Oct 052014
Through Other Lenses: Readings for October 2014

From Around the Web The American Dream “The American Dream Is an Illusion: Immigration and Inequality” by Gregory Clark, Foreign Affairs, August 26, 2014 – “Immigration to the United States rarely changes one’s social status.” “‘American dream; is now a myth: How bad policies and worse ideology ruined us” by Heather Digby Parton, Salon, September 26, 2014 Children “The Shortening Leash” by Jessica Grose and Hanna Rosin, Slate, August 6, 2014 – “Kids today have a lot less freedom than their parents did.” Immigration Economics “The domestic economic impacts […] Continue reading >

Sep 172014

It took some time getting used to tipping in America, and I still have a problem with it. Over the years, Lindsay and I have had many a healthy and heated argument about my resistance to the automatic 20% tip, our cultures and personal experiences clashing like pot lids being banged against each other. No need to go into the details because in this clip from Quentin Tarantino’s movie Reservoir Dogs, Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi) outlines some of my arguments. After all the back and forth, Lindsay and I […] Continue reading >

Aug 272014
Tipping in America, Hand to Hand (Part 1)

When I travel one of the first things I look up about a country is restaurant tipping customs and etiquette. This wasn’t the case when I came to the U.S. 11 years ago, chiefly because I didn’t have the money to go out much, not to mention tip. After returning from the yearlong round-the-world trip and changing my tipping habits (and currencies) every few weeks, I was reintroduced to tipping in America with something close to a jolt. Tipping in Slovakia In my native Slovakia tipping isn’t a strict […] Continue reading >

Aug 192014
Through Other Lenses: American Robotnik Readings for August 2014

From Around the Web Religion “The numbers are in: America still distrusts Atheists and Muslims” by Dan Arel, Salon, July 21, 2014 – “Intolerance towards those with different beliefs: A deeply American tradition.” Language “Learning to Speak American” by Tim Parks, New York Review of Books Blog, December 14, 2012 – Take it down a notch, American English. “Saturday Stat: The Invention of the ‘illegal immigrant’” by Lisa Wade, Sociological Images, August 17, 2014 – The phrase “illegal immigrant” wasn’t part of the English language before the 1930’s. Demographics […] Continue reading >

Jul 212014

From Around the Web Immigration experience “On Not Going Home” by James Wood, London Review of Books, Vol. 36 No. 4, 20 February 2014, pp. 3-8 – Why, even as a voluntary migrant, you can never go back Home. “Losing my voice” by Chika Unigwe, Aeon Magazine, 14 March 2014 – “When I left Nigeria for Belgium, I made my husband’s home my own. But homesickness lodged like a stone inside.” How an African immigrant dealt with the “sorrow of migration.” “Reflections on Exile” by Edward Said, Reflections on […] Continue reading >

Apr 212013
Through Other Lenses: American Robotnik Readings for April 2013

From the RSS Feed “The Rise of Gay Marriage and the Decline of Straight Marriage: Where’s the Link?” by Derek Thompson, The Atlantic, April 4, 2013 “A ‘Whom Do You Hang With?’ Map of America” by Robert Krulwich, NPR Blogs, April 17, 2013 – “These are the first maps that are trying to paint us the way we actually are.” The Book Stack Andre Aciman, False Papers: Essays on Exile and Memory, New York: Picador, 2001 – BUY NOW Salman Akhtar, Immigration and Acculturation: Mourning, Adaptation, and the Next […] Continue reading >

Apr 012013
Central European Events in Portland, Oregon, in April 2013

When it comes to Central/Eastern European events here in Portland, Oregon, April’s looking a bit slow. I will update the list as I discover new events. Updated 4/19/2013 Czech/Slovak Republics: Hospoda, 4/2 Tuesday, April 2, 6:00 p.m.–close McTarnahans Taproom, 2730 NW 31st, Portland Free The monthly gathering of Portland’s Czech and Slovak community. Guests welcome. The Balkans: Kafana Klub, 4/2 Tuesday, April 2, 7:00 p.m. dance lesson, 8:00 p.m.–10:00 p.m. live music Al Forno Ferruzza, 2738 NE Alberta St., Portland, Oregon $3-$5 cover Join us for the unbeatable combination of […] Continue reading >

Mar 172013
Through Other Lenses: American Robotnik Readings for March 2013

From the RSS Feed “De Nimes: The Long Journey of Blue Jeans” by Jenni Avins, Vice, 3/11/2013 – A history of one of America’s most potent symbols. “We Aren’t the World” by Ethan Watters, Pacific Standard, February 25, 2013 – Americans are outliers in more ways than you imagine. “The Decline of Marriage and the Rise of Unwed Mothers: An Economic Mystery” by Derek Thompson, The Atlantic, 3/18/2013 The Book Stack Andre Aciman, Letters of Transit: Reflections on Exile, Identity, Language and Loss, New York: The New Press, 2000 […] Continue reading >

Mar 012013
Central European Events in Portland, Oregon, in March 2013

Don’t believe everything you hear about March being dominated by St. Patrick’s Day. These Central/Eastern European events in March will delight just as well, if not better, even sans green beer and whiskey. All information comes from event websites or organizers. The list will be updated, if needed. Update: 3/21/2013 Eclectic: March Fourth Marching Band, 3/3 and 3/4 Sunday, March 3 at 4:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.; Monday March 4, 9:00 p.m. Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W. Burnside, Portland March 3 all ages, March 4 only 21 and over 3/3 […] Continue reading >

Feb 092013
Through Other Lenses: American Robotnik Readings for January & February 2013

From the RSS Feed “Are Immigrants Taking Your Job? A Primer,” by Catherine Rampell, New York Times/Economix, February 5, 2013 – Your being here as an immigrant raises the wages of native-born workers, albeit only very slightly… & “No, More Immigration Won’t Make You Poorer (Unless You’re an Immigrant),” by Jordan Weissman, The Atlantic, January 30, 2013 – …but it lowers the wages of your fellow immigrants who preceded you. & “The Easy Problem,” by David Brooks New York Times, January 31, 2013 – And other benefits. “For Amusement […] Continue reading >

Jan 092013
Central European Events in Portland, Oregon, in January 2013

With a bit of a delay but by popular demand, here’s a list of upcoming Central European events this month and February 1. All information comes from event websites or organizers. Bulgaria: Dancing with the Bulgarians, 1/10 & 1/24 Thursday, January 10 and 24, 7:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m. Podkrepa Hall, 2116 North Killingsworth St, Portland Free [American Robotnik note: bring something to share for the potluck] Come and join us for a fun night of dancing and learning.

Dec 152012
Through Other Lenses: American Robotnik Readings for December 2012

From the RSS Feed “How to Live Without Irony” by Christy Wampole, Opinionator – A New York Times Blog, November 17, 2012, VS. “Sincerity, Not Irony, Is Our Age’s Ethos” by Jonathan D. Fitzgerald, The Atlantic, November 20, 2012 – Irony and sincerity in mortal combat. The Book Stack Elena Gorokhova, A Mountain of Crumbs: A Memoir, New York, Simon & Schuster, 2010 – A heartfelt, detailed memoir of growing up in the 1960’s Soviet Union. Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, New York: Harper Perennial Modern […] Continue reading >

Nov 172012
Through Other Lenses: American Robotnik Readings for November 2012

From the RSS Feed “My American Lemonade,” kottke.org, November 15, 2012 – A Bulgarian writes about his immigration struggles. “Last Call” by Tim Heffernan, Washington Monthly, November/December 2012 – America is about to start drinking more. “Can’t a guy just make some friends around here? Maybe.” by Matt Pearce, Kansas City Pitch, November 6, 2012 – If you’ve had a hard time finding and making friends in your new homeland, be comforted in knowing the natives have the same problem, Craigslist notwithstanding. “How Millennials Leaving Their Parents’ Basements Could […] Continue reading >

Nov 012012
Central European Events in Portland, Oregon, in November 2012

Enjoy these Central European events. Czech/Slovak Republics: Hospoda, 11/6 Tuesday, November 6, 6:00 p.m.–close McTarnahans Taproom, 2730 NW 31st, Portland Free The monthly gathering of Portland’s Czech and Slovak community. Guests welcome. The Balkans and Beyond: Krebsic Orkestar with Moh Alileche and MWE, 11/15 Thursday, November 15, 9:00 p.m. Mississippi Pizza,  3552 N. Mississippi Ave., Portland, OR $10; 21+ only Event page A Very Special evening of Eastern Music: the big Balkan brass of Krebsic Orkestar with Moh Alileche and very special guests from the Bay Area, MWE, supplying “a […] Continue reading >

Oct 252012
Packaged Apple Slices Confound, Tittilate

The day after the second presidential debate I started a post discussing Mitt Romney’s now-infamous binders full of women when, halfway through the first paragraph, I discovered in the snacks basket at my work a package of apple slices (see photo; there are 6 in there). I’ve been in the U.S. for almost ten years now but every now and then a product comes along that manages to elicit the same amount of surprise and befuddlement as when I first visited in 1996. This is how new blog categories are born! […] Continue reading >