Mike Myers as The Love Guru

 Comedian Mike Myers’ next film is The Love Guru.  Myers plays Pitka, “an American left as a child at the gates of an ashram in India. Pitka becomes a self-help guru who tries to smooth the marital rift of a hockey star and his wife.”

Judging from the photos, Myers is going for the John Lennon-in-Rishikesh look.  (Via Ultrabrown’s news tab).

Bobby Jindal and the Indian American Community

There was a nice article in Sunday’s Washington Post on the various reactions the Indian American community had to Bobby Jindal’s gubernatorial victory. Anyone who has been following the coverage of Jindal’s win on Indian American blogs this week knows that everything from his policy positions to his children’s names (Celia, Shaan, and Slade) has been dissected and discussed. Perhaps not surprisingly, Jindal’s childhood decision to effectively change his name to Bobby from Piyush and his conversion to Roman Catholicism have generated the most passionate responses in the community.

The Times of India visited Jindal’s ancestral village last week. His aunt summed up the feeling of many Indians when she said “By becoming governor, Bobby has done the unthinkable. Who could have imagined an Indian would become the governor of an American state?”

The Rising Rate of HIV/AIDS Among Asian and Pacific Islanders in the United States

Asians and Pacific Islanders “were the only racial group with statistically significant percent increases in annual HIV/AIDS diagnosis rates,” in the United States according to an article in the September issue of the Journal of Urban Health. In addition, the diagnosis rate among APIs is increasing faster than any other group. The CDC fact sheet on HIV/AIDS among APIs can be found here.

Despite these startling statistics, there has not been much discussion in the medical community about what these numbers mean or what can be done to contain the problem. While the CDC and some state and local governments have funded programs in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Honolulu, all of which have significant API populations, there has been almost no media coverage of the rising HIV/AIDS rate for APIs.

The conclusion of the Journal article sums it up best. The authors write “… we have a critical opportunity to develop effective prevention programs before these alarming indicators translate into markedly higher HIV prevalence in API American communities, as has occurred in other communities in the U.S. and in the Asia/Pacific region. Let’s not miss this opportunity again.”

The Blogosphere Reacts to Bobby Jindal’s Victory

Representative Bobby Jindal will become the nation’s first South Asian governor after winning yesterday’s election in Louisiana.

SAJAforum has compiled reactions from around the world as well as a front page roundup.

Manish at Ultrabrown cites the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina as a major factor in the election.

Amardeep at Sepia Mutiny writes about his ambivalence towards Jindal because of Jindal’s policy positions, while Anna toasts Jindal’s win.

She writes: “Doing so doesn’t mean we buy in to his positions lock stock, neither does it mean he’s like, the greatest thing EVAR. It just means that we are happy for someone who accomplished something extraordinary.”

Meanwhile, Turbanhead celebrates.

Kurt Cobain on the Band Queen

In the trailer for the documentary Kurt Cobain: About a Son you can hear a brief snippet of the Queen song It’s Late.  The documentary is narrated by Cobain using excerpts from interviews he did with the journalist Michael Azzerad in the early 90s.

At one point Cobain described listening to Queen at an impressionable age:

[My father’s] idea of a father-and-son day out would be to take me to work on Saturdays and Sundays and I would sit in his office while he went and counted logs. It’s really a quite exciting weekend. I drew pictures, I made prank phone calls. And then I would go out into the warehouse where they stacked two-by-fours really high up into the air and I would pretend I was being chased or chasing robbers and cops or pretend to be Superman or any other superhero. … And then I would take a nap in the van and listen to Queen — “News of the World” on eight-track, over and over again, and drain the battery on the van. Then we’d be stuck. That happened a few times — we’d get stuck after work with a dead battery because I listened to Queen too much.

How sad.  Until reading this I had almost forgotten how vivid some of Cobain’s interviews were.  The documentary has gotten mostly positive reviews, though some critics take issue with the film’s lack of context.  The filmmakers did not use any Nirvana songs.  Perhaps Courtney wouldn’t allow it?

The Dalai Lama Visits a DC Homeless Shelter

The Dalai Lama stopped by a women’s shelter while he was in Washington this week. The spiritual leader was in the nation’s capital to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor on Wednesday, which raised the ire of the Chinese government.

The article vividly describes the scene in the shelter right after the Dalai Lama’s departure:

As he left, the room fell silent, save for the clear voice of Audrey McMorrow, 46, a former shelter resident seated in the midst of the crowd. Slowly, majestically, she chanted a Sanskrit mantra she said she’d heard the Tibetan leader recite years ago, the mantra that inspired her to pursue chanting as a way to stay sober.

McMarrow left the shelter a year ago and is now working as a massage therapist.

Kelly Kapoor Speaks!

Mindy Kaling, who plays Kelly Kapoor on NBC’s The Office, was interviewed recently by Radar. The whole interview is fantastic. (Via Sepia Mutiny’s news tab.)

This is my favorite part of the Q-and-A:

Your character on The Office, Kelly Kapoor, is a big ditz—is she fun to play?
I don’t think there are a lot of times when Asians on television get to play total idiots, so it’s really freeing. I don’t act too much outside of The Office, but sometimes I do get these calls: “Would you like to be the computer technician in Die Hard 4?” And you’re like, “Jesus Christ, of course not. No, no, no, no.”

Incidentally, has there ever been this many South Asians on American television before? Kal Penn has joined the cast of House, Sendhil Ramamurthy is on Heroes, Adhir Kalyan is on Aliens in America, and Parminder Nagra is still on ER. If you can think of any others, please let me know in the comments section.