New Year’s Eve

I spent New Year's Eve with a buddy from college. We weren't super close while enrolled, but we knew each other. He was a little older and I had a bad reputation. We somehow ended up in the Twin Cities afterwards and became good friends. I sang and played at his wedding, we recorded music together and played terrible golf at a nine-hole course. He's a genius or something --- understands how things work and can replicate that sense of things in craftwork, computation, and the fine arts. He … [Read more...]

Education, The Craft of Desire

There is a universal and inextricable relationship between desire and belief.This relationship contains and reveals the natural, religious, and erotic order of things.It is no surprise, then, that New Atheists are today's fiercest defenders of religious belief in their evangelical zeal, straw-man debates, and group therapy sessions. Echo chambers.No, I'm not going to spell this out to the predictably irritable vigilantes out there.I simply want to point out two well-known facts … [Read more...]

Those Immune to Violence Arm and Disarm

My late Tio "Manino" (short for Marcelino) had an bottle of Mexican brandy beside his recliner. Presidente. He was well into his eighties, past his drinking prime, so I asked what it was for. He replied that, with all the break-ins and robberies and murders that were commonplace in his neighborhood, especially ones targeting the elderly, he had come up with a strategy: if a thug entered his small trailer-house he'd tell him there's nothing to be stolen, nothing of value, but he'd invite the … [Read more...]

Beso, Abrazo y Ternura

(A note to English readers: this begins a series of Spanish-language essays I will post here weekly.)Pregunta: ¿Que puede ofrecer la cultura Hispana a la Iglesia Católica en los Estados Unidos?Respuesta: Cultura.En el sentido biológico, una “cultura” nace de proximidad y tiempo. Lo que nos falta en los Estados Unidos es el prójimo, la persona que se besa, abraza y ama porque la vida siempre se acaba. La persona que aparece en proximidad.Esta intimidad, tan ausente en estos tiempos … [Read more...]

I Miss My Brother: A Sports Memoir

ESPN is the world's best worst psychic. Always looking ahead to the next story, inventing news before it doesn't happen. Masters of straw-man stories, written in tortured prose. Convenient virtual foils to what transpires in reality. They build their own surprises and punchlines. Sometimes garbage, other times a stretch, and occasionally --- and this is why I read them --- too fun to not play along with. Thoroughly amusing.A few weeks ago they speculated on very speculative speculations that … [Read more...]

Faith and Food

Holy Cross Catholic Church, Minneapolis, MN

Happy Year of Faith, everyone!On Monday, I think I raised some eyebrows when I expressed my fear of Latinos becoming "white." For the record: as proud and attached as I am to my Texican Hispanic heritage, I wouldn't mind being any number of other ethnicities --- so long as they're Catholic. (As I've pointed out, until recently, Catholics have been excluded from being considered white.) My fear is not principally racial; it is cultural and religious.Catholic culture is what I treasure and … [Read more...]

The Politics of Language on Columbus Day

The two Spanish words that summarize the predominant reading and counter-reading of Columbus Day are descubrimiento and conquista.Descubrimiento refers to that the word 'discovery' points to in English. It emphasizes the subjective experience of Columbus, Spain, and, by extension, Western Europe. Colonialism. When this subjective experience is glorified and placed into a colonial mythology, it becomes Columbus Day as we know it.Conquista refers to what the English word 'conquest' gets … [Read more...]


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