Around the Horn: Father’s Day Edition

My father was always one of the most difficult people to shop for.  He was never sentimental, so any kind of handmade item would not pass muster.  Our number one criterion was whether the gift was returnable.  We got him various items of clothing that were never worn, music that was never listened to, electronics that were never used… Once, we got him an electric toothbrush because his old one had bristles that were misshapen and getting gross.  That was returned because “the speed was wrong”.

grosstoothbrush

Often, we’d just find whatever gift we got him untouched and still in its original box, and so they’d either go back to the store or be confiscated for our own use, like the stereo set (back in the days when we had stereo sets), which I got good use out of.

Around the Horn: Religion Peddlers

mormonsI’m sure we’ve all had to deal with the religion peddler–whether it’s the door to door Mormons or Seventh Day Adventists, or the new age cults on college campuses. But what if the religious salesperson is your friend?

I’m not exactly religious, but I would say I have an eclectic mix of spirituality since my parents were Buddhist, I attended Catholic school and I now have Orthodox Jewish in-laws. I try to remain respectful of all religions until they try to convert me.

Around the Horn: NRA = Soulless Baby Killers

On the morning of November 1st, I dropped my husband and his parents off at the airport at LAX, Terminal 3.  They were waiting for a wheelchair for my mother-in-law when all of a sudden, Paul Ciancia came through the doors and began his shooting rampage, killing a TSA officer and wounding others.  They were about 40 feet away from him.  Luckily, they escaped with their lives.  Luckily, my husband and father-in-law were able to literally drag my mother-in-law out the door to safety.  Luckily, the killer who glanced their way didn’t think my husband was a TSA officer despite his TSA blue shirt.

Alexa Mendoza

Around the Horn: A Homogeneous Race?

Whenever I visit Little Tokyo, I lament watching the gradual attrition of Japanese-Americans. I can see that the aging Baachans and Jiichans who once occupied the space are dying off, the little mom and pop stores replaced by flashy, hip, restaurants, art stores and coffee shops. On the one hand, I’m sad when I’m told, “We have hardly any Japanese customers,” at the revamped supermarket, which was once a regular staple for Japanese food for my parents. But on the other hand, it’s a natural evolution that has spruced up the neighborhood from a tired and decaying magnet for skid row vagrants to a hip and happening neighborhood for new, younger, Korean immigrants.

With low immigration and high intermarriage rates, it’s no surprise that the Japanese-Americans are disappearing. I myself am a prime example of what is happening. I have intermarried and if I had had children, mine would have been a mix of Chinese, Japanese and Filipino. My next door neighbor’s kid is Japanese and Indian and my other friend’s kids down the street are hapa haole. My state-side cousins have all intermarried with non-Japanese.

Some believe that eventually we will evolve into one homogeneous race. We’ll all be Afro-Asian-Hispanic-Caucasian. That might be kinda cool. But then what will the food be like? Will we be eating sushi curry? Bibimbap pancit? Will food devolve into some kind of same blandness like American fare that blended out of old world European roots? Will people devolve into some kind of same blandness? How do you feel about the evolution towards a homogenous race in America? Is this a good thing or bad thing?

Around the Horn: Family Intervention

Usually, I’m a person who would rather not meddle in other people’s affairs.  Even when it’s family, I may have opinions and disapprove of certain things, but I don’t want to get involved in debates about their personal affairs.  But sometimes, there comes a point when I feel there is a need to intervene, especially when it involves someone’s safety.  Alcoholism and drug addiction are examples that come to mind.

Habits and Rituals in the Biz

Recently, I was at the UCLA campus, hanging out at a diner by the School of Theater, Film and Television, when a group of student actors burst out on the quad, doing a strange dance, shaking their arms, limbering up, hopping around and yelling out a mantra that sounded like “Hooda Hooda Waka Waka Shoop Shoop” (or something of that nature).

So I’m curious if you YOMYOMFers have any kind of exercise, warm up, ritual/ superstitions (i.e. carrying a certain good luck charm), or other prep that you do before the job?  Or is there anything about your environment you need to set up before working?  Justin once told me that when he needs to write, he sometimes goes to Vegas and shuts himself in a hotel where he claims the oxygenated air keeps him awake.  (Sounds more like an excuse to get to Vegas.)

Haunted Realty?

One of my favorite hobbies is perusing through daily listings of real estate.  I love looking at houses that I can’t afford, imagining which could be my forever home.  But when I came upon this property listing photo of a house in the upscale neighborhood of La Cañada, a number of questions came to mind:

Are these wisps of smoke coming from a chain smoker’s cigarette or a ghostly apparition?  If they were from a cigarette, why would the realtor be smoking in someone else’s house and be taking photos at the same time?  Is this realtor insane?  Why would he even post this photo as part of the listing?  (This is the only photo in the bunch where the wisps appear.) Are realtors required to disclose the existence of ghouls and hauntings?

Around the Horn: Ant or Grasshopper?

Everybody knows the story of the ant and the grasshopper. The ant toils during the summer to save up for winter, while the grasshopper has a jolly good time and finds himself starving in winter.

Perhaps it’s not an exact analogy, but in my mind, I am an ultimate ant. I always pay credit cards in full, fill the gas tank when it gets to about ¼ tank, always have a reserve roll of toilet paper ready in the bathroom, and usually stock backups of everything before it runs out. My husband is the complete opposite. Before I married him, I would curse him when I went to his place and found an empty toilet roll staring at me in the bathroom, after which he would sheepishly hand me a box of Kleenex through the door. I have been in his car when it stalled to a stop in the middle of the street because he was out of gas. I handle all our finances now, because on his own, he managed to rack up a hefty credit card debt that had me crying for weeks.

Around the Horn: Apocalypse Edition

SPOILER ALERT: “2012″

Since I love apocalypse topics,and the end is nearly upon us according to the Mayans, I have two questions.  First question: What is your favorite post-apocalyptic movie?

One of my favorite short stories is “A Boy and His Dog” by Harlon Ellison.  When I heard there was a movie based on it with a young Don Johnson, I thought it would have to be crap.  It turned out to be a bizarre movie, but good in a cult classic kind of way.   And I don’t know why, but every time I go to Japan and I hear a disembodied voice or music over the speaker system in a dark place, I think of this movie.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAPLJRKyJLk[/youtube]
(By the way, this is a fan-made trailer that looks so much better than the real trailer.)

Second question: Would you rather be like John Cusack in the movie 2012 fighting tooth and nail to get on the last Chinese-cruise-ship-Noah’s-Ark, or would you rather have a front row seat like Woody Harrelson and go when everyone else does?  On the one hand, chances are the post-apocalyptic world would be pretty bleak and chaotic, with every man/woman fighting for him/herself, but on the other hand, there’s your natural gut instinct to want to survive.

We Take Your Jobs

A while back, we had some interesting blogs here and here about taking on roles that perpetuate stereotypes.  Normally, I would take the actor’s side on this—they’re just struggling for gigs in this town.

But I have to say that I’m going to eat my words now, because I am completely outraged that an attractive, young, Asian-American actress would sellout to being the face for a completely racist, anti-Asian campaign for politician Peter Hoekstra.

Here’s the ad that ran during the Super Bowl:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrbdXUWryXk[/youtube]

Whoever this actress is, in this day and age, has sold out big time.

Of course, the real culprit in all of this is Peter Hoekstra, who continues to refuse to apologize for this ridiculous ad.

Around the Horn: Will Internet Commenters End the World?

Justin Halpern, who started a twitter feed, a book and a now defunct TV show called “Shit My Dad Says,” posted a great conversation with his dad about why Internet Commenters will eventually end the world. I won’t post the entire article, which you can read on Funny or Die , but here are excerpts:

>>>>

“Hey, Dad,” I said, answering the phone.

“I just read on the internet that you’re a talentless piece of shit,” he said.

“What?”

. . . .

”Doesn’t it bother you that people can go on the internet and call you a talentless piece of shit, and never have to say it to your face?,” he continued.

Dictator Fashion Revisited

Last year, I had blogged about dictator fashion after it was declared in the Rodong Sinmun Communist Party newspaper that Kim Jong Il’s suits had become a “global fashion phenomenon.“

Unfortunately 2011 was a bad year for all those following the autocrat runway.  We lost two out of three of our despot trendsetters.  And even Fidel Castro has stepped out of the limelight into retirement.

Kim Jong Il’s successor, Kim Jong Un, clearly is not ready to take over the legacy of fashion icon that his father left behind.  The navy blue drubs that Kim Jong Un has chosen to sport simply blend in with his fellow statesmen.