Around The Horn: Seriously, Where Are You From?


Refugees in the news a lot this week. Also, I had my once-yearly encounter with a guy in a bar who was surprised that I speak English (these are about as regular as a doctor’s check-up, some years there’s a flare-up).

The ritual of being quizzed by idiots on “where are you really from” is well-known to people of color, particularly Asian-Americans. It’s not the question itself that is “offensive”: “Where are you from” is one of my favorite conversation starters, as long as it is not a) on a dark street in Los Angeles or b) said with the usual implication of “I know you’re foreign, I bet you’re some kind of Asian, you clearly aren’t from here, and I have no interest at all in what the answer is because I’ve already made up in my mind that you’re an alien.”

Around the Horn: Student Activism–A New (or the Same Old) Intolerance?


Across the country, campus activism seems to be on the rise. From the University of Missouri to Yale and beyond, students (and some faculty) are critiquing their institutions as hostile environments for people of color and women. At Yale, allegations of a “white girls only” frat party coincided with the wife of an Administrator criticizing an email asking students to be racially sensitive in their Halloween costume choices. In Missouri, the University’s handling of several racist incidents this fall led to the resignation of its President and Chancellor.

These and similar incidents on campus have also spawned numerous opinion pieces condemning young people today as intolerant, over-sensitive censors who “catastrophize” minor slights and endanger civil liberties by shutting down anyone who disagrees with them. This week, Conor Friedersdorf wrote a piece in THE ATLANTIC entitled, “The New Intolerance of Student Activism,” which joins earlier articles such as Edward Schlosser’s “I’m a Liberal Professor and my Liberal Students Terrify Me.” This school of liberalism essentially argues that kids today are spoiled brats who don’t know how good they’ve got it.

Around the Horn: I Can Do It All by Myself!


I’ve been in the creative field for most of my career and no matter how much I collaborate with people in the beginning of a project, I always end up in a room with only my computer doing the work. This is the modern way of working. With Skype, email and the cloud we really don’t have to go anywhere. Why bring up a subject we know to be obvious? Because it wasn’t that obvious until I started my new venture with another like minded creative.

What’s true collaboration? Is it coming together and going our separate ways? Is it being in within arms reach with a partner who stays consistently by your side? I guess what was revealed to me was the fact I wasn’t alone in a vacuum. It’s tough working on a project you underbid so you can get the job knowing you can do it all by yourself and then suffering through it without any outside support. Ah… modern technology. It’s easier now to do everything, but should we? Sometimes there’s no choice. But as of now I feel joy in making decisions with another… especially if the work becomes better than what it was when you were on it alone.

What were some of your great collaborations?

Around The Horn: Old fart, who me?!?!

This is how old I feel.

This is how old I feel.

Do you ever just feel OLD?!?

I know I’m not the first, but juggling the single mom/full time job/baby daddy drama/aging parents/schlepping my stuff between my parents’ home and my condo with baby in tow/blah #614, I’m really worn down. I’ve stopped glancing in mirrors because I hate what I see: a tired, exhausted shell of a woman. I can barely tell where maybe I may have been once pretty, but it’s all faded glory as far as I can see.

Nonetheless, I’m planning on going back to school to get a teaching credential that I’ve put off now for almost two decades. It scares me to be this old and to try to fulfill an old dream. I feel old. I am so damn tired.

Around the Horn: I Wanna Be on a Japanese Game Show


I’m traveling to Japan soon and one of my goals (which probably won’t be possible) is to be a contestant on a Japanese game show. It sounds nuts but I love watching those crazy creative funny obstacles they make you do. My question isn’t really whether or not you would be on one or not (but you can answer that) but what kinda goofy Japanese game show would you create if you had the chance? Think deep back from the Double Dare days.

Mine would have to do something with farting. Like making you sing a song while being Dutch oven’d.

On a serious side note, does anyone know a producer or someone that can get me on a show while I’m out there. I’ll be there in early November for a few weeks.

Around the Horn: The Dem Debate


After watching the first Democratic Presidential candidate debate, I was put at ease that the Dems finally had a spotlight after all the 24/7 news dreck that are the Republican presidential nominees, headed by the the physical manifestation of the id, Donald Trump. With the whole politicized and falsehoods of the Planned Parenthood debacle, continued attacks on immigration, gun control (after yet another mass shooting), and those damn emails, it’s been a myopic and hateful few weeks of political rhetoric from the GOP to spread fear and xenophobia to take back the White House next year.

Around The Horn: Trump – Balloon Or Bomb?

I admit it: The Donald captivates me.


I sat glued to the TV during the first and second Republican debates, waiting to see what the man would say next – about drug dealing Mexicans; about homely candidates; about China kicking our ass; about the effect of menstruation on debate moderators.

And he never fails to disappoint: he’s stuck his foot so far deep down his throat I can’t believe he’s not shitting shoelaces.

And yet he keeps climbing in the polls.

But that’s okay. To me it’s all just a fun sideshow. I can laugh it off because I don’t believe there is any way in hell this guy will win the Republican nomination. He’s unelectable in the general. The party bosses, Illuminati, Koch brothers and Rotarians, et al will conspire behind the scenes to bring him down and put up a genuine threat like Rubio or Bush in the end.


But am I wrong?

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?