Entries Posted in "September 2004"

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
September 30, 2004

[ File these under "Life" ]
Life presents us certain moments that tell us a bit about ourselves. On Thursday night, while driving down a non-busy street, minding my own business, acting like a good American citizen, a huge Yukon Denali makes an erratic turn, runs a red light and comes barreling towards my driver's side door. I had the right of away. Apparently, he didn't care.

Thankfully, being a dancer gave me great reflexes and I was able to veer off, screetching my breaks and honking my horn simultaneously. He did the same and we missed eachother by an inch. Just to be sure I wasn't going to have to deal with insurance agents, I hopped out to assess potential damage. Nothing.

The assailant, clearly not willing to admit he could've wiped out my life by his failure to abide by the law, jumps out to declare, "I didn't even see you," how responsible of him. I then caught a glimpse of the sticker on his car window. It read, "Kerry/Edwards 2004."

"Figures," I thought. And what does it say about me that I even thought that? Time for a self-check. Not cool.

In other news...there's nothing like getting a birthday card from your mom that reads,

"When I think of you and the beautiful, intelligent, self-assertive, and directed young woman you have become, I am so proud that God chose me to be your mother."
Turns out I'm not a screw-up after all.

Posted by Ambra in Life | Link to This Entry | Comments { 5 }
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The Alan Keyes Lesbian Daughter Scandal

Over the past couple of days, Democrat vampires have been giving themselves hernias over the recent suspicions that Alan Keyes' 19-year-old daughter, Maya Keyes is a lesbian. Nate Livingston of "Black Cincinnati Blog" seems to think that conservatives, especially black, Christian ones are hiding out on this issue,

For all their holier-than-thou lecturing to us common folks, our friendly neighborhood Christian conservatives seem mighty silent on the Maya Keyes situation. It's not just the white Christian bloggers who remain silent, everyday I read a number of blogs run by people who call themselves Black Christian conservatives but I have yet to read where one of them has called for Alan Keyes' to publicly comment on the scandal, encourage his daughter to fess up and sin no more, and take personal responsibility for his prior statements.
I assume the "prior statements" to which Livingston is referring would be those where Keyes called homosexuality an "abomination". Since the gauntlet is thrown, don't think I won't have something to say.

First of all, will the entirety of all the blogosphere please get a grip. For goodness' sake, Rathergate has sent the entire Left of the blogosphere running, trying to crack the next big story. The walls are not going to come crashing down on this one folks and I'll tell you why after I confirm the facts. Because I desire to be a "good journalist" (she says half-heartedly), it's worth nothing that everything up until this point is alleged.

Thus far, the abundance of speculation and reporting with regards to this story has taken place on the internet. The last few weeks of CBS scandal have confirmed that if ever there were a place for a story to be cracked, it'd be the internet.

The Democrat-worshipping Daily Kos, (which is by the way, now a "certified" Google news source, God help us all) reported today that a TV host on a local public television show "Chicago Tonight" covered the story on-air Wednesday evening. Other than that, mass media coverage has mostly been nilch. Perhaps most papers and news stations are smart enough to know you have to be careful when you're reporting on speculated information. Then again, that logic doesn't exactly hold up, not even for me. The NY Daily News picked up on it, as well as the ever-wholesome Wonkette, who managed to call Keyes a "rampant homophobe", one of the many words Anna Marie Cox uses incorrectly.

So here's the media's (and mostly Liberals') beef: they want Keyes to come out (for lack of a better phrase) with a statement on this whole situation. No doubt, there is ultimately hope that Keyes will be forced to back off from his harsh stance against the homosexual lifestyle. This is of course, the goal of those who support the "non-existent agenda"--to discredit those who are against them.

The Illinois Leader, a Conservative news source, also noted Keyes' silence in a recent Southside Chicago Town Hall meeting,

"the press was anticipating that Ambassador Keyes would break news Monday night in response to web-related questions which began to appear over the weekend on gay blogs and gradually found their way onto Rich Miller's CapitolFax Monday morning.

Miller's daily newsletter alluded Monday to an expected revelation as to whether Alan Keyes' 19 year old daughter Maya and Vice President Dick Cheney's daughter Mary could have similar sexual proclivities.

All day Monday web bloggers fanned the rumor flame and discussion loops added to the speculation that Keyes, who has been outspoken in the U.S. Senate campaign against the homosexual lifestyle, may parent a teenager who has experimented with homosexuality and has posted photos of herself and her girlfriend on the internet.

But as Keyes left the Southside township meeting exiting directly behind the podium, he was uncharacteristically resistant to media questions as he quickly slid into the passenger front seat of his white Lincoln Continental with his daughter Maya in the back seat. Neither of the two chose to respond to questions being raised "all over the internet" one reporter said, about Keyes' daughter.

The fact that Maya Keyes is only 19-years-old will be a concern to many. I need to compile my research and I'll opine definitively on this tomorrow. I've already drawn my conclusions, but it's always nice to back it up with facts. And what pray tell does the peanut gallery have to say to this?

Posted by Ambra in Politics | Link to This Entry | Comments { 19 }
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Why My Peers are Voting for Bush

Twenty-year-old Ben Shapiro, columnist, law student, speechwriter, and "Young Republican" (by the way, I dated one of those once...never again), writes on why people in our age bracket are voting for Bush:

"People my age don't vote much. This election should break from that pattern. While a lower percent of 18-year-olds to 30-year-olds will vote than those in other age ranges, the percent will rise from 2000. And there's no guarantee that the youth vote will be a boon for Sen. John Kerry. In fact, the latest Washington Post/ABC poll shows George W. Bush holding a 53-41 percent lead among those aged 18 to 30, the highest level of support for Bush among any age group.

Young people are turning more and more away from the solutions of the Democratic Party. The old adage that as people age they tend to become more Republican is being turned on its head in this election: The Washington Post/ABC poll shows that Kerry's support comes from those among the 61 or older population. A September 2002 University of California at Berkeley study showed that on certain social issues, young people were more likely than their elders to slant conservative. Those between ages 15 and 22 showed markedly more support for school prayer, faith-based initiatives and government restrictions on abortion than adults over 26. Virginity rates are rising, and teenage pregnancy rates are dropping."

Shapiro goes on to note the discrepancies within the 18 to 20 crowd:
"The evidence isn't unanimous, however. The 18 to 30 crowd has the lowest approval ratings for President Bush of any voting group. My peers largely support the gay activist agenda and higher education costs, and feel that depictions of violence and sex in mass media do little harm. Those virginity statistics may be misleading: There is a rising contingent of young people who have oral sex but still count themselves virgins. Only 41 percent of 18 to 30s say President Bush shares their values, while 45 percent say John Kerry does -- it's the only age group to sympathize with Kerry's values over Bush's."
Shapiro's further analysis is worth reading. Within my social circle, my peers are most definitely divided, even though many of us share in the same moral worldview. A good take away from this article, and also worth noting by the older generation is that the younger generation is not as monolithic as our culture would paint us to be. Even within our age bracket, you will find people at opposite ends of the spectrum.

Posted by Ambra in Politics | Link to This Entry | Comments { 6 }
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Inventory

Believe it or not, there is a matter of strategy that goes into what I post on this website. I do not buckshot, nor do I generally shoot from the hip (I stress generally). This is not CNN, CSPAN, or any other affiliate and therefore I am not obligated to cover every angle and matter of media. That would be boring. That would be ordinary. That would be Barbara Walters. And guess what? I don't have advertisers, nor am I running for public office or being paid by my viewers or some immoral publisher and thus I have no loyalties to what I can and cannot discuss 'round these parts. It is a position I quite like as of now. How I discuss issues is always up for debate, but in all things, I believe I am at least civil.

The driver's seat from this weblog is interesting in that I can pretty much predict who will comment on what I write and how. The rare times that the predictability is gone amazes me. Still, I always enjoy the feedback and tangents people go on. I learn a lot from my commenters.

That said, I do find it highly amusing that certain people have suggested that I "harp" on a few issues a little too often. My understanding of "too often" implies that there is some sort of norm for how many times any particular subject can be discussed on one's personal website that they in fact pay for out of their own pocket. This ladies and gentlemen, is just silly.

I also understand that for whatever reason of personal offense and/or sacredness, tunnel vision often sets in as well as the illusions of grandeur and the "discerning reader" now becomes the dramaturg/editor/conspiracy theorist, searching out my weblog for key words to further prove their suspicions that I have purposed my entire identity as a writer on the discussion of one single, solitary issue.

A few people on more than one occasion, have suggested that I discuss "gay issues" too often. More often than say, Andrew Sullivan? And since I'm certain no one is complaining about me talking about being "happy" and "merry" too ofen, by "gay issues", I suppose they mean the same issues that are first being reported in increasing measure by our very credible, very un-biased newspapers and MSM, discussed in our very non-partisan Capitol, and taught in our very even-sided public schools.

I would prefer not to embarrass those making such accusations by reverting to my inner math nerd and pulling out the hard statistics which can prove that not only do I talk about "gay issues" less than I make of fun of the NAACP, Al Sharpton, and Michael Moore, but in all my 333 some odd posts thus far, I've probably discussed the "non existent agenda" in less than 2% of them.

I regret to inform said individuals that if they are offended by less than 2%, then perhaps I should be offended by the more than 75% I have to see every time I attempt to watch television or go to a movie.

It is rather telling however, that no one seems to voice a problem with me discussing abortion, John Kerry, black politicians, or any other matter of politics in increasing frequency. Yes, rather telling indeed. It seems we've hit the taboo subject of the century. The subject everyone else can discuss openly so long as its praised and accepted. I find that highly amusing.

Posted by Ambra in Politics | Link to This Entry | Comments { 20 }
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Agenda? What agenda?

This is the direction in which America shall head if we're not careful. Tuesday, it was announced that France is launching its first ever gay television channel, "PinkTV". The AP reports:

The transgender sportscaster wears a miniskirt, the porn is gay, lesbian and bisexual, and Wonder Woman will be on every night at seven. France's first gay television channel, PinkTV, is an eye-opener. And that's the point. Pink's founders believe there's a ready audience for the channel, and not just among France's estimated 3.5 million gays.

Pink's "a giant leap for television, a small step in high heels," said presenter Eric Gueho in a promotional clip shown at the channel's unveiling Tuesday, which was feted with pink champagne.

Oh but it gets worse (emphasis mine):
France has in recent years made big strides, legally recognizing gay couples and electing a gay mayor for Paris. Homophobic remarks will be punishable with prison and fines under a draft law expected to be debated in parliament before the year's end.
.....................
But Pink is the first nationally broadcast gay channel of its kind, said its founder and president, Pascal Houzelot. Pink is aiming for at least 180,000 subscribers. Houzelot said he expects half the audience will be in the Paris region.

"Pink is coming at the right moment," he said. "There's an evident change in mentalities. We've seen society changed. We've seen the law change ... In France, we can clearly say that gays have gone from the era of tolerance to the era of legality, which simply means equality."
.....................
There'll be debates Mondays on homophobia, gay unions, gay parenthood and other topics, a chat show Thursdays and X-rated films four nights a week after midnight. The actors will wear condoms.

Oh great, Condoms too! How "safe" of them. The article also noted some strides in Britain to produce similar programming, citing two recent efforts, "GayTV" (because apparently, HGTV isn't already gay enough), and "GayDate", a teleshopping channel (because we all know there are just obvious differences between "gay" shopping and "hetero" shopping right?). No comment.

While we're on the topic of HGTV (Home Garden Television Network) and the non-existent agenda I'm pretending to discuss, I feel the need to point out the fact that a few weeks ago, when I saw Bill Cosby live here in Seattle, he too spoke about how sick he was of hearing (and I quote) "lisp-ing men" talking about drapes at three o'clock in the morning. Further proof that "the Cos" just plain rocks. You will never have him Liberals, you will never have him!

But back to the non-existent agenda. Honestly, this "television venture" is no suprise coming from a country like France. In general, Europe is a bit more "advanced" than we in their definitions of "liberty". Here in America, we think these things are far from us, but I caution us, the decisions we make politically with regards to the "non-existent agenda" over the next decade will have a profound impact on the morality of our country. Until then, PinkTV's president Houzelot notes (emphasis mine),

"Perhaps we'll set ourselves apart in the way we tackle subjects and the subjects that we tackle. Clearly, it will address itself in the first instance to gays but is much larger than that and will, I hope, seduce a diversified public."
Hello public.

Posted by Ambra in Culture | Link to This Entry | Comments { 18 }
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One of the Rare Occasions I'll Call Myself a Victim
September 29, 2004

So riddle me this: why is it not okay to ask an older woman her age, but younger women must supply their age to the masses on a consistent basis? In light of a recent event in my life, I feel it necessary to address a most troubling double-standard.

I have never quite been able to wrap my mind around the whole "I'm too embarrassed, uncomfortable or insecure to tell you my age" mentality. I mean, sure, I'm young so perhaps that will change in the future, but I have always grown up in a family full of black women who had no problem telling you how old they were, what year they were born in, and would even go as far as to name off the current events that took place in that year as proof of the fact that they were they age they claimed to be. Furthermore, age was not only comfortable voiced in my family, it was flaunted and used as a weapon to the likes of, "Well I'm "X" years-old and I've lived a little longer than you so shut your smart, 'know-it-all' mouth, you little precocious girl you!" Perhaps that was just my family.

It is increasingly evident that human beings--Americans more particularly--don't like the aging process. Maybe it's the idea of impending death and most peoples' ambiguous non-reality of an afterlife, or fear of the unknown, but with the more widespread use of Botox, collagen shots, plastic surgery, tummy tucks, and face lifts, women especially, have sought out a means of remaining "forever young".

Today, the search for the fountain of youth presses onward with the new trends in health consciousness, wellness, "spirituality" and lifestyle changes. I am certain this is a good direction, but it won't be without a few capitalistic ventures. If CNN told the country that eating pigs feet would automatically reduce wrinkles, we would immediately have a pig-slaughtering epidemic on our hands.

In attempts to keep up with "Hollywood" and the so-called images of how a certain age should look, women will go to great lengths to either hide, defy, or ignore their age. Quite simply, I don't get it. Well, I do, but I reject it.

I probably get asked my age at least five times a week. I would like to think there are a couple of reasons for this. One being, I probably sound older than I look, and the cognitive dissonance of clearly articulated thoughts and words coming from the mouth of someone who when donning blue jeans can easily pass for "sixteen", is a bit much for many to handle. Two being, I both look and actually am too young to have the job I do and thus people in the workplace feel they have the moral responsibility to point this out in front of everyone at business meetings. Three being, quite simply, young people don't have feelings and thus we are exempt from being treated like everyone else.

My first inclination of this reality is to get irritated and persnickety because for every person who simply asks out of burning curiosity, there is someone else who asks so they can treat me accordingly. Unfortunately for me, my general "I don't care what you think" attitude can't really co-exist with the socially-driven responsibility to be irritated I feel I must have. I mean, can you ever imagine sitting in a presentation and asking the middle-aged woman presenter, "Oh by the way, how old are you?" I think not. And what exactly is "middle-aged" anyway? Different things to different people.

Our society doesn't usually view seniority as a good thing. Well, except in academia and broadcast journalism, in which case, the more decrepit and crusty-looking you are, the better. A few years ago, an associate of mine turned the big 50 and when her birthday rolled around, she requested that we not announce her age to others. That was of course, her choice, but what's not to be proud of about making it half a century? Everyone doesn't have to gloat like Oprah, but at least represent for your decade! Instead, many would that no one know their age and do their best to conceal it.

Tangentially, there is a lot more that can be said cause/effect wise on our increased treatment of seniors like second-class citizens. We are the throw away generation. Once we don't feel we have a use for something, we dispose of it (or put it in a convalescent home). Other countries and cultures I've encountered seem to do a much better job of revering and respecting those who are senior in age. In doing so, they encourage others to embrace all that comes with wisdom and aging. Not so in America, and television doesn't help this, but that's another topic.

Honestly, I don't mind being asked my age because I am proud and will continue to be proud of the years I've been blessed with thus far. There are times when it works against me, but if anything, supplying my age gives me an opportunity to re-define stereotypes for those who'd like to put me on their monolithic timeline. Still, I can't help but wonder A) Why Americans are so hung-up on age? and B) Why there is an age double standard for young people.

Posted by Ambra in Culture | Link to This Entry | Comments { 5 }
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NYKOLA.COM v. 3.0

Addendum (9/29): This site design will be changing soon.

I am happy to officially report that indeed there is a balm in Gilead. Yes; I have confirmed that there is emotional healing available after a nightmarish web fiasco. I feel like I just went through a nasty custody battle. The computer was trying to take my child weblog. Thankfully, in the wee hours of the morning, I won.

The last few days tested the repetoire of my Christian profanity. The number of "hecks, darns, craps and dangits" I've uttered over this past week are too numerous to count. But since my mother might be reading this, I'm going to say only "10 times" okay, geez.

If it wasn't already bad enough that my re-design sent me into literal configuration Hades, Blogger, my now old and defunct publishing platform went all illegitimate child on me and stopped working. To them I officially say good riddance! Don't let the door knob hitcha where the good lord splitcha!

Special thanks to Erica, a reader, Movable Type installer, and receiver of my late night complaining via yahoo instant messager. Erica, There is a special place in blog heaven for you.

About the re-configuration: If it's not abundantly clear, I try not to take myself too seriously and this is the design at which I arrived to convey that point. It'll make do until I "officially" have to grow up, mature and start using geriatric colors like grey, brown, and chartreuse.

I kept the black cartoon chick by popular demand. Now she's not only fashionable, but also "peering" over the edge of political correctness.

Comments are now imbedded. I'm actually a bigger fan of "pop-up" comments, but at 2 o'clock in the morning, you stop being picky. We'll see how much I like it. Comments from my old site are slowly being imported over. There's too much good stuff on there for me to just let it go. I've not abandoned links either. They are getting an overhaul and will be up shortly.

Lastly, as always, please let me know if you experience any difficulties with the site (e.g. slow-loading, strange layout, missing info, etc.).

Fret not. I'm back with a vengeance. New posts in a bit...there is much to talk about. I'm bursting.

Posted by Ambra in Blogging | Link to This Entry | Comments { 19 }
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Overheard 'Round the Office

Co-worker #1: Does anyone know if Halloween is a holiday exclusive to the United States?
*The Smart Chick: I think it is.
Co-worker #2: Yeah, because my sister lives in Copenhagen and she said that in Denmark, they think it's really weird that we celebrate...
Co-worker #1: spirits!?
*The Smart Chick: Yeah tell me about it. And evil ones at that.
Co-worker #3: HA. America...it's full of pagans.

My sentiments exactly. It turns out Halloween is not exclusive to the U.S. in origin, although, the motivation behind something like "All Hollow's Eve" has varying manifestations around the world such as "All Saints Day" or "Day of the Dead". It's amazing what temporary consciousness people have in the workplace. More on this later.

*The "Smart Chick" is me.

Posted by Ambra in Culture | Link to This Entry | Comments { 11 }
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From the Desk of Ambra Nykol

Thanks everyone for the birthday wishes, comments, e-cards, and emails. I had some trouble reading them because my vision has been deteriorating since I hit the big 23.

I also thank those who gave compliments on my hat, but still managed to poke fun at my horizontally striped shirt. Your names were filed under, "People I Should Party With".

Sincerely,
the nykola.com proprietress

Posted by Ambra in Blogging | Link to This Entry | Comments { 1 }
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Things I Should Know by Now
September 24, 2004

Tomorrow, I go to the dark side of 23. I don't have a problem with aging, I'm just not a big fan of prime numbers. In any case, I think this age will suffice. Still, I am mourning the loss of 22. Twenty-two was so nice, so round, so evenly divided by two.

This past year, I grew leaps and bounds. I didn't graduate from college, but instead graduated from regret (and boy does it feel good). With every year comes new realizations and thus I give you my analysis of the knowledge I should have amassed by now:

  1. Failure to "Repondez S'il Vous Plait" aka "RSVP" is tacky.
  2. No matter how nice, likeable, mean, or detestable you are, people will always find a reason to hate you. People are fickle, get over it. Plus, who cares.
  3. Obedience is a quadrip-tillion-gaggle times better than Sacrifice.
  4. Every problem, big or small, has a solution that originates in prayer.
  5. No amount of counseling, therapy, and chanting will heal the world. Some people (in fact all people) just need Jesus.
  6. Michael Jackson is one of those people.
  7. Life is not fair, and then you die.*
  8. RuPaul is most definitely gay.

  9. There is no glory in evading the police and making it one more day driving with
    expired car tabs. It is shameful (and illegal).
  10. Driving on gasoline fumes because you want to wait until you can fill up at the
    "cheaper" gas station is stupid, dumb and idiotic.
  11. Watching television is generally counter-productive.*
  12. Jeopardy, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, and Family Feud will NEVER send me the $98 million check they owe me for all my "correct" answers
  13. I am lactose intolerant.*
  14. $1.50 charges at the cash machine are evil and to be avoided.
  15. Renting is like throwing money down the toilet.
  16. People who talk too much are usually hiding something.
  17. Credit cards are generally bad.
  18. A good mattress is worth the extra bucks.
  19. Naps are a novelty.
  20. O.J. did it.
  21. Having two living parents who love you is a VERY good thing.
  22. Wealth and Riches are not synonymous terms.
  23. 20 pairs of black shoes is probably enough.
  24. Memorizing appointments doesn't work.
  25. There are consequences to staying up late.
  26. Hats make me look silly.
* Realities that when faced with, I usually ignore.

Posted by Ambra in Life | Link to This Entry | Comments { 22 }
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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