Connecting California, Featured »

Is California Too Exceptional to Be Part of the U.S.?

By | September 25, 2017

America is terribly polarized.
And it’s all on account of California.
The trouble is not merely that California itself is such a politically polarized place. Or that California contributes to the many causes of polarization: partisan media, ideological movements, cultural atomization, big-money politics, technological change, economic anxiety, and income inequality.
No, the artichoke heart of the matter is that California is simply too big, too exceptional, and too …

Headline, What It Means to Be American »

How Bullwinkle Helped Us Laugh Off Nuclear Annihilation

By | September 25, 2017

“Mr. Chairman, I am against all foreign aid, especially to places like Hawaii and Alaska,” says Senator Fussmussen from the floor of a cartoon Senate in 1962. In the visitors’ gallery, Russian agents Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale are deciding whether to use their secret “Goof Gas” gun to turn the Congress stupid, as they did to all the rocket scientists and professors in the …

Featured, Poetry »

I cough the sun out of its sky #poem

By | September 22, 2017

I cough the sun out of its sky. Letters of the alphabet hurt toward the end. Can we go on without
pronouns? There are at least five ways to say aunt which depend on age. I tear a page out of the
phonebook & place it on my chest. Wind moves through a place other than trees. When we want to
learn a language, what we find to …

Headline, Nexus »

The Trump Administration Wants Uranium Mining in Utah—but What About the Dinosaur Fossils?

By | September 22, 2017

The United States has an extensive system of amazing parks. From the Shenandoah National Park, close to where I grew up, to Sequoia National Park, where I am a trustee for Lost Soldier’s Cave, our national parks connect Americans to our remarkable landscapes and wilderness areas.
I have annual passes to both the U.S. and the California Parks and Recreational Areas. So when someone asks …

Featured, Nexus »

How Mexico and India Fused in My L.A. Kitchen

By | September 21, 2017

It’s a paradox, both of our globalized culture and of Los Angeles: My mother’s quest to cook authentic Indian food when she visits here has taught me a lot about Mexican and Mexican-American cuisine.
I’m not the only one benefiting from this lesson. When my mother, Alicia Mayer, flies in from India and stays with us at our home in West L.A., my friends invite themselves …

Headline, What It Means to Be American »

The 1938 Hurricane That Revived New England’s Fall Colors

By | September 21, 2017

This morning, while driving in central Vermont, listening to the latest news about hurricanes in Florida and Texas, I caught up with my first leaf peeper of the season. Poking along at about 20 mph in his rental car, the tourist was peering at our hills of orange and crimson and gold leaves while simultaneously looking for a place to pull over to snap a …

Headline, Nexus »

Risk-Taking Is Profitable—but Perilous in Our Interdependent World

By | September 20, 2017

Risks are inherent in life and so, over the centuries, people have devised many mechanisms to pool and reduce risks.
These institutions range from families to religious tithing to formal insurance contracts and diversification strategies for market investing. But, whether formal or informal, social or financial, all serve to ensure that those of us who are unfortunate enough to face adversity at any one time …

Headline, Inquiry »

Manuel H. Rodriguez—L.A.’s Chronicler

By | September 19, 2017

 
Manuel H. Rodriguez earned a B.A and an M.A. from UCLA as well as a J.D. from Loyola Law School. He taught in L.A. schools for 41 years, 35 of them at Los Angeles Valley College. He is the father of three sons, including Zócalo’s publisher and editor-in-chief.

Connecting California, Featured, Joe Mathews »

Small and Speedy, Gonzales Is a City on the Move

By | September 18, 2017

Here’s a nasty bit of conventional wisdom: California’s small, rural places are supposedly desperate and doomed, with few economic prospects in an era when state policy favors the urban coastal mega-regions with high-paying jobs and reputations for world-class innovation.
But if that’s true, how do you explain Gonzales?
The small city of just 9,000 sits in the heart of the poor and agricultural Salinas Valley, a region …

Headline, What It Means to Be American »

How Recipe Cards and Cookbooks Fed a Mobile, Modernizing America

By | September 18, 2017

The first edition of The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book—now known as The Fannie Farmer Cookbook—reads like a road map for 20th-century American cuisine. Published in 1896, it was filled with recipes for such familiar 19th-century dishes as potted pigeons, creamed vegetables, and mock turtle soup. But it added a forward-looking bent to older kitchen wisdom, casting ingredients such as cheese, chocolate, and ground beef—all bit …

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