aloha crisp

Blair Mastbaum
Culture, Language, Travel, and Change
Created 19 May 2021
  • The Oldest Travel Guide in the World
    01 Oct 2021 • 3 min read
    Illustrated map from the ancient book, c. 1135–1140 As the Camino de Santiago finally reopens, along with its supporting albergues, hostels, cafés, cathedrals, campgrounds, and monuments, plans are no...
  • Do Activities that Force You to Stop Making Decisions
    24 Sep 2021 • 4 min read
    A sign for the Via Augusta in Jerez de la Frontera. Photo: Blair Mastbaum I haven’t walked the Camino, but I really want to, and this is why. I currently live in camino country, you could say — in Spa...
  • How the Hass Avocado Took Over the World
    23 Sep 2021 • 4 min read
    Hass avocado with oil and vinegar. Photo: Blair Mastbaum Every Hass avocado tree on earth — all ten million plus of them — are descendants of the Hass Mother Tree at 430 West Road, La Habra Heights, C...
  • Frog and Toad Are the Ultimate Gay Zen Heroes
    30 Aug 2021 • 3 min read
    First published in 1970 by Arnold Lobel, Frog and Toad Are Friends is an easy reader children’s book about an anthropomorphic frog and toad who love one another, even though they are both dudes. They ...
  • What’s in a Word?: Agony
    26 Aug 2021 • 2 min read
    Agony is something to be avoided at all costs, right? In fact, it’s such a strong word that it’s barely used in English if the speaker isn’t exaggerating. You might hear, “It was agony” about taking a...
  • Cooking Shakshouka in My Underwear
    09 Aug 2021 • 5 min read • 1 0
    It’s 92°F (33°c) in Olvera with punishingly strong sun, so you can’t even think about going outside until around 8pm when it starts to gradually cool down. When it’s hot, you start thinking of cooking...
  • What’s in a Word?: Assassin
    06 Aug 2021 • 3 min read
    President Kennedy moments before his assassination. Photo: Creative Commons, the Kennedy Library, Assassin in an intriguing word, a word that conjures up a James Bond type with a shiny silver pistol, ...
  • What’s in a Word?: Avocado
    02 Aug 2021 • 2 min read
    We all like them. In fact, they grow more popular every year. The numbers back this up — avocados will be a nearly 20 billion dollar industry by 2025. Unlike many things in our modern lives, to cut in...
  • What’s in a Word?: Gringo
    29 Jul 2021 • 3 min read
    “Hey, gringo!” is not something most people want to hear on the street in Latin America. For many different reasons, it just doesn’t sit right with most of us. Maybe because we — and when I say we I m...
  • The Causes and Symptoms of American Loneliness
    26 Jul 2021 • 6 min read
    Americans pride themselves on being lone wolves, independent pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps types. But most of us don’t even know what a bootstrap is anymore, so maybe it’s time to call it quits ...
  • View More on Substack »