Category Archives: Musings

A current event, a friendly debate, a not-so-friendly debate, a question posed – inspire these posts

WHEN GOD LETS YOU “SKIP THE LINE”

I’ve heard many variations of the assurance uttered: “All in God’s timing.  God’s timing is perfect.  When God annoints it, it will make up for lost time.  God’s favor is a multiplier.”  Various phrases designed to offer the same assurance: that it’s ok if you’re still waiting on something.  Have peace and know that He will work it all out. I never quite understood, however, how exactly that was going to play out in real life – until just recently.  And here’s how it works.  You don’t worry about the timing.  You stay faithful and diligent.  You keep working on your craft and you keep walking with God.  These two principles practiced concurrently ensure that you are happy and at peace no matter where and no matter what.  Years may pass in between dreams that may seem like “lost time” in the natural way of thinking.  However, in the supernatural, God moves mountains for you, essentially “making up” for the lost time – lettin’ you “skip da line!”  At least that’s exactly how it happened for me, clear as day, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Several years, ago, I got the comedy itch.  I knew I was funny and I knew I loved standup comedy – so why not do it?!  I took a standup class, performed at a few open mics, performed as part of a paid show, earned  street cred in the comedy circle, and altogether had a great run as a standup comic under my belt! This time also taught me, however, that making it in this world was brutal: hours spent on the open mic circuit night after night, exploiting friends and mailing lists to bring enough guests to “earn” your time on stage, and of course, the tens of hours of constant generating, writing, & perfecting jokes 24/7.  I knew that I was done.  I had scratched the itch and was not about to begin a comedy career.  Sure, I could do it…I just didn’t want to put in all that time.  And so I happily returned to acting and spin instructing, now legitimately adding “comedienne” to my resume! Fast forward 3 years and I’m at church one Sunday hearing that our church is sponsoring a Christian Comedy Show!  I immediately meet the producer and chat with her, leaving her with our shared comedy background because I did it for two months several years ago!  I emailed her the link to said performance, bought tickets to the show, and set out to support the cause!  The day of the show, she calls me and asks that I perform.  I was completely caught off guard – I don’t know if I’ve ever been more surprised, actually – and stammered that I was in absolutely no position to perform.  She proceeded to insist, saying that it was “ordained by God” and lo and behold, I performed that night and HERE is what God did for me!
  • I had an incredible performance, surprising my church (pastors included), when I appeared on stage.
  • A producer of another comedy show scouted me at that show.
  • The headliner’s manager sought me out after the show as well.
  • I was invited to join the the Christmas show lineup for Artistic New Directions, winning over the whole room.
  • I performed and hosted with the same Christian Comedy Show two months later (both times at Comic Strip Live).
  • I performed in the 6th annual Gospel Comedy Show at Long Island University’s Kumble Theatre the day after Christmas, with my sister, niece, & brother-in-law in the audience.
Here is the miracle:  I received 10 minutes of stage time at 3 paid shows at reputable venues without ever having to pound the comedy circuit!  The average comedian starting out gets 5 minutes at an open mic where he has to wait for his turn to perform and then only performs for a lackluster audience comprised of other comedians waiting for their turn.  This average comedian eventually, by working this circuit long enough, gains enough traction, reputation, and networking to begin performing at bringer shows: paid shows with real audiences that you are required to bring a certain number of people to.  Think of those people who “bark” at you on the street: “free comedy!” “do you want to laugh tonight?” – those are bringers.  Then, more traction and time later, this comedian can finally just perform.  Again, more traction and time later, this comedian can finally get paid to perform.  In this industry, like any other, dues must be paid and you should enjoy your craft enough to tough it out for what can be years or decades of working the circuit. Well, if you can tell, I skipped over all the dues-paying as God connected me with the perfect people at the perfect time so that I could simply work on my craft and then showcase my craft – how efficient of God, huh?!  I think I dig God’s style! When it dawned on me, I was overwhelmed with joy and gratitude and encouraged beyond measure.  In that moment, I understood that God saved me time!  I am the same comedian that I would have been had I put in all those years, except that I didn’tInstead, I spent that time working on my acting, my modeling, my hosting, my nonprofit, my spin instructing, and all of the other things I was busy doing.  And most importantly, I spent that time growing in God, walking with God, and becoming more steadfast, more righteous, and more of the woman of God that I am now. And the ultimate take-away here, the biggest encouragement – is that this is how God works.  Trust the process – just like any other process – and see it work for you.  I pray to never again be plagued by anxiety, comparison, and worry.
I pray to rest in peace and assurance that my job is to simply work hard and walk hard [with the Lord] and my path can never be wrong.
My path will be intact, my steps will be ordered, and I will always be OK! I want this to encourage you to do the same.  God’s promise in the Bible is that He has good and prosperous plans for you! (Jeremiah 29:11).  Living like this means that you live without worry or anxiety, just like all of God’s other creatures, knowing that worry will not add a single hour to your life. (Matthew 6:25-34).  Living like this means that your priority is putting God first, knowing that this most critical step paves the way for all other things to take care of themselves…ie: all other things will be added unto you (Matthew 6:33).  You will get your dream(s)…and instead of battling for them, they will be gifted to you!  You will get the dream career, the dream man, the dream apartment, the dream french bulldog, the dream body.  You should insert your own dreams here 😉 Here’s the funny way in which it works sometimes: by walking with God, you have insurance that things will work out, that He will work things out for our good  (Romans 8:28).  God will either realize this through granting us our very wish as we envision it or by adjusting our vision so that our wish is closer to where we already are.  The beauty of this?  Contentment, either way.  It’s the only way to live in true contentment and thus, the only way to live for me. Follow God’s lead and believe that there is no better way!

Birthday Reflections

Today’s the day…the day of my 32nd birthday…I wonder if I should start putting it on my Facebook wall, my age?  I don’t mind it, it’s more that other people draw opinions based on it and we’d all rather have people draw their opinions based on us…that’s gotta be the origin of the whole “don’t ask a woman her age” thing.  I know that in a few minutes, I’m going to open my Facebook to see 50+ “Happy Birthday” wishes…I actually plan on responding to each one ;)…but before I start down that slippery slope, I just want to take a moment. Simon T. Bailey recommended “making a date with destiny” for 11/11/11.  In other words, decide where you want to be in all aspects of your life by this date and on that date, evaluate your success.  I’ve written it all down somewhere, but I’m going to do another today anyway…sort of a halfway point review…to prepare for success on that fateful day!  I don’t think I’m going to go into it here, but I have very strong goals for my career, spirituality, finances, relationships, health, and personality. Just a few days ago, I got a case of the blues as I looked on wistfully at some careers that I felt highlighted my lack.  But a friend spoke some life into me, reiterating that it’s all about staying focused on your goal every waking moment.  Michael Jordan slept with his basketball.  He knew the janitors better than anyone else because he was always at the court later and earlier than anyone else.  He lived and breathed his passion.  Who knows if he was passionate about it all the time…I doubt it.  I believe that sometimes, it’s enough to be passionate about the goal, stay focused on the goal, and use that to drive you through the motions.  I’m sure that sometimes the grind will be intellectual as well as emotional.  That’s why a game plan is so important, so that on a daily basis, you have a task list, not just a lofty goal to break down. So for me, I know that for my career goals, I need to stay on my auditioning grind because it’s just a matter of time before I start booking the national SAG campaigns!  I also need to start my own show because waiting for someone else to do it for me ain’t gonna happen!  For my spirituality, I need to make God personal with personal quiet time.  For my finances, I believe that with my 10/10/10 rule and the achievement of my career goals, I can’t go wrong.  My family relationships will require constant patience and effort.  My fitness will require a disciplined lifestyle in both eating and exercising.  My personal growth will require a combination of regular reflection, meditation, self-improvement, and pampering! It’s true that we’re forever learning about ourselves and we should never feel old because of that.  I’m still excited to do things like the NY Amazing Race and I think that’s unfortunately something that society has made difficult to do.  Thankfully, in my industries of entertainment and fitness, I am constantly coming across anomalies to the “rule”…40-year old men traveling via backpack & bicycle, people trying acting as their second career, people starting businesses, writing books, generating ideas, and just never letting life get old…that’s the norm that I want to live in.  At 32-years old, I am ok with running around nyc on some adventure race, running around nailing auditions, speaking on a relationship panel, meeting new people every day.  Who says you have to stay home and garden on a Sunday, have an office job, do only what you know, and stick with the same circle of friends.  I have always known that I’m cut from a slightly different cloth than most others.  Heck, I might not even be cloth, I might be a string of sequins from what I can see!  In seriousness, I know that being the perfect Jeanette is never going to happen because I’ve set that bar high (and I’m 5’2”!)  I’ll always desire more from myself, from life, & from my life’s work.  So, I’m finally catching a whiff of that peace that comes with maturity.  I’m finally in that happy balance between loving where I am and loving where I’m going.  Happy Birthday to me. =) btw, some of what I just wrote is actually the sum total of several reflective moments.  Skim below for those musings! ILL, BLUE, COMFORTED I’ve been hacking up a lung for the past few days…an allergy attack just seemed to escalate into a hacking cough.  Puichi, whose vet skills make her surprisingly ept at diagnosing humans, offered that I probably acquired an infection in the respiratory area and am suffering from that now.  She suggested an “old chinese remedy” that consisted of heating coke with ginger…what?!  I had neither ingredient…thankfully…just the thought of the concoction made my stomach churn. This morning, I’m grateful to be feeling better, but gosh, how important our health is and how we take it for granted.  Sleep is the universal cure and preventative measure that we all need more of and stress is the universal culprit that we all need to maintain authority over.  I’m finally experiencing this imbalance that our world has been guilty of all this time.  But after a solid night of glorious sleep that has me feeling better already, I am committing myself to respecting my body’s need for it. For the past few days, I’ve been obsessed with Bruno Mars, an uber-talented recording artist in the most authentic sense.  Versatile, talented, and a great personality, he seemed to be having the time of his life.  And I found myself wistfully looking to him as an admonishment for where I am, the distance between our statuses a gaping reminder of my lack of progress.  His fame and money coupled with his talent and personality were the perfect combination.  The superficial did not detract from his substance and his authenticity never hindered his success.  That’s what I wanted.  That’s what I want.  And I thought to myself, I’d be lying if I claimed otherwise.  I DO want the fame and fortune.  I mean, I didn’t want to get into hosting to stay local, but to go international.  I wasn’t inspired by the unknown person, but by all the famous hosts. And so, in talking with people about this, I realized that I have to refocus on the path that I want to pursue…hosting.  I have to turn this into more than a full-time job.  I have to turn it into a 24/7 passion.  And when you keep your nose to the grindstone like that, the fame and fortune WILL follow.  I do believe that.  And even though I find myself pulled in a million different directions, it doesn’t have to be to a million different ends.  I can find a way to reconcile all of the aspects of my life to complement each other.  I think that’s another key to efficiency.  And so, with my birthday less than 24 hours away, I feel relieved and at peace that I am on the right track, doing what I love, and with a little re-alignment and re-enlistment, I am well on my way to fame and fortune.  lol!

Limitless: minus the NZT

Limitless is a box office success because it taps into a very achievable fantasy that we all have…to be smart. The premise of this drug that Bradley Cooper stumbled across was that it allowed one to access all in lieu of the measly 20% of our brain that we actually employ.  And so, suddenly, everything was firing, all of his information was at his fingertips, on the tip of his tongue, and poised for recollection.  Suddenly, his capacity for learning was beastly, allowing him to consume and retain information on the learning curve of light!  So, what emerges on the other side?  Bradley Cooper transforms into the best version of man.  One who has an effortless mastery of the English language…and mastery of multiple languages, for that matter; one with skills of debate to be able to intelligently and smoothly win over any challenger; one with insightful observations and novel thoughts; one with the charm and wit and confidence to engage in conversation with anyone; one able to recall anything and take in everything; one with laser focus and incredible levels of productivity;  simply put, one who is limitless. We all aspire to be like this.  And as convenient as it would be to be able to pop a pill to acquire this, such can only happen in the movies…sorry folks. 🙂 Yet, this begs the question as to why we don’t do more to acquire this state-of-being” the natural way.  It would be a gross lie to deny that you want that.  We all want it. Upon more careful examination, however, the transformation in Bradley Cooper was simply an infusion of an “I can” attitude, an intolerance for excuses, and a level of productivity across the board in areas of career, health, relationships, and finance.  He  assessed his dump of an apartment and cleaned it, he finally finished the book he had been working on for years, he started running, he started learning, he started apologizing…he went from bum to brillionaire!  Of course, for movie purposes, the protagonist must get greedy, require a loan from a Russian mobster, and get himself mixed in with the wrong crowd, spiraling him to a point of near-suicide!  But thankfully, we don’t live a 1:45 minute life under pressure for ratings! And so what I take away from this movie is the private game of channeling my own natural NZT.  There was one very accurate and valuable piece of information in this movie…the talk of synapses and our brain’s properties.  What NZT did, on a basic level, was make the most of Bradley Cooper’s brain’s synapses.  Likewise, in real life, the more brain synapses you have, the “smarter” you are.  How do you build brain synapses?  The brain is like any other muscle.  Build synapses by learning and maintain current synapses by accessing that knowledge.  Remember this: every single time you read, you are building synapses! We have an incredible capacity and ability for intelligence as human beings.  Abraham Lincoln had to teach himself to be a great speaker.  Public speaking was actually a fear of his that he had to train himself out of.  By sheer hours upon days upon years of reading and practicing and reading the dictionary, Lincoln built himself into a confident speaker.  And today, he is the man behind one of the most famous speeches of our history: the Gettysburg Address Go get your natural NZT on!

Generation Flake

I’d like to challenge you to, for the next few invitations that you receive, respond definitively.  This means that you say “yes,” or “no,” and in the case of “maybe,” provide the circumstances around that “maybe” and then update your inviter once you have clarified your position.  I then challenge you to, if you confirm your attendance at an event, follow through and GO.  This means that you show up and show up ON TIME.  Such simple concepts…yet so difficult for the generation of flakes armed with the technology that breeds it.
"Oh no she didddnn't!"
Here is the dillemna that plagues us: We are using technology as a lifeline to refrain from committing to anything!  People no longer make decisions anymore, they wait for their environment to tell them how they feel a minute before the event.  People no longer commit to their decisions, they require periodic check-ins before an event, during which statuses wax and wane.  People no longer feel responsibility for their commitments, as standing someone up is easily relayed via text…a one-way dialogue is much less guilt-inducing. For all of those who have done this, think about the anguish you are putting your invitee through.  It’s impossible to plan something without guests…so just say “yes” if you can do something…it’s not that serious.  It’s a nuisance to constantly have to dialogue with you up until an event takes place…be an adult and take care of yourself once you have all the information you need.  It’s downright rude to cancel on someone via text or even worse, only offer an explanation when you are prodded. We are a generation that has accepted indecisiveness, neediness, and loose-lipped agreements.  Technology has paved the way for these behaviors.  But, fortunately, we don’t have to use them to this end.  My challenge to you today is to rise above the social laziness that has become the status quo.  Realize that when you are involved in someone’s plan, you change the dynamic of that plan.  So, take your involvement seriously.  Deliver on your promise.  Start making promises and then when it comes time to deliver, don’t even entertain the idea of not doing so! It simply comes down to being mentally strong.  And it’s time to man up.

the flying buttressess & the slushpuppies take manhattan

For the past 8 weeks, I have been torchured by my performances during Chris Grigg’s Improv 101 class at the PIT Theatre
The People's Improv Theatre
accomplishment #1 of 2011!
Although I was probably my own harshest critic, I am not lying when I say that I was “torchured.”  I would leave class wanting to drink or binge or both!  It was, no pun intended, the pits!  Certain few know of the anguish and anxiety that I experienced pre and post class and can testify.  The point is, this was one of the hardest things that I have ever had to do.   Doing something at which you are utterly terrible at is enough to make you want to cry or die or poke out your eye!  lol (at the rhyming, not the subject matter!)  I wanted to quit so many times, but I didn’t want that track record: quitter, giver-upper, etc.  I battled with what this all meant … whether this was a sign that I just wasn’t cut out for it or whether it was something that I simply had to work harder than everyone else at.  After some digging, I learned that I simply had to work harder.  Then, it became a question of, “Do I want to put the time in or do I want to walk away after this?”  Of course, I wanted to run, not even walk, away! Unavoidably, graduation show night came upon us and it was time to show off our hard work!  I was terrified all over again, despite the knowledge that I was not improv-handicapped or comedically defective or anything unusual, just another talented student grappling at a new craft.  Even as I approached our show’s theatre, I wanted to turn around and run!  I mentally gave myself permission to bail, citing excuses from irrelevance to insignificance to simply having other things to do.  Eventually, I took those last few steps, purely through God’s strength.  My class was so supportive, clapping as the last few of us arrived on stage, and EVERYONE was in attendance!  It was a beautiful sight. My “terrified meter” was still on high, however, and I did the only thing I knew to do: ordered a drink.  As I sipped my wine, I willed myself to slow down, believe in myself, shake it off, and have fun for christ’s sake!  Eventually, my nervousness gave way to my usual heart pounding, temperature rising, typical Asian reaction to drinking.  Once again, I entertained the idea of not performing…I could claim illness and get no flack for it!  I knew better however, and I fought the cowardly urges. Our class’s first group had the audience cheering and we couldn’t have been prouder of our peers.  Then came our turn and before I could say “Flying Buttresses (the name of our group)” we were all on stage asking for a suggestion.  I wish I could recap everything, but to remain tactful, I will not!  My two scenes involved a gift of hermit crabs between a couple and two cops from Animal Cops India investigating a case of bobcat abuse.  It was quite funny and I was pleasantly surprised at myself. The lesson learned after all this is follow through, meet the challenge, and don’t be a strawberry!  For so many reasons, I’m glad that I finished what I started.

Las Vegas or Lost Wages?

fresh off a trip from Sin City herself…

A woman drinking alcohol from a plastic guitar strung around her neck…a couple huddled drunkenly over their plate of limp lo mein…a couple staggering to the street music as their young child lays wide-eyed in his stroller…such are the sights of Vegas. This is not to deny the luxurious architecture, high tech games, mouth-watering fares, underestimated street talent, and constant buzz of activity that abound here on the strip, but Vegas wasn’t dubbed Sin City for no reason. With the highest unemployment rate of any state, an epidemic of addiction to gambling, and a host of other related issues, Nevada’s plan to lure in the luck-seekers hasn’t left out its own residents.

Perhaps it’s the increased oxygen pumped into the casinos, the lack of windows and clocks, the endless offers for free drinks, the lively sounds of the slot machines, the all-you-can-eat buffets at value meal prices, or the ease with which one can get lost in the flurry of it all. Whatever the formula, it succeeds in creating an atmosphere not unlike Spring Break, just for grown-ups: a ticket to dress scantily, speak lewdly, drink voraciously, and leave all that is real behind…just for a few hours or days.

I am genuinely concerned when I see evidence of escapism. I believe that Vegas is a unique form of fun that is amusing and impressive and memorable. But if you have to be hush hush about what “happened in Vegas,” then you might want to get that checked out!

james cameron…lady gaga…forces to be reckoned with…

Oprah just interviewed two of the biggest creative forces on the scene today…James Cameron, who has just rocked the world of cinema with Avatar 3D…it has already, only after 2 weeks, reached over a billion in sales, and took him 4.5 years to complete.  He created a language, an entire planet with foliage with individual Latin-rooted names, an entire species, and all tied in with a central message of unity and “seeing one another.”  He was inspired visually through his scuba diving exhibitions and spent EVERY day of the past 4.5 years on this movie…he only took a few days off, .5 of a day of that was due to the swine flu!  Amazing.  Avatar was truly an amazing movie.  There is so much symbolism and beauty and emotion in this movie.  The message is so powerful and timeless and universal.  I love certain lines: “I see you, If you ask me, these tree-huggers don’t deserve any steak, you’re not the only one with a gun, that’s how you scatter the roaches, c’mon let’s make this high and tight, I want to make it home for dinner, If there is a hell, you might want to go there for some R&R.”  I love the way they say Jake Sully like Jhek Soooollley” and their accents in general are fantastic…like a cross between French and Native American.  I never watch movies twice, but I could probably even go for a round three of this one…AND it’s 3 hours!  You gotta watch this one, it’s a MUST SEE! So, Lady Gaga…I’ve always been a fan ever since I saw her on American Idol and realized that this girl can SANG!  She’s got pipes, like opera pipes-type pipes.  She can also kill on the piano.  She is a classically trained pianist and it shows.  She works hard.  She’s from NYC and worked her way up through the nyc music scene, performing at the BitterEnd and other venues and now she’s Gaga.  She’s got depth to her too.  She’s really passionate about her art and she communicates through it.  I really love that.  She’s not outlandish just to get people’s attention.  She happens to grab people’s attention because she is outlandish.  She dresses with a message and performs with a story.  The shock value is all icing on the cake for her.  I love that.  As a final message, she simply said on Oprah that she wants everyone to love themselves, do what they want, embrace their flaws, and follow their dreams.  I love that.  She teared up too, because she said that she understands what it means to feel the pain of not doing so.  And she said to have good relationships with your parents…sweet =)  In any case, Lady Gaga is doin her thang and is a rare case of someone who truly earns and deserves her fame.  Go girl.  Be inspired!

a “friend with benefits”…redefined.

(written while my mac was being “saved!”) Mon, 11/2/09, 12:18pm

Jada Pinkett says about her [in my opinion, wildly successful] relationship, “Be friends first…Will knows more about me than my girlfriends. Passion and fire come and go, but friendship lasts forever.”

How wise and how true, Ms. Pinkett! I’ve always fantasized about finding the Will to my inner Jada and coincidentally, have subscribed to this school of thought as well (see my entry: “Save the Sex.”) It’s soooo true, so true…and so unfortunate that the lot of us arrive at this pearl only so late in our love lives…and usually as a result of learning the hard way!

One of my friends, who has recently married her long-time love, says of her new hubby, [insert Rosie Perez accent] “Hoooneeey! He and I are just friends that “^&*$%!” Marry your best friend!”

Again. Advice that I know is tried and true.

During our less mature and usually more debaucherous years ,a “friend with benefits” was something shallow, possibly shameful, usually a bit awkward, and basically stemmed from a situation without enough substance to even deserve a definition! We would insert these people into our lives just enough to satisfy our needs [the benefit], but keep them far removed enough to discourage anything romantic [the friend.]

The word “friend” is also so sadly perverted in this context. I really don’t like it. It should have been coined “doormat with benefits” because usually, this person wasn’t a friend at all, meaning someone we would spend hours on the phone with, share secrets with, and invite out with our actual friends!” No, the suffix of this “friend” freed those involved of any true friend-like obligations and in my opinion, actually raped this sacred relationship of its redeeming benefits! But moving on. I’ll leave this with clever marketing kudos to whoever did coin it for taking the bite out of this dirty deed. =P

So, yes, these FWBs usually just complicated our lives because the relationship, at its core, contradicted all that is natural and good about human relationships. Unrestrained love and honesty and affection were tainted with games and insecurities and a free ticket to hurt another human being. Share your bed, but not your heart. Why did we think this was so genius?!

Well, let’s fast-forward to today and sanctify this phrase. Let us lift it up, dust it off, and breathe a shiny new life into it! Let us redefine a “friend with benefits” as someone whom we love as a friend with whom we share the rare benefit of romance. How do you practically apply this idea? Well, before diving into the benefits of a romantic relationship (the hand-holding, the heavy petting, the French kissing, etc), enjoy the core friendship (the hanging out, the laughing, the sharing, etc). Be sure that a friendship truly exists before complicating things with the benefits. Just as you cannot take advantage of the benefits of anything else in life without having to put in the work first, so should it be with relationships.

Imagine hastily finding a job, any job, just so you can get the benefit of health insurance. You couldn’t care less about whether you enjoy the job or not…dreams, schmeams! You just want to skip ahead to your free dental plan. So sure, you’ll get your wisdom teeth pulled for free, but in the end, you’re in an un gratifying job..every day. Wouldn’t it have been so much better to patiently search for a career in your true passion and then allow the benefits to reward you as icing on a cake?

Now, I know what you’re thinking. And it’s true. If you really want to get technical, it’s never recommended to be without health insurance, but there are ways to tide yourself over until you create that perfect scenario. There is government health care and self-pleasuring. (wink!)

And if you really want to strive for the gold, think about the probationary period of three months that most jobs impose before allowing you to take advantage of their benefits. Those three months are a time for you and your job to establish that you truly get along, are committed to each other, and are ready to be in it for the long haul…then you get the health and dental and 401K package! There’s a reason for that, and we can directly take this cue when dealing with our relationships.

So, let us go forth and take a true friend from our lives…and beautify that relationship…with the benefit…of romance. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to be that “friend with benefits” now! It is only in this place that we will have the remotest chance of finding our life partner.

Mission: “Redefine a ‘Friend with Benefits’” Check!

“Bruno” indicates where our entertainment intellect has gone…south

“Bruno” has been on people’s radars for months now.  It was released on July 10th to a drooling American audience.  Three summers ago, we fell in love with Sasha Baron Cohen’s awkward Borat and soon came to anticipate the introduction of another one of his alter ego’s, the gay fashionista, Bruno.  Bruno is essentially the last scene of Borat, the very gay, very naked, very hairy scene, stretched out over the course of 80 minutes.  That’s the best way I can think of to describe it.  And I hated that last scene.  Call me old-fashioned, but to me, shocking does not necessarily equal entertaining.  I respect the comedian who doesn’t have to supplement every joke with curses in order to elicit laughs.  That comedian is more clever and sophisticated.  In the same way, the Ali G Show and Borat (more so the Ali G Show) displayed the employment of thought and skill.  Bruno…not so much.  Bruno relied on nudity, sex, and offensiveness to create shock value.  I guess to Sasha Baron Cohen, there’s no such thing as a bad reaction.  And thus, even disgust and offense are better than nothing.  I appreciated the remnants of intelligent chutzpah that Bruno displayed in his interview with the model and the stage moms.  These elements were what we loved about Borat and the Ali G Show.  In those scenes, the audience felt like they were in on the joke…we were in on the funny.  We were watching as Americans revealed their own stupidity in mock interviews.  Sure, they were made to look silly, but nobody was hurt.  Such interviews required verbal nimbleness, brave irreverance, and quickness of thought…that is entertaining.  In Bruno, however we felt as if we were observing a bashing of innocent people…we felt sympathy for the butts of the jokes.  Bruno hurt a lot of people on his way to the bottom.  I don’t find outright disrepect and disregard for peoples lifestyles entertaining.  Hopefully, when Cohen attempts Ali G’s big screen debut, which seems the logical next endeavor, he will stay true to the Ali G that we know and love.  The one who talked about confused gang signs with sign language and Euthanasia with the youth in Asia and freestyled at an abortion rally…without the removal of even his fake rapper gold chain.  =P

the secret to contentment: don’t settle…but do accept

People always say that the most important things in life are family, friends, and contentment.  And yet, we spend a large portion of our lives striving for career, money, and success.  So why don’t we heed the advice of those who have lived it already?!  I just left Florida where I not only basked in warmer weather, but warmer lives of friends and family who are just…happy.  Why aren’t more of us this way?  I believe that has something to do with wanting to be in a different place than we are…a stressful state of mind that causes us to feel inadequate.  It probably is partially affected by a need to appear successful, put-together, and as a perfect package…which is something that nobody is and that nobody who matters cares about anyway.  A social scene that defines you by who you know and what you can offer probably doesn’t help either.  We live in a city that is full of places to go and things to do and people to know and it probably contributes to our attention deficit and high demands. My sister is a personality that is refreshingly candid, effortlessly wise, genuinely thoughtful, and easily contented.  There is no need for her to do anything but be herself for me to enjoy her company.  This might sound like common sense, but I feel as if many of us don’t believe that that is enough.  It’s not to say that extravagant lifestyles, cool connections, powerful positions, and deep pockets are not great things.  But strip that all away, and we better have good senses of humor, true wisdom, and inner beauty as well.  Confidence that those things are good enough is the secret to contentment.  Accept yourself.