Jun 02, 2019

They say that these are not the best of times, but they’re the only times I’ve ever known. — Billy Joel, “Summer, Highland Falls,” 1976 I still remember an insult leveled at me in 1981. A writer in Newsweek magazine, doubtless a Baby Boomer, described the new generation of young people as “silent, selfish, and tractable.” I had to look up “tractable,” and when I did, I got mad. When I read that Newsweek article, I was 19 years old...  
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Jun 02, 2019

The Boomers’ disdain of my generation’s political involvement was a perfect analogue for what they thought about music in the late 70s and early 80s. They’d had the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Hendrix, Dylan, Janice, the Who. They dismissed the music I listened to in high school as insubstantial pop fluff—disco and Top 40. OK, that’s fair. We didn’t have any equivalent to the Beatles. But the Beatles came ashore in very different circumstances than in the 70s. The ...  
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Jun 02, 2019

We were the D.I.Y. Generation. While our elders were buying glossy copies of Vogue and Rolling Stone, we made our own ‘zines and printed them on the photocopiers at Kinko’s. We silk-screened our own shirts and made superstars out of grafitti artists like Kenny Scharf and Keith Haring. We released underground music on cassette tapes and 4-song EPs produced in garages and basements. Our subcultures grew sub-subcultures. We were never a unified cultural movement. Our generation g...  
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Nov 03, 2018

I've been watching the reaction to one group of teachers at Middleton Elementary School dressing up in red, white and blue (and one as the Statue of Liberty!) standing behind a cardboard "wall" that says Make America Great Again, and another group at the same school who dressed in cringeworthy stereotypical Mexican costumes. As a fellow teacher, I can't fully express my horror and disappointment at the behavior of these elementary school teachers. I hardly know where to start. ...  
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Oct 13, 2018

When I was about 26, I played my first open mic. We spelled it “open mike” back then. I lived in Brooklyn and had a job selling futon furniture in Soho. A friend pretty much forced me to perform something at an open mike at Speak Easy, a small basement folk club on Macdougal St. in the village. She’d known me in Honolulu, where I had performed some spoken word stuff. But I could tell this was a music club, so I brought my guitar and sang a couple of songs I’d written. It w...  
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May 27, 2018

Some of my students think of myths merely as wild, entertaining stories, like ancient horror movies. They’re shocked and titillated at incestuous unions (siblings Zeus and Hera), parents devouring their children (Cronos), children dismembering their grandparents (Marduk and Tiamat), dead wives appearing to living husbands in a horrifying state of maggoty decomposition (Izanami and Izanagi). “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” has nothing—nothing—on ancient mythology. ...  
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Apr 11, 2018

At the ripe old age of 52, I discovered that although I may be lazy and careless in many aspects of my life (e.g. my lawn and desk), I wasn’t at fault in one particular way I’d always believed I was. I figured out that I have a learning disability and have apparently felt its effects for my entire life. I’d always known that I was bad at numbers, but three years ago, while sitting around waiting for a staff meeting to begin, I asked Juan, a colleague in Special Ed, if the...  
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Feb 15, 2018  |  1 Comment

My truth right now is that I’m getting depressed as hell at all the shit my students have gone through in just the first semester of school. In the schools where I taught before, there were suicides, arrests, and students being abused at home, but they were few and far between. This year, it’s been an avalanche and it’s making my life feel really heavy and sad. A kid was murdered; Cristobal and Lisa were arrested and are going to be tried in adult court. More than one studen...  
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© Daniel Sato