Author: Michael Kwan

Vlog #42: Understanding the Monty Hall Problem

You would think that my (potentially unhealthy) obsession with numbers would have led me to a career where I would do more number-crunching, like that of a data analyst, statistician or accountant. It feels like it would be the obvious answer, but it would be wrong. Instead, I play mostly with words in my “day job” as a freelance writer. Does that mean I’m not fascinated with logic puzzles like the famous Monty Hall problem? Not at all. Mind-bending logic is the GOAT. As I discuss in the vlog embedded above, it’s important for all of us to recognize...

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Sunday Snippet: Noor Unnahar

When you fall, do it gloriously. Collapse like a glass building. Sink like a gigantic ship. And when you’re done sinking and collapsing And sinking and collapsing, Build yourself with your own wreckage. One of the easiest things to say, but one of the hardest things to truly comprehend and internalize, is this notion that it doesn’t really matter how many times you fall down; it’s how many times you get back up. We’ve heard this all before. What we haven’t heard is how we should be falling. If you ask Noor Unnahar, our falls should be glorious. They...

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Grammar 101: Is Heads-Up Hyphenated?

Punctuation is important. The Oxford comma can eliminate a lot of ambiguity and a well-placed semicolon can help to break up what would otherwise be a run-on sentence. You may also recall that hyphens can completely change the meaning of a word. “Recreation” may refer to leisure activities, whereas “re-creation” may refer to creating something again. So, does a term like “heads-up” require a hyphen? It depends on what you mean and how you’re trying to say it. Heads-Up as a Noun A common idiomatic phrase in English is to “give someone a heads-up” about something. This means that...

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5 Parenting Cliches That Are Totally Right

Three. My daughter turns three years old today. As cliche as it may sound, it really feels like only yesterday that we were welcoming her into our lives for the first time. As of yesterday, she’s out conquering preschool with the best of them. How did this happen? Reflecting back on these last three years, we’ve been bombarded by all sorts of parenting cliches and, as it turns out, a lot of them are actually true. Life is weird like that. 1. “They Grow Up So Fast” Let’s start with the obvious one. Many parents who had already been...

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Vlog #41: Rainy Vancouver Returns

Aside from astronomical real estate prices, the rainy weather is perhaps one of the most common complaints about Vancouver. After our recent heat wave and with all the forest fires in the area, though, I think most Vancouverites welcomed the rain on Saturday with open arms (and open umbrellas). There are few things quite as refreshing as a rainy Vancouver, right? As true Vancouverites, we didn’t let a little rain put a damper on our weekend plans as a family. We were all a little sad late last month when we heard that French Made Baking on Main Street...

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Sunday Snippet: Aziz Ansari

I am the first generation in my family that was born in America. Anybody else first-generation people? Yeah? Clap, yeah? Yeah! Pretty amazing thing our parents did, right? They came to this country. They maybe didn’t know anyone, maybe didn’t even speak the language and they figured it out. Very brave, courageous thing. I feel like we never sit down and thank them for it. And we should, ’cause that’s such an amazing thing, you know. A couple weeks ago, I highlighted a Sylvia Plath quote that I encountered while watching Master of None on Netflix. Something about that...

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How I Wasted My Money in College

I’d like to think that I’ve always been pretty responsible with my money. It’s not that I’m cheap; it’s that I am strategically frugal and I’ve always been this way. If there’s a coupon to be used or a deal to be had, I’m all for it. I was like that in college too, but I had my vices. While it’s a little hard to believe (and accept) that I am more than a decade removed from my university days, I still remember some of the less prudent financial decisions I made along the way. Car Modifications Maybe it’s...

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I’m Not Your Buddy, Pal!

Phil Dunphy is my spirit animal. As delusional as it may sound, I’d like to think that I have a lot in common with this fictional father. We both run our own businesses. We revel in bad puns and clever wordplay, much to the chagrin of nearly everyone around us. We are passionately dedicated to our families; they mean the world to us. And we both think we’re way cooler than we might actually be. My Daughter Is My Best Friend The thing is that both Phil and I want to be best friends with our kids. We want...

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Vlog #40: PNE Day with the Toddler

I’ve been going to the PNE (Pacific National Exhibition) for as long as I can remember. The Fair at the PNE has changed a lot over the years, but there are some things that have always stayed the same. I have to see the SuperDogs every year — I think there were a few years where I saw them more than once — and I have to eat those little donuts. And now I get to do it all over again with my daughter. Now that she’s almost three years old, Addie understands a lot more and I think...

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Sunday Snippet: Charles Bukowski (1920-1994)

The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence. On some subconscious level, we all place a lot of trust in perceived authority. Think about those TV commercials where they say four out of five dentists recommend this particular toothpaste… and inevitably there’s someone in a white lab coat telling us this. We know this person is probably just an actor and not a dentist or some sort of scientist, but the white lab coat gives off the illusion of authority and they deliver this “fact”...

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Michael Kwan
Hi, I'm Michael. By day, I'm a freelance writer. By night, I'm still a freelance writer. I'm also a proud father, a voracious foodie, an avid traveler, a gadget geek, and a thinker who thinks he might be thinking too much. Beyond the Rhetoric is a reflection of my eclectic entrepreneurial life.

Read more about me and what I can do for you.



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