Sign of the times: The Villaj Idiut

This in an honest-to-goodness true story: I was walking across a bank parking lot recently, and cutting across the same parking lot was a couple pushing their belongings in a grocery cart.

And just as I was thinking to myself, “That’s got to be tough, living out of a grocery cart,” the woman turns to the man she is with, looks at the guy spinning a sign on the street corner, and says, “What a loser.”


Life's purpose: Haugh About That?

Standing at the head of the classroom, her tiny facial features peeking out from the massive folds of her long veil, Sister Peter stared out at 50 second-graders. By the sharpened look in her beady, coffee-colored eyes, I knew we were about to be schooled on her favorite topic.


Divine conspiracy: Haugh About That?

Rushing back into the house to grab my lifeline to the world – my cellphone – I had only a minute to spare before my listing appointment when I came face-to-face with a large yellow puddle on the white living room carpet. Cowering in the corner was the guilty party. The damn dog was once again testing my patience.


Billionaire dreams: A Piece of My Mind

If you had more money than you could possibly need, how would you spend it?

A fair number of billionaires have had to struggle with this question. 


Dangerous streets: A Piece of My Mind

I’m driving along El Monte Avenue between Foothill Expressway and Springer Road at approximately 6 p.m. on a midwinter evening. In keeping with the “village feeling” of our town, there are no sidewalks and no streetlights.


Homecoming: No Shoes, Please

I’m traveling with my mother next month to her hometown of Takatomi, Japan, because her eldest sister, my 91-year-old aunt, needs help planning the final years of her life. However, nothing about the trip will be as simple or straightforward as that sentence might imply, so let me break it down for you.


Freedom's just another word: No Shoes, Please

It used to be that the word “freedom” held exclusively positive connotations for me, but now it’s really become a mixed bag. It all started in 2001 when President George W. Bush asked the question he felt was on the minds of most Americans regarding the 9/11 attacks: Why do they hate us? Bush’s answer was, in part, “They hate our freedoms: our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with one another.”

It was such a simplistic answer – having nothing to do with history, culture or geopolitical tensions – and reminded me of a teenager explaining a slight from a classmate with the conclusion, “She’s just jealous.”


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