Entries Posted in "August 2005"

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Fun in the Culture War
August 30, 2005

The danger with people who sit by passively and act as though the events and attitudes of this age have no direct correlation with the quality of life of the next generation is that they are sadly mistaken. In fact, single-generational thinking (as often typified by those who have chosen to enter into relationships in which they cannot procreate) is to blame for much in our society. These "sadly mistaken" individuals can often be heard making commentary like, "What's the big deal?" and "I don't really care what people do in the privacy of their bedroom," and "In the end does it really even matter?"

I submit to the "sadly mistaken" that yes it does matter.

The dangerous thing about the war on the culture is that it doesn't run around announcing itself. There are no pop-ups next to your television that emerge at the slightest hint of convolution. No one calls you up and says, "Hey, by the way, your child's history book is going to plant seeds of confusion that will require at least 5 years of deprogramming."

No.

Like TLC, the culture war creeps. You know, it keeps itself on the down low. Next thing you know, television is semi-pornographic and 12-year-old girls are having sex. Let's take a stroll down today's culture war lane:

Humans on Display at London Zoo
The AP reports:

Caged and barely clothed, eight men and women monkeyed around for the crowds Friday in an exhibit labeled "Humans" at the London Zoo.
..............
"Seeing people in a different environment, among other animals ... teaches members of the public that the human is just another primate," Wills said.

The exhibit puts the three male and five female "homo sapiens" amid their primate relatives. While their neighbors might enjoy bananas and a good scratch, these eight have divided interests, from a chemist hoping to raise awareness about apes to a self-described actor/model and fitness enthusiast.

The human is "just another primate" eh? Throw out morality, self-control, and conscience. Man is just another primate and therefore subject to all primal urges, right? Add this one to the mounting evidence that the religion of evolutionism (because yes, it is a religion) wants your sensibility.

It's Alright for Kids to Cuss at Teachers
At least that's what a UK school has decided. In an effort to curb foul language, authorities at an upper school in Wellingborough, England have decided to enforce the 5 strikes rule. According to the UK's "Daily Mail," the new policy is as follows:

"Within each lesson the teacher will initially tolerate (although not condone) the use of the f-word (or derivatives) five times and these will be tallied on the board so all students can see the running score...Over this number the class will be spoken to by the teacher at the end of the lesson."
Charming.

The "Transgeneration"
In case you were looking for reasons not to watch television this season, the Sundance Channel has announced a new show which will follow college students as they seek to "change more than just their major." On this show, the boys are not boys, nor are the girls girls. In fact, each sex wishes it were the opposite. This concept just disturbs me beyond measure. While I am certain this program will be presented in true "feel good tv" format, I wonder how truly far from our original purpose has humanity fallen? Glorified confusion is dangerous no matter how it is served.

PC Pre-School Teachers Wanted
A friend forwarded me this local Craig's List job advertisement for a pre-school teacher which included the phrase, "Applicants must also be familiar with Anti-Bias philosophies." Somehow I don't think this sentence is referring to racial profiling. "Anti-Bias philosophies?" Please.

And the battle ensues....

Posted by Ambra in Culture | Link to This Entry | Comments { 17 }
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TGIF
August 26, 2005

This site has been sporadically updated, I know. I am one busy girl. As an aside, do you know that it is near impossible for me to read, write, or say the word "sporadically" without conjuring lines from the movie, "Clueless?" If you've seen it, you understand. I'm not going to say much more on that since there is a small part of me that remains somewhat embarrassed by the fact that I've actually watched that movie. Ah the power of the film industry. I digress.

A reader emailed me last week, requesting more "What Ambra is up to/A day in the life" type posts. Not sure I'm willing to go there, but I will tell you this: I take a plethora of vitamins every day (as we all should) and they are easier on the stomach when taken with food. A few minutes ago, I didn't have any food near me save a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts. So I grabbed a doughnut and ate it with my vitamins. Tell me that is not funny.

I think I am going to spend a great deal of next week, publicly responding to email Dear Abbey style. From abortion to spanking to Kanye West, my inbox this week has seen some interesting stuff. Why not share it with the world? (Anonymously of course) If you have a request, shoot it my way. I'd be glad to offer my perspective. That is, unless I don't have one.

Posted by Ambra in Life | Link to This Entry | Comments { 10 }
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Technology for a Better World Part II
August 24, 2005

Though Google's not the first to do it, this is going to rock the globe, man. You have no idea how cool it makes me feel to know that even though it officially launched today, I've been using this program for a few weeks already.

More Buzz:
- PC World
- Sillicon
- BBC News

Posted by Ambra in Technology | Link to This Entry | Comments { 11 }
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Creationist Evolutionists
August 23, 2005

[Click to Enlarge]

In light of the recent media around the discussion of intelligent design, I found this quote rather interesting. It seems the evolutionist marine biologists who wrote copy for the Vancouver Aquarium signage have disproved their own theory. I snapped this photo of a sign posted next to a tropical fish tank. It read:

Beauty by Design

"Even a thousand engineers working together for an entire lifetime could not have designed a better ocean-going survival machine."

Nope. They sure couldn't.

Posted by Ambra in Culture | Link to This Entry | Comments { 12 }
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The 36-Year-Old Virgin

Despite its rave reviews, allegedly honest and non-mocking portrayal of the title character, and successful display of the "triumph of the human spirit" (whatever that is), I'm not about to get excited about a film that frames its main character in such a way that suggests being a 40-year-old virgin represents some sort of inherent problem. The film's tag line, "Better late than never" begs for some tangential statements. Granted, around about 39-years of age, I was probably AC Green's biggest cheerleader. But not because I thought something was wrong with him. I just wanted the man to get his due. With his wife, that is.

The concept of abstinence is finally gaining back some momentum in our society, but the concept of adult virginity is seen as downright peculiar. In a society that trivializes sex almost every chance it gets, a film with such a title can't possibly be taken as a nod to the chaste. I've had my fair share of discussions with people who couldn't even conceptualize "not having sex." I look at some of my guy friends who are virgins (handsome ones too) and I feel like I'm looking at a rare and uncelebrated breed.

I first met Lakita Garth when I was around 13-years-old. At the time she was in her mid-twenties and stood before our youth group and boldly professed to us that she was a virgin. She then rattled off statistics on teenage sexual activity and STDs like it was the alphabet. The girl knew her stuff. Not only that, she was gorgeous. Not only that she was smart, educated, accomplished, and a woman of integrity. Her style was classy and feminine. She was modest but not matronly. As a short and insecure teenager with big feet and braces, I was completely in awe.

I probably heard Lakita speak in person around four times throughout my teenage years. Every time she opened her mouth, her message was consistent. I know there were many factors included in my making a decision to remain a virgin prior to marriage, but without a doubt, I can truly say that Lakita's presence in my life gave me the confidence and the vision to make wise decisions for the future.

As an adult, I watched the former Miss Black California travel around the country speaking, testifying before congress, and regularly appearing on "Politically Incorrect" with Bill what-his-face. She always held her own amid a guest-line up vicious enough to make even a Bible-believing Christian cuss. And they do. I know some.

This all probably seems so insignificant to many, but the question I always ask people is, "What does a virgin look like?" If forced to concoct an image of purity, chances are you see "A young, white, girl." Rarely do we envision a guy, and even more rarely do we envision a person of color. Strange the way that works isn't it? Talk about rage against the machine.

Meanwhile, the collective representation of the "sexuality" of women of color can pretty much be summed up by flipping through a few beauty magazines, turning on the television, or going to the toy store (where you'll find the self-improvement Bratz Dolls complete with big lips, big butts, and of course, LACE THONGS). In a world of bad representation, Lakita broke some major stereotypes in a very public way. She may never get credit for this, today and every day, I salute her for being a trailblazer.

So why all the nostalgia? Well, eleven days ago, at age 36, Ms. Garth's abstinence card was revoked in a major way. She was united in holy matrimony to Mr. Jeff Wright and I'm sure it was well worth the wait. I'm not a big fan of patting people on the back for virginity or abstinence. It doesn't warrant applause or special recognition. But I am a big fan of celebrating the right way to do things so Lakita, get your freak on. And I mean that in the purest of ways.

(Photo courtesy of Crestine Hauser, imprintstudio@msn.com)

Links: In lieu of wedding gifts, Jeff and Lakita opted to build an AIDS orphanage in Uganda. If you feel led, give.

Posted by Ambra in Culture | Link to This Entry | Comments { 11 }
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An Interesting Question Posed

Reader "Terence" asks the following in the comments section of this post:

I have been reading some of the comments on this Blog and I would like to ask a question to the Black conservatives out there. I don't consider myself a liberal or a conservative. Depending on the issue, my opinion could fall into both camps. Just like you get offended when "liberals" talk to black folk like they are dumb or dont know what is best for themselves. I get offended when "conservatives" talk to black folk like they some how are being tricked into liberalism but they are too dumb or self-hating to know what is best for themselves. Also, since you use the word so much, what is a liberal? If I am Pro-life and believe in affirmative action am I mixed? Suppose I am Pro-war and anti-gun? Please help me understand.
Any answers?

Posted by Ambra in Politics | Link to This Entry | Comments { 19 }
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Linkology

The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Technology for a Better World
As far as I'm concerned, all the money being laundered on finding cures to diseases would be better spent on "The Life Straw." It's one of the many designs nominated for "The Index Awards," an international competition to celebrate practical design and innovation. For only $2, the Life Straw is an invention that could provide drinking water for one person for an entire year. It is absolutely incredible (and brilliant). Check out the list of top nominations which include the Toyota Prius, Google, and the $100 laptop.

The UNcategorized
This June, Paris France debuted book vending machines stocked with classics like HOMER. I'd eat Funyuns before I'd buy "The Odyssey" from a vending machine.

New to me blog: Dell Gines has impressed me with his content and insight. I also like that he doesn't play political sides.

Gas Prices from Around the World
Check out this table of prices. So you think we have it bad? Try $6.48/gallon in Amsterdam. No wonder they all ride bikes.

Rapper 50 Cent Releases a Book
Columnist Gregory Kane takes rapper Curtis James Jackson III (also known as 50 Cent and whom I affectionately call "Creflo Dollar's half-cousin") to task for the "fond embrace" of crime and ignorance in his his new book, "From Pieces to Weight: Once Upon a Time in Southside Queens." The number of times you get shot apparently likens itself to currency.

Tupac's Legacy Goes Altruistic
Here's some irony for your diet. Am I the only one who thinks a "Tupac Amaru Shakur Center for the Arts is just a bad idea? The newly opened facility in Stone Mountain, GA has plans set to unveil a bronze memorial statue of Tupac on the anniversary of his death. And get this, the statue will be placed in the center of the "Peace Garden." Enough, I'm getting sick to my stomach. This tripe deserves its own post. Let's all say it together, "Stronghold."

Adulterer Greeting Cards
Nothing says, "I want to cheat on my wife," like a nice greeting card. At least, that is the aim of the new Secret Lover Collection.

Posted by Ambra in Linkology | Link to This Entry | Comments { 3 }
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Setting the Record Straight (Again)
August 22, 2005

Believe it or not, the list of things that truly bother me is incredibly short. It's fun to fake agitated and poke fun at trifling public figures and grown men with neck tattoos who call themselves "Diddy," but in the long run, those people do not pose a major threat, nor do their efforts have any sort of eternal value. Ranting and raving has its place, but when it comes to the realities that keep me up at night, I try if at all possible to keep the list to a minimum. Enter the great right-wing/left-wing debate. Partisan politics is a topic that bothers me to no end.

I've consistently discussed here, my refusal to attach myself to a political party, period. It's not a back-up plan or based on any dissatisfaction with the current political offerings. I am not waiting for something better to come along. I've simply sought fit to diminish the number of worldly labels attached to my name. Especially those God didn't give me. Moreover, I find the nature of political parties inherently twisted. I need to restate this for the sake of new readers who read two posts and think they have me figured out (again, do you see what a mess political parties have made of our ability to think independently, even about each other?).

A very familiar sentiment re-emerged for me today when I read the first sentence of prominent blogger Professor Bainbridge's gripe about the Bush administration:

It's time for us conservatives to face facts. George W. Bush has pissed away the conservative moment by pursuing a war of choice via policies that border on the criminally incompetent. We control the White House, the Senate, the House of Representatives, and (more-or-less) the judiciary for one of the few times in my nearly 5 decades, but what have we really accomplished? Is government smaller? Have we hacked away at the nanny state? Are the unborn any more protected? Have we really set the stage for a durable conservative majority?
Within Stephen Bainbridge's thesis is the inherent problem I find with the politics of "sides" based on unclear philosophies: the ubiquitous presence of personal agendas.

My question to Mr. Bainbridge is, "Who is 'us?'" Tossing around the phrase "Conservative" carries with it nearly as much confusion craziness as calling oneself a "Christian" because human beings are prone to define things based on experience instead of truth.

I don't excuse President Bush, and I don't agree with everything in his administration, but never, not once, did I make the mistake of thinking he represented my agenda. Yeah I voted for him, but not because he was going to do everything I wanted. If that were the case, sales tax on shoes would have been eradicated by now. The fact that the president is expected to further the entire "conservative movement" is simply a set-up for failure. That isn't to say that President Bush doesn't hold a great deal of responsibility in the direction of this country. I'm a firm believer in the power of principled leadership and the reality that everything flows from the head down to the people. What's interesting to me however, is how shocked and disappointed people become when their idol-like president hasn't lived up to their standards. He is a man, and he can lie.

The reason the conservative movement can't be furthered on the backs of sole individuals or leaders is because much like the liberal converse, the "conservative movement" as it were, doesn't even know what the "conservative movement" is. Show me the day when conservatives can agree on some core beliefs and I will sell you my first-born child. In other words, it ain't gonna happen.

You see, political parties are inherently selfish. The "greater good of the community" gets buried under agendas, pet issues, money, and me me me. Part of what supposedly makes America great is that everyone, and I mean everyone can have their own cause. This is why PETA members are allowed to mingle with normal people.

Every day, my inbox is flooded with at least 10-25 unsolicited and heavily marketed emails from some political action organization begging me to give money, sign a petition, link their site, show my support, be outraged, call my congressman, march in a parade, write a letter, and when all else fails, pray. Interesting that prayer is always the "last resort" for solving problems.

I've long realized that on most days, people couldn't care less about who you are, where you come from, and what you're all about as long as what you're saying is lining up with the agenda at hand. It's the same here on this blog. People co-sign and Amen themselves silly, and then I write about how the Republican Party has wandered into dangerous territory by thinking it owns the market on righteousness, and people have the audacity to send email informing they've removed me from their "Favorites" list. Right then, I thought my life was over.

Then I read articles like the one recently published in the Washington Post and I get a bit agitated. It reads:

WASHINGTON -- Adam Hunter, an ambitious law student with bright eyes, an easy smile, and plenty of charisma, seems practically destined for politics.
..............
Hunter, 22, is a first-year law student at Howard University, a historically black campus with a long record of liberal activism. He has political ambitions of his own -- but not with the Democrats.

Instead, Hunter, who as an undergraduate headed Howard's chapter of College Republicans, sees himself as part of a younger generation of African-Americans. He is ready to cast aside traditional loyalties to the Democratic Party and forge his own political identity.

(Side note: Nykola.com featured Adam Hunter long before the Washington Post. Be very impressed.)

I'm not at all comfortable with the notion that young black Americans are abandoning the Democratic party for the Republican party. Shifting unfounded loyalties from one party to another doesn't solve the inconsistencies the "conservative" movement is facing. When the rubber meets the road (or when the funk hits the fan, whichever you prefer) I am convinced that political parties and left/right politics have managed to trivialize nearly ever important issue our country is facing.

I'm not certain what the solution is, but I'm lobbying for more independent voters and thinkers. The reality of what needs to take place in America is so beyond the realm of what we spend our time complaining about, it's not even funny.

Posted by Ambra in Politics | Link to This Entry | Comments { 11 }
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People Who Need to Retire
August 17, 2005

I have lots to catch-up on news-wise, but in the meantime, I have officially added Sean Combs to my blacklist. Remember "Vote or Die"? Umm, yeah. Not only is Mr. Combs a media whore, I truly believe he has overly-convinced himself of his own greatness. Today he came onto the "Today Show" and announced live that he was dropping the "P." and changing his name to just "Diddy."

Boy am I glad I tuned in for that announcement.

The Chicago Tribune reports:

In news perfectly suited to this column, P. Diddy has streamlined his name, dropping the P. He made the announcement on Tuesday's "Today Show," according to E! Online. "I felt like the 'P' was getting between me and my fans," Diddy said. "During concerts, half the crowd is saying 'P. Diddy'--half the crowd is chanting 'Diddy'--now everybody can just chant 'Diddy.'"
May I remind us all that Sean Combs (because I refuse to call a grown man who is not my husband pet names) has not had a hit in nearly half a decade? How about we just call him, "Dummy."

Yeah, that'll do.

Posted by Ambra in Culture | Link to This Entry | Comments { 33 }
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Self-Appointed Saviors of the Black Race

The following is a lengthy note to patronizing and high-fallutin' liberal thinkers: Simply put, black people are not dumb.

Nearly a year ago, I came into a new depth of understanding in regards to the social decay that is American liberal thought. Surprisingly enough, I have Michael Moore to thank for this. Despite commonly held beliefs, the man is indeed good for something. In a bold pre-election address on November 1, 2004, Moore wrote the following on his website:

"To African Americans:

First of all, let's just acknowledge what you already know: America is a country which still has a race problem, to put it nicely. Al Gore would be president today had thousands of African Americans not had their right to vote stolen from them in Florida in 2000.

Here is my commitment: I will do everything I can to make sure that this will not happen again. And I'm not the only one making this pledge. Thousands of volunteer lawyers are flying to Florida to act as poll watchers and intervene should there be any attempts to deny anyone their right to vote. They will NOT be messing around.

For my part, I have organized an army of 1,200 professional and amateur filmmakers who will be armed with video cameras throughout the states of Florida and Ohio. At the first sign of criminality, we will dispatch a camera crew to where the vote fraud is taking place and record what is going on. We will put a big public spotlight on any wrongdoing by Republican officials in those two states. They will not get away with this as they did in 2000.

In Ohio, the Republicans are sending almost 2,000 paid "poll challengers" into the black precincts of Cleveland in an attempt to stop African Americans from voting. This action is beyond despicable. Do not let this stop you from voting. I, and thousand of others, will be there to fight for you and protect you."

After I dragged myself from under his patronizing high-fallutination*, I came to three conclusions (in no particular order):
  1. Listening or even giving credence to anything Michael Moore has to say is like giving an audience to a special-ed monkey.
  2. Liberals, (white ones in particular) think more highly of themselves than they ought.
  3. There is a certain segment of progressive America who remain unaware of their sub-conscious convictions that black people are complete idiots.
The arrogance of Moore's missive runs deeper than his own narcissicism (which in and of itself is at Grand Canyon-sized proportions). Every day of the year the events taking place in America confirm suspicion number three.

Let's begin with the recent controversy provoked by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and their recent halt to their "Animal Liberation" campaign which cleverly involved the juxtaposition of images of black slaves being shackled and branded with those of elephants and pigs in similar predicaments. The campaign wasn't complete without a manipulative video to really stir the pot of confusion. In light of such events, it's extremely coincidental that today I received the following email:

To: Ambra Nykol
From: "Sandra"
Date: Tuesday, August, 16th 9:58 pm

Dear Friend:

I just came across an old blog of yours castigating PETA for its views on animals [Ambra's note: I trash PETA quite a bit 'round these parts]. If they sound insane, just think: in slavery times the same thing was said about those who advocated rights for blacks! I recommend an enlightening book on the subject: The Dreaded Comparison by Marjorie Spiegel, foreward written by Alice Walker.

Peace.
Sandra

I'm not prone to publishing emails, but certain degrees of spoon-fed ignorance need to be nipped in the public bud so as to stop the sickness from spreading. For starters (and this goes to both PETA and Sandra), black people are not animals; we are people. We didn't come from monkeys, apes, or any other primate. We are not the ancestors of homo erectus nor did we arrive on the scene via some chance happening of events or racist evolution theory. We are human beings, and thanks to the sins of some men with too much power, we are probably related to you. Whether it's fish amnesty, the plight of the baby seal, Thanksgiving turkeys, or the extinction of Madagascar hissing cockroaches, one thing remains: no animal's predicament can even venture into the vicinity of the suffering endured by American slaves so please stop the madness.

Alice Walker's "famous-black-person-permission-slip" notwithstanding, blogger Baldilocks eloquently handles this bogus endorsement:

Alice told PETA it was okay to compare black humans to animals even though we’ve been insulted in that manner nearly from the first European-African contact. Why did Alice do that? Because it’s perfectly okay to allow leftists to use black people for any purpose as long as it’s against the oppressive, right-wing, Christian, heterosexual, meat-eating MAN and his lackeys.
It should also be noted that Alice Walker is a lesbian and a feminist which puts her right in alignment with the opposition being that last I checked, PETA had a sizable monopoly on the the lesbian-boho-anti-armpit-shaving crowd. (Remind me to talk about how the black community glosses over the sexuality of its prominent figures because yes, Luther Vandross was indeed gay and although this has little to do with the topic, I just needed to say that thank you very much).

Elsewhere in America, the battle over Ebonics-based education ensues. Joseph C. Phillips, former "Cosby Show" cast member and new addition to The Conservative Brotherhood wrote a pointed essay called, "Son of Ebonics," which discussed the San Bernardino county school district's decision to pilot a curriculum which incorporates "Ebonics" as "cultural enrichment."

My thoughts on dialect and vernacular aside (my propensity for making up words should clue you in to where I stand on the matter), I remain a member of the angry Bill Cosby school of thought which believes that at the very least, the public education system has a responsibility to equip students to reign in life and be productive members of society. If you live in America and wish to be successful, this means learning the societally agreed upon Standard American English. An educated approach to deviation is inappropriate for secondary school. Can we please just graduate kids with some sentence structure?

There are studies and theories flying around that "Ebonics" is "genetically-based." In fact, The Oakland California school board actually had the audacity to declare "Ebonics" the genetically-based language of black students. The fact that so many people have even considered this theory is simply reprehensible.

The list goes on. Even affirmative action zealots begin to speak of themselves as though they were saviors of the black race. It seems no one is immune to low standards. Condoleezza Rice is smarter, more astute, and more accomplished than the average female professional. She attains one of the highest public positions known to a black woman and her detractors accuse her of prostituting her way there.

The danger of this all isn't that the black community won't be able to overcome the shortcomings of the past. The danger is a supposedly supportive Democratic constituency whose followers don't believe black people are capable of much.

Posted by Ambra in Race | Link to This Entry | Comments { 23 }
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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

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