Xbox and Body Bags

I opened the door to hear, “Stop! Don’t come in! I’m jacking off!” My roommate was leaving to go back to the States in thirty minutes, but apparently he felt the need to do it one last time before he left. And there he was, wearing nothing but a University of South Carolina Gamecocks hat, […]

What I Saw on My Summer Vacation

In celebration of thirty years of my wife’s profound ability to tolerate me, we went to France for ten days last month. We did the things we usually do when we go to interesting places. We got a very small and inexpensive hotel room (under the theory that we’re never there anyway) and spent all […]

Stand Down

Exit 127 off Interstate 90 doesn’t seem to go anywhere. There are no towns, no farms, no apparent reason to build an exit in the middle of the driest, flattest section of South Dakota, a desolate expanse of land. If you steal a glance at the right moment, though, you may notice a nondescript vinyl-sided […]

The Art of War

The administrative areas at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts can be rather labyrinthine, and are also closed off to the general public, so Corine Wegener, the diminutive assistant curator for the Department of Architecture, Design, Decorative Arts, Craft, and Sculpture, agrees to meet me outside the gift shop. After we pass through the security doors […]

Back to Iraq

Twenty-seven years ago, I left Iraq on the first leg of a journey that would take me to the United Arab Emirates, Germany, and finally the United States. Today I am an American citizen, a businessman, and the father of three sons. Because my small business, Sindbad’s Café and Market, has become a crossroads for […]

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Repetition Compulsion

“We have to speak up about this war. Now we don’t even count the bodies. We only count the American bodies. Woo-hoo. That’s even more self-obsessed. We kill hundreds and hundreds of Iraqis, and we don’t pay any attention to how many there are. We don’t call up the hospitals; we don’t call up the […]