Beginning today, I’m adding a blog at to my portfolio. It’s called Voyages, and it’s meant to help you sort out what you need to know about the auto industry.

Voyages will help you put the automobile industry in a context that you understand. I’ll give you useful information about cars, car shopping, the auto companies, and the people who run them. We’ll explore the latest auto sales trends, environmental issues, and look at how cars fit into your daily lives – or not. I’m especially interested in alternatives to automobiles, and how the importance of cars and trucks is changing.

Come check it out and let me know what you’d like to know. In the meantime, keep listening to Changing Gears and reading my work in The Atlantic Cities.



I recently got back from a long weekend in New Orleans. You can read about my food adventures on our sister blog But I wanted to share a couple of thoughts about the city in general.

My family has been visiting New Orleans for years. My brother Frank lived there for a couple of years when he worked in radio, and we all love the city’s architecture, music, and of course, its food. It’s one of those cities that is permanently mapped in my head. New Orleans is among a handful like London and Paris and Tokyo and Toronto where I’d happily go live.  Continue reading “A Trip To New Orleans, Finally, After Katrina” »

It’s been a splendid fall in Chicago, with warm days, cool nights and no snow on the horizon yet. But Chicago’s new mayor, Rahm Emanuel, isn’t relaxing.

The city has a budget deficit of $637 million, and Emanuel is trying to get Chicago’s city council to approve a full slate of reforms. He’s had to give up for now on one of his signature demands: a longer school day for Chicago’s school children, who have the shortest school day of any big city in the Midwest.

I wrote about the new mayor and the city’s problems recently for The Atlantic Monthly’s new AtlanticCITIES page, and I’ll be keeping track of him as he tackles his wishlist.

Here’s my story. What do you think of Mayor Emanuel thus far?