The Modern Crusades: Militant Islam & Collateral Damage, 2 Inhospitable Bedfellows

The Modern Crusades: Militant Islam & Collateral Damage, 2 Inhospitable Bedfellows
First, let me say that I finished this piece just days before the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris. “Je suis Charlie”, and I have not changed a single word. On Friday, January 2, I read, with distress, in the Los Angeles Times‘ “Year in Review” a grim and disturbing piece entitled “Militant Islam’s 2014 March”. In it, Carol J. Williams recalls, in shocking detail, the disturbingly violent assault of extreme religious Islam on both the East and the West: “In April, Boko Haram abducted more than 270 Nigerian girls and dispatched them to sexual...
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An Homage to “Teachers”

An Homage to “Teachers”
General Constance Greene. Lieutenant Colonel Joan Colaprete. Those are the names of the two “teachers” in my life. Both high school English teachers. Both members of the legion of “teachers” we all hopefully remember from our childhoods throughout the course of our lives. Both were strong and unrelenting. Both eccentric and inspiring. They set the bar high so their students could rise. They got the best out of us. And they planted the seed in me, for the hunger to learn. I use the word “teacher” as an homage to the great John Steinbeck, the Mark Twain of the mid...
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How Would YOU Feel If YOU Were Clayton Kershaw?

How Would YOU Feel If YOU Were Clayton Kershaw?
  It’s bad enough having to drive by Dodger Stadium four times a week on my way to work. Down Academy Road, along Stadium Way, onto the 110 South. Past Chavez Ravine, where the Dodgers have played since 1956. Who needs to be reminded, right? Certainly not many of us in LA. I mean, not only did we fold to the hated Cardinals again in excruciating season-ending ignominy, but this year we did it even a series sooner, in the “pre-lims”, in the NLDS best 3 out of 5. Yep, we blew it again, 3 games to 1. The real tragedy, the real humiliation, came in the first and last games, when the...
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Hubris and the LA Sports Gods

Hubris and the LA Sports Gods
I’m a native New Yorker. A sports junkie. I grew up worshipping the New York Yankees of the 50s and 60s. The Bronx Bombers. Mickey Mantle. Whitey Ford. World Series champs year after year. We took their winning for granted. Came to expect it. When the Yankees didn’t win, it was an aberration. Sure, ok, we were spoiled and conceited, and we knew the rest of the country hated us and our team, but we just… didn’t care. By the time Derek Jeter starting winning championships, I was already a fading fan. And now, with “The Cap”‘s 2014 retirement, I hardly recognize...
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I Will Never Buy an iPhone

I Will Never Buy an iPhone
  I know it’s the best device out there. “The best cell phone ever.” Everyone on the planet tells me so. They all have one. My wife has one. Her best friend has two. And when the iPhone 6 comes out today… or maybe tomorrow, Rebecca will have three. The iPhone 4s, the iPhone 5s and the goddam newest one too. “How ’bout you sell me one of the old ones?” No way, Jose.” “Why?” I ask in dismay. “I don’t know. I just looove my I-phones. I like to collect them.” “C’mon, what about your iPhone 4s?...
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A Baby Boomer’s Belated Blog to George Will

A Baby Boomer’s Belated Blog to George Will
Dear Mr. Will, Hello. How are you? I am sorry that it has taken me so long to write to you. Almost 25 years, I suppose. I see that you are a very popular man to attack on The Huffington Post these days, what with your recent “controversial” article about sexual assault on college campuses, where in the interest of full disclosure, I have worked for the last 28 years, albeit only as a “crazy theater professor” at the University of Southern California, which I’m not sure qualifies for true condemnation or contempt in your morally superior world of intellectual and...
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Childhood Heroes, Part 2, Cassius Clay aka Muhammad Ali

Childhood Heroes, Part 2, Cassius Clay aka Muhammad Ali
Cassius Marcellus Clay. The “Lousiville Lip”. “The Greatest” heavyweight boxing champ of all time. “Floated like a butterfly, stung like a bee!” My second boyhood hero… long before he became known as the most famous man on the planet, Muhammad Ali. In 1960, when i was 13 years old, 18 year old Cassius Clay burst onto the national sports scene by winning the Olympic gold medal. He was brash. Talented. Faster than lightning. And he couldn’t be beat. With the help of loud mouth and equally-brazen sportscaster, Howard Cosell, Clay brought entertainment,...
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July 4th: Re-Discovering America Through Immigrant Eyes

July 4th: Re-Discovering America Through Immigrant Eyes
Re-posted from The Huff Post, June 21, 2014 I brought my wife-to-be here to LA from Indonesia on August 3, 2001. We had met on the lovely island of Bali a little over a year before in the early summer of 2000. We e-mailed each other for several months, she in “broken English”, and I went back to visit her for almost a month around Christmas time and New Years. We traveled across the island of Java together, taking night buses through the drenched green rain forests for 10 hours at a haul, touring the great Buddhist temples in Borobudur, riding small horses up into the active volcanic crater...
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Woodshop, for Dad

Woodshop, for Dad
my father used to be a carpenter a master craftsman a cabinet maker extraordinaire he’d turn these perfect round cherry wood salad bowls on his lathe dove tail smooth fitting mahogany joints on his meticulous router pull his whining De Walt table saw over huge planes of wood that   would magically become with his love and care and endlessly detailed patience kitchen tables with white inlaid formica tops custom built wall units complete with knotty pine bookshelves for the World Book Encyclopedia and antique scrolled top desks with french wire netted doors that were sanded smooth as a...
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childhood heroes, part 1, mickey mantle

childhood heroes, part 1, mickey mantle
june 10, 2014 i’ve been blogging a lot about my childhood lately. my first discovery of anti-semitism on valentines road (http://www.erictrules.com/blog/there-was-a-horse/). my horrendous, forced-upon-me  bar mitzvah at temple sholom (http://www.erictrules.com/blog/bar-mitzvah-blues/) . a lot of pain, a lot of negativity, blah blah blah. we all have it. so what? can i really transform the microcosm of my own pain into the universality of art? make it the story of other people’s pain and suffering? like o’neill? arthur miller? tennessee williams? the 3 greatest american playwrights....
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