It All Sounds the Same
April 13, 2005

For quite some time, I've attempted to pinpoint the exact moment at which the blogosphere became boring to me--reading it that is. Don't get it twisted. As long as Al Sharpton has a perm and MTV is on the air, I will always enjoy the writing aspect. Yet these days I find myself completely uninterested in the goings on of the latest blogosphere hype. From one day to the next, most "conservative" blogs I check start reading identically. Same stories, same news, same tone. Same goes for "liberal" blogs. Maybe it's the overkill. Maybe it's the lack of original thought. Maybe it's the catblogging. I simply do not know. All I know is I miss the weblogs of yore.

This year has seen lots of conversation about the power in the blogging medium. Pajamas will never be viewed the same way again. All around the world, people with vast amounts of time on their hands have abandoned the title "blogger" and picked up the mantle once held by McGruff the Crime Dog. Inspector Gadgets are everywhere exposing lies, weaknesses and flaws in mainstream media. It's all great--really it is, but so help me, if I have to read about Dan Rather one more time, I am blacklisting my OWN self.

The way I see it, "the blogosphere" has hit a wall of irony. We made an inner vow of sorts. In short, by attempting to police the news media we despise and vowing that we'd be different, the blogosphere has in fact become just like them: dry, unaffected, impersonal, and driven by scandal. As it stands, blogs are slowly trying to assert themselves as alternatives to regular news media. For the most part, the integration is slowly working. Major blogs are being added to popular search engines, network news programs are reporting on blogging, and some are even integrating bloggers into their daily news reports. I assume this is for the better.

I'm not a voracious blog reader but when I do read, I don't go to blogs for the news (although at times getting daily news is a byproduct). I go to blogs to filter the news and get wise analysis. I liken a good blog to a glorified opinion column, not a rundown of events I can read at MSNBC.

When I first began reading weblogs there was only one intrigue: personal opinion. With so much regurgitation in the world, I found it refreshing to read the opinions, rants, and analysis of people willing to just tell it like it is. Even better was the insight of those who told it like it wasn't. The point wasn't even so much that I agreed with what I was reading, but more that I was able to gain access into the uncensored worldview of people around the world.

I suggest that not only should blogging not take the place of mainstream media, but it never will. The schizophrenia of mainstream media is what makes blogging great.

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Linkology
April 11, 2005
  • Racial Affiliations: There's an interesting if not typical conversation going on at Wizbang Blog (a place that too frequently lacks civility IMHO) about the "reverse racism" (barf) of "The Conservative Brotherhood. The conversation jumps off of course with someone making a comment that goes something like this: "The Conservative Brotherhood is racist," and "I'll bet it wouldn't it be alright if I started a White Conservative Brotherhood." Call me crazy, but I think there already is one.

    I'm a part of the CB, and the fact that people would even burden their thoughts with us in such a manner is completely hilarious. Baldilocks eloquently offers her take on the matter, as does Michael King, Cobb, and Uncle Sam's Cabin.

  • Moral Stupidity: In his post, "Experts in Stupidity:
    Conservatism and the Moral Intelligence of Society
    ," Joe at the Evangelical Outpost points to some new legislation out of Texas,outlawing booty shaking and other sexually suggestive behavior in cheerleading, school performances, and other extracurricular activities. Is this one right up there with Richmond, VA's "Droopy Drawers Bill"? Interestingly enough, Joe notes Conservatives' unique ability to recognize a sick governmental structure, but inability to know how to build a healthy one. Hmmm, why does this sound familiar? Ah yes, because I said it too. Legalism will never build a healthy society.

  • The Big D: Speaking of Texas, I love it when people love what I love. Friend, blogger, and travel writer Bijan Bayne writes about visiting Dallas for the first time on business. Seriously. Give me Dallas, peach cobbler and an Apple store and I'm a happy woman. Speaking of travel, does anyone have any leads on getting a good deal on tickets to Montego Bay?

  • Shiny New Digs: Speaking of Montego Bay, Jamaica, one of its former residents, and my used-to-be-favorite-liberal-blogger-until-he-started-slinging-insults-and-swearing Oliver Willis revealed a snazzy new newspaper-style weblog design. Unfortunately, no snazzy new thought. Same old same old (i.e. "Right wingers suck").

  • Catholic Backlash In response to her pointed words on the pope's passing last week, La Shawn Barber published some "dislike mail" (the more civil version of "Hatemail") she received from folks who wrote to inform her of their intent to DE-LINK her. This my people, is how nerds fight. They threaten to de-link your website from their. Not only that, they also write you and email or drop a comment telling you so. NERDS NERDS NERDS NERDODIC NERDINESS!

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Know Your Rebels: Roger Powell, Jr.
April 8, 2005

Rebel: Roger Powell, Jr.

Age: 22

Representing: Joilet, IL

Status: Recently graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, star forward on one of the winningest college basketball teams in the nation.

Why You Should Fear Him: This man could've made even the diehard UNC Tarheel fan root for Illinois. Standing at 6'-6" Powell is more than just a star forward for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Nicknamed by his teammates as "The Rev," he's a star off the court too.

Powell's biggest accomplishment? A transformed life. Growing up in a Christian home, Powell got to college and admittedly struggled maintaining the lifestyle standard he knew was right. He joined the university's "Fellowship of Christian Athletes" and that was the beginning of his turn around. He is now proud to say he lives his faith in public via his actions.

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Parents Who Don't Parent
April 7, 2005

The other day, a few friends and I got into a very interesting conversation about the cultural implications of this gut-wrenching new reality show called, "The Supernanny." For the record, don't watch it. Once was enough for me. Let me spare you the coronary I nearly had when I saw a 6-year-old boy cuss at his mother. Say what? Nothing makes me want to hurl my television into the Pacific Ocean more than seeing family dysfunction on primetime. Is it just me, or are 21st century children growing ruder by the second?

"The Supernanny," (in short) chronicles the life of a family with hellion misbehaving children as they become subject to the advice of an experienced British disciplinarian nanny-type. The show is not without the typical clever editing and musical underscore that tells you how to emote. By the end of the one-hour show, the parents are in awe of the results of fairly stand standard disciplinary principles employed by the "Supernanny," as if to say, "You mean when we discipline our children, it works?"

Why yes you fools. It does.

See I have this problem. I can't stand disrespectful children or the parents that raise them. When I'm in a store and I hear a non-mortgage-paying adolescent talk back rudely to their parent, I have to exit the premises. It makes me sick to my stomach. Call me a traditionalist, but I think young people should respect their elders--especially the elders that pay the electric bill and stand in line at the crack of dawn to buy overpriced basketball shoes. You know, the sneakers (or tennis shoes depending on region) that kids kill for.

It seems the last 20 years have given birth to a new breed of ungrateful offspring (myself included at times) that live life out of entitlement and lack proper appreciation.

When I was growing up, "What" was a bad word. When an adult called our names and we answered, "What?!" it was over. We were read our last rights and death soon followed. To this day, there are adults whose first names I still do not know because we always had to address them as "Mr." and "Mrs." And yet these days it's considered "cool" for kids to call their teachers "Bob" and "Chloe." I don't care how progressive we get, I do not foresee a day when I would address my parents by their first names.

For someone who's never been a parent, I've never lacked an opinion on child-rearing. Take my thoughts with a grain of something if you must. As the days go by, I am more convinced that almost 95% of our country's problems could be solved in the family. I've said it before and I'll say it again. We don't have crime problems; we have family problems. Family dysfunction spills into the streets, and eventually we pay for it with our tax dollars and more painfully--our time. Rarely do we make that glaring connection. Instead, we collectively throw our hands up in the air, wondering where our society went wrong.

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On CEOs and the Ivy League
April 7, 2005

USA Today published an interesting story today about companies intentionally seeking out CEOs without college degrees from Ivy League Schools. And before you start thinking that I am still riding my bitterness about Harvard, let me just remind you that the Crimsonites are responsible for accepting the same students that accused Jada Pinkett Smith of being "Heteronormative."

I rest my case.

The article features Brenda Barnes, CEO of Sara Lee foods (nobody does it like Sara Lee), who didn't graduate from one of the top business schools, but managed to snag a Chief Executive Officer position that makes Sara Lee the largest corporation with a woman at the helm. She did it all with a Bachelors degree from little ole Augustana College in Rock Island, IL. Apparently, this is a rising trend.

In the USA Today article, they've linked to a chart that shows colleges attended by CEOs hired at Fortune 1000 firms in 2004 and 2005. The number of CEOs that graduated from places like the University of Arizona and the University of Nebraska is pretty astounding. What's most shocking to me however is how few CEOs actually have graduate degrees.

I am seriously beginning to question the relevancy of the graduate degree. I suppose it depends on the field. But I will say this: Working in recruiting, you see a LOT of MBAs applying for entry-level sales positions. It's a bit disturbing.

And now on a completely unrelated note, I must interject a bit of Cosby show context. Anyone who knows me must get used to my propensity to recite entire paragraphs of Cosby Show dialogue in the midst of conversations. After all, the Cosby Show is the sum of all wisdom.

Anyone remember the time when Denise (Lisa Bonet AKA the space cadet who became even more eccentric and strange after she procreated with that Lenny Kravitz guy) was trying to choose a college and was deciding between NYU, "Hillman," Berkley, and the University of North Dakota at Bismarck? Classic. Maybe she should have gone there; she could perhaps be a CEO by now. In TV-land that is. Because the Cosby Show characters are not real. They are not. They are not. Eventually this will sink in for me.

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Purpose-Driven Surrender
April 7, 2005

It's not often that I quote Ann Coulter, but her most recent column touches on a story the media quickly buried: the redemption of Brian Nichols.

Last month America saw a rash of senseless killings all in the same week. The events that transpired in Atlanta's Fulton County courthouse on March 11th were broadcast nearly the entire day. The event was no doubt tragic, but there came a point when the reports on the story became excessive. The culprit, Brian Nichols was vilified by the media and proclaimed a thug by bloggers. Which isn't to say that he deserves a halo and a can of Spam or anything even remotely spectacular. He certainly doesn't deserve our pity. What he does deserve is the right to be viewed as a frail human.

I wrote last month about what happens when good people attack. In the same week that Nichols summoned death for four people, a church-going white man named Terry Ratzmann murdered seven people. The press was far more sympathetic to Ratzmann's humanity. How could he have possible done such a thing? Granted, Ratzmann wasn't on trial for a crime like Nichols, but Nichols' record is fairly clean compared to how he's been portrayed. Surprisingly enough, the NAACP, Al Sharpton, and Jesse Jackson were nowhere near this issue. And while I agree there may have been (enough cushy talk, there were) some discrepancies in reporting due to race, the bigger issue is the media's pathetic coverage of how Nichols came to surrender.

The reality is, neither of the two men could have predictably committed their crimes. In what can only be estimated to be a point of human weakness and desperation, they both gave way to a murderous spirit and their actions took the lives of others. Sad it truly is, but we are in no way justified in identifying these men by their crimes.

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Our Death-Obsessed Culture
April 1, 2005

I'm not entirely sure on whose hands the blood of Terri Schiavo rests. As far as I'm concerned, Michael Schiavo is the Scott Peterson of 2005. He's a coward. So are the rest of our public officials and so-called leaders who've consistently remained timid on the issue over the last few months.

In the wake of Terri Schiavo's passing, I am more convinced that although she didn't get what she wanted, after ten long years, her husband got what he wanted. His motives for starving his "wife" to death, I do not know. To say he is "shady" is putting it lightly. I am however certain that he will be able to find comfort (and convenience) in re-assuming the life he's long wanted with his live-in girlfriend/fiancee and their two children. A life minus the guilt of having an infirmed wife in the picture is surely better. Sure does bring a whole other meaning to the phrase, "Till death do us part." In fact, now he can even legally marry his make-shift wife while everyone celebrates and talks about how great it is that Terri can finally have peace. Which is to assume that she didn't have peace when she was alive; which is to say that people who are "brain-dead" and in a "persistent vegetative state" have emotions.

Nice logic.

No doubt, there's nothing sad about leaving this earth. What's sad however, is when we manipulate and sensationalize death. Breathing isn't some selection on the pick 'n grab menu of life. It's not a right either as the "Right to Life" movement has suggested. No; life is a privilege, and its authority isn't ours to dictate.

It's no secret that our society has little respect for human life. We're arrogant enough to think we should be able to pick and choose when life should have a chance. Enough smoke screens. We can make this to be about necessary changes in legislation and that's great, but beyond that, we've got a great issue on our hands. Our society sensationalizes premature death.

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Marketing Genius
March 31, 2005

I've always been convinced that Mormons had brilliant commercials. LDS television spots always deal in principle. The subject matter is usually marriage, family, life, or some other pursuit of happiness. The commercials always made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside until I got to the end and heard, "This has been a message from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints." Then there's the part where they offer you a free version of the Book of Mormon when you dial their 1-800 number, and tell you to talk to your Mormon neighbor if you have any questions. In all the years I grew up in a predominately black Seattle neighborhood, I've never had a Mormon neighbor. Never. But since I'd like to be on CBS one day, I'll just stop there.

Indoctrination is the best way to disseminate a message. Even Mcdonalds seems to know that. Needless to say, deceptive commercial campaigns are rampant. There is one in particular that is driving me crazy.

The "Knowing is Beautiful" Campaign
The national multi-million dollar AIDS education campaign is a couched effort full of glossy ads and urban culture celebrity cameos, all geared towards encouraging young people to get regularly tested for HIV. The campaign has raised more than a few eyebrows. The slogan, "Knowing is Beautiful," as in knowing that your irresponsible sexual choices haven't caught up with you yet is deceptive to say the least.

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Linkology
March 31, 2005
By the way, if you don't have logins for the Washington Post or the New York Times by now, you probably don't have call-waiting and refer to Mp3s as "records." As a reminder, BugMeNot is a great resource.

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It's A Long Story
March 30, 2005

And telling it would involve some very not nice words that should not be uttered by someone who frequently criticizes the poor language choices of others.

In short, during the process of changing web hosts (to avoid such occasions as tacky "account suspended" pages), my site was held hostage. FOR NEARLY TWO WEEKS. Ambra was not happy. I shall however, release my pent up wrath by commenting on all the events I missed.

I have a new fabulous host (Plug: Living Dot) run by people who act like they have jobs to keep, and this shall not happen again. But if it does (and it had better not), go to ambranykol.com for updates.

Thanks for sticking around.

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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

I Have a Talk Show