Time Indicators
August 8, 2005

Let me begin by saying I have never understood why people say, "Rest in Peace." Just what exactly is resting in peace? A corpse? There is nothing about that statement that aligns itself with my worldview on death and the house of flesh left behind when we pass on from this Earth. Nevertheless, I digress. Death for all of us is inevitable, but when I heard that Peter Jennings died last night, I must say, I was a bit taken back. There is some sort of buffer to reality that seems to encompass those with incredible influence on the masses. It's as though historical A-list personalities are invincible to the goings on of life (and death). That notion is probably responsible for more damage than success in America. Tragedy however, is no respecter of persons.

Last night when I found out, my first inclination was to say, "My goodness, yet another one gone?!" It could be just me, but it seems like the last two years have seen more deaths of firmly established public figures than years in the past. The thing that really strikes me is these people aren't just "celebrity-types," but gatekeepers within an era. The list of recent notable deaths is long. This world is run by seasons. We all know the song made famous by "The Byrds," which Pete Seeger co-opted from Ecclesiastes. To everything there is a season.

If you look at the statistics, following periods of high mortality, there is usually an influx of babies born. The season of tremendous loss leads to me believe there is some shifting going on around the corner. As with all events, I often ask myself what impact the death of a public figure has on the living. For one, it leaves us an opportunity to usher in a new era. Many of the anchors (the literal ones and the figurative ones) of the past generation are either passing on or stepping down.

I have to wonder about the direction the next generation will take news media. Let's hope it's going to a much better place.

Other bloggers weigh-in on Jennings' Death this list will be short because linking takes too much energy:
- Digital Karen of Scottsdale notes that Jennings' death was announced in perhaps too much of a world-tragedy-type manner.
- Michelle Malkin has a big run-down of reports
- Technorati's #1 search today is "Peter Jennings." It seems the blogosphere is buzzing.

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The Requisite Monthly Rant: How Not to Get a Wife
August 5, 2005

Since the time I came into common sense, I've had alternative views on "dating." That is to say: with a few exceptions, I generally think it stinks. I'll go one step farther to say that today's methods of "hit it and quit it" rendezvous are partly to blame for the ubiquitous nature of unhealthy marriages in America.

That said, there are some personal tenets of male/female relationships that I'm finding less than common amongst some of my peers. For one, as a woman, I don't "pursue" men. And trust me; I know this is not the common belief system because I have a 17-year-old athlete brother (who if he weren't related to me, and a minor, I would consider a very fine specimen). I see the way the floozy skank jezebels fling themselves at him. Remind me to write about how we're raising a generation of underage bootylicious prostitutes.

When I was growing up, my parents barely let my sister and I even call a guy, let alone ask one out. If a guy wanted in, he had to come correct. To some it sounds extreme, but I'm still young and I've never been pregnant, so I guess it worked. More importantly, there was a principle there that's stuck with me throughout my life: some may go for self-promotion, but it's best to let others pursue you on your own merits. I've taken the same approach to blogging. Plus, when it comes to issues of courtship, engagement and marriage, I guess I'm just old-fashioned. The wedding night's better that way.

Sounds simple enough, but we must never underestimate the complexity of the male mind. And let's just be honest here. If you're a woman and you're breathing, chances are you've been hit on. I don't care what you look like. Every woman has at one point or another, endured the ridiculosity* of what passes for 21st century chivalry.

While most of my guy friends have informed me that I can be "intimidating" at times (seriously people, I'm only 5'2"), it seems there is a certain cross segment of the male population that has absolutely no shame. You know the ones. They pick their wedgies in front of you and try to pick up married women. So it is with that "have you no shame?" sentiment that I kick-off the growing list I shall dub The Nykola.com Men's Guide for How to Never Ever (Ever) Get a Woman. Feel free to add:

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Politics, Blogs, and Double-minded Feminism (Oh My!)
August 5, 2005

Among the many things I am proud to be, a woman is most certainly one of them. A reality that was once so simple is now made entirely too complicated at the hands of a relative society that tries to redefine itself more than Madonna. For me, being a woman isn't a burden, nor is it a curse or some thorn stuck in my eternal side. I've never been interested in male-bashing or blaming my current status on my gender and its limitations. Our perceived reality is the basis for how we live life. Being a woman is both a blessing and a responsibility that I enjoy every single day of the year. As well I should, since I cannot be anything else.

It is with that attitude that I agreed to be a speaker at the first-annual Blogher Conference.

The following are my reflections on the conference. I apologize in advance for the lack of flowery words and kumbaya around the issue (yeah that's right; I made "kumbaya" a noun so deal), but I'm not on the touchy-feely, "wasn't it great to be around a bunch of bright and talented women?" kick today or any day I have to hear phrases like "Michelle Malkin's husband writes her books," and "Condoleezza Rice is the Sally Hemmings of the 21st century," and "Gosh I sure hate (insert any principled non-white woman of character)," uttered at a supposedly "supportive," all-female gathering.

Talented and bright they were. The least I can say is that Blogher didn't flounder in proving that indeed women are some of the sharpest and most provocative minds on the Internet. Whether or not I agree with the presented brand of sharpness and provocation is an entirely different issue. In fact, it is the case at hand.

I have a problem and maybe you can help me solve it. Is there a point at which 250+ tech-savvy, smart and independent women can come together and the main focus of conversation not be rooted in a feminist perspective? Granted, I knew prior to the conference that I would be in the vocal minority, but if there's one thing that was glaringly evident last weekend, it was the absence of extreme philosophical dissent. Period.

When a person can stand up in one of the sessions and boldly proclaim herself both married and "Polyamorous," to a room that then thunders in applause of approval, it's time to call Houston because we have a severely lop-sided problem.

Although the conference was nonpartisan, throughout the sessions and breakout groups, there were a number of interesting assumptions made, the worst of which were the following:

  • Every woman in attendance was pro-choice.
  • Every woman in attendance was a feminist.
  • Every woman in attendance had the same working definition of feminism.

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The Cosby Show: Immortalized
August 3, 2005

While I'm not fond of essays that derive their theses from television shows, humor me for a moment. In spite of Bill Cosby's inability to disconnect his name from scandal and adultery, I will forever extol the virtues of one of the greatest television shows ever created.

Straight from the "Somebody's about to make a whole lot of money" department, I am joyful to announce that the first season of "The Cosby Show" is now available on DVD. Apparently, Cosby himself will have to purchase a DVD player to verify that it's true.

To be honest, I never thought I'd see the day what with the show still in heavy syndication. As a child of the Reagan era, I am probably the biggest "Cosby Show" fan you will ever meet. I have every episode memorized and were there a "Cosby Show" version of Jeopardy, I would be the Ken Jennings of Huxtable family trivia--except I wouldn't be Mormon (or white, or named Ken). Which leads me to a minor caveat:

Has anyone noticed that "Jeopardy!" is probably one of the absolute whitest game shows on television? Just think with me for a moment. When was the last time you saw some color on there? And trust me, I know this because I am a "Jeopardy!" nerd who since the advent of TiVo has seen every episode (yet still cannot get the questions to the doggone answers). Conspiracy? Perhaps. A Canadian host? No comment. The world may never know. Caveat ended.
Beyond pure entertainment (the Gordon Gartrelle shirt episode cracks me up every single time), the enduring nature of "The Cosby Show" can be attributed to a plotline that deals with real-life scenarios and principles common to every family. Minus the real-time references to one-hit-wonder celebrities and philosophical trends of the age, the show has remained timeless. That is, not counting the insane number of times the pubescent Malcolm Jamal Warner wore incredibly tight sweatpants. The eighties need to be burned for that.

Moreover, "The Cosby Show's" ultimate success was its hard-line presentation of traditional family values--the same values that current American television couldn't touch with a 10-foot-magnetized pole. Although many would disagree, I might also add that Cosby's vision for the show managed to do more for black American television representation in 30-minute increments, than D.L. Hughley, Cedric the Entertainer, Bernie Mac, or Damon Wayans have been able to do in their combined lifetimes. In all the fabulosity of the members of the Huxtable family, the fact still stands that we are all the product of extreme dysfunction. Nevertheless, in their own dysfunctional way, the Huxtables presented an attainable standard which every family could emulate.

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Sort of Live from Santa Clara
July 30, 2005

To say BlogHer has been interesting is probably putting it mildly. My session included a panel discussion between myself and Rox Populi, both representing our respective "sides" (bleck) in politics. It's often hard to gage the success of panel discussions, but I think it went well. Although my comments on Ann Coulter during the session will probably get me disowned (it's never stopped me before), the session went fairly well (save the moment when a black woman in the audience asked if I was a KKK member...um, what?). There was a pod-cast and live-blogging of the session which I'll link later as well as discuss my overall perceptions of the conference, but first a couple of oddities.

  • The picture you see is a photo of my feet. Someone was going around doing interviews and taking pictures of participants' feet. All I remember thinking was how glad I was I wore close-toed shoes being that it's been at least 3 weeks since I last had a pedicure. Bare feet photos on the Internet = not cool.

  • There is a fairly good male population here--around 20%. I expected that. What I didn't expect was a male dressed up as a woman (commonly referred to by the progressive society as a "transsexual," a term I will not use because it consciously validates our society's dysfunction). People with testicles do not get to claim womanhood without a menstrual cycle, cramps, and at least having once had the semblance of the ability to push a watermelon through a Cheerio. And though I run the risk of sounding terribly shallow, I'm going to quote Jennifer Anniston aka "Rachel Green" from one of the 6-episodes of "Friends" I watched in my "backslidden days of predominately white prep schools,
    "No uterus, no opinion."
More later.

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It Starts
July 29, 2005

The Bay Area is a trip. I arrived in Santa Clara and barely stepped out of my rental car before I got into an argument with protesters. It figures.

I've been in Northern California for most of the week for work, but since the conference is in Santa Clara, I switched hotels today in order to be closer and so that I can more effectively roll out of bed and into my clothes in the morning. Whenever I travel and hotel accommodations are necessary, I prefer to stay at the Westin. Call me bourgeoisie, call me whatever you want, but I don't like having to guess if the hotel room I'm walking into will look and smell like it rents by the hour.

The Westin is a member of the Starwood Hotel chain, which is apparently being boycotted by some workers and some trustafarians who've burdened themselves with the cause of the disgruntled workers. A little googling has shown me that this same group has issue with Wal-Mart, which automatically puts them on my bad list (even though I can't stand Wal-Mart.)

I pulled up to my hotel, only to be greeted by two white (but tanned), hapless, college students, handing out propaganda. They gave me a flier which I decided I'd least glance at to see what had their panties in a punch. That was, until I walked through the doors and heard them yelling behind my back, "They don't deserve your money...You need to go somewhere else!" Since I don't do well with being yelled at, I made a mental note of their idiocy and quietly checked into my room.

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Gone to BlogHer
July 29, 2005

I've spent the last three days in Silicon Valley working and perfecting my nerdom and eating free food at a very cool um, place where I work. Tomorrow, I'll be speaking in a session at BlogHer with some 260+ other chicknerds, and if it weren't for the massive swelling taking place on the right side of my face, I'd be very excited. If you're there, stop by and see me. I'll try to update Flickr with photos. Of the conference, not me.

Google's sponsoring wireless access everywhere so I'll be updating with fashion critiques news from the frontlines.

Peace out.

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Thank You, Internet.
July 29, 2005

Despite my persistent contention that the internet is full of strange people (myself not included), and despite some readers who consistently feel the need to inform me of my "alleged stupidity" in the most abrasive possible ways, I have to concede that I have a great group of readers.

I've never once asked anyone to donate to this site because I'd do this for free. Heck, I do! Around Christmas time, I even had a reader suggest that I post a link to my Amazon.com wish list so people can bless me. Amazing. Around 6 months ago via some prodding, I threw up a paypal link in a non-obvious place. One of my first donations came from Glenn Reynolds. Instapundit himself. I felt like such a dink (made that word up) because if anyone should be donating to anyone, it should've been me giving to Mr. Instapundit. Nevertheless, I continued to be humbled by the great amount of supporters I've met by way of my blog.

I use that long introduction to say that with the help of all of you, some $1200+ was raised in less than three days for my sister Amelia's mission trip to Peru. I am floored, and I thank you all (even the person who said their donation was a veiled attempt at my hand in marriage). Anyone who knows me well knows that I would die for my family. Next to God, they are the most important thing to me. And when people extend gratitude to a member of my family, by default, that gratitude is extended to me.

I can't list of all the names because most donations came through the organization and I don't know who you are, but of those few I know I will name. Forgive me if I forget anyone.

Thank yous to: Tony Pierce, Diana D., Avery S., Denise C., Glenn W., Devon H., Christine C., Alison J., Dave T., Robert H. John N., Garvel N., Benjamin H., Christopher N., and many more.

Internet, I salute you, and I give you hug.

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The Porn Generation
July 28, 2005

I'll never forget the day I went into the "student center" of my university and saw a flier on the wall that read "C#!t Club: celebrate your vagina." (Don't be prudish, we're all adults here, we can type the names of body parts without squeeling, right?) That's right folks. A university-sponsored organization that gathered around the topic of female masturbation. Self-gratification in more ways than one. That was one of many moments that shaped my ideas around the abuse of higher education.

While in the airport yesterday on my way down to the Silicon Valley, I stopped in the bookstore to pick up a copy of "Wired," my new favorite magazine, when I saw a shelf full of Ben Shapiro's new eye-catching book, "Porn Generation: how social liberalism is corrupting our future." Amen brother, Amen. I picked it up and read a few chapters, but since I'm not fond of marking up $26 books, I'm waiting on the paperback, annotation addict-friendly version to buy.

If the title is any indication, I once again grant Shapiro the award for being the youngest published nail hitter. And Ben's right; the ubiquitous nature of the pornography industry and a host of liberalists bent on forming policy around morally relative ideals is blatantly guiding the principles (or lack thereof) of an entire generation. The book synopsis reads:

"Pornography: it's everywhere -- at the video shop, in your newspaper, in your inbox. And although American society grows increasingly accepting of this state of affairs, porn is unmistakably dangerous: it presents a warped image of sex and self-satisfaction that ridicules the values of faith and family, mangling the most sacred ideals of matrimony. In 'Porn Generation,' Ben Shapiro explains why. This book is about a generation of Americans lost in a maelstrom of moral relativism in a culture obsessed with cheap, degraded, casual sex. It's a powerful wake-up call outlining what we must do now to eradicate this scourge and reclaim the values that made America great."
A loaded topic indeed if you just turn on your television. For young unmarried types, media is rampant with images that lay an unhealthy foundation and "awaken love before its time." Incidentally, they are images that wouldn't have been allowed on television 20 years ago. The standard is steadily being lowered and we've created new terms to deal with our low standards. For example, what is "soft porn?" I say porn is porn, and it's all quite disgusting for many reasons. Among them, the manner in which it distorts and perverts our view of sex.

This particular topic is important because in the case of any generation, the mistakes of today will be seen in full tomorrow. Sin has wages and it's a "pay me now or pay me later" type deal. There is a root cause of AIDS sweeping the country, and it has little to do with poverty in Africa. The lesson here: if we don't get a grip on the worldview of the next generation (especially as it relates to the family structure), we will pay later.

The overwhelming critique of Shapiro's book, even among conservatives, is that instead of dealing with the root of temptation, he offers poor solutions (most of which includes complete government censorship). I'll reserve my thoughts until I finish reading the book, but I'm curious, in light of the discussion taking place in the media and in government about how to address the porn issue (in relation to those under 18), which direction do you suggest we head?

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It's No Wonder We're Overweight
July 28, 2005

I used to think "food fights" were the epitome of excess. I mean, if we have enough food to throw at each other, surely we can give to those who need it. I have since changed my stance on "food fights."

I hereby give the "Epitome of Excess" award to the "International Federation of Competitive Eating" (IFOCE). How completely wasteful and disgusting. Shameful.

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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
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