Entries Posted in "June 2004"

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Just a Clarification
June 30, 2004

Where's Strunk & White when you need it?

If only things came out as you "thunk" them. It seems I had a poor choice of words in my previous post. When I said I couldn't agree more with the statement "racial issues supercede morality issues", I meant that I couldn't agree with Christian Democrats espousing this viewpoint. It is not my own. It is theirs. I happen to believe the opposite. Thanks Lori for drawing that to my attention.

Note to self: Don't do two-part posts. I'm cracking under the pressure to produce. I would push to finish by Wednesday morning, but I have a 7:00 am meeting, and you people just wake up too dang early (my sitemeter logs the most hits between 4:00-7:00 am Pacific time). Do realize I'm in bed at that time. Part two forthcoming later today. Promise. Maybe.

Posted by Ambra in Blogging | Link to This Entry
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Al Sharpton Has a New Gig

It was announced yesterday that Al Sharpton has a new gig as television host/career coach. He will be hosting a new reality show airing on Spike TV called I Hate My Job. The jokes around the title alone are just too easy. In order to leave myself ample room to effectively bag on him when the show airs, I'll just be silent for now.

The show's concept is actually rather interesting. An all-male cast of contestants will quit their jobs and work with two "Life-counselors" who will give them guidance, advice and weekly assignments. One of those counselors is Al Sharpton. Yeah. Credible counselor.

In an interview, Sharpton called himself the "the working man's Donald Trump". Now that's a comparison I can get behind. He even has the hair to boot!

When asked, Sharpton's reasons for doing the show seem noble (key word: seem),

"I like the concept of trying to have people discover their purpose in life, and not have the world define them or settle for less than who they want to be just to pay their bills"
Seems to me Al would do better as a conestant than the host.

To pacify my urge to comment harshly, I focused my energies elsewhere. I present to you, my photo montage:

Posted by Ambra in Politics | Link to This Entry
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Why I Am Not a Republican (Part One): My unsuccessful quest to become politically mainstream
June 29, 2004

I've never been one to fit in a box. Although I've tried, my legs usually get cramped and sooner or later, I'm bound to start kicking. This describes my plight with political party affiliations. Perhaps one of the necessary evils of the world, political parties and all that they entail give me an enormous migraine headache. I can certainly understand why Bill Gates gives equal donations to both the Democrats and the Republicans. When you're rich, you don't have to be affiliated with a political party. My ultimate decision to wallow in the shade of seeming political ambiguity is not without pretext.

I grew up in a home with Christian Democrat parents. I couldn't even explain that one to you if I tried (and I will). However, when asked at one point by my high school history teacher about my family's political affiliation, without hesitation, I answered, "We tend to vote for Democrats because although we are against many of the things for which Democrats stand, we think the racial issues supercede the morality issues." At the time I don't think I understood what I was saying, but even now, I agree that most Christian Democrats think this way.

Growing up, my general understanding of the Republican party was simple: Republicans were evil, white, and to be feared. I'd still say the second and third are mostly true. Listening to family members bad mouth Ronald Reagan and George Bush on a consistent basis didn't give me any motivation to hold them in high regard. Hearing many Republicans referred to as "racist bigots" certainly didn't birth in me any desire to be associated with them in my future adulthood. As with many today, because my childhood left me with little understanding of the "issues", I assumed I'd follow in the footsteps of my family and become a bloodline Democrat. I could tell you the Republicans were bad, but I could never figure out why. Thankfully, the gaze of childhood shielded me from the political battles taking place in the 80's and 90's.

High school was tough. I struggled to find my place in the political thinking sphere. Approximately 85% of my high school was unashamedly Liberal--teachers and administrators included. With the additional barrier of a curriculum steeped in Liberalism, needless to say, voices of dissent were neither appreciated nor accepted. During that time, I struggled with two issues: gay rights and abortion. Although I still held fast to my liberal persuasions, I could not reconcile the idea of abortion being "morally right" and homosexuality being equated to the civil rights movement. I often kept my feelings about certain issues private for fear of being labeled a homophobe, a Republican (a carnal sin) or even worse, being voted "most conservative" in the high school yearbook. It's a sad and petty thing to be concerned about, but this was something most people dreaded and for a black girl, president of the black student group on campus, and long-time crusader for racial justice, that would've been my social demise. Today, "most conservative" is a title I'd wear like a badge of honor. Ironically, I think I was instead voted "Most Outspoken" and "Most Likely to become Famous". They never said famous for what.

Spring semester of my senior year, I began to feel uncomfortable in many of my classes. Take for example "Global Village", a sociology class where on one occasion, we were asked to leave school to protest the WTO which was holding its meetings in Seattle at the time (I'm sure you remember the riots). In fact, my teacher came to school that day wearing a gas mask (these are the idiots my parents paid to educate me). On a different occasion, Planned Parenthood came and spoke to our class about global sterilization and offering free abortions to students. Around that same time, the student government on which I served rallied to get condom dispensers placed in student bathrooms. Since I seemed to be the only one on the council who disagreed with this, I said nothing. I struggled to find my political stance amidst a sea of hot issues with which I could not agree.

By graduation, I was fed up. Having had the privilege of delivering the valediction in front of my class, parents, alumni, the board of directors, and every major donor, I took the opportunity to "come out". I spared everyone the flowery "believe in yourself and follow your dreams" speech and used the platform to tear apart the surface and self-centered liberalistic ideals our generation was facing. It was gutsy but I pulled it off and left many in the audience writhing. I got mixed response. I didn't care. I knew I was never going to see most of those people again.

Things took a turn for the worse when I went to college; the microcosm of crazy philosophies. I'm not sure if it was being greeted on campus by detailed chalk drawings on the sidewalk of stick figures in varying positions of gay sex, along with the words, "Queer Alliance Welcomes All Freshmen", or the signs for the female masturbation club that did it, but Wesleyan University (and some good old-fashioned common sense) single-handedly drove me to have the conservative worldview I profess today. For that I thank them. Really, I do. I plan on dedicating my first book to my pot-smoking, "Christian", but doesn't believe in God, Birkenstock-wearing, Theologian, history and religion professor. It will read:

To Professor Klaaren, thanks for those chats in your office. I'm sorry for making you cry. Your confusion is my inspiration.
I spent most of my short college career diametrically opposed to almost everything that existed on campus, and that's probably an understatement.

That Fall was the presidential election and while I was registered independent, without question, I voted for George W. Bush. I didn't tell my parents. In fact, I didn't tell anyone.

[ Read Parts Two & Three ]

Posted by Ambra in Politics | Link to This Entry | Comments { 2 }
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This Weblog Will Self-Destruct in 5 Seconds

I have found something that promises to be the demise of this weblog. It's called Audblog, and it's my new found friend. It allows you to post verbally to your blog. Wait, that didn't come out right (although voice commanding to my blog would be fun). It actually allows you to record a post with your voice.

I'm thinking of trying it out later in the week. It's like having your own radio show, except not.

Posted by Ambra in Blogging | Link to This Entry
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Political Slogan T-Shirt Contest
June 28, 2004

In response to a news story on celebrity t-shirts encouraging young people to vote, columnist & author Michelle Malkin has a contest going on alternative t-shirt slogans. Her suggestion for Ashley Judd's t-shirt:

If my mom practiced what I preach, I wouldn't be here. THREE CHEERS FOR FEMINISM!
Heh.

Posted by Ambra in Politics | Link to This Entry
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The Bart Simpson Effect

Sarcasm. The Simpsons made it mainstream, but even long before the work of Matt Groening, there were prominent comedians and actors who made sarcasm both comedic and famous. I have mixed feelings about the concept of sarcasm. It is a form of communication that has the capacity to be both powerful and destructive. When used with ill-intent, it can cut very deeply. It becomes a machete, decimating everything in its path. Contrarily, sarcasm can also be used carefully like a scalpel, cutting through to the heart of the matter. When used at the right time, it can convey far more than plain words. Even Jesus used sarcasm on occasion.

For the sake of clarity, I've decided to go to the book on the true definition of sarcasm. I am the nerd that loves word studies. According to Webster sar-casm is:

1: a sharp and often satirical or ironic utterance designed to cut or give pain [tired of continual sarcasms]
2a: a mode of satirical wit depending for its effect on bitter, caustic, and often ironic language that is usually directed against an individual [this is no time to indulge in sarcasm]
To top that off, when you follow the word's etymology, one of its Greek origins meant "to tear flesh, bite the lips in rage, sneer, or cut". Doesn't exactly sound like the most edifying form of communication. Yet, in this day ang age, we have made this a socially acceptable form of communication. Bottom line: 100% sarcastic communication is not only unhealthy, it's eating away relationships and families like cancer.

The problem these days is the motivation of our sarcasm. On a personal level, I am not generally, nor have I ever been a sarcastic person. I'm a blunt person. There is a difference. I have found however, that I tend to be a sarcastic thinker and have self-disciplined some of my thoughts to stop in my throat before exiting my mouth. The great part about writing is nothing is off limits. I have enough time to form my words so that the message is conveyed correctly. Thus, the hyperextension of my brain, called my blog probably carries more sarcasm than you'd find with me in the flesh. My overwhelming motivation (dispute me if you wish) is generally compassion. Hard to believe I'm sure, but my compassion isn't the "touchy feely" kind. It's the "get a grip and pull yourself together" kind. My desire has always been to convey truth in the most practical sense. Sometimes that means telling other famous people whom I will never meet how dumb I think they are. Admittedly, that aspect of myself needs work. I don't believe that sarcasm is a bad thing, however, it should be used in taste and moderation.

With sarcastic commentary, there are varying degrees of motivation. In the case of Jesus, it was love, compassion and his desire to teach the disciples. These days when I listen to others' sarcasm, I don't usually feel "the love". When you think of the Simpsons, you don't think (warm, loving, mashed potato-ey family). In fact, many popular television and movie familes over the last fifteen or so years have been plagued with sarcastic dialogue. Sure it makes for good comedy and ratings, but I question the effect it's had on the devaluation of the family.

One of the worst types of sarcasm is the kind that's rooted in hurt. Perhaps you've heard the saying before, "Hurt people hurt people." Sarcasm can become a defense mechanism for dealing with the world in the midst of one's unresolved hurt. Instead of making oneself vulnerable in conversation, everything gets shot down with a snide, cynical or sarcastic remark. People who ascribe to this form of communication are generally not much fun to be around which is good since they tend to be magnets for people just like them.

Then there's the sarcasm that's rooted in bitterness and disappointment with the world. Most of our modern-day sarcastic celebrities fit this category. This is the type of unrelenting sarcasm that draws crowds, sells books, and hikes up the ratings. This is what I can't stand about the Boondocks.

Any way you slice it, I think we need to rexamine this whole issue of sarcasm and its effects on our society. These days, people are raising their children up to be walking cynics. The television isn't helping. Nor is our lack of understanding about its detriments. I wrote this whole post without any sarcasm whatsoever. Yay for me.

Posted by Ambra in Culture | Link to This Entry
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And Every Man Was Right in His Own Eyes

Well, this weekend was the bang that concluded Gay Pride month. Being a Seattleite in all, I don't want to assume anything so I'll state the obvious: June was Gay Pride month. We can thank Bill Clinton for that. Let's see, June is the sixth month and in Biblical numerology, six is the number of man and/or flesh. Makes perfect sense to me. Seattle of course, included itself in the festivities with parades, parties and whatnot and I'll be the first to say that the heaviness in the air was evident. 'Tis a sad state for humanity to revel in such false liberty.

As you may recall, earlier this month President Bush refused to declare June "Gay Pride Month". This is one of the many reasons why I love that man (notwithstanding his inability to pronounce "American"). Then again, I'm proud to be a "Merikin". The behavior I saw displayed this weekend was not "Merikin" at all.

Of course, in true rebellious fashion, supporters of the month moved forward with their plans despite major roadblocks. Mind you, during the Clinton administration, the events and festivities of this month we're supported with government facilities and tax payers dollars. I don't think I was paying taxes back then (ouch, the age factor creeps in again), but had I been a taxpayer, I am pretty certain that I would have found major fault with using my dollars to support others gallivanting around the city in confusion. And to think that some Federal employees in Washington D.C. actually wanted a government sanctioned day off to attend the festivities is laughable.

I want to annihilate the phrase "celebrate diversity". For now at least. It's amazing how people can completely and totally distort and manipulate the true meaning of the rainbow. The rainbow was to signify God's covenant that he would never again destroy the earth by flood. A flood which by the way, came as a result of the very thing for which people now wave the rainbow. God is perhaps more merciful than I, because I would've drowned all of us unthankful heathens by now. Presently, the rainbow's been distorted and made to be the brand for acceptance of every type of lifestyle we can think of. And trust me when I say, animals are next. Human/animal relationships that is. When man is left to be his own God, there are no limits on his capabilities.

Every day is a struggle. One of the biggest battles we face is not in Iraq, but in the mind. The struggle is against secular humanism, moral relativism, and the self-serving lies propagated to us by the media. We have to guard our gates (the entry points and access to our thought life). With the images bombarding at me on a daily basis, I have to constantly remind myself what is the truth of ultimate reality. That is Jesus Christ.

One of my favorite Christian writers is Francis Schaeffer. He was a prolific thinker way before his time. While most of his work is phenomenal, I would highly recommend A Christian Manifesto. He discusses how we must have a true open marketplace of freedom whereby every idea can be expressed in such a way that people are forced to make a decision. We're not at that place yet. Right now, only certain ideas are acceptable. As it stands, "these people" (read: church & state separatists) aren't playing fair. The name of Jesus is a threat to those who don't believe. Preach muhammad, preach buddha, preach hare krishna, preach the kabbalah, preach animalism, but don't dare invoke the name of Jesus because that's offensive. You bet it is. There's power in that name. It's the very dividing line between the pseudo-spiritual and the true followers of Christ.

I know this isn't what the South Park Republicans came to read today. I'm sorry. Maybe it was watching Michael Moore in an interview acting as though he's doing some great service to the country by sparking healthy dialogue via his "crockumentary". Maybe it's the fact that a good majority of the black community is opposed to gay marriage, yet is willing to unashamedly support a political party that feels otherwise. Maybe it's the fact that I have an enormous stack of unfolded laundry sitting in my house. I'm not sure which, but I'm a little peeved right now. Where's the referee when we need him because people are changing the rules of engagement as we go along and it's just not kosher with me folks.

As believers, we have a great responsibility. I think Francis Schaeffer said it best when he wrote

"...it is then up to Christians to show that Christianity is the truth of total reality in the open marketplace of freedom..."
Now all we need is an open marketplace of freedom.

Posted by Ambra in Culture | Link to This Entry
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The Lighter Side of the News
June 25, 2004

Parisian Phat Wedding

Indian steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal paid $60 million for his 23 year-old daughter Vanisha's recent 1500 guest, 6-day Paris, France wedding event which reportedly included renting the entire "Jardon du Tuileries". I'll remember to bring this up one of these days when I'm asking my father to foot the bill. Any amount seems reasonable compared to this. I think of so many more productive things to do with $60 million.

The Rich Man's Woodstock
A recent John Kerry fundraiser brought all of liberal Hollywood out of the the woodworks. Attendees included Barbara Streisand, Jamie Foxx, Angie Stone and comedian/actor Billy Crystal who remarked, "It's just like Woodstock, only for rich people." My sentiments exactly.

High Schooler Dwight Howard #1 Draft pick
Howard, a high school senior in Atlanta was the number one pick to the Orlando Magic (they could use it). He is by the way, a born-again Christian and a virgin; not necessarily something that should be celebrated since it's a basic expectation. However, considering the times and seasons, that's quite a feat. I should know. But to the pros straight out of high school? I'm not so sure. Somebody better warn him about the floozy-hoes now. Let's pray he sets a better precedent than that of adulterer Kobe Bryant and follows the path of AC Green. Except, I wouldn't pray 39-year virginity on anyone. God bless Dwight with a wife...soon.

In other news, my company's stock hit $44.25 today. That surely puts a smile on my face as I intend on selling...quickly. I'm off for the weekend. I am feeling the insatiable urge to go swimming. Enjoy the sun/son.

Posted by Ambra in Culture | Link to This Entry
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Comment Bag

A kind reader has brought a slight correction to my attention in reference to my "Tools of the 21st Century Part Deux" post, and I figured it warranted a public comment:

Ruthie Wrote:

I was surprised that as lovely a blog as yours could be so poorly researched. But then my husband reminded me that people with fine design skills don't necessarily have fact checking skills as well. I can't find any instance of the ACLU endorsing a political candidate. I see that they have endorsed some ballot initiatives. Could you tell me where you found ACLU endorsing candidates?

By the way, if you want to know how non-profit organizations are financed, you can check their IRS 990 forms online for free at Guidestar.org.


Hi Ruthie,

Thanks for writing. I'll address each of your points individually:

1) An attempt to be snide regarding my design/research skills is pretty much laughable due to the fact that even though I designed my layout, I'm actually in fact not a good designer and I don't really have any design skills. But thanks for the compliment, sort of.

2) Is the entire blog really poorly researched? Or are you just a fan of the ACLU? In fact, how many posts did you read? Just curious. That's a pretty outright statement considering one visit.

3) Starting your comment with an insult in the first sentence kind of puts a damper on how your most appreciated insight will be received. That's just a general tip for the future.

4) You're right, the ACLU doesn't directly endorse candidates, but they do indirectly and that's what I was getting at. They make outright statements like (blank candidate) is a "CARD-CARRYING MEMBER OF THE ACLU" and what not. They also endorse many partisan Bills, Initiatives, and Referendums. Many of which happen to be sponsored by none other than Democrats.

5) I don't need to check to see how non-profits are financed. You can simply read their annual report which most publish via their website.

Lastly, just for clarity, I have no problems with nonprofits (although some of them pay beans and have horrible benefits). I plan on starting one myself in the future and my mother is the Artistic Director of one. I just don't like the nonprofits I named and what they stand for. It's a poor use of tax-exempt status if you ask me. And out of oh one million or so nonprofits in this world, I'd say that's pretty good (even though Part 3's still coming).

Thanks for chiming in,
Ambra

Posted by Ambra in Politics | Link to This Entry
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The Most Productive Way to Waste Nine Dollars and Fifty-Cents
[click to enlarge]
Posted by Ambra in Culture | Link to This Entry
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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