Pompeii takeout and American assumption

Archaeologists have uncovered another fascinating glimpse into pre-eruption life in Pompeii — the recently excavated termopolium, or takeout counter. I’m agog at the brightly painted counter, still vivid after 2,000 years, and the fact that the physical design is so recognizable: we modern folks still use 

Brexit view from the continent

Yesterday, the papers were full of news of Teresa May’s fruitless attempt to break the negotiating stance of the EU regarding Brexit. Or at least, the UK papers were full of that news. Continental papers, not so much. It was a fascinating real-time example of 

Fucking Hell: a new German beer

Ah, the joys of language! Spiegel International reports that the EU trademark authority has approved the brand name “Fucking Hell” for a new beer and line of clothing, because the phrase doesn’t mean what native English speakers think it means. In southern Germany and Austria, 

London for Lovers

File this one under Ads That Make You Do A Doubletake: I did wonder if this was a fake, since it would be the work of twenty seconds in Photoshop to add a Eurostar logo and the text to the photo. ProgressiveAdvertiser posted a real 

Swifts are the swiftest

The common swift (Apus apus) has just been declared the fastest bird in the world in level flight. Most people know that peregrine falcons are the fastest birds in the air, reaching speeds of 300 kph (186 mph) in a dive. But that’s using gravity 

Das Rad

A friend sent me a video that put me in mind of a wonderful film I’d seen seven years ago, so off I went to the intertubes to search for it. Have I mentioned that I love Google? When all I could remember was “animated 

“This isn’t normal”

As a recent arrival in the Algarve — this is my fourth winter here — I have no idea what constitutes normal weather for this region. The prior three winters had rain, certainly, but never Oregon-style. Never more than a few days of rain before 

The Olympic story of Petra Majdic

Why this story is not getting more attention, I do not know. It’s got everything sports journalists usually drool over: top ranked athlete, injury, gutsy performance, medal against all odds. But this top ranked athlete is a cross-country skier, which is not an event that 

Europe’s alcohol belts

Strange Maps features an intriguing map showing Europe divided into three alcohol belts: the Wine Belt of the south, the Beer Belt in the middle latitudes, and the Vodka Belt (or Distilled Spirits Belt) of the north. Each is influenced by “a mix of culture 

I take it back about my garage being tight

One of the things I’ve had to get used to in Portugal is the vast difference between what Americans and Portuguese consider sufficient garage space. In the US, a single-car garage is something real estate agents hate to deal with, because it reduces the resale