Author Archives: jyourist

Spirit money for our ancestors

At our friend’s annual Tet (Vietnamese New Year) party — bursting with Vietnamese food (including Pho and Gỏi cuốn), drink, and boisterous camaraderie — we burn spirit money to insure our ancestors are well-taken care of and stay well-disposed to … Continue reading

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Relaxing in the very warm and toasty here and now

Even though a large man was snoring in the Ocher Room Sauna (aka Yellow Soil Crystal Room), and the man who was giving me an hour long foot massage talked a bit too much to his fellow masseur while kneading … Continue reading

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“A Mercy” by Sharon Olds

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Roberta Flack

Today is Roberta Flack’s birthday (1939). I remember listening to this album, Chapter Two, all through the second half of my sophomore year in college through graduation and beyond. Many years later, sometime in the late 1980s, I ran into … Continue reading

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Just before I roost

The European starling was first introduced to North America by the American Acclimatization Society, which wanted to introduce all the birds mentioned in Shakespeare to this continent. The starling is mentioned in Henry IV, Part I— Hotspur (Henry Percy) says, … Continue reading

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History is turned on its head

Today is the 100th anniversary of the opening of Birth of A Nation, at Clunes Auditorium in Los Angeles. The first feature length film ever produced (three hours and ten minutes), this film was the technical and acting tour de … Continue reading

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All she wants to do is hold your hand

When Merle died, a man who lived in the same assisted living facility as my mother Pearl, she told me his last words were, “Pearl. Pearl. Pearl.” I asked her how she knew that. Then she said, “I don’t know … Continue reading

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