The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer (Review)

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If you’re looking for a good book to read, check out The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer. It’s about a group of friends who meet at a summer camp for artistic youth in high school. The story is about their lives as they deal with high school, go to college, enter the workforce, have kids, and grow older.

I thought this book was brilliant.The picture of Meg Wolitzer on the inside back cover is really small, and I thought there was a chance she was my age. I was thinking, “If someone my age can write like this, I should just stop writing, close my blog, and give up. I’m done.” The NY Times compared her to Jonathan Franzen, and I think it’s an apt comparison. (Fortunately she’s in her mid-fifties, so the blog stays open.)

Affirmative action podcast with Reappropriate Jenn

I wanted to thank Jenn from Reappropriate for the fun and lively podcast last night. You can see the podcast here (or in the video above), and you can read Jenn’s afterthoughts here. It was great being the first non-live-in guest, the first Asian guest, the first Asian male guest, and the first guest who was podcasting in the dark.

I have a few afterthoughts myself:

1. Sorry for the lack of lighting. It was literally 102 degrees yesterday in Portland. I had a halogen light in the office I was using, but there was no way I was going to turn it on!

Robin Williams, dead at 63 from suicide

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Some sad, sad news: Robin Williams is dead at the age of 63 from suicide.

He was truly a great comedian, a true genius who was up there with the best of them. I remember watching him as Mork from Mork and Mindy when I was growing up. It was one of the earliest shows I remember. Years later, I remember him playing the genie in Aladdin–you could listen to the dialogue over and over and laugh every time. He was also able to successfully cross-over to serious drama, playing Mr. Keating in Dead Poets Society, and the doctor in Good Will Hunting, two of the greatest movies ever made.

Every story can always get more interesting

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Photo credit: Channel 9 60 Minutes/Associated Press

I first heard about the story while driving in the car and hearing it on the radio: an Australian couple had abandoned their biological baby who had come from a surrogate mother in Thailand because the baby had Down Syndrome. I thought that maybe it was an example of Western exploitation, a case in which rich Western parents had hired a poor Asian surrogate and then jumped at signs of trouble.

Chess politics

Charlie Shoemaker/Getty for the NY Times

Kasparov signing autographs. Photo credit: Charlie Shoemaker/Getty for the NY Times

Garry Kasparov, the former World Champion in chess and possibly the greatest chess player of all time, is running for president of FIDE, the world chess governing organization. He’s running against the current president, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. Ilyumzhinov is an Asian dude, and he’s the former president of the Republic of Kalmykia, which is the only Buddhist region in Europe. Ilyumzhinov is also a multi-millionaire who has a strong relationship with Vladimir Putin, who, according to the Times article, is strongly supporting him.

Ebola-infected Americans returning home for treatment

Two Americans who were infected with the Ebola virus will be flown home for treatment. According to CNN, a plane with an isolation chamber is headed to Liberia to pick up Dr. Kenneth Brantly and Nancy Writebol who have been working in Liberia. News reports say that this is the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history. Ebola kills 90% of people who get infected. There is currently no vaccine, but experts say they might have an experimental drug as early as September. Brantly and Writebol will be treated at Emory University, one of four facilities in the country with an isolation chamber that can safely protect healthcare workers. Furthermore, international health experts are planning to surge into West Africa to eradicate the disease.

Being “fair” will punish poor Asians

Photo: Daniel Shapiro

Photo: Daniel Shapiro

Sorry for the lack of updates. I’ve been busy pondering some big life decisions for my kids. (Or maybe not. They always seem big to parents.)

So two pieces of news. First, thank you ChineseMom for sending this article from the NY Post about how changing the elite public schools admissions test in New York City will primarily hurt poor Asian immigrants. It’s very interesting how the far-left has co-opted our language, redefining “fair” as something that is exactly the opposite. Instead of studying how some black children can and do succeed, activists put all their effort into gaming the criteria. The article correctly states that this will punish poor Asians, many of whom arrive in this country poor and unable to speak English. But hey, it’s “fair!”

Shanelle Davis becomes first African American valedictorian of Benjamin Cardozo High School

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This story is a month old, but I just found out about it. This year, Shanelle Davis became the first African American valedicatorian of Benjamin Cardozo High School. She seems humble but aware of her place in the school’s history:

“School is like, it’s very diverse, but it’s predominantly Asian. So most African-Americans in the school think that OK so since there’s been like always an Asian or a white valedictorian that they can’t do it. But then I can be an example for them to show that they can also do it. So maybe next year they’ll have another African-American one,” Davis said.

Malaysian jetliner shot down

Dmitry Lovetsky/AP

Dmitry Lovetsky/AP

A second Malaysian Airline commercial flight went down today, but this time the U.S. is confirming that it was shot down. The Ukrainians are saying that the Russians or pro-Russian fighters did it. Putin is saying that the Ukrainians are to blame, but he’s not saying that pro-Russian forces didn’t shoot it down.

Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, blamed Ukraine’s government for creating what he called conditions for insurgency in eastern Ukraine, where separatists have bragged about shooting down at least three Ukrainian military aircraft. But Mr. Putin did not specifically deny that a Russian-made weapon had felled the Malaysian jetliner.

Jose Antonio Vargas detained

Jose Antonio Vargas has been detained. He was detained at an airport in Texas while trying to travel to LA. He thought that he might have trouble since he was leaving from a border area. He was right. Vargas is the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who came out as an undocumented worker three years ago. Since then, he has been traveling the country and talking with other undocumented workers.