Recent ancient history

I wish I weren’t the kind of person who only looks bad when times are tough, news is bad, or difficult things play out in real time. I’d like to be the kind of person who looks forward, but that’s usually the person getting the evil eye from other people stuck in the present and […] more…

Truisms

I noticed a couple of sayings (“Humanism is obsolete” and “humor is a release”) in rows on a poster hanging in the background of a designer’s studio in the movie “Helvetica.” Googling the sayings led me to their origins in Jenny Holzer’s “Truisms,” one unsurprising instance when they were removed from display more than 25 […] more…

How the week ends

This evening, the food trucks and the crowds were mostly unfamiliar. Last week there was more serendipity, warmer and brighter sunshine. I probably made fewer statements about how much more likely it was that we would need to look around for a place to live outside of Oakland. Once you notice the clock ticking, it’s […] more…

Hail Zubrowka

All narratives are nested dolls, tale within tale with tale told in service of faulty memory, in thrall to adventures and testament to those we’ve met. If we are lucky, we live long enough and well enough to pass on certain values and stances to those alongside whom we work and love. We develop a […] more…

Dad’s bowling shirt

I own maybe half a dozen honest green articles of clothing. I lean more roward olive than a forest green or anything brighter. Still, It felt strange to notice the color showing up more and more on people as the weekend ended, like sine sporting event’s team fandom spilling over into real life. Shamrocks and […] more…

Getting tested on Black AIDS Day

Status updates that will never be posted to Twitter or Facebook: Scrolling through two days’ worth of #BlackAIDSDay tweets within a 100-mile radius. Slipping on a hoodie and donning a hat and lacing up boots because suddenly that is what matters when deciding to go do this. Standing on the east side of Broadway and […] more…

Citius, altius, fabulous

I’d assumed I simply wasn’t going to pay much attention to this year’s Winter Olympics. They’re twelve hours ahead of my time zone? They’re in Russia, a country that has seemed as intent on showing its ass when it comes to journalists, musicians and believers, let alone lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender athletes? But then […] more…

Reporting in the age of mass surveillance

I hadn’t known about tonight’s panel until Martin G. Reynolds sent out an email about it Monday, but I knew I wanted to go as soon as I saw who was speaking. I had vague thoughts of biking up to UC Berkeley’s campus from the Tribune’s newsroom in Oakland, but they vanished as soon as […] more…

Not alone

I woke up, went to work and came home. Most of the day, I was able to spend a little time listening to Mavis Staples. I wasn’t enjoying much of what I was seeing on social media today, with people shouting out “Martian Luther King” and hashtagging #MLKDay and bowdlerizing quotes into 140-character chunks — […] more…

Long walk to freedom

It feels strange to see this movie now. I’m glad I waited until some weeks’ time after his passing to go. I was struck by the limited portrayal of the levels of captivity in his life and his country’s history: his initial grounding in his tribal traditions; his personal level of comfort and ease as […] more…
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