Why Japan is Awesome #389-390: Noah’s Ark & the Mommy Tummy

Japanese engineering company Cosmo has invented what it’s referring to as a real-life miniature version of Noah’s Ark. It’s basically a floating capsule that looks like a gigantic ball.

But what it does is totally awesome—it can save your life during a devastating disaster like the earthquake/tsunami that hit Japan earlier this year. Four adults can fit inside and would be safe while the aforementioned disaster would be taking place around you. The device also has windows and breathing holes so could also serve as a children’s toy house during those non-disaster moments of life.

A Japanese company is also responsible for this “Mommy Tummy” Pregnancy Simulator:

There’s a Fine Line Between “Hoarding” and “Collecting”

Just because I own 34 David Bowie records on vinyl I never listen to does not make me a hoarder.

Right?

I didn’t spend my twenties playing ultimate frisbee, exploring different career options, and having lots of casual sex.  No, I spent those years collecting Bowie.  Record shops, flea markets, garage sales.  I would check the garage sale listings on Thursday afternoons in something called a “newspaper,” plan the best route using a large piece of folded paper called a “map,” then get on my bicycle on Saturday morning and go.

‘Disgusting’ Books aka Another Reason Kids Got It Better Today

Here’s more proof that kids today got it so much better than I did in my day. Even their books are cooler. Just when I thought the sheer awesomeness of Everyone Poops could not be topped, along comes Francesco Pittau and Bernadette Gervais’ That’s Disgusting!

The concept is so simple in its brilliance: it’s a picture book filled with images of a girl doing disgusting things like “throwing up at the table” (see image above), “pooping in the bathtub” and “sticking your finger in your cat’s bottom” plus these gems:

FLOUNDERING FILM FLUNKEE vs. the poop on the gym floor!

If there’s anything Stephen King taught us, it’s that all work and no play make Jack a dull boy that tries to kill his family with an ax.  Sitting in a chair and writing long enough is a surefire way to drive yourself into and up a wall.

It took long enough but I found my means of decompression with Parkour classes.

Parkour is intended to be less a sport and more a philosophy – a philosophy of overcoming obstacles both physical and mental.  I’ve been doing it for about two months now.  In that span of time, I’ve climbed shit; jumped over shit; and rolled over shit and it was only this past week that that possibly became more literal than I ever feared.

Our class takes place in a wide-open space of a huge gymnasium.  Before we can begin our exercises, we usually watch the tail end of a gymnastics session.  I can attest to the fact that while this was going on this past week, there was most definitely no poop on the floor.

As we carried on, things went by as they usually did on the surface: normally.  Each of us sweated through warm-ups and some practice of the weekly technique being taught.  Then, while our instructors were setting up for the next part of class, I hear something, something I needed a double take on:

“Is that poop on the floor?”

The Importance of Being Tsai Chin

My fond memory of Tsai Chin was picking her up from her West Hollywood condo to rehearse the reading of Simon Sun’s winning screenplay that I directed for CAPE several years back. On the way to West Los Angeles, Tsai and I would talk about everything from her experience in the film industry to her early life in China and London. Deliciously memorable as the sext girl who gunned down James Bond after saying, “I give you very best duck,” Tsai is a living legend of her own.

And she is a star.

The Truth About Asians: The Aging Edition

Just recently I’ve been looking through old family photos and it’s SHOCKING to see my aunties back in the 70s looking… O.K. I’ll say it “HOT”.  Now, stop what you’re thinking and lets not go there… I’m just saying back then they were like any other gals in their teens and early 20s… they were fashionable and pretty.  A week ago I had a family reunion and now my aunts are looking more like aunties.  They are wonderful people that now look like they play mahjong and cook amazing food in the kitchen, like a sitcom, my mind dissolves into what is now to what is then.

Thank you Sheri and Justin for sharing

R.I.P. to the Man Behind Nacho Cheesy Perfection

Yes, I was unironically eating my beloved Cool Ranch Doritos while catching up on the news when I heard that Doritos inventor Arch Clark West passed away last week at the age of 97.

Now, I love Doritos. And frankly, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love them too. Except pedophiles and serial killers and Communists who hate puppies. I’ve been enjoying them for as long as I remember and will most likely be enjoying them until the day I die. But I had never heard of West before.

Considering how much something like Doritos has been a part of my life, I’ve never given any thought to where they came from or the fact that they were even invented by a real, breathing human being.

Starbucks Employee Of The Month

I finally have my answer: Starbucks employees are not all replicants. They’re human. And some of them are really funny humans. Humans like 25 year old Christopher Cristwell:

After posting this video on youtube, was Christoper lauded by management for having the courage to say what every other employee was thinking? Was he promoted for taking initiative and thinking outside the box? Was his creativity and good taste in underwear rewarded with a raise and extra free lattes?

No.  He was fired.

Starbucks released this statement: “While Christopher was expressing his own views in the video, the disparaging remarks about our customers and company are unacceptable and out of line with our commitment to our customers and partners (employees).”

Coffee with Satan, Log #1

I can’t disclose what he or she looks like. I can’t talk about the sound of his or her voice. I can say I’m having coffee with Satan. I am allowed to talk about what he or she is not. Satan doesn’t wear red. Satan doesn’t look evil. Satan is perhaps the last person you would ever expect. But S. has agreed to speak to me occasionally on a number of topics. Over coffee.

N: The 10th anniversary of 9/11 just passed. So, it would be fitting for me to ask you, were you involved in that in any way?

S: I was not involved in the act. But I worked on the publicity tour. 9/11 made everyone feel vulnerable and weak. An event like that is like good manure. Fertile grounds to plant evil. When people are weak, they make selfish decisions. Shooting fish in a barrel, bro. Evil sprouted like weeds. I wasn’t even involved in half of it. I got kind of lazy and out of shape, actually, during the last ten years — as you can see.

The Real Problem with UC Berkeley Republicans’ ‘Racist/Sexist’ Bake Sale

By now, I’m sure many of our readers have heard that UC Berkeley’s College Republicans group is holding a special bake sale tomorrow. As you can see from the group’s Facebook posting below, the items for sale will be priced differently according to who you are as follows: White/Caucasian $2, Asian/Asian American $1.50, Latino/Hispanic $1, Black/African American $.75, Native American $.25 and $.25 OFF FOR ALL WOMEN (caps theirs):

The news of this bake sale has unleashed an avalanche of outrage and even led to an emergency meeting last night of the campus student government, which passed a resolution “condemning discrimination by student groups, satirical or otherwise.”

The ‘Chinglish’ Broadway Journal: Week 2 (Sept. 26, 2011)

DHH

Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang (M. BUTTERFLY) is in rehearsals for the Broadway premiere of his latest play CHINGLISH following a hugely successful run in Chicago at the historic Goodman Theater. DHH has graciously agreed to blog weekly throughout the rehearsal process to give our readers a glimpse into how a major theatrical production comes to life. Today, the start of rehearsals for the Broadway premiere.

We’ve just finished our second week of rehearsals, and I’m struggling with a feeling which I also experienced in Chicago: things seem to be going really smoothly, what’s the catch? When’s the other shoe gonna drop? Christine, one of our cast members, said to me last night, “You’re sort of a worrier, aren’t you?” Er, maybe. But opening a show is sorta like giving birth. Even when things seem to be going well, you stay alert for signs of trouble.

Our new cast member, Gary Wilmes, who plays Daniel, the white American businessman, has a challenging task. Everyone else in the company went through a full rehearsal process in Chicago, then performed the show before audiences eight times a week, for six weeks. Gary’s got to learn his lines, find his character, understand the arc of the scenes, and basically get up to speed with his fellow cast members. And to his credit, he wants to do this work honestly, not just go through the motions. Gary compared this to jumping onto a moving train. I imagine it can’t be easy to be the guy in the room starting out way behind everyone else. But he’s tackled his assignment with grace, humor, and loads of hard work. And the cast has supported him with affection and generosity. This week, Gary’s labors really started to bear fruit. His scenes now feel energized, confident, and emotional. Which also makes them funnier. Because sometimes the best humor comes, not out of trying to make people laugh, but from feeling things more intensely, being more invested in the stakes of a situation, than people in everyday life.