Entries Posted in "November 2004"

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Gotta Love Diplomacy
November 30, 2004

It's George and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat! In what I'm certain was an effort at embracing the culture, President George Bush--shown here with Chilean President Ricardo Lagos (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) in Santiago last week--donned a traditional style poncho. Unfortunately, both he and Putin look silly next to President Lagos who wears his quite well.

I think this qualifies for a Fashion Faux Pas.

Posted by Ambra in Politics | Link to This Entry | Comments { 8 }
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How to Charm Me
November 29, 2004

Some advice: if you ever need a pick-me-up, I highly suggest designing your own holiday reader appreciation card and offering it to people who read your blog because you will get a ton of really really nice emails from people coming out of the woodworks. And even from the NETHERLANDS!

This excerpt from one particular email made me laugh:

"I think you should promote your site as a 'Vicarious Read for Cubical Detainees'"
So with that said, I'm melting like butter budda and am thus taking the cap off how many cards I'll send out. So if anyone else would still like one, you know the drill; send a mailing address to cards@nykola.com.

Posted by Ambra in Blogging | Link to This Entry | Comments { 3 }
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I'm Sorry for This Too

In honor of the conclusion of what I've called "The National Month of Sorrow", I'd like to highlight this photo, with the following apology to the world:

"I'm sorry that the college culture in America is breeding stupidism, binge-drinking, useless partying and hapless young adults meandering around the streets with no purpose."

Posted by Ambra in Culture | Link to This Entry | Comments { 22 }
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Column's Up

The Two Faces of Hip-Hop

My column this week fisks the duality present in the conscience of the hip-hop culture. In short, the leaders of the culture use selective morality also known as relative morality. I always believe that a culture that doesn't draw a line is more dangerous than a culture that is blatantly hedonistic.

Posted by Ambra in Culture | Link to This Entry | Comments { 4 }
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The Requisite Monthly Rant: for the record, Republican doesn't equal "Moral" or "Righteous"

Throughout the course of my brief time as a writer, I've generally been able to pin "opponents" by brand. There's the "You're Too Young to Know Anything So Go Back and Finish College First" brand of people. There's also the "I Think You're an Uncle Tom, Coon, Sell-out Because You Talked Bad About Jesse Jackson And it Rubbed Me the Wrong Way" brand of people. Lastly, there's my personal favorite: the "I'm An Atheist and A Democrat and I Think You're Stooopid" brand of people. I am quite familiar with all these schools of thought. However, just when you think you're on top of your game, a new brand emerges. Well, somewhat new to me at least. Earlier this summer, I was introduced to what appears to be the most dangerous of all the brands of opposition: the "I'm a Republican and Am Therefore by Default Righteous and Moral" people. Boy does this one open up a can of worms. These people are dangerous because they are deceived.

For whatever reason (personal attachment perhaps), quite a few individuals have taken umbrage with the fact that A) I am not a Republican and B) I refuse to believe that the sun shines out of the Republican Party's posterior. That said, I feel the need to make something clear: being a Republican does not equate to righteousness or morality any more than being a member of a particular denomination makes someone a follower of Jesus Christ. Republicans are not the saviors of the world; they're not even the saviors of the government. They are a political party capable of wrongdoing like anyone else.

What's more disturbing to me is our society's definition of "Conservatism". Look, I don't pretend to be an expert on these things, but the face of Conservatism in America is in my most humble opinion, sketchy. I say this because from one person to the next, there are a zillion different brands of what it means to profess "Conservative values". It's almost cringe-worthy.

These days, people should be apprehensive about calling themselves any political title with all the poor and confusing representations out there for the naked eye to see.

Take the case of noted homosexual author Andrew Sullivan, whose sexual orientation I point out only because it appears that his entire identity and framework for thinking is wrapped up in it (which is only to be expected). Sullivan has long been touted as a prominent Conservative writer or what I call the "Gay hope of the Right". The "Right" of course, seems to hold on to him with a death grip while simultaneously transmitting the subliminal signal of, "Hey look, you can be a conservative and be gay too so like us please like us, we're not homophobic, really we're not!" And yet, on just about every social issue, Mr. Sullivan and I contend.

Recently, I read one of Sullivan's articles in which he pins Pixar's latest flick "The Incredibles" as too conservative. Apparently, the mother and father figure family representation is just too preachy. Which leads me to the next question of what exactly is everyone trying to "conserve" these days? Conserve what? Conserve who? If I may utilize one of my favorite phrases known to the late nineties, "Bump that." Some of the individuals who claim themselves to be Conservatives are not interested in conserving much of anything let alone traditional values.

Enter this whole idea of people being "socially liberal" and "fiscally conservative". Whatever. I'm not going to get into how much that bothers me because I realize that people are entitled to think and believe whatever they want to. But I will say this: I'm so tired of everyone defining their identity by a political ideology. Throughout my life, I've made a fairly good effort not to allow myself to succumb to the pressure of conforming to other peoples' beliefs about what's right for this country.

I'm tired of the high and mighty attitude that accompanies the Republican Party wherein there too is evil and wickedness and improper motives. It bothers me that on any given day, I can read the words of people who profess to be "Conservative" or "Republican" and want to hurl. Yes, hurl. Because well, I am being reminded of the painful reality that the existence of political parties has given birth to a collective false sense of righteousness that God never intended.

So I'm sorry to all of those who are irritated that I won't worship at the altar of the Republican Party. A political party or ideology will never get my worship (nor should it). Republicans certainly are a sacred cow these days. For the record, Conservative does not equal Republican, nor vice versa. Unfortunately, the idea of what it means to be "Conservative" is up for extensive debate and equating any of these things to morality or righteousness will ultimately be to our demise.

Quite frankly, it's all getting a little disgusting.

Posted by Ambra in Requisite Monthly Rant | Link to This Entry | Comments { 13 }
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Reader Appreciation
November 26, 2004

(Yes there's a typo in my graphic, it's appreciation, I know. Shuddup okay, I'll change it later). A lonnnnnng time ago, I promised that I'd give my readers a present. Well, the time has now descended upon us and I will hold up my end of the bargain...sorta.

This past week, "we" here at nykola.com headquarters began working on the "First Annual (until I get tired of it or I end this weblog or whichever comes first) Nykola.com Reader Appreciation Holiday Card", prepared and designed from scratch by yours truly with that extra flair of "cooky" and just plain silliness.

So here's how I'm gonna do it, the first 50 undecided number of readers to email their name and mailing address to cards@nykola.com shall receive this lovely handmade token of my appreciation in your mailbox.

Update 11/26: I love you people very much, so I'm going to excercise extreme patience when I say: Please email me more information than just "I want one". A mailing address is fairly favorable (and somewhat necessary) for this operation to go down. Perhaps it seems that I'm stating the obvious...yeah I thought so too 14 hours ago. But never underestimate the complicated nature of the blog reader's mind.

  • If you are international, I'll do my very best but I won't make promises.
  • If you are a man and you are married, for love's sake, tell your wife ahead of time so she doesn't look suspiciously upon some random black Seattle chick sending her husband a greeting card.
  • If you don't feel comfortable sending me (someone who has admitted to you that she urinated on herself at age 16) your address, that's perfectly fine...just don't expect a card.
  • Your address will not be sold to a third party (I mean really, what kind of operation do you think I'm running here?) but only used for this purpose, I promise.
  • Why just 50? a select number? Because I have bills people. Supplies cost money. So do stamps.
  • No powdery substances will be included. I'd never do that. It could totally ruin my credibilty.
  • If you've never ever commented before on this site, you too are still eligible for a card.
Lastly, please know this is in the true nothing-in-return-spirit. It's just me holding up my end of the bargain, showing ya'll that my weblog would be a little less pleasant if there weren't people stopping by to read every day.
Posted by Ambra in Blogging | Link to This Entry | Comments { 22 }
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Revenge on the Pills

There are numerous philosophies that surround the morality of birth control. There are some who are staunchly opposed to birth control in all of its forms. Less than a decade ago, this meant condoms, birth control pills, and everything in between. There is a significant debate going on amongst those who feel that even "the pill" is both unhealthy and a hindrance to the body's natural process. These people prefer natural methods of birth control, and usually have upwards of 13 children. More power to them. Today I'm not entirely interested in that debate because I think it to be a matter of personal conviction between a couple (ahem, a married couple) and God. I bring this up because today, birth control has expanded to include the "morning after pill", a last minute attempt to end a would-be pregnancy. Many qualify this as a step further than contraception, but few if any pro-life groups have gone as far as to call it abortion because there is currently no way to know if fertilization has occurred so soon after intercourse. But I'll tell you what I call it--another reason for people to be sexually reckless.

Back in 1999, Wal-Mart caused quite a stir when they decided that their national retail chain of stores would not sell "Preven" (the morning after drug) in any of their pharmacies. They cited it as a business decision. Immediately thereafter, family planning advocates (read: Planned Parenthood) were up in arms. Gloria Feldt, president of Planned Parenthood was noted as saying:

"Pharmacies have a moral obligation to provide health care to women, and frankly, emergency contraception prevents unintended pregnancies...There are many tens of millions of women of reproductive age in this country. Meeting their needs is an extremely good business decision."
Strongarming Wal-Mart into carrying yet another contribution to our society's casual sex philosophy didn't seem to work. And since then, there have been many privately owned pharmacies that have chosen not to carry the "morning after pill". One pharmacy in particular, owned by Lloyd Duplantis in Gray, Louisiana, has chosen not to carry any type of contraception.

"Lloyd's Pharmacy" as it's called, was recently in the media when a woman got upset because she couldn't get her birth control prescription filled. Duplantis, who is the president of "Pharmacists for Life International" told CBS cameras:

"I don't sell condoms. I don't sell foams. I don't sell creams. I don't sell anything to do with contraception."
There are many who may take issue with Duplantis being so extreme in how he runs his business. After all, even most married couples use some form of contraception. But there is something admirable in the fact that Duplantis wants to run his business according to the principles on which he stands. We will all be held accountable to our consciences and as a privately owned pharmacy, Duplantis is certainly within his rights to stock whatever drugs he sees fit.

Whatever your feelings on contraception, there is a certain reality at work in our society. We live in a murky culture full of sexual compromise and meaningless sex. The condom industry isn't racking up sales from Mr. & Mrs. Johnson; they're racking up sales from teenagers and adults who are having sex with multiple partners. Remember "Jimmie Hatz" the "urban" condom? That was directly targeted to young people. Earlier this year, the pharmaceutical company "Barr Laboratories" sought FDA approval to make "Plan B" (another version of the morning after pill) available over the counter. The reason they did this was to get it into the hands of those unable to easily get a prescription. Read between the lines and the agenda is quite clear. Get them hooked early, and get them hooked young.

The reality is that the people most worried about an unwanted pregnancy are the ones who are unmarried and uncommitted. This is not to say that married couples don't worry, but the threat is certainly significantly greater with the person you just met last night at the club versus your own spouse. In the case of Lloyd Duplantis, he feels that supplying contraceptives only supports a greater problem we have in our society and that's the abundance of pre-marital sex.

I feel it important to paint this issue with the right brush because the media will distort things to make the actions of Duplantis and others who've followed suite seem antiquated and discriminatory. No matter what your birth control philosophy, one has to admit that our society needs more people like Lloyd Duplantis to take a hard stance and counter the culture. It makes us think. It sends a message not just concerning birth control, sex, and pregnancy, but also concerning how closely our "work" should be tied with our beliefs. There is a lot of compromise going on even among those who call themselves "Christians" and it certainly is refreshing to see someone put their convictions into action--even if it means bad press.

Posted by Ambra in Culture | Link to This Entry | Comments { 21 }
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Know Your Rebels: Dwight Howard

Rebel: Dwight Howard

Why you should fear him: As a high school senior at Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy, he was the number one overall NBA draft pick of 2004 to the Orlando, Magic and has already staked his position on the court as being an unashamed follower of Jesus Christ out to change the negative image of basketball players. From the time that he was a little boy, he's had the vision to "raise the name of God within the league and throughout the world." For Howard, the NBA is his pulpit, but he plans on preaching through his lifestyle. Howard has an uphill battle ahead of him in a profession that seems to be breeding bad behavior (and infidelity). Howard however, has been open in interviews about remaining a virgin until married and desiring to set a standard of purity amongst a culture of womanizing and casual sex. Not too enveloped by the millionaire lifestyle, Howard is intent on staying humble and grounded by the reality of God's blessings. Plus he's 6-foot-10. He will crush you.

Age: 18 until (12/8)

Representing: East Point, Georgia

Status: A forward for the Orlando Magic, nicknamed "Choirboy"

Achievements: Winner of the 2004 Naismith Award, signifying the nation’s top high school player. Winner of the Morgan Wooten High School Player of the Year award. Named McDonald’s National High School Player of the Year. Named Co-MVP of the 2004 McDonald’s High School All-America game. Played in the EA Sports Roundball Classic. Named to the PARADE Magazine All-American Team.

Articles: On a Mission from God - ESPN, Howard has plenty of faith on and off court - USA Today

Posted by Ambra in Culture | Link to This Entry | Comments { 11 }
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So I was thinking...
November 25, 2004

One of the signs that your celebrity career has jumped the shark must be when you get asked to perform or partake in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Just an observation. Continue in the festivities...I know I will.

Posted by Ambra in Culture | Link to This Entry | Comments { 8 }
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A Question I Need Answered
November 24, 2004

Why does the Devil need an advocate?

Posted by Ambra in Theocracy | Link to This Entry | Comments { 10 }
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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