Subliminal Primetime Philosophy
April 28, 2005

From the Epistle of "Will & Grace", Chapter 2, verse 9,677:

And it was so that the character "Jack" mentioned wanting to buy a house. Then said the annoying nasal lady from the really bad M&M commercial to "Jack",

"Okay, I guess I'll ask the obvious question. Since when are gays allowed to own property?"

To which, "Jack's" friend, "Will," answered, "Since we were set free and given 40 acres and some Prada mules." Then the studio audience laughed.*

Is there an antonym for "Amen"? Because I think it's appropriate here. But then again, blacks and homosexuals have the same plight, right?

*As heard while channel-surfing (Lest you think for one minute I would ever watch that show.)

(Update 4/29): A homosexual nightclub in San Francisco accused of discriminating against blacks. But wait though...how can they do that? I thought we were the same.

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How To Blog Like a Rockstar: get over the need for cyber appreciation (Part 1)
April 27, 2005

You put a lot of hard work into your weblog so it's perfectly understandable that you want people to recognize your efforts. If you're a human being and you live on the earth, chances are, you need some type of affirmation. We all do in varying degrees, but the necessary vulnerability associated with broadcasting yourself and your opinions on the world wide web is unparalleled.

Not only is the blogosphere full of nerds and introverts (of which I am neither by the way), but it's also full of people who just want to be liked. Yes, even the jerky ones. For this reason alone, you'll find people more hesitant to be original or do/say something that hasn't already been. I can peruse a weblog and figure out within a matter of minutes if the person is insecure. Insecure writing is a turn off. As you read, it's like there's a musical underscore to the writing saying, "Is this okay? Am I okay? Do you like me? Well, do you? If you don't, I'll change."

What separates the good bloggers from the average is the level of nonchalance with which they view reader opinion. Rockstars do not need constant affirmation from others. They just are.

You slave all day over the "perfect post." When it's all said and done, you think yourself pretty smart. Hey, you were witty, you were insightful, and you even cited other sources! This one's a keeper. Surely you will get lots of comments. Surely someone will recognize your genius and link to your brilliant post. Surely your fame will spread all throughout internetland and your site will be featured in the New York Times, right?

My message to you: get a life.

There are three main forms of cyber affirmation after which most bloggers seek: Comments, Hits, and Links. All three are very important, but only when viewed in proper perspective. Today I will address the first.

Continue reading "How To Blog Like a Rockstar: get over the need for cyber appreciation (Part 1)">>>

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When Handcuffs Aren't Enough
April 26, 2005

Remember a few weeks ago when I said that every social problem begins in the family? Well for all you naysayers out there, I offer you a prime example of parenting gone bad: "Police Handcuff 5-year-old After Tantrum." At this point, I'm sure we've all heard, seen, or read the story about last month's turbulence in a St. Petersburg, FL elementary school classroom. If you haven't, Baldilocks has a good run down. I won't bother regurgitating information. In short, Ja'eisha Scott, a 5-year-old girl with a history of bad behavior was acting out, being violent, and endangering others (and herself) in the classroom. The teacher couldn't control her, so the police department was called. The girl threw a tantrum and couldn't be "tamed" so she was handcuffed. End of story.

Now let me just say this: when we have to use officers of the law to control elementary school children, we are in DEEP DEEP trouble. As of late this has been an all too frequent occurrence.

In Philadelphia, a 10-year-old student was handcuffed and arrested for violating the school weapons policy when she brought scissors to school. In St. Louis, a kindergartener was handcuffed for being unruly and disruptive. Then there's the Texas mom who dialed 9-1-1 because her 9 and 12 year old daughters were fighting uncontrollably. Her reason? They were "bigger than her."

I don't know where you all come from, but my little brother is 6-foot-2 and can bench press my mother one and half times over, but it would be a cold day in a very hot place before my mother would ever be afraid of him. That my friends, is insane.

Do you see what happens when parents do not properly discipline their children? All literal hell breaks loose.

Of all the commentary I've read on the matter, I've yet to read anything with which I fully agree. Most people agree that handcuffing a five-year-old and broadcasting the video on national television is highly suspect. I'll co-sign on that. I hate our media. We sensationalize everything and I'm not particularly fond of seeing the same traumatizing (for the girl) images played over and over again. It's unclear who (if anyone) exactly has her best interest in mind.

Continue reading "When Handcuffs Aren't Enough">>>

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Red Undergament Lunacy
April 25, 2005

The major problem with extreme victimization is that groups come up with ridiculous tactics to further a cause while simultaneously (and unfairly) invalidating their own message. Proof? Prepare yourself for: "The Panty Line Project."

In um, "celebration" (I guess) of Sexual Assault Awareness month, a Lawrenceville, Kansas shop called "Raven Bookstore" recently set up a rather unorthodox window display. Hanging in the front display window are multiple pairs of lacy red lingerie covered with hand written messages like "Red Panties are Not Synonymous with Askin' for it" printed across the front. The messages were written by actual victims of abuse. Somehow this is supposed to make the display more credible. The Lawrence Journal-World reports:

At The Raven, three pieces of thick blue ribbon hold up about a dozen pieces of women's undergarments. Most are pairs of panties, painted with messages like: "This is Mine" and "By Invitation Only." Tracy Williams and a co-worker from the Ga Du Gi SafeCenter look at the Panty Line Project display at Hobbs Inc., 700 Mass. Williams said survivors of sexual assault wrote the messages on the lingerie as part of the healing process. "It gives them the opportunity to let their voices be heard," Williams said. "It makes it real."
I think we've all had enough symbolism. Let's look at this logically. A question for the masses: Assuming you've personally disrobed, at what point should a man seeing you in your "red panties" be part of the "No means no" equation? If you're in them, and he's there to see you in them, it seems to me like you're actually saying "Yes," no?

I'm just asking.

The bookstore's display is part of "The Panty Line Project," organized by Tracy Williams, a Sexual Assault Coordinator (proof positive we can make up our own titles) with a local rape clinic who had the following to say about the project:

"The discomfort people feel when they walk by and see underwear gives them a glimpse of maybe the discomfort that someone who's been sexually assaulted may have as well."
Umm right. We're talking about sexual assault, right? We're talking about rape, right? We're talking about an event with the potential to seriously damage a woman's life, right? That's what I thought. And now let us all join our heads to figure out from which intergalactic place Ms. Williams came.

Red panties in a window may conjure up a number of different thoughts and emotions, but "rape" and "sexual assault" just doesn't seem to fit in that equation. This is a societal reality we're dealing with, here, not Victoria's Secret.

Continue reading "Red Undergament Lunacy">>>

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The Star Mangled Banner
April 25, 2005

Over the years we've heard some pretty bad renditions of our national anthem. Admittedly, it's not the easiest song to sing. The notes are all over the place and if I recall correctly, it spans into two octaves. This however, doesn't excuse Roseanne Barr for her mockery some years back. Nothing rivals Ms. Barr, but now it looks like there's a new kid on the block. Caroline Marcil, a Canadian, positively butchered our anthem at a recent US-Canada exhibition game USA Today reports:

NEW YORK (AP) - By the dawn's early light, Caroline Marcil finally finished on national TV what she started at a hockey game - a flawless rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner."

The Montreal singer was to perform the national anthems of two countries before the United States' 5-4 exhibition victory over Canada on Friday in Quebec City.

Despite two tries, she forgot the words to the U.S. anthem and then left to get the lyrics. When she returned to the rink, she slipped on the carpet covering the ice and plopped on her back before a Quebec Coliseum crowd of 7,166.

After lying motionless for a few seconds, the 24-year-old Canadian left on her own and the game began without either anthem sung.

I'd leave too if I made that much of a fool out of myself. It takes a lot of something to pick up your pride (and self) off the ground and leave with some dignity. To her credit, she was singing a foreign anthem along with her own. How many Americans know another country's anthem? Come to think of it, how many Americans know our country's national anthem? Come on people. We all saw the American Idol auditions.

Still, Marcil should've done her homework. Lesson learned. (I hope)

Incidentally, I think I know three: America, Canada (Oh Canada) and France (La Marseillaise). Now the singing part, well, that's another story.

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Media Updates
April 25, 2005

Okay folks. Regular blogging to re-commence this week. A few updates first.

  1. The Nyktionary: Is taking forever. And since you people want to complain, I request your help. Over the last year or so, I've been compiling some of my favorite made up "or re-defined" words, phrases, and expressions. Those who've been reading awhile and know my propensity to use slang, make words up, etc., so please let me know of any expressions/words you think should be included .

  2. The Photo Gallery is finally up. It's a work in progress, but I'm still trying to decide if I'm going to keep it. I've never been too keen on photos on the net.

  3. New Media: By request, I added some new audio. I often do some teaching, lecturing, blah blah, so I uploaded two from the last few years on the media page. Maybe more to come, we'll see. Thanks reader Alex for helping me get rolling on that.

    Also, by way of announcement, I think I have another radio interview coming up this Saturday. "They" say Dinesh D'Souza may be on as well as others. We'll see. Probably not. I think it'll be broadcast online. I'll keep you posted.

Happy Monday everyone.

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In My World
April 21, 2005

This weblog is living proof that you don't have to play by the "rules." I very rarely check my web statistics. When I did recently, I found that despite my sporadic nature as of late, you people just keep coming back. Thank you for bearing with my weeklong absences. Remind me to rant about how much of a gigantic pain it is to sell a house.

Things will even out shortly, I promise. Immediate plans are in the works to ensure this weblog as well as other writing endeavors get 100% of my attention (and some). You know what that means...yeah, I'm crazy.

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Bloggers Become Authors
April 21, 2005

America is a funny place. You can go your entire life stopping for pedestrians, paying taxes, and being an all around good citizen and be totally ignored by the masses. Contrarily, if you have sex with married men, write about your adulterous escapades on your weblog and then pose nude for playboy, you get a book deal. Just ask Jessica Cutler, aka "The Washingtonienne," a blogger and former Capitol Hill staffer fired for writing about her multiple sex partners on the world wide web. One would think intelligence and a way with words would be typical of any blogger given a book deal. Incidentally, Cutler's blog maxed out in profundity when she wrote:

"He wants us to get tested together so we can stop using condoms. Isn't that sweet? Hope I don't have anything!"
Now there's a role model for young women everywhere. What's the payoff for being a blogho? For Cutler it was an online playboy spread and a book deal with Hyperion.

Now before you go to calling me a hater, let me just spare you the brain cells and say it: I'm a hater. Actually, I am quite the opposite. Although I don't particularly see any type of self-deprecatory behavior as a credible means of building an audience, let alone getting a book deal, I am content in the knowing that bloggers are getting book deals.

Cutler (along with a few more crediblee bloggers) was featured in a recent USA Today article on bloggers with book deals. As marketing new writers becomes more difficult, publishers are seeing green with bloggers who've already gained a following. This is very good news to any blogger who's ever pondered writing a book.

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Thursday's Missive: What's On Your Nightstand?
April 13, 2005

I've never been a voracious reader (see the "Reflections On the Ill-Read Society"). I got through high school and part of college without actually reading through an entire book. That probably says less about my abilities and more about crappy curriculum. I've read the first half and the last chapter of countless books, but unless the writer is captivating, it's tough for me to make it cover to cover. As I'm sure you can deduce, I'm strictly a nonfiction reader. With nonfiction you can afford to speed-read, skip, and skim. I have to buy every book I read because prep school gave me a nasty habit: annotation. I underline, I highlight, I fold pages, I write notes in the margins. It's bad. The good news is when I like a book, I'm a faithful customer. I'll read it and reference it again and again.

Growing up, I always envisioned myself in bed on rainy Saturday mornings (of which Seattle has many), devouring books off my nightstand without a care in the word. Then life happened and I now realize that what little time I have for reading is usually spent online. When I get married, I will have to institute a "no laptops in bed" rule...for me not him. Ah the pitfalls of internet.

My nightstand looks like a library these days. It's full of books I've put off reading, as well as references I've read hundreds of times. Here's my current pile, what's yours?

  1. Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill
  2. Imposters in the Temple: A Blueprint for Improving Higher Education in America, Martin Anderson
  3. Boy Meets Girl: Say Hello to Courtship, Joshua Harris
  4. Undercover, John Bevere
  5. A Christian Manifesto, Francis Schaeffer
  6. Jesus, CEO: Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership, Laurie Beth Jones
  7. I Kissed Dating Goodbye, Joshua Harris
  8. The AP Stylebook, The Associated Press
  9. The Content of Our Character: A New Vision of Race in America, Shelby Steele
  10. Addicted to Mediocrity: 20th Century Christians and the Arts, Franky Schaeffer
  11. Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ, John Piper

Related entries:
- Reflections on the Ill-read Society
- Books that Changed Your Life
- Hi, I'm Charles Dickens and I'm Overrated

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Racial Affliations
April 13, 2005

The recent dust kicked up over the Conservative Brotherhood has seen some rather interesting commentary. There are some who feel race and politics are in no way correlated. As usual, notions of a colorblind society have been brought into the fray. Can I just interject how completely idiotic I find the idea that we are supposed to walk around the Earth and not see each other's differences? God's no fool. He knew what He was doing. I linked to much of the commentary on Monday, but yesterday, I received the following email and found it accurate to say the least:

From: A Reader
Date: Tue, 12 Apr 2005
Subject: Re: Racial Affiliations

Good topic...The comments here (and on other Web sies) have only reinforced my opinion that the issue of race, and not Iraq, is the true quagmire America is stuck in today. The issue is of great personal significance to me since my wife and I are of different races, and we are expecting our first child in a few months. I dread the thought of our child becoming a pawn in the political war being waged, especially for goals and reasons that long ago were forgotten.

The battlelines keep shifting in this quagmire. Alliances formed today are broken tomorrow and reformed anew the following day. The defintion of racism seems to change periodically and without warning. There is a lot of rhetoric about "us" versus "them". Just who is this "us", and who are "them"? How can my wife and I explain this to our child? What are the goals in this battle?

Perhaps we should start holding the generals in this war accountable, namely the politicians, civil rights leaders, and journalists. Should they not at least try to explain to us what they are doing? If they can't, why should we continue to follow them?

Yesterday, Townhall's weblog analyzed Washington Post columnist William Raspberry's most recent column on closing the gap between blacks and whites.

To a large degree, various pockets of American people refuse to properly address our country's racial tension. It's present in the Church, education, government, and Conservatives in particular, often fail to note the specific attention needed in the area of black/white relations. The history of communication there is not good. There's too much hypersensitivity on both ends. It's a counter productive way to communicate.

At this point, I'm more interested in reading what other people have to say, particularly in regards to this email.

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Why I'm Not a Republican Parts I, II, III, IV
Reflections on the Ill-Read Society
The ROI of a Kid
The Double-Minded Haters
Hindsight
Hip-Hop in Education: Do You Wanna Revolution?
Oh parent Where Art Thou?
Requisite Monthly Rant: the State of the Nation
College Curriculum Gone Wild
Walmart Chronicles
An Open Letter to American Idol
Gonorrhea and the City

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