Around the Horn: Leave Your Funk Behind

Do you ever get depressed? What do you do to get out of a funk?


Wellbutrin, Paxil, exercise, chocolate, ice cream, sex? I’ve done pills and often eat my feelings, but sometimes the best therapy for me is reality television. It just makes me happy for some reason. What do you do to get out of depression or just feel good in general?

ERIC: Thankfully I haven’t been depressed in a while. I do see the awful news around the world that seems to get only worse. People I know have passed away. I’ll surely get sad but depression seems to not stick around very long. Perhaps it’s being a small business owner with a lot of projects and people relying on me that keeps me going. I feel like if I “check out” for even just a bit at the wrong times, it’ll leave a fair amount of folks in bad positions, so maybe that’s the panacea for me. I didn’t plan for it, but I can only think of “being busy” being the reason.

Around the Horn: Parenting Advice

HARVESTThis is probably the most selfish ATH, but I really want to ask all of you, as I’m going through surrogacy and am—what they call—“ an intended parent.” Congrats again to Offender Beverly’s baby girl! As some of you are parents already and others have experience with children or have close family members who are parents, what would be the one advice you’d give to an expecting single parent like me?

Offender Beverly, can I steal a baby picture from you for this ATH? Thanks!

Quentin's request is granted.

Quentin’s request is granted.

PHILIP: I’m not a parent so not sure I’d have any practical or realistic advice. Uh…maybe don’t feed them after midnight, don’t get them wet…wait, think that’s the rules to take care of Gremlins. Maybe make sure he or she learns Mandarin to prepare for a future where we’ll be living under our Chinese overlords? Yeah, I got nothing.

Around the Horn: It’s Offensive but I Like It


This past week, the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players were criticized for an upcoming production of THE MIKADO that utilized yellow face–in this case, white actors portraying Japanese. Due to the outrage, the production has been cancelled and replaced with THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE (well, unless pirates protest it). It was interesting to see the range of comments from the community–while the consensus was that the yellow face was offensive and wrong, there seemed to be a split about THE MIKADO itself–with some arguing the musical is fine minus the yellow face while others argued that the musical itself is problematic and should not be performed at all.

That got me thinking, is there a work of art–be it a film, TV show, song, painting, etc…–that you know is offensive whether due to its racism, sexism, homophobia or other reasons, yet you still love?

AROUND THE HORN: That Old Moment

Okay, yes – I’m being overly dramatic.  “We’re all young at heart” and all that, but I very recently had a moment when I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I had crossed that nebulous threshold.

I’m not sure about all y’all, but the quickest way to grasp your own mortality is being around kids all the time.  Working with high school students, I often get a stark reminder from all the fresh faces I see.  Occasionally, the conversations bring this home even more.

This week, a student told me that the person at the front desk suggested that he watch a movie.  The foreignness he expressed upon saying the title RUSH HOUR was innocuous at first.  However, I quickly realized that this one movie that seemed like such a given for ‘my world’ was something that seemed so distant to him.


Before long, I thought, non-smartphones will probably be my generation’s rotary phones.

Anyone else have a striking first case of a younger generational gap?

DHH: Well, I’m at least a good 10-15 years older than the rest of you Offenders, so I went through the shock Jerome’s experiencing some time ago. Try not to react by buying a midlife-crisis car and prowling college campuses for 20 year-old dates. From my point of view, what’s surprising as you get even older is how the gap with the younger generation actually narrows! For instance, when I was around 40, I might’ve been traumatized by a 25 year-old — let’s call him, I dunno, “Phil” — for whom the music of my youth had become “classic rock.” Fast-forward to today: I’m in my late-50’s. Phil is in his mid-40’s, and his music too has become “Dad rock” (yes, Pearl Jam and NWA are now Dad rock). So these days, I look at Phil and think, “Aaah, we’re basically the same age” (though Phil might strongly disagree). So, um, I dunno, Jerome, does that help? Or make you feel even worse?

Around the Horn: Off the Air Too Soon

FireflyIn the brutal world of TV, many shows aren’t given enough time to breathe and build an audience, while other sub-par shows seem to go on forever.  As an example, most people have watched or have heard of the short-run TV series FIREFLY.  I was certainly a huge fan of the show and judging from its fandom from just eleven episodes, it clearly wasn’t allowed its time.  What were those silly Fox execs thinking?

So my question is, what show or shows that only aired for 1 season or less were you a fan of?

Around the Horn: Your Every Day Carry (EDC)

After purchasing a custom made bag, I realize there’s a collection of items that go into specific pockets that are with me every day. Some items I need and some I carry for the “just in case” moment. What are yours?



1 Hydro Flask. Anyone have one of these? I got turned on to it in Hawaii and because of it, I hydrate greatly. I chose the 32oz but am regretting it now and want the 40oz. (Hydro Flask link)

2 1.61 Backpack. Where does everything fit? My custom made backpack. It’s all made by hand in DTLA. (1.61 link) My bag is a custom version of their collab project that you can read about here.

Around the Horn: Imagedrooling

Years ago, I saw an ad in a Japanese magazine that depicted a couple enjoying a refreshing, sumptuous lunch on a wooden platform built over a resplendent yet gentle waterfall in the midst of spring.  I think it was a sake ad.  I salivated over the memory of this magical image, and asked a Japanese friend where I could find something like it.

“That was just an advertisement,” she said, smiling.  “There is no place like that.”

Recently, while watching an NHK nature/food/culture documentary (the kind with a tranquil English speaker’s voice and Ryuichi Sakamoto playing contemplative, tender piano), I caught a two-second glimpse of something resembling the ad, and the words “Kibune kawa-something.”

“It EXISTS!!!”  I ran to my desk for a pen and paper.

The sake advertisement had depicted a gloriously Photoshopped version of kawadoko, a summertime dining treat made famous in the Kyoto area (and particularly in the mountain village of Kibune).  Folks seeking escape from the heat and humidity enjoy kaiseki-ryōri and cold nagashi-sōmen on a deck over a rushing mountain stream.


Around the Horn: Where’s James Bond?


I recently saw the trailer for the next James Bond installment SPECTRE and felt a sense of sadness because I could no longer recognize James Bond as James Bond. The franchise has noticeably been moving in a moody, forboding direction – more of an action-noir than escapist romp. But now he feels less like James Bond and more like the lovechild of Jason Bourne and Chris Nolan’s iteration of Bruce Wayne/Batman…Where’s the international playboy? The indulgence in the lifestyle? Bond savoring a martini that’s shaken, not stirred. Hot women coo-ing “Oh…James” after a nightcap? Are those escapist elements a staple of a bygone era that no longer has relevance today? Has the 2008 financial meltdown sobered us all up including Bond? And we just can’t let our spies have fun while saving the world without thinking about our wasted tax dollars?

I do miss the old James Bond films and I think the best ones have the title song that captures the decade. The cheeky 60s GOLDFINGER, the psychedelic 70s LIVE AND LET DIE. And even the trashy 80s VIEW TO A KILL. Though that film is not the best from the period (I prefer the campy MOONRAKER) I give them pop culture cred for using Duran Duran for the title song and Grace Jones for a hench-woman cameo.

Which is your favorite Bond film? Do you think the playfulness and indulgence of that character is no longer relevant?

Around the Horn: Karaoke Songs

Clip #56

Karaoke at Nick’s Lounge in Berkeley, CA.

DOM: As some of you know I’m a big karaoke nerd. I have a fledgling reality show about the Bay Area karaoke scene at The premise of the show focuses on the internal aspect of karaoke — the thought process you go through when you want to be part of a song that will help work out something in your day or your life. This is what makes the karaoke bar scene interesting to me, and it has very little to do with quality of singing, American-Idolesque affectation and gratification, or “getting the crowd going” (oh how I loathe that phrase, it’s part of it but it’s far from the most important part of it). It’s about people having an authentic moment in a public place that can come from the love of music without actually involving good music.

Around the Horn: Jennifer Pan Smackdown (Phil vs. DHH)


I’m old enough to remember when people who disagreed politically routinely counted each other as friends. Nowadays, it seems we’ve become such a polarized nation that it’s hard to tolerate disagreement. But as a throwback to those earlier times, I’d like to disagree with a dear colleague whom I like and respect very much: our fellow Offender Phil.

Phil wrote a blog post on this site last week entitled “The Case of Jennifer Pan & Why Being a Victim of Tiger Parenting had Nothing to Do with Murder.” You can read it here; basically Pan is a Chinese Canadian from Toronto who put a hit out on her Tiger Parents. Now, I think we can all agree that we don’t like it when immigrant parents are stereotyped. But I think my friend Phil overstates his case when he claims that Tiger Parenting “had Nothing [my emphasis] to Do” with the murder attempt.

Motivation is key to success… so where are my keys!


In the last year or so my wife got off the couch and started running and lost like 20 pounds and ran many 5Ks as I sat on the sidelines.  Is that enough motivation for me to do that too… nope.  I recently went on vacation and sat at the beach and observed that there are many dads with potbellies and lack the strength to keep up with their kids… still not enough motivation for me.  Even if my doctor says, “You must exercise for your family’s sake”… yet I will go home and eat a salad and think about working out.  What’s wrong with that?!

Around the Horn: Mixing Children into the Theater audience

More swords!  More blood!  We must entertain the CHILDREN!!!!

More swords! More blood! We must entertain the CHILDREN!!!!

I work at a fair-sized non-profit theater in the education department, and my goal is to bring the joy of live theater to kids in the public and private school systems. So today, I proudly led 60 enthusiastic student-actors and their families to our main stage show tonight to see a classic piece of Spanish theater complete with sword fights and classical text and fake blood! Huzzah!

I nervously stood to the side, gathering my courage to say the curtain speech -a duty given to all company members at some point- when I overheard one of the regular patrons grumble to her partner, “There’s kids in the audience.” The excited kids nearby got quiet and slumped in their seats.