Wednesday, December 31, 2008

CUONG’S BOOK CLUB

Letters To A Young Poet is a collection of 10 letters written by reknown German poet Rainer Maria Rilke to Franz Xaver Kappus. In 1902, Kappus was in Military Academy in Germany when he wrote to Rilke to seek counsel on how to go about living the life of an artist. Rilke responded and as Kappus said, “When a truly great and unique spirit speaks, the lesser one must be silent.” (I know it sounds like the fortune cookie you got last night, but deal with it)

In his letters, Rilke lays bare his soul into an artist’s life, and in doing so speaks about passion and the struggle to pursue one’s dreams. It will inspire the creativity and artistry in you, even if you are not an artist. Here is one of my favorite words of wisdom from Rilke...
There is only one way [to be an artist]: Go within. Search for the cause, find the impetus that bids you write. Put it to test: Does it stretch out its roots in the deepest place of your heart? Can you avow that you would die if you were forbidden to written? Above all, in the most silent hour of your night, ask yourself this: Must I write? ...If you can confidently meet this serious question with a simple, “I must,” then build your life upon it. It has become your necessity. Your life, in even the most mundane and least significant hour, must become a sign, a testimony to this urge.
Even though Rilke’s words were written over 100 years ago, I think they ring true. It is a reminder that one must bring to life what is in their deepest core, what aches them to live. We must do so.

Letters To A Young Poet

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

BE MY FRIEND...

It has happened to me three times this year. Three. To be honest, I am not sure how this could happen to someone like me - quiet, demure, considerate, appropriate, nice, and always sober. I mean I'm not even promiscuous. Damnit... But somehow, I got "de-friended" three times this year on Facebook. Three times. Why me?

Well, it turns out I'm not the only loser. Yah! This article on WSJ.com examines that latest online offense - "de-friending" your friends. Friends are "purged" for a variety of reasons - you lose touch with them, they're acquaintances, loss of privacy, or you hate constant updates from losers. And then you do a search or they come up in People You May Know, and it hits you like two handfuls of poo-inducing prunes - you've been "de-friended" by lame-o. Ugh! I can't understand why I've been "de-friended," but those who update their Facebook status everytime they do something retarded should be. Listen, I don't need to know your every move. I don't. If I wanted to, I would stalk you. I would.

Friend me!


So if awkward mornings with that special little random stranger isn't enough, social networks like Facebook and Myspace are creating more anxieties - who should you "friend," will my request be accepted, do I reject or leave a request in "friend purgatory"? Yep, that's why we're on meds. (Oh, and by "we're," I mean you...)

P.S.: I know every single one of you who "de-friended" me and I am waiting for your special friend request. Waiting...

Sunday, December 28, 2008

FOR ALYSSA L. & DAVID A.

I haven't done anything substantive in the Asian American community since creating UC Berkeley's hardboiled in 1997, with the exception of volunteering with Chinese Progressive Association to teach English to Chinese immigrants this year. That said, I take my role as Asian American advocate and activist seriously.

To that end, I have stumbled up something that will immediately elevate the social status of Asian Americans nationwide - a cure for the dreaded "Asian" flush - that bright glow of red after one sip of alcohol, followed by bright glow of humiliation. My fellow Asian Americans - and you know who you are, particularly Alyssa and David - this will change your life!

Oh, the shame!


We know that most Asian Americans lack the enzymes to process alcohol - I am, however, lucky, but most of you Asians, well, not so much. Thus Sobrietol provides the enzyme to help prevent "Asian" flush. I am not endorsing the product, but I think that many Asian Americans will benefit from it. And I'll finally stop mocking you for turning red after one drink... Oh, the shame. I know I will get lots of letters and emails thanking me, so, you're welcome.

Monday, December 22, 2008

CUONG’S BOOK CLUB

Being an up-and-coming celeblogger is hard. Fans stop me, they watch me miss at urinals, they talk about my weight, and chicks want me to sign their boobs. Awful, boobs! And the one thing they all want to know is this... So by popular demand Cuong's Book Club is back! And to that old nun that said Oprah's Book Club is better, my probation officer wants me to say I'm sorry I pushed you onto on-coming traffic...but all I gotta say is: Hells yes, bitch!

*****
Randy Pausch probably never intended to become an internet sensation, but he did. Pausch was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, and a husband and father of 3 young children. As part of the academic tradition, professors there give a "last lecture" during the end of a semester, on what they would say if they were dying. But in this case, Randy was in the final stages of pancreatic cancer. His lessons reverberated...to many, particularly online, and led to his book The Last Lecture.



I have to admit that despite the lackluster writing, the book touches on lessons we should remind ourselves of each day. They include:

• Live with integrity. Be truthful, be earnest. Earnest is long term.
• ...It's about how your lead your life. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you.
• Brick walls let us show our dedication. They are there to separate us from the people who don't really want to achieve their childhood dreams.
• Find the best in everybody. Just keep waiting no matter how long it takes. No one is evil. Everybody has a good side, just keep waiting, it will come.
• When you're screwing up and nobody's saying anything to you anymore, that means they gave up. Your critics are the ones telling you they still love you and care.
• Apologize when you screw up and focus on other people, not on yourself. An apology is three-parts: say you're sorry, take responsibility, and ask what you can do to make amends.
• It's just a thing. Things don't matter.
• Never lose that childhood wonder. It's just too important. It's what drives us. Helps others.
I was touched when Pausch wrote about his hope that the niece and nephew that he used to take on weekends to show the world to would do the same for his young children... Randy Pausch died July 2008, leaving behind his Jai, had three children, Dylan, Logan and Chloe, and a legacy that will resonate with many.

Randy Pausch's The Last Lecture

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

TOM CRUISE RUINS EVERYTHING

Cameron Crowe is the excellent writer of Almost Famous, Singles, and Say Anything..., but not so much Elizabethtown. He is a master of dialogue, of emotions, of storytelling. But in Jerry Maguire, a movie I do like, Crowe wrote a terrible, though omnipotent, line that millions use as a guide to finding that one. (There is more than one)

I have always detested Crowe's "You complete me" line and now it has the distinct and prestigious honor of being included in EW's list of the Worst Movie Dialogue Ever. Ever.

Monday, December 15, 2008

LONG WALKS ON THE BEACH...

I dated someone once who made an observation about my TV-viewing habits: "Why do you watch this junk? What a waste of time." I turned to him, gave him the eye, and threw my beloved TiVo control smack in between his eyes. He made that comment exactly once, and still has a slight indentation in his face. (Sorry about that). And yes, I do watch bad TV. Fuck off.

Here's my shame: I TiVo'ed a show on Lifetime. Yep, TV for women. No. Judging. It was a Heather Locklear TV movie, and I'm a fan of Dynasty and Melrose Place. Heather starred in Flirting with Forty with Lipstick Jungle star Robert Buckely (my future ex).

Heather and Robert hook up in what is a seemingly one-night stand. (Not that I know what those are like...) After, he leaves and she cries. (Yep, typical one-night stand stuff) But lo and behold, Robert shows up at Heather's hotel the next morning. He says, I wanted to take you to breakfast. (I mean, I would settle for a thank-you note, but breakfast is grrreat!) So she says, I already ordered breakfast. Good, I'm hungry, he says and comes into her room. Emmy-winning writing!

In real life, showing up at your hook-up's place the next morning is called stalking. That's happened to me before so I know. And you know who you are. And the restraining order is still valid. Anyhow, I abhor the romanticism of love in Hollywood productions. It creates a false sense what people should strive for, what love is, and what happiness is. Love isn't about completing you (love can't do that). It isn't about finding the one. It isn't about romance. I believe love is a choice. It is the will and discipline to extend beyond yourself for the purpose of spiritual growth and that of your partner. Love is a lot more...

I know I contribute to this by watching a lot of shitty TV that ill-prepares our horny, pubescent teenage boys and girls for real life. For that, I'm sorry. However, I hope that by posting the below I am making amends. Hope that helps.

Robert Buckley


Robert Buckley


P.S. Robert, call my 800-number!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

BRADLEY TALKS

I'm in MP, the first time I've been home since Bradley, my 21-month old nephew, turned 1 in March. It was the weekend he started walking, and since then he's started to talk.

When I arrived home today, Bradley was in the middle of a nap. But when he woke from his nap, he opened his eyes and said in Chinese...

Uncle.

In his first words to me, he knew me... OMG, that's so precious!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

BILL RICHARDSON: FRIEND OR FOE?

So here I am doling out political insight. I know, it's just crazy. It's like Oprah giving advice on food and nutrition. Should. Never. Do. It. But I am...

Bill Richardson, President-Elect Obama's pick for Secretary of Commerce, has drawn criticism from groups, including Asian Americans. In 1998, while serving as President Clinton's Energy Secretary, Richardson accused Wen Ho Lee of being a spy for China at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, which led to Lee's arrest and solitary confinement without due process. In the case of the United States vs. Wen Ho Lee, Lee was vindicated. The FBI apologized for lying, Judge James Parker apologized when he released him and accused the Department of Energy of misleading him and bringing dishonor to the United States. President Bill Clinton and the New York Times have both apologized publicly to Dr. Lee. However, Richardson has admitted to no wrong-doing and has disavowed any responsibility.

Wen Ho Lee who was paid a $1.6 million settlement by the government and five media organizations after officials leaked information that portrayed Lee as a possible spy. He is, however, a convicted felon.

Richardson recklessly attempted to ruin Lee's life, and really it's hard, actually very hard, to believe race had nothing to do with it. So, should Richardson be our Secretary of Commerce?

Monday, December 08, 2008

FIRST VIETNAMESE ELECTED TO THE HOUSE

Republican Anh "Joseph" Cao of Louisiana became the first Vietnamese elected to the House on Saturday. Circumstances made it an unusual win, but...

Sunday, December 07, 2008

BIGGER BRAINS = HIGHER IQ

I kid all the time about being supersmart. I'm, sadly, not. Damnit.

But according to this article on Slate.com Asian Americans typically have higher IQ scores: "Among white Americans, the average IQ, as of a decade or so ago, was 103. Among Asian-Americans, it was 106. Among Jewish Americans, it was 113. Among Latino Americans, it was 89. Among African-Americans, it was 85. Around the world, studies find the same general pattern: whites 100, East Asians 106, sub-Sarahan Africans 70. One IQ table shows 113 in Hong Kong, 110 in Japan, and 100 in Britain."

It's attributed to the fact that Asian Americans - get this! - have bigger brains! Its true, it goes on to say: "On average, Asian-American kids have bigger brains than white American kids, who in turn have bigger brains than black American kids."

So, are Asian Americans smarter than Whites? If so, why aren't I smarter than Whitey? I am the worse Asian ever! Loser...