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Silicon Alleys: East of Wrath

John Steinbeck IV's journey of the spirit, intertwined with legacy and booze Read More

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Silicon Alleys: East of Wrath

Since Covid-19 has stymied the brick-and-mortar library-research process and also driven people to escapist fantasies, I followed the lead of legendary city columnists such as Herb Caen and Jimmy Breslin, who thrived by tapping secret local sources whenever they needed to prowl for scoops and philosophize about their cities. The "what ifs" are often the most intriguing stories, so this columnist, otherwise known as Venerable Herb Caen Rinpoche of The Alameda, recently busted in on a secret Buddhist source near the Shasta-Hanchett neighborhood to ponder if John Steinbeck IV ever made it to San Jose. » Read More

Free Will Astrology: Week of July 8, 2020

"As beautiful as simplicity is, it can become a tradition that stands in the way of exploration," said singer Laura Nyro. This is practical advice for you to heed in the coming weeks. According to my analysis, you're scheduled to enjoy an extended engagement with rich, fertile complexity. The best teachings won't be reducible to a few basic lessons; rather, they'll be rife with soulful nuances. The same is true about the splendid dilemmas that bring you stimulating amusements: They can't and shouldn't be forced into pigeonholes. As a general rule, anything that seems easy and smooth and straightforward will probably not be useful. Your power will come from what's crooked, dense and labyrinthine. » Read More

Silicon Alleys: Urban Agriculture Organizers Reinvent in Transformational Times

Out beyond the rusted farm equipment, the parking-lot roosters and the upturned wheelbarrows, a busy six-acre urban farm continues to evolve in the Covid-19 era. To paraphrase Rumi, I met the peacocks there. At the far-back corner of Emma Prusch Farm Park, in the trenches of East San Jose's Mayfair neighborhood, Veggielution, in normal times, provides a smattering of community services. One can take cooking classes, volunteer in the garden or pick up boxes of fresh vegetables direct from the farm just steps away. To get there, one enters the park from the grimy thoroughfare of King Road and then ventures past wooden cow placards, 10-foot-tall sunflower stalks and bored roosters sleeping on the wood chips that cover the parking medians. » Read More

Free Will Astrology: Week of July 1, 2020

Aries author Marge Piercy writes, "The people I love the best, jump into work head first without dallying in the shallows." The Aries people I love best will do just that in the coming days. Now is not the right time to wait around passively, lazily hoping that something better will come along. Nor is it prudent to procrastinate or postpone decisions while shopping around for more options or collecting more research. Dive, Aries, dive! » Read More

Silicon Alleys: Only The Lonely

Near 34th and Santa Clara streets, one sentence on a billboard, profound in its simplicity, captures the San Jose condition on multiple levels. The billboard says, in all lowercase letters: "nothing will be the same here." It begins in blurry fashion, before gradually coming into clarity at the final word. Entire San Jose history books do not say as much as that one sentence does. » Read More

Free Will Astrology: Week of June 24, 2020

In addition to being a magnificent storyteller, Aries author Barbara Kingsolver raises chickens at her home. "There are days when I am envious of my hens," she writes, "when I hunger for a purpose as perfect and sure as a single daily egg." Do you ever experience that delightful rush of assurance, Aries? I suspect that you're likely to do so on multiple occasions in the coming weeks. And if you are indeed visited by visions of a perfect and sure purpose, your next task will be to initiate practical action to manifest it in the real world. » Read More

The Recovery Begins

A community's identity is often expressed through the locally-based businesses it sustains over the course of decades. The news this week that longtime icon Original Joe's would reopen was comforting news, because let's face it, it's hard to imagine a San Jose without Original Joe's. Despite being part of Silicon Valley's resilient economy, small businesses have been walloped hard. Many were already struggling with competition from digital giants, rising rents fueled by an overheated technology-driven economy and displacement from real estate activity. » Read More

Silicon Alleys: BART Finally Extends Its Line to the Capital of Silicon Valley

For many, the previous day's press conference felt like a city-hall reunion of sorts, with previous mayors, county supes, transportation hotshots, councilmembers and state assemblymen from multiple cities all participating in a strange masked ball, with everyone trying to ID everyone else. VTA even provided piles of commemorative masks just for the occasion. Unlike some cities, San Jose actually practices social distancing, so all chairs remained six feet apart, meaning the dozens in attendance were spread out over quite a range. Some occupied seats while many others stood in the background or on the periphery. Everyone seemed to put aside previous political spats to celebrate what was a milestone event. » Read More

Free Will Astrology: Week of June 17, 2020

"The answers you get depend upon the questions you ask," wrote physicist and philosopher Thomas Kuhn. That's always true, of course, but it's especially true for you right now. I recommend that you devote substantial amounts of your earthy intelligence to the task of formulating the three most important questions for you to hold at the forefront of your awareness during the rest of 2020. If you do, I suspect you will ultimately receive answers that are useful, interesting and transformative. » Read More

Flash Black

The #OscarsSoWhite protests during the 2015 Academy Awards tried to tell us something. So did Ryan Coogler's Fruitvale. So did Oscar Micheaux's and Charles Burnett's entire filmographies--in Micheaux's case, beginning a century ago. And yet, current events show us that not enough people paid attention to African-American stories. But there's a way to remedy that. Here's a list of 15 exceptional, Black-themed movies we've previously. Most, if not all, are available for streaming now. » Read More

Silicon Alleys: Reopened Books

Inside, the piles on the floor were much smaller, yet the place was raring to go. As of right now, anyone can bring in books for trade or cash, as long as they adhere to some logical safety measures. Patrons wear masks and practice physical distancing. As long as you're a compassionate, empathetic, heartfelt person with real human feelings, you shouldn't have an issue with the rules. "The general rules are as when you're inside a grocery store; it's essentially the same type of rules," said Eric Johnson, the store manager. "You make sure you stay six feet away from other people. I made my own rule of two people per aisle, and then we tried to make the transition as touchless as possible between customers and whoever's ringing them up. We » Read More

Free Will Astrology: Week of June 10, 2020

During her 90 years on the planet, actor and singer Marlene Dietrich reinvented herself numerous times. She had superb insight into the nature of shifting rhythms, and a knack for gauging the right moment to adapt and transform. Good timing, she said, came naturally to people like her, as well as for "aerialists, jugglers, diplomats, publicists, generals, prize-fighters, revolutionists, financiers, and lovers." I would add one further category to her list: the Aries tribe. Make maximum use of your talent in the coming weeks. » Read More

Silicon Alleys: San Jose's Iconic Streetlight Records Stays The Course

Approaching 30 years at its current location, Streetlight Records has now entered the next stage of reopening by offering contactless curbside pickup. Customers order in advance and then drive on over. Since November of 1992, San Jose's most storied indie record shop has occupied a large building at 980 S. Bascom Ave., anchoring an iconic stretch of wide, fossilized pavement accented with sun-cracked sidewalks, decaying half-dead strip malls leftover from the 1950s, vacant lots, weed-infested gutters, ancient tract-house subdivisions with sloping curbs, paint-peeled apartment complexes and ghosts of dive bars lone gone, all as the gritty Burbank district slowly dissolves into Campbell. » Read More

Free Will Astrology: Week of June 3, 2020

Aries poet Paul Verlaine wrote "Autumn Song" in 1866. It became a well-known French poem, and eventually played a role in a historical turning point. In June 1944, a top-secret British spy organization used the poem as a code to communicate crucial information to the French Resistance, via BBC radio, about the allies' upcoming D-Day invasion of Normandy. In the spirit of poetry being used to accomplish practical actions, I'm now sending out a burst of code to you, Aries. It's adapted from another poem by Verlaine: "Delight in good-omened fortune, baptized by the bristling scents of mint, thyme, and clover on the wind of dawn." Regard this as a signal for you to acquire a necessary resource, strengthen connections with key allies and » Read More

Silicon Alleys: Fire-Gutted Dick's Center Hearkens Back To A Bygone Era In Silicon Valley

Last week, one of San Jose's most decrepit and gloriously crumbling strip malls, Dick's Center on Bascom Avenue, spontaneously burst into flames. Again. With a pandemic washing over the landscape, people often feel a sense of isolation, but the Anti-Man-About-Town prefers to view any situation as one of deep connections across time and space. In this way, one can sit with one's own scarred landscape--both inner and outer--in a much more productive fashion. » Read More

Free Will Astrology: Week of May 27, 2020

"The best of my nature reveals itself in play, and play is sacred," wrote the feisty Aries author Karen Blixen, who sometimes used the pen name Isak Dinesen. The attitude described in that statement helps illuminate the meaning of another one of her famous quotations: "I do not think that I could ever really love a woman who had not, at one time or another, been up on a broomstick." In my interpretation of this humorous remark, Blixen referred to the fact that she had a strong preference for witchy women with rascally magical ways. I bring this to your attention, Aries, because I'm inviting you to cultivate a Blixen-like streak of sacred play and sly magic in the coming days. » Read More

Silicon Alleys: Downtown San Jose Cafe Models Cafe Culture in Time of Isolation

At that time, Nguyen, whose previous life included marketing, social media management and e-commerce, built and launched a new website, Academic Pantry, in two days, to sell high-quality produce. Working with companies that also supplied produce to Manresa and Orchard City Kitchen, Nguyen was able to hawk Brussels sprouts, broccoli, lettuce and similar produce at almost the same price, if not cheaper, than Whole Foods. In the process, Academic's Instagram account skyrocketed. Followers flocked on in. As a result, coffee shops from around the neighborhood and even the Bay Area called to ask how Academic was making the day-to-day operation work, what Nguyen was using to wipe down the surfaces, what types of cleaning materials he recommended » Read More

Advice Goddess: How Can I Make Her Parents Like Me?

Accordingly, if a woman's looking for a man for herself, research by evolutionary social psychologist Shelli L. Dubbs suggests she's likely to favor "traits that suggest genetic quality," like being physically attractive. However, if the woman's assessing a man for her daughter, she (along with her husband) will likely prioritize "characteristics that suggest high parental investment." In short, parents are wondering about the guy dating their daughter: "Hey, buster, you gonna stick around and pay the mortgage, or will we have to cover it because your paycheck keeps getting tangled up in strippers' G-strings?" » Read More

Free Will Astrology: Week of May 20, 2020

"The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for," writes author Barbara Kingsolver. "And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof." According to my analysis of the astrological omens, that is exactly the work you should be doing right now, Gemini. Everything good that can and should happen for you in the coming months depends on you defining what you hope for, and then doing whatever's necessary to live inside that hope. » Read More

Silicon Alleys: Counterculture Poet Michael McClure Helped Define a Generation

More recently, I can think of two downtown San Jose moments when I was grateful to be in the same room with him. In 2013, he showed up at the San Jose Museum of Art to attend a major Annie Leibovitz exhibit, Pilgrimage, for which I was grateful to write a cover story. I did not speak to him at the reception, but he was there in all his dapper glory, even at 80 years of age. I was so proud of the museum, especially the curators who lobbied to secure that show for San Jose. » Read More

Advice Goddess: Should I Keep Trying to Get Through to My Wife?

Family gatherings should not be indistinguishable from foreplay. It sounds like you're being visited by the Dark Triad, which, sadly, is not an after-school club for young Batman and his friends. It's a set of three separate but overlapping malevolent personality traits: narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy, which make for social and personal relationships that would more accurately be called "manipulationships." » Read More

Free Will Astrology: Week of May 13, 2020

During a pandemic, is it possible to spread the news about your talents and offerings? Yes! That's why I suggest you make sure that everyone who should know about you does indeed know about you. To mobilize your efforts and stimulate your imagination, I came up with colorful titles for you to use to describe yourself on your résumé or in promotional materials or during conversations with potential helpers. 1. Fire-Maker 2. Seed-Sower 3. Brisk Instigator 4. Hope Fiend 5. Gap Leaper 6. Fertility Aficionado 7. Gleam Finder 8. Launch Catalyst 9. Chief Improviser 10. Change Artist » Read More

Silicon Alleys: San Jose Library Deploys 3D Printers to Make Personal Protective Equipment

Likewise, in the Czech Republic, a prototype face shield came into being, thanks to the folks at Prusa Research, a famous and successful 3D printer manufacturer. The design is fully open-source. Anyone can download or modify it. At first, Prusa just threw the files up on their website, but now the design is being used throughout the world, as hospital staffers, first responders, nursing homes and grocery store employees continue to need such equipment. As with the 3D printed masks, the designs are not just somebody's best guess. Prusa worked with the Czech Republic Ministry of Health to help refine the designs to ensure they'd meet the requirements of those in need. » Read More

Advice Goddess: Does This Cheapen Our Entire Relationship?

"I only have eyes for you" is sometimes actually true, like when two people in a relationship are being held hostage together in the trunk of a car. Beyond small-space kidnappings, the reality is typically more like: "I only have eyes for you. And you. And you. And, hey, is that your sister?" We're each attracted to a whole crop of people. However, attraction doesn't necessarily lead to action, at least for those of us who have a psychological moat holding us back. It's largely two things that keep us from sneaking out and having sex with the hot neighbor: love for the person we're with and a personality trait called conscientiousness. » Read More

Free Will Astrology: Week of May 6, 2020

According to Aries author and mythologist Joseph Campbell, "The quest for fire occurred not because anyone knew what the practical uses for fire would be, but because it was fascinating." He was referring to our early human ancestors, and how they stumbled upon a valuable addition to their culture because they were curious about a powerful phenomenon, not because they knew it would ultimately be so valuable. I invite you to be guided by a similar principle in the coming weeks, Aries. Unforeseen benefits may emerge during your investigation into flows and bursts that captivate your imagination. » Read More

Silicon Alleys: PBS Series Explores How Asian Americans Contributed to Rise of Silicon Valley

The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) in San Francisco conceived the series in the long-standing PBS tradition of comprehensive, ethnic-historical documentaries. Told through personal histories, Asian Americans explores the impact of this demographic on the country's past, present and future, all illuminating the significant roles Asian Americans played in shaping American history and identity. In the series, which this columnist has already watched, we get to see the first wave of Asian immigrants circa 1850, then various articulations of identity through eras of social and cultural turmoil in the 20th century, and then finally to the ways Asian immigrants and refugees contributed to the rise of Silicon Valley. » Read More

Advice Goddess: Clone Shark

This sort of thing can seem seriously creepy, until you drop in on a behavioral genetics researcher like Nancy Segal. Research by Segal and others on identical twins separated at birth (sometimes by a hospital mix-up) and raised apart suggests that many of our behaviors and preferences are genetically driven. For example, Segal told me "most behaviors have a 50% genetic effect." There's an interplay between genes and environment that can shake things up a bit, but if Mommy likes hot food and dark-haired men, there's a good chance her daughter (who shares approximately 50% of her DNA) will also be thumbs up for Sergio and Sriracha. » Read More

Free Will Astrology: Week of April 29, 2020

I always hesitate to advise Aries people to slow down, be more deliberate, and pay closer attention to boring details. The Rams to whom I provide such counsel may be rebelliously annoyed with me--so much so that they move even faster, and with less attention to the details. Nevertheless, I'll risk offering you this advisory right now. Here's my reasoning, which I hope will make the prospect more appealing: If you commit to a phase in which you temporarily invoke more prudence, discretion and watchfulness than usual, it will ultimately reward you with a specific opportunity to make rapid progress. » Read More

Silicon Alleys: Shelter-in-Place Takes the 'Street' Out of SoFA Street Fair--But the Show Will Go On

During the COVID-19 era, much of downtown San Jose is empty, with bars, restaurants and public events shut down until safer days emerge. Here's what would normally unfold this Sunday: The spring version of the SoFA Street Fair would include a smattering of outdoor and indoor stages, above ground and below ground, all over the immediate area. Food trucks, beer vendors and artisans would fill the streets. Fans young and old would scramble from stage to stage in search of new sounds. Some would plan it all out in advance via a scheduling app while others would take a more impromptu random approach, tripping around to see what they could discover. And the bands that didn't get booked would bitch about it all year long. » Read More

Advice Goddess: Are There Some Pickup Lines Men Love to Hear?

Fisher's research, like previous research, found that men preferred direct pickup lines to the innocuous and flippant ones. This isn't surprising. Men tend to be bad at picking up hints, and many are terrified of overestimating a woman's interest and waking up to their name hashtagged with #MeToo. When a woman uses a direct pickup line, and especially when she spreads additional direct lines around in conversation, she's telling a guy she's interested in seeing more of him, as opposed to seeing whether she should Mace him. » Read More

Free Will Astrology: Week of April 22, 2020

The Ojibwe are indigenous people of North America. Professor of Ojibwe studies Anton Treuer writes that in their traditional culture, there have been men who act and dress like women and women who act and dress like men. The former are called ikwekaazo and the latter ikwekaazowag. Both have been "always honored" and "considered to be strong spiritually." Many other Native American groups have had similar arrangements. Transcending traditional gender behavior is not unique to modern Western civilization. With that as inspiration, and in accordance with astrological omens, I invite you to explore any inclinations you might have to be your own unique gender. The time is ripe for experimenting with and deepening your relationship with the » Read More

Silicon Alleys: Anti-Man-About-Town Reflects on Column's 15th Year

Meaning, maybe we will come out of this even stronger. Which is why, despite now being the official 15th anniversary of this column, I will momentarily cast aside any celebrations, or at least give them a different spin. At the moment, sickness and suffering continue to characterize society even more than usual, with heavy loads of stress, anxiety and fear collectively overshadowing any humble anniversary brags I would throw your way. So for the moment, I offer something more important: gratitude. Not just for you, the readers, but for everything this landscape has given me over the last 15 years. And gratitude will get one through a lot of hard times. » Read More

Advice Goddess: Should I Just Try to Forget About Him?

Essential to determining your risk tolerance is figuring out the possible costs if a thing between you and this guy goes all crashy-burn. For example, there could be financial costs if you end up needing to move. You should also factor in your tolerance for drama, like embarrassing public encounters with a Mr. Romantic turned Mr. Should Be In A Jacket With A Lotta Buckles. Also consider your fiscal and emotional fortitude for what psychologists Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham called "unknown unknowns": crazy stuff most of us just wouldn't imagine happening, like much of the adult world getting grounded by the government. » Read More

Free Will Astrology: Week of April 15, 2020

Most authors do their writing while sitting on chairs in front of desks. But long before there were standing desks, poet Rainer Maria Rilke and children's author Lewis Carroll wrote their books while standing up. Novelist Henry James had eight desks, but typically paced between them as he dictated his thoughts to a secretary. And then there have been weirdos like poet Robert Lowell and novelist Truman Capote. They attended to their craft as they lay in their bed. I suggest you draw inspiration from those two in the coming weeks. It'll be a favorable time to accomplish masterpieces of work and play while in the prone position. » Read More

Silicon Alleys: Pie in the Sky

Right now, Tony & Alba's on Stevens Creek Boulevard is knee-deep in all sorts of heroic efforts to help people get through the COVID-19 era, but their humble beginnings go back to the original Mountain View location at 619 Escuela Ave. In the '80s, Mountain View was still a glorious bastion of old-school gritty suburbia, with a smattering of stoner apartment complexes, nefarious car washes, dive bars, stripmalls and Moffett Field employees. High-tech as we know it today was only just emerging. There was no eclectic foodie scene of any sort. When Tony and Alba Salciccia first opened their joint on a side street off El Camino Real, they had no idea what it would turn into.. » Read More

Advice Goddess: Once a Cheater, Always a Cheater?

The question is, does the skeleton that your boyfriend's yanked out of the closet point to a heavily populated closet in your collective future? This is ultimately a question of whether he's a cheater or a person who once cheated. There is a distinction. Sometimes, somebody cheats just to see what it's like to walk on the bad boy/bad girl side--the (heh) Socio Path. And sometimes, in the moment (SEXXXXX!), somebody who's generally considerate puts their partner's feelings on "ignore." » Read More

Free Will Astrology: Week of April 8, 2020

Moses did forty years' worth of hard work in behalf of his people, delivering them out of slavery in Egypt. Yet God didn't allow him to enter into the Promised Land. Why? At the end of his travails, he made a minor mistake that angered God beyond reason. Petty? Harsh? Very much so. I'm happy to say that your fate will be very different from Moses'. Some months from now, when your labors bring you to the brink of your own personal version of the Promised Land, not even a small error will prevent you from entering and enjoying it. And what you do in the coming weeks will help ensure that later success. » Read More

Silicon Alleys: How African-Americans Navigated Academic Life in Segregated San Jose

Even COVID-19 will not stop local filmmakers from elevating the ignored voices of San Jose history. Over recent months, Naglee ParkÐresident Cotton Stevenson spent a huge amount of time interviewing several alumni members of the Good Brothers, the groundbreaking African American fraternal group that emerged in downtown San Jose in the mid-to-late 1950s. His 30-minute film, gloriously lo-fi and home-movie-like, was scheduled to premiere at the Antioch Baptist Church at Seventh and Julian streets a few weeks ago, until the coronavirus made it clear that people shouldn't be gathering. » Read More

Advice Goddess: Can I Get My Son to Dump His Girlfriend Without Being an Overbearing Mother?

Character doesn't always seem important in a partner until a person gets knocked around by somebody with some big vacancies in that department. In other words, if you want your son to dump this ethically elastic chickie, the ideal thing to say is nothing. Let him marinate in her bad character. Hard as it will be to keep mum, you might try to view him as midway through the natural recovery process in the wake of contracting a nasty parasite--one that's 5-foot-7 and blonde with window-sized Gucci sunglasses you suspect she lifted from some distracted wealthy lady's restaurant table. » Read More

Free Will Astrology: Week of April 1, 2020

"If all the world's a stage, where the hell is the teleprompter?" asks aphorist Sami Feiring. In my astrological opinion, you Aries are the least likely of all the signs to identify with that perspective. While everyone else might wish they could be better prepared for the nonstop improvisational tests of everyday life, most of you tend to prefer what I call the "naked spontaneity" approach. If you were indeed given the chance to use a teleprompter, you'd probably ignore it. Everything I just said is especially and intensely true for you right now. » Read More

Silicon Alleys: A Lonely Road

Solitary walks along empty sidewalks and back alleys in the age of COVID-19 are turning into psychological experiments. Even with stay-home orders in effect, persons and/or their cohabitants are still allowed to go out for walks, jogs, or exercise as long as a distance of six feet from others is maintained. Yet it has become a strange experience. As soon as one sees another person approaching, a game emerges to see who crosses the street first or alters direction. What's a natural born explorer supposed to do? » Read More

Advice Goddess: Could I Win Him Over by Making Him Jealous?

The moment you realize you've got the lukewarms for a guy is the moment you should break it off and move on. You'll be that much further along in meeting somebody who might be right for you. Plus, your sharing any more than a date or two (and a chaste kiss, no nudity) with a guy you're not that into is likely to make his dude friends classify you as off-limits. Of course, it's also seriously unfair to the meh man (who is also a person with feelings) for you to slow-walk him off the plank. Sure, there's this idea that a romantic partner will be your shelter, but that's not supposed to mean they're the bus stop where you wait till the guy you're actually into picks you up. » Read More

Free Will Astrology: Week of March 25, 2020

Your oracle comes from Aries poet Octavio Paz: "The path the ancestors cleared is overgrown, unused. The other path, smooth and broad, is crowded with travelers. It goes nowhere. There's a third path: mine. Before me, no one. Behind me, no one. Alone, I find my way." APRIL FOOL! Although the passage by Octavio Paz is mostly accurate for your destiny during the rest of 2020, it's off-kilter in one way: It's too ponderously serious and melodramatic. You should find a way to carry out its advice with meditative grace and effervescent calm. » Read More

Silicon Alleys: Nirvana Once Crashed in Japantown Home with Ties to Sub Pop Records

"It was just a typical night at the bar: any Sub Pop band that was touring was automatically invited over," says DeAnn Caughey, who then lived at the house, along with John Graziadei and Carlos Fuentes. Yours truly did not attend the show or the afterparty, although I did show up at the house on numerous other nights. At the time, that address was San Jose's unofficial headquarters for all things Sub Pop Records, the famed Seattle label that can be blamed for the rise of grunge. In early 1990 we weren't even calling it "grunge," but many of us owned Nirvana's Bleach LP or were members of the Sub Pop Singles Club, so the Cactus show was on our radar. » Read More

Advice Goddess: I'd Really Like Her to Stop

When you're female, junior high never ends. The Hello Kitty knife in your back just gets upgraded to one by Cuisinart. Women are said to be the "gentler sex," because we rarely see one drag another out of the bar by her ponytail for a parking lot beatdown. But women aren't better people than men. Female-on-female aggression just plays out differently than the male-on-male kind. Psychologist Anne Campbell explains that women evolved to avoid direct confrontation and instead compete with other women through sneaky "indirect aggression." » Read More

Free Will Astrology: Week of March 18, 2020

We interrupt your regularly scheduled horoscopes to offer insights about the virus-driven turning point that the whole world is now experiencing. As you've probably guessed, all of us are being invited to re-evaluate everything we think we know about what it means to be human. I refer to this unprecedented juncture as The Tumultuous Upgrade or The Disruptive Cure. It's fraught with danger and potential opportunities; crisis and possible breakthroughs. And while the coronavirus is the main driving force, it won't be the only factor. We must be ready for more Rough, Tough Healings disguised as Bumpy Challenges in the coming months. » Read More

Monument Man

It's a tale of dashed hopes and silver linings. In other words, it's a typical Irish story. On March 17, 3Below Theaters & Lounge stages the U.S. debut of a play about a small Irish town and a fateful visit from former President Bill Clinton. San Jose denizens will recognize the playwright, Tom McEnery, who served as mayor from 1983 to 1991. In addition to the many properties his family company owns downtown, his name is emblazoned upon the city's convention center. A Statue for Ballybunion, opening March 17, centers around a short detour Clinton once made--in 1998, on his way back to Shannon Airport--to the one-street town of Ballybunion in County Kerry. » Read More

Silicon Alleys: Bright People, Illuminating Films Raise Spirits at Truncated Cinequest Film Festival

At Cinequest, I went looking for sadness, but elation kept breaking through. Opening night filled at least some of the California Theatre for John Pinette: You Go Now, a fantastic documentary about the late comedian's life and eventual decline into drugs and alcohol. While most of the film explored the joy and laughter Pinette brought to people's lives for decades, it was refreshing to see an opener that wasn't a watered-down, family-friendly rom-com, but instead a testament to real-life human suffering. » Read More

Advice Goddess: Why Would He Set Me Up with Someone So Wrong for Me?

To get a little perspective on this, consider the parallels this fix-up fail has with failures in gift-giving. I used to sneer at gift registries for weddings as cheat sheets for the lazy to buy presents for the greedy. Boy, was I ever off base. Research by business school professors Francesca Gino and Francis Flynn found that married people who'd received gifts they'd listed on their registry appreciated them more than the off-list gifts their guests slaved away finding or making. In fact, spouses they surveyed saw these registry gifts (which could take all of four minutes to pick, click, and ship) as more thoughtful and--get this--even more personal! This is the opposite of what we gift-givers think will be the deal. "Gift givers expect » Read More

Free Will Astrology: Week of March 11, 2020

Taurus poet Gary Snyder said, "Three-fourths of philosophy and literature is the talk of people trying to convince themselves that they really like the cage they were tricked into entering." Personally, I think that many of us, not just philosophers and writers, do the same thing. Are you one of us? Your first assignment during the next four weeks will be to explore whether you do indeed tend to convince yourself that you like the cage you were tricked into entering. Your second assignment: If you find that you are in a cage, do everything you can to stop liking it. Third assignment: Use all your ingenuity, call on all the favors you're owed, and conjure up the necessary magic so that you can flee the cage. » Read More

The 30-Year 'Quest

And yet there are world-famous names here. Among this year's Maverick Spirit Award winners are the poet ruth weiss (March 8) who fled the Nazis in her youth and later became a San Francisco Beat Generation poet. Another refugee is the Vietnamese-born actress Hong Chau (March 5), who played Watchmen's evil genius, Lady Trieu, and Jade in Inherent Vice. And finally, actor Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) will be here for his closing-night film Resistance. Eisenberg stars as the famed mime Marcel Marceau in this biopic focusing on Marceau's involvement in the French Resistance during World War II. » Read More

Silicon Alleys: 'My Year of Living Mindfully' Explores the Art, Science of Meditation at Cinequest

After an initial flash-forward from day 326 of Harvey's meditative year, we go back to the beginning, with Harvey coming to understand that a worldwide epidemic of chronic stress has emerged. One-fifth to one-quarter of the world's population will experience some form of mental illness in their lifetime. She longs for a solution that could be available to anyone, anywhere, at any time, regardless of income, education or busy schedule. She tries to sort through the overwhelming swath of wellness programs, corporate mindfulness marketing schemes and the ubiquity of 21st century meditation tools, all the while wondering if meditation really does help to ease suffering and promote physical and mental healing. » Read More

Advice Goddess: Why Am I Attracted to Unattainable Guys?

You're basically on an emotional crack bender. The big neurochemical player here is dopamine, a neurotransmitter, a messenger in chemical form that carries signals from brain cell to brain cell. Though it's often called the "pleasure chemical," that's wrong. Giving you a buzz is opioids' department. Getting you to the opioids is dopamine's job. Research by neuroscientist Kent Berridge suggests dopamine drives "wanting" (as in, craving)--motivating you to pursue things that are "rewarding," like sex, drugs, and cake. » Read More

Free Will Astrology: Week of March 4, 2020

Progress rarely unfolds in a glorious, ever-rising upward arc. The more usual pattern is gradual and uneven. Each modest ascent is followed by a phase of retrenchment and integration. In the best-case scenario, the most recent ascent reaches a higher level than the previous ascent. By my estimate, you're in one of those periods of retrenchment and integration right now, Aries. It's understandable if you feel a bit unenthusiastic about it. But I'm here to tell you that it's crucial to your next ascent. Let it work its subtle magic. » Read More

Forgotten Valley

Tom Liggett's new book, Mozart in the Garden: Silicon Valley and Me, We Grew Up Together, performs many services. It is a testimonial to the drastic effects of suburban sprawl, a deep dive into San Jose's architectural underbelly and a journey from abandonment to healing. Liggett was born in a brothel suspiciously close to Campbell City Hall. His teenage mother hardly raised him and her numerous lovers lovers left Liggett in a state of familial confusion. While learning to care for himself, he developed a passion for fruit trees before he reached the age of 10. He started working as a gardener before he was old enough to drive. » Read More

Silicon Alleys: Quakes Forward Chris Wondolowski to Retire After 2020 Season

If everything goes as planned, the 2020 San Jose Earthquakes campaign, which begins Saturday afternoon at home, will be Chris Wondolowski's final season. Last year, the Danville native, then 36, became Major League Soccer's all-time leading scorer, proving that perseverance and resolve will pay off in the end if one works hard and never gives up. Going into that game last year, Wondo started the match with 144 career goals, only needing one more to tie the record; yet he scored four. After the triumph, congratulatory videos came over the wire from Giants legend Barry Bonds, the Sharks' Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski, as well as FIFA Women's World Cup stars Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe, all testifying to Wondo's well-deserved glory. » Read More

Advice Goddess: How Do I Get Things Back to Normal?

Welcome to the origins of our longing for privacy--to keep some info about ourselves out of the public eye (everyone we don't have intimate relationships with) and to manicure the info we do release. Social psychologist Mark Leary refers to this as "impression management." Others' evaluations of us affect how we're perceived and treated, so, Leary explains, we're driven to "behave in ways that will create certain impressions in others' eyes." Regrettably, it's difficult to keep up the role of steely image manager while naked and barking like a coked-up elephant seal. » Read More

Free Will Astrology: Week of February 26, 2020

You may sometimes reach a point where you worry that conditions are not exactly right to pursue your dreams or fulfill your holy quest. Does that describe your current situation? If so, I invite you to draw inspiration from Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616), who's regarded as one of history's foremost novelists. Here's how one observer described Cervantes during the time he was working on his masterpiece, the novel titled *Don Quixote*: "shabby, obscure, disreputable, pursued by debts, with only a noisy tenement room to work in." Cervantes dealt with imperfect conditions just fine. » Read More

Silicon Alleys: 'Noche de Poesia' Aims to Elevate Struggling Communities Through Poetry

As an organization, ConXion operates out of a nondescript building just across Coyote Creek from where The Jungle homeless encampment used to be. The surrounding environs include Happy Hollow and the historic Ashworth-Remillard House, where the roosters meander into the Walmart parking lot. Once inside ConXion, however, a vast array of activities become apparent, all relating to education, workforce, behavioral health and other social services for disconnected youth and adults. Murals adorn the walls. Day laborers arrive to learn computer skills, get food, or just hang out in a safe place while they look for work. Counselors, teachers and social workers tend to the needs of disenfranchised parents or kids embroiled in the child welfare » Read More

Advice Goddess: I Want the Truth So I Could Move On

There comes a time when you wish someone would treat you with a little more kindness, like by screaming out all the reasons you deserve to be left for dead and have your face eaten off by raccoons. Even more painful than being dumped by a friend is being dumped by a friend and having no idea why. Lingering questions we can't answer are mental weevils. Their fave food is our peace of mind, which they gnaw through at random moments. In scientific terms, psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik found that when we have unfinished business, the mind remains in a "state of tension" until we get closure. » Read More

Free Will Astrology: Week of February 19, 2020

Do you feel ready to change your mind about an idea or belief or theory that has been losing its usefulness? Would you consider changing your relationship with a once-powerful influence that is becoming less crucial to your life-long goals? Is it possible you have outgrown one of your heroes or teachers? Do you wonder if maybe it's time for you to put less faith in a certain sacred cow or overvalued idol? According to my analysis of your astrological omens, you'll benefit from meditating on these questions during the coming weeks. » Read More

Silicon Alleys: South First Friday Strolls Showcase San Jose's Ever-Changing SoFA District

Perhaps the most noticeable addition to the environment is the hideous former Valley Title Building, the decades-long eyesore on the corner directly across First Street from Original Joe's. Ghosts of living, breathing people might be stalking the building. In 2006, it was lawyer central, for example. When Sam Liccardo first ran for City Council District 3 that year, he kept a campaign office upstairs. During that same era, Jenny Do ran a Viet-themed space on the second floor called The Green Rice Gallery--a precursor to all the ways in which the Viet arts community is now emerging. The San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce occupied the ground level, back when Pat Dando ran the show. Every day I'd walk by and see a homeless drunk » Read More

Advice Goddess: I Shouldn't Have to Act Like a Debutante for a Guy to Ask Me Out

Women's emotions are their parental investment watchdogs, pushing them to make sure a man's willing and able to stick around and provide resources. Though some women can take an emotionally Teflon approach to casual sex, anthropologist John Marshall Townsend finds that for many, hooking up comes with some emotional reflux--even when a woman knows a one-nighter is all she wants from a guy. She'll boot some himbo out of bed only to get all angsty afterward, worrying that the guy she wants nothing more from doesn't want anything more from her. These differences in male and female mating selectivity showed up in a big way in a recent study looking at heterosexual Tinder users. Belgian econ doctoral candidate Brecht Neyt calculated the » Read More

Free Will Astrology: Week of February 12, 2020

Now that she's in her late forties, Aries comedian and actress Tig Notaro is wiser about love. Her increased capacity for romantic happiness has developed in part because she's been willing to change her attitudes. She says, "Instead of being someone who expects people to have all the strengths I think I need them to have, I resolved to try to become someone who focuses on the strengths they do have." In accordance with this Valentine's season's astrological omens, Aries, I invite you to meditate on how you might cultivate more of that aptitude yourself. » Read More

Silicon Alleys: New Ballet Moves From One Historic Site to Another

The old building was a legendary structure dating back to Prohibition. In one of the offices, a bookshelf hid a secret passageway. There was also a hidden wet bar, dumbwaiters and secret staircases that allowed patrons to sneak out the back whenever the cops raided the joint. Netflix even filmed a short documentary, Nocturne, that highlighted the peculiar angles and lighting situations in the building, all using some of the most high-tech cameras in the world. "I did love that about our old building," Rawson says. "It had a history. It had personality. Every other ballet school in the area is either in a mini-mall or a warehouse. It's converted. Every other school in Northern California is basically that. There are no ballet schools in » Read More

Advice Goddess: Why Am I Such a Sucker for Guys Who Cheat on Me?

Laeng explains that this balancing of "similarity and dissimilarity" (which we do subconsciously) helps us avoid "inbreeding with close relatives," like siblings or first cousins. Inbreeding increases the chances that both partners would have the same nasty recessive genes for a disorder or disease. "Recessive" genes are true to label when they are paired with a dominant gene: They recede...slumping into the background, unemployed, inactive. But when two recessive genes for a condition are paired (like when close relatives with the same recessive gene make a baby), these genes become active--and so does the disorder or the disease. » Read More

Free Will Astrology: Week of January 29, 2020

You now have the power to make connections that have not previously been possible. You can tap into an enhanced capacity to forge new alliances and strengthen your support system. I urge you to be on the lookout for a dynamic group effort you could join or a higher purpose you might align yourself with. If you're sufficiently alert, you may even find an opportunity to weave your fortunes together with a dynamic group effort that's in service to a higher purpose. » Read More

The Valley of Youth

Chip Walter's new book, Immortality, Inc.: Renegade Science, Silicon Valley Billions, and the Quest to Live Forever (National Geographic) is a deep dive into the very real efforts of Silicon Valley-funded scientists to develop therapies that might aid humans in living for hundreds of years and eventually in perpetuity. If Walter's book is right, humanity may soon strike a profound blow against an adversary that so far still has a perfect record. The same people who disrupted media, commerce, transportation, entertainment, relationships and countless other sectors are now poised to disrupt the Big Sleep. » Read More

Silicon Alleys: Scott's Seafood Tries Its Luck at Location with High Turnover

But philosophically speaking, what if the curse went back even further? What's now the pedestrian alley, Paseo de San Antonio, used to be an actual street, San Antonio Street (see photo), that went from Plaza de Cesar Chavez all the way to SJSU. On the other side of campus, San Antonio Street has remained relatively unchanged for a century, but west of SJSU, things have been quite different. Fifty years ago, for example, one could find a curious place called Ho-Sale Gifts, plus a variety of shoe stores, jewelry shops, clothing boutiques and a slew of intriguing flophouses like the Curtis Hotel. In the immediate area, one could drink at the Gold Nugget Tavern, The Office Tavern or the Sapphire Lounge. » Read More

Advice Goddess: How Do I Get My Roommate to Shut Up?

Assertiveness is best exercised as soon as you realize you want somebody to change their behavior. When you don't let your annoyance fester, you're more likely to have the composure to open with a little positivity, like saying to your roommate, "Hey, I really admire your openness about your life..." Yes, that's the sound of the truth being sacrificed on the altar out back, but it's for a good cause--making him feel appreciated rather than attacked. This sets him up to be more amenable to your request that follows: "When I come home, I need an hour or so without conversation so I can decompress." For best results, keep the next part of that silent: "Also so I can refrain from the temptation to bludgeon you with a potato and cut your vocal » Read More

Free Will Astrology: Week of January 29, 2020

My favorite ancient Greek philosopher was the rascal Diogenes. As a joke, he carried around a lantern during the daytime, proclaiming, "I am just looking for an honest man." When Alexander the Great, the most powerful man in the world, came to meet Diogenes while he was relaxing outside and asked him if he needed any favors done, he replied, "Yeah, stop blocking my sunlight." As for Plato, Diogenes complained that the famous philosopher talked too damn much and misinterpreted the teachings of Socrates. I encourage you to borrow some of Diogenes' attitude in the coming weeks. According to my analysis of the astrological omens, it'll be healing for you to experiment with being brassy, saucy and sassy. Emphasize what makes you most unique, » Read More

Winter Arts 2020

As the topography and demographics of Santa Clara County evolved, and as the world around the Bay Area changed, artists of all stripes responded, interpreting and framing that change through visual media and performing art. This season, museums and galleries all over the valley will host exhibitions that both look back at where we've come from, and look forward to where we may be going. The Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University will explore the Persian and European art that emerged during the late Renaissance--as trade facilitated a cross-cultural exchange of ideas and customs. And Pace Gallery in Palo Alto has a free primer on one of the 20th century's most respected painters: "Seeing Picasso: Maker of the Modern." » Read More

Silicon Alleys: 'Buddhist Bible' Author Bridged East and West

If Dwight Goddard, the man whose book introduced Jack Kerouac to Buddhism, wound up in Los Gatos after his wife left him, then I just had to follow Rob Brezsny's astrological advice and track the guy down. No, Goddard is not alive. He passed away in 1939, but not before authoring the seminal 1932 book, A Buddhist Bible, the first anthology of Buddhist teachings in English. Just over 20 years later, Kerouac was staying at Neal Cassady's house in San Jose and discovered the book in the public library. In a now-famous story, Kerouac stole the library's copy of A Buddhist Bible and took it all over the US with him, scribbling down voluminous notes, leading to his embrace of the practice and forming the basis of several books, all of which » Read More

Advice Goddess: Girl Crush

This charisma skills set includes being gifted at talking, listening, connecting and reading the room. When charismatic people talk, they grab others' attention and emotions by being spontaneous and genuine. They're usually great listeners, making people feel heard and understood. And they tend to be powerful public speakers, converting masses of people into followers with their voice, words, and presence. Take Martin Luther King Jr. almost singing out, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." That idea gets its mojo sucked out if it's delivered by some nervous little pastor. » Read More

Free Will Astrology: Week of January 22, 2020

Taurus-born Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was a renowned German composer who lived most of his life in Germany and Austria. He became so famous and well-respected that England's Cambridge University offered him an honorary degree if he would visit the campus. But Brahms was too timid to risk crossing the English Channel by boat. (There were no airplanes and Chunnel in those days.) He declined the award. I beg you not to do anything even remotely like that in the coming weeks, Taurus. Please summon the gumption necessary to claim and gather in all you deserve. » Read More

A Printmaker's Journey

His prints have taken on a revered status, and his colorful works hang in such iconic venues as Bookshop Santa Cruz and David Kinch's Manresa restaurant in Los Gatos. Killion will teach a sold-out class on Japanese woodblock printing at the Palo Alto Art League this week. But for a better look at his methods, Chikaran Motomura's new documentary, Journey to Hokusai, follows Killion as he travels to Japan to hone his skills. Toting four wood panels he made at his California studio, Killion studies with Kyoto's Kenji Takenaka, a fifth-generation artist and one of the few remaining hand printers working in a 1,200 year old craft. » Read More

Silicon Alleys: De Saisset Opens Revamped 'California' Exhibit

On stage at the De Saisset Museum, a Jesuit priest drinks champagne with Ohlone tribal members. In the audience, I hit the caprese skewers. Dozens of others congregate to celebrate a new permanent history exhibition downstairs at the De Saisset, California Stories from Thamien to Santa Clara. Several years in the making, California Stories successfully updates and reimagines the dimly lit frumpy old Cali history exhibit that sat downstairs for a few generations. Now the exhibit dedicates much more space to Ohlone heritage, in addition to Mission period history, Californio lifestyles and events from the very beginning of Santa Clara College, as it was then called. » Read More

Advice Goddess: Am I Unreasonable, or is He Petty?

Yesterday, my roommate picked up some household supplies (toilet paper, sponges, etc.) and asked me to split the cost. I've bought plenty of household supplies in the two years we've lived together without ever asking for any money. It feels weird and cheap that he's suddenly doing this. Am I being unreasonable in feeling this way, or is he being seriously petty? » Read More

Free Will Astrology: Week of January 15, 2020

Comedian John Cleese has an insight I hope you'll consider. He says, "It's easier to do trivial things that are urgent than it is to do important things that are not urgent. It's also easier to do little things we know we can do than to start on big things that we're not so sure about." I hope you'll make this advice a priority in the coming weeks. You'll be wise to prioritize important tasks, even those that aren't urgent, as you de-emphasize trivial matters that tempt you to think they're crucial. Focus on big things that are challenging, rather than on little things that are a snap. » Read More

Silicon Alleys: Jerry Hiura Generously Supported Local Arts Groups

A perfect example of the role Dr. Jerry played as a humble yet powerful networking machine emerged when he helped integrate Chopsticks Alley Art, a Vietnamese-centric arts operation, into the fabric of Japantown so that a landmark exhibit, Salt Stained, could take place at Ken Matsumoto's Art Object Gallery in 2018. After 40 years of the Vietnamese diaspora enduring in San Jose, it had never once collaborated with the Japanese American community. Trami Nguyen Cron, founder and executive artistic director of Chopsticks Alley Art, says she was previously unfamiliar with the arts community and social structure of Japantown, yet Dr. Jerry, who also became her dentist and one of her board members, functioned as a conduit to help the » Read More

Advice Goddess: Why Are Women So Awful to One Another?

In short, if you're an ugly millionaire, it's best if you're a man. However, if you're a hot barista or pizza delivery person, you'll still get plenty of dates--if you're a woman. Because men evolved to prioritize physical appearance in mates, women will band together to punish other women for wearing revealing clothes or for being physically attractive. Women seem to recognize that other women do this. Research by social psychologist Jaimie Arona Krems suggests that women tend to dress defensively--wear less revealing clothes and dampen their attractiveness--when they'll be around other women who they aren't already friends with. » Read More

Free Will Astrology: Week of January 8, 2020

Mystic poet Rumi told us the kind of person he was attracted to. "I want a trouble-maker for a lover," he wrote. "Blood spiller, blood drinker, a heart of flame, who quarrels with the sky and fights with fate, who burns like fire on the rushing sea." In response to that testimony, I say, "Boo! Ugh! Yuck!" I say "To hell with being in an intimate relationship with a trouble-maker who fights with fate and quarrels with the sky." I can't imagine any bond that would be more unpleasant and serve me worse. What about you, Cancerian? Do you find Rumi's definition glamorous and romantic? I hope not. If you do, I advise you to consider changing your mind. 2020 will be an excellent time to be precise in articulating the kinds of alliances that are » Read More

Roll, Bounce

A boy in a baggy purple shirt and white shorts who looks about 10 years old clambers his way up a ledge and peers down. It's a 15-foot drop to the padded floor below. He concentrates, focuses on his hours of training and jumps. In the air, his body corkscrews twice, spiraling along multiple axes. A full second passes before the thump on the mat, followed by a smattering of applause. Then, another kid makes the ascent. Sessions Academy of Motion is San Jose's only gym dedicated to parkour (also known as "freerunning") Today, they're holding a jam, a meet-up event for the Bay Area's aspiring traceurs--practitioners of the sport. About 50 youths from around the Bay Area have come to train with other members of their chosen community. » Read More

Silicon Alleys: Anti-Man About Town Revisits the Highlights From a Year's Worth of Columns

To paraphrase Leonard Cohen, newspaper columns often begin with an appetite to discover my self-respect. To redeem the year. So the year does not go down in debt. They begin with that kind of appetite. So as we put an end to the 2019 Silicon Alleys campaign, it is once again time for the field commander to reflect on his most resonant columns of the previous year. This page in 2019 began and ended with a humbling combo of self-reflection and gratitude. I started the year off by contemplating all the crazed party houses from my college days and then finished the year with Kristi Yamaguchi. In the first case, I reiterated that all phenomena have arisen due to the coming together of previous phenomena. My past was not wasted. » Read More

Advice Goddess: How Can I Keep My Daughter's Spirit From Being Squelched By Her Grandparents?

Their premature focus on your daughter's appearance probably comes from a similar place: "Can't start too early on thinking about how you present yourself!" Um, actually, you can. Research by experimental psychologist Rick M. Gardner found that girls as young as 6 had negative thoughts and feelings about their appearance. Because men evolved to prioritize physical attractiveness in a partner, women evolved to be sensitive about their looks and their placement on the prettiness totem pole. This can lead to crippling insecurity and body dysmorphia—unfortunate at any age, but especially at age 4. » Read More

Free Will Astrology: Week of January 1, 2020

"We are all hostages of the joy of which we deprive ourselves," wrote poet Odysseus Elytis. Isn't that an astounding idea? That we refuse to allow ourselves to experience some of the bliss and pleasure we could easily have; and that we are immured inside that suppressed bliss and pleasure? I call on you, Aries, to rebel against this human tendency. As I see it, one of your main tasks in 2020 is to permit yourself to welcome more bliss, to aggressively seize more pleasure, and thereby free yourself from the rot of its nullification. » Read More

2019: That Friggin Year

Staying in bed all year is not an option for most of us, but if you felt like doing that in 2019, we get it. Recent decades have ended on more hopeful notes--the dotcom frenzy and the inauguration of Barack Obama defined the previous two years that ended with nine. Songs struck a more positive note as well. The end of 1999 brought us Rob Thomas' "Smooth" and ten years later "Boom Boom Pow" advised us that we were so 2000 and late--and to get on with "that future boom boom boom." What coal nugget landed in this year's stocking? The inescapable, twisted "Bad Guy," an ode to puffed-chest criminality embodied in the shameless name callers and ass slappers that seem to have infected everything from Hollywood's couches and presidential tweets to » Read More

Silicon Alleys: Kids Flock to Books-and-Blades Event with Kristi Yamaguchi

On a chilly downtown San Jose morning, Kristi Yamaguchi is reading from her children's book, Cara's Kindness, in front of the ice rink that bears her name. Several low-income students, first- and second-graders from the Hubbard Media Arts Academy in the Alum Rock Union School District, sit on metal benches in front of her. Each kid wears an inflatable hat that resembles an Alaska Airlines plane since that company helps support both the ice rink and the Hubbard Program, the latter of which happens in partnership with the San Jose Public Library Foundation. Vertical Alaska Airlines banners on stands flank the stage area where Kristi sits, as well as the back railing behind the seating area. The wind is kicking in big time. » Read More

Advice Goddess: How Can I Get Her to Take Responsiblity for Her Dog?

My friend recently bought a $3,000 labradoodle but refuses to pay to get it trained. The dog is really badly behaved. Whenever I bring up the need for training, my friend gets very defensive and lashes out at me. Last time I visited her, the dog got into my bag and chewed through some seriously expensive skin care products I treated myself to. She acted like it wasn't an issue and even said it was my fault for leaving my bag on the floor! We've been friends for nearly 20 years, so it's a little complicated, but how can I let her know her actions feel inconsiderate and get her to take proper responsibility for her dog? » Read More

Free Will Astrology: Week of December 25, 2019

Nazi Germany invaded and occupied Denmark during World War II. In 1943, Hitler ordered all Danish Jews to be arrested—a first step in his plan to send them to concentration camps. But the Danish resistance movement leapt into action and smuggled virtually all of them to safety via fishing boats bound for Sweden. As a result, 8,000-plus Danish Jews survived the Holocaust. You may not have the opportunity to do anything quite as heroic in 2020, Aries. But I expect you will have chances to express a high order of practical idealism that could be among your noblest and most valiant efforts ever. Draw inspiration from the Danish resistance. » Read More

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