On Anteaters and National Pride

When I was seventeen, I had this conviction that my high school was better than yours. I held this cherished belief even though Vacaville kicked our asses in wrestling every year (metaphorically, because even though you drag your opponent’s elbow against his testicles, no kicking is allowed) and cross-town rival Armijo sent their best students … [Read more…]

Music Monday: Kitsune References.

Kitsune is the sly and shape-changing Japanese fox. Neko Case is a Seattle punk rocker turned alt-country crooner. It could be just me, but her Ukrainian heritage isn’t evident in her name. Before I ever heard her incredible voice, I was drawn to her name: Neko means “cat” in Japanese. The title song from the … [Read more…]

Random Personal Notes

I don’t think I’ve ever been quite so busy.  I applied to a prestigious writer’s workshop last night.  I should hear back in the next couple of weeks.  I’ll reveal more details then, for better or for worse. Reading takes time, and since my free reading time is at a premium,  books are investments.  I’d … [Read more…]

Hungry Ghosts and Rational Faith

Detail from the Scroll of Hungry Ghosts showing ghosts devouring corpses in a graveyard. Click to see the full image. A few years back, I took a graduate course called “Japanese Ghosts.” It was a fascinating blend of cultural, folklore, literary, feminist, political and religious studies. One article argued against the common assumption among academics … [Read more…]

Of Penises and Nosebleeds (and Fame)

I’ve been quoted by Andrew Sullivan on the Daily Dish again. The first time was for my specialist linguistic knowledge. Today I drew on my rich bi-cultural heritage to provide an explanation of the following picture: Andrew Sullivan averages nearly 75,000 visits each day, which is about 74,963 more than I get at Mind on … [Read more…]

Loving v. Virginia.

Forty years today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously against state anti-miscegenation laws. I’m too tired to analyze this right now, but I wanted to acknowledge that I’m the child of a mixed-race marriage, and though I rarely think of it in this way, I guess you could say I’m in a mixed-race marriage myself. … [Read more…]