Chillingly Precise
May 8, 2009

In an address made last week, President Obama said the following:

"It is the grimmest of ironies that one of the most savage, barbaric acts of evil in history began in one of the most modernized societies of its time, where so many markers of human progress became tools of human depravity: science that can heal, used to kill; education that can enlighten, used to rationalize away basic moral impulses; the bureaucracy that sustains modern life, used as the machinery of mass death, a ruthless, chillingly efficient system where many were responsible for the killing, but few got actual blood on their hands."
President Obama said these words on April 23, 2009, at a Holocaust remembrance ceremony. His words were in reference to the Holocaust. What did you think the quote was about? Eloquence he has. It's the inconsistent application of the profound truth stated above that worries me the most. Amazing how a person can speak truth and yet indict himself at the same time. Again I say, truth always stands up in the midst of confusion.

(hat tip Sean Sperte)

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New Lifestyle Blog
May 7, 2009

As you'll see I added a new feature to the blog. The tab at the top right hand corner of the page that reads "Lifestyle" will take you to a new sub blog I started to help manage my random love of everything fashion, style, home, food, and all that other stuff. I'll still do Fashion Faux-Pas reviews here, because those are just fun, but the Lifestyle section will be more about me highlighting my favorite things!

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The Quest for Integrity
May 7, 2009

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As is expected, the ramifications of Miss California, Carrie Prejean's comments regarding traditional marriage or "non-opposite marriage" (whatever that may be) continue to be felt. While some may argue that Prejean's semi-nude photographs that have recently surfaced provide a major blow to her fight in favor of traditional marriage, I think the photographs serve as a great jumping off point for discussion on a few important issues.

When Mario Lavandeira (also known as Perez Hilton) asked Prejean to give her opinion on whether same-sex marriage should be legalized, it was no shocker that whatever answer she gave pro or con, was bound to make the press. But what shouldn't have come as a surprise to anyone is how quickly many individuals would seek to discredit the messenger who spoke the shaky words, "I believe marriage should be defined as being between a man and a woman." It is interesting what the masses do when someone puts forth a personal opinion that is at odds with what many wrongly assume is the ethos of the majority. There is little that can be done to combat the opinion of another, so instead of going after the opinion, the adversary attempts to combat the integrity of the individual. That's where many messengers with valid points fall short -- lack of integrity (Rush Limbaugh, I'm talking to you).

For whatever inconceivable reason, Carrie Prejean posed for semi nude photographs. Was what she did when she was 18-years-old in conflict with her Christian beliefs? Though many would argue with me, I'd say so. While I don't care for the type of logic that implies tastefully done boudoir photos are less egregious than posing as a nude centerfold for Playboy, I do think that given the current age of sex tapes, sexting, and drunken revelry, Prejean's current art making the rounds on the Internet is far less incriminating than what you might find opening up an issue of Maxim or logging on to TMZ.com. Still, I've never been one to get behind the whole soft/hard classification of pornographic material. It all leads down a very bad path as far as I'm concerned. At age 21, is Prejean the same person she was at age 18? I'd hope not. Maybe these photos fall under the banner of "we all make mistakes." Unfortunately, that conclusion is entirely too cliche for my tastes.

If I were a betting woman, I'd wager that Ms. Prejean likely never imagined one day her answer during a beauty pageant would temporarily make her the face of a major moral and political debate. And had Ms. Prejean been privy to her future, I can pretty much guarantee she wouldn't have posed for those "modeling" shots either. The decisions we make in life are far more crucial to our future than we realize. Short-sightedness is familiar territory for many young Americans. Whether or not you believe Prejean is in the wrong for posing for those photos, the reality is, given her current platform, she executed poor judgment and is now reaping the consequences of that mistake. "To whom much is given, much is required" comes to mind. Are there many well-meaning people who pose for semi-nude photographs with no intent of ever releasing the photos to the public? Certainly. Unfortunately, some people will end up in places down the road where those very photos might call to question their integrity on an entirely separate issue. If you're one who likes to reason such consequences and double standards as unfair, let me remind you of two phrases my mother often said, "That's great for Johnson family, but you are not a Johnson," and my personal favorite, "Life is not fair. And then you die."

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Barbie Gets Tattoos
April 30, 2009

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We've all seen it -- that beautiful, young woman bending over to pick something up only to reveal a strategically placed tattoo just above her buttcrack. The sight of her buttcrack notwithstanding, you can't help but feel slightly...violated.

I'm not one of those people who feels it's my place to go around telling others their decision to get a tattoo is a bad idea. If you're an adult, you can make whatever decision you like. It's your life and your body. I do have an opinion on the matter though. I happen to believe tattoos are incredibly shortsighted, but to each their own. If you want to be a sixty-five year old rocking an emblazoned scripture on your forearm, that's your bag. Old wrinkly tattoos though? Not a good look. Where I take issue with the tatting trend that seems to be running rampant among young people is when children are being evangelized that tattoos are all the rage.

It turns out these days even middle-aged women are getting tattoos. Last month, it was announced that at 50-years-old, Mattel's Barbie Doll is celebrating by getting a tattoo. The LA times reports:

"We begin in Southern California, where, just in time for spring, Mattel Inc. has released Totally Stylin' Tattoos Barbie. The doll comes with a set of more than 40 tiny tattoo stickers that can be placed on her body. Also included is a faux tattoo gun with wash-off tats that kids can use to ink themselves.

A spokeswoman for the El Segundo toy maker said it was a great way for youngsters to be creative with their pint-sized gal pal. But some parents are horrified by this body-art Barbie, labeling her the "tramp stamp" queen of playtime."

We can all thank the Bratz dolls for opening up the door to this madness. You'll recall that some time ago, makers of the Bratz dolls came under fire for their scantily clad, overly sexualized dolls targeting young girls of color. Bratz dolls were said to have been an effort to boost self esteem among girls of colors who don't see themselves represented in the doll industry. These dolls came complete with lace thongs, push up bras, and garter belts. If that's the best toy makers had to offer by way of culturally inclusive dolls, I'll pass.

Some parents are wishing toy makers would draw the line somewhere. The LA Times interviewed a mommyblogger on the new Tattoo-laced Barbie:

On her parenting blog, Telling It Like It Is, Texas mother Lin Burress sarcastically predicted that "Totally Pierced Barbie" would be the next to roll off the assembly line. Readers commenting on the blog chimed in with their own fictional "Divorce Barbie," who would take possession of Ken's accessories.

Burress, a 46-year-old mother of six, said she was fed up with companies pushing racy fare to kids to make a profit.

"It's just one more thing being added to the pile of junk, like push-up bras and Bratz dolls, being marketed to these ridiculously young kids," she said. "These so-called toys just create a sense of rebellion."

I think Lin Burress hit the nail on the head. It's hard enough raising young women in this society who don't arrive at age 12 without having been completely indoctrinated with thoughts of insufficiency, insecurity, rebelliousness and shallow self-worth. If the goal of society is to raise up a generation of young women who will make smart, informed decisions for themselves, this type of doll is a step in the wrong direction. The last thing we need is the future professionals of America being fed the hype that tattoos are commonplace. Maybe it's just me, but I think the world could use one less woman whose 18th birthday plans include an appointment at the Lucky Devil Tattoo salon for her very own tramp stamp, no?

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Correcting the Internet
April 29, 2009

Someone sent me this cartoon a few months ago and it most perfectly describes the average evening in my home. One of the things that's been made blatantly apparent to me in my nearly three short years of marriage is how different generations view technology. While I'm not entirely fond of the labels sociologists put on generations, I think there is a lot of truth that can come from observing the era in which a person comes of age.

Technically, I am a member of Generation-Y (also known as the Millennial Generation). My husband Andre, on the other hand is from the bunch known as Generation X. On most days, this means nothing in our home. After all, we're only four years apart. When it comes to the Internet though, those four years feel like dog years some days.

Like most in his generation, Andre has embraced much of what the Internet has to offer. He does the whole social networking thing to a certain extent, but views it as a necessary evil. Though he uses Google and many of their products like Gmail, Gchat, etc., he has all these theories about being watched online and doesn't trust that Sillocon Valley behemoth as he can throw them. Having worked for Google, I'd say his concerns are incredibly valid. For Andre, the Internet is purely a means to an end. He makes money on it, runs businesses on it, gets his information and entertainment on it, and stays in touch with friends and family on it. The difference between he and I is the level of seriousness with which we embrace the Internet. For me, the Internet is a way of life. It is a very serious matter and not something to be toyed with.

I can remember learning on Mac computers as early as second or third grade. We'd be whisked away to the computer lab where we had to endure "Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing" and got to play Sim City as a treat. Yes, Sim City has been around forever. I started learning Microsoft Office in elementary school and by eighth grade we were gathering research information on the Internet and presenting our history projects via PowerPoint. I am on right on the edge of being in Generation Y, but I am truly a child of the technology revolution. I have no qualms about putting much of my personal life on the Internet or transacting on the Internet and most of my peers can be found online on all the spots I frequent. In short, I trust the Internet far more than Andre does. I also esteem it a bit higher, sometimes to fault.

Within our first year of marriage, it didn't take Andre long to realize he'd married a bit of a monster. Who was this blogging, podcasting, IMing, social networking, website managing woman he called his wife? One night he pointed out to me that he could tell when I was debating with someone on the Internet by the level of intensity in my typing. I laughed at first, but he was absolutely right. There are few things that infuriate me more than something I've read on the Internet.

Weblogs, message boards and other online communities provide the opportunity to converse with people from all walks of life, holding all types of worldviews. Nowadays most media outlets, including major news sites allow user feedback. Even social networking sites like Facebook incorporate many opportunities for you the user to tell people what you think. In short, the Internet is a bastion of personal opinion. Got an opinion? The Internet is waiting to hear it. Even better, someone is also there waiting to telling you you're wrong.

If you've surfed around enough, you've surely read some type of boneheaded commentary that warranted a response. Maybe you've even read it here! The difference between my husband and I is that when he reads something he disagrees with, he puts it low on his priority list. He thinks very little of the opinions of people on the world wide web. Me? I usually have to say something and whatever I have to say needs to be said with a great amount of urgency. The antidote to this type of behavior is quite simple: start a blog.

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Pigs Are Surely Flying
April 29, 2009

swine.jpgCount me among the infirmed in this country. I just spent the last two days completely down for the count and banished from the bedroom for fear of infecting my dear husband. I haven't had any type of flu in a very long time and now I remember why. I'm very, very bad at being sick. Forgive me for being melodramatic, but there were a few points this week when I thought I was dying. No really, I was. The sign that things are bad is when 24 hours pass and I haven't accessed the Internet. And to think, I was just one fever short of potentially being diagnosed with the swine flu. No seriously, I was. But look, I'm almost all better now and just in time to comment on the hype.

The entire world seems to be atwitter right now with this "Swine Flu" madness that is sweeping the news reports. I understand health to be a serious matter and all, but forgive me for thinking this whole thing is just a tad bit...suspect. Conspiracy theorist I am not, but I can't help but wonder why this mild spread of a new strain of flu virus is the top news story everywhere.

  1. People die from the "regular" influenza virus every year. Not to minimize those deaths, as death of any person for any reason is a sad reality, but normal flu deaths certainly aren't sensationalized or made top news stories in the same way these swine flu deaths have been.

  2. It's an influenza virus. New strains of influenza pop up every year, many of which can be traced to other countries. There are so many strains of influenza, even the pharmaceutical industry can't keep up with them. Sometimes even the flu shot is rendered useless. People who have the flu spread the flu to other people. It's a fact.

  3. People who die of influenza usually do so because they already have a weakened immune system. It's not usually the flu itself that causes death.

  4. Many schools around the country shut down every year due to influenza spreading rapidly throughout the school.
The level of intensity and fear-mongering taking place at the hands of our national government and the media has reached levels of absurdity. Sure I can understand folks changing vacation plans to Mexico (I wouldn't do it, but to each their own), but the facemasks, airport lock downs and the widespread panic is entirely unnecessary.

I've read that some folks speculate this is a ploy to tighten up border control. Not sure I buy that theory, but I am convinced this mayhem is being orchestrated for a specific reason we may never know. Maybe that makes me sounds like a paranoid conspiracy theorist, but I don't put anything past anyone these days.

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The Real Stimulus Package
April 27, 2009

Among the many perks that come with not owning a television, there is one that reigns supreme over them all: the complete and total absence of CNN in my home. Even back when television was my opiate, I shunned most major news stations because it's always been clear to me mainstream media is in the business of sensationalism and selling bad news. If you're halfway conscious and living in any major metropolitan city, you don't need Ted Turner to tell you that the world has gone to hell in a hand basket; you see it out your window. I'll take sobbing owners of a newly remodeled home and Ty Pennington yelling "Move that bus!" any day over the doom and gloom perpetuated by your average five o'clock news report. What may have once been a reputable entity reporting important facts to American families, has now become the soothsayer to many of us. We wake up first thing in the morning, turn on the news (or log online to our news feeder) and as it plays on our emotions of fear and angst, we allow it to prophesy to us about our day and our future.

Perhaps the most easily visible example of our sensationalist media is the current reports of the state of our country's economy. "Hunker down folks," we're told, "Things are gonna get worse." While in no way do I wish to trivialize the effects of this "economic downturn" on those who've felt it most prevalently, I sometimes think we all could benefit from a moderate amount of perspective in the matter. Are we in a recession? Sure, according to the textbook definition of the word, I'll give us that. The value of the American dollar is pretty darn crappy these days thanks to decades and decades of irresponsible government, but let's not go there. What I can't get behind is all this likening of our current economic condition to "The Next Great Depression." Let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Based on most reports, the national unemployment average in America is 8.5%. Some states may be experiencing something higher or lower, but let's use the average as the basis of the discussion. At an unemployment rate of 8.5%--and assuming there is a margin of error as these statistics are generally obtained by unemployment offices, and based on those citizens who actually report unemployment--that means approximately 91.5% of Americans are gainfully employed.

Let's just marinate on that reality for a moment.

We live in a country where the majority of citizens receive a paycheck for the work they do. Those who for whatever reason can't obtain employment or have chosen not to have the other option of starting their own business (and I use the term "business" very loosely, but not as loose as the marijuana leaves changing hands by people who call their drug dealing a "business"). When it comes to taxes, we happen to live in a country that actually rewards people for owning their own business and doing it legally. I'm no economic strategist but even on bad day, I'd have to say the aforementioned predicament sounds like a pretty sweet deal. Considering the unemployment rate in Zimbabwe is currently hovering around 94%, I think we should all take a moment and say the pledge of allegiance or thank God, hug your neighbor or something because folks, that's good news. It's been argued that the unemployment rate during the Great Depression was around 25-28%. Rest assured, whatever type of horrible economy we think we are enduring is in fact not the misery we've been sold. As cliche as it sounds, it could be a lot worse.

Much of what's taken place at the hands of our government in recent months just makes me sick to my stomach. How an entire body of legislators and members of the executive branch of government (who by the way were voted in by us, work for us, and are accountable to us) decided it was a good idea to bail out failing companies with tax payer (and invisible) dollars is beyond me. Forget the fact that it's unconstitutional, it's not even logical. Thank God I'm a Christian because there are times (and they are few) when I think we could do ourselves good as a nation by showing up at night on the doorsteps of some of our governmental leaders homes with shot guns, pitchforks and torches in hand. We wouldn't load the shotguns with real bullets or anything. We'd just point our barrels square between the eyes of Joe Congressman and scare 'em a bit. Let them know that these here Americans aren't about to sit idly by as they bury this country into so much a debt our children's children's children won't be able to pay it off. Then we'd bid them farewell with the kind words, "God Bless You."

I'm not that violent. Really I'm not.

Any discerning businessperson who's been around the block knows that one of the key (and necessary) outcomes of any economic downturn is that it would weed out the weak performers with a sub-par product. That would be you, General Motors. Chrysler? You too. I may lack the full understanding of all the factors and potential spiraling effects that lead to a bailout decision, but I can assuredly say this: No company responsible for manufacturing the PT Cruiser and the Dodge Neon should receive any type of governmental bailing out. Ever. Were such powers bestowed upon me, the conversation would go something like this:

Me: "Failing company number 652 you may step forward. What is the name of your organization?"

Them: "We are the Chrysler Corporation."

Me: "Ah I see. And you wish for governmental assistance, I presume?"

Them: "Yes ma'am, that is correct."

Me: "Are you that company that manufactures the PT Cruiser? That hearse-looking contraption that has absolutely no get up or power, horrible interior usability design and is offered by every major rental car company as a torture method to harried business travelers?"

Them: "Yes ma'am, that's our vehicle, but we wouldn't quite describe it that way."

Me: "I would. Do not pass go and go straight to jail. DENIED. Next!"

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My Black & White Life
April 22, 2009

The older I get, and the more I set my sights on starting a family, the more reflective I am on how our cultural and spiritual upbringings affect the core of who we are. While I believe that our spiritual upbringing (or lack thereof) is probably the most foundational aspect we receive from our families, I think culture plays a significant part as well. Take corporal punishment, for example. The largest contingency of spankers in America is likely the Christians and for obvious (to me) reasons. The second largest contingency of spankers likely consists of people of color. I know many African American families who are not Christians, but do spank their children. Ambra's theory is this: if you live in a America and you are not considered a person of color or not a Christian, nine times out of ten you probably don't believe in spanking. I could be totally wrong. We'll never know now will we?

I use that little scenario to illustrate a simple point. As an African American I can wholeheartedly say that black families often raise their children very differently than "White" Americans. I realize this isn't a white and black world, but in many ways both literally and figuratively, I believe "black" and "white" represent two different extremes and I shall use them for the sake of convenience. All my brethren of color, feel free to use my logic as a template for your own culture.

There was a time in my life, however brief, when I thought I was a white kid. It was a fleeting thought and it almost got me killed. When I was ten years-old, my mother made me mad and in an attempt to manipulate her, I threatened to run away. I'd seen many of my friends from school use this tactic and it worked on most of the sitcoms (except the Cosby Show) so I figured I'd give it a shot. I wholeheartedly expected to receive some serious ministering to my backside, but my mother decided to run psychological warfare on me. Given this expectation, you can imagine my chagrin when my mother responded to my threat with, "Fine by me; just don't take anything you didn't buy."

Don't take anything I didn't buy? Wasn't expecting that one. I thought, where on earth did this woman come up with these snappy retorts? As a child growing up, there were times I seriously considered surrendering my uterus to the authorities for fear I'd never be able to match the ingenious rejoinders my mother pulled out of thin air. Surely my children would suffer from my lack of brilliance.

The next hour was agony as I tore apart every crevice of my room, searching for something, anything I'd purchased with my own money. After rifling through every drawer, sadly, I came up short. My clothes, books, and personal items all laid claim to the same financier: my loving parents. After digging a bit further into my messy closet, the one thing I managed to find was a pathetic-looking pink clay jewelry box with green flowers painted along the sides. It was one of the better pieces among the graveyard of my overambitious school art class projects. There was a time I could’ve sworn I'd be launching my own Plazgraff collection and no one could tell me otherwise. It is a sad day anywhere when you are running away to live on your own and all you have to your name is a poorly constructed piece of pottery. (Coincidentally, this reality would repeat itself twelve years later when I moved out on my own for real.) The four walls of the jewelry box were kind of lumpy and the handled top I made shrunk in the kiln so it didn't exactly fit perfectly. It was ugly and not well constructed, but in that moment, it was the most beautiful thing I owned.

I stuffed a few useless knickknacks into my precious jewelry box--some Bonne Bell lip gloss given to me by a friend and a few sticks of gum. It was summer so I didn't need a jacket. On my way out the door I bid farewell to my mother. I didn't bother waking my father from his nap to say goodbye. This was all a ritual I thought, and any moment my mother was going to beg me not to leave. I journeyed outside about fifty yards from our home and found a spot where the grass and the sidewalk meet. Just me and my ugly jewelry box there sitting on the curb. A few neighborhood friends in our predominately black neighborhood were out riding their bikes. They came and sat and commiserated with me. I told them my story of escape from the evil dictator formerly known as my mother. In many ways I was their hero. I'd done the unthinkable and managed to come out without unscathed.

After a good hour of watching blades of grass grow, it was clear that my mother called my bluff. Clearly I hadn't thought this one through and found myself missing home more than home missed me. I packed up my pride (and my jewelry box) and headed back to the house. Standing at my parent's doorstep with my tail between my legs, I regrettably rang the door bell. As if I were a turkey whose thermometer button just popped out, my mother looked pleasantly expectant to see me. I apologized to her and was banished to my bedroom to "think about" what I'd done. I never appreciated my parents as much as I did that day. As I headed up the stairs, my mom called out behind me,

"Oh and by the way…that jewelry box? You made that at your expensive private school. We paid for that too!"

Right then I knew I was officially indigent. That was the first and last time I ever ran away. That type of behavior might've worked in other households, but my mother wasn't having it.

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Bikini Baristas & The Miss USA Pageant
April 21, 2009

It seems women in bikinis are causing quite a stir these days. Sometimes folks just can't leave well enough alone. An interesting trend has emerged out in the Pacific Northwest of lingerie and bikini-clad baristas. If this trend hasn't found its way to your neck of the woods yet, I imagine it's just a matter of time. That is, unless you live in the south because Southern folks don't play that mess. Seattle is known for bringing Starbucks to the world, but even Starbucks has competition these days. Instead of Starbucks, many morning commuters have often opted for locally owned, roadside drive through coffee stands. Smaller coffee stands have that hometown feel where you see the same barista every day and they know your ordering habits. What if one day you pulled up and your barista was sporting what I like to call "bedroom attire?"

A huge number of privately owned (read: mafia-owned) espresso stands centered on this business model have been opening up across the Pacific Northwest. With catchy names like "Bikini Baristas" and "Cowgirls Espresso" these new coffee stands have made it quite clear they aren't selling coffee. They are selling sex. What started out as women in bikinis has now become women in full out lingerie, thongs and all. The reader boards outside these establishments read like the ones outside the strip club or the peep show "Something hot is cooking inside!" or "Meet the new barista, Candy - weekdays, 5pm-close." The clientele these businesses are after is of course, largely male, and in my opinion, largely unethical.

These types of establishments open up a hotbed of issues and the legality is entirely questionable. Selling sexual images under the guise of coffee should require some sort of licensing just as strip clubs and other "adult entertainment" joint must obtain. Seeing these girls strutting around in plain sight of children is indecent exposure. I also worry about the safety of the young women involved. Most often they are under age 20, and while no one forced them into a negligee at gunpoint, these girls are being put at risk by this business model. Flaunting their goods on a daily basis to men, many of whom lack self control opens up a door that is not easily shut. With no security and only one girl working a shift at a time, what happens when someone shows up one winter evening wanting more than just a double tall nonfat latte? It is common knowledge that the sex industry is a magnet for all types of other crime.

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The Television: Friend and Foe
April 17, 2009

I have for some time had a love/hate relationship with the television. Growing up, it was a welcomed friend, delivering the warm and fuzzy classics such as "The Cosby Show," "Family Ties," and the great "ode" to early American values known as "All in the Family." I was probably the only three-year-old who actually regularly tuned in to Archie Bunker's tirades with great anticipation and interest. Growing up, I don't remember being babysat by the television. I don't remember television being a central focus of my life. My parents were fairly strict about the television being off on school nights or until homework was finished. If I rushed through my times tables I likely would be granted permission to catch an hour or so of prime time sitcom television and that was that.

When I was a child, cable television didn't bleep out swear words because they weren't even allowed on the air. Most networks didn't even air shows with four letter words so no bleeping was necessary (save maybe Jerry Springer, which actually used to be a legitimate talk show believe it or not). Back then, even tertiary swear words--the stuff we hear today in most rated-PG movies--were bleeped out. I never, not for one second thought of television as an enemy. Television was the bearer of all things good--a friend in our home, bringing delightful goodness, humor, education, and even a bit of insight here and there. Perfect it was not, but I was none the wiser. As long as the television brought me closer to Bill Cosby, it was the best thing since sliced bread.

Summers were an entirely different story. During the summers of my childhood I could take in as much television as I wanted and it was a glorious season to behold. Daytime television was like a treasure trove of new shows I'd never seen before. I remember the summer I was first introduced to soap operas. I was eleven-years-old and spent that particular summer in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania with my grandparents. When it came to television there are three shows that my grandfather never missed: The Mormon Tabernacle Choir (airing on Christmas Eve only), any football games involving the Pittsburgh Steelers, and of course, Days of Our Lives. Never has a show had a more fitting title because indeed that is what you give when you indulge yourself in soap operas - DAYS of your life. I tuned in avidly every day, hoping to find some sort of redemption in the storyline. The writers had me on the edge of my seat for each and every show...waiting intently on a resolution that would never come. I quickly observed that any inconsistencies in the plot or sense of reality could all be covered up by one of the characters having amnesia--lots and lots of amnesia. Soap operas are insufferable.

It took me an entire summer to come to the revelation that the chief end of daytime television (soap operas in particular) is to ensure that you the viewer will tune in again tomorrow. Beyond that, there is no other goal. I wanted my money back. "Days of Our Lives" had ripped off my entire summer and I felt utterly betrayed. Three months' worth of watching still left me with the same questions I had on day one of my soap opera experience. There is a lesson there I wish I'd realized much sooner in life.

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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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