Author Archives: Linh Dinh

Sam Adonis, El Santo and Donald Trump

One Friday, Jonathan Revusky and I went to see lucha libre. On a night featuring Valiente, Mistico, Misterioso, Rey Cometa, Euforia, Rush, Virus, Fuego, Stigma, The Panther, Blue Panther Jr., Tiger and Puma, etc., Arena Mexico only truly erupted at the appearance of Samuel Polinsky, a 6-foot-4, bleached blonde 28-year-old from Monroeville, Pennsylvania. Continue reading

Enduring Mexico

Jonathan Revusky and I were in Mexico City for eight days. Though Jon had been there twice, this was my first taste of this extremely complex, exhilarating and sophisticated metropolis. For $85 a night, we had a spacious two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment in Cuauhtémoc. It was cheaper than, say, Spokane, yet here we were in a world-class city. Continue reading

The Great White North

Despairing Americans often threaten to move to Canada, but how many even know what it’s like now? Many liberals assume that our northern neighbor is more progressive, while those on the right might think that it’s, ah, whiter. Ask your average American to name ten Canadians, and it’s likely that nine will be white guys who can deftly handle a puck, with the tenth, the ultra-vanilla Justin Bieber. Continue reading

Obscured American: Katy the bartender and nursing student

Jonathan Revusky was in Philly for a few days, and I had a great time showing Jon around. We went to Kensington, Fishtown, Camden, Point Breeze, Little Cambodia and Rittenhouse Square, all but the last at the sinking end of the economic scale, places I’m well familiar with. At Jack’s Famous Bar, we ordered a cheesesteak and a roast beef sandwich for just $4 each, my kind of price, and I thought our lunch excellent. In Camden, I steered Jon to a bodega where a cheesesteak was just $3.50. Jon said, “I would never have walked into a place like that, if I wasn’t with you.” Most Americans wouldn’t go to Camden, period, even if you paid them. Continue reading

Postcard from the End of America: New Haven, Connecticut

I’ve only been to New Haven four times, and last week, it was only to participate in the commemoration of the Fall of Saigon, as organized by the Vietnamese Studies Program at Yale. I was one of three poets invited. The other two were Phan Nhien Hao (b. 1967) and To Thuy Yen (b. 1938). Continue reading

Obscured American: Rudy Dent a 9–11 first responder

On February 18, I was in Detroit to attend a presentation, “The War on Islam: 9/11 Revisited, Uncovered & Exposed.” Sponsored by the Nation of Islam, it featured Kevin Barrett, Richard Gage and Christopher Bollyn. Continue reading

Mob rule

My local dive, Friendly Lounge, was mentioned in I Heard You Paint Houses, a book soon to be turned into a movie by Martin Scorcese. Now Friendly’s featured quite prominently in The Last Don Standing, an account of the Philly mob by Ralph Natale. An infamous snitch, Natale still spent 27 years inside. Continue reading

Postcard from the End of America: Atlanta, Georgia

Knowing you can’t run from their jokes, bus drivers will crack a few, so on the endless leg from Washington to Atlanta, the driver intoned, “I don’t believe in Lost and Found, ladies and gentlemen, only eBay. If you forget something on this bus, you can find it on eBay.” Later, he chastised us all because someone had pissed on the toilet’s floor. Continue reading

Postcard from the End of America: Ann Arbor, Michigan

Say Ann Arbor and people will think of Michigan football, with the second biggest stadium in the entire world, behind only North Korea’s Rungrado May Day Stadium. The annual marijuana rally, Hash Bash, may also come to mind. Continue reading

Postcard from the End of America: Dexter, Michigan

And so I was back in my friend’s house in this most tranquil, on the surface, country town. Outside was a young cherry tree with three bowling balls at its base, one for each dog buried beneath. A roofer’s ashes had also been scattered over its branches, but nothing remained of the short-lived man. Before my 74-year-old friend, Rudy, reclaimed the house, the roofer lived here. Continue reading

Postcard from the End of America: Philly’s Italian Market

I live a block from the Italian Market, see, and its ecology is more complex than anything I could ever aspire to describe, but better something than nothing, so let me give you a little tour of the Eyetalian Market. Continue reading

Obscured American: Peter the food service worker

An American president has become a cartoon hero or villain. Like Obama, Trump is an inconsequential yet lurid target for worshippers and detractors to unload emotions. As we rejoice or rage at this figurehead, the Military Banking Complex will continue to serve the elites at our expense. Continue reading

Multicultural, progressive, totalitarian Vietnam

I last saw Vietnam in 2001. Back then, Saigon had no American fast food joints save a Kentucky Fried Chicken. Long-term foreign residents were few, and mostly confined to the Phạm Ngũ Lão area. There were no foreign stars in the just-established professional soccer league. Continue reading

The end of Israel

John Kerry’s speech of December 28, 2016, is an eye-opening indictment of Israel. Though prolix and padded with platitudes, its meat is a long overdue j’accuse. Continue reading

Merry Christmas?

My patron saint is Martin de Porres. Wikipedia describes him as “the patron saint of mixed-race people, barbers, innkeepers, public health workers, and all those seeking racial harmony,” all of which is news to me. I had always known Saint Martin as just some black guy, which is curious enough. What was my father thinking? Continue reading

Unhappy women

Years ago in McGlinchey’s, a Philly dive, I overheard a female voice, “I don’t know how anyone can get married, I don’t know, before they’re 45. I mean, hello!” The woman was in her mid-20s. Continue reading

Media-drugged zombies

According to a Nielsen study, the average American adult consumes 10:39 hours of electronic media per day in 2016, up a full hour from 2015. Each year, it increases. At 13:17 hours, blacks expose themselves to the most, with Asians the least at 5:31 hours. Continue reading

The Trump ploy

Universally, Trump was depicted as an anti-establishment candidate. Washington and Wall Street hated him, and the media were deployed to vilify him endlessly. If they could not discredit Trump enough, surely they would steal the election from him. Some even suggested Trump would be assassinated. Continue reading

Obscured American: Eddie the house painter

When 46-year-old Eddie found out I’d been interviewing people, he wanted to talk. “You can write a book about me!” and that’s true enough, but then again, I’ve never met an uninteresting person. Continue reading

Who’s racist?

Over three days last week, at least 150 blacks attacked whites at random around Temple University. Victims were surrounded, punched and kicked. Wallets and phones were stolen. Rocks were thrown at passing cars. When cops showed up, one was knocked from her bike and a police horse was even punched twice in the muzzle. Continue reading

Obscured American: Hank the Christian constitutionalist

America has become an eviscerated country draped in a gigantic flag. Day by day, its culture becomes more grotesque and obscene, a luna park of lunacy. Leached of essence, it burps up slogans, but who’s convinced? Continue reading

An update from Germany

Germany is smaller than California. Within the last two years, it has allowed in roughly two million Muslim refugees and immigrants, all by fiat. Having no voice in this radical demographic change, many Germans are fuming. Continue reading

Obscured American: B.B. the bartender

The flame-like tree and yellow stars from Van Gogh’s Starry Night burn on B.B.’s right shoulder. Blonde, slim and 33, she bartends at Friendly Lounge twice a week. She calls everyone “darling,” as in, “Are you good, darling? You need another one?” Continue reading

Obscured American: Amanda Zinoman the film editor

Yes, it is a bit odd to include Amanda in my series of obscured Americans. She is a very successful editor of films that have appeared on television and in theaters. Her credits include Paul Bowles: The Complete Outsider (1994), Carmen Miranda: Bananas is my Business (1994), The Lost Children of Rockdale County (1999), Drinking Apart (2000), The Last Jews of Libya (2007) and Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness (2011). Continue reading

The deep state’s candidate?

First, what is meant by “deep state”? Continue reading

Obscured American: Amanda the ex-nurse

With huge tax breaks, Camden has lured several companies to this wrecked city, so a small chunk of downtown is getting spruced up. Shirtless or in wife beaters, tattooed junkies still lurk around the Walter Rand Transportation Center, but the Third-World clothing stands have been shooed from the shadow of City Hall. Crown Chicken has moved into a less squalid space, and Dunkin’ Donuts has gotten a facelift. A yuppyish-looking bar has opened on Martin Luther King. Continue reading

Obscured American: Eileen Walbank the ex-insurance company employee

In Philadelphia, I often see Chinese push their grandchildren around in strollers, so the three-generation households are evidently still common in that community. In China itself, citizens can be fined or even jailed for not visiting their aging parents enough. That there is such a law can only mean that familial bonds are weakening, however, as they are in every modern society. By assuming responsibilities for children and the elderly, the state supplants the family, and this is welcomed by most of us. We want to be free during our best years. Continue reading

Obscured American: Felix the artist, ex-grocer and ex-hospital worker

Felix lives on the 24th floor of Riverview, a subsidized complex for senior citizens. Once a dreaded housing project, it is now pleasant and safe. Most of Felix’ neighbors are black and Asian. Continue reading

Postcard from the end of America: Fort Indiantown Gap, PA

It’s remarkable that I’ve been friends with Giang for nearly four decades. We’ve spent but a year in the same state and, frankly, have little in common. Giang studied computer science, business administration and engineering technology. He makes more in a year than I do in ten. He drinks Bud Lite and recycles corny metaphors and analogies. A director of marketing, Giang actually told me, “I can sell a freezer to an Eskimo.” Continue reading

Obscured American: Rudy List the retired math professor

Though each life is rich, some are staggeringly so. Over four days in July, I had a series of conversations with Rudy List at his house in Dexter, Michigan. A 74-year-old retired math professor, Rudy introduced me to Hua Luogeng, Zitang Zhang and Terence Tao. In return, I told him about Otto Dix, Cindy Sherman, Honey Boo Boo and Jerry Springer. It was certainly not fair trade. Continue reading

Obscured American: Hank the small business financial advisor

I had spent four days in Ann Arbor, Dexter and Chelsea. This stay allowed me to experience a whiter and more Norman Rockwell Michigan. On two previous trips, I was confined to mostly black and car wrecked Detroit. Continue reading

Homeland terror

Justifying the War on Terror, George Bush huffed, “We’re fighting them there, so we don’t have to fight them here.” Broke, gullible or crazed Americans must be sent overseas to combat Al Qaeda, Bin Laden, the Taliban and ISIS. Otherwise, endless terror would devastate the homeland. Continue reading