Finishing Well
July 8, 2009

In all my years of writing, one thing I've learned is never to comment on current events--in conversation or on paper--when they are current. It seems counter-intuitive, but usually when something is at the forefront of the media, emotions run high, people get overly-sensitive and the whole effort of holding a normal discussion on an event becomes exhausting and counterproductive. I like to wait until the air clears and reflect with a bit more perspective than can often be afforded by the media blitz, humanistic commentary, and somber-yet-loyal allegiance and angst that is often present when death of any kind is present on a world-wide scale. Emotion can sometimes be an untrustworthy measuring rod for reality. For most human beings our knee-jerk reaction and response to life in general is based on our emotions. Logic usually comes second. I believe maturity can be found in striking the balance between truth, rationalism and emotion. Emotions are no small thing. They are God-given senses that allow us to feel, grieve, mourn and level with our own humanity. Emotions allow us to reminisce, recollect, and even revel in the moments that make up our life.

Over the last few weeks, America lost a few of its idols. Some were better known than others. A few seemingly existed in the realm we often place celebrity - immortality. Any shock, dismay, or horror we find ourselves in at the news of celebrity death can usually be chalked up to the reality that many of us mistakenly deemed these "idols" to be above the law and good old fashioned mortality. Though celebrity and death have always walked hand in hand, it never ceases to amaze me how much anguish it causes the masses to see one of the mighty ones fall. For the record, I don't believe any one person's life is greater than another. Whether a person's influence is worldwide or only known in the womb, the death of a human being big or little is something on which to ponder for its intrinsic significance in the scope of eternity.

Though no one life is greater than another, the death of Michael Jackson in particular is one I think many of us won't soon forget. Not necessarily for the person himself but rather for the response of the world. As a musical talent, the Jackson legacy has so shaped and rocked the music and entertainment industry that many question if there will ever be another individual on the planet with such genius and wide-reaching influence. In that instance, I think the better question we should be asking is, "Even if there were a person who could fill that void, I wonder if they've already been 'aborted' on the altar of 'choice'?" When people can comfortably make statements that begin with the words "There will never be..." I think it's a scathing commentary on how much talent and genius this world is missing out on and likely exactly what the likes of Margaret Sanger and Charles Darwin always intended. For many reasons, Michael Jackson's death takes the discussion on human potential to an entirely different realm.

Hate him or love him, for many of us, Michael Jackson's music is attached to memories and time. I'm not old enough to have witnessed the Jackson 5 in their heyday, but my parents were big Motown fans so I know all the lyrics to all their songs as if the album were released yesterday. As a kid I remember watching Jackson moonwalk across the stage and turn out choreography no eye had ever seen. I remember "Bad" and "Beat It" and being scared half to death by the "Thriller" video. As I came into my teenage years I recall staying up late to watch the prime-time television premiere of the latest Michael Jackson video. Rarely did it disappoint. In my adulthood, I relish in the fact that all the Michael Jackson classics were relied upon to pack out the dance floor at our lavish wedding reception. We rocked the night away to the tunes and melodies of a man who knew how to ride the beat like no other. In the most ethereal way, I so loved and appreciated the music of Michael Jackson and the perceived timelessness of what he did on wax. If only human beings were judged in one dimension. Maybe then we'd all go to heaven now wouldn't we?

One of the marks of American culture is this strange time old tradition that has caused people to find it rude, crude and taboo to speak the truth about the totality of a person's life once they are dead. When people say, "Don't speak ill of the dead," it makes my stomach turn. Whose rule is this and where exactly did it come from? Because quite frankly, it makes no sense. The entire incentive and purpose of living life properly and with integrity is that we all might feel some level of accountability to the legacy we will leave on the earth. It is naive and dense of us to believe that some type of magical wand gets waived at the time of death and all our wrongs, sins, and grievances get washed away -- or rather filled up -- by embalming fluid. When we silently excuse certain behavior all for the sake of someone's "awesome talent," or to preserve a positive memory, we chip away at the God-given conscience in every human being to make the right decisions now so that when we reach the finish line, the final judgment on our life is, "well done."

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I've Got Truth In My Belly
June 15, 2009

Alright, back to business. Let's see if we can't make this a daily occurrence, no? My goal is to post here every day, Monday through Friday. Apologies for the short lull. I've spent the last two weeks out shopping for the baby boy we're expecting come early October -- procreation of course being a part of my full scale plan to take over the world. You thought I was "vile"? Just wait for my children. I pity the fool who doubts the abilities of this next generation. Of course I wasn't actually shopping for two entire weeks. Though the thought of that is rather appetizing. I think I shall add that to my list of "things to do before I die." Right before "never run a marathon" and right after "visit every country in the world." Those things aside, raising righteous offspring has always been one of the highest and most anticipated things on said list.

This week marks the sixth month of my pregnancy. While thankfully pregnancy has been a breeze for me, I can say without a doubt that pregnancy, is not a gentleman. It does not open the door for you or give you its coat when you are cold. Instead, it comes forcefully upon you, demanding you tend to it and take notice that there is in fact another human being growing inside of you. Pregnancy is quite the savage -- in the best way possible.

The results of the ungentlemanly nature of pregnancy differs from woman to woman. In my case, each day I grow more and more enlightened by the experience. There is something totally miraculous about the formation of another human being, the likes of which can only confirm one of the most thoroughly disputed realities of our time: that this world and all its inhabitants have been created by design and with the utmost forethought and care.

As fragile and precious as humanity may be, I am growing weary of planet Earth in general. If only I could be alone on an island for then remainder of this pregnancy, just me, my husband and perhaps the entire eight seasons of the Cosby on dvd. Life would be grand.

I've always considered myself a brutally honest person. As a child I was labeled a smart-mouth because I had a knack for stating the obvious at the most inappropriate times. As I grew into adolescence, I honed a quick-wit that I quickly learned had the ability to either cut others or build them up. That life and death were in the power of the tongue. As I grew more mature, I learned how to temper that quick-tongue so as to be more effective in communication and not get myself in too much trouble. Then I got pregnant. After carefully honing the art of tact and decorum over the last 27 years, pregnancy has done a number on my tongue. Whatever internal filter I worked so hard to establish has withered away with every stretch of my growing belly. In short, pregnancy has brought out the uncensored honesty in me.

There are some things I have quietly tolerated for years at a time. However, my now filter-free pregnancy fully rejects these realities and when given the opportunity to say so, my tongue will do just that. Here are just a few of the things perturbing me at the moment:

  • Illegitimate Panhandlers. Walking around downtown Seattle and seeing the "homeless" pan-handling man I've watched stand on the same Seattle street corner he's held for nearly 10 years just about pushed me to my limit. With as much motivation and dedication as he's given to begging for the last 10 years, imagine what he could have accomplished. What a complete and total waste of potential. It saddens and sickens me. For his own good and restoration, someone should demand more of him. I'm not the right person. My words can't be trusted when I'm pregnant.

  • Crocs. If you are not under the age of nine or work in a hospital, you look like a complete idiot. No exception. Crocs are hideous and there are no other excuses to wear them.

  • Outsourced Call Centers. Allow me to preface what I'm about to say by noting that I spent the last four years of my professional corporate life working alongside native East Indians living here in the states. They are my peeps and I love them dearly. I also find East Indians to be among the smartest and most dedicated population I've ever met. Their work ethic puts many of us American-bred sloths to shame. I love my brethren overseas, but if I place one more customer service call and have to talk to improperly trained Prateek posing as "Bob," reading a script with a fake New York accent, saying "I'm sorry about that ma'am" every 10 seconds, I'm going to disown "Slumdog Millionaire" as my favorite movie of 2008. I swear to you I will do it. I will shun all stories of heroics by call center chai wallahs. I don't like being lied to, "Bob."

    Just for kicks I always ask call center reps where they're located. When they lie and tell me they're in New Jersey, my favorite question to ask is, "So how's the weather there?" I don't blame the call center employees in the least. I blame the lazy, greedy, disorganized and inefficient companies who don't know how to scale their business and provide effective customer service.

  • "Green" Products. If one more company comes out with a new "green" environmentally responsible version of their product, I'm going to scream. This whole charade is SO not about the environment. This is about finding more ways to make money. And that's fine and well, but at least fess up to that. Don't go all posing like you're on this "Corporate Social Responsibility" kick. I'm all for biodegradable materials. But if you really think Clorox, chief procurers of the toxic cash cow of bleach for nearly a century, is really all that interested in the environment, you are sadly mistaken. I call a bluff. A really really smart one at that.

  • Accusations of "Hate Speech." Forgive me if I roll my eyes every time someone tries to assert that the mere observation of common sense is "hate speech." I am certain the original derivation of this term is actually legit. I wish people would use it when appropriate as I fear it's lost its potency. I don't don't condone language that is intended to degrade or incite violence or prejudice against a person or a group of people. If that's the hate speech you want to talk about, then I'll get on board. But if you want to cry "hate speech" as a buffer for the reality that you don't like hearing the truth or you are trying to defend a lifestyle choice, then you my friend, are making a donkey out of yourself.

  • Applebee's. I need for someone, anyone to be PLEASE explain to me how this restaurant chain is still in existence? Everything they serve is horrendous. The entire menu is like a gallery of regrettable food. Applebee's is a shining example of why there are no excuses for lack of success in this nation. None. That place should be torched down. Give me a call when that happens, I will catch a plane just to watch.

  • Sex Changes. This has come into the media recently due to a certain prominent pseudo-celeb announcing their intent to self-mutilate. I'm sorry people, but enduring a medical procedure to change someone into the other gender -- a gender that someone was never created to be -- is not "brave." It shouldn't be applauded or supported. It's actually quite sad. It's sad that a person can dislike their self so much that they would choose to self-mutilate. It's also offensive. It's offensive to think that because you endured a surgery and popped some hormone pills, that you're now entitled to have the title of "woman" or "man" bestowed upon you. Not only was it not earned. It was never intended. I am subtly reminded even in my fragile, with-child state that womanhood (or manhood) cannot be co-opted through medical interventions. However these individuals choose to live is quite simply, a lie. End of story
If you see me coming, watch out. I am wielding choice words and a warrior in my belly. For a few more months at least.

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Couldn't Have Said it Better Myself
May 29, 2009

I'm cross posting this from the Lifestyle section because it's just too good. And in light of all the bacon sympathizers who sided with me in my epic battle with my husband over bacon, I WILL be buying this t-shirt, thank you very much. That is all I have to say about that.

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The Battle of Words
May 29, 2009

spellingbee2.jpgWithout fail, the Scripps National Spelling Bee always manages to deliver on entertainment, educational value, and irony-laced words. Though I doubt it's ever intentional, some of the words spelled in the final rounds of the last few years have been incredibly fitting for the times we were in. For example, one of the harder words of 2007, was "Kakistocracy," which means "Government under the control of a nation's worst or least-qualified citizens." It was true then, and sadly, it's still true now. I tucked that word into my arsenal to use on my future children or the next time I got pulled over by the police for a random criminal check (a virtual certainty when you are black and breathing and live in Seattle, Washington).

Usually I am glued to a television during the Scripps Spelling Bee in the same manner many are currently observing the NBA Finals. That probably makes me a nerd, but unfortunately, giving several hours a week to the NBA isn't paying my bills right now so my loyalty is at about zero. Sadly, spelling bees offer no amazing game-winning, half-court three pointers, or big names like Kobe Bryant and Lebron James. What spelling bees do offer is a chance to observe how incredibly powerful language can be. I continue to be fascinated by the English language, but particularly, I'm intrigued by these pre-pubescent, somewhat nerdy type-competitors who are walking dictionaries of etymology and lexicon. Winning a spelling competition seems a bit of a waste of all the knowledge if you ask me. Then again, I can't spell "definitely" correctly without my trusty spellcheck (also known as the biggest ignorance enabler of the 20th century).

This year, however, the Scripps Spelling Bee threw me for a loop when the final, winning word was, brace yourselves, "Laodicean."

Did I hear that correctly? Laodicean? Do you know how incredibly easy that word is and should be? Here I usually sit in a complete stupor for most of the spelling bee because I can't even pronounce let alone spell the words these 11-year-olds are decimating in the first round alone and yet I can spell the final, winning, championship word in my sleep? Trust me when I say, I'm just not that smart when it comes to these things. I am the girl who a few years ago, once asked in all sincerity, "What day is Cinco de Mayo?" A student of Spanish I am not. These wordmongers could eat me for lunch in a spelling bee. So trust me when I say it is a sad day in American when this here writer can spell the winning word of the national spelling bee. Yet "Laodicean" is ranked among the most "difficult words" and fit to challenge these top spellers? America, I am concerned.

You probably think me to be a bit melodramatic. After all, it's a spelling bee for goodness' sake. Perhaps I am overreacting, but humor me anyway. Let's go over some of the winning words of the last decade or so, shall we?

2008 - guerdon
2007 - serrefine
2006 - Ursprache
2005 - appoggiatura
2004 - autochthonous
2003 - pococurante
2002 - prospicience
2001 - succedaneum
2000 - demarche
1999 - logorrhea

Those are definitely some tough words. Some of the most difficult words to spell are actually quite short. The above words present a challenge because their pronunciations can throw off the speller, as do the silent letters and particular word origin. I know for a fact I couldn't spell 95% of them without at least being off by a few letters. So what is my beef with "Laodicean?" Quite simply, it's a very easy word for anyone who has ever cracked open a stinkin' Bible. Please note: I do not think the Bible stinks...it was merely an idiomatic expression. See how cool words can be? Moving on.

"Laodicea" is a pretty standard, run-of-the-mill Biblical word. "Laodicea" was an ancient city and the "Laodicean church" was often referenced in the Bible. And why do I know this? Because as early as I could be scolded for telling my classmate to "shut up," I had the Bible drilled into every crevice of my cerebral cortex. There was a time when people of many different religions, ethnicities, and walks of life actually had read or studied the Bible at some point in their lives. Not for indoctrination, but for educational purposes. Fancy that! If you go back a few generations, you'll fine few among them who can't quote at least one scripture from the Bible. Today, there's a whole segment of young Americans who can't even name the first book of the Bible.

While some dismiss it as merely a historical text or a bunch of "old stories," even the most atheistic of scholars would be remiss to not admit the Bible is one of the single greatest and epic pieces of literary illumination to ever exist on the planet. Not only is it a mastery of allegory, narrative, prophecy, sarcasm, hyperbole, verse and metaphorical brilliance, it also happens to be the best selling book of all time, ever, period, no contest. So much historical context and literary insight has been drawn from the Bible it's difficult to find the point where the Bible ends and our nation's history begins. Just reading the Bible cover to cover instantly puts the average person light years ahead of their peers in terms of endurance and subconscious insight. To this day scholars remain in all out war about what certain scriptures and passages of the Bible infer. I've witnessed it at the halls of my very liberal, very secular university. Safe to say, the Bible is a pretty important book.

So it is quite interesting to me that in 2009, and among the most challenging of challenging words and supposed best and brightest subjects "Laodicean" is even intended to present a real challenge. My how far we've fallen away from being a learned society. I wonder if anyone has drawn a correlation between the incredible generational success of people of the Jewish faith in America and the fact that many (though not all) young, Jewish teenagers in America actually have a rite-of-passage where they have to learn and memorize the Torah, the Talmud or at least part of its contents? It's something to ponder.

Perhaps I'm playing with a few ideas that need to be fleshed out, but I think there is something to be said for historical literacy. I've previously written about how robbed this generation is of the privilege of being well-versed in our nation's founding documents such as the Declaration of Independence or the Bill of Rights. Just the simple act of digesting eloquent wisdom writings produces transference like no other.

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Top 10 Best US Airports
May 19, 2009

Because I don't believe in being a negative nellie, as promised, I'm publishing the companion list to my "Top 10 Worst US Airports" list. I understand that all the fancy travel magazines and the FAA always publish their own versions of these lists based on silly data like arrival times, delays, and other nonsense. I on the other hand, compile my lists based on whether or not there's a Chick-fil-A in the food court and whether or not I get blisters walking to my gate, or have to stand in the security line for 72 hours only to be questioned about my 3.02 ounces of lotion in my bag.

So without further adieu, I give you my list. These are the airports in the US I just absolutely love and adore and would fly through, into or out of over and over again.

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Emotional Documentation
May 15, 2009

declarationindependence1.jpgI'll admit it, I'm a bit of a sap when it comes to history. I've always been one of those people who has great appreciation for everything old. I love old movies, old music, old Bibles, old sayings, and old books. I even love old people...when they're not driving behind the wheel. And while I'm on the subject, can we please think about re-instituting some sort of driving test once you reach a certain age? I'm just saying. One of my favorite cities in the entire world is Washington D.C.. I get teary-eyed upon decent. I relish in the architecture, the museums, the symbolism and the foundational nature of the place. The fact that I enjoy the liberties I have today because I stand on the backs of others who've passed on is not the least bit lost on me.

So it's no surprise that when reading the Declaration of Independence the other day, I sniffled a bit. Okay fine I was probably a bit hormonal, but something struck me about the language and the definiteness of intent in that beautifully and masterfully written document. And then, as if straight out of the movie, "National Treasure," a poorly and monotonously delivered Nicholas Cage line came to me. I thought to myself, "People don't talk like that anymore....I'm going to steal it. I'm going to steal the Declaration of Independence." Just kidding about the second part. Oh the things people can say in movies. If Nicholas Cage's character had been a black man, that scene would've been so unbelievable (if it wasn't already). I hate to say it, but Nicholas Cage was right about the first part. People don't talk like that anymore. There is an eloquence of speech in that document that has been severely diluted over the years. Nowadays if you throw in an SAT verb or two, people accuse you of using "big words."

When you read a foundational document like The Declaration of Independence, your mind really does have to work hard to comprehend what it is they're saying. And yet, they wrote it in plain English. Woe unto us who have been completely robbed of the beauty and authority of intelligent linguistics.

What's sad to me is that most of us can mouth along the words on "Disco Night" of American Idol but we don't even know the preamble of the Constitution by heart. I'm talking to myself right now. How insanely powerful would it be if kids grew up memorizing the the Declaration of Independence? Maybe then we'd have citizens who actually held the government accountable for doing their job and not overstepping the boundaries of their authority. Did you know the Declaration of Independence says the people have the right to overthrow their government? That's some crazy stuff right there. Maybe my silly dream of pitchforks and torches wasn't quite so far-fetched after all.

My favorite part of the Declaration of Independence is the beginning, which reads like this (emphasis mine):

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. -- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, -- That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Word. And now I think we all should go out and use "usurpations" in a sentence today.

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Caught in a Fashion Faux-Pas: Former Gov, Jesse Ventura
May 14, 2009

Anybody remember Jesse Ventura? No? Oh sure you do, just jog your memory a bit.

Mr. Ventura, we need to have a talk. You first busted on the big scene during your run for Governor of Minnesota. We tolerated you then. You were brash and little out there, but hey, it was refreshing. In an uncomfortable sort of way. Sure you were a pro wrestler, but you were a Navy Seal and we at least respected you for that. You've also been married to the same woman for over thirty-four years. That's more than Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons can say.

Back in your wrestling days, there were different expectations. Wrestling is all about the drama and the emotion (kind of like an all male soap opera), so even though it's not our cup of tea, we're okay that you looked like this:

jesse-ventura1.jpg

We didn't even suspect you might be gay. And Jesse, let me just say that few self-respecting straight men wear powder pink blazers lined with sequins. Do you see how much slack we've given you throughout your career?

When the public at large first became acquainted with you via the political sphere, you looked something like this:

jesseventura.jpg

Very fierce. A nice, understated bald head goes a long way in politics. We all took you seriously. We believed you actually had something worthwhile to say.

But now, Jesse? Now we are not so convinced. Why do you ask? Because now you look like this:

jesseventuramullet3.jpg

and this:
jesseventuramullet1.jpg


And after much patience, Jesse, it needs to be said, RECEDING HAIRLINE MULLETS ARE NEVER OKAY. Let's start with the basic premise of the mullet. It's always been ugly no matter which way you slice it, but in the 80s it was acceptable. Then add to that a clear recession of the hair line (nothing wrong with that as sometimes it's a fact of life). The result is utterly tragic and I'm finding it difficult to take anything he's saying seriously. Kind of like how I feel when Don King speaks. Please, stop the madness and cut off the shag!

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Why Privilege Isn't Enough
May 14, 2009

There have been a few trending news stories in the media I'd like to comment on particularly because one hits close to home. Over the years I've noticed our culture has a strange fascination with what I call "well to do" crimes. We simply can't understand how it is that supposedly "good" people from "good" upbringings who went to "good" schools could ever commit any type of heinous crime. When someone from the "wrong" side of the tracks commits a crime, we chalk it up to their upbringing, but if someone is clean and well-spoken, we want to run forensics on their kindergarten lunchbox and dig all into their past to find out where things "went wrong." I do not understand the fixation people have with figuring out why people do bad things.

The way I see it, sinners sin. What's not to get about that?

Sometimes I think the world needs to stop watching so much Oprah. Wake up members of humanity, people are not inherently good (aren't you glad you came to read this cheery message, today?). There is nothing in the history of civilization that points to a society where people were just born onto the earth and woke up the next day to declare, "You know what? I think I'm going to do the right thing today." "Maybe I won't own slaves." "Maybe I won't slaughter innocent people." "Maybe I won't be a dictator." "Maybe I won't claim I discovered land that was already inhabited." The world we live in is not an after school special. It is a world full of people who have to wake up every day and make a decision if they will choose life or death and choose right or wrong. It is a world where peoples' worldviews are not always formed in healthy environments.

Do you see this picture?


This is the man we all know as Adolf Hitler. What has always been interesting to me about some of the people who have left a legacy of death and destruction in their wake is that they were once babies too. Am I the only person who finds that totally crazy? Yet it's incredibly humbling and a reminder to us all that we all had a clean slate from which to begin --- the opportunity in our lifetime, to choose what path we'll follow.

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Top 10 Worst US Airports
May 13, 2009

busyairports.jpgI spent the better part of the last three years of my life on airplanes and in airports. No really. For like three years straight I was on a plane almost every month (and multiple times a month) of the year. Some of it was business. Some of it was pleasure. All of it was annoying. Is it even possible to travel anywhere on earth anymore without suffering major annoyance at the hands of TSA? Maybe outer space? Nope. Even there you have people monitoring your bowel movements with biomedical censors.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not one of those people who has issues with airplanes or airports in general. I'll hop on a plane in a heartbeat and with no trepidations. My parents made sure that by the time I was 12, I'd already racked up a couple hundred thousand miles. I used to thoroughly enjoy airports and the experience of flying.

Unfortunately, traveling is no longer the bliss it was once was. Post September 11th travel is an entirely different breed full of gratuitous hoops we're forced to jump through to sell us the idea that somehow flying is safer now than it's ever been so we will continue to buy plane tickets. Government, I'm on to you. As much as I'd like to think I have my airport navigation skills down to a science, there are some airports in this country that manage to mess up everything for everyone time after time. In my travels over the last few years, I put together my list of worst US airports just for kicks. I wrote this list one day when I was bored on the plane (which obviously means I was NOT flying Jet Blue at the time). Best airline ever. When I say "worse" I mean I truly DESPISE these airports and make all attempts not to fly in, out of, or through any of them. Enjoy!:

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In Quirkiness and Health
May 12, 2009

I so love being married if for no other reason than the pure enrichment it brings to my life, for better or worse. Guilt-free, married sex is a bonus too.

As of late however, the subject of bacon is seriously putting my marriage in jeopardy. No really, it is. Every married couple has their threshold. You know, those activities that are completely off limits because participation results in unnecessary conflict, one spouse not speaking to the other and a very chilly night? When it comes to food, do not MESS with my bacon. Before Andre and I got married, I thought painting would be the death of us. Together, we once painted a bathroom at my parent's house and after I learned my future husband was a criss-cross, sideways and sometimes diagonal painter who thought it fun to paint smiley faces on the walls and cover it up later, I was convinced he was not the man for me. Is there really any other truly proper way to paint with a roller than in an even up and down motion? I think not. I'm serious, people. Before you get engaged, try painting or wallpapering a room together. Brings out all kinds of fun and interesting animosity you never knew was there. While we're at it, I also recommend ballroom dancing. It's like marital counseling with a soundtrack and an up beat. But back to bacon--the current thorn in my marital side.

I have never been one to hide my love of all things meat. The blood pumping through my veins is hardcore carnivorous blood. I like my food to have once had a pulse. I relish in a good steak. My stomach grumbles at the smell of barbeque. I eat vegetarians for lunch. Not literally, just in theory. I get teary-eyed when I visit the meat section at Whole Foods because they carry venison and ground buffalo. I've never had ground buffalo, but it makes me feel warm and tingly to know if I wanted to eat buffalo burgers, I could. But my favorite and most cherished meat of all is bacon. And my husband doesn't want me to have it. He is a wretched, wretched man.

One thing I will say about marriage is that it certainly does keep life interesting. I've yet to decide if it's marriage itself that's so deeply fascinating or if I just happened to marry a very quirky man. Which isn't to say I am without quirks. I just happen to think my quirks are merely a byproduct of my inherent coolness whereas my dear husband Andre, quite frankly, is just weird.

And now these two quirky people are becoming one. Unfortuantely, there are certain aspects of this "oneness" I wish to reject. One of them being Andre's firm belief that ketchup is not merely a condiment, but in fact a universal sauce. I also wish to reject his insistence that bacon is terrible for the body. I have no logic to back up my sentiment other than it tastes so dang good. How can something that tastes so good be so bad. Surely God didn't create a thing as wonderful as bacon so that we'd never taste of its greasy goodness. According to Andre, there is a reason pork isn't Biblically kosher. And it's a good reason. According to Ambra, there is a reason bacon smells good. And it's because it's bacon. I don't eat pork, but I do eat bacon. You see, bacon is a separate classification of meat. It has its own category.

Believe it or not, our first real marital spat took place over the subject of bacon. It was a typical casual Sunday afternoon and we just left church to go do our usual weekly grocery shopping at Whole Limb Foods. As we approached the checkout line, Andre peeped the package of bacon I subtly placed in the cart and declared, "No way. We are not having that in our house. Let's go swap that out for a package of turkey bacon."

I clutched my pearls.

Then as if the universe had been thrust into slow motion, I repeated his suggestion back to him as a rhetorical question of sorts. I wanted to give him a second chance to redeem the blasphemous heresy that had just come from his mouth. "Turkey. Bacon?"

"Yes," he said with a calm blessed assurance that Jesus was his, "Turkey bacon is what we're buying."

How could someone be so matter of fact in their wrongness? If life were like a cartoon, there would've been literal steam coming from my ears at that very moment accompanied by a tiny thought bubble with a vignette of me tying Andre up and placing him on the train track. In the cartoon world I'd be much more violent.

Were we really about to get into an all out debate in the middle of Whole Foods over...bacon? Oh yes we were! To be quite honest, I'm not entirely sure what happened in that moment, but the next thing I knew, I had turkey bacon in my cart, and pork, I mean, bacon was no where to be found. Where was Ashton Kutcher because surely I was being punk'd. Maybe not punk'd, but definitely punked.

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