A Little Friday Fun...
April 23, 2004

Things That Bother Me

  1. People who don't know how to yield on the sidewalk
  2. Macrome anything
  3. Parents who engage in dialogue with their 2-year-old in the grocery store aisle about potential discipline, "Now, Aaron, I'm going to need you to stop knocking the cans of the shelves please. Mommy's going to count to five or else you're going to have a time-out" This is not the Dr. Phil show so please, stop with the psychology.
  4. Trendy Books (A Purpose-Driven Life, Fast Food Nation, you get the jist)
  5. People who stand in the same place and relentlessly pass out flyers to their latest "Poetry Jam", which is usually an excuse for a bunch of pseudo-deep people to wrap cloth around their heads and get together in a dark room, under the haze of incense and scent of patchouli, and stroke eachother's artistic egos, snap their fingers and complain about opression.
  6. Metermaids = evil spawn of satan
  7. People who talk on their cell phones in restaurants
  8. People who eat cottage cheese and pineapples (gross!)
  9. Internet shorthand (So, R U gonna go 2 the store 2day? OK, I'll brb. LOL)
  10. NAACP

  11. When Halatosis Jim tries to invade my personal space by talking to me within 2 milimeters of my face
  12. 38-year-old women who shop in the Junior's department
  13. Booger Eaters
  14. Public wedgie-pickers
  15. People who don't know the difference between merge and yield
  16. People who read the nutritional facts of the very good meal I'm about to enjoy out loud to me, "Did you know this has 300 grams of fat and 100 mg's of salt!? Ohmygoodness and the calories!" Shuddup already and let me be. I have a good metabolism okay.
  17. Belligerent Bikeriders

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On Behalf of the Jesus Clothing Donners
April 22, 2004

Should Jesus' name be on clothing? Well, in light of recent discussion on the ever-popular, "Jesus is My Homeboy" t-shirts, I thought an interesting issue has been broached. Now let's take our minds off those particular t-shirts for just a moment. Let's also take our minds off of Jesus slingshots (though I've never seen them), and any other repulsive or disgusting things that Urban Outfitters is currently selling, plans on selling, or has sold in the past. By the way, they are not the only ones who sell the shirts, but we're not thinking about the shirts anyway so...moving on. There is a greater issue I'd like to discuss. I know it's hard, but please just try. I know it is difficult for many people to take off the stuffy fundamentalist/traditionalist hat too, but I need you to try to do that too. Just for a moment. I took off mine a year or so ago and boy did it feel good. I had "hat hair" but hey, it went away in a couple of weeks.

Many people have taken issue with things of the shall we say "Christian" nature being marketed. I used to hang around a group of people who scoffed at things like Jesus movies, pencils, erasers, books, calendars, and the like. I'm with you, a lot of that stuff is just plain tacky. This is usually because it's poorly designed. My problem here is less with the fact that Jesus' name is being marketed and more with the fact that it's being done in a crappy way. Whatever happened to the spirit of excellence folks? Ahem, remember Daniel, ring any bells? Anyway. (I hope the producers of Left Behind and the Omega Code are reading this). I too can be numbered among the scoffers. This is where we become "Christian elitists" (myself included). Some people take issue with people profiting off of anything around, near, or pertaining to Jesus. We cry "sac-relig!" and wave our hands in disgust. To you I shall wave adieu from the other end of the thought spectrum. I myself figure that since I do not intend on putting my hands to do anything that doesn't incorporate Jesus, I would be one broke son-of-a-gun if I don't make some money by lifting up the name of Jesus in all that I do. (Yes, I do realize there's room for argument there, and probably some major conceptual holes, but this is my blog dangit so I'm just gonna say it how I think it).

Continue reading "On Behalf of the Jesus Clothing Donners">>>

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The Cheap Gospel
April 22, 2004

Every now and then I have those days where I just want to throw my hands up and utter some profane language. There are so many time indicators in the media that would point people towards making some serious life decisions. Today was one. Our premier member of the Jackson 5 was indicted today for child molestation. Man I'm sad. Talk about a family with some serious identity issues. I'll be the first to admit I've had fun at the Jackson family's expense. However, anyone who can read off the first line of the vision test can see that something is not right about that entire family. And let's not fool ourselves folks, Dr. Phil ain't gonna cut it. Neither is the cushy Christianity that runs so rampantly throughout the entertainment industry. You know, that belief that it's okay to do "A" and still thank God and say you're a Christian even if "A" is directly in opposition to God. You know, relative Christianity.

Continue reading "The Cheap Gospel">>>

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Jesus is My Homeboy T-Shirt Debate
April 21, 2004

Funny, I'd actually planned on writing about this a few weeks back, but other things took precedence. However, Joe Carter, over at the evangelical outpost has once again broached the subject with his most recent post, "Jesus Ain't My Homeboy". I realize I take an un-popular stance regarding a quite popular shirt. See Joe's post for context, however, I'll excerpt a part here:

The idea of Jesus as our "friend" is deeply rooted in our particular religious culture. Our lack of reverence expresses itself in everything from our worship to our evangelism. How many times, for instance, have we seen an earnest Christian approach someone (including us) and ask, "Do you know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?"

While intended as a means of carrying out the Great Commission, the question is asking something else entirely. In essence, it's asking whether we possess God rather than whether God possess us. By claiming God as our "personal" friend we are putting him in the same category as our "personal trainers" and "personal assistants", people who serve us, rather than someone whom we are expected to serve. When Jesus becomes someone we can befriend he becomes someone we can take lightly.

Jesus, however, is not my homeboy. He is not my friend or my buddy. Christ is my master, my redeemer, my Lord and my God.

I actually think Joe makes some good points in his post. I think where I disagree is on the notion that Jesus Christ cannot be called our "friend". That's just not Biblical. And he later admitted he maybe took a tangent too far on that point. I also disagree with his take on the idea of using the name of Jesus in different mediums. Although, I understand his premise for the critique, I had to put on my 22-year-old, rebellious generation, youth hat and speak accordingly. Check out the dialogue taking place in the comments. Maybe I'll write something later. But this topic is really a symptom of a greater debate. I think the elephant's crept into the room at this point.

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Revealing Columbine
April 20, 2004

Five years ago today, a great spiritual attack was launched on high school campuses around the nation. I'll never forget watching the news that morning as I always had prior to leaving for school. I was a Junior at the time, and I think I was late for school that day. The media coverage was incessant. Most morning shows had been pre-empted for coverage on the school shooting at Columbine High School. What was taking place in Littleton, Colorado that morning was horrifying to everyone who watched. The media sensationalized it. They trailed the clip of that boy hanging from the broken window, bloody, wounded, about 90,000 times that day. No one questioned whether or not it was tragic, most discussions centered around the "why" question and wondering who was to blame. Not long after most of the funeral services for the 13 victims, the vultures thought it a good platform to push the gun-control debate and start pointing the finger at social problems.

About my freshman year in college I took great interest in not only what took place at Columbine High School, but also the other seven plus school shootings that took place in that year and the years prior at high schools around the nation. I began researching. This wasn't some sick sadistic project, this was a burning in my gut. I began reading books, journals of the victims, news articles, watching videos, interviews, and anything I could get my hands on to push past the news reports and fully understand what had really taken place. I became completely disgusted with much of what I found and not for reasons most would imagine.

The journal of Rachel Scott, one of the victims, revealed a very candid and typical teenager struggling with issues of identity and peer pressure. Her journal also revealed a young lady who was hungry for a deeper relationship with God. This was also a young lady who prophesied her own death. She wrote almost to the day that it happened in her journal, "this will be the year that I die". I remember sitting on the ground at one of the bookstores in the mall, skimming through the book Rachel's Tears, a book which incorporates clippings from her diary, when I read this. My hands started to shake as I turned the pages and I was completely taken back by the power in the words of this modern-day martyr.

Continue reading "Revealing Columbine">>>

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Putting A Little Flesh to Thought
April 19, 2004

It always amazes me what things people can get away with writing on the internet. Last year or so, I became a semi-frequent visitor and poster at an interesting, relevant although sometimes questionably Christian messageboard. I can't tell you how many times I thought to myself, "I'm entirely way too cool for this". But I kept posting nonetheless and when I'd had my last share of circular discussions on whether or not Christians should drink, smoke, swear, vote Democrat, vote Republican or have pre-marital sex, all conversations which I find utterly ridiculous, I left. I definitely met some cool peeps, but my patience ran thin and liberty of thought and profundity became the exception and not the rule (in my opinion). Then I got hip to the blogging trend and I started reading and posting comments on other peoples' blogs. Whoever is responsible for allowing the masses to so easily become pundits should be shot. If you are like me, and take most all you read on the internet with a grain of salt, then you can remain unaffected by the peons who spout bogus untruths via their weblogs. However, for the poor souls whose life is swayed by most all the internet has to offer, I feel obligated to tell them that there are idiots on the internet too. Myself included at times.

The internet is a powerful medium whereby anyone, with just a lick of common sense can publish just about anything they so desire, barring any direct threats towards the President or a trickling indication that you might want to blow up stuff. I have come to the decision that internet, while being a great place for peeps like me to express their thoughts to the masses, is also a place where the cowardly trolls come to dwell. You know, the people who, behind the cloak of anonymity leave rude and annoying comments on people's blogs; write spiteful emails or hateful and ill-informed op-ed's on the New York Times, or tout bad theology on messageboards and poorly-designed websites. Reveal yourself oh silent rogues, oh wretched miscreants!

It reminds me of that scene in the Wizard of Oz where "The Wizard" is finally revealed to be a tiny man talking into a microphone. That is the reality of so many that dwell on the internet. Even revealing one's true name is not real indentification. I challenge that a good percentage of bloggers/internet writers wouldn't say a lot of what they've written in a public setting, or even to another person's face for that matter. Now me? Call me crazy, but I feel quite certain that I would feel comfortable reading my blog verbatim to a group of ultra-radical, liberal, Ph.D, homosexual, Jesse Jackson-loving, Britney Spears-listening atheists from San Francisco with loaded guns and fresh tomatoes in hand. That could also just be my personality.

Don't get me wrong, I think it is valuable that much of what is on the web, may not have been otherwise spoken by timid individuals who've found a voice behind some html code. But the other part of me wonders if there's not something wrong with the fact that many people will never be able to put some flesh to their words. This post-modern generation is a lot more hesitant to connect their bodies with their values and beliefs. People think these little wimpy protests, marches and hunger strikes these days are really powerful. In my opinion, they don't compare to the major sacrifice many in the world have endured for the sake of what they believe (no matter how silly they were). However, I challenge that when the rubber meets to road, few people would be willing to die for what they believe or the controversy of what they write.

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Buy-A-Gun Day Observed
April 16, 2004

Yesterday, April 15th, Aaron of Aaron's Rantblog aka "Aaron the Liberal-Slayer" (prize for the funniest tagline), dubbed it Buy a Gun Day or (BAG Day). Umm, putting guns in the hands of the people on the day taxes are due? Okay, yeah sure whatever. On his website he's got an ad up called "Help Aaron buy his first gun" where people can donate towards the purchase of a 1911 . Aaron's covering of BAG Day is perhaps the funniest thing I've seen all week with the exception of this, oh and this (those would be pictures from my friend's "Save-the-Date" Cards for her upcoming wedding). In any case, Aaron's claim is he's "atrophying Second Amendment rights". Right on brother. Now, me personally, I won't be buying or obtaining a gun. This is because when it comes to weaponry, I am a sissy girl who'd be more likely to shoot her own toe off than to protect herself. Growing up, my dad and brother used to shoot targets with a BB gun in the backyard and even that freaked me out. You know that blonde white girl in most movies who while being chased by a bad guy, always picks up the gun, fumbles around, doesn't know how to use it, and then ends up shooting the air, wasting the only bullet that could save them. Yeah, that's me. Except I'm black and I'm not blonde, I only have blonde highlights, but you get the jist. So I'm with all you gun-toting citizens in spirit. I ain't mad atcha. But I observed this holiday from the sidelines. Now when it's Buy-A-Machete day, let me know and I'll be there.

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Render to Caesar
April 15, 2004

My name is Ambra (crowd responds, "Hi Ambra!") and I am a procrastinator. I've had this problem since birth. My mother was in the delivery room for many many hours simply because I was intent on waiting until the absolute last minute to come down the birth canal. I am certain I had good reason as I do for all my occasions of procrastination. Maybe the amniotic fluid was warmer than usual that day and I wanted to stay in just a little bit longer. I still came out right on time! Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those people that does a half-"Biblical word for donkey" job on everything. I am an absolute perfectionist with a procrastination problem. The result of that combonation is a horrendously insane and pyschotic person who self-imposes temporary spurts of miserableness, adreneline rushes, and dictatorship to get things done.

In high school I mastered the art of the one-hour term paper. That is, the 2000-word essay that even if it may seem as though I put in some good hard work, was only written about 30 minutes ago, proofread, spell-checked and on your desk as promised. I wasn't the only one who possessed this talent. By Spring of my senior year, my entire graduating class could whip out an expository essay on The Great Gatsby with one hand on the steering wheel, driving to school. I probably would've written my valediction speech the night before graduation if it weren't for the fact that I had to have it approved a week earlier by an advisor (who by the way, probably just wanted to make sure I wasn't planning on preaching hellfire and brimstone during commencement). In high school, procrastination was sweet. It was a carefree life with little to no consequences.

I soon found out that I could carry my procrastination over to college. In fact, in college it was even more rewarding. The "one-hour term paper" became the night-before-it's-due 90-page research thesis. My peak time was Midnight to 4am the day before it was due. That's when I wrote every last one of my papers in college. It became a game to me. I had my strategy down. Caffeine, a little prayer, some music, and my laptop was all I needed. There was a rush about staying up all night to write a paper and then crashing the next morning. In all honesty, I can say that was when I pushed out some of my best work. I suprisingly had about 80% less grammatical errors when I wrote in a half sleep-deprived haze. Procrastination became my drug. I needed more. Give something, please, anything on which to procrastinate. Another assignment due in two months you say? Sure! That'll give me plenty of time to re-decorate my room. How about buying my plane ticket home for winter break, why not wait until the last minute and use priceline.com? Maybe you'll get a first class seat Ambra. Or better yet, maybe you'll get a flight with 23 connections on Southwest Airlines. Plus, it'll be fun to see how nervous you can make your parents when you tell them you don't have a plane ticket yet. So I must have my housing deposit in by the 10th of the month at noon you say? Well, "University Housing", you will be glad to know that I am currently training for a triatholan so I will be waiting until 11:45am on the 10th in order to leave myself enough time sprint across campus, run 11 flights of stairs and turn in my deposit. I actually needed the excercise anyway.

Then I became an adult, and procrastination wasn't humorous anymore. Oh how the tax man cometh. Filling out a 1040 form is not like writing a term paper. Funny how I am reminded of this reality on April 15, Tax Day of all days. It was only three days ago that I phoned my accountant to do my taxes. I filed on April 12th this year and that's a vast improvement from last year.

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Funniest Captions
April 14, 2004

Last week or so, I ran a caption contest on this photo (I'm too lazy to do the cool javascript pop-up thingy). Well, I've compiled the ones I thought were the funniest (although all were good), plus a couple more from a caption contest on the photo that ran a few years back.

Best Captions

  1. "Al Sharpton always gets too close to the figures in the wax museum." - Emily
  2. "Look man, I don't care what freaky stuff you're into. You don't blow my cover and I won't blow yours. Deal?" - La Shawn
  3. Look Michael, your last check bounced and I'm not getting federal matching funds ... how about selling off one of your animals to help a brother? - Marc
  4. "Listen Michael, it really hasn't been that long since the Jackson 5. I still say you can help me get the black vote." - Christina
  5. "Kiss me." - anonymous
  6. "Mmmm nothing gets me going like the smell of fresh perm" - me
  7. "OK Michael you've thrown in the race card...Now pick a color!" - another site
  8. "Three boys and a monkey? Just keep yelling racism, and I'll see what I can do." - another site
  9. "LOOK MIKE, YOU KEEP EM BUSY TILL JESSE AND I GET THE MONEY." - another site
  10. "Hey I found a little black patch behind your ear." - another site

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Requisite Monthly Rant on Politics
April 14, 2004

So I was off at a seminar and managed to miss President Bush's press conference last night. I attempted to read the transcript this morning, but found that as much as I like our dear George W., he's more interesting in person and I could not grunt my way through the g-force of that dull transcript. The man's not exactly eloquent. Thank goodness leadership doesn't rest entirely on eloquence of speech. Although if it did, Condoleeza Rice would have the past 43 presidents in a headlock. If I left it up to the morning network news, at this point I'd be thoroughly convinced our President, along with his wicked cronies are all satan incarnate and out to completely massacre the lives of every innocent young person (forced to join the military of course) for their own political gain, and you'd better be certain some republican is secretly getting a fat loot being promised by the conspiracy against John Kerry, who by the way is a model citizen and the antithesis of our lame president. Good thing I don't listen to the network morning news.

And to think that people had the nerve to be in uproar about American Idol being pre-empted last night for the president's address. That's perhaps a pulse on the values of many in this country. And let us not forget the fact that just this past weekend, Saturday Night Live was able to pull itself out of the quagmire of low ratings by bringing on none other than Miss Washed Up herself, Janet Jackson. Yes folks, this is the reward you get for public indecency and slutty behavior in America, you get to host SNL, sing very badly, and still have people buy your trashy record Damita Joe. So we'll be disgusted, and call CBS blasphemous, and then we'll be the same ones responsible for SNL's highest rated show in years. Who are these Nielson people anyway and why aren't they tapping my television set? Send them to my house, I'll show them a thing or two.

Meanwhile, the 9/11 commission proves yet that this whole trial is more about political gain and less about getting the facts on the table. I like how Baldilocks refers to the members of the Bush administration being raked over the coals of "Damned-if-you-do Damned-if-you-don't standards". Well, I suppose that's the life of anyone who even veers from the extreme left. Even though Condoleeza Rice peed all over the 9/11 commission (that's a theatre phrase), people will still publicly (behind the safetynet of a blog) call her things like "whore". So Janet Jackson is a model citizen fine for primetime, but Condi Rice is a whore? The core of my being has been offended by ignorance.

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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
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