Featured, In the Green Room »

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block Talks Rhythm, Jet Lag, and Curing Depression

By | December 13, 2017

Gene Block has served as UCLA chancellor since Aug. 1, 2007. He previously was vice president and provost of the University of Virginia, where he was also the Alumni Council Thomas Jefferson Professor of Biology. Chancellor Block is a distinguished professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and holds a joint faculty appointment in integrative biology and …

Essay, Featured »

Why Americans Insist on Putting a Price Tag on Life

By | December 12, 2017

Everything, as they say in America, has its price. It has been found that a lack of sleep costs the American economy $411 billion a year and stress another $300 billion. Countless other studies have calculated the annual cost of pain ($560 million), heart disease ($309 billion), cancer ($243 billion), and diabetes ($188 billion). Surf the web at work sometimes? That costs the American people …

Connecting California, Featured »

To Be Blunt, California’s Marijuana Industry Is Stoking High Anxiety

By | December 11, 2017

California’s 2018 transition to legal marijuana contains a mind-bending paradox: Ending prohibitions on marijuana is going to require an awful lot of aggressive law enforcement.
When January 1 rolls around, California will not merely be permitting adults 21 and older to buy marijuana for recreational purposes. The state and its cities also will be scrambling to create a new and wickedly complicated regime to regulate and …

Featured, Poetry »

Christmas letters written,/ then destroyed #poem

By | December 8, 2017

Underneath this day, another
The way morning – shang –
sits on top of afternoon
What is past is
what we see –
Speculation as to how long this war will last.
Con Cater says 3 months. Ethel Taylor says 12 months.
I say three years.
The pages fill. Each day a blank.
Then, my stomach –
moldy flour,
wanting news from home, and
a body is what we bring,
what we …

Connecting California, Featured »

With Charles Manson Gone, California Needs a New Villain

By | December 4, 2017

It’s hard to find a villain who can bring Californians together these days.
That—more than any other factor—is why Charlie Manson’s death produced so many remembrances in California media. Manson was a murderer, but he also represented the time, a half-century ago, when people had enough in common to share certain experiences—like fear of the crazed killers of the Manson Family.
Today, it’s difficult to think of …

Featured, Poetry »

Do we and our words have any effect/ on what the Fates sew? #poem

By | December 1, 2017

Evidence and Inquiry
It was an ordinary October afternoon,
the sky dimmed by clouds that filled
the valley and stripped it of all color,
the sun a rueful smile peeking through.
Inside, drabness total as an eclipse:
the concrete block, lead paint, dust
and greenish light of our classroom.
You and I were there, and Anne as well,
wearing a large hat and enveloped in
her cloud of thoughts. Bob was droning on
when Howard overrode …

Featured, What It Means to Be American »

What Calvin Coolidge Didn’t Understand About Native Americans

By | November 30, 2017

During the summer of 1927, Calvin Coolidge, 30th president of the United States, was formally adopted into the Lakota nation. The ceremonies took place in Deadwood, South Dakota, with the prominent Sicangu Lakota activist and teacher Chauncy Yellow Robe presiding. Yellow Robe’s daughter placed an eagle feather headdress, a potent symbol of Lakota culture, on Coolidge’s head. The tribe also gave Coolidge a Lakota name—Wanblí …

Connecting California, Featured »

New Skyscrapers in L.A. and S.F. Tell Tall Tales About California

By | November 27, 2017

This is a tale of two new skyscrapers—and of two cities that have more in common than they care to admit.
The Wilshire Grand Center towers 73 stories and 1,100 feet over downtown Los Angeles, making it the tallest building west of the Mississippi River. A project of the conglomerate that owns Korean Air, it opened this summer.
In San Francisco, the Salesforce Tower, which takes …

Essay, Featured »

I’m Counting My Family’s Thanksgiving Blessings. My Neighbors Aren’t All So Fortunate

By | November 22, 2017

In November, 2013, Shanice Joseph wrote an essay for Zócalo about how her financially challenged family was preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving. This year we asked her for an update, and she obliged.
With the holidays approaching I thought that I couldn’t be any happier. Over the past four years everything has been going great. My family and friends are happy and healthy. I made supervisor at …

Featured, Readings »

Zócalo’s Ten Favorite Nonfiction Books of 2017

By | November 22, 2017

If 2017 was the year the world stopped making sense to you, Zócalo’s 10 favorite nonfiction books of this new era are exactly what you need. They all, in some way, make sense of phenomena, past and present, that intrigue and confuse us. What is it we love about ghost stories? Where did life come from? Who is Barack Obama, really? Why are Trump supporters …