Welcome to Perspectives, a blog of thoughts, commentary and observations ranging from autistic adolescents to intimate portraits of urban communities.


Summer Travel Plans

I should take a trip, I thought to myself, as I perused some interesting destinations in the news.

  • Iran is once again issuing American tourist visas, which it had halted in response to the Trump administration’s travel ban. The upside is that Iran is a popular destination for intrepid travelers, and Americans are popular there. The downside is that the former “axis of evil” remains one of 41 countries on the U.S. state department’s travel warning list and is – along with Syria and Sudan – one of three countries labeled state sponsors of terrorism.
  • For the more adventurous, ferry service just opened between Russia and North Korea. Sixty Chinese tourists have already booked passage on the Man Gyong Bong boat, which features 40 cabins, bars and a karaoke lounge, where impersonations of Kim Jong-un are not encouraged. The ferry does sail under the path of North Korea’s latest missile firing. And while there is little information on what to do when you arrive in the Hermit Kingdom, there is no guarantee you’ll be able to leave.
  • Israel has closed the spectacular mountain fortress of Masada to helicopter landings because of the fragility of the UNESCO World Heritage site. This put off at least one traveler.
  • Maybe I should just stay home . . . although many countries, including such staunch allies as Britain, France, German, Canada and New Zealand, have issued travel advisories for “mass shootings, police violence, anti-Muslim and anti-LGBT attitudes and the Zika virus.”

It’s intimidating, to be sure . . . but the more we withdraw from the world, the more dangerous it becomes.

An Atheist in Church

An Atheist in Church