about the Rolling Stone cover

Over the past ten years, print journalism has suffered badly. One of the remaining bright spots in reporting and writing over this period has been Rolling Stone. This is evidenced by Matt Taibbi, who has been an extremely positive force in a very weak pool of reporters in this decade. He has written extraordinary pieces on the financial crisis, on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and many contemporary social issues.

So, when Rolling Stone decides to feature Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on its cover, I had to believe that it was for purely journalistic reasons. You see, in my mind, journalism not only seeks to tell the truth, but it tells the truth so well that it helps us to think.

I am so disappointed with the backlash over the Tsarnaev cover, with some news stands even pulling the issue from their racks. 

The editors at Rolling Stone didn’t try to make Tsarnaev look like a rock star. They merely printed a picture of a young man who – without our knowledge of what evil he is capable of – happens to look like the typical teen. Who happens to look like he wants to be a rock star.

And that is the very point. 

It is very troubling to me that there is expressed outrage over what this young man looks like on this cover. You see, we have been conditioned to believe that there is a certain way  a terrorist should look. He certainly shouldn’t look Americanized. He certainly shouldn’t look like a rock star. And he certainly shouldn’t look like he belongs on the cover of a rock magazine.

Except for the fact that we are talking about a magazine with exceptional journalistic practices and principles.

Further, had any of these detractors bothered to read the article before decrying the editorial decision, they might have realized exactly what Rolling Stone was trying to say.

There is no “other” in the war on terrorism. There is no easy way to identify a terrorist. And sometimes, there is no way to “Americanize” a child enough. 


AIDS/LifeCycle – Long Ride #1

The plan was to bike 65 miles last Saturday. The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition sponsored a Three River Ride that included the Rio Hondo, the San Gabriel and the Los Angeles rivers. It was a 44-mile loop led by one of the authors of Where to Bike Los Angeles.

Since G and I are training together for this, we decided that we would ride 10 miles to and from downtown Los Angeles to reach the necessary 65 miles.

I have to admit that setting an alarm for 6:30 on a Saturday after a long week of work was not my first choice to start off the weekend. My disdain for the plan was furthered by the fog that appeared once daylight hit downtown. But out the door I went.

The first 11 miles to the park (we were already off in our calculations) was a lot faster than we had planned, which made me feel really good about the start of the day. And at that point, I was warm and ready to go.

We met with a group of about 20 riders – most older than us. My initial comment was, I bet they’re faster than us anyways. And they were definitely faster than me, but they were extremely nice people. They were very caring and the whole group was attentive to each other and looked out for all of the riders. So, it was a lot of fun.

Which is probably why we rode five miles past our first turn off. This added an additional ten miles to my overall ride, which was good and bad. After having trained for a half marathon a couple of years ago, I try my hardest to keep increases in mileage reasonable at 10% per week, and at the moment that I figured out what the increase in miles meant, I had a brief moment of doubt. The truth was, though, I felt great.

We ended with the group around 64 miles, which meant taco time as a break. This is my second long ride, and both times I have had carne asada tacos to refuel. So, that might be a tradition for me. Who knows…

The next five miles were not too bad. I was definitely tired. The food gave me a little energy, but my legs were tiring quickly.

Then, we hit some really good head winds, which are my biggest enemy psychologically. I think they are going to become the equivalent to my “Mile 8 Issues” from running. So, I was less than thrilled to finish the ride.

But I do have to say that when all was said and done, I’m extremely proud of this ride.

The lessons from this ride:

  • Check the map! Even if other people are leading. Still check the map!
  • My hydration plan is not a good one. I can’t keep a solid pace and use a water bottle. I was planning on a CamelBak, and I guess that’s going to have to be sooner rather than later.
  • Eat. Eat. Eat. The day before mostly. I did a good job on this one, I think. 
  • Stop to reapply sunblock. 
  • Get more than six  hours of sleep the night before. Particularly if I’ve gotten six or less hours for consecutive nights. I don’t know how realistic that’s going to be for the next two weeks, but it’s a goal. This didn’t hurt my ride too much, but I was done for the rest of the day.


writing daze

For some reason, I woke up early yesterday–the last of my five day Thanksgiving break–to grade. And lesson plan. All that fun stuff that I missed in the previous four days. I finished shortly before 11 a.m. and told myself that any kind of workout was simply out of the question. To distract myself, I decided I should write.

Nine hours of writing later, my head was swimming. I didn’t even really want to stop. But I thought I should get some sleep before Monday morning’s classes. 

I fell asleep without a problem, only to awake at 4 a.m. Thinking about my characters. Or one character in particular. I had left her in a not-sogood situation, and I started to wonder if she would get fired. That wonder turned into worry about what she would do if she were to get fired.

So sympathetic of me, I know.

Except for the fact that I know she doesn’t get fired. And even if she were to get fired, I could easily write it away and write away my worry in the process. For the next two hours, I replayed the last scene over and over again.

Maybe I should add this…I should write that she says this…I forgot to write…

All I have to say is that if it’s going to be like this until this fourth draft is done then I hope that end is sooner rather than later.



grind coffee beans. peanut butter toast. vacuum. laundry. Grand Central Market. run. bike. Dodgers vs. Giants. sleep. feed the cats. water the plants. grade. edit. write. write. write. Alicia Keys. re-write. soak beans. The Bluest Eye. Los Lobos. grade. Dodgers vs. Giants. friend. bike. weight lift. Ralphs Fresh Fare. simmer. Valerie. download. sleep. feed the cats. coffee. peanut butter. beach run. sun. homemade soup. simmer. shower. grade. family. Dodgers vs. Giants. feta quesadilla. iron. take out the trash. water the plants. sit. write.

apartment gardening & other food sources

As of today, this gardening experiment has survived ants, flies, and my weeklong vacation. I tried to use aqua globes, but only one succeeded. Fortunately, the plants were checked upon and watered

20120710-093502.jpgso there was no major damage done.

Upon returning home, I found that cilantro had sprouted. I’m growing these from seeds. And, a new set of Aerogarden pods had arrived. The newest set is all lettuce. After learning that it will continue to grow as it is picked, I figured it was a good choice.

I also returned home to find that the two basil plants are now flourishing in their new dirt homes. This gave me some home that I would be able to transplant lettuce as well.

For now, the only other new addition is the spider plant shown at right. My mom has been offering these for the past year, and I finally decided to take her up on it.

One of the major perks of living in Downtown Los Angeles is the Grand Central Market. Half of me doesn’t want to publicize it, but I think most people know it exists and just write it off as a valuable source for groceries. Without setting it out as a goal, I’ve started to become more mindful of what I buy and eat. And because it is significantly cheaper to shop here, I have to tell myself that while I’m off work, it’s silly to be too lazy to walk over to the market.

Sunday’s finds: a carton of strawberries, a head of lettuce, 6 bell peppers, a bunch of cilantro, 6 bananas, 8 tomatoes, 2 red onions, and a huge cucumber for $3.94. Can’t beat the price!