Saturday, August 30, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Ok, just time for a quick joke (with apologies to my friend Rudy and a hat tip to Andrew Sullivan):
From Peggy Noonan, Wall St. Journal:
By the way, the best line of the convention so far? Ted Strickland of Ohio, when he echoed the 1988 Democratic convention joke about George H.W. Bush, that he was born on third and thought he hit a triple. Strickland said of George W. Bush that he was born on third and then stole second.(Yes, that's a picture of lil' W above.)
Friday, August 22, 2008
Hernandez' picture above is from an anti-delinquent rally in Mexico City ("Be a Patriot, Kill 1 Delinquent" the sign reads). He also has some interesting posts on "Emo Riots" in the capital, and lots of other things you won't find on CNN.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
In the end, my sojourn in the desert only lasted about three days. Scared at night, alternately bored and scared during the day, I gave up and fled to a friend's house in nearby Phelan.
A couple of years later I wrote a paper on my experience, concluding with the sense of failure I carried about the adventure. My history of religion professor, UCSC's venerable Noel Q. King (and here), gave me a great grade and noted that in such exercises, it wasn't chronos time which mattered, but karios time.
Even more years later, Tim Butler (and here) wrote a song about my desert experience and included it on his album, Good. I hope he doesn't mind me reprinting the lyrics:
Going to the light to set himself alight
driving in his bug with three dozen cans of spam
may go for a week -- may go for a life
sitting in one place like that old joshua tree there
joining in the space
far light - star light
days pass on his mount - i don't know the count
time becomes a stranger as stranger time becomes
oscillations made between madness and a gift
"what am I doing?" (thinks) "what am I doing?"
yet there's a constant company
in his singular abide
moving in space
far light - star light
out of all his water - ate up all the spam
voices talking (small) voices talking
over the horizon clouds are rising up
horses running (sees) horses running
drive back in the car
defeat - a failure - a demise
but wasn't he in star light - far light
a smile cracks across his wind-cracked face as he recalls
the way he lost himself / won himself
beheld the light.
Monday, August 18, 2008
The Grapes of Wrath is a heartbreaking story written in 1939 about a family of sharecroppers who get kicked off their land in Oklahoma during the Depression by bankers wanting to make more profit by introducing industrial agriculture methods. They go to California in where supposedly "the living is easy," but find that it is anything but.
If it's not already, The Grapes of Wrath should be required reading for all Californians. It's a powerful reminder that there's an awful lot of people of all backgrounds in California descended from those who fled poverty in search of a better life. And there's nothing illegal about that in my book.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Consider the cult of the orange-crate label. It promoted brands with evocative names such as Esperanze, Mission or Albion during California's citrus era; they're now collector's items, prized for fanciful, idyllic depictions of Old California -- perfect groves, gauzy foothills, flirtatious señoritas. More crucially, this folk art ingrained such romanticized scenes into the American mind, passed off as snapshots of California to inspire the mass in-migrations the state experienced for decades afterward.
Everyone knows that this idealization is a fraud. The insatiable thirst for cheap labor to harvest oranges through the 1960s set us on the course for our current immigration troubles, while naranjeros such as my grandfather faced rampant segregation that in many ways continues (drive while Mexican at night in Newport Beach, and you'll understand). The constant push to extract as much value from property as possible, whether by record sales of oranges at the turn of the century, or by the square footage bought and sold since, is Orange County's truest legacy. Still, I can't help but feel sadness at the demise of our last orchards. The trees should remain as a living monument...
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Here's the newspaper story.
Thursday, August 07, 2008
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
"Fela!," a new Off Broadway musical...a tribute to the Nigerian bandleader and political gadfly Fela Anikulapo Kuti...Mr. Kuti, who died of AIDS in 1997 at 58, was the king of Afrobeat, a musky hybrid of African rhythms and American jazz and funk, and his songs — 15, 20, 40 minutes long — have coaxed many feet to the dance floor. Defiant and irreverent in politics, he also used his music and fame to denounce corruption and ridicule those he called the world’s “vagabonds in power.” That he was repeatedly jailed and beaten for his opposition only quickened his route to becoming a modern African folk hero.
The story revolves around the central tragedy of Mr. Kuti’s life, when 1,000 soldiers stormed his compound in Lagos in 1977 and threw his mother, Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, a prominent activist, from her window; she later died from her injuries. In the musical Mr. Kuti wonders whether he should give up, and he muses mischievously on the idea of himself as a rebellious political leader, a “black president.”
[You can read more here.]