Category Archives: social and anti

Why it’s so hard to keep Nigeria in focus

A discussion on Facebook pointed out the lack of sufficient coverage and emphasis on the tragedy of Nigeria’s struggle with the Boko Haram group, and I have to weigh in. The reasons for our poor information and erratic, ever-corrected “facts” are not, I believe, based in racism. Having lived in Nigeria for many years, I’d like … Continue reading →

Posted in: Blog, education, history, social and anti

A Con-ver-sa-tion

  “Welcome,” my mother said to the unwelcome guest. Her black eyes assessed the make-up, hair-sprayed brown curls, the round features of a young woman of perhaps twenty five. “What a nice house,” the guest said. She turned her big blue American eyes on my very Chinese mother and slowed her words down to one … Continue reading →

Posted in: Blog, social and anti

A Check– Stolen from the Mailbox

A friend just posted on Facebook a warning to her neighbors that someone stole a check she was sending out that day in the mail. My first advice was, tell your bank– a check has the full bank account number printed on it as well as your personal signature. Apparently the bank advised her to … Continue reading →

Posted in: Blog, social and anti

   If even one of you, my readers, has read any of Gladys Taber’s Stillmeadow books, I’d like to know. I read them as wandering but organized conversations with a well-read woman of sensibility and reflection, deceptively simple, unfailingly kind. Yes, what old-fashioned language I use here, because Gladys Taber is of another time. I sometimes feel … Continue reading →

Posted in: Blog, food, gardening, social and anti

After Isla Vista: Commencement 2014

(I co-wrote this commencement address, a version of which was given last weekend at a UCSB graduation ceremony.) This was the year. A year of change, of disorder, of assault, of murder, of the world moving without us, without our approval. A year of feeling the deep violation of our space and our peace. You have … Continue reading →

Posted in: Blog, education, science, social and anti

a note in the dark time

Winter, and the nights run long, the shadows reach further than even a week ago. I’m enjoying the change, easing into this cold part of the year when the light in particular has a ramped up drama. But for too many people I know or have known, or have been, the season possesses a vampire-like … Continue reading →

Posted in: Blog, social and anti

Bad Dog

I’m on call for jury service this week, and I’m willing; I’ve always been willing. After all, isn’t this service one of the most important things a citizen can give, other than vote? Haven’t I been telling our kid and the other kids I tutor for years that this is part of a citizen’s right … Continue reading →

Posted in: Blog, education, social and anti

October 31, 2012 Numbers

I never meant to be a gambler, I’ve never understood the language of numbers. The best way I know to take care of money is not to spend it. So what am I doing checking in at the race course several times a day, squinting to read the line-up?  Amazon, that’s my race track. Night Must … Continue reading →

Posted in: Blog, social and anti, writing

Facebook and social media

I watched a short video on why we spend time on Facebook. Here’s the link if you’re interested


I feel they mishandled the temporal discounting. I’m one of the folk who says 10% interest for waiting a month to get my $100 is a no-brainer, so when they offer the same deal for waiting a year it makes me cross, not compliant.


But aside from that, Facebook and Twitter and all those little dopamine bursts we get from manipulation and affecting our environment in these tiny keyboarding ways reminds me of something else. I find myself thinking we’re wired for these little ‘social’ gestures, even if on the internet it’s all virtual. Isn’t Facebooking an analog for mutual grooming? Twitter too?


 For those of us who’ve worked in any type of office or as waiters or clerks in grocery stores (I can check those boxes!) remember the stuff you do every day? “How was your weekend Joe?” “Kids still crazy about Totoro?” “Did you get your car fixed, Kat?” I’ve always thought chit-chat was a monkey behavior– “Oho here’s a salt crystal in your undercoat!” “Hey, did you know you had fleas–tasty!””A tangle in your fur, let me sort it.”


It’s all mutual grooming, the low-level activity that keeps a troop associated. Not in lock-step, but reminded of who the others are and which ones will snap incisors in your face if you try to trim out that snag.

Posted in: Blog, social and anti