Go Bruins!

That’s three in a row versus SC.

ucla logo

There’s a new dynasty is LA, and it’s coached by Jim Mora. Here is the LA Times on the new dynasty. And ESPN.

I had my pick of elite schools on the west coast to choose from. I chose UCLA because I grew up with college football and college hoops. It wasn’t even a contest (just like the game at the Rose Bowl last night!).

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming…

Stephen Cox Reviews Delacroix’s New Book

From the pages of Liberty:

Another book that I’ve enjoyed, and I don’t want other people to miss, is a work by Jacques Delacroix, who has contributed frequently to [Liberty‘s] pages. In this case, you can tell a book by its cover, because the cover of Delacroix’s book bears the title I Used to Be French. Here is the cultural biography — cultural in the broadest sense — of a man who became an American, and an American of the classic kind: ingenuous, daring, engaging, funny, and again, curious about everything in the world. Whether the author began with these characteristics, I don’t know, but he has them now; and what you see in the book is someone learning, as he moves from France to America and from mid-century to the present, that “American” is the best name for his own best qualities.

It takes literary skill to project a many-sided personality; and the strange thing is that it takes even more skill to project the differences we all feel between American culture (bad or good) and French — or any other European — culture (bad or good). We feel those differences, but when we try to describe them we usually get ourselves lost in generalizations. Delacroix doesn’t. He has a taste for the pungent episode, the memorable anecdote. He also displays two of the best qualities of which a good author, American or French, can ever be possessed: an exact knowledge of formal language and an intimate and loving acquaintance with the colloquial tongue.

Sampling Delacroix’s topics, one finds authoritarianism, Catholicism, Catholic iconography, the Cold War, communism, diving, driving, the end of the Middle Ages, existentialism, food, French borrowings from English, the French navy (being in it), getting arrested, grunion, jazz, Levis, lovemaking, Muslims, the People’s Republic of Santa Cruz, political correctness, the Third World in its many forms. . . . Most (even grunion) are topics that a lesser author would inevitably get himself stuck to, but Delacroix romps through them all. If you want a loftier metaphor, you can say that they (even the grunion) are jewels strung on the book’s central story, as sketched in the summary on the back cover: “A boy grows up in the distant, half-imaginary continent of post-World War II France. Bad behavior and good luck will eventually carry him to California where he will find redemption.” And a lot of fun, for both the reader and himself.

Dr Cox is a Professor of Literature at UC San Diego. Be sure to check out Peter Miller’s review of Delacroix’s book as well (Dr Miller is also a sociologist and artist). EDIT (10/2/14): You can order I Used to Be French… from Dr J himself by sending an email to iusedtobefrench@gmail.com.

I just worked my last day as a day laborer for a stone mason crew in Utah today. I’ll be on the road again, headed more or less toward Seattle, but will be contributing to the blog a bit more often (unless I can convince my co-bloggers to start producing much more material, which would make me more than content to sit back and troll the ‘comments’ threads).

PS: Did anybody see the UCLA-Arizona State game? Wow. Pac-12 football at its finest baby! It will be unfortunate if the championship game does not have a west coast representative. The country deserves better, although I think the new playoff system will ensure that the brutal Pac-12 season doesn’t eliminate the best teams simply because they have all lost one game to another championship contender. The west coast isn’t the SEC. We play hard games, week in week out.

Around the Web

  1. College football metrics: machines say the Pac-12 is the strongest football conference, humans erroneously believe the SEC is stronger
  2. Ken White on the cultural implications of the War on Drugs
  3. Orin Kerr on the case that sparked Ken White’s analysis I linked to above
  4. Ali Ezzatyar, a lawyer at UC Berkeley’s Program on Entrepreneurship and Development in the Middle East, makes The Case for Kurdistan
  5. A Barton Hinkle, echoing Dr Delacroix’s recent work, advises us to ‘cheer up’ because things are getting better (thanks to capitalism)

Bad News Bruins (Pac-12 football in ya mouth)

Southern Cal fired its head football coach after losing to Arizona State yesterday. I was looking forward to the Trojan’s big game against national powerhouse UCLA in November. This is awful news for everybody in Los Angeles.

I’m surprised Washington beat Arizona as hard as they did. Either U Dub is better than I thought, or Arizona is a little overrated.

I’m no fan of Cal, but “ouch.” That’s what they get for losing to a BIG 10 team last week (making us all look bad in the process).

The Pac-12 has five teams in the Top 25, and four of ’em are in the Top 15. ASU (ranked #22) can play with anybody in the nation. Why isn’t Oregon State back in the rankings? They’ve finally got their QB situation figured out, so if they can win some big games in conference play we might see them crawl back into the national picture. The Pac-12 is the best conference in the nation. Oregon, Stanford and UCLA could all beat Alabama, LSU and Georgia any day of the week. Washington and ASU would smoke A&M and South Carolina, and our bottom-feeders are better than their bottom-feeders.

I am still pissed off that the Pac-12 admitted Utah and Colorado into the conference. These guys suck. It would’ve been better to pull in BYU and UNLV. In terms of talent, the latter are about as good as the former, but the latter have way more monetary potential to the conference: BYU with its Mormon fan base and UNLV with its location. Whatever.

Eleven Myths about Obamacare.

Government is responsible for soaring inequality.