Thursday, December 29, 2005

housing rules

I can't believe this is happening. In Manassas, Virginia, they just passed a law which limits the number of non-related people living in single family homes. They also redefined what a relative is (an uncle/aunt or niece/nephew is NOT considered a relative).

Since when did the government have the right to say who could and couldn't live in a house?

Of course, all of these new laws are being implemented because there happens to be a huge influx of Latinos into the town.

Check out the article here

- Jean Chen

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Terror on the Bus?

From the Washington Post:

"Teams of undercover air marshals and uniformed law enforcement officers will fan out to bus and train stations, ferries, and mass transit facilities across the country this week in a new test program to conduct surveillance and "counter potential criminal terrorist activity in all modes of transportation," according to internal federal documents.

According to internal Transportation Security Administration documents, the program calls for newly created "Visible Intermodal Protection and Response" teams -- called "Viper" teams -- to take positions in public areas along Amtrak's Northeast Corridor and Los Angeles rail lines; ferries in Washington state; and mass transit systems in Atlanta, Philadelphia and Baltimore. Viper teams will also patrol the Washington Metro system."

Click here for the full article

Air marshals and officers are going to be patroling the mass transit system in Baltimore??!! Give me a break! I'm from Baltimore and I've tried riding the bus. Believe me, it's the slowest, most horrible mode of transport. And it's really not that safe. I doubt terrorists would be riding the bus in Baltimore. Or if they did, they would get mugged by crack dealers and pimps.

-Jean Chen

Paying for the Crime

Ok, so Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is officially crazy. Yesterday, he publicly stated that the Holocaust is a myth.

However, check out what he says later on in the same speech:

"If you committed this big crime, then why should the oppressed Palestinian nation pay the price? This is our proposal: if you committed the crime, then give a part of your own land in Europe, the United States, Canada or Alaska to them so that the Jews can establish their country."

Hmm. He does have a point. The Germans killed millions of Jews... so as a reparation, why did the Allies give the Jews someone else's land? It would have made more sense for Jews to get a part of Germany. Maybe if that had happened, there woudn't have been so much bloodshed in the Middle East.

- Jean Chen

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

of mice and men

Scientists have created mice in labs with human stem cells injected into their brains. It almost sounds like a Kafka story; I keep thinking of The Metamorphosis, instead this time with the character waking up as a rat instead of an insect. I'm sure people will bring up ethical issues regarding mixing human and animal cells but as long as these scientists don't go too crazy and make mutant ninja turtles in labs, let the research continue.

"Researchers argue that co-mingling human and animal tissue is vital to ensuring that experimental drugs and new tissue replacement therapies are safe for people.

Others have performed similar experiments with rabbit and chicken eggs while University of California-Irvine researchers have reported making paralyzed rodents walk after injecting them with human nerve cells.

Doctors have transplanted pig valves into human hearts for years, and scientists have injected human cells into lab animals for even longer." Click-clack for the full article .

And here's an interesting fact: "mice are 97.5 percent genetically identical to humans."

-zoneil maharaj.

Pat Morita

I know it's been a few weeks since he passed away and many people are probably thinking, "Who? Oh yeah, Mr. Miyagi from Karate Kid." But there was a really great op-ed in the NY Times:

Goodbye to Pat Morita, Best Supporting Asian

By LAWRENCE DOWNES

Pat Morita, the Japanese-American actor, died on Thanksgiving Day in Las Vegas. He was 73. News reports over the weekend were not specific about the cause of death or funeral details. Also not clear was what Hollywood would do now that Mr. Morita is gone.

The movie and TV industry has never had many roles for Asian-American men, and it seemed for a while that they all went to Mr. Morita. He made his debut as "Oriental No. 2" in "Thoroughly Modern Millie" in 1967 and never stopped working. He hit two peaks - as Arnold the diner owner on TV's "Happy Days" and the wise old Mr. Miyagi in the "Karate Kid" movies - and spent the rest of nearly 40 years roaming an endless forest of bit parts.

He was Mahi Mahi, the pidgin-talking cabby in "Honeymoon in Vegas," Lamont Sanford's friend Ah Chew in "Sanford and Son," Brian the waiter in "Spy Hard," Chin Li the Chinese herbalist in "The Karate Dog."

Whenever a script called for a little Asian guy to drive a taxi, serve drinks or utter wise aphorisms in amusingly broken English, you could count on Mr. Morita to be there.

Those who knew Mr. Morita say he was a man of uncommon decency and good humor. He fulfilled the actor's prime directive, to keep busy.

But it's distressing to think that the life's work of one of the best-known, hardest-working Asian-American actors is mostly a loose collection of servile supporting roles.

I know nothing about Mr. Morita's ambitions; if he had a longing to interpret Eugene O'Neill on Broadway, I have not heard of it. But actors generally have to work within the range of what's available. And with Asian-Americans, particularly men, what's available generally stinks.

Mr. Morita was one of the last survivors of a generation of Asian-American actors who toiled within a system that was interested only in the stock Asian. Harold Sakata played Oddjob in "Goldfinger" and was typecast as a mute brute forever after. Philip Ahn played houseboys and villains for decade upon decade.

Some actors - well, a couple - broke out, like George Takei, Mr. Sulu in "Star Trek," and Jack Soo on "Barney Miller." B. D. Wong's role on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" is a major improvement, but it will be a long, long time before we erase the memory of the bucktoothed, jabbering Mickey Rooney in "Breakfast at Tiffany's," or Sidney Toler as Charlie Chan.

Watch Rob Schneider play Ula, a leering Hawaiian in the Adam Sandler movie "50 First Dates," with a pidgin accent by way of Cheech and Chong, and you get the sense that Hollywood still believes that there is no ethnic caricature a white actor can't improve upon.

Mr. Morita, who was born Noriyuki Morita to migrant farmworkers in California and was sent to an internment camp in Arizona during World War II, never gave the sense of bearing a racial burden.

He had a comic's perspective and sense of humor, and would play his parts - Chinese, Japanese, Korean, whatever - with relaxed professionalism. As a standup comedian in the 1960's, he called himself "the Hip Nip," and he once told a group of Pearl Harbor survivors in a Waikiki nightclub that he was sorry about messing up their harbor.

Mr. Miyagi remains everybody's idea of a positive character. Who can forget "wax on, wax off," his wise counsel linking car care to karate? But still, it bother me Miyagi-san so wise, but find so hard use articles, pronouns when talk.

Mr. Morita's legacy may soon take a posthumous turn for the better. He has a role in an unreleased movie, "Only the Brave," about Japanese-American soldiers of the famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team, one of the most decorated units in World War II. He plays a Buddhist priest who is imprisoned in Hawaii after Pearl Harbor.

Lane Nishikawa, who wrote, directed, produced and acted in the film, which is now making the rounds of festivals in search of a distributor, said it told its story from the Asian-American point of view - an unusual perspective, by past or current standards.

With its wide pool of Asian-American talent, including Mr. Morita, Tamlyn Tomita and Jason Scott Lee, the film promises to be at least different from the other movie about the 442nd.

That one -"Go for Broke!" - was made in 1951 and starred Van Johnson, with a large, and utterly forgotten, supporting cast.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Woman hires hit man to murder three for a block of cheese

That's right, you read correctly. A psycho 18- year-old woman hired a hit man to kill three people for what she thought was cocaine. Unfortunately, the white mass ended up being a block of queso fresco cheese. Ha. Brings new meaning to the term cracked out.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The revolution will be fashionable

I'm telling you, Lenin and Castro are back in style -- well, their HATS are anyway.
Look around and you see folks sporting hats very similar to those worn for decades by Fidel and those worn by Lenin in the early 20s.
But what does it mean?
The hats have little to do with idealogical revolution or political activism. They do have a lot to do with folks being pissed about the current global political climate. They also have a lot to do with slick marketing trends among skateboarding culture alternative culture.
Judge for yourself. Check out these photos:




Monday, December 05, 2005

Propaganda

From the Washington Post:

"The U.S. military command in Baghdad acknowledged for the first time yesterday that it has paid Iraqi newspapers to carry positive news about U.S. efforts in Iraq, but officials characterized the payments as part of a legitimate campaign to counter insurgents' misinformation."

Click here for the full article

Um, yeah, but it's still paying for content.

- Jean Chen