Flag elements meet fashion: a swimsuit that suggests pernicious patriotism?

Strangely enough, this isn’t the first time I’ve covered flags and swimwear.  It’s not even the second time.  Judging from the tallies of the two topics, the count on flags vastly exceeds those of swimwear.  I do love me some flags.  As an (extremely) amateur vexillologist, I enjoy not just their origins in heraldry but

Maryland House: a posh new travel plaza is already running on empty.

By this point, we’ve all encountered the legions of business closures induced by COVID-prompted shutdowns of commerce and travel over the last year.  I’ve tried to avoid too much of the cynical coverage of vacancies, instead focusing on clever strategies that various storefront retailers have deployed to generate sales from a carryout vantage point, when

Chipotle bucks the struggling restaurant trend, by predicting the future. What’s so tricky about that?!

A year ago, the prevailing wisdom among urban analysts was that restaurants would serve as the lodestar for any further downtown revitalization.  I shared this sentiment, particularly in recognizing the recent, fashionable emergence of the food hall–a smattering of diverse small-kitchen eateries under one roof.  The reality seemed, then as now, that most other retail—certainly

Empty airport: the consequences of a corona-driven collapse in air travel (MONTAGE).

Less than a month ago, I availed myself of a long-planned opportunity to travel from the mid-Atlantic to the Midwest, using a flight a purchased several weeks before the world’s reaction to the coronavirus pandemic had set the turbulent economic and social course for 2020.  Obviously there are others before me—people who took this risk

Health clubs after-COVID: spatial limitations may prevent people from paring the pandemic poundage.

Among the business enterprises that faced the most stringent of restrictions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic were health clubs and sports/recreational facilities.  Viewed through the prism of contagion, this injunction on gyms during the lockdown generally made sense: they routinely bring people together in close proximity (whether locker rooms or aerobics classes); they allow patrons to

Social distancing sidestep: the DC restaurants that buck the trend.

I rarely feature material as timely as this; in fact, I deliberately avoid content with a short shelf life, mainly because, if one posts as infrequently as I do, one has little to gain from an article whose relevance will fade within 72 hours, as advancements on the subject quickly supersede it.  But in mid-March

Holiday season supermarket displays: colors, curios, and comestibles.

When most Americans hear the phrase “holiday season” they tend to think of the end of the year—generally the time frame from Thanksgiving to Christmas (or Hanukkah), then to New Year’s Day  But our appetite for celebratory gestures—and the marketplace’s zeal to respond to it through commodification—has essentially expanded the holiday season to Halloween, given