Comments Fixed
March 9, 2006

I got a little overzealous in fighting comment spam this morning and accidentally banned everyone. Apologies if you've attempted to comment and weren't allowed.

{BTW, Comments are closed on this post, not broken}

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Pimpin' Ain't Easy?
March 7, 2006

Did Three 6 Mafia really run around the stage of the Academy Awards ceremony yelling about how hard it is to be a pimp? Artistic enterprise my pinky toe (which is broken, by the way). On behalf of Hattie McDaniel and Sidney Poitier, I am embarrassed--for the award, for the display, and ultimately the representation. I don't know what to say. Although it certainly does my heart well to know that despite the glorification of pimping, at the very least, Jesus was thanked. And I'm sure somewhere in celebritydom, Kanye Mess heard that acceptance speech and was under the impression that Three 6 Mafia was actually thanking him. For the Mafia's sake, I certainly hope that was the case. Because nothing in my mind can comprehend what hand Jesus Christ had in that mess.

For the record, I'm over the Oscars. (Can't you tell?) Is it possible for an awards ceremony to jump the shark? Honestly, I would rather have the hairs individually plucked from my legs than spend four hours listening to Jon Stewart host anything, let alone an already notoriously monotonous awards show. At least plucking my legs would supply me with some sort of productive end-result. And yes I realize that illustration is a bit disgusting, but that's just my point. I would rather be disgusted than be super duperly disgusted. Yet despite my disgust, I consider it a small victory that the "Academy" had enough sense not to give the makers of Brokeback Mountain another chip of evidence in their mounting convictions that they actually produced a worthwhile film.

Is there coming a day when we finally unburden ourselves with the delusion that being intentionally random, abstract, irrelevant and morally "cutting-edge" are the key ingredients for greatness?

The inadequacies of the modern film aside, the Oscars never fail to leave me disturbed on some gigantic level. Perhaps I need to lower my expectations. However, given the emphasis on the Oscars and the fact that the future of film is directly influenced by this event, I tend to take it more seriously.

I love Terrence Howard, but the fact that his first Oscar nomination is for a role as a pimp really bothers me. Not to knock Howard's performance; he's a fine actor in his own right. Yet unlike Halle Berry, he didn't win the Oscar. For that I am abundantly thankful. I am thankful that we didn't have to listen to Howard sob through an acceptance speech, dedicating it to honorable historical black figures and rambling on about how his Oscar is for every nameless and faceless man of color that now has an opportunity because he epitomized a pimp.

Now before I am accused of partaking of the cup of hateration, understand that I believe Howard will eventually win an Oscar and I'd rather his accolade not immortalize him for characterizing the most egregious of behaviors. Quite frankly, the black community can't afford that.

Why much of the black community continues to remain passive towards the glorification of pimpdom is an entirely different and more complicated topic. But what I found to be terribly ironic Sunday night was what one cultural definition of the verb "to pimp" reveals:

Pimp (verb)
1. To make something appear better than it really is by adorning it with various emblems and pricey status symbols of the culture (see "ghettofabulous")
2. To advertise (generally, in an enthusiastic sense) or to call attention in order to bring acclaim to something; to promote.
So it seems that in a shocking turn of events, "Pimping" is actually being pimped.

It all seems easy enough to me.

Posted in Pop Culture | Permanent Link | Comments { 18 }
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Rights & Responsibilities
March 6, 2006

Amid a stack of popular mis-conceptions espoused by our Western society is this rampant idea that freedom equals a person's ability to do whatever it is that pleases them at any given moment. "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" seem to be muddled figments of five men's imagination. While unalienable the rights may be, clear and concise, they are not. What's most interesting to me however, it that the discussion of "rights" is almost never coupled with an equal analysis of "responsibilities." No "right," whether perceived or reality, exists without a corresponding responsibility.

The phrase "personal responsibility" has become politically charged over the last decade or so, being inappropriately branded as "right-leaning" propaganda. Regardless of political affiliation, background, or religious denomination, at the very least and in the very end, we are all accountable for our lives. Yet instead of trumpeting this doctrine that might actually set people free, we continue to fan the flame of a culture that encourages extended periods of youthfulness, reckless abandonment, and fabricated euphoria. A culture of temporary consciousness is like a dog that returns to its vomit. Just six months post-Katrina and Bourbon Street was already back to bumpin' Mardi gras style. America's entitlement and double-mindedness is thick in the air and it's starting to become pungent.

We're going to entitle ourselves all the way to destruction.

It's not enough that up until recently nearly every other state in America allowed most forms abortion to be performed. Since the South Dakota state legislature passed a bill outlawing abortion in all circumstances, every money-hungry pro-choice group from the four corners of the universe has come out of the woodworks to fight it because heaven forbid that in just one state, no unborn children will feel the wrath of the purpose-destroying vacuum.

Even more telling of stronghold-brand bias were the news headlines which at a glance read,

"Abortion as a crime: a nightmare reborn"
"Is Roe vs. Wade Doomed?"
"Is South Dakota Abortion Bill the New Gay Marriage Amendment?"
"An Act of Social Cruelty: South Dakota bars abortions"
The blood of the unborn cries out from the ground and I promise, their story of victimhood is far more convincing than NARAL's.

Most pro-choice groups have attempted to shade their ill motives by focusing their arguments on exceptions and not rules. The average abortions performed in America aren't a fix for rape or incest. Instead, the majority of abortions have become the solution to the chain of compromising and reckless decisions of both men and women that ultimately reaped an undesired and unloved consequence.

Continue reading "Rights & Responsibilities">>>

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Today's the Day, Folks
March 6, 2006

Just give me a couple of hours to wake up and I'm back. (Pacific Standard Time)

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New Additions!
December 30, 2005

Right so about that big announcement. I'd like to introduce you to the newest addition to the Nykola.com family, Sophie, my new miniature schnauzer puppy. She was a Christmas Eve gift given to me by my new fiance just before he got down on one knee. It happened in front of my entire family which was the best.

And just for the record, sporadic blogging has had absolutely nothing to do with the man in my life. In fact, if he had his way, I'd be blogging every day. We solicit your prayers during this very exciting time. Now if only we can keep the guest list under 500.

Flickr photos

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Linkology
December 28, 2005

New Ambra Projects
Contributing to the new Modesty Zone blog is one of the things I've spent my time doing the last few months. I became recently acquainted with Wendy Shalit (author of Return to Modesty) and have been very impressed with her vision (even though she bit my idea of "Know your Rebels"). She nominated me as a rebel, so I forgive her.

NBC's "The Book of Daniel" Controversy
Strapped for a hit and ratings, NBC's new primetime drama, "The Book of Daniel," which paints an intentionally over-dysfunctional picture of "Christians" (please note quotations) isn't sitting well with some. This isn't to say Christians aren't dysfunctional. To quote Lauryn Hill when confronted on her dysfunction, I would also add, "Like you aren't." More on this later this week.

Kwanzaaaaaaaa's Pagan Roots
For my thoughts on this holiday, I am referring to lengthy discourse La Shawn Barber has written the last few years on the topic. For whatever reason, speaking ill of the fairly new holiday seems to be this hot button issue with many of my black colleagues who don't even celebrate the holiday themselves.

Bono's Version of Religious Tolerance
A recent editorial on Bono's message of "co-existence" (i.e. that Christians, Muslims, etc. can all live together in harmony hogwash) is kicking up some dust with Christian-folk and I love it. I personally, have never quite "gotten" this world's obsession with Bono the humanitarian or U2. Sorry, but they weren't big around my "neighborhood," not even when Bono did a song with Kirk Franklin. Good conversation fodder.

What happens When beliefs and schoolwork collide?
Newsweek's break-off (younger) magazine "Current" published an interesting article about the consequences of conflicting worldviews in higher education. I reckon it's not just in colleges and universities these days. My brother and one of his best friends were recently overheard at the Christmas Eve dinner table saying, "Darwin is just misunderstood." We can thank their liberal high school education for that fantastic indoctrination.

More on Liberal Campus Bias
The New York Times recently published an article on a Penn State student who got fed up with her Physics professor spending too much class time berating President Bush and his administration. What's the result? A major Pennsylvania state legislative inquiry into whether or not college campuses have liberal bias. Umm, duh.

Kanye West, Crybaby
In a strange turn of events, I agree with something written in the Village Voice. Kanye West is about as genuine as it takes to uphold the public persona he's cultivating. More on that later too.

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Merry Belated CHRISTmas
December 26, 2005

I pray everyone had a restful and wonderful Christmas. Today begins the first day of Kwanzaa, the fake African holiday that hardly any black people celebrate. More on that later today. I'm going to slowly ease myself back into this after what has been a decidedly eventful Winter. I have a big annoucement to make (nope it's not about the book).

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Back and Still Black
November 15, 2005

Clear your caches folks, I'm back. The general theme of my inbox the last couple of weeks goes something like this [as excerpted from an actual email]:


From: Joe Reader
Subject: I'm sure you're busy, but this is getting ridiculous

Dear Ambra,

It looks like whatever new endeavors you've been pursuing during your sabbatical from nykola.com have become all-consuming. If so, I wonder if you might post something on the website to let your faithful readers know that you really are not dead yet. Maybe even give a hint of what's gobbling up your time?

Just a thought. Seems a shame to waste all the goodwill you built up through nykola.com by just neglecting it. It's that whole stewardship thang.

Signed,
Concerned reader, friend, retired pastor, lawyer, mom in (insert Southern state), etc.

So at first the emails on my whereabouts were just genuine concern and very flattering pleas that I come back. Now I'm getting scolded. Point taken, readers. Point taken.

Life has been immensely busy and forced me to use my palm pilot and every other type of electronic calendaring device I can find including excessive amounts of post-it notes (why oh why didn't *I* invent the post-it note?). I've been talking to publishers and signing on to new projects, and biting off more than I can chew and all that stuff I'm supposed to be doing as a foolish college drop-out. For now that's all I'll say. There's lots of fun on the horizon, however!

But I'm back and hopefully in full-effect.

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The Danger of the Ugg Theory
November 15, 2005

Back from my online slumber, it does me great pleasure to announce that 50 Cent's biopic flick "Get Rich or [end up in hell] Tryin'" was beat out its opening weekend by none other than the heart-warming tale, "Chicken Little." Sometimes it's the small victories that make me smile. With much of what is currently being propagated through mass media, it's easy for us to throw our hands up in disgust, declaring our multi-sensory media to be a mere reflection of all that's wrong with the world today. To be honest, I'm not so sure this is the case. Television, movies and music don't follow the culture. Instead, they dictate, prophesy, and cast vision and ideology to the culture. We become what we eat.

Television is quite clever really. Every week, in 30-minute or 1-hour increments, philosophy and worldview can be disseminated to the masses, one channel, one reality show, and one series at a time. I am not now nor have I ever been a conspiracy theorist. I like my television and tune in regularly to get my unnecessary fix. Will my children be doing the same on a regular basis? Not under my hawk-eye watch. I am increasingly concerned by the suspicious and subliminal doctrine that consistently hits our airwaves. I'm not fond of using a pop culture references as a launch off for intelligent discourse, but it's been awhile so indulge me for a bit.

This fall, ABC announced a new show, "Commander in Chief," starring Geena Davis as President Mackenzie Allen. Via this new show, all of America has been introduced to the idea of an acting female president. Wow! What coinky dink! While the natural mind ponders how cool the fake scenario would be, the more rational me is inclined to see something so blatant as a postured attempt to ready the American people to vote a female Democrat (whose first name rhymes with "Killer Bee") into office. It is commonly known that despite Democratic loyalty, liberal America isn't quite ready for a woman in the Oval Office (and for reasons I will expound on later, I pray we are never ready).

Yes; the theory sounds crazy. I mean, how on earth could a piddly television series affect the voting decisions of the American people? I'll tell you how. Image creates desire. I call it "The Ugg Theory." For those who are unfamiliar, "Uggs are a popular brand of sheepskin boots currently being fanatically purchased by millions of men and women throughout the world. Incidentally, Uggs are also arguably the most hideous fashion trend to grace America since the days of hammer pants. My theory is simply this: as uggly as they may be, if you see enough pairs of Uggs flashed before your eyes, eventually you will accept them. Soon after that, you might even like them, and if you're a reluctant follower of trends, you might even buy the darn things. So ask me why $119 later, the very pair of shoes that were once the object of my ridicule are now sitting in my closet? See it enough times without counter reinforcement and you're bound to buy in.

But this is not about fashion. This is about worldview (also known as the perspective through which people dissect and comprehend life).

Continue reading "The Danger of the Ugg Theory">>>

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Overheard at the Beauty Salon
October 19, 2005

It's amazing how a relaxing experience can be completely ruined by one ignorant conversation:

Man: Yeah so I got a call today from my youngest son telling me that John, my oldest son had two girls over to play video games.

Stylist: Well as long as they're just playing video games, that's okay.

Man: Yeah but you know, he's getting towards that age.

Stylist: How old is John again?

Man: He's 17. He's a senior in high school.

Stylist: Well, just give him some condoms, say a prayer, and send him out the door.

Man: That's about all I can do.

Planned Parenthood public school sex education rears its ugly head.

I'm back this weekend, ya'll. Life's kicking my butt right about now (in a very very good way).

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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