Saturday, May 31, 2008


Ing reminded me:

Some years ago, before the new San Jose City Hall was built, on my way to teach I would step over homeless people morning and night. In the evenings, they would get ready for the night, making their 'beds' using old sheets that they put down on the pavement, or on the steps of overfilled shelters and churches. In the mornings, still on their makeshift beds, they would have breakfast and get ready for the day. I especially remember a woman braiding her daughter's hair on the sidewalk. It was such a familiar scene, made public by circumstance. Just like Ing, I would try not to step on the sheets, or look directly at the people. I didn't want to invade their privacy.

Then I would drive 20 minutes down the street and teach at the private university. There the groundskeepers are in the habit of wrapping grass clippings in large sheets of burlap, leaving bundles all across the lawns before coming back to pick them up.

And I used to think to myself that those sheets of burlap were in better condition than the sheets used by the homeless people in downtown San Jose.

what I learned from television

Favorite episode of my favorite radio show.

Friday, May 30, 2008

what now?

So the question is whether Hillary Clinton has been up against sexism. If she is where is because she is a woman. Looking at the polls it seems Barack Obama has had to fight racism more than Hillary Clinton has had to fight sexism. But it's also a question of what the establishment thinks. And Mrs Clinton's argument would be that the establishment prefers a male candidate.

To her that means that we should let the white working class voters decide - the ones who would never vote for someone of color. We should disregard the process and instead let the bigots straighten out the law makers.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

more baking

Today I made Lemon Bars. Should have upped the lemony content, though. Other than that, success.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

the problem with cell phones: you speak the truth into them.

I was having lunch today and my phone rang. I picked it up because I was by myself and people around me didn't look as if they cared. It was Dan. He asked what I was doing. I told him I was having lunch. He asked what I was eating. I told him "fake sushi."

Which was true, technically, since I was having mass produced sushi off a plastic tray. It was good because I was hungry, but it wasn't very good. It was supposed to be eel, but it tasted mostly of bland rice.

At least I was sitting by the window ways away from the counter. That makes me feel better.

Monday, May 26, 2008


now I want a lemon tree

I had a private lesson once on how to make the perfect Lemon Meringue Pie. The mom of one of my friends did a step by step demonstration. We made her, after she had let it slip that in her youth she had won pie baking contests arranged by either The 4H or The Future Farmers of America, I don't remember which.

The pie indeed came out wonderful. Her secret trick: a perfect seal between the meringue top and the crust.

Seems like that seal happened all on its own there on the pie I made today. Lemons came from Kathy (thanks Kathy), and the recipe from here. I used more juice and less water, though, because those home grown and flagrant lemons were also the juiciest.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

just because it's almost raining today

To play, first turn off the music player in the right side margin.

that's the actual flower there

that bougainvillea again

there sure are times when you want to reel those words back into your mouth

I don't know about Hillary Clinton and her remarks the other day about staying in the race through June, comparing the race she is in with the one in 1968, when Robert Kennedy was shot in the month of June.

All I know is that today, as I heard her speak from Puerto Rico on CNN, she sounds deflated. Her spark is gone.

Monday, May 19, 2008

I am watching pbs. pet peeves edition.

(Self portrait by Pablo Picasso from 1907. He wouldn't like this either.)

On Antiques Roadshow just now, to explain the setting of a Picasso painting, someone said: "July 14th, Bastille Day, is sort of the French version of our Fourth of July."

That struck me as good example of lazy everyday ethnocentrism. Instead of explaining the holiday on its own terms (which wouldn't take much, it's enough to say that it commemorates the French revolution) it is explained as a French version of an American one.

This irritates me because it makes the world smaller, as it makes us only talk about things that can be compared to things that we already know. And it makes us diminish things, because we will focus on the aspects that resemble something we already know, and leave the rest aside.

And it breads misunderstanding, because we will jump to conclusions. I bet there are people who now think the French had to fight the English for their independence. For instance.

this guy changed my life

David Roche, inspiration.


I just felt a little sick to my stomach thinking of the possibility of Bill Clinton back in the White House via his wife's possible vice presidency. And that surprised me, because when Bill Clinton was still in the White House doing things that made other people sick to their stomachs, I couldn't care less.

Not that I think it will happen. But it's weird to realize how drastically Bill Clinton's image has changed over the past few months.


For those of us who love Australia (hi Robyn).

Saturday, May 17, 2008







young gifted and black. is where it's at.

To play the clip, first turn off the music player in the right hand margin below.

So, yeah, I don't like it when they call Barack Obama elitist. I have an especially hard time with Hillary Clinton doing it. I think it's a cheap shot. And I think it's racist.

When Condeleezza Rice first started working for president Bush as his National Security Advisor she talked about how people would come up to her and tell her that her "parents must be proud". She would respond that as a third generation college educated woman, she was supposed to be where she was.

Standards, and expectations, do differ depending on color.

You don't throw the word 'elitist' in the face of someone who traditionally belongs to the elite. You throw the word 'elitist' it in the face of someone who is challenging you.

I met a young woman yesterday who I knew a little in her first year of college but haven't met since. She is a senior now, and she is graduating next month.

We were on a committee together. There was one staff person, one faculty person (me), and this young woman as a student representative.

I was completely impressed by her. Smart complex observations, confidence, commitment.

The young woman is Mexican American and initially she had a hard time adjusting to a predominantly white, private, college campus. But she did, and she has done very well.

Those who don't belong to the traditional elite face particular challenges when entering higher education. The young woman I met yesterday overcame those challenges. So did Barack Obama. They, and every other person in that same situation, learn lessons that many white students don't.

If Barack Obama would publicly address how he feels when they call him elitist, we'd learn a lot.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

rich is relative. educated and black is not.

A Clinton supporting commentator on MSNBC just said that Barack Obama comes across as "some rich elite snob".

Student-loan educated Barack Obama, that is.

Consider this: Over and over again in this campaign Hillary Clinton has said that she wants to make "college affordable".

And consider this: If college is made more affordable, colleges will start producing far more Barack Obamas. Are we really prepared for that?

Friday, May 09, 2008

jeanne's a little bit cooler

With apologies to the nice people of Ireland. I think you are cool. But what Jeanne actually said was that this is 'WAY cooler' than the clip below. You be the judge.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Monday, May 05, 2008

at the end of every email from tira sits this quote

If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform a million realities.
-Maya Angelou