Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ronald Takaki Passes

Distinguished professor of Ethnic Studies and famed public intellectual, Ronald Takaki, passed away this Tuesday at 70 years old. Among his many accomplishments, he taught the first Black History course at UCLA and developed the undergraduate and graduate programs in Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley where I received my doctorate.

Takaki was also a committed activist who participated in the Free Speech movement, fight for the maintenance of Affirmative Action, Multicultural Studies requirement, saving of Ethnic Studies...and he always stood with the students in their many causes. Even after he was diagnosed with MS decades ago, I would always catch him in the forefront of protests for civil rights and social justice. The debilitating disease proved too much so Takaki left us on his own accord.

My fondest memory of Takaki was when as a junior I spoke to him during his office hours. I went on and on about myself for about 15 minutes before he cut me off and said, "and who are you?" Then broke into his story about how as a young man, he only wanted to surf. "Ten-toes Takaki was what they called me," he disclosed. When I explained that I needed a letter of recommendation and feared I'd never get into grad school, he said something that remained with me forever. He said, "You know, I was let go from UCLA [more specifically, he was denied early tenure when he openly criticized the university's hiring policies] and thought, well, there goes my academic career. But, friends called me to UC Berkeley and I moved the whole family here for a job and have been here since. So, everything happens for a reason." From that day on he became my mentor. In graduate school, he organized my orals and read drafts of my dissertation.

I last ran into him about a month ago while walking our dogs. He commented he thinks I drive too fast. I complained about the travails of the tenure process. As usual, he said, "You'll be fine." I'll miss him very much. He is a great lost in the world of race relations.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Internet Killed the Television Star

It was not so long ago when we watched our very first MTV video, "Video Killed the Radio Star." Indeed, music videos pretty much buried radio then MP3s danced on its grave a couple of decades later. Now TV is dying, not slowly, but rapidly, or is it already dead? The cancer is none other then the Internet.

I watch films via and TV shows via Oh, and I've replaced my old TV with the eyeTV for my laptop. For a little over a Franklin, you're just one USB connection away from free TV forever. So, I'm also guilty of offing the conventional TV but keeping their programs. Much happier now. TV is in a better place along with the landline phone. Watch below to see currentnews take on the death of the TV.

Friday, May 22, 2009


You must go out and watch the new Terminator NOW! So good. Okay, like Star Trek, it is very different from the old stuff but it does pay some homage to the original. It is more aligned with the 'Sara Conner Chronicles' series which is phenomenal. I love that nutty Christian Bale. He can be anything, and as John Conner, he's damn convincing. Film was action packed with cool affects, like crazy good motorcycle scenes!

Maybe my only gripe is that it packed in way too much story in 2 hours. There was no character development so you didn't feel for anyone except for John and new terminator, Marcus. Oh, and as compared to the first Terminator, this one was not nearly as suspenseful or unpredictable. But basically two thumbs way up for me.

Watch barelypolitical parodies below.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Earth and Fire - The LA Quake

If you have to be experience a 4.7 tremor, no better place than in Royce Hall listening to the marvelous Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Just before they were to play de Falla Ritual Fire Dance from El amor brujo, LA experienced a news worthy quake. 

I thought to myself, I've lived through quite a few shakes, including the catastrophic 1989 Bay Area quake, but the way Royce Hall rattled, oh, it looked like the BIG one. Though a mere 4.7 on the richter scale, it seemed closer to 5.5. Even so, the orchestra paused for a few seconds and like pros, they resumed playing two move lovely pieces.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Miss California - Why the Drama

If you've just surfaced from a cave and have no idea who Miss California Carrie Prejean is or why you should you care, here's a quick recap. At the Miss USA pageant a few weeks ago, well-known gossip blogger, Perez Hilton (who happens to be openly gay), as a judge, asked Prejean what she thought of recent passing of gay marriage bills in different states. She answered that she was not for same sex marriages. She got the first runner up prize of the contest and all media hell broke loose from there.

Watch below to see the press conference speech Prejean gave when it was announced she could keep her Miss California crown amidst all the controversies that unfolded in the past few weeks. Then watch the translation as spoofed by youtube weblebrity, Lisa Nova.

I am confused as to why people are so up in arms one way or the other about this Miss California. Beauty pageants have not been known to be about women that reflect unique or special intellectual prowess or serve as defenders of all that is good about our society. It's an industry that is turning more plastic by the minute.

There are contestant coaches to help you move along in the process such as answer "spontaneously" those hard questions that hurt your brain. If you don't believe me, youtube some contestants. They get their pre-prepped answers all confused and end up talking about Iraq when the question was about education in the U.S. These coaches along with pageant sponsored plastic surgeons of the "Barbie factory" are but a few of the myriad of other cogs in the machine that makes up Miss Universe, Miss USA, Miss (fill in a state)...
I honestly believe we have the right to partake in an industry like the one above, or mock it or simply ignore it. That's all our rights. But pretending a beauty pageant and its contestants somehow speak for truth, justice emblematic "the greatest nation in the world," is pretty freakin' silly.

Besides, the gay marriage issue will not be played out by plastics and gay bloggers. It will be pushed along by the strength of the many that struggle for equal rights. I believe that the gay marriage issue closely mirrors the interracial marriage controversy of just a few decades ago. FYI, 1967 was when the last anti-miscegenation law was repealed in the U.S. States one by one will grant rights for gays and eventually the federal government will make it legal throughout the nation. We think nothing of interracial unions now and that will be the same of gay marriages in a few years.

Amazian Race Winners - Tammy and Victor

Congrats to brother and sister team, Victor (35) and Tammy (26) Jih, for winning the Amazing Race 14th Season! With their $1 million prize, they plan to do what? Pay off their law school bills, of course. Tammy said her mom mentioned having dibs on some of the cash too, so Asian of mum.
Though Tammy can look too hot when had to strip down to her undies to run through the streets of Russia, she could not tumble or cartwheel to save her life. Check out clip below.

In the final leg, the siblings took the #1 spot in Maui after lugging a luau pig up a hill. They did well throughout but really excelled in Beijing when their knowledge of Chinese gave them a huge advantage. Pays to be bilingual, folks. Check out their performance anxiety when competing in China.

By most reviews, their intelligence helped them with clues and directions and their endurance and eventual teamwork brought them through to the end!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Star Trek Mania Baybee!

Trekkers cannot resist! 

Spock's appearance was a real treat! Lordy, I love the big, strong, long lasting... mind of a Vulcan.

Don't Miss Mother's Day

...there's still time to get her one of these--

Yep, the 'Dick in the Box' boyz are back! In case you missed the prequel, check it out here:

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Another Pixar Hit?

Check out the trailer of "Up." Is Russell (boy scouts kid) Asian? 

Proud Trekker

No spoilers so read to your hearts delight.

Oh My God! Star Trek was so good it deserved me to spell out OMG! As a long-time Trekker, I have been enraptured by its poignant social commentaries presented in masterful ways every episode. Star Trek has always been smart television! When BSG came along, it was a fantastic combination of brains and action, and now I can say the new Star Trek franchise has that potential.

First off, without giving anything away, I will say that it exceeded my expectations and almost all the things that annoyed me about the original Star Trek was remedied in this one. For instance, I always liked Spock best and thought James T. Kirt was a numbskull. In the new Star Trek, Captain Kirk was not nearly as annoying and at times, even charming. I'm just relieved William Shatner did not appear. Watch below to see his reaction to being snubbed. He was so sad and ridiculously funny, I actually felt for him...nah!

Anything wrong with the movie? Okay, it's not the deepest Sci-Fi I've seen but it does make up for it in the action and sometimes humor.
But, whattup with the fake boobed green (valley girl) cadet (see right)? That was tragic compared to the original Orion slave dance girl Kirk got with in the original series (see below).

Oh, and the cast is hot! Also, if you're a fan, you'll like seeing the background of your favorite characters. They casted actors with likenesses of the original Star Trek crew.

In many ways this is what the failed series Enterprise should have been. But, better late than never. Kudos to JJ Abrams. I'm watching it again!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Asian Man Millennium

It is officially not my imagination, I see Asian (American) men everywhere. They have taken over the tube, big screen and even gossip mags/blogs! My only thought is, it's about damn time. Though still too few Asian images exist in media, I'm delighted to see my brothahs get some face time.

Most notably, they are not depicted as the nerd, kung fu expert, Chinese restaurant worker or gangsta. Last week 'Wolverine' opened with super hot hapa, Daniel Phillip Henney, as Agent Zero. An American Expatriate actor in South Korea, Henny has a British father and Korean-American mother. Most known for his role in the Korean hit drama, 'My Name is Kim Sam Soon', I'm confident he'll get more cross-over screen time. Just look at him, gorgeous!

Also finally making its round at film festivals is, 'Little Fish'. Here 'Jump Street' veteran, Dustin Nguyen appears opposite Academy award-winner Cate Blanchett. Nguyen plays Cate's love interest, Jonny. They are both recovering heroin addicts trying to figure out their future together. And yes, he gets to kiss the girl, in the mouth, for reals.

I even see my yellow brothahs on the small screen. In a recent 'Dollhouse' episode, we were introduced to John, the much younger Thai husband of the wealthy, Margaret Bashford. The main character, Echo, is made "active" to investigate Bashford's death. Here "John" is all man yet sensitive and loving.

Stranger, still, just today the "hot" gossip news is Jon, of 'Jon & Kate Plus 8'. He is rumored to have cheated on his wife with a 23-year school teacher, Deanna Hummel. It's juicy because Jon and Kate have eight kids and a reality show documenting their lives as a family. Hello, this means he's at least boinking one woman, his wife and possibly two, the school teacher. You know, the public wonders if Asian men have peckers at all.

Lastly, my boyz are even in epic commercials. This Scheppes commercial has a hot Indian prince at the end. check it out.

Now if only the men would also get with non-white women. I'm waiting for a Black or (dare to dream) Asian woman hookup. What do you make of all this?

Early Reactions to New Star Trek Movie

Looks like I'll have to wait for the DVD with additional three hours of Federation debates to really get the Star Trek experience. Viva la stiff actors and drawn out monologues.