#805 Shut Up, You’re Welcome by Annie Choi

Shut Up, You're Welcome by Annie ChoiShut Up, You’re Welcome by Annie Choi

Annie Choi grew up as the daughter of Korean immigrants. She thought her father just might be gay; he has a suspicious love of show tunes. Her mother bought all of her underwear from Korea, because apparently, Korea was the only place that could properly make underwear. Annie took piano lessons and Korean lessons. Her family ate at the same hexagon table for decades. Her father did something with gold, but went on a gold-plating spree and started plating everything in gold. If it was metal, he probably gold-plated it. Luckily, he couldn’t gold-plate the toilet and other such household items. He did gold-plate the kitchen knives though.

Annie writes open letters to various entities. Why does the DMV take so long? What’s up with babies being such jerks? Annie ended up growing up with the same affinity for underwear that her mother has, but she didn’t have to get hers from Korea. She found a company in the United States that could make the underwear she needed. When the airport lost her luggage the thing she was most concerned about were her panties.

The family was constantly after Annie to get married and have babies, but Annie didn’t want to get married and have babies. In fact, not really any of her relatives her age wanted to get married and have babies. There are things Annie doesn’t like about her Korean family, but there’s plenty more to laugh about.

What I liked

Annie is no Margaret Cho,but she’s funny.  I liked reading about her Korean family. I think it is funny how her mother can only get underwear from Korea. I’m sure there is underwear to be had elsewhere. The whole conversation about her dad gold-plating everything was hilarious. It almost seemed like a person couldn’t sit still for two minutes or they just might get gold-plated.

What I didn’t like

I don’t have the same affinity for remaining unmarried and childless that Annie does. I don’t really get it. I like the idea of being in a committed relationship and I like the idea of having kids, some day. I do kind of feel bad for Annie’s parents because they will not have grand children, but I also kind of pity Annie and her brother, who will, in reality, just as her parents say, will have no one to be there for them in their old age. It’s Annie’s choice ultimately; it just makes me a little sad.

Overall

Hide your silverware from Annie’s dad, if you want it to stay silver.

Weigh In

Does your dad have any weird obsessive hobbies, like Annie’s dad?

Does a member of your family insist they can only get their underwear from one place?

#802 The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers by Any Hollingsworth

The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers by Any HollingsworthThe Simple Faith of Mister Rogers by Any Hollingsworth

Mister Rogers didn’t generally do interviews, but he decided to grant Any one. Maybe Amy expected a personality that differed from Mister Rogers’ television personality, but what she got was the same Mister Rogers everyone grew up with. A friendship continued after the interview and Amy learned how great Mister Rogers really was.

Letters followed and so did stories. Mister Rogers never wrote a memoir himself, so Amy hopes that this book will serve as something of a biography for him.

Mister Rogers was always a spiritual and sensitive man. He wanted children to know it was ok to feel emotions. He wanted kids to know they were worth something. He took the time to take each child’s request seriously. When a blind girl asked if he fed the fish everyday, because he didn’t always say he fed the fish, he started saying he was going to feed the fish.

He created a world of himself inside The Land of Make-believe. Each puppet seemed to be a different facet of himself.

He taught the author that it was ok to be sad and that it was ok to be quiet. Some of the best things can come from silence.

Ultimately, Mister Rogers had to quit his show and he did for, but several decades of children grew up to his even-toned voice. They learned about emotions and they learned to be better people.

What I liked

I, like seemingly everyone else who got PBS on their bunny ears, admire Mister Rogers. He was a great man. He made an impact on the world in a way that so many people can’t. There are preachers and ministers galore, but it was Mister Rogers, who spoke with a gentle voice, that made an impression on children. Children learned that their feelings mattered. It was ok to be sad. It was ok to be angry. This might be a lesson some people could take to heart these days. We are not ever-cheerful automatons.

This man brought a voice of reason and sanity to more than one generation of children. When crazy was all they knew otherwise, Mister Rogers was a constant. He always put on those shoes and that sweater. He always fed those fish.

What I didn’t like

I really would have liked if this book had been more strictly a biography. I like Any, but it would have been nice to know even more about his life.

Overall

Won’t you be my neighbor?

Weigh in

What impact, if any, has Mister Rogers had in your life?

Is Mister Rogers an example of how television can impact our lives positively, in your opinion?

#799 Unplanned by Abby Johnson

Unplanned by Abby JohnsonUnplanned by Abby Johnson

Abby Johnson used to manage a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas. She helped with abortions. She helped women into the clinic. She kept protesters away from her patients. She tried to provide the best support she actually could. Abby’s journey at Planned Parenthood started out after she had an abortion herself. She later volunteered at Planned Parenthood and was then hired on full-time. Abby, later went on to have a second abortion.

It wasn’t until after years of working at Planned Parenthood that Abby started to have problems. She had been on speaking terms with all the protesters, actually, not protesters, they were the Coalition for Life that stood outside of Planned Parenthood to offer alternatives to abortion. They could connect pregnant women with adoption services, baby supplies, and all manner of support.

One day, Abby was called in to help with an ultrasound guided abortion. She saw the baby on the ultrasound screen, then she saw as the baby was sucked up by the vacuum. She watched the baby crumple into the tube. This was when Abby had a change of heart. She ultimately quit her job at Planned Parenthood. Quitting a job should be no big deal, but for some reason Planned Parenthood tried to sue Abby for quitting. She was second-handedly accused of distributing patient information, doctor information, and employee information from Planned Parenthood, none of which was true.

Abby now volunteers at the Coalition for Life. She tells women how she used to run the Planned Parenthood clinic and now she stands on the other side of the fence, helping women find ways to keep their babies.

What I liked

I liked having Abby’s perspective from both sides of the argument. She’s a little too “Jesus” for my tastes, but I understand that this is her faith and she’s excited about it. Abortion is one of those grey areas and it’s nice to have a perspective that will recognize that to an extent.

I do feel how Abby feels about this subject. For me, most of the time, you probably shouldn’t get an abortion. I’m glad it’s legal because I don’t want to hear about women dying, in some back alley because they couldn’t get an abortion and had to go to some guy who said he knew how to do an abortion. I’m glad it’s legal, but I’m on the baby side of the fence. It’s a baby and it’s especially a baby after the first trimester. Late-term abortions should not be a thing at all.

What I didn’t like

Abby’s descriptions of abortions are awful, horrifying. I cannot imagine watching an ultrasound of a baby getting sucked into a vacuum. Abby’s description of the process hurt my heart. Abby also told this story about a woman going in for a late-term abortion, at something like thirty-six weeks. That is insanity. That is a baby people. That baby could be born and live a happy life.

I really like the idea of something like Planned Parenthood existing for care and birth control. There should be a place where you can go to get cheap birth control if you cannot afford to go to a regular doctor to get it prescribed. There should be a place where you can receive cheap prenatal care. There should be a place where you can go to get STD testing. All of this should exist. What should not exist is an organization that pushes abortions as their main item. It’s fine if they offer abortions, but too many Planned Parenthood organizations have stated that they don’t really offer other care. Someone needs to fix that. The entire idea of Planned Parenthood was to make planning being a parent, or not being a parent, easier–that means birth control, checkups, condoms, and testing, not abortion after abortion.

The idea of late-term abortion is horrific. I’m sorry, but if a baby can survive outside the womb, which is twenty-two weeks on, then an abortion should not be allowed, unless, there are medical problems which would prevent that baby from surviving or the mother surviving.

I really get abortion, if it’s early on, and you were raped, or it was incest, or it would be medically dangerous, or mentally hazardous, but I don’t get it just because you don’t want to be pregnant. I also get it from the money stand point to an extent. You can’t afford to have a child. I really wish adoption services were a larger part of Planned Parenthood. Why not set people up with services where they can get their healthcare provided for and then find that baby a home? Honestly, I even get the idea of an abortion simply because a woman doesn’t want to be pregnant, but that doesn’t mean I agree with abortion under those circumstances.

There was a time in my life, a very short time, that if I had gotten pregnant during that period, that I would have seriously considered having an abortion. I don’t know that I could have ever gone through with it, if it had happened, but it was a serious backup plan, not because I didn’t want children, or because I couldn’t afford it, which I couldn’t, or because I was scared of being pregnant, or because I had medical concerns–it was because of who the father would have been at the time and there was absolutely no way I could have ever stayed tied to him in any way; I knew I couldn’t mentally handle it. I’m glad circumstances never led me to have to make that decision. These days, I wouldn’t consider getting an abortion if I were to get pregnant.

This book just makes me sad.

Overall

I don’t know how I feel about Abby’s Coalition or Planned Parenthood entirely, but I’m glad both are there to provide women with what they need, no matter what they choose.

Weigh In

What do you think about Abby’s flip on the matter?

#797 If you Don’t have Big Breasts, Put Ribbons in your Pigtails by Barbara Corcoran

If you Don't have Big Breasts, Put Ribbons in your Pigtails by Barbara CorcoranIf you Don’t have Big Breasts, Put Ribbons in your Pigtails by Barbara Corcoran

Barbara Corcoran learned from a young age to look on the bright side. Her mother taught her many life lessons, all while growing up in a house with only one bathroom, full of children. The house worked in a strange clock-work manner; they weren’t rich, but they were happy. Barbara later went on to start a billion-dollar real estate company all by using lessons she learned from her mother.

Barabara learned to be optimistic, but she also learned that you must have a hook. If you’re trying to sell something, when everyone else is selling the same thing, you better think of a way that makes your thing unique. When Barabara was a waitress, she knew she could not count on her big breasts to get tips because she didn’t have big breasts. Her mother told her to put ribbons in her pigtails. Barbara did and learned how to work it to her advantage.

She started renting apartments. Then she started selling apartments. Then she started her own company. She started her own report called The Corcoran Report. She met Donald Trump. Barbara kept going and kept being optimistic, right up easy street.

What I liked

I like Barbara, although, she may be a little too happy for my taste. I like how she took every situation and turned it to her advantage, in some manner. I like how she took her mother’s advice to heart. That woman sounds like super Mom. I don’t think I could have gotten through raising that many kids as patiently as Barbara’s mother did.

What I didn’t like

Barbara seems like one of those people who are always on. She’s always going. She’s always trying to sell the next thing, or look for the next step up. I’m not like that. I’m smart and I take opportunities, but sometimes I like to enjoy my life without constantly upping it. I think Barbara would exhaust me. I’m just not that “go and get it, all the time.”

Overall

Donald Trump’s hair looks like cotton candy.

Weigh in

Do you think you could have a real estate empire?

Do you think Barbara would wear you out?

#795 Inside the Kingdom by Carmen Bin Laden

Inside the Kingdom by Carmen Bin LadenInside the Kingdom by Carmen Bin Laden

Carmen was dazzled by a young man at her home in Switzerland. This man was from the Bin Laden family, which, at the time, was a wealthy family with a large construction company in Saudi Arabia. At the time, the name was not associated with terror. The man Carmen fell in love with, and married, was an older brother to Osama Bin Laden, who would later become the most infamous terrorist of our modern age.

At the time, Carmen was in love. She got married and moved to Saudi Arabia. The adjustment was not easy. Carmen did not like covering from head to toe every time she went out. She couldn’t go anywhere by herself. She was always looked down on because she was a foreigner. She soon gave birth to daughters, instead of the prized sons. She knew that if she stayed in Saudi Arabia, her daughters would not have any chance at life. She decided to leave.

She left and went to raise three daughters on her own, with little money. No one would grant her a divorce from her husband. Meanwhile, there were whispers and whispers about things her brother-in-law was doing. When Carmen heard about the attacks on the World Trade Center, she knew that it was Osama who had done such a terrible thing. Carmen and her daughters ended up suffering backlash by having the Bin Laden name.

What I liked

This was an interesting look into something we’re all familiar with, or we know of it. We know the name Bin Laden. We know about the extremism that he practiced. This book goes to show that not everyone practices the same brand of extremism that Osama did.

What I didn’t like

The entire idea of the oppression of women in Saudi Arabia disgusts me. I cannot believe someone would go into it willingly. I can’t believe Carmen stayed in it so long and subjected herself and her daughters to such a thing. The religion itself isn’t what’s bad, it’s how people have perverted it.

Overall

I feel bad for Carmen and her family for being attached to such a black mark.

Weigh In

If your name was Bin Laden would you change it?

Would you ever live in Saudi Arabia?