The collective media genuflection began the moment Nelson Mandela died. Everyone, it seemed, was in agreement: this was a great man, a giant of history, etc. etc. This is partly true, and partly media narrative. For example, South Africa is not, despite Mandela's efforts, in great shape: The scene ... More >>
Simon Hanukaev's family has lived along the western shore of the Caspian Sea for generations. Settled near the city of Derbent, a southern city in the Russian republic of Dagestan, Hanukaev's predecessors lived through khanates and tsars, under Bolshevik revolution and Stalinist resettlement. His pa ... More >>
The most well-known prank in Rice history took place on a warm spring morning in 1988. A few years after the idea first crept into their keg-addled minds, a handful of engineering students erected a pair of 24-foot A-frames around the campus's centerpiece, a one-ton statue of William Marsh Rice that ... More >>
Tomorrow is May Day. It doesn't mean a lot in the U.S., but in many nations it's their version of Labor Day. Back in the day, when there was such a thing as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, May Day was a big, big deal. Soviet leaders would stand on a huge stage as mighty missiles, demonstra ... More >>
Hey, remember the Russians? Before they had a gajillion oil dollars and all those supermodels, they wanted to kill us all. But it wasn't all creeping dread and mutually assured destruction. Until the Berlin Wall came down, the Cold War was a common subject in popular culture. Besides KGB trenchcoat ... More >>
Ninety-five years ago today, the tank made its debut at World War I's Battle of the Somme. It played a role in bringing an end to that appallingly bloody and stupid battle, and tanks have since gone on to become vital symbols of military might. Here are nine iconic moments or personalities involvi ... More >>
Just another brick in the wallFifty years ago today, East German construction crews were in the last stages of preparation for building the Berlin Wall. On August 13, they began, instantly giving an incredible propaganda tool to the free world. The Wall has been down for 22 years and will so ... More >>
All around us are radio waves carrying news, music, and whatever the hell you call the sound that comes out of Katy Perry's Summer's Eve-smelling yap. Hidden amongst the programming, though, are mysterious signals of unknown origin. Consider the Backwards Music Station, aka Whalesong. It ... More >>
This weekend, as we come together to celebrate Independence Day, let's do our best to remember what this holiday is all about. It's more than merely dodging DWI checkpoints on your way home from backyard barbecues and trying to decide between the Jon & Kate 8 or Deadliest Catch marathons on TV ... More >>
Once a pre-Christian celebration of the beginning of the summer, May 1 became associated with the labor movement and was eventually appropriated by the Soviet Union. The Cold War has been over for almost 20 years, so what better way to commemorate May Day than by poking fun at some famous movie Com ... More >>
The Art Guys share 25 years of "drawings, proposals, failed schemes and pipe dreams"
Music from Coffee and Cigarettes (Milan)
Painter Vladimir Gorsky learned how to work the system in the Soviet Union for personal gain. He discovered that things operate much the same way in America.
You want oligarchs? We got oligarchs!
And it's not every candidate for Congress who can say that
Part two of Angels may not match part one, but it's brilliant still