Spoken English: No Shoes, Please

Cathy and I come from similar backgrounds. Our families are close, and our mothers remain confidantes to this day. I hadn’t seen her in a very long time, but recently, in the space of six weeks, we’ve attended the same two funerals.

At funeral No. 2, my sister and I walked with Cathy to the parking lot, followed by an entourage of our Japanese elders: my mother, Cathy’s mother and Cathy’s aunt and uncle. As per usual, one group chatted amiably among themselves entirely in Japanese, the other group entirely in English. Periodically, we would crosstalk in our respective native tongues, but for the most part we stayed in our linguistic, generational lanes.


Out of the mouths of babes: Haugh About That?

Drowning my sorrows in a stiff glass of Cabernet, I sat alone in the dark late one evening and moaned, “God, what am I doing wrong?”

After seven years of coaching both fall and spring league, you’d think I’d have the softball gig down, but that was not the case. In 1992, I was given the task of herding a group of 7- to 9-year-old kittens that couldn’t catch a fly ball or connect with the bat. We weren’t just bad, we stank, and I’d lost all confidence in my ability to run the team.


Unpresidential politics: No Shoes, Please

“Don’t feed the trolls” was advice offered by a political commentator in 2011 during the Donald Trump-manufactured hysteria over President Barack Obama’s birth certificate. What he meant was: Don’t encourage fringe elements to express nonsensical viewpoints, don’t fan the flames of discord among people driven by irrational fears, and don’t bestow the mantle of leadership onto someone simply because he’s the one holding the biggest pitchfork in a crowd of angry townsfolk.

Well, obviously, nobody in the Republican Party was listening back then, because Trump is on his way to becoming their presidential nominee, bolstered by droves of supporters who love his swagger, his condescension, his insufferable ignorance and his incendiary rhetoric. It’s incredible to watch Trump feed his audience the kind of dog food that was sold 50 years ago, and then see them gobble it up like it’s steak. Remember Gaines-Burgers? Resembled a hamburger patty but was actually a toxic plastic?


Get out of my vey: The Villaj Idiut

Memo to Google: The speed limit is only a suggestion.

Even Johnny Law acknowledges that you can pretty much go 9 mph over the posted speed limit and they don’t really care – unless you are on Interstate 280, where you have to go 29 mph over the speed limit or you’ll get run over.


Inside the lines: Haugh About That?

Curled around my down-feathered pillow as chicken pox created a polka-dot motif all over my body, my father stood at the end of my bed with the best pill for relief.

“Honey, I have a gift for you,” he smiled. “I know how much you love to color.” Then, handing me a Shirley Temple coloring book, along with a fresh box of Crayola crayons, I instantly forgot the feeling that a thousand mosquitoes had just attacked my body.


Sunshine on the sports page: A Piece of My Mind

One morning a while ago I sat down with my morning coffee to read the paper. The list of headlines included:

• Tech job engine cooling off?


Deep in the rye: The Villaj Idiut

We had a death in our family recently.

My son became a teenager.


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