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 …

Featured, Poetry »

sound travels freely/ through an open window #poem

By | September 15, 2017

Knowing drifting is a process both expected and un-, some
types of animals include lizards, include elephants, include
an amount of pre-thinking to remember that sound travels freely
through an open window, that windows are good enough
and necessary for all. And summer months, we need them most.
With grasses and saplings, eyes adjust to smallness, because
to see them wave or bend gently or …

Headline, Nexus »

From Paradise Lost to Harry Potter, Fanfiction Writers Reimagine the Classics

By | September 15, 2017

As Game of Thrones looks to its eighth season, the show—strictly speaking—is no longer filming the books of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. Of course, it is still using the characters, world, and settings that Martin established (though its sometimes-drastic departures from the source material have been the cause of controversy before). But as the show has passed the timeline covered …

Headline, What It Means to Be American »

Chuck Taylor—the Shoe Salesman Whose Name Became Synonymous With Basketball

By | September 14, 2017

When Chuck Taylor, who was born in rural southern Indiana in 1901, left home at age 17 to play professional basketball, he was following an unlikely dream. The game of basketball—invented by James Naismith, a YMCA physical fitness instructor in Massachusetts in 1891—was still a minor sport in America. Few competitive leagues existed, and those that did were regional. Most organized teams were subsidized by …