Berlin. Always becoming, never to be?

Notes from a German-American in Berlin.

California and the West

Postings on the history and culture of San Francisco, California, and the American West.


Some travels around Europe and the world.


About me and my professional and academic background.

From the blog

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  • American Town

    American Town

    How ‘accidental’ was the accidental city of San Francisco? What role did it play in turning America into a global power? Some of the questions I’ve started digging into.

  • The Original Capitol Hill

    The Original Capitol Hill

    Scene from Christmas a year or so back on the Capitoline Hill in Rome. Apparently the name had something to do with people’s heads being chopped off (think capital punishment), such are the vagaries of semantic history. I actually stayed across the river. Easily one of the world’s oldest suburbs, the Trastevere district in Rome…

  • La Isla Bonita

    La Isla Bonita

    One of my favorite islands in the world is on the other side of the continent: Puerto Rico. What’s not to like? Centuries of history and dubious territorial status combine for a trip of a lifetime. I can’t even begin to start describe all the great places to go, so maybe I’ll come back to…

  • Changing Gears: The Awesome OMCA

    Changing Gears: The Awesome OMCA

    A little while ago I did an East Bay excursion to the OMCA, that’s the Oakland Museum of California in the full-character version. Easily one of the best ‘overlooked’ places in the Bay Area. Far from the crabbing crowds of Fishermans’ Wharf, the OMCA tells the California story in a brief spin from Gold Rush…