Saturday, December 31, 2011

I'm not into Kias,



but I do like the idea of ending war through dance. Hamsters! :)

.

"You are one lucky lady."



Oh, Hank.

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Monday, December 12, 2011

I am a Stoner.


A Lucy Stoner, that is.

For the past two months, I have been fixated on this fact. Regarding most other issues, I think people should make their own decisions and select the path that is best for them. Like picking your favorite ice cream, supporting a World Cup team outside of your own country, or living a polyamorous lifestyle. You can choose your choice. Be you. Do what you do.

Except changing your name.

Don't do it.

I am so "free to be you and me" about many things, but about this, I am adamantly opposed. I have strong words and feelings. I have blogged about this before. I recently reread the very post I made three years ago on Feministe, probably my most commented-on post ever, and I giggled at my clever condemnations. I'm funny.

I have had an increasing number of friends, classmates, colleagues, and people I may have met before, either message me or request to connect with me on various social media sites, after they have changed their last name. My immediate internal reaction has been a perplexed, "who are you?" I am genuinely puzzled by individuals whom I either knew personally or in passing as "Jennifer Chang", who are now contacting me as "Jennifer Valenzuela", and expecting me to know who they are, without a note or a picture attached. Dude, give me a heads up. I wasn't invited to your wedding, so how am I supposed to know that you changed both your last name and your cultural heritage? Unless you have a striking first name like Fantasia or Ivanka or AnnaSophia, I'm going to need more to go on before I can attest that we "went to school together" or "associate with the same professional organization."

If I was invited to your wedding, thank you, friends! I still heart you, and I will call you whatever you like, even Princess Consuela Bananahammock.

For more on this subject, I direct you to these posts on Weddingbee, a division of eHarmony:

How to *Not* Change Your Last Name, by Mrs. Prairie Dog.

On Having Second Thoughts, by Mrs. Parasol.

Maiden Voyage, by Mrs. Bruschetta.

and

Not Changing, by Mrs. Cinnamon Bun.


These ladies are all much more polite in their musings than I am in mine.

Readers, feel free to share your own thoughts in the comments section!

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

"Party, party, party, party!"



Even though I haven't been to Pier 1 in almost a decade, I'd love to find a talking penguin who speaks to me.

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Tuesday, November 01, 2011

"What about my stories?": My reaction to 50/50.


I saw 50/50 recently, and the movie told a great story, based on real life events, about a man who discovers he has cancer. Heartfelt messages, entertaining tale.

That said, I didn't like the movie.

I couldn't get past the unnecessary implicit and explicit misogyny poured onto almost every female character in the movie, and onto women in general, whom Seth Rogen's character suggested should be fellating their boyfriends on demand. Later, the lack of colorful people rubbed me the wrong way, although I did appreciate the not one, but two Asian doctors. [Insert eye roll here.]

Like X-Men: First Class, 50/50 left me with the sad realization that my stories, like many other people's stories, will never be told. Often artists and activists make that statement like this: "Unless we tell our stories, they will never be told." But some stories just won't be told at all. I am writing as fast as I can, but I can't possibly write everything about me and produce everything about me. I'm only one person. Similarly, other writers and ideamakers who happen to be nonwhite, nonmale, nonstraight, or some combination of those signifiers cannot independently produce enough content to compete with "mainstream" (white, male, heteronormative and/or misogynistic) projects at the same level, or in many cases, at any level at all.

You might ask, "why can't you just enjoy a movie like 50/50 for what it is, instead of criticizing it for not representing you yourself personally?" My answer is, "Because I am tired of doing that." I had done that all my life. I have read thousands of books and stories, and have watched hundred of movies and television shows. The works have disproportionately featured white male American heterosexual protagonists and main characters and authors, especially from the books and movies and plays and television shows that I have been required to consume throughout my education.

"But," you might continue, "cancer is relatable to everyone. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is playing an everyman." Yes, cancer is relatable. I have been directly and indirectly affected by family and friends and teachers and other loved ones who have had cancer. Some have survived and some have not. But I am not a white man, and 50/50 truly tells the story of a white heterosexual man in America (and his exclusively white family and friends and girlfriends) who is comfortably employed, despite refusing to learn how to drive, and has a health care plan that takes care of all his medical expenses, even when he stops working. I mean, I do have a lot of white friends, but really? Black friends, apply here! Other colorful people are welcome, too.

For readers who may need a better visual, what if every story, book, television show, comic book, every medium of artistic and educational expression was dominated by authors and characters and celebrities like . . .

Amy Hill,


Amy Tan,


Ann Curry,



Connie Chung



and Lisa Ling?

Occasionally, we could interject some

comedic stylings from both Henry Cho


and Steve Byrne,

hot dance moves from Rain


and fake psychic sidekicking from Tim Kang.


But then we would get back to who is really important, the thought shapers and culture makers like

Lucy Liu,


Margaret Cho,


Michelle Kwan,

Michelle Yeoh,


Jeannie Mai,


Ming-Na

and Sandra Oh.

I would provide links for all of these people, but I don't even have time to compose this post, so exercise your privilege to Google these celebrities.

For those of you who made it through the lovely pictures, I ask you to continue imagining.

Imagine if all of the "period"/historical dramas you were spoon fed were set in Asia (instead of Europe), specifically in China (instead of in England), but occasionally in India or Japan (instead of in Germany or France).


Imagine if Dean Cain could embrace his Dean George Tanaka roots by playing identifiably Asian characters, instead of white superhero, white convicted murderer, and his pivotal role on a very special episode of A Different World, in which Mr. Cain played Third Racist from the left.

Imagine if John Cho's story about his father's journey of freedom, walking from North Korea into South Korea, were in production as a major motion picture, not just a moving anecdote Mr. Cho conveyed to Jay Leno on The Tonight Show.

"But who would play his father?"

I hear John Cho's available.

That's all. Thanks for reading!

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Friday, September 23, 2011

To achieve my goal of becoming fluent in Spanish,



apparently I need a Volkswagen Passat. I'll get right on that.

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

How many can you name?



Even though some unfortunate people would make the mistake of calling me "African American" (I prefer "colored" (No, I don't. That was a joke, people. Shh.)) I have never been to Africa. I have tried to travel there on multiple occasions, but the trips have been cancelled due to reasons.


However, unlike many people, I do know that Africa is not one big country called "Africa" where the elephants roam and the lions call home. It's the birthplace of civilization, made up of various peoples and places and things. When I was in fourth grade, one of my classmates could name all of the capitals of the African continent. I could name all of the capitals of the Australian continent, so bully for me.

Today, I asked myself if I could name ten African countries. Then I asked if I could name ten more. I pushed myself to 21, and then I started writing this blog post.

How many can you name without assistance? Extra points for capital cities, half points for accidentally naming obscure countries on other continents, like Uzbekistan or Burma.

Here are the answers: Territories and regions of Africa.

Here is my list:

  1. South Africa
  2. Egypt
  3. Lesotho
  4. Kenya
  5. Ivory Coast
  6. Namibia
  7. Madagascar (movie!)
  8. Malawi
  9. Mozambique
  10. Niger
  11. Nigeria (two different countries!)
  12. Ghana
  13. Sudan
  14. South Sudan (newest country in the world!)
  15. Tanzania
  16. Tunisia
  17. Morocco
  18. Swaziland
  19. Chad (neither Lowe nor Allen nor Michael Murray)
  20. Libya
  21. Liberia



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Monday, August 22, 2011

"The 'Bu"




I finished another chapter in Bianca Reagan: Where the Action Is! Six more to go! An excerpt from Ch. 17:

“I have to put my whole hand in the scanner? I thought it was a fingerprint.”

“New company policy. Sign here please.”

“Which of the many forms is this?”

“It releases the company, the testing center, and the test administrators from liability for any injuries you may incur while at the facility. This includes, but is not limited to, falls, sprains, broken bones, eyestrain, seizures, cancer, and/or death, and you are present in the facility and are taking the exam of your own free will.”

I looked at the form. “To apply to business school, I am required to take and pass this four-hour-long exam. It is only administered on flickering computer screens instead of in paper form. And, at 25 miles away, this is the closest facility to my home. To enter and exit the exam room, I have to repeatedly place my hand on a radioactive machine. So yes. I am exposing my body to eyestrain, highway collisions, and cancer by my own free will.” I signed the papers and handed them back to the administrator.

“This way, please.”


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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"It's not what you say, it's what they hear."

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Colbert Super PAC - Frank Luntz Commits to the PAC
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive



"So, 'energy exploration', not 'oil drilling'?"

"Correct."

"'Climate change', not 'global warming'."

"Yes."

"Okay. I think that is 'brilliant', not 'manipulative'."

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Monday, August 15, 2011

"Luv U, Baby Girl"



I finished another chapter in Bianca Reagan: Where the Action Is! Seven more to go! An excerpt from Ch. 06:


Jenny adjusted each person’s spacing. “Let’s do it!”

We heard the intro of the song. The synthesized melody crept over the background drum machine. Then came the lyrics. Maggie’s part was first.

“I will never break your heart
I promise from the start
Baby girl”


Her moment in the imaginary spotlight was halted by the ringing of my desk phone.

“Who is interrupting the magic?” Maggie demanded.

I picked up the receiver.

“It’s your mother,” I told Stacey. She took the call at my desk.

“She hasn’t moved out of Stacey’s house yet,” Maggie whispered.

The Intern shook his head. “That’s rough.”

Stacey busied her right hand by clicking her retractable pen. “Mami, I am having a very important business discussion . . . Si, that is ‘Luv U, Baby Girl’ . . . How do you know about Five Guys? . . . No, I don’t think that would . . . Why do you want . . . Fine, Mami, fine.” She switched her mother to the speakerphone.

“Hello, Stacey’s friends,” her mother greeted us with her Argentinean lilt.

“Hi, Mrs. Maguire,” we replied.

“Por favor, girls, we’re all family. Call me Mami.”

Stacey gripped her pen so hard it bent in half.

“My baby doesn’t know about Five Guys and my Teddy B like I do,” Mrs. Maguire said. “Sometimes I like to throw my hands in the air, and wave them around like I just don’t care. Turn the music back on.”


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Sunday, August 14, 2011

SPOILER ALERT: The black guy dies.



I saw Rise of the Planet of the Apes recently, partially because Draco Malfoy plays a villain yet again (way to stretch those acting chops, Tom, but decent American accent), and partially because I have seen all the previous Ape movies. I still need to watch the sketchy looking television show. Though, I have seen Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp, which had a more believable premise than that abomination with Marky Mark.


The problem with the black guy dying in the movie is not that he was black, but that he was the only black guy in the story. He was the only black person with any lines. The producers couldn't find any other black people in San Francisco who wanted to participate in a movie about incarcerated individuals who have experiments performed on them against their will, develop a secret method of communication, and enact a revolution against their evil masters? I'm available for the role of Greedy Businessperson #1, and I can bring my own suit.

Ironically, almost every character in Rise of the Planet of the Apes--which was cribbed from the black power influenced Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (my favorite of the Apes)--is white and male. The exceptions were the black guy, the South Asian love interest who had no motivation besides hanging out with James Franco, the frightened nurse, and the apes. Again, the setting was San Francisco. Were there no Hispanic people, or other Asian people, or women of any color who could read a line or two in front of a camera?

Onto my favorite characters: the circus orangutan and John Lithgow, in that order, even though I have seen every episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun, and I cried when it went off the air.

More qualms: if the apes were so smart, Caesar especially, why didn't they hijack a plane and fly themselves back to the places they were captured from in generic Africa? Also, that Gen-Sys laboratory has terrible security.

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Friday, August 12, 2011

"Well, you're pretty, too."

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Gloria Steinem
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive



"It's really important, seriously, that kids grow up knowing that men can be as loving and nurturing as women can."

"I thought the role of the father was to take his emotion and stuff it down as much as he can until it comes out inappropriately at Thanksgiving dinner."


Thank goodness for feminists. :)

.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

"Please, Pussycat, I'm on a roll."




"Some people just don't know when to quit."

Oh, the hilarity of those Girls.

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

My Mummy likes this commercial:




I like this commercial:





Yet neither of us will be switching to 4G, despite the "network of possibilities." But, thank you for the entertainment, AT&T!

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

"I don't get to talk, but I wear fabulous suits."



The irony of X-Men: First Class (in theaters now!) is the film's theme of social acceptance, while rigidly adhering to the standard discriminatory practices of Hollywood movies. Racism, sexism, ageism, sizeism were all in fine form in a story about celebrating your differences.

First of all--SPOILER ALERT for almost every action movie ever--the black guy dies, after Kevin Bacon self-righteously compares mutants to African slaves, and gives the black guy a pointed look. Btw, the only black guy does have a name: it's Darwin, like the lovable dolphin on seaQuest DSV. (We'll miss you, Jonathan Brandis.)

Second, did the wardrobe department run out of fabric for the ladies? James McAvoy and the other guy had their bodies completely covered from neck to toe, even on the sunny beach scenes. Yet all of female characters (all four of them, in supporting roles) were required to appear semi-naked for most, if not all, of their scenes. Mystique and Rose Byrne insisted upon wearing miniskirts during the rainy season in London and while representing a government agency, respectively. The former couldn't even close her X-Men jumpsuit the whole way, because ladies' zippers don't go up that far? Did they need to be sexually objectified for the entire movie?

Third, these ladies needed to take a page from Storm and Jean Grey in X2 (otherwise known as the best X-Men movie), because none of them seemed to be able to act on their own without the help or guidance or condescension of some man. None of them were allowed to carry their own story line. Each of female characters seemed to exist mainly to assist, serve, praise and/or sexually entice one or more of the male characters in the movie. Way to keep the wimmins in their place.

Fourth, if Charles Xavier could use Cerebro to identify all of the humans in the world, why did he end up selecting almost exclusively the young, pale, painfully thin, American ones? For example, were there no mature, chunky, Indonesian women in the mutant population? And to make matters worse, as Tasha Robinson points out in her review at the A.V. Club, "the few non-Caucasian characters are all dead or evil by halfway through the film". Dead. Silent and evil. Barely clothed and evil.

That's exactly the kind of message a film about escaping the Nazi regime should embrace: only let the white men boss people around; show the true despicable nature of the coloreds; and make sure the ladies are all scantily-clad and submissive. Mutant and proud!

(Side note and SPOILER ALERT: Hugh Jackman was pitch perfect in his cameo appearance. Way to make that mortgage payment, Wolverine.)


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Friday, June 10, 2011

Saturday, June 04, 2011

I don't like trail mix,



but I do like this Target commercial. Hooray for more diversity in media and for M&Ms!

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

This topic makes me sad,




but having the discussion makes me glad. It's important to talk about difficult subjects, even if they make some people uncomfortable. In the words of Leslie Bennetts, author of The Feminine Mistake, "The facts don't change just because you refuse to look at them."

via Jezebel, "The Heartbreaking Reality Of Being A Dark-Skinned Black Woman"


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Monday, May 23, 2011

"I was in *NSYNC with you!"




"That's MC Skat Kat!"

Justin had quite a Saturday night:





"Bring it on down to Liquorville!"


.

Friday, May 06, 2011

So much happiness from Google Chrome



Why must you summon tears, Google?

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Did I miss the gay part?




"Beer for guys who like to do other guys."

Here's the whole Budweiser commercial, which comes with the following disclaimer on YouTube:

This video or group may contain content that is inappropriate for some users, as determined by the video uploader.






.

It's still funny a week later.





"Donald Trump has been saying that he will run for President as a Republican, which is surprising since I just assumed he was running as a joke."

"Donald Trump owns the Miss USA pageant, which is great for Republicans, because it will streamline their search for a Vice President."

"Donald Trump said recently he has a 'great relationship with the blacks.' Though, unless 'the Blacks' are a family of white people, I bet he's mistaken."

Zing!


Additional hilarity from President Obama:





"I want to make clear to the Fox News table, that was a joke. That was not my real birth video. That was a children's cartoon. Call Disney if you don't believe me. They have the original longform version."


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Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Celebrating books by certain successful people



I attended the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books this weekend. Hooray for books! I got to meet Lela Lee of Angry Little Girls fame, and I had her sign my copy of her new book. Hooray for me!

At the panels I went to, most of the audience was older and white. Unfortunately, most of the panelists were, too. Except for the Jada Pinkett Smith/Sistah Souljah stage, and the Writing between Races panel (which was the best! Click these words to learn about the five fabulous panelists), almost all of the people on the panels I attended were white. Most of them were male, more of them were affluent or comfortable, most of them were over 40. All of them were over 30. At least two of the panels had only white male speakers.

No, I did no select the panels I attended based on their abundance of old, rich white men. I chose topics that interested me, like authors who also write for TV, and novelists for young adults. Seeing the panelists magnified an pernicious problem of publishing: the vicious circle of who is allowed to speak in our society. To speak on a panel at the festival, you must have published a successful book. The people who have books published are usually white and mostly male, especially in nonfiction, even if the topics of their books are not other white people. Which leaves a bunch of people, like me, discouraged and dissatisfied, about the types of stories that being told, or more precisely, the types of stories that are not being told.

Outside of the panels, the crowd of thousands milling about the booths and stages was more diverse. Thought at the Patton Oswalt stage, the audience was more diverse in age and possibly in economic background than it was in color. Mostly different sizes and shades of white people. But I did stand next to one of the other two black ladies in the audience. Progress!

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Saturday, April 30, 2011

"They're wedding gnomes!"

Forget CNN or the BBC. Here is my favorite coverage of the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton:




"Oh no. Do you know what?"

"What?"

"I'm thinking about the fact that one in five public sector workers in Britain are about to lose their jobs."

"Yes, that is very sad, actually."

"Isn't it terrible?"

"Yes."


Yeah, dude. It's horrible! Though, I do like those gnomes. Funny hats.

Victoria Mather, friend of the British royal family, has a different take on the situation:





"I think the British taxpayer is being very mean about moaning about paying for this wedding. I mean, it's a privilege, isn't it?"


Thank goodness it's not my privilege. My taxes are going to better things, like three illegal wars on foreign soil.


"I'd prefer to be paying for the royal wedding and cleaning the streets afterwards and for all the security than to be paying for illegal immigrants to claim benefits and live in sinker states."

"Oh! Why not make it a race issue?"

"Yes!"


No!

Did Mr. Oliver say that the royal wedding will cost taxpayers 20 million pounds (at 2:38)? Based on current exchange rates, that's about 33 jillion dollars! You know how many British weddings I could throw for £20 million? About 20. Wedding planners don't come cheap.


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Friday, April 29, 2011

"Thank you for knowing my name . . . Brendan Fraser?"

Jokes.com
Kumail Nanjiani - Hey Kumar
comedians.comedycentral.com
JokesJoke of the DayFunny Jokes



"I want to be so famous that I'm the pop culture reference that people would make to try and be racist to me."

So do I! Except not in a mean racist way. More in a model minority way, like when people compare me to Oprah or Queen Latifah or Whoopi Goldberg, or other successful black women on the TV who have some extra padding in the tuchis. Though I haven't gotten Mo'nique or Wendy Williams yet. I'm sure that day will come.

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"We're at a research facility, and the cat's missing!"

Jokes.com
Kumail Nanjiani - Horror Movies
comedians.comedycentral.com
JokesJoke of the DayFunny Jokes



"We're okay with you murdering people with your needle gloves. But racism?"

Tsk tsk.


.

"Why won't Barack Obama release his elementary school report cards?"

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
America Needs to See Obama's Report Cards
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"I have no proof that he's even a black man! He could be white! And if that's the case, I don't understand why we're questioning his legitimacy."


.

They're not my Republican friends.



"The issue it seems to me is with a $1.6 trillion deficit, it is insane to think that the only way you're gonna move toward a balanced budget is by slashing college Pell grants, by cutting Medicaid, by converting Medicare into a voucher program, by cutting programs that working class people and middle-class people desperately need. And at the same time, our Republican friends say, 'Well, we're gonna to do all of these terrible things to the most vulnerable people in America, but you know what, we're not going to ask billionaires to pay a nickel more in taxes.' I think that that is insane."

. . .

"Working people have rights. Health care should be a right of all people, not just a privilege of the wealthy."



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Monday, April 25, 2011

Actor? Painter? Korean pop star? Ice cream magnate?

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Renaissance Nemesis - Frank Jameso
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive



"I'm so Renaissance than under my suit I'm wearing a codpiece."

I'd like to fancy myself a Renaissance Lady, or a polymath, if you will. But apparently, I need to step my game up. Let's start with the ice cream. I've got ideas, Ben & Jerry.

.

I do enjoy the little boy eating the Pill, but




I do have two questions about Bridesmaids:

1. Why is this the only movie with an all-female cast coming out this year? I need more movies about platonic lady-friends.

2. How does Maya Rudolph's character have only white friends? Does producer Judd Apatow want to maintain his consistency of keeping any brown people from mucking up the screen? (Watch his movies, and tell me I'm wrong.) This whitewashing syndrome is not exclusive to Mr. Apatow's projects, but it is glaringly apparent in this movie. It's worse than when Rashida Jones's character in I Love You, Man had only white friends and conveniently had no family at all. (What, Quincy couldn't make an appearance?) Or when Jennifer Lopez had no family either in Monster-in-Law.

3. Why did I watch Monster-in-Law?.

Please leave comments! :)

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Soulmates?



I hope not.

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

"Speaking of never intending to give factual statements, Fox and Friends."




"You can get a pap smear or a breast exam at Walgreens . . . Ladies, just look for the stirrups."

Readers, that remark was not intended to be a factual statements. Keep your pants on at the drugstore.

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Friday, April 01, 2011

"If I were you, I'd watch out for red flags."



"But what if I'm like a flag factory that only manufactures giant red flags?"

.

I've never been to Harlem,



but after that story, I am not comfortable either. :|

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Friday, March 18, 2011

"I need to keep my hand up."



"Success and likability are positively correlated for men, and negatively correlated for women."

I hear that. Preach the word, Big Bird.

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

"I never sleep on planes."



"I don't want to get incepted."

For those of you who watched the entire episode, I too would like to have a baby in Canada with John Cho, the famous Québécois mobile meth dealer.

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Friday, February 11, 2011

"Charles!"




Ooh, he's sneaky.

Also,





I'd run away, too. No frogs, please.

.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Don't fight!



You're scaring the children. :( By the by, where is your son?

.

Two months later



I wish my illegitimate TV dad could be played by Alan Alda. And I've never even seen M*A*S*H.


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