and this time it's set in an american city

Photo and caption by Lorraine Yip National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest

Traveling through Cuba in a vintage 1950 Chevrolet with a speedometer which no longer works. We were passing by the city of Camagey known for its winding streets. The modern American Hawaiian hula figure and yellow taxi cab sign on the dashboard adds to the time travel-esque element of the classic Chevrolet, set against the backdrop of an old and perhaps dilapidated , but not forgotten, Cuba.

You’re My Home- Jamie Reagan Imagine

Pairing: Jamie Reagan x Reader

Word Count: 1570

Request: None- I just missed writing for Jamie 

A/N: I went into a lot of detail about the reader’s background because, you guessed it, I’m projecting. Working in the Foreign Service is my dream (then moving into a cushy job at the State Dept. working my way up to Madam Secretary wink wink.)) All flashbacks are in italics and marked with lines. Expect some more writing (and a makeover) soon because I’m finally done with school!! 


New York City, the Big Apple, the City That Never Sleeps: all nicknames for the one place you never wanted to find yourself crawling back to. Growing up in New York City itself was nice, but you always planned on traveling the world. The closest you could get to that in NYC was working with the United Nations. 

Ironically, you took a similar approach, joining the Foreign Service straight out of grad school. Your first mission was in Syria, where you spent two years working on humanitarian missions. It was rough working in such a hostile area, but the payoff was incredibly rewarding. You requested it for your second deployment and without much of a fight, you were stationed there once again. At that time, you knew it was unlikely that you were going to be stationed there a third time. The political climate and rebel forces were making it difficult for your missions to take place. 

You eventually found yourself in Tel Aviv, working in the United States Embassy. It was a step above living in a country involved in an armed conflict, but the work wasn’t nearly as fulfilling. It was more about politic power than it was about helping those affected by the crisis in the Middle East. You left after only six months.

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The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York, written by Deborah Blum, is a non-fiction account about the development of forensic toxicology as we know it today. In 1918, New York City appointed a chief pathologist as its first scientifically trained medical examiner. The book chronicles his life’s work and the work of the city’s first toxicologist as it related to the deaths caused by poisoning at the time. Their lead ensured that new forensic standards were set for the rest of the United States.

The author wrote the book because she was always interested in poison and “wanted to write about the mystery about why poisons kill us”. It’s a critically acclaimed work that was optioned for TV and featured in an episode of American Experience back in 2014. It can be approached as a collection of short stories (one poisoning case per chapter) and the backdrop of the Prohibition is said to make for a particularly engaging read!

Me, 364 days of the year: wish I lived in a different country

Me on July 4th, surrounded by platters of sliced watermelon and store bought potato salad, a red solo cup in my hand and a lighter in the other as I set off fireworks in the middle of the street: AND IM PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN WHERE AT LEAST I KNOW IM FREE

In 1991, Empty Nest spawned its own spinoff, Nurses, a sitcom about a group of nurses working in the same hospital as Dr. Weston. The three series (Empty Nest, The Golden Girls and Nurses) represented one of the few times in American television history that three shows from the same producer, all taking place in the same city and explicitly set up with the characters knowing each other from the very beginning, aired on the same network in one night. On at least two occasions, Harris wrote storylines which carried through all three series as fictional crossovers.
—  The Golden Girls expanded Universe. 
Dante’s Peak (1997)

Plot: U.S. Geologist Harry Dalton (Pierce Brosnan) is dispatched to a small town to investigate the extinct volcano that lies opposite. However when he finds that it is only dormant, and about to go off, he finds it hard to get the word out - until it finally happens.

Review: It’s often the case in Hollywood where two people develop the same idea at the same time, only with a couple of significant changes. Think the recent competing Snow Whites, or American president in trouble movies.

In 1997 that idea was a natural disaster; a volcano, to be precise. But while the Tommy Lee Jones vehicle (the imaginatively titled Volcano) set its action in a big city, Los Angeles, the action in Dante’s Peak was set in an eponymous small American mountain town. The action was on a much smaller level too; with less loss of life to worry about, the story is mainly about people evacuating to a safe distance, rather than having to try and deal with a large bodycount. This means we can focus on in-feasibly handsome geologist Harry, his love interest, town Mayor Rachel Wando, and their battle to save her kids from the lava.

It’s not overstating it to say the story is predictable; it’s not exactly a think-piece, or great drama of our times. The biggest question is whether the dog will survive, or be killed of to add pathos. It isn’t necessarily bad at what it does, just a little bland and predictable. Nothing here is going to set the world alight. But it’s hard to find anything to particularly lay into. It does its job with a family-friendly story and scientifically dodgy set-up, and then tells it straight forward and with little surprise. Brosnan is fine, Hamilton is fine, and the supporting cast are often quirky but hardly memorable.

Nobody set out to make Inception with this one but that’s fine; neither film is likely to be everyone’s cup of tea. This one is a bland one which is probably good for a laze Sunday afternoon, but don’t expect and great excitement.


On this day seventy years ago began  one of the most gruesomeand tragic battles that befell the Philippines. It was not because the battle was not won. It was. But it was won at a great price.

A mere two generations ago, one would hear from the elderly a Manila that was shining free city of the Orient. Many people have called it by various names. Manila the Pearl of the Orient—reminiscent of that line that Rizal wrote on his Mi Ultimo Adios. Manila, the Queen of the Pacific, as was so named by an early American documentary on the City of Manila.

A photo of the pre-war Manila

The city was probably one of the best cities in Asia at the time. When the Imperial Japanese forces conquered the city on January 2, 1942, they exclaimed that it was indeed more advanced than any city they had in their homeland. No one could attest that Manila, situated perfectly on one of the best harbors in the world, with one of the best entrepots on that side of the Pacific, was a true cosmopolitan city, and the unchallenged capital of the country.

It had been three years since Japan had occupied the country. The city in its paled glory had been languishing in food supplies, as the price of rice and other commodities skyrocketed to new heights due to extreme inflation.

The struggling Japanese Empire, still resolute in holding onto its illusion of a Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere despite the fact that the Allied forces have made a foothold in Leyte since October 1944, was prepared to sacrifice its soldiers die—lest the Americans make Manila a base of operations to launch an invasion of the Japanese homeland.

At around this time, civilians all over the city wonder at the curious structures that the Japanese have set up on all the street corners and intersections of Manila. Unknown to the civilians, these structures, pillboxes and minefields, are hidden alcoves were Imperial Japanese soldiers would shoot from a slit opening of these boxes to kill anything on sight.

At daybreak, smoke rose up from the burning warehouses at the Manila North Harbor, torched by the Japanese, as the Allied forces, both coming from the north (from Lingayen) and the south (from Nasugbu, Batangas) encountered fierce Japanese resistance in Novaliches and Cavite respectively. 

As the city impatiently awaited the coming of the liberation forces, it was the Filipino guerilla Manuel Colayco who led the Allied northern forces to the University of Santo Tomas. The oldest Western-style university in Asia have been used by the Japanese as an American internment camp where 1,500 malnourished American prisoners-of-war are encamped. Since the electricity had been turned off by the Japanese due to American air raids, the campus was in pitch black darkness.

 At around 7:30 to 8:00 pm shots were fired near the gates of UST. Grenades were thrown. The Allied troops finally reached UST at around that time (AVH Hartendorp say it was at 8:40 pm).

The hero, Manuel Colayco, however didn’t make it. A Japanese sniper shot him to his death, but he died a hero. The fighting stretched all the way to Far Eastern University, a stonesthrow away from Bilibid Prison, another POW camp. FEU was heavily fortified by the Imperial Japanese forces, but it could not be helped.

The liberation forces finally arrive in the city and no one, not even the despotic Imperial Japanese soldiers could stop it. 

It seemed that the city would be freed in a couple of days. But the worst is yet to come.

Commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Manila 1945, the gruelling battle for the liberation of the city that lasted from February 3 to March 3, 1945.


On the evening of February 13, 1945, a series of Allied firebombing raids begins against the German city of Dresden, reducing the “Florence of the Elbe” to rubble and flames, and killing as many as 135,000 people. It was the single most destructive bombing of the war—including Hiroshima and Nagasaki—and all the more horrendous because little, if anything, was accomplished strategically, since the Germans were already on the verge of surrender.

Among the conclusions reached at the February 1945 Yalta Conference of the Allied powers was the resolution that the Allies would engage in concerted strategic bombing raids against German cities known for war-production and manufacturing, in an effort to bring the Nazi war machine to a crashing halt. The tragic irony of the raid on Dresden, a medieval city renowned for its rich artistic and architectural treasures, is that during the war it had never been a site of war-production or major industry. Both Allies and Germans alike have argued over the real purpose of the firebombing; the ostensible “official” rationale was that Dresden was a major communications center and bombing it would hamper the German ability to convey messages to its army, which was battling Soviet forces at the time. But the extent of the destruction was, for many, disproportionate to the stated strategic goal—many believe that the attack was simply an attempt to punish the Germans and weaken their morale.

More than 3,400 tons of explosives were dropped on the city by 800 American and British aircraft. The firestorm created by the two days of bombing set the city burning for many more days, littering the streets with charred corpses, including many children. Eight square miles of the city was ruined, and the total body count was between 35,000 and 135,000 (an approximation is all that was possible given that the city was filled with many refugees from farther east). The hospitals that were left standing could not handle the numbers of injured and burned, and mass burials became necessary.

Menino accomplished two remarkable feats since taking office in 1993. In his unprecedented five consecutive terms as Boston’s mayor, he came to embody the city he served and knew better than any living person. At the same time, in a political era when Americans often view state and federal government as distant, divisive and ineffectual, Menino set a national example for accessible, inclusive and effective government. And he did so by typifying everything great about the city he loved

Menino was a man who effortlessly bridged divides. In a city known for its elite institutions and scientific breakthroughs, he didn’t receive a college diploma until he was 45 and serving on the city council. He was the first Italian-American mayor in a city whose politics had long been dominated by the Irish, and he remained at the rudder as Boston became a minority-majority city as an ever-present representative of the city’s marginalized voices. Despite all this (and maybe because of it), he cruised to victory by wide margins in all five of his mayoral races.
—  In praise of Tom Menino, America’s most humble mayor, who set a standard all American leaders should aspire to 

Tonight the Rolling Stones played a special surprise show at the Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles, with a one-time only set featuring the original Sticky Fingers album in its entirety with additional Stones hits.

The intimate performance was a celebration of the June 9th re-issue of the Sticky Fingers album, one of the most revered albums in the band’s storied catalog, the 1971 classic features timeless tracks such as ‘Brown Sugar,’ ‘Wild Horses,’ ‘Bitch,’ ‘Sister Morphine’ and ‘Dead Flowers’. The Stones will kick off their 15-city North American ZIP CODE Tour at Petco Park in San Diego on Sunday, May 24.


Start Me Up

When The Whip Comes Down

All Down The Line


Dead Flowers

Wild Horses

Sister Morphine

You Gotta Move


Can’t You Hear Me Knocking

I Got The Blues

Moonlight Mile

Brown Sugar


Rock Me Baby

Jumpin’ Jack Flash

Can’t Turn You Loose