Harith Iskander: I Told You So

I was excited to see an Asian comedian on Netflix. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. Malaysian Harith Iskander’s jokes, which range from girlfriend to parents, are shallow and mundane. I could only get through half the the special before giving up. Sorry Harith, I wish you told me so.

Big Stupid Bully

The seventy-something bully is so stupid that he is getting fucked by a little thirty-something White Supremacist without even realizing it. The little White Supremacist pays the big stupid bully some compliments on TV and he does everything the little guy tells him to do. It’s really a damn shame the way one of the greatest countries in the world operates nowadays. If the government can’t get its act together then it needs to get shutdown. I am counting by the minute to the midterm election.

Dealing With Conflicts at Young Age

Annie Pfeifer:

Kids don’t live in a bubble, so why do we try to shelter them from conflict? One of the earliest lessons you learn at school is about the boundless cruelty of other children. And that bullies can win. Yet contrary to these early playground lessons in realpolitik, children are consistently taught to avoid conflict by well-meaning parents, teachers and caregivers because that’s how we want the world to work. We raise our children in gilded playpens, shielding them from criticism and alternative views.

Mr. Trump has convinced me to give my daughter some tough love. To expose her to critical opinions, to make her listen to views she might not like or agree with. I don’t want her to lose it when somebody like Donald Trump is elected. More than anything, I want her to be able to defend herself and fight back.

I want my daughter to learn to say no confidently and unapologetically. Dealing with conflict is also about standing up for yourself as a woman, whether a man is talking over you at a meeting or trying to engage in unwanted sexual behavior. If we learn early how to have difficult or uncomfortable conversations up front, we don’t need others to fill in the gaps, make our decisions or read our minds. But if we can’t stand up to conflict, we risk becoming the snowflakes that the Donald Trumps and the wagging tongues on the right make us out to be.

Great parenting advice. I need to have this uncomfortable conversation with the parents. We need to backoff and let the kids work out their conflicts. They are old enough now to communicate on their own without our intervention. As parents, we tend to be emotional when our kids cry even for nothing critical.

Quốc Bảo: Saigon Của Tôi

Quyển sách ảnh của nhạc sĩ Quốc Bảo chia sẻ những điều bé nhỏ của Sài Gòn qua ống kính của anh. Từ quán cóc đến quán cà phê Jaspas, từ hoa vàng đến lá xanh, từ mưa đến nắng, Sài Gòn là đời sống là tình yêu của Quốc Bảo. Tuy một bức ảnh nói lên được một ngàn chữ, những dòng tâm sự bổ sung thêm nét đẹp và cảm tình cho ảnh. Văn xuôi tiếng Việt của Quốc Bảo thì vẫn nhẹ nhàng và giản dị. Phần tiếng Anh thì còn rườm rà và ngượng nghịu. Như tựa đề của sách sao phải là The Saigon of Mine mà không ngắn gọn là My Saigon? Với cá nhân tôi thì hình ảnh của Quốc Bảo không đem lại ấn tượng lắm. Phải chi tác giả viết nhiều chữ Việt hơn (và khỏi cần tiếng Anh) thì đỡ thất vọng. Dù sao thì cũng cám ơn một người thân đã mang sách từ Việt Nam sang Mỹ tặng.

Trung Trung Đỉnh: Ngõ Lỗ Thủng

Quyển tiểu thuyết ngắn nói về đời sống của những nhân vật trong ngõ Lỗ Thủng gồm có anh Gù, cô gái làm điếm, vợ chồng gã tiến sĩ, và Bình (người kể chuyện). Trong ngõ Lỗ Thủng có nhiều thành phần khác nhau từ những người lao động đến những người buôn bán đến dân trí thức. Qua những lời quăng tục, những cãi cọ, những buổi nhậu nhẹt vui vẻ, và những cảnh tình dục điên cuồng, ngõ Lỗ Thủng là một nơi thú vị. Trung Trung Đỉnh viết ngắn gọn nhưng nêu ra những lỗ thủng đớn đau trong cuộc sống.

Dean is Dead

Although I don’t know Dean Allen on the personal level, I am shocked and saddened to learn that he had passed away. Om Malik has written a beautiful remembrance of a man who had profound influence in the web community back in the days.

For me, Dean taught me typography way before I even knew anything about type. I used to marvel the simple, minimal design of Textism. He was also a fine writer with impeccable prose and humor. “Annotated Maunifesto” is one of my favorite pieces he had written.

When I worked at Vassar college in early 2000s, one of my responsibilities was creating homepage banners. When I got stuck, I browsed Dean’s book cover designs for inspiration. I “stole” his simple use of imagery and typography.

Last week, I was thinking of him out of the blue. I tried to revisit his site, but it is no longer available. Today, I found out “Dean is no more.” Thank you and rest in peace.

Success Stories

I have been listening rigorously to NPR’s “How I Built This with Guy Raz.” Episodes I have binged through include LinkedIn, Kate Spade, Instagram, Chipotle, Teach For America, Starbucks, and Kickstarter. So many inspiring stories. Love this podcast.

The Vanishing of Freedom and Fun From the Internet

Jia Tolentino:

Blogs are necessarily idiosyncratic, entirely about sensibility: they can only be run by workhorses who are creative enough to amuse themselves and distinct enough to hook an audience, and they tend to publish like-minded writers, who work more on the principle of personal obsession than pay. The result is editorial latitude to be obscure and silly and particular, but the finances are increasingly hard to sustain; media consumption is controlled these days by centralized tech platforms—Facebook, Twitter—whose algorithms favor what is viral, newsy, reactionary, easily decontextualized, and of general appeal.

Blog still provides freedom and fun for me. I am just not getting paid doing it and that’s OK with me. I don’t expect to get paid for freedom and fun.

Lệ Quyên: Trịnh Công Sơn

Lệ Quyên trả bài tốt nhạc Trịnh. Giọng cô khoẻ và phát âm rõ nhưng cách hát quá hoàn hảo nên bị đơn điệu từ đầu đến cuối. Thất vọng hơn nữa là những phần hoà âm quá chán. Album không tệ nhưng cũng không xuất sắc. Lệ Quyên chỉ làm album đủ tiêu chuẩn.

Katt Williams: Great America

Katt is still charismatic, energetic, and pornographic. Katt’s materials aren’t great, but he delivered. The Trump jokes, for instance, aren’t edgy, but still funny as fuck. He had some standout punchlines. On driverless car, he would just sit in the back and if the cop pulls him over the officer can talk to the driver. On technology, if you interact with Siri and Alexa, you have a threesome. On relationships, he offers three-word advice: “do more fucking.” If you can get past the vulgar and misogynistic language, Katt is highly entertaining.