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After synagogue came the party. Bar mitzvah parties were generally fancy aairs like a sweet sixteen or a wedding, even, with a theme chosen by the thirteen-yearold host. (In the early ’90s, baseball, cupcakes, and hockey were especially popular.) You’d enter the venue to nd a small card with your table number, make a pit stop at the bar for a Shirley Temple, and squint to nd your chair under the colored mood lighting.
You Can’t Be Serious PDF Book by Kal Penn
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The food was always delicious and always “kosher-style,” with meals accordingly topped o with an endless supply of chocolate soy ice cream served tableside (seconds were available for those who made the trek to the dessert station on the far side of the room, where brownpaper-wrapped tubs sat over dry ice).
7 You’d dance your face o, hoist your friend up on a chair, and go home at the end of the night with either a bag full of top-shelf candy or a bar mitzvah T-shirt on which a pun connected to the theme of the party was written (“Peter’s Bar Mitzvah Was Out-of-this-World” under a cartoon rocket, or “I had a sweet time at Amy’s Bat Mitzvah!” scrawled inside a giant pink lollipop).
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Every once in a while a party was so excessive that it blew everyone’s minds. Deah Fishman had one such bat mitzvah. Pussy Auntie was hardworking, like most of my parents’ friends. She’s a pediatrician who came to America in search of a better life, and she was adamant that her kids—and her friends’ kids—study hard and pursue careers in the sciences.
To an outsider, it might seem a bit invasive to hear that family friends would take such intimate interest in the personal lives of kids who aren’t their own, but that’s not really how the Indian community views things. Culturally, having your parents’ friends dispense advice about how you should live your life is supposed to feel far less like an imposition and more like the blessing of extra community support—from their perspective at least.
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I had the benet of love from people we called aunties and uncles—not related by blood, but by an even closer bond of immigration experience, language, and culture. Like my parents, they risked it all, sacriced, and worked toward a better life for their kids. But as a teenager, having so many concerned adults around just felt like extra pressure, and these family gatherings grew tricky for me to navigate given my growing interest in the arts.
On one hand, all the parents would encourage me to do a monologue or stand-up routine (which usually consisted of a John Leguizamo sketch I had memorized). That was always the clear high point of the evening for me. After that things went downhill. When normal people study something, they usually opt for rote memorization.
In prepping for a dumb and useless geometry exam, for instance, they might recite “the area of a circle is pi r squared” and “the area of a triangle is one-half base times height” over and over until the formulas stick to the right part of their brains. The problem with me is, I don’t have that part of my brain where formulas stick. It’s missing. You Can’t Be Serious PDF Book
When you memorize lines as an actor, you’re really memorizing a story and a motivation. You’re invested in it. In The Wiz, it was easy to memorize “All you ne ladies out there… ha ha ha… watch out!” because my character is expressing condence after nally getting his heart. I knew what those words meant. They advanced a plot, a story.
In fact, I understood their signicance so deeply that I even added a pelvic thrust. What the hell does “the area of a circle is pi r squared” and “the area of a triangle is one-half base times height” mean? Nothing! It means nothing. And teachers would acknowledge nothingness saying, “There’s no story here.
You’ll only understand how equations are applicable years from now, if you continue to pursue science.” (But why would I pursue science if you’re not telling me how the equations are applicable now?!) I just couldn’t memorize those equations. If I wanted formulas to make sense, I was going to have to take some of Dad’s advice and dene them for myself.
When we think of amoral money-grubbers, we tend to imagine people who run shady corporations, corrupt politicians who give their children White House security clearances, or vile stockbrokers who defraud investors. But they are us. To some degree, we’re enablers every time we buy products from companies and countries with a less-than-stellar human-rights reputation. You Can’t Be Serious PDF Book
We often point ngers at others while we ourselves contribute to a system that makes life tougher for someone else. This was the rst time I realized that. That kind of amorality isn’t just at the very top of the food chain—it’s in the middle and at the bottom too, in a janky New Jersey strip mall, where Sad Joe Pesci is just trying to scam enough grannies to pay his child support.
The telemarketing rm apparently did have a legit third-party contract with some type of law enforcement organization, and I’m still not sure if they were aware of the way money was raised. It didn’t matter. I learned that a lot of people are motivated not by a sense of purpose, or love for their fellow humans, but by an ambition to grab dollars by any means—to scam better, harder, faster.
Each morning of the All-Actor, All-Iowa, All-Star Voter Education Tour began with a brieng from Teal Baker over a continental breakfast (included in the price of the room) before piling into Colby’s college band van. We’d rst make an appearance at a local eld oce to talk to supporters and give a special shoutout to the volunteers who had collected the most supporter cards that week. You Can’t Be Serious PDF Book
Next, we’d hit three or four colleges to make speeches and help collect new supporter cards, using the drive time to do interviews with local reporters. We’d wrap up each evening with a quick dinner at a local eatery, where we’d also shake hands and campaign, then stop at another eld oce before getting some sleep.
The short speech I wrote for these events opened with the Hummer story from the $2,500 fundraiser in Malibu (I left the Eddie Murphy part out). I then talked about Obama’s opposition to the Iraq War and how that related to an acquaintance named Brady in Texas. Brady was the friend of a coworker, and really wanted to go to college.
He was working a minimum-wage job in the oce of a trucking company hoping to eventually save up enough for tuition. One afternoon, Brady got a call from a huge corporation called Halliburton and was oered a salary of $90,000 if he agreed to move to Iraq to drive a truck. How could anybody try to discourage people like Miguel and Sonal and Stephen from voting? You Can’t Be Serious PDF Book Download
The mistake I made in pondering this question was similar to how I thought about those early stereotypical auditions—by getting caught up in raw emotion. Voter suppression—whether low-level, disorganized, and anonymous (as in the case of Iowa) or codied at a deeper level (as in the case of several recent laws and rulings) is something we can and should ght. It’s not new.
It’s also not usually personal, even though its impact is. Above all else, forms of voter suppression are a symptom of old-school opportunism and power. As far as why anyone would try to discourage young people from participating in the caucus, that was simple: Polling suggested that if college students—like the woman who jogged by me—showed up, they were going to caucus for Obama.
In retrospect it was perhaps a bold thing to say. I was attered that he’d even remembered our chat from the rope line at the inaugural concert enough to have given it any thought. Reggie passed my number along to Chris Lu, the new head of White House Cabinet Aairs, and he reached out to me a few days later. “The boss is excited about the prospect of you joining the sta. It’s good you two spoke,” he said. You Can’t Be Serious PDF Book Download
“In the Oce of Public Engagement—OPE—on the outreach team, we’re trying to ll three jobs: We need to nd someone to handle outreach to young people, outreach to Asian Americans and Pacic Islanders, and outreach to the arts community. OPE is one of the oces senior advisor Valerie Jarrett is going to oversee.
Tina Tchen is heading it up, and apparently you really impressed her at the DNC back in August, so she wants you on her team.” I hadn’t initially planned on attending the 2008 DNC (Democratic National Convention). I thought my time would be better spent on the road campaigning through the summer.
But when my former Iowa boss, Paul Tewes, recruited me to be something called a oor whip, I couldn’t really say no. “The campaign needs a few trusted volunteers to work the oor of the convention,” he said at the time. “One whip will oversee two delegations. Duties include standing, handing out signs with quippy slogans on them timed to convention speakers so that everything looks good on TV, and blocking journalists and other roamers from coming too close to the delegates and disrupting their work.” You Can’t Be Serious PDF Book Download
But you have a choice: You can dwell on the negative, letting it get to you until there’s nothing left of your soul. Or you can focus instead on the vast majority of people who entered public service—career sta and political appointees alike—because they (like you) are proud of our country and want to help it succeed.
You are a patriotic American who took a solemn oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. Choose the latter. Keep your head down and do good work. Don’t eat the vending machine sandwiches if you can avoid them. Remember that it’s the non-sexy-sounding, non-headline-making work on outreach around environmental rules.
Bureaucracy that impacts human rights issues, or improving people’s ability to access education and health care where government can shine. That’s the stu that happens when you believe in what you’re doing. You got this! When I got back, there was a NASCAR prerace show on my television. At rst I thought he had made some kind of mistake, or that the show he actually wanted to watch was about to start, but no. You Can’t Be Serious PDF Book Free
This dude had arrived, sat down, turned o my SpongeBob SquarePants, and turned on NASCAR, without even inching. Points immediately rescinded. What the heck was he doing? NASCAR? This was not part of the plan. If Josh had suggested watching NASCAR together, I would have pretended to have gotten called into work for something very top secret and important.
I stared at Josh with a deer-in-the-headlights look, but he didn’t see it because he was already way, way into what was happening on the TV. I was stuck, so I did the only thing a nice guy could do in a situation like that: I tried to be a good sport and not DIE OF BOREDOM watching a NASCAR prerace show with some dude I had really only met twice.
Sadly, most relationships come to an end eventually. We had had some good times together, but like many other fans, I got tired of some of its quirks, like the constant rule changes; my work schedule also made it tough to get to races. NASCAR in person is where my love blossomed. You Can’t Be Serious PDF Book Free
Watching it on television just didn’t feel the same… Although, if I’m being honest, while ipping through channels on a Sunday if I happen to catch part of a race, I nd myself rooting for Logano, Bubba Wallace, or Ryan Blaney. More than thirty-two thousand servicemembers were discharged under DADT and its predecessor policies.
In the midst of our protracted battle to repeal it through legislative action, if word got out that we were pressuring the army into granting exemptions for two Sikh captains who couldn’t serve because of their turbans (but not the tens of thousands of LGBT service members who couldn’t serve because of their orientation), it could turn into a real problem.