Scotland: The North Korea of Europe

Kim Jong MacUn

There are few nations as proud and alone as North Korea.

This is the pure nation of the ancient and historic Korean people, a Hermit Kingdom where one can disassociate oneself from foreigners, completely ignore the outside world, and live under the same kind of ineffectual autocracy that has ruled the peninsula since the tenth century. North Korea is a bastion of a very special sort of freedom that catastrophically refuses to make any sense.

Her leaders think that they alone hold the torch of fanatic starvation-liberty aloft, that only Korea’s hands, weak and atrophied from the ravages of international capitalism, can shine this light to all who are morbid enough to stare at it. But he has an ally, a twin. That twin is Scotland. (more…)

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Varosha: A Five Star Ghost Resort

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A postcard of Famagusta from the late 1960s

Let’s say you’re a super-rich movie star in the late 1960s who wants to party on a beach. Where do you go? Monaco? Caen? Napoli? Biloxi? Well, if you took after Elizabeth Taylor or Bridgett Bardot, your place of choice might be a little city called Famagusta on the eastern coast of the island of Cyprus. (more…)

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A House in a Field of Small Blue Flowers

Spring has finally come to South Bend, Indiana. Yesterday, I pulled my dusty bicycle out of the lump of boxes I keep piled up in my guest room, and took my first ride of the year.

A lot of people ride their bikes as a way to get exercise or to get from point A to point B, but I ride my bike largely as a way to explore—to look at things. For a Sunday biker like me, South Bend is really the ideal city:

1) It’s mostly flat.

2) No one lives here so all the streets are deserted.

3) Like all dying rust belt towns, South Bend is full of mysteries.

(more…)

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