My Trouble With Donating Blood
March 10, 2004

Today I arrived at my office to find an inter-office email titled "Blood Drive Today". My company holds them about three times a year and I never participate. My church holds them semi-annually as well. I don't participate in those either. At this point, 75% of those reading this think I'm a worthless and wretched miscreant. I probably am. But I certainly can't be any more horrible than the indignant hecklers who insist on coercing me into bodily fluid transmit by making me feel like a terrible human being because I don't want to give my own blood. I don't mind needles and I don't mind being asked one million questions about my medical history, nor have I traveled to any of the particular African countries named. I am just somewhat troubled about the notion of giving what I feel is a very important substance to complete strangers. And how can I trust what will really be done with it? Conspiracy theorists unite! I consider myself to be a steward over my resources, which includes my body, my organs, and all other substances therein. It's more of a personal conviction I suppose. I understand the medical importance of blood donors and I salute you all. Really I do. You're fantastic.

See, almost three years ago, on September 11, a very sobering and sad event took place in our nation. Over those next couple days, it was clear the country was in the midst of a crisis. People were frantic, people were dying, people were questioning, people were spiritually open and perhaps the most disturbing moment of all was a comment I heard from an anchor broadcast on the national news in the wake of the tragedy, "At this point there is nothing we Americans can do except give blood". What!? That's it? give blood? That is the answer? What a sad declaration of the state of our nation. Soon after, I watched and read news as hundreds and thousands of Americans lined up outside Red Crosses' across the country, donating blood to appease their moral consciences. I myself even considered it, although I thought the act of giving blood in such a hap-hazard way may not reap the best results. In fact, much of the blood that was donated could not be used due to contamination among other things. That didn't bother me so much. What bothered me was the perceived mark of "virtuosity" on the foreheads of all who had donated. It was as if they had done their part. Their moral duty was fulfilled. Now they could rest easy. As if blood was the only thing people needed? Part of me couldn't help thinking, "this is not going to save the world, let alone their souls". Yet, reason one on the American Red Cross website for why you should be a blood donor is, "It's the right thing to do".

Understand, I'm neither condemning blood drives nor the people they serve. I do feel however, there has been a gross mis-appropriation of the entire concept. It seems we have relegated health solutions to donating blood, passing out condoms, HIV/AIDS testing, free birth control, "cure for cancer" marathons, and informational pamphlets. Meanwhile, our collective focus has shifted from the only one who can cure, heal, deliver, and set free to our socially programmed "busy-ness" and non-profit organizations -- many of which, are merely the work of man and serve as a means to appease our own consciences. I often wonder is this really how God intended us to serve the sick? Every time a blood drive rolls around, I feel this strange sense of "civic-duty arrogance" in the atmosphere. I only hope that we do not treat these things as a means to an end. No amount of blood donations can solve the real human issue at stake.

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UPN Goes Righteous on Us
March 10, 2004

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. UPN tells producers of its latest cartoon series Game Over, which premieres tonight, to take out the language and nudity in its yet to be aired pilot episode. This is most likely a derivative from the CBS nipple stunt. If you've been able to stomach three minutes of any of UPN's sitcoms it was probably clear the network is a joke. Who is UPN kidding? They're arguably one of the most raunchy and least-respected networks around. As poor judgment would have it, three of the stars of UPN's show Girlfriends a black version of Sex and the City, where the women prove just how ho-ish they can be, will be hosting this year's NAACP Image Awards. Yeah the "image awards". The same awards show that has nominated R. Kelly, walking pedophile, for one of their "Image Awards" given to entertainers. If UPN wants to clean up their act, they need to yank about 75% of their programming off the air. That would be a start at least. Then again, UPN is owned by Viacom, who I could assume doesn't give a care about the continued declining portrayal of African-Americans on their network. It seems "we" don't care much either. We watch it, write it, produce it, and star in it. UPN is the BET of primetime television.

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Guilty As Charged
March 9, 2004

Today I faced my accusers in a pre-trial hearing. I was fairly confident when I heard my name called by the Chief Magistrate. I was being summoned to state my case for why I didn't deserve to pay the whopping $38 parking ticket the City of Seattle was demanding me. So yes okay I'll admit, I did have somewhat of a bad attitude since I'd taken an hour and a half out of my work day and hiked all 15 blocks downtown to the courthouse with heels on, in the rain. When I got there I had to check-in with the clerk and fill out some preliminary paperwork. Then I was asked to sit in the waiting room with about 6 or 7 other equally ticked-off citizens. There was a tangible sense of irritation in the room. People were shuffling through pictures they'd taken of the scene of the crime, trying to decide on the best ones to convince the magistrate of their innocence. I sat in my seat righteously convinced that today was my day of vindication. So when they called my name, I happily gathered my things and headed into the magistrate's office to face my accusers.

Magistrate: Good morning, how are you today. (No question mark, it was rhetorical. He didn't really care)
Me: Good morning, and I'm fine thank you. (he could've cut the formal salutations at that point, I was about the business)
Magistrate: So according to this document, you're here today because you were parked...
Me: in an unmarked crosswalk Sir.
Magistrate: Yes that's what it says here. So can you please state your reasons for contesting the ticket?
Me: First of all, I'd like to know what exactly an un-marked crosswalk IS???

Magistrate: An unmarked crosswalk is...
Me: Before you start, I have some pictures of the scene. (hands magistrate pictures)
Magistrate: (points at pictures) This is an unmarked crosswalk right here.
Me: ::perplexed look:: This is a residential street. It's a neighborhood. People park here all day every day and somehow manage not to get tickets.
Magistrate: It doesn't matter. It's against the law to park in an un-marked crosswalk (draws lines on a piece of paper showing where unmarked crosswalks exist)
Me: (ignores drawing) We all live in this neighborhood, these so-called "un-marked crosswalks" are right in front of homes. So you're telling me that these people can get a ticket for parking outside their own house?

Magistrate: Yes. Just like if they parked in front of a fire hydrant.
Me: This is not a fire hydrant, it's an invisible crosswalk.
Magistrate: It doesn't matter.
Me: That is ludicrous.
Magistrate: (shrugs shoulder) It is the law. If you would like to schedule a court date to contest it and have the officer (code for evil meter maid) testify, I can set that up right now.
Me: That would only be a further waste of my time so no thank you.

Magistrate: ashshsettrjtrtoetoselldlleppetgdjgsdssbfhdhdx
Me: (no longer listening to Mr. Magistrate) I'm sorry, can you say that again?
Magistrate: At this time you owe $38. You can pay that on the first floor, at window 10.
Me: Today?
Magistrate: Yes today.
Me: I don't think so. I am not paying $38 today. I've already been inconvenienced enough. I'm leaving.

Magistrate: Fine then, please go to the first floor and notify them when you will be paying $38 at window 12

(Dream Sequence in Slow Motion)
Assuming superhuman strength, Ambra lunges forward and reaches over the desk to grab the neck of the magistrate. She simultaneously proceeds to kick the glass out of the window with her now, very well treaded high heel boots. Using one hand, she dangles the Chief Magistrate out of the window 18 stories up over moving traffic below. He begs for mercy, and promises to pardon Ambra of the $38 ticket. He admits the law is faulty and promises to expose all the wickedness on the city council if she lets him come back inside. Ambra makes him promise to pardon the fees due all the other people in the waiting room first. He says he'll do it and she slowly brings him inside and releases him from her death grip. A party breaks out in the court waiting room. Crowds chant, "Hail, Hail" as leaves the magistrates office. The mayor starts crying, the meter maids repent, the band starts playing "We Are the Champions".
(Dream Sequence Ends)

Me: I will do just that. Thanks and have a nice day.
(I had to buy myself some time since I plan on paying the ticket in pennies)

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The Passion III
March 9, 2004

Sorry to beat a dead horse, but I came across some really excellent scriptual insight from a local pastor here in Washington on how we ought to address issues raised by the movie. Thus ends my triology.

Posted in Theocracy | Permanent Link
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Jimmie Hatz: the Urban Condom
March 9, 2004

The beginning of 2004 marked the somewhat anticipated release of "Jimmie Hatz", the new "Hip-Hop" condoms .

So you're wondering if the condoms play music when you open them, or if they include a secret code by which you can secure tickets to the next "Chingy" concert, or maybe they give you some tips on writing a really good rhyme. No, in fact the only thing different or "Hip-Hop" about these condoms is the packaging: a shiny rapper with a cartoon picture of a pit-bull or rottweiller sporting a gold "Mr. T. starter kit" chain immediately lets you know the company behind these condoms is after a certain market. My best guess is youth and namely, youth of color.

I suppose it was only a matter of time since hip-hop, top-selling musical form, has already infiltrated the commercial industry. It is a proven fact that hip-hop sells and where there's money to made, usually the weasels are hot on the trail.

According to Harry Terrell, CEO of the company behind Jimmie Hatz,

"Basically, what we've tried to do here is make it the cool thing to do, the 'in' thing to do, to protect yourself."
That is cow dung. Mr. Terrell's statement alone should be a red flag to anyone who has the good sense God gave them. The evangelical outpost posted a good article a month or so back on the condom conspiracy.

There is a gigantic lie parading around in truth's clothing that condoms are the best form of protection. The is based on the ideology that teenagers do not nor cannot have self-control. They are just rabid beasts, succumbing to the whims of their flesh, so we might as well slap a condom on them in hopes that they won't get somebody pregnant or contract HIV.

It always amazes me that people forget that there are huge corporations making an inordinate amount of money by pushing out condoms to the masses. This is not Social Concern 101. This is Economics 600. There is a lot of money to be made in the condom industry and don't be fooled into thinking Harry Terrell, Trojan, or any other company is even the least bit concerned about abstinence education or the HIV problem among "urban youth". Although Mr. Terrell would say, "It's a full blown effort on our part to save our community," I assume Mr. Terrell's goal is help our community by giving young people a means to continue to seek false gratification by filling up their emptiness with pre-mature intercourse, lengthening the list of their sexual soul-ties, and inevitably adding to the number of un-wed mothers, young fathers, and further continuing the cycle of poverty in many urban communities.

This is far worse than the effects of pop (or for you east coasters "soda") machines in elementary schools. There is a sound of truth that needs to resound on this issue. These condoms are the last thing hip-hop needs, more importantly they are the last thing my generation needs. Mr. Terrell needs to be called to the carpet on his actions. So where's the NAACP now? As usual, nowhere to be found.

Other related stories on "Jimmie Hatz":
- "Hip-Hop Condoms to hit stores" - CNN
- "Hip-Hop Condoms to hit stores next year" - BET (the always credible)
- "The 'rap'-per makes a difference" - Pittsburgh Courier
- JimmieHatz.com, where the company offers statistics to support their social cause.

Posted in Culture | Permanent Link | Comments { 4 }
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Grooming Conservative Leaders
March 8, 2004

Patrick Henry College, a newer evangelical 4 year institution focused on training home-schooled students is being charged with one of the worst crimes to date: raising too many conservative leaders. According to David Kirkpatrick of the New York times, seven of the White House's 100 interns were pulled from the school's 240 student enrollment and one works for the Bush re-election campaign. Apparently that's one too many in the eyes of the political left. According to a woman interviewed for the article (who happens to be the education policy director for a liberal advocacy group), "The number of Patrick Henry interns in the White House scares me to death." It's a travesty I'm sure. I do realize how scary that word "evangelical" is in the name of an academic institution. I think my dear and very Christian parents nearly had hernias when I told them I was considering transferring to Oral Roberts University three years ago. It is interesting how something like this even warrants media attention. This is how colleges should be--specialized. Every university is seeking to be have a mark on its student population. Have you seen the glossy layouts for college brochures these days? You'd think you were being sold a timeshare. Yet, while it is scary to many that such a small school would push out such a large percentage of leaders of a certain thought persuasion, I can name off 10 universities and colleges right now (my former university included) that are responsible for consistently producing some of the most liberal, God-hating, morally relative leaders of the 21st century. Here's a hint, most of them are in the New-England area. Now that's scary.

The charge against the school's president is a charge that can be made against just about any president of a university, provided he or she is not a tool of the alumni or Board of Directors. Institutions of higher education want the reputation of raising up leaders provided you think the way they want you to think. I used to work in my university's annual fund office, I know how dirty the fundraising campaigns can get. It is unfortunate however, that because this school is a proponent of conservative thought, the opportunists cry, "Conspiracy!" I say it is time for education reform in America and that means universities as well. I say kudos to a a small school gaining a reputation of integrity in their students.

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Weekend Re-cap
March 7, 2004

That thing called the flesh caugh up with me this week hence the four going on five days postless. If I was one of the X-men, I'd want my super power to be the ability to go days without sleeping. Unfortunately, I don't have that gift and the pillow and I have done some much needed bonding this week. So much so that I missed some great turning points in the state America. I jest.

John Edwards Bows Out of the Race
But when will Al Sharpton? He is such a joke of Reverend it's not even funny. So it is clear that John Kerry will get the Democratic nomination. But will he beat Bush? Absolutely not. There are even some Democrats who will be voting for Bush. Kerry's just no contest lest, Pat Robertson should shame the name of God. (smile)

Omarosa gets fired by "the Donald" on the Apprentice
Just goes to show, don't piss off your teammates, and don't be a rude jerk all the time. I still stand on my previous thoughts regarding her being a victim of clever editing. But it was her time to go. The exposure she's received in all this is a much better reward than getting locked into a fishy deal to run one of Donald's companies. Somebody's going to be the "Clay Aiken" of this competition.

Martha Stewart, Guilty on All Counts
Well Hot Dog! I stand corrected. Now let's see what happens from here. Sad to say, above all the insider trading stuff, there is a principle of sowing and reaping at work here. Martha wasn't guilty of lying about what she did (okay maybe yes), but the truth of the matter is, she was guilty of being a first-class jerk. There is nothing that she did that hasn't been done numerous times by other CEO's. That doesn't necessarily make it right, but it certainly seems unfair for her to be called to the carpet right? Absolutely not. It has long been known that the person of Martha Stewart is shrewd, rude, and downright belligerant. Up until now, no one could argue that her method of rising to the top (crushing the heads of those under and around her) was wrong. Unfortunately, the sow/reap principle applies to everyone and Martha is getting her due.

Passion Still Tops Box Office
"Shakin' the haters off", Gibson's movie remains number one and even suprises analysts to only slip 39% in box office sales in its second week. That is unheard of in the industry. Don't doubt, Hollywood is angry. Production and distribution companies that turned this offer down are wallowing in self-pity right about now. It is inevitable that self-pity will turn into conniving back-stabbing. So be it. You can't deny he brilliancy of it all. The Bible is the top selling book of all time.

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The Passion II
March 7, 2004

Well, I
finally did it. I saw the Passion and I must say, it feels good to be
able to have an opinion based on something tangible. Never in my life
have I seen a movie theater so captivated by a movie. There were times
when you could literally hear a pin drop. Even the foul-mouthed heckler
sitting next to us felt so convicted, he had to shut up half way
through the movie. I will probably never see this movie again, but I am
so glad I did. I actually had to physically make myself watch
the gruesome parts and even then, I knew they weren't as gruesome as
they should've or could've been. The reports that the movie was too
gory just don't hold much weight for me after experiencing it with my
own eyes. And I myself am one of the most squeemish people you will
ever meet. In my most humble and personal opinion, the film exceeded my
expectations. There is the looming sense of Catholicism in the focus on
Mary among other things, but I expected that from Gibson. All my other
issues with the movie can be squashed for the sake of furthering the
Gospel. Many have argued that Gibson needed to tell more of the story,
I say he achieved his purpose of wanting to capture the feeling of
those last 12 hours with the focus on Jesus. I stayed until the end of
the credits -- not because I was trying to be deep, but because I felt
that pulling off a film such as what I'd viewed had to have been a
mighty endeavor, and I wanted to honor and respect the work it took.
There is something happening in the spiritual atmosphere. People will
argue whether or not Gibson really
heard from God to make this movie. That is not really the issue in my
opinion and I don't presume to know. I only hope Gibson himself comes
to receive true Salvation through this process. The real question we
need to be asking is where is God at work right now? And where can we
join Him in His work? It is no mistake that only days leading up to the
premiere of the Passion the homosexual "marriage" controversy
hit the media like a bomb. And let's not be mistaken, mass media would
have you think same-sex "marriages" are taking place in every crevice
of the universe. It's a lie and it just goes to show how much power
they have over the media. The reality, is, compared to the millions of
people that live in America, only about 7-9,000 people are
participating in this gay "marriage" debacle. It is a distraction. The
majority of American citizens are not for gay "marriage" and we're
pretty dense to think otherwise. Even John Kerry can't bring himself to
call the union of two men a "marriage". We need to call things out for
what they are and this debate is a dissipation. We need to give a clear
answer to all the issues being raised and we must be strategic, but we
cannot allow the lie of this issue to dominate the airwaves nor our
lives.
Personally, if I wasn't a believer, I wouldn't see the Passion.
God makes us accountable for everything we've heard, everything we
know, and everything we've seen--especially the Gospel. It has been
argued that the Passion is not a real presentation of the
Gospel. I'd say it's pretty darn close. The Gospel is simple. The
finished work of Christ can be understood even by a child. Christ made
it simple for us through His sinless life. Entering the Kingdom of God
and "working out our salvation" as the Bible declares, is where the
real work begins. There is a certain doorway that has been kicked open
by this film. I'm not sure what the doorway is, but when I find out,
I'll post it in an instant. Those who have eyes to see will recognize
that if God can use a rock and if he can use our unworthy piles of
flesh, he can use anything, no matter how much we Christians may oppose
it.
--------

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Reader Email
March 3, 2004

Now isn't this interesting? I received this from a reader among others
in response to that last post:
Date: Sat, 28 Feb 2004 02:56:46 -0800
From: Patrick
To: ambra@nykola.com
Subject: amazing
When I started to read this I got the stereotypical "knee jerk" liberal
reaction being the hard core democrat that I am and became angry until
I kept reading and realized that this was so "spot on" it was scary. I
too am so sick of the fact that all we do is talk in this country
without ever really doing anything. We whine, b**** and moan on TV, in
letters to newspapers & magazines and on our blogs because it is so
much easier than actually doing anything while people from other
countries, as you stated, come here and work their a**s off to attain
as much success as they can. Unfortunately since we have it so good we
are spoiled and that is never good for one's character and/or work
ethic.
Thanks,
Patrick

--------

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Posted Elsewhere
March 3, 2004

This is a post I wrote that was published on another blogger's site (apparently he liked it, even though it was directed towards him) I won't link to the site as I can't endorse the content. Anyway, it was a response to a rant he wrote on Freedom of Speech, the Clear Channel/Howard Stern Controversy, and how much he hates President Bush and his whole administration. I was not impressed:

[I wrote:]

Cry me a river. Conservative morality is being shoved down peoples throats? Hardly compares to the Liberal agenda shoved down most peoples' throats when they turn on most major television networks, go to public school, or try to watch a movie.

The point is, LOTS of stuff is being shoved down people's throats from all different directions. No single political party is wielding the sword here. You better believe that Democrats are strategic if not more so at getting their message across in convoluted ways. Political parties are just evil. All 100 of them. No good can come from "group think". [Note: when they're thinking the wrong things!]

Stop all the whining and just be thankful you can actually make a choice politically. There's always someone worse off than you. It's easier for us to feel better about our own lack of productivity by blaming everything on the big bad government. Americans make me sick. Myself included. (Yes that's right, I make myself sick). We're so lazy, but we can somehow manage to post on our blogs how much we hate the government [in his case, it was the Bush Administation] or how disenfranchised we are. Meanwhile, the average immigrant can come here and make twice as much money as we do, own 6 businesses, and manage to raise their kids to replicate the process. Why? Because they recognize that authority is authority and they can whine and moan but it's not going to change their situation. They actually DO something in spite of the government. So I say, we're full of excuses and I think it's a load of crap. People need to step outside of themselves. How does what we do as individuals impact the same issues we complain about. In spite of our problems, we're freakin' blessed to live in a country like America and that shouldn't be forgotten. Whoever catches that revelation will be the most successful in life. Period.

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