While watching the NBA Playoffs, I saw this New York Life commercial starring retired NBA player Rick Barry (A Top-5 Free Throw Shooter of all time – with an underhand free throws):
“Rick Barry knows a thing or two about consistency from the free-throw line. Which is why for long term financial consistency, Rick goes with New York Life. Be good at life. To learn more, visit www.newyorklife.com/about/our-strength”
The “audience” of the commercial in the commercial is an Asian American couple that doesn’t speak at all:
I’m always happy to see Asian Americans being represented in all sorts of commercials, but I’d rather they have at least a speaking part! Kind of reminds me of a State Farm commercial I had blogged about.
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#6 ranked UFC women’s Strawweight Michelle “The Karate Hottie” Waterson had a lot of momentum going into UFC on Fox 24. She had previously defeated Page VanZant, and there was an online poll to see who she should fight after that. At UFC event, she went up against #4 ranked Rose “Thug” Namajunas. Namajunas caught her flush in the head with a kick in the second round and later submitted her with a rear naked choke.
In the first round, Waterson tried the same head and arm throw that worked against Paige VanZant, but Namajunas was cleared prepared for it, hooking Waterson’s leg and then taking her back. The second round kick to her head was very accurate and dropped her, and although Waterson seemed to recover, she was eventually choked out. If I was a fighter, I am not sure I would have brought my kid or my mom to watch my fights (see highlight video) – nice if you win, but not so nice if you lose. Namajunas is looking for a title shot after her excellent performance. Waterson reports that she is healthy despite some bumps and bruises, and that it’s time to get back to work.
Fresh Off the Boat, Season 3, Episode 20: “The Masters”
Original airdate April 18, 2017.
Microsynopsis: When Jessica learns that Tiger Woods is half Asian, she muses that she and Earl Woods are similar in parenting style, and she’s sure she has what it takes to raise the next Tiger. Louis takes exception to Jessica’s claim that his parenting style is more reminiscent of Kultida, Tiger’s mom, and therefore less effective. To settle the issue, they agree each to coach one of the boys for two weeks, and the parent whose boy does better in a nine-hole golf game is the more effective parent. Emery (excluded from the bet because he’s good at everything) launches an awareness campaign to help everyone understand that Tiger is half Thai.
Good: The interactions between Emery and Reba (who still harbors a crush on Eddie, apparently) are unexpectedly nice. Good acting from both, so shout-out to Marlowe Peyton and Forrest Wheeler. Reba’s throwaway line, delivered with disgust, about the newsroom sharing space with the yearbook should ring familiar with anyone who served on either project in middle school. The editing during Louis’s extended conversation with Jessica about parenting styles is cute and playful. That’s Emy Coligado of Malcolm in the Middle and Crossing Jordan playing Kultida Woods and having a literal Tiger mom conversation with Jessica.
Bad: I understand that it’s mostly just setup for Emery’s delivering his info to a deserted school building, but the backpack fight plot element is weak and kind of dumb.
FOB moment: I live in Hawaii, which is kind of a Mecca for vacationing Asians who love golf, and Jessica’s parade of golf attire is accurate and funny from scene to scene.
Soundtrack flashback: “Woo Hah!! Got You All in Check” by Busta Rhymes (1996, twice).
Final grade, this episode: It’s kind of a weird episode, but it’s very watchable and the boys are funny. B.
Fresh Off the Boat, Season 3, Episode 19: “Driving Miss Jenny”
Original airdate April 11, 2017.
Microsynopsis: Louis is uncomfortable with how much independence Grandma is asserting now that she has her power chair. He gets a little protective and follows her around (when lying to her about the insurance not covering her chair doesn’t work). Jessica and Emery confront Emery’s overly sentimental attachment to mementos. Evan hires Eddie to help with Evan’s house-sitting business, cutting his older brother in for half the pay. Eddie then hires Dave to do his work, paying him half of what Eddie’s making.
Good: It’s nice to get the rare Grandma-centered episode. Emery’s confession that his adjustment to Orlando wasn’t as smooth as his family was led to believe is sweet, and Jessica’s response is sweet as well. I was pleased that Grandma’s mahjong friends are stereotypically old instead of stereotypically Chinese. And it’s nice to see Deidre, on whom I’m still kind of crushing.
Bad: Little gripe, but why does Evan give Deidre her orchid slant report in degrees from the horizontal? It seems to me it would be slightly more useful to receive this data in degrees from the vertical, so 18 degrees of slant instead of 72.
Slightly bigger gripe (but still little): Grandma is going to McD’s to collect plastic Dream Team cups. This episode is set in 1997 but those cups were available in 1992. I’m not calling this the anachronism I’ve been looking for (I’m hoping to nail the show for something in an episode that doesn’t yet exist), and it’s not completely inconceivable that Grandma’s got some kind of five-year-old hookup with the local McD’s, but it’s something of a distraction because the show makes reference to the cups twice.
FOB moment: The broken chopstick Emery is hanging onto is from the first Chinese food delivery the family ordered in Orlando: “Remember? You were so mad the Chinese restaurant sent a white delivery guy?”
Soundtrack flashback: “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You” (1987). “Sittin’ on Chrome” by Masta Ace Incorporated (1995).
Final grade, this episode: Perfectly forgettable episode with pretty much no laughs aloud. C+.
Recently, a friend of mine IM’d me the news that Michelle Kwan and her husband Clay Pell are divorcing:
“It is with deep regret that I share that Michelle and my marriage is coming to an end,” Pell said in a statement obtained by the Providence Journal. “This is a sad and difficult turn of events for our family. I love Michelle, and wish her the very best as her life takes her in a new direction.”
Kwan and Pell got married back in January 2013, so I wonder what happened that made the couple decide to get a divorce, after only a little over 4 years of being married.
When I met Kwan back 2015, I never asked about her married life or husband, and was just mostly interested in how she became politically interested and involved, especially with the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.
While watching the local evening news recently, I came across this new Panda Express commercial promoting their latest dish, Five Flavor Shrimp:
“Five quality ingredients. Five delicious flavors. Experience the moment when premium shrimp, green beans, red bell pepper and white onion come together in our five flavor sauce in our new TV spot”
I’m a big fan of shrimp, so that definitely caught my eye – especially since the dish looked simple enough for me to make at home. But what really caught my attention was the cute actress, Shavvon Lin, in the commercial as well as the catchy tune and story of the woman and her apartment neighbor missing each other – ultimately meeting at Panda Express in a light romantic comedic way.
In discovered the actress by reading some nasty comments in the YouTube comments – there’s some pretty nasty comments regarding the inter-racial nature of the commercial, especially some comments regarding Lin, and the typical rant of the pairing of an Asian Female and White Male (AF/WM). While that is the most common inter-racial TV commercial pairing, which I’ve blogged about and putting that issue aside, I really did like this commercial on its own storytelling terms.
And for some reason, maybe because I thought that since Panda Express corporate headquarters is based in Los Angeles, I thought the scenes were shot in LA (which wouldn’t surprise me), but the commercial reminded me of the movie, 500 Days of Summer, a movie and soundtrack I really loved.
Also from the YouTube comments, I also came across that the song was written and composed by Tiff Jimber and Matt Bobb. I Shazam’d the song with my phone, but nothing came up, so I assumed the song was composed and performed specifically for the commercial.
One last thought – the actor in the commercial sort of reminded me of Tobey Maguire in the first Spider-Man (2002) movie.
Fresh Off the Boat, Season 3, Episode 18: “Time to Get Ill”
Original airdate April 4, 2017.
Microsynopsis: Jessica comes down with the flu, a phenomenon so foreign to the Huangs that Eddie can’t remember it ever happening before. After first refusing to believe she’s taken ill, Jessica relents and puts herself to bed. The Huang men take advantage of not being under Jessica’s constant gaze and order the pay-per-view Battle of the Swamp Creatures wrestling event.
Good: I love the setup, where Jessica sees what each of her boys is up to even when she’s not looking directly at them, or when they’re not even in the room. Eddie’s speech about seeing Jessica’s sickness as an opportunity is great. And the aftermath, when Jessica eases up on her family, feels right. The whole episode is plotted nicely so that the arc is satisfying and amusing. Honey’s martini bit kinda cracked me up. Oh, and Marvin speaks Mandarin. Funny surprise.
Bad: Shameless product placement with the beverage on Jessica’s tray and the bottle of medicine Eddie gives her. The resolution could have done without the “You’re always watching us!” “I get it” conversation near the end. The short bits right after, where the boys adjust to having their mother not being all up in their grill explains it fine.
FOB moment: Jessica uses white flower oil to treat everything. Yeah, I know I used this in season one, but it’s the best I’ve got.
Soundtrack flashback: I got nothing! Did I miss it?
Final grade, this episode: An entertaining, silly, funny, rewarding episode all the way through. These episodes can be about stupid things, can avoid the overt sappiness, and can still be good television. B+.
The Best We Could Do is a beautifully drawn and beautifully narrated memoir by Thi Bui. It is the story of her family and how she reckoned with their past, flight from Vietnam, family members lost and found again…and all the whirling emotions that always come with anything that has to do with family.
None other than Viet Thanh Nguyen graces the cover with the recommendation, “a book to break your heart and heal it.” And indeed, his statement captures the complexity that the author tackles head on. She begins with herself, with a preface that talks about the journey of the book, one that began more than 14 years ago. Bui opens the first chapter with her own labor, birthing, and a new appreciation for parenting. From there, she delves backwards into her family’s story, jumping around from their flight from Saigon in the 1970s to memories of her childhood, continually returning to her own experience of raising a child for the first time. Like many memoirs and graphic novels of this style, we are brought fully into the author’s own growing understanding. We too get the past in fragments, slivers of deeper meaning, hidden secrets, and untold stories about parents and children, immigrants and refugees. What do we carry with us, from generation to generation, that we see or don’t see?
With a simple color palate of blacks, whites, and reddish orange, Bui’s drawings bring her story to vivid life. I was riveted from the author’s preface to the thank yous at the end; the title bearing a profound resonance by the last page. An excellent addition to the field of illustrated memoirs, refugee stories, and reflections on parenting and family, The Best We Could Do is well worth the read.
Dr. Ken, Season 2, Episode 22: “Ken’s Big Audition” (season finale)
Original airdate March 31, 2017.
Friday I’m in Love
Ken auditions for a one-episode part in a television show, an opportunity he’s always yearned for. He bombs his chance, but then he’s offered a regular role, which would require him to leave his position at Welltopia.
Molly gets her acceptance letter from Stanford, and Allison’s not quite as ready for the news as one might expect. Damona and Pat seem to be in a good place in their relationship, but Pat’s ex-wife (in the form of Nia Vardalos) shows up with an interest in giving things a second try.
Boys Don’t Cry
The second half of the episode slides into most of what I find disappointing in Dr.Ken. Secondary plots get resolved with no real development, usually with a heartfelt monologue ending with a hug. Ken Jeong takes a good idea and then drives it off a cliff while wearing a clown nose. Someone does a cameo (this time it’s Seth Rogen) contributing nothing to the story. The studio audience laughs too hard at something not that funny or cheers for characters as if they’re real-life people.
Just Like Heaven
On the other hand, the first half of this movie is kind of an amazing surprise. Every moment leading up to Ken’s audition is really funny in all of Ken Jeong’s best ways. His gift for physical humor had me laughing aloud in a way I haven’t all season. The dialogue-less moment where he takes the phone call from the casting director and tries to shoo his family out of the kitchen is really well done, and his scenes in the examination room, first with Clark and then with Clark and Damona are just about perfect. It’s unusual in a half-hour sitcom for the blocking to be funny, but it is in these scenes.
Once again, it’s the Pat-Damona stuff that gives the show its credibility. Yeah, I can’t figure it out either, but it works.
I’m normally not a fan of meta-dialogue in a fictional series, but there are a few deliberate moments here that I found amusing, as when D. K. talks about TV characters with accents, or when the TV guy says something about the network wanting more diversity. It’s pretty cute here.
Let’s Go to Bed
And that’s it for season two. We end on a cliffhanger very similar to the cliffhanger ending the first season, only the vibe for a possible next season feels a lot less questionable. I would have set the odds at about 50-50 a year ago, but I’d go 2-1 in favor of a renewal for next season. This finale is an apt way to put this show to bed for the hiatus: at its best, it’s unusually laugh-aloud funny; at its worst, it’s difficult to watch. 3 audition scripts out of 5.
Jeff Truesdell of People moderated a panel featuring Billy Manes with Watermark, Erik Sandoval with CBS Orlando, Emilie Arnold from the Orange County Regional History Center, and Meredith Talusan.
Talusan, who was covering the shooting for BuzzFeed, points out that there were many articles written by white gay men covered the news in a way that framed Pulse as a sanctuary for the LGBTQ community.
The coverage of the events was immediate for many news outlets, but Talusan was wanted to look at the story from a different angle. She points out how there was a lack of featured coverage of the tragedy by minority voices.
“For me, there was a gap between people directly experiencing an event and those experiencing it metaphorically,” says Talusan.
Her gripping piece, “This Is How Queer People In Orlando Are Mourning After The Pulse Shooting” provided a different point of view of what the public was seeing from major news outlets. The piece gave a candid and intimate look at the memorial for Edward Sotomayor Jr., one of the victims of the shooting.
The article not only takes a deeper dive into the tragedy, but unpacks the news with a perspective that was underrepresented in the mainstream media.
Discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Indonesians in workplaces, schools, and social opportunities is pervasive and will limit their ability to fully contribute to the Indonesian economy. A new study shows that the cost of discrimination to the Indonesian economy could range from nearly 900 million to 12 billion US dollars.
In LGBT Exclusion in Indonesia and Its Economic Effects, researchers M.V. Lee Badgett, Amira Hasenbush, and Winston Ekaprasetia Luhur examine the evidence that discrimination occurs against LGBT people, and the study shows how that treatment can hold back economic growth in Indonesia.
Key findings from the report include:
M.V. Lee Badgett, an economist who has conducted similar studies in other parts of the world, notes, “To reach their full economic potential, LGBT people need to develop their human capital, or their abilities, skills, and knowledge. This report shows that LGBT Indonesians are often held back from reaching that point, which prevents them from contributing fully to the economy.”
Badgett compares the Indonesian economy to that of India where similar research has been completed. “The data in Indonesia is somewhat limited,” Badgett said. “If we draw on research from India, we would estimate that the loss resulting from LGBT exclusion in Indonesia would be from 0.1 percent to 1.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), or $862 million to $12 billion.” The report shows that public attitudes in Indonesia are far less accepting of homosexuality than attitudes in India, so this estimate of Indonesia’s estimated financial loss is considered conservative.
The findings of LGBT Exclusion in Indonesia and Its Economic Effects rely on an extensive review of peer-reviewed literature as well as documentation from governments, intergovernmental organizations, and non-government organizations.
The Williams Institute, a think tank on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy, is dedicated to conducting rigorous, independent research with real-world relevance.
In a recent episode of Fresh Off The Boat, Evan goes over to a white friend’s home for a family lunch, and is shocked to learn that the real use of a dishwasher is not to be used as a drying rack, but to actually wash dishes!
When I posted this video clip on Facebook, this really resonated with a lot of my Asian American friends – since most of us could relate – some of the comments I received:
While growing up, our family never used the dishwasher – it was considered wasteful. Additionally, as Jessica in Fresh Off the Boat, I think considered being lazy using a machine to wash dishes. But what is really more efficient – a dishwasher or hand washing dishes? According to this analysis:
“These numbers indicate that it’s possible to be more efficient when hand-washing, but it’s pretty tough. Can you successfully wash and rinse a soiled dinner plate in just over a cup of water? If you can keep the water use low, equal to an efficient machine, you’ll require less energy, but doing an entire load of dishes in 4 gallons of water is roughly equivalent to doing them all in the same amount of water you use in 96 seconds of showering (using a showerhead that emits 2.5 gallons per minute).
So, as long as you don’t often run your dishwasher when it’s only half full of dirty dishes, or unless you are very miserly with your water use (or have an old, inefficient dishwasher), the automatic dishwasher is likely to be more efficient. That is to say, it’s possible to use less water and energy by hand washing your dishes, but it’s not easy. Of course, if you do it just right, it might just be a wash.”
As an adult, I definitely use the dishwasher whenever I can – usually saving up enough dishes for the dishwasher to be full. It’s just easier and saves time.