Sidelines and Sessions


The Loco Moco: History Fishing

Filed under: History Fishing — spsukaton @ 10:01 am

I know I’m two days late, but it’s n0t like any of you were paying attention anyway. Hawai’i is distracting. Sorry.

I had Hawaiian food tonight – specifically, the loco moco. It’s actually kind of delicious, and I figured I should probably write about it.

The loco moco is native to Hawai’i, and reflects (as do many other foods in the islands) the multicultural overlay present. It is, in its simplest form, white rice, a hamburger patty, and a fried egg, stacked on top of each other and doused in brown gravy. It’s so simple, most high school or college students could make it at home – it’s taste, low cost, and easy preparability make it a popular dish in the rice-friendly Hawaiian Islands.

The dish itself, created in 1949, has a distinctly Hawaiian history. Richard and Nancy Inouye opened the Lincoln Grill Restaurant in Hilo, on the Big Island. Lincoln Grill was across the street from Lincoln Park, which was also home to a group of teens, the Lincoln Wreckers Athletic Club, who played football (barefoot, according to my source!) in the area. Teenagers (including the Wreckers) chilled at the restaurant, usually eating hamburgers or saimin (Japanese noodle soup.)  The Wreckers wanted something both filling and affordable, and thought up a dish with rice, gravy and hamburger. The Wreckers asked one of their own, a young man nicknamed “Crazy” to ask for it. Crazy in pidgin and Spanish is loco, and “moco” just happens to rhyme. The name was hot, the food was a hit, and the rest is history.  It became wildly popular and is now available just about everywhere in the islands.

(There are plenty of such stories, but the ones I found focus explicitly on Hilo, so I’m pretty sure loco’s from Island of Hawai’i. Let me know if you hear anything different.)

In celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Loco Moco (and the 50th of Hawaiian statehood) I had mine with macaroni salad and a medium water. I love egg yolk – so mixing it in with the gravy, salad, and hamburger was bomb. All my friends that got Japanese curry next door were hella jealous. I just wish I had taken a picture.


A Passing Thought

Filed under: UCLA life — spsukaton @ 10:42 am

I only have one regret for my first two years of college.

I applied to the Daily Bruin as a news intern fall quarter, got in, freaked out, and never showed up for training. I used Saturday training as an excuse. Then, I went to the Berkeley game one of those Saturdays.

Hypocrite. Spineless. I’d call myself an opportunist but that wasn’t even an opportunity.

I chalk it up more to a lack of self-confidence and an excess of priggishness than the presence of moral fiber.

The Bruin was one of two things that tipped the scales when I was a senior and kept me from going to Irvine or Santa Cruz. I give you my word, I was reading the DB in high school. I had wanted to be a professional writer since freshman year – I did casual freelancing for the Highland Community News for three years, and I was getting much more serious about writing.I was thinking about USC for journalism, but I decided on UCLA after they accepted me, my teacher (a Bruin herself who I adore) praised their history program to the skies, and I got sucked in by quality work – Katie Strickland was probably my favorite. (I came to UCLA almost by accident – ask me about it sometime!) I even annoyed the hell out of my Orientation group by bringing up the Daily Bruin in every conversation I had. Seriously.

Of all the things I will do in this life of all the praise and blame I will ever hear, I can never say I was a four-year DB staffer. (Well, I could, but then I’d have to take a 5th year, and my parents would flay me, then nail me to a door by my partially-flayed hide.) I can’t say I was a student journalist all my college life – and while I enjoyed my work with CAC and SP freshman year, it feels like a lost year.

That’s the only regret I have. Everything else I did, every lecture I missed, every party I went to, ever questionable decision or act of total idiocy – I don’t feel the need to apologize for. Most of them were great fun, anyhow.

The one regret I have is for when I forgot the reason I was even at UCLA, when I gave in to my insecurities, when, in a moment of weakness I threw away the whole reason for my presence in LA…and I had the audacity to claim it as standing on principle and self-denial for my faith and convictions.

I don’t know what makes me sicker, the realization I hid my own weakness behind beliefs I couldn’t back up or the fact I was so coy about something I could have and should have grabbed with both hands.

I got over it and I’m now content (I love my job and I feel at home – “Most Eager Intern” indeed!) but there is the regret at the timidity I had freshman year. I’m not going to let go of that, because I have no intention of letting it happen again. Whenever I waver, or get indecisive, I’ll remember what I’ve written here, how I mocked myself for a whole year, and the hollow justifications I conjured up for myself.

…but aside from that, college is going like a dream. Good (not decent, good) grades, a dream job, good friends, and the liberty of being a single man. Why am I complaining? In all honesty, I’m probably making too much out of this. Having only one regret for your entire college career – indeed, your entire adult life – is pretty good.

All that concede, I’m pretty sure I’m making a big deal of this so that it’s my only such regret. Make every mistake once – you don’t learn anything new if you don’t make new mistakes.

Is that, perhaps, the true explanation of the Fall? Knowledge of good and evil, death, redemption, and the whole narrative thereof? Interesting alley to walk down, but I’m no theologian, and it’s almost 4 in the morning out here. I need to sleep, pack, and plan. That alley of possible heresy remains unexplored this evening.

A word on regrets…keep them to a minimum. Grab the world with both hands. Bite off more than you can chew. Do it.

I suppose I ended up getting  “Most Eager Intern” at -29- because I felt like I needed to make up for lost time, and I did make up for it.

To the student who picks up The Bruin every morning the staff is an enigma. He or she cannot possibly realize that the paper comes out under the combined efforts of a staff of almost 75 students, . . . who through their love of journalism and their hope of rising on the staff, work as many as 30 hours per week in KH 212, students who work Sunday so that a paper can hit the stands Monday, students who work on holidays so that a paper will come out the day after, students who work until 2 a.m. putting the paper to bed when they have early classes the next morning. (Editor Martin A. Brower, DB, 2/14/51.)

We’re in Kerckhoff 118 now, but the same spirit holds true in the nine-decade old Bruin – at least, it does for this wayward staffer. The only reason I’m not working 30 hours a week right now is because it’s summer and vaca…er, travel-study call.

I wonder if there’s an award for “Most Eager Editor?” Heaven help me if there is. Come August, I have more lost time to make up for.

To the student who picks up The Bruin every morning the staff is an enigma. He or she cannot possibly realize that the paper comes out under the combined efforts of a staff of almost 75 students, . . . who through their love of journalism and their hope of rising on the staff, work as many as 30 hours per week in KH 212, students who work Sunday so that a paper can hit the stands Monday, students who work on holidays so that a paper will come out the day after, students who work until 2 a.m. putting the paper to bed when they have early classes the next morning. (Editor Martin A. Brower, DB, 2/14/51.)



Filed under: Uncategorized — spsukaton @ 8:55 am

I think those of you who blog should blog more. I want to read what you have to say.

Really, I do.

“Why?” you might ask. “You’re a history major and an incorrigible nerd – don’t you have enough to read as it is?”

No, actually, I don’t. Reading comes in waves – some weeks, I have absolutely nothing, much like this week. Then, all of a sudden, 250293275764 pages come in, swamp me, and recede again. Then, I have nothing to do but read more. I’ve very much spend that time reading your blogs.

Let’s be real – I’d rather read work from people I know and can identify with than people I don’t know and can’t. Textbooks, oral histories, and primary sources are only so interesting…I’m human, contrary to popular belief.

Sure, I’ll read magazines and newspapers and websites (in fact, I think I need to renew a subscription or two. Or six.) but I write journalism, social history – I want – no, need – your voices.

So yeah. Y’all should start writing more. I sing the body electric, and you do too. I’d like to hear the body electric this summer.

Write more.

write because you’re good at it.

Write because you know you like to.

Write because it’s easy.

Write because it’s hard

Write because it’s fun.

Write because I’m nosy as hell and I miss y’all.

I don’t care why. Just write.

I will, too.


On Tehran

Filed under: Uncategorized — spsukaton @ 5:47 am

No political opinions here, don’t worry.

One thought: I wish American students were as dedicated, as ornery, as invested in the way their society was run.

Reading List

Filed under: Uncategorized — spsukaton @ 5:21 am

Planes, trains, automobiles, Honolulu, San Bernardino, Los Angeles.

California Studies/American Studies:

McWilliams, Carey. Fool’s Paradise : A Carey McWilliams Reader, California: The Great Exception, Southern California Country.

Richardson, Peter. American Prophet: The Life and Work of Carey McWilliams

Denning, Michael. The Cultural Front: The Laboring of American Culture in the 20th Century.

The University:

Nelson, Cary. Academic Keywords: A Devil’s Dictionary for Higher Education.

Bosquet, Marc. How the University Works: Higher Education and the Low-Wage Nation.

Nelson, Cary:  Memoirs of a Tenured Radical.


Michener, James. Hawaii

Bulosan, Carlos. America is in the Heart, If You Want to Know What We Are, On Becoming Filipino.

Toer, Pramoedya Ananta. Buru Quartet – This Earth of Mankind, Child of All Nations, Footsteps, House of Glass.

…yeah, I’m weird. Michener, America and This Earth are rereads.

Also, paper on immigration and Hawaiian cuisine yes/no?

Academic Keywords: A Devil’s Dictionary for Higher Education


History Fishing 2009/06/19: Os Confederados

Filed under: Uncategorized — spsukaton @ 12:45 am

Every college student knows about the Civil War and, to some extent, about Reconstruction. North and South argue, South tries to leave, North pwns South, occupies South, South sets up Jim Crow when North leaves due to resentment.

The Civil War (or whatever you’d like to call it) is intensely welded to the American consciousness. History being what it is, what we know is usually missing a few pieces.

One of those pieces is Os Confederados – 4000-10000 Confederates who left the re-United States and settled in Brazil around the present-day cities of Sao Paulo and Americana rather then stay in defeated Dixie. The cotton-based economy of the South was shot, leaving experienced farmers and plantation owners destitute. Dom Pedro II, the Emperor of Brazil, offered Southerners passage and cheap land if they would emigrate to Brazil. While Robert E. Lee implored Southerners not to go, an estimated 4,000-9,000 Southerners took Dom Pedro up on his offer as early as 1867

Most of these “Confederados” came out of Alabama, Texas, and South Carolina and settled around the city of Sao Paulo and the nearby town of Americana, growing cotton and other crops with the help of native laborers (slavery was legal in Brazil until 1888. The sources I found, however,  suggest that these workers were paid – more cost-effective) Many Confederados returned to the US (up to 60 percent.) Those that stayed clustered around American.

The Confederate community had some advantages in staying close-knit. They were primarily English-speaking Protestants in a Portuguese Catholic country. Due to Brazillian laws outlawing Protestant burials in public graveyards, the Confederados buried their dead together.

While the backlash of Reconstruction fed American racism, the Confederados began to mingle after a few generations – while the population of Americana is lighter as Brazillians go, “Confederados were marrying whomever they fell in love with, including Indians, blacks, Arabs, Italians and Germans.” The question of race is a little different in Brazil, and perhaps the example of the Confederado speaks to the questions of Radical Reconstruction and its role in creating a Jim Crow, anti-miscegenation backlash.

Today, Confederados are a distinct current of Brazil’s population. Americana has the highest rates of education and  income  in Brazil (arguably due to the emigre’s focus on it) and retains some ties to their Confederate cousins -the Sons of Confederate Veterans have a Brazillian camp and a re-enactment hosting program for Confederate-Brazillian teens to go to Georgia, while the city of Americana has ante-bellum dress and quarterly picnics organized by the Associação Descendência Americana.

In short, the Confederados today maintain their distinctly American past while throughly participating in Brazil’s present, providing little known stories about that most American of pursuits – moving to a new land and making good.


History Fishing: Prologue

Filed under: History Fishing — spsukaton @ 11:56 pm

I tend to go crazy when I don’t have anything to do. As a result, I’m giving myself something to do this summer: History Fishing.

I’m going to go online (read: Wikipedia) every week and go trawling for some interesting piece of history. Then, I’ll cross-reference it online, and write a blog on Friday. This way, I’ll be writing at least once a week outside of work and/or class. This is just to keep my brain from deteriorating into a mass of jelly this summer and then getting pwned when I go back to Viewpoint in August or school in September.

The first post in this series, on the Confederate expatriate community in Brazil, is next. Enjoy.

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