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Kal Penn fiance, Kal Penn book

Kal Penn on Instagram

When people picture Kal Penn, they most likely think of a certain stoner with a munchie-induced craving for hamburgers. Others might remember Penn's two-year stint as an associate director in the Office of Public Engagement during the Obama presidency. But whether you associate him with White Castle or the White House, Penn recently revealed what most of the world did not know about him: that he is also the loving fiancé to his partner, Josh, of 11 years. His first public coming out came alongside the promotion for Penn's new memoir, "You Can't Be Serious."


The actor known for his roles in the "Harold and Kumar" movie series tweeted that the book delves into his story of growing up as the son of immigrants, moving out to Hollywood to pursue a dream of "making people laugh" (which apparently involved some racist auditions for shows like "Sabrina The Teenage Witch") and taking a break from acting to work at the White House. The book also covers Penn's relationship with his partner Josh, including their first date watching NASCAR.

According to People, "You Can't Be Serious" details their meet-cute, with Josh arriving at Penn's apartment with an 18 pack of Coors Light, ready to watch a car race. Penn wasn't quite ready to think of this date as romantic. But don't worry, this love story has a happy ending.

"I thought, 'This obviously is not going to work out,'" Penn told People. "I have one day off from The White House and this dude is unironically watching cars go around and making left turns? Next thing you know, it's been a couple months and we're watching NASCAR every Sunday. I'm like, 'What is happening?'"

I mean … if that's not love, I don't know what is.

For Penn, this aspect of his identity came later in life. He shared with People that "I discovered my own sexuality relatively late in life compared to many other people. There's no timeline on this stuff. People figure their s--- out at different times in their lives, so I'm glad I did when I did."

Penn also shared that coming out to his parents was relatively easy, telling People that "I know this sounds jokey, but it's true: When you've already told your Indian parents and the South Asian community that you intend to be an actor for a living, really any conversations that come after that are super easy. They're just like, 'Yeah, okay.'" He noted that everyone has different coming out experiences and that he was "very fortunate" to receive his family's support.

Though Penn has been very eager to share his relationship, he had the challenge of respecting Josh and his family, who "don't love attention and shy away from the limelight." This includes a "big disagreement" on whether or not to do a huge wedding or a tiny wedding. Penn told People, "I want the big ass Indian wedding. Josh, hates attention, [has said], 'Or we could just do quick 20-minute thing with our families and that's it.' So we have to meet halfway in the middle." I think all couples are really just different versions of tiny wedding Josh's and big ass wedding Kal's.

Of course, we're striving to create a world where instead of headlines reading "Kal Penn Comes Out and Is Engaged," we can see something as simple as "Kal Penn Is Engaged" without needing a public announcement of sexual orientation. But the truth is that for many cultures this subject is still under a challenging stigma. And for someone like Penn to normalize it helps others like him make it normal too.

Take a look at some of the responses he's received online.


One person wrote: "this was originally gonna be a generic Halloween tweet about a costume but given that he came out today & announced he is engaged to his boyfriend of 10 years I just wanna say thank you @kalpenn for inspiring a whole generation of Indian kids to break stereotypes. I owe u so much"

This comment pretty much sums it up: "because of you I felt safe pursuing entertainment, and now thanks to you millions of LGBTQ+ indian people will get to see themselves represented in the mainstream media."

Sometimes these seemingly small moments of expressing individual truth helps others live their lives in a more authentic way.

Others responded that they were disappointed in Penn's announcement, including journalist Louis Peitzman, who wrote "Kal Penn coming out by announcing he's marrying someone who isn't me … that's a choice."

Considering that Penn has been listed as "Most Eligible Bachelor" by People magazine, I'd say he's probably left many feeling unrequited love. It's well worth the broken hearts, Kal! Congrats to you and Josh.

Penn told People that he wanted his book to feel like "sharing a beer" together while he brought people into his stories. You'll be able to check out those stories for yourself on Nov 2.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

Pop Culture

TikTok star's surprising method for finding good Chinese food is blowing people's minds

Yelp can be a helpful tool for scoping out food joints, but maybe not in the way you think.

Photo by Debbie Tea on Unsplash

Different cultures view service differently.

Content creator Freddy Wong has a brilliantly easy way to find authentic Chinese food.

As he reveals in a mega viral video that’s racked up 9.4 million views on TikTok and 7.7 million views on Twitter, the trick (assuming you live in a major metropolitan area) is to “go on Yelp and look for restaurants with 3.5 stars, and exactly 3.5 stars." Not 3. Not 4. 3.5.

He then backs up his argument with some pretty undeniable photo evidence.

First, he pulls up an image of a Yelp page from P.F. Chang’s. With only 2.5 stars, one can tell the food is “obviously bad.” Alternatively, Din Tai Fung—a globally recognized Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant—has four stars.

Sounds good right? Wrong. In this case, “too many stars” means that “too many white people like it,” indicating that the restaurant is being judged on service rather than food quality. According to Wong, if “the service is too good, the food is not as good as it could be.”

He then pulls up the Yelp page for a couple of local Chinese restaurants, both of which have 3.5 stars. The waiters at these establishments might “not pay attention to you,” he admits, adding that they might even be “rude.” But, Wong attests, “it’s going to taste better.”

@rocketjump

Why I only go to Chinese restaurants with 3.5 star ratings

♬ original sound - RocketJump

"The dumplings here are better [than Din Tai Fung's]. I've been here," he says of the 3.5 star Shanghai Dumpling House. Considering his Twitter profile boasts a “James Beard Award winning KBBQ Gourmand'' title, it seems like he knows what he’s talking about.

So, why is this 3.5 rule the “sweet spot”? As Wong explains, it all comes down to different “cultural expectations.”

“In Asia, they’re not as proactive. They’re not going to come up to you, they’re not going to just proactively give you refills, you need to flag down the waiter,” he says, noting the different interpretations of service.

"People on Yelp are insufferable,” he continues, arguing that “they're dinging all these restaurants because the service is bad,” but the food is so good that it balances out the bad service. Hence, a 3.5-star rating. His reasoning is arguably sound—people do often give absurdly scathing reviews that in no way accurately reflect a restaurant’s food quality.

“A good Yelp review doesn’t mean it’s a good restaurant — it simply means the restaurant is good at doing things that won’t hurt their online rating,” Wong said in an interview with Today, adding that “highly rated Yelp restaurants are often those with counter service and limited menus, minimizing potential negative interaction with staff.”

He also added the caveat, “I don’t have anything against those places, but I think people who only eat at the ‘highest rated’ restaurants on online review sites are only eating at the most boring restaurants.”

A ton of people in the comments seem to back Wong’s theory.

best chinese food

100% accurate, some say

TikTok

Plus, the theory seems to not be limited to just Chinese restaurants, further implying that maybe there’s more of a cultural misunderstanding, rather than any real lack of quality.

thai food near me

No drink refills but the food is fire.

TikTok

yelp reviews, yelp

2.8 is the new 5

TikTok

One of the gifts that our modern world provides is the opportunity to truly experience and appreciate other cultures. Since food is easily one of the most accessible (and enjoyable) ways to do that, perhaps we should prioritize seeking authenticity, rather than rely on a flawed and superficial rating system.

As Wong told Today, “I hope it encourages people to go out and eat more food from not only Chinese restaurants, but restaurants representing the whole world of cultural cuisines.”

Trevor Noah announces he's leaving "The Daily Show."

Soon, "The Daily Show" will have a new face with a different style of delivering the news in a way that takes a bit of the sting away. Comedian Trevor Noah delivered some unexpected news to his live studio audience, and I'm sure I'm not the only one having some big feelings about it. Noah announced that he will be leaving "The Daily Show" in pursuit of other things, including doing more standup.

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via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


Dr. Daniel Mansfield and his team at the University of New South Wales in Australia have just made an incredible discovery. While studying a 3,700-year-old tablet from the ancient civilization of Babylon, they found evidence that the Babylonians were doing something astounding: trigonometry!

Most historians have credited the Greeks with creating the study of triangles' sides and angles, but this tablet presents indisputable evidence that the Babylonians were using the technique 1,500 years before the Greeks ever were.


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