Entries Posted in "March 2005"

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Michael the Thespian
March 11, 2005

William Shakespeare once wrote:

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts...
Michael Jackson is apparently familiar with the works of Mr. Shakespeare because his child molestation trial is day-to-day drama.

Is it not odd that on the day when 15-year-old Gavin Arvizo is testifying about Jackson molesting him, people aren't talking about the trial, but instead discussing what Jackson was wearing? Brilliant that Michael Jackson. What a crock.

Umbrellas, costumes, dancing on top of cars, sickness, back pain, hospital stays, tardiness, tears, and now pajamas. Distractions, distractions. The man is making a mockery of the judicial process and only reinforcing his mental instability. Enough of the Michael Jackson show.

Jackson, pull yourself together.

Posted by Ambra in Pop Culture | Link to This Entry | Comments { 4 }
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Premium Linkage

I've stated in the past that I'm a bad linker. I embrace it. One of the unwritten rules of the "blogosphere" is that you're supposed to link frequently to other weblogs. I could write the book on how to break that rule. Do you know why? Because it takes so much bloody effort, and let's face it, writing every day takes too much time to be worried about trying to give props to the entire world wide web. Plus, I try to read everything I link and the minute I send someone somewhere, they take it as my endorsement and I'm not always comfortable with that. I think linking is great, but it's also very time-consuming.

While I intensely dislike it when people email me asking me for a link-exchange, I love when people send me links to stories, news, or blog postings. I'm lazy like that. This said, I'd like to go on record as stating that I always welcome leads, even if they're written by you (yes it's pretentious, but in this case, I'm asking. I don't link everything I get, but it sure makes my job easier. Thank you.

This has been a public service announcement.

Posted by Ambra in Linkology | Link to This Entry | Comments { 6 }
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Caught In a Fashion Faux-Pas
March 10, 2005

Remember good citizens: money doesn't necessarily buy taste. Just ask Donald Trump. He's the one responsible for decorating the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. I know purple is the color of royalty but gawl-lee.

I haven't done a "Fashion Faux-Pas" in awhile. Today's fashion faux-pas is a celebrity one. The image you see here is that of Mr. Johnny (I'm always serious and obscure) Depp at this year's Oscar Awards ceremony. Suddenly I'm feeling the urge to sing some Beatles lyrics:

"Wait. Oh yes wait a minute Mr. Postman. Wait!
Wai-ai-ai-ait Mr. postman"
Mr. Depp looks less like he is attending a formal event and more like a mail carrier finishing up his evening route. You'll also notice the ensemble isn't replete without the chain and key (as all mail carriers have).

To make matters worse, it appears that Mr. Depp is attempting to redeem himself by coupling wing-tipped shoes with this get-up. Not working.

For the record, it is absolutely not okay to wear Federal Employee-inspired clothing to formal occasions. While I'm certain Johnny is going for the whole "I'm obscure but cool--in fact so cool that I can even pull off polyester" motif, we shouldn't have such low expectations for elusive celebrities.

As always, my camera shall be on the prowl...

Past Faux-Paseses
- Geometry Gone Wild
- George and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
- The Grizzly Bear
- The Blue-Haired, Gun Tights Wonder
- Stripey Girl
- Me Being Stripey Girl
- The Pimp
- The Cowboy Boots

Posted by Ambra in Fashion | Link to This Entry | Comments { 10 }
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Linkology
March 9, 2005
(because there aren't enough hours in the day)

World Barista Championship: Reinforcing the fact that Americans can make a sport of anything, Seattle will host the biggest espresso competition of the year in April. One can only imagine the hyperactivity present at those things.

What Their Mommas Named Them: See a listing of the real names of hip hop and R&B artists. Did you know Foxy Brown (the rapper) was born "Inga Marchand?" Or that "Snoop Doggy Dogg" was born "Cordazer Calvin Broadus." Cordazer!!? Oh I could play with that one for months. Some of these folks have the country bumpkinest sounding names I've seen in a long time. But hey, I think real names are significant. If Oprah (or Ofra, depending on geography) can make her real name popular, anyone can.

Morality TV: Just when you thought they'd done every scenario possible via "reality tv," Fox surprises us again. Their new reality show, "Who Wants to Live Forever," as described by the network, is a show on which " everyday people are confronted with their morality, motivating them to make surprising and dramatic changes in their lifestyles." I must say, I am very curious to know what standard of morality we're talking here....people who smoke? people don't make their beds? This one should be uh, interesting. Let me know how it goes.

Colorado University Keeps Churchill but Dumps Christian: Professor Phil Mitchell, a twenty-year CU veteran has not been invited back and he feels it's for both political and religious reasons. Kevin McCullough takes issue with this. Smart, young freelancer, Nicole Russell discusses Churchill's dishonesty and and poor example for younger generations.

Race and Retirement: Old news, but I thought "The Snob" made some interesting points in his piece on "Economic Apartheid and Social Security." I have a luxury of prentending to ignore the whole SS debate. Too bad I can't.

Abortion as Hate Discrimination: Joe at the Evangelical Outpost discusses a piece of Maine legislation that would prohibit abortions on unborn children who posses the "homosexual gene." The bill's sponsor, a conservative state representative is clearly strategic about this. I think it's ridiculous.

Posted by Ambra in Linkology | Link to This Entry | Comments { 12 }
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Ben Shapiro on Jada Pinkett Smith

I never thought I'd see those two names in the same sentence. Commentary on the Harvard/Jada Pinkett Smith disaster keeps on coming.

Before I move on, did you know that Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith have also opted to homeschool their children? My how the anti-family folks will love to hear about that.

Now, onto the good stuff. To those who have vocalized beef with Ben Shapiro and asserted that his "youth" and political naïveté render him incapable of having wisdom or formulating opinions, I have a doozie for you. I rarely quote at length, but Shapiro's most recent column is worth it. Quite simply, the boy is preachin':

The BGLTSA, as a wing of the radical homosexual movement, is looking to broaden the definition of normality to include deviant behavior. They're not looking for passive tolerance. They're looking for active acceptance. Now, ignoring homosexuality is no longer allowable; we must instead champion it, equating it with heterosexuality. In fact, homosexuality must be prized over heterosexuality; an open homosexual may proclaim to his heart's content that "dreams can come true -- you can find a same-sex partner," but an open heterosexual may not state that marriage constitutes "having it all."

Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan noted such a broad societal trend toward normalizing the deviant as early as 1993, when he coined the term "defining deviancy down." He posited that "the amount of deviant behavior in American society has increased beyond the levels the community can 'afford to recognize' and that, accordingly, we have been re-defining deviancy so as to exempt much conduct previously stigmatized, and also quietly raising the 'normal' level in categories where behavior is now abnormal by any earlier standard."

Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer pointed out that alongside the movement to "define deviancy down," there was a concurrent movement to "define deviancy up": "As part of the vast social project of moral leveling, it is not enough for the deviant to be normalized," Krauthammer wrote. "The normal must be found to be deviant." One of the agendas of the "defining deviancy up" movement, Krauthammer noted, was promoting "an underlying ideology about the inherent aberrancy of all heterosexual relationships."

The Moynihan-Krauthammer prediction has come to pass. Straight men and women may no longer consider themselves normal, unless they also consider homosexuality normal. The rage against "heteronormalism" is rage against traditional societal standards as a whole. Exclusive morality has always offended the immoral. The only difference is that now offensiveness receives a stiffer societal sentence than blatant immorality. This is what political correctness -- the "live and let live" societal model -- has wrought.

The rise of the homosexual movement is a textbook example of societal amorality devolving into societal immorality. The rationale behind societal amorality is the myopic question: "How does my immoral behavior hurt you?" The answer is: It may not, in the short term. But when society sanctions your immoral behavior, that does hurt me. If millions of people accept the deviant as normal, that reshapes society in vastly destructive ways. Your moral self-destruction may have no consequences for me, but destruction of societal standards always has consequences.

That's heat. Read the whole thing.

Other bloggers give commentary:
- Baldilocks
- Matt Rosenberg
- Clayton Cramer
- Parableman

Posted by Ambra in Culture | Link to This Entry | Comments { 7 }
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Washington's Turmoil

Am I the only one to find it prolific that yesterday, the day the Washington State Supreme Court heard arguments on the issue of same-sex marriage, Mount Saint Helens also erupted?

Washington state will most likely be in national news for awhile on both of the above issues. Here is a timeline of the national attempts to define marriage.

(Update 3/8): Glad to know there are so many grammar experts out there. For the record, my use of the word "prolific" was intentional. I did not intend to say "prophetic." That would of course mean something entirely different. Thanks for having my back though.

Posted by Ambra in Culture | Link to This Entry | Comments { 9 }
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Blogger Ethics
March 8, 2005

Just got finished watching the Nightline special on "The Bloggers" (cue the "dun dun dun" music). Are we the adversary now or what? I'll be glad when the day comes that Nightline can do a story on bloggers that doesn't reek of geekiness. Gosh we sure sound like a band of pocket-protector-wearing, anti-social nerds. And yes, I already hear the joke coming on. Save it.

The media's coverage of "blogging" has generally been relegated to two main topics: stories about how blogs have impacted media and forced journalists to resign, and stories about people getting fired for blogging. As with all major news stories on blogging, this one offered nothing new. What it did do was reinforce to me exactly how ignorant the majority of our society is to the "blogosphere" (hate that term). The whole segment on "links" drove this point home. If people have to have the concept of "links" explained to them, we shouldn't be directing them to read blogs, we should be sending them to computer school.

Nightline spent most of their program interviewing Maura Keaney, a liberal blogger who used the power of the blogosphere (more specifically, The Daily Kos) as a means of bringing down Virginia Delegate John Cosgrove and his bill HB1677--a bill that would require mothers to report fetal deaths to the police within 12 hours of delivery. There's more where that came from. Due to pressure and emails stemming from the buzz created in the blogosphere, Cosgrove withdrew the bill on the grounds that it was too confusing.

In his interview with Keaney, Nightline's John Donvan asked if she felt a responsibility to get answers from Cosgrove and inform him of her "wide" readership before she posted her complaints about the bill. By the end of the interview, I finally realized the gist of the story: "Bloggers and Ethics."

So as with all Nightline programs, the final thought goes as such:

"To their credit, the bloggers have given us in the traditional news business, a swift kick in the pants. Knowing that a vibrant electronic community can galvanize at the drop of a dangling modifier forces all of us to be more careful, accurate and thorough. It's also true that the collective effort and expertise of the blogging community is invaluable for bringing new information to light on almost any subject.

That said, the blinding speed of the blogging world and the tendency of some bloggers to shoot first and answer questions later should raise a yellow flag. Good journalism is tedious. It requires legwork, research, and editing. Even that does not preclude big mistakes that the bloggers themselves have so clearly exposed. But over time, such tedious work is the price of credibility, and the new media kids on the block will have to earn that one blogger at a time."

Then they went on to say some stuff about the next "Nightline" being on Angelina Jolie and her new role as ambassador to the United Nations. Oh dear. And ABC has the nerve to be preaching about credibility? Poppycock.

In related news, Joshua Claybourn of "In the Agora" asks a very pertinent question, "Are newspapers dying?" As printed media, I'd say yes. This being the case, perhaps the blogosphere is more of a threat than anyone would like to admit.

To be honest, all this "official stuff" (lawsuits and whatnot) is not what I signed up for. I'm a journal-ist. Not a journalist. What irks me the most is when people write me to critique my published columns and refer to me as "a journo-type." Never that.

So I ask the trite question of the month: To what degree are bloggers journalists? Are we just "private citizens" as Kearney said in her interview? Besides readers, who are we accountable to?

Posted by Ambra in Blogging | Link to This Entry | Comments { 7 }
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In My World

As Ice Cube once said, "Today was a good day."

It is with much sadness that I bid adieu to my unemployed life. Today I secured a contract to do some recruiting work for a major company. The best thing about this job is that it's neither permanent nor perfect. You see, a short-term job will ensure that I pursue other things. A temporary job will ensure that I stay uncomfortable. Comfort is the enemy of productivity. In my brief stint as a jobless wonder, I figured out some things I already knew:

  1. I am not a 9-5er
  2. I was born with the "I can't work for anyone else" gene
  3. I need to be working harder towards a writing career
  4. I need to own my own business(es)
Strapped with this knowledge, I shall once again enter the workforce, but not for tremendously long (if I have my way about things). I'm not a betting woman, but in high school, I made a bet with my mother about where I'd be by age 25. Let's just say, I'm not there yet. The good news is, I have one and a half years left to get there.

I also found out today that I've been invited back to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Today I also mastered a banana pudding recipe I've been working on for weeks. Indeed, today was a good day.

Thanks to all who have prayed, encouraged. This "situation" isn't over yet, but things are looking up. I won't for one minute take one bit of the credit. He knows who He is.

Posted by Ambra in Life | Link to This Entry | Comments { 14 }
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The State of the Black Union
March 7, 2005

Every February, Tavis Smiley hosts his "State of the Black Union Symposium." I watched last year to my own nausea and this year, I chose not to indulge myself in the whackness. This year's theme was "Defining the African American Agenda."

Good luck on that one.

The symposium as I see it, is merely an event where a panel mostly full of "so-called" black leaders, ministers, and intellectually arrogant individuals discuss the "black issues," strategize for the future, and do their best to out-talk one another, while manipulating the emotions of the people to applaud.

This year, the symposium was held at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia. But don't let the level playing ground fool you. Bishop Eddie Long, pastor of the church, was brought under scrutiny for supporting bans on homosexual marriages as well as attending a meeting at the White House. The nerve of him! We must remember, blacks must only be loyal to the Democratic Party because the Democrats are in fact, god.

During the panelist discussion, Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr., a Democrat who voted for President Bush in the last election, announced what he felt was the dawn of a new black agenda based on the Bible. Here is where the fall-out begins.

I have a problem with Tavis Smiley's endeavor. And trust me when I say it's not just because I am unhinged by Dr. Cornel West's refusal to groom himself or the uppitiness of University of Pennsylvania professor Michael Eric Dyson (whose books exude so much bourgeoisie intellectual snobbery, they don't even make sense). The problem I have is with this "We Are the World" notion of black people coming together under one banner and one cause.

Forgive me if this sounds terribly simplistic, but it's not going to work. Not under current conditions because there are too many different allegiances present for that to take place. I'm fairly young, and even I am tired of hearing black people moan about how "we just need to come together." It sounds really great, but there's a reason why it hasn't happened: conflicting gods (and yes, we all have them).

This year the symposium was "treated" to the presence of Nation of Islam Black Nationalist leader, "Minister" Farrakhan, who had the following to say about black unity in America:

There are some who are watching by television and some in this audience who think that we will never come together, that we will never make the right covenant or contract. I say to you: Go back and read your scripture, "So the Son of Man went back to His Sender and he said, 'I been talking, the bones have been shaking, but there's no life in them.' He said, 'Well don't talk to the bones no more. Prophesy to the winds, and let the winds blow on these bones.'

"You see, Bush is a wind. Your rejection at the table is a wind. My brothers going to dinner in the White House and can't come away with what's in the best interest of all our people; Jesse running twice, but still couldn't come away with what our people need, all of this is a farce, if, if, we don't make up our minds—today—to make this contract, this covenant, today. Not with us and the Democratic Party. To hell with the Democratic Party and to hell with the Republican Party. If they want our vote, let's come as a unified body.

And I say this to you Louis Farrakhan: go back and read your scripture. Poor Biblical interpretation and application aside, it is common knowledge that the black community is rich with spiritual history. This will never go away. And if we're dumb enough to think that the Nation of Islam Black Nationalists are talking about the same God of the Bible, then we're really in trouble. The "unification" message everyone keeps touting has to have a clear moral foundation. I promise you, race alone isn't strong enough to be that foundation, and true Christians and Black Nationalists can agree on very little these days.

For there to be any type of unity, Black America needs to decide under which banner we will seek to empower people. Education isn't enough. Entrepreneurship isn't enough. We can meet, assign committees, and sympose (I made that word up) all we want, but as long as we attempt to build unity under the deification of race, we'll keep beating the air.

Posted by Ambra in Race | Link to This Entry | Comments { 21 }
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10 Most Powerful Women
March 6, 2005

It seems we have now begun the part of the year where we watch the parade of the protected class history months. This month? Women's History Month. In light of this fact, "MSN Encarta" has put together their list of "10 Most Powerful American Women":

  1. Condoleezza Rice, United States secretary of state.
  2. Karen Hughes, political adviser. A key aide to George W. Bush.
  3. Nancy Pelosi, minority leader, U.S. House of Representatives.
  4. Sandra Day O'Connor, U.S. Supreme Court justice.
  5. Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. senator.
  6. Margaret "Meg" Whitman, president and chief executive, eBay.
  7. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, U.S. Supreme Court justice.
  8. Anne Sweeney, cochair of media networks, the Walt Disney Company; president, Disney-ABC Television Group.
  9. Oprah Winfrey, media executive and personality.
  10. Martha Stewart, media executive and personality.
This list has holes to say the very least. Number 5? I'm not impressed. Maybe I'm missing something, but is Hillary Clinton really all that powerful? Or is it the perception of power? Kind of like a Chihuahua behind a smokescreen.

Posted by Ambra in Culture | Link to This Entry | Comments { 17 }
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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