK if the density is low. Three abreast is never OK. And four abreast is a crime that should be referred to the Hague.
    2) If you absolutely must stop for some reason pull over to the side, you inconsiderate clod. Would you stop in the middle of the 95? Or the 405? Or the frozen food aisle?
    3) If you stop at the end of an escalator or motorized walkway, people behind you should have a right, nay a responsibility, to punch you in the kidneys.

    And that’s before we get to getting on and off a plane or through security. That would probably have to be an advanced course.

    I’m 68 and in no way athletic. I should not be the fastest-moving thing on the street. Just saying.


  19. gVOR08 says:

    @Michael Reynolds: And this is “Murica, walk on the right.

  20. Michael Cain says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Or the frozen food aisle?

    In the last several months, I have noticed a pronounced increase in the number of people here who manage to block all the traffic in an aisle at the local supermarket. I’m beginning to wonder if some of it is intentional. It’s hard to not think that when they leave their full-sized cart at a 45-degree angle across the aisle, right next to one of the unrelated sales displays the stores have taken to sitting along the side of the aisles. Those are also worth whining about. The other day I had to move one so that I could open the freezer door to get my wife’s brand of ice cream.

  21. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Glad to see you are relaxing and enjoying your vacation! (Or at least the Michael version of a vacation) 😉

  22. Sleeping Dog says:

    You’re Going To Have To Pay To Use Some Fancy Colors In Photoshop Now

    As of now, widely used Adobe apps like Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign will no longer support Pantone-owned colors for free, and those wishing for those colors to appear in their saved files will need to pay for a separate license. And this is real life.

    Pantone has been around since the 1950s, the New Jersey company originally refining printing inks, then later inventing the Pantone Color Matching System, used worldwide by designers to ensure a creation’s color will be exactly as desired, no matter where or how it’s manufactured. So, of course in becoming the industry-standard for color-matching, the company naturally asserts ownership of all its 2,161 hues, defending its intellectual property and preventing its unlicensed use. This extends as far as preventing others from creating “Pantone-compatible” color systems. Or, to put it another way, they claim to own colors.

    Someone should write a musical with rent seeking at the core of the plot.

  23. gVOR08 says:

    @Michael Cain: Some may be intentional. But how many times have you come up an aisle blocked by a middle age lady and her cart and had her move the cart and very sincerely say, “Oh, excuse me!” as soon as she notices you? It apparently just doesn’t occur that someone else might walk up a store aisle. I think it ties into the very common occurrence, more so here in Florida, of a driver crossing two or three lanes of traffic a hundred feet short of an intersection to get into a turn lane. The inability to anticipate or plan ten seconds ahead may help account for Republicanism.

  24. CSK says:

    Trump says that the U.S.A. is now a Communist country.

  25. Mimai says:

    Maine has decided to shut down vanity plates that are deemed objectionable.

    The pro side of this decision is rather obvious to some. Yet, a not insignificant proportion of the public will complain that it’s not fair.

    I don’t live in Maine,* nor do I express my vanity through a car, much less a license plate. When it comes to cars, I’m function over form. Which reminds me that I need to diagnose and fix an antifreeze leak.

    *Though I do have “family” with Maine roots. And a few colleagues up that way too — Maine has some very good (and underrated) research laboratories.

  26. Sleeping Dog says:


    Most states that I’m aware of have a process to vet vanity plate requests and will disallow those that don’t conform to the guidelines and along with that are procedures to recall an issued plate that is later determined to be problematic.

    Maine seems to be simply updating their procedures to reflect what is common.

  27. Just nutha ignint crackerdd says:

    @de stijl: If you’re over 50, some of your problem is integral to older people sleeping for shorter periods to begin with. I’ve been treated for sleep apnea for about 25 years now and at a recent clinic visit, I noted to the therapist that while for years I’d been sleeping for 8 hours, recently I was waking up after 5 or 6. He said that’s not atypical for people as they get older.

    The moral of the story is that I only go to bed at 10 or 11 if I want to wake up at 4:30 or 5. Usually I do, because I have to be available for teaching calls, but if I want to sleep later a Midnite or one am bedtime is the ticket. Sorry that this is not good news.

  28. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: DAs do not get credit (and promotions) for being right, they get them for getting convictions. Who’s gonna want to upset their conviction record over the mere bagatelle of having convicted the wrong person?

    To paraphrase Vince Lombardi: Winning is everything. Losing is nothing. (Yes, I know this is not what he actually said, but it’s quoted like this more often than correctly. I think it’s a reflection on our society. Or maybe humanity a large.)

  29. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Oh my God, you are describing my daily life. I live across Central Park South from the park and the sidewalks here are constantly heaving with people who feel compelled to stop dead the moment it occurs them that there are tall buildings around and they should look up at them… or take a picture. Or they stop suddenly because that text can’t wait until they move off to the side. I am constantly channeling Fran Leibowitz* and wanting to shout “Hey, pretend it’s a city and keep moving.”

    *A name that because of my age-related cultural references I can’t type without first entering it as “Fawn Leibowitz.”

  30. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Or, to put it another way, they claim to own colors.

    I wonder if they’ve ever tried to sue a sunset.

  31. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Reynolds: You’d never make it in Daegu, where the subway riders exit and walk up both sides of the staircase 6 abreast. If you’re going down, you head to the center grab the handrail and move as the crowd shoves you downward to push you out of their way. Fun times!

  32. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Yeah, I know. Never mind getting the right guy, just get someone.

  33. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Cain: What you’re describing has been standard at the grocery store since I originally moved to the community 30-some years ago. Two housewives meeting and stopping to talk in the aisle invariably turn their carts toward the center of the aisle, as do people stopping to check the display for the item they want. I just wait and smile sweetly, saying “I’m in no hurry, I’m paid by the hour.”

    One time a woman who owned her own chore service company heard me saying that and asked “How’d you get your customers to agree to THAT?”

  34. de stijl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I am a fast walker.

    I don’t know if it is conditioning or nature (probably both). I just scoot.

    My native speed is about 4 mph. I walk an hour a day so I have a lot of mileage to back it up. In winter sometimes slower due to ice and snow on the sidewalks.

    When I walk in big crowds and am forced down to walking at whatever crowded space speed is – about 1.8 mph in my best guess – most times I am super cool with it and cope and shuffle along. Saturday morning farmers market – it’s a crap ton of folks in a small space, but I cope usually. I need cilantro and green onions from Cheryl and whatever pork flesh or chicken goodness Ignacio has on offer. In, out, done – I always park in the same place so I know where to bolt to. 9 times out 10 I’m cool as fuck. 1 time out of 10 the agoraphobia part of my brain kicks in and I feel the weight of everybody’s eyeballs looking at me and I freak out and bolt. That is really fucking unpleasant.

    The first time I had a panic attack I thought it was a heart attack. I was on a packed full bus standing in the aisle. Everyone saw. Even thinking back on that gives me the heebie-jeebies big time.

    Being forced to walk at crowd speed for more than 20 minutes or so will freak me out and my brain will stop coping and demand release and need fresh uncluttered sidewalk to briskly strut down at my normal speed.

    Give me a clean, uncluttered space to walk free from annoying slow walking pedestrians!

  35. Mikey says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Most states that I’m aware of have a process to vet vanity plate requests and will disallow those that don’t conform to the guidelines and along with that are procedures to recall an issued plate that is later determined to be problematic.

    Virginia has a huge range of vanity plates and the highest percentage of cars in the nation with them, because you can get a basic one for only $10 additional and it’s also very easy to get a new one created, which is why you see strange things like University of Michigan alumni plates here.

    Anyway, there’s also one that says “Kids First.” A friend of a friend did a vanity plate with that one: EATTHE.

    The state finally caught up with it after a couple years and they had to give it up, but it was funny while it lasted.

  36. Mister Bluster says:

    @Sleeping vanity plate requests…

    Per WikiP California started issuing vanity plates in 1970. I’m guessing that the vetting was cursory at best. I saw my all time favorite when I lived in San Francisco in 1974. All I remember about the car that I saw through the Muni bus window was that it was parked on a downhill slope with the front tires properly curbed. The tag read…FUK NXN…

  37. Sleeping Dog says:


    A neighbor in Mpls had one that said ESCAPE on the bumper below he had a sticker “TO SIN”

    Can’t remember if it is NH or MN that has a long list of prohibited plates on the DMV website, there are some creative ones.

  38. de stijl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Never go to Europe in Autumn. It’s tourist central.

    If you go in January or February, you have the place to yourself and the locals are much less annoyed. Try out your best guide book French or German or Italian.

    By all that is holy do not sport a fanny pack or wear jean shorts and a baseball cap.

    Europeans in big cities dress nicer and more chic than Americans as a general rule. Dress up a bit more than you would at home. Don’t be a dick. Learn how to say hello and thank you and please in the native tongue. Be an explorer and not a tourist. Be open.

  39. Stormy Dragon says:

    Went to drop off my ballot at a secure drop box today.

    When I arrived, I was confronted by a bunch of people sitting in the back of a pickup truck with a bunch of Christian Nationalist decals on it (e.g. one reading “Christian Strong” with the picture of an assault rifle under it) who proceeded to surround me an attempt to interrogate me about my vote.

    They claimed to have been working for the county, but I am highly suspicious of whether that is true. And if it is true, I’d like to know why county employees are being allowed to engage in partisan political advocacy while on the clock manning election sites.

    Because frankly, the encounter left me fearing for my physical safety.

  40. CSK says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I hope you reported this to the county. Or if their offices are closed today, first thing Monday.

  41. Stormy Dragon says:


    I sent a complaint into the online system when I got home, and will call Monday.

  42. Franklin says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Totally agree with walk training, but your post reminded me of the first time the Indy 500 included two women drivers back in 2000. Unfortunately, Lyn St James and Sarah Fisher ended up colliding and going four abreast into the wall.

  43. CSK says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Good. A follow-up call is always good.

  44. wr says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I still remember two vanity plates that were in the Bay Area fifty years ago — There was a Dodge Dart with a plate reading “objet” and a Datsun that read “icecar.”

  45. JohnSF says:

    In Europe:
    Russia accuses the British Navy of being behind the “terrorist attack” on the NordStream gas pipelines, and that British “specialists” aided a drone attack in Sevastopol.

    Claiming the strikes on naval targets in Sevastopol were on civilian targets to justify suspending the grain shipments deal

    It’s possible that the second claim may be justified, in a way.
    RAF “Rivet Joint” surveillance aircraft are patrolling western Black Sea, and pretty certainly passing actionable data to Ukraine.
    After some Russian interference flights, they now have Typhoon fighter escorts operating out of Constanta.

    Reports that like Home Sec. Braverman, former PM Truss when Foreign Sec. was using a unsecured private phone for govt. business, and Truss’s case it got hacked.
    By Russia.
    Oh dear.

    Lord save us from dimwits who think they hold a power of command over reality.

    Dan Trombly has useful data security advice:

    A breach of a Prime Minister’s phone by hostile intelligence services is a huge information security concern.
    Consequently, security experts recommend changing your Prime Minister every 6 weeks to limit your vulnerability to these types of attacks


  46. CSK says:


    I think Trump used a non-secure cell phone, didn’t he? Birds of a feather?

  47. JohnSF says:

    “Birds of a brain”, more like.
    Arrogance of thinking that the world should, and will, adjust to conform to your convenience.
    (Tempted to set a firework among the flock and refer to a certain person whose name rhymes with Clilary Hinton, but…)

  48. Mister Bluster says:

    On the Ballot November 8: Home Rule
    Since the most recent census reports the City of Carbondale population below 25,000, there must be a referendum for the city to retain the home rule that was automatically granted in 1972.
    The Illinois Election Code (10 ILCS 5/28-8) mandates that the Home Rule referendum question shall be stated as follows:
    Shall the City of Carbondale cease to be a home rule unit? YES NO
    Needless to say this state mandated ass backwards wording has proponents of retaining home rule worried that voters will vote YES to keep home rule.
    There are yard signs all over town attempting to educate the voters. I have not seen any “Vote Yes” signs. I can’t wait to find out how this plays out.
    I don’t live in the city limits so it won’t be on my ballot.

  49. Matt says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    @Michael Cain:

    Oh man that’s some of my pet peeves when forced to deal with the public. Fortunately for me I’m over 6 foot and well built so combined with my “I fucking hate everything” mean mug people tend to just get out of my way. Someone stops in front of me at the top of an escalator? “oops didn’t expect you to stop” after I push them out of the way. I’m an asshole but lets be real doing stuff like that is being the bigger asshole. For carts I do try to be nice at first at least.

  50. OzarkHillbilly says:

    So… John Cole lost his sweet doggy Lily. I’ve been there. They give so much, and ask so little.

  51. JohnSF says:

    Update on the Russians being ticked off with UK and Ukraine, and halting grain shipments in a strop.

    Reason for the rage:
    Appears that General Surovikin had issued orders for the Black Sea Fleet to join the bombardment of Ukrainian urban and infrastructure targets.
    Presumably intending to increase Ukraine defence problems re. attack vectors.

    Looks like Ukraine got their retaliation in first: some reports that Admiral Makarov, successor to the late lamented Moskva as fleet flagship, is out of action, possibly terminally.
    And at least two other ships hit.


  52. Mimai says:

    Steven’s recent article in The Conversation was re-published today in Big Think. Nice.

    Why the U.S. House has 435 seats — and how Congress could change that

  53. DrDaveT says:

    @Mikey: My favorite Virginia vanity plate story involves the “University of Virginia” template that has a large capital V university logo at the far left of the plate. Some wag managed to get the vanity plate “IAGRA” approved.

  54. Michael Reynolds says:

    @de stijl:

    By all that is holy do not sport a fanny pack or wear jean shorts and a baseball cap.

    Europeans in big cities dress nicer and more chic than Americans as a general rule. Dress up a bit more than you would at home. Don’t be a dick. Learn how to say hello and thank you and please in the native tongue. Be an explorer and not a tourist. Be open.

    My dude, it would take a gun pressed to my temple to get me to wear a fanny pack. Contra the impression some may have of me here, IRL I am painfully polite. Even overly formal. And I apologize with the frequency of an Englishman.

    I spent three years as a child in France, attending French schools. I dropped out of high school in order to hitchhike around Europe. At a guess this may be my ninth or tenth trip to the continent, not counting a dozen book tours in the UK. Also not counting the 7 months I lived in Tuscany, or the three months in the Azores. I’ve been trying for the last ten years to find a way to move permanently, a circle I am still trying to square.